author C.C.Cole's blog

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.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Catelyn’s Cause

Catelyn Stark "Game of Thrones"

Catelyn Stark meets with the lead character of the Gastar novellas.

A tall wingless demon stood outside of Shevata’s hideout in Hell; a comfortable apartment with gilded velvet furniture.  A desk stood in the middle for some bookkeeping and the few rejections Zermon had her review before exiling souls from eternal doom.  “She’s waiting inside.”  Shevata rolled her eyes.  “Stay outside.”

A lovely woman with long auburn hair sat at her desk, and stood when Shevata entered.  “I am Lady Catelyn Stark.”
Shevata sat across from her at the desk.  “Please sit, Catelyn.  We’re not highborn or baseborn here.  I am Shevata.”  The woman nodded respectfully and sat.  “You have no business here.  Anyone making a mad journey to Hell risks his or her soul.  What do you want of me?”

“I lost my whole family.  Why can’t I seek revenge?”
Shevata sat back.  “I know what happened.  Your husband, Eddard, was a good man as was your son Robb.  One underestimated the Lannisters, and the other was betrayed by his bannermen.  How can I help?”
“You have the power to kill.  I want those that destroyed my family to be destroyed.”
“In Hell, we get them all.  Believe me, the fire pits of Hell destroy like nothing else.”
“That isn’t enough!  I want them to feel the pain!  I want them to feel loss!  I want them to know what I lost!”  Tears welled up in her eyes. 

“If Zermon and I went to Westeros to put to torture and death every person that wronged another, we might as well allow what he wanted in my home city and create an extension of Hell itself.”
“You know a great wrong has been committed against my family!”
Shevata nodded.  “Yes, I know but I can’t give you what you want.”
“You’re an assassin!”
“Yes, an assassin.  Meaning, I kill individuals for specific reasons.  As tempting as it is, I’m sorry, I cannot take up your cause.”
Catelyn did not back down.  “Why not?  I can give you the names so why can’t you kill them like you do in your world?”
“I can’t spare your world from Zermon.  If I’m involved, he’s involved.  There’s enough Hell in Westeros already.  I won’t let him make it worse.”

She calmed herself in disappointment.  “You’re just like the rest of them, just as uncaring, and without honor!”
“Honor?  Of course there’s no honor here.  We’re not noble families with houses and sigils.  We’re below what you would call ‘baseborn.’”  I was born not just a slave but also a slave soldier.  Don’t tell me about honor.”
Catelyn nodded with respect.  “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
Shevata leaned towards her.  “If you want revenge for your family then you must take it on your terms, not in Hell. This is not a war zone for feuding families.”
“What would you do then?”
Shevata thought for a moment.  “Go back.  Think backwards carefully.  Don’t stop.”