"I’m trying to illustrate how men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."
One of the things that keeps me coming back to ASOIAF is the way history and narrative intersect, converge, and diverge in everyone’s mind. The characters do this for themselves—they have personal narratives that they make for themselves, and these narratives often conflict with their own histories or with the circumstances in which they find themselves—and they do this for all other characters as well. It’s why Robert believes Rhaegar raped Lyanna. His personal narrative is one of justified revenge for his lady love. What’s even better is the way the books resist traditional narrative conceits in order to play with our sense of narrative and history in the books, and make us confront our need to fit the characters into predetermined roles.
Which, of course, brings me back to Sansa. So many of the people dislike her because they are just like her—they cannot understand characters who do not fit into predetermined roles. Women in fantasy are allowed to be strong only in a few ways—evil seductress, tomboy lady knight, etc.—and it frustrates so many readers that Sansa develops her strength not by rejecting her courtesy or her traditional femininity, but by making those things into armor. And speaking of personal narratives, once Sansa’s has been torn down, has been eradicated completely, her only narrative, if you can call it that, is a will to survive. By the end of AFFC, she’s seeing her world more clearly than almost any one else, even if she’s basically powerless to do anything about it.
GRRM has never explained exactly what “the song of ice and fire” is, either in the books or in interviews. It’s one of the ongoing mysteries of the series, but of course is vital to it (being its title and all). There are many possible meanings for the concept, and it’s probable that several, if not all of them, may be true at the same time. These include:
- winter / summer (i.e. the balance of the world’s unusual seasons)
- hate / love
- death / life
- The Others (White Walkers) and their wights / the dragons, also obsidian (dragonglass) and possibly Valyrian steel (dragonsteel)
- The Great Other / R’hllor
- Lyanna / Rhaegar (also Stark/Targaryen in general)
- Jon / Dany
Relevant quotes within the books:
“We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together. (Jojen and Meera, ACOK)
“He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” (Rhaegar, ACOK)
“My lord father told me about mountains, but I never saw one till now. I love them more than I can say.”
Bran made a face at her. “But you just said you hated them.”
“Why can’t it be both?” Meera reached up to pinch his nose.
“Because they’re different,” he insisted. “Like night and day, or ice and fire.”
“If ice can burn,” said Jojen in his solemn voice, “then love and hate can mate.” (ASOS)
“The war has been waged since time began, and before it is done, all men must choose where they will stand. On one side is R’hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. Against him stands the Great Other whose name may not be spoken, the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror. Ours is not a choice between Baratheon and Lannister, between Greyjoy and Stark. It is death we choose, or life. Darkness, or light.” (Melisandre, ASOS)
Why your saga is called A Song of Ice and Fire, because of the Wall and the dragons or is something more beyond that?
Oh! That’s the obvious thing but yes, there’s more. People say I was influenced by Robert Frost’s poem, and of course I was, I mean… Fire is love, fire is passion, fire is sexual ardor and all of these things. Ice is betrayal, ice is revenge, ice is… you know, that kind of cold inhumanity and all that stuff is being played out in the books.
So, for Jon and Dany, while they definitely have aspects of ice and fire, that’s still on the level of fan interpretation / analysis rather than absolute textual truth. As you said, it’s a very popular and accepted interpretation, but it has yet to be confirmed by GRRM in any way.
Regarding Sansa and Arya, there was a fine meta that asoiafuniversity reblogged recently that agreed with you — that Sansa is ice and Arya is fire. Personally, if I were to put them on the scale (and I do), I prefer the opposite interpretation. With the concepts laid down by Jojen, Melisandre, and Robert Frost’s poem, where fire is love and passion and ice is hatred and revenge, the ice/fire aspects within the girls seem obvious to me.
Sansa, fiery-haired, is all love and romance (albeit mildly because of her youth, but it’s interesting that she is the most paired character in fanfic nevertheless), who cannot escape plots centered on her marriage status. Arya, the most “Stark” of her siblings save Jon, is motivated by hate and revenge, reciting a nightly prayer of vengeance, becoming a cold-blooded killer.
However, that meta has a definite point: that Sansa is often icy calm and collected, whereas Arya’s passion and burning hate shows the fire within her. So I think, in truth, the girls show aspects of both ice and fire — and that may be the true meaning of the series title when applied to them, if anything.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.
- William Shakespeare
requested by joannalannister
With the massive success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that the network is considering developing a prequel series from the novellas of author George R.R. Martin. The writer revealed that he is in early discussions with the network for a Game of Thrones prequel series, set 100 years before the show, following two characters in Westeros named Dunk and Egg. Here’s what the author had to say.“Well, I have been writing for a number of years a series of novellas set in the same world, the world of Westeros, but a hundred years earlier, about two characters called Dunk and Egg. And I published three of those novellas, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword, and The Mystery Knight, and I have in mind about nine or ten more novellas about the adventures of Dunk and Egg. So we have been playing with the idea of doing those as prequels. They would be prequels, in a sense, they’re a hundred years earlier but in the same world. They’re somewhat lighter in tone than the main series, a little more adventurous. But my fans love them and I love the two characters too, and it all ties into Westeros history. So maybe that will be what we’ll do.”
George R.R. Martin also recently signed an overall deal with HBO to develop new shows for the network. While he wouldn’t give any specifics, he did tease a few of the ideas he has.“I have some ideas for some pretty cool new series’. They’ll be dramas, I’m not a comedy guy, one-hour drama shows. I have an idea for a science-fiction show, a couple of historical-based shows, from very different periods. We’ll see which ones they like and want to develop. Development is always sort of a crap shoot. You pitch your ideas, you roll the dice, and you see what goes ahead. The tricky part for me is I have to find another David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, because, while I can come up with the ideas and create the concepts for the show, I’m not in a position to write them, because I have 3,000 more pages of the books to write, and that has to remain my first priority. It’s a bit of a juggling act for me.”
“I dreamt of a roaring river, and a woman who was a fish. Dead she drifted, with red tears on her cheeks, but when her eyes did open, oh, I woke from terror.”
a study in ASOIAF female characters [2/∞] → Lyanna Stark
In the wolf dreams she was swift and strong, running down her prey with her pack at her heels. It was the other dream she hated, the one where she had two feet instead of four. In that one she was always looking for her mother, stumbling through a wasted land of mud and blood and fire. It was always raining in that dream, and she could hear her mother screaming, but a monster with a dog’s head would not let her go save her. In that dream she was always weeping, like a frightened little girl.