Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

sifth

Am I the Only One A Little Worried About The Information Being Unreliable

Recommended Posts

In the end, you should treat Yandel just like you would any other POV character. He is biased. Fortunately, you can figure out what his biases are fairly easily. He's predictable.



As a historian, he's leery of legends. As a maester, he is distrustful of magic. Since he's writing for Robert and his heirs, he's pro-Baratheon, pro-Tywin, and anti-Aerys II. Since he's writing for an educated, noble class, he's pro-noble, anti-commoner when necessary. (Especially about Egg's reign.)


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really loving this book so far, but then, I'm one of those weirdos who prefers The Silmarillion to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

As far as its veracity goes, "What is truth?" Even our own history is narrative from a particular point of view. TWOIAF is like ASOIAF in that we're limited to the viewpoint narrator. But unlike the characters we all know and love so well, Yandel is a bit removed from the events in question. I am sure he wants to please Robert Joffrey Tommen and by extension powerful Lannisters like the Queen and Lord Tywin, but beyond that? It's what we've got to go on until TWoW.

I could have written this post! Agree completely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest worry is we're going to have a lot of examples of things happening one way and then A Dunk and Egg story or a Bran vision will tell us it really happened a different way. Which isn't something that exactly happened in The Silmarillion.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure Robert's death changed the tone of some things. Keep in mind that while it was started for Robert, it is being given to Cersei's son.

Very much so, based on the excerpt about Robert's Rebellion (I don't have the book yet so I haven't read all of it).

Not only does he whitewash Tywin and blame the Targaryens for everything, including the stories that Elia or Aerys were responsible for the deaths of Rhaenys and Aegon (man, did Oberyn's duel with the Mountain mess up with the maester's account!), he also praises Robert extensively and makes it sound like he won the war all of his own, or at best with a bit of initial help from Jon Arryn, and completely ignores both Ned and Stannis. Ned is only mentioned when Aerys asked for his and Robert's death and then seems to disappear from the narrative, and Stannis is never mentioned even when the siege of Storm's End is described.

Now, Robert may not care an awful lot about Stannis, but there would be no need to completely ignore his best friend's role in the war. Unless that part was written or rewritten during Joffrey's reign, or Tommen's. (Probably before the Oberyn/Mountain duel, when Mountain's admission became public knowledge.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest worry is we're going to have a lot of examples of things happening one way and then A Dunk and Egg story or a Bran vision will tell us it really happened a different way. Which isn't something that exactly happened in The Silmarillion.

I don't think there will ever be a case where something depicted as a hard fact in tWoIaF will be changed or debunked in a later book. Those types of info are presented as being ambiguous to start with, or can be easily attributed to the biased Yandel POV, and thus are detectable on first read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is crazy to me that some people still don't understand this, even though it has been made explicitly clear over and over for a long time.

I feel the same way.

It's almost insanity to be honest. People being told the same thing over and over but refusing to believe it. Also is this thing that theorists have where they REFUSE to except anything but their theory even if GRRM himself refutes it in some way.

It's out of control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel the same way.

It's almost insanity to be honest. People being told the same thing over and over but refusing to believe it. Also is this thing that theorists have where they REFUSE to except anything but their theory even if GRRM himself refutes it in some way.

It's out of control.

No one's demanding a 'tell-all'. But if someone is writing an 'encyclopedia' of GRRM's fantasy world, I don't think it's too much to ask that the information be reliable and not easily ret-conned. Putting red herrings and opinions in the text is bothersome for those who want to be able to use this as a reliable source of information. Personally, I would have rather waited for this book to come out after the ASOIAF series had ended in order to get the facts without bias instead of getting it early and having the information purposely unreliable for the sake of not revealing anything too important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is what it is, and we on these forums have been told for a long time what it is and isn't. It is our choice to buy it or not. There is no ASOIAF text book with all the answers in the back, and this was never promoted as such a thing. It's not an encyclopedia, but a gift from a maester to a Westerosi king. There is plenty of reliable information in the book. But it is written by a character alive at the time of the current story, not by a deity who has access to the truth behind everything past and present. I can understand someone not wanting it, and choosing not to get it. It's not going to be for everyone. But it is exactly what we have been told for years it was going to be.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is what it is, and we on these forums have been told for a long time what it is and isn't. It is our choice to buy it or not. There is no ASOIAF text book with all the answers in the back, and this was never promoted as such a thing. It's not an encyclopedia, but a gift from a maester to a Westerosi king. There is plenty of reliable information in the book. But it is written by a character alive at the time of the current story, not by a deity who has access to the truth behind everything past and present. I can understand someone not wanting it, and choosing not to get it. It's not going to be for everyone. But it is exactly what we have been told for years it was going to be.

Not everyone has looked up what was said about the world book. You're assuming that everyone was told, and most people weren't.

But no matter what people heard or what was said, it doesn't change the fact that many people wanted unbiased information in something touted as an encyclopedia.

Anyway, I've said my peace. I'm sure many people will enjoy it, and I find some of the information interesting. But I can see why some people like it and some people are disappointed with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would not have had it any other way. I didn't want the great mysteries of Westeros revealed in some history book, but just a nice telling of known aspects of history.



Actually, the dismissal of some of the more mystical things in some ways makes me think they are even more likely and really got me going. Because the book dismisses KNOWN things repeatedly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's a huge issue since the book tends to specifically point out when some information is unreliable, usually by offering several different theories and giving you a chance to pick the one that is the most likely. Or by having a known unreliable narrator (e.g. Pycelle, to some extend Mushroom) the only source for some piece of evidence. It does it the other way around as well, when we have Yondel dismiss something said by a different maester that we know to be true, and giving us a hint that the other information form the same source might be noteworthy. Yondel's biases are pretty obvious, so if you discount these the rest of the story is more or less true and form a literary perspective nothing else makes sense.



When something is wrong/unreliable info it's pretty obvious.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to know who is wrong: Maester Yandel when he claims that half-Ibbenese are always sterile, or the people in the other books who claim partial ibbenese ancestry.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Proving something _never_ happens can be pretty difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ibbenese thing could also be somewhat distorted because Brown Ben may be mistaken, or people only presumed his grandmother was half-Ibbenese. Other hairy men related to the Ibbenese are mentioned, and they could be capable of interbreeding with other humans.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the end, you should treat Yandel just like you would any other POV character. He is biased. Fortunately, you can figure out what his biases are fairly easily. He's predictable.

As a historian, he's leery of legends. As a maester, he is distrustful of magic. Since he's writing for Robert and his heirs, he's pro-Baratheon, pro-Tywin, and anti-Aerys II. Since he's writing for an educated, noble class, he's pro-noble, anti-commoner when necessary. (Especially about Egg's reign.)

You think he's pro-Baratheon? He waxes lyrical about the Targs but there is not even a family tree of the Baratheons. In the Baratheon parts, its all about how useful they were to Targs. The only time his seems to descend into sycophancy is the whole 'glorious reign' bit. There is far too much Dragon in it for Robert, not that he would have read it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Family trees are actually to be considered "out of world" -- they're not part of the maester's actual work, they're an appendix provided by, well, George. There's no Baratheon tree because I think George doesn't have one put together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You think he's pro-Baratheon? He waxes lyrical about the Targs but there is not even a family tree of the Baratheons. In the Baratheon parts, its all about how useful they were to Targs. The only time his seems to descend into sycophancy is the whole 'glorious reign' bit. There is far too much Dragon in it for Robert, not that he would have read it.

He's very pro-Baratheon. Orys, Lyonel, Steffon, and Robert himself are presented in a very positive light. Ormund is neutral. The only Baratheon depicted in any way negatively (other than Orys after his hand was chopped off, and that's understandable) was Borros during the Dance.

Yandel is sucking up to Robert, of course. He has to in order to get his work accepted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's very pro-Baratheon. Orys, Lyonel, Steffon, and Robert himself are presented in a very positive light. Ormund is neutral. The only Baratheon depicted in any way negatively (other than Orys after his hand was chopped off, and that's understandable) was Borros during the Dance.

Yandel is sucking up to Robert, of course. He has to in order to get his work accepted.

I guess I always thought Lyonel was a great guy, being the 'Laughing Storm'. Steffon being Roberts dead dad makes sense.Everything Baratheon is about the Targs and the maester likes the Targs:

Robar- his big things were declaring for Jaehaerys and marrying a Targ

Lady Jocelyn- married a Targ

Boremund- Supported Rhaenys

Borros- Took the wrong side in the dance

Lyonel- Was snubbed for a Royal Wedding

Steffan- Died trying to find Rhaegar a wife

Robert- Obviously.

So I don't really see it as exceedingly pro-Baratheon. Or at least not as much as you would expect. They are decent enough men who get caught up in events and not much more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't read this section of the forum a lot before the 28th, or look into the book's background beforehand much so I was a bit surprised by the way the information is presented. I'm getting used to it as I read along, but some of the writing is just repetitive & out of style from ASOIAF. sometimes the details seem purposefully confusing.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×