I want to push back against this perception that GRRM kills off characters in ASOIAF for shock value. Or that he’s killing off characters willy-nilly to fuck with his audience.
We may find many of these deaths shocking, but we tend to be shocked because we’re accustomed to seeing characters live or die based on a particular moral framework, and GRRM is using a different moral framework. His moral framework isn’t cynical, or nihilistic. It’s pragmatic.
In particular, GRRM has NOT established a pattern of killing off POV characters for no good reason. Of those POV characters who are significant enough to have a presence on the show, the only ones who’ve died in the books are Ned, Cat, and Jon. That’s it. And Jon hasn’t even stayed dead. (Cat, I’m calling a real death. Everything good about Cat died at the Red Wedding and stayed dead.) Robb Stark was never a POV character. Robert Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Jeor Mormont, Tywin Lannister, Rodrik Cassel, Oberyn Martell? Not POV characters.
A swashbuckling sea captain from the Greek island of
Samothrace who opposes the sinister, debauched, and cruel Julius Caesar and his
Roman Empire, Tros of Samothrace is, like Conan, a black haired ball of muscle
who’s primary occupation is naval freebooting, who’s defining character traits
are pride and a desire for freedom and personal independence above all else, and
his chief hobbies include refusing to bow to powerful people and laughing at
backstabbing enemies from treacherous civilized empires.
Like Conan, Tros takes
pride in being from a kingdom that was never conquered, even into Roman times.
Also like Conan, he has allies in a persecuted and secretive religious minority like the ones that save King Conan’s life in “The Hour of the Dragon,” as Tros works with an eccentric religious order from his
native island (the Mystery Cult of Samothrace). Because the Tros stories had
the Romans as the “bad guys,” they were immensely controversial to the Adventure
pulp readership, though this element must have delighted Robert E. Howard, an
anti-imperialist who wanted Irish independence, who went on to have debauched,
backstabbing Roman-style enemies in Conan, Kull, and Bran Mak Morn.
Khlit the Cossack By Harold Lamb (1917)
A Cossack hero from 16th Century Ukraine who
starred in 21 stories and novels from 1917-1926 in the most famous pulp mag of
all, Adventure, Khlit the Cossack, his Turkish curved scimitar in hand, found
the lost tomb of Genghis Khan, rescued the son
of the Emperor of China, battled the original Assassins in Syria, and
killed a tyrannical impostor of the Czar in Russia. He had all kinds of
adventures with Tartars, Afghans, and Indians.
A big part of Conan is the setting, which is steeped in
orientalism and the exotic east, and Harold Lamb’s body of work was to the
steppes of central Asia what Jimmy Buffett is to the tropics (his best known
work is a biography of Genghis Khan). In fact, in one fascinating little bigraphical tidbit, Lamb was even an agent for US
Intelligence during World War II in Iran.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan
To Howard fans, bringing up the many obvious similarities to
Tarzan and the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs is kind of like one of those secrets everyone knows but nobody has the
bad taste to discuss out loud, kind of like when you know someone at the office is
an alcoholic. The reaction is usually like a little kid blurting out a family secret at Christmas dinner.
The most ERB-like of all the Conan stories is “Red Nails,” a story
about that most ERB-esque of topics, a crumbling lost city of immense antiquity
found in a jungle inhabited by prehistoric creatures, who’s natives immediately
try to make Tarzan – uh, Conan, sorry – their first victim of ritual human sacrifice. Likewise, Howard considered ERB’s “Gods of Mars” his favorite book (and said so in many letters) and borrowed ERB’s cynical take on priests and gods in that book, where they were impenetrable, unremovable conspiracies ruling traditionalist ancient societies, and who were not true believers at all.
Happy Birthday to the gorgeous Robert Smith ♡ I could write a novel about how much Robert and The Cure mean to me so I’ll just make this short. I cannot thank him enough. Sometimes their music is the only place I can go and feel okay and I don’t know what I’d do without that!
I love him very much and I wouldn’t be who I am today without him.
I’ve been doin a s h it ton of sketches with my dadsona Justin and Robert, so I can only assume this is canon endgame for him?? I just love Robert a lot and I have a thing coming up involving him that’s more polished than a dumb colored sketch.