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Wm Portnoy

George hates hero worship

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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.  

Edited by Wm Portnoy

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I don't think any of us would be fans of the books if we didn't love emotionally grey or black characters. I'm hoping to see characters such as Jon, Bran, Arya, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Sansa perform some morally questionable acts in TWoW.  

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2 hours ago, Wm Portnoy said:

Arya is black. 

How is Arya morally black? She's certainly a morally grey character, but she hasn't gone completely off the moral deepened like Ramsay, Roose, Euron, Gregor, Tywin, Cersei and Tyrion have.

Hell, Daenerys has done far worse things then anything Arya has done. (not that I'm implying Daenerys is evil).

Arya is a traumatized 11 year old who has had her entire life ruined do to circumstances completely outside of her control, has witness mass war crimes, has been forced into a enemy work camp, has been repeatedly beaten and threatened with rape, and has practically had her family murdered in front of her.

Her life is so horrible, that she thinks the only place where she can be safe is with the local death cultists. 

And yet she is incapable of abandoning who she is, her inability to bring herself to destroy Needle and the Wolf Dreams are testament to that. 

Arya Stark is not a spree killer, she is a vigilante. Less Michael Myers and more Punisher. 

Arya is a morally complex character, and has done some questionable things, but she isn't evil. 

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Doing bad things for the greater good:

black + white = grey

Jon also doesnt treat Gilly, Ygritte or Val with much honor. He uses all of them for his own purposes to some extent. He doesn't help Val but he helps Alys out of her marriage predicament. Its interesting how he picks and chooses which women he helps.

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11 hours ago, Euron III Greyjoy said:

I don't think any of us would be fans of the books if we didn't love emotionally grey or black characters. I'm hoping to see characters such as Jon, Bran, Arya, Tyrion, Daenerys, and Sansa perform some morally questionable acts in TWoW.  

All of those you listed are solid gray with the exception of Arya and Tyrion.  I say Tyrion may lean more towards the blacker side of things.  Arya is really black. 

4 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Doing bad things for the greater good:

black + white = grey

Jon also doesnt treat Gilly, Ygritte or Val with much honor. He uses all of them for his own purposes to some extent. He doesn't help Val but he helps Alys out of her marriage predicament. Its interesting how he picks and chooses which women he helps.

He's very biased towards the Starks and that compromised his judgment.  He commits an act of treason for Arya and broke his vows.  And probably the NW as a result.

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52 minutes ago, Rocks For Jocks 101 said:

All of those you listed are solid gray with the exception of Arya and Tyrion.  I say Tyrion may lean more towards the blacker side of things.  Arya is really black. 

Yeah I know, I'm hoping to see them in an even worse light in TWoW. 

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There are those who would say Darth Vader was the most interesting character in Star Wars.  Luke and Obi could not have sold the story.  The story might have gone better if Darth Vader had lived.  

There is something of the contra-hero in George Martin.  

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15 hours ago, 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.  

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

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2 hours ago, Rocks For Jocks 101 said:

He's very biased towards the Starks and that compromised his judgment.  He commits an act of treason for Arya and broke his vows.  And probably the NW as a result.

Yeah but, you know how he gets out of his predicament? By being even less honorable. I think his judgement on the fArya plot was just fine, and neutrality wasnt going to help him get things accomplished. Plus Bowen would have killed him even if he went to Hardhome. I think he should have been more stealthy about killing Ramsay and also had a spider who could gather intel for him so he could stop Bowen. In other words, he should have been MORE devious.

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I think Arya is written that way because she's going to kill Dany. The first time she hears the phrase valar morghulis is the chapter right before Dany receives her HotU visions. Dany also enters a door that looks like the House of Black and White. I dont think Arya will be completely black though - she killed the guards to free the Northmen after all. I think she'll always do it to protect her family, even if its short sighted. Its the people who kill family members who are really black, IMO.

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2 hours ago, 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

Why would you put Dayne, Hightower and Mance in same category as Joffrey and Ramsey? 

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4 minutes ago, Ser Uncle P said:

Why would you put Dayne, Hightower and Mance in same category as Joffrey and Ramsey? 

Because we are talking about both black and white characters. Are these men likely to be as pure and good and noble as they are said to be any more than Joff and Rams are supposedly pure black and evil?

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

Arya is black.

Maybe you need to read the books a little more closely. "Black" Arya still needs many updates from the Kindly Man on why the insurance fraudster is on the House of Black&White's hit list, before she settles in her mind that she will kill him, as ordered. (Even though it seems most readers truly love the insurer who doesn't pay his claims - I'm assuming they (or their parents) have never had a claim unfairly denied...)

Arya's kills are mainly to protect or avenge her friends, not for kicks like Ramsey Snow or Gregor Clegane or Mad King Joffrey. Of all the people Arya kills in Westeros, she continues to feel guilt long after and believes her mother would disapprove. This isn't the mark of a "black" character.

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17 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Jon also doesnt treat Gilly, Ygritte or Val with much honor. He uses all of them for his own purposes to some extent. He doesn't help Val but he helps Alys out of her marriage predicament. Its interesting how he picks and chooses which women he helps.

Jon spared Ygritte's life when he's ordered to execute her. In what way does he wrong her? Jon also lets Val go to find Tormund, also over the objections of his comrades. Alys marries a wildling under the blessing of Melisandre to get away from one particular attempt at a forced marriage, while Val indicates a willingness to marry a "kneeler" to please Stannis (in an unsuccessful attempt to save Mance) and has multiple suitors within Stannis' army. Jon refuses to marry Val himself because he doesn't want Stannis to remove him from the Nights Watch, but he didn't personally marry Alys either. He's hardly treated her worse, she's just less in need of his help.

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11 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Yeah but, you know how he gets out of his predicament? By being even less honorable. I think his judgement on the fArya plot was just fine, and neutrality wasnt going to help him get things accomplished. Plus Bowen would have killed him even if he went to Hardhome. I think he should have been more stealthy about killing Ramsay and also had a spider who could gather intel for him so he could stop Bowen. In other words, he should have been MORE devious.

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.  

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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.  

Doesn't leave much incentive to do the right thing. Gives people more of an inspiration to be amoral jerks. 

Edited by Angel Eyes

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4 hours ago, 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.  

Stannis was starting a war with the Bolotns, so its not really a big deal for me. Jon is acting the same as Stannis, only Jon's heart is in the right place where Stannis has a backwards view on that. Without family, there's nothing left to fight for. There's in effect, no Watcher, because humans can't be motivated by duty alone.

I think its part of a realization. Jon is not the type to work behind the scenes for a figurehead. He's not the type to be beholden to a Lord over him. He IS the figurehead. This comes back to him trying to be Stannis' advisor who just has to wait for help to come to him and beg the Boltons for a pittance. Its only going to get him in trouble because he operates outside of the authority of what he's in. He needs more power and he needs to be more devious with it.

 

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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.  

There's grey and then there's grey.  The finest examples of the true greys are Theon, Jaime, Varys, and Jorah.  Martin loves to twist their plot.  I don't know that I like them but Martin writes for himself.

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10 hours ago, Samyaza said:

What he did violated his oaths and placed the NW in danger. 

Which part of his oath did he break?

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