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Hammers1895

Which Characters Are Working off of Principle?

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And by that I mean, working out of a sense of duty/principle/values, however you want to classify it, VS. working strictly for their own greed and lust for power (maybe under the guise of a personal code of honor, like Baelish). I think some of the best characters in the series have vacillated from one to the other at various points. 

I'll list out some of my own favorite takes, and see what you guys think...arguments? Who has the purest motives for why they do what they do?

--Jaime: At the beginning of the story, everything he does is for himself, for Cersei, for House Lannister. He has few qualms about besmirching the honor of knighthood, and the honor of the Kingsguard (mostly because he believes no one will ever see him as honorable, only as the Kingslayer, so why should he try to be?). But by the end of ADWD, after spending time with Brienne and being humbled by losing his hand, and mostly I think, becoming more fully aware of Cersei's level of evil, he has begun to recover his honor and sense of duty. I think he now works for the greater good, for peace.

--Theon: Similar to Jaime but for different reasons. Theon comes off as a cocky punk, but it's really a cover for an insecure little boy who feels torn between two worlds. Displaced from his home and heritage as a Greyjoy and always seen as an outsider, but dying to really be accepted by and as a Stark, which he never can be. So he betrays them and then spends months being tortured and mentally broken by Ramsay as in indirect result. And the guilt from betraying Robb burns him up. But he recovers some of his humanity during his escape from Winterfell. He is willing to sacrifice himself, or at least be in harm's way, to save Jeyne Poole, hoping somewhere in the cosmos that makes up for some of what he did to the Starks. So he now works for the purpose of repairing his damage (although it doesn't seem like Stannis is like to give him the opportunity, I am convinced that Asha will somehow convince Stannis that Theon is more valuable alive) and repaying an impossible debt as much as he can before he dies. 

--Sandor: Always a complicated character. He sometimes seems monstrous (like the incident with Mycah), but he has shown flashes of compassion (though always buried under a rough exterior). The ill-effects of growing up with Gregor are plain, but I think he realized over time he was sick of serving as the Lannister's lackey and now just wanted to take his ransom money from Arya and disappear out into the world, where he wasn't forced to be Sandor Clegane. His plan, as much as we know of it, was interrupted. But if that is truly him on the Quiet Isle, it seems he has found peace. He is working for personal growth and peace and penitence for the things he has done. 

--Barristan: Barristan wants to serve, to honor his oath as a Kingsguard. He is a man of honor, but he feels dirty somehow having served three loathsome kings. But he always told himself that his pledge was to defend the king and crown; it was not his fault that the men who wore it were either deranged maniacs (Aerys and Joffrey), or slovenly, adulterous drunks (Robert). He has continued to serve in his capacity as royal guardian, only now, he is serving some he believes in and respects from a moral standpoint. But how much fault does he carry for simply following order all those years for Aerys? When does "doing what's right" trump duty? 

--Jon Connington: One of my favorite characters. Connington was exiled during Robert's Rebellion for a pretty small infraction (the guy lost a battle, happens to the best of 'em), and then swept up in Varys' schemes to eventually place Aegon Targaryen (the IV) on the Iron Throne. Connington may long to return to his seat at Griffin's Roost and see his homeland again. He may miss being a lord. But from what we can tell, he is doing all of this simple because Aegon is Rhaegar's son, and Jon loved Rhaegar and is honoring his memory. Connington allowed Varys to sacrifice his good name, to preserve the fact that Jon was dead and allow him to work behind the scenes for years, bringing up Aegon and keeping him safe. 

--Varys: Say what you will about the Spider, but he is always saying he works for the realm and it's peace and prosperity. He is willing to let people die (Eddard) or even kill them himself (Pycelle, Kevan Lannister), if it furthers his goals. So despite his constant braying that he works for the good of the kingdom, he isn't scared to get his hands dirty and sacrifice people to "the greater good". But what is the greater good? Who is to say that Aegon would be a better king than Robert had been? Besides the Greyjoy rebellion, there had been peace in Westeros since Robert's coronation. Maybe Varys could see the writing on the wall, that Cersei would kill Robert and rule de facto over Joffrey, or Joffrey would be a strong ruler, but an evil and uneven one, and this premonition of Lannister rule is what he was trying to prevent or at least bring about the demise of by bringing young Aegon back to Westeros.

Others with interesting cases would include Arya, Doran Martell, Tyrion, Cersei, Mance Rayder, Victarion Greyjoy, Baelish. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Hammers1895 said:

And by that I mean, working out of a sense of duty/principle/values, however you want to classify it, VS. working strictly for their own greed and lust for power (maybe under the guise of a personal code of honor, like Baelish). I think some of the best characters in the series have vacillated from one to the other at various points. 

I'll list out some of my own favorite takes, and see what you guys think...arguments? Who has the purest motives for why they do what they do?

--Jaime: At the beginning of the story, everything he does is for himself, for Cersei, for House Lannister. He has few qualms about besmirching the honor of knighthood, and the honor of the Kingsguard (mostly because he believes no one will ever see him as honorable, only as the Kingslayer, so why should he try to be?). But by the end of ADWD, after spending time with Brienne and being humbled by losing his hand, and mostly I think, becoming more fully aware of Cersei's level of evil, he has begun to recover his honor and sense of duty. I think he now works for the greater good, for peace.

--Theon: Similar to Jaime but for different reasons. Theon comes off as a cocky punk, but it's really a cover for an insecure little boy who feels torn between two worlds. Displaced from his home and heritage as a Greyjoy and always seen as an outsider, but dying to really be accepted by and as a Stark, which he never can be. So he betrays them and then spends months being tortured and mentally broken by Ramsay as in indirect result. And the guilt from betraying Robb burns him up. But he recovers some of his humanity during his escape from Winterfell. He is willing to sacrifice himself, or at least be in harm's way, to save Jeyne Poole, hoping somewhere in the cosmos that makes up for some of what he did to the Starks. So he now works for the purpose of repairing his damage (although it doesn't seem like Stannis is like to give him the opportunity, I am convinced that Asha will somehow convince Stannis that Theon is more valuable alive) and repaying an impossible debt as much as he can before he dies. 

--Sandor: Always a complicated character. He sometimes seems monstrous (like the incident with Mycah), but he has shown flashes of compassion (though always buried under a rough exterior). The ill-effects of growing up with Gregor are plain, but I think he realized over time he was sick of serving as the Lannister's lackey and now just wanted to take his ransom money from Arya and disappear out into the world, where he wasn't forced to be Sandor Clegane. His plan, as much as we know of it, was interrupted. But if that is truly him on the Quiet Isle, it seems he has found peace. He is working for personal growth and peace and penitence for the things he has done. 

--Barristan: Barristan wants to serve, to honor his oath as a Kingsguard. He is a man of honor, but he feels dirty somehow having served three loathsome kings. But he always told himself that his pledge was to defend the king and crown; it was not his fault that the men who wore it were either deranged maniacs (Aerys and Joffrey), or slovenly, adulterous drunks (Robert). He has continued to serve in his capacity as royal guardian, only now, he is serving some he believes in and respects from a moral standpoint. But how much fault does he carry for simply following order all those years for Aerys? When does "doing what's right" trump duty? 

--Jon Connington: One of my favorite characters. Connington was exiled during Robert's Rebellion for a pretty small infraction (the guy lost a battle, happens to the best of 'em), and then swept up in Varys' schemes to eventually place Aegon Targaryen (the IV) on the Iron Throne. Connington may long to return to his seat at Griffin's Roost and see his homeland again. He may miss being a lord. But from what we can tell, he is doing all of this simple because Aegon is Rhaegar's son, and Jon loved Rhaegar and is honoring his memory. Connington allowed Varys to sacrifice his good name, to preserve the fact that Jon was dead and allow him to work behind the scenes for years, bringing up Aegon and keeping him safe. 

--Varys: Say what you will about the Spider, but he is always saying he works for the realm and it's peace and prosperity. He is willing to let people die (Eddard) or even kill them himself (Pycelle, Kevan Lannister), if it furthers his goals. So despite his constant braying that he works for the good of the kingdom, he isn't scared to get his hands dirty and sacrifice people to "the greater good". But what is the greater good? Who is to say that Aegon would be a better king than Robert had been? Besides the Greyjoy rebellion, there had been peace in Westeros since Robert's coronation. Maybe Varys could see the writing on the wall, that Cersei would kill Robert and rule de facto over Joffrey, or Joffrey would be a strong ruler, but an evil and uneven one, and this premonition of Lannister rule is what he was trying to prevent or at least bring about the demise of by bringing young Aegon back to Westeros.

Others with interesting cases would include Arya, Doran Martell, Tyrion, Cersei, Mance Rayder, Victarion Greyjoy, Baelish. 

 

 

 

Principles to me is like code.  A rule book that guides the actions of the character.  A belief, a conviction that keeps the character focused and drives their decisions.  Principles sets goals, goals sets strategies, and strategies determine actions. 

No other character is as driven as Mellisandre.  The red woman is all about fighting the great other and spreading her religion.  I suppose you could lump all the other religious extremists here, like Benerro, the High Sparrow, Aerion, and Moqorro.  Take heed that principles can be dangerous.  Mellisandre, Benerro, High Sparrow, Faceless Men, the Harpy, and Aerion represent one end of the extreme.  If we put them on a line, the far right would be where you find these people.  Let's call these the fanatics.

Somewhere to the right, but not as far as the fanatics are the men of honor.  People who live by a code and are willing to die for that code.  They don't necessarily want to convert everyone, they don't want to destroy competing beliefs and values, but they hold true to the principles that they have chosen to follow.  In this you find the White Bull, Varys, the loyal men among the Night's Watch, Ser Alliser, and the devout Kingsguard. 

Slightly to the right of the middle are Dany, Brienne, Eddard Stark, Willem Darry, Jon Arryn, the Half Hand, and Jeor Mormont.  They have a cause they believe to be right and they dedicate themselves to that cause.  They fight for their beliefs but it is not about the belief but rather they want to help people and do it according to their principles.  Dany opposes slavery and she wants to help make people free.  It's not out of some loyalty to god and or political faction but because it is what her experience is telling her to be right and her empathy tells her it's compassionate.   Eddard Starks believes children should be protected and not harmed.  Willem Darry believed he had a duty to the Targaryen children. 

To the middle are where most people are.  Stannis, Tywin, Tyrion, and Theon.  They will follow principles in most cases but they are not above breaking principles in order to get what they want. 

To the far left, you find people like Jon Snow, Robb Stark, Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, Jaime, Jorah, Oberyn, and Wayman Manderly.  People who chafe at the rules.  Some of these guys are very emotional and follow their hearts.  Robb, Jaime, Jon, and Jorah, will do something they know to be wrong to follow what their heart wants them to do.  Jon was not going for a night out at Mole's Town.  He deserted the Night's Watch and he is really no better than Gared.  Jorah knew it was wrong to sell those poachers and did it anyway to earn coin. 

To the extreme left is where you find the Free Spirits like Mance Rayder, Cersei, and Craster.  People who don't follow principles and do whatever they see fit.  They will violate every law and every rule in the book to get what they want.  These people will always have trouble obeying rules.  Mance has no qualms violating guest rights.  He did it at Winterfell.  He had no reservations disobeying his commanding officer at the wall over a uniform dress code.  He had no guilt about deserting.  He will break an oath as easily as a bear with diarrhea breaks a runny dump in the forest.  He can tell you a boldface lie, smile, and never feel guilty.  Mance will kill his sworn brothers and be fine with it.  Rules are no hurdle for these guys.  They don't have a what you call a code. 

 

Edited by Son of Man

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1 hour ago, Hammers1895 said:

nd by that I mean, working out of a sense of duty/principle/values, however you want to classify it, VS. working strictly for their own greed and lust for power (maybe under the guise of a personal code of honor, like Baelish). I think some of the best characters in the series have vacillated from one to the other at various points. 

I'll list out some of my own favorite takes, and see what you guys think...arguments? Who has the purest motives for why they do what they do?

Jaime - I think you are spot on here.  Jaime started the series as a selfish bastard, but lately has dedicated himself to bringing peace to the realm, albeit under Lannister influence.  A much improved person, under the influence of losing his hand and of Brienne.  Which brings me to ... 

Brienne - One of the purest in the sense of working for principle.  If she has any personal ambition, it hasn't made itself apparent.  She is constantly serving and helping others, from Renly to Catelyn, and now Sansa.

Jon - Dedicated to the welfare of others, sometimes to his detriment (e.g., his attempts to help (f)Afrya)  Has saved Wildling lives despite opposition, and has refused great rewards to stay in his position.  Has a tendency to be high-handed and occassionally has bad judgement, but his heart is in the right place.

Eddard - Tries to do right by everybody.  Tells Cersei he knows about her incest in an attempt to save her life.  Refuses to take power until Robert is dead, which is too late.  In Eddard's case, his dedication to honor and principle was possibly too great, and may have cost him his life.

Jojen and Meera Reed - Helping their liege lord become all that he can be, presumably for the future benefit of the Kingdom.  Whatever personal desires they have have been subsumed by this quest with Bran.

Not on my list.

Theon - Still strikes me as a selfish, sniveling coward.  Only rescued Jeyne Poole because was forced into it.  Otherwise, I do't see any real change.

Baelish, Cersei, Tyrion, Victarion. - Either operate purely selfishly (Baelish, Cersei) or with a mixture (Tyrion), but tending toward selfish at this point.  Not what I would called principled.

  

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This is a tough one to answer since I don't believe anyone in the series is truly altruistic or disciplined and thoughtful enough to obey their own personal code.  It's following one's personal code seeking one's own personal satisfaction, in a way?  In a way people who are only out for their own survival and pleasure are the people who do the best job at adhering to their own code.

I think the people who have the most well-developed consciences, and are the most self-aware, particularly when it comes to their actions relative to their stated beliefs, are Davos, Eddard, Jon, Melisandre, and Aeron Damphair.  I'd mark Cersei, Tyrion, Theon, and Catelyn as the least, with Jaime, Daenerys, Sansa, Arya, and Bran falling mostly in the middle.  It's hard to make a judgment on any non-POV characters.

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Oh, psychology fascinates me so I love this topic.  Now, first of all, although altruism and following a rigid principled code can go hand in hand, I believe not always.  The BWB is the best example to comes to my mind.  I think, most of them, certainly Dondarion are trying to do the right thing but they certainly break rules, although arguably maybe not "their own rules" and are not completely far from a complete break down in law and order.  Do they have their reasons for doing so?  Yes, but I believe that is true of most of the characters, save for Ramsay, Joffrey and Euron (of the top of my head).

Now, when I read the post the one character I thought most fitted the bill was indeed Melissandre.  Still, there are tons of details on her that are yet to be revealed, so it is not impossible that there are some personal motivations there as well as serving her God but we will have to wait and see.

Brienne, of course but now she is being truly tested.  Altruism and duty would force her to hand Jaime over to LSH but hey, she appears in love with him, and he with her...  A very hard test and to be honest I prefer that these characters face these choices than they just being rigid in terms of following their own code of honour or completely break from it.

Mance actually, a bit like the brotherhood, I certainly don't see as "above the law for the kick of it."  Granted not all people are suited for military institutions with very rigid rules, but what he has done, seems to me is "switch which code he wishes to follow."  Jon gave him chances that seemed beneficial to himself and his people and yet his obsession with not kneeling prevail (another very rigid code of conduct) just not the one he was meant to follow to begin with.

Stannis now, albeit complicated, seems to be the one that really adheres to duty.  He is the perfect military man in that regard.  He doesn't allow personal feelings, in the main, to distract him from duty but is this something truly desirable in a person or an ally?   In our own today's morality (which frankly I hate getting in the way of our analysis of the series) he has crossed quite a few points; wanted to have Edric dead, would use blood magic to kill his own brother because his brother "broke the rules," he again allowed the use of blood magic to kill 3 Kings lol  He may be doing it for the good of the realm but this character is perhaps the most grey in my opinion.  His motives are not evil but his methods can be....  No wonder Mel gravitated to him but I guess both are in the category of fanatics in this list.  Also his level of "fair inflexibility" whilst makes him great in the military points towards a psychological condition.  My guess today he would probably qualify for the autistic spectrum.  Nothing wrong with people on this spectrum (have a few friends) but he sounds to me "by the text book," and I am guessing that this is seen as a disability is not necessarily the ideal state of things.

Ned is not far off but he is way more approachable.  He talks to his kids tenderly, although he can be rigid.  He takes their interests and potential into consideration.  I don't blame Stannis for not doing so, we all have our particular personalities lol  He is self-righteous at times but he is not disassociated with people and context.  Stannis' treatment of Davos is.  Davos is now his Hand and best friend and he rewarded him beyond his dreams but also punished him.  Stannis is the letter of the law.  Ned will obey the law if at all possible but is capable of going against it (Jon???)

Arya is probably one of the most interesting ones in this regard.  She has a code of conduct but very much connected with her personal psychological needs, i.e. revenge.  Still, high born as she is she is very egalitarian and very happy to befriend low borns etc and to help them (Weasel soup I don't think was just done for herself but to free her fellow prisoners).  There is a lot of altruism in Arya but rule breaking is her middle name lol  Her primary motivations are her own but, interestingly, she has webbed her motivations into a "justice code of conduct" just like her undead mother... Of course, like Brienne, she is being massively tested by the FM.  She could assimilate or break free.  This level of discipline she has had to endure, no doubt, could help her but also break her...

Oh, so many other characters I would love to comment on and may I will but to me the whole this is about "is being principled based, as opposed to personal motivation based better or worse or could it go either way?"

To me this links in a way with versatility -v- order and predictability.  I am of the opinion that both are needed and that the middle ground is probably best.

Okay, granted someone altruistic, less selfish is an asset but lack of flexibility can be a huge downer too...

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Acting on principles is the opposite of acting on emotions, bias, personal gain, and love.  It is a tough concept to explain but specifically, it is someone who has a belief system and everything they do is directed by that belief.  I have to agree here that Mel is the most focused of all the main characters.  The reason I don't put the Harpies in the same category is because surely some of them recognize that slavery is evil but they do it anyway because it serves their interests rather than some belief system.  I suppose you could say they have a self serving and selfish belief system but I just find it hard to imagine anyone believing it's ok to enslave another human being and force them into the fighting pits.  

Dany is very principled in her quest to free the slaves.  I don't think it borders on the level of obsession because we see her making compromises to get partial results.  We also see Dany temporarily set aside her lifelong goal of retaking Westeros in order to help the slaves become free.  So what we have here is a very principled person making conscious choices.  I like Dany and am therefore very biased towards her.  I believe she has the right balance between goal-oriented, flexibility, restraint, and self-discipline.  I know many here compare her to Robb Stark.  Dany to me is way ahead of Robb in the areas of intelligence, judgment, discipline, leadership, and competence.

Stannis is not really a principled guy.  He believes he's entitled and he will pursue his rights.  He bends ethics and morals in order to do so.  And while it is rarely wise to prejudge someone before they actually commit a crime, I believe Stannis will do something bad in the hopes of getting a victory on the battlefield.  Look, a person can always find ways in their minds to justify breaking an oath, committing an atrocity, treason, and lying.  Stannis seems to find it too easy to do so for my taste.

Theon, Jon, and Mance are examples of people who really do not operate on principles.  Well, maybe Mance operates on the principle that each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want.  But such a person can easily go the other way when the notion takes them.  Jon swore an oath but he has already broken it even before that disaster with the Rescue Arya Mission.  Jon follows his emotions far too much to be considered a man of principles.  I think his fans kid themselves because Jon protected Samwell early on.  That's not really such a big deal. Many teenagers today protect others from bullying.  It doesn't mean Jon has principles, it just means he felt sorry for Samwell.  I don't think Jon is a principled person at all.  I think he's one of those guys who decide on the moment based on how he feels and if he feels strongly enough, like his feelings for Arya, he will do anything up to and including commit treason.  It does no good to save Arya from her marriage if it meant leaving the wall undefended, but Jon was no longer acting sensible at the time and perhaps showing signs of madness.  

Cersei is not mad.  She just lack ethics and morals.  She is selfish in a way very similar to Sansa but much more extreme.  Sansa is at least capable of compassion, though she will not stick her neck out far enough.  Jaime is another one of those who really couldn't give two shits about principles.  Roose Bolton is not a man of principles despite being intelligent and having discipline.  Arya's obsession with her kill list is madness rather than principle.   Doran Martell(1) has an obsession with revenge and it is rather sick because the people who hurt his family are all dead.  He, Arya, and Catelyn are examples of people who have nothing to live for but revenge.  It is sick and disturbing.  They may as well be dead.  Just because they want something doesn't mean they are driven by principle.  They are driven by an emotion called hate.  Feeling emotionally flat like Arya does when she kills is not a sign that she is not motivated by hate, because she most definitely is driven by hate.   All it means is her pulse is not elevated because there is no internal conflict, no guilt, no remorse, no fear, no worries while she's killing someone.  

1-I like Doran Martell.  I'm just saying he has an unhealthy obsession with revenge and he is casting a wide net.

Edited by Agent Orange

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@Agent Orange I agree that acting on principles is the opposite to acting on emotions and yes I agree re Mel (for what we know of her so far).  Still I think this topic is so complex and there is so much disagreement on who is selfish and who is not because for one think I don't think that acting say 90% on principles leads necessarily to a better person, admirable as this sort of self-discipline may be.

It's definitely hard to put this to words but yes the topic of fanaticism has been touched upon.  In today's society say, much as we may hate it, one could argue that suicide bombers are willing to give their lives and make their own children orphans etc for their principles.  We can argue of course that their cause and their methods are wrong.  Anyhow, what I was trying to say is that oftentimes someone use is primarily fueled by principles (unless these principles lead 100% unquestionably to the welfare of society, which I don't think is possible since it is impossible to rule rightly for everyone and benefit everyone at the same time) are as dangerous if not more than their more emotionally led counterparts.

Even as allies, they can become too predictable.  Something that can be used against them.  You mentioned Dany and I agree that she has some strong altruistic principles.  However, thankfully, she is not completely blinded by them either.  Otherwise, taking her dragons would be just ever sooo easy.   Say, threaten to put some slave or former slave children  to the sword if you don't hand the dragons over, or even promise to end slavery if she hands over the dragons...  Game over!  To me that level of inflexibility in favour of principles would be moronic.  Okay, I guess we all view ourselves, or even people we have interacted with in part in some of the characters but I guess that is true with any book with complex characters.  I personally prefer to take a very global view on characters before judging them, and most of them have done what we can see as good and bad deeds but I fear I am digressing.  Anyway, personally I see myself somewhere in the middle but leaning towards emotion versus principles so maybe I am bias and that may be why I don't consider total obedience of principles the ideal way to be.

The thing is that is very tempting to see someone who serves principles and duty above someone who is more self-motivated but I fear this is a double-edge sword.  Someone capable of compromising if far more useful to their allies and enemies alike.  A strong solid code of conduct is surely a good thing but if too inflexible it is definitely more of a hindrance than anything else.  And  no least, because who is to say what the correct code of conduct is?   To the High Sparrow, austerity and favouring the poor over the rich is but does he go to far and simply switches one group of "favourites" for another?  Even Dany was confronted with this when the slaves is Astapor (was it Astapor? lol) become just as cruel to the former masters as they have been victims.  They just reversed the order of things but didn't improve them. It is all so interlinked hence it is so interesting.

Now, with Jon, yes he breaks rules but because on of his codes of conduct conflicts with another; i.e. duty -v- family.  Yes, he sworn an oath knowing what it meant.  Still, I expect very few brothers not to have done so at a point or another.  I personally think that this sort of institution is mean to "assimilate" maybe not to the level of the Faceless but still.  You have to renounce your titles, but more importantly, love, family, children...  This is extremely hard for a human being to do and I am not even convinced it is desirable.  It really takes your humanity or a lot of it away, Also, it is extremely difficult to unlearn things such as duty and love for your family...  In fact, Jon has been in situations where his career could have been further advanced by breaking rules and he wouldn't.  Thinking specifically of when Stannis promised him his father's title but that would involve letting Mel chop off the weirtrees... Also it was clear that Mormont had him in great regard; he asked for him as his personal steward, gave him Longclaw... if personal advancement was of interest to him he would not have tried to try and desert to help Rob.

All in all I think that an overly principled man or woman would be a problem in itself.  Whilst is all very lovely to serve a "just" cause with all one has someone incapable of emotion or even some self-centred goals to me would be somewhat not completely human.

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21 hours ago, Agent Orange said:

Cersei is not mad.  She just lack ethics and morals.  She is selfish in a way very similar to Sansa but much more extreme.  Sansa is at least capable of compassion, though she will not stick her neck out far enough. 

Well, Sansa did stick out her neck for Dontos when Joffrey wanted to kill him. She also stuck out her neck when Margaery and Olenna demanded information. She was also fighting for her father when cornered by four adults. And helping calming the women of KL. Comparing Sansa and Cersei is fundamentally wrong as they are innately different.

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3 hours ago, Risto said:

Well, Sansa did stick out her neck for Dontos when Joffrey wanted to kill him. She also stuck out her neck when Margaery and Olenna demanded information. She was also fighting for her father when cornered by four adults. And helping calming the women of KL. Comparing Sansa and Cersei is fundamentally wrong as they are innately different.

Yeah.  Two different women.  

People who work off principles:

Mellisandre, Aeron, High Sparrow, the Night's Watch, Kingsguard, and Silent Sisters.

 

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This is interesting.  Is fanaticism really principle?  Is duty?  Compassion?  

It's difficult to gauge characters who either haven't given clear or have given inaccurate statements regarding their missions, ideals, character.  Dany likes to toot her horn about Blood and Fire and Rightful Heir, but she has put all that on hold to free nations of slaves.  Jon is clearly in conflict with his own principles or he's just figuring them out.   I find Dany to be a here and now character with larger future aim where Jon is a bigger picture guy.   Stannis constantly bemoans his position as heir to the throne, sort of stuck in Robert's shadow as little brother until he really sees an opportunity to act as a king and save all the land from the threat to the North.   All Gilly wanted was to save her baby.   She worked on poor Sam until he wanted it as badly as she did.   Just so happens they fell in love working together to save this child.  At least they got a bonus--if they do actually survive to the end and still find themselves together.   

However, when I think principled the words unyielding, unwavering and dedicated come to mind.  In that very small list of adjectives I have no choice but to name Melisandre, Jojen Reed, Stannis and Brienne principled.  

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