How is it impossible for Tyrion to bump into Catelyn at the Crossroads Inn? Also, while GRRM is a brilliant storyteller, what do you think are his biggest flaws? And finally-what makes ASOIAF not a blanket anti-war statement?
1. Given when Tyrion leaves the Wall and Catelyn leaves King’s Landing, they should’ve intersected considerably farther north.
2. The Dead Ladies Club; ask @joannalannister for more.
3. One of my favorite topics. *cracks knuckles*
So, all I have to do is find one exception and by definition it’s no longer a “blanket” anti-war statement, right? And there’s way more than one. The FeastDance in particular is rife with false peaces that demand disruption, from White Harbor to Slaver’s Bay. Tyranny is not peace. Subjugation is not peace. The status quo in, say, Davos III ADWD is not a worthy peace, which is why GRRM has Davos and Wylla Manderly stand so stirringly against it. Why would he write it like that, why would he have our heroes stand against the “peace” and the villainous Freys for it, if a simplistic anti-war message is what he meant for us to take away? It’s just not that black-and-white.
This is true in ACOK as well. Robb tries to make peace with the Lannisters…and they throw it in his face. What is he to do then but try and beat them in the field until they are willing to come to the table? It takes two to tango. If the other side is not interested in peace, then peace is impossible. (Same logic applies to the Others, by the way.) Or look at Stannis in that same book: is he really supposed to bend the knee to usurping tyrants who put a sadist on his throne? He’s thoroughly justified in rising up against Joffrey, and against Renly as well, given the nightmarish society-wide consequences if the latter triumphs. (Why should any younger son follow the rules if the King didn’t?)
Now, is anything Robb and Stannis do in the name of their just causes automatically good? Not at all! ASOIAF is in large part about the costs of war…but that’s just not the same thing, at all, as making a “blanket anti-war statement.” As these examples demonstrate, GRRM simply did not construct the story that way. Moreover, I think GRRM’s critique of war has less to do with the real world and more to do with the genre in question. He’s telling us we need to be more critical and informed readers of medieval fantasy, that we shouldn’t blindly swallow depictions of medieval war as dashing and romantic, more than he is telling us to protest outside the Pentagon. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter.)
Finally, and perhaps most importantly: GRRM’s personal anti-war leanings inform the text, but they don’t overwhelm it, because he’s a better writer than that. Very, very few authors can deliver an outright polemic-as-narrative that holds together as a story (Orwell comes immediately to mind). GRRM knows better than to reduce his rich narrative to a screed. Again, it just isn’t that simple, and shouldn’t be.