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Chaircat Meow

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  • Birthday 08/18/1989

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  1. The best TV moment since Jackie Weaver and 'Read the standing orders, Read them and understand them!' Watch until the end. I AM Mr MCADAMS AND I HAVEN'T SAID A WORD!
  2. It looks to me like this isn't a result of the West/Ukraine looking stronger - rather Russia has made improvements to its army and insulated itself more from economic warfare, so it can afford to take more risk (or thinks it can). The rise of China is the central strategic fact - Putin knows the US is now prioritizing the Pacific more and more so its commitment to Europe is probably going to wane over the long term. So it is like pushing at a slightly weakening neighbour rather than desperation at the prospect of growing strength, unlike for example Germany vs Russia in 1914 (when Germany saw the balance of power shifting against it).
  3. Basically not very much. Ukraine's GDP is only slightly bigger than Scotland's and there are only 5.5m people in Scotland vs 40m+ in Ukraine. It is the poorest country in Europe with a GDP per capita 1/3 of Russia's! Still it used to be a productive and strategic part of the Russian/Soviet empire, so maybe he hopes it can be again.
  4. Angela Merkel said something like this - before this current crisis. Putin was a Nineteenth-Century politician in the Twenty-First Century, according to her. The trouble is I think the jury is basically out on whether Putin's old fashioned techniques are going to work or not. Maybe the Twenty-First Century will operate in a similar way to previous centuries, in the relevant respects? He is going to be isolated but Russia is fairly well equipped to weather sanctions and China has an interest in seeing they don't collapse. He will strengthen NATO a bit but not sure that changes things too much. I think it is bit early to say whether the Russian forces have been shown to be weaker than supposed - if they have it is reminiscent of the Winter War where Stalin eventually beat Finland but lowered his prestige at a significant time. The big risk for him is Ukraine turns into a quagmire like Iraq (supposing Russia wins this phase of the war) and ultimately weakens him.
  5. As someone hinted at up thread, this is a very faithful adaptation. It captures completely the central characteristic of Jordan's oeuvre: its plodding dullness: I was bored about ten minutes in, which was great, because it was exactly like the book. I perked up a bit for the attack on the village and liked Rosamund Pike doing magic and stuff but the Trolloc movement was really jerky.
  6. Yea, I would appreciate an example. Simon De Montfort in England I suppose (although that entailed a lot more than picking a king). The Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Jerusalem had elective elements, although the hereditary principle was still present. And in the HRE elections were contested, won by bribes and you had wars between rival candidates.
  7. I gave it a 1. I'd have given it -100 if I could. It was just an insult.
  8. Some further reflections from me. One key element to keep in mind when assessing how show ending and book ending differ is the obvious lacunae in the show regarding the two magical northern stories. It seems pretty clear Bran is going to learn to be a very powerful greenseer and play a major, perhaps the major role, in rolling back the Others. Jon is also on the path to some sort of magical transformation; he’s got the super-warg storyline going on and a potential fire-based resurrection. The show either cut or drastically truncated these stories. All we got for Bran was ‘hold-the-door’ him being a kind of emotionless robot and then a kind of bait for the Night King (a purely show invention). Jon got nothing, the resurrection on the show was utterly pointless as it was divorced from the magical aftermath. The show probably did this because Benioff and Weiss like the magic less than the politics, didn’t really know how to translate the magical plotline onto the tv and didn’t actually know what the magical plotline was for the most part, as GrrM was still writing it. This fact is going to have massive consequences for the ending. One consequence is that the books can make it much more plausible Bran will be a viable choice as king. If he returns to the north as a greenseer, with knowledge of how to withstand the Others, then he’ll not just be Ned Stark’s son to the northerners, he’ll be a quasi-divine figure, a kind of shaman sacred to the northmen, priest and king. The Starks will literally have a divine right to rule because it seems clear than the greenseeing abilities are connected to the Stark bloodline. This just reinforces how ridiculous the show's ending is, Sansa actually objects to the north kneeling to king Bran when he’s Ned’s son and a semi-divine figure to the northmen. It is beyond stupid and will not happen. The real question is whether Bran’s kingship will be accepted by the south as well as the north. It is possible that the southern nobles come to realise the power of the old gods in withstanding the Others, and this, coupled with Bran’s likely allies in the Vale and the Riverlands could be enough to see him proclaimed king. However, this is much more uncertain than him becoming king in the north, I think. A second consequence of the omission of the magical plotlines is that the defeat, or repulse of the Others is going to look very different, and I suspect will involve Jon in a different way than the show did. In the show Jon builds an alliance to fight the Others by kneeling to Dany, which sort of does some good in the battle at Winterfell but in the books I think his role might be on the more magical side of things with the politics possibly left to Sansa. A final point, I’m not keen on this idea that electing kings or ending dynastic marriage is a good or logical way to progress and then end the political storyline. Planetos has plenty of elected officials, both in westeros itself (the NW and Citadel) as well as in the Free Cities and in Volantis. I don’t think the message will be westeros needs to be more like Volantis to stop it having wars – I think George knows about the Roman Republic. He seems to be going in the other direction, the king at the end will have a real divine right to rule through his connection with the weirwoods and the old gods. The message could be kingship is only any good if it actually fulfils its pretensions and the king is a semi-divine figure - this can't be true in the real world but it can in Planetos as magic and kingship can go together (sort of an Aristotelian point, kingship would work if kings were gods).
  9. As long as Rickon, Sansa or Arya survive there is no need to legitimise Jon to carry on the Stark line so I don't see much reason for this to happen. I also should have said in my earlier post that the other piece of the Jon ending they almost certainly got right was what happens after Jon kills Dany - I think he will go back to the wall, presumably as Lord Commander, as a penance. I don't think the circumstances have to be the same; it might be voluntary for instance but I don't think Jon will ever be a king or a lord of anything, at least for long anyway. This would also imply the Others are not defeated, just repulsed, because the Nights Watch is still needed.
  10. The show’s ending was a witless travesty but we can still glean something of the proper story's plot from it. However, I think some characters' endings are still very murky; I don’t think we can be confident about Tyrion or Arya from the show. To go by character first: The essence of Jon and Dany’s ending is surely correct. I think we now know the following: that Jon and Dany will fall in love, Dany will become crueller and more tyrannical, Jon will come to see his choice as yet another question of whether to put duty above love and he will play the major role in her death. The main reasons to believe this are that it is not something the showrunners likely made up on their own as it is far too controversial and daring (although I guess you could say this about Sansa and Ramsay …). Moreover, it also fits very well with Dany and Jon’s arcs and the essential conflicts that compose the dynamics of their stories. It has long been speculated that Dany could become a very brutal conqueror if she lets her anger predominate and takes Jorah’s advice on the need to be dishonourable. Jon seems destined to be continually tempted to put love before duty to the realm and to be always thwarted if he tries to do so. This has included having a hand in his lover’s death before. So in the broadest sense, everything fits. Consider yourselves spoiled. I repose no confidence in the specific way this happens in the show. In particular I don’t think we know Jon goes through the stages he did on the show, i.e. KitN, abdication, revelation of parentage, growing conflict with Dany leading to her death. For instance, I think Jon may never become KitN, or if he does it could be much later than in the show, as Stannis is likely to win the battle at the beginning of the Winds. I also don’t necessarily trust the way the show used R+L=J to further the conflict between Jon and Dany. Varys rightly highlighted in the show that Jon is too weak to act as a break on Daenerys but his book counterpart is a different story, so marriage is an option in the books. We now also know that Bran becomes king. The question is king of where because the other thing we know is that the ending in the show can’t possibly happen in the books. Bran as king of the south with Sansa as queen of an independent North is nonsensical and a completely witless piece of writing. However, again I don’t think it makes sense for Benioff and Weiss to have Bran become king of anywhere if this wasn’t GrrM’s plan. Bran’s elevation to kingship was handled so poorly it is clearly something that they felt obliged to do while having no idea of how to do it. And for those who can't see how this can happen, look at Jon's elevation to LC. So, either Bran becomes KitN and we just weren’t told what the situation in the south will be (possibly the showrunners felt it was too complicated), or he becomes king of all westeros and the north does not become independent. Sansa can’t become QitN unless both Bran and Rickon are dead, and as we know Bran won’t be dead, as he’ll be a king, northern independence under Sansa can’t happen at all. I suspect what happened here is that Sansa ends up ruling the Vale, or being a major southron powerbroker and the show couldn’t set this up, as Winterfell and King’s Landing are the only locations viewers care about. So things got moved around to represent Sansa ruling and having a big influence over the north even though the actual way the show portrayed this was wrong. In any case, we can be confident that Bran becomes a king, somewhere and Sansa ends up in position of political power, somewhere. We also now know Bran does leave the cave as he becomes king. I was one of those who thought he would remain there forever, so I got that wrong. As regards Tyrion I have no confidence at all that his ending is right. The character has been completely whitewashed in the show – he’s basically a shorter Ned Stark with a dirty mouth. Obviously, he’s in a very different place in the books, even if Penny has brought him back from the darkness slightly. This represents such a big change in the character I don’t think we could expect the show to do Tyrion’s ending properly – I am not convinced he survives in the books and I think he could even get greyscale. I do think it is probable he plays a similar role in the books as in the show in so far as he serves as Daenerys’ advisor but his motives will be darker and more complicated than the desire to make the world a better place or whatever sentimental mush he spouted on the tv. He may even form part of a Jon-Dany-Tyrion love triangle and play a role in setting Jon on Dany ... Arya is the other major character for whom I have no real confidence in the show’s ending. We can say, with some confidence, that her main plot beats in the show such as butchering the Freys and killing the Night King either won’t happen at her hand or won't happen at all in the books. I see no real reason to think she will play a role in the downfall of Littlefinger, that looks like Sansa’s battle. So, given her entire story looks to be different I don’t think we assume her show ending is going to be the same as the books. It might be but we can’t really tell either way. There is a hint during her conversation with the Hound prior to the battle of the Cleganes that her arc will end with her forsaking revenge and channelling her energies into something adventurous but not murderous (necessarily) i.e. exploring but I can’t really say whether I think this is GrrM or D&D. The plot: The show plot runs like this: Jon and Sansa come to rule the North by beating the Boltons, Dany wins partially in the south but there is a ceasefire with Cersei and Euron, the White Walkers are then beaten by an alliance between Dany and Jon + Sansa (but really by Arya), this victorious alliance then defeats Cersei and Euron who benefitted from sitting out the battle with the Night King, Dany falls off the deep end and Jon kills her. What I take from it is Asoiaf ends not with the defeat or repulse of the Others but a human conflict. GrrM has hinted as much by praising Tolkein’s scouring of the shire. And it seems clear that this human conflict must be the one between Jon and Daenerys who presumably meet sometime during (or before) the battle against the Others. In the show we have another human conflict after the fight against their version of the Others, namely that between Dany + Jon and Euron + Cersei. I’m not sure we can say for certain whether this represents how things will go down in the books, or whether it stems from the show being more comfortable with the political than magical aspects of the series. So it is possible Jon vs Dany will be the only conflict after the battle with the Others. Overall though I am slightly inclined to think Euron does ally with Cersei and is defeated after the Others are and that the way in which he is beaten sets up the Jon/Dany conflict. I think it is more likely Jon and Dany fall out over how to handle human foes than the Others. This means something like half of Dream will have to take place after the defeat of the Others. This compresses the Long Night into about one book, assuming it doesn’t start until halfway through Winds. I think this raises the likelihood that what we will see in the books won’t be the permanent defeat of the Others but rather the repulse of an initial invasion and the preparation of the Seven kingdoms to survive the Long Night.
  11. If Dany does become the blood-soaked tyrant the television is portraying in the books there will have to be better build up and a long line of brutal or 'mad' acts before we get to the stage where we are thinking of Jon turning on her, if indeed this is where we are heading in book and tv. I think Lord Varys is right to point out that the attitude to the smallfolk in warfare means Dany burning King's Landing after a surrender might not in itself be sufficient to cause some of her allies to desert her. Tywin drowned the Reynes after they surrendered and no one thought Tywin was 'mad' or unfit to rule the westerlands (and the Reyners were nobles). However, Lord Varys is wrong to think Jon and some other people in westeros wouldn't care at all on the basis this is the way of war or something like that. They absolutely would and wouldn't want to serve a butcher. That is what Dany would be if she pulls this off. The burning of King's Landing would need to conjoined with other harsh or 'mad' acts though for Dany to arrive at tyranny status in westerosi eyes. I think in the books she is likely to butcher her way through groups of noble hostages during or after her war with Aegon.
  12. The analogy doesn't work. A throne, in the end, is just a symbol of political power; all its influence is in the minds' of men (and women). The shadows on the wall or whatever exactly Varys' metaphor was. If the Iron Throne goes and the kingdoms split up then there will just be more thrones to fight over: the chair in Highgarden, or Winterfell or Storm's End. The desire for power, and the ambition and jealousy that comes becomes someone else wields it, is never going to go away no matter how many chairs gets melted down. That's not to say the Iron Throne might not get destroyed; it very well may. But it would make no sense for that to end the game of thrones.
  13. Sometimes I amaze even myself, but I thought that was quite good. Granted, my expectations are at rock-bottom, so it doesn't take much for D&D to impress me. Most of the scenes were good, the battle at the end was great (two sand-snakes down!) and I actually thought Kit and Emilia upped their game this week. Missaworm was a pathetic waste of time, of course, but other than that the episode was pretty engaging.
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