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Game of Thrones observation

on Sun 15 May - 19:44
Hi,

So I am currently reading Game of Thrones series and am in the middle of the third book so far. I've watched up to season 2, but I am determined to read each book before I watch the season connected to it. I was a late fan.

I have a lot of different feelings about this series, both as literature and on a personal level. I can only comment up to the middle of book 3 because I don't know what happens beyond that yet (please warn of Spoilers if you reply to this)

For a long time I avoided reading the books or watching the series because I heard people referring to incestuous themes. I had the impression that it's just another story that would use it purely for shock value purposes so I didn't want to see it. But as I read the books I got pulled in, and I was surprised by the author's non-biased way of writing... I'm not talking about the society it is set in. Cause obviously that society has a lot of prejudice. But the narrator (if there is a single one behind all the characters' chapters) is neutral... If there is bias, it comes from the individual characters themselves, rather than the book itself. Also, George Martin gives enough background details about Cersei and Jaime's pasts that make them more well rounded than what might be given to us for that kind of pairing in other stories. He doesn't handle it like a stupid teen drama. I'm not saying he makes them look good, but he does give them their own voices, rather than not allowing them to speak at all... I feel like George Martin really earns the decisions he makes for the story since it is mostly character driven plot. And by 'mostly,' I mean with the exception of the few instances where stuff happens that are not controlled by the characters (like bad weather or unexpected accidents of battle). drunken

I feel that the true definition of using ideas for 'shock value' is when the author makes no effort to treat their characters equally and uses certain characters (typically minorities) as stereotypes to demonize and make the other characters look good. But George Martin shows the flaws AND good qualities of every single character... It's not black and white. So the hypocrisy of those who are judgmental in that society is also apparent. e.g. characters who cheat on their spouses yet condemn brother/sister pairings, those who were unhappily married off to someone yet condemn people who marry for love, those who say they represent justice yet use dark magic as an advantage, those who say they are 'godly' yet do not care about consent, knights that rape.... etc etc etc... there is so much hypocrisy but the important thing is George Martin doesn't hide any of it...

What I'm saying is, even though he does not always present consanuinamory in the most favorable light, I still deeply respect the fact that he doesn't seem to handle it that way for the sake of gaining social approval. If the characters are bad people they are that way due to a myriad of reasons that have to do with their past and personal experiences and even genetics (some families have more negative personality traits than others). But he balances everything so nicely by showing that everyone has secrets, everyone has issues, no one is perfect, good people can come out of cruel families, and not all consanguineous relationships are dysfunctional (e.g. some of the Targaryen pairings of myth that seemed to be mutual and strong, as well as the acknowledgement of cousin couples in the lines of a bunch of the major Houses).

Maybe some will still think of it in terms of shock value, but I can't help but feel that this kind of writing is important to changing social consciousness... it also sets a standard for future writers. because it allows for people (the active readers anyway) to compare and think and see that not all consanguinamory is destructive and that there are functional relationships and dysfunctional ones, good people and rotten people, That partaking in consanguinamory doesn't automatically make a person bad... and living according to social expectations in itself doesn't make a person good. silent

I can't speak for people in the community because I am coming at this as an alley, so maybe people here feel differently with their lived experiences. But I think that Game of Thrones has a progressive style of storytelling/writing going on, and I really appreciate that it exists.


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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Mon 16 May - 0:31
Thanks for that! I do think it has gotten a lot of people talking, and that's mostly good.
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sun 29 Jan - 2:02
Do you really think reading once again about "incest" as in "highly consanguineous degenerate incestuous royal lineages" will do any good ? This picture of incest is not that much... uncommon Rolling Eyes and is still quite detrimental Evil or Very Mad
I'll talk about three or four films way more "rewarding" for us, French, English and Italian films I love you so that people will forget - once and for all Mad - GoT...
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sun 29 Jan - 18:09
Hey, I understand why you'd feel that way. And I'm not saying GOT gives a positive image necessarily. I'm saying that George Martin gives dimensions to his characters that other (less honest artists) don't bother to even try and give. The negative versions of incest he has in the series are still characters he actually developed really well. If their love is negatively portrayed it is because it genuinely is dysfunctional in their specific circumstances (due to their personality traits)... I strongly feel that George Martin is not saying incest in and of itself is damaging... but only that it COULD be, if the people involved are using each other in some way...

He is very balanced and fair in how he represents the topic.. e.g. In the Books, Tywin Lannister and his first cousin were married but she had died long ago...whenever their love is referred to it is referred to as having been strong. It is referred to with respect. If his family was dysfunctional it was because he didn't give them the love and attention they needed due to his ambition... if he were a more attentive father, he could've had a lovely family...even though Cersei is a bitch. He could've still had a much happier family... it wasn't tainted cause of incest. It was tainted because he was an inattentive father who was incapable of being compassionate towards his kids. Bigots will not see this but anyone with a neutral view of incest will see this. Each of his kids (even Cersei) in the book wanted his love. They just never got it properly.

And Aegon the Conquerer is another example. He was the first Targaryen to come and claim the Iron Throne. In the books he is referred to like a mythical figure almost and his two sisters (whom he married) were also referred to like mythical figures. They generally seemed to be thought of with awe by the other characters... so although the stigma towards incest exists in their society, there is also that space for incest to exist as an awe-inspiring, legendary thing. I can get alot  more into this, but basically what I'm trying to say is that for fiction to move forward, this is still a step in the right direction because GOT (the books at least) present incest in several different ways.. not just one way. And each and every time George Martin really EARNS his decisions. I think about fiction in a very different way because I also want to be an author... and I respect George Martin's approach, even though mine will be different.

When authors write like this, it exposes the weaknesses and dishonesty of authors that are less realistic in their work... which means more writers in the future may try and be more realistic, and therefore, eventually it would give way to more positive representations of incestuous love.
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sun 29 Jan - 19:14
Fine, I got your point cheers I'll read the books one day, be it for the effort you spent at convincing us cheers . I am unsure about GoT, but your enthousiasm for sure is communicative Wink

GoT's author wrote:The Targaryens have heavily interbred, like the Ptolemys of Egypt. As any horse or dog breeder can tell you, interbreeding accentuates both flaws and virtues, and pushes a lineage toward the extremes. Also, there's sometimes a fine line between madness and greatness
The idea is alluring, that's a given. I thought about several times since I discovered the whole issue of GSA and the like.
And also, comparing humans' inbreeding and animals', feels especially wrong Laughing .
But the worst criticism I have, for without it it could have just been "average" to me, is his restriction of incest to the reproduction. Like we were some damn stallions. The author doesn't seem to have any knowledge of medieval societies: the sexual freedom, all along the Middle Age, was much bigger than described in GoT. You know, people used to sleep all in the same bed, "crossing legs". You bet, that infidelity didn't exactly have the same meaning than nowadays. Its goes also for homosexuality in GoT. Not. Enough. Present ! Not realistically presented. The same with relationships with bigger age-gap than currently tolerated. Well, that would be illegal to show or even write, I suppose. That's why I don't read lots of novels Wink
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Fri 3 Feb - 22:29
I completely agree with OP. I have read all the books and consag relationships are really presented neutrally. In the Cersei-Jamie arc, the only thing that is actually devastating and a catalyst for destruction is the taboo nature of their love, the fact that society wont accept them. Not the love it self. It is the need to hide their love, to marry people they despise(in Cersei's case) and to keep it secret at any cost that cause destruction. If anything, the books are judging the stupid society taboos, since they really imply that these are what f*ck things up. At least that is my take on it Razz
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Fri 3 Feb - 22:57
Fine. I couldn't see in that fictional world, if the Children of the Forest accept or refuse incest ? They are meant to be the more "evolved", "godly" or at least the closer to nature, so I thought they would have less social prohibitions. But maybe they are not enough being talked about for us to know.

... In some way, these books might be really useful to this very community, to help it understand the drawbacks and nonsense of systematic reproductive incest, even motivated by love (as in the case of the House of Targaryen), because I don't think anyone here would claim a high possibility of madness is irrelevant (especially for sovereigns !) and realize that love and reproduction are two distinct things. Sorry, can't loose an occasion to advertise for my research Embarassed

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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sat 4 Feb - 4:35
I know think that consanguinity is a useful thing in matter of genetics: it amplifies traits, and, at long, eliminate bad genes from the gene pools, by reducing the fitness (and reproductive potential) or the bloodlines to nothing.

I heard of possible future methods to erase epigenetic markers to prevent 'immediate !) drawbacks of such unions... I can't fathom what mess it would bring forth in our species. Believing there will be no costs for our grand-grand-grand...grand children, a system set by nature so long ago is utter foolishness, and this is even hindering incest to do its biological job Rolling Eyes ! Just for our comfort. To me nature comes first...

There is no right to reproduce as there is a self-evident right to love anyone. That is my point of view. Any "historical precedents" one might bring up is irrelevant to me  tongue .
Or I'll say it differently: do you approve what did the House of Tangaryen in GoT ? Siblings siring with siblings, again and again and again ? I am sure most are meant to have done so out of love, but it is still, wrong  Neutral . Rampant insanity is more than enough to stop a bloodline... Everyone will agree with me.

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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sat 4 Feb - 5:30
No, for God's sake ! I said plain and simple: siblings siring making offspring one time, good, right again the next generation, less good geek
My question would rather be: why would having children be so important to you ? It's like it is life-fulfilling goal. You may be the one equating humans with stallions or cocks, apparently ;-) . Adopting isn't (or shouldn't) be an issue confused . Why such a fixation with having children ? "Having" them and raising them is quite different, and in the ancient time, children were raised collectively, so who is the father was more or less irrelevant, as in the Na(or Mosuo) people in Asia.

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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sat 4 Feb - 14:51
If you think objectively, it stands to reason that we humans proved way too unable to use "free will" wisely: the "right" (or order !) to multiply, is responsible for the state of our planet, of life on Earth Neutral

What I'll say might sound insulting to some, but this is only a matter of fact, a neutral statement: indeed, the Jews' God's order "be fruitful and multiply" permeates all of the creation. don't you feel anything wrong or insulting at the idea of having the same purpose in life, as fleas, see shells and rabbits ?
Is it really a proper purpose for the spiritual beings we are meant to be ?
As for myself, I found a superior purpose in life and love, as expressed by Bosch's paintings and message.

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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sat 4 Feb - 22:30
There is an article of mine you might find relevant to the thread:

https://consanguinamory.wordpress.com/whether-to-have-kids-and-how/

Personally I think it should be up to the individuals whether and how to have children. That said, I think people should be aware of the increased risks of consanguinous reproduction for more than one generation. Too many generations of inbreeding may well have been the cause of infertility in ancient Egyptian dynasties, and it is known that King Tutankhamen had a deformed foot which meant he had to walk with the aid of a stick. That said, consang marriages in the general population in ancient Egypt were common, as much as one marraige in five, and clearly there wasn't any event of mass disability. All of this leads me to conclude that it's pretty safe for one generation, but beyond that the risks increase with each successive generation until eventually the offspring become non-viable. So, I think anyone who is a product of a consang relationship who is in a consang relationship should be aware that the risks are going to be greater than for his or her parents, and so maybe those to which this applies could look at options like surrogacy or sperm banks perhaps.

As to GoT, I haven't read it or watched it (because, much like you I was worried it was done purely for shock value) but now I've read this thread I might check it out Smile
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sat 4 Feb - 22:59
One over five ?! I wonder where you took such a number. Plus, it would ridiculously hard to compute it, as "marriages" weren't registered in a centralized, at least anywhere available so much centuries after, and you would have to sequence the DNA of many, many people, at least a thousand.
But I read an article about Toutankhamon being the son of his father and his father's sister. They deduced, it seems properly, without bias, that it is the cause of their son's multiple health issues.

I shall excuse myself for something: there IS homosexuality in GoT, and quite a lot in the 5 and 6th season. It is possible that I hugely misjudge that series or its author. I'll see to it, I promise !


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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Sun 5 Feb - 23:42
Here is an article about incest in ancient Egypt, pay attention to page 5 in particular. I found this ages ago and it's quite illuminating. The marriages WERE registered once they were using the Roman system.

https://cnersundergraduatejournal.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/incest_in_ancient_egypt_revised_.pdf
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Re: Game of Thrones observation

on Mon 20 Feb - 18:56
Super article. Interestingly, the searcher ends up saying by broad and large, that incests might not have been so frequent, as the term for "spouse" was the same for "sister". Here we can see crystal clear the prejudice at work: I would rather say, if I were him "such a linguistic fact, compared to almost all other societies we know of, show that brother-sister unions, although not as frequent as we thought, were extremely frequent compared to almost all other societies". A complete reversal of the usual case, where broadening the meaning of "sister" meant enlarging the incest taboo.. Here it means removing it, simply. I didn't read that reflection...
I wonder if they could marry their parent too.
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