There’s so much being written at the moment about privilege in the real world. I’m going to try to steer clear of that for this blog, and focus instead on the representation of privilege that GRRM gives us in ASOIAF.
This blog is inspired by BryndenBFish’s latest blog on the factors that have led to the perfect political storm that Varys intends to exploit with the arrival of Aegon. What caught my eye was this observation about Jaime:
What Jaime could not understand was that the growing power of the sparrows was due entirely to his family’s actions specifically in the Riverlands. The army of sparrows that were massing in King’s Landing and the Riverlands were the expression of a popular outrage against the abuses committed during the War of the Five Kings. This is one of the flashing warning signs that Cersei should have heeded in her conversation with the High Sparrow. The sparrows’ grievances were built on a foundation of war atrocities that had been committed by her father and brother’s armies. So, while Cersei Lannister had allowed the Faith to rearm with the expectation that the High Sparrow and his army to be loyal to her and her son, these men and women were already hostile to the Lannister regime.
The Lannister children (Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion) are the epitome of privilege in Westeros. They are used to having everything that gold can acquire at their disposal, and complete political and legal immunity because of Tywin’s ruthlessness. This has led to the current climax of cock ups that constitute Cersei’s attempts to rule Westeros through her sons. In Westeros at least, the privileged are about to fall, and fall hard.
It’s not just that Cersei is so politically incompetent that she re-armed the Faith Militant, it’s also that Tyrion is lashing out because he wasn’t allowed to be The Lannister of Casterly Rock, and Jaime is continuing to enforce Tywin’s corrupt and cruel policies in the Riverlands.
Continue reading “House Lannister + Privilege”
Alrighty. Let’s do this!
Part 1 is here for those playing along at home…
Who else remains as a core, important character or plot as at the end of AFFC/ADWD?
SPOILER ALERT: I do refer to S6E1 in this post, so if you’re planning to remain completely unsullied…. don’t read.
Continue reading “Who are the main players in the Game of Thrones after AFFC/ADWD? (Part 2)”
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)”
I’ve already made one and two arguments that Tywin Lannister is a war criminal. Saved the worst for last.
I’ve been putting this off, because the Red Wedding is just so unpleasant. But… in absence of anything else to blog about, time to dissect the Red Wedding as a crime against humanity.
Tywin Lannister isn’t alone in planning and executing this manoeuvre. In fact, it’s unclear how much or how little he was involved at all, but he certainly had forewarning of Roose Bolton and Walder Frey’s plot, and encouraged them with promises of royal pardons and rich rewards for carrying out the most savage breach of guest right since the Rat Cook.
Tywin wasn’t at the Twins when the Red Wedding occurred. He was in King’s Landing. He was smart enough not to leave any obvious trail of planning… so we need to dissect what we can from the POV chapters of Arya, Sansa and Tyrion to determine how much command responsibility Tywin Lannister actually bears for this gross and obscene crime against humanity.
Continue reading “Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 3)”
The title of this post is an homage to a former colleague, who used to do a professional development training lecture every year or so which he dubbed “the plodder’s guide to bail applications” – meaning that there is no great secret to a bail application, you can do a legally perfect one and be denied bail, or do a legally wobbly one and get bail for your client.
This is my plodder’s guide to the Kings and Queens of the Iron Throne of Westeros. Because frankly…. I frequently get totally confused, so if nothing else I’d like a
short list for future reference just for myself!
This won’t be any detailed character analysis: just a dot point guide to the rulers of Westeros, from Aegon the Conqueror to Tommen the Beetslayer.
Fair warning: this is a long post. It got away from me when trying to figure out the Dance of the Dragons!
I have also highlighted the moments of royal history that provide the relevant law to the Iron Throne’s succession – because this is going to be relevant to future plot points. Tommen is likely to die before he produces any “Baratheon” heirs, and then the realm will have to grapple with a field of potential applicants for the Throne – many of them women or girls.
Continue reading “The Plodder’s Guide to Westeros’ Rulers”
Previously we looked at my accusations that Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Warden of the West, father of the Queen and (after Joffrey’s accession to the Throne) Hand of the King (again) is a war criminal.
The TL;DR for that one is…
- While I think that the elimination of Houses Reyne and Tarbeck in the infamous “Rains of Castamere” assault is a truly revolting mass murder, I am not convinced that it is a war crime as I do not believe the rebellion of the Reynes and Tarbecks, and Tywin’s forces riding out to quash it, adequately meets the criteria for a non-internaitonal armed conflict. If it’s not a war, it’s not a war crime – it’s just a CRIME.
- However the murders of Elia Martell and her children, Rhaenys and Aegon Targaryen, are most definitely a war crime, because Tywin ordered his men to eliminate the children – who were not a military target.
What I didn’t go into much in the second example was the issue of command responsibility, which I will raise more in this blog, because it comes up again. What makes Tywin Lannister a war criminal is not that he actually literally dirties his hands with the blood of his victims: he simply orders men under his command to do it. But he is responsible for it as their commander.
The raiding and pillaging of the Bloody Mummers is another grey area: is it a non-international armed conflict, or is it an act of aggression in peacetime?
What I propose to question in this blog is raiding of the Riverlands by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane and the band of distasteful mercenaries called properly the Brave Companions, but known more by their sobriquet “The Bloody Mummers” – Vargo Hoat, Biter, Shagwell the Fool, Septon Utt, Qyburn the disgraced and ‘defrocked’ maester, and Urswyck the Faithful. They pillage, reave and rape their way across the Riverlands, ending up squatting in Harrenhal, holding that ancient castle for the Lannister armies. We encounter them in Arya and Jaime’s misadventures in the Riverlands through the first act of ASOAIF (AGOT-ASOS).
- Tywin ordering the Bloody Mummers to pillage the Riverlands was an act of aggression – but was it the start of the War of the Five Kings, or did Catelyn Tully Stark do that when she seized Tyrion Lannister?
- Tywin ordered his men to ravage the Riverlands, to provoke a response from the then Hand of the King – Ned Stark. Why was this not dealt with within the Westeros justice system as an act of treason or breach of the peace?
- Is Tywin responsible for all of the acts of the Bloody Mummers?
Continue reading “Tywin Lannister: War Criminal (Part 2)”
Good old Tywin Lannister. The man who ruled Westeros with an Iron Fist for the Iron Throne…. right?
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”
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?”
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”
BRING OUT YOUR TINFOIL!
Southron Ambitions is the name for a much touted fan theory that Rickard Stark married off his sons and daughter to southern houses for the purpose of aligning with other Great Houses. It’s pretty well accepted because it fits with the recent history of ASOIAF:
- Brandon Stark was betrothed to Catelyn Tully
- Eddard Stark was fostered at the Eyrie by Jon Arryn
- Hoster Tully was negotiating with Tywin Lannister for Lysa to marry Jaime
- Lyanna Stark was betrothed to Robert Baratheon
- Oberyn Martell reminiscences with Tyrion about Oberyn and Elia visiting Casterly Rock with their mother, who had ambitions to match off her kids to the Lannister Twins (can you imagine Cersei and Oberyn? Hilarious.)
So we know for a fact that there was a lot of marriage alliances going on between all the major houses in Westeros, except for the Tyrells, who at that point didn’t have anyone of marriageable age (remember – Loras and Margaery are only 15-17 at the time of ASOS)
But I think there was more than just plans to get to know each other at the heart of these marriage alliances. Remember, in medieval times, marrying your sons and daughters off was the best way to seal a political union.
The TLDR version is:
- Bitter Lady Dustin is correct that Rickard Stark had “southron ambitions” in arranging Southron matches for his children
- but she doesn’t know the bigger picture: the Great Houses involved in these matches were preparing to overthrow the Targaryens for ever.
- plan was massively accelerated when Lyanna ran off with Rhaegar as Aerys’ over reaction to Brandon’s behaviour, and killing Brandon and Rickard, gave the would be rebels the perfect excuse to launch their planned rebellion.
Rhaegar v Robert, as depicted in The World of Ice & Fire
Continue reading “Southron Ambitions – turned up to 11”