|"Game of Thrones" Red Wedding|
As a follow up to my article “On Why Ned Stark’s Die” GRRM continued to remind us in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and the books “A Song of Ice and Fire” that losing Ned was only the beginning of an avalanche of tragedy for House Stark. Against the powerful Lannisters, the corrupt Baratheons, the absentee Targaryen, who finds them all as her enemy, there’s not much left after the infamous “Red Wedding.”
Instead of going back and use the second major Stark wipe out to be a “lever” for the story, this time I think Martin is reeling in the results of bad decisions of youth coupled with competent adversaries. Robb Stark, only sixteen in “A Song of Ice and Fire” married the wrong girl because he had a sexual encounter/fell in love with her and did the honorable thing, a similar line of thinking of his father Ned. Afterwards he had the gall to ask Lord Frey for his men to assist in his war. As we feel sympathy for Robb, he found out the hard way battles alone cannot win wars. Politics do matter, and he didn’t speculate the actions of the Freys or the formidable Lannisters. (In ASOIAF, Robb’s wife wasn’t from Volantis, her family was Tywin Lannister’s bannermen, so imagine the situation these lovebirds put their families in).
My brother argues with me constantly about ASOIAF, saying the good guys lose too often. But do they? I say no, they lose, but more Starks are surviving than Targaryens (not exactly the same). Also, if you believe the direwolves and the Stark kids are connected, look what happened to them. The young Stark boys and Jon Snow have their direwolves with them and are doing better (won’t spoil here) than Robb, who distanced himself from Greywind, Sansa got Lady killed, and Arya is on hard times after having to give up Nymeria. More factors than the direwolves involve the fate of the Starks, but as a fiction reader, I think they play a role.
What about the bad guys? Do they ever lose? I won’t spoil with information in the books, but if I did, it wouldn’t add much. Winter IS coming. The Stark enemies know it, but they don’t really believe it. Even Tyrion “The Inp” knows about Daenerys and her dragons but he cares as little about three dragons as his selfish sister does. Though Martin will make we readers work for every inch of this story, Winter WILL come and the bad guys will experience it while the Stark spirits will not have to, and the young Starks will grow up and remember what happened to their family.