Posts Tagged ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’

While Game of Thrones was on the air, I was fortunate enough to write about the show over on the excellent show-centric website Watchers on the Wall. But, even though the show has concluded, there are still books due to be published. Over on the WotW site, I have a new feature that largely involves book speculation. Sort of.

In the post, I speculate that Bran Stark’s book storyline might act as a reference to the failed ambitions of his grace, King Stannis Baratheon.

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When Words Fail: Trial by Combat

Posted: December 19, 2019 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, Opinion
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The legal system in Westeros leaves much to be desired. There is no dedicated feudal analog of a judicial branch, ideally guided with fairness, objectivity, and the concept of justice. Instead, legal disputes are adjudicated by lords who often have vested interests in the outcomes and the overpowered ability to settle disputes by fiat (and with the martial support to have their decisions enforced.)

Tyrion is not impressed with this episode of Law and Order: King’s Landing

One would hope that disputes aren’t entirely decided arbitrarily by feudal lords; that local customs, precedents, and traditions might hold sway. But that’s not a given when the common-folk are facing the sharp end of Westeros justice.

Although the smallfolk of the Seven Kingdoms have less flexibility when it comes to facing legal issues, those with more status and privilege do have the option to take decision-making out of the hands of overlords and into their own. If they can accept the risks of Trial by Combat.

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The final season of Game of Thrones has come and gone, closing the chapter on the conflict between Starks, Lannisters, and Targaryens with battles, betrayals, and the unexpected choice of a boy-king to rule over (most) of the kingdoms of Westeros. The conclusion of the story was tied in with the tragic fall of Daenerys Targaryen, who ambitiously considered herself The Last Dragon and had long sought to reclaim the seat of power that had been literally forged by her ancestors.

There’s solid analysis talking about Daenerys as a tragic hero in the Shakespearean mold. I’ll be happy to recommend articles from ShakespeareOfThrones discussing the Shakespearean ending to the series, as well as /r/asoiaf subreddit moderator glass_table_girl and her epic opus on Daenerys which predicted a literary-inspired tragic fall. But I’m not here to talk about Shakespeare. Instead, I’d like to talk about Daenerys and her association with the other prominent Targaryen in the story, Jon Snow, from an Arthurian perspective.

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In just two months (more or less) we should have all seen a new episode of Game of Thrones, the start of the eighth and final season. The kind people at the Watchers on the Wall site have graciously allowed me to submit features for them, so I can work through my Game of Thrones related issues. Or something like that.

Just published on the site is a feature on Cersei Lannister, who is almost absolutely guaranteed to be regarded as a witch when the maesters write their histories of the War of the Five Kings and the Second Long Night. Sorry Cersei.

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Another great A Song of Ice and Fire + Shakespeare analysis. I’m pleased to be able to reblog this.

Shakespeare of Thrones

One can almost see the sombre face of Eddard Stark looming up behind these lines:

BRUTUS:

For let the gods so speed me as I love

The name of honour more than I fear death.

 – Julius Caesar, II.ii

Hailed as Shakespeare’s great political tragedy, Julius Caesar presents the delicate balance between the private and public self; a central conflict for both Ned and Brutus. The parallel is likely intentional, especially considering that George R. R. Martin has named Julius Caesar as one of his two favorite Shakespeare plays. Throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, the conflict of private self vs. public self persists as a vibrant theme–a duality of opposing concepts, much like ice and fire. It is also congruent with Martin’s ultimate conflict; the heart at war with itself.

By examining Ned’s orientation as a Brutus figure, we can identify how Martin incorporates thematic elements of

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It’s November and the ongoing (thanks to the extended and legal counting of all the votes) Mid-Term Elections in the United States have been on my mind. But no one needs to know my thoughts on that hot mess, so I wrote a post tackling several political points in Game of Thrones for the Watchers on the Wall site.

I give an overview of the political landscape going into Season Eight of Game of Thrones (I even have a shout-out for the delightful Lollys Stokeworth.) And I definitively tell you who is ending up on the Iron Throne. Hopefully I avoid referencing political cliches.

Jon Snow: Hashtag I’m With Her. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!
Me: Keep it real, son.

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Here’s a special treat for Game of Thrones fans and Shakespeare lovers – an essay discussing witches and their significance in A Song of Ice and Fire. (Everyone should be aware of the work Shakespeare Of Thrones is doing. She’s the best.)

Shakespeare of Thrones

Witches.

One of the most easily recognizable archetypes in literature, yet transmutable into so many varying forms. Old, young, wise, prophetic, repulsive, tempting, ugly, beautiful–for every one witch characteristic, there seems to be a corresponding opposite.

Macbeth’s three Witches are old and ugly hags, endowed with the gift of prophecy. They begin and end the play—indeed serving as a centerpiece of the story—as they feed Macbeth’s ambition.  Lady Macbeth is, likewise, a witch figure. She is young and mortal, bereft of prophetic powers, but aligns herself with the Witches and has seductive power as she impels her husband to do wicked deeds.

In A Song of Ice and Fire, there are many more types of witches. Melisandre comes to mind  as the most prominent, plot-driving witch in the story, but there is also Maggy the Frog, Mirri Maz Duur, Ghost of High Heart, Lady Stoneheart, and even Cersei.  Quite…

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