Capo Ferro

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  1. I've seen the "failed at his job at the wall and got fired for it" comment before and I don't get it. His job at the wall is not to make the members of the Night's Watch happy or to appease their prejudices, it is to be the sword in the darkness, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men, etc. As Lord Commander he has authority to give orders to other members of the watch that must be obeyed and to impose punishment for disobedience but the fundamental nature of his job remains that which is described in the oath. The Watch isn't a body that exists for its own benefit, it is a body that exists to protect the realms of men from the others. He hadn't failed in that job as of the time of his death and really, hasn't failed yet. That is what he is still doing now.
  2. I don't think there's much support for that claim in either the books or the show. In both, Jon showed real leadership and in both it seems pretty clear that's why he made it to the position he was in. He arrived at Castle Black and was immediately mocked by Thorne and others as Lord Snow -- his ability to relate to the other members of the Night's Watch as brothers was, before he really had a chance to do anything, undermined by Thorne who sought to portray him as a graduate of fancy lad school (to borrow Bronn's expression). Despite this (though with the advice of Tyrion) he was able to win the friendship and loyalty of people who'd despised him and the fear and respect of those who were determined not to be friends. He also won the friendship of some wildlings and the respect of Mance Rayder. He organized a successful defense of Castle Black when it was under attack from the south where it was weak. And when the watch was hopelessly outnumbered and it seemed likely that they'd eventually fall simply because they lacked the power to man the wall he took on a suicide mission to kill Mance Rayder. In the end he didn't and didn't have to because help came from an unexpected quarter (in answer to his call, a call that was sensibly directed to all the claimants to the throne, not just the unreliable one in King's landing). And he made the difficult and dangerous decision (which we who benefit from the author's omniscience and see everything know to be the right decision even if folks in the story with an incomplete grasp of the situation believe is the wrong one) to let the wildlings behind the wall. And then there's Sam. A leader has to use the tools he has and find the value in unpromising material. Jon, like the other military men of the watch, was disgusted by Sam's cowardice but unlike, say, Thorne, he recognized that Sam nevertheless had value to the watch. He had notable failures too. His abortive attempt to fly south and join his brother and, in the books if not the show, his apparent decision to attack Ramsey Bolton. But in the books and in the show as far as the books carried them it's hard to come up with examples of anyone who's shown more actual leadership than Snow. That, I grant, is a low bar but it's true. And Mormont saw Snow win the friendship of folks that has been his enemy and work to make them into a respectable fighting force and that is why Mormont made him steward. And by the time of the election to Lord Commander a great many members of the watch recognized their debt to him. Others despised him of course but that too is something that can be a consequence of leadership. Since the show has departed from the books he's made decisions that have been questionable. The seeds for those decisions can be found in his character as set out in the books. He's not an unambiguously perfect ruler. But we've seen a lot of folks who have clearly been worse.
  3. Not just you. Some great characters there and some great resentments. It should be fun
  4. Err, no. Not like other castles which sit in a location that had strategic value such as the two I mentioned or protect some other resource that's actually important in the war. What, in books or show, has established the supreme importance of maintaining an iron hold on casterly rock and its exhausted gold mines at the expense of a strong offensive thrust.
  5. Wait, why is that stupid? Casterly Rock isn't the Twins or Moat Caillin, important because they allow north/south traffic to be cut off. It has no special strategic position, it just sits there on its own on the coast guarding some apparently now exhausted mines. In Martin's books it was stupid for Theon to take Winterfell which shares with casterly rock the qualities of being a not very strategically important strong castle that's home to one of the great Westeros families so why is it stupid for Jaimie to leave only a defensive force at casterly rock (it wasn't abandoned) and use the bulk of the Lannister army elsewhere to do actual offensive work?
  6. But what journey is this story about? There are different journeys that can be written about. Is the journey that is being depicted here the hatching, raising and growth to maturity of dragons or is the journey the wrestling with how a revolutionary upends the established order without becoming what she seeks to overturn? My point here is that this story is about the lattet -- it's about how Dany, given the power to destroy the Randall Tarlys and Cersei Lannisters of the world can do so without becoming a monster herself. It's not a story of a young girls path on the road to becoming an assassin, it's the story of a young girl coming to understand how to separate reasonable reactions to conventions she bridles against (not becoming a kept seamstress for some Lord because that's what highborn ladies do) to unreasonable ones (cutting off the heads of people who insult her brother). We see parts of the other journeys because they're fun to watch but they aren't the point of this show. It has other axes to grind.
  7. Is Euripedes shit writing? The deus ex machina is ancient. It exists because narrative plausibility is not nearly as important as what the story is actually about. You want to tell the story of a person determined to change a tyrannical autocracy in the face of entrenched interests and examine issues like when the reformer becomes the tyrant herself. Interesting but you need a reformer with the power to change things in a world where the power is held by the autocrat. Ok, let's give her some dragons! Deus ex machina. You want to show a growing girl chafing at society's understanding of gender roles and explore the tension between the oppressiveness of social convention and the way it makes it possible for dissimilar people to survive and work together? Ok, let's make her an assassin! You want to explore a person who's struggling to be both sensible and honorable who loves a woman who's neither of these things in a world where things are falling apart and all hope for humanity lies in people being sensible and honorable? Show him the terrible reality of the situation and then bring him back into a conversation with his lover through a miraculous rescue! These aren't bad storytelling they're just recognition of the fact that the story isn't a flow of events it's a clash of ideas and emotions. They put forward the things matter and subsume the things that don't matter with convenient devices that are, as it happens, fun to watch. A critic's niggling "but he couldn't do that" is beside the point. And especially if the critic is just wrong. The people who gripe about Arya and Brienne are just ignorant of the mechanics of swordplay and are, besides, misunderstanding the scene. Anyone who's ever learned to fence has seen an adult coach sparring with students and, if the coach is a good one, seen students do well. Anyone who's been in a river has felt himself be carried along with it and has possibly been surprised by how fast an apparently placid river can carry one.
  8. Wait, what? Randall Tarly was an incredibly honorable man? Randall Tarly was, in the show and the books, a man who said he'd butcher his own son and tell the world it was a hunting accident unless said son took the black. Randall Tarly was not honorable he was a profoundly stupid person (but effective military commander) who couldn't see past his own instinctual bigotry and so hated anything that remotely smacked of learning, what he saw as weakness, or anything foreign. Randall Tarly preferring to die rather than band together with foreigners is one of the most convincing things that's happened on the show. I've beaten this to death elsewhere but I also thought Arya sparring (and she was *sparring* not fighting) Brienne was also perfectly credible). As for sneaking up on a fleet -- water is just weird. Water in fog is frighteningly confusing. Everything is stealthy except to the extent it's loud and even then it can surprise you. Jamie's escape maybe stretched credibility but on the other hand rivers aren't swimming pools, they move themselves and move everything in them sometimes deceptively quickly and battles are confusing places and in the end so what if it was silly? The important thing in the story is not, in my opinion, that plots be unsupported by gods from machines or off screen developments, or convenient elision or slewing of time but that the characters be folks I care about (either care for and want to see prosper or hate and want to see fall) and that the situations they find themselves in be meaningful -- that they help make some sense of our at least draw attention to interesting problems in the human condition. Rethinking my previous answer, maybe at this point the least credible thing in the show is Littlefinger. He seems often to be scheming for scheming's sake. He's created chaos but it hasn't got him up the ladder any -- he's pretty much made at most lateral moves since the beginning of the show. He's made the possibility of getting Sansa in bed progressively less likely and it's really hard to make any sense of his current bits of skullduggery. My vote for most ridiculous thing in Westeros is Littlefinger.
  9. Eh, maybe there's a fast current. Didn't see eddies at the river's edge or anything around the rock but whatever. Going out past the wall on a mission to capture a wight without bringing horses though seems kind of silly.
  10. Bron's "No I do not" in response to Jamie's "You mean we're fucked" has its merits. Tyrion's "What's it say" in response to Varys's "It's a sealed scroll for the king in the north" was funny. Tormund's "The big woman?" and Jon's "We're all breathing" are also both good. Probably like the last best as it's not a wisecrack but a brutally accurate summary of the world.
  11. What does "without repercussion" mean then?
  12. Both Jon love and Sansa hate. Arya was the annoying little sister, Sansa was the older sister who wanted everything Arya despised. They were jerks to each other probably their whole lives. And Sansa took Joffrey's side in the whole Micah imbroglio. Meanwhile Arya loved Jon best of all the Stark siblings. No question but that Arya is still Arya and not No One. Perhaps things are being set up for a confrontation in which Arya is claiming something (about a Littlefinger plot one assumes) but Sansa doesn't take it seriously because Arya's still the hotheaded kid who always used to annoy Sansa so.
  13. I wonder whether it will matter. What's the endgame here? By the end there will be some significant upheavals. Will the threat to the North still exist? If it does will the Night's Watch continue in its current form? Jon, more than anyone, knows that when the need came the Night's Watch was not adequate to meet the threat they faced so will they be rethought?
  14. One of the main things the Stannis storyline does is show that precious few people in Westeros really care who the rightful heir is. Jamie supported neither Stannis nor Renly though he knew with certainty that each had a better claim to the throne than Joffrey. And Jamie remained on the Kingsguard under Robert and so had obligations to Robert and his heirs. Stannis himself didn't have the support Renly did because people just didn't care that he had the better claim of the two. Both the show and the books have been pushing home the point that a King can't expect to maintain his throne simply on the basis of a claim of right. The only person who might be expected to care a lot is Daenerys as it could, to some extent, undermine her belief that the throne is hers as of right.
  15. And that's meant to pass for wit?