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James Steller

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About James Steller

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    Head of House Steller, serving King Stannis I Baratheon

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  1. Clayton Suggs’ winged pigs rank pretty low for me. Incredibly mismatched arms with that kind of person. Though there’s also Grandison’s sleeping lion, which just seems like a strange idea.
  2. Brienne of Tarth and Dacey Mormont fly under the radar big time. Both are warrior women serving men they love, but where Brienne is constantly mocked and challenged for her desire to fight, Dacey is completely accepted. She fights in Robb’s royal guard, she’s the heir to her mother, she never seems to have much anguish or inner turmoil, she’s completely in her element. And she never feels like she has to prove anything except to Robb through her skills and actions. No wonder Brienne was drawn to serve the North.
  3. This is a thought I had regarding the Dance of the Dragons where each side would insist that one Targaryen or another take the black. But these are Targaryens with dragons bound to them. It makes me wonder what would happen if a Targaryen prince treats taking the black as an honour (back in its 7-8000 range days) and volunteering to go serve the Nights Watch. Would such an esteemed volunteer be able to take their dragon with them? Even if they won’t fly north of the Wall, that dragon would be damn useful. And given how there would be dozens of other dragons to keep the one in check, there’s no point in making waves while you’re up at the Wall.
  4. Now that you mention it, you’d think Daemon Targaryen would at least have considered some kind of conspiracy from the greens.
  5. A clash was inevitable, yes. The only question was how big of a clash it would be. I’ve wondered what would have happened if Blood and Cheese had instead been ordered to kill as many Targaryens as they could. They would have slaughtered at least five members of the green family, including all three of the king’s children. That would have been deeply demoralizing to Aegon, and much more vulnerable to Aemond’s ambitions. I would imagine that the greens would easily have crumpled if Daemon had been more unscrupulous in his underhanded dealings. Another way it could have ended quickly would have been a swift attack on Dragonstone by the dragon-flying greens against the blacks before they knew about the death of King Viserys. It’s a very risky attack, but it would have been catastrophic for the blacks and they likely all could have died. So back to the question, there was no way to avoid a dance of dragons, metaphorically, but the actual dance’s scale could definitely have been avoided.
  6. I always thought the Cannibal was a metaphor for the overall Dance of the Dragons happening around it. But in-universe, it could have just been a mad dragon. Not all animals are trainable to humans, even in horse breeds that have been domesticated for millennia. And there are some wolves that get rabies and attack their own kind without thought to the cannibalism. I could easily believe that the dragons share the Valyrians’ propensity for madness, it just doesn’t appear nearly as frequently because of the dragons’ magical abilities.
  7. Firstly, if Littlefinger was worried about consequences, he wouldn’t be the character that he is. He makes calculated decisions, sure, but he’s still playing all the sides against each other in a way that they’d all love to tear him apart if they found out what he’d been doing. And Littlefinger is never satisfied with any set level of power, he’s blind to perspective and comfort. It’s like Noah Cross in Chinatown. Jake Gittes asks him why he’s dealing in murder and corruption when he’s already rich (like Littlefinger), how much better can he eat, what can’t he already afford, and Noah Cross proclaims “The future” before asking about the whereabouts of the girl, whom he cares about more than any wealth he’ll ever have. It’s the same with Littlefinger, obsessed with the daughter of his precious obsession, on a mission to grab all the power that he can because he gets a thrill out of playing the world against itself. Hence why he is so dangerous; no amount of wealth could ever be enough for him. So yes, I can see why he’d cuckold Jon Arryn as proof of his own intellectual superiority over a war hero and highly respected man who was his own liege lord back when his family were stuck on a patch of bare rock in the Fingers. Littlefinger is partially driven by an inferiority complex due to his poor background and his lack of physical prowess. It leaves him desperately hungry for more and more, and ruthlessly hateful of those who slighted him or who made him feel inferior. A true narcissist incapable of empathy or healthy affection, desperate to grab as much power as possible while gaming the system. I won’t say who that reminds me of because this is a literature focused site, but the point is that Littlefinger is capable of all sorts of devious actions, it doesn’t stretch my disbelief at all. As for Lysa, I can still make it work. Lysa talks about being fed up with whispers, and waiting. She’s speaking very much like Jaime Lannister talks about how he is sick of deception and secrecy. Cersei slept with Jaime constantly, but she never considered marrying him. Plus, we don’t know exactly how Littlefinger got this sick hold over Lysa, whether it was through emotional manipulation or sex, or maybe both. We’ll never know those details, and that ambiguity gives us room to theorize. I have no trouble believing that Littlefinger strung Lysa along as he had sex with her in secret and led her by the nose with promises that they could be married if these people were put out of the way. Robert being his secret son also gives Lysa an ideal family with father, mother, and child living happily together, just like her older sister got with Eddard Stark (minus Jon Snow, of course).
  8. To each their own, but I can definitely believe Lysa could have had a child with Littlefinger and she could have justified it in so many ways. And as for Blackfish, he really didn’t have much influence over Lysa. He was a glorified captain of the gates. She didn’t respect him or any member of her family. She wouldn’t join the war which her family was fighting for their survival? How much did she really care about any of them in the aftermath of the Red Wedding? Come to think of it, I’m surprised she didn’t have Brynden fight Bronn in that trial by combat. Brynden would have killed him and then Lysa would have executed Tyrion. The ramifications of that would ripple out past comprehension.
  9. You can hardly take Lysa Tully’s word for anything without a grain of salt on top of a pile of more salt? But taking the text itself, I can imagine a few scenarios now off the top of my head how it could still work. Lysa is desperate to confirm Jon’s parentage on Robert because of self doubt or paranoia that someone will question the fact that her son isn’t turning out like his dad at all. And we know for sure that her first child with Littlefinger died, but why would anyone know of their second child? Maybe Lysa persuades herself that the boy is Jon’s child, maybe she’s desperately trying to battle accusations that haven’t been made yet, maybe she’s unstable and repeating instructions given to her by a man who we know can manipulate her into doing anything.
  10. I disagree. Littlefinger is one of the least ethical people in the story. He’s a sociopath who sees everyone else as either pawns to be manipulated, enemies to be defeated, or prizes to be coveted. I don’t doubt for a second that he’d kill off his own kid if it means he gets power and Sansa Stark all for himself. Littlefinger is the real monster of the story, after all. He’s the one who set everything into motion by persuading Lysa to kill Jon Arryn and blame the Lannisters so he could destroy House Stark for taking Catelyn away from him. Also, Robert doesn’t resemble either of his parents. He doesn’t have Tully features or Arryn features. We know that Tullys are blue eyed redheads while Arryns are basically Aryans (based on how Jon and Harry the Heir look). Robert is a tiny boy with a very slight frame and brown hair. Petyr Baelish has the exact same body type with dark hair (we can assume that dark + red = brown). They’re both short and weak compared to Jon Arryn being in robust health into his 60s. I‘m beginning to think I was too tentative with my thread title. Far as I’m concerned, Littlefinger IS Sweetrobin’s father.
  11. I think it’s a fair thing to think. Lysa would never admit it, maybe she wasn’t even sure, but I am convinced that she and Littlefinger spent her marriage cuckolding Jon. Plus Jon has a bad track record with procreation. I’m convinced that he was sterile and Littlefinger is the real father of Robert.
  12. The Olenna thing could simply be that even though she likes him, she didn’t consider him a great candidate to be king. Why would she lie about that opinion? She gives zero f***s and is also a very shrewd woman. As to what you pointed out, I might be a fan of Stannis, but I’m not blind to his flaws. If he had zero flaws, then he’s just a Martin Sue. I agree that his endorsement of Rhlorr is a big hurdle for his cause, and it will isolate him further from the people of Westeros. But he can change. He barely relies on Mel by book five. As you said, he’s all about the Others as the true threat and is only making war on the Boltons to unite the North again. He refuses to burn men multiple times, and he trusts the advice of Davos or Jon Snow rather than Melisandre. He is told to his face that he’s wrong by both men and he listens to them. He respects people who are honest with him. I do admit that he’d be at risk of losing his way if he did become king (If I had to guess, his rule would probably be a mix between Aegon III and Maekar Targaryen), and I doubt he’ll ever sit the Iron Throne, but I’m hoping that he’ll continue his upward climb and maybe die a hero in battle against the Others, the king who cared.
  13. I can dislike Renly without descending to homophobia. That is actually the most interesting part of his character, especially when we see Loras’ character in ASOS. I just didn’t find Renly that interesting. Stannis is often unlikable, true, but he’s my favourite character. He has a fascinating personality and a dynamic character arc ( so far anyway; I really hope GRRM changes his mind about Shireen). Renly is more of a foil to men like Eddard and the mains in ACOK; he’s an obstacle in others’ paths. He’s also just as sneaky as the other men in the Small Council and I’m struggling to remember anything he actively did as Master of Laws. Also, you can’t just determine how long it’s been since Cressen knew Renly, nor can you simply dismiss Olenna was homophobic. Granted, I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure that we never hear Cressen say how long it’s been since he saw Renly. I’m also pretty sure that Olenna never gives Loras a hard time for his relationship with Renly, and she did also support Renly’s cause (and don’t tell me that was all Mace’s doing, his mother has a very strong influence on him, just look at how effortlessly she undid the engagement between Cersei and Willas). Brienne and Loras are biased sources because they are both in love with Renly. To be clear, I’m not saying Renly was a monster. Renly knew how to make friends and play the game. But the game itself is highly toxic and damaging to the people of Westeros. Renly won’t do anything to change things. Stannis, however, has no interest in the BS of the game and he would rather smash it and replace it with justice. Aegon III and Aegon V tried to do the same thing, and they were my favourite Targaryens by far. I’d rather back a flawed person who actually tried to make a real difference rather than just being another ambitious guy with a handsome smile. And since this came up, yes, Renly was Robert without his worst flaws, but that still doesn’t mean he’d be a good king. Robert was never going to be a good king, even if you take away his hedonistic appetites, because he was mentally weak. He avoided confrontations and he would rather turn away from a messy problem and ignore it rather than address it. In this year 2020, more than ever we are seeing the consequences of people who plug their ears and ignore basic problems within a society. Stannis wouldn’t have smiled at the sight of two dead Targaryen kids, he would have called it murder. He would have sent Jaime to the Wall for murder. He would have fought Tywin Lannister if he had to. And again, I’m not saying Stannis is without flaws. But I back him, flaws and all (for now at least) because he stands for justice in a world that is sorely lacking justice on pretty much every fundamental level.
  14. One of the many tidbits we learned in FaB is the inclusion of Jonquil Darke, the Scarlet Shadow. For anyone who doesn’t know, Jonquil was a skilled warrior who wanted to serve in the Kingsguard but got rejected because she was a woman. Later, Jaehaerys summoned her to King’s Landing after Alysanne was nearly killed while she was unguarded in Maidenpool’s bathhouse. Jonquil became Alysanne’s bodyguard for presumably the rest of their lives. Thinking about it, I’m kind of surprised that this didn’t set a precedent in Westeros. Why should the queens get their own bodyguards who are able to follow them into places where men are traditionally not allowed? Brienne could have named her at any point in the main story, unless Jonquil has been otherwise forgotten to history (which I find a bit doubtful: women who broke through the glass ceiling in the Middle Ages definitely got mentioned in the history books, negatively or otherwise, they still got noticed and mentioned).
  15. There’s also the destruction of Baghdad’s ancient library by the Mongols. They reportedly threw so many books and scrolls into the Tigris River that it ran black with ink for weeks. Between their usual conquering and their spreading the Black Plague to Europe, I daresay the Mongols might have the highest body count of any civilization in human history.
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