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Mourning Star

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  1. I actually think this is directly related! There are a number of fantastic Dany/Bran parallels and this is one of them! Bran's very first chapter starts with his first time witnessing his father use his power to administer the king's justice and execute a deserter. The use of power can have a grisly cost even when used justly, and it's important not to close ones eyes to this. It ties directly into the whole lesson of, "the man who casts the sentence should wield the sword", and also to, "A man can only be brave when he's afraid". Literally and figuratively a man should go through life with open eyes, to the good and the bad and the effects of his actions. Later when Bran has made it to Bloodraven's Lair, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think there are some bright red flags as he's instructed basically the opposite. Hopefully Bran will remember his lessons from his father. Fear is ok! Open your eyes, don't sit in darkness and brood on the past! This goes for his third eye as well, no matter how terrible the knowledge.
  2. Great stuff! I would suggest that Mel made the Shadow baby from Stannis's seed not his blood, and also point out that it was Brandon the Builder who is said to have been involved in the construction of Storm's End, the Hightower, the Wall, and Winterfell. Plus it's very hard not to see the parallel to the Night's King: The connection between the white shadows of the Others, and the shadow babies of Melisandre isn't at all clear to me, but I get the feeling there is something there. They could be something like opposites, shadows of ice and shadows of fire, or perhaps it's just that ice preserves the shadows while the fire ones burn out... all we can do is speculate wildly. As for the deaths in the time of Maegor, I think you make an interesting case. We might consider some of the other mysterious deaths as well, although they may not fit the narrative that the Hightowers were behind the killings. Aenys: In later days, after Visenya's death, it was suggested that King Aenys's sudden demise was Visenya's doing, and some spoke of her as a kinslayer and kingslayer. Did she not prefer Maegor over Aenys in all things? Did she not have the ambition that her son should rule? Why, then, did she tend to her stepson and nephew when she seemed disgusted with him? Visenya was many things, but a woman capable of pity never seemed to be one of them. It is a question that cannot be readily dismissed...nor readily answered. Ceryse: Maegor's first wife, Queen Ceryse Hightower, suddenly fell ill and died shortly after the Red Keep had been completed. A rumor was spread that she had said a shrewish remark that affronted Maegor, after which he had ordered Ser Owen Bush of the Kingsguard to remove her tongue. People claimed that Ceryse had struggled so fiercely that Ser Owens knife slipped and he accidentally slashed her throat. Though the story was never proven and most historians insist it was slander concocted by the king's enemies, it was widely believed at the time.
  3. What I am trying to say is that there is a big difference in arguing that something happens because of a choice, or that it's happening in a story because it's part of the story. For instance, there is no reason to expect that making a morally good choice will result in reward (in fact it's often the opposite), but for the sake of story telling morally good actions (or characters) are often rewarded and morally bad actions (or characters) punished. So, in ASoIaF, we can see both bad things happen to good people and also a sort of "cosmic" or "story driven" justice play out; without this being inconsistent. So this is a whole topic in itself I suppose. But in both cases I think Tywin acted on behalf of Tywin. I think he cared about his own power, wellbeing and legacy. Johanna died giving birth to Tyrion. I would never say Tyrion killed her. Maybe you could blame getting pregnant or the one who impregnated her, but blaming an unborn baby seems silly. Perhaps this is still a good example. If I'm to believe Tywin cared about anyone it was his wife, and perhaps Tyrion was all he had left of her. I do not think Tywin went to war for Tyrion. I think he used Tyrion's abduction as an opportunity. Tywin was perfectly willing to see Tyrion executed (or maybe exiled if what he says after is to be believed) for a crime he knew Tyrion didn't commit. But, we don't ever get Tywin's PoV, all I can do is speculate. Tywin appears to me a selfish, power-hungry, and ruthlessly efficient lord with deep insecurities. He's a fantastic character, but not one to admire.
  4. Don't conflate story telling and cosmic (author) justice with moral reasoning. I'm not advocating for murdering Tommen or Myrcella, but yes I think Jaime, Cersei, Tommen, and Myrcella are doomed. Does he? Or does he love himself? When did he ever sacrifice for another? This is also why I said his line and not necessarily the whole of House Lannister.
  5. Where he ended up does not determine the morality of his choices. You don't get rewarded for doing the right thing. You cannot know the future, or know how a different action would change the past. You can make a case for murder if you want, but you still seem to miss the entire point here. Morality is not determined by what results in the best outcome for you, that's just self interest. Perhaps. This is at least a more interesting argument. Although I think it still falls terribly flat when you are talking about murdering children. I think you are misinterpreting this wildly. Honor isnt the same as morraly good, neither is love. Jon says Ned would do what is right, and for the reader Ned is the best example of a "good" man we are given. This is not to say he is perfect. In the case of his life Ned would not lie, but for his daughters he would. Life is complicated like that. But don't confuse this with Aemon's twisted view of honor and duty... something highlighted by his assumption that Jon meant duty by saying Ned would do what was right. Ned would sacrifice his own honor and live a lie for the sake of his sister and her son. Where is Aemon's child? Absolute nonsense, this is the definition of a false choice. You are presenting two options as if there are no others, a classic fallacy. Wrong, the dothraki have never crossed an ocean, something everyone knows. Even Illyrio never expected Dany to return from the Dothraki Plains. Again you present as inevitable that which is not. I care. A good man cares about doing the right thing even when it does not benefit him. And rights are not rights if you deny them to those you dislike. If Tywin Lannister was truly dead, no one was safe . . . least of all her son upon his throne. When the lion falls the lesser beasts move in: the jackals and the vultures and the feral dogs. I think you will see both the karstarks and the dustins are not as anti Stark as you seem to imagine. But again, this is a part of the story teaching lessons not a reason to be moral. Being moral is its own reason.
  6. No, I mean the end of his line. Not sure exactly what you are asking... This series is fairly clearly a condemnation the Iraq War and the attempts to legitimize that "pre-emptive attack". And that's a hypothetical you are welcome to entertain.
  7. Thank you, and it's a fair argument to have... so... I do not agree here, nothing about being moral guarantees good outcomes for one personally. This sounds like the argument for moral relativism. Basically that morality all depends on where you sit. While I understand the perspective, and there is no denying that culture and viewpoint change outlooks on many things, I would argue that this series, for all it's grey characters and difficult choices, does not promote a morally relativistic worldview. Rather there are some moral truths which are true across the board. A good example is the very topic at hand, it is wrong to punish an innocent for someone else's crime. Again morality is not all about the ends. Good choices can result in bad things happening to you. I understand the argument and I strongly disagree. And how far does this argument go? Do you kill everyone with a drop of Blackfyre blood? What about the Other legitimized bastards? What about anyone who might have a claim? What about their families and their friends? When you start down the slippery slope of condemning people for crimes they have not yet committed, I think you can open the door to legitimizing all sorts of horrors. I disagree again. I think it will be the Lannisters haunted by the murders of Elia and her children. Robb sent Theon to Balon out of ambition and misplaced trust, not mercy. While obviously we don't have the end of the story, Ned's treatment of Theon will likely play a role in how his story plays out. The North is not lost, and castles can be rebuilt. Judgement should be made and the weight of it taken personally. Remember this is part of a larger debate between him and Robert over how to deal with the Targaryen children. Ned would wait until they actually invaded to fight them rather than sending assassins to kill pregnant women who might one day birth a threat. I feel like I've already made my case on this point. No, I do not think it would have solved the problem of a Mad King, nor ended the conflict. It is simply a great example of how far someone can go, and the horrors they could commit, if they justify their means by the supposed ends.
  8. I disagree with you very much on this and believe the text itself makes a compelling case for why. Even more to the point, it was not mercy that got Ned killed, it was Littlefinger's betrayal... which was a result of misplaced trust in him through Cat. Still, if you want to argue that the mercy did result in Ned's fall, there is no promise that doing the right thing will result in good things for you personally. In practice it is often the opposite. However, the results do not necessarily change what is right morally. It does highlight once again the theme of comparing the morally good with the advantageously practical. The Means and the Ends. The Ned and Tywin. Perhaps there is a difference between being a good man and a good king, although given how flawed the rest of Aemon's advice was, I'd suggest that it isn't anything close to a given. Because a careful reader will have noticed just how much Aemon is wrong about, and even here he admits Ned is a better man. I do not think I am. And I do not think killing children in the name of preventing war is logical or moral. It is a false choice. You do not punish a crime before it is commited. Any number of crimes and evils can be explained away by some nonsense about trying to prevent future events. This is not the way. You set me up so beautifully here I have to wonder if it is intentional? We do not know the future. Life is not a series of dichotomous choices. All we can do is our best to do the right thing. And while personal gain isn't the aim, the difference between how the North Remembers even after Ned and his heir are both dead, and how everyone turns on the Lannisters after Tywin's death, highlights the long reaching implications of their choices which we have only begun to see.
  9. I think this is a question the series begs one to ask... and that it fits directly into the theme of justice. One can make the argument that the ends justify the means, and I understand the point of view. However, I believe both myself and a critical reading of this series condemns that way of thinking. Honestly, is it ever ok to kill a child because of something their parent's did? In my opinion punishment should be reserved for those, who are found guilty of doing the wrong. We see this conflict rear its head repeatedly in the series, and it is perhaps best personified by Ned and Tywin. Ned had heard enough. "You send hired knives to kill a fourteen-year-old girl and still quibble about honor?" He pushed back his chair and stood. "Do it yourself, Robert. The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Look her in the eyes before you kill her. See her tears, hear her last words. You owe her that much at least." Ned believes it's wrong to have a girl killed, even if she is the child of a king he deposed who will likely raise an army and invade. But Tywin, on the other hand, would burn down an entire town if it meant victory: "Lord Tywin would not have bothered with a search. He would have burned that town and every living creature in it. Men and boys, babes at the breast, noble knights and holy septons, pigs and whores, rats and rebels, he would have burned them all. When the fires guttered out and only ash and cinders remained, he would have sent his men in to find the bones of Robert Baratheon. Later, when Stark and Tully turned up with their host, he would have offered pardons to the both of them, and they would have accepted and turned for home with their tails between their legs." I think an interesting and difficult question to ask is would Ned have ever actually killed Theon because of something Balon did?
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma
  11. Maybe the real answer is you shouldn't be taking hostages at all then. It comes back to the question of justice, and another major theme in this series: It's wrong to punish children for the sins of their parents.
  12. This is a false dichotomy. Life is not made up of black and white choices like you are presenting here.
  13. I disagree. Mercy is never a mistake. And see those men lost to whatever chaos erupts in her wake? I think the real issue is one of goals... what is she trying to accomplish? Toppling governments is one thing, ruling quite another. But trying to half do both is a recipe for disaster. Without clear goals its hard to even recommend a solution. Again, spending more and more of her limited manpower on each conquest is not a good idea if she still has designs of leaving entirely. And, unless you are willing to stay and fix things in the long term, one should think hard before breaking what is already there. Great question. Again, back to the goal here. If you are going to stay and actually be a queen, then it's worth trying to fit in. If you are just passing through, then realize what you are doing and act accordingly. Trying to fit in and also leave is a recipe for disaster. Again, what goal are you trying to accomplish? Conquest? Is this just a stepping stone to Westeros? Or is actual progress and change for the good the goal? Because something like slave fighting pits might make practical sense for those in power, but you are gonna have trouble justifying them to me morally. This is a theme we see repeated in this series. Morality vs practicality. The ends vs the means. If your goal is to help people, there were probably better ways to go about it. If the goal was just to win the war then it's absolutely a mistake. Ahhhh, and here in, as the Davos would tell us, lies the rub... "What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?" "Everything," said Davos, softly. A Storm of Swords - Davos V
  14. Jaime says he doesn't think Cat would kill a hostage in retribution, although he isn't willing to risk it. When push comes to red wedding, she does kill the hostage. But is it honorable either way? Perhaps not... It was also raining when Ned was ambushed and Jory was killed.
  15. I like this idea, especially because he was part of setting up the purple wedding. And the Baelish sigil being the head of the Titan of Braavos is an nice connection. Although it's Robert whom Sansa continues to compare with Jof. Although, I'm inclined to also stick with my original somewhat more literal assessment, even if it is in addition to other fulfillments of the prophesy. One might even see the Titan as a "great mountain giant".
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