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the trees have eyes

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Posts posted by the trees have eyes

  1. 6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I don't know what you are talking about, Littlefinger wasn't even in Winterfell to know that Bran had "fallen", let alone plot an assassination attempt.

    I am talking about how one or two people push the idea that LF was behind the attempt to kill Bran.  I quite agree with you on this point as it happens.  I'm just equally sceptical of the textually unsupported idea that Mance was behind it.  It's as much a reader substitution as LF for the culprit revealed by the author, namely Joffrey.

    6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    However, the only reason to send the king's unique dagger to kill a cripple in bed (when a pillow would do) is if it was meant to be found after the deed was done.

    Not at all.  If the assassin succeeded it would never be found.  And finding it doesn't point to anyone on it's own, it just makes it clear that someone took it from the king's armoury.  When would anyone notice it was gone and if the assassin was successful who could possibly join up the dots months later?  Only Catelyn's meltdown and refusal to leave Bran's side for any reason and the intervention of a direwolf save Bran, neither of which could be foreseen by the assassin.  We see his surprise in story.  You only discount this as it doesn't fit your theory and need to argue that the blade was meant to be found.  There is no reason to suppose it was.

    6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I do think causing strife was a clear goal of the catspaw attempt on Bran's life.

    Like the guy who claims Joffrey meant to kill Sansa on The Trident you are overlooking the fact that the assassin and the dagger are an authorial device to move the story forward by launching Catelyn off to KL to warn Ned that Bran's fall was not an accident and that the Lannisters are trying to kill him because he must know something damaging to them.  It's part of upping the ante in the Stark-Lannister conflict and pivotal in the drift to war.

    The dagger was not meant to be found or the assassination fail by the person behind it but both were by the author to drive the story forward.  It's tradecraft.  Some people find this clumsy or unsatisfactory and look for alternatives but the author said he'd wrap up the mystery in ASOS and he did so why are we here?

    Mance?  He's not even a character in AGOT.

    6 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    At the end of the day you can handwave anything away as just being how it was written and having no meaning, but I think you are doing yourself a disservice.

    Just do not say you were not warned.

    Well that's me warned for my disservice to myself :rolleyes:

    What is it about people with pet theories and their need to tell other people that until they drink the kool-aid they are missing out on the "truth".  I'll file your warning with those about Dany not being a Targaryen, Old Nan being the three-eyed crow, the poison being in the pie, Howland Reed being The High Septon and more than I wish to recount.

    You have a particular interpretation that is not well-supported in the text or by the author's own interview comments on the matter and you're attached to it because it's your thing so you're welcome to it but you won't find many people to agree with you.  Some, sure, but not many.  So enjoy your head cannon but don't be surprised if other people don't agree.  And it's better to keep warnings and ruminations on handwaving and disservice to yourself, they don't add anything to a post other than pique.

  2. 8 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

    No that's not it. It's the fact that they were allowed to go off all by themselves in the first place.

    This is your smoking gun?  The reason they are unaccompanied is an authorial device so the Joffrey - Arya conflict can happen without adult witnesses or intervention.

    8 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

    And, of course, we first learn that Sansa hates horses and has very little experience at riding, but there she is bouncing overland on her common mare while Joff tears ahead on his courser, which is a horse bred for speed. And what do we later learn Cersei believes happens to young girl's bodies when they go in for hard riding?

    There's more, but this was a setup, clear as day.

    Joffrey is just showing off and Sansa is attempting to please him by going despite not liking riding.  They have to go riding otherwise they are in camp surrounded by adults and, as GRRM is pointing them at Arya and Mycah practicing swordplay far enough from camp to avoid notice, that encounter can't happen at all if they don't ride out and can't happen the way he wants if they are accompanied by guards (Ned's for Sansa, Robert's or The Hound for Joffrey).  This is all pretty obvious.

    Clear as day a set-up?  Yes, but for Joffrey and Arya to cause trouble on The Trident.  For Joffrey to kill Sansa?  Good lord, no.

    4 hours ago, Aebram said:

    I've already shown that it's not sound.

    Not dramatic enough or even particularly satisfying?  I can see why people don't like it for those reasons but that's no reason to dismiss what we're presented with.

    4 hours ago, Aebram said:

    Regarding your final question about relevance, I will suggest that the murder of John Arryn had no relevance by the time GRRM revealed it.

    Depends what you mean by relevant.  It revealed how long LF had been plotting and how long Lysa had been his accomplice.  It also got her killed when she divulged his secret which gives Sansa an axe over his head should she ever be in a position to use it.  And it shows us how ruthless and cynical he is.  Pretty relevant imo.

    4 hours ago, Aebram said:

    So it seems reasonable to think that he may do the same for Joffrey.  Perhaps the truth will come out during Cersei's trial, if she did indeed do it.

    But he already has. 

    And Cersei?  She gave Jaime grief for throwing Bran out the window when she planned to simply frighten him into silence.  She has been a pov character and revealed her childhood murder of Melara Hetherspoon.  We've had retrospectives from her pov to inform us about her character even in youth.  There's no reason not for her to have reflected on trying to kill Bran and no story impact from her having tried to do so.

    4 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    Mance Rayder is (presumably) alive and in Winterfell.

    What was Mance digging for in the Frostfangs? Did he find it? Is there a connection to the rare old information that burned, or was stolen from, Winterfell's Library?

    How would the knowledge that Mance tried to have Bran killed impact his relationship with Jon?

    What game are you playing, priestess? Did you have some other task for Mance?

    This just replaces LF with Mance as the master of chaos.  I leave that to Preston Jacobs.

    Mance was digging for The Horn of Joramun to bring The Wall down if needed.  The fire in the library tower was just a distraction to pull the guards from Bran's room.

    I imagine it would impact his already complicated relationship quite severely but you could pull any name out of a hat and say the same thing.  I don't take Mance for a child killer but why advertise to Jon that he had been to WF when the royal party was there if he was behind the plot to kill Bran? That's LF style boasting/taunting of someone who you wronged but is ignorant of it (Ned).  That doesn't feel like Mance.

    As with all these alternative theories, we are talking about an event early in Book One that the author said would be addressed in Book Three and was.  Some people don't like how it was addressed but it is what he planned and wrote.

  3. 7 hours ago, Aebram said:

    I don't think we can assume that this one will go unsolved

    But it is resolved.  It's like the "Dany isn't a real Targaryen because of the lemon tree" argument - a vague feeling of dissatisfaction with one anecdotal circumstance turns things on their head. 

    The identity of Jon Arryn's killer was deliberately confused by LF and Lysa lying and leaving a false trail.  In contrast both Jaime and Tyrion independently come to the conclusion that it was Joffrey and when Tyrion makes a veiled insinuation to Joffrey he reacts uneasily.  Maybe that's not watertight or clear enough for some people but it's how the author chose to show it without the smoking gun of a confession like from Lysa (show don't tell).

    What relevance does a presumed third party assassination have to the plot now?

  4. 1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

    Yes, the whole thing was a setup. Cersei only wanted to slut-shame Sansa to scotch the betrothal -- thus the fact that they were allowed to go off alone, and the hard riding, and the wine . . .   Joffrey was going to kill her, probably by drowning her in the river, because he thought this was necessary to protect his crown. 

    Still no.  His actions afterwards hardly bear this out.  He was just showing off.  And he can't take his drink (unsurprising as he's a teenager), something we see again at his wedding.  Under the influence his true character emerges -  arrogant and cruel.

  5. On 12/9/2022 at 3:23 PM, John Suburbs said:

    And when they reached the Trident and there was still no word of Bran's death, Joff took the opportunity to use Cersei's plan to slut-shame Sansa on their little date to kill her instead. But fortunately they ran into Arya and Micah.

    Erm, no.

    On 12/9/2022 at 2:38 AM, Phylum of Alexandria said:

    I can agree the Joffrey reveal wasn't exactly satisfying, but I chalk this up to shoddy execution on GRRM's part. I don't think this plot thread is coming back at any point.

    Indeed.  He's said that the readership have had plenty of time to come up with solutions to mysteries that they find more satisfying than his own plot resolutions.  This is a prime example.  It's a little underwhelming but actually better than LF being some evil genius behind everything bad or destabilising that happens in Westeros.  There are plenty of other actors spreading chaos or conflict for their own reasons - Balon, Euron, Theon, Roose, Ramsay, Walder Frey, Doran, Arianne, Cersei, and in this case Joffrey.

  6. 5 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    Colemon is neither a quick thinker nor a smooth talker.  And he is obviously very nervous about something.  And he almost DOES blurt out what it was that he gave Sweetrobin.  Then he thinks better of it and stops himself.

    LF has already implicated himself by ordering doses, and arguing with Colemon about the dangers.   You are essentially saying LF would never do what we know he has done.

    There is no need for LF to suddenly say "my man Colemon, let's slow-murder Sweetrobin".   And by the time Colemon puts 1 and 1 and 1 and 1 together, he's already an accomplice.

    Colemon is a weak man, who wants to follow orders and avoid trouble.  The situation probably developed slowly with every new dose making him more and more guilty.  He's like a frog in a pot being slowly heated.

    Vitamins would be anachronism, but never mind.  I get the idea.  My answer is this:  If it was only vitamins, he would have said "I only gave him vitamins".  Instead he says "I only..." then stops himself, and suddenly asks about nosebleeds.  And he seems to also associate nosebleeds with sweetsleep poisoning.

    And you can hardly be serious.  Would GRRM really tease a mystery like this, and have the solution be "health supplements"?

    I get this is your view.  It's all conjecture.  You pose no credible reason for Colemon, who served the Arryns long before LF was appointed, to acquiesce in poisoning Robert.

    Sansa knows LF has had Colemon prescribe sweetsleep to Robert.  There is no mystery that Colemon needs to keep hidden.  We all know LF has Colemon administer sweetsleep.  The point is that Colemon prescribes it as a powerful medicine with side effects and sometimes against his better judgment due to the danger of cumulative dosage not as some moustache-twirling dastardly act for no discernible reason.  There is simply no reason for Colemon to panic at Sansa proposing more sweetsleep as he can simply say he's already given him a dose to get him down the mountain

    You're being pedantic over vitamins but never mind.  The equivalent in Westeros would be herbal remedies or tinctures added to his milk - if indeed anything is added at all.  It's equally possible he finds milk other than Lysa's breast milk different or unpleasant.  These are simple and obvious answers to why he finds the milk tastes "vile",

    Are you serious? :rolleyes:

  7. On 12/4/2022 at 5:05 PM, Gilbert Green said:

    I think Colemon is deliberately slow-poisoning him on LF's orders.

    If this is the case then the whole scene with Alayne telling Colemon to give him sweetsleep because her Lord Father would want it and him objecting doesn't work.  He would simply say LF had foreseen the problem of getting Robert down the mountain and he had already administered a dose on LF's orders.

    Maesters control the ravens.  I do think Colemon is weak but if he was ordered by LF to do this he could send a bird to KL - or more likely every Arryn loyalist in The Vale - and then LF is toast.  Also, LF is more careful than to implicate himself like this.

    But what is Colemon's motive for wishing Robert dead?  Plus he is making himself an accessory to murder and the holder of a dangerous secret that would likely see him killed in short order to protect it.

    On 12/4/2022 at 5:05 PM, Gilbert Green said:

    You never answered my question about the "something vile" that Colemon is secretly administering in Sweetrobin's drink.  See my quotes posted above.

    Could be vitamin supplements or anything.  Health supplements and a lot of medicines are known to taste odd and children to complain that medicine tastes horrid. 

    Don't forget that Lysa was still breast feeding Robert until recently (we saw that in Catelyn's visit to The Eyrie in AGOT) so any milk he is now provided with will taste different or odd or "vile".

  8. 21 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:


    It's really not.  I don't see why it's so hard to accept that Alayne has influence because of her status as LF's "daughter" and that Colemon has a conversation with her and follows her wishes in a way he would not otherwise do.

    The position you have taken is only necessary if you argue Robert is being deliberately poisoned and are determined to blame Colemon and defend Sansa.  As I don't think he's being deliberately poisoned by either Colemon or Sansa I don't have this constraint and can say that 1) Colemon is prescribing medicine but is concerned about the frequency of the dose but is being influenced by LF (and Sansa ONCE) and 2) Sansa has an ambiguity about her thoughts in the Alayne persona, deliberately created by GRRM, but I do not believe she will harm Robert knowingly.

    The only person who wants Robert Arryn out of the way is LF and not until he has secured another means of holding on to power.

    17 hours ago, Springwatch said:

    There are still mysteries, but Colemon's guilt isn't one of them.

    Guilt as to what?  Jeopardising Robert's long term health?  Possibly but Robert is given to fits and is sickly so his long term health is poor.  If he continues to administer doses beyond what is safe that result in lasting harm or fatality then absolutely, yes, he will be guilty.  But of medical malpractice or murder?

    Medicines do come with risks - any prescription medicine will summarise them.  The amount of medicine / the dosage and frequency of treatment depend on the individual, there is always judgment involved however much people like to think of these issues as black and white.

    Also, a maester is not a physician in out sense - the links they forge in their chain at The Citadel cover many areas - and Colemon advises on politics as much as provides medical services.  He advises / serves the Lord of The Vale and does not have final say over Robert's treatment.  Even in our system medical experts advise governments who make policy (e.g. the debate over COVID lockdowns).  If LF pressures him to administer hemlock and he does then he's guilty.  But if LF pressures him to administer slightly more swseetsleep than he thinks safe it becomes a judgment call. 

  9. 8 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    If a serving maid had said the same thing, Colemon would have had no choice but to realize that what the serving maid said was true.  The identity of the serving-maid's father has nothing to do with it.

    An odd comparison.  A serving maid would have kept her mouth shut and would not have dared interfere.  A serving maid would not have referenced Lord Petyr's wishes to overcome the objections of the maester (her social superior).  A serving maid would have known and kept in her place.

    But then, Alayne is no serving maid and does not act like one.

  10. 7 hours ago, Springwatch said:

    So he is. That's not enough reason to scoop the responsibility off Colemon and dump it onto Sansa.

    If the intern was telling you to poison the firm's owner, so her parent/your boss could steal it - you would say no. Everyone would say no. It's not a marginal decision.

    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.

    2 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    Nobody denies that Colemon is a morally weak character.  But moral weakness is not an excuse for murder. 

    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.

    2 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    Sansa has no "clout" whatsoever in this case.  

    Sansa, BTW, never threatens to tell LF anything.  She merely makes a perfectly true statement about what LF would want.

    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.

  11. 17 hours ago, Springwatch said:

    Sansa does not have authority over Colemon, that's absurd. He's a maester, she's a child. Besides, his sworn loyalty is to his Lord Robert Arryn; even a regent can't override that - certainly not to the extent of poisoning him.

    Nor do we see LF threatening Colemon. If Colemon has been got at (and he is super nervy) - it could be someone else. With a better motive.

    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.

  12. 18 hours ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

    No one ever gets to the end of that paragraph:

    “You had best take that up with the Lord Protector.” She pushed through the door and crossed the yard. Colemon only wanted the best for his charge, Alayne knew, but what was best for Robert the boy and what was best for Lord Arryn were not always the same. Petyr had said as much, and it was true. Maester Colemon cares only for the boy, though. Father and I have larger concerns.”

    It's pretty clear throughout the exchange she's doing what LF would do and the reasons for doing it override her apparent care for SR. LF wants more power (and Sansa, which she knows), but they are both defying the throne and committing treason by hiding Sansa. She is trusting LF as far as she dare because she wants to continue living without being in Cersei's tender clutches.

    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.

  13. On 11/20/2022 at 9:56 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

    I think that she's at least in touch with Wyman Manderly, and that her visit to the crypt was to verify the swords, and look for clues that the Stark and Reed kids had hiden themselves here to escape Theon and survive the sack. 

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 15 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Coulda fooled me

    It seems you fooled yourself.

    15 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    I don't wanna talk to him

    Not many people do.

    15 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Well then how the hell to I judge them? Should I applaud the death of Julius Caesar like some type of Cato? He represented the standard of Rome, although with times changing maybe I should weep like the new kind of Antony. Ask Cicero, he probably has something to say about Antony, the Senate too. Also, are we allowed to talk about the plebs? Oh what about Hermann and the whole slaughter of his new peoples like some kind of Theon. What's the standard on the traitor Arminius, or the standard on the hero Hermann? 

    Tiberius wrestled with the delicacy of emperor and the the collapse of the Republic, he probably often wondered whether Augustus did it right but he wasn't there and has no way of knowing and has to deal with the consequences. Like us. Fortunately though we're far removed from this crazy conflict and can look at the events from an outside perspective and not as it's sole recipient. Also fortunately for us Tiberius isn't around because that dude was the fucking worst (excluding like almost every emperor after), despite the standards that Sejanus or whomever set.

    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 :thumbsup:

    15 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Are you offended by the word evil? Perhaps that's hyperbolic too. How about really really really fucked up?

    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.

    15 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Yes? To my knowledge some Ancient Greek historian came to Cairo, saw the pyramids, asked some rando how they build that, he shrugged, the Greek then thought the amount of slaves to build them must be astronomical. And just like that thousands of years went by and ancient Egyptians were thought of by everyone as whip holding slave masters, until the damn triangles were excavated and the graffiti on the wall insinuated some foreman or something like adding up his paycheck on the wall (multiply by bird, carry the sun) and only know do we realize they weren't actually these gross insestious slave masters we thought of but just regular gross insestious masters

    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!

  16. 2 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    He has set himself a hurdle. I would agree with you here, if George Martin had just set out to write fantasy. But look at his statements in interviews:

    It is safe to say, he has failed miserably. 

    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 :thumbsup:

    2 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Thanks. I will read it, when I get time.

    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 :D

    2 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    It won the war against Athens, but only did so with Persian gold and major help from allies.

    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.

    3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Why do you think all nomads have to be Mongols? Or that horse-based societies have to be nomadic?

    Rohirrim population is clearly in good part sedentary. They are not Mongols: in fact, in terms of their role in the story, they are more akin to Poland of Jan III Sobieski; Theoden's charge at Pelennor is essentially equivalent to Sobieski's charge at Vienna (even numbers are related: 6 000 Rohirrim is exactly one-third of Sobieski's 18 000 Hussars). And frankly, expecting Rohirrim to be nomads makes about as much sense as expecting the same of Poles.

    We know that they have herds of horses in the vast areas of Calenardhon, and these are tended to by the herdsmen who themselves live as nomads, moving with the herds. And in Tolkien's Letters, specifically Letter #297, Tolkien explicitly calls the Rohirrim as being "still partly nomadic":

    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 :P.  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.

  17. On 11/14/2022 at 4:34 PM, Mourning Star said:

    So she told Ned what she says later?

    "Your butcher's boy attacked the prince."

    Or is that an example of her "growing"?

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:34 PM, Mourning Star said:

    Did she change for the better though? I'm not so sure.

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:34 PM, Mourning Star said:

    I also think you are kind of skipping over the irony that what we are reading here is literally the Song of Ice and Fire. So Sansa's story, could literally be described as a song.

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:34 PM, Mourning Star said:

    She is asked to tell the truth in defense of her family and she chooses not to, the result is the death of her wolf.

    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.


  18. On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    My point is, if Martin didn't feel like / want to / whatever develop Essos properly, why even write about it at all? He could have described it in as sparse terms as possible, so we wouldn't have to wonder about how Dothraki are apparently civilization-destroying warriors while also being a complete joke of steppe nomads, how the Slaver's Bay even exists, and so on.

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    Because, if what you wrote is true, then Essos is hardly a sideshow. Which means it should have been better developed, rather than being an obvious low-effort carricature of historical realities.

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    Basically, in creating Essos Martin bit off more than he could chew.

    Ok, that's your opinion.  But not an objective fact :thumbsup:

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    By that measure, almost every historical society was "ready to topple over easily".

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    Stop being so insulted over nothing. My point is that Martin's world would be far more interesting if he actually took time to consider logical consequences of the basic premise of his world (ten year winters in Westeros) than simply creating a copy-pastiche of Medieval Europe and carricature of Mediterranean and Near East.

    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*).

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    Of course it is subjective. But we are discussing opinions here; I fail to see why I have to constantly note "this is my opinion".

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    To make it easier for you: it is objective fact that Essos is very badly designed from the point of historical realism, functionality and internal consistency. It is a subjective opinion that that fact makes it bland, boring, unenjoyable and overall a waste of time.

    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.

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    If you don't care about logical or internal consistency, that is you prerogative. I happen to care about these things, and for that reason I don't like Essos.

    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"

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:


    Perfettamente :thumbsup:

    On 11/14/2022 at 4:14 PM, Aldarion said:

    Reputation and reality do not need to match.

    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.

    16 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

    We get background stuff, like setting, and we can surmise the societal structure of Rohan through armies and such. We know that it's partially based off of Anglo-Saxon society, so we can also extrapolate a bit more information. 

    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.

  19. 11 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    To justify it is breathtakingly foolish

    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.

    11 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Of course they did, I never said they didnt.

    Really?  We're only talking because you said this:

    On 10/26/2022 at 4:50 AM, Hugorfonics said:

    They're an ignorant bunch though, and the further we go back the stranger they often act. Eventually they're so strange I can't really recognize any type of morality, mainly the middle ages. 

    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.

    On 10/29/2022 at 8:14 PM, Hugorfonics said:

    I think even the ancient Egyptians found the ancienter Egyptians to be strange.

    Indeed.  But did they abhor them as evil because they discarded some of their practices? 

  20. 12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Your comparison is wrong.

    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).

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    So why do we even have a story set there?

    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?

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Slaver's Bay had remained apparently not changed much for centuries, so the system is clearly sustainable. Yet it is also supposed to be unsustainable.

    How do you solve that issue?

    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.

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    What they are is flashy and shallow. Problem with much of Essos - and Slaver's Bay especially - is that there reader's mind cannot fill in the blanks because things are so contradictory.

    Yes, Essos has a lot of material... but most of it is just chaff. Dothraki and the slavers are both so stupid that I can't find myself to care either way: they can exist or not, live or die, I don't care; I just want the show there to be finally over. The Lamb Men are a stupid concept and should have been dead for ages anyway, so nothing to care about them.

    And to me, these discrepancies are critical issues. Sure, most people may not notice them... but FFS Martin, if you are going to provide a social commentary, then get your society right.

    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...

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    The only things I find remotely interesting about Essos are the Free Cities, Valyria, the Great Empire of the Dawn and those blackstone fortresses. That's it. And of those, the Free Cities and maybe even the Valyria have a lot in common with Westeros, and the Free Cities I find more interesting as a concept to think about than the actual description and role in the story.

    Sure, subjectivity is all about saying what we like and why we like it.

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    We don't need to experience the impact of ten year winters. We should have been able to see it in how the society is structured: for one, feudalism should have been impossible. Rather, you would have something more akin to the Pharaoh era Egypt: you can in fact just read the Bible to see how a society would prepare for a ten year winter.

    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?

    12 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Epic has little to do with physical scale. Lord of the Rings feels far more epic than A Song of Ice and Fire or Temeraire, despite events happening on a generally much smaller scale than in those two series. Rather, what is epic about LotR is metaphysical scale, the whole conflict of good and evil which Martin apparently wanted to avoid.

    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.

    13 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    "Renowned" means "famous", "talked about", "well known". But something can be famous while still being bad.

    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 :)

    13 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    I am aware of Herodotus' activities. What I am saying however is that a) Herodotus did not check his sources and b) he had an agenda. Basically, Herodotus saw Sparta as a model of an ideal society - and in his view, an ideal society had to have an ideal army. So he glossed over Spartan defeats, played up their victories, and in doing so, created a legend.

    His "history" was basically a collection of myths, stories and everything he could find. Tuchydides, who actually did go to effort to check things, does not to my knowledge think highly of Herodotus.

    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 :)

  21. 3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Also, you have completely missed my argument. I have never criticized Martin for "not fleshing out" societies and cultures. I criticized him for getting the skeleton wrong.

    Well, this is the comment that seemed to get us on this merry-go-round:

    On 11/11/2022 at 12:24 PM, Aldarion said:

    I'm not sure I agree. Tolkien's cultures and peoples feel far more fleshed out and far more natural than Martin's, despite the fact that Tolkien spent far fewer words describing them.

    As you know I disagree on the fleshing out and what you regard as the "realism" in Westeros. 

    3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    And if you do not know about some topic (as Martin clearly doesn't about non-feudal societies), it is better not to write about it. Provide bare minimum of information and let the reader fill in the blanks.

    He didn't need to have Slaver's Bay, or Essos at all. He could have made Westeros smaller, and then have Daenerys living in exile in some other kingdom before coming back.

    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.

    3 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    But you cannot just throw logic out of the window, because if you do, nothing will relate to anything else and the world will become bland and boring. Actions have consequences, and it is exploring consequences of different factors that makes fantasy so interesting.

    And bland and boring is what Essos is. Yeah, sure, it is diverse - but that diversity is shallow, because there is nothing underlying it.

    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.

    4 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Why did he give Westeros seasons which include ten year winters if ten year winters are completely irrelevant? Why have story happen on a continent the size of South America when it could have just been an island the size of Great Britain or maybe Greenland?

    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.

    4 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    These are not my "subjective feelings". Spartan reputation was created by Herodotus. In realitiy however they were no better than any other phalanx.

    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 :thumbsup:

    4 hours ago, Aldarion said:

    Except the movie doesn't portray them as renowned warriors, it portrays them as outstanding ones.

    Which they weren't. They were quite average, in fact; they just had good reputation.

    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.

  22. 17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Because it doesnt make sense. Ramsays ancestors flayed, the sigil that theyre as proud of as Lannister and its lion is a flayed man, Ramsays dad told him a flayed man holds no secrets. When Ramsay flays we judge, despite the Bolton moral code

    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.

    17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    And theyre really bad lol.

    This is your assessment of practically every human civilisation or culture to have existed?  It's a puerile comment.

    17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    In Amercian history theres loads of senators and such giving passionate speeches on the defense of slavery and its really disgusting. And it may not have been disgusting to some contemporaries, but it most assuredly was to others. Mainly the slaves.

    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.

    17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Yea it may be ignorant, Im fine ignoring why nazis say, used a tea spoon when eating their frosted flakes instead of a tablespoon. The rest of their stuff as well. (although I like to think about von Braun. Nazi scientist which means he must have believed in eugenics which is flawed science. So its strange to think that a flawed scientist was still scientifically brilliant enough to you know, get mankind on the moon)
    Although Im not really ignorant, the final solution only happened after the germans realized they couldnt feed the pow let alone their own soldiers, so the expendable become extra expendable. Also they wanted to unify the world and such.

    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.

    17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    When examining the cause of evilness evil still comes out, so ill stick to being lazy as well and just judge all of the middle ages and before as well and Ill probably be right 90% of the time.

    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.

    18 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    So is gravity. They had it back then too

    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.

    18 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    Idk, I had to read it for highschool lol. 
    But I totally love this stuff anyway. History and these epics are interesting as hell, because theyre human, right? Like I watch African safari shows sometimes, I root for the zebra baby to get away, but also kinda for the lion to catch it. Like I dont really care, cuz I just cant relate to a zebra. But say this is the news and its like some kid, oh my heart goes out massively for this rando because as a human I can empathize with how scary staring down a lion is. 
    Thats how I look at this subject. Richard I was not a zebra, I can sort of put my shoes into his place and think this guys a dick, granted it does get much easier as time goes by and ideas of democracy and capitalism and socialism and even communism or anarchy is much easier to relate and comprehended then feudalism. 

    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....).

  23. 14 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    I thought he did banish the nephew and something ambiguous happened with the army and then, idk, somehow the good guys won helms deep. I mean the nephew was back when Pippen was getting high with the trees...

    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).

    13 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

    I believe you are correct. I also believe it's the lady galadrial, I'm not sure about arwyn. (Who's from a different neighborhood then galadrial and legolas? but I can't tell the elf races apart)

    How does Rohan win? Nothing climactic like in the movie? (If Gandalf doesn't help direct other people to save them I think that's pretty great because I'm kinda convinced the entire fellowship was useless except three hobbits and a little Aragon, And it'd be pretty funny if the wizard didn't even help save Rohan, tbh a little sam too. Aragons ghost ships saved Gondor tho. Wait was that only movie?)

    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.

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