The hairy bear

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About The hairy bear

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    Honey in the summer air!
  • Birthday 08/28/1980

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    Many. A Song of Ice and Fire among them.

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  1. HBO Films Adaptation of ‘Fahrenheit 451’

    That's interesting! Farenheit 451 has the potential for a great movie.
  2. Lost. Can we talk about it? Just finished my first watch.

    I also have very fond moments of watching Lost, but after it ended I swore to myself that I'd never watch anything else with Lindeloff's or Cuse's name attached to it. It's not just that I disliked the ending. This happens to a lot of great shows. It's that they continuously lied to us whent they were saying "we have everything figured it out from the beginning", "we will resolve all the mysteries that we introduce",... In a 2005 interview (when the first and second season were already written), Cuse said in an interview: "We're still trying to be ... firmly ensconced in the world of science fact. I don't think we've shown anything on the show yet ... that has no rational explanation in the real world that we all function within. We certainly hint at psychic phenomena, happenstance and ... things being in a place where they probably shouldn't be. But nothing is flat-out impossible. There are no spaceships. There isn't any time travel." They have since admitted that they were making everything up as they went. And thus, the story was filled up with huge plot holes and inconsistencies, which is particularly problematic in a show like Lost where the tension was generated by introducing mysteries and juxtaposing time lines. The problem wasn't the finale, was the conclusion. The closer it got to the ending, the worst it got. More mystical nonsense, more characters acting randomly, more and more things happening "because the island wants it". Last season's flash-sideways were a particularly laughable extemporaneous waste of time.
  3. Why did Stannis leave King's Landing?

    My memory is not very good, but I don't recall anyone mentioning in the show that Stannis had left King's Landing. I guess that, in the show continuity, Stannis was not part of the court and used to live in Dragonstone.
  4. Would Ned Stark have wanted Davos executed?

    A Night Watch deserter is someone who committed a crime punishable by death and saw his punishment commuted to being sent to the Wall. A Night's Watch deserter would be beheaded by every lord in the Seven Kingdoms, without exception. The only difference is that Ned did the deed himself instead of using an executioner. Night's Watch is far, far better than slavery. In the Watch you are fed, treated with honour, and given a job according to your capacities. You can raise according to your merits, and even commoners such as Qorin Halfhand can rise to command keeps of their own. The leaders are elected democratically and everyone has a vote. And many rules are treated laxly, with many recruits paying frequent visits to the brothels of Mole's Town. It may be a hard life, but it doesn't compare to being as a sex slave in Lys or a rower in a galley. And this if you are lucky enough to be sent to the Slaver's bay.
  5. Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

    Exactly. An additional indication that those "extreme behaviours" were not clinical madness is that all of them can be easily explained just but the upbringing and environment each of those kings: Maegor raised during the conquest, and grew as a prince of a unstable kingdom, surrounded by enemies. At Aegon's death, it fell to him the responsibility of saving the Targaryen kingdom and placating the multiple revolts. Many would agree that some cruelty, and specially gaining the reputation of being cruel, would be required of a monarch at those times. Rhaenyra had been raised with the certainty that she would become queen. Then, in less than a year she lost her father, her unborn daughter, her husband, and four of her sons. Who wouldn't act erratic and become a little paranoid? Daeron I and Baelor were born at at time were the realm was shattered after a civil war. The kingdom was depressed, and Aegon III and Viserys II were in a similar mood. They needed something to escape from their family and unite the realm again, and each found their way: a war against a common enemy, or the Faith. Aegon IV was abandoned by his mother, was outshadowed by his cousins and brothers. He was treated as a disappointment since the beginning, so when he became king he only meet the expectations. Aerys' I only appeared after he was imprisoned for more than a year fearing for his live, and had solid justifications (regions were allying to gain influence, and his son was planning to depose him). My point is that each of the monarchs shortcomings appeared at the time and in the manner that one could expect them to appear. This does not correlate well with assuming a clinically caused "madness". I don't buy Jaeharey's thesis. Having "potential for both madness and greatness" is something that can be said of any monarch. It's not a matter of genetics, it's a matter that absolute power amplify the repercussions of your decisions. There's been plenty of Targaryens that were neither "great" nor "mad". Viserys I, Aegon III or Jaehaerys II himself were more or less mediocre guys. (btw, I wonder why Jaehaerys mentioned that to Barristan, since he never knew of a "mad" Targaryen in his lifetime. Aerion Brightflame was dead, and all his contemporaries were not particularly great nor mad: Aegon, Duncan, Daeron,...) Someone trying to undermine a king will use every mean to achieve that. Surely they also promoted local tradition and rejected their foreignness, but why stop there? Your argument is akin to assuming that politicians from the opposition would not accuse the government of corruption, because then when they rule they could be accused of it to. It doesn't work that way. Gaining power is very hard. People do anything they can to achieve it, and then they figure out what to do from there.
  6. Targaryen Madness is an Exaggeration

    The Targaryen madness is certainly an exaggeration. The truth is that the ordinary flaws that would go unnoticed in an average man can have terrible repercussions in an absolute monarch. Then you have to add to this that your political rivals will do their best to exaggerate your shortcomings. The "madness" in the Targaryen family is perfectly comparable to many other royal families. If we look at their real world inspirations, in the Plantagenet dynasty we have Richard II (manic-depressive), Henry VI (had many mental breakdowns), and Richard III (accused to be a sadistic madman). Among the Roman emperors, Tiberius was paranoid and addicted to sex, Caligula had a severe personality disorder, and Nero was narcissistic, histrionic and pyromaniac. All this in less than 50 years.
  7. First season meeting [Book spoilers]

    I don't think we can draw many conclusions from the fact Jon and Jaime had a conversation in season 1. At that point, Benioff and Weiss had only read up to the fourth book, and didn't know about the future developments. IIRC, it wasn't until starting writing season 3 or 4 that they had a long interview with Martin when he explained them all the major upcoming plot turns. So I would take Jaime and Jon's conversation just as a way to give some screentime to tow of the most important characters of the show that didn't have that much to do in the earlier episodes. That said, Jaime as a character really seems headed to some kind of suicidal sacrifice.
  8. So, metal...

    I agree that if the comparison is unfair to anyone, it's Renly. In defence of Donal Noye, though, when he was sent to the Wall Renly was only six years old. Probably his thoughts about him come from [prejudiced] second-hand opinions. Renly died very early in the books, but with the little that we saw of him I don't know why we should say that he is not wise. Specially when compared to his brothers. All the decisions that he took from the beginning of the books seem wise enough to me. He sided with Eddard, but not to the point of risking his own life. He gave Ned the best advice by far. His plot to set Cersei aside and substitute her with Margaery had some merit. And when Robert died, he reacted amazingly fast orchestrating an alliance that rebelled against the crown and proclaimed him king. His actual military strategy was a good one, waiting while the other kings fought among them while he feasted and strengthened his alliances while slowly advancing to King's Landing. The way he treated Cat's embassy also proves he's a good diplomat. He was only the first king to fall because of dark magic that he could have never anticipated. But before that, he was the king with more possibilities to prevail, while technically he was probably the one with the worse claim of the five. I'd call him wise.
  9. Legitimization of Jon Snow

    The witnesses of Howland Reed, Wylla, or any of the servants at the Tower of Joy may be considered enough, but some may question. Reed is a vassal of the Starks, and the others are commoners. I guess someone will produce some written documents revealing the whole affair. Love poems of Rhaegar to Lyanna and their unborn son, the personal diary of Lord Commander Gerold, letters from Arthur Dayne to their Starfall kin,...
  10. @Lord Varys I agree that an independent West, Vale, Stormlands, etc. is not an idea with real support or viability. Only the North and Dorne could seriously consider the possibility of independence, mainly because of cultural differences and geographical isolation.
  11. It seems to me that you are overstating the impact and importance of the trade between the North and the South. Everything indicates that it's minimal. The Kingsroad, which is the main route connecting both areas, is described as empty, abandoned and in disrepair. Robert says about his journey through the North: "bogs and forests and fields, and scarcely a decent inn north of the Neck. I’ve never seen such a vast emptiness. Where are all your people?" And Sansa recalls in AFFC that no wandering singer ventured to Winterfell for a year or more. If trade was significant, the road would be full of inns and towns, and there'd be plenty of caravans coming and going. In Westeros traders would sell their products on the fair of the neighbouring county at most. One would not normal engage in long-distance trade through dangerous routes full of bandits and pirates, perhaps only with the exception of luxury items (such as species or jewels) If you followed this premise, you'd have to defend that there should be only a single state in the world (because every country alone would be weaker than all the rest combined). But it's not that easy. First you have to assume that the other kingdoms would be interested into regaining the North. It's a huge distant dominion of very little interest in the Southern politics. Robert was Ned's best friend and only visited the North once in all his rule. Before that, who was the last Targaryen king who had visited the North during his rule? Probably Jaehaerys I, two hundred years before. Then, you have to consider that waging a war is risky and very expensive. The coss may exceed the benefits. Many Targaryen kings "wanted" to conquer Dorne, and they couldn't even mount a credible threat. But the biggest problem would be to hold it. the Conquest of Dorne lasted only a year. Holding a rebel North, which is ten times the size and more populous, would be a nightmare. It would require funding a standing army in every major Northern town. Even from a financial perspective, it wouldn't be worth the effort. It's much better to have a friendly neighbour than an hostile vassal. Yohn Royce is said to be "close to open revolt over her Lysa’s failure to aid Robb in his war". The possibility of the Vale acknowledging Robb as a king is not that far-fetched, as I see it. At the end of the day the Vale would have to choose between Robb or one of his four alternatives: Joffrey, Balon, Stannis or Renly. Going for Robb would make sense geographically (The North and the Riverlands are their closest neighbours) and dynastically (little Robert would have a first cousin as king). There was one war between the two kingdoms a thousand of years ago. But in all the recent conflicts they have been on the same side. They both were staunch black supporters side during the Dance, and both supported Robert in the Rebellion. Recent memory makes them more allies than enemies. Of course the newly crowned Robb could not demand them fealty, by hoping for them to do it? I don't see why not. It wouldn't have been like that at all! The rebellion started as a war for revenge and survival. The Targaryens had stolen Robert's fiancée and killed Ned's family. And then Aerys asked for their heads. They weren't proposing Robert as king until very late in the war. If Ned had been another kind of man and had decided that after the out throwing the Targaryens, the North would continue its own way No one would have felt betrayed because the war wasn't about replacing a king with another. They could have remained on good terms and sign a pact of "eternal friendship" between the kingdoms without trouble. If Ned had been another kind of man, it would have been considered seriously. How is that any different to what happens with a united kingdom? Do you think that during a harsh winter people is sharing their grain reserves with their neighbours? That's not happening, specially in a world when you don't know when the winter is going to end. No centralized monarchy would have enough power to enforce a big food redistribution in times of crisis, except if it was don through strong economical incentives. The actions of Aegon V were exceptional, as he himself was a one-of-a-kind king that was raised among the smallfolk. The OP was talking about the North becoming an independent kingdom after the Rebellion. It was in a good shape, back then. Greatjon: Here is what I say to these two kings!” He spat. “ Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine, from some flowery seat in Highgarden or Dorne? What do they know of the Wall or the wolfswood or the barrows of the First Men? Even their gods are wrong! Why shouldn’t we rule ourselves again? I'm reading at least "proto-nationalism" here, if not more. There's a clear sense of unity in the North and their inhabitants clearly see themselves as a separate identity. I don't want to debate in circles here, but I thing it's obvious that many people in Westeros want the seven independent kingdoms back. (not a majority, but certainly not "nobody"). The Greatjon clearly wants it. The Mormonts and the Manderlys go to great lengths to defend it. Another issue is whether what they'll be able to get what they want. We were discussing about whether it would have made sense for the North to push for independence after the Rebellion. At this point all Westeros considered that the Others were no more than an old fable to scare the kids. But if it's allowed to use our omniscience as readers, then seceding would still be the better option. Ned, Cat, Robb and Co would all be alive, the armies of the North would be available to stop the first wave of the Others, and surely the kingdom would be in a better shape when Dany comes with their dragons to save the day. Then they can just swear their allegiance back to the Targaryens.
  12. @Colonel Green The North had a navy. Theon Stark is said to have built one and used it to sack the coast of Essos. And later on, the invasion of the Three Sisters and subsequent war against the Vale was fought by the Northern fleet. The Northmen only stopped having a fleet after Brandon the Burner burned it after his father had been lost at the sea. I very much doubt that he would have done that if that fleet had been a key instrument to defend the North against the constant raids of the Ironborn. I still think that there's no reason to believe that the period immediately before the Conquest was more violent than the Targaryen reign.
  13. You portray the period before the Conquest as a constant parade of warfare, and the Targaryen reign as a peaceful oasis. But as Universal Sword Donor says, the last evidence of an external war in the North before the Conquest dates from two thousand years ago, when there was war with the Vale. We have absolutely no indication of any other big scale conflict in the last millenia. One would expect that the wildlings were reasonably well contained given that the Wall was very well guarded, and I don't see why we have to assume that the Ironborn were constantly raiding the coast. Meanwhile, in 300 years of Targaryen reign, there were two full scale invasions of the Ironborn. And Raymund Redbeard. And the Skaagos rebellions. And the times the North was involved in Southern wars.Most of Lords of Winterfell seem to have suffered of violent deaths. With the information that we have right now, I don't think it's fair to outright state that there was more peace in the North during the Conquest. We'll avoid the topic then. It's probably a good thing, because I don't agree with some of your propositions and we don't want to derail the thread too much. I was only saying that it's not fair to blame the recession of the early Middle Ages to the breakup of the Roman Empire, because the recession had started before the breakup. I would also like to point out that during the crisis of the third century the Roman Empire was united, and the population shrunk, lost of knowledge, plagues, famine and economic depression were also there. As all great empires in history can attest, a big size does not save you from periods of recession. The Roman Empire or the USA are just one out of many possible examples. The North is comparable in terms of size and climate with the European part of Russia, or thrice the Scandinavian peninsula. History demonstrates that an independent nation such as those, even in medieval times, can rise and prosper. 1) You are forgetting again that the North has been an independent kingdom for millennia. Hundreds of winters have come an go, and the North has endured. Aegon V helping the North in the winter of 235 was a very unusual event due to the extraordinary upbringing of this particular king. During the rest of the hard winters that the North has suffered since the Conquest, Northmen have been on their own. Under the reigns of Stannis, Renly or Joffrey this won't be different. 2) I'd like to see evidence of the Reach regularly providing foot to the North in winter. I don't think there's any. And in any case, they wouldn't be providing it for free. They'd be selling it. So there's no reason to take for granted that trade could not continue as usual. The North would also be free to try to purchase grain to Essos.
  14. Aegon V's supplies are a good example of the South providing help to the North. My feeling is that it was something exceptional. In the Northmen more recent memory there's probably the murders of Rickard and Brandon, Of all the seven kingdoms, the North is clearly the one that obtained less benefits from the union. Due to their geographical isolation, different culture and their specificities, the North has been less involved than others in the governance of the Iron Throne. There are not connected to the court, they do not attend the tourneys... I'm just saying that it should not be a foregone conclusion that the North would not be better alone (specially if there's a mediocre or bad king in the Iron Throne) The Vale could have accepted Robb as his king. Lysa was Cat's brother and Hoster's daughter, and the main lords of the Vale were supportive of the Vale. They where actually pushing to fight for Robb! There were a lot of friendships and alliances made during Robert's Rebellion. It could have worked if not for Lysa+Littlefinger. From the Northmen perspective, it was impos to envision an alliance of the Vale with the Lannisters (Lysa had accused them of murdering Jon Arryn), and when Robb was crowned Stannis had not claimed the throne yet. Agreed. My point is not about what the Manderlys can do. Is about what they would like to do. And it seems clear to me that they would like to remain an independent kingdom under a Stark. I was only trying to rebate the idea that they had never been pro-independence and that they were happy they had an opportunity to abandon the cause. The exact quote is "Their own records prove that this decline has been in progress even before the age of Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters." The "even" is particularly telling, I think. It suggests that this is something that before was not as marked or as fast. The figures speak for themselves: from 10,000 to 800 members in 300 years! IMHO it's a reduced success, at most. As I said, the six Southern kingdoms enjoyed more benefits. The North? I'm not so sure. Specially if we only take into account the experience in the past 40 years (which is what people is going to base their decisions on) If you know medieval times well you'll certainly be aware that the Roman Empire was a mess way before it broke down to pieces. In your opinion: did the USA took a bad decision when they decided to secede from the British Empire? Did they suffer a significant reduction of trade? Can you tell me of a single country in the world that has gained independence and later regretted it?
  15. Robb was crowned before Balon and Stannis had proclaimed themselves kings, so I don't think that we can accuse them of being copycats. Reading the chapter of the proclamation, it seems clear to me that specially among the first to propose it (Umber, Karstark, Mormont and Glover, who happen to be the northenmost Northern lords) are expressing a long held wish and it's not something they improvised on the spur of the moment. The argument that smaller kingdoms are weaker makes little sense. Of course a bigger entity has more manpower, but if the central government is not of your liking, what's the point? The USA was "stronger" when part of the British Empire. The Baltic republics were "stronger" when part of the Soviet Union. Algeria was "stronger" when it was part of France. Portugal was stronger when it was part of Spain. Yet all these countries (and countless more) decided that they were better on their own, and once they took the decision they never regretted it. Similarly, a unified South could certainly defeat the North. But would it be in their interest? Would it we worth the cost? Could they hold a land as vast as the North full of hostile population? A wise king would probably leave them to their own devices. The Night's Watch had his most glorious times while the North was an independent kingdom. White Harbor was already a rich city while the North was an independent kingdom. Moat Cailin repelled all invasions from the South while the North was an independent kingdom. The Northmen hold their own against the Ironborn while the North was an independent kingdom... I would like to specifically dismiss the absurd (but usually repeated) idea that an independent kingdom implies "no trade". That's nonsense. As if Westeros wasn't full of Myrish carpets, Volantene glasses and Pentoshi spices, all of them financed by Braavosi loans. Lord Commander Hoare is mentioned to have 10 thousand swords at his command when Aegon landed. I think that shows the decline of the Wall clearly started in the Targaryen reign. And while Jaehaerys and Alysanne were prowatch, that tendency change with the following monarchs. The fact that the Wall was seen as a place to send criminals instead of a key defence of the realm shows that the Southerners cared little about the matters of the North. You are right that as wardens of the North were responsible too of defending the North. But my point was precisely that the Iron Throne always abandoned the North to their own luck. Why do you need to be a part of a bigger realm if it does not provide help when you need it? I agree that the inclusion of the Riverlands make the borders of Robb's kingdom unmanageable. It has to be said, though, that at the time it was expected that the Vale would join them (and that expectation was somehow reasonable). That North+Rivers+Vale realm was more likely to function, specially if Dorne and the Iron Islands seceded as well, and the Reach+Stormlands kingdom was busy for some time fighting the Westerlands. I agree with the idea that in the northernmost part of the North, the independence sentiment is stronger. As I mentioned before, the lords that first declared Robb as their king came from the upper North. Probably this could be explained due to being less Andal immigration and less contact via trade with the South. All that said, there's this exchange in ADWD: Davos: “If it is justice that you want, my lord, look to King Stannis. No man is more just.” Glover: “Your loyalty does you honor, my lord, but Stannis Baratheon remains your king, not our own.” Davos: “Your own king is dead,, murdered at the Red Wedding beside Lord Wyman’s son.” Manderly: “The Young Wolf is dead, but that brave boy was not Lord Eddard’s only son." It seems clear that lord Manderly is not only about vengeance here, and also fully embraces the idea of an independent North. Otherwise, his easier approach would be to declare for Stannis and forget about a boy he hasn't even been able to find. He is not looking for an easy way out from the independence issue. Quite the opposite. So in the past 10,000 years Westeros has been invaded exactly twice. Is that a bad record? Should a divided Westeros be particularly worried about the menace of nine divided Free Cities? Come on! Did trade stopped in the Mediterranean after the collapse of the Roman Empire? Did the existence of piracy stopped the trade with the new world? Again, the idea that borders make trade impossible is absurd. It should also be remembered that trade benefits both parts of the deal. The South's best interests would be in maintaining the trade with the North too! I think that the overall balance of a united Westeros is positive, specially in the Andal kingdoms. But I wouldn't call a success story at all: the Conquest, the war of the Faith, the Dance, the conquest of Dorne, five Blackfyre rebellions,the Ironborn raids, Robert's rebellion, the war of the five kings,...All this in 300 hundred years. Besides the reigns of Jaehaerys I+Viserys, there hasn't been a generation that hasn't known war.