Table of contents

Game Of Thrones I.4.1

The arts of war & the women

Stark’s daughter, engaged to the Lannister heir apparent, asks what fate should befall her, should all her children be daughters. She says the people would then hate her. She says she will never forgive her father, presumably for marrying her to the crown. She fears the order of men, who conceal behind beauty harsh things. She hates her life, though she desired that marriage.

Stark’s young daughter, having received a sword as gift from her bastard brother, learns from an Eastern swordmaster that she is a sword, that motion is everything, that the human beings are fundamentally water. She will soon love war & be at home in this world.

Stark tells her that her crippled brother cannot be a knight, but could be councilor; & that she cannot be councilor, but could be the lady of a castle. She refuses emphatically. She loved her wolf, set him free to save him, & fought a prince. She defies conventions unflinchingly. She looks like a boy – her swordmaster insists on calling her boy. The arts of war will raise her to equal footing with men & weaken the love of family.

The Targeryan girl, now the barbarian’s wife, is with child. Male issue would make the marriage binding. Whores teach her not to be raped anymore like an animal, but to seduce the barbarian, to rule him by pleasure. She must make him weak & needy to be strong herself. She must learn about slavery: These wild men will fear her husband more than she has to fear their strength. The horde is now moving into their capital.

The Lannister queen meanwhile teaches her son to keep his temper, keep his own counsel, & keep in mind that everyone who is not family is an enemy. Put briefly: Don’t get mad, get even. – The conniver’s hatred gives him insight into the weaknesses of manly men, who think to act in a straightforward way, & are thus easily betrayed & brought to a bad end. Deception hides behind the laws. Perhaps this is why men are suspicious of women & charm. Justice, she teaches, is the advantage of the stronger. But the need & possibility for deception imply that who is the stronger is questionable.

This view of politics implies that ruler & ruled cannot agree & have no common good. There is then no legitimacy or consent. To rule is to tyrannize; deception sweetens tyranny. Thus are the dark arts of politics introduced. The mother’s insistence on family & intrigue turns everything public into something private. The city can never be at peace, unless all the human beings become one family. But family cannot offer these connivers advantage & security either.