Of Mice and Men, Of Wolves and Dragons

Of Mice and Men, that´s what history is made of. And the tales told by each of them is different, I warrant. History is told by the victors, and if ever winner and lomousesers switch sides, it is written anew.

One example is what the Pharaohs often did to their predecessor: they wrote their names and faces off the temples and palaces, so it would be as if they have never existed. Defacing stone is more difficult than rewriting books, though, and whether they liked it or not, it was impossible to erase all of their disaffection.

We often read and learn history from the standpoint of great people, or of events considered pivotal, and some brave historians try to tell the day to day life of common people; it is a very difficult and unpleasant work, I suppose, to write about the lives of the anonymous peasant families because very people wrote about them, and they have to scratch for clues. I often think that they make up a lot on the way.

And these common people often fascinates me more than the great characters. It reminds of Isaiah Berlin´s on Tolstoy´s take on history, how the Russian master thought that history should be made by the ones who simply live their lives and do not care about the future consequences, cause there is only so much you can foresee, because they were simply trying to survive and make it to next year still alive, because the shortness of life makes it so swift and fugazi that few people realize ways to make it meaningful. It is unlikely that Napoleon could see all that was going on the battlefront, control his troops, however trained and trustworthy they were, or the decisions of his officers. History is Always told on hindsight, so I wonder if the great characters are often but symbols or myths created by those who came after them, not in the sense of existence, but in the sense or their importance and meaning.

When we read about Ulysses in the Illiad, we don´t see the point of view of the ordinary sailor who ended up dead, but it is the tale of a great hero and it is not told by himself. All narrators are unreliable, but he who tells his own story is more unreliable than others.

book-4-volume-1And here mice and men become dragons, wolves, stags and lions. A Song of Ice and Fire is written on a “point of view” structure, embracing the most emblematic kind of unreliable narrator, the first-person. So it leaves to the reader to build the whole Picture, very much like investigators. No one hold the entire truth, and does the reader really grasps all that happens in the book? It reads like history, cause the role of the reader is to mentally write that history, becoming himself another narrator, as unreliable as any other.  Nothing matters and everything is important. Is it? That´s for the reader to find out.

It is also interesting that at some point, readers start to wonder about the writer himself. Why is it that none of the main characters are first-borns? I consider Tyrion, Jon and Danaerys the main arcs, followed closely by Arya and Stannis. None of them are first-borns. The three first are either the second, third child or one of the few surviving children. They were all some sort of exile or outcast – the bastard, the exiled heiress, the deformed child, the despised brother. All of them have older sibblings who cast long shadows, none of them knew love from their parents, either because they died, because they rejected them, or because their bastardy prevents full integration with the Family. — One starts to wonder if it was intentional. I think it was purely coincidence, or the author´s perception of the time in history he is trying to mime. (As the eldest daughter, that´s annoying, cause I feel that older children tend to take a lot upon themselves, they have a burden to bear, and are forced to grow up faster. Ok, that was me in therapy. ) The kind of opinions, speculations, fandom about the series and about each character do not say much about the books, or about the character, it says something about the reader. I would not go further into that, cause it would expose myself too. Whatever I say, I am saying about myself.

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2 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men, Of Wolves and Dragons

  1. History as they say is usually written by the victors. Also the wealthy and highly educated as it was only until fairly recently that that ‘ common’ people were taught to read and write. Imagine the tales that could have been told from the perspectives of the common people over the millennia if they had been literate.

    I’m a first born as well but I did notice there are some first born POVs in Song of Ice and Fire, namely Cat, Cersei and Arriane. Characters all struggling with notions of power and duty, some more than others obviously because when it comes to Cersei I don’t think duty factors into her thoughts at all.
    I liked your post a lot and could easily have read a longer version where you elaborate more on some of your ideas. 🙂

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    • There are other posts in ?English you might like. I´ll post the ones on Penny Dreadful and Marco Polo later. And the erotic ones. Thanks for de visit, deat

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