Jump to content
Tyrion1991

I don’t get the “Love is the Death of Duty”

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Anyway, I think choosing love (not lust, mind you) over duty is a virtue, not a weakness. 

But where is the virtue in that? A virtue is only virtuous because it is difficult to do. People praise virtuous people as virtuous and virtues as such because not everybody is a virtuous person nor everything that comes naturally to you is a virtue.

Doing something virtuous means you do something that's not easy, and doing something for/out of love is something that comes naturally to anyone.

I mean, a parent dying to defend his/her child certainly is a good deed, but it is infinitely more praiseworthy/virtuous to die defending an innocent child that's nothing to you, no relation to you, etc.

Any philosophy of virtues from Ancient Greece to Medieval Christianity to modern days sees more value in people doing the right thing because they know it is right, not because they feel it is right. Because knowledge is (supposed to be) what sets us apart from the beasts of the field, it is what makes us better than our animal nature.

I'm also somewhat confused by your take here. Soldier life in modern world also entails to sacrifice yourself and your family for the common good. 

16 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

He is. And the thing is, people take what some characters say as gospel. Like maester Aemon, and Old Nan, for instance. And I’m not sure why. Both are old and have lots of life experience, but that doesn’t mean they are always right. And in this specific case, I think Aemon is dead wrong. 

And all this worshipping of duty, duty above all else, feels very wrong to me too. Duty can be the the death of honour, for instance. If you decide to stick to your duty, vows, whatever, even when you know the right thing would be the opposite, well, there you go. 

Nobody ever said that all the duties you can take upon yourself are good duties. But that doesn't change the fact that selfish desires do corrupt your sense of duty if you have made a commitment.

I mean, only fools pity Jaime for his 'moral conundrum'. The guy chose to become the lifelong bodyguard of a mad king. He knew what he was getting himself into, and we know why he was doing that - to fuck his sister some more, he spoke some vows to be able to break them immediately. The men to pity are those who committed themselves to Aegon V or Jaehaerys II or even young Aerys II when it wasn't exactly evident what kind of person the guy would develop into.

The fact that there is a right and wrong in a given situation doesn't change the fact that it is easier to make a good decision in such a conundrum when you are not entangled in a net of personal interests and conflicting loyalties. And that's why it is a good thing that the men of the Night's Watch completely sever themselves from the ugly and petty feudal loyalties of the Hundred/Seven Kingdoms. They are all a distraction when dealing with the true enemy.

And we saw that again in ADwD in the brightest colors. Jon wouldn't have gotten himself killed had he actually understood why he was supposed to detach himself from his family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

But where is the virtue in that? A virtue is only virtuous because it is difficult to do. People praise virtuous people as virtuous and virtues as such because not everybody is a virtuous person nor everything that comes naturally to you is a virtue.

Doing something virtuous means you do something that's not easy, and doing something for/out of love is something that comes naturally to anyone.

I mean, a parent dying to defend his/her child certainly is a good deed, but it is infinitely more praiseworthy/virtuous to die defending an innocent child that's nothing to you, no relation to you, etc.

Any philosophy of virtues from Ancient Greece to Medieval Christianity to modern days sees more value in people doing the right thing because they know it is right, not because they feel it is right. Because knowledge is (supposed to be) what sets us apart from the beasts of the field, it is what makes us better than our animal nature.

I'm also somewhat confused by your take here. Soldier life in modern world also entails to sacrifice yourself and your family for the common good. 

I don’t believe it is more virtuous to go off fighting a war or becoming an astronaut than to be a father, provider and protector to your children, simple as that.

As a man I think being a father and husband is one’s highest calling. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I don’t believe it is more virtuous to go off fighting a war or becoming an astronaut than to be a father, provider and protector to your children, simple as that.

As a man I think being a father and husband is one’s highest calling. 

See, there you already frame it as a duty and a calling, not something that (necessarily) comes naturally do you or other people. It is an ideal to (always) love your spouse or your children and family, and a duty in a feudal world like Westeros where you are basically nothing without a family to protect and care for you.

Not all people who have children or families can live up that ideal, nor are they able to fulfill their duty to their family, but if you actually feel the deep love for your family in your heart then doing everything you can for them is not praiseworthy because it comes naturally to you. It is also not praiseworthy to drink when you are thirsty, eat when you are hungry, shit when you have to go to toilet, etc. It is part of the human conditions to praise those who do exceptional things that (seemingly) overcome our petty egoistical desires.

It is quite clear that the Westerosi view of family is the same as yours here, but just as there are higher callings in our world than mundane family lives, depending on the societal framework we live in (people might prefer god or art or science or simply personal freedom to a family of their own), such things also exist in Westeros. And for the highest of such callings such mundane things - or distracting/conflicting loyalties - are but distractions, weakening your resolve and determination to do what's right.

Nobody forces anyone to join the KG, become a septon, septa, maester, or brother of the NW (okay, the latter thing has been corrupted somewhat, but in the end it is still your choice whether you say the words or not). And it is quite clear that if you don't have a wife or child to worry about then an enemy of the king's cannot blackmail you into killing your king by threatening your family, no? Just as the Others cannot bribe you to betray all of mankind by promising you that your family will survive the winter that will never end if you do their bidding.

It is true that a strict adherence to vows and commitments can be destructive as well, but it is rather obvious that it is much easier to make the right decision when there are no conflicting loyalties/temptations or at least as few as there can possibly be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

See, there you already frame it as a duty and a calling, not something that (necessarily) comes naturally do you or other people. It is an ideal to (always) love your spouse or your children and family, and a duty in a feudal world like Westeros where you are basically nothing without a family to protect and care for you.

Not all people who have children or families can live up that ideal, nor are they able to fulfill their duty to their family, but if you actually feel the deep love for your family in your heart then doing everything you can for them is not praiseworthy because it comes naturally to you. It is also not praiseworthy to drink when you are thirsty, eat when you are hungry, shit when you have to go to toilet, etc. It is part of the human conditions to praise those who do exceptional things that (seemingly) overcome our petty egoistical desires.

It is quite clear that the Westerosi view of family is the same as yours here, but just as there are higher callings in our world than mundane family lives, depending on the societal framework we live in (people might prefer god or art or science or simply personal freedom to a family of their own), such things also exist in Westeros. And for the highest of such callings such mundane things - or distracting/conflicting loyalties - are but distractions, weakening your resolve and determination to do what's right.

Nobody forces anyone to join the KG, become a septon, septa, maester, or brother of the NW (okay, the latter thing has been corrupted somewhat, but in the end it is still your choice whether you say the words or not). And it is quite clear that if you don't have a wife or child to worry about then an enemy of the king's cannot blackmail you into killing your king by threatening your family, no? Just as the Others cannot bribe you to betray all of mankind by promising you that your family will survive the winter that will never end if you do their bidding.

It is true that a strict adherence to vows and commitments can be destructive as well, but it is rather obvious that it is much easier to make the right decision when there are no conflicting loyalties/temptations or at least as few as there can possibly be.

Let’s just say your view of love (equating it to biological urges to eat and defecate, for example) is one that is unrecognizable to me. Let’s just agree to disagree on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe there are pretty good examples with Ned and his son Robb.

I believe Ned was in love with Ashara and likely would have married her if their houses weren't on opposite sides of the war, but I speculate that he was waiting until the rebellion was over before proposing an alliance with the Dayne's, however he ended up marrying Catelyn, because he needed Tully men to save Robert at Stoney Sept. Ned's marriage to Catelyn was a political marriage of duty, and the rebels were successful because of it.

Robb Stark was politically promised to one of Walder Frey's daughters, but when he was injured somewhere in the Crag, he was nursed to health by Jeyne Westerling, got her pregnant, and married her out of love and a sense of honor - completely ignoring his duty and insulted his promised political marriage to House Frey. It not only cost him his life and his cause, but the lives of his mother and most of his men. Any survivors were imprisoned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think Cat's dialogue to Robb about the love that grows more mature with the years "stone by stone" is some of the best writing in the series.  I thought it was in the books, but was surprised to find it was a show invention. Barristan kind of got into that idea with his thoughts about Dany wanting fire vs. mud, with mud being something you can actually build, while fire/lust/passion consumes. 

When the author gives an example of a realistic, relatively happy, medieval marriage with Ned and Catelyn, and then denies it to ALL of his other characters, I have to wonder what...is he even doing?

What's interesting is that Quentyn is trying to do his duty to Dorne by wooing Daenerys. He knows Dany is the "most beautiful woman in the world," but he doesn't fall for her charms. He doesn't even comment on her appearance, and he wants to go back home to kiss the girls he grew up with as a child.

It's quite amazing to me that Jon would be more likely to act like a lovesick idiot around Dany, while forgetting his duty to the North, while Quentyn never forgot his family, where he came from, and acted more mature about "love" than Jon did. 

 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody forces anyone to join the KG, become a septon, septa, maester, or brother of the NW (okay, the latter thing has been corrupted somewhat, but in the end it is still your choice whether you say the words or not). And it is quite clear that if you don't have a wife or child to worry about then an enemy of the king's cannot blackmail you into killing your king by threatening your family, no? Just as the Others cannot bribe you to betray all of mankind by promising you that your family will survive the winter that will never end if you do their bidding.

This is why Kraznys says that the Unsullied make the perfect soldiers, because they have no families. He makes the point that they're even better than the NW or the Kingsguard, because they dont have a cock. Why do your views line up with his, of all people?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

This is why Kraznys says that the Unsullied make the perfect soldiers, because they have no families. He makes the point that they're even better than the NW or the Kingsguard, because they dont have a cock. Why do your views line up with his, of all people?

Those are obviously not my views. How can you claim that they are?

Don't you understand the difference between brainwashing castrated boys with drugs into mindless soldiers and a self-aware individual actually making a lifelong commitment, like, you know, joining a religious order, making a promise to a spouse, etc.?

Ask Jaime for his opinion when you think you can be a good KG if you have a lot of conflicting loyalties. I'm sure he will tell you it is a great help doing your duty when you fuck your sister or get the command to bring your king the head of your own father.

It is a childish thing to pretend men taking the black or joining the KG are somehow twisted by inhuman expectations and the like - these people usually choose those responsibilities all by themselves. A man accepting a white cloak knows what this entails, he knows what doors he closes when he does that, just as a man becoming a septon or maester or black brother. Anybody committing himself to chastity or obedience of his or her own free will who later complains about the restrictions imposed on him is just hypocrite.

It is different if you don't have a choice, of course. Which is why I feel much more for the likes of cruelly murdered Dareon than, say, Jon Snow, since the latter joined the NW of his own free will whereas the later was (as far as we know) falsely accused of rape and thus coerced into taking the black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Let’s just say your view of love (equating it to biological urges to eat and defecate, for example) is one that is unrecognizable to me. Let’s just agree to disagree on this.

Well, it was just a way to illustrate that our love for our loved ones is not a matter of choice. It is as much biochemistry as everything else. And there is really nothing praiseworthy in doing what nature compels you to do. I mean, even the literary character of Jesus understood that - love your enemies, not your loved ones, and leave your families behind to follow your lord. Both indicates that you overcome your own petty desires in favor of a grander task.

This is what humanity always has held as the highest ideal throughout all cultures, not doing what pretty much everybody can/feels an urge to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/10/2019 at 1:24 PM, Lord Varys said:

Well, it was just a way to illustrate that our love for our loved ones is not a matter of choice. It is as much biochemistry as everything else. And there is really nothing praiseworthy in doing what nature compels you to do. I mean, even the literary character of Jesus understood that - love your enemies, not your loved ones, and leave your families behind to follow your lord. Both indicates that you overcome your own petty desires in favor of a grander task.

This is what humanity always has held as the highest ideal throughout all cultures, not doing what pretty much everybody can/feels an urge to do.

There is no biological urge to parent and parenthood isnt a universal "ideal." Mother/fatherhood is learned. The many terrible fathers in this series is proof that that being an asshole parent is the easy route, being a good one is actually the harder road.

On 6/10/2019 at 1:19 PM, Lord Varys said:

Don't you understand the difference between brainwashing castrated boys with drugs into mindless soldiers and a self-aware individual actually making a lifelong commitment, like, you know, joining a religious order, making a promise to a spouse, etc.?

You were making the claim that these institutions can serve people better if their members dont love and sever all ties to their former lives. If that was true then these institutions would actually function properly instead of being "corrupted" by people simply trying to find a human connection. The Nights Watch is also a prison colony now so the majority of dont even have a say in the matter. The options for people in Westeros are limited and many women are forced into being septas because of sexism. You're glorifying institutions that demand purity and celibacy and family ties aren't the original sin you're making them out to be. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/13/2019 at 12:35 PM, Rose of Red Lake said:

There is no biological urge to parent and parenthood isnt a universal "ideal." Mother/fatherhood is learned. The many terrible fathers in this series is proof that that being an asshole parent is the easy route, being a good one is actually the harder road.

I was talking about actual love. If that doesn't exist, then 'the love' parents feel for their children and vice versa is, of course, merely a duty. Which is actually not uncommon in a world like Westeros where (romantic) love has no place in marriage, and the raising of children is outsourced to servants and tutors.

My point is that if you actually form a loving connection to another person it comes naturally to you to consider their needs if you are making important decisions. Doing what your heart compels you to do is simply not praiseworthy. Just look up moral philosophy on virtues. Nobody praises people for doing things they want to do.

Quote

You were making the claim that these institutions can serve people better if their members dont love and sever all ties to their former lives. If that was true then these institutions would actually function properly instead of being "corrupted" by people simply trying to find a human connection. The Nights Watch is also a prison colony now so the majority of dont even have a say in the matter. The options for people in Westeros are limited and many women are forced into being septas because of sexism. You're glorifying institutions that demand purity and celibacy and family ties aren't the original sin you're making them out to be. 

No, I was talking about individual choices. It is rather obvious that limiting the amount of distractions and temptations preventing you from a task you want to do can help you to do that. I never said it was praiseworthy to turn children into machines that only obey orders.

And it is part of the human condition to make exclusive commitments - monogamous marriage, becoming a priest, joining a religious order/monastery, to fast for a time, to make a vow do only do such and such at this or that time/when this or that is done/happened, etc.

People who do such things are usually admired for their discipline and their commitment for a cause they espouse.

Nobody said that family ties are an original sin.

Nobody is complaining about people having a human connection. You can have friends as a black brother or Kingsguard, and you also have your birth family left. You just are not with them nor allowed to care for them the way you once did. But nobody prevents you from preserving the love you felt for them in your heart. You just can't act on that love.

And the overall point is that it is easier to do your duty as a black brother or a Kingsguard if you do not also have an obligation/duty to your family, and if the deep love you might feel for them does not prevent you from doing that duty. Because in the feudal world of Westeros you don't care for your family or your house because of love (alone) - just look at Tywin, who essentially severs all emotional ties to Jaime when he thinks the man is dead, and who goes to war for the son he loathes - because duty and honor demand it.

It is utterly ridiculous to assume that the NW could have functioned back in the days of the real Seven Kingdoms or the Hundred Kingdoms if the people taking the black - and back then it would have been the noblest calling for most of them - brought all their private baggage with them to the Wall. The very fact itself that the NW survived as an institution as long as it did proves that this kind commitment usually works in this world. Any Stark working alongside the Bolton who wears the skin of his brother or father for a cloak and calling him 'brother' rises above the petty struggles of the feudal world and thus inspires admiration and respect.

I mean, Maester Aemon didn't give in to the hate he seems to have felt for House Stark - he refers to the Mad King as his brother's 'poor grandson', not exactly the words he would have chosen if he understood and accepted that Aerys II was a tyrant who had to go. He did not poison or mistreat Jon Snow. Alliser Thorne did. He follows his heart which tells him, quite correctly, that he shivers at the world because filthy traitors and rebels like Eddard Stark and Tywin Lannister won the war.

Can you name a single septa that was forced into that life? And how is this sexist when it is pretty much the same thing for boys who become septons and maesters? The Faith of the Andals is not completely egalitarian but you do realize that septas make up half of the Most Devout, meaning that in George's Faith there are female cardinals... Women to share in the rule of this Church. There is sexism there insofar as it seems that there are certain tasks that septas cannot do (although that might also go for septons), but septas are not merely nuns.

Edited by Lord Varys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

There is no biological urge to parent and parenthood isnt a universal "ideal." Mother/fatherhood is learned.

If this was true, makind would've been extinct a long time ago

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, for all who didn't realize this: George does not have Aemon send this message but also Ser Arlan of Pennytree and Dunk. The reason why there is talk that (some) humble hedge knights are the truest knights of all is because they have no conflicting vows or loyalties - they are just knights, sworn to follow only their knightly vows. They have no families, no wives, no lands, no lords, no honor, no castle, no retainers, etc.

And Dunk really embodies this kind of thing - while he still acts rashly and instinctively when protecting Tanselle in THK (a moment, where we can assume that his own attraction to Tanselle certainly played a part in his desire to intervene) he is loyal to the ideals of knighthood to the point of self-destruction in TSS. He could have gone away, he could have betrayed Ser Eustace to Lady Rohanne once he realized who and what he was. He did not. Instead, he disfigured himself and agreed to fight in a trial-by-combat to save people he had obligation to.

But that's clearly something Dunk only can do while he is not entangled in other loyalties. Ser Duncan the Tall (the Lord Commander of) the Kingsguard will have other duties and priorities. We can expect him to try to walk a middle ground, not completely forgetting or abandoning his old ideals, but being Aegon V's retainer apparently leads to him to duel the Laughing Storm at a time - one of the men who saved his sorry ass back in 209 AC.

In that sense, the case of all those readers who try to make specific vows like the NW vows or the Kingsguard vows a bad thing (usually as part to defend certain choices Jaime or Jon Snow made ;-)) is pretty much built on sand. Especially in those cases where men made such commitments voluntarily - Jaime wanted to serve a mad tyrant as bodyguard for life, and Jon Snow wanted to join the Night's Watch of his own free will. They both knew what they were doing, and they have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

The people one can pity are those who are coerced into the NW - like Dareon, say - but nobody coerced Jaime or Jon into the NW/KG.

And the general view of people in Westeros clearly is that higher vows trump lesser vows. If you are a maester who joins the NW then you are a black brother first and a maester second, when you join the KG you are a Kingsguard first and a knight second, etc. People like Jaime - who arbitrarily try to equate the vows and loyalties and responsibilities a man finds himself - are simply trying to justify their actions.

And Jaime is pretty insidious there by actually dragging the command/expectancy that a man is 'to love his sister' into that - Jaime's love for Cersei is considered to be unnatural by the standards of the society he lives in, and Jaime clearly never particularly liked his father as one can easily draw from his chapters after Tywin's death. Kevan truly loved the man, and Tyrion is more traumatized/has more issues with his deed than either Jaime or Cersei. They are shaken somewhat, but they very quickly overcome that and care the entire mainly about how Tywin's death affects them, not that the man is actually dead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, The Hoare said:

If this was true, makind would've been extinct a long time ago

You're confusing procreation with parenthood.. parenthood is an institutional, learned process that is culturally and historically dependent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

You're confusing procreation with parenthood.. parenthood is an institutional, learned process that is culturally and historically dependent.

As I said, mankind would've been extinct if this was true. No baby can survive in the wild alone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

You're confusing procreation with parenthood.. parenthood is an institutional, learned process that is culturally and historically dependent.

Nah, it is biologically determined and shaped as well. Raising offspring is a tedious and time-consuming process for our species - it is biology, not culture, that determines that we have to care for our infants and toddlers until they can do so much as to feed or clean themselves.

This was the same throughout all of human history (and throughout the history of (m)any of our more ape-like ancestors, and it is also the case throughout all human cultures up to that point - and it is not going to change until we are able to change the way we procreate artificially.

You are certainly correct that parenthood also has a cultural component, but that's secondary to the biological aspects. The (basic) needs our children have were always the same - food, attention, care, etc.

How exactly parenthood realizes or expresses itself on a social level is not really relevant. Especially since it is quite clear that biological programming and urges are mainly responsible that we care for our children the way we do. Nobody has to teach us to try comfort a crying baby the way we are taught math.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/14/2019 at 8:44 AM, The Hoare said:

As I said, mankind would've been extinct if this was true. No baby can survive in the wild alone.

And yet people still abandon their children, today as they did in the past, proving that there is no universal biological instinct to parent, and that valuing parenthood and raising children is culturally dependent. Children dont have to be raised by *parents*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/14/2019 at 8:57 AM, Lord Varys said:

Nah, it is biologically determined and shaped as well. Raising offspring is a tedious and time-consuming process for our species - it is biology, not culture, that determines that we have to care for our infants and toddlers until they can do so much as to feed or clean themselves.

This was the same throughout all of human history (and throughout the history of (m)any of our more ape-like ancestors, and it is also the case throughout all human cultures up to that point - and it is not going to change until we are able to change the way we procreate artificially.

You are certainly correct that parenthood also has a cultural component, but that's secondary to the biological aspects. The (basic) needs our children have were always the same - food, attention, care, etc.

How exactly parenthood realizes or expresses itself on a social level is not really relevant. Especially since it is quite clear that biological programming and urges are mainly responsible that we care for our children the way we do. Nobody has to teach us to try comfort a crying baby the way we are taught math

Of course parenthood is learned, no one knows how to comfort children, inherently, otherwise babies would stop crying instantly, so YES getting a child to stop crying IS harder than math. People have to learn how to do that and still might not succeed. There is an entire stock of knowledge on "how to raise children" that is transmitted culturally. And still many people just refuse to parent altogether. They give up or they leave it to women to do the bulk of the work. The millions of abused or oprhaned children in Westeros and in our own society, would probably disagree that parenthood is a universal biological instinct. That really would have helped them, if it existed.

By saying that its easy, you degrade the institutional knowledge and effort it takes to parent a child. Being a good father or mother is just as important of an institution as the Night's Watch. Which, considering how many people took to the criminal life, was often proof that many parents had difficulties in raising the next generation and that there was no instinct driving them as much as you think.

Furthermore, the low birth rate all over the world indicates that humans can reject any biological "programming." Many women today arent even having children or sexual relationships, and the child free life is on the rise in many advanced industrialized countries. 

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Of course parenthood is learned, no one knows how to comfort children, inherently, otherwise babies would stop crying instantly, so YES getting a child to stop crying IS harder than math. People have to learn how to do that and still might not succeed. There is an entire stock of knowledge on "how to raise children" that is transmitted culturally. And still many people just refuse to parent altogether. They give up or they leave it to women to do the bulk of the work. The millions of abused or oprhaned children in Westeros and in our own society, would probably disagree that parenthood is a universal biological instinct. That really would have helped them, if it existed.

But it is not theoretical knowledge, and it is essentially impossible to ignore a crying baby the way you ignore another nuisance. It is no guarantee that you excel at mother-/parenthood, but if you have a wailing infant it is a good guess to first text whether the child is hungry, then whether it has to be cleaned and then whether it needs attention or whether it is hurt/sick when it is constantly crying.

That there is a social aspect to all that is also true, but there are social aspects to everything we do. We are a social species. That goes without saying.

1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

By saying that its easy, you degrade the institutional knowledge and effort it takes to parent a child. Being a good father or mother is just as important of an institution as the Night's Watch. Which, considering how many people took to the criminal life, was often proof that many parents had difficulties in raising the next generation and that there was no instinct driving them as much as you think.

Does anybody in Westeros care about 'being a good father or mother'? I don't think so. People don't have children to celebrate their own abilities as parents. They just have children, and then they use them as pawns and assets in their aristocratic games - at least that's what the nobility we know and care about do. What the peasants do we have pretty much no idea. The Stark children are essentially drilled to fulfill the roles they are supposed to play as adults. Robb has to be the heir, Bran is trained to be the spare/knight. Even Rickon has to learn how hard and cruel the world is and what he will have to do later in life at the age of 3-4. Sansa and Arya are pushed into the narrow lives of noble ladies, etc.

That is not good parenting, that's recreating your children in your own twisted image, like the nobility has done for thousands of years.

1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Furthermore, the low birth rate all over the world indicates that humans can reject any biological "programming." Many women today arent even having children or sexual relationships, and the child free life is on the rise in many advanced industrialized countries. 

I'd say that has to do with us figuring out how contraception works. Our biological urge to have sex - which can lead to procreation - was not diminished by that. Just as we still fall in love, desire attractive people, etc.

There is certainly also social pressure/incentive to have children, especially for women.

My point never we don't make choices, just that the basics of parenthood are as biological as procreation itself.

And just like there are higher callings in our (medieval) worlds - like the chaste life of a priest, nun, or monk - there are also higher callings in Westeros than parenthood. And unlike modern - and quite self-absorbed - views of parenthood, the parenthood concept of the nobility is a dynastic one. Children are necessary to play their role in the social construct of a noble house. They are not produced because the parents want to love them.

Family in Westeros isn't a private sphere, it is part of what makes up the state, basically. A childless lord or king is basically a danger for his lordship or kingdom.

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

×