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most tragic character

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3 hours ago, Karlshammar said:

Agreed, I think Theon is the most tragic character. It's easy to forget who he was and think of the show character, who was kind of a goofy guy who then turned mean, got tortured a bit, and then released but looks mostly physically unharmed (we know what you can't see when he's fully dressed, though).

Book Theon was torn from his family as a little boy, and taken to the lands of the ancestral enemies of his people, to serve as a hostage to be executed if his father dared raise his hand again.

Despite this he prospers, becomes good friends and trusted advisor to the sons of his holder, an attractive young man, master archer, socially skilled, in many ways an example of prime young manhood. Later on he's at a crossroads: choose to serve as a close confidant of the King in the North, or become a prince and later king of his homeland?

He chose the second, but due to the psychological trauma of his early childhood experiences and his father's rejection, tries to prove himself in foolish ways. He ends up falling into the hands of the worst psychopath in Westeros, and his life turns into torture hell. Castrated, teeth shattered, digits flayed and cut off, absolute terror. This Theon's wounds are clearly visible from the outside: his own sister can't even recognize him any more, his hair has gone white, he looks like an old man, can barely eat due to his shattered teeth, has to wear special gloves not to make his missing fingers obvious. One of the last things he hears before he finally manages to escape is that Ramsay is going to cut off his lips as well.

He's the character in the novels I think has suffered the most and survived, and is an absolute ruin of a human being. Considering how he was before he invaded Winterfell, he didn't just fall deep: he fell far, from high above.

I agree. Theon is certainly my second most tragic character after cat. Its just that i was invested in catelyn’s story right from the beginning.

But with theon only in the far end of DOD i was fully beginning to appreciate and sympathize with this unfortunate young man. 

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Most of the POVs can be said to have tragic arcs. Dany was born and raised in exile by an abusive brother before being sold and subsequently losing her husband and unborn child. The Stark kids lost everything and were cast adrift. But I agree with Cat being the most tragic. 

From the more minor characters probably Lady Horwood is the most tragic. 

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On 11/2/2018 at 1:08 PM, Valyrian Lance said:

No votes for Cersei yet. She was a lot easier to hate before the asspull that was her run-in with Maggy the Frog being revealed.

I actually gained less sympathy for her after that. Now, who knows how much of her concern for her children is over their own fate vs. bringing her own downfall that much closer?

Plus, the prophecy as written has given her ample opportunities to thwart it. For example, she could not be Queen, she could have chosen to have another child, etc. However, her own ambition and hubris makes this the classic literary self-fulfilling prophecy.

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It's no contest.  Jon Snow is the most tragic character and it is very much self-inflicted.  Here he is a bastard given the chance to rise up in the Night's Watch.  His Night's Watch brothers gave him an opportunity to rise that the Starks never would have.  They treated him like an equal.  He was given the chance to defend the realm.  But he blew it when he could not maintain objectivity.  He was so prejudiced against the enemies of the Starks that his decisions became so compromised.  He killed a popular member of the watch for a minor offense.  Then he lets the biggest criminal in the history of the order to go unpunished because he needed that person to commit an act of treason.  It was treason alright, because Mance Rayder is still a member of the Night's Watch.  It was treason committed by Jon to get his sister away from Ramsay Bolton.  Even more tragic because the girl wasn't his sister.  His actions threw the Night's Watch into chaos and left a good man like Bowen Marsh no choice but to kill him to avoid further damage to the order and the realm.  Jon even lied to himself, saying he would not order any of his brothers to commit treason.  He most surely did.  He ordered Mance Rayder to bring his sister to him.  As I said, Mance is a brother of the Night's Watch.  Mance committed the violation of guest rights and probably on orders from Jon.  The mess it will cause at the wall is something the watch doesn't need at this time.  

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Tyrion.

 

He experienced serious childhood trauma via Tywin forcing him to rape his wife. He represses this and tries to repent it with compassion towards whores, bastards, cripples, and broken things. Then he finds out that not only did he rape his wife but that she was innocent of even the accusation that placed her in Tywin's wrath. Her only crime was loving Tyrion.

 

He now feels betrayed by Jaime, the one person he ever felt like accepted him for who he was. Going to exact his revenge against his father, he sees that not only did Shae betray him for the promises that Cersei made her, she was even sleeping with his father. He becomes a kinslayer, accused of being a kingslayer.

He sinks lower than ever before. When in Essos he not only becomes suicidal but becomes abusive towards the type of people that he would have once thought of with pity at the least. He becomes the monster that people have expected him to be.

He convinces himself that no one could love him because he is a dwarf. When the truth is that he wouldn't allow himself the chance at love because of the feelings he has suppressed around his trauma. When Penny comes along and essentially does express love to him, he rejects it and projects his own self revulsion onto her.

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What a woeful existence these miserable people live! 

Indeed most of the POV characters have suffered greatly throughout the story- physically, emotionally, losing body parts, losing children, losing faith. 

The only distinction I can offer to who has suffered most would be choosing a victim rather than one whose decisions caused their suffering. 

So, maybe Jeyne Poole is the most tragic. Literally did nothing to deserve the abuse she's endured. She just happened to be from the North when shit went south. 

Catelyn, Theon, Tyrion, even Ned all made poor choices that resulted in tragedy. 

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Agree with most of these already mentioned. Also a shout out to Jon Connington. Exiled for making a (relatively) honorable decision. Had the prince he loved perish. Gained a position of power but tricked into abandoning it, taking further smears upon his honour, and giving the rest of his life to fight for a false cause. And now he is dying of Greyscale because he felt obliged to fish someone he disliked out of a poisoned river who is likely to plot against him in the future.

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My vote goes to Cersei. She lived all her life knowing that she will outlive her children and now this starts happening. She had an abusive husband who cheated her and never loved her. She tries to rule in a male society.plus she is not responsible for what happens to her or her children or house lannister (red wedding,ned's execution,bran's fall,killing of Rhaegar's children).

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Theon had a destiny that is worse than death, he saw everything that he hold dear to him striped or destroyed, and he is the cause of it. He was never a Stark and he was rejected by his family, he does not seems to belong anywhere. Even when he pulls of some major victory he is mocked by his sister and left to die, his father prayed for his death. 

Robb for me is more tragic than Catelyn, he was forced into a position too early, and Catelyn that should be his advicer pretty much left him alone, first staying closed doors with Bran and then by leaving for King's Landing, she also pretty much forces Jon out of winterfell in the moment that Robb may have needed him the most, and then started the war , he is forced into war, where he has to face the most ruthless lord in the kingdom and he wins... only to get his father executed, his family instead of helping him becomes a bigger trouble, with Edmure screwing everything up because of glory, Catelyn going nuts and releasing Jaime. His best friend as far as he knows killed his brothers and torched his castle, he belives Arya is dead. Even when he tries to marry for love he gets killed in the most brutal event in the books so far, and he may even had died twice.

 

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Surprised no one mentioned Loly Stockworth, the woman who seems to be mentally challenged, has been raped dozens of times by different men, got pregnant with one of her’s rapists baby, and who now is married to a sociopathic killer who killed her father, probably her grandmother, and who would kill her son as to eliminate a threat to his own lineage.

I would say the most tragic character however is Robb Stark. He’s tragic in that his overwelming need for vegence threatened/did destroy anyone who cared about him and even his house

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For me it is Tyrion

 

All he wants is love for the most part.  He had it with Tysha, and it sounded sweet and perfect... only for it to end in complete humilation, thinking it was just a whore jaime paid to make him a man.  

 

Then you get to see him in the process of fooling himself into thinking Shae really loved him.  As the reader you even find yourself wondering how Shae is feeling. fool. fool fool

 

He does everything right.  He tries to throw the people of Kings Landing a bone and tries to gentle the king's actions, and they hate him the most mainly due to his appearance.  He protects Sansa genuinely, and even she can't stand him (later) and never trusts him.

 

He basically saves the city and castle, including leading a sortie on his own, only to be cut down by Mandon Moore.  Anyone else would get songs.  He got basically put in a forced coma while everything was taken from him.  In the process, he was disfigured.  Then he finds out he gets almost no credit for any of it, and furthermore, his father (who he looks up to almost as much as his brother) scolds him for it and basically calls him a creature he wants to disown.

 

Gets framed for killing that little monster Joffrey, including having Shae brought out and levying yet another crushing blow to his person.

 

And later, he finds out Tysha was legit.

Edited by Mordant Jester

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On 11/2/2018 at 7:05 PM, Wm Portnoy said:

Ser Eustace Osgrey.  When the higher lords start playing their game, the lesser lords are forced to take sides and join in.  Like as not, it's the little guys who do the most bleeding.  He lost his sons and his property because he supported the wrong side.  He had to choose.  Just as Walder Frey and Roose Bolton had to choose.  It's bad when your jack ass of a lord paramount decide to rebel against his king and drags you along.   Roose Bolton had no quarrel with the Lannisters and he got dragged into another Stark fuckup.  Roose Bolton is hard to blame for sparing his own men at the expense of the other nutters who loyally followed their rebel lord.   

"Don't make me rue the day I raped your mother"- Roose Bolton

 Our tragic hero ladies and gentlemen

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On 11/2/2018 at 10:25 AM, zandru said:

I think Jeyne (aka "Arya")'s story still has a long ways to go. I also agree that it's a tragic, sad arc so far. The theory that the Night's Watch (whoever is Lord Commander now) could send her to relative safety in Braavos is intriguing, because if this happens, she could run into No One, the real Arya Stark.

Jeyne might be depressed enough to visit the House of Black & White. This could be one way Jeyne might run into Arya, for example. Or perhaps Cat of the Canals could encounter her.

If Arya were to learn the story of Jon's apparent assassination, the takeover of Winterfell by the Boltons, how the Brotherhood w/o Banners is mopping up the Freys for their actions in the Red Wedding -- well, maybe it could inspire Arya to revert back to Arya Stark and head back to Westeros. Or -- even more interestingly, it could inspire her to direct Nymeria to act on her behalf, remotely. If Bran can pop out of weirwood trees all over the 7 Kingdoms and operate birds, Arya is probably capable of guiding Nymeria's actions from Essos.

 

Bump

I really like this theory.  Arya needs to come back to Westeros prematurely, and there aren't many reasons why she would do that.  We know GRRM intended her to train at the FM for 5 years, but since he didn't go that route Arya needs to leave the FM sooner, but with enough training that she could use her new skills.  We know that Jon is Arya's closest sibling and she may even love him the most.  She connects with him the most.  If Jeyne would inform her that her brother Jon was murdered by his own brothers of the Night's Watch she may go there to extract her revenge.

I don't think discovering the Bolton's have Winterfell would be reason enough to leave.  I think she may already know about it, but even if she didn't I still think it won't be reason enough.  But her favorite and closest brother dying, who she believes is also her only remaining sibling still alive (excluding Sansa) and the manner of his death, may be the very push she needs to leave Braavos.  

Very good theory.

 

As for the OP - I think Catelyn may be the most tragic figure mainly because what she experienced.  She believes all of her kids are dead, minus Sansa, she lost Ned, her family has been betrayed and uprooted, her father had passed, her brother taken captive.  A lot of bad things happened to her.  Theon's is pretty bad too, but he brought a lot of it on himself.

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On 11/7/2018 at 4:26 PM, Widowmaker 811 said:

It's no contest.  Jon Snow is the most tragic character and it is very much self-inflicted.  Here he is a bastard given the chance to rise up in the Night's Watch.  His Night's Watch brothers gave him an opportunity to rise that the Starks never would have.  They treated him like an equal.  He was given the chance to defend the realm.  But he blew it when he could not maintain objectivity.  He was so prejudiced against the enemies of the Starks that his decisions became so compromised.  He killed a popular member of the watch for a minor offense.  Then he lets the biggest criminal in the history of the order to go unpunished because he needed that person to commit an act of treason.  It was treason alright, because Mance Rayder is still a member of the Night's Watch.  It was treason committed by Jon to get his sister away from Ramsay Bolton.  Even more tragic because the girl wasn't his sister.  His actions threw the Night's Watch into chaos and left a good man like Bowen Marsh no choice but to kill him to avoid further damage to the order and the realm.  Jon even lied to himself, saying he would not order any of his brothers to commit treason.  He most surely did.  He ordered Mance Rayder to bring his sister to him.  As I said, Mance is a brother of the Night's Watch.  Mance committed the violation of guest rights and probably on orders from Jon.  The mess it will cause at the wall is something the watch doesn't need at this time.  

I agree with everything said here.  But Theon has the edge in this contest.  Theon is more tragic than Jon.  It's close though.   

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On 11/21/2018 at 5:25 PM, Sigella said:

Maybe maester Aemon, spending his life in the grimness  of the NW and then an eat-away-at-your-soul kind of sad death to boot.

Not really.  He would prefer that kind of life to the responsibilities of ruling.  He's a bookish guy who needed to stay away from politics.  

The only thing sad about his death is that he never got a chance to meet Daenerys Targaryen.  He died peacefully and non-violently.  That's good in this story.  He died of natural causes.  Old age.

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On 11/8/2018 at 12:26 AM, Widowmaker 811 said:

It's no contest.  Jon Snow is the most tragic character and it is very much self-inflicted.  Here he is a bastard given the chance to rise up in the Night's Watch.  His Night's Watch brothers gave him an opportunity to rise that the Starks never would have.  They treated him like an equal.  He was given the chance to defend the realm.  But he blew it when he could not maintain objectivity.  He was so prejudiced against the enemies of the Starks that his decisions became so compromised.  He killed a popular member of the watch for a minor offense.  Then he lets the biggest criminal in the history of the order to go unpunished because he needed that person to commit an act of treason.  It was treason alright, because Mance Rayder is still a member of the Night's Watch.  It was treason committed by Jon to get his sister away from Ramsay Bolton.  Even more tragic because the girl wasn't his sister.  His actions threw the Night's Watch into chaos and left a good man like Bowen Marsh no choice but to kill him to avoid further damage to the order and the realm.  Jon even lied to himself, saying he would not order any of his brothers to commit treason.  He most surely did.  He ordered Mance Rayder to bring his sister to him.  As I said, Mance is a brother of the Night's Watch.  Mance committed the violation of guest rights and probably on orders from Jon.  The mess it will cause at the wall is something the watch doesn't need at this time.  

You lost me at killing a popular member of the watch. It's not like Jon killed Maester Aemon himself, he died on the road.

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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