…looks like there were more than swords raining.

Just a couple of speculations, spoilers and a link to a good theory.

A handless Jaime and a noseless Tyrion are both writ out of their lord father’s will, and enjoy an extremely brief affectionate moment before another of Martin’s relentless cruel ‘realisms’ decides to part them, and minutes later we get to see Tywin dead on his privy seat. So, like Jaime thinks to himself, the winning side isn’t really winning at all; and the war is being won within thronerooms, bedrooms and cell walls, and not out on battlefields with swords… and when they say words make better weapons than swords, think of Arya’s valar morghulis, clever little Littlefinger’s machinations, Shae’s unclever ‘confessions’, and Samwell Tarly’s whisperings in Denys Mallister’s and Cotter Pyke’s ears respectively.

So there’s lots to say. I’ll probably end up with a couple dozen of posts exploring Martin’s created world of Westeros, and the lands to the east that Dany is ruthlessly, but oh-so-cunningly manipulating to her will.

For now…well, I had a theory since the first book on Jon Snow’s parentage, and while I never lingered on it too long, I never did develop it either. When Dayne told Arya that Wylla was Jon Snow’s mother I decided, OK, that’s the end of my theory then. But when I did a little research to see what other thoughts were, it becomes clear that sometimes characters get their rumours and their facts wrong. See here for a good explanation of the possible parents of Jon Snow, and its conclusion, which matches mine.

…and yes, I did say parents.



…part one of some thoughts on the series by George R. R. Martin. Realism, controversy, and irony.

(warning: a few spoilers)

that witch! …perhaps the most despicable heroine ever.

I’m only about halfway through A Storm of Swords, and already suffered what seems like several heart attacks – the only reason they’ve stopped happening recently is because I seem to be numbed to Martin’s casual offing of important characters, including narrators. Not to mention his lopping off limbs of some of these important characters. And other bodily parts. Now I wonder why I was shocked when Scofield lost his toe in Prison Break – heck, that’s nothing on getting your head chopped off in front a crowd, in a narrative not even your own! But seriously, Martin is a master. He’s the one. *kowtows*

I’m going to have to finish what’s been published of the planned 7 novels in A Song of Ice and Fire and reread the whole thing over again to really write an informed review, but I do want to talk about it a bit while the books are still fresh in my mind, and while I’m in the mood for some Descartes-style Meditations.

It seems like Martin’s planned his books for decades. His world has a depth to it that puts cobwebs and real bones in Westeros’ tombs, cracks in the stone walls of Winterfell, a sour rancid air to King’s Landing, a threatening roar in the swelling of the Trident, an ancient, forbidding beauty to the cliffs beyond the Wall, a dusty exotic air to the abandoned cities in the far East. Take the Targaryens: in the very first narratives, the reader is given to believe Robert Baratheon and his men were in the right, and Rhaegar in the wrong, but with Daenerys’ narrative the reader is told that Rhaegar was wronged, and that atrocities were done to his family. Naturally this confused me, until I realised what Martin was doing. Controversy. It happens in real life, but never in fantasy, it seems; not until Martin decided to present the fantasy genre as Tolkien intended it to be: not an escapist world of dreams and melodramatic romanticism, chivalric knights and bosomy dames awaiting them in their cold high towers, but a what-if portrayal of the real world. Controversy about history is inevitable, after all, since what is past cannot be accurately witnessed, and only memory can retell the tale, and memory is flawed and biased.

And controversy surrounds politics, which you’ll know if you’ve been alive for a bit. Politics can’t be avoided here, though you won’t get fancy terms like liberalism or neo-conservatism, you’ll have ample executions, betrayals, alliance-marriages, bribes, dark magicking and dubious sexual relations instead. Give me sword-swinging over mudslinging any day. (Axe-murdering that irritating roommate… yaHAH)

So, I always thought the books kind of specialise in a certain aspect of the fantasy genre. Let me indulge in a little theorising. Book 1 is introductory; presenting the ubiquitious ‘all-evil’ and non-human side in the Others, and the beginning of the end of peace. Martin lets us know this isn’t another ordinary ‘bestselling’ novel with his stark and unadorned storytelling, casually offing a narrator we thought might have been marginally protagonistic (*rolls eyes* well look what became of him. Bones.), paralysing another narrator, among other unexpected twists we’ve come to expect of him; and also infusing the whole novel with a sense of impending chaos. You quickly realise that there is a problem, or several problems, in the land of Westeros that can’t be solved easily. And hence, a 7 book series. Book 2 delves into the murky feudal era politics, meaning swords, poisons, prisons and captives. And wars. Plenty of wars. Tyrion’s narrative shows us the finer points of manipulation, also known as ‘the way to win the Game of Thrones’, that poor Ned Stark failed to show us; and on the other side of the world, Daenerys shows us that 13 year olds can play at that same Game, and have a chance of winning. Then of course, there are the 5 kings that clash as predicted in the title; all of which are flawed in their own ways. Book 3 thickens the plot. And gives us a few interesting ironies along with it. (Does irony have a plural?) Jaime, for example, seems to increasingly reflect his younger brother Tyrion, both in being ‘deformed’, and his suggested pairing with the pitiably un-Beautiful Brienne of Tarth can be compared to Tyrion’s pairing with the ravishing Shae, not to mention Tyrion with the Lady Sansa Stark. Also, when I say ‘thickening’ the plot, the involves some very interesting revelations, such as Jaime’s startlingly genuine love for his sister, and affection for his brother, and Littlefinger’s being the real danger at court. More unexpected events fill this novel, including the deaths of 2 significant characters within a page. Actually, make that the death of practically the whole army, in a few pages. Ah, deceit, deceit, and more deceit.

the fallen hero! …fool. But that fate was still undeserved!

I love that Martin keeps converting other characters into narrators. About the only narrator I didn’t like, so far, was Theon; and I’ve never really warmed up to Daenerys. Sansa and Arya posed problems for me initially, and I found myself skipping their narratives from time to time in the first novel, but with the introduction of Mr. Fantastic – I mean, Jaqen H’ghar, I changed my mind about Arya; and after her father’s execution, Sansa became much more tolerable. I’m waiting to see if a narrative by the Hound will crop up anytime soon.

A link to some other thoughts I was giggling over because it was exactly what I felt. This starts off discussing the TV series to be made by HBO based on ASoIaF, but when some ASoIaF-virgins start reading the books, coerced by some of the other board members, there’s book discussion too.

Right. Back to book three. I’m practically trembling with excitement with the thought of reading more Martin. In fact, I’m already believing this is one of those series that when it finally ends, years from now, I’ll be devastated by. Hobb’s Fool’s Fate did that; left me staring blankly into space for hours, wondering what I was to do now that Fitz was finally ‘content’. No more Skill? No more dragons? No more Fool? No more botched assassinations, no more Wit, and no more self-pitying reflections that let us love Fitz the flawed narrator as much as we do? Ah, bugger all that. I got reading to do.

yeah, a post without caps generally means an aimless post used for the sole purpose of emptying a guilt-ridden or distracted mind will follow below. Today that’s guilt. I’ve looked at my timetable, and while I have some few weeks to get to the final essays for each subject I’m doing, it’s really not long enough to dally about smashing empires and training soldiers like I’m doing nowadays, over at Fire Emblem Empires, and others. *heaves a sigh* Pity, because I am the favourite daughter of Indolence. I suppose I’d better get my notes arranged and files neatly aligned, and then start opening them up. … I am glad I’m smashing some of these empires though. *grin*

But anyway, I’ve been doing the midnight thing again. I call it my personal habit of walking (more…)