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rustythesmith

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  1. rustythesmith

    GoT and Feminism: What Happens Now?

    I'm talking about both. Did you miss the part where I said "in real life?" I reference the story when possible in order to keep things on topic, and because that's what stories are for. If you want to turn this into a full on political debate with real world examples I expect you'll get the whole thread shut down in short order. So let's try to reference the story when possible, shall we? I don't know where you live, but I live in the US. If your claim is that women, blacks and poor are unduly oppressed by the government, go ahead and point to the oppression and we'll talk about it. You tell me. Which rights does everyone else enjoy that are denied to women, blacks, or the poor? I get the impression from your comments that you still don't seem to differentiate between due and undue oppressive forces. I'm going to make a wild assumption here so correct me if it's wrong. But I get the impression that you're casting the opposite groups as the oppressors. Those would be men, whites, and the rich. If you aren't, then who or what do you think is unduly oppressing women, blacks and the poor? So I guess those are my two questions. If you're going to make a claim like that, then you'll need to define the "what" and the "who" in clearer terms than "These people are oppressed (in some unnamed way) by (some unnamed people)." Yes, I agree. Women have been oppressed in ways men generally haven't. Likewise, men have been oppressed in ways women generally haven't. What is your point? You keep making these claims as if there is some invisible oppressor behind the curtain but you don't want to name them. As if we're all in agreement about the source of the oppression or identity of the oppressor. I think you've clearly cast men as the oppressors. Rather than simply saying so, you just point to society as a whole and call it a "corrupt patriarchy" which we all know comes from the latin word for father. That's a pretty laughable criticism to make against your society, considering that same "corrupt patriarchal" society is what produced all the security and comforts you enjoy today. Security which, by the way, is historically unprecedented. It seems to me that a little more gratitude for your society would be appropriate. Maybe it isn't as corrupt or unduly oppressive as you think it is. Here's a crazy idea to chew on. Maybe the rich have earned their richness by producing more value for their society. Maybe the poor have earned their poorness by producing less value for their society.
  2. rustythesmith

    GoT and Feminism: What Happens Now?

    And which groups are those? Women, I suppose? Do you mean to suggest that men were happier about arranged marriages than women? Edmure Tully, Robb Stark, Jaime Lannister and Loras Tyrell might have something to say about that. Do you think mothers weren't arranging marriages for their children to the same degree as fathers? If Catelyn and Ned's arranged marriage never happened, how do you think Robert's Rebellion would have ended without the Stark and Tully alliance? If Lysa and Jon Arryn's arranged marriage never happened, whose army do you suppose would have rescued Team Stark at Battle of the Bastards? How about we drop the "corrupt patriarchy" act and acknowledge that, in Westeros and in real world history, arranged marriage was practiced primarily because it was preferable to the bloody alternatives. It depends what you mean. Oppressed by who or what? In the claim that "women are / have been oppressed", you seem to have cast "men" as the perpetrators of that oppression. As if all or even most of the oppressive forces in life are inflicted from one sex to the other sex. Less than 5% of the population identify as LGBT. The older a woman is, the less likely she is to identify as LGBT. Some of the reason for that is due to generational differences. And some of the reason for it is because, as lesbians get older, they tend to pair with men. But I can hear you already. You might say, well that's just because society is oppressive! If people weren't so mean to lesbians and gays, or if society was more egalitarian, then more than 5% of people would be happy to be lesbian and gay and to remain that way. That isn't the case, but let's assume that it is because I think there's a more important point to make that relates to the topic of society as a whole, and necessary oppressive forces. Imagine that the society becomes a utopia of tolerance and acceptance, which reveals that a larger portion of the population prefers same-sex sex than we thought. Maybe 5% becomes 10% or 50% or 100%,. As the occurrence of same-sex sex goes up, the birth rate goes down. As the birth rate falls below maintenance, there are not enough people to do the jobs that the deceased are leaving behind. The decrease in productivity destabilizes the society and the society collapses. So it turns out that there exists some unknown threshold of same-sex sex at which point women do, in fact, need a man. But of course, only if we assume that a future with humans in it is preferable to a future without humans in it. I can't reply to the rest of your post at the moment but I gave it a glance and I can tell that I am missing out on some points just as brilliant as these others.
  3. If might makes right then you've just provided the justification for people to commit every crime imaginable against you and for you to commit every crime imaginable against them. If your definition of practicality is to maximize human suffering then I think you're on the right track. The preservation of human life is the only highest principle that can survive over evolutionary time. The societies that don't place it at the top die out because dying is an inevitable consequence of valuing something else higher than life. That supposition isn't necessary. Violent resistance to a fundamentally unjust system can and has preserved more human life than acquiescence to an unjust system. There is an ethical case to be made for violent revolution. If your plan for revolution does not involve some way for the liberated to feed and house themselves after the liberation, then that case is not very strong.
  4. Your replies demonstrate that you don't understand it, because you keep accusing me of defending slavery or drawing equivalencies that I'm not drawing. Exhibit B. That isn't what I claimed at all. People can still make sound moral judgements. Relativity only draws attention to our responsibility to extend our sympathy to everyone who will be affected by our judgements before we make the judgements. Dany frequently fails to assume that responsibility while Jon frequently succeeds to assume that responsibility. The way you extend your sympathy is by trying to imagine yourself in the other person's circumstances. So what are the circumstances of the slavers? Well, most of them were born into this society. That's a circumstance that happens to have been completely out of their control, just as your place of birth was out of your control. Having been born here, they've inherited the beliefs, values and attitudes of everyone else who lives here. One of those beliefs is that slavery is a pretty normal thing to do. It's a very sick society indeed where slavery is considered a normal thing to do. You could say it's a very sick society where abortion is considered a normal thing to do. But we do it anyway, don't we? 92% of abortions in the US are for unwanted pregnancies. Do you think I deserve to die because my society is sick? That's equivalent to the proposition that the slavers deserved to die. You can perform the experiment with any value you want. It doesn't have to be abortion or slavery. The point is that nobody is necessarily justified to kill people simply for a difference in values. I think there are circumstances when it can be justified, but those are equally rooted in the human life value. The idea that morality is not objective or universal is a great comfort to George RR Martin, who wrote 5/7ths of an epic fantasy novel to demonstrate that morality is not objective or universal, which then inspired Game of Thrones. You're clearly trying to label me in a category of things-you-don't-like. I'm not a libertarian but if it makes you happy you can continue pretending I'm a libertarian. Or a Bolton. Maybe ad rem.
  5. You're not understanding the arguments I'm making. I'm not defending slavery and I haven't defended slavery at any point whatsoever in this conversation. My argument is for moral or ethical relativity. It's the fundamental conceit of the entire book series that George Martin has written called A Song of Ice and Fire. Relativity is baked into the story in every way, especially regarding morality. Incorporating relativity into our interpretive toolkit is not only useful but paramount to understanding the themes, premises, lessons, mysteries and puzzles of the story. The TV show operates with the same conceit. First you think Jaime is a villain and then after you learn more about Jaime you think he's not a villain. First you think Tyrion is a villain and then after you learn more about Tyrion you think he is not a villain. This happens over and over again in varying degrees with various characters, most notably with Daenerys. First you think she's a hero and then you think she's a villain. First you think the slavers are villains and you cheer when Dany burns them up. Then when Dany does the same thing to the innocents in Westeros, you realize Dany is the villain and that perhaps she shouldn't have burned the slavers. Jon and Dany explicate the moral relativity thing in the very scene when Jon kills Dany. Dany: A good world. Jon: How do you know? How do you know it'll be good? Dany: Because I know what is good. And so do you. Jon: No I don't. Dany: You do. You do, you've always known. Jon: What about everyone else? All the other people who think they know what's good? Dany: They don't get to choose. Jon is literally asking the question that the fans are supposed to be asking themselves now every time Dany burned somebody alive, fed them to her dragons, nailed them up on crosses, locked them in a vault and so on. Those people all thought they were doing good. To butcher a quote George RR Martin, "Nobody gets out of bed in the morning and says what kind of evil can I do today?" Dany is literally saying what every tyrant in history has said. I know what's good. So what makes your idea of "good" and "bad" truer than somebody else's idea of "good" and "bad?" The answer is nothing. So morality has to be rooted in some value that we can all agree upon. I think if you pay close attention to the story, you'll find that value is the preservation of human life.
  6. You haven't answered any of the questions that moral relativism poses. What would you do if you were born into a slaving family in a slaving society such as Astapor or any of these cities that Dany has conquered? Until you can imagine a viable reason for why you yourself wouldn't be a slaver if you were born there, you have no justification for killing them. And neither does Dany. The slavers are no more responsible for the slaves brought to their city than you are responsible for the blood diamonds brought to your finger or the blood oil brought to your car. If we're willing to trace causality to infinity, then everyone on earth is perpetuating horrible atrocities. There are plenty of people who would love to torture and kill you and I for the horrors we're perpetuating in our everyday lives. Thankfully for us, none of those people have dragons. The justice or vengeance thing is pretty simple and it's defined for us in the books. Are you taking pleasure in the task of justice? If yes, then it's revenge. Is your goal to inflict pain? If yes, then it's revenge. Doing either of these things will corrupt your conscience and set you on the slippery slope to Nazi-ism, to use your description. It's exactly the same message in the show.
  7. I think Jon is the single most fit person to rule. But I think the show would have been better if he died, and here's how. First, you have to think of this story as a war of ideals and philosophies rather than a war between characters. The characters are more like vehicles for the ideals and philosophies. Jon, Robb and Bran are vehicles for Ned's philosophy. Dany is the vehicle for Jorah's. Arya for Ned's corrupted by Sandor's. Sansa for Catelyn's corrupted by Petyr's. What I think we're witnessing in ASOIAF is this medieval-ish world's discovery of one of Ned's philosophies in particular. That's "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword". AKA don't use executioners. AKA everybody should just do their own damn killing. Robb tried to stick to Ned's philosophy, but he tripped up when he failed to honor his marriage vow to House Frey. Remember, Ned honored his arranged marriage vow to Catelyn. So Robb gets murdered and now Team Ned loses one of its players. Bran's life experiences aren't really testing him on matters of execution and justice, but they're testing him on matters of power. He has unequaled power that he can wield in secret, but he's not supposed to use it. Whether or not power will corrupt Bran remains to be seen, but for now Bran is a carrier of Ned's philosophies, safely stowed away in the north with the Reeds and ravens. Jon's life experiences constantly test him on matters of execution and justice. So far he hasn't tripped up even once. He has stuck to those ideals even at great risk to his life. To others, Jon and Ned appear to be Lawful Stupid. They both get killed for sticking to their ideals. Getting killed doesn't seem to be conducive to winning the war of philosophies. Until... Until you average all of Ned's philosophies to find the commonality between them, revealing a hidden philosophy. I think that is "self-sacrifice." To do all of the executions yourself is a self-sacrifice. It would be easier to let other people do some executions for you. To allow your wife to resent you in order to protect a baby is a self-sacrifice. It would be easier to tell your wife the truth. To give Cersei a chance to escape the city safely with her kids is a self-sacrifice. It would be easier to let the mob kill them. To object to the assassination of Daenerys is a self-sacrifice. It would be easier to let her get assassinated. If a lone wolf has to die so that the pack can survive, the lone wolf should elect to die. There are more but you get the picture. So while Ned's self-sacrificial philosophies in practice appear to be Lawful Stupid in the short term, the suggestion is that they work better on average, and thus should yield better results on a longer timeline for the people who champion them. This exposes the great weakness of Ned's philosophies, which is that their effectiveness cannot be easily proven. You have to take it on faith that they work better than competing philosophies and begin acting them out consistently for a long period of time before you will clearly see and feel the results. Contrast it with Sandor's philosophy that the strong should prey upon the weak, and how quickly the effectiveness of that philosophy can be demonstrated. That would be pretty convincing to a 12 year old girl whose parents just died and who has all the reason in the world to hate the world. In season 8 of the show, Jon and Bran are the last carriers of Ned's philosophy. Jon is clearly the best man to rule, but love is the death of duty and even Jon has succumbed to the temptation of love. He defended Daenerys right up to and beyond the day she slaughtered a million people in the name of mercy. So there it is. One fuck up is all it takes to lose you the game. Jon kills Dany to redeem his error and save the world from her mercy. The consequence for that is that Drogon kills him. Then Drogon kills the throne too because he knows that the corrupting influence of power killed Dany as much as Jon did. Then the last carrier of Ned's philosophy is Bran. Viola! "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword" has completed its journey, won the war of philosophies and found its way onto the Iron Throne (so to speak) where it will have its chance to be observed on a larger platform and immortalized by all of Westeros as a philosophy worth keeping. What was once a Northern sentiment gets to spread across the whole continent and improve society.
  8. In the books, Ned's principles are passed on to his sons and arguably to Arya. Sansa seems to be the champion of Catelyn's principles. In the show, Ned taught Sansa the Lone Wolf lesson, which is an iteration of the case for self-sacrifice that I described earlier. As in, we're all going to agree to make the survival of the group superordinate to the survival of the individual. I think the showrunners intended to have that lesson play out in the death of Littlefinger plot, where Arya and Sansa are secretly working together. It was a shitty plot, but we get the gist of it. Robb's justice is something I haven't looked at closely enough yet. I think the root of his problem is when he dishonored his bargain with Frey by marrying Jeyne/Talisa. The Karstark execution, if that's what you're referring to, doesn't seem to me to be the cause of Robb's death. It's hard to puzzle out what you're referring to with a lot of these. If you could just say what you mean it would be easier to respond to. Rickon's death had nothing to do with any failure on the part of Ned's principles. Rickon also hadn't yet inherited Ned's principles regarding justice because he is younger than Bran and he hadn't seen his first execution yet. I can only hazard a guess, but I think you're referring to Ned's mercy to Cersei? Labeling actions as treason or people as traitors is pretty meaningless in the context of claim disputes because the only time a traitor label actually sticks is after a victor emerges and he orders the history books to be written that way. I try to avoid using the word treason because it's always both true and false depending on which claimant's perspective we're assuming. Yeah IDK what Bran was supposed to be about in the show. In the books he seems to be about selfless power vs selfish power. I liken him to a resentful video game addict who is succumbing to the temptations of power. Oh no, not consistently in GoT. At least I don't think so. It's only consistent in the books. D&D don't have a clue. They should have been made to write a book report or something. The whole Jon Snow's Mother litmus test was a stupid idea, it turns out. Unsure of your meanings.
  9. Empathy worked out for Ned very well. Ned's kids were better served by Ned's principles than Cersei's kids were served by hers. His kids are still alive and hers are dead. The show is admittedly limited with how much of Dany's psychology it can portray, but I think they portrayed more than enough of it. Dany does not learn from her mistakes and runs from the painful task of admitting that they were mistakes. She greenlit the bloodmagic, making her responsible for the deaths of her husband and baby, even though she was warned against it by both Mirri and the Dothraki. This is a recurring thing all the way through her story. Dany also pathologized her dragons and followers as her "children". Jorah warned her against that pathology in Qarth but she guilted him into playing along with her unhealthy fantasy. This pathology later leads her to make bad decisions, justifying them with the make-believe "mother/child" relationship.
  10. No, moral judgements have to be made in the context of the environments in which the actions in question were performed. You're committing the exact error that you're accusing the showrunners of committing. Jorah practicing slavery is not equivalent to the slave masters of Slaver's Bay practicing slavery. Slavery has been successfully outlawed in Westeros and Westeros now operates mostly peacefully as a slave free society. Slavery is considered perfectly acceptable in Slaver's Bay and it is absolutely necessary to be involved in the slave trade in order to survive there.
  11. If I can understand why a person did a thing and I am able to admit that I might have done the same thing in his situation, then how in the world am I justified to punish him for it? This is the fundamental question at the heart of justice that every would-be judge has to contend with. When you think about it long enough, it forces you to define a highest value. What is our goal? What is this system meant to protect? Life, liberty, property? If the purpose of justice is to protect something, what should it protect above all else? In the western world, that highest value is human life. Now that we know the system's purpose, we can continue the thought experiment at the hypothetical extremes where we will find the boundaries that constitute a functional definition of ethics. If I can understand why a person did a thing and I am able to admit that I might have done the same thing in his situation, then how in the world am I justified to punish him for it? Conceit: If I were able to know everything there is to know about this person, his culture, norms, values, his life experiences, neurology, biology, genetics, upbringing and so on, then I have no reason to believe that I would not have done exactly what he did if I were in his situation, in his culture, experienced his life experiences, were born with his neurology, biology, genetics, and was brought up the same way he was brought up and by the same people. This is sympathy at the most extreme. There is no conceit more sympathetic than this, and it happens to be impenetrable. I had as little choice in my biology as you had in yours. I had as little choice in my parents as you had in yours. I had as little choice in my place of birth as you had in yours. I can't point to any justifiable reason why I wouldn't think, feel, and behave exactly like you do if I were you. And you can't point to any justifiable reason why you wouldn't think, feel and behave exactly like I do if you were me. In other words, people, their nature and their environments are inextricable. If we're going to judge someone, the appropriate way to do it is to consider the person in context of their nature and their environment, not our nature and our environment. That is why our laws differentiate between premeditated crimes and crimes of passion. It's why our laws differentiate between sanity and insanity. Adult and child. Sober and inebriated. Healthy and sick. Resident and visitor. The context always matters in moral judgements. Even though the case for this degree of sympathy holds up in theory, it doesn't hold up in practice. There are earthly limitations upon how much sympathy we can afford to extend to one another. For example, even though I may be able to sympathize with the idea that a psychopath raised by an abusive family in poverty had no chance at not becoming a serial killer, I still need to lock him away in order to stop him from killing people. I don't know a better way than that to protect human life. But if one day I manage to come up with a better way, then that would be preferable. Notice that the degree of affordable sympathy tracks with the wealth and advancement of the society. The richer and more advanced we are, the more sympathy we can afford to extend to one another. This is why the people in Westeros perform executions and dismemberment for crimes that might only warrant imprisonment in the modern world. They can't afford to house and feed all the criminals, so they have no choice but to either set them free or execute them. This is where the rubber meets the road. There is a degree to which we have a responsibility to extend the maximum amount of sympathy that we can afford to extend. That's roughly what the Democratic party argues for. And at the same time, there is a degree of sympathy that we can not afford to extend. We can't afford to dine prisoners on gourmet food and we can't afford to set serial killers free. If we pay a cost that we can't afford, we hurt the people we're trying to protect. That's roughly what the Republican party argues for. When we're trying to navigate the landscape of right and wrong, we're dealing with the push and pull of those two forces. Sympathy for the external versus sympathy for the internal. How do we save more people without hurting the people we already have? The civilizations in Slaver's Bay and in all the world of Planetos are not as advanced as the ones we live in. They live in a pre-enlightment, mythic era when people do not yet believe that they have a right to life and liberty, nor that they have a right to change the systems that govern them when those systems don't protect their right to life and liberty. For the sake of argument, let's pretend that you're born to a slave master in Astapor and you happen to be more enlightened than everyone else. When you come of age, your father dies and you inherit his house and slaves. What do you do next? You could sell everything and leave the city. That would at least move you out of the path of Daenerys's dragons by the time she comes around. But you haven't done anything to improve the world, and slavery is still happening in your home town. If Daenerys is justified to kill people for practicing slavery, then you're a bit of a coward who has abandoned his community to die rather than actually trying to improve it. So you want to stick around and try to get your city to stop slavery. How are you gonna do it? Their entire economy is based on slave trade. You're going to have to build some kind of business that can produce value for the city that doesn't involve slavery. The climate isn't very good for farming, but you plant some trees anyway. In the mean time, you try to treat your slaves well. You can't free them because then your household will lose its wealth. In destitution, you'll just become a slave yourself. But you can treat them better than all the other slave masters by feeding them the same food that you eat, allowing them to roam freely and promising that you will free them soon. The other masters start to notice that you're a gentle and generous slave master, but it doesn't ring alarm bells for many of them but the particularly cruel masters. You begin to petition your leaders for some minor slave rights. Maybe we should make it a rule that every slave should have at least two meals per day. Well, now you've drawn attention to yourself, and the other masters don't appreciate what you're suggesting. One meal a day is enough for household slaves. If you keep this up, you're going to become an outcast, you're going to be assassinated by your peers, rebelled against by your emboldened slaves, or you're going to fall into financial ruin and become a slave yourself. The point is that being a slave master is absolutely necessary in order for a citizen of Astapor to stay alive. It is not at all reasonable to expect them to collectively discard the practices that they depend upon to survive, and it isn't reasonable to expect some enlightened hero of Astapor to change the way his entire world functions by planting some seeds and handing out pamphlets that read "Slavery is obviously bad, friends. Let's stop doing it." No amount of understanding you have will turn you away from genocide. This is what every tyrant in history has thought about their cause. They were absolutely certain that they could tell the good guys apart from the bad guys and that they didn't need to bother sympathizing with the bad guys.
  12. In both the show and the books, Dany slaughters the masters of Astapor. I recommend watching and reading it again. The criticism is that Dany didn't shoulder the moral responsibility to find a way to pursue her ideal that doesn't involve the wholesale slaughter of these people. Tyrion's 7 year compromise demonstrates the correct approach and casts Dany's Fire and Blood approach in a new light, that it was morally reprehensible from the outset.
  13. Since Dany is still operating with a good and evil world view, she is doomed to run into the problem that everybody who operates with the good and evil world view inevitably runs into. How do you tell the good from the evil? It isn't as easy as Dany thinks it is. That fact is demonstrated to the audience consistently throughout the whole story. It's hammered into us over and over again, such as when the reviled Kingslayer confesses to Brienne that his kingslaying was an act of unprecedented heroism. And such as when the beautiful and charming Cersei Lannister, who Sansa idolizes and trusts, is revealed to be a spiteful and wicked woman who abuses Sansa's trust. Dany's failure to put herself in the shoes of her enemies and to make a genuine attempt to sympathize with their position is a mistake that she repeats consistently. She decides that the people who practice slavery are not worthy of sympathy because they are already deserving of death by virtue of practicing slavery. She's naive to the fact that, if she had been born into a slaving society as these people were, she would almost certainly be a slave master herself. Moral relativity calls to our moral responsibility to try to sympathize with each other and reach a compromise no matter how different we are. Dany often doesn't shoulder that responsibility, especially when it's particularly easy to skirt. How many times does a person have to threaten to burn cities to the ground before you take them seriously? Why do you feel that Dany is uniquely justified to use threats of killing to gain access to the Merchant's ships? Threats of killing can certainly be a justifiable move to make. We're shown an example of it when Jaime Lannister uses such a threat to pressure Edmure Tully into sacrificing his pride so that the defenders of Riverrun may live. On one hand we have "Give me ships or I'll kill your whole city." And on the other hand we have "Spare all the lives and families in your city by surrendering or I'll kill your family." One threat is used to acquire ships that Dany has no right to. The other threat is used to minimize the loss of human life. The contrast between these parallel situations shows us that, at least with regards to threats and at least in relationship to Jaime, Dany is more villainous than Jaime. These parallel situations crop up all over the place to provide the audience with the tools necessary to identify that Dany is on a downward trajectory rather than an upward one. Whether or not any given person will identify them as tools and apply them, in order to suss out the story's premises and the future of the characters, is a responsibility that is left to each individual viewer. If you didn't pick up the tools or didn't identify them on a first watch, like I didn't, then surprise! That isn't "just what medieval rulers did." This society and its laws and norms emerged specifically for the purpose of facilitating human cooperation so that they might not have to kill each other anymore. Civilization is a project to collectively produce enough excess prosperity to meet everyone's basic needs. It's the result of people choosing to make the survival of the group superordinate to the survival of the individual. Though it's often mistakenly characterized as the opposite. You're right, Dany does reject it. At Astapor, she is faced with two options she doesn't like: 1. Don't buy the Unsullied and continue on my journey without an army. She doesn't like this option because she's afraid she will end up like Viserys. However, according to the human life premise of the story, this is the correct option. She should do what's right even when it's difficult to do so. 2. Sacrifice her ideal (and her dragon) and buy the Unsullied. She doesn't like this option because it goes against her anti-slavery ideal and of course she loves her dragon. Rather than choosing the correct option, she acts in defiance to this seemingly unwinnable dilemma. She finds a way to have the best of both worlds. With little planning, she launches a campaign to abolish all slavery in the region and begins her campaign by slaughtering the people of Astapor. Her rationalization is along the lines of: "If I'm freeing the slaves, then I'm not really using the slaves." So she has preserved her ideal on a technicality by imposing an unfair cost on the people of Astapor who she failed to sympathize with. And she gets to acquire her army at the same time. According to the premises of the story --- that the appropriate way to behave in the world is to hold true to your deepest ideals even when it's difficult to do so --- then the appropriate choice for Dany here is that she should have walked away from Astapor without buying the army. Yes, it would have been risky in the short term, as Jon's mercy toward Ygritte was risky. But Dany's self-sacrifice would have earned her a reward in the long term because self-sacrifice in service to the human life ideal is the story's most fundamental premise. In other words, walking away from Astapor would have all worked out for her in the end.
  14. Well I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't argue that Ned would never execute anyone with the capacity for good. Everyone has the capacity for both good and evil, so that would rule out executions entirely. What Ned and what I think a good ruler has to do is try to sympathize with everyone who will be affected by his decisions before he makes a decision. While it's inescapably true that Jorah still had the capacity for good, that capacity has to be weighed against the costs of not executing him. Not executing Jorah would demonstrate to everyone else that selling people into slavery is actually something they can get away with, and that the Lord doesn't actually enforce the values that he proclaims to hold. Daenerys failed to make a genuine effort to sympathize with the slave masters. That failure is no different than killing people for the crime of being born into a slave society. If she had successfully placed herself in the shoes of the slave masters, she would have developed a greater awareness of their position. She would have realized that, had she been born into this society herself, she would absolutely be a slave master too. That conclusion draws attention to her responsibility to formulate a more sophisticated plan to abolish slavery that preserves the most human life that she can manage to preserve, including the lives of the masters. That doesn't necessarily preclude killing, If, for example, after Tyrion's 7 year compromise, the masters were to fail their part of the agreement and continue slaving, execution might become justifiable. People, as a general rule, do not understand that they, themselves, have the capacity to slaughter a million people. Our belief that we would never do what The Mad King, the Great Masters, or Daenerys did is exactly the naivety that puts us at greater risk of becoming like them and doing the horrible things that they've done. Daenerys's story is an attempt by the author to remedy that problem. If we can map how Daenerys went from kind-hearted person to genocidal in the name of kindness, then perhaps we don't have to make the same mistakes in our own lives. Stories are peoples' attempts to revitalize dead dogmas into living truths. The show and books allow us to sympathize with Dany's crimes against humanity specifically for the purpose of showing us the ugly truth that, had we been in her position and lived her life, we may have done exactly the things that she did right up to the point that she nuked a city in the name of mercy to future generations. That's why when people point to the fact that Dany is a sympathetic character as evidence that she never would have done what she did, it shows me that the lessons her story has to teach are particularly important at this point in history.
  15. Ice isn't water. That's when I stopped reading.
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