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About Traverys

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  1. To keep it short, we could look and see the difference in attitudes towards bastards between the Northern culture (commonly attributed as First Men) and Andal culture (which brought over chivalry/knighthood and the Faith). The Northerners religiously instituted morals are very loose... Guest right and concepts of honor are the only two (informal) strong tenants of the religion in general. It's certainly not a reformed religion. Though the wording in the books indicates that Starks were known to raise their bastards at home, we don't know if this can be generalized to the North in general. However, I tend to go ahead and assume the Starks aren't special in this regard. If anything, vassals would follow suit regarding their liege lord's behavior. It makes it harder to determine because we are only introduced to three Northern bastards throughout the series, if I recall correctly. Perhaps their definition of honor extends to providing for the fruits of their seed? It's said in AWoIaF that the North and Dorne have more in common with each other than they do with the rest of Westeros. I would say that their attitude towards children born outside the bonds of matrimony is definitely one of those overlapping areas. Shift to the invasion of the Andals. They bring with them a Faith of seven that has a large number of rules and regulations regarding the morals and daily life of its followers. It, obviously, resembles Christianity in its rules regarding sex(uality), monogamy, purity of body and mind, etc. I would argue this is where the stigma of bastardy plays into society, and especially the little phrases maester use to describe the nature of bastards (e.g., treacherous, wanton, etc.). It's an "evil begets evil" concept. Men succumb to their evil baser desire, and thus the fruits of these actions are evil as well. While it's not explored in the books, this also means that the Faith purports that man's instincts and natural inclinations are in conflict with what is best for their soul (i.e., original sin). Faith, piety, and prayer helps man overcome his baser self and ascend. So, using a little deductive and inductive reasoning, I would say that the invasion of the Andals and the introduction of the Faith is what led to bastardy as we read it in the books. If you wanted to know why there is bastardy to begin with I could go into that for you.
  2. Ooo, and the plot thickens. Never thought about it this way. Is there ever really any genuine affection coming from Lysa towards Catelyn during their interactions in book one? Looking at the events at the Eyrie in a new light, it seems like Lysa was flaunting her power to Cat the entire time. As you pointed out, Cat had the "winning life" that Lysa could never make for herself. However, as regent to Sweetrobin, she suddenly had more power than most women in Westeros can ever hope to achieve... Including Cat. Not only that, she also had pulled Cat and the Starks into a conspiracy she helped create, so she had officially turned her sister (at least in her eyes) into a pawn. That's not something you do to people you love, especially when the conspiracy could only lead to one pernicious outcome. It actually is quite sad, that two siblings that were once close could grow so far apart. Well... Lysa's story in general is a tragedy.
  3. I think it's actually quite the opposite... Robb Stark knew that the only time his father ever brought dishonor on himself was (allegedly) fathering a bastard. If he didn't learn it from his father, her certainly would have learned it from Catelyn, who made it no secret that she did not like Jon Snow being raised with her children. After sleeping with Jeyne Westerling in a moment of weakness, he was most concerned with her honor and (I would argue) the horror of thinking he fathered a bastard on her. It, as you say, plays out like a greek tragedy (just like Catelyn's overall arc) in that he tries to do the right thing based on his parents values and teachings they passed on to him. And it is these things that ultimately add House Frey into the conspiracy against him (joining the Boltons and eventually the Westerlings/Spicers) which leads to his downfall. To the OP, I think it's too simplistic to say one single event caused the Red Wedding. People often base an accusation on a single event as to why the North loses the war, but really it's an intersection of things. We have (1) Robb breaking holy vows with prickly Lord Frey, trusting Theon Greyjoy, failing to address/mend/deter toxic morale in his army (Karstarks), etc. (2) Edmure taking liberal interpretation of battle commands for his own personal glory, (3) Catelyn releasing their most valuable hostage in exchange for her daughters, (4) the Riverlands Lords more concerned with their own castles and lands than the overall war (unlike the Northerners who left it all behind to fight), (5) Lord Bolton using his sizeable portion of the Northern army to be as opportunistic as possible with no scruples concerning loyalty, (6) Lady Lysa Arryn shirking family duty and loyalty in favor of shortsighted concern regarding the safety of her and Sweetrobin, (6) more players I'm probably not even thinking of. Mix them all together, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, continue stirring, and we have the makings of Downfall Stew.
  4. I think bastardy in the series is just a the fleshing out of an interesting social class that no longer exists in modern society. Bastardy has many fascinating layers to it, and their status and quality of life can greatly vary from house to house and region to region. As far as their relationships to their parent and families: some bastards are able to freely mingle among their trueborn half-siblings (e.g., Bastard Walder; Jon Snow), others are acknowledged but kept afar (e.g., Edric Storm), some are treated as servants (e.g., Falia Flowers), and some aren't acknowledged at all (e.g., Mya Stone; Gendry). Mya Stone is especially interesting because Nestor Royce's branch of House Royce consider her an important part of their household, going as far as trying to find a proper husband match for her. Dipping into the Dance of the Dragons, we see from Rhaenyra Targaryen's faction (the Blacks) that bastards (or, "dragonseeds") can inherit the dragon-riding gene. However, I think the biggest message (for me, at least) is the unfair prejudice placed on bastards. Bastards are said to be born from "lust, lies, and weakness," thus they embody these very qualities. Instead of focusing on those truly guilty of lust, lies, and weakness (i.e., the bastard's parents), the structure of the society essentially shifts all the blame onto the bastard. People treat them with scorn and contempt, but they have done nothing wrong. Interestingly, Stannis Baratheon has a more progressive, rational approach to bastards and their "guilt": “The boy defiled your marriage bed, else you would surely have sons of your own. He shamed you.” “Robert did that. Not the boy. My daughter has grown fond of him. And he is mine own blood.” (ASoS p. 501) Bastards are wanton and treacherous, is probably my favorite injustice inflicted on bastards. This is essentially pointing out that bastards, given the opportunity, will stab you in the back. That they are prone to overreach, to try and usurp their trueborn counterparts. This assertion borderlines absurdity because they completely fail to acknowledge the (often poor) treatment and stigma bastards receive from the moment they are born. If you are (1) constantly reminded of the inferiority of your birth, (2) have your skills and accomplishments ignored in favor of those with better birth (despite their own lack of skills and accomplishments), and (3) are at the mercy of trueborn nobility your entire life.... why in the hell wouldn't you stab these people in the back for your own advantage at the first opportunity? They do it to each other readily enough, but the idea that this characteristic of bastards in general is just an example of confirmation bias. They will overlook 95% of the times a bastard demonstrates loyalty and humility and remember the 5% of the time they do something selfish and say "aha! never trust a bastard!"
  5. After reading the Jaime chapters that take place outside of Riverrun, I'd like to throw Genna Lannister into the mix. It's because she clearly says one thing and does quite another. “Well, I would never presume to tell you how to fight a war. I know my place . . . unlike your sister." (p. 566) Then we have Jaime's war council outside of Riverrun where: "Lady Genna claimed her stool with a look that dared any man there to question her presence. None did." (p. 640) Granted, she did not interfere with war council or presume to dictate strategy, she did not remain completely silent. Catelyn Stark occasionally toed this line, but the women's personalities couldn't be further from different... Actually I'll have to make a separate post about Catelyn Stark next in this topic. I'm on the fence about Genna: Can she sit with the men because (1) she is a Lannister, (2) her personality/will as a person intimidates others, or (3) a little of both? The fact her husband appears to be so incompetent and weak probably also gives her power. She is hardly the only lady wife who runs the show, but in her case it's public knowledge (I assume). She allows her husband to keep his dignity (staying, more or less, loyal to him) but she's quick to silence him when he's gone on too much. I'm sure everyone is thankful for that. Also, she and her family still reside in Casterly Rock, so perhaps that also plays into the balance of power between husband and wife. Regardless, Genna Lannister is a unconventional Westerosi woman.
  6. I agree with others in that Cersei is wrapped up in her (highly entertaining) clinical narcissism. She see's Jaime and what he represents and claims him for herself. In doing so, she begins to feel and think that all the positive traits he has also belong to her now; that she embodies them because she is his. More like he is hers, actually. She feels like if someone handed her a sword she would be as skilled as Jaime immediately without going through years of training. She did the same thing with Tywin, thinking that she naturally had all the qualities of effective rule that he demonstrated just by being his beloved daughter. I'm sure the idea that only another Lannister is worthy of her also plays into it, but, as mentioned before, as soon as Jaime suffers his greatest trial (losing his sword hand) she quickly abandons him. This isn't love. A true love would be holding him long enough to ease his suffering, and then supporting him in his rehabilitation into courtly life. Instead, she's disgusted and she's quick to remind him of his maiming to shame and humiliate him. This gets worse when he rejects her advances in the Kingsguard tower. Now she hits him where it hurts every chance she gets. Her behavior finally opens his eyes to the limitations of her "love," and it's really a tragedy because his feelings for her were genuine. Actually, the real tragedy is how much the realm has bled because of Cersei's actions of cuckolding Robert Baratheon when she doesn't even properly love him. I'm actually a fan of Cersei (as an interesting, fleshed out antagonist) but this is the one thing that really has no Freudian excuse. In the end, I'm sure she genuinely believes that she loved Jaime, but when placed under scrutiny there is no reason to believe this is a real love. It's just another fantasy. And I would disagree with those that say that she was only interested in Rhaegar's power. She clearly was infatuated with him. When she had been presented to him, Cersei had almost drowned in the depths of his sad purple eyes. He has been wounded, she recalled thinking, but I will mend his hurt when we are wed. Next to Rhaegar, even her beautiful Jaime had seemed no more than a callow boy. Martin, George R.R.. A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Four (p. 405). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. I just read a chapter by her in A Feast for Crows and she stated that she believed the god's intended for her to marry Rhaegar. Her aunt had lied, though, and her father had failed her, just as Jaime was failing her now. Father found no better man. Instead he gave me Robert, and Maggy’s curse bloomed like some poisonous flower. If she had only married Rhaegar as the gods intended, he would never have looked twice at the wolf girl. Rhaegar would be our king today and I would be his queen, the mother of his sons. Martin, George R.R.. A Feast for Crows: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Four (p. 406). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. In the end, romantic love (with the exception of her children) is something that Cersei isn't capable of. She has fantasies, to be sure. But I'm convinced she would have been as miserable with Rhaegar as she was with Robert.
  7. I know you're being a little tongue-in-cheek, but it's the truth in the end. It's a lose/lose situation being a girl. Nice contributions! Meera is certainly an accomplished young woman. It makes me wonder if we'll ever get much insight into Crannogman (crannogwoman? crannogess?) life. Perhaps it's not against the norm for women to be trained to wield weapons? To add on to your point about Sarella, she seemed to be quite skilled with a bow in Pate's prologue. And I completely forgot about Lady Smallwood of Acorn Hall! I've always been fond of her character. I get what you mean how there is something more than just a keeper of a household in Lady Smallwood. She also (likely secretly) supported the Brotherhood, suggesting she has uncommon sympathies for the smallfolk or the righteousness of Dondarrion's cause. Either way it's venturing into the political arena where women who weren't married (or close family/daughters of) important people didn't belong. And you're probably right about Danny Flint. A deconstruction of the Mulan tale, and all those similar to it. It's a story tied to pride, that even the women would fight for the honor of a country. But, in the end, the soldiers would never see her as a companion in arms and she would be of only one use to them. Very true! Instead of turning over command to a master at arms or a male relative she led them herself. All my history knowledge escape me right now, but there were certainly women in our history that took military matters into their own hands. Caterina Sforza comes to mind, but there are most likely better examples out there. I'd like to add Rhaenys Targaryen to the mix. When Queen Rhaenyra didn't aid a besieged Lord Connington and forbid her sons from doing so, the aged Rhaenys hopped on her dragon and took matters into her own hand. Granted, female dragonriders are likely all a bit on the badass (or reckless, depending on who you ask) side, Rhaenys always gives me tingles. Princess Rhaenys made no attempt to flee. With a glad cry and a crack of her whip, she turned Meleys toward the foe. Against Vhagar alone she might have had some chance, for the Red Queen was old and cunning, and no stranger to battle. Against Vhagar and Sunfyre together, doom was certain. Dangerous Women (Outlander series) (p. 724). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. She's my fav Dying Moment of Awesome GRRM has written.
  8. Danny Flint. It's a sidenote, but it's interesting to consider what her "tale" is supposed to teach. Tales often lived on because they were illustrative of lessons to be learned (e.g., the Rat Cook and guest rite). What lesson is to be learned by Danny Flint? Is she praised for her bravery and honor or chastised for exceeding the role of a woman? Or both? She's a fantastic example. How did I not think of her? I just reread the Lords Declarant chapter yesterday and I was impressed by how she was second to only Yohn Royce in the meeting with Littlefinger. Even more impressive was her chastisement of Lyn Corbray, and she didn't seem to worried when he threatened her with Lady Forlorn. It reminds me of a "Have you forgotten me, ser?" speech from a woman in a show that I'm not supposed to mention. She also houses Harrold Hardyng, and thus has a trump card to play in regards to the Vale.
  9. Yup, definitely the women of Bear Island! I've always enjoyed them the most out of all the Northerners, tbh. Maege is an impressive figure. Head of her household and no one seems to concern themselves with who the father(s) of her daughters is. Lots of interesting facts! I actually recently learned about Jadwiga (the "king" of Poland) playing Civilization VI. She's a very fascinating figure to read about. (And annoying AI to play against in the game!) Women serving as spymasters/informants seems to have some historical precedent as well. Or, even without officially holding the title, mothers, wives, and close female relatives would be utilized by rulers to serve as agents of intrigue. Who better? Women were often invisible, had access to circles/places men did not, and thought to be inherently less intelligent/clever than men. Thanks for the information regarding France. I look forward to looking up some of these women officials. I would also point out that Basque culture (Kingdom of Navarre, I believe) practiced absolute primogeniture (like Dorne) but did not officially appoint females in court positions otherwise.
  10. Just thought I'd start a thread discussing minor female characters with surprising "jobs" or roles. There are a fairly large number of major female characters the exceed the constrained boundaries of medieval womanhood. Arya, Cersei (at least she likes to think so), Brienne, Asha, Daenerys, etc. What about minor characters? They're easy to overlook. I'll start out with Alyse Ladybright. She's named Lord Treasurer of Sunspear. When I read that she was Lord Treasurer I had to think "Is Alyse a male name too?" Considering it's a respelling of Alice, I felt foolish for even thinking it. But, back on topic: Is appointing women to court positions in Dorne not unheard of? Is House Ladybright known for exceptional women (hence the name) to begin with, so they're the exception to the rule? Regardless, she would be an interesting woman to talk to, I'm sure. Any other examples of these exceptional (minor character) women lurking in the backdrops?
  11. Oh gosh, the irony of him giving a positive blurb to this or the Tamir Triad... Another reason for him to stick his foot in his mouth. I read Ender's Game a couple of years ago and thought it was great... but I can't bring myself to read anything else by him after learning more about his very outspoken views on things... Perhaps that's extremely prejudiced of me, and I'll own up to that. He's the face I picture when I think about how to combat the norm that science fiction/fantasy is for heterosexual white men. Yeah, I'll agree that they aren't the most well-written out there. I think it's fair to say they are a good starting point for more inclusive fantasy in the future, among other underrepresented populations. I'll have to Carole Cummings a look. Any particular book strike you as superior to the others? It's not really just fiction that breaks away from the hetero-only casting that catches my interest, but ones that treat it more than a story of identity or romance. I have yet to read a book where a main character spends the entire story exploring all the facets of his heterosexuality (though wouldn't be surprised if it existed), but fiction the features a main character that isn't straight tends to beat you over the head with it. I guess when I found the series I was actively looking for something that portrayed sexual minorities with a sense of... normalcy. It's why I couldn't get into the Last Herald-Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey... though, frankly, I can't get into most Mercedes Lackey. I'll have to give them a read sometime. It's interesting to me she has focused a lot on gender identity/sexual orientation themes in her writing. Her wiki page states her works have received academic attention, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's mostly for the Tamir Triad. I imagine it's a fascinating read for those that study gender identity and feminism. I think I haven't read them because even though the main character goes from male to female, Skala (at least in the Nightruner Series) is a great place to live if you're a woman. Ruled by Queens, equal employment opportunities, can hold money/land/titles in their own name and right, ownership of their own sexuality, etc. Perhaps it wasn't always this way though? Anyways, Lynn Flewelling seems like she would be a fascinating person to sit down and have a chat with, to be honest. Agreed! And I think you're spot on regarding how stories become less genuine when they focus too hard on these topics. You can't really see a character as a whole person when you only really focus on something that is perhaps 10% or less (i.e., their gender identity or sexuality in general) of what makes them who they are. It ties back to a common writer's tip: show your audience, don't just tell them.
  12. I couldn't think of a non-offensive way of saying "hey! nice thread @40 Thousand Skeletons! Finally we can discuss something without vehemently disagreeing with one another!" Everything I write seems like sarcasm but it's actually not... Anyways, to the topic! I honestly don't have a strong opinion either, but I'm inclined to agree with you. I think that authors/writers do have themes, tropes, methods, etc. they tend to write about. It's a passion that drives them. It becomes more apparent in authors with a ridiculous number of publications because you start to realize all the stories are using the same basic formula or twists on character/plot (::cough:: Dean Koontz ::cough::). But now I have to point out how this particular area of the forum forbids any mention of the HBO show and its plot points within any topic (spoiler tags or no). The reasoning is that we don't know in what ways the show and book series will overlap, so lets not base the foundation of any argument on the HBO show. That's fair, except the rule is that you can't mention anything about the show at all (i.e., typical American zero-tolerance policy), whether it's as a passing joke, a link to a meme, etc. So returning back to citing GRRM's other stories... it seems really backwards to me that people are able to cite not only the author's other bodies of work (which also have no established relation to ASoIaF) but also things like European mythology, New Age interpretation of the occult, and other obscure sources... but not the show at all. Especially when we know that the show itself has a general outline that will match up with the stories in some way or another... and those of us that partake know how choppy the translation from book to TV has been past season one. But, let's also remember that GRRM has written some episodes himself (i.e., making them other bodies of his work...). ::shrug:: This is not to say the show should be used as a foundation to any book theory, but to forbid it's mention entirely, pretending it's insignificant or unimportant entirely... and then citing other things that are actually insignificant or unimportant entirely (e.g., etymology of the word "others" as a basis for an argument for their existence or some other tinfoil) starts really shaking things up for me. I could get into specific examples but I can't mention the show here at risk of being suspended. ::shrug again:: Anyways, reading the original post, this was my immediate thoughts concerning the primary question. I guess my answer is yes and no. Yes, I personally think that GRRM's other works could provide us some valuable insights, but then no I don't think it's philosophically/ideologically consistent with the rules established for this forum. People will pop up and argue that they don't watch the show, they don't like the show, and they don't want to hear about the show or it's "spoilers" (while also saying the show is not the books... so how is it "spoilers"?). But I would say then we shouldn't hear about European mythology and folklore, the Occult, sample chapters from Winds of Winter (they aren't finalized until published), the author's other works, works by other authors, etc. I'm not trying to be terribly radical... but it's a major inconsistency I've seen throughout the general discussion forum that has always bothered me.
  13. I see your point, but my interpretation differs. Daemon II didn't seem like a person that would balk when he needed to draw a line in the sand. He didn't balk revealing his (politically staining) sexuality to Dunk and certainly didn't balk at the idea of staging a rebellion. Let's not forget Alyn was Lord Alyn, though we'll likely never know how many swords he could have contributed to his cause. But it's more swords than Daemon brought with him. Daemon knew what he was doing. Alyn seemed quite a bit unhinged towards the end, but the stories are third person limited, not third person omniscient. We don't really know his thoughts, experiences, personality. Or even the real history between them. It's ambiguous. And if you take his quote with a grain of salt you end up having to salt every other quote in the text, so not sure you would really want to go that route. It would mean everything Daemon says is not worthy of trust, thus was know absolutely nothing about him. And thus this topic would be moot because there is no certainty. I'll address this below too, but I wasn't accusing him of being mad. I wouldn't call it madness at all. He seemed fairly sane to me. But even "nice" Targaryens have been shown to be capable of a cruel streak (e.g., Daenerys). Of course, I'd readily accept that historical Targaryens tend to be best remembered for the bad things they've done (as any leader is) rather than the good. But then you also have to accept that important cultural figures like Baelor the Blessed have bad things about them swept under the rug since his is a "saint" (so to speak) of the Faith. Remember Targaryens are often (with exceptions) raised to believe that they are above men and gods. That's why they practiced incest (relatively) unchallenged: (1) Beautiful dragons such as ourselves do not rut with dirty mortal Andals and First Men, and (2) we're Targaryens, we do not bend the knee to gods. Anyways, this all seems like a major detraction from the topic. Me noting Targaryens were prone to seeing themselves as higher than men and thus predisposed toward cruel acts was in parentheses, for the record.
  14. I mostly mentioned it based on his treatment of Alyn Cockshaw, who had unreciprocated love for Daemon II. My interpretation of their relationship was that, at the very least, Daemon led Alyn on until a more intriguing prospect (was Dunc considered Handsome? I don't recall...) came along for him to entertain himself with. “I wept when Bittersteel carried him off to exile, and again when Lord Peake told me he was coming home. But then he saw you upon the road, and forgot that I existed.” So, if Alyn's quote has any truth to it, Daemon used him to stroke his ego (and maybe other things). Regardless, considering Alyn is Daemon's only friend (as we use the word today), it seems cruel to me. Not because he doesn't return the feelings, but that he doesn't seem to have given a firm no (like Daenerys did with Jorah).
  15. Haha thanks for the replies. I look back at my wording and think "wow, could have asked these questions better..." I think what I was getting at was if having bisexual main characters (that aren't women) was offputting to readers (of any background or identity). I'd recommend the third book if you haven't read it yet! It takes place on Seregil's home continent, Aurënen (which he has been banished from for a few decades or so). Aurënfaie culture is very... quirky. Quirky in ways that make sense for a people that live for hundreds of years. It's my fav of the series. ::shrug:: It could have ended with that book and I would have been completely content. Again, thanks for the replies @Lord Patrek and @Darth Richard II!