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Gendry: Knight or blacksmith? after a very deeply rereading focusing specifically on Gendry's character, I analyzed his personal story arc.


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Robert Baratheon was portrayed as the quintessential fighter,a formidable warrior marked by great strength,as well as his fury in battle.
These qualities enabled him to win the Iron Throne,but as soon as Robert puts down his war-hammer and places the crown on his head he becomes only a shadow of himself.
This is because he was not born to reign but to fight.
Gendry inherited Robert's strength,so it comes easy to think that he may also have inherited his "fighting spirit".
Inheriting the "fighting spirit" means inheriting the will to fight,the will to go out on the battlefield.
One of the elements that in my opinion shows that there are traces of this "fighting spirit" in Gendry, already from the beginning of his personal story arc, is the bullhead helmet.
In his introductory chapter (Eddard VII GoT) we discover that the boy has forged a bull-headed helmet and refuses to sell it to Eddard saying that heforged it for "himself."
Gendry is an apprentice smith and his goal is to become a full-fledged smith, so why does the boy refuse to sell the helmet?
He should be honored that the Hand of the King himself wants to make the purchase,plus his reputation as a good forger would grow.
Instead he refuses and justifies the refusal by saying that he forged the helmet for himself.
But why would an apprentice smith forge a helmet for himself? the helmet is a fundamental part of the armor of a warrior or knight.
So in this scene,in my opinion, the helmet is also used as a symbol to liken Gendry to the figure of the warrior/knight/fighter or whatever.
I therefore speculated that Gendry may have forged the helmet because, being more of a boy than an adult, he was fascinated by the figure of knights and that in his dreams as a little boy of the smallfolk he dreamed of becoming a knight.
In Brienne VII Feast for Crows Gendry says that he saw Robert several times during tournaments, so it means that the boy attended several tournaments and it may well be that he liked and was passionate about these joust.
Knights also feature heavily within songs and legends, and Gendry was the son of an innkeeper so he must surely have heard many of these stories and maybe he have been fascinated by some of the knightly figures.
Gendry also works for Tobho Mott,a wealthy and professional blacksmith, so it is logical to think that many knights visited Tobho's workshop.
Gendry may have met one of those knights here, and inspired by the knight's helmet he forges himself a similar one.
In today's society a child can dream of becoming a "superhero" no matter what class or social status he was born in.
I think it also works the same way in Westeros, and the figure of the "superhero" is replaced by that of the "knight" so it is normal that even a child of the smallfolk can chase the same dream as a noble child...and that's to become a knight(hero).
All this talk is also supported and strengthened by the fact that in Gendry's veins runs the blood of Robert, that is the blood of the warrior.
So even if Gendry is just a boy from the smallfolk he would still be unconsciously driven toward battle by the blood flowing in his veins.
However, Gendry is very realistic and aware of his social position, in fact he knows that he is a nobody and that it is virtually impossible for him to to become a knight,in fact this concept would remain tied only to a "childhood dream" of him.
Let us then analyze Gendry's attitude toward his helmet.
Gendry repeatedly polishes his helmet but is reluctant to wear it...why is this detail brought up again and again by Martin?
Perhaps because Gendry is very conscious of the fact that he is not a warrior but only a humble blacksmith, and so that gesture of polishing and not wearing the helmet would symbolize the conflict between his dual nature as a humble blacksmith and as the son of a great warrior.
Gendry does not know that he is the son of a great warrior but as I said it's his blood,that unconsciously,drives him to perform certain actions.
In addition, helmet and sword are symbols of both the blacksmith and the knight confirming this duality present in the character, and Gendry is very often associated with both swords and helmets.
During the battle at the Holdfast against Amory Loarch's men Gendry finally overcomes reluctance, puts on his helmet and fights without backing down ,he breaks the sword given to him by Yoren but immediately retrieves another sword and returns to the fight also rescuing Arya and Weasel who were in danger.
Backed into a corner, Gendry fights and no longer thinks about his status as a commoner and unlike other commoners such as Lommy or Hotpie who want to surrender and give themselves up to the Lannisters, he doesn't conceive of surrender, both because he knows that they would most likely be killed immediately but also because the Baratheons don't surrender.
Continuing with chapter Eddard VII:
Eddard tells Tobho Mott that the boy has the look of a warrior and that if he chose to wield a sword to fight instead of forging one to send Gendry to him that he would welcome him.
This sentence in my opinion can be considered a forshadowing of Gendry's future.
In Brienne VII FFC Gendry says that he forged the sword for himself and that he will use it to fight for the Brotherhood,so Gendry has finally chosen to wield a sword, and there is also the connection to Eddard's words, because the Brotherhood is a group that Ned himself created.
There are at least two other parallelism between Eddard VII GOT and Brienne VII FFC.
The first is the "recognition of Gendry", in fact in both chapters in very similar scenes Eddard and Brienne discover that Gendry is Robert's illegitimate son.
The second parallelism in my opinion is that of the helmet and the sword, in Eddard VII Gendry tells Eddard that he forged the helmet for himself and in Brienne VII he tells Brienne that he forged the sword for himself(always helmet and sword recurring).
One detail that was very clear to me within his story arc is that Gendry chooses by himself his own destiny.(External factors like Varys,Yoren helps the boy to stay alive).
Gendry was supposed to become a blacksmith but things change when his master surrenders him to the Night's Watch and from then on he becomes one of Yoren's recruits.
The destiny as a Night's Watch perfectly fit Gendry, because it's the fate befitting a bastard (like John Snow).
Indeed, we know that many bastards and people from the smallfolk are continually sent to the Wall to fill up the ranks of the Night's Watch, which is a very different association/group and much less noble,respectable and less strong than so many years before.
The Wall today is nothing but a den of bastards,criminals and commoners with few exceptions and Gendry is part of this category of people.
However, Gendry never makes it to the Wall but instead he is captured and becomes a prisoner of war in Harrenal,where the Lannisters enslave him as a blacksmith at the forge.
The only point regarding Gendry,during his stay in Harrenal, that I want to dwell on is that the boy refuses to help Arya in freeing the Northmen.
Some might think that Gendry will not help Arya because he is scared,but instead the boy clearly explains that he will not help her because he has no intention to risk his life,since,for a commoner like him,whether the castle was ruled by lions or wolves would make no difference in fact he would remain in everyone's eyes a mere replaceable blacksmith.
Gendry refuses because the hostility toward the nobility is growing in him and because he is well aware of his position of nothingness in that context.
In fact,as it was meant to be, as soon as the castle is taken by Bolton, Gendry's condition will not change at all; on the contrary, many innocent people and workers will be hanged, as "punishment" by Roose Bolton.
It is clear that in Gendry the hatred toward the nobles is increasing exponentially,because nobles in wartime pay ransoms to each other and let die or enslave the poor people like him.
Gendry steals 3 swords from the forge and escapes from Harrenal with Arya and Hot Pie...during the escape we notice how Gendry is unable to ride,in fact it is very difficult for him and Hot Pie to stay on the saddle since, being both of humble birth, they have never ridden a horse.
Gendry has never received sword training, unlike other boys about his age but of noble birth like Robb Stark or John Snow.
Like Arya, who will receive her own assassin training in Bravoos from the Faceless Men, Gendry will most likely be trained by the Brotherhood without Banners.
In my opinion, Gendry is part of those young characters who still need training and growing up, just like Arya or even Podrick.
As with Gendry, the personal stories of Arya and Podrick also seem to lead to progressive growth of their fighting skill/strength.
So I believe Gendry will grow as a knight/warrior in the ranks of the Brotherhood just as Arya will become a deadly assassin in Bravoos and just as Podrick will grow as Brienne's "squire".
After his interlude as a recruit for the Night's Watch and the period of imprisonment,Gendry may once again choose the path of blacksmithing.
In fact,Hot Pie,who like Gendry,is part of the smallfolk and knows a job,decides to stop and work has a baker at the Kneeling Man's Inn, choosing to move away from the core of the danger that is represented by the Brotherhood without Banners.
Gendry, however, does not follow the same path as a worker chosen by Hot Pie.
If he had been a mere commoner like Hot Pie, Gendry would have chosen a similar fate too, but instead he goes on.
Gendry also does not agree to follow Arya to become Robb Stark's or Lord Tully's blacksmith because he no longer has any intention to work for the nobles since he hates them,but instead decides of his own free will to stay in the center of the conflict along with the Brotherhood,becoming a member of it.
If as I said Gendry had the dream of becoming a knight, in order to achieve it, he would have to fight, but his character could never take sides neither for the lion faction nor for the wolf faction because he does not feel represented or belonging to either of these groups,in fact he hates them.
In the ranks of the Brotherhood Gendry finally finds the one and only military group in all Westeros in which he could ever fight and make himself useful,because the Brotherhood is the only faction that is aligned with the likes of him.
By binding himself to the Brotherhood Gendry can finally have a chance for personal "revenge" to those who have taken him prisoner and threatened him with death and if he had not run into the Brotherhood he would instead have remained either a mere submissive prisoner, or a corpse because,alone, he could never have had the means to fight back and rebel.
Gendry found and chose his future and where he belongs, and he just happens to find it in the only military group that,at least at first, fights in the name of Robert Baratheon.
So it's a bit like Gendry unknowingly ends up fighting in service of his King father.
Gendry also stars in a scene in which he is knighted by Beric Dondarrion(perhaps the only direct scene of a knighting ceremony in the entire saga of the 5 main books,but I am probably wrong,but if it was though it would go to support the things I am saying).
When Beric asks the boy about why he chose to fight with them, Gendry replies that he likes the fact that the members of the Brotherhood are all brothers to each other and that Beric is a righteous knight who makes trials of his enemies unlike people like Roose Bolton,Tywin Lannister or Amory Loarch.
Gendry, however, does not immediately offer himself to the Brotherhood, but before doing so he witnesses some scenes that will surely have helped increase his desire to stay with the group.
In my opinion, these scenes are to be found mainly in the trial of Sandor Clegane and the battle against Septon Utt and the Bloody Mummers.
Gendry kneels before Beric in the same chapter in which there is the battle and subsequent hanging of Septon Utt and the other Mummers.
So Gendry witnesses a military action of the Brotherhood and I think that action definitely impressed,fascinated and convinced him to stay with them,just as much as the fact that the Brotherhood defends the defenseless smallfolks or that Beric always gives trials and does not hang random people without restraint as his tormentors did.
So one of the subtextual elements would be that Gendry,also unconsciously moved by his Baratheon blood, seeks and finally finds battle with the Brotherhood.
It seems clear to me Gendry's respect and esteem for Beric Dondarrion,who in his eyes is a just,unblemished and honorable leader and knight(even in mine opinion,poor Beric).
Analyzing the situation, however, it comes almost impossible to believe that Gendry is really a knight...the boy is of humble birth,does not know how to fight with a sword and does not know how to ride (I have already explained though that Gendry still has to grow/train as well as Arya or Pod).
If Gendry started trainig with the sword now,he would begin to know the rudiments of swordsmanship but he would not be up to the standard of other characters who have been training for much longer than him,but that does not mean that Gendry could not become a worthy opponent for them.
Duncan the Tall,being of humble birth, has never received proper training with the sword and has encountered during his travels some knights quite more skilled than him in fencing but in that case Duncan used his physical strength and wrestling to compensate for his lack of skill and training with the sword, almost always ending up defeating his opponents.
Perhaps Gendry could do the same thing with the strength he inherited from Robert that is always praised by a variety of characters throughout his story arc.
In any case, the figure of the "fake outlaw knight" fits him well, but not that of a "pure knight", which is surely more suitable for a nobleman.
In my opinion, being a "fake outlaw knight" also means being a kind of "not a knight" reconnected to the fact that during his narrative Gendry is associated and linked with the characters of Brienne(in a major way) and Sandor(in a minor way) who both embody the figure of the "not a knight".
I also find it interesting that at the very moment when Gendry is knighted and becomes this sort of "not a knight outlaw" Sandor Clegane shows up.
Here Martin choose to makes appear another character who in his own way is a "not a knight" character(however a veteran "not a knight",unlike Gendry who has just become one) and the two(Gendry and Sandor) have even a small quarrel.
Sandor hates knights and knighthood and that is when he arrives to mock Gendry and the other fakes knights of the Brotherhood by apostrophizing them as mere thieves and outlaws.
I am not quite clear why Martin chooses to have Sandor appear exactly an instant after Gendry's ceremony but my guess is that it has to do with a concept concerning knighthood, since Sandor's character is tied to this theme and for me so is Gendry's character.
At this point Arya and Gendry take different paths and this separation acquires even more meaning when we think that they both have to grow up and become "fighters capable of defending themselves", which until now neither has really been able to do.
They must, however, grow up separately,each during their own personal journey, Arya in Bravoos and Gendry in the Riverlands,which is why I say that their separation makes sense for the purposes of the narrative.
Up to this point Arya and Gendry have remained passive and at the mercy of danger and events,and to survive they very often rely on luck and on their good survival skills,but neither of them really knows how to fight.
Gendry then reappears in Brienne VII Feast for Crows.
It has been quite some time since Gendry last appeared in the narrative so it may well be that during this time he began to training in combat as well as forging.
Moreover, Martin chooses Gendry's character to LINK BRIENNE to the Brotherhood and from that point on we will again have a POV character who will show us the recent exploits and current status of Lady Stoneheart's group.
This is to say that Gendry's role is not just relegated to that of blacksmith,in fact the boy is doing quite a bit more...he kills Biter,rescues Brienne and captures her escorting her to Lady Stoneheart(in Brienne VIII Gendry is portrayed as a kind of jailer of Brienne).
So his role within the Brotherhood is just as ACTIVE as that of Tom Seven who is spying inside the Lannister camp.
Once again Martin chooses to tie Gendry to another character we can call "not a knight" and that's Brienne.
Brienne recognizes Gendry as Robert's illegitimate son and also comes to the conclusion that Stannis's words to the South were true,namely that the Lannisters are traitors and sit on the Iron Throne there isn't a Baratheon but the son born of incest between Cersei and Jaime,as we know, however, Brienne doesn't make it in time to reveal Gendry's identity because they are interrupted by the arrival of the Bloody Mummers.
In this chapter we also see a kind of brief complicity between Gendry and Brienne and that is when they both notice and recognize the helmet of the Hound,in fact they both have a connection with him...Gendry hates him because he believes he kidnapped and hurt Arya and even before the kidnapping he didn't think much of him,Brienne,on the other hand, was on his trail to find the Stark girl he is desperately looking for(although obviously this Hound is not Sandor but rather Rorge,but they cannot know because the helmet covers his face).
Re-reading the chapter carefully it seemed to me that the two are actually teaming up when they realize the danger.
At the end of the chapter Brienne kills Rorge and is attacked by Biter who is about to kill her until Gendry intervenes with a spear.
The detail of killing Biter is very important for Gendry's character and his "growth" as a warrior.
If we analyze the secondary villains in the Riverlands most of them come from two groups, the Mountain's Men of Gregor Clegane and the Bloody Mummersof Vargo Hoat.
And who kills these assholes?
-Brienne kills Rorge,Shagwell,Tymon and Pig.
-Sandor kills Polliver
-Arya kills Tickler and Raff
-Gendry kills Biter
These 4 are all characters who,either are warriors like Brienne and Sandor, or will become warriors like Arya and Gendry(Arya won't be the classic "warrior" but an assassin type one like Jaqen).
I would also add Podrick to this list because he takes out Mandon Moore that is also a secondary villain(of the Capital).
Great knights always kill primary or secondary villains, precisely because in all kinds of narratives especially fantasy the "hero" defeats villains and gains fame.
Arthur Dayne back in the days killed the Smiling Knight,Barristan Selmy kills Maelis Blackfire,Duncan the Tall kills Daemon III Targaryen and so on...
Killing Biter who in his conception of a character is more of a monster than a human being,as his first official kill,is a great way for Gendry to begin a career as a future warrior/knight.
Knights must be honorable and follow the code of chivalry.
They must be brave,just,pure and devoted.
They must defend the innocent,the weak and women.
They must be strong and trained for battle.
Gendry possesses several positive qualities despite being an extremely angry,grumpy,hostile and rude character.
Some of his good-guy qualities can be considered values compatible with those that a good knight should possess.
Here are some of the positive actions Gendry takes in the course of his story arc:
-when Arry is being bullied by Lommy and Hot Pie, Gendry intervenes.
Gendry tries to help an unknown child solely because it bothers him that two older boys are picking on someone smaller and weaker.
-Gendry will never reveal Arya's secret,even in situations where he is most in danger,proving himself very loyal,trustworthy and with a word that
is worth something.
-Gendry protects the children at the Crossroads Inn...Gendry's relationship with the children is more positive than that of his own father, in fact Robert never had a good loving and paternal relationship with any of his children who were considered "legitimate" or even whit his bastards.
Moreover, we know that Robert wanted to have the Targaryen children killed, although he regrets this on his deathbed.
-Gendry decides to stay with the Brotherhood without Banners to protect the weakest.
-During the battle at the Holdfast Gendry goes back to help Arry and Weasel in danger.
-When Arya meets Lem,Tom Seven and Anguy, Gendry emerges at her side ready to fight showing courage.
-during the escape from Harrenal Gendry is the first to mount guard and the last to rest and at the inn he stays outside guarding the horses sending Arya and HotPie inside to eat first...basically Gendry knows he is bigger and stronger than his companions so he rests and eats last to safeguard the survival of the group.
-at the Peach Gendry rudely chases away a pervert who was bothering Arya,protecting her.
-Gendry scolds Lommy when the latter is about to steal objects on the graves telling him that the dead must be left alone...also showing respect for the deads.
-When Weasel's mother dies Gendry dig a hole and buries her(this could be a Duncan reference?personally i don't know but Sandor an Brienne are also characters involved in buring and digging graves)
I think he did this out of respect for a mother, since he also lost his own when he was a child.
-Gendry tries to apologize to Arya when he decides not to continue his journey with her, Arya on the other hand with her response shows herself to be quite immature.
-When at Stoney Sept's Arya decides to give water to the Northern prisoners locked in cages dying of starvation, Gendry helps her.
-Gendry saves the life of Brienne of Tarth(whom I consider a lady) and the knight saves the lady and kills the bad monster.
Other very interesting things about the character but which I cannot address now to not make too much confusion are:
-the secret of Gendry's identity related to the secret of Lannister's incest that is still a "hot" spot in the narrative.
-construction and development of Arya/Gendry's friendship/relationship.
-parallelisms and speculations Lyanna/Robert ----> Arya/Gendry.
-Gendry and Edric Storm and the future of House Baratheon.
-Gendry's conversion to the cult of Rhollr and implications.
-connections with Robert's Rebellion.
I don't think Gendry will ever become Lord of Storm's End, Edric Storm has many more claims than him.
Edric inherited Roberth's charisma while Gendry inherited his strength.
It is clear that Edric is the perfect heir for Storm's End in fact as Stannis states, the boy through his charisma has won everyone in the court of Storm's End including Castellan Penrose who even loses his life trying to protect the boy at all costs.
Gendry grew up hating the nobles who treated him like a slave and threatened him with death and I think he will never officially become one of them.
Becoming Lord of Storm's End would mean for him to step out of his line of characterization.
The fact that the boy will grow up in the ranks of the Brotherhood, that he will take some relevant military action during the coming conflict in the Riverlands,plus his identity as the son of a King being revealed could lead Gendry to becoming a landed knight, and perhaps the Tullys themselves could leave him a castle in the Riverlands at the end of the war,since the boy has made his mark by protecting the people of these lands.
Gendry then would not become a full Lord but only a landed knight who could found his own cadet branch(of house Baratheon) by adopting a personal surname(considering that he does not have one) and using the bull as his personal seal,while Edric Storm(if he survives) will continue the official Baratheon dynasty at Storm's End.
Maybe Gendry's castle will not be in the Rivers but in the Stormlands, maybe it will be Blackheaven Castle(this theory I had read on some forum...).
If we analyze the members of the Brotherhood without Vessels, the characters among them that have the most impact on the plot are Beric Dondarrion,Lady Stoneheart and Thoros of Myr.
All the other characters who are still currently part of the Brotherhood (see Harwin,Lem,Jack,Tom) are very interesting figures who will surely play an important role in later conflicts but we cannot say that they are characters with readable plot developments right now.
Gendry,on a narrative level, among these characters currently remaining in the Brotherhood (Harwin,Lem,Jack,Tom)is definitely the character with the most possibilities to growth and development because of numerous factors present and evident in his narrative, so I believe that the character who will have the greatest impact on the "future plot of the Brotherhood" will be Gendry.
Considering that he and Arya will surely meet again(as Martin already revealed in 2016) it would make more sense that,as Arya returns to Westerosas a lethal assassin of the Faceless Men, Gendry meanwhile also becomes someone more relevant and stronger within the story and within the Brotherhood.
If, on the other hand, Arya returned to Westeros,became a major character in the events of the conflict, while Gendry remained only a blacksmith at the inn,it would mean that the two would meet again after a long time in a scene that would look so much like when Arya was visiting HotPie in Harrenal's kitchens, and in my opinion this hypothesis is really absurd and to be ruled out.
Make Gendry go back to being just a mere blacksmith would mean make his character regress instead of progress, both in his personal history and in the overall story.
SUPER SPECULATION(i fantasized a lot here so take this speech with a grain of salt)
What if Gendry becomes the new leader of the Brotherhood without Banners in the future?
This hypothesis seems pretty far off to me for one simple fact...Gendry does not have Robert's charisma and to be a leader of a group like the Brotherhood you have to possess charisma and leadership skills that the boy has never shown.
But I will go on with this theory because I like it.
The current Brotherhood has morphed into a group of vengeful hangers and outlaws and is a very different and distant group from the just and honorable Brotherhood leaded in the past by Beric Dondarrion.
I think the situation within the Brotherhood is not stable and peaceful at the moment,in fact the exact opposite.
I don't think all its members have willingly agreed to become hangers and criminals,and the most disgruntled among them seems(to me) to be Thoros of Myr, who in Brienne VIII FFC is the one who explains to Brienne and the reader how the Brotherhood has become more evil after Beric's departure(in addition there is also some kind of quarrel between Lem and Thoros, and when there is a quarrel it's not a good sign).
What if at some point Thoros decides to try to depose Lady Stoneheart to try to bring the Brotherhood back to its former self?
What if there was a scene like the one between Cressen and Melisandre who are, however, represented here by Thoros and Lady Stoneheart?
Things might go like this:
Brienne will reveal Gendry's identity and Thoros will support her.
Thoros is not yet aware of the boy's identity, but when Brienne makes the revelation he only needs a glance to recognize tha the boy is the son of his close friend Robert Baratheon.
Thoros was one of Robert's closest friends, the only one besides Ned Stark who is referred to as Robert's "friend" by Martin(one question I have always wondered is why Thoros has not yet recognized the boy given his strong connection with Robert...).
The Brotherhood was founded in the name of King Robert Baratheon and has long fought in his name,if Gendry as I said will perform worthy military actions and prove to be a skilled warrior here, is that with identity revealed perhaps Gendry would gain many supporters including primarily Thoros who will see in him the son of his King friend who in the meantime without even knowing his true identity has become a sort of hero for the smallfolks(so it will grow Gendry's charisma as well).
So Thoros might support him as the new leader of the Brotherhood to try to stop Lady Stoneheart's madness and thus restore the Brotherhood to when it was an honorable group leaded now by the son of Robert.
Obviously, however, in all of this there will be other characters who will play their part such as Brienne,Jaime,Brynden Tully,Lady Stoneheart,Arya,probably Sandor and the other members of the Brotherhood...so it is virtually impossible to really know what will happen because of too many variables and probably the new leader of the Brotherhood would be Brynden Tully or the Brotherhood will definitely dissolve...
...But in any case Gendry will become a true knight.
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