Thursday, June 13, 2013

Eddard Stark

[Attention: this post is not corrected. I will edit it soon.] 

Wrote on 27th April of 2012

Eddard Stark

Eddard Stark and the beginning of duty

Eddard Stark
The honest character for excellence in Game of Thrones (more or less for what we know about him), the knight archetype, is incarnated by Eddard Stark. His strong sense of honour, justice and loyalty drive him from his calm home, Winterfell, to be Hand of the King and, later, to scaffold. Ilyn Payne beheaded Eddard Stark with his own greatsword which is called Ice in the Great Sept of Baelor. In the first chapter of TV series we can see how Eddard punishes one deserter from Night’s Watch with his greatsword. It seems casual but it doesn’t. The circle closes itself in Eddard Satrk because he appears beheading for law and he is beheaded by kingdom and king’s law to which he swore allegiance. How does Eddard Stark arrive to this crucial moment when life forks and one man fulfil glory and other one sinks into mud? Honour, quite simply. For honour and friendship he accepts Robert Baratheon’s offer to access to a post tinged with blood. All for his best friend Robert, his adventures and difficulties companion from their youth. Strong sense of friendship and loyalty are one of this man’s characteristics: Edd Stark, an Aristotelic and Kantian character. He is a family father and law man. For honour and categorical imperative he beheads one man who he believes innocent. Who supports law can’t doubt to apply it because whole legal fabric should go down. Distinction of law, morality and ethics are one of philosophical topics that this delicious TV series offers to us since the first episode. Stark’s ethic decision is to obey law and its principles, its categorical imperatives (how German philosopher from Königsberg, Immanuel Kant, named it). But we can perceive that contradiction. Law isn’t justice, because it can be corrupted, blind or a veil under evil is hided, that is to say, men power ambition. Stark is an idealistic man. He carries law out and accepts his fate but he condemns his own family. Where is here the Justice?

I. Kant
 He lets Cersei Lannister unfaithful Robert’s wife know about his intentions to reveal Joffrey Baratheon’s real fatherhood, who is Iron Throne heir and pure Lannister blood genetically. Humanity act to avoid bloodbath but he condemns himself to die. To let enemy know is like to kiss Judas Iscariote, a rashly thing from kind and “Christian” knight as Eddard Stark. In these circumstances, court vipers have enough time to make a trap to Stark. Sometimes good men get breeding ground for atrocious acts ready. If he hadn’t die, the war should has avoid with a prisoners exchange but after his dead nothing turn to be the same.

Nedd's execution in King's Landing
There is something from Socrates in his fate acceptation, although maybe it isn’t enough because he lied to save his family, something that Greek should never have done. He is captured for ideals and when he betrays it he finds his death. It is too late. He dies because a demanding child locked in a king’s body wants it. Joffrey is hair-raising teenager who seems to get out from McDonald’s advertisement and he is a good casting choice. About his bastard son we talk later…

Hand of the King.

P.S.:Sorry, sorry, sorry for the delay!!! I have had final exams at university and I was really busy. I will post next soon. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tyrion Lannister

25th April 2012

Tyrion Lannister
The epicurean Imp: Tyrion Lannister

“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”
Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)
In Game of Thrones the character who attracts attention from the first moment he appears on the screen is the Halfman Tyrion Lannister. The fact of belonging to the golden lion house gives him a big power he wouldn’t even dream about it if he were from the plebs, but he is badly thought of by his family, except his own father. His mother died when she gave birth to him. All the possible Freudian conflicts come to the surface in him. In TV series, it is inevitably the jokes about the size of his phallus and about his love capacity; definitely, the essential pillars about his supposed manliness. His way of life distances him from the typical image of somebody who is short in fantasy stories such as Hobbits, naughty gnomes or frowning dwarfs.
Tyrion is a crippled man, like Dr. House, a Halfman and he acts living life, not with resignation, but saying “yes” to life, being full of conscious of it, as the philosopher Nietzsche advised us. Although his evil tongue approach him more to priests that the German philosopher deplored in The Antichrist than to the blond beast he praised with his deafening rhetoric. (Is Jamie Lannister an example of the blond beast, superman with aristocratic and incestuous moral?) Tyrion lives a significantly epicurean life. He clings himself to bodily pleasures, seduces and enjoys the delicacies that his condition can provide him with. But he doesn’t scorn intellectual pleasures; reading and oratory, arts in which he is a master. One chapter which is very eloquent is one in which a man reproaches him for his pleasure for books. The dwarf confesses that someone who is weak, like him, has his own weapons. He is not the only character in the books who confesses the same weakness. Did George R. R. Martin become wizard of words because he couldn’t be a warrior? We’ll never know it.
The little Lannister cultivates friendships, good food and knowledge, all with moderation, although I don’t believe the Greek approves his relationship with prostitutes and courtesans; but he lives an ethic life according to his lineage and family education.  In a doubtful moral world we can’t reproach him, because his first experience of love was very traumatic which is narrated in a Freudian moment par excellance in Tyrion’s tent by Bronn, the warrior, and Tyrion’s courtesan when they were in a torrid scene before Lannister and Stark’s entrapment. There is in Tyrion a strong will of power. Without any doubt Alfred Adler would have found a great patient on who to prove his well known psychoanalytic theory based on Nietzsche’s work. According to Adler adult life consists of converting the fragility and vulnerability we felt in our childhood, to a hard and sore ego that Tyrion is supposed to have and who will have a great intriguing future as a Hand of a King in King’s Landing.
If the reader find this analysis very forced, he or she can close the blog o remember Tyrion’s father died and think about Oedipus the king and his tragic end. The shadow of Freud is greatly extended, in spite of all the subtle nuances of his work...
Hand of the King 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Captatio Benevolantiae

This is a twin blog of Juego de Tronos y la filosofia. I’m very glad to translate this great blog about Game of Thrones. With this project I want to share with all of you the fantastic research that Bernat Roca has done about George R. R. Martin’s work.
I have learnt a lot of funny things and I hope you will too.

First Post: 24th April 2012

Captatio Benevolantiae

Varys smiled. –Here, then. The power resides where the men believe it resides. No more and no less.
- So power is a mummer’s trick? – Said Tyrion.
- A shadow on the wall, - Varys murmured, - yet shadows can kill. And of times a very small man can cast a very large shadow.
Lord Varys, the Spider. (Clash of Kings)

A thought on power. This is one of the themes in the storyline of Game of Thrones. This blog begins its journey with the intention of sharing with the Internet users (book fans or TV series fans, or neither) the passion for the philosophy and for Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin’s books. But there are elements beyond the power which can explain  Martin’s magnificent work. Some of those elements are the interesting characters, each one with their own nuances of meaning, passions, virtues and faults. Characters who sometimes escape from their archetype to overflow onto the screen or the book pages and penetrate the readers and viewers souls.
The person who wrote these lines was on the point of reading the first book of Game of Thrones in Catalan published by Devir (Cançó de foc i glaç) but I didn’t buy it because I thought “Maybe it is another Dragonlance or similar to The Lord of the rings”. Crass error. Life always gives second opportunities. When the TV series came out I armed myself with patience and waited to watch the complete first season. I didn’t want to fall prey to the fearsome and abundant spoilers. I started to watch the first episode and I wasn’t able to stop.

For the first time I found somebody in the epic fantasy who isn’t frightened to tell the readers the truth. George R. R. Martin says something that John Steinbeck had said about Arthurian cycle by Thomas Malroy: “It did not seem strange to me that Uther Pendragon wanted the wife of his vassal and took her by trickery. I was not frightened to find that there were evil knights, as well as noble ones. In my own town there were men who wore the clothes of virtue whom I knew to be bad. In pain or sorrow or confusion, I went back to my magic book. Children are violent and cruel—and good—and I was all of these—and all of these were in the secret book. If I could not choose my way at the crossroads of love and loyalty, neither could Lancelot. I could understand the darkness of Mordred because he was in me too; and there was some Galahad in me, but perhaps not enough. The Grail feeling was there, however, deep-planted, and perhaps always will be. [The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976) Page 19 – 20]”

There are a few literature excerpts that say so much in so little space and at the same time (with a subtle changes in character’s names and substitutes Grial for the Iron Throne) can represent not only the essence of Martin’s work but also the dark side, or not, of human nature. Who can deny that there is something to admire in Nedd Stark’s noble attitude, in his way of life, in his way of obeying the rules in a Kantian manner and in such a Socratic death? Or Lannister power ambition. The Power has only been described very well by few philosophers such as Hobbes or Maquiavelo or F. Nietzsche. They are reference authors we use not only to understand and see Martin’s work but also admire it. And sex is really cheeky in the TV series. In The Seven Kingdoms nobody knows Christianity religion. Here religion doesn’t restrict the body. The body sometimes is at the service of power; the body shows itself and its joys and suffering. The Seven Kingdoms are a moral world, but a non-Christian morality. And there is no doubt that they have Indo-European roots; it is something like 14th or 15th century transition between Middle and Renaissance ages. Nothing cansymbolize this better than when the two first families in the first part of Martin’s saga: The Stark family, (a feudal family with Scottish influences and antique Gods) who go to war with their loyal vassal’s banners with whom they have renewed vassal ties, whether they like it or not. And the Lannister family (a name with an air of the house of Lancaster from War of the Roses, beautiful and gorgeous, rich, Anglo-Saxon and intriguing) precursors of a Maquiavelian manner of mobilizing money and swords; and not to mention the incestuous strategy they used to give the crown to the cruel and “degenerate” Joffrey Baratheon. And so on.

This blog wants to spread the connections between philosophy and the greatest authors (the ones we studied at college) with popular TV series. I want to link profane things with sacred things, to see beyond what our eyes can see, to “understand with our soul” as Platon said. Maybe discover if we should be able to sit down on The Iron Throne and resist its charm and not to succumb to its curse of power. We need to think about if it would be possible to do Right and if we will be able to state without any doubt that we should be fair kings or queens of The Seven Kingdoms.

Hand of the King

Translator's P.S.: My deepest thanks to Daniel E. Price for his check-up.