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Arya Appreciation Week: Day Four - Favourite Traits

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35 notes   •   VIA: denaerys   •   SOURCE: denaerys


after reading this post, another on-point piece of meta on Secret Targ theories by joannalannister and nobodysuspectsthebutterfly, my mind has been constantly mulling over this subject. Not only are these kind of Secret Heritage plot twists a perfect example of lazy, cliche writing, they are also highly offensive: it is not your choices that decide your faith, it is your family, an uncontrollable and entirely random factor that could fuck up your life at any given time.

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Thinking about this post, and how my first reaction was “but poor Arya!”, but you know what?  Poor Sandor, poor, poor man.

The Rolling Stones once said, “you can’t always get what you want, but you can sometimes get what you need.”  The Stark girls are terrible about giving Sandor what he wants, but they give him what he needs—because it seems clear that Sandor doesn’t know what he needs.  He’s in a world of misery and that can kind of skew your thinking.

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A note on Arya (and Sansa)


I recently finished posting a fic in which, at one point, it is announced that a Stark girl is in bad trouble. The overwhelming reader response to that announcement was, loosely paraphrased, ‘oh no, what’s happened to Sansa?’

And my first reaction was: wait a minute! Why is almost everyone so certain it’s Sansa and not Arya?

Because Sansa is the damsel in distress of the Stark family, especially in a lot of fanon, always needing to be rescued? Whereas – in fanon maybe even more than in the books – Arya is a butt-kicking, Needle-wielding, no-shit-taking little hellcat who can take on the Mountain and win, let alone take care of herself?

Well yes, in a way. Arya certainly “saves herself” in more obvious ways than Sansa often does.

But Arya is also a child, who has been kidnapped (as is and has Sansa), and has had the remarkable good fortune to avoid death, rape, and other forms of extreme violence being perpetrated upon her by very many people on many different occasions. Whether that’s because she was in the company of someone even bigger and scarier or more numerous (the Hound, the BWB) or the circumstances did not allow the other parties to use Arya for their fun (her brief encounter with Biter and Rorge). Arya is hardly an island, entire of itself. Before she reaches Braavos, Arya’s survival and general good health are not due solely to her own resources.

I am not trying to make Arya (or Sansa) seem weaker than she is. But Arya has, all things considered, had more luck than might at once be obvious, in that she reaches Braavos and starts her formal training alive, unmaimed, and unraped. And that’s not all due to her being a butt-kicking, Needle-wielding, etc. Sometimes sheer coincidence or blind (heh) luck is at play.

Just something to consider when the knee-jerk assumption becomes that Sansa always needs rescuing but Arya has all possibilities covered because she’s just that badass.


Arya is way too practical to be like Oberyn. 

Oberyn’s flashy, noticeably dangerous. He can take his time and brag and does.

Arya has to pretend to be meek and helpless to get an edge because she’s like- you know- a 9-11 year old girl with little to no combat training who relies on the element of surprise. 

There’s no boasting in Arya’s world unless she wants to end up dead. She has to be the dutiful cupbearer to Lord Bolton, the clueless Mercy, the innocent and happy-go-lucky Cat-

She’s more like Doran than Oberyn.

Actually, she’s really like neither, I’m not sure where these comparisons come from because like Oberyn and Doran are power players known by people as threats (political or battle-wise) who can actually have a say in their lives.

Arya’s learning as she goes and running from her life. No one thinks she’s dangerous, that’s the point. Raff, the Tickler, Dareon, does anyone think she’d have a chance at fair combat with them?? Really? 

She’s “skinny as a stick” and relies entirely on stealth, deception, and surprise- which is the exact opposite of Oberyn who’s known for being incredibly dangerous.

That’s the whole point of the “viper” and “grass” comparison, the viper is a known danger. Like no one ever takes Arya seriously or thinks she’s a threat, that’s how she survives.


aryastarque said: 

there’s nothing wrong with arya not wanting to fulfill a role that is meant to restrict her. even part of catelyn’s pov deals with her struggle to live within the societal limitations of being a lady.

Amen. People need to stop equating being anti-patriarchy with being anti-women.

appreciate the sentiment which gave rise to this notion (i.e. that women who don’t actively go against- or even enjoy- the set rules and positions patriarchal society gives them are not to be taken as anti-feminist or “lesser” in some way,) but it’s gotten absurd. 

A female character who wants options for her life, who dislikes being considered lesser as a woman, who finds it absurd that she doesn’t get treated with equality/respect/whatever merely because she’s not a man, who likes to do not traditional feminine things or isn’t good at traditional feminine things, isn’t wrong or bad for that. 

Like that’s crazy. There’s a reason this is (was) celebrated in the eyes of many, because it’s disagreement with patriarchal values that are harmful. It’s standing up against a sexist system. 

I’ve spoken about how I think that Sansa’s been negatively impacted by fitting the rigid mold of a highborn lady before, Catelyn point blank calls Robb out on how girls aren’t considered as important in anger because this is- at that point to her- the difference between life and death with her daughters, this is not a good thing. 

While we should acknowledge that it’s important to not look down on women who abide by these rules, it’s just as important to recognize that there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to abide by them.

Arya doesn’t want to be seen as a lady multiple times because she knows that means that her life is going to be controlled by others and forced on paths that she has no choice in. Being upset about that? 100% okay. In fact, it shows a lot of self-awareness and an ability to see beyond what authority tells her. It’s perceptiveness and intelligence that allow her to see that.

In fact, both Arya and Sansa develop insecurities over their bonds with people just because they are highborn ladies.

The thought made Sansa weary. All she knew of Robert Arryn was that he was a little boy, and sickly. It is not me she wants her son to marry, it is my claim. No one will ever marry me for love.  Sansa, ASoS

Hot Pie and Gendry had left her just as soon as they could, and Lord Beric and the outlaws only wanted to ransom her, just like the Hound. None of them wanted her around. They were never my pack, not even Hot Pie and Gendry. I was stupid to think so, just a stupid little girl, and no wolf at all. Arya, ASoS

After being treated as a piece, a bargaining chip, both sisters have since developed a sense of distrust of anyone showing interest in them. Sansa, who began the series as someone with great dreams of her wedding/future husband, is convinced no one would ever marry her for her- only her status. Arya, who began the series as someone constantly making friends/looking for them and valuing friendship so highly, now believes no one could possibly want her around for her- only her status matters.

Women are treated like bargaining chips in this society. This is beyond harmful, and Arya recognizing it as unfair and sometimes disliking being a lady because of it is not wrong at all. 

My only point was that Arya does think of herself as highborn lady and doesn’t hate it like people assume. She understandably has issues with it though sometimes.


Considering the numerous additions and incredible focus given to the Tyrells (who serve as comparatively minor characters in the books) in the show, I get so frustrated that the essence of book Loras Tyrell is lost in my opinion.

I mean Loras Tyrell in the books is very loyal to Renly, they’re not a fling, Loras doesn’t get over his loss-

“I will defend King Tommen with all my strength, I swear it. I will give my life for his if need be. But I will never betray Renly, by word or deed. He was the king that should have been. He was the best of them.”

The best dressed perhaps, Jaime thought, but for once he did not say it. The arrogance had gone out of Ser Loras the moment he began to speak of Renly. He answered truly. He is proud and reckless and full of piss, but he is not false. Jaime, ASoS

Yet we didn’t really get the full feeling of his loss given that the show decided to have most of his screentime spilling secrets to another man in season 3. And then making charged eye contact with Oberyn in season 4.

But while he’s so loyal to Renly even in death that he tries to avenge him, he can see reason, accept logic, and be understanding, too:

Ser Loras made no move to rise. “She fled,” he said. “She and Catelyn Stark, they left him in his blood and ran. Why would they, if it was not their work?” He stared at the table. “Renly gave me the van. Otherwise it would have been me helping him don his armor. He often entrusted that task to me. We had… we had prayed together that night. I left him with her. Ser Parmen and Ser Emmon were guarding the tent, and Ser Robar Royce was there as well. Ser Emmon swore Brienne had… although…”

“Yes?” Jaime prompted, sensing a doubt.

“The gorget was cut through. One clean stroke, through a steel gorget. Renly’s armor was the best, the finest steel. How could she do that? I tried myself, and it was not possible. She’s freakish strong for a woman, but even the Mountain would have needed a heavy axe. And why armor him and then cut his throat?” He gave Jaime a confused look. “If not her, though… how could it be a shadow?”

“Ask her.” Jaime came to a decision. “Go to her cell. Ask your questions and hear her answers. If you are still convinced that she murdered Lord Renly, I will see that she answers for it. The choice will be yours. Accuse her, or release her. All I ask is that you judge her fairly, on your honor as a knight.”

Ser Loras stood. “I shall. On my honor.” Jaime, ASoS

Also, while the show emphasizes his sexual and romantic relations to the extreme, it really fails to discuss just how skilled Loras is. He’s not famous for his lovers, he’s famous for his abilities.

Ser Loras pushed back a brown curl that had fallen across his forehead. “Your Grace will not find any man half so skilled with sword and lance as I.” Cersei, AFFC

 The Knight of Flowers was still half a boy, arrogant and vain, but he had it in him to be great, to perform deeds worthy of the White Book. Jaime, AFFC

Ser Tallad the Tall lost his mount when the sandbag came around and thumped him in the head. Strongboar struck the shield so hard he cracked it. Kennos of Kayce finished the destruction. A new shield was hung for Ser Dermot of the Rainwood. Lambert Turnberry only struck a glancing blow, but Beardless Jon Bettley, Humfrey Swyft, and Alyn Stackspear all scored solid hits, and Red Ronnet Connington broke his lance clean. Then the Knight of Flowers mounted up and put the others all to shame.

Jousting was three-quarters horsemanship, Jaime had always believed. Ser Loras rode superbly, and handled a lance as if he’d been born holding one… which no doubt accounted for his mother’s pinched expression. He puts the point just where he means to put it, and seems to have the balance of a cat. Perhaps it was not such a fluke that he unhorsed me. It was a shame that he would never have the chance to try the boy again.  Jaime, AFFC

Also, can we give a shout out to Loras’ sass? The show downplays it (if it’s really there at all,) but he goes toe-to-toe with Jaime quite well:

“I was better than you, Ser Loras. I was bigger, I was stronger, and I was quicker.”

“And now you’re older,” the boy said. “My lord.”
He had to laugh. This is too absurd. Tyrion would mock me unmercifully if he could hear me 
now, comparing cocks with this green boy. “Older and wiser, ser. You should learn from me.” “As you learned from Ser Boros and Ser Meryn?”

That arrow hit too close to the mark. “I learned from the White Bull and Barristan the Bold,”

Jaime snapped. “I learned from Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, who could have slain all five of you with his left hand while he was taking with a piss with the right. I learned from Prince Lewyn of Dorne and Ser Oswell Whent and Ser Jonothor Darry, good men every one.”

“Dead men, every one.”

He’s me, Jaime realized suddenly. I am speaking to myself, as I was, all cocksure arrogance and empty chivalry. This is what it does to you, to be too good too young. Jaime, ASoS

I don’t know. Loras is a really great character in the books. I feel like the show made him one dimensional and shallow in some ways. In the books though, he’s very impressive in a lot of respects.

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I really have to take issue with this: “the Western portion of the world, Westeros - the rich and civilized portion.” This isn’t true.

1. Westeros is poorer and less economically developed than Essos. It’s far less urbanized than Essos. It’s an exporter primarily of natural resources and can’t produce the advanced manufactured goods it imports from the Free Cities. Its financial system is really quite crude, especially in comparison to the large banks and insurance companies of Braavos. It has very few roads and none of them Valyrian; main thoroughfares like the Kingsroad don’t have bridges over major rivers but use fords instead; it lacks internal canals to connect major river systems.

2. Westeros is less politically developed. It’s only been politically unified for 300 years, and even that weak feudal state is extremely shaky and may not survive. Essos has had continent-spanning empires that lasted for thousands of years. It has much more diversity of political systems - republics with separation of powers and political parties, merchant oligarchies, elected tyrants, etc.

3. Westeros is considered less culturally developed. Essosi call Westerosi unwashed barbarians, referring to them by the inaccurate title of “Andals.” (reminds me of the way Americans and Europeans labeled various nationalities by incorrect names because they didn’t speak the language) The Essosi of the Free Cities are the blood of Old Valyria; the Ghiscari have their empire, the Dothraki have their prophecies of manifest destiny, and the Qartheen are the pureblooded descendants of the greatest city that ever was or ever will be. Westerosi nobles are sent to the Free Cities to get culturally enriched, not the other way around. In terms of cultural production, most mummers are imported from Essos, as Westeros has no tradition of theater.

When engaging with ASOIAF, you have to analyze the world of Planetos as it is, rather than automatically applying heuristics based on our own world. Assuming that west = rich, civilized, and east = the Other (because that’s how it’s been presented in the past) is falling into the same essentialist trap that Edward Said and others are critiquing.
racefortheironthrone, discussing how Westeros is not culturally superior to Essos (via racefortheironthrone)



Even now, even after everything (Ned’s death, the RW, all of ASOS) people are expecting a standard tropey story. So it’s only natural [for some fans to believe] that Jon and Dany’s stories will end with them falling in love, beating the bad guys, and then ruling Westeros together. And Tyrion also has to discover that he’s “special”, which will be his revenge on all the people who ever put him down, that he’s better than they ever were — his dad didn’t want him to be a Lannister? Fine, he’s *better* than a Lannister, that’s how he wins!

This is an excerpt from a private conversation Butterfly and I had a while ago (she made an excellent post expanding on these ideas here, and I highly recommend everyone go read it), but I wanted to post this excerpt because I’m *face palming* a lot today and Secret Targaryen Theorists are everywhere blergh. In case it’s not clear from the above excerpt, Butterfly was condemning the idea that Tyrion is Secretly Aerys’s son. 

I don’t like what Tyrion being Not A Lannister would imply — or at least what many people would think it implies — specifically that House Lannister is ~the Evil House~ the same way that JKR lazily wrote Slytherin as ~the Evil House~ and too many people conveniently brush the Peter Pettigrew’s of Gryffindor under the rug

I think GRRM is a better writer than that. Tyrion isn’t going to ~escape~ ~evil~ House Lannister by some accident of birth. (And LOL way to fucking dismiss Joanna as a Lannister, Secret Targ Theorists, of course only the father is important to someone’s identity, of course!!1!) However Tyrion’s story turns out, it will be the choices that Tyrion makes rather than the blood flowing through his veins that will define him. 

ASOIAF is not about who your parents are, it’s about the choices you make. I know that seems strange given Westeros’s feudal-like society where this House system goes back to time immemorial and where people derive such a strong sense of identity from their House, but what House you’re from doesn’t matter when an ice zombie is trying to cut off your head

TLDR - Tyrion Targaryen theories offend every fiber of my being. 

Podrick Payne: A Survivor (Meta)


It’s begun to chaff at me lately that few seem to make much of Podrick’s past and how it shaped his character. He’s not an extraordinarily popular character, true, but he is well-received by both book and TV audiences generally. I’ve never seen anyone hate on the character really, I can say that much. But while lacking the popularity of side-characters like Sandor Clegane for instance, he does have a decent sized fandom of his own. This fandom typically draws attention to the trait about Podrick that is most apparent as well as the most admirable: his loyalty. 

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