author C.C.Cole's blog

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The House

Game of Thrones "Jacqen H'gar"

Fan fun with Game of Thrones character meeting the lead character in the Gastar novellas.

Shevata walked around with amazement in the huge building known as the House of Black and White.  For a place of such mystery, it wasn’t really guarded and had almost nothing inside.  No furniture, no rooms set up for eating, bedrooms, and sparse areas for bathing and the sleep areas looked more like a barracks.  After taking a short self-guided tour, she nodded with satisfaction.  Zermon will like this place. A voice rose behind her.
“A girl visiting the Many Faced God?”  A striking man with hazel eyes seemed to glare through her. 
“No, just looking around.”
He smiled.  “A girl is not a girl at all.  A girl pretends to be a girl but is something else altogether.”
Shevata winced, concerned he could read her mind.  “It doesn’t matter what I am.  All that matters is who’s coming here.”
“A girl that’s not a girl brings the God of Death to the House of Black and White.” 
“Don’t call him that.  He hates being compared to that god.”
“Yet death comes.”
“Yes.  He brings lots of death wherever he goes.”
“So what is your part?  You help him?”
“I help him because if I didn’t, he’d do worse, trust me, I know.”
“When will he be here?”
“I summoned him.  Which means either in the next five minutes or five years.”  She walked to the wall of faces.  “They look the same to me.” 
He laughed.  “Of course they look the same to you.”
“You’re not human, just an immortal pretending to be a girl.”
“And what does that make you?”  She felt a sting in her neck, then pulled out a dart and threw it on the floor.  “Stop with the poison darts!”
He shrugged.  “It doesn’t hurt to try.” 
“Do you wish so much to kill me?”  She pulled out her golden jeweled dagger and presented it to him.  “Use mine.” 
He started to touch it and withdrew his hand.  “A girl wields a powerful weapon.  I don’t think so.”  She put it away.
“Would you prefer to make a deal with me, or my companion Zermon?”
“That’s an ill choice, but you, I suppose.”
“Can you find me a building like this one, open on the inside and empty?”
He thought for a moment.  “I can probably do that.”
“Good.  Let’s get it cleared out so we can get him set up there.  Hurry though.  If for once he’s ever on time, this place will no longer exist.  Firepits to hell will fill these floors.”
“A girl gave me a warning, then?”
Shevata smiled.  “A girl pretending to be a girl, right?”

Meeting the Boy

"Game of Thrones" Olly

Game of Thrones Olly meets Shevata in the Underworld.

Shevata sat at her desk in her office in Hell, with the lush design being a cold comfort to the conditions outside.   About every hour she’d hear a blood curdling scream of something terrible outside; it could be anything.  Zermon tortured demons often, some escaped, most were captured and tortured again.  She remembered never thinking of Hell until she first came here on a suicide mission to save human lives.  Now it’s almost home. 

A demon’s head was in the doorway.  “He’s here.”
“Bring him in at once.”  Shevata moved a small chair opposite to hers at her desk.  She found a pitcher of pomegranate juice, something she smuggled from home, and set up cups. 
The boy sat across from her, shaking with fear as the demon unchained him.  “I told you not to chain him up!”
“He’s stronger than he looks.  Be on your guard.”  The demon turned and left. 
She poured the juice into both cups.  “Is that what I’ll get from you, Olly?  Do you want to fight me too?” 
Tears welled up in his eyes.  “I want to go home!  I want my Mum and Dad!  We were farmers and they attacked us!  They ate my parents!”  He leaned forward sobbing. 
Shevata watched as he finally stopped crying.  “Have you finished?  Have some juice, it’s poison.”  She swallowed a gulp.  He took his cup and drank it down. 
“That’s really good.  It’s poison, really?  So I’ll die down here?”
“Well, you’ve died and you’re here by your decisions you made in your life.  Do you want to talk about it?  What happened after your parents were killed?”
“I joined the Night’s Watch.  Jon Snow made me his steward.  Then he betrayed us all by bringing Wildlings into the Wall.
Shevata unrolled a scroll.  “And you took part in murdering Jon Snow, who took you into his confidence, his special trust, and you killed him. “  She rolled the scroll up.  “Now Olly, for me to help you, tell me what you would give up for Jon’s life.  Anything?”
“What do you mean, give something up?”  His tear stained face looked up at her with frustration.
“The only way you have to make things better for you is to give up your soul for someone else.  That’s the best deal you’re going to get down here.”  She sipped the juice. 
He threw down the cup.  “No!  I won’t do it!”  Shevata grabbed him by the ear and they walked out the door.  “Where are you taking me?”
“To meet the boy.”  They reached the edge of Zermon’s fire pit, where he was shouting orders about air freshener. 
“Whoa!  Is that the Westeros kid?  That’s a messed up place.”  Zermon laughed.  “What’s his sentence?”
“He will meet the boy.”  Shevata leaned into the fire.  A crowned blonde demonic boy rose to the edge of the flames.  “Your Grace, this is a new boy.  Be a good lad and show him around down there.”  Olly’s screams faded as Joffrey yanked him into the flames. 
“Hell is getting worse by the day.  Children. Really Shevata?  What are my enemies going to say?”  Zermon swatted a winged demon away.
“They will want to meet the boy too.” 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Iron in the Fire

Yara Greyjoy, Game of Thrones, Wiki image

Asha (Yara in Game of Thrones) Greyjoy visits the lead character of the Gastar novellas to discuss the the actions of her ancestors and the fate of her family.

Shevata read slowly through the large scroll, scowling at the words as the finished the last line.  Rolling it back up, she tossed it on her desk.  “Disgusting!”
Zermon leaned over her desk, fumbling with his huge demonic with a small box as he tried to open it.  Shevata snatched it from him.  “Don’t touch anything.  And get off my desk.”
He stood up.  “You’re such a pain in the ass.  The group is rounded up.”  He pointed at the scroll.  “Send her to me when you’re ready.”  He walked out into the fiery world of Hell, out of her tiny oasis of a room seemingly untouched by the surroundings.  She nodded to a demon to bring Asha Greyjoy in.

“Remove the chains.”  Shevata watched the strong, rugged but attractive young woman sit across from her at her desk. 
“You touch me and I’ll cut your heart out.”  Asha pulled the chains away.
“Yes, I know all that.”  Shevata handed her the scroll.  “Please be quiet and read.”
Asha read the scroll in haste and handed it back.  “It’s the history of my family.”
“You admit this?  Murder?  Using people as thralls, an atrocity known to Zermon’s demonic equals?  The Old Way? The Iron Price?  Killing for anything you get?  This is honorable to you?”
“It is honorable to my people.”
“Your people are here.  Bask in the glory of their honor at the firepits where Zermon burns their souls as we speak.”
Asha spit.  “I won’t bend to your witchcraft.”
Shevata motioned to the demon at the door.  “Chain her back up.  Let’s go.” 

They arrived at the firepit while Zermon watched from his giant obsidian throne at agonizing deaths of scores of people as they bobbed in a pit of fire.  “These came down already burned from that Harrenhal place.   I’ve got more coming from a family called Wyck, I think.  Who’s next?  Yeah.  Pyke.  Where do you find these nasty people?  Hurry up, they’re stinking up the place here.”  Zermon sniffed and wove the smoke away in disgust. 

Shevata turned to Asha.  “The Ironborn ended up here.”  Asha watched in silence.  “I’m sorry, I know your people’s words.  But what is dead will never die because they will forever die down here.”  She handed her the scroll.  “Take this back with you.  If you can’t save your evil family, I’ll be seeing you again.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

On the Throne of Roses

The Iron Throne "Game of Thrones"

 "The White Queen" Henry Tudor


The White Queen" Elizabeth of York"

**Spoiler Alert** all Game of Thrones non-readers!!

As a bona fide addict of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” as the theories pour out, sometimes I get a good laugh, sometimes I get new insight into this very long, sophisticated story, and sometimes I feel like my brain will explode over some of the over-the-top, but interesting conclusions.  Most theories are based on religion, whether or not Jon Snow is the R’hllor messiah Azor Ahai, or political, who marries who, who survives Winter, and what the map will look like at the end of the story.  Most of we fans of the cable series and books agree that the characters will die, George R. R. Martin style. 

I went back to thinking about the history that inspired the fictional War of Five Kings, the Wars of the Roses in English history.  Author Phillipa Gregory shined light on this history profiling the women, and though not “pure” history; The White Queen series brought to life a fascinating time.  So I asked myself the question of a history-based theory.

In brief, and I’m not a historian (hard science background here), popular York King Edward IV married commoner Elizabeth Woodville, though not his first marriage, she was his “Queen of choice,” and she gave him ten children.  The oldest was Princess Elizabeth, and the murder mystery of the “Boys in the Tower” is from this royal family.  Edward died young unexpectedly, so his controversial brother Richard III bastardized the children and made himself King of England.  Meanwhile, Lancastrian distant heir Henry Tudor grew up in exile, and waited for a time to strike to claim the throne thought to be his birthright.  At Bosworth, the old score between the Yorks and Lancasters was settled by the death of King Richard III and when Henry Tudor married the former Princess Elizabeth of York to merge the houses and end the wars.  The Tudor dynasty began.

So out of the ASOIAF theories, how would this work in the story?  Answer:  Looking at Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York, they weren’t players in the historic “Game of Thrones” until they married. Question:  Why did this work in ending the War of the Roses?  Answer:  Though Henry Tudor wasn’t an instant sell; the people had mixed feelings over Richard III.  The people needed a King and Queen that a powerful family didn’t have a major bone to pick with.

So, amongst the massive list of fictional characters in ASOIAF, who could end the story if the Wars of the Roses were used as an inspiration for the end game?  Answer:  Amongst many, the obvious are Danerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, two lead characters with “magical” backgrounds and the first like them to be born ever, or in thousands of years.  My issue with a Jon/Dany marriage isn’t “Disney” but I don’t see it ending the political problems in Westeros, which will probably survive Winter, if the people don’t.  (Grudges work that way).  I think these two power-characters will have a role, but healing the War of Five Kings sore spots, I’m not so sure.  BTW, if you don’t know R+L=J, read the books again.  Jon Snow’s parents are the biggest unanswered question to me.  What I believe is these two will be involved in the fate of the Iron Throne itself.

Alternatives:  House Targaryen and House Martell are in a position to take the Iron Throne by conquest by not being a part of the War of Five Kings, should Stannis Baratheon fail.  The third Targaryen in ASOIAF is a young man now, named Aegon VI.  IF he is who the books say he is (why would Varys lie to a dying man?), then he is a “non-magical” Targaryen.  The two Houses that weren’t in the devastating War of Five Kings were Tagaryen and Martell in Dorne.  If Aegon weds Arianne Martell, that would be (another) merging of the Houses but in a different situation.  After Winter, after the dragons, after everything else, the Houses post-war will lose the most.  Aegon and Arianne could form a new House without the Iron Throne, which is the statement of everything wrong with Westeros.  It means no more incest marriages, no more Iron Throne; Westeros would be a new kingdom.  The North may/may not be independent, certainly other characters could be plugged into Aegon and Arianne’s place, but the idea of a marriage and a new House based on the end of the Wars of the Roses makes sense to me.  

I don’t theorize too often, but when I think about history, I like to see it come to life in fiction.  This hardly scratches the surfaces of the fates of the many characters, but another fan, another theory.  We’ll see more next year.  Quoting Tyler Durden “I may be wrong.”  Ah, well.  It happens.

His Grace Seeks Wisdom

Stannis Baratheon and Melissandre, "Game of Thrones"

The lead character of the Gastar novellas meets King Stannis Baratheon and his trusted companions.

Shevata leaned back in her chair inside her underworld office, frowning at the demon as he delivered the message.  “Stannis?  Really?  Send them in.”
A well built, stern-faced man in armor walked in, followed by a woman wearing a long red dress, with a gray bearded man wearing a black cloak bringing up the rear.  “Your Grace.”  Shevata stood, with a brief curtsy.  Stannis nodded to her. 

She turned to the woman in the red dress.  “You’re the woman that sees the future in the fire.”  The woman nodded.  She handed her a scroll she removed from a desk drawer.  “In hell, we see the future on paper scrolls.  Have a look.”  The woman read the scroll, then scowled with anger.  “Take her to Zermon,” ordered Shevata, as a pair of demons gagged and dragged her away.

Shevata turned to the bearded man.  “You’re a good man, I hear.”  The man nodded, “I try to be.” 
“Take him to the fire pits.”  Another pair of demons dragged him away. 

Stannis removed his sword.  “Girl, I’ll cleave you in half if anything happens to them.” 
Shevata smiled and sat in her chair, motioning Stannis to do the same.  “Your Grace, I preferred to see you alone.  Your companions are safe.  Davos’s soul is of powerful strength that it can’t burn in the fire here.  The priestess, well, Zermon has other plans for her when she arrives on her own.  He won’t harm her now, but he will burn her one thousand times for every person she burned while serving the false god of light.  Only if he is satisfied after will he burns her soul in the pit and make her his wife.  It was my recommendation.”

Stannis sat across from her.  “The woman has power, that’s why I need her.”
“You have power, you don’t need her.”
“So if you were in Westeros, would you fight for me?”
“After I assassinated that woman, yes.  I’d be the personal guard for you or Davos.”
“It’s not that simple.  Aegon conquered Westeros with dragons.”
“You have no dragons.  Why do you need dragons?”
“I know, girl.  Magical power is what works.”
Shevata leaned back.  And if you had one hundred dragons, what would you do?”
Stannis smirked.  “What game are you playing?”
“You’re the one playing the game of thrones.  I’m telling you power will not get you what you want.  Leaders inspire the people.  It’s not all about fear.  Ask around here in Hell.  The demons hate Zermon.  If he’s away too long, they’ll overthrow him.”
“What are you suggesting I do?”
“I’m agreeing with what you’re doing now.  When you went to war, you reached for the wrong ally in the priestess.  But now you’re reaching to the North.  You need the Starks.  They have magic.  And they are loved, and you are not.  If you stay with this woman, you’ll be hated, and you’ll face her fate down here.”
“You’re trying to threaten me?”
“You know better, Your Grace.  You have admirable strength.  Use it.”

Davos and the priestess returned to the office.  “How were the tours?”  Shevata smiled.  Davos shrugged as if nothing happened.  The woman looked away.  “Cheer up, Melissandre,” Shevata smiled.  “If you cast your god down, I’ll remove your sentence here.  She turned to Stannis.  “Your Grace, I wish you the best.  But the best, I fear, isn’t in your future.  We will meet again.”

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jon Snow’s Search

Jon Snow with Ygritte "Game of Thrones"

A bit of fun with Game of Thrones character Jon Snow meeting the lead character of the Gastar series Shevata.

Shevata sat at her desk in her comfortable apartment in hell, the one place she could find solace and a getaway from Zermon’s bombastic speeches, his obnoxious demonic servants, and the screams from the firepits of lost souls.  She sat back at her desk thinking about her existence; her mistakes in the Underworld and her triumphs in her home world, realizing over time everything just becomes a memory.

A handsome young man appeared in her doorway.  “My lady, I was told I could find you here.”  His voice shook a little and he seemed shy.  Shevata found him striking in appearance with black curly hair waving around his face..
“I’m no lady, but have a seat.”  She nodded to a chair across from her desk.  He sat looking down at the floor.
“There’s no reason to be afraid.  The demons told me you are Jon Snow, and asked permission to come here for another.  Who?” 
“I lost someone I love and I want to save her.” 
Shevata raised an eyebrow.  “You can’t save her.”
He looked up at her.  “How do you know who I’m asking about?”
She shrugged.  “Nobody can be saved from the fires of hell.”
“Please.”  Tears welled up in his eyes.  “I loved her.”
Shevata stood and walked past him toward the door.  “Come.”

They walked toward Zermon’s main fire pit.  Jon looked at the demons in horror as they shackled and dismembered a screaming man.  “Hi, Tywin,” said Shevata as she passed by.  A menacing rack stood in their way, as they passed, she ordered, “Move the Bolton Bastard’s toy until he’s down here.”  Jon followed her to the side of a large obsidian chair.  A female demon sat in it beckoning Jon to sit beside her.  He stepped back and grimaced at her facial features rearranged with her eyes at the bottom and her mouth at the top.  Shevata lashed her across the face with a thorn whip.  “Get out Shae.”  A pair of demons threw her into the firepit as she screamed.  Jon winced.  “She was the woman who betrayed Tyrion Lannister.”  Shevata handed the whip to one of the demons, giving a nod to continue to whip her in the bottom of the pit.  She turned to Jon.  “You know Tyrion?”  He nodded.  “Zermon promised Shae if she jumped into the fire without resistance, he would change her into a succubus, a beautiful female demon.”  Jon frowned.  “He lied.”  Shevata smiled as the young man gasped.  “It was my idea.”  She sat on the throne.  “Bring Ygritte.”

“You do know her!”  Jon glared at Shevata as he stood beside the obsidian throne. 
“Watch.”  She motioned the demons to bring before her a comely red haired woman, dressed in rags, covered in cuts and bruises from many obvious fights. 
“Ygritte of the Wildlings?”  Shevata read the scroll.  “You’re banished to Hell for the murder of women and children before the attack on the Ice Wall.  Have you anything to offer for redemption of your soul?”
“Unchain me and I’ll have your heart out you little wimp girl.”  Ygritte spat at Shevata. 
Shevata laughed along with the demons.  Shevata heard a smirk from Jon.  “She can’t see you because you’re a pure soul.  Don’t push my patience.”  Jon became silent.
“Is there nothing you’d give up of yourself, nothing of value that you’d give to anyone deserving better than your fate?  Anyone you may have loved?”  Shevata’s eyes glanced down at the scroll.
“Jon Snow chose duty over his woman.  If there is any justice, he should be beside me right now.”  Her eyes glowed with ferocity. 
Jon leaned over to Shevata.  “Please, don’t burn her in the fire.  Isn’t there something else?”
Shevata reached in her pocket.  “There are no good options, Jon Snow.”  She loaded a tiny crossbow.  “What will it be?”  Jon hesitated.  Shevata nodded to the demons to throw her into the firepit.  “Nooo!”  He shouted.  Ygritte disappeared in a bright flash of light. 

Jon stood still in shock.  “You destroyed her soul?”
Shevata nodded to the demons to seize him.  “I told you there were no good options.  They will take you out of Hell.  You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

On the Imperfect Daenerys

Daenerys Targaryen "Game of Thrones"

As a fan of George R. R. Martin’s books “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the cable series “Game of Thrones” I follow other fans in cyberspace, with spoiler Facebook pages for we readers (don’t worry, not in this blog), and the numerous fun fan pages with hilarious memes.  Like it or hate it, Game of Thrones to me, as a series doesn’t take itself so seriously that they cannot have fun.

Most fans I know, which agree with a fan video that pointed out the four most popular characters:  Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen.  When asked who do we want to see on the Iron Throne?  Many, like me, are #TeamDaenerys. 

To be brief for the Daenerys fans, why do we like this character?  Answer: We’ve seen her grow from a naïve, fragile girl to the wife then widow of a Dothraki savage, hatch three dragon eggs, and accumulate followers and armies as she marches her way across Essos to decide the fate of any place she lands by the power of her followers and her growing dragons.  To quote ASOIAF Tyrion described her as “Aegon the Conqueror with teats.”  She’s anti-slavery, anti-rape, anti-cruelty, with the disclaimer unless you’re her enemy.  However, if her brother Visterys had hatched the eggs instead, he’d likely be doing more and worse as far as atrocities go.

A favorite Facebook fan page is “Stannis Baratheon, the new Chuck Norris.”  I like Stannis, to me the most underrated character in the series.  Some posts come from the page Daenerys Targaryen is Overrated” FB page.  The non-team Daenerys fans find her to have a sense of entitlement, thinking everything should belong to her; that all people must bend the knee to the “Queen of (so many names I forget)", I can see how people get frustrated.  She’s also thought by some to be protected by the author, though I’ll say living a Dothraki lifestyle by eating a raw horse heart isn’t particularly protective. 

Martin’s writing does bring us a bit of pain in the Mereen chapters.  Daenerys takes many baths, has her eye on Daario, and is pampered by her servants everywhere.  She makes the decision to stop in Mereen and rule.  Is that wise?  Answer:  Tywin Lannister gave us the answer in the most recent HBO episode, when he pointed out Robert Baratheon thought winning the Iron Throne and ruling were the same.  Daenerys is trying to figure this out.  As far as her dragons, no she doesn’t have the book “How to Train Your Dragon” as noted in the memes.  She is still young, and will make mistakes. 

To me, “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a story about imperfect characters.  Very few are not without their faults, mistakes, or dark places in their histories.  Daenerys Targaryen is a child from a longstanding dynasty, so yes; she feels every bit as entitled as fifteenth century England where some of this series is inspired by (War of the Roses).  Fans, pick your heroes and go for it.  Just because Daenerys is a favorite doesn’t mean other characters aren’t great also.  Great stories have great characters.