Table of contents

Game of Thrones II.4-8

Some notes on the surprises of war

The ugly Baratheon kills the handsome without a battle & rallies as much of the beheaded army as he can. Assassination has its uses, apparently, especially in times of trouble, when the loyalties of armies & cities are questionable at best.

Men seem to worship success & to make a goddess of chance, so the victorious gain from the fears of men victories they would not gain from their arms. Successful daring seems to become destiny.

The Lannisters show their habitual disunity in the young king’s madness. It points to the capitol led by his mother & uncle, who hate each other & seem unable to replace their speeches by deeds. The mad boy of course thinks speeches are deeds, given the effect his speeches have on him…

It points to the absence of the patriarch. Only the old man is fighting the war. He had not lived in the capital in times of peace either. He barely has power to defend himself. He cannot be the power behind the throne. He thinks this war will be the last war: It is the last war for him, so he must make it the last war, lest his family perish, too.

It points, finally, to the loss of his only warrior son. This completes the distinction between the warrior & the secretary among his sons.

The Stark king, undefeated, seems to have set a course for self-destruction. He is haunted by his father, whom he worships, & would avenge.

The scattering of the Starks, started by his father, he completes himself, losing his capital to halfwit marauders. This teaches that his successes are his alone, but he desires too much their safety & he trusts too much that necessity will not kill them, despite their weakness.

Kingship is the rule of one alone because one man alone must judge & act. He is forced to arrest his mother, who betrays him in the hope of saving some of her children, putting her trust in his enemies rather than his army.

This woman, hotheaded, not only used to speak against his decisions in public, but used to blame him for bad things in private. Another man might have learnt this way to show his anger & make himself obeyed. Robb Stark, however, finds a woman who shows the nobility that war destroys & wants to live with her.

A man who wants to return to his home & live with his wife cannot fight a war to the bitter end. A man who loves beauty cannot commit the cruelties required for victory. War is the greatest motion of men & it teaches one lesson, that all their purposes are bent by necessity.