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pudgiebudgie

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  1. Yes, but what is the narrative purpose? GRRM spends so ridiculously long over-working his stories. Gendry's inclusion, his interaction with Arya, and their outcome, was not some whim he decided on and D&D agreed to keep in for no reason. Yes, that's what I said in Arya's entry, not sure if you have read it. Arya feared being repressed by society. Gendry's offer threatened to make that her fate again, after she spent so long escaping it.
  2. His decision to become a knight and then accept the lordship seems pretty clearly motivated by his desire to be with Arya, even if it was an immature love. But when you love someone, you try to understand them and meet their needs. I don't think Gendry is just too stupid to figure Arya out. He sees her violence, her hatred of girlish things. I mean, he meets her as a "boy". He knows she's not a typical girl! Why would he be so blind to what the woman he loves wants? Well, what if the deepest wish of his own heart is to have the things she's trying to reject? Doesn't that seem it would create a psychological blockade?
  3. Gendry Early Life Trauma: Neither being poor nor being a bastard was Gendry's trauma. Rather, it was the fact that this was true while his father was obviously an extremely powerful man. He was given protection, by being paid to enter a very prestigious trade that would set him up for life. But this couldn't overcome the lack of love from his father. As well as being made plain that money was no object to his father, he was visited by two Hands of the King, asking him questions about his mother. It's hard to believe Gendry wouldn't have had some inkling of who his father was, no matter how much he denied it to keep himself from feeling hurt. So the trauma wasn't his living circumstances, but being "cut out" of his father's life, both emotionally and physically. The shame of being a bastard must be so much compounded for someone who knows he's literally half royalty, but this can never be overcome by the "taint" of a non-noble mother. This makes the choices he makes extremely understandable. He can't see or listen to Arya's real needs because he's too busy trying to heal his own. He lets himself believe that he can do both, but he can't. He focuses on his personal trauma and effectively leaves Arya to her own. Arya knows he does love her, but because what he wants is so contrary to what she wants, and he can't understand this, he would only keep hurting her. On further reflection, Arya and Gendry's break-up is itself a symbolic "ending" of a cycle of abuse: the repression of women, their individual dreams and desires, in order to adapt to their role in a male-oriented society. Their story is of course a parallel to the story of Robert and Lyanna. Lyanna must have dreamed of giving Robert the reply that Arya gave Gendry. But unlike Arya, she still had too many restrictions around her for it to be feasible. Rhaegar's love, and the power he must have seemed to have to keep her family from pulling her back into line, must have been a huge part of her attraction to him. Rhaegar saw her for who she was, and was willing to "rescue" her from the fate House Stark demanded.
  4. That is why children must be protected while they are young. If they have no safety to form in a healthy manner, they will be warped by the pressure to make their own survival tools. In addition, it is not only protecting "your" children that is vital. Many of the characters protect children who are not their own. In fact, who ends up on the council? Bronn, Sam and Tyrion? All people who protected children who were not their own. This is what I mean about it being such a core theme. It is not one's own family or children that are important. It is all children, the fact that children are literally the future being formed by those that currently control the world. While that topic exists in many character's storylines, it is entirely absent from many, many others, especially minor characters. Yet the theme of protecting children is in every single one. If I had time, I could lay it all out. Working together is mutual protection of each other. Which is something that requires love and trust. As we see, the characters that are capable of doing this are mostly those that had the best foundation of love and trust in their childhood. The ones who were genuinely moral people but lacked enough love and protection ultimately fail to trust others, or protect others from themselves. The White Walkers were just a massive, magical coping mechanism created by children who had no other means to protect themselves.
  5. Littlefinger It feels dirty just to think about this character, so I probably won't write as much as I could. Early Life Trauma: Petyr's trauma is linked and similar to Cat's, except on the opposite side of the social rank divide. He is prevented from gaining the love he desires because his rank is too low. Rather than realise that the problem here is with the woman he loves, he seems to decide the problem is with the world for not letting him have that rank. Petyr first tries to "raise himself" in Cat's eyes by "protecting" her from a faux threat. Except Cat doesn't view marrying a man who doesn't love her as a threat at all. So this fails terribly, emotionally wounding him further. At this point, however, he was also offered a solution to his pain: Lysa's love. Lysa was willing to love him with almost unmatched devotion, and in the complete inversion of Cat's attitude, was even willing to "debase" her rank by getting pregnant with his child. If Hoster hadn't forced her to abort it, perhaps Petyr could have seen this love for what it was. But since the child was destroyed and Lysa also married solely based on rank, this compounded his trauma. I still am of the view that because Lysa continued to help, protect and love Petyr, he always had the option there to heal from his wounds. The social power and rank that he craved was gained almost entirely through her influence. This horrible betrayal of someone who truly loved him was his worst crime. Harm to Children: Ugh. Jeyne Poole. Robyn. Sansa. He pretended he was going to protect every one of them, at some point or another. He damaged each of them permanently. In the show, he let the bastard infant of Robert's be murdered, and had no sympathy for the woman who was disturbed by it. I'm sure there could be a massively deep analysis written of the theme's overlap with this character, but I am not the person to do it.
  6. Let's look at two of the worst villains, and how they both underscore the consequences of harming children, and embody the antithesis of protecting children from harm. Gregor Clegane Early Life Trauma: As we all know, Gregor's trauma was he was perpetually in pain due to a skull deformity. Which, like Tywin, is an amazingly empty excuse for all that he did. Lack of Healthy Survival Skills: Gregor becomes addicted to opiates as the only way to escape his traumatic pain. We aren't given any information on whether his family tried to teach him to compensate for the pain, or whether he was simply left with no options. Harm to Children: Yeah. Yeaaaaaahhh.... Ramsay Bolton Early Life Trauma: Since the whole world seemed to know, Ramsay knew he was the product of rape. He knew his mother was not only tortured mentally and sexually, but probably tossed aside like garbage (if not killed) after giving birth to her Bolton bastard. Then he was raised wrong. Harm to Children: Another case where I don't have to make my case. His worst crime is clearly the murder of his own infant step-brother.
  7. The Ending The wheel was broken. Not by Dany, despite how badly she wanted to, but by Jon. Her trauma had been too deep, and the help offered to her to heal it too flawed. Violence came to seem to her to be the only real way of protecting others and herself. Diplomacy was useless against the undead, diplomacy required she re-submit herself to traumatic experiences, like her political marriages and treasonous allies. Dany decided violence was the answer, and Jon could see despite all she had done to save the world, she was going to keep turning the wheel. At the end of the story we see multiple major House bloodlines being extinguished or set to be so. Lannister, Targareyen and Stark will see no more offspring. Baratheon is gone. Martell is possibly gone? Robyn Arryn remains, though his ability to sire healthy offspring is clearly up for question. This is fairly historically accurate for how many dynastic power conflicts came to an end, although it was also just as likely for one faction to remain in existence after completely wiping others out. There’s also many historical examples of the exact opposite providing an end to hostilities; rather than destroying bloodlines, they are intentionally merged together. But those two latter examples still leave damaged and suffering people to possibly perpetuate their trauma on their children and subjects. Even Queen Victoria, who provided direct links for many of the major royal families of Europe, did not actually prevent her descendants from continuing in conflict despite being closely related. This inter-relation also caused harm to their children by removing genetic diversity and leaving them physically compromised. By contrast, the complete extinguishing of all the major antagonistic dynasties symbolises an end to their self-contained cycles of trauma. Although trauma and abuse will continue in Westeros, it won’t be due to deeply entrenched feuds and centuries-old political power plays. This “salting of the earth” has given the country a chance to catch its collective breath and create new social structures in the period of rebuilding.
  8. Rickon Stark Rickon, being the youngest child, was inherently the most vulnerable. The show indicates he has no major role in the story beyond serving as motivation and plot development for other characters. Despite this, he also serves an important secondary function; he provides an additional symbol of well-meaning but flawed child protection. Lack of Healthy Survival Skills: Rickon’s care is given to “wild people”, who can’t interact easily with the rest of society. Although keeping a child physically safe is the single most important part of protecting them, failing to teach them the skills to transition from that protection to the adult world is a grave flaw. If Rickon had lived and returned to his family, he would have been permanently marked by his time with these people. His view of how the world worked, what was moral and correct, and how to interact with people would all have been deformed. Harm to Children: Solely physical protection, without also protecting the child's moral development, is the mistake Ned made with Sansa and to a lesser extent with the rest of his children. It’s the mistake Drogo made with Dany. The mistake the Hound made with Sansa and then tried to compensate for by providing it for Arya. It’s Lysa’s mistake, and so, so many other characters mistake as well. Because children’s self-created tools are highly likely to simply continue the cycle of trauma and abuse. Most of the characters who were deprived of a healthy survival skillset cause repeated damage either to themselves, or themselves and others, again and again.
  9. In light of the ending, I think what CrypticWeirwood has said here is massively symbolic. Westeros finishes in a position where "great and small" are mingling much more than before, and the realm moving forward will try to serve both of them better, instead of crushing the poor under the rich. Just like the water gardens, Daenerys' "inheritence" or birthright was the realm of Westeros, but she will not get to enjoy it. It will be enjoyed by the people in her absence.
  10. ASOIAF looks like a mess of non-overlapping story messages and morals at first glance, but look deeply and you can see that there is only one main story being told: The importance of protecting children, and the consequences of failure. The psychological weapons and tools unprotected children create to protect themselves when others will not. The ways these tools and weapons are frequently harmful both to the individual and the people they love. The cycle of trauma, anger, abuse, that these damaged children thus continue to spread I have put together a series of entries for both major and minor characters showing how each and every one tells this story in a slightly different way, but how all point towards the conclusion we finally see. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/ But I'll summarise a couple of major characters here. I always thought GRRM's stuffing his story with prophecies was lame, but it in itself is symbolic, because nearly all his prophecies can only be interpreted correctly after they have taken place. This is analogous to how, once each character's story is done, we can see how they were predicted right from the start, from their earliest traumas. Every character creates tools and weapons to protect themselves out of whatever small protections they were given as children. The success or failures of Dany, Jaime, Jon and the rest to break out of their own suffering and stop the cycle were limited or helped by the support or opposition others made to them, and how it interacted with their trauma. His story is not blatantly obvious in what it's about because in real life, people's traumas, their coping mechanisms and the way they hurt others are not blatantly obvious. The story of the white walkers is this story. The children of the forest, lacking help or protection from anyone else, created a terrible weapon to defend themselves from men. But this weapon eventually ended up destroying themselves and those around them. In trying to defeat it, they ended up sharing their trauma again and again, eventually ending with Bran, who was able to finally end the cycle. But only because he had support and love from his family. The white walkers embody the theme which each character story contains. Daenerys' attempts to break the cycle of abuse were doomed to fail, because she never properly healed from her own trauma. The death of her brother made her view violence as protective. The only man she trusted hurt her but protected her, with violence. Despite knowing "better", violence felt protective to her, and whenever she used it, she was trying to heal herself. But this was a self-destructive act. The harder she tried to heal, the more she hurt those around her. She never trusted and loved enough anyone who could have given her instruction on how to pull herself out of this. Despite so many advisers speaking of diplomacy, Dany trusted none of them. Here's her entry demonstrating this: Daenerys Jaime and Cersei's joint trauma was the terrible secret they carried from the world, and each had to protect the other from being discovered. His father offered him no emotional protection of any kind, and he could not confide in Tyrion. His father also led to him keeping a terrible secret from Tyrion as well. Cersei was the only source of emotional protection from shame, symbolised by his public shame for kingslaying even though he did the right thing. Despite trying harder than most other characters to redeem himself, nothing and no-one ever gave him protection from his trauma of shame besides Cersei, and in the end, he couldn't overcome the need for it: Jaime Jon's trauma was abandonment. From his mother, from his family, from Winterfell, from the Wall when he was captured by wildlings. But unlike Dany, he had a solid foundation of emotional protection that Ned had given him, and other characters also supplemented. Jon wasn't a "better" person than Dany at all. They were equally noble. Equally entitled to the throne. Equally desiring a better world than the one they had been born into. He made opposing choices because his life experiences were so different from hers, and he was enabled by those that loved him to make the choice to break the cycle by killing Dany. Jon Theon's trauma was a fear of not truly being loved, because he didn't "belong". His quarrels with whores were sparked by this fear of love that was falsely given. His failure to resist his father's demands to turn on the Starks are due to his fear being inherent in the "iron price"; if you paid for something, it didn't belong to you. Only what you took belonged to you. His arc of betrayal and redemption was deeper, then higher, to emphasise how turning away from the love of his "true" family, and then returning to it, were the underlying causes of his choices and fate. If he had not been loved by the Starks, he could not have been redeemed. Theon Arya's trauma was not only the death of her father, but the fear that she would be "crushed" by the restrictions of the world once she left the protection of childhood, where she was indulged to run wild. Arya was one of the few characters who never particularly wanted protection, but she often was given it anyway, and didn't refuse it because it could lead to her fear of having to grow up. As she was exposed to the true horrors of the world, she fell deeper and deeper into the hatred and rage that had been fueling her since early childhood. When Sandor protected her, he finally gave her an understanding of the tools she needed to protect herself from her own rage, which even her family had not been able to provide. Her parents hadn't needed them, so why would they have them? Arya's ability to not fall completely to her dark nature was thus enabled by protection and love from others, not solely her own will: Arya And Sandor, who obviously I have written the most in-depth post on, because he was the story I first discovered this theme in, was one of the few characters who managed to redeem himself (and he DID redeem himself) without being given any love by others. Lacking protection from his own family, forced to cling to the Lannisters for protection from death, and never supported to keep alive his desire to help the world, he devised his own protection in the form of the Hound. This was ultimately his downfall, as he inadvertently spread the trauma of the Hound onto Sansa, who "wears his skin" at the end of her arc. She hides away from the world. He goes to his death upon realising this truth, but his actions actually allowed the two Stark sisters to see and love each other in the way they hadn't as children, and this was his redemption. Lots of other characters have entries in my larger topic post, and I am trying to add more and refine them, but I'm not familiar enough with them all. And the ending? The major families of Westeros are extinguished or will not be given new children. Their cycles of trauma and abuse are over. New families are taking the reigns of the realm. Every character who lives in the end, while grievously damaged, is self-aware of this damage and how it hurts others. They will stop themselves from spreading it further.
  11. The reason Dany dies is because despite her desire to break the wheel, that is the opposite of what she was going to end up doing. Dany's psychic wounds had been too deep and never healed, and she was going to pass them on, plain as day. Sansa's wounds are also terribly deep, but unlike Dany she is purposely "withdrawing" from the world to prevent spreading them further, symbolised in withdrawing the North. Sansa will clearly never have children (show indicates she is sexually mutilated like Theon), she simply wants to protect all that's left of her and the North. I've written a series of posts pointing out how every character's story and ending play into the theme of the cycle of abuse. I haven't written Sansa's, but the main arc of her story is painted fairly clearly in Sandor's. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/
  12. pudgiebudgie

    As much as some hate how this season has played out...

    I believe they translated it as well as they could for TV, considering that GRRM himself is purposely hiding the underlying story's message. ASOIAF is about the need to protect children from the cycle of trauma and abuse, or it continues on. Every character's ending in the show perfectly matches the direction they were taking in the books. I have written a series of posts demonstrating that here: https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/ Only Sandor's is fully in-depth, the rest I have just shown the skeleton of. But although D&D couldn't do it in the same layered, rich way GRRM could in prose, they told the story in a way it *is* possible to see it clearly.
  13. The game goes on in the way life goes on, but the massive burden of built-up anger, bitterness and trauma that the major houses of Westeros carried is gone. The realm has the chance to start afresh. Obviously it won't be utopia. But it will be better than it would have been had the old families continued. I show how this is the main theme of ASOIAF in a series of posts here: https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/
  14. pudgiebudgie

    "Bittersweet" can't happen in the show

    Absolutely everything you've written is the opposite of what this ending means. I've written a whole series of posts summarising every character's place in the story and how ALL are about the cycle of abuse and trauma, and what it takes to stop it. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/ Most every character tried immensely hard to redeem themselves, and many DID succeed - the story simply doesn't spell it out for you.
  15. pudgiebudgie

    "Bittersweet" can't happen in the show

    There was a very, very good reason for Dany's assassination, and it was absolutely pivotal to the story GRRM is telling: how the abuse and trauma cycle perpetuates, and how it can be stopped. I've written a post summarising how every character fits into this theme. Dany is practically yelling it. Her entry is here: https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/154628-asoiafs-overall-theme-the-protection-of-children-starting-with-sandors-arc-and-his-threefold-death-i-will-show-it-to-you/&tab=comments#comment-8373511
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