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Westerosi Superiority ... or Inferiority?


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Superior: no slaves (except the Ironborn, arguably)

Inferior: intolerance towards many religions and other races, patriarchal feudal society, hang ups regarding sex, almost no class mobility

 

(To be clear, I’m using Braavos and the Summer Isles as my barometer for the ways in which Westeros is inferior. I know most places in Essos have similarly severe issues)

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On 4/1/2024 at 1:17 PM, James Steller said:

Superior: no slaves (except the Ironborn, arguably)

Inferior: intolerance towards many religions and other races, patriarchal feudal society, hang ups regarding sex, almost no class mobility

 

(To be clear, I’m using Braavos and the Summer Isles as my barometer for the ways in which Westeros is inferior. I know most places in Essos have similarly severe issues)

I wouldn't necessarily call tolerance of a religion that burns people alive a good thing

that sort of thing was frowned upon even when otherwise good religions did it for entirely good reason.

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16 minutes ago, Alden Rothack said:

I wouldn't necessarily call tolerance of a religion that burns people alive a good thing

that sort of thing was frowned upon even when otherwise good religions did it for entirely good reason.

Honest question: in the ASOIAF canon, how widespread was the R'hllor followers' burning people? Beyond Melissandra, I mean. Yes, the Valyrians did it on a huge scale and paid the price, but since The Doom?

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On 4/1/2024 at 6:36 PM, KingoftheRiversandtheHills said:

In what ways are the 7ish Kingdoms of Westeros superior and/or inferior to the rest of the known world?

I'd say it's kind of like in the Medieval Age there was nothing superior about European society compared to Asia and other civilizations. Europe got an edge in naval and military technology. Westeros is fortunate that Aegon I aside, Essosians have never shown any real interest in invading it since the Andals. Most of the 'advanced' cultures focus on trading and use armies and navies to protect trade. The exception is the Dothraki and they of course famously won't cross the sea.

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2 minutes ago, House Cambodia said:

Honest question: in the ASOIAF canon, how widespread was the R'hllor followers' burning people? Beyond Melissandra, I mean. Yes, the Valyrians did it on a huge scale and paid the price, but since The Doom?

We don't know but my impression is that its strongly associated with them in the mind of most people

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1 minute ago, Alden Rothack said:

We don't know but my impression is that its strongly associated with them in the mind of most people

Yeah, I'm not sure about that. Even Melissandra is only interested in royal blood, and she's weird.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, House Cambodia said:

Honest question: in the ASOIAF canon, how widespread was the R'hllor followers' burning people? Beyond Melissandra, I mean. Yes, the Valyrians did it on a huge scale and paid the price, but since The Doom?

It's pretty famous in Volantis and they supposedly have a pretty awesome temple to him. Also, Asshai where Melisandre hales from. Not sure about the rest of Essos. 

Edited by KingoftheRiversandtheHills
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1 minute ago, Alden Rothack said:

Well Thoros also really likes fire

Mel also burns other people when she can get permission to do so

I'm not disputing fire-god worshippers like fire! Thoros never burnt anyone as a sacrifice. Strange Mel, who quite possibly profoundly misunderstands her religion, is the only person I can think of who burns people as sacrifices to the god.

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1 minute ago, KingoftheRiversandtheHills said:

It's pretty famous in Volantis and they supposedly have a pretty awesome temple to him. Also, Asshai where Melisandre hales from. Not sure about the rest of Essos. 

Open question, because I simply can't remember, but is there any passage where it's said the Volantines burn people as sacrifices to R'hllor? I only remember the preaching about Dany. Asshai is simply a complete mystery.

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Just now, House Cambodia said:

I'm not disputing fire-god worshippers like fire! Thoros never burnt anyone as a sacrifice. Strange Mel, who quite possibly profoundly misunderstands her religion, is the only person I can think of who burns people as sacrifices to the god.

Thoros likely knew that he would be the second one on the fire if he did and unlike Mel wasn't deluded enough to like the idea

I have my doubts that Mel misunderstands her religion, her misunderstanding is that shes actually in the right

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4 minutes ago, Alden Rothack said:

Thoros likely knew that he would be the second one on the fire if he did and unlike Mel wasn't deluded enough to like the idea

I have my doubts that Mel misunderstands her religion, her misunderstanding is that shes actually in the right

So apart from Mel, as far as we know, none of the millions of followers of R'hllor practised or even preached the burning of people as sacrifices to their god.

Edited by House Cambodia
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2 minutes ago, House Cambodia said:

So apart from Mel, as far as we know, none of the millions of followers of R'hllor practised or even preached the burning of people as sacrifices to their god.

Well we know basically nothing about other followers of the fire god

so technically yes

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11 minutes ago, House Cambodia said:

Open question, because I simply can't remember, but is there any passage where it's said the Volantines burn people as sacrifices to R'hllor? I only remember the preaching about Dany. Asshai is simply a complete mystery.

Good point, I can't find anything on the burning of people. However, while checking I found out that most of the free cities have a temple to R'hllor, even Braavos, so it seems to have chilled out since I don't think that Braavos will allow a group that burns people alive in the city. 

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1 minute ago, KingoftheRiversandtheHills said:

Good point, I can't find anything on the burning of people. However, while checking I found out that most of the free cities have a temple to R'hllor, even Braavos, so it seems to have chilled out since I don't think that Braavos will allow a group that burns people alive in the city. 

It does seem to be the dominant religion on the continent, with no sign of being particularly radical. Contra Alden, I wouldn't say we know next to nothing, as we get a fair dose of Moqorro's beliefs when he's picked up by Victarion. It's interesting to see where he differs from Melissandre. With the Iron Born captain being more than happy to sacrifice men by flinging them overboard (and later in The Forsaken chapter we see Euron having all sorts of designs on sacrificing people), Moquorro never suggests burning anyone.

A potential plot complication for the next book, however: Dany learns that she's being hailed as Azor Ahai by the Red priesthood and masses, and she does bring fire in the form of her dragons. If there is some dimension of sacrificing people to R'hllor by fire in principle in the religion, will she be urged to make it happen?

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Superior: best military in the known world, more humane society than most other places in the world (very low bar, I know)

Inferior: apparently inferior economy, little trade (?)

Note that "little trade" even if true is not necessarily a bad thing considering what medieval trade typically brought with it as a side-effect (namely, bloody plague).

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Outside of Braavos (and possibly Lorath and Ibben and the Summer Islands), Westeros has more social mobility and is less violent than Western Essos and Slavers Bay.

The social pyramid in Myr, Pentos, Qarth, Lys, Tyrosh, Volantis and of course, Slavers Bay, is a very steep one. 75-85% of people are chattels.  The 15-25% who are free, range from poor to middling, who own a slave or two, to the super-rich, who own vast numbers of slaves.  As in Rome, among the free people, the definition of poverty likely means inability to afford even a single slave.

Life for many household slaves, or skilled artisans, soldiers, or overseers, may be tolerable.  Their skills mean it makes sense for their masters to treat them with some humanity, as well as using them to oppress the majority.  Some of them may be set free.  For the majority, fieldhands, millworkers, dung collectors, miners, prostitutes, quarrymen, life will be horrendous.  They’re just worked to death, and replaced with fresh stock.

The free cities generally seem to have a technological edge over the West.  But, Slavers Bay produces nothing culturally or technologically.

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On 4/3/2024 at 10:04 AM, SeanF said:

Outside of Braavos (and possibly Lorath and Ibben and the Summer Islands), Westeros has more social mobility and is less violent than Western Essos and Slavers Bay.

The social pyramid in Myr, Pentos, Qarth, Lys, Tyrosh, Volantis and of course, Slavers Bay, is a very steep one. 75-85% of people are chattels.  The 15-25% who are free, range from poor to middling, who own a slave or two, to the super-rich, who own vast numbers of slaves.  As in Rome, among the free people, the definition of poverty likely means inability to afford even a single slave.

Life for many household slaves, or skilled artisans, soldiers, or overseers, may be tolerable.  Their skills mean it makes sense for their masters to treat them with some humanity, as well as using them to oppress the majority.  Some of them may be set free.  For the majority, fieldhands, millworkers, dung collectors, miners, prostitutes, quarrymen, life will be horrendous.  They’re just worked to death, and replaced with fresh stock.

The free cities generally seem to have a technological edge over the West.  But, Slavers Bay produces nothing culturally or technologically.

I'd question the tech edge personally, as outside of niche technical trades their tech seems to be on par on best

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