Friday, June 19, 2009

Daenerys • Bran

Dany finally arrives at Vaes Dothrak. It's funny that the Dothraki are so skilled at riding and conquering, yet suck so badly at basic things like building huts. Eddard and Robert must be closet Dothraki, because they are also great at straightforward conflicts but are equally horrible at politics and finesse. I wonder what crime Jorah committed that caused Eddard to send him into exile. Is he really going to kill Dany? Why is he allowed to just travel with the Khalasar in the first place? It doesn't make sense that the Dothraki would just let some random white guy tag along with them so close to their leader. I also found it funny that in the old days, a Khal's bloodriders would share his wife, but never his horse. Dothraki hierarchy must be something like Crone > Khal > Bloodrider > Horse > Wife > Viserys.

While Dany is assimilating herself into the Dothraki culture, Viserys becomes more deluded every day. He's seen a joke by everyone in the Khalasar, only he doesn't know it. I'm curious how someone could grow up in such a way. For instance, Joffrey's personality is understandable given his upbringing, but Viserys grew up poor and in exile. MC Illyrio must have really spoiled him for Viserys to develop his extreme sense of entitlement and gigantic superiority complex. Even the most bratty kids can be cowed somewhat, but nobody ever gave Viserys the advice he really needed, and now he's beyond the point of rehabilitation. When Dany brings him gifts, Viserys flips out, because he simply doesn't know how to be anything but a gigantic douche, even for just five minutes. That's the biggest difference between him and the Joffrey: Viserys can't even pretend to be nice. That and he doesn't have a powerful support system around him. Dany finally stands up to him, and it must have been a very cathartic experience, because she suddenly starts talking weirdly to her dragon eggs. Maybe she should sit on them?
____________________

Things aren't going very well for Stark brothers. Their uncle is missing, their father is wounded and comatose, and their mother arrested a perfectly innocent dwarf. Bran still can't remember that Jaime pushed him off that window balcony, and Robb is faced with many difficult decisions as the acting Lord of Winterfell. Catelyn probably left him a nice reminder list: 1) Post a guard outside Bran's room, 2) Lannisters are not to be trusted, and 3) If you go riding with your cripple brother, do not leave him alone by a river. Robb unfortunately forgets rule three and leaves Bran by himself to go find the direwolves. As if on cue, Bran immediately gets captured by bandits. He may be the unluckiest kid ever, because the two times he's been left alone in this book, he's managed to suffer a debilitating accident and become involved in a hostage situation.

Robb finally returns, and the hostage negotiations begin. After much deliberation, the bandits decide to reject Robb's initial offer of a quick and painless death in exchange for surrender. A battle ensues, with huge magical wolves on one side and ordinary outlaws on the other, resulting in a lot of blood, guts, and chewed up outlaws. One of the men holds a knife to Bran's throat, but Theon arrives and takes him out with an arrow. As thanks, Theon gets an earful of stern Robb lecturing, because shooting a criminal with an arrow is far more risky than leaving your vulnerable crippled brother unattended.

73 comments:

  1. The reason Viserys acts like that is because he is the product of incest. So is Dany, but she didn't inherit her parents propensity for well, insanity.

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  2. You've done it again, man. Hope to see you get through all the books!

    Also, another note on Viserys (sorry), but he was born before Robert's Rebellion and lived a while in his father's court.

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  3. Putting everything down to incest is stupid.

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  4. It's not. If you knew anything about genes, you would know that if two similar genes, even more risky if off the same chromosome strand, or two inter-related DNA/RNA/DRNA systems intertwined, there's a much greater chance of your child to be born mentally unhinged - we call this mental retardation. Viserys calls it "waking the dragon".

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  5. Well if we're going to get all scientific, incest alone is a poor excuse. There is such a small amount of genetic diversity in the human population to begin with that one generation of incest isn't likely to create a lot of problems. With the Targaryens there is a long history of incest, generation after generation, which doesn't help the fact that they also have a streak of crazy in them. Viserys is an asshole because he is a mentally unstable punk who has been told his entire life that he's entitled to something that was taken from him by evil evil people, blah blah blah.

    Back to the actual book, Theon may at times seem a twat, but I always thought his move to save Bran was kind of badass. I never could figure out why Jon disliked him so much.

    I miss when there was no anonymous posting.

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  6. "A small amount of genetic diversity"?

    Do you realize no one has the same exact DNA thanks to at least 10,000 different genes?

    And as for incest not creating problems... there's a 70%+ chance of a kid being born mentally handicapped as opposed to a normal 2% chance.

    I'm kinda starting to agree with that other guy that flamed you. You are kind of a stuck up bitch.

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  7. And when I say 10,000 different genes, I mean per generation just in one family (includes cousins, distant relatives, etc.).

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  8. The genetics argument is largely unrelated to the books. There's no problem with discussing off-topic stuff in the comments here, but there's no need to insult each other. Relax everyone.

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  9. Could you cite your 70%+ figure, plz? :P

    AnonyKim is closest to the truth, here. One incidence of incest will indeed raise the relative risk of a serious problem by a large amount, but the problem is that the overall incidence rate is small enough that the absolute rise in the rate of defects isn't very large. (see also: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,227514,00.html)

    Ahem, anyway, this blog continues to be awesome.

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  10. Notice how that's a new theory, and not anything proven.

    Also, I said 70% but I failed to mention twins - that's what I meant. It was an indicator of the closer you are genetically, the higher a chance there is of DNA corruption.

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  11. "And as for incest not creating problems... there's a 70+ chance of a kid being born mentally handicapped as opposed to a normal 2% chance."

    ""Also, I said 70% but failed to mention twins"

    xD
    Nice try. Notwithstanding the fact, that nobody denied that incest can 'create problems' (if repeated for generations in a great population where also defective phenotypes survive), your notion lacks any merit and your hilarious numbers are not backed by any scientific study of recent date - come on, cite one!

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  12. I'll cite one as soon as you cite one.

    I know for a fact incest leads to a much more dramatic increase in homozygotes which in themselves have every chance to have a bad variant of a gene, and when two closely related people build a product's DNA strands, that chance increases greatly per strand, leading to a high overall % chance of some sort of defect, mainly mental.

    Anyway, why don't you cite one disproving that since you think you're so smart? I mean, all you're doing is talking in circles and making retarded faces. I could do this, too. xD

    So can you please cite? xD
    I would appreciate it. xD

    And really? Mentally retarded people survive? Wow, I never knew that.

    Stop with your ignorant and/or commonly-known remarks.

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  13. I never get the Robb lecture to Theon...I was glad when he took care of business so the story could move along...

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  14. I agree with the current power ranking. YAY DIREWOLVES.

    Theon really is a very good shot though, isn't he? For some reason I equated head-kicking asshole with useless.

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  15. You bring up very good points about the Dothraki. I couldn't understand why they let him hang out either.
    Regarding the hut building...I guess they are too busy riding and conquering to waste time building. They just stay where they pillage.

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  16. Nice continuation to a good blog. 3 Points:
    1) Nice call on Robb's undressing of Theon. I too had a problem with it and justified it in later readings, but it really was crappy, considering what caused the situation. Nice insight there - on my first reading I got really caught up in the "Starks are good" mentality. I wasn't reading critically enough. Its been years since I've read a fantasy series, but its easy to fall into that old trap.
    2) I believe the Dothraki are allowing Viserys to tag along because he did provide the Khal with a suitable wife - that and he's with Illeryio who has showered the Khal with gifts.
    3)Are you sure you've never read this before? A character agrees with your comment about Robert being a closet Dothraki.

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  17. Nah, it's not one generation of incest, the Targaryens only married outside of their family about 12 times in 2000 years.

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  18. Jorah isn't just some random white guy. He is the sworn sword of Viserys, whom Cajunman addressed above.

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  19. Ask and ye shall receive:

    http://genome.cshlp.org/content/17/4/520.full

    What is important in understanding human genetics is the effective population size, which essentially measures the 'distinct' number of genomes. On a genetic level, many of us are not distinct enough from the other to technically be a separate member of the population (effective population as opposed to actual population). This is due to at least one genetic bottleneck which occurred in the human lineage approximately 95,000 years ago. A still unknown event wiped out a large portion of the human population, or at the least removed them from the reproducing population, leaving a very small number of people from whom we are all now descended, leading to what is now a very very very low degree of genetic diversity in comparison to other animal populations, even when adjusted for differences in absolute population size.

    While incest can increase the rate of 'bad' homozygous accumulations, it is NOT a guarantee, and is not the kind of thing that is likely to happen in one or even two or three generations. Barring spontaneous (and highly unfortunate mutation) the people in question would have to be heterozygous for whatever trait we're hoping to avoid in the first place. It's not like incest in itself can create these mutations.

    In the case of Viserys, if the Targaryen madness is organic, then the tradition of incest will most definitely increase the likelihood of him having it, but the incest alone could not make such madness appear where it otherwise did not exist.

    In comparison, assuming Jaime and Cersei are perfectly healthy genetically, there is no reason to assume their children would be anything other than perfectly healthy themselves. The fact that they are twins is irrelevant, as fraternal twins are no more genetically similar than regular siblings.

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  20. And all of that is irrelevant to what I said. I never said it's a surefire thing to be genetically "mutated". It's just that the hundreds of genes in our body each have double the chance to inherit a bad gene, leading to all strands FROM the 46 chromosome strands to a much higher chance of some sort of fragility.

    And obviously all of us aren't 100% distinct, but we all are at least 1% distinct; that's the reason one single virus hasn't wiped all of us out.

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  21. AnonyKim for Grand Maester!

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  22. Robb wasn't actually wrong to be angry with Theon. While Theon is a pretty good shot there was a realistic chance that the man he shot would still be able to harm Bran, in particular if he would have worn some armor, something Theon didn't know for sure one way or another. In this regard this scene serves to illustrate Theon's confidence bordering on overconfidence, his rashness and his self-centeredness.

    Though Robb isn't completely blameless here. It may not have been unreasonable to assume that his guard would shortly join Bran because he couldn't know that Theon would chase with them after some turkey, but there was no great need to depend on this assumption either. He could simply have waited until his guard was with Bran before he looked after their wolves.

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  23. I thought Jorah hooked up with them at the engagement party for Daenerys and Kahl after being sent by the Iron Throne?? Therefore he would be a new random white guy in the eyes of the Dothraki...

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  24. First of all, when everyone is posting as anonymous, I have no way of telling anyone apart, and will therefore just treat you all as one highly schizophrenic individual. Having someone posting as anonymous saying 'that's not what I meant' is pretty damn funny, since how the heck am I supposed to know who I'm responding to in the first place, and how are you supposed to know I was responding to you?

    Then:
    "And all of that is irrelevant to what I said. I never said it's a surefire thing to be genetically "mutated". It's just that the hundreds of genes in our body each have double the chance to inherit a bad gene, leading to all strands FROM the 46 chromosome strands to a much higher chance of some sort of fragility. "

    I'm not even sure that is English. A gene can't inherit a gene, so you're going to have clarify what you meant when you said that, because I don't get it.

    I agreed that incest increases the chance of inheriting a bad gene, but the gene has to be present in the first place. While gene fragility can increase with incest, that would be the sort of thing that you'd really only see with many many generations of incest, and gene fragility is NOT necessarily a cause of mental retardation. And chromosomal fragility is not the same as genetic fragility. Chromosomal abnormalities are also not the same as genetic abnormalities. Point being, there is no scientific reason to assume that a child the product of one generation of incest is going to be any less healthy genetically than any other random kid off the street.

    ESPECIALLY if you go from parent-child or sibling incest to cousins. Cousins might as well be total genetic strangers for all the risk it would pose for them to procreate.

    Kohl:

    It isn't a fair fight. I have a Master's in anthropology. My focus is primate skeletal anatomy and the evolution of locomotion, but I had to know all this genetic crap, too. Start a discussion on the meteorological causes of 100 year winters and I'll look like the babbling product of numerous generations of incest.

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  25. I think Anonykim wins. Additionaly, based on my meager understanding of genetics as a molecular bio undergrad, she's correct. Also additionally, whichever of you is arguing with her needs to calm down. As a final observation, didn't Jason explicitly tell all of you to knock it off already with the genetics discussion?

    Anyways, on to better things. Just discovered your blog Jason, it is super-awesome, was laughing the whole way through. Here's hoping you can keep the blog going through all the books!

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  26. The Targs pretty much produce two types of offspring in their line: 1) Beautiful, almost ascendent beings and 2) complete lunatics.

    Guess which one Dany is and which one Viserys is...

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  27. Anonykim, I am the anonymous who originally posted about the incest. The idea that Martin had was that the Targaryens really believe that they are "the blood of the dragon" and that the dragon "does not mingle with lessor beasts". The result is hundreds of generations of incest, not one or two. As I said before, they only married about 12 times outside of their own family.

    Martin used this to come up with a sort of rule, either Targaryens were superhumans who were really smart, clever, beautiful and weild swords like they wielded hands, or they were insane morons who tortured kittens and laughed like James Bond villains. Not scientifically accurate, but internally consistent.

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  28. AnonyD,

    In that case, you were never the person I was responding to.

    Although I would argue against your rules on Targaryens. Some of them were just average. And many of them were smart, clever, beautiful and insane. There's quite a spectrum in that family.

    But I think the genetics/incest issue is one to consider, because in Viserys and Joff we have to spoiled obnoxious monsters, one of which probably was doomed from the start because of his heritage, and one who has been turned into a monster because of how he was raised.

    As for Dany, maybe she's just too young yet to see if she too has the Targ lunacy.

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  29. There's no law that genetics in Westeros work exactly the same as genetics in RL, people, and quite a few pieces of evidence along the way that genetics in Martin's world work however the hell Martin wants them to. It is, after all, a work of FANTASY.

    Also, you speculate on Jorah's crime. It's revealed in the first Daenerys chapter (and confirmed in an Eddard chapter somewhere along the way) that Jorah's crime was that he sold poachers to a Tyroshi slaver.

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  30. Man, looks like I came late to this comment party. My two cents:

    1. The anonymous who was arguing with AnonyKim is pulling statistics out of their, ahem, 'rear.'
    2. The confrontation between Robb and Theon shows negative characteristics about both of them. An anonymous mentioned Theon's rashness and overconfidence, which I think is correct. There is also Robb's tendency to go from worried to angry at the drop of a hat. Very human tendency, but it does make him look like an irrational dick sometimes.
    3. This blog is awesome, keep going!

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  31. Man...I hope GRRM is really, really, really good in genetics.

    Oh...I Second AnonyKin for Grand Maester!

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  32. Don't you guys have anything better to do than argue about who knows more about genetics? This is about .01% relevant to the actual book.

    Jesus, move on already.

    Oh, and the rambling anonymous: genes come from genes? Really?

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  33. Hi my name is AnonyKim I am a byproduct of incest, my mother and brother had me and as you can see from my post I don't have anger issues,
    "I'M NOT INSANE"!!! Anyway I'm now married to my first cousin and not one us looks like the people off of "Wrong Turn" the movie, so don't belive all you hear OK!! Three things I hate
    Jon Snow, Anonymous posters, and anybody who dares to disagree with me. Three things I love Kin folk, Cat, and Myself of course. Back to the book Theon is so bad-ass I just get all wet and sticky just thinking about the scene when he first meet's his you know who.(can't leave spoilers) By the way I just want to say thanks to all those on here who stick up for me we inbreeders have to unite. We all have to do are part and spread the word that inbreeding is OK!

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  34. Welcome to the internet, were harmless debates can turn into an incest flame war.

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  35. I always seem to get a kick out of it when the wolves tear some poor bastard apart. Its oddly satisfying.

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  36. haha I was just thinking that!

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  37. You guys are so cool, talking shit to a girl from behind your computer screen. Does it make you feel good?

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  38. The failed attempt at stealing her identity wasn't exactly the height of courtesy, or sophistication. Moderation? Moderation?

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  39. And this is why Jason asked us to remain on-topic...

    But oh well.

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  40. "In comparison, assuming Jaime and Cersei are perfectly healthy genetically, there is no reason to assume their children would be anything other than perfectly healthy themselves. The fact that they are twins is irrelevant, as fraternal twins are no more genetically similar than regular siblings"

    Aren't Jaime and Cersie Monozygotic (Identical) twins?

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  41. Jester - They can't be, they are male and female, not same sex. Yes, they look remarkably alike, but so do my sister and I. People thought we were twins all while we were growing up and she is 2 years older than me (I was always tall). Granted, we stopped looking as much alike the older we got, but there is still a big similarity there.

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  42. no, they are different sexes, they could not possibly be monozygotic. They just look alot like each other.

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  43. Unless Cersei's big secret is that she's really a man.

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  44. I might be wrong but I "thought" I read that Cersei was born first and Jamie was right after so she would only be a few sec's older than Jamie? I have no doubt that Cersei wishes she was a man. Hell knowing GRRM she might just be Trans-Gender?

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  45. I think all these men that "made love to her" would have noticed it if there was a little something between her legs that shouldn't be there if she was a woman. Besides, it's pretty hard to give birth to 3 children if you're a man. ;-)

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  46. Yes and she's been operated in a hided valyrian realm called Brasilian ... ;)

    --
    R

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  47. Some peaceful comment on the genetics.

    The Targ craziness is definitely a negative hidden trait. For it to show, we need a pair of genes which represents that negative trait to pair up.

    This is where the dangerousness of incest coming in as the chance genes representing such negative traits pairs up is a lot higher.

    That is why Kim is right on saying that if Jamie and Cersei are genetically perfectly healthy, there would be no problem for their incest. However, given it's a hidden trait, even if the parents are both sane person, there's no guarantee that genes representing negative trait are not there (besides, both Jamie and Cersei have tendency to be short tempered).

    Of course, some positive trait (such as Lanister cunningness) could be a hidden trait (from how Jamie and Cercei behave in book one and what their grandpa is like) as well. That is why Targ incest is likely to produce crazy guys as well as great leaders.

    So, one of the anonymous, the Westeros gene does seem to work exactly the way real life genes work

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  48. Am I the only one that noticed that Jason isn't up to the part yet where the Jaime and Cersei's incest is discovered? Stop mentioning it!

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  49. You're the only one to have missed the fact that the incest is revealed very early on in the book, that Jason has read it, passed it, and jokes about it regularly.

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  50. AnonyKim, I think he or she means that the kids being the product of incest hasn't been revealed yet (or Jason hasn't figured it out). Everyone obviously knows that the incest occurred, it happens within the first few chapter of the book.

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  51. Well, he's not reading the comments any more, is he? I certainly hope not :(

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  52. Looking back it looks as if AnonyKim dropped the ball. I too hope that Jason is not reading as this is a very interesting discovery. I also agree that the discussion about incest is virtually irrelevant and should not have gone as far as it did. Just sayin'...

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  53. Oh, whoops, there is that one bad sentence. Too bad we can't edit our posts, that one's an easy fix.

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  54. Sigma_100, Jason never said not to discuss genetics or to remain on topic. He actually explicitly said that there’s “no problem with discussing off-topic stuff”, but there’s no need to insult each other, à la the sad Anonymous poster on June 21 at 12:36 a.m.

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  55. I think it's hilarious how if AnonyKim makes a mistake, according to her it's no big deal and no one should care, but if anyone else makes a mistake, her inner fat nerd comes out and starts screaming at that person.

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  56. I did pick up on the incredibly rude sarcasm of her post:

    AnonyKim said...
    You're the only one to have missed the fact that the incest is revealed very early on in the book, that Jason has read it, passed it, and jokes about it regularly.
    June 22, 2009 8:34 AM

    When all the previous poster said was:

    Anonymous said...
    Am I the only one that noticed that Jason isn't up to the part yet where the Jaime and Cersei's incest is discovered? Stop mentioning it!
    June 22, 2009 6:04 AM

    There was nothing rude about that comment; only genuine concern that people were revealing too much information during their pointless rants about incest. In that particular instance, I think she was quick to attack. As for her being fat or nerdy; I cannot comment.

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  57. Rude, possibly; hardly sarcastic. Sarcasm means saying one thing while obviously meaning another. I think the comment she responded to was well-intentioned, but worded in a way as to give the impression of imperiousness or petulance.

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  58. Hmmm, I stand corrected Kohl, you're right.

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  59. I agree that sarcasm was the wrong word although it's Greek origin roughly translates to "speak bitterly." Condescending is much more appropriate.
    Point is that I get a bad vibe from a lot of people on this thread. And for you to say that the Anonymous poster gave the impression of imperiousness and not acknowledging that AnonyKim is acting like a pretentious ass is comical indeed. But, thanks for the vocabulary lesson.

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  60. Also, I realize that I misspelled "it's" in my previous post. Please don't tear into too hard as I was just typing quickly and didn't notice until after the fact.

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  61. And what I meant to say was "tear into ME too hard." Just thought I'd cover that as well. Alas, I fear I may be failing your Blog of Ice and Fire grammar course.

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  62. I am guessing Heatcramp missed the English lesson one or two posts ago, in which I think we all failed. Heretofore to be known simply as 'The Deducible Debacle'. In light of that, a grammar mishap isn't likely to get you executed. Although I could be wrong, some of the anonymites seem pretty angry at life in general.

    This blog could carry a warning sign: Beware Anonymites, likely to bite your head off at any moment.

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  63. I spread Anonymite on my toast, and eat it for breakfast.

    At any rate, I found this Dany chapter to be a bit of a chore on the first read... not saying it was written badly, just that events at KL were hanging in the balance and I was eager to know more. But all i was getting was a bunch of "Waking the dragon" and "egg hugging"

    On the second read through I appreciated the Dany chapters more however.

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  64. Good job, AnonyKim. I'm glad you were able to explain why that particular Anonymous was dead wrong in such a concise and understandable manner.
    I don’t feel like I can let this go without commenting on it (and I’m surprised no one else has jumped on it): “…There's a much greater chance of your child to be born mentally unhinged - we call this mental retardation. Viserys calls it ‘waking the dragon’.”
    We absolutely do not call whatever’s going on with Viserys and some of the other Targs “mental retardation.” We call it a mental illness. Not even CLOSE to the same thing as retardation.
    I don’t think Mr. Martin has ever said exactly which mental illness he is portraying with the Targs. I’ve always thought that Viserys suffered from some sort of mood or personality disorder, probably narcissistic personality disorder. It’s also entirely likely that Martin was just writing a Hollywood (read: a dramatic but not all that accurate) version of a schizophrenic.

    - V

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  65. Yes, because we all know Viserys and the other Targaryens who inherited the bad gene heard voices and randomly went into convulsions.

    Maybe since it's a book, we didn't see it, but in actuality, whenever Viserys got angry he starting writhing around on the floor and saying, "I AM THE DRAGOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNN ughughguhguhghugh."

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  66. I agree with Knight of Winter, I found a lot of the Dany chapters tedious the first time through. We're on a horse, we're on a horse, we're camping, no, we're back on a horse . . . I can almost understand Viserys's frustration. The Dothraki are supposed to be these bloodthirsty maniac warriors, so where is all the WAR??

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  67. You're... a remarkably stupid troll. "Convulsions" are symptomatic of very few (if any) mental illnesses. It’s a bit beyond me as to how you could have reached that conclusion. Do you live under a rock?

    - V.

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  68. Er... my previous post was, in fact, not intended to be partisan or aggressive. It seems that tempers are running a bit hot here; I should have probably been more careful to avoid treading on sprained egos, I suppose.

    RE boringness of early Dany chapters -- there's no literal warring at first, but plenty of intrapersonal warring, you know? When it came to actual fighting (and not just wedding day frolics), I was more than a bit sickened -- which, I think, was the intended reaction. War being less than glorious and all that.

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  69. Thanks for the angry words, V. Maybe you should go out a little more often, so that all that inner rage stemming from being neglected your whole life won't go out on random people.

    I was just trying to amplify your stupidity since you said they should do a "Hollywood" schizophrenic.

    Do you need a tampon, by the way? I mean, I can tell your having your period and all - just looking out for ya. :)

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  70. OY, JASON'S FRIEND! WHERE ARE YOU?

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  71. Jason I love your blog man, keep up the good work. Ha ha even your commenters (is that even a word) are funny as hell. You have the macho-man "Are u picking on a girl punk" and the
    "Incest is wrong only if you have generations of it" girl(lol), and the always funny "You say something about me, and I'll call you fat" kid. I could keep going but methinks you get the point, I swear man your getting some of those "Martin Crazies" lol, but when you put them all together it makes me laugh, something thats hard to come by in this world nowadays, so keep up the good work Jason and commenters don't take things so seriously(lol)

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  72. Loving the incest debate.

    It may be wrong but Cersi does sound pretty hot. If she was my sister i wouldn't rule it out!! ;p

    Try and keep the insults down tho, just takes any weight off your argument!

    Visery's is a prick! If anyone needed to be left in a room with an angry direwolf it's him!

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  73. insane comments. i also felt it was a chore getting through the daenerys chapters. now i am reading a feast for crows (for the 1st time) and the whole book is a chore. lmao. I WANT A DANCE WITH DRAGONS! great blog btw.

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