Jon: the Hour of the Wolf Comes

The biggest cliffhanger for us Stark loving ASOIAF fans at the end of ADWD: Is Jon dead or is he just mostly dead?

GOT actors, producers and GRRM himself haven’t helped the debate. “Dead is dead” claim HBO and their actors. “Oh, so you think he’s dead do you?” says GRRM.

The latest teaser poster from GOT twitter continues the theme of the teaser trailer, of all the faces of Westeros in the House of Black and White. That doesn’t mean Jon is dead, of course…. but he isn’t looking particularly alive either.

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The general consensus is that Jon is totes dead, and will be resurrected by Melisandre or some other hand wavy magic to continue his role in ASOIAF. I don’t propose to go over that ground – instead, I suggest people read this excellent blog on the topic instead.

But what if… he’s just mostly dead? How might that pan out?

Continue reading “Jon: the Hour of the Wolf Comes”

Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 2)

Previously we looked at my accusations that Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Warden of the West, father of the Queen and (after Joffrey’s accession to the Throne) Hand of the King (again) is a war criminal.

The TL;DR for that one is…

  1. While I think that the elimination of Houses Reyne and Tarbeck in the infamous “Rains of Castamere” assault is a truly revolting mass murder, I am not convinced that it is a war crime as I do not believe the rebellion of the Reynes and Tarbecks, and Tywin’s forces riding out to quash it, adequately meets the criteria for a non-internaitonal armed conflict. If it’s not a war, it’s not a war crime – it’s just a CRIME.
  2. However the murders of Elia Martell and her children, Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen, are most definitely a war crime, because Tywin ordered his men to eliminate the children – who were not a military target.

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What I didn’t go into much in the second example was the issue of command responsibility, which I will raise more in this blog, because it comes up again. What makes Tywin Lannister a war criminal is not that he actually literally dirties his hands with the blood of his victims: he simply orders men under his command to do it. But he is responsible for it as their commander.

The raiding and pillaging of the Bloody Mummers is another grey area: is it a non-international armed conflict, or is it an act of aggression in peacetime?

What I propose to question in this blog is raiding of the Riverlands by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and the band of distasteful mercenaries called properly the Brave Companions, but known more by their sobriquet “The Bloody Mummers” – Vargo Hoat, Biter, Shagwell the Fool, Septon Utt, Qyburn the disgraced and ‘defrocked’ maester, and Urswyck the Faithful. They pillage, reave and rape their way across the Riverlands, ending up squatting in Harrenhal, holding that ancient castle for the Lannister armies. We encounter them in Arya and Jaime’s misadventures in the Riverlands through the first act of ASOAIF (AGOT-ASOS).

  1. Tywin ordering the Bloody Mummers to pillage the Riverlands was an act of aggression – but was it the start of the War of the Five Kings, or did Catelyn Tully Stark do that when she seized Tyrion Lannister?
  2. Tywin ordered his men to ravage the Riverlands, to provoke a response from the then Hand of the King – Ned Stark. Why was this not dealt with within the Westeros justice system as an act of treason or breach of the peace?
  3. Is Tywin responsible for all of the acts of the Bloody Mummers?

Continue reading “Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 2)”

Realpolitik in Westeros: The Sworn Sword

I love the Dunk and Egg novellas for many reasons, but I had always preferred the first and third novellas to the second, The Sworn Sword. But now I’m listening to the Harry Lloyd read audiobook via Audible.

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Dunk and Egg by arthatake

I read really fast, so sometimes I think I unintentionally skip over things. Listening to the story being told brings on a new way of experiencing the story, and for shorter stories like this that I devoured so quickly, makes me slow down and appreciate it.

It’s really struck me how important this novella is to understanding the game of thrones as it plays out in ASOIAF. We learn that power is in the eye of the beholder, not necessarily where bloodlines and law say it is. We also learn the impact of the first Blackfyre Rebellion, played out on a small stage in the conflict between Ser Eustace Osgrey of Standfast and Lady Rohane Webber, the “Red Widow” of Coldmoat in the Reach in the days of King Aerys I, when men said the king read books and scrolls of prophecy while bastard born Bloodraven, Hand of the King, ran the kingdom.

In amongst this we have the lessons learned by Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire, Egg, also known as Aegon Targaryen, son of Prince Maekar Targaryen of Summerhall, who would one day go on to be King Aegon, Fifth of His Name….

Continue reading “Realpolitik in Westeros: The Sworn Sword”

Littlefinger, the Man with a Plan – or not?

Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger as he is more commonly known, is one of the most skincrawlingly creepy and fascinating characters in ASOIAF. He appears to be an agent of chaos, prodding chess cyvasse pieces around on the Game of Thrones to profit from the destruction and fall out.

But does he have a bigger plan?

Honestly, if he does, I can’t work out what it is. I know there’s a few theories floating around that try to set up Littlefinger as someone with a big grand plan, but I suspect he is actually at the apex of his plan – and what will come next will show us that he only ever planned to gain the basest of desires: power.

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“Knowledge is Power” by Robert del Espacio

Continue reading “Littlefinger, the Man with a Plan – or not?”

Feedback welcome

I tend to switch the themes around fairly often, as I’m trying to find one that works best for this site.

I’m really happy for people to leave feedback – is it easy to read? Does the background colour make you go cross eyed? Is the font confusing?

Open to other feedback too, like “you waffle too much, get to the damn point.” 🙂

Gender in Westeros: Moon Tea

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This gorgeous piece showing a teenage Lysa, Cat and Baelish came from here 

One of the things that’s awesome about GRRM’s work is that, although he’s an older bloke, he does a pretty good job of deconstructing and accurately representing the experiences of women living in a misogynistic society.

This comes up in lots of different ways, but one of the big ones is the knowledge (or lack thereof) of contraceptives and ways to overcome the expectation of noble women that they’re nothing more than brood mares for the noble MALE lines of Westeros.

I do plan to do a lot more essays/rants about gender issues in ASOIAF, but for now I want to focus on two things that were revealed in ASOS/AFFC that I thought were really obvious but, based on the surprise of various redditors on /r/asoiaf whenever these two things come up, were apparently not that obvious. Maybe it’s like Jenny dying of AIDS in Forrest Gump, which isn’t explicitly stated but is pretty obvious – but apparently not to many.

These two cases involve the use of “moon tea” – Westeros’ version of a herbal abortifacient. Firstly by Jeyne Westerling, forced upon her by her mother, and then the case of Lysa Tully Arryn, forced upon her by her father. The connecting factor is Catelyn Tully Stark: Cat doesn’t seem to know anything about moon tea or any other birth control, because she doesn’t pick up on either incident. Apparently because Cat doesn’t figure it out (in Lysa’s case, until way too late) many readers don’t pick it up either.

Continue reading “Gender in Westeros: Moon Tea”

The problem of “Aegon” VI

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‘Aegon’/Young Griff and Jon Connington/Griff by Steamey on Deviant Art

If ASOIAF is an epic, then AGOT-ASOS was Act 1.

AFFC/ADWD brought on a new set of themes and characters, as we stopped the unrelenting pace that characterised the first three books, and paused for a breather before the War for Dawn (that 95% of characters have no clue is coming….)

I know AFFC has its critics, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I liked the chance to see what happens to the people of a land after a devastating civil war. I mean, I wanted to point Brienne in the direction of the Vale after the umpteenth time she asked if anyone had seen a maid of ten and three, red of hair and blue of eyes…

But ADWD brought in a new player for the game of thrones, Young Griff, the alias being used to hide a boy who is purported to be Aegon VI Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Elia, heir to the Iron Throne.

Who is he? But more importantly, why are two men from Essos so invested in getting him on the Iron Throne?

TLDR: it doesn’t matter if “Aegon” himself is a Blackfyre/Brightflame or not, but if Varys and/or Illyrio have some kind of familial connection to the ousted lines of the Targaryens, that makes their motivation to put a puppet dragon on the Iron Throne make far more sense.

Continue reading “The problem of “Aegon” VI”