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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....).
  16. Theoden is under Saruman's influence through Grima Wormtongue, a counsellor at Theoden's Court who effectively enfeebles Theoden's mind using Saruman's magic and acts as a stereotypical evil counsellor. Wormtongue lusts after Eowyn so Eomer, her brother, lets him know to keep the f*** away from her but Wormtongue gets Theoden to banish Eomer from Court. This all happens before we arrive in Rohan in The Two Towers and Eomer meets Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli on the fringes of Fangorn Forest before heading with them to Helm's Deep. Gandalf rides Shadowfax to Edoras, breaks Saruman's hold over Theoden and Wormtongue is banished and Eomer restored to favour. With Theoden restored to his right mind he leads a relief of Helm's Deep where the Men of the Westmark were holed up after losing the battle of the Fords of Isen to Saruman's orcs. This breaks the orcs siege and they fall back only to find the valley filled with Huorns, semi-sentient trees (according to Treebeard both Trees that have become ent-ish and ents that have become tree-ish) who annihilate the orcs before pootling back off to Fangorn. Rohan wins Helm's Deep on it's own (with Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli) but the destruction of Saruman's army is largely down to the huorns so Treebeard / Gandalf (Merry and Pippin indirectly). Galadriel is Arwyn's Grandmother. Galadriel is Noldor (high elf) royalty but after the first age she remains in middle earth and marries a wood elf king, Celeborn. Lothlorien is their kingdom and is protected by Galdriel being wielder of one of the three elven rings of power. Their daughter, Celebrian, was Elrond's wife. Elrond himself is related to Galdariel as they are both descended from Finwe, original High King of The Noldor (he was Galadriel's grandfather and Elrond's Great-Great-Great-Grandfather). Legolas is also a wood elf, being the son of Thranduil, King of the Greenwood (Mirkwood) but no relation of Celeborn or Arwyn. Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and the dunedin take the paths of the dead from Dunharrow. The Dead spirits fulfil their vow to Aragorn as Elendil's heir by defeating the Corsairs of Umbar at the battle of Pelargir in the south of Gondor. This is off page but narrated later. They are then released from their purgatory but the victory allows Aragorn to gather up the substantial Gondor forces in the south and use the corsairs' ships to sail up the Anduin and turn the battle of The Pelennor Fields for the good guys. The movie brings the dead to The Pelennor Fields for special effects drama. You are right that JRRT wanted the success to be achieved by the little people or at least not by high magic (which is why Merry and Eowyn not Gandalf defeat the Witch-King of Angmar - and why Frodo is ringbearer) and why I thought the movie cheapened the victory on The Pelennor Fields by bringing in the undead. There is a question mark over whether Rohan will come to Gondor's aid. First, Theoden is under Saruman's influence so is incapacitated. Second, Rohan is fighting and losing to Saruman who has a coalition of his own uruk-hai and the men of Dunland on Rohan's western border. Once Saruman is defeated and Theoden restored Rohan can come to Gondor's aid.
  17. That's just the easiest handle to use for discussing nomadic cavalry threatening settled civilizations - they are not mongols and are not required to be like the mongols or even any amalgam of steppe cultures. They are inspired by the idea of a nomadic culture that terrorises sedentary civilizations with the speed and number of light cavalry they can deploy with very little warning and the problem of how to effectively deploy and defeat them, hence their periodic incursions and being bought off by tribute. Obviously the ancient and medieval world was subjected to this from the Huns to the Mongols but this is merely the inspiration for the idea of the Dothraki. But beyond that they are whatever the author wants them to be. So they do not in fact conquer an empire and so they do not need the military technology and siege equipment required for protracted battles or holding vast swathes of territory seized. The Free Cities pay them tribute to go away so they secure what they want without fighting. When they do fight a disciplined infantry army - the Unsullied of Astapor - they lose so they know to stick to their strengths - raiding, slaving, extortion of tribute through incursions and clearing any Lhazareen settlements from encroaching on the Dothraki Sea. I'm wary of JRRT v GRRM comparisons, particularly when someone references JRRT in their profile But we meet Eomer, Eowyn and Theoden and that's really it. A few other captains or soldiers might be referenced or briefly appear on page for Helm's Deep or The Pelennor Fields but none emerge as characters. We go to Edoras and The Hornburg and Dunharrow and then to Minas Tirith. Don't get me wrong: it's fine for what the story requires - but that's kind of my point with the Dothraki. We see Drogo and his three blood riders and Dany's three handmaids and three blood riders. We learn about Dothraki culture through Dany's chapters and her interaction with these characters. We travel across the Dothraki Sea, go to Vaes Dothrak and then fire a Lhazareen encroachment and battle another Khalasar. As Dany leaves the Dothraki after Drogo's death this is fine for what the story requires. It feels pretty equivalent to me. It's up to each reader how they react. I have no problem with the Rohirrim or the Dothraki. If we spent more on page time in Essos or with the Dothraki I would probably be frustrated as it would slow the story down but the author might flesh both out more. No telling whether that would please or disappoint the realists though
  18. Eh. Opinion and fact are different. I get that you like LOTR more and you want to explain why subjectively you prefer it but don't confuse that with objectivity. Case in point as I already pointed: you criticise GRRM for not fleshing out societies and cultures but when I throw out the Haradrim, Corsairs of Umbar and Easterlings you say both that less is more and they're better represented by not being developed at all. This is subjective reasoning and obviously inconsistent. It's a fan site for discussing a work of fiction. To be blunt if someone acts like an angry nerd or comes across as a bit of a dick then I'm not going to spend hours reading and responding to them. Nothing about surviving. The real question is why you would expect otherwise. Also, you seem to have moderated your tone and made a shorter post First up, society has obviously developed in many different ways in many different places at many different times across the globe. There is no straightjacket that an author has to fit himself into for what you term "realism". Second, just because things have worked as they have on earth in all their complexity and variety does not preclude the possibility that things could have worked differently in different circumstances. One planet and one timeline does not compass all possible forms of human development - far from it. The whole point of fantasy is for the author to use their imagination to create something new and different. I really don't know why this would be difficult to accept because you can't google a certain society or military technology in a certain time period and tick it off as verified "realistic". And the idea that the elements you find problematic "throw logic and realism completely out the window, there is nothing to relate to" is obviously both hyperbole and in fact plain wrong. You have a few quibbles, e.g. The Vale is a VALE. The Vale is protected from outside attack by mountains, coast and a well-guarded fortified castle on The High Road. They don't need legions of pikemen or whatever you consider "historically realistic". Heavy cavalry are the shock troops of the feudal era and they have them for fighting each other in The Vale or for projecting power outside the Vale. You are nit picking and exaggerating wildly. And you do? You have understood the "laws" of human societal and technological development in any possible set of circumstances and can approve or condemn the literary creations of fantasy authors from your lofty seat of wisdom. Seriously........ He chose a quasi-feudal society for Westeros and created the Kingdoms with geographic and cultural differences as he chose for story reasons and background texture. If your restrictions are no heavy cavalry in The Vale or no feudalism in Westeros due to geography(?) then they aren't logical, they are subjective. Dude, your opinions, dare I say requirements, are your own, not those of other readers. I don't really understand why this bothers you so much but there is no requirement for GRRM to be a military expert on the technology and tactics of whatever period or campaigns you are fixating on in order to write his story. The battle scenes are pretty enjoyable to me and the cavalry and archers act like cavalry and archers whether or not they pass your triple A self-designed technology and deployment tactics internet search hurdle. No need for pegasi or mages because the author has not passed your arbitrary "realism" verification test so he's not allowed to write about cavalry and archers. Do you really think this stuff? And yet the Spartans had a reputation in Ancient Greece for military prowess. This is attested to by contemporary sources and really can't be dismissed as "unearned" based on your subjective feelings on the matter. 300 is of course a movie not serious history (as if this needs to be said) but my point, if the humour was lost on you, was that your friend did in fact learn that the Spartans were renowned warriors in Ancient Greece, however much you gnash your teeth about the lack of realism in the movie, or apparently dispute the validity of their reputation!
  19. I don't really want to get in to a back and forth as I quite simply disagree and I'm a fan of both works so as I said, comparisons or criticisms of one versus the other are weird to me as I think they are both marvellous works of creative fantasy. And also what one reader wants or looks for or enjoys is not necessarily what another does - I think our respective stances shows that very clearly A couple of observations and general thoughts though. Please don't post stuff like the above - it's just opinion and pretty difficult to read. Actually, given the tone and length of your post I stopped reading pretty early on and flipped to the end. It makes your post and views an angry screed and Idk why anyone would read on. Why should he? Why shouldn't it? Why do you think it is or should reflect England or army composition? And so on with what you term worldbuilding. Other than you wanting certain things there's no reason to go into this and your expectations seem pretty detailed and restrictive. The point of a work of creative fantasy is the author uses his imagination and loosely bases his creations on aspects of real world cultures and systems but what he creates is different from the real world of any historical period. It's his own. Otherwise it may as well be historical fiction. Of all the criticisms of heroic fantasy I never expected to hear that it does not accurately reflect the real world and is performing an educational disservice to it's readership. It's fantasy (with magic too) and has no duty to pass any gates as to whether chariots and heavy cavalry could be used together historically. If the author wants them to, or to build a massive Wall of Ice, he can 300 is a movie based on real events at Thermopylae however much it is romanticised and distorted for myth and machismo, not a work of creative fantasy. Spartans were renowned warriors in Ancient Greece though so your friend learned something after all
  20. Well, I was going to quote the text but it was already quoted before you typed this response so I wonder if there's any point. She told Ned the night Arya disappeared, so the day of the incident. Given the events are relayed through her pov we know exactly what she sees and given Ned calls her forward to confirm Arya's account we can also surmise what she told him. This is not difficult to follow. Morality does matter. Telling the truth would not have saved Mycah, though it would have made some readers more sympathetic to Sansa. The political fall-out would have been even more damaging and dangerous than it was, if it didn't cause the betrothal to be broken off or a rupture between Robert and Ned. And I'm not sure we are reading the same series The two incidents are far apart in time. She panics when called by Robert to tell the truth and says she doesn't remember. This of course infuriates Arya - who knows that Sansa can but won't back her up (for whatever reason). Later in KL she says something horrible to Arya but this is really an unpleasant sibling argument. As a character Sansa changes a lot from after AGOT when she learns life is not a song. I wish GRRM had not given that mysterious little comment as it tends to raise speculation about "Dark Sansa" to fever pitch. The girl who spoke up for Dontos, a complete stranger, when Joffrey was going to have him killed for being drunk, or who empathised with Lancel after his wound, or felt sorry for Tyrion even though these two are Lannisters is still very much there. You can see her warning Margaery about Joffrey and most germane of all, leading a near-fitting Robert Arryn over a narrow ice bridge on the descent from The Eyrie. So much for killing him for convenience or as a path to power. It does but only if you want Sansa to be the child of Ned and Cat rather than LF's protégé. Annoying little shit though he is, he is her cousin, an ill, lonely and vulnerable child. It's not a trial, though. Cersei apparently might want it to be and as we learn from Jaime in AFFC (iirc) she has already been trying to persuade him to harm or kill Arya and this represents her last chance to get some revenge - ultimately exacted on Lady. Indeed after Robert dismisses it as a children's quarrel Cersei demands "I want her punished". But Robert does not ever consider or act as if Arya is on trial. We see the scene from Ned's pov and he's angry that Arya is brought before Robert on Cersei's orders but he doesn't regard it as a trial. The meaning of the post you are picking at is pretty clear: Sansa and Joffrey hear swordplay so the "hidden fighters" are an unknown danger from Sansa's pov. Joffrey does arrogantly assure her that she is safe with him. He does go to look over Sansa's objections but he also intends to keep her safe. You're quibbling over Joffrey's primary motivation - to look out of curiosity - and his underlying and stated intention - to keep Sansa safe from any possible harm - because the post referenced the second underlying intention. That is not fanfiction Arya is not on trial though. Sansa is not brought in to give testimony in the trial of Arya Stark for attacking the Crown Prince for which the penalty is death. If those were the circumstances and she consciously withheld testimony that resulted in Arya's conviction and execution / other punishment then she would certainly be guilty of betrayal. But those are not the circumstances. Also, you might want to be careful with accusing people of fanfiction when you interpret a scene in a certain way. Tyrion is tried for Joffrey's murder. See the difference in how the actual trial is conducted to Robert asking some children to explain what happened? Huh? Ned is looking for his daughter and comes in demanding why she was brought to Robert not him once found. He's not the defence, he's an angry parent, demanding to know why she isn't being looked after properly. It's not a Court, no one is appointed Prosecution or Defence Counsel....... Not giving evidence means just that in a court of law. You can read into it what you want but taking the 5th or whatever equivalent does not count as backing up or refuting anyone's testimony. At least you are aware it's not a court or trial. If only characters could have growth. Is the Theon of ADWD the same person as the Theon of ACOK? And naive, romance-filled 12 year-old Sansa who wanted nothing more than to marry the handsome prince and live a fairy-tale life at Court has changed a great deal since AGOT. How many times and how much control does she have over this? She's at most a pawn of LF who is trying to rope her in and so taint her by unwitting involvement. This is my thought and I'm not sure how much she knows of potential dangers. A Feast for Crows - Alayne II "It was too soon. My lady, you do not understand. As I've told the Lord Protector, a pinch of sweetsleep will prevent the shaking, but it does not leave the flesh, and in time . . ." "Time will not matter if his lordship has a shaking fit and falls off the mountain. If my father were here, I know he would tell you to keep Lord Robert calm at all costs." "I try, my lady, yet his fits grow ever more violent, and his blood is so thin I dare not leech him any more. Sweetsleep . . . you are certain he was not bleeding from the nose?" "He was sniffling," Alayne admitted, "but I saw no blood." There is nothing there to suggest she is aware of any particular danger. Then there's this: A Feast for Crows - Alayne II Then all at once she was at the bottom with Mya and her little lord, huddled beneath a twisted, rocky spire. Ahead stretched a high stone saddle, narrow and icy. Alayne could hear the wind shrieking, and feel it plucking at her cloak. She remembered this place from her ascent. It had frightened her then, and it frightened her now. "It is wider than it looks," Mya was telling Lord Robert in a cheerful voice. "A yard across, and no more than eight yards long, that's nothing." "Nothing," Robert said. His hand was shaking. Oh, no, Alayne thought. Please. Not here. Not now. "It's best to lead the mules across," Mya said. "If it please my lord, I'll take mine over first, then come back for yours." Lord Robert did not answer. He was staring at the narrow saddle with his reddened eyes. "I shan't be long, my lord," Mya promised, but Alayne doubted that the boy could even hear her. When the bastard girl led her mule out from beneath the shelter of the spire, the wind caught her in its teeth. Her cloak lifted, twisting and flapping in the air. Mya staggered, and for half a heartbeat it seemed as if she would be blown over the precipice, but somehow she regained her balance and went on. Alayne took Robert's gloved hand in her own to stop his shaking. "Sweetrobin," she said, "I'm scared. Hold my hand, and help me get across. I know you're not afraid." He looked at her, his pupils small dark pinpricks in eyes as big and white as eggs. "I'm not?" "Not you. You're my winged knight, Ser Sweetrobin." "The Winged Knight could fly," Robert whispered. "Higher than the mountains." She gave his hand a squeeze. Lady Myranda had joined them by the spire. "He could," she echoed, when she saw what was happening. "Ser Sweetrobin," Lord Robert said, and Alayne knew that she dare not wait for Mya to return. She helped the boy dismount, and hand in hand they walked out onto the bare stone saddle, their cloaks snapping and flapping behind them. All around was empty air and sky, the ground falling away sharply to either side. There was ice underfoot, and broken stones just waiting to turn an ankle, and the wind was howling fiercely. It sounds like a wolf, thought Sansa. A ghost wolf, big as mountains. And then they were on the other side, and Mya Stone was laughing and lifting Robert for a hug. "Be careful," Alayne told her. "He can hurt you, flailing. You wouldn't think so, but he can." They found a place for him, a cleft in the rock to keep him out of the cold wind. Alayne tended him until the shaking passed, whilst Mya went back to help the others cross. This is who Sansa is. Interestingly, it's all Alayne's thoughts and actions until the wind is howling like a wolf and then it's very deliberately Sansa. She knows who she is and she's still a Stark.
  21. I thought we were talking about Essos? But Westeros has 7 kingdoms. We have the First Men, Andals and Rhoynar. The culture of the Iron Isles is unique as is that of Dorne, the North (largely as a result of being the only kingdom/culture to worship the Old Gods rather The Seven) and The Wildlings. The Dornish are split into Sandy, Salty and Stony and we have outliers like the Crannogmen in The Neck. The Reach, Vale, Stormlands and Rock might be more similar but GRRM distinguishes them by geography - wonderfully imagined in my view - with The Eyrie, Storm's End, The Citadel and The Hightower, Alyssa's Lance, The Golden Tooth, Riverrun, etc.. - and by history, myth and heraldry. To the reader the various tribes of orcs or the differences between the branches of the elves in The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings are hardly a major feature of either story and you really need The Silmarillion to give the background. Of course that lack of fleshing out doesn't detract from either story at all. Compared to the Haradrim or Easterlings they are indeed fleshed out. Compared to whatever level of plausibility or real world comparison you would like they may not be but this is really up to the reader. So you hate Essos then That's ok, some people do. The Dothraki are not Mongols, they are loosely based on any one or amalgam of steppe-dwelling nomadic cultures that erupted from the east throughout ancient and medieval history. The very fact that they do not resemble any one culture is deliberate imo to avoid complaints of orientalism or copy pasting and denigrating a real world culture. Instead complaints seem to come from the other direction about lack of detail or credibility but on balance I think that's the lesser evil. If the story was about the Dothraki or Essos I might agree with you but it's not, they are secondary in every way and less developed for that reason. Our POVs come from The North, The Westlands, The Reach, The Stormlands, The Iron Isles and Dorne. Not one is Dothraki or Essosi. I''m okay with that and feel it should set an expectation. Whether the reader is disappointed or not is an individual matter. This I can't agree with at all. Whether the author's vision of Braavos appeals to you or not is up to you but "bad stereotypes"? And arguing that one author does a better job by not fleshing out his creations when you criticise another author for not fleshing out his creations seems like you want it both ways. The Dothraki are of course more fleshed out than the Haradrim or Easterlings; the fact that you don't care for how the Dothraki are portrayed does not change this. TBH this seems minor detail to me bordering on nit-picking. Does the readership really care if you have heavy cavalry and chariots together because in our world we may not have? It's fantasy with magic and non-human species and a range of cultures and civilizations. It may bother you if you consider it inaccurate but does it really matter? As for "writing essays on why things cannot work the way he describes them", it seems you're a bit too invested in criticising Essos. Maybe Westeros too. Each to their own Wowsers. We meet Boromir, Denthor and Faramir. Pippin meets a guard at Minas Tirith. The people of Gondor do not emerge on page because they don't need to in story terms and the author does not waste time or ink on trying to flesh them out. I do not know how they can possibly feel more alive than any group in ASOIAF after Arya and Brienne's journeys through the Riverlands, Sansa's and Tyrion's experiences in KL, Jon's time with The Wildlings or even Dany's interactions with the freed slaves as "Mysha". With the addition of Dornish and Iron Isles povs they come alive too. The hobbits tell the story and other than a brief Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli pov snippet in The Two Towers JRRT shows us everything through the eyes of four characters from the same background. How you react to the story is up to you but I fundamentally disagree. Trust me, that's coming across Well, that's your opinion. I disagree. Essos is not my favourite part of the story as I feel it detracts from the main setting and slows the story down but I don't agree that the author should have not bothered with any detail (as if that could have been satisfactory) or should have copy-pasted a real world civilization in every instance so it could stand up to scrutiny. Are they? Dany's journey with the Dothraki was a brief interlude with a few chapters in AGOT. They were a stepping stone for her character development as Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons and Claimant to the Iron Throne. Why on earth would he have padded out AGOT with reams of detail on Dothraki society and culture? He gives us Vaes Dothrak with it's spoils, the crones of the Dosh Khaleen, the competing khalasars and a few myths and cultural practices. It's reasonable for you to want more but it's not really to demand more - they're a fictional construct the author has developed as much as he considers necessary or desirable. The Dothraki are about as developed in AGOT as the Rohirrim in The Two Towers, if not mroe so, so I don't see the problem. That analogy will hold if The Dothraki are to storm into Westeros like the Rohirirm onto The Pelennor Fields, as in they will have had a major story impact. But still no Rohirrim or Dothraki pov is considered by either author I'm a fan of both authors so I can't get too invested in a comparison but GRRM's is just far more detailed and realistic than JRRT's. JRRT has a magic heavy world with goblins, giant spiders, dragons, giant eagles, wraiths, trolls turning to stone at Daybreak, Talking Trees, fiery mountains, etc... This is okay as it's magic but he wrote The Hobbit with a small scale map that then scaled up to Middle Earth: The Shire is isolated from the nasty world and we have this weird child-sized race that live in tranquillity (unknowing of the outside world and that their borders are protected by altruistic rangers), then we transition into the outside world via The Old Forest, Barrow Downs, The Trollshaws before we have mountains, forests (Mirkwood) and The Lonely Mountain. It feels childish because it is a child's story but it grows up with TLOTR and The Silmarillion and the story of the earlier ages. GRRM's world is less heavy on magic and far more realistic to me. It's geography feels more thought out and robust from the start and the human cultures and kingdoms are diverse, interesting and as developed as the story of ASOIAF needs them to be. The other novels, historical encyclopaedias and the like flesh out the mythos and history of the world more fully and are analogous (but not identical in function) to The Silmarillion et al. They have different styles and different focus, perhaps even different objectives, but both create wonderful stories with fascinating worlds brimming with variety, characters and history. Honestly I don't see the problem.
  22. Well, if you compare the Free Cities with, say, the Corsairs of Umbar or the Haradrim and the Dothraki with the Easterlings, I'd say JRRT didn't flesh out these cultures at all compared to GRRM. I'm a big fan of JRRT btw. It's just he set his story in the western part of Middle Earth and didn't show us anything of the east. That may be GRRM's problem here but I'm fine with the Easterlings / Dothraki being depicted as much as either author chooses to fit the story.
  23. Sure, this is GRRM's creation but he has to take his inspiration from various places and I'm fine with some broad brush strokes that are loosely based on (not a depiction of) real world cultures. The Dothraki are just a bit of background in AGOT that were used to set up Dany's story but like I said it's for each of us to decide how much detail we want or, like the economy of Slaver's Bay, how well it fits together and stands up to analytical scrutiny. I think fully-fleshed out systems and cultures would be both very difficult to create and would swamp the story with infodumps and reams of details the reader doesn't need. But that's me
  24. The whole point of this discussion has been to highlight the folly of judging people in the past based on ideas and moral codes they had no knowledge of. I don't know why you find this a hard concept. Practically every human civilization slaved in some way, some right up until the late 19th century. Dismissing humanity outside your comfort zone of the present as "evil" or making sweeping statements like "any human being could recognise "x" as wrong, or that you can't see any kind of morality before or even during the middle ages is just lazy and ignorant. I know you "don't care" if future Hugorfonics dismiss you as evil because you won't be around to tell them you really aren't and don't see yourself that way ..... Hate speech is a modern term. It's pointless to write human civilizations off as evil because they don't mirror our own belief systems We have the luxury of sitting atop thousands of years of moral, religious and intellectual thought they didn't. If the Romans were evil why did they put an end to the Druidic practice of human sacrifice? It's interesting that you invite me to read The Iliad: why would you bother with anything from the past if you disparage it so much?
  25. The best I can say is I think some people are interpreting "responsible" as meaning who was involved in any way in the chain of circumstances that led to Mycah's death. I really don't know why we haven't blamed whoever saddled Joffrey's horse or gave him the wine or the cooks and servants fed him and Sansa breakfast as they surely would never have gone riding otherwise.
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