Kiera Cass (via maxonshreaves)
Me: I'd like a Coke.
Waiter: is Pepsi okay?
Me: yeah, she's fine. the surgery went well and she's looking at a full recovery.
Waiter: fantastic. I can't wait to see you two drop by here again. she's a nice gal even though she's got an odd name. I'll bring your Coke around in just a moment.
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise // The Avett Brothers
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it
ASoIaF has always had to walk a tightrope in its subversion of the high-fantasy genre in that it portrays people and events closer to the way they really work in real life, but in doing so risks coming across as an endorsement of the way things really work in real life.
Martin has always been clear, for example, that good men (eg. Ned) don’t always make good rulers. But to me the second part of that statement has always been an implicit but clear “and that really sucks.”
I’m not sure everyone sees it that way, though. Time and time again, we see fan backlash against some of the main characters when their attempts to behave decently backfire or fail in some way — Ned giving Cersei the chance to flee rather than die; Dany using her dragons and burgeoning following to liberate slaves and attempt to create a just peace in Meereen rather than leveling everything between her and King’s Landing; Jon’s increasingly status-quo-threatening attempts to get the wildlings south of the Wall and on the side of the rest of the realm. You end up with arguments that life would be better under a despot like Tywin Lannister than under a liberator like Daenerys.
In other words, many readers seem to take Martin’s realpolitik approach to how the world works in his writing as a reprimand against those with a more idealistic outlook. I don’t think that’s the case at all, in large part because of the issues of war and peace that provoked this thread.
Martin has unfailingly portrayed war as a grotesque folly, a crime against our common humanity. He does this by setting up a supernatural antagonist of whom most of the warring parties are unaware but who we know (to the extent that we can know anything of GRRM’s longterm plans with this series) is the enemy of all humanity, such that every time people raise their swords against one another, or burn each other’s towns and crops, or sack each other’s strongholds and rape and torture and murder their families, they are doing the enemy’s work.
Obviously, war against the Others and their wights will be necessary — but it’s striking that the only necessary war Martin allows for is one that can’t possibly have a counterpart in real life. We have no white walkers to worry about. We only have each other.
The above quote is my contribution to a provocative thread on how Martin’s characters “wage peace,” started by Westeros.org’s Elio García in response to the Curt Purcell post I talked about earlier.
I would also add that part and parcel of how Martin has humanized epic fantasy by fleshing out heroes and villains into characters less easy to identify as either is similarly fleshing out the humanity of the people who die in the wars waged between the two. That’s why it’s so weird to me to see people endorsing Tywin Lannister or, god help me, Roose Bolton as a superior ruler to Daenerys Targaryen or Eddard Stark — or to see people arguing that Victarion Greyjoy — wifebeater, gaybasher, rapist, war criminal, mass murderer — is the Prince Who Was Promised or Azor Ahai reborn. These men dehumanize others, and humanizing others is the project of the entire series.
The Avett Brothers. Bastille.
1 week from today.
Now you live through the ages
I can feel your pulse in the pages