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Wm Portnoy

George hates hero worship

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"What did you mean when you said, The future of this kingdom? Are you saying I'm some kind of hero?"

"They're such relative terms, aren't they, darling? Hero and villain? One step up."

"I didn't say villain"

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I agree with most of what the thread author is saying but we need to look beyond heroes and anti-heroes.  What the book portrays is reality.  Things go wrong because humans make decisions with their emotions.  It's fact.  It does appear bleak but that's reality for you.  Take Catelyn for our example.  She's a caring woman who appear to have decency and yet she kidnaps Tyrion to get justice for her son.  One son against the deaths of many innocent and uninvolved people because she knew how Tywin would respond.   Catelyn is not a good leader but she is a decent mother.  We need to take the person's role into account.  A lady should consider the needs of the smallfolk who support her house.  Catelyn didn't because she's thinking like a mother.  She should not be in a position to lead.  

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4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

"What did you mean when you said, The future of this kingdom? Are you saying I'm some kind of hero?"

"They're such relative terms, aren't they, darling? Hero and villain? One step up."

"I didn't say villain"

But there are definite villains. They're all on a list.

Look at The Mountain, who literally scarred his brother for life for playing with one of his tows, raped and murdered Elia Martell on a whim. Look at the Mad King, who perverted the laws of Trial by Combat for his sick entertainment and later tried to burn 500,000 people alive out of spite. Ramsay Snow, who raped his 13-year-old wife (officially 11) and forced her to have sex with his dogs. Craster, who rapes his daughters (and granddaughters) and possibly even further down the line. Rorge sacked Saltpans and is a pedophile to boot. 

And some people who aren't on that list do heinous things; Tywin Lannister had his son Tyrion's wife gang-raped, something that Tyrion would kill him over years later.

 

Edited by Angel Eyes

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On 2/4/2019 at 6:23 PM, Wm Portnoy said:

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/152232-does-grrm-hate-heroism-or-avoid-it-jon-and-quentyn-comparison/&page=3&tab=comments#comment-828082

Our author doesn't hate heroes.  He hates hero worship.  A cynical person is not going to have many people, if any, that they look up to as heroes.  George wants to pass on some of that cynicism to his readers.  He likes grey characters and writes true to form.  Most of the first-tier characters are grey.  Tyrion, Daenerys, Bran, and Jon are all grey.  Arya is black.  Even non-major grey characters have deep backstories.  Theon, Jorah, Sandor, Jamie are such.   All of us on this forum are guilty of hero worship and villain hating.  George is contrary and I will not put it past him to kill off a character if that person is getting 80% fan approval.  It means that's a forgettable character.  George likes controversial characters.  So don't be surprised if someone dull and uncontroversial such as Brienne is killed off in Winds.  

 

 

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/153126-is-death-good-why-fight-the-others/

The author obviously wants us to be aware of the fragility of life.  I don't think we should think of either as good or bad.  It is what it is.  The best we can do, the best any character inside the story can do, is to make good use of the life they have.  Spend it well and enjoy it.  

Agree

80% approval is typical trope for a hero.  George is not going that direction.  His "protagonists" are one who will be equally loved and hated by the fandom.  

Yup, it is what it is.  Best make lemonade out of lemons sweetie.  There's some who will squeeze the juice in other people's eyes like Doran Martell though.  

 

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1 hour ago, Angel Eyes said:

But there are definite villains. They're all on a list.

Look at The Mountain, who literally scarred his brother for life for playing with one of his tows, raped and murdered Elia Martell on a whim. Look at the Mad King, who perverted the laws of Trial by Combat for his sick entertainment and later tried to burn 500,000 people alive out of spite. Ramsay Snow, who raped his 13-year-old wife (officially 11) and forced her to have sex with his dogs. Craster, who rapes his daughters (and granddaughters) and possibly even further down the line. Rorge sacked Saltpans and is a pedophile to boot. 

And some people who aren't on that list do heinous things; Tywin Lannister had his son Tyrion's wife gang-raped, something that Tyrion would kill him over years later.

 

And these villains are heroes.

Gregor will now have defended the crown twice in trial by combat, defeating death to do it this time around. Seems pretty heroic to me. Ramsay pays homage to his ancestors and defeated their ancient enemy and overlord. Barri says Aerys is remembered and random smallfolk miss him. Ygritte says Craster carries a heavy burden. Tywins just a Belichick, would you say 13 points isnt enough to win the superbowl?

Then Rorge. Very scummy. The Septon explained it, men are men, broken men are worse. Him finding Sandors armor must be way passed his paygrade, a broken man dressed like a knight. He was no real villain, more beast then man, never played the game, not even a real piece, just an overlooked man caught in the games of Roose and Tywin. Westeros is crawling with his like, just none have nice armor.

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George is not pro villain, anti hero.  What he doesn't like is the herd mentality.  Just because something or someone is popular doesn't make their actions correct.  Liking a person is not the same as that person being actually good.  Furthermore, being good and being popular does not mean that person will benefit the greater good.  A lot of people in this forum like Arya Stark.  Which I don't understand but so be it.  Just because they like Arya doesn't mean Arya is a hero.  Being bad does not exclude someone from a lot of fan favorite list.   Arya is an extremely damaged person who does very bad things.  She does more harm than good.  She's an antagonists to the greater good. 

George swims against the current of popularity.  The Hbo show takes a populists approach but George is not like them.  He wants to be different and that means going against what or who are the popular fan choices.  The least popular characters might surprise us and do something heroic to redeem themselves in a George Martin way.  So there.  It is fair to accuse George of being anti-populists but he is not pro-villain. 

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On 2/5/2019 at 9:10 PM, Samyaza said:

I disagree.  There should not have been a predicament.  Arya was no longer his concern.  What he did violated his oaths and placed the NW in danger.  He stuck his nose where it doesn't belong.  Bowen Marsh killed him because he was getting ready to start a war with the Boltons.  Bowen was right.  

Bowen can't get past his racism for the Wildlings and skepticism of White Walkers and doesn't care about an absolute good. He's no better. 

GRRM doesn't really leave incentive for people to do the right thing by what he does to his characters. He leaves the readers to have reasons to do the wrong thing. 

Edited by Angel Eyes

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On 2/6/2019 at 7:42 AM, Geddus said:

Which part of his oath did he break?

He let Mance Rayder walk.  This is a travesty to justice especially when you consider what he did to Slynt.  To kill Slynt and then let an ever worse criminal go is not justice.  The lord commander had a duty to execute Mance Rayder.  That's one.  Then he stuck his nose in the politics of the kingdom when he interfered with the Boltons.  Jon sent the wildlings to fetch his sister.  His purpose in this was to hide Arya from her husband.  That is a violation of the Watch's neutrality and taking no sides.  Jon later creates a Wildling Attack Party (WAP) to attack House Bolton.  Which is illegal.  The watch is supposed to protect everybody in the kingdom without bias or prejudice.  Jon is clearly biased and prejudiced against the Boltons.  

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Thing is, none of that constitutes oathbreaking. Did Jon commit treason? Probably, but his vows say nothing about neutrality or executing wildling chieftains.

And of course he's biased against the Boltons, how could he not be?

Edited by Geddus

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8 hours ago, Geddus said:

Thing is, none of that constitutes oathbreaking. Did Jon commit treason? Probably, but his vows say nothing about neutrality or executing wildling chieftains.

And of course he's biased against the Boltons, how could he not be?

Desertion, which he is guilty of, is oath breaking.  He deserted and his friends had to take his ass back to the wall.  He's also guilty of assaulting and attempted murder of a superior officer.  Jon has broken his oaths.  With the matter of Mance and Janos, he failed to carry out his duty to serve justice to the men of the watch.  Don't forget, Mance Rayder is a man of the night's watch.  He is held to the same standards as they are.  Sending him to get Arya from the Boltons, which Jon did, is an act of treason.  Mance Rayder, a sworn brother of the night's watch, commits murder while conducting a mission under Jon's orders.  Mance and his accomplices murdered Roose Bolton's servants.  They broke guest rights while acting under Jon's orders to get his sister and bring her to the wall. 

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15 hours ago, Samyaza said:

Desertion, which he is guilty of, is oath breaking.  He deserted and his friends had to take his ass back to the wall.  He's also guilty of assaulting and attempted murder of a superior officer.  Jon has broken his oaths.  With the matter of Mance and Janos, he failed to carry out his duty to serve justice to the men of the watch.  Don't forget, Mance Rayder is a man of the night's watch.  He is held to the same standards as they are.  Sending him to get Arya from the Boltons, which Jon did, is an act of treason.  Mance Rayder, a sworn brother of the night's watch, commits murder while conducting a mission under Jon's orders.  Mance and his accomplices murdered Roose Bolton's servants.  They broke guest rights while acting under Jon's orders to get his sister and bring her to the wall. 

In Westeros some people are more equal than others. In this case a person with Stark blood :) So Jon can get away all those things mentioned in quote. Or he is not equal than some "peasants".

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15 hours ago, Samyaza said:

Desertion, which he is guilty of, is oath breaking.  He deserted and his friends had to take his ass back to the wall.  He's also guilty of assaulting and attempted murder of a superior officer.  Jon has broken his oaths.  With the matter of Mance and Janos, he failed to carry out his duty to serve justice to the men of the watch.  Don't forget, Mance Rayder is a man of the night's watch.  He is held to the same standards as they are.  Sending him to get Arya from the Boltons, which Jon did, is an act of treason.  Mance Rayder, a sworn brother of the night's watch, commits murder while conducting a mission under Jon's orders.  Mance and his accomplices murdered Roose Bolton's servants.  They broke guest rights while acting under Jon's orders to get his sister and bring her to the wall. 

Again, none of this is oathbreaking - except for desertion, obviously, which he didn't ultimately commit.

These are the NW vows:

Quote

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

Can you point me out, again, which part of these did he break?

Oathbreaking and treason are not the same thing.

 

Edited by Geddus

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I don't know about oath breaking but Jon is at least guilty of deceiving the Nights Watch and the realm of Westeros.  He tried to deceive them all.  He had a duty to execute Mance Rayder for the crimes of desertion, killing his fellow sworn brothers, and attacking the realm.  Jon is also guilty of attacking House Bolton with what amounts to a small force of highly skilled wildlings.  Jon's mission to hide Arya from Ramsay is illegal and placed his order in danger.  

On 2/12/2019 at 3:37 AM, Geddus said:

I shall live and die at my post.

He was about to break this oath.  Jon put together his army of wildlings.  They were leaving their posts to attack the Boltons.  

On 2/12/2019 at 3:37 AM, Geddus said:

the shield that guards the realms of men

In my opinion, this part of the oath was violated.  He attacked the Boltons with Mance Rayder and the Spearwives.   

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I think the majority of readers disagree that Jon is acting "illegally" (whatever that means), because they are quite reasonable about how Ramsay can't just continue to do whatever he wants.

Ramsay terrorized women, raped them, chased them with his dogs, psychologically tortured them. Then it escalates when he rapes Jeyne. None of that is Jon's fault. In fact he feels its his responsibility to stop it.

GRRM: "We've always had a class of protectors...Of course, the way it often worked out is the people the peasants often needed the most protection from were their own protectors"

How is Jon threatening the smallfolk? How is Jon terrorizing them in the name of "protection?" Like what really matters here.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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I just think that in myths, legends and history our heroes are very often highly flawed people who are products of their times, from Beowulf to Achilles and Hercules, these shining sword carrying people of legends were often bastards in their own right. Anyone who can take a sword and hack another man to bits has done things they aren’t, or perhaps are proud of. There are varying degrees of this, but that’s just how it is

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On 2/16/2019 at 4:55 PM, Annalee said:

I don't know about oath breaking but Jon is at least guilty of deceiving the Nights Watch and the realm of Westeros.  He tried to deceive them all.  He had a duty to execute Mance Rayder for the crimes of desertion, killing his fellow sworn brothers, and attacking the realm.  Jon is also guilty of attacking House Bolton with what amounts to a small force of highly skilled wildlings.  Jon's mission to hide Arya from Ramsay is illegal and placed his order in danger.

Jon's actions can, and probably should, be viewed as treasonous, I'm not arguing that; what I don't agree with is the oathbreaking.

On 2/16/2019 at 4:55 PM, Annalee said:

He was about to break this oath.  Jon put together his army of wildlings.  They were leaving their posts to attack the Boltons.  

Jon had every intention to return, he wasn't deserting - which is what that vow is about - and we know that the lord commander can in fact leave his post. As can any other NW member.

On 2/16/2019 at 4:55 PM, Annalee said:

In my opinion, this part of the oath was violated.  He attacked the Boltons with Mance Rayder and the Spearwives.   

Sure he did, but I don't see how that violates his oaths.

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On 2/5/2019 at 9:46 AM, John Suburbs said:

I'm not sure how you can say George is passing cynicism to his readers by writing grey characters but is not passing a certain level of optimism by writing totally black ones. I agree Arya is in a very dark place right now, and things are not likely to end well for her if she continues on this path, but to say that she is black is just as inaccurate, IMO, as saying that someone else is pure white. Even if we were meeting Arya for the first time in Dance, she would still have a lengthy backstory that would explain her actions.

But this is an interesting topic, so what shades of white/grey/black might these other characters be? And would any of them have backstory that would at least explain, although not justify, their actions?

Gregor Clegane

Joffrey

Arthur Dayne

Gerold Hightower

Ramsay

Roose

Janos Slynt

Alliser Thorne

Catelyn

Mance Rayder

Craster

Euron

Sybelle Westerling

The Others

Arya is black.  A child of that age who murders people without remorse nor feelings of guilt is black.  The old man at the bar in Braavos and Dareon were not self-defense.  

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On 2/16/2019 at 10:55 AM, Annalee said:

In my opinion, this part of the oath was violated.  He attacked the Boltons with Mance Rayder and the Spearwives.   

Very good.  I agree.  Sending another brother of the watch to attack the Boltons is a clear violation of his oaths.  That's not guarding the realms of man, that's attacking the realms of man over a feud that he should never have been involved with in the first place.

On 2/12/2019 at 3:37 AM, Geddus said:

Again, none of this is oathbreaking - except for desertion, obviously, which he didn't ultimately commit.

These are the NW vows:

Can you point me out, again, which part of these did he break?

Oathbreaking and treason are not the same thing.

 

Jon did desert.  He was brought back.  That is desertion.  A violation of his oaths.  And Jon is complicit in the public lie about Mance Rayder.  He is now a known liar who forgave Mance Rayder.  

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On 2/16/2019 at 6:32 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

I think the majority of readers disagree that Jon is acting "illegally" (whatever that means), because they are quite reasonable about how Ramsay can't just continue to do whatever he wants.

Ramsay terrorized women, raped them, chased them with his dogs, psychologically tortured them. Then it escalates when he rapes Jeyne. None of that is Jon's fault. In fact he feels its his responsibility to stop it.

GRRM: "We've always had a class of protectors...Of course, the way it often worked out is the people the peasants often needed the most protection from were their own protectors"

How is Jon threatening the smallfolk? How is Jon terrorizing them in the name of "protection?" Like what really matters here.

What Ramsay does is bad.  But the realm survives and the chance for a better tomorrow is always there.  This chance is only there if Jon does his job at the wall.  One person cannot solve every problem.  The best the person can do is to do their job the best they can.  Stopping Ramsay doesn't do any good because he's taking away the wall's defenses.  And it's quite arrogant to assume that the majority of readers agree with Jon.  We don't know that.  All I know for sure is I don't agree with Jon.  

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On 2/4/2019 at 6:23 PM, Wm Portnoy said:

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/152232-does-grrm-hate-heroism-or-avoid-it-jon-and-quentyn-comparison/&page=3&tab=comments#comment-828082

Our author doesn't hate heroes.  He hates hero worship.  A cynical person is not going to have many people, if any, that they look up to as heroes.  George wants to pass on some of that cynicism to his readers.  He likes grey characters and writes true to form.  Most of the first-tier characters are grey.  Tyrion, Daenerys, Bran, and Jon are all grey.  Arya is black.  Even non-major grey characters have deep backstories.  Theon, Jorah, Sandor, Jamie are such.   All of us on this forum are guilty of hero worship and villain hating.  George is contrary and I will not put it past him to kill off a character if that person is getting 80% fan approval.  It means that's a forgettable character.  George likes controversial characters.  So don't be surprised if someone dull and uncontroversial such as Brienne is killed off in Winds.  

 

 

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/153126-is-death-good-why-fight-the-others/

The author obviously wants us to be aware of the fragility of life.  I don't think we should think of either as good or bad.  It is what it is.  The best we can do, the best any character inside the story can do, is to make good use of the life they have.  Spend it well and enjoy it.  

The novel has a tone of hopelessness to it.  Comedy is very few and very far in between.  It has more darkness than light.  I keep reading and hoping for more light but I may get disappointed.  George Martin loves to disappoint.  Just remember what happened to Oberyn versus Gregor.  

I don't know if the story reflects George Martin's outlook on life.  Was George a fan of somebody who later did something bad to disappoint him?  Clinton?  Some football star on his favorite team.  

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