Manderly's Rat Cook

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  1. One thing that didn't always stand out to me, but that I recently became aware of, is that there are no nerdy /bookish girls or women in ASOIAF. Or at least, we never hear about them. We do hear about certain girls and women who like to fight, like Lyanna, Brienne, Arya, Asha, multiple sand snakes and the spearwives. We also hear about men and boys who read a lot, and are very interested in gaining knowledge, like Sam, Tyrion, the Reader, Maester Aemon, Rhaegar, and probably most maesters in general... However I can think of no example of a woman or girl who is particularly interested in reading, even though this would be a much easier interest to have for a girl than fighting. The only possible example is Sarella /Alleras, but we don't know why she's in the Citadel. She could be an avid reader, but we only see her shoot apples, so she might as well just be there to spy, or to prove that she can become a Maester, and not out of genuine interest in literature. Now I know the women in the world book are on average much more superficially described than the men, so there could possibly be plenty of women who loved to read, but nothing of the sort is ever mentioned I think, not even a love story where two people connected over their love of books. Did I miss something, or are Westerosi women just not that interested in literature?
  2. Turned into food: The famous singer stew The Frey pies People Ramsay feeds to his dogs Brienne's cheek Arguably Vargo's ear Osha's group of wildling being eaten by the direwolves Warged animals eating people (most notably Summer with Bran inside, and Arya's wolf dreams) The mysterious "pork" provided by Coldhands. Soldiers in Stannis's army eating the dead. That's all I can think of for now (in this category)
  3. Alayaya (she seems really nice, and I hope she does learn to read). Marei (she has silvery hair, and is teaching Chataya's girls to read, which makes me wonder if she's a more notable person than she appears to be, and I don't mean in a hidden Targ way) Missandei (she doesn't really seem to have a plot other than being Dany's sidekick, I always feel like she's going to betray Dany though, because she keeps promising she won't. On the other hand I really want her to truly be this sweet innocent girl forever) Whatever children have been hidden in the Water Gardens. I want to know who they are! Hot Pie (because Hot Pie) Ser Hyle Hunt (for some reason I really like that guy) Septon Meribald & Dog The Veiled Lady (courtesan in Braavos, I think she's Westerosi, and I wanna know who she is) Anyone Dayne & Hightower (so mysterious) The Ghost of High Heart & Jenny of Oldstones. All the other courtesans in Braavos fascinate me. Shireen Wun Wun (hope they don't kill him) Squirrel (Mance's spearwive, hope she escapes)
  4. Yeah storytelling is a big deal in Westeros indeed, Bran definitely prefers Old Nan's stories to reading. There's always those few that just have to read like a crazy person though. I personally don't interpret it as derogatory. It seems to be just stated as a fact. Except Randyl Tarly we don't really meet anyone who looks down on people who read. Sam and Tyrion are outcasts for other reasons than their interest in books, as far as I can tell. And I also don't think the Maesters would use being bookish as a derogatory term, since it's something that's highly valued in their order. If I recall right they describe Aemon as follows "Aemon, a bookish boy, who was later raised to Maester" or something along those lines. Randyl Tarly is a bit of a special case, anyway IMHO, but I think his main problem with Sam wanting to be a maester is wearing a chain and accepting a life of servitude (although ironically the night's watch is a life of servitude as well). He also had major problems with Sam's love for dancing, singing and general weakness, cowardice and fatness. Had Sam been an avid reader, but also a capable fighter like Rhaegar,I don't think Randyl would've had issues with it. We have no examples of him trying to stop Sam from reading, it's just the feminine/weak side of Sam he tries to change (in a rather destructive manner. Tywin also doesn't have problems with Tyrion's reading, it's mostly his whoring, dwarfism, and threats against his family that Tywin hates. No Arya and Asha definitely wouldn't fit, although Asha does remember getting lost in Rodrik's books as a child. A huge part of their plot revolves around them challenging the female stereotype of physical weakness. Dany however would fit very well as a bookish girl, because of her similarities to Rhaegar, her intelligence, and the fact that she does seem to know quite a bit more about a wide variety of things, than I think Viserys (not having properly finished his own education) could've taught her. I think the main reason GRRM didn't make her a particularly bookish character, is that she has to be ignorant of much of her family history, Valyria, and Westeros, for her plot. I actually think there's a combination of reasons (thanks to this thread, that helped me shape my thoughts on this). 1. I think the Maesters de withhold information on female booklovers in their histories. I think they do this in multiple ways: A. They exclude many women from the histories, that have played much larger parts than we're led to believe. Like Shiera Seastar. B. There are multiple women said to practise the dark arts, or described as being mad, who may actually have simply been knowledgeable (which would be perceived as a threat). C. Books by female writers are kind of 'usurped'. I personally think some women have written books under make pseudonyms, others are rewritten as if being written by a man/maester, and I also think secret female maesters happen more often. In the Vatican there used to be (and I think there still is) a sort of Grope the Pope practise to make sure he wasn't secretly a woman (which has also happened). Seeing how many women (temporarily) take male identities in ASOIAF, this isn't that big of a stretch I reckon. 2. GRRM as plot reasons to not make certain characters bookish, or straightforwardly calling them that, like in the case of Sarella and Dany. 3. Not many people would pay attention to women reading a lot, since it's an acceptable pastime for them, and when they manage to gain considerable influence because of their knowledge, they're rumored to practise dark arts, and have mysterious evil influence rather than being just smart, because obviously smart women are evil creatures in Westerosi society, and can't possibly be good advisors. No that's not it, I merely wanted to figure out the plot reason's for it (although I would enjoy a bookish female, hoping for Sarella to turn out genius). It's more curiosity, than feeling unrepresented or something. There are plenty of strong, intelligent women to identify with, they don't need to have the exact same interests as I do. My curiosity about this subject is mostly satisfied for now to be fair, because the combination of reasons I mentioned above feels like a thorough enough answer to my own question. :-)
  5. I sniggered at the where do where's go. I think you may be on to something here. Very interesting! I never thought of that scene as being symbolic. I do think your wrong about the antler men symbolising Stannis' children, I think they symbolise Robert's. Many of Robert's bastards were fathered on whores, and Joffrey is throwing them in Stannis's face, because the truth of Robert's children didn't win Stannis any alliances. He's throwing the truth right back at Stannis, and that truth is, that the truth doesn't win you any wars. Wasn't Joffrey also the one who ordered all Robert's bastards to be killed, or was that just show?
  6. If you count the ability to create offspring as a factor, he's the best!
  7. It would've helped if Arya had named Tywin to Jaren H'gar.
  8. Ah yes the Mad Maid could be a booklover but it's not entirely clear if only Lord Leyton reads a lot, or they both do. The description below doesn't really clarify that, sadly. It's again an assumption we need to make, instead of it being straightforwardly declared. It's just really weird! I'm not entirely convinced about Asha, she does appear to enjoy reading, but the one chapter where it's mentioned is also used to make a point of how much more the Reader reads... It's like saying someone has a nice singing voice and then making a point of how spectacular the voice of someone else is. It makes the first seem much less impressive. You may well be right about the convent though.
  9. Reading the flames is definitely a skill that requires lots of training, just like swordfighting, which we also see multiple women do. Why wouldn't there be girls who wanted to gain knowledge on history? It's not a thing only men are interested in. And more importantly, why wouldn't there be more mention of bookish women in the history books, and why is the interest they do have in reading described more cryptically than the same interest in men? If you read through the entire thread you see the differences.
  10. It's possible Chataya can't read herself, since it's not Chataya, but Marei teaching "us" (which may include Chataya) to read. I think lots of people run businesses without being able to read and write. Tobho Mott doesn't teach Gendry to read, even though he seems to be aware that Gendry is Robert's Bastard, and he is one of the best paid smiths in Westeros. It could also have been pleasing to Robert if Mott had the talented Gendry inherit his shop (if he didn't have any sons himself) or had prepared Gendry for running a business of his own - which I think he does. A possible reason why Chataya's girls are learning to read now is this: Yes this is definitely one of the possibilities I consider, although I also think that hotels who read am awful lot would probably be seen as a threat. I do think Dany would've been the perfect female character to be an avid reader, but I think GRRM may have chosen to not have her read a lot, because that way she would've known too much about her family. She needed to be ignorant of certain things for plot reasons. But if you look at her character and knowledge of high Valerian, she actually comes off as a well read character, especially in AGOT. If you take her lack of formal education into consideration, and the fact that she has been taught mostly by Viserys, it's pretty odd that she's a knowledgeable and wise as she is . On top of that she's strongly linked to Rhaegar , who is described as bookish. My guess is that GRRM intended her to be bookish as well, but changed it because it would make her lack of knowledge about her father odd.
  11. Well it's rather hard to come to an agreement if you don't explain yourself other than saying my conclusion is full of holes. If you would provide quotes that discredit my statements, they're more than welcome, because I've been trying to find these quotes myself, but I can only find quotes that seem to reinforce my belief, and I've posted every relevant quote on this thread, except for some quotes that have been provided by others, and I've adressed nearly every part on this thread in my replies. I'm very open to be proven wrong, but I haven't been able to prove myself wrong. You may be right, but it's pretty vague. I mean, what does "tried to read" mean? Did she read our not? Did she open the books and stare at a page? Did she read little pieces of info? Did she read the entire books? We simply don't know... It does come off as if she didn't read much though. Yeah I suppose she must've done something right. I think Doran may also recognises her talent for winning people's trust, and have them do things for her, as a valuable asset.
  12. I don't think we disagree on what the word nerd means, I think you're just too set on my usage of the word 'nerdy' in the thread title. I've tried to explain that I'm focusing explicitly on characters being avid readers in this thread, because we have very clear examples on the male side to make a comparison to, and plenty of them too. If we would include other interests or casually reading the subject would become too broad and blurry. We know both (highborn) boys and girls are taught how to read, because it's a useful skill. They could theoretically all have their maesters read and write their letters, like Cotter Pyke, but clearly the ability to read is deemed important enough to be a necessity for Lords and Ladies (and steward's daughters apparently). We are introduced to casual readers both male and female, but there are few characters who are so interested in reading that they dedicate most of their spare time to it. Even excluding Tyrion and Sam, the male examples are much more clearly described. Alayaya is learning to read, and enjoys the idea of being able to read a book, so she might become an avid reader, but she isn't yet, so we don't know. We have to guess how much she would actually like to read, and how much time she would eventually spend on it. Apparently Chataya has decided that being able to read is a useful skill for prostitutes, and although Alayaya looks forward to read books, this may well be an indication that Chataya's girls are spies. So we don't know if Alayaya has always wished to read, and we also don't know (yet) why this information was put in the books. I like Alayaya's character a lot, and respect her wish to read a lot, but unfortunately we don't know enough about the extent of her desire to read to conclude whether it's something she absolutely loved doing or not. I'm not trying to put the women who read in the books down, but I do miss having very clear cut cases of female reading obsession. Davos is also trying to learn how to read, but it doesn't make him an avid reader, Sweetrobin likes to have the same stories read to him over and over again, but that doesn't make him an avid reader either.. I do think GRRM has a reason for being more ambiguous about his description of women who like to read, and the exclusion of those women in the history books. I also don't think this reason is misogyny by GRRM, since he makes strong, independent and intelligent women an important pillar of his work, however I do think he does this to very subtly point out in-world misogyny.
  13. I think you simply don't understand my point then. I am not saying GRRM fleshes out characters, especially not female ones. I'm also not saying women in Westeros don't like to read. I've put up an open question about something I've been wondering about, and have carefully reviewed all suggestions made by others, and done a lot of searches, and carefully compared the descriptions regarding reading of both men and women, and I cannot draw any other conclusion at this point that female interest in reading is described less straightforward than the male equivalent. If you're referring to Arianne begging for books; she doesn't. At least not on page. She thinks about wanting other books, but we don't see her asking for them. Besides, most people would like to have books when they're locked up, even casual readers, because being locked up for weeks on end is awfully boring. Instead we see her not reading the books she's been given, and wishing for lighter material. That doesn't sound like a book nerd to me, but rather someone who likes to read occasionally, like most people. There simply is nothing to suggest that Arianne is an avid reader, and the very few other women who like to read a lot, are either very cryptically described as readers, and for one of them this information is even excluded from the books. This is all very different to the bookish males. I have a hard time understanding how you can not see my point, given all the information I've provided in my previous posts, and how you can turn this into me saying that Martin trying to flesh out characters, while I've specifically stated several reasons that I can think of.
  14. Yes I also think this it at least part of the reason they don't seem to be included in the histories. It has always annoyed me that Dany never truly starts to read the books Jorah gave her, except the fairytale style one. GRRM probably wanted to save the information in these books for Tyrion's chapters, but it would've been nice (in my opinion) if Dany had made some more attempts to read in them. Yeah I've read the books about six times, and only realised this recently, so it's not overtly obvious I suppose. The ones I can count are Shiera, Missandei, and Sarella, and shiera's love for reading is only mentioned in an SSM, and Sarella's interest in history is merely hinted at. Missandei appears to be the only one who is portrayed in the books as someone who dedicates herself to studying. I still feel we can't count Arianne, who, despite being locked up for probably a month or so, she doesn't really read the books in her room. The fact that she had read books in the past, and has favourite books, doesn't indicate a particular interest in reading. She seems more like a casual reader to me.
  15. You have a good point there. I'm pretty sure Sarella is truly interested in studying, however we do have to fill that in from sparingly given information, rather than that it's plainly stated that she reads all the time. In Sarella's case this is probably done for plot reasons, so that we won't find out to easily who Alleras really is, but in general it seems that female characters are very rarely described as being interested in reading a lot. Even though it's one of the few things they can do freely. As I mentioned in my previous post; I'm more interested in why this information is presented as straightforward (in general, not just Sarella) as it is in male characters, rather than discussing wether or not individual characters may like to read. To me it seems rather obvious that there is a difference in the way such information is presented in the books, I've tried to include as much information as I can find in my previous posts, and am entirely open to information that disproves the impression I have, but up until this point I keep seeing a clear discrepancy, and I like to find out why it's there. I'm also very thankful to all the people who pointed out which women do show a strong interest in reading, that I hadn't thought of before.
  16. Perhaps you should read all my comments on this thread before replying. I'm talking about clear straightforward mentions of girls/women being bookish. I think I've put in quite a bit of effort into showing how there is a huge difference in this regard between male and female characters, and I like to find out why. There is absolutely no need for you to be rude about my knowledge of the books. We're talking about (mostly) highborn women, who are all taught how to read, and have free access to libraries. Lowborn men generally can't read either. I'm really looking forward to that! She seems so fascinating!
  17. We also have Rodrik the Reader, and Hoster Blackwood. Rhaegar is specifically described as being bookish until he found out he had to learn how to fight, because a book told him so. Maester Aemon is also described as having been a bookish boy, and he expresses that he misses reading a lot. Here's a search of people specifically described as bookish: As you can see NONE of these are women, and these are quite a few. Not to mention all the men who may be described with words other than bookish (like Rodrik Harlaw), and at least a large part of the maesters and writers. I don't think it can be disputed that being bookish is (almost) exclusively used to describe males rather than females. I like to speculate (with other posters) about the reasons for this, as I mentioned before. Obviously part of the reason is that more historical males are included in the histories than females, but other reasons can play a part as well. 1. It's possible that Martin simply didn't think about including more, or more obvious female booklovers. 2. The Maesters purposefully exclude information about women being avid readers from the histories. 3. Reading is not as acceptable a pastime as it is for men, so families would discourage avid reading by women, and hide this to the outside world (nothing in the books seems to indicate this though). 4. Reading is such a common pastime among women, that it's not worth remarking upon, while it's more uncommon for men to spend their free time reading (the lack of female bookloving POVs seems to contradict this a little though). 5. Other reasons I can't think of.
  18. You mean Gerold Hightower I suppose?
  19. Yeah I agree that Arianne is intelligent. She doesn't try to read the books everyday though. During her captivity she first tries to read the books, but she keeps crying, and finds them too boring. After that she goes on to make escape plans, and the books aren't mentioned again, except that she used a page from the seven pointed star for a letter, and after that fails she spends most of her time sleeping. She may have tried reading them again are those first few days, but if she did, she did it off page... Ah I thought so, now that I saw it, I realised I've read this SSM before. It's still peculiar it's not mentioned in the world book.
  20. I'm mostly trying to find answers as to why girls /women are rarely described as bookish. I highly doubt there are very few bookish girls, yet they're not mentioned most of the time. Perhaps the maesters actively exclude this information from the histories. The fact that Shiera Seastar is not described as an avid reader (only as possibly using sorcery) in the world book points in this direction. Perhaps girls are discouraged off page to read in their spare time, although Doran giving Arianne history books, and Jorah giving books to Dany contradicts this. They may be exceptions rather than the rule though. Perhaps there are other reasons that I haven't thought of yet, all suggestions are welcome. Perhaps it's much more common for girls to read a lot than it is for boys, hence the lack of mention. However the lack of female POVs who love to read all the time seems to contradict this as well. I do think we can safely conclude that females aren't as clearly described as bookish as males, and I think there are reasons for that. Sarella actually is a great example: Doran (who encourages Arianne to read boring books) describes Sarella's Maester mission as a game. So he either doesn't take her wish to gain knowledge seriously, or Sarella is actually playing a game, and not very serious about it. This does seem to indicate a genuine interest in history though, so it is quite likely that Sarella does really like to read a lot. However we still have to draw our conclusion from two seemingly contradictory statements. We also have this description of Sarella as a nosy girl who appears to be the one Arianne likes least. So does Sarella just want to intrude in the Citadel, or is she honestly interested in gaining as much knowledge as possible. We simply don't know. In Pate's and Sam's chapters, Alleras comes off as an intelligent, and thoughtful person, who has quite a bit of knowledge on dragons and Targ history, but the information (s)he shared is still pretty superficial, and a mixture of common knowledge and information picked up on the docks/shared by Marwyn. It's by no means enough information to conclude without a doubt that Alleras spends most of his free time reading. By no means am I trying to say that Sarella is not an avid reader, the information we get on the matter is simply not as clear cut as the info we have about bookish boys. If you compare Sarella's (and even Missandei's) description to Tyrion's, Sam's, Rodrik Harlaw's, and even Hoster Blackwood's love for books, there's a huge difference worth exploring.
  21. In my opinion we don't know enough about her to draw that conclusion. The only things we know is that she's in the Citadel (for which we don't know the reason, it could VERY WELL be because she likes to study, but we don't know this as a certainty), she has shown some interest in history in the past (was this interest in history in general, or was she looking for specific information?), she's clearly very intelligent, with already 3 links of her chain, but intelligence and a deep interest in reading are not the same thing, although not mutually exclusive, and she likes to shoot apples. I do think it's very likely that she loves to read, but we still have to make an assumption there, it's not literally stated as far as I can tell. Ah yes, I didn't find that quote last night in my search. I guess Missandei does love to read indeed, and does it voluntarily as well (unless she's a spy and is carrying out orders, but let's not go into crackpot territory). So I guess we have Missandei and Shiera Seastar who are known to love reading. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find anything on Shiera being a reader in the worldbook. It's only on the wiki apparently. However since it's on the wiki, I suppose it's true anyway. Still awfully little. That's why I stated that we don't know if talent is linked to interest the way it is in the real world. It's possible that in-world people can have talents without enjoying them. Like Jojen's greendreams. You are right about her voluntarily reading though, so it's safe to say that in Missandei's case her talent is also one of her interests.
  22. Was she? I can't really remember much about her, except mismatched eyes and doing magics. I'll look into it. Thanks
  23. Thank you @Walda this was what I was getting at basically. Highborn women seem to have the same access to books as men, and don't have to ask permission or hide their interest in books to anyone, and yet we are introduced in a very straightforward way to bookish male characters, and for the female characters we have to make assumptions in order to conclude whether they're bookish or not. Like Sarella, who presumably likes reading/learning, but it's not clearly stated. She may well be in the Citadel on Oberyn's orders in order to find certain specific information. We don't know if she's truly there out of interest in literature. We can only assume she is. Likewise we can also assume Doran is a bookish man, because he locks Arianne up with boring books that he has presumably read himself. Yet he's not introduced to us as a bookish person so it would still be an assumption. He could for instance only read as a means to am end, rather than out of genuine interest. A very minor make character like Hoster Blackwood on the other hand is directly and unquestionably introduced as bookish. Without major changes to the story Hoster could've been a bookish girl, and yet he isn't. It makes me wonder if there's a reason for this, and what that reason would be, that's why I made this thread. The writing angle you bring up is interesting, I hadn't thought about that. I suppose if a non-maester would write a book he'd probably have the maesters copy it and spread the copies, and this could be hard for women, I suppose. Pseudonyms are likely used quite a bit in those cases (could Septon Barth and Lomas Longstrider be pseudonyms? What do we really know of these people?), but it's still guessing. @The Sleeper Missandei has an extraordinary talent for languages, and although in the real world I would argue that talent can't exsist without a natural, genuine interest, we don't know if that works the same in the ASOIAF world. The problem with Missandei is that she didn't voluntarily learn all those languages, she literally had no choice in the matter, and we don't know if she had been interested in learning languages if she had been a free woman. I also try to keep the focus on reading, since we have quite a lot of very obvious bookish males, and as far (as I can tell at this point) no very obvious bookish females. I don't think we ever see Missandei read, so I can't tell if that's an interest of her. We can say with confidence though that Dany is also interested in learning languages, and that Missandei probably likes languages as well, although she hasn't been free in her choice to study them. I myself was a very bookish girl. When I was 11 I grabbed Umberto Eco's "The name of the Rose" from my parents, and struggled through it, simply because I had read all my own books plenty of times. The name of the rose is a pretty tough book to read, even for adults. At the same age I was allowed to rent adult books from my local library, because I had read all the children's books they had. I was an obsessive reader. Tyrion, Sam, the Reader and Hoster Blackwood strike me as being similar to young me, but I haven't found any female character that seems to have that same reading drive. I do think most of the female characters are intelligent, which is why I find it so odd that none of them seems to have this particular interest (without having to make assumptions).
  24. That's not the same as having a deep urge to read as much as possible. Ned can read, and asks Pycelle for a book, yet he's not a particularly bookish person. I'm not sure if she reads in them (I think she does), but had she been as bookish a person as Tyrion, she would've read them front to back. What stands out to me is that there are no women mentioned who are truly known for reading a lot. Obviously reading is part of the education of highborn girls, and most of them will read at times. Yes, at least it's something she considers one of her assets, but she's also not someone who really likes to read. The point is that there is a rather large amount of men who stand out for being VERY interested in reading, but there are seemingly no women with the same interest (except perhaps Sarella, but as I said in my OP, we don't know that for sure)... I finde this peculiar.
  25. Could be, I'm not sure if she truly is an avid reader though. I think lots of people would like something to read of they're locked up in a tower. And unlike Tyrion she at least doesn't seem all that interested in history It seems like she prefers to read more exciting books (who can blame her), which to me indicates that her interest in books is more a way to pass the time, than an almost obsessive necessity on par with Tyrion, Sam and the Reader. All in all I don't think we can conclude that she's someone who usually spends much of her free time reading, but rather that she's probably a person who likes to read from time to time.