Let’s talk about Theon.

theon_at_winterfell

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!”

A Tournament of Ice and Fire!

/r/asoiaf is running its annual tournament again, and this year the moderating team has decided to run an essay tournament.

I’ve been selected as a participant, but I can’t tell you what my submission was about – nor is it published on this blog (yet. Once the tournament is finished, I will repost any submission/s I prepared for the tournament.)

The first round is live, so go, read and vote!

MAY THE BEST WRITER WIN

Blood of the Conqueror, Part 11: An Alliance With God — Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire

Introduction Artwork by Marc Fishman From Visenya’s Hill, the call went out to the faithful that Maegor’s Laws were undone; the Faith of the Militant had been reborn. Granted extraordinary powers by the crown, knights flocked the banner of the Warrior’s Sons while smallfolk men and women gathered under the Poor Fellows. Meanwhile on Aegon’s […]

via Blood of the Conqueror, Part 11: An Alliance With God — Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire

House Targaryen, dragonriding and genetics

A popular belief amongst fans, perpetuated by commentary from characters in the books to show that it is widely believed in-universe, is that House Targaryen only ever practised incestuous marriage.

They certainly were fond of incest, and this was because of their Valyrian heritage. More particularly, their dragonriding heritage. This recently came up on /r/asoiaf where a new fan believed they had cracked a theory, but it’s actually just stated directly in the text: the dragonlords practised incest to maintain their ability to control their dragons.

What is not stated is why this was necessary, but from what we do know about taming dragons, there is more than a component of blood magic. But it’s not always necessary.

That’s the why. This blog is about the who.

Continue reading “House Targaryen, dragonriding and genetics”