The OF Blog: A new thing learned from re-reading Martin's A Game of Thrones

Friday, April 30, 2010

A new thing learned from re-reading Martin's A Game of Thrones

Interesting passage on Bran:

He confessed his crime the next day in a fit of guilt.  Lord Eddard ordered him to the godswood to cleanse himself.  Guards were posted to see that Bran remained there alone all night to reflect on his disobedience.  The next morning Bran was nowhere to be seen.  They finally found him fast asleep in the upper branches of the tallest sentinel in the grove.

As angry as he was, his father could not help but laugh.  "You're not my son," he told Bran when they fetched him down, "you're a squirrel.  So be it." (p. 80)

Made me a bit more sympathetic toward Bran's character after reading that.  I wonder why?


Bill said...

That is one of the subtleties in Martin's prose that, in my opinion, makes him so bloody brilliant.

That one line, without posting a spoiler, suggests to multiple layers of depth where the character is concerned.

- Climbing is shown, in the context of the scene, as an integral part of Bran's identity (perhaps overly emphasized in early chapters, but I believe that's Martin's way of misdirection - "look here"), while he slips in the deeper meanings beneath notice.

- Where Bran's immediate future is in play, the depth of his want/need to climb, and how others recognize this in him. The "sympathetic" aspect.

- The comparison to the squirrel is a subtle statement on Bran's role in the story line.

Even the phraseology as a metaphor, and not a simile, impacts the statement and the layering.

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Here's more fun with squirrels: link

Bill said...

Haha. Of course it was the squirrel itself. My bad, Larry. I had just finished reading your analyses (Dune, WoT) and that's where my head was at. :-p

Larry said...

I dunno, Bill, I think your first statement actually has some validity to it. I am enjoying the prose quite a bit now, more than I did when I first read this book back in 2000.

And Bryce,

Squirrels have done much more than just shape fish ;)

Rajashekar Iyer said...

Bran was sympathetic early on. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Larry said...

Oh, I shall, I shall. As long as he remains true to the squirrels, I'll enjoy that.

Forgot to mention there was a remarked-upon absence of squirrels in Lord of Chaos. Mat got my hopes up there, until I re-read the sentence and saw that no squirrels were in sight :(

Rajashekar Iyer said...

I could swear there was something about squirrels in the later books.

Will burrow through them and let you know.

Larry said...

Maybe there are; I'll probably find it when I continue my re-reads :D

Bill said...

Oh there is, "something about squirrels" in later books; one could suggest that there is quite the appetite for squirrels, as it were.

Which may damper the aforementioned sympathy, I'm afraid.

Larry said...

Oh, so I have squirrel horror fiction to look forward to in the near future? :O

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