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Heresy 213 Death aint what it used to be

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As an "unsullied" (by the show) I used to be safe here, but in the last week or two I'm having to look away quickly, and I've still seen things I'd rather have not seen. Doesn't the "book only" rule still apply?

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31 minutes ago, Barbrey said:

As an "unsullied" (by the show) I used to be safe here, but in the last week or two I'm having to look away quickly, and I've still seen things I'd rather have not seen. Doesn't the "book only" rule still apply?

Good point. I actually don't know. The show has become ... careless. It sometimes feels like watching Space Balls. Can Space Balls spoil you for Star Wars ? :dunno:

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50 minutes ago, Barbrey said:

As an "unsullied" (by the show) I used to be safe here, but in the last week or two I'm having to look away quickly, and I've still seen things I'd rather have not seen. Doesn't the "book only" rule still apply?

I'm not sure how relevant it is any more. Once upon a time the mummers version did, arguably, provide spoilers and we miserable heretics used to get smug when certain things we had prophesied came to pass, but latterly it has diverged so far from the books and what the books are about, that nothing in the mummers' show can be accepted as real.

Where we are now is working on the text and defying the mummers' version

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5 hours ago, alienarea said:

Most "realistic" book scenario for me is that Melisandre takes the pink letter for real and assumes Stannis is dead. She then has a vision that Shireen needs to get sacrificed to revive the true king, and Selyse agrees to it. But instead of Stannis Jon Snow rises.

I think GRRM is going to do something similar to Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen. He setup multiple resurrection paths: fire wight, coldhand-type wight, second life in ghost, second life in Alys/Cregan or WW.  We might get multiple suspects and a final merge.

Edited by Tucu

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39 minutes ago, Tucu said:

I think GRRM is going to do something similar to Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen. He setup multiple resurrection paths: fire wight, coldhand-type wight, second life in ghost, second life in Alys/Cregan or WW.  We might get multiple suspects and a final merge.

I agree. we can be confident from GRRM's remarks quoted at the beginning of this thread that Jon will continue to have a significant role in the story, but given the build up I'm not looking any more for a non-fatal wounding, but rather some kind of resurrection and that resurrection won't be simple and straightforward. GRRM has already warned us by example that whatever the mechanism it will have serious consequences.

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3 hours ago, Barbrey said:

As an "unsullied" (by the show) I used to be safe here, but in the last week or two I'm having to look away quickly, and I've still seen things I'd rather have not seen. Doesn't the "book only" rule still apply?

I agree with BC. The show has significantly diverged from the text. There’s no worry of spoiling the future books.

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I agree. we can be confident from GRRM's remarks quoted at the beginning of this thread that Jon will continue to have a significant role in the story, but given the build up I'm not looking any more for a non-fatal wounding, but rather some kind of resurrection and that resurrection won't be simple and straightforward. GRRM has already warned us by example that whatever the mechanism it will have serious consequences.

One resurrection path I didn't mention is Jon's body spending a good portion of the book as an empty shell like Drogo. Mirri's ritual was from the Shadow Lands, so Mel might know about it.

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4 hours ago, Barbrey said:

As an "unsullied" (by the show) I used to be safe here, but in the last week or two I'm having to look away quickly, and I've still seen things I'd rather have not seen. Doesn't the "book only" rule still apply?

How can a tv show that diverges heavily from the published books spoil books that most likely won't be completed? Schrödinger's cat might be proud.

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21 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Now, we know that the butchering and re-imagining has continued, but because we don't have a text to compare with the mummers farce we don't know whether anything is true, has been condensed and changed by way of a short-cut or is a total work of fiction - in terms of fidelity to what GRRM is writing.

True, we can't compare the show to the unwritten story. However, we do know that the show has made truly radical departures from major canonical storylines.  

Examples: Brienne (in AFFC and since) and Sansa (since ASOS).  Both are major POV characters.  And virtually everything GRRM did with their stories in this millennium was simply deleted and replaced by something utterly different in every respect. 

There's no way those characters can shift and become more canonical now, either.  The gap between the two narrative worlds is permanent, to themselves and other subplots they've affected. 

In short, everything they've done in recent seasons (and they've done a lot) cannot be mirrored in future canon, just as Hodor and Shireen cannot possibly meet the same fates in the books that they do in the show.

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13 minutes ago, Tucu said:

One resurrection path I didn't mention is Jon's body spending a good portion of the book as an empty shell like Drogo. Mirri's ritual was from the Shadow Lands, so Mel might know about it.

There may be another character currently at the Wall who has spent some time at Assai as well:

Quote

The warrior witch Morna removed her weirwood mask just long enough to kiss his gloved hand and swear to be his man or his woman, whichever he preferred.

Quote

When he conferred Oakenshield on Tormund Giantsbane and Queensgate on Morna White Mask, Marsh pointed out that Castle Black would now have foes on either side who could easily cut them off from the rest of the Wall.

 

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20 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Maybe? I'm going by interview phrasing--"Stannis sacrifices his daughter," "Hodor's origin story (or backstory, depending on the interview)," and something "from the very end."

Link, please.

And are we talking about the same Benioff and Weiss who lied to the entire fandom -- for no apparent reason -- when they repeatedly claimed Jon was permanent dead and Harington wouldn't be coming back to the show?  All they had to do was use GRRM-esque evasive maneuvers, but they resorted to lies and a lot of them.

Even if they didn't mean to lie re Stannis, I have little to no faith in their competence recalling the exact words GRRM told them in the exact context, and as we all know, precision is everything in working these things out.  These are the same people who had Varys teleporting back and forth between Dorne and Meereen in one episode.  Precision isn't their strength.

20 hours ago, Matthew. said:

in the absence of Stannis' involvement, it becomes less clear as to why this particular plot point is one of the ones that generates a strong reaction from D&D in the room, why it has a particular weight for them

An innocent little girl is burned alive, and that draws no reaction unless Stannis was involved, really? 

Do you mean D&D are sociopaths?  You seem to mean that.

20 hours ago, Matthew. said:

This is only true of the very specific scenario within the show, and not broadly true of what Stannis might be capable of before series' end.

Well, it's not impossible. We can imagine it.

I mean that there's no very good reason to think Stannis would reverse his character and outlook as the canon clearly establishes it.  He is constantly described, particularly by Davos, as hard but fair.

He doesn't burn people just to get ahead in the world.  As with the shadow assassin, sent to Renly because he saw Renly as a traitor, burning is for Stannis a form of punishment for treason, cannibalism, etc. 

Example from ADWD, the most recent book:

Quote

"The old gods of the north have sent this storm upon us. Only R'hllor can end it. We must give him an unbeliever."
"Half my army is made up of unbelievers," Stannis had replied. "I will have no burnings. Pray harder."

In the exact situation, advancing to Winterfell in horrible weather, Show Stannis chose to do the opposite thing as Book Stannis, notice.

Here's a bit that's also on point from the most recent canon we have involving Stannis, the Theon sample chapter from TWOW:

Quote

The knight hesitated. "Your Grace, if you are dead — "
" — you will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne. Or die in the attempt."
Ser Justin put one hand on his sword hilt. "On my honor as a knight, you have my word."

Uh huh.  There's no way, IMO, that Book Stannis is going to see his little daughter Shireen as deserving such a horrible fate.  He means Shireen as his heir, and he has no other. 

But what about Shireen's other parent, Book Selyse? The R'hllor zealot, back at the Wall  with Mel (whom she worships)?  Who, unlike Stannis, is local to Shireen?  That might be another matter...

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8 hours ago, alienarea said:

Most "realistic" book scenario for me is that Melisandre takes the pink letter for real and assumes Stannis is dead. She then has a vision that Shireen needs to get sacrificed to revive the true king, and Selyse agrees to it. But instead of Stannis Jon Snow rises.

Interesting, I never thought of that scenario.  Another possibility is that her ritual to raise Stannis gets hijacked, perhaps by Val and Tormund with an assist from Morna the warrior witch (and shadowbinder?).

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11 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:
23 hours ago, JNR said:

For instance: I find it remarkably unlikely that Book Stannis has a single thing to do with Book Shireen's death (assuming she dies in TWOW).   From both character and logistical standpoints it just seems very doubtful to me.

I agree.  I think it's much more likely that the decision to burn Shireen will come from Mel with Queen Selyse being the fanatic that agrees to it.

I think that Mel's strong desire to burn Edric Storm would transfer easily to Shireen.  Both characters combine the bloodlines of the Storm Kings and the Gardner Kings. 

There is certainly a strong vibe in the book to relate Edric Storm and Shireen as similar, a unit, as cousin's, etc., it's actually mentioned several times in the text, and it is both Targaryen-flavored-Baratheon blood and Florent blood that they share. I still have no feeling one way or another if Stannis will be involved, but it makes sense that the creepily devout Selyse will give Mel the okay to put Shireen on a pyre. However, if Stannis does lose at Winterfell, which was mentioned up-thread, and loses most of his army, he might become desperate.  I am not sure if the act will be completed, and honestly, I think Shireen's greyscale might play a role in the outcome. 

The greyscale would be one major difference between Shireen and Edric and it might play a role in what happen's after any fire is set. Val certainly seems worried about it, and while I don't really trust Val's motives any more than Mel's, I don't think she is superstitious. So the grey scale perhaps will have something to do with the stone dragon. The first time we meet Shireen it's around the stone dragon's of Dragonstone and her "stone"-scaled face is noted by Cressen. Shireen also has dreams of dragons wanting to eat her (perhaps similar to Dany's dreams of dragons chasing and burning her). Shireen is 10 and (as was mentioned in the last heresy thread) Shireen is called "a summer child" directly in the text. She seems like a pretty important cog in the wheel!

8 hours ago, alienarea said:

Most "realistic" book scenario for me is that Melisandre takes the pink letter for real and assumes Stannis is dead. She then has a vision that Shireen needs to get sacrificed to revive the true king, and Selyse agrees to it. But instead of Stannis Jon Snow rises.

Something like this could certainly work. And that would give the option of Stannis still being alive, and quite vengeful toward Mel when he hears what she did to his child. Although, the books don't really promote Stannis as having any relationship with his child. But this places Jon in a position of being raised by fire, and while my stance is firmly that Jon will not need to be resurrected, if he does, powers of ice (ice, the north, the wolves) make more sense for Jon's story, at least to me. Although it can't be ignored that Jon did use fire as his major weapon against Othor, but that was when all other weapons had failed him.

As to whether Stannis might be involved in the burning of Shireen, I lean toward it just a bit. He will either be a part of it and it will haunt him, or he will not be a part of it, and seek vengeance for the act. I could be wrong, but I think the only time that we see Stannis, Selyse and Shireen as a family unit is near the end of Storm when they are praying at a night fire on Dragonstone. This is the same chapter that Davos get's Edric away from Dragonstone, which could be a set up for Shireen being the replacement for Edric. Now, the text give us this:

Quote

"Lord of Light, defend us. The night is dark and full of terrors." Queen Selyse led the responses, her pinched face full of fervor. King Stannis stood beside her, jaw clenched hard, the points of his red-gold crown shimmering whenever he moved his head. He is with them, but not of them, Davos thought. Princess Shireen was between them, the mottled grey patches on her face and neck almost black in the firelight. ASOS-Davos VI

Selyse, full of ferver. Stannis beside her but "not of them". Shireen was between them. So, do they chose to sacrifice her together? Or will the decision divide them? Or will be it be something in the middle, with Selyse more willing and Stannis mentally removing himself from what he is going to witness?

Or does our clue come from the first time we meet Stannis and Selyse, when Davos watches them watch the fire burn the seven gods at Dragonstone, when Stannis marches into the flames with his oven mitt on to pull a staged sword from a burning idol. Shireen does not seem to be a part of Selyse and Stannis' family unit in this example (she is not mentioned in the text although Patchface is there, and he doesn't seem to be far from where Shireen is), which could indicate that it will be the both of them watching her burn. But perhaps we will see Stannis this time (sans oven mitt) march into the flames to try to attempt to pull Shireen out of the flames? I really don't know, but there seems to be a lot of potential symbolism in these scenes.

 

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

But what about Shireen's other parent, Book Selyse? The R'hllor zealot, back at the Wall  with Mel (whom she worships)?  Who, unlike Stannis, is local to Shireen?  That might be another matter...

I agree that if Shireen ends up on the barbie it will be Mad Selyse of the hairy lip who places her there rather than Stannis. I really don't see Stannis doing that, especially as he has made it clear [in the book at least] that he is his own man - not Mel's.

However, I do have a caveat about the whole burning scenario. Shireen has Greyscale - a realisation that gave Val the screaming ab dabs and suggests a connection with GRRM's prediction that disease is going to figure heavily in the story to come

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:
3 hours ago, Tucu said:

I think GRRM is going to do something similar to Death of Superman/Reign of the Supermen. He setup multiple resurrection paths: fire wight, coldhand-type wight, second life in ghost, second life in Alys/Cregan or WW.  We might get multiple suspects and a final merge.

I agree. we can be confident from GRRM's remarks quoted at the beginning of this thread that Jon will continue to have a significant role in the story, but given the build up I'm not looking any more for a non-fatal wounding, but rather some kind of resurrection and that resurrection won't be simple and straightforward. GRRM has already warned us by example that whatever the mechanism it will have serious consequences.

It's possible the books will give us only hint of a resurrection for Jon. That we will never know for certain if it happened or not. It's possible that Bran died when he fell, went into his wolf and was revived as a different version of himself. And Arya  might have died (there could be a couple instances) but I lean toward her drinking from the fountain in the HobaW, possible time in Nymeria, and a revival as a slightly different version of herself. But the text only hints at this, and if Jon does die from this stabbing, then I speculate the text will give us something very ambiguous. We will never be certain that is what happened.

Honestly, that might have happened with Robb too. He is shot three times with arrow's (one through his chest) and goes down. Then he pop's' back up like a Jack-in-a-Box (really, he struggles to his knees, but...) before being stabbed in the heart. It's possible that it is the warg bond that kept them all alive consciously, if even for a couple minutes. It would be interesting to see how Robb might have acted had he walked out of Left Twin after the arrow wounds. Would he have been a slightly different version of himself, dead for a time and then changed as he reenter's his own body, with people never aware that he had actually died? "You Starks are hard to kill" is mentioned early in the text, twice. Something in their lineage, perhaps its the warg-blood, the possible "other" blood, but something makes it difficult for them to die. Oh, it can be done of course, but perhaps it's not so easy to "keep" them dead.

"You Starks are hard to kill" is actually used first in the text with Jon telling this to Robb after a visit with Bran. If that isn't some foreshadowing for the power of the sons of Winterfell, I don't know what else it is. (Heck, this could even apply to Theon as a "son" of Winterfell) The second time we hear that phrase is from Tyrion who is looking at a crippled Bran carried by Hodor and Robb saying "You Lannisters had best remember that". The Lannisters don't believe in that, but Roose Bolton probably does. Of course, Jon is a Stark even if he doesn't have the name, so the irony of him saying this could indeed hint at his own death and resurrection (even if it's on the down low).

And if we have some Starks that have died and come back (secretly), that could tie them to the imagery of the Stranger walking the land, which Arya certainly has, Bran has a bit off, and then Jon also. Honestly, even Rickon seems destined to play this creepy face of death role at times, although as far as we know, he is alive and well, but his story line is very unclear currently. Ned's spirit seems to live on in the tree's, and he might be more vindictive in death than it seems he was in life. In this way, I think if Sansa dies, then she will truly be dead, because she lost her wolf. If Sansa dies in the text, I don't think there will be any hope of return for her.

It will certainly not be like the show version of "oops, I'm dead" but then "after a hair cut and a bath, I'm alive" and then nobody ever talks about it again! I think the only way it ever rolls under the radar like this is if no one would know that Jon died. Which means it's not obvious or it's kept hidden, and if the death is hidden, that concept could not last for long, I don't think.

 

1 hour ago, JNR said:
21 hours ago, Matthew. said:

in the absence of Stannis' involvement, it becomes less clear as to why this particular plot point is one of the ones that generates a strong reaction from D&D in the room, why it has a particular weight for them

An innocent little girl is burned alive, and that draws no reaction unless Stannis was involved, really? 

Yes, it should raise a strong reaction in fans, regardless of who is involved. But I can still go either way on book Stannis being involved or not! He doesn't quite understand what happened, but he crossed an important line with Renly's death. What if Mel glamours Shireen to appear to be someone else (like Mance Rattleshirt) and Stannis doesn't realize the sacrifice that he has made? We know Stannis is not afraid to burn people, even if he is uncomfortable with it. And Melisandre is quite willing to manipulate to follow the path that she believes is important.

 

1 hour ago, JNR said:

He doesn't burn people just to get ahead in the world.  As with the shadow assassin, sent to Renly because he saw Renly as a traitor, burning is for Stannis a form of punishment for treason, cannibalism, etc. 

...

Uh huh.  There's no way, IMO, that Book Stannis is going to see his little daughter Shireen as deserving such a horrible fate.  He means Shireen as his heir, and he has no other. 

Well, Edric Storm would have done nothing to deserve being burned but the text implies that Stannis was going to give the boy to Mel for her flames. 

Quote

 

"I know his name. Was there ever a name so apt? It proclaims his bastardy, his high birth, and the turmoil he brings with him. Edric Storm. There, I have said it. Are you satisfied, my lord Hand?"

"Edric—" he started.
 
"—is one boy! He may be the best boy who ever drew breath and it would not matter. My duty is to the realm." His hand swept across the Painted Table. "How many boys dwell in Westeros? How many girls? How many men, how many women? The darkness will devour them all, she says. The night that never ends. She talks of prophecies . . . a hero reborn in the sea, living dragons hatched from dead stone . . . she speaks of signs and swears they point to me. I never asked for this, no more than I asked to be king. Yet dare I disregard her?" He ground his teeth. "We do not choose our destinies. Yet we must . . . we must do our duty, no? Great or small, we must do our duty. Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer raised on high. Lightbringer!" Stannis gave a derisive snort. "It glimmers prettily, I'll grant you, but on the Blackwater this magic sword served me no better than any common steel. A dragon would have turned that battle. Aegon once stood here as I do, looking down on this table. Do you think we would name him Aegon the Conqueror today if he had not had dragons?"
 
"Your Grace," said Davos, "the cost . . ."
 
"I know the cost! Last night, gazing into that hearth, I saw things in the flames as well. I saw a king, a crown of fire on his brows, burning . . . burning, Davos. His own crown consumed his flesh and turned him into ash. Do you think I need Melisandre to tell me what that means? Or you?" The king moved, so his shadow fell upon King's Landing. "If Joffrey should die . . . what is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?"
 
"Everything," said Davos, softly.   ASOS-Davos V

 

 

This passage seems to indicate that Edric Storm was innocent of any wrong doing, might even have been the best boy in the world, but Stannis was willing to give him to Mel. It is obviously not an easy decision for Stannis. It troubles him. I see no reason that he might not make this incredibly hard decision with Shireen, just as he probably would have with Edric. And the terrible irony for Davos is that he rescued Edric and then ultimately caused Shireen to be the sacrifice that Stannis is willing to burn. 

Although, I do question that Stannis might regret his decision and plunge into the flames to try to rescue Shireen. The underlined part of the passage from above indicates that Stannis sees a king with a crown of fire who burns and was turned into ash. Stannis is our only king wearing a crown with flames. Has he seen his own death? Will Stannis die in the flames of Mel/R'hller's fire? Does he die in Shireen's place? Either that or Mel's quest for Stannis will consume all he was and turn it into ash!

 

 

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I'm not sure how relevant it is any more. Once upon a time the mummers version did, arguably, provide spoilers and we miserable heretics used to get smug when certain things we had prophesied came to pass, but latterly it has diverged so far from the books and what the books are about, that nothing in the mummers' show can be accepted as real.

Where we are now is working on the text and defying the mummers' version

I believe I can tell easily which ideas came from BW and which came from GRRM.  Along with GRRM saying he knew from the start how the series would end, there are still spoilers. 

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20 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I believe I can tell easily which ideas came from BW and which came from GRRM.  Along with GRRM saying he knew from the start how the series would end, there are still spoilers. 

I'm fairly confused by a lot of this. Example: Arya and her current show location is prob. from GRRM. There are hints and connections in the book. And links. Based on the books we have made a theory how it will unfold, with my fantasy at the end that Arya will pose as fake Arya and revenge Jeyne Pool.

And then there is the show that did not even butcher it, it wrote Jeyne out of existence. So far, so bad. But we have book connections and can unknot all the fake Jon, Sansa, Dany and so on actions.

And then there is Jon Snow or Dany. Characters that even change their personality from season to season. Remember how Dany wanted to

Spoiler

"break the wheel" only to later go full monarch.

I am still confused by it. Is this now GRRM or D&D ? Did they pick up that one homage line and made it a Dany opinion ? Or has GRRM different plans ? Aligning with the council of 101 and the inheritance rules ? And how is a female character

Spoiler

even on the Iron Throne

? Is this now GRRM or D&D ?

 

Edited by SirArthur

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19 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

 

  Hide contents

"break the wheel" only to later go full monarch.

 

  Hide contents

even on the Iron Throne

? Is this now GRRM or D&D ?

 

Oh, its very easy. If its in ADwD or its predecessors then its by GRRM, otherwise unless GRRM tells us different its by the mummers

Edited by Black Crow

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2 hours ago, JNR said:

Link, please.

For, one there's this:
https://www.ew.com/article/2016/05/24/george-rr-martin-3-twists-game-thrones/

Which you have previously cited in relation to the theoretical third twist; again, we can go down the road that maybe the interview has poorly paraphrasing them, or maybe they're lying, but the phrasing of the second part (Hodor) is consistent with their elaboration in other interviews about the twist (eg, that GRRM has been sitting on the Hodor thing for 20+ years).

Like, this isn't a black and white thing where I'm declaring the opposite point of view - that D&D have spoken truthfully and accurately, and that the show unquestionably depicts a bunch of plot points from GRRM -, I'm keeping an open mind to what they've said, and to the broader context of the meeting itself, a week long, "character by character" assessment, an addressing of end point goals.

I'm moderating my expectations for future volumes, for some of the plot developments that I don't like but may come to pass (eg, the potential of Greensight), and for the possibility that the badness of the show does not just reflect showrunner incompetence and an author that has withheld a great deal, but that it reflects an author with truly limited guidance to provide, even if this week long meeting were largely held in good faith--that he was writing TWOW at the time, and is now, five years later, still writing struggling with his own story, is suggestive of how much help he can truly provide for them in shaping their own story. 

 

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4 hours ago, JNR said:

I mean that there's no very good reason to think Stannis would reverse his character and outlook as the canon clearly establishes it.  He is constantly described, particularly by Davos, as hard but fair.

He doesn't burn people just to get ahead in the world.  As with the shadow assassin, sent to Renly because he saw Renly as a traitor, burning is for Stannis a form of punishment for treason, cannibalism, etc. 

I have some thoughts on the bolded--for one, I'm not sure that Stannis burning people for what he personally deems "deserving reasons" necessarily says great things about his character trajectory, and most significantly, the Edric Storm dilemma is the elephant in the room with interpreting Stannis.

I have a different take on Stannis, on his respect for law and tradition, his hard, fair, and just nature, and his unyielding tenacity.

These are all defining qualities, fundamental to what people think of Stannis, what some characters like about him, what some characters despise about him--and they're heavily informed by the man he was, the Stannis that withstood siege at Storm's End, and both punished and elevated Davos.

Stannis, in the present, is a man that has spent years stewing in resentment over the perceived slight of being made Lord of Dragonstone instead of Storm's End, resentment over what is rightfully his (which has now expanded to the Iron Throne), and in the midst of all of this, the toxic influence of Melisandre has begun to exert itself.

Cressen's prologue is a tone setter for Stannis arc, and the tone is "all's not well in Dragonstone;" we see a maester willing to take an extraordinary step, a healer (among other things) attempting assassination out of concern for Stannis, his "sad sullen boy," the "son he never had."

The most explicit moment regarding Stannis' decline is when Selyse and Melisandre suggest Cressen wear Patchface's fool's helm, and Stannis orders Cressen's humiliation:

Quote

"Yes," Lady Selyse agreed. "Patches's helm. It suits you well, old man. Put it on again, I command you."

Lord Stannis's eyes were shadowed beneath his heavy brow, his mouth tight as his jaw worked silently. He always ground his teeth when he was angry. "Fool," he growled at last, "my lady wife commands. Give Cressen your helm."

No, the old maester thought, this is not you, not your way, you were always just, always hard yet never cruel, never, you did not understand mockery, no more than you understood laughter.


"This is not you, not your way." Eventually, Stannis stops the humiliation--eventually. But the implication here is clear: before the years spent on Dragonstone, before Melisandre, Stannis would have never permitted this cruelty in the first place.

I'm not saying we're looking at a character that has pulled a full 180, I'm arguing that we're looking at a character in conflict, a character whose longstanding values are being compromised. 

Burning statues of the seven, burning people, leaving his marriage bed to sleep with Melisandre, interfering in the affairs of the Night's Watch and attempting to politicize them, seriously considering human sacrifice with Edric Storm--these are all things we might assume would have been non-starters for Old Stannis. Now? How far he'd go to get the Iron Throne, how thoroughly he believes in R'hllors power, these are open questions, questions Stannis himself struggles with, that define his character arc and internal conflict.

A man who is having a utilitarian debate with Davos over what his nephew's life is worth is no longer a man that is operating with a clear, rigid sense of right and wrong, an unwavering devotion to law.

Implicit in Davos' choice to smuggle Edric Storm away from Stannis is an insight into what Davos is seeing in the man that he respects, the man to whom he owes his status: he's no longer sure that he can trust Stannis to make the right choice, that Stannis is not beyond temptation.

Edited by Matthew.

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