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Again, I get much the opposite reading.

A key difference between good and evil, one that GRRM seems to be well aware of, is that good nurtures its own sustainability structure, while evil destroys them out of immediate convenience.  In so doing, good persists and rebirths while evil creates its own extinction.

GRRM is showing us that character pays off.  But that it won't always appear to, and that the price will often be very high indeed, but still far better than the alternative.

Captain Comics said:

(...)

Similarly, GRRM seems to be making a point about "good guys" and power -- that they don't mix very well, and all our stories about the good guys winning are the fantasies. And, yes, I get it, and he's most likely right -- but like with The Name of the Rose, it isn't very satisfying in the long run.

As for S6E09 specifically, I loved it.  Such magnificient a presentation of the utter misery that is warfare.  You could really feel Jon's disgust.

I don't think Jon made a mistake.  I think he weighted the choices and accepted the price to be paid.  There were no better options available for him at that time.

Likewise, I strongly suspect that Sansa, too, is about to pay a terrible price for having the support of Petyr Baelish at such a crucial time.  She, too, is expecting, probably with good reason, to repent having done that, yet there is no better option available to her.

In essence, she is sacrificing herself mainly because it is her one honorable choice to stop the greater pain of being helpless and hopeless before darned Ramsay Snow.

We know from the last scene that it is gnawing very darkly at her heart already.  And I doubt that will be all.


Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

A key difference between good and evil, one that GRRM seems to be well aware of, is that good nurtures its own sustainability structure, while evil destroys them out of immediate convenience.  In so doing, good persists and rebirths while evil creates its own extinction.

GRRM is showing us that character pays off.  But that it won't always appear to, and that the price will often be very high indeed, but still far better than the alternative.

Robb, Catelyn and Robb's pregnant wife all tried to be noble and do the right thing, and they didn't get "rebirth" -- they got the extinction end, and in a pretty awful way. The first thing I noticed about the show is that any time someone acted in a noble or selfless way, they were not long for the world. Yeah, the bad guys usually die too, but much later on and after they'd achieved some of the ends.

But that's what makes horse races, and why we discuss these things instead of just talking to ourselves. I'll try to look for your POV.

I've always felt that one of Martin's primary motivations is to continually defy reader expectations about where the narrative should go. It can be frustrating but it's probably the main reason that his books have moved the sci-fi/fantasy genre forward.

He never wants to give us a character that is completely good or evil. Never wants to let the character we are rooting for have a moment of total victory. Never wants to have a character pay for crimes in a satisfying way. Never gives anyone justice. His narrative is most sympathetic to the damaged, the freak or the outcast rather than the most valiant or heroic. 

His approach is a double edged sword in the it keeps readers invested by giving them hope that someday somehow his characters will get justice but at the same time it frustrates readers by never giving it to them.

@Captain: Indeed, the Red Wedding was a huge calamity for Robb and his people.

But in the long run it was far worse for its perpetrators, basically the coalition of Houses Frey, Bolton and Lannister.  Mainly because it tainted them all as unreliable backstabbers that can hardly affort to trust even themselves or each other.

As a result, House Bolton is now likely extinct,as noted last episode by Sansa.And House Stark now has a lot of support in the North.  That will not bode well for the Lannisters.


At the same time, the Riverlands plot shows that House Frey is currently of less than decisive stature, and growing tensions with the Lannisters to boot.  Tywin's unholy alliance brought all the involved a moment of triumph that is coming apiece under its own weight.  He sure reminded me of his foolish grandson Joffrey at that moment.

The claim is often made (even by GRRM himself) that he avoids black-and-white characters, but I don't think I agree.

Jon Snow is pretty pristine, IMO - despite technically being a traitor too many times to count.  So is Brienne. Once you discount the terrors they have faced, so are the remaining Starks.

Meanwhile, there is very little indeed to redeem the likes of Tywin, Joffrey, Stannis and the Boltons.


It just turns out that the guy has a fine anthropological eye and describes a society with actual people as opposed to avatars of some ideology or another.  His gray characters such as Tyrion, Theon, Margaery, the Sparrow, the Queen of Thorns and even Jaime and Cersei are difficult to predict and very interesting indeed.  Melisandre has been becoming slightly gray as of late, while Davos has become less.

This is very much a good vs evil story.  But one where people can have conflicted loyalties and change their hats.


Detective 445 said:

(...)

He never wants to give us a character that is completely good or evil. Never wants to let the character we are rooting for have a moment of total victory. Never wants to have a character pay for crimes in a satisfying way. (...)

 I'm not sure there can be justice in the world he's created.  Of the characters who've done horrible things I can't think of a one that's actually met his or her end in anything but a horrible and painful way.  I think that's more vengeance than justice.

Detective 445 said:

I've always felt that one of Martin's primary motivations is to continually defy reader expectations about where the narrative should go. It can be frustrating but it's probably the main reason that his books have moved the sci-fi/fantasy genre forward.

He never wants to give us a character that is completely good or evil. Never wants to let the character we are rooting for have a moment of total victory. Never wants to have a character pay for crimes in a satisfying way. Never gives anyone justice. His narrative is most sympathetic to the damaged, the freak or the outcast rather than the most valiant or heroic. 

His approach is a double edged sword in the it keeps readers invested by giving them hope that someday somehow his characters will get justice but at the same time it frustrates readers by never giving it to them.

The Wall Street Journal has a write up on this season of GOT, it stresses how the women of the show have all taken commanding roles.

I'm predicting that the Freys are going to suffer greatly for the Red Wedding in tonight's finale.  Assuming that a certain long-held theory from book readers comes true, House Frey is probably going the way of House Bolton this week.

I also suspect that we can probably say goodbye to Tommen, all the remaining members of the Small Council, everyone associated with the Sparrows and most of the members of the Tyrell family still in King's Landing. (Margaery may survive, but I'm pretty sure that Mace and Ser Loras are both dead)  

Now that there are most likely only two shortened seasons left, it's time for the show to start thinning the character herd, and there should be a couple of pretty major thinnings taking place tonight.


Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

@Captain: Indeed, the Red Wedding was a huge calamity for Robb and his people.

But in the long run it was far worse for its perpetrators, basically the coalition of Houses Frey, Bolton and Lannister.  Mainly because it tainted them all as unreliable backstabbers that can hardly affort to trust even themselves or each other.

As a result, House Bolton is now likely extinct,as noted last episode by Sansa.And House Stark now has a lot of support in the North.  That will not bode well for the Lannisters.


At the same time, the Riverlands plot shows that House Frey is currently of less than decisive stature, and growing tensions with the Lannisters to boot.  Tywin's unholy alliance brought all the involved a moment of triumph that is coming apiece under its own weight.  He sure reminded me of his foolish grandson Joffrey at that moment.

The Vixen and I are going to an Allman Bros concert tonight with sister and brother-in-law, so I won't get to see season finale until next weekend. So I won't even look at this thread until then. But I'm all for thinning the herd!

  I think one thing we can be sure of, however anyone is going to die it won't be pretty.

Having just watched it, I can say that it was certainly eventful, auspicious and, to a degree, even heartwarming.

It also sets up a lot of meaningful confrontations for the seasons to come.  Loyalties were established to a remarkable degree.

And (spoiler alert)



It seems like Littlefinger was outmaneuvered for once, which is always a bonus.  Not that I will trust it, but it was nice anyway.

I confess I am a bit surprised to see Daenerys leave for Westeros.  I did not think she truly wanted it.

Cersei seems to be doomed to a very short reign.  Dorne, the North and the Reach are definitely going to challenge her role.  Likely the Vale as well.  She will be in no shape to resist Daenerys.  It will be hard enough to contain the riots once the Reach stops sending food.  Not sure of what will happen with the Riverlands, but the Brotherhood is there, perhaps the best candidate for handling the power vaccuum.

Jaime is likely to have a falling out with Cersei now, too.  Melisandre is a wild card, and one that may well decide that it is in her best interest to oppose Cersei as well.

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