Quick Analysis of New World of Ice and Fire Excerpt II: Analyze Harder

Ok, huge update dropped today, so here goes. Fair warning, I’m exhausted today so I might miss stuff. Analysis under the cut:

ToC:

– could have used more on pre-Targaryen Westeros, but might get more in the “Seven Kingdoms” section.

– definitely need more on Essos.

Preface:

– I liked the crossed-out names on the dedication. Nice touch.

– the Citadel operates a writing service for the poor, take in foundlings.

– Archmaesters are ranked by ring, rod, and mask – perhaps a sign that Arch- outranks Grand-

– first link at 13, 7 years to complete his chain. An early start and a quick learner for our maester.

The Dawn Age:

– I like the debate over the age of the world; very much //ing medieval debates

– I’ve completely lost my Latin; can anyone translate the subtext?

– Cregan Stark’s maester was into archaeology. Interesting…

– I would give many eyeteeth to read Maester Childer’s book on the Starks of Winterfell.

Reign of the Dragons:

– so that’s why the book took so long to finish. Nice…

Fragment on Braavos:

– The Uncloaking of Uthero seems to be the first public appearance of Braavos, founded on a financial deal between the Valyrians and the Braavosi on the basis of limited compensation for slave ships stolen. And the basis for their Carnivale; once again, could the Braavosi be any more Venetian?

– the Arsenal and the wall of ships; echoes of Athens and Venice there. Braavos has naval mass production; imagine what they could do if they applied the same process to commercial goods…

– no one’s dared to attack Braavos since the Century of Blood; I wonder who tried? Probably Volantis.

Fragment on the Wildlings:

– another Latin fragment. Help?

– Hardhome was a port town, once ruled over by a triumvirate of chieftans. Imagine what the wildlings could have accomplished had it stuck around. I wonder what happened to Maester Wyllis? Pulled under by squishers or mermen? Killed by demons? Drowned?

– more on Gendel & Gorn, the Horned Lord (a sorceror!), Bael written out of the Winterfell histories.

– Raymun Redbeard took 12 years to cross the wall – now that’s determined, but it likely gave the North time to mobilize against him. I’d like to know more about the Drunken Giant.

Stark Lineage:

– some errors here in terms of weird mispellings and order of kids. But if this is accurate, some new information definitely.

– The Starks seem to be savvy users of dynastic alliances: they’re married into the Norreys, Flints, Lockes, Karstarks, Ryswells, Cerwyns, Umbers, Glovers, and Manderlys in the North, so definitely spreading  it around. Lots of alliances in the Vale with the Royces, Corbrays, and a Blackwood (so Bran and Bloodraven are kin!). No wonder they survived 8,000 years – everyone’s kin to a Stark! No Boltons tho…

– Cregan Stark seems to have married his cousin as well as two other women, as did Edric and Serena, and Eddard’s dad Rickard.

– Brandon Stark seems to have cheated on his Karstark wife; maybe this is Brandon the Bad?

– Barth Blacksword sounds badass.

– Well, you definitely see that the Starks were a large family that got into some serious shit that whittled down their numbers: in the 4th generation down, Jonnel became King in the North despite his older brother having kids; something ended Edric Stark’s line (including Torrhen, the last King in the North before Robb); and Artos’ line and all the middle children of the 6th generation ended then and there.

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75 thoughts on “Quick Analysis of New World of Ice and Fire Excerpt II: Analyze Harder

  1. AJD says:

    I’m pretty sure the “Latin” is just lorem-ipsums.

  2. AJD says:

    (Also, the Torrhen on that family tree can’t possibly be the King who Knelt; he’s a contemporary of Beron Stark, who’s a contemporary of Aerys Targaryen I.)

    • I did say you were getting TiredSteve. TiredSteve != Steve at his best.

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      This family tree look like it the Starks family line a bit before after the dance with dragons. Since I see a Cregan Stark and he supported the Blacks. It may be the line of starks after Torrhen the king who knelt ie the Lords of Winterfell and wardens of the North than any of the king o’ winter.

  3. Brett says:

    – no one’s dared to attack Braavos since the Century of Blood; I wonder who tried? Probably Volantis.

    Almost certainly Volantis, since Braavos was at the center of the Anti-Volantis coalition in the Century of Blood.

    – Hardhome was a port town, once ruled over by a triumvirate of chieftans. Imagine what the wildlings could have accomplished had it stuck around. I wonder what happened to Maester Wyllis? Pulled under by squishers or mermen? Killed by demons? Drowned?

    This was more ambiguous about what happened, whereas the description in A Dance with Dragons makes it sound more like the town was drowned in fire (the descriptions of seeing the smoke and light rising all the way from the Wall), like a minor version of what happened to Valyria.

    I guess the Valyrians could have roasted the town, but it’s bizarre that they’d travel that far north just to wipe out a small trading town north of the Wall when they didn’t bother even going further in Westeros than Dragonstone. A feral dragon attack, maybe, since we know some of them had gone feral prior to the Dance of Dragons? Or somebody doing what I suspect the Valyrians were doing with the Fourteen Fires, and deliberately keeping the natural vulcanism of the area under pressure for magical purposes before losing control and causing a lot of destruction?

    No wonder they survived 8,000 years – everyone’s kin to a Stark! No Boltons tho…

    That’s pretty unusual. You’d think the Starks would have cross-married with the Boltons during various peace periods in an attempt to hold things together.

    No wonder they survived 8,000 years – everyone’s kin to a Stark! No Boltons tho…

    I still think it would be the result of the Stark name becoming tied to possessing Winterfell, such that any Stark cousin or cadet branch who took over after the main line died out over and over again would take the name and start anew.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      I would say that Braavos is too far North to have been hit by a Volantene fleet; my bet is that the Hidden City was more likely to have been faced by a Volantene proxy at sea (given that we know that the Volantenes were opposed by Tyrosh and Pentos, most likely in the Sea of Myrth and the Stepstones, obstructing northern advances even at the height of Volantene power).

      If I had to guess I’d say that Lorath (another Island city) turned Tiger in hopes of tearing down the competition and proceeded to be beaten into obscurity by the Bravos of Braavos (If Norvos and Qohor are against the Volantenes then an alliance with Lorath makes equal sense – a stab in the backyard, as it were, while the Black Goat and the Bearded Priests fix their eyes on the Rhoyne).

  4. Ian G. says:

    It does seem incredible that there’s never been a Stark-Bolton marriage, but it jibes with what Roose says at the wedding of Ramsay and “Arya” – I don’t have the book handy, but as I recall he says something along the lines of “the children of this marriage will be both Bolton and Stark, and our old enmity will finally be laid to rest” blah blah.

    • Winnie says:

      The fact that Boltons reportedly had Stark *skins* on their property may have made the Starks reluctant to wed any of them even for the sake of peacefully ending the feud.

      Did suspect the Starks had made a habit of marrying their bannerman, as well as some prominent Vale and Riverlands families so it’s nice to see it confirmed-I suspect the trend will continue with Rickon-Eddara and Erena are both close to him in age…

    • Andrew says:

      It could be that the Stark’s didn’t want the Bolton’s to have any sort of claim on Winterfell at all. The Bolton’s are the second most powerful house in the North, why give them more reason to overthrow the Starks? Kind of like how Hoster Tully didn’t want to marry Edmure to one of the Freys.

      • JT says:

        Maybe, but you could also say that’s an oversight by the Starks. Marriage alliances are one of the best ways (the best way?) to bind two families to each other and cement future alliances. As a vassal house, I doubt that the Boltons would have objected to any marriage alliances proposed by the Starks.

      • John says:

        The objection to the Freys was that they were vulgar upstarts, not that they were too powerful.

    • Bail o' Lies says:

      It looks like the Lords of Winterfell instead of the kings in the north. So this is the linage for less than the last 300 years.

      The Bolton have only been subjugated in the last 600 year (I think), but then again the last marsh king’s daughter was married to the king of winter in order to get the neck so when the Boltons first knelt they may have married into the Starks. This would explain why Roose had very little reluctances about overthrowing the Stark there hasn’t been a marriage in a several generation and any kin’s bloodship he may shares with the starks is very thin.

      This would explain why families in the vale like the Royce and the Blackwoods were so loyal to the starks they are kin. The only families that it looks like the starks married with or into before the Tully’s that was outside of the north were families that were of the first men (other than the Manderlys of course but they are in the north)

      • Sean C. says:

        They were subjects earlier than 600 years ago, I believe. That was just the date of the last rebellion.

  5. AJD says:

    Whoa, there’s more! Including an excerpt on the Dance of the Dragons (with the tantalizing hint that Nettles’s fate was unknown “until years after”), Maegor’s wars, and the legend of how Lann tricked the Casterlys out of their Rock.

    https://www.szukits.hu/attachment.php?id_attachment=246

    • Sean C. says:

      Maegor didn’t treat his half-brother’s family well at all, it would seem. And Jaehaerys I had at least two older brothers we hadn’t heard of before.

      • Andrew says:

        Quicksilver was killed in battle. I wonder which dragon killed him. If Baelrion the Black Dread was his father, and he killed them that could say one of two things:

        1.Bonds between parents, or at least fathers, and offspring for dragons is not very strong.
        2. The rider’s control over the dragon is such that he can compel his dragon to kill its offspring.

        Maegor was a real psychopath.

    • Winnie says:

      So for all intents and purposes the Lannister’s have *always* been Usurper’s. For all their pride they didn’t build the Rock, anymore than the Red Keep and Iron Throne, (or for that matter Winterfell, which they also *tried* to steal,) their whole family history is based on using underhanded means to take control of what was built by and rightfully belonged to others.

      • Amestria says:

        To be fair, isn’t that true of almost every high born Andal family?

      • Abbey Battle says:

        You might levy the same accusation against almost every other aristocratic house in History, but you would be quite casually dismissing quite a lot of history if you did (consider the British Royal Line – William the Conqueror basically seized England by hostile takeover, but his descendants went on to achieve great and remarkable things none-the-less); I suspects the the Kings of the Rock and the Lords Paramount of the West have achieved much and more since their progenitor’s legendary swindle.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          Also did anyone get the impression that there are quite a number of parallels between the methods of Lann the Clever and Lord Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish?

    • Andrew says:

      Meraxes and Rhaenys died at Hellholt, although I thought the illustration of Meraxes was too small compared to a dragon where one could ride down its gullet. The Dornish were less than admirable in war in their maiming and torture of captives.

      Giants once lived in the Westerlands, and I wonder if they fled north like the CotF rather than just plain wiped out.

  6. Sean C. says:

    Cregan Stark was lord during the Dance of the Dragons, when the North and the Vale were on the same side. “The Princess and the Queen” ends with the note that “new Black armies were gathering” — I’d theorize that Cregan came south with the full might of the North (instead of just the Dustins and Manderlys) and teamed up with Jeyne Arryn’s Valemen (who largely sat out the Dance to date). Marrying a Corbray might have occurred as a result of that campaign.

  7. Abbey Battle says:

    . . .

    Excuse me please, I have to reassure my near-neighbours that I’m shrieking in an ecstasy of expectation rather than a fit of lunacy!

  8. Amestria says:

    “- the Arsenal and the wall of ships; echoes of Athens and Venice there. Braavos has naval mass production; imagine what they could do if they applied the same process to commercial goods…”

    I suspect the Myrish textile industry has already beat them to it. Myrish lace is the world’s most ubiquitous manufacture. The problem is Myrish factories might rely to some degree on slaves and have more ready access to raw materials, hence no Braavosi competitors.

    • It’s possible that the Myrish have applied their mechanisms to textiles, but I was referring to the importance of standardization and interchangable parts – and there’s no evidence on that.

      Also, there’s no evidence of Myrish slavery at all.

      • Andrew says:

        Jon thinks of buying Myrish apprentice glassblowers and glaziers, and teaching their arts to his recruits in exchange for their freedom.

        • That’s something totally different. An apprentice is indentured to a master for a number of years and not free to leave until they prove their competency and become a journeyman.

          But that’s something very different from chattel slavery – an apprentice is still a legal person with rights, written right into the indenture, and their period of limited freedom has a legal terminus. A chattel slave is property, full stop.

          • Amestria says:

            ‘Glass,’ Jon mused, might be of use here. Castle Black needs its own glass gardens, like the ones at Winterfell. We could grow vegetables even in the deep of winter.’ The best glass came from Myr, but a good clear pane was worth its weight in spice, and green and yellow glass would not work as well. ‘What we need is gold. With enough coin, we could buy ‘prenteice glassblowers and glaziers in Myr, bring them north, offer them their freedom for teaching their art to some of our recruits.’

            ***
            Jon’s thoughts are rather ambiguous and could refer to indentured apprentice craftsmen or slaves. I think they’re likely slaves though for the following two reasons.

            1) Jon can’t raise them from apprentices to journeymen. So the freedom he’s thinking of is probably not the end of apprenticeship and certification as a journeymen.

            2) In Essos slaves exist in every city south of Braavos and its not uncommon for wealthy Westerosi to buy them, whether they be pleasure girls from Lys and or jesters from Volantis. So when someone thinks about buying someone and setting them free in exchange for something it seems safe to assume they’re talking about slaves and not indentured workers.

          • I would hold the opposite opinion – an apprenticeship comes with a fee attached to it, and one could buy an indenture (for example, if a master was short-handed).

          • Amestria says:

            “I would hold the opposite opinion – an apprenticeship comes with a fee attached to it, and one could buy an indenture (for example, if a master was short-handed).”

            True, but in Middle Essos there are highly trained crafts slaves who train each other.

            ‘The noble Grazdan had once owned a slave woman who was a very fine weaver, it seemed; the fruits of her loom were greatly valued, not only in Meereen, but in New Ghis and Astapor and Qarth. When this woman had grown old, Grazdan had purchased half a dozen young girls and commanded the crone to instruct them in the secrets of her craft. The old woman was dad now. The young ones, freed, had opened a shop by the harbor wall to sell their weavings. Grazdan zo Galare asked that he be granted a portion of their earnings. “They owe their skill to me,” he insisted. “I plucked them from the auction bloc and gave them to the loom.”‘

            Jon could just as easily be referring to that.

      • Amestria says:

        The wiki has Myr listed as a hub in the slave trade but doesn’t give a citation.

        http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Slavery#Free_Cities

        In Storm of Swords its mentioned that the Unsullied are used in Myr as household guards, as they are in Pentos, Volantis, and other Free Cities. When traveling through the Flatlands with Tyrion in ‘Dance of Dragons’ Illyrio says Varys came to Pentos from Myr “one step ahead of the slavers.” That indicates slavery of some sort exists in Myr. Myr’s immediate neighbors are Pentos, where slavery exists unofficially; Tyrosh, where it is practiced; and Lys, where it is a major part of the economy. Myr is also much closer to Volantis then Braavos. As a rule it seems to be the closer to Volantis the greater the importance of slavery, so slavery might be more important there then in Pentos but less important then in Tyrosh and Lys.

        In Essos the governing economic/social philosophy seems to be the molding and standardization of people to fit the roles they are to play. It’s most apparent with Yunkai’s pleasure slaves, Astapor’s Unsullied, the face tatoos in Volantis, R’hllor’s Slaves, Varys’s little mice/little birds, and even Young Griff’s upbringing. The Braavosi Faceless Men seem to fit this but they’re actually a deeply subversive institution which exists to cross and break down social barriers. Braavosi culture is extremely anti-slavery so, now that you mention it, I suppose it makes sense that they’d have made major strides in mechanization ahead of the other Free Cities.

        • Without a citation, I’m leery about it.

          • Amestria says:

            There’s also the presence of the Unsullied and Illyrio’s remarks to Tyrion. I think they prove that slavery is present in Myr. They just don’t tell us to what degree it exists. It’s at least on the same level as Pentos, where it exists unofficially (because of Braavos) and figures like Illyrio have investments in it. Myr’s closer to Volantis then Braavos however, so I suspect slavery is more open there. But regardless of degree, it is definitely present.

  9. Abbey Battle says:

    On a much more serious note, I’ll wager that the Jeyne Westerling whom Maegor the Cruel wedded was one of those war-widows ‘of proven fertility’ whom he married after destroying their husbands (either on the battlefield or via judicial execution).

    • Roger says:

      Widowing a woman and then marrying her. Very ironborn! But even Daenerys liked the idea.

      • Abbey Battle says:

        I hope for the Silver Lady’s sake that she didn’t so much like the idea as she did prefer it to the alternative – which would of course have been to continue suffering gang-rape by Dothraki.

  10. Hello, new subscriber here!

    Thank you for posting this. I found something very interesting regarding the Stark marriages on the Riverlands/Vale, they could easily crash the “Southron ambitions” theory. I myself have never been a subscriber to it, but it just seems to confirm that Southron Ladies married North long before Catelyn. No real surprise with the lack of Bolton, considering they were the last ones to be subdued (1k years before AGOT starts).
    On the ending of a Stark line, could it be the Grey/Green Starks that rebelled alongside the Boltons? Those two lines were gone, the Boltons survived but not those Starks.
    Also, I need more of Cregan.

    On Daemon Targaryen: Dude was already on my “horrible people” list for Blood and Cheese but I dislike him more now. Yeah, he was probably in love with Nettles, but whatever. Also, poor Rhaenerys, no matter how you slice it, it was an awful way to go.

    • The thing about the Southron Ambitions wasn’t that they were marrying out of region – it’s how high they were marrying. Royces, Corbrays, Ravenwoods are all lesser Houses – important lesser Houses, regional powers, but not Great Houses.

      • Roger says:

        It’s interesting to point that, before the Brandon/Catelyn compromise, never before a Supreme Lord’s heir had married the daughter of another Supreme Lord. Vyserys Targaryen married an Arryn, but I don’t remember any other case.

        • David Hunt says:

          Dorne was brought under the Iron Throne via two marriages (to Daeron II and Princess Daenerys).

          • Roger says:

            Yes, but Myriah Martell wasn’t the queen of Dorne (she was the little sister of prince Mors).
            Also, the King marrying a Supreme Lord only means the Crown gets stronger. But two Great Houses marrying among themselves means a potential menace for the Targaryens.

          • Also Targs also married Baratheons.

        • Lannisters and Baratheon had several marriages before the latter became kings. Tho GRRM probably had that story jotted down before he did most of his worldbuilding.

      • I agree, but what I’ve seen is that people think that the Starks *only* married Northen Houses, not Southern ones regardless of standing.
        And I need to ask my friend again (she has the app, I don’t) that it would seem it says something regarding the Lyanna-Robert match, but I don’t recall exactly what it was. So I’ll ask again.

  11. The Stark family tree makes one even more interested in the upcoming She-wolves of Winterfell. The Citadels SSM reads like it is an succession thing after an war with the ironborn. Assuming the timelime somewhere on Beron Stark the succession gets interestering. A whole lot of Starks would have to die, until the crown of the lords of winter lands with William Stark, then Edwyle Stark and then Rickard Stark. Assuming a rough left-to-right birth order and primogeniture, of course.

    Also: The Wandering Wolf seems to married late after his Wandering and service with the Second Sons, given his brothers grandson (of the second marriage!) is old enough to marry his younger daughter.

    • Roger says:

      I’m also waiting for the She-Wolves for another reason: Lannisters and Starks fighting together! I wonder if Lord Stark and Tybolt Lannister talked about marrying their sons?

    • I am so looking forward the She-Wolves. I hope we get to know if there was ever a ruling Lady of Winterfell on her own and not due regency.

  12. Abbey Battle says:

    Only if Lord Tybolt is more tolerant of those that follow the rainbow until it loops right back around to their own sex than any other Westerosi lord of whom we have heard!

    (Please forgive me Master Roger, but I couldn’t quite resist such an opportunity to crack wise, unwisely; one a more serious note it is possible that a marriage alliance might have been contemplated to set the seal on an alliance against the Ironborn, should such an alignment have been formed independently – although it’s possible that they weren’t quite able to come to an agreement over who should marry whom with the same ease that they were able to conclude that someone needed to do something about these reavers and that the Lion and the Wolf were the ones to do it – either that or the whole business was as simple as the Warden of the West activating his authority to levy troops and the Lord of the North enthusiastically joining the muster).

    • Roger says:

      Very funny, not offended 🙂
      Probably there wasn’t any marriage, but Lord Stark had many daughters, so he could be tempted to marry one and get free of her!

  13. Abbey Battle says:

    New excerpt posted courtesy of Grand Maester George’s colleagues from Westeros.org mostly concerning the Rhoynar; it seems that the Volantenes have been predatory since the very beginning of their existence as a city-state!

    http://www.westeros.org/ASoWS/News/Entry/World_of_Ice_and_Fire_Excerpt_The_Rhoynar

  14. Aerik The Great says:

    “The Starks seem to be savvy users of dynastic alliances…No wonder they survived 8,000 years – everyone’s kin to a Stark! No Boltons tho…”

    Man’s gotta have a code 🙂

    Also: Beron Stark -> Beron the Breeder

  15. Aerik The Great says:

    A few disappointments with the Stark family tree:

    1) No birth order — they could use numbers as super/subscripts if left-to-right order doesn’t fit well, but for a society based on primogeniture, not indicating birth order is pretty lame.

    2) In the books, mention is made of Robb having cousins in the Vale, but we don’t see them listed (the few Vale marriages seem to be old enough that the ones listed would be dead). Given that one of them is pretty much the new head of House Stark (as far as most people know), or Sansa’s heir if she isn’t considered attainted, this is kind of a glaring omission for a companion book.

    3) No R+L=J — Seriously, Martin needs to either flat out say that R+L=J is not true or fix the family tree. This is supposed to be a companion book to the series, not just the first five books, so including inaccurate information is bad. In my mind (and many others), R+L=J is pretty obvious, what isn’t obvious if it will ever be known (to Jon himself or others) in the series, but the companion book doesn’t need to discuss *meaning*.

    • 1. Birth order is annoying, but I see why they did this.

      2. I don’t see how it’s an omission – the Starks have blood ties to a number of Vale houses going back several generations.

      3. I think that would be a terrible idea. Fans would seriously be pissed if this is how it’s confirmed.

      • Aerik The Great says:

        1) Why did they (not) do it? I understand not using left-right if it wouldn’t fit, but is there a reason not to use some other method?

        2) It’s an omission because the [currently living] cousins is either the current Lord Stark or Very Close ™ to being so.

        3) This fan wouldn’t be pissed, and, if anything, is pissed because the author won’t just answer the question. It’s as bad as Robert Jordan with the Who Killed Asmodean? and Taimandred issues. It’s one thing to reveal something gradually, and I think Martin did a good job of this, but at some point (which I believe has already been crossed), it’s just the author being a dick. He answered the Who Killed Joffrey question.

        Also, it may be that I have the wrong impression of what the Companion Book is supposed to be. The title implies that it is a Companion for the whole series, not just what’s already been published. The appendices in the books are valid for the start of the book and aren’t supposed to have spoilers, but my expectation is that this book is supposed to be more than just what we should know at the *start* of TWOW.

        Also, while the books themselves are written from unreliable POVs, I assume (or at least would like) the Companion to be a *faithful* companion, and not intentionally present any falsehoods. Basically, I want it to be at a higher meta level than the books.

        • John says:

          Surely the truth is that Bran is the heir to Winterfell, and the officially accepted version in King’s Landing and Winterfell itself (and at Stannis’s camp) is that “Arya” is the heiress.

          • Aerik The Great says:

            As a reader, I know that there are still living Starks. Martin mentioned in ASOS (when he speaks to Catelyn about naming Jon as his heir) that there are some cousins that would be next in line. I just think that (for completeness), the Companion book should list them, since they would presumably be known.

          • They’re not Starks, tho. They’re Arryns of Gulltown and rather distant cousins at that. And Robb explicitly rejects them as his heirs.

          • And in the Vale, it’s going to be Sansa.

            And among the Manderlys, quite possibly Rickon.

        • John says:

          Also – the book is written in-world by a maester writing during Robert’s reign, no? So he’d have no idea that Jon Snow is Lyanna and Rhaegar’s son.

        • 1. I don’t know.

          2. I don’t think they are – Sansa or Arya would inherit before them, and once Rickon’s revealed, they’re completely out of the line. And then there’s Robb’s will.

          3. I think you’d be in the minority there. I think the importance of the book is worldbuilding and historical background, but it would completley vitiate the impact of the reveal in the main text.

  16. Abbey Battle says:

    1 + 2 = So far as we know the Family Tree included in the previews is definitely not the finished version that will appear in the finished book, so it’s quite probable that any teething troubles will have been worked out by the time you hold it in your hands (although I would like to note that House Royce is not very likely to appear in any detail on this family tree, since it seems to be focused exclusively on the direct line of House Stark, so that it may be kept to a manageable length).

    3 = This companion book is written from the perspective of an ‘In-Universe’ character writing an official history/traveller’s guide so I fear it makes a poor vehicle for the revelation of secrets known only to a few (I think you may have to wait for ‘Fire and Blood’ which seems to be more of a ‘secret history’ sort of text along with the rest of us!); I would also argue that Grand Maester George is perfectly within his rights to keep secrets concerning his own creation, however frustrating it may be to be denied confirmation of cherished theories or full knowledge of the truths behind the setting’s history.

    • Abbey Battle says:

      Also Grand Maester George has to be fair to the Unsullied just as much as he is to we Half-Maesters; given that ‘The World of Ice and Fire’ is intended to be a background book, it’s probably written in such a way that those new to the series may read it without being spoilered, while those of us that have can read the same text and come away with a slightly different understanding of things (and quite possibly a knowing grin to boot!).

      (On an unrelated note, since we see the same things as The Unsullied, but from a slightly different perspective, wouldn’t that make us the Wise Masters?).

    • Aerik The Great says:

      Thanks (and to John above) — I wasn’t sure what the supposed accuracy of the text was supposed to be. If it’s “common knowledge before the start of AGOT”, I understand putting Jon is “as-is”. I’m just (personally) disappointed if the Companion is just another unreliable narrative — that’s what the books are. I really wanted something more authoritative from a book calling itself a Companion.

      And I’m not saying George isn’t within his rights, just that it’s what I consider to be pretty poor form. At this point, R+L=J isn’t a mystery to me, and I will be disappointed in Martin as a writer if it ends up not being “true”. I don’t care if anybody in the books finds out or makes anything of it, but it would be pretty bad writing to intentionally build it up and then switch it (like Jordan did with Taimandred).

      • Abbey Battle says:

        I think that ‘Fire and Blood’ sounds closer to what you’re looking for, but I fear that this won’t be proven until after the novels themselves have been released and ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ finished.

        I would also like to note that ‘Unreliable Narrative’ is rather Grand Maester George’s stock in trade; I’m not sure it would actually be an improvement if he shifted styles at this point in time (annoying as it can occasionally be, it’s still part of the charm of the author and half the charm reading the series itself).

        Finally I’d like to try and console you by saying that ‘The World of Ice and Fire’ will be quite authoritative insofar as it goes, but that it probably won’t be going quite as far into the deep dark secrets of the series as some might like (since that’s really the novels territory); it is after all intended to flesh out the SETTING rather than Characters.

        • Abbey Battle says:

          Admittedly I do have something of a horror of Spoilers, so I may not be the most sympathetic ear into which you might pour out your frustrations, so I should perhaps apologise if I have not been a good audience.

        • Aerik The Great says:

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disappointed to be getting more story 🙂 Just to me, the term ‘Companion’ made me think of something to be read with and along side the stories but not part of the stories themselves. I like Dunk & Egg, and that’s not part of the main series, so I’ll just set my expectations to “new story” and enjoy it at that level.

          I am glad to hear there is another project (Fire & Blood?) — I’ll have to look into that.

  17. Chris says:

    Anyone else find it creepy (or ironic) that while Braavosi celebrate a festival where masks are its key feature there’s a temple nearby which has a room full of hanging faces? (i.e. magic masks).

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