Jump to content

the trees have eyes

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Recent Profile Visitors

3,199 profile views

the trees have eyes's Achievements

Council Member

Council Member (8/8)

  1. Just to comment on this. For a lot of people in this thread, myself included, this is not a new subject or debate so you aren't running into people who are simply slapping this down, but into people who have read or debated this for years so suffer perhaps from a bit of lemongate fatigue and offer comments that reflect the lack of appetite to return to first principles and go through every single argument and factoid all over gain. Now I admit that must be frustrating if you have the appetite for a fairly comprehensive run through but it's a mistake to think that people haven't been over all this before or, as I said, find the logistical issues of an unDany switch or Ned's abandonment of a putative daughter of Lyanna more of an issue than a childhood memory.
  2. I get that you are trying to point out that the Aztecs were an imperial power (in a regional sense) and that some of the subject cities joined with Cortez to throw off Aztec dominance but you can't really compare Dany with a conquistador!! That literally inverts her purpose since Cortez plundered and enslaved the natives, rather than liberating them. He just had local help at the outset, which was in turn enslaved and plundered. She's a conqueror to the Ghiscari elite, a liberator to the freedmen. I know GRRM painted this in primary colours but I know which view has more weight for me. And Cortez would never have achieved what he did without gunpowder, dogs, horses, steel weapons and armour, all of which either terrified the natives or completely outclassed them militarily. Dany brought nothing militarily and had no leverage until she had the Unsullied. You keep hammering these nails but I do find them misplaced. Why should the Unsullied be the POV of their liberation any more than the Wildlings be the POV of their desperate attempt to flee south or the Smallfolk of the Riverlands the POV of their desperate struggle for survival? This is character driven story telling and the author follows his own characters. You are creating rules for the author to follow based on misplaced racial projections into his work of art. We see all these groups suffer but we never get POVs from them because that's not the author's technique. Instead we see their misery reflected through our characters' eyes. If you are okay with not knowing how the Smallfolk of the Riverlands or The Wildlings felt first hand then I would hope you would be okay with not knowing how the people of Slaver's Bay felt first hand. But if you stick a POC / white saviour label on it you politicise art say there are different rules for different parts of the author's story or there are boxes he must tick. In real world social commentary this is absolutely reasonable and perhaps in fiction writing too but to try and impose it in fantasy writing when the author has himself deliberately muddied the racial / cultural groups to prevent this sort of reaction then l do find it misplaced. Why? Saving people does not carry racial connotations. The Messiah was the saviour of his own people, not someone who assumed racial superiority to others. I most certainly don't. You were the one who alleged that the young blundering hero trope was a subset of the white saviour trope in fantasy writing. I'm glad you don't really think this. Yeah, I don't think that because I think you are mischaracterising her arc. The young blundering hero is exactly what she is and how much GRRM intends to play on that or deconstruct is tbd. Since we have only had Slaver's Bay / Meereen for twenty years I guess I can see why you could reduce her to this or pigeonhole her purpose as to critique western imperialism or ideas of cultural hegemony this way but it's really off the mark. The problems of regime change, shifting balances of power and the acceptance of an outsider who is also a forward looking reformer are the themes he plays with in both Dany and Jon's povs (Tyrion's too to an extent). But breaking this down to a white saviour of POC - despite the author's story-telling technique and the jumbled world he's created - and then critiquing the absence of certain narrative perspectives just seems a to create an artificial stick to beat him with, however lightly. If you think I should share your assessment and join in your labelling and pigeonholing then I'm ok with disagreeing whether you consider that ignorant or blind.
  3. See, Dany is not an invading conqueror. The Unsullied who rise up and likewise the freedmen are the victims of the Ghiscari. These are her forces. She poaches their mercenaries, true, but she did not bring them like an invading colonist, they hired them themselves. The story is one of liberation not imperialism. And you did say this was an allegory on Iraq when GRRM published ASOS before the Iraq War so Idk if I'm ignorant or missing the point of the story. I certainly don't have the fixation you do. This is what I mean. Heroes and prophecies are the universal stock in trade of the fantasy genre. For you to say the young blundering hero theme is just a subset of the "white saviour" trope is all wrong. You've got it backwards at best.
  4. I have to wonder why Lord Dustin would do this rather than return to his wife. I mean Barbery would have to be really beyond the pale for him to decide to up sticks and forget about his Lordship and his line. The maester of Winterfell, likewise, is just an appointee from the Citadel not Ned's devoutly loyal and selfless servant - his job is not to obey Ned like a Kingsguard and babysit a child round Essos. Why is his existence even relevant? Ashara is the only real puzzle as her backstory is dodgy. So why didn't Ned try and recover "custody at one remove" instead of leaving her to be tied to Viserys and have a nice bullseye painted on her for Robert's fury to seek out, or to be sold to a Dothraki Khal like a piece of meat? I doubt that last was his promise to Lyanna. I just don't buy this disinterest and complacency from Ned.
  5. I think you're a bit hung up on this. Story telling and fantasy, in particular, have dealt with heroes and prophecy since forever. Whether it's the boy who pulls a sword from a stone or the man who rides a worm these are individuals fulfilling an in story role. Whether it's Dany, Jon or the three heads of the Dragon who will save the world - or not if it's all distraction and GRRM is going to totally deconstruct the prince that was promised / Last Hero trope - viewing Dany, ASOIAF or fantasy in general via this white saviour lens as if that's all the author is trying to write about seems really limiting. And once you start off that way you don't seem able to see much else.
  6. With Howland being a hermit on a floating castle in The Neck no one would know what she looks like. I don't buy the idea he made Lyanna a promise and then left *one of her children* for others to look after.
  7. So, Dune. I've only seen the film but the Fremen didn't look any different to Paul Atreides / Kyle McLachlan to me. Maybe there are calls to boycott that as well as Avatar? And the comment about terrorist states was limited to the Iraq War (although you do reference Central America) so not about literary tropes. The issue with framing this as one of the perspective of the narrative is this isn't social commentary it's a character-driven limited-pov fantasy series. It's our characters who shed light on the suffering of the smallfolk of the Riverlands or the starving masses in King's Landing, not those smallfolk themselves. Brienne gets an exposition on the horrors of war (Arya views it in detail first hand) and Dany gets an exposition on the training of the Unsullied, rather than us getting Grey Worm povs. I have seen criticisms of GRRM for having povs limited to the upper class but in general people are happy to let him create the characters he wants to tell the story he wants. But then we have Dany's arc in Meereen.... I do think she's "white" but not in the sense that that carries any meaning with it in this fantasy setting where the Valyrians were the superpower of the Day aka Egypt or Assyria rather than Bourbon France. If that's the fundamental critique, and I'm not sure you're positing that rather than framing the premise of the thread, then I don't agree. And that's my problem with this lens through which we are invited to view, critique and dismiss creative writing: it's formulaic and restrictive and gives a stick to beat the author / director with if they run afoul of it.
  8. Avatar? So the literary trope of the white saviour is Dany and Jake Sully. These are supposed to embody the trope but the trope has to exist in the first place for them to embody or deconstruct it. This just feels like a knee-jerk reaction with the giant blue-skinned non-humans and the myriad peoples of Slaver's Bay being tied together as non-white. Civil conflict is a typical consequence of regime change but a nasty civil war does not make for a terrorist state. All authoritarian regimes use a degree of terror against their own citizens and failed states can allow militias, guerrillas groups and terrorist organisations safe havens either through conscious choice or being too weak to prevent them. But these are different things. Except she is Valyrian so is from the region originally. As, loosely, were the Andals. It's why I think to identify race is a false here as GRRM has woven his own tapestry. In this case she would be an Egyptian princess, whose family fled the destruction of The New Kingdom for France where they supplanted the French Royal family and adopted some new but retained some of their own customs. Rather like the Ptolemies in Egypt as it happens. No real world comparison can stand up because of course it stems from the author's creative imagination. That's my main dislike of critiquing art this way, along with the vagueness and general application of the white saviour term.
  9. No need at all for a random Dornishman. Lemon trees from further south in Essos can easily be collected or planted by the rich and powerful in their pleasure gardens or parks. Dragons melting stone, agreed. But a castle is a large construct so even a large dragon can only deal with so much stone at a time. Dealing with blocks and shaping or fusing them together sounds practical enough to me. Are you arguing that Valyrian-formed stone is indestructible and eternal? I know we're dealing with magic but I think it makes it stronger and with unique properties - see Valyrian steel - not that an entire castle is a permanent and indestructible addition to the geological record. So the daughter of Lyanna and Rhaegar. Honestly, I don't really mind if that's true. I think it has more logistical difficulties and inconsistencies than those you leap to point out but if you are determined to reject Dany as herself this is the better option among the lemon flavours. Idk why he didn't send her to Greywater Watch where Howland could keep her safe and anonymous on his floating reed castle. Seems a better bet than hoping Robert would not have her killed along with Viserys. It's like he put her out there unprotected for no discernible reason while he took "twin" Jon under his wing. Doesn't seem likely to me.
  10. Yeah, in fiction. The political arguments about European imperialism and colonialism and the new world order and neo-colonialism can and will rage on for decades if not centuries to come but fantasy takes a step away from real world politics unless the reader is interested in politicising it. It was the words I bolded about terrorist states that I was pushing back on because this is really nothing to do with fantasy writing and all to do with positing a geopolitical allegory. What other examples in fantasy? This is what I mean. I'm not really interested in rehashing the Iraq War but it's worth reminding you that Dany turns up in Astapor with a handful of Dothraki outcasts (the weak and the sick who didn't join one of Drogo's Khos), three ships loaned by an opportunist in Qarth and three flying lizards the size of dogs. She turns up to buy mercenaries and has no political or military power base of her own. From that you've managed to transform her into an amalgam of a classical European Ruler establishing a colonial / imperial system (with her nukes to establish her undoubted military superiority over the "savages" despite the fact that all the fighting is done by local soldiers against the oppressive local regime rather than any foreign army) and a "white" saviour despising local culture and systems despite the fact that she has plenty of locals who feel the same about those systems on her side and she is in any case a cosmopolitan character who has only ever experienced Eastern cultures in The Free Cities, The Dothraki Sea and Qarth and who wears her title of Khaleesi proudly, dons her Qartheen gowns and wears her floppy ears. "Mighty Whitey" and a classic colonial-imperial European this is not. As for Iraq: The Iraq war was a follow-up to the earlier Gulf War (a global alliance against an aggressive campaign by Saddam Hussein to annex Kuwait) and found the US as the sole super power (or global hyper power) reeling and vengeful after 9/11 looking to neutralise potential threats and topple hostile regimes and replace them with more friendly ones. Geopolitical security, America first policy, oil-driven strategy (if you're cynical) or whatever you want to call it, this was never about making the lives of the Iraqis any better. They were meant to be grateful to see the back of Saddam and be a collateral benefit but thanks to the Sunni-Shia politics and the interference of both Syria and Iran who were determined that Iraq would not become a US client state, they became collateral damage. Dany is all about making the lives of the local people better. Unlike imperialists or state actors, it's her main concern. This is exactly the issue any regime change gives rise to as @SeanF said. The argument that Dany should not do anything unless she is certain she can make people's lives better is a strange critique: no one can know the future. You may not be making that critique directly but the idea that as a "White saviour" she does not know enough to try and fix things and in any case who is she to try tends that way. She leaves Astapor with a local council to govern it (hardly a sign of the colonial system you claim she is on the way to creating) but without any army or police it suffers first a coup then a conquest and it ends in disaster. What moral is GRRM giving us? Leave well alone so the local slavers can carry on castrating thousands of children and having them murder thousands of newborns to complete their training until someone else has a foolproof solution? I think not. That would never happen. It's too hard, leave it to someone else, is not the way. It's up to Dany. It's a shame that people only seem to see her skin tone, which then leads to her thoughts and attitudes being "polluted" in their view by real world issues. He is showing us that change has to be fought for, that it can be bloody and that there will be setbacks and challenges. It's why she sets up in Meereen (before, er, going on a dragon trip to the Dothraki Sea). The major theme of his work (title of first novel ofc being A Game of Thrones) is how those in power wield that power: the pressure between desire and duty, right and responsibility. Dany is on that journey, with an unexpected discovery on a trip to Astapor snowballing into upheaval in Slaver's Bay and likely all of the old Valyrian area of influence and Essos. It's quite possible that Volantis will rise up on it's own, inspired by her example, rather than being "liberated" by her neo-colonial saviour-like appearance and that she'll never set foot there. She's more Spartacus than Louis XIV.
  11. The working harbour and street slums of Braavos will be a very different experience to the mansions and gardens of the mighty. That's true of every city and there's no reason to exempt Braavos. Fused stone so stone blocks fused together: if not stone blocks then what? Fleeing because they feared, or Viserys feared, assassins is a perfectly understandable course of action even if there were no assassins stalking them and Viserys was wrong. Lemongate can point to inconsistencies but what it doesn't do is propose a credible identity for Dany being other than who she is portrayed to be. I know GRRM likes a rug pull but the idea that Dany is Jane Doe, impersonator from Flea Bottom, who just happened to hatch three dragon eggs, is a subversion of her character and identity that seems a step too far.
  12. This is a book forum to discuss the books. I'm pretty sure you can't have missed that. The discussion is about a "literary trope", so as you waded in to allege terrorist states I'm keen to hear what series or novels you have in mind. So you are projecting the Iraq war and rise of ISIS onto Slaver's Bay. That's a rather crude, even facile, comparison.
  13. The cycle of the seasons is irregular in Planetos but we are now in Autumn so Braavos is colder than it would be in Summer. The climate is not fixed all "year" round and the seasonal swings are greater the further north you go. It's entirely possible that Dany spent a few summer years in Braavos and that Willem Darry, who died of a wasting sickness in a hot Summer, presented very differently to Aemon, who died of extreme old age in a dank Autumn. The author changing his mind between Tyrosh and Braavos is the most likely cause of the discrepancy / inconsistency theories.
  14. Yeah, I remember reading the Mary Sue / Gary Stu discussions on this forum with regards to Dany / Jon a few years ago and thinking both how tenuous and misplaced it was but also how "tropes" is so vague that it really just says to the reader if you recognise this as a writing technique, character development or plot arc that is similar to anything you have read before then it's a trope. People occasionally pop up to say that ASOIAF is inspired by / a rip off of fantasy series "X" precisely because of these similarities and "tropes". At best all I could see was standard writing techniques that are common to story telling coupled with some fantasy genre-specific elements (heroes and villains, magic and monsters, princes and peasants) woven by the author into the story he wanted to tell. He certainly plays with these ideas but without them you don't really have a story of any kind. GRRM's two characteristics for me are 1) his praise for Faulkner and comment about the human heart in conflict being the only thing worth writing about which gives us his signature themes of love vs duty, honour vs obligation, explored in detail in the situations characters find themselves in; and 2) the gotcha moment or rug pull, which is all about setting up an expectation and then subverting it and which he most notably referenced by saying in interview that he set Ned up to look like he would save Robert / The Kingdom so he knew he had to kill him and that he then set Robb up to look like he would avenge Ned so he knew he had to kill him too. Often you think you know where the story or a character is going only to find you were wrong. How well it's done and where it leads to is what matters, not whether we can stick a label on the plot or the story as a way of criticising or diminishing the writing which seems what the OP is fishing for.
  • Create New...