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Eternally_His

Moral Standpoint Analysis (pt.1): House Bolton vs House Manderly

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Part 1 of my project of attempting to suss out which is the better house from a moral standpoint.

We examine Houses Bolton and House Manderly in this one.
 

House Bolton

- Both living members are cold-hearted people who care about no one but themselves
- The son tortures another human being physically and emotionally
- When his servant convinces his enemies to surrender, claiming that he'd show mercy, what does the son do? Flays all of them and stuffs that very proclamation into one's mouth, that's what. Then he forces his servant to sleep with the dogs.
- Guilty of regicide
- Guilty of treason
- Guilty of aiding and abetting their liege lord's enemy
- Double-dealing

House Manderly

- Loyal until the end
- Making an alliance with a good King behind evil men's back
- Gave the Freys a taste of their own medicine
- One of them shows that she truly cares about her husband, unlike some.
- Another professes their true loyalty in public, with multiple Freys present.
 

I think it's self-evident which is the better house,

More houses to come.....

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Posted (edited)

This is for future posts, primarily.

The fact that you both pick House Bolton as part of a "morale analysis" and looking at your signatures its kind like me having an "analysis" about if Tywin or Ambrose Butterwell have the best leadership skills. You can probably tell where its going to end the first argument lands.

House Bolton is simply over the top. Had it been the Karstarks or Ryswells against the Manderlys you might have been able to get something together but...House Bolton from a morale standpoint?

If you want to do an alysis of Houses, please do one and not just declare a common fan favorite the winner over a major heel House in the story. 

PS: In case someone don't know what I mean by "heel" I add this link to Wikipedia to explain. But its essentially someone for the fans of wrestling to consider a villain to the good guys in the show.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heel_(professional_wrestling)

Edited by Lion of the West

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Posted (edited)

Would you have preferred a Bolton vs Stark debate? Or Bolton vs Greyjoy debate? My opinion in that would have been the same. Every house in the books is better than the shitty Bolton/Frey Alliance. Yes, even Targaryens, Lannisters or Martells.

Plus, there was one person who could've redeemed them: Domeric. But alas, he was slain. Another strike against the Boltons: fratricide, and turning a blind eye to said fratricide.

Edited by Eternally_His

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12 minutes ago, Eternally_His said:

Would you have preferred a Bolton vs Stark debate? Or Bolton vs Greyjoy debate? My opinion in that would have been the same. Every house in the books is better than the shitty Bolton/Frey Alliance. Yes, even Targaryens, Lannisters or Martells.

Plus, there was one person who could've redeemed them: Domeric. But alas, he was slain. Another strike against the Boltons: fratricide, and turning a blind eye to said fratricide.

What I am saying is that I would have prefered an analysis where the result was not a forgone conclusion or where some interesting or witty argument could be made for one side or another that haven't been done to death earlier.

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Posted (edited)

Personally, I’m still half scared of the idea that Manderly is as much of a power grabber as Roose, he’s just being more subtle about it. When he gets a hold of Rickon Stark, he’s going to become the most powerful lord in the North, and if he gets Rickon under his thumb, he’ll basically be in Unwin Peake’s position, and I hated Unwin Peake. 
I’m hoping that my fears are unfounded; that Wyman will prove true and won’t go mad for power, but I could easily imagine GRRM to pull that kind of rug from under our feet. Not to mention the irony of Rickon being too wild for Manderly to control.

Edited by James Steller

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Actually soldiers sworn to house Bolton had best chances to survive their mission to Riverlands. Or most of them could return to North alive when most of soldiers sworn to another lords are nowadays dead.

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4 hours ago, James Steller said:

Personally, I’m still half scared of the idea that Manderly is as much of a power grabber as Roose, he’s just being more subtle about it. When he gets a hold of Rickon Stark, he’s going to become the most powerful lord in the North, and if he gets Rickon under his thumb, he’ll basically be in Unwin Peake’s position, and I hated Unwin Peake. 
I’m hoping that my fears are unfounded; that Wyman will prove true and won’t go mad for power, but I could easily imagine GRRM to pull that kind of rug from under our feet. Not to mention the irony of Rickon being too wild for Manderly to control.

This. Manderly is no gentle giant. He's more loyal to the Starks than the Boltons, but that's not saying much, and old Wyman is no less out for himself and his own.

Also there is the small matter of the Frey pies. I mean, that's awfully dark--and he fed them to EVERYONE at the wedding. Like, sure, he was careful to avoid the curse of the Rat Cook by making sure guest right no longer applied, but there is something really, really wrong with feeding Freys to everyone at the party, not to mention making sure you eat some of each pie yourself. That bespeaks of more than a little moral turpitude.

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Therae said:

This. Manderly is no gentle giant. He's more loyal to the Starks than the Boltons, but that's not saying much, and old Wyman is no less out for himself and his own.

Also there is the small matter of the Frey pies. I mean, that's awfully dark--and he fed them to EVERYONE at the wedding. Like, sure, he was careful to avoid the curse of the Rat Cook by making sure guest right no longer applied, but there is something really, really wrong with feeding Freys to everyone at the party, not to mention making sure you eat some of each pie yourself. That bespeaks of more than a little moral turpitude.

Oh, come on. That's like saying that Tommen or Myrcella mutilate other people as their hobby, or that Sweetie slaughtered the Freys rather than the other way around, or that Shireen burns people alive. It goes against everything we know of them, as this goes against everything we know about him.

Edited by Eternally_His

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4 minutes ago, Eternally_His said:

Oh, come on. That's like saying that Tommen or Myrcella mutilate other people as their hobby, or that Sweetie slaughtered the Freys rather than the other way around, or that Shireen burns people alive. It goes against everything we know of them, as this goes against everything we know about him.

Um. It's nothing whatsoever like that, and what we know about Wyman Manderly strongly suggests that this is exactly what he did.

 

We know the Freys went missing after leaving White Harbor. (DwD, Reek III)

We know Wyman made a very big deal about leaving them with guest gifts. (DwD, Ghost in Winterfell)

We know he brought pies for the wedding and personally served them to everyone. We also know he ate slices from each.  (DwD, Prince of Winterfell)

We know about the convergence of pies and guest right from the tale of the Rat Cook. (SoS, Bran IV).

Ramsay may be the most vile character in the whole story, and Roose may be an evil motherfucker, but Wyman ain't no innocent.

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1 minute ago, Therae said:

Um. It's nothing whatsoever like that, and what we know about Wyman Manderly strongly suggests that this is exactly what he did.

 

We know the Freys went missing after leaving White Harbor. (DwD, Reek III)

We know Wyman made a very big deal about leaving them with guest gifts. (DwD, Ghost in Winterfell)

We know he brought pies for the wedding and personally served them to everyone. We also know he ate slices from each.  (DwD, Prince of Winterfell)

We know about the convergence of pies and guest right from the tale of the Rat Cook. (SoS, Bran IV).

Ramsay may be the most vile character in the whole story, and Roose may be an evil motherfucker, but Wyman ain't no innocent.

So he gave them the taste of their own medicine. They slaughtered their own guests, breaking the guest right first. So Wyman slaughtered the people who slaughtered other (innocent) people. And that makes him evil why again?

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I didn't say he was evil. I love old Wyman, but that doesn't make him shiny and pure.

Whatever the Freys did is on them, and everyone understands them to be cursed for it. What Wyman does is on Wyman. Feeding people to people is not meant to showcase his heroism, and not all the people he fed them to were Freys and Boltons. Every northern family represented there lost sons at the Red Wedding, and while Manderly may have been down with eating his enemies, I imagine most folks would prefer not to.

You can just pooh-pooh anything he does, no matter how horrific, because revenge, but do you honestly think Sweetie would have eaten a slice of Frey and mushroom pie given the chance?

 

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3 minutes ago, Therae said:

I didn't say he was evil. I love old Wyman, but that doesn't make him shiny and pure.

Whatever the Freys did is on them, and everyone understands them to be cursed for it. What Wyman does is on Wyman. Feeding people to people is not meant to showcase his heroism, and not all the people he fed them to were Freys and Boltons. Every northern family represented there lost sons at the Red Wedding, and while Manderly may have been down with eating his enemies, I imagine most folks would prefer not to.

You can just pooh-pooh anything he does, no matter how horrific, because revenge, but do you honestly think Sweetie would have eaten a slice of Frey and mushroom pie given the chance?

 

Honestly, I think the northern families would be more okay with it than we realize. It’s strongly hinted that to survive in the North, you had to possibly survive via cannibalism. Look what happens to Stannis’ army, look how quickly the North turns them wild and desperate. We’re told many times that the Northmen are more savage than those people south of the Neck. The First Men practiced blood sacrifice, decorating trees with entrails, making a line of heads on the coast as a warning. The Starks are wolves, and I believe we’ll see them embrace the savage wolf nature of House Stark to survive against the Others. It’s going to be a renouncement of Southron civilization to embrace the old ways. So in a way, Wyman Manderly doing this makes me feel like this is the descendant of Andal fugitives embracing the fact that he is of the North, and what better way to do that than eat the meat of his enemies in triumphant vengeance for the North? Why not invite the other wolves to the feast? It’s weird, but I’m hoping for this interpretation rather than Manderly proving just as villainous as Roose Bolton. That sort of thing. I’d rather have the savage than the sociopath.

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19 minutes ago, Therae said:

I didn't say he was evil. I love old Wyman, but that doesn't make him shiny and pure.

Whatever the Freys did is on them, and everyone understands them to be cursed for it. What Wyman does is on Wyman. Feeding people to people is not meant to showcase his heroism, and not all the people he fed them to were Freys and Boltons. Every northern family represented there lost sons at the Red Wedding, and while Manderly may have been down with eating his enemies, I imagine most folks would prefer not to.

You can just pooh-pooh anything he does, no matter how horrific, because revenge, but do you honestly think Sweetie would have eaten a slice of Frey and mushroom pie given the chance?

 

No, but considering what they did to his mother, his men and himself, he would have the right of it.

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2 minutes ago, James Steller said:

Honestly, I think the northern families would be more okay with it than we realize. It’s strongly hinted that to survive in the North, you had to possibly survive via cannibalism. Look what happens to Stannis’ army, look how quickly the North turns them wild and desperate. We’re told many times that the Northmen are more savage than those people south of the Neck. ... That sort of thing. I’d rather have the savage than the sociopath.

Fair points, but if Haggon the Wildling considers eating the flesh of man while in the body of a wolf to be abomination (Dance, Prologue), I don't think many of the First Men were likely to be down with eating the flesh of man while in their own bodies.

Manderly is pretty obviously channeling Titus Andronicus (the Rat Cook was channeling Atreus), who was arguably deranged by his grief and rage. Manderly was provoked, but I think he had a very good idea what he was doing. I don't think that makes him a straight up sociopath, but it definitely doesn't give morally-superior points. :cheers:

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Just now, Therae said:

Fair points, but if Haggon the Wildling considers eating the flesh of man while in the body of a wolf to be abomination (Dance, Prologue), I don't think many of the First Men were likely to be down with eating the flesh of man while in their own bodies.

Manderly is pretty obviously channeling Titus Andronicus (the Rat Cook was channeling Atreus), who was arguably deranged by his grief and rage. Manderly was provoked, but I think he had a very good idea what he was doing. I don't think that makes him a straight up sociopath, but it definitely doesn't give morally-superior points. :cheers:

Firstly, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the Titus reference in this part of the book. And secondly, Manderly not being morally superior would actually be part of GRRM’s overarching theme of morality being in the eye of the beholder. Tons of threads exist where the very worst people in the story are defended earnestly for their actions. There is a deep complexity in this story, and Wyman Manderly is one of my favourite characters because he’s got all these different aspects and unknown motivations. It’s certainly despicable, what he does, but I can’t hate him for it. Just like I didn’t ever hate Titus Andronicus, even though I was glad that he didn’t walk away from that maelstrom of messed up people taking revenge. It’s the same with Manderly. I won’t be sad if his vengeance results in him dying, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be upset if he does the right thing by wrong means.

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Posted (edited)

@James Steller I'm with you. My whole point is that Manderly's morality is questionable, not that he's one of the villains of the piece. :)

And I am absolutely, positively, in no way attempting to say the Freys (especially Rhaegar Frey & Co.) were innocent lambs ebully done in by ebul Lord Too-Fat-To-Sit-A-Horse.

Edited by Therae
my quote didn't quote. boo.

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On 3/12/2020 at 5:18 AM, Eternally_His said:

Part 1 of my project of attempting to suss out which is the better house from a moral standpoint.

We examine Houses Bolton and House Manderly in this one.
 

House Bolton

- Both living members are cold-hearted people who care about no one but themselves
- The son tortures another human being physically and emotionally
- When his servant convinces his enemies to surrender, claiming that he'd show mercy, what does the son do? Flays all of them and stuffs that very proclamation into one's mouth, that's what. Then he forces his servant to sleep with the dogs.
- Guilty of regicide
- Guilty of treason
- Guilty of aiding and abetting their liege lord's enemy
- Double-dealing

House Manderly

- Loyal until the end
- Making an alliance with a good King behind evil men's back
- Gave the Freys a taste of their own medicine
- One of them shows that she truly cares about her husband, unlike some.
- Another professes their true loyalty in public, with multiple Freys present.
 

I think it's self-evident which is the better house,

More houses to come.....

That Roose Bolton is a cold-hearted savage is a fact. The rest is questionable. The Starks rebelled against the crown.  Any defense lawyer worth his degree can easily defend his decision to betray Robb and the Starks. Even if you are a big fan of the Starks and managed to justify their taking up arms against the crown, you cannot defend their attempts to separate a large part of the kingdom from the rest.  The Starks do not have the right to do that.  It's not Roose who is guilty of treason.  It is the Starks who are guilty of treason.  Aiding his lord's enemy!  His lord is guilty of aiding the crown's enemy, House Tully.  Roose Bolton's highest duty is to the ruler in King's Landing, not to Robb Stark.  

Wayman Manderly is an evil man. You can't turn a blind eye to one violation of a valued tradition (against cannibalism) and condemn another person for breaking another valued tradition (guest rights). The fact is, Wayman is guilty of cannibalism.  He is out for revenge.  He's loyal to the Starks.  So what.  That does not put him on a higher moral ground.  Roose is not actually guilty of breaking guest rights.  

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On 3/12/2020 at 2:16 PM, Therae said:

This. Manderly is no gentle giant. He's more loyal to the Starks than the Boltons, but that's not saying much, and old Wyman is no less out for himself and his own.

I agree Manderly is no gentle giant. That said, I’d say he is more loyal to the Starks than many others, not just the Boltons. He is certainly willing to risk a lot when he decides to try to get Rickon back. And there’s more... Wylla’s outburst in the Merman’s Court isn’t something that happens in a vacuum, it’s not something she came up w/ in the spur of the moment just because she dislikes the idea of marrying a Frey. 

“Manderly pulled her close. “Wylla, every time you open your mouth you make me want to send you to the silent sisters.”
“I only said—”
“We heard what you said,” said the older girl, her sister. “A child’s foolishness. Speak no ill of our friends of Frey. One of them will be your lord and husband soon.”
“No,” the girl declared, shaking her head. “I won’t. I won’t ever. They killed the king.”
Lord Wyman flushed. “You will. When the appointed day arrives, you will speak your wedding vows, else you will join the silent sisters and never speak again.”
The poor girl looked stricken. “Grandfather, please …”
“Hush, child,” said Lady Leona. “You heard your lord grandfather. Hush! You know nothing.”
I know about the promise,” insisted the girl. “Maester Theomore, tell them! A thousand years before the Conquest, a promise was made, and oaths were sworn in the Wolf’s Den before the old gods and the new. When we were sore beset and friendless, hounded from our homes and in peril of our lives, the wolves took us in and nourished us and protected us against our enemies. The city is built upon the land they gave us. In return we swore that we should always be their men. Stark men!”
The maester fingered the chain about his neck. “Solemn oaths were sworn to the Starks of Winterfell, aye. But Winterfell has fallen and House Stark has been extinguished.”
“That’s because they killed them all!

So while I agree that Manderly would be more than happy to have more power, and that that’s part of the motivation behind his actions, I don’t think he is in it for personal gain alone, nor that personal gain is his main motivation. 

 

On 3/12/2020 at 2:16 PM, Therae said:

Also there is the small matter of the Frey pies. I mean, that's awfully dark--and he fed them to EVERYONE at the wedding. Like, sure, he was careful to avoid the curse of the Rat Cook by making sure guest right no longer applied, but there is something really, really wrong with feeding Freys to everyone at the party, not to mention making sure you eat some of each pie yourself. That bespeaks of more than a little moral turpitude.

Well, there was no way to feed the Frey pies only to the Boltons and Freys, so... I know it’s awfully dark, and I absolutely love it. :wideeyed:

I’m also not so certain that some of those who ate the pies would have a massive problem w/ it. Despite the show that everyone is putting on in Winterfell, most despise both Boltons and Freys.

 This story is full of awful, cruel, horrible things happening to everyone, so I for one enjoyed that finally the Freys and Boltons were getting a small dose of it, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to both getting all of the comeuppance they have coming. :D

Lastly, as you say, Manderly made sure he didn’t violate guest right. And going by the Old Gods, a man has a right to vengeance. 

“When the flames were blazing nicely Meera put the fish on. At least it’s not a meat pie. The Rat Cook had cooked the son of the Andal king in a big pie with onions, carrots, mushrooms, lots of pepper and salt, a rasher of bacon, and a dark red Dornish wine. Then he served him to his father, who praised the taste and had a second slice. Afterward the gods transformed the cook into a monstrous white rat who could only eat his own young. He had roamed the Nightfort ever since, devouring his children, but still his hunger was not sated. “It was not for murder that the gods cursed him,” Old Nan said, “nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive.”

 

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On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

That Roose Bolton is a cold-hearted savage is a fact. The rest is questionable. The Starks rebelled against the crown

So did the Bolton's...

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

Any defense lawyer worth his degree can easily defend his decision to betray Robb and the Starks. 

They could potentially defend his switching sides (again) but even Johnnie Cochran would have a hard time getting Roose off of the multiple murder charges he would be facing for the RW. 

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

Even if you are a big fan of the Starks and managed to justify their taking up arms against the crown, you cannot defend their attempts to separate a large part of the kingdom from the rest. 

Sure you can. The crown wrongfully imprisoned their Lord & then beheaded him. Not to mention they hold that crown by deceit. 

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

The Starks do not have the right to do that. 

People always have the right to defend themselves & to rise up against a tyrannical ruler. Always. 

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

It's not Roose who is guilty of treason

So, it wasn't treason when Roose Bolton was fighting against the crown? 

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

It is the Starks who are guilty of treason.  Aiding his lord's enemy!  His lord is guilty of aiding the crown's enemy, House Tully.  Roose Bolton's highest duty is to the ruler in King's Landing, not to Robb Stark

Except Roose didn't think so. At least not originally. 

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

Wayman Manderly is an evil man. You can't turn a blind eye to one violation of a valued tradition (against cannibalism) and condemn another person for breaking another valued tradition (guest rights)

I think you may have missed a few passages in the series friend. Maybe time for a reread.

On 3/31/2020 at 7:52 PM, Prince Rhaego's Soul said:

The fact is, Wayman is guilty of cannibalism.  He is out for revenge.  He's loyal to the Starks.  So what.  That does not put him on a higher moral ground.  Roose is not actually guilty of breaking guest rights

So is everyone else who ate a Frey pie. He should be out for revenge, his kin was slaughtered by cowards & backstabbers at a wedding, under guest right. 

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