Liz (lika_mikala) wrote,

Kings and Swords and Crows, Oh, My!

Okay, so I haven't quite caught up on the Game of Thrones book series, but I feel that - now I've worked my way through book four - I finally have some solid likes and dislikes that don't have to do with some of the bawdier and more gruesome content. There are so many characters, I don't know where to start. Maybe in order of love/hate?

Joffrey. A spoiled version of Viserys. There's not much to be said for them. They both got what they deserved, but it wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be because so many horrible things happened that those characters were just one less evil in the world.

Theon. I found nothing redeeming about him. He was selfish, foolish, brutal, and lewd. He was raised kindly by Lord Eddard - even if he was a captive - but all he could see was the possible glory and power that he mistakenly thought he should have. He inspired no loyalty and made a worse decision at every turn. He destroyed Winterfell to no purpose and I fervently hope that he's dead for keeps. I see no reason to revive him, since he's pretty useless.

Cersei. I hate her for the same reasons that I hate Theon. As I've started to read her own point of view, it's rather apparent how foolish, conceited, and power hungry she is. She's so overprotective of her sons that she almost lost the battle for King's Landing by calling Joffrey back to the castle. In her grab for power, she pushed away everyone who's ever been loyal to her because she didn't like their good advice. She's so hellbent on being in control that she won't let Tommen do anything that might possibly prepare him to rule once he comes of age. Every time she denied Tommen the right to sit in on the council or learn how to fight, I thought of the way the Starks did everything possible to include Bran on such matters (e.g. watching Ned pass judgment on an oathbreaker, having him sit on the council sessions, having him preside over guests). Instead, Cersei hoarded the power for herself and surrounded herself with strangers who she thought were "loyal to her", but I don't know how someone so suspicious could delude herself into believing that sellswords, informers, et al could possibly have enough honor to remain loyal to anyone. She's far too emotional - she and Catelyn both. They are both offended far too easily and go insane with rage (in mind if not in action). She set herself up for destruction, and irritatingly thought herself clever for doing so.

I can't express how pleased I was when her own scheming backfired on her. She gave the church more power and they seized her. She tried to ruin Margaery with lies, but the truth about Cersei came out instead. And jilted Jaime left her to rot in her own villainy. Since the prophecy she fears seems to be coming true, I am looking forward to her eventual demise.

Lady Lysa. Veritably insane. I never liked her and it was a sweet sort of justice when she was tossed out of her own precious Moon Door.

Lord Robert. A sickly, baby version of Joffrey. His temper-tantrums drive me crazy, but worse is the way that the adults cater to him because he has epilepsy. The fits would come no matter what; the boy needs discipline. I can safely say it's all his mother's fault, but now that she's dead, Littlefinger isn't helping any. The best thing for the boy would be to send him off to be fostered with boys his age and adults who want to teach and train him to be a man. Littlefinger is the male equivalent of Cersei in that respect; he just wants Robert to live in ignorance while he goes on ruling to his heart's content.

Walder Frey. An offensive, cowardly, gross old man with no honor, no achievements, and no sense of loyalty. I wasn't particularly distraught by Robb and Catelyn's deaths (I was more upset that Grey Wind was killed to be honest), but the contemptible way that he betrayed the North for the sake of nothing but pride was enough to make me hate him.

Craster. Incestuous polygamist who sacrificed his sons to the Others. Need I say more?

Melissandra. She's creepy and scarily powerful. I find her control over Stannis disturbing. She feels like a serpent to me. She slithers out and whispers spells and promises and strikes with deadly precision. Despite her apparent goal of giving Stannis the Iron Throne, I suspect she's more intoxicated by the power her sorcery gives her. If Stannis ever did anything to curb her power, she'd off him in a heartbeat.

Littlefinger. I never really liked Petyr, but he hasn't done anything to make me totally despise him yet. I'm still waiting for him to do something really heinous. Or die. I wasn't overjoyed when he was the one to rescue Sansa from King's Landing. He doesn't seem the type to do a good deed simply for the sake of honor, or even for love. His lust for Sansa is disturbing. I get that he's trying to "love" Catelyn vicariously through Sansa, but she's only 13. Just...ew. Despite his declarations, I don't really think he ever understood what it is to really love; he's too selfish for that. He pines after the idea of Catelyn in the same way that he pines after power and prestige.

Tywin. He doesn't personally give me the creeps or make me angry, but all the horrible things he's done put him on the hate list.

Stannis. Literally sold his soul to the devil. That alone would turn me against him, but I also find him dull and overly proud and stubborn. I give him credit for helping the Night's Watch, but I was unimpressed with his conduct at the Wall. He tried to claim authority where he had none, and it serves him right trying to use Jon Snow for his own ends.

Ygritte. She was strong, and I liked the way that she helped Jon understand and interact with the Wildlings, but I never liked her for her own sake. I didn't get her whole "You know nothing," bit. It was like the Wildling equivalent of "whatever". Then she betrayed him, but it seemed more like it was out of irritation than any loyalty to her own people. I wasn't really a fan, so I was glad when she died. Jon's way better off without her.

The Hound. I'm not exactly sure what to make of him. He seems to be honorable despite himself. When stories surfaced about The Hound raping and pillaging, I knew it couldn't be him. Jaimie knew it too, which made me happy. Sandor's rough around the edges, to be sure, but his actions speak for themselves. He protected the king, rescued Sansa, despised men who were knights in title but not in deed, and protected Arya when he carried her off. I wasn't very pleased when she left him to die. I think he could be a really awesome warrior and protector, but he has no one worthy to follow. I was really hoping that Arya would get over her grudge - she was so close! - because they could make an awesome team.

Lord Commander Mormont. He was a good leader, intelligent, and honorable. I wasn't particularly sad to see him go, but the manner of his passing was a bit grim and saddening.

Sansa. I was hoping that Sansa would be a little more proactive after all that she's been through, but she seems as pliable as ever. I pity her. Petyr seems to be teaching her logic, at least, but she is hopeless at reading anyone's intentions or character. I pity her more because the only thing she ever wanted was to be happily married to a handsome man and instead her only kisses have been with a gruff and scarred man, a horny ugly dwarf, a former beau of her mother's, and a bratty little boy. At least she's brave. Her courage makes me want better for her. Strangely enough, the match that Petyr is planning on making with Harry to achieve his own ends may be perfect for Sansa.

Queen Margaery. I don't know enough truth about her to understand if she's just putting power-moves on Tommen or if she's actually trying to be a good queen. Cersei's POV blackens Margaery's character (if not her virtue), but then Cersei's POV paints everyone as black as she is. Anyone that Cersei doesn't like can't be all bad.

Arya. I feel like she could be really awesome, but she's still growing up and has no one awesome to emulate. I'd like to see her meet Brienne. They're both warrior women, but their personalities are pretty opposite. I think it would do Arya some good to meet another warrior maiden. I also really want Arya to grow up and learn how to read people properly. She's learning a lot, but there's something about her strength that makes her abrasive. She actually reminds me of The Hound a bit. I'm not really pleased or impressed by her journey. She's clearly learning a lot - a lot more than Sansa, for example - but the growth just seems to be knowledge and not character. She's not maturing, really, she's just learning how to survive better. I want to know who she's going to be and what her ambitions will be as a woman. The one thing that I was really happy about is that she is refusing to give up Arya Stark. What's the point of following her story if Arya Stark disappears forever? I'm waiting for the moment when she goes back to Westeros. That's when the fun will begin.

Robb. I was surprised, but I wasn't particularly sad to see Robb go. We never heard his POV, so there was always a disconnect. Catelyn was the closest we ever got to him, and I don't find her particularly sympathetic for all that she's the mother of the awesome House of Stark.

Catelyn. Why did he have to bring her back from the dead of all people? She's not that cool. She has moments of wisdom, but is otherwise completely controlled by her emotions, despite her apparent ability to shut them off in order to maintain her stone-faced dignity. She is unjust in her judgments, mostly because she can't see past her own presuppositions. For Merlin fans out there, I see a lot of Morganavenge, i.e. taking the blame out on all the wrong people and not caring because she doesn't like them anyway and it feels good.

Davos. Bored me. I skimmed over most of his chapters and didn't mourn his apparent death. But then, I found almost everything related to Stannis rather boring. It doesn't help that I hate Melissandra.

Jaime. I was shocked to find myself liking Jaime even the slightest bit. After the whole Cersei scandal and Bran debacle, I thought for sure that Jaime was the vilest of the Lannisters with naught to redeem him. And maybe he was. But by the time the story got to his POV, he had hit rock bottom and his redemptive journey began. The strikes against him were confronted one by one and made...well, mostly void.

1) He's the Kingslayer.
- It turns out that Mad King Aerys was just that, and deserved what he got.

2) Jaime was sitting on the King's throne to take it for himself.
- He actually wasn't, he was just sitting there when Ned walked in.

3) He pushed Bran out a window, then sent an assassin to finish the job.
- The first part is true, but it wasn't done maliciously as far as I can tell. The second part is false. It turns out that Joffrey did it and ended up turning out much much worse, which made Jaime look angelic by comparison.

4) He lied to Tyrion about Tysha for years.
- He confessed and saved Tyrion's life by setting him free as a way to make amends.

5) Incest. That's still true, and he still gets grossly aroused by his sister, but he grows less and less fond of her all the time. Why is that? Because he's changed for the better and his eyes have been opened to who and what Cersei really is. Again, the comparison between him and someone worse makes him shine brighter.

But there's more to this story. Why is he changing? ...Because of Brienne!!! I saw the signs early on. He teased her spitefully and mused about her ugliness, but he respected her ungrudgingly when she proved herself capable of her difficult task. Calling her "wench" seemed to be his way to banter with her. He was particularly ruffled whenever she called him "Kingslayer", which I imagine unsettled him because she's SO VERY honorable and he's not. That's where I think the turning point lies. She's brave and noble and pure, she could best him in a fight, and his very great respect for her made him want to be worthy of that same respect. He's always hated being dubbed "Kingslayer", but Brienne made him want to restore his honor.

As a first attempt, Jaime tried his best to protect her from being raped - even after his hand was severed. I could hardly believe it when he was on his way to home and safety and he actually TURNED AROUND AND WENT BACK FOR HER!!! I was grinning and giggling like an idiot when I read that. My favorite characters always seem to be the bad boys who mend their ways and Jaime is well on his way. There have been many instances since then that bear witness to his change of heart, but I think my favorite so far was when one of the men who had cruelly rejected Brienne began to insult her appearance and Jamie lost it and slugged him. Hee!

Danaerys. Early on, I felt bad for her. Then she learned the ways of the flesh and half of her story disgusted me. Then Drogo died and her cruel and unusual punishment of the sorceress made me think that Dany had become barbaric. Since then, I've reevaluated my opinion of her. First of all, I watched GOT season one and then the whole drogo/baby/witch thing made more sense. When Dany burnt the witch with Drogo and the eggs, that made more sense, too. It's not certain that the dragons required life sacrifices to make the magic of their births possible, but I can see where Dany would think that.

After that, I came to like Dany for her wisdom, benevolence, and a determination to lead her people well and bring real justice - freeing slaves, stopping rapists, considering how to feed her people, and settling into a city to prevent the misrule that followed in the wake of a power void. It's refreshing after all the scheming in Westeros. She actually wants to be a good queen rather than just wanting to have control. I wasn't super pleased about how she reacted to Ser Jora. He informed on her without ever knowing her and stopped when he finally chose her as his queen. He never made any vows to her that I can recall, and I liked him, so I just couldn't relate to her. In general, I like Danaerys, but I'm not all "WOOT! TEAM DANY!"

ETA: I began this post several weeks ago and haven't taken the time to add Brienne, Jon Snow and others, which has become more complicated by the fact that I've started reading book 5. Hopefully I'll get to them once I've finished reading.
Tags: book review, books: game of thrones

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