Editor’s Note: I want to thank everyone for reading this series and for being loyal readers to this blog for so many years. For over 3 years now, I’ve dedicated most of my creative energy and thought to GRRM’s world, and I thank him for creating a world that I’ve gotten to play in. However, it’s time for me to refocus my energy on my own works of fiction that I’ve put on hold. As a result, this will be the last A Song of Ice and Fire essay that I’ll write before George RR Martin announces the completion of The Winds of Winter. Once again, thank you so much for reading my essays, and please stick around the blog as our other writers: SomethingLikeaLawyer, Militant_Penguin, MattEiffel and MasterRooseman have lots of great stuff coming your way in the coming months! All the best – Jeff (BryndenBFish)
Spoiler Warning: This essay contains spoilers for The Winds of Winter
Aerys Targaryen must have thought that his gods had answered his prayers when Lord Tywin Lannister appeared before the gates of King’s Landing with an army twelve thousand strong, professing loyalty. So the mad king had ordered his last mad act. He had opened his city to the lions at the gate. (AGOT, Eddard II)
At long last, Aegon’s Crusade for the Iron Throne would come to King’s Landing at the close of The Winds of Winter. With victories at Storm’s End and against the Tyrells at Westerosi Agincourt and new friends in Dorne, the Reach and the High Sparrow, Aegon would turn towards the great city. The city, though, won’t be easy to take. Even if Aegon showed up to the city with the full strength of the Golden Company, Dorne and the Golden Company’s friends in the Reach, King’s Landing would be nigh impregnable. Behind the strong walls of King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister and her loyalists could withstand a conventional siege or storming of the walls. And though taking King’s Landing was of tantamount importance to the young dragon, his parallel goal was to continue his campaign for legitimacy by enshrining himself in good optics.
In a certain light, Aegon’s coming struggle to take King’s Landing and the Iron Throne finds a strange parallel to that of the victorious rebels of the rebellion which brought down the young dragon’s alleged father and grandfather. Robert’s Rebellion saw many battles fought across Westeros, but to achieve ultimate success, Robert had take King’s Landing and then unite a fractured realm. The former was achieved when Tywin Lannister treacherously sacked the city. The latter was accomplished by Robert’s personality and his marriage to the beautiful Cersei Lannister.
If Aegon’s invasion of Westeros is a pale imitation of Robert’s Rebellion, we’re likely to see something of a mirroring effect of victory after victory in the field for the Young Dragon in The Winds of Winter. But like Robert Baratheon, Aegon would need more than victory on the field to secure his throne. And if Aegon were to take the Iron Throne, he would need to then quickly pacify the realm with good governance and a marriage.
So, towards the end of The Winds of Winter, I expect the young dragon will turn at last to the great city, and it’s here that we’ll see the conflagration of several major point of view characters from A Song of Ice and Fire and the culmination of Aegon’s crusade for the Iron Throne.
Today, we are joined by a very special guest glass_table_girl for an analysis of Sansa Stark and how she has used courtesy to survive so far, and how she’s weaponizing it for the future. – BryndenBFish
Every fan can recite the trademark phrases from Sansa’s storyline, such as “courtesy is a lady’s armor” or “women’s weapons.”
Despite these metaphors, Sansa’s storyline through the lens of fighting and warfare goes unexplored, and ignores motifs that contrast with other characters to highlight the themes in both Sansa’s storyline and the progression of her character.
tl;dr: Sansa’s storyline is defined in language that equates her learning to warfare. Throughout her story, she accumulates an arsenal while playing defense, pivoting to an offensive position in her first TWOW chapter with the act of “dancing,” which the books establish to be a metaphor for violence or fighting. By framing Sansa’s education in martial language, the story establishes her learning as becoming a warrior—in a different sense.
Happy New Year! Today, we present our final podcast of 2015. Appropriately, it’s our Year in Review Episode covering the many essays, podcasts that we wrote/recorded as well as some of the things that we loved from the ASOIAF community over the year. Finally, we talk about some things in store for the future in movie-trailer voice!
A Song of Ice and Fire is a gripping work of fantasy, but it’s also full of mysteries. Moreover, it’s a series that generates a lot of deep thought and questions. In today’s podcast, we try our best Melisandre impression and look into our fires to give you all the answers to questions you’ve been asking for months now. Thank you so much for all of your questions. Some of the questions we answer are on the topics of:
Aegon and whether his true identity actually matters.
Whether Tyrek Lannister is alive
A potential live-video youtube Q/A
The Others and whether the War for the Dawn was resolved peacefully
As a bonus, we are taking question full time now. We didn’t totally get through all of your questions this time, but we’re taking your questions from here on out, and we’ll incorporate them into our episodes going forward! So, submit your questions to us below, and we’ll be happy to answer any and all questions (eventually!).
You can listen to us here, but please feel free to listen/subscribe at the following spots:
Part 1 dealt with storylines we thought were the best in Season 5, but for every good storyline, there’s always the bad one (the bad pussy one). Today’s podcast episode delves into the worst storylines of Season 5. From underwhelming battles to poor dialogue to convoluted motivations, we explore:
The Boltons: the sole Northern House in Season 5
Stannis’ tell-don’t-show march on Winterfell
Brienne the Candlewoman
The Coming Mask Making Industry Bubble in Meereen
Jorah Connington’s/Varys’ travels with Tyrion
But instead of criticizing the show, we offer ideas to make it better. At the end, we give a few thoughts on where we think Season 6 might go!
Agree or disagree, and let us know your thoughts on Season 5 and what you would have done to improve it in the comments below!
In medieval and early Renaissance Europe, allegories or long-form metaphors were used as moral and explanatory story-telling devices. In these allegories, Folly was a character who resembled court jesters in appearance and served as the dramatic device to tempt the protagonist towards foolhardy deeds.
If A Song of Ice and Fire were an allegory, Varys and Illyrio would play the part of Folly in the story. Their soft, powdered hands and tittering laughs guide much of the action in A Song of Ice and Fire. Yet these men aren’t simple mummers performing trickery for laughs. Instead, their tricks and mummery are intended for the highest of dramas.
But their role as Folly is unclear and often misinterpreted. To attempt to expand our knowledge of the Varys-Illyrio plot, I’ve divided their scheming into two parts. In order to understand the plots of Illyrio and Varys, we have to explain the motivations and backgrounds of those pulling the strings. So, in today’s part we’ll be taking a deep dive into the underpinnings of Varys and Illyrio’s conspiracy before the start of events from A Game of Thrones. I plan to do this in three basic ways:
Their overall objective
A deep dive into the background of both players to include discussions of their origins, family dynamic and a bit of prophecy..
Finally, we’ll cover Varys and Illyrio’s opening acts in the folly during the reign of Aerys II.
Through this extended analysis, I hope you’ll come to understand Varys and Illyrio’s role as Folly in the story. But in the end, keep in mind that Varys and Illyrio’s folly will cause the deaths of tens of thousands in Westeros and Essos.
Hello and welcome once again to The Three Heads of the Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire”, the first multi-author series for Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire. This series will explore the Targaryen dynasty from inception to destruction, and my pieces – the “Ladies of Fire” – will focus on the ladies of the dynasty – both those born into the red-and-black and those who had a great influence on the dynasty.
In Parts 1 and 2, we examined the sister-queens of Aegon the Conqueror, Rhaenys and Visenya. In Part 3, we discussed Rhaenys’ granddaughter, and Jaehaerys the Conciliator’s beloved consort, Alysanne. The good queen predeceased her brother-king, yet she did live long enough to see the birth of her great-granddaughter Rhaenyra. What she did not see – and could not have imagined – were the internal, backbiting politics of her grandson’s court, and the strong-willed women in it who would drive the peaceful realm of Jaehaerys once again to the brink of destruction.
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, a little while back we here at the blog partnered with ASOIAF University to answer questions about A Song of Ice and Fire. We – that is, Nfriel and SomethingLikeaLawyer – take the text-based questions submitted to us, write up thoughtful text-based answers, and publish these answers on the Tumblr.
Each week, we’ll publish links to our answers on tumblr in a little post here on the site known as The Ravenry. Every Monday, we’ll 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. It’ll be like Best Week Ever, except with fewer bright flashy graphics and probably no Paul F. Tompkins.
So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 1 June:
As always, we love to hear your text-based questions, so if you have a burning question about ASOIAF, click this link to send us a raven. The more specific the question, the better text-based answer we can write, although we do our best to answer them all!
In Part 1, we discussed the intertwining of marriage, love, and prophecy that plagued the generations of Prince Rhaegar’s grandfather and father, and the impact this intertwining had on the prince’s own life. In Part 2, we investigated the marriage of Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone, to Elia Martell, Princess of Dorne. In Part 3, we examined Lyanna Stark and the web of alliances woven by her father Rickard (along with several other high lords) referred to as “southron ambitions”. In Part 4, we considered the causes of, and notable events during, the great tourney thrown at Harrenhal in 281 AC, the so-called “Year of the False Spring”.
Though the tourney had attracted nearly all the high lords of Westeros – Lords Arryn, Baratheon, Tyrell, and (probably) Tully all attended, as well as the heir to the North and Prince Oberyn of Dorne – one great lord was notably absent: Tywin Lannister. The “Lion of the West” had reached a breaking point with his royal patron, preferring to brood in his great Rock than face a king who openly despised (and feared) him. Brooding – for more than one reason – with him was his beautiful (and still very eligible) maiden daughter, Cersei. Father and daughter had hoped for her to be queen, but instead of allying with the dragons, each would assist in cementing their downfall.
Editor’s Note: This post contains (very!) minor spoilers for The Winds of Winter
In Part 1, we discussed the problems of marriage, love, and prophecy that both preceded and presaged the life of Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone. In Part 2, we investigated the marriage and relationship of Rhaegar and his wife, Elia of Dorne. In Part 3, we examined Lyanna Stark, and her place in the “southron ambitions” of her father Rickard. As the only daughter of the Lord of Winterfell, Lyanna was a fair prize for any man; Rickard, however, broke the internal marriage tradition prevalent throughout Westeros and betrothed her to Robert Baratheon, the young and vigorous Lord of Storm’s End.
To what extent Rhaegar, and his father King Aerys, were aware of this betrothal (and the other pacts made among Lords Stark, Tully, Arryn, and possibly Lannister) is speculative at best. Married himself, the Prince of Dragonstone certainly had no obvious political desire in the daughters of his future lords bannermen. Yet apart from his future political inheritance, Rhaegar nursed a lifelong obsession with prophecy, and especially the identity of the foretold prince that was promised.
In 281 AC, the political and the prophetic collided at a great event known as the Tourney of Harrenhal. The tourney would draw together virtually all of the important players in Westeros, and the actions undertaken – by Rhaegar and others – would change the fates of Westeros and House Targaryen forever.