Stannis Baratheon: Macbeth Revisited

Shakespeare of Thrones

It’s no surprise to find Macbeth‘s influence in A Song of Ice and Fire; both stories are steeped in political desire, fringed with the supernatural, and pulsating with an undercurrent of psychological torment.  But why present Stannis Baratheon, the most just and duty-driven of all characters, as a parallel to the greedy and ambitious Macbeth?

If for no other reason, to do what George R. R. Martin does best–smash up the literary tropes and make them his own. With a “justice” tweak in the Macbeth narrative, Martin has a conversation with Shakespeare and his readers, challenging them to a new question: if horrible deeds are committed in the name of duty and justice, does that relieve the heart and conscience?  In this essay we’ll compare the narratives and motifs of Macbeth and the Stannis storyline, and explore what the common metanarrative foreshadows for our One True King of Westeros.

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Morality Beyond the Wall: Con of Thrones 2018 Panel


Panel from Con of Thrones featuring Watchers on the Wall feature writer Patrick Sponaugle, author Ian Thomas Malone, Professor Priscilla Walton, and myself talking about the morality and ethics that exist beyond the Wall. Skinchangers, cannibals, tribal wars, trade through the Wall among Other topics.

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The Lemon Tree and the Red Door

Daenerys Targaryen is a woman who  yearns for the simpler times of her life. Long before she was Queen, Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of chains, she was just a child running through fields barefoot and looking out her window at a friendly lemon tree. Her house with a red door in Braavos, when things were easy and idyllic. Wait…Braavos? The dour, rainy, overcast place with a bustling port, merchants yelling about their oysters, clams, and cockles that looks like Venice mixed with Seattle? That’s where Dany remembers wide open fields, citrus trees, and calm easy living? How can those memories be of the same place?

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Sandor the Corpsekiller



This essay is also available as a video on my youtube channel. Click here to watch the video, fellow moderator bookshelfstud reads the quotes with his smooth vocal tones.

In my previous Essay “How Brienne the Beauty became Pretty”, I discussed how potentially GRRM recycled his abandoned future for Brienne of Tarth into the captain of the Windblown, Pretty Meris. Here today, I bring you another captain of the Windblown and unmask their true identity. This captain’s name is Caggo, the Corpsekiller. And Caggo is a dog.

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