ASOIAF is not CSI:Westeros. Chillax peeps…

ASOIAF fans are a dedicated bunch. There’s so many theories out there attempting to explain what is going on behind the scenes of some of our favourite character’s actions.

/u/guildensterncrantz recently did a FANTASTIC meta post on /r/asoiaf, which I strongly recommend reading.

One of the things that is both engaging and frustrating in the ASOIAF fandom is that a lot of reasonably intelligent people get so into it all that they come up with totally ludicrous theories…. and instead of just going “hey, how about this faint possibility?” their personal tinfoil becomes their Holy Grail, and huge resistance is offered up to any constructive criticism of the theory.

Continue reading “ASOIAF is not CSI:Westeros. Chillax peeps…”

Tywin Lannister: War Criminal

Good old Tywin Lannister. The man who ruled Westeros with an Iron Fist for the Iron Throne…. right?

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Art by SerClegane via Deviant Art

Well, sorry Lannister lovers. I detest the man, which I kind of hope was the point of this vicious and manipulative character on GRRM’s part.

There are four major crimes which stand out for me as evidence that Tywin Lannister was a grade A arsehole toerag and, for three of these incidents under international law about the conduct of armed conflict which I’m going to apply to Westeros despite the lack of a Geneva Convention in ASOIAF, make the head of House Lannister a war criminal.

  1. His mass murder of Houses Reyne and Tarbeck in the massacre known as the “Rains of Castamere” – now technically this doesn’t make Tywin a war criminal, because there was no armed conflict at the time. It just makes him a mass murderer!
  2. The unnecessary and visceral murders of Elia Martell and her two children, Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen, during the Sack of King’s Landing, carried out on Tywin’s orders by Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch.
  3. The ravaging of the Riverlands which preceded and crossed into the civil war dubbed The War of the Five Kings, also by Gregor Clegane, Amory Lorch and their band of Bloody Mummers, again on Tywin’s direct orders.
  4. Finally, the big one: the Red Wedding.

Now, as wonderful as Charles Dance’s performance of Tywin was on Game of Thrones, let’s just take a quick moment to savour Tywin as he is described in the books, mutton chops and all… (I couldn’t get this wonderful image to load, but take the time to go and check out the link. THAT is the image I had in my head reading, before it was displaced by Charles Dance!)

This blog is going to look at the first two. A further blog will dissect the Riverlands rampage and the Red Wedding (because it’s late, and I want to sleep…)

Continue reading “Tywin Lannister: War Criminal”

Calling all artists…

As you might have noticed, I’m a big fan of spicing up the walls of text I produce with artwork based on ASOIAF.

Now while I’m a crafty cat, I can’t “do” art for love nor money. So…

I will always give credit to artists where known, and link to the place I found the image via Googling if I can’t see an artist name. 

But more importantly….

Anyone want to draw up a nice header for me? 

I’ve played around with a few of the saved images I have and I can’t really find one that works with this format. Of all the various WordPress themes I’ve tried, I think this is the one that I like the most, in terms of clear layout and readability. But the House banners header doesn’t quite work.

Drop me a line if you’ve got something – we can work out a suitable arrangement in terms of payment or credit.

The Knight of the Laughing Tree

 

knight_of_the_laughing_tree_by_modji_33-d93qn4s

Art by Modji-33 on Deviant Art

One of the more interesting tales that Bran Stark hears is that of the Knight of the Laughing Tree. This is the story that Meera and Jojen Reed tell Bran in Chapter 24 of A Storm of Swords. The most interesting aspect about this story is that both Reed children are astounded that Ned Stark never told his children this story, it’s a story that the Reeds heard a hundred times or more from their father Howland.

I propose to explore why Ned didn’t tell the Stark kids this tale. It’s a simple reason: it was too dangerous to tell them. He couldn’t risk them asking inconvenient questions about two fictions that he was desperate for the children to believe.

  1. He only loved their mother, Catelyn Tully Stark; and
  2. Their aunt Lyanna was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, according to the official Robert Baratheon version of history.

Continue reading “The Knight of the Laughing Tree”

Robb & Honour: What was Ned’s example?

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Gif sourced from FanPop

One of the Young Wolf’s major disastrous decisions is his hormonally-influenced rash choice to totally ignore the marriage pact his mother arranged with Walder Frey to guarantee the Northern armies could cross the Trident during the War of The Five Kings, in favour of wedding the girl whose honour he had besmirched by bedding her when upset after learning about the “deaths” of his younger brothers.

Would Robb have made a wiser decision if he had learned different lessons about honour from daddy dearest Ned Stark?

What impact does Robb’s relationship with his much loved and, by his mother, much hated bastard brother do to inform Robb’s decision making process?

Or was Robb’s dick just making all the decisions for him?

Continue reading “Robb & Honour: What was Ned’s example?”

What is the “Song” at the heart of ASOIAF?

I’ve thrashed around some ideas in the past putting forward the hypothesis that GRRM is telling two stories within ASOIAF: the Song of Ice & Fire, and the Game of Thrones.

By taking the dual series names, I’m not advocating for book wank over TV fanboys. (Although I am, in general, a proud book wanker – as far as ASOIAF goes. Some of the changes made by the TV show are perplexing and remain to be seen if they are editorial shortcuts or just very bad ideas…)

What I mean is that two complex stories are being told within the one field of war: a mystical story that we don’t understand yet about the Song of Ice & Fire, and the War for the Dawn; against the political shenanigans which we do understand, with a plethora of interested parties duking it out for absolute monarchical control of Westeros.

The Game doesn’t really require extensive analysis, because it’s familiar to us. It’s the political machinations of King’s Landing, the chaos of Littlefinger, the long game of Varys: we recognise it because we see it daily, or can reflect upon history.

But the Song…. what is the Song? Is the Song about magic in all its forms? Or is it specifically about the Others and the Long Night? Is it about balance between Fire (Valyrian/dragon magic) and Ice (Winter/Others’ magic)? Or is it something else entirely?

Now, despite a litany of hilarious suggestions for appropriate ASOIAF music choices on reddit, I didn’t actually mean this question quite so literally. I don’t mean “what is the Song?” as in who is singing it and why, I mean what is the story at the heart of the more magical and metaphysical side of ASOIAF.

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Cersei, the Mad Queen

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Artist unknown, taken from here

Repost of a theory I posted to /r/asoiaf

Superficially, Cersei is the Mad Queen. Paranoid, with delusions of grandeur, and meeting more than enough criteria from the DSM to get a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, Cersei appears to be Westeros’ answer to the cliche “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As Queen Regent, she has – or thinks she should have – absolute monarchical rule over Westeros and, more importantly, over the Great Houses and families that she thinks are beneath the glory of House Lannister. However, she lacks the skills, tools, and intelligence to be the effective ruler she wants to be, and her plans are all undone by her own paranoid attack on Margaery Tyrell, resulting in her own fall from grace and naked Walk of Shame forced by the High Sparrow’s crusade against the sexual and other largesse that Cersei represents.

But what else does Cersei represent in the world of Westeros?

How can we assess femininity in Westeros through Cersei’s warped world view?

And where does her madness come from?

Continue reading “Cersei, the Mad Queen”