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Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

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14 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

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.

"One of the things I wanted to explore with Jaime, and with so many of the characters, is the whole issue of redemption. When can we be redeemed? Is redemption even possible? I don’t have an answer. But when do we forgive people? You see it all around in our society, in constant debates. ... I don’t know the answer, but these are questions worth thinking about. I want there to be a possibility of redemption for us, because we all do terrible things. We should be able to be forgiven. Because if there is no possibility of redemption, what’s the answer then?"

That's not really vague at all. George is pretty direct about it, actually, and about where Jaime's story is going. Not like George considers Jaime that evil in the first place since he justifies what Jaime did to Bran.

 

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6 hours ago, Dofs said:

"One of the things I wanted to explore with Jaime, and with so many of the characters, is the whole issue of redemption. When can we be redeemed? Is redemption even possible? I don’t have an answer. But when do we forgive people? You see it all around in our society, in constant debates. ... I don’t know the answer, but these are questions worth thinking about. I want there to be a possibility of redemption for us, because we all do terrible things. We should be able to be forgiven. Because if there is no possibility of redemption, what’s the answer then?"

That's not really vague at all. George is pretty direct about it, actually, and about where Jaime's story is going. Not like George considers Jaime that evil in the first place since he justifies what Jaime did to Bran.

When I read "possibility of redemption", I understand it to mean, "possibility of redemption".

When YOU read the words "possibility of redemption", you evidently understand it to mean "100% automatic redemption because I, GRRM, just LOVE giving away huge spoilers".

Big difference.

"We should be able to be forgiven …" is a general statement.  If it means 100% automatic redemption for Jaime, then, by the same logic, it also means 100% automatic redemption for Gregor, Cersei, Roose Bolton, and every other cartoon villain in the series; even if they do nothing to change or repent.  And again, the concept of forgiveness is meaningless without some level of moral judgment.

GRRM did not justify what Jaime did to Bran.  He merely said that a friend of his justified it.

And WTF is the point of even talking about "redemption" or "forgiveness" if you don't even think Jaime even did anything wrong?  And what kind of monster thinks the murder of innocent children is justifiable just because you want to boink your sister?  Not you, I hope?  And if you think GRRM thinks that, why do you still read him?

Understanding that characters face significant temptations, and do not merely do "evil for evil's sake", is not the same as justifying them.

I already mentioned the "Don Juan" story.  What do Don Juan and Jaime have in common?  Both had the opportunity to repent, and both rejected that opportunity.

The "possibility of repentance" does not rule out a damnation arc.  It is a theme of many a damnation arc.

Edited by Platypus Rex

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3 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

When I read "possibility of redemption", I understand it to mean, "possibility of redemption".

When YOU read the words "possibility of redemption", you evidently understand it to mean "100% automatic redemption because I, GRRM, just LOVE giving away huge spoilers".

Big difference.

"We should be able to be forgiven …" is a general statement.  If it means 100% automatic redemption for Jaime, then, by the same logic, it also means 100% automatic redemption for Gregor, Cersei, Roose Bolton, and every other cartoon villain in the series; even if they do nothing to change or repent.  And again, the concept of forgiveness is meaningless without some level of moral judgment.

"We should be able to be forgiven …" is a statement made in context of discussing Jaime. It is not a general statement and the fact that you say so is pretty baffling. And what do Gregor, Cersei and other have to with anything? Do they have redemption arcs?

3 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

GRRM did not justify what Jaime did to Bran.  He merely said that a friend of his justified it.

No, he commented it twice and mentioned his friend in one of these comments. And he also in that comment said that Jaime was not an evil man for throwing Bran and also told that he considers his friend a moral man. 

By the way, here is another quote about the issue from GRRM:

"At the same time, what Jaime did is interesting. I don’t have any kids myself, but I’ve talked with other people who have. Remember, Jaime isn’t just trying to kill Bran because he’s an annoying little kid. Bran has seen something that is basically a death sentence for Jaime, for Cersei, and their children – their three actual children. So I’ve asked people who do have children, “Well, what would you do in Jaime’s situation?” They say, “Well, I’m not a bad guy – I wouldn’t kill.” Are you sure? Never? If Bran tells King Robert he’s going to kill you and your sister-lover, and your three children. . . .

Then many of them hesitate. Probably more people than not would say, “Yeah, I would kill someone else’s child to save my own child, even if that other child was innocent.” These are the difficult decisions people make, and they’re worth examining."

So yes, it is pretty much justifying it. Or at least saying that that it was not an evil irredeemable act that makes someone evil. Instead George clearly thinks that it was an impossible "lose-lose" situation that someone shouldn't be labeled for.

3 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

And WTF is the point of even talking about "redemption" or "forgiveness" if you don't even think Jaime even did anything wrong?  And what kind of monster thinks the murder of innocent children is justifiable just because you want to boink your sister?  Not you, I hope?  And if you think GRRM thinks that, why do you still read him?

Understanding that characters face significant temptations, and do not merely do "evil for evil's sake", is not the same as justifying them.

Well, here is GRRM basically defending Jaime, so maybe you should stop reading George then as it makes him such a monster? :P

You clearly base your opinion on how George writes Jaime and what Jaime's arc is based on your own notions of Jaime's character, on what redemption is and what should Jaime do to get redeemed in your eyes. Whereas from what George says in his interviews, he clearly sees the whole situation differently. And not he alone, considering how many people buy this 'redemption'.

Edited by Dofs

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5 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

the concept of forgiveness is meaningless without some level of moral judgment.

And WTF is the point of even talking about "redemption" or "forgiveness" if you don't even think Jaime even did anything wrong?  And what kind of monster thinks the murder of innocent children is justifiable just because you want to boink your sister?  Not you, I hope?  

The "possibility of repentance" does not rule out a damnation arc.  It is a theme of many a damnation arc.

I apply stuff!  Morality, whatnot.  That's why Theon hasn't earned my seal of approval just by suffering.  He should probably have even more objects inserted like a string of those rectal beads for starters.   And if he goes on to help Starks regain their home, fine.  But for now, best get to work on those beads, son.

And it's not necessary to forgive Jaime either, merely to recognize that he's got a new outlook, as Theon does, and the fresh air away from Cercei has done him good, as he knew it would when he made his decision not to be pulled back into the cesspool by her urgent missive.  The author is giving him a soft reboot and , to show this, lots of the character's glitches have stopped plaguing him and us.  That's it.  That's being on the road to a better you.  It doesn't matter if it ultimately falls short of true redemption.  It's a work in progress, and not knowing the outcome we call his pages a redemptive effort in the meantime, because...that's what it is.   

He's not acting like Gregor, he's treating the war as if it's over over over and making sure nobody else dies needlessly.  That shows his contempt for his family's war, and the crappy situation the realm is in.   I don't expect him to abandon his family completely and become a hedge knight just because you want more evidence of redemption.  That'd be kinda nuts, like us jumping out of moving cars in unison to signal our virtuous stance on air pollution.  You gotta play the hand you're dealt.   He's using his position to govern well during trying times.

As for Bran's murder and the sister boinking, we already established earlier that Bran's body mass was relatively small and Jaime's sister is totally hot.   But I'll add even more to this, to sweeten the pot.  Jaime was instrumental in teaching Bran to fly, and should get partial credit for the wondrously strange delight Bran has become.  I mean, fuck damn, we wouldn't have met Bloodraven without Jaime's assist.  People don't show Jaime any gratitude for that.  Bunch of ingrates.  Child defenestration is all part of the divine tapestry of events.   Like Captain Picard, whose fight with those surly Nausicans changed who he was thereafter,  we can see now that we wouldn't want to change a thing that made these characters who they are today.  I don't forgive Jaime for this shit.  It's not necessary that I do.  He can remain a man with a past and yet be on the high road today.  Because of linear time allowing us to change paths.  (Whispered:)  Linear.

 

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20 hours ago, Here's Looking At You, Kid said:

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.  

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.   

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.  

Dany only became important when she got dragons. Even then she still has a long way to go. So far she hasn’t ruled well and has made a lot of mistakes. She’s not ready to make any major impact to the main story which is in Westeros. The people of Westeros aren’t going to flee to Essos either and the reason we disagree often is because your views are so blantanly biased and you paint everything Dany does as heroic.

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18 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

 

GRRM did not justify what Jaime did to Bran.  He merely said that a friend of his justified it.

it's quite obvious that justifications have been made. remember that Jaime saved Bran from falling from the tower before pushing him.

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On 12/24/2018 at 4:00 AM, a black swan said:

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. 

Arya definitely has the best current claim on Winterfell, as shes Lady of Winterfell by Tommens decree. Then again Bran is the legal heir and Rickon after him, and Jon is the heir by Robb's will specifically to disinherit Sansa.

However what Sansas sibilings lack is training in the game. i.e. Littlefinger and Cersei. Shes also about to become a Queen, as Cersei is convinced she'll be defeated by the younger more beautiful queen and Littlefinger is making plans for the war of three queens.

Shes also impacted Westeros far more then her siblings. Sansas the reason Ned went south, why Ned was defeated, and why Joffrey died, to name a few. Westeros is in turmoil largely because of Sansas existence, it seems only right for her to be the one who mends Westeros wounds.

 

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22 hours ago, Aline de Gavrillac said:

They are from their own point of view.  From ours, no.  Not necessarily.  

 

Protagonists are defined as the character at the center of the plot/subplot and whose actions propell the plot, so yeah. Maybe I’m being dumb about this, but apart from pro-/epilogues they all tick that box.

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13 hours ago, lrresistable said:

it's quite obvious that justifications have been made. remember that Jaime saved Bran from falling from the tower before pushing him.

That's a justification?  

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On 12/26/2018 at 11:47 AM, Platypus Rex said:

That's a justification?  

Why else write Jaime saving his life before trying to take it from him?

Edited by lrresistable
spellin

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17 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Arya definitely has the best current claim on Winterfell, as shes Lady of Winterfell by Tommens decree. Then again Bran is the legal heir and Rickon after him, and Jon is the heir by Robb's will specifically to disinherit Sansa.

However what Sansas sibilings lack is training in the game. i.e. Littlefinger and Cersei. Shes also about to become a Queen, as Cersei is convinced she'll be defeated by the younger more beautiful queen and Littlefinger is making plans for the war of three queens.

Shes also impacted Westeros far more then her siblings. Sansas the reason Ned went south, why Ned was defeated, and why Joffrey died, to name a few. Westeros is in turmoil largely because of Sansas existence, it seems only right for her to be the one who mends Westeros wounds.

 

That is not quite true. Roose Bolton is Warden of the North by Royal decree and de facto as the most powerful northern Lord with the Dustins and Ryswells as allies and the acquiescence of the rest. No dispensation was made for Winterfel, he simply took it. Ramsay's marriage to Jeyne is just a means to legitimise that claim. The situation is similar to Darry, where it was awarded by royal decree to Lancel and the marriage to Ami Frey was meant as a veneer of rightful succession. There is however the implication that Arya has not been disinherited by the current occupant of the throne. Sansa by contrast has been disinherited by both the Starks and the Lannister regime. As Tommen's decrees will likely become irrelevant in short order the situation will likely change. Sansa's marriage to Tyrion will continue to severely hamper any potential influence she might have had.

Currently she has had little to no influence and continues to be in effect a hostage and a pawn and as long her identity is hidden, cannot cash in her greatest asset, her pedigree. 

Also Ned went South to investigate the potential threat to Robert's life, Ned lost because he set against LF's wishes in keeping Stannis of the throne and Joffrey died, basically because he was Joffrey and everyone was better off if he were dead. She may have facilitated these events to a degree but she is far from the cause of them. 

Sansa might get influence if things change considerably. She might get influence if she disentangles herself from Tyrion, she might get influence as Tyrion's wife. As things stand she might as well be buried. 

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21 hours ago, lrresistable said:

Why else write Jaime saving his life before trying to take it for him?

????

So if I save your life, I can murder you whenever I like?

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On 12/25/2018 at 2:04 PM, Hugorfonics said:

However what Sansas sibilings lack is training in the game. i.e. Littlefinger and Cersei. Shes also about to become a Queen, as Cersei is convinced she'll be defeated by the younger more beautiful queen and Littlefinger is making plans for the war of three queens.

Shes also impacted Westeros far more then her siblings. Sansas the reason Ned went south, why Ned was defeated, and why Joffrey died, to name a few. Westeros is in turmoil largely because of Sansas existence, it seems only right for her to be the one who mends Westeros wounds.

I do not think Arya will become a ruler and it's true she's not as connected to politics as Sansa, but I doubt she would be a dumbass about it. With the FM she's learning to detect lies, to act, to recolect information, to manipulate people, lenguages, etc. These things might not be specifically meant for "the game of thrones" or whatever but it's not like they can't be applied to that. And if we're talking about ruling, Bran is the only one of the Stark kids to have actual experience with that, Sansa never dealt with such a huge responsibility. I'm sure she'll end up having a big role and being very influential as a political player, but I don't think her skillset points towards her becoming a large scale ruler.

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GRRM said that every character is the hero in their own story. I believe that is an important factor in making the characters of ASoIaF so real. The issue of protagonist and antagonist is more complex. A protagonist should drive the plot by being proactive about a specific goal. An antagonist is someone or something that resists that goal being achieved. There are schools of thought that there should only be one protagonist in a story, but GRRM clearly disagrees. His characters play both roles at various times, because that's what real people do.

For example:

Stannis wants Jon to be Lord of Winterfell but Jon resists citing his vows. Stannis is the protagonist in this scene and Jon the antagonist.

Jon wants to open the gate to the wildlings but Bowen Marsh resists. Jon is the protagonist and Marsh the antagonist.

Marsh wants to save the Watch from the actions of it's reckless Lord Commander. Marsh is the protagonist and Jon the antagonist.

That said, some people have bigger roles and bigger goals than others. If the series boils down to the survival of mankind in a battle for the dawn, then you could obviously argue that the the PtwP or whoever is the main protagonist, as his or her goal has the highest stakes, and therefore the Others the main antagonists. But even in this scenario I still see several protagonists emerging as the goal of avoiding extinction becomes clear.

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Assuming that The George's 1993 conceptualization of three main conflicts, consisting of 1) The War of the Five Kings, 2) The Second Dance of the Dragons, and 3) The War for the Dawn, still forms the basic framework for this saga, I think we can say that House Stark, collectively, are the protagonists, and House Lannister, collectively, are the antagonists in the first main conflict. Sansa and Tyrion occupy special roles, akin to deuteragonists in classical Greek plays. And Petyr Baelish turns out to be the big bad. Eddard is the decoy. 

I think one of the reasons Feast and Dance feel like the story is drifting is that The George has spent so much time transitioning into the second main conflict. I am guessing that Daenerys is the protagonist and Aegon is the antagonist of this second main conflict, and that Illyrio is the big bad. 

I suspect Jon will emerge as the protagonist in the the third act, and the Others, which started the whole thing off in the Prologue to Game, will be the antagonist. 

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Everybody better get real protaggy real quick or else how is this all going to fit in two books.    That's why the Others Diffused theory is so popular.  (Especially considering I just made it up).   A bomb that never really goes off, because humanity is able to cheat around the armageddon using bran jon mel raven and sam's decoding of the sphinx's secret meaning.  Whatever.

What may also be planned to save time is The Dance of the Second and Third Acts, having them interconnected and playing out together , not finishing the one before starting the Other.

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