Note: This is a follow-up to The Snow Also Rises, the previous post on this blog. Read that before you read this.
During a recent Q&A, one of the two producers of HBO’s Game of Thrones stated that they set out to make the television show with “no prophecies, dreams, or flashbacks.” It’s hard to believe they ever thought the first possible, considering that the books are ripe with prophecies. Most amount to be false leads, red herrings, etc., but there are flashbacks throughout, most involving Daenarys and those she loves.
Most, if not all, of the prophecies in A Song of Ice and Fire are opaque, dishonest, or lead to dead ends. But most readers still hold hope for things such as Jon Snow being either The Prince Who Was Promised or the reborn Azor Ahai. Brian, a friend and reader of this blog, pointed out that, in addition to A Song of Ice and Fire losing literary merit if Jon Snow’s parentage is revealed, Jon’s own path to being a hero loses merit as well. He should not have his lineage exposed, but, as Brian says, there should be “no known external source… that gave him his power.”
Jon’s path, his journey, his own path along the flat circle that is a monomyth, these things are only weakened if the story falls back into the classic (and cheap) narrative of what can only be properly called “magic hero king blood.” Jon’s story is that of a bastard boy who rose to the top of the Night’s Watch, so far, and will achieve greater things in the future. Only we as readers should know that he is achieving the fate he could have been born into.
Next, we have further musings on the analogue between Ned Stark and Jake Barnes. Thank you to TEB Lovett for bringing these to mind.
First, both men’s secrets were gained during war. Ned and Jake both returned carrying something they had not brought with them.
Second, every relationship around them is affected. For Jake, it begins with Brett Ashley, the women he loves but who he can never have. It extends from there to his friends Mike and Bill and Robert Cohn, and to the bullfighters and prostitutes of France and beyond. For Ned, it affects his relationship with his wife, Cat, along with all his “trueborn” children, in addition to the other lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms and, perhaps most of all, Robert, his more-or-less brother and king. Ned lies to everyone, sacrificing one form of honor for another, knowing that the boy he raises as his son, who is not his son but is his blood, has hereditary right to the throne where Robert sits.
One could argue that Ned’s wound is different, this fake bastard boy, as it is self-inflicted. The rebuttal, of course, is that Ned’s honor does not allow him to see it that way at all.
The question still remains: what will happen to Jon Snow and his magic ghost wolf? Let’s hope Martin keeps it classy.
Next Time on What Should Bale Do… The Snow Also Rises 3: A Moveable Feast for Crows