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Sea Dragon

Is death good? Why fight the Others?

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As GRRM pointed out in an interview, fire and Ice will both kill you dead.  Good intentions notwithstanding, I don't think Dany unambiguously represents life and life-giving, at this point in her story arc.  The forces of death swirl around her too, and try to influence her story arc.  I don't anticipate she will necessarily end up as a villain, but her choices will matter.

And no, we are not meant to endorse the forces of death.  The Others are indeed Evil. 

Edited by Platypus Rex

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15 minutes ago, Platypus Rex said:

The Others are indeed Evil. 

Not to them. It's time we jettisoned our stunted, bigoted, humano-centric world view.

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35 minutes ago, zandru said:

Not to them. It's time we jettisoned our stunted, bigoted, humano-centric world view.

Ah yes. It's simply being bigoted to not like the possibility of being slaughtered and resurrected as a zombie. ;)

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57 minutes ago, zandru said:

Not to them. It's time we jettisoned our stunted, bigoted, humano-centric world view.

 [Maude Flanders Voice] Won't someone please think of the Others?! [/Maude Flanders Voice]

:D

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1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

 [Maude Flanders Voice] Won't someone please think of the Others?! [/Maude Flanders Voice]

:D

?

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1 hour ago, White Ravens said:

 [Maude Flanders Voice] Won't someone please think of the Others?! [/Maude Flanders Voice]

:D

 

3 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

?

It was Helen Lovejoy, not Maude! ;)

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52 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

?

 

48 minutes ago, Vaith said:

 

It was Helen Lovejoy, not Maude! ;)

 

 

D'OH!

 

Apologies for making a bad joke based on faulty memory.  

 

 

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:55 PM, Sea Dragon said:

Hello again. I have another question that might be obvious to some but I just have more questions. So far in this series nothing is like other normal and predictable fantasy books. George is doing that undoing the expected thing all over the story. I like this idea and I like it a lot because it keeps me interested. But if a common reasoning says that there must be a balance between life and death, then why are the Others the bad guys? We know Queen Danaerys is the giver of life so why are the Others so bad if they bring balance? 

Thank you.

Death is the status quo.  For the lack of a better term, it's the default state of the universe.  Life constantly work to exists.  Life has to be the hero because without it, ahem, even this discussion would not take place.  The question of good guy vs. bad guy is microscopically insignificant when you put it up in comparison with the cosmic scale of the universe's existence itself.  We are only insects in this universe.  Small and powerless.  Judging who is good and not only exists in our microscopic existence.  This is an extreme topic to be discussing and it falls outside the realm of the novels.  I would even say it is beyond the normal course of every day life because we take it for granted that living is a good thing.  Without life even philosophy and morality cannot exists.  

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5 hours ago, Vaith said:

Ah yes. It's simply being bigoted to not like the possibility of being slaughtered and resurrected as a zombie. ;)

Well, we can't really answer that until we truly understand WHY the Others have been killing men (and giants, and bears, etc etc) and reanimating them. Seems like a bad thing to the victims, sure, but what's the larger picture? I don't expect you know the answer any more than I do, of course. Jon Snow was clearly interested in finding this out.

He had good precedent for wondering. Up until the big wildling assault on the Wall, everyone had assumed that the wildlings had been moving south, trying to cross the wall as a way of moving into the seven kingdoms proper, for the purposes of rapine, theft, and destruction. By living with them, learning to talk with them, gaining their trust, Jon found that the wildling "army" was running for their lives, from the threat of the Others. The killing, the zombification, etc, as we've noted. Jon could thus make common cause with the wildlings and get their help in defending the Wall against the Others and their dead minions. Good. Next step: what's eating the Others? Seems like the obvious question.

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I mean who's perspective is this coming from? If I'm a sentient being and someone wants to turn me into a walking corpse then I don't particularly give a shit how benevolent his motive is. 

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If the Others are beyond morality like the wider universe is, that means we get to use our morality to judge them because ours is the only one available because the Others refuse to join in the conversation.   This is probably the explanation for the millennia stalemate that's underway.   

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The Others are trying to survive too, aren't they?  Isn't that why they accept Craster's offerings?  To continue the existence of their species.  The Others are not dead.  They're just a different form of life.  Both sides in this fight want to continue living.  Maybe they should work together and reach a compromise.  The warm bloods move south and leave the north to the cold bloods.  That's the way to harmony where no one need die.

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:55 PM, Sea Dragon said:

Hello again. I have another question that might be obvious to some but I just have more questions. So far in this series nothing is like other normal and predictable fantasy books. George is doing that undoing the expected thing all over the story. I like this idea and I like it a lot because it keeps me interested. But if a common reasoning says that there must be a balance between life and death, then why are the Others the bad guys? We know Queen Danaerys is the giver of life so why are the Others so bad if they bring balance? 

Thank you.

What a question!  Great thoughts written by my predecessors already.  We are genetically programmed to value our lives.  It has served us well and got us this far.  But in my humble opinion, this is not the true path to our evolution.  We can better our instincts.  The true path to enlightenment and morality is to learn to value the lives, rights, and wellbeing of other species as much as we value our own.   We have to evolve beyond being a humanists and learn to value non-human lives as much as we value our own.  I think that is the real path to morality.

The concepts of right and wrong that you present is bound by the limitations of human instinct, which we know is not programmed for morality but rather to serve the survival of that one species.  It is selfish.  Selfish is not good.  There is a better way.  A life of generosity and compassion is much, much better to me.

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On 2/20/2019 at 6:47 PM, Gabbie Roxas said:

What a question!  Great thoughts written by my predecessors already.  We are genetically programmed to value our lives.  It has served us well and got us this far.  But in my humble opinion, this is not the true path to our evolution.  We can better our instincts.  The true path to enlightenment and morality is to learn to value the lives, rights, and wellbeing of other species as much as we value our own.   We have to evolve beyond being a humanists and learn to value non-human lives as much as we value our own.  I think that is the real path to morality.

The concepts of right and wrong that you present is bound by the limitations of human instinct, which we know is not programmed for morality but rather to serve the survival of that one species.  It is selfish.  Selfish is not good.  There is a better way.  A life of generosity and compassion is much, much better to me.

George RR Martin hasn't created the story with this level of depth.  But yeah.  Empathy and charity are more moral choices than a pre-emptive strike for self-defense.  

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Wow. Good answers and some silly ones. I know this question might seem silly at first but I am serious. I was looking around online for some answers to this when I found something interesting Martin says when a few years ago someone asked him a similar question. Martin doesn't really give a real answer but it also is weird that he did not just say no. I mean, isn't that the obvious answer? This is what I found,

Are the Others just pure evil, or are we going to find out more about their motives later on?

Keep reading.

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Posted (edited)

Dany is the giver of death also. She killed more people than most people in the series, and I'm sure her dragons are going to cause even more death as the series goes on. She said it herself, dragons plant no trees. 

Edited by John Doe

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On 2/2/2019 at 12:55 PM, Sea Dragon said:

Hello again. I have another question that might be obvious to some but I just have more questions. So far in this series nothing is like other normal and predictable fantasy books. George is doing that undoing the expected thing all over the story. I like this idea and I like it a lot because it keeps me interested. But if a common reasoning says that there must be a balance between life and death, then why are the Others the bad guys? We know Queen Danaerys is the giver of life so why are the Others so bad if they bring balance? 

Thank you.

We don't know that the Others are bad guys but we do know that Dany is a giver and taker of lives and I think her track record speaks for itself. I think one of the points GRRM loves to make is that dichotomies like good and evil are almost always false at anything but a cursory glance. Life is sloppy and death is messy.

Undeath, which is what the Others seem to be peddling, makes a false dichotomy of life and death. 

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Posted (edited)
On 2/2/2019 at 11:55 AM, Sea Dragon said:

Hello again. I have another question that might be obvious to some but I just have more questions. So far in this series nothing is like other normal and predictable fantasy books. George is doing that undoing the expected thing all over the story. I like this idea and I like it a lot because it keeps me interested. But if a common reasoning says that there must be a balance between life and death, then why are the Others the bad guys? We know Queen Danaerys is the giver of life so why are the Others so bad if they bring balance? 

Thank you.

If there was a shortage of death, perhaps you might perceive some additional deaths as natural. But in fact the people of Planetos are born & die just fine without the help of the Others, who are just screwing things up by making the dead return as wights rather than letting the natural cycle proceed.

GRRM has cited Heinlein's Starship Troopers, so I figured it's worth comparing that. The human officers don't actually make any claim to moral superiority over the Bugs. An historical process has led to all the nations of the world uniting (and remaining united even as humanity spread to other planets), and when they run into the Bugs and start fighting each species is able to support their fellows without worrying too much about which side is in the right. However, in the ethics course it's stated that the human ethical system could theoretically expand to cover other species. The last major military operation we hear about is not intended to destroy the Bugs' warfighting ability (the last major assault on them actually went very badly) but to capture a "brain bug" in order to learn, communicate* & negotiate things like the recovery of prisoners (the failure of the treaty in the war between the Anglo-American-Russian Alliance and the Chinese Hegemony to resolve the POW issue eventually led to the collapse of existing governments and the rise of the new veteran-led system). Right now there is no scope for negotiating, appeasing or cooperating with the Others. You might as well try to consider the ethics of battling a pandemic, or even a natural disaster. The Others do have a language, but considering all the conflicts between humans in the series and the apocalyptic nature of the previous Long Night, I don't think there's space for GRRM doing something more complicated than the expected.

*One of the plot holes in the book is that the "Skinnies" have already been compelled to switch sides from being Bug allies to the human side, so presumably they already knew how to communicate with the Bugs and could have helped the humans do that. But I think the book was written for youngsters who'd be drawn in by the few whiz-bang space adventure elements and not likely to get ahead of Heinlein's reasoning there.

Edited by FictionIsntReal
Added note on Starship Troopers

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