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The Moral Purity of the Starks means the story isn't grey.


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#1 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:34 PM

They are whiter than white. Ned refuses to dislike the people who murdered his father ac 2 Barristan "he never meant your family any ill"; borderline unnatural behavior BTW. He indulges and encourages his daughter Arya. She herself is portrayed as being willful and stepping outside traditional female roles to make her own identity. You then have the Sansa, the perfect disney princess, period. So much so in fact that her simply singing and showing her innocent purity manages to shame the hound and causes him to help Arya in the end. Meanwhile, Rand al...sorry, Jon Snow, is shown as being without prejudice. He accepts wildling culture as superior, he lets women fight, he is fine with giving a gay man responsibility and he is opposed by incompetent bigots in his story. Catelyn lives by the motto "family, duty, honor". Rob Stark wants to free his people from oppression and there's nothing like a bit of romantic nationalism to get readers sympathy. He even gets to fight the people who murdered his family.

 

For me, grey means I cannot tell who to root for. It does not mean "good people can lose", which I imagine a lot of people would reply to this with. The Starks are good but this doesn't work in the real world. I don't really see how that matters. Whether something is grey is about morality and that point just doesn't seem to be a matter of morality. Its just that bad things can happen to good people. There is no attempt to subvert the morals of the Starks or create ambiguity for the readers.

 

This is to such an extent that we actually know Tyrion is a good guy because he is sympathetic towards the Starks (even though they were as prejudiced against him for being a dwarf as everyone else). Lord forbid that Tyrion would dislike the family who abducted him because they assume he is a scheming dwarf. We also have Daenerys identification of the Starks as enemies being demonized by morally upright characters like Barristan Selmy. Lord forbid that Dany would dislike the Usurpers principle military backer. A character who criticizes the moral purity of the Starks is almost always shown to be bigoted and incorrect. 



#2 DaarioKnowsBest

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

A lot of people think Dany is a good guy even though she hates Starks

The thought of Dany fighting Arya would confuse me in who to root for since they are my two favorite characters

Edited by DaarioKnowsBest, 18 November 2013 - 02:39 PM.


#3 Acolyte of Radmure

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

I wish Robb had been a bloodthirsty warmonger. 

 



#4 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

A lot of people think Dany is a good guy even though she hates Starks

 

But disliking the Starks is by definition a negative trait in the series isn't it?



#5 Addam of Hull

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:40 PM

I didn't realize we considered Arya's thirst for vengeance and increasing death toll to be morally pure.  Nor did I think that Bran's subjugation of another human being is a morally pure action.  



#6 Stannis Eats No Peaches

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:40 PM

Since when has the board as a whole agreed that Sansa and Cat are "morally pure"?

#7 DaarioKnowsBest

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:41 PM

 
But disliking the Starks is by definition a negative trait in the series isn't it?


Stannis and Dany seem to have among the biggest fanbases on this forum and they have both had issues with Starks.

#8 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:43 PM

Stannis and Dany seem to have among the biggest fanbases on this forum and they have both had issues with Starks.

 

Stannis sins are washed away in ASOS. He helps Jon and offers to make him Lord of Winterfell to put a son of Eddard in Winterfell. 


Edited by total1402, 18 November 2013 - 03:14 PM.


#9 Snowisnobastard

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:44 PM

Arya will most likely stay grey or become darker. And Sansa, I personally think she's a ticking time bomb, it's only a matter of time till she shanks LF. I understand the reasoning behind all of the stark moral decisions from all aspects but I wouldn't consider them white. Although they are probably the closest we will get to a "white" character... Unless gandalf storms in riding shadowfax to drive back the darkness

#10 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:44 PM

I didn't realize we considered Arya's thirst for vengeance and increasing death toll to be morally pure.  Nor did I think that Bran's subjugation of another human being is a morally pure action.  

 

Killing Lannister guards at Harrenhal is like killing SS. Whilst a nights watch deserter is to be executed anyway. Plus, her reasons for revenge are shown to be perfectly justified. Her family are the innocent victims of conspiracy and those she wants vengence on are either squirmy rat faced Freys or evil men like Roose Bolton. 

 

That makes her about as grey as Batman.


Edited by total1402, 18 November 2013 - 02:48 PM.


#11 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:45 PM

I didn't realize we considered Arya's thirst for vengeance and increasing death toll to be morally pure.  Nor did I think that Bran's subjugation of another human being is a morally pure action.  

My first thought.  However, for the purposes of a total1402 thread, all that matters is that Dany come out looking excellent.  Even if it means just making shit up. 



#12 DaarioKnowsBest

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:46 PM

 
Stannis sins are washed away in ASOS. He helps Jon and offers to make him Lord of Winterfell to put a sin of Eddard in Winterfell. 


Sounds pretty grey to me,
It was pretty clear to me that Stannis didn't do that because he loved Robb Stark

#13 TheMysteriousOne

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:47 PM

While I don't agree with how you've posed this (or most of your topics...), I do find it problematic that some characters are often denounced for hating or being ignorant of the Starks. 'Good' characters are not some monolithic entity, and they don't have to like each other, as shown by how the Blackfish supposedly sees Jon.


Edited by TheMysteriousOne, 18 November 2013 - 02:48 PM.


#14 David Selig

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:49 PM

 

Stannis sins are washed away in ASOS. He helps Jon and offers to make him Lord of Winterfell to put a sin of Eddard in Winterfell. 

Which was basically a "Go get yourself killed" offer since nobody would've followed a bastard oathbreaker who had burned the holiest place in the north.

 

The Starks are clearly the guys we are supposed to root for, but they aren't whiter than white by any means. Ned started a war which killed many thousands just so he could save his head and get vengeance. Then he planned to start another war rather than have (gasp) a bastard on the throne. Arya's killed innocents or people guilty of nothing more than embezzelment, Jon tried to murder Thorne because he said his father was a traitor (true as far as any of them knew), etc...

 

Oh, and Tyrion is definitely not a good guy, just because he was friendly with Jon at the start doesn't mean squat. 


Edited by David Selig, 18 November 2013 - 02:51 PM.


#15 butterbumps!

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:52 PM

This is to such an extent that we actually know Tyrion is a good guy because he is sympathetic towards the Starks (even though they were as prejudiced against him for being a dwarf as everyone else). 

I for one am relieved we've finally sorted this out.  No enormity is insurmountable when you've been sympathetic to the Starks at some point or another.



#16 Addam of Hull

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:52 PM

My first thought.  However, for the purposes of a total1402 thread, all that matters is that Dany come out looking excellent.  Even if it means just making shit up. 

Oh, I'm aware.  Still, pointing out flaws in arguments is always fun.

 

 

 

Killing Lannister guards at Harrenhal is like killing SS. Whilst a nights watch deserter is to be executed anyway. Plus, her reasons for revenge are shown to be perfectly justified. Her family are the innocent victims of conspiracy and those she wants vengence on are either squirmy rat faced Freys or evil men like Roose Bolton. 

 

That makes her about as grey as Batman.

So you're missing the subtle nuances of her arc, then.  Gotcha.



#17 David Selig

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:55 PM

 

Killing Lannister guards at Harrenhal is like killing SS. Whilst a nights watch deserter is to be executed anyway. Plus, her reasons for revenge are shown to be perfectly justified. Her family are the innocent victims of conspiracy and those she wants vengence on are either squirmy rat faced Freys or evil men like Roose Bolton. 

 

That makes her about as grey as Batman.

It was a Bolton guard (at a time when Roose was still fighting for the Starks, as far as Arya knew). Like killing SS? Say what? He was a random guard, no indication he was involved in any atrocities.



#18 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:55 PM

Oh, I'm aware.  Still, pointing out flaws in arguments is always fun.

 

 

So you're missing the subtle nuances of her arc, then.  Gotcha.

 

The people she kills at Harrenhal are unambiguously evil. We see what they do for most of ACOK.



#19 Dr. Pepper

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

I think Mel rightly points out that the Starks are rotten when she explains to Davos how an entire onion is bad if there's just a pinch of rot.  The Starks can never be good because they have Benjen, who is the rottiest of the rot.  Just as you can't make a partially rotten onion better by cutting off the rot, the Starks couldn't make themselves better by cutting off Ben when they sent him to the wall.  The man kept insisting on using the family name!  He's pretty much ensured that the Starks deserve whatever they get because he's just so wretched. 



#20 total1402

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:56 PM

It was a Bolton guard (at a time when Roose was still fighting for the Starks, as far as Arya knew). Like killing SS? Say what? He was a random guard, no indication he was involved in any atrocities.

 

The people who flay skins and who were plotting to kill Rob with the Freys (which Arya overheard)? I think she can be excused for assuming he is an enemy.

 

And yes, the Boltons are portrayed like the SS. Even in ACOK we get descriptions of "grey eyed" Roose Bolton and him acting like some vampire lord. We're not meant to be affected by them being killed anymore than the Freys. They aren't even portrayed as people. 


Edited by total1402, 18 November 2013 - 03:00 PM.