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George R.R. Martin Threads > Is there any character in the entire Epic that you would like to be or emulate?

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message 1: by JohnViril (new)

JohnViril | 36 comments One striking feature of GRRM epic is that I'm not sure there is any true "protagonist". I'm not sure there is any one single character any of us would want to be. I suppose that is part of the attraction: Martin busts about every fantasy trope in existence and creates a world without any truly heroic characters. People have heroic moments, but there aren't any really heroic lives.

I suppose that is part of what Martin wants to say with this book. The people we view as heroic are those whom we don't know well and judge based upon limited slivers of their existence.


message 2: by Rasnac (new)

Rasnac | 336 comments I can't think of any character in the series big or small, who did not go through some sort of terrible ordeal(killed, raped, imprisoned, tortured, suffered war, hunger, emotional trauma, slavery etc.) Almost every character is either in a bad situation, or about to be...Except for Littlefinger. Paetyr seems to do fine so far. Only bad things happen to him, happens way before the beginning of the story. So If I had to be a character in ASoIF, I would like to be Paetyr Baelish.


message 3: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments I think it's a mistake to suggest that a protagonist is a character a reader wants to emulate or be.

A protagonist is someone with whom the reader can identify. I like how wikipedia puts it: "a sense of empathy about the character's objectives and emotions is what the audience feels toward the protagonist."
You can identify with the objectives/emotions of a character without wanting to be or emulate that character.

Plus, a protagonist doesn't have to be a "good guy." It depends on the story. Artemis Fowl II is no good guy, but he's the protagnoist of Eoin Cofler's novels.

I would say that A Song of Ice and Fire has no singular protagonist but there are multiple protagonists.

In regards to the question, "Is there any character in the entire Epic that you would like to be or emulate?" Well, I've only read the first two novels and just started the third, but for me the answer is an emphatic NO.

Is there a character I most identify with? I don't know, I do find myself being drawn more towards Varys than almost any other character.

One of the things I appreciate about A Song of Ice and Fire is the Martins' attempts to complicate the typcial good vs evil that has been found in a lot of fantasy novels. In real life, things are rarely so simple as good/evil.


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 839 comments We could have a whole literary debate on the definition of "protagonist". I heard a great argument stating that the antagonist is the character who forces the protagonist to grow or change over the course of the narrative. The argument illustrated this with the film The Shawshank Redemption, arguing that Andy Dufresne is the antagonist and Red is the protagonist, because Red's life inside the prison was static and unchanging until Andy's presence forces changes in him. Meanwhile, at the end of the film, Andy is basically the same person he was when he entered Shawshank.

So if the definition of protagonist is actually, "the character who is forced to grow and change throughout the narrative to overcome obstacles", the definition can apply to Bran, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Jamie, Jon, and Daenaerys. Possibly more.


message 5: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments Joe wrote: "We could have a whole literary debate on the definition of "protagonist". I heard a great argument stating that the antagonist is the character who forces the protagonist to grow or change over the..."

I have not encountered that example before. However, I don't know if one needs to grow or change much in order to overcome obstacles, sometimes, they just need to be crafty. But like you said, we could have a whole literary debate on the definition of the protagonist.


message 6: by JohnViril (new)

JohnViril | 36 comments Isn't that what we have threads about?

Certainly, I included some presumptions in my original post. You see, I'm not sure ASOIF has a true protagonist. Of course, that follows a trend from 90's TV where you had ensemble casts.


message 7: by Brandt (new)

Brandt | 0 comments Joe wrote: "We could have a whole literary debate on the definition of "protagonist". I heard a great argument stating that the antagonist is the character who forces the protagonist to grow or change over the..."

Joe you are probably thinking of Writing Excuses, Season 1, episode 5.
http://www.writingexcuses.com/2008/03...
And they got it from http://johnaugust.com/2005/whats-the-...

The distinction was between the hero and the protagonist.
The protagonist is the person through whose eyes we are seeing.
The hero is the one that moves the plot forward.


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