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the trees have eyes

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Posts posted by the trees have eyes

  1. 1 hour ago, Mourning Star said:

    Ok, still not seeing it? Let me try a little more...

    There's really no need, we just don't see it the same way :dunno:

    Bloodraven the big bad, Old Nan the Oracle, ideas I've heard many times before but not my cup of tea.

    The one thing I agree with is the difficulty of interpreting prophecy or dreams.  But then my point was not that Jojen was right about his fate but it is why he is so bleak.  Not him realising his mistake as you hypothesize.

  2. 6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I think he does connect it at some level, and hears his father's words in his mind just like in the dream.

    There's a difference between stark gibbering terror and feeling uneasy though.  Most things Bran has had to deal with are pretty unpleasant or disturbing for an eight year old but his (lack of) reaction is not enough to tie into his dream for me.

    6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    He liked it better when the torches were put out. In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse.

    One might note that Bran only refers to the three eyed crow in the cave when the light has been explicitly put out, when he is "in the dark".

    I would too :D.  Bloodraven is quite a grisly sight.  The difference between metaphor, the three eyed crow and reality, an enthroned/entombed near-corpse, is pretty graphic but Bran's training is about opening his third eye, I think?

    A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

    The sight of him still frightened Bran—the weirwood roots snaking in and out of his withered flesh, the mushrooms sprouting from his cheeks, the white wooden worm that grew from the socket where one eye had been. He liked it better when the torches were put out. In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse.
    One day I will be like him. The thought filled Bran with dread. Bad enough that he was broken, with his useless legs. Was he doomed to lose the rest too, to spend all of his years with a weirwood growing in him and through him? Lord Brynden drew his life from the tree, Leaf told them. He did not eat, he did not drink. He slept, he dreamed, he watched. I was going to be a knight, Bran remembered. I used to run and climb and fight. It seemed a thousand years ago.
    What was he now? Only Bran the broken boy, Brandon of House Stark, prince of a lost kingdom, lord of a burned castle, heir to ruins. He had thought the three-eyed crow would be a sorcerer, a wise old wizard who could fix his legs, but that was some stupid child's dream, he realized now. I am too old for such fancies, he told himself. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. That was as good as being a knight. Almost as good, anyway.
    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I do think he is pretty clearly afraid. He's trying to be brave.

    Also, Bran does repeatedly question their journey. Bloodraven isn't even the first person he asks if they are the three eyed crow. 

    Absolutely and there have been and are good reasons to be scared throughout the series for Bran.  He's eight and what is happening is creepy and spooky if not downright horrific if his training is to be plugged into the weirnet.

    Yes he asks that almost as often as eight year olds ask "are we nearly there yet?".  It's a long way from Winterfell and Bran has never been more than a day's ride from home before.

    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    Howland sent Meera and Jojen to Bran in Winterfell, there is no indication he intended any field trip beyond the Wall.

    Yes, but why, I wonder.  Why not come himself? Because Jojen has green dreams and Howland knows what he saw seems the most likely reason.  And that implies Howland expects Jojen to help Bran somehow.  And didn't Howland visit The Isle of Faces around the time of The Tourney at Harrenhall so if there are COTF there we can expect Howland / Jojen to know and to know if there are "bad uns" in the North they should avoid dealing with.

    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    After Winterfell is sacked he says the crow is north. I would point out that if Old Nan was taken to the Dreadfort with the other prisoners, she was north of Winterfell.

    I fear for Old Nan and Beth Cassell.  Ramsay took the young women from Winterfell for his "sport".  He's hardly a philanthropist so there is no reason for him or his men to take an old woman or young child all the way to the Dreadfort or to make any effort to keep them alive.  Killed outright is more likely :crying:

    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I think that by the end of Dance, Jojen is realizing he made a terrible mistake.

    Interesting.  He's told us a number of times that he knows "the day I die".  I always read that as him having a green dream about his own death and as Meera says to Bran in the cave "he will not even try and fight his fate".  He's fulfilled his mission to bring Bran here but now he sees his death approaching.  What might cause his death other than homesickness, malnutrition and the hardship of their journey - he is clearly struggling as they near the cave - is an interesting question though.

    A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

    The moon was a black hole in the sky. Outside the cave the world went on. Outside the cave the sun rose and set, the moon turned, the cold winds howled. Under the hill, Jojen Reed grew ever more sullen and solitary, to his sister's distress. She would often sit with Bran beside their little fire, talking of everything and nothing, petting Summer where he slept between them, whilst her brother wandered the caverns by himself. Jojen had even taken to climbing up to the cave's mouth when the day was bright. He would stand there for hours, looking out over the forest, wrapped in furs yet shivering all the same.
    "He wants to go home," Meera told Bran. "He will not even try and fight his fate. He says the greendreams do not lie."
    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I'm of the opinion that there is no reason to expect the Singers or Weirwoods to all share the same aims any more than one would expect all Men to have the same aims.

    The wisest of both races prevailed, and the chief heroes and rulers of both sides met upon the isle in the Gods Eye to form the Pact. 

    I think we will find that the Singers and Weirwoods who kept to the pact, and seek peace, on the Isle of Faces.

    Very possibly but are there enough of them left to have competing factions?  It's odd that Howland didn't establish any contact with them when he visited or that they never sent the equivalent of Leaf to learn the human tongue "for the Bran boy".  Unless of course both things happened and Jojen / Bran are being directed north for a reason.

    7 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    But for Bran's story, this detail provides us with a motive for Bloodraven bringing Bran to his cave and awakening his powers. I suspect that Bloodraven intends on skinshifting into Bran and taking his body, freeing him to walk the world of men again, while not giving up having powers.

    And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late.

    Well this would explain Bloodraven as a warg but not The Others.  And what little I know of him is that he was given to duty and that's what led to him plugging into the weirnet and searching out Bran.  If it's just one creepy dude's quest for power and a second life I don't know why the COTF would indulge him or Leaf learn the common tongue to assist him in hijacking Bran.  The COTF sought BR out and enthroned him as they recognised his power (and I think sense of duty) and Howland/Jojen have brought Bran to them for the same reason.  The aim is unclear but the hour is indeed late with The White Walkers threatening to break through The Wall.

    At least that's my take on it, so much is completely unknown.

  3. On 7/31/2022 at 2:27 AM, LongRider said:


    Hello Tree, I'd to invite you to look at this thread where Evolett and I discuss the Varamyr prologue and tease out a few interesting details, like once a warg dies and make a final warg for a 2nd that is the last warg and there he stays.   

    As for fading away in a 2nd life, BR tells Bran about who else is riding in the first raven he flew.

    Seens, the CoF can last a long time in the ravens.  Old God magic?


    Varamyr tries unsuccessfully to warg Thistle before he dies:

    What's in the blue is what I think what Black Crow is basing his thoughts on.  Warging, is a mystery and certainly the readers don't know that much about it.  I'm neutral on his theory myself, however, the Varamyr was not quite dead when riding the wind and when true death came, without thought he landed in the wolf, One Eye, who is not a direwolf.

    What Black Crow seems to be asking, is, if the dying warg is bonded to direwolf, could there be a different outcome than Varamyrs?   Good question.

    Thanks :thumbsup: I'd skimmed that thread but not deeply.  I'm of the opinion that Jon Snow is still alive and Borroq is too much of an unknown at this point to project too much on to - he gives us a different perspective and personality among The Wildlings like Leathers or Wun Wun.

    I always read BR's comment about the Singers being present in the ravens as only a fragment of the personality or consciousness remaining, much as the warg eventually loses itself in the host animal. The second life is not life eternal as the raven/wolf/other has a finite lifespan and there is no cheating mortality. 

    I also read the weirnet the same way with the Singers being absorbed into the weirwoods, the differences being

    1. the vastly longer lifespan of the tree (indeed we are told that unless a weirwood is killed it effectively grows forever; even if we discount that, which we shouldn't in a story with magic, sequoias and bristlecone pines are known to live for 3,500 - 5,000 years so it's easy to see how the weirwood would be a good choice for a "second life" of a kind and also how the Singers enthroned in the weirwoods came to be regarded as The Old Gods - as long as new greenseers can join the collective and replace those fading away, memory is kept alive forever) and
    2. the ability of the weirwood to absorb or "host" multiple Singers (the point about Bran cohabiting the raven with "the shadow of the soul" of a Singer long dead raises an intriguing parallel with the weirwoods with multiple external consciousnesses taking up residence in the same host: this might invalidate the point but we have nothing to show that more than one external consciousness can permanently reside in an animal, Orrell "withering away" inside the eagle once Varamyr took over and Varamyr is only occasionally and temporarily resident, not permanently so.)

    How a Singer "long dead" comes to be resident in a raven, even as a "shadow of the soul" is something of a mystery. 

    1. If passed on from raven to raven then that implies both the immortality of the soul and some pretty major invasive species /genetic engineering (via magic) with particular ravens and their offspring becoming either hosts for parasitic souls for ever more or becoming "super ravens", almost a different species, with different intelligence and behaviours.  (What happens if the raven or it's mate lays more than one egg?). 
    2. The alternative would be the soul of The Singer would become unmoored after it's host organism's death but rather than dying a final death after it's equivalent of a second life it would instead take up a new residence in a new raven/organism.  This would also imply immortality of the soul and would seem to refute the idea that consciousness dissipates over time / the natural life span of the host organism.  (It would be interesting to understand why The Singers chose ravens, other than for convenience and utility, and why Haggon taught Varamyr that some animals, including birds, were best avoided).

    Neither of these is very satisfactory to me.

    23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

    Exactly so. At this stage neither I nor anybody else knows exactly what GRRM is thinking, but there's clearly something going on, and has been going on in the past involving Starks and unless there's some unique bit of genetic coding, the direwolf connection seems a likely point and a reason for binding Starks in their tombs

    It's a fascinating and as yet unknowable topic.  I always took the stories of the Starks' past and the Kings of Winter locked in their tombs much as I did the stories of Garth Greenhand or Lann the Clever but any myth or fairy tale or ghost story can turn out to have more than a grain of truth and some major impact in story.

    Could The Others be unmoored wargs/greenseers/Singers?  I can see how temporarily inhabiting a dead creature and reanimating it would be a possibility in extremis, hence the discovery of how to raise and control wights, although the how is obviously unexplained, but I still don't see how a warg goes from taking over and inhabiting a living (or dead) creature to creating it's own form held together by cold magic, or where the apparent hatred of humanity or living creatures in general comes from (unless the latter comes from "warging" the dead and effectively becoming warped, unwittingly cursing themselves or making themselves Nazgul). 

    The cold magic element, though, which is not part of the warg / greenseer repertoire suggests we have an external force behind The Others.  Which brings us to the thematic element of the series, Ice and Fire in opposition (probably two halves of the whole intended to be in balance rather than opposition but out of kilter), with the white walkers cold made "flesh" (temporarily by magic) and the dragons fire made flesh.  I understand the desire to see the Starks as the Ice to the Targaryen fire but both these "meta" elements seem bigger than and beyond humanity.  The Targaryen dragons and the Stark wargs seem likely to work together to defeat The Others and though it's possible that meddling by Humans or Singers caused the problem or at least the hostility of The Others I'm not sold on the Starks have more blame than anyone else.

  4. 11 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

    However, what I'm suggesting, is that certain wargs can remain free and rather than fade away trapped in the familiar, they can move on temporarily forming a new body from Ice and snow.

    Got it.  Wouldn't that imply the immortality of the soul?  I don't mean to sound too philosophical but The Singers eventually lose themselves in the ravens or the trees and fade away with only some vestigial memories remaining like echoes in the ravens or becoming part of the weirnet collective.  If The Others can ride the cold winds and form icy avatars on demand / in the right circumstances they don't "pass on" or dissipate.  It would imply something is holding them here (not to overdo the comparison but like the Nazgul or the dead of Dunharrow).

    17 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

    As to evil and/or resentful, I think it rather depends on how evil is defined. Remember that GRRM is reluctant to characterise evil. If a white walker wanders around cackling happily as he deliberately pulls legs off spiders, it might be fair to conclude that he is evil. If on the other hand he simply doesn't care who he kills, the action is certainly bad, but is it evil ?

    Granted.  But the undead (zombie flicks and poplar cultural references abound) are unnatural.  If they're Beric then they have a comprehensible motive and morality.  If they slaughter with impunity and raise the dead as wights to kill more of whoever they can reach - men, giants and presumably COTF - and display intelligence, cunning and purpose (the prologue to AGOT is an ambush, Hardhome appears to be a trap, they have language, organisation and use tools/weapons) then they're more than just indifferent or casually cruel.  Monsters and evil are human constructs but reanimating corpses is a perversion in human terms so I think it's a fair way to regard them even if it appears simplistic.

  5. 4 hours ago, alienarea said:

    My current train of thought is that the first long night is an exaggeration of the conflict between the Starks and the Barrow king. The Barrow king was associated with graves and curses.


    A thousand years war sounds quite similar to a long night, doesn't it?

    There is a hint that the Corpse Queen of the Others might have been a daughter of the Barrow king. 

    The wildling would then be the followers of the Barrow king who didn't bend the knee to the Starks.

    Theory: the war between the Barrow king and the Starks goes on for a while (12 Lord Commanders = 12 heroes?) neither side winning, watchers on the walls. The CotF help a Stark (Night's King) to make a deal with the Barrow king and marry his daughter. Things go well for a while, then the Stark's younger brother overthrows him with the help of Joramun. The north is split between the Starks (Kings of Winter) and the wildlings North of the wall. The Night's King becomes imprisoned in the Black Gate.

    In my opinion this is how a true story from the past becomes a legend and a myth over time.

    No sorcery.

    I don't quite follow.  The Others and wights are very much real and present in the story in the here and now so if not sorcery we need another explanation.  Human politicking and warfare give rise to all kinds of legends but even if the story of The Last Hero and The Long Night is distorted and corrupted it's more than just human squabbles.

    3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

    Its a very good question, but actually a pretty straightforward answer.

    The term "Others", is I think, purposefully vague and inexact. The "Others" are those who are outside the ordinary normal manner of beings, they are "other" and I think ultimately could include Faceless Men, who are clearly skinchangers. So, if we keep it simple and stick to the White Walkers, there's an immediate problem in that we don't have an obvious physical origin.

    They aint Thenns [for example] or Children of the Forest or even Orcs.

    Instead they appear to be ethereal beings who can ride the cold winds and from time to time can form bodies of snow and ice crystals using some kind of magic to do so. Those bodies are human in form - and at least some have Stark features [prologue AGoT]. Moreover when we see what happens to Varamyr [prologue ADWD] we find his soul riding the cold winds after his body is killed - until he is "captured" by One Eye

    What I'm suggesting then is that the Walkers are skinchangers/wargs, who escaped capture 

    Interesting.  Instead of fading into oblivion or dying a final death they become evil or at least resentful spirits who hate what they can no longer have?  I don't see why wargs / skinchangers would be associated with cold though and why obsidian (dragonglass/frozen fire) would break "the cold spell" that holds them together.  Or how a warg would learn to take on a non-human form bound together by some form of magic - that's quite a jump from being a living creature capable of forcing itself into another living creature's mind and taking up residence.

    It's an intriguing idea, though.  They have to have some explanation :cheers:

  6. 15 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    The bones of a thousand other dreamers, impaled on the roots of the ice covered Weirwoods above.

    Don't you find it odd that Bran doesn't connect the vision he had in the dream that terrified him so much with his present circumstances in the cave?  It was after his dream that he named his direwolf Summer.  Instead of being afraid of the impaled dreamers and trying to warn his friends he goes along to learn from one of them.  And Jojen and Meera were sent by Howland to guide Bran, Jojen considering it his purpose, a purpose worth dying for, to bring Bran to the cave to learn.

    If they are connected in some way as you imply it's not that they share the same aims.

    16 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    Have you ever asked yourself why the Night's Watch swear to be the "watchers on the walls", plural?

    No.  I'm not sure the plural means anything.  The Wall likely took form over a long span of time with sections being built separately and joined up.  And Eastwatch and The Shadow Tower likely have additional defences.  I don't see any hint in the use of the plural of anything hidden.

    3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

    I agree. The "Children" are not the friendly elves they appear to be. That said I still think that the White Walkers were once men, but they are able to operate as they do because they first became wargs and that in turn eventually came from the Singers and the trees

    It was your Nazgul analogy that intrigued me.  The Children live on in the ravens and the weirwoods and wargs both skin change and live on in their chosen familiar.  In both cases there is a transfer of memory/consciousness between one living organism and another with one identity becoming weakened and eventually subsumed by the other.

    The Others appear to be spirits or ethereal beings held together in physical form by magic.  It seems quite different and is wholly unexplained in story, as are there origins.  There are morsels to work with and analyse and theorise on but nothing to really establish anything so I'm interested in how you think humans and Starks became Others, short of magic rings and a powerful sorcerer's design.

  7. 11 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

    This was where the old gods ruled, the nameless gods of the trees and the wolves and the snows.

    A Storm of Swords - Samwell I

    The nazgul were human kings who were ticked by Sauron into accepting the nine rings of power made for mortal men and the trick was the binding of their spirit to his service, even after death.

    The Old Gods were/are worshiped by The Children of The Forest and, in time,  by The First Men too.  They are worshiped through the weirwoods and greenseers in some sense become The Old Gods through the symbiotic relationship between the enthroned singer and the weirwood's roots with the greenseer eventually becoming part of the weirnet.  The Starks make their prayers to The Old Gods before weirwoods.

    There's nothing about cold gods raising the dead or humans entering into pacts to become liches or elemental spirits riding the cold winds.  If anything The Others and The Old Gods seem in opposition.


  8. 16 hours ago, Black Crow said:

    I refer to my answer of a few minutes ago. In Tolkein terms the Others are not Orcs but Nazgul and I think that some of them may once have been Starks

    Interesting.  We see Craster leaving his infant sons to be taken but it's not clear whether as sacrifices or as converts.  What force or magic might cause men to become Others?

  9. On 6/22/2022 at 2:02 PM, Wolfcrow said:

    Others definitely are not the bad guys. We don't know what they want and in general all the problems started when humans became greedy for magic, the blood betrayal and the demons from the east is the same story and the demons came after that.

    In this world magic is a part of nature and humans often take advantage of it, the others imo represent the way nature fights back and not the big evil guys. Definitely we will not have fight and a common solution will take place. Considering that Martin has said that the story comments on climate change and how humans interact with nature, I believe the moral of the story is that, balance, thus the name of the series.

    If they're not bad then they are so alien as makes no difference. 

    Mance is leading the Wildlings south because the Others are exterminating them.  Revenge for a centuries old genocide or betrayal?  Maybe.  But they raise the dead, hardly suggestive of the balance of nature.  That's as unnatural as it gets, the very essence of a violation of nature and disruption of the natural cycle or balance.  And it's not just humans who suffer.

    A Storm of Swords - Jon X

    "The Others . . ."
    "They grow stronger as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. First they kill you, then they send your dead against you. The giants have not been able to stand against them, nor the Thenns, the ice river clans, the Hornfoots."
    We know from Leaf that the Children of the Forest and the Giants fought a lot in pre-history.  I suppose you could take that as an indication that the Others were a weapon created by The Children to destroy their enemies and that, like any doomsday creation, it ended up getting out of control but I'm not sold on that idea.  Whether a naturally occurring phenomenon, an experimental creation gone rogue, or a planetary defence mechanism they seem hostile to any life forms other than themselves.  Spare a thought for that poor old bear on The Fist. 
    The Others need defeating or containing.  I don't think that's necessarily a bad story, if told well, though both those judgments are down to individual preference.  Where the surprises or deviations from trope will come are likely around the relation between them and humanity and we have had hints with The Night's King and Craster's sacrifices.  As with a lot of GRRM's gardening approach I'm not sure he knows where the path is taking him.
  10. 5 hours ago, SeanF said:

    The thing is though, that a lot of medieval states did have Parliaments, Diets, Estates, borough councils, that did provide some check on unrestrained monarchical or lordly power.  These were not democratic as we would understand the term, but they did represent someone other than just the elite.

    They weren't absolute monarchies, agreed, but the Third Estate's role was pretty minimal until much later.  In story there is no political forum for the Third Estate, not even at a rudimentary level, and there are no philosophies being expounded to create one - and no education system or literacy to allow those ideas to take hold and spread.

  11. 14 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

    I'd love to see things getting better and moving forward (or even the idea of it), but King Bran only enforces the theory of monarchism: That someone more divine and special knows what's better for everyone. Meanwhile it gives a bad message as well: That humans aren'T suitable for carrying responsibility.

    Monarchism/Imperialism has been the default method of government throughout most of human history.  Sure, we have ancient Athens and the Roman Republic, the Italian city states and merchant republics in the medieval period but until the enlightenment and the development of ideas of rights, freedoms and the legitimacy of government resting on the consent of the government, the theory of monarchy was the norm.  It took the First World War to collapse some of the major imperial regimes - German, Russian, Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.  Fully participative democracies (universal suffrage for men and women) only developed in the mid 20th century and are still a work in progress, totally rejected or incredibly fragile in a lot of the world.  Whether we see ASOIAF's pseudo-medieval world as 1000, 1200 or 1400 monarchy fits (the Stark-Lannister conflict is loosely inspired by the War of the Roses so 1400s).

    In story terms our villains are ambitious lords, usurpers and false claimants rather than unscrupulous demagogues, coup leaders or aspiring military juntas but a quick parse of the world map today shows how many individuals or regimes seize power for their own aims whatever the titular form of government.  I'm okay with Dany/Jon/Sansa/Bran/[Other] being traditional medieval rulers as it fits the story just as I'm not okay with Cersei/Joffrey/Roose/Ramsay/Euron/Balon being in power because of how they use that power and I think we're have a view of government that fits the story rather than an analogy for what people are happiest with.

    The idea is the most powerful force in human history and the idea of representative government has yet to be formulated in story.

  12. 13 minutes ago, SeanF said:

    I think there's another big  issue, if the show's ending were to reflect Martin's intended ending.

    The books convincingly critique feudalism,  and even more, chattel slavery.  The latter is worse than the former, but what both have in common is that untrammelled power is placed in the hands of the lords and the slave masters, over the smallfolk.  The Starks may be better than the majority, but even so, they are good masters.  We know that there have been bad Starks in the past, and there is nothing to prevent a bad Stark from coming to power in the future.

    There are no checks on bad rulers, other than the military power of other dynasts.   What Westeros needs are representative institutions, and a judiciary that operates independently of the lords (which some medieval societies managed to achieve in real life).  What Essos needs is for chattel slavery to be removed root and stem. I think this is the correct interpretation of the books, sociologically.

    On top of this, is the ill treatment of women.  Societies that treat 50% of the population as not much better than chattels, aren't going to be great places to live in. 

    But, what we got in the show's endgame was total endorsement of the status quo.  Tyrion, breaking the fourth wall,  portrays Daenerys' anti-slavery campaign as evil, a precursor to genocide.  The two D's were keen to play up the good side of chattel slavery.  The oligarchs in the Dragonpit laughed uproariously, when Yohn Royce compared the smallfolk to dogs and horses.  Then they selected two of their number as rulers, not on the basis of any achievements on their part, but purely on the basis of bloodline. Bitches be Crazy, and distrust of foreigners were treated not as in-universe prejudices, but as ethical truths.

    Now, if that is Martin's ending, it totally undercuts the message that he's been trying to tell throughout earlier parts of the series.  If the conclusion is that in effect, the masses should "always stick with nurse, for fear of getting something worse", then that is completely reactionary.  If the conclusion is that feudalism is bad, but it becomes good if Bran and Sansa are in charge, then that's just stupid.


    I agree on the critique of the system but I see this more as the setting for the story and the stage on which our characters act, that is, that the establishment of representative government is not the drift of the story.  This is a pseudo-medieval fantasy about the Great Houses - Starks, Lannisters, Barratheons and Targaryens (and now Martells, Greyjoys and ~ Tyrells) - and the existential threat of The Others (well, it looms whether or not it materialises).  It's not quite LOTR with Dany/Bran/Jon set to be Elessar with a long unblemished reign of wisdom and benevolence ahead but it's the same genre though with GRRM's grittier and darker tone.

    The smallfolk are at the Peasants' Revolt level of education and political mobilisation and the nobility are at the Great Council = Provisions of Oxford/Magna Carta level of ensuring their interests are protected and The Crown's power checked but I don't see The Parliamentary Opposition (Pym & co)(there is no Parliament and indeed no Third Estate at all) or any intellectuals like Tom Paine (or any Enlightenment philosophers) to spread ideas of the rights of the smallfolk or representative government.

    They're a step or two behind with the coin flip of Good Targ / Bad Targ or good ruler / bad ruler (Aerys v [assumed good Targ?] Rhaegar, Cersei v Dany/Bran/Jon?) setting the tone. Not to beat the LOTR analogy too hard but Denethor and Saruman turn bad, Aragorn and Gandalf remain good and triumph and Gondor sees the re-establishment of a monarchy.  That feels like the environment in Westeros to me (Essos with it's slave culture is another thing entirely).

  13. On 6/20/2022 at 8:29 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

    Back to George as a writer, I don’t want to jump on the hate train, but he looks worse with every new spin-off show announcement. I’m sure he would have finished the books if he was able to, but in a way readers were conned. I do feel a bit foolish for thinking the books will still come out after 11 years.

    On 6/20/2022 at 8:41 PM, SeanF said:

    Yes, I feel much the same way.  I got sucked into the books in 2011, but increasingly think “what was the point?”

    2000 or so here.  I've been reconciled for quite a while to the idea that he won't finish the story.

    There's a few things that stand out for me. 

    First, there was an interview some years ago where he talked about his gardener approach and how part of the enjoyment for him as a writer was seeing how the shoots he planted and tended turned out - sometimes in quite unexpected fashion - but that when he knew where it was all headed and how it would end up he tended to lose interest.

    Second, when talking about ASOIAF he mentioned how he just knew that, having sent Ned to KL with an expectation that he would uncover the threat to Robert, he had to kill Ned and then, having set Robb on the path to avenging Ned, he just had to kill Robb too.  The show ending has made me think again that he has taken the same approach with Dany: that having set the expectation that she will be Rhaegar's heir rather than Aerys's, he just had to turn her into Aerys (and have Jon fulfil the role of Azor Ahai by killing Nissa Nissa to save the world from...Nissa Nissa :wacko:).  The wrongfooting that works mid-series because there is still the chance that the heroes will triumph (or be avenged) doesn't work at story's end particularly when the heroes turn bad and I think he knows this sort of ending will be unsatisfying so is not motivated to finish.

    Third, he is obviously still invested heavily in the world of Westeros and sees this in a broader sense as his artistic legacy with ASOIAF merely one part and the lead in to creating and realising that world.  He began his career with screenplays as well as novels IIRC so has always been interested in both media and is as interested in spin-off shows as side novels and prequels that bring his world to life and reach as wide an audience as possible. It's not that finishing ASOIAF is not worthwhile, it's that he has a broader ambition and higher priorities.

    On 6/21/2022 at 7:45 PM, SeanF said:

    I think, Mercy.  Another guard expresses disgust at how young Raff likes them.

    It is.  Arya/Mercy lures Raff away by offering herself "we're to make the guests welcome" (sic).  Raff is interested, the other guard is brusquely dismissive, "she's too young", but Raff is not deterred.

  14. On 11/25/2021 at 12:18 PM, EggBlue said:
    • and Robert's abuse and rape could be aligned with Cersei's treatment of the people she casually sent to Qyburn , her schemes for poor Margery and the men she just didn't like ( the Summer Islander guy for example) , abusing little Tyrion , seducing her teenage cousin -who is not much older than her own son by the way- and thinking of how he is disgusting and should have died instead of Tywin after she sees him recovering after battle!! and her murder of Melara.

    what a close run

    I'm not really getting this.  This is not to condone drunk Robert stumbling up to Cersei's bedchamber and expecting to have sex whether she wants it or not (It's worth pointing out that in universe this is exactly what Robert's "right" is and, morally objectionable or not, he does not realise he is doing anything wrong; Dany and Drogo's storyline has a similar problem though with a different conclusion) but I don't see the comparison. 

    I don't see how put this in the same bracket as Cersei having people murdered (and murdering her friend herself).

  15. 15 hours ago, GMantis said:

    And we have a whole paragraph where she's thinking about how her mother won't approve of her appearance and even tries to comb her hair. It's clear that this is also a significant concern for Arya.

    That's a distraction for herself as much as for her audience.  And not at all uncommon for either victims or perpetrators to avoid thinking about bad memories.  Much easier to think about how her mother would disapprove of her hair and clothes than her brother would disapprove of her being a killer and a murderer, no?  She shies away from facing up to her real fears which is perfectly understandable for a child, particularly given what she's done.

  16. 21 hours ago, GMantis said:

    No, I don't realize this because it's clear from the context that Arya is indeed concerned that her mother won't want because of her appearance:

    Good lord.  I see you missed some of the full quote:

    A Storm of Swords - Arya VII

    Arya didn't know how much Robb would pay for her, though. He was a king now, not the boy she'd left at Winterfell with snow melting in his hair. And if he knew the things she'd done, the stableboy and the guard at Harrenhal and all . . . "What if my brother doesn't want to ransom me?"
    "Why would you think that?" asked Lord Beric.
    "Well," Arya said, "my hair's messy and my nails are dirty and my feet are all hard." Robb wouldn't care about that, probably, but her mother would. Lady Catelyn always wanted her to be like Sansa, to sing and dance and sew and mind her courtesies. Just thinking of it made Arya try to comb her hair with her fingers, but it was all tangles and mats, and all she did was tear some out. "I ruined that gown that Lady Smallwood gave me, and I don't sew so good." She chewed her lip. "I don't sew very well, I mean. Septa Mordane used to say I had a blacksmith's hands."


    It's quite clear that what is on her mind are the things she has done as this is exactly what she is thinking before she asks her question.  When queried she can hardly say this so responds with how her mother would disapprove of her appearance.  This is evasion on her part and the substitution of superficial and childish hence plausible concerns for her real ones which she can hardly give voice to.


  17. 1 hour ago, GMantis said:

    Arya also thought her mother wouldn't want her back because she was dirty and her hair was not brushed, so it's clear that her understanding of what her mother thought of her is somewhat inaccurate, to say the least.

    You realise Arya says this because she doesn't want to admit to killing people, I trust.  Her real concern is what Catelyn would think of her slitting a Northman's throat at Harrenhall, not that she hasn't combed her hair. :thumbsup:

  18. On 6/23/2022 at 2:08 PM, Springwatch said:

    we don't see her wrestle through the moral issues, and we still don't. She must do, but the narrative hides this from us.

    This.  You can't be a psychopath or remorseless murderer of innocents if you spare someone out of some level of empathy and start to question your certainties. She also leaves him off her list at one point and when she realises it she wonders why and puts his name back on.  We don't get to see deep cognitive processes and reflection as she is after all still a young child but she's not a lost cause.  She's brutalised and traumatised but the core of her value system came from Ned and Catelyn and is still there.

  19. On 6/22/2022 at 5:55 AM, Quoth the raven, said:

    A positive role model!  She's not gonna find that among the Starks.  It's gonna take more than a role model to change her mind.

    Out of curiosity why do you think she didn't kill Sandor when he was injured after the fight with Polliver and The Tickler?  After all he was one of the first names on her list.

  20. 3 hours ago, Quoth the raven, said:

    Arya is so much worse in Dance than she was when she met the Dayne boy. She took offense when none was intended.  Nothing the boy said deserved an angry response.

    Didn't he imply that Ned and Ashara Dayne were lovers?  A child might be expected to take umbrage and come to the defence of their parents' reputations.  Adults might too.

  21. On 6/20/2022 at 2:37 PM, James Arryn said:

    To me the murder of Daeron was a crucial descent. It was straight up murder, wrong on every level; legal, moral, ethical, and political. No one with modern sensibilities should defend it. It would be straight up murder with worrying indications if an adult did it. The fact that it was a child is deeply, deeply disturbing and I scratch my head wondering at the number of people who rationalize it. 

    Legally, the NW is a questionable order of semi-slavery whose autonomy and authority over it’s members the 7K have agreed to. But Essos has not been consulted and there is absolutely no reason to suppose it’s writ extends there. Daeron was effectively a free man as soon as they arrived in Braavos. Anyone taking it upon themselves to meet out NW ‘justice’ beyond the 7K is pretty clearly a murderer from the legal pov. Forget, too, that Arya had incomplete knowledge and Daeron was given no opportunity to present a defence.

    Suppose, for instance, that he had been ordered to pose as a drunken deserter ~ like Jon was with the wildlings. Improbable, but possible…as were many things beyond 11 year old Arya’s scope. Which (it pains me to have to say as it should be self-evident) is further reason 11 year olds should not be killing others they presume guilty of some crime. Ned killing the deserter at the beginning of the book was, as we readers know, morally ambiguous but done by the letter of the law. Arya didn’t even have that. Moreover, we only hear of lords in Westeros being given the authority to condemn deserters to death, not any relative. So even if Daeron had ‘deserted’ and been captured in the North there would seem to be no authority by which Arya could have undertaken to execute Daeron even there. In Braavos?

    Moreover there are legal and political implications about his being in the NW at all. If we believe him…and generally we are seemingly supposed to believe most NW members about why they are there unless given clear indications otherwise…he was there because a woman out of his class had consensual sex with him. His being doomed to lifelong servitude for such an event is a perpetuation of despotic class supremacy we should not approve of. Now possibly he straight up raped the daughter of a high-lord, but if that occurred it’s imo unlikely he’d have survived the night. And someone would have to be either monumentally stupid or insane to do the equivalent of coming to Winterfell to play for Ned and then rape Sansa or similar, and Daeron seems very evidently neither. He also seems to be very much the cliche’d type of man whom noble women do welcome to their beds. 

    So given that we have seen several other people sent to the NW simply for being a commoner who pissed off a noble, I think we can presume he was innocent of the crime for which he was ~ enslaved and, thanks to Arya, eventually killed. That’s just wrong any way you look at it.

    And then you get back to part that most matters to us, the child Arya. Tough times make tough people, etc. and we are sadly supposed to be a bit numb to children having to kill to defend themselves. As the father of 2 year old twins, the idea that in 8 years my children might have to kill to stay alive could never be anything but monstrously tragic and disturbing. But Arya has gone well beyond killing to survive, she kills for a wide variety of reasons now, occasionally on a kind of whim, belongs to a murder cult and goes to sleep every night listing the people she wants to murder. How anyone can see that as anything but severely damaged and tragic baffles me. And we, inside her head, see very little in the way of remorse to begin with and none lately. That’s…bad. 

    I agree with that, mostly.  I've made the same arguments against the murder of Daeron (and similarly regarding the murder of the Bolton guard at Harrenhall which boiled down to expediency).  What I don't see in her behaviour is the kind of straightjacket madness or psychotic murder of innocents which some seem to ascribe to her in these threads, e.g. "There is a congenital issue with Arya which made her susceptible to madness."

    What she needs is a positive role model and I still hold out hope for her.

  22. 44 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

    Well, I’m definitely not a Daenaerys Stan, and originally loved Arya, but I have been incredibly saddened by her descent into ~ effective psychopathy as a remorseless child murderer. 

    That's my reaction to Arya though I am more optimistic about her moral compass righting itself with better circumstances, or at least the absence of dangerous influences.  There's a tendency to exaggerate on the forums, e.g. Bran going Team Other, Dany being Aerys Mk2 rather than Rhaegar Mk2 (oh wait, The Show...), Sansa becoming LF Mk2, that lends to the most extreme interpretation.

    Arya strikes me as more Beatrice Kiddo / Hit Girl (neither of whom I think insane) than Buffalo Bill / Eileen Wuornos.  But Braavos is a potential dark turn in her story: she is learning useful skills (for a violent world) and self-sufficiency but how she uses those in the future is in the balance.

  23. 5 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

    Arya is not a child soldier. She is a vigilante, operating outside the law. She’s a mentally-damaged person who wants to kill people because of some twisted need inside of her for revenge. She is not bothered with killing innocents, who’ve not harmed her family, to get the revenge that she wants.  She’s obsessed with it. 

    You mean like how she kills Raff the Sweetling because he murdered Lommy Greenhands?  Or The Tickler for all those men, women and children - true innocents - he tortured to death.  Seems she means to kill the guilty to avenge the innocent. 

  24. 4 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

    Most orphans of war do not become homicidal maniacs like Arya.  

    :dunno: And yet most gang members or child soldiers do terrible things until they find an escape route, a safer place or a better way.

    She has a kill list just like Beatrice Kiddo of those who wronged her family.  She kills for revenge (Raff the Sweetling), out of necessity (the Bolton guard at Harrenhall) or out of a belief that it is deserved (Dareon's punishment for deserting the NW is death).  Only the insurance salesman is an outlier and she considers a long time over why he might deserve it.

    You can dislike Arya's character or her path, it's certainly dark and morally challenging but a homicidal maniac?  Nah

    Rorge, Biter, The Mountain that Rides, Ramsay Bolton or Vargo Hoat are homicidal maniacs.

  25. On 6/14/2022 at 3:30 AM, Darth Sidious said:

    Arya was not forced to kill the old man. She wasn’t forced to go to the Faceless Men boot camp. She made those choices. She wasn’t manipulated. She chose. Sure we can debate the quality of her ability to make decisions. Arya is insane and therefore her mind functions as well as a chamber pot with a crack. Any evaluation for punishment that is fair would have to take her mental condition into consideration. She gets her head taken off or she spends her life inside a padded jail cell.

    She was an orphan whose kidnapper-protector Sandor Clegane appeared to be dying leaving her friendless and alone, far from home with no belief that her home even exists for her to make for.  She sold her horse and got ripped off because she is easy prey.  Who can she turn to?  The man who helped her at Harrenhall and gave her a token to use in need.  It's born of desperation but it's an entirely rational decision to seek passage to Braavos and she has no idea what she is getting herself into until after she arrives.

    How many orphans or strays end up as gang members or child soldiers?  Are they destined for padded cells or de-radicalisation and easier lives once they have better options?

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