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Paulisdead

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About Paulisdead

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  1. A theme I appreciate in the Mercy chapter is the idea that history relies on the author. That idea was evident in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets and has been a common theme throughout ASoIaF. The play within a play in the Mercy chapter was a history written with the ruling Lannisters in mind much like Shakespeare's plays were written for the king. The facts and details are less important than pleasing the powers that be and the audience. Like Shakespeare commented, while he may die, his works will live on forever. In the world of Westeros, this is also true. Songs, plays, stories, and the writings by the literate few all live on. I think the play is sort of an obvious example and metaphor of the history of Westeros which has been recorded throughout thousands of years by singers, unreliable word of mouth (telephone game, anyone?) and the literate few with less regard for facts and details than for the audience and rulers of the time who have often won their power through combat victories. The victors become heroes, the losers villains. The atrocities of war become the forgotten details. I know that others have commented on this idea when describing the recent history of Westeros between Robert's Rebellion and AGoT. The main idea being that perhaps the rebels weren't as heroic and "good" as the biased viewpoint characters lead us to believe. Maybe Aerys wasn't as mad or "evil" as has been suggested. Again, there are posts out there (that I found excellent) that go into more detail about this. The songs Sansa has heard, the histories Tyrion reads, Old Nan's tall tales (the Night's King and the Rat Cook stand out), the Raines of Castamere, Robert's letter proclaiming Ned protector of the realm (written by Ned with a notable alteration), the pink letter, really any written, sung, or narrated account of most events in Westeros all seem to contain a bit of truth, but also a bit of imbellishment, a lack of detail, or an alteration. All of these histories have included the author's biases, sometimes intended and sometimes unintended. In a nutshell, this can be said about the novels as a whole. Because of the viewpoint character format, the information we receive is biased, sometimes intentionally by the viewpoint character, and sometimes not. This is hardly an accident by GRRM, and I find it one of the most exceptional parts of the writing. The song being sung to us is a subjective one that has been altered by the biases, limited information, and setting of the viewpoint characters. We see through many eyes, so we are to some degree omniscient. But, those eyes belong to someone else, so that omniscience is limited. Like Greenseers/Old Gods if you will (a metaphor in a metaphor)...
  2. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the "Hamletish" play within a play.
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