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About Traverys

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  1. That's very true. And sometimes these bastards aren't the ambitious ones, just pawns snatched up by ambitious highborn to play the game of thrones. That's partially why Stannis wanted Edric Storm... though he of course didn't intend to put the bastard boy on throne. Anyone who hates the Lannisters would be given a legitimate reason to rebel without discarding their House's honor (assuming they win). So they certainly did pose a threat...
  2. I'm so embarassed I didn't see that you are the OP of both topics! I usually look at avatars to remember forum members, tbh. There are a lot of people with very similar names and whatnot. If you ever feel like getting you should find your favorite picture of a "Planetos" gargoyle from artwork! Or some other element from your Purple Eyed Liar post! And I wouldn't call everything tinfoily in your Purple Eyed Liars topic. You provided ample evidence that established something is at least wrong about what we believe to be true and then provided your own thoughts and theories about it. It's a topic I like to look back at every now and then. My views on the gargoyles are in tune with yours, I believe. While I don't know what to say about the Inn, I think the odd and inconsistent details about both the First Keep and Dragonstone connects them in a mysterious way that can't be coincidence.
  3. Right, that why I said "allegedly" in the original post. I believe it was LF who informed him. Not only is LF's word, at minimum, questionable, in the end it is just heresay. He could have embellished. But we can reasonably suspect that she gave the order to kill Robert's bastards because she was regent and it was gold cloaks looking for them. I'm not saying Cersei isn't capable, I'm just saying the fact it's a story from LF makes its credibility limited.
  4. I would agree with this. It's another interesting layer of Cersei. That, as someone below this post mentions, she doesn't' even think of her children as bastards. It's a bit ironic since she's (at least allegedly) done/tried to do some terrible things to Robert's bastards. It'd be interesting to speculate why she would be motivated to kill the King's Landing bastards (e.g., Gendry). Is it because she wants one last revenge on Robert or because she thinks they're legitimate threats to her children's succession? Or both?
  5. On a serious note, I think it's important to also think about the demand for those kinds of lenses, considering it's a bit of a luxury good. The people that come to mind for me are maester's (including those at the Citadel), scholarly inclined highborn, and ship captains (spyglasses/telescopes). And once you buy one you don't necessarily need to buy another for a long time... Unless you like collecting telescopes... And if you've already invested in a Myrish one, how economical is it to spend (likely) more gold on buying this one? How much does Myr actually rely on this monopoly on the market that they have? If you just wanted a way for House Tyrell/the Reach to be in conflict with Myr it'd be more understandable to have them disrupt the Myrish lace market. Lace is either made from animal products or crops, which is more in tune with the interests of the house. Perhaps they come up with a technology to make weaving more intricate or quick (e.g., bobbin or filet lace). You hear more about myrish lace in the courts than lenses as well, meaning it's a more in-demand market. It's all the rage with highborn ladies of means.
  6. It's a compelling argument, especially considering the proximity of the Citadel to the Starry Sept. Room for a joint conspiracy there. I haven't seen any discussions about where the heck the Andals went in Essos and why their structure are non-existent. I believe Tyrion traveled through Andalos with Illyrio and all he really described was the fused stone road. I don't have trouble buying the idea that the Andals were invaded and basically wiped out/assimilated... but why wouldn't these invaders want to occupy these well-built castles and instead tear them down? And, how could these people that came over from Westeros with such a strong military advantage be so easily defeated by anyone other than the First Men? Why are there no famous Septs (even if it was in ruins) mentioned regarding Andalos? It would be the "holy land" of the Faith, right? Why no efforts to take it back from those that invaded? That was the point of our history's crusades. Intriguing questions. Thanks for piquing my interest on the topic.
  7. There's an older topic that came to my mind regarding gargoyles: Purple Eyed Liars. It's scope is much broader in that gargoyles seem to only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to architectural history of Westeros. There are other longer, well written analyses of this same topic (I found a couple on reddit way back when), but this is the one I remember the best (never underestimate the power of an interesting title!). You may or may not agree with their conclusions, but it's a fascinating topic to mull over. One of the more interesting arguments asserted by some is that Dragonstone wasn't even erected by Valyrians but instead found by them. A strong point made is that Dragonstone is always described as "ancient," but this doesn't really match up with the timeline of Valyria constructing it around 600 years prior to the current time in the books. By the only castles mentioned that are younger than Dragonstone allegedly is are The Twins, Harrenhal, Summerhall, and the Red Keep. We don't have much history regarding what occurred in the Crownlands (which includes Dragonstone) prior to Aegon's Conquest other than it was often a contested area. Or was it? I think a discussion about information Maesters may or may not be censoring/controlling could easily be inserted into this conversation about gargoyles. Such as how the so-called First Keep in Winterfell is a round structure when Andals were the ones that brought that technology/style over. Also how Storm's End was rebuilt seven times but is supposed to be built long before Andals (where the Faith of the Seven) came over. The Maester writes little snippets to try and explain these anomalies away, but I've always read most of these as them trying to divert suspicions. I have an unfinished topic I was gonna post called "Peculiar Castles" that kind of gathers all of these anomalies into one but I walked away from it for a time. There's also evidence that fused stone was not strictly a Valyrian technology, such as the fused black stone that Hightower is built on, but I think I've offered enough of a sampler of the topic to spark interest.
  8. How have I forgot about Melisandre? I'm really glad you brought her up. She's one of those characters that is so firmly set in the realm of "gray" that I never feel comfortable commenting about her.. but I'll go ahead and at least try to add to the conversation you started. I'll admit that for a long time I was really biased against her (i.e.,"butt hurt," as they say) for the Renly assassination. After a while, I've grown up some and realized the flaws in Renly (that I didn't care to see before), and also realized that she as a character is really compelling. She's the "court wizard" with a huge, original, breath-of-fresh-air twist. I hear/see a lot of talk and criticism about Daenerys being or not being a feminist ideal (not that GRRM is required to even make such a character) because she's in the forefront. But Melisandre is a woman on a mission and she uses all of the tools on her tool belt to achieve what she believes to be the truth. What I mean by that is she's willing to use her sexuality, blood/shadow magic, illusions, and religion to her advantage... all for the sake of the mission she believes has been assigned to her. Regardless of her gender I find it admirable, and secretly hope that her influence is going to mean something because she's ruined a lot of lives on the path of doing what she perceives to be the "right thing." The hint/suggestion that she may be much older than she appears (and thus uses glamours to appear young and beautiful) adds an extra layer of depth that is so compelling and unexpected... at least to me. It would mean that rather than being some court floozy she's conniving and clever. She's certainly more interesting than some of her preceding literary counterparts, such as Gandalf. Thinking about her role in the overarching story to come (regardless of if it leads to good or ill) really gets me excited,. And this is from a guy who started out really, really hating her and what's she's done thus far. Perhaps my view of her is a controversial point of view that can be picked apart and criticized... but I've learned to admire her. For me, she's evolved from the stereotypical whispering seductress/mistress (of my initial impression) to a person that has strong religious convictions and willing to do what she needs to accomplish her goals. Love it or hate it, there's something to give a person pause and perhaps even some admiration. And, quite frankly, she's one of the few powerful people that is doing something about the war to come between the living and the dead. I still can't put my finger on all the specifics but I feel she's a departure from various expectations and/or conventions that I hold as a reader. I agree with you fullheartedly. This topic is a bit of illusion... I personally don't believe that men and women are inherently different at all. But the world of ideas, desires, and thoughts can be tragically opposed to reality. Still today our cultures impose (antiquated) restrictions or expectations on people based on their gender. We see this addressed with how Jaime and Cersei were raised differently even though they appeared identical at a young age... so this isn't really a new notion. Still today, modern research shows that even today Western parents (and I'd find it hard to believe Eastern parents are an exception...) treat and raise girls and boys differently from infancy and beyond. I've witnessed it first hand with my young niece (6 years old) and nephew (1). We see these restrictions and rules illustrated so vividly in this series. Some people flourish in this environment, some fall flat on their faces. We could bring up Samwell Tarly as an example of a man who doesn't live up to gender expectations to compliment this thread. He has the makings of a brilliant scholar, but, among most highborn, men are judged on their martial prowess and other signs of "virility." So true. There's a lot of labels and even outrage that would be thrown out if the genders were reversed in this specific situation. I've never thought of this, and I'm slapping my forehead because it certainly is a woman coercing a man into sex. Why is this more acceptable than the vice versa? Why didn't a red flag go off in my head? I imagine culture plays a huge part in this. It's why the concept of men being raped by women is still a controversial topic in modern courts. I agree with this. Even most her dialogue is filled with her typical phrase ("You know nothin") rather than something that develops her further. It makes it clear she was designed to fill a role as a caricature rather than one of the more dynamic living/breathing characters GRRM is capable of creating. Touche! And yeah, the age gap is a bit disconcerting, at best. It's interesting how we have a large number of older men pining for much younger (often barely or not physically matured) girls but not much of the vice versa. We get a bit of it from Cersei, but what she was really getting from Lancel was a toy that she could pretend was a young Jaime. It'd be interesting to find out Miranda Royce has a young "boy toy" on the side or something like that to balance out this stereotypical barely-physically-matured-female to much-older-male ratio. I don't consider this series erotic at all, but GRRM aims to defy expectations... so why not with highborn women and their own personal tastes? As a general disclaimer to everyone, I'm of course not promoting the sexualization of children. It makes for discomforting and tragic reads. But GRRM opened this door and it'd be interesting to see some balance. I found your post to be really interesting and hope everyone takes the time to read how you relate to all these female characters. Even though this is completely a tangent, what I quoted really caught my eye because I'm also a male with degrees in education and always felt like an outsider in schools. I was on the SPED testing side of things (School Psychology), but even there the suspicion and unequal treatment is palpable. During my training in a PhD program I was testing a kid to see if he qualified for SPED services and a teacher burst into the testing room as if she expected to find something unspeakable happening. Then it happened multiple other times. I ultimately ended up choosing a different career path because I just couldn't see myself having to deal with that kind of unequally distributed scrutiny every day. In the media today we see a number of women engaging in unsavory relationships with underage children, but the female peers in my cohort never experienced the same discrimination. It was bothersome, to say the least. The point of my reply is there is certainly areas of gender discrimination on both sides of the equation. I'm sure you get a lot of that as a Kinder teacher. Men in education doesn't sit well with modern people for some reason... which is odd to think about because a few decades ago only men were allowed to be teachers (or have a non-inherited income in general). It's reminds me of how long hair is considered an unusual thing for a man today when it was the normal a couple of centuries ago. But, like I said, this reply was completely tangential and just me reaching out to you as a kindred spirit. Haha! Let's not forget about Arianne Martell's magic nipples. It's telling when many readers remember that as a key description of her physical appearance. What's your perceptions/opinions about how female writers approach these kind of sexual topics and imagery in fiction? If you don't mind me asking. Do you feel there is more balance? Do they, in turn, focus on men in a similarly voyeuristic way? Just trying to open up the discussion. Yeah this is kind of what I was getting at in a previous post. We read about sweat dripping between Daenery's breasts more often than not, but not sweat dripping down Eddard's er... scrotum (trying to keep it classy here, guys) when he arrives in King's Landing. So what's the message being delivered to us about women and their bodies compared to men? I have no answer for this but it's an unsettling aspect of the series for me. As another general disclaimer, I still admire GRRM (or I wouldn't be on this forum). But if we talk about things like this maybe writers of the future can be more mindful of these kinds of things. Elaborate! If you don't mind. What are some of the things that you find inaccurate about his writing in this regard? I wouldn't take that response as a fact... I didn't really know where they were coming with the Nazi references and such... It didn't seem like an ill-fitting term to me and I'm in the US. Labels always come with their criticisms, but I think "special snowflake" is a clever term. All snowflakes are original and unique, right? So a special snowflake is a way of saying that a person/character someone with exaggerated uniqueness or exceptionalism, perhaps even to the degree of being unrelatable. I'm no authority, but that was all I thought about it when you used the term. More than happy to clarify what I meant. Haha, yeah. Maege is great. It's exciting to think she's still alive and has a part to play. Hopefully we can get more insight into the life of Mormont women before the series is over. Haha, so true! It's interesting to think that we get more info about a dwarf's sexuality and parts than the allegedly attractive and virile Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. My opinion is that Tyrion's sexuality is used as more of a spectacle than a demonstration of male sexuality. There are certainly scenes used to drive home the idea that he is deeply insecure about his "deformity" and that he's really, deep down inside, trying to find unconditional love. But there are also quite a few scenes that are gratuitous. Often with Shae. Using Tyrion as a vehicle for male-perspective sex scenes is like the common method in porn of using unattractive or overweight/flabby male actors to have sex with beautiful, voluptuous and fit women who would likely otherwise not be interested in these men at all. These men are not intimidating to the male viewer. That's always been my perception about Tyron's sex-laden sex scenes, at least. I like that GRRM depicts sex in the variety of ways it ends up in real life... some scenes are awkward, some romantic, some terrifying or vile, and some so ambiguous you don't even know what to think. It always seemed pretty accurate to me in the sense that it provides a range. It's also really hard to find much historical evidence about women being married off at 12 and 13 and having children. The only prominent example I could ever find was Margaret Beaufort, mother of Edward IV. The church had doctrine that listed appropriate betrothal, marriage, and consent ages for sons and daughters (which was quite young), but also had endorsed works that promoted women wait until mid to late teens before having children for health reasons (much like maesters do in-text). But child marriage remains some kind of "truism" when referring back to these eras without a whole lot of evidence to support this commonly believed idea. Sometimes I wonder if it's like the satanic cult craze of the 80s and 90s where there was virtually no examples of such a thing but everyone believed it anyways. It's interesting that GRRM even has the maesters recommend, for the health of the mother and child, that women be older and more developed before being expected to carry heirs... because in practice this hardly seems to be the case in the world he's crafted. An explanation could be that at times of war alliances have to be made and the age of children you use to broker these alliances becomes irrelevant. And also he's deliberately made a crap-sack world and child marriage adds to the drama... but that's far less interesting to scrutinize. (I realize the fallacy of this argument)
  9. You have to factor in the Citadel/Maester Conspiracy that is elaborated on elsewhere. The essential element is that Maester's prefer a world without magic (and thus dragons). There is the possibility the correspondence between all families involved in Robert's Rebellion was manipulated in order to ensure the events that occurred. While I dislike how she fails to cite her resources and give credit where credit is due (especially because she receives ample donations), Secrets of the Citadel does a good job at laying this all out:
  10. Not to mention the hinted at notion that Maegor killed a bunch of innocent commoners for their skulls to make an illusory demonstration about how he defeated the Poor Fellows and/or the Warrior's Sons. It's implied everyone knew but what the hell could they do about it? He was king. He decides what is true evidence and what is not. A sad state of affairs, but accurate. Also just wanted to add I feel like Rhaenyra is being unfairly judged here. You have to remember the history you read is from the biased perspective of those that "won," and can say anything they want about the losing side. Flip a few pages forward and read about Robert's Rebellion (especially regarding Tywin and his actions) to remind yourself of the bias present. The Maester goes out of his way to explain the "understandable" reasons why Tywin betrays Aerys II and sacks King's Landing (to the detriment of thousands). Rhaenyra is not cast in such a flattering light because she lost. The Maester can have a certain degree of objectivity because, as far as anyone is concerned, Targaryens are an extinct family. But the sources the Maester has to reference to describe events are still biased based on who won and who lost. The objectivity is limited, at best. She was the appointed heir but the ambitions of other people threw a wrench in that. I criticize her for not finding a way to remain in King's Landing towards the end of her father's life, especially knowing the enmity between her and her father's new wife and her half-brothers. She could have done more to establish herself in King's Landing, even from afar. But to say she was Maegor with Teets is the bias I refer to in the paragraph above. Just because a king, prince, or heir apparent is described in terms of sweetness and light doesn't mean it's an accurate description. Not everything ends up recorded in the annals of history, especially things the ruling monarch decides needs to be withheld. A reigning theme of ASoIaF is that stories, songs, and tales are a lie people agree to tell each other until they forget the truth.
  11. I imagine what has kept Baelish alive is that no one saw him as a threat because he was born so low. Now he's Lord Paramount of the Vale and essentially reigns above lords and ladies from far better breeding and ancestry than him. So I'd agree that's a very flimsy branch he's standing on. He's acting quickly, monetarily (and... er, prostitutionally) compensating these people to placate their bristled pride at having to bow to him. What's keeping them from betraying him? Nothing. But if he didn't account for that he wouldn't really be the Baelish I interpret him to be. To address the main topic, I think a point of the series is there is no safe route for survival. There are some characters that make numerous mistakes and walk away unscathed, and there are some that make one or two minor ones and end up dead. The circumstances and a roll of the dice seem to be the only things we can refer to.
  12. I couldn't agree with this more, unfortunately. I mean... how many times do we have to read about sweat dripping between her breasts? It's probably dripping down her legs and back too? Or areas that we like to pretend we don't sweat. It'd be interesting to tally how many times we have to read about her womanly parts compared to each other POV character individually. I don't recall reading about Eddard Starks man parts? We get a bit from Tyrion, but usually in the context of ravishing a (willing or unwilling) woman. We get a scene of Daenerys masturbating and subsequent female-with-female action but almost nothing about men having their own "special alone time." Seems a bit off, right? I'm not saying these things are necessary at all, but there is clearly a bias here in favor of detailing women and their bodies. While the uh... Myrish Swamp scene could also be brought up here, I feel like it at least had some valuable character development for Cersei. She engages in what she perceives to be the position of a man and takes her "rights." Even more interesting is her decision to do as Robert Baratheon did: pretend it never happened. It's a contribution to the storyline of her becoming the very person she despised. Daenerys' female-on-female activity, in my opinion, was just completely gratuitous in comparison. I find his inclusion of a woman's body clever at times. He has Sansa mention how her breasts are aching a chapter or so before her first menstrual cycle. I remember highlighting that and giving it a thumbs up. I agree his sexual attraction to Daenerys seeps into the writing in an unsettling way. At least that's my perception. It's probably the reason I find her hard to read and take seriously... I don't see anything wrong with a person owning their sexuality and even using it to their advantage, but her chapters go well beyond this explanation...
  13. This is a wonderful suggestion. And wonderful questions. Like I said, I wasn't meaning to be completely exclusive. I hope people of all backgrounds and identities feel comfortable adding their thoughts to this conversation. Well, to play devil's advocate a little bit, some would argue that times have changed, but women are still receiving the short end of the stick. Unfortunately, many of the beliefs about why this is extends back to the rigid social order enforced on men and women "back in the day." Some would say society may have adapted and provided a more welcoming society for women (e.g., employment, voting rights, owning their own bodies and reproductive faculties, etc.), we still haven't reached an area of equality. We still haven't reached a place where people are people, rather than men and women. And we have fiction like A Handmaid's Tale that warns us how these things (especially women's rights to their own bodies) we take for granted can be swiped away if we don't stay vigilant. I understand how hypocritical this sounds because I started a topic that is inherently divisive ("I wanna hear about how WOMEN feel about female characters"), but unless we have these conversations I don't see how progress can be made. But I'm glad that you as a person don't feel like the trials and tribulations of Westerosi women applies to your life today. Always happy to read a response by you @Lord Varys. Yeah, I see how these things are problematic. Well, GRRM covers his tracks with Ygritte by making that interesting tradition of widling men "stealing" wildling women and thus making them wives. It's an interesting concept considering a woman could geld or kill a man they found unworthy. A woman like Ygritte wouldn't have any problem doing that. But I agree the relationship was a little too... convenient? Flat? Someone a while back posted about how GRRM is fixated on incest and that Ygritte is just a homunculus of Sansa and Arya (tomboy with red hair, essentially). I of course shook my fist and argued against these notions... but the Arya + Sansa = Ygritte notion always stuck with me. Sure, Sansa's hair is auburn, and the majority of us assume Jon is only their cousin... But I feel like, for good or ill, there's something to be taken seriously about it. Or some foreshadowing, at least. Another thing I hesitate to mention is that Tyrion clearly came from money. A commoner put into a situation to be romantically involved with a high lord/lady of means has to play into the romantic attraction. How could it not? Food, roof over head, security, etc. We see the negative side of this most strongly with Shae. It's probably a rarely explored topic: Tyrion may have inflated his "true love" with Tysha. Not as popular as extrapolating the nuances of his relationship with Shae... Not saying Tysha wasn't a lovely person who may have loved him for the nice guy we as readers know he is (was?)... but financial security would realistically be a tally in favor of her affections for him. A dangerous miscalculation on both their parts. Through her story we get to see the dark side of how the highborn can scrub away nuisances like a common girl that win the affections of a highborn son. It's always a hard thing to remember that GRRM is a continuously evolving writer than the legend I think of in my mind. As man interested in the company of men, I haven't been offended by his portrayal/inclusion of gay men at all. It was refreshing, to say the least. Lyn Corbray may be the exception because of the inaccurate pairing of homosexuality with pedophilia, but we don't really know that's the case. "Boys" could indicate teens or just pretty men. I just applaud him for even trying and opening that door. It's certainly less offensive than Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in the Dune series. I would have loved to see how Renly and Margaery would have plotted to make their marriage work (producing heirs, etc.), but of course that plot was cut short. Yeah, there are many criticisms about the Daenerys-Drogo relationship... and the likelihood of Stockholm Syndrome is pretty apparent. Could you elaborate on the problematic nature of Sansa-Sandor? I think there's an interesting discussion there but don't want to put words in your mouth. Curious about your thoughts on its problematic nature. Ugh, this is so true. I actually read the first few books of the Wheel of Time series after finishing the published ASoIaF books and it's a hard read considering the difference in representation. I roll my eyes everytime I have to read about Rand, Mat, or Perrin go on and on about how woman are nonsensical to them. I understand perhaps Jordan included some foundation for this seemingly universal belief (e.g., separate male and female councils in villages, corruption of male magic users versus Aes Sedai), but it never sat well with me. I do want to add I have a great respect for Jordan's work; just subjecting him to the same scrutiny we are doing to GRRM. Care to elaborate for the sake of opening the discussion? Chataya is a very interesting person to bring to the forefront. You're absolutely right. I wasn't trying to suggest Arya has any gender identity issues. I merely brought up the possibility of gender identity crisis as a more interesting approach to the tried and true trope of "rebellious tomboy princess" (or in this case, highborn girl) that Arya essentially represents. There are a hundred Arya's (at least pre-Faceless Men) in fantasy fiction. She may be (in my unqualified opinion) the best developed and written version, but still a descendant of a long tradition of women depicted in fantasy fiction. Hey, I'm glad to have a person of multi-generational seniority add their two cents! Thought I'd go on a tangent and mention I'm born and raised in rural south Texas. Contrary to popular belief, Texas isn't considered "deep south" but Southern Hospitality (aka, good ol' fashioned guest right) and Southern Values (for better or worse) certainly are things out here. I was raised to take my hat off, line dance, open the door for ladies and my elders, and make bereavement casseroles for neighbors. Now I don't wear hats, hold the door open for everyone, prefer a nice waltz, and make Tex Mex dishes for the bereaved. But the sentiments are the same. You cracked me up with your comment about Sansa. Zing! I disagree about Catelyn but that's a whole different conversation that's hacked to death in other topics. Ugh... Pia. Breaks my heart every time I read her story in Jaime's chapters. I didn't mean to be exclusionary, but a character like Pia is different from the major female characters we experience as readers. This doesn't make them any less compelling or important, but it does make them a bit flat or static when compared to the dynamic representation we get through POV characters. But, like Chataya, Pia makes for an interesting discussion here. I'm glad you brought her up. I'm not sure but I can almost guarantee he says something like: "What do you think? I'm not here to tell the reader how to feel."
  14. I just wanted to start with I'm glad people are happy to engage in discussion about this. While I singled out a certain demographic for discussion, I regret any sentiments that I was being exclusive. It's a sensitive topic and I just hope I addressed it in the least offensive way possible in order to maximize honest discussion. I'll get to that further below. This goes into the crux of my inquiry. I'm sure there is an equivalent male perspective about being pigeonholed into what one should and should not do in life (e.g., sworldplay and war). However, I maintain that women have had it worst of all throughout most of our history across cultures. 95% of my friends and close relationships are women, but that doesn't mean I'm able to completely understand. So I was very curious how a female perceives the series. I wasn't given toy vacuum cleaners and kitchenettes as a child (not saying every girl is or was, but still...), so there is a difference in early childhood perspectives. What can I do in life? What is allowed? What is normal? Research shows modern western parents treat their newborn boys (e.g., he looks so strong, he'll be a soldier/athlete) and girls (e.g., she's so pretty, she'll make a man happy one day) much differently... so imagine how it was in medieval times! I also wanted to thank for your honest response! Me either... again, from my biased gay male perspective. There's something that rings untrue. Perhaps its that she maintains her love for him well beyond his death? And becomes this powerful woman remains unable to see how powerless she was during her marriage to him? I don't know... it's certainly complex. While it doesn't ring true to us, perhaps it's important that it brings this conversation to the surface? I saw many people below this post also have concern or ambiguous feelings concerning Daenerys and Drogo. So consider this my response to them all. I agree fullheartedly. But can't deny that a woman's situation is much different than a man's during those times. I take from this that you feel that the author treated women equally compared to men as far as depth and characterization. I just wanted to know female perspective for reasons mentioned above. Sure! What I meant by that is that Sansa (and even Catelyn) is a highly unpopular character in the fandom. It's not hard to blame people because Sansa starts out as a "nasty little shit" considering vanity and her entitlement as the daughter of a high lord, bride to the heir apparent to the Seven Kingdoms, and a beauty. I personally have never held this against her... This is a dream come true for a highborn girl... she'll achieve the highest status and prestige a woman can when her husband becomes king. But many criticize her for being... well, a very young highborn girl. There's no reference point in fantasy fiction to connect her to. An actual highborn lady behaving like ladies were expected to. Fantasy typically creates female characters that are rebelling princesses or tomboys and that is considered an interesting female character. Sansa is not part of these stereotypical fantasy tropes, and thus is unfamiliar territory for many longtime fantasy readers. That's all my statement meant regarding Sansa as a stereotypical girl for the time period. We know now she has so much more potential to be more than that, but there are also critics that shoot down this idea she will rise to the occasion. Where is the proof? But that's a conversation for a different topic. Well, I think this isn't taking everything into consideration. I certainly don't believe that women were at advantage under the thumb of men who ruled... but I think some women found a way to bend the rules of expectation to their advantage. While this is not an overarching advantage that made them equal or superior to men (men certainly always had the upper hand), but historically there were ways for women to assert themselves. It'd be a dishonor if we didn't acknowledge the (albeit controversial) accomplishments of female leaders such as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Queen Victoria... Or even Margaret of Anjou. Women weren't always quiet spectators of the patriarchy in the annals of history... and, for me, they make the most exciting players when they get sick of the bullshit and assert themselves. I was disappointed my words were misinterpreted or misleading. Catelyn Stark remains my favorite character because she operated within the acceptable boundaries of a woman (not that I support said boundaries) but managed to have quite a strong influence in spite of them. AND she was effective for most of her POV chapters. I can't blame her as a parent for being absolutely devoted to her children. We're hardwired to focus on our offspring. Even freeing Jaime warmed my heart. All she wanted was the safety of her girls, who were, to Catelyn, equally important as her sons. But many people hate her. Just do a casual search and you'll find plenty of examples. I don't know... I just have nothing but respect for Catelyn Stark. Can't even compare her to a literary character in existence because I don't think they exist. A woman was required to be clever (e.g., Catelyn, Olenna, and probably Margaery) in order to be assertive and influential among the games the high lords played. I also really love Lady Barbrey for these reasons... Yesssss. Mormont women are my heroes. I think the fact that Maege's children's father(s) remain ambiguous is a really powerful message. It begs to question the line of succession they insisted on back in the Middle Ages and before (and beyond)... Men were always so concerned that the children their wife bore were their own... They'd even lock women away to be their breed-mare to ensure legitimate children. But a woman always knows a child they are carrying is their own. Maege knows her daughter are her own. So what is the most efficient method of tracing bloodlines? Matrilineal. I think many people will have a hard time grasping how they are "special snowflakes" but I understand what you mean. I give Brienne kudos though because she certainly was raised as a woman and is deeply wounded by the fact she can't be "pretty" or "womanly" even if she wanted to. They even call her Brienne the Beauty to mock her further. Arya has no interest at all, which is very stereotypical for fantasy fiction. She's essentially a boy and even passes as one for a time. Perhaps she would be a bit more compelling if this was a story about gender identity, but Arya's is a story about revenge and being willing to take on whatever personality/identity to achieve her goals. Brienne is at least a twist on a common trope. (For the record, I love both Arya and Brienne. They're written wonderfully but I'm speaking from a "is he breaking conventions?" voice.) I have to get back to work, but wanted to reply as much as I could. I saw a lot of important things below (above?) I wanted to respond to or stimulate for further discussion but I'll have to get back to you peeps later.
  15. This is a question geared towards GRRMs esteemed readers that, by fate, chance, divine blessing, or any number of reasons are of the female persuasion: Do you feel GRRM has done a good job, as a male author, writing female characters for this series? As a gay male I personally don't put much stock into gender (i.e., false dichotomy), but that doesn't mean that it isn't a very present and potent factor in our lives... no matter how much we may or may not wish it wasn't. So I wanted to start a thread about if girls/women/females feel like their gender is represented in the series with adequate care and intention. This is a question that extends beyond the atrocious treatment of stock character women (i.e., commoners) in times of war, which would be an entirely different discussion... It's more geared towards the numerous prominent female characters. There is a range of female characters we get lots of insight into. Some are stereotypical medieval "girls" (e.g., Sansa), some are strong mothers (e.g., Catelyn, Cersei, Olenna), some are completely subversive to stereotypes (e.g., Asha, Arya, Brienne, Meera, etc.), and some walk the line between fulfilling and subverting many "womanly" stereotypes (e.g., Daenerys comes to mind, perhaps evem Cersei). So, in your experienced opinion: 1. Is there a female character/representation you find completely inaccurate and offensive? 2. Is there a female character/representation you find completely accurate? (Which may or may not be offensive) 3. For out experienced or prospective mothers: Does GRRM accurately represent the ups and downs of motherhood compared to the (period/era bound) responsibilities of fatherhood? 4. Is there a character that really opened your eyes to the disadvantages (or perhaps even advantages) of being a women in medieval (and beyond) times? 5. Is there a character you feel like would represent you in a "past life" in tune with the time period? And why? 6. Any other on topic point you want to touch on that you think/feel strongly about regarding the dynamic female representation in ASoIaF. I hope we can all keep the subject constructive and respectful. I just felt like there are plenty of women on this forum with important things to say. Wanted to have an opportunity to read their replies and opinions. By GRRM's own admission, fantasy has been a straight male genre for decades and has problematic interpretations of dynamic female characters. If a female character isn't an Arya, Asha, or Brienne, then she traditionally isn't considered interesting enough to be a main character. So the underlying message here is: has he given us progress?