George RR Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire has changed the entire discourse of both fantasy and storytelling. It has spawned thousands of theorists, many with YouTube channels, others with blogs, who have in turn created more theories than weirwood leaves in a godswood.
Some of these theories are…out there to say the least, but others deserve consideration.
So I present my favorite “crackpot” theories and I use the term “crackpot” lovingly as I prescribe or at least give merit to all of these ideas. None of them are mine, but belong to righteous others who will be credited. I did add or embellish some with my own flourishes, which I”ll try to indicate in order to glean one from the other, but in no particular order (until the last) here they are.
Before I begin with this, I have to tell you have how I usually read a story. My first time through I take everything at face value. I might pause a bit here and there to ponder something strange, but the first time I’m not on the hunt for anything deeply profound because I don’t know the entire narrative or enough of it to begin to look. One of the first stories that taught me you could be lied to through narrative was my beloved Final Fantasy VII, because it, like all others, was taken it at face value, and not until I’d seen it once and then read/watched theories and takes on it did I start to realize how deep down the dark ladder does go. Thus was the case with ASOIAF. When I first read A Game of Thrones, I never considered it any more than a political drama/medieval soap opera where Ned Stark was trying to find out the reasons behind Jon Arryn’s murder and that led to his own demise. Of course the reasons he finds out aren’t even the real reasons, but we the readers don’t know that until the third book when Lysa Arryn spills all before Littlefinger murders her.
<–S5E1 – The Wars to Come S5E3 – High Sparrow–>
Well here I am…back again doing what I said I wouldn’t do last week, but since I started the precedence, I feel obligated to continue. I’m going to try to get these out every Wednesday since I get home earlier than I do any other day of the week, plus it’s a long enough interim for the episode to marinate and stew in my brain.
First off, episode two was far superior to its predecessor but I still have a few gripes. Now these are not “OMG the show totally sucks now. I can’t believe they left that out!” type of gripes. They’re more, “Hm, I wonder how they going to do this pretty relevant thing now?” gripe. As before I took to the internet a day after viewing to see what my favorite theorists were saying. Bar was the first one I found..
This is a book vs. show type of video and is therefore rife with spoilers for you non-booky folk.
This one is just a review of the episode and doesn’t give anything away…unless you haven’t seen prior episodes.
So the four topics I’m going to cover are Brienne Can’t Keep “Quiet,” (No) Funerals and Fever Dreams, The Folly of Queens, and the House of (Meta) Black and White. I know other things happen in the episode (Littlefinger and Sansa going…somewhere and the introduction of Doran Martell), but I’m only going to talk about these since they stood out as most significant to me. Because this will be comparing/contrasting the book to the show, turn back now if you haven’t read up to A Dance With Dragons (Book 5).
***SPOILERS ARE UP AHEAD***
S5E2 – The House of Black and White–>
I truly had no intention of doing any sort of review on this or any other episode of Game of Thrones. I have a great number of comparative essays planned for ASOIAF, but for episode reviews, I truly have no time, and I mean that in the most straightforward/direct way possible. It’s not that it isn’t worthy my time; it’s that I literally have no time. However…after seeing Season 5’s first offering and watching a few videos of my favorite YouTube theorists, I feel the need to air my thoughts.
It was this video by Bar De-Porto that did it, because I found I agreed with nearly everything she said.
If you are an ASOIAF/GoT fan I would highly recommend you subscribe to her. Some of her insights are downright miraculous, and I would also recommend
- CharlieIinWesteros – spoiler free reviews mostly that nonetheless get to the heart of the matter.
- James Johnson – this is meant as no offense to any of the other ASOIAF/GOT theorists, but James and his mom LaDonna have the best in depth and brilliant analysis of the narrative I have ever seen. They dig deep, deep down to divine the sources of Martin’s machinations, and while their theories may seem outlandish, they have support for it, and they know how to argue. I have spent countless hours on their channel, watching and re-watching, and they are the main inspiration for the essays I want to write. Their examinations of ASOIAF made me realize that something else (more than likely) inadvertently shares the same tropes and paradigms. Watch them. Your time will not be wasted.
- Tony Teflon – the Don does not mess around. His videos tend to be short, sweet, and to the point. He has a series of them called “Breaker of Lies” where he proceeds to knock down some of the more out there of theories.
- Preston Jacobs
- Maester Payne
- Alt Shit X
I had to get the shout outs out of the way because I wouldn’t have half my insights about ASOIAF without the foundation of those above and others to stand on (ironic wording I know), but now that that’s finished, let’s get to the business.