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Lord Varys

[SPOILERS] Jaehaerys and Alysanne

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26 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

which is otherwise known as fridging.

"Fridging", a phrase from comics, is the idea of female characters only having value when they are killed off to provide cheap motivation or turmoil for male characters.

That has no relevance whatsoever to what George does. Yes, women often die in childbirth in his work. I'm certainly not prepared to suggest that their mortality is higher or lower than that seen in the Middle Ages, but the idea that the maesters specifically must be way better at it is clearly wrong -- childbirth-related deaths did not really begin to substantially fall until the 1800s, and the maesters clearly are not 19th century doctors. They do not have the germ theory of disease, and speak of "humors" in the air. They are somewhat better than their medieval counterparts -- but not a _lot_ better, and specifically have not climbed out of the long plateau that existed in the medical sciences until germs were understood and fully accepted.

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Sorry. Got my terms mixed up. Having said that I stand by my view that Alyssa Targaryen's death is a symptom of GRRM's occassional habit of disregarding female characters. (See "Lady Stark" for an example.)

Anyway, that line can be found on the first page of Heirs of the Dragon.

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And for the record the Maesters have a working theory of antiseptics (vinegar, boiling wine, etc.) as well as a working theory of antibiotics (bread mould) on top of the fact that they disinfect surgical equipment and cauterize wounds.

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1 minute ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry. Got my terms mixed up. Having said that I stand by my view that Alyssa Targaryen's death is a symptom of GRRM's occassional habit of disregarding female characters. (See "Lady Stark" for an example.)

Anyway, that line can be found on the first page of Heirs of the Dragon.

I don't understand why you came up with this idea. She was way too old for pregnancy. It's shouldn't be a big surprise that she died during childbirth.

I wouldn't blame Rogar for impregnating her, as this is considered normal in Middle Ages and Alyssa could object to further intercourse, but choosing to save child instead of his wife was stupid idea. He already had a child with her and arguably adult woman's life is more important than life of yet unborn child.

From my history knowledge, in Middle Ages noble preffered to save their wives instead of unborn children when they had a choice (as they could get children later anyway). But considering Rogar's personality it's not big surprise. He was sort of Robert Baratheon taken to the extreme.

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28 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry. Got my terms mixed up. Having said that I stand by my view that Alyssa Targaryen's death is a symptom of GRRM's occassional habit of disregarding female characters. (See "Lady Stark" for an example.)

Anyway, that line can be found on the first page of Heirs of the Dragon.

 

15 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

I don't understand why you came up with this idea. She was way too old for pregnancy. It's shouldn't be a big surprise that she died during childbirth.

I wouldn't blame Rogar for impregnating her, as this is considered normal in Middle Ages and Alyssa could object to further intercourse, but choosing to save child instead of his wife was stupid idea. He already had a child with her and arguably adult woman's life is more important than life of yet unborn child.

From my history knowledge, in Middle Ages noble preffered to save their wives instead of unborn children when they had a choice (as they could get children later anyway). But considering Rogar's personality it's not big surprise. He was sort of Robert Baratheon taken to the extreme.

 

10 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Paxter Redwyne

You're thinking of Alyssa Velaryon.

 

6 minutes ago, Paxter Redwyne said:

I have quoted your post about Alyssa.

 

3 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

Sorry but I don't get your point?

You talked about Alyssa in that post and I responded to that by talking about Alyssa. What do you not understand?

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20 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

And for the record the Maesters have a working theory of antiseptics (vinegar, boiling wine, etc.) as well as a working theory of antibiotics (bread mould) on top of the fact that they disinfect surgical equipment and cauterize wounds.

Bread mould was also used by the ancient Egyptians. Antiseptics are recorded by the Sumerians, and the Greek Galen. They did not really understand why these things sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, they didn't understand how rigorous usage should be, nor the fact that cleaning instruments did very little if you didn't have rigorous protocols regarding washing your hands and not touching contaminated objects.

The maesters are only a little bit better than medieval doctors, for the most part, and they are certainly not at the late 19th century area of things which is when maternal mortality really began to fall.

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Just now, Ran said:

 I'm certainly not prepared to suggest that their mortality is higher or lower than that seen in the Middle Ages, but the idea that the maesters specifically must be way better at it is clearly wrong -- childbirth-related deaths did not really begin to substantially fall until the 1800s, and the maesters clearly are not 19th century doctors.

Except that maesters are very much like the better medical doctors in the second half of 19th century: i.e. they know to wash their hands and to desinfect their instruments and bandages. They have had ample opportunity to learn anatomy by opening cadavers. They use plant medicines, but those that we actually know to have medicinal effects, like willow bark. Germ theory of disease didn't become universally accepted until the end of the 19th, begining of 20th century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiseptic

Particularly worth attention:  Ignaz Semmelweis and his findings re: puerperal fever and how they were rejected  and mocked by his contemporaries, who didn't like to wash hands. Yes, there were medieval physicians who also tried to desinfect wounds, but unfortunately their views never really got traction - whereas in ASoIaF it is a mainstream Citadel teaching. The maesters also base their technics on observation and experiments, rather than philosophy. Etc.

And also - if Targaryen blood does actually confer resistance to infectious diseases, both viral and bacterial - such as the bloody flux, and bonding to a dragon is supposed to enhance this effect, then it should also extend to childbed fever. It is illogical that it doesn't. Mind, there are other ways to die during childbirth, or indeed, pregnancy. Just plain uncontrollable bleeding, blood pressure spikes leading to convulsions, heart attack, embolism, etc. GRRM just needs to ease off "childbed fever", which wouldn't be nearly as common in the setting he created. For nobles, that is. And generally become more inventive where causes of death of his adult female characters are concerned: he grossly overuses "died in childbirth" and "died in fall from a horse" for them. 

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1 minute ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Paxter Redwyne

You were talking about Alyssa Velaryon. I was talking about Alyssa Targaryen.

Dammit, I have misunderstood you then. I thought you talked about Queen Alyssa Targaryen(Velaryon). I guess that's what happens when you give two characters with same name also same death.

Alyssa Targaryen(wife of Baelon) death was indeed a bit random.

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George has issues with proper presenting female characters like many male authors do. When he actually cares to invent a great character (say, Rhaena) it works very well, but when he just invents people he usually goes for males. Just think of the fact that the text very much implies Ned's mother is literally a non-existing person. Even Dorne doesn't have many ruling ladies, never mind the equal primogeniture thing, especially not in the ruling house. Why is Elia the dead woman and Doran and Oberyn the living men?

In case of the Targaryen women George first decided to make them insignificant by killing them (HotD is much older than the new Jaehaerys material) and then gave some of them a more or less interesting back story. Basically their corpse got some makeup for the funerals...

The family tree as it is is a huge letdown, anyway. Ten children of thirteen not dying in infancy and only four grandchildren is a joke. And there was no reason to keep the Targaryen family tree down to just two branches. The Dance could have cut it back to size. And what if some distant cousins through the female line had survived even the Dance? That wouldn't have been a problem.

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6 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@Paxter Redwyne

No problem!

@Ran

This blog post lays out one of my problemz and provides proof

An improvement on medieval medicine takes a massive leap to get to modern medicine. Again, they do not have Germany theory. They don't believe in contagion but rather understand things as miasma. Their understanding of antiseptics is better than that of their medieval counterparts, but is not rigorous enough, nor complete.

We can go around and around on this, but it's all quite clear. A master knows to wash his hands -- with what, and how thoroughly, and how often? Did she realize a glancing touch on a cup or bedding means he had to do it all over again? Etc. Etc. Etc.

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@Ran

I never said a massive leap but GRRM in that SSM explicitly stated that childbirth in Westeros isn't as bad as in the RL Middle Ages but the statistics born out by F & B, TWOIAF, and ASOIAF do not back up that statement. Just as GRRM's statement that sixteen is the age of majority doesn't hold up under scrutiny because Westerosi history is full of child-brides due to the bizarre fact girls are expected to be wed and bedded once they're flowered asap.

Again, read the link I posted. It explains some of the problematic aspects of GRRM's writing far more succinctly than I ever could.

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

Bread mould was also used by the ancient Egyptians. Antiseptics are recorded by the Sumerians, and the Greek Galen. They did not really understand why these things sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, they didn't understand how rigorous usage should be, nor the fact that cleaning instruments did very little if you didn't have rigorous protocols regarding washing your hands and not touching contaminated objects.

The maesters are only a little bit better than medieval doctors, for the most part, and they are certainly not at the late 19th century area of things which is when maternal mortality really began to fall.

Not exactly relavent but one reason of maternal death was doctors didn't 'wash their hands' after coming from the morgue. I'd Can't recall details and names right now but I think it was Joseph Lister who noticed it.

So much for medical history today.

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46 minutes ago, The Grey Wolf said:

@RanI never said a massive leap but GRRM in that SSM explicitly stated that childbirth in Westeros isn't as bad as in the RL Middle Ages

"Not as bad as in the Middle Ages" is not the same as "around modern levels".  Which is what George even explicitly says in the SSM. I'm actually disappointed when reading it, because basically there's some very wilful misconstruing going on to take issue with the maternal mortality rate in Westeros based on this:

 

Quote

Childbirth isn't quite the killer in Westeros that it was in medieval Europe in the real world, since Westeros has the maesters, who are a considerable improvement over medieval barber/surgeons... but the levels of mortality for both infant and mother would still be frighteningly high by modern standards. 

Emphasis mine.

Much ado about nothing, as far as the maester part of it goes. 

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