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the trees have eyes

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  1. I agree with the first part, but sweetsleep is a medicinal remedy and it's use in moderation is legitimate. No one is telling Colemon to poison Robert Arryn, they are telling him to up the morphine/ steroids to keep Robert stable and he is going along under protest because it's dangerous. Colemon understands the long term risks versus the short term benefit better than anyone. He is concerned that LF is relying on sweetsleep to keep Robert stable and that this is unsustainable. Medicines have side effects, something we know well, and this is what Colemon is wrestling particularly as he does not have full prescribing authority as a modern doctor would and political considerations are trumping purely medical ones. Neither Colemon nor Sansa is trying to kill Robert. She doesn't have to. She expresses LF's wishes. You put the quote in yourself. My comment was in response to @Springwatch saying Sansa has no authority over Colemon. She does if she says what her father would want and people decide to listen. The only reason a maester is having this conversation with and taking instruction from a 12/13 year old girl is because of who her "father" is.
  2. Colemon is a fairly weak character and quite realistic for it. Not everyone can stand up to authority on points of principle and we are looking at a hierarchical society. There is a justifiable reason for LF to have Colemon administer sweetsleep to Robert so, despite his warnings about repeated doses being dangerous, there is no reason for him to suspect malicious intentions on LF's part (indeed LF needs Robert alive to exercise authority in his name). Colemon serves The Lord of The Eyrie which, with Robert a minor, means counselling but also obeying Lord Protector Petyr Baelish. Alayne, as the "daughter" of the Lord Protector, doesn't need an official position to influence Colemon, she has considerable clout, if only by threatening to tell LF that Colemon is disobeying him or not taking care of Lord Robert's image with his bannermen. It's like the boss's child being an intern - ignoring them when they speak in their parent's name could make your life very difficult.
  3. I think what Sansa is doing here is trying to act like a Lord/Lady and guard against the obviously negative impact on Robert Arryn's image among his bannermen of all the shaking fits. Colemon is in her view acting purely like a doctor without any considerations of politics or leadership (i.e. medical establishment vs political establishment over how to respond to COVID). You're right that she's playing along with being Alayne for self-preservation but a temporary coincidence of interests with LF doesn't make their larger concerns the same. LF, if he is too be believed (always dubious proposition), expects Robert Arryn to die so is indifferent to his fate and is already moving onto Plan B of having Alayne marry Harry the Heir (the likely victim of an unfortunate accident) to allow him to retain his influence. Sansa doesn't want any of that but she does want to remain safe and is as trapped as she was in KL, more so with the accusation of regicide hanging over her, so it's unclear how things will pan out. On one side you have her faulty memory, the development of the Alayne persona, LF's active manipulation / tutelage and her natural desire for self-preservation; on the other her natural empathy, her desire to be the opposite of Cersei and her Stark values and identity. For me the emergence of Sansa on the ice bridge with the wind howling like a wolf while she did something brave to help Robert Arryn is a subtle moment within a key scene that shows how she will act or react unconsciously at pivotal moments.
  4. This. Everything else she said to Theon was to distract from this though there is a lot of exposition to the reader in what she says. How much we should believe is an open question but it seems likely she resented Brandon, felt slighted by Ned not returning her husband's bones so is not a Stark loyalist - she sent as few men south when Robb called his banners as she could. But with 1) Domeric's murder being unpunished and 2) the general slaughter of The Red Wedding including Dustin men I think she has realised both Roose and Ramsay are much worse. She tells one of the Freys that "The North remembers" which suggests that blood shed by the Boltons outweighs slights given by the Starks.
  5. Whatever Cersei's view of Tyrion the decision-maker in what happens is Tywin. So if LF genuinely thought he could frame Tyrion he would have to make the calculation that Tywin would use it as an opportunity to disinherit Tyrion and get him safely out of the way (The Wall) while having Jaime released from The KG, married and recognised as his heir. That's not an impossible bet to make but it's more likely he was just planning to create chaos and exploit it however the cards fell. Choking is the likely reason for Joffrey's death but both Tyrion and Oberyn Martell are possible scapegoats if anyone suspects foul play.
  6. It seems you fooled yourself. Not many people do. There's a lot here that suggests you see some complexity, ambiguity and, yes, probably some morality as people in the ancient world wrestled with what to do and how to do it, rather than dismissing them as evil, amoral barbarians. I quite approve No, I'm not. I think it simplifies grossly and is vastly overused when people don't understand or like something - as in discounting most of humanity's existence - so should be used sparingly and deliberately. No, I don't think they did, actually. Systems change gradually over time or with short sharp shocks (trend or turning point) but typically people regard change as beneficial without seeing the past or their ancestors as evil. You remind me a bit of Bill Bryson when it comes to style so you should write a world history. If nothing else it would be entertaining!
  7. And lemon cakes. Some people will never forgive her for this.
  8. Oh God. I actually don't take that from those quotes. I mean in the first you literally have him saying he wants to add gritty realism from historical fiction of what living in castles and battles with swords are like and he delivers that in spades! No Gimli and Legolas having a nice sanitised kill count duel at The Hornburg (both over 40 iirc) or Hurin slaying 70 Trolls at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in The Silmarillion, it's much more down and dirty with throats cut, decapitations, dismemberments and disembowelments. In the second he talks about how patriarchal and classist medieval society was and how circumscribed the roles of women and I would have thought we could agree he manages to portray that pretty well. There are no people walking on their hands are there - maybe the squishers? As for the third on sexual violence, well, I'm glad he didn't go overboard but we have Poor Pretty Pia, the even more unfortunate barmaid who met Gregor Clegane on a bad day, the women at Harrenhall tied to posts for the "use" of the guardsmen, the basket or red worms in Meereen after Dany stipulated castration as the punishment for rape - and Ramsay Bolton. So maybe he did go overboard after all. It's safe to say he achieved what he set out to Well I certainly didn't read it with any particular focus on Sparta. He refers to Herodotus a fair bit and I certainly didn't come away thinking those Spartans were overrated so I figured you would want to set the record straight Valid points. But equally valid is that The Athenians exploited the Delian League and alienated their own allies. They basically showed how not to do it. I don't, it's just shorthand and an easy handle for wide-ranging cavalry armies. And large herds of horses are constantly on the move seeking fresh pastures or seasonal grazing. Staying in one place and forming permanent settlements means breaking apart into smaller groups. It's The Ride of The Rohirrim not The March of The Rohirrim: I'm unconvinced they are sedentary farmers or particularly mobile infantry. But then, I'm not really clear how they work. I don't get the bolded from the books as I don't think it's clearly developed . Mongols were worried about going soft when they conquered or moved into areas with fertile agriculture and settled populations. There's no equivalent in Rohan, just grasslands and mountains to the south. It doesn't look like Polish farmland to me and it clearly supports a very small population only.
  9. She told Ned what happened. He calls her forward to repeat that. This is pretty straightforward. The second line is from a sibling argument between Arya and Sansa later on at KL in AGOT when Sansa is still a fairly dislikeable 11 year old with her head in the clouds. She is still prepared to brush away unpleasant realities about Joffrey and Cersei at this stage and she and Arya are at war so it is both part of her recasting events at The Trident into a more comfortable form and deliberately being nasty to Arya. Quite obviously her growth doesn't begin until after Ned's death when she finally sees Joffrey and Cersei as they are and all her dreams turn to dust and she really begins to see the world and people around her as they are. It's not an instant switch and she doesn't become a genius or an adult overnight but her naivety and self-centredness disappear swiftly. You have plenty of Sansa povs in the following books to see this. The Sansa of AGOT does not show empathy for anyone, not because she is horrible but because she is a self-centred and entitled child of privilege. All that disappears and we see repeated empathy for those around her as well as horror at Joffrey and Cersei's behaviour. I would have thought helping Robert Arryn across the narrow ice bridge alone would be an obvious example of this. The idea of song works on multiple levels. Most obviously for Sansa it is her fondness for chivalrous ballads that give her a romantic view of the world. She sees the world thought a filter of song - see her comment to LF about why Ned should have sent Loras rather than Beric after Gregor Clegane - and believes she is living in her own romantic Disney drama with a fairy-tale marriage to the handsome Prince and a life of wonder at Court ahead of her. Until it all comes crashing down when reality intrudes. It's a key moment in her character development. The Sansa of ADWD doesn't want to be in a fairy-tale, she just wants to survive and for someone to marry her for herself not for her claim. She is still a prisoner, and still a child, so how it goes is to be determined but saying she hasn't grown or changed since early AGOT is an odd assessment of her story. I don't think so. Cersei wanted blood for Joffrey's injury: she wanted Jaime or Robert to punish Arya; she would certainly have demanded Nymeria's death and this is why Jory and Arya drove her away; Lady is the only target she can reach and Robert is too weak to stand up to her over it.
  10. Because he wanted one character far removed from the others and to experience a different part of his imaginary world? There's no hurdle here he has to pass in order to be allowed to write about his creations. It's not your cup of tea, I get it. As of the end of AFFC we have 20 pov characters (excluding prologue/epilogue characters). 1 of those 20 is in Essos, Dany, and 1 other, Arya, has just arrived. It's very definitely a sideshow imo. And we only have Dany's pov for all of it for most of 4 books. Problem seems to be Meereen and ADWD because we get Barristan and Quentyn, Tyrion's travelogue, with Vicatarion en route, but no pay off or story resolution. Ok, that's your opinion. But not an objective fact That's rather a sweeping statement. The Astapori rely entirely on The Unsullied for defence but in return for a dragon they make a rather large tactical error. It's up there with accepting a wooden horse as a gift from your enemies but both sets of circumstances are unique. I'm not insulted. I'm bemused by you applying arbitrary criteria to say he should not have written about something or what he should have written, and by you positioning your argument as resting on objective rather than subjective criteria (Westeros not allowed feudalism, The Vale not allowed knights etc*). You often make statements that something can't exist because it goes against logic or objective fact*. I've told you any number of times you're welcome to your opinion but you seem to make large claims based on this that I find subjective and don't agree with. It's easy to hold and respect different opinions, less so when one person claims factual or logical authority. If that basis is not agreed it's likely to be a point of disagreement. Well, that first's still a large claim. Essos is a big place. Slaver's Bay is a caricature though GRRM has moved from the idiocy of the Astapori to more nuance with the Ghiscari in Meereen as the reality of ruling hits Dany. The Dothraki have an outline - which I find just fine for story purposes - analogous to the Rohirrim as I've said before. It is but who says I don't? I don't have the same detailed requirements you do, that's all. And, yes, I understand why you don't like "Essos" Perfettamente Oh, indeed. But as I said, the Spartans were renowned for being great warriors so you have set yourself a large task to battle the baleful influence of 300, Herodotus, any other contemporary sources and several millennia of received wisdom. ETA: You should add Tom Holland to your list. I read "Persian Fire" last year and really enjoyed it. I never really got the Rohirrim on a societal basis. Not that it bothered me because I don't find the world-building / realism critiques to be the meat or point of the story. They were Gondor's ally and a cavalry army who could sweep down to dramatic effect. But they're a horse-based society that migrated from the north and settled in Rohan when Eorl aided Gondor and was granted Gondor's northern provinces. Rohan is a vast area so they should be nomadic, widely dispersed and follow the herds. They "should" drink fermented mares' milk and live in yurts or equivalent. Instead they have mountain fortresses like Edoras and The Hornburg so even if these were built by the Numenoreans/Gondor they feel semi-sedentary at least but with no agriculture. And JRRT, as an Englishman, turned them into anglo-saxons, more like Beowulf or Roland (yes I know he's a Frank), with housecarls and shieldwalls and drinking halls filled with warriors quaffing mead and singing songs. It doesn't bother me but I never quite got how Rohan was supposed to work so all this talk of worldbuilding and realism makes me point out that neither Gondor nor Rohan are particularly well-developed in LOTR. They don't need to be but still.
  11. No one is here. Take that up with Josh Hawley. The point is not to judge the past, and particularly the further back you go, by the standards of the present. Really? We're only talking because you said this: I'm curious as to how, when you were forced to read The Iliad, your teacher invited you to think of and discuss such different cultures so far removed in time and space and whether anyone ever mentioned the word evil. Indeed. But did they abhor them as evil because they discarded some of their practices?
  12. Nope. Each author created a scenario they wanted to - and each author could have done it differently. The details are up to them. I understand why you don't like Essos but that's you and I don't share your view. I quite like it, actually....just not the story being bogged down in Meereen (as I see it). Slaver's Bay? Because the author chose it? To create a larger world and to have Dany distant from Westeros for the war of the five kings and have her character growth and dragons hatching happen way off the stage of the seven kingdoms. I mean why not? Why shouldn't he? No one had ever turned up with a dragon before. No one had ever gained all of the Unsullied and used them on the Ghiscari before. Ready "to topple over easily" still requires a push. Subjective. And what is this obsession with being the arbiter of the standard for creating a fictional society or culture in broad strokes? You don't care for it much but honestly so what? It's just your opinion. Idk why you get so worked up over this... Sure, subjectivity is all about saying what we like and why we like it. What? Why do you think you get to set the rules the author has to follow in his world? Why do you think examples you pluck at random from our world are the only possible solutions that could be viable? And why, oh why, do you point to The Old Testament as a source for how his world should operate? This is entirely subjective. I consider them both epic fantasy (I have no idea what Temeraire is) though LOTR in isolation is merely a thousand-odd page story glimpses of the world JRRT imagined. It benefits hugely from the appendices and the Silmarillion and other works Christopher Tolkien published after his father's death. You're welcome to your opinion but you keep presenting it as if it's objective fact. That's what I keep getting at. Renowned warriors are obviously not renowned for being bad. Synonyms for renowned include: famous, celebrated, famed, eminent, distinguished, acclaimed, illustrious, pre-eminent, prominent, great, esteemed, well thought of, of note, well known, noted, notable, prestigious, fabled, legendary, proverbial. Not bad or average. I see that your desire for realism in world-building is matched by a desire for precision and explicit meaning in language. Oddly, I find this leads you to the wrong conclusion rather than the right one but that's just my view When I read ancient history (many years ago) we used both Herodotus and Thucycides as sources. All sources should be treated with caution and Thucydides was certainly more analytical than (and quite disparaging of) Herodotus but then again he was an Athenian general who wrote the History of The Peloponnesian War - between Athens and Sparta, of course - so as E.H. Carr would have us remember we might look carefully at his views on Sparta. During lockdown I read Ryszard Kapuściński's "Travels with Herodotus" and it put me in mind of re-reading both Herodotus and Thucydides. I never got round to it, maybe an executive summary would do these days (I did read a fair bit of Plutarch but found Suetonius too dry), but maybe I will. Those dog-headed men need a bit of a re-visit
  13. It's not an explicit reveal so it invites speculation. "Something to disappoint Stark fans" (sic) is pretty open-ended. Neither an explicit reveal nor teasing the readership with hints are a good idea imo.
  14. Well, this is the comment that seemed to get us on this merry-go-round: As you know I disagree on the fleshing out and what you regard as the "realism" in Westeros. Essos is less developed as it's a sideshow. But why should he not write about cultures and societies that he is creating? JRRT did not need to put in the Corsairs of Umbar, the Haradrim and Easterlings, he could have chosen something different too. That's why I keep making the comparison. I just don't see why you deem it a critical flaw on GRRM's part not to have what you regard as realistic systems in place in secondary theatres, most notably Slaver's Bay. Consider that they are meant to be unwieldy systems, if not outright unsustainable, so they topple over easily. That's their story purpose. The problem seems to be how long Dany has spent parked in Meereen which prompts both reader irritation and more scrutiny of how "Essos" / Slaver's Bay is depicted. As I've said I don't see logic being thrown out the window. The examples you gave seemed more discrepancies than critical issues and I don't see a particularly negative impact in story because of it. I don't find Essos boring: Braavos with it's Iron Bank and God of Many Faces and our brief glimpse of Volantis with it's Temple of Light and R'hllorism; Qarth, The Dothraki Sea, even The Red Waste, Pentos and The Tattered Prince; they're pretty interesting and intriguing in my opinion. Where the story goes with these places is yet to be determined but it's only Slaver's Bay and Meereen that goes a bit flat. Less is more, right? Let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks for the Forest of Qohor or the River Rhoyne, or The Black Walls or The Stone Men or Asshai beyond The Shadow. Boring is a subjective opinion. Everyone has their preferences and likes and dislikes. We don't know the impact of ten year winters because we don't have experience of them. The further south you go in world the less the impact so it's not a land of eternal winter. That said, it's one almighty logistical challenge he has side-stepped by writing in story in summer and autumn and is facing up to now (or not). Map scale is a mistake, as is the height of The Wall, but as map scale is not expressed in story for people to obsess about the distance from KL to WF and how long it would really have taken Cersei's wheelhouse to travel up and down the King's Road I don't see it as a problem. Much better to keep things fluid so you can move characters around more easily. Scale allows for more cultures and a more epic feel to the story. You can have Britain and King Arthur or you can have the World and an existential threat. It's ambitious but I don't fault that any more than I would RJ or BS for their fantasy worlds. Then your task is much bigger than "correcting" your friend's new-found knowledge or undoing the baleful influence of 300. Best of luck with it I'm not at all interested in 300 but regardless of that, most people would regard those terms as synonymous. Herodotus gathered stories throughout the Ancient World and reported those he was told irrespective of plausibility. Nonetheless as history as we understand it did not exist as a rigorous discipline at the time and as he is equally regarded as The Father of History, with his inquiries, or Historia, into the causes of the Persian-Greek conflict giving us the word history, I think we can be a little more generous. I'm not at all swayed by your view that the Spartans military reputation rested on Herodotus's accounts alone but consider as a Greek living in the 5th century BC he would have access to contemporary views more reliable than his stories of men with dog's heads living beyond the boundaries of the known world he sceptically but faithfully recorded with other tales from afar.
  15. If Westerosi laws and society had flaying as a form of punishment it would be unremarkable for the Boltons to flay people. Clearly neither laws nor society support flaying and the Boltons themselves do not attempt to publicly flay anyone because they would have been punished for it. Ramsay's "pursuits" are considered depraved and sadistic and at variance with the culture, mores and values of contemporary society. Even Roose views it with distaste though he tolerates it provided it remains hidden. There is no "Bolton moral code" here, just an emblem of heraldry and a sadistic individual. I have tried all along to say ideas or thought systems are expressed, developed, spread and adopted. The Boltons have access to the same ideas, education, history, society and culture as their peers so they have the same moral code and can be judged the same way as their contemporaries. That results in Ramsay, actually Reek, being put to death by Ser Rodrik, and Reek, actually Ramsay, brought as a prisoner to Winterfell to wait trial. This should not be hard to follow and has no relation to judging a society or civilisation hundreds or thousands of years in the past on values and beliefs they had no exposure to. This is your assessment of practically every human civilisation or culture to have existed? It's a puerile comment. The 19th century was the period when ideas truly shifted as a result of the Enlightenment and political thought developing the concept of rights in the 18th century. Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807, and slavery in the British Empire in 1833, Russia emancipated it's serfs in 1861 and the US abolished slavery in Rebel States in 1863 and entirely in 1865. There were long campaigns to secure these emancipations or abolitions so in the 18th and 19th century there were indeed many contemporaries who were disgusted. Pre-enlightenment though? Not so much. Christianity forbade Christians to hold other Christians as slaves and Islam prohibited Muslims from holding other Muslims as slaves but the concept of slavery was not universally or morally unacceptable. Go back to pre-Reformation or pre-Christianity/Islam and the Ancient World would not have understood your objections because they did not have the same moral code or share the same belief systems. I'm not too conversant with US politicians speeches on slavery so I don't know where you're thinking of contemporary or 19th century. I know Josh Hawley recently described slavery as "a necessary evil" which to my 21st century mind begs the question "necessary for who?" but I read contemporary speeches as a fudge - both an acknowledgment that is was wrong along with a perhaps understandable desire not to view great-granddaddy and your inherited family wealth as the result of "evil". As for 19th century politicians, that was the era when the balance was shifting between uncomfortable but prepared to go along with it (The Constitution) and the gathering momentum of the Abolition Movement globally. Why are we talking about the Nazis? The Nazis had access to every thought, belief system and moral code that their contemporaries in democracies and their opponents in Germany did. We can judge them with horror because they had access to ideas and moral codes that are largely similar to our own but chose to reject them as weak or decadent and were able to launch a coup in Germany and suppress any thought system that challenged their own. The verdict of contemporaries was just as damning as our own. It's not that they did not have the intellectual structures or moral framework to assess their own actions, it's that they despised them. Jesus Christ. I mean that both as an imprecation and a point. All major world religions were founded in the Ancient or Medieval Period. You can be as lazy and ignorant as you want but it surely won't make you right. Above all, what I'm trying to get across is what morality is. It does not exist in a vacuum or as some universal truth that an individual can discover for him or herself just by being "good". Morality is an attempt made by every human society and culture to create a system of thought to underpin practices and rules to govern human behaviour and interactions. Every society and culture has come up with it's own ideas and solutions and, particularly if cultures were isolated, their systems of morality appear strange. This is magnified when we look into the past as every culture is isolated from ideas, practices and experiences we take for granted and the physical isolation of cultures around the world magnifies the strangeness of those to each other and to us as observers. Ideas spread when cultures come into contact with each other and over time influence each other but it's only in the modern world when travel and communication remove barriers that we can begin to talk of "human" rights or "universal" rights or to try and aspire to a universal standard of morality. It's work in progress and stands on the shoulders of thousands of years of development so to write off humanity outside a narrow band of the present is breathtakingly narrow-minded. Weird comparison. They did not understand gravity or have any way of expressing what it was. Newton had a rather famous moment with an apple that led to him expressing a concept that has gone on to become a fundamental law of physics and underpin our understanding of the world around us and allow theoretical and practical applications of technology. That is the power of thought, of human development of an idea and the impact of generations building on the thought of those who came before them. Now apply that development process to morality and just like our space age technology our contemporary morality rests on the thinkers of the past. They had morality back then too, it was an earlier expression of human thought than it is today. I hope your takeaway was not that the Greeks and Trojans were both evil but I think I can guess. Human nature doesn't change: you're either kind or cruel, generous or mean, friendly or stand-offish, helpful or self-centred, etc... That part of us is our own. But our morality and world view is drummed into us through nurture, education, socialisation and media (book/radio/tv) and that depends entirely on the time and place we live in. "The Past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" is a quote from L.P. Hartley from the 1950s. It's interesting for two reasons: it captures how different societies and cultures are (or were) either confusing or completely unknown and why history is not just teaching events but explaining them with all the complexity and confusion that brings; and how even after less than a century technological change in the internet age has challenged that simple premise as we have exposure to all cultures adn belief systems if we choose to seek it (and don't live in an authoritarian state behind a great firewall....).
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