Let us start with a review of the political facts. The first story’s theme was honor, how it fails to rule, & therefore how peace is forfeit. Obviously, the failure of honor in wartime must be the second story’s theme. Before, we saw a king who could not be bothered to rule; now we see an increasing number of self-declared kings warring senselessly, none able to rule.
The young Lannister king is growing insane, but his mother is powerless to stop him. He is the ugly truth about her: Attempting to rule without arms is insane.
The dwarf Lannister shows that the only way to solve this problem is to rule indirectly, to rule those who have arms. He has no arms himself & is acutely aware of the difference between those who love arms & those who fear arms.
He thus learns that the only way a prince arises to rule is by the many people, not by the few nobles, who are always fighting among themselves. Therefore, he starts destroying those he cannot trust & he places men who depend on him for their success in high positions, where their survival depends on his success.
Indirect rule requires destroying the established orders, but it requires two further things. The first is the taming of the princes, who are naturally proud. Indirect rule allows princes to think they rule, because arms are necessary, but turns the dangers of arms against the princes in different, extraordinary modes, so that the new order is preserved & examples are made of its enemies.
The many contenders to the throne are killing each other & wasting the substance of the kingdoms. This weakens the established orders tremendously, providing a great opportunity for one who knows how to unite the kingdoms, once their kings are dead, perhaps by reminding the people of the terror of anarchy & civil war.
The Stark king is winning his battles, but he has an uncanny habit of inviting treason.
The two extant Baratheons also call themselves kings. They hated their dead brother & they hate each other; they cannot rally any other warlords either. The many kings dare not think daring thoughts. Strangely, none has invented a path to the throne.
Perhaps this is the time to talk about the sex so prominently featured. It distracts the people, for eros is universal, but especially it distracts the men who want to rule from their proper thoughts. Love of women & love of death are quite different. Sexual incontinence gets in the way of the art of war. But ambition & lust share their roots. Again we see a suggestion of incest, reminding us of the lawlessness of beginnings.
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