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Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

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I've got it.   They are protagonists .....in waiting:

Something weird is brewing.    Jon isn't "doing it right" in the profession he got trapped into, and Arya isn't doing it right as a No One, the trap she fell into.  Sansa isn't doing it right as a southern social climber.  Bran isn't embracing his godhood all that hard, and we're taking cues from him so we feel it's wrong somehow.  Off.  Their "failing" is the same, loyalty to the pack after the fact,  after they're lone wolves and loyalty to their past lives no longer serves their interests.   

But....if multiple POVs mirror each other with this same theme, they're not really lone wolves are they?     Not really destined to die as the wise old saying goes.  They're being pulled out of their new identities by a greater gravity to reform as a pack.  (Not necessarily in the same room, but reunited in purpose as Starks.)   So what looks like foolish self destructive behavior will transition into correct survival behavior for the pack?   If it works out.   

What's being withheld from us is their gear shifting chapters, when their minds click into knowing who they are and we see them reaching for that perfect tarzan vine of proper action, using it to swing themselves back over to the protagonist side of things, keeping their "gains" from their trap jobs but leaving behind the swamp of bad choices and moral floundering that has readers shaking their heads at these characters.    Authors like Stackpole have switched their prophesied heroes into a new body to clearly mark that the hero has entered the home stretch and has accepted the role of the prophesied hero.  That's probably what triggered my Hodor idea, but it could be a totally different jarring change to mark Jon's flipping the hero switch.

Oh, and someone said we already have resurrections so just give Jon the same Thoros style raising.    I hesitate to say that's okay for Jon because..... just do a customer satisfaction survey of Catelyn and Beric!  Neither seem like happy campers with the kind of "life" they were gifted with.  It feels like a half life half curse that Beric just wants to end and Cat is so incomplete she can't even fill out the questionaire because she's already trying to kill you for asking if she's satisfied with her 2nd life.  So, as a fan of the nature gods, Jon would likely want something more natural for his.....big makeover.  (If he's to wear a crown he'd want an heir and that may be tough to come by if you're an undeath time- stopped being, ala Melisandre and Beric.

So in answer to who's my true protagonists, it's these characters who are all on the journey toward breaking out into the clear protagonist role, once they drop the facade and start their sprint to the finish line.  But also Jaime, Brienne, Tyrion, Dannee, Bronn, Aegon (despite the cloud of shady intent surrounding him, as he may very well shrug all that off as his way of coming correct as a protagonist), and though he remains a foil I'm most interested in seeing what masterpiece Petyr will bust out with as his homestretch maneuver.

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2 hours ago, Samyaza said:

Agree.  Jon's attachment to the Starks and Arya in particular make him blind.  He lacks objectivity.  He allowed his feelings for the Starks to affect his judgment of Janos Slynt.  He made that even worse when he let Mance Rayder go despite the man's more serious offenses.  His own thoughts betrayed him.  Had one of the brothers asked about his sister, Jon would have said it was none of his concern.  Yet Jon himself could not live up to the standards.  He failed to maintain standards.  Jon is at fault here.  His actions are not the actions of a good protagonist.

What is a "good protagonist?"

Like I said earlier the Mountain clans who are helping take back the North are doing it for "Ned's Little Girl." They're also frustrated by the fact that Ramsay is hiding up in the castle and they need to get him out. Jon unknowingly helped them do that. In short, Jon's actions toward his family will go pretty far with them in protagonist land, aka the one where he gains support by acting like a true knight would to defend the weak. 

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Colour me flabbergasted, a thread about “xyz” turns into a Jon/Stark hate thread. :lmao:

Edited by kissdbyfire

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On 2/10/2019 at 4:10 PM, Allardyce said:

Yup.  Jon's been destructive to the Watch so far.  Sending Mance and his wildling women to get fArya brought the wrath of the Boltons down on the Watch.  Jon might become one of the protagonists later on but he is absolutely not the True Protagonist.  I believe the distinction of True Protagonist belongs to Daenerys Targaryen.  Like I said, it doesn't mean Jon won't see the light later and gain a little bit of honor later on but so far he has not been a protagonist.  He doesn't intend to be the antagonist but his general poor judgment and his queer attachment to Arya make his decisions harmful to the fight against the Others.   He has a history of putting the Starks ahead of his duties.  Jon is not who we want as a leader.  

Two bastards get caught being dishonest and doing something inappropriate.  Jon can't hide his crimes.  His agents got caught and sang loudly (and painfully, I might add).  Jon is now known as the lord commander who deceived the watch and the north.  Public knowledge is Mance Rayder got executed.  In reality, he got away with his crimes of oath breaking, treason, and attack on the people he is bound by oaths to protect.

21 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

 

I hope you're also critical of Stannis because he's basically doing the exact same thing.

Stannis:

- Let Mance Rayder go without being punished

- Is marching with an army of Northerners whose main motive is to GET ARYA

- Is playing the game of thrones

- Also wanted to march with an army of wildlings on Winterfell

- Is starting a personal fight with Ramsay

- Knows he can't remain neutral because he must unite the North to fight the Others, and knows the Boltons wont do jack shit to help them in that fight

- Is putting the North and Watch at risk by launching a war he can't win

Stannis is also to blame.  No question there.  If he knows the Others are coming and he seems to buy it, the responsible action to take is to stay at the wall and defend it.  I will have to read those chapters again but it seems to me Stannis was not in on the lie with regards to Rattleshirt and Mance Rayder.  

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

Two bastards get caught being dishonest and doing something inappropriate.  Jon can't hide his crimes.  His agents got caught and sang loudly (and painfully, I might add).  Jon is now known as the lord commander who deceived the watch and the north.  Public knowledge is Mance Rayder got executed.  In reality, he got away with his crimes of oath breaking, treason, and attack on the people he is bound by oaths to protect.

Says one deceiver to another. I think they're both even in terms of scheming. Ramsay took the North by betrayal and then mummery. 

If you're going to pull off a heist, Mance is your man. And Jon should play Ramsay because he's playing everyone else. 

I'm not really sure what people are complaining about here. Do you want a story about Ser Gawain the perfect knight or a story about rogues? Jon, Mance, Ramsay...they're all playing the game.

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

Stannis is also to blame.  No question there.  If he knows the Others are coming and he seems to buy it, the responsible action to take is to stay at the wall and defend it.  I will have to read those chapters again but it seems to me Stannis was not in on the lie with regards to Rattleshirt and Mance Rayder.  

The Wall can't be defended with the existing resources they have and the Northerners can't be rallied when the Boltons are in Winterfell. It's just not happening, so someone does have to take a risk and fight the Boltons. It's just a matter of doing it smartly. And that's not an issue of morality, that's just an issue of playing the game better. If Jon and/or Stannis were successful (i.e. smarter) no one would be complaining. 

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On 2/10/2019 at 3:16 PM, HelenaExMachina said:

A couple of posts above is the link to the pre-aDwD archive for the relevant chapter. Slynt was originally hanged .

Here is the first post to mention it has been changed

 

On 2/10/2019 at 6:25 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

Yeah, I saw the change, I just don't see where a fan suggested the change. Is there an SSM or a first hand account to support that claim? 

Hmm, not sure, thought I had read something about why the change happened but can’t find it. @Ran do you remember anything about this?

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10 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

 

Hmm, not sure, thought I had read something about why the change happened but can’t find it. @Ran do you remember anything about this?

I think the post in question may be lost to time, but I definitely remember someone who attended saying that they talked with GRRM afterward at a party or BWB event and the point was made about whether Jon should have swung the sword rather than used a noose. 

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7 hours ago, flaydagawd said:

Seems like there's so much bias against Jon that people are willing to overlook how heinous Ramsay is :rolleyes:

It looks like there's so much bias towards Jon that some people are willing to ignore and excuse his awful decisions.  Jon is easily the worst lord commander since the Night's King.

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8 hours ago, flaydagawd said:

Seems like there's so much bias against Jon that people are willing to overlook how heinous Ramsay is :rolleyes:

And you'll notice it is the same group of posters that do this over and over and over with the same repeating lines. They follow the teachings of their lord and savior Clifford Q Notes, because understanding the story as a whole can be bothersome.

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44 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

And you'll notice it is the same group of posters that do this over and over and over with the same repeating lines. They follow the teachings of their lord and savior Clifford Q Notes, because understanding the story as a whole can be bothersome.

It happens on twitter too, with some big name fans using the same arguments.  So I guess we should all treat Bowen and Ramsay like the main protagonists :laugh:

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41 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

It happens on twitter too, with some big name fans using the same arguments.  So I guess we should all treat Bowen and Ramsay like the main protagonists :laugh:

God bless all theorists, but ain't none of them is any better than *any other theorist, fancy microphone or not. :)

(*almost any other theorist ;), we have our doozies on this forum)

 

As to the main question: Does ASOIAF have a true protagonist? My thoughts are there will be, but it won't be clear until we read the words "The End". It is going to come down to an ultimate choice (<--- a major theme here), and what that choice does for the greater good, yadda yadda yadda. Grey decisions and characters along the way, but as GRRM says, some are very dark grey, some are mostly white with a little grey. Good or bad, a character is the sum of their parts, what they are made to be. We still have two books left and coins are in the air.

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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52 minutes ago, flaydagawd said:

As a human being there should be 0% disagreement with Jon's decisions. Would have him do everything plus have him look for a reason to hang Bowen Marsh earlier.

Very well said. :cheers:

And you know what? I don’t really care if people dislike Jon. Martin writes complex characters, and it’s perfectly normal that different people will be drawn to different characters. But this trend now of blind hate is just so weird... because it consistently ignores the text in favour of well-crafted arguments such as, “Jon is a moron!”; “Jon’s going to ‘stay dead’,”; “the execution of Slynt was vengeance!”. :dunno:

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Jon is fighting the good fight, and that's apparent throughout, which is why I rarely feel the need to say it.   So if I come off as anti, sorry.   

It just seems more people need reminding to not place all blame on the conspirators while excusing Jon, so my comments trend toward that refrain, that it was an impossible situation to shine in- - for everyone involved.   Jon got caught for reasons.  But then so did Jesus.  So J.S. is in good company there with J.C.    And their crimes were similar:  J.C. expanded membership to the gentiles, Snow expanded membership to include the Wildlings.  And now add in Jon's resurrection.  See?  Not every comparison has to involve Hitler. 

 Jon IS the main protagonist.  Because Danny is on continent B, the side stage.  When they hook up, that'll be the big tent circus show, like Jay Z and Beyonce.

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20 hours ago, Ran said:

I think the post in question may be lost to time, but I definitely remember someone who attended saying that they talked with GRRM afterward at a party or BWB event and the point was made about whether Jon should have swung the sword rather than used a noose. 

It just seems weird that GRRM would: 1) have a fanservice moment, 2) get sloppy and miss his meticulous foreshadowing he built with the Sansa line, 3) forget a basic tenet of Stark execution, 4) not be aware of the irony of the man who helped behead Ned, getting beheaded himself, 5) that some fan at a con is quasi-responsible for that epic line, "Ed, fetch me a block," 6) that he had no intention of creating a beheading triad with Jon/Robb/Theon. Is it possible that he just stopped the chapter right when Jon said to Ed, to take Janos to the Wall and hang him? I can see him not wanting to spoil Jon's most badass moment in a preview chapter read.

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12 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Very well said. :cheers:

And you know what? I don’t really care if people dislike Jon. Martin writes complex characters, and it’s perfectly normal that different people will be drawn to different characters. But this trend now of blind hate is just so weird... because it consistently ignores the text in favour of well-crafted arguments such as, “Jon is a moron!”; “Jon’s going to ‘stay dead’,”; “the execution of Slynt was vengeance!”. :dunno:

I think that is so stupid. Martin had the effort to create scenarios soo grey in order to have jon make hard and morally dubious decisions and keep behaving with honnor and people just ignore all that.

For example, if grrm wanted jon to choose between arya and his vows he would have had mel sugesting jon to send mance to rescue arya when they thought she was in winterfell. Instead mance's mission was to get her when she was riding alone on a dying horse near some lake.

On the other hand, jon's decision that really directly interfered with the politics in the north was helping alys karstark and sending stannis the letter about the karstarks betrayal and nearly nobody criticizes this… And I am not saying he shouldn t have done this, just that it is a much bigger interference that mance's original mission.

Another problem is that the NW doesn t vow to be neutral. What would they do if an other simpatheizer became a lord in westeros? Or if in order to protect the realms of men they had to interfer? Being neutral just became their usual stand because in order to protect westeros they usualy don t have to involve themselves in conflicts and it might lead to westerosi lords atacking the watch. So if jon knows the others are going to attack and thinks stannis is a better choice to rule the north than roose Bolton shouldn t he get involved? Seriously, jon is LC and thinks stannis is a much better aid than roose in the fight ahead. what should he do? Let roose kill stannis and put the realms of men in greater danger?

Whatever people say jon didn t directly broke any of his vows. He made a series of hard and not consensual choices in an impossible situation and his men betrayed him because they disagreed with him or were afraid that the boltons would kill all the members of the NW. This isn t about breaking vows. It is about disagreeing with jon's decisions. And while jon could have done a better job convincing his men, we are shown several times that they just disagree about everything. There was no way to talk things though...

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Yes....its Tyrion and Bran I think, they have the most chapters,and they seem very inporttant to the overall Narrative, if I had to guess, its them or no one(Arya).

Edited by Back door hodor

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2 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

It just seems weird that GRRM would: 1) have a fanservice moment, 2) get sloppy and miss his meticulous foreshadowing he built with the Sansa line, 3) forget a basic tenet of Stark execution, 4) not be aware of the irony of the man who helped behead Ned, getting beheaded himself, 5) that some fan at a con is quasi-responsible for that epic line, "Ed, fetch me a block," 6) that he had no intention of creating a beheading triad with Jon/Robb/Theon. Is it possible that he just stopped the chapter right when Jon said to Ed, to take Janos to the Wall and hang him? I can see him not wanting to spoil Jon's most badass moment in a preview chapter read.

No, folks mentioned the scene ended with Janos actually hanging. IIRC, wasn't the crack of his neck supposed to have been heard?

I don't think it's any of the above -- fanservice, getting sloppy, forgetting, irony, whatever. I suspect it's more straightforward: George was quite taken with the idea of Janos dying a commoner's death by hanging and Jon being cold enough to order it in relation to "Kill the boy and let the man be born", and initially figured that he could work it against all the other factors. 

Whether he was already debating to change it to execution or not at the time he read it, I do not know, but the response to his reading may have shifted the balance. Or simply in reading it out loud he realized he didn't like it as much as he thought. George has read other draft chapters before and ended up making significant changes to them by the time they published. We know he'll have a pen in hand and make notes to himself as he reads.

GRRM has been quite open that his writing is an evolving process, with many drafts, with many dead-ends. Sometimes he finds his way out on his own, sometimes his editors provide a useful idea, sometimes his colleagues and friends do, and sometimes his readers do. 

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11 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

It just seems weird that GRRM would: 1) have a fanservice moment, 2) get sloppy and miss his meticulous foreshadowing he built with the Sansa line, 3) forget a basic tenet of Stark execution, 4) not be aware of the irony of the man who helped behead Ned, getting beheaded himself, 5) that some fan at a con is quasi-responsible for that epic line, "Ed, fetch me a block," 6) that he had no intention of creating a beheading triad with Jon/Robb/Theon. Is it possible that he just stopped the chapter right when Jon said to Ed, to take Janos to the Wall and hang him? I can see him not wanting to spoil Jon's most badass moment in a preview chapter read.

I have to agree. In the Reddit forum linked up thread, there was a theory that the hanging in the pre publication reading was a feint by the author. 

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