Category Archives: A Song of Ice and Fire

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Davos VI, ASOS

“Do you mock me to my face? Must I learn a king’s duty from an onion smuggler?”

Synopsis: Davos engages in a pivotal act of smuggling, and then reads out a letter.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Jaime VII, ASOS

“Riding down familiar streets with two hundred northmen, a chainless maester, an an ugly freak of a woman at his side, Jaime found he scarcely drew a second look. He did not know whether he ought to be amused or annoyed. “They do not know me.””

Synopsis: Jaime returns home to a happy Lannister family reunion.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa V, ASOS

“Is it all lies, forever and ever, everyone and everything?”

Synopsis: Sansa leaves the frying pan for the fire.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion VIII, ASOS

“My own wedding is looking much better in hindsight.”

Synopsis: “it’s a nice day for a purple wedding/it’s a nice day to start again”

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa IV, ASOS

They have made me a Lannister, Sansa thought bitterly.

Synopsis: Sansa and Tyrion attend Joffrey’s wedding breakfast and everything goes smoothly.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion VII

“I survived the Green Fork and the Blackwater, I can bloody well survive King Joffrey’s wedding.”

Synopsis: Tyrion gets ready for a wedding with a bit of early morning delight.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Daenerys V, ASOS

I will have this city, Dany pledged to herself once more.

Synopsis: Dany wrestles with strategic and personnel dilemmas during the siege of Meereen.

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.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Bran IV, ASOS

“It is only another empty castle,” Meera Reed said as she gazed across the desolation of rubble, ruins, and weeds.No, thought Bran, it is the Nightfort, and this is the end of the world.

Synopsis: Bran tells some stories, and then becomes one.

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.

By Popular Demand: Machiavellianism for a Purpose

550 Years Since Niccolo Machiavelli Was Born—How to Check How Machiavellian  You Are

Introduction:

“In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.” – much of the fandom seems to internalize the cynical logic that ruthlessness is the prime determinant of success. We can see this most vividly in the “Stupid Ned” meme, where the doomed protagonist of the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) is mocked for his hapless naiveté in the midst of King’s Landing’s “nest of vipers.”

But is it accurate that ruthlessness, pure and simple, is the key to victory and survival in Westeros? The thesis of this essay is, in so far as we can take success or failure in the narrative of ASOIAF as a hint to George R.R Martin’s own political theorizing, that this is not the case. An idealistic attachment to codes of honorable behavior can trip up politicians who fail to guard themselves from the unethical, but it’s also the case that those who embrace Machiavellianism for Machiavellianism’ sake ultimately find their achievements last no longer than their ability to inspire fear. More lasting success ultimately comes from those who can marry pragmatism in their methods to an overarching purpose that can inspire the hearts and minds of Westerosi.

After all, if brutality was the only measure of a prince, why is it that the blood-soaked Maegor the Cruel reigned for only six years, failed to sire an heir, and ended up murdered on his own throne, while the peaceful Jaehaerys the Conciliator ruled for over fifty years, sired the Targaryen dynasty, and is remembered three hundred years later as the best of kings?

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