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Everything posted by Aldarion

  1. Agreed. In Tolkien's work, there is far more hope, which automatically makes it more appealing. But it also differs in how things are portrayed. Tolkien's works are actually full of horror (especially of the fridge variety), but he tends to show only things that are necessary for the story, and as a result, most of it is implied rather than outright stated. Martin by comparison seems to go more for shock value and what Tolkien would likely consider unnecessary detail. To me, Tolkien's approach is actually far more fun, because there is more to think about and analyze - it sucks the reader into the story, whereas with Martin, I always felt kind of detached when reading it. Thank God he's so good at writing characters, otherwise I would not have been able to actually become invested into the story. Basically, for Martin, world is a background stage for his characters to act and develop in; for Tolkien, world itself is a character. Agreed. Fantasy is about escapism, but Martin's work is simply too grim, cynical and similar to real life to offer any real value for that purpose. It reads like a history novel more than like fantasy - I honestly found more escape reading John Haldon than I did George Martin.
  2. As I said: politics. Politics are all about power. Not really. All we have seen in ASoIaF so far is that evil people cause evil things to happen because they use power for evil, while good people cause evil things to happen because they have no clue what they are doing. Tywin is evil, but has actually been an effective administrator. Yet his will to dominate everyone still caused evil to happen. Cersei is both evil and has no clue what she is doing. And good people (Ned Stark, Jon Snow) drop like flies while achieving nothing, or else play supporting roles of limited importance (Davos, Sansa, Brienne).
  3. Hope and faith =/= religion. Religion is no different from any other political ideology. Faith, while definitely an element of religion, is something completely different. It is. Just in a different way.
  4. That is just largely irrelevant dressing, and completely misses the point I was making. What I was talking about is the fundamental message and/or nature of the work. Lord of the Rings for example is all about hope and faith, and is written in the vein of old mythology. In its nature, it is similar to Bible, Illiad, Odyssey and so on - a religious and mythological work, and is meant to inspire. A Song of Ice and Fire has none of this. It is all about politics, humans being pieces of crap... there is little hope to be had, to the point that it could be argued extermination of everything alive in Westeros may not even be a bad thing. It is a fundamentally postmodernist work, technically extremely well written but with no soul to speak of. That is the difference I was talking about.
  5. Eh, that varies a lot. In medieval times, anything with walls was often classed as a city - smallest city could have as a few as 40 inhabitants, so long as it had (stone) walls and a city charter. As for proportion of population, 8% I suspect is true for England, but could be anywhere between 2% and 20%. Probably, although I'm not sure Martin actually respects logistics in that sense. Robb's army is small enough for its behavior to be excused - 20 000 men is just about the upper limit you can feed by foraging - but something like Wildling host at the Wall or Renly's army would have been in danger of starvation. Westeros is a far cry from having Byzantine or Ottoman administrative organization, after all.
  6. It is a handicap in terms of becoming a long-lasting cultural phenomenon. Fantasy is all about escapism, and Martin's world is in many ways simply too similar to the real world. Worse, it is in some ways similar to modern world. And there is also the fact that almost all modern fantasy - ASoIaF included - is treading the path that Tolkien had made. Warhammer 40k is a much more unique setting, despite almost being a Tolkien ripoff, simply due to actually bringing something new and unique to the table (specifically, a blatant marriage of history, religion, fantasy and science-fiction, that is only even approached by Star Wars).
  7. Unlikely. Comparing it with a series that does have long-lasting cultural impact, ASoIaF simply does not have many of the things that have made Lord of the Rings so lasting. Just to give an example, but LotR is an openly mythical and heroic setting while ASoIaF is from the outset created to be more realistic. And this heavily works against ASoIaF, especially since Martin seems to have confused cynicism for realism. Tolkien has - possibly due to his experiences in First World War - recognized the importance of escapism for fiction, especially fantasy. Tolkien's work has more in common with the Illiad and Odyssey, whereas ASoIaF has more in common with school history book. And this means that Lord of the Rings are simply more accessible (that, and they are shorter and simply better-written). Another problem is that ASoIaF is simply not finished yet. And if it never ends up being finished, it will be like... Lord of the Rings without Return of the King.
  8. I ran some numbers here if you are interested: https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/population-of-westeros/ Anyway, specific number of 40 million is... not impossible, but not the only plausible one. It is just the simplest estimate (army = 1% of population), but may well be wrong. You can go from as low as 12 million to as high as 98 million people. Anything below or above that is difficult to support, although I personally do favor the higher end of the scale.
  9. Mongols had ALL the advantages Dothraki allegedly have, and more (their armor was better in some ways than European equivalents), and as many warriors as a large-ish khalasar, and yet they still got beaten in their invasions by forces that were in terms of tactics and equipment similar but inferior to what Westeros fields. There is nothing ruling houses of Westeros could have done to stop the Khalasars? More like, there is nothing they would need to do. A single khalasar, or even two of them, would hardly be a threat that would warrant a full-scale mobilization. War against them could be safely left to whichever Lord Paramount had the misfortune of having khalasars land in his kingdom. Not that the war would last long. From what we have seen of Dothraki, they would underestimate the Westerosi (on the account of them not being nomadic horsemen), accept the pitched battle which Westerosi specialize in, and get slaughtered. At this point in the story, Daenerys hardly has the respect she would need to stop them from suiciding themselves against Westerosi knights. And even if they acted smart - avoiding pitched battle, and instead raiding etc. - guess what? Westeros is almost perfectly suited to counter that. In fact, castles exist to counter such style of combat, and sooner or later Dothraki would get forced into a pitched battle and wiped out. Much like what happened to Mongols in their 1285 invasion of Hungary.
  10. Been a while since I've read these scenes, but it seemed to me as if Viserys saw her as his property. And rape is a common way of establishing such.
  11. Losing Cumans definitely was a massive blow, and helped Hungarian defeat... along with bad deployment, tactics and some very questionable leadership. But Mongols also had better equipment, which is rather contrary to very frequent image of lightly armored horse archers defeating heavily-clad Western knights. Fact is, between the Mongols and the Hungarians in 1241., it was Hungarian troops who had lighter armor and fewer armored cavalrymen. Mongols didn't take castles because they couldn't. They destroyed all the towns and castles they could - meaning, wooden castles. Hungary was devastated in the 1241. invasion because the entire kingdom had a grand total of ten - TEN! - stone castles. And most of those were on the western frontier with Germany, and thus largely useless against the Mongols. Other than those ten castles, as well as old Roman / Romanesque castles and cities in southern Croatia, all other fortifications were made out of earth and wood and thus fell to Mongols relatively easily. But Bela IV. wasn't stupid, and as soon as the Mongols packed up and left, he initiated military reforms. In 1285., Mongols again invaded Poland and Hungary. But as I said, it was very different beast to 1241. invasion: unlike in 1241., both countries had large numbers of stone castles, as well as large numbers of crossbowmen and heavy knights. So what happened was that they simply retreated into the castles, let Mongols charge around across the countryside before coming out and defeating the (now weakened) Mongols in open battle. In fact, Mongol casualties in the 1285. invasion were so massive that their army had effectively ceased to exist by the time they managed to escape Hungary. It is already addressed here, but fact is that timeline simply doesn't add up. Nor do the other such examples. Mongols had never - never - stopped the campaign because of the election of the khan, be it either before or after the invasion of Hungary. If that really was the reason for their withdrawal, then Hungary/Poland would be a unique example in Mongol history. It is also almost certain that Mongols were not even aware of khan's death when decision had been made to retreat. And their retreat, once they had left Hungary, showed absolutely no indication that they were in any sort of haste - they wasted time chasing around Cumans, invading Russia and more along the way. All of this suggests that they were either unaware of khan's death, or did not consider it important. Invitation for the khuriltai was only made (or received) in 1243. - and Batu refused to attend. So yeah. On balance, it is a lie made to save face.
  12. Hungarians at Mohi: 1) made a massive tactical blunder 2) didn't have crossbowmen, large numbers of heavy cavalry, any plate armor, or literally anything that defines your average Westerosi army And you know what they did the moment Mongols retreated? Organized feudal heavy cavalry, hired crossbowmen and built stone castles. Result? They completely wiped the floor with the Mongols when second Mongol invasion happened in 1285. There is a reason why 1285. invasion is much less known than 1241. one: it was simply not worth mentioning much, because it was a massive disaster for the Mongols. They came, they saw, they were conkered. But even in the first invasion, Mongols weren't able to deal with the castles. In fact, claim that "all of Central Europe (consequently soon to be Western Europe) only got saved when Batu went back home to press his claim for khan" is a bald-faced lie which Mongols promoted in order to save face. Elections for khan had nothing to do with Mongols leaving Europe. European castles and knights, however, did. In fact, they were decisive. Second link is the most relevant for your claim, but I suggest you read all of it: https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/18/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-1-overview-of-the-invasion´┐╝/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/11/21/why-1241-mongol-invasion-of-hungary-failed-part-2-reasons-for-mongol-withdrawal´┐╝/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/12/09/mongol-siege-of-klis-fortress/ https://historyandwar.org/2021/12/16/how-mongol-invasion-shaped-hungarys-defense-strategy
  13. More like, for no reason at all. As Terror points out: And in fact, even the Mongols did not fare very well against knights and castles - despite having siege weapons and heavy cavalry. So more I think about it, more I believe that the original plan was basically set up to get them both killed, as despite what Jorah Mormont may think, Dothraki stand no chance against Westerosi. However, it is not that simple. As Peaches pointed out: It might also be that Dothraki were merely a prop designed to make Viserys look credible by giving him an army. And while I don't think many Westerosi lords would have found Dothraki a "credible force", it may have been enough to turn the Robert-hating lords away from him.
  14. Agreed. But slaves never want to be slaves - in other people, what people want or do not want does not necessarily matter. But that brings me back to need to introduce alternative economic system, and make sure it is well established and stable, before Daenerys leaves. Yeah, she needs to destroy the Masters' influence in the entirety of the Slaver's Bay, not just Meereen, because it is a complete system.
  15. Hardly, considering slavery is still a feature in Haiti. And a very prominent one - 2014., it was the country with second-highest prevalence of slavery in the world, behind only Mauretania (although "only" 2% slaves is not that high by historical standards). More importantly, the initial revolt was a failure in terms of ending large-scale slavery. Yes, Haitians did massacre the slaveowners and established their own indigenous government by Louverture. And yes, slavery was legally ended (thanks to inspiration by the French Revolution, by the way). But it didn't last long. Because fundamental economic reforms had not been done, revolutionaries under Toussant Louverture... forced laborers back onto plantations. To work. With no pay. Under threat of force. Yeah, definitely not slavery. When Haitian independence was recognized in 1804., slaves, pardon, workers, thought they were finally free... except Dessalines - Louverture's successor - again used the army to keep them on their plantations. He was killed for it in 1806., but his successor Christophe continued his policies. But the plantation system under forced labor proved unprofitable, and so slavery was finally ended - by breaking up the large plantations and parcelling them out to slaves, who from then on would work on small plots and only give a portion of income to the big bosses and the government. Yes, slavery was ended in Haiti. For economic reasons, and it was done by introduction of feudalism. Sure, it may have been impossible without an initial revolution, but my original point: Still stands. Exterminating the slave owners is not enough. Do we actually know that? Fact that their armies are comprised of slaves would indicate that they do not just trade in slaves, but also depend on them for most functions of the state. And if so, then we come back to my original point: merely "breaking the chains" is not actually enough. She needs to introduce something to replace the slavery - which, considering some of her own people were asking to be sold back into slavery, she had apparently failed to do. From what I remember, she did free the slaves, but the old Masters still own mostly everything, including the land.
  16. Agreed. I think I get the point. Still, if it is so ingrained, how can it be permanently ended? Every time slavery was ended by force (which from what you said would appear to be the only way possible in the Slaver's Bay), it was because a major military power with ingrained anti-slavery stance came and said "nope". Be it Royal Navy or, in US case, Northern states. In other words, unless Daenerys a) maintains armed presence and b) introduces alternative economic system, slavery will return to Slaver's Bay as soon as she leaves. And she needs to do both.
  17. And why do you think they would have kept to slavery no matter what? Slavery had been in the crisis once before, when tobacco plantations were exhausted in the late 18th century, but then Eli Whitney's invention of cotton gin saved slave labor in the South. Roman Empire was the example of the slave society you describe: slaves were everywhere, with some areas having up to 10% (or maybe even 30%?) population as slaves. Slave-owning was very much part of identity of higher classes, and even middle-class Romans owned slaves. If you didn't own a slave, you were seen as poor, uncivilized, and even worse. Yet once conditions changed - once slavery was no longer profitable - they turned from slavery to colonate.
  18. This. I always assumed that Dragonstone being poor had to do with lack of quantity of available land. First, they are islands, and relatively small ones to boot, and second, they seem to be relatively mountainous. So unless there are a lot of goat farmers...
  19. Which still means slavery will naturally exist unless there are very major reasons for it not to. So you think that just because humans can be kind, all humans will always choose kindness and not the other parts of human nature? Yeah, that is not how it works. Only one making wild claims here is you. If you care about aesthetics, sure. But just as often, there is no real difference. French Revolution for example had the immediate effect of replacing one type of absolute monarchy with... another type of absolute monarchy (albeit after some years of tyranny). Russian revolutions replaced Tsarist absolutism with Communist dictatorship, which was fundamentally not that different, both systems having one person make all the decisions. Simplistic maybe, but correct. Obvious differences being? Well, beyond more tyranny because new government was usually unstable and had to secure its position, which typically meant "murder everybody who disagrees". Maybe it is not productive, but how is it far off topic? It all comes down to my original point: just killing slavers and freeing slaves will not be enough to permanently end slavery in the Slaver's Bay, unless something had already fundamentally shifted in the societies of the Bay to make slavery inherently unprofitable. Basically, Daenerys' conquest will not end slavery unless conditions already existed that would have led to its end anyway sometime in the (relatively) close future.
  20. Slavery is a result of the will to exploit and to dominate, and both of these are an inherent part of humanity. Hell, look at how kids act: they will forever be trying to get one up over another, and to exploit each other. Seeking advantage is something inherent to humans, and slavery is merely an extreme expression of that tendency. So slavery will always exist, so long as humans exist. How extensive it will be however depends heavily on socioeconomic and sociotechnological conditions. We can't have discussion unless you put forward something more than "I disagree". But there is such a causal relationship. There is also a causal relationship between climate and social development, climate and technology, culture and social development, culture and technology... Change can easily go full circle. Look at the socialist revolutions against monarchies and/or dictatorships: all of those that succeeded in overthrowing the one-man rule were successful in that they replaced the previous system with a new one. But in all these cases, new system was merely another variant of one-man rule. So revolution was successful, change happened, but it still resulted in more of the same. If that really were the case, then slavery will have still existed today on a large scale, not just hiding in the shadows.
  21. Free will is an illusion. At the most basic, it is an issue of GIGO: somebody can easily control you merely by controlling the information you receive. Slightly more complex, we can look at Boyd's OODA loop: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. Observation can be easily skewed by the aforementioned GIGO: if your observation is incorrect, then your conclusions will be incorrect. Orientation means basically placing the observation within the context. This too can be skewed by affecting person's values (why do you think all political regimes want to take control of the education and information system?). Decision cannot be influenced by itself, but rather two either (or both) of two previous steps (e.g. observation that "I am in trouble if I make this decision"). Action of course can be affected by the previous as well as physically. All of this means that reality cannot be decided on an individual level, because the entire loop is affected by external factors. Believing that decisions are made solely by ourselves (as in, in vacuum) is an illusion: even if we try to cut it out, we are heavily influenced by external factors. And in the end, it is not a question of whether what we believe is true, but rather, which set of lies we can believe in will hurt us the least. But due to everything explained earlier, even that is incredibly difficult to determine. That horse collar ended it as a dominant economic system, which was my point. But so long as humans exist, so will slavery. Humans always were idiots. And we still are, maybe even bigger than ever before. But on a large scale, only systems that work actually survive. Which is why ending the slavery is not as easy as merely "kill the slavers", because unless you get rid of the underlying causes, it will simply come back. Of course, it is possible for a system to survive its practical expiration date, in which case simple solutions may work... but can we be certain that is the case with the Slaver's Bay? As I have mentioned: revisionism is the basic of history. Basically, the bolded. Any argument on its own is wrong, because human society is complex. But I have found that technology usually is the driving force of most of social change. Where things get complex is in how that change actually happens. Agreed. But the point I was making is, while violence may be the catalyst for change, unless you get rid of root causes of slavery, it will return. In most revolutions, even the successful ones, what you got in the end was not the change but rather more of the same.
  22. No, it isn't. Slavery still exists even today. But it is not a dominant economic system any more. Sometimes regress can be progress, if you get what I mean. When a system becomes too complex to self-sustain, it tends to collapse: but I still see that as progress. But the point is, systems tend to survive only for so long as they can self-sustain. And the most practical of systems last for longest. So if the system looks impractical on the surface, first thought shouldn't be "these guys are idiots" but "what makes this system work"? Why? Still too removed for Spartacus' rebellion to have been a direct cause, I'd say. Of violence being the absolute key to ending the slavery, as opposed to side-effect of a dying system trying to maintain itself. And what all of this means is that Slaver's Bay will make a return not too long after Daenerys leaves, unless she somehow manages to completely end the system you had described.
  23. That will be the immediate effect, but it will also remove massive amount of Frey's political power, as that seems to be based mostly on their control of the bridge.
  24. Agreed. And not just that, but Reznak - from both what little I remember and description on the wiki - seems to be a slimy, bootlicking type of character. Shavepate seemed honest. So it is indeed likely that Reznak is a Harpy, and even if he isn't, he is definitely allied with them. Reznak also seems allied to Hizdahr, who had been basically on the same page as the Harpies.
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