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Maia

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  1. It is also possible that Ned's ship stopped at Gulltown and that's where he exchanged Wylla for a Vale-born wetnurse for Jon. IMHO, he couldn't afford to bring Wylla to Winterfell - she knew too much and likely was a Targaryen loyalist to boot. Also, her being Dornish would have provided too many clues to Jon's origins, even if she kept the secret. It is significant that Jon's wetnurse wasn't still around, IMHO, and that nobody seemed to know anything about her. He was probably weaned as soon as possible and she was sent back home, with generous pay - and was conflated with the fisherman's daughter by the Vale rumor-mongers. I wonder if Sansa doesn't run into her at some point. It is also possible, though not likely, that the fisherman's daughter was also Jon's wetnurse - that she got a child by somebody in interim which either died or was given to somebody else to nurse, so that she could earn more money from Ned. Maybe she has managed to single-handedly elevate her family into the merchant class by her service to the Starks! That would be nice...
  2. While I think that it is reasonable that Lysa was able to hold back the Vale nobles - and also think that it is odd to claim "plot armor" for the Lannisters, when Cat and the Blackfish informed Robb in advance that she wouldn't support him, and given all the help and reputation boosts that Greywind gave him and also how he managed to practically teleport his troops south, when in reality it should have taken him many months to assemble them and march them south..., etc, etc., I do think that it is not entirely believeable that hedge knights, younger sons and collateral relatives of nobles, bastards of nobles and other militarily experienced people didn't join both sides of the conflict, looking for plunder and reputation. It should have been more like things were during the first Blackfyre Rebellion.
  3. Maia

    The Regret of Killing Characters

    Yes, IMHO the scrapping of it was the main reason for the "Meerenese Knot" and GRRM's current difficulties with TWoW. Too many things have to be accelerated in a more or less contrived manner to move all the main players to where they need to be and justify a bevy of young teenagers and children being able to pull off epic world-saving moves in a grim and consequence-laden world like ASoIaF, that is singularly unsuitable for something like this. It would have been ideal if GRRM had been able to introduce several-months to a year gaps into the narrative throughout, like he initially planned to - for instance, Robb gathering troops and marching them south should have taken very much longer, realistically. Heck, Tywin gathering and training his troops should have taken months rather than a couple of weeks! But he was unable to introduce "breathing pauses" into his writing, for some reason. Yet the young protagonists _really_ needed to be 5 years older than they were after the ending of ASoS for things to unfold organically, IMHO. As to the wildlings and the Others? Boom - an unseasonably warm Autumn. That and Stannis at the Wall would have held the wildlings nicely and the Others had every reason to induce complacency in their opponents after their gambit to use Mance's army to break through the Wall failed. They are thinking creatures - they have waited for thousands of years, they could have waited for 5 more for their opportunity. What?! A 13-year-old under regency a "competent" ruler? Sorry, not everybody is a wunderkind - and Tommen was very much signposted as normal. Nor would Kevan have been in position to curtail Cersei, if she had been more like her earlier self, minus the Joffrey blind-spot. She would have kept Tommen firmly under her thumb. It would have made sense for her to unravel gradually, as she had to deal with numerous difficulties and as consummation of Tommen's marriage became imminent, with the attendant rise of Margaery's status and influence. Heck, the volume after the 5-year-gap could have started with Kevan's death of natural causes and Cersei having to operate without his moderating influence for the first time. Obviously, this stuff would have only happened after his death. Whether he could have done anything about the growing influence of the sparrows in the country regions would have very much depended on what else he had to deal with during the gap. For instance, an unseasonably warm Autumn could have caused a drought over the significant parts of Westeros, epidemics were always a danger, etc. - and all such disasters could have been used by sparrow preachers as signs of divine displeasure with the Lannister regime - as seen in "The Sworn Sword". Additionally, Tywin was not perfect - his arrogance could have blinded him to the danger, and Cersei's ineptitude after his death might have allowed them to seize power, ditto. Or it could have happened very differently - maybe not sparrows at all, but just a very ambitious and fanatical High Septon, with dreams of grandeur. It would have made sense to align Tommen's regime with the Faith more, given Stannis's R'llorism, Robb's Old Gods worship and doubtful status of Dany's faith, which could have been easily spun into worship of foreign gods as well. I could imagine Euron holding back with Tywin still around and Asha or Victarion ruling the Ironborn in the interim, just to be ousted by him once Tywin was dead. But Stannis is a problem in such a scenario, because Bolton would have had all the support he needed to destroy him. Unless he had to fight the Ironborn and deal with an epidemic? Maybe? If Victarion had succeeded Balon, he would have likely continued his brother's policies, but Asha wouldn't have. No, Euron was depicted as a significant future danger in ACoK when we first got a close look at the Greyjoys. He was always supposed to be a major threat, but the rest of the narrative just didn't move quickly enough, so after Balon's death in AcoK(!) he had to be stalled in various ways. Given that Tywin's death is an important character development milestone for Tyrion, I think that it was Balon's far too early death that was a significant mis-step that derailed much of the plot progression. The 5-year-gap could have still been salvaged by letting Tywin survive, though, even at the cost of weakening Tyrion's character arc, somewhat - GRRM is just over-fond of great, impactful scenes and cliff-hangers.
  4. Maia

    Why did George give daenerys everything

    Not really. They merely allowed her to gain resources that other powerful people already possessed due to accidents of their birth. In the future dragons have the potential to do so, but until the end of ADwD? Nope. Even when you look at less advantaged important characters like Stannis or Jon, they profited greatly from having educations that male nobles receive and being put into positions where they could prove themselves as leaders due to their links to powerful families and their gender, etc. All of these avenues were closed to Dany - we have seen that it is impossible for women to earn respect, reputation and power on their own (by which I mean without inveigling themselves into a powerful man's bed and confidence) in these societies, since they don't have even the very, very slim chance of putting their foot in the door and distinguishing themselves through skill at arms, intelligence, business talent, etc. that common men have. In fact, it is much more difficult for women even to hold on to inherited power and wealth, for no other reason than bias. We also learned from TWoIaF and previous hints in the series itself, that even huge, powerful dragons aren't everything. They didn't allow the Targaryens to conquer Dorne, nor would they have been sufficient to win and hold the Seven Kingdoms without very careful preparations, clever strategic decisions and tireless diplomatic work by the Conqueror himself and Queen Rhaenys.
  5. Maia

    The Regret of Killing Characters

    When I think about whose deaths likely made it unfeasible for Martin to implement the (much needed, IMHO) 5-year-gap in a manner satisfying to him, I come back to one of Tywin Lannister or Balon Greyjoy. Either of them surviving would have made 5 years of "stasis" believable. IIRC, he scrapped it because he felt that certain events in ASoS would have elicited immediate responses from the other players. And of the 2, Balon is the more likely, because his being alive would have neatly solved the problem of the Ironborn not doing much over that time-span _and_ of Stannis remaining unquashed at the Wall for that long, because the Ironborn fighting the northmen during the long Autumn would have resulted in a delicate balance of power that would have prevented the Boltons from eradicating Stannis. Everything else in the South could have been weathered by a less incompetent/crazy Cersei, who'd have initially worked together with Kevan, but whose grip on things would have gradually deteriorated over the years. Tywin looming over the landscape would have also put things in abeyance, IMHO, but it is difficult to see how Stannis could have been preserved for so long in such a scenario and Euron would have definitely tried something regardless. Generally, I feel that it is rather unrealistic how all important characters died violently so far - surely some natural deaths would have been nice for verisimilitude and could provide us with drastic and far-reaching consequences just as well.
  6. If so, why would they need to finance the war at all? Just get rid of Cersei, demand abject apologies and impose punitive fine on whoever succeeds her. Or kill Tommen too, even. I am very curious about the relationship between the Iron Bank and the Faceless Men - what Arya has learned so far about FM rules doesn't suggest that it is as close as you propose. Frankly, I think that this whole thing with financing Stannis is mainly a means for IB to exert pressure on the Crown in KL. Because even if Stannis had been in better position when Tycho met him, there is still the fact that between an almost certainly very severe and lengthy Winter and further devastation of Westeros by yet another round of the civil war, Stannis wouldn't be able to pay back IB this massive loan that he needs to take the Iron Throne even if he won. There just wouldn't be enough tax base left. But then, Tycho apparently gave Jon Snow an unlimited loan either, so what do I know about their practices - and how they able to eke profit at all if they are so profligate with clients where the chance of repayment is pretty much nil... I don't know about it - they would be throwing a lot of good money after bad and that isn't healthy for a financial institution. I mean, Stannis not having an adult, capable heir already makes the whole enterprise very iffy, given the health hasards of a severe Winter. I doubt that the Iron Bank cares about "best" claims - Stannis was just the only other pretender to the Iron Throne still available at the time. It wouldn't surprise me, if after they get news about Aegon's first successes, they'd offer him financing too.
  7. Maia

    Why did George give daenerys everything

    While nearly all other movers and shakers received a lot of help from the mere accident of their births. So, why fixate on her? Dragons may be becoming potentially formidable assets by the end of ADwD, but then, Dany payed a high price for them and she is facing greater obstacles than the competition.
  8. Maia

    Why did George give daenerys everything

    But then, nobody in ASOIAF is, except for people like Varys and Bronn, maybe. And even they are only allowed to get a foot in the door because they aren't female.
  9. Maia

    Guy Gavriel Kay

    Did you check if your library system now lends English ebooks over Overdrive? Because it made a huge difference for me in a somewhat similar situation. I loved Tigana - it used to be my favorite Kay along with the Sarantium duology, but I haven't re-read it in a long time, so the suck fairy might have visited. As chance would have it, I have recently read his "River of Stars", which I liked, but not as much as "Under Heaven", and am now in the middle of "Children of Earth and Sky", which, for some reason proved a somewhat tough going for me. In general, I am disappointed by his obstinately cleaving to what I can only call secondary world variations on RL history... particularly since even those changes that he makes don't affect things long-term. Maybe that's the reason for my present difficulties - because in my beloved Sarantine duology, history was primed to go in a different direction for Sarantium than for Byzantium, but now it was revealed that apparently it had all been all cosmetic?! That's why, but to much greater degree, I also couldn't warm up to the much lauded and excellently written "The Dragon Waiting" by John M. Ford - I just couldn't stop thinking that in such changed circumstances none of those people would be around/in power and War of the Roses wouldn't be still happening. Some other war for succession, possibly, but then again maybe not even that, given how much of it was rooted in the previous events, which in this secondary world took a completely different track. Still, as long as Kay keeps writing, I'll be reading his stuff... eventually.
  10. Maia

    Hugo Nominations and Awards - Onwards to 2019

    @Calibandar: I wanted to answer some of your thoughts from the previous thread with my own reactions to those that I have read: I loved the (current?) conclusion to the Realm of the Elderlings, it was poignant and satisfying in the best way. Having said that, you'd need to read at least 8 previous books or better yet, 15, to experience the full impact. As such, there is no way that it could have been a finalist for the novel Hugo. I agree that the fact that it didn't get the "Best Series" nod was very disappointing. Not that I don't love Bujold's "Five Gods" series and think that it was unworthy, mind you. But this year, I definitely would have picked Hobb over all comers. She is yet another woman, though ;). I kinda lost interest in the series after "The White-Luck Warrior", so... I have waited for the return to Osten Ard for so long and was very disappointed by this. Most of what I loved in the original series seems to be gone. Yea, it and/or the trilogy itself definitely should have been among the finalists, if it had been up to me. Eh, it was well-written, but self-indulgent May-September romances with unconvincing action plots and a thin veneer of supernatural aren't my thing, I guess. Didn't yet get to the rest, but definitely intend to. However, from where I stand, it is mostly about taste differences - both between me and you and either of us and the Hugo voters. I do think that reaction to the Puppy stuff did have an effect on nominations, as well as British authors' habitual disadvantage, but from the finalists that I have read, none of them are completely unreasonable and they make for an enjoyable reading list, on the whole, which, for me, is the true purpose of the Hugos. I fully expect the things to balance themselves out in the next few years, provided that the quality is there. Heck, if certain popular authors get over their writing blocks in the same year, it can get very crowded indeed! I loved "All systems Red" and was rooting for it to win, and I fully agree that "The Stone Sky" was worthy, and I enjoyed it immensely, even though I was rooting for "The Raven Stratagem". In "Related Works", it was the last chance to honor Le Guin, even though I am sad to see my beloved Iain M. Banks - or his biography, in this case, get the shaft yet again. Speaking of the real travesty here, BTW, which is that he never won and was seldom nominated despite being active before all that pesky female domination and was IMHO brilliant ;). I didn't keep abreast of the shorter works this year, so no opinions there. Just checked this out, so we'll see. I wasn't impressed by her previous work despite the buzz, but here is to hoping... I thought that this one was markedly weaker than the other 2 and that it didn't provide a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, but YMMV. So, um... from things published this year other than the above, I read and loved "Artificial Condition" by Martha Wells, "Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi which I liked, but thought to be a little too derivative of "The Last Airbender" animation series, by which it was inspired, "The Girl in the Tower" by Katherine Arden, that I was greatly disappointed in after the excellent first book, "The Hyena and the Hawk" by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think that "The Echoes of the Fall" fantasy trilogy that it is the conclusion to wholly deserves to be a series Hugo finalist, "Starless" by Jacqueline Carey that starts pretty well and then turns into ye olde fantasy quest cliche... that's probably it so far. I am on the waiting list for Tchaikovsky's "The Expert System's Brother", Robert Jackson Bennett's "Foundryside", and "The Rogue Protocol" by Martha Wells.
  11. Maia

    Hugo time! Your packet is available! 2018

    I disagree. If you were talking about her previous output I would have been with you, but the "Broken Earth" trilogy is, IMHO, legitimately great and what is even more rare, stuck the landing. That being said, I would have preferred if something else won the novel Hugo, just because I would like to see more worthy work by different authors being recognized. For instance, I feel that "Raven Stratagem" was the highpoint of that trilogy and it was Lee's chance for a win. Neither "Collapsing Empire", nor "Provenance" were strong finalists, even though I liked both, and I didn't read the other 2 yet, but who should have been up there instead, in your opinion? Well, I personally would have liked to see Bennett's "City of Miracles" and Ian MacDonald's "New Moon" come up for consideration, but what else? I found Weir's "Artemis" to be disappointing and justly left out... Oh, please. It has been just the 2 years as opposed to how long the thigs were going the other way and you are already in a snit? I do think that this is a reaction to the "Puppies" and some of the other shit going on and an over-correction, so to speak, combined with genuinely strong output by certain female authors and the fact that Hugo voters always had a certain amount of inertia and tendency to favor familiar names - which is how lots of minor works by Asimov, Heinlein, etc. used to win over the much better stuff published in a given year. I very much hope that things do level out eventually, provided that the quality continues to be consistent.
  12. Capets are still around and still "rule" as the Spanish royal family. Bourbons are actually Capets, in the male line even, they just at some point took a different name from one of their land titles, IIRC, to distinguish themselves from the then-ruling French royal dynasty. So, 1000 years is more than doable iRL. Habsburgs are still around too, that's also about a millenium of documented genealogy under their belts. And as you point out, in Westeros succession passing through a female heir retains the House name, so dynasties 2-3 times as old are entirely plausible. Not sure what you are talking about? By Westerosi standards these dynasties didn't end, weren't in fact separate dynasties but continuations of the same one and Queen Liz would have had the same surname as William the Conqueror. I do somewhat agree with this - IMHO the Long Night happened 2-3 millenia ago, rather than however long Westerosi claim. Also, it is important to take into account that Westerosi have an understanding of aseptics and antiseptics about on the level of the late 19th - early 20th century, which drastically lowers certain kinds of mortality. And yet, it is plausible enough that a culture that developed somewhat differently would have achieved this knowledge much earlier than we did.
  13. Maia

    Dark Sister

    This is more than odd indeed, given that the family Valyrian blades are supposed to stay with the family. Could it be that BR had some inkling that the Others were stirring and somehow convinced Egg that the blade would be needed at the Wall? Could he even have thought himself to be the Promised Prince, at some point? I mean, due to the Unworthy's death-bed legitimisation he was technically a prince and his origins could even be construed to be connected to "Ice and Fire" given the northern origins of the Blackwoods. I also thought after ADwD that Meera would be sent back to the Wall with a message from him and now it seems that the Dark Sister could serve as proof of his identity and therefore authenticity of his message to NW and the North. What I also find very interesting is GRRM saying that he "didn't think" that Bittersteel had any children. This is pretty major.
  14. Maia

    August '18 Reading- (Insert Clever Subtitle)

    I was luke-warm towards "A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet" because it seemed a pretty unoriginal take on the "Firefly"-like theme with all the familiar elements from countless space operas touching on people coming together to form a team. I liked the sequel "A Close and Common Orbit" very much, though, and am looking forward to her newest book. This one was a bunch of romance tropes packed covered with SF veneer, I thought. And ultimately left me rather cold, after the initial excitement. Not to mention that the Sadiri are basically Vulcans. Is it just me, or was this particularly implausible, given Weir's focus on technological believability, with one or 2 exceptions to make plot possible? Sociological aspects were never his strong suit, but they, too make very little sense, IMHO. And his writing can't make up for it either. Oh, well. Though, to be honest, while I liked "The Martian", I wasn't blown away either, so mine may be a minority view. I have also seen the movie first and enjoyed it. Concerning Tchaikovsky's "Echoes of the Fall" and "Shadows of the Apt": Anyway, on to some other stuff that I have read recently: "Interworld" by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves - a fairly standard YA about a boy finding out that he has supernatural powers, being recruited for a magical school/bootcamp and eventually fighting to preserve balance between magic and technology on the myriad of parallel worlds, but with an oddly solipsistic twist. Apparently, this was initially intended to be a movie or TV project - not sure how it could have ever worked as such. It was OK. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. Loved it. Wonderful characters, humor, very well written and, of course illuminating a very important and pertinent theme. The ending felt slightly weak for some reason, but on the whole I'd say that the book's popularity was entirely deserved. "Go set a Watchman" by Harper Lee. I was dubious when I first heard about this being published and the events surrounding it, but I am glad of it now. It is a very uneven book, unsurprisingly, but with definite moments of brilliance, taking a nuanced look at the problems of the US South in the 50-ies and the mostly white, privileged people struggling with them, while also diving into parents - children relationships and conflicts. It is a great pity that Lee abandoned it rather than polishing it or even re-working it into something independant of "To Kill A Mockingbird", IMHO. I kinda understand why, but still. Complemented the book above in unintended, but very satisfying ways.
  15. Maia

    August '18 Reading- (Insert Clever Subtitle)

    I am making my way through Adrian Tchaikovsky's oeuvre and have finished his "Echoes of the Fall" trilogy, which, after having been somewhat luke-warm towards the first book, I greatly enjoyed. The resolution was particularly ingenious, I thought, but I still have so many questions (see below. Too bad that the author doesn't have any kind of dedicated discussion boards)! Also, the solution arrived at, however clever, seems to be a strictly short-term one, IMHO. So, I really hope that he returns to this world. I am also on book 8 "The Air War" of his "Shadows of the Apt" series and while I continue to enjoy the imaginative world-building, the fact that evolving technologies play an important role in the conflict, the many different localities and PoVs, etc. at the same time I began to feel that the narrative spreads itself too thin, that technologies progress too quickly - they go from swords, crossbows and catapults to something comparable to and in some cases even superior to WW I tech in what, five years?; and that some installments have a distinct feel of "side-quests" in an RPG campaign. Power-inflation spiral is very reminiscent of one too. I am very curious where it is all going to lead, though. 2.5 books to go! And I just finished his SF standalone(?) "Children of Earth". I thought that non-human part of the narrative was very good - inventive, full of interesting extrapolations, original world-building and compelling characters, whereas the human one seemed rather familiar from many other SF books. I liked it a lot on the whole, though.
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