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Ilyrio Mopatis and slavery


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He claims to want a job in Kingslanding. It’s not good enough an explanation. Master of Coin is not of itself a guarantee of more wealth. Unless he’s corrupt. But if he could make slavery legal everywhere his wealth would multiply. Westeros has an abundance of people in the large cities like Kingslanding and Oldtown. Prince Viserys would have found himself heavily indebted to the magisters and Khal Drogo. Can he really refuse to legalize slavery in his kingdom? It is something to consider carefully. It is a possible explanation for the Magister’s motives.  

Edited by Moiraine Sedai
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Slavery is part of it, but what he really wants is for Pentos to regain its autonomy from Braavos, and for that he needs to bring down the Iron Bank. So his plan is to get the bank to overextend itself, then stage a run on deposits that will cause the bank to collapse, just like what happened to the Rogare Bank.

Littlefinger is helping him do this, btw, and if all goes well, Westeros will devolve back into seven or more independent kingdoms, which is the perfect environment to buy or steal slaves from weakly held territories.

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Dany doesn't trust Illyrio. She's skeptical of his intentions and motivations. 

Tyrion doesn't trust Illyrio.

Tywin has contempt for Illyrio.

Illyrio is portrayed as a fat greedy slavedriving cheesmonger with greasy hands who was tempted to have sex with a thirteen year old Daenerys. 

Then in ADWD we learn about his backstory as a fighting slave, hear about his wife and see his affection for her memory, see his fatherly affection for Young Griff, and he strongly suggests that his motivations are ultimately deeply personal and more important to him than money. 

Illyrio is no saint, but the only way this arc makes sense is if it's moving toward the revelation that Illyrio is, in some way or another, the genuine artifact. Whatever the deepest desire of his heart turns out to really be, narratively it has to be aimed at the good. I suspect he's working against slavery. For example, there's a noteworthy contrast between Dany's thoughts in AGOT about Illyrio's servants being slaves in truth, versus Illyrio's servant cooks stepping onto the stage in ADWD hundreds of pounds overweight. The commentary is on Dany's and our filppant abuses of the word slave. 

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1 hour ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Dany doesn't trust Illyrio. She's skeptical of his intentions and motivations. 

Tyrion doesn't trust Illyrio.

Tywin has contempt for Illyrio.

Illyrio is portrayed as a fat greedy slavedriving cheesmonger with greasy hands who was tempted to have sex with a thirteen year old Daenerys. 

Then in ADWD we learn about his backstory as a fighting slave, hear about his wife and see his affection for her memory, see his fatherly affection for Young Griff, and he strongly suggests that his motivations are ultimately deeply personal and more important to him than money. 

Illyrio is no saint, but the only way this arc makes sense is if it's moving toward the revelation that Illyrio is, in some way or another, the genuine artifact. Whatever the deepest desire of his heart turns out to really be, narratively it has to be aimed at the good. I suspect he's working against slavery. For example, there's a noteworthy contrast between Dany's thoughts in AGOT about Illyrio's servants being slaves in truth, versus Illyrio's servant cooks stepping onto the stage in ADWD hundreds of pounds overweight. The commentary is on Dany's and our filppant abuses of the word slave. 

I'm going to go ahead and lean hard the other way on this one.

While I do agree that Illyrio will have personal human motives, more than just increasing his already obscene wealth, I do not agree that this is leading toward him opposing slavery or being some commentary on forced labor not being that bad if you feed them or whatever you were getting at...

If I had to guess, he is a descendent of Bittersteel and Blackfyre's daughter.

"Beneath the gold the bitter steel", fits perhaps no one better than Illyrio.

This also sets him up on the other side from Bloodraven. A puppeteer of fire, as opposed to ice. One in the East, and one in the North, with Westeros and mankind caught between them.

At the end of the day, I think Illyrio and Bloodraven will be two candidates for biggest villain in the stories. One the source of the return of dragons, to other the Others.

I told you, my little friend, not all that a man does is done for gain. Believe as you wish, but even fat old fools like me have friends, and debts of affection to repay.

And what about grievances? What about debts of vengeance?

"Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre." The cheesemonger smiled through his forked beard. "And Daenerys will give the exiles what Bittersteel and the Blackfyres never could. She will take them home."

I think Illyrio sees himself as an exile who swears to return to Westeros.

Tell the boy I am sorry that I will not be with him for his wedding. I will rejoin you in Westeros. That I swear, by my sweet Serra's hands.

His plan is clearly convoluted and seems to have changed over time, but I think the goals all point to his playing the game of thrones.

"I am trying to lull you into a false sense of confidence," said Tyrion, as they arranged their tiles on either side of a carved wooden screen. "You think you taught me how to play, but things are not always as they seem. Perhaps I learned the game from the cheesemonger, have you considered that?"
"Illyrio does not play cyvasse."
No, thought the dwarf, he plays the game of thrones, and you and Griff and Duck are only pieces, to be moved where he will and sacrificed at need, just as he sacrificed Viserys. "The blame must fall on you, then. If I play badly, it is your doing."

Illyrio is repeatedly described as being light on his feet for his side, ostensibly due to being a braavo in his youth. And his confidant Varys, is well known to use disguises when it suits him. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that being grossly fat is an act/disguise either. Beneath the gold, the bitter steel.

The last that Tyrion Lannister saw of Illyrio Mopatis, the magister was standing by his litter in his brocade robes, his massive shoulders slumped. As his figure dwindled in their dust, the lord of cheese looked almost small.

Edited by Mourning Star
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3 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Dany doesn't trust Illyrio. She's skeptical of his intentions and motivations. 

Tyrion doesn't trust Illyrio.

Tywin has contempt for Illyrio.

Illyrio is portrayed as a fat greedy slavedriving cheesmonger with greasy hands who was tempted to have sex with a thirteen year old Daenerys. 

Then in ADWD we learn about his backstory as a fighting slave, hear about his wife and see his affection for her memory, see his fatherly affection for Young Griff, and he strongly suggests that his motivations are ultimately deeply personal and more important to him than money. 

Illyrio is no saint, but the only way this arc makes sense is if it's moving toward the revelation that Illyrio is, in some way or another, the genuine artifact. Whatever the deepest desire of his heart turns out to really be, narratively it has to be aimed at the good. I suspect he's working against slavery. For example, there's a noteworthy contrast between Dany's thoughts in AGOT about Illyrio's servants being slaves in truth, versus Illyrio's servant cooks stepping onto the stage in ADWD hundreds of pounds overweight. The commentary is on Dany's and our filppant abuses of the word slave. 

Oh, they’re slaves alright.  The young women have to service Tyrion, if wants.  He gained a lot of slaves from the Dothraki.

But, yes, I think his motives are more than financial.

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35 minutes ago, Mourning Star said:

I'm going to go ahead and lean hard the other way on this one.

While I do agree that Illyrio will have personal human motives, more than just increasing his already obscene wealth, I do not agree that this is leading toward him opposing slavery or being some commentary on forced labor not being that bad if you feed them or whatever you were getting at...

Illyrio's cooks, servants and whores would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the gate if you made them leave. I don't suppose you really think the old woman in Dany's first chapter in AGOT would rather be on the Dothraki sea than serving at Illyrio's mance. Have you see how Illyrio and the people who serve him live? They sleep on featherbeds and never miss a meal. Have you seen how the Dothraki live? Most of them spend their entire lives outdoors, poorly clothed, living short lifespans and uncertain about where their next meal is going to come from. From a young age girls follow behind the khalasar and rip bloody arrows out of dead bodies so that the men can reuse them, because if they don't the men in their khalasar might lose the next battle and then the small semblance of stability these children have will fracture with the khalasar.

What's being premiered in A Song of Ice and Fire is the severe disconnect between the audience's sensibility and the poor's reality, and the many ways in which the most vulnerable groups of people in the world are harmed when their stability is destroyed to appease the feelings of observers who have so much stability that they do not even care to differentiate between the conditions of the Unsullied and the conditions of the servants in Illyrio's mance. For the characters who face these realities, the differences are heaven and hell. But for the readers who mostly want the next story beat of their favorite princes and princesses, the differences can be reduced to anti- or pro- slavery.

For an author who wants to hide the answers to his story's secrets, what better way could you imagine to do it than to co-opt the audience's moral exhibitionism and let them do the work for you by tacitly accusing people who dare bring nuance to public consciousness of being pro-slavery. 

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18 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

@Lissasalayaya just checking, but is this all part of a hugely elaborate campaign to discredit Dany? If so, just cut to the chase and criticise her, that's why we're here. But criticise characters not readers.

Dany is my most researched character in the series, and one of my two favorite characters, so I often draw from her story. But I won't have any difficulty evidencing the same theme in other characters, on other continents and in other time periods. 

Criticisms of the readers are implicit in the story's themes, so they don't require us to criticize each other at all. When I say the story is criticizing the readers who think this or that, I'm proposing a concept of theme rather than trying to criticize any particular reader or character. Some of the themes I propose stand in criticism of attitudes, beliefs and theories that I subscribed to myself for a long time. You'll see me acknowledge that sometimes when I include myself with the readership using words like "our filppant abuses of the word slavery." I'm sure you and Mourning Star are interesting enough people, but my main interest is in the story, and I tend to assume other people are more interested in the story than in me, too.

As an example, if you take Mourning Star's implication that I'm pro-slavery as long as the slave is well fed, and you suppose that a thematic message of the story is that slavery is bad, then that interpretation stands in criticism of people who are pro-slavery all by itself without Mourning Star needing to point a finger at me specifically. 

If A Song of Ice and Fire did happen to contain a theme that stands in criticism of Daenerys, then your tendency to slide into conspiratorial accusations of people who simply want to dig into the story's themes portrays an oversensitivity to criticisms of Daenerys for which A Song of Ice and Fire must be a good prescription. 

The takeaway is that because of the very nature of stories and themes, it won't be possible to suss them out of a sufficiently apropos story as long as themes-that-stand-in-criticism-of-us are barred from discussion. If your attitude is reflective of the book audience as a whole, then it's no mystery why despite having a decade to pore over five books most of their big mysteries remain intact. But even that appears as much a testament to the author's insight as to the shortcomings in us. Our opinions and attitudes about the story, the characters and events within it are largely engineered by the author, who wrote every part of the story the way he did with consideration to the prevailing attitudes of our era.

So, we should try not to take one anothers' interpretations too personally, and to try to remember to always give the author half of the credit for what we think about his great story.

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18 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

What's being premiered in A Song of Ice and Fire is the severe disconnect between the audience's sensibility and the poor's reality, and the many ways in which the most vulnerable groups of people in the world are harmed when their stability is destroyed to appease the feelings of observers who have so much stability that they do not even care to differentiate between the conditions of the Unsullied and the conditions of the servants in Illyrio's mance. For the characters who face these realities, the differences are heaven and hell. But for the readers who mostly want the next story beat of their favorite princes and princesses, the differences can be reduced to anti- or pro- slavery.

For an author who wants to hide the answers to his story's secrets, what better way could you imagine to do it than to co-opt the audience's moral exhibitionism and let them do the work for you by tacitly accusing people who dare bring nuance to public consciousness of being pro-slavery. 

I have to be honest this comes across as extremely distasteful rhetoric to me. In addition I think you are wrong.

The idea that it is better to be a well treated slave than poor and free is an old defense of slavery. What you are describing sounds a lot like Southern Pro-slavery arguments and I think it's at best wildly misguided. I say this not out of malice, but in the hopes that you can realize how such arguments have been used in such evil ways in real life.

Trying to compare one slaver (Illyrio) to other slavers (Dothraki) as if these are the only two life options is both disingenuous and a bad argument.

Not only that, I think we see, repeatedly, that this is not the message ASoIaF is trying to send.

For instance:

She was not all wrong. Yezzan's slaves ate better than many peasants back in the Seven Kingdoms and were less like to starve to death come winter. Slaves were chattels, aye. They could be bought and sold, whipped and branded, used for the carnal pleasure of their owners, bred to make more slaves. In that sense they were no more than dogs or horses. But most lords treated their dogs and horses well enough. Proud men might shout that they would sooner die free than live as slaves, but pride was cheap. When the steel struck the flint, such men were rare as dragon's teeth; elsewise the world would not have been so full of slaves. There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave, the dwarf reflected. Their choice may be between bondage and death, but the choice is always there.

A Dance with Dragons - Tyrion XII

Tyrion sees how unsound the case is. Those who risk themselves to fight are rare, but also the source of everyone's freedom. Not to say Tyrion doesn't have his own misguided viewpoints.

If no one is willing to risk and sacrifice for liberty then there would be none.

The message here is not to give up and be thankful for a golden collar.

The short sighted defense of slavery, that it is safer and easier in the moment, is a poor defense in the face of both morality and the practical repercussions for the future.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

As an example, if you take Mourning Star's implication that I'm pro-slavery as long as the slave is well fed, and you suppose that a thematic message of the story is that slavery is bad, then that interpretation stands in criticism of people who are pro-slavery all by itself without Mourning Star needing to point a finger at me specifically. 

This is nonsense, books don't comment on message boards. You are the one here posting what sure reads like pro-slavery propaganda, I'm pointing that out.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

The takeaway is that because of the very nature of stories and themes, it won't be possible to suss them out of a sufficiently apropos story as long as themes-that-stand-in-criticism-of-us are barred from discussion. If your attitude is reflective of the book audience as a whole, then it's no mystery why despite having a decade to pore over five books most of their big mysteries remain intact. But even that appears as much a testament to the author's insight as to the shortcomings in us. Our opinions and attitudes about the story, the characters and events within it are largely engineered by the author, who wrote every part of the story the way he did with consideration to the prevailing attitudes of our era.

No one barred anything from discussion, I'm actively discussing what a harmful and distasteful argument you made in defense of slavery, and how wildly I think you are misinterpreting the story at hand.

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9 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

I have to be honest this comes across as extremely distasteful rhetoric to me. In addition I think you are wrong.

On the topic of extremely distasteful rhetoric, let's talk about your horrendous attitude that me or anyone else around here might be pro-slavery. In all my years in the fandom I've never once come across somebody who thinks slavery is a good idea. The notion that pro-slavery people actually exist in any amount greater than an infinitesimally small decimal is so absurd as to highlight the ignorance driving your concept of theme.

You seem to think slavery is an evil that wouldn't exist if there weren't any evil people around to perpetrate it, and that's why you agree with characters who think the remedy for slavery is to kill the evil people. But it's a remedy that sticks out like a sore thumb in a story so heavily critical of black vs white depictions of good and evil. Because when you or a character sets out to 'kill the evil people' you're revealing that you've painted those people a moral shade of "grey" that uses all black paint and no white. More importantly, it's opposite to the real history of slavery.

In reality, slavery was present everywhere in the world for all of human history before the western ethos of individual sovereignty became globally dominant. The ugly truth is that in the same way the ethos of kill-or-be-killed characterizes the default relationship between animals in nature, enslave-or-be-enslaved characterizes the default relationship between human beings. So any attempt to transcend a society above slavery needs to be grounded in the recognition that slavery is the normative and given condition of mankind's nature before one can hope to actually improve the situation.

It is freedom, not slavery, which requires an extreme explanation, because our situation in the modern world is so unusual and miraculous in the context of human history. That suggests that freedom is fragile and fleeting. So that's why western storytellers like Martin go to so much effort to write stories like this one from which we might learn by honing our moral dilemma solving abilities while the lives that hang in the balance are made of ink and paper rather than flesh and blood.
 

Quote

The idea that it is better to be a well treated slave than poor and free is an old defense of slavery. What you are describing sounds a lot like Southern Pro-slavery arguments and I think it's at best wildly misguided. I say this not out of malice, but in the hopes that you can realize how such arguments have been used in such evil ways in real life.

Yes and no. It's an idea that can be and was used to defend the practice of slavery, but it also contains some important truths about human beings that are uncomfortable to look at and inconvenient for your Slavery-Is-Bad concept of theme. Slavery is obviously bad, and that's certainly depicted in the story, but it is absolutely not a theme. It's far too obvious to be a theme. And the implicit notion that the audience doesn't already know that slavery is bad zooms past silliness and toward insulting. There are literal pages and chapters of text in ASOIAF exploring the uncomfortable truths that you're ignoring. 

For instance, Tyrion's time as a slave of Yezzan is, among other things, meant to show us to the psychology of people who have no concept of the ethos of freedom that we have in the modern western world. Slaves who belong to rich and powerful masters are proud of their slavery.

Quote

 

ADWD Tyrion XI

"Might be they did but decided to say elsewise, to keep you slaves quiet.”

Us slaves?” said the brown woman. “You wear a collar too.”

Ghazdor’s collar,” the old man boasted. “Known him since we was born. I’m almost like a brother to him. Slaves like you, sweepings out of Astapor and Yunkai, you whine about being free, but I wouldn’t give the dragon queen my collar if she offered to suck my cock for it. Man has the right master, that’s better.”

Tyrion did not dispute him. The most insidious thing about bondage was how easy it was to grow accustomed to it. The life of most slaves was not all that different from the life of a serving man at Casterly Rock, it seemed to him. True, some slaveowners and their overseers were brutal and cruel, but the same was true of some Westerosi lords and their stewards and bailiffs. Most of the Yunkai’i treated their chattels decently enough, so long as they did their jobs and caused no trouble … and this old man in his rusted collar, with his fierce loyalty to Lord Wobblecheeks, his owner, was not at all atypical.

 

They flaunt their ownership and brag about it to other slaves. The reason is because in a slave society there is no upward social mobility for the common class. But social advancements still happen to them on rare occassions. If you're a slave in a slave society, social advancements happen to you when people around you fail. If your job is more difficult than another slave's job, you may "advance" to his job when he gets sold, injured or killed.

This is extremely opposite to the way we tend to look at each other in the western world. Our societies are structured the way they are to incentivize us to raise each other up rather than put each other down. So that's why it's extra challenging for us to put ourselves in the shoes of eastern characters and find the sympathetic angle for them, because their way of looking at the world is inverse to ours.
 

Quote

Trying to compare one slaver (Illyrio) to other slavers (Dothraki) as if these are the only two life options is both disingenuous and a bad argument.

This is a good example of the ways the most vulnerable people in the world are harmed by observers who are more interested in exhibiting their moral virtues than in producing actual improvements to the lives of real people. Or, in this case, to the lives of fictional people who we're supposed to treat as though they're real for the purposes of the dilemmas. 

Illyrio's servants do not know that they're characters in a story. They know that they live in Pentos. They know that when they step outside of the walls of Illyrio's mance, they're exposed to the dangers of the city. And they know that when they step outside the walls of Pentos, they're exposed to the dangers of the Dothraki sea. So my comparison of Illyrio's mance to the Dothraki sea makes more sense than anything else you could suggest, which is of course why you neglected to suggest anything else. 

Illyrio's servants might be able to find safe passage to a different city, find service to another billionaire political leader in it, or find safe passage to another continent, but they know that their position in Illyrio's manse is so incredibly safe, comfortable and unlikely compared to every alternative imaginable that the self-evident truth of the situation is that the reason Illyrio's servants show no sign of wanting to leave is not because they're forced to stay, but because they very much do not want to leave. Their willingness to have sex with the likes of Illyrio or his unpleasant guests like Tyrion despite his cruelty proves just how much these women prefer serving in Illyrio's manse to their realistic alternatives. But of course, it only proves that to those of us who treat the slaves, servants, smallfolk and underprivileged characters in the story less like property in our care and more like people who are capable of thinking for themselves, making their own decisions and making them well. 

 

Edited by Lissasalayaya
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On 7/18/2022 at 4:44 PM, Moiraine Sedai said:

He claims to want a job in Kingslanding. It’s not good enough an explanation. Master of Coin is not of itself a guarantee of more wealth. Unless he’s corrupt. But if he could make slavery legal everywhere his wealth would multiply. Westeros has an abundance of people in the large cities like Kingslanding and Oldtown. Prince Viserys would have found himself heavily indebted to the magisters and Khal Drogo. Can he really refuse to legalize slavery in his kingdom? It is something to consider carefully. It is a possible explanation for the Magister’s motives.  

He was a sell sword and maybe he still is.  A more powerful entity is buying his services to put the Targaryens back in power.  The three eggs are not something you give away without purpose.  Somebody forced him to give the eggs away.   

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If Viserys doesn't refuse he wouldn't have a kingdom for very long.

If Illyrio/Viserys attempted to make slavery legal, their regime would be toppled very quickly. No one, I don't think even the most die-hard Targaryen loyalists, would tolerate such an act. Maegor the Cruel is thought of as one of the worst monarchs ever and even he didn't attempt something as bad as this.

I could see faceless men being hired, Iron Bank calling in all loans to the throne immediately as a response. Immediate wars in favour of other claimants. Regions succeeding, riots among the smallfolk with the backing of the faith. After all, the Andals left Andalos to escape the slaving Valyrians.

It would cement the idea that Viserys was just another mad king, likely destroying the remaining legitimacy of the Targaryen dynasty.

Unless this is a deliberate move by Illyrio/Varys to cause chaos and then bring in F/Aegon as a saviour, I can't see why they would do something like this at all.

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On 7/18/2022 at 10:44 PM, Moiraine Sedai said:

He claims to want a job in Kingslanding. It’s not good enough an explanation. Master of Coin is not of itself a guarantee of more wealth. Unless he’s corrupt. But if he could make slavery legal everywhere his wealth would multiply. Westeros has an abundance of people in the large cities like Kingslanding and Oldtown. Prince Viserys would have found himself heavily indebted to the magisters and Khal Drogo. Can he really refuse to legalize slavery in his kingdom? It is something to consider carefully. It is a possible explanation for the Magister’s motives.  

One thing people don't realize is that state... well, state is defined by power. And power has many sources, but ultimately, all power comes down to a combination of belief and military force. Even if Viserys is indebted to magisters, if Westerosi say hard no to slavery and slave trade, what would Viserys and magisters do? Westerosi armies are by far the most capable military power we had seen in the series so far, and Westeros itself is a massive and relatively politically united continent - and would presumably be again united if Viserys were to take the throne. If Westerosi said "no" to slave trade, there is little Illyrio or anyone would be able to do, unless there are some more dragon eggs or dragons around we aren't aware of.

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16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

On the topic of extremely distasteful rhetoric, let's talk about your horrendous attitude that me or anyone else around here might be pro-slavery. In all my years in the fandom I've never once come across somebody who thinks slavery is a good idea. The notion that pro-slavery people actually exist in any amount greater than an infinitesimally small decimal is so absurd as to highlight the ignorance driving your concept of theme.

I will never apologize for being disdainful of slavery apologists.

There is plenty of grey area when it comes to morality, but not everything is morally relative or cultural.

Some things are inherently wrong, among them, blaming one for the actions of another, needlessly harming an innocent, and slavery.

These three examples in particular are highlighted by ASoIaF.

The fact that you somehow twist a text in condemnation of slavery into somehow being slavery apologist is sad. I think you should read it again, it’s pretty clearly not the intent.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

You seem to think slavery is an evil that wouldn't exist if there weren't any evil people around to perpetrate it, and that's why you agree with characters who think the remedy for slavery is to kill the evil people. But it's a remedy that sticks out like a sore thumb in a story so heavily critical of black vs white depictions of good and evil. Because when you or a character sets out to 'kill the evil people' you're revealing that you've painted those people a moral shade of "grey" that uses all black paint and no white. More importantly, it's opposite to the real history of slavery.

First, I’ve never suggested a solution to anything is to kill evil people… this is a very poor strawman.

Second, there is a lot of space between everything not being black and white and there being nothing good or evil… I think you have wandered off the deep end in this respect. Just because life isn’t a war between good and evil, doesn’t mean that nothing is good or evil. Really basic, but clearly bears repeating.

This is not a story espousing moral relativism.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

In reality, slavery was present everywhere in the world for all of human history before the western ethos of individual sovereignty became globally dominant. The ugly truth is that in the same way the ethos of kill-or-be-killed characterizes the default relationship between animals in nature, enslave-or-be-enslaved characterizes the default relationship between human beings. So any attempt to transcend a society above slavery needs to be grounded in the recognition that slavery is the normative and given condition of mankind's nature before one can hope to actually improve the situation.

Honestly, I sometimes forget that posters online could just be a kid who finished reading a book on morality from hundreds of years ago and has no grasp of relevant modern concepts.

The idea that there is some “state of nature” that can be compared to as a basis for moral judgement is archaic and silly in 2022.

Dont get me wrong, it’s informative to learn these old ways of thinking, but don’t confuse them for reality.

Don’t conflate understanding the motives behind behaviors for excusing a behavior itself.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

It is freedom, not slavery, which requires an extreme explanation, because our situation in the modern world is so unusual and miraculous in the context of human history.

Are you making the case that most people in human history have been slaves? And not being a slave is the exception? Are you really making the case that it is human nature to be enslaved?

You may not be familiar with the intellectual tradition you are following here. This is an absolutely barbaric line of thinking and based on woefully outdated and misguided principles like Master/Slave morality and the Will to Power.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

That suggests that freedom is fragile and fleeting. So that's why western storytellers like Martin go to so much effort to write stories like this one from which we might learn by honing our moral dilemma solving abilities while the lives that hang in the balance are made of ink and paper rather than flesh and blood.

Exploring the grey are where our freedoms impact each other can reveal good and bad.

We can find that freedom means responsibility and discover how we are all interconnected and interdependent.

It does not excuse slavery.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Yes and no. It's an idea that can be and was used to defend the practice of slavery, but it also contains some important truths about human beings that are uncomfortable to look at and inconvenient for your Slavery-Is-Bad concept of theme. Slavery is obviously bad, and that's certainly depicted in the story, but it is absolutely not a theme.

Slavery being bad is a fantastic basis for thematic literature, especially in the context of the larger story.

Doing bad things in the name of good ends is a classic theme… it’s repeated in ASoIaF. 

Exploring how the inherently evil is attempted to be justified by supposedly good results is classic theme material.

The fact that you are here defending and apologizing for slavery makes it pretty clear that “slavery is bad” isnt obvious enough, lol.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

It's far too obvious to be a theme.

You made the strawman and then you damn your own creation. I agree that you were wildly oversimplifying above.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

And the implicit notion that the audience doesn't already know that slavery is bad zooms past silliness and toward insulting.

How I wish this was the case and I didn’t feel compelled to write this.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

There are literal pages and chapters of text in ASOIAF exploring the uncomfortable truths that you're ignoring.

No idea what you are talking about.

asearchoficeandfire is great if you are looking for quotes to use.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

For instance, Tyrion's time as a slave of Yezzan is, among other things, meant to show us to the psychology of people who have no concept of the ethos of freedom that we have in the modern western world. Slaves who belong to rich and powerful masters are proud of their slavery.

And it shows us slavery is still bad.

Claiming that this section is a defense of slavery is a clear misunderstanding of the story in my opinion.

The world is complicated, practical matters complicate everything.

Slavery is still bad.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

They flaunt their ownership and brag about it to other slaves. The reason is because in a slave society there is no upward social mobility for the common class. But social advancements still happen to them on rare occassions. If you're a slave in a slave society, social advancements happen to you when people around you fail. If your job is more difficult than another slave's job, you may "advance" to his job when he gets sold, injured or killed.

This is showing you the “Uncle Tom” view, you aren’t supposed to decide slavery is fine then… kinda shocking.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

This is extremely opposite to the way we tend to look at each other in the western world. Our societies are structured the way they are to incentivize us to raise each other up rather than put each other down.

I have no idea what you are talking about but this is not at all my experience in the western world, lol.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

So that's why it's extra challenging for us to put ourselves in the shoes of eastern characters and find the sympathetic angle for them, because their way of looking at the world is inverse to ours.

This is not an East/West cultural issue, this is a human and basic morality issue.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

This is a good example of the ways the most vulnerable people in the world are harmed by observers who are more interested in exhibiting their moral virtues than in producing actual improvements to the lives of real people.
 

What is a good example?

The civil war? WWII?

Of all the reasons we see that people fight wars in ASoIaF, abolishing slavery might be the best reason.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Or, in this case, to the lives of fictional people who we're supposed to treat as though they're real for the purposes of the dilemmas.

And your conclusion is that Slavery is justified?

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Illyrio's servants do not know that they're characters in a story. They know that they live in Pentos. They know that when they step outside of the walls of Illyrio's mance, they're exposed to the dangers of the city. And they know that when they step outside the walls of Pentos, they're exposed to the dangers of the Dothraki sea. So my comparison of Illyrio's mance to the Dothraki sea makes more sense than anything else you could suggest, which is of course why you neglected to suggest anything else. 

The argument that people are better off as slaves and are incapable of taking care of themselves is shameful.

In this case, why would Illyrio’s slaves leave, if we are just making up senecios, cast out Illyrio and let him figure out how to make it on the Dothraki plain, since you seem to think that’s the only option… the problem is you are contriving false choices and presenting them as a case, APOLOGIZING FOR SLAVERY.

16 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Illyrio's servants might be able to find safe passage to a different city, find service to another billionaire political leader in it, or find safe passage to another continent, but they know that their position in Illyrio's manse is so incredibly safe, comfortable and unlikely compared to every alternative imaginable that the self-evident truth of the situation is that the reason Illyrio's servants show no sign of wanting to leave is not because they're forced to stay, but because they very much do not want to leave. Their willingness to have sex with the likes of Illyrio or his unpleasant guests like Tyrion despite his cruelty proves just how much these women prefer serving in Illyrio's manse to their realistic alternatives. But of course, it only proves that to those of us who treat the slaves, servants, smallfolk and underprivileged characters in the story less like property in our care and more like people who are capable of thinking for themselves, making their own decisions and making them well. 

I don’t have it in me to get into explain why forcing people to have sex against their will is wrong, on top of why slavery is wrong, today.

I’m not delusional enough to think I can teach you morality through an Internet forum, but for your own sake I hope you can reassess.

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20 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

I will never apologize for being disdainful of slavery apologists.

As you double down on your moral exhibition, you follow in the footsteps of the character that seems to be the object of some of the audience's oversensitivity.

If we as an audience had been less self-righteous about our disagreements with other readers at a sooner date, we could have spared ourselves some of the sting of learning that the people we demonized as "slavery apologists" and other devils were closer to the truth than we were. Being wrong never feels good, but it isn't supposed to. And there are two things we can do when we learn we're wrong: learn from it or run from it.

The sting that caused me to take my study of this story private so that I might learn the hardest lessons it has to teach me is the same sting that compels you now to misrepresent and demonize me in the hopes of rallying support from other readers that might result in voting me down, shouting me down, chasing me away, or compelling the powers that be to remove me so that your interpretations may continue unchallenged.

I've watched this pattern repeat itself for years and across every ASOIAF community on the internet. By July of the year 2022, it seems to me that readers are tired of watching the moral complexity that they love about A Song of Ice and Fire be snuffed out by the internet's tendency to allow conversations to be dictated by the most outraged and least knowledgeable person in the room. 
 

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There is plenty of grey area when it comes to morality, but not everything is morally relative or cultural.

 

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Some things are inherently wrong, among them, blaming one for the actions of another, needlessly harming an innocent, and slavery.

I may be wrong, but I don't expect that this rapidfire series of misrepresentations of my explanation of the story's themes about slavery is going to fool many people. I haven't said or suggested that everything is morally relative or cultural. In many ways I said the opposites of those things. I haven't blamed any characters for the actions of other characters. These misinterpretations or misrepresentations reflect your own inability or refusal to accept reality as it is rather than as we would like it to be.

How wonderful it would be if a human being was not the sort of creature that is tempted to abuse its power over other human beings. Unfortunately, that is not what human beings are like at the bottom of things. Only a thoroughly acculturated person who is surrounded by millions of other thoroughly and similarly acculturated people could believe otherwise. And that's who we are, so that's why we tend to believe otherwise. But in other places in the world, as in places in Planetos outside of Westeros, it is power-struggle rather than faith-in-fellow-man that fundamentally characterizes the social fabric of their culture. 

There are so many scenes in the story that deal with the uncomfortable truth's I'm describing here that there can be no question about the author's intentions in prying them open for discussion. Xaro spends page after page debating with Daenerys about these same issues, with the conclusion left dangling in the thematic winds to be measured and deliberated by us. Tyrion spends entire chapters adjusting to and internally commentating on the same uncomfortable truths I described, a most prominent passage of which you quoted yourself. "There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave, the dwarf reflected. Their choice may be between bondage and death, but the choice is always there."

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First, I’ve never suggested a solution to anything is to kill evil people… this is a very poor strawman.

Dany's solution to slavery is to kill the evil people. You suggested your agreement with Dany's approach when you incited Dany's golden collar. 

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"The message here is not to give up and be thankful for a golden collar." 

When you refer to Dany's golden collar to posit this concept of theme, you're lumping all the slaves and servants and heaven knows who else into the same category of "slave" with Daenerys. The only unifying characteristic between a slave like Grey Worm and a servant like the blue eyed chattering sixteen-year-old girl in Illyrio's  manse is that Somebody Is The Boss Of Them. But their circumstances are as different as heaven and hell. This exhibits the disregard for individuation that I was highlighting. And it's this very disregard that is felt most severely by the vulnerable people in the story when powerful characters like Daenerys are guilty of it too. Gosh, even Dany expresses doubts all throughout the story about whether it was wrong to harm so many innocent and less-guilty people in the collateral of harming the more-guilty people. 

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Second, there is a lot of space between everything not being black and white and there being nothing good or evil… I think you have wandered off the deep end in this respect. Just because life isn’t a war between good and evil, doesn’t mean that nothing is good or evil. Really basic, but clearly bears repeating.

This is not a story espousing moral relativism.

 

I couldn't agree more with everything you said here, except that your notion that I've wandered off the deep end shows me that you haven't internalized my point that slavery comes from the innate nature within each and every human being rather than just certain human beings. As Tyrion points out, if you think you're the one in ten thousand people who would elect to starve to death before offering yourself into bondage to somebody who can keep you fed, you're almost certainly wrong. And if you think you're the one in ten million people who would allow his child to starve to death before offering him and yourself into bondage to somebody who can keep you fed, you're definitely wrong.

Tyrion's commentary highlights that very few people dare to brave these dilemmas even in their own thoughts, because they're unpleasant to think about, and the honest answers to them are not ones we like to acknowledge about ourselves. But placing ourselves in the shoes of the characters is the story's fundamental challenge to us, and the story shows no reason why we're exempt from doing the same for the people across Essos. More than that, I have studied this story long enough that I can assure you that the story and author are winding up thematic haymaker critiques of its readers (and its genre) for neglecting to rise to this challenge regarding the slaves and slave masters in slaving societies. 

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Honestly, I sometimes forget that posters online could just be a kid who finished reading a book on morality from hundreds of years ago and has no grasp of relevant modern concepts.

The idea that there is some “state of nature” that can be compared to as a basis for moral judgement is archaic and silly in 2022.

Dont get me wrong, it’s informative to learn these old ways of thinking, but don’t confuse them for reality.

Your notion that morality "from hundreds of years ago" has no bearing on the present day echoes the self-flattering arrogance to which every great philosopher and historian past and present has credited the decline of their own civilizations as well as those that fell before them. Imagine the arrogance required to unironically believe that your generation are the first people in the world and in history to think that slavery is bad. It might be pertinent to approach the issue with the assumption that you're thousands of years late to the idea that slavery is bad, that countless of the brightest minds who ever lived have struggled tirelessly to make the world a better place in that regard, and that the world you're living in now is that better place. 

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Don’t conflate understanding the motives behind behaviors for excusing a behavior itself.

This belongs in the bad-faith argumentation category of Accuse The Other Person Of Doing Exactly What You're Doing. When I delineate an intricacy of a character's or the story's behavior, you deduce my motives from it. And worse, you're wrong every time you do it. The purpose of it is obviously to misrepresent me, which is why you're happy to respond to the answers you made up for me before I've answered them. As you continue to demonstrate your bad faith like this, you aren't going to like it as I continue to expose it while simultaneously wrapping up your anti-theme attitudes in A Song of Ice and Fire's themes and serving them back to you. 

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Are you making the case that most people in human history have been slaves? And not being a slave is the exception? Are you really making the case that it is human nature to be enslaved?

You may not be familiar with the intellectual tradition you are following here. This is an absolutely barbaric line of thinking and based on woefully outdated and misguided principles like Master/Slave morality and the Will to Power.

 

Using the audience's usual meaning of the word slave, everyone who ever had to answer to anyone about anything can fairly be added to the category of slave. Smallfolk, knights, princes, princesses, queens, Illyrio's servants, unsullied, the Dothraki slaves and generals alike all fit into this category together. It's absurd.

Furthermore, with this approach there is apparently no need to differentiate between the conditions of these people when doling out our criticisms of slavery, characters or even other readers. Why? Because the purpose of the ciriticisms is no greater than to broadcast to our peers that we're morally superior to other people, even if those other people don't really exist and we have to constantly perpetuate the illusion that they do exist by accusing everybody who dares to share a thought more complex than Slavery Is Bad of being pro-slavery. The whole thing is dumb, and fewer and fewer people are satisfied with it anymore. Okay, we get it, you're not a slaveowner. But neither is anybody else on the continent, so calm down. Because this story is way deeper than you're giving it credit and the rest of us are trying to talk about it. 

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The fact that you are here defending and apologizing for slavery makes it pretty clear that “slavery is bad” isnt obvious enough, lol.

I don't suppose you are representative of the forum or site at large, but when you make a comment like this I think I can safely say that you embarrass a lot of people. If these thinly veiled ad hominem attacks are genuinely all you have to offer and you can't draw from the story to attack the ideas rather than the person, then I worry that I have wasted half a decade of my spare time puzzling out how this story ends only to cast pearls before swine. 

In that case, I have honest questions for you that I genuinely want the answers to. If the story's message about slavery is ultimately Slavery Is Bad, then what is your explanation for Illyrio's cooks being fat?

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The younger woman was old enough to be his mother, and the older was likely her mother. Both were near as fat as Illyrio, with teats that were larger than his head.

  1. The author could have easily written this part of the story so that the cooks are skinny and starving. Wouldn't that be a better way to portray the evil of their enslavement? Being near as fat as Illyrio, there's no plausible way that the truth of the situation is that the cooks are stealing food and Illyrio doesn't know about it. So Illyrio knows that they're eating a lot, and yet he never puts a stop to it before they're near as fat as he is. Why do you suppose that is?
  2. The author could have written it so that the cooks are only a little overweight. Surely writing it that way would have lended enough plausibility to the stealing-food-in-secret interpretation, thereby preserving the plausibility of Illyrio being cruel to them regarding food and the plausibility of the slavery theme being Slavery Is Bad.
  3. The author could have written it so that the cooks appeared in Dany's first chapter. Why did the author wait to introduce them five books later? Do you think Martin simply felt the need to add more characters to a story that already has thousands of characters? Is the addition of the cooks and all the bits of information about them nothing more than idle world building for the sake of world building? 

I have a lot more questions like these, but those are good enough for now. My purpose in asking them is to get you to bring your concept of metatext to the foreground and turn it into text so that we can read it as plainly as I've presented my concept of the metatext. Here are my answers:

  1. The author made the cooks near as fat as Illyrio because their weight stands in criticism of both Dany's and the reader's notion that Illyrio's servants are slaves in truth rather than servants. 
  2. The author didn't make the cooks slightly overweight because that could plausibly be interpreted as though the cooks are stealing food behind Illyrio's back. The author wanted to obliterate that interpretation so that there can be no question that Illyrio's supposedly cruel treatment of his servants is glaringly absent. 
  3. The author waited to introduce the cooks until five books later because he wanted the readers to carry Dany's interpretation of the servants/slaves for a long time without challenging it and placing the obese cooks in the story in Dany's first chapter would have given away the trick too early.
Edited by Lissasalayaya
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15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

As you double down on your moral exhibition, you follow in the footsteps of the character that seems to be the object of some of the audience's oversensitivity.

If we as an audience had been less self-righteous about our disagreements with other readers at a sooner date, we could have spared ourselves some of the sting of learning that the people we demonized as "slavery apologists" and other devils were closer to the truth than we were. Being wrong never feels good, but it isn't supposed to. And there are two things we can do when we learn we're wrong: learn from it or run from it.

The sting that caused me to take my study of this story private so that I might learn the hardest lessons it has to teach me is the same sting that compels you now to misrepresent and demonize me in the hopes of rallying support from other readers that might result in voting me down, shouting me down, chasing me away, or compelling the powers that be to remove me so that your interpretations may continue unchallenged.

I've watched this pattern repeat itself for years and across every ASOIAF community on the internet. By July of the year 2022, it seems to me that readers are tired of watching the moral complexity that they love about A Song of Ice and Fire be snuffed out by the internet's tendency to allow conversations to be dictated by the most outraged and least knowledgeable person in the room. 
 

The above is a word salad with little to no discernable meaning.

If discussing the moral themes of the story is moral exhibition then yes, obviously that's the entire point of the discussion.

Slave apologists are not closer to any truth, literally the point of what I'm saying.

But, what I gather from the above is that you are in fact an unrepentant slavery apologist? You are certainly the loudest and least knowledgeable person commenting here, I'll give you that.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

I may be wrong, but I don't expect that this rapidfire series of misrepresentations of my explanation of the story's themes about slavery is going to fool many people. I haven't said or suggested that everything is morally relative or cultural. In many ways I said the opposites of those things. I haven't blamed any characters for the actions of other characters. These misinterpretations or misrepresentations reflect your own inability or refusal to accept reality as it is rather than as we would like it to be.

You are wrong.

I was trying to explaining morality to you, and how we see it as a major theme in ASoIaF.

Each of these examples are things that are inherently morally wrong, and we see highlighted in the story. Blaming one for the actions of another is an example, like slavery, of something inherently wrong. It being wrong is not dependent on how the blame is manifested, or how the slaves are treated. Nor are these dependent on culture.

I choose this example because it is focused on in the story, the classic example of blaming children for the crimes of their parents.

Tell me, my honorable Lord Eddard, how are you any different from Robert, or me, or Jaime?"
"For a start," said Ned, "I do not kill children.

Again despite the size of the word salad, you don't actually make any argument here, you just build strawmen and fight with them despite it not being relevant.

What I was doing was presenting to you how slavery is just one example of a moral wrong the story highlights.

Ned is our example of a "good" man. Or at least as close as one can get. Not perfect, but a moral man. Our one man in ten thousand, if they are really that rare.

"To be sure. You are an honest and honorable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life." He glanced around the cell. "When I see what honesty and honor have won you, I understand why."

So when we look at Tyrion's quote, realize that it is hard to be moral, and to fight for morality, and there is no guaranteed reward. That Ned ends up dead is not a condemnation of his morality, anymore than a slave choosing to live is a defense of slavery.

"He would do whatever was right," he said … ringingly, to make up for his hesitation. "No matter what."
"Then Lord Eddard is a man in ten thousand. Most of us are not so strong.

We also see how he addressed slavery.

Jorah had his reasons for selling men into slavery. This doesn't make the action of enslaving them not bad.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

How wonderful it would be if a human being was not the sort of creature that is tempted to abuse its power over other human beings. Unfortunately, that is not what human beings are like at the bottom of things. Only a thoroughly acculturated person who is surrounded by millions of other thoroughly and similarly acculturated people could believe otherwise. And that's who we are, so that's why we tend to believe otherwise. But in other places in the world, as in places in Planetos outside of Westeros, it is power-struggle rather than faith-in-fellow-man that fundamentally characterizes the social fabric of their culture. 

You are making bold undefended claims about human nature.

What you are describing is Will to Power, the ethos of Nazi Germany.

I think that pretending will to power is the only driving force behind humanity's actions ignores the best parts of humanity, and is also is pretty sad. I think one ends up drawing entirely misguided opinions when one ignores the rest. 

You are trying to paint morality as relative to culture, the point I made above that you didn't seem to understand, when you try to frame it as all about culture.

While you are entitled to believe whatever you want about life, the story of ASoIaF is very clearly not supporting this case.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

There are so many scenes in the story that deal with the uncomfortable truth's I'm describing here that there can be no question about the author's intentions in prying them open for discussion. Xaro spends page after page debating with Daenerys about these same issues, with the conclusion left dangling in the thematic winds to be measured and deliberated by us. Tyrion spends entire chapters adjusting to and internally commentating on the same uncomfortable truths I described, a most prominent passage of which you quoted yourself. "There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave, the dwarf reflected. Their choice may be between bondage and death, but the choice is always there."

You can discuss things like slavery without being an apologist.

Part of examining these things is hearing the flawed and misguided viewpoints like the ones above.

What the hell does Tyrion know about Slavery? It is very clearly a stupid thing for him to say showing a lack of understanding of reality, and even literally true statements like his can be fundamentally absurd in actuality. 

The fact that very few people will put their life on the line for the sake of morality is not a compelling case against morality, or defense of slavery.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Dany's solution to slavery is to kill the evil people. You suggested your agreement with Dany's approach when you incited Dany's golden collar. 

No I did not, this is an absurd claim.

This is a classic straw man, make up poor arguments for the other side and face those instead of what is actually being discussed.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

When you refer to Dany's golden collar to posit this concept of theme, you're lumping all the slaves and servants and heaven knows who else into the same category of "slave" with Daenerys. The only unifying characteristic between a slave like Grey Worm and a servant like the blue eyed chattering sixteen-year-old girl in Illyrio's  manse is that Somebody Is The Boss Of Them. But their circumstances are as different as heaven and hell. This exhibits the disregard for individuation that I was highlighting. And it's this very disregard that is felt most severely by the vulnerable people in the story when powerful characters like Daenerys are guilty of it too. Gosh, even Dany expresses doubts all throughout the story about whether it was wrong to harm so many innocent and less-guilty people in the collateral of harming the more-guilty people. 

So any time you refer to a common characteristic you are lumping people together? I mean sure, that's the point of referring to a common characteristic.

The topic here is slavery, and that slavery is wrong.

It's wrong when it's Grey Worm, Its wrong when its Illyrio's child sex slave, it's wrong when it's Dany a main character of the series.

Slavery is inherently wrong.

It's not wrong because of the lifestyle it affords, it's not wrong because of the metal the collar is made out of.

Slavery is wrong.

Changing any society has costs, if these costs are worth it is something that can be looked at from a practical perspective, but that doesn't change the point here.

Slavery is wrong.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

I couldn't agree more with everything you said here, except that your notion that I've wandered off the deep end shows me that you haven't internalized my point that slavery comes from the innate nature within each and every human being rather than just certain human beings. As Tyrion points out, if you think you're the one in ten thousand people who would elect to starve to death before offering yourself into bondage to somebody who can keep you fed, you're almost certainly wrong. And if you think you're the one in ten million people who would allow his child to starve to death before offering him and yourself into bondage to somebody who can keep you fed, you're definitely wrong.

Tyrion's commentary highlights that very few people dare to brave these dilemmas even in their own thoughts, because they're unpleasant to think about, and the honest answers to them are not ones we like to acknowledge about ourselves. But placing ourselves in the shoes of the characters is the story's fundamental challenge to us, and the story shows no reason why we're exempt from doing the same for the people across Essos. More than that, I have studied this story long enough that I can assure you that the story and author are winding up thematic haymaker critiques of its readers (and its genre) for neglecting to rise to this challenge regarding the slaves and slave masters in slaving societies. 

This does not read like you understood me, let alone agree.

The point is that it isn't much of a choice at all! Tyrion is being an entitled fool, as he is want to be.

I think you are wildly misguided in your understanding of the story and its direction.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

This belongs in the bad-faith argumentation category of Accuse The Other Person Of Doing Exactly What You're Doing. When I delineate an intricacy of a character's or the story's behavior, you deduce my motives from it. And worse, you're wrong every time you do it. The purpose of it is obviously to misrepresent me, which is why you're happy to respond to the answers you made up for me before I've answered them. As you continue to demonstrate your bad faith like this, you aren't going to like it as I continue to expose it while simultaneously wrapping up your anti-theme attitudes in A Song of Ice and Fire's themes and serving them back to you. 

No. More word salad that misses the point.

I don't care about your motives.

I'm pointing out that the rhetoric you are using is that of slave apologists and genocidal maniacs. It's not clear to me whether you recognize this and are trying to obfuscate or if you are genuinely oblivious.

It's not bad faith to point out where this misguided viewpoint leads.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Using the audience's usual meaning of the word slave, everyone who ever had to answer to anyone about anything can fairly be added to the category of slave. Smallfolk, knights, princes, princesses, queens, Illyrio's servants, unsullied, the Dothraki slaves and generals alike all fit into this category together. It's absurd.

No!

Having to answer to someone else does not make you a slave. That's a ridiculous and inaccurate definition.

Being an employee or even a servant is not the same as being a slave. Smallfolk are not slaves, knights are not slaves, queens are not slaves, this is all extremely wrong and absurd.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

Furthermore, with this approach there is apparently no need to differentiate between the conditions of these people when doling out our criticisms of slavery, characters or even other readers. Why? Because the purpose of the ciriticisms is no greater than to broadcast to our peers that we're morally superior to other people, even if those other people don't really exist and we have to constantly perpetuate the illusion that they do exist by accusing everybody who dares to share a thought more complex than Slavery Is Bad of being pro-slavery. The whole thing is dumb, and fewer and fewer people are satisfied with it anymore. Okay, we get it, you're not a slaveowner. But neither is anybody else on the continent, so calm down. Because this story is way deeper than you're giving it credit and the rest of us are trying to talk about it.

More word salad that misses the point of the discussion to try and shoot at straw men.

Your whole case here is dumb, and you seemingly don't even understand what the word slave means.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

don't suppose you are representative of the forum or site at large, but when you make a comment like this I think I can safely say that you embarrass a lot of people. If these thinly veiled ad hominem attacks are genuinely all you have to offer and you can't draw from the story to attack the ideas rather than the person, then I worry that I have wasted half a decade of my spare time puzzling out how this story ends only to cast pearls before swine. 

I'm not claiming to represent anyone but myself, nor do I care if you are embarrassed.

It's not ad hominin to call the rhetoric of slavery apologists what it is.

But yes, obviously if these are the conclusions you have come to you have been wasting your time, that doesn't mean you need to keep wasting it, you can try to learn.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

In that case, I have honest questions for you that I genuinely want the answers to. If the story's message about slavery is ultimately Slavery Is Bad, then what is your explanation for Illyrio's cooks being fat?

A combination of behavior and genetics? They eat more calories than they burn?

Once again, the point you seem to not grasp here is that slavery is bad.

It's bad when slaves are mistreated. It's bad when slaves are well treated. The treatment of the slave does not change that it's slavery. Slavery is bad.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:
  1. The author could have easily written this part of the story so that the cooks are skinny and starving. Wouldn't that be a better way to portray the evil of their enslavement? Being near as fat as Illyrio, there's no plausible way that the truth of the situation is that the cooks are stealing food and Illyrio doesn't know about it. So Illyrio knows that they're eating a lot, and yet he never puts a stop to it before they're near as fat as he is. Why do you suppose that is?

All slaves are not treated the same, this doesn't mean slavery is ok when the slaves are well fed.

This is insane.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:
  1. The author could have written it so that the cooks are only a little overweight. Surely writing it that way would have lended enough plausibility to the stealing-food-in-secret interpretation, thereby preserving the plausibility of Illyrio being cruel to them regarding food and the plausibility of the slavery theme being Slavery Is Bad.

Slavery being wrong isn't based on how much slaves are fed, how well slaves are being fed is not the basis for slavery being wrong.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:
  1. The author could have written it so that the cooks appeared in Dany's first chapter. Why did the author wait to introduce them five books later? Do you think Martin simply felt the need to add more characters to a story that already has thousands of characters? Is the addition of the cooks and all the bits of information about them nothing more than idle world building for the sake of world building? 

This is a dumb hypothetical.

Why didn't the author introduce a character earlier? This is not a compelling case for anything, let alone slavery not being bad.

15 hours ago, Lissasalayaya said:

I have a lot more questions like these, but those are good enough for now. My purpose in asking them is to get you to bring your concept of metatext to the foreground and turn it into text so that we can read it as plainly as I've presented my concept of the metatext. Here are my answers:

  1. The author made the cooks near as fat as Illyrio because their weight stands in criticism of both Dany's and the reader's notion that Illyrio's servants are slaves in truth rather than servants. 
  2. The author didn't make the cooks slightly overweight because that could plausibly be interpreted as though the cooks are stealing food behind Illyrio's back. The author wanted to obliterate that interpretation so that there can be no question that Illyrio's supposedly cruel treatment of his servants is glaringly absent. 
  3. The author waited to introduce the cooks until five books later because he wanted the readers to carry Dany's interpretation of the servants/slaves for a long time without challenging it and placing the obese cooks in the story in Dany's first chapter would have given away the trick too early.

You are apologizing for slavery, and painfully misinterpreting the story.

Edited by Mourning Star
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On 7/21/2022 at 3:09 PM, James West said:

He was a sell sword and maybe he still is.  A more powerful entity is buying his services to put the Targaryens back in power.  The three eggs are not something you give away without purpose.  Somebody forced him to give the eggs away.   

do you have any suggestions on who?

 

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On 7/18/2022 at 4:44 PM, Moiraine Sedai said:

He claims to want a job in Kingslanding. It’s not good enough an explanation. Master of Coin is not of itself a guarantee of more wealth. Unless he’s corrupt. But if he could make slavery legal everywhere his wealth would multiply. Westeros has an abundance of people in the large cities like Kingslanding and Oldtown. Prince Viserys would have found himself heavily indebted to the magisters and Khal Drogo. Can he really refuse to legalize slavery in his kingdom? It is something to consider carefully. It is a possible explanation for the Magister’s motives.  

He fell in love with a Blackfyre and they have a son. The boy called Aegon. Love for a woman can twist a man to do something crazy. 

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