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Your Opinions 5: Is GRRM a "bad writer?"


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4 hours ago, SeanF said:

I think that's right.  Court nobility may have quite a clear idea of how the Game operates, but country nobility would not.

It would be like some Earl who'd spent almost his entire life in the North or South West, or campaigning in France, suddenly being made chief minister at the court of Henry VIII. 

Yeah, and a lot of it would just be networks…he just doesn’t have any. Robert’s his only real friend at court and he is bringing Ned down because he doesn’t give a shit about that kind of thing. So Ned takes a lot of flak for ‘trusting’ LF, and beside the fact that ~ everyone trusts book LF, what we’re his alternatives? If he had years to develop connections he wouldn’t need to trust someone he doesn’t know, but as is he doesn’t know anyone and his wife is vouching for LF. It’s not like paralysis by analysis would have helped the situation…he had to trust someone. If he’d chosen Varys it might fail just as much, if he chose Renly I suppose it depends on how far his and Renly’s agendas coincided, etc. 

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4 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I mean, sure. We could call a sociopath (in the clinical sense) simply indifferent as well, since they are just that. Simply indifferent and unable to feel empathy and remorse. The best real-life example would be how people tought of certain Gods. Of course, most humans to these imaginary beings would mean nothing more than an ant to us, but their actions influencing those given people would still get deemed as ultimately wrong.

Or I dunno, think of aliens that are so advanced that they wouldnt even consider us an obstacle if the consequence of their actions mean our doom. I know, there's no really good example for this, but what can I do, there's no magic IRL. (Or is there? Where I'm from witchcraft is a legal profession.)

Yeah, I get you. It’s also…he’s not superhuman, really, he has the same grey matter we all do, but through that lens he’s seeing everything ever. Just ~ staying sane is probably as ‘un-evil’ as we could hope for. 

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4 hours ago, Mystical said:

I don't judge Ned as a character. I judge the writing. For someone who has been in a war, has the supposed hang ups and issues that he has (for example children) and been ruling the North for almost half his life (which is as much a political theater as the South as we later find out), his actions and behavior in the story we read make no sense.

Don’t want to respond before getting a clearer idea of what you mean. What hang ups/issues with children do you mean? Like the Jon secret? 

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2 hours ago, SeanF said:

I don't think he was that pragmatic.  On the one hand, he was unbothered by the murder of Elia and her children.  Yet, he talked Robert out of going after Daenerys and Viserys.  And, he ought to have anticipated that the Dornish would want revenge.  

A pragmatist would have sent Ser Amory Lorch and Ser Gregor Clegane to Dorne for execution.  Or, alternatively, he'd have doubled down on murdering what was left of the royal family, and would have murdered the Martells.  He neither conciliated his enemies, nor crushed them.  he left them in a position to seek revenge.

We don’t know how bothered he was or wasn’t about the murders, we just know that he took what I’d call a pragmatic approach to dealing with the situation as it was. And I don’t know that the other choices you mention were better, you’re just looking at cost. Robert almost lost Ned over the murdered kids…going after more might lose the North entirely, and probably makes Dorne impossible to fix. Sending the murderers to Dorne might lose you the one gain you’ve taken from the situation (the West), though I think this is probably the closest to doable.
 

And he may well have anticipated the Dornish wanting revenge…but what does that translate to in terms of choices? Realpolitik is not choosing from ideals, it’s choosing the lesser evils. Unless/until Dorne actually is doing something, a pacified Dorne planning revenge > war with Dorne that even dragons couldn’t win. 

Edited by James Arryn
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3 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

That’s why I said he takes knighthood very seriously. If he saw a handsome guy, Loras may have remembered him additionally, but pretty girls weren’t going to distract him from the joust.

Okay, yeah, we’re basically saying the same thing. Though oth I actually think Loras/Renly is one of the more genuine love stories in the books and don’t think anyone else would register much with him in that situation. 

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13 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

Yeah, and a lot of it would just be networks…he just doesn’t have any. Robert’s his only real friend at court and he is bringing Ned down because he doesn’t give a shit about that kind of thing. So Ned takes a lot of flak for ‘trusting’ LF, and beside the fact that ~ everyone trusts book LF, what we’re his alternatives? If he had years to develop connections he wouldn’t need to trust someone he doesn’t know, but as is he doesn’t know anyone and his wife is vouching for LF. It’s not like paralysis by analysis would have helped the situation…he had to trust someone. If he’d chosen Varys it might fail just as much, if he chose Renly I suppose it depends on how far his and Renly’s agendas coincided, etc. 

What I find strange is that in Catelyn II in AGOT, Catelyn says to not trust Robert on the basis of their friendship because their time apart is bound to have changed him, but then says to Ned that Petyr is trustworthy because she and Petyr were childhood friends.

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1 hour ago, sifth said:

Just saying, you'd think seasons that last years, not months, at a time should have a bigger impact on the history in A Song of Ice and Fire. In our world, if he have a bad winter, in most places it's over in two or three months and we just move on.

Maybe. To me the biggest issue with the long winters is agriculture. Not my field, but from what I know, if it works anything like in the real world, decade long winters should reduce the North/northern south to ~ tundra/Arctic flora. 

Edited by James Arryn
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4 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

What I find strange is that in Catelyn II in AGOT, Catelyn says to not trust Robert on the basis of their friendship because their time apart is bound to have changed him, but then says to Ned that Petyr is trustworthy because she and Petyr were childhood friends.

Yeah, Cat’s by no means stupid, but her reasoning is very erratic. Edit: otoh, it might just be as simple as Robert was Ned’s friend, therefore subject to reason, but her own friendships are based on emotion. 

Edited by James Arryn
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Her reasoning is not because "their time apart" has changed him, but because the crown changes a man:

Quote

"... He is a king now, and kings are not like other men..."

Ned shook his head, refusing to believe. "Robert would never harm me or any of mine. We were closer than brothers. He loves me. If I refuse him, he will roar and curse and bluster, and in a week we will laugh about it together. I know the man!"

"You knew the man," she said. "The king is a stranger to you." Catelyn remembered the direwolf dead in the snow, the broken antler lodged deep in her throat. She had to make him see. "Pride is everything to a king, my lord."

Littlefinger is not a king, nor is he even a great lord. 

 

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27 minutes ago, Angel Eyes said:

What I find strange is that in Catelyn II in AGOT, Catelyn says to not trust Robert on the basis of their friendship because their time apart is bound to have changed him, but then says to Ned that Petyr is trustworthy because she and Petyr were childhood friends.

Also, there is zero reaction from Littlefinger regarding Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding, for some reason.

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8 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Also, there is zero reaction from Littlefinger regarding Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding, for some reason.

Where exactly were we supposed to get that reaction? He's not present in the scene where the news arrives in KL, and is not seen until many days later following Joff's death.

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26 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Also, there is zero reaction from Littlefinger regarding Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding, for some reason.

I don’t remember, do we see him around that time?

Tangent, but Cat might be the perspective I’ll miss the most. Not the character, though I did like her, but reading her observations might have been the most interesting to me because she was the most sneakily unreliable narrator Martin has given us. Others were either more reliable in general, less perceptive, or their unreliability was more obvious.
 

But because Cat was usually reasonable and often perceptive, her biases and mistakes were a lot easier to miss at the time. Or it was interesting twists like Cat, a southerner, having unconsciously adopted northern biases, a la Knights of Summer, etc. If unreliable narration is GRRM’s greatest stylistic signature, Cat might be his greatest creation. 

I think new Jaime might be heading there and JonCon has potential, but meantime I’m really going to miss sifting through her mind. 

edit: another exception is Davos, who is pretty reliable and perceptive except for the big Stannis blind spot…and it’s not even like he’s actually blind to Stannis’ flaws, he just always finds ways to excuse them or blame someone else. 

Edited by James Arryn
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5 minutes ago, Ran said:

Where exactly were we supposed to get that reaction? He's not present in the scene where the news arrives in KL, and is not seen until many days later following Joff's death.

I'm sure he would have heard of it by the time of AFFC. He could have mentioned it during one of his scenes with Sansa, for example.

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Just now, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

I'm sure he would have heard of it by the time of AFFC. He could have mentioned it during one of his scenes with Sansa, for example.

I'm sure he was aware of it pretty much when KL was aware of it. I'm not sure why he needs to make mention of it, however. In fact, George not writing an explicit scene about it could be read as suggesting that readers can figure out Littlefinger's response in the context of everything else we know about him. 

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17 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Also, there is zero reaction from Littlefinger regarding Catelyn's death at the Red Wedding, for some reason.

Not really. We just didn't have a POV that could've shown that to us. And Petyr is pretty secretive as well, he hid his supposed love for Catelyn behind joking about the Tully sisters, which noone believed. 
But his later actions towards Sansa shows that he did it for Catelyn. He ultimately got rid of Ned for that reason, and I assume he would've turned on the Lannisters if he could've married her. And Catelyn tought of herself as a fertile woman who could still have a few more children with Ned, at the beginning of AGOT. Petyr likely had big plans for switching sides to Robb, and as Lord of Harrenhall, and even Lord Paramount of the Trident (which he would've gotten at that point anyway), he would've secured not only Harrenhall for Robb, but would've legitimized the rule of the Tullys there even more in case the Lannister candidate of the Riverlands' LP renounced it in favor of them. All this would've been much much more than enough to get Robb to accept his demands, which would've been nothing more than Catelyn and maybe a powerful position in his campaign/rule/council, or whatever you may call it. How much more could someone like Littlefinger achieve? It would've been bigger than anyone of his position could've dreamed of, and noone had to know he played a part in Ned's death.

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6 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

I don’t remember, do we see him around that time?

Tangent, but Cat might be the perspective I’ll miss the most. Not the character, though I did like her, but reading her observations might have been the most interesting to me because she was the most sneakily unreliable narrator Martin has given us. Others were either more reliable in general, less perceptive, or their unreliability was more obvious.
 

But because Cat was usually reasonable and often perceptive, her biases and mistakes were a lot easier to miss at the time. Or it was interesting twists like Cat, a southerner, having unconsciously adopted northern biases, a la Knights of Summer, etc. If unreliable narration is GRRM’s greatest stylistic signature, Cat might be his greatest creation. 

I think new Jaime might be heading there and JonCon has potential, but meantime I’m really going to miss sifting through her mind. 

edit: another exception is Davos, who is pretty reliable and perceptive except for the big Stannis blind spot…and it’s not even like he’s actually blind to Stannis’ flaws, he just always finds ways to excuse them or blame someone else. 

Ned has a huge blind spot for Robert.  He loves him, platonically, yet his POV shows what an awful person Robert is.

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1 minute ago, SeanF said:

Ned has a huge blind spot for Robert.  He loves him, platonically, yet his POV shows what an awful person Robert is.

Oh, yeah, but I put Ned in the more obviously unreliable category, though to be fair because it’s so early I might only have become very aware of that in hindsight. 

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11 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

What would his response be, then?

It’s almost an impossible question to answer because it depends in part on how much Sansa has replaced Cat in his idee fixe, and/or how much mature Cat confirmed or contradicted his idealized version. There’s also the Gatsby angle. 

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