Thu
Aug 22 2013 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Part 41

A Song of Ice and Fire Storm of SwordsWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 41 of A Storm of Swords, in which we cover Chapter 67 (“Jaime”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

Scheduling note: I am going on a mini-vacay for Labor Day weekend, which may or may not affect the schedule of the ROIAF. I’m going to try to get next week’s post in, but I reserve the right to discover I just don’t have the time. Stayed tuned to the comments on this post to find out!

Chapter 67: Jaime

What Happens
Jaime has moved into the apartments of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but his sword and uniform feel ill-fitting upon him. He has been ignored by everyone in his family during Tyrion’s trial, including Cersei. He wonders if the Kingslayer is fit to occupy the title that so many great men have held before him; he is amused to discover that Ser Barristan had taken the time to record his own ousting from the Guard before leaving in the Kingsguard history book. He notes how paltry his own record seems in comparison to Ser Barristan’s, and wonders when he stopped being like Ser Arthur Dayne and more like the Smiling Knight, noted for his cruelty as much as his chivalry.

The other five Sworn Brothers (Ser Osmund Kettleblack, Ser Boros Blount, Ser Meryn Trant, Ser Loras Tyrell, and Ser Balon Swann) arrive to the council, leaving a space for Ser Arys Oakheart, who is in Dorne. Jaime wonders if he needs to fear division among them, which had happened before; he has a fairly good opinion of Balon and Loras, but he doesn’t think much of Boros or Meryn, and Osmund is an unknown quantity. He asks them bluntly if they think Tyrion poisoned Joffrey. Meryn and Boros think so, but Balon points out that Tyrion was far from the only person who had access to the wine cup, and Loras states firmly that he believes Sansa Stark was the culprit, as she had motive to want both Joffrey and Margaery dead. Jaime thinks Loras might have a point.

Jaime tells them that Tommen is king now, and he means him to hold the throne until he dies of old age. He orders that Boros will taste everything Tommen eats or drinks first, which Boros takes as an insult. Jaime shoots back that he should have died before letting Joffrey be taken, and Boros shouts back that as the cripple, Jaime should be the food tester. Jaime dares him to challenge the “cripple,” and Boros spits at his feet, but walks out instead. Jaime is pleased that the man’s cowardice stopped him from calling Jaime’s bluff, as Jaime is convinced he would not have won the fight.

He asks Osmund how he had never heard of him before, and concludes from his evasiveness that he had been a common sellsword. He wonders why Cersei had chosen him, but dismisses him with no further interrogation. He then asks Meryn where it is written in their vows to beat women and children—referring to what he did to Sansa Stark at Joffrey’s behest—and Meryn replies they are sworn to obey the king. Jaime tells him from now on he will listen to Tywin, Cersei, and Jaime only, and bring questionable orders from Tommen to him first, and dismisses him as well.

Jaime tells Balon that the Kingsguard is honored by his presence, but wonders at his brother Donnel’s seeming fickleness in loyalty, and asks what Balon will do if one day Donnel comes storming into the throne room for Tommen. Balon sweats at the question, but answers that he will never do as Jaime did. Jaime laughs and dismisses him.

That leaves Loras, and Jaime hates his confident smile, but has to be amused that he is “comparing cocks” with him. He realizes suddenly that Loras is a younger version of Jaime himself, and changes tactics. He asks Loras who was really wearing Renly’s armor in the battle, and Loras reluctantly replies that it was his brother Garlan, at Lord Littlefinger’s suggestion. Loras swears that he will defend King Tommen with his last breath, but asserts that Renly was “the king that should have been.”

Jaime thinks he is sincere, and brings up Brienne. Loras thinks she should die, and that she won her place in Renly’s guard through a trick. Jaime idly recalls a knight using a mare in heat during a tourney, and Loras flushes, but insists that Brienne killed Renly, or at least let him die. Jaime points out that five of the Kingsguard—including Loras—were in the room where Joffrey died, and says that Brienne insits she could no more have prevented Renly’s death than they could have Joffrey’s. He asks how Loras would fight a shadow. Loras admits that he doesn’t understand how Brienne could have sliced Renly’s gorget clean through, but is still skeptical of her story. Jaime tells him to go to Brienne and get her story, and then judge her innocence or guilt fairly, as a knight. Jaime promises to abide by his decision.

Loras agrees, and goes to leave, but turns back to say that Renly found Brienne absurd, a woman playing at being a knight, but that Renly had said she only wanted to die for him. Loras refers to Robar and Emmon, who Loras had killed in his grief, and Jaime lies that he would have done the same in Loras’s place, and Loras leaves. Jaime wonders that it never even occurred to him to kill the Kingsguard who failed to protect Joffrey. He decides he needs a golden hand to replace the one he had lost, and thinks Cersei might like that.

His hand could wait, though. There were other things to tend to first. There were other debts to pay.

Commentary
So, this chapter is basically the equivalent of Jaime setting up his shiny new partner’s office and then calling in the associates to make sure they are appropriately cowed and know that He Is The Boss Of Them Now. Which… um. A for effort, I guess?

It’s ironic that Jaime might never even realize how closely this parallels his brother Tyrion’s earlier efforts to assert his authority as Hand. Nor, I imagine, will Jaime fully appreciate how much better he has it by not having to do so under the aegis of fucking Joffrey. Or how much less difficult it is having to be A Big Strong Man with a missing hand than it is as a deformed and (later) maimed little person.

Which isn’t to say that I think Jaime is having it easy; it’s just comparatively that I’m like, “yeah, you think you have problems, bub.”

It’s also ironic that I don’t particularly deride Jaime’s efforts to be ABSM™ for any of the reasons he thinks he might not qualify (e.g., his missing hand, not having enough extracurricular activities in the Kingsguard Yearbook, not caring about Joffrey’s death), but I do deride them based on things it doesn’t even (apparently) occur to him to think about. E.g., not defending Tyrion even though he clearly doesn’t really think Tyrion is guilty, leaving Brienne’s fate to an obviously biased Loras, and still letting his entire sense of self-worth revolve around Cersei’s opinion of him.

Because, okay. The missing hand? At least theoretically work-around-able. Maybe not easily, but supposedly Jaime was the best of the best of the best back in the day, so don’t tell me he can’t even try to compensate. Plus I don’t believe that physical prowess is the be-all and end-all of masculine worth, but I know that is like crazy wild-eyed progressivism by Westeros standards, so whatever. *rolls eyes*

The Yearbook? Um, you are comparing yourself to a dude (Ser Barristan) who was in the field for over five decades, Jaime. I’m not entirely sure how old Jaime is, but I’m guessing he can’t possibly be more than twenty-five or so, thirty at most, so he hasn’t even had time to rack up the Boy Scout badges Barristan has. I’m not saying you’ve always been making the best life choices, Jaime, but cut yourself a little slack here, jeez.

And as far as not caring about Joffrey’s death: well. I am obviously biased by my virulent hatred of the little psycho, but even leaving aside the kid’s deep and abiding (and thankfully now defunct) personality defects, I don’t find it nearly as surprising (or upsetting) that Jaime doesn’t particularly care about him as Jaime seems to.

I’m not really sure I have a good excuse for that, except in that I’ve always been a believer in the idea that the definition of “family” is “who you care for and who cares for you,” rather than “who you’re related to by blood.” The two things can (and often do) overlap, but not always. And since Jaime’s blood family situation is about the most fucked-up thing ever, on just about every level possible, I guess I just don’t find it very strange that Jaime has no real concept of how to relate to Joffrey (and by extension, I suppose, Tommen and Myrcella) as people he should deeply care about.

I’m not even saying that that’s healthy, or right, or whatever. I’m just saying that it’s not surprising, and for me, anyway, it doesn’t actually particularly affect my opinion of Jaime negatively.

Because there are plenty of other things that negatively affect my opinion of him. Like, oh, I don’t know, that time he THREW A CHILD OUT OF A WINDOW.

(Nope, still not letting that go. Sorry, child defenestration still a No Go for me. Too bad, too sad.)

Which goes back to the things I do judge him for, like his deeply unhealthy, self-and-other-people-damaging obsession with Cersei. I mean, the actual incest aspect of it is, I am coming increasingly to feel, only the icing on the cake of how many things are wrong with that relationship, which is sort of mind-boggling. Seriously, let me repeat that: the incest is the LEAST WORRYING PART OF IT.

I mean, what is this I don’t even. Jaime has, willingly, pretty much wrecked his own future at least twice over just to be with her, and he’s already resoundingly demonstrated that there is no moral line he is not willing to cross to protect that relationship, no matter how insane. Some people might find that romantic, but I just think it’s cuckoo bananas.

I think this might also be part and parcel of Martin’s habit of deconstructing tropes, in this case the trope of an all-encompassing One True Love, for each of whom the other will do ANYTHING so that they can be together. Including, apparently, engaging in incest, cuckolding an entire nation, and throwing children out of windows.

Yeah, not quite so pretty a concept when put that way, is it?

Not to mention, I have no idea what is up with Jaime letting Loras Tyrell, of all goddamn people, decide whether Brienne is innocent or guilty of killing Renly. Because, this:

“Renly gave me the van. Otherwise it would have been me helping him don his armor. He often entrusted that task to me. We had… we had prayed together that night.”

Yeah, “prayed.” Is that what they’re calling it these days?

I’ll confess I might not have twigged to this if it weren’t for leading (or outright explanatory) comments to the Read regarding their relationship (which I kind of am upset by, to be honest), but as a result this quote made it blatantly obvious to me that Renly and Loras were lovers back in the day. Which means nothing in the grand scheme of things, except that ergo, Loras Tyrell is the least unbiased person possible to be passing judgment on Renly’s possible murderer, and yet, that’s who Jaime sends to judge Brienne?

What.

Granted, it doesn’t seem that Jaime himself has actually realized their true relationship (at least he certainly doesn’t remark on it here), but even without that, it’s completely obvious that Loras flippin’ adored Renly, platonically or otherwise, and therefore is absolutely not equipped to be an equitable judge on the matter of his killer. So really Jaime, what the hell.

I feel it should be noted, by the way, that I am not even remotely abandoning my theory that Jaime is in love with Brienne. He can be unhealthily obsessed with his twin sister AND be in love with Brienne at the same time, while ALSO making terrible choices about how to protect them both. Because Jaime’s dysfunction MULTITASKS.

*headdesk*

Aside from all that, I feel I should take a moment to acknowledge, here, the truly remarkable depth and breadth of Martin’s worldbuilding, at least by all surface evidence. I left it out of the summary, but the tally of Barristan’s (and Jaime’s) accomplishments in the Kingsguard Yearbook was just one of many times where Martin has given the unmistakable impression that he has worked out every last bit of Westeros’s history and politics and relationships, in all its cast-of-thousands glory, and that’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me. And I’m not sure which would be more impressive: that he actually has worked all that out in such detail, or that he’s just that good at faking that he has. Either one is a pretty tremendous authorial feat in my opinion.

Either way, it cannot be overestimated how much flavor and authenticism it adds to the story, that implied weight of history behind the present-day story as it unfolds. Which is what any epic fantasy worth its salt aspires to achieve, of course, but I think Martin has accomplished it better than most I’ve read. That’s one fantasy trope, as far as I can tell, that he’s played absolutely straight.


And this is the end for now! See you (probably) next Thursday!

81 comments
klp
1. klp
Jaime jumped into a bear pit for Brienne. I think there's absolutely no way that he would do anything to her if Loras judged her guilty. Plus, he took all of this time to feel Loras out and by Loras' own admission he's doubting Brienne's guilt. And really, what would happen to Brienne if someone thinks she's guilty of killing Renly. Renly was a traitor to the throne. Instead of punishing Brienne, wouldn't they throw her a parade?

It's actually very clever in that instead of forcing the member of a powerful family to abide by Jaime's decision, he's trying to make that person come to his own (same) conclusion.
klp
2. Aerona Greenjoy
Oh, Renly and Loras prayed. Like Stannis and Melisandre. Like the Summer Islanders Tyrion wishes to emulate.
George Jong
3. IndependentGeorge
The really amazing thing about Barristan's yearbook entry is that if you delve deeper, you can actually tie out most of it to throwaway lines elsewhere in the books. Barristan's a living legend, and most of the Westerosi characters are well familiar with his exploits; every now and then, characters will make minor allusions to them in the way we talk about sports stars today.
klp
4. DougL
Well, if you are going to give Jaime the benefit of the doubt, before he entrusts Loras, Loras had expressed some measure of doubt as to how Brienne could have done it. So, maybe he's not quite so blind, and there is nothing to say Jaime wouldn't try to talk him down if Loras came to the wrong decision.

I also don't like Jaime, but he's fun to read.
klp
5. miriam12
Jaime is 35, Leigh. According to the wiki, he was born in 266, and Joffrey's wedding was right after the new year in 300. So presumably Jaime's birthday was not in the first few days of the new year, then he would be 35.
Drew McCaffrey
6. PallonianFire
Jaime is definitely aware of Loras and Renly's relationship. A closer re-reading of Jaime's previous chapter should shed some light on that. I know that I, too, missed out on a lot of the hints regarding their particular sexual proclivities, but I picked up on it for the first time in that chapter.
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
Leigh, as Jaime is Cersei's twin, them being 25 would put her having Joffrey at the age of 11 or 12, not unheard of, of course, but I think it's been established that they do wait a bit longer to start marrying them off, unless it's for cause(like quickly trying to marry Sansa to Joffrey once she started her period, to remove her from any claim the Starks had on her).

Also, thank you for informing us you had twigged onto the R&L thing, and I'm so sorry it was ruined for you. I myself was looking forward to your headdesk reaction when you caught it in the books.
klp
8. MGP
Jaime was 17 when he was appointed to Aerys's Kinsguard. He killed him maybe a year or two after that. Aerys died shortly before Robb was born, and Robb was 16 when the Red Wedding went down. This makes Jaime and Cersei about 35. Tyrion is, what, nine years younger than them?
klp
9. zambi76
Yeah, I don't think you need to worry much about Loras judgement of Brienne. I think it's clear that Jaime is 100% sure that the boy will come to the correct conclusion, or he wouldn't let him do any judging. Jamie also made a comment in his last chapter that seems to indicate he indeed knows about Loras's and Renly's sexual relationship (we all thought it would become clear to you there, but the "praying" is fine too in this respect.) As Tyrion puts it once: "If I could pray with my cock I would be much more religious." ;)
George Jong
10. IndependentGeorge
Jaime was 15 when he joined the Kingsguard, 17 when he killed Aerys. About 14-15 years elapsed between Robert's Rebellion and the start of GOT, and then another 1-2 year between then until this chapter, so I estimate he's somewhere around 32-35.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
The thing about the Renly/Loras relationship, is it was the worse kept secret, and the only people who didn't know everyone knew, was Renly and Loras. There are all kinds of side mentions of it, once you know what they are referring to.

So yeah, Jaime knew, it's just old hat.
klp
12. zambi76
Cersei and Jaime (born 266AL) are 33 (going on 34) at this point in the story. Tyrion (born 274AL) is eight years younger than them, so 25 (going on 26).
Captain Hammer
13. Randalator
What exactly would happen if Loras found Brienne guilty?

That would just mean that she killed a traitor and rebel against the rightful (as far as the public is concerned) king Joffrey. That's more likely to earn her a reward than an execution, no matter how many hissy fits Loras might throw. Just look at how much Jaime got killed for actual regicide (hint: not all that much).

For all intents and purposes Brienne did House Lannister a huge favor by "killing" Renly, just as Jaime did House Baratheon back in the day. I think Jaime knows very well, that Brienne is not in any real danger either way and is just subtly manipulating a grieving Loras, who already has doubts regarding Brienne's guilt, into making the right judgment.

So either Loras finds her not guilty which coming from Renly's BFF himself couldn't be better suited to assert her innocence. Or he finds her guilty anyway which instantly makes her House Lannister's favourite sword-wieldy woman person ever. That's a win-win situation if I ever saw one...
klp
14. Cannoli
IDK, I think the judging Brienne thing is something Jaime is setting up as a moment of truth for Loras - he's challenging Loras to be objective and do the right thing, as opposed to following his heart, which seems to have been Loras' MO up until this point.

That's the thing between Jaime and Loras - he sees a smug, arrogant young knight, who's the best of his generation, and doomed by his romantic leanings to not be happy with the ordinary wife-and-kids-family-plan, so he ends up in the Kingsguard as a teenager. Jaime went down that road, and look where it got him. So he's doing a bit of subtle career counseling for Loras, because he's at that age where good advice goes out the other ear.

Jaime is challenging him to be better by entrusting Loras with the decision, because when he was that age, he succumbed to his adolescent outrage and murdered Aerys, and went along with his family killing babies. And I don't think that little exercise would help if Loras knew he was going to be subject to review. Robb was younger (and his command success trumps Jaime's & Loras' teenage hand-to-hand feats, IMO), but not nearly such a jerk, and I think that's because he had real, life-and-death-for-other-people responsibility dumped on his head at 14. And Jaime is giving Loras a bit of that, and playing on his teenaged idealism ("your honor as a knight").

Loras only hates Brienne because he had no one else to blame for his loss. Their final comments suggest Jaime has made him recall positive things about her, vis a vis Renly, such as Renly's belief that she would have died for him, and feel ashamed of how he had once viewed her.

And finally, Jaime totally knows what "praying" means. His first words to Loras on arriving in King's Landing were that he'd take his sword away and shove it someplace Renly never found. The impression I get is that their relationship was an open secret among the aristocracy. Oberyn referred to Loras as "Renly's little rose" and when speaking of love, Tyrion seems to understand Loras' comment about no candle being able to replace the sun.

I think perhaps the reason why it was not made obvious to some readers prior to these scenes is that maybe no one is Westeros gives a damn, and haven't felt the need to comment on it in their stream of consciousness.

I also totally agree that Jaime is not redeemed in my eyes, for the reasons Leigh gives above, re: juvenile defenstration, etc. But also, because as of this chapter, he is still committed to the cause of a usurper, when he is in an almost totally unique position to DO something about it. It's not redemption if you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your wrongdoing, or forego being a jerk now that you lack the ability to do so. Jaime being nice to people is like a giving a rapist credit for reforming after he's been gelded. Jaime was always an arrogant snot because he was so good with a sword that no one could call him on it (and his family connections made sure society couldn't do much to him either) without dying. Now that he has to worry about people hitting back if they take offense, all that his decent behavior proves is that he is at least slightly more intelligent than his late son. Now that he's on top of the world, and his father & sister rule the kingdom, and he doesn't have any superiors who are not of his immediate family, there is no reason for him to commit treason anymore. That does not mean he is reformed or has made amends (even setting aside the child/tower window issue).
JoeNotCharles
15. JoeNotCharles
Wow, your reaction to this chapter is the total opposite of mine. I saw Jaime showing surprising humility (wondering if "the Kingslayer" was worthy of this post), dealing fairly and smartly with his subordinates, and then being very wise in putting Loras into a position to discover Brienne's innocense for himself, rather than have it forced on him in a way that he might resist. Whereas before this, the picture of Jaime has been of a person who is all massive ego and thinking with his balls and not his head.
klp
16. klp
@14 "But also, because as of this chapter, he is still committed to the cause of a usurper, when he is in an almost totally unique position to DO something about it."

What exactly should Jaime "do" about this? Confess the truth and let Stannis kill him, his two small children, his father, uncles, aunt, sister and brother? Sure, it's his own damn fault, but it's a bit much to expect Jaime's "redemption" to include destroying his entire family. It's much more realistic for him to try to seek redemption by being a better person when he actually can.
klp
17. Cannoli
Re: the dates issue above, the Appendix of GoT says Aerys died in 283, and multiple characters have said Jaime was 17 when he did that. According to Tywin and/or Tyrion, Joffrey & Margaery's wedding was the first day of the year 300.

Randalator @ 10: Good point. I made a case for the personal-improvement reasons why Jaime had Loras do the judging, but I can also see him presenting Loras's case in good faith and counting on Tommen (Tywin) to dismiss it for the reasons you mention, plus realpolitik and not wanting to get the Storm Lords and Lord Selwyn all hissy about it. Also, blaming Stannis is a convenient way to prevent him from regaining some of Renly's postumous sympathy. So he could then turn around and say "Well, I tried, Loras. I believe you, okay? We're still good and you can trust me as your Lord Commander." And then he'd know that there's no way he could ever trust Loras to be objective about stuff. It's like Qhorin Halfhand leaving Jon Snow alone with Ygritte - it's an opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your underling.
klp
19. Black Dread
@15 - I'm with you. I thought Jamie was doing pretty well. He's humbled by Ser Barristan’s long career and attention to detail, he quickly and accurately identifies Joffrey's girl-beaters and Cersei's toadies. He recognizes Loras for what he is (a young Jamie) and adjusts his attitude appropriately.

He does better than I would have assumed he could a couple of books ago.
Brian Carlson
20. images8dream
Many of you are arguing about whether or not Jaime is "redeemed." First off, I am not really sure what redemption is in a non-Christian setting. Secondly, given that many anti-heroes go through a "redeeming" where they become heroes, this is probably another case of Martin deconstructing tropes. In the real world, people do bad things, and then change after tragedy strikes. Does this mean they are redeemed? I don't know. I think the more interesting thing we see here is someone who was willing to push a kid out of a window start to grow a conscience. Maybe he will end up regretting what he did, or maybe not. That is the beauty of this series.
klp
21. Cannoli
@ 16
He can flee the country like Ned suggested to Cersei, or take the black or even cut a deal with Stannis for mercy for the kids (a much more palatable deal with Joffrey gone) in exchange for his public confession. As for Cersei, she deserves whatever she has coming. If Jaime can demand Loras be objective regarding his adulterous incestuous* relationship with Renly, why can't Jaime make himself be the same way regarding his adulterous incestuous relationship with Cersei?

*Loras was not just boinking his married king, he was boinking his younger sibling's spouse.
Katharine Duckett
22. Katharine
@18 Comment deleted, because disrespect of our re-readers and reviewers won't be tolerated. If you have an opinion on the content of the re-read, please make your point without unnecessary rhetoric or personal attacks.
klp
23. AJD
@21:

"Cut a deal with Stannis"?

Cut a deal... with Stannis???
Deana Whitney
24. Braid_Tug
@Leigh, Sorry about the pre-spoiling on L&R. But glad you are letting everyone know: 1) That you know & 2) That their "not hints" really were spoilers.
As I'm sure you guessed by now, it was one of the "things" the mods found really hard to controll / hide.

@12: Thanks for pointing out Tyrion's age. I had him mental pegged as older for unknown reasons.

@14: good thought about Jamie's reasons for send Loras to talk to Bri.
Never looked at that angle, but it's a good one.


@18: The way you worded your post was rather rude. But I also think you were trying to start a flame. If you want to see a "first time reaction" to the books - there are other ones out on the internet. Or get a friend to read it.
George Jong
25. IndependentGeorge
Awww. I'm always a little bit disappointed when a troll post gets disappeared before I can read it.

There used to be a Firefox extension that converted all YouTube comments into "Derp derp derp". It was awesome, but curiosity always got the better of me and I uninstalled after about a week.
klp
26. zambi76
I have never heard boinking your in-laws considered incest except from North Amercians and I have to confess that it is still a mighty culture shock that this gives me (weird, funny, ridiculous, sure, but incest? That's something very specific for my middle European self and involves very close bloodlines.) But then, I also always cringe at the word "adultery" if used un-ironically, forgetting it's still a crime in some of your states and I'm just a perv that'll never get monogamy ever.

About Jaime just needing to "confess" for "redemption", yeah, there's some very Christian morality motive about that too, images8dream, I agree.
klp
27. MRHD
Another great post, Leigh. I definitely felt the same way you do about Jaime letting Loras judge Brienne the first time I read this. I'm sorry people in the comments spoiled the Loras/Renly relationship. I know people who were hoping for you to pick up on it got frustrated after the last Jaime chapter which probably has the biggest hint in the books to their relationship, but there are other hints, and who knows what we'll get in as yet to be released books. I just hope people learn for this and don't put in leading comments for other issues.
klp
29. jmb
@14: Jaime has *always* been on the side of the usurper. Yes, Cersei has cuckolded the kingdom, and Tommen is not Robert's true heir. But remember - Robert wasn't anyone's true heir, either. I suspect the Kingslayer is rather comfortable with non-lineal passage of the Iron Throne.
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
Chapter 67--Jaime:Hopefully this will continue the Tyrion we saw last week. A white room. Maybe like this one:
In the white room with black curtains near the station.
Black-roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.
Silver horses run down moonbeams in your dark eyes.
Dawn-light smiles on you leaving, my contentment.

I'll wait in this place where the sun never shines;
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves.
OK, now I'm reading the chapter to that tune--interesting. By the way, I would guess that GRRM was aware of the parallel there and it is a song chock full of angst as well as allusion.

Jaime is conducting his own questioning--and maybe start an actual investigation. That would be a good idea. He should maybe have started that prior to the trial being almost over. Just a thought.

He is letting Loras talk to Brienne and decide if she is innocent. It seems like this may actually be a good idea as Loras does seem to be honorable and does seem to be cooling down and ready to actually listen to Brienne. We'll see.
Oh, well no real Tyrion continuation.
klp
31. cisko
I'm going from memory, but I think Jamie says something to Loras like, "interrogate Brienne, and if you think she's guilty, we'll have a trial." So he's making Loras the prosecutor, not the judge. That seems like a more reasonable proposition. Plus, you have to balance Loras' bias against his honor as a knight; I think this chapter is in part about Jamie (and Loras) starting to be serious about living up to the reputation of the Kingsguard.
Captain Hammer
32. Randalator
@21 Cannoli

cut a deal with Stannis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FopyRHHlt3M

Seriously, though. Stannis is physically incapable of compromising, there's no way you can cut a deal with him.
klp
33. klp
I dont know why Jaime's personal redemption should have anything to do with the realm. And, if it does, I think there's a valid argument that a Westeros led by a very capable Tywin and a good boy like Tommen is way better than a Stannis-led Seven Kingdoms. A good person might, in fact, make the choice for the betterment of the many - much like Jaime did when killing Aerys way back when.

Jaime can never make up to Bran what he did to him, so again, I don't know what he's supposed to do to other than to be a better person.
Julian Niquille
34. Gesar
"I’ll confess I might not have twigged to this if it weren’t for leading
(or outright explanatory) comments to the Read regarding their
relationship (which I kind of am upset by, to be honest)"

I'm not one of the hinters and I still felt bad reading this. My negativity possibly enhanced by my certitude that those people will read through this reaction and not even think twice about what they did :/
George Jong
35. IndependentGeorge
@34 - Agreed. Can it be made any clearer that for the purposes of this series, "You should re-read page X" constitutes a spoiler?
Adam S.
36. MDNY
Thank you for another ROIAF. As stated above, Jaime is a bit older than your estimate, closer to 35 (which is middle aged for a medeival society). I love the stories in the White Book, especially Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning (and how cool is that title, with his pale greatsword Dawn), plus the origins of Ser Barristan's nickname.
I'm sorry if we ruined the Loras bit, we were all talking quite extensively about your missed references in the spoiler thread, there was actually quite a debate about whether and when you could or should be told, and what your reaction would be....I was hoping you would stumble onto it in your free association posts and be spectacularly dumbfounded for a bit...oh well.
I think Jaime is being fairly honorable here. Yes, he is hearing Loras through, but he seems to understand Loras pretty well (it's funny how similar they are in personality, but Jaime seems to be acutally maturing in his later age when compared with Loras).
In general, the Kingsguard does not seem quite impressive. It is populated with cowards, sellswords, tourney knights (Loras is a great jouster but his brother is a much better swordsman), and captained by a one-handed man who once murdered the king he was assigned to protect. Quite a fallen group to be protecting King Tommen Baratheon(Lannister), the first of his name.
Vincent Lane
37. Aegnor
Leigh,
I think your missing the whole Renly/Loras thing goes back to the first chapter with them in book 2. It was at the feast Renly held when Catelyn showed up. Renly, Loras, and Margaery were there. The text said essentially that Renly joking and talking with Loras and nearly ignoring Margaery. In your summary you actually said the exact opposite. That he ignored Loras and focused on Margaery. First impressions can have a large impact and your misreading of that passage clouded that first impression.

I didn't give any hints, but I was in favor of a mod filling her in since she didn't get it from the last Jamie chapter. If it were a major plotpoint or something, then yeah, keep it hidden. There are certain theories which I am certain are correct, but definitely wouldn't advocate hinting at. But Renly's been dead for how long now? That plot point is over and done with and is very unlikely to play any further part.
Anthony Pero
38. anthonypero
I have to admit, I NEVER twigged to L/R. I mean, not ever. I found out by watching the HBO show. It seems obvious on re-read, of course.

In my defense, I didn't reread these books when they came out, so I read GoT and CoK before SoS came out in 1998. Then never reread any of them when the other two dropped. I didn't reread the series until this past spring. I had assumed the show was taking liberties prior to that.
Vincent Lane
39. Aegnor
I didn't clue into it until Jamie's comment about sticking his sword up somewhere even Renly didn't find. I was like "What the hell? Why would Renly be sticking his sword into Loras...ohhh right."

Leigh and I had a disagreement in one of the WoT reread threads about gay male characters, and that statistically there should have been some, and their absense was conspicuous. My contention was that we didn't know enough about that many male characters to even know if they were gay or not. We got into the heads of a lot of female characters (mostly Aes Sedai) and knew a lot about them, but that's not the case for male characters outside of a handful. The rest could be gay or not, we simply didn't have enough info to know.

And here in ASoIaF we have to significant male characters who are clearly gay, and most readers totally miss it.
klp
40. Ibid
@39: Over in the spoiler thread we had several branches of this conversation going. One aspect of it was "well, so what? Most people knew about R+L and there was no ill consequence."

And another interesting branch was about other significant characters who might be gay.

I miss a lot of things on a first read, but I definitely caught on to R+L with the "...pray together" comment.
klp
41. GarrettC
I'd like to mention just how well Leigh handled the response to being denied the chance to figure something out on her own that she made a point once of saying she wanted to find out on her own. Essentially, she denied us the HOLY SHIT response I and so many others were so excited to see. I even recall comments in the spoiler threads about cluing Leigh in for the express purpose of being able to see her flip out with excitement.

So, she was denied discovery, and we were denied exclamation. Well done, Leigh.

So remember this going forward, people: If we tamper with Leigh's batter, she's not going to let us eat the cake.
klp
42. Cannoli
Okay, I realize on the surface, it does not seem possible to cut a deal with Stannis, but that's when you are talking about something he believes to be right. It took prophecies and magic and a triple miracle to get him to consider sacrificing a boy to save the world. To murder a couple of generally nice kids he spent years believing were his niece and nephew, and who are not complete shits? He'd go for it. He's not above using expedient measures to get what is rightfully his, and he's pardoned or offered pardons to quite a few people who have done a lot more harm to his cause than Jaime, Tommen or Myrcella. When you get right down to it, Jaime never took up arms against Stannis, they were on the same side in Robert's rebellion, and Stannis approves of people willing to pay the price for their crimes.

He pardoned the Baratheon vassals who picked Renly's side over him, and he intended to offer pardons to the northmen and ironborn when Balon and Robb died. If it would hasten the end of the war, and bring him closer to triumph, I could totally see him letting Tommen and Myrcella live or go into a convent or become a maester or something.

And as for whether or not sleeping with your sibling's spouse counts as incest, can all you bedroom lawyers at least agree that it's a complete dick move, either to do to your sibling, or to put your sibling in the position of having to live in a sham marrige to your lover, for the lover/unfaithful husband's benefit?
klp
43. Crusader75
@26 - In the real world Christendom, sex between in-laws was considered incest. When Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, the fact that Catherine was Henry's brother's widow forced them to get a dispensation from the Pope to allow the marraige. Apparently, there was also some concern for Hnery's marraige to Anne Boleyn because Anne's sister had previously bee his mistress. This was an actual standard of the times.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
So sorry you didn't have an organic discovery of the Loras-Renly relationship. Several of my "beware the long chapters" warnings involved cases where GRRM dropped in some text full of portent re the relationship that you didn't pick up on. (One example - Tyrion having a maid who used to be in Renly's house. Text makes some comment from Tyrion implying the mail had ample practice in acting blind, dumb and deaf from that experience.

I was really hoping that we could have worked a PPV arrangement where re-readers watched in real time as the relevant clip from the HBO show was shown - which explicitly shows the relationship - and let you post on a stream of consciousness basis. Oh well.....

Jaime impressed me in this chapter. Very quick sizing up of the Kingsguardians. Very decisive. He makes a smart decision re Loras. If he just freed Brienne, Loras may well have challenged and tried to kill her in anger anyway. He needed to get to the root cause and gave Loras the opportunity to do the right thing. Cersei remains Jaime's weak spot. Hope it isn't a fatal flaw....
Adam S.
45. MDNY
This might make me a bad person, or a homophobe, but I pretty much suspected Loras was gay from the beginning, because of his nickname (Knight of Flowers--yes, Highgarden is known for its flowers, and his House uses a flower for its sigil, but it's such an unmanly name that I snickered a bit), and immediately twigged to his relationship with Renly by early in ACOK.
klp
46. Black Dread
I'm of the "so what" camp. The TV show tipped me off before I figured it out from the books. Other than the fact that Margaery might still be a virgin, so what? Did that have even mattered? Would Joff have known the difference?

Renly is dead and Loras is now in the Kingsguard and not allowed to marry. So what? Not much of a spoiler - more like gossip.
Michael Langer
47. Baba Yaga
Renly's Rainbow Kingsguard was also a clue.
Adam S.
48. MDNY
@47 That was definitely part of what made me think he and Loras were gay early on, with the Knight of Flowers as commander of Renly's Rainbow Guard. I mean come on, it's like out of a Monty Python skit about gay knights or something.
klp
49. GarrettC
@47: I wouldn't say that makes you a homophobe, because I think GRRM intended for the people who figured it out to snicker at things like "Flower" and "Rainbow guard" and all the subtle off-hand jokes characters make at their expense, Renly's proclivity for fashion, and several convenient uses of the word "queer" (although, GRRM uses the word queer rather liberally in the texts, anyway, so ymmv on whether it means something extra when it has to do with Renly or not).

It actually kind of makes me wonder how I'm supposed to read it all. The two prominent gay characters are hidden behind layers of subtext, their relationship is stripped of pretty much all significance beyond Blackwater, and many of the clues we have about their sexuality are jokes... One of these prominent homosexual characters is killed off with hardly any screen time, and the other one decides he's just going to swear off relationships entirely (at least, in oath form), Is this... even a positive depiction at all?

If, btw, I'm forgetting other prominent (positive) homosexual characters, I'll take that re-education in the spoiler thread.

My gut feeling from the books is that there's no funny business going on in that respect, because GRRM seems like a progressive dude, and both Loras and Renly are cool characters, and yet when I think about the above, I still sometimes do wonder.
Genevieve Williams
50. welltemperedwriter
Martin claims the naming of the Rainbow Guard is coincidence.

If he's using the word "queer" as a hint it's a wink to the audience, since its usage to mean gay is a recent development.
klp
51. zambi76
And as for whether or not sleeping with your sibling's spouse counts as incest, can all you bedroom lawyers at least agree that it's a complete dick move, either to do to your sibling, or to put your sibling in the position of having to live in a sham marriage to your lover, for the lover/unfaithful husband's benefit?
If done behind the siblings back major dick move indeed, if sham marriage with all involved consenting I'm totally fine with it. But there is of course the problem here if Margaery even had the means to consent or was just ordered to go with it by the patriarchy which sucks major dick too and not in the good way.

I was utterly spoiled before reading the series but I like to think that I would have gotten Renly/Loras at least at Loras's "sunsetting" line. But no worries Leigh, it really seems the majority of readers did not get this ever, and GRRM seems to be a bit in denial about his "burying the gay" himself.
klp
52. a1ay
In the real world Christendom, sex between in-laws was considered
incest. When Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, the fact that
Catherine was Henry's brother's widow forced them to get a dispensation from the Pope to allow the marraige.

Henry needed a dispensation because canon law prohibited marriage within "affinity" - which included direct-line relatives of a deceased spouse. Catherine couldn't marry Henry, because he was her late husband's brother, the two of them had become "one flesh" in the words of the marriage service.
Of course, Henry complicated matters himself later by arguing that Catherine's marriage to Arthur had been consummated and therefore, whatever the Pope had said in the dispensation, he had married his dead brother's widow (prohibited in Leviticus 18 and 20) and that was why his marriage had been cursed and he hadn't had a proper heir, only a girl. And, therefore, that the Pope had been wrong to give the dispensation, the wedding should never have gone ahead, he wasn't ever really married to Catherine at all and (deep breath) therefore he was free to marry Anne Boleyn.
klp
53. a1ay
See also, for any G&S fans:
"He shall prick that annual blister
'Marriage To Deceased Wife's Sister!'"
referring to a recurrent debate in the late Victorian Parliament, finally resolved with the Deceased Wife's Sister's Marriage Act of 1907.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deceased_Wife%27s_Sister%27s_Marriage_Act_1907
klp
54. Crusader75
@48 Except there is some plausible deniability. The Rainbow Guard as successor to the Whitelcloaks could be considered a homage to Tolkien's Saruman the White and of Many Colors. Loras's flower theme could be a referencing Highgarden as an expy of France (rose vs. lily as national symbol).
klp
55. Crusader75
Physical prowess may not be the be all of masculine worth but it was for Jaime. He's the star quarterback who gets his leg shattered while he's in his prime. His life goals were to be the best knight of his generation, and to be Cersei's bedmate, and now feels precluded from the former. While he is showing here that he has leadership skills that he may have thought were of secondary importance but he has not integrated that into his sense of self worth.
klp
56. Heronimus Rex
A post all the way from Holland, you people. How cool, is that huh? How awesome is this blog? Yes. It’s INTERCONTINENTALLY awesome!

Anyway. First of all: I love Jaime. Just like I love any other antihero. Which he totally is. And he was supercool in this chapter.

The way he handled Loras was so cool. He did an impromptu character assesment of Loras and decided that when even Loras would judge Brienne innocent, her innocence must be without any doubt and the matter would be over and done with for all eternity. How totally medieval is that?? It was risky, yea, but I’m sure he was absolutely confident that Brienne would totally convince Loras. It was all crazy & stupid, sure, but that's just our Jaime! Totally in character for him to think that way.

On the R&L thing: I remember I was a bit disappointed when I finally found out about the depth of the relationship between them. I mean I suspected it of course, but just stubbornly hoped Loras' obsessive behaviour after Renly’s death was just the sort of love that best friends would have for eachother. Like some extreme male bonding you-my-best-buddy-who-is-also-gonna-be-my-king-for-life kinda thing. And after this chapter almost anything but flat out stated that they were gay it just suddenly felt so shallow. As if the love between two men once again could not be anything else but homosexual.

On the side: don’t you love it that in Westeros you can be chivalric and cruel at the same time? It’s not even confusing me anymore.
Rafael
57. Ryamano
@49 garretc
and the other one decides he's just going to swear off relationships entirely (at least, in oath form), Is this... even a positive depiction at all? (whited out for possible spoilers)

I actually think this is positive. Basically the only true love story that's not fucked up (iow, it's consensual, doesn't involve rape or threatening moves) in this tale is between two gay men. They were so in love with each other that when one dies, the other, in rage, kills a lot of people. And they were so in love that this other decides not to love anyone else, taking vows of chastity, because once the sun sets down, no candle can look as good (or something like that).

That's one of the reasons I didn't like the HBO show. There Loras still sleeps with other people, men included, after Renly dies. What was a "true love" story in the books turned out to be just some kink in the show.
Steven Halter
58. stevenhalter
I was spoiled on Loras-Renly by the first season show before I decided to follow along at reread pace. That certainly convinced me not to watch any more of the show until we are done with the reread. (Which is a tad annoying because I've had people who would never have watched anything with fantasy ask me about the show and I have to explain why I'm not watching it at which point uncomprehension sets in.)
People were pretty heavy handed in their hints. It is really very simple. If someone says they don't want hints they mean it. Things do seem to have calmed down here as far as blatant hinting.
Tabby Alleman
59. Tabbyfl55
So considering Westerosi life expectancy, Jamie and Cersei should be approaching their midlife crisises. That could be fun.
Anthony Pero
60. anthonypero
GarrettC@49:

Also, please keep in mind that while GRRM may indeed be a "progressive dude", everything up to this point in the reread had been written in the 90s. What constituted "progress" wasn't up to the same level as today.

Also, I would say his depiction of homosexuality was every bit as "positive" as his depiction of... anything else in this dreary, horrible world. Whatever he was doing with deconstructing tropes, GRRM wasn't writing this story with any sort of agenda. He treats everything like crap here.
Mark Lawrence
61. incurablyGeek
GRRM is a little subversive, I think, in his treatment of Renly & Loras. It does seem their relationship is treated within the context of Westerosi culture as "less than" what with the snide remarks, sniggering and so forth but both men had power and warrior skills and also had respect for that. Our 21st century western civilization based concepts of "masculinity" don't apply except as a framing perspective.
klp
62. Unanswered question
GRRM isn't into world-building the way RJ is. There's less history and sometimes different names are given to things making it seem there's more backstory events (i.e. Whent's tourney, Harrenhal Tourney, whatever the crannogman called it is all the same).

You'll need to wait until the end of the book to check out the @google talk I think they avoid AFFC and later spoilers because of the HBO series but would need to check on that, and probably should since he's very engaging. Interestingly, he doesn't track his lore very carefully. After making a few mistakes, he's now involved with the fellow that started westeros.org for keeping all the detail somewhat straight and that's talked about in the interview/Q&A.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTTW8M_etko
Chris Nelly
63. Aeryl
@62, See it's details like that, that make this story MORE real to me. That everyone remembers things differently, that different people have different names for the same events. It gives the story an organic feel, IMO.
Adam S.
64. MDNY
@62 I couldn't disagree more that GRRM is not into world building. There is a ton of history backstory in these books, I would say moreso than in WOT by RJ. All you need to do is look at the appendices of each book, with all the major noble families and their members and chief allies listed, to see that he has devoted a lot of effort into fleshing out his world with characters and backstory. The fact that sometimes people use different names to refer to the same historical event does not cheapen it, it makes it more realistic. I feel that GRRM's love of history has fed into his desire to create a full world, full of backstory and past events that we learn about piece by piece, and I think he makes a good effort at keeping things clear and error-free, while his characters sometimes disagree or make errors because they are human.
Corkryn Williams
65. MadCow21
@57, Nothing I recall reading in the books indicated that Loras took a vow of celibacy following Renly's death. Sure, he shined Sansa on what with her lady parts and all, but joining the Kingsguard precludes only marriage and not sex, as Jaime so incestuously illustrates.
jeremiah gaster
66. jer
As others have pointed out the fact that one event has several different names is actually "true to life". In my Master's paper on the bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, I pointed out that the three days of rioting, looting and breaking of state power known collectively as the "caracazo" actually is known by several other names depending on where in Venezuela one is and the class that one is a part of.

eta: ( my favorites were: "the day that the mountains came down" and "the day that the river left its bed" the poor tend to either live up in the mountains or beside the rivers).
klp
67. Ibid
@65:

"...but joining the Kingsguard precludes only marriage and not sex..."

Uh. No. Not true. I don't want to get spoilery at you, so I'll just say that your assertion is wrong. And as far as Jaime is concerned, he has to hide his sex with Cersei for about 100 more dangerous reasons than his Kingsguard vows, which he is also breaking.
klp
68. FellKnight
I am very disappointed at whoever finally spoiled the R&L thing for Leigh.

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS, PEOPLE.
klp
69. AllHailTheDragonQueen
@47 Despite what some other commentors have been saying, GRRM as said the rainbow guard wasn't a clue about Renly.

The main religion of westeros is the 7 new gods, and part of rituals and ceremonies is the septons using crystals to seperate the "pure white light" into the seven rainbow colors of the gods. If I remember correctly the high septon's (i.e. pope) crown was called the rainbow crown because it was entirely made of prisms and casts rainbow light everywhere.

They reason kingsguard wear white is to represent purity, and Renly decided to put the rainbow twist to represent a more religious touch to the order. Yeah, the concept probably appealed to Renly because its colorful, but it wasn't meant as a clue. (Man that was longer then I thought it would be.)

@65 Yeah, its a vow of chastity, not just a vow to not get married. I'm a little vague but I think the Kingsguard is supposed to be a kinda soft-of semi-religous order. That's why the kingsguard is supposed to be composed of knights (i.e. warriors annoited by priests/septons) who have proven their valor and honor.
klp
70. GarrettC
Re: The Rainbow Guard name being coincidental to Renly sexuality:

I can buy whole-heartedly that it was a coincidence, especially because Martin has no reason I can think of to lie about something like that, and happy little coincidences happen all the time in the writing process (and in fact, may be the better part of the writing process). And, as a coincidence, I can buy that it wasn't originally intended as a clue.

But I certainly do not, not for a second, buy the idea that in the writing, Martin never once paused to think, "oh, hey, now that's kind of a cool coincidence. I'll just leave that in there because now it works on an extra level."

Because his not once thinking something along those lines would demonstrate a shocking lack of self-awareness in his craft. And if there's one thing I don't think about Martin, it's: "Hey, that guy doesn't seem all that aware of his craft."
Christina Kolb
71. aglaia22
@42. Cannoli

Stannis has stated on numerous occasions that Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella were "abominations" and the result of incest. He does not care, nor ever thinks they were "nice kids". Stannis would totally execute them for both practical (getting rid of any competition) and moral (incest babies not even the real children of Robert) reasons.
Christopher Kennard
72. Wani
Oh hey, I've suddenly caught up with this series during my own first-time-read of ASoIaF. And that's an annoying acronym to write.
I've seen all of the HBO series though (twice now), so I already knew about the Loras/Renly thing, but, having read a lot of the comments, especially during ACoK, I saw lots of people saying that it should be obvious by whatever point, but really, this chapter was the first really clear evidence that anything was up. Well, the comment about sticking his sword where Renly wouldn't find it was another clue, but beyond that, without prior knowledge that they were together, there really wasn't any huge clues, despite what people said.
On another note, I do believe that, by this point, there's only... one-ish thing that the series has spoiled that hasn't explicitly come up in the books. Kinda.
Michael Langer
73. Baba Yaga
Rainbow Kingsguard was a clue to me. Also, the point was that stupid prom queen Sansa has a crush on a bloke who is gay *snicker*.
klp
74. Back
Rewatched the google talk, yes it's as good as I remember. There is spoiler in the sense that this character is alive for AFFC, so wait until this book is finished. There's a few "I have too many viewpoint characters, I need to off a few" lines as well as lots of writing/lit crit/tv show production things of interest.

63 and 64, yah I wasn't clear enough. RJ went to ridiculous lengths of world-building that GRRM doesn't (notes totalling several times the published word count, etc...). He certainly values verisimilitude and does a great job IMO, just that say he only has 10 Valaryian or Dothraki words total (I'll make up more when I have to) whereas RJ has several hundred and rules of grammar on the Old Tongue :)
klp
75. Jeff R.
@67, It's been shown that in pretty much all of the 'celibate' orders in this world violations that don't result in a pregnancy on someone's part are not particularly vigorously punished, from the lowest levels to the highest.

And this is a world with extremely effective herbal birth control and a relatively safe abortificient drug, but which still has more-or-less realistic levels of childbirth deaths of both the infant and mother: it's a major wonder than anyone manages to get born at all in this world.
Rob Munnelly
76. RobMRobM
Re GRRM v RJ on worldbuilding - I find them equally impressive. I have trouble agreeing with anyone's conclusion that GRRM's is deficient compared to RJ. GRRM not only has his principal series and its extensive family trees behind each volume, he has the Dunk and Egg stories set nearly 100 years before and the new Dance of the Dragons prequel coming out later this year that set nearly 200 years before that was 100,000 words in length before GRRM cut it down to 40,000 or so and the Lands of Ice and Fire map book (with annotations) and the upcoming Worlds of Ice and Fire book.

Re the languages in general - my understanding was the RJ didn't do a whole lot with the Old Tongue's vocab and grammar. Relative handful of words and phrases thown together without an overarching grammatical or phonological structure. Very comparable to what GRRM did with Dothraki and Valyrian.
Adam S.
77. MDNY
No one has ever come close to JRR Tolkien's work when it comes to constructing a fictional language, to my knowledge. I still maintain that GRRM's worldbuilding surpasses RJ's in most areas, but neither one could match Tolkien in linguistics, who invented multiple languages in his teens and continued linguistics work throughout his life (he was a linguistics professor, and helped write the Oxford English Dictionary for a time).
Chris Nelly
78. Aeryl
@75, JeffR, what seems to me to be the most important, in re the "celibate" orders, is not that you don't procreate, but that you don't attempt to create dynasties.
Rob Munnelly
79. RobMRobM
Leigh - on Loras-Renly: the funniest piece of it was that there were several posts involving chapters where both characters were contributors and you were complaining about the apparent absence of gay characters in Westeros. We were laughing our heads off in the spoiler posts.
klp
80. Cannoli
As far as the celibacy goes, Kingsguard have been killed or otherwise punished for having sex. The Night's Watch doesn't consider the whores in Mole's Town to be a thing, because as Maester Aemon explained, they are all about not loving any person more than their duty. As long as the brothers aren't falling in love and having bastard families, it's not in violation of the spirit of their oaths. Jon's major issue with Ygritte is that he had a real relationship with her, and she was a temptation to abandon his duty. All in all, I think the celibate orders are treated like marriage. Married people can get away with adultery legally speaking, so long as they aren't creating any problems, but steps will be taken if a husband, wife, septon, sworn brother or maester has an illict relationship that is interfering with their duty or causing scandal. American morality has a bit of a puritanical streak where people tend to have an all or nothing attitude towards extra-marital sex. People either completely disapprove, or they utterly reject the marriage-only rule. In the Middle Ages, the attitudes might have been different in different times and places, depending on the culture. They certainly didn't have Calvanism as a seminal influence on the founding of their cultural identities as Americans did.

As far as the worldbuilding goes, Martin has named and provided more information on the kings of Westeros than I think RJ actually has kings appear in his series. Just from reading five novels and three short stories, I know more Targaryen history than I do British. I am certainly more confident in my ability to name their kings than the last 300 years or so of British rulers. That has nothing to do with me and my areas of interest - it is just pointing out that the information is there, and thus has been "world-built" by GRRM, regardless of the readers' levels of interest. Martin has simply not provided the expository details that RJ has. Also, while on the grand scale his world might lack the scope and variety of WoT, he is a lot better on the intimate details. I get the daily customs of Westeros or the Dothraki more than any specific nation in WoT, even if I understand the geopolitical state of affairs in the latter more than I get the rivalries and commercial or military interests of the Free Cities.
klp
81. Cannoli
Oh, and one thing I forgot to touch on with the celibacy thing, while they might laugh it off most of the time, if they have any reason to go after you for some other cause, you can bet the oathbreaking will be used to either pile on to your guilt, or else to nail you when there is no way to convict you of the major problem. It's like convicting Al Capone on tax evasion. Nobody would have been fussing over his taxes if they were not looking to get a mob boss off the streets.

And it's also a legitimate gripe. While on practical terms people recognize that you can break the letter of an oath to sate a common and understandable urge without violating the main purpose of the oath, in a world where so much of the maintenance of society depends on oaths being kept and on sworn bonds between leaders and subjects and allies, a guy who would step out on a solemn oath to the gods or the woman he loves, is capable of breaking the other oaths that serve in the place of ironclad laws, applied impartially that is our modern ideal.
That's why Robb, in his apology to the Freys, said that a king especially should keep his word. Because his kingdom is held together by his promises of protection and justice for his subjects. That's why Renly made a point of publically reminding his host that Robert might have banged the lord's daughters - he was proclaiming his restraint and that he would not abuse his power.

The issue of oaths of celibacy and their maintenance is a complicated one, because sex is a complicated issue. There are practical arguments for some leeway, but there are equally valid practical arguments for rigorous enforcement. The ways in which people turn a blind eye to minor violations is sort of a compromise between the two ideal. A married noble can have an affair, so long as the legal succession isn't disrupted. A sworn brother can get his ashes hauled as long as he doesn't fail to protect that with which he is charged. A maester can fool around as long as he does not allow it to cloud his judgement when counseling his lord or carrying out his medical duties (i.e. leering at milady's boobs or vag). Even septons, so long as they don't abuse their position to get laid or their pastoral duties in favor of their lovers and bastards. But when they DO get out of line, rather than weighing arguments about how bad the violator's dereliction was, it's much more efficient to fall back on "He broke his oath, guilty as charged". Think of the oath as a line you cross at your own peril. The oaths, even if everyone knows they are only going to be honored in the breech, are a last resort means of weeding out the really problematic guys (like Jaime) or identifying the truly great ones (Ned, Barristan, etc). The in-between members of the Kingsguard might have mistresses or visit the brothels, but only the really shitty ones with let their lusts interfere with their duty, and the ones who refrain from even that backdoor indulgence are generally more reliable when push comes to shove.
klp
82. DougL
@76. RobMRobM

Jordan's world was good for what it was, but GRRM's in more realistic.

In real life there are different names for historical conflicts, and the entire flavour of history changes depending on who you are talking to. That's how GRRM has built his world, with the unreliable narrator at the helm, and that's how it really works.

So, if you are looking for continuity errors you will find them all over the place, but largely they are PoV errors, such as a person's eye colour being thought of differently by different people, or their hight or age.

Which world do I prefer? Hard to say, but overall I like these books more than the Wheel of Time.
klp
83. Cannoli
DougL @ 82,
Don't forget that a lot of what we might think of as unhistoric developments might be the result of a monolithic entity like the Tower imposing concepts on the world. The comparisons of the Tower to the Medieval/Renaissance era Catholic Church are not quite one-for-one, because anyone who rejected their authority could claim to have just as great an expertise in a particular area. What historian is going to argue with Adealas, who might very well have been present for a hundred-year-old conflict, or have spoken to people who remembered a 500 year old one? For Aes Sedai, it's only a 3-4 generation jump back to Artur Hawking's day. That gives them all sorts of advantages in preserving or manipulating cultural perceptions.

And RJ had a few instances of things having different names. For instance, Morgase's war to take the throne was known to Andorans as "The Succession" and to other countries as "The Xth War of Andoran Succession" and canon material specified it was a cultural blindspot of Andor not to admit internal wars. For RJ's characters, history was history, and not so personal and clannish as in aSoI&F. The Aiel War has had much less personal impact on the current characters who were born after it, or were children during the fighting, than Robert's Rebellion had for the equivalent generation of Westerosi. One thing about aSoI&F is that as the story advances, we keep moving further back and getting a bigger picture of older events, and how they set the stage for today. History served a differet purpose in WoT, and I think each author used the approach that best served his story and the themes he wanted to play with.

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