Jump to content

The Strangeness of the First Book


Craving Peaches
 Share

Recommended Posts

Some of those things stood out to me too: specifically the whole Warden thing.  Obviously that is due to George Martin's gardening style, and the Warden issue is one of the weeds he cut out of his garden.

I wasn't sure how the Wardens worked, anyway.  Were the Tyrells the Wardens of the South, or the Baratheons?  How can there be eight kingdoms (excluding the Crownlands), but only four wardens?  What warden do the Riverlands or Dorne fall under?  What power does the lord of the "kingdom" have if they must follow orders of a warden from another kingdom?  All those questions don't really matter anymore since they seem to be removed from the story, other than a throw-away line much later that Robert Arryn was later confirmed Warden of the East after all (if I remember correctly, which I might not).

Another major "weed" that seemed to be trimmed away after the first book was the dangerous threat of the Hill Tribes of the Vale.  In the first book, it seemed like a Vale resident should be too terrified to go out their front door without being attacked by a hundred tribesmen.  They were far more "wild" than the "Wildlings", and it was a major plot point that Tyrion got them under his control.  They were mentioned in the second book but most of their actions were off-page, like they were a loose end that George Martin regretted, and then they were anticlimactically sent back to the Vale at the end of the book without making a fuss.  We barely hear about them again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, StarkTullies said:

Some of those things stood out to me too: specifically the whole Warden thing.  Obviously that is due to George Martin's gardening style, and the Warden issue is one of the weeds he cut out of his garden.

I wasn't sure how the Wardens worked, anyway.  Were the Tyrells the Wardens of the South, or the Baratheons?  How can there be eight kingdoms (excluding the Crownlands), but only four wardens?  What warden do the Riverlands or Dorne fall under?  What power does the lord of the "kingdom" have if they must follow orders of a warden from another kingdom?  All those questions don't really matter anymore since they seem to be removed from the story, other than a throw-away line much later that Robert Arryn was later confirmed Warden of the East after all (if I remember correctly, which I might not).

Another major "weed" that seemed to be trimmed away after the first book was the dangerous threat of the Hill Tribes of the Vale.  In the first book, it seemed like a Vale resident should be too terrified to go out their front door without being attacked by a hundred tribesmen.  They were far more "wild" than the "Wildlings", and it was a major plot point that Tyrion got them under his control.  They were mentioned in the second book but most of their actions were off-page, like they were a loose end that George Martin regretted, and then they were anticlimactically sent back to the Vale at the end of the book without making a fuss.  We barely hear about them again.

I think the Warden system was established in-universe by the Targaryens during the conquest, possibly to denote the most powerful kingdoms. Since Dorne wasn't conquered or brought under the Seven Kingdoms until more than 150 years into the Targaryens' rule, that would explain why the Reach was regarded as the southernmost of the kingdoms at that point in time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Where was Robert Arryn going to be fostered? Casterly Rock or Dragonstone?

Jon Arryn intended to foster him with Stannis but after his death, Cersei planned for him to be fostered at Casterly Rock. The issue isn’t raised again due to the neutrality of the Vale I think.

 

18 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Possible Foreshadowing for Abandoned Plotlines

Those can be interpreted as just usual descriptions of characters, like robb looking like Ned for the first time in Catelyns eyes in Catelyn iii. 

Quote

Pacing 

The first book spans a year. The next two span another year(1 year in two books) while the last two are set over six months. It’s also shorter than the others 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, StarkTullies said:

Another major "weed" that seemed to be trimmed away after the first book was the dangerous threat of the Hill Tribes of the Vale.  In the first book, it seemed like a Vale resident should be too terrified to go out their front door without being attacked by a hundred tribesmen.  They were far more "wild" than the "Wildlings", and it was a major plot point that Tyrion got them under his control.  They were mentioned in the second book but most of their actions were off-page, like they were a loose end that George Martin regretted, and then they were anticlimactically sent back to the Vale at the end of the book without making a fuss.  We barely hear about them again.

I think it's mentioned that they are better armed than before but apart from that no one seems to speak about them anymore. It's odd because they made travelling in the vale without a large escort quite dangerous.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Daenerysthegreat said:

The first book spans a year. The next two span another year(1 year in two books) while the last two are set over six months. It’s also shorter than the others 

Yes but ACoK is larger and ASoS is spilt into to volumes, so in terms of pacing to page ratio the first book wins.

Edited by Craving Peaches
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

The first book, a Game of Thrones, is my favourite. However after reading all of the subsequent books and then going back to the first one, you do start to notice some oddities.

1. Things Made to be Big Problems that aren't brought up again.

  • Where was Robert Arryn going to be fostered? Casterly Rock or Dragonstone? Ned spends quite a lot of time thinking about this but after GoT it's not really mentioned again and no one seems to care.
  • Jaime becoming Warden of the East and West. Obviously this never happens because Cersei makes Daven the new Warden of the West and Robert dies, but no one else seems to even care about the possibility. Robert makes a big fuss about Robert Arryn not being WotE, because of how sickly he is, but Tywin ends up just giving him the title anyway. Now Tywin does this to mollify Lysa, however at this point Robert's concerns over the issue would still be valid. The kingdom is still at war, if for whatever reason the Vale armies are needed wouldn't Tywin want someone more able in charge?

2. Possible Foreshadowing for Abandoned Plotlines

  • There's some possible foreshadowing for Jaime ending up being king.
  • Also some foreshadowing for Tyrion becoming king, but whether this plotline has been abandoned I'm not sure.

The issue with this is that it makes it hard for me to tell which parts I should still be regarding as foreshadowing that is going to pay off, and which parts aren't foreshadowing anymore because the plot has been discarded.

3. Weird Value of Money

Now this is an issue not just found in the first book, but it seems to be particularly bad here.

  • The main issue is the case of Anguy spending all his prize money on hookers and cocaine whores and wine. Even taking into account that he was visiting all the upper-class brothels, hiring the most expensive prostitutes and drinking the most expensive wine, it still doesn't seem feasible that he could burn through 9000 gold dragons in just a few days.
  • How did Robert manage to accumulate so much debt? Someone(s) has done the maths for this - By Popular Demand: “Who Stole Westeros?” | Race for the Iron Throne (wordpress.com). Robert would have to hold a ridiculous number of tourneys a year all with big prizes like the Hand's Tourney. But he can't have been - those prizes are noted to be well above normal tourney prizes. Aside from Balon's short-lived rebellion, the Throne hasn't been at war. There has been over a decade of peace. What was Robert spending all that money on? Hunting and feasting? And to accumulate this much debt, he'd have to have burnt through the 'full treasury' Aerys left as well. The conclusion that the writer came to, which I agree with, is that Littlefinger, not Robert, is responsible for the debt. Robert's hedonism alone still wouldn't be enough. But if what is intended by the book is that it is Robert's fault, it doesn't make any sense.
  • The Weight of the Hand's Tourney Winnings. The Hound wins the jousting, which has a 40,000 dragons prize. But how would he ever transport this without mechanical aid? The winnings are too large to just be put in purses and handed over. The winners would need carts or something else to carry them. And yet this is never mentioned. Later the Brotherhood Without Banners takes the remaining part of the Hounds Winnings. If it had been reduced to a size where he could carry it around, what on earth was he spending it on? He doesn't seem to have any hobbies or much in the way of expenses to pay...

4. Pacing

The first book (and the second and third books to an extent) is paced much more quickly than the later books. Less time is spent on 'setting the scene'. The characters move around a lot more. More happens in a single chapter. The POVs are also less spread out.

5. Characters acting differently to how they do in later books

Obviously some of this is due to character development, but even so I think some of them act a bit strangely. Jaime, to me, feels much more overtly villainous in the first book. An example is when he attacks Eddard. He is always shown to be rash and short tempered (though this starts to change with the loss of his hand). But the way in which he attacks Eddard, kills his men but then just leaves him there crippled rather than trying to kill him, seems a little odd. Maybe he thought better of killing the King's best friend, but then why did he attack in the first place? Another issue is Stannis. In the second and later books Stannis is described as being all about duty, but this doesn't line up with how he acts in the first book. There may have been a threat to his life, but his duty should still come before anything else. It doesn't matter that he was passed over for Hand. Either Stannis is just a big hypocrite or...

6. Background to Robert's Small Council/Kingsguard

Who was Master of X before the ones we see in the Book? They can't all have been present from day one. When did each member join? With some of them (Renly, Petyr) it sounds like they joined at quite a young age, but no one brings this up. Also, who was in the Kingsguard before Ser Arys Oakheart? He wasn't there since day one because he only joined in 290 AC. Was someone else in his slot or was it just left empty?

7. Other inconsistencies with later books

  • Eddard mentions that Jaime is heir to Casterly Rock. But as we all know, KG can't inherit. Why would he say this?
  • Renly's eye colour changes between this book and A Clash of Kings - he is described by Sansa as having green eyes when they meet in the Riverlands, but when Catelyn sees him at Bitterbridge he has blue eyes.

A lot of this can probably be put down to things having not been fleshed out yet, and minor oversights. But still, some of the more important things in later books actively conflict with the first book.  For example, the bit about Kingsguard not inheriting is quite important to Jaime's later plot. Why is this?

(Let me know if I missed anything. I want to make a comprehensive list.)

Ok hear me sounding out some ideas about some of the financials!

Anguys massive losses: now it strikes me that LF has turned part of kl into a medieval vegas with whores, wine and probably expensive gambling (he seems very much into gambling as we see and whores houses and dice+ card  games etc go hand in hand historicaly ). Anguy is a commoner who probably got taken for a ride by the high end westerosi merchants too (pun intended) with every purchase , probably gambled while drunk (and possibly got stolen as little from to as we know whores do)..in other words just like a modern working guy who wins a small fortune he can lose it in medieval vegas very quickly if hes not careful!  a guy of anguys age with that much cash we can assume was living the medieval version of a rap stars lifestyle for a short period...all fun and flashy women, gambling poorly, drunkenly buying everyone in the house drinks for a few  cheers, fancy lodgings  and clothes and the finest wine, food (its said he ordered roast swan )  . 

 

The.hounds winnings: we know westeros links to the iron bank and many smaller essoso and probably westerosi equivalents. It wouldnt be unthinkable that such a massive sum was given largely in credit. That its known he is owed 40k dragons by the crown and thus can borrow against that with merchants etc

Or 

He simply given what he can carry then and there like anguy and the rest of what hes owed can be taken from the treasury anytime he needs ...another addition to the big debt pile. Given he spends almost all his cash in LFs whorehouses and drinking places anyway  it wouldnt be hard to keep tabs of it all. Unlike poor anguy we can assume the hound is regular winner or top placer in these tourneys and has a lannister retainer to draw on too.

 

Roberts debt: this one is tricky as we know the coffers are swolen after the mad king  and LF replaces people at all levels to seemingly massively increase the money flow due to them being competent and not getting positions by birth.

Now we know robert likes tourneys which are probably extravagant and vists the same 'medieval vegas' anguy vists yet on the regular but this wouldnt explain the huge gap in finances and/or having  a wife with expensive tastes (like her own spy network) and rich in laws to try and keep up with.

Now we know right after he came to power there was war vs the iron isles which may have been expensive too esp as it was shipbased

Theres also we are told roberts great need to be liked....he may have forgiven or given breaks to taxes due to his crown just to be liked esp in the uber rich reach region where he was always nervous about its loyalty.

Littlefingers finaces may be partly to blame, he unquestionably was skimming and probably inflating revenues but also unlike most masters or coin was investing and specualting....so while the crown may have great debts it may also have multiple various .long term investments paying off that only LF can follow in his paper spiders web! Another half truth he may have left out when telling others of the crowns 'debts' 

Edited by astarkchoice
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only one of these that really bother me is the money part, because.....yeah....the vast amounts don't quite make sense.  At least not the prizes.

I do agree that Baelish intentionally bankrupted the Iron Throne to destabilize the country.  And if we look back at history and some of the fortunes collected by various rules truly was crazy.  When Wilhelm abdicated the german throne at the end of WW1 dozens of rail-cars had to be used to move his fortunes and belongings to his new home.  So....yeah.  The debt seems realistic, although I'm not sure what it was actually spent on.....

But the prizes being given out and then somehow spent on vice in a short period of time don't make sense if, for example, a golden dragon is truly 100% gold.  Nobody could spend what Anguy spent on hookers in as short a period as what took place in the book.  I don't care WHAT services she was providing, there aren't enough hours in the day.

I suppose somebody with too much time on their hands could look at the real-world actual prices of things around ~1300-1400 and provide some kind of actual valuation for Westerosi money...an adjustment so-to-speak.  I think the easiest direct comparison would be to look at some of the ransoms paid in the books, and comparable ransoms paid or demanded in real history.

As it happens....I have too much time on my hands :huh:.

According to Jaime, a fair ransom for a Knight from a noble house is 300 golden dragons.  Back in the mid 1300's, Bertrand du Guesclin, a high ranking military commander for the French, a Knight, was ransomed back to the throne for 100,000 francs.  In modern terms, that equates to roughly 15,000 dollars....which would have been a huge amount of money in the 1300s.

So....we can estimate, roughly, that 300 golden dragons equates to $15,000.  And, if we adjust that for inflation since the 1300's (about 10,000%), that would even more roughly equate to $1.5 million....which....actually....is a pretty accurate figure in terms of some of the high profile kidnapping/ransom situations in recent history.  So the figure is actually plausible.

But......if 300 golden dragons is equivalent to 1.5 million dollars in today's money.....Anguy burnt through $45 million dollars in whores.  Death by snu-snu, basically.  Anguy certainly has some faults, but stamina is not on the list.

Edited by Ring3r
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I think it's mentioned that they are better armed than before but apart from that no one seems to speak about them anymore. It's odd because they made travelling in the vale without a large escort quite dangerous.

If I recall correctly, it was the route into the Vale that they made dangerous, not the Vale itself.  Winter has made that route impassable, I believe, so they are less of a factor.  Plus a bunch of the ones that followed Tyrion went other places, like the Kingswood.

I have noticed that AGOT is leaner and quicker than the subsequent books.  Also, the chapters are, on average, 2/3 the length of the ones in Feast and Dance.  Those two did feel a bit flabby.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't there also a plot hole about how many sons Doran Martell has in the first book, while ignoring that Arianne is his heir. I think it's in Sansa's second to last chapter, where she begs Joffrey to spare her fathers life. It's very minor, but I recall that Sansa says something like "Doran Martell and all his sons", which always sounded strange to me, because it should have been "both his sons".

Edited by sifth
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, sifth said:

Isn't there also a plot hole about how many sons Doran Martell has in the first book, while ignoring that Arianne is his heir. I think it's in Sansa's second to last chapter, where she begs Joffrey to spare her fathers life. It's very minor, but I recall that Sansa says something like "Doran Martell and all his sons", which always sounded strange to me, because it should have been "both his sons".

I think that was one of the things that was changed later but good spot. I will add.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...