This is generally meant to be a value-neutral description of a state of affairs. It’s neither good nor bad that establishing a state requires a monopoly on violence, it simply is the case. But you occasionally run across the idea that specialists in violence have a quality — “warrior spirit,” or something to that effect — which makes them better at leading, or in some cases grants them the moral authority to lead. This is the idea that the current episode is really grappling with. Because like the riddle with the sellsword suggests, you don’t usually run across a situation where the specialist in violence is him-or-herself making all the decisions. Usually, the people who govern are specialists in governing, and they have a subcontractor who takes care of the violence for them. And sometimes the governor and the subcontractor don’t get along. That’s what we see in this week’s episode, and over and over again we’re asked to pick sides. Does warrior spirit make you a good leader? Or do the stabby-men need to stick to their stabbing, and leave the leading to them as can lead?
“Lady Stoneheart does have a role in the books,” Martin said. “Whether it’s sufficient or interesting enough… I think it is, or I wouldn’t have put her in. One of the things I wanted to show with her is that the death she suffered changes you.”
Continues Martin: “I’ve talked about Gandalf [in The Lord of the Rings], and how the impact of his death was enormous. When I was a 12-year-old kid reading The Fellowship of the Ring and ‘Fly, you fools!’ and he goes into the chasm … it was ‘Holy shit! [J.R.R. Tolkien] killed the wizard! That’s the guy who knew everything. How are they going to destroy the ring without him?’ And now the ‘kids’ have to grow up because their ‘daddy’ is dead. If Gandalf could die, anybody could die. And then just a few chapters later Boromir goes down. Those two deaths created in me the ‘anyone could die’ thing. At that point I was expecting [Tolkien] to pick off the whole Fellowship one by one. And then we also think in The Two Towers that Frodo is dead, since Shelob stung him and wrapped him up. I really bought it because he set me up with those other deaths. But then, of course, he brings Gandalf back. He’s a little strange at first, but then he’s basically the same old Gandalf. I liked the impact we got from him being gone.”
Martin’s explanation initially sounds like an argument against including Lady Stoneheart, but Martin then noted: “Lady Stoneheart is not Cateyln. I’ve tried to set it up beforehand with Beric Dondarrion and his repeated [resurrections]. There’s a brief appearance by Beric in Book One and he rides into the city and he’s this flamboyant Southern knight. That’s not that man we meet later on.”
You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments