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Game of Thrones III.6-10

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On the price of ambition

Robb Stark is slaughtered with his mother & pregnant wife & his few remaining banner-men. Necessity has finally overcome justice completely. The fate of the just man has been proven a disaster, bad for him & for all those who look up to him. Whether injustice pays remains to be seen – we see again & again how difficult fraud makes it to assess force properly. We begin to suspect that the willingness to take risks is the most important thing.

The Starks stood for the fight mankind mounts against necessity in the name of justice. They few were honorable. But they assumed that necessity lies beyond the wall, or that the separation between nature & law is a political decision, something which men can decide. Stark’s worship of ancient gods already undermined that opinion. The gods of the city might not conquer those less brilliant gods that precede the city & which are at home in the forests. Maybe it is not possible to wipe out the memory of those gods. Anyway, Stark is not fully a man of the city.

This also shows in running a kingdom like a family. Complete, unmitigated failure forces us to consider whether honor is not mere convention. Stark tried far too much to do things with decency – he has taught by example, as men of action do, that good ends cannot be reached by good means.

It is in light of his failure, & that of an entire way of life, that the arousal of monsters should be seen. This is a religious failure above all. The desecration of the Starks is the horrible revenge terrified human beings take when honor fails. Savagery starts with doing the unthinkable; but the unthinkable starts when all else fails, when mankind learns man cannot be redeemed.

The Targaryen girl piles conquest on conquest & must now face the difficulties of politics. What happy coincidence that she learns how to do evil from evil men. Then again, a queen born of rape may be thereafter impossible to shock. But it is shocking to see her successes & her attractions, because they do not at all seem to match her ambition to rule the horrified men who lost their soul. They are returning to the horrible origins of man, meanwhile she is enlightening untold numbers of slaves, as if a woman could rule over men by giving them good things.

The queen rules by her dragons, but does she rule those dragons? Dragons may be connected to gods; dragons may live to terrorize humans, to educate them about law maybe. An Eastern fire god looses on the land priests who make political quarrels seem silly by promising resurrection.