A quote from Haiku by l.s.f. (via joshlovesbeyonce)
Sees the fire in my eyes and
wants to play with it."
A quote from
The above quote is my contribution to a provocative thread on how Martin’s characters “wage peace,” started by Westeros.org’s Elio García in response to the Curt Purcell post I talked about earlier.
I would also add that part and parcel of how Martin has humanized epic fantasy by fleshing out heroes and villains into characters less easy to identify as either is similarly fleshing out the humanity of the people who die in the wars waged between the two. That’s why it’s so weird to me to see people endorsing Tywin Lannister or, god help me, Roose Bolton as a superior ruler to Daenerys Targaryen or Eddard Stark — or to see people arguing that Victarion Greyjoy — wifebeater, gaybasher, rapist, war criminal, mass murderer — is the Prince Who Was Promised or Azor Ahai reborn. These men dehumanize others, and humanizing others is the project of the entire series.
ASoIaF has always had to walk a tightrope in its subversion of the high-fantasy genre in that it portrays people and events closer to the way they really work in real life, but in doing so risks coming across as an endorsement of the way things really work in real life.
Martin has always been clear, for example, that good men (eg. Ned) don’t always make good rulers. But to me the second part of that statement has always been an implicit but clear “and that really sucks.”
I’m not sure everyone sees it that way, though. Time and time again, we see fan backlash against some of the main characters when their attempts to behave decently backfire or fail in some way — Ned giving Cersei the chance to flee rather than die; Dany using her dragons and burgeoning following to liberate slaves and attempt to create a just peace in Meereen rather than leveling everything between her and King’s Landing; Jon’s increasingly status-quo-threatening attempts to get the wildlings south of the Wall and on the side of the rest of the realm. You end up with arguments that life would be better under a despot like Tywin Lannister than under a liberator like Daenerys.
In other words, many readers seem to take Martin’s realpolitik approach to how the world works in his writing as a reprimand against those with a more idealistic outlook. I don’t think that’s the case at all, in large part because of the issues of war and peace that provoked this thread.
Martin has unfailingly portrayed war as a grotesque folly, a crime against our common humanity. He does this by setting up a supernatural antagonist of whom most of the warring parties are unaware but who we know (to the extent that we can know anything of GRRM’s longterm plans with this series) is the enemy of all humanity, such that every time people raise their swords against one another, or burn each other’s towns and crops, or sack each other’s strongholds and rape and torture and murder their families, they are doing the enemy’s work.
Obviously, war against the Others and their wights will be necessary — but it’s striking that the only necessary war Martin allows for is one that can’t possibly have a counterpart in real life. We have no white walkers to worry about. We only have each other."
so i kind of want to say a couple of things in vague defense of show!selyse because it seems like (and i am one of these people to an extent) the reaction to her has been fairly negative [discounting people who already inexplicably didn’t like her]
- stop calling the stillborn’s-in-a-jar “crazy”, it’s not crazy. women even today will sometimes preserve some part of their deceased children/stillborns as an expression of grief (cogman has explicitly said that’s what he was going for, even if the initial idea was 100% a weird fluke). it’s meant to show us that selyse is really hard on herself about the ability to bear children (which is a societal pressure that we became well acquainted with in season 3) and, paired with comments is season 4, makes it kind of clear she has turned to this new religion because she can more comfortably explain her own “illness” or “feebleness” through it
- yes, she is a good deal harsher on shireen in the show than in the books and i think until we get a scene of them actively together this is a detriment to her. BUT there are factors at play that I think make it less harsh than even Selyse wants it to be:
- she remarks on stannis barely knowing her and the whole rest of the spiel is a passive aggressive jab at stannis for not really being around and then swooping in and playing the good-dad card
- shireen is almost a teenager in the show!verse, which means she probably is actually sullen and stubborn and frustrating for selyse.
- selyse blames her illness on sin — but shireen is a child. she’s deflecting blame from herself (her sins have been washed away by conversion) and trying to justify the fact that her innocent young daughter was maimed at a very young age for seemingly no reason. yes, directly blaming’s shireen’s imagined “sins” is harsh, but again — grasping for justification of illness is a very old-school religious move. hell, it’s a very modern religious move.
- listen to selyse’s actual tone in the dinner scene, she doesn’t actually sound particularly angry or forceful about what she’s saying. she doesn’t hate shireen, why would she fear for her soul if shireen didn’t matter? she sounds exasperated because she is trying to share what she thinks is the ultimate universal truth with someone who doesn’t want to listen and she doesn’t want her daughter to suffer in this life or the next
- she sends lady melisandre, who she holds in the highest of high esteems, to talk with shireen. that speaks for itself on how desperately selyse wants to convert her daughter.
- selyse is crying during the burning of her brother. it’s not a completely joyous experience there are a lot of mixed feelings at play that she simply would never share with melisandre because she’s trying so hard to be a devoted follower (and if you asked melisandre, she’d say a devoted follower never has doubts)
- also no one is keeping shireen locked in her room (explicitly stated in the s3 commentary). did YOU come out of your bedroom much when you were 13?
so like yeah…think about it. i agree that selyse is unnecessarily harsh and they kind of screwed the pooch on that one, but through tara’s acting and just the way these scenes come off, i think it’s a very two-dimensional interpretation to say “she hates her daughter!! they ruined it!!” (like obviously they should have done better but making Selyse a little harsher breeds more conflict for Stannis whose storyline in ASOS is desperately thin). like, fearing for someone’s soul is an act of love and compassion no matter what religion you worship, so i think it’s unfair to just reduce selyse down to “jar babies! mean lady!” when she’s clearly meant to be more complicated than that.
More late-night musings: Occasionally I wish I “acted/looked” more “gay.”
A little before my shift ended today at BTH this gay couple walked in. At one point one of the guys put his arm around the other’s waist in that way that’s very obviously not platonic, and when I looked at them he quickly slid it off and looked embarrassed.
I smiled at them and tried to be especially sweet when they ordered their drinks, but they both looked so ready to be done with the transaction and it made me a little sad.
I never know sometimes in those situations: do I go ‘It’s okay, I’m gay too’ or not or what? Did they look at relatively “straight-acting” me and think I was judging them? Did they think my niceness was fake? Ugh.
>teenage actress’s private nudes get leaked
>teenage actress is reviled as a slut and a whore and a bad role model
>james franco asks a seventeen-year-old girl if he can meet her in a private hotel room
>james franco gets to go on saturday night live and joke about what a silly doofus he is for soliciting sex from a girl literally half his age
DO NOT DARE OVERLOOK THIS POST