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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion V, ASOS

“A wrong word, an ill-timed jest, a look, that’s all it will take, and our noble allies will be at one another’s throats.”

Synopsis: Tyrion meets Oberyn Martell

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.

Work starts on Tyrion V

It is so much fun to write about Oberyn Martell…

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Jaime V, ASOS

Image result for jaime lannister bath

The water had grown cool. When Jaime opened his eyes, he found himself staring at the stump of his sword hand. The hand that made me Kingslayer. The goat had robbed him of his glory and his shame, both at once. Leaving what? Who am I now?

Synopsis: Jaime comes clean. Wocka wocka wocka!

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 Notacast Podcast

In what is almost a direct sequel to my last appearance on the Notacast, this time around we’re talking about Catelyn I of ACOK. Once the coronation is over and the debris from the celebrations has been swept away, how do you actually govern? Whether in making war or peace, how do you balance the interests of two distinct sets of subjects as well as your own personal interests? Which way should Stark armies march, and which kings are safe to ally with?

So join for us a truly exhaustive though never exhausting discussion.

RFTIT Tumblr Weeklyish Roundup

Hey folks! Now that I’ve summited Davos IV, the next step on our march to 50% through ASOS is Jaime V. I’ve got it outlined already, so the next steps are to put in the quotes and start writing…which I’ll be doing around the start of the new semester.

In the mean-time, we’ve got lots of stuff on the Tumblrs that piled up, so let’s get into it!



Patron Asks:

  • “Why does Qyburn use women in his experiments and for what?”
    • GRRM is deliberately ambiguous about this; all we know from AFFC is that Qyburn describes these women as “puppeteers” who get “quite used up,” which is a chillingly banal phrasing. The use of the term “puppeteer” suggests that they’re somehow used in controlling Frankengregor; using the principle that the darkest guess is probably close to the truth, my guess is that they’re used as “rewards” in a horrific form of operant conditioning.
  • “Was “lordly” speech…just an accent or would it be severe enough to prevent understanding?”
    • There were historical periods and places where the aristocracy spoke a different language from the peasantry – the early years after the Norman Conquest, Walloon/Flemish conflicts in the Lowlands, or some of the linguistic complexities of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – but usually it came down to the upper class having accents that were coded as high-status, and if they were well-educated as well perhaps a more sophisticated vocabulary and grammar than was customary.
    • Generally, when it came down to nobles disguising themselves as peasants, the idea was to change your outward visual appearance so as to avoid identification from a distance, and then keeping that distance until you were in safe territory.
  • “In an economy transforming from feudalism to markets, I have to imagine that the landholding nobility would have a very hard time obtaining cash…you’d said it was entirely common for monarchs of that period to run into bankruptcy — what about the nobility as a class? Did they have problems raising cash?”
    • Nobles could indeed run into problems raising cash, especially if they were in periods where prices were rising faster than rents or if there were crop failures and the like, and often borrowed quite heavily from bankers (which was a major reason why noble attitudes to bankers tended to be hostile).
    • On the other hand, nobles could also have very large incomes indeed which they could turn into strongboxes and treasure-houses bursting with coins that they could use to finance their own affairs or as surety for loans on better terms.
    • Generally, what tended to make the difference between an inexorable slide into genteel poverty and becoming major investors in the commercial and industrial revolutions was how much land they held and how good they were at estate management (i.e, extracting cash from that land). If you had a good deal of land and were good at making it pay, you could use your income to make your estates more productive and/or invest in growing areas of the economy; if you had a small and economically marginal estate, it was much harder to react to economic transformations.

If you’d like to get your own questions answered on a monthly basis, you can do so by becoming a Patron at the $10 level!

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Davos IV, ASOS

“I woke this morning in his dungeon.”

Synopsis: Davos Seaworth argues his way out of Stannis‘ dungeons and past Axell’s knife, with honesty and loyalty as his only weapons. 

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.

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