A Song of Ice and Fire 30 Day Challenge: Favorite Male Character
“At the hollow hill, what you said about being King Robert’s men, and brothers, I liked that. I liked that you gave the Hound a trial. Lord Bolton just hanged folk or took off their heads, and Lord Tywin and Ser Amory were the same. I’d sooner smith for you.”
The spectator seats are orientated to the south, towards the ancient city in the lowland and the Rhodope Mountains. In outline, the theatre is a semi-circle with an outer diameter of 82 meters. The theatre itself is divided into the seating section (auditorium) and the stage (orchestra). The auditorium, the area in which people gathered, is hollowed out of a hill or slope, while the outer radian seats required structural support and solid retaining walls. The auditorium was not roofed. The spectator seats (cavea) surround the stage – the orchestra – which has the shape of a horseshoe, 26.64 meters long, includes 28 concentric rows of marble seats, divided into two tiers by an aisle (diazoma). The upper part of the tiers is interrupted by narrow radial stairways, which divide the cavea into wedge-shaped sectors (kerkides). The theatre also has a podium, which supports the columns of the scaenae frons.
Similar to all the theatres on the territory of the Roman Empire, in the theatre of Trimontium the honorary spectator seats were inscribed. There were inscriptions not only for the representatives of the city council but also for magistrates, friends of the Emperor, etc. Some honorary inscriptions show that the building was used as the seat of the Thracian provincial assembly. Built with around 7,000 seats, each section of seating had the names of the city quarters engraved on the benches so the citizens knew where they were to sit.
a homestuck fic rec list by city. featuring dirkjake and some davekat. mind the warnings, i tried to be as thorough with each fic w the appropriate warnings as i could, but if i missed an important warning/tag, please let me know!
comes with my shitty summaries of the fic for your convenience
The concept of some humanoid or near-humanoid species being
naturally inclined to evil is a racist one, and, unfortunately, a prevalent one
in Dungeons & Dragons, exacerbated by the fact that these “evil species”
are frequently the “ugly” ones. Drow are a particularly glaring example - “made
black because of their ‘evil’”?! Fuck you - but the duergar - “the
slaves … learned only to enslave, really makes you think don’t it” - and
the orcs - “they feel the CALL to evil in their Gruumshy HEARTS” - are also
super not good. (There’s also a fair degree of ableism, with “insane” monsters
- in such cases, I honestly think “unaligned” would be a better description for
“too far gone to understand morality”. Evil implies a choice.) Honestly, I wouldn’t mind so much if these weren’t supposed
to be naturally-occurring species - always evil demons or fey are fine, because
they’re made of magic and stories, although care should of course
be taken not to make them look like naturally-occurring species - but
elves are really just fragile pointy-eared monkeys, and they have excuses. However, these evil humanoids are also genre staples and
often quite aesthetically good. To that end, I offer the Unfucking D&D Guide, which provides what I think are solutions to this
problem. (It should be noted that I am whiter than plain yogurt, so my ideas
should be taken with a grain of salt and definitely not take precedence over
the ideas of non-white folks. If I’ve said something fucked-up in this, please
let me know and I’ll fix it.)
Duergar. Keep the “enslaved by illithids, made grim
& psionic” bit, toss the “learnt evil from them” part. The duergar are
joyless, or can appear so - you can play them either as gloomy and fatalistic
or as eccentric and unreasonably concerned with “corruption” - but despite
whatever mood they possess, make sure that they are thoroughly dedicated to
making sure the horrors of the Underdark stay in the Underdark, and are as
righteous and honorable as their hill and mountain cousins.
Derro. The derro are an “insane” species; I bring
them up only because I saw them confused with duergar in one post about racism
in D&D. Their lore has not been constant - the current lore is “dwarves
enslaved by illithids, tortured into madness, and now they’re eeeeeeeevil”,
which is ableist, not racist - but their metatextual origin is among the
detrimental robots, or Deros, of pulp author Richard Sharpe
Shaver’s stories (or possibly delusions). “Born from the dreams of a mad author” would actually be good lore
if you can make that author a tragic sufferer of schizophrenia in a time before
it was understood rather than an ~*~eViL mAdMaN~*~, but in any event, change
their type to construct, fey, or fiend, and, most importantly, don’t take
them seriously. The derro are pulp villains, and their evil is
grandiose and nonsensical. They ought not to be seen as realistic; they ought
to be seen as Snidely Whiplash, Commander Claw, or Heinz Doofenshmirtz. “Reasons”
are for other genres.
Drow. Return drow to their mythical roots as trow,
nocturnal hunters, tricksters, and magical artisans dwelling in the hollow
hills. There’s high and wood elves; dark elves can find a niche. Lolthite culture
is good villain fodder, but make sure that you can handle an “evil religion”,
and make sure that all types of elves participate.
Goblinoids and trolls. Make them fey, and abandon
Tolkien for Rossetti and folktale. Goblins make cruel bargains; hobgoblins
attend faerie courts; bugbears hide in closets and create electricity from feed
on children’s screams; trolls lurk under bridges and love riddles. As fey, they’re
not evil, simply alien and lacking in empathy towards mortals.
Gnolls. If you use the Volo’s lore, change
their type to fiend and be done with it. If you want to have them be natural
humanoids, go read Ursula Vernon’s Digger for the best-written
hyaena-furries in literature and base gnolls off that once you’re done crying.
Kobolds. Kobolds are already draconic cleaner wrasses
in lore; there’s no reason that metallic dragons can’t enjoy them as well and
influence some populations to good.
Illithids. The mind flayers certainly have great
potential as villains. However, there is nothing about their psychology that
impels them thither. Their biological requirements could easily be met by
feeding on those close to death, whom I might imagine would willingly donate
their brains as food or tadpole incubators in exchange for a painless death and
the surety that their memories would live on in the illithid. Also, create
food and water spells exist.
Ogres. Ogres are wilderness-dwellers who prefer to
maintain their personal territories through fear instead of actual force of
arms; the idea of the monstrous, anthropophagous ogre is a deliberate sham.
They are actually capable of great heroism, even if they aren’t exactly the
sharpest tools in the shed and okay to be honest I started out trying to build
up to a Shrek joke but I think I’d take this over canon lore.
Orcs. Orcs are an easy fix; all you need to do is
remove Gruumsh from the equation and they don’t have a bullshit “call to evil”;
in Eberron, without objective gods, the people of the Shadow Marches believe
that half-orcs are the proof that orcs and humans are one people, so there’s
even in-game precedent for orcs as members of society.
Yuan-ti. There are two ways to do this. One is to
dump all the lore and just have sexy snake cults, although don’t dress them
like Asian or Aztec stereotypes like a lot of the art does. (The 3.5 Monster
Manual yuan-ti pureblood looks like she’s constantly accompanied by an
inappropriate bamboo flute riff, I swear to Istus.) A sexy snake cult (and I am
including malisons, abominations, and anathemas in the term “sexy”, not just
purebloods) should be fun for everyone.
The other way is to keep their personalities and dump
everything else, because if you keep that, you get truly excellent
villains. I mean, these fuckers. How dare they drag something as pure as
snakes into their Ayn Rand bullshit. Villain yuan-ti should be
something transformed from willing or deluded humanoids (histachii raise
the sacred snakes and the children of the yuan-ti, who possess their parents’
original race at birth). Couple that with the fact that since snakes very
definitely have emotions, yuan-ti logically should as well, which means that
they only think they’re above emotions. Now you have Objectivists roped
into a magical pyramid scheme, which should offend no-one who doesn’t deserve
it. You can mourn for the beings they once were, or just laugh in their dumb
faces. Also, the sexy ones all look like Ayn Rand.
“This girl is not your sister, Jon, nor is she the girl you once knew. She’s accused of murdering a child. The Lords of the Vale are determined to see her brought to trial for Robert Arryn’s death. Furthermore, she was found with Petyr Baelish’s blood literally on her hands.” Altered summary: Years after the war, dangerous circumstances reunite Sansa Stark, former Queen in the North and now Lady of Winterfell and accused traitor and murderer, with Jon, now Prince Jon of the Targaryen Empire. Together with some old friends and Jon’s Aunt Dany, they try to cope, stay alive, sane, and keep the new empire afloat. Politics, intrigue, action, angst, romance and sex abound.
Arya Stark wanted to be a knight; she wanted to find glory and adventure with Needle in her hand. But that is not an appropriate life for a highborn lady, and that was all Arya of House Stark was allowed to be.
No one said life was easy. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Death has become our world and within it, we are slaves to its horrors. Take my hand, for the moment you let go of me will be the moment I lose myself.
Ser Gendry of the Hollow Hill survives the massacres in the Riverlands. At Castle Black he reveals to Melisandre that the rescued Arya is not the true Arya. Both the Acting Commander and Melisandre send him on a mission to save Westeros from the Cold Children of the Great Other by stealing and retrieving the Darkheart acolyte of the Many Faced God in Braavos.
“What?” Arya snapped her head to look at her father. “You’re leaving us?” Ned looked to the floor. “We’re leaving to go to King’s Landing.” By the tone of his voice, it was apparent that there wasn’t any room for compromise. “ Arya Stark leaves the life she knows behind and meets Gendry Waters who forever changes her life.
I also like Tom Bombadil. He’s enigmatic, as he should be. Not everything requires an explanation.
Congratulations, you’ve unlocked My Thoughts on Tom Bombadil!
First, let’s get this out of the way: the movies were absolutely right to cut him; he wouldn’t have transferred well.
Now: Tom Bombadil is the perfect bridge between the world of the Shire and the world outside, which is full of peril. He’s apparently a jolly old man, taking part in the world of The Hobbit, which is a children’s book; but of course he’s also got one of my favorite passages in the whole trilogy:
Suddenly Tom’s talk left the woods and went leaping up the young stream, over bubbling waterfalls, over pebbles and worn rocks, and among small flowers in close grass and wet crannies, wandering at last up on to the Downs. They heard of the Great Barrows, and the green mounds, and the stone-rings upon the hills and in the hollows among the hills. Sheep were bleating in flocks. Green walls and white walls rose. There were fortresses on the heights. Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. There was victory and defeat; and towers fell, fortresses were burned, and flames went up into the sky. Gold was piled on the biers of dead kings and queens; and mounds covered them, and the stone doors were shut; and the grass grew over all. Sheep walked for a while biting the grass, but soon the hills were empty again. A shadow came out of dark places far away, and the bones were stirred in the mounds. Barrow-wights walked in the hollow places with a clink of rings on cold fingers, and gold chains in the wind.“ Stone rings grinned out of the ground like broken teeth in the moonlight.
It prefigures all the beauty and terror of the rest of the series, as well as reaching back into the history of Middle Earth; he was there, he knows all the stories, but he’s not quite part of it, as shown by the fact that the Ring has no power over him.
He’s both absolutely canny, providing the first sanctuary on the hobbits’ journey, and completely uncanny:
"When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.”
So, he’s a good encounter for the hobbits and for the reader: a proof that not everything is perilous - and a proof that everything is. To quote Sam: “It strikes me that folk takes their peril with them into Lórien, and finds it there because they’ve brought it. But perhaps you could call her perilous, because she’s so strong in herself.”
Tom Bombadil is also strong in himself, and perfectly contained; he has his domain and doesn’t venture out of it. And yet, he is part of the world - the hobbits carry the daggers from the Barrow-Downs for the whole trilogy; Merry strikes the Witch-King of Angmar with one of them.
And everything he says is beautifully rhythmic, a song in prose:
“What?” shouted Tom Bombadil, leaping up in the air. “Old Man Willow? Naught worse than that, eh? That can soon be mended. I know the tune for him. Old grey Willow-man! I’ll freeze his marrow cold, if he don’t behave himself. I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away. Old Man Willow!”
It’s lovely to read, either out loud or to yourself.
All that is to say: I think it’s both a necessary and a beautiful section of the book.
“Arya?” Gendry had followed her out. “Lady Smallwood said there’s a smithy. Want to have a look?”
“If you want.” She had nothing else to do.
“This Thoros,” Gendry said as they walked past the kennels, “is he the same Thoros who lived in the castle at King’s Landing? A red priest, fat, with a shaved head?”
“I think so.” Arya had never spoken to Thoros at King’s Landing that she could recall, but she knew who he was. He and Jalabhar Xho had been the most colorful figures at Robert’s court, and Thoros was a great friend of the king as well.
“He won’t remember me, but he used to come to our forge.” The Smallwood forge had not been used in some time, though the smith had hung his tools neatly on the wall. Gendry lit a candle and set it on the anvil while he took down a pair of tongs. “My master always scolded him about his flaming swords. It was no way to treat good steel, he’d say, but this Thoros never used good steel. He’d just dip some cheap sword in wildfire and set it alight. It was only an alchemist’s trick, my master said, but it scared the horses and some of the greener knights.”
She screwed up her face, trying to remember if her father had ever talked about Thoros. “He isn’t very priestly, is he?”
“No,” Gendry admitted. “Master Mott said Thoros could outdrink even King Robert. They were pease in a pod, he told me, both gluttons and sots.”
“You shouldn’t call the king a sot.” Maybe King Robert had drunk a lot, but he’d been her father’s friend.
“I was talking about Thoros.” Gendry reached out with the tongs as if to pinch her face, but Arya swatted them away. “He liked feasts and tourneys, that was why King Robert was so fond of him. And this Thoros was brave. When the walls of Pyke crashed down, he was the first through the breach. He fought with one of his flaming swords, setting ironmen afire with every slash.”
“I wish I had a flaming sword.” Arya could think of lots of people she’d like to set on fire.
“It’s only a trick, I told you. The wildfire ruins the steel. My master sold Thoros a new sword after every tourney. Every time they would have a fight about the price.” Gendry hung the tongs back up and took down the heavy hammer. “Master Mott said it was time I made my first longsword. He gave me a sweet piece of steel, and I knew just how I wanted to shape the blade. Only Yoren came, and took me away for the Night’s Watch.”
“You can still make swords if you want,” said Arya. “You can make them for my brother Robb when we get to Riverrun.”
“Riverrun.” Gendry put the hammer down and looked at her. “You look different now. Like a proper little girl.”
“I look like an oak tree, with all these stupid acorns.”
“Nice, though. A nice oak tree.” He stepped closer, and sniffed at her. “You even smell nice for a change.”
“You don’t. You stink.” Arya shoved him back against the anvil and made to run, but Gendry caught her arm. She stuck a foot between his legs and tripped him, but he yanked her down with him, and they rolled across the floor of the smithy. He was very strong, but she was quicker. Every time he tried to hold her still she wriggled free and punched him. Gendry only laughed at the blows, which made her mad. He finally caught both her wrists in one hand and started to tickle her with the other, so Arya slammed her knee between his legs, and wrenched free. Both of them were covered in dirt, and one sleeve was torn on her stupid acorn dress. “I bet I don’t look so nice now,” she shouted.
Tom was singing when they returned to the hall.
My featherbed is deep and soft,
and there I’ll lay you down,
I’ll dress you all in yellow silk,
and on your head a crown.
For you shall be my lady love,
and I shall be your lord.
I’ll always keep you warm and safe,
and guard you with my sword.
Harwin took one look at them and burst out laughing, and Anguy smiled one of his stupid freckly smiles and said, “Are we certain this one is a highborn lady?” But Lem Lemoncloak gave Gendry a clout alongside the head. “You want to fight, fight with me! She’s a girl, and half your age! You keep your hands off o’ her, you hear me?”
“I started it ” said Arya. “Gendry was just talking.”
“Leave the boy, Lem,” said Harwin. “Arya did start it, I have no doubt. She was much the same at Winterfell.”
Tom winked at her as he sang:
And how she smiled and how she laughed,
the maiden of the tree.
She spun away and said to him, no featherbed for me.
You laid down
And I found
Decayed and sacred
Marrow and blood
Lost to dust and quiet
In that sacred hollow hill
I heard your song
Into my rib cage
My caged beating
And elsewhere in the woods, there is a party, one taking place inside a hollow hill, full of night-blooming flowers. There, a pale boy plays a fiddle with newly mended fingers while his sister dances with his best friend. There, a monster whirls about, branches waving in time with the music. There, a prince of the Folk takes up the mantle of king, embracing a changeling like a brother, and, with a human boy at his side, names a girl his champion.
“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?
We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.
They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.” ― George R.R. Martin
A/N: This fic is really long and it’s my first time writing for LOTR so I’m kind of worried that I didn’t get Aragorn’s character right.
“You took a sword for me,” he says finally as his expression once again returns to careful neutrality. There is a hint of a question in his voice- as if he cannot bring himself to believe that such an action is possible.
“Yes, and I would gladly do it again,” you reply and he simply stares at you for several moments, shocked into silence.
“Why? Why would you do such a thing?” he asks you after a few more moments pass and the tightness of his jaw tells you that he is angry, though you cannot understand the reasons for such a reaction.
Dana, you of many children, many names
the holder of love that ne'er shall be tamed
I see you in the dark soil and lush hollow hills.
I give my hands over to you and your will.
I feel you in the wind over the sea strand.
I give my feet to you, to guide me when to run or stand.
Goddess who’s amorousness has blessed the brow
of all the Tuatha de,
kissed the lives and all who to you bow.
You of the Danube’s fertile silt,
you who keeps the veins if the land.
it is upon your body that the world was built,
it is from your womb that sprang the Gods,
from the Dagda to Fand.
I praise your gifts of peace and fertility,
I thank you for the life you have given to me.