Chivalric honour would've been not getting comforted in the first place. I don't think Robb's stupidities count against Ned via some sort of "Stark behavior" handwave.
I don't know if it's because of GRRM-genetics or what but thought of Robb as a hapless Tully, more of an abler Edmure than a less able Ned. I'm inclined to defend Ned's conduct as basically sound along the lines St. Gabe argued, his son not so much.
It really helped me to reread the novels now, years later, with a bit of context (but not much, since my memory of the later books is foggy at best). The traditional fantasy novel archetype that Ned and his family are built around is consistently and (it seems to me) deliberately undermined by Martin's vision of realpolitik, with Daenerys at the other end with her bizarre anti-feudal feudalism thing. Whether or not you find one more compelling than the other personally, it is clear that the cost-benefit for each has very different outcomes in his world and that those are easily perceived by people living the events.
*Liking* Ned Stark is a totally different thing from finding his decisions wise.
Step 1. Be right.
Step 2. Establish a course of action based on being right.
Step 3. Inform others openly, from the position of #1-ness, regardless of their own agenda.
Step 4. Wait for others to behave properly according to #3, secure in the knowledge that being right trumps all.
The problem being of course that #4 doesn't happen because no one gives a rats ass about #1.
Little Finger, The Eunuch guy, Cersei, and pretty much everyone else's process:
Step 1. Define their desired outcome.
Step 2. Define any factor that could interfere or aid in achieving that outcome.
Step 3. Pre-bribe, steal, murder, or fuck all relevant parties based on #2 behind the scenes.
Step 4. Inform others openly in whatever way leads their personalities to act in support of #1, even if it means making shit entirely up.
Step 5. Profit!
Last edited by Hugin; 05-29-2011 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Loops are weird
If King Robert Baratheon was aware of Cersei and Jaime's betrayal, he could have easily destroyed the Lannisters. By allying with the Tyrells while maintaining Robert's other alliances with the Starks/Tullys and the Arryns, the Lannisters would have been isolated and easily defeated on the battlefield.
That would have left the Lannisters with two potential allies - one of which would have celebrated their demise (Martells) and the other (Greyjoys) who would have seen that defeat was inevitable and left the Lannisters to their fate.
So, is ep 7 where things come to a head?
When I say defend Ned's conduct, I'm talking about his conduct, not his likability. (And I'm talking books, and as a totality, obviously the business with Cersei was gravely mishandled.) I don't have the sense that GRRM's world is one that necessarily gobbles up good guys; it's just a world that happened to gobble up specific good guys at a specific time. I suspect we're going to see the triumph of several do-gooder protagonists by the end, however much intervening grittiness there is.
As an aside, let's consider the question of morality. For instance, we could argue for days about who has the most righteous claim to the throne following Robert, but ultimately the question is whether any of those choices is worth dying for over another. For the pretender in question and his immediate group, sure. For the various lords and lordlings, maybe, if they get lucky. But for the vast majority of the world, it's disaster no matter for whom the kingdoms are being ravaged with marginal advantages by person, which is what most of us would regard as a modern moral standard. In that sense (within the choices in the book), Ned is at best a lesser evil when he's not hopelessly outclassed and allowing the the realm to spiral into chaos, but he's still part of a noble aristocracy that thinks nothing of ending lives in the name of his power. Daenerys, on the other hand, seems to be aimed towards a new type of kingdom, and I'm curious if he means it as an ultimate irony when she fails or an actual sense of progress for the world when she succeeds.
The part that really got me thinking about that was Arya's time with the "King's Men", fwiw, but it was always in the background with "and x number of small folk were put to the sword, etc".
Regarding the broader morality of the aristocratic leadership and he suffering of the smallfolk in the wars, I dunno what the author's intent is. The books borrow from the Wars of the Roses and the Hundred Years War; the former was a massacre of the aristocracy, the latter was apocalyptic for a lot of the (French) peasantry. The books seemed like they went for the worst of both worlds there.
FWIW, I'm rereading the first book and I just happened to get to Robert dying. Nowhere was it intimated that Ned could have run off to save Robert. He gets several offers to engage in various forms of treachery that may have altered the course of events (by Renley and Littlefinger) but there doesn't seem to be any clear out that doesn't involve being a right bastard, i.e. no out that Ned can be expected to take seriously.
And it's leadership that few of the other contenders for the throne have shown, often with disastrous results. Once they do get to power they make terribly wrong decisions based on short-term goals and they instill little to no trust from their peers.
Clash of Kings and the Sworn Sword also touched on the fact that "chivalric" or "soldierly" bearing could have real political relevance in influencing the allegiances of the nobility. Which was also true of the historical periods GRRM has mined for his historical/military flavour.
If there's already some "internet fan consensus" on who the character is whose death is moved up from aSoS to aGoT, could someone drop it in spoiler-link-text or something? The mention of the change trimming or compressing aSoS instead of aCoK made me think of Spoiler or Spoiler rather than Spoiler, although the idea of cutting any of them seemed insane. The minor characters mentioned seemed like they wouldn't have any importance for trimming or compressing the narrative. It's also evidently supposed to be a man. Spoiler would make a good bit of sense, except they've already name-dropped his sidekick.
EDIT: On further googling I'm getting the sense the hive mind has chosen Spoiler, with some reason.
Last edited by Jason Townsend; 05-29-2011 at 06:01 PM.
I'm not really sure I liked the scene with Tywin; it's not that the gist of his conversation is all that bad, but that he's skinning a deer or whatever. This is something I just don't see him doing; remember, he froths in anger that Janos Slynt is given Harrenhal, given that Slynt's father is a butcher and Slynt is much the same (and butchery was exactly what Tywin was doing in that scene). Such work seems mostly beneath Tywin. I understand perhaps the visual play at work but not sure it really needed to be that way.
I can't think of where it was (and it's driving me nuts) but I recall a recent TV or movie adaptation with a similar bigshot character introduction scene where the character is introduced while immersed in preparing supper but still doing his spiel, the notion being that the activity fills out a predominantly talky scene while showing the new character deftly doing something while also being the boss.
It occurred to me that butcher's work didn't quite fit Tywin - more of a Randyll Tarly thing - but it's not wildly out of character for him to hunt or butcher his own kill. Regarding the corny symbolism of the kill being a deer, I thought maybe the audience was meant to ignore that as too obvious.
Some thoughts about the new episode....
1. Some might not like the new scene between Tywin and Tyrion but I like it. It immediately sets up Tywin as this no dicking around sort of guy - "why is he still alive?" - and additionally has the kind of good foreshadowing for Jaime when his father asks him if it bothers him when people call him kingslayer he states "of course it bothers me." A nice little nod towards people who've read the books and remember the bath scene between Jaime and Brienne. Also Tywin skinning the stag was a good bit of foreshadowing for those who haven't read the books. That said - 30,000 men? The Lannisters have 60,000 men? That far too high for high medieval crowns.
2. No matter how many times I read the books or watch this series - wtf Ned quit being a fool.
3. Nice work by Lena Headey during her monologue with Ned Stark in the second scene of the episode. Her contempt for Robert and Ned comes through in so many ways without so much as raising her voice.
4. Why is Petyr at a whorehouse and why is he giving whore lessons? He might not be much of a noble, but he's still one. This scene is a sad followup to the quite good Petyr-Varys scene the episode previous. It might be worth it for the exposition of Petyrs backstory but why, why is he telling it to a newly arrived northern prostitute its like Lex Luthor describing why he hates Superman and how he's going to destroy him to his janitor.
5. Osha scene is nice. For one it keeps setting up for Theon's family is different, connected to the sea, etc. Additionally having been reading a book on castles and castle life its nice to see Osha setting down rushes to cover the floor. More directly its a very good introduction as to the different perspectives between those north of the wall and south of it.
6. Good work on the Robert death scene. Joffrey has no idea whatsoever that he's not actually Robert's son. The look between Cersei and Pycelle as to whether Ned will rat them out. Mark Addy just chews up this scene. Then the following scene with Ned, Barristan, and Varys was also great.
7. The show might be playing up the Jorah Mormont traitor angle a little too heavily compared to the books but Iain Glen is making every scene he's in better. The look he gives after being told he's given a pardon is great.
Last edited by rowe33; 05-30-2011 at 01:15 AM. Reason: (Not that Ros's tits aren't a nice sight but come on...)
2) He is is explaining to the girls how to lie to someone who knows you are lying and how to make them want the lie and believe it. Kind of important considering the final 30 seconds of the episode.
3) Its also just showing off, hey look I am so good at talking you are totally going to forget there are two women going at it during my monologue.
I thought it was a tad on the obvious side too.its like Lex Luthor describing why he hates Superman and how he's going to destroy him to his janitor.
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other . . .
I like to think that the original script had Littlefinger talking to someone else, doing his whole expository thing. During rewrites, producer guy says, "You know, we need this scene -- it sets up Littlefinger's character and backstory, gives us some insight into his motivations. Good stuff. But you know, we could spice it up a little. I'm thinking -- and I'm just spitballing here -- hardcore lesbian sex. I mean, we have that northern whore coming to town, right? Maybe she's just going to town on this other chick. Do we have another hot chick we can throw in there? Great. How about at some point during Baelish's monologue, he tells the redhead to flip Hot Chick 2 over and finger her ass. Just to, you know, kind of reinforce the connection between Littlefinger's backstory and the hardcore lesbian sex."
"What do you guys think? Daiquiris? Definitely daiquiris. That's lunch, people!"
Californication, Spartacus, Shameless, Game of Thrones, The L-Word: Not hardcore sex.
And the only reason I care about this is because the moral watchdog groups who complain to the FCC about every damned thing on TV routinely do this, mischaracterizing or overstating the extent, frequency, or intensity of any behavior they object to.
Yeah, it's not hardcore, it's just a terrible scene. I really dislike this Ros character they've created.