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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
AFFC week 2. Discuss Ch 8 (Jaime) 4795 – Ch15 (Samwell) stop at 4789, read Ch16 (Jaime) 4795 – Ch 22 (Arya) stop at 6975

1. There is a growing rift between Jaime and Cersei. Will this end the Lannister domination of court? Why would they publicize Tywin’s death? Could they have kept it a secret in order to intimidate Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the North?

2. Brienne has her shield painted with a tree under a shooting star. This is the shield emblem Dunk has made for himself in “The Hedge Knight”, indicating she is his descendent.

3. Sansa sees how Littlefinger intends to rule the Vale. Is he grooming her to rule in his place, what does he have in store for her?

4. Asha intends to be Queen of the Ironborn. Should she lower her aim and accept her uncle Rodrick’s offer of becoming heir to the Ten Towers?

5. Cersei is laboring under a prophecy of her own, from Maggy the Frog. “Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.” Is this driving her decisions? Isn’t this prophecy basically obvious to, and apply to, everyone? No one can be young forever.

6. Arys is having an affair with Prince Doran’s daughter, Arianne Martell. We also hear of her brother, Quentyn, and his mission to Essos. Is she playing with Arys, or is her scheme to crown Myrcella a valid one?

7. Let us compare Asha and Brienne for a moment. Both women are players in what is considered a man’s world, but Asha seems to have much more acceptance while Brienne is the object of seemingly endless japes, taunts, and jokes. Yet even Asha is considered crazy for trying to be Queen of the Ironborn. Would Brienne have more acceptance in the Iron Isles, would she even want their approval? Are either of these strong women a role model for Arya, or a lesson in what NOT to do?

8. We get confirmation that Gilly has Mance’s son, having left her child behind at the Wall .Will this save the infant from Melisandre? Does it really matter what the nobility of the sacrifice is? Was Jon right to force Gilly to make this switch?
 

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jason10mm said:
1. There is a growing rift between Jaime and Cersei. Will this end the Lannister domination of court? Why would they publicize Tywin's death? Could they have kept it a secret in order to intimidate Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the North?
The growing rift is entirely Cersei's fault. My first thought was that she'd be the Margaret Thatcher of Westeros, but she's turning into the Bloody Mary meets Caligula of Westeros. I've read quite a bit ahead so I have to be careful not to spoil things. But she's a dangerous combination of narcissistic + conniving, but not smart + paranoid + sadistic. There is a deeper view into her sadism as the novel continues, but she's really awful. But she is convinced she is her father's rightful heir, as smart as Tywin was. Well, Tywin was very awful things, but at least he could could temper his sadism and paranoia.

2. Brienne has her shield painted with a tree under a shooting star. This is the shield emblem Dunk has made for himself in "The Hedge Knight", indicating she is his descendent.
Don't know those stories. I wish they'd all just be collected in one volume!

3. Sansa sees how Littlefinger intends to rule the Vale. Is he grooming her to rule in his place, what does he have in store for her?
Well, it seems as if Littlefinger literally intends to groom Sansa to be his heir. But nothing is ever as it seems with that guy, is it? I can't imagine what his end-game with Sansa is. Is it to somehow claim the North eventually as his own through her? At some convenient moment declare Sansa alive and he, as either her guardian or husband (!), is the King of the North? He's certainly not doing anything for her own good, although it's tempting to think there's one ounce of decency in him and he will teach Sansa to avenge her family. But I'm sure there isn't. It would be amazing if the weak and selfish Sansa turned out to be her family's savior and avenger!

4. Asha intends to be Queen of the Ironborn. Should she lower her aim and accept her uncle Rodrick's offer of becoming heir to the Ten Towers?
My question is: does Asha really expect to be made Queen? She seems to really believe it, but that just means she's not as smart as she thinks.

5. Cersei is laboring under a prophecy of her own, from Maggy the Frog. "Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." Is this driving her decisions? Isn't this prophecy basically obvious to, and apply to, everyone? No one can be young forever.
Because of how Martin introduces this whole subplot, for a while I wondered if this was something that had been discussed before and I had forgotten. He does begin to explain it a bit further later on. Who knew Cersei would be that superstitious? But it's definitely part of what drives her; certainly what drives her against Maergery. Marge is a threat to Cersei's hold on power because Tommen is more maleable than Joff was and Maergery will clearly be an influence on him as he grows up. Frankly, to me they seem like a nice couple. But Cersei was power and she wants to hold on to power. And Maerge, as she and Tommen get older, wouldn't let Cersei share in the power. Cersei wants a nitwit Queen for Tommen, so she - Cersei - can continue to rule even when Tommen comes of age.

6. Arys is having an affair with Prince Doran's daughter, Arianne Martell. We also hear of her brother, Quentyn, and his mission to Essos. Is she playing with Arys, or is her scheme to crown Myrcella a valid one?
Arianne is definitely playing with Arys, although it doesn't mean Myrcella's claim to the crown isn't valid. At least by Martell laws. What I haven't entirely been able to put into words is why Arianne (and I assume all of the Snakes) are so interested in crowning Myrcella. Is it just about starting a war with the Lannisters and then having their own Queen on the Iron Throne? I guess it must be...

7. Let us compare Asha and Brienne for a moment. Both women are players in what is considered a man's world, but Asha seems to have much more acceptance while Brienne is the object of seemingly endless japes, taunts, and jokes. Yet even Asha is considered crazy for trying to be Queen of the Ironborn. Would Brienne have more acceptance in the Iron Isles, would she even want their approval? Are either of these strong women a role model for Arya, or a lesson in what NOT to do?
This was going to be a theme I brought up myself, but not just about Asha and Brienne. Through the whole series so far Martin has actually been including a sort of a feminist manifesto. There are a number of women in the narrative who strive for power, but are repeatedly dismissed as just, well, women. There's Asha, who by blood has the strongest claim to her Kingdom, but the reason she is dismissed by everyone is her gender. She is certainly a very capable leader and warrior; she's proven that. But she's not seen as good enough to lead a kingdom because she's a woman.

Brienne is also an extremely capable warrior; she's proven herself to be stronger than every man she's fought, including Loras and Jaime. And yet she is repeatedly put down for being a woman. How dare she step out a dress and into armour? Her apparently unattractive appearance is a greater sin because she is a woman. There are many ugly men in the story, but it's worse for her because she's a woman.

Then we have Daenerys: sold into marriage for an army. She comes to love her husband, and he her, but that was purely coincidental. She was treated like property, even though she was of royal blood. And she was not allowed to lead a khalasar because she is a woman. Her only real power is the dragons; it's the only reason she's shown any kind of respect by most people. So far she's proven a fairly capable ruler (so far!), but without her dragons she would have nothing. I'm not sure she'd even have the loyalty of most of her followers now if she lost her dragons.

The Snakes and Arianne - even in an area where women are allowed to rule they are dismissed and arrested by their Uncle. Their gender plays a role in that as well. If a group of nephews demanded what they demanded, they would not have been treated as they've been treated.

And, of course, there's Cersei. She has felt slighted (not without cause, I'm sure) her entire life. But now she's gotten the power she's always dreamed of. And she's turning into a disastrous Queen, frankly. But she's a product of her upbringing and life.

8. We get confirmation that Gilly has Mance's son, having left her child behind at the Wall .Will this save the infant from Melisandre? Does it really matter what the nobility of the sacrifice is? Was Jon right to force Gilly to make this switch?
Does Melisandre know yet of the substitution of the babies? What will she do when she finds out? I think Jon was right to do what he did; he's thinking about and trying to and anticipate the future. What price will he pay for that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are in luck! It is my understanding that when the fourth dunk and egg story comes out ("She-wolves of Winterfell") there will be a collection.

I like your discussion about GRRMs feminist manifesto. In a few weeks we will be looking at the total opposite :) This book in particular is what attracts heated sexual debate more than anything else.

Cersei as Margret Thatcher. That is a new one on me :) though we will meet someone who does meet this criteria in a few more chapters.

I would like to see Dorne get engaged. For such a proud and only recently conquered country they have really taken a back seat to this 5 kings war.
 

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jason10mm said:
You are in luck! It is my understanding that when the fourth dunk and egg story comes out ("She-wolves of Winterfell") there will be a collection.

I like your discussion about GRRMs feminist manifesto. In a few weeks we will be looking at the total opposite :) This book in particular is what attracts heated sexual debate more than anything else.

Cersei as Margret Thatcher. That is a new one on me :) though we will meet someone who does meet this criteria in a few more chapters.

I would like to see Dorne get engaged. For such a proud and only recently conquered country they have really taken a back seat to this 5 kings war.
There's another evil leader coming up? Isn't Cersei enough of an affliction on the realm? :D

Dorne is definitely lacking in leadership. One almost wonders why Martin is bothering to give us POV chapters into them. But not the Tyrrells. Ooohh, to have a Queen of Thorns POV chapter!
 

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Sorry - I've been running a little behind.

jason10mm said:
1. There is a growing rift between Jaime and Cersei. Will this end the Lannister domination of court? Why would they publicize Tywin's death? Could they have kept it a secret in order to intimidate Dorne, the Iron Islands, and the North?
I think the growing rift is between Cersei and the rest of the Lannister clan. Does she have a single ally within her family besides her children? I think the Lannister domination in court is already spiralling. Cersei makes fun of Jaime in public, has essentially driven her uncle away, is obsessed with killing Tyrion, and has lost her father. Without Tywin as a strong center, the family is crumbling apart and I see little saving it.

I hadn't thought they might try to cover up Tywin's death - although that now does seem like it might be a smart move. But Cersei would never think of it. She is too obsessed with getting revenge on Tyrion. She is focussed on winning battles within her family - she can't possibly consider what needs to be done for the realm.

jason10mm said:
2. Brienne has her shield painted with a tree under a shooting star. This is the shield emblem Dunk has made for himself in "The Hedge Knight", indicating she is his descendent.
I haven't read these either.

jason10mm said:
3. Sansa sees how Littlefinger intends to rule the Vale. Is he grooming her to rule in his place, what does he have in store for her?
Sometimes I think Littlefinger will plan to eventually marry Sansa as a replacement for Catelyn. He seems as obsessed with her as with Catelyn and but she gives him more thought than Catelyn ever did. On the other hand, there are times when I think Littlefinger actually believes Sansa is his daughter - or at least in a symbolic sense if this isn't a realistic possibility for him. One way or the other, he is putting everything he used to put into Catelyn into grooming Sansa to become something.

jason10mm said:
4. Asha intends to be Queen of the Ironborn. Should she lower her aim and accept her uncle Rodrick's offer of becoming heir to the Ten Towers?
Well, she probably would never be happy settling, so I guess she should go fight for what she wants. It may end badly, but she wouldn't be happy any other way.

jason10mm said:
5. Cersei is laboring under a prophecy of her own, from Maggy the Frog. "Queen you shall be, until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." Is this driving her decisions? Isn't this prophecy basically obvious to, and apply to, everyone? No one can be young forever.
I think she is giving this prophecy way too much attention. I am surprised to see her so superstitious on this point as she has always seemed to believe that her future is what she makes of it.

jason10mm said:
6. Arys is having an affair with Prince Doran's daughter, Arianne Martell. We also hear of her brother, Quentyn, and his mission to Essos. Is she playing with Arys, or is her scheme to crown Myrcella a valid one?
Arianne is completely manipulating Arys and I was surprised to find him so easy to control. I still don't understand the politics of Dorne well enough to know exactly what the ends are here.

jason10mm said:
7. Let us compare Asha and Brienne for a moment. Both women are players in what is considered a man's world, but Asha seems to have much more acceptance while Brienne is the object of seemingly endless japes, taunts, and jokes. Yet even Asha is considered crazy for trying to be Queen of the Ironborn. Would Brienne have more acceptance in the Iron Isles, would she even want their approval? Are either of these strong women a role model for Arya, or a lesson in what NOT to do?
I have noticed the same things with regard to women as DYB pointed out, but I don't think any of these women should be a role model for Arya. I think Arya is the one female character who has a chance of living up to her potential and breaking free from the gender roles her society might try to subscribe to her. I think that Daenarys would be the ideal role model for Arya - because Daenarys also has the wisdom and potential to become what she dreams of being, but she also has the ability to maintain her nobility. Arya seems to be abandoning her nobility to become something of a wild thing - but if the Stark family is ever to be rebuilt, she will eventually have to find her way back to her roots.

That said, I don't care much for Asha - or at least I haven't seen enough of her to relate to her as a person yet. But I actually don't mind Brienne so much. I get worried that she tends to fall for the men whom she respects and fear she will slip into some puppy-dog state that doesn't become her (Renly and more recently Jaime) - but she does seem to understand at least so far that these men are out of her grasp with regard to love. Actually, Brienne reminds me of a kind of watered down Tyrion. Both will always be underestimated because of their appearance, both know how to fight for what they want and often to get it despite their disadvantages, and both also seem to want to love and likely be love (Tyrion's weakness for Shay and Brienne's obsession with Renly and now somewhat with Jaime) even though they know how unlikely it is.

jason10mm said:
8. We get confirmation that Gilly has Mance's son, having left her child behind at the Wall .Will this save the infant from Melisandre? Does it really matter what the nobility of the sacrifice is? Was Jon right to force Gilly to make this switch?
Since I don't really believe in the sacrifice, I don't think it matters about the nobility of the child. Jon is both right and wrong. This is a sign that Jon is growing into the leader that he needs to be - making the tough decisions for the good of the realm. However, as a mother, I find this command incredibly harsh. I could never leave my child to likely be sacrificed - no matter what the consequences. But in this book, the ends do frequently justify the means and if you are going to survive and win, you have to accept that. Otherwise, you end up like Ned Stark. So yes, he was right, but wow - it feels so wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I find it interesting that so many people in ASOIAF are pursuing leadership, in particular a king or queen's title, simply because they are related to a king or queen. I wonder if Stannis, Asha, or Victarion would give a hoot about being a ruler if they didn't have a relative hand them an opportunity. We don't really get much of a view of the common folk, but there are certainly viewpoints of noble characters who feel that they are constrained and dominated by their positions. Arya certainly feels this way. It makes you wonder just how much free will someone from this type of society can really have, doesn't seem like much. Compare it to the (sorta) meritocracy societies like the Dothraki, where you rule if you are the toughest and follow if you are not, they almost seem happier...
 

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It's true that society places certain expectations and limitations on people.  (In our world too.)  Tyrion couldn't be in love with a commoner because she's not good enough - even for him.  Or rather his blood line.  They do have to bend to societal pressures.  Although one wonders about Asha because society is telling her to back off and go knit.  Ditto Cersei and Brienne and Daenerys.  But these women are rebelling against the expectations that are placed on them, while the men try to meet them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is a good point. Are there any men in ASOIAF bucking their societal expectations? Sam is certainly not living up to his FATHERS expectations, as did Jaime, but these guys have both done fairly well for themselves. I guess the male equivalent of a Brienne or Osha would be some of the violent outlaws, perhaps? Ultimately I suppose a medieval society is pretty wide open for a man, with a very low glass ceiling for the women.
 

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jason10mm said:
That is a good point. Are there any men in ASOIAF bucking their societal expectations?
The men who buck expectation tend to try to rise above their role in society.

Like Davos, the Onion Knight. While Stannis seemed to accept his promotion, it sure seemed like a lot of others believed he was living outside his station. Of course, he is supposedly dead now.

I am also thinking that Jon may turn out to be one - For some reason, I don't see him on the Wall forever - although as time goes on, I wonder if I am wrong on that account. At one time he didn't seem to have much hope of a significant future, being a bastard, but I always thought that he would eventually rise above that.

And there is Littlefinger, who seems to use his wits to promote himself beyond his station, although there are always those who don't really accept him.

I don't know if there are men seeking to abandon their station for something their family would look on as less suitable. I would have to think on that, but no one immediately comes to mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Littlefinger is a good example. He is having to fight tooth and nail to hang on to his position in the Vale simply because some folks don't accept him, regardless of the "legality" of his position. Davos is another good example. He wasn't heeded in the Battle of Blackwater because the more noble admirals dismissed his opinion, to their destruction. They are not considered "freaks" though, just upstarts.
 
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