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Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF

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Wow I am so glad I checked the forums today and saw this thread (haven't had a chance to be on much lately). Whoo hoo! I'm really excited for this topic! It's pretty much my favorite thing to discuss. I think Martin's writing is inherently romantic and I am glad to see the romantic influence being explored in depth as it has been very underrepresented so far as I can tell, except for the Pawn to Player threads and some of the Jaime Brienne threads. When I finished my first read of the books I at first thought the romance was almost nonexistent, I guess because it is very subtle and non conventional, but now I can't believe I ever thought that. It's there and as others have said it is perhaps the most defining force of the series.

Also, count me in on hoping we get to Ned Cat and Bran Meera. :thumbsup:

ETA Another relationship that I haven't seen mentioned yet, but which might be interesting to explore in this topic eventually, is Tyrion and Tysha. The way it began was really right out of a harlequin romance though of course it did not end that way.

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Oh crikey, I was dearly hoping Arya/Gendry wouldn't be listed here. I guess I'll have to wait a while to argue vehemently that their relationship had no romantic overtones and that if it did so it would be creepy and paedophilic.

Looking forward to some of the others though, especially Rhaegar and Lyanna and Jamie and Brienne.

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Oh crikey, I was dearly hoping Arya/Gendry wouldn't be listed here. I guess I'll have to wait a while to argue vehemently that their relationship had no romantic overtones and that if it did so it would be creepy and paedophilic.

Looking forward to some of the others though, especially Rhaegar and Lyanna and Jamie and Brienne.

Do you consider Wuthering Heights creepy and paedophilic as well then? After all it features Heathcliffe and Catherine, whose bond was formed in childhood.

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Do you consider Wuthering Heights creepy and paedophilic as well then? After all it features Heathcliffe and Catherine, whose bond was formed in childhood.

There really isn't much evidence for Arya/Gendry though.

There was about a year's difference between Catherine and Heathcliff, whereas Gendry was nearly an adult at the time.

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LOL I am laughing about the Arya Gendry debate because it has already started. I had the exact opposite thought from blacken in that I was very happy to see them on the list because there is definitely an element of romance present in their story that I've wanted love to discuss, but Arya Gendry threads tend to devolve rather quickly into arguing whether something really is there or not and it can't be because it's squicky, pedophilic etc. People seem to oppose this pair even more vehemently than SanSan. There are a lot of stories like theirs, not only Wuthering Heights as Lyanna mentioned, but the Thorn Birds is another example.

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LOL I am laughing about the Arya Gendry debate because it has already started. I had the exact opposite thought from blacken in that I was very happy to see them on the list because there is definitely an element of romance present in their story that I've wanted love to discuss, but Arya Gendry threads tend to devolve rather quickly into arguing whether something really is there or not and it can't be because it's squicky, pedophilic etc. People seem to oppose this pair even more vehemently than SanSan. There are a lot of stories like theirs, not only Wuthering Heights as Lyanna mentioned, but the Thorn Birds is another example.

I never thought of them in some romantic way, but I do admit when they are in that brothel, before Hound is found, something did happen. Just a moment that was quickly gone when dogs announced that Hound is caught.

But, I would like to do research on both love and psychopatology of love. I mean, love isn't always the noblest feeling...

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There really isn't much evidence for Arya/Gendry though.

There was about a year's difference between Catherine and Heathcliff, whereas Gendry was nearly an adult at the time.

Hey, I am all for textual evidence or lack thereof and to bring it up for debate. :)

What I don't like is when everything is dismissed out of hand cos "it's pedo" without actually looking at the particulars and the context. If there is a case to be made for Arya/Gendry then it can be based on the text itself without accusations out of hand, imho.

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Oh crikey, I was dearly hoping Arya/Gendry wouldn't be listed here. I guess I'll have to wait a while to argue vehemently that their relationship had no romantic overtones and that if it did so it would be creepy and paedophilic.

Looking forward to some of the others though, especially Rhaegar and Lyanna and Jamie and Brienne.

We realize that different readers have differing opinions on these romantic relationships, but we request that the participants in this thread attempt to keep an open and objective mind - we are here to neither glorify nor condemn a particular "love story," but rather, to objectively analyze them and learn about what they tell us about the characters, ASoIaF, and Martin as a writer. Finally, we encourage all participants to share their insights and would love to see explorations of themes that we do not touch on in our pre-arranged essays.

We really would like to request that participants avoid labeling any of these relationships - this thread isn't meant to be a discussion of whether some of these relationships are "healthy" or not, but rather a group analysis and "rethink" on how Martin approaches and writes about romance. Otherwise, this thread could get ugly very fast and degenerate into discussions of rape/pedophilia/Stockholm Syndrome.

LOL I am laughing about the Arya Gendry debate because it has already started. I had the exact opposite thought from blacken in that I was very happy to see them on the list because there is definitely an element of romance present in their story that I've wanted love to discuss, but Arya Gendry threads tend to devolve rather quickly into arguing whether something really is there or not and it can't be because it's squicky, pedophilic etc. People seem to oppose this pair even more vehemently than SanSan. There are a lot of stories like theirs, not only Wuthering Heights as Lyanna mentioned, but the Thorn Birds is another example.

I also actually belong to the "doubters" camp about Arya/Gendry, but I think that's the fun of this thread - to keep and open mind and examine relationships that may not have immediately "jumped out" at you when you read through the series =D

DL/LC both were very certain when they told me that Arya/Gendry is supported by the text and mutual, so I'm definitely looking forward to exploring and rereading it.

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We really would like to request that participants avoid labeling any of these relationships - this thread isn't meant to be a discussion of whether some of these relationships are "healthy" or not, but rather a group analysis and "rethink" on how Martin approaches and writes about romance. Otherwise, this thread could get ugly very fast and degenerate into discussions of rape/pedophilia/Stockholm Syndrome.

I also actually belong to the "doubters" camp about Arya/Gendry, but I think that's the fun of this thread - to keep and open mind and examine relationships that may not have immediately "jumped out" at you when you read through the series =D

DL/LC both were very certain when they told me that Arya/Gendry is supported by the text and mutual, so I'm definitely looking forward to exploring and rereading it.

I'm also in the skeptical camp so looking forward to see if I can be convinced otherwise.

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Certainly. I remember having been in love. It's definitely bad for you, I lost a lot of weight through love sickness I remember that

I don't think I have ever read anything on the forum something with which I have identified more, than this :D

I think it's foolish to even consider the idea that love is not both an integral part of human nature, and a driving force for human conflict, tragedy and comedy. And as in reality so in ASOIAF ;) GRRM is speaking of what is deeply in our hearts.

On another note, I too am interested in the Arya/Gendry dynamic. They might not have rolled around in the hay together, but they indisputably formed a bond. Let's answer the question : is this bond romantic in nature, or brotherly/sisterly?

I'm open to it, in either case. We shouldn't dismiss anything straightaway!

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:eek: And no one has mentioned Nedbert yet?

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I think it's foolish to even consider the idea that love is not both an integral part of human nature, and a driving force for human conflict, tragedy and comedy. And as in reality so in ASOIAF ;) GRRM is speaking of what is deeply in our hearts.

...and the source of all pop songs too. My oldest daughter, who just turned ten this week and is fairly attuned to popular music asked me today, "Mom, like why are all these songs about love? :rolleyes:" I explained to her essentially your rationale.

What I didn't feel comfortable with was desegregating love/infatuation and lust for her. We're not there yet! But I'm looking forward to (among other things) this aspect being discussed here.

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:eek: And no one has mentioned Nedbert yet?

Nedbert and Stavos are just examples of sad loyalty that completely blinds you and cloud your judgement. Actually, that sounds a lot like love :)...

I am deeply interested in Joffrey's, Cersei's, Tywin's, even Tyrion's idea of love, then all those crazy possesive Targaryens, Victarion's, Lysa's, LF's towards Cat. You know, not those loves that make world more beautiful place, but those that have deep disturbing thoughts :). I am especially interested in what Joffrey felt for Sansa...

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I think Arya/Gendry gets dismissed (ETA: By dismissed I'm referring to the pedo thing) sometimes because while there are those who just see their relationship as a potential. If they were older they may have liked each other. Or they just had a puppy crush. etc. I think that's fine.

Others will say things like the wrestling scene was filled with sexual tension. Gendry was physically attracted to her when she was in a dress. He realized she's turning into a woman even though she's flat as a board and has no hips and has no period. He said she looked nice but nice doesn't necessarily mean pretty. He easily could have been surprised at the fact that she was clean for once.

IRL a 15 year old is in high school. I'll make a guess that we're talking 10th grade vs. 5th grade. A 10th grader is not going to be attracted to a 5th grader. At best they might like someone who is in 7th or 8th grade and the former is pushing it.

Anyways, I would say it's possible she had a crush but at no point does she desire him even in the childlike sense. This is why I see the possibility of GRRM having her function as an asexual character. Asexuals can have crushes and be physically attracted to people. The lack of desire is the difference. I think even if she's not she might still function that way for the rest of the story. Without the gap it wouldn't advance the plot for her to start desiring a male provided the courtesan theories are wrong. She is old enough though. 12 year old are more than capable. They are the same people who want the boys of One Direction and Justin Bieber.

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...and the source of all pop songs too. My oldest daughter, who just turned ten this week and is fairly attuned to popular music asked me today, "Mom, like why are all these songs about love? :rolleyes:" I explained to her essentially your rationale.

What I didn't feel comfortable with was desegregating love/infatuation and lust for her. We're not there yet! But I'm looking forward to (among other things) this aspect being discussed here.

ok, your daughter is both adorable and sharp :) gotta love that!

and don't worry about explaining the love/infatuation and lust theme for her (there's time for that), we will tear that to pieces in here instead!

This is why I see the possibility of GRRM having her function as an asexual character. Asexuals can have crushes and be physically attracted to people. The lack of desire is the difference.

I actually think this is a very strong claim with possibly not enough evidence to back it up. The strongest argument against it is obviously that Arya is still a child. Also sexuality doesn't necessarily emerge overnight. I think there's room for Arya to develop it, and in her later chapters I think there's hints that she already is beginning to. May be best we explore it once we get to it. Personally I'm rather skeptical, though open to discussion :)

P.S. Have you seen the hottie that was casted for your hottie :)

You mean Ellaria? yes I'm excited, she's beautiful and a very good actress!

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and don't worry about explaining the love/infatuation and lust theme for her (there's time for that), we will tear that to pieces in here instead!

Yeap, what Cat should have taught Sansa?

P.S. Have you seen the hottie that was casted for your hottie :)

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I actually think this is a very strong claim with possibly not enough evidence to back it up. The strongest argument against it is obviously that Arya is still a child. Also sexuality doesn't necessarily emerge overnight. I think there's room for Arya to develop it, and in her later chapters I think there's hints that she already is beginning to. May be best we explore it once we get to it. Personally I'm rather skeptical, though open to discussion :)

I didn't say that she is asexual. Just that she may function as an asexual. Having a love interest/sexual desires doesn't need to be relevant to her arc.

Although I don't think she's done anything yet to rule it out and it's a more substantial theory than her possibly being a lesbian.

The childlike version-wanting to hold hands, kiss, be around/touch a male, having butterflies, etc. is not present.

The older version-she's not interested in the things that Brea does with boys or wonder if that's something she may want one day for herself. Girls are curious at that age. But she has a lack of interest.

What I said elsewhere is that she is very similar to Egg and he had no interest in girls at her age either and that changed. Arya may be like him or she might never change.

Some say she has trauma (I think she does but it might not necessarily be why she has no interest) or it's rebellion. I could see that if she felt the desire yet pushed it down and chose not to act on it. But with her it's not there. I would say it simply has not developed. It may in the future or it may not.

There's nothing wrong with being asexual if she is.

I don't think there is overwhelming evidence to state her orientation so I would never state without a doubt she is heterosexual, lesbian, bi, or asexual.

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There are a lot of stories like theirs, not only Wuthering Heights as Lyanna mentioned, but the Thorn Birds is another example.

True.

Arya and Gendry is very much in the text, and for all of these stories, we'll be looking at the text. And as Lyanna and Elba pointed out, it's a pretty common narrative technique in classic and contemporary literature. Also this relationship is very popular among readers, probably second only to Sansa and Sandor, so we thought we would be remiss not to include it.

Our premise is that love stories don't have to be conventional, and in fact, often the messier, the better. Love is not a switch that's turned on at the perfect moment, nor is love something only perfect people can feel and express. The seeds are often planted well ahead of time, and there's a gradual awareness, or even perhaps a growing into this awareness.

So let's be open to a fresh take on romance, that's grounded in the text.

And I wanted to second this:

We really would like to request that participants avoid labeling any of these relationships - this thread isn't meant to be a discussion of whether some of these relationships are "healthy" or not, but rather a group analysis and "rethink" on how Martin approaches and writes about romance. Otherwise, this thread could get ugly very fast and degenerate into discussions of rape/pedophilia/Stockholm Syndrome.

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Heathcliff and Cathy are two horrible, selfish, and insane people who deserved each other but will never be together.

They treated almost everyone but each other like crap.

I don't see Gendry as a Heathcliff and I don't see his feelings mirroring it either. He was perfectly fine with staying with the BWB and never seeing Arya again. I heard that GRRM said that they have different paths so that may come to pass. I would say that being like Heathcliff is not a compliment so it's probably better for Gendry that they aren't alike except for being lowborn and bitter. Gendry does good things despite being bitter though unlike Heathcliff.

ETA:Arya and Gendry were never that close. They were friends sure but it was nothing of the inseparable sort.

Although lol @ this from sparknotes:

Moreover, Catherine and Heathcliff’s love is based on their shared perception that they are identical. Catherine declares, famously, “I am Heathcliff,” while Heathcliff, upon Catherine’s death, wails that he cannot live without his “soul,” meaning Catherine. Their love denies difference, and is strangely asexual. The two do not kiss in dark corners or arrange secret trysts, as adulterers do. Given that Catherine and Heathcliff’s love is based upon their refusal to change over time or embrace difference in others, it is fitting that the disastrous problems of their generation are overcome not by some climactic reversal, but simply by the inexorable passage of time, and the rise of a new and distinct generation. Ultimately, Wuthering Heights presents a vision of life as a process of change, and celebrates this process over and against the romantic intensity of its principal characters.

http://www.sparknote...ing/themes.html

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Lyanna did not say there was a parallel between the two stories, but that this is a typical narrative technique.

What we want do to is look at the storytelling, this is really an appreciation of that.

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