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Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF

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Right, Finally got cought up. I've so enjoyed reading these essays. The Brienne & Jamie ones have been hilarious and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

I think looking at the romance in ASOIAF is important as has been said already Love and romance sexual desire and the impact of relationships are a huge and undeniable part of life and influence our actions to a great extent. To have written the story minus romance would have been both unrealistic and have taken away so very much from the plot.

In ASOIAF we are given a vast array of romantic tales. From Ned and catelyns grounded and stock love to the abusive loveless marriage of Robert & Cersei. And the lust fueled obsession of Daenerys & Daario. to the Forbidden love of Renly & Loras.

I am a believer in Gendry & Arya and am delighted to find the subject being discussed with such openess without anyone screaming peado and sticking their fingers in their ears.

from reading Booknerds essays I have realised that a lot of the stuff with them seems to come from Gendry & not so much from Arya. Could it be more one sided? I always felt it was mutual but may have to re re read a bit in order to get my ideas straight. I had always seen it as an immature first crush type relationship rather than a fated one true love happy ever after romance. I kind of imagined them viewing one another as the one that got away with great fondness in years to come. But Booknerd you have made me wonder if they might end up together still. I never thought about Gendry being at the inn before and what that may mean.

I do like the way GRRM has given us a glimpse back at those first flushes of romantic excitement at a time when we are just beginning to feel differently about the opposite (or same) sex., I do think Arya is Hetrosexual I think the way she notes mens looks and their physiques tells us this. Yes she also notes womens attributes but I think most women do don't they? aren't we all raised to value womens looks and to take note of a pretty girl?

At 11 many of us are starting to have our first sexual encounters, First kiss, starting to experiment and fool around etc. I think this is kind of what GRRM is giving us with this relationship, the fledgling feelings that we find embarrassing and exciting all at once. That sniff has connotations of sensuality and pheromones and is quite intimate really, the wrestling reminds me so much of interactions I had with male friends at the same age, them basically finding an excuse to get their hands on you, the tickle broke the tension before anything got too embarrassing.

If say Gendry had gone in for a kiss he might well have got a slap, he tickled instead as whilst it is still intimate it can easily be interpreted as friendship orientated.

Perhaps this is a tale of Gendry and unrequited feelings? But I think not not, not when we hear that song.

Jamie & Brienne is another of my favourate relationships I love that this Greek god Adonis golden haired swoon inducing hottie is in fact a completely inexperienced buffoon. He has only ever had sex with his sister. He has been a member of the KG since 15 years old and so in the eyes of the realm is a Virgin in fact, though obviously we know better, but still he's been with 1 person and that person is his twin, he has known her his whole life he knows her intimatly they are siblings he never had to flirt to try to assess her feelings if he was in with a chance or go through rejection and learn how to charm a woman. He is completely inexperienced, we are told he and Cersei have been sexually intimate from a young age. And I think it is heavily implied that it was her who did the running.

I find all this amusing that this guy who could have had pretty much any woman he so chose found himself falling head over heals for a plain jane who likes swinging a sword around and can kick his arse. And Brienne who no one wanted who's father struggled to find any man who was prepared to marry her has fallen for and won the heart of the famed Jamie Lannister. Who represents so much that she reviles. Oath breaking dishonor etc.

I think they will indeed be lovers. In fact I can't wait!

Asha well Asha is my kind of woman she is in charge of her own sexuality and does not require any ones approval nor does she care for societies restrictions upon her sex life or her value as a sexual commodity.I love that she is so brazenly sexual and cares not one shit about what anyone else thinks about it.

I love her relationship with Qarl that she is confident enough to let him know what she wants, in charge of telling him she wants him to take charge and ready to let him know when she is satiated and when she requires a bit more. We don't really know much about him or his feelings but one assumes that after 7 years their is a mutual bond and love. She would marry him if he wasn't so low born. I get the impression that if and when she ever does wed for real ( I don't think she's got any intention of honoring her "marriage" to Eric.) she'll keep him as a lover if he has survived that is. Tristifer IMO does not get her at all and would have absolutely no idea of what to do with her if he ever got her, But here we see eunrequited obsessional love. He's in love with his own image of her he is doggedly determined to follow her and its touching that he is so loyal but I do worry that he could go a bit stalker/killer if he ever felt she was slipping away from him. Or there was some real threat to his dream of them wedding.

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Just posting so that I can easily find this thread tomorrow as my husband has informed me it is tme to close the laptop and actually engage in conversation with him for the evening.

LOL! I totally relate as my husband often has to do the same.

Even though I have not posted any comments lately in here, I've been following and reading the essays and comments religiously. Thanks booknerd2 for your wonderful essays about Gendry and Arya, Rose-Papillon for your hilarious summary of Jaime and Brienne :D, and DogLover for introducing me to Asha and Qarl (they are not as popular as Gendry/Arya and Jaime/Brienne but they do too have a love story to tell). I'm lovin' this thread so keep the essays and analysis comin'. :)

Thanks for the compliments, QV, I'm glad you're enjoying the project so far.

Right, Finally got cought up. I've so enjoyed reading these essays. The Brienne & Jamie ones have been hilarious and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

I think looking at the romance in ASOIAF is important as has been said already Love and romance sexual desire and the impact of relationships are a huge and undeniable part of life and influence our actions to a great extent. To have written the story minus romance would have been both unrealistic and have taken away so very much from the plot.

In ASOIAF we are given a vast array of romantic tales. From Ned and catelyns grounded and stock love to the abusive loveless marriage of Robert & Cersei. And the lust fueled obsession of Daenerys & Daario. to the Forbidden love of Renly & Loras.

I am a believer in Gendry & Arya and am delighted to find the subject being discussed with such openess without anyone screaming peado and sticking their fingers in their ears.

from reading Booknerds essays I have realised that a lot of the stuff with them seems to come from Gendry & not so much from Arya. Could it be more one sided? I always felt it was mutual but may have to re re read a bit in order to get my ideas straight. I had always seen it as an immature first crush type relationship rather than a fated one true love happy ever after romance. I kind of imagined them viewing one another as the one that got away with great fondness in years to come. But Booknerd you have made me wonder if they might end up together still. I never thought about Gendry being at the inn before and what that may mean.

I do like the way GRRM has given us a glimpse back at those first flushes of romantic excitement at a time when we are just beginning to feel differently about the opposite (or same) sex., I do think Arya is Hetrosexual I think the way she notes mens looks and their physiques tells us this. Yes she also notes womens attributes but I think most women do don't they? aren't we all raised to value womens looks and to take note of a pretty girl?

At 11 many of us are starting to have our first sexual encounters, First kiss, starting to experiment and fool around etc. I think this is kind of what GRRM is giving us with this relationship, the fledgling feelings that we find embarrassing and exciting all at once. That sniff has connotations of sensuality and pheromones and is quite intimate really, the wrestling reminds me so much of interactions I had with male friends at the same age, them basically finding an excuse to get their hands on you, the tickle broke the tension before anything got too embarrassing.

If say Gendry had gone in for a kiss he might well have got a slap, he tickled instead as whilst it is still intimate it can easily be interpreted as friendship orientated.

Perhaps this is a tale of Gendry and unrequited feelings? But I think not not, not when we hear that song.

Jamie & Brienne is another of my favourate relationships I love that this Greek god Adonis golden haired swoon inducing hottie is in fact a completely inexperienced buffoon. He has only ever had sex with his sister. He has been a member of the KG since 15 years old and so in the eyes of the realm is a Virgin in fact, though obviously we know better, but still he's been with 1 person and that person is his twin, he has known her his whole life he knows her intimatly they are siblings he never had to flirt to try to assess her feelings if he was in with a chance or go through rejection and learn how to charm a woman. He is completely inexperienced, we are told he and Cersei have been sexually intimate from a young age. And I think it is heavily implied that it was her who did the running.

I find all this amusing that this guy who could have had pretty much any woman he so chose found himself falling head over heals for a plain jane who likes swinging a sword around and can kick his arse. And Brienne who no one wanted who's father struggled to find any man who was prepared to marry her has fallen for and won the heart of the famed Jamie Lannister. Who represents so much that she reviles. Oath breaking dishonor etc.

I think they will indeed be lovers. In fact I can't wait!

Asha well Asha is my kind of woman she is in charge of her own sexuality and does not require any ones approval nor does she care for societies restrictions upon her sex life or her value as a sexual commodity.I love that she is so brazenly sexual and cares not one shit about what anyone else thinks about it.

I love her relationship with Qarl that she is confident enough to let him know what she wants, in charge of telling him she wants him to take charge and ready to let him know when she is satiated and when she requires a bit more. We don't really know much about him or his feelings but one assumes that after 7 years their is a mutual bond and love. She would marry him if he wasn't so low born. I get the impression that if and when she ever does wed for real ( I don't think she's got any intention of honoring her "marriage" to Eric.) she'll keep him as a lover if he has survived that is. Tristifer IMO does not get her at all and would have absolutely no idea of what to do with her if he ever got her, But here we see eunrequited obsessional love. He's in love with his own image of her he is doggedly determined to follow her and its touching that he is so loyal but I do worry that he could go a bit stalker/killer if he ever felt she was slipping away from him. Or there was some real threat to his dream of them wedding.

I too was initially concerned about Arya/Gendry sparking controversy, but we knew booknerd2 could do it justice, presenting it as a crush that has the potential to grow into something much more. As far as it being one-sided, it does seem that way, but I think Arya is so focused on hardening her heart that she won't allow herself to feel any "soft" feelings for another, as that will make her feel weak and vulnerable and set her up for more disappointment and pain.

I totally agree with you about the sniff, pheromones, and the tickling! Very intimate and also reminiscent of how young boys try to demonstrate their feelings in a physical manner.

LOL! Jaime is so emotionally immature--the way he expresses his feelings toward Brienne in such an often antagonistic manner. He isn't much better at it than Arya: "'You're a stupidface!' (But I think I love you.)" Rose-Papillon's parody was spot on. After all of these years being someone's mirror, it seems like he's found an equal, not just someone with whom he can forge a real friendship who also shares the same interests and goals, but an actual romantic partner. Lovers, indeed! Bring it on, GRRM!

I'm glad someone else is an Asha fan! She's my kind of woman, too! And even if she marries for the sake of duty, I don't see her ending her relationship with Qarl. If taking mistresses is acceptable for married men, then Asha isn't going to let her gender prevent her from doing the same.

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I wanted to touch a bit more on the axe, Asha's weapon of choice, as a symbol for the feminine and female empowerment, as well as duality, as I think Asha is very representative of female empowerment and has a dualistic personality (she must be a Gemini). I confess that this may be a bit of a stretch since Minoan axes were double-edged and I'm not sure if Asha's throwing axes have a double edge.

The Minoan axe, the labrys (which means double axe), was as significant to Minoan goddess religion as the cross is to Christianity and the Star of David is to Judaism. The labrys was ubiquitously depicted in Minoan art (often held by women)—carved into stone, painted on ceramics and frescoes, and thousands and thousands cast in bronze, silver, and gold. Larger labrys have been found with ritual objects such as offering tables. It is also largely believed that the labrys symbolizes the goddess as a butterfly (which is also heavily depicted in Minoan art) since the lifecycle of the butterfly represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The double-edged axe also symbolizes both creation and destruction since it was an essential agricultural tool, as well as a deadly weapon used during times of warfare.

The labrys as a symbol of female empowerment has become an important image for women rights groups and it's only fitting that a female character like Asha wields axes as she is very representative of the strong, empowered female. Her personality and achievements are even more admirable given that the Ironborn foster a culture that is not just patriarchal, but outright misogynistic considering their tradition of reaving, raping, and taking salt wives. Yet the strong-willed, determined, brave, intelligent, and ambitious Asha doesn't allow her gender to stand in the way of getting what she wants. And while Asha is a warrior, she isn't characterized as a tomboy like Arya or Brienne, but as a woman who embraces her femininity and sexuality, confidently taking lovers without shame. During the sex scene with Qarl, both the dagger and axe are used metaphorically, as the dagger is a phallic symbol and the labrys symbolizes the labia.

Asha's dualistic personality is expressed not only through her choice in weaponry, but through her relationship with Qarl and Tristifer. As discussed in the analysis, Asha is both adventurous and pragmatic. She's carefree and free-spirited, but also disciplined and dutiful to her obligations. She's brave and strong, yet has moments of self-doubt. On the surface she may seem impulsive, but her actions are often well planned out and serve an important purpose. With Qarl, Asha can be the adventurous free spirit, losing herself in passion, pleasure, and adventure. Tristifer, on the other hand, has an unwelcoming sobering effect with his mundane dreams. Yet, Asha pragmatically thinks to herself he can be useful. He's already demonstrated that not only in battle, but when he unwittingly provides her with valuable advice on how to undermine the outcome of the kingsmoot.

The cycle of life, death, and rebirth is foreshadowed in Asha's possible fate. Asha, who lives life to the fullest, yet has taken so many lives, just may play a role in Jon's rebirth. She's also a warrior who has brought destruction, yet also promises the reform (or rebirth) of the Iron Islands during the kingsmoot, offering peace and bounty. As another source of creation, it's very possible that Asha is pregnant. And then there's sacrifice. The labrys is not only a tool used for agriculture and war, but was used for ritualistic sacrifices, which ties into Asha's last POV chapter, "The Sacrifice". Who or what the sacrifice will be remains to be revealed.

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The following two short comparative essays will conclude the Asha/Qarl romance.The first essay offers a concise comparative analysis of Asha and Qarl, and the second addresses Asha and Tristifer.

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Infamous Seafaring Women

The Ironborn are largely assumed to be inspired by Viking culture, however Asha and Qarl’s story shares similarities with two infamous female pirates—Anne Bonny and Mary Read, both of whom have been romanticized in folklore and have been the inspiration for many novels and films. According to their biographer, “The odd incidents of their rambling story are such, that some may be tempted to think the whole story no better than a novel or romance.”[1]

Anne Bonny and Mary Read, women who were very similar to Asha in temperament and lifestyle, embraced maritime and martial culture, excelled as fighters, took many lovers, and lived their lives as outlaw pirates during the 17th century, terrorizing the Caribbean.

Anne Bonny, born in Cork, Ireland, in the late 1600s, was the illegitimate daughter of William Cormac and his housemaid. To keep his wife and the townsfolk from suspecting anything, William dressed Anne, of whom he was very fond, as a boy and pretended that Anne was a clerk in training. William’s wife eventually found out and the scandal destroyed William’s practice as a lawyer. William decided to immigrate to North Carolina with Mary and the maid. Soon, William Cormac found success as a merchant and purchased a plantation.

Anne grew up and gained the reputation as a fierce, courageous, and headstrong girl. Against her wealthy father’s wishes, she eloped penniless “lowlife” sailor James Bonney. Anne’s father disinherited her, and, in retaliation, she tried to burn down his plantation.[2] She and James then sailed to the Bahamas with the hope of finding employment. It was there that Anne met the rash John Rackham, aka Calico Jack. Rackham persuaded Anne to ditch her husband and take up with him. Anne soon became pregnant and went to Cuba to give birth. As soon as she recovered, she donned male clothing and rejoined Rackham at sea.

Mary Read was also born illegitimate—her mother, married to a sailor, conceived Mary while her husband was away. She also had a legitimate son, but he died shortly after Mary’s birth. Mary’s mother, to hide the illegitimate birth, dressed and raised Mary as a boy and passed her off as her sailor husband’s son. Mary’s mother was able to gain financial support from her mother-in-law, but when the mother-in-law died, Mary was expected to provide financially for her mother and herself as a footboy to a wealthy French lady. Mary, “growing bold and strong, and having also a roving mind” quickly abandoned her duties and went to Flanders, joining a foot regiment as a cadet, staying in disguise as a male all along. [3]

Serving as a cadet, Mary fell in love with her tent-mate, a handsome Flemish soldier. Mary revealed her true sex much to the delight of the soldier, and they married soon after their duties were fulfilled. Sadly, he died shortly after they wedded. Mary again donned male’s clothing and joined another foot regiment, but soon left and boarded a ship to the West Indies. Pirates captured the ship and Mary, still disguised as a man, was persuaded to join their crew. She was later documented as saying, “the life of the pirate was what she always abhorred, and went into it only upon compulsion,” yet her reputation belies the assertion, as her actions and attitude demonstrate that she fully embraced the life of piracy. [4]

In 1717, King George I, in an attempt to end piracy, declared that any pirate who surrendered himself or herself would receive a pardon. The crew on the ship that Mary Read was sailing decided to take advantage of this pardon and sailed to Nassau in the Bahamas. It was here where Mary met Anne Bonney after the ship Mary was boarded was overtaken by Captain Jack Rackham's Vanity. She joined his crew, reverting back to piracy. Mary, who remained disguised as a man, soon elicited Anne's attraction. After Anne made a pass at her, Mary revealed her true identity and the two quickly became close friends.

Both Anne and Mary developed reputations as fierce fighters with violent tempers, and were referred to by their crewmates as "fierce hell cats." Apparently, they were considered the most ruthless and bloodthirsty out of all of their pirate mates, drinking and cursing with the best of them. One captive stated that they "were both very profligate, cursing and swearing much, and very ready and willing to do anything on board."[5] Shortly after joining Jack Rackham's crew, Mary took a captive (essentially a thrall) as her lover. She's even said to have saved his life by taking his place after he was challenged to a dual. Mary won the dual, killing her opponent. Soon after, Mary wedded her thrall paramour. Bonny was so tough she actually nearly beat to death a would-be rapist: "…once, when a young fellow would have lain with her, against her will, she beat him so, that he lay ill of it a considerable time."[6]

In late October 1720, Rackham's ship was besieged by a British Navy sloop while docked at Point Negril, Jamaica. Rackham's crew, drunk and startled, hid below deck while Mary and Anne were the only ones brave enough to defend the ship, calling to their crewmates, "Come up, you cowards, and fight like men."[7] After killing a British soldier and wounding several others, Rackham's crew was captured and taken to Jamaica to stand trial. Captain Jack Rackham and the male members of the pirate crew were tried and sentenced to hang. Anne was given permission to visit her lover before his execution and reportedly told him, "Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang'd like a dog."[8]

Anne and Mary were placed on trial a week after the executions and were also found guilty and sentenced to death. Both pleaded for a stay of execution, claiming pregnancy as a reason. Since British law forbade the killing of an unborn child, they were both granted a temporary reprieve. It's believed that Mary died of fever in prison before her child was born. It's also been reported that she faked her death and escaped from prison hiding beneath a shroud. There's no record of Anne's execution and numerous tales of her fate have been told. According to some stories, Anne's wealthy father paid for her release after she gave birth and she quietly settled down. Others claim she escaped prison and opened a tavern in the south of England. And, more far-fetched, it's also been said that Anne and Mary moved to Louisiana where they raised their children together.

_________________________________________________________________________________

While there are many differences between Asha Greyjoy and Anne Bonny and Mary Read, there are also some interesting parallels. After reading several biographies and historical fiction novels, I can't help but think that the character of Asha was based on these two pirating women. Tough to the core, outfighting, out-drinking, and out-swearing their male peers, the lifestyle these two women embrace echoes the lifestyle of Asha Greyjoy. While Asha is a product of her culture, she's no ordinary Ironborn. She's not even an ordinary Greyjoy. Very similar to Mary Read, she was largely raised as a male by Lord Balon. Whereas Mary literally was disguised as a male all of her life, Asha assumed the identity of Balon's male heir, replacing the still-alive Theon which empowered her to lead the life she has. And like both Mary and Anne (as soon as they revealed their true identity as women), she embraced all of the prized male traits while holding on to her own femininity. As Mary and Anne enjoyed taking lovers without apology, so does Asha.

While both Anne and Mary are significantly lower born than Asha, they take lovers lower born than themselves. Anne, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, is disowned by her own father after running off and marrying a "low life." And this low life is quickly discarded for the pirate Jack Rackham. Even after Anne makes a life for herself as a pirate on Captain Jack's ship, she continues to seduce other men. Mary, who, like Anne, is also illegitimate, falls for a foot soldier. After he dies, she falls in love with a captive of Caption Jack. Not only does she dual to save his honor and life, she marries him—a common thrall.

The many romances of both Anne and Mary evoke the relationship between Asha and Qarl—the highborn daughter of the Lord of the Ironborn and the thrall's grandson. And while Asha embraces the life of a seafaring woman, she lives within her culture, even if the Ironborn are perceived as mere brigands by the rest of Westeros. Also, unlike Anne, she's unwilling to cross her father to follow a path she might prefer. While she can carry on a long-term affair with Qarl, she knows she cannot marry him.

After living a hard life of fighting and drinking, Anne and Mary found themselves imprisoned and sentenced to execution. Pregnancy was their saving grace and both were given a stay of execution. Asha is also now a prisoner, and there's some foreshadowing pointing to her own death. However, there's also foreshadowing that indicates she just may be pregnant. If so, will she be able to use her pregnancy to extend her life?

Worth a watch:

http://www.history.com/videos/special-true-caribbean-pirates---mistresses-of-the-sea#special-true-caribbean-pirates---mistresses-of-the-sea

[1] Cordingly, David. “Hannah Snell, Mary Talbot, and the Female Pirates,” pgs. 212-269. Seafaring Women.

[2] There is no evidence supporting this and can be fact as much as fiction.

[3] Cordingly, David. “Hannah Snell, Mary Talbot, and the Female Pirates,” pgs. 212-269. Seafaring Women.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Defoe, Daniel. A General History of the Pyrates.

[7] Cordingly, David. “Hannah Snell, Mary Talbot, and the Female Pirates,” pgs. 212-269. Seafaring Women.

[8] Ibid.

Other Sources

Nelson, James L. The Only Life That Mattered: The Short and Merry Lives of Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Calico Jack Rackam.

Williams, Jeffrey. Pirate Spirit: The Adventures of Anne Bonny.

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The Goodman o’ Wastness: A Selkie Tale

The Goodman o’Wastness was a handsome, successful young man who was strong, well-liked, and owned a profitable farm, making him a desirable bachelor. However, Goodman o’Wastness remained chaste, refusing all the young women who sought him out. Soon, the young women, feeling slighted, began to treat him with contempt, “describing him as ‘an old, young man’ and ‘old before his time’ in their eyes he was committing the unpardonable sin of celibacy.” [1]

Goodman couldn’t be bothered with their accusations, and these women soon looked elsewhere for a desirable bachelor. When Goodman’s friends asked him why he wouldn’t take a wife, Goodman responded with, “Women are like many other things in this weary world, only sent as a trial to men and I have enough trials without being tried by a wife. If that old fool Adam had not been bewitched by his wife, he might still be in the Garden of Eden to this day.”[2] An old woman who overheard Goodman’s speech warned him to take heed, because one day he will find himself bewitched.

One day, Goodman spotted the Selkies lying about near the sea. “All were naked with unblemished skins, as white as snow. Their enchanted seal-skins lay strewn carelessly on the sand and rocks around them.”[3] Goodman crept closer and then sprinted toward them. When the Selkies spotted Goodman, they shrieked, grabbed their sealskins, and retreated back into the sea. However, Goodman managed to steal the sealskin of a beautiful female Selkie, who forgot her skin as she ran into the sea. As soon as she realized she didn’t skin change back into a seal, she looked back and saw Goodman walk off with her sealskin.

Not long after Goodman left the sea, he heard the most beautiful and sorrowful wailing. When he turned, he saw a beautiful woman following him. Overcome with grief, she begged for the return of her sealskin. She cried, “Oh handsome man, if there is any mercy in your human breast give me back my seal-skin. I cannot live in the sea without it. I cannot live among my own people without my seal-skin.”[4]

Goodman, a hard-hearted man, found himself pitying this poor Selkie maiden, and, he who was unable to find love, was now smitten and, for the first time, felt passion. He asked the beautiful Selkie maiden to marry him, and, feeling that she had no choice since she was unable to return to the sea, acquiesced.

The Selkie maiden turned out to be a good wife to Goodman, and bore him seven beautiful children—four boys and three girls. The family seemed content, but the Selkie wife longed for the sea and her life as a seal. And whenever Goodman left with their sons to fish, she set about searching frantically for her sealskin. One day, her youngest daughter, who injured her foot, asked her mother what she was looking for. Her Selkie mother responded that she was looking for her sealskin so she could make a shoe that would heal her daughter’s foot. “But Mother, I know where it is. One day when you were out and my Father thought I was asleep in bed, he took a pretty skin down, glowered at it for a short time, then folded it and put it away in the aisins over the bed.”[5] The Selkie rushed to recover her sealskin, bid her child ado, and plunged into the sea, rejoining her Selkie kin, finding a Selkie man waiting for her. As Goodman rowed his boat back to shore, he happenstance upon the two of them, and his wife uncovered her face and yelled out, “Farewell Goodman of Wastness. Farewell to you. I liked you because you were good to me but I love my husband from the sea more.”[6]

Goodman spent the rest of his life looking for his lost love, but he never saw her again.

_________________________________________________________________________________

The Orkney Island folklore of the Selkies was touched upon in the analysis, and this particular tale has some interesting parallels to Asha and Tristifer. Tristifer, like Goodman, is chaste, refusing to be with any other woman than Asha, the woman he professes is his one true love. In a twist to the tale, Tristifer is wearing the sealskin cloak, Asha thinks that his eyes resemble the eyes of a seal, and Cromm refers to him as a pup. Asha, similar to the Selkie maiden, has just been married off against her will, with a seal acting as her proxy. While her new husband does not possess the sealskin, this unwanted marriage prevents Asha from returning home.

Asha could very well marry Tristifer, creating a political alliance—after all, Tristifer is risking all by supporting her and she owes him something in return and he is of suitable social status. But, if this comes to pass, most likely she’ll not find happiness with him, not like she would if she was with someone of a more kindred spirit like Qarl. However, similar to the Selkie woman, she'll perform dutifully and responsibly, but as a ruler.

Asha’s axe is a symbol of duality and Asha has a dual personality, as well. She’s a free spirit who loves adventure and enjoys life to the fullest when she can. However, she’s also disciplined and dutiful. No woman could rise to her ranks without being so. She knows she has to live up to Lord Balon’s expectations. And, like the Selkie maiden who longs for the open seas and her “own” people, could very likely find herself feeling trapped into marrying a man she does not love and living a life she does not necessarily enjoy. However, unlike the Selkie, Asha will not be apart from her own people, but will do what's necessary for them. If Asha claims the Seastone Chair, she'll be expected to marry and produce heirs, as well as take on the tedious tasks ruling requires.

[1] http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/wastness.htm

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

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More Jaime and Brienne... This is to show their story was written as a romance. We know Jon and Sam are just friends. Swap out Jon for Jaime and Sam for Brienne, and does it read that way?

Jon watched Sam's eyes. Pretty eyes, he thought, and calm.

The swords kissed and sprang apart, and kissed again. Jon's blood was singing...

The dance went on. Jon pinned Sam against an oak, cursed as he slipped away, followed him through a shallow brook half-choked with fallen leaves.

He laughed a ragged, breathless laugh. "Come on, come on, my sweetling, the music's still playing. Might I have this dance?"...

Sam was all mud and blood below the waist, his clothing askew, his face red. He looks as if they caught us fucking instead of fighting...

"You caught me chastising my husband."...

Jon smiled as a red flush crept up the thick white column of Sam's neck. Sam turned his back to him. "Still the shy virgin? What is it that you think I haven't seen?"

Jon caught a glimpse of the thick brown bush at the juncture of Sam's thighs as he climbed out...

Absurdly, he felt his cock stir beneath the bathwater. Now I know I have been too long away from Ygritte.

"Truces are built on trust. Would you have me trust --"

"The Bastard, yes... Come, curse me, or kiss me, or call me a liar."...

Sam caught him before he could fall...

Sam's arm was all gooseflesh, clammy and chilled, but he was strong, and gentler than Jon would have thought. Gentler than Ygritte, he thought as Sam helped him from the tub, his legs wobbly as a limp cock. "Guards!" he heard him shout. "The Bastard!"

Jon, he thought, my name is Jon.

Sam was naked, but he seemed to have forgotten that for the moment...

"Bring me clean garb for him," Sam said, "I’ll see that he’s washed and dressed."...

"Do I need to carry him?"

"I can still walk. Sam, give me your arm.” Clutching him, Jon let them herd him across the yard...

Naked, Sam raised his hands to Jon...

In this light Sam could almost be a beauty, he thought...

"Listen." Sam put a hand on his shoulder, and Jon trembled at the sudden touch. He's warm...

"You want him? Go get him."

So he did...

"Bastard?" he heard Sam say, astonished.

"Jon."...

"You are still virgin, I hope?... Oh, good," Jon said. "I only rescue virgins."...

"I am grateful, but... you were well away. Why come back?"

A dozen quips came to mind, each crueler than the one before, but Jon only shrugged. "I dreamed of you," he said.

Sam's big blue eyes were full of hurt as Balon Swann and a dozen gold cloaks led him away. You ought to be blowing me kisses, he wanted to tell him.

"Blue is a good color on you," Jon observed. "It goes well with your eyes." Sam does have astonishing eyes.

Sam glanced down at himself, flustered.... "You look..."

"Different?" He managed a half-smile. "More meat on the ribs and fewer lice in my hair, that’s all. The stump’s the same."...

"The white cloak..."

"... is new, but I’m sure I’ll soil it soon enough."

"That wasn’t... I was about to say that it becomes you."...

The bathhouse had been thick with the steam rising off the water, and Jon had come walking through that mist naked as his name day, looking half a corpse and half a god. He climbed into the tub with me, Sam remembered, blushing.

As he lowered himself into the steaming water, Jon recalled another bath, the one he'd shared with Sam.

Sam went to sleep dreaming of the fight they'd had, and of Jon fastening a rainbow cloak about his shoulders.

The thought was a bitter one, yet there was part of Sam that yearned for home, and another part that wondered if Jon would comfort him should he weep upon his shoulder. That was what men wanted, wasn't it? Soft helpless men that they needed to protect?

Someone has come before me, it would seem...

Jon's hand cracked him across the mouth so hard the other knight went stumbling down the steps. His lantern fell and smashed, and the oil spread out, burning. "You are speaking of a highborn man, ser. Call him by his name. Call him Sam."

Jon! Sam wanted to cry. Jon, come back for me!

"The Bastard's whore." Sam flinched. "Why would you call me that?"

"If I had a silver stag for every time you said his name, I'd be as rich as your friends the Starks."

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More Jaime and Brienne... This is to show their story was written as a romance. We know Jon and Sam are just friends. Swap out Jon for Jaime and Sam for Brienne, and does it read that way?

I love this literary trick! A very clever and humorous way to make the case.

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The many romances of both Anne and Mary evoke the relationship between Asha and Qarl—the highborn daughter of the Lord of the Ironborn and the thrall's grandson. And while Asha embraces the life of a seafaring woman, she lives within her culture, even if the Ironborn are perceived as mere brigands by the rest of Westeros. Also, unlike Anne, she's unwilling to cross her father to follow a path she might prefer. While she can carry on a long-term affair with Qarl, she knows she cannot marry him.

After living a hard life of fighting and drinking, Anne and Mary found themselves imprisoned and sentenced to execution. Pregnancy was their saving grace and both were given a stay of execution. Asha is also now a prisoner, and there's some foreshadowing pointing to her own death. However, there's also foreshadowing that indicates she just may be pregnant. If so, will she be able to use her pregnancy to extend her life?

A hard life of fighting and drinking! I love this story! Thank you for sharing this. There's even a Captain Jack! :)

Asha’s axe is a symbol of duality and Asha has a dual personality, as well. She’s a free spirit who loves adventure and enjoys life to the fullest when she can. However, she’s also disciplined and dutiful. No woman could rise to her ranks without being so.

I guess she's made a choice, then. I wish she could just marry Qarl.

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Thanks. :)

These are going to be not in strict order, but we'll provide an index in the end.

Moved the story index forward...

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More Jaime and Brienne... This is to show their story was written as a romance. We know Jon and Sam are just friends. Swap out Jon for Jaime and Sam for Brienne, and does it read that way?

If it doesn't fit the rules, we redefine the rules. Great work people. :thumbsup:

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OP - Could you do one about Jorah/Dany? If you've seen the film "Love Actually" then unrequited love is a type of romance in of itself and if you're considering doing non-POV characters like Rhaegar n Lyanna. She also interacts with Jorah quite a bit and in ASOS its quite a big thing with Dany often dwelling on this problem. You could also try a much briefer one on Lynesse/Jorah as well.

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We chose a group of mutual love stories this time around. From our standpoint as editors, we consider Rhaegar and Lyanna mutual.

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We wanted to limit it to a group of 10. We went with a group of 10 of what we considered well-loved character stories. There will be another round!

Cat and Ned, Sam and Gilly, ... there are lots more. I personally think Jorah means a lot to Dany. Dany's two love stories are ahead, so he'll be touched on there, too.

Also, more Jaime and Brienne ahead!

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More Jaime and Brienne... This is to show their story was written as a romance. We know Jon and Sam are just friends. Swap out Jon for Jaime and Sam for Brienne, and does it read that way?

:lmao: This was really fun to read and a nice way to point out the romantic side of their relationship. My only issue is that Jon and Sam are both male and though romance-less friendship between a man and woman are questionable (since it always turns into at least one sided romance), it'd still be more convincing to me if we could swap Jaime and Brienne for a male and a female character who are friends and equals. The problem is, I can't think of anybody like that... Oh well, my problem :"D

Whatever, great and hilarious trick which made me realize I can't really deny Jaime/Brienne as a romantic ship no matter how little I like it.

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More Jaime and Brienne... This is to show their story was written as a romance. We know Jon and Sam are just friends. Swap out Jon for Jaime and Sam for Brienne, and does it read that way?

:lol: Sneaky.

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The problem is, I can't think of anybody like that... Oh well, my problem :"D

Whatever, great and hilarious trick which made me realize I can't really deny Jaime/Brienne as a romantic ship no matter how little I like it.

I had the same problem! There are so few friendships in the story! :)

:lol: Sneaky.

Sneaky is good. :)

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