Tag Archives: Barristan Selmy

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

oocxpbb

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.

Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF Political Analysis

The Ravenry: Week of 12/7/2015

tumblr_nmyx2fR1Ob1roumhko1_500

Welcome back one again!

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. Lot of at-length questions and responses, with some lengthy meta on Barristan Selmy, Euron Greyjoy, Dragonstone as a holding, three certain pies, a new theory on why Jaehaerys bypassed Rhaenys the Queen-Who-Never-Was, and a 1,500 word piece on why Robert’s Rebellion and Renly’s Rebellion were different beasts.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of December 7:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Meta, ASOIAF Military Analysis, ASOIAF Political Analysis, Ravenry

The Ravenry: Week of 10/5/2015

tumblr_nmyx2fR1Ob1roumhko1_500

Good morning (or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you are in the time-space continuum), 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 week was a busy time for the Ravenry (especially for the Lord Hand), with 48 questions answered (the most we’ve ever done here). We traveled all around Westeros and Essos, forward and back in wibbly wobbly spacetime, from individual characters to meta-thematic questions.

A note about question answering. We here at the Ravenry do our best to answer every question we get, but it’s a, well, Sisyphean task. We do, however, reserve the right not to answer rude comments. Demanding to have a question answered will not get the questioned answered more quickly. This is not usually a problem, of course; the vast majority of the questions we get are well-meaning and respectful.

Without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of October 5:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Meta, ASOIAF Military Analysis, Ravenry

The Ravenry: Week of 9/21/2015

tumblr_nmyx2fR1Ob1roumhko1_500

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, 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, myself and SomethingLikeaLawyer – 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. There were a bunch of military maneuvering questions this week, which made the Lord Hand very happy. But military matters are just squares and circles and arrows to me, even in Westeros; it’s why I always skipped most of the Great Northern War in Robert Massie’s excellent biography of Peter the Great. Luckily, I got to talk about royal titles and dynastic marriages, two of my favorite topics.  Also, Euron≠Daario.  You lovelies know just how to make me smile.

So, without further ado, here’s The Ravenry for the week of 21 September:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Military Analysis, Ravenry

The Ravenry: Week of 8/24/2015

tumblr_nmyx2fR1Ob1roumhko1_500

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, myself and SomethingLikeaLawyer – 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. We were both busy answering a whole bunch of different questions this week, from explaining the Conqueror’s Dornish letter to looking at a Stark victory on the Green Fork to – ugh, R+L=J&M. Look, we here at Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire love to asnwer your questions. We strive to provide thoughtful, researched answers to your FOR THE LOVE OF R’HLLOR THAT THEORY NEEDS TO DIE AND THEN GET REVIVED BY BLOOD MAGIC JUST SO I CAN KILL IT AGAIN.

It’s fine. I’m fine.

Here’s The Ravenry for the week of August 24:

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Meta, ASOIAF Military Analysis, ASOIAF Political Analysis, Ravenry

A Dragon Dawn: A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Battle of Fire, Part 5: The Burning Pyramid

Fair warning: This part and part 6 contain significant Winds of Winter Spoilers. If you’re attempting to read TWOW unspoiled, check back here in a year (hopefully!), and laugh about how wrong I am.

Introduction

https://i0.wp.com/awoiaf.westeros.org/images/thumb/9/9a/Mike_Capprotti_Ser_Barristan.jpg/400px-Mike_Capprotti_Ser_Barristan.jpg

“Dawn will be on us soon.”

“A red dawn,” said Jokin of the Stormcrows.

A dragon dawn, thought Ser Barristan. (TWOW, Barristan I)

Artwork by  Mike Capprotti

At the end of A Dance with Dragons, the cords of the Meereenese Knot were chaotically coming together in Meereen. Plague-ridden corpses were flying into Meereen, sellswords were plotting betrayal, Victarion and the Iron Fleet were sailing into battle and two dragons were loose in Meereen. To put it mildly, the situation in and around Meereen was fluid. To add further chaos to the scenario, battle was finally at hand. And it would be a battle that will likely leave tens of thousands dead — and not all of them from sword, spear, arrow or lance.

In this section, I’ll break down the factions on the eve of battle, estimate army sizes and dispersions and then talk about the loyalty of all the factions involved. And then, I’ll go into the battle plans, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the battle plans and then leave this part off moments prior to the start of Barristan’s attack on Yunkai’s lines. In part 6, we’ll jump right into the battle itself, talk about all we know from the sample chapters, speculate on the outcomes and who will lie dead on the battlefield and then finally do a broad “What does the future hold for Meereen and the characters in and around Meereen.”

Spoiler Warning: Previous sections contained spoilers from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but just to re-iterate, this section will consist almost entirely of material taken from the sample chapters from The Winds of Winter.


Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Military Analysis

A Dragon Dawn: A Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Battle of Fire, Part 4: A Sweet Steel Song

Introduction

https://i0.wp.com/awoiaf.westeros.org/images/d/db/Selmy_as_Arstan_Whitebeard.jpg

For the first time all day, Selmy felt certain. This is what I was made for, he thought. The dance, the sweet steel song, a sword in my hand and a foe before me. (ADWD, The Kingbreaker)

Artwork by Amoka

The war that Daenerys had tried to hard to avoid was coming to Meereen. Her flight from Daznak’s Pit would be the ostensible first blow for the war between Meereen and Yunkai. Indeed her departure atop Drogon will be the last I’ll write about Daenerys’ actions for a while. In previous installments I hope I’ve shown in previous installations that war was unavoidable due to both the political situation within and without Meereen as well as the struggle between war and peace within Daenerys herself. Needless to say, the last chapters from A Dance with Dragons rapidly advance the plot and the characters within the Meereenese Knot towards war.

This essay will use material from A Dance with Dragons to illuminate events within and without Meereen that propelled the city to war. I’ll write at length about the Skahaz/Barristan conspiracy within Meereen, the Yunkish dithering on the eve of war, the last leg of the Iron Fleet’s journey to the shores of Meereen

However, in part 5 (the next part of this series), I’ll be using material from the sample chapters of The Winds of Winter. In this, I’ll re-visit and revise the factions on the eve of war, the battle plans of Barristan, Victarion and the Great Masters of Yunkai, and I’ll conclude just moments prior to the battle itself. In part 5, I’ll use the sample chapters to write on the battle itself, analyze the tactics and strategies involved and do some lengthy speculation on what George RR Martin has yet to reveal on the battle and predict the outcomes of the battle, who will lie dead in the field and what this will mean for the various interweaving plotlines of the Meereenese Knot.

Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under ASOIAF Military Analysis, ASOIAF Political Analysis, ASOIAF Speculation