asimetrikal

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About asimetrikal

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  • Birthday 06/25/1984

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    lone star state
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    history, comparative mythology, evolution, linguistics

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  1. Excellent point. The arrival of the First Men was spread out over hundreds of years and a lot more diffuse than the invasion of the Andals. There were multiple groups of FM. The Stormlands provide an excellent example. Stormland names are easily recognizable for their high frequency of resonants (r, l, m, n) and polysyllabic structure (I.e. Beric Dondarrion). Compare this to other FM names that are simple and at most disyllabic (especially as you go north): Greenhand, Hightower, Upcliff, Redfort, Waxley, Royce, Flint, Stark, Greyjoy. Given that the clans of the Mountains of the Moon in the Vale, certain Northern lords (Roose Bolton), certain Wildling clans still practice the 'First Night' and the Iron born feel free to take 'salt wives' we can safely deduce these lands were long enough ago populated by FM of the same type, the wild, fierce, violent Northern climate types that probably represent a migration of FM distinct from those of the Stormlands, Reach and Dorne. The Ironborn today are a mixture of this particularly robust strain of FM stock and those Andals predisposed toward sailing and ranging (the Andals who conquered the Iron Islands were better at seafaring than the Ironborn of old). In short, these are some hardy fucking folk.
  2. Lord Varys, In response to your (well-made) point regarding distinct Westerosi royal titles for kings sitting the Iron Throne, one might argue that 'Lord of the Seven Kingdoms' is °comprehensive° of the list of distinct names, what we might call a °courtly dispensation°. Note I do not necessarily take this view. In fact, the king's titles provide an interesting study into the image and perception of royal authority in Westeros. 'His Grace, [X] of the House [Y], [Nth] of his name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar, and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm.' First off we see a highly racialized idea of kingship. Aegon didn't list any of his geographic or functional credentials first, but rather applied the royal mandate to the blood of the lands he'd just taken. We also see he was a big fucking liar. He never took Dorne, but be began styling himself '[King of] the Rhoynar' as soon as he was crowned in Old Town. Second, he is Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, rather than listing all 8-9 distinct titles serially, which would bore you to death. Third, Protector of the singular Realm. These last two bits I talked about in an earlier post so no need to revisit them. And finally, Lord Varys, we would agree on one of your final points even under my conception: when the defeated kings knelt before Aegon they transferred their royal authority to him, and of course only their own because the King in the Stormlands cannot speak for the Kings of the Rock. In the brief moment after they stood from their kneeling but before Aegon appointed them his vassals, and he their suzerain, they were nothing. But the unbroken line of kingship still carried on invested in Aegon's crown and it now rests loosely on sweet Tommen's head. Well except the Iron Islands, who have taken theirs back, and the North for a while before the loyal sons of northern stability, the Boltons, helped remedy that wrong.
  3. Except that Texas didn't exist as a sovereign entity before the States. The Virginia case is a good example though, I think. Under the 'by right of conquest' model of political power (what you and Sovereign have explicated so well) the new single political *potentas* ended all those Kingdoms and dynasties stretching back hundreds or thousands of years to the Dawn Age. Even the ancient and venerable line of Winter Kings is broken. That's just the smallest bit sad to me.
  4. Writing for whatever reason is acceptable as academic and informative as long as it's intellectually honest and properly sourced. Many accomplished researchers and well-known whitecoats will gather with colleagues and friends at cafes and bars and discuss ideas in their fields that may not be the focus of any of their current work. These informal gatherings not only lead to small run prints that often aren't peer-reviewed, they sometimes serve as inspiration for future long-term research. After all, never judge a book by its cover. Thanks!
  5. Do you have links? I had a short phase where my primary area of research was PIE kinship systems, family structure and marriage practices, and every so often I try to keep apprised of new ideas in the field.
  6. The Three Whores and TheSovereignGrave, Allow me a few moments and follow along on a thought experiment with me: The three of us are in a room. We decide to create a monarchy amongst the three of us. TheSovereignGrave, you're selected as king, you know cause of your name. The Three Whores you're next in line, and my peon ass is back of the queue. We agree that this monarchy governs the whole room, but in the future it may expand into the hallway outside, or we may have to contract and accept only a portion of the room later on. We call it Ex-Room. Now Sovereign, you're the king not because your mortal flesh is somehow special, but because you've assumed the abstract, but still discrete (and distinct) *essence* of the kingship. So we go out into the hallway and find another dude, he wants to join Ex-Room. We incorporate him and his hallway. Now, the people in our monarchy have changed, the territory, but the abstract essence of authority vested in TheSovereignGrave is still whole and recognized, so it is the same kingship. A minute later, we all decide to dissolve our union and become four independent actors again. In that instant the room and hallway remain but are no longer territory of Ex-Room, and we still exist but are no longer sovereign and subjects, because the abstract instance of right to rule, which is by its nature singular, ceases to exist when we agree to dissolve the union. A minute after this, we three originals go back to the first room. Here we agree to form a monarchy with the forms and particulars of Ex-Room, and we even agree to call it Ex-Room. So we have an exact duplicate of the originally agreed upon union, but, nevertheless, it is *not* the same union we first formed. Nor is Sovereign the holder of the same essence of kingship, its distinct abstract entity, as he was the first time. This new right to rule is exactly like the previous one, but the previous one no longer exists, having dissipated into nothingness, and so the new right to rule is a distinct conceptual entity. What matters isn't territory or population or even ritual, but the uninterrupted, recognized carrying through time of the right to rule that the population has agreed on. Thanks for bearing with me there, guys. The point I'm making is that if the Seven Kingdoms lost their sources of sovereignty during the War of Conquest, then when the Northmen chose Robb Stark as the King in the North, they may have been reviving a tradition and a territory exactly like the kingdom of old, or not, but even if they were the abstract essence of the right to rule ("kingship") that Robb assumed would NOT be the same that the Stark kings of old would have had. It would have been an entirely new instance of right to rule. In my proposed framework, on the other hand, Aegon - and his successors - would rule righteously not because a new abstract source of royal legitimacy had been forged over the whole of Westeros, but because he created a kingdom of his own (the Crownlands) owing its legitimacy to the right of conquest, and became the king of seven *distinct nations* when he assumed their previous kings' positions or accepted their surrendur. In this way the Kings in the North never stopped, they just became Targaryans for a time and then Baratheons, before the recognized legitimacy (among the northern lords) was shifted back to the Stark line. The Three Whores: what does legality matter? Nothing at all, I don't think. This is all an exercise into the political theory of ASoIaF, I don't mean to make judgments one way or the other. Finally, I'm not saying y'all are wrong, I actually moreso believe that you are right, that the ancient rights to rule were completely destroyed when Aegon rode through. Its just I have a tendency to whittle at thoughts like this as a hobby.
  7. Hey Sovereign, First I may not be using the right word, but I think I am. I'm not talking about the law as the laws are mostly the same and enforced equally throughout. I mean 'legal essences' as sources of royal legitimacy. If the Iron Throne is the source of legitimate authority for all the regions of Westeros, even those outside the Crownlands, would a historian of political theory say *its* legality could be traced to the High Septon crowning Aegon? If so, this is sticky legal grounds for the North and the Iron Islands where the Faith is not very strong. If it was based on the power of the dragons, its tricky for the whole continent when there are no more dragons. Second, while I appreciate the semantic leger-de-main required to come up with a third option while answering my question, I feel your response has a 'having your cake and eating it, too' kind of vibe. How, pray tell, does one *revive* an instance of legal authority? Especially when, as you've said, it was 'destroyed' and completely 'replaced' 300 years ago. Now they may have modelled this new legal kingship entity on the forms and ideas of the one destroyed 300 years ago, but it would be a conceptually new office of the king. It would not, conceptually, be the one Aegon did away with so long ago. And this might be just me brother, I find the idea of a legally recognized abstract conceptual authority being destroyed (especially after 300 years) and later being *revived* as the °same conceptual essence° somewhat untenable. Kind of a too scared to charge, too tired to retreat situation. But as always, thanks for the input
  8. I am arguing (in the academic sense) that the legal-political landscape of the country that Aegon I ruled after the Conquest and that continued (with development) for the next 300 years to the time of the novels is in many ways not best understood as unitary, but is more accurately characterized by multi-state suzerainty. This means that one powerful state (in effect the Crownlands) exercises authority over and controls the foreign policy of a weaker state (in effect the other eight regions of Westeros). I am trying to lay out a conceptual framework that most fruitfully conveys this idea. If I can try to boil it down: 'the Realm' is a geopolitical term denoting all of Westeros south of the Wall, the 'Seven Kingdoms' is a historical-cultural title actually denoting nine legally and conceptually distinct entities (which are, of course, united culturally, geographically, economically, linguistically, religiously and demographically). At Aegon's invasion, there were seven kingdoms, sovereign and separate, but because he and his sisters created the Crownlands and divided the Kingdom of Islands and Rivers into the Iron Isthere and the Riverlands nine states actually resulted. Each state's legal essence is distinct, and since Aegon (at least until the Dance of the Dragons) the king who sits the Iron Throne is the king of these states, as distinct legal entities. The Great House of each state is the ancestral house of whichever lord Aegon invested with royal authority at the time of the Conquest. When Aegon conquered the North, the last Stark king knelt and transferred royal authority which was then held in the Iron Throne. When a new king is crowned and sits the IT, he is the new King in the North because its distinct legal 'self' was transferred there when Aegon first assumed that title. Put another way: the Seven Kingdoms (the eight regions of Westeros minus the Crownlands) do not derive legitimacy from the Iron Throne, rather the Iron Throne is imbued with royal authority because of the transfer of the distinct, sovereign royal mandates taken or assumed by Aegon during the War of Conquest. Answer this question for me, if you don't mind: •In your opinion, when the northern lords bent the knee and proclaimed Robb Stark their new king, were they creating an entirely new kingship and conferring it upon Robb? Or did the office of King in the North *exist since antiquity* and the lords of the North decoupled it from the Iron Throne (dethroning Joffrey) and 'enthroning' Robb? Thanks!
  9. I have bolded this sentence because I'm not sure how accurate that is, especially from a legal point of view. The Iron Throne claims dominion over Westeros south of the Wall, the Iron Islands and some islands in the Stepstones, I'm sure. Within that area are a number of kingdoms that the king who sits the throne rules, *as ruler of each kingdom*, through the vassalage of a Great House. There are four reasons why we should question the claim that the Seven Kingdoms are, legally, one unitary polity rather than a roughly continental collection of nations which recognize the suzerainty of the Iron Throne (technically, the Crownlands, more on that in a bit). Item 1: The historical fact that Aegon conquered the *Seven Kingdoms* individually. Aegon may have been the first king of the (six) Seven Kingdoms but the legal framework for a feudal state apparatus had existed for centuries. The Westerosi already knew kings and, in fact, Aegon effectively adopted the political system of the lands he conquered, rather than bringing in a Valyrian-style oligarchy. Remember, there were no kings in Old Valyria. The Westerosi knew kingship and had existed as separate kingdoms before the Conquest. Aegon either killed or subdued the lords who resisted him, but bear in mind *he did this serially* and couldn't even finish the job because Dorne remained free. Aegon flew in on his dragons and found a land of multiple kingdoms, and when he was finished he was king of those kingdoms *individually*. Item 2: The existence of the Crownlands and the absence of some 'national' bodies that would suggest cross-kingdom Iegal and political superstructure. The Crownlands didn't exist, as a single, legal entity until their surrendur to Visenya and Rhaenys during the conquest. The lords of the Crownlands are 'special' in that they owe fealty directly to the Iron Throne, whereas outside the Crownlands only seven other Houses can say this (the Great Houses of each Kingdom). This means there are over 20 lords in this region that are, legally and socially, on the same footing as the seven great lords of the disparate kingdoms. Further, if the Seven Kingdoms are indeed a single legal entity (instead of a collective of distinct kingdoms) we would expect to find some institutions, bodies and organizations reflecting a cross-Kingdom membership. However, the Seven Kingdoms do not have a national army, a standardized education system, a police force with Kingdoms-wide jurisdiction, or a central border and customs agency. The Night's Watch isn't an example of a national body indicating political or legal unity because it existed for thousands of years *before* the Conquest. Similarly, the Citadel cannot be held up as evidencing a national education policy because it also existed before Aegon came. In essence, the CrownlKingdoma the only *unitary* political entity to be created as a result of the Conquest. The other kingdoms got a new king (a suzerain) who invested, in each Kingdom, the Lord of a Great House with the right to rule in his name. In other words, the only part of the Seven Kingdoms where allotal land rights rest with lord of those lands is the CrowWesterosAll other lords, major and minor, derive their authority from the king's appointment. Lastly, to reiterate, the Seven Kingdoms share (usually) a king in person. But they do not share kings in office. Currently Tommen Baratheon sits the Iron Throne, which of course makes him King of the Crownlands, but, for example, also King in the Reach and King of the Stormlands. He is not 'the king' as a single conceptual office anywhere in Westeros. He is king, distinctly, of these three regions. Item 3: The Greyjoy Rebellions, the Enthronement of Robb Stark, and the Issue of Dorne. The War of Conquest didn't extend to Dorne, and the fact that it only joined the broader political conglomerate in marriage lends weight to the idea that distinct political entities comprise the Seven Kingdoms, rather than a singular polity. Dorne retains its own legalities regarding inheritance, suggesting the King of Dorne, singly, allows this custom to continue. The Greyjoy Rebellions and the Enthronement of Robb Stark give us further evidence that each of the traditional Kingdoms considers itself separate and distinct from the other areas of Westeros. Balon Greyjoy claims the kingship of the Iron Islands and proceeds to launch reavers. He doesn't consider the lands of the west coast to be legally and politically connected to his own. Similarly, Robb Stark and the northern lords do not consult the lords of the other kingdoms when they declare Independence. They simply depose the person holding the office (Joffrey Baratheon) and confer it upon Robb. No need to involve anyone else, because they're distinct political realities. Item 4: The titles of the King on the Iron Throne. As part of his titulary, whoever sits the Iron Throne is called 'Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm'. Notice that he is lord (ruler) of the kingdomS (in plural) but protector of the realm (in the singular). If 'the Realm' is thought of as the whole of Westeros south of the Wall, that is to say a single conceptual unit, it has a protector, but no lord or king. However, the seven kingdoms, as distinct and different entities, DO have a lord. Cheers!
  10. Great reconstruction, good sir. There's some fantastic literature out there concerning the PIE societal equating of a class of young, unmarried men fulfilling a culturally mandated period of a few years of horse-raiding and taking captives with roving packs of wolves. There is further speculation that particularly violent or unwieldy members of this class of society were seen as conduits of the divine bear, and that wearing the skin of either animal was something only these men would do as it was next to giving up your humanity and membership in the community. Donning the skin in 'peace time' would have been absolutely taboo and punished severely, akin to the ancient Roman proscription against swords or armored tunics beyond the Rubicon.
  11. I hope no one's said this already, but since the Red Wedding the Boltons are the most powerful house. Manderly would be number 2.
  12. quick cut-in:   i am an ESL instructor and textbook writer/editor. i have a BA in linguistics (specializing in indo-european historical linguistics) from the university of texas at austin.   bears are a powerful cultural entity in many prehistoric peoples, including the proto-indo-europeans (hereinafter abbreviated PIE). due to the large number of speakers of IE languages (like, half the world's population) and the historically well-attested numerous daughter branches, we can deduce an appreciable amount of the actual folklore surrounding bears in PIE culture.   namely, we can surmise that PIE speakers believed in 'name-magic', the belief that a thing's actual (cultic) name gives some sort of power over it, or causes it to physically manifest where it was only an idea before.   to wit: the PIE word for bear was *h2ŕ̥tḱos - probably a form of the verb 'to destroy' (cf. Av 'rasah', Eng 'raze') - and this is reflected in the spanish oso, latin ursus and greek arktos (whence english 'arctic', originally connoting 'northerly, forested, the land of bears'). however certain clades within the IE family tree seem to have been in regular geographical contact with bear populations, and so this form was lost and euphamisms used in it stead. in slavic languages we get forms like medved 'honey eater' (cf. eng 'mead'). in germanic languages we tend to have forms like bear, bruin, baerrin, bjorn; all of which point to a moniker approximating 'the brown one'. ultimately this comes from PIE *bher- 'to be bright, to glow healthily, to be brown'.    the purported etymology that 'beorn' (obviously a form of 'the brown one') is related to 'warrior' does not convince and is not widely held among indo-europeanists. in fact, i am an indo-europeanist and this is the first time i've ever run into that suggested connection. 'war' and 'warrior' ultimately come from PIE *wer(s)- 'to mix up, to confuse, to confront' (cf. eng 'worst', lat 'versus').   as you pointed out the berserker was a 'bear shirt' but this, more than likely, has to do with his blood-frenzy leading to some sort of trancendence beyond human social norms and/or control, rather than some etymological relationship between 'bear' and 'warrior'.   otherwise, i enjoyed many of the connections and character elucidations from the text you have highlighted here. well done.