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Jaime and Bran
- Why, Jaime, oh why? Why didn't you invite Bran into your den of iniquity so you could have snapped his neck, THEN throw him down? I seriously can't understand that. You had time, you had strength, you had the perfect opportunity? There were no coroners back then.
- I always assumed, he wasn't sure, he would be able to do it. Jaime is a horrible person at this point, but he is not a sociopath. He does have qualms about killing a child, he just ignores them for Cersei's sake. So, in my opinion, he kills him in a way that requires as little actual involvement as possible. Note, how he doesn't even look at Bran the moment he pushes him, as if distancing himself from his own deed. Inviting the kid in and snapping his neck would not allow Jaime psychologically downplay the fact that he is personally and willingly murdering a child.
- Or they could do an examination of the body, if Bran died, and found out that he didn't die from the fall.
- Even without coroners, a master would be able to tell the difference between "killed by fall" and "neck snapped". Considering Bran survived the fall in the first place, it probably wouldn't be high enough to cause injuries that would cover up the specific injuries caused by grabbing someone's neck and breaking it.
- Although Cersei didn't actually want him to kill Bran, in the book at least. She mentions at one point that her idea would have been to intimidate him into keeping quiet, but Jaime acted rashly.
- While pretty much everything about Varys is a mystery, the thing that confuses me most is this: when he first starts talking to Eddard, he seems to be encouraging him to investigate into the Jon Arryn affair, and he speaks to Illyrio as if a Lannister-Stark war will help them bring back the Targaryens. But far down the line he is telling Ned to vouch for Joffrey, thereby keeping the peace between the two houses for the good of the realm.
- Above all else, Varys abhors chaos. I don't think Varys wanted a war between the Starks and the Lannisters. He simply thought a war was inevitable after the assassination attempt on Bran and wanted to make sure they made the best use of it. Asking Ned to vouch for Joffrey was a desperate attempt to delay the Stark-Lannister war for a little longer. If only Joffrey were less of a shithead...
- Varys wanted the realm destabilized until Aegon Targaryen lands in Westeros with the Golden Company . It isn't that he didn't want chaos, he wanted things to stay muddied enough until then, before one faction could consolidate their hold. And even then, when they seem to do so, a wrench gets thrown in the works.
Is Joffrey an idiot or something?
- His father and grandfather AND mother are at war with one of the most powerful houses in the land, and he goes and has the patriarch of said family executed!? Even CERSEI was screaming "WTF ARE YOU DOING!?" at him while his girlfriend was pleading at his side...and now his father has been captured by the Starks. Way to go, Joffrey, Jaime's about to be eye for an eye'd by Robb Stark!
- He's a spoiled brat who's always gotten his way and is prone to act very sociopathic. Of course he's a complete idiot when it comes to actually ruling.
- He's 14 years old (so, yes. Most 14-year-old's are). Also as far as he knows, Ned Stark just tried to usurp his throne for no reason and his Mom's never actually explained to him why it's important to let Ned live, just ordered him to do so.
- He was raised with Cersei's values and Robert's bloodlust. He considers Robert his father and wants to be a tough guy to make him proud.
- Joffrey is Stupid Evil to the core and everyone knows it after he pulled that little stunt. Unfortunately, he's the king, so no one can really tell him to stop.
- So, short answer, yes, he is.
- Joffrey seems to be smart enough to understand that everybody is making him into a puppet ruler, and decides to show that he won't be held in anybody's leash in the most spectacular manner possible. He lacks any understanding of the bigger picture and the realities of being a king however, thus only managing a demonstration of why he needs that leash in the first place.
- Think about the amount of parental guidance Joffrey got in his life. There wasn't much from Robert, who was too busy hunting whores and fucking boars. There was almost none from his father; in a later book, Cersei warns Jaime from even standing near his children for fear that someone will make the connection just by seeing them side-by-side. And his mother, Cersei, who gave him most of his training? Not always on top of things. In other words: no father figures, and a Small Name, Big Ego for a mother. It's no wonder Joffrey's a raging incompetent. Who would have taught him not to be?
- ...YES! He's stupid, he's arrogant and he's a sociopath, and now he's king he's drunk with power. And bear in mind that he's certainly dumb enough to believe in all honesty that Ned was behind his father's death, considering that's what everyone's been telling him and the guy just confessed, so that puts the execution in a slightly different light. What's much harder to understand is why his Chessmaster advisers didn't foresee it, and take extra-special pains to convince him just how very stupid it would be.
- Littlefinger himself points out in the novels that pawns in the Game of Thrones have a nasty habit of making their own moves that even a Chessmaster can't predict. Joffrey would have just nodded when his mother and his advisers were explaining what should be done with Ned Stark and why it's a good idea to send him to the Wall, while secretly planning to show everyone up.
- Reading in between the lines, it's entirely possible that one or more of his Chessmasters didn't engineer the situation.
- Add that this is the new king's first real act of power, and he has probably been hearing all over that his mother is the real power behind the throne. Her telling him what to do drove him to do the opposite, to prove he was no-one's puppet.
- He's an inbred cowardly little bastard (literally) and in universe inbreeding is implied to lead to madness ("The Mad King" was thought to be "Mad" for just that reason). He's not so much an idiot as an insane, sadistic little twit who sees Ned as the embodiment of everything he is not (Courageous, Honorable, Strong, etc.) and the man who tried to dethrone him on his coronation day. Given the way he's acted up until this point I'd be scratching my head if he didn't have Ned executed.
- Remember that scene where Joffrey bullies the butcher's boy? That scene wasn't just there to show us that Joffrey is an evil sadist. It was also there to show us that when Joffrey is an evil sadist, everybody will rush to support Joffrey and persecute his victims. Joffrey has learned all his life that he can Kick the Dog and Rape The Dog whenever he gets bored, and if the dog tries to bite back, it will soon be a dead dog. The boy does not know the meaning of the word "consequences." Who would have taught it to him?
- Short answer: yes. He really isn't the sharpest spoon in the drawer. More the point he likely decided on the spur of the moment that sentencing Ned to the Night's Watch was weak and that the crowd needed a better show. They got one.
- I suspect a lot of Joffrey's apparently idiotic tendencies and arrogance stem from the way he views the kingship. Look at his character entry quote: "The king can do what he likes!" In his mind, the king is simply the ultimate power, second only to the gods (or quite possibly even above the gods). If Varys had asked Joffrey his riddle about the King, the High Septon and the Rich Man, Joffrey would have just given him a blank look for asking such a stupid question (or possibly had him beheaded for even implying that anyone could be above the king). As far as he's concerned, for the king the very concept of "consequences", or the idea that other people could disagree with him, does not exist. The king is always right and just simply because that's the natural order, even if he doesn't act with righteousness or justice. He can't conceive any reason anyone would even TRY to oppose him and he can't imagine the possibility of his side not being triumphant. It's the reason that the only person he cared for or respected at all was his father Robert — even though Robert wasn't a very good king, he was the king and was therefore the most important person in the world. So if he's a sadistic psychopath then why shouldn't he indulge in his every vicious whim — he's the king, the world and everyone in it will bend itself to his will.
- I think that's almost right — I don't think he thinks that the king is inherently infallible or that "no-one would even try to oppose him", but he thinks his power is absolute and uncontestable, so he doesn't see the need to keep his underlings appeased. He knows he can be wrong and he knows that people might dislike him/disagree with him, but he doesn't care because he thinks there's nothing anyone can do to him.
- He's also dealing with a pretty vicious misogynistic streak. All his life, the man he thought was his father has been openly disrespecting (and occasionally beating) his mother and treating every other woman around like a disposable fucktoy. In the pilot, he jokes with the Hound about how he "cannot abide the weeping of women." He expresses his attraction to Sansa through psychological and physical abuse. Now he's King, and he's got two women alternately ordering him and pleading with him to do something: of COURSE he does the opposite! He wants to prove to himself and his subjects that he doesn't have "the fragile heart of [a woman]".
- As Tyrion puts it in Season 2 after Joffrey's reaction to getting hit with a cow-pat is to order his men to Kill 'em All, sparking a riot — "We've had vicious Kings, and we've had idiot Kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a King!"
- Littlefinger seems to want a war between Starks and Lannisters. He could have made a few comments to Jofferey about what a real king would do in order to make sure Ned died.
- Joffrey is pretty darn stupid yes. If he does believe that the king is the ultimate power and authority and none can oppose one, he really should go back and see what happened to the king before his father....
- But, remember, it IS good to be the king.
- that is, until the King's head ends up on a silver platter
The Birds and the Spiders
- OK, so this is a pretty trivial Just Bugs Me, but if Varys is a 'spider', and his spies are his 'little birds', shouldn't they be eating him? Or at the very least, not sharing their flies with him...
- More likely than not, Varys originated the 'little birds' part himself when he started out (perhaps even before he became Master of Whisperers), but everyone else (i.e. everyone who disliked/distrusted him) thought that invoking the imagery of a venomous creepy-crawler that traps its prey by spinning webs had a more appropriate ring to it than 'Varys the Birdkeeper'. The dissonance you mentioned may even have been intentional on the part of his detractors, in the hopes that one of the 'birds' would 'eat' the spider.
- I got the impression, in part due to Baelish and Varys' dialogue in the season finale, that Varys inspires fear in even the most powerful of men. That, despite being an otherwise powerless, weak, foreign eunuch, the Spider still commands the Birds. (Which acts as a stark contrast to the series' status quo of "might equals right.")
- It seemed simple to me. People call him 'The Spider' because he sits at the middle of his 'Web' of informants/spies/assassins who he calls his 'little birds' in reference to the saying 'a little bird told me'.
- Yes, but those two metaphors clash with each other pretty badly. Hey, I said it was trivial...
- Based on the book series, Varys has been trading in information for a goodly portion of his life, and established the phrase "his little birds" in his early life as a thief of knowledge. The "spider" bit came afterwards, in King's Landing, working for the Targaryens. The two are completely unrelated.
- To be more precise, in his early life they were called his "little mice". Whatever he calls them, it really makes no difference; they're small, harmless looking and get around everywhere without people noticing them or paying attention to them. And he's called the spider because he sits in the middle of a web of information.
- To make it explicitly clear; Varys came up with the "little birds/mice" metaphor on his own. Other people began referring to him as "the Spider" later on, and Varys himself has never claimed or used that moniker. It's the difference between how Varys views himself(as a very well informed individual) and how other people view him(as a damn spider).
- Alternately, he is one of these types of spiders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_birdeater
Why does anyone trust Littlefinger?
- All he does is smile evilly all the time and make veiled threats.
- Part of his brilliance is his ability to present himself openly as untrustworthy as a way of drawing people into his trust. Works for Ned, anyway!
- He (and Varys likewise) never pretends to be trustworthy; he just pretends that you are the one person in the world who can trust him, because, for whatever reason, helping you happens to be in his interests. It's easier to believe someone like that than it is to believe someone who claims to be "good", especially in the Crapsack World that is Westeros.
- Everyone knows that Littlefinger is a self-serving conniver, but he's also very useful, and everyone thinks that they can use him to gain some sort of advantage. As Ned finds out, Robert used him to back his excessive spending for years.
- There's also the fact that people underestimate just how good a manipulator Littlefinger is. As the books show, even those who truly don't trust him in the slightest end up getting played anyway, because they think that, having seen through him, they can beat him. Essentially, Littlefinger's strength is convincing people that he's a Smug Snake, when he is in fact a full-fledged Magnificent Bastard.
- Littlefinger is basically Go T's answer to the Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files. As in, yes, everyone knows he's evil and nobody trusts him, but he's also sufficiently awesome at gathering information, that he always has too much useful information for anyone to want to kill him. He would make sure that if someone wanted to kill him, he would always be able to give them something else that was more attractive to them, (money, information, one of his women perhaps) than his death.
- Also, he's lowborn (i.e. from a very poor, weak, young and non-influential family). This is a huge part of his appeal in the books, since most of the older noble houses (i.e. everyone) think that lowborn = harmless. Littlefinger has no armsmen, he holds no lands, he doesn't lack for money but he doesn't show it in any way (he invests his coin rather than spend it on luxuries). In other words, he can't possibly threaten anyone, so what harm could it do to trust him? Only Tyrion and Varys recognize his ambitious nature as a threat.
- Littlefinger is not technically lowborn (i.e. he is a noble). It's just that he is (as the book puts it) the "smallest of the small lords". He lords over the tiniest of "The Fingers" (hence, "Littlefinger"), a small rocky area on the Vale that extends into the Narrow Sea. Very bad, barren and "useless" lands. But still enough to grant him a title.
- Littlefinger is interestingly enough still a Lord, not a Landed Knight (like Davos Seaworth or Gregor Clegane), even though his holdings are tiny and he has only two men at arms (Lothar Brune and Oswell Kettleblack). This means he can dispense the King's justice on his lands, by executing or imprisoning any that break the law, whereas a Landed Knight must seek a trial from his Liege Lord. But agreed he's not particularly rich or powerful, nor does he have a respected lineage (his grandfather being a successful Braavosi sellsword).
- In fact, that's something he shares with Varys. You know how people in the Night's Watch and Kingsguard vow to "father no children and hold no lands" in order to render themselves aristocratically harmless? Varys exploits the fact that "entire" men don't feel threatened by eunuchs, and Littlefinger is similarly "harmless" due to holding no lands (except, eventually, the indefensible white elephant that is Harrenhal — but no-one grants him any useful lands).
Why do Sansa, Bran and Arya have posh Southern English Accents when all of the rest of Ned's offspring have rugged Northern English accents?
- Cat doesn't because she's more of a Southerner (though if Westeros is directly relatable to England she should talk like a Brummie :P) but this inconsistency annoys me. Sansa may be using a 'phone voice' to fit in at court but Arya wouldn't! Girls and small people can talk Northern too...
- I would think it may be because those three tended to be under the care of Cat or the Septa rather than their father.
- Because they didn't place the actor's accents very high on the list when casting? Don't get me wrong, I thought it was weird how many different accents the Stark family has, too, but really that shouldn't be top priority.
- I concede that this is probably the case; Samwell Tarly's accent does not exactly scream "highborn lad," either.
- In the antebellum south, men and women often had distinctly different accents due to differences in their customary upbringings. There's no reason why the same cannot be true here.
- Except that in that case Bran would have the same accent as the other guys, not the girls. And if you listen to the bonus features, Isaac Hampstead-Wright isn't using his normal accent; for starters he swallows his final "t"s a lot more when out of character.
- Actually, it seems that Bran is Cat's favorite child and she seems to dote on him. So it is conceivable that Cat had more of a hand in his upbringing than she might have with Robb.
- Or even that all the boys had accents like Bran's when they were his age but were moved to shed it when they became adolescents and spent more time in training with Rodrik Cassel and generally becoming men of the North.
- Because most people don't notice, including myself.
Does snow ever melt north of The Wall?
- And if it doesn't, how can trees grow there?
- A Wizard Did It.
- Joking aside, the books heavily imply that there are a lot of supernatural forces subtly influencing the world. That, or maybe it's just in the world's arctic circle.
- Yes, "supernatural forces" Did It. By magic. Nothing to do with wizards. *Serious face*.
- I suppose the snow does melt north of the Wall, up to some point. The Westeros map ends with the "Lands of Always Winter" (which is completely unexplored, and where the White Walkers come from), so it stands to reason that the lands below that, but still above the Wall, are not stuck in a "permanent Winter".
- It's important to note that the 'Lands of Always Winter' don't start right at the Wall, but are actually several hundred miles north of it. The Haunted Forest goes through the same seasons as the rest of Westeros, but is the first to really feel that Winter is Coming
- The Wall is described as 'weeping' sometimes, so temperatures are not always below freezing. Also, the wildlings' territory must be at least nominally arable to support their population, which means the permafrost line is therefore almost certainly much farther north.
- Original questioner here. Jeor Mormont answered this a few episodes back, when he told that Qhorin Halfhand had to live a full winter north of the Wall because he couldn't cross the Frostfangs "before the thaw". So yeah, snow does melt there — up to a point at least.
How powerful is the one sitting on the Iron Throne?
- I haven't read the books and have seen five episodes, so perhaps I'm missing the point, but is there a reason everyone wants the Iron Throne? What does the person ruling at King's Landing rule over, besides that area? And how do The Wall, Winterfell, and King's Landing relate to each other and who, if not the King, controls them? Also, in the first episode and a few episodes later there was mention of some barbaric group of people (I don't think it was the Dothraki or White Walkers)on the other side of some area; who are they, where are they and how do they fit into all of this? And where are Dany and her brother from (was it on the map at the beginning of the show?) Basically, I need someone to explain the role of the King, and the current power rankings in the GoT universe in general.
- That's... a lot of questions. Have you considered reading the books? They've got maps and family trees, they help a lot. As for the power rankings, I suggest you read up on the Feudal system; Winterfell and all the other castles in Westeros are held by lords (like Ned Stark and Tywin Lannister), each of whom has sworn to obey the King on the Iron Throne (so he effectively rules the whole continent). In turn the lords have "bannermen", or barons, who are loyal to them, and they rule over a smaller parcel of land. Knights are right at the bottom of the pile, and run small estates. The peasants don't own any land, they're just allowed to use it to farm on by whichever noble owns it. The Wall marks the edge of the kingdom, and all the "wildlings" on the other side of it are considered uncivilized savages.
- Well that is the question that the entire series is asking as well. Varys has a great riddle about this in the Second Book — the rich man, the king and the priest. One of the main themes of the book is who actually holds power and why. In theory, we're talking about a feudal society where the king and his lords have mutual obligations to each other. However, that is not how it is in practice. A rich and powerful lord (Tywin Lannister) could gain power while the king still nominally rules and a royal family could gain an advantage (i.e. dragons) which allows them more absolute and centralized power than a normal feudal relationship.
- Cersei points this fact out quite well to Joffrey early on when he says he'll create a royal army loyal to him and use them to crush the uppity Starks. She points out that any troops he draws from the North into the Royal Army would be loyal not to Joffrey, but to the Northern bannermen and the Starks. Joffrey doesn't seem to immediately get that just because he's king, everyone would not automatically obey him, and that the king only possesses power when everyone else acknowledges it. There's a reason why Tywin is the puppetmaster of this entire conflict, and Joffrey is pretty much just a puppet.
- You guys have been extremely helpful, thank you. So generally speaking the King rules most of the continent, but the series itself makes it a point that 1) every King rules differently, and some use their position more effectively than others to a varied degree of success and 2) being King doesn't necessarily mean you have any authority whatsoever? Awesome. I have a better idea of what the series is about (the show, at least) since I finished Season 1 today (episode 9: I lost faith in humanity). Game of Thrones is essentially "Everyone wants the Iron Throne for various reasons."
- Yes, sounds right. It's true to real life feudal systems.
- Feudalism was a scenario where you had the lord of a particular township or castle, who had serfs working his land. The serfs subsisted from said land themselves, and gave the lord a cut of what they produced, and he in turn gave a cut of that to the king. There were a few different types of serfs, and whether or not they could be kicked off the land, depended on which type they were. The king, in turn, held authority over the collective group of said lords, in a central location, the capital. Before the Magna Carta at least, the monarch had absolute power in theory, but it primarily came down to what the lords were willing to tolerate in practice. Henry VIII was a good example of a post-Magna Carta king, who still threw his weight around a lot, and generally had people killed when he felt like it. People were generally willing to take a lot less crap from a monarch, than what we tolerate from our leaders today.
- Not to turn this into a discussion on English history, but Henry VIII is actually a pretty bad example of a post Magna Carta monarch; that venerable document was pretty much comatose during his reign and there's a really good argument that he was the most absolutely powerful British head of state ever (that is to say, before or after Magna Carta). Getting back on subject, it seems like what goes on in Westeros isn't entirely what we would call feudalism. It helps to remember that the Great Houses were originally royals of their own kingdoms before the Targaryens came along When Robb Stark is proclaimed King in the North, this is what the Northerners are reviving. The realm is still called "The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros", strongly implying that this past isn't totally discarded. In summary, I'd say that the likes of Tywin Lannister or Ned Stark are something of a mix between dukes and minor kings, and the whole Westerosi system is more of a mix between medieval European feudalism and the American federal system.
- The King is essentially the High King reigning over a federation of seven kingdoms.
- Or like an Emperor reigning over seven provinces, a lot like the Roman Emperor but with much more authonomy for the provinces, or maybe more akin to the Japanese or Chinese Emperors because of the feudalism.
- I think he meant that Henry VIII was a good example of a post MC king that still threw his weight around. His comma usage is throwing you off.
- Bottom line is: first there are the peasants. Nobody cares about them. Peasants have to obey all Lords, even the most minor. Minor lords sometimes have castles of their own and their own banners, but they are all "bannermen" to one of the Seven Lords of the Seven Kingdoms (i.e.: Houses Baratheon, Lannister, Stark, Tyrell, Tully, Arryn and Martell) each of which has a reasonable big castle as their seat of power and some land that is under their command. But ALL of the Seven Lords have to obey the King on the Iron Throne, as well as the people that obey the Seven Lords.
Where does the show exist in terms of continuity?
- Given the details that have been changed, does it exist within its own, or does it supersede that of the novels, or is it just non-canon in the ASOIAF mythology?
- ...it's an adaptation. It has its own continuity.
- The extras on the Season 1 boxed set spell out a backstory and a world heavily continuous with that of the novels (with a few minor tweaks to dates and the like). The past is basically the same, but the future is likely to be written in different ways.
Where are any of Catelyn's guards?
- Catelyn appears to arrive at Renly's camp with precisely no guards or entourage at all, and leaves with no guards as well, save for Brienne. So the mother of the self proclaimed King in the North is prancing around Westeros with no protection on the road whatsoever?
- There are two guards with her when she arrived. You can tell they're Northmen by their plain style of armor in contrast to the soldiers gathered at Storm's End. Presumably there were more guards waiting on the outskirts of the camp just Catelyn Stark got separated during the chaos that occurred.
- I would assume that Renly's people weren't about to escort a large group of armed and armored men, from one of the opposing armies, right up in front of their king. Even if they were supposed to be there for a "peace envoy."
Why is Robert called a fool?
- Okay, his public spending was out of control (though, in truth, given the myriad political favors he doled out to him, I doubt Tywin would have cared had Robert simply decided not to pay). But people were not starving under him and generally enjoyed a much, much better standard of living as compared to well, the insane monarch who killed babies 'cause of the voices in his head. Add to that him freeing the country from the aforementioned crazy man and you've got quite the formula for a man who, at the very least, should be praised to the high heavens by the common folk. The only criterion for calling him an idiot was because he was boisterous. Otherwise things were at least stable given his administration, and he wasn't harming that.
- You speak like it's a common opinion held by the smallfolk. Only people in power who know him think that he's a fool, mostly because of his spending habits, and the drinking and the whoring and all that. It's not quite as simple as that, of course. Robert had no talent as an administrator, and his policies left the realm deep in debt (not just to the Lannisters!) and he died before the consequences of that debt effected the realm... but he was still an amazing diplomat and general, and he managed to weld together a realm rent by rebellion via force of charisma and diplomatic concessions. The common folk, well, they likely mostly liked him during his rule, but there were always Targaryen loyalists, and there are always men who think the current ruler is a fool, and not everyone was happy with what he did during the Rebellion. Also, after he died, a five way civil war broke out, which might have soured opinions on him a bit.
- But it is generally accepted however, that the majority of that debt is to the Lannisters. Honestly, how many kings do take a center role in governing their country? Robert may not have instituted sweeping reforms but his spending policies, while idiotic, should not draw him into the level of mudslinging he's often subjugated to in universe.
- But that's just it, isn't it? In-universe, he catches a lot of flak, because, well, that's what happens to the man on top. Everyone hates the man on top. Add to this the fact that Robert is regarded as a fool by the Lannisters, they-who-shit-gold and who are one of the most powerful houses in Wseteros, and you'll get a lot of people who agree who really disagree but the Lannisters have already supplied them with their opinion. Hell, even Robert himself was a bit derisive of his own rule. Just look at the scene where he asks Ned to be his Hand; in his own words, he wants Ned to run the kingdom while he whores and drinks himself into an early grave. Sure, Robert isn't really a fool, but he seems that way to a lot of people, and some of the most powerful ones in the Seven Kingdoms want to see him go down.
- Robert's rule was only successful because he hand an excellent Hand serving him for the most of it, while he personally did as little ruling as humanly possible. He was a masterful general and a charismatic leader, but in day-to-day governing he was rubbish, and he let power seep through his fingers like a sieve. Hence, he was a fool to anyone who seeks the throne with that power in mind.
- You don't understand Tywin very well. Lannisters don't just pay their debts, they expect debts to be paid back. He doesn't even cancel the debt when Joffrey takes the Throne in the books. And it's not just debt to him, it's to the Faith of the Seven and to the Iron Bank of Braavos. So debts to a religious institution and another country. These become relevant later in the books. Vast debts, it said Littlefinger managed to improve taxation by tenfold over King Aerys' reign, even if this is exaggeration Robert managed to squander vast coffers left to him and constantly outspend an even larger income. Which he spent frivolously, on feasts, tournaments, etc. Not on any positive public works, reforms or improvement. That by itself makes a crappy ruler. But then there's all the other stuff people have mentioned.
- At least in the books it's implied that Littlefinger (the Treasurer) did manage to improve the tax collection but at the same time managed to tie much of the royal income up in shady and complicated investments, where Littlefinger didn't outright embezzle it. Robert may have overspent considerably but Littlefinger manipulated the Kingdom's finances for his own benefit.
- Certainly wouldn't put it past Littlefinger to be running some kind of Ponzi scheme or something. When a person's superpower is that he can always find money in some mysterious way that nobody else understands, it's best to be pretty suspicious.
- Turns out in Season 3 he just borrowed money like a madman. If he had a scheme to pay it back he didn't share it with Tyrion, but considering his speech about Chaos later in the season, he may have been counting on never paying the debt back and redirecting any retaliation against him against whoever's currently sitting on the Iron Throne ("I begged him to pay you back but he wouldn't listen to reason").
- The crown treasury was "over-flowing" when Aerys died, millions in debt under Robert. The small-folk aren't starving, no, but it's been summer for 10 years, which apparently means continual harvests for a decade. At the beginning of winter, which will last almost a decade, nowhere has food to last more than a few years. Where can the food come from, but by being bought from warmer parts? So they would have to go yet further into debt to feed the realm. (All we know of Aerys' crimes are those against nobles...)
- Two important things to remember about Aerys (things that are discussed at more length in the books) are 1. he wasn't crazy or terrible for his whole reign, only the last chunk of it, after his psychosis really set in — he was actually very well-liked before that — and 2. when Aerys started seriously losing his shit, his Hand of the King — a guy named Tywin Lannister, perhaps you've heard of him — stepped up and pretty much started ruling the kingdom in his place (apart from burning people alive, which wasn't his department). Aerys was a terrible king, but Tywin was a damn good Hand, and the realm actually did quite well under him. It was only when Aerys finally ticked off Tywin enough to make him quit as Hand — which was sometime right around the time Rhaegar got married, making it probably only a few years before the Rebellion started — that things really started going down the tubes. So, yes, there were a few chaotic years under Aerys, but for the most part ordinary people didn't fare too badly.
- It was fairly well-known, at least among the nobility, that Robert was not very good at ruling — he would rather eat, drink, and fuck. What has kept everything going well up to now is that Robert knew this, and left the running of the kingdom to those who were better suited for it. And it wasn't just Jon Arryn — he had a good Small Council — Littlefinger, Varys, Renly, and Pycelle. All of them are well known, particularly Littlefinger and Varys, as extremely competent. So everyone knows that Robert isn't running the kingdom.
- Among the nobility, at least. The smallfolk probably don't know or care about this. But they're generally not the ones calling Robert a fool, as pointed out above.
- It should be pointed out that in the series (moreso in the books) there is often a difference between the opinion of the other nobles and the general public. In this instance, House Baratheon as a whole seems to be seen by other houses as blunt and rather unsophisticated by high nobility standards and Robert is the loudest and hammiest of them. It's just we see most throught the eyes of other nobles. Stannis and Renly personalities get also exagerated or downplayed by other nobles, but just like Robert they can be very close to the smallfolk (Stannis is not above promoting someone from Flea Bottom and Renly does know the names of commoners in his army)
- Robert: We've been sittin' here for DAYS! START THE DAMN JOUST BEFORE I PISS ME-SELF! Do you really have to ask?
- This may have been explained in the books, but since I haven't read them yet, I have no idea. What do kids of Happily Married Northern bastards get called? So the Northern bastards get the surname Snow, but what happens if they get married and have legitimate children? Do they keep the bastard surname, or does it get changed?
- Other noble bastards in the past have sometimes given themselves original surnames (the Blackfyres were descended from a Targaryen bastard whose father left him his sword Blackfyre). But it seems fairly common for bastards' trueborn children to inherit their father's name, which does seem strange — you'd think they of all people would want to spare their children from being wrongly assumed to be bastards. You'd especially think that those born to noble mothers would at least take their mother's name.
- They add a bit to their surname. Like Waters becomes Longwaters.
- Also, remember that at this point in history (well, at the point in history that this series references) only nobles and other important people HAD last names. Everybody else was either just Fred or Fred, Son of Bob or Fred of Pittsburgh or Fred the Nickname. So, since being a bastard meant you weren't noble, it technically wasn't possible for you to have kids who had a real claim to a last name, even if those kids were legitimate in the sense that you married your spouse. Of course, if your kids managed to become important or famous, they'd find a way to work around that rule, most likely by inventing a name.
- Indeed, carrying a bastard surname is shameful when surrounded by nobles, but when surrounded by commoners, who have no surnames, it is a matter of pride. It means you are of noble blood after all, even though illegitimate, and that alone places you above most people.
- Correct. Because it's only bastards with at least one known noble parent who have these bastard surnames. Bastard commoners have only one name, like all commoners. Gendry is just Gendry, for example, since his relation to King Robert isn't generally known.
The not-rotted bodies...
- Okay, so the bodies the Night Watch bring in from beyond the Wall haven't rotted, so Samwell correctly assumes foul play. Do these men not understand the concept of freezing things to keep them from rotting? Especially in an area so far removed from civilization, you'd think they would freeze their meat to keep it fresh. Or do they just think that it doesn't apply to humans?
- In the novel, it's clearer that bodies do not rot even when they're removed from the ice.
- The Wall Weeps, it's not Winter yet and the bodies were in the open. They also do store meat in the Wall.
- Just because it's cold up there north of the Wall doesn't mean it's cold enough to preserve a body indefinitely. The cold would reduce the rot but the body should still smell.
Sansa's choice in escape partners...
- ...is terrible. The Hound, who, despite being gruff, has rescued her, promised to protect her, and been generally kind to her, is one of the strongest, best swordsmen in the realm. He offers to help her escape. She turns him down. Then, Littlefinger shows up. Whether or not she is aware of his involvement in her father's death, he's done basically nothing but creep on her. He offers to help her escape, and she asks him what she needs to do. How does this make sense? In the books, of course, it did — the Hound was much more overtly creepy with her, and she had no idea Baelish was the one helping her escape — but what is going on in the show? Adaptation Explanation Extrication? Some hidden motive? Something I'm missing? Or are they trying to make Sansa really, really stupid in this version?
- For one thing, the Hound vs. Littlefinger was never the dilemma. It was the Hound vs. stay put and hope to be rescued by Stannis's forces, and at the time, that seemed to be the safer choice.
- "And generally being kind to her". That's your problem, Hound fans. You should forget what you saw of the Hound in the books and consider the show events from Sansa's POV only when you want to understand her actions in the show. The show's Hound was a big jerk to Sansa plenty of times and the man that imprisoned her under orders of the Queen back in S1 in particular. Then, come the Battle of Blackwater, Sansa sees Cersei (who tried to have Sansa incriminate herself to have an excuse to punish her during the dinner with Tommen and Myrcella and during the battle itself when she asked if Sansa prayed for Joffrey and Cersei) happily ordering the deaths of commoners who tried to flee the city; then minutes later she receives the Hound's visit, who for all she knows is the Lannisters go-to man, and he offers to take her to Winterfell. Why should she trust him? And even if she did, why should she bet her life on one man taking her out of a city filled with guards looking for enemies everywhere and then through a war zone until reaching her home half a continent away, on foot and with no other help? The smart choice was to turn down the Hound's offer, not to take it blindly. Sansa also turns down Littlefinger's offer at the end of S2, and she (presumably) only begins to consider it between seasons when it seems clear that Littlefinger actually has a more elaborated plan than "I'll carry you on my shoulder to Winterfell and hope your family is there when we arrive".
- OP here, and, first off, not a Hound fan. At all. Secondly, my point wasn't that the Hound was a perfect angel to Sansa, or that he didn't have his jerkass moments with her. However, he did generally help her when he had the opportunity (giving her his cloak after Joffrey had her stripped, rescuing her from Attempted Rape, promising to protect her from Joffrey, etc.), which is more than anyone else in King's Landing could say, except maybe Tyrion. It's certainly more than Littlefigner's ever done for her. I just don't see why she trusts Littlefinger.
- In the first example Sandor was just doing what he was told. Tyrion had to order him to cover Sansa with his cloak. Before that he was happy to stand back and watch her be brutalized. In the second example he was just doing his job (to protect the royal family and their associates). As for the third example, I'm not sure I'd count "possibly willing to stop a Psychotic Man Child from murdering her in a fit of pique" a good enough reason to trust him. Most of all, you forget that Sansa is fucking terrified of the Hound, and Sandor has done precious little to make her feel otherwise. Contrast that with Littlefinger who, despite coming on a tad creepy at times, has never done or said anything hurtful to Sansa directly and has actually attempted to be kind and charming towards her (as a ploy, but still).
- A nitpick, but no, Tyrion did not have to order Sandor to cover Sansa with his cloak. Tyrion says only, "Someone give the girl something to cover herself with," and the Hound immediately takes it upon himself to step forward. Before that, the Hound didn't move, true; I don't think you can say that he was "happy" to stand back and watch, however, merely that he was being obedient to Joffrey by not interfering. As soon as he gets implicit permission to help her, he does. Watch his face during that scene — he's not happy at all (a fact made even clearer in the books, wherein he actually tells Joff to stop the beating). The Hound is a complicated, unpleasant guy in both books and series, but in both, two things are clear: he takes every opportunity to protect Sansa, but he also acts like a huge scary jerk all the rest of the time, so it's pretty understandable that Sansa would be scared / wary of him.
- Debatable...The Hound does everything he can to protect Sansa...and that includes trying to scare the shit out of her by telling how things really are in the world...("the world is made by killers. your father was a killer. your sons will be killers.) Also, when he is wounded after his fight with Brienne of Tarth, he confesses to Arya that he should've done more to help her when Joffery beat her. Lastly, and this is something that people always forgot, Sansa confesses to her friend that she "kissed" the Hound when he visited her the night he left the Red Keep. Of course, that turned out to be nothing more than the sexual fantasy of a young and beautiful woman, but I doubt that she would fantasize about someone who is a threat.
Robert the Glorious Rebel, Jaime the Despicable Kingslayer?
- Why is Jaime condemned for killing the Mad King while Robert is lauded as a hero for waging a blood-soaked revolution against him? I know Jaime swore an oath when he joined the Kingsguard, but didn't the Baratheons also swear an oath to obey King Aerys? Isn't that how it works? Why is it okay for Robert to trash his oath of fealty but when Jaime trashes his oath he gets dirty looks and a mean-spirited nickname? This is especially weird in the case of Ned Stark, who had arguably more cause than Robert to hate the Mad King, but he shits all over Jaime for killing him anyway.
- Aerys shot first. Robert only rebelled after Aerys' demanded his death for no reason, in a way negating Robert's oath (feudalism albeit asymmetrical is a two-way street). He also fought openly on a battlefield against his enemies at great risk to himself. Jaime on the other hand had sworn to the highest level of service to the King forsaking lands or a wife to be King's Guard, then betrayed him when as to paraphrase Ned "serving stopped being safe", stabbing him through the back. We do learn more to the story however...
- I guess that brings up another question: How is Jaime's Kingsguard oath still valid? Not only did he betray it, the royal line he was sworn to serve was completely overthrown (I know the Baratheons are supposed to be descended from a Targaryen bastard but as I understand it that's only a rumor in-universe).
- Politics. Ned wanted Jaime to be made to take the black. But Jon Arryn convinced Robert to pardon Jaime as Lannister support was necessary for the new regime. However the thing that shows how clever Jon Arryn was is that they kept Jaime as a Kingsguard member. Which essentially disinherits him from Casterly Rock. Normally this seat would go to Tyrion being the next eldest son, but given Tywin's contempt for his dwarf son (shown in the first episode of the third season), it's just as likely Cersei would become the Lady of Casterly Rock. Which means Robert's children would be in line to inherit Casterly Rock. So while Joffrey would become King, Tommen might eventually be Lord of Casterly Rock +/- a change of last name. Likewise Barristan lends Robert's regime an air of legitimacy, when he could have been executed or sent to the Wall.
- It's valid because the new king married his twin sister. ie, because they say so.
- The Baratheons are also more recently descended from a Targaryen princess. Robert's father was Aerys's first cousin, and he had a blood claim to the throne on that basis in addition to right of conquest.
- The Kingsguard are not attached to any royal line, but to the throne itself. Hence, the reason why Barristam Selmy (the only other survivor of Aerys's Kingsguard) serves Robert just as devotedly as the man he overthrew.
- Nitpick, there was a least one other survivor of Aerys' King's Guard; the Lord Commander who's name escapes me right now. He's the guy who got Dany and Viserys out of the country and across the narrow sea, though he died of some illness several years before the start of the series.
- Not so — you're thinking of Ser Willem Darry, who was not in the Kingsguard (Jonothor Darry, apparently his brother, was in the Kingsguard but died in battle). The Lord Commander under Aerys was Gerold Hightower.
- So...they swear an oath to a piece of furniture?
- It's worth noting that IRL, the United States Military doesn't swear an oath to the President (Commander in Chief) or the Generals, or the Secretary of State. They swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.
- Some swear an oath to a wall don't judge. Also I don't think you can resign from the army if the because you didn't vot for the new president.
- In case you don't know what metonymy is, I will spell out that "the throne" stands in by association for "the position of monarch."
- Also, keep in mind that Robert's successful rebellion was an unprecedented event for the King's Guard. There had only ever been one royal line before. At least one of Aerys' King's Guard stayed loyal to the Targaryen line until his death well after the rebellion had ended. In the books, Barristan himself states that he might have killed Robert himself, after the rebellion, if Robert had smiled when the bodies of Rhaegar's children were presented to him. Selmy continued to serve under Robert at least partly because he respected Robert and believed him an honorable man.
- It's not about how much Aerys deserved to die, it's a honor thing that doesn't quite have an equivalent in our society. Jaime personally killed the king he had sworn an oath to be a personal bodyguard of. That makes him dishonorable to someone like Ned even if he himself hated Aerys personally and would have killed him if given the chance. The sense is that only a bad/untrustworthy person could do such a thing as Jaime did, if they're in his position, even if the victim was the worst person in the world. Even if you don't go so far as despising Jaime for it, it would be considered a shocking thing. And although Jaime's father was fighting Aerys alongside Ned and Robert, bear in mind that the Kingsguard are a sworn brotherhood like the Night's Watch and Jaime swore to be loyal to the king over his ties of blood to House Lannister.
- ^this. A member of the Kingsguard is supposed and therefore also expected to take a My Master, Right or Wrong-stance when it comes to the king and their oath, while an oath of fealty from one of the lords is more of a reassurance that they'll support their liegelord.
- Just a nitpick, really, but Jaime's father (Tywin) wasn't fighting Aerys alongside Ned and Robert as much as waiting to see who wins and then employing treachery to sack King's Landing and ordering Jaime to kill Aerys himself. That clearly adds to the perception of Jaime as the dishonorable one among those who know how things really went.
- The major point holds up — after the war, the fact that the Baratheons and Lannisters were on the same side was party line and they couldn't make any gestures that suggested that their alliance was anything short of gold.
- That's true, except that Tywin didn't actually order Jaime to kill Aerys. He did it on his own initiative because of Aerys and Rossart's plot to burn King's Landing. Tywin had no opportunity to order him to do anything, really.
- In the books, Jaime himself actually asks this exact question, practically word-for-word ("Why is it that no one names Robert oathbreaker? He tore the realm apart, yet I am the one with shit for honor."). The answer he gets is probably a good measure of the common opinion — the perception is that Robert did what he did for love and vengeance and justice, while Jaime's actions are perceived as simple base backstabbing treachery.
- Jaime took an oath to protect the KING no matter who or what he is. In fact, that it what the entire series is about—-taking an oath or a promise and keeping it. Anyone who has taken an oath or made a promise, and has broken it...was doomed. Jamie was the BEST swordsman in the entire land. When he broke his oath,(even if it served the greater good) he got his hand caught off for it. There are tons of historical precedent for this...greatest example WWII. The SS was Hitler's bodyguard. They swore an oath to him and him alone. When Germany was crumbling, and it got so bad that Himmler, the SS' leader was going to surrender, the SS cadre fought to the end. They even fought after the war with their werewolves units.
- Part of what it comes down to is that the King's Guard is held to a somewhat higher standard. Nobles occasionally rebel and overthrow their lords; it happens, it's not something people like talking about but it's an accepted part of the society. So when it happens against the crown, people are somewhat more accepting of it(mind you, as Robert himself points out, there are still plenty of people in Westeros that call him Usurper). Meanwhile, knights of the King's Guard are held to a higher standard. They are meant to forsake everything for the service and protection of the King and the Royal Family.
- There is actually a real life example or this: in 1935, Hitler changed the oath of the German military, making it's soldiers swearing loyalty to him personally. This lead to a lot of discussions as to whether the soldier who took part in the conspiracy ofof the 20th of july were justified to break their oaths even to stop Hitler and end the war.
Jorah the Andal
- Why does Khal Drogo call Jorah, "Jorah the Andal"? Jorah is a northman, descended from the First Men and decidedly not an Andal.
- Either a. Jorah never explained the difference to him and Drogo assumed that since he was from Westeros, he must be an Andal, b. Jorah tried to explain it to him but failed and Drogo just went with the simple answer that he's an Andal, or c. Jorah did explain it to him and Drogo just didn't care.
- According to The Other Wiki they call him that in reference to his Westerosi origins. So yeah, as far as the Dothraki (or at least Khal Drogo) are concerned "Westerosi" and "Andal" are virtually synonymous. I would guess Jorah decided it wasn't worth having an argument with Drogo about a silly nickname.
- It's not actually clear whether the Mormonts were originally Northerners. Jorah is a knight, which at least nominally requires that you worship the Seven like the southerners do, and we know they weren't originally native to Bear Island: the Starks won it from the Ironborn, and gave it to the Mormonts. The Starks also welcomed the Manderlys into the north, who were Andalish southerners and the only house we know for sure in the north that worships the Seven.
- Jorah earned his knighthood through distinguished military service(being second through the breach at the battle of Pyke); while becoming a knight during peace time is very much a religious act, during war time it's often as not a convenient reward granted by the king(Bronn, for instance, is hardly a religious fellow, and still gets a knighthood for his part in the battle of Blackwater)
- Why might people in England call someone from the American south a "Yankee"? Drogo doesn't care about Jorah's ancestors, he just uses "Andal" to mean "person from Westeros".
"Valar Morghulis" "Yes, but we are not men"
- This exchange, which occurred in S03 E03, makes no sense. We know "valar morghulis" is a term in High Valyrian, and while we see it translated to "all men must die" all the time, it's also noteworthy that, in the books, it's mentioned that High Valyrian is very gender-neutral, to the point of translation to the language of Westeros creating misinformation. So, it should be evident to someone well-versed in the language, like Dany is, that the "men" in the translation refers to humans in general, not just males.
- It's just a play on words. They both know that valar morghulis actually refers to humans in general, but that's not the point. Dany is telling the girl that she'll be protected so long as she stays with Dany and her army.
- Worth noting, although irrelevant to this particular phrase, that the gender-neutrality of Valyrian is just Fanon, anyways. We're told that the word for "prince" can also be translated as "princess", and people have speculated that this means other words translated as gender-specific may not be, but there's really no hard-and-fast linguistic reason for that to be the case.
Tyrion As Master of Coin
- Everyone in the small council seems to be tickled pink at the notion of Tyrion as Master of Coin, seemingly with the hope that he'll fail at it spectacularly. However, he raises an incredibly legitimate point in that the crown is deep in debt and the royal wedding will cost even more money while they're still fighting a war with the opposite half of the kingdom. If Tywin is planning for Tyrion to prove himself an utter disappointment yet again, why give him arguably the kingdom's most vital job?
- Tywin might not like Tyrion, but he is still his son and he does trust his abilities enough to have made him acting Hand instead of his own brother who is competent in his own right (just not enough to step out of Tywin's shadow). Either that or Tywin has a secret plan in case Tyrion fails.
- Well, Tywin basically owns as much money as he can possibly need, even if Tyrion fails as Master of Coin (which, as pointed out above, is not necessarily what Tywin is expecting to happen), he can just produce the amount needed, further deepening the crown's dept to the Lannisters, which in the end works in his favour.
- I cannot imagine Tyrion could get the crown any deeper into debt. If Tywin truly does think Tyrion will fail, I doubt it would actually make the situation any worse. Tywin probably figures things are so bad, the worst possible outcome would be Tyrion succeeding! Tyrion went over the books and discovered that Littlefinger's bookkeeping doesn't add up. It has since been revealed that Littlefinger is responsible for most of the problems in the series, including driving the kingdom into debt, and more disturbingly, financing it with money borrowed from the Iron Bank of Braavos. .
- He'll fail at it spectacularly but less than anyone else.
Small Westeros geography question
- Maybe something has flown over my head, but I think this happened: Arya escaped Harrenhal, headed north, run into the Brotherhood. Robb advanced south, took Harrenhal. So Arya should be in Stark-controlled territory right now, right? Then, how is the Brotherhood still fighting the Lannisters, using the Lannister song to lure them out, and Arya has not run into Stark bannermen yet that would have taken her to her family?
- Without giving anything away, the Brotherhood Without Banners is the remains of the force led by Beric Dondarrion Ned ordered to capture Gregor Clegane. They aren't fighting Lannisters, per se, but still trying to execute their original orders. Arya and friends have been trying to stay off the roads since leaving Harrenhal to avoid running into Lannister soldiers, which means she'll also end up avoiding her brother's men. Also, the Riverlands are criss-crossed by rivers, so she can't head just straight north from Harrenhal. And just because Robb has taken Harrenhal does not mean the area is Stark-controlled. Contested is a more likely word for it.
"He was taken at my command!"
- When Jaime confronts Ned about Tyrion being captured by Catelyn, Ned claims he ordered it. But...he didn't order it and he knows it. What did Ned think he stood to gain by lying about this?
- He was trying to take the blame off his wife. Had they believed him, the Lannisters wouldn't have started burning and pillaging the Riverlands.
- You're Ned Stark, bosom buddies with the king (even if you two are having a disagreement right now) and your enemy accuses your wife of kidnapping his brother. Your options are a) Tell him that you know, he gets upset, and has his men attack her kingdom, or b) Tell him you ordered it, presuming that he won't do anything to you out of fear of Robert's wrath (which doesn't actually work out so well) Of course, there's option c) "Wait, she did WHAT? Why am I always the last to find out about these things?! Yes, yes, I'll write her right away and have him released, she was just a little overzealous in her beliefs that he was responsible for crippling my son" and then go speak to Robert about it.
Tyrion's Noodle Implements
- In the scene where Tyrion interrogates Pycell (Season 2, ep. 3) what is that...nasty looking doodad Tyrion is playing with? Do I even want to know?
- I always thought it was that tool you use to draw circles with or to study maps with.
- But it has a thingy in the middle like a cigar cutter. And Tyrion was talking about cutting off Pycelle's manhood as he was fooling with it...
- That's exactly what it is. The thing gets in the middle, the lever(s) get pulled and the blade cuts it in half.
Greyjoys' Badass Creed
- What is dead may never die. What does that even mean?
- It's a reference to their Drowned God religion (separate from the Faith of the Seven or the Old Gods). The Ironborn believe the Drowned God was drowned by the Storm God and now lives in the sea. "What is dead may never die" is only half their credo. The other half is "but rises again harder and stronger."
- Also, just to clarify, the Greyjoy's creed is "We do not sow", referencing their old ways of raiding and reaving, rather than reaping harvests. "What is dead may never die" is, as mentioned above, a religious phrase common to all Ironborn.
- Mostly it's just a Shout-Out to the Cthulhu Mythos, as is the Drowned God. "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die."
- As with the Drowned God they worship, the implication of "what is dead may never die, but rises again harder and stronger" is that they will always return from defeat, even more powerful than before. On an individual level, those who fall in combat do not merely die, but become celebrated heroes. That makes it a good war cry in the face of tough odds.
- It comes from the Drowned God's initiation ritual. The supplicant's head is held under water until they stop breathing. Thus, they die. Then they are pulled to shore and, using artificial respiration, are brought back to life. It must seem miraculous that someone who is dead can be alive again. Hence, the slogan proclaiming they can never die again.
- Also a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, in real life artificial respiration does not bring people back to life, specially not in a medieval setting. What it does itís in some cases keep the oxygen flow to the brain until appropriate medical care can be perform thus avoiding brain damage. No one just wakes ups and spits water after CPR as in the movies.
"You don't fight with honor!" Wait, what?
- In A Golden Crown after Bronn duels Ser Vardis in a trial by combat, Lysa accuses him of not fighting with honor. But, just what did Bronn do during that fight that was dishonorable? Surely in Westeros it's not considered dishonorable to dodge during a fight.
- Bronn's whole Combat Pragmatist MO runs counter to the honourable, knightly way of fighting: Lysa calls him a coward for dodging so much; that just isn't how armoured knights and such are supposed to fight. He uses "dirty tricks" too: Tripping Ser Vardis up, pushing the candelabra over to block him, kicking his shield away when he's down, etc. The biggest one, though, is when he pushes a random bystander at Ser Vardis. Using innocents as human shields is considered pretty dishonourable here in Real Life, let alone in Westeros.
- Chivalric dueling is different than a pitched battle. No one would really blink if Bronn did everything he did on the field of battle, but in a trial by combat between knights you'd be expected to fight with sword and shield and armor and to use your skill at arms, not jumping around until the other guy is too tired to fight back.
- But, then again, Bronn was a sellsword (a mercenary) to begin with. Ironically, if you watch the scene again, Ser Vardis wasn't to keen of fighting at all, in first place. Then he puts on armor where Bronn doesn't. Who is not fighting fair now?
Does Lord Tywin know about the twincest of his children?
- Joffrey's real lineage is something of an Open Secret and the twins are not nearly as smart or discreet as they think they are to conceal something like this from their very shrewd father, for their entire adult lives. Tywin enabling an infamous situation inside his family doesn't suit him, what with being hardass and straight-laced, as shown with Tyrion... perhaps he's just in denial?
- Just speculation, but Tywin doesn't seem the type for denial. Nor does he seem the type to be oblivious to this sort of thing. I'm sure he knows and is thoroughly disgusted with both Jaime and Cersei. But as Joffrey makes a convenient pawn through which Tywin can rule all of Westeros, he'll maintain plausible deniability.
- He doesn't seem like it, but in the books, he very much is. Again, he doesn't seem like it, but he has a huge blind spot in regards to his children. He doesn't see them for what they are, he sees them for what he expects them to be. One of his relatives made a point of saying that of his children, Tyrion is the most like him, but he refuses to see it, insisting that Jaime is his true golden boy, completely overlooking, or at least downplaying, Jaime's various flaws. That being said, the books never explicitly say whether or not he's aware of the twincest, though it's implied that he isn't, and dismisses it as slander. Tyrion and Uncle Kevan, however, are very much aware of it, another point to how blind Tywin really is, despite how he may seem.
- "Tywin enabling an infamous situation inside his family doesn't suit him" — his family are, at the moment, de facto rulers of the Seven Kingdoms. "Enabling" the lie that Joffrey is Robert's son is all that is keeping them there. Everyone may call him Joffrey Baratheon, but his mother is Queen Regent and his grandfather Hand of the King, and as wilful as he may be even the King still largely dances to his true family's tune. Tywin only cares about his family's good name insofar as it works in their favour — if it's a choice between a good name and having a direct line to the throne, what's he going to choose?
- And if nothing else, the deed is done. What is there to be done about it?
- The question/doubt is more about the sustained incest as a habit, like Tyrion's whoremonging, and Tywin not correcting / noticing it in his backstory and never mentioning it nowadays. In the present day, it's easy to disregard it as slander, Stannis' propaganda. "Suit" as in personality-wise (the obliviousness, not the pragmatism), one may expect at least a censoring private remark from a man who gives plenty. The eventual by-product, a King, is of course good for the family and convenient.
- It's expressly mentioned in the books that, at least at the point that Tyrion comes back to King's Landing (before Stannis sends out his letters), that Tyrion is sure Tywin doesn't know. In fact it's a shocker to Cersei that Tyrion knows, and he flat out asks her if she thought he was as blind to it as their father.
- Do we know if the incest was already happening while they were still in Casterly Rock? If they only started having relations after Cersei moved to KL and married Robert, on the other hand, Tywin could be excused for being ignorant until Stannis made it public, at which point Tywin would disregard it as slander for sure.
- In the books, they started at age nine. In the show, they were probably a bit older.
- Word of God after episode six is that he's in denial about it and that his blindspot in regards to his children is his one true weakness.
- And we finally have on-screen confirmation. Tywin doesn't know a damn thing about it until Cersei openly throws it in his face in "The Children", and even after she tells him about it straight-up he still just stammers in denial.
- Or how could he prove it? I'm pretty sure that they didn't have DNA testing back then. So, a lot of them would have just dismissed it. A "deformed" drawf's word against a beautiful queen's?
I'm pretty sure that was a confession, which you didn't need anyway.
- So The Hound is taken to Lord Beric, who wants to execute him for murder. The Hound claims that he never killed babies or children, and Beric doesn't seem to contest that. For a moment, it looks like he's thinking of letting him go, and then Arya mentions her friend that he killed all the way back in Season 1. The Hound admits to killing him on the order of the Prince. Beric then says that "Nobody knows the truth of it.." Uh...Yes? Yes you do. He just confessed to murder. Of a child. Does it matter that he did it on orders? Are there any circumstances wherein that's okay? You were going to execute him for killing babies, but that would've been on orders too. And why are you even having this discussion? he's an enemy soldier. A damn good one, too. You don't need an excuse to execute him. Get all the info you can out of him, give him a last meal, and then kill him. Or ransom him if anyone wants him. But there is absolutely no reason to give him a trial.
- From a legal standpoint, in a feudal society like this, yeah, it does matter whether he was ordered to do it or not. We're talking about an autocratic society where everyone was expected to show absolute obedience to their liege lord(s). Especially if your lord is also your king-to-be. You'll notice that Ned Stark was the one who first saw the Hound dragging the boy's corpse back to the inn, but not once did he bring it up with Robert. I believe the baby-killing during the Sack of King's Landing was a different situation. As far as I know Tywin never ordered the Mountain to do that. Gregor did it because he's a psychopath and he wasn't told not to do it. Of course from a legal standpoint the Brotherhood has no right to even exist. Every one of them is an outlaw of one kind or another. So really, there's not much call for them to care whether the Hound was following orders or not.
- I was under the impression was that the bone of contention wasn't whether or not he had killed the boy, after all he did confess, but whether or not the order to kill him was justified. Gregor Clegane was ordered to kill the Targaryen children by Tywin to cement Robert's rule and everybody thinks that was a horrid crime. Sandor admits to killing the butcher's boy, but it would be justified if the boy had actually assaulted the king.
- Exactly; it's the "he said/she said" factor. Also, possibly Beric likes the prospect of taking the Hound on in single combat; it seems a more palpable form of justice than an execution would be.
- OP Here, i think you're all missing the point somewhat. Nobody contests that he was ordered to do it. If orders are all that matter, it doesn't matter whether Joffrey was justified in giving the order. The Hound wasn't there, he was given an order, he did his job. The order was entirely reasonable from The Hound's perspective (If we're getting into territory where orders absolve you of guilt. We'll agree that in this society, it does). It'd be like if Ned ordered one of his knights to kill a peasant because the peasant attacked him. If the Knight found out later that Ned lied, well, he still carried out the order on good confidence. He had no reason to believe Ned was lying, or in The Hounds case, Joffrey. And even if we could explain away the legality of it all, there's still one crucial fact: Its a war. He's an enemy captive. He is an extremely dangerous swordsman. They don't need a reason to kill him. The fact that they pretend they do bugs the shit out of me. And before anyone mentions anything about "honor" these guys have been played up as guerrilla fighters, the fuck do they care about honor? I don't know if this happened in the books, but if it did, could someone explain how it went down there?
- As will be revealed, Berric Dondarrion's insistence on an honorable trial and his recent conversion to the Lord of Light, as well as his group's dedication to hunting down criminals like Gregor Clegane, are all because: Berric Dondarrion died when he was ambushed by Lannisters hoping it was Ned Stark coming to arrest Gregor Clegane. Thoros is a Red Priest of R'hllor and accidentally brought Berric back to life as part of burial rights. A side effect is that now Berric is singularly focused on honor and protecting the weak.
- Ignoring the spoiler and getting into speculation, yes these guys care about honour. Just because they are guerrilla fighters doesn't mean they've abandoned all concepts of being honourable, it just means they're more pragmatic in regards to warfare. They have The Hound as their prisoner, so just killing him is straight-up murder, which all of them feel they're above. Hence their need to find something he's guilty of so they can kill him and retain the moral highground. Their whole bit is not answering to any faction (banner), it's about punishing those on any side who prey on the innocent. Not to mention that even in war in Westeros killing Prisoners seems to be frowned upon. Tywin doesn't condone it even if it's out of pragmatic reasons, Robb certainly doesn't agree with any form of mistreatment of prisoners and most of the Brotherhood are former Stark-Bannermen who were originally sent out on a mission of honour and justice. It really is what it seems to be on the surface; they honestly believe they are bringing justice to those who think they are above it and to just kill someone without a reason makes them no better than the ones they're judging.
- There are many things about the Unsullied that don't seem to make sense. Daenerys orders them to slay "all Masters, anyone holding a whip". The problem is that she is a master holding a whip, so why they didn't skewer her on the spot? If they could hold loyalties beyond their mental programming, then why they all obeyed without hesitation? And likewise, if the ceremonial whip that Danerys got gives absolute authority over them, then how would she command thousands of men in dozens of units in battle all on her own? And what prevents enemies from making copies of the whip and sending people shouting contradictory orders in Valyrian at the confused Unsullied?
- She buys them and then frees them. They choose to stay with her...probably as a big thank you.
- Actually I believe her Exact Words were "every MAN holding a whip". As for enemies making duplicate whips to create confusion, I think the Unsullied are a little smarter than you give them credit for.
- The intelligence is the key, here. They knew she didn't mean herself, too. If you lead your army into a capital and say "Kill everyone!", unless your army is made up of completely pedantic machines, they know that "everyone" doesn't include you or their fellow soldiers.
- Exactly. They're not zombies blindly obeying to the letter whoever has a gold whip in their hand, they're just incredibly well-disciplined soldiers. The whip is just a symbol that she has taken possession of them, which they already knew was going to happen (think of it as a receipt for the transaction), so that they know to obey her orders (based on a reasonable interpretation, which is pretty unlikely to include "kill me" unless specified). Also, she's a master, but she's not a Master — "the Good Masters" are the ruling class of Astapor.
- And as far as battle command goes, IIRC in the book she's told that officers have to be provided from a non-Unsullied class of soldier in Astapor.
- Speaking of which, what symbol of authority would Danerys have gotten if she only bought, say, 3,000 men, leaving the rest under the command of the Good Masters? And how would a battle between two armies of Unsullied work out?
- She would probably have gotten the same symbol. And a battle between 3,000 Unsullied on Dany's side and 5,000 on Krasnys' side would probably have gone very badly for Danerys. That's why she insisted on having all 8,000 of them.
- What I actually meant was what would prevent Dany from walking off with all the 8,000 Unsullied in tow after paying for 3,000, for example, if they all follow one, single symbol of authority. And my question about the potential battle between different groups of Unsullied was mostly concerning the fact that other warlords and cities have surely bought them before, so how they would tell each other and their commanders apart in the fray of battle, since they all use the same symbols and commands?
- Like one of the above tropers said, the Unsullied aren't zombies. The golden whip is mostly a symbolic item. It doesn't magically control them and they don't blindly follow whoever holds it. If, say, another warlord snuck up and stole Dany's whip then her Unsullied would still follow her because they recognize her as their Mistress. If someone stole the King's crown and put it on, would the Kingsguard be confused about whose orders to obey? Of course not.
- If Dany only bought 3000, then there would only be 3000 in that square to be taken from in the first place. The rest would remain in barracks supervised by the city masters. If Dany then went to the barracks after the transaction of the 3000 and told the other 5000 unsullied that she had bought them, the 5000 would just look to their current caretaker and he'd say "Nope, she's lying. Kill her." The entire point of having a public transaction is so that the unsullied can see who's their legal master now.
- It bugs me a bit that the Unsullied (or more accurately, the extras cast in the role) don't seem particularly fit. I know they're supposed to be good because they're insanely disciplined and suicidally obedient, but the iron will to hold a battle line can only count for so much if you don't have the physical ability to match.
- In every scene we see with the Unsullied all of them are wearing armour that's covering their torso, so how fit they may or may not be can't be answered. They don't have to be He-Man size to be good soldiers, they just need the endurance to keep fighting longer (which was mentioned as a selling point in episode one) and enough strength to shove a spear through someone (which they don't seem to have any problems with, although that wasn't so much a real battle than a slaughter).
- Fridge Brilliance: The Unsullied are castrated. Castration prevents the physical changes that come with puberty, resulting in a non-muscular build (and also a higher-pitched voice, but I guess that would have been too silly for an action/drama).
- In the books it's actually admitted to that the Unsullied, generally speaking, aren't necessarily as physically strong as many regular soldiers and knights, but they don't necessarily have to be. Their training, technique, and discipline generally win out. Another advantage is that not only are they completely immune to physical pain, but they're also immune to psychological warfare, which in and of itself is a huge psychological blow to their enemies.
Craster and his daughter-wives
- Craster is living all by himself with, what, a dozen or so women? They clearly hate him, so why don't they overpower him? Maybe cut his throat while he sleeps? Carve some wooden spears and skewer him? Something like that?
- He keeps the White Walkers from killing all of them with his "sacrifices." No more gifts, the White Walkers will come and kill them all.
- Why do mistreated dogs not kill their masters? It's likely within their power to do so, but they very rarely do it, because that hatred is mixed with fear, fear systematically instilled through abuse. Sadly, it is often much the same with systematically abused humans. These women do not know life without Craster; they have real contacts with no other human beings in the world. Fear keeps them in line, as well as the belief that they have no potential in life beyond continuing serving him and producing his offspring.
- I could believe that if Craster was living with one, maybe two or three or four women. But Craster seems to have an endless supply of daughter-wives. Doesn't it occur to any of them that they vastly outnumber their "husband" and could easily take him down if they just tried?
- Consider that every single one of his wives was raised by him since birth. And for that matter, we know what he does to the boys; what might he do with disobedient little girls?
- Have we any evidence of this hate to begin with? There are plenty of abused in the real world that are too emotionally dependent of their abuser to rebel or think of a life not by the abuser's side. Craster's Keep is in essence a cult and Craster its omnipotent leader that rules through fear and extortion. If a woman speaks of turning against him, it's more likely that the other women would turn against her than against Craster. Finally, as awful as Craster is, his point that he is the one turning the WW away through his child sacrificing ritual is actually true, and the women probably have first hand evidence of it. Assuming that the WW only accept Craster as authority, the moment Craster dies those women are dead and they know it.
- Plus, they know they won't get any help from the Night's Watch because Craster's Keep is a strategically important outpost for their rangers.
- "Have we any evidence of this hate to begin with?" Fair enough, that was admittedly an assumption on my part. But they definitely don't like him. Unlike other domestic abuse victims, they don't claim to love their abuser. The closest we see to that is one scene where Craster goads one of his wives into saying how "content" they are with him. But it's clear she doesn't believe what she's saying. In fact, none of them show any indication that they like Craster. I just find it implausible that it never occurred to any of Craster's wives that they outnumber him at least 10 to 1. But I guess the cult thing is a decent enough explanation.
- One of the big taboos in Westrosi culture, to the point that it crosses over into wildling culture — and this hasn't been pointed out in the show yet — is that kinslaying is a huge moral event horizon. The wildlings have folk legends about the gods punishing even unknowing kinslayings. Craster would likely play this up as part of his control of his daughters; if they kill him, they'll be cursed by the gods forever.
- You need to remember that Craster's deal with the White Walkers is the only thing keeping them alive.
- In the books, the scene of his death has his wives shrieking and weeping over his corpse. So they liked him.
- Well, there's also the issue that Craster was, at the time (in both the show and the books) the only thing standing between them and being raped by the Night's Watchmen. In the show, they're a bit more concerned about food, but the black brothers won't spare the women for long.
- Not to mention what they'll do when forced to interact with wildling raiders.
- Why would anyone carry a bottle full of horse piss?
- Was it really horse piss or were they just messing with Jaime?
- Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. My guess is that he collected it just to give it to Jaime, just to fuck with him more. Although that's pretty stupid in the grand scheme of things. Even ingesting a little urine could harm someone, especially when they've had a dramatic amputation that's probably hasn't been cleaned properly. Besides pointless cruelty, I remember reading somewhere that some cultures would use piss and shit as cheap poisons on their swords and arrows, so a wound would be more likely to get infected.
- Urine is actually quite sterile and does no harm in small quantities. People in danger of fatal dehydration have actually managed to delay the inevitable by drinking their own urine. There is no kind of danger of being infected, since the ammonia and phosphor in urine kill all bacteria in the general vicinity; peeing in a wound is in fact a good idea if no other disinfectants are available. But as for the show, Locke obviously prepared beforehand to make the cruel prank.
- Actually, that's only partly true. Urine is naturally sterile and it was used as a cleaning solution in pre-industrial times, which might be why they were saving it. But drinking urine in a survival situation is an extremely bad idea. Urine has a lot of salts in it which make dehydration worse, plus lots of other chemicals the body can't tolerate (the whole purpose of urination is to expel these chemicals). The only possible survival use for urine (human or otherwise) is in a desert climate. Soaking a piece of clothing and putting it against the body can help keep the body temperature down.
- It depends how concentrated the urine is. A well-hydrated person's (or horse's) urine can still be more dilute than the bloodstream. The kidneys are *very* good at concentrating those toxins, putting a lot into a little urine, when the body is short on water. So, in a survival situation, if your bladder starts out containing dilute urine from when you were well-hydrated, you might benefit from drinking it. Urine created *while* you're dehydrated, on the other hand, would just be adding toxins back into your system.
- Honestly, this is Vargo we're talking about. He probably either doesn't know or just doesn't care that urine is toxic and thought the idea of a high and mighty Kingslayer drinking piss would make a good laugh.
- Or it wasn't piss. Far easier prank to just tell him it is, and then either laugh at him being so thirsty he carries on drinking regardless, or even better watch as Your Mind Makes It Real and he gags on it. But really, it could just as well be either.
- It looks yellow when he spits it out.
- Muddy water can look yellow as well.
- Hey in the Dreadfort all kind of kinky shit happens.
You're no knight!
- So why was Bronn Knighted? I mean, he fought well during the battle of Blackwater, but he was more or less just another foot soldier. Yes, he lit the fire that destroyed a good part of Stannis' fleet, but all he did was light the flame. And I'd be surprised if anyone even acknowledged that much. After all, he was working for Tyrion, and if Tyrion didn't get credit for making that plan, then who did? and was Bronn's part in it acknowledged? I guess it wouldn't be out of character for Bronn to lie about whose plan it was so he could be Knighted, but you'd think Tyrion would say something about it.
- He proved himself a damn good fighter over and over again. Not just at The Blackwater.
- Bronn was one of Tyrion's allies, so they hoped to buy his loyalty with a knighthood. And Bronn was the captain of the Gold Cloaks during the time when they barely kept the lid on the city, so the rationale probably had something to do with that.
- In the books it's mentioned that Bronn was one of about three hundred or so men to be knighted after the battle. Pretty much everyone who distinguished themselves in combat and wasn't a knight already was anointed. It is, essentially, a bribe to keep capable fighters on their side.
- Tyrion's part in leading the assault against Stannis' army isn't acknowledged, but his trick with the Wildfire is as admitted by his sister. Bronn got knighted over it because he was half responsible for it (making that brilliant shot with the flaming arrow).
- Bronn was also shown standing far outside the protection of the city walls in order to set off the Wildfire. The fact that he takes on that kind of additional risk in order to carry out his part of the plan also counts in his favor.
- Tywin probably saw to it. Remember, despite all, he is aware of exactly who is and who is not competent, which is why he gives Tyrion, not Cercei positions of authority. Bronn fought ably and well, why not reward him, which would be an example for others.
Frey soldiers with Robb...
- In Season 1, Catelyn describes the deal with the Freys as including several hundred soldiers. In Season 2, everyone seems to forget about this, and the deal is repeatedly referred to as being just for a bridge, possibly because that's the only way Robb could have any hope of not looking like a complete idiot who no one should ever trust for breaking it. And now in Season 3, he's planning to go to Walder Frey to ask for men, with no mention at all of the men he should already have, not even a throwaway line that they deserted him after he broke the deal. So this may or may not be an official Retcon.
- Indeed, Catelyn specifically says that Frey gave them all of his men except for 400 to guard the Twins. Yet suddenly we're given the impression that he's got some huge, untapped army? Odd.
- I took it as them leaving once he married Talisa, as he was in a strong position in the last season but the war effort is falling apart at the seams in Season 3.
Perhaps not the best choice in Marriage candidates.
- So, why Tyrion/Sansa and Cersei/Loras? I mean, i get that binding the Lannisters to the Starks and the Tyrell's is important, but why Tyrion and Cersei? Why not marry Tommen and Sansa? It would make a lot more sense politically. a Lannister/Stark marriage alliance probably wouldn't go over well in The North, but a Baratheon/Stark would probably work a lot better. And, as for the Tyrell's, why is a marriage necessary at all? with Joffrey's marriage coming up, and a Tyrell becoming Queen, you'd think that would be enough. Surely Cersei should milk her power as Queen Regent for as long as possible. And, in a world with their kind of medicine, wouldn't it be dangerous for Cersei to have anymore children at her age? Surely there's a younger, unwed female Lannister Tywin could use to bind the family if its that important. It seems like he just chose Tyrion and Cersei because he was pissed at them, which doesn't jive with the coldly pragmatic Tywin we've seen so far.
- Tywin desperately tried to marry off Tyrion to another noble family for years, and even the most lowly lord shrugged him off because nobody wanted a devious imp as a son-in-law (the books make a point of how much that bugs Tywin). Sansa's, albeit the daughter of a presumed traitor, still is the only (legitimate and non-rebelling) scion of a noble house of equal status to the Lannisters and a better match than he could ever have hoped to get for Tyrion. And since neither her nor her family have any say in whom she marries, he made her the wife of the one son who was a no-sell otherwise. That and the fact that Tywin is pretty keen on having her impregnated pretty soon (to further cement the alliance), which would be a problem for pre-teen Tommen.
- I'll assume you mean why not marry Sansa to Tommen to keep Sansa in King's Landing. The answer is that the marriage between Tyrion and Sansa isn't just to keep a hold on Sansa, it's also a way for Tywin to punish Tyrion for his (real or imagined) dishonorable acts against the family name. The Cersei/Loras marriage is Tywin's attempt to strengthen the bonds between House Lannister and House Tyrell even more. Joffrey/Margery was a nice start, but if it's worth doing it's worth overdoing. And it has to be Cersei because she's the most important female Lannister. If they used anyone else the Tyrells could theoretically refuse the offer and Tywin would look foolish. But if Loras refused to marry the Queen Regent it would be a huge political embarrassment for House Tyrell. And on top of all that, it might just put an end to all those Twincest rumors once and for all. Or so Tywin hopes.
- Also when it comes to marriage alliances, all the value is in who is getting married. It's not the marriage itself, but the children who create a real lasting agreement. Loras is heir to Highgarden and so one day he will be the lord of the Reach and so will his children. Sansa might end up being the lord of the North if her brother dies, as will her children be. Tywin marrying them to his children makes a stronger, lasting bond between House Lannister and the Starks and Tyrells. If he were to just find some single cousin of his, the marriage wouldn't be as good an offer and it wouldn't necessarily be a lasting bond.
- There's also the fact that while Tywin may hate Tyrion, he does acknowledge that Tyrion can be a shrewd and effective leader when put to task. Tommen's a sweet kid, but he's, what, ten? Tywin wants the Lannister's to rule the north, he needs someone with Tyrion's cunning to do it. Ideally he'd need someone with Tyrion's cunning and Jaime's strength, but he has to work with what he's got. There's also the point that a marriage to Tommen will probably be worth more later on down the line; it's really the last card Tywin has to play, so he doesn't want to play it too quickly.
- There's also the fact that though he is cold and calculating about everything else, Tywin is extremely emotionally compromised when it comes to his children and late wife. He doesn't think rationally when it comes to them. He still expects Jaime to inherit Casterly Rock, for example, even though the members of the Kingsguard can't marry or hold land. He remains in denial about the true heritage of his grandchildren. Just because he's one of the most clever men in the Seven Kingdoms doesn't mean that he doesn't have blind spots.
- There is also the fact that marrying Sansa to Tommen, as well as the upcoming Margaery/Joffrey wedding, strengthens the bond between houses Tyrell and Baratheon, not Lannister. Sure, at this point they're as much Lannister as they are Baratheons (and in truth they're 100% Lannister bastards), but a few generations away, and they'll only have a distant relation to the Lannister name. Tywin cares more about Lannister legacy than his actual family members, so it makes sense that not only would he fill the court with Lannisters, but also try to marry Lannisters to other important families.
Why is Cersei so smug at Tyrion's marriage prospects?
- I could understand her being smug at Sansa marrying Tyrion ("Oh, she's forced to marry the dwarf, how humiliating!"), but why at Tyrion marrying Sansa? She's not unattractive, she's sweet and all, it's not that bad for him. It's not like she can expect him to stop whoring — she doesn't seem to think much of his honor, and I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks that he'd just keep other girls on the side, especially considering how young she is. Why is the prospect of marrying Sansa so terrible for Tyrion?
- Because Cersei's a big douche and likes that Tyrion is going to have to do something he doesn't want to do.
- More specifically, she knows he's already in love with another woman (she thought it was Roz in Season 2; not sure if she still thinks Roz is Tyrion's girl).
- If there are two words to describe Cersei, they are shallow and short-sighted. She is laughing her ass off in anticipation of Tyrion's confused face 3 seconds into the future, or imagining how ridiculous he'll look before the altar with Sansa towering next to him in a few weeks at best. What could happen in years to come, such as them coming to love each other and being happy together, is something that she doesn't care about or simply does not cross her mind.
- I think, on the contrary, that she understands pretty well how horrible this marriage would be to Tyrion. That is because it would make Sansa absolutely miserable to marry not just a dwarf, of course, but first and foremost a Lannister. No matter how loving and caring Tyrion would ever try to be, she would always associate him with the murderers of her father and destroyers of her family, not to mention see him as the one thing that ruined her chance to escape the hated King's Landing, get away from Joffrey and probably find true happiness with Loras. And because Tyrion is a decent human being (that is, "a pussy", in Cercei's book), who would, imagine that, be sincerely concerned with such folly as happiness of a Stark bitch, making her miserable, even inadvertantly, would make him deeply miserable as well.
Why is Tyrion's name Tyrion?
- If Jaime is the firstborn son and favorite, why doesn't he follow Lannister naming rituals by having a Ty- name, like Tytos and Tywin? If Tyrion is considered the bastard of his family (to the point that Tywin suspects that he is literally a bastard), why does his name start with Ty-?
- Tywin doesn't think or suspect that Tyrion is a bastard, he knows full well that he is his son he just utterly hates admitting that it's true. His rant meant that if he could he would have disowned Tyrion but since he is his flesh and blood he's forced to acknowledge that he is a Lannister and his son with all that entails (providing for him, inheritence, etc. etc.). Now onto your question, it was no doubt Twyin's late wife who was behind the naming, since most names are chosen before birth.
- According to GRR, it was Tywin who named Tyrion. A fan asked who named various characters. Jon, for another example, was named by Ned.
- Not all Lannisters use the Ty- naming convention. While there certainly is Tywin, Tytos, Tyrion, Tygget and Tyrek. There are also more plainer names like Willum, Martyn and Kevan. There is aslo a soft-G sound naming convention with Joanna, Genna, Janei, Gerion, Jaime and Joy (Hill). I imagine Tywin's wife Joanna (also a Lannister as they were cousins) named the twins. But when she died in Tyrion's birth, Tywin had to name the baby so the classic Ty-name. Ty-names aren't restriced to Lannisters either, there's a Tytos Blackwood in the Riverlands.
- You might just overstate the importance of the Ty- naming. Sure, Tywin and Tytos both had it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there is a tradition to name every Lannister heir Ty-. It seems to be common in Westeros to re-use names within noble families, sometimes in variation (see Rickon and his granfather Rickard), and Ty- is just a syllable that shows up in Lannister names a lot, like Rhae- and Ae- in Targaryan names. Doesn't mean that it is considered a mark of great importance.
- Also, it might be that Tywin didn't really care about the names, but felt that at least one of his children should get a Ty-name, and when Joanna died and it was unlikely for him to have another son, he just went with Tyrion.
- Or Joanna and Tywin may have just decided on the name before Tyrion was born.
- The World of Ice and Fire worldbook mentions a Lannister king named Tyrion the Tormenter, who delighted in torture and was rumoured to be aroused by seeing women bleed, so perhaps the name Tyrion was far from the compliment people might think.
At this point, Do the Starks even matter?
- It feels like House Stark is coming along at the seams in terms of the war and the politics. I like them; they fight with honor and generally good intentions — I could argue that for Robb's recent actions being similar to Bolton's thinking, but I still find him very likable — but it feels like they are having no lasting impact or their good nature has no lasting impact in Westeros. Is that to mean that honor and good people have no place in this world? Its like the author doesn't think much of heroic types.
- All I can say is that "The North Remembers" and "Winter is Coming."
- I wouldn't say that. I'd say he just has a realistic idea of how far honor alone can really get you in a cutthroat world like this. It would be nice if people could succeed and be happy simply by being completely good and honorable. But the sad truth is that sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) you have to get your hands dirty. And in this world people who refuse to dirty themselves when necessary often end up dead. Sad, but true. The series is in large part a tragedy. And tragic things happen in tragedies. And the story isn't over just yet. Robb's fate is known to those who read the books, but Arya, Sansa, Bran, and Rickon are still alive, and Jon Snow's fate is unknown. And there are plenty of other honorable characters to choose from. Even Daenerys is a good and honorable person (as Jorah says, she has a gentle heart). Hell, even Stannis is an honorable person in his own way (the torture and burning of heretics aside). And there are other characters yet to be introduced who will play a big impact. It remains to be seen how good and honorable they will be.
- I feel the need to bring this up again over what just happened. Now I'm starting to think that the Starks never mattered. At all. They were simply a scapegoat in order for the fans to relate to-good, righteous and well-meaning human beings in this den of vipers — and they just get completely destroyed with the wedding scene — like some fantasy version of The Godfather and the Baptism scene. It feels to me like they just serve no purpose, and are meant to die.
- Personaly I likens it to the story of the frog that are put in the boiling pot and jumps out and the frog that is put in the lukewarm water that gets hotter and get boiled. "Hey, here is your magical fantasy land filled with wonder and mysteries. Everyone is a complete and utter bastard except the dwarf and maybe the incestious spawn of fantasy-Caligula".
- Whether or not the Starks matter is a question that requires a spoiler answer, so if you want to know, continue reading; Whether or not the Starks matter depends on whether or not the White Walkers end up actually being the main threat. If they do, that means the war, the politics, the Iron Throne and those fighting for it — all of that is pointless and it's the magical, fantastic aspects that really matter. In which case Brann, Jon Snow, and Catlyn(who will be ressurected as a zombie by Thoros), and possibly Arya will come in to play as the major forces. If, however, the White Walkers and dragons all turn out to be a gigantic red herring and it was the politics that were important all along, then no, the Starks don't matter and never did. The closest thing to a contender they have in that fight by book five is Sansa, who's being raised by Littlefinger at that point — some people think she's learning from him and will surpass him as a magnificent bastard. I think those people are kidding themselves, but that's just me. My personal opinion is that the white walkers are a red herring that will be defeated easily and that the ultimate point of the series is to say that magic is irrelevant, just a fantasy of days gone by, and that the human side of it is what actually matters — which is the complete opposite to what many people think, but it's a divisive series.
- The series isn't over yet. The Starks per se, as a warring force, have become an extinct house. Doubly so because with the exception of perhaps Rickon there's nobody to inherit the family name, as Jon is a bastard and Bran is crippled. But they remain a huge source of loyalty for the houses of the North, even more so now, what with the death of Eddard the great and honourable councilor and the unjust massacre of Robb. And the rest of their members are currently in a bad situation but everyone that reads the book knows that the Stark children begin a slow ascension to universal badassery that will probably take the full 7 books to completely hatch. So, basically, yes they matter, but not in the way the Lannisters matter. The Starks matter because they are slowly becoming folk heroes and a legendary house.
- Would you care to elaborate on how, in any way, they can be badass? Ayra, I can understand. Rickon appears to not be entirely there. Sanza, I can understand because of who she's near and learning from. Bran? Yeah, he's a cripple. Not much coming from him.
- You mean Bran who Possesed a huge hulking man to break a guy's neck with his bare hands? Nope, no potential for being a badass there.
- Can't be elaborated on without book spoilers — go read the pages on A Song of Ice and Fire (or the books themselves) if you really want to know. But if you think being crippled is a barrier to power...
- Given the historical inspiration of ASoIaF is the Wars of the Roses, an apparently "extinct" House can prove surprisingly resurgent if conditions come right. Edward IV pretty much extinguished the House of Lancaster by killing off Henry VI and his son, until his successor, Richard III managed to piss off enough people that the distantly related (via the female line and a line officially barred from the throne) Henry Tudor became a viable candidate for the throne and after winning at Bosworth became Henry VII (obviously, that's simplifying a lot). My unspoiled guess is that John Snow will be the last surviving Stark and take the Henry VII role while Tyrion will be the last surviving Lannister and take the Richard III role (at least until The Plot Reaper kills either of them), although they'd each be in the "wrong" House (since Stark=York and Lannister=Lancaster).
- It's explicitly said in the book that "House Stark has fallen", which is quite an accurate assessment given the fact that both the Starks and their most important allies, the Tullys, have been driven from power, usurped by their respective [[Starscream]] houses, and with all their important members either (supposedly) dead or captured. So both the third book and the third season mark a low point for the "good guys" of the series. But while the Starks themselves may not matter anymore for the time being, it's not as if they're the only problem the bad guys have.
- If one half of northern army is composed of Karstark soldiers, why do the Starks control the North and not Karstarks?
- One of the weirdest scripting decisions is to say "half" where they could have easily said "a third" or "a quarter" and get basically the same effect. One might call this an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole; the show has done little to establish the Stark bannermen other than Bolton and Karstark (except for the Umbers, who seem to have vanished); the army lacks the Mormonts, Glovers and Manderlys of the novels. Further, in the novel, it would be outright impossible for them to "return north" since the Ironborn have closed the Neck; they continue to serve in the army, but begrudgingly.
- But to address the original question, the Great Lords are always outnumbered; this is why they need sworn houses. Still, half the army is excessive. Perhaps the notion is that the Karstarks committed more heavily to Robb's army than the other houses.
- Maybe the "half" thing is an exaggeration? So, the Karstarks aren't half of the army, but it's still a big enough number that they'll be missed. Personally, I find it weirder that Robb thinks of going back to the Freys for support, who now have a qualm with him, rather than asking for help in the Eyrie, where he has a family member with a grudge against the Lannisters ruling.
- In the book the idea is raised and shot down just as quickly. Lysa is unhinged and very unlikely to entertain any such offer to take her troops out of the Vale. Plus she plans to gain a lot by staying neutral while the other Houses batter themselves bloody. Robb asks if she'd allow his army to use her ports to bypass the Neck, but Brynden Tully (who left the Riverlands to serve Lysa when she was married) tells Robb that she's become so paranoid she would not allow an army to pass into the Vale even if it was led by her nephew.
- There is a possible handwave and it is that Karstark's aren't half of Robb's total forces but half of the forces that are at Riverrun. Such a lose would cancel whatever reinforcements he just gathered from Edmure (in the show continuity) and cripple any plans Robb had to wage war from there. While we see soldiers from different houses marching with Robb to Riverrun, the only lord that seems to accompany him there is Karstark so most of that army could be Karstark's while other lords are deployed elsewhere (like how Bolton's seem to be the only ones left manning the area around Harrenhal, for example).
- In a feudal society it doesn't matter how many men does the Karstark have, the control of the North is hereditary and for Starks only, even if they only have ONE men in their army.
- In the book Sansa was promised Loras' brother (or such) by the Tyrells, because Loras himself is in Kingsguard and cannot marry. Yet here first she and then Cercei are meant to marry Loras himself. Did the rules change?
- In the TV series, Loras is not on the Kingsguard, at least not yet. He was on Renly's Kingsguard, but in the eyes of Joffrey's rule that is not a real position. Jaime will probably be the one to give Loras a place on the Kingsguard when he gets back, as a way to "save" Cersei from the marriage.
- From a more meta perspective, the book had so many characters that it was confusing to follow along even with the family trees made available. The TV show is trying to make it easier to follow along by excising certain characters that don't have a real effect on the plot.
- Tywin and Olenna's conversation makes it explicit that Loras is Mace Tyrell's only son in the show.
Olenna and Tywin's showdown
- Why does Olenna feel intimidated to put Loras in King's Guard. Can't just Loras refuse? And, come to think of it, Tywin and the Lannisters in general aren't in a position to make threats. Most of their forces have been wiped out by Robb. Who is at their doorstep. They barely managed to hold out against Stannis, mostly due to the Tyrells, who supply them and King's Landing with menpower, supplies,food and working stuff to keep fighting the war and survive the winter. Not to mention all the loans. Couldn't just Olenna threaten to withdraw that support? Or worse, support the Starks or Stannis instead?
- Tywin is using the same ploy that Aerys Targaryen played on him decades ago, naming Jaime to his Kingsguard simply to rob him of an heir. Being named into the Kingsguard is an honour that you won't just lightly refuse, as doing so would cast doubt on your loyalty to the realm and seriously damage your status in the court. As for the rest, the Lannisters still hold the strongest claim to the Iron Throne, and switching sides again in such short notice would mark the Tyrells as deceptive turncoats for generations to come. Stannis wouldn't have them back if they tried and they have no common cause with the North, anyway. They have cast their die and most play with what they've got. And King's Landing owes Highgarden no monetary debts, only the foodstuffs that were brought as a gift, a sign of their goodwill and proof that they no longer support Stannis. Tywin himself is the crown's greatest individual debtor, though it owes even more to the Iron Bank of Braavos.
- Tywin made it seem more like he would order Loras to join the Kingsguard, not that he would make an offer.
- I don't believe Tywin (or anyone, really) has the authority to order Loras into the Kingsguard. It's not like the Night's Watch which can be a punishment, it's a high honor and requires forswearing all other loyalties. I think the implication was that he would tell everyone Loras agreed to be Kingsguard, which would leave him with the Morton's Fork of accepting this "honor" or being accused of oathbreaking.
- Tywin is Hand of the King, which means he's charged with carrying out the King's authority whenever the King isn't involved or indisposed. And considering that Joffrey's too busy playing Does This Remind You of Anything? with his crossbow (including poor Ros) and not really bothering himself with the affairs of State, that means that yes, indeed, Tywin has the authority to order Loras to the Kingsguard.
- I agree with most of the things said here but I can't really see how the Tyrells changing sides would make them look like turncoats. I mean Tywin, as much as I like him, did the same thing during Robert's Rebellion didn't he? He chose a side when the war was already decided, approached King's Landing under the false pretense of being ally and then proceeded to to sack the city. The Tyrell's could reasonably do the same. I mean, they have like 20,000 men stationed in the city and the largest army on Westeros. Lannister ranks are already decimated by the war. The can just sack the city, kill the royal family and decapitate the Lannister leadership. What's better than having control of both the fields of the Reach and the mines of the Westerlands? Not to mention that dealing Joffrey and Co. could bring them to good terms with Stannis. And it's not like Tywin isn't trying to slowly impose himself on them.
- The Lannisters only switched sides once to join forces with a politically popular rebellion against the Mad King. And no one but Robb Stark has the armies or the cajones to publicly question Tywin's honor and live to tell about it. The Tyrells got away with switching sides once. They won't get away with it twice. And they definitely won't get away with crossing Tywin Lannister.
- Loras would probably jump at the opportunity of joining the Kingsguard without thinking twice (rather like Jaime did back in the day). He loves being a knight, and they're the paragon of knighthood on Westeros. He's gay, so he wouldn't mind the no-marrying vows. Tywin just needs to ask him, and Olenna certainly knows it. As for the possibility of the Tyrells betraying the Lannisters for Stannis... That wouldn't work. Stannis is so honour-bound he'd probably want to punish the Tyrells anyway, for turning their backs on him not once, but twice (first with Renly, then with the Lannisters). The punishment might take a while to come, but it would certainly do. We're talking about a man who cuts the fingers of a smuggler who just saved him and his entire castle from starving to death. Furthermore, even with the Lannisters being weakened, Tywin still has a very powerful reputation. You don't want the next Rains of Castamere to be sung about your family. All in all, the Tyrells are better off playing with the side that's winning so far.
The Red God and "Valar Morghulis"
- In the preview to "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" Berric Dondarion mentions that "the Red God is the one true God". Jaqen H'ghar said in the last season that Arya stole three deaths from the Red God and they must be given back. When they meet in "The Climb", Thoros of Myr and Melisandre greet each other with "Valar Morghulis" and "Valar Dohaeris", the words that the Faceless Men use as passwords. Now is this meant to indicate that the Faceless Men and the Red Priests worship the same god? Because as far as I can remember there is no kind of indication of that in the books. In fact it seems to be the opposite; the Faceless Men revere death, while the Red Priests are devoted to holding it back. Is this meant to be a major departure from the novels, or what?
- The Faceless Men believe that all gods are one god, the god of death, which would include the Lord of Light. Jaqen used that particular name because Arya saved them from death by fire. He said the same thing to her in A Clash of Kings.
- So to further illustrate, if they had been traveling by ship and Arya stopped their cage from sliding off the deck and into the ocean, Jaqen would have said she stole three deaths from the Drowned God.
- The use of Valar Morghulis and Valar Doheiris as greetings seems to have been changed in the adaptation, from being indicative of association with the Faceless Men and their faith in the books to being a more general greeting among the Valyrian-influenced cultures of Essos in the TV series (as demonstrated by the exchange between Missandei and Daenerys in Walk of Punishment). Otherwise the writers either know something we don't or the plot of the books and the TV series have seen their most dramatic divergence yet.
- The exchange between Missandei and Daenerys happened in the book, as well.
- If I recall correctly, the "valar morghulis" expression is common in all the Free Cities, as is the "valar dohaeris" answer. The "password" of the Faceless Men is not the expression itself, but the iron coin Jaqen gave Arya coupled with the expression.
Why did the Targaryens start to practice incest?
- I first thought it was because they wanted to protect their divine royal blood à la The Egyptian Pharaohs, but Aegon The Conqueror was already married to his sister-wives before he became king. So how and why did it start?
- So that someone named Targaryen could rule forever, and didn't have to worry about dying out and have someone named Lannister or Stark even have a chance to disputing the throne.
- Maybe they already practiced it long before that. They were, after all, Valyrian nobles weren't they? And considering that Valyria was this world's version of Rome....
- ...perhaps they were vanished to Dragonstone because of that, in the first place.
- The Targaryens went to Dragonstone of their own volition, to escape the upcoming Doom of Valyria. They practiced incest probably to protect their traits. Silver hair and purple eyes are probably recessive to everything else, and it helps their feeling of superiority towards the "foreign" Westerosi.
- It's mentioned in one chapter of A Clash of Kings that the incest was traditional Valyrian practice. They probably kept it after conquering Westeros (even though they went as far as abandoning their religion to better blend in) in order to keep their racial purity, though.
- They were also the last Valyrian nobles for a full century before invading Westeros, so they had reasons to protect the bloodline even then.
- "Keep the bloodline pure" was also the reason/excuse in Ancient Egypt with similar results. Pharaohs were not allowed to marry a woman of a lesser rank.
- Short answer: they were from an almost extinct culture and were trying to preserve their customs and their ethnic traits.
- The books do a better job of hinting at this but basically the Targaryens are desperate to preserve their genetic superpower of bonding with dragons, which the Valyrians were obsessed with even before 90% of them were killed in the Doom of Valyria. In fact, among Daenerys and Viserys' direct ancestors only Aegon IV "The Unworthy" (a.k.a. Maester Aemon's great-grandfather) and Aerys II "The Mad King" married incestuously following the extinction of the dragons. (Jaeherys II is a third instance, but he's omitted from the show canon.)
Why does Robb think it's a good idea to attack Casterly Rock?
- I mean, Tywin and all the other top Lannisters plus Joffrey are currently on King's Landing so the war will most likey keep going. Not to mention that the Westerlands are very close to Tyrell territory. The'd just sent a large force to retake the home of their allies. Is he hoping that the loss of their HQ would make the Lannisters lose face and appear weak? Does he want to deprive them of their mines or wealth? Or just take hostages and demand the release of his sisters?
- Why did Hitler want to capture Stalingrad? Because it was a symbol of the country's power (and ruler). Great propaganda value.
- Because Tywin would flip right the fuck out and send every single soldier under his, Joffreys and the Tyrells command to Casterly Rock in order to reclaim it. The man is a genius, but he has a enourmous blind spot when it comes to the Lannister name and it's legacy. He would never even consider sacrificing his home and name in order to give his Baratheon grand-son a firm claim to the rest of the kingdom.
- See? That's what I'm saying. It's a suicide mission. The Northmen would be crushed, and it's not like they'd have the time to cross the Riverlands and go to King's Landing which Tywin has left undefended. The Lannister armies would catch up on them. Can't really follow Robbs logic here.
- Sounds like a Batman Gambit to me. He takes Casterly Rock and when Tywin comes barreling down on him in a mindless fury he springs some clever trap.
- This seems likely. Robb has been pushing all the time for another massive battle after Oxcross, but Tywin and the Mountain just keep retreating and denying him that. This way they cause morale to go low in the Northern army, since the Northerners will think that they are doing nothing in the south while their homes get sacked by the Ironborn in the north.
- To me, the question is why didn't he think of this sooner? Attacking the Rock, raiding the mines and stealing as much gold as you can carry, putting the castle to the torch and burning Lannisport behind you as you take every ship they have and sail north to go kick the iron born out would have been my first move after Tywin's victory at the Blackwater.
- Robb's been doing that basically since the second season. The book makes it more explicit, but after the battle of Oxcross, he and his forces begin raiding the Westerlands by capturing gold mines and besieging fortresses in Ashemark and The Crag (incidentally, where Robb is injured and falls in love with Jeyne Westerling, who he marries in the book).
- I am aware of his basic book strategy, and really this could be applied as a headscratcher to the books as well. The main reason Robb's victory over Jaime at Riverrun was so devastating was because it left nothing between him and Casterly Rock with Tywin's army's attention divided between him and the Baratheon brother's moving on King's Landing to the south. Though now I'm thinking it might have been the Frey men abandoning him that made that impossible, but in the show you don't have that, or at least not explicitly. If he had gone after Casterly Rock right after Tywin moved against Stannis, then he'd have taken it before the Karstarks abandoned him, he'd still have the men, and he'd have the Rock and all the wealth the Lannisters keep there. Would be a much stronger position than he holds now, at any rate.
- Well, the reason his victory over Jaime is so devastating is because he shatters half the Lannister army and takes Tywin Lannister's own son hostage, while simultaneously freeing up the Riverlords to join their forces with his. He didn't have a clear shot to Casterly Rock because the fortress at the Golden Tooth stood in the way and Ser Stafford Lannister was building up a force at Oxcross. Robb was only able to attack west in total surprise because Grey Wind scouted out a path that circumvented the Golden Tooth. The reason he never struck at Casterly Rock was likely because he didn't have the strength to do it, even with the Karstarks and the Freys. He would have to either lay siege to it and starve it out (which can take years and might not be possible since the Starks lack a fleet to blockade the Lannister's ports) or take it by storm. Robb's victories against the Lannisters are both surprising and major because of his ability to attack with few losses. The Northmen are outnumbered, which is why Robb can only twiddle his thumbs while waiting for a chance to strike. What he was looking for was an opportunity to draw Tywin Lannister into a battle where he could not overwhelm the Northern forces (specifically, by raiding the Westerlands and luring Tywin's force out to be trapped between Robb and Edmure).
- Robb states his plan pretty clearly: he's going to re-motivate his forces by giving them a sense of purpose again. He's going to go after Casterly Rock because it's a big target and would be a huge morale victory.
- Rob probably realises he can't take Casterly Rock with the forces at his disposal, but he's never lost a battle. By threatening the Lannister homeland, he forces Tywin to meet him in battle, which given his track record to that point Rob had a reasonable chance of victory. He doesn't need to actually capture Casterly Rock (though obviously that's better), just look like he might to inspire people to join his side and abandon the Lannisters.
- He doesn't, he evenrealized with his mother that it will lock him out and make him lose the North, but that's the heaviest blow he can ever do to Tywin and if he founds out the gold mine are empty that's a game changer.
- Did the Boy lead Theon back to the exact same torture chamber he left or one in a different castle?
- Well it was an identical room. We're obviously supposed to assume it's the same place.
- If it is the same place, how did Theon not notice he was going back to it?
- He had just been tortured and nearly raped. He was stressed, traumatized, and not paying attention to where his "rescuer" was taking him.
- Theon left the castle at night, and was told to go east. He returned by day, with The Boy leading him through a different route (and in the last part, under the ground). Thus why he didn't get that it was the same castle.
- Theon also mistakenly thought it was Deepwood Motte, despite knowing that — true to name — that castle is located many miles away, in the thick Wolfswood.
- Deepwood Motte is a rather isolated and unimportant castle, Theon probably knows about it, but not what it actually looks like. He also has no idea of where he is, as the trip to the Dreadfort no doubt took an equally long time and he was likely blindfolded.
- Just out of morbid curiosity, would having molten gold poured on your head like this really kill you, let alone in mere seconds? The gold barely covers the upper part of his head, so it couldn't be suffocation, and neither does it burn all the way through (I think). So, what does he die from, just a pain shock?
- The heat would have conducted through his head and made his brain boil in his skull in the matter of seconds. Molten gold is hot.
- There is no way in hell that that pitiful fire would be able to melt gold and rise it to the desired heat, but that is neither here nor there.
- The fire didn't melt the gold. Drogo's rage did.
- Actually, you'd be surprised how hot a simple fire can get. Even candles can reach 1,000 degrees Celsius in the right conditions. A well built campfire can easily reach over 1,000 degrees Celsius and the melting point of gold is 1,064 degrees Celsius. Sure, the belt wouldn't have melted that fast, but I'm sure viewers didn't want to watch a gold belt melt in a pot for a couple hours.
- For the original poster, pouring 1,000 degree Celsius metal onto somebody's head is like sticking their head in front of a massive blowtorch. Chances are, underneath that gold dome, Viserys's head is scorched down to the bone, and probably through it at points.
- It's said that Genghis Khan once executed a man by pouring molten silver or lead into his ear. So yes, it is something that can kill you very quickly.
What happened to Lancel?
- I know it's a minor one but he just short of....disappeared after Blackwater. Did he return to Casterly Rock with his father of what?
- When we last saw Lancel, he was wounded during the siege. He's presumably recuperating through most or all of Season 3.
- Spoiler-free preview: Rest assured that Lancel is still around and (assuming the show continues his plotline from the books) he will play a small but crucial role in certain future events.
Why take Gendry back to King's Landing?
- Why and how did Melisandre take Gendry back to where he left from? It's a long detour and a great risk for them both, just to reveal his father's identity.
- At first I was confused about whether that was King's Landing or Storm's End (did Stannis even take it back in the TV show, by the way?), but either way it doesn't really make sense. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Maybe they'll pull a "the spell needs to be cast close to the target" to justify this, but if that's the case Gendry and Mels will be travelling a lot in the next few episodes.
- It was King's Landing. They pass over the Blackwater Bay and you can still see the ships left from the battle. Dragonstone, Stannis' seat, is on an island to the northeast of King's Landing, so it's possible that they are either coming from the south — in which case they might need to stop for supplies — or they traveled from the Brotherhood camp to King's Landing to take a ship up to Dragonstone.
- Looking at the maps, it seems that Melisandre found Gendry somewhere around Higheart-Acorn Hall and took him to Dragonstone by sailing down the Blackwater Rush and passing near King's Landing in the process. She probably used the same route to travel to the Riverlands in the first place. The government of good ol'King Joffrey apparently can't, or does not care to inspect every boat that comes near the capital, unless it is as part of a hostile fleet.
Do the wildlings have boats?
- ...Because if they do, wouldn't it be a whole hellofva lot safer to go around the Wall instead of going over it? The boats wouldn't need to be that good, either. I understand why small skirmishing parties like the one Jon's in wouldn't do it; it'd take too damn long to get to the coast. But shouldn't Mance's army be on the coast as close to the Wall as humanly possible, making a bunch of ships? If they can't make them, maybe they could steal/buy them. Just have the raiding parties grab a few and come back. Either way, someone somewhere should be able to get around the Wall.
- The Seven Kingdoms have much better boats and ships than the Wildlings could ever hope to have. Remember that the only searoute around the Wall goes right past Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and anything but a small raiding party in the dark of the night would be spotted and unceremoniously sunk. The Wildlings are not sailors, so they have no means of controlling a larger ship even if they could get their hands on one.
- There have to be at least two routes. I assume Eastwatch is on the Eastern side, but there doesn't seem to be any problem with the west side. Again, I know it wouldn't be simple, but in the grand scheme of things, it would probably be easier than marching on the Wall and waging war.
- On the west side there are mountain ranges that prevent putting a proper harbour on the shore. And even if you did, you'd still have to conjure those ships from somewhere, along with the sailors. The Wildlings are poor, so they can't buy any. They are too numerous to steal enough without alerting the Kingdoms. Compared to all those problems conquering a single fortification and opening the gates so that everyone can pass through together and proceed as a unified army is the simplest plan with the greatest chances of success.
- Yeah, I guess when you put it like that, it does make sense. Maybe if they were a unified people with a bit more time to spare they could pull off a mass migration, but I guess going to war with the Wall is the easier option in this scenario.
- On the west side there is the Shadow Tower (not the westernmost Night's Watch fortification, but Westwatch-by-the-Bridge is said to be in unusable conditions), and Bear Island (home of the Mormonts, the family of the late Lord Commander and Jorah, Dany's companion), who supposedly deal with any attacks from that direction. It's way easier to use stealth to get to the other side, and attack from the south side of the Wall, since the Night's Watch fortifications are well known to have no way of protecting themselves from that direction.
- In the books: Yes. They do have boats. Sea-worthy boats capable of carrying enough men for a decent-sized raid against Bear Island. The only reasons why they don't even think to utilize them here is either down to that being retconned out of existence, or simply because they're idiots. The latter wouldn't surprise me given how contrived the Jon/Ygritte/Wilding subplot is.
- Wildling boats are mentioned by Osha in "The Rains of Castamere". However, Mance's plan is not merely to raid or even invade the North with an army, he wants to move several whole ethnic groups (all men, women and children) south of the Wall. Such a migration would require a time and a number of boats that the Wildlings don't have and therefore must happen over land. Bear in mind that these boats must be closer to canoes than Spanish galleons (which the Wildlings wuldn't have the technology to build).
Why is Robb bringing Talisa along to the wedding?
- Isn't that going to rather offend Walder Frey? Yes, they've placated him with marrying one of his daughters to Edmure, but I doubt he's going to take Robb parading around the woman that he jilted another daughter for particularly well.
- Because it's a family wedding, and she is his wife.
- Well she is carrying his child now. I imagine he feels even more protective of her than usual and doesn't want to let her out of his sight. And this is just a guess, but maybe he feels it'll be more upfront and honest that way. Instead of leaving Talisa behind like she's his secret mistress he brings her along as an open acknowledgement that he broke his promise. Also it gives Talisa a chance to make her own face-to-face apologies to Lord Frey.
- Since the show began, Robb has lost his father, his two sisters, his three brothers, his best friend, his closest allies, and his greatest triumph was undone by his mother. Talisa is virtually all he has left, I'm surprised she isn't physically tied to his hip.
- Frankly, the one thing that is more Robb Stark than to sacrifice a political marriage in order to marry his one true love is him then owning it. Yes, he did indeed marry his lover despite his earlier promises to marry a political ally. After this treason he drew a line in the sand — from that point on that he married Talisa he will always treat her as His High Queen no matter what since anything less than that would dishonor him, her and their vows.
- This is probably the best explanation for it. It's still a pretty significant departure from the books, however, where he refuses to take his new wife along to keep from insulting the Freys further and to protect her from whatever insults they might dole out in turn.
- The simplest solution, because the show writers had given Rob a wife and made her pregnant. He was set to die at the Red Wedding and for the sake of the story, they could not possibly leave an heir. She had to die.
What the fuck is the damned point of that torture Theon goes through?
- It adds nothing to the plot, if anything, it probably slows it down. It seems to exist for no other reason than to drive home how dark and edgy ASOIAF is. And for God's sake, who watches this crap? These scenes added nothing in the book, and they add nothing here either. The only reason they had for existing in the books seems to have been to sideline Theon indefinitely until GRRM decided what to do with him 3 damned books later.
- Because Ramsey is a sadist, and it turns him into loyal "Reek" instead of questionable Theon, who may or may not still be sympathetic to the Starks or his own family.
- It's there so that Theon doesn't vanish from the show for so long that the viewers forget who he was when he reappears. Their purpose is to both underline what an insanely sadistic monster Ramsay Bolton is for the coming seasons where he plays a bigger role, and what it takes to almost completely destroy Theon.
- Assuming they decide to follow the books on the boy's role, outlining what a monster he is is pretty redundant. Considering almost everything he does later on is so ridiculously over the top it actually veers into being too hard to take seriously. His next exploits consist of having a woman raped by dogs and flaying a group the Not-Really-Vikings when using Theon as an ambassador. So, I'm not sure how you could say he takes a 'larger role' because he mostly existed in the books as a satellite to Theon's ad Roose's stories. I'm not sure how good a reason that is.
- Presumably, it's going to be to make a major plot twist when the boy's name and heritage is finally revealed to the audience.
- Oh, who the hell can't see that those two are connected somehow? Which other character on the show is a dead-eyed James Bond villain with a fetish for flaying people?
- Anyone not familiar with the books. Besides, Roose hasn't flayed anyone and hasn't done anything to make the audience think he's at all like a villain. In fact, he's been pretty sympathetic; giving Robb advice and apologizing to Jaime and Brienne for their treatment by his men. He mentions flaying once, as a suggestion, and never again after Robb tells him no.
- Roose also mentioned when suggesting to retake Winterfell that he'd send his bastard to lead the force. Guess who was leading the Northmen when they attacked Winterfell?
- The way he's been built up in the books, he's going to be a pretty major antagonist for the last two, so calling him a 'satellite' doesn't really cut it. The series just begins introducing him early on. Maybe he'll replace some other character in the show, as well?
- The reasons for those scenes, the way I see it, are three. First, it allows Theon to keep appearing, instead of being assumed dead and then showing up out of nowhere three seasons later. Second, It allows us to see how Theon will become so broken, without the book's advantage of letting the readers experience his thoughts, since that's how we get all of the information about the torture in there. And third, it allows us to see how much of a bastard (on the figurative as well as the literal sense) Ramsay is, without resorting to other people talking about him in casual conversation, a method that is much more effective in written media than in a TV show.
- The show loses Ramsay forcing his wife to eat her own fingers and all the horrible things he did as Reek(which still happen, of course, only it's Dagmar). These scenes are much more about Ramsay than they are about Theon, but there is a point in completely breaking down Theon.
- "These scenes added nothing in the book" These scenes aren't in the books. We see some of Ramsay's mindgames first-hand, but the more grisly details of Theon's mutilation are largely repressed memories to which we only get oblique references. As pointed out above, that device doesn't work on TV, so they have to get a bit more graphic with it. The whole thing about his castration is a good example; the explicit fact "Ramsay cut Theon's cock off" is never stated in the books, we just get a lot of lines about him "not being a man" and "losing fingers and toes and... the other thing".
- Meta reason? Just have a look at Joffery. Worst character by far up this point? Absolutely. So in making a new main villain anyone who did not really ramp up how horrible they are would be a disappointment, so they essentially had The Boy go, "Who is this pretender for how monsterous one can be? I really need to rack my brain on ways I can be worse than he is." Poor writing? A little, but that's the problem when you try and escalate and try and escalate, eventually you hot shot and you get this material.
Is Tywin unaware that Arya is missing? Does he not care? What?
- By this point in the books she's missing and presumed dead by Lannisters, who are keeping up the façade that she's their prisoner.
- Tyrion knows. Cersei knows. The entire Small Council apparently knows. If Tywin, the Hand of the King, didn't know Arya was missing I for one would be flabbergasted.
- The same could be said about Cersei and Jaime's incest, and yet, here we are. That being said, yes, I'm sure he does know, it just doesn't matter anymore; it stopped mattering the day Cat set Jaime loose.
- Cersei and Jaime's incest is something Tywin has chosen not to believe. He can't "choose" to believe that Arya is a captive in the Red Keep, because she clearly isn't there.
- The entire court must know that by now. Sansa is always seen walking around in the castle, after all, so it's not like Arya wouldn't be allowed the same liberties (even though she'd probably be a little more heavily guarded, being more uncontrollable). And one of the things Robb really failed with as a wartime king was having a decent network of information, or he'd probably know by now too.
"Doesn't matter which Lannister"
- During Tyrion's and Sansa's wedding, Joffrey tells Sansa that he might get her pregnant because it doesn't matter which Lannister does it. Does that mean he has accepted not being a Baratheon?
- It's probably just that he associates much more with his mother's family than his supposed father's at this point, since the Baratheon bannermen are currently his enemies while the Lannisters are his faithful supporters. He has been introduced in formal occasions many times as "Joffrey, of the houses Lannister and Baratheon". That would probably have happened anyway, regardless of his true heritage, since Tywin specifically wants to establish a Lannister dynasty on the throne, even if he has to mix up the standard naming conventions in the process.
- Joffrey officially identifies as Joffrey of the Houses Lannister and Baratheon, First of his Name", and his personal sigil is a Lion and Stag standing together as equals. As far as he's concerned, he's both; whichever suits him better at the time.
- The Lannister side of his family has been the largest influence. His grandfather, mother, uncles and their various attendants, retainers and hangers-on have been in his life constantly. Even if Robert had been a perfectly attentive father, Joffrey's uncles Stannis and Renly are the only other Baratheons alive and none of the brothers are especially family-oriented. That means Joffrey never had a strong Baratheon influence on his life. Note that even way back in the first season Joffrey's sword is named "Lion's Tooth".
- The context of that spoken line doesn't say anything about Baratheon influence. Joffrey was at a Lannister's wedding. Even if he identifies more with his Baratheon influence, he wouldn't say "Doesn't matter if it's a Baratheon". That doesn't make sense. It's a Lannister wedding, and he's half Lannister (at least by title).
Half Robert, half lowborn?
- When he first sees Gendry, Stannis identifies him as half Robert, half lowborn. How exactly does he identify the 'lowborn' part?
- If he was highborn, Stannis would've known who he was and, probably wouldn't be a bastard.
- It's probably just a very accurate guess, Stannis would know of any noble bastards that Robert might have sired (like Edric Storm who was cut from the show) and he knows that Robert had sex with pretty much anyone he could. Gendry is also dressed in common clothes and his demeanor is submissive when meeting a noble. Other features like signs of malnutrition or heavy physical labor might be noticeable from a quick glance.
- You know how some Jews say they can tell if someone is Jewish just by looking at them? Similar thing here. Because high-borns rarely have children with low-borns it creates segregated gene pools. Over time, high-borns would gradually cultivate distinctive traits (i.e. blond hair for Lannisters and black hair for Baratheons) that set them apart from low-borns and from other noble families. With some clever guesswork and a strong education in noble genealogy, a person could theoretically tell a low-born from a high-born by sight alone.
Myrcella and the Martells.
- It may be a little too late to ask but it always bugged me. In Season 2, when Tyrion arranged for Myrcella to be shipped off to Dorne and marry Trystane Martell for her safety, Cersei seemed very sad and angry about it. If it meant so much to her, to keep her daughter by her side, couldn't she just,being Queen Regent, cancel the whole thing and refuse to sent her?
- Not exactly. Tyrion was acting as Hand of the King at the time that imbued him with all the powers to act in the king's name. A marriage alliance with the Martells would be a big deal, and breaking such an alliance would seem arbitrary and insulting to the Martells and would damage relations between them and the Iron Throne for years to come, perhaps enough to get them to support one of the rival claimants. Despite her headstrong attitude, Cersei knows that removing Myrcella from King's Landing and securing an alliance with Dorne is in the best interest of the realm and indeed her daughter.
- In the books, Cersei asked Tywin to cancel the engagement but he agrees with Tyrion that an alliance with Dorne is a good idea.
Roose and Jaime.
- Why did Roose sent Jaime back to King's Landing instead of taking him to Robb? Surely he doesn't have much need of the gold and the Dreadfort is way out of Tywin's reach. Doesn't he know that sending such a valuable prisoner and bargaining too would earn him the wrath of Robb and would cause some people to question his loyalty? Is this a hint that he is already in league with Tywin?
- He explained it rather simply; restitution for Jaime's maiming. In Westeros, you don't torture prisoners. Especially not high value prisoners like Jaime Lannister. Jaime had been cruelly mistreated and to make amends, he was given his freedom. Whether or not Robb would have allowed it is debatable, but he certainly wouldn't have allowed Jaime to have his hand chopped off to start with. Also, Roose knows the war's over at this point and that Robb's lost. He wants to make peace and get on Tywin's good side. The Dreadfort may be far out of Tywin's personal reach, but he could always hire a Faceless Man.
- I don't think it's an issue with torturing prisoners. This is the man who's coat of arms is a flayed man. I think this is rather the first glimpse we have of Roose's alliance with Tywin
- This isn't a matter of torturing prisoners, this is a matter of maiming the son of the most powerful man in Westeros. If He didn't let Jaime go and Tywin ever found out about it there is nowhere in the world that Roose Bolton could run where Tywin could not find him to extract vengeance. Even with his alliance with Tywin, if Roose had failed to send Jaime back, even to keep his cover, Tywin is the sort of man who would kill him just out of the principle of the matter.
Why not just sack Winterfell?
- I know Theon isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but why didn't he just raid Winterfell and leave? Maybe torch it to ground for good measure? There has to be some valuable stuff there, and it would most likely impress his father.
- Along with Theon being a bit of an idiot, he doesn't really think like an Ironborn: having been brought up among the Starks, his tactics are all based on straight-up warfare instead of the hit-and-run raids the Ironborn prefer; he thinks it's a sign of his worth to hold Winterfell and lord it over the surrounding area. Yara makes it clear that he should have grabbed anything valuable (Bran and Rickon included) and retreated ages ago, and actually gives Theon a chance to leave under her protection. Theon doesn't accept, thinking that retreating would be dishonorable, because - again - he doesn't get that the Ironborn aren't honorable warriors, they're pirates.
- It also doesn't help that Theon's main adviser throughout all of this is setting him up for a fall and giving him the worst advice he can.
- Theon's plan is explained a little more in the books. When he is given such a demeaning task by his father (raiding fishing villages or somesuch), he decides that the only way to truly demonstrate that he is a Greyjoy and not a Stark is to seize Winterfell. Not only is it a crown jewel of the North, but symbolically he will he severing all ties with his past. He assumes that once he has Winterfell in his possession, he can just write up Yara/Asha and she will back his play and commit her men to defending it. Of course when she refuses him then he's completely buggered, but he's got nowhere to go. He defied his father, burned his bridges with Robb, and figures the best he can do at that point is a glorious death. Then he is denied that too.
What is the reason behind Daenerys's immunity to all kinds of conduction?
- Hot water, red-hot materials and a fully blazing funeral pyre? Is it ancestral magic? Does she have the blood of dragons? Someone tell me!
- It's magic and implied to be part of her Targaryen affinity with dragons.
- But none of the other Targaryens had this ability, Aerion 'Brightflame' drank wildfire thinking he would become a dragon and the result was not pretty! Plus, all non-ritualistic magic was pretty much extinct until the dragons were born again. This supports the fact that maybe the ancient Valyrians and therefore their ancestors had dragon's blood, as Doreah suggests to Viserys in S01 E04.
- I have had this pet theory that the Targaryen insanity isn't because of the incest but by them somewhat being human dragons. Some Targaryens get the immunity to fire and longevity (Danerys and Aemon) while others get the ferocity and Kill It with Fire-ness (Aerion, Aerys and Viserys)
- That wouldn't mesh with the plot, where Joffrey is pretty implicitly stated to be insane because he was a child of incest, whereas the Targaryen's not born of incest weren't known to be insane. That only some Targaryen's get these abilities (which according to a friend of mine who has read the book includes being ungodly strong) is no difference than Bran being the only Stark with magic animal powers. It's much easier to by that being The Dragon (which the series uses to label Targaryen's with the nifty powers, the last of which before the series started was Rhaegar) is a recessive genetic trait than the insanity which is stated in universe to be because of Brother-Sister Incest is actually some weird Dragon ability and it just so happens to cause similar symptoms to the insanity caused by incest.
- Or Joffrey is a sociopath because, you know, he is a sociopath. So is Ramsay Snow, and no one tries to explain it via his gene pool either. Just because some people try to explain it via his incestuous heritage doesn't mean it's an "implicit" fact. With the Targaryans there really seems to be some trait for insanity and/or sociopathy (those are not the same thing, by the way) running in the family, that may be exacerbating by their intermarriages. But for Joffrey it's MUCH easier explained by looking at his upbringing as the first son of Cersei (tells him the world specifically revolves around him and that non-Lannister lives are pretty much worthless) and Robert (boisterous, quick to anger).
- Brann isn't the only Stark skin changer/warg. All of the Stark children are wargs; on it's most basic level, this was demonstrated by their abilities to bond with their dire wolves. Brann's just the only one who puts real effort into developing this ability. Robb doesn't because he's busy with the war. Jon — who's the only other one who learns about it — doesn't develop it very much because he's more focused on sword fighting and also occupied with the white walker situation. Sansa and Arya lost their direwolves before they could develop their skills, and Rickon's six. So Brann's the only one who really gets the chance to develop the power that they all have.
- George Martin has apparently said that it was a one-time thing, her surviving the fire. In the book she isn't completely unscathed — her hair burns off — and it is somewhat implied that the act itself was magical, not just Dany. The Maegi tells her that with blood magic "only life can pay for life" and that seems to me to imply that burning her alive with the dragon eggs was the magic needed to bring the dragons back into the world. Whether or not it was necessary for the spell to work for Dany to be in the fire as well is unclear but that it was magical may explain how she survived.
- Well of course it's magic, we're not doubting the veracity of that. But 'where' does it come from. Dany seems to be an Adaptational Badass if there's such a large difference between the book and the show. Though it will be a very useful ability to have when the dragons grow larger and she needs to train them more extensively.
- I mean to say that the act itself was magic. Dany is not. It's possible, perhaps probably, that her survival was due to the magical nature of the act and not due to any magic she herself might be possessed of.
- In the book, yes. But there were plenty of other moments in the show which evidence otherwise. It can't merely be for the sake of foreshadowing, in Season 2 she tells the Spice King that she has prophetic dreams and Pyat Pree states that her mere presence acts as a lodestone to the dragons, increasing their power in her vicinity and also boosting the power levels of other magic users. I guess these powers skip quite a few generations!
- She has prophetic dreams in the books too. A few of the Targaryens did, historically. They're called "dragon dreams" for Targaryens.
- Thank you for the clarification but this still doesn't answer my original question of where the magic comes from if it has been confirmed at all and why Dany seems to have power in spades while her siblings were decidedly un-magical.
- I'm not sure if it's brought up in the TV show, but in the books it's suggested that their world is going through a phase where The Magic Comes Back: the Others being seen for the first time in millenia, dragons being born again, wildfire suddenly becoming more potent, etc. The other Targaryens, even the ones who commanded dragons, lived in a time when magic was fading out of the world, so it makes some sense that Dany could do things that they couldn't.
- Now that is a fascinating theory. Meaning that the Others may be bringing around their own demise by allowing magic to be born again to inadvertently combat them. Now this leads to another question that was on my mind. Mirri Maz Dur says "only death can pay for life." Well if that's the case, how could Dany re-animate three fossilized and in-animate dragons through the death of only one Magi?
- Maybe Equivalent Exchange is required for some backwoods hedge-mage like Mirri, but when dragons are involved the ordinary rules go out the window. Personally I think destiny is at play with all of this. Whenever Dany displays her weird ability to resist heat and fire she seems to go into some kind of trance, almost like she's being controlled by an outside force. And it seems awfully convenient that three dragon eggs just happened to drop into Dany's lap right when the Others were starting to return.
Daenerys and Viserys are way too pretty
- 300+ years of brother-sister incest, and the only side-effect is a tendency to go batshit insane. Go over to Royally Screwed Up and take a look at Charles II of Spain. That was after about a hundred years of kissing cousins.
- Pretty much what is stated above. The Targaryens are pretty much the elves of Westeros, they are riders of dragons and develop bonds with them, are immune to fire, and possess an unearthly beauty. Years of incest won't have the same impact on them as it would on normal people. Look at the Lannisters, for example, Joffrey is only 2nd generation incest (Cersei and Jaime's parents Tywin and Joanna were first cousins) and is ugly as hell and pretty out there, mentally.
- Joffrey supposedly is super-handsome, at least that's what's said in the book. While the Tagaeryen beauty can be handwaved away by their supernatural heritage, the far likelier explanation would be that GRRM didn't want genetics to get in the way of a good story.
- Well, YMMV on Joffrey's looks and I think his attitude's more due to psychopathic tendancies — and barring that, Jaime and Cersei were very fortunate in regards to their children. All things considered, the fact that the Targaryens are still in existence after all this sisterfucking is a good sign that they're no ordinary bloodline.
- Joffrey is sociopathic, and he's considered handsome. The only one of the Lannister bastards that might be a bit simple is Tommen, and it's just as likely that he's merely weak-willed. Myrcella is stated to be very intelligent.
- So wait... when they started to issue tradition of Brother-Sister Incest... they were right?
- When it comes to preserving their magical heritage, most certainly. The question is whether it was worth it.
- The Targaryens didn't always practice incestuous marriage, either. It was very common, but there were a few generations where a daughter wasn't born so the sons had to marry outside the family, and princesses of Dorne (who are about as far from Targaryan genetics as you can get) were a popular choice.
- Historically, there have been members of the Targaryen and Blackfyre houses with deformities or mental handicaps, and of course no one makes lists of the stillbirths and miscarriages, which are frequent enough in typical Westerosi families already and probably more so for the Targaryens. But yes, genetics might be a bit more forgiving in the World of Ice and Fire.
- Plus, it's not exactly impossible in real life, either. Cleopatra was the product of a long line of inbreds, and she was famously beautiful.
- Deformed inbreds are only deformed because they keep inheriting negative and cumulative traits that would get obscured with other material in the gene pool (a famous example is the "Habsburg jaw", of which Habsburg bastards like Don John and Juan Jose of Austria didn't have as much). If there weren't negative traits to be inherited in the original couple, then there is no reason for the products of repeated incest to be deformed. There is mention, however, of repeated insanity in the Targaryen line and (in the books) of sickly Targaryen kings that died young, so they didn't get scot-free for keeping it in the family, either.
- The Targaryen incest is somewhat overplayed. In thirteen generations, only six direct ancestors of Daenerys and Viserys married incestuously: Aegon the Conqueror, Jaeherys I, Prince Baelon, Princess Rhaenyra, Aegon IV, and Mad Aerys II, only the last of which occurred in the last 100 years and did not also contribute to the bloodlines of the current Baratheons and Martells.
- You can ask the same about Cranster's daughters/wives, truth is, it's a fantasy book/TV show in a different universe with different natural laws. In the Matinverse or how ever you want to call it, it seems that imbreeding does not has the same consequences as in our world, like deformities. Madness seems to be the most common consequence.
Why are the Riverlands able to raise so few forces?
- Seriously, canon tells us that the Riverlands are the second most populous and fertile region of Westeros. Their geographical location puts them in a place where they will always be on the ground between many wars and battles. You'd expect them to be very militarized since they've been invaded so many times and have little to no natural defenses. The riverlords should be able to raise at least 80,00-100,000 banners instead of a mere 20,000. Not to mention that they must be very densely populated since they are almost half the size of the Reach.
- They don't have any major cities like Lannisport or Oldtown.
- The Riverlands are much more rural. Further, the damage caused by the war prior to Robb's relief of Riverrun would have severely reduced their ability to call forces together. Jaime "smashed" the Riverlords' army at the Golden Tooth and scattered them before setting siege to Riverrun whilst the smallfolk have been put to the sword by Tywin's skirmishers and are fleeing the war south. When Robb arrives, they few thousand they can add to his forces are simply all that are left. The Riverlords could probably call up further levies, but that would seriously damage the Riverlands as an entity (someone has to stick around to take care of the crops, after all).
- It probably has to do with the historical and geographical status of the Riverlands. They are not one of the Seven Kingdoms and they don't host any of the Wardens of the cardinal directions. As such they are not treated as a military power of their own like the other major regions of Westeros. If they were to actively arm themselves beyond what is reasonably required for self-defense with the expectation that the Iron Throne would back them in case of a conflict, they would be changing the balance of military power in dangerous ways.
- In the books that had forces but Edmure tells all his bannermen to return to homes and rebuild them after the Mountain burned much of their lands. So mostly Edmure doesn't understand war.
Why was Aerys's madness allowed to go as far as it did?
- I know, because it is the premise of the series, but the more I hear about the awesomeness that was Rhaegar Targaryen it is seriously starting to bug me: Between the highly popular heir being of age and the political savvy of the reigning Hand Tywin Lannister, shouldn't it been reasonably easy to lawfully depose Aerys and have Rhaegar take over?
- Good luck with over-throwing a king...any kind. Or in other words, have fun storming the castle.
- It's never an easy process to depose the ruling monarch. When you open that door, it doesn't close easily, as the state of affairs in the series neatly demonstrates. Some lords would have joined Rhaegar, some would have remained loyal to Aerys and some would have taken the opportunity to declare independence or try to raise their own candidate to the throne. But at least in the book Rhaegar did in fact finally intend to do something to the dismal situation his father was throwing the Kingdoms in. Unfortunately he made this decision right before the Battle of the Trident.
- This question is not, however, without basis. Tywin or some other powerful player could have at least tried to poison Aerys and resolve the whole thing peacefully. It's not like it hasn't happened countless times IRL too.
- Random though fanfiction fuel: An Alternate Universe retelling of Hamlet with the Ghost being Aerys, Claudius being Rhaegar, Viserys being Hamlet and Ophelia being Daenerys.
- Rhaegar marries his mother?
- Rhaegar doesn't have to marry anyone, as long as his mother co-join him as Queen while being fully aware of what he had done. He can make Viserys his heir under the assumption that he and Daenerys would marry when they come of age — it was a thought that struck me when watching Patrick Stewart's Claudius: Other than killing Hamlet's father, who is hinted at being a warmonger, Claudius acts like a righteous man and king. So I started to figure out how Claudius could be a good guy. There is a lot of speculations amongst fans if Hamlet was playing mad or honestly being mad. So if we assume that killing Hamlets dad was absolutely the right thing to do and that Hamlet is genuinely crazy, it is easy to make Claudius the good guy who is desperately trying to keep his insane heir in check while trying to stop anyone from finding out what he did. So, a insane King that gets killed by a righteous family member who takes over the crown but who makes the old king's son his heir only for said heir to go insane and starting to kill everyone. What family does that sound like?
- By the time the situation was drastic enough to make killing a king seem like a good idea Aerys was utterly paranoid prepared to burn down all of King's Landing at a moment's notice. Not to mention that a King would have such things as food tasters to ensure nobody poisoned him. Plus Aerys was smart enough to hold hostages to keep their families in line (an example being why Jaime was kept in King's Landing while the other King's Guard went out and fought the war); if the Mad King gets poisoned what's to stop him from ordering the deaths of all his hostages out of spite?
- The strangler. That's what.
- Except he's paranoid to the nth degree and set up a massive powder keg of wildfire just to burn King's Landing to the ground rather than let Robert have it, organised by pyromancers who don't care if they go up in flames too. There doesn't seem to be that Perfect Poison in Game of Thrones ( Jon Ayrn apparently could have been saved from the poison that killed him had Pycelle not stopped the treatment) and you still have to find a way to poison the most well-protected man in the city without anyone realizing it and killing the hostages.
- Tywin — who more or less kept the Mad King in check during his stint as Hand — has no chance to play the long game if another Targaryen succeeds Aerys, what with the single bloodline. Chaos is indeed a ladder; with the Targaryens out of the picture, the Lannisters can marry into royalty and eventually become kings (e.g. Joffrey) and establish a dynasty, Tywin's explicit ambition.
- If Tywin is trying to establish a dynasty, he is not really doing a good job. Joffrey may be truly a Lannister but that's a secret that can never be revealed. It's House BARATHEON of King's Landing that rules the realm, not Lannister. Regardless of who is the power behind the throne, it's not the Lannister name that'll endure in the centuries.
- Joffrey officially identifies himself as "Joffrey of the Houses Lannister and Baratheon, First of his Name" and his sigil is already a lion and a stag.
- As much as Aerys is called the "Mad King", his time as a cruel and insane tyrant was significantly smaller than his time as a just, if a bit harsh, ruler. Most of the actions he's remembered for happen around the last five years of his twenty-one years reign, at which point people did take action, starting Robert's Rebellion. Tywin wasn't really the Hand anymore at this period of madness, being relieved of his position after the event that started Aerys's fall to madness, being kept hostage at one of his vassal's castle.
- Thing is the show has not elaborated much on that and gives the impression of Aerys being a hated tyrant almost since day one after so much interbreeding (Pycelle says he was a charmer, but he's unreliable about these things), the Sanity Slippage of the books and things going south after Tywin gets dismissed have not been stated yet onscreen, if I'm not confused (perhaps HBO bios and DVDs extras do provide this backstory). In any case, Tywin's is not a for-the-realm guy like Varys, he seizes a chance to depose the entire regime with his Cavalry Betrayal.
- It's worth mentioning that there really isn't a lawful way to depose a monarch. There's also the question as to whether or not Rhaegar would have been complicit in such a plan: mad or not, the king is the king and also his father (also Rhaegar is supposed to have kidnapped Lyanna Stark, setting the whole thing into motion). When Aerys' madness finally did become too much (burning his vassal alive and forcing his son to strangle to death) someone did do something — Robert, Jon Arryn, and Ned Stark allied with Hoster Tully and raised their banners in defiance. It's also implied that Aerys' madness was not so over the top until he started killing people. Before then, he was paranoid and muttered to himself all the time, constantly scratched himself on the Iron Throne, and let his appearance go. Other people ruled the realm in his stead and so he was fairly harmless.
- Well, looking at real history we have George III who went completely cuckoo and was thrown into a golden padded cell by his son who became the de facto ruler for nine years until George died and he was officially crowned. Why the hell didn't Rhaegar do exactly that?
- However that was still not exactly a legal deposition. It was not uncommon for rulers that were incapable for one reason or another to have a person to do the "real" ruling in their name. Aerys was a paranoid psychotic by the time he was killed and Tywin had indeed ruled in his name for a good stint and brought the realm to prosperity. The king just happened to reach his breaking point at the same time the rest of the kingdoms got fed up with him. Notice that everyone agrees it was a horrendous crime to murder Ned's father and brother but no one ever mentions anything Aerys did before then except that he started his descent into madness.
- In the books Rhaegar had told Jaime that once he returned from battle he would be making changes. Unfortunately, said battle was the Trident. Most likely, by the time he realized he needed to do something about the Mad King he also had a civil war on his hands. He chose to handle the latter, then the former and Robert caved in his chest before he could do either.
Gregor trying to kill Loras in S 1
- Ok so i've been thinking for a while, Loras is (in the show at least) the only son of Mace Tyrll and hair to Highgarden. During the joust tourney the Mountain tried to kill him in a fit of rage, had he actually succeeded wouldn't that cause a war between Houses Lannister and Tyrell, since Gregor is Tywin's bannerman? The Mountain may be....The Mountain but even he wouldn't let his temper cause a semi-civil war and how come only the Hound tried to stop him. There were many Lannisters there. Surely Cersei wouldn't want her House to suddenly find itself pitted against the second wealthiest and most populous House in the realm.
- Gregor totally is the kind of guy to let his temper get the best of him like that. He's a violent psychopathic maniac who can bulldoze most anyone else in a straight-up fight, and worse yet he knows it. Even if Tywin gives him up to the Crown for punishment (unlikely) Gregor can always request a Trial by Combat, and who could the Tyrells possibly send to beat him? IMO, killing Loras is unlikely to spark a civil war between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. The scene where Ned Stark calls Gregor and Tywin out for pillaging the Riverlands, while legally justified (perhaps), was an extreme action and was...not particularly smart from a political standpoint. The Tyrells know better than to confront House Lannister that way. As rich as they are, they have a poor chance of winning against Tywin Lannister in a full-scale war. They would more likely resort to subtler means of revenge, like poisoning Gregor and/or Tywin's food. As for why only the Hound stepped in to stop Gregor, I believe Cersei had left the tournament by that point (I can't remember if she came back or not) so she wouldn't have been in a position to stop him, and Gregor might not have listened to her anyway (he only barely stopped when King Robert himself ordered him to stop acting like a twat). The rest were in a bit of a shock at Gregor's actions so they didn't intervene, Sandor just snapped out of it before the rest of them. And also, notice how after Robert (who, again, is the King of all Westeros) ordered him to stop, Gregor just walks off cool as you please, and Robert tells everyone to let him go. Even though he just brutally assaulted the heir-apparent of House Tyrell. It seems everyone who knows The Mountain other than Tywin and The Hound adopts a strict "hands off" policy towards him. You don't try to stop him, you just get out of the way.
- You're right....this however brings up another issue. Why, why on Earth would anyone let this psycho walk around uncontrolled? Even Tywin, ruthless as he is, should be able to see that the man, useful as he might be, is a diplomatic crisis waiting to happen. He might be an undefeated and ridiculously strong but he has zero control over his temper and psychopathic tendencies and is nigh unbeatable. He won't hesitate to butcher anyone, who can guarantee that he won't attack the King in a fit of rage? Plus he is probably utterly hated by the smallfolk which means a lot of bad rep for House Lannister. Why Tywin hasn't killed this guy in his sleep yet, I can't tell.
- Firstly, Tywin doesn't let Gregor walk around completely uncontrolled. He commands The Mountain through sheer force of personality, and for the most part The Mountain does what Tywin tells him to. And even disregarding that, Gregor knows better than to run around killing people completely at random (so I guess in my first response I overstated things a bit, mea culpa). He attacked Ser Loras because he thought Loras was a dirty cheater whose tactics (distracting Gregor's stallion with a mare in heat) were a personal insult. Secondly, because if there's one thing about Tywin Lannister that absolutely everyone can agree on, it's that he does not give one single solitary FUCK about what other people think. As Tywin himself said, "A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of a sheep." Lannisters are Proud Lions and everyone else is a mere sheep, as far as he's concerned. They could be cursing Tywin's name from Dorne to the Wall, but so long as they continue to fear the wrath of the Lion he couldn't give a withered crap what else they think of him. In that respect, Gregor Clegane is a huge asset to Tywin. One might say The Mountain is the best weapon House Lannister has to terrorize the rest of Westeros.
- It's also likely they hadn't decided that Loras was the heir to Highgarden at that point. Gregor trying to kill Loras and the Hound defending him is one of the more iconic scenes from the books, so they had to keep it in. Just goes to highlight Gregor's rage in hindsight.
- "Even if Tywin gives him up to the Crown for punishment (unlikely)" If he publicly murdered the heir to a powerful rival house, in peacetime? Tywin would serve him up on a plate. He's not useful or important enough to be worth starting a war over, especially when he's obviously guilty.
- In the book Tywin was ready to cover for Gregor since he is his best deterrent, also remember when Ned sentenced Gregor to death? Tywin can sentence Gregor to death but that means he'll lose at least 4 soldiers more and it just because pretty boy Tyrell believed pranking Gregor was a good idea.
- To add to the above, no one sides with the Martells actively only because the Lannisters are clearly he winning side at the moment. Tywin giving up the Mountain to them for them to torture until he couldn't even win a trial by combat would be stupid because it looses him his enforcer and probably just opens the door to the Martells accusing him of being the one who ordered the mountain to kill Elia. The Tyrell's on the other hand would have the sympathy of the whole realm and siding with the mountain would be political incompetence. And killing the heir of the Reach in a fit of pique is certainly in character for him given the way he runs Harrenhal. (Which Tywin even declares incompetent and pointlessly cruel.
Arya in King's Landing
- Maybe this is answered in the books, but can anyone tell me why Arya even goes to King's Landing in the first place? Sansa I understand, since at the time she was supposed to marry Joffrey. But why did Ned drag Arya along too?
- Ned wanted Arya to learn how to be a lady at court and wanted the Stark kids to be closer with the Baratheon children. Bran was supposed to go too, before his fall. Only Robb and Rickon were going to stay in Winterfell with Catelyn.
- Also, Arya has to get married eventually, and taking her down to King's Landing afford her an opportunity to see and be seen by all the great families of the realm.
What is the state of House Baratheon right now
- Has the 298 year old House Baratheon of Storms End ceased to exist? Has it been split between Stannis,Joffrey and Renly and into three new Houses? Does Renly's branch still exist after his death? Which one is the "true" House Baratheon? The one in Dragonstone or the one in King's Landing? Who is currently in control of Storm's End and, by extension, the Stormlands?
- It's less clear than in the books but here goes: The split branches of House Baratheon were not an official thing, really. Robert was technically the head of the Baratheon household but because he was king he gave Renly the Stormlands and Stannis Dragonstone because he needed Stannis' strength to hold the Targaryen seat. When Robert died, Stannis as the oldest brother (and Joffrey as a false heir) is the legal ruler of the Stormlands (but everyone likes Renly better so they don't pay attention) and he's the king. Had Renly bent the knee, Stannis' might have let him keep Storm's End. Now that Renly is dead, Stannis' is the legitimate ruler of the Stormlands. However, because most people don't know or don't care that Joffrey is not a Baratheon, he holds the legal right to the Stormlands and Storm's End. The book dedicates a small portion to Stannis' siege of Storm's End before he takes the castle. So, Stannis' is the lord of the Stormlands and Storm's End because he got them to side with him and not Joffrey, and king besides. However, the Blackwater has significantly eroded his power base so it doesn't really count for much anymore. Legally speaking, as far as most are concerned, King Joffrey is the new head of the Baratheon household and has the right to the Stormlands and Storm's End.
- This isn't a new idea. There have been in-universe splits before the Greystarks, Karastarks, and the Lannisport Lannisters come to mind. Usually after a few generations one of the branches would have alter there name and become a cadet branch of the main house. Instead because Joffrey being false heir we have this Succession War.
- Things are a little more complicated than that. Renly was the rightful lord of the Stormlands, because Robert named him so, as was his right as both lord of the Stormlands and king. Stannis was just crossed because he saw the act of skipping him in the line of succession as a personal insult, as Dragonstone, in his eyes, is much less prestigious than their ancient seat (and much less powerful too). Now, after Robert died, the kingdom should pass to Stannis (if the true nature of the princes was well-known), but at first the Stormlands would stay with Renly. Instead, Joffrey got the Iron Throne, and both the Stormlands and Dragonstone rose in rebellion.
- In the books Renly doesn't have his own sigil but he's the only Baratheon who uses the standard black on gold stag and is the actual ruler of the Stormlands. I think it was meant that he should continue the main branch while Robert's line would carry on the royal line. After Robert's death Stannis would be the royal line by default and Renly still be lord of the Stormlands. The difference is that Stannis would also be the head of House Baratheon as a whole at that point and could simply ship off Renly to Dragonstone if he really wanted to. It's even more confusing since the Targaryens were one house despite having Dragonstone as ancestral seat and reigning from King's landing.
- Just to say it: Robert was not an idiot when he gave his youngest inexperienced brother their ancestral home who would never in a million years rise up for any reasons and then gave his highly proven warrior of an older brother the newly-acquired ancestral (as in they lived there before Aegon jumped up on Balerion and screamed Attack!) home of the Targaryens. The fact that Stannis chose to use this as one of the ultimate reasons that he was shafted is everything you need to hear to know why Stannis is Stannis.
- Stannis is not a friendly guy but there's nothing in him that would have suggested he'd have risen in rebellion against Robert. Robert was Stannis' older brother and his version of the Rebellion has him say something to the effect of "the younger brother follows the older" and better explains why he was pissed off that Renly got the Stormlands and he got Dragonstone.
- The issue was never one of Robert having fear of Stannis rebelling. Granting Stannis Dragonstone instead of Storm's End was a decision with several things factoring into it; first and foremost, the houses(few as they were) that pledged loyalty to Dragonstone were hardcore Targaryen loyalists. Robert needed a man like Stannis — strong, unyielding, and unforgiving — to bring them to heel and keep them in line. Dragonstone was also the traditional seat of the heir to the kingdom — Targaryan brothers would rule it before the king had a son, sons would rule it before their royal father died. Giving Stannis Dragonstone, on paper, made him Robert's heir until Joffrey was born. However, there's another, less positive aspect — Robert never forgave Stannis for failing to capture Dragonstone before Viserys and Dany were evacuated, thus allowing the escape of the last two Targaryan heirs. Dragonstone, despite it's place of honor as the seat of the heir of the kingdom, is a very poor holding. It has very few bannermen, all situated on small islands, no suitable land for farming so no real income to speak of, and is just generally an unpleasant place to live. Contrast to Storm's End, arguably the greatest castle in the seven kingdoms and Stannis' childhood home, it's easy to see why Stannis would resent being stuck on a pile of obsidian out in the ocean. More than anything, because Dragonstone's so out of the way and commands so little power on it's own, it's just another sign, in Stannis' mind, of Robert brushing him aside. Stannis really does consider himself Dude, Where's My Respect? guy of the seven kindoms; he held Storm's End through a year long siege, he took Dragonstone, he crushed the Iron Fleet — but it's always been Robert and Ned who were the heroes, who got the credit, the praises. It'll give a guy a bit of a complex.
Daenerys: "Hooray! I've conquered Westeros and reclaimed the Iron Throne! ...Okay, now what?"
- This question concerns Dany's goals and mindset. Lets assume that she completely succeeds in her stated goals. She invades Westeros with her dragons, deposes False!King Joffrey, and either destroys or brings to heel all the chief noble houses (lets also assume for a moment that the looming White Walker threat doesn't exist). First off, as a woman can she even claim the throne? As I understand it, except for Dorne all of Westeros follows a patriarchal succession system. Could she be Queen by herself or would she have to pick a nobleman to marry and rule beside her (above her?) as King (just imagine the infighting resulting from that choice)? And what about an heir? I think I read somewhere that all signs point to Daenerys becoming barren after her dragons hatched. Even if she re-conquers Westeros for herself, who will succeed her? Now I know that there are other factors involved here (for instance, I'm aware that baby Aegon is still alive). What I'm wondering is how Daenerys herself sees this all going down, since at this point she's not aware of those other factors.
- Women are able to inherit in Westeros. The Targaryens fought a war to settle it once and the outcome was that all male heirs come before the female heirs, but because Dany is the last Targaryen she's automatically the heir to the throne. Dorne just practices a system in which female heirs are considered in the same line as men, so older females inherit before younger men. As far as an heir, Daenerys doesn't necessarily need to have a child to have an heir. She could simply name a suitable candidate as her heir, something that has real-world historical context and is not unheard of in Westeros (Jon Arryn planned to name either Ned Stark or Robert Baratheon as his heir before he married Lysa Tully). And anyone she marries would not be a king, necessarily. They would be a king consort or a prince consort — a king in name only with no real power to make the orders.
- Jon Arryn was NOT planning to have either of his wards as heir. He had an heir in Elbert Arryn, his nephew, who was killed at the same time as Brandon and Rickard Stark by the mad king. It would be silly to name someone not of the Vale as the heir as the Lords would surely take issue with it.
- First off, as a woman, can she even claim the throne? Yes, she can, by right of "Fuck you, I have dragons."
- I imagine she intends to do what most people in that situation would do. Rule till the day she dies while ostensibly making Westeros a better place at the same time.
More Unsullied questions
- The Unsullied are a pretty awesome fighting force, no question about that. But is the Unsullied "model" (for lack of a better term) still sustainable now that they are no longer an army of slaves? Would Daenerys be able to train up more Unsullied without relying on the especially brutal Training from Hell methods developed by the Good Masters, like the baby-killing ritual or the castration?
- I don't think she is planning to have any more, the whole "Give me the half-trained ones so I can replace the ones that falls" was pretty much an excuse so that the slave masters of Astapor wouldn't have anyone able to put up any resistance as she sacked the place. By the time enough Unsullied have fallen for it to be an issue she will have conquered enough cities to be able to raise an army by conventional means. See it as the Real Life version of cheating in a Total War game by starting with a fully stacked army of elite-units.
- The brutality of their training is designed to weed out humanity and make them automatons rather than people. You can still raise up future legions of highly skilled warriors like the Unsullied by using the original core body of troops as instructors. They can still instill discipline and skill at arms without puppy strangling and baby killing.
- Still, without breaking the humanity in the unsullied will they be as efficient? Without the lack of fear of death you just have their fighting skills, which from what I've heard is about as much as you can expect from people who were castrated before they could really get a strong build from the testosterone. Still, like it was said before by the time the Unsullied run out Daenerys should have enough volunteers to make up for it.
- They won't have the same fearlessness, true, but there's no reason to castrate them so they will be stronger on average. The Good Master describes the Unsullied as also training with pike, shield and short sword for hours every day until they've reached perfection so with as stringent a training regimen, you can still replace losses. They won't ever be as elite as Unsullied, but it would be smarter since it would be easier to replace losses (the Spartans upon which the Unsullied are partly based could not replace losses as easily due to their exacting standards and that led to their downfall more than once).
- The biggest problem with training new (half-)Unsullied is that... who would want to go through that training process? Dany's army is an army of free men, and the biggest point of how the Unsullied are made is that they have no choice on the matter. Even the Unsullied that are already fully-trained may be spoiled by their liberty (I think I recall the books mentioning that Unsullied hired as bodyguards on the Free Cities usually grow fat and lazy because they don't have such harsh life, so they aren't completely single-minded in their discipline). Still, she has 8000 badass soldiers, plus three growing dragons under her control, and that's already a quite fearsome force (if she manages to bring them to the right land).
- Probably the same number of people who want to go through modern day special forces training. Dany's growing nation is made up of freed slaves; people who have been weak and helpless and powerless their whole lives. They've just seen their masters — the people they've bowed and scraped for their whole lives — cower in fear before the strength of these Unsullied. I think the combination of a sudden lack of purpose in their lives and a wonderment at the unsullied's discipline and skill would make it look rather attractive.
- Most of the Unsullied training is just to make them completely tame, you don't need that if they willingly join your army, killing a baby and getting your dick chopped is not how you get good at fighting, having someone teaching them to swordfight does.
Why didn't Ned legitimate Jon Snow?
- This is a question that haunts me since 3x02 "Dark Wings, Dark Words". We had Catelyn in an open-hearted speech with Talisa for the first time and they're talking about motherly love, so Catelyn confessed she regrets mistreating Jon Snow and the breaking her oath to raise him like her own son. But if she begged Ned to legitimate his bastard and raise him as a trueborn son, considering the love that Ned has always has for his son, why didn't he legitimate Jon?
- Maybe for respect to Catelyn. He didn't want to hurt her though she was supposed to approve Jon's acknowledgment.
- Or maybe there's a Fridge Brilliance: Ned didn't because Jon is not his son.
- Doesn't legitimizing a bastard require royal writ? Ned might not have thought it a matter important enough to petition the king. Besides, Catelyn would hardly have wanted such a thing, as far as Ned knew, and Jon's upbringing didn't suffer from not being legitimized. In-universe, it's very rare that a bastard gets made a legitimate child — usually only if he's the last heir to his father's lands. Catelyn in the books even admonishes Robb for wanting to legitimize Jon as his heir, pointing out that a Targaryen king who did such inadvertently caused a massive civil war and several smaller conflicts as a result and that there is potential for quite a bit of trouble down the line if Jon is made a Stark officially.
- According to the Song of Ice and Fire RPG book (which has Martin's input) a King does have the legal authority to legitimize a bastard, which from the wording is something that is unique to a King. While Ned could get Robert to do it easily considering their relationship, Catelyn certainly wouldn't have liked it (at least from his perspective). As for the Fridge Brilliance above: There is the possibility that Jon is Lyanna Stark's and Rhaegar Targaryen's son, in which case Ned has a damn good reason not to draw anymore attention to Jon then he has to.
- Another subsequent Fridge Brilliance: if what is written above is true, this explains why in Season 1 Ned has sent Jon to the Wall despite life is hard there, that Ned wanted to please Catelyn, Jon wanted to keep as far away as possible from any court intrigue and the same time keep him away from his own origins. This is definitely why Ned was planning to reveal the identity of Jon's mother only after he had been sworn in as the Night's Watch, so any claim to the throne by Jon (if he decided to do something)would be nothing. Surely, he did it to protect it from Robert and the Lannisters but also from himself!
- We're going off topic here; the OP is asking why Ned didn't legitimize Jon after Cat begged him to; the answer is that she didn't. She specifically says that despite her prayers and promises to the gods that she would love Jon as her own son and beg Ned to "give him the Stark name", as soon as he was better she reneged and went back to resenting him and treating him with scorn. I'm sure that if she had asked Ned, he would have done so — having Jon legitimized as Jon Stark would have both honored his "son", whether he really is or not, and eliminated any possibility of him making claims to the throne — assuming Jon is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar(which this troper personally does not believe), he still would have officially been Jon Stark, not Jon Targaryan, and any claim otherwise would have been highly suspect as the only people who could attest to it would be Ned(who wouldn't) and Howlen Reed, one of Ned's best friends and most loyal bannermen, which is about as far from an unbiased source as you can get. As it stands, Jon arguably had it better off as a Snow than he ever would have as a Stark, he was just too much of a self centered whiney little git to realize it. Got got raised in a castle, stone walls around him, roof above him, feather bed beneath him. Got an actual education, got proper combat instruction, got swords and armor — all the benefits of nobility without all the responsibility. He doesn't have to dress up for fancy balls and stand on ceremony, he can sit in the crowd and get drunk while his siblings are allowed only a glass of wine. And he'd eventually be allowed to marry any(low born) woman he wanted; he wouldn't be sold off to secure a political alliance like all his brothers and sisters would have been. As a noble born bastard, Jon Snow literally had the best lot in life anyone in Westeros could ever hope to have.
- In A Storm of Swords, Robb does want to legitimize Jon, but Catelyn points out the problems legitimized bastards like the Blackfyres can cause. Robb is sure he can trust Jon to never harm his heirs, but he can't say the same about Jon's sons or grandsons.
- Legitimising Jon wouldn't quite cause the same problems as the Blackfyres did, because Robb would legitimize him and name him his heir. The lack of explicitly naming a heir was the cause of the Blackfyre Rebellion, made worse by the King giving Daemon his family's sword, which many saw as a sign he was the favored son. Likewise, had Ned wanted to legitimize Jon, all he'd need to do to was to keep a clear succession line, and his sons would definitely obey it.
- Catelyn's fears were that once Robb had a son to be his heir, there was the chance that a legitimized Jon Snow or one of his offspring would attempt to press their claim by force, something that would be impossible if he remained a bastard.
- Her fears are ultimately baseless and stem entirely from her deepseated resentment of Jon. Robb's the older brother, and he and Jon actually had a very good relationship. Robb wouldn't have any more to fear from Jon or his sons than he does from Rickon and any potential kids he might have.
- Granted Catelyn's letting her hatred of Jon get the better of her, it still bears some serious thought. Making legitimizing Jon does create the potential for some serious political problems down the line.
- All it really creates is a new branch family. Not very different from the three different branches that would arise if Robb, Bran and Rickon were all to be married and have children, just with four branches rather than three.
- The only real potential threat comes from the combination of Robb both legitimizing Jon and naming him his heir; in the books, Robb plans on doing this because Jeyne isn't pregnant yet and Robb regularly puts himself in high risk situations. Presumably if Robb had lived he would have revoked Jon's status as heir as soon as a son was born to him. So the only problem that could arise is if Robb died before Jeyne gave birth. Still a few ways around that, but ultimately it wouldn't have been an issue as Jon's a good person who most likely would have chosen to serve as protector of the realm until his nephew came of age. But Cat hates Jon and is always going to see him as a threat to her sons and their birthrights.
- Isn't Jon older than Robb? Wouldn't legitimizing Jon mean putting him ahead of Robb in Winterfell's line of succession?
- Technically, yes, but Robb is already the king. Pressing his claim would require Jon to declare war on the beloved brother who is responsible for him having a claim in the first place — more than a little ungrateful. (But yes, Jon's son potentially claiming to have more right to the throne than Robb's son because his father was the elder of the two is exactly the kind of ugly situation Catelyn was warning him about.)
- How could Jon be older than Robb if Robb was conceived on Eddard and Catelyn's wedding night, and was born while Ned was at war. Whoever he had a bastard with would have to have been after riding to war, and he had only spent a single night with his wife.
- Unless, as the theory goes, Ned isn't Jon's father. In which case birth order is irrelevant.
- Yeah, Robb is older, if only by a matter of months.
- If what Arya learns in Storm of Swords (Book 3) is true, then Jon Snow is older — he was born whilst Catelyn was still engaged to Brandon ("So there's no stain on your father's honor", he didn't cheat on his wife) while at a tourney at Harrenhall, putting it before Robert's rebellion got started (though probably not much before). It's also implied his (Jon Snow's) mother committed suicide "from the shame", which is why Eddard didn't talk about it.
- Even if Robb wasn't older, legitimized bastards traditionally fall behind all trueborn children, including girls, in the line of succession, so Robb would still come before Jon after legitimizing him. The only reason Jon would be heir to Robb before Sansa and Arya is because Robb is decreeing it so for practical reasons, the girls being in Lannister hands (Sansa) or disappeared (Arya). Bran and Rickon don't come into it because they're "dead", of course.
- Why would they legitimize Jon? He already has everything he needs for a kid who just got introduced in the family and it would make legacy issues.
- Perhaps the legitimization process requires for the father to swear that he knows the bastard is his biological son (otherwise a childless lord might pass an unrelated child off as his son in order to cheat the next heir in line). This would be awkward for Ned, because (1) he would be knowingly committing perjury, and (2) He might later have to say "I was lying, Jon is really..." which would damage his credibility.
What makes the Iron Bank of Braavos so powerful?
- I mean, do they employ some powerful sellswords or have a fearsome private army under their control? Other than being filthy rich and influential, what stops a particularly hot-headead king for gathering half his army and navy, sailing to Braavos, sacking the city, burning the bank to the ground, killing its owners and looting them of all their gold, if they refuse to loan him or threaten to support another prince or king if he doesn't repay them?
- Because they have the money. And just like any other bank, if you can't pay your bills, they'll declare you bankrupt and there goes your credit. If your credit is shot, you can't buy stuff....like food, armor, weapons, and ships. And when you can't do that, your enemies and your neighbors will be looking to increase their wealth, and they are not going to be nice about.
- Essentially, if you don't pay them, they'll fund your enemies. As an organization, they've more wealth than the Lannisters; if the Lannisters piss them off, they'll bankroll Stannis or Baelon or even Dany or one of the hundred or so other people who want to see the Lannisters die. They'll give them the funds to raise armies and supply those armies as well or better than the Lannisters can. The same goes for anyone who gets on their bad side; cross them, and whoever wants you dead(and you never get powerful enough to be in this position without having a lot of enemies) just got a new investor. The books also hint they have a very close relationship to the Faceless Men. All the armies and sellswords in the world aren't so dangerous as those guys. A hot-headed king who blustered about doing that would have an "accident" before he could raise that army.
- Besides, any king that tried would be facing the largest army money can buy, regardless.
- There's also the fact that Braavos lies in a swampy land that only the Braavosi can navigate easily, and it's protected by the strongest warfleet in the world. A land army is useless if it can't get to its target and establishing a navy isn't nearly as simple as establishing an army.
- This ties into what Varys said in Season 2 (though if this is a TV headscratchers section, why are we talking about this?). In Season 2, Varys asks who has power to sway the sellsword; the King, the Holy Man or the Rich Man. GRRM seems to have this ongoing theme of power being an illusion, and residing only where men believe it resides (another Varys quote).
- Let's not forget that if you're in any position of power, you most likely owe some sort of debt to the Iron Bank. If have a big enough debt, the Iron Bank can decide to call in those debts, refuse to grant any more loans, and quite simply ruin your economy. In the books, this is EXACTLY what they do to Westeros after Cersei refuses to pay them.
- Braavos are almost an elvish civilization by their differences, they have a banking system, fencers who can win national pit-fights, magic assassins, and the architectural know-how to build a giant Titan.
Westeros standing in the world
- The Iron Bank of Braavos. The Faceless Men. The Blood of Ancient Valyria. The Free City of Lorath. The more glimpses I see of the world outside the Seven Kingdoms the more I start to suspect that Westeros ranks rather low in the grand schemes of things. Or is that just me? I mean the ruler of Yunkai pretty much hands everything Daenerys ever wanted on a silver platter in order to have her terrorize Westeros rather than them without much concern over what that would mean for the world in large.
- The Free Cities are akin to the rich merchant republics of Italy and are each unique and varied and wealthy. The slave cities of Astapor and Yunkai are rich from the slave trade. Westeros is sometimes referred to as backwards because it lacks the luxury and opulence of the city-states of Essos, but it does have something for it in that it is a unified continent with a significant amount of military power and trade value. Yunkai cares more about not getting terrorized by Dany than they do about not upsetting the balance of power globally, so they are more than willing to give her anything she wants to spare them. Whether or not big changes in Westeros will mean things for Essos remains to be seen.
- Westeros is in essence Medieval Western(most) Europe, if there was a Narrow Sea connecting the Baltic with the Mediterranean. The equivalents of Italy (The Free Cities), Byzantium (Qarth), the Middle East (Slaver's Bay), etc, all of them more developed that Western Europe at the time in our world, are all on Essos. From an Essosi perspective Westeros is poor, backwards and peripheral.
- All of the above, really. Think of Essos as the First World of this universe. Rich, urbanized, technologically and culturally advanced. Westeros, for all its Kings, Lords, and Knights, is still a poor, backwards, rural, and sparsely-populated feudal realm locked in MedievalStasis and whose economy is based mostly on agriculture and small-scale trade.
- I think people overestimate how "advanced" the Essosi are. Sure, they seem to be more refined, definitely have magic as a more common aspect of their lives, and see Westeros as backwards, but in truth, they're not much better, just more snob. For all the magic and riches the Essosi have, the Westerosi maesters still seem to be the most well-educated people in the world, for example.
- Yeah, they're a bit like the Islamic world during the Middle Ages. More advanced and refined in many ways, but on a grand scale neither one has a major advantage over the other.
- There's really no Essosi to speak of, since the continent is divided into so many countries, regions, and city-states. Qarth is like you described, and the Free Cities and Ghiscari cities to a lesser extent, and then there's the Dothraki and Lhazareen, not to mention all the regions and city-states that haven't gotten exposure in the story.
- The Free Cities also don't appear to be very militarily powerful, as they mostly rely on sellswords or slave soldiers for protection. If it weren't for the Narrow Sea, Westerosi lords could easily march on the isolated cities and take them one by one.
- The united military might of one of the high lords might be able to; but as Robert pointed out all the way back in Season 1; the Seven Kingdoms doesn't have a single army. Every lord is running around with his own army with little coordination and no real sense of unity.
- True, but as each High Lord has a big enough army to control at least ten times the territory of each individual Free City, even disunited they would be a serious threat to Essos if it weren't for the Narrow Sea. Daenerys has 8,000 Unsullied and she's a serious enough threat to the Free Cities for them to try and bribe her off rather than fight. For perspective, Robb Stark was able to muster 20,000 soldiers for a single battle.
- Yunkai isn't one of the free cities; it's part of Slaver's Bay, which is a coalition of three cities; Astapor, Yunkai, and Myreen, that supply slaves to the rest of the world. Yunkai itself is the weakest of the three, given that it specializes in pleasure slaves, and generally relies on the more militant Atapor for protection. Also keep in mind that it's not that Daenerys has 8000 unsullied that scares them, it's that she has 8000 unsullied that scares them. Going back to the Free Cities; being that they're all coastal powers, they're all more naval powers, especially Braavos, which boasts the strongest warfleet in the world. Meanwhile the Seven Kingdom's navy kind of sucks at the moment; Baelon commands arguably the strongest existing fleet right now, but he couldn't care less about the Free cities given that he's got all of Westeros between him and them. Stannis's fleet was smashed in the Blackwater, and as Master of Ships, his fleet represented the bulk of the Royal Fleet — which is why the Lannisters were cowering at Stannis' approach. The Free Cities do hurt in terms of infantry, which the Starks, the Lannisters, and especially the Tyrells have in spades, but you'd never get a beach head, and then if you did, the Dothraki would just wait for the fight to end and swoop in to smash the victor.
- The Westerosi lords can be united with a common purpose. At least once, during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, a Westerosi army landed in Essos and defeated a Tyroshi army, including the vaunted Golden Company. A few of the older characters, like Jon Arryn, Barristan Selmy and Brynden Tully made their names through victory here. The simple fact is the Free Cities aren't very militarily powerful because they are small city states whose only real enemies are the Dothraki who they can easily buy off. If every one city state opposes another, the battle usually comes in the form of politics and intrigue.
- Comparisons to real history can be misleading. You can say that Westeros = Western Europe and Essos = Islam. But in the real world Europe was split into quarreling countries while Islam had a unifying religion and culture, and often a powerful ruler in Baghdad or Istanbul. In the GOT world, it's Westeros that has a unified Empire (until the rebellions) while Essos seems to be a set of independent city states, separated by inhospitable desert. As for which is more advanced: historian Will Durant thought Europe didn't surpass Islam technologically until the Scientific Revolution in the 1600s; in the GOT world it's hard to tell.
- Anyone else seeing some major flaws in Yara's plan to march on the Deardfort with only fifty men?
- The odds are not in her favor, but it's not impossible. Assuming Bolton has most of his forces with him in the Riverlands, the Dreadfort might not be at full strength. Yara's not trying to take and hold the Dreadfort. She just wants to break in, free Theon, and get out. Under the right circumstances, she might be able to pull it off with fifty. Remember, Theon managed to take Winterfell with twenty men.
- The Ironborn style of fighting eschews pitched battles and grand strategies in favor of raiding. That basically means a force of fifty of the best killers the Iron Islands has would be quite sufficient to infiltrate the Dreadfort, slaughter their way through the garrison and escape before a large force can be mustered. A raid like this basically calls for the smallest group one can reasonably expect to accomplish the mission.
- Pretty much the above. The Ironborn don't fight big battles so size is always going to be irrelevant for the offensive. Winterfell was taken less Ironborn through careful planning and misdirection. So long as Yara avoids fighting the Bolton's forces on an open field or head on 50 men would be enough to break someone out of a generic castle. Whether or not it'll work on the Dreadfort is another matter entirely.
- She probably intends to do something like what Theon did in taking Winterfell, which worked with only 20 men. She has more than twice as many men and knows when to cut her losses — rather than trying to hold the Dreadfort, she knows to leave once she's rescued Theon.
Common Enemies and Lesser Evils
- The Wall and the Nights Watch are severely understaffed. This is made very clear. Even the recruits they do have mostly suck, or at least aren't enough to fend off the Wall; not from Wildlings, surely not from White Walkers. The Wildlings (by and large) want to GTFO of the North before the White Walkers and their army of dead people murder them and add them to their forces. So, why don't the two factions just make peace and face the White Walkers together? It wouldn't be difficult; Mance was a Watcher, Jon was briefly a Wildling. Yeah, they have some bad history, but fuck it, impending doom is...well, impending. They literally have nothing to lose but everything to gain for an alliance. I'm pretty sure Someone somewhere in Westeros would thank the Wildlings and give them lands (so they wouldn't have to loot, burn and pillage their way to a new homeland, which is more or less why the Wall is there). Hell, a few Lords might seriously want them to Exodus to their lands after the War of Five Kings is over and the White Walkers are dealt with, seeing as how their populations have been ravaged by the War. It makes no sense for them to fight each other with the impending threat, and they have to know this. Even the "Cultural differences" excuse wouldn't make sense, seeing as how the Wildlings and the Northerners are almost culturally identical. There has to be someone in both armies going "So...can we just fight the fucking snow monsters? That's what this is all about, right?"
- Cultural differences isn't an excuse here. The Wildlings are most similar to Northmen, but even they can't stand each other. The Wildlings follow a different religion from the rest of Westeros (even the Northerners practice a different structure to their faith) and are proud of the fact they eschew any and all rule and live their lives independently. They wouldn't listen to a lord even if he opened his arms to them — for no other reason than because they don't want to. Their entire society is incompatible with Westerosi styled governance. If nothing else, the fact that the two peoples have been warring for centuries (6 King-Beyond-The-Wall marched south and were repelled) would prevent their acceptance in society. That said the idea of a Wilding-Watch alliance does come up.
- The mistake in your argument is assuming that the wildlings would surely behave if they had lands south of the Wall. In fact, the southerners have every reason to believe they'll just raid much more, since they are the free folk and answer to no one they don't want to. It's not as much a matter of culture, but a matter of societal structure, with the southerners living in a feudal society, while the wildlings live in a tribal one where Authority Equals Asskicking is the only hierarchy there is. Now (book spoilers following), some wildlings are given the chance to make a living in the Gift, the region that belongs to the Night's Watch, and is pretty much abandoned. The decision was made because the Wall and the Night's Watch were never really meant to keep the wildlings away (their true goal is and always was to defeat the Others, and they're already too weakened to do that even without concerning themselves with a third side on the conflict), but the long-term consequences of this act are yet to be felt.
- If you want to know what the Wildlings would be like if the Watch let them all come down south, look no further than the Hill Tribes who live in the Vale of Aryn. The Wildlings are a gang of violent anarchists. Basically land-bound versions of the Ironborn. Could you live next door to a guy like Craster? How about a million guys like Craster? The Wildlings may piss and moan about how the southerners "stole" their land, but in reality there's a very good reason for the Seven Kingdoms to keep them out. Now of course that may (and probably will) change quite a bit as the war with the White Walkers kicks into high gear, but we're not there yet.
- Actually, Craster's practices are unique for a wildling and the other wildlings hate him and vice versa.
- I don't mean the incest thing, I mean the "violent asshole" thing. Wildlings, as a rule, are violent assholes. Their idea of "marriage" is basically "knock her out and drag her back to your cave by her hair". In that respect, Craster is no different from the rest of the Wildlings.
- Well, except that Wildling women aren't meek and submissive as a rule. They have a saying (paraphrased): "You can own a woman or you can own a knife, but you can't own both". Basically, they are taught that it's a-OK to stab their man in his sleep if he is abusive or otherwise unpleasant.
- ...Which only reinforces the point that the people south of the Wall have every reason in the world to keep the Wildlings out. Wildling women may not be submissive by nature, but non-Wildling women are. So, if one of them gets knocked out and turned into a wife for Grabthor Ironshank or whatever, she's probably not going to be inclined to fight back against whatever he has planned for her. If "Southerners" had to live next to Wildlings, it wouldn't take long before open warfare breaks out between the Wildlings who think marriage-by-kidnap is okay and Southerners who don't take kindly to their daughters being kidnapped.
- You might think it's a good idea for the Night's Watch and the Wildings to ally against the real threat, but that's something that people are notoriously bad at (not being able to look past the immediate advantage to see the long term problems). Look at the actions of the European powers to the Nazis carving up Czechoslovakia - you might think the Poles would oppose it because a big country carving up a small one was probably something they wanted to avoid, but Hitler allowed them to make territorial gains - for a year or so, when they were themselves conquered. And they were culturally a lot more similar than the Wildings and the Northmen.
Are Masha Headle and Tobho Mott nobles?
- So we are told that in Westeros only nobles get surnames and commoners don't, yet here there are an innkeeper and a smith that have surnames. What's the deal with them?
- Maybe Tobho Mott is from the Free Cities. His name doesn't sound Westerosi, and he studied his trade in Qohor.
- The idea of only nobles having surnames is something of an over generalization. A few commoners do have them, it's just exceedingly rare and ultimately not worth much.
- Varys's speech was figurative. Having any surname is still not enough, your surname has to mean something. So if you're a Lannister or a Baratheon, you're pretty important, but if you're a Rivers or a Snow, or have some foreign/lowborn surname, you're still just a random face amongst the masses.
- Those two characters are moderately well-known businesspeople, so maybe they have more use for a surname than the average peasant. Also, Tobho Mott is apparently from Qohor.
- Historically, surnames for common people developed in part from their profession (Smith, for instance) so people of a profession, for instance an inn keeper and a master armorer, would indeed have need of a surname.
- That's actually the other way around — the need of a surname made people use professions as one source of them, the profession didn't need the name. "Oh I mean John the Smith, not John the Cook or John the Shepard."
- As said above, Tobho a prominent master armourer from the Free City of Qohor where surnames are more common, and Masha Heddle is descended from the crippled knight Long Tom Heddle who retired there around 150 years before the series.
Shouldn't Westeros be more accepting of Brother Sister Incest?
- Think about it, The Founder of the Kingdom and his heirs during a 300 year long dynasty was exclusively marrying their heir to his sister in order to keep the bloodline pure. 300 years of living in the royal court and try to elevate yourself and your family would have been dependent of you being willing to ignore the fact that The King and His Queen is siblings. Shouldn't this Stepford Smiler Masquerade have tickled down to the common folks world-view so that the spawn of a Brother-Sister Incest shouldn't be a automatic death sentence?
- The Targaryens are basically seen as being akin to gods on Earth. They can get away with things that are deadly sins for "mere mortals". That was part of the problem with their rule — they saw themselves as Above Good and Evil, which created the potential for horrible tyranny.
- Also, to the Westerosi, every single Targaryen is The Conqueror. Think of it this way: in our society, we see bestiality as something intensely taboo at best and morally repugnant at worst. We are conquered by humanoid aliens who practice ritual bestiality. Sure, we can appease them by saying we accept it, but really it's just adding insult to injury: not only are these foreigners taking over, but they're trampling on long-held moral values.
- Indeed. It is important to remember that the Targaryens appeased the Westerosi lords by adopting their culture by and large. Incest was one of the few practices they maintained and nobody liked it — it was considered profane. They got away with that by being the most powerful force in the realm with armies and dragons.
- Well it's still gross regardless of what the royals did, but the kids would still have been marked for death as the results of an affair by the Queen and being pretenders to the throne.
- As pointed out above, the Targaryens didn't quite follow the rules of the people they conquered, but aside from that, they were also well known to have madness as a very common trait, and the incest is believed to be the cause, so you'd imagine the stygma is still there for the lesser families.
- Westerosi were never particularly accepting of the Targaryan practice of incest. There was at least one religious uprising over the issue. It's just something people had to accept because of the Targaryan answer to everything back then; "Fuck you, got Dragons."
- Just a point of fact, the Targaryen monarchs didn't exclusively practice brother-sister incest, just very commonly. If there was an advantageous political marriage to be made, such as when Dorne was brought into the realm, or no sibling of the opposite sex existed, as in Prince Rhaegar's case, then they would intermarry with other noble families. Also, we know that the sons of King Aegon V were all given permission to marry for love as he had, which probably wasn't with sisters. Anyway, there were those in Westeros who didn't approve of the Targaryen practice of incest, leading to the aforementioned uprising and grumbling, and others who figured that the gods were okay with it if it was the Targaryens doing it, but not if it was normal people. They were considered a breed apart (having white hair and purple eyes helped with that).
- Actually two of Aegon's children, in marrying for love, married each other. Though they have probably been cut from the show. Also Aegon had arranged marriages for his children with some of the greatest families in Westeros, but most of them married for love instead, causing a lot of trouble. Also, I think what makes Jaime/Cersei's union particularly bad to many people is that it was the Queen doing it, making her children illegitimate.
Why the lax punishment for Balon?
- Something that's baffled me for awhile now is why Balon Greyjoy is even still alive at the beginning of the series. This is the man who took up arms against the Iron Throne, and was defeated. Now, I know he eventually bent the knee, but he still committed treason of the highest order, for no reason that would make sense to a non-Ironborn. It seems perfectly reasonable to have executed him, and or at the very least strip him of his titles and send him into exile or to The Wall. To let him keep the power he had before he rebelled just seems to be an act of complete idiocy, and Balon's second succession proves that it was. Just what was Robert thinking? I realize that he and Ned probably assumed that taking Theon hostage would be enough to ensure Balon's good behavior, but it still seems lax to me.
- Blame Tywin Lannister and Jon Ayrn for that. The former has the saying "when someone bends the knee to you you must help them stand again, else no man ever bend the knee to you again," the latter being pragmatic enough to know that killing Balon or exiling him would pretty much ruin any chance of keeping peace with the Iron Islanders. Not only that, but Balon does have a brother, Euron (who will be showing up in the show) who is probably an even worse choice for the head of House Greyjoy. If you kill off Balor, Theon is too young to rule and Yara, being a woman, isn't considered a sucessor by most of Westorosi standards, so Euron gets the Iron Islands until Theon comes of age, which is not a good thing.
- To elaborate, in the books, Balon is the eldest of four brothers(well, five, but one died young). His other brothers are Victarion, who's essentially his answer to Gregor Clegane, and Aeron, who's a fanatically religious priest of the Drowned God. Neither of these guys are someone who you're want to be lord of the Iron Islands, and Euron is far and away the worst of the four of them.
- Robert completely misunderstood Balon's personality. For starters, Balon rose up in rebellion mere years after Robert did the same and killed Aerys. Someone like Tywin might not care to do it but Robert apparently felt that it would have been too hypocritical to kill a man for doing the same thing Robert himself did right before, or arguably less (technically Balon never had Robert's death as a declared goal, only independence, which in Ironborn parlance is "we take your shit and don't pay for it", but still, not "I'll kill Robert and all his descendants I can get my hands on until I claim everything that is his as mine" which is what Robert did). Balon then suffered the death of his two eldest sons in combat and was forced to give the remaining third as a hostage. At that point Robert, and probably Ned, assumed that Balon was as good as dead. He'd never risk going to war again because it would be the immediate end of his line. Neither Robert nor Ned, however, could have foreseen that Balon would write off Theon as dead the minute he gave him away, plot to rise again as soon as he could (even though it meant Theon's execution) and groom Yara as his successor in her brother's place, because that's not the way things happen in the continent (it's clearly not an usual circumstance, but one can still point to Sansa's situation: she is the only Stark believed alive but she is not Warden of the North; her son, if she has one, will be since the minute he is born, but never her). On the other hand, a living Balon could be useful: the Ironborn are a wild bunch, but they accepted Balon as their leader and followed him into war. They'd follow him in peace as well. If Balon was killed, however, the Ironborn might just rally around some other Ironborn (which might or might not be a Greyjoy) that could decide to wage a pirate war forever, requiring constant naval patrols and a military occupation of the Iron Islands. Short of genocide, the Ironborn might go on being a pain in the ass for Westeros forever. Balon, for all his talk, was not a warrior (as far as we know, he might as well have never left the Iron Islands) and could swear fealty to a continental king.
- It helps that Balon bent the knee of his own will and was not made to. That probably inspired Robert to show mercy. Besides that, the Greyjoy rebellion helped cement Robert's rule by giving him common cause with the lords that otherwise did not like him and he was able to prove the strength of his rule. He probably thought that he could keep Balon on a leash and thereby cow the Iron Islands into submission.
- Well, technically, Balon didn't commit treason against Robert. I don't think he vowed to follow the new dynasty after Robert's Rebellion succeeded, only after his own rebellion failed. For all intents and purposes, once the Targaryens were out of the picture, it was each of the seven kingdoms on their own once again, Robert just managed to put them back under a single command quite quickly. It certainly helps that three of the kingdoms belonged to him and close friends, and that he got a fourth one's alliance while Ned and Jon got the support of the Riverlands by the way of marriage.
- Though Stannis was in favour of executing Balon, and is proved right when Balon rebels again.
Does The Lord of Light exist?
- In-universe that is. Or is Melisandre just a witch?
- Either. Both. No one knows. The mystery is the whole point.
Lysa Arryn's allegiance
- Where do her loyalties lie? On the one hand she is the sister of Catelyn Stark and helped her out before she technically she should be on the side of the North (the Arryns were when Jon Arryn was alive). But then there's the fact that she is closely aligned with Beilish who is very pro-Lannister. After the damage the Lannisters have done to the North would she still be on their side? I want to know what's going on in the Vale but it never seems clear, other than the fact that she has recently married Petyr.
- Your first mistake is assuming Littlefinger is pro-Lannister. He all but spells it out to Varys that he's pro-Littlefinger and no one else. His whole "chaos is a ladder" speech is him admitting to having manipulated the entire kingdom into a civil war in which he has unlimited capacity for advancing his position. Lysa is batshit insane and the future will reveal that her "loyalties" don't really exist past a certain point.
- Easy. Littlefinger was in love with Catelyn throughout his whole entire life. But, she married Ned Stark for political reasons. Lysa had been in love with Littlefinger for her entire life. But, she had to marry John Arryn for political reasons also. Suddenly, Littlefinger comes along with a plan to get revenge on the Catelyn and the Starks by telling Lysa that if you kill your husband and blame it on the Lannister's, I'll will become your husband. Of course, Lysa doesn't know that the love of his life will kill her the first chance he gets. This gets Ned to King's Landing where he finds out about the truth Robert's bastards and the real truth about Joffery.
- She's a pawn of Littlefinger and does what he tells her to. And she hates Catelyn (unbeknownst to Catelyn).
- Lysa Arryn is nuttier than squirrel poop. "Loyalties" don't enter into her decisions.
- There's a chapter in the books where Catelyn basically describes Lysa as a coward. Suffice to say that at the moment Lysa isn't allied with anyone. No men from the Vale are fighting on anyone's side. She's sitting on top of her mountain and hoping the rest of Westeros forgets the Vale of Arryn exists. Needless to say, given the Vale's connection to the Starks and the Tullys, neither Robb nor her own bannermen are particularly happy about this decision. Incidentally, in the show Tywin at one point asserts the marriage to Petyr Baelish will secure her allegiance against the northern army. Show!Tywin should be smarter than that. Lysa's neutrality doesn't sit well at all with her bannermen. Her raising men and going to war with her own house would almost certainly have led to open rebellion against her rule.
- Firstly, the Vale wasn't really on the side of the North under Jon Arryn. They were on the side of Robert Baratheon and Robb was waging war against Robert's "children" and his brother for independence. Secondly, the Vale bannermen aren't going to rebel against their liegelord or in this case his regent for some Stark kid that they don't know.
- Robb is more than "some Stark kid they don't know"; he's their liege lord's cousin. Dynastic ties are Serious Business in feudal societies and they bind cousins like Robb and Robin to their grandfather Hoster Tully in the same way they bind Joffrey to his grandfather Tywin Lannister, and Tywin has openly attacked the Tullys in Joffrey's name. By contrast, there are zero dynastic ties allying the Arryns with the Lannisters or Baratheons. Furthermore, the Vale didn't rebel to make Robert king, they rose to protect Robert and Ned from the Mad King, so their sentimental loyalties lie just as much with Ned as they do with Robert. The only reason the Vale does not support Robb is because Lysa actually hates her family and stands in her lords' way until it is too late.
- Marriage alliances are based on relatives loving each otherand that's not the case with Lysa. The Vale wasn't chomping at the bitt to fight for Robb Stark. They wanted to avenge Jon Arryn. It's also worth noting that Jon's only son was named after Robert, they're alegiance is sworn to the Baratheon King; not the Starks and Robert makes friends a lot easier than Ned does.
- They were not based on love in the medieval world usually, only mutual gain by their families.
- The idea isn't that the people in the marriage love each other; it's that the families of those people care about them, and so they protect the families they're marrying into to protect their own.
Illyn Payne's cowl
- I understand that it might be just tradition, but still I'm curious, was there any reason for sir Illyn to put on a cowl before he executed Ned Stark? I always thought that executioners put them on to hide their identites because their position was universally despised, but everybody knew who Illyn is.
- Could just be symbolic; "What I do now is not as Ilyn Payne, but as the King's headsman, so if you don't like it take it up with him" kind of thing. Clearly didn't work on Arya, who's got him on her death list.
- Historians seem to disagree on the origin of the executioner's hood. The idea that it prevented retribution by protecting the executioner's identity is a popular one, but other sources indicate that executioners were actually required by law to advertise their position publicly (mainly so he could be properly shunned, since his job was considered "necessary, but unclean"). The mask then (or hood in this case) would seem to be intended as a way to dehumanize the executioner while he went about his duties. When he puts that hood up the onlookers don't see Ser Illyn Payne anymore. He ceases to be a man and becomes The King's Justice.
- Hell, in medieval Sweden the position of a headsman was actually a punishment you got if you committed an crime that was not quite heinous enough for you to be executed: You got your ears chopped off and you were appointed the crowns headsman, being given a pittance for every head and no chance to get any honest work outside that.
Defense of Winterfell
- How did only 20 or so Ironborn take Winterfell? Did Robb Stark leave Winterfell completely undefended? You would think he would leave at least a hundred men at his capital to at least close the gates and put up some sort of defense until help could arrive. Even if he thought every man counted and didn't want to leave any skilled soldiers you could at least garrison Winterfell with men still going through training or those too old/young to be really helpful with the main force.
- In the books Theon has a much larger army under his command (but still far less than his sister was given). Most of Theon's forces created a diversion by attacking Torrhen's Square. Ser Rodrik took about 600 men (the better part of Winterfell's garrison) to liberate Torrhen's Square, and the Ironborn "retreated" drawing Rodrik further away from Winterfell. Theon then took his small band to Winterfell and caught the defenders by surprise.
- This is actually what happened in the show, as well.
What Keeps Her Going?
- Sansa has gone through literal hell. Her family gets cut down one by one to the point she pretty much believes she's the last Stark alive and all the while she's still being horribly mistreated and finally forced to marry Tyrion, both a member of the family who killed all of her's and a dwarf on top of it. Put simply, how is it she hasn't killed herself by this point? I mean, I don't want some simple 'She's stronger then she looks" explanation. What honestly drives her to keep on going like this? Every day she lives, she's in constant sorrow, so what even gets her up in the morning?
- I read it as a massive Heroic B.S.O.D.. Survival is all she has left, and she's playing any hand she's got. People don't casually make the decision to kill themselves just because rationally they have nothing to live for. As for why she bothers going through the motions — I can't remember where the phrase is from, but she's been described as "armouring herself in courtesy"; she's been trained to be ladylike above all else, and has settled on that as her best strategy for keeping people happy.
- Well that seems a bit broad to say because a lot of people can and have killed themselves before for having nothing to live for.
- The point is it's not as simple as saying "Clearly I have nothing left to live for, better go jump off a bridge!" Nobody reasons their way into suicide. Sometimes people decide there's no point in living and kill themselves. Or sometimes people decide there's no point in living but there's no point in dying either. If I had to guess I'd say that's probably where Sansa is coming from. She hates everything about her situation and would probably welcome the sweet release of death, but she also doesn't see any point in taking her own life.
- She is never completely devoid of hope. First she thought Stannis or her brother would win the war and free her, then she thought she'd marry Loras and get out of King's Landing, now she has her escape plan with Littlefinger. Sure, so far her plans and hopes all failed miserably, but some people (most people, really) just keep trying, instead of giving up and killing themselves.
- Its perhaps also worth noting that she considers jumping from her tower in the first book, but only gets as far as looking out the window before she backs out and goes back to crying.
- She's tougher than anyone thinks she really is. Everyone thinks that she is just a pretty girl. But, she will show them. After all, she is a Stark.
Daenerys Will Be Here Any Day!
- I think it might have been explained in an episode, but I can't remember which, nor do I think it was that good of an explanation either. Tywin hears report after report from the east of Daenerys growing a huge army and even has dragons to come and take back the Iron Throne. Heck, even Joffrey points out that she could be a problem yet he continues to just ignore it. Why? Its obvious from Daenerys' growing forces that she can very well be a MUCH greater threat to King's Landing then Robb was.
- As far as Tywin is concerned, "reports" are not the same as "evidence". All sorts of crazy "reports" come out of Essos every day. As of right now Tywin doesn't have any actionable intelligence that Daenerys is a threat to anyone. Any and all of the "reports" about her could be exaggerations or outright fabrications.
- Because no one believes in dragons anymore.
- A huge army wanting to cross a sea requires a huge navy. Once he gets any word of her assembling that (something that takes a lot of time to do), I imagine he'll start worrying.
- And even if they manage to do that, going by Ned's remark the Westerosi "just throw them back in the sea". Now he was talking about Dothraki, but it seems to imply that Westrosi are no strangers to defending their shores especially if they anticipate an attack.
- They certainly had recent experience with fighting Balon Greyjoy, although Ned's probably motivated at least partially by hopes that he can avoid being even indirectly responsible for the murder of an innocent child. As for the dragons, by the time they get serious information on those Westeros is already in a multi-way civil war and if it's still at all following the books then Varys is actively trying to make sure that she's endangered enough to get moving, but not enough to actually die.
- As for the dragons, everyone in Westeros seem to dismiss that as nothing more than rumours, as dragons are supposedly extinct. Plus, Dany's army is not that big, at least not yet. All in all, Daenerys is a much smaller concern than the war they're already waging.
- The size of an army doesn't always matter. After all, the biggest chunk of her army are the immensely trained and obedient former slaves. Comapred to what? A bunch of dirty, barely trained common folk?
- The Unsullied are great infantry, but infantry alone does not win a war. The only reason she's so successful with the Ghiscari cities is by virtue of deception and converting their troops to her cause, something that may not be so easy to do in Westeros. She can't really take a well fortified castle with only Unsullied by her side. She also doesn't have the resources to get her army to Westeros. Furthermore, why would the powers of Westeros care about this girl wrecking havok on the other side of the world, when they already have people out for their blood for neighbours? It's a simple matter of priority.
You aren't really supposed to capture messengers, either
- So, Ser Alton Lannister is the go between when it comes to getting messages between the Stark Army and King's Landing. Gotta be a tough job, especially when he has to deliver bad news to people who have every reason to kill him for it. But he's lucky! When he gives Robb Stark the news that Cersei ripped up his peace terms, he...captures him. Wow, Robb, that's kind of a huge dick move. The guy walks into his enemy's camp bringing news he has no real reason to give you with no ill or violent intentions and you fucking take him captive. Especially considering only moments before ordering him to be put in a cell he reassured him that he doesn't hold Alton personally responsible for Cersei's actions. So why is he being captured? He did nothing wrong, he isn't really an enemy combatant, and capturing him for ransom is extremely dishonorable for someone whose always going on about how honorable he is. All and All, I'm glad that move came back to bite him in the ass.
- Alton was already a prisoner. He was the one sent south by Robb to deliver his peace terms in the first place (return Sansa and Arya unharmed, give us by the bodies of Ned and all the Stark men killed, give the North its independence). Cersei and the court sent him back to tell Robb they were declining his terms. All parties knew that them imprisoning Alton was acceptable because as a member of a noble house, his safety would be guaranteed.
- You know what would have actually secured his safety? If he was allowed to go home. Seriously, they have no real reason to capture him and every reason to let him go. They don't have the means to properly care for him, and he did his duty and did it well. Capturing him, or re-capturing him, is both horribly dishonorable and immeasurably stupid.
- Uh, he's a hostage. A Lannister hostage. That seems like plenty of reason to capture him and not let him go. Furthermore, he'd been in their camp. Twice. There's no telling what he might have seen on his way in that the Lannisters shouldn't know about.
- You seem to be missing the fact that it's late at night and he's presumably been riding for quite awhile. He's been kept there to rest before they either send him back with another message or move him to someone's castle to ensure he doesn't raise arms against the North.
- Alton is already a prisoner of war. He was selected specifically to deliver the peace terms because of his familial ties to the Lannisters; the Lannisters won't just up and kill him or throw them in their own dungeon. In the books they pick someone with ties to both the Lannisters and the Freys so that Robb can be reasonably sure of his good behavior. It's pretty common practice and it makes loads of sense. In fact, the one time Robb picks a messenger that wasn't a prisoner he ends up facing some dire consequences.
Why did Tywin want Ned Stark dead?
- During the "skinning the deer" scene, when Tywin talks with Jaime about the past events, he asks "Why is Ned Stark still alive?", implying, I think, that Jaime should've killed him when he had a chance. Uhh, why would he want that if later he admits that Joffrey executing Ned was a colossal stupidity? Obviously, if Jaime killed Ned, Notherners would've went to war even sooner, wouldn't they?
- That was less about killing Ned Stark and more about him analyzing Jaime's motivations for doing so. Remember, Jaime is his son; a father has to impart lessons now and then.
- He is testing whether or not Jaime can be as ruthless as his father is. He is trying find out whether or not, Jaime is just a pretty face, and if he can analyze situations instead of just reacting to them. He does the same to Cersei when he tells her that he doesn't trust her judgment because she is a woman. He doesn't trust her because she is not as smart as she thinks she is. She thinks that she can control her son, and that people will love her just because she is queen. He tells Tommen that just because he wears a crown doesn't make him a king, and he tells Joffery that if he has to go around telling people he is the king, then he isn't really. He wants Jaime to start thinking about the ramifications of his actions. It is a Socratic exercise.
- Plus, context. At that point Ned had claimed he had kidnapped Tyrion and was holding him hostage, which is pissing on the Lanister name. Killing Stark then would be straight up retaliation; Ned's not the Hand of the King at the time, he has no evidence of Tyrion's guilt and has more or less handed him over to a madwoman for execution. The northerners would still have been pissed, but it becomes a much more grey matter (and the North isn't at war yet). It probably still would have gone to war still, but Tywin has the advantage of being able to play the wronged party in the whole affair and make the war about the Starks kidnapping a Lanister for a crime he didn't commit. Once it comes out that he was almost executed by a madwoman it becomes a hard sell to say you're fighting for justice and honour. But when Joffrey executed Ned it just reinforced that he was a sadistic tyrant and painted the whole thing as the injustice it was.
- Also, reneging on the deal to let Ned take the Black technically makes Joffrey an Oathbreaker.
- Because Tywin believes that you either completely destroy your foe, or make him your ally. You don't antagonize him and then leave him in a position to retaliate. The Lannisters were justified in attacking the Starks at that point, so the Starks couldn't do much. Making Ned confess to being a traitor (which no character not already aligned with the Lannisters has believed so far), offering him pardon and then killing him anyway just makes the Lannisters the villains in the eyes of the other lords.
- Tywin is also generally a proponent of the philosophy that a thing should never be done halfway. (In the books, when he started balding, he shaved off the rest of his hair.) It's not so much that he personally wants Ned Stark dead as him basically telling Jaime that if you attack someone, you'd better be prepared to finish the job, regardless of any cost to your personal honor.
- It's been a while since I watched that scene, but is it possible that Tywin's referring to their encounter during Robert's Rebellion, when the two nearly came to blows after Ned found Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne?
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes; How Do You Measure a Year in the Life (of Ice and Fire)?
- From the characters' stated ages, we know that a year in the World of Ice and Fire is roughly the same length as a year in our world. But if the seasons last for years, what exactly is a year? Is it a certain number of days or months? I've watched the first three seasons of the show and am about 30% of the way through reading A Storm of Swords, and there still hasn't been much explanation about the calendar.
- Even in our world, years were not determined by seasons but by the progress of the sun across the sky. I gather that does not change, even though the climate varies intermittantly.
- Original poster here. Coincidentally, I just saw today that the next chapter in the book begins with Jon thinking about the constellations. Then I remembered that one way to measure a year is by what constellations are in the sky at any specific time of night.
- I am fairly certain that what they call winter isn't what we call winter. I think that it is an semi-regulary occuring mini-ice age with extremely short Summers flanked with cold springs/falls and extremely cold and long winters.
- They do have a moon, so they would have months. A year might just be a certain number of moons passing.
- The lengths of the days might increase and decrease throughout the year just without the change in weather.
- In the books it's made clear that there are short seasons (the ones of the regular year) and long seasons (the winter the Starks keep saying is coming). Even during the long summer, there's a winter each year, and the annual cycle of planting and harvesting goes on. And as mentioned above, the long season winter is effectively a mini ice age.
- Peoples in the Ecuatorial areas do not have seasons either, or not in the same way as people in the more northern and southern areas have, and they still have calendars, mainly lunar calendars.
Jaime's sparring partner
- Jaime says that he can't find a sparring partner because he can't trust anyone. What about the person who escorted him to King's Landing, has shown herself to be very capable with a sword, has no loyalty to anyone else in King's Landing, and has complete trust and respect for Jaime?
- He is probably reluctant to ask for her help after he insulted her last episode.
- He also probably doesn't want to get Brienne involved in what he sees are his own problems. There's also the possibility that she might subconsciously go easy on him due to their personal relationship.
- The behind-the-scenes reason is that Ilyn Payne served this role in the books but suffered an Actor Existence Failure, so Bronn was the most convenient substitute. Brienne is scheduled for other things.
- Well Wilko Johnson isn't dead yet, but has Terminal Cancer and is busy wrapping up his affairs. Not that it would matter as the show has rather blatantly changed actors for major characters (namely Daario where the two actors look nothing alike). The actor's availability is a non-factor in this, the below troper has hit the nail on the head in my opinion.
- They've changed actors when contract disputes and availability have factored into it, but in the only(to my knowledge) instance of an actor dying, The Character Died With Them.
- Even then, it would probably make more sense for the show to use Bronn. Ilyn Payne just isn't as recognizable. And Jaime sparring against a mute would not have been nearly as entertaining.
- I always found the choice of Payne as an instance of Jaime believing himself smarter than he really is, anyway. The books do have a mute character that manages to convey an important plot point (Wex, Theon's bastard cousin), it's easy to imagine that if Payne wanted to tell Jaime's secrets he'd have his way to make himself understood as well. And even if he couldn't, Jaime had already sparred with Marbrand after losing his right hand, who could have told anyone, and plenty of people had seen him at tournaments, so anyone with a clue about swordfighting would know exactly how the loss would have affected him.
- There's a crucial difference between a few people deducing it and it becoming a well-known fact. Also, it's not that Payne can't make himself understood, it's that he gives zero fucks about it but can't make a careless Freudian Slip, which was Jaime's only real concern with his friend Marbrand and the specific reason they stopped.
- I'd debate the point of Ilyn Payne not being as recognizable. He's not around nearly as much as Bronn, but he has a very distinctive look.
- And, he can't talk.
- Seriously though, Tyrion recommends Bronn as "a proper, discrete swordsman" but one of the first things Bronn tells Jaime is, "There's this knight, Leygood. Got thunderbolts on his shield? Right here is where I fuck his wife." Proper, discrete swordsman, indeed.
The White Walkers
- This seem to be noticed and mocked by many people, even South Park jabbed at it, so maybe it's a pointless question, but seriously, where are the W Ws? We had Three Blasts and Sam encountering that huge undead horde back in Season 2 (or was it even 1?), and then they... what? I think even the Wights, with their leisury gait, should be able to reach the Wall by now, and yet there's not even a wiff of them.
- They're getting ready. For what, where and why is intentionally a mystery. They attacked the Night's Watch at the Fist of the First Men and we saw that at least one Wight trying to kill Sam off, and one White Walker being killed by Sam. We don't even know why they do what they do, so explaining where they could be is futile. They could be wiping out the remaining wildling tribes that aren't part of Mance's army, they could be going to wake more White Walkers up, they could be waiting for the full force of winter to announce their arrival.
- In the books, it's mentioned that there is supposedly an enchantment put on the Wall where as long as men stand watch on it, the White Walkers cannot pass. The White Walkers are simply biding their time. They've waited thousands of years for a chance to breach the Wall, so they could stand to wait a few more months.
- The Doylist explanation is that the book series was originally meant to be a trilogy, and as it grew bigger and bigger, the last arc had to be postponed more and more. That's why both the White Walkers and Daenerys seem to never get anywhere, the Walkers by just showing up infrequently, instead of pressing on the wildlings and then the Wall itself (the enchantment mentioned above protects the Wall from the White Walkers, but not from the whights they create) and Dany by frolicking on Essos rather than just moving her army to Westeros already. We may get a better Watsonian explanation down the line (Dany's being that she needs ships, and never seems to get them even though she's conquering litoranean cities), but right now there is none, at least outside of the realm of theories.
- Its entirely possible the White Walkers are waiting for winter before they launch their full scale attack on the Wall. The full strength they have at their disposal may have only partially revealed itself because they're still in the midst of fall and the weather is still too warm.
- It's possible, but not necessarily true. The books raise the question of whether the White Walkers attack when it's cold, or if their presence brings the cold (it always gets much colder right before they appear, and when they disappear the cold recedes a bit), so it's possible that it's not winter already because they haven't launched a full-scale assault, and not the other way around.
- So, I'm about to venture into WMG territory here, and there will be Oathkeeper spoilers to come, but... it would appear to me that the White Walkers aren't moving on the Wall in force just yet. They still seem to be centered in The Land of Always Winter. What we've seen so far, even the massive force witnessed during the Season 2 finale, those seem to be little more than scouting parties. The cat's paw of the White Walker threat.
No Pronunciation Guide?
- How come Tywin forgets how to pronounce Aerys when talking about King Aerys I after three seasons of no-one having trouble pronouncing it when talking about his old boss King Aerys II?
- According to series wiki, Tywin is talking about Orys I, not Aerys I.
Praying to the Stranger
- The Hounds snark aside, what would a friendly, good-natured simple farmer have to pray to the God of Death on a daily basis about?
- Not today? Or, just the opposite, since death is inevitable, he could pray for an easy and peaceful one, and something like guidance and clemency in the afterlife. Or maybe he wouldn't, in fact "do all seven of the fuckers", since it's noted that Stranger is rarely prayed to.
- Or, assuming the Stranger is the God of all Deaths, he might give thank for the rabbit's death that was necessary for their dinner.
- People only seem to pray to the Stranger when they're really desperate, so it's likely the guy wouldn't actually pray to it. It just adds to the shock that the Hound cares so little for the religion that he casually brings up a kind of taboo.
Forcing people to take The Black
- So Janos Slynt (the commander of the goldcloaks) was forcibly removed from power and taken to The Wall, where he became a part of the Nights Watch. Here's the thing: Did they force him to take the Oath? I mean, why couldn't he been like "No, I don't want to be here, see ya." and then walked away? If he doesn't take the oath, he isn't a deserter. Likewise, when Jon was selected to be a Steward, he hadn't taken his Oath yet. Why couldn't he have been like "Fuck this, I'm not a fucking steward." and walk away?" Again, it isn't deserting if you haven't taken an Oath. I get criminals will probably be killed if they don't take the Oath, but Janos wasn't a criminal. He could probably come back to King's Landing and retain his former position; Since he played an instrumental role in securing the Throne, I'm sure Tywin would be sympathetic. Again, nobody has any legal cause to kill him if he doesn't want to take the Black. Its not like he was charged with anything, he was removed because Tyrion wanted his own attack dog as the head of the Goldcloaks.
- Either alive at the wall or death at the block.
- In Westeros, forcibly sending someone to the Wall is seen as a punishment, so nobody in King's Landing would warmly welcome back Janos Slynt for that reason, even if he could prove he didn't take any oath. Also, Tyrion didn't send him there just to put Bronn in his place — he disliked Slynt, who he considered untrustworthy and dangerous (let us remember he betrayed the previous Hand (Eddard Stark) and executed King Joffrey's order of killing all of Robert's bastards — there's that scene where a couple soldiers are visibly distraught about having to kill a baby, so Janos does it himself). Not even a pissed-off Tywin would undo all of Tyrion's actions as Hand, so Slynt couldn't come back and be received by the Lannisters.
- There are a few things to consider here. First of all, there is a difference between going to the Wall on your own will (like Jon did) or being sent there as punishment (what happened to Janos, as pointed out above). If Jon decided to not take the oath, he'd probably be allowed to get out. If Janos did, they'd execute him on the spot (which is usually the punishment people go to the Wall to avoid). Then we have the fact that taking the oath is kind of just a formality. I don't think anyone in the Wall expects a rapist or murderer to grow any more loyal after the oath is taken than they are before, they are there on a (life) sentence, and that will never change. And even if they do run away, oath or no oath, they're still a person wearing all black in a region of the world known for having people dressed in black who should not be allowed to roam free. They'd be better off running north and joining the wildlings (and some of them do).
Conquering a city isn't the same as holding it
- Isn't it kinda obvious that after you conquer a city you have to leave a garrison there before moving on to the next one? You'd think several hundred or even a thousand Unsullied per city would've been more than enough to prevent the Masters from retaking them, and since Daenerys relied more on infiltration tactics and inciting rebellions in her conquests, those soldiers she left wouldn't have mattered much. Even if she didn't realize that, being only a young girl, new to the ways of war, surely the seasoned veterans by her side did?
- Her goal through this whole thing was to fight her way to Mereen and seize their navy, so she could cross the narrow sea and re-take Westeros. Leaving garrisons behind would stretch her forces through Slaver's Bay, and she couldn't bring her full force to bear against the Lannisters. It's only when she learns that things are falling apart as soon as she moves on that she decides to stay and rule.
- Sure, but she freed dozens if not hundreds of thousands of slaves. Obviously they couldn't have all followed her. Did she give no thought at all to what would happen to them after she leaves for Westeros? And if she did, why would she expect any different scenario? And even she did, why didn't Jorah/Barristan/Daario try to reason with her on that? That's not some hot topic like bringing slavers to justice — it's pure common sense. Also, leaving garrisons behind doesn't mean those troops are lost forever — you can just as easily summon them back or pick them up on the way. And it's stands to reason that when you're launching a massive invasion, it's essential to have your rear lines covered to receive supplies from or fall back to if needs be, especially when it's such opulent rear lines as several rich and powerful cities. It's asinine to just leave something like that behind!
- No, she didn't give any real thought to it; that's the point. I imagine she thought she had crippled their powerbase enough that the masters would be incapable of enslaving the populations once again, and it didn't occur to her that some among the freed slaves may prove to be just as bad as the masters who ruled them. Dany has no concept of what it means to actually be a ruler, and no concept of the consequences of completely upsetting a society's status quo. As for why Jorah and Selmy didn't say anything, it's likely as not that they didn't really care; the goal has always been the Seven Kingdoms. What they leave in their wake is a distraction from that.
- She didn't anticipate an attack from the rear by the forces of Essos, as she had just sacked their cities and chopped off their leadership. She may have also overestimated the slaves ability to rule themselves as her one example of this were the Unsullied, who swiftly moved from a slave army to a volunteer army without so much as one desertion.
- Dany realizes that she was being naive by leaving and simply expecting everything to work out fine after she was gone. As for her advisers, they're warriors, not statesmen, and they're just not as concerned with the plight of the slaves as she is. Their queen granted them freedom, and now it's the freedmen's responsibility to do something with it. As far as her advisers are concerned, Dany is just passing through. Garrisoning troops in each city they pass would be counter to their ultimate goal of putting her on the Iron Throne. Only Dany feels continuing responsibility for the slave cities after she's freed them.
Davos and his loyalty to Stannis
- In the books, Davos Seaworth is loyal to Stannis to a fault even as Stannis increasingly falls under the sway of Melisandre. This actually makes sense, because for all his bad qualities he has quite a number of good ones as well, qualities which earn that loyalty. In the show, Stannis is presented as a much more overtly sinister figure, burning people for being 'unbelievers' as opposed to what he sees as betraying him in some way. He dismisses the horror of sacrificing Gendry by speaking contemptuously of his low birth, rather than invoking The Needs of the Many, and Melisandre wins him over to burning him alive with much greater speed and on much weaker evidence than his book counterpart. Eventually, after Davos sets Gendry free, Stannis is only dissuaded from killing Davos by what amounts to blackmail: Davos claims he'll need him to win lords to his cause. Even then, its clearly Melisandre who makes the decision for him, showing him to be a much weaker man than his book counterpart. Given all this, is anyone else at a loss as to why Davos doesn't just get on a ship and abandon Stannis to his fate? What possible reason could Show!Davos still have for following Show!Stannis, especially since unlike his book counterpart he doesn't even have any sons left whose futures he's hoping to insure by helping Stannis win his crown?
- Davos has known Stannis for the better part of twenty years at this point. Twenty years where he's proven to be a good man. He likely justifies it by this particular war and these particular hardships pushing Stannis to extremes, and believes(perhaps correctly, perhaps incorrectly) that once it's over Stannis will be his old self again, perhaps even learn a feel good lesson along the way.
- Not to mention Davos probably feels he owes a life debt to Stannis for only cutting off his fingers rather than his head.
Why would anyone want the Iron Throne considering the Iron Bank?!
- So your one chance to claim he Iron Throne is by convincing the Iron Bank to back you. But then you are saying this: "I will use the money that you lent me to fund my efforts to claim the throne. After that I will not only spend all of my time repaying you my original loan to you, but I will also inherit the original tens of millions gold dragons debt that made the Iron bank say "Fuck The Irone Throne!" and loan me the cash the first place?
- Considering Tyrion's talk about the dangers of borrowing money last season, it's likely that when the Iron Bank starts to finance your enemies they have given up on the prospect of getting repaid from you. Half of the winning arguable was "Stannis will pay back what he owes," the other part was "once Tywin dies there will be nobody left who's competent enough to pay you back and you won't get any of that gold back anyway." There probably was an agreement somewhere in there where the Iron Bank would forgive the debt incurred under Joffrey in exchange for Stannis taking up all the debt that he would have inherited if he got the Iron Throne anyway as well as his loan. Still a lot, but survivable. As for Renly trying to take the throne, that was at the very start of the war and he had so many men at his disposal that he was posed to win the war and thus wouldn't have accumulated that much debt more than what he was already expecting.
- The debt is probably tied to the family, not the throne. So, Joffrey inherited Robert's debt (the Iron Bank doesn't care whether or not he's a bastard), and added a lot to it. Stannis didn't inherit his brother's possessions, so his debt will be only his own. If the Lannisters are defeated, the current royal family's debt will likely cease to exist, and the Bank's investment will have failed.
- The debt is tied to the throne. The Iron Bank will want its due, in one way or another. If one debtor can't handle the challenge, they find someone who can. They don't forgive the debts of the realm just because there's a new guy in charge. But they aren't crazy or unreasonable. It doesn't matter if the repayment plan is 50 years, as long as every installment gets paid in full. All it matters is that the money flows and the investments prosper. Whoever wins the Iron Throne can easily squeeze the required sums out of the regions they conquered as war reparations, as long as they don't get too greedy for their own wealth. Just because the realm is broke doesn't mean that most of the great houses or trade guilds are.
- The debt doesn't necessarily have to be paid off in coin. I don't know if Stannis would be willing to, but in real world history, enormous national debts have often been paid off with land.
- It would make sense for the Iron Bank to be considerably more understanding with delayed payment from a king they had just helped bring to power, just so long as it was made clear payment would eventually be forthcoming. The alternative would be funding and installing yet another possible claimant to overthrow their previously supported claimant, then trying to overthrow him when he couldn't pay either, and on and on in a never ending cycle. That would be alarmingly stupid way to do business.
- It was implied that the Iron Bank already made a background check on Stannis before he even arrived in Braavos. It was Davos' speech that helped getting the loan, but they also probably know that Stannis will be running a tight ship once he's king, not spending too much on luxuries and has his priorities straight.
- The iron bank is probably smart enough to offer a restructuring of the loan in order to get something back, and given how the Lannisters seemed not just unable to pay back the debt, but also actively unwilling to even try, they'd rather support another contender to the throne who, even if they ultimately have to lower interests rates or forgive some of the debt incurred by Jeoffrey in order to really expect it repaid.
So The Lannisters don't care when they are framed? **SPOILERS**
- So it turns out that Jon Arryn was killed by Littlefinger and Lysa Arryn. The Starks believed, via letter by Lysa, that the Lannisters did it. They had motive (Joffrey's illegitimacy), means (Poisons in Pycelle's store) and opportunity (Everyone was in the Red Keep). But they did not do it. In the very first episode, we see Cersei and Jaime discussing Jon's death and whether he told anyone, and in retrospect it's kind of a Red Herring. In Season 2, Tyrion confronts Pycelle and accuses him of killing Jon Arryn but Pycelle says that he didn't actually poison him but withdrew treatment so that he would succumb to his illness. This begs the question, if the Lannisters knew that he was poisoned and that neither of them did it, why did they not bother to ask who poisoned Jon in the first place?
- Why care when you control the cops, the police, the investigators, the judges, the witnesses? And any dissension is control with a cut throat?
- Related to this. Why didn't Cersei defend herself from Ned Stark when he confronted her about it and simply decide that if the Starks think we are evil, we'll show them? Is it Pride, the fact that no one would believe them?
- Perhaps they did ask and simply never found an answer. They would have had to find evidence linking Lysa to the poisoning, after all, which would take some doing with Littlefinger working to keep it hidden. Or perhaps they just decided not to look a gift-horse in the mouth. If someone wants to poison Jon Arryn at the exact moment he's been getting too close to their secret, all the while making it look like he simply took ill and died, then great. It saves them from having to get their hands dirty.
- Tyrion is the only one of the Lannister siblings who could possibly get close to the truth, and he was probably too certain Cersei did it to even try looking deeper into it.
- They have no reason to believe that there was a framing. As far as most people know, Jon Arryn really did die of a sudden fever and the Starks just assumed otherwise. Lysa tried to have Tyrion killed for it, but he probably chalks it to Lysa being grief striken and crazy unstable, and no one gives a shit about that anymore since he came out clean of that. Pycelle knows that Arryn was poisoned, but he believes it was Cersei and decided to not treat him or talk of it in order to protect her, and through Pycelle Tyrion assumes Cersei did it as well... but Tyrion gained nothing from confronting Cersei about it, so he didn't, and Cersei and the rest of the Red Keep still know no better.
- Related to this is the case of Tyrion's trial. Same modus operandi - poison someone, frame somebody else - only where the earlier one was done privately, here it's in public. Cersei obviously believes that Tyrion did it and Jaime knows Tyrion is innocent and probably thinks Sansa did it, but Tywin, as per Tyrion, knows fully well that his son is innocent. Isn't he even remotely interested in finding the real culprit? Even if the victim wasn't in the final analysis, a great loss, the fact is that the death happened right under Tywin's nose and is obviously an insult and affront to Lannister complacency. Something like that should make him go berserk and unleash a fullscale investigation, instead he's deciding to use the trial as an excuse to send his son to the Wall and what.
- Here, perhaps, the reason is pretty much the same (horse, gift, mouth), with the siding of Tywin actually knowing or at least suspecting who it was, because if not Tyrion or Sansa, then who the hell else could it be if not the Tyrells? But they need the Tyrells, like they need bread to eat (literally), so Tywin cannot afford to launch that investigation. Besides, the culprit, whoever they were, was kind enough to implicate Tyrion and give Tywin an excuse to finally get rid of him, and he wouldn't spurn such a generous gift for the sake of some silly justice (which was, probably, intentional on Olenna's part).
- While Tywin doesn't seem to believe Tyrion is to blame, he probably does think Sansa did it, so the matter is settled. And even if he doesn't, he could always conduct a more in-depth investigation after Tyrion's trial, and the true culprit is relaxed thinking it was a perfect cover-up.
- I imagine that at least partly, Tywin's apathy comes from realizing that Joffery largely brought his death on himself by being, well, Joffery. He's likely planning on making an example of whoever did do it; the Lannisters are very much hunting for Sansa right now. He might be willing to let the Tyrels slide if he realizes or finds out they were involved, but if he finds out about Littlefinger's involvement, he's doubtful he'll receive any mercy.
- Well, first of all the Crown must find a culprit and make an example out of him. If they don't, this sends the message that the Lannister-backed Crown is weak and anything can strike at them with impunity. However, they don't have more culprits than Tyrion and Sansa, even though rationally they should conclude that they are innocent, but Sansa has fled successfully already so the only culprit they have is Tyrion. Find him innocent and declare that Sansa is the only killer = a girl made a mockery of the Crown and got away with it. Find him guilty and not punish him accordingly = the Crown makes itself the mockery. Either way, the Crown is screwed. But there is another catch: Tywin and Cersei are not thinking rationally about it. Cersei has let her hatred of Tyrion convince her that he really killed Joffrey. Tywin's own hatred of Tyrion has made him seize the opportunity to finally get rid of him forever; first by sending him to the Wall, and after he pissed all over that and publicly defied his father asking for a trial by combat, by letting him lose the trial by combat and getting executed. They can always find about who really killed Joffrey later, and if not, they have been outsmarted and can do nothing about it. Yet the PR disaster for the Crown has been averted with Tyrion's death.
Sympathy towards the wildlings? Night's Watch good or bad?
- How sympathetic are the viewers supposed to be towards the wildlings? Let's ignore the horrible cannibal bald ones for a moment. Mance Rayder is clearly leading the wildlings south because of the White Walker threat. The Night's Watch know full and well that this threat is real, so it stands to reason that they know that the wildlings will eventually be wiped out. So.. ignoring the crazy cannibals, why don't they let them south? Is it a simple case of "it's our land" and possibly racism? Because considering the validity of the threat, that makes the Night's Watch look like a bunch of dicks. I know Mance Rayder is attacking.. but maybe he didn't need to attack and did he ever consider negotiating (which would make him stupid if there were an alternative to Attack Attack Attack which he has ignored)? It just seems that the actual reason of why they are trying to cross the wall is never addressed or commented on by the Night's Watch. Something like "Yeah they're obviously trying to cross the wall to get away from the White Walkers. Unfortunately we can't let them, and it will be sad that they die, but a lot of them are uncouth and it will screw us over badly", would go a long way to showing the Night's Watch have considered the situation. All they ever say is "the wildings are marching on the wall and we must stop them" and it comes across as them being very short-sighted and vicious. Also consider that the decision to repel any wildlings attempting to cross was made long before the wildlings started raiding the north. So are we supposed to be on the side of the Night's Watch?
- Like many conflicts on the show, there's supposed to be sympathetic opinions to be had for both sides. The Wildlings really just want to get away from the White Walkers, but their very culture is incompatible with that of the southerners, they would keep living as they always have, raiding their neighbours, stealing women, having bloodfeuds and such, and not see any problem with that kind of lifestyle, so it's also understandable why the southerners want to keep them away. There really isn't a one good solution to this dilemma, because if they all die at the hands of the White Walkers, that's going to make the battle to follow even more difficult. So yeah, there are no good choices to be had.
- As pointed out on The Children's recap page, even if you accept that Mance himself is an honorable man who only intends to hide behind the wall, attempting to control a hundred thousand people who don't like being controlled is a large act of faith. There's also a lot of deep set prejudices on both sides, and not entirely unfounded prejudices, either.
- In the worst-case-scenario (and the scenario the southerners believe in by default), letting the wildlings south of the Wall just means they'll need to wipe them out themselves (because of the aforementioned pillaging and raping that's part of their culture and they're unwilling to leave behind), and many people from the Seven Kingdoms will die or otherwise suffer for that. Basically, the wildlings have the very same negative traits as the ironborn, but are even more stubborn when it comes to respecting authority. Technically, this is not the business of the Night's Watch (their mission is to protect mankind from the Walkers, not fight for any specific culture or nation), but centuries of a twisted perspective makes them think of themselves as just keeping the wildlings at bay.
- The conflict is tragic in that its both pointless and inevitable. The values of the Wildlings and the Night's Watch and the Seven Kingdoms are incompatible. The Wildlings practice their own religion, a kind of proto-democracy, allow women equal rights and look down on Southerners for being "kneelers", the Southerners see Wildling as savages who need a King to tell them what to do. Deliberate Values Dissonance and Protagonist-Centered Morality is at play here, in that we don't get a Wildling perspective really, even in the books, we see them the way the Night's Watch and Jon Snow sees them and the Battle shows that there are heroes on both sides who are mourned by both. The Wildlings have no choice but to invade the Seven Kingdoms because the White Walkers will turn them into a zombie horde and the Night's Watch are too undermanned and divided to contemplate the wisdom of letting Wildlings through to fight the White Walkers, and if the Night's Watch do that then the Seven Kingdoms might start questioning their purpose.
- Like in real life, most conflicts do not have a black vs white thing going on. The story is partially inspired by the Roman colonization of Britain and the relationship between Romans and Romanize Celtic settlers and the barbarian Celtic peoples in the North (of Adrianís Wall), but we can see many other similarities like the tension between white settlers and Indians in the American West or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Who is to say who are the good guys and the bad guys on those situations?
Tywin and Roose
- What exactly was Tywin planning to do with Roose in the long run? The main goal was to marry Tyrion to Sansa, get a Lannister baby and let him rule over the North. And why even keep Show!Roose around after the RW, since as opposed to the books it was his men who maimed Jaime not his own hired goons? Seems more plausible that he had to get rid of him A)because he couldn't let him have the whole North and B) for retribution. Also why did Roose think, careful as he is, this would even fly? As soon as Tyrion married Sansa (which occured at around the same time as the RW) it should have raised some red flags.
- I believe the books explain Tywin's plan as something along the lines of "Let the Boltons and Stark loyalists wear each other out all winter until they are ready to bend the knee to our recuperated armies in the spring." What he didn't seem to know was that Roose likely suspects this and has plans to counteract it.
Geography and climate
- This seems more like an informed attribute in the show, but how can the climate in certain regions differ so drastically visually? King's Landing seems to be mainly mediterranean and Cersei's dialogue with Margaery implies that it's even hotter in the Reach (maybe more humid). Dorne is clearly even hotter and drier than both KL and the Reach. But then we see the parley in the Stormlands and it looks northern(-ish) even though it's supposed to lie right between those other regions. Joffrey even mentions to Marge that it actually had to be much colder in the Stormlands than in KL. Now granted the Stormlands are supposed to be, well, stormy in the books too, but it seems the surrounding areas don't add up visually. Westeros is pretty much evenly shaped, so geographically there is not that much that could affect the climate except the raging storms in the SL and the mountains that probably are responsible for the Dornish desert. For comparison the North is an area just as big as all those regions together, yet still it looks and seems to have the same temperature from coast to coast despite it's forests and mountains.
- Westeros is pretty huge. This map suggests that the distance from The Wall to the Summer Sea is roughly the same as Finalnd to North Africa. The Crownlands and The Reach are then, by analogy, very Mediterranean. The relative climates all look very good, when compared to that map overlay.
How Can Tyrion Sleep With Shae?
- Ridicule me, but how can Shae be Tyrion's Whore if Tyrion is so short?
- Dwarfism does not prevent a person from having sexual relations. Peter Dinklage has a wife and daughter.
- Pretty much all sexual acts can be done between people of very different heights, with only a few exceptions (e.g. kissing during intercourse). He might have to stand in some situations where others kneel. With a little creativity and resourcefulness it's not a big deal.
- Seriously? There are multiple techniques and positions. Every male college dorm room has a poster of it on their walls.
- The very fact that dwarfism still exists in the real world should tell you that dwarfs have very little trouble having sex and making babies. If they couldn't then dwarfism would have died out long ago.
- Also the show establish that Tyrionís penis is of normal size or more (both because thatís what he says and also one of his lovers says it to Jamie), which is not uncommon, dwarfism generally does not affects the head and the genitals that tend to be of normal adult size (and Dwarf porn exists in case you want to check it out, I personally pass).
What is the deal with the Lord of Light?
- Only seen up through season 3, but what is the deal with the Lord of Light? On one hand, it is the only "god" to seem to be real. It's followers can perform "miracles" and its prophecies are coming true. The White Walkers sound like the "ice and darkness" it opposes. On the other hand, its only really known worshiper is a very much "worship the Lord of Light or burn!", uses dark magic, and other questionable if not evil actions to accomplish the religion's goals. So, is the Lord of Light truly supposed to be the "one, true god?" Is it supposed to be "benevolent" more more along the lines of an opposing force to the whatever is the power behind the white walkers? What is the deal with it?
- People who worship the Old Gods also sometimes have supernatural abilities. This could mean the Old Gods are also real, or that people have supernatural abilities they believe come from various gods. More than one set of deities could exist, too. As I recall, the Lord of Light's followers have never denied the other gods actually exist-they just don't agree with them. Additionally, Thoros of Myr is also a worshiper, as are the others in the Brotherhood Without Banners. They don't seem to have such an Inquisition-like attitude as Melisandra does. One worshiper's behavior doesn't necessarily apply to all. We do not know if the Lord of Light, assuming he exists, would actually approve of these actions. On the other hand, cruel gods (whether the only true god or not) would be in keeping with the setting. As Tyrion himself laments at one point: "Why are all the gods such vicious cunts?" (Of course, this again assumes they approve of all their worshipers' actions.) So like most things, it's left ambiguous.
- Melisandre's comments about there being only two, the Lord of Light and the Great Other, plus burning icons of the Seven and calling them false gods suggest that the tenets of the faith don't believe there are any other pantheons. What isn't clear is whether it's right, is just refusing to admit that the other gods exist or if there aren't any gods at all. Alternately it's possible that in the show Melisandre is just from an extreme branch, but so far that doesn't seem to be the case.
- You can't necessarily take Mellisandre's actions as representative of all worshippers of the Lord of Light. Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion both seem like stand-up guys. It's entirely likely, perhaps even more likely, that Mellisandre is just a crazed fanatic with some unrelated magical abilities that she has misinterpreted as gifts from her God.
- Nothing ever shown indicates that Melisandre is anything other than an important figure, albeit not the highest, in their faith. No mentions of splits, no accusations of heresy and no denial of authority by Thoros. As for Thoros and Beric, Beric hasn't been said to be a follower of the faith and Thoros hardly can be considered inherently representative of the entire religion and its leadership any more than the local parish priest can be for Catholicism. Less so actually, considering that he was by his own admission a lapsed priest. So even setting aside the books, everything from the show points to Melisandre being sent by the main branch of R'hllorism to Westeros and this being the formal policy of their leadership.
- The religion of the Lord of Light seems to have a penchant for demonising other religions, much like the Catholic Church did in medieval times. So, they usually don't straight up deny other gods exist, but assume they're aspects of the Great Other, and as such worshipping such gods is an act of evil. As for R'hllor appearing to be a real god, this is debatable. Sure, Melisandre and Thoros are able to work some magic, and truly believe this magic comes from their god, but there is no reason for us to believe it actually does. Their magic seems to be the same kind of "fire and blood" magic Targaryens dabbled with in the past, and the magic Mirri Mas Duur used on Khal Drogo (and later Dany used to hatch her dragons, completely by accident).
- Being the "one, true god" does not necessarily means being good.
Meaning of Freedom
- Throughout Game of Thrones, the Greyjoys of the Iron Islands and the Wildlings constantly talk about "freedom!" They do not bend the knee to anyone nor obey anyone they do not like. They resent the other kingdoms for oppressing them and taking away their "freedom." But, their freedom sounds like the freedom to rape, pillage, steal, and destroy making them parasites. The oppression they complain about is when people complain about the raids and dare fight back. The Wildlings complain about being driven from their lands when the wall was put up...thousands of years ago. As far as I can tell, neither the Iron Islanders nor the Wildlings contribute anything to greater society. They do not produce anything. All they bring with them is chaos and destruction. So, is there any meaning to all their talk about "freedom" or is it a bunch of crap they refuse to recognize and try to use it to justify acting like thugs, murderers, and bandits?
- The Ironborn, yeah they're pretty much full of bs claiming that rape and pillaging is their birthright. The Wildlings however were forced to live in arctic conditions for thousands of years, JUST because their ancestors were on the wrong side of the Wall. And they're forced to stay there despite all the horrible conditions as well as the White Walkers.
- With the Wildlings I would have to ask WHY did their ancestors choose to stay on that side of the wall? It's not like the wall went up overnight. It would have taken years to build that thing. And, as to being forced to stay on that side...it sounds like they are forced to stay for the same reason no one likes the Ironborn...they have no respect for anyone but themselves and think they should have the right to do whatever they want. Barbarians that have accomplished nothing that would plunge a thriving civilization into a dark age if given a chance. Frankly, I can't blame Westeros for keeping them on the other side of the wall.
- The Ironborn are pretty clearly Vikings, and the Wildlings are the Scots or Picts of Roman times. The Roman Emperor Hadrian built a wall to keep them in the north (Hadrian's Wall) because of their frequent raiding. I would imagine that the Westeros kings or whoever came before were likely doing the same thing with the Wildlings. If so, I can't blame them for it, since as said above the Ironborn and Wildling "freedom" appears to mean the right to murder, rape and rob. The Ironborn's Old Way is basically simple piracy, and "paying the iron price" means always taking things by force rather than paying for them. Wildlings appear to have no organization more than tribes most times. So yeah, I don't think they're really supposed to be much more than raiding barbarians (the Ironborn being just slightly more sophisticated about it).
- "But, their freedom sounds like the freedom to rape, pillage, steal, and destroy making them parasites." Well...yeah, obviously. The Ironborn and the Wildlings are obviously not devoted followers of John Locke and social contract theory. That being said, there is a bit more to each of them than just raping and pillaging. The Wildlings are basically anarchists. They view the concept of "nobility" and "birthright" with dubious skepticism. As far as they're concerned, no man (or woman for that matter) should have to debase himself by swearing fealty to some up-jumped ruler who only rules because he happened to be conceived by the previous up-jumped ruler. The Wildlings follow a king because they choose to follow, not because some law says they must. That's where the Wildlings are coming from when they talk about freedom. They do love a bit of rape and pillage, but they also expect the same in return from other Wildlings. The reason they resent the "southerners" is because, in their minds, the Wall is a giant monument to cowardice. If the southerners had any balls they would open up those gates and meet them in battle like real men. They only put up that giant wall of ice because they were too weak and too scared to handle a real fight. As for the Ironborn, as mentioned they are basically expies of Vikings. The Norse were known for many things, among which are a (relatively) egalitarian society and a cultural emphasis on bravery and glory in battle. Like the Norse the Ironborn value strength, and the fact that the mainlanders want to stop them from raping and pillaging is proof that they are all sissy girls only fit to be the targets of violence. The mainlanders deserve to be raped and pillaged for being such pussies, and forcing them to bend the knee to the Iron Throne is just enabling cowardice and weakness.
- They're both cultures that believe in Might Makes Right, and as such think it's stupid that the other peoples of Westeros bow down to weak rulers just because of such a flimsy concept as birthright. It's a little hypocritical in the case of the Ironborn (who do have a nobility of their own), but definitely still within their culture (see how Theon was basically disowned by his father just because he wasn't raised like a true Ironborn and thus was too soft to lead them). They just don't understand why strong people would bow down to wimp kings, and then fight them and try to force them to do the same.
- This is a centuries old debate. Greeks vs Barbarians, Romans vs Barbarians, English vs Vikings, Christians vs Pagans, White settlers vs Native Americans, even today we Westerners may consider ourselves superiors to many Third World countries. What society is better? the one Lawful living under some sort of authority that, indeed, sometimes abuses its power and/or choosing not to depose an authoritarian/corrupt government for fear of the chaos? or the one living in [what we may consider] "anarchy" and violence?
It is interesting if you think about it. I read an article about why China's socialist system did not fall as the USSR and the writer said that, because of cultural reasons, most Chinese are more afraid of chaos than of authoritarian governments (opposite to us in the West), so they prefer to have one of the most dictatorial governments in the world than risk "chaos". Same can be say for North Korea and many other Asian countries. Even the democratic countries like South Korea, Taiwan and to some extent Japan had/have very authoritarian dominant-party regimes. So, for them, we in the West (Europe/Americas) are like the Wildlings and the Ironborn living in chaotic and anarchic societies full of crimes and violence (remember, in some of this countries they punished something like political corruption and drug dealing with DEATH whilst the USA is the only western country that still has death penalty and uses only for murder in the first degree), with almost no gun control (for their standards) and political instability, all in name of freedom.
- You have to remember though, China extensively reformed it's system, so the socialism is largely gone now. I also think this is a false dichotomy. There seem to be plenty of countries that have both democracy/personal freedom and also security. A problem is that authoritarian government is a danger itself. Yes, it may be able to protect you, but who will protect you from such a government?
- Previous tropper here; Socialist or not, China is still one of the most authoritarian governments today, but my point was that all these concepts are relative and culturally subjective, I personally think we in the West mostly achieved that middle point between personal security and freedom, but people on other parts of the world may disagree. Of course there are extremes from both sides from Orwelian places like North Korea to failed states like Somalia, but most of the cultures are in the middle, and what in a place like France it's seems as the natural duties of the State in the US may be seen as a violation of personal freedoms. Many countries in Latin America have a debate about the indigenous people and to what degree they should be left alone and allow them to keep their cultural practices or is right to intervine to make the country's law respected especially regarding women and children as some tribes still practice things like arranged marriage and genital mutilation. It is a very complicated issue.
- True, it's definitely complicated.
Slaves In Meereen
- In Season 5, Jorah is sold as a slave to a man that uses him to fight in the Meereenese games. Yet Dany abolished slavery in Meereen. Does no one notice his master is bringing a slave in? Also, why does Jorah not inform anyone so they punish his master?
- Dany abolished slavery within Meereen only, she has no control with slavery outside her walls. Secondly, Yezzan includes Loophole Abuse by giving coins to Jorah and other slaves. As for why Jorah doesn't tell anyone, he cares more about Khaleesi than anything else.
- I wonder why other slaves didn't speak up though. Dani's reputation regarding slavery must be notorious-surely they'd know their freedom relies just on calling for help after they're in Meereen?
- In real life in the United States it was considered legal to bring slaves into free states, and they remain slaves. I assume the same law applies or at least would be argued for. And if you think that really just means slavery is still legal there they just have to purchase the slaves elsewhere, abolitionists across the American north felt the same way.
- I really doubt that, given how Dany views slavers. Of course, given the fact there are lots of former Meereenese slavers that hate her, it's possible they brought slave fighters into the city under her nose. It just seemed very audacious if so, but then again they try to kill her right in the open after this so that kind of overshadows anything else.
- We see Dany has a sexual relationship with Daario yet doesn't get pregnant, although she previously conceived pretty easily with her husband. So is there some method of contraception that women in this world use that we simply aren't told about, or what?
- It's strongly implied, if not outright stated, that the blood magic Mirri Maz Duur used to kill Dany's baby and "save" Drogo has left her infertile.
- Rhythm method?
- Ah, that would make sense. How is it implied though?
- There is at least one method of contraception we are told about. Moon tea.
- Only in the books.
- Well, but we can assume that something like that exist withing the show's continuity as well. Moon tea can be counted as "some method of contraception that women in this world use that we simply aren't told about".
- I'm not sure we can assume, given how much the series has diverged from the books, though it's safe to guess it exists what with how much sex goes on without people getting pregnant (of course that's common for lots of shows).
- Even if we assume Dany is still fertile, there's still a chance that Daario isn't. We are never told about his bastards. We are never told otherwise as well, but that's neither here nor there.
- True, that's a possibility too.
- A woman having a baby easily on one instance doesn't mean she'll get pregnant every time she has sex. She may take some primitive method of contraception, she may track her fertile days, or she may just not care.
- Yes, of course, but the more a fertile couple has sex then the more probable conception is. I know there are possible methods to prevent this, or she could be infertile as some suggest. However none of this is confirmed in the show. Perhaps what I'd like is just a nod toward contraception occasionally in series like these.
- Daenarys states very clearly when her Dragons are captured that the dragons are her children and that she can't have more children. So in some way they confirmed that she is sterile because of the blood magic, or it is known that this kind of magic does make you infertile.
- The witch confirmed that Dany is barren when she said Drogo will wake when the sun set in the east and she will bear a child again.
- Okay, I didn't remember that.
Openly praising Dany in Volantis
- In Season 5 Varys and Tyrion watch a Red Priestess preaching a sermon to slaves in a square. She openly says Dany is their savior, and notes that she'd been a slave like them once. Given that Dany has to be well known for abolishing slavery, there is a pretty clear implication here that I doubt the masters of Volantis will like to hear. How is it they let her preach in this way then? No one else seems to care.
- The Church of R'hllor has quite a lot of influence in Volantis with the most followers per region. In fact, the seat of their high priest is there if I remember correctly. The Triarchs dragging her off the street publicly would stir up a massive shitstorm they really don't need. Not to mention a lot of their soldiers also converted as well. Now, none of this is explicitly mentioned in the show, but it's safe to assume the Red Clergy is still left to operate pretty much undisturbed. It wouldn't be a good idea to detain her, especially since we see a huge crowd surrounding her and listening to her sermon. A massive riot fueled by religious fervor could break out and I doubt the city's rulers would want that.
- So I guess if they don't directly incite slave revolt, it's a better idea to just let them promise eventual salvation.
Why did Ned take Ice with him to King's Landing?
- Okay, to an extent this is more of a book headscratcher being that the answer is "because it happened in the books", and I did ask this question on the books' headscratchers page, too, but this one gets more traffic. So, why would Ned bring his Valyrian Steel greatsword, Ice, with him to King's Landing? The weapon is largely ceremonial; he doesn't use it in personal combat as shown in his duel with Jaime, presumably because it's simply too large to be practical(lampshaded by Tywin). The only use he has for it is beheading criminals, and he wouldn't be doing that as Hand of the King. Sure, it's poetic that he ends up dying by his own sword, and that sword later gets melted down and reforged into a sword given to the champion sent to go rescue his daughters, but really, why not leave the blade in Winterfell? If nothing else, Robb might actually need the damn thing when it's his turn to chop heads.
- He might need it fight off muggers, rapists, bullies, highwaymen. And since he was planning on staying at King's Landing for a while, he might need it for war. A good soldier is always prepared.
- The sword isn't that unpractical to use, actually. Valyrian steel is described as being much lighter than regular steel, in such a way that even a giant sword like that can be wielded without much hassle.
- Even still, we know he doesn't use it in personal combat. We've seen him fighting against Jaime in season 1, and we've seen flashback of him fighting against Arthur Dayne where he uses a regular longsword, even though he'd presumably have access to Ice at that point, and if he could have brought it, not bringing it was stupid since he was up against Arthur goddamn Dayne. So there doesn't seem to be any reason for him to bring it along with him other than to have it. Just seems like it would have been smarter to leave it in Winterfell.
- Well besides the obvious (it's his birthright and will be damned going anywhere without his birthright)it can be a good tool of intimidation when you enter the small council with it to voice your displeasure.
- I don't know, I just feel that bringing it with him is rather selfish given that he has no practical need for it - even as a status symbol, it would be more valuable to Robb since it would help legitimize his authority in the eyes of the northern houses, where as in King's Landing it would just be a novelty.
- Well in Ned's mind Robb has nothing to prove, he is his son and his bannermen better follow him, also the family's sword is supposed to be a big deal not just hold it while I'm gone but more it's yours now forever.
Khaleesi as a title
- This is more of a meta question, but why do so many people seem to refer to Dany as if Khaleesi were her name and not just a title that she has? She's one of many Dothraki Khaleesis (as is made more clear in the books). It would be like referring to Queen Cersei as just Queen, and acting as though that's her name.
- It seems to be like calling her "my queen".
- The thing is, Khaleesi is not an equivalent to "Queen". Khaleesi means "wife of the Khal". For all intents and purposes, Khaleesis have less influence that even the Khal's bloodriders.
- The question wasn't about the in-universe use of the word - it's always used as a title there - but rather how the fandom uses the word. For instance, earlier on this page, someone wrote "As for why Jorah doesn't tell anyone, he cares more about Khaleesi than anything else." It's this use that makes no sense at all.
- Oh, then I misunderstood. Just a term of affection?
- Because no one likes typing daenerys and dany sounds lame I guess?
- Because I Am Not Shazam. Throughout the show fandom's initial struggle with the Loads and Loads of Characters in Season 1, Dany was only occasionally referred to by name but Jorah constantly called her by her title, making it by far the more memorable moniker, especially for casual fans, and mondegreens like "Caliese" abounded. From there it became a Fandom Berserk Button in some quarters and sort of meta term-of-endearment or inside joke in others. (Also, I'm sure Cersei was just "the Queen" to many fans until Jaime finally said her name in Episode 3.)
- It seems to be like calling her "my queen".
The absence of the Dragonpit
- There are three main landmarks in King's Landing by 300 AC, namely the Red Keep, the Great Sept of Baelor, and the ruins Dragonpit. Of these three, the Dragonpit is conspicuously absent from the show. In context, the Dragonpit is mentioned in the History and Lore animated shorts, but the show never did show it or mentioned it other than Tyrion referencing the containment of the Targaryen dragons and how it stunted their growth. It is of note to mention that the Dragonpit was one of the biggest buildings the Targaryens ever built, and its ruins are basically the biggest "white elephant" in the city. Why was it not included in the show?
- Because it would be a pointless waste of budget and time. Almost no scene is happening there and unlike a narration you actually have to show the thing every time we get a view of King's landing.
A question about the wall and marriage
- Show watcher who just started the first book here: If a married man of a living woman takes the black, what does that make the woman? Is she considered akin to a widow and free to remarry or take a lover without fear of being punished for bigamy/adultery? Or is she left in a limbo state and unable to move on without fear of repercussions?
- I imagine either the wife is treated as a widow, or married men simply aren't allowed to join. After all, it says "I will take no wife." If they already have one, they might be considered foresworn.
- I wondered because, even though it didn't end up happening, plans were made for both Ned and (post-marriage to Sansa) Tyrion to take the black, and nothing was said either time to imply this was unusual. I imagine most married men don't, but going by this, some apparently do.
- Perhaps they consider their marriage effectively annulled when they join.
- The Wall is pretty much a death sentence just a slow one so I guess they count as widows.
- They most definitely count as widows. Any allegiances the person had before joining become void.
- I imagine either the wife is treated as a widow, or married men simply aren't allowed to join. After all, it says "I will take no wife." If they already have one, they might be considered foresworn.
- I realized that the term dwarf feels kind of odd to use in the series because in real life, the reason we have the term "dwarfism" in the first place is because we named it after the mythological beings. Does Westeros even have mythologies involving dwarves the same way we do?
- Translation Convention, they are not really speaking English so we don't know which is the original word that they use for "dwarf" or why they use it.
- They have dragons, unicorns and at least legends of centaurs, among others, so maybe they do.
- In one scene, Sansa was clearly wearing a chain with a t-shaped thing hanging from it. Since Christianity doesn't exist in the Go T universe, do crosses have a different meaning for them (I'm aware non-Christians can, and some do, wear crosses, but they are widely held as a Christian symbol)? Does wearing the letter 't' have some meaning in the Go T universe? Or did someone just majorly frell up in terms of costuming either by letting/overlooking Sophie Turner wear(ing) her own cross necklace or deciding to dress her in one despite it making no sense within the universe her character inhabits?
- A cross isn't that complex of a symbol, it could represent the Warrior's sword for all we know, It's not like the Sparrows are from from Hokkaido they just use the seven pointed star since it fits there thing and easy to reproduce.
What is up with the seasons? (geographic not TV)
- This headscratcher is about how the Go T world actually works, according to descriptions, their "true" winters last YEARS, and most of it is night, so to add up, well below freezing, years long darkness, bugger all grows, the south is supposed to be relativly warmish, but still, their orbit must be out of some whack, and everyone should of died long ago, no matter what model, a medieval population like westeros would not have the tech or the means to survive a several year long winter, at least not without a significant population wipe, a planet with any kind of orbit that leaves them without sunlight or warmth for years is one which does not support a population, magical winters or not.
- Martin already said that the reason for the long winters is magical and not sci-fi, so is not the orbit of the planet that causes it. As for the rest; yes, a lot of people die during those winters, that's the problem exactly, even though they do seem to take certain precautions as seen in the first episode were, after a "long summer" they guarded as much harvests as possible, as for the rest, I see no reason why they can't import food from other places like Braavos or the Free Cities.
Cast billing order, title sequence and credits
- How is it decided for the order of the cast in the Title Sequence? I know the cast changes line-up every other season or so, but will this show ever do a Grey's Anatomy or The Catch and stick to one title sequence (since those shows very rarely if ever had a Special Edition Title). Since the show had over 100 characters, how was it decided on? Aren't there SAG rules about crediting?