Blog / Race for the Iron Throne

Race for the Iron Throne is a blog by Steven Attewell, which showcases his essays of historical and political analysis of the world of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice And Fire. Most of the essays are analysis of chapters found in the main series, but he also does essays as a guest writer for other blogs (which the blog provides links to).

This blog contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Some of his essays deal with characters and events before the main series. Many of them explore George R.R. Martin's supposed and hypothesized historical influences on the books.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: How he sees Littlefinger, noting that he often pretends to be smarter and more knowing then he is, tends to be on the nose in his resentment and takes every slight, especially from Tyrion, personally.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The essays have the dubious honour of highlighting just how bad the decadence actually was.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Steven argues that "honourable" characters like Eddard and Catelyn Stark failed not because they are idiots, but they failed to take into account seemingly small details which later blew up in their faces.
  • Hidden Depths: As with Alternate Character Interpretation, his analysis argues that many characters have this. Notable examples include both Catelyn Stark and Jon Arryn.
    • He argues that Cat was more political savvy than most fans give her credit for, just that her gamble ultimately failed. He also argues the same thing for Jon Arryn.
  • Four-Star Badass: Attewell uses sound military history to show how impressive Robb Stark and Stannis Baratheon really are. He also notes that while Tywin Lannister has this reputation, he has also never won a battle without overwhelming force and he notes that it's ambiguous how good of a general he really was.
  • The Good Chancellor / Evil Chancellor: Steven explores and deconstructs both tropes. He notes that in the 300 years since the Hand of the King was introduced, you can count successful Hands who die a peaceful and natural death on one hand. He also notes that Ned Stark failed primarily because he did not know or exercise the powers he had as a Hand. He notes that Ned did execute a political masterstroke in sending Beric Dondarrion to arrest Gregor Clegane, since it put the onus on Tywin to openly flout a royal banner and host and invite accusations of treason.
  • Rule of Drama: Steven argues that Tyrion and Catelyn's meeting at the inn was this, as Tyrion has a way longer journey than Catelyn and covered a lot more ground than her in the same amount of time.
  • Sketchy Successor: Steven has this evaluation of Aegon IV (already known as the Unworthy in-universe).
    Steven: Maegor might have been crueler and Aerys II madder, but Aegon IV really takes the prize for willful and needless destruction of the peace of his realm...unless one considers that perhaps the story that Aegon IV had been planning to disinherit Daeron in favor of Daemon...
  • Title Drop: The blog is subtitled You win or you die, which is a quote from Cersei on the nature of the game of thrones, and the title of an episode in Season 1 of the TV series. Also counts as a Meaningful Name; see Didn't See That Coming above.