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:
- Ironborn and sieges:
- Impact of Harrenhal as Riverlands capital.
- Who told Stannis about Cersei’s infidelity?
- What is gold plate?
- Harrenhal as a Fantasy Arcology:
- How unified is the Reach under the Tyrells?
- How did medieval literature and poetry authors get published?
- Admissions criteria for medieval universities.
- Did the Yronwoods work w/the Reach? No.
- Why are Skagos and Bear Island so different?
- The arrow spoon saga:
- Does cutting out a tongue stop someone from speaking? (The answer may surprise you.)
- How did GRRM come up with the name Daenerys?
- The problem(s) with means-testing.
- Advice on history as a career.
- Was FDR a social democrat?
- Thoughts on Dawn of X:
- How much of their Rogue’s Gallery has the MCU used up?
- Is Krakoa a republic?
- Do people on Krakoa have jobs?
- “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).