Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Very Westeros Post

Spoiler Alert! If you are reading George Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” have not yet read “A Feast for Crows”, be advised that the following post is spoilerific.

Since so many of us are ASOIAF fans, I thought I’d make my good and bad lists of the characters contained in the series, along with a few other sundry lists. Obviously, in GRRM’s books no one is purely good or purely evil, but I think some characters come closer to those extremes than others. Here they are, and please note that I’ve included only characters alive at the end of AFfC. There are so many dead ones I’d have been typing forever.

The Good
Danaerys Targaryen: She really wants to do good, even when she’s doing things that are ethically, uh, questionable. (Read: Wise Masters.)
Tyrion Lannister: Despite constant snubs from his family, he’s the most decent scion of the Casterly Rock clan. He just wants to be loved and respected, and the kicker is that he really deserves it.
Brienne of Tarth: Unlike most Westerosi, honor actually means something to her. What a concept!
Jon Snow: This guy knows the value of an oath because he’s broken one. How cool is that?
Edmure Tully: One of the few Westerosi lords who actually tried to protect his smallfolk when danger threatened. Not the tactically smartest move, I admit, but it came from the heart.
Samwell Tarly: He calls himself a coward, but when the Other came a-callin’, Sam gave it what for. He also protected Gilly from Small Paul the wight, when he could easily have left her to save his own skin. When the chips are down, Sam trembles, cries…and does his duty.

The Bad
Walder Frey: Not only was he the architect of the Red Wedding (curse him!), in “A Game of Thrones” he bartered his allegiance like a fishwife. Boning Robb to let him cross at the Twins evidently wasn’t enough; Lord Weasel had to shoot him like a dog at his daughter’s wedding. Frey’s an honorless wretch who just won’t seem to die. I guess evil preserves him.
Roose Bolton: His part in the Red Wedding will never be forgotten, but nearly as bad was the way he was working against Robb Stark from the Green Fork. How many northern lords, Stark loyalists all, died because of his treachery? Down with him!
Cersei Lannister: Not only is she power-hungry and arrogant, but she’s also got a dash of cruelty thrown in for good (or bad) measure. Go, valonqar!
Theon Greyjoy: Here’s a villain as pathetic as he his treacherous. He goes through the first book telling Catelyn, “Ned Stark’s like a father to me”, and then he works against his second father’s family the first chance he gets. What’s worse is that Theon isn’t even competent, which means I can’t even think he’s cool. He's just despicable.
Petyr Baelish: Most people might not agree, but never forget that Littlefinger helped Cersei and Jaime screw up the line of succession, and thus sparked the devastation that was the War of Five Kings. He also very cruelly wooed Lysa Arryn, only to give her a one-way trip out the Moon Door when she became inconvenient. It’s to be hoped that someday karma is going to jump on his head and go cock-a-doodle-doo.

The Schemers
Petyr Baelish: OK, he’s evil, but he does manage to manipulate his way from Nobody of Gulltown to Lord Protector of the Vale without ever mussing his clothes. That’s skill.
Varys the Spider: Everyone distrusts this guy, and anyone could kill him, but he makes himself so valuable that no one would lift a hand against him. He also managed to survive Aerys’s mad reign, which tells you just how cunning he really is.
Olenna Tyrell: Her doll-like form hides a mind as shrewd and calculating as Karl Rove’s. She pushes around her lord son like a chess piece, pisses off Tywin Lannister with impunity, and even manages to murder a king with no one the wiser. I adore her.

The Opportunists
Lord Swann: One son serves in King’s Landing with Joffrey, and the other first with Renly and then Stannis, only to swear fealty to Joffrey when Stannis is defeated. This guy has every intention of surviving. Maybe he’ll be king in the end.
Bronn of the Blackwater: He works for Lady Catelyn in dragging Tyrion to the Eyrie, then switches sides to defend Tyrion in trial by combat, then allows himself to be bought by Cersei in exchange for deserting Tyrion. It was getting hard to keep track of it all.
Taena Merryweather: This sultry Myrish noblewoman swings like a kitchen door, and not just in bed. She comes to King’s Landing with the Tyrells, but before you can say, “I’m a treacherous slut” she’s informing on Margaery to Cersei. When the High Septon finally sends Cersei to the hoosegow, Lady Merryweather is on the first train out of King's Landing, barely pausing long enough to collect her husband. I’m not sure whether to condemn her or admire her.

3 Comments:

Blogger Sarcasmo said...

I don't know that I'd say Petyr is "evil" so much as an "opportunist." The side he is on is whichever shall bring him the most profit - I don't think it matters to him one whit whether that side be benevolent or evil.

1:07 PM  
Blogger TrackerNeil said...

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you, but Lord Petyr knew he was playing in the big leagues, and that his actions were likely to have major consequences. He worked diligently to bring Stark and Lannister into conflict, and then precipitated the chain of events that caused Robb Stark, Renly Baratheon and Stannis Baratheon to take up arms against the crown. So far he's responsible for the murder of one Hand, one lady, and one king, and is even now plotting to dispose of a lord (Robert Arryn). That demonstrates a pretty callous disregard of the well being of the realm and its inhabitants on a scale so staggering that I have to classify him a bad guy.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Daniel J. Linehan said...

Neil:

Don't forget, Taena was the one who said she saw Tyrion put poison in Joffrey's cup also.

10:07 PM  

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