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Master thread on what the Show means for the book plot

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41 minutes ago, SeanF said:

@BlackLightningBurning cities in war happens for a reason.  It might be a horrible reason, but there's still a reason.  The burning of Hamburg, Tokyo, the Ruhr etc. in WWII was done to break resistance and punish the enemy.  Genghis Khan burned cities that resisted, so that others would surrender without a fight.

The problem with the burning of Kings Landing is it was done for no reason.  Dany had reason to burn the Red Keep (to kill Cersei and her followers).  She had reason to kill Lannister soldiers.  It might be unpleasant, but it makes sense, militarily, and emotionally.  But she had no reason to swerve away from the Red Keep and burn random civilians (and risk her own soldiers).  And D & D know this, because they've come up with a string of alternative explanations, none of which fit.

All the debate, prior to this, between Dany and the rest, was about the level of civilian casualties to be incurred when she burned the Red Keep.  No one was discussing burning their own capital city, the most valuable piece of real estate in the world.  Burning a capital is the act of a loser, not a winner.

If Dany burns Kings Landing in the books, there will be a reason.  For example, her soldiers might be bogged down in street fighting, and taking huge casualties;  or the surrender of the city might be botched (eg someone lets off a bolt that injures her or Drogon, leading her to believe it's a sham);  or the fire runs out of control as caches of wildfire get ignited in a wooden city.

The Sack on the ground would have made enough sense on its own.  The Northern soldiers in particular would all have friends and relatives who died at the Red Wedding, and they would be itching for revenge for that, and the deaths of Ned Stark and his men.

I mostly agree but I'm not quite sure why you're telling me that burning cities in war happens for a reason.

I know it happens for a reason; that's why I find it absolutely ludicrous that someone would burn a city that they have for no reason. Show Dany had absolutely no reason to burn King's Landing. You can't say that she's insane because she's delivering eloquent speeches, coming to rational conclusions and having coherent intimate conversations the very next episode. And for her to just do a complete 180 in her character development and burn King's Landing, she would have to be more insane than the Mad King which she wasn't. Not even the Mad King was so insane as to burn King's Landing when he still stood a chance of winning Robert's Rebellion, much less when King's Landing was owned. The Mad King didn't even think to burn Duskendale and kill all of its inhabitants after the Defiance of House Darklyn was ended. The Mad King didn't order the cancellation of the tourney of Harrenhal neither did he orchestrate a sack on Harrenhal and an assassination of the lords and knights gathered there....and he believed that they were conspiring against him.

So, the fact that Daenerys would be King's Landing and killed lots of people for no reason makes no sense. She is neither cruel, stupid nor insane enough to do so.

I don't doubt the fact that Daenerys will burn King's Landing. I'm almost sure she will. I'm pretty sure that I won't see anything wrong with it because I really feel like she won't want to do it but she will have a very good reason for it.

Euron -- not Cersei -- will likely be ruling the city by then. Euron is a major threat now; I imagine he will be 2-3x worst by the end of the series. I, for one, believe that Euron is going to bring all sorts of subterranean beasts -- krakens included -- to the surface and make King's Landing a Lovecraftian horror. All the clues are there. Combined with a greyscale epidemic courtesy of Jon Connington's stupid decisions, I think King's Landing will be lost and will have to be burned and cleansed. Especially if the city under Euron's rule offers resistance. The city has been established as being rotten to the core since A Game of Thrones anyways and many of the people who live are generally awful.

Plus, if Daenerys is the last of the dragonlords, House Targaryen is extinguished and the Iron Throne is destroyed, then King's Landing being wiped off the map fits. Not only does it mark the end of the Targaryen era and the Age of the Iron Throne but it also fits the themes GRRM has established--one of which being that the history is wheel.

As for the sacking? Yeah, there was no way that was not going to happen. All cities that have been taken from an opposing army are sacked. Is all sacking violent and bloody? Not necessarily but the victors always has their way with the spoils. The regimes change and the victors set the terms of who gets what, who takes over and who is punished.

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4 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

I mostly agree but I'm not quite sure why you're telling me that burning cities in war happens for a reason.

I know it happens for a reason; that's why I find it absolutely ludicrous that someone would burn a city that they have for no reason. Show Dany had absolutely no reason to burn King's Landing. You can't say that she's insane because she's delivering eloquent speeches, coming to rational conclusions and having coherent intimate conversations the very next episode. And for her to just do a complete 180 in her character development and burn King's Landing, she would have to be more insane than the Mad King which she wasn't. Not even the Mad King was so insane as to burn King's Landing when he still stood a chance of winning Robert's Rebellion, much less when King's Landing was owned. The Mad King didn't even think to burn Duskendale and kill all of its inhabitants after the Defiance of House Darklyn was ended. The Mad King didn't order the cancellation of the tourney of Harrenhal neither did he orchestrate a sack on Harrenhal and an assassination of the lords and knights gathered there....and he believed that they were conspiring against him.

So, the fact that Daenerys would be King's Landing and killed lots of people for no reason makes no sense. She is neither cruel, stupid nor insane enough to do so.

I don't doubt the fact that Daenerys will burn King's Landing. I'm almost sure she will. I'm pretty sure that I won't see anything wrong with it because I really feel like she won't want to do it but she will have a very good reason for it.

Euron -- not Cersei -- will likely be ruling the city by then. Euron is a major threat now; I imagine he will be 2-3x worst by the end of the series. I, for one, believe that Euron is going to bring all sorts of subterranean beasts -- krakens included -- to the surface and make King's Landing a Lovecraftian horror. All the clues are there. Combined with a greyscale epidemic courtesy of Jon Connington's stupid decisions, I think King's Landing will be lost and will have to be burned and cleansed. Especially if the city under Euron's rule offers resistance. The city has been established as being rotten to the core since A Game of Thrones anyways and many of the people who live are generally awful.

Plus, if Daenerys is the last of the dragonlords, House Targaryen is extinguished and the Iron Throne is destroyed, then King's Landing being wiped off the map fits. Not only does it mark the end of the Targaryen era and the Age of the Iron Throne but it also fits the themes GRRM has established--one of which being that the history is wheel.

As for the sacking? Yeah, there was no way that was not going to happen. All cities that have been taken from an opposing army are sacked. Is all sacking violent and bloody? Not necessarily but the victors always has their way with the spoils. The regimes change and the victors set the terms of who gets what, who takes over and who is punished.

Oh, I was just agreeing with you.

It's a good example of the way that D & D just don't understand military matters - along with all the daft strategies and tactics they came up.  The best battle scene was the one scripted by George Martin, the Blackwater, because he took the trouble to study these things, and had considerable assistance from Bernard Cornwell in writing his own battle scenes.

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15 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Oh, I was just agreeing with you.

It's a good example of the way that D & D just don't understand military matters - along with all the daft strategies and tactics they came up.  The best battle scene was the one scripted by George Martin, the Blackwater, because he took the trouble to study these things, and had considerable assistance from Bernard Cornwell in writing his own battle scenes.

Oh okay.

But yeah.

On 12/5/2019 at 6:26 AM, Darryk said:

I think GRRM painted a massive target on his back with that quote, because he's obviously going to need to do the same thing as Tolkien in his book. It's pretty hard to include every minutiae of detail, and at some point you have to leave things to the reader's imagination. Like Bran being king for example, GRRM is not going to write another book showing how Bran rules, we'll just have to assume he rules wisely because of his sage powers.

He probably was referring to Dany and Jon with that quote, ie. he shows how hard it is for them to rule, but it's easy to do that when you're still in the middle of the story. At some point you have to wrap things up and the "he/she ruled wisely for the rest of his days" cliche becomes inevitable at that point.

Not necessarily.

A Dream of Spring can end with a Bran chapter (he was our very first POV) with Bran ruling competently as king and a epilogue that takes place years, decades or even millennia into the future that ties up the very last loose ends and adds interesting tidbits.

On 12/5/2019 at 1:29 PM, divica said:

No. If the story ended with danny, jon, cersei or euron (to an extent) as the ruler we know a lot about how they would rule. We have them dealing with loans, feeding people, hostages, advisers/allies that opose them… We have seen bran dealing with zero problems related to ruling… And we won t see it in the next book...

Meh, I don't know. We've seen Bran rule as a regent in A Clash of Kings and maintain a leadership rule of his little troupe in A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons. He'll be learning from Bloodraven in The Winds of Winter and Bloodraven was probably a great politician.

I think we'll start to see Bran step into the role of a ruler by the end of The Winds of Winter and throughout A Dream of Spring. Remember that Dany didn't have any experience or desire to rule at the beginning of A Game of Thrones but, by the end of it all, she's ruling and doing a pretty good job at it. She's a natural and Bran is too.

On 12/5/2019 at 4:21 PM, Lord Varys said:

Guys, you should stop bother making sense of things. With things like Headey telling us publicly that Cersei was supposed to have a miscarriage back in season 7 (which was filmed!) we do know that there was no coherent plan for anything. In fact, if there had been the miscarriage we would have gotten a real breakup between Jaime and Cersei and then Cersei would have been the one to burn down KL in the end because she had nothing to live for, etc.

And in relation to who is king in the end or other such crap - somebody has to. In the books Jon and Dany and Tyrion and Aegon and Arianne and Sansa all can have children before the curtain falls. But the show rushed things - so if the throne were to pass to an infant/toddler they simply did not have in the books they would have to pick somebody else for the job.

All true.

Bran would make a good regent or a good king. I think GRRM is just taking a very unorthodox approach to the classic King Arthur story in showing how a crippled dreamer can become a powerful medieval king.

I really do believe that Bran will be the Professor X of Westeros with a mixed group of native Westerosi, Dothraki, Unsullied, CoTF and/or maybe even one of the Others acting as his X-Men.

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

The Sack on the ground would have made enough sense on its own.  The Northern soldiers in particular would all have friends and relatives who died at the Red Wedding, and they would be itching for revenge for that, and the deaths of Ned Stark and his men.

That was the only thing that made sense to me in that entire episode. When the Northern soldiers went apesh*t on the Lannister soldiers and KL citizens. But even there D&D had to take it to a level that was stupid, having the soldiers try and rape people in the middle of an ongoing battle.

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On 5/13/2020 at 9:56 AM, Mystical said:

That was the only thing that made sense to me in that entire episode. When the Northern soldiers went apesh*t on the Lannister soldiers and KL citizens. But even there D&D had to take it to a level that was stupid, having the soldiers try and rape people in the middle of an ongoing battle.

Not to mention one of them turning on his own King in the North cause he interrupted his rape.

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6 hours ago, Darryk said:

Not to mention one of them turning on his own King in the North cause he interrupted his rape.

Yep, except for the KitN part.

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I just copied most of this from another post I made elsewhere:

I've never believed the theory that Bran will sit the Iron Throne. My opposition is grounded in the practical realities of succession. George tries to be as realistic as possible with regards to real world historical politics, and the Starks do not have ANY claim to the throne, at all. No Targaryen princess has ever married into House Stark, nor has the non-Targaryen descendant of any Targaryen prince or princess. Certainly, power is power (Varys) and Robert's blood-based claim was a justification pasted over his military victories over the Targaryen armies (Renly), but a claim to rights through descent from Aegon the Conquerer is a necessary prerequisite to sitting the Iron Throne. The Starks are neither well known enough nor militarily strong enough to put one of their own on the throne to rule all of Westeros. Without a blood link to the Targaryens there's no way the other noble houses would accept a Stark royal dynasty.

In medieval politics the only ways to assume control over a territory were through military force (conquest) or a claim seen as legitimate by the other power players in the region. Westeros is grounded in real world type medieval politics and the North is NOT strong enough to conquer the other six kingdoms and the Starks have the same claim to the throne (i.e. none) that other noble houses like the Tyrells, the Lannisters, or the Hightowers have. It would be more likely for a Martell, a Velaryon, or even a Plumm to sit the Iron Throne, as those three houses all had Targaryen princesses marry into them over the close to 300 years of Targaryen rule.

Personally I see three possible scenarios for the endgame, in terms of politics:

  1. The Seven Kingdoms split into two or more independent kingdoms - probably not the same kingdoms from before the conquest, for example a Stark becomes monarch of the North and the Riverlands (uniting Ned's claim to Winterfell and the North and Catelyn's claim to Riverun and the Riverlands and maybe also Harrenhal (through Catelyn's mother Minisa Whent)). If this monarch is Sansa the kingdom might also the Vale of Arryn, through marriage to Harry the Heir.
  2. A Targaryen claimant (Dany, fAegon, Stannis, Jon as Rhaegar's son, someone else, or a combination of (married) claimants) takes the Iron Throne and restores Targaryen rule over the Seven Kingdoms.
  3. A Targaryen claimant takes the Iron Throne and reigns over a portion of the Seven Kingdoms, with one or more regions (e.g. Dorne or the Iron Islands) becoming independent nations.

I personally think that scenario 1 or 3 is more likely than scenario 2, but I don't consider Bran (or any Stark) ruling the Seven Kingdoms from King's Landing to be at all possible or plausible.

Even if Bran saves the world from the Others and the threat of winter and enough Westerosi are sufficiently aware of what happened to be super grateful to him, the realities of medieval power politics and aristocratic desire to advance a family's interests aren't just going to disappear. I believe David and Dan chose Bran as king for the same reason Arya slew the Night King: he is "the most obvious choice provided we aren't thinking about [him] in that moment."

 

In regards to what the show gets right...Dany will probably turn tyrant, though not the way she did in the show, Westeros will splinter politically, aaaand I think that's about it. 

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Posted (edited)

I think the facts like:

Jon is the son of L+R
Bran is king
Daenerys goes dark
Jon kills Daenerys

Will be how the story unfolds in the books as well. Yes of course it will be a nice story(nothing like the show), my problem with it is that i know it will happen now... and im not really sure if i will like a story where i know the ending.

Its like a NBA or football game - if you see the score before the game its never the same...

Edited by bluntt

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On 5/15/2020 at 9:29 AM, Darryk said:

Not to mention one of them turning on his own King in the North cause he interrupted his rape.

He wasnt king anymore remember? He made Dany Tyrant their queen. :ack:

Jon being responsible committing war crimes because he stupidly followed her sounds about right.

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On 5/13/2020 at 12:16 AM, BlackLightning said:

I know it happens for a reason; that's why I find it absolutely ludicrous that someone would burn a city that they have for no reason. Show Dany had absolutely no reason to burn King's Landing

Dictatos are known for destroying their own empires. That's what they do. It's on theme. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Dictatos are known for destroying their own empires. That's what they do. It's on theme. 

Not in real life.  Dictators tend to be quite rational, if horrible.  

Those who twirl their moustaches and wipe out people to show how evilly evil they are are cartoon characters like Ming the Merciless. Burning your own capital city makes sense if you are losing, but not if you are winning.

Edited by SeanF

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17 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Dictators are known for destroying their own empires. That's what they do. It's on theme. 

Not true.

Nero was a dictator and Caligula was worst yet the Roman Empire continued to thrive long after both their deaths.

Oliver Cromwell did an awfully good job destroying the British Empire. Oh wait....

Leopold II was a nightmare. But Belgium today is still a very wealthy country and the rubber industry is doing quite well.

Napoleon was a dictator yes but most educated people would argue that he saved France. Although there are many would would disagree, all can acknowledge that France would not be what it is today without Napoleon. So much for the destruction of the French empire...given that they went on to colonize and occupy large parts of Africa and Asia.

Mao Zedong committed horrific acts against his own people and home...yes. But China is now a global superpower that is already has a hegemony of its own in East Asia and is currently trying to get a foothold on the African continent. At this point, I doubt that the United States could move against China even if they wanted to. Hardly the destruction of an empire....seems like the birth like an empire to me.

Your knowledge of history is rather limited.

And no, it's not even on theme. Not even close. The Seven Kingdoms continued as an entity after Maegor, Aegon IV and Aerys II. As a matter of fact, the Seven Kingdoms as a nation peak after both of the reigns of Maegor and Aegon IV. The destruction of the Targaryen dynasty (i.e.  the attack on the Targaryen children and their consort mothers) has little to nothing to do with Aerys and more to do with the vicious behavior of Tywin and Robert.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/4/2020 at 2:45 PM, BlackLightning said:

Not true.

Nero was a dictator and Caligula was worst yet the Roman Empire continued to thrive long after both their deaths.

Oliver Cromwell did an awfully good job destroying the British Empire. Oh wait....

Leopold II was a nightmare. But Belgium today is still a very wealthy country and the rubber industry is doing quite well.

Napoleon was a dictator yes but most educated people would argue that he saved France. Although there are many would would disagree, all can acknowledge that France would not be what it is today without Napoleon. So much for the destruction of the French empire...given that they went on to colonize and occupy large parts of Africa and Asia.

Mao Zedong committed horrific acts against his own people and home...yes. But China is now a global superpower that is already has a hegemony of its own in East Asia and is currently trying to get a foothold on the African continent. At this point, I doubt that the United States could move against China even if they wanted to. Hardly the destruction of an empire....seems like the birth like an empire to me.

Your knowledge of history is rather limited.

And no, it's not even on theme. Not even close. The Seven Kingdoms continued as an entity after Maegor, Aegon IV and Aerys II. As a matter of fact, the Seven Kingdoms as a nation peak after both of the reigns of Maegor and Aegon IV. The destruction of the Targaryen dynasty (i.e.  the attack on the Targaryen children and their consort mothers) has little to nothing to do with Aerys and more to do with the vicious behavior of Tywin and Robert.

Did I say they had to destroy them instantly? Decline can either be slow or fast. They also don't have to be the ones directly attacking people like Dany. It could come about just by stubbornly putting their people at risk because of pride like Harren the Black. Or it could come about by destroying their standing in the world, and then getting taken out before he can do more damage like Mussolini.

Whichever. It's about weakening the state through repression, fear and overwhelming use of force. Repressive, violent dictatorships don't make healthier kingdoms. That's the lesson of the series. If an empire does survive, its because the people find ways to bring freedom and prosperity back after the dynasty is long gone.

I'm sorry if people don't understand this basic moral claim that GRRM is making. Or maybe they just dont like it. I'm not really sure. He also made this claim when he questioned if Dany ruling through superweapons is sufficient. 

So the ending is saying something about how to rule effectively. Why wouldn't it? Either destroy your empire through fear or find some other tactic and you will survive to make the kingdom grow stronger. 

The Lannisters as a whole are destroying Westeros, and doing it quickly. The Targaryens' decline was a slower one, starting with the Dance. I would hazard to guess GRRM is fascinated with the Targaryens because he sees so many ways to illustrate the mistakes and the decline of empires through them (and the Valyrians).

Your argument is flawed because the "People's Republic" is very new. Before Mao, China was seen as a beacon of democracy with a thriving civil society and free press. Mao's regime is only a few decades old. Will China will be a world superpower forever? Doubt it. The Great Leap Forward was a massive failure that absolutely weakened the state. The strength that you see now from China came not because of repression but in spite of it. People rejected collectivisation and moved their markets underground. The citizens undermined the planned economy. They'll continue to undermine it because people strive for freedom against repression. The Party had to establish relative economic freedoms just to stay alive. Dictatorships can last a bit longer, though, if they have propaganda and a cult of personality which is what China has now. But every dictatorship is actually weak underneath all that perceived strength. Most of the Cold War was pointless because the USSR was crumbling from within. Power is brittle like that. Tyrion directly tells Dany this. As Chinese history expert Frank Dikotter put it, "as China swats left, right, and center, it looks increasingly as if it has reached a dead end."

In the British case, it wasn't a single ruler who led to the decline, it was the way the ran their colonies which was - surprise - like a military dictatorship. Constant revolts for independence are a sign of an empire that has stretched too far too fast. Wherever the British put their flag, people revolted. The British responded with systems of oppression. That didnt last forever and I would say, that also, lead to a slow decline. 

The Stalin and Hilter eras - don't even need to mention it. For Nero, the phrase about him fiddling while Rome burns may be historically inaccurate but is still on theme. It's probably more historically accurate to say that Rome's decline began when - surprise - it began an era of religious persecution and ethnic bigotry with repression to back it up. Rome lasted longer because they practiced tolerance for a time but it was still one long dictatorship. 

GRRM was so critical of the Iraq and Vietnam wars I wouldn't be surprised if he agrees with the idea these wars mark the decline of the American empire. If not, then Trump would be responsible (who by the way wants to resume nuclear testing. I'm sure GRRM is shitting a brick!)

GRRM has a moral claim about ruling and it's that repressive tyrannical empires will do themselves in. They'll reap the seeds they sow. They are self-destructive. I dont know why you want to defend them. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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10 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Did I say they had to destroy them instantly? Decline can either be slow or fast. They also don't have to be the ones directly attacking people like Dany. It could come about just by stubbornly putting their people at risk because of pride like Harren the Black. Or it could come about by destroying their standing in the world, and then getting taken out before he can do more damage like Mussolini.

Whichever. It's about weakening the state through repression, fear and overwhelming use of force. Repressive, violent dictatorships don't make healthier kingdoms. That's the lesson of the series. If an empire does survive, its because the people find ways to bring freedom and prosperity back after the dynasty is long gone.

I'm sorry if people don't understand this basic moral claim that GRRM is making. Or maybe they just dont like it. I'm not really sure. He also made this claim when he questioned if Dany ruling through superweapons is sufficient. 

So the ending is saying something about how to rule effectively. Why wouldn't it? Either destroy your empire through fear or find some other tactic and you will survive to make the kingdom grow stronger. 

The Lannisters as a whole are destroying Westeros, and doing it quickly. The Targaryens' decline was a slower one, starting with the Dance. I would hazard to guess GRRM is fascinated with the Targaryens because he sees so many ways to illustrate the mistakes and the decline of empires through them (and the Valyrians).

Your argument is flawed because the "People's Republic" is very new. Before Mao, China was seen as a beacon of democracy with a thriving civil society and free press. Mao's regime is only a few decades old. Will China will be a world superpower forever? Doubt it. The Great Leap Forward was a massive failure that absolutely weakened the state. The strength that you see now from China came not because of repression but in spite of it. People rejected collectivisation and moved their markets underground. The citizens undermined the planned economy. They'll continue to undermine it because people strive for freedom against repression. The Party had to establish relative economic freedoms just to stay alive. Dictatorships can last a bit longer, though, if they have propaganda and a cult of personality which is what China has now. But every dictatorship is actually weak underneath all that perceived strength. Most of the Cold War was pointless because the USSR was crumbling from within. Power is brittle like that. Tyrion directly tells Dany this. As Chinese history expert Frank Dikotter put it, "as China swats left, right, and center, it looks increasingly as if it has reached a dead end."

In the British case, it wasn't a single ruler who led to the decline, it was the way the ran their colonies which was - surprise - like a military dictatorship. Constant revolts for independence are a sign of an empire that has stretched too far too fast. Wherever the British put their flag, people revolted. The British responded with systems of oppression. That didnt last forever and I would say, that also, lead to a slow decline. 

The Stalin and Hilter eras - don't even need to mention it. For Nero, the phrase about him fiddling while Rome burns may be historically inaccurate but is still on theme. It's probably more historically accurate to say that Rome's decline began when - surprise - it began an era of religious persecution and ethnic bigotry with repression to back it up. Rome lasted longer because they practiced tolerance for a time but it was still one long dictatorship. 

GRRM was so critical of the Iraq and Vietnam wars I wouldn't be surprised if he agrees with the idea these wars mark the decline of the American empire. If not, then Trump would be responsible (who by the way wants to resume nuclear testing. I'm sure GRRM is shitting a brick!)

GRRM has a moral claim about ruling and it's that repressive tyrannical empires will do themselves in. They'll reap the seeds they sow. They are self-destructive. I dont know why you want to defend them. 

No one is defending them.

You said that  Dictators are known for destroying their own empires. That's what they do. It's on theme. 

@SeanF and I just pointed out that your statement was untrue. We've had a bunch of dictatorships -- benevolent or malevolent -- in human history who ruled over kingdoms and empires that either kept chugging on well after their reign or that actually began to thrive during or after their reign. Sometimes, yes, they are the reason for the slow decline of the empire....but other times they are not. All empires have a expiration date; that's a fact of history. Slow declines are inevitable. It doesn't matter who is ruling or how they are ruling.

Machines break. Systems fail. Food expires. People die. Empires disintegrate.

Fast declines, on the other hand, are a different story. Sometimes, empires are destroyed by their own dictatorial leadership. But to say that all dictatorships are commonly known to end with imperial self-destruction is a gross oversimplification in many cases and patently untrue in other cases.

The British Empire had numerous dictators at the helm and hearth but the British Empire was not destroyed. It changed. There are still a bunch of countries that pay homage to the Crown or consider themselves part of the Commonwealth. When you look closely at it and examine the definition of empire, you'll see that the British Empire is still kicking. The fact that English (and British English at that) is the 3rd most-widely spoken language in the world is a testament to that.

The Russian Empire did not die with the deaths of the Romanov family. It got a radical makeover and became another empire: the Soviet Union.

The American Empire does not exist in name or in law but there are millions of people (yourself included since you explicitly named it) who do acknowledge the existence and the power of the American Empire.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

@SeanF and I just pointed out that your statement was untrue. We've had a bunch of dictatorships -- benevolent or malevolent -- in human history who ruled over kingdoms and empires that either kept chugging on well after their reign or that actually began to thrive during or after their reign. Sometimes, yes, they are the reason for the slow decline of the empire....but other times they are not. All empires have a expiration date; that's a fact of history. Slow declines are inevitable. It doesn't matter who is ruling or how they are ruling.

The point was that dictators destroy their people and themselves in the process of trying to be "strongmen." They think they are strong but they are actually undermining themselves with their efforts at rank terror. They are so eager to gain power and hold on to it that they will work to dismantle the state itself. Maybe they're not effective in some cases - but again this is on theme for Dany. By destroying her own city she did what MOST dictators have done. Whether they were successful in dismantling their empires doesn't really matter, it's that they took actions that attempt to do this whether intentionally or unintentionally. 

And what is up with the idea that rule through repression and terror is "normal" because an empire will fall regardless?

GRRM isn't going to leave readers thinking that repression/terror is a great way to run things. He has to make a moral claim. If he uses Dany to make it, who cares.

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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14 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

The point was that dictators destroy their people and themselves in the process of trying to be "strongmen." They think they are strong but they are actually undermining themselves with their efforts at rank terror. They are so eager to gain power and hold on to it that they will work to dismantle the state itself. Maybe they're not effective in some cases - but again this is on theme for Dany. By destroying her own city she did what MOST dictators have done. Whether they were successful in dismantling their empires doesn't really matter, it's that they took actions that attempt to do this whether intentionally or unintentionally. 

And what is up with the idea that rule through repression and terror is "normal" because an empire will fall regardless?

GRRM isn't going to leave readers thinking that repression/terror is a great way to run things. He has to make a moral claim. If he uses Dany to make it, who cares.

What we would regard as dictatorship has been pretty much the norm throughout history.  Even highly capable rulers ranged from the pretty ruthless, like Alfred the Great, Saladdin, Mehmet II, Cyrus the Great, to sociopathic butchers like Nadir Shah, Peter the Great, and Babur.  And, the uncomfortable truth is that in fact, many of these people achieved a great deal, rather than being wholly destructive.  They built empires, cities, civilisations  that lasted for centuries. 

No ruler in a medieval-type world, such as Martin's, would last five minutes if they shrank from bringing fire and sword to their enemies.  He would not be telling an honest story if he suggested otherwise.

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My fav example is Hongwu Emperor, paranoid and cruel tyrant who started successful dynasty, bringing peace and order to war torn China. His personality in later years reminds me of Stalin - he said once to execute thousands of citizens of Nanjing after one was heard talking about him without respect - not to mention thousands of officials with friends and families who fell victims to his paranoia. "First emperor" also seems like extremely cruel piece of work. 

Speaking of Stalin, USSR was strong empire for decades after his death, whatever else you can say about it,  as such surviving WWII which killed about few dozens millions overall. 

Tyrans actually have pretty good track record on building sustainable empires particularly. Those were rarely forged without extreme cruelty, "fire and blood". Whether it was worth it is different thing entirely.

I think Aegon I is much more pertinent example. He and his sisters used their dragons much more than Dany possibly could (simply b/c hers are much smaller) and it led to creation of Westeros, yay! Losing dragons eventually led to Targs losing empire and subsequent civil wars. So if anything history of Westeros teaches any prospective monarch that smart use of dragons is a way to go... 

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I have a hard time beliving that king Bran was something D&D did on their own. They had no idea what to do with Bran , they didn't care about Bran they wanted to kill off Bran but George convinced them otherwise. If D&D had chosen whoever they wanted as monarch they would have gone with something safer and more fan pleasing like Jon , Dany or Sansa. 

And don't forget that GRRM told them the ending. If Jon , Sansa or even (F) Aegon ended up ruling in GRRM's ending D&D would likely have done the same. Tbh I don't think they have the balls to change major parts of his ending. 

So major things like King Bran , burning of KL and Dany's madness is most likely from George. While minor stuff like Bronn as Lord of Highgarden and master of coin and Podrick as kingsguard is D&Ds invention.

Though I think D&D did some changes to please fans. Sansa becoming QitN for example I think is D&D trying to please fans. I think it's more likely Rickon becomes the head Stark , but D&D ( and fans) didn't care about Rickon so they gave the role to Sansa instead. Maybe Sansa becomes a regent for Rickon , but D&D didn't like that so they went with queen Sansa instead. I think Sansa will be in a power situation probably as Rickon's regent or ruler in the Vale. 

Cersei could be another example of how D&D has changed things. Cersei was obviously a favorite of them , so they kept her in power instead of using Faegon or book Euron . I doubt Cersei holds KL by the end , Euron or Faegon seems more likely to me. I'm not ruling out that Cersei has a presence in the end , but not as Queen of the seven kingdoms. I think she might be Euron's queen though based on the Forsaken chapter . 

The main differences between the show and the books will be how we get to the end. This is also what D&D has said all the time that the road to the ending will be different . So how Bran becomes king , how Dany goes mad and how KL is destroyed. 

The biggest difference I think will be the WW and magic in general. I have a hard time seeing the WW plot going down the same way in the books. On the show they where portrayed as pure evil , and George has said several times that he dosen't want to write a black and white story. Obviously they didn't know how to handle the magical aspect . 

 

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The problem with Bran becoming king is that it might have been what GRRM planned. But as he wrote more he could have realised that it wouldn't work. Bran being king could have been his idea in 2014 or before but there's every chance he won't be in 20whatever lol.

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