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The hairy bear

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About The hairy bear

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    Honey in the summer air!
  • Birthday 08/28/1980

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    Barcelona, Catalonia
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    Many. A Song of Ice and Fire among them.

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  1. The hairy bear

    Pros and Cons of 9 Kingdoms

    I am very skeptical regarding Maester Yandel's claims praising the benefits of the unified monarchy. Given that he was writing a book addressed to a king on the Iron Throne, and that the Citadel itself has its own biases, I'd take his words with a grain of salt. For instance, in relation to his claim that the population doubled ruing the Conciliator's reign, one would assume that if that was true the sizes of the armies during the Conquest would be much smaller than during the War of the Five Kings. And that's not the case (Torrhen gathered 30k Northmen, while Robb only raised 20k). I don't think it's fair to present pre-Conquest Westeros as if it was a place where constant major wars were the norm. Let's take the North as an example (since it's the kingdom we have more info). We know that Moat Cailin has remained as the Southern border since times immemorial. We know that last territorial changes (losing the Three Sisters and gaining Bear Island) were established centuries ago. The last major war that involved the North seems to be the War Across the Water against the Vale, and that took place a thousand years before Aegon. Therefore, we should assume that in the 700 years before the Conquest, the North was basically in peace except for the occasional raid from the wildlings or the Ironmen. Post conquest we have also raids from wildlings (Redbeard) and the Ironmen (Dagon, Balon). And we have to add to this the involvement in external conflicts such as the Dance, the Conquest of Dorne, Robert's Rebellion or the Wot5K. It's hard to me to buy the idea that post-Conquest Westeros was much more peaceful than pre-Conquest Westeros. It seems to me that the level of conflict before the invasion tends to be exaggerated, and that in reality it was mostly a matter of border skirmishes and minor feuds. I'm not sure about that. To use same place and period George took most of his inspiration from, here's a list of all the wars England was involved in. Looking at 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, and using the same restrictions as you do (only full scale wars in English soil), I only count 5 ~ 7 of what you call "major wars".
  2. You seem to consider that the only important thing is "the fate" of the characters. That the issue that's being discussed is the adequacy of the ending points of each one. That people claiming that a character has been "ruined" is just complaining that the resolution of a particular storyline is not to their taste. And it's not the case. When people says that a given character has been ruined, what they mean is that they have been depleted of their depth, their agency, their consistency. Their characterization itself, in fact. The writers did not wrote them as real people, and they became mere instruments to advance the plot. The problem is not that Dany became a Mad Queen. In fact, the story of Dany falling 'to the dark side' could be very interesting and I'm sure George will be able to do it justice. But what we saw in the show just didn't work at any level. I don't know if they are incapable of doing character development, or they believe that it's much better to dismiss it because of SHOCK effect, but they ruined Dany in the process. It's the same with everything else. I don't care whether Jaime earns his redemption or not, ends with Cersei or not. I only ask that his actions make sense, and that any 'change of heart' is appropriately justified. If Ellaria has to murder Oberyn's brother, niece and nephew, at least give her some justification. If Stannis has to burn her daughter alive, put some effort in presenting him as someone who would do that beforehand. Ehhhh. Come on. You are not speaking seriously, are you? I mean, we can all weight the strengths and weaknesses of GoT, and I can certainly see why one could claim it's a great show. But I don't see how it can be argued it's above of The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos,...
  3. The hairy bear

    My (somewhat chaotic) genealogy theories

    Both theories have been around for many years. I+S=A since before the release of Dance (The Tyrion chapter was read as a sample in some con). A+J=T is even older, although it certainly gained steam with the publication of Dance and Barristan's POV. A popular variation of I+S=A includes the speculation of Serra being the last Blackfyre through the female line.
  4. It would have happened anyway. Before Cat released Jaime, Tywin was sending his letters, Roose was hunting wolves and sending Northmen to die at Duskendale, and the Freys claimed that they had been 'dishonored' and called off Elmar's marriage to Arya. The only difference would have been that Tywin would have demanded that highborn hostages were being taken in order to exchange them for Jaime afterwards. So, ironically, the main consequence of Cat releasing Jaime was that she was killed instead of sent back to her uncle in exchange for the Kingslayer. There's no real risk. The Blackfish would never murder a prisoner. Specially if Cat, Edmure, the Greatjon, and a few more River and Northern lordlings are held hostages.
  5. The hairy bear

    Targaryens and the common tongue

    Are we sure that they did? I wouldn't discard the possibility that they didn't. After all, Dany spoke High Valyrian even though she had been raised by Willem Darry. It seems that Viserys would be the likelier candidate for having taught her the language. And if Viserys knew the language it would be because it was commonly spoken among the Targaryens (his mother died when he was 9). Another (very minor) hint that the Targaryens may speak Valyrian is that Barristan also spoke the language. He is a knight, not a scholar, and it is uncommon for Westerosis to speak it (even Sam Tarly acknowledges that he knows "little" High Valyrian). A reasonable justification for Barristan being able to speak High Valyrian would be if it had been the royal language at court during the years he served Aerys. [All that said, I don't think that GRRM has ever given much thought to it. We know he is not very interested in languages, and there are far more absurd situations such as the North or Dorne speaking "Andalish". But I think that including languages may have introduced very interesting layers in some stories. For instance, the 'black' side of Viserys I's family would speak in Valyrian, but the green may not even understand it. Or Egg could have been the first king switch the Targ familiar tongue to common (since he was the son of a Dayne, spent most of his childhood with Dunk, and married a Blackwood), only to have this move reversed by the more conservative Jaehaerys and Aerys.]
  6. Stannis was willing to kill his own nephew, who was a good friend of his daughter, to push forward his own claim as a king. If he had been instructed to kill the last Targaryens, I have no doubt that he would have gone ahead with it. I'd never put much faith in Stannis' "sense of justice".
  7. The hairy bear

    What if Robert dies at trident

    I think Tywin hated Aerys too much for that. Aerys had insulted Joanna repeatedly, rejected the marriage of Rhaegar and Cersei saying that Targaryens do not wed 'servants', and robbed Tywin of his heir. I can't see Tywin fighting for him. Yeah, I agree with that. Rhaegar was the only Targaryen leader worth fighting for. Once he was dead, the loyalist army would crumble. The Dornish in particular would be likely to retreat. I'm not so sure about that. Tywin decided that a Baratheon monarchy suited him better than a Targaryen rule, and decided to go in deep with the winning side. But without a clear alternative for king, perhaps he wouldn't move as boldly. GRRM revealed that Robert only claimed the crown around or after the Trident. Stannis would probably never know that his brother had been about to be proclaimed king (or was a candidate for a few days). I think that since if rebels didn't produce a clear candidate to replace Aerys, Tywin would remain uninvolved. He would leave to the rebels the job of killing Aerys. Once the dirty work was done, he may come in as someone willing to bring peace and mediate between the two sides of the conflict. If he called for a Great Council, his word would carry a lot of weight. Tywin could easily be named regent for the little Aegon, which would give him unlimited power for at least 16 years.
  8. The hairy bear

    Robb’s War Was The Most Just Of Them All.

    No one said it is. No one is looking for close parallels. The point that's being made is that many people (myself included) will tend to side with the underdog. And that, in principle, and before stopping to analyze the particulars of the individual case, one would favor the ones that are asking for more autonomy than the ones that deny it. We don't know. Just as we don't know if they had to pay significant taxes to the throne, if the Northern culture suffered from the submission to the South, or if the average Northman was particularly happy with how the Iron Throne ruled. But in any case, it seems to me that some boarders are fine with conquests (no one is wondering what the Northern people or lords felt about Torrhen bending the knee), but instead they are putting many conditions for a secession to be acceptable. As if you could only wish to secede if your are severely oppressed. I don't feel that way. It's conquests that require exceptional motives. Robb is seen in more favorable light because he only attacked the West after Tywin had raided the Riverlands. Balon attacked the North without provocation or even a declaration of war. It surprises to me how you are so opposed to inexact comparisons in some cases (Targaryens were not conquistadors!) while freely defend others (Robb did the same than Balon!) And still, the decision to crown Robb Stark as king had more explicit consensus among the Northmen that Torrhen's decision to surrender his crown (we are told that most of the lords in his council opposed the idea). The text from Fire and Blood or the World Book are canon not in the sense that what's written in it is true. They are canon in the sense that it's what one particular maester says about historical events, given his particular sources, biases and personal interests. No one here believes that Elia killed her children, I hope....
  9. The hairy bear

    Robb’s War Was The Most Just Of Them All.

    This is a very complex topic that tends to be controversial. Not in small part because the definitions of "nation" and "nationalism" are not universally agreed upon. Historian Adrian Hastings said: "One can find historians to date 'the dawn of English national consciousness' (or some such phrase) in almost every century from the eighth to the nineteenth". That said, most medievalists use the word nationalism in their works at least from around the 13th century, if not before. I recommend reading this essay from Oxford's medieval history professor Rees Davis. If you are not tired, you can continue with G.G. Coulton's Nationalism in the Middle Ages. In the links you'll find plenty of instances where (call it nationalism or not), the inhabitants of a given place felt united by a common culture and inheritance. And they already used the term "nation" (Davis: "the first and last native prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (d. 1282) referred on more than one occasion in his letters to 'nostra nacio' ") Westeros itself is named after a bland geographic term. So is Austria (Eastern kingdom), Norway (North way), Yemen (South),... Plenty of separate national entities have bland names. I don't think that Rose of Red Lake has ever suggested that it's a one to one equivalence. She also brought up the comparison of the Empire vs. the Rebels. It's not in my place to put words in someone else's mouth, but I think that she was just claiming that it's more usual to empathize with the small underdog who strives for some freedom or a higher degree of local rule, than with the huge imperial power. And I'd certainly agree with that. As I see it, the main difference between Robb and Balon is that Robb only pretended to be the king of the people that had proclaimed him. Balon, instead, was willing to expand his rule on new territories. Robb's actions had a clear defensive nature, while Balon supported pillage and expansionism. If, after Robert's death, Balon had reunited with his principal lords and had decided to proclaim himself king, I wouldn't have any problem with it. It's only his uncalled-for attacks and his will to subjugate others that are worthy of disapproval. As much as I'd like to give you a definite figure, I can't. The equally relevant question would be how much months the North was at war during the 3,600 months immediately before the Conquest. It doesn't seem to me that it's a foregone conclusion that the answer to the first question is smaller that the second's. (In any case, thanks for the quote from the World Book that supports your thesis. I have some doubts about how much faith we can put on Yandel on this issue. He is a clear supporter of a united realm, and admits that not all maesters agree. I remain an skeptic.) Torrhen had just heard about the Field of Fire and the destruction of Harrenhal. The entire lines of two kings had just been ended forever by Aegon in a matter of weeks. There are clearly more options than him being "the weakest wimp in the entire history of House Stark" or some kind "Westerosi unionist" that believes that kneeling to foreigners will bring him long-term benefits. In many ways, it was easier for Dorne to resist the dragons than the North. Dornish troops are highly mobile, while the snowy terrain of the North makes it much more difficult. The Dornish strategy of abandoning their castles when the dragons came wouldn't work, as your troops wouldn't last much in the open with the Northern weather.
  10. The hairy bear

    Robb’s War Was The Most Just Of Them All.

    Fair enough. In fact, even in the cases of clear colonialism, there are always "locals" that argue that it would be better to remain as a colony. There are always arguments for both sides. And in many cases, it comes down to a matter of personal preferences. That would be my point, I guess. I'm sure there are many Northern commoners that are angry at Robb for having embarked on a lost cause that caused many deaths. But I'm also sure that there are many others who are proud of him for having at least tried to recover their ancestral rights and have the North rule itself again. And George is the only one who can say if any of those feelings has a wider following... I don't think that Robb was crowned king in a planned effort to improve the well-being of the average Northman. The Northern lords, as any extractive ruling class, takes decisions based on their own interests and preferences. I am only trying to counter the arguments saying that the independence movement was inherently bad. I've never said that the Starks didn't conquer the North. You had just said that "the South is not conquistadors to the North." Besides, Robb had just been acclaimed as king without even proposing his candidacy himself. It does invalidate, at least in my opinion, your claim that during the three centuries of unified rule "For the vast majority of that time peace, prosperity." The war of conquest, Maegor's usurpation, the Dance of Dragons, four Dornish wars, four Blackfyre Rebellions, Redbeard's invasion, two Ironborn wide-scale raids, the war of the nine-penny kings, Robert's Rebellion, and the War of the Five Kings. It averages a war every 20 years, and I'm not even taking into account local uprisings. It's entirely possible that during the millennia where there were seven separate kingdoms there were periods of time most peaceful than that. As I see it, we have no basis to assert that the unification of the seven kingdoms brought more peace or more prosperity. I don't think that's a valid interpretation. We know for a fact that there have been two recent major conflicts in Westeros: the Greyjoy Rebellion 9 years ago, and Robert's Rebellion 15 years ago. We can count with just one hand the number of staff of the Night's Watch that ended there due to those. Do you believe that "the average smallfolk" from our own middle ages thought that all the members of the nobility were "decadent and frivolous."? I don't think we can make that claim. The sad thing is that it's very hard for us to know what were the most common feelings and opinions amidst the lower classes in antiquity. They were illiterate, and no one believed them worthy of writing much about them. No, of course not. What does this has to do with anything else from this thread?
  11. The hairy bear

    Robb’s War Was The Most Just Of Them All.

    That's probably what Eddard would have asked him to do if he had had the chance. But it's not that easy. We cannot forget that Robb didn't know that Cersei's kids weren't Robert's. Ned couldn't communicate his findings, and had no access to Malleon's lineage book. And while Stannis sent those letters after Robert's death, he had no way of knowing that the accusations were truthful. For the time and way the letters were sent, it seemed to many that it was just opportunism. For all Robb knew, Joffrey was Robert's trueborn heir. You make a lot of predictions here that, frankly, are wild speculations at best. Plenty of countries in the real world gained independence and were improved for it. You also paint the period where the North was under Targaryen rule much better than I feel it's fair. We know that in this period the North suffered episodes of famine, attacks from the Ironborn reavers, multiple raid from Kings-Beyond-The-Wall and even an invasion attempt... IIRC a Southron army was never sent to help them, and there's a single instance of a Targ king sending them food during Winter. You also seem to argue that their culture is protected, but at least we know that they no longer speak the tongue of the First Men (at least the ruling class). We can't really assess how much weight the motives behind the Northern independence had, or how much support the idea had among the population. George just didn't gave the enough word-building for that. We don't know about the taxing system in Westeros, and how much burden the North has to carry. We don't know which rights the North had that were taken away with the Conquest. Therfore, I don't think it's reasonable to say that the Northern independence cause was groundless. We just can't know. The North was already a kingdom when the Andals came. They've kept their borders for many millennia. All the Andal kings that tried to attack Moat Cailin were defeated. That was the Southern border of the North, and they never retreated. The kingdom of the North has been standing much longer than any of the Andal kingdoms (and any other nation on our real world). Real world countries have been continuously trading between them. Including with countries that have seceded from them. Commerce works because it benefits both parts. If some winter the North needs food and the South could do with some wood, the North does not need "to play one king off against the other". It's a straightforward trade that shouldn't take much to close. That argument is valid for any of the Free Cities, isn't it? The position of Pentosis untenable because if the Iron Throne decides to conquer it they are defenseless. And still, they are still free. And Dorne remained "Unbent", and only joined the Iron Throne when they wanted and under favorable circumstances. We don't know if the Northern independence meant nothing or not to the smallfolk, so we can't say. But we know that they weren't consulted either when Torrhen Stark decided to bent the knee to the Conqueror. The Iron Throne conquered the North. This is a hard fact. Plenty of lands have gained their independence after more than three centuries of domination. I would also challenge the assertion that for most of the time it was a time of peace and prosperity. There's hardly a single generation in those 300 years of Targaryen rule that hasn't suffered war. Some of them, such as the Conquest, the Dance, or the Wot5K itself, have probably caused much more casualties than most of the pre-Targ wars. We have no basis to support that.
  12. The hairy bear

    Who would you have supported?

    I'd always work to avoid war, and work towards finding peaceful solutions. Once the war was unavoidable, probably the most prudent course of action is siding with your immediate liege lord. IMHO, if the Great Council settled any precedent, it's that unclear successions should have been voted in a Great Council. This is what the Greens should have done after Viserys I's death. In the Great Councils people vote between particular candidates, not general succession principles or amendments to inheritance laws.
  13. The hairy bear

    Problematic aspects of Sansa`s education

    @Elegant Woes As you say, Sansa remembers the "all men are beautiful" teaching just once. She does it when Septa Mordane has been dead for two books. So I don't see why we should assume that the lesson was meant to be applied to a situation (Sansa being married to a deformed dwarf) that the poor Septa could have foreseen. I get that one could theorize that the lesson was taught before the betrothal to Joffrey in anticipation of the possibility that she may have to marry someone particularly old or ugly. I just don't think it's likely. We know that Ned and Cat weren't in the business of playing the game of thrones through marriage (Robb remained unbethroted at 16) or enforce a strict following of the social codes to their family (Jon raised with the rest, Arya's ways,...). And meanwhile, Sansa has been known to have superficial attitudes and to be partial to good looking men, which is something that obviously should be corrected. Therefore, I find this later motivation a much more convincing reason behind the quote.
  14. The hairy bear

    Help me create Valyrian names for my story.

    George seems to create Valyrian names basically by combining roots and suffixes. Apparently, male names end with "-on", "-or", "-ar" or "-el", and female names end with "-a". The terminations "-rys" and "-el" seems to work for both sexes. So you'd only need to decide which would be the root. For Targaryens, the common roots used are "Aeg-", "Aem-", "Aen-", "Vise-", "Rhae-", Jaehae-", "Mae-"... We don't really know roots for non-Targaryen names, so you'll have to make them up. If you want to take inspiration from the High Valyrian used in the tv series, here's all the vocabulary used. Combining that, you could have names such as Lykson, Nedenkar, Raparys, Rekolla,...
  15. The hairy bear

    Problematic aspects of Sansa`s education

    Well, then I just humbly disagree with the reductionist interpretation that the "all men are beautiful" teaching is mainly referring to arranged marriages. As I said, it is a lesson that Sansa needed to be taught.
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