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Angel Eyes

The Perils of a Reluctant King

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Posted (edited)

To compare him to Robert is a bit... harsh? The issue with Robert was utter disinterest and no sense of responsibility. Robert thought being king would be a fun romp but when it wasn't, he just switched off. Jon on the other hand isn't really disinterested as he is reluctant to take power, yet when people choose him he tries to take it seriously and sees it through. 

None of the characters are perfect King or Queen at this point. Each one has flaws that one could argue makes them unfit to rule; Daenerys's ego cannot suffer not being adored so she "chooses fear"; Cersei was spiteful and self-serving; Bran is wise and incorruptible yet lack true empathy and the charisma needed; Tyrion puts his faith in the wrong people too often though he does relish in political intrigue and practicalities of statesmanship; Sansa is probably one of the better choices of the lot because she seeks advice from those around her and takes her duties to both her lords and smallfolk seriously yet she can backstab people and is willing to break vows in the interest of her family; Jon rules with his gut a lot of the time, which has backfired on him as much as it has seen him through yet he has a natural charm about him that resonates with people.

I think Jon would be good in as far as he would be measured and would not let the power corrupt him. His strong sense of honour gives him some gravitas and he is just. Given that the world they are living in going forward probably calls for a military man who can carry a kingdom through rebuilding, he would probably do well in such a world. Plus, no king should rule without council and Jon would likely try to surround himself with advisers who know about the things he does not, hearing people out and then going with his gut again -- perhaps after what Daenerys has done, he will learn not to put too much faith in someone else?

We'll see.

Edited by Faera

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2 hours ago, btfu806 said:

Was the debt why he ended up marrying Cersei? I really need to reread these books it's been a little while.

No Tywin wanted his daughter married originally to Rhaegar, but the Mad King refused and married Rhaegar to Elia Martell from Dorne, Tywin wanted to further the Lannisters power by marrying his daughter to someone Very powerful... Tywin was the Mad Kings hand, he switched sided late on in the war...

I think Tywin, Bargined with Robert, He'd switched sides and took Kings Landing for Robert... I think cersei was the bargining chip 

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On 5/14/2019 at 4:08 PM, Angel Eyes said:

So Varys is saying that Jon would be a better ruler than Daenerys because he doesn't want the throne. Isn't there a problem with that since Robert Baratheon didn't want the throne and because he didn't want it he proceeded to run himself (and the country) into the ground? How is Jon any better than Robert for that? 

Robert didn't want the responsibilities of being king, and delegated everything except drinking and whoring. It is the responsibilities of being king that Jon would have been great at once upon a time, having being taught by Ned to believe that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Now, though, there is no way he can have a leadership position after his judgement helped enable Dany's atrocities.

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On 5/15/2019 at 10:53 AM, David Selig said:

The idiotic fantasy cliche that reluctant rulers make the best rulers really needs to die in a fire.

It is not idiotic and it's not just a fantasy cliche. The premise is that someone who is not interested in power is less likely to be corrupted by it. The other side of it is of course will that lack of desire cause a ruler to be uninterested and not even make an effort, like Robert, or will that ruler see it as a duty and do the best he can? Often in stories a person is so humble he does not see the leadership potential in himself. He just wants to lead a simple life (Perrin and Rand in WoT are great examples), but leadership is thrust upon him because others around him see the potential in him. Another example is King David of Israel. He did not want to be king, but he was a great king.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2019 at 3:53 PM, David Selig said:

The idiotic fantasy cliche that reluctant rulers make the best rulers really needs to die in a fire.

Also shame about the Dumbledore quote.

Wasn't he raising Harry like a pig for slaughter or some such?

Even the most duty oriented person would eventually fail at something that would always be an imposition that went against his nature? A forced chore?

Fine, the good king is his people's first servant, as per the other cliché, but it should be a choice, right?

As in choosing to serve his people?

But then there's the pitfall of 'I know what's right' and we're back to Daenerys' mad woman in the attic speech.

You may not desire power and still see yourself as it's instrument, as I saw Varys.

Edited by It_spelt_Magalhaes

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4 minutes ago, It_spelt_Magalhaes said:

Also shame about the Dumbledore quote.

Wasn't he raising Harry like a pig for slaughter or some such?

Even the most duty oriented person would eventually fail at something that would always be an imposition that went against his nature? A forced chore?

Fine, the good king is his people's first servant, as per the other cliché, but it should be a choice, right?

Of course the reluctant ruler still has the choice whether to accept or not. And then it is up to that ruler what kind of attitude he has toward it. For instance Aragorn in LotR and Lan in WoT, both of them accepted their duty and that acceptance meant giving it their all.

Snape accused Dumbledore of raising Harry like a pig for slaughter (in the movie, can't remember how it went down in the book), but since Dumbledore did not know about the horcruxes at the beginning, he could not have been. That said, it doesn't negate the truth of his statement.

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1 hour ago, SansaJonRule said:

It is not idiotic and it's not just a fantasy cliche. The premise is that someone who is not interested in power is less likely to be corrupted by it. The other side of it is of course will that lack of desire cause a ruler to be uninterested and not even make an effort, like Robert, or will that ruler see it as a duty and do the best he can? Often in stories a person is so humble he does not see the leadership potential in himself. He just wants to lead a simple life (Perrin and Rand in WoT are great examples), but leadership is thrust upon him because others around him see the potential in him. Another example is King David of Israel. He did not want to be king, but he was a great king.

 

Because it’s making a moral judgement, not a question of ability or merit. Rulers should be picked on the basis of being the best; not on how humble they pretend to be. 

Theres never an other side to it. George’s satire of the reluctant King in Robert is an exception. Usually it is taken at face value that being reluctant and uncertain of yourself translate into being good at handling power.

The bible also tells you that the good Christian turns the other cheek and renders unto Caesar. Don’t you think it’s a little suspicious that so many stories over the centuries should discourage people wanting power?

 

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When Jon was Lord Commander he was so bad at it he was killed in mutiny.   Even Lord Mormont was.  Now we can say what we want about who makes up the nights watch but they were far better than the Lannisters and Tyrells.  Outside of the north Jon would not last any longer than Dany as monarch.  

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23 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

Because it’s making a moral judgement, not a question of ability or merit. Rulers should be picked on the basis of being the best; not on how humble they pretend to be. 

Theres never an other side to it. George’s satire of the reluctant King in Robert is an exception. Usually it is taken at face value that being reluctant and uncertain of yourself translate into being good at handling power.

The bible also tells you that the good Christian turns the other cheek and renders unto Caesar. Don’t you think it’s a little suspicious that so many stories over the centuries should discourage people wanting power?

 

I was trying to point out that not wanting power, as you state at the end of your comment, is a good quality in a ruler, but it's not enough to make a good ruler. Robert Baratheon didn't want to deal with the crap that comes with being king, and so he didn't. Aragorn always accepted his duty, whatever is was, and while that's now guarantee he'd be a good king, it is an indication that he will do his very best to rule well.

I am not sure how your last comment relates to context of this particular discussion. Could you elaborate?

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7 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

I was trying to point out that not wanting power, as you state at the end of your comment, is a good quality in a ruler, but it's not enough to make a good ruler. Robert Baratheon didn't want to deal with the crap that comes with being king, and so he didn't. Aragorn always accepted his duty, whatever is was, and while that's now guarantee he'd be a good king, it is an indication that he will do his very best to rule well.

I am not sure how your last comment relates to context of this particular discussion. Could you elaborate?

 

Because most of the people who read stories in the bible or any story really are individuals who won’t ever have any power. So teaching them that “you don’t want power”, “it corrupts you”, “you shouldn’t trust your passions” and that the highest virtue is to be humble and do what you’re told is a means of social control. 

It’s a way of saying that you should know your place and not complain about your situation. If you’re a medieval serf and you complain about your condition well that’s just because men are sinful and want power. That the good man accepts his lot in life just like King David did.

So the whole power corrupts and humans are innately flawed except for a few stoic top men who know best is a very questionable message to be spreading. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/14/2019 at 10:08 PM, Angel Eyes said:

So Varys is saying that Jon would be a better ruler than Daenerys because he doesn't want the throne. Isn't there a problem with that since Robert Baratheon didn't want the throne and because he didn't want it he proceeded to run himself (and the country) into the ground? How is Jon any better than Robert for that? 

Robert wanted to be king... he just didn't want the work and responsabilities that came with it...

If he really didn't want to be king he could have pushed the job on Jon Arryn or Ned Stark; they wanted him to be king, but, what were they going to do? Chain him to the throne? And once it was clear Robert didn't want it, honor and duty would have forced them to take responsability...

But anyways, I think it is better if the king wants to be king... That is a very demanding job with a lot of responsabilities and public exposure, and you could easily become depressed, angry and demotivated if it is forced on you against your will...

Edited by Ser Lepus

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

 It is not idiotic and it's not just a fantasy cliche. The premise is that someone who is not interested in power is less likely to be corrupted by it. The other side of it is of course will that lack of desire cause a ruler to be uninterested and not even make an effort, like Robert, or will that ruler see it as a duty and do the best he can? Often in stories a person is so humble he does not see the leadership potential in himself. He just wants to lead a simple life (Perrin and Rand in WoT are great examples), but leadership is thrust upon him because others around him see the potential in him. Another example is King David of Israel. He did not want to be king, but he was a great king.

That is the premise. Problem is, power also brings responsibilities. Which means that best rulers are those who had already experienced power before becoming rulers. This means that they were either educated and raised in wielding power (e.g. various princes, successors, junior co-rulers), or else had experienced wielding power during their life (military commanders, bureocrats etc.). And that is kinda hard to achieve if you are completely uninterested and are, in fact, trying to avoid wielding power.

EDIT: And that is why I think either Jon, Sansa or Davos would have been good choices for a ruler. Jon used to be King in the North; problem here is that show made him into an idiot, and he was imprisoned when discussion was being carried out. Sansa likewise had experience ruling, and Davos was Hand of the King, meaning he should also have some experience.

Edited by Aldarion

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9 hours ago, Aldarion said:

That is the premise. Problem is, power also brings responsibilities. Which means that best rulers are those who had already experienced power before becoming rulers. This means that they were either educated and raised in wielding power (e.g. various princes, successors, junior co-rulers), or else had experienced wielding power during their life (military commanders, bureocrats etc.). And that is kinda hard to achieve if you are completely uninterested and are, in fact, trying to avoid wielding power.

I agree with your assessment. The thing with Bran though, is he has the experience of every ruler that ever lived in Westeros via his memories.

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18 minutes ago, SansaJonRule said:

 I agree with your assessment. The thing with Bran though, is he has the experience of every ruler that ever lived in Westeros via his memories.

Question then is how deep those memories go. Do those memories equate to experience, or are like rewatching a TV show?

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23 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

Question then is how deep those memories go. Do those memories equate to experience, or are like rewatching a TV show?

Good question. I think it's like watching a tv show, but the reason I still think that's beneficial is because he can see the decisions that rulers made and their consequences, and he would have an extraordinary understanding of human nature.

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19 minutes ago, SansaJonRule said:

Good question. I think it's like watching a tv show, but the reason I still think that's beneficial is because he can see the decisions that rulers made and their consequences, and he would have an extraordinary understanding of human nature.

I would agree to this, except the show made bran look like an automaton. As though he was seeing things, but not understanding any of it on a human level.

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9 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

 Good question. I think it's like watching a tv show, but the reason I still think that's beneficial is because he can see the decisions that rulers made and their consequences, and he would have an extraordinary understanding of human nature.

Bolded part is precisely why I asked what I did. I do not think merely rewatching "reality TV" automatically equates to "extraordinary understanding of human nature". That being said, what you noted about knowing past decisions and consequences will definitely help.

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On 5/26/2019 at 1:00 AM, SansaJonRule said:

It is not idiotic and it's not just a fantasy cliche. The premise is that someone who is not interested in power is less likely to be corrupted by it. The other side of it is of course will that lack of desire cause a ruler to be uninterested and not even make an effort, like Robert, or will that ruler see it as a duty and do the best he can? Often in stories a person is so humble he does not see the leadership potential in himself. He just wants to lead a simple life (Perrin and Rand in WoT are great examples), but leadership is thrust upon him because others around him see the potential in him. Another example is King David of Israel. He did not want to be king, but he was a great king.

It's very much a fantasy cliche, it appears extremely often in the genre.

I'd take training, experience and actual willingness to do the job over theoretical less potential from corruption from power any day of the week. There is a reason companies don't pick their CEOs from the employees who refuse promotions and don't show ambition or a desire to take on extra responsibilities.

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On 5/15/2019 at 7:12 AM, Skills said:

Because Jon at least isn't a glutton, or an alcoholic,  or a whore-monger.

Robert was reluctant because he was lazy and didn't care. 

Jon is reluctant but he would care about trying to do a good job. In addition,  his reluctance would make him a more measured ruler.

I suspect if Jon had become king after killing Daeny, he likely could have ended up much like Robert. Maybe not as extreme but Jon is essentially broken and in need of much healing, much like Robert was at the end of the rebellion. Need to remember Robert wasn’t all that bad in his youth. Lyanna’s Death, the circumstances of how he became king and his reluctance to play the role of king amounted to his failures. Failures I see Jon as repeating in all likelihood.

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On 5/15/2019 at 10:51 AM, btfu806 said:

Ahhh ok gotcha!

Cersei and Robert's marriage was arranged by Jon Arryn (I think) in an effort to bring the Lannisters firmly into supporting the new regime.   The Lannisters were the richest family in Westeros, and could help with funding.  With the Lannisters, the new regime has the backing of the North, the Vale, the Riverlands, the Stormlands, and the Westerlands.

 

Part of the debt, and maybe a large part, was due to Littlefinger's embezzlement and constant borrowing to cover it.  Littlefinger's embezzlement would only be uncovered, if it ever really was, after Tyrion took over as Master of Coin.

 

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