bardotinmotion asked: Has there ever been moments where you wanted to slap some goddamn sense into a character you otherwise loved in the narrative? Or cheer on a villain you normally loathe? Please explain in detail. :D (PS: Love this blog and your analysis.)
I was not thrilled with Robb at all when he kicked Grey Wind to the curb as he and the wedding party crossed the bridge into the Twins. It’s not like I had any real idea of what was coming — the most stunning, literally physically stunning, reading experience I’ve ever had — but it still seemed like an obviously terrible idea to ignore Grey Wind’s trepidation, and I nothing would have made me happier than to run around smacking Robb and everyone who allowed him to do that right in the kisser.
Tyrion lying to Jaime about killing Joffrey upset me, too. I understand why he did it, mind you: He’d been devastatingly hurt by Jaime and wanted to hurt him back, and this was the beast weapon he had to hand. But it creates SO many unnecessary problems for him, should he ever return to Westeros, or require Jaime’s help. More importantly, though, I find it very powerful in fiction when characters who have no incentive to do so nevertheless treat each other with cooperation, competence, kindness, and respect, and this was the opposite of that. It made me sad.
I was disappointed by Jon’s failure to adequately sell his decision to attack Ramsay to the rest of the Night’s Watch. As I keep saying, regardless of whatever other more personal factors affected Jon’s decision, marching off to face Ramsay is totally within the Watch’s right to self defense, given that Castle Black is indefensible to large armies attacking from the South and that Ramsay is a monstrous murderer who would in no way respect the Watch’s neutrality in his quest to acquire Jon and the rest of his targets. (Alleged quest, I should say, since I don’t actually believe Ramsay wrote the Pink Letter — not of his own volition at any rate.)
And while I can’t say that I “otherwised loved” Sansa during the events of AGOT — she was tough to love, although I never brought myself to hate a tween for the crime of harboring delusions about the way the world works that were drilled into her from birth by her parents and teachers — I was slapping my head when I found out that she narc’d to Cersei about her and Arya’s impending departure from KL. Of course it turns out, when you really examine the timeline of these events, that she told Cersei nothing she hadn’t already learned from (likely) Littlefinger or (for sure) Ned himself other than the exact time and nature of the girls’ departure, so no matter how Cersei herself characterizes the import of Sansa’s intel, the girl really didn’t screw her poor dad over as badly as it seemed at first glance. Still, that was a “Dammit, Sansa, pull your head out of your ass” situation.
Beyond that there are plenty of little “argh, c’mon, don’t be a dope” moments, where characters are in the wrong when we the readers know the right of it. One example that springs to mind is Melisandre deciding that Bloodraven and Bran are the bad guys — can’t say I love Melisandre, but she seems like a badly misguided person who’s on the side of the angels, broadly speaking, and I had no desire to see her make trouble where none need exist.
As for villains I came to cheer, I’m a good little reader in that I’ve more or less on board with all the face turns Martin has provided for his bad guys. I’m now sympathetic to Jaime, and to Theon, and to Asha, and to Stannis, and to the Hound. The one you might find most surprising is that I’m also sympathetic to Cersei, who I believe is suffering from a very specific mental illness that once befell someone very close to me. I can’t say I’m “cheering her on” — fuck no, in fact — but my heart goes out to her now and then.
Of all the heavies, the one for whom I feel the most affinity is the Hound. Sandor Clegane was literally driven insane by the awfulness of the world (in the form of his horrifically abusive older brother), an insanity which manifests itself as perpetrating further awfulness; this is such a perfect allegory for how I believe the world actually works that I can barely stand it. He’s a person who’s so consumed with rage and misery that he has no capacity for joy whatsoever, obviously not in good things, but not even in the bad things he does. Particularly toward the end of his storyline, you can feel that this is a person whose mental engines have been running so hot for so long that there’s almost nothing left, it’s just metal grinding against red-hot metal. I find him a crushingly sad figure and I hope he’s able to find some peace and do some good as a brother on the Quiet Isle. (I’m agnostic as to whether he’ll come out of retirement to take down his undead brother; I sort of hope he doesn’t. Beat that sword into a ploughshare, Sandor.)