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blt333 asked: Your point about how strange it was that Dragons were roaming around 170 years back from the books is interesting. It got me thinking that these histories really illustrate just how quickly and drastically things change. I mean 170 years ago slavery was being practiced in America. It's fantastic that Martin was able to build depth to the past that's just different enough but still feels like it's in the same universe.
boiledleather answered:

That’s an excellent point, and one that’s obscured somewhat by the unnatural cultural/technological continuity present in the world of the novels. Family names have survived, allegedly, for thousands of years! And there’s no real advancement of technology, warfare, weaponry…there’s some tweaking at the margins, but that’s about it. I’ve seen it argued that magical circumstances like the Doom and the long winters may have a leavening effect on progress, and that makes some sense, but it’s not really enough to explain the stasis. The authorial hand, however, does the trick nicely. But yes, that aside, it’s fascinating to contemplate the genuinely major changes to the world that take place nonetheless. The Doom, the Conquest, the extinction of the dragons…these are big things that happened, basically, during a timespan equivalent to colonial America. Things that seem to have lasted forever or happened forever ago didn’t and didn’t.

clearerphish asked: Here is a question for you. How big of a dick is Jaime Lannister for killing Aerys yet leaving his plot (and, subsequently, all the caches of wildfire hidden in kings landing that Rossart was told to light up) unmentioned and lurking beneath the surface (literally) of kings landing, just waiting for the city to go up like a match at the first mishap (Dragons?) with those caches? Could this be the reason we see a burned out throne room with snow falling in it in the House of the Undying visions?
boiledleather answered:

Look, if I were Jaime I’d have told anyone who’d listen about this stuff, not just in the event that the caches could be triggered on purpose or by accident in the future, but to explain my gross violation of my vows. He was gonna get pardoned anyway, you know? But to Jaime, the important thing is not that he did it because it was the right thing to do — the world must believe that it was the right thing to do because he did it. Offering an explanation would be offering himself up to judgment, as if the opinions of others actually mattered, and he couldn’t abide that. 

So I guess your answer is “he’s a huge huge dick.”

80 notes   •   VIA: ellenfanshaw   •   SOURCE: ellenfanshaw

in defense of sybell spicer [spoilers up to affc]


Sybell Spicer (Westerling) seems to be one of those characters that most readers agree on uncontroversially hating. While I personally find Sybell very interesting, I can understand why. She’s a character we see very little of and she’s not exactly portrayed sympathetically within the text. But I’ve seen a lot of stuff insinuating she’s some kind of super-villain/criminal mastermind or even one of the most evil characters in the series and I really don’t think there’s much to support that.

As readers, I think there’s a tendency to ally ourselves with the Stark family, since they’re set from the beginning as the ~honorable protagonists. And beyond that, fandom tends to vilify those who go up against the Starks in a way that’s outright disproportionate. This also plays into the reading of Theon Greyjoy, particularly as his threatening of Bran and Rickon is often given more large-scale weight than his actual murder of two miller’s sons. By ADWD, I don’t know if we could still call the Starks the series protagonists but they’re still an important, sympathetic center within the novels. As readers, we are meant to sympathize with members of House Stark and that’s fine.

I think it’s also important to realize, however, that to people within the universe, particularly smallfolk or noble houses with less power (such as the Greyjoys or the Spicer/Westerlings), the Starks are not heroes. There are several mentions from the smallfolk of seeing no difference between Renly or Stannis or Robb or Joffrey. And from the perspective of the war, let’s be real, there isn’t that much of one. The Lannisters are known for using particularly brutal war tactics but everything we hear from the smallfolk indicates one army is pretty much like another. This isn’t a judgment of the characters that happen to be in charge (I think we can all agree Renly and Robb are better individuals than Joffrey) but they’re individuals running giant machines and those machines just don’t look that different. I’ve even seen some posters at westeros.org insinuate Jeyne Westerling saw Robb as a hero for taking her castle and excuse me, do you even know what taking her castle means? He may have turned it into a pretty line (‘I took her castle, she took my heart’) and outside of the text, it can be turned into a starcrossed situation, but the fact of it is that he invaded their family home, took it for his own and killed several people. I doubt anybody from the Crag was thrilled about that.

When Robb takes the Crag, Sybell is a mother of four children, all still young enough to be at home, and her husband is being held captive by Stark armies. She is, as far as we know, the head of that household and the fact that she was the one to negotiate with Tywin further indicates she was primarily responsible for the Crag. Robb could have ordered her husband executed at any time if anyone within that house displeased him. And what Robb would do in this case isn’t important—Sybell probably never knew him very well. We see him within the text as Catelyn’s son, the Stark children’s brother, Theon’s friend and brother, but to Sybell, he was her captor. She had no real reason to feel allegiance to him.

Now I’ve seen some theories that Sybell engineered the whole Robb/Jeyne relationship and I seriously doubt this. Jeyne had already been turned away as a wife for one of Kevan Lannister’s sons (younger sons of a minor branch of the family—it was not an overambitious match by half) on account of the Spicers’ status as ‘foreigners’ and ‘new money’. Like I said, Sybell never knew Robb very well.  While I wouldn’t entirely rule out her using Jeyne as a bargaining chip to potentially spare her husband’s life, I really think she would have had a lot more to lose than gain from that. With a daughter potentially publicly known as a king’s mistress, Jeyne’s prospects and those of their family in general would further weaken. Either way, I am almost positive she didn’t plan the marriage. There’s no indication that she ever knew Robb well enough to predict what he did, considering it’s an extremely unusual decision for him to make. Everyone, with the possible exception of Catelyn, is surprised he did not just leave Jeyne at the Crag. I don’t see why she’d expect anything else.

So presuming her daughter’s marriage has been sprung on her entirely, when Jeyne and Robb marry, Sybell is turned from a captive to a queen’s mother. And her captor, the man who had been holding her husband, is now her son in law. By placing themselves with the Starks (as opposed to their previous overlords, the Lannisters), the Westerlings are allying themselves with the victors—however, the fact of the marriage has weakened the Starks beyond measure and the Westerlings are unimportant enough to be seen as collateral damage to most other families. A member of House Frey says in front of both Robb and Jeyne that his sisters would not object to marrying a widower. When Tyrion hears of the marriage, his immediate speculation is that the Westerlings will be killed. It’s a shock to everyone that the Starks end up the hardest hit—the Westerling family is the expected collateral and if Sybell hadn’t managed to buy a deal with Tywin, they likely would have been.

We don’t know exactly how Sybell learned about the Red Wedding but she didn’t orchestrate it or plan it. It would have happened with or without her involvement. While she may not have mourned Robb, she’s not responsible for his death. She didn’t even know the extent of it. Tywin happily let her send off her son to the wedding with her believing Robb Stark would be the only victim (further illustrating the motif of Tywin’s disregard for individual lives, previously shown through Tysha and Elia). Her only job was to make sure her daughter didn’t become pregnant.

Now this one is hard for me because while I can understand why she did what she did, it’s still outright disgusting. I don’t really care about a potential fetus that never even existed but to wrest control of her daughter’s own body from her without her knowledge or consent is pretty gross. I don’t blame Jeyne a bit for hating her for that.

That being said, we’ve already seen how much Tywin cares about individual lives (read: not at all). If Jeyne had become pregnant, she would have undoubtedly been killed by the Lannisters before the northmen had the chance to rally around a potential heir and thereby keep their kingdom together. Elia Martell is presumably pretty common knowledge and she was murdered for the simple crime of, like Jeyne, being married to a man who was a more major player in the war than she ever was. “By herself, she was nothing,” Tywin says about Elia. With the most powerful person who cared about her dead, Jeyne would be viewed exactly the same way. She doesn’t even have a family, like the Martells, that could ever really retaliate.

While feeding her the potions was a disgusting infringement upon Jeyne’s agency, it saved her life. I really don’t know what to say to people who put the focus here on another potential Stark. Regardless of how you feel about Jeyne, I honestly don’t think you can argue that the life of a young woman should be given less weight than a fetus or potential fetus. That’s just so gross to me.

Sybell’s clearly ambitious—but most characters in the books are. As Liv pointed out to me, bannermen and the Lannister bannermen in particular serve as mirrors of the houses they serve. Jaime all but explicitly compares her to Cersei when they speak. Like Cersei, I think her motives sprung from a mixture of ambition and self-protection. Neither, in themselves, are bad.

Now the physical harm she did to Jeyne in the same scene with Jaime gave me serious pause. I don’t think we know enough about her to state definitively that she’s physically abusive but it’s possible. If she is, that’s certainly reprehensible and I don’t condone it in any way. Even if not, she’s still clearly not a good person and she has done awful things for self preservation and power. But I think that to position her as a cartoon villain motivated solely by ambition and specifically an enemy to the Starks is to miss the nuances of her circumstances in a big way.


professional-widow replied to your post “Will we ever find out why Mandon Moore tried to kill Tyrion at the Blackwater?”

it totally makes sense with littlefinger’s vendetta against tyrion after he promised him harrenhal and then backtracked. this has always been one of my favorite sneaky theories…everyone always just takes at face value that it was cersei

Aha, you’ve figured out the motive — the only thing I had considered was to keep Tyrion from asking questions about the whole dagger fun and games. (Still wonder why he never even bothered to ask, though he did think about it once, IIRC.) And yeah, I figure if it had been Cersei her POV would have resolved the issue. But it didn’t, not even in the slightest, even while her POV resolved other issues, so I think that on this mystery she’s innocent.

Oh, I forgot one of the other candidates — Joffrey himself. (As Mandon Moore was the perfect obedient kingsguard, etc.) But again you’d think Joff would have seemed more put out by Tyrion surviving the Blackwater if so. Though I suppose if it does turn out to have been Joff, I would bet it was with Littlefinger whispering in his ear, like with Ned’s execution.

The way that I want to portray it? No. But the way that it is written? Possibly yes. But it’s hard to say because in the book Loras is only seen as a public figure, so he’s only seen as Sansa’s muse. You don’t get to actually see Loras as who he really is behind closed doors. I just don’t think you get a true representation of who he really is in the books because you always see him from the perspective of a fangirl.
Permalink   •   Tags: #Loras Tyrell #Finn Jones
39 notes   •   VIA: sabotensan   •   SOURCE: sabotensan
Anonymous asked: okay, weird question that'll blow your mind: so if the nights watch have to wear all black everything, does that includes undies?
sabotensan answered:

Actually It’s good that you ask, anon, because I’ve been thinking about that matter too and came to the conclusion that yes, even the undies are black.

(All of this is headcanon)
It’s part of the uniform. And I like to imagine that at the beginning of the NW’s establishment they were stricter in members being outfitted properly, so ALL of the clothing had to be black.
But nowadays, with the crumbling force and scant money - and the fact that many of the black brothers are criminals or from poor/peasant families - they eased up a bit on it. I imagine it’s cheaper and easier to maintain the undergarments people brought with them than to dye/buy the right material for clothing no one sees anyway as long as the outward uniform is properly meeting the NW standards (the one you are given (uniform as in “does-not-fit-anyone-properly” unless you’re from a wealthy family or even a lordling so you bring your own blacks made from finer materials (i.e. see Waymar Royce in the prologue in AGOT or the fact that all of the clothes Sam brought with him were useless because they weren’t black).

But then again questions arise: Where/how does the whole washing procedure take place? It’s safe to say it’s a task done by the stewards who also do the sewing/production and maintenance of clothes. But in what dimensions? There is a bathhouse at Castle Black so I assume there also is a laundry? How is the washing organized? (On what weekdays do they gather the clothes from the barracks? When do they wash the undergarments and when the coats? [I have no idea how this works in RL so it’ll be great if someone liked to fill me in])  How do they tell them apart? (name badges on their undies? How many of the brother’s actually can read/write??)

Still, any new garment handed out by the NW should be black. So if you’ve lost or tore your undies beyond repair the new ones should be black - operating under the assumption that even the undergarment colour is strictly regulated and the NW has the financial capacities to afford the production.

206 notes   •   VIA: bennetand9   •   SOURCE: bennetand9

Why Sansa is Important


I actually find Sansa Stark to be a very interesting character because she shows how dangerous the patriarchy can actually be to women. I believe that Sansa is George RR Martin’s answer to the question of what happens to women who don’t fight against the social structure. 

Game of Thrones is full of women who disregard traditional feminine roles (Brienne, Sansa’s sister Arya and Dany are the most notable) as well as women who seems to fit those roles on the surface, yet disrupt the patriarchal culture behind the scenes (Catelyn Stark, Cersei Lannister, Lysa Arryn etc).

Then there is Sansa, who completely bought into the idea of women as meek, feminine creatures who were supposed to be protected by strong powerful knights. Many GoT fans forget how young Sansa was at the beginning of the book series (twelve). Throughout the first book and first season of the TV show, Sansa comes off as a naive and somewhat bratty girl, which are traits that are not uncommon for pre-pubescent girls.

Sansa’s entire reality is wrapped up in her belief of how the world should be, at the tender age of twelve years she has not the wisdom or worldliness to understand the reality of King’s Landing. Fans often compare Sansa to her sister Arya, who by all accounts is a complete badass. I think that this comparison is unfair to Sansa, throughout the books Arya’s strong personality and willful disposition are extremely clear. Even Catelyn Stark admits that Arya was incapable of taming even when she was a child. 

Sansa on the other hand seems to be a natural people pleaser and much less strong willed than Arya. I believe this comes down to a difference in personality rather than a difference in moral character. Anyone who has worked with children will know that each child is born with their own disposition and often times siblings can have very different personalities. 

Sansa wanted to please, thus she easily fell into the role of the perfect little lady of Wintefell. Arya was Arya and because of who she was, found it difficult to fill this role because of her personality.

Thus, I think it is unfair to judge Sansa because as a child she fell into the role that was expected of her. Most children who want to please those around them will act the way they are told.

This is why Sansa’s character is so important. Sansa is the epitome of a woman who bought into her social role wholeheartedly. As a twelve year old girl, she had not yet encountered enough of the world to question this. 

However, we see the reversal in Sansa after her father’s execution. Sansa’s last chapter in GoT is probably one of the saddest in the series because it is when she realizes that everything she believed in is essentially a lie. This is captured in the famous “there are no heroes” line.

By the time Sansa questioned the social structure, she was already a hostage and a punching bag for Joffrey. That is the tragedy of Sansa, just when she realizes the world is a far different place from what she thought, she is powerless to stop it and is subjected to the harsh realities of a male dominated world.

Sansa is a cautionary tale about why the patriarchy is so dangerous and why young girls must be taught how dangerous it is. Because of this, I’ve always found Sansa’s story lines interesting.

Permalink   •   Tags: #sansa stark #feminism

Loras and Perceptual Bias


 Finn’s comment about the perception of Loras through Sansa’s eyes is giving me fucking life and I really just want to talk about how fucking spot on he is about that. GRRM has continually said that one should be wary of how we view a character that has no POV, as there is always going to be biases present within the text. Where one character might see someone as bold and arrogant, another might see them as gentle and kind. It’s all about perception, and GRRM was warned us to keep these things in mind while we read. This is the case with Loras, particularly with regards to Sansa and Cersei.

 Sansa projects her fantasies of the fairytale knight upon Loras. She first sees him when he’s playing the role of the ideal knight— wearing glittering, expensive armour, perfectly styled, handing out roses to beautiful girls, and winning his joust before going on to win the tournament. She sees Loras, and she sees what she expected she would see when she came to King’s Landing. She automatically makes Loras into this perfect persona, and continues to see him as such even as events unfold and he proves to be anything but the perfect, chaste, gentle knight she desperately wants him to be. Finn uses the word ‘fangirl’ to describe her vision of him, and I don’t think that is very far off. Knights of Loras’ calibre were like the celebrities of their time, and people back then, as they do now, saw them through a skewed lens. They are a fantasy— they fill a role in the viewer’s mind, and anything that is contrary to that view is either ignored or excused.

 Such is the same with Loras and Sansa. Loras cheats to win at his tournament, using a mare in heat against the mountain that rides. Still, Sansa sees him as this glorious, blameless knight. Later on, he forgets who she is, and yet she still desperately clings to the rose that he had given her. Even after growing short with her and acting rude, she fantasies about what it would be like to marry him and have sex with him. It is not until much later, when at the Eyrie, she recognizes that Loras is probably not the man she thought he was, and that he was not going to rescue her. There is no such thing as a ‘true’ knight like the ones she had read about in books.

 And I think that is the point of Loras. GRRM loves to write tropes and then completely switch them around. Loras, to Sansa, represents the perfect knight. We see him as a teenage girl would see someone she admires; blameless, sweet, gentle, heterosexual, and chivalrous. But Loras is anything but. He kills two innocent men; he is brash and arrogant at times; he is vain; he is in love with another man; he is short and terse with others, and deeply critical (as is the case with Brienne). He has a narrow focus, seeing only his family and his own ambitions.

 On the flip side we have Loras in the eyes of Cersei. Overly critical and mistrusting of the Tyrells, Cersei views Loras accordingly. He is to be mistrusted because of his sexuality; he is trying to steal her son away; he is arrogant and stupid; he needs to be taught a lesson. He needs to be gotten rid of, essentially. Cersei has nothing flattering to say about Loras, just as Sansa is far too flattering.

 I think the best view we have of Loras comes from Catelyn and Jaime. While Catelyn has her biases, there seems to be no malice behind her negative view of Loras, unlike Cersei. She sees a man enamoured with the idea of glory. A man completely devoted and blinded by his devotion. A man who thinks very little before reacting. A man who thinks more with his heart than with his head. He is a summer child in her eyes— naive and rambunctious, eager to prove himself and make a name for himself beyond his tournament glory. She sees him as a young knight not yet come into his own. We then have Jaime, the only person Loras has ever opened up to. Jaime sees himself in Loras. Both brash, young, arrogant and full of ‘empty chivalry’. While perhaps Jaime projects a little too much of his disenchanted world view upon Loras, it would appear as if he is not far off. Loras speaks of his grief for Renly; he describes the ease at which he killed two men, and then later struggles with the knowledge that they were most likely innocent; he tells Jaime where he buried Renly, and that his loyalties would always lie with a dead man. He also reveals he has a bit of a dirty mind, having enjoyed flipping through Renly’s book of sex.

 The preconceptions, desires, and life experiences of different characters are always important to keep in consideration when reading about another character. Loras is no different. Sansa glorifies him and projects her wishes for a true, beautiful knight upon him, while Cersei demonizes him because he is a Tyrell. Jaime sees himself in Loras, but perhaps projects too much upon the young man, while Catelyn cannot help but hold him up to the high standards at which she views her son.

 We do not know who the real Loras is, and we may never really get to learn who he is behind closed doors. One thing is for certain, however. GRRM does not write tropes, and Loras is no exception.

116 notes   •   VIA: ofsteelroses   •   SOURCE: ofsteelroses

So you think R + L = J is “too obvious”…?


Hello! So, I’ve had a lot of meta thoughts before on similar topics and I’ve been thinking for a while I should start to collect my thoughts/words so people can easily find them/ask me other questions too :) And well, this one thing kept popping up when I started looking to write down my personal view of R+L=J. And then a guy in real life told me it was ‘so obvious’ that he really didn’t want it to happen now because it would be ‘cliche’ and my palm hit my forehead, so I thought I’d write out my response.

For those (who are GOT /ASOIAF fans) who are unfamiliar with it, please check either westeros.org’s citadel or nobodysuspectsthebutterfly’s tag “r+l=j” — but otherwise, further discussion on why this is a … misguided statement to make, will be below the cut! (Because I’m a teensy bit wordy.) 

Short answer? It’s not obvious, it’s obvious to you because you’ve analyzed the text/read other fantasy novels/read the theory all neatly packaged together for you online/saw videos of it/read fanfiction of it and it’s become obvious to you. That doesn’t make it cliche, it makes it make sense. Pat yourself on the back though, because you did a good job!! :) 

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Targaryens and why incest makes sense to them



In other words…unorganised thoughts on the economical advantages of incest in the world of ASoIaF.

Okay so during a gender studies lecture I kind of had an epiphany. I think I get now why the Targaryens wedded brother to sister. I feel so stupid for taking so long to realise this. it’s not about keeping the Blood of the Dragon pure, it’s all about (economic) power.

The Targaryens were the ruling house of Westeros so whenever the king had a daughter, she would have to give up her status and power upon marriage to become part of a lesser house without all the wealth and power. She would give birth to children who had practically no right to the throne as the westerosi culture is patrilineal. And don’t even let me get started on things like dowries and bridewealth.

On the other hand, when a Targaryen king had a son, he would raise the status of a woman of one of the lesser houses, thus giving this house more influence. Their son would be of both houses and could decide to raise his mother’s house even more in power, causing some kind of an imbalance.

Since the Targaryens had dragons, they had little need for alliances with the other houses of Westeros. There was no need to bind another family to them through marriage, and so they thought up a way to produce heirs without having to give up parts of their power and influence or let their daughters marry below their social status….and the answer was incest.

It keeps the bloodline pure, it keeps the power and wealth in the family, it protects the Targaryen daughters from losing their status and it keeps other houses from having even the tiniest bit of a claim to the Iron Throne.
The only reason they stopped is because the dragons died which meant they required other means of maintaining power than fire and blood.

Uh…does this make sense to anyone?

Yep, this is a very good analysis. (Except they didn’t stop when the dragons died.)  The only times we know they married out is when they needed an alliance (like finally bringing Dorne under Targaryen rule) or if there weren’t enough Targs to go ‘round. Though I’m not sure why Rhaelle Targaryen married that Baratheon (except maybe because her brother, Duncan the Small, married a commoner for love), but note that the Baratheons were already tied to the Targaryens as descendants of Aegon the Conqueror’s probable half-brother.  

The Dornish double marriage — the Targ king marrying a Dornish princess, and his sister marrying the ruling prince of Dorne — was extremely interesting, btw. Not just for the fact that the Targs married out, or that they married into another royal family, but also the extremely divisive reaction this alliance produced in the people of Westeros. A lot of nobles hated the Dornish influence on the Targaryen court, and it was one of the causes of the Blackfyre Rebellion.

Oh, there was also one major exception: Maegor the Cruel, who had multiple wives from multiple houses. But he had no heirs (and executed his wives for not producing any), and his nephew inherited.