Monday, 30 November 2015

A Marriage of Ice and Fire: Examining the importance of marriage in A Song of Ice and Fire

Two of my friends from University have recently got engaged, to two pleasant men. I hope that they have long and happy unions. These events have caused my mind to turn toward the matter of marriage, though my long-term plans in that regard are basically those of the Blackfish.
In this post I will be writing about the importance of marriage unions and how it can bring peoples together in the World of Ice and Fire.
Alys Karstark is a minor character I rather like, fleeing from Karhold to the Wall, escaping the plans of her villainous relatives, and marrying Sigorn for assistance claiming her birthright. It is one of the book's many enjoyable plots, the Northern storyline in ADWD was the one I enjoyed most. Yet I feel that this marriage may be a foreshadowing to quite significant events in the books and may even reflect older events.
Dorne was the only one of the Seven Kingdoms not conquered by Aegon the Conqueror. His great (x4) grandson Daeron the Dragon brought Dorne into the realm by Conquest. But ultimately, all that did was leave 50,000 dead including Daeron. Dorne was ultimately brought into the realm through the marriage of Daeron II (though he was Prince at the time) and Mariah Martell, sister of the Prince of Dorne. When Daeron became King her brother married Daeron's sister Daenerys, and shortly after Dorne agreed to peacefully submit to the Iron Throne. Daeron seems to have arranged the marriages of his four sons to help this alliance. His oldest son Baelor married Jena Dondarrion. As a Marcher House, the Dondarrions would probably be among those most opposed to Daeron's Dornish connections. By marrying his heir to them, Daeron could ensure their support. His youngest son Maekar married Dyanna Dayne, bringing Dorne closer. Marriage is the key to stability in this society.
House Martell's power over Dorne came about due to a cultural marriage. Nymeria, the Rhoynar Princess, led her ten thousand ships to Dorne. She married Mors Martell and together they conquered Dorne. Mors died before the Conquest was completed, but Nymeria married Lord Uller, then Davos Dayne, the Sword in the Morning. The four daughters Nymeria had with Mors continued the line of Nymerios Martell, even though Nymeria had a son with Davos he did not inherit due to Rhoynar customs. The Rhoynar lived in Dorne and their culture became part of this Kingdom, such as gender-neutral inheritance and the title of Prince or Princess for the ruler, even toleration of homosexuality, though most of the Rhoynar adopted worship of the Seven with their new home.
Even the Ironborn may have tried this. During the Andal Invasion Ironborn Houses slew Rognar II and ended House Greyiron, the ruling dynasty of the Iron Islands. House Hoare became the next rulers. Though Harras Hoare allegedly won kingship through a finger dance, becoming Harras Stump-Hand, Archmaester Haereg claims it was through Harras marrying into the Andals and gaining their support. This had mixed results, the Hoares were looked upon as having an Andal taint, but it still shows the power of cultural unions. Another example of Andal marriage is the first Andal King of the Rock. Ser Joffrey of House Lydden, an Andal Knight, married the only daughter of Gerold III Lannister, who had First Men descent. As Gerold died without male issue, a council crowned Gerold King, and he took the name Lannister. Thus, the Lannisters are of First Men and Andal descent.
Alys' marriage to Sigorn, Magnar of Thenn can be seen as similar. She is a Northern noblewomen, marrying a leader from Beyond-The-Wall. Such a marriage could prove useful in cultural assimilation. If her brother Harrion dies childless (which may happen, considering Arnolf's plots, even if they have backfired on his branch) the new House Thenn would take control of Karhold. However, this could enable a peaceful assimilation of Wildlings into the North, the Kingdom they are traditional enemies of. The Thenns are the Wildlings who would be able to go with this, as they have a clear hereditary leadership. Even the sigil of House Thenn reflects the cultural assimilation, combining the bronze disk to honor the Thenns with flames to reflect the worship of R'hllor, the combination echoing the sunburst which is the Karstark sigil. Therefore, House Thenn as a whole can symbolize a bringing together of cultures.
We even see the Queen's Men trying something similar with Gerrick "Kingsblood" of, as they put it, House Redbeard. Thinking of Gerrick as King of the Wildlings due to his apparent descent from Raymun Redbeard Queen's Knights arrange to marry his daughters. Stannis even intended for Jon, if he accepted the offer of legitimization, to marry Mance Rayder's sister-in-law, Val "the Wildling Princess", believing this would ensure Wildling loyalty. The Queen's Men have even planned for Val to marry one of their Knights. Though with Val and Redbeard it is hard to see this working, perhaps the Thenn-Karstark union would allow the Thenns to successfully become part of the North. If Harrion survives, they might be given land to settle on. Hopefully House Bolton will go extinct, and Dreadfort lands could be given to the Thenns to settle on. Or perhaps Sigorn or Gerrick will be given part of the Gift for their Wildling settlements. Stannis could arrange this after defeating the Boltons.
However, these marriages may eventually bring to mind the Prince that is Promised, in relation to the Grand Northern Conspiracy, this idea that the Northern Lords are planning to play the Boltons and Stannis against each other, enabling a new King in the North, Jon or Rickon. While it does seem there is a Northern plan to re-install the Starks, especially considering Lord Manderly, will there really be another King in the North? Some people believe the series ending with the Seven Kingdoms splitting up would be a good ending. When thought through, this does not seem to make sense. In the days before the Conquest there was always warfare between the Kingdoms. Even if the present Lords can somehow be persuaded to agree to a split, what will their sons or grandsons think? This just seems like a set-up for more war, for attempts to re-unite the Kingdoms? Even one Kingdom splitting of is problematic. Imagine the Iron Islands splitting off, that would mean a return to raiding. Raiding did happen during the Targaryen's rule, but it was mainly kept out of Westeros, ensuring long periods of stability. Coming back to Dorne, when that was not part of the 7K there were various wars between Dorne and the Iron Throne before Daeron the Good. Dorne joining brought peace between the Kingdoms... even if it did lead to the Blackfyre Rebellion. Many of the Northmen have died in the wars, Winter is Coming, in fact, at the end of ADWD a white crow appears signifying Winter is here. Though I think the other thing Pycelle and Kevan received about then wasn't so good either.
It would be better for the North if they accepted a King on the Iron Throne favourable to the North, who would enable them to get back at the Boltons and Freys, such as Stannis. Not that we'll get that now in Game of Thrones after that frankly ridiculous 20 good men part. Dumb and Dumber have really wrecked the Northern storyline. And as they'll apparently do the Northern Houses fighting the Boltons next season it looks like they twisted the whole storyline round for an excuse to get rid of Stannis, a character they have really messed up, though the casting was great. But as much as I'd like to complain and call the anger of R'hllor on them I shall stick to this essay.
What the North would want is a Stark in Winterfell. He might not be King of the North but he would be Lord Paramount of the North. Rickon might be too young to rule but a regent could be installed as Warden (an Umbar? Lord Manderly?) until he was old enough.
As for Jon Snow becoming ruler of the North... Robb had legitimized him and named him as heir. How legitimization works in regards to trueborn children is unclear. However if he found out Rickon was alive Jon would probably say Rickon's right came before his, even if he found out of Robb's declaration. Jon has become accepting of his bastard status. He might act as a regent for Rickon but I doubt he would claim to rule before them.
But as many believe, Jon is not Ned's son, but a Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Rhaegar was married to Elia Martell but the Targaryens had practiced polygamy, so Jon could be the legitimate successor to the Iron Throne if Prince Aegon is dead. This ties into the idea of people being brought together through marriage, though differently. The North might have trouble accepting a new King after the King in the North. But what if Jon was revealed as a Targaryen and put forward a claim to the Iron Throne? The North might accept him as King on the Iron Throne as, even though he is a Targaryen by birth, his mother was a Stark and he has been brought up as a Stark. He would be a Northman by mentality, so the North would be willing to become part of the Iron Throne's dominions again, feeling they were being ruled by a Northman. And Jon being declared Robb's heir as well... that could still be significant.
And it's just been confirmed that Jon is coming back in S6, surprising... not me. I'll spend S6 grinding my teeth while imagining the Mannis is still there.
There are cases of these marriages between different peoples failing. Jorah Mormont married Lynesse Hightower, but ultimately this failed, as she was not used to the harsh life of the North, compared to her luxurious life in the Reach. The Lord of Bear Island could not satisfy her needs, he underwent financial difficulties, and they ended up in exile. Jorah is now a sellsword and Lynesse a concubine. A similar thing happens with Jorah and Daenerys. Jorah loves her, but is not a suitable match for her, which is made quite clear. The Bear and the Maiden Fair indeed.
Daenerys even tries to perform this marriage alliance of cultures with her marriage to Hizdahr Zo Loraq, from a Great Ghiscari House of Meereen. That doesn't go well but we can see her effort as she tries to integrate herself into Meereenese Culture, though she knows it will cause more difficulty in trying to gain support in the Seven Kingdoms, turning down Quentyn Martell's offer.
When Aegon conquered he tried to make marriage pacts between the Houses. Torrhen Stark's daughter married Ronnel Arryn. Things didn't work out due to Jonos the Kinslayer throwing his brother through the Moon Door and apparently killing Ronnel's children, but we can see the attempts. Aegon knew that marriages would ensure stability. By contrast when his son Aenys tried to follow Targaryen marriages practises by wanting his children to marry close relatives it proved disastrous. Aenys' son Jaehaerys married his sister and was able to stabilize the Iron Throne's relation with the Faith and since then Targaryens were allowed to engage in their incestuous marriages.
His descendant Aegon V had gained distaste for his House's incestuous practices and seemed to want his House to become fully Westerosi, arranging marriages for four of his children with four powerful Houses, Baratheon, Tully, Tyrell and Redwyne, which would also enable him to push his smallfolk-favoring reforms through. Aegon himself had married Betha Blackwood for love. Unfortunately his children married for love also, oldest son Duncan married the peasant Jenny of Oldstones, his next two children Jaehaerys and Shaera married each other, and Daeron... apparently Olenna Redwyne broke the betrothal, Daeron preferred the company of Ser Jeremy Norridge. Aegon's youngest child Rhaelle married Ormund Baratheon to make peace with Ormund's father Lord Lyonel Baratheon, who rebelled in anger at Duncan breaking the betrothal to his daughter, the only one of Aegon's children to go with Aegon's plans. As Aegon's marriage plans failed he tried to bring back the Dragons, leading to the Tragedy at Summerhall. His reforms did not last, Tywin Lannister revoking them when he became Hand. And from the union of Rhaelle and Ormund came the Baratheons who ended up overthrowing the Targaryens.
Marriage to bring peace between warring Houses seems to have happened after the Dance of the Dragons. The Velaryons and Hightowers had been fighting for the branch of the Targaryens they were related too. Garmund Hightower married Rhaena Targaryen, daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon, and thus half-sister of Aegon III, perhaps to placate the Hightowers, even though the war was over.
Marriages to bring together Houses seemed to be happening with the Southron ambitions of Lord Rickard Stark. The Starks usually married Northern Houses, or First Men Houses, like the Blackwoods and the Royces. Generally ruling Houses marry within their Kingdom to keep stability. However, the Starks were apparently moving towards a merging of cultures with the marriages. We see the Tully marriage has influenced the new generation of Starks, bringing a Sept to Winterfell. The exact nature of the Southron ambitions is still unclear, but it seems to have been planned with marriages, Baratheon to Stark, Stark to Tully, Lannister to Tully, as Jaime mentions that it was intended he wed Lysa Arryn before he joined the Kingsguard. There was also Arryn fostering Baratheon and Stark and eventually Arryn to Tully. But the marriage pacts between great houses shows how important marriages were, these various alliances between Great Houses led to the overthrow of the Targaryens.
There is emphasis on, if not marriage, unions bringing out connections between people. Ygritte tells Jon the tale of Bael the Bard, who allegedly impregnated the daughter of Brandon the Daughterless, Bael's son becoming the next Stark in Winterfell. While this is clearly meant as a folktale, it does have some symbolic meaning. Ygritte tells Jon that means he has Bael's blood in him, same as her. The Northmen and the Wildlings are a common people, both having the blood of the First Men. Yet they are enemies. The idea of cultural union is played with, Jon and Ygritte undergo a relationship which ultimately does not work, Jon goes with his duty rather then join the Wildlings. Yet the effect is still felt, Jon is trying to integrate the Wildlings into the North, which could partially motivate him arranging Alys' marriage to Sigorn, believing the Wildlings should survive because they are people as well. I got these ideas from Steve Attewell, who analyzes the story very well here.
If Jon becomes King his marriage should end up being important in restoring stability to the realm. Will it be Danerys, his aunt? Personally I am not a supporter of Dany so would not like this. And her comments about Ned Stark show how out of touch she is. Perhaps she will offer herself to Jon but he will refuse. Hopefully she will realize she was wrong about Ned and that her father was a monster. Maybe she will realize her true place is in Slaver's Bay, which is basically tearing itself apart due to her attempts to change its structure and will take years to recover. What about Margaery, widow of three Kings, whose maidenhood is still disputed? Personally this Margaery ending up as Queen seems too idealistic and something the showrunners would like. To tell the truth I don't like the Tyrells. From the start that Tudor sigil made me feel dislike. However I find them to be basically the Lannisters with PR, they don't really care about right just so long as Marg is Queen, something the showrunners didn't really get in trying to make them ideal characters to obviously root for. They give out food to the smallfolk of King's Landing in the name of Margaery, but they caused the starvation of King's Landing to help Renly's usurpation, as Tyrion thinks. Also, I think Cersei may ensure the demise of her good-daughter. Maybe Cleganstein will be ordered to kill Marg and kill her husband as well. Enabling Aegon... Blackfyre? Mopatis? Brightwaters? to make his move on King's Landing. For me Arianne Martell seems a good choice to be Jon's Queen, considering her father was planning for her to be Queen. She hasn't been introduced in the show... because apparently the Sand Fakes were more important, so I am feeling more uncertain about that. Other people theorise Sansa as Jon's Queen, as cousin marriages are acceptable in Westeros. Interestingly enough, the Ur-Text has a Love Triangle between Jon, Arya and Tyrion, but I do not think this will occur. Other theories have Sansa as Queen in the North or Lady of the Eyrie, the latter I find more likely.

So, overall marriage seems the way that lasting peace can be formed between peoples in the World of Ice and Fire.
Reply I got from the writer of my favorite series.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Found an excellent map of the World of Ice and Fire some time ago. But this is an especially useful map because u can see the paths the characters take. Simply click next to their name, and it shows their route. By moving the slider at the top along, which can be books or show, u see their route, and it marks where they meet the Many-Faced God. But another useful feature is u can set it to the constituency of Westeros and u can set it to the nobility. At the seat of various noble Houses u can thus see their sigil, and by hovering over the name of the House. These changes accordingly, at the beginning the Wolf Sigil is imposed in the North, then its a Kraken, then a Flayed Man. Riverrun is originally the Tully trout, now it is the Twin Towers of Frey. Meereen currently has a three-headed dragon sigil there. So, a brilliant map.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Race for the Iron Throne is a great blog for looking at A Song of Ice and Fire. You Win or You Die - Historical and Political Analysis of Game of Thrones by Steven Attewell. I have concluded ASOIAF is my favorite series, despite Dany's dragging and some of the sex scenes reading as laughable.
Here is the address.
The blog basically goes through the books chapter by chapter, and analyzes each, looking at the basis in history and myth. It looks at how the show did the scenes in the chapter and the writer says which he thinks is better.
He says his problems with Stannis in S5 here.
On Tower of the Hand he has written essays on the monarchy of Westeros. Part IV - Two Brothers, Two Visions of Monarchy is one I have looked at the most so far, as it looks at Renly and Stannis' opposing views of monarchy.
Great blog.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Some links to criticisms of S5 of GOT.
The apologizing for Porne one is especially interesting in showing how the Dornish in the show are being played as stereotypes.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Finished A Dance with Dragons and The Winds of Winter excerpt on 12/9/2015. I can understand many of the problems with it. The Daenerys storyline really seemed to drag, so I understand the term the Meereenese knot. Her last chapter felt really boring, her walking along for ages. And unsurprisingly she's made things worse in Slaver's Bay. Astapor is now in ruins, and Yunkai is doing the best out of the three cities as they re-instituted their Masters. I found reading about the Yunkish army hilarious, with the Yellow Whale, the Pigeon and the Clanker Lords. Quentyn's storyline wasn't that exciting though, and ultimately doesn't seem to have played much of a part. However I will say it does show how out-of-touch Dany is and how she will have trouble returning to Westeros after the impact she has made in Essos. It will probably take many years for Slaver's Bay to recover. And her comments about Ned made her so unlikeable and further shows she doesn't understand the circumstances. Not that D&D got that.
The Northern storyline was the one I was most engaged in. I liked the Northern politics, and the way Stannis begins to earn the respect of the North, giving them an opportunity for vengeance. The Battle of Deepwood Motte was a great read, as Stannis drives the Ironborn out of the North and captures the Kraken's daughter. Stannis may have cursed Robb but as he pointed out to Davos they were committing treason, and he still wants to avenge their treacherous murder. And despite the series' obsession with showing his burning obsession, he comes across as far more reasonable in the books. He points out to the Queens' Men much of his army don't believe in R'hllor, and only burns men who have committed crimes anyway. Perhaps next book some Suns of Winter will burn.
Lord Manderly is like the Northern Doran Martell, a weak and compliant appearance, planning to get back at the House who murdered a relative and re-institute his liege Lords. And his revenge on those three unpleasant Freys... just like Titus Andronicus, though that trick is an old one, and is even in Herodotus' account of Cyrus' life. I like the way a quite minor character, Wex Pyke, suddenly turns up and plays an important part.
Theon becomes much more sympathetic, especially after what the monstrous Bastard of the Dreadfort (with a title like that u know they're evil) puts him through. The Wedding Night scene is even nastier then on TV. The plotting in Winterfell shows the weaknesses in the Bolton regime. It feels like an Agatha Christie book, a group of people who don't like each other in an isolated area, where murders keep happening.
The storyline at the Wall was good as well. Jon making terms with the Wildlings. Then helping Alys out and perhaps winning Thenn support. I find Alys a likeable character as I do her husband. The Thenns are much better Wildlings as they hold more respect for laws. Perhaps Sigorn becoming Lord of Karhold will lead to more understanding between the Northmen and Wildlings, allowing the Thenns to survive the Winter. Alys seems a foil to Dany and I find her much more likable.
That final moment with Jon is quite a shock, and much better done with the show. But I think Mel might bring him back. Mel comes across as quite sympathetic here, trying to help Jon, and showing that, even though she advocates brutal things like burnings, she is trying to do her duty like Stannis and Jon, and feels she is protecting the world. The Others certainly seem the greatest threat to Westeros so this does seem justified.
Tyrion's plot. Tyrion isn't as interesting, as he moves through Essos, and seems less sympathetic. Young Griff, who I shall refer to as Aegon, is not the most interesting of characters, despite Varys describing him as The Ace, well-suited to ruling. A6 may have Targ blood, but I'm not yet certain if he is really Aegon, considering Varys' talk about power. The theory he is a Blackfyre, perhaps descended from Bittersteel, has some weight. Or he could just be someone from Lys, where there are Valyrian features. He probably believes he is Aegon. Jon C is quite sympathetic though. He seems decent in trying to do his duty to his friend and place their son on the IT, even after their father banished him.
Bran's storyline. So Bloodraven is alive. I wonder whose side he is really on? He was a very sinister figure, even before he became a tree. It could go either way whether he wants to help or oppose the Others. It doesn't look like Bran will return south to the North, but I'm quite sure he'll see some interesting things through the trees.
Riverlands: Brienne seems to be luring Jaime into a trap. I think Pod and Hyle are hostages. I made a BWB theories page on the Wiki of Ice and Fire where I said I think the BWB are planning a major attack on the Freys, at Riverrun or the Twins. Maybe at Daven's wedding to a Frey.
The King's Landing plot. Well Cersei's power seems broken. The Tyrells come across as unpleasant and arrogant. Kevan seems a decent enough character, someone who could restore stability. But that was quite an ending. Varys murdering Kevan to spread more chaos and help Aegon invade.
Hosteen Frey. Needed something to break the ice. The preview chapter for TWOW was a nice touch. It seems Stannis has a plan to defeat the Freys. I favor the theory he'll lure Ser Stupid onto the ice, wrecking the Frey cavalry. I don't believe the Pink Letter. Either Stannis sent a false letter or Ramsay lied. Perhaps Stannis defeated the Freys, then disguised his troops as Freys and Karstarks to get into Winterfell, and told Ramsay Stannis was dead. Ramsay then sent a letter in which he exaggerated the details of the battle he had heard.
Like AFFC there isn't a feel of a big event happening, more things being set up. Deepwood Motte was a battle, but it seems relatively minor. The Battle of Winterfell is about to happen, hopefully not like that pathetic joke from the series, which feels like the definition of They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, so the books version being better won't be saying much. Victarian is approaching Slaver's Bay, and the Battle of Meereen is about to start. The Golden Company is taking control of the Stormlands. The Crow's Eye is attacking the Reach. I look forward very much to The Winds of Winter.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Found poll on A Forum of Ice and Fire on favorite 100 characters.
1-5 is here-
Rest are here-
Glad to see my favorite character and rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and Ned come above Dany. Too bad the writers on the show love her too much and hate the Mannis. At some point I will put on a post in which I say why I like Stannis Baratheon the First of His Name, Rightful King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm. And how D&D didn't do him justice.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Finished A Feast for Crows on the 18th and the Appendixes on the 19th. This is often considered the weakest and I can understand why. The other books had climatic moments, deaths of major characters. This doesn't. There is a feeling of incompleteness. I liked the Ironborn storyline, which feels like it is building up to be really important. Euron has set his Crows Eye (his sigil reminds me of Sauron, and in The World of Ice and Fire an Ironborn Priest called Sauron Salt-Tongue is mentioned) on the Iron Throne and plans to conquer all Westeros with dragons. It's delightful to see those incestuous lions and false flowers have another foe to deal with.

This book seems to show the fallout of the war, the realm, especially the Riverlands, is in chaos. As Rodrik Harlaw says, crows are now squabbling over the corpse of Westeros. I wonder if that title could also refer to the Crow's Eye, who is feasting on Westeros. Other crows are the Bloody Mummers. Their fights with Brienne were climatic, but in the grand scheme not particularly important. I am interested in knowing what Brienne will do next with the Brotherhood.

TBWB may have harsh methods, but they have the sympathy of much of the Riverlands as they hang Freys and other villains. Delighted the Blackfish got away and wonder if he will join TBWB or if he went to Greywater Watch, where Stark loyalists and Frey foes lurk. Perhaps he will attack Riverrun, now held by the Freys, or the Twins. It says a lot about Brynden Tully that he is well past the prime of his life, yet the Freys and Lannisters are really worried about him escaping. There is the groundwork for an attack on the Freys. Also, Tom O'Sevens of TBWB is in Riverrun and was left alone with Edmure, who convinced his uncle to yield. There is something going on there.

Also good to see trouble for the Lannisters and those treacherous Tyrells. Cersei shows herself a terrible ruler, ruining her own cause, filling her Small Council with people she thinks she can control rather then those who are competent, while thinking she will show herself greater then her father. Love her uncle Kevan telling her she is a terrible mother and ruler. She can't even abide a little bit of satire, as shown by the puppet show. I have heard Varys may have been behind this. It is quite sinister not knowing where he is, considering how well he knows the passages in the Red Keep. Sending people of to Qyburn is not endearing people to Cersei.

Then there is Cersei dealing with the faith, getting rid of a huge debt, but creating a bigger problem.The two Queens, Cersei and Margaery, are now imprisoned. I have a liking for the High Sparrow/Septon, as he seems to be somebody who genuinely wants to do good rather then use dubious means to gain power. Selling the crown and jewels for money for the poor demonstrates this. Delightful to see him outwit Cersei. I love how after she gets imprisoned Aurane Waters leaves with the ships she spent a fortune building. Then there is the matter of the prophecy with the Valonqar. Suspect it will come true but there will be a twist. Jaime was born after Cersei, so is her little brother, however the prophecy describes them using their hands to strangle her. It might refer to a little brother, who is not Cersei's, or it could be a gender-neutral term that means little sibling. Cersei has upset a lot of younger siblings. The Starks, Baratheons, Daenerys hates the family...

Aemon has died, but it is very interesting what he says about Azor Ahai. I don't think Daenerys will be AA, as it is too neat for ASOIAF. Delightful irony in Sam meeting another of the Starks, though this time not knowing it. Very interesting in how Arya is losing her identity, taking so many names. Killing Dareon shows how far she has come, especially in how she refers to Arya killing him.

However the attack on Dragonstone is an example of this book having the feeling of exciting things happening off-page. There is a feel we have been left out, like when Davos' death is described. I know ADWD will fill these in, but it still feels unsatisfying. Will Loras die in the next book, or were rumors of his demise greatly exaggerated, to trick Cersei? The book seems to be building up to exciting events, Victarion is sent East for the "rightful Queen" (according to her), Stoneheart continues her vengeance and the Blackfish is lurking in the Riverlands. It doesn't really have a climatic ending, ending with Marwyn preparing to go to Essos to help Daenerys and the reveal that a Faceless Man is hiding in the Citadel.

Overall, I get why this is not well-rated among the books. Still, enjoyable and I look forward to reading ADWD.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

On the 28th finished Steel and Snow. On the 4th finished A Storm of Swords. Great writing. Better then the first 2 in my opinion. POV chapters from Jaime, showing his character, the beginning of the deconstruction of Daenerys' plans, the Red and Purple Weddings, the deaths of three Kings. Hope Balon dies soon in GOT and we see Euron. As for series, have just finished Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. Quite a disturbing ending, but better then the Sept scene between Jaime and Cersei, as it felt more in character.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Finished A Clash of Kings 5 days ago, on the 4th. Another great read. I liked the way the book started up by showing Stannis' court on Dragonstone, Stannis being an important but absent character in the first book. Davos' POV chapters were not the most interesting. I found Daenerys' scenes in the House of the Undying very interesting. Might this foreshadow later? Personally I do not think she is the Prince that is Promised or Azor Ahai, as that would be too obvious. Though the Dragon has three heads. Might it be three people? Might the Prince and AA be different people? Still thinking of Jon Snow being Ned's sister-son and son of Rhaegar. Reading this, though I like Tyrion, I have to question his morality in supporting Joffrey, a monster born of incest. Liked the scene where Joff cuts himself on the Iron Throne and one of Stannis' men says this shows the Iron Throne has rejected him and he is not the true King. I will begin A Storm of Swords after my exams.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Yesterday finished the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones, on my Kindle. Really good. Goes into more detail about characters. Interestingly enough, Stannis was the one who began the investigation into Robert's children and without the private scenes Renly comes across as much nastier. Also I am now thinking of the theory that Jon Snow is not Ned's son but his sister-son, and their father is Rhaegar Targaryen.

Monday, 9 March 2015

On the 1st of March saw GOT S4 E9. The Wildlings finally attack the Wall. Reminded me of Blackwater. Penultimate episode that focused on an attack in one area, enabling us to focus more. Really exciting seeing all these characters fighting and the various deaths. It feels more like traditional fantasy, with Samwell getting back like he said. Good ending, as Jon Snow goes off to his death. Could you be like that out of depression at the death of Ygritte? I guessed her last words would be "You know nothing Jon Snow." But will Jon Snow kill the King beyond the War? Will the Night's Watch still be able to hold of the thousands about to attack?

On the 5th finished S4. Stannis is back! Loved hearing that theme as his soldiers ride out, defeating the Wildlings and capturing their King. Stannis really is awesome. Things may not be so bad for him, as he may be able to build a base in the North. Plenty of the Northerners hate the Boltons and would be ready to help him. Great duel between the Hound and Brienne. Sad watching the Hound die, even if he was trying to make himself unsympathetic so Arya would kill him. Was this her punishment to him, letting him die? Also the Hound's brother is dying. Qyburn saying he could save him while in this lab felt like something from a different show. It was sad seeing Daenerys being forced to lock her dragons up after seeing how dangerous they are becoming. We finally meet the Children of the Forest, able to blow Wights to ash. What does the old man mean by saying Bran will fly? Will he become a three-eyed raven?

Tyrion escapes, as I thought he would. Sad that he kills Shae, despite so loving her. And then kills his father. Tywin really can try for dignity, despite being in such a difficult position, on the toilet with the son he sentenced to death pointing a crossbow at him. His death does not bode well for the Lannisters. A child is king, his parents are despised, the mines are dry, Stannis is growing in power, and Dorne will not be happy at Prince Oberyn's death so hopes of that alliance don't look good. Now Tyrion and Varys, two of the most intelligent figures in this regime have left, things look even worse. They are not the only ones leaving. Arya finally uses her coin. Will she find the Faceless Men? She still has names...

Friday, 6 March 2015

26th saw GOT S4 E5. Sansa gets to the Eyrie. Quite a reveal that Lyssa poisoned Jon Aryn, setting of the series. Littlefinger's manipulations have been happening for some time. Though even he seems surprised at the eagerness to marry. Quite creepy to have Bran control Hodor and kill Locke, unpleasant as they were. Poor Hodor. Sad that Bran was so close to his brother and had to leave without Jon seeing him. And Sansa has to listen to her aunt. Surprisingly amusing.

28th saw 3 eps. E6. The trial of Tyrion Lannister. Hardly surprising he gets so angry at the end. He has to sit through this farce and then Shae betrays him, spouting out a load of lies. Impressive speech, about how he wishes he had killed Joffrey and let Stannis kill the court, after how ungrateful they are. He claims he is on trial for being a dwarf. I could feel the Richard III connections. The world views him as a monster. So is he now going to become one? The Tyrells seem so unpleasant, leaving an innocent man to pay for Olenna's actions. Is questionable how much Tywin planned with Jaime, as he is quick to agree to their plan to spare Tyrion if he returns to Casterly Rock. Also it seems that Mycroft was started to play the game. Mark Gattis as a man from the Iron Bank. An oily but powerful character. Economics are quite important in politics.

South in Essos... I expect more goat-herds will be turning up to complain after Daenerys offers the payment. Now she realises ruling is not easy, having killed innocent Masters and knowing the war was not a simple good vs evil fight. She might have conquered but can she rule?

E7. Hardly surprising Tyrion has trouble finding a volunteer to fight the Mountain. Trial by combat is a problematic way of performing a trial. Though loved the talk about Jaime fighting and thinking of the look on Tywin's face if they got killed. Now Tyrion has another supporter. Oberyn Martell. It seems Cersei hated Tyrion since he was a baby, and even since then he has been thought of as a monster. Really emphasises his claim that for his whole life he's been on trial for being a dwarf.

Ending, with Lyssa getting pushed through the Moon-Door after Littlefinger told her he loved her sister, was hardly surprising. She was quite a weird woman. As for her son I find him quite creepy.

E8. Poor old Jorah, getting dismissed from Daenerys' service. How will Daenerys fare without him?

Again terrible luck for the Hound and Arya. Turning up just too late, as another of Arya's relatives dies. Her laugh was... weird. Is her sanity slipping?

Interesting story about the cousin who liked smashing beetles. Does this show how Tyrion views the world, like an idiot smashing beetles? Oberyn reminded me of Inigo Montoya, as he kept repeating the line while using bullfighting techniques. But it seems you can't always be dazzling and have to administer the killing blow when you have the chance. A single misstep from Oberyn and the most gruesome death of GOT so far, as the Mountain yells what he did to Oberyn's sister. At least the Mountain got badly hurt and Oberyn may have poisoned his blades. Also it seems the idea of an alliance with Dorne is in trouble now the ruler's brother has been killed by the Lannister's pyschopath. But what does this mean for Tyrion? What will Jaime do?

Monday, 23 February 2015

On the 15th saw GOT S4 E1. The beginning, of Tywin melting the Stark Sword down, was a great opening, showing how the Lannisters are destroying the Starks. Jaime wants to stay in the Kingsguard but has lost the respect of his father. He seems to be trying to keep to his oath, even if it would be justified leaving. Daenerys moves on to another city. We see House Martell at last, in the form of Prince Oberyn. He certainly seems to hate the Lannisters. Might prove a threat to them eventually. Arya gets Needle back. The part where she stabs the man through the throat shows how far she has come. As does her riding along with a smile.

16th, GOT S4 E2. The Purple Wedding. Like Blackwater, episode focuses on King's Landing. Joffrey is dead at last. He went out showing how horrible he is. The part where he was accepting gifts seemed uncharacteristic, but chopping up the book Tyrion gave him sees a return to form. The War of the Five Dwarves was a moment that seemed funny but also mean and in poor taste. His death was a moment I am sure delighted the fandom. Right after he was bullying his Uncle he dies painfully. But now Tyrion has been arrested for his murder.

18th, GOT S4 E3. An interesting talk between Tywin and Tommen over what makes a good King. I would agree with Tywin. The moment between Jaime and Cersei felt odd, because of the unclarity over how consensual it was. Even imprisoned, Tyrion still shows his wit, talking of the ominous "They" and saying this murder is unique among those of King's Landing, as his sister didn't have anything to do with it.
It seems Ser Davos has an idea. I am interested in seeing this Iron Bank, that replaces rulers who don't pay their debts. As ever, finances determine the way of the world. Does this mean the rightful King will be going to the Wall soon to protect his Kingdoms?
It seems the Hound knows he can't be too likeable or his life expectancy drops. Though does have a pragmatism with robbing the farmer.

22nd, E4. Sansa is learning, she has worked out Littlefinger killed Joffrey. Great... but I don't like him either. He really does seem one of the most dangerous men in Westeros. So the Tyrells were involved. Great for Olenna. However I found the scene between Tommen and Margaery Tyrell very creepy, as she tries to seduce him. Somehow I don't like the Tyrells. They have a Tudor emblem but they are more like Stanleys. But I like Ser Pounce. Good Joffrey didn't kill him. Even while dead he continues to sound like a monster.
Not nice seeing what is going on in Craster's Keep, the girls are worse this. Feel sorry for Hodor as he is tormented by the mutineers. Now Bran and the others are captured what will happen next? I hope the wolves survive. We finally see what happens to Craster's sons. The White Walker's place reminded me of Minas Morgul. So the babies are turned into White Walkers. Who is this Horned White Walker? I hope to find out eventually.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

To celebrate Valentine's Day read The Tale of Beren and Luthien again. Looked over The Lay of Leithian, also known as Release from Bondage. Wonderful love story. Unfortunately many will instead be going to a film about bondage, with a clearly designated hero. Here is a list I found of some bad moments in the book. Here is what someone thinks of the film. May this libertine trash go to Angband. The fandom seems largely made up of people whose social lives have a puncture, libertines, and those who just go for something 'popular' and think that makes it good. Release from Bondage, along with a beautiful love story, has Elves, Werewolves, Sauron... Tolkien considered it The Chief Story of the Silmarillion. Amidst the great deal of misery in the Middle-Earth Legendarium, there is some good. Tolkien's works are good in showing that about the world. 50 sades (not mistype) is certainly not something good, a combination of Twilight and the works of the Marquis of Sadism, an Angband to Beren and Luthien's Valinor. For now, Galu (Sindarin for Good Bye).

Sunday, 8 February 2015

On the 1st saw GOT S3 E7, The Bear and the Maiden Fair. Jaimie really is becoming better. He goes back to save Brienne and jumps into the bear pit. Great scene between Joffrey and his Grandfather. Tywin walks right up to his sadistic grandson and towers over him. Joffrey may be King but it is clear who is in command. Arya is accepting that the only God is Death. Quite the Creepy Child. Exciting as she runs into the woods, only to be captured by the Hound.
When Theon was with the two girls he and the viewer seemed to know this probably wouldn't end well. Sure enough the Boy is back. But it seems even GOT has standards on what they can show.

4th saw E8. An episode of Second Sons. First the troops that come to help the Yellow City. Now Daenerys has more of an army. The Wedding of Tywin's second son Tyrion and Sansa. I suppose Tyrion is a better husband then his stepladder-stealing sister-son. It was quite nice seeing him say he won't consummate his marriage with Sansa until she wills it, despite the command of his father. I hope Tywin doesn't find out. Tyrion further looks awesome as he threatens Joffrey with a knife and then pretends to be acting out of drunkenness. Good scene between Stannis and Davos, on freeing Davos and whether Gendry should die. Stannis is one of my favourite characters. Gendry doesn't die. But the curse on the three other Kings is a great moment. How long will it take to work?
Awesome moment as Samwell destroys a White Walker with Chekhov's Knife. Though did he leave it behind?

7th saw E9. The Red Wedding was quite the wham, like the death of Robb's father. At least the Blackfish seems to have escaped. The Wedding was really well done. First Lord Frey seeming all right with the alliance, accepting the apology, saying he understands Robb. The joyous feast. Then The Rains of Castamere playing, a sinister moment, after which the slaughter began. Again I am reminded of the Nibelungenlied. But I heard this Nasty Party was based on The Black Dinner. Tyrion wasn't in this ep unfortunately, but Arya was. The Hound goes to rescue her so it seems he isn't all bad. And the Mother of Dragons has the Yellow City. What will the people think of her?

Today, 8th, saw Mhysa, end of S3. Again we see Tywin is in charge rather then Joffrey, whose evil even upsets his mother. The scenes between Tyrion and Tywin are great, Tywin saying he's doing this for family, Tyrion saying it's all for him, then hearing Tywin didn't kill him as a child because he was a Lannister. Poor Sansa, finding out of her brother's death. As for Shae don't think she has much longer to live, as she decides not to leave King;s Landing. Horrific scene in the dungeons of the Boltons, with Ramsay Snow eating the sausage. Boltons and Freys are unpleasant. I would love the Blackfish to kill one of those villainous Lords. Arya killing the Frey soldiers is an important moment. She is moving towards the worship of death. Stannis deciding to sacrifice his nephew to the Fire God is a significant moment. He will go to great lengths to get the throne, and feels the Kingdom is the most important thing. Davos and Melisandre seemed like angel and devil in that scene. Davos is a good character, so am wondering how much longer he will survive. Wonder where Gendry will end up. How fortunate for Davos that the Night's Watch needs the help of Stannis. Look forward to seeing this. Spectacular moment, with Daenerys winning the adoration of the freed people. Though I have heard the implications of that scene. What will happen in the next season, as she tries to be a Queen?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Saw GOT S3 E3-4 on the 18th. Hot Pie has left the cast. Understandable, need less characters. Quite a wham moment when Jaime lost his hand. Gains some likeability when he stops Brienne being raped. Another son to Craster, this is tense. We now see the Tully family. Edmure seems well-meaning but incompetent, but the Blackfish is a bit more efficient. The burning arrows demonstrates both their natures. Tense as Melisandre needs King's Blood. Is she looking for Gendry?

E4. Not particularly nice hearing what happened to Varys, and not nice seeing what he has done to the Magician. Craster is dead, but I could see it coming. He was really asking for it and was an incestuous monster. Will the Hound finally be finished? I could tell Daenerys would have her dragon kill the slave-master once she had the Unsullied. Her revealing she speaks Old Valyrian was not entirely surprising. The Tyrells seem much nicer then the Lannisters, understanding, as Machiavelli wrote, that a Prince must not be hated. Shocking as the Boy takes Theon back to the dungeon after gathering info from him.

On the 19th (my birthday), saw GOT S3 E5. Seems the Hound has escaped justice. But there is magic, Dondarrion can be brought back. Is this some counterpart to the White Walkers? Stannis does show his admirable lawful nature when he confesses to his wife about his infidelity but she approves. Shireen seems nice enough, liked seeing her talking to Davos. Daenerys shows sometimes being nice can win you followers. Shocking as the Karstarks murder the Lannister boys. I thought Robb would keep Lord Karstark, who keeps reminding me of Karl Marx, prisoner. But he chooses the more lawful, though less Realpolitik orientated option and loses much of his army. We finally hear Jaime's view on why he killed the Mad King, saving King's Landing from being burnt down. Does add to his character, even if he is a twincestuous character who tried to murder a boy. Now Robb has to make dealings with Lord Frey. Expect more on the double-dealings of politics. In some ways amusing seeing Tyrion's reaction as he finds his father wants him to marry Sansa, then his sister finds out she has to marry Loras. Tywin can be quite a frightening presence, as he forces his children to agree to the marriages.

25th, saw E6. Again the powerful nature of Tywin, as he outmanoeuvres Olenna and they insult each other's family. It seems King Joffrey is Kim Jong Un, as he tried to engage in avunculicide, but not well. Like Tyrion said some time ago, he is a vicious idiot. Robb seemed reasonable enough as he met Frey's terms. Seems his Uncle will have to agree. Things don't look good for Gendry. But would be interesting to see Arya and Melisandre meet again. Horrific scene as Theon is tortured and the Boy reveals he lied and makes Theon beg to have his finger cut off. Feel quite sorry for Sansa and Tyrion. The ending really shows how terrible Baelish is, as he tells Varys he wants chaos so he can advance himself. Then we see what happened to Ros.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Saw GOT S3 E1-2 8 days ago. Valar Dohaeris was a good opening. Ghost, like I thought, comes back. Still a surprise seeing him save Sam. Jon Snow is joining the King beyond the Wall. As ever those of the Stark family try to be moral. Feel so sorry for Tyrion, as his father refuses to name him heir to Casterly Rock and calls him an embarrassment to the family. Margaery Tyrell seems a lot nicer then her betrothed, as she talks to the orphans of King's Landing. The Tyrells know more about what makes a good ruler. Good to know Davos survived. But it seems his failure to take Kings Landing and losses are pushing Stannis closer to Melisandre. Not particularly pleasant hearing of the training for the Unsullied and seeing the demonstration. Tense moment as the swordsman approached and the ball opened. I wonder what Selmy the Kingsguard will be like?

Dark Wings, Dark Words has more characters. Another Tyrell, Olenna. Seems a nice old lady but looks can be deceptive. Sansa is developing more. How will Olenna and Margaery react to hearing the truth about Joffrey? Margaery is good at hiding her true thoughts though. Interested in knowing who Jojen and Meera are. Will we see more of Bran's powers? It seems Theon Greyjoy is getting some punishment for his actions in the North, even if it is unpleasant. I wonder if he will escape? Another new character Thoros of Myr, played by Paul Kaye, who I heard will be in Doctor Who S9. Doesn't seem such a bad guy. But am unsure how he will react to finding out who Arya Stark is. And what will he do to the Hound? After some time a physical fight between Brienne and Jaime. Brienne may have won but Jaime wasn't in the best position for fighting. It seems being the more moral person isn't working as the farmer has recognised the Kingslayer. I doubt even two of the best warriors in Westeros can stand against these Bannermen. The storyline between those two has dragged a bit and won't be sorry to see it end.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Finale of GOT S2, Valar Morghulis, seen by me 7 days ago. Good finale. Lannister and Tryell are uniting in marriage. Hope that alliance is soon broken. Pycelle arguing how Joffrey can get out of his promise to marry Sansa certainly shows the Realpolitik of the series. The elite can justify what they want. Wonder what will happen to Sansa now. Poor old Tyrion, saving the city but not getting appreciated. But now Varys can hopefully keep tabs on Littlefinger. Wonder what will happen to him now his father is around to be Hand. Agree with Tyrion, enjoyable having him in a Deadly Decadent Court. Jaqen such a great character. Love the bit where he turns round to show he has changed his face. Hope to see him again. Exciting when Daenerys has Voldermort burnt to death. But she does seem quite mean in locking Xaro and Doreah in the vault. Is she really so admirable? As for Jon Snow I wonder how he will fare with the Wildings? Exciting finish, Sam trying to hide while an army of the Dead advances.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Yesterday finished The Blood of Olympus, Finale to The Heroes of Olympus. Decent read. Gaea getting defeated may have seemed like a cop-out. Still, liked the way it occurred and the ending with Leo and Calypso. Liked Nico finally coming out to Percy at end. Look forward to reading the crossover between Kane and Olympus and when Magnus Chase comes out will be reading that.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

6 days ago, just before the New Year, saw Blackwater. Really dramatic, as Stannis finally attacks King's Landing. Tyrion shows a heroic side as he helps defend the city, setting most of Stannis' fleet alight and rallying the troops when Joffrey leaves the fighting. Quite a conclusion to the battle, as Lannister and Tyrell forces, including Tywin, defeat the Baratheon forces. At least Stannis has escaped. Not certain on who to support. The Lannisters, Joffrey, Tyrion and those of King's Landing or the more honourable Stannis. Hope that Ser Davos has survived, despite his ship being burnt. See some of Cersei's love for her children, as she sits with Tommen and tells him to be brave, while possibly planning to poison him and herself if the city is taken. Good performance as Cersei shows more of her character, getting drunk and being cynical while Sansa tries to keep hopes up. Very good in focusing on less, just about the Battle of Blackwater. Do have to question why Sansa wants to stay in King's Landing. Overall Blackwater really great episode. Did deserve to win Hugo Award more then 2012 Doctor Who.

Friday, 2 January 2015

8 days ago saw Last Christmas, DW. Didn't find particularly good. Interesting concept with the dreams, though might have dragged on. What happened to the Professor as he got taken by the Dream Crab? Is that one still around? Though, Nick Frost suitable name. Elves felt a bit odd, prefer those of Valinor. Liked the Thrones Marathon note. I would have liked going through one. Clara being old, then not, might have been going on too long. Some ambiguity about Santa Clause at the end with the tangerine. Was he from the Land of Fiction? Some sort of personification like the Guardians or Eternals? Moff said based on comic where 1 met Father Christmas. Review can be seen here. I like AT4W. Clara is staying. Good or bad? Well, Moff says arc is planned, so we will see what S9 brings.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

GOT S2 E7-8 watched by me 5 days ago. A Man without Honour shows Theon becoming more desperate. Tywin shows a slightly nicer side in Harrenhal, as he lets Arya eat the stew. Ygritte can be a bit annoying. Considering Jon gets captured looks like it would have been wiser to kill her. Sansa has flowered. That does not seem good. In the Stark Camp the guard should have known better then to go close to the Kingslayer. Jaime does bring up some interesting points about the contradictory nature of being a Knight. Though he is still a jerk, seeming to go out of his way to insult Catelyn. Shocking ending, as the burnt bodies are hung up in Winterfell.

The Prince of Winterfell. Theon is not managing matters well. Winterfell is not a good place for a seafaring people and killing the Stark boys means the North hates him. Catelyn really doesn't seem to have been thinking things through when she let Jaime go in the hope it will save her daughters. Wouldn't negotiations have been a better idea? Jaime still being a jerk to Brienne. As Stannis' forces move towards King's Landing matters become more tense. How will Tyrion defend the city? At least Arya has escaped Harrenhal. Found it quite amusing when she gives Jaqen his own name. Liked hearing of how Stannis values loyalty and his problems with his brothers, having to give up the castle he held onto. Nice of him to say he'll make Davos his Hand. Good to know the Stark boys are still alive and hiding in Winterfell.