Winterfellian

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  1. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    I like your interpretation Ragnorak. But I think we also ought to allow for the meaning the addressee gives to the name and the reason for this. Sam gives a negative connotation to the nickname Slayer, whether it comes from Grenn or Bannen, and wishes he could be ‘just Sam Tarly’. But I think this is more than an appealing to just be himself. I view it as a way of hiding behind another name. After all, Sam Tarly is a coward. Just a few moments before the conversation he thinks how right his father was about him being useless. So I tend to see Sam’s reaction, not as an appeal to the “self” but as means to protect himself for actually having to acknowledge the name for fear that then he’ll have to live up to the it, failing to acknowledge that in his own awkward way he already is. As an aside, throughout this chapter I feel Sam reinforces the idea that death is easier. Life is bloody, messy painful, hard, etc. as shown by Gilly’s experience; and as Sam reflects: I think this presents an interesting juxtaposition with Jon’s situation as he described himself as “dead to the world” in his very first chapter. This condition only exacerbated the conflict between love, duty, etc inside of him. By the end of the book Jon has bought his way back to life with pain, sorrow and blood not without making some sacrifices along the way.
  2. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    The thing with this that we’ll never really know. And that is because by settling for Craster out of convenience and complacency the Watch failed to look for other options. In that other thread Lummel pointed out Mance’s tale about how his fellow rangers took him to a wilding village where he was tended. So there clearly are other options. And I don´t know, it seems to me that by maintaining closer relations with other wildings as opposed to Craster it might have been more beneficial to the NW from an operational standpoint. I am convinced that the whole tragic debacle of the ranging might have been minimized, and perhaps even avoided, should the Watch have been better informed of what was going on, information that other wildings might have been willing to provide. The Watch set out spirited by their encounter with the wights to look traces for a supernatural threat and somehow got sidetracked to fight wildings. I feel Craster is a big part of the reason why this happened. During the first visit is interesting to observe how Craster easily dismissed anything Other-related (he told them to not go spreading tales like those around his wives for example) but is actually very cooperative (by Craster’s standards at least) to provide intel on the wildings. What’s more, he probably even knew the reason Mance was gathering the free folk (he received at least an emissary) and never shared the information with Mormont and the Watch. He seems to be actively contributing to pitch the Watch against the wildings and distract them from what was actually in front of them. In summation I tend to see the disastrous ranging as a by-product of the Craster alliance and even a cautionary example against taking the easy road and settling for moral complacency.
  3. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    I see this is your first post. Welcome to the forums! :)
  4. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    I still have to read the chapter, but I wanted to comment on this: Without delving too deeply into the magical aspect of the Wall I think it is both, reverting back to the whole "it all depends on where you stand" recurrent theme. For Ygritte the Wall is made of blood because of all the brave wildings that had died upon it. But in ADWD we have Jon telling Stannis: The stones of those forts (the ones along the Wall) are mortared with the blood and bones of my brothers long dead Is Jon talking in allusion to the men of the NW who had given their lives defending the Wall? Or is his description a result of how the true history of the building of the Wall has morphed to give a figurative meaning to what was one day true? Is hard to tell. The word mortared catches my attention as mortar is a material that acts as a binder that keeps blocks "glued" together. What's more, the words "blood and bone" are used in describing the colors of the weirwood trees and even Ghost. Not too sure what to make of this, but I thought I´d throw it out there. By the way, thanks for the great analysis Lummel!
  5. Stannis' offer to Jon

    I don't think Jon was as privy to Stannis' affairs at the time of the offer as you seem to suggest. It didn't take a genius to know that Stannis was currently in the losing end at the time of his arrival, but remember that when the offer was made Jon was was living in relative obscurity within the NW. He had been mostly training and keeping to himself, the charges of deserter were still hanging over his head and he had even been dismissed from duties on account of the implications of following Qhorin's orders. Is only after he bacame LC that he started gathering more knowledge on which ground Stannis really stood. Also, Jon didn't need to know all this to feel that WF wasn't Stannis to give away. While this is very subjective, I don't think that when Jon considers WF as not Stannis to give he isn't doing it based solely on legal precedents. For Jon it is clear that WF belongs to the Old Gods and the Starks and to accept it under the terms of Stannis' offer was doing WF no favor. About Jon wondering what could have been I see it as the most natural of things. Is human nature. When divided between very different options, even after we make a choice a part of us will always wonder what if. Jon is no different.
  6. Stannis' offer to Jon

    1. Yes, and the Southern King they have nominally bow down to is Tommen, not Stannis. I fail to see how the fact that they have nominally, and I can't stress this word enough, accept the IT makes Stannis right to WF any stronger, especially considering he is not even him the one for whom the Northern Lords have renew their pledges of alliance. 2. You mean to us readers with our privileged omniscient perspecetive, which none of the characters, except perhaps Bloodraven shared? Because as far as the story goes, Tommen is the one sitting in the throne and Stannis has got squat of evidence to prove he's not Robert's. And in any case, the North didn't foreswore their alliance to the IT based on whether Joffrey was not the rightful King by virtue of not being Robert's. 3. As far I gather from the books, they have gathered around him to fight a common enemy, but this doesn't inmediately translates into vows of fealthy. In fact, it is Stannis the one who appears to be bending to their wants. The whole freezing suicide march to WF was only agreed to because otherwise Stannis would have lost the Northern host. Again, you seem to conflatuate readers' knowledge with characters in-world knowledge. They are not one and the same so you can''t expect characters to act upon knowledge they don't even have. Also, hasn't this story taught you that rights mean nothing when it comes to claiming power. Aegon I won and forged the IT by right of conquest, Robert won it from the Targs by the same principle, Robb was fighting for the independenc of his, Dany is going to come to claim it also by right of conquest. So, if Stannis wants the throne he has to fight for it. Until he has fought and claim it for his own he remains very much a pretender, just like the others.
  7. Stannis' offer to Jon

    From what I gather in your in your posts you're assuming that because the North has surrendered to the IT, then WF belongs to the King and he is within his rights to bestow upon any person of his choice. Even if we accept this as true, in your efforts to inflate Stannis to more than he is, you are neglecting to see that even though the North has nominally bowed down to the IT by the time of the offer, they have done so but to Tommen, never to Stannis. By the time of the offer the latter is nothing more than another doomed pretender. eta-by your own logic Tommen had righttfully appointed Bolton as Warden and the North is nominally accepting it as such.
  8. Stannis' offer to Jon

    I disagree completely with you: Jon never would have united the North under the conditions required by Stannis' deal. Is only Stannis and Mel's alienation with Northern culture and reliance on ineffectual floppy ears/displays of power that leads them to believe that Jon accepting the deal=Northern unification under Stannis. The Northerners likely would have seen Jon as an up-jumped deserter bastard who bowed to a Southron pretender and his sorceress in order to steal his family's birthright and, oh yeah, burned down a sacred Heart Tree in the process. And that's exactly what it would have been. Not sure how this is conductive to South/North unification. Also, I don´t necessarily see helping Stannis win the throne equal to preparing for the battle with the Others seeing as Stannis campaign for the throne comes first and foremost to him. The preparations for the long night would have taken a back seat to Stannis struggle for the IT. Given his decimated resources in ASOS that would have been a looong wait. Stannis might see the true threat and he is clearly willing to help the Watch, but in his terms. Looking more closely, besides coming to their aid against Mance's forces (which is a big deal, don't get me wrong) he has done little to nothing to strengthen the Wall besides leaving his wounded and feeble behind at Jon's request.
  9. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    :laugh: Good thing you were holding back Interesting points Lummel. It brings to my mind Butterbumps!'s equally interesting observation about sex causing the most conflict in terms of his loyalties. As BB pointed out, despite Jon's self denial about sleeping with Ygritte to keep his cover, is clear that he wanted to. Is interesting how Jon seems to akin a rejection of his own humanity=keeping his vows or at least as means to achieve the latter. Looking back I find I can´t really blame the guy for this, or at least not fully. Just look at the lessons stilled on him from his mentors- the things we love destroy us everytime, Jaime once describes Ned as having cold water running through his veins instead of warm blood or something like that, We are only human and the Gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy. I think Jon acts this way, not only as a result of self denial, but as means of channeling the advice on "love and vows" he has received from "wiser men than him" Interestingly enough it seems Jon is in the crux between glory and tragedy as per Aemon's line; only to learrn, as events progress, that no matter the choice, glory and tragedy are not mutually exclusive. By the end of ASOS he's marked by both.
  10. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    Great analysis as usual Butterbumps! I particularly like your take on the Gendel and Gorne as a cautionary tale on getting lost. I feel that being “lost” is an important part of this chapter. In line with this point of view, one of the last things Jon mentioned in the previous chapter is: Interestingly enough Jon starts this chapter watching the stars, which are a sort of universal compass to find your way. Yet, mirroring Jon´s internal conflict, even the stars have become confusing. They are the same he learned as a boy and they are not. What I like is that Jon seems to realize that they remain the same, is his own perception that´s changing. He is no longer looking at the wilding through the same frame of mind that he did at first. Also, I find the contrast between North of the Wall, where Jon sees so many stars with the lack of the latter to the South rather interesting, though am not sure how to interpret it. There are two diametrically opposite views and in a way both equally useless. I think that the reason for this is because Jon has to find his way back all by himself. If the choice to pose as a turncloak was imposed on him, the choice to become one or not is entirely up to him and he can´t look anywhere other than in himself for guidance, hence why he feels he’s beig stripped of everything that once defined him, even Ghost. I think that if he were to try and find his way, by attempting to follow someone else´s path like Gendel did, the same fate will await him- he will be inevitably lost. He has to find his own path and choose to take it. This contrast with his situation in ACOK, where by his own admission he did not choose the road he rode. ETA- I find Jon´s adamant claim that he didn´t steal Ygrtitte equally symbolic as him still storing how old black cloak.
  11. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    Great stuff Butterbumps! I am with you on this one Lummel. Granted, there is more to Mance’s story than the recap he gave Jon, but I think this is something where Mance’s “bardness” comes into play. I see Mance’s tale much like the songs Sansa loved so much, where the grittier aspects of the tales where stripped leaving only the more romantic idealized version of it. This becomes especially telling IMHO when compared with the earthier version of Mance we heard from Qhorin before. If I have to pin one motive on Mance, I’ll be more inclined to go with the envy for freedom, but a freedom to live HIS life as he wished; in other words, a desire to come and go as he pleased, minding nothing but his own pleasure. This stands in complete contrast with the sort of freedom Jon begins to yearn for in ADWD, which is a desire to act and choose with nothing but his own judgment as opposition, but in service of the Realm. Where Mance’s is a “selfish” kind of yearn for freedom, Jon is exactly the opposite. In Mance’s case, the restraints derived from the NW prevented him from living his life as fully as he would have liked; in Jon’s case they later start to deprive him from the liberty to act as he choose best in adherence to the spirit of the NW. This is why I find the Dornishman’s wife a very fitting song for Mance. As Ragnorak notes, tasting someone else’s wife speaks of breaking laws at the peril of death. However, I find there is nothing heroic about the man in the song. He wanted something he couldn’t have, went after it breaking the rules and paid the price for it. Idealistic in some form, but definitely not heroic or self-denying, very much like Mance’s desertion.
  12. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    Very interesting ACOK recaps Lummel, Mladen and Ragnorak! Don't really have much to add, except this: Very interesting observation Lummel. About the sense of inevitability, there is definitely something to this and it is a notion that Jon appears to take with him into the Haunted Forest- be troubled and keep my vows. Is in its muddy, hard and at times imperceptible paths, where he comes to understand that where certain outcomes are inescapable is the journey that matters, as Ragnorak notes. There are many and different paths that lead to death, but the difference is not the outcome, but the journey traveled along the way and the way we choose face the inevitable as the brave sacrifice of Qhorin and the rest of the rangers shows. Jon's time to make the choice will eventually catch up with him. Given the imagery of the map alluded at many times at the beginning of the story I can’t help but remember something Jon later tells to Stannis in ADWD: The map is not the land my Father often said. In a way it even contradicts the premise under which he viewed the old maps brought out by Sam at the beginning of ACOK: the villages may come and go but the hills and rivers will be in the same places, Jon pointed out. This last one suggests that Jon viewed the road laid out as an immutable entity, a view that was challenged only after he travels it. @ Mladen, thank you for the kind words. :) Looking forward for ASOS
  13. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    LOL :D Oh I agree that killing the boy is something Jon’s arch is moving towards. The break with the mentor is a big step in any character’s journey. I think that Jon’s inability to kill Qhorin without the way out that latter provided is a reflection of how unready Jon is to take the path towards killing the boy. Is the shatter of innocence that results from the events following Qhorin’s death and the last mission he commends to Jon in service of the NW that gives him the tools later on to make this jump. The Jon who takes the first steps towards killing the boy in ADWD after sending away Maester Aemon (alas, the last of the mentors!) to die, though unbeknown to him, is a young man hardened by battle, loss and grief. He has lead men and not only followed, he has love and lost in service of the NW, he has given up a long coveted dream to pursue his duty, live to mourn the destruction of his family and childhood home, etc About Jon’s lack of choice in the apparent "desertion", I think this was also intentional not only on the basis of Jon’s unreadiness but also because desertion is something I feel Jon’s arch is moving towards. Through the last 2 books we have seen how the words of the oath have come to mean something to Jon and how seriously he takes them. What follows in the next books is Jon tapping through experience into the nature of the oath which in turn leads him to ask what the important part of the oath is. Is it the words or the intentions behind it? That’s one of the reasons why I find the reciting the words of the oath so meaningful. This desertion, where there is a seemingly lack of agency in Jon’s part is done in service of the oath, by which he is bounded and coerced through the words of the same oath. The second desertion that I feel is coming will be done consciously in Jon's part in service of the spirit of the oath, the protection of the Realms of men, in disregard of the wording of any oath he's bound to. In abscence of the like function I can only say I agree completely.
  14. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    Why is Jon spared from killing Qhorin in the first place? Like Maia I think that Jon is spared by GRRM from having to kill Qhorin when the last one took the choice from him with his actions. But, I don’t necessarily view this as a weakness in Jon’s arch; to the contrary, as a way of preserving the complexity in Jon’s character. To start, I think that if Jon had summoned the powers and skills derived from being a “hero” to simply slay Qhorin as per request we will be here rightly criticizing him for perfectly conforming to the parameters expected from a traditional hero. A prior chapter had Jon killing his first man, a foe, and then proceeding to let another one go based on his own perception of what was right- the lack of evil/guiltiness in Ygritte’s eyes. However, killing a foe is something he had been training for his whole life and his decision to let Ygritte go is very much in accordance to his Father’s lessons. In terms of characterization and based on what we had seen and read so far, what had prepared Jon to simply slay Qhorin, a mentor figure, brother and comrade at arms at command? I think nothing. He had neither the mental preparation nor the sword skills to do so. Had Jon done it simply because the mission required him to some of the nuance of Jon’s character would have been reduced to a simplistic representation of the typical fantasy hero. In other words, he would have done the deed for no other reason that because being the hero and Qhorin’s death being necessary for the hero’s cause it would have been expected of him. But by choosing to take the choice from Jon GRRM is not so much giving him a free pass (as per the life is harder than death motif present in these chapter and others) as he is exposing an all too human fail of his hero at this critical moment- the inability to carry out an order in service of the cause he’s fighting for even knowing what is at stake. So for me, GRRM isn’t sparing Jon just for the sake of it, but to point out out that Jon couldn’t have done it himself, hence why the choice is taken from him. Jon’s a flawed individual; one that, despite his heroic characteristics, is all too prone for failure; he’s not perfect. The root of his actions and decisions isn’t entirely and/or exclusively rooted in service of a cause or in what he believes is right, as one would expect from a simple version of a fantasy hero. But of course, Jon being still necessary to carry out the narrative is not like GRRM Could simply had him killed, so he took another route to make him paid the price: ETA- Personally I love how GRRM challenged Jons' and ours preconceived notions of certain concepts by the end of this book. In AGOT we see the choice to remain neutral is a hard one and one that is associated with doing the right thing in accordance to the NW. The Craster situation shows us the darker side of neutrality. In AGOT desertion is certainly the wrong course of action, here in ACOK it becomes a necessary one in service of the NW. In terms of Jon's development I think is important to observe that he is exposed to both sides of things.
  15. The Jon Snow Reread Project II AGOT-ACOK

    I understand what you are saying and it is a criticism that I have seen time and time again applied to Jon; without many merits in my opinion. I think the problem lies in the fact that as a reader we might be too focused in the situation Jon is escaping from and don't probe too deeply or step back enough to look at the full picture in these circumstances. By doing so we might only see Jon getting away with it, so to speak, and don’t make the effort to try to connect Jon’s actions that lead up to said circumstance. I will address Qhorin’s sacrifice later on, but first I will like to interject something about the first case you mentioned, Jon’s attempt to desert back in AGOT. Yes, Jon is conveniently saved from a certain detection and further execution. But what lead up to this? What are the circumstances that set in motion the boys' decision to go after him and bring him back? In my opinion, the answer is Jon’s own actions. The boys who risked themselves to go after him were the same brutes and bullies without any trace of honor (as per Jon’s description of them) who tried to beat him up at the start of AGOT. Where lays the difference then? In Jon’s own change of attitude regarding them; a change that came from within him, after acknowledging the wise counsel of Donal Noye’s speech of course. If he had been the same narrow minded and entitled boy he was when he first got to the NW I don’t think that any of these boys would have trouble themselves with trying to get him back to CB. They probably would have been standing first line during Jon’s execution next to Sir Allyser trying to decide who would get his boots. Not to mention that if Jon hadn’t taken the time and effort to help and befriend Sam for no other reason that because it was the right thing to do, there wouldn’t have been anyone to sound the alarm after his escape. So yes, Jon is “saved” from making the wrong choice, but by the persons he befriended and helped by doing lots of personal growth and as a result of the effects Jon's change of attitude had on them. Also, in the end, he is forced to definitely make the final choice of whether he was a man of the NW (as an aside, I think Qhorin's mission is about proving good to this decision). He never escapes it; it was just delayed, just like with the Ygritte execution. One might identify this as a plot gift, but I find it no difference than Arya getting Jaqen indebted to the and granting her three death wishes in return for her help she provided without expecting anything in return or Dany getting the Dragon eggs for no other reason than being a Targ to put an example. As for Qhorin taking the choice from Jon I actually don't entirely disagree with you, but at the same time I feel this is intentional and rather crafty made by GRRM in service of the narrative. I will explain more when I have more time. @everyone that posted so far, nice insights guys! ETA- Is nice seeing so many lurkers come out from their hiding :)