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Ambrose H

Does Asoiaf Have a True Protagonist? *SPOILERS*

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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

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Jaime has been written as the Dong of the Decade since day one- ish.   All these other PERVS (the original latin for "POVs") are off on the periphery, as with Jon and Stormy, or the world has taken a dump on them, see Tyrion and Stannis and Robb, or they marked themselves as unfit for heroics, ala the queen mother and Sansa, or they're no longer characters, like No One and Catelyn.   Jaime is saving the remnants of humanity.  

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I think there is a sort of hierachy of the characters. Dividiving them in groups related to their importance, we can assume that the main charcters are four: Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister and Brandon Stark. Getting lower through the graduation, we have another group of lower importance than the first one: Arya Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister, Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister.

Than we start having no POV charcters: Eddard Stark, Petyr Baelish, Varys, Aegon Targaryen (?), Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Sandor Clegane, Brienne of Tarth, Doran Martell, Euron Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, Catelyn Tully, Davos Seaworth (and maybe we are going to add Rickon Stark to this list -I hope so-).

I will not mention the remaining for obvious reason. I think instead that George wanted us not to support a single charcater, but a faction: Stark, Lannister, Targaryen. Indeed most of the readers are big fan of one of these families. However a lot of people could support other factions, like the Martells, Stannis, Aegon&Varys or Baelish (I don't think that someone would support Euron). If you ask me, I personally support Aegon or Baelish.

 

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46 minutes ago, Littlefinger's crewman said:

Than we start having no POV charcters: Eddard Stark, Petyr Baelish, Varys, Aegon Targaryen (?), Robb Stark, Stannis Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Sandor Clegane, Brienne of Tarth, Doran Martell, Euron Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, Catelyn Tully, Davos Seaworth (and maybe we are going to add Rickon Stark to this list -I hope so-).

Thanks for including Dany in your main protagonist list! I was surprised not to see her mentioned by the original poster.

By "no POV" characters, do you mean we don't get chapters with their points of view? Because several (I've embolded them in the quote) actually do have a large number of POV chapters.

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I took notice of the series, by the show, I liked it a lot so instead of waiting to the 3 season, I went on to read the books.

In the beggining I though that Bran was the main character, after all he is the first POV we see in the books, and by the time I already knew the fate of Eddard. Robb never got a POV, so he was cleary not the main character either.

by the end of A Storm of Swords I was sure that the protagonist was Jon Snow, but today I think is Daenerys.

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2 hours ago, 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

Daenerys Targaryen is the true protagonists of the story.  So yeah, there is a true protagonist.

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The OP clearly means "hero", not "protagonist".  Protagonists can be villains.

In light of GRRM's "heart at war with itself" philosophy of literature, I would guess that the "heroes" will be those who overcome their own moral struggles, and do right in the end.

Dany must, for instance, "remember who she is" and stop trying to be the heir of the Mad King.

But Jaime, Tyrion, Cersei, are all doomed to be villains, I think.

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Just now, Platypus Rex said:

The OP clearly means "hero", not "protagonist".  Protagonists can be villains.

In light of GRRM's "heart at war with itself" philosophy of literature, I would guess that the "heroes" will be those who overcome their own moral struggles, and do right in the end.

Dany must, for instance, "remember who she is" and stop trying to be the heir of the Mad King.

But Jaime, Tyrion, Cersei, are all doomed to be villains, I think.

Right, and I think they will be just as deeply developed as the other main characters.  We will know clearly their motivations for doing what they did.  The OP used Tyrion as an example.  It's built up hate and loathing.  His perceived sense of having been mistreated all his life.  Yet he is blind to the fact that he was living on his father's allowance up until he got accused of murdering Joffrey.  Imagine a mature man living off his father and then killing that man.  

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17 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

The OP clearly means "hero", not "protagonist".  Protagonists can be villains.

 

Well, so Petyr Baelish is the true protagonist of ASOIAF.

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The true hero was love all along...

But seriously, I think many of the fallen or soon to be fallen will be remembered as heroes although no singular victor will emerge at the end.

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26 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

In light of GRRM's "heart at war with itself" philosophy of literature, I would guess that the "heroes" will be those who overcome their own moral struggles, and do right in the end.

This suggests Sandor Clegane will definitely be on that list. Possibly Jaime. If "moral struggles" is the key, I really don't think Sansa is even in the running.

10 minutes ago, Marcelowww said:

Well, so Petyr Baelish is the true protagonist of ASOIAF.

Kind of makes your skin crawl, doesn't it?

Not wanting to just criticize or comment, I think Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are two of the most important protagonists. I'd include Arya and Tyrion as well. I hate to add Cersei, but think I have to, as well as Baelish (shudder). As Book 1 progressed, I assumed Ned Stark was the hero, but Joffrey ended all that. On the other hand, Ned's influence has remained present in the lives of his children.

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I'd say Littlefinger is more of an antagonist. He never gets a POV, and his actions effect/hinder many of those who do, and henceforth through which the story unfolds - e.g. Ned, Caetlyn, Cersei, Davos and Jaime. If he starts getting POVs in the later books, then this could well change. Circe, for example, is the main protagonist of AFfC, despite having been/being the antagonist for Ned, Tyrion and Jaime, amongst others.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bastard of Bournemouth said:

I'd say Littlefinger is more of an antagonist. He never gets a POV, and his actions effect/hinder many of those who do, and henceforth through which the story unfolds - e.g. Ned, Caetlyn, Cersei, Davos and Jaime. If he starts getting POVs in the later books, then this could well change. Circe, for example, is the main protagonist of AFfC, despite having been/being the antagonist for Ned, Tyrion and Jaime, amongst others.

 

 

Baelish is the definition of Neutral Evil.

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

Thanks for including Dany in your main protagonist list! I was surprised not to see her mentioned by the original poster.

By "no POV" characters, do you mean we don't get chapters with their points of view? Because several (I've embolded them in the quote) actually do have a large number of POV chapters.

Yes, I know that they are POVs, I said that we STARTED having no POV characters, so they started getting to the list in parallel with POVs of lower importance 

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29 minutes ago, Marcelowww said:

Baelish is the definition of Neutral Evil.

Baelish could be a hero: he was a skinny boy of a low family who, having lost all he loved in the duel with Brandon Stark, decided to fuck step by step the aristocracy of westeros, not being a warrior like Brandon, but a player of the game of thrones, without doubt the best player.

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2 hours ago, Son of Man said:

Yet he is blind to the fact that he was living on his father's allowance up until he got accused of murdering Joffrey.  Imagine a mature man living off his father and then killing that man.  

I just want to point out that virtually all sons of nobles are living it up off their fathers dime,  not out there working a 9 to 5 job

especially not a son of Tywin Lannister

 

2 hours ago, Platypus Rex said:

 

But Jaime, Tyrion, Cersei, are all doomed to be villains, I think.

Cersei is already a villain at this point

I don't see Tyrion or Jaime going down that path, Jaime is striving towards the light

Tyrion needs something to live for

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