Category Archives: ASOIAF Meta

Rags to Riches; How to Make it Big In Westeros

Introduction

N93EaCJImage taken from Game of Thrones

Greetings readers, I know that it has been a while since I’ve published on the blog but hopefully this essay, and the ones to follow, are the end of my writer’s block. This essay is the first in a brand new series that I’ve been working on for a little while and is something that I’m very excited to share with you all. It’s not as dense, extensive, or as layered as our Three Heads of the Dragon series but I hope it will be a fun read regardless.

The series, titled “Rags to Riches; How to Make it Big In Westeros”, will examine characters who have proven to be especially socially mobile in the rather rigid feudal system of Westeros. The series will explore the dynamics of social mobility within Westeros, the themes of Lord Varys’ famous riddle, and how the traditional power structures of Westeros are being unravelled in the face of rising socioeconomic changes.

My first entry in this series will cover fan favourite, Bronn.

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The Ravenry: Week of 2/22/2016

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Happy Leap Day, readers!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

A very busy week at Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Headquarters. I can’t say enough times how legitimately amazing at military discussions the Hand is, and it’s proven true this week, with considerations on Dornish spear and curved sword usage. He also did a wonderful job talking about Robert’s Rebellion, and why it really benefited no noble house to support Aerys II in Robert’s Rebellion. Also very excitingly, the Hand published his first essay of 2016 – a military analysis of Euron Greyjoy! I also published an essay this week – the next piece in Heirs in the Shadows, The Plowman at the Gates, and talked a little about possible words for House Ryswell and Maekar’s comparatively large family against his dynastic unimportance.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the Week of February 22:

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Heirs in the Shadows: The Plowman at the Gates

Introduction

Traditional Andal-First Men thinking stresses prejudice against bastards, especially those born of nobles. Pragmatically, the practice ensures that inheritance is based solely on “pure” blood descent. A bastard presents a dangerous alternative line for the succession to a seat and undermines the dowries and alliances that play strong roles in the formation of marriage pacts.  Accordingly, bastards as a class are assigned evil traits:  bastards are “born of lust and weakness”, “thieves or worse”, and “treacherous by nature”, with treason coming as easily to bastards as loyalty does to trueborn men.

Nevertheless, Westerosi history has seen several instances where bastard lines have risen to lordly and even royal status. Benedict Rivers was born the bastard son of a Bracken and a Blackwood, but through his martial prowess rose to become the first of the Justman river kings. Alyn Velaryon, born the bastard son of (legally) Laenor Velaryon, was adopted by Lord Corlys and legitimized during the Dance of the Dragons; the great admiral became the ancestor of the modern House Velaryon. 

With this competing historical precedent – bastards as a reviled class in Andal-First Men tradition, yet able to take when close heirs are lacking – one Westerosi seat may see a bastard-line claimant take it in The Winds of Winter.  It is currently held by Lannister-Baratheon loyalists, yet the current holders might find that the pretender to that seat, a champion of a rival king, has a firm interest in taking back what “by rights” might belong to him. Alternately, it may be that the Lannister queen herself finds a bastard guardian of her city has turned cloak, relying on old family loyalties to support an invading conqueror.

Welcome to the next installment of Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, and the arguments and tactics various plotters will use to install their chosen pawns in these places. Part 1 of this series looked at the Young Lion, Tyrek Lannister, as a probable puppet Lord of Casterly Rock under Aegon VI. Part 2 focused on the Stark loyalist Olyvar Frey as a potential Lord or regent of Rosby. Part 3 will examine an ancient Westerosi seat, and candidates for the bastard claimant who might make it his own. Continue reading

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Heirs in the Shadows: The Ward at Rosby

Introduction

The Crownlands seat of Rosby may not appear at first blush dynastically important among the lordships of Westeros.  Called by Brienne “scarce more than a wide place in the road”, Rosby is sworn to the king on the Iron Throne, but its resources and influence are local at best.  Its last lord, Gyles, was notable only for his perennial sickliness, and his death was marked with barely a dismissive wave of the hand by the Queen Regent.

Yet Grand Maester Pycelle voiced concerns twice over the late Lord Gyles’ ward, and his comments should be heeded.  While Cersei might have blithely disregarded Gyles Rosby’s ward as no serious concern to the inheritance of a relatively unimportant Crownlands seat, she may have cause to rue such sentiments in the future.  Indeed, Cersei may find that the ward of Rosby is a more staunch foe of hers than she could have ever realized – one whose political allegiance stands in stark contrast to her own.

Welcome to the next installment in a new series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, and the arguments and tactics various plotters will use to install their chosen pawns in these places. Part 1 of this series looked at the Young Lion, Tyrek Lannister, as a probable puppet Lord of Casterly Rock under Aegon VI. Part 2 will explore someone not vanished but hiding in plain sight, waiting for the right moment to assert his political will.

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The Ravenry: Week of 2/8/16

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Hello, all!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

I’ve said often enough that the Hand’s military knowledge is invaluable to Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, and it’s certainly shown true this week, with excellent pieces on Vale guerrilla tactics, Westerosi naval warfare, an entire attack strategy against the Others, and an excellent pair of historical comparisons for Stannis’ position against Renly. I, for one, am not so martial in my writing, but I managed to write a few longer pieces I quite liked this week, including one on why Aerys II was a far worse king than Aegon IV and what advantage lords saw in shoving pretty daughters into the bed of the Unworthy. Plus, I got to use a favorite Simpsons gif this week, so it’s all good.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of February 8:

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The Ravenry: Week of 2/1/16

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Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you’re reading this), adventurers!

As you may or may not know, Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire has its own Tumblr page (as well as its own Twitter and Facebook pages).  Even more excitingly,  we here at the blog have partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire.  We – that is, SomethingLikeaLawyer and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful, text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

A little bit of a quieter week at Headquarters, but nevertheless got out some solid answers to solid asks. The Hand went back to his great Aegon Doctrine to explain why Aegon took away royal titles, and reanalyzed Viserys I as a poor Targaryen king. For my part,  I looked at Littlefinger’s financial blackmail of Anya Waynwood, and the decline of Visenya’s ideal of the Kingsguard. We also released two – two! – essays this week: one from BryndenBFish about Aurane Waters, and one from me about Tyrek Lannister.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of February 1:

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Heirs in the Shadows: The Young Lion

Introduction

Tyrek Lannister may be considered by readers little more than a tertiary character in A Song of Ice and Fire. The consideration is not unreasonable: not even mentioned by name in the first book, seen “on-screen” only twice before his mysterious disappearance in the violent riot in King’s Landing in A Clash of Kings, young Tyrek merits little more than a footnote among his more prominent Lannister relatives, much less the grander cast of characters. If he is noted at all, he might be remembered as simply a victim, on the same plane as his cousin Willem: an unfortunate pawn to Lannister dynastic ambitions, an innocent murdered by the rioting smallfolk of the capital.

Yet Tyrek disappeared so thoroughly – and so mysteriously – that his “simple” disappearance might not be so simple after all.  Rather than being one of the many bodies cleared from the streets in the days and weeks after the riot, Tyrek might be alive and well (or at least relatively well). Even more, Tyrek might be waiting to make a dramatic reappearance in Westeros, schooled and prepared by an unlikely “ally.” Who would want the young Lannister cousin, and what might be in store for him in the future?

Welcome to the newest series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, Heirs in the Shadows. In this series, BryndenBFish and I will examine a number of individuals who may press blood claims to different Westerosi seats, raising ancestral (or “ancestral”) House banners into the stormy Westerosi skies. We will analyze the powerful backers to these claimants, and the arguments and tactics these plotters will utilize to install their chosen pawns as great lords and even ruling monarchs. We will attempt to sketch out how the political face of Westeros might change with the rise of these heirs in waiting – and how their schemes might comport with the volatile game of thrones as the main narrative races to its climax.

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