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Fridge Brilliance:

  • Iron is used in-universe to symbolize swords and killing (see for instance the phrase "taking the iron price"). Thus, it is no coincidence that the Faceless Men assassins have iron coins for some purpose, and that the Braavosi bank that you do not want to be in debt to, is called the "Iron Bank". Similarly, note that the Faceless Man calling himself the Alchemist says he can turn "iron into gold" (not the usual lead-to-gold), and since he kills using a poisoned gold coin, he actually did use gold for the purpose he would normally use iron.- Jordan
  • There's some definitely Stealth Pun humor with the Kettleblack brothers. Their accusing others of their own crimes fits with the proverb about what the pot called the kettle. Also, it has to be a deliberate joke that they are the epitome of mediocrity. They are practically indistinguishable, in appearance, behavior, and names- note that the initials of all of them are "O.K.".- Jordan
  • There seems to be an implied joke in the braggart knight who Brienne met claiming he had killed the "Knight of the Red Chicken". At one point, Tyrion quizzes Pod on coats of arms, and there's one Pod thinks is a chicken, and Tyrion tells him this is a common mistake. It seems plausible that the red chicken that is not a chicken is actually the arms of Ronnet Connington. This would make sense, because Brienne knows Connington and was ill-treated by him, which is why she would find amusing the lowly hedge knight claiming he curbstomped him.- Jordan
  • There's likely a heraldry Stealth Pun in Stannis' coat of arms that has a the Baratheon stag enclosed in a flaming heart. The flames are an obvious nod to Melisandre, but the reason for the heart is that a hart is another word for a stag. Who said Stannis had no sense of humor?- Jordan
  • This troper hated the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire when he read it. There was so much foreshadowing of the imminent invasion of the local equivalent of the Legions of Hell that the political intrigue that made up the bulk of the novel felt like a meaningless subplot of no importance whatsoever. I enjoyed the rest of the series more when I changed my expectations and read with the understanding that all the supernatural stuff was the relatively unimportant subplot, and nobody is going to become the Knight in Shining Armor action hero and save the day. - Ronfar
    • I think you may have taken the wrong idea from the book series. The supernatural stuff is the important plot, and the political intrigue is supposed to feel pointless and destructive because it is pointless and self-destructive before the arrival of Winter.
  • It's rather interesting to see hidden context to comments made by the characters after reading the series through a second time. One thing I noticed in particular was a comment by Littlefinger to Ned Stark about how the Starks melt when they come below the neck. What I didn't realize until the re-read was how cruel this comment was, when you consider that Ned's father was burned alive in King's Landing. -Bass
  • I was rather ambivalent towards the character of Sansa Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire, thinking her an idiot, until I realized that she was supposed to be a reader of idealistic fantasy, who deals with life by going entirely by what she reads, but is eventually disillusioned by the reality to the point of rejecting said fantasy entirely. She's entirely a joke on the audience who enjoys happy romantic fantasy. Basically, she's supposed to be somebody who enjoys fantasy completely unlike A Song of Ice and Fire, or a heroine from another book series displaced into the Crapsack World of Westeros, and subjected to Deconstruction to show how they would react. I only realized this after meeting somebody similar to (though not as idiotic as) her in Real Life. -Narvi
  • Lying awake one sleepless night, this troper had the following epiphany: Littlefinger is The Hero of the story. I'll say it again. Petyr Baelish, AKA Littlefinger, is the hero of the story. Or at least he would be, if this was a traditional fantasy story. Think about it: he starts out the heir to basically nothing, but is still forced to spend all of his childhood associating with the super powerful, most of whom refuse to even call him by his given name. Also, he has the disadvantage of being small and weak in a society that values strength above all else. Despite this, he manages through his own cleverness and force of personality to launch a successful career in politics, eventually becoming one the kings most trusted advisers. And just to increase his woobiness factor, lets say that not only does he fail to get the girl, but she goes off and marries someone she's never even met. And then his rebound girl gets married off to someone she's never met, aborting his child in the process. Now, if this were a traditional story, Littlefinger would find a way to overcome his adversity, win Cat back, and be recognized by the nobility as the valuable ally that he is. Except this isn't a traditional story, so Littlefinger's victory is Pyrrhic Victory at best; no matter how valuable he is to the nobles, they'll never consider him to one of them; he'll always be an outsider. And even his material success in rendered meaningless by the fact that the women he loves isn't at his side. Soon, his disillusionment turns to bitterness, and then his bitterness becomes hate. And then he decides that if he can't get his happy ending, then no one will. And thus, the best villain ever was born. This also explains his relationship with Sansa Stark. As is explained above, Sansa is meant to represent the traditional fantasy heroine — i.e. someone who believes in happy endings, like Littlefinger used to before he became disillusioned. He sees a bit of himself in her, and that's why he actually gives a fuck about her, something he is pretty much incapable of doing for anyone else. So in short: the Deconstruction of The Hero is, in fact, The Big Bad. GRRM is a fucking genius. --Taelor
    • Adding to that: if this were a traditional story, Cately would still love Littlefinger, and the best Ned Stark could get from her would be respect, so when he would get out of the way (probably by banishment), she would gladly fall in Littlefinger's arms - and since he is now a noble and thus suitable they would happily marry and this would be presented as Littlefinger ultimately overcoming all (and presented as Happy Ending). Except here Cately came to love Ned (as quite probably in such circumstances), and then he was executed rather than banished, (since the great Chessmaster Littlefinger simply didn't account for Joffrey's brutality), and Catelyn went mad with grief as a result, rendering the whole thing into an ultimately futile Moral Event Horizon for Littlefinger.
    • Of course, this being a cynical, but not evil-glorifying work, Littlefinger's new evilness ultimately prevents him from getting his Happy Ending when he did got a shot at it: he rejects and ultimately murders his rebound girl when she becomes free by murdering her husband for him, no less!, and could now marry him; and he blows the thing with Catelyn because while 'his love for Lisa has waned, he doesn't consider that Catelyn emotions could change, too, and thus doesn't make precautions not to overdo it with Ned Stark (see above).
  • Daenerys Targaryen is a Deconstruction of Mary Sue! She has a ton of Common Mary Sue Traits, but hasn't actually been able to accomplish anywhere near as much as one would expect a Sue too; the setting is still a crappy place. The real evidence that this is deliberate? Her name is suspiciously similar to Dagny Taggart. - Silver 2195
  • I didn't particularly appreciate A Song of Ice and Fire when I first read it. I hated how GRRM kept killing off my favourite characters, how every time they managed to achieve something it would only be taken away from them, and how the only successful characters appeared to be the completely amoral ones. All in all, I didn't think highly of it compared to other fantasy series I've read. But after the series, I picked a string of really bad fantasy books. One after the other I couldn't believe how badly construed the plot was, how inconsistent and unrealistic the characters were portrayed. It must have taken me something like 10 other books before I realised that these books weren't bad... it was just that A Song of Ice and Fire was SO incredibly good. The bar has been raised to such high levels that it has completely ruined my being able to enjoy other fantasy series like I did before. I can no longer pick up a random fantasy novel and not have three moments where I would have expected the protagonist to die a horrible death before I'm halfway through. GRRM is now my all-time favourite author, and I hate his guts. - Korenn
  • Catelyn's actions as Lady Stoneheart seemed to be the acts of a deranged madwoman, especially the murders of pretty much any Frey that was unfortunate enough to get caught by her outlaws, until you remember that Walder Frey's success came mostly from having so many children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to build up his House. Catelyn's revenge is targeting the very source of Walder's Frey's success, which is the only thing he really seems of care about. Catelyn's revenge is therefore very logical and very chillingly reflects Walder Frey's black deeds.
  • One Evening after putting the third book away I realised that several Characters are taking lessons from their Evil Counterpart: Namely: Sansa/Littlefinger and Cersei, Arya/jagen ,Tyrion/Tywinare Catlyn/Walder frey
  • Two moments in the series start off as awesome or funny moments, only to quickly become disturbing and tragic upon reflection--both for the same reason. The first was when Stannis comes to Jon's aid at the end of Storm, saying something to the effect of "Davos made me realize that I can't just be king to take the kingdom--I have to save the kingdom and serve the people before I can be king." The second was in Feast when Tommen goes on and on how when he's king, he's going to outlaw beets. For the Stannis moment, I went from "hell yeah, you had this awesome epiphany" to "oh dear, something that should have been obvious had to be an epiphany" to "damn, almost none of those claiming the right to rule are anywhere close to such an epiphany." With Tommen, it's cute that he has a sort of "when I'm king of the world I won't have to eat my vegetables" until you realize that he actually is king and for as sweet a kid as he appears to be, he's not thinking beyond his selfish desires and what he thinks he deserves. He could outlaw beets and render all Westeros's beet farmers destitute if he damn well felt like it. Martin devastatingly shows how so few of those grasping at power have any idea what's for in the first place. No wonder Westeros is screwed.-- Blue Nocturne
    • And in kind of a mirror realization to that, if you think about it the most effective rulers are almost all cold hearted bastards: Varys, Littlefinger, Tywin, Tyrion (who's not as cold as the rest, but compared to others is pretty cynical), whereas more traditional heroic types (Daenerys, Robb, Ned, Renly) are largely failures. About the only major exception I can think of is Jon and even he gets shanked. The whole "good men make bad kings and bad men make good kings" philosophy, for the most part, is true, although you have to be a specific kind of "bad man" for it to work (Joffery, Cersei, and other selfish characters similarly make a hash of things).-- Pratchettgaiman
      • The above just got me thinking. Tywin loved his ruthless reputation, Littlefinger openly proclaims that you shouldn't trust him, and Varys and Tyrion pretty much accept the fact that their physical conditions mean no one's going to think them decent. It's hard to say about Renly since we didn't really see him in action, but if we go by the TV show, having the love of the people was important to him. For both Ned and Robb, being considered good men was more important than being good rulers--this skewing of priorities led to both their downfalls. One of the many reasons for Daenerys's spectacular failure in Meereen was her desperation not be seen as a ruthless butcher (trying to be the Mother of the freedmen, not killing hostages, etc.). In fact, out of the "good people" cited, Jon's the only one who didn't seem to care whether the people he ruled liked what he was doing or thought well of him--all he cared about was that they listened and didn't lose sight of the threat of the Others. Short version: a good ruler can't be afraid of a bad reputation.
    • Martin seems to be implying that anyone in power, including those who seem noble, succumb to their own selfishness. Only the characters who have been ripped down completely and lost everything put the needs of others first. Broken Reek/ Theon was the one who heroically saved Jeyne Poole, not any of the Northern lords who are heavily implied to be plotting against the Boltons.
  • Circe in Greek Mythology was a beautiful-yet-dangerous sorceress best known for charming some lonely soldiers before turning them into swine. Martin's Queen Cersei Lannister is a beautiful-yet-dangerous woman who charms some--wait, this sounds familiar...
  • I started reading the books after seeing the first season of Game of Thrones and was surprised at first that Robb was the only Stark (besides the three year old) who didn't have a point of view. Heck, he was only in one chapter in A Clash of Kings. At first I thought it was the whole "none of the kings have POVs", but even that doesn't explain why he's offpage so much. Couldn't Robb get his own "Davos" character who could serve as a POV for all the battles in the Westerlands? Robb's one chapter in Clash was where he sent Theon to the Iron Islands, which is widely agreed to be one of the two big mistakes Robb made that cost him the war. By the time we see Robb again, he's married Jeyne Westerling and walks from one political disaster to another, costing him everything. Then it dawned on me while reading A Feast for Crows and Cersei was all of a sudden a POV character--Martin only gives POVs to characters who are present in vital arenas to the overall story. Cersei had to become a POV because all the others who were ever in King Landing (Ned, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion) were gone and we couldn't not see what was going on there. Likewise, Sam became a POV in Storm because someone needed to show the Nights Watch and the Wall while Jon was spending time with the wildlings (and later, to serve as a POV in Oldtown because now we need to see how the Citadel plays into the ongoing story). Conversely, Martin never bothered to give us a POV with Robb's army because his military success ultimately DID NOT MATTER. All his offpage victories were meaningless in light of his onpage political blunders. The acts of Robb that had the greatest effect on the War of the Five Kings (and on the overall A Song of Ice and Fire story) were the ones at Winterfell and Riverrun. And both of those places, Martin already has Bran and Catelyn serving as POVs. -Blue Nocturne
  • In what might overlap with Fridge Horror, there's several innocuous/humorous things that end up foreshadowing dark/disturbing things:
    • In his typical Did Not Do the Bloody Research style of speaking, Sandor promises to take Arya to her uncle's bloody wedding. It's not til afterward that you realize how unintentionally prophetic Sandor was being.
    • In AGOT, Arya jokes about her hypothetical coat-of-arms, wondering if it would be a wolf with a fish in its mouth. Later on Arya, warged into Nymeria pulls Catelyn's corpse out of the river.
    • Theon is described joking about Hodor that whatever else you could say about his intelligence, he definitely knows his own name. Theon ends up mentally and physically broken to the point that he's lost everything and doesn't even know his own name. - Jordan
  • Why do the Tullys bury their dead via Viking Funeral?- Because the Riverlands were originally under Ironborn control.
  • "Bronn" sounds a lot like "Brawn". Bronn is (cunning and clever) Tyrion's companion for a lot of the series, making him the "brawn" to Tyrion's brains.
  • It took me a while to realise how punny ser IL Lyn payne is
  • There are many speculations on the the title of the series, most of them concerning the "ice and fire" part. But, after a bit of thinking, the characters who usually sing are fools, jesters, generally people who are foolish. Considering that "ice and fire" denotes the main characters...A Song of Ice and Fire gets a new meaning.
    • Good point with that. In addition, given that the "Dance with dragons" refers to a conflict between competing claimants, "A Song Of Ice and Fire" might accurately be translated as "The War Between Ice and Fire"
  • Something via the tv show which seems like a Fandom Nod toward a theory (perhaps either to jokingly joss it or to foreshadow it)- When Melisandre characterizes Stannis as Azor Ahai, she uses the phrase that he was "born amidst salt and smoke", leading Renly to jokingly ask if Stannis was a ham. What makes this interesting in book terms, is there is a serious theory that Jon is Azor Ahai and will fit into the prophesy post-ADWD for a closely related reason- the theory proposes that following Jon's assassination, his body will be placed in the cold, dry larder where the Night Watch stores its food (perhaps including hams) and in between, he will be warged into Ghost, making it so that when he is resurrected, he'll come back normally unlike the other resurrectees of the series.
  • rereading the last Sansa chapter in AFFC I realized on thing: Littlefinger is drunkfrom wine and hubris during his speech
  • Upon re-reading, I realized that Arya is indirectly responsible for the death of King Robert. The chain of logic goes like this:
    • Robert initially hunts the White Hart, not a boar, and it would be considerably less dangerous than the boar, so even roaring drunk he'd have been fine.
    • However, the White Hart dies before he gets there. Specifically, it gets killed by wolves. As a result, Robert goes after a boar instead.
    • At this point in time, Ghost and presumably the other Direwolves are approaching or even exceeding the size of regular wolves.
    • Since Arya sent Nymeria away, at some point in time prior to A Clash Of Kings, she joins a wolfpack and takes over.
    • The timing of all this works out such that it is reasonably likely that Nymeria was leading a wolfpack in the vicinity of King's Landing at the time, and her known tendancy to attack things regular wolves would not (later extending to large groups of soldiers) makes her a likely canidate for taking down the White Hart, but would not leave wounds that were obviously the work of a Direwolf. Careful examination might reveal that some of the bites are longer and narrower than normal (A jaw trait noted in a Bran chapter) but no one on the hunt would be likely to notice.
    • So Arya saving Nymeria is likely the cause of a bunch of the problems in the series due to killing Robert.

Fridge Horror

  • When you think about it, the Kill and Replace done with Pate in the prologue of AFFC, is really disturbing. It's later shown that Faceless Men take the faces off of people for more convincing impersonations, and so presumably, after poisoning Pate, "The Alchemist" cut off his face and chopped up the body and disposed of it somewhere. It's also creepy that Fake!Pate is described as having pale, waxy skin, which makes sense, since the face came off of a corpse.- Jordan
  • A few books into the series, you realize that that Dany's surreal vision of a wolf-headed king reigning over a feast of dead men? Yeah. Not metaphorical.
    • Remember one of Patchface's songs?

“Fool’s blood, king’s blood, blood on the maiden’s thigh, but chains for the guests and chains for the bridegroom, aye aye aye.” //

What does that sound like?
  • The "treatment" (It's usually called "rape") of fake Arya stark by her husband. The first horrible thought is that the actual Arya Stark, had she not run away, would be subjected to the same violence and worse, as she would be even less willing to submit. But there is a much more horrible thought: Arya actually anticipated something like this even before the whole plot started! Had the Lannisters not started their gambit to depower the Starks, Arya probably would still end up married to someone whom she didn't want and who would treat her badly (OK, maybe not THAT badly, but...), with the difference that Arya would probably not dare to run away from that marriage, as she would't dare to disappoint her father... Unlike Sansa (who could live a happy life had the Lannisters not interfered) she was getting it rough either way!
    • Except that it's very doubtful Ned would have married Arya to someone as sadistic as Ramsay Bolton and it would be wrong to assume that all men would treat their new wives in such a way. And Ned was a loving father who gave her a "dancing instructor" when it was clear she was unhappy, so it's very doubtful he would force her to marry someone she detested!
    • Ned did marry Sansa to Joffrey, knowing that one day Joffrey would be king. And while Ramsay Bolton was extraordinarily bad, few men in Westeros would put up with Arya's independency and her attachment to being like a man.
      • Ned only made preliminary arrangements for a marriage between Sansa and Joffrey, and soon started to regret them. It seems unlikely that he would have ultimately allowed the wedding to go through.
  • Thinking more about Littlefinger's past (when he was still Woobie!Petyr), I noticed that during all of his sexual encounters with Lysa he is confirmed as having been semi-conscious either from drinking himself stupid after being rejected by Catelyn, or on the brink of death and feverish after his duel with Brandon. Just think about it for the moment and the fact that Littlefinger wasn't really in the best state to give his consent. Lysa is not just a scary, crazy lady, she's a scary, crazy rapist!

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