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  1. GyantSpyder

    Worst theory you've ever heard

    "You're the three-eyed raven!" said Bran. "I am an old man who lives in a cave by a tree stump," croaked the pale figure before him, through an aged and dry throat. "And ravens do not have three eyes. They have two eyes." "But I saw you! I dreamed you!" "Dreams are imaginary," said the man. "That is to say, the images in the mind don't tend to show much proven relation to the world around us, except by coincidence." "But Jojen has green dreams! His dreams come true!" "Certainly war is not that strange or exotic!" he shook his head. "And I doubt what he saw was that specific. This animal or that animal, this building burns or that one does not. Anyone could make a reasonable guess as to how this conflict would work out to date, within a margin of error. The great houses play their game of thrones, and the smallfolk always pay. Nothing has changed in a long time." "But why? Why? Why these wars? Why the White Walkers? Why the cold? Why does civilization never change?" "It's a wind current that is very cold and periodically sweeps in and kills a lot of people. The people who live north of here wear a sort of white blanket over their faces and blue goggles. But even they need to come south when it periodically gets cold. Between the cold and the starvation, it is hard to make much progress. In truth this is just a shitty place to live." "But the Wall! Who could build something so impossible?" "Look, you may have guessed why I am here, or who I am. If you must know I lived near here and I came inside here because outside it is cold, and now I am too old to walk much. But also I live far away from people because I do not like them. Every once in a while some random teenager wanders up here looking for answers, and I have to tell them I don't know any more than they do. I don't particularly like company. So if you could make sure the door is shut when you leave, that would be great." "Hodor," said Hodor. "What's his deal?" asked the man. "Oh, he's disabled," said Bran. "That explains it," answered the man. "Yes it does," said Bran. "Hodor," said Hodor.
  2. GyantSpyder

    mistakes of hand of the king Eddard stark

    He didn't realize that Hand is an office, not a title of property. He needed to keep his own property separate from the Hand's property, and not diminish his own resources in doing the Hand's job, but instead use the tools the Hand has to raise resources before taking action. This includes things like not sending his own household guard on law enforcement duty, not conducting his own investigations into crimes on foot, and not treating the protection of his own family as an additional responsibility not covered by his job, rather than an existing part of his job that was already taken care of. Also he should have realized that investigating the murder of Jon Arryn either needed to be conducted officially or not at all. Doing it personally while holding this particular office was not going to work out, as he did not have the ready means as Hand to personally punish the perpetrators even if he found them - while these means were much more readily available to him as Lord of Winterfell.
  3. GyantSpyder

    Worst theory you've ever heard

    That the proper tool for interpreting the books is Occam's Razor - that the simplest explanation that fits the definitive and proven evidence is the one most likely to be true. Similarly, that the books "can't possibly be that complicated" because one person couldn't think of all the things in them.
  4. GyantSpyder

    N.K. all records destroyed!e

    The First Men were not always illiterate, using only runes. They had writing at one point, and then they lost it. The Long Night seems like the kind of event that could potentially cause a civilization to lose literacy. So it's likely that at the time of the Night's King there were written records, but they did not survive to the Andal Invasion - only songs and stories and such did. This might have been related to the material they used to record their writings - a big reason we have very limited ancient literature is that so much of it was archived on papyrus, which has a much shorter life ("shelf life," 'natch) than parchment does. A World of Ice and Fire says they carved their writing on trees that rotted away in the Stormlands - this might be a misremembering of them having access to paper. It is one of the major pieces of evidence to suggest the scope of the apocalypse during the Long Night and whatever led to it was really profound, and civilization before it was much more advanced.
  5. You can call Constantinople a lot of things, but "vulnerable" is not one of them.
  6. GyantSpyder

    A topic on height in swordfighting

    The other alternative is we're looking for the answer to a really specific question - which is when two medieval fighters of different heights but the same weights, wearing plate armor and going at it with longswords fight each other 1 on 1 to the death outside a tournament under otherwise equal circumstances (a comparatively rare and not particularly useful exercise, but an interesting scenario), is there an advantage for the shorter man getting inside the effective range of the taller man and punching through with greater power? And I don't know enough about medieval combat to be confident in that one way or the other, but my sense is that for one knight of this sort to actually kill the other, he'd want to bring him to ground first - buffet him with the shield, knock him over, and stab him in the face or neck or something. Meaning the kind of stand-up beating that OP is talking about isn't really the goal in that situation. But whether longer legs or a more compact frame help you more with quickness and covering ground when you're in armor, I don't know at all and would want to ask an expert in this specific kind of combat. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that I don't think these kinds of fighters would primarily keep trying to use their longswords against somebody who got in close. It's not like a boxer where shortening up your punches is a sometimes tricky technique. You would have other things you would do in close quarters that might negate the mechanical disadvantage in that situation of having longer arms. Although if they were using spears then they could do it - and shortening the stroke is very much a technique, with the idea of getting inside the reach of the spear being highly overrated as a tactical approach. But I only know little bits here and there and not too much.
  7. GyantSpyder

    A topic on height in swordfighting

    So, here's the thing about boxing: it's prizefighting. It's not combat. And I don't mean that people don't fight to their limits and don't get hurt, but boxing isn't a test of who lives and who dies, it is a test of a complex of qualities that are seen to be masculine, tailored for people to watch it and bet on it, refined over hundreds of years. The reality of a fight to the death is that it tends to be brief and unpredictable. Anybody can kill anybody. That's not very well-suited to prizefighting, where you want to take out a lot of - but not all of - the variance. People might erroneously think of it as violence made safe - it's more violence purified and made watchable. And you want it to last a while, and you want it to be spectator friendly and to be closely enough matched that if you gamble on it people will bet on both sides. So it takes a ton of courage and strength and skill to succeed at boxing, and you do put your life on the line, but in general in disorganized fights where lives are at stake nobody stands there and punches somebody else for 45 minutes (in this way being an offensive lineman is probably more realistic than being a boxer, as shoving somebody else intermittently for two hours in a tightly packed line has had a great deal of historical military relevance). Boxing isn't lesser as a method for applying force and harm to another human than stabbing someone or strangling them - in certain ways it's greater - but it's not the kind of thing you do if you are actually trying to kill someone whilst being not killed yourself in the absence of rules. If you want, from a Western tradition of combat sport, a sport that is more geared as to who is more effective in a fight, you're really looking at the tradition of wrestling, and even then you're looking at freestyle wrestling rather than Greco-Roman. And there's a certain convergence of east and west in the reality of that which proves out (like with Jiu-Jitsu), and you see that in MMA, which is, I think, generally worse as a form of prizefighting for a bunch of reasons (though potentially less causing of brain injury, once you start caring about that, which is a big deal), but which people have come to appreciate from a standpoint of perceived greater "authenticity" in effectiveness. People do seem to care these days a great deal about "authenticity" in their arranged and performative violence. And one way I've described it is that boxing is a fight sport for people who get in fights and want to see it refined, and MMA is a fight sport for people who don't and want to see what it's like. In terms of being a better soldier, there are other sorts of sports and athletics that are supposed to test that - being an individual fighter to the death doesn't have a tremendous amount to do with being effective in an army. Just being able to walk or run long distances and carry a lot of stuff is pretty important. Discipline, keeping formations and following orders. Familiarity and practice with your equipment. Etc. It seems like what he is looking for is a sort of Unified Theory of Combat - an ideal, perfect fighter - with ideal physical attributes for all applications. And that doesn't exist, because the various forms of combat - in real life and in sport - are so different. The ideal person depends on the tool, and so many of the variations have so much weird constraint on them that people end up optimizing to fit the constraint more than optimize for overall effectiveness in an abstract a priori sense - if such a thing can be said to exist. But just a cursory study of fencing shows that especially once you add weapons to the mix, different sorts of equipment lead to different advantages or disadvantages to different body types. The ideal epee fencer is not the ideal saber fencer. And when you throw in actual deadly weapons and actual wars, it gets even more complicated. There's even something to be said for a soldier's relationship with food and rest being more important for their effectiveness than how well they can kill or not be killed under ideal circumstances, but that also gets beside the point. I think a lot of people have answered the question in the thread (I think @Damon_Tor's reminder about angle of attack being important to the effectiveness of many but not all of these weapons - whether that means height or horseback or terrain) - that it depends on the weapons, and the technology dictates that, as well. What does the most effective army in the world look like? How do you beat it? And in that case, a blonde aristocratic teenager who has never done a day of manual labor in her life is the ideal body type for combat if she gets to ride a dragon, even if the other guy is an 8 foot tall zombie dual-wielding valyrian steel Bat'leths.
  8. When people wrestle with the idea of gods and what they mean, and when I recognize the urge to insist on concrete certainty for stories that are deliberately mysterious, especially in their relationship between humans and nature, this section from Wallace Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" comes to mind. It would be good advice to a Red Priest looking for someone to burn alive: It Must Be Abstract I Begin, ephebe, by perceiving the idea Of this invention, this invented world, The inconceivable idea of the sun. You must become an ignorant man again And see the sun again with an ignorant eye And see it clearly in the idea of it. Never suppose an inventing mind as source Of this idea nor for that mind compose A voluminous master folded in his fire. How clean the sun when seen in its idea, Washed in the remotest cleanliness of a heaven That has expelled us and our images . . . The death of one god is the death of all. Let purple Phoebus lie in umber harvest, Let Phoebus slumber and die in autumn umber, Phoebus is dead, ephebe. But Phoebus was A name for something that never could be named. There was a project for the sun and is. There is a project for the sun. The sun Must bear no name, gold flourisher, but be In the difficulty of what it is to be.
  9. GyantSpyder

    A topic on height in swordfighting

    Just like a Stark, to bring a punch to a stab fight. You want to get the Throne? If he draws a sword, you bring a dragon. If he hands one of your cities to Vargo Hoat, you burn one of his to the ground. That's the Targaryen way. That's how you get the Throne.
  10. GyantSpyder

    Who (or what) is the Three-Eyed Crow?

    Whoever or whatever the "primary" agent or personality of the Three-Eyed Crow is, you gotta think there are lots of remnants of dead people and dead Children of the Forest rattling around in its consciousness.
  11. GyantSpyder

    House Blackwood

    So, going by symbolism, I'd suspect the Blackwoods are related to "what is dead may never die" mythology - and that it is as likely as not the Starks or the predecessors to the Starks who "killed" them. And that they went down to the Riverlands because they are more closely related at this point to the Green Men of the Isle of Faces than to the other Northerners. The symbolism: The Blackwood symbol is a weirwood with ravens, indicating they were greenseers We suspect Blackwood blood has greenseer genes, because of Bloodraven The "green hand" with five fingers of Garth Greenhand is a symbolic leaf The weirwood leaves have five points on them and are compared to fingers The weirwood leaves are red now So, if Garth Greenhand was a greenseer who used weirwoods, he likely used weirwoods with green leaves, which were turned red at some point The weirwoods are compared to pale-skinned women with red hair, who are said to be "kissed by fire" The Hightower is a white tower with fire on top Stannis may set a weirwood on fire at the Battle of ice There are house sigils and other symbolism around trees being set on fire There are various sorts of legends and symbols about striking a pale goddess with a fiery sword (Azor Ahai, etc.) From all this and more (a lot of @LmL stuff), we can infer that at some point in the distant past somebody with fire magic powers attacked the weirwood network to seize control of it, and ended up doing some great violence to it, perhaps killing the people attached to it, like burning the old greenseers or something, or getting their own fiery consciousness stuck in it (or, IMO, infecting it with a red, flammable psychoactive fungus, or interacting with the fungus with this fiery magic as much as the trees themselves). But at any rate, the point is that they're called the Blackwoods. Black wood is wood that has been burned or charred. So, the Blackwoods were likely part of the Garth Greenhand Posse (GGP 4 Lyfe + Aftalyfe) who were set on fire and burned by whoever set the weirwoods on fire in an attempt to destroy them and/or seize control of them. I also tend to see the Blackwoods as part of a larger "trees vs. horses" ecological conflict, due to their conflict with the Brackens, and through the black horse with red eyes sigil of House Ryswell, and their connection with the Night's Watch, would connect the Stark founding and takeover of the North, the Night's Watch, and the Wall with Balerion/Drogon and dragonlords, the Bloodstone Emperor, all of it. (Basically it's Ganondorf/Ganon in both story and color scheme) That's not to say it's all the same, just that it's all symbolically related. And symbolically it would also relate the Blackwoods to the Mountain Clans of the Mountains of the Moon - the Stone Crows (a dead weirwood turning to stone and crows is the Blackwood family sigil), the Burned Men (the Black wood is burned wood, and greenseers are tree people), the Milk Snakes (a dead weirwood looks like a white snake), the Sons of the Tree (obvious). So, the Mountain Clans were displaced from their home at a big battle and hold big frickin' grudges. Artys Arryn is a potential skinchanger who is symbolically linked to riding a bird through mixups in legends, and the Battle of the Seven Stars does refer to the myth of Hugor of the Hill getting seven stars that fell down from the heavens - this further associates those who dispossessed the mountain clans with those who dispossessed GGP, including the Blackwoods. So yeah, from all that I would glean that whenever what happened, happened with regards to the weirwoods and the Long Night, the Blackwoods were severely harmed - maybe Blackwood greenseers were burned alive and killed within the weirwoods - and the remainder of the house left as refugees to resettle farther south, only to run into the Andal invasion and the conflict with the Brackens down there after re-establishing themselves..
  12. GyantSpyder

    A topic on height in swordfighting

    In terms of boxing, I would hesitate to say it was an advantage for Tyson and Marciano to be 5'9"-5'10", to the extent that it would necessarily enable them to beat taller fighters. Tyson had problems with taller fighters, and in particular he dodged them and avoided fighting them when he could. Tyson gets kind of mythologized, of course, and sure, he was vicious and precise with a ton of explosive power, but Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis, both at 6'5", I think could have each taken on even prime Tyson and won. Tyson of course lost his huge upset to Buster Douglas, who is about 6'4". Although it's not fair to say Tyson dodged Bowe - Tyson and Bowe grew up in the same neighborhood, and it's more likely Tyson did not want to fight Bowe because Tyson really liked to hate and punish his opponents, and he couldn't see doing that to somebody he felt that much of a connection with. And of course both their careers were unexpectedly curtailed. But Don King paid Lennox Lewis millions of dollars not to fight Mike Tyson in 1996, so that Tyson could fight Bruce Seldon, who was only 6'1". But yeah, I'm not as familiar with Marciano as I am with Tyson, but a big part of Tyson's "success" is, arguably, that he didn't fight any of the top heavyweights of his era who were 6'4" or taller. Although, to play devil's advocate against myself, he did fight Andrew Golata in 2000 and nearly killed him. So when we're talking about who Mike Tyson "can" or "can't" beat, I mean, it's Mike Tyson. I wouldn't count him entirely out against anybody. But even beyond their 2002 fight, I don't like Tyson's matchup against Lewis. You bring up Joe Frazier, but let me bring up Big George Foreman, one of the hardest hitters of all time, who beat Frazier, and who was, according to (dubious) legend, the only man Mike Tyson was actually scared to fight. And who was 6'3"-6'4. Nowadays, with the overall improvement in athleticism across sports (you know, due to training and "medicine"), the advantage of the short heavyweight boxer is virtually gone. The Klitschko brothers, Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, even Tyson Fury are all over 6'6". In the lower weight classes, could argue that part of GGG's power comes from his height and leverage - and he's 5'11". Canelo was 5'9". Canelo might be the kind of fighter you're talking about, a puncher with a more compact stance who looks to pick and choose his shots. If Canelo's fists had knives on them, then sure, maybe him being a couple of inches shorter than GGG and thus maybe better able to protect himself might be an advantage. But yeah, in a little boxing tangent, when you're looking at what made Tyson and Marciano such dominant fighters is pretty complicated and I'm not sure involves a big structural advantage against larger fighters as much as the traditional narrative might indicate. Just my opinion of course
  13. GyantSpyder

    Anyone think that Hoster Tully is a millstone?

    Petyr Baelish isn't the only cause of the civil wars. There are a bunch of other players who would eventually have started one with or without Baelish. Even the existence of Robert's Rebellion in the first place shows the civil wars were already happening - along with the Greyjoy Rebellion, the War of the Ninepenny Kings, the Defiance of Duskendale, the whole cycle of constant violence, up to and including the periodic genocide during the winters. It's just as likely that ruling in Westeros is being Blessed With Suck - it's a power you can't truly possess that drives you mad or kills you or both. The main thing Hoster Tully might be blamed for is not getting the Hell out of Dodge if he had the money and resources to do so.
  14. GyantSpyder

    Why do people hate Sansa?

    Audiences in general tend to root for competence, technique, and courage, and root against incompetence, cheating, and unfair advantages. This is the classic "face" vs. "heel" conflict in wrestling - either the underdog or the triumphant hero who has superior skill beating the mean cheater who is a bigger, stronger freak of nature. Loyalty plays into this as well. Faces tend to be loyal to their friends, until their friends double-cross them. Heels tend to show no loyalty at all. So, Sansa has two problems in terms of being likeable: She is not competent. She has very few skills of her own to do relevant things in the world. This is because she is a child, but it compared unfavorably with her siblings who often have supernatural/unrealistic capability at things like combat, magic or leadership. This is why people hope so much that Sansa is learning from Littlefinger how to play politics and will someday be really good at it - though she's not there yet. Sansa never gets her revenge on Joffrey. At least, not yet. She offers him a ton of loyalty, and he betrays her for it, multiple times. If she were a face character, she would realize her loyalty was in the wrong place, and she'd get right with her loyalty - by picking the right side and getting on it. Interestingly, this is what people think Sansa has done, when they think she has teamed up with Tyrion to kill Joffrey. It's what people would expect from her. But this is a case where the expected narrative has been confounded a bit, and Sansa has, more realistically, focused on what she needs to do to survive rather than getting right with where she stands with respect to the white hats and black hats. I think these are features, rather than bugs, and I think a lot of people who intuit that these things might change later in the story for good reason. But for now, Sansa is straight-up not likeable on purpose. And it shows that whether someone is likeable or not, especially on a mass scale, often has not much to do with the reality of their situation. To the common people, as we see time and again, Joffrey was likeable - the beautiful blonde boy king who took bold action to execute traitors, with all this potential, poisoned by his evil uncle. The gap between perception and reality is huge. I suspect this is at work on almost all levels in the story, especially with respect to Azor Ahai and the larger-scale narrative of the Others and R'hllor and all that stuff - villains and heroes not really matching up 1 to 1 with good and bad.
  15. GyantSpyder

    Critiques of ASOIAF

    Neither. But it's a good question. I'll try to clarify what I meant. Here's what I wrote. What I'm specifically referring to here is the different ways the relationship between Renly and Loras in A Game of Thrones and the relationship between Cersei and Taena of Myr are depicted and talked about by the POV characters to themselves in A Feast for Crows. Renly and Loras are rarely if ever shown together, we don't get any direct references to their relationship while Renly is alive, and nobody really talks about it much in A Game of Thrones. But Cersei thinks pretty casually and openly to herself about her fooling around with Taena, and it is much more directly and explicitly mentioned in the text. Now, between these two relationships in Westeros, only about two years have passed. Probably less. There's not too much reason to think that Cersei's way of thinking - or anybody else's way of thinking - about same-sex relationships has changed so much in less than two years that what had only recently been a pretty huge unspoken taboo has become a sort of frowned-upon but widely understood and talked about moral transgression. But in the real world, 10 years passed between these two books. And the ideas about these kinds of relationships in the culture in the real world transformed during that time - perhaps more rapidly than any other 10 years in the last 200. We're talking about the difference between the age of Angels in America and Rent opening on Broadway in the latter part of the AIDS crisis and widespread gay marriage initiatives succeeding on a global scale. I'm not saying the social rules in Westeros have changed (they haven't), but the willingness of the characters to even think and talk about it is much much greater. The very muted allusions in A Game of Thrones might have set off big alarm bells in 1996, but they barely register by 2005. Either way of depicting it is fine with me, depending on what your goals are and what you're trying to do. But changing from one to the other, in terms of how the POVs work, isn't really 100% credible in the context of the world of the story. But I don't really care about that either, because the story does exist in the context of readers. It is a pretty big and interesting inconsistency. To further clarify, because I suspect this is very strange for younger people - I'm young enough that I had an openly gay roommate in college, but old enough that I still lived under the general taboo in America of talking about gay people. At the time, it was thought of as a nice, courteous, helpful thing to do to not speculate that somebody was gay unless they told you, and it was still relatively common to think of men and women in the arts who were obviously broadcasting that they were gay or gender atypical (like Liberace or Boy George) as eccentric or flamboyant but not even really associate their manner of dress or mannerisms at all with their sexuality. So people would chuckle and as me in hushed tones if my college roommate was gay, and I would scold them for prying into something that was none of their business. I never asked. It turned out it wasn't ever a secret, we just didn't talk about it. It really felt profoundly different, in a way that's hard to accept, and really hard to explain. It just wasn't something that was talked about nearly as much by a lot of people. Humans have a really powerful mental plasticity to shape what they think is normal. Our ability to change how we look at the world is amazing and also kind of terrifying.