author C.C.Cole's blog

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.”