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Saturday, April 25, 2015

King John and ASOIAF

Let me count the similarities ---

1. The bastard of Richard the Lionheart. He's pretty dashing, but he talks like Tyrion Lannister, or more accurately Tyrion talks like him. And they both are in fact loyal and pure at heart. They just like to put on a cynical appearance and deliver some zingers.

2. The sympathetic poor Hubert. The misunderstood killer. The wronged bad guy with a heart of gold. He is almost exactly like Sandor the Hound.

3. At the center of the three-sided battles is the question of whether it is justified to murder a child. John decided that he had to, and was duly punished for the crime. Ned Stark refused to be the cause of potential execution of three children born of incest (and treason), and he was duly punished for his kindness. Yes, damned if you do and damned if you don't.

4. Even after all three parties opposing him (Rome, France, and his own dukes) have been appeased, King John can still be killed off by an almost random person and act. See also Ned Stark and Balon Greyjoy and Tywin Lannister.

This is what drives me crazy when I try to dig out Shakespeare's influence on GRRM. Nothing is concretely transplanted --- No, GRRM is too clever for that. Rather, it is a strong whiff of shared view on people and the way of the world.

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