Tower of the Hand

Politics of the Seven Kingdoms Part IX

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This post discusses the fifth book of the series, A Dance with Dragons (published 2011). If you've completed the book, set your scope above to ADWD. Otherwise, we advise you to avoid reading this post as it may contain spoilers.

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Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vinatage Books, 1978), p. 4.
  • 2 - Said, p. 40
  • 3 - Said, p. 7
  • 4 - The particular culture of the "stony" Dornish and their raiding of the Dornish Marches and beyond can be seen as much as a reference to the portrayal of Afghan tribal culture as appeared in Western adventure fiction frequently after the British occupation of that country), which not only was a common feature of Victorian "boy's own" tales from Rudyard Kipling on but also featured quite prominently in the work of early fantasy authors like Robert E. Howard, as it does to the border reivers of the Welsh and Scottish Marches.
  • 5 - Although one could perhaps point to the tradition of Saladin as an honorable opponent, the "virtuous heathen," in medieval Orientalist literature, so your mileage might vary on whether the Daynes break with Orientalist tropes.
  • 6 - Arianne excerpt from The Winds of Winter
  • 7 - One sign that Pre-Rhoynish Dorne might have been a bit close to current-day Dorne is that we already have a Dornish custom of paramours when the Rhoynar arrive. How different this custom was from the polygamy of the First Men, and where it came from, is unclear.
  • 8 - One possibility I've considered is that the water witches of the Rhoynar might have resisted the "Dornification" policy of the Red Princes and were wiped out by the Martells, but that suggests a commitment to cultural nationalism over economic development to an unlikely extent, given how important water magic would be to expanding arable land.
  • 9 - Alternately, depending on how we sequence Nymeria's Wars, it could be that Nymeria turned her former conquests into allies in her last war with the Yronwoods, although I find this unlikely. For one thing, Mors Martell is described as still being alive when the war with the Yronwoods began so her marriage alliances couldn't have taken place yet; for another thing, that same sentence describes these houses as Mors' "allies" rather than "bannermen," so they must have still been independent at this point.
  • 10 - Incidentally, it is in this dragonfire that I think we can find an explanation for why the 50,000 spears of Dorne suddenly become 25,000, or alternatively how we can explain how King Ferris Fowler alone could have mustered 10,000 men in the reign of Garth VII. Regardless of whether they perished directly to dragonfire, or from a combination of exposure or starvation (because an entire civilian population does not camp out for multiple years without suffering casualties, or during the conventional fighting in either the First Dornish or Daeron's War, I believe the Dornish suffered a significant population drop in the last three hundred years.
  • 11 - Consider, for example, how well the Ironborn chapter of WOIAF expresses the prejudices of the Old Way while still being written by a non-Ironborn in-universe author.
  • 12 - Incidentally, Drazenko's link to the Martells puts Prince Viserys' marriage to Larra Rogare in a different light. In addition to seeing it as part of Viserys' ransom back to his family, and as part of the Rogare family's limitless and unrepublican ambitions (marrying into not one but two royal families), we could potentially also see it as an attempt to improve relations between the Targaryens and the Martells by making them good-kin.
  • 13 - Interestingly, we never see the Martells advance a claim to the Iron Throne through Maron's marriage to Daenerys Targaryen, even when the Targaryen succession would come into question later.
  • 14 - This, despite the fact that Aerys II was part-Dornish himself, through Mariah Martell and Dyanna Dayne; it reminds me somewhat of Bobby Fischer.


Warning: Discussions are not subject to scope. That is, commenters can and often do discuss events from the most recent A Song of Ice and Fire book and/or Game of Thrones episode.

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