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ghostlymermaidpopulation asked: Hello! I really love your blog, and reading your meta. (I have a slight obsession with Asoiaf meta.) I was wondering if you have any tips for people who want to try writing their own (since I' usually rubbish at analyzing people and motivations etc.) thanks :)

"I have a slight obsession with Asoiaf meta"

Don’t we all :)

I can try to give some tips, but A) I’m hardly the authority on meta, and B) I firmly believe that meta writing is kind of personal as I know my method is considered unusual.

Well, you should know a few things. I’m very insecure about my writing. I wrote a book and planned out a trilogy in great detail, thought about it so often and developed it meticulously, and wrote 70K in a month… and have since let it sit for like a year. I’m too insecure in my writing to show it to anyone (so I can’t get a second opinion) and too insecure to edit it myself (as just reading my own writing is so painful because I doubt myself.)

The point is, you may not feel 100% great with what you’ve written but that doesn’t mean other people won’t appreciate it. You just got to put yourself out there!

For me, I let my inspiration roll and crank out metas quickly. Most of my metas (even the 5K+ ones) are written in one sitting over the course of a couple hours max- oftentimes more like under one hour. I hear that’s unusual, but I never force anything. I don’t write anything for the sake of others or reactions, I write because I want to. I get this drive to write meta and nothing can stop me. All my blogs were created because I wanted to write my thoughts and had nowhere to put it.

So tips:

  1. Tag it #asoiaf meta. That’s a tag a lot of people (like the asoiafuniversity mods and meta fans in general) follows. If you want feedback, that’s a good place to start.
  2. Use quotes. Don’t just make a statement and expect people to agree. Even if it seems obvious and commonly accepted, try to add the textual evidence. 
  3. Use full quotes. I can’t tell you how often I see metas that quote excerpts but then leave out crucial parts on that part of the book. Like the “Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her” that then ignores how Sansa immediately states afterwards “Except to get her out…” and goes on to contradict herself.
  4. Be mindful of sensitive topics. If you make statements- especially about real life issues- just be aware of how they can be interpreted. It’s very easy online without the use of tone and expression to mistake the meaning of something. Just be clear in your intention, don’t be afraid to restate and reword your point.
  5. Don’t worry about the destination, enjoy the journey. By that I mean, sometimes I write meta about a topic and realize where I’m going with my writings as I write. I don’t plan what I’m going to say or outline necessarily, I decide based on what the quotes and sources are telling me. Don’t get boggled down with where you’re going and follow your instincts. Don’t just decide the endpoint without writing the beginning and middle. Let it flow and then see what the conclusion you came to is. (That’s only applicable on some things though.)
  6. Consider your length. The longer a meta is, the less likely people are to read it. It may be amazing and no one will ever know because all they saw was too long and kept scrolling. Established meta writers can get away with writing thousands and thousands of words, but normally it’s preferred if you keep it short and simple. 
  7. Try not to let the haters get you down. Everyone’s a critic- but people on tumblr can be especially critical. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I mean that I rarely have posts that don’t get hijacked, criticized, ect. People who’ve followed me for a while probably remember how I got a lot of hateful messages and comments on my posts and almost gave up on writing despite wanting to. Not everyone is going to agree with you. While there are definitely things that are inarguable, while some assertions are just plain stupid/impossible, you’ll find that people can just see the same thing different ways. “We look up at the same stars and see such different things” and all.
  8. Be sure to assert your point clearly and immediately. What question are you answering? You should be asking yourself that. You have a thesis statement, stick to it. You’ll lose interest quickly if people don’t know what topic you’re addressing so state your thesis quickly and then go into detail and evidence. In the end, you should restate it, tie it all together with a nice conclusion to a cohesive argument.
  9. Try not to handle too many topics at once. You can always write another essay, don’t try to fit in every thought into one meta.
  10. Don’t let a lack of notes intimidate you. Especially if you’re just starting out. When I started writing asoiaf meta, I would be writing thousands of words for no one. Many of my first metas got something like 3-10 notes. Some didn’t even get one. What I consider my best metas normally do the worst note-wise, and many of my rambles do really well. You have to get traction in order to get feedback normally, so don’t let a lack of response hurt your confidence.
  11. Short, simple, sweet titles. What’s the meta about? Try to be very plain and attention-grabbing with a title that makes it clear you are going to be talking about so and so. 
  12. Tag well. Like if it’s about Sansa Stark, don’t tag Arya, don’t tag House Stark, don’t tag gotedit, tag relevantly. People might just get in your face and not even respond to your meta.
  13. Don’t be afraid to use a “read more”. It’s far worse to just have that post that takes up someone’s entire dash forever. You just have to ensure that the beginning part that’s visible is enthralling so that someone is enticed to click the read more (and make sure your blog has legible font for that.)
  14. I never do this but I always regret not doing so, edit before you publish. There could be a lot of really glaring and easy mistakes.
  15. And last of all, if you ever want feedback, I’m (usually) totally eager to give it! I get a fair amount of messages and can get busy, but if you have a question or want an opinion, contact me! And not just me, any blog that you admire. I remember I asked for feedback from a big meta blog when I first started out and had maybe 20 followers. Try to be understanding though on whether or not they’re busy.

Okay, that’s all that came to mind. Remember, I’m just one meta writer, everyone has their own style. What works for me may not work for you. And I’m sure some other meta writers could look at this and wonder how the hell I write anything coherent haha.

For more ASoIaF meta love, three of my favorite meta blogs can be checked out: joannalannister, ladysmallwood, and nobodysuspectsthebutterfly

Good luck with your writing! <3

Permalink   •   Tags: #resources #writing
Anonymous asked: i just read the part where sansa mentions her kiss with sandor that never actually happened and im really confused. is sansa having hallucinations? has she had any other times like this? im confused with how this might affect her in the future but no one seems to be talking about it

I’ve spoken briefly about this before (see here) and when I did, I discussed in detail the Sandor/Sansa “unkiss” (as it has been known to be called.)

And you’re right, not many people really discuss this- or at least not enough that it doesn’t get drowned out by more popular Sansa meta topics. I find with Sansa meta is that most of them are either A) some form of defense against Sansa hate or B) expressing praise for Sansa’s political journey and assumed future role.

I think this is a shame really because then the more subtle nuances of Sansa’s character don’t really get explored in meta as often as they could be considering the sheer bulk of Sansa meta floating around tumblr.

All that being said, I know some people talk about this aspect of Sansa’s character- but normally they only discuss the “Unkiss” and not the various other examples of Sansa’s repression and alteration of memories. 

For starters, just want to answer a bit. No, Sansa is definitely not hallucinating (nor did she “warg” into Sandor during the moment as I have seen some people claim.) But the “Unkiss” is just one instance in a long line of Sansa memory repressions/alterations. This is a very important element of her character- one that makes her the quintessential unreliable narrator as well. And it has already greatly impacted her life.

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I’m going to break this ask into parts to make my rambling more manageable. Let’s start with Sansa Stark, because I am always ready to talk about my baby goddess princess Sansa Stark. Also Catelyn, because Catelyn is great. Spoilers for the first three book (roughly equivalent to season 1-3; I don’t get to the season 4 or book 4 and 5 stuff)

People who don’t like Sansa or Catelyn will frequently say that they aren’t real Starks. Something in them just isn’t sufficiently Stark-y. The people saying this always mean it in a dumb misogynistic way (note: no one ever says this about 100% PURE TULLY ROBB STARK), but the thing is they’re not totally wrong. Before we get to Sansa, or even Cat, we have to talk about Ned.

Ned Stark was never raised to be the Stark in Winterfell. His elder brother Brandon was heir, and he was raised to play a completely differently role in life. Ned Stark was raised by Jon Arryn, and the brother he grew up loving was Robert Baratheon. When he was what – 16? – he married Catelyn Tully. Ned may have had the blood of the North in his veins, but his life was in the South. Catelyn talks about becoming accustomed to Winterfell and the ways of the North in her chapters, but Ned had to do the same. Catelyn becomes a Stark, but she and Ned both have a lot in them that’s more Tully and Arryn than Stark. Family, Duty, Honor – those are the actual values both Ned and Cat live by, and those are the values most of their children absorb. This is especially true of their eldest two children, the ones who look just like their mother and almost nothing like their father: Robb and Sansa.

This is not to say that Cat, Ned, Robb and Sansa don’t have any typical Stark qualities – they do! But are the elder Stark men the platonic ideals of Stark-hood that they’re often thought of as? Certainly not. (I’d actually argue that Cat absorbs more than either of those children and maybe even more than Ned). As Cat is shaped by the Starks, the Starks - including Ned - are shaped by Cat. “Family, Duty, Honor”, is a lot closer to “As High as Honor” than “Winter is Coming” is to either, and so Cat’s learned Tully values take root in Ned more easily than the Stark values of his dead father and brother.

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150 notes   •   VIA: amplifyme   •   SOURCE: amplifyme
Anonymous asked: If the gravedigger theory is true, why do you think Sandor Clegane lives? What drives him to continue to exist in a world that's brought him nothing but pain and sorrow?
amplifyme answered:

He lives because he’s a survivor. That’s the response that initially came to mind and the short answer to your first question. He lives because he’s a stubborn, hard-headed, battle-tested warrior who rages against the awful world he lives in while continuing to hold to a smidgen of hope that maybe, just maybe, things might get better.

"Maybe we can save her.”

"Maybe you can. I’m not done living yet." 

Even in the midst of the slaughter surrounding them during the Red Wedding, even knowing in those moments that his last hope of securing a new position with the King in the North has been obliterated, Sandor Clegane chooses to live to fight another day. Because that’s all he knows how to do. That’s what he’s been doing all his life. Whether the threat is physical or physiological, he will not give up. Because there might be something better just up the road.

"Might be we should stay here awhile," the Hound told her, after a fortnight. He was drunk on ale but more brooding than sleepy. "We’d never reach the Eyrie, and the Freys will still be hunting survivors in the riverlands. Sounds like they need swords here, with these clansmen raiding. We can rest up, maybe find a way to get a letter to your aunt."

Truth be told, had the the village elder not sent he and Arya on their way after the palisade was built, I think Sandor would’ve been perfectly content to stay there and create a new life for himself and his ‘daughter.’ And even after they were shooed off, he wanted to make for Riverrun on the chance of finding the Blackfish and taking up with whatever army Arya’s great uncle might’ve been able to muster in the wake of the Red Wedding. This is not a man who gives up. This is a man with something to live for:

- To see Arya safely to family or at the very least maintain his own position as her protector. Because if anyone truly thinks all he cared about was collecting a ransom, I suggest they read the books again.

- A position with a House not associated with the Lannisters or their allies. Or work that suited him and allowed him to feel like he was contributing something of value to someone other than himself. Because the definition of valar dohaeris in the Westerosi dictionary has a picture of Sandor Clegane beside it. 

- To offer recompense for the torment inflicted upon Sansa by not only the Lannisters but by him as well. Even if it wasn’t a conscious weighing of the scales on his part, I firmly believe he felt honor-bound to find a way to make up for the wrongs he’d done, even if there was nothing he could do directly for Sansa.

Of course that all came crashing down around his head when he found out she’d been married off to Tyrion. But now on the Quiet Isle, healing and under the caring auspices of Elder Brother and various and sundry monks, I’m certain he’s on his way to discovering (or rediscovering) reasons to continue to exist.

"He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself."

Knowing the way GRRM’s evil little mind works, I have no doubt that when/if Sandor Clegane leaves Quiet Isle he will be well on his way to becoming a man who finds pride in service and joy in victory, who no longer has to temper his pain with wine but will welcome it as a reminder that he can also experience comfort. And that he will be a man who can love and be loved in return.

That’s why he lives.

Permalink   •   Tags: #sandor clegane
Anonymous asked: Hi, I know this message is kinda late (really late) but what you thought about the scenes between Arya and Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal?

Well, on a non-book reader basis, I objectively liked them. They were interesting to watch, and Charles Dance and Maisie Williams played off each other very well I thought. The dialogue, usage of dramatic irony, and the actors’ chemistry was entertaining.

As a book reader, I more or less loathed them. Somehow, with just the few scenes between Arya and Tywin, the show managed to more or less ruin their book characterizations.

I want to specify quickly though that from a production of television perspective, this was a great, creative choice that makes perfect sense. Charles Dance would have been underused and absent- which would have been a shame considering his acting charisma, contract, and how well he’s received by audience members. Also, Arya’s time in Harrenhal was largely spent interacting with unimportant political characters (with the exception of Roose, who came to Harrenhal later in her stay anyway.)

So all that being said, it ruined the characters and was the first clue I had on what the show really values.

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thoughts from reading Arya’s ASOS chapters:

I’m not sure where Sandor gets his fandom reputation of being The Most Honest Ever.

I know one of his most famous lines is, "a dog will die for you and never lie to you" (and let’s be real that is a great great line). But… the thing is, the whole point is that he’s not a dog, he’s a human. And he does a lot of lying to survive the entire series. (just EXAMPLES off the top of my head: he helps Sansa lie to Joffrey, he lies to the ferryman about giving him money, he lies about being a peasant to get into the Red Wedding, he pragmatically robs the dead man, he lies to Arya to get her to try to kill him, his whole life philosophy is a big psyche-supporting lie…)

Like, obviously he’s not even close to the gross terrible liar level of say, Petyr Baelish. Not at all. I think at the core, it’s obvious that he has a fair-dealing heart, one that’s first instinct is to be fair to other people. He’s, to some extent, genuinely surprised whenever things don’t go the way they do in the songs, when people try to take advantage of him.

He’s surprised that the Brotherhood steals his money. He has a fair reputation to the point where Dondarrion tells his men they don’t have to fear Clegane killing them in their sleep. He goes out of his way to save Arya at the Red Wedding, and keeps her when he has no more use for her, he leaves the village in peace when they tell him to go…

But, especially in ASOS, he’s still a surprisingly tricky bugger, and he has a lot of sharp insights about other people. He doesn’t mind taking advantage of those insights to try to survive… I’m not sure what my point was… something about him having a heart of gold but not being the absolute apex of honesty. In a better world, this man would be the kind who never lied to anyone, but we see him as a broken man and in terrible survival situations.

Also he is sneaky quiet enough to sneak into Beric Dondarrion’s camp past his sentries, and that is A++

Permalink   •   Tags: #sandor clegane

A Follow Up


To that collection of quotes from earlier.

So, one of the things that made me sad while rereading the Stark sisters chapters over vacation is the way, in Book II and beyond, Arya and Sansa think about one another and interact with the memories of one another. 

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Permalink   •   Tags: #arya stark #sansa stark


sansa — not just a pretty little talking bird

When it comes to gauging characters’ intelligence, people can be brutal— and also, in the case of Sansa, weirdly polarizing. Sansa hate has died down to some degree, but people can still be awfully quick to label her as unintelligent when I really don’t think the books support this claim at all.

One thing that I’m certain of is that Sansa isn’t vapid (imo she’s very bright and adaptive, and I’ll try to explain why), and the denigration of her as someone without intelligence does bother me a little. There’s a lot that’s wrong with it: the general demeaning of stereotypically feminine girls as flighty or stupid, the over-simplification of her character, the victim blaming that always seems to rear its ugly head when you mention one of the Stark sisters, etc.

So here’s my case for Sansa being much more intelligent and astute than many of her detractors give her credit for. Sansa’s not an empty-headed bird at all; she really is a wolf. And the fact that she can play the role of nonthreatening wallflower so well when needed is a testament to her ability to deceive— an ability that, it’s true, isn’t without its dangers.

Because it’s not that Sansa is unintelligent, an unskilled manipulator or a poor liar— the problem that many of her detractors seem to struggle with is that sometimes she can be too good at deceiving. and that’s because Sansa doesn’t just lie to her enemies; she also lies to herself.

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Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark
patchworkpillow asked: "I think it passing odd that I am loved by one for a kindness I never did, and reviled by so many for my finest act." - Jaime to Catelyn, ACOK I think his "finest act" is a reference to Aerys, but what do you think the "kindness" is? Tyrion & Tysha?
joannalannister answered:

Yes, his “finest act” is Jaime saving the city from Aerys about to burn everyone, and the “kindness” Jaime never did was about Tysha. Tywin convinced Jaime to lie about finding the crofter’s daughter on the road:

”She was lowborn, you were a Lannister of Casterly Rock. All she wanted was the gold, which made her no different from a whore, so … so it would not be a lie, not truly, and … he said that you required a sharp lesson. That you would learn from it, and thank me later …”

Jaime was the only who treated Tyrion with any kindness or respect:

During all the terrible long years of his childhood, only Jaime had ever shown him the smallest measure of affection or respect, and for that Tyrion was willing to forgive him most anything. 

And Jaime had brought Tyrion all of these other gifts as a child:

It was Jaime, he thought, despairing. He was my own blood, my big strong brother. When I was small he brought me toys, barrel hoops and blocks and a carved wooden lion. He gave me my first pony and taught me how to ride him.

So of course 13 year old Tyrion believed Jaime’s lie, that Tysha had been bought & paid for:

When he said that he had bought you for me, I never doubted him. Why would I? He was Jaime, and you were just some girl who’d played a part. I had feared it from the start, from the moment you first smiled at me and let me touch your hand. My own father could not love me. Why would you if not for gold?

That passage breaks my heart every time I read it. I’ve talked a lot about how Lannisters play on reputation. Tywin used Jaime’s known, established reputation (“He was Jaime" / Jaime is the "nice" sibling in Tyrion’s mind) to make Tyrion believe that Tysha was a prostitute. Tyrion was doubtful from the beginning because he’d been treated like shit for so long, and a few words from Jaime made the whole "fantasy" fall apart.

Jaime and Tywin both believed that no one could love a person with dwarfism, because people with dwarfism are “twisted monkey demons” in Westeros, often “set out to die”. So Tywin convinced Jaime that Tysha was a threat, that she was just a greedy, grasping commoner, much like Tytos’s mistress who had been so damning to the Lannisters’ rule in the West, just a couple decades prior. Tywin used the lie to play into Jaime’s desire to protect people, to protect House Lannister and to ~protect Tyrion from himself~ and reinforce that gross Westerosi belief that no one can love Tyrion as a person, that everyone only values him as a Lannister / for his money. (“you would learn from it, and thank me later.”) 

For the record, I think Tywin actually believed that Tysha was a threat, that she was “Tytos’s Mistress v2.0” and that Tywin believed he truly was acting in the best interests of House Lannister by delivering “a sharp lesson”. It’s obvious to the reader that Tywin was wrong, though, because Tywin is Wrong about all the things in the narrative.

House Lannister breaks my heart, Tysha breaks my heart, the psychological damage to Tyrion — believing that no one could love him for who he is as a person — breaks my heart, Jaime enabling this horrible thing to happen to his younger sibling and his sister-in-law out of a desire to protect Tyrion and House Lannister, even Tywin in his Wrongness, it all breaks my heart. 

158 notes   •   VIA: supernatasha   •   SOURCE: supernatasha

Character Analysis: Joffrey, First of His Name


Sophie Turner: There are no black and white, good or bad characters in ‘Game Of Thrones,’ but Joffrey was an exception. Just pure evil.

I would actually have to disagree with this statement made by Sophie Turner. I know it really is easier to dismiss Joffrey as being pure evil and a horrible human, etc, but I really REALLY think Joffrey was 80% a product of his upbringing and maybe 20% of his inbred Lannister genes. 

Joffrey was raised surrounded only by one thing: power. He learned the MOST important thing in life is power and control. So let’s dissect that.

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Permalink   •   Tags: #joffrey baratheon