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1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

The only character who comes close to "evil" IMO is Tywin. He was raised by a largely benevolent father and suffers from no mental defect that I can see, and yet he makes numerous conscious decisions to inflict death and misery on untold number of people with the sole purpose of fulfilling his own self-serving interests.

With characters like Euron and/or Ramsay (and Joffrey and Gregor), we have at least the possibility of a mental defect or improper upbringing to account for what they are doing now. But with Tywin we don't. He's just a really bad guy who has committed more atrocities against more people than all these others combined.

And by this criteria, Dany is on the way to becoming evil as well, but the jury is still out on her.

I disagree. I don't see Tywin as evil at all. Calculated, cunning, self-absorbed perhaps but we don't see the cruelty from him that we see from these other characters. Not to say he is a sweetheart but it takes a special kind of person to inflict torture on another human being. Tywin may order murders & rapes but we don't see him commit them himself. Still not a great thing but as Ned says - the man who commands the punishment should swing the sword. That is because it is much easier on someone emotionally to command others to do it then to do it yourself. If you can't do it yourself maybe it's not justified. These other characters have no issues "swinging the sword" even when it clearly isn't justified. 

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Just now, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

But we don't know much or anything about his upbringing do we? How did his mother raise him? It could be her influence that corrupted him. 

Yeah, sure, that's what I suggested above - that his mother and other kin abused him or had him live a rather weird life. But if that was so, there is nothing indicating that it was the case.

And while the original Reek - a servant Roose seems to have sent rather early to Ramsay - had severe issues of his own, it is not even clear whether it was he who corrupted Ramsay or whether Ramsay corrupted him (back in the Dreadfort Reek just seemed to have had issues connected to his bad body odor.

The bottom line in most 'evil characters' in this series is - especially those who show severe anger or violence management problems at an early age - that the author really seems to be sending the message that they were 'born evil' or at least be very much damaged since birth.

There are also people who get twisted by life experiences - Sandor, Arya, the men from the Brotherhood without Banners (think of Lem in the ASoS Epilogue!), but people like Joffrey, Maegor, Ramsay, Roose, Gregor, Euron, etc. seem to be fundamentally twisted from the start.

And what little I know about psychopathy from popular psychology literature indicates that environmental factors (i.e. mental and emotional traumas) play a somewhat greater role on the development of the brain's capabilities to process emotions correctly than genetic predispositions.

George plays with that aspect, too, especially with Arya and Littlefinger and Sandor - but in the above mentioned other cases he really seems to be going with the 'born evil' routine.

There is simply little to no chance that a boy like Joffrey started on animal cruelty because he himself was abused. He was a pampered prince, and he was only beaten once by his father - after he had cut open the cat.

I've made cases in the past that Joff isn't born evil and we shouldn't make too much of the cat incident - and if we play that down he is certainly more an entitled brat with budging sadistic tendencies than a full-blown sadistic psychopath (i.e. a guy who might become a serial killer to enact his sexual fantasy).

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2 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

I disagree. I don't see Tywin as evil at all. Calculated, cunning, self-absorbed perhaps but we don't see the cruelty from him that we see from these other characters. Not to say he is a sweetheart but it takes a special kind of person to inflict torture on another human being. Tywin may order murders & rapes but we don't see him commit them himself. Still not a great thing but as Ned says - the man who commands the punishment should swing the sword. That is because it is much easier on someone emotionally to command others to do it then to do it yourself. If you can't do it yourself maybe it's not justified. These other characters have no issues "swinging the sword" even when it clearly isn't justified. 

Wow. So Adolph Hitler never killed anybody, never gassed anybody, just ordered others to do it, so he's not evil? Same for Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein . . . ?

To me, the person who commands others to commit evil acts is far worse than those who actually swing the sword, especially if the swinger has some kind of psychological defect that is beyond their control. Tywin is in full control of his actions, he knows exactly what he is doing and how it will effect not just a few people but literally tens of thousands, and he issues the commands anyway because it suits his purpose to do so. I don't see how you get more evil than that.

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On 7/29/2019 at 5:21 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

A Surfeit of Rulers, Fire & Blood

Can we see any sign of love or compassion or pity in the hearts of Ramsay or Euron? 

 

Does Ramsey like his dogs?

Euron is insane. He’s two steps away from a Cthulhu cult leader. A man who believes he will ascend to Godhood if he feeds the deep...

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6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There seem to be two decent Boltons in Domeric Bolton about whom we know enough to know he was a good man

How do we know that? His father was Roose. If Rams was taught a flayed man holds no secrets what was Domeric taught?

But, Roose didn't really raise him either, at least in his adolescence, that was Lady Dustin. An equally scary character.

6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 in Barba Bolton from FaB who at least made a very compassionate plea when she was presented to King Aegon III.

Ill reread that bit later, but from what I gathered online she asked for food instead of a dragon? Being a good lord is not always the same as being a good guy (in fact it often is the opposite). If smallfolk dont eat, then you have no one to lord over.

4 hours ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

But we don't know much or anything about his upbringing do we? How did his mother raise him? It could be her influence that corrupted him. 

Im pretty sure, that despite anything his mom did, we can blame Roose for Ramsays behavior

6 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The same also goes for Euron Greyjoy. Balon, Aeron, Victarion were also raised by Lord Quellon, yet only Euron turned out to be the mad psychopath that he is - and we do know that Euron was basically as worse as he is when he was still a young child.

Theyre all pretty bad lol. Eurons probably the worst but Vic is psycho too (his wife, the sacrifices) and Aeron was bad before he found God (and didnt really improve much)

6 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Poetic justice? If her fate in Winds were different...

I forgot that. Poor girl. Well, it was nice for a moment...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Wow. So Adolph Hitler never killed anybody, never gassed anybody, just ordered others to do it, so he's not evil? Same for Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein . . . ?

To me, the person who commands others to commit evil acts is far worse than those who actually swing the sword, especially if the swinger has some kind of psychological defect that is beyond their control. Tywin is in full control of his actions, he knows exactly what he is doing and how it will effect not just a few people but literally tens of thousands, and he issues the commands anyway because it suits his purpose to do so. I don't see how you get more evil than that.

Well no, I'm not sure where you came up with any of that because I sure didn't say it. 

Yes Adolph Hitler, Stalin, etc killed people. I never suggested they didn't. 

Yes Tywin is in control of his actions, knows what he is doing, knows how his actions will affect people. 

To me though the person that actually performs the torture of another human being is more evil than the person who ordered it. It's much easier for someone to disconnect themselves from a situation if they are not actively participating. Perhaps if Tywin had to perform any atrocities that he ordered himself he wouldn't do them. We don't know because he doesn't. We do know that Euron, Gregor, Joffrey, Ramsay are capable & willing to perform torture & that to me makes them more evil. 

Edited by Lyanna<3Rhaegar

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25 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

I'm pretty sure, that despite anything his mom did, we can blame Roose for Ramsays behavior

How can we blame Roose for Ramsay's behavior when Roose wasn't even present until well after Ramsay was grown? Unless you are suggesting Ramsay is purely the result of genetics? In which case we still can't blame it all on Roose because we don't know Ramsay's mother. She could be just as twisted. 

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26 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

. We do know that Euron, Gregor, Joffrey, Ramsay are capable & willing to perform torture & that to me makes them more evil. 

Idk about Euron, but he probably doesn't get his hands dirty. 

The others most certainly dont. Gregor uses the Tickler, Joff uses the KG anf Rams uses Skinner

21 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

How can we blame Roose for Ramsay's behavior when Roose wasn't even present until well after Ramsay was grown? 

Roose gave Reek to Rams as a boy. And despite what the leech lord says, he knew damn well that Rams would be corrupted. Just like he knows Ramsays current entourage is corrupting him, while still reporting to Roose

22 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

In which case we still can't blame it all on Roose because we don't know Ramsay's mother. She could be just as twisted. 

For sure, but Roose taught him a flayedman has no secrets, their ancestors are fucking Boltons and the Dreadfort reminds me of Draculas castle. So even with momma going hard, the ambiance of Bolton remains.

24 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Unless you are suggesting Ramsay is purely the result of genetics? 

No. I refuse to prescribe or even entertain that idea

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Wow. So Adolph Hitler never killed anybody, never gassed anybody, just ordered others to do it, so he's not evil? Same for Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein . . . ?

To me, the person who commands others to commit evil acts is far worse than those who actually swing the sword, especially if the swinger has some kind of psychological defect that is beyond their control. Tywin is in full control of his actions, he knows exactly what he is doing and how it will effect not just a few people but literally tens of thousands, and he issues the commands anyway because it suits his purpose to do so. I don't see how you get more evil than that.

 

1 hour ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Well no, I'm not sure where you came up with any of that because I sure didn't say it. 

Yes Adolph Hitler, Stalin, etc killed people. I never suggested they didn't. 

Yes Tywin is in control of his actions, knows what he is doing, knows how his actions will affect people. 

To me though the person that actually performs the torture of another human being is more evil than the person who ordered it. It's much easier for someone to disconnect themselves from a situation if they are not actively participating. Perhaps if Tywin had to perform any atrocities that he ordered himself he wouldn't do them. We don't know because he doesn't. We do know that Euron, Gregor, Joffrey, Ramsay are capable & willing to perform torture & that to me makes them more evil. 

Milgram experiment gives this one to @John Suburbs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

Most people does torture and kill if instructed to by an authority figure. F'd up and sad, it is probably why it keeps happening: the unpleasantness of killing someone gets taken out of the equation when the one who orders it doesn't have to do it himself (or even watch it). Like Cersei having ptsd after seeing Qyburn working the Blue Bard - by her own order. :rolleyes:

On 7/29/2019 at 6:21 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

A Surfeit of Rulers, Fire & Blood

Can we see any sign of love or compassion or pity in the hearts of Ramsay or Euron? 

Awesome topic! Thanks :wub:

I can sort of feel for both of them actually.

I see little bastard Ramsay being a bit unruly, prompting Reek to appear and Ramsay (imagining Roose might care about him if he was more like Reek, flayed man-mentality and all) modelling himself on an extremely off-putting madman. I have no qualms seeing Reek giving Ram and his mother living hell and destroying them both and building something to his liking with the pieces of what was left either. A woman and a child are easy targets for a large man within closed doors.

Euron is more complicated. Too coherent and clear to be scizophrenic (which could explain his more creative endeavours). Too indifferent to be a sadist. Too much suffering inflicted on others for having any empathy at all. So pure psychopathy.

Living without empathy or conscience must be pretty harrowing. You have nothing and no one that matters and there isn't a thing you can do that will feel meaningful because nothing can have any meaning. Gives me the picture of someone who spends their whole life standing all alone in an elevator. And if that is your life you're gonna do a lot messed up stuff in hunt of something that feels meaningful.

No excuses for their acts but I can certainly feel sad for those images.

Edited by Sigella
spelling

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Huge stretch on the Tywin to real world comparisons. I do believe he would lean towards evil on a good/evil spectrum but he's not at the end. The real world genocides of the 20th century are not equivalent to what happened with the Reynes & Castameres. Particularly if you take into account the "norm" of the time. 

 

Both very bad, but we are not comparing apples to apples.

 

As far as Domeric is concerned: I doubt he is a saint. There is the possibility though that his time in the Vale had a more positive influence on him. Heck, it could not be any worse than what Ramsay experienced.

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30 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Idk about Euron, but he probably doesn't get his hands dirty. 

The others most certainly dont. Gregor uses the Tickler, Joff uses the KG anf Rams uses Skinner

Seriously? 

Euron - kills his own men, forces women to serve naked, rips the tongues out of his crew members, drowned Lord Sawane Botley for opposing his claim, 

Spoiler

Molested his brother, hold Pyat Pree hostage, forces Aeron to drink shade of the evening while holding him captive with nothing to eat or drink, ties the woman he has pregnant to the bow of his ship

Gregor - kills baby Aegon, rapes Elia & several other women, holds his brothers face to a fire, kills Ser Hugh of the Vale, gang rapes a 13 year old girl with the help of his men, makes Vargo eat himself

Ramsay - probably killed Domeric, actively participates in flaying people, including Theon, uses his dogs to hunt down women to rape, flay, & kill them, locks up Lady Hornwood & let's her starve to death after forcibly taking her hand & lands, murders 2 peasant boys to pretend they are Bran & Rickon, performs countless atrocities to Theon - performs them, not orders them. 

Joff - probably the least on this list but still has things he has done himself. Cuts a pregnant cat open, cuts Mycah, mistreats Sansa & threatens to rape her

So the others not getting their hands dirty is clearly false. 

38 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Roose gave Reek to Rams as a boy. And despite what the leech lord says, he knew damn well that Rams would be corrupted. Just like he knows Ramsays current entourage is corrupting him, while still reporting to Roose

Even if Roose knew that Reek would corrupt Ramsay (which he didn't according to him, he says he doesn't know if Reek corrupted Ramsay or the other way around) you can still not blame all of Ramsay on Roose. There are too many other factors at play. Certainly some blame lies with his mother for allowing Reek to stay if he was corrupting Ramsay & with Reek himself for doing it, however, Ramsay is given Reek AFTER his mother's pleas for help due to Ramsay being unruly so evidence shows he was having issues well before Reek. 

 

41 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

For sure, but Roose taught him a flayedman has no secrets, their ancestors are fucking Boltons and the Dreadfort reminds me of Draculas castle. So even with momma going hard, the ambiance of Bolton remains.

Listen, I'm not disregarding Roose's contribution to Ramsay, I'm saying Roose cannot be the only one at fault 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Sigella said:

Most people does torture and kill if instructed to by an authority figure. F'd up and sad, it is probably why it keeps happening: the unpleasantness of killing someone gets taken out of the equation when the one who orders it doesn't have to do it himself (or even watch it). Like Cersei having ptsd after seeing Qyburn working the Blue Bard - by her own order. :rolleyes:

We aren't arguing human behavior when given an order by someone in an authority position. We are arguing who is more evil of the 2? The person who ordered it or the person who performed it? My argument is that the most evil is the person who performed it without being ordered to. So the study isn't really relevant here. 

The bolded is what I was saying as part of my argument. Because the "orderer" is more detached from the situation they are able to order more severe tortures than they may be able to carry out on their own - leading me to believe the person that performs said torture, especially without an order to do so, is more evil than either of the other two cases. 

Edited by Lyanna<3Rhaegar

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

We aren't arguing human behavior when given an order by someone in an authority position. We are arguing who is more evil of the 2? The person who ordered it or the person who performed it? My argument is that the most evil is the person who performed it without being ordered to. So the study isn't really relevant here. 

The bolded is what I was saying as part of my argument. Because the "ordered" is more detached from the situation they are able to order more severe tortures than they may be able to carry out on their own - leading me to believe the person that performs said torture, especially without an order to do so, is more evil than either of the other two cases. 

Sorry, I didn't write down the whole thought. If most people do it if ordered even to the point of traumatising themselves it means humans are hard wired to obey, which limits their capability to desist, which limits their choice. The one ordering doesn't have that limit to their choice, making them the more responsible part.

By the bolded you argue for the person who orders it being more evil than the one who carries it out, which is in line with what Im trying to get across.

Edited by Sigella

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22 minutes ago, Sigella said:

Sorry, I didn't write down the whole thought. If most people do it if ordered even to the point of traumatising themselves it means humans are hard wired to obey, which limits their capability to desist, which limits their choice. The one ordering doesn't have that limit to their choice, making them the more responsible part.

By the bolded you argue for the person who orders it being more evil than the one who carries it out, which is in line with what Im trying to get across.

Yes the one that performs it without being ordered to. In the case of Ramsay for instance - he performs cruelties beyond measure to countless individuals but he has not been ordered to do this. He does it of his own accord. Just because he feels like it. My argument is that someone like Ramsay is more evil than someone like Tywin who has ordered atrocities but is not commiting them himself. 

So to put it in like terms with the experiment you cited, I'm saying neither participant in the experiment (the person doing the ordering or the person obeying) are as evil as a person that would choose to inflict this kind of pain on someone of their own accord - without being ordered to. 

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1 minute ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Yes the one that performs it without being ordered to. In the case of Ramsay for instance - he performs cruelties beyond measure to countless individuals but he has not been ordered to do this. He does it of his own accord. Just because he feels like it. My argument is that someone like Ramsay is more evil than someone like Tywin who has ordered atrocities but is not commiting them himself. 

So to put it in like terms with the experiment you cited, I'm saying neither participant in the experiment (the person doing the ordering or the person obeying) are as evil as a person that would choose to inflict this kind of pain on someone of their own accord - without being ordered to. 

Having to choose whose most evil of Tywin and Ramsay, I'd say Tywin. He has inflicted a larger quantity of death and torture on a larger quantity of people. Having to choose one of them to murder me I'd choose Tywin because it doesn't get any worse than what Ramsay would do, though. And I'd much rather be locked in room with Tywin for the same reason.

Tywin killing tens of thousands with clean hands has to be more evil than the generous hundred Ramsay did, though - its like a16yo gangbanger from the hood VS. El Chapo. Tywin is responsible for Gregor and the Tickler and the Brave Companions, he put them to work in the Riverlands and not because anyone told him to.

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1 minute ago, Sigella said:

Having to choose whose most evil of Tywin and Ramsay, I'd say Tywin. He has inflicted a larger quantity of death and torture on a larger quantity of people. Having to choose one of them to murder me I'd choose Tywin because it doesn't get any worse than what Ramsay would do, though. And I'd much rather be locked in room with Tywin for the same reason.

Tywin killing tens of thousands with clean hands has to be more evil than the generous hundred Ramsay did, though - its like a16yo gangbanger from the hood VS. El Chapo. Tywin is responsible for Gregor and the Tickler and the Brave Companions, he put them to work in the Riverlands and not because anyone told him to.

Tywin killed tens of thousands? Really?

 

Anyhow you are forgetting one of the most important intrinsic motivators: intent. Tywin is ruthless and willing to take drastic measures for the purpose of securing his family's power. However, he does not always. “When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.” – Tywin, ASOS

 

 

 

Ramsay does cruel things because he enjoys it. There is a difference.

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24 minutes ago, Sigella said:

Having to choose whose most evil of Tywin and Ramsay, I'd say Tywin. He has inflicted a larger quantity of death and torture on a larger quantity of people. Having to choose one of them to murder me I'd choose Tywin because it doesn't get any worse than what Ramsay would do, though. And I'd much rather be locked in room with Tywin for the same reason.

Tywin killing tens of thousands with clean hands has to be more evil than the generous hundred Ramsay did, though - its like a16yo gangbanger from the hood VS. El Chapo. Tywin is responsible for Gregor and the Tickler and the Brave Companions, he put them to work in the Riverlands and not because anyone told him to.

I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree. I think that's quite an exaggeration about Tywin but regardless the premise is the same. 

I would argue Gregor is responsible for Gregor, the Tickler, & the brave companions. Tywin may be responsible for giving Gregor a direction to unleash himself but he is hardly responsible for Gregor's cruelty. Gregor was a cruel individual long before he met Tywin & would be regardless of Tywin's direction or not, albeit possibly on someone else. 

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9 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

The only character who comes close to "evil" IMO is Tywin. He was raised by a largely benevolent father and suffers from no mental defect that I can see, and yet he makes numerous conscious decisions to inflict death and misery on untold number of people with the sole purpose of fulfilling his own self-serving interests.

With characters like Euron and/or Ramsay (and Joffrey and Gregor), we have at least the possibility of a mental defect or improper upbringing to account for what they are doing now. But with Tywin we don't. He's just a really bad guy who has committed more atrocities against more people than all these others combined.

And by this criteria, Dany is on the way to becoming evil as well, but the jury is still out on her.

Tywin is a Machiavellian character, and just like Machiavelli, Tywin is often condemned as evil. But doesn't Tywin do what he does for the honor and glory of his house (however morally misguided)? And isn't that the objective of all lords, great and small, in the world of ASOIAF? 

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5 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Does Ramsey like his dogs?

I wondered about that...

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3 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

How do we know that? His father was Roose. If Rams was taught a flayed man holds no secrets what was Domeric taught?

But, Roose didn't really raise him either, at least in his adolescence, that was Lady Dustin. An equally scary character.

Ill reread that bit later, but from what I gathered online she asked for food instead of a dragon? Being a good lord is not always the same as being a good guy (in fact it often is the opposite). If smallfolk dont eat, then you have no one to lord over.

Im pretty sure, that despite anything his mom did, we can blame Roose for Ramsays behavior

Theyre all pretty bad lol. Eurons probably the worst but Vic is psycho too (his wife, the sacrifices) and Aeron was bad before he found God (and didnt really improve much)

I forgot that. Poor girl. Well, it was nice for a moment...

Victarion is a brute, but doesn't he show some redeaming quality qhen the looks on with distaste at how Euron treats Lord Hewett's household? And the way he encourages Maester Kerwin to man up? Of course that was before he sacrificed the lad. 

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