Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Consequences of a Westerosi Kingsmoot...

In early December, I blogged about an interesting fan-fiction written by a fellow member of my alternate history forum entitled A Parliament of Fowls: The First Kingsmoot of Westeros. Catelyn Stark persuading Renly and Stannis Baratheon to put their feud aside and join forces with her son to fight the Lannisters has led to an entirely new political order in the continent, a full-blown elective monarchy. That had some very interesting consequences...

These consequences are being explored in the sequel, The Glory of Ice: Reign of the Mockingbird. As those of you who are into the series know, the mockingbird is the personal insignia of one Petyr Baelish, more commonly known as "Littlefinger." As one of the most devious political operators in Westeros, he managed to finagle his way to the Iron Throne by doling out all sorts of political favors and manipulating everybody. All is peaceful for the moment, with the notable exception of the Iron Islands falling into civil war while the united Westerosi army--led by the lords of the Vale Littlefinger had promised lands to--gathers to curb-stomp them. However, A Parliament of Fowls ended with Stannis Baratheon seeing the following vision in his sorceress Melisandre's flames:

Stannis stared deeper into the flames as they kept dancing. And little by little, they morphed and changed. Stannis saw things he never thought he would. He saw himself being paraded through the Seven Kingdoms as a hero. He saw the Wall and the war. That great second god the red woman kept harping about approaching the North with all his icy might. He saw death knocking at the gates of Castle Black and approaching the doors of Winterfell. Stannis saw steel clash on steel and the Iron Throne shake from the quake of the Seven Kingdoms breaking apart once more. He saw the four directions of the earth clash in an eruption not seen since the doom came to Valyria. He saw a field of flowers burn and the sun darken. He saw a wolf and a stag go east, a lion roar, and a kraken tangle with a titan sitting on a throne of blood and bone. And finally he saw himself in a cloak of crows.

The kraken is the symbol of House Greyjoy and the Titan of Braavos is Littlefinger's family crest, so I imagine the war for the Iron Islands is going to be nasty and Littlefinger is going to get thoroughly unpleasant. Silver Phantom 2 holds the theory that he's a full-blown psychopath, as elucidated in Matt Staggs' essay. I am generally skeptical of branding prominent evil people as psychopaths--I view the idea of "ponerology" as essentially a eugenicist conspiracy theory held by extreme leftists, and evil people like Hitler and Stalin have demonstrated the capacity for emotional attachment that would disqualify them from being true psychopaths--but Littlefinger doesn't have to be essentially a highly-functional brain-damage case to be a real scumbag.

(I hold that Littlefinger is psychologically normal but is essentially a much, much more powerful male version of Sansa Stark who learned that life was not a song and ended up embittered and generally nasty as a result. Psychopath or evil neurotypical, either way he's a highly dangerous man.)

Looks like it's the calm before the storm...

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