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About Morte

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    Sigil, the Hive Ward
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    (in no particular order:) books, comics, CRPGs, history, archaeology ... have I mentioned books?

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  1. Some of my thoughts on the subject of weapons against the Others: So what do we have? - Obsidian works; this will most likely be the material used for weapons for the masses, especially bowmen. And Obsidian does also work quite well for spearheads (+ range is good against the Others). - Dragonsteel, which could or could not mean Valyrian Steel should work against them; I do think we have a synonym here, even if its not confirmed yet - Some of the Valyrian weapons are missing. I always wondered, if the .... with blood inside the Targ family does have something to do with secret passages inside of Dragonstone only available for people with enough Targ-blood, so maybe Dany will find a hidden cache (containing the missing Valyrian weapons and armor of House Targeryen) on Dragonstone? - And there is a smith who can reforge Valyrian Steel, who knows the spells, but did not manage to make new Valyrian Steel... What if the problem with making them lies in the "old" name - "Dragon Steel" - and you would indeed need Dragon fire to forge a Valyrian weapon? Maybe we will see Tobho Mott forging new Valyrian weapons with the help of Dragon fire?
  2. Powdered hands feel smoother to the touch of others and look brighter and more harmonious, so yes: it's make up for hands and something very feminine to do. That's why nobody finds it strange, as they expect such a behaviour from an eunuch, even more as they know that Varys was born as a commoner and sold as a slave, so maybe they even expect his hands to be more harsh then a eunuch would like. For Varys himself this makes it even more simple to avoid being recognized when in one of his less noble disguises. That's all: He plays the feminine eunuch, and plays his role well. No big mystery here.
  3. Excuse me, but: Did you actually read more then a part of the first book? Because, as the article on fascist aesthetics you linked does recognize, this (from your article about fascistic aesthetics - which is, btw, very good, and in fact positive about ASoIaF, just concerned) is indeed what got Martin to start the books, that's why his "heroes" have flaws and make bitter mistakes. And while the author of this article does fear for Martin to loose his goal and fall back into the standard fantasy tropes (and with them fascist aesthetics), it did not happen yet. Beside I don't think that we have to worry about Dany becoming that typical fantasy hero, not after ADwD. But, very important here: This article you linked dates before the release of ADwD, so the author did and could not include and rate the characters' struggle and failures in that book. (For this, see the comment section of this particular article, by the responses of the author we can be quite sure that he may has been pleased with the deconstruction of the young rulers in ADwD)
  4. Thanks for clarifying which of the wild dragons died and which disappeared, had confused Cannibal and Grey Ghost here. This may be true indeed, albeit I also tend to think that the poison-theory on the last hatchlings is not far fetched at all, maybe even will be revealed in the last books. And in this the maesters would most likely play a major part, too.
  5. 1. We know a little about vanishing dragons (Grey Ghost for example); Marwyn however does imply that the maesters did something to make the dragons go extinct - at this moment we do not know what this could have been. 2. Many theories here. The Targs did think that it needed dragons blood to tame a dragon (and that Nettles "drop" was enough); however: we don't know if this is true (I don't think so), it may well be that it is "only" necessary to form a bound with the dragon, as Nettle did by feeding Sheepstealer. (I also don't think that Vic's horn does bind one or more dragons to the horns owner, but that the horn will somehow drive the dragons to actively search a bounding partner-human. Just my theory here, as the Targs did not need a horn at all - but we will see how the horn does play out) 3. We don't know for sure, but it does sound as if the sacrifice needed for hatching dragons is a really big one, so most of the tries would still fail, albeit maybe doing something completely different. 4. It is stated in the books that the winters are getting longer and tougher since the last dragon died, so they indeed seem to have been a result/symptom/indication for the counterpart to (or truce with) the Others. Fire magic for sure diminished since the dragons extinction and is coming back/getting stronger since Dany hatched her dragons. I don't remember if this is also true for other human magic, or even the magic of the CotF, but other people might recall if this was stated somewhere? However I think (can't look it up at this moment) Quaithe did speak about magic in general awakening.
  6. Thanks a lot, great analysis, just want to add some details I found interesting while browsing the blogger's other reviews. On this, this and this: From the lecture of other reviews I seems to me that the blogger does have a problem with books in which the protagonists are not typical heroes with a deep impact on the world (see his problems with "The Culture", here he finds _the_ two books with something like a hero the best; his problems with the more complex and philosophical books of Mieville - or the problems the blogger has with what little of Continental European SciFi he had read: Jeschke, one book x) ), or books that don't have heroes at all. So yes, he does blame GRRM for exactly the things most people like the books for - that is: not being "like all the others". And some thoughts on this: Of course you are right, a lot of people describe ASOIAF as "gritty realism" because they are irritated about what GRRM is doing in his books, opposed to a "proper" fantasy book (which I would not even try to read at all): Martin is basically throwing history at fantasy tropes, deconstructing and reconstructing them in this process (and heavily using mythological pictures - just to de- and reconstruct them too). That's why main characters can die if they manoeuvre themselves into stupid situations. Because being Caesar/Brutus/Napoleon/Maria Stuart/... (insert random rl-"hero" aka important historical figurine of your liking here) does not make you win every battle, achieve everything you want and live happily ever after automatically*. Because the good guys not only don't exist, but also don't win by being nice. Because the abyss does look back into you and the way to hell is paved with good intentions... etc. pp. Just like: "How was Aragon's tax policy?" Why would someone how has never learned to rule become a good king automatically? Shouldn't he be more like Jon or Dany - learning to rule first? *Because, you know: Daß der Mensch glücklich werde, ist im Bauplan der Schöpfung nicht vorgesehen. - It is not intended within the blueprint of creation for human to be happy. (Sigmund Freud)
  7. Well, the sudden appearance of Leto II would surely solve all current problems of Planetos, making it possible to end the series even in one book!
  8. I agree with you here. I don't want to argue that Jaime was right to break his oath, as sure it would have been other and better ways to stop the king's plan and care for the rest of the royal family, preventing the massacre. True. He is arrogant and self-righteous, the last thing gets better since the beginning of his redemption arc and his contact with Brienne. While he still had his sword hand Jaime was the master of self delusion and will-full non-thinking, he had to loose his hand to even his Überich to reach him. True. But I do think that it would have been much easier to make the NW accept building defences, then to march on WF with Wildlings. Ok, no. I may be critical of Jon, but IMHO he has makings of a good ruler - _if_ he learns the right lessons from his mistakes. His intentions are good and he has some good, unorthdox ideas, but he needs to learn to think things through, to look at situations from several angles, to truly listen to his critics (even a stopped clock is right occasionally!) and to cut his losses when necessary. I very much think that Jon and Dany's storylines were intended as mirroring failure-states of leadership by promising, but immature rulers - too little compromise with local establishement versus too much. And while it is true that GRRM portrayed Jon's thought processes and internal justifications in more analytical detail and more compellingly (he tends to do it better with male characters than female ones, I have noticed), and that the setting that he is placed in and many people that he interacts with are more vividly depicted, not to mention very thoroughly established as characters from the earliest volumes of the saga, still his opponents have been quite strawmanish, so I can see how he looks more competent and sympathetic to some. But, IMHO, it was not the author's intention to depict Jon as infallible and as having reached the pinnacle of his potential as a leader, but to show his growing pains, flaws and the difficulty of command / rule in general. Agree. Criticising a character for the things we should see as mistakes/failures is not hate. Both Dany and Jon will learn from their mistakes in ADwD, hopefully already in TWoW (if it will ever be published ). [And yes, Dany's plot is heavily suffering from never-been-intended-to-be-written; Jon's not so much, as characters and setting are a lot more fleshed out, being introduced earlier and also plot-relevant until the very end of the series.]
  9. 1. I will not repeat all the point collected in the last ten or so postings, why the idea of marching against Winterfell is not for the greater good, but in fact a bad idea weakening and endangering the good cause. 2. Last time I looked Roose Bolton was still alive, and while this one may be a sociopath, he clearly is not a psycho. Beside: We readers tend to view the situation based on our knowledge - a knowledge Jon & Co. don't have, they have rumours and gossip, not knowing what and how much of it is true. 3. It's not a rescue mission for Jeyne Poole or any other girl, it's a rescue mission for "Arya". It's doubtable that Jon would have reacted that way would he know the girl in suffering is not Arya. Hell, I'm not even sure he would have reacted the same emotional way for Sansa. 4. As others have stated above, he does not need to hand over Selyse, Shireen or Val. In fact, handing over the guests of the NW would also be against the neutrality of the Watch. So building some defences to the south, sending scouting missions to get a picture of what is going on, and sending Crows (maybe with one or two Wildling) to the different lords of the North to tell the story of what is happening beyond the Wall and why the Wildling came south, would be the way to go. Yes, it is hard to not react if you see your family threatened, Maester Aemon told him so. Agreed. Just what I said: Breaking you oath and killing the king before he can kill all the people of KL: Good choice (with good intentions, but still bad side effects like the death of Elia and the children) - deal with the consequences! Breaking you oath, preparing to march on WF to rescue your sister: Bad choice (albeit with good, but particular intentions and bad side effects) - deal with the consequences! Yes. But in this situation a cool and rational decision would be necessary, because with this move Jon is - and would be, even without the mutiny - weakening the position of "good": a) winter b ) provisions c) Wildlings fighting Northerners and how it looks in the eyes of the people and lords of the North d) Wildlings outside of the Gift, maybe/most likely even "provisioning themselves out of the land" (they are not as disciplined as even the almost-non-disciplined feudal armies, how did Jon imaging to stop them from plundering? "Fetch me a block?" They are not a military organisation, they would simply leave.) So what could he have done? a) build defences, because the threat in the letter is there (check: most likely no complains from the Crows) b ) send scouts to get a picture of the situation (check: grinding teeth, but most likely no action against Jon from the Crows) c) send envoys to the lords of the North, telling the situation, warning them about the threat from beyond the Wall and in this way get more intel on the Bolton-Stark-situation and their views on it (check: most likely no complains from the Crows)
  10. Thanks for the great contribution and explanation here, @Lord Varys, @Maia, @Only 89 selfies today, @Wolf's Bane and all the others, for pointing out what events and good reasons lead to the Iden of Marsh. Almost nothing to add left, beside: As Maia pointed out, when you would have to be okay with every oath breaking in the game, which not only the reader, but clearly also the writer is not. Because "word are wind" is not so much a theme of the series, for being okay and the right thing to do, but for being the true in the sense that too much people are breaking their promises for their private benefits or the benefits of people close to them - without looking at the consequences. And every time this happens the overall situation is getting worse, more people - mostly the one innocent in regard of the whole struggle of the feudal "elite" - are dying and suffering. So no: Breaking oaths is not something Martin wants us to root for. And even if an oath is broken for the greater good, as it is in Jaime's case, there is a prize to pay: Shame and guild. Because Jaime feels guilty, deeply guilty for breaking his oath - not so much for killing the king (and even here, he knows that it wasn't right, knew it even then, else he wouldn't have had changed his armour), but for being so absorbed by this and his own ego, that he forgot his duty toward Rhaegar's family. And while Jaime broke his oath for the greater good in this moment, not thinking about his family and his own honour (not talking about his reasons, not even to his LC, who would have at least understood him), Jon's oath breaking is the exact opposite: Jon's is breaking his oath for his family and his own feelings. So please, leave Jaime out of this. And this theme of the series would better be described as "Everything you do has a prize attached to it, deal with it! Everybody around you has to, too".
  11. And here we have a problem in communication: Jon should have pointed out, that the NW has a problem, that an attack from the south is possible and surrendering their guest is as much breaking of neutrality as is marching on Winterfell. Had he slept over it and were he not acting emotionally and based on priorities he shouldn't have anymore, short: had he reacted as @Lyanna<3Rhaegar as suggested about Jeor: Maybe even explained that the conflict is very much likely to escalate, thus he is thinking about a scouting mission (because: wtf is going on down there anyway?), while building some defences. I'm sure we wouldn't have seen a mutiny, had he acted that way. Agreed. Marsh would have taken any lighter route available for him. At the very least because he is surrounded by Wildlings, so the mutiny is very much an act of despair and hopelessness. Sidenote: As I too am tired of zombies, I would like him to simply survive with very serious wounds, having to recuperate for a longer period. But, if I have to choose between zombification and death... Well, it would be refreshing if he would stay dead then. But he will most likely come back.
  12. This is a good one. Concerning the locking-up of "magical pets", it always bothered me, if Drogon even really did harm the girl, as we know from the stories about the wild dragons on Dragonstone, that they indeed did not bother humans who didn't bothered them first. And also in Meereen, after they are set free, Viserion and Rhaegon don't hunt humans, the only humans hurt are the stupid dragon hunters and the one trying to keep their pyramid. We see similarities with the wolfs, they too are mostly protective, and locking them up/losing them is not healthy for their human counterparts. Well, Marsh is an idiot and a rassist then it comes to Wildlings, and you may be right, that deep down he is simply a coward and terribly afraid of what is soon to happen, maybe even projecting this fears on the Wildling, making his hate for them even deeper. But, as you say here: While a great lot of the NW might not like the Wildlings, they seem to understand/tolerate that it is the only solution. That's why it takes the breaking of the neutrality of the Watch (or at least the neutrality of its LC) for the mutiny to start. They were all grinding teeth, just like Alliser, but like Alliser (who isn't present, wonder if he would go with the mutiny) they follow orders. Until Jon wants to march on the Boltons. And I think it is more about fear, then about affection toward Slynt, as breaking the neutrality of the Watch does make the decimated NW prey to any lord who ever wanted a reason to go after them. So it even fits into your picture of Marsh - he and many more men are afraid about the outcome, and a lot are most likely insulted by this open oath breaking (fighting for your own family, the one you should no longer care about). I don't think there would have been a mutiny if Jon wouldn't have talked about breaking the neutrality and his oaths. I however agree with you that Marsh couldn't be "turned", but Jon should not have his feelings driven him toward blatant oath breaking and could well have convinced more sceptical members of the Watch, if he had explained his goals more often and clearly. And I don't think Marsh would have found supporters for a mutiny if Jon would have been true to his oaths (but doing something objectively stupid for emotional reasons is very much in character for a Byronic Hero). But as I said, they (Jon and Dany) are both learning, I do hope we will see them actually getting better at "leading".
  13. I on the other hand am interested in all the characters and their stories. Granted, I too have some I like more then others, but I care about all their stories ending in a logical and fitting way. Well, I'm with you in this. But I would be disappointed by an illogical ending (even if it would be good ending for characters I like). I would still be happy seeing the books finished, but frustrated if Martin doesn't deliver something consistent. Yes, we see Dany's learning more clearly then Jon's, but Jon is not only making mistakes (integrating the Wildlings is actually a good thing) - however: he is really not very good at communicating things. But as you pointed out, his main flaw lies in his too strong ties to his family, making him break/bend his oath. However, as Martin pointed out that Jon is a Byronic Hero, we should not be surprised by his behaviour. This of course can change after his near-death/death experience.
  14. I can make prediction, as do a lot of people in fandom. But with Martin being a really great gardener, we can all be wrong, no matter if we base our predictions only on the things in the books, the things in our own minds or on historical events Martin said he is using. Yes, and the 100 Years War, and even more things, he did or did not state explicitly. That's one of the points why, for people interested in history, looking for the blueprints is such a interesting thing to do. Well, I have seen more bogus theories about what will happen and what to make of what has happened made without historical references, but based on wishful thinking and favouritism toward the one or other character. The blueprints behind different events and institutions however are recognizable, granted: not everything has a historical blueprint behind it, nor are the references always simple and straightforward, a lot is mixed. Martin has long left the War of the Roses as his sole inspiration behind. However: It is this historical inspiration which makes AsoIaF such a great read, and the world so believable, simply because history writes the best stories and has the best written characters. Using this as blueprints (of course altering them and fitting them into his fantasy world) greatly helps to build a logical world and plot. On your analysis of the Iden of March: Good one. My own notion is that Jon and Dany are mirroring each other with their failures in ADwD: Dany is making way to many concessions toward the people opposing her (the slavers), while Jon does not make enough to the NW-brothers who are worrying and fearful about the sudden changes happening, he does not explain enough. Both ways do not work. And he is already bending the vows and traditions of the NW, they complained, but followed his orders - and now he says he wants to march on Winterfell, or maybe not... or. As you say: March is just "wtf is happening? Have we been tricked? Is the LC in league with the Red Witch? Does he want to sell us out? What is the roll of the Wildling in this?" etc.