Tag Archives: Aerys II Targaryen

Blood of the Conqueror, Bonus Essay: The Turncloak

Editor’s Note: This was originally going to be one of the featured essays from the series, but I ended up scrapping the idea as the series grew from a 5-part series to a 12-part series. However, after finishing a first draft of my own manuscript for my own book, I thought I might now publish this essay as a bonus to the main series. I hope you enjoy! 

Introduction

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Artwork by Romik Safarian

“So I am a coin in the hands of some god, is that what you are saying, ser?”

“No,” Ser Barristan replied. “You are the trueborn heir of Westeros. To the end of my days I shall remain your faithful knight, should you find me worthy to bear a sword again. If not, I am content to serve Strong Belwas as his squire.” (ASOS, Daenerys VI)

Of all the knights of Westeros, none seem quite so true as Barristan the Bold. From figures as far apart as Stannis and Renly Baratheon, Tywin Lannister, Ned Stark, Daenerys Targaryen,  Tyrion Lannister and even Varys the Spider, Selmy’s reputation as a true knight shines bright. More than that, Barristan’s renown and honor lends significant political advantage to whatever king he serves.

However, does Barristan’s reputation gel with the reality? More importantly, does Barristan’s past actions provide a pathway for how his story will play out in The Winds of Winter and beyond? In this essay, I’d like to tackle these issues in the context of what I see as Barristan’s coming Winds of Winter arc.

Though many fans believe that Barristan will die during the Battle of Fire, I think that GRRM has something much more narratively fulfilling in mind for Barristan than a death on Meereenese battlefield: namely, a massive conflict over his loyalties spurred forward by his guilt over his service to a bad king, his nostalgia for a “good” Targaryen prince and the changing character dynamics of the queen he serves and a boy binding up the wounds of bleeding Westeros.

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The Ravenry: Week of 3/7/2016

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Hello, everyone!

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.

Another productive week for us in the Tumblr-verse. The Hand always has the best answers to meta questions because he is all kinds of brilliant, and his answer to favorite aspects of ASOIAF warfare is no exception.  Just as well, the Hand tackled the false assertion that the Freys were justified in enacting the Red Wedding, and dreamed up some excellent alternate histories about Aegon IV dying before the follies of his reign and Jaime Lannister protecting Elia Martell. As for me, I wrote another essay – The Windblown Grass, all about terrible strategist Doran Martell – thought up some Blackfyre words, and added a defining character moment for Theon to Tumblr friend Poor Quentyn’s excellent post to the same.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of March 7:
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The Ravenry: Week of 1/11/16

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Hello, you awesome people!

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.

With yours truly on vacay, it was a quieter week at Wars and Politics Headquarters. The Hand, as usual, did a fantastic job, keeping up a very steady pace of great answers all by himself; his thoughts on the various fighting styles favored by each region is particularly smart and very well-informed worldbuilding. I was more focused on the Dance this week, with not only an essay (the first of the year, hooray!) on the murder mysteries of the Year of the Red Spring but a Tumblr piece on the real winners of the Dance (that is to say, no one).

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of January 11:

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The Ravenry: Week of 11/23/2015

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Hello seekers. If you’re an American, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If not, well, I still hope you have something to be thankful for,

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, NFriel and I – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. So, if you’ve got a lot of questions about actual or potential marraiges, or you want to see a few theories have their glaring errors exposed to the world, this is the week for you.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of November 23:

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The Dragon’s Shadow: Viserys Targaryen

Introduction

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Viserys Targaryen (image credit to Duhi)

Ser Jorah snorted. “Can you wake the dead, girl? Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon, and he died on the Trident. Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake.” (“Daenerys III”, A Game of Thrones)

Viserys Targaryen is perhaps the only character more loathed in the early acts of A Song of Ice and Fire than Joffrey Baratheon.  Though only ‘on-screen’ for A Game of Thrones (and even dying partly through that book), Viserys is remembered – by the characters in the universe and readers alike – long after his ignoble death on the Dothraki Sea. He was “the last son of Mad King Aerys”, an “utter fool”, “stupid and vicious”, the man who had tortured and abused his young sister Daenerys and rightly earned his death among the horselords of Vaes Dothrak.

These are not altogether incorrect evaluations of the last surviving prince of House Targaryen. Yet these descriptions do not fully capture the nuanced tragedy which was Viserys’ life.  He had been the late-born hope of his parents’ failing marriage, a probable tool in his father’s power struggle with his chivalrous but flawed elder brother.  As a little boy, he was spirited to a foreign land, never again to see the only home he had ever known. Invested with the title of pretender to a throne he had never been prepared to claim and only barely understood, Viserys wandered Essos, carefully watched but never aided, even by those who wished to use him. He ended his life in a place both spatially and psychologically alien to the splendor of the Red Keep under Targaryen rule; virtually alone among “savage” strangers, mocked and killed with the golden crown for which he had begged virtually his entire life, and finally crying out without mercy to the last of the Targaryen line.

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The Ravenry: Week of 10/19/2015

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Hello, lovelies!

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.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. This was another productive week for the Lord Hand and me, including several long analysis pieces on Renly, Rhaenyra, and Robert’s Rebellion (alliteration is amazingly addictive). There were also a few meta questions, from answering questions to modernizing the series.

Before we start, I want to speak a little about question-asking. This is something the Hand talked about last week, but I wanted to bring it up again. “What if” questions are very difficult for us to answer, particularly the broader these questions get. We only have access to the same materials as the rest of the fandom; some of the hypothetical questions we get involve rewriting entire storylines, including a great many jumps and guesses. As much as we can, we like to stick to what we can pull out of the materials, so as much as you can, we ask that you narrow your hypos as much as possible. Asking who Robb might have betrothed Sansa to had she been returned according to his terms is fine. Asking how a living Laena Velaryon would have affected the entire Dance of the Dragons is too difficult to us for answer without essentially writing an entirely new story.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of October 19:

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The Ravenry: Week of 9/28/2015

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Hello seekers,

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, NFriel and myself – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.

So every Monday we present to you The Ravenry.  We collect the questions we’ve answered during the previous week over on the Tumblr in post form, with a brief description of each, and publish it here, and link that post on Twitter and Facebook as well. The Queen Regent and the Lord Hand had their most productive week yet, discussing everything from books in Westeros to marriages and beddings. Plenty of hypotheticals and theorycraft, there’s certainly something for everyone this week.

Here’s The Ravenry for the week of September 28th:

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