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the trees have eyes

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  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. There are a vast number of authors and sources from ancient world cultures, not just one or two Romans. You won't find a William Willberforce or an abolitionist movement because neither existed. Not in Ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, Egypt or anywhere. The Romans wrote a lot about their slave system and the numerous slave rebellions, they wrote copiously about social and political unrest and the fall of the Republic, but not about the moral evil of slavery and the abolition movement. Then this new idea came along called Christianity which proved immensely popular, particularly among slave and freedmen because it preached the universal brotherhood of man and things began to change, slowly, glacially but the idea that men should not own other men as property began it's long torturous path to universal acceptance (modern slavery, deportation of uighurs and other problem groups aside). You only say this because you have been taught it. Ancient Greeks, Romans, the Vikings who traded the slavs in Byzantium in the middle ages (and where the word "slave" enters the English language from) so they could be sold in the Muslim world, thought differently. It's why ideas are the most powerful forces in human history, because they change so much. You would have been a kind master who treated his slaves well. You would have seen this as part of your responsibility towards your property but equally as a moral obligation to treat these members of your household well, to be a firm but kind master rather than an arbitrary and cruel one. You would have allowed them to save up and purchase their freedom and you might well have manumitted your remaining slaves on your death (provided your finances were in good order and you were not bankrupting your heirs by doing so). You would recognize this as your duty and a reasonable way to act because you are a moral man but you would not be decrying the evils of slavery because you wouldn't be the person then that you are today. What makes you "you" is not just your DNA, it's the values and ideas we take in from our parents, our society and our culture. Why do child soldiers kill with so little compunction? Because they have been taught to do so and don't recognise it as wrong. Take them out of that environment and teach them differently and you can reshape them. But what if there is no other environment in which to raise them and no different ideas to teach them? They won't become liberal democrats with an aversion to violence. Little Hugorfonics sitting on his father's knee in Sparta would learn his moral duty to be a warrior, not to pity and free the helots. Losing your own child would be devastating but if your belief system was that this was necessary for the good or survival of your people you would acquiesce. If there's a famine, thousands will die, but if one sacrifice propitiates the god(s) and brings rain it's a moral act. Apocraphyal stories, no doubt, but in the Old Testament God ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac purely to test him, and Agamemnon allegedly (in drama) sacrificed his own daughter to propitiate a God and whip up a wind so he could sail his fleet to Troy. Sacrificing children to the Gods is about as great a taboo as our society and moral code can imagine but if you lived in these societies you would not see it that way. Interestingly, the Romans, for all their slave-owning tendencies did not hold with human sacrifice and put an end to the Celtic / Druidic practice whenever they conquered (and largely slaughtered) the native Celts. That must puzzle you if, as human beings, they could recognise one practice as evil but not the other.
  10. Seven Kingdoms: Reach, Vale, North, Isles (Iron Islands), Rock (Westerlands), Storm (Stormlands) and Dorne. Riverlands were part of the Kingdom of The Isles so somewhat ambiguous: we had a River King but also a Marsh King if you go back far enough before the "kingdoms" consolidated but the eight Lords Paramount are the current top tier of the feudal pyramid. Starks have Boltons looking over their shoulder, the Tullys have the Freys but this is relative strength not rank. Reynes and Tarbecks also challenged Lannisters etc... Wardens are military titles only though it's probable that this would in time develop under stress into a top tier of nobility in terms of title not just status or strength. After all the feudal system is a pyramid based on vassals providing troops to their Lords so all it takes is a few conflicts with calamitous military inefficiency because the other Lords Paramount refuse to take orders form Wardens to have the system streamlined. Of course that leads to the problem of overmighty nobility threatening the crown but that's the inherent flaw in the feudal system.
  11. The folly in this is incredible. Middle-age Hugorfonics would not resemble modern-day Hugorfonics who will not resemble 25th century Mars-dwelling cyborg Hugorfonics. What you consider right and wrong is fundamentally a product of the value systems of the day. Some of those value systems are contentious - slavery in the 18th and 19th century for example - whereas slavery in Ancient Rome was universally accepted and slavery today is universally condemned. Ideas are not intrinsic or eternal, they have to be developed, expounded, disseminated, debated and accepted. A Celt or Inca would not have turned a hair at human sacrifice and Celtic/Inca Hugorfonics would not have thought any differently because he wouldn't have the framework to do so. Future you will find you an ignorant barbarian, not a kindred spirit, particularly if he mirrors your hubris.
  12. There's no doubt the Dothraki and Slaver's Bay are presented unfavourably in cultural / political terms. But GRRM's presentation of Westeros is a pretty savage criticism of feudal monarchy and chivalry, i.e. the "western" system, so I don't know if that orientalist argument holds too strongly. None of his societies or systems are exemplary. Additionally, he is creating one system in Westeros with small differences for Dorne and The North, largely religious and ethnic, and with many povs to show us different aspects or reinforce the same, while in Essos he shows us many different systems. The Free Cities are not a composite and are split between slave-owning and non-slave-owning, the Dothraki are a nomadic culture, Slaver's Bay is a distinct isolated region, Qarth is a culture all to itself and Ashaai and Yi-Ti are merely mentioned in passing - and we have only Dany's chapters (pre-ADWD) to show or tell us anything about these places. In other words more worldbuilding slows the story down and probably makes Dany's chapters vast unreadable infodumps. From ADWD on, we have Tyrion in Essos and Barristan in lieu of Dany in Meereen but the focus is on the story (as it should be imo) rather than worldbuilding with the introduction of young Griff and the build up to the battle of Mereen. The problem is there is no pay off as the battle of Fire is bumped to TWOW and we just get Tyrion's travelogue. If Victarion had arrived with the iron fleet and the dragon-binding horn and we saw what GRRM had in mind it might be different but it's all just hanging. All of Essos? I read the Free Cities as somewhat inspired by the Italian city states of the medieval period with Volantis as the regional powerhouse. Braavos of course has the Iron Bank and the canals - as well as the Titan of Braavos i.e. a copycat Colossus of Rhodes) so a composite of Milan / Venice. The Dothraki as a horse borne warrior culture who threaten the region only to be bought off with tribute are a loose analogue for any steppe-raiding nomads from the huns to the mongols. They're broad strokes but whether they "make sense" depends on how much detail you want. Slaver's Bay is a caricature but even then the idea (if not the training) of the Unsullied as slave soldiers is not so preposterous: the Ottoman Turks took the children of Christian slaves and trained them as janissaries, an elite corps who formed a kind of praetorian guard within their army for centuries. I do agree that the Dothraki and Slaver's Bay systems are intended to repulse both the reader and Dany so that she learn the point of a ruler's responsibility towards those they rule but both the show ending and GRRM's habit of setting an expectation and then pulling the rug out from under the reader have led me to question this. If all she learns is fire and blood then we should have had the five year gap so she could turn up in Westeros on dragon-back and start torching things like Aegon the Conqueror on The Field of Fire.
  13. He's known as Marwyn the Mage though. And studying lost knowledge they consider dangerous is obviously dangerous in itself. As well as out in the open. Doesn't sound secret. Why do you think he is a secret Targaryen?
  14. And therein lies the problem for ASOIAF. GRRM can reach a far large audience on TV, share the creative process with collaborators, work on multiple projects at once and really bring his world, it's history and characters to life. More appealing than plodding along a page a day with a story he already knows the ending for but not how to get to, surely?
  15. Not to intrude, but I think the point is he's given the impression that's he's nearly done a number of times before. I vividly recall how he expected to publish Winds before the show overtook him and how he was going to park other projects, lock himself away and dedicate himself to writing it. Not blaming him, just saying he tends towards optimism and likes to give good news, but he has a history of getting ahead of himself.
  16. What's up with this thread? Sounds like you guys are working on a grand unified theory of weirdness. If the Seven is the religion of the maesters and the maesters are working with The Others does that make The Seven the faith of The Others? Why would the maesters be engaged in acts threatening all the living, aren't they living too? On second thoughts, don't answer.....
  17. It's possible Benjen could reappear but the longer his absence lasted and the more Jon and then Bran and the Reeds explored north of The Wall the less likely it has become. He's essentially a minor character who has several appearances in AGOT before disappearing. We see his men return as wights, Mormont's ranging fails to find him, there's no word of sightings of him from The Wildlings, etc.... The story is largely about the Stark children: the elder generation shuffled off stage earlier on, Uncle Benjen as well as Ned and Cat. Just as Arya's mentors disappear so she has to survive on her own so do Jon's - Benjen, Donal Noye, The Old Bear, Maester Aemon. Thematically and practically I don't see Benjen's return after so long MIA: the re-appearance of the much more experienced First Ranger would kind of undercut Jon as The Boy Lord Commander of the NW and his place in the Stark succession as well. With Benjen around, we simply don't need Jon.
  18. He's been giving progress updates since about 2014 so I can't blame him
  19. We know this; those in story do not. Joffrey claimed that Arya and Mycah attacked him together, along with Nymeria. Cersei parrots this and we can assume all the royal and Lannister guardsmen have been told the same: A Game of Thrones - Eddard III The queen stepped forward. "You know full well, Stark. This girl of yours attacked my son. Her and her butcher's boy. That animal of hers tried to tear his arm off." Arya is high nobility so is insulated somewhat from punishment or retribution, Mycah is not.
  20. For many years RJ said the same Fair enough. I guess that rules him out.
  21. This isn't Dune though. GRRM is influenced by stories and myths from Homer to the contemporary world and any number of authors or screenwriters. The story is his own and whether we spot references or not doesn't determine what is going to happen. E.G. Stark vs Lannister is inspired by the Wars of The Roses (York vs Lancaster) but what happens is up to GRRM. He threw in references to The Three Stooges too but even if you spot it that doesn't tell you anything about the story. Syrio died in 1996 The "we don't have a body" argument has been used to argue that none of Geor Hightower, Arthur Dayne or Jonothor Darry died at The Tower of Joy, reappearing variously as Qhorin Halfhand, Mance Raydar or Willem Darry (Dany's guardian in her childhood); that Rhaegar didn't die on The Trident, or rather that he did but as his body was not cremated, or maybe because it was?, he was revived or maybe reincarnated as....Mance Raydar / [John Doe]. If there's a reason for Syrio to be Jaqen or if he has any further relevance I can't see it. Ned's party were slaughtered to the man/woman - even Vayon Poole and Septa Mordane - and only Ned, Arya, Sansa and Jeyne Poole survived due to hostage value, the latter by accident and then because she had value as an Arya substitute. No one is looking for this dangerous swordsman, no one circulates this man's description and warns that he is Arya's protector or indeed that he was last seen fighting to protect this now missing high value hostage. If he had escaped Trant and were alive the assumption would be that he helped Arya escape and they would be looking for him as the best lead on her. I find the silence to be deafening. Either Syrio was a Yoren-like figure who fulfilled his purpose and exited stage left or he's on one mighty old road trip with Benjen. Arguing he's alive seems to be based on his popularity, the fact that he's Braavosi and therefore can be alleged to be linked to the mysterious FM and, in this case, basing his character arc in ASOIAF on the arc of a character he may be loosely inspired by in another work.
  22. They're both successful fantasy / sci-fi authors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wheel_of_Time https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandon_Sanderson Robert Jordan's widow asked Sanderson to finish the series. He worked from the author's copious notes and the story was most certainly still as Jordan outlined it, just written on page by a different, but highly skilled, author. No fan-fic, no creative licence to write his own version, just a master craftsman finishing the work of another master craftsman based on his design. I would expect the same for ASOIAF if it came to it: BS wouldn't tell us who he imagined wrote the pink letter because GRRM knows and so would he. And BS is both prolific and has shown how he can deliver a satisfying ending to another author's story. Leaving a major work unfinished, particularly if the audience has been invested in it for over 20 years, is really unsatisfactory. But then I have the advantage of having seen how BS finished WoT so I don't have the same worries you do. All hypothetical - let's hope for GRRM to deliver.
  23. *cough* Brandon Sanderson *cough* Did a pretty good job of writing the last book in The Wheel of Time. Which actually turned out to be three. It can be done.
  24. Who cares about your value judgments? But your comment was "any type of morality". From the middle ages and by extension any period beforehand. That's a lazy sweeping comment that is astonishingly silly. Value systems and morals are as old as human thought and there's any number of philosophers, scholars, jurists, clerics, political theorists and diarists writing about these concepts from the ancient world onwards. You could try a public library or Amazon if you're really scratching your head. How so? Is it the lack of enlightenment philosophy that defines their ignorance in your eyes? It's a pointless judgment. The story is set in a medieval world and yet our characters are not amoral barbarians. Well, not all of them.... We're meant to be able to tell the difference or at least argue about it, not condemn them all with a few keystrokes In contemporary terms it would be both an illegal and amoral act. Taking a child along to watch would also be irresponsible if not abusive and would likely lead to some questions from child welfare services. But of course the whole scenario is both preposterous and impossible to imagine in our world. In a fictional medieval setting it's absolutely unremarkable by the author's rules. There is no defence of temporary insanity and the man is a deserter who knows well this punishment. Bran is deemed old enough to watch and neither of his parents or any of his siblings find this contentious or worthy of note. If you think them all amoral barbarians what do you get out of reading this?
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