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The Starks, the Others and...Goldenhand?

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3 hours ago, jcmontea said:

What do you think the ending will be like? 

I'm not really sure about any of this,* but if you want to force me to guess:

Humans drive the White Walkers off the same way as last time. Maybe they rebuild the Watch, and maybe Bran sets himself up as the first of a new line of greenseers to look for signs of trouble, but we know those aren't going to last forever. But then again, they got 8000 years last time, and 8000 years is a long, long time.**

Dany manages to stabilize the Seven Kingdoms—maybe there are still bandits and local uprisings to deal with, but once Cersei is gone, nothing worse than that. The bigger threat is the long run. She's got a much better chance than Egg did of carrying out reforms, what with an impressive standing army (until the Unsullied reach retirement age) plus dragons, but it's still not going to be easy. Tyrion already told her it'll take more than one generation, and that message will be repeated.

Meanwhile, Lady Yara faces even harder challenges reforming her realm, while Lady Sansa has to rebuild a shattered and depopulated North, and the other realms are… probably just not mentioned on the show.

Essos is a chaotic mess. There are positive signs—relocated or reformed Dothraki means they can start rebuilding beyond their walls, and the slave trade has been seriously disrupted and may never return, etc.—but there are going to be plenty of wars among the surviving powers in the years to come, and civil wars within them, and Westeros under Dany may even get dragged into some (just like Aegon).

Overall, sort of like the Elizabethan era. Not exactly like it (most notably, they don't have a renaissance tradition to build on…), but a decent analogy, and one I suspect D&D have in their heads. A realistic golden age, but not a utopian era of peace and love and happiness for all.

---

* I assume you're talking about the political landscape, not the characters' stories. I think I can make much better guesses for the latter.

** And in another 8000 years, who needs the Children and flaming swords when you have satellite-based atomic death rays? :)

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Posted (edited)

7 minutes ago, falcotron said:

I'm not really sure about any of this,* but if you want to force me to guess:

Humans drive the White Walkers off the same way as last time. Maybe they rebuild the Watch, and maybe Bran sets himself up as the first of a new line of greenseers to look for signs of trouble, but we know those aren't going to last forever. But then again, they got 8000 years last time, and 8000 years is a long, long time.**

Dany manages to stabilize the Seven Kingdoms—maybe there are still bandits and local uprisings to deal with, but once Cersei is gone, nothing worse than that. The bigger threat is the long run. She's got a much better chance than Egg did of carrying out reforms, what with an impressive standing army (until the Unsullied reach retirement age) plus dragons, but it's still not going to be easy. Tyrion already told her it'll take more than one generation, and that message will be repeated.

Meanwhile, Lady Yara faces even harder challenges reforming her realm, while Lady Sansa has to rebuild a shattered and depopulated North, and the other realms are… probably just not mentioned on the show.

Essos is a chaotic mess. There are positive signs—relocated or reformed Dothraki means they can start rebuilding beyond their walls, and the slave trade has been seriously disrupted and may never return, etc.—but there are going to be plenty of wars among the surviving powers in the years to come, and civil wars within them, and Westeros under Dany may even get dragged into some (just like Aegon).

Overall, sort of like the Elizabethan era. Not exactly like it (most notably, they don't have a renaissance tradition to build on…), but a decent analogy, and one I suspect D&D have in their heads. A realistic golden age, but not a utopian era of peace and love and happiness for all.

---

* I assume you're talking about the political landscape, not the characters' stories. I think I can make much better guesses for the latter.

** And in another 8000 years, who needs the Children and flaming swords when you have satellite-based atomic death rays? :)

That makes sense. Jibes with what I think which I added to my comment that you quoted. 

The key thing for me is exactly what you said “a realistic golden age, but not a utopian era of peace and love and happiness for all.” 

Perhaps even what I wrote is too ambitious as feudalism won’t be dismantled under one reign. But the start of it and the process should be there. 

What about your guesses for character endings?

Edited by jcmontea

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14 minutes ago, jcmontea said:

That makes sense. Jibes with what I think which I added to my comment that you quoted. 

The key thing for me is exactly what you said “a realistic golden age, but not a utopian era of peace and love and happiness for all.” 

Perhaps even what I wrote is too ambitious as feudalism won’t be dismantled under one reign. But the start of it and the process should be there. 

What about your guesses for character endings?

Yeah, I don't think they can dismantle feudalism overnight (except by turning it into an autocratic absolute monarchy that would be even worse except for the fact that there's no way it would hold together for more than a generation), but they can definitely make some key steps in the process.

For character endings, I think we're getting a bit too far off topic for me to list all the endings I see for all the characters, but two examples:

  • Theon kills Euron. And he expects to die in doing so, but doesn't. He's outlived his destiny, and has no idea what to do next. Maybe just retire to a quiet life as a fisherman.
  • Jaime kills Cersei. Society calls him a kingslayer all over again, and a kinslayer to boot. But this time, he understands it was the right thing to do anyway, and besides, he has Tyrion and/or Brienne to understand him instead of just Tywin. But society will never accept him. I'm not sure exactly what he does (maybe he starts the reformed NW, or he goes to Essos as an exile member of a new sellsword company formed by Bronn and Ser Pod out of the ashes of the GC), but he doesn't get to live happily ever after as Lord Jaime Lannister, doesn't get written up in the history books as a hero (except maybe by Brienne in the KG book), doesn't get the girl, etc.

 

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Cersei could be killed by her own unborn nissa nissa, in the show anyway. Irony with her mother dying that way. 

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10 hours ago, falcotron said:

Yeah, I don't think they can dismantle feudalism overnight (except by turning it into an autocratic absolute monarchy that would be even worse except for the fact that there's no way it would hold together for more than a generation), but they can definitely make some key steps in the process.

Yea would be a process. But certainly a transition and a big step forward could be made similar to what happened in France under Philip IV

10 hours ago, falcotron said:

For character endings, I think we're getting a bit too far off topic for me to list all the endings I see for all the characters, but two examples:

  • Theon kills Euron. And he expects to die in doing so, but doesn't. He's outlived his destiny, and has no idea what to do next. Maybe just retire to a quiet life as a fisherman.
  • Jaime kills Cersei. Society calls him a kingslayer all over again, and a kinslayer to boot. But this time, he understands it was the right thing to do anyway, and besides, he has Tyrion and/or Brienne to understand him instead of just Tywin. But society will never accept him. I'm not sure exactly what he does (maybe he starts the reformed NW, or he goes to Essos as an exile member of a new sellsword company formed by Bronn and Ser Pod out of the ashes of the GC), but he doesn't get to live happily ever after as Lord Jaime Lannister, doesn't get written up in the history books as a hero (except maybe by Brienne in the KG book), doesn't get the girl, etc.

 

 

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22 hours ago, falcotron said:

So you think being dragged into a civil war about once per century is less peaceful than the Riverlands being invaded and conquered by the Ironborn, the Stormlands fighting near continuous wars with the Reach and whoever's to their north at the time, Dorne constantly raiding and being raided by the Marches of the Reach and the Stormlands, etc.? Or do you think things have been better across the sea for the last 400 years?

I said North. Of course it was crap in the Stormlands, Riverlands and Iron Islands. The Targaryens improved some there. But not enough, by far. My purpose was the Starks did a better job at peace keeping than the Targaryens. And they didn't use overwhelming strength. In fact, some lords, the Manderlys first, seem more powerful and wealthy than the Starks. And still, even when they seem reduced to Ned's little girl in the hands of the Boltons and a too young boy lost somewhere, these lords are still supporting the Starks. Because they respect them, their integrity. And prefer to be ruled by them than by another house. The Gardeners were the same, a house with a legitimacy before their vassals coming of the Age of Legends. Having dealt peacefully with another invasion, the Andals. Before the Targaryens burned them.

22 hours ago, falcotron said:

But meanwhile, LotR is still in the bookstores, where (spoilers) after the war is over the long-lost rightful king takes over and he's good and wise so the people of Gondor and the Shire do get to live happily ever after.

You have the right to expect a dark ending for ASoIaF. Let me expect a better ending. I would not be here if I hadn't hope and love for this story.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, BalerionTheCat said:

I said North. Of course it was crap in the Stormlands, Riverlands and Iron Islands. The Targaryens improved some there. But not enough, by far. My purpose was the Starks did a better job at peace keeping than the Targaryens. And they didn't use overwhelming strength. In fact, some lords, the Manderlys first, seem more powerful and wealthy than the Starks. And still, even when they seem reduced to Ned's little girl in the hands of the Boltons and a too young boy lost somewhere, these lords are still supporting the Starks. Because they respect them, their integrity. And prefer to be ruled by them than by another house. The Gardeners were the same, a house with a legitimacy before their vassals coming of the Age of Legends. Having dealt peacefully with another invasion, the Andals. Before the Targaryens burned them.

You have the right to expect a dark ending for ASoIaF. Let me expect a better ending. I would not be here if I hadn't hope and love for this story.

didn't the starks brutally conquer the North over a period of 1000 years during the age of heroes? 

If the Starks have more legitimacy to their rule than a good reason why is because just more time passed from when they had to conquer the North through "iron and blood." 

i seriously doubt that in 8000 years of Stark rule there wasn't some bad Stark Kings. If the story tries to sell me that I just wouldn't believe it because its not realistic. 

Edited by jcmontea

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1 hour ago, BalerionTheCat said:

I said North. Of course it was crap in the Stormlands, Riverlands and Iron Islands. The Targaryens improved some there.

What I and others were saying is that the Targaryens made the Seven Kingdoms relatively more peaceful than they were. You seemed to be disputing that, e.g., "The invasion didn't bring peace." Now it sounds like you weren't disputing that, just saying that, while the Targaryens brought peace, they didn't bring as much as they ideally could have? OK, fine; how does that change anything?

Your original point was that GRRM brings peace through pacts, not through wars.

So, how is the North an example of that? The Starks didn't unify the North through pacts, but through wars. If the North really is as lastingly peaceful as you say it is, that disproves your own argument.

1 hour ago, BalerionTheCat said:

You have the right to expect a dark ending for ASoIaF. Let me expect a better ending.

If you're "fed up to read it everywhere in GRRM books", seriously, you may be reading the wrong books. You're spending decades just setting yourself up for more to be fed up with.

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

I said North. Of course it was crap in the Stormlands, Riverlands and Iron Islands. The Targaryens improved some there. But not enough, by far. My purpose was the Starks did a better job at peace keeping than the Targaryens. And they didn't use overwhelming strength. In fact, some lords, the Manderlys first, seem more powerful and wealthy than the Starks. And still, even when they seem reduced to Ned's little girl in the hands of the Boltons and a too young boy lost somewhere, these lords are still supporting the Starks. Because they respect them, their integrity. And prefer to be ruled by them than by another house. The Gardeners were the same, a house with a legitimacy before their vassals coming of the Age of Legends. Having dealt peacefully with another invasion, the Andals. Before the Targaryens burned them.

You have the right to expect a dark ending for ASoIaF. Let me expect a better ending. I would not be here if I hadn't hope and love for this story.

The Starks only established their rule through violence and war. They've got a long history of wars with other northern houses - the Red Kings mostly and there have been plenty of rebellions by other houses suck as the Greystarks before Roose's betrayal of Robb. 

What I do find strange is Robb somehow feels it's okay to entrust the bulk of his army to the Boltons when they have a history of betraying the Starks, but that's rather off topic.

Edited by Фейсал

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3 hours ago, Фейсал said:

The Starks only established their rule through violence and war. They've got a long history of wars with other northern houses - the Red Kings mostly and there have been plenty of rebellions by other houses suck as the Greystarks before Roose's betrayal of Robb. 

What I do find strange is Robb somehow feels it's okay to entrust the bulk of his army to the Boltons when they have a history of betraying the Starks, but that's rather off topic.

“The starks, quick tempers, slow minds”

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Фейсал said:

The Starks only established their rule through violence and war. They've got a long history of wars with other northern houses - the Red Kings mostly and there have been plenty of rebellions by other houses suck as the Greystarks before Roose's betrayal of Robb.

The Red Kings were Bolton. They were flaying people. The Starks did good service by ending their practice. The Greystarks fell because of their siding with the Red Kings. How many other for the same motive? Possibly, the Barrow Kings, the Warg King, were not pleasant either. I agree, the Starks fought many wars. But we don't know much of the motivation for these wars. Anyway, the Starks seem to have made the North a better place overall. Much better than the Targaryens achieved IMO. The North has not been plagued by the endless waves of wars we've seen elsewhere. Significantly, I don't remember anyone allying with Andals invaders for the purpose of defeating their neighbour. Meaning IMO that people were rather pleased with the Starks.

When there was a Stark in Winterfell, a maiden girl could walk the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast.

Maybe it was not pacts that kept the Starks in place (but they married some of their foes daughters). But the life and safety they provided.

23 hours ago, jcmontea said:

i seriously doubt that in 8000 years of Stark rule there wasn't some bad Stark Kings. If the story tries to sell me that I just wouldn't believe it because its not realistic. 

Probably not. But it doesn't seem there were a lot as bad as Aerys or the Boltons.

23 hours ago, falcotron said:

If you're "fed up to read it everywhere in GRRM books", seriously, you may be reading the wrong books. You're spending decades just setting yourself up for more to be fed up with.

Did you read "The Once and Future King"? It is generally when something bad is depicted again and again, that it is an argument against. I like Tolkien's writings. I read LOTR I don't remember how many times. More than 10. But I don't like Tolkien's message. IMHO, he was a war advocate. Every poor little guy has to take part in the big wars. How insignificant he could be. It is his duty. But it is depressing. Because maybe Aragorn will have a peaceful reign thereafter. But before long evil will come back. And the little guy sacrifice will be for not much. The problem is war. T.H. White is much more like GRRM. Both were conscientious objectors (White left GB). IMO both dream of utopic worlds.

Wiki: In February 1939, White moved to Doolistown in County Meath, Ireland, where he lived out the Second World War as a de facto conscientious objector

Edited by BalerionTheCat

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

 

Quote

Probably not. But it doesn't seem there were a lot as bad as Aerys or the Boltons.

Tough to say. Aerys is very vivid to us because him being deposed is such a key part of the story. 

Not sure we even know that much about Stark rule from non Stark biased sources. 

But over the course of 8000 years there were probably a good chunk of really bad rulers. Just a matter of probability. 

Edited by jcmontea

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17 hours ago, jcmontea said:

Tough to say. Aerys is very vivid to us because him being deposed is such a key part of the story. 

Not sure we even know that much about Stark rule from non Stark biased sources. 

But over the course of 8000 years there were probably a good chunk of really bad rulers. Just a matter of probability. 

Everything you said is true. It was very long ago. Evidently a brutal time. Even Aerys was not tearing out the entrails of his prisoners with his bare hands. We can't much compare the eras. I'm mostly judging on the end result of today.

I would come back on two things you said:

On 02/10/2017 at 11:35 PM, jcmontea said:

If the Starks have more legitimacy to their rule than a good reason why is because just more time passed from when they had to conquer the North through "iron and blood."

The Starks have more legitimacy because the achieved a relative peace very very long ago. And they managed to keep it significantly better than most everywhere. The legitimacy is the cause not the consequence. Not sure but I think the Arryns did quite good also.

On 02/10/2017 at 11:35 PM, jcmontea said:

i seriously doubt that in 8000 years of Stark rule there wasn't some bad Stark Kings. If the story tries to sell me that I just wouldn't believe it because its not realistic. 

I seriously doubt any family can hold power for 8000 years, keeping the same values. No one did it on Earth. GRRM is not writing something realistic.

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3 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

The Starks have more legitimacy because the achieved a relative peace very very long ago. And they managed to keep it significantly better than most everywhere. The legitimacy is the cause not the consequence. Not sure but I think the Arryns did quite good also.

The Arryns are an even better example than the Starks of how GRRM doesn't bring lasting peace through pacts avoiding war.

How were the generations of fighting between the First Men and the Andals in the Vale finally resolved? Not with a pact, but with a war. The First Men all gathered behind the Royce king, Robar II, the Andals behind Ser Artys Arryn, and they met in a huge battle. The Arryns won, and the Royces and other First Men capitulated. And since bending their knee and swearing fealty, the Royces have been the most faithful vassal house in the world.

And you can't dismiss the Royces as bad guys who needed to be beaten up the way you did with the Boltons and the Barrow Kings.

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Posted (edited)

On 27.09.2017 at 2:00 AM, Фейсал said:

The books linger on the crypts of Winterfell so much it's just plain ridiculous. I'd sooner believe that Varys is a merman than believe there isn't something important down there.

Azor Ahai's sword is there.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Dawn

"After the combat at the tower of joy, Ned went to Starfall to inform House Dayne of Ser Arthur Dayne's death and return to them his greatsword, Dawn. Ashara jumped from the top of the Palestone Sword, one of the towers of Starfall, into the sea, but her body was never recovered.[4] Ashara is said to have done so because of a broken heart,[4] with some blaming a stillborn child,[3] a stolen child,[6] or grief over Arthur's death.[4]

Eddard returned to Winterfell with the infant Jon Snow. This sparked rumors that Ashara had been the mother of Ned's bastard,[7] and that grief at learning that her lover had been responsible for her brother's death was the cause of her suicide.[2][4] The stern Lord Stark halted all gossip at Winterfell that Ashara was Jon's mother.[2"

" Ashara was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Elia Martell, the wife of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen."

 

My crazy theory number whatever ^_^:

In GOT scene in Tower of Joy, there were two maids with Lyanna (and Dawn sword was also there). One of them became Jon's wet nurse, the one that Ned took with him to Winterfell. The other one Howland Reed took with him, and later married with her. She's mother of Meera, and Jojen. And she's Ashara Dayne.

Ashara was dornish, she was Elia's lady-in-waiting, her brother Arthur was assigned by Prince Rhaegar to protect Lyanna and her unborn baby. Arthur was Rhaegar's best friend. So when Rhaegar annuled his marriage with Elia, he assigned Ashara to become Lyanna's lady-in-waiting. Both of them, brother and sister, were at Tower of Joy. After Howland and Ned killed Arthur, Ahsara didn't returned home to Starfall. Instead she went with Howland Reed. And Ned took Dawn sword with him to Winterfell, and buried it in Lyanna crypt (where later it will be found by Jon, and with this sword Jon will defeat Night's King. Because this sword, the same as sword of Azor Ahai, is made out of meteorite).

Thus Ned had to somehow explain disappearance of Ashara, and appearance of a newborn baby. So he made up an aliby, and told everyone that he went to Starfall, to return Arthur's sword to his sister Ashara, and that she commited suicide (though how convinient - her body was never found). Because of this ruse, people thought that Jon's mother was either Ashara herself, or one of her maids (for example to Robert Ned said that Jon's mother was Willa, one of Ashara's maids). And Ashara let Ned keep her brother's sword, that later it will be given to Jon. Because Arthur died while protecting Jon, and Jon was his Prince. Probably while Ashara supported Lyanna during her pregnancy, the two of them became friends. That's another reason why Ashara wanted Jon to have that sword - he was son of Ashara's close friend.

In Season 8 we will see both Howland Reed and his wife. And then her real identity will be revealed.

Edited by Megorova

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I was reading ACOK, one of Bran's chapters. And in this one, the Cerwyn's visit, and the news of Stanis' making himself King is brought to Bran's attention and the mention of Joffrey being a bastard and product of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister sends Bran into a state of shock, and later in the night he has a dream in which h's saved from falling by a man in golden armor whose heard saying "The things I do for love". Which brought me back to this thread, it may not mean much, but I really foresee Jaime being our hero of the story. 

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49 minutes ago, RhaegoTheUnborn said:

I was reading ACOK, one of Bran's chapters. And in this one, the Cerwyn's visit, and the news of Stanis' making himself King is brought to Bran's attention and the mention of Joffrey being a bastard and product of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister sends Bran into a state of shock, and later in the night he has a dream in which h's saved from falling by a man in golden armor whose heard saying "The things I do for love". Which brought me back to this thread, it may not mean much, but I really foresee Jaime being our hero of the story. 

I think that's setting up for Bran being the one to exonerate Jaime of his crimes. Which may not happen literally in the books, but in the show I think it will: a replay of Littlefinger's trial, but instead of providing the condemning evidence, this time Bran will say Jaime needs to be set free.

We'll probably also get a reminder of way back in S1E01, when Ned executed a Watch traitor even though the man had turned himself in voluntarily to bring a message of dire importance,  which will serve both as a red herring to make Jaime's acquittal more surprising, and as background to Bran's character to make it more meaningful to those who are paying more attention.

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22 hours ago, falcotron said:

The Arryns are an even better example than the Starks of how GRRM doesn't bring lasting peace through pacts avoiding war.

Yes, I forgot the Arryns bloody beginning. 14 of the oldest and noblest houses of the Vale ended in the last battle. Some survived by joining their own blood with the Andals. But many more fled in the Mountains of the Moon to become pariahs. The Vale became a land of Andals. Not a proud result of war finally. And AFAIK, none the of First Men houses were worst than the Andals invaders.

Some of the First Men surely survived by joining their own blood with that of the Andals, but many more fled westward to the high valleys and stony passes of the Mountains of the Moon. There the descendants of this once-proud people dwell to this very day, leading short, savage, brutal lives amongst the peaks as bandits and outlaws, preying upon any man fool enough to enter their mountains without a strong escort.

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7 minutes ago, BalerionTheCat said:

Yes, I forgot the Arryns bloody beginning.

So, almost every lasting peace in ASoIaF was forged in a war, not a pact. And that includes the best peaces we see, the recent past of the North and the Vale.

Sometimes the other side of that war were bad guys, like the Boltons. But it was still a war, not a pact, that forced them into submission.

So, where does that leave your idea that the humans can't win by defeating the Walkers in a war because GRRM never brings lasting peace with a war?

I think you want to see GRRM as the same kind of pacifist as you, but I don't think he is. He isn't a warmonger, but he isn't an unconditional pacifist, either. See this interview, for example. White was a conscientious objector even in WWII; GRRM, by contrast, says, "Yes, I would have fought in World World II against the Nazis". He was against Vietnam because the Viet Cong were not the Nazis, not because he's against all war no matter what. In his own words, "I was not a complete pacifist".

Have you heard the quote, "Even a just war is still just a war to the people forced to fight it"? I think that probably represents GRRM's views, as it does Tolkien's. War is a bad thing. Sometimes it's necessary anyway, but it's still bad even when it's necessary. It destroys a generation of humanity by killing some and turning the rest into killers. You can't just pretend that isn't a problem; if you want to argue that a specific war is necessary, you have to show that the cost of not fighting is even worse than that cost. Showing that the Great War Against the Dead is necessary won't invalidate that idea the way it would invalidate White's principles.

GRRM is also interested in exploring the idea of the glory of war, rather than just dismissing it. Capturing the emotionally stirring feeling of seeing the good guys' banners flying in the wind and then also capturing the horror of realistic violence and its aftermath is part of the reason to write medieval fantasy in the first place. Having a war with the ultimate of just causes—literally fighting for life itself against death—and then still showing the heavy human cost of that war, that fits in perfectly with what GRRM is doing with this series.

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2 hours ago, falcotron said:

So, almost every lasting peace in ASoIaF was forged in a war, not a pact. And that includes the best peaces we see, the recent past of the North and the Vale.

Sometimes the other side of that war were bad guys, like the Boltons. But it was still a war, not a pact, that forced them into submission.

So, where does that leave your idea that the humans can't win by defeating the Walkers in a war because GRRM never brings lasting peace with a war?

I think you want to see GRRM as the same kind of pacifist as you, but I don't think he is. He isn't a warmonger, but he isn't an unconditional pacifist, either. See this interview, for example. White was a conscientious objector even in WWII; GRRM, by contrast, says, "Yes, I would have fought in World World II against the Nazis". He was against Vietnam because the Viet Cong were not the Nazis, not because he's against all war no matter what. In his own words, "I was not a complete pacifist".

Have you heard the quote, "Even a just war is still just a war to the people forced to fight it"? I think that probably represents GRRM's views, as it does Tolkien's. War is a bad thing. Sometimes it's necessary anyway, but it's still bad even when it's necessary. It destroys a generation of humanity by killing some and turning the rest into killers. You can't just pretend that isn't a problem; if you want to argue that a specific war is necessary, you have to show that the cost of not fighting is even worse than that cost. Showing that the Great War Against the Dead is necessary won't invalidate that idea the way it would invalidate White's principles.

GRRM is also interested in exploring the idea of the glory of war, rather than just dismissing it. Capturing the emotionally stirring feeling of seeing the good guys' banners flying in the wind and then also capturing the horror of realistic violence and its aftermath is part of the reason to write medieval fantasy in the first place. Having a war with the ultimate of just causes—literally fighting for life itself against death—and then still showing the heavy human cost of that war, that fits in perfectly with what GRRM is doing with this series.

:agree:

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