Mothers are all the same in A Song of Ice and Fire
Does anybody else find the entire Iron Islands storyline tiresome and disconnected? I do. I just can’t find myself at all interested by Euron Crow’s Eye or Victarion or Asha. I also sort of get the sense that Martin knows these chapters are slow so every once in a while he’ll add a little sexual tension or comment on some woman’s body. But the sexual gratuity argument is not only exhausted but not my major gripe with the series. If I had to complain about one aspect of these books it would not be about how stupid Ned Stark is (really, it seems like the entire blogosphere agrees that Stark is stupid, just not in what way he’s stupid. Either way it’s not worth discussing.) My gripe is that there is no appealing mother character in the books. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but every character who’s a mother first (Cersei, Catelyn, Lysa) are all incompetent, insane, or some mixture of both. Their roles consistently involve messing things up and complicating things in an easily correctable manner. At one point Cersei thinks “Mothers are all the same.”
Now, the immediate counterargument is Daenerys. But she never was a mother for very long was she? She may be the “Mother of Dragons” but she’s really a queen first and a mother and keeper of her pet dragons second.
There’s also Gilly, I guess, but what does she do? From where I am in A Feast for Crows, she generally hugs Sam, carries a baby who’s not hers around, and cries a lot. There’s still time for her to muck things up though. Maybe when Sam and Gilly get to Oldtown she’ll burn down the Citadel. Who knows!
It occurs to me that an actual competent player of the game of thrones who is a mother is the Queen of Thorns. She’s actually fairly competent but, like Dany, I don’t really think of her as a mother first —more a matriarch of House Tyrell. She doesn’t seem particularly concerned for her son, for example, but rather the success of her house and their conquest of the Iron Throne. That’s not quite the top priority of a mother character. I consider Catelyn a maternal character because she’s always doing things based on the safety of her children which is hardly, as it appears from where I am, what the Queen of Thorns or, I suppose to a lesser degree, Dany does.