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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Who are the main players in the Game of Thrones after AFFC/ADWD? (Part 1)

The War of the Five Kings, and its ignoble ending at the Red Wedding, eradicated a lot of the claimants for the Iron Throne or any regional thrones in Westeros.

As we prepare for the launch of season 6 GOT, let’s review where we left everyone at the end of A Feast for Crows/A Dance of Dragons – specifically, those main characters that many think (or hope!) will go on to be future pawns in the Game of Thrones, or major players.

NB: I’m not up to date on the TV show. I’ve monitored Buzzfeed and Tumblr, and have a reasonably good idea of the deviations in plot and major points, but I haven’t actually watched past season 2 GOT myself. It’s on my To Watch list and I recently got the 5 season box set… but I haven’t actually sat down and binged yet as I’ve had stuff to do.

Continue reading “Who are the main players in the Game of Thrones after AFFC/ADWD? (Part 1)”

Daemon Blackfyre: Foundations of Rebellion

Daemon Waters, bastard son of Aegon the Unworthy and Princess Daena Targaryen, scandalously conceived while Daena was imprisoned in the Maidenvault after her brother-husband King Baelor refused to consummate their marriage, just before Baelor finally died from his piousness and fasting (perhaps helped along in this by a poison from his uncle Viserys II who grew tired of his nephews stuffing up royal governance of the realm.)

Given the ancient sword of Aegon the Conqueror, Blackfyre, when being knighted by his father at the age of 12, Daemon took the sword’s name for his own house. Eventually, he rebelled and claimed the Iron Throne for himself.

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But why did he rebel?

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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

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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.

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The Knight of the Laughing Tree

 

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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”