Doing Justice to Helaena Targaryen and the Women of Westeros – a House of the Dragon video essay

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I’m looking forward to House of the Dragon. The turbulent, fascinating history of the Targaryen family is sure to make for excellent drama. However, there’s one thing I want most from the show: justice for Helaena Targaryen, a fairly minor character in the Dance of the Dragons who I find to be emblematic of some of A Song of Ice and Fire‘s most problematic tropes.

In this video essay, I discuss my hopes for Helaena’s character in the spin-off, delving into A Song of Ice and Fire’s portrayal of motherhood and tendency to fat shame women. In the course of discussion I also deconstruct my personal feelings towards about Lady Stoneheart.

Enjoy!

So, what do you think? And is there a particular character you’re excited to see adapted in House of the Dragon? Tell us below.

146 responses

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    1. YES! YES! YEEEEEES! I literally screamed when I read the title! Helaena Targaryen is by far, the most tragic queen in the history of Westeros (and thats saying A LOT) and she deserves some recognition. Well done!

      Also, if you havent noticed by my Username, Im kind of obssesed with House Hightower so anything that has a connection with this house makes me instantly happy

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    2. ”And is there a particular character you’re excited to see adapted in House of the Dragon? Tell us below.”

      I am probably not qualified to respond, since I’m a pre-books, show-only fan. With a few exceptions my familiarity with “legacy” characters is limited to name-dropping during exposition on the show. Here goes anyway…

      • 1. Visenya Targaryen – Thanks to Arya’s fangirling in her show-only scene with Tywin. (“Visenya Targaryen was a great warrior. She had a Valyrian Steel sword she called Dark Sister.”)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OTOiMQchKw

      (at 2:40 – 3:20)

      2. “Bloodraven” – Because I’m curious about the differences between 3ER in the books vs. the show, as well as the possibly varying timelines:
      As I understand it, in the books Bloodraven was a bastard Targ (and maybe a contemporary of Aemon)? It didn’t seem as if he’d been stuck in that cave for 1,000 years, as intimated on the show. Also, the show didn’t identify 3ER as “Bloodraven.”
      Further, in S8 Bran indicated that there had been lots of successive 3ERs throughout the millenia.
      So I’m curious if the 3ER is supposed to be a constantly reincarnating entity (like the various regenerating iterations of Dr. Who) who’s been around for thousands of years, rather than just one elderly guy with a relatively long life span since merging with a tree.

      3. ___ Targaryen: Her name escapes me: I’m thinking of the Targ equivalent of Cassandra – the daughter whose premonitions of “the Doom of Valyria” convinced her family to emigrate before the cataclysmic event, while everyone else ignored her warnings and perished. I think.
      Admittedly, the show presented “the Doom“ as this great big bag of mysteries. (Who or what caused “the Doom”? What exactly happened? Why the f*ck is Old Valyria still smoldering thousands of years later? Do the Stone Men figure into it at all? How did a civilization vanish in an instant, with humankind unable to duplicate its scientific advances ever since? Was someone’s tinkering with dangerous science the cause of a massive explosion or something? Why am I transfixed by the sound of Jorah’s voice reciting a poem?)

      4. The founder of the Faceless Men. According to show! Jaqen 2.0 and possibly some backstory from the books, the first FM started out giving “the Gift” to slave laborers working in unbearable conditions in underground mines of Old Valyria, before moving on to snuffing out the slaves’ overseers.
      If the first Faceless Man was part of Valyrian lore along with House Targ, I wouldn’t mind seeing a storyline revealing that the supposedly enlightened Valyrian society was reliant on the shameful exploitation of an underclass of indentured servants and slave laborers: the “dark underbelly” beneath the visible surface world.
      The prequel could organically portray a Spartacus-type hero, a fomenting rebellion, class conflicts, etc.
      Otherwise, simply tracing the origins of House Targaryen might not be very captivating.

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    3. Ten Bears,

      One other thing: Like the looming threat of the WWs throughout S1-S7 of GoT, foreshadowing an existential threat that eventually culminated in the “Doom” might add some flavor to the prequel.

      Also, might the “House of the Dragon” actually be, in part, the story of the mass extinction of dragons, except for the handful that escaped with the Targs from Old Valyria? That would give the prequel the cynical excuse to feature crowd-pleasing dragon scenes. 😡

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    4. I still want to read HotD, I think I will wait a bit longer. So that the book is fresh when the show starts.

      And am I one of the few that really likes Catelyn’s character and chapters? She is one of my favorites too read.

      Ten Bears,

      Bloodraven is I think not in this show because it’s part of Dunk and Egg (if I remember right too lazy too look up now). I don’t think he will be seen in this show. Maybe in another prequel?

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    5. Petra:
      Ten Bears,
      Are you thinking of Daenys the Dreamer?

      I don’t know. Am I? I have not read the books yet. I have some fragmentary, second-hand knowledge from reading articles and comments on wotw.

      I’m going to google “Daenys the Dreamer.” She is probably who I was thinking of. Thanks for the name!

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    6. kevin1989,

      So Bloodraven is NOT the Three-Eyed Raven in the books?
      I did not think 3ER was a show-only creation.

      I did get confused (or maybe my memory is f*cked up) with show 3ER’s statement that he’d been waiting around for 1,000 years. Or maybe that he had been looking with 1,000 eyes. Well, it was 1,000 something.

      I’ll have to go back and re-watch S4e10, when Bran first met 3ER at the cave.

      P.S. – I distinctly remember that when Bran told 3ER that he had not wanted Jojen to die for him, 3ER told Bran that Jojen died “so you can find what you have lost.
      I always wondered what he meant. What did he lose, and how would he “find” it? I thought that this riddle would be answered by the end of S8. It wasn’t.

      – Bran specifically asked if that meant he’d walk again. Nope. 3ER replied that Bran would never walk again “but you will fly.”
      Whatever happened with that? (He wasn’t referring to warging into birdies, was he?) I was expecting Bran to actually fly – like on dragonback.

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    7. Petra,

      Yes! You were right. According to the “Wiki of Fire and Ice” entry for Daenys Targaryen aka Daenys the Dreamer:

      “When Daenys was still a maiden, she had a powerful prophetic dream, showing the destruction of Valyria by fire. In 114 BC, her father, Lord Aenar Targaryen, heeded her dream and sold his holdings in the Valyrian Freehold and moved his family and all of their belongings to Dragonstone, an island in the narrow sea off the eastern coast of Westeros. With them, they took five dragons. When the Doom of Valyria came twelve years later, House Targaryen was the only family of dragonriders which survived.

      Daenys was married to her brother Gaemon, who followed their father as Lord of Dragonstone. Their children were Aegon and Elaena Targaryen. Daenys and Gaemon also had at least one younger daughter, who would marry a petty lord.

      ——-

      https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Daenys_Targaryen

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    8. While I don’t have a specific character, I would like to see something about a topic which Game of Thrones declined to include from A Song of Ice and Fire:

      The Maesters had a conspiracy to remove magic from the world, and this required them to poison all of the dragons.

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    9. Ten Bears,

      Yes that is bloodraven. I think that 1000 years is more the 3ER part, that is 1000 years. Bloodraven like Bran, the Vessel is only 100 years old. In books it’s three eyed crow. And there also seems to be more about bloodraven in the books, he is not really that great of a guy (I think for the book depiction the first bloodraven would be a better choice to put that too screen, I think the second actor feels to nice for the book-bloodraven.)

      As for fly, I think it maybe was the warging into ravens. It’s also possible that something else happens in the book that couldn’t be transfer to screen that refers to the flying part.

      As for what he has lost. I think the answer to that riddle is: His memory. He lost the memory of what happened when he felled from the tower. In the books he also saw some things when he not woken up (let’s say what episode 2 was, him being in coma state), that he seem to have forgotten when he woke up.
      What else could he have lost? I don’t know. In the books that same sentence is in it, and in the books he didn’t lost Jojen yet (seems he will if the theory is right. Look up Jojen paste. Yum Yum and Yikes the horror.

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    10. You make some interesting points, Petra. I haven’t read any of the prequel books (not yet anyway, I might give Dunk and Egg a try). Do you think GRRM may have taken some inspiration for Helaena from the film “Sophie’s Choice” (which probably dates from before your time). Sophie had to choose between two of her children only in that case it was the Nazis that made her choose. Meryl Smith played Sophie. I’m not dismissing GRRM’s creative muse by suggesting an inspiration because he has admitted himself that he has drawn inspiration from history and from Maurice Druon’s “The Accursed Kings” for ASOIAF.

      Fan casting can be fun (as long as people don’t take it too seriously and get all like “No, no, that person would never do, you’re delusional blah-de-blah-de-blah”.) I thought of British actress Ria Zmitrowicz (who was one of my picks for young Lysa if they’d done Robert’s Rebellion) but she seems to have lost a lot of weight. https://youtu.be/p3LRQtew_Rk

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    11. Dame of Mercia,

      I’m not familiar with Ria’s filmography but I think she could definitely look the part.

      I suspect the film Sophie’s Choice did inspire GRRM. He might not have thought of the film specifically but that horrifying concept of choosing between one’s children is attributed to the film. The phrase is coined after it.

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    12. I think I’d like to see that guy who conquered Dorne, and then I’d like to see what happens in Dorne after he left; the scorpions etc. It would be powerful.
      I still hope there won’t be too many dragons though.

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    13. kevin1989,

      Didn’t Bran see “the heart of Winter” when he fell? I have the distinct impression that his vision in season 6 is composed of those images that are described in the books. He sees the past, the present and the future if Winter wins. (or sth like that).
      But he did forget who pushed him out of the window, and in that vision the 3E crow tells him something of the sort “no! not that! it’s not time yet!” Which means, as I see it, that justice will be administered at the end of the book.
      While, on the other hand, his first vision after he ate the paste was kind of different, future, past, present.

      [Ok, M., I’m ready for the book now. Soon? any time now? I even burned some skin today.]

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    14. Ten Bears,

      He lost his legs, his home, a part of his memory (good point by Kevin). But Jojen is still alive in the books and the line you’re referring to is from his last chapter in ADWD.
      If the line “so that you find what you’ve lost” has any relevance to the books, then I’d say it has to do with “home”, whatever that represents. In Bran’s case it also represented his dream to become a knight. He lost that too along with home and legs. But he became a prince and then a king.

      There’s a nice piece of foreshadow in one of his chapters, as he tries to enter the 3EC cave. A wight is all over him and he’s on fire, and Bran is burning. Then a tree shakes all its snow and Bran is buried under all that snow. Meera pulls him out later, the wight is dead and buried.

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    15. Efi,

      Yes the heart of winter he saw. Wonder what that is and why it scares him.

      As for the books I’m ready too. But I’ve been that for years now. I feel a bit like Harry Potter in order of the phoenix (the movie).
      Harry: I’ve waited fourteen years.
      Lucius: I knows.
      Harry: I think I can wait a little longer.

      Or maybe like Rose from the titanic: It’s been 84 years. (at least that is how it feels XD).

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    16. Not liking Cat because of her treatment of Jon and Theon is totally valid. It gets less valid when that feeling doesn’t extend to Ned over his treatment of Theon. Fiction is a great tool for emotionally safe reflection and introspection. If something in fiction rubs us a certain way, while another, very similar thing, doesn’t, then that’s probably a great invitation for us to check ourselves. Societal prejudices are sneaky things, we can’t help but let at least some in. We do live in a society after all. But no matter how small a snag of whatever ism we’re dealing with is, if left unattended it can grow into a real monster that hurts both ourselves, and other, innocent people.

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    17. Xen,

      Are you talking about show! Ned and Cat, or their books! counterparts? Because in the show Cat came off like a nasty, cruel stepmother to Jon, and a gullible woman in getting duped by LF. Show! Cat even had that scene with Talisa in which she admitted she had broken a promise to the gods to treat Jon like a trueborn Stark (or ask Ned to have him legitimized by Robert), and she berated herself because she “couldn’t love a motherless child.” (She blamed her failure for all the horrors that had befallen her family, for whatever good that did.)

      On the show, Ned came off as somewhat clueless – and despite his love for his children I still think he was awfully dense for not making sure his own daughters were far away and safe and sound before he confronted Cersei and warned her to get out of town with her children (as he’d discovered all three were incest bastards, and intended to rat her out to Robert upon his return from his hunting trip).

      I don’t recall Ned mistreating Theon on the show, although Theon later intimated that regardless of his relatively decent treatment, it was still no picnic growing up as a hostage. Still, whatever resentment of the Starks he harbored (and acted upon in betraying the Starks) he would later deeply regret.

      Maybe the show didn’t get into Theon’s relationships with his “foster” parents as much as the books.

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    18. Xen,

      Ten Bears,

      This is a tricky debate that I’ve often seen and have typically avoided because people tend to feel quite passionately about Catelyn (pro or anti). And I think, for me, the difference between Ned and Catelyn’s situations with Theon is that Catelyn’s feelings about Theon [and Jon] were more personal (disliking them because of their parentage) while Ned didn’t disdain Theon, though Theon was his hostage. And it’s true, Theon had to grow up as a hostage to discourage his father rebelling again and Theon felt that, as illustrated here (in the books):

      From ACOK:

      His uncle grunted. “You warn a servant of the Drowned God, boy? You have forgotten more than you know. And you are a great fool if you believe your lord father will ever hand these holy islands over to a Stark. Now be silent. The ride is long enough without your magpie chatterings.”

      Theon held his tongue, though not without struggle. So that is the way of it, he thought. As if ten years in Winterfell could make a Stark. Lord Eddard had raised him among his own children, but Theon had never been one of them. The whole castle, from Lady Stark to the lowliest kitchen scullion, knew he was hostage to his father’s good behavior, and treated him accordingly. Even the bastard Jon Snow had been accorded more honor than he had.

      Lord Eddard had tried to play the father from time to time, but to Theon he had always remained the man who’d brought blood and fire to Pyke and taken him from his home. As a boy, he had lived in fear of Stark’s stern face and great dark sword. His wife was, if anything, even more distant and suspicious.

      As for Catelyn and Jon, her speech to Talisa was a show-only addition. In the books, Catelyn never sat by Jon’s bedside, praying for him to get well. The detail from that scene (where Catelyn feels guilty because she previously wished a baby Jon had died) which connects most with the book detail (omitted from the show) is that Catelyn told Jon that she wished it was him who fell from the tower instead of Bran.

      While I share Petra’s feelings about Catelyn in regard to Jon and Theon and acknowledge Catelyn disdained Jon (fearing Ned loved Jon’s mother more than her and she was protective of her childrens’ claims to Winterfell based on the prejudice around bastards claiming they will want to kill and usurp their trueborn siblings), she had other feelings that were shown to be quite messy and complex in regard to Jon:

      From AGOT:

      [Maya] sounded so cocky that Catelyn had to smile. “Do you have a name, child?”

      “Mya Stone, if it please you, my lady,” the girl said.

      It did not please her; it was an effort for Catelyn to keep the smile on her face. Stone was a bastard’s name in the Vale, as Snow was in the north, and Flowers in Highgarden; in each of the Seven Kingdoms, custom had fashioned a surname for children born with no names of their own. Catelyn had nothing against this girl, but suddenly she could not help but think of Ned’s bastard on the Wall, and the thought made her angry and guilty, both at once. She struggled to find words for a reply.”

      From ACOK:

      Her own children had more Tully about them than Stark. Arya was the only one to show much of Ned in her features. And Jon Snow, but he was never mine. She found herself thinking of Jon’s mother, that shadowy secret love her husband would never speak of. Does she grieve for Ned as I do? Or did she hate him for leaving her bed for mine? Does she pray for her son as I have prayed for mine?

      They were uncomfortable thoughts, and futile. If Jon had been born of Ashara Dayne of Starfall, as some whispered, the lady was long dead; if not, Catelyn had no clue who or where his mother might be. And it made no matter. Ned was gone now, and his loves and his secrets had all died with him.

      It was a difficult situation for all involved (Ned, Catelyn, Jon, Theon) in which Ned was trying to do the right thing with Jon and Theon, two kids under his care; Catelyn was looking out for her childrens’ interests and futures so she drew a line between Jon (a bastard son) and Theon (a hostage); while it left two boys feeling like outsiders in the castle they grew up in (Jon from infancy to age 14, Theon from age 10 to 18/19) due to circumstances that weren’t their faults.

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    19. kevin1989: And am I one of the few that really likes Catelyn’s character and chapters? She is one of my favorites too read.

      While I agree with many points Petra makes in this video, I 100% agree that Catelyn is a compelling character and many passages in her chapters are very moving.

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    20. Thanks Petra. You have me motivated to read Fire and Blood! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. It will be the next thing I read after finishing the last book and a half of HDM.
      I enjoyed the video essay. I love any Star Trek reference!! For Catelyn, she couldn’t look at Jon without thinking of the betrayal of her husband. I didn’t like that she was written as an emotional character who forgot about logic. That is a stereotypical portrayal of many women characters. These characters are ruled by emotions instead of thinking logically. The way that Catelyn treats Jon is a purely emotional reaction to Ned’s betrayal. To think she could save her children by letting Jaime go was unbelievably short sited since it resulted in the death of her son, her daughter in law, her unborn grandchild and herself. I do look forward to the new series. 2022 is a long time away!! I appreciate the thoughts in your essay. It’s going to be a very long night waiting for 2022.

      For those Arya/Maisie fans out there, here’s the first trailer for Maise’s new show on Sky TV. Here’s the new classic line from Maisie’s new mom (She’s definitely not Catelyn!) “Gloves and a gun if you wanna have fun. I mean it rhymes for f’k sake”. Maisie gets to kick butt again in this one. She even holds some sort of spear at the end of the clip.
      https://www.instagram.com/tv/B8gaKBxl3Do/?utm_source=ig_embed

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    21. Tron79,

      I’d seen this trailer for “Two Weeks to Live” a few weeks ago, but the version you linked is much better. Thanks for that!

      I may have posted this before: Here’s a photograph of Maisie Williams at the Feb. 12, 2020 “Sky Up Next” Red Carpet event for “Two Weeks to Live.” She looks like she’s got a Rooney Mara/Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe going on…

      https://images.app.goo.gl/zUFU6ccrJCAurYXA8

      —-
      Gloves and a gun
      If you wanna have fun.
      I mean it rhymes for f*ck’s sake!”

      🤪 😋

      Meanwhile… as far as I know “Two Weeks to Live” won’t be airing in the U.S. 🙁

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    22. Adrianacandle,

      ”…the book detail (omitted from the show) is that Catelyn told Jon that she wished it was him who fell from the tower instead of Bran.”

      What a sweetheart.

      On the other hand….

      ”It was a difficult situation for all involved (Ned, Catelyn, Jon, Theon) in which Ned was trying to do the right thing with Jon and Theon, two kids under his care; Catelyn was looking out for her childrens’ interests and futures so she drew a line between Jon (a bastard son) and Theon (a hostage); while it left two boys feeling like outsiders in the castle they grew up in (Jon from infancy to age 14…”

      It’s unfortunate that for Ned to “sell” the big lie to safeguard the secret of Jon’s parentage and honor his promise to Lyanna to protect him from Robert’s wrath, his wife Catelyn really had to resent the “bastard” infant Ned brought home from the war, and had to be constantly reminded that her husband had cheated on her.

      Especially since bastards were presumed to be innately rotten, I assume if Catelyn welcomed Jon with an open heart it would have raised suspicions.

      I’d often wondered why Ned didn’t come up with a different cover story, eg that he’d found an abandoned war orphan, that the child was the son of one of his dead army buddies, or that the child had been abandoned by his parents. I assume (and maybe the books explain) that as the boy grew up, if he started showing distinctive Stark physical features, Ned’s cover story would be shot to sh*t.

      I suppose as long as Robert was king, any
      “dragonspawn” – especially an heir of Rhaegar – would be subject to termination with extreme prejudice. And whether Baby Aegon was the product of a supposed “kidnap and rape” or the elopement of two lovebirds, Robert would hate the kid for being his archenemy’s son more than he’d cherish the child as his “beloved” Lyanna’s son.

      Like you said, it was a difficult situation all around – for Cat, Ned, and Jon. I’ve witnessed how step-children and half-siblings in blended families or after a parent’s remarriage are treated like annoyances.

      I would imagine that even today an out-of-wedlock child resulting from a philandering husband’s affair would not be welcomed warmly into the family home by the man’s wife. No matter how innocent that child is, he would bear the brunt of the contempt for the mistress that got impregnated – particularly if the husband told his wife the kid was going to live with them, no questions asked. If there were “trueborn” children in the household it would be unrealistic to expect the wife to treat the mistress’ child like one of her own, or to promote parental affections for the illegitimate child. When inheritances and disputes over money are in play it can result in all-out war.

      As cruel as Catelyn may have been to Jon, it’s kind of hard to blame her. She was only human, and her husband put her in an untenable position – more so if the success of his ruse depended on her behaving like a humiliated spouse.

      Good job Ned! Husband of the Year. Father of the Decade. (Way to neglect your own daughters and fail to protect them from being taken hostage by your enemy while you were so concerned about your enemy’s children.)

      Need I get into Ned’s questionable decision – or indifference – in letting Jon piss away his life in a veritable penal colony? I still don’t understand why he didn’t even try to persuade Jon to think twice about joining the NW, and didn’t tell him that the NW was a dumping ground for riff raff, criminals and other dregs of society, rather than some noble calling. (How is it that only Tyrion Lannister told him the real story and his own “father” didn’t?)

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    23. Ten Bears,

      I assume (and maybe the books explain) that as the boy grew up, if he started showing distinctive Stark physical features, Ned’s cover story would be shot to sh*t.

      Well, it could also invite speculation into who this abandoned kid was since Ned was bringing him into his household to raise alongside his own kids, particularly Robb, who Jon was raised side by side with — which was already an unusual situation. And, yeah, why Jon looked so much like Ned. From Catelyn’s chapter in AGOT about when Ned brought Jon home:

      Whoever Jon’s mother had been, Ned must have loved her fiercely, for nothing Catelyn said would persuade him to send the boy away. It was the one thing she could never forgive him. She had come to love her husband with all her heart, but she had never found it in her to love Jon. She might have overlooked a dozen bastards for Ned’s sake, so long as they were out of sight. Jon was never out of sight, and as he grew, he looked more like Ned than any of the trueborn sons she bore him. Somehow that made it worse.

      _____

      Need I get into Ned’s questionable decision – or indifference – in letting Jon piss away his life in a veritable penal colony? I still don’t understand why he didn’t even try to persuade Jon to think twice about joining the NW, and didn’t tell him that the NW was a dumping ground for riff raff, criminals and other dregs of society, rather than some noble calling. (How is it that only Tyrion Lannister told him the real story and his own “father” didn’t?)

      I wouldn’t characterize Ned’s decision as indifferent. He was pretty against the idea but had limited options since decisions had to be made in a pretty hasty timeline, which I will go into below. He wanted Jon to stay with Robb at Winterfell. However, Catelyn refused to let Jon stay in Ned’s absence.

      I think the problem was, with Ned, is that he hadn’t anticipated Robert coming or planned to become Robert’s Hand. So he was rushing to make plans for all his kids: Sansa is betrothed to Joffrey, per Robert’s request, Arya is to go to court because Catelyn feels she needs refinement, Bran is to go to King’s Landing too to help soothe tensions between Robb and Joffrey (this was the plan before Bran’s fall), while Robb and Rickon were to remain at Winterfell with Catelyn — Robb will act as Ned’s heir in his absence, Catelyn will guide him, and Rickon is too young to go south. Meanwhile, Ned had wanted Jon to stay with Robb but…

      This is the passage of that scene from the books in which this decision is made [this starts off right after that last passage from Catelyn]:

      “Jon must go,” she said now.

      “He and Robb are close,” Ned said. “I had hoped …”

      “He cannot stay here,” Catelyn said, cutting him off. “He is your son, not mine. I will not have him.” It was hard, she knew, but no less the truth. Ned would do the boy no kindness by leaving him here at Winterfell.

      The look Ned gave her was anguished. “You know I cannot take him south. There will be no place for him at court. A boy with a bastard’s name … you know what they will say of him. He will be shunned.”

      Catelyn armored her heart against the mute appeal in her husband’s eyes. “They say your friend Robert has fathered a dozen bastards himself.”

      “And none of them has ever been seen at court!” Ned blazed. “The Lannister woman has seen to that. How can you be so damnably cruel, Catelyn? He is only a boy. He—”

      His fury was on him. He might have said more, and worse, but Maester Luwin cut in. “Another solution presents itself,” he said, his voice quiet. “Your brother Benjen came to me about Jon a few days ago. It seems the boy aspires to take the black.”

      Ned looked shocked. “He asked to join the Night’s Watch?”

      Catelyn said nothing. Let Ned work it out in his own mind; her voice would not be welcome now. Yet gladly would she have kissed the maester just then. His was the perfect solution. Benjen Stark was a Sworn Brother. Jon would be a son to him, the child he would never have. And in time the boy would take the oath as well. He would father no sons who might someday contest with Catelyn’s own grandchildren for Winterfell.

      Maester Luwin said, “There is great honor in service on the Wall, my lord.”

      “And even a bastard may rise high in the Night’s Watch,” Ned reflected. Still, his voice was troubled. “Jon is so young. If he asked this when he was a man grown, that would be one thing, but a boy of fourteen …”

      “A hard sacrifice,” Maester Luwin agreed. “Yet these are hard times, my lord. His road is no crueler than yours or your lady’s.”

      Catelyn thought of the three children she must lose. It was not easy keeping silent then.

      Ned turned away from them to gaze out the window, his long face silent and thoughtful. Finally he sighed, and turned back. “Very well,” he said to Maester Luwin. “I suppose it is for the best. I will speak to Ben.”

      “When shall we tell Jon?” the maester asked.

      “When I must. Preparations must be made. It will be a fortnight before we are ready to depart. I would sooner let Jon enjoy these last few days. Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well. When the time comes, I will tell him myself.”

      There’s also that the Starks view the Night’s Watch quite differently from how southern families view it (like Tyrion). If my timeline is right, Benjen joined the Watch between 14 and 16 years old. To an extent, it seemed to be a practice for noble families in the North, particularly the Starks, who still had respect for the Watch. Also, it put Jon out of Robert’s reach for good and it is filled with criminals, but there are also good people there and Jon had opportunities within the Watch that were limited in the rest of Westeros.

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    24. Tron79,

      Cat had to think of all her children, not only Robb. I think the book poses some very hard questions to the readers in this respect. Robb didn’t care about his sisters, since he was a king and had to think of the lords first. They wanted independence but didn’t know what to do with it. It was a war without meaning, since they didn’t intend to take KL and overthrow the Lannisters. But the girls were in KL and as the situation was there’d be no way for them to get out of there. They’d be forever held as hostages for blackmailing the North (or they would be released after many, many years).
      By the time the Karstarks left Robb’s side, the war had come to an impass and that was Robb’s fault. He decided to take Casterly Rock and for that he needed the Freys. But he screwed that up too. The Red Wedding was his fault directly, not Catelyn’s. Like Catelyn said, Frey wanted a king, not just any groom.
      If Catelyn was mistaken, it was -imo- in arresting Tyrion. That was rash, thoughtless and driven by emotion. She wanted justice for her son, but she should have sought that with the king, not on her own. Tyrion promised her that he’d send her girls to her, but instead he married Sansa before the RW as Tywin was preparing his coup against the North. Instead it was the prodigal Lannister son who set Brienne after Sansa and Arya. Jamie has more honor in him than Tyrion will ever have, only it was buried under tons of sins (one in particular) and several heinous crimes.
      No matter which way you look at it, it is a story of cruel betrayals, a multi-layered narrative about human nature and power. Catelyn was a mother who saw one of her sons almost die and crippled forever for covering up someone’s sins, left her younger son (a toddler) alone in search for justice for that son, had her husband executed on false accusations, her girls in a hostage situation, and only clang on her first son for preserving some hope of justice and vindication…
      [damn, it sucks !]

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    25. Efi: Robb didn’t care about his sisters, since he was a king and had to think of the lords first.

      I don’t think that’s exactly true. As you said, the book does pose some very hard questions — impossible questions, even — and Robb was forced into many of those quandaries as a 14/15-year old king.

      Robb’s terms for peace included the return of his sisters.

      From ACOK:

      “An offer of peace.” Robb stood, longsword in hand. Grey Wind moved to his side. The hall grew hushed. “Tell the Queen Regent that if she meets my terms, I will sheath this sword, and make an end to the war between us.”

      In the back of the hall, Catelyn glimpsed the tall, gaunt figure of Lord Rickard Karstark shove through a rank of guards and out the door. No one else moved. Robb paid the disruption no mind. “Olyvar, the paper,” he commanded. The squire took his longsword and handed up a rolled parchment.

      Robb unrolled it. “First, the queen must release my sisters and provide them with transport by sea from King’s Landing to White Harbor. It is to be understood that Sansa’s betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon is at an end. When I receive word from my castellan that my sisters have returned unharmed to Winterfell, I will release the queen’s cousins, the squire Willem Lannister and your brother Tion Frey, and give them safe escort to Casterly Rock or wheresoever she desires them delivered.”

      However, Robb is between a rock and a hard place. Catelyn wants Robb to trade Jaime for Sansa and Arya but Robb says his bannermen will never allow that and they can overthrow him as king if he angers them too much:

      “Cersei Lannister will never consent to trade your sisters for a pair of cousins. It’s her brother she’ll want, as you know full well.” She had told him as much before, but Catelyn was finding that kings do not listen half so attentively as sons.

      “I can’t release the Kingslayer, not even if I wanted to. My lords would never abide it.”

      “Your lords made you their king.”

      “And can unmake me just as easy.”

      “If your crown is the price we must pay to have Arya and Sansa returned safe, we should pay it willingly. Half your lords would like to murder Lannister in his cell. If he should die while he’s your prisoner, men will say—”

      “—that he well deserved it,” Robb finished.

      “And your sisters?” Catelyn asked sharply. “Will they deserve their deaths as well? I promise you, if any harm comes to her brother, Cersei will pay us back blood for blood—”

      “Lannister won’t die,” Robb said. “No one so much as speaks to him without my warrant. He has food, water, clean straw, more comfort than he has any right to. But I won’t free him, not even for Arya and Sansa.”

      And unfortunately, while Robb knows his bannermen are far more likely to accept trading Jaime for Ned, Catelyn realizes girls — in this society — don’t have as much value.

      “He pushed a fall of hair out of his eyes and gave a shake of the head. “I might have been able to trade the Kingslayer for Father, but . . .”

      “. . . but not for the girls?” Her voice was icy quiet. “Girls are not important enough, are they?”

      Robb made no answer, but there was hurt in his eyes. Blue eyes, Tully eyes, eyes she had given him. She had wounded him, but he was too much his father’s son to admit it.

      That was unworthy of me, she told herself. Gods be good, what is to become of me? He is doing his best, trying so hard, I know it, I see it, and yet . . . I have lost my Ned, the rock my life was built on, I could not bear to lose the girls as well . . .

      “I’ll do all I can for my sisters,” Robb said. “If the queen has any sense, she’ll accept my terms. If not, I’ll make her rue the day she refused me.”

      I wish we got Robb’s POV, in addition to Catelyn’s 🙁

      Tyrion promised her that he’d send her girls to her, but instead he married Sansa before the RW as Tywin was preparing his coup against the North.

      I think Tyrion was forced into that marriage by Tywin as well though…

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    26. Ten Bears,

      You raise some very good questions, and all are legit.
      Catelyn was afraid of the threat Jon could pose as Ned’s son to her children’s inheritance. She is troubled by it even when Robb decides to make Jon his heir. But Robb did that because he didn’t want Tyrion to become the North’s governor because of his wedding with Sansa in case he died without heirs.
      Also, Ned was unbending. He didn’t give Catelyn any clue with regard to Jon, and he did well. If Catelyn knew, what could guarantee that she wouldn’t deliver him to Robert or the Lannisters for securing that her children would be returned to her? If Catelyn knew, Jon could become a hostage himself for others’ games, including his own family’s.
      Ned could have chosen otherwise. He could have sent Jon to the wildlings; he could raise him as a friend’s son. But that wouldn’t guarrantee the Stark protection, and Jon was promised.
      “Promise me, Ned, promise me”.
      He promised to Lyanna that he’d protect her son, and there was no better way to protect him than having him close as his own son. Thereafter Jon would have a series of options; become a knight like Bran wanted; or become a lord, vassal of WF. Or join the NW, which he chose.
      The NW is the North’s obligation, and it is viewed as a honorary guard, even though it is apparently decaying at the time ASoIaF begins. There is a nice passage in ADWD, describing the shields that adorn the hall at CB. According to the narrative, when the knights and lords joined the NW, they hung their shields with their painted sigils on the walls of the hall. It’s symbolic for anonymity, they stop being part of the greater world and become brothers of the NW, where titles and descent don’t matter. Jon thinks that all familes are represented there, they had all sent sons to the Wall, even though this practice tapered off in the past years.
      However, we still don’t know why Jon decided to join the NW. The text implies that he was upset for being a bastard, and he took the decision the night of the feast in honor of the Lannisters. Jon did have a place at Ned’s table (what he says to Melisandre in 6.10 was show-invented), but on that occasion he wasn’t allowed to sit anywhere near the royal family, so he watched his siblings walking to the dais escorted by a royal scion, Robb-Myrcella, Sansa-Joffrey, Arya-Tommen, but Jon was stuck in the back seats against the wall (secretly feeding Ghost under the table), and got drunk for the first time and even cried for being excluded. He was jealous -that is pretty clear, but Ned hadn’t yet decided to go South and take half his family with him; nor had Catelyn come forth with her denial to tolerate Jon in Ned’s absense. So theoretically at least, the option of becoming a knight/lord was still open to Jon. He decided to go to the Wall instead.
      Perhaps in the next books his motives will be clearer. Martin isn’t straightforward with the readers. It’s the waterdrop torture.

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    27. Efi,

      However, we still don’t know why Jon decided to join the NW. The text implies that he was upset for being a bastard, and he took the decision the night of the feast in honor of the Lannisters.

      I’m so sorry for another reply, Efi 🙁 I’m really not trying to pick at you — I wanted to reply to this because I think we did get Jon’s motivation for joining the Watch in AGOT.

      It seems Jon had been thinking about the Watch for quite some time and he felt he had limited options for advancement in Westeros, he wanted to prove himself by his own merit, and wanted to earn his own sort of honor.

      AGOT, Jon I:

      [Benjen:] “You don’t miss much, do you, Jon? We could use a man like you on the Wall.”

      Jon swelled with pride. “Robb is a stronger lance than I am, but I’m the better sword, and Hullen says I sit a horse as well as anyone in the castle.”

      “Notable achievements.”

      “Take me with you when you go back to the Wall,” Jon said in a sudden rush. “Father will give me leave to go if you ask him, I know he will.”

      Uncle Benjen studied his face carefully. “The Wall is a hard place for a boy, Jon.”

      “I am almost a man grown,” Jon protested. “I will turn fifteen on my next name day, and Maester Luwin says bastards grow up faster than other children.”

      “That’s true enough,” Benjen said with a downward twist of his mouth. He took Jon’s cup from the table, filled it fresh from a nearby pitcher, and drank down a long swallow.

      “Daeren Targaryen was only fourteen when he conquered Dorne,” Jon said. The Young Dragon was one of his heroes.

      “A conquest that lasted a summer,” his uncle pointed out. “Your Boy King lost ten thousand men taking the place, and another fifty trying to hold it. Someone should have told him that war isn’t a game.” He took another sip of wine. “Also,” he said, wiping his mouth, “Daeren Targaryen was only eighteen when he died. Or have you forgotten that part?”

      “I forget nothing,” Jon boasted. The wine was making him bold. He tried to sit very straight, to make himself seem taller. “I want to serve in the Night’s Watch, Uncle.”

      He had thought on it long and hard, lying abed at night while his brothers slept around him. Robb would someday inherit Winterfell, would command great armies as the Warden of the North. Bran and Rickon would be Robb’s bannermen and rule holdfasts in his name. His sisters Arya and Sansa would marry the heirs of other great houses and go south as mistress of castles of their own. But what place could a bastard hope to earn?

      “You don’t know what you’re asking, Jon. The Night’s Watch is a sworn brotherhood. We have no families. None of us will ever father sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor.”

      “A bastard can have honor too,” Jon said. “I am ready to swear your oath.”

      “You are a boy of fourteen,” Benjen said. “Not a man, not yet. Until you have known a woman, you cannot understand what you would be giving up.”

      “I don’t care about that!” Jon said hotly.

      “You might, if you knew what it meant,” Benjen said. “If you knew what the oath would cost you, you might be less eager to pay the price, son.”

      Jon felt anger rise inside him. “I’m not your son!”

      Benjen Stark stood up. “More’s the pity.” He put a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “Come back to me after you’ve fathered a few bastards of your own, and we’ll see how you feel.”

      Jon trembled. “I will never father a bastard,” he said carefully. “Never!” He spat it out like venom.

      Suddenly he realized that the table had fallen silent, and they were all looking at him. He felt the tears begin to well behind his eyes. He pushed himself to his feet.

      “I must be excused,” he said with the last of his dignity. He whirled and bolted before they could see him cry.

      And that’s what sends Jon out of the room, crying. The humiliation of his outburst.

      From Jon VI, when he’s pissed about being appointed a steward instead of a ranger:

      It was true, Lord Eddard had often made Robb part of his councils back at Winterfell. Could Sam be right? Even a bastard could rise high in the Night’s Watch, they said.

      I think it’s also notable that while Jon didn’t love being excluded, he’s pretty happy eating down by the squires where Ned can’t monitor his wine intake 😉

      There were times—not many, but a few—when Jon Snow was glad he was a bastard. As he filled his wine cup once more from a passing flagon, it struck him that this might be one of them.

      In honor of the occasion, his lord father would doubtless permit each child a glass of wine, but no more than that. Down here on the benches, there was no one to stop Jon drinking as much as he had a thirst for.

      And he was finding that he had a man’s thirst, to the raucous delight of the youths around him, who urged him on every time he drained a glass. They were fine company, and Jon relished the stories they were telling, tales of battle and bedding and the hunt. He was certain that his companions were more entertaining than the king’s offspring. “He had sated his curiosity about the visitors when they made their entrance. The procession had passed not a foot from the place he had been given on the bench, and Jon had gotten a good long look at them all.

      Then thing sour after that conversation with Benjen.

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    28. Adrianacandle,

      Just a short reply, because strangely this day began with extra obligations and I’m procrastinating again (I hate this word).

      Jon knows that his father (Ned) intended to resettle the Gift; the lords would pay their taxed to the NW instead of WF. That would be an option for him.

      That he “thought on it long and hard, lying abed at night” doesn’t mean that he thought about it for a long time. (at least that’s not how I read it)
      I think everybody was surprised by how fast things changed for everybody in WF and his decision was as sudden as the rest of decisions and events that took place then.

      But I love the idea that he fed Ghost under the table. Ghost was still a puppy, but still too big and he had his first win against another dog that night.
      [how on earth did Martin think that they had dogs and cats inside the dinning rooms in the middle ages still bewilders me…]

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    29. Efi,

      Just a short reply, because strangely this day began with extra obligations and I’m procrastinating again (I hate this word).

      I feel you, that’s what I’m doing too 🙁 Procrastinators of the world unite! … Tomorrow.

      Jon knows that his father (Ned) intended to resettle the Gift; the lords would pay their taxed to the NW instead of WF. That would be an option for him.

      Yes, that’s true. But it wasn’t something Jon seemed to be counting on as an option — it was just (at best) a maybe, nowhere near a certainty, if the situation was better. As Ned said, this was a plan for spring and they weren’t facing spring for a while yet:

      His lord father had once talked about raising new lords and settling them in the abandoned holdfasts as a shield against wildlings. The plan would have required the Watch to yield back a large part of the Gift, but his uncle Benjen believed the Lord Commander could be won around, so long as the new lordlings paid taxes to Castle Black rather than Winterfell. “It is a dream for spring, though,” Lord Eddard had said. “Even the promise of land will not lure men north with a winter coming on.”

      If winter had come and gone more quickly and spring had followed in its turn, I might have been chosen to hold one of these towers in my father’s name. Lord Eddard was dead, however, his brother Benjen lost; the shield they dreamt together would never be forged. “This land belongs to the Watch,” Jon said.

      ____

      That he “thought on it long and hard, lying abed at night” doesn’t mean that he thought about it for a long time. (at least that’s not how I read it)

      This passage gave me the impression that Jon had given this thought and before the night of the feast (particularly when Jon said himself he had “thought on it long and hard” which indicates to me he put some time into this consideration) and that Jon had thought about this during sleepless nights.

      Also, when he was begging Benjen to take him to Castle Black, it seemed to me Jon had already been wanting to take this option rather than it being a spur-of-the-moment request. Otherwise, I think the text would have indicated Jon was struck by the idea of joining the Night’s Watch at this time, at the feast.

      It makes sense (to me) that Jon would be considering this as an option because it’s more certain, the Watch always needs men, and it was one of the few places where Jon could really make something of himself and be the ranger hero he wanted to be. And Jon could rise to leadership there. Also, as I think you noted, in the North, the Watch was still regarded as an honorable institution.

      I think everybody was surprised by how fast things changed for everybody in WF and his decision was as sudden as the rest of decisions and events that took place then.

      I think Ned definitely was taken by surprise, and Catelyn too and they had to make quick decisions as a result of Robert’s arrival. But based on the passages above, I don’t think Jon’s desire to join the Watch was sudden or a spur-of-the-moment request.

      But I love the idea that he fed Ghost under the table..

      Me too 🙂 A very relatable thing to do XD

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    30. Adrianacandle,

      I don’t think Robb was between a rock and a hard place. He revolted, and all the lords around him who were much older should know what this means and explain it to him. Also, the revolt happened before Ned’s execution; after that, he was proclaimed king, which made things worse. If there had been no proclamation he’d actually have good chances to get the girls back, in exchange of course for swearing fealty to the regime of KL and perhaps a wedding or two. But that would mean that Ned’s death wouldn’t be avenged, and the North was out for blood, not for getting his sisters back. That was all it was about. I’m not examining motives of the North here, just the facts.
      So when Robb told Catelyn that he’d have changed Jamie for Ned, that was a theoretical situation that didn’t apply in reality, since Ned was dead already. If Robb ever truly believed that Cersei would change the girls for cousins, he was gravely (and stupidly) mistaken.
      Robb didn’t care about his sisters, exactly as Catelyn says. And what she says:

      “If your crown is the price we must pay to have Arya and Sansa returned safe, we should pay it willingly.”

      This is correct. He should have laid down the crown, since he didn’t indend to overthrow the regime at KL. He had done enough damage to the Lannisters by that time. But once a king, pride and arrogance rises, it seems. It’s hard to lay down the crown once you’ve got it. [there are kings who left their seat taking it with them, lol]

      And, remember how all the persons in power in ASoIaF are foils to each other. Remember what Jon does for Alys Karstark (who comes from a family who is partly responsible for Robb’s fate). Jon says repeatedly “WF belongs to my sister Sansa”, so he does think of her best interest first (notwithstanding her marriage to Tyrion). And from the show, we know that he’ll lay down his crown because he’ll have a higher purpose. What is Robb’s purpose here?
      I believe that in the books Jon will lay down his crown, among other reasons (Dany, mostly) for Bran, either protecting him or giving him the possibility to rule or both. TB asked a good question in one of his previous posts. What did Bran lose? What did he forget? That’s the answer imo, Bran, as heir to Robb, lost a kingdom.
      I don’t know how Martin will bring it, but the structure seems perfect to me, because Catelyn fears that Jon will usurp her children’s rights -and at the point of Robb’s will she thinks that Bran and Rickon are dead- so Jon giving up his crown for Bran is a perfect juxtaposition and a reply to her fears. (he who she feared the most, scorned the most and kept away will do anything to protect her family). And Catelyn will still be alive to see it as LSH (otherwise what’s the point of all this story and all the foils?)

      Tyrion. Tyrion is close to 30 or a little over that age when he marries Sansa. Just like he defied his father when he married Tysha, he could defy him again. But he didn’t, for two reasons, a) he coveted Sansa (who is twelve), b) he coveted a position of power. It’s that simple (and very explicit in the books). Tyrion is not a good boy, no matter how the show tried to whitewash him.

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    31. Adrianacandle,

      And there’s this:

      “Tell Robb that I’m going to command the Night’s Watch and keep him safe, so he might as well take up needlework with the girls and have Mikken melt down his sword for horseshoes.”

      He was a naive little bean…

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    32. Adrianacandle,

      Thanks for passage with Ned’s perspective on Jon’s intention to join the NW. It did look like Ned was against it, but he had to head south, and Cat was boxing him in. Jon kinda had no place else to go.

      ”So he [Ned] was rushing to make plans for all his kids: … Arya is to go to court because Catelyn feels she needs refinement.”

      And how did that work out? 🤺 😀
      🗡👸🏻

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    33. Efi,

      I don’t think Robb was between a rock and a hard place. He revolted, and all the lords around him who were much older should know what this means and explain it to him.

      The passage does indicate Robb was in a very hard place, between the interests of his family and the interests of the Northern lords — which didn’t align. They didn’t want to trade in their one piece of leverage for two girls, who — as the passage states — don’t have as much value as Ned would have in the eyes of their society. The Northern lords have other interests and priorities — and they didn’t want to be part of the 7K. They wanted to rule themselves.

      If there had been no proclamation he’d actually have good chances to get the girls back, in exchange of course for swearing fealty to the regime of KL and perhaps a wedding or two. But that would mean that Ned’s death wouldn’t be avenged, and the North was out for blood, not for getting his sisters back. That was all it was about. I’m not examining motives of the North here, just the facts.

      And still, Robb’s only duty isn’t getting Sansa and Arya back, he has other duties as well. The North didn’t want to swear fealty to any other king, including Joffrey — so they chose Robb to serve their interests. Unfortunately, getting Sansa and Arya back wasn’t a priority for the North. They had other priorities. Robb was stuck between these two factions — the Northern lords and Catelyn. It can’t just be about Sansa and Arya.

      So when Robb told Catelyn that he’d have changed Jamie for Ned, that was a theoretical situation that didn’t apply in reality, since Ned was dead already.

      Robb was making the comparison to illustrate how a trade between Jaime and Sansa/Arya and a trade between Jaime and Ned would be viewed differently by his bannermen. As Catelyn realizes, it’s because girls don’t have as high a value.

      If Robb ever truly believed that Cersei would change the girls for cousins, he was gravely (and stupidly) mistaken.

      Well, I mean, he’s 15. And the series does explore the pitfalls of kids in leadership positions. Robb was naive, yeah.

      Robb didn’t care about his sisters, exactly as Catelyn says. And what she says:
      “If your crown is the price we must pay to have Arya and Sansa returned safe, we should pay it willingly.”
      This is correct. He should have laid down the crown, since he didn’t indend to overthrow the regime at KL. He had done enough damage to the Lannisters by that time. But once a king, pride and arrogance rises, it seems. It’s hard to lay down the crown once you’ve got it. [there are kings who left their seat taking it with them, lol]

      I don’t see that as Catelyn saying Robb doesn’t care about his sisters. He does care about his sisters — but he has other duties too. It’s not just a matter of one or the other here, that Robb sacrifice everything for his sisters or he doesn’t care. As a king, he can’t simply act as a brother and make decisions just for the interest of his family. There are other interests Robb needs to consider as well. He was trying to do his duty as a king and do right by his bannermen, hoping he could get his sisters back as well.

      Jon says repeatedly “WF belongs to my sister Sansa”, so he does think of her best interest first (notwithstanding her marriage to Tyrion).

      That’s quite a different situation from Robb’s. Robb was caught between the interests of his bannermen and the interests of his mother and family.

      In contrast, when Jon told that to Stannis (and it was only twice — when Stannis twice tried to get him to change his mind), Jon had already made his decision to turn down Winterfell in ASOS — and it had nothing to do with Sansa in ASOS. At that time, Jon thought he was the only one of his siblings left. When Ghost returned, Jon was reminded of the Old Gods and that’s what made him turn down Stannis’s offer.

      In ADWD, Stannis wants Jon to change his mind and Jon won’t. Jon tells Stannis he’s committed to the Watch now. And since he seemed to have learned Sansa was alive in the interim between ASOS and ADWD, Sansa was legally the heir to Winterfell with Bran and Rickon believed to be dead. And Jon’s stating that fact. Jon’s not willing to leave the Watch for Winterfell, he already made his decision in ASOS and Stannis doesn’t want to accept it.

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    34. Efi,

      ”If Catelyn was mistaken, it was -imo- in arresting Tyrion. That was rash, thoughtless and driven by emotion. She wanted justice for her son, but she should have sought that with the king, not on her own. Tyrion promised her that he’d send her girls to her, but instead he married Sansa before the RW as Tywin was preparing his coup against the North.”

      Is this in the books? Because in the show, Catelyn screwed up by releasing the Kingslayer in defiance of Robb’s authority.

      And on the show, the “hostage exchange” was a hoax all along: Tyrion never intended to return both girls but as Cersei told him, Arya had disappeared (“What, in a puff of smoke?) Tyrion described the plan (to LF) as a “deception.” Tyrion’s promise, conveyed by LF to Cat, was bogus. LF also knew Arya had vanished, and yet lied to Cat that Arya was alive and well in KL.

      Cat got played. She gave up the Starks’ prized hostage … for nothing. (Besides, isn’t it Hostage 101 that you meet halfway and make a mutual, simultaneous exchange? You don’t give kidnappers the briefcase full of ransom money and hope they’ll free their hostage; you don’t exchange prisoners unless both sides can confirm concurrently that their prisoners have been freed.)

      Once the Kingslayer was back in KL, the Lannisters would have no incentive or urgency to release Sansa and Arya (even if they were both in custody).

      I understand Catelyn was desperate. But how foolish could she be, trusting the Lannisters to abide by their “promise” after all that had gone down? Sure enough, Brienne escorted Jaime back
      to KL, and by the time he got there… they had all kinds of lame excuses why they shouldn’t have to free Sansa. (It didn’t seem to bother Brienne, or Jaime, that Stark Hostage #2 in the 2-for-1 exchange wasn’t there and had never been there all along.)

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    35. Efi,

      And from the show, we know that he’ll lay down his crown because he’ll have a higher purpose.What is Robb’s purpose here?
      I believe that in the books Jon will lay down his crown, among other reasons (Dany, mostly) for Bran, either protecting him or giving him the possibility to rule or both. TB asked a good question in one of his previous posts. What did Bran lose? What did he forget? That’s the answer imo, Bran, as heir to Robb, lost a kingdom.

      We don’t really know that though. We don’t even know if Jon gets a crown.

      I don’t know how the story is going to go — or anything about what will happen (other than what D&D/Alan Taylor have told us has come from GRRM). So many possibilities have been proposed and speculated and many of them make equally good arguments.

      As for Robb, Robb was trying to be dutiful as a king and act in the interests of his bannermen, not putting family above what Robb feels is his duty. And that passage with Catelyn explained the reasoning for why Robb feels he can’t exchange Sansa/Arya for Jaime — it’s not because he doesn’t care or because he’s being arrogant, but because he’s truly trying to make the best decision for his people and girls aren’t seen to be as valuable as a lord to exchange for just about the only bargaining chip they have.

      “. . . but not for the girls?” Her voice was icy quiet. “Girls are not important enough, are they?”

      Robb made no answer, but there was hurt in his eyes. Blue eyes, Tully eyes, eyes she had given him. She had wounded him, but he was too much his father’s son to admit it.

      That was unworthy of me, she told herself. Gods be good, what is to become of me? He is doing his best, trying so hard, I know it, I see it, and yet . . . I have lost my Ned, the rock my life was built on, I could not bear to lose the girls as well . . .”

      And, as the passage notes, Robb is hurt by this. Robb is trying the best he can, with all 15-years of life experience, thrust into a position he did not anticipate, trying to do right by his people. But at the end of the day, he’s still a 15-year old boy king.

      I don’t know how Martin will bring it, but the structure seems perfect to me, because Catelyn fears that Jon will usurp her children’s rights -and at the point of Robb’s will she thinks that Bran and Rickon are dead- so Jon giving up his crown for Bran is a perfect juxtaposition and a reply to her fears. (he who she feared the most, scorned the most and kept away will do anything to protect her family). And Catelyn will still be alive to see it as LSH (otherwise what’s the point of all this story and all the foils?)

      Well, the story already had Jon already replied to Catelyn’s fears, he didn’t take Winterfell. He turned it down, despite temptation, despite Jon thinking he was the only one left. He still turned down Winterfell.

      The story has even had Jon answering another one of Catelyn’s fears (that per Westerosi belief of bastards that he’d harm her children). Jon has already risked everything to save Arya — and it ended in chaos, risking all of Jon’s efforts to prepare against the army of the dead.

      Different readers want different things and the numerous ways this story can go all seem perfect or just right — depending on the reader and what they want from the story. But it’s all up to GRRM. Only he (and D&D) know.

      Tyrion. Tyrion is close to 30 or a little over that age when he marries Sansa. Just like he defied his father when he married Tysha, he could defy him again. But he didn’t, for two reasons, a) he coveted Sansa (who is twelve), b) he coveted a position of power. It’s that simple (and very explicit in the books). Tyrion is not a good boy, no matter how the show tried to whitewash him.

      It’s not really that simple…. It’s not like Tyrion was salivating at the thought of marrying Sansa or that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on her.

      Tyrion didn’t get a choice to marry Sansa. He didn’t want to. And he still is in love with Tysha. When Tyrion defied Tywin and married Tysha, it ended in a horror story — Tywin had Tysha, the woman Tyrion loved, gang-raped. And then Tywin forced Tyrion to rape her as well.

      The chapter featuring their wedding, Tyrion doesn’t seem happy at all. He does experience lust for Sansa when it comes time to consummate — and he also refuses to consummate the marriage until Sansa wants him too. Despite his lust, Tyrion is also still bothered by her being 13. And Tyrion holds to that. He never has sex with Sansa. That marriage remains unconsummated.

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    36. Ten Bears: And how did that work out? 🤺 😀
      🗡👸🏻

      There is no more perfect a lady than Lady Arya Stark, that’s how 😉

      As illustrated here:

      She stared at [the swans] with yearning. Part of her wanted to be a swan. The other part wanted to eat one. She had broken her fast on some acorn paste and a handful of bugs. Bugs weren’t so bad when you got used to them. Worms were worse, but still not as bad as the pain in your belly after days without food. Finding bugs was easy, all you had to do was kick over a rock. Arya had eaten a bug once when she was little, just to make Sansa screech, so she hadn’t been afraid to eat another. Weasel wasn’t either, but Hot Pie retched up the beetle he tried to swallow, and Lommy and Gendry wouldn’t even try. Yesterday Gendry had caught a frog and shared it with Lommy, and, a few days before, Hot Pie had found blackberries and stripped the bush bare, but mostly they had been living on water and acorns. Kurz had told them how to use rocks and make a kind of acorn paste. It tasted awful.

      Can eat bugs with ease where older boys failed! >O

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    37. Efi: He was a naive little bean…

      Jon? Yes. I think they were all naive. Jon, Dany, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Theon…

      But he did end up being right though — he did end up as Lord Commander like…. two years later 🙂

      Oh, this on the subject of Robb, when he hears about Sansa being wed to Tyrion, he does regret not trading Jaime for her:

      “I should have traded the Kingslayer for Sansa when you first urged it,” Robb said as they walked the gallery. “If I’d offered to wed her to the Knight of Flowers, the Tyrells might be ours instead of Joffrey’s. I should have thought of that.”

      “Your mind was on your battles, and rightly so. Even a king cannot think of everything.”

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    38. Adrianacandle,

      ”He [Robb] does care about his sisters — but he has other duties too. It’s not just a matter of one or the other here, that Robb sacrifice everything for his sisters or he doesn’t care. As a king, he can’t simply act as a brother and make decisions just for the interest of his family. There are other interests Robb needs to consider as well. He was trying to do his duty as a king and do right by his bannermen…”

      Ummm… How does marrying his new girlfriend instead of honoring his oaths to House Frey in the bridge access deal fit in with his duty as a king and doing right by his bannermen? It seemed like he made that decision for his own selfish interests, without considering the interests of his family or his bannermen.

      Semi unrelated question:

      • When Lord Karstark defied Robb’s authority by
      killing the young Lannister POWs for personal reasons, Robb insisted on executing him for treason despite warnings that execution was too harsh and the Karstark soldiers would abandon his army.
      • When Catelyn defied Robb’s authority by exfiltrating POW Jaime Lannister for personal reasons, Robb got angry… and didn’t really punish her for her treason.

      Q: How were his bannermen supposed to react to this unequal treatment? Robb beheaded Lord Karstark and gave Catelyn a pass for committing essentially the same transgression.*

      * Say what you will about Stannis. At least he didn’t hesitate to impose the punishment for treason on his own family member.

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    39. Ten Bears: Ummm… How does marrying his new girlfriend instead of honoring his oaths to House Frey in the bridge access deal fit in with his duty as a king and doing right by his bannermen? It seemed like he made that decision for his own selfish interests, without considering the interests of his family or his bannermen.

      The situation with that was different in the books. After Robb hears Bran and Rickon have died, he finds himself in deep grief and has sex for solace with Jeyne Westerling. Because he took Jeyne’s virginity, he felt duty-bound to marry her in order to maintain her honor since he was responsible for taking her virginity.

      He didn’t marry Jeyne for love as Show Robb did with Talisa.

      I think Robb is a 15-year old king trying to do the right and honorable thing and it turns out not to be the right choice, leading to disaster.

      But yeah, Robb was not without biases. He tried to do his duty by the Northern lords by trying to serve their interests over his family’s but couldn’t give his mother the same treatment as the lords who defied him, he tried to do the right thing by marrying Jeyne after he took her virginity, and that lead to the Red Wedding.

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    40. Efi,

      Ned “didn’t give Catelyn any clue with regard to Jon, and he did well. If Catelyn knew, what could guarantee that she wouldn’t deliver him to Robert or the Lannisters for securing that her children would be returned to her? If Catelyn knew, Jon could become a hostage himself for others’ games, including his own family’s.“

      If Catelyn knew, she would confide in her dear friend Petyr, and the next day Baby Jon’s headless corpse would be found in his blood-spattered crib.

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    41. Efi,

      ”Also, the revolt happened before Ned’s execution; after that, he was proclaimed king, which made things worse. If there had been no proclamation he’d actually have good chances to get the girls back, in exchange of course for swearing fealty to the regime of KL and perhaps a wedding or two. But that would mean that Ned’s death wouldn’t be avenged, and the North was out for blood, not for getting his sisters back. That was all it was about.”

      Tinfoil Hypothetical…

      As I recall, there was a scene in the show when Robb has just learned Ned had been executed. Robb, overcome with grief, full of rage, and crying, is hacking at a tree furiously with his sword. His mother comes along.
      He’s inconsolable.
      He says something like he’s going to kill every last one of the Lannisters; Catelyn agrees: yes they will. [Does that ring a bell? Is there a scene like this in the books?]

      Hypothetical Q: If, at that moment, enraged King Robb had a fully grown fire-breathing dragon at his disposal, what do you think would happen to KL?

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    42. Adrianacandle,

      She stared at [the swans] with yearning. Part of her wanted to be a swan. The other part wanted to eat one.”

      I like this quote. I like the imagery. I like the punch line.
      🦢

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    43. Ten Bears: He says something like he’s going to kill every last one of the Lannisters; Catelyn agrees: yes they will. [Does that ring a bell? Is there a scene like this in the books?]

      How Catelyn and Robb receive the news is a bit different in the books since we’re seeing it all from Catelyn’s POV as Robb isn’t a POV character.

      Some passages when Catelyn finds out Ned was executed:

      “Your grief is mine, Cat,” he said when they broke apart. “When we heard about Lord Eddard … the Lannisters will pay, I swear it, you will have your vengeance.”

      “Will that bring Ned back to me?” she said sharply. The wound was still too fresh for softer words. She could not think about Ned now. She would not. It would not do. She had to be strong. “All that will keep. I must see Father.”

      “Theon,” she interrupted, “where might I find my son?”

      “Lord Robb went to visit the godswood, my lady.”

      It was what Ned would have done. He is his father’s son as much as mine, I must remember. Oh, gods, Ned …

      She found Robb beneath the green canopy of leaves, surrounded by tall redwoods and great old elms, kneeling before the heart tree, a slender weirwood with a face more sad than fierce. His longsword was before him, the point thrust in the earth, his gloved hands clasped around the hilt. Around him others knelt: Greatjon Umber, Rickard Karstark, Maege Mormont, Galbart Glover, and more.

      Robb tells Catelyn they must have a council session as there are things they need to decide.

      Excerpt from council:

      “You cannot mean to hold to Joffrey, my lord,” Galbart Glover said. “He put your father to death.”

      “That makes him evil,” Robb replied. “I do not know that it makes Renly king. Joffrey is still Robert’s eldest trueborn son, so the throne is rightfully his by all the laws of the realm. Were he to die, and I mean to see that he does, he has a younger brother. Tommen is next in line after Joffrey.”

      They deliberate/argue on which king to follow (Stannis or Renly):

      “Renly is crowned,” said Marq Piper. “Highgarden and Storm’s End support his claim, and the Dornishmen will not be laggardly. If Winterfell and Riverrun add their strength to his, he will have five of the seven great houses behind him. Six, if the Arryns bestir themselves! Six against the Rock! My lords, within the year, we will have all their heads on pikes, the queen and the boy king, Lord Tywin, the Imp, the Kingslayer, Ser Kevan, all of them! That is what we shall win if we join with King Renly. What does Lord Stannis have against that, that we should cast it all aside?”

      “The right,” said Robb stubbornly. Catelyn thought he sounded eerily like his father as he said it.

      “So you mean us to declare for Stannis?” asked Edmure.

      “I don’t know,” said Robb. “I prayed to know what to do, but the gods did not answer. The Lannisters killed my father for a traitor, and we know that was a lie, but if Joffrey is the lawful king and we fight against him, we will be traitors.”

      Stevron wants to let the kings battle it out and then they can bow to or fight whoever the victor is. The Greatjon calls him a coward. Catelyn suggests a peace, and in her thoughts, it’s revealed it’s to get Sansa and Arya back. Robb responds:

      “The lords looked at her, but it was Robb’s eyes she felt, his and his alone. “My lady, they murdered my lord father, your husband,” he said grimly. He unsheathed his longsword and laid it on the table before him, the bright steel on the rough wood. “This is the only peace I have for Lannisters.”

      The Greatjon bellowed his approval, and other men added their voices, shouting and drawing swords and pounding their fists on the table. Catelyn waited until they had quieted. “My lords,” she said then, “Lord Eddard was your liege, but I shared his bed and bore his children. Do you think I love him any less than you?” Her voice almost broke with her grief, but Catelyn took a long breath and steadied herself. “Robb, if that sword could bring him back, I should never let you sheathe it until Ned stood at my side once more … but he is gone, and a hundred Whispering Woods will not change that. Ned is gone, and Daryn Hornwood, and Lord Karstark’s valiant sons, and many other good men besides, and none of them will return to us. Must we have more deaths still?”

      They reject Catelyn’s idea of a peace, deliberate some more, and then Robb is declared the King in the North.

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    44. Ten Bears,

      It reminds me of this quote from an Arya chapter in the same book 🙂

      “Lommy’s hungry,” Hot Pie whined, “and I am too.”

      “We’re all hungry,” said Arya.

      “You’re not,” Lommy spat from the ground. “Worm breath.”

      Arya could have kicked him in his wound. “I said I’d dig worms for you too, if you wanted.”

      Lommy made a disgusted face. “If it wasn’t for my leg, I’d hunt us some boars.”

      “Some boars,” she mocked. “You need a boarspear to hunt boars, and horses and dogs, and men to flush the boar from its lair.” Her father had hunted boar in the wolfswood with Robb and Jon. Once he even took Bran, but never Arya, even though she was older. Septa Mordane said boar hunting was not for ladies, and Mother only promised that when she was older she might have her own hawk. She was older now, but if she had a hawk she’d eat it.

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    45. Adrianacandle,

      I don’t see how we disagree here. I wrote above that Robb had to please the lords first. His sisters come rather low down the line of his interests. But being 15 doesn’t cut it, because Jon is of the same age. Robb and his lords wanted revenge (and independence).
      This is very clear:

      “Catelyn: You would not be the first king to bend the knee, nor even the first Stark.
      Robb: Never.
      Catelyn: There is no shame in it. Balon Greyjoy bent the knee to Robert when his rebellion failed. Torrhen Stark bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror rather than see his army face the fires.
      Robb: Did Aegon kill King Torrhen’s father?”

      He was proclaimed king, but he wasn’t thinking like a king. He had comfort sex. So what? He chose to do right by a stranger (Jeyne) than his own family and his lords –and I mean by that Catelyn and the plan to marry the Frey girl. And that says a lot. It’s a series of mistakes that lead to disaster. And imo thinking of the should have/could have/would have is like crying over spilt milk. It just won’t do when you’re in such a position.
      You read “hurt” as in “hurt for not being able to bring the girls back”, but I read it as “hurt, because he feels guilty for not choosing to bring the girls back”.
      And this is the PoV trap:

      “She had wounded him, but he was too much his father’s son to admit it.
      That was unworthy of me, she told herself. Gods be good, what is to become of me? He is doing his best, trying so hard, I know it, I see it, and yet . . . I have lost my Ned, the rock my life was built on, I could not bear to lose the girls as well . . .”

      Of course Catelyn has five children and loves them all, and she loves Robb the more, so she is apologetic here for exposing him. She told him the truth, that girls are no worth for society, and this was true for him too, he wasn’t any different and didn’t care about them as much as she did. Robb did have other options; freeing Jamie was one of them; marching against KL was another, even if the most difficult; laying down his crime was yet another. But he chose this, and Catelyn exposes him every step of the way. (at least that’s my reading).

      I don’t quite understand what you mean about Jon; you seem to suggest that it doesn’t matter that he refuses Stannis’ proposition, that it doesn’t mean anything. But I think that a comparison with Robb is valid.
      Jon is at the time the only alive male descendant of Ned (that people know, including himself). By all laws WF is his, and he knows it; especially with the military backing of Stannis he could pick up the thread from where Robb left it. He has every good reason to accept, and yet he doesn’t. While there’s a number of reasons for it too, what he wants and covets (WF, to be a lord) is not his primary concern here, unlike Robb, who does want revenge. Granted, Sansa may not be his first cause for refusing, but Jon never wanted to hurt his siblings and Sansa is one of those siblings. So when it comes to deciding she also comes into the equasion for Jon. By contrast, Sansa and Arya don’t weigh much in Robb’s decision making and this is clear in Catelyn’s chapters.

        Quote  Reply

    46. Efi,

      I don’t see how we disagree here. I wrote above that Robb had to please the lords first. His sisters come rather low down the line of his interests. But being 15 doesn’t cut it, because Jon is of the same age. Robb and his lords wanted revenge (and independence).

      I disagreed with your statement that Robb didn’t care about his sisters.

      And being 15 explains, as Catelyn notes, much of Robb’s decision making. As a 16-year old Lord Commander, Jon also made decisions that led to disaster — and one of those mistakes was choosing to save family (Arya).

      He was proclaimed king, but he wasn’t thinking like a king. He had comfort sex. So what? He chose to do right by a stranger (Jeyne) than his own family and his lords –and I mean by that Catelyn and the plan to marry the Frey girl. And that says a lot. It’s a series of mistakes that lead to disaster.

      And as a 15-year old boy, while being nursed by Jeyne, Robb finds out his best friend Theon killed his two little brothers and he succumbs to his grief, whereup they have sex and he’s now responsible for taking her virginity. He didn’t want to de-flower a nobleborn girl and leave her dishonoured in this society so he short-sightedly thought marrying Jeyne was “the only honorable thing to do.”

      I didn’t say it was the right decision, I said it led to disaster. But I’m relaying the situation as it was pointed out by the books — Robb was trying to do what thought was the most honorable choice. That’s what he told Catelyn, and that’s how Catelyn felt about Robb’s choices.

      Robb also realized he majorly screwed things up. And he did — by trying to protect Jeyne’s honor in ASOS, he broke his oath to the Freys.

      You read “hurt” as in “hurt for not being able to bring the girls back”, but I read it as hurt, because he feels guilty for not choosing to bring the girls back”.

      I don’t know in what way exactly Robb is hurt, we don’t have his POV, but I think this choice weighs on him. He does regret not trading Jaime for Sansa later on.

      She told him the truth, that girls are no worth for society, and this was true for him too, he wasn’t any different and didn’t care about them as much as she did. Robb did have other options; freeing Jamie was one of them; marching against KL was another, even if the most difficult; laying down his crime was yet another. But he chose this, and Catelyn exposes him every step of the way. (at least that’s my reading).

      And these options would come at great cost as well.

      Society viewing girls as politically less valuable hostages than Ned doesn’t make this Robb’s view too. It makes it true for the society they’re in — Robb knows the Northern lords wouldn’t view trading Jaime for Sansa and Arya the same as trading Jaime for Ned, regardless of Robb’s personal feelings on the matter, and the Northern lords are the ones who made him king. They can overthrow him as well if he pisses them off enough, as Robb told Catelyn. Robb wanted Sansa and Arya back but the North’s world doesn’t revolve around saving Sansa and Arya. Catelyn’s world did, as their mother. But Robb, as king, had other things to consider and he thought he could appease both interests: keep Jaime to use as leverage while counting on Cersei not killing Sansa and Arya as long as Robb had Jaime.

      Robb makes a series of choices, picking what he thinks is the most right and honorable, even when it means breaking honor in another way — (serving the interests of the Northern lords over saving his family, marrying the girl whose virginity he just took over honoring his vow to marry a Frey girl whose virginity he hasn’t taken, executing Lord Rickard for disobedience but not being able to apply the same punishment to his own mother).

      I didn’t say these choices were right. I was pointing out the reasons why Robb made them and it’s not because he doesn’t give a crap about Sansa and Arya. He’s trying to serve different interests.

      I’m not GRRM, I didn’t present Robb’s reasoning like this. But that’s how Robb’s reasoning is presented.

      Jon’s tenure as LC doesn’t go much better as he tries to do his duty in defending the Wall against the undead while also trying to “set the world to rights” and among those efforts, he tries to save Arya. That gets Jon a case of knife in the gut.

      Robb marrying Jeyne to preserve her honor leads to slaughter.

      The story doesn’t have Robb say, “Screw it, I don’t care what happens to Sansa and Arya.” Robb was still hoping to save his sisters, believing Cersei wouldn’t kill them so long as he had Jaime, and serve the interests of the Northern lords by keeping their main bargaining chip. The story pits Robb in between two hard choices — and Robb made choices that ended up leading to his own demise, the demise of his mother, and much of the Stark forces. Even if Robb did choose Sansa and Arya over the interests of his lords here, it might very well have led to disaster too — like it did with Jon. The Northern lords may have rebelled and formed a coup against the Starks.

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    47. Efi,

      I don’t quite understand what you mean about Jon; you seem to suggest that it doesn’t matter that he refuses Stannis’ proposition, that it doesn’t mean anything. But I think that a comparison with Robb is valid.

      I argued it was not the same situation at all because when Stannis tried to change Jon’s mind about becoming Lord of Winterfell, Jon had already refused Winterfell in ASOS — and it was nothing to do with Sansa or her claim. It was to do with the Old Gods and his faith. Jon thought he was the only one left at that time.

      Had Jon known Bran was alive, and Stannis was nagging Jon about accepting his offer to become lord of WF, Jon would have told Stannis, “Winterfell belongs to my brother Bran.” He’s stating a legal fact. It wasn’t that same conflict anymore as it was in ASOS, Jon had already chosen. He was growing exasperated with Stannis — he had made his choice and Stannis was refusing to accept it.

      There’s also that Jon was still okay with a non-Stark running the North as long as that person wasn’t a Bolton or a Greyjoy.

      Jon is at the time the only alive male descendant of Ned (that people know, including himself). By all laws WF is his, and he knows it; especially with the military backing of Stannis he could pick up the thread from where Robb left it. He has every good reason to accept, and yet he doesn’t.

      Do you mean in ASOS? Even then, others knew Sansa was alive and as a trueborn daughter, she comes before Jon, a bastard, in the line of succession. The same is true in ADWD when Jon knows Sansa is alive.

      Jon didn’t accept Stannis’s offer in ASOS and as a result, Winterfell isn’t his. Jon refused it. And we saw why Jon didn’t accept — when Ghost returned, Jon was reminded of the Old Gods:

      “Gods, wolf, where have you been?” Jon said when Ghost stopped worrying at his forearm. “I thought you’d died on me, like Robb and Ygritte and all the rest. I’ve had no sense of you, not since I climbed the Wall, not even in dreams.” The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon’s face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns.

      Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre’s. He had a weirwood’s eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. And he alone of all the direwolves was white. Six pups they’d found in the late summer snows, him and Robb; five that were grey and black and brown, for the five Starks, and one white, as white as Snow.

      He had his answer then.

      At this point, Jon thought he was the only one left and that all his siblings had died. While I agree that if Jon had known any of his siblings were alive, Jon would turn it down, but it wasn’t the same situation Robb was facing: Jon wasn’t be asked to choose between the interests of his family (save Sansa and Arya) against the interests of what everyone else wanted as Robb was. In contrast, it was a personal conflict with Jon — it was between honoring his duty to the Night’s Watch and to the Old Gods or accepting the lordship of Winterfell.

      You mentioned that Jon rejected Stannis’s offer because of Sansa’s claim and that Jon considered Sansa’s interests while Sansa and Arya were apparently a non-issue for Robb, that he doesn’t care about them. Yet Jon already made the choice to reject Winterfell before he even knew Sansa was alive. And Jon reiterated his decision when Stannis nagged him about it having already made his choice long before, Sansa-free. In ADWD, he was reminding Stannis that Sansa was now the legal heir to Winterfell — and she was. Jon wasn’t having to choose between two sides here, Jon was no longer experiencing an inner crisis, Jon had picked and he had picked long ago, before he knew Sansa was alive.

      Jon wanted Stannis to drop the issue.

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    48. Ten Bears,

      Tyrion acting as hand handled Robb’s proposal. Robb had suggested that he’d free the Lannister prisonners except for Jamie in exchange for Sansa and Arya. Tyrion countered that he’d release the girls for Jamie and Robb’s fealty.
      Just like Catelyn knew that they wouldn’t give up the girls for the b-class Lannisters, Tyrion knew that Robb wouldn’t release Jamie, he therefore tries to devise a plan to help him escape. (I think that didn’t play in the show).
      When Catelyn learns that Tyrion has married Sansa instead, then she decides to set Jamie free. This imo is masterful writing. It’s like when you’re drowning you’re grabbing your hair (as we say in my part of the world). It was a move of desperation, yet Jamie did prove more honorable than his brother by setting Brienne on her journey. Catelyn in reality set the two brothers against each other, which would be very smart if it wasn’t done under the weight of despair.
      Catelyn was played, but not by Jamie. Everybody else lied to her, played her, but with Jamie she exchanged some hard truths. In my last re-read I realized how much the theme of “justice” runs in Jamie’s chapters. The first time I read it I thought that he was fixated on Cersei, but he isn’t. Justice is very much on his mind, and he is deeply bothered and concerned by the treatment of Robb’s supporters by the KL regime and the crimes against the smallfolk of the Riverlands. He wants this to end, but as he is now he’s heading to LSH. Which makes me think, Catelyn already found out that she was right by setting Jamie free; after many mistakes, she bet on the right Lannister.
      Jamie’s chapters is one of the reasons I want the next book to be out.

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    49. Adrianacandle,

      Arya: “Septa Mordane said boar hunting was not for ladies, and Mother only promised that when she was older she might have her own hawk. She was older now, but if she had a hawk she’d eat it.”

      So Arya will eat just about anything?

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    50. Ten Bears: Dany: “What does Arya eat, anyway?”
      Sansa: “Whatever she wants.”

      Oh god, the scene that would bring about that exchange, I can only imagine XD

      So Arya will eat just about anything?

      Arya may eat just about anything to prove she is anything but the lady her mum and Septa Mordane are trying to refine her into…

      ….or just to make Sansa screech 🙂

      Like, one time, I refused to go to Paris when I was 16 just to prove how much I didn’t want to go anywhere with Sister #2 — even to Paris.

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    51. Adrianacandle,

      “I disagreed with your statement that Robb didn’t care about his sisters.”

      This was a brief and succinct statement explained by what followed; Robb put his lords first. I don’t see a conflict here.
      But perhaps I should explain; I’m a very cynical person. That’s because I see people saying too much, rarely meaning what they say and even more rarely acting according to what they say. Unfortunately, as I see it, actions matter. Words are easy, and mean nothing, but actions actually affect real people’s lives. I know that at least actions, or inaction, has affected me deeply so I don’t believe in words anymore. If one wants to get a message through to me, he’d better do sth about it, instead of say it.

      So, reading between the lines, I don’t see Robb caring that much about his sisters, at least not enough to do more about them. His affection went only so far as to trade them with the Lannister cousins. Ok. But it’s not enough. Obviously he had priorities, I won’t deny it. All I’m saying is that his sisters were low in these priorities.
      And -forgive me because I am going to become very explicit now- he cared about his own c*ck more than he did about them. He didn’t think that someone would perhaps rape Sansa or Arya in KL. But he did care about what he did to that girl, didn’t he? That’s some double standards right there.

      And also this:
      “Robb knows the Northern lords wouldn’t view trading Jaime for Sansa and Arya the same as trading Jaime for Ned”
      At the point when he’s discussing that, Ned is not alive; and when Ned was arrested, Robb hadn’t even captured Jamie yet, so this was not a real situation when Robb was discussing it with his mother. The point of the discussion was to point out that Robb wouldn’t trade Jamie for his sisters. I think each of us can interpret this as we want.

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    52. Efi,

      This was a brief and succinct statement explained by what followed; Robb put his lords first. I don’t see a conflict here.

      I see the conflict. His Northern lords wanted one thing. Catelyn wanted another, making this a conflict for Robb.

      It’s not all or nothing (Robb putting his sisters above his kingdom and his people or he doesn’t care at all). There’s a spectrum. Robb was trying to do what he felt was best and he thought he could get Sansa and Arya back another way while trying to appease the Northern lords who made him their king. Catelyn’s concerns were for her family. Robb’s couldn’t be just about serving his family any longer — and when he did make myopic decisions (Jeyne), who he married in a hasty decision to preserve her honor after another impulsive action while in deep grief, that’s what spelled the end for him, his mother, and his forces.

      Catelyn’s choices likewise are hotly debated. What she wanted Robb to do wasn’t positioned as the only right answer either. Every decision came with consequences. Robb’s kingship is not just for protecting his family and doing what Catelyn wants him to do above all (save Sansa and Arya). And when Robb made short-sighted choices, it led him to ruin. One such deeply short-sighted choice is what led to the Red Wedding.

      Words are easy, and mean nothing, but actions actually affect real people’s lives.

      And if Robb chose to save Sansa and Arya above all else, that could have real impacts on the lives of many others — and consequences as well. Then he wouldn’t have served the interests of his lords at all and they might feel the same way you do about Robb’s decision to not trade Jaime for Sansa and Arya.

      Every choice as a consequence.

      And unfortunately, we lack Robb’s POV so we can’t dig into his mind.

      I’m really sorry for what experiences made you feel the way you do 🙁 That really really sucks.

      So, reading between the lines, I don’t see Robb caring that much about his sisters, at least not enough to do more about them. His affection went only so far as to trade them with the Lannister cousins. Ok. But it’s not enough. Obviously he had priorities, I won’t deny it. All I’m saying is that his sisters were low in these priorities.

      Again, I don’t think it’s an all-or-nothing situation where Robb either does everything to save Sansa and Arya, including going against the interests of his lords, or he doesn’t care about his sisters. His kingship isn’t just about doing what’s right for his family. He’s trying to juggle multiple balls in the air and as a king, he has to consider all those balls, not just one.

      And when he did… it led to bad things.

      And -forgive me because I am going to become very explicit now- he cared about his own c*ck more than he did about them. He didn’t think that someone would perhaps rape Sansa or Arya in KL. But he did care about what he did to that girl, didn’t he? That’s some double standards right there.

      I’m not sure how this is a double standard?

      Robb was directly responsible for the position Jeyne was in after he took her virginity so he made a hasty decision to atone. In contrast, Robb is not responsible for Sansa and Arya being in King’s Landing. Of course, that doesn’t mean Robb has no responsibility towards them but he had other, perhaps greater, responsibilities too and tried to fulfill all of them. If Robb decided to put Sansa and Arya above all else, that could come with real consequences too, especially from his lords.

      Robb wasn’t making decisions because he was feeling lusty. He was making impulsive decisions in an attempt to atone for what he did to Jeyne’s honor. Robb didn’t marry Jeyne because he wanted more sex, nor did he decide to sleep with Jeyne simply because he was horny. He was in deep anguish over Bran and Rickon, had this girl nursing him back to health, and he made the very bad and emotional decision in his grief to sleep with her for solace — whereupon he took Jeyne’s virginity, negatively impacting Jeyne’s prospects as a result.

      Robb was thrust into being King in the North at 15-years old and is now having to make decisions for everyone. He was trying to figure out how to get Sansa and Arya back too and he was responsible for an entire people now, not only his family.

      At the point when he’s discussing that, Ned is not alive; and when Ned was arrested, Robb hadn’t even captured Jamie yet, so this was not a real situation when Robb was discussing it with his mother. The point of the discussion was to point out that Robb wouldn’t trade Jamie for his sisters. I think each of us can interpret this as we want.

      Robb was explaining to Catelyn that a trade for Ned would be viewed differently than a trade for Sansa and Arya. That’s not Robb saying he doesn’t care about Sansa and Arya, he’s remarking upon how differently they’d be perceived. That his lords would accept a trade for Ned but not for Sansa and Arya.

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    53. Why ask George to write the story YOU want, it’s up to you to write YOUR story, yes?

      Why not try an exploration of the topic, perhaps a short story. I would buy your book 💕

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    54. Efi,

      I know we don’t see eye to eye on Robb (and I know I’m starting to repeat my arguments) but I do agree on this:

      Ok, M., I’m ready for the book now. Soon? any time now? I even burned some skin today.

      🙂 💜😢💔Yes.

      I think we’ll be 84 when the book is finished 🙁

      (In three years, this gif will be entirely accurate wtf :(!! )

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    55. Adrianacandle:
      Efi,

      I know we don’t see eye to eye on Robb (and I know I’m starting to repeat my arguments) but I do agree on this:

      Yes.

      I think we’ll be 84 when the book is finished

      (In three years, this gif will be entirely accurate wtf :(!! )

      Again, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think it’s known that I’m nearer GRRM’s age than, well say, yours and Efi’s, the show ending may be the only one I get because of my age.

      Now, it’s a while since I listened to the audio version of ACOK and while I liked the story I’m not a great re-reader of books unless it’s many years since I read them originally, so my memory might not be 100% accurate. You rightly mention bookRobb being very sad because as far as he knew Bran and Rickon were dead and Jeyne’s mother pushed them together with a notion of what might happen. I’ve said before Robb and Jeyne was one incidence where I preferred the book version. Sassy nursie Talisa cheeking Robb didn’t strike me as being very realistic (I know the story is fantasy and dragons aren’t realistic but GRRM does seem to stick to a convincing portrayal of the feudal system). Talisa’s words to Robb about the Lannister soldier who lost his leg that it was unfortunate for him that Robb was there stuck in my craw – I mean really – in even a pseudo-medieval world – speaking that way to a king! If she had spoken thus to Joffrey I’m sure she’d have lost her head.

      I heard one opinion that the change from Jeyne to Talisa was effected because of the aging up of the younger characters in the book. That maybe it was considered that it would seem unlikely that 20-something Robb in the show would worry about a girl’s honour the way teenage Robb did in the books. I don’t see that it’s so impossible for a 20-something man to have principles. But I can’t get into anyone’s head either GRRM’s or those of the two Ds so that’s only an idea I came across (not my own idea) so I don’t know if it’s correct.

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    56. It might be argued that in GoT the show Elizabeth Webster’s portrayal of Walda Frey later Bolton was a sympathetic depiction of a not so skinny lady. Walda didn’t have to face a “Sophie’s choice” though I did get a feeling of foreboding (not in a good way) when I slogged* through ADWD that if anything happened to Roose, Walda might not be long for Planetos should Ramsay be in charge of Winterfell.

      * I didn’t hate ADWD but I found it hard going at times.

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    57. Dame of Mercia,

      I heard one opinion that the change from Jeyne to Talisa was effected because of the aging up of the younger characters in the book. That maybe it was considered that it would seem unlikely that 20-something Robb in the show would worry about a girl’s honour the way teenage Robb did in the books. I don’t see that it’s so impossible for a 20-something man to have principles. But I can’t get into anyone’s head either GRRM’s or those of the two Ds so that’s only an idea I came across (not my own idea) so I don’t know if it’s correct.

      That could be and I think (think) Rickon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Jon and Robb were aged up by about 2-3 years? So Rickon goes from 3 to 6, Bran from 7 to 10, Arya from 9 to 11, Sansa from 11 to 13, and Robb and Jon from 14 to 17/18 (according to the script for the unaired version of the pilot episode — however, Bran is 8 in this script while Rickon is still 3 but Arya is 11, Sansa is 13, and Robb and Jon are both 17). So a 17-year old Robb having sex with a virgin Jeyne, upon which it would have ruined Jeyne’s prospects and reputation in Westeros (with the possible exception of Dorne) if he didn’t marry her, would still work in the show I think?

      But Sassy Nurse Talisa offered a different kind of story from this, a sort of Meet-Cute type thing rather than a devastated young king succumbing to grief, upon which he has sex with the highborn girl nursing him back to health, and then he must deal with the consequences of that. I did prefer the book version of this relationship too. In both the books and show, Robb still ends up losing a kingdom because he betrayed his oath to the Freys by marrying another… but the reasons for the marriage are different.

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    58. Dame of Mercia,

      I think you’re close to my age. 😊
      Jeyne’s story in the books is probably designed to shock. Jenye appears to be in love with Robb, Robb is not in love with her, but the fact that her own mother pushed her to him is shocking. Tywin made sure that she lost her baby, probably by having her beaten up rather than drinking whatever it is they drink in Westeros for miscarrying. Jamie is appalled and tells lady Westerling that her daughter is much better than she is (because she’s genuinely in love with Robb).
      I think the change was rather clichee. (that was my impression when I watched it for the first time, thinking, oh, that!) You find stories like that in every decent war story depicted on screen, inspired (if I am not mistaken) by a very old movie (which is based on a book). It’s a nice story in the originals, but not when it is repeated. The original story of Martin was edgier with more implications for the protagonists, and it fits well in the greater story, which is about principles and how they are compromised. Tywin didn’t have any principles, neither did Jeyne’s mother, but Robb did. Changing it on screen made it look like two conscenting adults falling in love, removing the moral principle and replacing it with genuine love as against “duty”. It was simpler but at the same time it gave the creators the opportunity to shock the audience with Frey’s remarks about Talisa’s body (gross) and her death.

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    59. I hadn’t read any of the books (or listened to their audio versions) when I watched seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the show. There is an old saying in English “A cat may look at a king” (which you probably already know but I’ll link the meaning in any case https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a-cat-may-look-at-a-king.html with a meaning that low status people still have rights but it’s not “A cat may cheek a king with impunity”). So at the time I first saw that scene I didn’t know cutesie sassy nursie wasn’t book cannon but how that scene played out did strike me as offkey. And how did sassy nursie wander about wore torn Westeros seemingly on her own (and where did she get her posh tent?) without getting raped. She didn’t seem to have any guards around her. It could be argued that the Silent Sisters (the show never really went into great depths about the Silent Sisters) afforded some safety to Talisa if she was travelling with them I suppose.

      I saw a documentary about the fall of the former East Prussia at the end of World War II (i.e when former East Prussia fell – I didn’t watch it at the end of World War II, even I hadn’t been born then). There was some ravishment of some East Prussian women at that time if the documentary was to be believed. I’m all in favour of strong women but it’s an unfortunate fact women can be at risk at time of war. I don’t want to get too far away from the subject of the thread but the “wolfskinder” from former East Prussia made me think of Arya as a child having to think for herself and do her best to survive – more recently Dany unleashing Drogon on Kings Landing made me think of the destruction of Kaliningrad (Koenisberg). Still there are children surviving however they can in wore torn regions NOW never mind 70-something years ago.

      I didn’t hate all the changes the two Ds made in adaptation and I like Oona Chaplin as an actress

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    60. Efi: Jenye appears to be in love with Robb, Robb is not in love with her, but the fact that her own mother pushed her to him is shocking. Tywin made sure that she lost her baby, probably by having her beaten up rather than drinking whatever it is they drink in Westeros for miscarrying. Jamie is appalled and tells lady Westerling that her daughter is much better than she is (because she’s genuinely in love with Robb).

      I think Jeyne’s mother did push her to nurse Robb but based on their interactions in ASOS, and though Robb didn’t marry her for love but for honor, I think he does end up falling for Jeyne. At least, Catelyn thinks that he loves her and I’d agree he did. It may have been puppy love though that’d get stronger over time if Robb lived.

      It appears Jeyne’s mother Sybell had given Jeyne potions to prevent pregnancy. She tells Catelyn in ASOS:

      “My mother says the same. She makes a posset for me, herbs and milk and ale, to help make me fertile. I drink it every morning.”

      Later, in Jaime’s chapter during AFFC when Jeyne and Sybell are brought to him at Riverrunn:

      “As you will.” Jaime turned to the daughter. “I am sorry for your loss. The boy had courage, I’ll give him that. There is a question I must ask you. Are you carrying his child, my lady?”

      Jeyne burst from her chair and would have fled the room if the guard at the door had not seized her by the arm. “She is not,” said Lady Sybell, as her daughter struggled to escape. “I made certain of that, as your lord father bid me.”

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    61. Dame of Mercia:
      Dame of Mercia,

      war torn not wore torn – should I blame autocorrect or be honest?

      Blame Auto-Correct. Always blame Auto-Correct. Auto-Correct has escaped justice for far too long.

      ”Auto-Correct has made my kingdom bleed. I will mount Auto-Correct’s head on a spike.”

      – Stannis Baratheon, the One True King, Protector of the Realm, and Defender of the Lexicon

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    62. Dame of Mercia,

      ”So at the time I first saw that scene I didn’t know cutesie sassy nursie wasn’t book cannon but how that scene played out did strike me as offkey. And how did sassy nursie wander about wore torn Westeros seemingly on her own (and where did she get her posh tent?)…”

      – I want to let you know I may be stealing “Sassy Nursie Talisa.” I will try to remember to give you proper attribution.

      – I suspect our common enemy is f*cking with you again: It looks like Auto-Correct changed “book canon” to “book cannon” in your comment.

      – [Thinking back to the pre-Battle of the Blackwater planning session between pre-dumbed-down Tyrion and still-witty Bronn in S2, when Tyrion snarked about defending the city by launching books at Stannis’s forces, a “book cannon” might have been a neat farcical weapon for Bronn to throw into the conversation.]

      – Also, you wrote: ”I didn’t hate all the changes the two Ds made in adaptation and I like Oona Chaplin as an actress.”

      I’ve seen Oona Chaplin in other shows and films. Her acting is consistently superb.

      – It’s unfortunate that as scripted or directed, the role of (Sexy and) Cutesie Sassy Nursie Talisa may have reduced her to eye candy in some viewers’ minds. [That’s not to say from a purely aesthetic perspective I didn’t appreciate the image of Talisa luxuriating in her birthday suit.] Also, as Efi remarked above, the changes from book Jeyne to TV vixen Talisa provided an opportunity to “shock the audience with Frey’s remarks about Talisa’s body (gross).” (I’d just as soon not mention the shocking, horrific death of Talisa…)

      As a non-book reader, I can’t really compare book Jeyne & Robb to TV Talisa & Robb. I didn’t dislike the TV version’s sassy battlefield nurse, her “meet cute” with the boy king, and her “why I got into the medical field” backstory. I take it that the showrunners may have been trying to present a more “modern” type of romance between two self-sufficient, equally assertive people, rather than the book’s portrayal of a union predicated on notions of “honor” and obligation after Robb felt bad he’d deflowered his attending nurse. From comments here, I gather that fans preferred the Jeyne & Robb book version.

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    63. Ten Bears,

      Blame Auto-Correct. Always blame Auto-Correct. Auto-Correct has escaped justice for far too long.

      I suspect our common enemy is f*cking with you again: It looks like Auto-Correct changed “book canon” to “book cannon” in your comment.

      Oh good. Some community Auto-Correct bashing.

      Maybe we can start a Surviving Auto-Correct community, sharing stories about how Auto-Correct has personally hurt us. (10% of me is serious about this….. maybe 50%. Yes, 50%… with an additional margin of perhaps 20+30%).

      Auto-Correct has personally hurt me when it repeatedly insists I’m Natalie.

      I take it that the showrunners may have been trying to present a more “modern” type of romance between two self-sufficient, equally assertive people, rather than the book’s portrayal of a union predicated on notions of “honor” and obligation after Robb felt bad he’d deflowered his attending nurse.

      This is what I tried to pull out of my mildly intoxicated, sleep-deprived brain but I couldn’t quite get beyond ‘different story’. I think this might be the reason for the change.

      Also the wording: “Robb felt bad he’d deflowered his attending nurse.” If that isn’t relatable… XD

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    64. Ten Bears said “As a non-book reader, I can’t really compare book Jeyne & Robb to TV Talisa & Robb. I didn’t dislike the TV version’s sassy battlefield nurse, her “meet cute” with the boy king, and her “why I got into the medical field” backstory. I take it that the showrunners may have been trying to present a more “modern” type of romance between two self-sufficient, equally assertive people, rather than the book’s portrayal of a union predicated on notions of “honor” and obligation after Robb felt bad he’d deflowered his attending nurse. From comments here, I gather that fans preferred the Jeyne & Robb book version.”

      It varies from person to person, TB, as much as opinions about how the series ended or about other changes/cuts/additions to the source material. I have known of people thinking it was an even thing between the two versions (show and books) in this instance One person (sorry I can’t remember their identity but it was either on this website or “Winter is Coming” before the latter became a moneybags site) said they thought Jeyne was something of a one-note personnage and that Talisa had more character. Historical whodunnits are a guilty pleasure of mine and sometimes such novels have “wise women” or “cunning women” playing a part in the novel, so I know there were women who used knowledge of herbs etc in medieval times (when it would have cost a lot of money for the average peasant to hire a doctor). I did find it incongruous that Talisa spoke out of turn to a king without repercussions and that she was travelling Westeros without any naughty men making attempts on her virtue (especially as she was a comely woman).

      Autocorrect (and it was autocorrect that time, no question about it) changed the surname of the French author of “Les Rois Maudits” to Drone from Maurice Druon once. I was typing something about inspirations GRRM used for the ASOIAF novels when that change happened.

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    65. Adrianacandle,

      ”I think Jeyne’s mother did push her to nurse Robb but based on their interactions in ASOS, and though Robb didn’t marry her for love but for honor, I think he does end up falling for Jeyne. At least, Catelyn thinks that he loves her and I’d agree he did. It may have been puppy love though that’d get stronger over time…”

      Was Jeyne Robb’s first? Puppy love or infatuation would be a natural reaction of an inexperienced 15 year-old boy.
      Was it on the show or in the books that Jon (maybe during conversations with Sam ?) made it sound like Robb was quite the ladies man?

      I’m just curious because in both the books and the show [if you’ll excuse the unintended pun that follows], Robb’s undertaking to marry a Frey girl was water under the bridge: Walder Frey, as obnoxious as he was, drove a hard bargain but Robb agreed to it. Walder had already performed his end of the bargain by granting bridge access to Robb and his army. At that juncture, Robb no longer had the option of backing out of his promise.

      Whatever his motives, love or honor, Robb’s decision to marry someone else was not only selfish, irresponsible and short-sighted: It was the singular factor that led to the Red Wedding massacre.

      Sure, Walder “overreacted” to the slight. Yet, it was no secret Walder was a grouchy old dirtbag. He had not exactly been a steadfastly loyal vassal to the Starks to begin with, and had not committed House Frey to the insurrection against the Crown.

      Why would anyone expect that he’d be satisfied with Edmure as an acceptable substitute groom? As others have observed, Walder had expressly bargained for a marriage of a Frey to a king, and arranged marriages were an accepted means of enhancing the stature of noble houses. Breaching a marriage promise wasn’t just a personal affront: it was a grievous social violation with political ramifications, often redressed with violence.
      (If the Big Kahuna ever gets around to writing TWOW and ADOS, maybe he will shed some light on how Lyanna Stark figured she could get away with repudiating her arranged marriage to the Lord of Storm’s End without significant repercussions. Maybe he will also elucidate how the supposedly even-tempered and much-admired Prince Rhaegar Targaryen could behave like such a dimwit in running off with a nobleman’s fiancé.)

      Unlike in the real world, in the fictional world of ASOIAF and GoT, marriage promises and marriage alliances were a BFD. Someday if I read the books I’ll be curious to see how (if) Robb, in his own mind, justified blowing off his marriage promise to Walder Frey and marrying someone else (“a foreign whore,” as some called her on the show) without first trying to renegotiate his deal with Walder.

      Didn’t Robb foresee that his own bannermen and generals would be pissed off? (As I recall, before the sh*t really hit the fan one of Robb’s generals foresaw that he’d lost the war as soon as he married Talisa.)

      On the show, Catelyn explicitly warned Robb that he couldn’t expect his bannermen and soldiers to honor their oaths to him if he did not honor his own oaths. Catelyn’s advice made perfect sense. Did Robb somehow rationalize his decision, or did he just disregard the possible consequences of angering the Freys and alienating his vassals?

      Final notes. (Because ASNAWP. 👸🏻)

      – Part of the deal Walder negotiated with Catelyn subject to Robb’s assent was that Arya would marry a Frey when she came of age. When Catelyn relayed the terms of the proposed deal to Robb, they both acknowledged Arya would not be thrilled with this. Yet, arranging marriages was within Robb’s rights, and he agreed to the terms of the deal. Presumably, Arya would be bound by the obligation made on her behalf without her knowledge, and despite Robb’s (and her mother’s) acknowledgement that Arya would be distressed about it.

      So how could Robb think it was okay for him to wiggle out of his own freely-taken marriage oath, while presuming that Arya would be bound by a marriage promise made for her, especially when Robb knew beforehand she’d be unhappy about it? Was Arya supposed to just “take one for the team” without question, while Robb could somehow weasel out of his own marriage promise, e.g., by promptly repudiating it by marrying someone else, and then foisting on Walder a different deal involving a replacement groom after the fact?

      Caveat: I am NOT defending Walder Frey. He may have suffered a grievous insult. Treason, betrayal and mass murder were disproportionate responses, to say the least. However, the annihilation of House Frey was an appropriate response to that.

      There is no justice in this world unless we make it.”
      – Sansa Stark 🕊

      “Justice has been served.” 🍰
      – Arya Stark 🗡🔪🩸

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    66. Adrianacandle,

      ”Maybe we can start a Surviving Auto-Correct community, sharing stories about how Auto-Correct has personally hurt us. (10% of me is serious about this….. maybe 50%. Yes, 50%… with an additional margin of perhaps 20+30%).

      Auto-Correct has personally hurt me when it repeatedly insists I’m Natalie.”

      I sometimes think Auto-Correct is a sentient being. And a malevolent one.

      It (He?) seems to deliberately make forced mistakes that cause maximum embarrassment. It spontaneously changes correct spelling and correct words to misspelled and nonexistent words. There’s no logical reason why it should stubbornly insist on replacing the word I type with a different one no matter how many times I correct Auto-Correct.

      It’s supposedly programmed to be predictive and to “learn” from the typist’s vocabulary usage. (Redundant whinging): “King” is a common word and a common title, especially in comment sections of a GoT fan site. I must’ve typed “King” a thousand times. What possible reason could there be for changing “King” to “Ming” or “Kong”? Likewise, it must know it irks you when it “repeatedly insists [you are] Natalie.”

      Unless and until I learn of proof to the contrary, I’m going to assume that like a mischievous
      Oz behind a curtain, Auto-Correct is controlled by a gaggle of evil trolls.

      Another pet peeve (or two): A spell-checking program ought to be able to recognize basic word usage taught to us humans in elementary school.

      – My grade school English teacher made sure we all knew that “its” (without an apostrophe) is the possessive form of “it” (as in “Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow“), while “it’s” is simply a contraction of “it is.” Our teacher gave us a silly yet simple mnemonic device: Think of the apostrophe in “it’s” as a tiny letter “i.”

      So why the f*ck does Auto-Correct always change “its” to “it’s”????
      (Try it. Am I wrong?)

      – Every now and then I’ll type the word “dearth,” meaning a scarcity or lack of something. Yet Auto-Correct always changes it to “death.” Why?

      – End Rant – 🤬

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    67. Ten Bears,

      No, Robb didn’t anticipate the consequences of his actions and Catelyn makes him realize this. This may answer some questions:

      “And you,” she said softly, “have lost the Freys.”

      His wince told all. She understood the angry voices now, why Perwyn Frey and Martyn Rivers had left in such haste, trampling Robb’s banner into the ground as they went.

      “Dare I ask how many swords come with your bride, Robb?”

      “Fifty. A dozen knights.” His voice was glum, as well it might be. When the marriage contract had been made at the Twins, old Lord Walder Frey had sent Robb off with a thousand mounted knights and near three thousand foot. “Jeyne is bright as well as beautiful. And kind as well. She has a gentle heart.”

      It is swords you need, not gentle hearts. How could you do this, Robb? How could you be so heedless, so stupid? How could you be so… so very… young.

      ____

      Catelyn did not need to be told what sort of comfort Jeyne Westerling had offered her son. “And you wed her the next day.”

      He looked her in the eyes, proud and miserable all at once. “It was the only honorable thing to do. She’s gentle and sweet, Mother, she will make me a good wife.”

      “Perhaps. That will not appease Lord Frey.”

      “I know,” her son said, stricken. “I’ve made a botch of everything but the battles, haven’t I? I thought the battles would be the hard part, but… if I had listened to you and kept Theon as my hostage, I’d still rule the north, and Bran and Rickon would be alive and safe in Winterfell.”

      “Perhaps. Or not. Lord Balon might still have chanced war. The last time he reached for a crown, it cost him two sons. He might have “thought it a bargain to lose only one this time.” She touched his arm. “What happened with the Freys, after you wed?”

      Robb shook his head. “With Ser Stevron, I might have been able to make amends, but Ser Ryman is dull-witted as a stone, and Black Walder… that one was not named for the color of his beard, I promise you. He went so far as to say that his sisters would not be loath to wed a widower. I would have killed him for that if Jeyne had not begged me to be merciful.”

      “You have done House Frey a grievous insult, Robb.”

      “I never meant to. Ser Stevron died for me, and Olyvar was as loyal a squire as any king could want. He asked to stay with me, but Ser Ryman took him with the rest. All their strength. The Greatjon urged me to attack them…”

      “Fighting your own in the midst of your enemies?” she said. “It would have been the end of you.”

      “Yes. I thought perhaps we could arrange other matches for Lord Walder’s daughters. Ser Wendel Manderly has offered to take one, and the Greatjon tells me his uncles wish again. If Lord Walder will be reasonable-”

      “He is not reasonable,” said Catelyn. “He is proud, and prickly to a fault. You know that. He wanted to be grandfather to a king. You will not appease him with the offer of two hoary old brigands and the second son of the fattest man in the Seven Kingdoms. Not only have you broken your oath, but you’ve slighted the honor of the Twins by choosing a bride from a lesser house.”

      Robb bristled at that. “The Westerlings are better blood than the Freys. They’re an ancient line, descended from the First Men. The Kings of the Rock sometimes wed Westerlings before the Conquest, and there was another Jeyne Westerling who was queen to King Maegor three hundred years ago.”

      “All of which will only salt Lord Walder’s wounds. It has always rankled him that older houses look down on the Freys as upstarts. This insult is not the first he’s borne, to hear him tell it. Jon Arryn was disinclined to foster his grandsons, and my father refused the offer of one of his daughters for Edmure.” She inclined her head toward her brother as he rejoined them.

      ______

      Was Jeyne Robb’s first? Puppy love or infatuation would be a natural reaction of an inexperienced 15 year-old boy.
      Was it on the show or in the books that Jon (maybe during conversations with Sam ?) made it sound like Robb was quite the ladies man?

      I think Jeyne was Robb’s first. There’s no indication Robb had any relations before Jeyne, nothing mentioned by Catelyn, Theon, Jon, Sansa, Arya, or Bran. However, this isn’t confirmation either.

      I think you are referring to Jon’s conversation with Sam in 4×01 when Jon said, “Gods, the girls loved him.”

      Among Robb’s traits in the books as well is that he is charismatic and social but I think Robb was a virgin before sleeping with Jeyne.

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    68. Efi:
      Ten Bears,

      To be fair, Stannis would throw Autocorrect in the fire.

      Yes, you’re right. I like to think Stannis would burn it at the stake (sorry Shireen 🤢) to facilitate the Lord of Light purification process™️, and lop off its head right before the flames consumed it so it could still be mounted on a spike.

      A little fire damage after completion of the purification process wouldn’t necessarily defeat the dual objectives. Like show Theon’s fake-out, using the crisped corpses of two farm boys in place of Bran and Rickon, or book Manderly exhibiting the scorched corpse of a mutilated condemned criminal as proof he’d executed Davos, Stannis could still mount Auto-Correct’s head on a spike notwithstanding its posthumous, post-purification removal.

      (Okay, before anyone responds that I must be on drugs or off my meds, I know I got carried away. It’s just that I’m constantly frustrated by Auto-Correct, and cannot understand why it “corrects” correct words.)

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    69. Ten Bears: My grade school English teacher made sure we all knew that “its” (without an apostrophe) is the possessive form of “it” (as in “Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow“), while “it’s” is simply a contraction of “it is.” Our teacher gave us a silly yet simple mnemonic device: Think of the apostrophe in “it’s” as a tiny letter “i.”

      That’s what I’ve been wondering about too!

      I used to use Grammarly to help me catch typos, missing words, and other grammatical errors when I’d write and I added it to my browser as well. However, Grammarly slowed things down my computer system, made my browser crawl at a snail’s pace, and didn’t immediately (or even near immediately) catch errors (it took its sweet time doing it) as I wrote out text — so I found myself better off without Grammarly.

      Even though you can add your own vocabularly to Grammarly (so it wouldn’t underline uncommon names), Grammarly would still make incorrect corrections. However, for all its memory-hogging, browser-freezing, incorrect correction-sins, Grammarly still knew the difference between the contraction “it’s” and the possessive “its”.

      …And didn’t tell you to use “it’s” in the place of the visually similar but dramatically and grammatically different “its”.

      Every now and then I’ll type the word “dearth,” meaning a scarcity or lack of something. Yet Auto-Correct always changes it to “death.” Why?

      Auto-Correct is like that additional parent who is somehow even more enraging than somebody’s human parents — but one who wants you to destroy your phone (my human parents don’t encourage this).

      For example, when it knows you want to say “f!ck” but is correcting you to “duck” and “ducking”.

      And, as you’ve noted, it’s not uncommon that its “corrections” don’t make sense, especially within the context of the sentence you’ve written. Auto-Correct is supposed to (based on its predicative technology, ability to offer suggestions off of what you’ve typed and on commonly paired words/phrases) recognize context to a limited extent.

      However, to use your example, Auto-Correct doesn’t even seem to recognize commonly used words like ‘king’ over ‘Ming’ and ‘Kong’, instead opting to change the commonly used word ‘king’ for the latter, less commonly used word ‘kong’ — unless there is something that says ‘Mad’ and ‘Kong’ typically go together and I’m not aware of it.

      Or maybe be live in an awkward period where AI is kind of there… but not really.

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    70. Ten Bears,

      “What possible reason could there be for changing “King” to “Ming” or “Kong”?”

      Ummm, perhaps it knows you have a secret preference to the Ming dynasty of China, and that you love King Kong, the movie? 😊

      “Yet Auto-Correct always changes it to “death.” Why?”

      Because it’s the death of Grammar in reality? 😁

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    71. Ten Bears,

      Don’t neglect your meds, TB! It’s bad for your sanity.

      I think Autocorrect is not programmed for standard grammar and syntax rules. It’s made for twitter. This means that it’s made to recognize colloquialisms at the expense of proper expressions that follow the rules.
      It’s not by chance that the example you mention, it’s/its is one of the most difficult distinctions to make even for native English speakers, let alone all the others. “Its” instead of “it’s” or the opposite is a very common mistake even in good texts.
      It’s also made to recognize current usages and additions to spoken and written language following the fashion of the time, and this is picked up by other software, such as Office. When I installed my new Office, I realized that “Daenerys Targaryen” was not underlined with the usual red line. And I thought “oh! go figure!”
      This means that it’s likely to recognize King Kong rather than “king” alone, because, who on earth speaks of kings and queens nowadays? King Kong on the other hand…

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    72. Adrianacandle,

      Thanks for those book passages! I just read the first few excerpts. They do explain Robb’s fatal naivete – or downright stupidity.

      He said Jeyne’s “gentle and sweet”? She’s got “a good heart”? Lovely. No wonder why Robb was known as “the King who Lost the North.”

      Lemme read the rest of the text you quoted. It’s kind of a shame the show didn’t get into all of this. It kind of portrayed Robb as a man who’d found “true love” and lost his life for acting on it. The show did touch on some of the adverse consequences on his war effort and his army, though it seems the books really demonstrated in detail how objectively stupid – and selfish – his unilateral shotgun wedding really was.

      As a show-only fan, it now looks to me like the show built up Robb as a heroic figure and romantic leading man type, while downplaying somewhat the “what the f*ck were you thinking!” criticism of his actions in the book.

      Walder Frey and Roose Bolton came off as archetypal villains on the show. I’m guessing that in the books their treachery was inexcusable, yet understandable: Everybody was looking for ways to advance the interests of their own Houses, so when Robb’s impetuous action thwarted Walder’s efforts to improve his status through marriage alliance(s), and Robb started self-destructing (with the loss of his followers’ support, and soldiers abandoning his army en masse), Walder and Roose jumped ship when a better deal from Tywin presented itself.

      Still, whether it involved Robb the Dummy or Robb the Hero, I can see how the Red Wedding was inevitable in both the show and the books.

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    73. Ten Bears: Lemme read the rest of the text you quoted. It’s kind of a shame the show didn’t get into all of this. It kind of portrayed Robb as a man who’d found “true love” and lost his life for acting on it. The show did touch on some of the adverse consequences on his war effort and his army, though it seems the books really demonstrated in detail how objectively stupid – and selfish – his unilateral shotgun wedding really was.

      I think (and to continue the topic of too-young-leaders from the recent Nathalie thread), this helps explore the idea of child-leaders thrust into roles of leadership and the pitfalls of this.

      By doing what he thought was the most honorable thing to do in the situation following his grief sex with Jeyne (eg. marrying Jeyne after taking her virginity), Robb ends up compromising honor in another way: the honor of his word to the Freys by breaking his oath, thereby dooming himself, his mother, and his forces without even realizing it. And he only realizes how dire he’s made the situation when Catelyn points out it out and she tells Robb how much he screwed up. It is a direct cause of the Red Wedding.

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    74. Ten Bears: I’ve never used “Grammarly.” I don’t think I want to, based on what you wrote.

      I’m looking into better alternatives but in my opinion, Grammarly was not great :/ I think it’s okay as a desktop app to run text through (but it is cloud-based so they have a copy of your text) and catch problem areas (even if some of the “corrections” are not quite right, it still highlights potential problem areas) but as a browser extension, it really slowed things down on my computer by hogging memory, not to mention how it slowed down the browser itself.

      I especially found this to be a problem if you were writing/editing text via browser.

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    75. Efi,

      Short answer: As I explained in a recent rant, I once did a Google search for a Chinese restaurant, “Sun Ming.” Also, I recall searching for “King Kong” to find YouTube links to Naomi Watts scenes in that movie when I was posting comments anticipating her appearance in the “Bloodmoon” prequel. (I’m a huge fan of Naomi Watts. She was fabulous in “King Kong,” interacting so well with the giant CGI gorilla that he seemed alive. I thought casting her was a major coup. I was extremely disappointed when the “Bloodmoon” prequel was abruptly abandoned based only on an unaired pilot. But I digress…)

      For all the hundreds of times I’ve typed “King,” why would Auto-Correct substitute infrequently-typed words in its place?

      It’s evil, I tell you. It’s evil!

        Quote  Reply

    76. Adrianacandle,

      As I recall, on the show Catelyn only gave Robb (sage) advice how he shouldn’t expect his bannermen to honor their oaths if he didn’t honor his own. I forget if this was before or after he married Sassy Cutesie Nursie Talisa.™️

      I don’t think the show included the books’ criticisms by Catelyn and lame justifications by Robb which you excerpted. Maybe I just don’t remember.

      Perhaps the showrunners felt that their aged-up romantic hero wouldn’t make the same kind of boneheaded decision a 15 year-old boy might make. Or maybe they preferred to present Robb Stark as a heroic, romantic figure undone by the unforeseen consequences of a conflict of love and duty – they did keep coming back to that theme throughout the show’s run. I don’t know.

      ™️ Dame of Mercia (2020)

        Quote  Reply

    77. Adrianacandle,

      ”Grammarly was not great :/ I think it’s okay as a desktop app to run text through (but it is cloud-based so they have a copy of your text).”

      I do not trust “the Cloud.” As far as I’m concerned anything sent to the Cloud is effectively disseminated to the entire world.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Ten Bears: Perhaps the showrunners felt that their aged-up romantic hero wouldn’t make the same kind of boneheaded decision a 15 year-old boy might make. Or maybe they preferred to present Robb Stark as a heroic, romantic figure undone by the unforeseen consequences of a conflict of love and duty – they did keep coming back to that theme throughout the show’s run. I don’t know.

      Well, and at the risk at setting off some anti-Robb remarks (which I don’t enjoy doing), Catelyn warned Robb before he married Talisa in 2×06:

      Catelyn: I wish that you were free to follow your heart.
      Robb: I know.
      Catelyn: You have inherited your father’s responsibilities. I’m afraid they come at a cost. You are promised to another.
      Robb: I know.
      Catelyn: A debt that must be paid.
      Robb: I haven’t forgotten.

      And a few episodes later, in 2×06, after Talisa tells Robb a story about a slave saving her and her brother’s lives, despite the punishment to him, she says that she decided, “And when I came of age, I would never live in a slave city again.” So Robb tells her he doesn’t want to marry the Frey girl.

      In 2×10, Robb had this conversation with Catelyn:

      Catelyn: Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross.
      Robb: I know that.
      Catelyn: And you mean to do it anyway?
      Robb: I love her.
      Catelyn: I know that seems important to you.
      Robb: It is important to me.
      Catelyn: Your father didn’t love me when we married. He hardly knew me or I him. Love didn’t just happen to us. We built it slowly over the years, stone by stone, for you, for your brothers and sisters, for all of us. It’s not as exciting as secret passion in the woods, but it is stronger. It lasts longer.
      Catelyn: And that is what would be in store for me with one of Walder Frey’s daughters, what you and father had?
      Catelyn: Why not? Because she’s not beautiful? Because she’s not exotic and exciting?
      Robb: Now you’re arguing just to argue because you arranged it.
      Catelyn: And you agreed to it. You gave him your word. Treat your oaths recklessly, and your people will do the same. If your father lived his life for one thing–
      Robb: My father is dead. And the only parent I have left has no right to call anyone reckless.

      And then he goes and marries Talisa.

      And this is one of the problems I had with the change from how the books dealt with Robb’s decision to marry another, breaking his oaths to the Freys. In the show, Robb actually did spend time considering this decision and consulted Catelyn, who has advised Robb on his campaign, about marrying Talisa. Catelyn was against it, reminding Robb of the consequences and the deal he agreed to but Robb decides to marry Talisa anyway. In the books, Robb was devastated by the news of his brothers’ deaths, sought comfort via grief sex with Jeyne, and felt the most honorable thing to do was to marry her to preserve her virtue in a hasty morning-after decision. He doesn’t consider the consequences until Catelyn is rightly angry with Robb and lays the crap situation that he created for them all out on the table, telling him how much he f*cked up. And Robb realizes this.

      I think the change was done for some of the reasons you said (“trying to present a more ‘modern’ type of romance between two self-sufficient, equally assertive people”) and to depict Robb as strong-willed charismatic hero who refuses to be tethered to an arranged marriage, opting to marry for love instead. Except, as Catelyn notes, he agreed to the aforementioned arranged marriage, so that’s the plot hole in this depiction (if that’s what D&D intended).

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    79. Ten Bears: I do not trust “the Cloud.” As far as I’m concerned anything sent to the Cloud is effectively disseminated to the entire world.

      Yeah, that’s always been my fear as well. If there’s information/media I don’t want getting out, accidentally or otherwise, I don’t use the Cloud.

        Quote  Reply

    80. Adrianacandle,

      *and at the risk *of setting off some anti-Robb remarks[…]

      *[…]and to depict Robb as a strong-willed charismatic hero who refuses to be[…]

      I really need a Grammarly alternative.

        Quote  Reply

    81. Adrianacandle,

      Realized I only quoted a fragment of Talisa’s statement. Here is the full quote:

      *“I decided two things that day. I would not waste my years planning dances and masquerades with the other noble ladies. And when I came of age, I would never live in a slave city again.”

      * This quote happened in 2×08, not 2×06 per my original post.

        Quote  Reply

    82. Efi,

      ”Cat had to think of all her children, not only Robb. I think the book poses some very hard questions to the readers in this respect. Robb didn’t care about his sisters, since he was a king and had to think of the lords first. They wanted independence but didn’t know what to do with it. It was a war without meaning, since they didn’t intend to take KL and overthrow the Lannisters. But the girls were in KL and as the situation was there’d be no way for them to get out of there.”

      Allow me to refer back to the debate (above) about whether Robb would refused to entertain a Kingslayer-for-Stark girls hostage exchange, to ask one last multi-part question of book readers.*

      First, as to the suggestion that girls in general weren’t deemed as valuable as male family members:
      – I thought Sansa and Arya, as sisters of the king, were considered princesses.
      Wasn’t that why Walder included a marriage to Arya as a condition of the bridge access deal?
      Also, I thought there’s a books passage in which Arya encounters the Frey she’s supposed to marry. He doesn’t know she’s Arya Stark, but mentions – or brags – that he’s going to marry a princess.

      – I thought book King Stannis recognized Princess Shireen was his heir and instructed his lieutenants to ensure she succeeded him if anything happened to him. If Robb believed Rickon and Bran were both dead, or didn’t know if they were alive, wouldn’t he also value the lives of his two Princesses? Wouldn’t they be worth one oathbreaking, disreputable Lannister?

      – I don’t get it: Even with his good sword hand, Jaime was just one guy. He was not “royalty,” as I assumed he’d renounced any such aspirations upon joining the Kingsguard. (And his opportunity to take the throne had come and gone years before, when he killed the Mad King – he promptly got off his seat on the throne upon Ned’s arrival.)

      – Jaime’s value as a hostage was due to his last name. His family would want him back, alive, for that reason. Other than that, however, what value did he have to the Starks besides assuring the Stark girls were unharmed while in Lannister custody?
      Upon an exchange of hostages, the Starks would have obtained the value of their prisoner.
      What other reason would Robb have for Jaime’s continued captivity?

      Next, I thought that the Northern lords were especially endeared to “Ned Stark’s daughter(s).”

      I recall mentions of books passages in which Northern lords were protective of Ned’s girls, and were incensed when they learned fArya (Jeyne Poole) was being mistreated by Ramsay Bolton.

      Aside from the Stark daughters’ status as members of their royal family, why would Robb’s Northern vassals be vehemently opposed to trading the disreputable Kingslayer for their two Princesses – the presumptive heirs of their King and the remaining children of Ned Stark?

      From what I gather, the only other value of Jaime to (some of) Robb’s bannermen was to be able to kill him. Robb resisted that, though he acknowledged those bannermen really wanted their vengeance, and he was having difficulty contending with their desire for retribution.

      Nevertheless, assuming Robb’s duty was to “think of the lords first,” if that meant allowing them to tear Jaime apart limb from limb, Robb had no reason to keep him alive.

      If thinking of the lords first over his sisters’ welfare meant letting the lords use Jaime as a human piñata, his corpse would have no value. Killing Jaime might quench the lords’ bloodlust; it would also likely result in the execution of the Stark sisters as a tit-for-tat response by the Lannisters.

      I guess I go back to why the lords would object to trading a Lannister – even a despised Lannister – for Ned Stark’s daughters? I did not get the impression that they felt the girls were disposable.

      – It’s fair to say that Robb had to think of his lords first. (Setting aside Robb’s utter failure to do so when marrying Jeyne after “griefsex.”) I don’t know if it’s fair to say “Robb didn’t care about his sisters,” though relatively speaking the girls’ well-being was a higher priority to their mother.

      Why wouldn’t Robb’s duties as king include loyalty to his vassals as well as to his royal family? Wouldn’t lords expect a king to value the lives of the princesses, “Ned Stark’s daughters,” and King Robb’s next in line?

      Just as Stannis charged his men to safeguard Princess Shireen and ensure her survival to succeed him should he perish, why wouldn’t Robb expect the same fealty from Northern lords? Why wouldn’t those lords consider it a virtue to value the lives and safety of their monarch’s presumptive heirs?

      Was there any indication in the books that the lords would be pissed off if Robb used the Kingslayer to secure the freedom of the Stark girls? If so, was all that talk about “Ned Stark’s daughter(s)” just bluster?

      And what would it say about Robb as king if he prioritized acceding to a few lords’ desire for revenge – a counterproductive, self-defeating objective – over the protection of his sisters?

      Why exactly was Robb reluctant to pursue a trade? Did he really not care enough, or consider his sisters expendable? What other value did Jaime have to Robb, his vassals, or his war effort?

      I admit I should read the books and figure all this out for myself. 🙄

      _______
      * Note ⚠️: These questions relate to the hostage exchange(s) proposed in the books. I suspect the show’s portrayal was different.

      On the show, as I previously stated, I believe that the hostage exchange proposed by Tyrion (and conveyed by LF to Catelyn) was a hoax: a “deception” in Tyrion’s own words.

      The Lannisters never had custody of both girls but Tyrion and LF lied and said they did. From the outset the Lannisters never really had any intention of honoring any such deal: it was all a ruse to free Jaime.

      Further, the logistics made no sense: instead of a simultaneous exchange of hostages at a neutral location (e.g., a midpoint between KL and Robb’s camp), returning Jaime to KL and then trusting that the Lannisters would then free their hostages was absurd. The Lannisters had demonstrated they were inherently untrustworthy. Once the Kingslayer was on his way to KL, any incentive to release the Stark sisters – even if they had both in custody – would vanish, along with any leverage the Starks had to enforce the deal. Anyone with half a brain would have rejected such a one-sided, unenforceable proposal.

      Observing common sense precautions against being doubled-crossed would have ensured mutual compliance – and would have revealed that the Lannisters could not hold up their end of the bargain, before the Starks relinquished custody of the Kingslayer.

      While I understand Catelyn was desperate, and disobeyed Robb by releasing the Kingslayer, I didn’t think she was stupid enough to go along with the hostage exchange as proposed. She had no reason to believe Tyrion Lannister’s word was sacrosanct, or that he had the ability to persuade Cersei, Joffrey, or Tywin to comply once Jaime had been freed.

      For the same reasons, even if Robb had been inclined to agree to the Jaime-for-Sansa & Arya proposal, it never would have been consummated. He would have learned that the Lannisters didn’t have both of the two hostages they claimed to have. Jaime would have wound up back in chains – or handed over to the Northerners who wanted to exact vengeance on him for murdering their kin.

      On the show, as soon as Robb learned Catelyn had released the Kingslayer, he told her point blank she’d been duped. I don’t know if that happened in the books, and if so, what his reasoning was.

      Therefore, my question relates to how this all played out in the books.

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    83. Adrianacandle: Yeah, that’s always been my fear as well. If there’s information/media I don’t want getting out, accidentally or otherwise, I don’t use the Cloud.

      So many celebrities’ “private” photographs are now in the public domain because they were stored in the Cloud. Hackers can filch everything from the Cloud – and probably have. The only difference between actresses posing in the buff and information/media that you or I don’t want getting out, is that the public doesn’t have a prurient interest in our information/media.

      Correction: I should speak for myself. There probably would be an audience for your information/media. 🕯

        Quote  Reply

    84. Adrianacandle,

      Ah, thanks for those dialogue excerpts! So I guess in the books Robb married Jeyne first and told his mother after the fact, while on the show he told his mother he intended to marry Talisa, she counseled against it – and then he went ahead and married her anyway.

      That’s quite a … significant divergence. The book excerpts depicted Robb as a deluded, short-sighted lug who acted rashly without considering the consequences. The show dialogue indicates that even after being fully apprised of the consequences in advance, he gave his mom a snooty “you’re not one to talk”-type reply and did whatever the f*ck he felt like doing. Arguably, that makes aged-up showRobb come off worse than bookRobb.

      By the way, thanks for pinpointing the bit of dialogue by Cat I was referring to earlier (that he shouldn’t expect his men to keep their oaths if he didn’t keep his own oaths):

      In the dialogue you quoted, Catelyn told Robb, about his promises to Walder and oaths in general: “… And you agreed to it. You gave him your word. Treat your oaths recklessly, and your people will do the same.”

        Quote  Reply

    85. Adrianacandle,

      ”Well, and at the risk at setting off some anti-Robb remarks (which I don’t enjoy doing), Catelyn warned Robb before he married Talisa…”

      I appreciate that you spelled all this out despite the risk of setting off anti-Robb remarks.

      To be candid, I had forgotten the detailed forewarnings by showCat to showRobb before he decided to marry Talisa anyway. I was distracted by the “oh what a beautiful couple!” images on my screen. I thought I could understand showRobb’s mindset: “F*ck it. I love this girl. I’m gonna marry her and live happily ever after. I don’t care about anything else.”

      I was wrong. He wasn’t being romantic. He was signing their death warrants.

        Quote  Reply

    86. Ten Bears,

      This will be a long post as it includes a lot of passages — I hope it answers some questions! Primarily why Jaime was valuable as leverage and why Arya became a priority to Stark loyalists after the Red Wedding.

      If you are genuinely interested, I’d encourage you to read the books! Then you can have a first-hand take and form your own opinions without being “sullied” or “influenced” by the takes of others 🙂

      I thought Sansa and Arya, as sisters of the king, were considered princesses.
      Wasn’t that why Walder included a marriage to Arya as a condition of the bridge access deal?

      They are but unfortunately, in this society, they don’t have as much value as a trueborn son and male heir, which Jaime is. Also, Jaime’s a legend in-universe. More than that, though, Jaime might be the only person Cersei and Tywin would be willing to negotiate for. If Robb traded their only and most valuable leverage for his sisters, he’d have nothing to negotiate with for the interests of his people (outlined in the “peace offer” terms in an upcoming post. This is a multi-parter!).

      Therefore, it seems a trade of Jaime for Sansa wouldn’t be of equal value in the eyes of the North.

      Tywin also had hope that Jaime would inherit Casterly Rock and continue the Lannister legacy as the heir, doing his best to persuade Jaime to leave the Kingsguard. If Jaime agreed, Jaime would be next in line for Tywin’s seat and he could bring the house of the woman he marries to battle in the Lannister name (in ASOS Jaime VII, Tywin tries a final time to persuade Jaime to marry Margaery after Joffrey’s death but Jaime refuses. In response, Tywin disowns Jaime).

      At the point Robb refused to trade Jaime for Sansa and Arya, neither Sansa or Arya were heirs to Winterfell. Sansa was third in line after and Arya was fourth in line. This might be why Robb feels the Northern lords would be willing to accept a trade for Ned, their liege lord and head of the house they are loyal to (and a man who they were willing to go to war for), but a trade just his daughters in return — who aren’t next in line and aren’t seen as politically valuable.

      I believe it was Tywin’s plan to marry Sansa to Tyrion so the Lannisters would control the North once Robb was defeated with Bran and Rickon were reportedly dead. This would make Sansa the heir to Winterfell. However, that’s the very reason why Robb disinherited Sansa, to prevent the North from falling into Lannister hands.

      Robb regrets not trading Jaime for Sansa once he hears of her marriage to Tyrion and he and Catelyn are both very upset about it. I’ll include that passage if you want?

      I thought book King Stannis recognized Princess Shireen was his heir and instructed his lieutenants to ensure she succeeded him if anything happened to him. If Robb believed Rickon and Bran were both dead, or didn’t know if they were alive, wouldn’t he also value the lives of his two Princesses? Wouldn’t they be worth one oathbreaking, disreputable Lannister?

      Shireen was also Stannis’s only daughter and heir.

      At the time Robb refused Catelyn wanting him to trade Jaime for Sansa and Arya, Bran and Rickon were still alive. And he regrets not making the trade when he hears about Sansa being married to Tyrion (and I think this was coming more from an emotional place rather than a pragmatic one because with Jaime, they still had no leverage against the Lannisters to get what they wanted for the North).

      Robb disinherited Sansa because he didn’t want the North falling into enemy hands and he fears Arya is dead so he makes Jon his heir.

      “Have you considered your sisters? What of their rights? I agree that the north must not be permitted to pass to the imp, but what of Arya? By law, she comes after Sansa… your own sister, trueborn…”

      “… and dead. No one has seen or heard of Arya since they cut Father’s head off. Why do you lie to yourself? Arya’s gone, the same as Bran and Rickon, and they’ll kill Sansa too once the dwarf gets a child from her. Jon is the only brother that remains to me. Should I die without issue, I want him to succeed me as King in the North. I had hoped you would support my choice.”

      “I cannot,” she said. “In all else, Robb. In everything. But not in this… this folly. Do not ask it.”

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    87. Ten Bears,

      Next, I thought that the Northern lords were especially endeared to “Ned Stark’s daughter(s).”
      I recall mentions of books passages in which Northern lords were protective of Ned’s girls, and were incensed when they learned fArya (Jeyne Poole) was being mistreated by Ramsay Bolton.

      I think the reason the situation changes in AFFC is because the Northern lords who are staunchly loyal to House Stark, namely Wyman Manderly, now have a vendetta against the Boltons and the Freys because of the Red Wedding. There’s also that the North, upon the death of Robb Stark, is now under Bolton control and the Boltons are hated in the North so Stark loyalists are particularly against them being in charge:

      “[Ramsay] is a great hunter,” said Wyman Manderly, “and women are his favorite prey. He strips them naked and sets them loose in the woods. They have a half day’s start before he sets out after them with hounds and horns. From time to time some wench escapes and lives to tell the tale. Most are less fortunate. When Ramsay catches them he rapes them, flays them, feeds their corpses to his dogs, and brings their skins back to the Dreadfort as trophies. If they have given him good sport, he slits their throats before he skins them. Elsewise, t’other way around.”

      Davos paled. “Gods be good. How could any man—”

      “The evil is in his blood,” said Robett Glover. “He is a bastard born of rape. A Snow, no matter what the boy king says.”

      “Was ever snow so black?” asked Lord Wyman. “Ramsay took Lord Hornwood’s lands by forcibly wedding his widow, then locked her in a tower and forgot her. It is said she ate her own fingers in her extremity… and the Lannister notion of king’s justice is to reward her killer with Ned Stark’s little girl.”

      “The Boltons have always been as cruel as they were cunning, but this one seems a beast in human skin,” said Glover.

      The Lord of White Harbor leaned forward. “The Freys are no better. They speak of wargs and skinchangers and assert that it was Robb Stark who slew my Wendel. The arrogance of it! They do not expect the north to believe their lies, not truly, but they think we must pretend to believe or die. Roose Bolton lies about his part in the Red Wedding, and his bastard lies about the fall of Winterfell. And yet so long as they held Wylis I had no choice but to eat all this excrement and praise the taste.”

      Wyman is willing to offer fealty to Stannis and that of “all the lands east of the White Knife, from Widow’s Watch and Ramsgate to the Sheepshead Hills and the headwaters of the Broken Branch” if Davos is able to get Rickon to him:

      “Davos understood. “You want the boy.”

      “Roose Bolton has Lord Eddard’s daughter. To thwart him White Harbor must have Ned’s son… and the direwolf. The wolf will prove the boy is who we say he is, should the Dreadfort attempt to deny him. That is my price, Lord Davos. Smuggle me back my liege lord, and I will take Stannis Baratheon as my king.”

      _____

      Why wouldn’t Robb’s duties as king include loyalty to his vassals as well as to his royal family? Wouldn’t lords expect a king to value the lives of the princesses, “Ned Stark’s daughters,” and King Robb’s next in line?

      Yes, but the Northern lords don’t seem to want this at the expense of their own interests. They were fighting for more than getting Sansa and Arya back, they were fighting for their own and to ensure the independence of the North:

      Robb’s terms on behalf of his lords:

      Robb unrolled it. “First, the queen must release my sisters and provide them with transport by sea from King’s Landing to White Harbor. It is to be understood that Sansa’s betrothal to Joffrey Baratheon is at an end. When I receive word from my castellan that my sisters have returned unharmed to Winterfell, I will release the queen’s cousins, the squire Willem Lannister and your brother Tion Frey, and give them safe escort to Casterly Rock or wheresoever she desires them delivered.”

      Catelyn Stark wished she could read the thoughts that hid behind each face, each furrowed brow and pair of tightened lips.

      “Secondly, my lord father’s bones will be returned to us, so he may rest beside his brother and sister in the crypts beneath Winterfell, as he would have wished. The remains of the men of his household guard who died in his service at King’s Landing must also be returned.”

      Living men had gone south, and cold bones would return. Ned had the truth of it, she thought. His place was at Winterfell, he said as much, but would I hear him? No. Go, I told him, you must be Robert’s Hand, for the good of our House, for the sake of our children . . . my doing, mine, no other . . .

      “Third, my father’s greatsword Ice will be delivered to my hand, here at Riverrun.”

      She watched her brother Ser Edmure Tully as he stood with his thumbs hooked over his swordbelt, his face as still as stone.

      “Fourth, the queen will command her father Lord Tywin to release those knights and lords bannermen of mine that he took captive in the battle on the Green Fork of the Trident. Once he does so, I shall release my own captives taken in the Whispering Wood and the Battle of the Camps, save Jaime Lannister alone, who will remain my hostage for his father’s good behavior.”

      She studied Theon Greyjoy’s sly smile, wondering what it meant. That young man had a way of looking as though he knew some secret jest that only he was privy to; Catelyn had never liked it.

      “Lastly, King Joffrey and the Queen Regent must renounce all claims to dominion over the north. Henceforth we are no part of their realm, but a free and independent kingdom, as of old. Our domain shall include all the Stark lands north of the Neck and in addition the lands watered by the River Trident and its vassal streams, bounded by the Golden Tooth to the west and the Mountains of the Moon in the east.”

      “THE KING IN THE NORTH!” boomed Greatjon Umber, a ham-sized fist hammering at the air as he shouted. “Stark! Stark! The King in the North!”

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    88. Ten Bears,

      Was there any indication in the books that the lords would be pissed off if Robb used the Kingslayer to secure the freedom of the Stark girls?

      Here are some relevant passage:

      “Cersei Lannister will never consent to trade your sisters for a pair of cousins. It’s her brother she’ll want, as you know full well.” She had told him as much before, but Catelyn was finding that kings do not listen half so attentively as sons.

      “I can’t release the Kingslayer, not even if I wanted to. My lords would never abide it.”

      “Your lords made you their king.”

      “And can unmake me just as easy.”

      “If your crown is the price we must pay to have Arya and Sansa returned safe, we should pay it willingly. Half your lords would like to murder Lannister in his cell. If he should die while he’s your prisoner, men will say—”

      “—that he well deserved it,” Robb finished.

      “And your sisters?” Catelyn asked sharply. “Will they deserve their deaths as well? I promise you, if any harm comes to her brother, Cersei will pay us back blood for blood—”

      “Lannister won’t die,” Robb said. “No one so much as speaks to him without my warrant. He has food, water, clean straw, more comfort than he has any right to. But I won’t free him, not even for Arya and Sansa.”

      From ASOS, after Catelyn releases Jaime, people are pissed:

      Her brother Edmure had named Ser Desmond castellan of Riverrun when he rode off to battle, so it fell to him to deal with her crime. To ease his discomfort he brought her father’s steward with him, dour Utherydes Wayn. The two men stood and looked at her; Ser Desmond stout, red-faced, embarrassed, Utherydes grave, gaunt, melancholy. Each waited for the other to speak. They have given their lives to my father’s service, and I have repaid them with disgrace, Catelyn thought wearily.

      “Your sons,” Ser Desmond said at last. “Maester Vyman told us. The poor lads. Terrible. Terrible. But…”

      “We share your grief, my lady,” said Utherydes Wayn. “All Riverrun mourns with you, but…”

      “The news must have driven you mad,” Ser Desmond broke in, “a madness of grief, a mother’s madness, men will understand. You did not know…”

      “I did,” Catelyn said firmly. “I understood what I was doing and knew it was treasonous. If you fail to punish me, men will believe that we connived together to free Jaime Lannister. It was mine own act and mine alone, and I alone must answer for it. Put me in the Kingslayer’s empty irons, and I will wear them proudly, if that is how it must be.”

      “It was a grave thing you did, my lady, but for naught. Ser Desmond has sent Ser Robin Ryger after them, to bring back the Kingslayer… or failing that, his head.”  

      Catelyn had expected no less. May the Warrior give strength to your sword arm, Brienne, she prayed. She had done all she could; nothing remained but to hope.”

      “You do not understand. Highgarden has declared for Joffrey. Dorne as well. All the south.” His mouth tightened. “And you see fit to loose the Kingslayer. You had no right.”

      “I had a mother’s right.” Her voice was calm, though the news about Highgarden was a savage blow to Robb’s hopes. She could not think about that now, though.

      “No right,” Edmure repeated. “He was Robb’s captive, your king’s captive, and Robb charged me to keep him safe.”

      “I had five children. Now I have three.”

      “Aye, my lady.” Lord Rickard Karstark pushed past the Greatjon, like some grim specter with his black mail and long ragged grey beard, his narrow face pinched and cold. “And I have one son, who once had three. You have robbed me of my vengeance.”

      Catelyn faced him calmly. “Lord Rickard, the Kingslayer’s dying would not have bought life for your children. His living may buy life for mine.” The lord was unappeased. “Jaime Lannister has played you for a fool. You’ve bought a bag of empty words, no more. My Torrhen and my Eddard deserved better of you.”

      But the Greatjon defends Catelyn, saying it was a “mother’s folly”.

      I will dig up some excerpts to answer some of your Catelyn-related questions but I just got to make pasta first 🙂

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    89. Ten Bears,

      The passage with Wyman Manderly and Davos is ADWD, not AFFC as I said in that post ^^;

      It also occurred to me that I think a question you might have is how does Wyman now know Rickon is alive? A [mute] boy named Wex was Theon’s squire when Theon took Winterfell and saw what happened with the real Bran and Rickon:

      “It was the Bastard who murdered Ser Rodrik and the men of Winterfell,” said Lord Wyman. “He slew Greyjoy’s ironmen as well. Wex saw men cut down trying to yield. When we asked how he escaped, he took a chunk of chalk and drew a tree with a face.”

      Davos thought about that. “The old gods saved [Wex]?”

      “After a fashion. He climbed the heart tree and hid himself amongst the leaves. Bolton’s men searched the godswood twice and killed the men they found there, but none thought to clamber up into the trees. Is that how it happened, Wex?”

      The boy flipped up Glover’s dagger, caught it, nodded.

      Glover said, “He stayed up in the tree a long time. He slept amongst the branches, not daring to descend. Finally he heard voices down beneath him.”

      “The voices of the dead,” said Wyman Manderly.

      Wex held up five fingers, tapped each one with the dagger, then folded four away and tapped the last again.

      “Six of them,” asked Davos. “There were six.”

      “Two of them Ned Stark’s murdered sons.”

      “How could a mute tell you that?”

      “With chalk. He drew two boys… and two wolves.”

      “The lad is ironborn, so he thought it best not to show himself,” said Glover. “He listened. The six did not linger long amongst the ruins of Winterfell. Four went one way, two another. Wex stole after the two, a woman and a boy. He must have stayed downwind, so the wolf would not catch his scent.”

      “He knows where they went,” Lord Wyman said.

      Davos understood. “You want the boy.”

      “Roose Bolton has Lord Eddard’s daughter. To thwart him White Harbor must have Ned’s son… and the direwolf. The wolf will prove the boy is who we say he is, should the Dreadfort attempt to deny him. That is my price, Lord Davos. Smuggle me back my liege lord, and I will take Stannis Baratheon as my king.”

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    90. Adrianacandle,

      *but *not a trade *for just his daughters in return — who aren’t next in line and aren’t seen as politically valuable.

      *With the deaths of Robb, Bran, and Rickon, this would make Sansa the heir to Winterfell.

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    91. Adrianacandle,

      I’m gonna cut and paste part of your comment above because it encapsulates why showRobb should be considered much less sympathetic than bookRobb; it reminds me how easily distracted I was; and because, as you suggested, in aging up the characters and “modernizing” the romance story, the showrunners may have unwittingly undercut their attempted portrayal (of “a charismatic hero” who “refuses to be tethered to an arranged marriage and opts to marry for love instead”) by turning naive young bookRobb into a selfish man. *

      ————
      You wrote: …..

      “In 2×10, Robb had this conversation with Catelyn:

      Catelyn: Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross.
      Robb: I know that.
      Catelyn: And you mean to do it anyway?
      Robb: I love her.
      Catelyn: I know that seems important to you.
      Robb: It is important to me.
      Catelyn: Your father didn’t love me when we married. He hardly knew me or I him. Love didn’t just happen to us. We built it slowly over the years, stone by stone, for you, for your brothers and sisters, for all of us. It’s not as exciting as secret passion in the woods, but it is stronger. It lasts longer.
      Robb: And that is what would be in store for me with one of Walder Frey’s daughters, what you and father had?
      Catelyn: Why not? Because she’s not beautiful? Because she’s not exotic and exciting?
      Robb: Now you’re arguing just to argue because you arranged it.
      Catelyn: And you agreed to it. You gave him your word. Treat your oaths recklessly, and your people will do the same. If your father lived his life for one thing–
      Robb: My father is dead. And the only parent I have left has no right to call anyone reckless
      .

      And then he goes and marries Talisa.

      And this is one of the problems I had with the change from how the books dealt with Robb’s decision to marry another, breaking his oaths to the Freys. In the show, Robb actually did spend time considering this decision and consulted Catelyn, who has advised Robb on his campaign, about marrying Talisa. Catelyn was against it, reminding Robb of the consequences and the deal he agreed to but Robb decides to marry Talisa anyway. In the books, Robb was devastated by the news of his brothers’ deaths, sought comfort via grief sex with Jeyne, and felt the most honorable thing to do was to marry her to preserve her virtue in a hasty morning-after decision. He doesn’t consider the consequences until Catelyn is rightly angry with Robb and lays the crap situation that he created for them all out on the table, telling him how much he f*cked up. And Robb realizes this.

      I think the change was done for some of the reasons you said (“trying to present a more ‘modern’ type of romance between two self-sufficient, equally assertive people”) and to depict Robb as strong-willed charismatic hero who refuses to be tethered to an arranged marriage, opting to marry for love instead. Except, as Catelyn notes, he agreed to the aforementioned arranged marriage, so that’s the plot hole in this depiction (if that’s what D&D intended).”

      ——————
      * I might add that superimposing “modern” sensibilities onto the books’ story creates a (dissonance? plot hole?): Marrying “for love,” rejecting pragmatic unions or parents’ expectations, is a standard romcom formula. It doesn’t quite fit in a world where couples don’t have that option, and dishonoring an arranged marriage brokered for political and economic reasons is not only a grievous insult but has potentially catastrophic ramifications.

      That showRobb had expressly agreed to the arranged marriage, had ample warning and time to contemplate what would happen if he repudiated it by marrying someone else, and knew full well that it wasn’t just his own wedded bliss that was at stake, made his actions worse than reckless.

      A real romantic hero would have sacrificed his conjugal happiness for the greater good of the thousands of people for whom he was responsible. You also quoted Robb’s conversation with Catelyn in a previous episode, which showed he was fully aware of his responsibilities:

      Catelyn: I wish that you were free to follow your heart.
      Robb: I know.
      Catelyn: You have inherited your father’s responsibilities. I’m afraid they come at a cost. You are promised to another.
      Robb: I know.
      Catelyn: A debt that must be paid.
      Robb: I haven’t forgotten.

      Whatever the genre or time period, depictions of a romantic “hero” don’t require him to say “f*ck it” to the world and blow off his responsibilities in order to “follow his heart.”
      I’ve seen and read lots of stories described with the dreaded “b***er****t” word, in which the protagonist realizes fulfilling his obligations to other people precludes pursuing “true love.”
      (Jon Snow leaving Ygritte to honor his oath and obligations to the NW is an in-universe example.)

      By contrast, showRobb’s decision in disregard of the consequences makes his story less a “tragic romance” than the tale of a selfish p**ck. I had not realized that before.

      Safeguarding others from evildoers, and foregoing selfish pursuits that expose others to the risk of harm, are attributes of a real “hero.” Ignoring express reminders of promises already made and disregarding responsibilities already assumed, in order to “follow your heart,” aren’t heroic or romantic. Unlike bookRobb, who made an impulsive decision out of a sense of “honor” without sufficient forethought, showRobb made a conscious, deliberate decision out of self-interest with full knowledge of the dangers to himself and others.

      ShowRobb was no hero, romantic or otherwise.
      I did not see this the first time around.

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    92. Ten Bears,

      Re:the hostage situation in the books.

      You’re right, Cersei and Tyrion were lying by perpetuating the idea that they had both Stark girls, not only Sansa. While Tyrion takes down the severed heads of the executed Stark household from the walls of the Keep, does have genuine sympathy for Sansa, and tries to protect her from Joffrey’s beatings — Tyrion’s priority is Jaime (sort of like Catelyn with her daughters). And Tyrion is in a power struggle with Cersei.

      In the books, Tywin named Tyrion his Hand but Cersei refuses to accept this — until Tyrion offers to help her get Jaime back and they agree to a temporary alliance, although neither is being genuine. Tyrion has his own plan to free Jaime but does not share it with Cersei.

      “Yes,” he said quietly, “but it’s Jaime you want.”

      His sister fancied herself subtle, but he had grown up with her. He could read her face like one of his favorite books, and what he read now was rage, and fear, and despair. “Jaime—”

      “—is my brother no less than yours,” Tyrion interrupted. “Give me your support and I promise you, we will have Jaime freed and returned to us unharmed.”

      “How?” Cersei demanded. “The Stark boy and his mother are not like to forget that we beheaded Lord Eddard.”

      “True,” Tyrion agreed, “yet you still hold his daughters, don’t you? I saw the older girl out in the yard with Joffrey.”

      “Sansa,” the queen said. “I’ve given it out that I have the younger brat as well, but it’s a lie. I sent Meryn Trant to take her in hand when Robert died, but her wretched dancing master interfered and the girl fled. No one has seen her since. Likely she’s dead. A great many people died that day.”

      Tyrion had hoped for both Stark girls, but he supposed one would have to do.”

      “He took her hand. “I am your brother, you know. You need me, whether you care to admit it or no. Your son needs me, if he’s to have a hope of retaining that ugly iron chair.”

      “His sister seemed shocked that he would touch her. “You have always been cunning.”

      “In my own small way.” He grinned.

      “It may be worth the trying . . . but make no mistake, Tyrion. If I accept you, you shall be the King’s Hand in name, but my Hand in truth. You will share all your plans and intentions with me before you act, and you will do nothing without my consent. Do you understand?”

      “Oh, yes.”

      “Do you agree?”

      “Certainly,” he lied. “I am yours, sister.” For as long as I need to be.”

      The Lannisters’ response to Robb’s terms:

      “Here are our terms,” said Tyrion. “Robb Stark must lay down his sword, swear fealty, and return to Winterfell. He must free my brother unharmed, and place his host under Jaime’s command, to march against the rebels Renly and Stannis Baratheon. Each of Stark’s bannermen must send us a son as hostage. A daughter will suffice where there is no son. They shall be treated gently and given high places here at court, so long as their fathers commit no new treasons.”

      Cleos Frey looked ill. “My lord Hand,” he said, “Lord Stark will never consent to these terms.”

      We never expected he would, Cleos. “Tell him that we have raised another great host at Casterly Rock, that soon it will march on him from the west while my lord father advances from the east. Tell him that he stands alone, without hope of allies. Stannis and Renly Baratheon war against each other, and the Prince of Dorne has consented to wed his son Trystane to the Princess Myrcella.” Murmurs of delight and consternation alike arose from the gallery and the back of the hall.

      “As to this of my cousins,” Tyrion went on, “we offer Harrion Karstark and Ser Wylis Manderly for Willem Lannister, and Lord Cerwyn and Ser Donnel Locke for your brother Tion. Tell Stark that two Lannisters are worth four northmen in any season.” He waited for the laughter to die. “His father’s bones he shall have, as a gesture of Joffrey’s good faith.”

      “Lord Stark asked for his sisters and his father’s sword as well,” Ser Cleos reminded him.”

      Ser Ilyn Payne stood mute, the hilt of Eddard Stark’s greatsword rising over one shoulder. “Ice,” said Tyrion. “He’ll have that when he makes his peace with us, not before.”

      “As you say. And his sisters?”

      Tyrion glanced toward Sansa, and felt a stab of pity as he said, “Until such time as he frees my brother Jaime, unharmed, they shall remain here as hostages. How well they are treated depends on him.” And if the gods are good, Bywater will find Arya alive, before Robb learns she’s gone missing.”

      The delivery of Ned’s bones to Robb and Catelyn serve Tyrion’s plan of getting Jaime back:

      “Lord Baelish has the truth of it, you know. The queen will never permit you to send away her guard.”

      “She will. You’ll see to that.”

      A smile flickered across Varys’s plump lips. “Will I?”

      “Oh, for a certainty. You’ll tell her it is part of my scheme to free Jaime.”
      Varys stroked a powdered cheek. “This would doubtless involve the four men your man Bronn searched for so diligently in all the low places of King’s Landing. A thief, a poisoner, a mummer, and a murderer.”

      “Put them in crimson cloaks and lion helms, they’ll look no different from any other guardsmen. I searched for some time for a ruse that might get them into Riverrun before I thought to hide them in plain sight. They’ll ride in by the main gate, flying Lannister banners and escorting Lord Eddard’s bones.” He smiled crookedly. “Four men alone would be watched vigilantly. Four among a hundred can lose themselves. So I must send the true guardsmen as well as the false . . . as you’ll tell my sister.”

      “And for the sake of her beloved brother, she will consent, despite her misgivings.” They made their way down a deserted colonnade. “Still, the loss of her red cloaks will surely make her uneasy.”

      “I like her uneasy,” said Tyrion.

      Ser Cleos Frey left that very afternoon, escorted by Vylarr and a hundred red-cloaked Lannister guardsmen. The men Robb Stark had sent joined them at the King’s Gate for the long ride west.

      However, the plan ultimately fails. The mummer is pretending to be Edmure by mimicking his voice and ordering the gates opened — but when Edmure returns, the scheme is revealed.

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    93. Ten Bears,

      As for Catelyn, yes, she was desperate to get her daughters back and knew the risks, as she acknowledges when Rickard Karstark confronts her:

      “Mother.”

      Catelyn looked up at her tall kingly son. “Your Grace, I have prayed for your safe return. I had heard you were wounded.”

      “I took an arrow through the arm while storming the Crag,” he said. “It’s healed well, though. I had the best of care.”

      “The gods are good, then.” Catelyn took a deep breath. Say it. It cannot be avoided. “They will have told you what I did. Did they tell you my reasons?”

      “For the girls.”

      “I had five children. Now I have three.”

      “Aye, my lady.” Lord Rickard Karstark pushed past the Greatjon, like some grim specter with his black mail and long ragged grey beard, his narrow face pinched and cold. “And I have one son, who once had three. You have robbed me of my vengeance.”

      Catelyn faced him calmly. “Lord Rickard, the Kingslayer’s dying would not have bought life for your children. His living may buy life for mine.” The lord was unappeased. “Jaime Lannister has played you for a fool. You’ve bought a bag of empty words, no more. My Torrhen and my Eddard deserved better of you.”

      “Leave off, Karstark,” rumbled the Greatjon, crossing his huge arms against his chest “It was a mother’s folly. Women are made that way.”

      “A mother’s folly?” Lord Karstark rounded on Lord Umber. “I name it treason.”

      “Enough.” For just an instant Robb sounded more like Brandon than his father. “No man calls my lady of Winterfell a traitor in my hearing, Lord Rickard.” When he turned to Catelyn, his voice softened. “If I could wish the Kingslayer back in chains I would. You freed him without my knowledge or consent… but what you did, I know you did for love. For Arya and Sansa, and out of grief for Bran and Rickon. Love’s not always wise, I’ve learned. It can lead us to great folly, but we follow our hearts… wherever they take us. Don’t we, Mother?”

      Is that what I did? “If my heart led me into folly, I would gladly make whatever amends I can to Lord Karstark and yourself.”

      Lord Rickard’s face was implacable. “Will your amends warm Torrhen and Eddard in the cold graves where the Kingslayer laid them?” He shouldered between the Greatjon and Maege Mormont and left the hall.

        Quote  Reply

    94. Adrianacandle,

      Lannister won’t die,” Robb said. “No one so much as speaks to him without my warrant. He has food, water, clean straw, more comfort than he has any right to. But I won’t free him, not even for Arya and Sansa.”

      But why? What else could Robb hope to obtain in exchange for Jaime?

      (No urgency to reply. Enjoy your pasta.)

      P.S. Yes, I know I should read the books. I’m just wary of finding myself left hanging, like the millions of book readers in the world who’ve been waiting on Big G for nine years.

      I’ve also wanted to avoid confusing book canon with show canon. The subtle but significant differences in showRobb vs. bookRobb discussed in our recent exchanges are a good example.

      Also, whenever there are comments about the unimportance of the Stark sisters, e.g., that Robb didn’t want to trade Jaime for Arya & Sansa, my knee-jerk reaction is: “What? Arya’s going to kill the King of the Zombies and save the world!”

        Quote  Reply

    95. Ten Bears,

      I might add that superimposing “modern” sensibilities onto the books’ story creates a (dissonance? plot hole?): Marrying “for love,” rejecting pragmatic unions or parents’ expectations, is a standard romcom formula. It doesn’t quite fit in a world where couples don’t have that option, and dishonoring an arranged marriage brokered for political and economic reasons is not only a grievous insult but has potentially catastrophic ramifications.

      Yes, I’d agree with this. This is why the change from the situation presented in the books with Jeyne to the one in the show with Talisa didn’t really make sense to me for some of the reasons you outlined. I think it was ultimately a dissonance of modern sensibilities thrust into a world and situation where it didn’t really fit — and this unintentionally resulted in a plot hole of sorts (I don’t think this was D&D’s intention. I think some extra eyes on this story may have helped figure out the narrative pitfalls of this story if they weren’t aware of them).

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    96. Ten Bears: But why? What else could Robb hope to obtain in exchange for Jaime?

      Jaime was their best hope of forcing the Lannisters to negotiate the terms of their peace. As detailed in my March 7, 2020, 9:52 pm comment above (where you can find all of Robb’s terms), one of these terms was the return of Sansa and Arya but other terms included:

      “Fourth, the queen will command her father Lord Tywin to release those knights and lords bannermen of mine that he took captive in the battle on the Green Fork of the Trident. Once he does so, I shall release my own captives taken in the Whispering Wood and the Battle of the Camps, save Jaime Lannister alone, who will remain my hostage for his father’s good behavior.”

      “Lastly, King Joffrey and the Queen Regent must renounce all claims to dominion over the north. Henceforth we are no part of their realm, but a free and independent kingdom, as of old. Our domain shall include all the Stark lands north of the Neck and in addition the lands watered by the River Trident and its vassal streams, bounded by the Golden Tooth to the west and the Mountains of the Moon in the east.”

      And these represented the interests of Robb’s bannermen in general. Without Jaime, the hope of getting the Lannisters to agree to these terms was even smaller.

      (…. Found out I have no pasta. Damn!)

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    97. Ten Bears: P.S. Yes, I know I should read the books. I’m just wary of finding myself left hanging, like the millions of book readers in the world who’ve been waiting on Big G for nine years.

      When you put it that way, I understand. 2011 me was excited by this new HBO show and wanted to read all the books so I could find out everything that happens in advance. 2020 me… wouldn’t be as excited after waiting 9 years and counting.

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    98. Ten Bears: So many celebrities’ “private” photographs are now in the public domain because they were stored in the Cloud. Hackers can filch everything from the Cloud – and probably have. The only difference between actresses posing in the buff and information/media that you or I don’t want getting out, is that the public doesn’t have a prurient interest in our information/media.

      Correction: I should speak for myself. There probably would be an audience for your information/media. 🕯

      Oh, nobody would care about my stuff! ;D

      But, and this may sound paranoid of me, I don’t want my information to be used against me. Photos/media/text/etc. can all be used to access personal information, aid in identity theft, or be twisted to use against you in some way. People can be horrible like that, especially for money. This is a big reason why I quit Facebook: friends would upload photos of me without my consent (like at parties) and it’s not something I want to be publicly representative of myself as an adult in the professional world or what I want available to the public. I’d like to have as much control over that as possible.

      I’m a millennial, I grew up with the internet from a young age and there have been some close calls — especially when I was a kid and got too personal with giving out my details on a public forum (I used to hang out on Harry Potter and Sailor Moon forums back in the day :D)

      So photos/confidential information/anything private or personal (including full date of birth) stays off the internet. Even a date of birth can help gain access to your bank account.

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    99. Adrianacandle,

      *So photos/confidential information/anything private or personal (including full date of birth) stays off the internet. Even a date of birth can help gain access to your bank account.

      I’m a liar. I should clarify that I wouldn’t store photos from my phone’s camera roll on the Cloud. I’ve got photos of myself floating out there that I’ve chosen to be on the internet, mostly in hoop skirts 😉

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    100. I’m very far from being a millennial, Adriana – more of a “boomer” (though I hope not in the sense of “okay boomer”. I don’t use “The Cloud”. I don’t suppose anything on the internet is 100% foolproof even if stored on remote computers. I had one email address hacked once – fortunately it was only by someone who tried to send out a message to people I’d been in contact with by email so I sent an email myself saying something like ‘if you get a weird email from someone pretending to be me delete it). One platform (which I joined originally to try and tout my services as a secretary/typist from home – it’s got ‘link’ in its name) said can we access your contacts. I said ‘No’ but I still get messages from them ‘Your contact Flossie (made up name) is celebrating a work anniversary). So I may leave that platform as they have been accessing my contacts although I asked them not to. Of course it’s well nigh impossible to stay off the internet completely these days especially for younger (than me) people who use it in their working lives. There is a crazy side to the internet veering into David Ickeland * going by some YouTube videos but I sometimes watch Sky’s online news YouTube channel so I realise YouTube’s not all cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

      I’m not a massive fan of “historical” stories where medieval people are depicted as acting according to 21st century morals. Of course what is good and right has remained constant through the ages but writers in times past sometimes had to be careful what they wrote when their heads might end up on a spike if they wrote something that displeased those in power (thinking of Ricardians who b*tch about Shakespeare being mean about that nice King Richard III – if he’d written that Henry VII was a usurper that would likely have gone down like a lead balloon when Queen Elizabeth I was Henry VII’s granddaughter). People are free to be Ricardians but they need to remember that in Elizabethan times freedom of expression was not taken as a given right the way it is in the 21st century.

      * I must be old. I can remember when David Icke was a sports presenter on the ‘Beeb’ and seemed normal.

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    101. My previous post was getting long so I’ve started another. Off topic but I’d mentioned in the Random GoT actor thread in the forums (basically a thread about GoT actors in other shows but not everyone reads the forum posts) that I’d seen something to the effect that Jack Gleeson is returning to professional acting (I think he’s done amateur acting during the time he’s kept a low profile). He’s going to be trying comedy this time – I’m not sure if he’s in just one episode of a series or will play a recurring character..https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/a31265490/game-of-thrones-jack-gleeson-bbc-comedy/

      Now about Nursie wandering around Westeros seemingly without protection. Even if nobody wanted to attack her for base reasons medical supplies might be worth stealing. I read a series of fictional books by Ariana Franklin (a pseudonym) about a woman doctor in medieval England (apparently there was a university in Italy at that time that trained women students to be doctors). This doctor had her own Unsullied army of one though (not called an Unsullied obviously) to protect her. Even resourceful Arya has the Hound to protect her (even if she doesn’t want him there) until he gets wounded. I know the circumstances of his wounding are different in the books.

      This has all drifted away from the hapless Helaena who is the focus of this thread and the sad choice she had to make. Of course we don’t know if Helaena will ‘make the cut’ – I haven’t read “Fire and Blood” so don’t know if it as full of characters as the ASOIAF books. At or towards the end of the run of the “Merlin” series Hypable did a light-hearted article fan casting some of the “Merlin” cast as GoT characters and looking back now some of the characters (not referring to the actors themselves) suggested didn’t appear in GoT the series – no Mya Stone, Arianne or Young Griff for example. I’ll give the link in case anyone wants to look at it:- https://www.hypable.com/a-month-of-merlin-casting-merlin-actors-in-game-of-thrones

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    102. Dame of Mercia: “Merlin” series Hypable did a light-hearted article fan casting some of the “Merlin” cast as GoT characters and looking back now some of the characters (not referring to the actors themselves) suggested didn’t appear in GoT the series – no Mya Stone, Arianne or Young Griff for example. I’ll give the link in case anyone wants to look at it:- https://www.hypable.com/a-month-of-merlin-casting-merlin-actors-in-game-of-thrones

      I loved Merlin! I was thinking of giving it another rewatch while working on some upcoming projects! 🙂

      That article was fun to read. I especially like the idea of Alexander Vlahos as Edric Storm, he has Robert Baratheon’s look with the dark hair and blue eyes 🙂

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    103. Adrianacandle:
      Arya is to go to court because Catelyn feels she needs refinement

      Just as a minor thing, it wasn’t Catelyn’s idea to send Arya to court for refinement, it was Ned’s; indeed, he was the one who argued with her over it, saying that if Arya was to marry she’d need to learn the ways of a southern court.

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    104. Sean C.: Just as a minor thing, it wasn’t Catelyn’s idea to send Arya to court for refinement, it was Ned’s; indeed, he was the one who argued with her over it, saying that if Arya was to marry she’d need to learn the ways of a southern court.

      Oh yes, you’re 100% right, thank-you for correcting me on that. I’m sorry for the inaccuracy :/ Yes, it was Ned’s idea since he felt Arya needed to learn the ways of a southern court because she was only a few years away from being betrothed herself at the time. Catelyn doesn’t want to let Sansa and Arya go but when Ned makes this argument, Catelyn resigns herself to it, thinking:

      Sansa would shine in the south, Catelyn thought to herself, and the gods knew that Arya needed refinement. Reluctantly, she let go of them in her heart. But not Bran. Never Bran. “Yes,” she said, “but please, Ned, for the love you bear me, let Bran remain here at Winterfell. He is only seven.”

      I crossed my wires there 🙁

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    105. Sean C.: Just as a minor thing, it wasn’t Catelyn’s idea to send Arya to court for refinement, it was Ned’s; indeed, he was the one who argued with her over it, saying that if Arya was to marry she’d need to learn the ways of a southern court.

      Ahhh! I see.
      So was hiring “Dancing Master” Syrio Forel part of Ned’s Arya Refinement Initiative?

      #IWasntPlaying
      #AndIDontWantToBeALady
      #SevenHells

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    106. Ten Bears,

      Ned hired Syrio because he felt if he let Arya do this one thing she’d be more malleable about conforming to the rest of what was expected of her.

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    107. Ten Bears, Adrianacandle:

      Behind the whole conflict of Robb and whom he should marry was the general incompetence of Robb and his mother. House Frey was a sworn vassal to House Tully, and when the Freys refused passage of Robb’s Northern army, neither Cat nor anyone else from the North should have negotiated; rather, she should have sent word to her family, who could have clapped Walder’s 90-year-old ass in chains and had him contemplate his options from the moldy dungeons below Riverrun.

      In a strictly feudal world, Arya’s slaughter of House Frey was not a revenge-killing, but House Tully rightly punishing House Frey’s oath-breaking.

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    108. Yea! More GOT! I would still like to watch the first episode of the series that was quashed. But this one sounds better. Do we know when it might come out?

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    109. Dame of Mercia,

      I don’t suppose anything on the internet is 100% foolproof even if stored on remote computers. I had one email address hacked once – fortunately it was only by someone who tried to send out a message to people I’d been in contact with by email so I sent an email myself saying something like ‘if you get a weird email from someone pretending to be me delete it). One platform (which I joined originally to try and tout my services as a secretary/typist from home – it’s got ‘link’ in its name) said can we access your contacts. I said ‘No’ but I still get messages from them ‘Your contact Flossie (made up name) is celebrating a work anniversary). So I may leave that platform as they have been accessing my contacts although I asked them not to.

      You’re right. I think, as long as your system is connected to a network, the information on the computer (even if kept offline) isn’t completely safe. It’s still vulnerable to being hacked.

      And that would be upsetting (to me): that even though you denied that service access to your contacts, they still accessed your contacts.

      (I also realized, since that post I made, I have my real name, schools attended, and degrees floating around on the internet — so much for keeping personal info offline ;D)

      I’m not a massive fan of “historical” stories where medieval people are depicted as acting according to 21st century morals. Of course what is good and right has remained constant through the ages but writers in times past sometimes had to be careful what they wrote when their heads might end up on a spike if they wrote something that displeased those in power (thinking of Ricardians who b*tch about Shakespeare being mean about that nice King Richard III – if he’d written that Henry VII was a usurper that would likely have gone down like a lead balloon when Queen Elizabeth I was Henry VII’s granddaughter). People are free to be Ricardians but they need to remember that in Elizabethan times freedom of expression was not taken as a given right the way it is in the 21st century.

      Yeah, that was a problem I had with much of Anne With An E (the 2017-2019 adaptation of Anne of Green Gables). Anne of Green Gables doesn’t take place in medieval times but in a rural Canadian Maritimes town during the late 19th/early 20th century. The first novel was written by a woman, L.M. Montgomery, in 1908. However, in the new CBC adaptation, despite the story taking place in 1899, it feels like it’s taking way too much from 2019 and shoehorning it into 1899. Anne is a progressive character in the original series but she’s 1899 progressive (fittingly, since she’s written by a woman who lived that time), not 2017 social justice warrior progressive.

      (Apologies to those who are fans of the series and enjoy it very much. I know it has a devoted fanbase! This is only my opinion and I’m, by no means, the standard or decider of quality.)

      Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      That’s a point I hadn’t considered but I’ll think about/google. Thanks!

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    110. Sean C.:
      Ten Bears,

      Ned hired Syrio because he felt if he let Arya do this one thing she’d be more malleable about conforming to the rest of what was expected of her.

      Looks like dear ol’ Ned’s foray into pediatric psychology backfired spectacularly: From this scene (in S1e4) it appears letting Arya “do this one thing” stiffened her resolve that she would not conform to “what was expected of her.”

      Here’s Arya dutifully practicing a waterdancing drill and excitedly describing for her father the lessons Syrio is teaching her (“Syrio says…”), followed by Ned explicitly reciting the expectations for his daughter, and her unequivocal rejection: “F*ck that sh*t, Father” … I mean, “No. That’s not me.”

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    111. Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two:
      Behind the whole conflict of Robb and whom he should marry was the general incompetence of Robb and his mother. House Frey was a sworn vassal to House Tully, and when the Freys refused passage of Robb’s Northern army, neither Cat nor anyone else from the North should have negotiated; rather, she should have sent word to her family, who could have clapped Walder’s 90-year-old ass in chains and had him contemplate his options from the moldy dungeons below Riverrun.

      What? No, that would have been rather difficult since the Tully army had been routed weeks earlier and Jaime Lannister’s army had Edmure captive and the infirm Lord Hoster under siege at Riverrun. Lord Walder could not be compelled to do anything, and strictly speaking he had every incentive to do nothing, since most would not have bet on the Starks at that particular point in time. It was only his pride that left him open to siding with the Starks, and as a result he had the ability to essentially name his terms for doing so.

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    112. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that much of my recent commentary (e.g., the portrayals of bookJeyne vs. Sassy Cutesy showTalisa; value as hostages of Sansa & Arya vs. Kingslayer; causes of Catelyn’s (mis-)treatment of Jon, etc.) was prompted by Petra’s insightful essay,“Doing Justice to Helaena Targaryen and the Women of Westeros.”

      In addition to the content, the crisp diction and mellifluous voice of the narrator made listening a pleasant experience. (Petra: Have you been approached to gauge your interest in narrating audiobooks? It seems like a natural fit.)

      I should also add that for me as a pre-books, show-only respondent, my take on “doing justice to the women of Westeros” is limited to what I saw on GoT and what I’ve learned about book characters (like Helaena Targaryen) second-hand. With that qualification, and at the risk of (over)generalizing, I thought that on one hand GoT did a wonderful job portraying nuanced, non-stereotypical female characters like Margaery Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell, Brienne, Ygritte, and Arya Stark, to name a few. On the other hand, as touched on by Petra, for other characters their (lack of) intelligence and emotional depth seemed to be tied to their physical appearance. Whether it was “fat-shaming” or otherwise, I assume that an unflattering description of book! Helaena’s outward appearance coincided with a less than complimentary presentation of her character’s intellectual acuity.

      Is it fair to say that for GRRM’s female characters, overweight or plain is shorthand for vapid or slothful? I can’t say. I don’t know. The show may have smoothed over such wrinkles.

      I understand that in adapting for the screen and casting actresses, it’s normal to downplay book characters’ physical anomalies or cosmetic disfigurements. For example, from snippets of book passages quoted on wotw, Brienne of Tarth is described as unattractive to begin with, made even more so later on by suffering deep bite wounds to her face. Book Brienne’s appearance is a far cry from Gwendoline Christie’s supermodel-without-makeup look. Likewise, from book readers’ comments and excerpts of GRRM’s descriptions, I assume book Ygritte is not quite the same as posh Rose Leslie in a parka (though I absolutely loved her performance).

      I think I recall a books! passage describing Tywin’s mother as particularly heavyset, and Tywin mocked her for it – as if it were a moral defect or sign of weakness. Also – and I may be wrong – I thought GRRM made a point of portraying how middle-aged Cersei’s body had changed (e.g., gaining a few pounds), compared with the svelte figure she once had when she was younger.

      I can’t recall offhand any instance on the show or in the books where a female character’s weight was merely incidental, rather than a negative reflection on her character.

      I’m not so sure that GRRM isn’t an equal opportunity, gender neutral offender when it comes to “fat-shaming” – with a significant caveat:

      – Samwell Tarly got lambasted by his own father and his NW brothers for his size, as if it went hand in hand with cravenness and unmanliness. However, it turned out that whatever Sam lacked in physical prowess was more than compensated for by his intellectual abilities: Contrary to first impressions, he was no clueless dummy.
      – I read a few books’ passages about Lord Manderly, in which he was ridiculed for his girth, and dismissed as a spineless tool as a result – only
      to reveal that he was deliberately exploiting those prejudices to mask his intellect and “fly under the radar” as he achieved his long-term objectives.
      – Even showHotPie, who started off as a “fat boy” bullying Arya and was later derided as a food-obsessed simpleton, turned out to be a good-hearted, loyal friend. (Not sure about bookHot Pie.)

      By contrast, I cannot think of any girls or women who were depicted with this kind of duality (i.e., outwardly enduring fat-shaming to mask a calculating or cunning interior; or initially presented as a one-note, nasty “fat” person who evolved into a more nuanced, likable or admirable character).

      I defer to Petra’s scholarly analysis and observations of students of book canon as to whether Helaena Targaryen is representative of a tendency to “fat-shame” female characters or to otherwise conflate outward appearances with inner depth.

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    113. Ten Bears,

      I think there’s a large diversity of characters in ASoIaF. It’s not immediately apparent, as the reader rushes through the pages to unravel the plot. But upon re-read, it’s very obvious that one findσ all sorts of characters. I remember i.e. a guy taken as a hostage by Jamie, tall and thin, very studious, a book-worm. I thought, oh, that’s Sam’s brother, but Jamie thought, I imagine him talking for hours with my brother.
      But I’ve seen posts accusing Martin for his portrayal of women; that he doesn’t know normal women, or that he’s not interested in them, or even that he’s sexist. The truth is there’s not many female PoVs in the books: Catelyn, Arya, Sansa, Daenerys, Brienne, Arianne, Cersei, Asha. I don’t remember any other. Of all these Catelyn and Sansa are closer to “normal” with female anxieties and talents, even though Catelyn projects a strength that is both admirable and scary, as in the passages above quoted by Adriana.
      But Brienne is closer to what you’re describing, the female equivalent of Sam perhaps; she’s not only taller, she’s heavier, and not “beautiful” in the traditional way that men desire. This is, I guess, Martin’s lens, “what men desire” for the “traditional female”. It’s clear in her chapters that she’s not happy with her image and she knows she’s not liked, and to a degree her choice to train herself with weapons and become a warrior was not only due to inclination but also to the fact that she couldn’t stand being rejected by society because she wouldn’t fit into the traditional female model. This became her strength, and to the mockery she faced, or knew it floated around because of her physique, she put up this unexpected image of a warrior woman that counterbalances reactions and prejudices her acceptance by others as something more than an “ugly woman”. No one would ever mock her for not being “beautiful” because the armor makes it imperative that they see something else, something more than just an ugly girl. But inside, Brienne is not a warrior, she’s a young woman; she likes men and she likes (or liked) dancing, and she likes being treated well, with courtesy and honor, but it is especially this that she can have only by rejecting her outer image.
      I don’t know if this reply is anywhere near to answering your question. The characters in the books are multi-layered, and very, very meticulously sketched, so such one-dimensional characters simply do not exist. Even the smallest character, e.g. a page or a whore or a stableboy can be fleshed out to the extreme from the moment he/she exchanges a few words with a PoV. I used to think wtf with the descriptions of mercenaries? Be done with it already! But nope, they entered into Tyrion’s radar.
      In the show I think they succumbed to the convenience of sexism which is (unfortunately, no matter what we do we can’t escape it) widely accepted, which dictated many of their choices. Gwen for example had to gain several pounds for the role, but their idea of Brienne was that of a man, and -especially in season 8- her image came very close to Renaissance paintings of knights. No matter how I appreciate the creators’ efforts for recreating on screen some very famous paintings (throughout GoT), I dare say that this is the easy way out. Why is it that a woman with male skills has to look like a man?

      For what’s worth, I enjoyed Arianne, but I enjoy Asha Greyjoy more in the books. She has lots of men but knows that sex isn’t everything in life, fights like a man, dreams high, and thinks that life is an adventure.

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    114. I agree in a sense with the aging up of the younger (main) characters in GoT. I really, really would have found it gross (never mind that it would have been illegal to shoot such a scene in the UK) to have seen a grown male actor having even simulated sex (whether simulated consensual or simulated forced) with a real-life 13 year old actress.

      I had Grammarly on my old desktop computer but this laptop is so slow and clunky as is I daren’t download anything that will slow it down; I’d LOVE to download AdBlock but that is too greedy for memory so I have to put up with the ads that are sent my way. For instance on this laptop I can’t see the buttons for italics, bold, link etc. I can understand ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ being difficult for non-English people because apostrophe s is used to denote possession in English, for example,

      The whiskers of the cat

      is written when using the genitive case

      The cat’s whiskers

      Petra if you are reading this and think “They’ve hijacked my thread” I’ll make another fan cast for Helaena, namely Liv Hill who played the younger sister of the character Ria Zmitrovicz played. I can only find an interview and not an actual acting clip of her unfortunately. https://youtu.be/wMdkfVJ-ewI Then she’s only about 19 or 20 so might be on the young side.

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    115. Sean C.,

      Thank you for that correction; I apologize for my error. I seem to have misremembered the timeline, confusing it with Edmure’s marriage to a Frey girl (which the Tully family discussed at a non-besieged Riverrun). Since Walder had the upper hand (Robb was in the greater hurry), he could and did name his price.

      Whether Robb (or anyone else) should be held liable for a promise made by another under duress is another matter.

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    116. Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two:
      Sean C.,

      ….. Since Walder had the upper hand (Robb was in the greater hurry), he could and did name his price.

      Whether Robb (or anyone else) should be held liable for a promise made by another under duress is another matter.

      Reply From: Ten Bears, Whose Words Carry The Same Iron of Life…and Death

      I thought you’d made the point – and I was persuaded – that Walder Frey owed allegiance to House Tully. (Or was it to House Stark or to Robb Stark as King? I guess House Frey wasn’t part of the North, was it?)

      Anyway, yes Walder had the upper hand because Robb desperately needed bridge access, and Walder could “name his price.” But couldn’t Robb or Edmure order Walder to stand down?

      I thought in S1 when Catelyn arrested Tyrion at the Inn she called out a bunch of Freys there to assist her, asking all of them to honor their allegiance to House Tully.

      Did Walder have the right to extort Robb/the Tullys? Or did he just use renouncing his purported loyalty to “the crown” if he let Robb cross as an excuse to extract concessions from Robb? I don’t remember..

      Hmmm… Was Robb “under duress“ when he made his bargain with Walder, such that he shouldn’t be bound by his promises? How does that work anyway? I mean, Robb did have time to consider Walder’s proposal before accepting it, and much more time afterwards to think about his obligations. It was only when he decided to hook up with Talisa that he reneged on the deal. And that was long after he’d crossed the bridge (and got some Frey soldiers for his army as well, I think.)

      Or am I confused about the chronology?

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    117. You may not like this post very much, but women’s reaction to grief, especially the loss of a child, as compared to men is fairly well studied in the psychiatric community. And while the truth isn’t popular or “woke” enough in the modern era, men tend to handle violence significantly different than women. I have PTSD from experiences in war. No one is immune. But reactions are typically very different not only person to person, but gender to gender. Also understanding that much like royal bloodlines from our ancient past, the show aims to illustrate just how partisan bloodlines could be in ancient times. Blood above all. Again it’s not “woke” enough, but changing the way things are portrayed to fit agendas because it offends a growing contingent of people looking for reasons to be offended is ridiculous. The show actually did a lot as far as empowering women, and understanding that either sex is capable of atrocious actions when all things are equal is just as important. It shows that power has the potential to corrupt any and all whom have it, and that when family is involved that capability for violence is only increased.

      I thought the show did a great job of balancing a patriarchal society that eventually was overthrown by strong matriarchs, and in the end too much power corrupts, regardless of sex.

      As far as fat shaming, you seem to forget that men were fat shamed on the show, one man in particular, more so than the women.

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    118. Ten Bears,

      Hmmm! While feudalism is based on solemn oaths and allegiances, eternal fealty and honorable commitments, blah, blah, in reality it’s a give and take situation between the lords and their overlord/king. In this case obviously Frey was stalling. While he should have appeared, he didn’t, because he waited to see which way the wind would blow and because advancing his family’s interests was his goal. The Tullys looked down on him, but the Starks needed him.
      When the Lannisters attacked the Riverlands, Edmure called his banners. Frey didn’t appear but gathered his forces at the Twins. Jamie besieged Riverrun while Robb was coming from the North with the purpose to help the Riverlands and ultimately to free his father. But for crossing he needed the Twins, and at this point the negotiation took place between Walder and Catelyn who had met Robb at Moat Cailin. Robb crossed and took Jamie by surprise, lifting the siege. But Frey was insulted when Robb married Jeyne and withdrew their forces.
      No command would have made Frey obey his lord’s command unless he wanted to. This of course means that he had to be in a position to stand retaliation by his overlord, if it came to it. It didn’t, at this point, but he retaliated the offense he suffered by his king Robb later, by changing camp.

      Did I say that fealty was eternal? I lied; fealty only lasted until one the parties died. Then the successor would have to renew this vow if he wanted to. That was often an occasion for hard bargaining. In the books all successors are called to KL to pledge their fealty, and i.e., Robb refuses. So nothing is mandatory, but everything has consequences.

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    119. Sean C.: What? No, that would have been rather difficult since the Tully army had been routed weeks earlier and Jaime Lannister’s army had Edmure captive and the infirm Lord Hoster under siege at Riverrun. Lord Walder could not be compelled to do anything, and strictly speaking he had every incentive to do nothing, since most would not have bet on the Starks at that particular point in time. It was only his pride that left him open to siding with the Starks, and as a result he had the ability to essentially name his terms for doing so.

      Thanks for these points, Sean 🙂

      Dame of Mercia: had Grammarly on my old desktop computer but this laptop is so slow and clunky as is I daren’t download anything that will slow it down; I’d LOVE to download AdBlock but that is too greedy for memory so I have to put up with the ads that are sent my way. For instance on this laptop I can’t see the buttons for italics, bold, link etc. I can understand ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ being difficult for non-English people because apostrophe s is used to denote possession in English, for example,

      I’m looking for a lightweight grammar-checking extension for this computer since it’s not so great with memory hogs — it’s seriously running out of gas and its efficiency with memory has definitely waned. If I find a good one, I can let you know, if you’d like 🙂

      Petra if you are reading this and think “They’ve hijacked my thread” I’ll make another fan cast for Helaena, namely Liv Hill who played the younger sister of the character Ria Zmitrovicz played.

      I like this fancast! 🙂 I think she has a really cute look, I should look her up on YouTube.

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    120. Charles Cowart: As far as fat shaming, you seem to forget that men were fat shamed on the show, one man in particular, more so than the women.

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 3 male characters who were “fat-shamed” on the show:

      Robert Baratheon
      Hot Pie
      Samwell Tarly

      I can think of one woman character who was “fat-shamed” on the show:

      Walda Frey

      Am I missing anyone?

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    121. Adrianacandle,

      Adriana, if you do find a less memory hungry dictionary/grammar application than Grammarly I would indeed be interested in knowing about it. I think I forgot to say that the series where I saw Liv Hill was ‘Three Girls’ – she played a victim of ‘grooming’. I think also that she went to the same Saturday morning drama workgroup (though I don’t know if they were both there at the same time) as the actress who played Lyanna Mormont attended.

      Minor character (and apart from the fact she was engaged to Bronn and actually married him in the books she was something of an adaptation in name only) but book Lollys Stokeworth was a lot less attractive (and suffered more) than show Lollys Stokeworth.

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    122. I suppose I should have said book Lollys is less physically attractive than show Lollys rather than just “less attractive”. I guess most of us have known people who maybe didn’t have matinee good looks but still appealed to others because of their personalities – then there can be good-looking people who KNOW they are good-looking and give themselves airs and graces accordingly. By the way, I’m not saying all good-looking people are so-and-sos because that obviously isn’t true.

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    123. Dame of Mercia:
      … I guess most of us have known people who maybe didn’t have matinee good looks but still appealed to others because of their personalities – then there can be good-looking people who KNOW they are good-looking and give themselves airs and graces accordingly…

      …. And – at least from my personal experience – I’ve known some people who didn’t have traditional, “matinee good looks” but were breathtakingly beautiful to me; while others had cover girl/runway model-type looks but quickly became ugly because they were just nasty, horrible people.

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    124. It never seems to work even when I copy and paste the spoiler code so please be aware that this post contains a spoiler for ACoK if you are not a book reader and might like to read them.

      Book Lollys was raped by more than one person in the crowd during the skirmish that erupted in Kings Landing when Myrcella was being shipped to Dorne. In the show they concentrated on the Hound rescuing Sansa. She became pregnant and book Bronn married her (for money not love) to give her respectability. Book Lollys is also somewhat simple minded. Book Bronn is still very much out for himself though I suppose that could change in the books that have not yet been written/published. I think book Bronn may also have gained a title from the marriage but I haven’t read the books multiple times and don’t remember all the details.

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    125. Ten Bears,

      Unfortunately, the only real description of Helaena comes from The Rouge Prince, a short story GRRM wrote that is included in the anthology ‘Rogues’ and this is the same passage Petra included in her video essay :/

      The bride, his sister, was but thirteen. Though plumper and less striking than most Targaryens, Helaena was a pleasant, happy girl, and all agreed she would make a fine mother.

      I searched for mentions of Helaena in ASOIAF but nothing 🙁 She is mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire but only snippets of her story (mainly the choice she is forced to make between her sons and the manner of her death — impaled on spikes) but nothing about her appearance.

      But if you (or anyone else!) are interested in Helaena’s story, it’s mainly told in The Princess and the Queen, another GRRM short story included in an anthology entitled ‘Dangerous Women’ 🙂

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    126. Mr Derp,

      Walda Frey

      And the only character who spoke negatively about her weight was Ramsay, who was both a severely unsympathetic character in his own right, and obviously threatened by Walda’s ability to give Roose a high-born heir. Robert, Hot Pie, and Sam were each the target of many cruel, weight-based remarks made by otherwise sympathetic characters.

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    127. d
      Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      Tensor the Mage, Who Knows A Tavern-Told Tale or Two,

      Dame of Mercia,

      Book Lollys became pregnant not Sansa – my earlier post was somewhat ambiguous.

      My cursor has gone a bit haywire (dropping my laptop which is not a strong one for power anyway probably hasn’t helped but THIS was supposed to go as a reply to Tensor the Mage.

      Did people make fun of Book Robert to his face though considering he was a king – no matter what they might have said out of his hearing. As far as I recall Robert didn’t become fat until he became king and grew bored and started drinking too much.

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    128. Dame of Mercia,

      I think Ned did, but Robert also admitted that he wasn’t who he was anymore.
      I also seem to remember Jon being disappointed in Robert’s outlook, while he thought about Jamie that this is how a king should look like.

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    129. Ten Bears,

      The idea is that the Three-Eyed Raven relies on incarnates of the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran takes the mantle from Brynden Rivers also known as “Blood Raven”, who then also becomes on of the Three-Eyed Raven incarnates…

      The bigger picture of ASOIAF is about if there is fate (predeterminism) through cycle cosmology (‘songs and seasons’ = generational cycles) and reincarnation. Like some articles/viewers get mad at the “tropes” Martin makes, but it’s often these tropes that helps feed into Martin’s bigger questions on the nature of the characters reality and exploring mereology of human identity within in said nature. In other words the characters may all be at the expense of things that came before them and do not have much control over their destinies and that is what makes everything breathtakingly and sometimes beautifully tragic, which breaks the mold of most Medieval fantasies.

      IMO The TV version showed us a cycle that was finally broken, that mostly started during The Age of Heroes…

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