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The good and evil of Ice and Fire

Suchal Riaz

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Is Bran working for the Great Other? In the series Bran and his companions are attacked by the skeletons powered by the Great Other as they attempt to meet up with the children of the forest under the tree. It seems like the three magical forces in the world are the cold and the Great Other/ WW, heat and the red god and perhaps the dragons and nature which incudes the children of the forest, old gods etc. They only thing that seems to be without any credibility is the seven and the drowned god, which seems just made up.

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I don't think the White walkers are evil or good, they may simply have existed long before even the children of the forest and want to restore the world to the cold environment it once was, that was their home. Maybe they convert humans so they can exist in that world. The whole planet could have been a frozen world and the ancestors of the children, or the first men, were invaders who have gradually pushed them in to a corner.

Anyone know if the long night cold covered just Westeros or Essos as well?

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Is Bran working for the Great Other? In the series Bran and his companions are attacked by the skeletons powered by the Great Other as they attempt to meet up with the children of the forest under the tree. It seems like the three magical forces in the world are the cold and the Great Other/ WW, heat and the red god and perhaps the dragons and nature which incudes the children of the forest, old gods etc. They only thing that seems to be without any credibility is the seven and the drowned god, which seems just made up.

Dragons are fire made flesh. They are the physical manifestation of one "magic" while the Others and Whitewalkers are their counter. Yin and yang and all that, although its really hard to find good things about cold mentioned in the book. It preserves old people is about all I remember.

I doubt we will ever see any god or gods appear, but my guess would be the Others are the Children of the Forest that wouldn't accept defeat. There are many parallels between ASOIAF and Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Also, the focus on revenge driving many of this series' events would make that a natural progression. I suspect that they'll still be the final bad guys to overcome, but more sympathetic than we expected.

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the principals are monarchists and aristocrats. that's 'evil,' or i don't know what.

So, by that logic, virtually every human society up untill about 200-300 years ago (and many to this day) were (are) "evil" because they formed their civilizations based on centralized rule- i.e. monarchy / aristocracy?

What is with the anti-human compulsion to believe the WW are sweet and lovable and totally justified in wanting to destroy the realms of men?

I'm not saying the WW don't have a POV or that they're purely evil. But in the endless quest to vindicate the WW, a lot of folks are demonizing the human characters for the simple fact that they're human.

Monarchy and aristocracy may have systematic flaws, but no form of government will ever be perfect. Consider the reality of governing a rural, largely-illiterate medival population spread across a continent like Westeros by direct democracy.

I'm sure that'd work just great.

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There are no good and evil characters in these books, as martin has stated. There are merely differing points of view and motivations behind these characters. Even a character like Ramsey Snow has his own motivations for why he does what he does, and who he truly is. One of the things the show did really well is give us that character who seems purely evil, and yet they took one scene to really humanize him. The scene I mean is between Ramsey and Roose, on the fields of the North, where Roose tells his bastard to look at all the land around them, then declares him a bastard no more. That there, Ramsey's emotion and kneeling before his father, explains everything about this character. He was born a bastard from a rape, delivered to his father who set him up with a filthy, cruel man named Reek who taught him to be cruel as well. He suffers from severe psychological pain at being a bastard called Snow, and uses his cruel cunning to build his own reputation with his icy father.

All of these characters we either need to take a moment to try and to see from their eyes what motivates their actions, or we lack enough information to understand them. Why does Gregor Clegane do the awful things he does? Who knows, but Gregor certainly believes he's perfectly fine to do what he does. Does it make him evil? Maybe, maybe not... he is certainly an asshole, though, that is for sure.

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On a standard reading of the books, the likes of Gregor Clegane and Ramsay Bolton are pure evil, and Joffrey comes very close. Martin is wrong here.

Well... I think what GRRM means here is that all the characters are very human. That's the big difference between GRRM and Tolkien. Sauron functions as the ''pure evil'', he doesn't seem to have any type of humanity or whatever (at the time of LOTR). There's nothing he loves, never feels sadness (again, at the time of lotr). Sauron could easily be replaced by any other ''force of evil'', the story of LOTR wouldn't be affected. I do love Tolkien btw.

GRRM wants all his characters to be more realistic. Yes, some may be extremely sadistic such as Ramsay (which is nothing special btw, we have insane and sadistic people like him in our real world, such as Breivik), but all these sadistic characters are still human! Even people like Joffrey seem to feel some love for their family (he has some love for his mother and admired and loved Robert). I think Ramsay feels some love for his dad, albeit little. Joff and Ramsay are capable of feeling shame, ambition, have fits of anger, etc. That's what I love about these books; the characters and relationships all seem so realistic. It's even said that a possible cause of Gregor's temper are his uncontrollable headaches (but he's def a psychopath).

With this in mind, I'm so excited to find out more about the others. Knowing GRRM they are probably not pure evil and that could make them so interesting. I agree with OP that the dragons are definitely not pure good. And since it seems that the dragons have been put in the story to counterbalance the Others, it would make sense that the Others are not pure evil. What are they? Where did they come from? Why did they emerge 8000 years ago? Why do they want to invade Westeros? So many questions, so little answers...

This is all just my opinion of course.

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  • 1 month later...

Is Bran working for the Great Other? In the series Bran and his companions are attacked by the skeletons powered by the Great Other as they attempt to meet up with the children of the forest under the tree. It seems like the three magical forces in the world are the cold and the Great Other/ WW, heat and the red god and perhaps the dragons and nature which incudes the children of the forest, old gods etc. They only thing that seems to be without any credibility is the seven and the drowned god, which seems just made up.

Looking at traditional fantasy tropes, there's always a third side a "neutral party" that is between the two extreme sides.

This side is usually reserved by "Green" powers, and representative of the very Earth itself that the two sides fight for control over. Such "Green" powers are typically represented by Elves, Gnomes, Giants, Faeries, etc. They correspond to the concept of "True Neutral" in most fantasy stories for at once while they are powerful beneficial beings and guardians of the Earth, there is also a sense of trickster or latent maliciousness to their nature as well (think changelings or the mischievous nature of leprecauns). As such they stand outside of normal human morality and thus are "neutral" in most fantasy stories and the Medieval Romances they're based on (Arthurian Legend has the "Green Knight" who fills such a similar role; Robin Goodfellow, and the Green Man of the Forest from Medieval legends are further extensions; later on in Shakespeare we get King Oberon, Queen Titania, Puck, and their fairy court who are more personified manifestations of this sort of faction--although outside of your typical Medieval Romance setting).

In terms of most fantasy perspectives and the factions one sees in them is that a character either is "for" or "against" the quest that the Hero is on. If the character aids the hero or joins the quest, in your typical fantasy novel they get painted in good light, if the character doesn't aid the hero or even works to stop the quest, in your typical fantasy novel they get painted in a bad light. And usually most fantasy stories take this to near chess levels of mirroring, portraying a "black piece" for every "white piece". There's the "wicked sorceress/witch" for every "divine priestess" (notice how Melisandre is a blending together of those two usually diametrically opposed personalities in most fantasy stories) and a "traitor" for every "loyal sidekick" in your typical fantasy story (blended together in the persona of Theon), etc.

The only faction which is able to stand outside of this "game of chess" is the Earth/neutral parties that are technically being fought over by the two factions. Usually the Earth/neutral parties will stay out of the fighting until the very end when they decide at the last minute to offer some small help to the "hero", usually in the form of some magic weapons that just barely tips the odds in the favor of the hero to kill the villain--which is what usually puts the Earth/neutral parties in a better light than what they would have gotten had they stayed completely out of it (or alternatively there's one Earth/neutral character who breaks with the "total neutral policy" set by the leader of the Earth/neutral powers in order to aid the hero).

Melisandre only sees things from your typical fantasy viewpoint: "I'm aiding a hero on a quest, and everyone who doesn't help me is against me and therefore evil". Hence why I don't put much stock in her POV of the state of the world being the "correct one" of the series--as GRRM has stated he finds that very traditional fantasy view to be narrow-minded (which is how he's portrayed Melisandre consistently) and trite. It's also why I find it absolutely hilarious that she thinks of the Old Gods, Bloodraven, and by extension Bran to be "agents of the Great Other", because in any other typical fantasy, they'd just be portrayed as one great neutral party, sought after and fought over by both "good" and "evil".



GRRM though is not and has never been writing a fantasy story. One can tell this not only by the quotes where he says as much, but by the very structure of the story itself. He's writing in the mythos of Satire and Irony, which from the beginning has typically been defined as "Romance made realistic" (see: Don Quixote and Guillver's Travels). Or to quote literary critic Northrop Frye:

Irony and satire parody romance by applying romantic mythical forms to a more realistic content, which fits them in unexpected ways. It presents an image where reality rather than ideology is dominant.

Satire is militant irony, where moral norms are relatively clear, and standards are assumed against which the grotesque and absurd are measured. Sheer invective or name-calling is satire with little irony. Because satire must carefully select content to criticize it is at least implicitly moral. Irony with little satire occurs when the reader is unsure of author’s attitude or what their own should be.

Compared to your typical Romance mythos from which Fantasy is the modern descendant. Northrop Frye once again:

Tales from this mythos are marked by extraordinarily persistent nostalgia, and a search for some kind of imaginative golden age in time or space. These stories typically have virtuous heroes and beautiful heroines who represent ideals and villains that threaten their ascendancy.


In romance the reader’s values are bound up with hero who unequivocally represents what is supposed to be right and virtuous. If the tale rises to the level of myth, the hero will show signs of divinity and the enemy will have demonic qualities.

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I think the ancient races provide the best clues as to the story line.




SeaPeople (just a name of a lost ancient race...my interpretation of the clues of World of Fire & Ice, original dragon lords)

These 4 lived in balance, controlled the world, had their own back & forth epic struggles. The sea people may have blown themselves up in one of those struggles or lost completely. There are hints of a forth ancient race but also hints of a calamity near Ashai...Not a simple good versus evil history.

Man is the problem, born in the grass lands, evolved from the Neanderthals, .....they expand and fight for ownership of world's resources. When the children & giants gave up the battle and forged a truce with the first men, it prompted a conflict with the others. Beaten back, the others are ready for round two. It could be round 3 or 4? Hard to say if the Seapeople and man didn't make an uneasy truce once. Someone taught someone how to train/ride dragons.

I would be so disappointed if the others are simply "evil" and the "good" is a last stand of men, children, giants, and their dragons. I would much prefer man to be the problem and this is simply a battle of old versus new. The former has already been told in LoTR.

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I don't have a complete theory now and I am waiting for TWoW as we have very little knowledge about WW.

  1. George R.R. Martin has said there are no characters which are pure evil or pure good. And he has said that WW are beautiful creatures but also dangerous but he didn't say they are the evil force. That being said, it is completely possible that WW are not pure evil. the history of people of westeros can be wrong and WW might be invading westeros for good. Or maybe that particular leader of WW was evil and has nothing to do with the actual nature of WW.

It is clear from all books that the R'hllor is indeed a god. But it looks to me that he is not a good god but rather an evil one. the great other might actually be the god who has been overpowered and it trying to return.

The dragons are not good either. It is clear from Tyroin chapter which said that valayrians reaped what they sowed: "blood and fire".

Doom of Valayria is a mystery but i think there is something evil about the way the faceless men talk about their ancestors and Wyrms. I think the bravoosi's are not common stupid men but rather people who play not just game of thrones but rather game of the ultimate power. Their ancestors lived inside the caves deep underground where they were forced to work. many of them died in caves. They discovered Wyrms underground. The Wyrms could be very large. Just like dragons maybe they could grow infinitely big provided they have enough space and food. Maybe those people made an alliance with those men to destroy all the valayria and the wyrms are the reason there is still fire burning inside valayria. In braavos their secret place in very very deep underground. The faceless men worship some underground god or maybe wyrms.

I think what we consider good forces will turn out to be evil forces and white walkers are coming back to save the world from magic, dragons and R'hllor. They will bring peace and the 'unstable' weather in westeros will end. The Valayria will again become the habitable land it once was. Jon Snow having blood of ice and fire will be the ultimate hero who will bring peace between the forces of ice and fire.

I am giving an inspration to other people who have read the books more deeply to give the actual behind the scene theory of ice and fire which will relate everything: Doom of Valayria, White Walkers, faceless men, wyrms and dragons, R'hllor and the great other, the very existance of magic, the unpredictable weather and the long night. One theory to rule them all. I have the clues but they can fit together in so many different ways that the possibilities are countless. TWoW will finally reveal the true nature of WW and R'hllor. Any theories guys?

I think Ice and fire represent a balance, It is kind of like Atlantis in a way the doom of Valayria represents the worlds most advanced people being essensitially wiped out. Even hundres of dragons were consumed by the doom. At he time they basically ruled all os Essos and mined everything. I think Ice would certainly counter act fire. I don't know that R'hollor is evil the other gods seem to do strange things from the old Gods th the strange rituals of the other and even The drowned God and many faced god all seem dark at times

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