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Is Doran Martell's lethargic scheming Martin's critique on the 47 Rōnin?


Angel Eyes
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So the 47 Rōnin (Not the 2013 film starring Keanu Reeves but the work/historical events that inspired it) is a Japanese tale about 47 samurai who, after the execution by seppuku of their lord, who waited two years, pretending to be drunkards, tradesmen, monks, etc. to seek revenge for their lord. Yamamato Tsunetomo, author of the Hagakure, criticized the approach taken by the 47 rōnin's leader Ōishi to wait, stating that he was too focused on the plan's success and the entire plan could have failed if their target, Lord Kira Yoshinaka, had died of illness before they took revenge. He considered the more honorable thing to do, as a samurai, would have been to kill Kira Yoshinaka on the spot, regardless of whether or not they could.

Martin also seems to have taken Yamamato Tsunetomo's side in focusing on another revenge-oriented planner in Doran Martell. The Prince of Dorne has spent the last 17 years since the Sack of King's Landing intending to take his revenge on the Lannisters for the death of Doran's sister Elia and her children, but his plans have fallen on the rocks due to his own inaction: someone (Tyrion) killed Tywin Lannister, Oberyn was killed by The Mountain, Doran's plans to ally with the Targaryens end with fire and gold, one of his pawns Arianne has a paranoid fit, tries to make her own plans and gets her future good-sister disfigured.

Edited by Angel Eyes
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I have no idea how we as readers are supposed to perceive Doran. For the most part, he comes across as incompetent, but other characters in the story and GRRM himself have described him as someone who plays to win. I know that this has been repeatedly discussed in the fandom, but I have not seen a consensus being reached.

Edited by Takiedevushkikakzvezdy
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7 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

Doran just seems so useless. None of his plans have worked. The only good thing he's done is keep his people out the war, and soon he'll throw that away too.

Of course; what I'm asking is the possibility that GRRM had any particular intent behind Doran's portrayal, in the manner of critique.

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

Of course; what I'm asking is the possibility that GRRM had any particular intent behind Doran's portrayal, in the manner of critique.

Maybe it's a critique on all those 'master schemer' types. In reality their plans are so luck based and convoluted that they'd never work. However we already have Varys and Littlefinger for that. Maybe it's another part of the futility of revenge theme. Doran is wasting away seeking revenge, all the overripe oranges, etc. I can't think of a specific work it would be critiquing though.

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42 minutes ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

I have no idea how we as readers are supposed to perceive Doran. For the most part, he comes across as incompetent, but other characters in the story and GRRM himself have described him as someone who plays to win. I know that this has been repeatedly discussed in the fandom, but I have not seen a consensus being reached.

There is no reason to believe he's been an incompetent ruler in Dorne. it seems to me Doran had not granted Jon Areyn an agreement all that easily and it had been as much of a fair compromise as the Dornish people could hope for. unlike Storm lands or Riverlands (and probably Reach) , there is absolutely no Dornish lands or Dornish rights taken away . and despite Robert/Cersei marriage , at least in the beginning, Robert did not grant Tywin all that he desired... no chain of the Hand , no council seat, and no releasing his golden boy from kingsgaurd vows . sure , Lannisters took power year by year , but that's on Robert and Jon. 

granted, though, Doran is as much a bad father as Ned in preparing his children for their future; which speaks volumes considering, unlike Ned, he is not naive. and he is even worse at planning revenge. however, in the last case, one has to ask which one is more important for a ruler to do .. taking revenge or ensuring peace for his people ? !

said that , I do think that GRRM has somewhat dropped the ball with the Dornish . they are as many as Starks but they are introduced to the story far too late . I do not see their characters as stupid or as unrealistic, but they have to be fleshed out in a small number of pages when all the other characters(namely Starks) have passed from their "stupidity" phase and have depth . perhaps, it would have been better if GRRM had cut some characters or reduced their roles to namedrops. in the first Aereo chapter for instance , we see Doran , Arianne , Areo himself and three sand snakes all in the same time ! in that chapter Hottah has to tell us who he is , who Doran is , what's the sand snakes backstory and so on , all of which fall short.... imagine if that chapter was focused on Arianne , Doran, and one Sand Snake representing the rest , with no Areo Hottah . 

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As to Doran's approach, I think it is the endless cycle of vengeance and death that GRRM will ultimately criticize Doran for, and not for perpetuating that endless cycle with too much patience.

His reasons for not striking sooner are beyond criticism.  He thought Dorne could not survive the resulting war with the Iron Throne.  Is he right?  How can we know?  He's the expert.  We're just people who read the books.

But it is true that justice delayed is justice denied.  The real question is, now that 17 years have past, should he leave the guilty to the Seven Gods, stop murdering children, and leave well enough alone.

Edited by Gilbert Green
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7 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

The real question is, now that 17 years have past, should he leave the guilty to the Seven Gods, stop murdering children, and leave well enough alone.

I mean everyone actually involved in murdering his family is dead now anyway. So his idiot nieces have decided for some reason they have to murder Tommen (then act surprised at a supposed plot by Cersei to kill Trystane, because Trystane is innocent, the hypocrites). It's almost like they just like killing people but need to make up some excuse. Never mind Oberyn wasn't even murdered and voluntarily entered that trial by combat.

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From Wyman Manderly the Fat Man of the North

Quote

"I am fat, and many think that makes me weak and foolish. Mayhaps Tywin Lannister was one such. I sent him back a raven to say that I would bend my knee and open my gates after my son was returned, but not before. There the matter stood when Tywindied. Afterward the Freys turned up with Wendel's bones … to make a peace and seal it with a marriage pact, they claimed, but I was not about to give them what they wanted until I had Wylis, safe and whole, and they were not about to give me Wylis until I proved my loyalty. Your arrival gave me the means to do that. That was the reason for the discourtesy I showed you in the Merman's Court, and for the head and hands rotting above the Seal Gate."


Mayhaps Doran was weak and foolish indeed because he was fat?

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10 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

I mean everyone actually involved in murdering his family is dead now anyway. So his idiot nieces have decided for some reason they have to murder Tommen (then act surprised at a supposed plot by Cersei to kill Trystane, because Trystane is innocent, the hypocrites). It's almost like they just like killing people but need to make up some excuse. Never mind Oberyn wasn't even murdered and voluntarily entered that trial by combat.

Yes.  And Doran keeps hinting to the Sand Snakes that he is really on their side.  He is not the voice of moderation or morality; he is only the voice of patience.

And there was no need for Doran to tell these bloodthirsty gals about the "supposed plot" (as you rightly call it).  Even if the story is true, there is no need to tell them unless he means to rile them up.  He does mean to rile them up, because now he intends to use them.

Only Elaria Sand objects to continuing the cycle of blood and vengeance.  Arianne might possibly be on the side of moderation, to the extent that her POV chapters suggest she might not be on board with the murder of children.

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