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Old 12-30-2013, 06:59 AM   #37
Shade of Carn Dm
Join Date: Dec 2012
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cellurdur has just left Hobbiton.
Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I disagree. I think that the foundation of what is good is laid out by the author. The reader may agree or disagree with the author and discuss characters' actions as good or bad, but the author still holds the steering wheel when it comes to judging good and bad. By bringing a bit of sympathy he can turn a villain into a tragic hero.
I am not sure this is true. No matter how much an author tries he cannot create morality completely contrary to that of the time. A hero, who goes forward raping and murdering is never going to be considered good.
That is why Sauron is evil, period. This is the foundation laid out by Tolkien. But Martin lays out a whole different foundation.
I disagree here. Sauron is evil, because of his actions. Tolkien may lay out the his beliefs as to why a character is evil, but it's up to us decide.
Once again, according to judgement dealt out based on some objective Platonic good. The only problem is - in Martin's world, it doesn't seem to exist much except in naive minds.
There are many different arguments for where good arises from. Whether it is universal truth, a fleeting culture of the time of the adherence to human progress; it is something that exist outside the literature. In Martin's world it does exist and he even lambast characters like Gregor and Ramsey.
To be honest, no, not really. Especially in the modern political setup. So long as it doesn't affect me in a negative way I don't really care who my country of residence elects as the Prime Minister. To be even more honest, I don't really see much difference between all these parties when it comes to action. But I am quite cynical about politics, so let me not delve there deeper and go off on yet another tangent.
I am very cynical when it comes to politics, but the question is not about a new legitimate Prime Minister being elected. It's about someone rigging the elections. If such an even was to be made public there would be an outcry. Humans have not changed and when you want to rule, you need to give the people a reason. These days it's the idea that you were democratically elected in the past it was inheritance.
Justice is another concept that we tend to take as absolute, but is not that clear-cut in GOT. I always thought that it was unjust to do the King's justice on that crazed man of the Night's Watch at the very beginning of the series. He was telling the truth, and it was real madness born of real fear of real events that caused him to flee from the wall. He didn't intentionally break his vow. And is it just not to be given a second chance in his circumstances?
I don't take justice as absolute and I don't think many people take it as a given. There are a lot of grey areas about what is just and that is why so many countries have different laws. One country may have the death penalty for murder and another not. If justice is an absolute, we are not evolved yet to see through the mist.

Turgon's execution of Eol would be considered unjust by some or the way Denethor planned to deal with the Southrons. Conflicting views about what is just is not something found in just ASOIAF.
I'm not a historian, but I often wonder about how much were the lower classes even aware of the greater issues?
Harder to say, because they were illiterate and history was written by the elite. Still there are surviving court documents of peasants going to trials. In tough times the most important factor is survival. However, when things went wrong they would often blame things on an unjust king. When things began to fall apart from the Franks many people considered it a divine punishment from God, because of the sexual immorality in Charlemagne's court.

Macbeth set slightly after this period is another example of the break down of kingship resulting in nature collapsing.
My main questions would be, why did they die for their liege lord? What made them so unselfishly loyal? I would imagine that in addition to whatever feelings they had for the lord, there is the knowledge of the carnage and rape to follow if in a war their side was overwhelmed.

The WW1 is from the patriotic era, which encouraged widespread ideals which were not present to such great extent before and are still not present in nature. Feelings of unity of a people peaked when the said people were threatened by a common foe. Gratitude to a country I just don't see existing beyond gratitude to the soil of your farm/village.
People had loyalty to the country, because humans have always wanted to attach themselves to something greater. Back then it may have been as simple your village, but the Lord was the personification of your area. When a family had ruled over your village for hundreds of years, your personal identity became tied to them.
For me, it changes everything. If you are told "this guy is evil", he will be evil. But if you are told "this guy did evil deeds because of [insert a personal reason]", he does evil deeds but is not evil in my eyes. The best Tolkien analogy I can think of is my favourite villain hero from his works that has been the cause of several debates: Turin. Does he do much good? Well, what he does is mostly just what an average person would do. Some splashes of going beyond that. Quite a lot of bad deeds and bad choices. Many people conclude that while he has some merits, he's a bad person. I prefer to say that while he has some unpleasant qualities, they should not be judged as black and white, since he's not a bad person really. He has the right idea, he just goes about it the wrong way. The reader knows what he does not and can view things objectively. He can't. So give him some slack! Would you do much better if you were in his place with his history and without your objective reader's knowledge? --- so similarly to my defence of Turin, I would defend many half-villains of GOT. The thing about that book is that in its setting, there is no GOOD, so it is hard to judge anyone by it without bringing them into a different context.
It's funny you mention Turin, because your opinion of him is very different from the authors. Previously you had said that your viewpoint is dependent on what the author sets out as good. Here you think that Turin was a bad person. Tolkien on the other considers him as one of the greatest heroes of all time.

Elrond one of the wisest and greatest loremasters ranks him with all the great heroes.

"I will say that your choice is righ; and though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Hurin, and Turin, and Beren himself were assembled together, your seat should be among them."

Your opinion of Turin is different from that of Tolkien's. My opinion of Turin also differs from yours. Though he has his flaws I ultimately consider him good and a hero.

In ASOIAF there is good. There are just few good characters, which is what causes the disconnect for me. To use a real world example, reading Mein Kampf does not lessen my disgust and abhorrence to Hitler.

Even in the context of ASOIAF: Ramsey chasing women like dogs and then raping them, Roose murdering a husband and then raping the wife, Cersei ordering babies and their mothers to be killed, Jorah selling people into slavery, Aerys planning to burn down an entire city etc, these are all terrible actions.

Tolkien better than Martin knew truly what war was and what it could do to people. In a brutal world many people lose their head, but in Martin's world far too many of the characters cross the line too often for me.
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