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When it comes to “problematic “, he’s still light years better than Ding and Dong.

Joking aside, one thing I’d criticise is his apparent belief that women are inherently incompetent leaders, in this universe.  Rhaena’s an embittered lesbian; Rhaenyra crashed and burned; Cersei’s government collapses in months;  Arianne’s heading for disaster;  Dany struggles in Meereen, and seems destined to fail.

There are plenty of incompetent men, too, but his ideal King, Jaehaerys I, actively worked to exclude women from the succession, and despised his own daughters.  Women can function well as deputies and consorts, like Rhaenys, Visenya, and Alysanne, but there are no equivalents of people like Elizabeth I, or Joanna of Naples, or Maria Theresa.

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54 minutes ago, SeanF said:

When it comes to “problematic “, he’s still light years better than Ding and Dong.

Joking aside, one thing I’d criticise is his apparent belief that women are inherently incompetent leaders, in this universe.  Rhaena’s an embittered lesbian; Rhaenyra crashed and burned; Cersei’s government collapses in months;  Arianne’s heading for disaster;  Dany struggles in Meereen, and seems destined to fail.

There are plenty of incompetent men, too, but his ideal King, Jaehaerys I, actively worked to exclude women from the succession, and despised his own daughters.  Women can function well as deputies and consorts, like Rhaenys, Visenya, and Alysanne, but there are no equivalents of people like Elizabeth I, or Joanna of Naples, or Maria Theresa.

This is a very fair critique. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the only woman who seems likely to end up as a successful ruler is Asha, but the irony is that she’s gotten where she has by embracing masculinity. I know a lot of people think Sansa will rule Winterfell, but I’m not sure anymore. 

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17 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

This is a very fair critique. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the only woman who seems likely to end up as a successful ruler is Asha, but the irony is that she’s gotten where she has by embracing masculinity. I know a lot of people think Sansa will rule Winterfell, but I’m not sure anymore. 

And Asha is very much, a secondary character, and the Iron Islands would be a tinpot kingdom.

I don’t know how Sansa’s story ends, but right now, she’s learning how to survive and intrigue, not how to rule.

Personally, I think Jaehaerys was extremely short-sighted to exclude the talents of half his dynasty, and it all exploded nastily in the Dance of the Dragons.  Later, the Targaryen line gets whittled down as women are automatically considered unfit to rule.  But, he’s presented as the ideal ruler.

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

This is a very fair critique. Based on what we’ve seen so far, the only woman who seems likely to end up as a successful ruler is Asha, but the irony is that she’s gotten where she has by embracing masculinity. I know a lot of people think Sansa will rule Winterfell, but I’m not sure anymore. 

I think much of it comes down to the fact that this world is a medieval pastiche, not actually medieval.

Medieval monks argued that women brought sin into the world, and could be horribly bigoted.  But, medieval people were extremely pragmatic and knew very well that their societies would collapse if women were not involved in running them.

Royal and noble women were not expected to be just decorative.  They had to provision castles, stand sieges, negotiate alliances, try cases, manage estates etc.  They were expected to sing and dance and make witty conversation, but any man who wished to make a career at court had to learn such skills, too.

Doran’s treatment of his daughter is even more short-sighted than Jaehaerys’.  How could Arianne possibly hope to rule Dorne, if all she does is party planning?

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4 hours ago, SeanF said:

When it comes to “problematic “, he’s still light years better than Ding and Dong.

Joking aside, one thing I’d criticise is his apparent belief that women are inherently incompetent leaders, in this universe.  Rhaena’s an embittered lesbian; Rhaenyra crashed and burned; Cersei’s government collapses in months;  Arianne’s heading for disaster;  Dany struggles in Meereen, and seems destined to fail.

There are plenty of incompetent men, too, but his ideal King, Jaehaerys I, actively worked to exclude women from the succession, and despised his own daughters.  Women can function well as deputies and consorts, like Rhaenys, Visenya, and Alysanne, but there are no equivalents of people like Elizabeth I, or Joanna of Naples, or Maria Theresa.

Well most men in the series are rather incompetent too, even tho they think they are amazing. You hardly find an example of a good ruler and most of them are also awful people.

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10 hours ago, Zzz_243 said:

Well most men in the series are rather incompetent too, even tho they think they are amazing. You hardly find an example of a good ruler and most of them are also awful people.

Yes, if it were just based on ASOIAF, I’d agree with you.

The problematic aspect is having the man who’s portrayed as the ideal king, Jaehaerys I, treating women (including his wonderfully intelligent wife) with total contempt.  If Jaehaerys was portrayed as a bigoted moron, it would not be an issue.

This is a total departure from earlier Targaryen, and even Andal, practice. 

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13 hours ago, SeanF said:

And Asha is very much, a secondary character, and the Iron Islands would be a tinpot kingdom.

I don’t know how Sansa’s story ends, but right now, she’s learning how to survive and intrigue, not how to rule.

Personally, I think Jaehaerys was extremely short-sighted to exclude the talents of half his dynasty, and it all exploded nastily in the Dance of the Dragons.  Later, the Targaryen line gets whittled down as women are automatically considered unfit to rule.  But, he’s presented as the ideal ruler.

I'm only familiar with ASOIAF so I will limit myself to that.

Sansa spent substantial time at Court and probably got to see how things were done there.  She's now with Littlefinger in the Vale and will likely get to see how he does things there.  She has shown herself to be observant and a quick learner, cares about others, and has a strong ethical and moral compass.  Given the chance, I think she will do well.

Daenerys went into Meereen with no training or experience.  Given that, I think she has done as well as might be expected.  Meereen is a complete mess, and while she has not done great, I don't see her as noticeably incompetent either.  I doubt a male with her background would have done much better.

Olenna Tyrell, while not a ruler per se, clearly has a substantial role in running the Reach, and is quite good at it.  Catelyn, given the chance, would have done well as Ned's deputy, and probably has.  But GRRM stacked the deck against her and she never had a chance.

On a smaller scale, in the North the Mormont women have done solid work at Bear Island and whatever Lady Dustin's sins, incompetence isn't one of them.  And in the Riverlands, Lady Smallwood has done a good job at Acorn Hall, and appears to be a significant figure in the BwB.  And the new person in charge at RiverRun, officially Edwyn Frey, is really going to be his wife, Genna Lannister.

That's all I can think of for now.

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28 minutes ago, Nevets said:

I'm only familiar with ASOIAF so I will limit myself to that.

Sansa spent substantial time at Court and probably got to see how things were done there.  She's now with Littlefinger in the Vale and will likely get to see how he does things there.  She has shown herself to be observant and a quick learner, cares about others, and has a strong ethical and moral compass.  Given the chance, I think she will do well.

Daenerys went into Meereen with no training or experience.  Given that, I think she has done as well as might be expected.  Meereen is a complete mess, and while she has not done great, I don't see her as noticeably incompetent either.  I doubt a male with her background would have done much better.

Olenna Tyrell, while not a ruler per se, clearly has a substantial role in running the Reach, and is quite good at it.  Catelyn, given the chance, would have done well as Ned's deputy, and probably has.  But GRRM stacked the deck against her and she never had a chance.

On a smaller scale, in the North the Mormont women have done solid work at Bear Island and whatever Lady Dustin's sins, incompetence isn't one of them.  And in the Riverlands, Lady Smallwood has done a good job at Acorn Hall, and appears to be a significant figure in the BwB.  And the new person in charge at RiverRun, officially Edwyn Frey, is really going to be his wife, Genna Lannister.

That's all I can think of for now.

Lady Oakheart (Arys' mother) rules her fiefdom in her own right. In Arys' chapter, he expresses admiration for her strength (along with Arianne, Cersei, Myrcella, and Olenna).

1 hour ago, SeanF said:

Yes, if it were just based on ASOIAF, I’d agree with you.

The problematic aspect is having the man who’s portrayed as the ideal king, Jaehaerys I, treating women (including his wonderfully intelligent wife) with total contempt.  If Jaehaerys was portrayed as a bigoted moron, it would not be an issue.

This is a total departure from earlier Targaryen, and even Andal, practice. 

With Jaehaerys, I actually think this was supposed to illustrate the line about how good men don't always make good rulers, and good rulers aren't always good men. Compare Jaehaerys to his successor, Viserys, who was considered a weak king, but who had enough faith in his daughter that he not only kept her as his heir after fathering three sons, but he also started to train her by bringing her to council meetings and having her escort him on his progresses (ironically, the only princess who we're told ever accompanied Jaehaerys on one of his progresses was Rhaenys, who stepped in for Alysanne). This isn't to say that Jaehaerys was a bad man, but he clearly had some hang-ups.

People I've talked to who have read George's other work have said that he often uses incest as a harbinger of doom. It may also be that GRRM felt like he had to take J+A down a peg to fit this theme. Alyssa and Baelon had a happy relationship, but they did give the world Daemon, so. . . 

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Lady Oakheart (Arys' mother) rules her fiefdom in her own right. In Arys' chapter, he expresses admiration for her strength (along with Arianne, Cersei, Myrcella, and Olenna).

With Jaehaerys, I actually think this was supposed to illustrate the line about how good men don't always make good rulers, and good rulers aren't always good men. Compare Jaehaerys to his successor, Viserys, who was considered a weak king, but who had enough faith in his daughter that he not only kept her as his heir after fathering three sons, but he also started to train her by bringing her to council meetings and having her escort him on his progresses (ironically, the only princess who we're told ever accompanied Jaehaerys on one of his progresses was Rhaenys, who stepped in for Alysanne). This isn't to say that Jaehaerys was a bad man, but he clearly had some hang-ups.

People I've talked to who have read George's other work have said that he often uses incest as a harbinger of doom. It may also be that GRRM felt like he had to take J+A down a peg to fit this theme. Alyssa and Baelon had a happy relationship, but they did give the world Daemon, so. . . 

fair points... but I don't know ... it's not Jaeherys alone whose treatment of his daughters and women in general is not as condemned in the books as I would have liked . at the very least we've got good queen Alyssane scolding him for what happened to Daella , Rhaenys and Saera . but then there's good queen Alyssane herself ,who's constantly portrayed as the ultimate feminist queen , treating her daughters as decorative parts of court that need to be shaped into scandal-free objects . it is odd ,in my opinion, that the queen who stood in front of grand maesters to demand women's right in education did not see the potential in Saera , Vissera and even Alyssa and Maegale . one would expect with everything written about Alyssane , you'd at least see her educating her daughters with her own standards the way Jaeherys grooms his sons by his own standards and finding them more suitable roles to fill.. roles that do not involve merely finding husbands and bearing children!

I'd say this though, judging by how his female characters are written , this issue with female ruler's competence does not seem intentional on George's part.

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19 hours ago, SeanF said:

Yes, if it were just based on ASOIAF, I’d agree with you.

The problematic aspect is having the man who’s portrayed as the ideal king, Jaehaerys I, treating women (including his wonderfully intelligent wife) with total contempt.  If Jaehaerys was portrayed as a bigoted moron, it would not be an issue.

This is a total departure from earlier Targaryen, and even Andal, practice. 

Sorry, I'm now reading the books after watching the series, but I know nothing about all the various spin-offs (I only watched some videos and read about some characters and stories which are important for the main lore). Yes, I was talking about just ASOIAF.

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HOTD is also going to set some people off. Right now it’s just the anti-woke people complaining that Corlys is black and that Rhaenys mentioned sexism in the trailer, but I’m sure there’ll be a bloc of people upset that the Asian character is a sex worker, and that two gay men die in the first season.

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One should not expect that Daenerys is going to suck as a ruler just because of the silly show. Even if she is going to die in the books, chances are very low that it will be under the same circumstances.

On 6/25/2022 at 5:32 AM, SeanF said:

There are plenty of incompetent men, too, but his ideal King, Jaehaerys I, actively worked to exclude women from the succession, and despised his own daughters.  Women can function well as deputies and consorts, like Rhaenys, Visenya, and Alysanne, but there are no equivalents of people like Elizabeth I, or Joanna of Naples, or Maria Theresa.

I don't think Jaehaerys I is that bad a character. He does have three sons, and it makes sense for him to give his throne to one of them. He is not wrong that Rhaenys would have problems as a Queen Regnant, nor that she was pretty young for the job in 92 AC. Not to mention that the Realm loved Baelon much more than Rhaenys. He was the safe choice as heir, the one who would ensure there would be no unrest and no rebellions after Jaehaerys was gone.

In context, though, I do loathe it that George had to drag the sex issue into succession before the Dance. It does make sense that there are succession issues at the end of Jaehaerys' reign - but it could have been more about various established branches of the royal family - cousins of Jaehaerys and many children and grandchildren vying for the throne - with the arguments being not being about sex but rather purity of blood, size of the various dragons, dragonrider vs. non-dragonriders, and popularity/connections with the great houses, ability to rule (we could have had some mad grandchildren there), etc.

We could have also had stressed the fact that the sibling incest very much ensured that mothers and sister-wivess backed the claims of their brother-husbands and sons ... and were rewarded for that by getting a share in the rule (especially if they were dragonriders). That is why I really hate the fact that Alyssa Targaryen did not live into Viserys' reign since she could have been one of his principal supporters at the Great Council.

George could also have given Maegor a posthumous child, perhaps even a son, or Aegon the Uncrowned a son. The singular circumstances of Maegor's usurpation and downfall could have explained why Jaehaerys rose to the throne. And, of course, any male descendants of either Aegon or Maegor could have provided a much better challenge to Viserys in 101 AC than the Velaryons or ridiculous claimants like Saera's young bastards, very distant relations, or fake pretenders. Viserys I could have included some of those into his family with cousin marriages during his reign - with the remaining branches being killed off during the Dance.

With the gendered Great Council George pretty much undercuts the specialness of the Rhaenyra situation, namely, that a king who actually has sons decides to put his eldest daughter firmly above them. That's what the Dance is about, the fact that a daughter was to inherit while sons were around.

With the whole Great Council thing Rhaenyra is just the latest iteration of 'the female problem' which, in a sense, started with Visenya, continued with Rhaena and Aerea, was a simmering issue with the first Daenerys and then later with Rhaenys.

It would have made much more sense if the Targaryens as Valyrians had no principal problem with female rule ... until Viserys I decided that his eldest daughter should come before her brothers.

Insofar as violence is concerned:

The Mercy chapter is just great. You can object to a young girl becoming an assassin, but if you do that, this is the way to do it. Shying back from extreme violence when that's what you want to write about doesn't make sense. And it is always quite clear that this kind of thing sucks.

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On 6/24/2022 at 10:57 PM, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

A man could do a lot of things.  If art can't be free to be 'sick' then it isn't free to be art.

It is free to do this, otherwise the books would have been censored.

I fail to see how the examples I brought up are necessary for the story, and if they are not, then they are not needed.

We already knew that Ramsay is a sick psycho from what he does to Theon, so the fArya treatment is not needed for the story. 

Arya is simply too young in the Mercy chapter. It's on the wrong side of pedophilia.

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

It is free to do this, otherwise the books would have been censored.

I fail to see how the examples I brought up are necessary for the story, and if they are not, then they are not needed.

We already knew that Ramsay is a sick psycho from what he does to Theon, so the fArya treatment is not needed for the story. 

Arya is simply too young in the Mercy chapter. It's on the wrong side of pedophilia.

With regard to Mercy, I think that's the point.  Arya is lucky Raff is the sort that's willing to take a freebie from a child.  The whole scenario is disturbing and worrisome, and it's supposed to be.  Arya's headed down a dark path, and if you're not worried, you should be.

As for fArya, she's necessary for a host of story purposes.  She's a hostage against the Northerners, a concern for Jon, and a way to get Theon more or less back to sanity.  And that's just at Winterfell.  She will probably play a role in the stories of Arya and Sansa as well.  As for Ramsay's treatment of her, that is mostly off page.  We have to use our imagination for most of it.

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12 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

HOTD is also going to set some people off. Right now it’s just the anti-woke people complaining that Corlys is black and that Rhaenys mentioned sexism in the trailer, but I’m sure there’ll be a bloc of people upset that the Asian character is a sex worker, and that two gay men die in the first season.

I guess it's probably just as well that ASOIAF lacks racial diversity and queer characters.  No complaints about unfavorable depictions. 

Especially since the lack of diversity is essentially baked in, so we're stuck with it.  Although it is easier to get away with in an entirely imaginary world, especially one set up 25 years ago, when nobody worried about that kind of thing.

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15 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

HOTD is also going to set some people off.

The only way the show could set me off is if they make the Greens racists. Because it may very well seem like that, once they will start saying that Rhaenyra's children aren't Laenor's. Not that I'm a green supporter (don't look at my name, ok?), but still, it would just take away a lot from the story, somewhat as a justification for the Blacks. But of course, even if that was the case, characters like Helaena and Daeron would still be the example of being stuck on the side they were born on, despite their beliefs, I suppose.

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10 hours ago, Nevets said:

With regard to Mercy, I think that's the point.  Arya is lucky Raff is the sort that's willing to take a freebie from a child.  The whole scenario is disturbing and worrisome, and it's supposed to be.  Arya's headed down a dark path, and if you're not worried, you should be.

As for fArya, she's necessary for a host of story purposes.  She's a hostage against the Northerners, a concern for Jon, and a way to get Theon more or less back to sanity.  And that's just at Winterfell.  She will probably play a role in the stories of Arya and Sansa as well.  As for Ramsay's treatment of her, that is mostly off page.  We have to use our imagination for most of it.

I didn't say that fArya is not needed, just what Ramsay does to her. Just more shock for shock's sake.

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On 6/25/2022 at 1:15 PM, SeanF said:

Yes, if it were just based on ASOIAF, I’d agree with you.

The problematic aspect is having the man who’s portrayed as the ideal king, Jaehaerys I, treating women (including his wonderfully intelligent wife) with total contempt.  If Jaehaerys was portrayed as a bigoted moron, it would not be an issue.

This is a total departure from earlier Targaryen, and even Andal, practice. 

I think the problem with Jaehaerys I and his negative perspective on the gubernatorial value of women (not even all women, just royal princesses) can be traced back to 1) how he was held captive for years by his great-aunt Visenya and 2a) how his mother Alyssa and his elder sister Rhaena were incapable of doing anything to help and empower the good men around them. Nor were they able to 2b) personally taking charge of the situation to make it better.

 

Things only changed for the better when Visenya died. It was only then when Alyssa got the courage to escape Dragonstone which in turn led to Rhaena escaping King's Landing. Jaehaerys was the one and only hope for the dynasty and it seems like he embraced that in a way that only men are truly capable of saving the day and keeping peace.

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