GRRM’s idea of a good leader

Winter posted this long-ass video interview with GRRM today. I have not watched the video because my attention span isn’t that long, but they also posted some edited highlights, and there are some really interesting answers there. I’m actually nowhere near as interested in what he says about the content of Winds of Waiting (it’s not really giving me any useful information) as much as his answer of who “deserves” to get the Iron Throne.

I don’t know that ‘deserve’ is really an operative word. The Iron Throne doesn’t necessarily go to who deserves it, but to who has the power to take and to hold it. But there are things in the books where I indicate what a king should be, what separates a good king from a bad king…It should be a public service position. The king’s job is the land, the people of the land, to make them prosperous, to protect them, to defend them, to provide them with justice. And that’s what the ideal king should be. There have been previous few of them in human history, sad to say.

Actually, I love this answer, because we can gather something about GRRM’s worldview from how he approaches this question. I think GRRM is an is/does/will sort of thinker, rather than building his narrative around matters of “should” and “deserve” and “right.” He’s thinking in terms of outcomes, rather than moral abstractions. The role of king/queen is a job, not a prize. The leader serves the people, not the other way around. A good leader is one who makes good things happen for the people, regardless of what that leader as an individual “deserves.” Furthermore, part of the king/queen’s job is to hold the throne. It doesn’t matter how morally upright and principled they are, how generous or gentle or clever, how hard they’ve worked to win that position; if they cannot stay on the throne for very long, they cannot look after their people.

What this tells me is that the endgame of ASOIAF will revolve around questions of who makes the metaphorical trains run on time, rather than deciding who deserves what.

Miss me?

O HAI, everyone!

In case you’re wondering, I am following the leaks for Game of Thrones Season 7, but I’m not hanging on every word like I did for Season 6. I definitely see some interesting things happening, though.

For a brief digression, I had a birthday a couple weeks ago, and as a present to myself, I decided to get a new friend. I spent the midday of our holiday Monday at PetSmart, and this one came home with me:

This is Ser Purrion Lannister of Catterly Rock, but mostly I just call him Kitty, Baby, Honey, or Furry Little Weirdo. He is completely indifferent to treats and catnip, and he’s not interested in sitting on my lap, but he loves belly rubs, being held and hugged like a baby, getting all over my feet, and sleeping next to me. I watched Gods of Egypt on HBO Now yesterday because I had to see its awfulness first-hand, and I found the movie wasn’t nearly as compelling as watching Purrion go ballistic on his new tassel toy.

(They were all out of tan-colored long-haired kitties who like to get drunk and antagonize the neighbors’ Husky pups, so I got the little tuxedo guy who enjoyed cuddling and shoving his face into my elbow.)

I’ve only had him for a couple of weeks, and I’m already finding that having a pet is like having a tattoo: once I have one established, I’m already thinking about getting another.

In other news, I have another big writing project for ASOIAF fandom! It’s not quite finished, but I’m posting it as I go. Let me present…

The Cloak Soiled Him: the Life and Times of Jaime Lannister.

 

Why Jaime doesn’t think about Bran—UPDATE

I’m reading through racefortheironthrone’s archives at the moment, and he took this ask earlier this month:

Anonymous asked: While Jaime seems to genuinely regret not being able to save Elia & her children (“I never thought he would hurt them!”), why is it that he never seems to feel any real regret to pushing Bran off the tower? He barely even thinks about it in his monologues.

Because direct personal culpability is worse than accidental neglect.

It’s finally happened.

I have reached the stage of ASOIAF/GOT fandom at which I feel viscerally, personally offended when people vilify my favorite characters. Like, it’s become a question of whom I can trust, if they have choosing-to-be-wrong ideas about certain characters. It’s not just reading comprehension anymore, it’s wondering how this reflects on your treatment of people in real life.

Also, I’m just as vicious a curmudgeon as ever.

Lady Olenna is not one of the good guys.

Winter quotes an interview with Diana Rigg, in which she talks about playing Olenna. One of the things she says about her character is that she’s “pretty evil.” Dan Selcke responds:

Rigg may have been speaking with her tongue planted in her cheek, but that’s one way to read Olenna’s actions. She did commit regicide, albeit against someone few would miss. But generally speaking, Olenna’s motives are sympathetic, even if she’s done some questionable things in the name of her family’s well-being.

I don’t think Rigg was speaking tongue-in-cheek at all. Lady Olenna is at best a deeply, morally ambiguous character. We like her because it’s so much fun to watch her rip into Cersei and say horrible things about her male family members, but still, we’re talking about someone who’s been in cahoots with Littlefinger.

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Freeing Tyrion was not Jaime’s idea

PoorQuentyn fielded this question on his blog a couple days ago:

Do you think Varys set up Tyrion to kill his father? If so was Varys planning on releasing Tyrion on his own even if Jaime hadn’t made him do it?

To which PQ answers:

Yes and yes.

I was unfamiliar with the idea of Varys having set Tyrion up to kill Tywin, but a little Google search reveals there’s plenty of support for it.

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It can always get worse

Well, everyone, my depression has finally reached that “there’s no way I can just brain-hack my way out of this” stage, and I am seriously doing the cost-benefit analysis of finding a new doctor to do something about my poor fucked-up brain. Like, is it worth the stress to take time off work to see a medical professional who may or may not have the answers, or should I try some crunchy OTC shit and see if that helps first? And why is my HR manager never available? I need to talk with someone who acts like they care about me.

The work day was…bad, but I somehow managed to conduct myself better than my workplace deserves. I’m feeling a little better since I was able to end the workday and check Twitter on the way home. I have a partly-empty bottle of cheap-ass Argentinian Malbec, and I’m still doing my first re-watch of GoT Season 6, and tonight just happens to be the night for Episode 8. Which is fabulous timing, because NCW has a birthday today, and Gwen rose to the occasion. This is the sort of thing that lifts my mood:


I totally see you telling them to have babies, weirdo. Nik already has two kids. With his WIFE. Have some respect for the family he has.

In related news, we have a fan report of Gwen having recently flown to Belfast, along with Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont, silly) several weeks ahead of the expected start of filming. We’re fairly sure she and Iain don’t have any scenes together, but the point is Gwen is in Belfast already at the same time as another GoT actor and while it could be coincidence, they’re probably there because HBO summoned them for some GoT-related business. For Iain Glen, it’s probably a prosthetics fitting; Jorah’s greyscale is getting worse and Iain needs to have the right sort of crap fitted to his arm. For Gwen, I’d like to think she’s getting a new costume, but realistically? She’s probably not getting a new costume. The most likely thing is rehearsing for a fight scene or two. 

Last year, Gwen mentioned having spent 3 days shooting a scene of “vicious, up-close, thuggish fighting,” and I guessed two scenarios: Early season against Boltons to rescue Sansa and Theon, or mid-season against BWB in Riverlands. The first guess turned out to be correct. Now there’s still the BWB in the Riverlands. We don’t know for sure that Brienne will have a fight scene, and we don’t know for sure that the BWB will be antagonistic to her, but we do know that Brienne has had at least one fight scene in every season since she appeared on the show. We know she’s in Belfast now, and this would be a good time to have her rehearse for a big fight. 

Anyway, the particular GoT-related activity she’s conducting at the moment isn’t the point; the point is that she happens to be in the process of some GoT-related biz when she makes her Happy Birthday Tweet to Nikolaj. I have been rewarded for examining Gwen’s choices of Tweet emojis before. (I’m telling you, it’s about to get worse.) And with her b-day greetings to Nik, she uses: noisemaker, cake, theater masks, trophy, noisemaker, star, balloon, bells, gift box, bow, noisemakers. 

Look, I won’t go so far as to try to make sense of the sequence, or figure out some secret message in what all these emojis have in common. I told you it can always get worse. 

I’m just sayin’, the masks, trophy and star are not birthday-related.

It’s like…she has a script in front of her, and she wants Nik to know he can expect some great acting material in S7. Which means they’ll have some more scenes together. 

I am the biggest Dorknerd that ever Geeked.

Of course it’s not too early to speculate about Season 7

Why do I keep typing “Season” as “Seasion”? Like…muh?

Anyway. My idea of spending more time on the new novel is going pretty well. I said I would invest less time this year in following filming leaks, and I mean it. That said? I actually AM quite interested in news about filming locations. Since Dany & Co. are coming to Westeros, that narrows down the range of possible settings on the show, and I’m interested in what those settings may look like.

Per several posts at Watchers, we have some nice concrete news about various places, outside of Northern Ireland, where Season 7 will be filmed. The filming season will be a bit later in the year than previously, partly because they want to film in actual winter. That means we’ll also have to wait longer for the season to air. It’ll be a short season; HBO confirms seven episodes this year, so I need to speculate with a short-ish season in mind. For getting actual winter, the production is returning to Iceland in January, and the rumor is that “six major characters” will be involved in the Icelandic scenes.

Meanwhile, they’re also lining up a number of interesting Spanish locations, including Sevilla, Almodovar del Rio, Zumaia, Santiponce, Caceres, and Bermeo.

For some of these locations, we can first assume they’ll be doing Dorne scenes here, which I suppose will be more engaging now that the Sand Sucks are part of a group that includes Dany & Tyrion, Olenna Tyrell and the Greyjoy sibs. Some of the Spanish locations, however, look better for more northern areas of Westeros.

For Sevilla, they’re going back to the Real Alcazar to film more Water Gardens scenes. Hopefully not trying to do any more action scenes there. It’s a gorgeous location, but it’s better for showing everyone just sitting around drinking wine.

For Almodovar del Rio, they’re shooting at the castle, which looks like this:

el-castillo-de-almodc3b3var-de-rc3ado

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