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Your Opinions 4: Is GRRM a "bad writer?"


Jaenara Belarys
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15 minutes ago, sifth said:

Same with Littlefinger being the one who killed Jon Arryn; anyone who could use that info to bring Littlefinger down, is long dead by that point.

Sansa could deduce it on later, I'm guessing that's how she gets the Vale lords on her side, or at least enough to get rid of Littlefinger. A bit of a stretch, perhaps, but I think that saying that zero people know is a bit incorrect. 

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38 minutes ago, EggBlue said:

Sure . only GRRM can say if he has changed his mind half way through. but I think you should give the man some more credit. 

At the very least, readers were supposed to think that it was Jaime or Cersei right up until ASoS. I'm willing to bet everything I own that not a single reader thought Joffrey sent the catspaw while reading the first book.

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7 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

At the very least, readers were supposed to think that it was Jaime or Cersei right up until ASoS. I'm willing to bet everything I own that not a single reader thought Joffrey sent the catspaw while reading the first book.

true enough. same with Jon Arryn's murder. I wasn't in the fandom before, but between Cersei , Pycelle and Varys , did anyone really think Lysa had killed him? however, in both cases it does work within the story, doesn't it? if it didn't make any sense and was only there as a surprise element , then I would have complained.

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9 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

Sansa could deduce it on later, I'm guessing that's how she gets the Vale lords on her side, or at least enough to get rid of Littlefinger. A bit of a stretch, perhaps, but I think that saying that zero people know is a bit incorrect. 

I didn't say zero people know, I said GRRM only answers major questions, when the answers seem to be meaningless to the narrative. Maybe Sansa will use it to bring Littlefinger down, maybe she wont. Heck she still needs to turn on him first and considering how helpful he's been to her, Sansa's plot needs to take a drastic turn, before that even begins to happen.

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Right, as I was saying. That said, Braavos acts in a relatively limited way to express its views -- it frees wildling slaves that end up in its waters, for example, but it's not like they crusade against or go to war over it. The most notable thing it's done is force Pentos to sign a treaty "outlawing" slavery there as a result of a conflict between them, but that conflict almost certainly was not predicated on slavery but other things. And, as we see in Illyrio's manse, that has no real practical force by this point in time.

@Ran I don't think we should use Illyrio as an example of the typical Pentosi, he's richer then god and like the unfathomably rich the rules don't apply. 

To me, the freeing of wildlings and the impositions it laid at Pentos shows signs that anti slavery is a prevelant thing in Braavos. Another example would be how Braavos is one of the only places in Essos that has yet to declare war on Dany, although they chose Stannis over her at the bank too which imo shows they hate dragons more then they value others freedom.

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The Church preached that it was a sin for Christians to enslave other Christians, so it was largely outlawed domestically in Europe by 1150. However, pagans coukd still be enslaved.

@SeanF

And Muslims and Jews? 

William was before 1150, so like Edward the Confessor and them probably had christian slaves?

Word, in like 1550 (around then), the church passed some Bull that it's a sin to enslave the Native Americans, which was pretty much the defacto beginning of the African slave trade

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5 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

@Ran I don't think we should use Illyrio as an example of the typical Pentosi, he's richer then god and like the unfathomably rich the rules don't apply. 

To me, the freeing of wildlings and the impositions it laid at Pentos shows signs that anti slavery is a prevelant thing in Braavos. Another example would be how Braavos is one of the only places in Essos that has yet to declare war on Dany, although they chose Stannis over her at the bank too which imo shows they hate dragons more then they value others freedom.

@SeanF

And Muslims and Jews? 

William was before 1150, so like Edward the Confessor and them probably had christian slaves?

Word, in like 1550 (around then), the church passed some Bull that it's a sin to enslave the Native Americans, which was pretty much the defacto beginning of the African slave trade

Muslims and Jews who were captured in war could be enslaved.  Muslims and Jews who were the subjects of Christian kings (eg. Castille, Aragon, Sicily) could not be.

I suspect that in the books, Braavos has barely heard of Dany.  It's about 3,000 miles from Meereen to Braavos.

Edited by SeanF
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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Muslims and Jews who were captured in war could be enslaved.  Muslims and Jews who were the subjects of Christian kings (eg. Castille, Aragon, Sicily) could not be.

Word I guess that makes sense. I left out heritics on accident. I know in ancient Rome  there was an argument over the holy spirit and in the 16th cent was Martin Luther, but I assume there was other type of heresy in between. Could they be enslaved or just tortured and murdered lol?

8 minutes ago, SeanF said:

I suspect that in the books, Braavos has barely heard of Dany.  It's about 3,000 miles from Meereen to Braavos.

Yea but, Illyrio acted like the world is one great web and yada yada yada. Also KL has heard about Dany now, I'm sure Braavos and their pro Stannis faction knows all about Dany now

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2 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Word I guess that makes sense. I left out heritics on accident. I know in ancient Rome  there was an argument over the holy spirit and in the 16th cent was Martin Luther, but I assume there was other type of heresy in between. Could they be enslaved or just tortured and murdered lol?

Yea but, Illyrio acted like the world is one great web and yada yada yada. Also KL has heard about Dany now, I'm sure Braavos and their pro Stannis faction knows all about Dany now

Heretics like the Cathars were simply exterminated.  Being a heretic under orthodox rule was far more dangerous than being a Jew or Muslim.

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@SeanF Not sure why your comment was taken down, but the Sansa/Arianne dichotomy is even worse when you consider how Sansa, at ten years Arianne’s younger, is arguably more sensible. (I don’t understand the idea that Arianne is some empowered feminist icon. Because she enjoys sex? When a man thinks with his dick, we call him an idiot). It’s another reason why I’m hoping we don’t get a Rhaegar/Elia/Lyanna parallel with them and Aegon, even though I think that’s where we’re heading (although I think it will be undermined with Sansa finding her own way out of marriage this time, but that’s just my own speculation).

That said, Dany is still GRRM’s Best Girl.

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On 5/13/2022 at 8:50 AM, Jaenara Belarys said:

Our struggle for 23 pages (no, siree, I have not forgotten), that which has been stymied by the great evil of the land, shall succeed this time! 

You might want to read up on Sisyphus. ;)

On 5/13/2022 at 9:24 AM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

The reveal that Joffrey was the one who sent the catspaw after Bran was so anticlimactic that many fans still don't believe that it's true. Can't really blame them on this one.

I include myself among the many fans here. I don't think GRRM would hand us the solution to such an important mystery by saying, "Tyrion and Jaime believe it; you should, too."

21 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

I mean, before the release of ASOS, GRRM said that the catspaw mystery would be revealed in that book, and both Jaime and Tyrion came to the same conclusion, so there isn't much wiggle room here, unfortunately.

Plenty of wiggle room, especially if you are a skinny pink otter, swimming through the Gods Eye. Telling us that there is information for us in ASoS is not the same thing as saying that Jaime and Tyrion are correct in their speculation about Joffrey. In addition to the theories Tyrion and Jaime consider, another thing that GRRM gives us in ASoS is the death of Joffrey. I believe that the author wants us to put the attack on Bran up next to the murder of Joffrey. The clues that are common to both deaths will lead us to the killer or killers.

If you are open to the notion of parallels between the death of Joffrey and the attack on Bran, another important clue may come from the suspicions that Olenna (Redwyne) Tyrell was the mastermind behind Joffrey's death. For those who endorse the likelihood of an Olenna plot, I think you have to look at Old Nan as a plotter against Bran.

There's also a possibility that both Old Nan and Olenna are Faceless Man assassins - what great disguises, if they are. Keep in mind that Arya calls herself Nan at one stage of her evolution as a spy and killer. She says that it's a nickname for Nymeria, the name of a queen (and of Arya's direwolf). We know that Olenna is the Queen of Thorns. What kind of a "queen" might Old Nan be?

The "catspaw" association could also be a Faceless Man clue as Arya skinchanges into a cat when she is in Braavos. (She also catches cats in King's Landing as part of her water dancer training.) I don't recall a strong cat connection for Olenna, but she is associated with Butterbumps, who "eats" baby chicks. The name "Butterbumps" also seems like a possible allusion to a lactating mammal, which would tie in nicely with Old Nan's origins as a wet nurse.

Pairing the attempted murder of Bran and the poisoning of Joffrey also fits the "sacrifice of the sacred king" archetype that seems to be cycling through ASOIAF in variations on a theme. Bran becomes a symbolic king when he presides over the Harvest Feast at Winterfell. Joffrey is presiding over his wedding feast when he dies. Bran is saved by his direwolf, Summer. The cycle of seasons is part of the archetype, so summer is an appropriate symbol of life and rebirth. Joffrey dies after handling his new sword, made out of the Stark sword Ice, and Ser Ilyn's sword. Ser Ilyn is the King's Justice, the last person to use Ice before it was melted down, and a symbolic version of Jon Snow's silent direwolf, Ghost. "Ice" and "Winter" are also hidden in the names Cersei / Tywin. Symbolically, I think Summer saved Bran but Winter kills Joffrey. Like the cycle of seasons, one king has to go so the next king can take the throne.

In my opinion, the numerous literary details far outweigh the speculation by Jaime and Tyrion in pinpointing the sponsors behind the catspaw and Joffrey's poisoning. And these kinds of "reveals" seem more consistent with GRRM's approach to plot twists.

But I realize opinions may vary. (And, as I'm realizing more frequently in ASOIAF, both the Joffrey theory and the Old Nan / Olenna theory can both be "true" at the same time. Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.)

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

@SeanF Not sure why your comment was taken down, but the Sansa/Arianne dichotomy is even worse when you consider how Sansa, at ten years Arianne’s younger, is arguably more sensible. (I don’t understand the idea that Arianne is some empowered feminist icon. Because she enjoys sex? When a man thinks with his dick, we call him an idiot). It’s another reason why I’m hoping we don’t get a Rhaegar/Elia/Lyanna parallel with them and Aegon, even though I think that’s where we’re heading (although I think it will be undermined with Sansa finding her own way out of marriage this time, but that’s just my own speculation).

That said, Dany is still GRRM’s Best Girl.

I guess the word “whore” was unacceptable, but Madonna/Whore was a concept established by Freud.

I think that Sansa is presented as being pure.  Arianne is impure, a temptress.

D & D gave Dany the role of impure temptress, who corrupted an honourable man.

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This just came up for me because I read it somewhere on reddit, but despite mostly liking his characterization I hate Martin's concept of the 'badass' character. 

Oberyn, Oakenfist, Arya, Euron, Darkstar, etc. who do psychotic things but rather than being diagnosed with an illness that eventual comes to tarnish their 'cool' factor Martin treats them like an exception because badass characters are not measured by the same moral standards everyone else is held to. 

This came up somewhere around 2013 when Breaking Bad was ending and Martin said ASOIAF doesn't have a character as 'badass' as Walter White and that he would write one to compete, which brings out two responses from me: 

A.) he didn't understand Walter's character if that is what he got from a story about a suburban dad with pathetic delusions of grandeur destroying his whole family/reputation. 

B.) The need to one up something that he feels surpasses his own story by expanding the already bloated cast in the 6th book of his series is kind of sad.

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9 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

I don't think we should use Illyrio as an example of the typical Pentosi, he's richer then god and like the unfathomably rich the rules don't apply. 

The impression we are given is that it's not just magisters who have slaves-all-in-name. It's a hundred year old treaty, and there's no evidence Braavos has any real enforcement mechanism that outlasted whatever military victory they had a hundred years ago.

9 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

To me, the freeing of wildlings and the impositions it laid at Pentos shows signs that anti slavery is a prevelant thing in Braavos.

I mean, again, I said they are an example of an anti-slavery city-state... but pretty much all their neighbors in Essos, except (nominally) Pentos that we know of, have slavery. So it's not their raison d'etre. 

9 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Another example would be how Braavos is one of the only places in Essos that has yet to declare war on Dany,

This is a gross exaggeration. The only Free City to have been roped into war with Dany is Volantis. None of the others have acted against her. Tyrosh likely would because slavery seems to be a major part of their society, and maybe Lys and Myr, but the others? They aren't as tied to Slaver's Bay, they might be discomfited but may not think their military efforts are needed.

 

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I guess the word “whore” was unacceptable, but Madonna/Whore was a concept established by Freud.

I think that Sansa is presented as being pure.  Arianne is impure, a temptress.

D & D gave Dany the role of impure temptress, who corrupted an honourable man.

Yeah, it was pretty clear that you weren’t saying that Arianne is a whore, but I guess the mods misunderstood. 

If we do get the Aegon-Arianne-Sansa thing (ugh), I could actually see Arianne sympathizing with Sansa once she learns how the Lannisters treated her, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she comes to oppose JonCon for his ethics (that Arianne really doesn’t have the stomach for war and carnage is one of her redeeming qualities, in my opinion). I’m not sure if the Sparrows will like either of them though: Arianne the wanton, Sansa the heathen. Then there’s whatever George has planned for Elia Sand, what with all her Lyanna parallels.

This is an interesting look into a stranger’s psychology, though! The funny this is, I don’t think Sansa was originally George’s princess. She’s quite unlikable in AGOT, only to then be much kinder and resilient in ACOK. I kind of wonder if it was her subplot with the Hound that made him start to envision her character differently, since that’s when the “divine feminine” traits started to show up with her.

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9 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Yeah, it was pretty clear that you weren’t saying that Arianne is a whore, but I guess the mods misunderstood. 

If we do get the Aegon-Arianne-Sansa thing (ugh), I could actually see Arianne sympathizing with Sansa once she learns how the Lannisters treated her, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she comes to oppose JonCon for his ethics (that Arianne really doesn’t have the stomach for war and carnage is one of her redeeming qualities, in my opinion). I’m not sure if the Sparrows will like either of them though: Arianne the wanton, Sansa the heathen. Then there’s whatever George has planned for Elia Sand, what with all her Lyanna parallels.

This is an interesting look into a stranger’s psychology, though! The funny this is, I don’t think Sansa was originally George’s princess. She’s quite unlikable in AGOT, only to then be much kinder and resilient in ACOK. I kind of wonder if it was her subplot with the Hound that made him start to envision her character differently, since that’s when the “divine feminine” traits started to show up with her.

It seems obvious to me that Arianne is in over her head, and lacks the killer instinct.  I expect she’ll be horrified by the things that Jon Con and the Sands do in her name..

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4 minutes ago, SeanF said:

It seems obvious to me that Arianne is in over her head, and lacks the killer instinct.  I expect she’ll be horrified by the things that Jon Con and the Sands do in her name..

Agreed. For all my criticism of Arianne, this is one of the things I like about her. If I remember correctly, she wasn’t that interested in waging a war to avenge Oberyn—like Doran, Arianne seems to have understood that it isn’t technically murder when you volunteer to fight in a trial by combat. If anything, crowning Myrcella was a way of empowering the Martells through the Lannisters.

2 hours ago, butterweedstrover said:

This just came up for me because I read it somewhere on reddit, but despite mostly liking his characterization I hate Martin's concept of the 'badass' character. 

Oberyn, Oakenfist, Arya, Euron, Darkstar, etc. who do psychotic things but rather than being diagnosed with an illness that eventual comes to tarnish their 'cool' factor Martin treats them like an exception because badass characters are not measured by the same moral standards everyone else is held to. 

This came up somewhere around 2013 when Breaking Bad was ending and Martin said ASOIAF doesn't have a character as 'badass' as Walter White and that he would write one to compete, which brings out two responses from me: 

A.) he didn't understand Walter's character if that is what he got from a story about a suburban dad with pathetic delusions of grandeur destroying his whole family/reputation. 

B.) The need to one up something that he feels surpasses his own story by expanding the already bloated cast in the 6th book of his series is kind of sad.

I think Arya and Euron are more the fans’ fault. Euron is clearly a villain, and George has said he intended Arya to be a traumatized child soldier (although in AGOT at least, she’s very much a not-like-other-girls fantasy tomboy). As the show made clear however, most people preferred to see her as a badass-girlboss-assassin (and didn’t know what to make of her once she was grown and all the murder wasn’t so cute anymore).

Oberyn, Oakenfist, and Darkstar are all fckboys though.

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@The Bard of Banefort

 

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But he would have had time to bring Aerys Tywin’s head somehow?

He could have done neither. 

 

Quote

Once he killed the pyromancers, Jaime technically didn’t need to kill Aerys. Him doing so was likely to fulfill his own sense of justice for a man he saw  brutally torture so many innocent people, including his own wife. Jaime clearly despised his king by that point. At the same time, if Jaime had held Aerys captive and handed him over to Robert/Tywin, who’s to say he wouldn’t have met a much worse fate than a quick death?

Jaime wasn't the one who ought to pass sentence on Aerys, as Ned kindly remembers to Robert.

 

Btw, does the fact that any non Targ looking heir has died before taking the throne means Jon isn't getting it?

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5 minutes ago, frenin said:

@The Bard of Banefort

 

He could have done neither. 

 

Jaime wasn't the one who ought to pass sentence on Aerys, as Ned kindly remembers to Robert.

 

Btw, does the fact that any non Targ looking heir has died before taking the throne means Jon isn't getting it?

Jaime says way back in ACOK that all the oaths knights take contradict each other. With that in mind, Aerys’ abuse of the weak and innocent would put him at a knight’s mercy. And like I mentioned before, who’s to say Aerys wouldn’t have met a more gruesome fate if he had been handed off to Robert? Ned believed that Robert was brutal enough in his vendetta against Targaryens that he hid his own nephew from him for almost fifteen years. Aerys all but certainly would have suffered a more painful and humiliating death if Jaime hadn’t killed him.

Now, do I think Jaime was considering all of this when he killed Aerys? No. But he clearly believed he was doing the right thing by slaying him. 
 

Re:Jon, I found myself thinking about this only a few days ago, ironically. The weird way genetics works in this story, all the major houses keep their “look” for thousands of years: the big tip-off that Cersei’s kids weren’t Baratheons was their golden hair. As far as I can recall, Robb might be the only example of a lord/king who didn’t have his house’s traditional look, and even then, he didn’t live long enough to produce children. 

Assuming GRRM sticks to this trend (and I really don’t think he’s aiming to be subversive here), that leaves the future of the Starks in question. There are only two Starklings who don’t look like Tullys: Jon and Arya. Maybe Jon really is the prophesied king who will save the North and carry on the Stark line, but after seeing what happened to Beric and Cat, it doesn’t seem right that someone who is resurrected would be able to have children—that strikes me as someone you forfeit in exchange for a second life. Which leaves Arya. Maybe George will be subversive and have the girl who rejects tradition carry on the family name after all, but there hasn’t really been any set-up for that (and I doubt the show would have changed her ending that much).

Bran probably can’t have kids, but Sansa and Rickon can. So if I had to guess, I think one of them will probably have a dark-haired child who will be the next lord by the end of the series (probably Sansa, since marriage and children is an ongoing theme for her; I have no idea what the plan is for Rickon).

On a side note, I always found it curious that Rhaenys’ objection to Jaehaerys disinheriting her was that he was robbing her son of his birthright. It makes me wonder if she had expected Aemon to name his grandson as his heir, and for her to act as his regent instead.

 

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On 5/13/2022 at 11:11 PM, Unloyal Bannermen said:

First off, GRRM is clearly a very, very talented writer. You don't sell millions of copies and one of the most successful tv shows of all time if you aren't. 

E.L James and Dan Brown beg to disagree. :unsure:

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Jaime says way back in ACOK that all the oaths knights take contradict each other. With that in mind, Aerys’ abuse of the weak and innocent would put him at a knight’s mercy.

Jaime has a way with words and he loves to justify himself. There's no single soul in Westeros who didn't know what oath prevailed over the others when it came to the Kngsguard. 

 

1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

And like I mentioned before, who’s to say Aerys wouldn’t have met a more gruesome fate if he had been handed off to Robert? Ned believed that Robert was brutal enough in his vendetta against Targaryens that he hid his own nephew from him for almost fifteen years. Aerys all but certainly would have suffered a more painful and humiliating death if Jaime hadn’t killed him.

 

  1. That's not Jaime's call to make, no one gave a shit about how Aerys died. They cared that a kingsguard had killed him.
  2. I think that Ned would have been way more inclined to be the brutal one over Aerys anyway.
  3. Neither were Kingsguard. Yes, Robert could kill him, Jaime couldn't.

 

 

1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Now, do I think Jaime was considering all of this when he killed Aerys? No. But he clearly believed he was doing the right thing by slaying him. 

Eh.

 

 

1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

Re:Jon, I found myself thinking about this only a few days ago, ironically. The weird way genetics works in this story, all the major houses keep their “look” for thousands of years: the big tip-off that Cersei’s kids weren’t Baratheons was their golden hair. As far as I can recall, Robb might be the only example of a lord/king who didn’t have his house’s traditional look, and even then, he didn’t live long enough to produce children. 

I think that the looks regress to the original when it's convenient, the 2nd Daenery's Targaryen descendants are all  Dornish looking whereas Mariah's Martell looking descendants died with Baelor's line... Even Daeon the drunk was blondish.

 

 

1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

On a side note, I always found it curious that Rhaenys’ objection to Jaehaerys disinheriting her was that he was robbing her son of his birthright. It makes me wonder if she had expected Aemon to name his grandson as his heir, and for her to act as his regent instead.

It strikes me that Rhaenys knew how his grandaddy thought and knew that her bid would be more succesful if the claimant was a male (even if it wasn't born yet) rather than a woman. 

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