A Song of Ice and Fire doesn’t need to be more than that



Daniel is a journalist.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Anti Robert’s Rebellion? I think that one would merit an entire post all by itself!Report

    • Avatar Daniel says:

      In a nutshell, I’m not convinced that it was, well, necessary. There were good Targaryen kings in the past and the real qualm seems to have been Aerys, not the Targaryens as a family.

      Of course, to rebel against Aerys means you have to kill off the whole Targaryen family or they’ll come after you later to enforce order and keep control so if you’re going to rebel against the Mad King, you have to kill everyone. But, as we’ve seen throughout the series, there’s a more, shall we say, delicate way to get rid of kings without getting rid of the whole royal lineage. Siblings and relatives can be much better rulers. On the other hand, they could be much worse, as I suspect Stannis would have been.

      The tradeoff of Aerys for Robert was less than perfect and I suspect simply poisoning Aerys or killing him in some tacit fashion (jousting “accident” perhaps?) would probably have been better for the realm.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        From the view of an impassionate observer looking down upon the realm from above and with the example of Daenerys to suggest that the family’s later generations could be virtuous and kind I can’t say I disagree though I would hesitate to outright agree.

        From the viewpoint of the people involved, however, the decision for war strikes me as an utter no-brainer. Even giving Rheagar benefit of the doubt and assuming that he and Lyanna Stark were actually in love we still are left with House Starks’ ruling lord and heir being ~burned alive~ when they went to ask the King “hey bro, where’s our sister/daughter”. What is the measured response to having one’s Father/brother/best friend burned alive by the sovereign? Also note that we’re talking about House Stark here; Starks think that saying “wink-wink” when making a joke is high political subtlety, poisoning isn’t really in their vocabulary and I see no way that Ned Stark could ever have controlled his banner men if he took what the Mad King did lying down; these are North men remember. From the Stark and Baratheon view we have a sovereign who is very clearly as mad as a catfish (and not the harmless lip burbling mad either mind, we’re talking dangerous crazy) and the next King in line a kidnapper and rapist (and known for being moody and fey in a family known for a propensity to insanity). Also remember that while the burning alive was especially egrigarious and horrible Aeries had been very publicly beating on noble families for some time at that point (though I believe House Stark was the biggest fish he’d taken on). From that point of view a rebellion seems like not only the best response but the only sensible response.Report

        • Avatar Daniel says:

          Okay I see your point but my opinion remains unchanged. For me, your argument is yet another example of why the Starks are so incredibly crippled by their two-dimensional way of thinking.Report

          • Avatar Daniel says:

            And also, the rest of the realm shouldn’t have let it get as far as Brandon Stark.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            We’re quite agreed on the Starks. Perhaps *spoiler* Sansa’s time with Littlefinger and Arya’s time as an assassin may inject some useful understanding of realpolitik and grey into the family consciousness.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The Targaryens don’t seem to have been exceptionally good kings: for every Egg or Baelor the Blessed, there’s an Aegon the Unworthy, or Maegor the Cruel, or Mad Aerys. And even Egg was a victim of the same dragon-madness that’s haunted the family ever since the reign of Aegon the Dragonsbane.Report

        • Avatar Daniel says:

          I need to review the history a bit more but they were certainly better than Robert and Dany seems interested enough in ruling.

          Look, there’s no family in the Seven Kingdoms that was especially benevolent and fit to rule but the Targaryens had the claim and plenty of kings before them were good. It’s not like the Starks had only good lords over their long history.

          And even if the majority of Targaryens are bad, I just really don’t think exterminating the Targaryen line really reduces the bloodshed or chaos in the Seven Kingdoms.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

            Daniel – I’m pretty much with you on this. The rebellion may not have been unjust or wrong-headed, per se, but it was certainly not entirely good, and the Lannisters played a pretty ghastly role.

            [Dance SPOILER – I am not finished with Dance, but they do discuss this at least at one point in Dance]

            Rhaegar was apparently aware of the madness of his father, and was coming around to the view that he must be stopped. So it’s quite possible the rebellion was indeed unnecessary, and Rhaegar certainly does not strike me as the villain at all in any of this.Report

          • Avatar Ryan B says:

            “And even if the majority of Targaryens are bad, I just really don’t think exterminating the Targaryen line really reduces the bloodshed or chaos in the Seven Kingdoms.”

            I think it pretty clearly did not. Let’s ask *everyone who lives in the Riverlands* how that worked out for them. Actually, since they’re all dead, they might not have an answer.Report

  2. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I keep waiting for someone to post, “If the Seven Kingdoms can post a 700-foot wall of ice to keep the northerners out, why can’t we…”Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Not to be pedantic (or nerdy) but the Wall in the north was built prior to the existence of the 7 Kingdoms; it was built at least initially by supernatural means and it was constructed specifically and exclusively to block supernatural evil entities that dwelt in the north. Its use as a barrier again humans who settled in the northern regions during the summers was/is a complete bastardization of its purpose.

      On second thought that was both pedantic AND nerdy. I’m hopeless, sorry. *sigh*Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I kind of knew it was built before the 7 Kingdoms (remembering only after I hit “Submit”), but still… THEY BUILT THE WALL! They had supernatural abilities on their side, but we have cranes, man.

        (Yeah, it’s a pretty weak argument, but that never stopped anyone before.)

        Since you do actually know stuff about the wall, you may be the person to answer a question I have: According to the map (and I think I remember hearing a reference to this fact), they didn’t build the wall all the way from coast to coast. Why not? There seems to be a river there, did they deem that sufficient? Is there something else about the land that makes sure no one goes there?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Perhaps the Others are repelled by water? If not, you’d think they could bypass the wall in boats.

          Or maybe it’s Maginot Line logic: sure, the Others forded the river last time, but they’d never do that again.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          Will, the wall runs from Eastwatch (where it runs right into the ocean) to the Bridge of Skulls in the west. Technically it doesn’t run into the ocean on the west side but that’s because the west coast it overlooks is a cliffs of Dover style bluff. The river at that end runs at the bottom of a massive chasm. Since the Others can’t fly and can’t swim; building the wall all the way to the cliff edge may have been deemed unnecessary.

          Though I do generally agree that having bridged the entire continent in the north it doesn’t seem like they’d have had much reason to cut off those last few miles.Report

        • Avatar Daniel says:

          I don’t know if this makes much of a difference but I think it’s important to keep in mind that for a long time the Wall was very well garrisoned and protected. Maybe they sacrificed total cover for a little troop mobility?Report