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The Bard of Banefort

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  1. It’s always fun to discuss the real-world history that inspired or echoes ASOIAF, so I thought it might be worthwhile to start a thread devoted to just that. What are some historical figures or events that you find relevant to ASOIAF?
  2. Myrielle Peake. It’s not her fault that her father was an asshole. And the scene where Aegon III chooses Daenara as his queen is one of the few times that I think the Targaryen blood purity motif tips over from depiction to endorsement. It’s pretty gross.
  3. Scotland is an interesting case in that they had three infant monarchs in a row. I’m guessing that people at the time probably thought they were cursed. James VI turning out as well as he did is something of a miracle considering the circumstances of his upbringing. And seeing as his bastard uncle helped overthrow his mother*, James likely being gay and not having any bastards of his own feels like nature’s healing haha. *I’ve read that Mary, Queen of Scots’ other half-siblings were very loyal to her, however.
  4. Jon Arryn came to Hoster looking for support in the rebellion, and he would only agree on the condition that Jon marry Lysa first, thus making her the lady of the Vale. He sold Jon on it by revealing Lysa’s previous pregnancy, because Jon had no heir of his own and would want a fertile wife to produce one. Catelyn thinks this was a mistake, however, because it likely made Jon think less of Lysa. Hoster seems to have justified the forced abortion by making Lysa such an advantageous marriage, which he assumed would produce many children. Lysa’s string of miscarriages is likely what caused him so much guilt, since Lysa now had no children and even more heartache. That said, I’m not sure that the moontea is what caused Lysa’s fertility problems. If Sweetrobin is Littlefinger’s child (which is a genuine possibility), then Jon was the problem, not Lysa. But even still, that would mean that Hoster inadvertently married her to an infertile man.
  5. Most people probably didn’t think that a ten-year-old girl like Cersei would be capable of something so heinous. Plus, Cersei’s a good actress. She probably flew into hysterics over Melara’s death, selling her innocence.
  6. The other theory is that Margaret Beaufort arranged for the boys’ murder (this is the version that Philippa Gregory uses in her books lol). I find it funny that people would prefer to protect the conscience of the guy who kidnapped and imprisoned his own nephews by instead turning one of the most influential women of the era, who helped end the war by arranging the Tudor-York marriage with Elizabeth Woodeville, into a child murderer. I haven’t read Alison Weir’s The Princes in the Tower yet, but I’ve heard that it makes a very compelling argument for Richard’s guilt. Of course, the clearest parallel to the princes in ASOIAF is when Bran and Rickon disappear in ACOK. The difference is, Bran and Rickon definitely did escape and Theon faked their deaths to save face. But even then, we see how killing defenseless children will turn the people against you. The Yorks are a pretty good example of how a dynasty can destroy itself through greed and decadence. If any of them had been even slightly less selfish, they would have remained in power.
  7. Hey man, it worked out for Louis XIV. Agreed. And the idea that Henry Tudor, who had to hire mercenaries and align himself with the Woodevilles in order to defeat Richard, was someone able to plan and execute the princes’ deaths from exile is quite fanciful. With that kind of power, he should have just taken the throne then and there.
  8. I took GRRM not mentioning working on Sansa’s chapters as a sign that he was able to get through them fairly quickly. Eleven years down the line, I tend to think that the chapters he’s still working on are the ones that are giving him trouble. Of course, it could also mean that Sansa is still fairly isolated from other POV characters, so he doesn’t need to tweak them in accordance with other chapters, but I find it hard to believe that she‘ll spend another book cut off from the other characters. One compelling argument I saw is that Sansa was sent to the Vale because of the intended time jump. If she is supposed to be in KL when Aegon arrives, then it wouldn’t have made sense for her to have been in a stasis as Cersei’s captive for all that time. I think Harry’s worse than Robert. Robert was always personable, which was why so many people liked him. Harry doesn’t seem to have a winning personality.
  9. By barren, I meant that she hadn’t had any other children besides the one who died after Richard took the throne. He surely knew that he needed an heir. Even if Edward was pre-contracted, the timing is a little too coincidental. Richard knew about it but didn’t mention it until immediately after his brother died? Edward V was, what, 12? And wasn’t Richard named his regent? That’s hardly the same as crowning a baby. Honestly, I think you could draw a comparison between Richard III and Stannis. Since Stannis apparently will burn Shireen, his arc shows how a highly principled lord who was loyal to his brother can be corrupted by a pursuit of power, even if he is convinced that he is only carrying out his duty.
  10. I am by no means an expert on the War of the Roses, but my controversial historical opinion is that I don’t necessarily think that Shakespeare did as much of a hit job on Richard III as people today claim he did. We know he traduced his own mother as an adulteress and his brother as a bigamist, that he kidnapped his nephews and usurped the throne from them before his brother’s body was cold, and that he de-legitimized the princes and their sisters. Anyone who is capable of doing all of that to their own family is capable of having his nephews killed or poisoning his barren wife. Even the caricature of him as a hunchback turned out to be more of an exaggeration than an outright falsehood, since his skeletal remains showed that he had scoliosis. Back to Philippa Gregory for a moment; although I would pick GRRM over her 9/10 times, there is one aspect where she outdid him (along with sex scenes, because let’s be honest, George isn’t the best at those). In her book about Margaret Tudor, I found Margaret’s anger at having to live with her new husband’s bastards to be quite understandable and was sympathetic to her, whereas I’ve never felt that way about Cat. Granted, the circumstances were more extreme for Margaret: she was only fourteen (her husband was thirty), he had like seven illegitimate children already, and some of them were almost as old as her. I could sympathize with this teenage girl who was all alone in a strange new land but Cat, who was in a very similar position (I think they were both redheads too), always came across as very prissy and unsympathetic to me. So I do think that one aspect of ASOIAF could have been done better.
  11. I don’t think Harry will last long. Whenever George talks about characters from the books who didn’t make it to the show (usually in the context of how TWOW will be different from GOT), he never mentions Harry or any of the Vale characters, really. I’ll be surprised if Sansa stays there much longer.
  12. Based on what I’ve read, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York had a very good marriage, and he became quite embittered after her death. The English must have taken some umbrage at the idea of the king marrying his niece, otherwise it wouldn’t have caused such a scandal. Richard III had to publicly deny the rumors and send Elizabeth away from court. But the reason I find the incestuous love affair unlikely is that Richard had declared her and her siblings bastards, imprisoned her younger brothers, usurped the throne from all of them and, most importantly, killed her older half-brother Richard Grey. That’s a lot to overlook.
  13. I meant more that people used to be more willing to excuse taboos in fiction. Even ten years ago people were more permissive than they are now.
  14. I think we just have to accept that GRRM has a thing for age gaps. He’s managed to take so long to finish the series that we’ve reached the point where people are a lot more grossed out by that now than they were in the 90s, but his most recent book (Fire & Blood) was published in 2018 and featured a ton of teen-adult relationships. For the rest of us, it’s just easier to pretend that the kids are older since they read as older anyway. As for Tyrion, I’m pretty sure that their marriage exists purely to provide a reason for why Littlefinger can’t marry Sansa off to someone else.
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