Sansa is important. Get with the program.

This article popped up on my Twitter feed today: Strong As Sansa

I LOVE THIS. So glad that Sansa is getting some love. I have talked about Sansa before, and how her naivety is as much a result of Ned’s parenting choices as it is about her personality.

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But what I love the most about Sansa is what she represents: the feminine, the girl who is pushed around by society, trying to do what she is expected to do rather than pushing back against those expectations like Arya. I love the dynamics of the two Stark girls – both are challenging the shitty expectations of a misogynistic society, but are doing it in very different ways.

Fans love to shit on Sansa because she dobbed on Ned to Cersei and apparently “caused” the whole War of the Five Kings…. yo, people, that shit was happening anyway.

Sansa cops a lot of unwarranted criticism, and I am totally riding the Queen Sansa (INDANORF) train. Let me tell you why…

Continue reading “Sansa is important. Get with the program.”

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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.

Continue reading “Why did Benjen take the black?”

The problem with Rhaegar

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They had come together at the ford of the Trident while the battle crashed around them, Robert with his warhammer and his great antlered helm, the Targaryen prince armored all in black. On his breastplate was the three-headed dragon of his House, wrought all in rubies that flashed like fire in the sunlight. The waters of the Trident ran red around the hooves of their destriers as they circled and clashed, again and again, until at last a crushing blow from Robert’s hammer stove in the dragon and the chest beneath it. When Ned had finally come on the scene, Rhaegar lay dead in the stream, while men of both armies scrabbled in the swirling waters for rubies knocked free of his armor.

Rhaegar Targaryen is, to put it mildly, problematic.

At worst, he’s a kidnapping, prophecy-obsessed rapist. At best, he’s a fool in love who forgot everything political he knew (or ought to have known) to run off with 15 year old Lyanna Stark.

Continue reading “The problem with Rhaegar”

Let’s talk about Theon.

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Quite a few threads on /r/asoiaf have been talking about Theon’s tragic story and bad, bad choices lately, and I’d like to consolidate all the replies I’ve made into one longer blog.

The first time I read ASOIAF, I hated Theon Greyjoy. I thought he was a cocky, arrogant, sexist shithead, and he betrayed the nice guys, the Starks – how very dare he! He absolutely deserved the torture he suffered at the hands of Ramsay Snow.

But… did he? Would anyone? No. I have strong personal, political views about torture and ill treatment (short version: comply with the Convention Against Torture.)

And then I watched the show. Somehow, seeing Theon’s story play out in the flesh, removed from the often dispassionate process of reading, and enhanced by the really excellent acting of Alfie Allen in season 2, I started to feel sorry for Theon and think about how, deep down, he was just a lost, lonely, scared little boy for his whole life.

Continue reading “Let’s talk about Theon.”

Fan entitlement and writer’s block

Many, many fans are fed up with GRRM’s glacial writing pace. As someone who waited patiently from primary school to university, to working, to returning to uni for postgraduate studies, to getting a masters before Isobelle Carmody finally finished the damn Obernewtyn Chronicles, I get it. It’s frustrating.

But as Neil Gaiman said, GRRM doesn’t owe us anything. He is not our bitch.

Creative writing is just that: creative. Sometimes creativity doesn’t flow smoothly. Sometimes you get stuck. And if GRRM did give us an update, would that satisfy us?

Probably not. This is what he said to a fan recently on NotABlog:

If you think a “tell all” or update on WINDS OF WINTER would stop fans from asking about it… well, I love your optimism, but my own decades of experience suggest otherwise.

There are only two things that will stop people asking me about WOW:
(1) my finishing and delivering the book, or (2) a giant asteroid hitting the Earth and destroying human civilization.

As I have no control over (2), I am working on (1).

However, I know perfectly well that the moment I announce the completion and delivery of THE WINDS OF WINTER, I will start to get emails demanding to know how A DREAM OF SPRING is coming.

So it goes…

He’s quite right. GRRM could tell us “I have worked out Theon’s, Arya’s, Tyrion’s, Arianne’s, JonCon’s, and Jon’s arcs, but am struggling with Sansa, Brienne, Jaime, Cersei, Dany, Barristan, Asha, and how to get everything ready for the Others to invade” and it wouldn’t tell us any more or any less than we already know, would it?

He’s working on TWOW and will be working on it until it’s done.

So suck it up princesses. Be patient. Wait until he’s done. Keep coming up with tinfoil. Chill out. Re-read. Watch Game of Thrones. Enjoy it.

It’ll be done when it’s done.

None so blind as those that will not see: Dany and the Mad King

This was my entry for the /r/asoiaf annual tournament. I was beaten by Something Like A Lawyer of Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire fame. Now I’m out of the tourney, I can publicly post my entry, and amend it to look further than just the assigned chapter. (And taking on feedback from /r/asoiaf to adjust the essay is good too 🙂 )

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Continue reading “None so blind as those that will not see: Dany and the Mad King”

Septon Barth was always right!

The history of Westeros is written, in-universe, by the maesters of the Citadel. Like all historians, they’re not infallible. In particular, the maesters are focused on rational thought, evidence and reason, even in the face of evidence of magic in the world (such as dragons.)

Some of Westeros’ historians though are more open to the possibility of the arcane and inexplicable. In particular, the works of Septon Barth are referenced by others, especially in TWOIAF, usually so that the ‘author’ Maester Yandal can then scorn the theory. Which has led to the popular idiom amongst fans: “Septon Barth was always right.”

It’s GRRM’s way of telling us the truth, while showing us that the people of Westeros don’t believe it.

So what has Septon Barth actually said?

Continue reading “Septon Barth was always right!”