Was a civil war to end the reign of Aerys II, the Mad King, inevitable?

This came up in twitter discussions the other day.

The reign of Aerys II, the Mad King, was so toxic that it was headed for a bad end, no matter what happened. Rhaegar running off with Lyanna Stark pissed off a lot of people, but it was not technically the cause of Robert’s Rebellion – the King abrogating his duty to his subjects by roasting Lord Rickard and Brandon Stark alive in a poor excuse for a trial by combat, that was the thing that made the Rebellion kick off.

So… was that kind of mistake by Aerys inevitable? Was he so psychotic, so blinded by greed and narcissism and paranoia that he would inevitably cross the line and make it legitimate for his noble lords to rebel against his rule? We know that Rhaegar had hoped to stage a coup d’état to oust his father.

Rhaegar had put his hand on Jaime’s shoulder. “When this battle’s done I mean to call a council. Changes will be made. I meant to do it long ago, but . . . well, it does no good to speak of roads not taken. We shall talk when I return.”

AFFC, Jaime I

But does this mean that some kind of rebellious end to Aerys’ reign was certain?

Maybe, maybe not.

It is difficult to see how Aerys’ reign could have been sustained much longer, although it is also not clear that if Rhaegar did attempt a coup d’état if that would be strongly supported by the feudal lords. What is even less clear is if Jon Arryn’s plans for a non-Targaryen regime were something he was actively working towards, or something that he simply quietly ruminated over to himself.

So in a fashion befitting a lawyer, my answer to the title question is “it depends….” 

Continue reading “Was a civil war to end the reign of Aerys II, the Mad King, inevitable?”

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Too many unfinished threads in FeastDance for Winds to progress?

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What’s the hold up with The Winds of Winter?

This is a question on, more or less, every ASOIAF fan’s lips at some stage in the past seven years (yes. SEVEN.) Is GRRM past it, too old, no longer interested in Westeros, over it, put off by the show getting ahead of him, procrastinating, or any of the other millions of pejorative ideas thrown at him by ‘fans’?

Maybe.

Or …. maybe it’s just REALLY HARD for him to get every character and every various plot that has been set up over the first five books into the right locations for the final war for humanity?

Because there are a lot of unfinished plot threads. Some are pretty minor, like whether or not Edric Storm will be pulled out like a bunny in a hat by someone claiming the Iron Throne to be legitimised and be the father of the next generation of Baratheons. Some are pretty major, like how the hell is Sansa going to get out from under Littlefinger’s increasingly Weinstein-esque manipulation?

Not going to lie: I just spent far too long responding to a post on /r/asoiaf, and I feel like I should justify it by copying/pasting it into a blog post…. not that any of this is going to help me in Wednesday’s exam…

This line of thought was partly prompted by BryndenBFish’s post on /r/asoiaf earlier today about the extremely likely possibility that ASOIAF is going to be eight books all up, not seven as GRRM keeps insisting (and that, in all likelihood, GRRM’s reluctance to accept this is part of the editing/writing stumbling block!)

That post then prompted another post, where a user put forward their idea about what might happen in TWOW. It was… interesting. Started well, veered into fanfic about halfway through. To be fair, mine probably does as well. Everyone’s does – except for GRRM, and he’s the only one who really knows what’s going on, isn’t it?!

Continue reading “Too many unfinished threads in FeastDance for Winds to progress?”

Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.

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YES, I’m a Book Snob who thinks the Books Are Better Than The Show. But I also genuinely really do like Game of Thrones. The first 3-4 seasons are fantastic, even with the changes they made from text to screen. But then… things started to get a bit wonky. Jaime inexplicably went to Dorne, where Ellaria Sand was merged with Arianne Martell to produce a vengeance driven woman who seized power by killing her paramour’s brother, and the Sand Sneks went from interesting but over the top characters to caricatures of the Erotic Exotic, with cringe-inducing lines about liking the “bad pussy.”

The show is still doing epic, amazing MOMENTS that make us go WOAH NO WAY SO COOL. The Field of Fire? Holy crap. That was awesome.

But then… there’s the lack of logical consequences. No Dany, you don’t guarantee that the nobles of Westeros will follow you if you burn every Randyl Tarly that says no. You imprison them and take their heir as a hostage/ward to be your page until they say yes. No Cersei, you don’t just crown yourself Queen because your son died without an heir and because you want to… and you blew up all the nobles that would have been able to tell you to piss off in the Sept of Baelor. Not every major lord in Westeros was at Loras’ trial and confession. Only the ones who had speaking parts on the show thus far. There should have been an opposition to Cersei’s coronation – hell, even if it was just two lines of Random Unnamed Nobles hurrying to the Throne room saying “I don’t like this, but what can we do against the Mad Queen who blew up our most sacred institution?” GIVE US SOME LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THESE MAJOR ACTION SET PIECES DAMMIT.

The worst offender this season is a doozy. Gilly, who has mastered reading (good on you girl!) while Sam’s been cleaning poopy chamber pots, found a reference in a Septon’s diary (not the High Septon, just some average run of the mill septon who was hanging around Rhaegar’s entourage…) to a rather convenient annulment. This is a major problem, and actually doesn’t solve anything – it just introduces more pointless and unnecessary drama. The concerning thing is that the show runners seem to think that the audience loves it and it answers questions about Jon and his role in the future Westeros. This blog is all the reasons why, in my considered legal opinion, that this totally ridiculous, complete and utter bullshit actually creates more problems than it “fixes.”

Continue reading “Annulments, plot holes and water cooler moments…. all the ways the show has gone off the rails in S6-7 and beyond.”

Timeline for Robert’s Rebellion

GRRM is pretty fuzzy with dates, which can be rather annoying when you’re trying to work out who was where and when, and how long things took (and when babies were born…)

The Rebellion is one of these awkward, fuzzy, vague timelines. It took somewhere around 9-18 months? Maybe?

I got sick of not being sure, so I investigated procrastinated one night and worked it all out. because who needs to write their postgrad papers huh?

This is what I reckon happened, and when.

EDIT: Updated to include a clearer, shorter timetable/spreadsheet at the bottom.

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How the Roses intertwined with the Stags

Growing Strong

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TV’s House Tyrell, sans the equally excellent Garlan and Willas

House words in Westeros aren’t just a catchy buzzword. They’re a mantra, an ethos to the way that this family works. Even after she’s Lady Stark, Catelyn Tully Stark makes decisions based on the Tully creed family, duty, honour. Daenerys spends her arc from Pentos to Meereen to the Dothraki Sea again figuring out what it means to bring fire and blood.

So if the Tyrells want to grow strong, work their way up the social chain, into positions of power, and have a Tyrell child one day be King on the Iron Throne… why marry the gay Baratheon brother? 

This post could also be titled: the Tyrells knew all about the Lannister twins incest, because Mace’s enthusiasm for a Tyrell King only makes sense if he knew that a child born to Renly Baratheon had the best chance of ending up on the Iron Throne.

Continue reading “How the Roses intertwined with the Stags”

Why did Benjen take the black?

At least once a month, if not more on /r/asoiaf someone asks…

Hey guys – does anyone know why Benjen Stark took the black?

I mean, House Stark had just been decimated and sure, Ned was married but he only had one (legitimate) son and his wife was pretty pissed with him for bringing home a bastard… wouldn’t it be more prudent for Benjen to hang around, get married and supply some spare Starks?

Without fail. Every few weeks.

YES THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION. But from now on, I’m just going to copy/paste a link to this blog as my response.

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Jon Snow and his broken vows.

Inspired by this thread on /r/asoiaf, I have some thoughts on whether Jon Snow actually does break his vows to the Night’s Watch when he decides to march on Winterfell to take on Ramsay Bolton. Also: shout out to @BryndenBFish and @PoorQuentyn for putting up with my tweeted pleas for help and ideas.

His decision, announced after he reads the “Pink Letter” to the hall full of wildlings and Watchmen, has fatal consequences. It is seemingly the final straw for many in the Watch, who take it upon themselves to exact justice on the Lord Commander who has broken his vows.

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Many fans agree that when he declared he would ride to Winterfell and fight Ramsay, Jon openly and clearly breached his vows to the Night’s Watch, and thus what the For The Watch-ers did was completely justified. I’ve always found this a little hard to swallow. Now I’ve finally figured out a way to credibly argue that Jon was looking at the bigger picture.

TLDR: Jon’s decision is in keeping with his vow to defend the realm of Men from the Others, except there was no way in hell that he could ever adequately explain that to a Night’s Watch that has forgotten that keeping the Others at bay, and not keeping the wildlings out, is its raison d’être.

Continue reading “Jon Snow and his broken vows.”