Jump to content
Ser Loras The Gay

Seeing the bigger bigger picture.

Recommended Posts

On 5/21/2019 at 8:00 PM, Vashon said:

Tyrion. There is no loyalty in a whore

There's a line from King Lear: "He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath."

If anyone here hasn't read George's short story The Way of Cross and Dragon, go read or listen to it right now.  It is about a secret society of Liars who invent religions to give hope and meaning to those who would otherwise succumb to nihilism and despair.  I think George is a Liar and he is writing modern mythology, that all the events of ASOIAF are supposed to have happened here on Earth 14,000 years ago, before the Flood. 

Spoiler

“The Liars believe in no afterlife, no God. We see the universe as it is, Father Damien, and these naked truths are cruel ones. We who believe in life, and treasure it, will die. Afterward there will be nothing, eternal emptiness, blackness, nonexistence. In our living there has been no purpose, no poetry, no meaning. Nor do our deaths possess these qualities. When we are gone, the universe will not long remember us, and shortly it will be as if we had never lived at all. Our worlds and our universe will not long outlive us. Ultimately, entropy will consume all, and our puny efforts cannot stay that awful end. It will be gone. It has never been. It has never mattered. The universe itself is doomed, transient, uncaring.”

I slid back in my chair, and a shiver went through me as I listened to poor Lukyan’s dark words. I found myself fingering my crucifix. “A bleak philosophy,” I said, “as well as a false one. I have had that fearful vision myself. I think all of us do, at some point. But it is not so, Father. My faith sustains me against such nihilism. It is a shield against despair.”

“Oh, I know that, my friend, my Knight Inquisitor,” Lukyan said. “I’m glad to see you understand so well. You are almost one of us already.”

I frowned.

“You’ve touched the heart of it,” Lukyan continued. “The truths, the great truths—and most of the lesser ones as well—they are unbearable for most men. We find our shield in faith. Your faith, my faith, any faith. It doesn’t matter, so long as we believe, really and truly believe, in whatever lie we cling to.” He fingered the ragged edges of his great blond beard. “Our psychs have always told us that believers are the happy ones, you know. They may believe in Christ or Buddha or Erika Stormjones, in reincarnation or immortality or nature, in the power of love or the platform of a political faction, but it all comes to the same thing. They believe. They are happy. It is the ones who have seen truth who despair, and kill themselves. The truths are so vast, the faiths so little, so poorly made, so riddled with error and contradiction that we see around them and through them, and then we feel the weight of darkness upon us, and can no longer be happy.”

I am not a slow man. I knew, by then, where Lukyan Judasson was going. “Your Liars invent faiths.”

He smiled. “Of all sorts. Not only religious. Think of it. We know truth for the cruel instrument it is. Beauty is infinitely preferable to truth. We invent beauty. Faiths, political movements, high ideals, belief in love and fellowship. All of them are lies. We tell those lies, among others, endless others. We improve on history and myth and religion, make each more beautiful, better, easier to believe in. Our lies are not perfect, of course. The truths are too big. But perhaps someday we will find one great lie that all humanity can use. Until then, a thousand small lies will do.”

“I think I do not care for your Liars very much,” I said with a cold, even fervor. “My whole life has been a quest for truth.”

Lukyan was indulgent. “Father Damien Har Veris, Knight Inquisitor, I know you better than that. You are a Liar yourself. You do good work. You ship from world to world, and on each you destroy the foolish, the rebels, the questioners who would bring down the edifice of the vast lie that you serve.”

“If my lie is so admirable,” I said, “then why have you abandoned it?”

“A religion must fit its culture and society, work with them, not against them. If there is conflict, contradiction, then the lie breaks down, and the faith falters. Your Church is good for many worlds, Father, but not for Arion. Life is too kind here, and your faith is stern. Here we love beauty, and your faith offers too little. So we have improved it. We studied this world for a long time. We know its psychological profile. Saint Judas will thrive here. He offers drama, and color, and much beauty—the aesthetics are admirable. His is a tragedy with a happy ending, and Arion dotes on such stories. And the dragons are a nice touch. I think your own Church ought to find a way to work in dragons. They are marvelous creatures.”

“Mythical,” I said.

“Hardly,” he replied. “Look it up.” He grinned at me. “You see, really, it all comes back to faith. Can you really know what happened three thousand years ago?"

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In my opinion it is about life. It's like the riddle that Varys and Tyrion talks about. 

"It’s a riddle without an answer, or rather, too many answers. All depends on the man with the sword.”

We are all the swordsman and we decide "where the power resires". If you are into politics then it is all about the iron throne, if you are into religion then it is about the gods, and so it goes.. Money, power, knowledge, maybe fate or destiny, love, nature etc. So LIFE!

And as GRRM already wrote:

"The way the world is made. The truth is all around you, plain to behold. The night is dark and full of terrors, the day bright and beautiful and full of hope. One is black, the other white. There is ice and there is fire. Hate and love. Bitter and sweet. Male and female. Pain and pleasure. Winter and summer. Evil and good. Death and life. Everywhere, opposites. Everywhere, the war.” 

The war everywhere around us and inside us..

We are are grey characters.

 

 

 

Edited by winter bloom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story won't change the way we, the reader, live but it does provide us with something to enjoy.  Martin might meant enjoy to mean cry over a character death.  Be careful what you wish for.  He wants the story to tug at the reader's emotions.  Everything in the plot has that outcome in mind.  The drama is created when one of his characters face a decision.  One will lead to success but it competes with the emotional tug from the heart.  Robb must have known on the back of his mind the consequences of screwing Walder over.  It's bad for his followers.  He did it anyway because he wanted to.  He lacked the discipline to stay the course.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2019 at 5:48 PM, Ser Loras The Gay said:

What is the point of A Song of Ice and Fire? I mean, what the books are trying to convey to us? It's a message about how bad wars are? It's a message about climate change? It's a message about greed and corruption and the need to end it? It's a message about magical beings being more worthy than humans?

What is the end goal? Defending the realm? Defending the world? Defending the throne? what's the humans on ASOIAF ultimate goal in their lives? It's all the scheeming and ploting? All the wars? It's trying to make peace and prosper?

 

Reason over emotion.

If you let your emotions guide your actions then you are doomed and others will suffer as a consequence. This feeds into all the duty over love, the realm over power, blind distrust is as bad as blind trust and pretty much every theme in the series. He’s telling people to be smart and think about others. Balance is good.

The message itself is actually really consistent with most other fantasy tales, it’s just that how it’s conveyed is very different and george does not pull his punches “it is not easy”. I don’t think George is actually as Machiavellian as people claim due to all the moralising. The whole idea of the reluctant King who does his duty and has to use his intelligence rather than his brawn; is the classic trope.

If I had to critique it I would say that most of the atrocities of the last century haven’t been done because of personal grudges or lust for power but by clever men thinking they knew what was best. Machine men with machine minds. Those men said yes to duty and no to love. Whose duty and how do they know what’s best? I don’t think George answers this query in a satisfying manner. Everyone is motivated by petty reasons and just being stupid. Perhaps once the threat of the Others finally shows itself that conversation can be had; but right now it isn’t.

Plus people perform and function best when they have the motivations of love, ambition, self confidence and his endless diatribes against these traits rings false. He seems to think that Jon living a life of self denial on the wall after he got Ygritte killed is healthy and wouldn’t damage him.    Those to me are not the actions of a hero as George wilfully depicts them but the actions of a cold hearted creature. Whereas Theon being a bit of a jock after glory is in George’s mind sufficient seeds for him to kill children and be savagely humiliated. I don’t buy that and I think there’s an element of vindictiveness to that depiction. Yes, he does lightly critique the iron man of duty with say Stannis but really that’s more about his ego, his ambition, his entitlement etc etc. 

Also some of his moral points are too specific to the fantasy world he created to apply to real life. For example, the law system in Westeros is too driven by personal vendetta “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword” and is just a petty extension of blood fued that perpetuates violence. But in the real world, this hasn’t been the case for centuries. The law is this monstrously elitist and bureaucratic machine that is an arm of the state. Crime is a statistic and a means of keeping society in order; nothing personal. It’s a very different set of problems to what George shows. When in fact, George is saying that such a system would be good for Westeros. TBH he makes the law and medieval government in general far more primitive than it actually was in 15th century England to stress his passion versus reason point.

I think his love versus duty framework is partly a subversion of the common trope in many stories that “love conquers all” and is a force for good. Jamie and cersei being the most obvious and blunt instance of this. Which in my opinion crosses the line into open satire. He’s kind of like the Green Goblin with Jon and Ygritte “you must choose spider man!”. Which I personally don’t think is correct because it’s too specific. Jamie and Cersei is a very different tale if they aren’t twins.

Edited by Tyrion1991

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The riddle about a king, a priest, a rich man, and a sellsword, is at the center of it: You get the masters you deserve. By greed or love for violence, you let monsters such as Cersei or Ramsay rule over you. You serve them and you take their money. When you should kill them! Why are you letting such people rise so high? Crush them like parasites when they are still thugs with no power!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/17/2019 at 6:48 PM, Ser Loras The Gay said:

What is the point of A Song of Ice and Fire? I mean, what the books are trying to convey to us? It's a message about how bad wars are? It's a message about climate change? It's a message about greed and corruption and the need to end it? It's a message about magical beings being more worthy than humans?

What is the end goal? Defending the realm? Defending the world? Defending the throne? what's the humans on ASOIAF ultimate goal in their lives? It's all the scheeming and ploting? All the wars? It's trying to make peace and prosper?

I think the point is that humans are fucked up, and good intentions lead straight to hell. In fact, ASoIaF is largely a deconstruction of Tolkien and typical epic fantasy where you have good guys, bad guys, and then bad guys loose and everything is fine and dandy again ("and they lived happily ever after") - nevermind the fact that such a thing doesn't happen in Tolkien, but a lot of high fantasy authors do use quite standard tropes that Tolkien never used, and it is those that Martin is trying to deconstruct.

I recommend you read these:
https://theambercompendium.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/the-tolkienic-song-of-ice-and-fire-2/

https://www.tolkiensociety.org/2014/08/george-r-r-martin-i-revere-the-lord-of-the-rings/

https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/05/09/george-rr-martin-on-the-lessons-game-of-thrones-took-from-tolkien

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×