Someone other than Dany, Jon Could end up with
Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:09 PM
I think we're operating from premises that seem incompatible- I'm not convinced he's going the same path as Varamyr, which has foreshadowing potential not only to Jon, but to Bran as well, I'm not sure he's going to survive whatever battle he's facing, and I don't think that Westeros will remain in its status quo when all is said and done. I also do not believe that a unification of Westeros necessitates a literal unification of one kingdom, but could also be achieved through diffusing power more equally amongst the people, who would be able to put petty power plays aside in the face of a greater threat (which is I think your contention that One power is greater than many when fighting a threat). Yet look at how often the One Iron Throne interferes with this logic.
I don't want to dismiss the possibility that King Jon, Queen Dany and Hand Tyrion will reign over many years of peace and prosperity, but thinking critically about the book for a moment, is there any indication that this is ultimately the goal of the series? If this is the case, then all that we've learned from ASOIAF is that love conquers all, the fate of Westeros will always have dynastic, primogenetic rule, and that the Targs in particular are the only line that the gods and cosmos believe ought to rule- that the absence of a Targ, even for 20 years is so hateful to the cosmos that it causes the bloodiest war to date. I just find it very difficult to believe that we will end up with a validation of unified dynastic rule and Targaryen lordship in particular, because the entirety of the series would be a fairly pointless blip in an otherwise unbroken chain of Targ rule.
If someone does end up on the throne and nothing changes, I find it difficult to believe that it will be Jon. Becoming more beast or not wouldn't make this more possible (and I take the honor thing to mean not to be afraid to crack eggs for a greater cause), but I do not think it has anything to do with his becoming more amenable to the role of King. If anything, it would make him more inclined to live freely.
Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:22 PM
Separate kingdoms doesn't necessarily mean peaceful or unified either. For example Harren the Black was a tyrant and King Theon Stark was called the Hungry Wolf because he was in a constant state of war.
EDIT: I think the realm may be unified against the Others but it may be after the North and the NW have failed if the Others get as far as the Trident. Another option I see is the realm never uniting and at least of the top half of Westeros will have a good portion of its population being wiped out.
I think it will be bittersweet if the Starks go back North in the end and they don't have much of a home or people to return to.
Edited by ARYa_Nym, 07 May 2012 - 10:30 PM.
Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:00 PM
My thoughts on Jon are that his duty comes first. He is, hot headedness and honour aside, pragmatic. He's also just had a valuable object lesson on why you don't change things too fast, as Arya_Nym's pointed out. If Jon's destiny leads him to rule, I fully expect him to rule using what he's got, not what he wishes he had. Maybe twenty years down the line a much older Jon, with a far securer grip, will start putting in place reforms. Maybe. That's by the by really.
But I completely believe one absolute power is the preferred thing for dealing with a threat. I'm not sure where one Iron throne has ever interferred with that; indeed, the Night's Watch don't get their men precisely because there isn't one Iron throne, there's about four. Nor did the seven kingdoms do a great job of resisting Aegon.
However, my main point is that I believe the lords of Westeros are a threat. I believe independent kingdoms would be a threat. Again, look at the wars of the seperate kingdoms. Compare continental Europe's history of conflict (competing states with land borders) with Britain's (an island state that has been unified for most of it). He cannot change things without the lords' consent, and the weaker the authority of the central government, the more these guys will ignore it. In fact, I believe the best thing he can do for the comfort and security of Westeros is to increase the power of the Iron Throne, and pray his successor will be a good person. If he does dissolve the Iron Throne, somebody else will decide to re-establish it with fire and sword. If he leaves no successor, the whole bloody thing repeats itself. This is the era of the Strong Man, and Jon has to be that man.
So I believe. He doesn't have a choice. Well, there's always failure and more civil wars I guess...
Note - I don't see King Jon as necessarily a happy ending. His kingdom will be in ruins. I am 99.9pc certain he will not have made a love match, and will have possibly left one behind. I imagine he will face a life time of toil - of breaking rebellious lords, re-asserting the crown's authority, finding the money to pay off the Iron Bank and rebuilding. And everything else. If he does become King in King's Landing, its quite possible he'll never see the North again. It won't be fun. Which is partially why I think Jon's the man for the job - he's not a guy to shy away from these decisions.
To summarise/tl;dr - This has nothing to do with Jon, save that I believe he will be pragmatic and do what the Kingdom needs, and everything to do with my believes on what Westeros is and needs.
edit: Also, no story with Queen Dany is a happy ending
Edited by etu, 07 May 2012 - 11:37 PM.
Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:25 PM
I would say that the political unification of Westeros depends upon one King (or Queen) enforcing order, yes. Jon is my favorite candidate for that job, but I recognize that others could fill that role, though not as well as him I think.
Why do I think a King (or Queen) is a necessity? Because I think it would take a very long time for these people to culturally acclimate to the sort of reforms you are talking about, and with the threat of the Others hanging over them I don't think they can afford to start instituting such drastic changes. Too much chaos would rise from it, and during the (seemingly) apocalyptic war that is coming they will need order and discipline. But like I said, maybe when peace is restored a good monarch (like Jon) could start changing things for the better.
That would be the sane thing to do, certainly, but nothing I've seen of these Lords and Ladies makes me believe they would be capable of such rationality. I would also say that, in general, power tends to concentrate in times of emergency, not diffuse. There are a variety of reasons for this that I really I don't want to get into, as it would essentially require me to write an essay.
I don't think anyone believes the series will end so cleanly as that. Dany and Jon may get married, but likely one or both of them will die by series end. And Tyrion will never be Hand again, his reputation in Westeros has been far too ruined for that. He's widely known as a kingslayer and a kinslayer, so things are probably not going to end well for him. And I doubt we will ever see any peace and prosperity, the last book is titled A Dream of Spring for a reason I think. So I don't think we will even see the end of the war with the Others, we will just see the realm finally united and prepared for the fight ahead. At least that is my speculation.
My first thought when I saw this was "you're reading too much into it." There is no "ultimate goal" or point GRRM is trying to make with this series as far as I can see, its just meant to be a good story. I don't think GRRM wants us to read this as some sort of allegory that "validates" any of the concepts you mentioned, primogeniture, dynastic rule, etc..
EDIT: Just something else I want to add with regards to this last paragraph.
The bloody war of the five kings did not occur because of the absence of Targs, it occurred because of the absence of dragons. The natural state of the vast and diverse realm of Westeros is fragmentation, or seven individual kingdoms. Only dragons and/or a major foreign threat can reverse this natural order of things, and in this story we have both of those, no?
Edited by Ser Wun Wun, 07 May 2012 - 11:35 PM.
Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:55 PM
But regarding the point that I'm reading too much into it by thinking of some overarching message- I think most pieces of literature have messages and developments that make some kind of statement or purpose. I don't think that statement is democracy for Westeros or anything remotely close to that, but I do think that in order for the story to resolve itself there needs to be some progression forward from what came before for a proper denouement. I would be surprised if we ended on a note of restored dynasty or a hint at the continuation of a previous system (so I don't think the kingdoms all go back to independent nations either). But I definitely don't think there's a message about primogeniture or anything specific about dynastic practices as an overall purpose, but that these issues are building up to some other kind of revelation than Jon operating along the same political principles we've already seen (entirely). I think it could be possible that this revelation is that despite Jon's alleged bastardy and whether the nobles actually believe R+L, that they want him as their leader based on merit. To be honest though, if we're still operating from the idea that kingship remains in a state similar to what we see now then I think it's probably a big leap to think they'll accept him as a king (though perhaps a military leader against something else is possible). But anyway, I just wanted to clarify that I expressly do not think the message is a political one, just that it seems hard for me to believe that we'd end up so close to where we've come with it is all.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:10 AM
Because he is a bastard you mean? I think when push comes to shove they would accept him as king if he won the requisite victories and made the right political moves. He would probably have to at least present himself as a legitimate Stark or Targ, though I'm sure people would always call him bastard behind his back. And they don't make a distinction between a King and a military leader in Westeros as far as I can see. So if Jon is going to lead the armies of Westeros against the Others, I think he would have to be the King. Or I suppose the strong right hand of a King (or Queen) who delegates that authority to him.
This is just a side note, but wasn't William the Conqueror also a bastard? I'm really not that well read on medieval Europe, but I know GRRM has drawn some inspiration from the War of the Roses, so maybe he drew some inspiration from William as well. I'm just throwing that out there.
Edited by Ser Wun Wun, 08 May 2012 - 12:13 AM.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:19 AM
And yes, Sir Wun Wun - William was a bastard. As was Robert of Gloucester, who may well have been offered the throne of England but declined. And, since someone mentioned the War of the Roses again, Henry Tudor's claim to the throne was drawn entirely through a line that had been legitimised after the fact.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:31 AM
On point if Dany or whom ever unites the 7 kingdoms, it stans to reason that Sansa will be a part of it and have de facto command of the north because Rickon is so young, the vale, and the riverlands, whats whats the quickest way for the martells or Tryells to ally with them...a marriage between jon snow and arriane/margery
Edited by Ser Pollo Loco, 08 May 2012 - 12:32 AM.