Widowmaker 811

Child of Ice and Fire: More harmful than helpful

46 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

First, Jon Snow has in no shape or form any legal right to interfere with the Boltons. They might have acted with war against the Starks, but his brothers and his loyalties should be with the watch. And the Boltons never (as far as we know) attacked or threatened or even hindered the Watch before Jon provoked them. 

Jon Snow are the Lord Commander of the Night´s Watch and the Night´s Watch is meant to take no part in the affairs of the realm so it can focus on a larger threat. Involvement in the realm’s issues, even for "good reasons", can jeopardize the Watch’s position and its mission. If the kings and lords gets angry at the Watch, they can make sure that there will be no more Watch, and therefore no more defense against that large threat. There is a working relation here. The watch is subservient to the throne and also slightly subservient to Winterfell/The lord paramount of the North. So, Ramsay (as the son to said paramount) have much more of a right to threaten and demand on the watch than the watch have a right to take action against him. Unfair? Sure, but one group is existing solely on the goodwill of another. In short, these restrictions exist for a reason - Make it work or get destroyed.

Now, as Lord Commander there are some leeway, of course. Jon as well as other LC´s has the authority to make hard choices, even some changes in policy to adapt to a current situation (you could argue that the deal with the wildlings were in this realm due to the great need, you could also argue that the protection of Alys broke no rules since she came to their turf, their land and willingly sought shelter). However, it is not within those right to decide who is evil/who is a threat and then tries to "protect" the realm from it. The LC and the Watch are supposed to guard the realms of men from other sources than inside Westeros- just like CIA, they have no authority over domestic threats. Nor can he change the orginial purpose - his borders are clearly defined. Hence, it sounds very much as a personal ambition in spite of the original message and only possible as I see it by some creative rulebending. It also (gain) goes very much against the spirit of the institution, because let´s face it - rulebreaking or not, if you don´t stay out of westerosi conflicts you risk that the entire organization will be removed (and that is entirely the fault of a radical LC and not the Iron Throne). Also, the Watch is a gloryfied prison. One main intent is certainly that no one will never, ever leave. 

And I mean, seriously. It should be obvious that the LC can´t change the goal of the organization nor declare people and houses as evil and then try to defeat them in order to "protect the realm". Otherwise both those commanders that warred against each other in the past from different towers can claim the same, that they did their duty by "protecting the realms of men" from that other commander, who of course is an evil asshole. Because even if character X or house Y is as evil as you said it is, then it still doesn´t matter. Reasons don´t matter. What matter is that you broke your purpose and the rules that warrants your existence. And that can simply not stand. 

As for Mance, as I recall it, and here I quote the wiki - Melisandre offers to send "Rattleshirt" to retrieve his sister, but Jon refuses, not trusting the Lord of Bones. Melisandre reveals Mance's disguise to make Jon reconsider the offer (and Jon also certainly have a hostage in Mance´s son). The grey girl was presented to Jon as Arya, that she was Arys in the vision doesn´t change who and why Jon acted. Because he acted. On that Arya was in trouble. He even think so himself. 

A grey girl on a dying horse, fleeing from her marriage. On the strength of those words he had loosed Mance Rayder and six spearwives on the north. “Young ones, and pretty,” Mance had said. The unburnt king supplied some names, and Dolorous Edd had done the rest, smuggling them from Mole’s Town. It seemed like madness now. He might have done better to strike down Mance the moment he revealed himself. Jon had a certain grudging admiration for the late King-Beyond-the-Wall, but the man was an oathbreaker and a turncloak. He had even less trust in Melisandre. Yet somehow here he was, pinning his hopes on them. All to save my sister. But the men of the Night’s Watch have no sisters.

Here we clearly see Jon at work in his own thoughts! For any kind of defense, this must hurt. He more or less willingly admits that he tried to kidnap and retrieve Arya - where she is taken is not of significance, the important part is that the LC of the Night´s watch interferes and steals the bride of the lord paramounts son. If she had been fleeing by horse seeking shelter in Night´s watch he might have had a case, but that was certainly not what happened. Nor are Jon able to kidnap persons who need help, even if they would have liked that shelter. And this person is now the wife of Ramsay, as horrible as that is. As a moral argument, I think most people can understand Jon - but Jon is LC of the Night´s watch. He is not allowed to take moral stances. His task supersedes his person by far. So, the utilitarian argument is the one that should be adopted here. Arya might suffer, but his duty requires him to look past that and not start a war over the issue. You could argue that the Boltons shouldn´t start a war over the issue either, but not only did Jon strike first, he is also the one with oaths. Neither Roose nor Ramsay have sworn to "guard the realms of men". 

As for Jon not exactly knowing what Mance would do, sure that takes some blame away, but doesn´t really change the overlying responsibilty.  If I tell you to "solve the situation" with the protesters outside my house and you kill someone, I think I am very much to blame. I guess that if the only accussation who was thrown was breach of Guest right, I guess Jon has a defence (Not that I, due to the Freys, think that should be enforced anyway), but he isn´t accused for guest breach only, but kidnapping. Certainly, Jon couldn´t know exactly what Mance would do, but there exist things like "reasonable conclusions" even in Westeros. 

As for Guest right and "who owns Winterfell", I find that discussion hypocritical and biased. First, Abel was indeed a guest. He was an entertainer there and followed with the Manderley group. He did no protests towards this and decided to eat the bread and salt that was served (singers and entertainers are as I recall protected as well, even if he somehow isn´t ok:ed as a part of Manderleys crew). That means that regardless of who "really" owns the castle Abel did, with his actions, accept the "hospitality" of the Boltons. This is very much true for the northern lords as well. By accepting Rooses invitation to the feast, they also gave an implied consent (As an aside, we really, really need the term implied consent back in modern lawyering) to that Roose was the host in position to invite them there in the first place. 

Second, Boltons are very much the hosts. It does not really matter that the Starks have a better claim for Winterfell. Roose is in Winterfell NOW and are at this moment holding this in his possession (due to the crowns legalization of Ramsays marriage with Arya - yes, it is a fake Arya, but from the eyes of the crown, they count as married - and the clear intent is to legally take/steal Winterfell). This possession has been verified by the current king in the exact same way as always when a noble family loses a castle in favor of someone else. And, most importantly - hadn´t there been a Stark girl, then they just would have given the Boltons the castle straight up, by royal decree (probably a mistake to not do that in the first place). The intent is clear. Therefore, as long as status quo are holding (most likely not very long) it is Roose and the Boltons castle, by proxy-ruling. The stark claim is stronger, but at this moment - they are not in a position at the moment to enforce that. Mance is indeed performing an act of aggression on the Boltons.

If you disagree, well then - when can you really say a conquered castle becomes another family's? Because you don´t like the family so it can happen faster? No, just no. No one wants to lose their castle after all, yet many families have. Are the new owner then not legit for guest right? Who decides the line here? It does sound easier to assume that possession of said castle outside of a war (and on paper The North has submitted) is enough, regardless of the strength of your claim. Otherwise you undermine said guest right. After all, if I don´t feel that my claim to a seat is taken seriously enough and that people attack me in my home (!), then I certainly can´t see why I should follow those rules when it comes to others. For example - I believe that the Targaryen claim to the Iron Throne are much stronger that the Baratheon one. Yet I would never argue that Joffrey was not killed from a violation of guest right (he clearly was!) simply because "the true owner" was not there. I would also be shocked if Daenerys kills Tommen after being invited to King´s landing on the basis that the castle and the area is "hers". I agree, but that doesn´t give her the right to backstab the person inviting her. That person is still the host. 

And as for the Manderleys bringing the food:

"The guest right is a sacred law of hospitality. When a guest, be he common born or noble, eats the food and drinks the drink off a host's table beneath the host's roof, the guest right is invoked. Bread and salt are the traditional provisions."

Note that it doesn´t matter whose food it is, what matter is the table and the roof. How the noble got the food doesn´t matter (or it would be the butcher who might get the guest right instead). What matters is that the person seen as owner allows others to eat his food (all food in his castle is by default his). 

And again, nothing about whose castle it is affects the discussion, since the political implications by Jons choice are obvious. Jon is still provoking war with the Boltons regardless off where "Arya" is taken, working counter to his task as LC. His choices might be understandable, but he is still a very lousy LC. And I think Jon´s fans should man up and acknowledge this. If you want to fight against the evil Boltons because peace was never an option with them, fine! Sometimes there are enemies where peace are an impossibilty, like the slavers in Essos. But don´t claim at the same time that Jon did everything right and proper and was a great LC. 

Edited by Protagoras

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On 2017-04-21 at 1:16 AM, thehandwipes said:

On an unrelated note, Lot was undeniably correct to offer his virgin daughters to an angry crowd rather than let them harm two guests under his roof.

No, he wasn´t. He shouldn´t have offered them shit. Sure, they might kill them all, but if he was so faithful he should have trusted God to protect him. 

As for Lot as a "good person worth saving", that Lot is willing to give up his daughters to a mob say alot about christian morality and christians in general. But that´s what happens when you decide that the trait "christianity" settles who is virtous and who is not, regardless of all other traits. 

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58 minutes ago, Protagoras said:

As for Lot as a "good person worth saving", that Lot is willing to give up his daughters to a mob say alot about christian morality and christians in general. But that´s what happens when you decide that the trait "christianity" settles who is virtous and who is not, regardless of all other traits. 

You'll have to extend that criticism to the Jewish and Islamic peoples, too. Lot is a figure in all three religions.

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2 hours ago, Protagoras said:

Here we clearly see Jon at work in his own thoughts! For any kind of defense, this must hurt. He more or less willingly admits that he tried to kidnap and retrieve Arya - where she is taken is not of significance, the important part is that the LC of the Night´s watch interferes and steals the bride of the lord paramounts son. If she had been fleeing by horse seeking shelter in Night´s watch he might have had a case, but that was certainly not what happened. Nor are Jon able to kidnap persons who need help, even if they would have liked that shelter. And this person is now the wife of Ramsay, as horrible as that is. As a moral argument, I think most people can understand Jon - but Jon is LC of the Night´s watch. He is not allowed to take moral stances. His task supersedes his person by far. So, the utilitarian argument is the one that should be adopted here. Arya might suffer, but his duty requires him to look past that and not start a war over the issue. You could argue that the Boltons shouldn´t start a war over the issue either, but not only did Jon strike first, he is also the one with oaths. Neither Roose nor Ramsay have sworn to "guard the realms of men". 

This exactly.  Jon position is so sympathetic that people are twisting themselves into knots to justify actions Jon himself knows are not consistent with his vows.  Its almost as if the author were deliberately crafting a story designed to challenge Jon's commitment to his vows by hitting him were he's weakest, his sister; and challenge the readers sense of right and wrong.

2 hours ago, Protagoras said:

No, he wasn´t. He shouldn´t have offered them shit. Sure, they might kill them all, but if he was so faithful he should have trusted God to protect him. 

Sarcasm, man.  Come on, you knew that.  Right?

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2 hours ago, thehandwipes said:

Sarcasm, man.  Come on, you knew that.  Right?

Not my strong suit. My mistake.

3 hours ago, Lollygag said:

You'll have to extend that criticism to the Jewish and Islamic peoples, too. Lot is a figure in all three religions.

Yeah, of course. My mistake. People that claim that the trait "jewish" or "muslim" settles who is virtous and who is not are equally horrible people. Since I live in Sweden, I am sort of assuming christiantiy as default - which I probably shouldn´t do, but it is hard to ignore your country´s tradition.

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1 hour ago, Protagoras said:

Not my strong suit. My mistake.

Yeah, of course. My mistake. People that claim that the trait "jewish" or "muslim" settles who is virtous and who is not are equally horrible people. Since I live in Sweden, I am sort of assuming christiantiy as default - which I probably shouldn´t do, but it is hard to ignore your country´s tradition.

No problem.  I'm from Jersey, sarcasm is my default.  I sometimes forget not everyone speaks Asshole.

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