“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Introduction

GRRM speaks often about how Tolkien’s world lacks religion, despite Tolkien’s own devout Christianity. In A Song of Ice and Fire, we see GRRM’s response to this absence with a richness of religions, many of which are informed by his Catholic upbringing.

Aeron “the Damphair” Greyjoy is a character who cannot be separated from his religion or understood as a character without understanding his faith. His introduction in A Feast for Crows makes this clear by naming his chapter as “The Prophet,” immediately contextualizing him as someone who is supposed to speak on behalf of his god. Even Aeron’s name seems reminiscent of Aaron from the Bible, a prophet and brother of Moses. 

But GRRM draws on more than just names to inspire the feeling of his characters’ fervor in his readers. He uses the lessons, stories and structures from his Catholic childhood to create this aura of the divine—or at the very least, the faithful—in his writing.

Same as Aeron’s first AFFC chapter, this tone begins with the chapter’s title: “The Forsaken.” The initial question would be, “Who has forsaken Aeron?”

Knowing the outcome of the kingsmoot, there are several candidates for who could have forsaken Aeron. Seeing how desperately Aeron clings to his mantra that “no godless man may sit the Seastone Chair,” and that he was the one who organized the kingsmoot, Aeron may feel that his countrymen, the other Ironborn, have forsaken him in choosing Euron. With Asha fleeing her marriage to Erik Ironmaker and Victarion going into Euron’s employ, we may also guess that Aeron feels abandoned by his family.

As we follow Aeron’s religious journey and questioning throughout his storyline, we see a clearer picture of why Aeron has been forsaken, hearkening back to David’s Psalm 22, quoted by Jesus on the cross: “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?”

In this Psalm, we see this back-and-forth as David laments his hardships from his enemies and questions his God’s inaction at the beginning, while praising Him and asking for His aid. In his recent analysis, Attewell breaks down Aeron’s similar internal struggle with his religion through the story of Job.

But the other moment of this line, Jesus’s crucifixion, which bears much reference to this psalm, also provides significance and a frame that creates the feeling of devoutness. Throughout Aeron’s chapter, the text parallels the moments of Christ’s life not when he was victorious but tested.

Continue reading

Fortune’s Reversal: Understanding Elements of Greek Tragedy in Tyrion’s Story

Originally published on reddit. See the discussion here.

Introduction

Tyrion Lannister captures the minds of readers with his wit and elicits their sympathy as they see him undergo hardships for being a dwarf in Westerosi society. But his personality isn’t the only captivating thing about Tyrion. The structure of his storyline draws on centuries’ old literary theory, using tried and true methods of storytelling that have entertained audiences for ages.

Continue reading

Ned Stark and the Seven Point Narrative Structure

Originally published on reddit. See the discussion here.

Introduction

With the TV show bringing Eddard Stark back into viewers’ hearts and the Tower of Joy teetering on the edge of a reveal, it seems a good moment to reflect on the time readers traveled with Ned.

Ned Stark was GRRM’s letter to readers that no character is safe in ASOIAF. His death early in the series shocked readers, who believed that the man who seemed to be the main character could die before the story—his story—was truly finished.

Looking at Ned’s arc in terms of how his story was structured, we see that may not be the case after all. And if Ned’s storyline was a complete narrative arc, then that tells us something as readers about what we can expect from our other main characters.

The Seven Narrative Structure Points

Numerous schools of thought propose how a narrative ought to be structured, but many of them mirror each other. One of these incarnations uses the Seven Structure Points:

  1. Hook
  2. First Plot Point
  3. Pinch Point 1
  4. Mid-Point
  5. Pinch-Point 2
  6. Second Plot Point
  7. Resolution

Each of these points helps further Ned’s story along, while providing a problem for our main character, Ned, to overcome.

Continue reading

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.