lojzelote

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About lojzelote

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    I am but a young girl who knows nothing

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  1. Personally, I´m not sure to what extent skichanging has to do with "special bloodlines". It may be that some peoples are more prone to produce skinchangers than others, but it may be something that is natural to all the humanoid species on Planetos, but to homo sapiens to a much lesser degree than to the Children of the Forest. Bloodraven, for one, does not specify that is has anything to do with the Starks or the Blackwoods or or the First Men in general. He includes in his statistcs all humans, it seems: Another good source is Varamyr, and he informs us that in spite of impregnating several women, he has yet not been able to sire a single skinchanger child, albeit he´s a very strong and skilled skinchanger himself and the children in question seem to have inherired his other traits: It seems strange, because the skinchangers we know have connection to the First Men to a stronger or lesser degree, but it is also truth that pretty much everybody in Westeros is descended from the First Men in some fashion, so it may not be the important criterion, and it´s not like if there is a great many skinchangers between the wildlings. There are a lot of them in comparison to other peoples, but I think that the 1:1000 ratio holds up comfortably. It may be that they seem exceptional only because they have been able to built a sort of a community. Anyway, neither Ned or Catelyn show any suspicious closeness to animals in their POV, and all of their five children are skinchangers (and one is a greenseer), and so is Jon. Lyanna was suppposed to be "half a horse" in regards to her being a good rider, but I think it is merely another clue for her as the knight of the Laughing Tree rather than for skinchanging running in the family. Especially as it is added in the same breath that Domeric Bolton was an even better rider than her. Crackpot time: mentally time-travelling greenseer Bran is the only original skinchanger in his family, but he travelled through time and via magical shenanigans stole the inborn magic of Varamyr´s children and gave it to his siblings. As for the Dustins and co, I think there is a chance that certain kinds of magic can be learned or mastered in certain circumstances, although the performing person is not otherwise in possession of magical gifts. People like the pyromancers, Thoros, Qyburn, maegis... were they born with a talent for magic or were they taught it? It is one of the reasons why I am enthusiatic about Melisandre´s POV, because she may actually shed some light on how red temples select their priests and priestesses. If just any child will do or if they have to search for the few that had been born with magical talents ala the Force-sensitive from the Star Wars universe. Its seems clear that something of that kind is going on with skinchanging, but is it true of all the magic? Getting access to lore may enough to become a maegi or a pyromancer and it may be even enough for whatever stuff the Hightowers or the Barrow Kings practise(d). Alternatively, it may some kind of combination: anyone can lears bits of magic, but only those with a strong magical potential can become truly powerful through it. Should we put trust into the ancient accounts in TWoIaF, that could explain how the ancient Starks managed to beat the Barrow Kings despite of all those curses etc: there was a magically weak(er) heir that was not able to preserve the curse or some piece of the important knowledge was not passed down due to an early death in the family or something of that kind. It may also happen that as the magic grows ever stronger, more and more people will discover their latent magical gifts such as skinchanging or clairvoyance that they had been able to supress or not to notice at all until now.
  2. @Lord Varys That does sound like a proto-she-Bran! Well, his hair are platinum to the point of looking white, he's extremely pale ("the pale king"), and he's associated with the silver color. Yeah, it's a rather vampire-like otherwordliness, but the Targaryens seem to be described in a similar manner: In Fevre Dream there are many characters that seem like early concepts of some ASoIaF characters: the main villain is basically a Roose/Euron mashup, his human servant is similar to Ramsay, and there's another vampire lady that gives a bit Lady Dustin-like vibe. Well, she is very scared of what is to come. But, based on her occasional recollections, it's not like if her entire previous life she were a total doormat. We know she returned Viserys' insults sometimes. Which does not mean she was going to be a great leader, but if she got a taste of power and it fed her rebellious streak... I don't think it's impossible. Moreover, it is not like there is not a number of women in history that rose quite high, although it seemed rather unlikely at first. Think Hurrem Sultan that had been as a young girl kidnapped from her homeland and was sold as a concubine into the sultan's harem. We can only speculate about her life "before" or how much she really enjoyed her encounters with Suleyman, but she survived and got on the top. I think GRRM was going for this kind of story. He says that the prince, Mance's son, deserves better than "a whore's milk", and wants a new wetnurse to be found for him that would replace Gilly.
  3. @Lord Varys I've got to read to the one about proto-Dany, then! Is she also that petite? The way the maester in TWoIaF describes Queen Naerys (Dany's alleged look-alike), she comes across as rather inhuman-looking, If his description is not hyperbolic, that is. Anyway, GRRM keeps reusing physical descriptions. For example, Joshua York from Fevre Dream has a very Targaryen flair to him, except for his eyes, while girlfriend has dark hair and purple eyes ala Ashara Dayne (that's the only thing I remember about her aside of her high-risk pregnancy... it says it all about how interesting character she was). I always took it for mobilization of psychical powers. Anyway, I think that Viserys wasn't "the one" for the same reason that Aerys II wasn't Jaehaerys the Conciliator. They would simply have to be a different person altogether. Since you've brought up The Skin Trade, there is a point made the last male heir of the pureblood werewolf lineage is in fact unable to transform, for reasons unknown.* I think something similar might have been going on with Viserys. *(I remember reading about the contents of some interview, in which GRRM allegedly said that one of his original ideas for the Targaryens had been that they were able to transform into dragons, but lost the ability during the second half of their reign - the problem is I've never found the SSM, so I'm not sure if it was not a hoax, but based on The Skin Trade, it sounds like something he might have considered.) I'd prefer if he just skipped descriptions of snot, ass-wiping, menstruation, sweaty armpits etc. altogether if it's not relevant to the plot. I like to eat while I read. It can be. But not always and not with the same intensity. And from what I've come to understand, menarche should be lighter than later periods. What Sansa describes seems like a truly heavy flow accompanied by strong stabby pain. If she were a real girl, I'd be afraid she's going to be anemic. Doesn't Asha say that he was uncomfortable and stiff around Lady Glover as well? From what we've seen of Stannis, it takes all of 5 minutes of knowing him to discover that he's a raging misogynist. He calls his wife "woman" to her face, he writes off Gilly as a whore immediately, he resolutely refuses to deal with Asha on the basis of her sex, and for all the fandom talk of his love for his daughter, he was very quick to dismiss her claim to throne during his negotiations with Renly in ACoK. The only woman he respects is Melisandre. Fair enough. Well, it does not justify it, and I don't see why anyone would think so. But, the same is true the other way around; her suffering does not excuse her actions. I guess that instead of "nuance" I should have said "redeeming qualities". It's kind of hard to distinguish dark grey, dark blue, and black hues. Ultimately it just comes down to that I'm not able to feel any empathy for her, which I probably should, since she's a major character.
  4. Oh c'mon. I mean, have you ever heard of someone irl tearing apart their face that way? It's reaction in the vein of Oedipus blinding himself. It belongs to drama, not real life. But, my larger point is that GRRM has created a number of scenarios, in which women are felled by the loss of their children and don't get back on their feet. I'd like to see an example of a woman that survived and either started a new family or found some other purpose in life.
  5. @The Sleeper Well, I've heard of and/or personally known several women (and men) that have lost all their family including children. They had a very hard time indeed - usually they had an emotional breakdown, some had problems with alcohol etc., but in nearly all cases they recovered and they certainly had not torn their own face with their nails or try to murder people due to their insecurities. So, I do find GRRM's portrayal skewed in one direction. There are parallels between Cersei and Theon, but there are also notable differences. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can very well imagine that if Theon had been at birth placed into a loving, supportive family without a threat to his life, toxic societal expectations etc., he would have grown to be a mostly decent guy. I cannot imagine the same happening with Cersei. Her problem is likely more than nurture. I mean, Tywin might have been a terrible parent, but it's not like if he were micromanaging Cersei's life when she was a little girl. It would have been nurses, septas, and other servants that would have been rearing her, just like any other noble child in Westeros. Still, she's one of those rare children that become murderers before they reach puberty. That is not to say it is unrealistic, I simply wish that GRRM did not play the Evil Queen plot so straight. I prefer characters with more nuance. GRRM tries to gather sympathy for her by also making her a victim of misogyny but since she would have been an evil witch anyway, I'm just not feeling it. I agree that there are reasons as to why Selyse would have turned the way she did. But, so far the narrative has not cared to bring any attention to them, instead she is treated like a joke. The narrative extends sympathy to Stannis and Shireen (and even the likes of Cersei), but there is lack of it for Selyse, imho. She is the walking joke, Stannis' ugly, unpleasant wife that has only given him a single girl and whose existence is just another proof how much Stannis' life sucks and additional reason why people don't like him. That said, there is chance that in the future she might become Klytaimnestra to Stannis' Agamemnon. @zandru I think that Sansa's story so far has been a sufficient proof that a 11-year-old Sansa hadn't the foggiest about realities of life. She imagines life to be some kind of fairy tale fantasy. Her crushes on Joffrey and Loras are basically the same as irl preteen girls fangirling over Justin Bieber, not evidence of maturity. Anyway, I am willing to overlook this feature of GRRM's work, since I know that he had originally intended for these characters to be older. In general I just pretend that they are all older, just like I pretend that the Wall is not too big.
  6. It is one thing to have responsibilities like helping to run a household and welcome important guests, and quite another being emotionally and physically prepared for reproduction and parenthood and all the emotional mess of romantic and sexual relationships. And by that I don't mean kissing and experimenting with another teenager, but whatever is going to go down between her and Baelish, the guy that is 20 years her senior and who can't decide if he views her more as his daughter or his love interest. That would be likely disstressing for a woman of any age, but in her case it may also damage her half-formed view of intimate relationships. I have not noticed any great maturity in Sansa in that regard. For that matter, I was fourteen when I had my first period and it took the better part of the next two years for my menstrual cycle to stabilize. Not to mention that I haven't finished forming a proper womanly figure (breasts, hips, and all) until I was sixteen or seventeen. I don't think that I have been "infantilized" by my parents and society just because they believed I was not prepared for sex (and its consequences) at thirteen. Maybe I was a bit of a late bloomer for my time, but from what I've heard from my grandmothers and read about the topic in magazines, in earlier time periods there would have been nothing at all unusual about it. There is still a discussion over whether these changes might be due to genetic changes, more hormones in our food, or other environmental factors. Anyhow, think León, and consider what Mathilda ( played by a 12 year old Natalie Portman) looked like and how uncomfortable was the scene where she made her move on Leon. That's not what I imagine a young woman looking like, no matter how much responsible and street-smart she might be. She is clearly not yet meant to parttake in sex and reproduction - her secondary sexual characteristics are still visibly underdeveloped. But, even if she already developed a shapely figure (like Sansa), would have meant it that she knows what she is getting into? Should a 12-year-old without womanly curves be treated by society differently than a 12-year-old with womanly curves? I do not like that idea. Also, the US do not constitute the whole world. In my country, the age of majority is 18, the age of consent 15. Which does not mean that someone is not as mature at 14 than another is at 16, but 15/16 years are good average ages, imho. A couple of years ago there was a political debate if the age of consent should not be lowered to 14, but the public was against it.
  7. @Lord Varys It depends, I guess. From what I've read of his work, his usual formula in regards to romantic relationships is that the male protagonists pines after a woman who either has never wanted him or who had left for another man or purpose. Which is believable and all, but it is not what I imagine under "romance". There are some exceptions to that - most notably Jaan/Gwen in Dying of the Light or Joshua/what's-her-name in Fevre Dream, but as protagonists of these books are Dirk and Abner March, respectively, and we don't get to see inner workings of these couples, I'm not sure how much they really count. For that matter, his female characters in his earlier novels are rather... underwhelming in comparison to his ASoIaF creations. So, since the OP asked about "progress"... there certainly has been progress as far as GRRM's own writing is concerned. (Female characters in his short stories tend to be better, for some reason.) Well, we do have a different understanding of what occurred here. I am not sure if Dany would or would not have discovered her 'inner dragon' if she hadn't got the dragon eggs, as I am not sure how realistically girls/women in her position would or could have reacted her to these circumstances. I am no psychologist (and neither is GRRM, as far I know). However, I don't believe that Viserys would have ever been capable of the same during any circumstances. For one, I doubt the fossilized dragons inside the eggs gave a fig about to whom Illyrio had gifted them. If Viserys had in himself whaver 'spark' that Dany apparently had, then he should have also received the dragon dreams and courage etc. due to physical proximity of the unhatched dragons (if we believe they were the stimulus behind Dany's awakening). This is actually something that may be (sadly) realistic. I remember from the psychology lectures I had taken a couple of years ago that the nature/nurture ratio is currently estimated to be about 70%/30%, which is pretty bleak if one thinks about it. We are not born equal as blank slates, not in this regard. IIRC it is left somewhat unclear if it was Irri being a female or her not enjoying it that made Dany lose interest. Either way, GRRM could have left it out. To be honest, I don't really care to read about any of that. It would be more realistic, but then he might as well write the thoughts of his characters as stream of consciousness, because that also would be more realistic. But, it would not be very pleasant to read (at least for me). Anyhow, as for accuracy, someone upthread praised his depiction of Sansa's first period... well, that shows how individual these intimate experiences are, because whenever I read that scene, in which Sansa during the very first day of her very first period feels pain and bleeds like a butchered pig, I cannot help but laugh. Compared to my own personal experience, it was about as accurate as a murder scene from a 70s vampire horror-comedy B-movie where the main protagonists bath in lots of orange ketchup blood. But, that's me. Maybe out there are women whose personal experience had truly been as painful and bloody. Either way, I don't blame GRRM for that, his being a man and all. (It's not like he writes about night emissions of teenage boys either.) Neither do I, but what are the chances he won't write about it? He had written the entire AGoT storyline with Dany as a 13/14 years old girl (that - on the top of it - happens to be too small and young-looking for her age), and Sansa and Arya should now be about 5 years older than they really are, thanks to the obliteration of the 5-year-long time jump. Sansa thought in AFfC: "Alayne, who was almost as long of leg at three-and-ten as her aunt had been at twenty." I don't think we are supposed to picture her as a little girl anymore (though she is). Personally, I find the Dany/Drogo first time scene more disturbing than the Mercy scene. I mean, the Mercy scene is very clear about its, eh, fucked up content - the violence, the language, everything. OTOH the Dany/Drogo scene shows what is (for me) disgusting content with lots of sugar and sprinkles on the top to make it more 'pleasant' or make it 'okay' for the audience or whatever.
  8. Overall I think he did a good job. My favorite female character - no big surprise here - is Dany. While her AGoT romance story is somewhat hookey, I don't think it is any more unbelievable than the thing we have later got with Jon and Ygritte. I don't think it is a problem with her as a character as much as that GRRM simply isn't very good at writing convincing romance. OTOH there is a chance that there might be more to it yet - Qaithe makes it quiete clear that before Dany makes it Westeros she will have to break her "If I look back, I am lost" principle, and reflect on her past life. Dany had never quite psychologically dealt with the fact that Drogo had been a slaver and that if she met him post-ACoK, she would consider him her enemy, a fundamental part of the local slave trade. In fact in her early AGoT chapters, she thinks of herself being sold to him like a slave. In this regard, Quaithe's "To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow" - together with her reunification with the Dothraki at the end of ADwD - promises that this aspect of her past may be dealt with in future. I was far more impressed with how GRRM portrayed her relationship with Daario. She was not demonized for her sexual attraction to him and his character has served well as a good projection of her ID. The weakest aspect of the portrayal of her sexual life was certainly her bicurious episode with Irri. Unless she gets a female paramour later, I don't see the purpose of that. Personally, I haven't got the impression that she has been too hypersexualized by the text (aside of her sexual shenanigans with Drogo). It is true that she describes what is happening with her body often, but honestly, I am somaticly oversentive and self-aware of my body, and I tend to have similar thoughts throughout the day. Of course, other women may feel it differently. Going by TWoW spoiler chapters, we are likely to get a couple more of sexually active preteens in the future, and I must say I wonder how GRRM tackles the issue with them. All that said, I find other aspects of Dany's character far more interesting and important than her sexuality. Her draconic sense of justice - good or bad - is certainly something I can relate to. The complex feelings she has for her abusive brother. Her status as an eternal globetropper that seaches for a safe place to belong. Her internal conflict of Mhysa vs Mother of Dragons - her painstaking searching for finding the right ratio and getting them in harmony, so she could become an effective leader and ruler is fascinating, imho. She is such a rich character. I could talk about her for hours. My #2 on the list would be Arya. It may be surprising, but the tomboy part of her character is the one I care least about. It is interesting in the relation to how she doesn't fit into the Westerosi society and how that informs her character (i.e., her low self-esteem and insecurity), but her passion for her hobbies itself leaves me cold am I have never exactly been a tomboy myself. However, she is not portrayed as "not like the other girls" for it, nor is she the type to blabber "I have only male friends" BS, which scores her character plenty of brownie points with me. Out of all the Stark children, she's also the one Stark child that thinks of her mother a lot, in spite of their differences. After Jon, Catelyn appears to be the person she longs to reunite with the most. Much like Daenerys, Arya is a character characterized with deep empathy for others as well as a firey temper, but due to diferent circumstances, she's been forced not to act freely at them. The third one would be... Catelyn, I guess? I love in Catelyn many things that I love in her daughter Arya. I feel that these two are different on the outside, but very similar on the inside. Catelyn's as much impulsive and limited by Westerosi patriarchy as Arya, but she has learned to vent her tendencies though available means and adopted the Westerosi "patriarchy brain" to act in accordance to... which is both fascinating and frustrating. Catelyn is a character that I have always adored as a fictional creaation, but had a hard time liking as a "person". On the whole, I think she is a very believable portrayal of a quasi-medieval noblewoman, with the good and the bad things that come with it. She's also like the only POV female character that has a wholly positive relationship with another female character that becomes a POV - i.e., Brienne. That is, at least, until the Lady Stoneheart mess. Her behavior towards Brienne warmed me a lot towards her, because she seems to be the only person outside her family that she protects. Unfortunately, Catelyn is also a prominent sufferer of the "Mother who Loses her Children Loses her Mind" syndrome that I really could do without. It happend to Catelyn in the moments before her death, it happened to her sister Lysa, it happened to Alannys Harlaw Greyjoy, it happened to Rhaenyra Targaryen, it is happeining to Cersei. Enough of that bullcrap please. Otherwise, I have a great deal liking for Brienne of Tarth and Arianne Martell. Brienne is a believable subversion of the tomboy trope, and in Arianne I like many things that I like in Dany - she gets to act on her ambition and sexual desire without getting a villainous treatment, but she lacks Dany's empathy and drive to attempt to change the world for the better. I do hope she will survive becoming Dany's antagonist. I just wish GRRM left out the description of her nipples... or the whole chapter from Arys Oakheart's POV. Melisandre is a character that I am very interested. So far she has been presented mostly as a mysterious boogie woman that knows how to do magic and serves as a mouthpiece for her religion. Only with her ADwD POV chapter, I have gotten the impression that there is a human being hidden deep beneath the priestess of Rh'llor. Asha is a character that I don't feel strongly about either way. She is a fine gal and I don't dislike her, but she's the tomboy that GRRM played straight. That does not make her a bad character, just not a one that I can personally relate to much. Cersei... let's just say that I used to empathize with Cersei before we got her POV. The sad thing is that she has said a lot of truthful things about Westerosi gender roles, double standard, and misogyny... but I feel that her utter evilness and stupidity in all other matters undermines the message. GRRM would have done better if Cersei had become sociopathic and hateful due to her treatment by Tywin and Robert instead of having been born a narcistic psychopath or whatever little girls that throw their friends down the well tend to be diagnosed with. She's the evil, ambitious queen that misuses her sexuality to get she wants played straight in all her glory, and she's delusional on the top of it. Bah, at least she has a good sense of humor, I guess. That said, the more people try to make her the sinful Eve to Jaime's innocent, mislead Adam, the more positively I am going to regard her (at least she owns being a villain and tries to think, as opposed to her twin). The female characters that I think GRRM executed badly are the Sand Snakes, imho. I do not mind much, because they are such minor characters, but nontheless they are quite subpar as far as GRMM's usual standard goes. They are tropey and mostly one-dimensional. But, there is still hope for them, since the future books should focus on the Dornish plot. Another fail (though not to the same extent) is Selyse, imho. It's not the idea that a nasty woman tried to self-realize through religion and her husband's career and social standing - that is quite believable. The part I abhorr is how the narrative supports making fun of her appearance - it is not that the other characters are being petty and insensitive, but that she does not seem to be extended any sympathy by the narrative for it (as opposed to Brienne). Much like with Cersei, I feel GRRM lost an opportunity here. Sansa is a difficult character for me. It's the character I have tried to like, but have not succeeded in doing so. Which is strange, because among all the female characters in ASoIaF she is perhaps the one most like me (with some Brienne and Dany thrown in). She's a character we're not meant to like when the story starts, and it seems it stuck with me. While all of the other POV child characters are too clever and mature for their age, AGoT Sansa goes the other direction, although it gets better later on. She has moments when she shows some spirit and I genuinely like her, but most of time I'm not sure what she's really thinking and feeling (the case in point being her treatment of Sweetrobin), and I just don't quite trust her. It also does not help that some of her qualities that I possess are the negative ones that I try to curb in myself (for example, her screaming at Arya in AGoT... not that I have ever told a loved one that they are ugly and should die, but you get the idea).
  9. I've always thought that they mean by that bastards mature faster psychically. Not that it makes it any less BS. If bastards mature faster, then it's because society treats them with disdain since birth, not because they are inherently quicker to learn. Pretty disgusting, particularly coming from an alleged champion of reason. Apparently this fourteen-year-old should bear the same burden as adults, because bastards grow faster. Let's not even get into the fact the fruit of the hard sacrifice of these adults includes becoming the in-laws of the royals, leading a comfortable life, and great prestige. What the fourteen-year-old will get out of his hard sacrifice is "life of honor" in the prison colony in Siberia without a possibility leave. The adults made their decision themselves after a careful consideration, the fourteen-year-old brought his intention up when he was drunk and afterwards his father made the decision of how spends the rest of his life for him based on third-hand information he had had no idea of until then. I'd puke. Westeros is a truly disgusting society.
  10. Do you also believe that Jon adopted from Ygritte the belief that kidnapping and raping a woman is okay and that it's the fault of the woman in question because she's not capable of defending herself? Or that the entire feudal system of the Seven Kingdoms is some "kneeler" nonsense and only pure strength matters? Stealing the fruit of the hard work of the defenceless is okay for him now too, I assume? And he agrees with Val that "unclean" little girls like Shireen ought to be killed? That's all the sort of stuff wildlings believe and Jon was exposed to it. If he's supposed to believe any of that any in future, he certainly does not believe it now. Anyway, your argument that the mariagge customs of the Westerosi are driven by some rational breeding programme lacks basis in text. We never see anyone reject a marriage between cousins on the pretext that they are already related. Anyway, GRRM has been pretty clear about what the Westerosi believe: Say what you will of Ramsay, he's not to blame for his own conception. It's his own choices that make him evil, not the inherent quality of his blood. And then we get stuff like this: Here we see what the Westerosi believe that "harms" blood. Bastards' blood supposedly aquires a malevolent quality due to the unauthorized manner of their conception. Marrying commoners erodes the quality of the "superior" noble blood, and therefore it is undesirable. Am I truly supposezed to believe that these people take some kind of rational, empirically supported stance to inbreeding? If they say things like this then it is driven by superstition, not by empirical evidence. It reminds me eerily of the following: If they really cared about empirical evidence, they would have been aware that bastards aren't any worse than other children, marrying commoners does not corrode worthiness of one's bloodline, and with it their entire ideology based on the superioty of royalty and nobility would have gone to hell ages ago. They would have also noticed that children born with birth defects are not evil and not a proof of their parents' bad nature. It is very hard for me to believe that the Westerosi incest taboo is based on science. They talk of quality of blood all the time, but it doesn't mean they understand alleles or homozygozyty or any of that stuff. For them having sexual relations with a parent or a sibling is a monstrous sin, because gods said so. OTOH gods said nothing of marrying one's cousins, therefore it's okay. Since they don't actually understand the mechanism of why marriage between close relatives may lead to bad ends, they can't understand why successive cousin marriage may be harmful either. Overall, GRRM has spoonfed us about what the Westerosi consider bad in all other cases, so I don't see why he would be hesitant to make it crystal clear to us that they consider cousin marriages or a succession of them harmful taboo as well.
  11. @Lord Varys Well, I've read some speculation that D&E The Village Hero could be set in Raventree Hall with Egg meeting Betha for the first time. If it's true it's possible that the deal between the Starks and the Blackwoods have already been made and that it concerned Melantha and Donnor. Maybe the Starks are hoping that if one of them marries Bloodraven's kinswoman, they will get a bit of nepotism from him and he finally marshalls the royal army to get them rid off of the Ironborn. The chance is that D&E may join the bridal party going north. Anyhow, the boring option is that Donnor tried to avenge his dying father and wound up dead himself, and Melantha and Willam inherited each other after Donnor and Lyanne Glover died. The idea of Donnor being incapable of succeeding his father is interesting tho. Anyhoo, seems like I've steered away from the topic. But discussing all these possibilities of what might have gone down, it amuses me that people are so eager to jump to the conclusion that it is all about demonstrating that avuncular marriage is an evil practice lol.
  12. @Lord Varys Well, to me Serena, Aregelle, Aranna, and their hypothetical children being dispossessed in favour of the male line offers enough turmoil. Most of all, it seems hard to imagine that an uncle would have been able to ascend to the lordship over his male line nephews, children or not. These children would have grown up in a couple of years into young men that would not have been pleased with losing their inheritance. What is a chance that the Northern houses that are feeling overlooked or slighted by the current Lord Stark or that are simply ambitious, offer their daughters in marriage to these Stark boys and support them in getting back their birthright? It would be like if Egg ascended to the throne without the Great Council, ignoring his nephew Maegor's claim. There might have been some kind of a royal decree, but the question is how that would have been supported. IMHO just the boys being young does not cut it. You can appoint a regent in such a case, in fact the Crown might have seen fit to send their own official to become some kind of Lord Protector (which the Northmen would not have welcomed, I imagine). Another issue is who was sitting on the Iron Throne at that time. I must say that exact years are foggy for me. We know that Cregan was a teen at the outbreak of the Dance and he came to be called "the Old Man in the North", so IMHO he must have died when he was at least seventy, with his oldest surviving son Jonnel succeeding him as the Lord of Winterfell. The problem is that around this time kings on the Iron Throne are changing quite rapidly with both Daeron and Baelor each going wild over his own area of interest, their uncle Viserys having his hands full of trying to manage the situation, followed by Aegon the Unworthy that simply couldn't give a fig. Somehow, I think that the Northern crisis (if there was any) might have gone relatively unnoticed as long as there wasn't an open civil war. If after the dust settled the Northmen announced to Aegon that they want Brandon Stark and his sons instead of Serena Stark and her daughters, Aegon's answer might have been in the vein of, "Well, whatever suits you, chaps." If only Serena's girls survived, then I think it is all the more likely that Viserys and Aegon would have ruled in favour of Brandon and his line as they themselves ascended to the throne discarding their three nieces/female cousins in the process. Regarding Serena's and Sansa's marriages, we don't know for sure iether way, but to me makes vastly more sense their having been married to their uncles first. Serena marrying Jon Umber first is Rhaenys, the Queen who Never Was, marrying Corlys Velaryon instead of Viserys all over again. I'd like to think that the Starks have learnt from the mistakes of the Targaryens in the previous generations, and Cregan and Rickon had not married off Serena to some guy before securing succession by getting a male heir (and spare) first. Other than that, a very hypothetical point: Serena was the daughter of Jeyne Manderly, a member of probably the wealthiest, most sophisticated family in the North. For her to be married off to an Umber from the cold shadow of the Wall seems quite like an unplesant cultural change. Imagine Sansa getting married to the Smalljon. Even Arya might not have been all that happy among Umbers, if the rumours of their secretly raping maidens on their wedding night are based on truth. The Umbers and the clans seem to be merely a step above the wildlings culture-wise. Of course, it is also possible that Serena had been much closer to her grandmother Arra Norrey than her mother Jeyne Manderly, and she was thrilled to marry Jon Umber, and after all the trouble she went through later, it became her heart's desire for her firstborn daughter to also marry an Umber and leave governance of the North to men. It is possible, but I find the other option more believable. It is also worthwhile to note that Brandon Stark's firstborn son was married to Myriame Manderly, which to me suggest that he may have tried to bring the Manderlys to his side from Serena's and her daughters'. Edit: I have just realized I forgot all about Barth Blacksword, who would have preceded Brandon. That said, it seems sort of unlikely he was Lord for long? He didn't even get around to marrying, although it may be that he didn't care for a marriage and was content to leave WF to his brother and nephews.
  13. The option that offers itself is that the boys predeceased their father. We know that the Stark family tree includes also children that died very young - such as Rickard's half-brother Brandon. After that it was down to girls, which the Northern houses might not have liked. The Umbers are prominent due to their boisterousness and skill at arms, but I don't get the impression they are powerful in the way the Karstarks or Manderly's are. My theory in regards to the double Umber marriage is that the Umbers in question were loyal followers of the new Lord Stark (much like the Greatjon adored Robb), and these marriages were a way of rewarding them as well as getting safely rid off of the dangerous female claimants. As to the Cerwyns, they seem to be the Northern version of the Stokeworths to me - the Starks have socialized with them due to the closeness of their lands, but they are not really all that important.
  14. I doubt that the Westerosi see much of a difference - they don't really make any as far as brother/sister or half-brother/half-sister marriage is concerned. And what of it being a political consolidation? 90 % of marriages between nobles is based on politicking. I doubt that a half-brother and half-sister would be allowed to marry for "political consolidation" in any case. If such unions were othewise considered abominable and unacceptable, these marriages wouldn't have taken place, because they wouldn't have helped the involved to keep them in power to begin with. Anyway, you keep repeating that cousin marriage isn't considered incestous while avuncular *is*. Where is it said exactly? It was recounted in this very thread what kind of union Westerosi define as incest; uncle/niece and nephew/aunt is not there. Unsurprisingly, they are less common, because of the usual generational age difference and because the closer the kinship the lesser the need for further maintaining the alliance. Much like in the real life history, where cousin marriage was also far more common - which doesn't negate that the uncle/niece thing was a feasible choice to make on the part of the ruling house as long as they got a dispensation by the Pope. For that matter, both "avuncular" and "avunculate" is possible.
  15. Oh, I understand very well. The point is, Jon may find out as well. Plus, there is no proof that avuncular marriage is included in their incest taboo. In fact, we have evidence that is not true. Please show me a passage where the Northmen condemn an avuncular marriage in particular. Then I will believe that those historical Starks were really weird and don't count.