RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup

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Hey folks! So Politics of the Westerlands, Part I is done and will be up on Monday, and work is underway on Part II and Jaime II. In the mean time, what do we have on the Tumblrs?

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21 thoughts on “RFTIT Tumblr Weekly Roundup

  1. Winnief says:

    Love the round-up Steve. I especially like your take on how being a ‘true Knight’ is almost impossible, and not coincidentally the people who come closest to the ideal are outsiders like Dunk and Brienne. Hell even Dolorous Ed seems more ‘knightly’ to me than anyone on the Kingsguard at this point.

    But even more, I love your analysis of Jamie and Tyrion’s role in propping up a vile regime. We get their viewpoints, we’re encouraged to sympathize with them…but at the end of the day they’re enabling something monstrous, and deep down they know it. Jamie’s disgust with the Frey’s was excelled only by his own disgust at being an ally to the Frey’s. Interestingly Tyrion leaves the regime, because he’s cast out, (and he’s pretty vengeful about it too,) but Jaime is being set up as the one who has to make a conscious choice. I do think NCW, performance with LH taking the IT, was absolutely incredible-he’s finally been forced to admit to himself the ugly truth.

    At a certain point, after all the Lannister regime is so abnormal, (and so lacking in justification,) that you can’t even argue you’re preserving stability anymore. That’s true with the way they shatter social norms and we haven’t even gotten to the White Walker situation. A true existential threat to mankind that the ruling party not only has done nothing to deal with but frankly has made the situation much worse by dividing Westeros.

  2. kylelitke says:

    Wait. “Both Aemon and Aegon watched Aegon brutalize, humiliate, and rape Naerys within an inch of her life and did nothing to stop it. Egg did the same to Rhaella.”

    Egg beat and raped Rhaella?? Huh? The only thing I can recall is Egg allowing his son to make Aerys and Rhaella get married. Where in the world does this come from?

    And if it’s referring to Egg not stepping in, he’s not a member of the Kingsguard (which is what the debate was about) and not stepping in to stop his son from arranging a marriage for his granddaughter is a far, far cry from watching someone get raped and beaten.

    Am I missing something? It was stated so definitively like we all know Egg raped and bea his granddaughter, or watched as she was.

  3. Jim B says:

    I always find discussions of the “Southron Ambitions Conspiracy” to be frustrating, because it seems like such a vaguely-defined theory that I can’t even say whether I think it’s nonsense or a banal statement of the obvious.

    A lot of people seem to talk about SAC as if it was some detailed plan hatched in some smoke-filled back room somewhere, to overthrow the Targaryens or some other specific aim, and yet the actual evidence adduced in favor of SAC doesn’t amount to much more than “some of the Great Houses decided to strengthen their relations with each other, instead of focusing entirely on their own kingdoms.”

    I went back again to the original Tower of the Hand article by Stefan Sasse, and he is fairly noncommital about what the goal, if any, of this conspiracy was supposed to be:

    “With their power combined, they could exert political pressure without really going to war or undertaking other drastic measures like this, and force Aerys to either make concessions or to resign for Rhaegar. It’s unlikely that they had a change of dynasties in mind; that turn of events was Aerys’ doing when he killed Rickard and Brandon and demanded Robert and Eddard. It drove the stakes higher than anyone imagined before. But the idea of a political alliance against Aerys to turn the realm into something better would fit into the picture.”

    But I think even he is far too specific in suggesting that it was all about Aerys. Closer relationships among the non-Targ Great Houses seems like a pretty predictable political development to me, and not something that really deserves the title of “conspiracy.”

    The Targaryens lost their dragons a long time before this so-called conspiracy was formed. A dracocracy without dragons was going to be on shaky ground to begin with, and the Targaryens didn’t have a lot to fall back on. Their predilection for intermarriage meant that they didn’t strengthen ties with the Great Houses as much or as often as they could have. Culturally, they’ve always been out-of-step with the rest of the Realm, what with the plural marriages and incest. The rulers they’ve produced have been a mixed bag at best. The Blackfyres have been a source of instability.

    Out of all that, I just don’t find it all that remarkable that some of the Great Houses might note that the Targaryens aren’t as strong as they used to be, and that the Houses therefore have an opportunity to play a stronger role in “national” politics, and realize that an effective way to do that is to build alliances among themselves instead of just separately competing for the favor of the Targaryens.

    So, do I think that Rickard Stark made a conscious decision to seek out stronger ties with the Baratheons, Arryns, and Tullys, for political purposes? Sure. Do I think there was a specific plan to take action against Aerys? Eh, not really, not based on the evidence so far. So, does that make me a believer in the SAC theory or not?

    • Grant says:

      Given how messed up Aerys was, I suspect that there was increasing hedging by lords as time went on (and probably with members of varying commitment like in all groups) that probably got really pushed forward as Aerys went further downhill, and by Harrenhal’s time probably would have produced a plan to get Rhaegar in power.

      After Harrenhal, well Aerys being there might have stopped that specific plot but I suspect the sheer shock to the kingdom of seeing what Aerys had become guaranteed that there would be another Harrenhal-like event soon, but outside events the next year made any plans outdated and irrelevant.

    • Hedrigal says:

      There was a really great explicit attempt to explain the whole thing posted on Reddit a few months ago. It was like five parts but I cant find the link now. But I think it makes a lot of sense and works really well.

    • Hedrigal says:

      The view of the theory posted on Reddit was that it was an overarching plot to specifically put Robert on the throne (that Robert was probably in part or totally ignorant of). That would in the very least justify it as a plot rather than just a vague intention of working together.

      • Grant says:

        They were trying to put a guy on the throne that wasn’t remotely in line for it unless you were saying the entire Targaryen family is unfit for the throne when they had a perfectly good replacement in Rhaegar who wouldn’t require a broad civil war?

  4. Grant says:

    The WOIAF look at Robert’s reign was written while he was alive. I’m certain that the later works on him will talk about his bastards and disinterest in ruling.

    I don’t think Euron was written to be some kind of populist interloper, at the time ADWD was written populism was still that thing that occasionally appeared in Republican primaries, and got beaten by other strains of Republican thought. Trump wasn’t even a blip on anyone’s political radar back then. As for Victarion, he really just seems to be Aeron’s idea of what the average Ironborn should be (remember that at this point practically every major political actor is an authoritarian).

    • Well, that is probably true only if we are working under the assumption that GRRM solely takes inspiration from developments in US politics as far as modern politics go. Populist interloper wingbags with dangerous platforms have hardly been a rarity in world politics for the last… many many years. It just happens that USA finally has got a notable one and he actually managed to become the president.

      • Grant says:

        For the most part the politics in the books seem to either be US (slavery and Reconstruction) or centuries into the past like feudalism and pretenders. I don’t remember much in ASOIAF that’s comparable to the USSR, the Sykes-Picot Agreement or the nationalist wave post-World War II.

        And I don’t think he’s a very populist figure. Does he show much anti-elitism that’s uncommon for Ironborn? His message seemed to be Balon’s with the addition of promising them dragons.

        • Tywin of the Hill says:

          “We are the ironborn, and once we were conquerors. Our writ ran everywhere the sound of the waves was heard. My brother would have you be content with the cold and dismal north, my niece with even less…but I shall give you Lannisport. Highgarden. The Arbor. Oldtown. The riverlands and the Reach, the kingswood and the rainwood, Dorne and the marches, the Mountains of the Moon and the Vale of Arryn, Tarth and the Stepstones. I say we take it all! I say, we take Westeros.”

    • Keith B says:

      Euron is no populist. A populist leader is one who says “I’m like you, I have the same values, the same prejudices, the same position in life. Therefore you can trust me to take your side against the elites who are grinding you down.” William Jennings Bryan was a populist. So were Huey Long and George Wallace.

      Euron makes no pretense of being like the other Ironborn. He boasts that he’s done what none of them ever did and gone where they didn’t dare to go. He never surrendered like the rest of the Ironborn did. He won’t just restore what’s theirs, he’ll give them what they never had before. He presents himself as the top predator, and his offer is that they can be his jackals and feast on the carcass after he kills it for them.

      I can’t think of any real life person like Euron. The only comparisons that come to mind are fictional villains like Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Ming the Merciless, with a touch of the Joker thrown in. But Vader had a tiny shred of humanity buried deep inside, and Voldemort’s story has at least some clues to what made him who he was. Euron isn’t even a person. He seems to have been a force of sheer malice as far back as anyone can remember, possibly since birth.

      • Grant says:

        I don’t quite agree. I think his boasts and exact words are to make it seem that he’s the ideal Ironborn, the one who lives up to what every Ironborn should be.

        However I don’t he ever has any kind of anti-elite message. It seems to really be more “we’re the greatest and I’ll put us on top”. While it can be a part of it, I don’t know that’s necessarily unique to Western populism.

        Here’s what I think can be safely said. Balon resurrected old political ideas of Ironborn supremacy with the image of the Ironborn who always fights, takes whatever he wants and stands over everyone else, and Euron’s used that message even though I think he doesn’t believe any of it, his politics being purely Euron-centric.

    • Hedrigal says:

      At the time it was written populism was a distinctly left wing phenomenon in Latin American politics.

      • Not really. Right-wing populism has been a thing for many decades, as far back as fascism and National Socialism, or Peronism in Argentina, and later with various right-wing parties in Europe that are still active today and have been for at least 2-3 decades. Almost every European country has them. There’s the National Front in France, British National Party, Lega Nord and Berlusconi’s party in Italy, Serbian Radical Party (whose leader, Vojislav Seselj, has endorsed Trump publicly, because of course he would – Trump is like the American, more recent (in terms of involvement in politics) version of Seselj)… and many more.

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