The madness continues…
Check out Round 2 here!
This is a great tourney Steve, and I happen to agree with all your assessments.
Just dropping in to leave my comments regarding this round of what is now officially my favourite event of the season! (CRAZY AWESOME is the term invented to describe EXACTLY this sort of delicious lunacy):
– In defence of Lord Stannis, I suspect that smashing the Iron Fleet into matchsticks and killing more Ironborn than their own ‘THE NORSE WILL RISE AGAIN!’ philosophy of delusion didn’t exactly have an adverse impact on his popularity (albeit being Stannis he doubtless took infinite pains to make sure that it could never have a positive impact either).
I am, however, entirely unsure whether or not ‘Bootkins’ and Edward of Lancaster would actually be able to restrain their mutual antipathy in the face of defeat long enough for Lord Stannis to finish them off officially . . .
– I’m not going to make an official Call, but I DO think that barring a match-up with The Rose of Highgarden, the Rose of Rouen has the best chance of taking the Grand Prize out of the various participants left on the Board (since he seems to have been lucky enough to die of natural causes, quite literally the reigning champion of England and left behind a power structure that would have probably ensured a smooth transition had not Brother Richard not well and truly made a pig’s ear out of everything* and not many of the competition can say the same).
*For the record I’m no Tudor apologist, but I’m no Ricardian either; it’s hard to take claims that he was a noble-minded innocent seriously when the man stabbed his own House in the back twice over – doing the dirty to the Woodville’s was Power Politics, but trying to invalidate his teenage rival’s claim BY CALLING HIS OWN MOTHER AN ADULTERER (making his respected Father out to be a cuckold to boot) doesn’t exactly show him in a very sympathetic light even if one DOES NOT believe that he murdered his own nephews.
For the record I do (Means: Henchmen, Opportunity: Out of London Town to fetch back his own heir, Motive: making sure that heir, his own son, lived to a ripe old age untroubled by cousins who also happened to be senior claimants to the crown).
– I’d say that Margaret of Anjou was ROBBED but Ms. Natalie Dormer was just yearning at me, in character and out of that photograph you included in the text, so I’m just going to keep quiet like a good little admirer and go sing love-songs under her window for a little while . . .
– Doubtless Daenerys Stormborn will have been almost as surprised when The Red Woman forfeited the match as Drogon, Rhaegel and Viserion were when she started petting The Dragons like they were kittens! (equally doubtless Lord Davos is going to be suppressing a heartfelt ‘Told you!’ when he next runs into Lord Stannis).
– Richard of York was JUST stabbed to death? The Mountain that Rides must be losing his touch, what with having come down with a less-than-tragic case of Envenomed Spear in his essentials.
– DAVOS was ROBBED! (either that or he was boozed into submission, but this being Tyrion the answer might well have been ‘a little of both’) – it WAS that big-eared buffoon Ser Imry Florent who fouled up his command on the Backwater, against the advice of one Ser Davos Seaworth, after all (I may have to admit that Tyrion probably COULD beat Ser Davos, but I don’t have to like it!).
– TARTH! TARTH! A BEAUTY, A BEAUTY!
– Ser Barristan the Bold has knocked the Knight of Flowers curly head over heels, The Lion of Lannister is eating mud courtesy of Brienne the Blue; all’s right with the world!
Except that two of my favourite characters in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ are going to beat the heck out of one another (unless Ser Barristan has an acute attack of chivalry or Brienne is distracted by a particularly immense Fan-Girl SQUEE).
1. Stannis’ just doesn’t present well. With a good PR firm, I think his popularity could be enhanced.
2. Edward is definitely a contender to win – although it depends on whether we’re going talking about him at the start or the overall career. But Richard didn’t call his mother an adulteress – that was Clarence who did that. Richard argued that Edward’s kids were bastards because Edward had previously been married before he married Woodville.
3. Honestly, Margaret could very easily be her worst enemy – if she’d cut Somerset or Suffolk loose, she could have much more easily dealt with York. Margaery has the better political skills.
5. Eh, I was going with a hired sword. And to be honest, running hard up against a word limit that didn’t let me go into detail.
6. Keep in mind, I have to give the show-watchers their due in these pieces, because they make up most of the audience over at Esquire. That one was the hardest to write for me because I love both Davos and Tyrion. And, if you look at the brackets – it’s hard to turn down a Tywin vs. Tyrion matchup.
Fair points to all and please believe me when I say that I don’t have a single serious complaint (although I swear I’ve read somewhere that Richard the Third actually tried reviving Clarence’s slanders for his own ends; it’s quite possible that we’re just reading different books because as we all know there’s NOTHING historians love more than a nice juicy difference of opinion!).
By the way, I’ve seen a TV show on this side of the Atlantic that might very well please your taste in Historical Fiction when it arrives on the Left-Hand shore; it’s called ‘New Worlds’ and is set in the 1680s, both in Britain and Massachusetts – if it means anything to you, it’s a sequel to what I believe the channels on your side of the Atlantic refers to as ‘The Devil’s Mistress’.
My suspicion that it will please your sensibilities is based on the the fact that it’s view of History could only be more republican (small-r) if they played and showed the Star-Spangled Banner at the start of every episode (I have to admit that it’s all a touch Whiggish for my tastes, but in it’s defence they do make better use of the Old Bear than ‘Game of Thrones’).
I’ll check that out.
I can hardly wait to see what comes next, so I’m putting up my Best Guess at the most probable outcomes here and now so that all may see me outguess them and DESPAIR! (or you know, just admit that I can put 2+2 together and come away with four):
King’s Conference: The Rose of Rouen Vs The Fiery Hart = Stannis has experience, he has grit, he has a glare fit for the ages but Edward has youth and treachery on his side (also a personality distinctly more sunny than the average lobster), so my guess is that the King’s Crown will be decorating the Sun in Splendour after a fight fit to rank with Ali-Frazier!
Queen’s Conference: The Rose of Highgarden Vs The Mother of Dragons = Whomsoever wins, we ALL lose because one of these lovely ladies isn’t going to be so pretty once the winner is done with them! (my head says Daenerys Stormborn will take this one, my heart says “Kiss and make up ladies!”).
Hand’s Conference: The Lion of Lannister Vs The ℗Imp = Another fight for the ages and this one a classic grudge match, but in the end history is going to repeat itself (mostly because we’ve seen what happens when the two smartest men in Casterly Rock before now).
Knight’s Conference: Ser Barristan the Bold Vs Brienne the Blue = Too close to call easily, unless Ser Barristan turns out to be as much of a gentleman as I suspect him to be in which case Brienne is going to march to a no-contest victory!
As for Round 4, well that’s where things get INTERESTING …
Actually, it’s an interesting thing, viz. Tyrion vs. Tywin: since the Esquire articles are clearly going off the assumption that the reader is following the show as opposed to the books (the reference in the first article to Stannis still licking his wounds in Dragonstone, instead of doing what we book readers know he’s been up to since) so I presume that this particular grudge match won’t involve any of the events of the upcoming season, unless Steven waits for quite a while before putting up part 3.
Yeah, ix-nay on the oilers-spay for the Esquire pieces.
Man, these are going to be some hard matchups to write.
Please read “when the two smartest men in Casterly Rock get the ball rolling” as part of my prediction for The Hand’s Conference.
Showing that I truly HAVE taken leave of my senses, here are some themes for most of the characters still in the running, fit for a WWF-style entrance, set down here without excuse and without explanation (and not meant to be taken seriously in the least!):
HM King Edward IV:
I’m afraid that I couldn’t think of any that fit Brienne of Tarth or Ser Barristan Selmy, so unless any kind fellow-reader is willing to join me in Bedlam I’m afraid that Dame Brienne and Ser Barristan will be going into their final contest with dignity unimpaired!
Where’s your ebook? I don’t see it on Amazon.
I’ll put up an update about that.
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