Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jon • Eddard

Lord Commander Mormont speaks at Jon’s graduation from lowly trainee to prestigious black brother. Thanks to Jon, Sam is graduating with them, on the way to becoming a steward. Jon watches as his friends join the rangers, only to have his name called to be a steward as well. Suddenly, Emo Jon is back, and oh how we’ve missed his tantrums, martyrdom, and superiority complex. Jon looks ready to put on his black eyeliner and blog about his woes, but Sam tells him that by making him his personal aide, LC Mormont is actually grooming Jon to be his heir. Jon says he never asked for this, but I’m sure he never asked to be a bastard either. You don’t always get what you want, Jon. Plus, being Mormont’s bitch is like being a Supreme Court clerk: you gain a ton of subtle power and experience in exchange for waiting hand and foot for some old guy. Grooming Jon makes perfect sense from Mormont’s standpoint: Jon has all the positives of a highborn upbringing and none of the Waymar Royce pretentious douchebaggery.

Jon and Sam say their vows and become official Night’s Watchmen. I must admit the NW oath is pretty badass, complete with epic words and powerful sayings. The vows better be awesome if you’re forswearing women and personal property for the rest of your life. They are about to head back when Ghost finds something in the snow. It’s a hand. Not Jon Arryn, or Eddard, but a real, human hand. Did they just find Uncle Benjen?
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Eddard slowly makes preparations to seize power from Joffrey. He presents to the council King Bob’s dying wish to make him the “Protector of the Realm,” but Cersei simply rips up the royal decree. Both sides tensely face each other, and Eddard calmly tells the city watch to arrest the Lannisters. Instead, they kill Eddard’s men, because that double crossing Benedict Arnold slippery snake Littlefinger betrayed him! Poor Fat Tom, speared through the chest without warning.

Eddard may be surprised, but there’s no way his plan could have worked. He warned Cersei days in advance, refused Lord Renly’s offer of help, and put all his trust into the man who has a lot of reasons to dislike Starks. Littlefinger was almost killed by Eddard’s brother, loves Eddard’s wife, and creepily stalks Eddard’s daughter. What makes Ned think that this guy was going to be loyal to him? Plus, LF is all about the bottom line dollar-wise, and House Lannister is by far the richest family. Tyrion said it best to Bronn: the Starks are not made for this type of stuff. They can be honorable and dutiful and extremely badass, but they suck horribly at being deceitful or cunning. You want the Starks on your side when you play football, not chess.

17 comments:

  1. I disagree. The Starks wouldn't be too amazing at football either I would think. House Baratheon on the other hand...

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  2. Get out the tarps man, this is the point at which the shit starts to hit all the fans. Simultaneously.

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  3. Blogger Jason remains awesome. It's interesting as a long-time ASoIaF fan to see him go through this, chapter by chapter. Watching him pick up on the clichés and the things bloggers and posters have harped on for years (making fun of Emo Jon remains in-season) yet still maintaining his third-person fascination with this ever-building masterly crafted story.

    I literally laugh out loud every time he posts.

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  4. Yes, the Wall oath remains one of my favorites. It just perfectly captures the Badass of the North, which is probably why the Night's Watch still remains awesome despite its questionable characters (emo Jon included!).

    To be fair, Ned couldn't have fathomed that the Lannisters managed to corrupt this many levels of the keep... since he's all alone without Robert now, who was such a big help fending them off before he got gutted. Sigh.

    Great post. It's so interesting from another reader's perspective.

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  5. Indeed. The Baratheons seem much better suited to football.... or the Umbers, but he hasn't met them yet. And how crazy would it have been if they HAD found Eddard up there? It'd be like, holy crap, he teleported north. It'd just add to that trademark Stark badassery that we've seen so much of.

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  6. I wouldn't call instantly teleporting North and then back South to fail epicly at the game of thrones badass, but maybe that's just me.

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  7. hahah I was waiting for you to mention how emo John gets! Also, yeah that oath is pretty bad-ass. Great post!

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  8. Was it mentioned Littlefinger actually betrayed Eddard for money? I seem to remember he cared about elevation in status more, didn't he?

    In fact, come to think of it, all his plans relied on this (opportunities his hew status gave him).

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  9. Great post! The line about finding a hand in the snow made me snigger with the image of Eddard or Jon Arryn in the snow.

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  10. This is why the Eddard chapter preceding this one always makes me want to bash my head into the wall while rereading or relistening to it. Here Eddard is presented with multiple fantastic opportunities and puts himself into a situation where 1) Renly is forced to flee because he doesn't have the support of Eddard's men and 2) Littlefinger is forced to support the Lannister's as he knows supporting Stannis would cost him a job and status. Oh Ned....

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  11. This is one of the parts in the book where I can't believe you were just able to stop at the end of the chapter. Hats off to you, I couldn't do it.

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  12. For anyone here who hasn't already heard, it has been confirmed that Sean Bean has signed on to play Eddard Stark in the HBO series. He has previously played Boromir in Lord of the Rings, Odysseus in Troy, and Janus/006 in GoldenEye. This brings a lot of credibility to the series for viewers not familiar with the books.

    Kevin

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  13. IMO, but I have to believe that only reading two chapters at a time takes away from the experience

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  14. Jon has all the positives of a highborn upbringing and none of the Waymar Royce pretentious douchebaggery.

    All the positives of a highborn upbringing, anyway.

    I think this was where Sam delivered one of the finest smackdowns I've seen: "None of us are here for asking." When you stop to think about it for a moment, he's telling Jon, "You are in the Night's Watch because you wanted to be here. The rest of us are in the Night's Watch because our alternatives were a hangman's noose or a spear in the guts. STFU about not getting exactly what you assume to be your right and due." It is such a great line.

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  15. The good thing about 14/15 year old Jon is that when he occasionally acts a bit too self-centered, he is also often willing to admit to it and change his behaviour when he is called on it like with Donal Noye earlier or Sam here.

    Another characteristical thing about Jon is that he is also quite often seen acting selfless or at least fairly considerate of others, like when he refrained from claiming a wolf pup for himself so that his siblings could get them, when he protected Sam from Thorne and plotted to promote Sam to Steward, when he spared Robb the truth about the way his mother had treated him at Bran's sickbed, when he tried to assure Cat that Bran's fall wasn't her fault or when he gifted Needle to Arya.

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  16. This post is one of the best yet - very funny.

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