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Many-Faced Votary

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  1. I agree completely. It is also important to remember that Mr. Martin is a romanticist -- classically so. This should inform the nature of his character arcs and the ending of his story. As such, although Tyrion is the primary character who is most likely to take a dark turn -- which he has already done at the end of A Storm of Swords and largely fallen further throughout A Dance with Dragons -- and to stay there, I think it is very likely that he will ultimately temper this with heroic deeds as a way to atone (whether directly or indirectly), and even that he will redeem himself in some measure. I do not believe Tyrion will have a happy ending, and he should absolutely not be forgiven by the narrative for the evil he has willingly and selfishly propagated or for the personality flaws which he has allowed to rule him; but I am very much of the opinion that his fate will be bittersweet. As you have explained, Tyrion is clearly the "villain" of the supposed "Big Five" (or Six, if we were to include Sansa along with Arya, Bran, Dany, Jon, and Tyrion). If some degree of hope is likely in his ending, I find it difficult to believe that the others will have anything less than bittersweet in theirs, in the literary sense as seen in Mr. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
  2. Under the tutelage and with the urging of the prudent Jon Arryn, Robert did a fairly good job leveraging his charisma to hold the realm together, appease most of the powerful lords, and honor those who served him loyally. Supernatural elements overwhelming political pettiness and masters of the game of thrones making their moves notwithstanding, his only real mistake when it came to his brothers' castles was in the sense that he did not account for dying before Joffrey even came of age, and consequently did not make any final decision on who would inherit which castle and how the Baratheon dynasty would recognize crown princes. Renly just so happened to be a selfish, arrogant, vain, superficial, and power-hungry child playing at war and willing to completely disregard societal norms interwoven with the fabric of the feudal society to the extent that every single future succession would have resulted in bloody war had he won, merely for the sake of a crown to which he had no claim of any sort: not by blood, nor by a sense of duty, nor by his claim of merit, nor even by martial might (for his military understanding was extremely lacking, and his proposed strategy to battle Stannis fundamentally terrible). Robert could not have known he would grow into such a man; or that the realm would erupt into a historic civil war over the succession after his demise, which was untimely, in the first place. Stannis was too quick to see the slight in not receiving Storm's End, either not perceiving or not appreciating that Dragonstone was historically granted to the heir apparent (or heir presumptive, in some cases), and that "Prince of Dragonstone" was almost always synonymous with "Heir to the Iron Throne." He had much to learn, especially in A Clash of Kings; fortunately for him and for the readers following his arc, he received that opportunity, and his defeat at Blackwater and the good offices of Davos have resulted in him reconsidering his approach and behavior, thereby making his actions increasingly heroic. However, Renly was never able to develop or or outgrow his initial personality in any way, so he died as he lived: all image and no substance.
  3. I think it is willful self-deception at best and malicious prevarication at worst to suggest that the show spoils the book series in any meaningful way. Interestingly, the opinion that the ending of the show is broadly the same as the ending of the books seems to occur most often in two major brackets: those who were -- and in many cases, still are -- show apologists, and those who take their likes and dislikes when it comes to characters too seriously and are hoping the aspects of the ending which pleased them will be germane. Please forgive me if I am not overly eager to agree with the prevailing views of these groups. Even the showrunners have not made a confident statement about the similarity of the endings since the series aired, despite multiple such claims prior to then. Note that these are the same people who claimed that Season 5 was "very much within the books;" any self-respecting reader who bothered to analyze the show to any extent would realize how erroneous and frankly insulting this statement is. Judging by the pattern of their writing, including but not limited to the inability to use or understand literary elements, misunderstanding of themes, lack of characterization, insufficient seeding, poor plotting, uneven pacing, suffusive bigotry, unearned and cheap twists, unrelenting nihilism, and so forth, it could not be clearer that Season 8 was the exemplar of their approach and more of the same -- nothing more and nothing less.
  4. One of the biggest problems with this hypothesis, from a narrative perspective, is that Jon is most likely already a bastard Targaryen prince. (Naturally, this is operating under the assumption that R+L=J; a secret annulment is exceedingly unlikely in the books, and would never be recognized regardless of its veracity anyway.) The arc of Brynden Rivers is also diminished if we come across another Targaryen bastard who manages to attain the perception of legitimacy. Simply from a storytelling perspective, Aegon VI "Targaryen" would best fulfill a different aspect of presumptive royalty. Additionally, Daenerys is already the last legitimate and trueborn Targaryen scion beyond any reasonable doubt. Taken together, the above suggests that Aegon is probably fAegon, and is either a Blackfyre pretender or a random child who happened to have the right looks; both would fit Varys thematically, for vastly different reasons. Such would also render fAegon the mummer's dragon, one of the lies Dany must slay -- be that the false claim or the person himself, though I personally am inclined to believe the former. The textual support has satisfied me to the point of adopting a particular perspective, but I can absolutely understand why readers continue to have different hypotheses! We shall see when the next book comes out (*knocks on wood*). I agree, to an extent; but I have come to believe the conflicting details are deliberate obfuscation, something Mr. Martin is wont to engage in when he deems it suitable. To me, the most consistent, symbolically strong, and thematically sound hypothesis is the Blackfyre one.
  5. I agree wholeheartedly. Thirdly and most importantly, seeking vengeance or even a simulacrum of justice through violence would be a character regression for Sandor. After all, the Gravedigger is likely Sandor Clegane, but as the Elder Brother said, The Hound is dead. He has moved on, and if his story arc is not yet complete, he will likely engage in acts of heroism and fulfill the duties of a true knight despite lacking knighthood; for Sansa has been a very positive influence on him, even as he tempered her original naïveté. This is not the abomination; we have no need for the glorification of revenge, the careless heedlessness of characterization and use of random character flips, poorly implemented spectacle over substance, or the affirmation of nihilistic worldviews here.
  6. Jon and Satin will have a romantic relationship, or at least, Jon has subconscious feelings for Satin. I was not originally against the idea because I have something against Satin or against this relationship abstractly. Rather, I felt there was insufficient seeding for Jon being bisexual, and I originally wondered what such a relationship might add. By way of explaining the value: @Lord Varysrecently put it best by suggesting Satin "helps Jon become human again," and by proposing a parallel with Daenerys and Irri -- any avid reader knows how often Jon and Dany are in parallel! One can argue there was only one PoV character at the Wall before Melisandre, so the description of Satin falls to him; but the inopportune moments by and unnecessary redundancy with which Jon contemplates Satin's attractiveness or grace seem noteworthy. It certainly contrasts with how he considers other characters, including other men who have been described as attractive. Additionally, there are several instances of double entendres in prose and dialogue between Satin and Jon, which reflect some of the scenes developing Brienne and Jaime's relationship. Mr. Martin excels at this type of language, and he uses it to great effect when these two pairs are -- for the sake of comparison here -- sparring. Assuming a relationship is indeed established, the biggest concern is one of pacing, but I believe that is symptomatic of the host of problems which restricting the remainder of the series to two books inherently introduces. I am firmly of the belief that a minimum of three books is necessary to complete A Song of Ice and Fire; this relationship could very well fill the gaps between Jon's resurrection, help explain the likely recovery of much of his humanity, and parallel him yet another time with Daenerys, as they would presumably be each other's third and final romantic partner. Jaime will be the valonqar. My objection was largely because I did not like the misogynistic undertones: the reasonable man putting down the crazy (read: hysterical) woman, in a manner that is very evocative of domestic abuse. I had no doubt Mr. Martin would accomplish this with literary merit, but I thought that the pattern of ineffectual queens and probable justification of this act by the narrative would result in unfortunate implications. However, I do now believe that this is likely; Jaime fulfilling the prophecy is the most narratively sound decision for multiple reasons, and will end the arcs of both twins appropriately. Jaime will perhaps not be the "good" twin to Cersei's "evil" per se, but he will have reasons both righteous (Mad Queen Cersei attempting to complete the job that Mad King Aerys started seems probable, considering Cersei's rapid descent into paranoia throughout A Feast for Crows and the slipping of her sanity since) and self-righteous (Cersei's abuse and abandonment of him might strike a chord, particularly if she directly or indirectly reminds him of her narcissism or indiscretions). This means that the reader will have to understand his act was not borne purely from good or selfless reasons -- as much as outright murder can ever be -- especially as he will likely abuse the trust of his sister and (former) lover Cersei, as he once did with his king Aerys. Leaving such analyses to the reader is very characteristic of Mr. Martin. I also like the idea that Jaime lives after fulfilling this prophecy, which entails him living with knowledge of his actions, both for good (saving King's Landing once again) and for evil (no doubt the culmination of their relationship, which was arguably mutually abusive but certainly included Cersei's emotional manipulation of Jaime, will offer Jaime a selfish and unforgivable additional reason to murder his twin sister). Incidentally, someone living as Kingslayer, Queenslayer, and Kinslayer would make for an extremely interesting story, especially for the reader, who apprehends why. fAegon is a Blackfyre, rather than either the real Aegon or some rando who has no claim to so-called royal blood. This one requires much more comprehensive explanation, and I do not have the time to explain why I changed my views. Suffice it to say that I find very compelling symbolism, foreshadowing, thematic cohesion, and so forth to believe that Aegon VI Targaryen will be the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders. One significant consequence of this theory is potentially providing Varys with a relatable motivation. The most duplicitous, and quite possibly the most complex, character in the series might well ultimately have the most understandable and basic drive of all: that of love. If fAegon is the son of Serra Blackfyre and Illyrio Mopatis, and Varys is Serra's brother, he would be the boy's uncle, and akin to his godfather considering his close relationship with Illyrio.
  7. I personally believe that the biggest problem is Mr. Martin attempting to fit square pegs into round sockets, or more aptly, nonagonal pegs into heptagonal sockets. In order to satisfactorily conclude Act II of A Song of Ice and Fire and to cover all of Act III -- which is to say, retaining literary merit, especially in maintaining quality and thematic cohesion; addressing all major character development organically; passing through all major and a sufficient amount of minor plot points using what was seeded; specifically transitioning into and ultimately out of winter and the Long Night, as well as ensuring Daenerys logically and suitably makes her way to Westeros after receiving the opportunity to leave Essos; and so forth -- a minimum of another three books of at least the length of A Storm of Swords seems necessary. As many others in this thread have suggested, it is likely that Mr. Martin has rewritten many chapters and indeed sections of the next book multiple times, and probably primarily because of his attempt to rush the remainder of the story. I do not know why; it appears to me that it would serve both himself and the readers best if he allowed himself at least one additional book in the series. After all, the original "trilogy" has long since ceased to be one. While I understand the appeal of seven books for Seven Kingdoms, the name is a misnomer, and the mild symbolism with this and the Faith of the Seven is not worth what this arbitrary limit would detract from the narrative. Furthermore, whilst I can relate to the desire to establish a limit lest he continues expanding the series, something more sensible like three books apiece for each of the three acts would be a superior choice for such a constraint.
  8. After all, the only acceptable course of action is to misinterpret the text and use intellectually dishonest arguments to make Dany look as bad as possible.
  9. This vision is a metaphor for the War of the Five Kings. The beautiful woman is symbolic of Westeros. As Daenerys recalls earlier in the same book, "Viserys always said the Seven Kingdoms were more beautiful than any other place in the world" (Daenerys II, A Clash of Kings). The four ugly little men ravaging her are reflective of the pettiness inherent to the high lords playing the Game of Thrones, in which the various self-styled kings are ravaging the Seven Kingdoms. The reason there are four rather than five is that there were only four kings at a time during the war proper: Balon declared after Renly was assassinated, after this point in the books.
  10. My apologies! That was unclear phrasing on my part. The first part was meant to clarify that Dany was not even remotely characterized as Her Satanic Majesty in Season 8 before "The Bells" despite the writers' best efforts to vilify her, and much less so in Seasons 1 through 7, which had already blackwashed her significantly from the books. For the second part, my argument is that there was virtually no difference between the characters we were supposed to think of as "good" and those we were supposed to think of as "evil." The distinction was only in how the show itself - - and promotional materials -- arbitrarily framed them. For an example, let us take Season 6. Because sexism was unfortunately always a fundamental part of the show, I am comparing three women specifically: Cersei with Sansa and with Daenerys. It is first important to note that, until "The Winds of Winter", show!Cersei had consistently been a heavily whitewashed character who did very little wrong and only reacted to clear and present threats against her children in the narrative, even if other characters and promotional materials incorrectly called her evil and ruthless. Recall that Sansa killed her abuser (Ramsay) at a juncture in which it was clear he had lost all his power and was in no position to hurt her again. Her feeding him alive to his own dogs was framed triumphantly. (I will ignore the revolting rape-revenge tropes here as it would open a can of worms that would take us off topic.) Contrast this with Cersei's villainous monologue to Septa Unella. She claimed that she "only does things that feel good to her" (a clear retcon), including the murder of her own abuser (Robert). Recall that they were still living together as husband and wife (so he inherently retained all the power, including the ability of martial rape), that he was the King (with the obvious power difference that entailed), that he had struck her across the face the episode prior, and that his discovering her treasonous twincest would result in the death of her children, her brother and lover, and herself. However, this speech framed this as a villainous action that exemplified how evil she was. This is a staggering double standard, solely because we were meant to see Cersei as a villain and Sansa as a hero. Daenerys burned down a misogynistic, patriarchal church: that of the Dothraki. She smirked while decisively destroying and claiming an entire culture (obviously nonsensical, but it canonically occurred on the show). This moment was framed as empowering and positive. Cersei blew up a misogynistic, patriarchal church: the Faith of the Seven, by virtue of killing the High Sparrow (and all his followers somehow... again, nonsensical, but it happened). She did this when she had no other recourse to save herself from losing the remnants of her power and Tommen from his abuser (Margaery), although the latter became irrelevant since she was randomly a selfish, deranged, kinslaying, mass-murdering hedonist now. In any case, this was framed as an act of true evil. This is once again a staggering double standard, once more because we were meant to see Cersei as a villain and Daenerys as a hero.
  11. Dynasty and family name are only relevant in the sense that noble women are the only ones who are likely to possess sufficient agency to appreciably interact with the world and demonstrate their strength. This is even more true than with men, who have much more options at every level in society -- as limited as commoners as a whole are. Melisandre is an example of a powerful woman, who was a child slave and probably born a commoner in Westeros. Daenerys started the story with virtually nothing, as an exiled princess of a deposed dynasty living in penury and fear for most of her life, and who was a glorified slave and broodmare for most of the first book. I think it is safe to say she is a strong woman independent of her family name and social status, even if her and Viserys being the last Targaryen scions is what enabled the marriage.
  12. @BlackLightning There are several likely reasons for the Daenerys advertisements. Part of it, as you alluded to, is an endeavor to build hype for House of the Dragon, which is after all a Targaryen-centric prequel. Part of it is that HBO is trying to sell Mad Queen Dany as a tragic and intelligent story, as opposed to the utterly misogynistic and unearned cheap twist that it was. To an extent is, this is also a way to retcon the terrible justifications propounded by D&D, in trying to reframe this in a marginally less negative light. (To be clear, I am not a fan of Show!Daenerys in the slightest; she is absolutely nothing like Book!Daenerys, whom I love. However, even on the show, the characterization -- whether "criminally insane" in 8x05 or "pure evil" in 8x06, since they couldn't make up their minds -- is utterly inconsistent with the person we saw on our screens, inconsistent as she herself was. This is true in Season 8, which attempted to blackwash her to an irking extent with no subtlety whatsoever, and much more so on all the previous seasons, as vilified as she was on the show before then as well. However, ultimately, she was just like almost every other character, supposed "heroes" and "villains" alike -- on Game of Thrones, the distinction was only one of framing.) Part of it is an attempt to obfuscate just how despicable virtually everyone on the show was, especially by the end. Part of it is an attempt to hide that the "bittersweet" ending was "bitter" only for Daenerys and "sweet" for all the other surviving named characters, even though the elective monarchy that was implemented was a huge step backwards -- which, naturally, is utterly fitting when considering the nihilism that was always inherent to GoT. Part of it is a means of attempting to appease or at least pacify Dany fans -- not that this is likely, for obvious reasons.
  13. To be clear, the shortened season lengths had virtually nothing to do with the problems you mentioned; they merely exacerbated the same. Seasons 5 and 6 had the normal ten episodes. However, they offered no character development whatsoever, with the sole exception of -- unironically -- Olly; there were only random 180-degree turns. The timeline was utterly nonsensical, inconsistent, and indeed confusing to a distracting extent. Plot twists were completely unearned and done to "shock" with no buildup or justification. Telepathy and teleportation featured heavily, again to a distracting extent. It is not even as if they did not have the screentime in these seasons; particularly from Season 6 onward, a lot of screentime was burned unnecessarily on people moving and engaging in mundane actions, while anything that could betray their oh-so-clever "shocks" (i.e., everything that matters for enabling such) was not shown. All of these concerns were less prominent but still present in the earlier seasons as well; they were simply obfuscated by the use of GRRM's work, as they did bother to adapt parts of the books then, particularly in the first season. Granted, Seasons 7 and 8 were on a level of their own with respect to how atrocious they were, even relative to the previous two seasons; but the show being rushed was merely one of many factors, particularly if we consider that Season 5 was already rushed in the sense of "adapting" both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons (but in reality being almost completely original).
  14. One of the funniest things about Cheryl's destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor is that it is apparently common knowledge, such that the lack of consequences is shamelessly lampshaded in the show without a hint of self-awareness. Pot Hie and Arya Todd were casually discussing the fact that Cheryl blew up the Sept -- and then they moved on to Jonny Cardboard defeating the Boltons and being crowned King in the North, which shocked Arya, who had been living as Walder Filch for about a fortnight. Why would the Lord Paramount of the Trident, who was rewarded by the Lannister regime for his part in the fall of House Stark, which their allies House Bolton had replaced as Lords Paramount of the North, not be told this at any point? Yet somehow be privy to how the Great Sept of Baelor was destroyed? Why was the conflict named "The Battle of the Bastards" in-universe? That is one aspect of a single scene, the discussion of which I cut short because the lack of logic extended far beyond the current scope of the discussion, including Arya's presence there in the first place, what she had been doing before then, and so forth. Furthermore, this is only one example of the phenomenon I was discussing; and this astounding lack of logic is absolutely par for the course for Game of Thrones. This show doesn't even make sense at the most basic narrative level, never mind fundamentals of continuity, thematic cohesion, and cause-and-effect logic, which are inherently elementary elements of any narrative. The writers have to earn those Emmys somehow, right? Because the smallfolk of King's Landing are totes chill with the mass-murdering, kinslaying, heathen Queen Regnant with no claim to the throne and very poor public perception as Queen Regent. Because the Reach is fine with the their liege lords being all but wiped out. Because random powerful lords such as Randy Tarly know no Queen but the Queen somehow on the Iron Throne with no claim and no previous support, whose name is Lannister. Because Eurovision is a walking diabolus ex machina who is inexplicably eager to support Cheryl for an extremely bad, unwitnessed marriage pact. Because House Tyrell can't fight due to their sigil being a rose, and Highgarden is easier to capture than the flag on an preschool playground; so the giant sacks of gold they happened to have lying around paid off the debt to the Iron Bank, which impressed Tycho Dumbstoris to the point he offered Cheryl another huge loan, supplemented by his earlier anachronistic, nonsensical, and religiously insensitive and ignorant (on the part of the writers) support of her "casting off the yoke of superstition" by blowing up the analogue to the Vatican. This does not even bring up the endless teleportation and telepathy which made all of this possible.
  15. A very major theme in A Song of Ice and Fire is that death should never be "satisfying." Most if not all instances of purportedly righteous deaths and other forms of comeuppance are carefully constructed and implemented for two primary reasons: firstly, to pervert wish fulfillment and thereby illustrate that vindictiveness is never warranted; and secondly, to demonstrate that vengeance is shortsighted and universally detrimental, and that justice should be pursued. There are countless examples to this end, but two major ones are commonly cited for this phenomenon. No doubt most readers hoped that Theon Greyjoy would be taught a lesson after his chapters in A Clash of Kings... and Ramsay Snow gave him one, in the most horrifying way. The even more abhorrent and significantly more disproportionate fate is that of Jeyne Poole, who suffered unimaginable abuse at Ramsay's hands; she had at one point in A Game of Thrones commented dismissively on Mychah's death. They did not deserve anything like these punishments; no one could "deserve" such, which is the entire point. This can apply to almost every commonly anticipated (in-universe and in real life) sanction in the series and histories. For example, Joffrey Baratheon did not deserve to die horribly in his helpless mother's arms as a young teenager, Cersei Lannister did not deserve to undergo such an utterly misogynistic and gendered punishment due to crimes for which a clear double standard was mostly present, Vargo Hoat did not deserve to forcibly be fed to himself in pieces, Serala of Myr did not deserve to be mutilated and burned alive, etc. No one can "deserve" such gruesome fates, especially in context. The conclusion that we are meant to draw might fit in our world much more than that of Ice and Fire due to values dissonance, but we are readers are meant to acknowledge and understand that we should pursue justice to the best of our ability (collectively as a society and individually as people), and that it is worth considering if we ever have the right to pass a judgment of death -- or, at least, whether we should ever wish significant harm or death upon others.
  16. @random girl from westeros You are meant to answer the prior question in character as D&D before asking your own. Clearly, male and female nudity are equally titillating and common, and we wished to demonstrate this. Furthermore, the warty penis was clever commentary on how the clean, phallic Needle was increasingly tainted from its primary purpose as an instrument of revenge for Arya, who is an instrument of revenge. This was a plausible impossibility that we allowed in order to maximize dramatic satisfaction. Grey Worm is, after all, a commander of the Unsullied, who are skilled infantry. Q: Why was the Night King immune to dragonfire, but vulnerable to weapons forged in dragonfire?
  17. I am glad at least one viewer seems to have enjoyed such delights as the Short Evening at Winterhell.
  18. This is difficult because several terms immediately come to mind, and none of them flattering. I will have to go with Unsurprising as my second choice, and Vindicating as my first, in complete agreement with @The Bard of Banefort. Virtually nothing about the series finale and eighth season in general was appreciably different than the previous three seasons at least; it was more of the same abysmally written, poorly structured, unevenly distributed, thematically unsound, utterly nihilistic, sexist, racist, and albeist garbage, and the complete opposite of the books of which it professes to be an adaptation.
  19. Sorry for the extremely late reply; I fear life has kept me busy. I trust you have been well, friend! Honestly, I might simply opt to post solely in this part of the forums until such time I am less busy and have completed another reread of A Song of Ice and Fire, so as to better contribute to the discussions on the work that matters. I even dare to hope that The Winds of Winter will be released by then, with my fingers crossed so as not to jinx it. I was able to follow the link and read not only the hilarious and appropriately biting glossary, but also the delightful Carols, as you recommended. I additionally went on to peruse excellent and scathing retrospectives as well as some of the other insightful articles these intelligent ladies have published. They do such a sublime job that I feel the aforementioned materials should be required reading for anyone interested in discussing Game of Thrones; these authors appear to miss very little, and are spot on with virtually everything they say, though this latter claim is admittedly somewhat subjective. I will begin to use their recommended names and fill in the blanks with other ones as appropriate, as they very much have the right idea in dissociating book and show characters and thereby reducing conflation. Thank you for sharing! I very much appreciate it.
  20. You neglected to include the sentence directly following the passage you quoted. The garment was a clumsy thing, a long loose shapeless sheet that had to be wound around her hips and under an arm and over a shoulder, its dangling fringes carefully layered and displayed. Wound too loose, it was like to fall off; wound too tight, it would tangle, trip, and bind. Even wound properly, the tokar required its wearer to hold it in place with the left hand. Walking in a tokar demanded small, mincing steps and exquisite balance, lest one tread upon those heavy trailing fringes. It was not a garment meant for any man who had to work. The tokar was a master's garment, a sign of wealth and power. Daenerys I, A Dance with Dragons We also have the following: The red brick streets of Astapor were almost crowded this morning. Slaves and servants lined the ways, while the slavers and their women donned their tokars to look down from their stepped pyramids. They are not so different from Qartheen after all, she thought. They want a glimpse of dragons to tell their children of, and their children's children. It made her wonder how many of them would ever have children. Daenerys III, A Storm of Swords Meereen was not her home, and never would be. It was a city of strange men with strange gods and stranger hair, of slavers wrapped in fringed tokars, where grace was earned through whoring, butchery was art, and dog was a delicacy. Meereen would always be the Harpy's city, and Daenerys could not be a harpy. Daenerys X, A Dance with Dragons Just the fact that Dany equates holding a whip with wearing a tokar suggests that the tokar is, in fact, a slaver's garment. This is particularly true when we see intentionally clear juxtaposition earlier in the same chapter: Kraznys had a slave help her from her saddle. His own hands were full; one clutched his tokar, while the other held an ornate whip. Daenerys III, A Storm of Swords I think it's as clear as can be without Mr. Martin adding an awkward, "The tokar, traditional garment of slavers." or something equally clunky. I believe her instructions were a means of ensuring that those who were clearly children would be spared. She did not say to kill everyone over the age of twelve; she specified who should be slain, and additionally specifically instructed that the Unsullied not harm anyone under that age. These are very different things. At that point in time, Daenerys had no way of knowing for certain what the age of majority is in the Ghiscari culture of Astapor specifically, to what extent children engage in commanding slaves and family affairs associated with this, the level of direct involvement in perpetuating slavery as one grows older, and so forth. Also consider that, had she stipulated that those younger than sixteen be spared, there would be a lot more confusion in how to interpret her orders, many otherwise clearly culpable slavers could be spared if they were passably young enough, and violent revenge and/or insurrection would be that much likelier if a large amount of (near-)adult males were left alive. Besides, it must be remembered that as intelligent as Dany is, she is just a teenage girl exercising newfound agency with no real support or safety net. This was a very stressful and precarious situation for which she did not really have time to prepare, and providing clear orders with stipulations would be both difficult in the moment and potentially destructive to her goals and her own person. She is certainly smart enough to realize this; regardless of whatever extent emotion might have influenced her decision of age, it is clear she approached this as strategically as she could, and acted to spare as many innocents as she could, given that this occurred in the first place.
  21. Now that the show is finally over, perhaps we could engage with like-minded readers and vote on the best pseudonyms for each character who was butchered adapted to the small screen for a new and exhaustive official list? In any case, might I be so bold as to request a link or way to access the list in question, if it is still available? Ugh, show!Ramsay... the very definition of a Villain Sue, and not even in the way one would be entertained to watch, especially since they kept shoving into our faces how "OMG so ehvul" he is, yet we were also invited to sympathize with him according to the framing of various plotlines. Does this make him Ramsay Sue? Satannis "For a foot of snow, Shireen must go." Badatheon was at least ironically funny in his absurdity. I should note that I liked show!Shireen since they didn't care about her enough to ruin her; but like Walda, or Trystane and Myrcella, or various other innocent minor characters, she was nothing more than a plot device on the show and could not be considered a real character. There has never been a shortage of show apologists, ranging from the cautious optimists to the deluded superfans. To think there was a not insignificant group of viewers who propounded that the abomination Season 5 actually improved upon A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons, by "trimming away the fat" and what have you. "To be honest, I never really cared much for them, innocent or otherwise." ~ Jaime Grimy "Wait, why am I called Kingslayer again?" Lannister I agree with you completely. Imagine if the incredibly talented Lena Headey had been allowed to play Cersei Lannister as we saw her in what is probably the best episode in the series, "Blackwater" (gee, I wonder who wrote that?). As with the vast majority of the accomplished actors who were on the show, her role was a complete waste of her talent. However, given how D&D have repeatedly proven themselves to be utterly misogynistic (not to say they're deliberately maliciously sexist, of course, but this pattern cannot be denied), it is not inconceivable that they are unable to separate the actress and character when it comes to villainous female characters, and projected that flaw onto the viewers. To be fair for them, this might not have been a stretch, since the general vilification of female characters is very common. Refer to Skyler White from Breaking Bad: the brilliant Anna Gunn even received death threats due to her immaculate portrayal of the character. Or, for that matter, to A Song of Ice and Fire: many female characters are judged harshly and unfairly, and often nonsensically; while many male characters who have done much worse, generally for much less compelling reasons, are much likelier to be lauded. Even show!Cersei from Seasons 3 to 5 and in most of Season 6 was considered a villain by most of the audience, due solely to promotional materials and other characters' unfounded remarks, even though she was almost completely innocent and relatable according to the narrative itself. Brienne going around Moat Cailin made more sense than Littlefinger's nonsensical plan or Sansa's inability to ask the most basic questions about his so-called marriage proposal. The absurdity of marrying one's enemies doesn't even get into the fact that Sansa marrying Ramsay would provide the Boltons -- again, her enemies -- legitimacy along with a legal claim to Winterfell, or in other words, cementing their victory as absolute. Then again, on Game of Thrones, kinslaying your lover's brother and nephew is a surefire way to avenge him, so what do we know? My goodness. How is it possible to completely miss the entire point of Jeyne Poole's story, and to utterly fail to recognize the messages Mr. Martin was attempting to convey in his decision to include it?
  22. We should implement a glossary of names for the show's unintentional burlesques such that we can differentiate them from the nuanced and often sympathetic book characters, to be used throughout this board. I propose "Fauxllaria" for Ellaria. Satannis (as you can see, I'm not good at this ) was doomed from the beginning, for the show never did him any favors. That someone could fail to recognize, even from the most cursory perusal, that he is driven primarily by (perceived) duty baffles me. Even so, why would a supposed obsessive ambition entail one would murder their only heir in a feudal society in which power is derived from family name and lineage? Jaime was largely only present as a convenient prop for Cersei and a justification of twincest. He had no other real purpose. Not that D&D cared about book!Cersei, or adapting her, in the slightest, mind you. (She might ultimately be a terrible person and ineffectual ruler, but she is complex and far from a one-dimensional villain, and her poor decision-making is due mainly to paranoia and alcoholism, contrary to what many people seem to think.) Rather, I do not mean to make personal attacks, but it legitimately appears that her narcissism might have been evocative of the showrunners' own, as @The Dragon Demands suggests. Sansa wasn't even a character. Well, virtually none of them were, really; what I mean to say is that she randomly switched personality traits and levels of competency more often than show!Melisandre unnecessarily bared her breasts. Which of the many faces of Sansa will the next scene feature? The answer may surprise you.
  23. I would like to offer my own appreciation of and condolences for the character assassination the dragons and the direwolves, not that they had any real characterization or even individuality on the show. They even ruined Drogon's potential as a symbol against the evils of feudalism, since the script for the series finale reveals he was simply triggered by the blades on the Iron Throne. Granted, this is unsurprising, considering how the corrupt and solipsist oligarchy that was formed to the great social detriment of Westeros at the end of the show was unironically glorified. I attempted to think of any human character from Seasons 4 through 8 who could actually be considered both believable and consistently sympathetic. All I can come up with is Cersei before she randomly "chose violence" and suddenly transformed into a deranged mass-murdering hedonist (and is thus ultimately neither consistent nor sympathetic, but I'll let it stand as a freebie), as well as Hizdahr zo Loraq, who for some reason -- accidentally, no doubt, particularly in light of how she is demonized -- is portrayed very similarly to Sansa in A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, and is consequently very nuanced and captivating. It's quite telling that the two characters D&D were successful in whitewashing were the poster child of self-delusion and internalized misogyny, and the grasping and probably scheming slaver with few redeeming qualities, respectively. In Hizdahr's case, it was likely not by intent, given how the narrative frames him in a poor light despite virtually everything about him on the show being sympathetic; but the thought process that led to such a peculiar adaptation, and the inability to recognize this for what it was, is very concerning indeed. * Characters aside from the aforementioned two were whitewashed as well, but nowhere near as successfully, although I daresay the vast majority were blackwashed. D&D did turn Tyrion into someone who fits every single criterion of a Mary Sue, but in so doing, they stripped him of any brain cells he might have possessed and also mistakenly retroactively blackwashed him -- such as his reason for killing Tywin. Almost everyone else is either unbelievable and unbelievably unlikable, or becomes such soon enough, most often due to their sheer inability to not be driven by revenge or to not fetishize violence; and the remaining characters can't be considered proper characters. The most prevalent reason for both of these phenomena is that none of the characters acted like real human beings. * As I am already ranting and this is tangentially related, I would like to address one of my pet peeves here. By no means do I intend to insinuate that any show character bore any resemblance whatsoever to their book respective counterparts in the latter half of the show, and the vast majority were simplified and otherwise made less compelling in the former half too. Yet Daenerys is among those who fared worst from the adaptational decisions, especially if we only consider primary and secondary characters in the books. (Poor, sweet Ellaria Sand...) Season 1 did a passable job for the most part, but beyond that, the creature on the show was Dany for all of two scenes in Astapor in Season 3. She was otherwise a completely unrealistic, infantilized, unlikable, and anachronistic symbol of faux-empowerment, and it confounds and repulses me that such an inherently misogynistic character could be considered "feminist" by any stretch of the imagination. That people fail to recognize how blackwashed this character was from the start astounds me -- and there are those who inversely believe she was whitewashed!
  24. Please let me preface the following rant by saying that I try to be as objective as possible when analyzing the show -- although I am unapologetically snarky when discussing it, given my findings -- in an attempt to provide balanced and valuable criticism. Indeed, I was a huge fan of the show in the first season, even declaring it as good an adaption as could ever be expected (at least when translating from the specific mediums of a book series to a television show), still considered myself a major fan of the next two seasons, and was ultimately a willing supporter of the fourth season (instead of considering it to have clear good and bad parts, with the latter having the definite edge, as is now the case). I even made apologies for most aspects of the show throughout the first three seasons, and attempted to justify the various -- to be diplomatic -- creative changes that multiplied exponentially in Season 4. However, not to put too fine a point on it, I now know better. I had eventually realized there was something very wrong when I was watching Season 5, and by-and-by made the decision to watch it again after a few months so that I could approach it in a new light, and in so doing, take careful notes in an attempt to understand the point and implications of the narrative and to assess its strength as an adaptation, and even to try pinpointing themes for fellow eighth graders. With Season 6, I immediately realized that the endeavor of attempting to judge GoT as any sort of "adaptation" of ASoIaF was futile -- but I also found, when I followed the same procedure to analyze the narrative on its own merits, that virtually all of the plotlines barely even functioned as actual stories! The misgivings I had formerly dismissed, ranging from the simplification and vilification of more traditionally feminine characters (especially Catelyn and Sansa) and casual whorephobia as early as Season 1, to the joke that was Qarth in Season 2, to Loras being obviously stereotypically homosexual and for some reason eager to sleep with any gay man he meets in Season 3, to the omission of the Tysha reveal in Season 4, among countless other examples, suggested consistently problematic outlooks at this point. More generally, the gratuitous and meaningless use of nudity, violence, torture, and rape -- in direct contrast to Mr. Martin's careful use of these for world-building and serious storytelling -- as well as the removal of careful thematic cohesion and plotting in favor of shocking "twists" (the Red Wedding in ASoIaF seems inevitable in hindsight, particularly with all the foreshadowing that can later be deduced, whereas it was intentionally framed to appear as horrifically random as possible on GoT), started to become very clear. I began to identify countless problems of perspective (meta) and framing (within the show itself) with respect to the show, and realized that these formed clear patterns: the misogynistic implications most of all. Now, this is not to say that Messrs. Benioff and Weiss decided, "Let's be sexist!" (or, "Let's make horrifically racist implications!" or anything else they are guilty of), but bigotry is rarely in the form of clear and malicious hate, and such is a reductive and dangerous view to take. What is ultimately clear is that how -- for the sake of the example of sexism -- the men and women on their show acted is truly how they believe women (and men, to an equally damaging albeit much lesser extent) do act, or else that they should act in these ways. Quite frankly, in light of Seasons 5 through 8, Game of Thrones might be the worst show I've ever watched that isn't a throwaway sitcom when it comes to writing and literary merit. Certainly it is the absolute worst television show ever to accrue critical acclaim. I cannot imagine how anyone could consider the abomination a proper "adaptation" of A Song of Ice and Fire in any way, shape, or form; it is, at best, fan fiction inspired by it for the mist part. Even more so, I cannot fathom how anyone could consider the show on its own (lack of) merits and declare it -- for instance -- "bold" or "feminist" when it is among the most pedestrian yet illogical, and utterly misogynistic, works to ever exist. Season 4 was the last season that was watchable for me, as it should have been to all viewers who care about any amount of substance in the works they choose to peruse, in my contention. Season 5 was sufficiently coherent as to make sense without thinking about something for more than 30 seconds. However, virtually all of the little that was retained from the books ultimately proved to demonstrate the perfect thematic opposite on the show, which of course meant thematic changes for the worse. The veneer of faux-book material and mangled book dialogue successfully tricked most viewers, even book readers who later did not hesitate to be critical, into believing that it was at least decent. (From an analysis of the writing, every single storyline was approximately as bad as Dorne; that was merely the most obvious one, due to how unsubtle it was, and because even the acting and cinematography seemed to have suffered.) This was also the season that showed us precisely how D&D try to subvert expectations: rather than organically develop the plot from believable and sublime characterization in an often crushingly realistic fashion, as GRRM is wont to do, they literally present the opposite of the situation by which they wish to shock viewers and randomly flip it around. (Refer to Stannis sharing touching moments with Shireen, while Selyse seemingly despised her; and we know how that turned out.) Season 6 was far worse than even Season 5, because it no longer even pretended to be an adaptation of the books. My hypothesis as to why people commonly say otherwise is that this is when spectacle completely overwhelmed substance, which spectacle appeased many viewers; the books were no longer commonly used as a comparison; and those who were critical of the show previously simply gave up or stopped caring. All of these "refreshing" and "original" plotlines fell apart with just the barest scrutiny; the entire season felt like a series of random plot points presented as a checklist, disconnected and with a complete lack of logic or themes. Granted, this is how D&D think adaptations should be handled, judging by how they (for example) believe that "For the Watch" was adapted in any real, meaningful way when all the context, complexities, and characterization were stripped away, and all the motivations changed. Yet this is ironically the season that began to drastically move away from the books, according to them. (In reality, Season 5 was clearly the first mostly original one.) Season 7 was so absurd that it didn't make sense in the most fundamental ways, even at the surface level. This is beyond just "bad writing;" it's simply ludicrous, for a fifth grader taking creative writing would fail the course due to the inability to get from Point A to Point B exhibited in this season. The political foundation of the Wight Hunt and Meeting is the most obvious example. Yet it can be argued that Season 7 was still a story, even if it did lack almost all of that which makes a narrative logical or significant. Season 8 could not even be called a story, and I cannot apprehend why anyone would give it allowances or the writers any benefit of the doubt -- and even more so, I question those who continue to defend it, either by saying that it was rushed but otherwise fine (manifestly false), or by asserting that people didn't like it because their favorite characters didn't end up how they would have liked (which, sorry to burst your bubble, but the content is simply irredeemably terrible). There is a huge amount of cognitive dissonance when it comes to Game of Thrones. The most obvious way in which this manifests is book projection from those who have read ASoIaF, especially onto the show characters who bear virtually no resemblance to their analogues, but this is only symptomatic of a larger problem. GoT has been undeservedly treated as sacrosanct, with fans going out of their way to make excuses that usually wouldn't even work given the internal logic (or, more accurately, lack thereof) of the show and which are usually unwittingly debunked by the showrunners, personal attacks made by apologists when they failed to recognize the extremely offensive implications, critics falling over backwards in order to kiss D&D's butts, and Emmys thrown at the show for the seasons that should only ever have won technical awards. When we divorce scenes from the (mostly) extremely talented actors and television crews, what do we have left to indicate any modicum of quality from a purely literary standpoint? The total number of scenes in the final four seasons that, strictly from a writing perspective, are successful -- which is to say, they follow basic conversational pragmatics such that people are talking to each other and not merely asserting things near each other, retain their current characterization throughout the scene and to a level that can reasonably be derived from their previous scenes, act in accordance to their interests, and so forth -- probably number fewer than a hundred. (By the way, this is very much an exercise we can perform on this show because, at least for the latter half, it is ultimately nothing more than a series of disjointed scenes that don't flow together very well.) Of the aforementioned scenes, those that are decent can probably be counted on three hands, and the ones that are good on three fingers. I would like to point out that I likely missed a lot of basic criticisms, and could have chosen much more -- and better -- examples, but I should publish this post before I write a legitimate essay. In any case, I do sincerely appreciate this platform that enables me and others to express our contempt for the abomination. This isn't merely empty venting. With time, I can explain in great detail what is wrong with virtually everything on the latter half of the show, and point out the many problems -- from adaptational decisions to social implications -- in the former part. Incidentally, @SeanF, I'm not addressing you directly; rather, your post inspired me to say this in general, which is why some of it can be taken as a response to yours. I sincerely apologize if it seemed like I was vehemently disagreeing with you at any point.
  25. It is unfortunate that this is an unpopular opinion, because it is objectively and manifestly true. No doubt the undue conflation of A Song of Ice and Fire with Game of Thrones has colored people's perspectives and induced confusion when attempting to analyze characters, but it's especially problematic with Show!Cersei. It is true that marketing played a major role in painting her as villainous, but how readily people bought into it is very much due to sexism -- but it wouldn't be Game of Thrones if misogyny didn't permeate every aspect of the show, internal and external. Until the nonsensical and very poorly justified cleverly crafted and logical transformation into Mad Queen ™ at the end of Season 6, Cersei essentially did nothing wrong since killing Robert in Season 1, besides issuing verbal threats and engaging in some immature conduct -- both of which she was hardly the only culprit in doing, and neither of which is indicative of a villain, especially on GoT. For the most part, she was largely reacting to clear and present threats to her children. The narrative exhibited something that was at odds with what we were apparently meant to think; we were only told, by other characters and by promotional materials, that Cersei was evil, and were never shown it until she "chose violence" in Season 6, at which point she... was retconned into being a deranged hedonist? Your mistake is thinking that anything pertaining to the show had any purpose or semblance of deeper meaning; it was all extremely superficial and illogical more often than not. Having said that, Show!Jaime most consistently fulfilled one purpose: to promote twincest.
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