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Everything posted by SeanF

  1. I’d say many book fans reacted very strongly against later seasons of GOT. A lot of people (myself included) loathed St.Tyrion, detested the remaining Stark siblings, found Dany a lot more sympathetic by the end of Season 8 than at the end of Season 7, and thought Jon was a weak fool. But, these characters were really flat caricatures of their book counterparts. I read the books in 2011, and joined the forum in that year. My impressions are: 1. Yes, opinions on Tyrion have nose-dived, and I’m quite sure reaction to the show is big part of that. 2. Other than the stupid shit-posting threads, the Starks remain very popular. Yet, when I started, there was a tendency to view them (apart from Catelyn) as saints. That has gone, I think, partly in response to the show. They are highly sympathetic, but also flawed. 3. Dany is *way* more popular than in 2011. No discussion about her was complete without Apple Martini and Tze weighing in about her being the child of Satan. 4. Following on, there were a lot of posts contrasting Jon’s moral purity with Dany’s evil. Most posters recognise them now as being similar people. 5. I really miss the threads on Cat the Monster. They were such fun to read.
  2. 1. Dany had honoured the terms of her treaty with Yunkai to the letter. European powers (other than the UK) were indeed very eager for peace with Napoleon. They turned because they realised he would just never stop. As Spain found in 1808, even having a puppet government in place, under Godoy, that danced to Napoleon's tune, was not enough to spare them from invasion. If, Dany had chosen to break her treaty with Yunkai, and had mounted an invasion, then yes, Yunkai would have casus belli. But that is not the case. In fact, the Yunkish broke their treaty the moment she left. The other invading powers, Qarth, Tolos, Mantarys, New Ghis, Volantis, have no ground for war whatsoever, save one. They are ideologically committed to slavery. 2. @Ranhas already explained what GRRM meant.
  3. 1. A fundamental argument against the peace with Yunkai, both in-universe, and on the part of the reader, is that it is unjust. What Daenerys hates is that to obtain peace, she must sacrifice justice. Establishing a slave market outside the city of Meereen is unjust. That really is not "just a matter of opinion." 2. The peace terms contained no territorial concessions by Meereen. We know from Hizdhar's proposed appointment of the Shavepate to oversee the river that Meereenese rule extends for 150 miles. We also know from the crucifixion of the children that Meereenese territory extends at least 163 down the coast. Ergo, the market is opened on Meereenese territory. 3. You're the one trying to argue that a peace between two beligerent parties is real, once they cease hostilities, notwithstanding that one of them (unknown to the other) has engaged a very powerful third party as its proxy to attack the other. That is where your argument (and Feldman's) becomes unsustainable. Volantis can't prepare an invasion force overnight. The Yunkish envoys will have had plenty of time to return home, and to report on the outcome of their negotiations. 4. Why would it be a dissenter who attempted to poison Daenerys? The obvious move for the slavers is to take her out, and for Hizdahr to become sole ruler. 5. Astapor was not treated as a rogue state, because (a) its neighbours were slave states and (b) its victims (the Lhazareen and defeated Dothraki tribes) were unable to fight back. If Lhazar had a powerful military, they would have squashed Astapor like a bug, rather than tolerate the theft of their children. 6. I really don't see the distinction between slave traders who provoke warfare and piracy in order to get their raw material, pirates who capture people and sell them to slave-traders, and slave-trading pirates. We're splitting hairs here. Suffice to say that once states are strong enough to fight back against polities who seize their people as slaves, they do so. What enraged European states was that North African states were seizing their people. It wasn't the theft of goods on the high seas that motivated them to attack. 7. Co-existence between slave and free ceased to be possible in the 19th century. Free states found intolerable the idea of having to hand back runaway slaves, or to allow slavers to convey slaves across their territory. Courts in free states increasingly treated slave mutinies as self-defence. States with powerful navies interdicted the slave trade on the high seas. The USA fought a civil war over the matter. In-universe, Braavos fought a war against Pentos to end slavery. It frees slaves from ships that it captures on the high seas. I think there is little doubt that if Astapor were its neighbour, it would have intervened very forcibly to end the creation of the Unsullied. Unfortunately, it is far away. 7. WRT Davos, it is not a difficult ethical choice for him to make. Likewise for Jon, it's not a difficult ethical choice (incidentally, Nights Watch neutrality is a tradition. It is not a part of any vow). The difficulty lies in the fact that doing the right thing is very dangerous, and may cost both men their lives. It's not a case of either man having to choose between evils, or weigh up competing goods.
  4. It’s like wiping people out in a computer game. It’s fun, but most of us wouldn’t do it in real life. I’ve no problem with hoping that Ramsay gets flayed and Lord Walder impaled.
  5. After these guys fed people to dogs at Astapor, and drove plague-ridden survivors North, I’m supposed to believe that they’re “peaceful”, and that fighting them is wrong? The more I consider The Meereenese Blot, the more it reads like the kind of argument that one of Sauron’s emissaries would make.
  6. One of the many things I dislike about Adam Feldman’s analysis is the basic assumption of moral equivalence between each party to this conflict. It’s “both sides-ism” at its worst. Within the city there is a clear aggressor (the Harpies). Without the city, there is an equally clear aggressor (the slaver coalition). There is no casus belli against either the freedmen, or the Meereenese State.
  7. 1. How does the establishment of a slave market outside Meereen represent a "just peace"? 2. Meereenese territory extends 150 miles upriver, and at least 163 miles down the coast. Therefore, the market is on Meereenese soil. 3. Trying to claim that the Volantenes have nothing to do with their allies sitting outside Meereen's walls is disingenuous. If I ally with someone to fight on my behalf against an enemy, and then profess to make peace with that enemy without even telling them that this third force is on its way, it is fair to say that the peace is a sham. If the Yunkish believed in peace they would have notified the defenders that they had sent envoys to Volantis, and they would have sent out fresh envoys to inform the Volantenes of the peace deal. It would be like saying that even if it turned out that the slavers were behind the poisoned locusts, it makes no difference to the sincerity of their efforts to make peace with her. You're also ignoring the motivation of the Volantenes. They see Free Meereen as an existential threat to their very existence. And, they are correct to do so, as we can see through Tyrion's POV. If Daenerys and her followers are brought back in chains to Volantis and brutally executed, that clearly demonstrates to their own slaves that they'd better stay in line. I really don't think that either Hizdahr and co., or the Yunkish, will be manning the defences against Volantis, do you? In fact, the overwhelming likelihood is that they will ally with their fellow slavers. 4. After the Treaty of Paris, both the British and Americans stood their forces down. There is no sign of the slaver coalition doing so. They remain on Meereenese soil, their ships remain in Meereen's harbour , and they're already keeping hold of their hostages, and upping their demands. Nor did the US agree to peace at Paris, while simultaneously encouraging powerful enemies of United Kingdom to join in the conquest of Canada. 5. Any nation that acted like Astapor would be treated as a rogue state, once its victims had sufficient power to fight back, or once people were prepared to fight back on its victims' behalf. As European nations improved their naval power, so they increasingly switched from paying protection money to the corsair states of North Africa to attacking them, in order to prevent them acquiring slaves and to free those that had been taken. The links between slave-trading and piracy are obvious, both in-universe, and in real life. Pirates take prisoners on the high seas, to sell as slaves. The Ghiscari masters pay them for these slaves. Ultimately, the French obliterated the Kingdom of Dahomey. 6. Regarding the "human heart in conflict with itself", the right course of action might be unclear to a character in-universe, but clear as crystal to a reader, given that we have a wider range of knowledge and perspective than that character has, and because we don't share their in-universe prejudices. It's plain as a pikestaff to most readers, that peace with the slavers can neither be just, nor lasting, with a huge invasion fleet on the way, because we have the POV's of Quentyn, Tyrion, and Victarion to fill us in on the real situation. Through them, we can see just how ruthless these people are, and how determined they are to restore the ancien regime. Daenerys, with her more limited knowledge of the situation, thinks a deal may be possible, even as she loathes it. If she knew the Volantenes and Iron Fleet were on their way, she would never dream of making peace. We also learn, through these other points of view, that the slaver coalition is far weaker than it looks, from Dany's POV. It's plain to us, that Stannis would be going down a very dark path if he cruelly murdered Edric Storm (or Shireen) for what he perceived as the greater good. Ser Davos is speaking and acting for the reader by spiriting Edric to safety, and by speaking up for him. What may appear a hard choice for Stannis, is not really so, at least from an ethical viewpoint. Ditto Jon, if he prized "the Nights Watch must take no part", over and above saving innocents from the family of Caligulas that rules Winterfell. For Jon, it require a real break with what he has been indoctrinated into believing. To a reader, it's quite plain that Nights Watch neutrality is irrelevant to the current situation that the North finds itself in. An issue might seem to pose a moral dilemma to a character in-universe, without being one in truth. That slave and free cannot co-exist, that one or the other must prevail, should be as obvious to the reader as it had become to many Americans in 1860.
  8. I understand the concept of “death of the author”, but any such argument needs to have *some* basis in the text. In fact, the text must be treated as sacrosanct. It requires close reading, critical skills, and placing each character’s words, thoughts, and actions in their proper context. One can’t make things up, ignore textual evidence to the contrary, and invent bad motives, for good actions, for characters one does not like. There is simply no critical interpretation , offered in good faith, that allows one to view people like Tywin, Walder Frey, the slavers, the Boltons, as heroic, or people like Ned, Catelyn, or Jon as villainous. There is plenty of room to debate whether Ned’s, Catelyn’s, Jon’s actions were counter-productive or wise, or whether they are flawed. But, none to debate if they are villains.
  9. I'm beginning to wonder if all the posts of this type are being generated by Chat GPT.
  10. Let's suppose, for the sake of argument that Martin considered that the re-establishment of slavery and slave-trading, and feeding dwarves to lions, in-universe, were welcome developments (which would, incidentally, completely contradict the theme of Fevre Dreme, as well as contradicting everything he wrote about chattel slavery in this series ). Well, I'm afraid I would disagree with him. If free people in Essos must be sacrificed for the “greater good”, then why not people like Edric Storm or Shireen or Jeyne Poole in the West?
  11. 1. It really is not debateable wheher the peace was unjust (at least, IMHO), The peace was loathsome. A peace which sets up a slave market outside Meereen is not remotely just. Meereenese territory does not just consist of Meereen City. It comprises a surrounding hinterland. This market was being created on Meereenese territory. 2. Oana_Mika's quote makes plain that most Yunkish lords wanted war, and were simply waiting for the Volantenes to arrive. The fact that the Yellow Whale favoured peace is neither here nor there, given that he died from dysentry. Nothing about the Volantene armada suggests they were turning up on a goodwill visit. Their reasons are given by Qhavo the Customs Officer that Tyrion encounters in Selhorys: "The city thirsts for war." "Why?" wondered Tyrion. "Meereen is long leagues across the sea. How has this sweet child queen offended Old Volantis?" .... "The best calumnies are spiced with truth," suggested Qavo, "but the girl's true sin cannot be denied. This arrogant child has taken it upon herself to smash the slave trade, but that traffic was never confined to Slaver's Bay. It was part of the sea of trade that spanned the world, and the dragon queen has clouded the water. Behind the Black Wall, lords of ancient blood sleep poorly, listening as their kitchen slaves sharpen their long knives. Slaves grow our food, clean our streets, teach our young. They guard our walls, row our galleys, fight our battles. And now when they look east, they see this young queen shining from afar, this breaker of chains. The Old Blood cannot suffer that. Poor men hate her too. Even the vilest beggar stands higher than a slave. This dragon queen would rob him of that consolation." The Yunkish sent envoys to Volantis and the Dothraki, the moment she marched away from their city. Qhavo lets the cat out of the bag. The Old Blood fear revolution, so long as slaves are free. The text is clear too, that Yunkish envoys invited the Volantenes to invade. How on earth can they claim to sincerely want peace while planning a massive foreign invasion? Do you seriously imagine that when the armada turns up, the besieging army, the Yunkish lords, the Meereenese elites are all going to tell them to go home again? Adam Feldman barely addresses the fact that the regional superpower is launching an invasion, save to suggest that the Yunkish lords may not have known about it. But, that is contradicted by the Yunkish having sent out envoys to Volantis in the first place. 3. "Permitted" to come and go is the key word. Daenerys points out in reply that the blockade can be resumed at any point. It's like the Tyrells cutting off the supply of food to Kings Landing. "Permitting" the supply of food is not a concession, when you are the one blocking the supply of food in the first place. 4. Prior to Daenerys' arrival, most pit fighters were not volunteers. The problem with "voluntary" pit fighting is that it rapidly becomes involuntary. Hence, Tyrion and Penny almost being fed to lions. Note, that the Yellow Whale, who you consider a peacemaker, was quite willing to agree to this charming proposal. So, yes, pit fighting is intimately connected with slavery. 5. Daenerys could have marched off with a slave army from Astapor, sacking towns and cities along the way and selling the captives back to the Good Masters, as they suggested. I do not buy the idea that that would somehow have been a course of action that was morally superior to that which she chose, simply because it was honouring a bargain with the Good Masters. Let's remind ourselves about Astapor's principal export activity. It involves the mass murder and castration of children. 8,000 Unsullied, means 25,000 dead children. Over the course of three hundred years, that probaly means the number of dead children will run into the low millions. People who pay others to kidnap children on that scale, before torturing and murdering them are hostes humanum generis by any yardstick. Slave-trading actually fuels warfare, and piracy, across a continent. Nobody would raid for slaves, or seize captives on the high seas, unless there was a ready market for their "goods." In general, receivers of stolen goods, which is what the Ghiscari masters are, are punished more severely than the actual thieves. The Ghiscari masters are not people who are just minding their own business, until Daenerys shows up. They are inflicting horror on a continent-wide scale. The Good Masters had to be put out of business - permanently. What Daenerys did, at Astapor, by breaking her agreement with the Good Masters, and liberating 54,000 people, was to trick a bunch of thieves, in order to return what they had stolen (the persons of slaves) to its rightful owners (the freed slaves). Daenerys has nothing like the power of the British empire at her back, enabling her to fight, threaten, and bribe, slavers to give up their practice. What she does have, is the chance to kick-start a revolution against the slavers, from Slavers Bay to Volantis. The so-called peace would have prevented that.
  12. Apart from Thaddeus Stevens, and a few British radicals and evangelicals, it's striking that no one has ever suggested confiscation in real life.
  13. I don’t find Sanderson terribly gripping, but I’ve never found him an incompetent writer. And, yes, it’s a shitty article.
  14. Within that overall system, there are still people who are better, and people who are worse, than the norm. No society switches overnight from medieval ethics to those of a modern liberal democracy (which are probably less impressive than we like to think). Progress is always incremental, but within that, there are people who try to make things better, and others who definitely try to make things worse.
  15. The Meereenese elite are face-eating leopards. They proved it by murdering and raping freedmen at the drop of a hat, after the city was taken. Many of them participated in the blockade of the city. When you make concessions to face-eating leopards, you encourage them to eat faces. No sooner does Dany try to make peace with them, and they're throwing Tyrion and Penny to lions, and setting up a slave market outside the city. Adam Feldman might view the slavers as essentially reasonable people, but I have no reason to agree with him, based upon what I've read about them. As to Daenerys' duplicity, she kept to the bargain she struck with Yunkai. She spared the city, in return for their releasing their slaves. She had the Wise Masters at her mercy and could have put them all to death (and probably ought to have done). No sooner had she left, then they resumed slaving, and intrigued against her. Yes, she tricked the Good Masters of Astapor, and she was entirely morally right to do so. People who murder, rape, and castrate children for their own profit and amusement are like pirates - hostes humanum generis. Blaming her for it is like blaming Mance Rayder for breaching guest-right at Winterfell. Dany is well aware that the peace is disgusting. She hates it, and she is right to hate it. As to Daznak's Pit, the fact that Daenerys is revolted by the slaughter (and what was planned for Tyrion and Penny) is very much a point in her favour, not one that counts against her. Drogon actually was eating Barsena and the boar. A fool then decided to attack him. Barristan's POV shows that this man is only considered a "hero" to the freeborn, but is reviled by the freedmen. My own sympathies rest far more with the latter than with the former. Both the fighting pits and the dragons are very closely connected to slavery. The former are a symbol of subjugation, killing or imprisoning the latter emboldens the slavers. +
  16. ASOIAF/GOT criticism on Quora is dominated by Kelsey Hayes, who used to post here as Apple Martini, and always gives me the impression that Daenerys has wronged her personally. A lot of posters just repeat what she says. Unlike the Stark haters here, who just post rubbish, her articles do have textual backing, but almost always involve removing actions from their context, ignoring contrary evidence, and attributing the basest of motives to characters she doesn't like. So, a favourite argument of hers is "Daenerys is a slaver, and therefore a hypocrite to condemn slavery". It is trictly true that Daenerys owned slaves, but also completely misleading, when you read that she took slaves to spare them rape and murder at the Lhazareen town, and freed her slaves as soon as she was able. WRT the War of the Five Kings, I don't think Robb can be blamed for what Roose Bolton did at Harrenhall. He was out of the loop, fighting in the West. I can't believe for one moment he would sanction mass rape. But, the orders to hang collaborators (including women who lay with lions) would have come from the top. These people were hanged quite openly, with no attempt at concealment. The order would probably be "punish collaborators", and it was left to the discretion of local commanders as to how that order was interpreted. By way of comparison, I've just completed a dissertation, which deals in part with Spanish guerillas in the Peninsular War, and they had no compunction about hanging women who they deemed collaborators. Reading, as I did, an account at the National Archive, written by a British liaison officer, that Mina Y Esposa, "instantly put to death", six Spanish ladies who were captured with a French military detachment, was quite startling.
  17. The Meereenese masters have lost their slaves already, as at the start of ADWD. From then on, it’s all pure gain for them. They get a share of power that is disproportionate to their numbers, they have the dragons chained up, the fighting pits reopened, a slave market established outside the city, and their friends are occupying Meereenese territory with a big army. The Yunkish start off, barred by treaty from keeping slaves. By the end, they’ve got compensation for their slaves Dany liberated, and recognition as a slave power. That’s a leonine bargain, especially when the Volantenes are on their way. It will likely end terribly for them, in TWOW, but only because they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
  18. It one of the parts of the Meereenese Blot that has me scratching my head - the claim that the slavers are making big concessions. Exactly what did they concede?
  19. There’s nothing triumphalist or vindictive about “a dragon plants no trees.” It’s her concluding that her efforts to bring peace to Meereen were a failure. This a world at war, not a world at peace. The skillset which is needed of a ruler is that of a war leader. It is very rare for any leader to be good both at war, and at peace. They’re different skillsets. When peace is attained, then a different type of leader will be required.
  20. That depends upon who she’s fighting. With Euron and his followers, or the Others, fire and blood will be needed. When the Wall comes down, all leaders of the fight will have to be ruthless.
  21. IMHO, she and the BWB would slaughter every woman and child at the Twins, let alone the males.
  22. There were unquestionably horrible Starks, throughout history. Those who hung up their enemies’ entrails and raped their daughters. Nor, were the she-wolves of Winterfell likely pleasant people. But, I think my point stands. It’s individuals, not Houses, who should be judged.
  23. Adam Feldman was wrong. The peace was both unjust and insincere. It was like the peace that the UK was offered in June 1940. The general view is that when Martin said “he gets it”, he meant in terms of the themes of Dany’s storyline in Meereen.
  24. I’m not bashing Sansa to say that if she attains power she will commit acts of brutality. Because, that is in the nature of leadership.
  25. Peace is no good if Dany just becomes the cipher of the slavers. That's what she was in danger of, in ADWD. It's not a question of sacrificing identity. It is a case of sacrificing peoples' rights in order to appease a rapacious elite, who will never be appeased. There are people who it is pointless to seek compromise with. The slavers are among them. I don't know where this idea comes from that compromise is always good, and sticking to principle is always bad. What Daenerys' storyline shows is that you can't give the slavers some of what they want, chattel slavery within limits. They will take it all, and that means, you must give them nothing.
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