RFTIT Tumblr Weeklyish Roundup

Hey folks! So much for that break from ASOS, eh? Well, I got Jon V out of my system and now can turn a bit of attention to my first Dunk & Egg essay (although I’m also teaching a new course this semester, so it’s back to “flying the airplane as I build it” mode).

In the mean-time, I’ve got some fun stuff on the Tumblrs:



Patreon Questions:

  • How do the slaves of slaver’s bay rationalize that not only are they free, but that the institution of slavery does no longer exist (at least technically)? How do they build a new life? The books show positive and negative examples, but personally I would have liked to learn more about the overall situation. I mean, the slave masters are looking into the existential abyss of extinction, but what about the other side?
  • So there’s a good quote from Ben Aaronovitch, one of my favorite fantasy authors, where an immortal ex-slave named Oberon says “There’s none more piteous than a slave. And I have been a slave, and took my freedom at the point of a knife. But before I could pick up the knife I had to believe it was my knife to hold.” What Aaronovitch is getting at is the process of physical or political emancipation has to be accompanied by a parallel process of mental emancipation – after all of the threats and acts of violence that can only be described as terrorism, all the careful indoctrination of caste systems and religions and the small accomodations that pass for kindnesses, work has to be done by the formerly enslaved to think of themselves as free in fact as well as in name. Now, how much work is something of a debate among historians, some of whom want to argue that enslaved peoples were constantly resisting in ways both small and large and therefore “mental domination” is a racist fiction and others of whom argue that the system I described above has some sort of traumatic impact on the human psyche that explains why you didn’t see more resistance.
  • Without trying to be a craven Third Way type, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, and it has to do more about people’s expectations of the possible, which is why you tend to see acts of resistance spiking when the environment suddenly shifts and disturbs the social/political order around them. As for the people of Slaver’s Bay, well a lot more people enlist with Daenerys Breaker-of-Chains than don’t – although the strength of their convictions is clearly affected by the proximity of Dany’s Unsullied army – and a lot more people sign up for the Mother’s Men, Free Brothers, Stalwart Shields, and Brazen Beasts than sell themselves back into slavery (although even there that doesn’t happen until after Dany tries to walk back her revolution).

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Jon V, ASOS

Image result for jon snow ygritte rains of castamere

“I am going home, he told himself. But if that was true, why did he feel so hollow?

Synopsis: Jon breaks cover.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Continue reading

Livestream with History of Westeros!

Hey folks! In about a half hour, I’m going to do a livestream with the History of Westeros folks, talking about that seminal generational event, the War of Ninepenny Kings, and how it influenced the lives of the Baelishes, Tullys, Arryns, Baratheons, Lannisters, Starks, and so many more!

So if you’re around, hop on and chat with us.

RFTIT Tumblr Weeklyish Roundup

Hey folks! So with the 50% mark in ASOS reached, I want to take a break and write a couple of other things – I’ve been promising to write an essay series on Dunk & Egg since forever, and I think now’s as good a time as any; I want to finish off Hour of the Wolf, the third part of which has been languishing roughed out but not completed for almost half a year now; and then there’s the revised True Life of the Spider that I lost back when I suffered my hard drive crash – before making the big push to the Red Wedding.

But in the mean-time, I’ve got some good stuff on the Tumblrs.



Patron Questions:

  • Dear Steven, why does the raid on Saltpans in AFFC create such a strong public outrage? Don’t get me wrong, it was a monstrous act, but how does it stand out from the other atrocities commited in the Riverlands?
    • Good question! It reminds me a little of the Stalin quote about “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” There is something of a human tendency to focus on particularly dramatic or noteworthy atrocities rather than the collective weight of quotidien war crimes: the Sack of Magdeburg was horrific but paled in scope compared to the combined casualties of all the thousands of towns and villages sacked during the Thirty Years War; the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War became notorious because of the use of air power and one of the greatest paintings of all time, but was a drop in the bucket of the total civilian death count.
    • So I think Saltpans became a public outrage because of how neatly it symbolized the regime’s complicity in the suffering of the smallfolk: here were Tywin’s raiders, led by Joffrey’s own sworn shield, brutalizing unarmed laity and clergy alike, for no military purpose whatsoever – the regime as a mad dog savaging a helpless girl child who stands in for the realm, deliberately similar to Dany’s vision of the dwarfs from HOTU.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Bran III, ASOS

“…look how large the world has grown.”

Synopsis: Frodo and the other hobbits arrive at Weathertop

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Arya VII, ASOS

Image result for fire wight

“Could you bring back a man without a head?” Arya asked. “Just the once, not six times. Could you?”

Synopsis: The Brotherhood Without Banners brings revolutionary justice to Septon Utt, which inspires Gendry to join. Arya feels increasingly isolated, just like the Hound.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Guest Appearance on the Notacast Podcast

Continuing our discussion of the difficulties of governance, in this episode we examine the Starks’ efforts to mobilize the Northern home front: how Winterfell works as a planning agency for surviving the long winters, the difficulties that come when the Stark-in-Winterfell is a child and his advisors aren’t quite up for the task, and how the Hornwood Crisis reveals the hidden complexities of Northern feudal politics.

So join us for an exhaustive though never exhausting discussion.

RFTIT Tumblr Weekly(ish) Roundup

Two more to go until we hit the 50% mark on ASOS, but in the mean-time we’ve got some really good stuff in the Tumblrs.



Patron Asks:

  • “who do you think informed Doran Martell about his daughter’s coup d’etat in AFFC?”
    • To be honest, I don’t really know/have a strong opinion on this mystery. Probably Spotted Sylva?
  • “Is Ramsay cartoonishly evil?”
    • While its true that most examples of medieval torture were done out of cold-blooded statecraft or religious fervor, there are some counter-examples: Gilles de Rais didn’t need those reasons to be a serial killer.
  • “Which characters who start the series below 15 do you think would have had a better (or quieter, or altogether more pleasant) life if they were born of the opposite sex, based what seems ‘nature’ in their characterisation?”
    • The word “nature” is kind of problematic, there. Arya would probably be happier if she’d been allowed to “perform” masculinity in ways that would have been much less difficult for her to do than “performing” femininity, but that’s not because of her nature but the social environment around her. Likewise, much of the horrors of Sansa’s life would have been avoided if she’d been born a boy, but that’s not because of her nature either.


Non-ASOIAF Content: Talking HoX/PoX and the Meaning(s) of Krakoa at Graphic Policy Radio

Image result for hoxpox

If, like me, you can’t get enough discussion of the House of X/Powers of X miniseries and the current “Dawn of X” line-wide relaunch, you’re going to love this podcast.

Elana Levin of Graphic Policy, Chingey Le Gay, and I get together to talk about the new mutant nation-state of Krakoa, the continued mutation of the mutant metaphor, who gets to tell big (and more liberated) stories in comics, mutant (social) reproduction, the mutant amnesty and the Black Panther Platform of 1966, and so much more!

You can listen here or click on the embedded player after the cut.

%d bloggers like this: