Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Game of Thronescast, "The Lion and the Rose"

Bonus: Game of Thronescast, "The Lion and the Rose"

In this bonus Thronescast, The Escapist crew talks about the very lovely Purple Wedding.

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THANK YOU Janelle for reigning them in like that. I love listening to Podcasts by you guys, but I'm always hesitant to listen to Game of Thrones ones because Greg will often talk about things that are very far down the line in the books. And the problem isn't that he's just spoiling the books but that stuff is incredibly likely to show up in the show as well. There have been so many major plot points in both the show and the books spoiled in these podcasts that it is a danger to listen to them.

I don't think there are any gods at all - or at least not in the sense of active gods who grand wishes or visions to the red priests. Melisandre and Thoros have completely different views and ethics but both perform miracles for the same 'god' and the same spells could've been performed by a drowned priest or any other person if they had the knowledge.
I always had the impression, that the resurgence of magic and dragons has something to do with the weird orbit and cosmic constellation which is responsible for the long summer or winter periods and the longer the winter gets the more magic is in the world.

I don't know if I'd call Stannis Lawful Good - I think he's pretty clearly Lawful Neutral, like to the point where he pretty much defines what a Lawful Neutral character is like. His sense of morality is based almost completely around the letter of the law.

Ned Stark is what Lawful Good looks like.

You can't throw moral-relativism into an alignment debate - because that just fucks everything up. An evil person can still believe themselves to be righteous. Just because they believe that their god is in the right doesn't make an act good.

(What can I say I love me a good alignment debate)

I've always thought R'holler was just some kind of demon hopped up on all the belief and blood sacrifice he's getting, rather than an actual deity, but I have no real understanding of the cosmology of the setting, and that assumption presupposes similarities to the cosmologies of totally unrelated works, so I'm probably completely off base. Also agree that Stannis is LN not LG.

cynicalsaint1:

You can't throw moral-relativism into an alignment debate - because that just fucks everything up. An evil person can still believe themselves to be righteous. Just because they believe that their god is in the right doesn't make an act good.

(What can I say I love me a good alignment debate)

(Well, if you like the debate...)

You can't just assume moral objectivism without defining what that objective morality is, and you can't define that without justifying why that is, in fact, true objective morality and not just an imposition of your own subjective morality.

("Because it is" only really works if you're the DM)

Drakoorr:
I've always thought R'holler was just some kind of demon hopped up on all the belief and blood sacrifice he's getting, rather than an actual deity, but I have no real understanding of the cosmology of the setting, and that assumption presupposes similarities to the cosmologies of totally unrelated works, so I'm probably completely off base. Also agree that Stannis is LN not LG.

cynicalsaint1:

You can't throw moral-relativism into an alignment debate - because that just fucks everything up. An evil person can still believe themselves to be righteous. Just because they believe that their god is in the right doesn't make an act good.

(What can I say I love me a good alignment debate)

(Well, if you like the debate...)

You can't just assume moral objectivism without defining what that objective morality is, and you can't define that without justifying why that is, in fact, true objective morality and not just an imposition of your own subjective morality.

("Because it is" only really works if you're the DM)

"Because it is" works because that's how Good and Evil are defined within the constraints of the D&D alignment system where Good and Evil are given specific definitions. Now whether or not Stannis is LN or LE is a debate because it isn't hard to argue that burning people alive is always an evil act.

I'd argue what keeps him in LN is because the reason he does it is because its what the law calls for, regardless of whether or not he personally wants to do it. So I would argue that he's LN and being manipulated by Melissandre who is pretty clearly LE.

As for what R'holler is or isn't - its never really clearly outlined in the book and I imagine its something that's going to be left up for speculation.

I think I'm with Janelle on this one about Joffrey.

If I had a nephew who was like that I would try to quietly remove him away from society so that he could no longer hurt someone. If that wasn't going to happen, then I think removing him by killing him would be better. I do think Lady Olenna and Lady Margaery had a hand in it, but I don't know where. I do remember her and Margaery Tyrell talking to Sansa about Joffrey, and Sansa saying what a monster he was.

As for Little Finger? Possibly. He would be the one that would betray someone at the drop of a hat to get something done that would go in his favor. He probably did provide the poison, but I did think it was odd he was no where to be found at the reception.

cynicalsaint1:

Drakoorr:
I've always thought R'holler was just some kind of demon hopped up on all the belief and blood sacrifice he's getting, rather than an actual deity, but I have no real understanding of the cosmology of the setting, and that assumption presupposes similarities to the cosmologies of totally unrelated works, so I'm probably completely off base. Also agree that Stannis is LN not LG.

cynicalsaint1:

You can't throw moral-relativism into an alignment debate - because that just fucks everything up. An evil person can still believe themselves to be righteous. Just because they believe that their god is in the right doesn't make an act good.

(What can I say I love me a good alignment debate)

(Well, if you like the debate...)

You can't just assume moral objectivism without defining what that objective morality is, and you can't define that without justifying why that is, in fact, true objective morality and not just an imposition of your own subjective morality.

("Because it is" only really works if you're the DM)

"Because it is" works because that's how Good and Evil are defined within the constraints of the D&D alignment system where Good and Evil are given specific definitions. Now whether or not Stannis is LN or LE is a debate because it isn't hard to argue that burning people alive is always an evil act.

I'd argue what keeps him in LN is because the reason he does it is because its what the law calls for, regardless of whether or not he personally wants to do it. So I would argue that he's LN and being manipulated by Melissandre who is pretty clearly LE.

As for what R'holler is or isn't - its never really clearly outlined in the book and I imagine its something that's going to be left up for speculation.

I don't know if Mellisandra would be "evil" or not, from her POVs chapters she clearly beliefs that she is in the right and that her actions of burning people are justified. She is waging a war against the great "other" who will come to kill everybody after all.

Then again I'm not an expert in D&D classifications.

I really am confused, if you guys read the third book, you should know who poisoned Joffery...

I always thought of The Lord of Light vs. The Great Other is more a matter of chaos vs. order than good vs. evil. R'hllor is represented by fire and is often associated with social upheaval. Life, like fire is chaotic, motion and fury, unpredictability. Life is full of possibilities.

On the other side of the coin, The Great Other and aspect of death, is represented by cold. The books reinforce the lawful aspect of winter and death with the Stark words, "Winter is coming". Death, represented by winter, is order, stillness and calm, inevitability. Death is so final.

GRRM works a lot of this imagery (I've already hidden a quote in the above paragraphs). Here's one of my favorites from Beric Dondarrion. Simply swap "fire" for "life" and you'll see what I mean.

"Fire consumes. It consumes, and when it is done there is nothing left. Nothing."

In regards to good vs. evil, I actually think that both R'hllor and The Great Other are both evil. I also believe that humanity will have a champion who fights against both. That's kind of a separate discussion, though.

cynicalsaint1:

Drakoorr:
I've always thought R'holler was just some kind of demon hopped up on all the belief and blood sacrifice he's getting, rather than an actual deity, but I have no real understanding of the cosmology of the setting, and that assumption presupposes similarities to the cosmologies of totally unrelated works, so I'm probably completely off base. Also agree that Stannis is LN not LG.

cynicalsaint1:

You can't throw moral-relativism into an alignment debate - because that just fucks everything up. An evil person can still believe themselves to be righteous. Just because they believe that their god is in the right doesn't make an act good.

(What can I say I love me a good alignment debate)

(Well, if you like the debate...)

You can't just assume moral objectivism without defining what that objective morality is, and you can't define that without justifying why that is, in fact, true objective morality and not just an imposition of your own subjective morality.

("Because it is" only really works if you're the DM)

"Because it is" works because that's how Good and Evil are defined within the constraints of the D&D alignment system where Good and Evil are given specific definitions. Now whether or not Stannis is LN or LE is a debate because it isn't hard to argue that burning people alive is always an evil act.

I'd argue what keeps him in LN is because the reason he does it is because its what the law calls for, regardless of whether or not he personally wants to do it. So I would argue that he's LN and being manipulated by Melissandre who is pretty clearly LE.

As for what R'holler is or isn't - its never really clearly outlined in the book and I imagine its something that's going to be left up for speculation.

About the alignment questions, I think this is useful:

image

A mix of the D&D and White Wolf alignment system.

For me Stannis would be far in the left of the chart and navigating around the up and center of it, but sometimes falling into the prick zone. He is trying to be good, but man that is hard to do with that much shit happening.

By the way, while I like some of the humurous takes, I hate how the show has downgraded one of my favorite boo characters towards villainy.

About the gods. I do think that R'hllor and the Great Other are are mostly elemental forces that may or may not use humanity as tools of their will and are largely indifferent to its sufferings. All the suffering is being caused by imbalance, (too cold you freeze, too hot you burn).

About Joffrey I concur with Janelle and wit the notion that we need to be angry with this kind of people. But at the same time, and this needs some exercise, we must also feel sorry for them. Joffrey carries psychosis induced by incest and a bad moral upbringing. He is stuck being Joffrey (he is not capable of changing, unless you count miracles or heavy brain surgery, therapy and medications and those are not available in Westeros and are not 100% effective in the real world) as a a rock is stuck being a rock.

This is not only for them but for us too. Or do we want to have bad people around just so we can torture them?

Great podcast, guys.

Ramith:
I really am confused, if you guys read the third book, you should know who poisoned Joffery...

I agree, they don't have a moment where say, Lady Olenna or Littlefinger or Dontos or whoever actually does it stands in the middle of the room yelling "I killed the King!" But I believe one character explains to Sansa how the plot went off, and who did what when.

Frozengale:
THANK YOU Janelle for reigning them in like that.

You're welcome! I hate spoilers myself and while I am all about comparing the show to the book and talking about them within the show's current timeline, I *try* to not jump ahead and spoil the show for those who haven't read the books. Sometimes I forget the order of events :(

Grahav:

About Joffrey I concur with Janelle and wit the notion that we need to be angry with this kind of people. But at the same time, and this needs some exercise, we must also feel sorry for them. Joffrey carries psychosis induced by incest and a bad moral upbringing. He is stuck being Joffrey (he is not capable of changing, unless you count miracles or heavy brain surgery, therapy and medications and those are not available in Westeros and are not 100% effective in the real world) as a a rock is stuck being a rock.

I 100% agree with you that he warrants some level of empathy as being a product beyond his control and suffering from psychosis without any means to get help for it. That said, I also have empathy for the untolled numbers of people he is killing and hurting because of it. It is a tricky web, but if empathy stacks, the masses win this one for me :)

cynicalsaint1:
I don't know if I'd call Stannis Lawful Good - I think he's pretty clearly Lawful Neutral, like to the point where he pretty much defines what a Lawful Neutral character is like. His sense of morality is based almost completely around the letter of the law.

Ned Stark is what Lawful Good looks like.

The more I thought about it after the cast, the more I believe you are right on this one. I was trying to impart moral relativism into my alignment assumptions, and that never works. Stannis and Mel are definitely LN in my mind now that I had some time to think and work it out.

s0osleepie:

Grahav:

About Joffrey I concur with Janelle and wit the notion that we need to be angry with this kind of people. But at the same time, and this needs some exercise, we must also feel sorry for them. Joffrey carries psychosis induced by incest and a bad moral upbringing. He is stuck being Joffrey (he is not capable of changing, unless you count miracles or heavy brain surgery, therapy and medications and those are not available in Westeros and are not 100% effective in the real world) as a a rock is stuck being a rock.

I 100% agree with you that he warrants some level of empathy as being a product beyond his control and suffering from psychosis without any means to get help for it. That said, I also have empathy for the untolled numbers of people he is killing and hurting because of it. It is a tricky web, but if empathy stacks, the masses win this one for me :)

You are right, after all the the masses are a collection of individuals. We can't ignore the well being of strangers just because we don't know them.

This discussion remembered me a line from the new Captain America movie (great one by the way). Paraphrasing:

"He is the kind of guy you can't save. You can stop him, though."

Raban:
I don't think there are any gods at all - or at least not in the sense of active gods who grand wishes or visions to the red priests. Melisandre and Thoros have completely different views and ethics but both perform miracles for the same 'god' and the same spells could've been performed by a drowned priest or any other person if they had the knowledge.
I always had the impression, that the resurgence of magic and dragons has something to do with the weird orbit and cosmic constellation which is responsible for the long summer or winter periods and the longer the winter gets the more magic is in the world.

I agree with you insofar as I don't discount the possibility that the gods do exist in the world of Ice and Fire. It is clear that Melisandre and Thoros do have some sort of magical power, but one of the things that I think the books do better in this regard is make it rather ambiguous whether these are just latent magical powers or actual divine intervention.

For example, as Davos of the two kings who have died so far in the show, Robb was killed by Freys at the Red Wedding and Joffrey was poisoned by Olenna and Littlefinger. Would those things have happened even if Mel didn't burn those leeches? Likely. So we're left wondering if it really WAS the Lord of Light, or if they just died because of their own mistakes (marrying Talisa and being a despicable little cunt respectively) and Mel just took credit for them.

Book spoilers below from a Dance of Dragons:

 

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