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Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

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10 hours ago, Arthur Peres said:

He also go out of his way to confront Lancel about sleeping with Cersei.

.He still tried to kill Blackfish after taking Riverrun.

He thinks about killing Tyrion.

If Jaime is in a redemption arc he is not doing it right.

"It was the white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around".

This sums up his self reflection, he still refuses to take responsability for what he did, but now he blames Cersei. Compare this with Theon arc and we can see what true regret is.

Of course he confronted Lancel for fucking sex w/ Cersei. be glad he didn't beat the shit out of him.

 

When did he try kill Brynden after taking Riverrun?

 

"he thinks about killing Tyrion" Are you going to accuse him of thought crimes? really dude?

 

Theon is broken. Jaime doesn't regret most of the things he's done, because he's had to make hard, necessary choices in circumstances (admittedly some created by himself) where it's difficult to ascertain a right answer. when he's saving as many lives as possible, stopping as much suffering as he can for the most people, he is working towards the common good.

 

Theon on the other hand had lots of choices and continually wove down the beaten path. lots of times he could have chosen to change his course of action, to needlessly save a life or otherwise. his regret is well earned. don't expect Jaime to agonize over making hard choices in bad situations, he does what needs to be done

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, lrresistable said:

Jaime doesn't regret most of the things he's done, because he's had to make hard, necessary choices in circumstances (admittedly some created by himself) where it's difficult to ascertain a right answer. when he's saving as many lives as possible, stopping as much suffering as he can for the most people, he is working towards the common good.

Well then.  If that's really the way it is, then he has no sins or crimes to repent, or be redeemed from.

I disagree with your assessment of Jaime's heroic justifications and innocence.  But either way, no redemption arc.

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12 hours ago, lrresistable said:

Theon is broken. Jaime doesn't regret most of the things he's done, because he's had to make hard, necessary choices in circumstances (admittedly some created by himself) where it's difficult to ascertain a right answer. when he's saving as many lives as possible, stopping as much suffering as he can for the most people, he is working towards the common good.

 

Theon on the other hand had lots of choices and continually wove down the beaten path. lots of times he could have chosen to change his course of action, to needlessly save a life or otherwise. his regret is well earned. don't expect Jaime to agonize over making hard choices in bad situations, he does what needs to be done

 

Theon feels real regreat. Jaime doesn't.

Jaime is not making any good, like Lluewhyn said, he still perpetuating injustice on the Riverlands in the name of his family all throughout that book.

If I were to belive for a second that he is saving lives, those are lives that he put on danger in the first place. This is him breaking someone legs and than giving them a crutch while pretending to be their savior.

He blames the white cloak for his mistakes, but the hard truth is that he used the white cloak for his own gains from the moment he made his vows, vows that include celibate and from the beggining he intended to break and be with his sister.

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On 12/20/2018 at 7:23 PM, Ambrose H said:

Is there a true protagonist or hero in Asoiaf? I'm not sure there is, because GRRM does a great job at showing his characters as human (which is perhaps why his universe is so wildly popular), flaws and all.

Up until when he kills his father in ASoS, Tyrion was my favorite "good guy" who I was absolutely rooting for. I still like him as a character, and he's still probably my favorite character for now, but he definitely lost some respect from me when he shot his father and strangled Shae. I understand why it was necessary in his eyes, but I think it could have been avoided, and definitely took him out of the running for protagonist in my book.

Another "hero" I loved (and still do) was Robb. Sadly, as is well known by now, he met an untimely end at the hands of the Freys. When he was alive, though, he was the figurehead for the North to rally behind.

Perhaps the most heroic character, Jon Snow definitely appeared incorruptible, up until he broke his vows. Again, I understand his motivations, but still. . .

My running theory is that there is no true protagonist, to which the surplus of narrating characters surely contributes, but I'm interested to hear the community's thoughts on this matter

 

-Ambrose

Isnt all the POVs technically protagonists?

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13 minutes ago, Sigella said:

Isnt all the POVs technically protagonists?

I dont think so. I mean, Chett? Its also hard to read Cersei and wish all her schemes come into fruition. 

I saw this play once to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. They were the lead characters and had by far the most screen time, but not for one second did I not think the protagonist and main character of the story was Hamlet.

 

To answer the OP.

Yes, asoiaf has a protagonist. Sansa

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14 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

I dont think so. I mean, Chett? Its also hard to read Cersei and wish all her schemes come into fruition. 

I saw this play once to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. They were the lead characters and had by far the most screen time, but not for one second did I not think the protagonist and main character of the story was Hamlet.

 

To answer the OP.

Yes, asoiaf has a protagonist. Sansa

You are right about prolouge- and epilouges, they not antagonists. I disagree with the rest, though. I think GRRM is toying with the protagonist/antagonist roles, always keeping us on our moral toes.

Ex. Your personal fave is Sansa - but for us who like Arya better Sansa comes off  antagonist. 

Jaime is early established antagonist from throwing Bran out the window but turns into something else when we get his POV. 

Dany might act and think totally altruistic but you will still find a tonne of posters that thinks she is evil incarnate.

The Stark/Frey nest of hornets :P 

Even though Cersei is an extremely volatile lady, I couldnt call her an antagonist after knowing her inner workings and relevant circumstances. If Cersei had been a ”better” person she might have lost her head a lot sooner.

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2 hours ago, Sigella said:

Isnt all the POVs technically protagonists?

Not really.  I tend to think that a protagonist is who the story is about.  In that respect, the main protagonists are the Stark and Lannister POVs, and Stannis (not a POV but a protagonist nonetheless).  The other POVs are essentially observers or supporting characters (or both, e.g. Davos and Samwell).

I expect that, in the end, the two most important characters will end up being Jon and Daenerys, but that is a guess at this point

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3 minutes ago, Nevets said:

Not really.  I tend to think that a protagonist is who the story is about.  In that respect, the main protagonists are the Stark and Lannister POVs, and Stannis (not a POV but a protagonist nonetheless).  The other POVs are essentially observers or supporting characters (or both, e.g. Davos and Samwell).

I expect that, in the end, the two most important characters will end up being Jon and Daenerys, but that is a guess at this point

Jon is dead.  He will warg into Ghost before expiring, I grant you.  He gets to live as a wolf.  But I fail to see how a shaggy direwolf can be the second-most important character in the end.  

Daenerys is already the most important character.  She has been since AGOT.  

I would love to put House Frey on the top list for protagonist but even if my sympathies are with them, that is not the intention of George Martin.  

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2 minutes ago, The Lord of the Crossing said:

Jon is dead.  He will warg into Ghost before expiring, I grant you.  He gets to live as a wolf.  But I fail to see how a shaggy direwolf can be the second-most important character in the end.  

Daenerys is already the most important character.  She has been since AGOT.  

I would love to put House Frey on the top list for protagonist but even if my sympathies are with them, that is not the intention of George Martin.  

I will believe that Jon is dead when I see his cold, dead body, and not a minute before.  Even then, there is the possibility of resurrection.  There is too much unfinished business (including his parentage) for him to disappear from the story at this time.

As of now, Daenerys has had no connection to the rest of the story, so I would be hard-pressed to say she is the most important character.  In many ways, she has been the least important, as she has affected few events outside of her immediate presence.

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17 minutes ago, Nevets said:

I will believe that Jon is dead when I see his cold, dead body, and not a minute before.  Even then, there is the possibility of resurrection.  There is too much unfinished business (including his parentage) for him to disappear from the story at this time.

As of now, Daenerys has had no connection to the rest of the story, so I would be hard-pressed to say she is the most important character.  In many ways, she has been the least important, as she has affected few events outside of her immediate presence.

I disagree with just about everything you wrote.   

The story in the east is just as important, if not more so, than what's happening in the west.  Three of the main characters are in the east.  The main character in the story, Daenerys Targaryen.  And then Tyrion and Arya.  

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17 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

Well then.  If that's really the way it is, then he has no sins or crimes to repent, or be redeemed from.

I disagree with your assessment of Jaime's heroic justifications and innocence.  But either way, no redemption arc.

George himself told that redemption is something that's a part of Jaime's arc. But redemption is a very vague term and your definition of it may not be the same as George's. 

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6 hours ago, Dofs said:

George himself told that redemption is something that's a part of Jaime's arc. But redemption is a very vague term and your definition of it may not be the same as George's. 

George never said that "redemption is a part of Jaime's arc".  Such words imply that Jaime will in fact be redeemed.  His actual words are considerably more ambiguous and noncommittal.  He could have said the same about the story of Don Juan.  That story does indeed explore the issue of Don Juan's redemption, and whether and when it is possible.  But ultimately, the story is not Don Juan's "redemption arc", but rather his  "damnation arc".

I have no inside info how Jaime's story will end.  But I am going out on a limb and predicting something closer to a damnation arc, than a redemption arc.

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Daenerys is antagonizing a continent.   That's her main stumbling block to being a protagonist- - - nobody in Essos knows she's the good guy.   She needs to send out a magic candle tweet storm to let more people know her protagonist status.   

 

Least glory of anyone:  Brienne.

And now to populate the list of people doing their job right and admirably:

Brienne.

But then  we turn to the leader board to see whose chapters have the smallest scope and feel least important:

Unfortunately.... the pattern continues, so she likely isn't anyone's MVP POV, but in this case it's not her storyline that's a big deal, it's her example of exemplary knighthoodery.   So that puts her on my longform list of protagonists.... (along with Daenerys, Jonathan Snow, Tyrion, Victarion, Davos, Jaime, the Kingsmen (Thoros' bunch).    

The Stark children are become something stranger than protagonists.  You might almost say all three of them have met The Stranger and are taking their turn donning his mask.   Bran is a glorified stalker through tree eyes, and one doesn't generally class a peeper character as a protagonist.   Things just happen to him and he travels further away, until someone mercifully roots him in place so he can't run anymore.   Whereas things happen to Sansa and she retreats further from herself, until someone mercifully shoves her back under the bright lights of center stage.  Things happen to Arya and she twitches and murders, until someone mercifully teaches her to murder without twitching.  I think the Starks have been reserved for nonstandard roles and are not truly the protagonists of the story.  We just root for them to be??   (Subtle Bran joke).

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21 hours ago, The Lord of the Crossing said:

Jon is dead.  He will warg into Ghost before expiring, I grant you.  He gets to live as a wolf.  But I fail to see how a shaggy direwolf can be the second-most important character in the end.  

Daenerys is already the most important character.  She has been since AGOT.  

I would love to put House Frey on the top list for protagonist but even if my sympathies are with them, that is not the intention of George Martin.  

There is no singular most important character... GRRM has said this on multiple occasions and even went as far as to make sure the show didn’t only focus on certain people. At this point in the story Dany isn’t really that important of a character. Once and if she makes it to Westeros she’ll become more important to the story but at this point in Essos she’s a world apart from it. The most important characters are the 5 GRRM originally said were and I’d even throw Cersei in their. 

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2 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

Least glory of anyone:  Brienne.

Brienne's POV chapters have (I think) already finished.  The point of her POV chapters, while they lasted, was to set up certain misleading expectations for the reader.  But things aren't going to go the reader thinks.  That's my guess, anyway:  The Old Brienne has already been hanged, and the New Brienne is a monster.

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Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

A true protagonist?  Sure there is a protagonist.  To me, that is Daenerys.  Other fans can nominate the likes of Tyrion, Barristan, Brienne, etc.  

Our author put a lot of grey in the main characters and all the protagonists will have some grey in them.  George likes color.  But that doesn't mean it's all relative.  There are defined good people as well as bad.  Most will be somewhere in the middle.  

On 12/22/2018 at 7:08 PM, The Lord of the Crossing said:

I disagree with just about everything you wrote.   

The story in the east is just as important, if not more so, than what's happening in the west.  Three of the main characters are in the east.  The main character in the story, Daenerys Targaryen.  And then Tyrion and Arya.  

I too believe Daenerys Targaryen is the main character of the novels.  Now on that idea, I believe both sides of the plot are equally important.  I enjoy Essos a lot more because the characters that I like are there.  But what is happening in the west is equally important.  It's the climate shift that will drive people to seek refuge in the east.   

2 hours ago, Starkz said:

There is no singular most important character... GRRM has said this on multiple occasions and even went as far as to make sure the show didn’t only focus on certain people. At this point in the story Dany isn’t really that important of a character. Once and if she makes it to Westeros she’ll become more important to the story but at this point in Essos she’s a world apart from it. The most important characters are the 5 GRRM originally said were and I’d even throw Cersei in their. 

I beg to differ.  Dany has always  been important.  Starkz, it is accurate to say that you and I are not going to agree on much of anything regarding this story and the characters.  And that's alright.  We will just have to be on opposing sides all the time.  I'm fine with that.  

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On 12/22/2018 at 5:43 PM, Sigella said:

Even though Cersei is an extremely volatile lady, I couldnt call her an antagonist after knowing her inner workings and relevant circumstances. If Cersei had been a ”better” person she might have lost her head a lot sooner.

For sure, I do enjoy her chapters alot and I want her to succeed against the Faith and Tyrells but when it comes to her feelings about Stark or her brothers, even Davos, shes the queen of antagonists

On 12/22/2018 at 5:43 PM, Sigella said:

Jaime is early established antagonist from throwing Bran out the window but turns into something else when we get his POV. 

Jaimes povs definitely reads differently then Cerseis, but its not really his pov that changes our perception. I mean we know juat as much about Brans fall as we did back then, it was for love. In regards to kingslaying, we learn it was the only real viable option. The rest of him being a good knight for Brienne or attempting to return the Stark girls from captivity is Jaime actually changing, even Cersei hardrly recognizes his actions.

On 12/22/2018 at 5:43 PM, Sigella said:

Ex. Your personal fave is Sansa - but for us who like Arya better Sansa comes off  antagonist. 

I mean, I love Arya too but yea, Sansas clearly antagonistic to her sister in book 1, but they seem to miss each other in the following books. Shes not my fav (thats her husband), i just think shes the true protagonist as the last Stark with politcal power. (I am pretty sure shes at least the main character because of her massive carbon footprint on Westeros) F&B for example is weird reading because of the lack of good guy Starks covering the pages

On 12/22/2018 at 5:43 PM, Sigella said:

Dany might act and think totally altruistic but you will still find a tonne of posters that thinks she is evil incarnate.

The Stark/Frey nest of hornets :P 

So now we get to the haters and the pitiful. I mean, does anybody root for the Ghiscari or do some just feel like Dany goes to hard? Similarly I dont think anyone likes Walder, they just sympathize with his plight.

But if im wrong and Frey fan boys are as they claim, they must still know theyre rooting for the antagonist. 

Which I do understand. I mean, we all love Scarface, and as he says, "You'll never see a bad guy like me again" I cringe and smile. Of course hes wrong, my (2nd) favorite character is Ramsay for the simple fact that Ive never seen a badguy like him. I will root for him to triumph over Jon, his father, Greyjoy and whomever simply because I dont want him to dissaper from the story; But no amount of Ramsay povs will convince me that Bolton is the protagonist.

To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, 50 Cent, "I watch gangsta flicks and root for the bad guy and then turn it off before it ends because the bad guy dies"

 

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A protagonist defending something harmful to the greater good is not a hero.  Jaime is loyal to his family.  To a Lannister, he's a protagonists.  But looking at him from the bigger picture of the story, the guy is a villain because he supports a harmful family who has no right to the throne.  And he knows it.  These discussions, which turn into debates, attempt to obscure things for the sake of trying to win an argument.  Let's not lie to ourselves ladies and gentlemen, the kingslayer is a bad guy.

A protagonist is just the person who supports the side from which the story is being viewed.  It does not at all mean that person is doing something good.  Let's look at another example, Robb Stark.  Does anyone here honestly believe that Robb's cause would support the greater good?  If that idiot had gotten his way, and thankfully he didn't, the kingdom would have been split apart.  How does that increase the chances of survival in winter?  It doesn't.  So as bad as the red wedding is, it served the best interest of the greater good.  Too bad for the Starks and the Tullys, but better for the kingdom as a whole.

Since when is antagonizing slavers and masters a bad thing?  It's not.  You can't stop slavery without fighting the slave masters.  Unless, of course, they agree to do the right thing in the first place and release the slaves and do it without any resistance.  They chose to fight to continue their slaving ways.  They are already the bad guys.  Now they are both the bad guys and the enemy.  Any hero should antagonize slave masters any day of the week.  It's the right thing to do.  

Jon might have started out as the protagonists on that wall but he sure as hell wasn't and isn't a hero.  What he did to Slynt is improper conduct for a lord commander.  That was an act of personal revenge.  And sending his man to take Arya away from Ramsay!  That did more harm to the wall than any other act committed by a commander since the days of the Night's King.  

And Jaime?  I admit, there are sparks of redemption there, but it's been easy.  Kingslayer hasn't been tested.  He supports his family even though he knows they're wrong.  And if Robert was still alive, does anyone actually believe Jaime would stop cuckolding the man?  I doubt it.  He's not really a changed man.  

Barristan, Jorah, and Theon are the ones on a redemption arc.  Theon, wrecked as he was, tried to help Jeyne.  That counts for something.

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8 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

I mean, I love Arya too but yea, Sansas clearly antagonistic to her sister in book 1, but they seem to miss each other in the following books. Shes not my fav (thats her husband), i just think shes the true protagonist as the last Stark with politcal power. (I am pretty sure shes at least the main character because of her massive carbon footprint on Westeros) F&B for example is weird reading because of the lack of good guy Starks covering the pages

Right now it's Arya Stark's name that is holding the North/Winterfell. Meanwhile, Sansa is in the Vale, being manipulated by LF, planning tourneys and assisting in the poisoning of a child. When Arya returns to Westeros:

He told her that she must be Arya, or else the wolves might send them back. “They trained you in a brothel,” he reminded her, whispering in her ear so the others would not hear. “Jeyne is the next thing to a whore, you must go on being Arya.” He meant no hurt to her. It was for her own good, and his. She has to remember her name. (exactly what the real Arya needs to do in Braavos) When the tip of her nose turned black from frostbite, and the one of the riders from the Night’s Watch told her she might lose a piece of it, Jeyne had wept over that as well. “No one will care what Arya looks like, so long as she is heir to Winterfell,” he assured her. “A hundred men will want to marry her. A thousand.” - Theon, TWoW

Arya's political influence in Westeros is setup and ready for her to return. Not to mention, her mother is in the Riverlands looking to crown Arya if she were ever found. 

Between Jon and Arya, who both have more story/chapters than Sansa... how are you just discarding them again? Especially when George has referred to Sansa as Arya's foil. 

Edited by a black swan

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