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Lala

Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF

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"What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms ... or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy." - Maester Aemon (Jon VIII, A Game of Thrones)

In ASoIaF, Martin draws readers into the world of Westeros, populating it with believable and complex characters like Tyrion, Cersei, Sansa, Jaime, Catelyn, and even Walder Frey. As the story progresses, the reader becomes privy to some of the characters' darkest thoughts and deepest desires, following their journeys as they win and lose kingdoms, betray and are betrayed in turn, and question the natures of truth and justice. The world of ASoIaF is certainly dark and full of terrors, and it becomes tempting to say that love and romance have no role in this grim world.

Yet, it is important to remember that Martin is, at his heart, a self-professed romantic. He is neither unwilling nor afraid to use the word "love" and to make it a part of his characters' stories and lives.

“Alyssa Arryn had seen her husband, her brothers, and all her children slain, and yet in life she had never shed a tear. So in death, the gods had decreed that she would know no rest until her weeping watered the black earth of the Vale, where the men she had loved were buried. Catelyn wondered how large a waterfall her own tears would make when she died.” - George RR Martin (Catelyn VI, A Game of Thrones)

After all, love is not the fragile fairy tale of Sansa's songs, but a very real and integral part of human existence. As Tolstoy observes in Anna Karenina,

"I think ... if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts."

How we love informs who we are, what we believe in and desire - our loves are a reflection of our hearts.

Consequently, Le Cygne, DogLover, and myself, your hosts for this thread, believe that a deeper understanding of the love stories that are interwoven into the Song of Ice and Fire are an important part of fully appreciating and understanding Martin's characters and their stories.

This thread will cover ten of the love stories of ASoIaF: Jaime/Brienne, Dany/Drogo, Dany/Daario, Asha/Qarl, Renly/Loras, Sansa/Sandor, Jon/Ygritte, Robb/Jeyne, Rhaegar/Lyanna, Arya/Gendry. The analyses will be divided into two parts: (1) a scene-by-scene summary of the love story & (2) a set of thematic essays exploring specific aspects of the story.

We realize that different readers have differing opinions on these romantic relationships, but we request that the participants in this thread attempt to keep an open and objective mind - we are here to neither glorify nor condemn a particular "love story," but rather, to objectively analyze them and learn about what they tell us about the characters, ASoIaF, and Martin as a writer. Finally, we encourage all participants to share their insights and would love to see explorations of themes that we do not touch on in our pre-arranged essays.

That being said, welcome to Rethinking Romance~ We look forward to sharing and discussing the love stories of ASoIaF with everyone =)

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already at the edge of my seat :)

keep 'em coming, ladies!

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I like it. I was talking to (at) my friend Brian about how much GRRM hints at this being a love story, a brutal tragic fucked up love story, but a love story. A song of ice and fire. Just the arrangement of the title draws my attention. Martin talks about how he writes about the human heart. The dark places, the capacity for love, the capacit to love. I've always thought the story "the meathouse man" was important to think about when sorting out the characters. Martin says it was painful to write and still hurts him to think about. I reccomend giving it a read if you haven't. If this was a story about war and violence it would be a song of fire and ice. The switching of the words seems so important to me. But I uh, think differently. Great thread I'm interested in seeing where it goes. "He should have made the wolf maiden the queen of love and beauty" "she was but that's a sadder story" that is gorgeous writing. Sorry if words are mixed at all.

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Hmmm...better reinforce my buckler and sharpen my spear so I'm ready to dive into some SanSan discussions.

I hope we can do some justice to this love story that has already been giving so much thoughtful discussion in the PtP threads =D

OMG I can't wait :)

Yay~

already at the edge of my seat :)

keep 'em coming, ladies!

We will do our best =D

I like it. I was talking to (at) my friend Brian about how much GRRM hints at this being a love story, a brutal tragic fucked up love story, but a love story. A song of ice and fire. Just the arrangement of the title draws my attention. Martin talks about how he writes about the human heart. The dark places, the capacity for love, the capacit to love. I've always thought the story "the meathouse man" was important to think about when sorting out the characters. Martin says it was painful to write and still hurts him to think about. I reccomend giving it a read if you haven't. If this was a story about war and violence it would be a song of fire and ice. The switching of the words seems so important to me. But I uh, think differently. Great thread I'm interested in seeing where it goes. "He should have made the wolf maiden the queen of love and beauty" "she was but that's a sadder story" that is gorgeous writing. Sorry if words are mixed at all.

Welcome to the forums! I'll be sure to take a look at it (I confess my knowledge of SSMs/Martin is fairly shaky and needs lots of studying) - it's an interesting point about the title. Now that I think about it, the poem it was inspired by (Frost's "Some say the world will end in ...") identifies fire as desire and hate as ice, so perhaps there is some significance in the fact that the title goes from hate to desire rather than the other way around.

Thanks~ looking forward to your input (and everyone else's!) We are very very excited =D

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Thanks! It's a hard story to read. But it gives you an insight on Martins thoughts of the cost of love at some point in his life, an important one. That combined with some other factors make it possible for me to think he's writing the most epic brutal hypnotizing adventure ever with the saddest love story painted underneath for those who can find it.

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Do we start with Jaime/Brienne? Because their dynamic reminds me of the closing lines of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd:

He accompanied her up the hill, explaining to her the details of his forthcoming tenure of the other farm. They spoke very little of their mutual feeling; pretty phrases and warm expressions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends. Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality. This good-fellowship — camaraderie — usually occurring through similarity of pursuits, is unfortunately seldom superadded to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their lahours, but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death — that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam.

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Brilliant thread. Sounds amazing guys.

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On Jon Snow Reread project, Lummel made quite astute observation that in ASOIAF love always trumps honor. We have seen it with Ned when both Lyanna and Sansa were in question, we have seen it when Jaime, Jon, Sansa, Sandor, Loras and many more were in question. That's how we came to conclusion that GRRM,deep down in his heart, is irreperable romantic.

Congratulations on the thread, it's a wonderful idea...

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Awh, no Bran/Meeea ;)

But the romantic inside me is sobbing as if it's just watched Love Actually. Super excited for this one!

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Oh nice. GRRM is an old romantic anyway, so it will be great to see what comes out of this thread. :)

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Do we start with Jaime/Brienne? Because their dynamic reminds me of the closing lines of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd:

Yes, we are going to start with Jaime and Brienne. We hope to have a scene-by-scene summary and analysis posted early next week. However, the ever-so-prolific Lala may have something sooner.

Also, as soon as we finalize the logistics, an outline/schedule will be posted. The goal is to cover one romance per week.

Stay tuned!

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I'm so glad to see this thread! I have absolutely no doubt the three of you will do a great job with this effort. As others have already stated, Martin is a romantic and has said so himself. I sometimes think newer ideas and mediums confuse what Romance has looked like in the past.

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Awh, no Bran/Meeea ;)

But the romantic inside me is sobbing as if it's just watched Love Actually. Super excited for this one!

Ha! I knew I wasn't the only one interested in Bran and Meera. But no worries, after we cover the ten listed, we'll move on to another round of "romances." :love:

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Eeeee!

I feel like this is gonna be a girl's only kind of thread. :)

Can't wait!

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Ha! I knew I wasn't the only one interested in Bran and Meera. But no worries, after we cover the ten listed, we'll move on to another round of "romances." :love:

I was going to ask about this. Glad to see other romances will be looked at as well. I'd particularly like to explore Ned and Catelyn at some point.

Again, I'm glad the three of you started this!

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How about the forbidden love of Jaime and Cersei? Any chance? :P

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