Martin uses Bryon inspired romantic themes to explore how, when combined with other traits, a devotion to duty—particularly a moral code based universal principles that conflict with authority and convention—can undermine a character’s ability to effectively lead or participate in institutions that are immoral or corrupt. Instead of presenting heroes who, like Aragon or Frodo, succeed because of their inherently good qualities, Martin subverts the conventional fantasy trope by presenting heroes who, like Daenerys and Jon, are challenged as a direct result of their morality. Making ruling hard, even for a good, well-intentioned person, is central to GRRM’s “quibble” with Tolkien and his project in ASOIAF.
George portrays Jon Snow as a charismatic, attractive hero—he’s the son of the honorable Ned Stark and he saves the wildlings…and yet, he is also a liar and an oath-breaker, motivated by love and vengeance as much as by duty. In Dance, George illustrates this complex, contradictory and morally gray set of traits by putting Jon through series of increasingly difficult, borderline impossible challenges to his morality and leadership.
Featured Image: The House of Black and White by Sebastian Kowoll The House of Black and White is an embarrassment of magical riches. Let’s take a quick inventory as we embark on imaginary tour that feels a bit like an internet RPG circa 1998. If you will, please keep your hands inside the litter and… Continue reading Dark Sweet Secrets: Unmasking the Magic of the Faceless Men
The House of Black and White is gateway to death and the underworld. The way Arya describes its location is strikingly similar to other magical, underworld passageways and caverns in A Song of Ice and Fire: The knoll on which the passage stood was honeycombed with passageways hewn from the rock. Arya II, A Feast… Continue reading The Rocky Knoll: The House of Black and White as a Magical, Hollow Hill Location
Originally, I set out to map and compare all of the greenseer related imagery and symbolism in Braavos alongside the magical artifacts we find in the Faceless Men’s House of Black and White. Alas, as so often happens when analyzing George RR Martin’s rich work, I bit off more than could chew in a single… Continue reading A Grey City in a Green Sea: Green Magic and the Imagery of Braavos
Featured Art: Braavos by MsieuFrodon Braavos may be the youngest of the Free Cities, but the city’s history is as rich as the famed Iron Bank. To unlock of the magic at the heart of Braavos, we must understand the people that founded the city and their motivations. I promise, the origins of the Faceless Men and… Continue reading An Order of Whispers, A City of Secrets
Assassination plots, political intrigue, and strange dark magic jump out as my favorite elements of A Song of Ice and Fire. They combine to make a story that is fantasy, horror, political thriller, and mystery at all rolled into one. This potent mix lives at the heart of Braavos and the mysterious House of Black… Continue reading A Stupid, Flesh-Eating Statue