Alysanne., on 05 July 2012 - 09:37 AM, said:
Finally, we can go back to Varys' riddle once again. Mel says that she always has two guards around her even though she doesn't need them in order to display power. Mance notes that the guards Jon has stationed outside his room are a joke, and Mel wishes he would move to the King's quarters. If Jon would have been willing to show a bit more power, would his brothers have respected/feared him a bit more?
I think the main problem here is that Melisandre is jumping over a very important question: what, exactly, are the trappings of power
? She's assuming that her personal understanding of "the trappings of power" is universal, that these "trappings" remain constant across cultures. But we can see that that isn't actually the case. Jon isn't respected by Stannis's men, and his lack of southern-style "trappings of power" probably played into that---but he is
respected by Stannis (a man who doesn't give respect easily), and I'd argue that he very
much seems to be respected by his own men---every order he gives is ultimately obeyed, even to the point of letting the hated wildlings pass the Wall. The Marsh conspiracy never struck me as the actions of men who didn't respect or fear Jon---their incredibly desperate measures seem to indicate that Jon was far too powerful a force on the Wall to be removed in any other way. It's Stannis's soldiers that were calling Jon "boy", not the Night's Watchmen. If Jon had had himself announced by a crapload of titles every time he walked into the mess hall, or started waving Longclaw around every time he made a speech, the Watchmen would have been laughing their asses off. The wildlings, too.
The NIght's Watch chooses its own leaders (so the Lord Commander has already cleared the first hurdle of gaining his men's allegience merely by being elected), and it is a very cash-and-manpower-poor institution operating in a very remote and harsh environment. Wearing fine clothes, playing petty power games, and being incredibly wasteful (both in terms of finances and manpower) are all things that are expected of a ruler in the south. But every guardsman Jon has following him around like a duckling is one less man capable of walking the Wall or performing support services to the rest of the Watch, and the Watch doesn't have any men to spare. (And even though I'm sure half a dozen or so men could have been pulled away from other duties to guard Jon---in Jon's eyes, what message does that really
send to his fellow Watchmen?) If Jon was living in luxury in the King's Tower, eating the choicest food and surrounded by more comfort than anyone else in the Watch, would his men have respected him more? I'd argue that they'd have respected him far, far less
. If he'd surrounded himself with guards everywhere he went, would the wildlings have viewed him with respect? They'd probably have seen him as weak. According to Will, Waymar Royce had fine clothes, an expensive sword, and came from an ancient House----but he points out that none of those things stopped the men from laughing at him in their cups. And it's worth noting that Jon actually has to step in and stop Night's Watchmen from laughing at Melisandre herself---those trappings of power weren't actually gaining her the respect she thought, in the eyes of the Watchmen.
Mance notes that the guards Jon has outside his door won't stop an attack, but I sincerely doubt that Jon ever thought they would. Those guards seem to act more as buffer zones than as actual protection (their purpose is just to prevent people from just barging in on Jon without any warning). Mance himself had guards outside his own tent back in ASOS, and I doubt he really intended them as personal protection.
Lummel, on 05 July 2012 - 01:28 PM, said:
But Daenerys' floppy ears are a little different from the old family crown. With her floppy ears she is trying to show the old Ghiscari elites that she is one of them, that she associates with them and that she values them and their culture. The Crown I think would be a symbol of the continuity and tradition of the targaryen line - you can imagine the feelings associated with selling it. I'm tempted now to fall back on Kissedbyfire's answer...
I think the Targaryen "crown" issue is interesting because we know, from various descriptions GRRM gave of the previous Targaryen kings, that not every king wore his predecessor's crown (unlike, for example, the Kings in the North). The throne itself seemed to be the important part, not the crown (the opposite as in the North). It was apparently perfectly acceptible for a new King to have a brand-new crown made while the Targs ruled, and the same thing seems to be true of the Baratheons/Lannisters, but you certainly never see anyone considering making a new throne.
Moreover, I don't think we've ever been given a description of the crowns worn by Targaryen queens
. Was Queen Rhaella's crown a family heirloom, something that had been passed down from previous Queens? Or had it been made just for her? If the former, then the sale of the crown would have implications for the continuity and tradition of the Targaryen line. But if it's the latter, then not so much. And given the way Cersei acts (she has no trouble having new crowns made, and she never mentions coveting a specific crown worn by any Targaryen queen), I think the latter is more likely than the former. Viserys sold their mother's crown, and his distress might have come from the fact that it was their mother's
, and less that it was a crown (especially given that Viserys, being a man, would never have worn that particular crown regardless). That Dany might not understand this could be explained by the fact that she never knew their mother, didn't know what crowns were worn by what ancestor(s), and simply didn't understand the implications there.
Dany wears the tokar . . . but she smashed the Harpy Throne, she expects Ghiscari men to shave off their fanciful hairdos (which she finds absurd but clearly the Ghiscari do not), she does not even consider converting to the religion of the Graces (why it never occurred to her that this might just piss the Green Grace off, I've never understood), and her "court" consists of foreigners (Missadei, Barristan, Daario, Irri/Jhiqui, etc.) and a grand total of 2, count them TWO, Ghiscari noblemen, noblemen whose exact status in the nobility we're never given (for all we know, the Shavepate and Reznak could come from the Meereenese equivalents of House Baelish and House Frey). This is not to say that wearing the tokar was a poor choice---rather, it's that the whole point of wearing the tokar was to send a signal to the nobility that she wanted to integrate with them, but without taking extra steps in addition
to the tokar, the tokar went from "first step in integration" to "empty step in failed integration".
Moreover, was merely wearing a tokar, without any thought as to the composition of that tokar, really sending the message Dany intended? Not to get ahead of this re-read, but Dany makes a very interesting comment when she's looking out at the nobility in the fighting pits:
Hizdahr’s kin of the ancient line of Loraq seemed to favor tokars of purple and indigo and lilac, whilst those of Pahl were striped in pink and white. The envoys from Yunkai were all in yellow . . .
We know House colors are very important in Westeros. Wearing black means something very different in Braavos than it does in Westeros. Dany notes that certain Houses in Meereen seem to favor specific tokar colors, which could be a hint that clothing color has social dimensions here, as it does in other places we've seen. Dany never seemed to see any importance in the color of her choice of tokar---but the Meereenese might have felt differently.