Are Queen Walda’s gloves made from like, people?
Roose bolton . Ramsay . Reek .~~~
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (A Ghost in Winterfell, p536)
#META VOMIT: I’ve seen a few comments regarding the fact that Theon had a dagger and could easily have killed himself but, as I think this quote shows, suicide is simply not a viable option for Theon. It was impossible for him as Reek because he was too terrified of Ramsay’s retribution to attempt suicide, and too much Ramsay’s ‘creature’ to boot. On the other hand, now that he is beginning to reclaim his identity as Theon, he is also regaining Theon’s pride, and his self-respect, and that is just as much of a barrier. He needs ‘a man’s death’ because, without one, he would not be dying as Theon but as Reek, and that is the thing Theon most wishes to avoid.
I think people who ask that, while legitimate question, don’t see how thoroughly Ramsay “owns” Reek. When Reek says he is Ramsay’s “creature”/ “I am yours”, this is not just pretty wording; he is literally Ramsay’s creation and personal property – and so has no agency, no demands or expectations or desire. He merely exists in whatever state Ramsay deems to leave him in. When people ask why Theon didn’t simply kill himself or defect to the Ironmen at Moat Cailin, they assume that Reek can do so. But it’s not even in the equation. Ramsay makes all the decisions — even the decision of death; Reek just lives them out.
All Reek has is being alive, and as pointed out as early as AGOT, what is life without friendship, dignity, desires. What is death then, if life without its attendant qualities make it so cheap. Such an end is not even a death, but a state of not-existing.
And Theon has always wanted. Whatever you think he wants – acceptance, affection, or just shallow glory – he hungers and wants and desires. He was not happy simply to be. Even after being stripped of everything, as Theon he still at least wanted a – not even a noble end, but just a death. Living beings die; objects do not, they simply cease to be.
Tywin Lannister. The man who cut off his hair to spite his hair.
There will never be another Tywin indeed. Sadness. I totally agree there’s been a void in the “master villain” role since. Littlefinger and Varys are uber-chessmasters but they operate in the shadows; Tywin operates on both levels and it is stunning to see the kind of reputation he’s created for himself among the Westerosi and readers. By ACOK/ASOS, you believe he can do anything.
(Seriously, why are all the chessmasters in the south? Is it something in the water?)
Roose is great too but I agree he doesn’t measure up to Tywin. I think it’s because no one knows what Roose’s long-term goals are. Sounds like he has none. And Ramsay is evil just for the sake of it. Great for the willies but not very engaging.
Whereas Tywin comes with a vision, securing the future of his House, especially as this is his second chance after the first was thwarted by Aerys. And you watch him grimly and methodically go about achieving it, trampling over all your favourites along the way.
AFFC was like a funny-sad family sitcom where the kids, Jaime and Cersei, have to grow up after daddy’s death. Jaime even goes out with a job and everything, while Cersei holds the fort at home.
I remember someone mentioning that if the “Meereenese Knot” was a wacky farcical adventure where all the characters heading to Meereen end up JUST missing each other he was going to do something drastic. No idea what happened to that guy.
At any rate, yes, I agree. There won’t be another Tywin. His humble beginnings with his bankrupt house, his meteoric and ruthless rise, his developing and crumbling friendship with Aerys II Targaryen, and the events since Robert’s Revolution could work, self-contained, as a classical tragedy. I mean, he even smiled and laughed before his wife died!
However! I’d say that Petyr Baelish and Roose Bolton have potential - both are minor (or SUPERminor) bannermen to great houses that are rising very quickly - both are now Great Lords as far as the Iron Throne is concerned. I agree with what you said about Roose, although I find the mystery of what he’s after to be really engaging - it’ll be a great pity if Ramsay kills him before we can see more development. Roose and Tywin are quite similar, and I’m starting to want to dig out my copy of Feast for Crows so I can read about Roose in Harrenhal.
I’m also interested in seeing what Euron’s got going on - Victarion isn’t going to do anything except what he’s told to do (as he’s done pretty much all his life), and we seem to be pretty well on Doran Martell’s side, although I’m not quite sure why.
[EDIT: Oh yeah, I remember reading that Meereenese Knot” guy too! o mai lawls. GRRM’s trolling reaching new heights.]
Oh, I’m definitely holding out for Roose Bolton in future books. To be fair, Tywin’s had 3 books to develop through various important characters, so everything about Roose so far — even his apathy — has time to be explored. There is also something to be said for “playing chessmaster for the sake of it” or “being evil just because” — there can be such characters who simply are, pop psychology be damned, and they are the most dangerous because their motivations cannot be understood and they cannot be reasoned with. It’s like reaching down into man’s deepest nature and finding an unfathomable, primordial darkness that no enlightened, civilised rationality can touch.
It’s a little out-of-sync with the rest of ASOIAF, but if a series strives to be “realistic”, then this is a side of humanity too. I can get behind that sort of villain. The Joker is one such example.
Ramsay could have been one too — but he still seems more of a cartoon caricature that a truly fearful villain (except from Reek’s POV, of course). Probably because Roose so easily subdues him so early in ADWD. And that makes me understand where the “Ramsay kills Roose” “twist” expectations come from, but I cannot see him killing Roose. It would just be such a waste. Ramsay is more of a reflection of/in supporting role to Roose’s character than vice versa. GRRM has a Reputation but he doesn’t really kill off major characters for the heck of it, it’s always in logical consequence of a plot thread.
(And all the experienced ASOIAF fans sigh, “oh you sweet summer child… what do you know of GRRM’s propensity for killing characters?”)
I’m working myself into a bit of an Euron-stanning situation, I hope his story doesn’t pull a Quentyn — promising huge rewards only to be snuffed out in the most anti-climatic way. Ok Quentyn’s end was kinda awesome in a horrifying way… but I just want Euron to reach endgame because he is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma shrouded in mystery, and the only Greyjoy remotely connected to the larger storyline of magic/beyond the wall/dragons, and gdi I wanna know moar. His talk about flying/crows is exactly like Bran’s dreams — wouldn’t it be funny-sad if he had been Bloodraven’s failed “test run” and was driven a little insane as a result?
I’m also doubting whether he’s really been to Valyria, since he’s acting pretty nonchalant throughout AFFC but the minute Rodrik the Reader challenges him on that point, his charm totally curdles up.
The Boltons feat. Reek by Sir-Heartsalot
(Wolf scarf & frowny-face pin are a nice touch.)