A Clash of Kings  (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) A Clash of Kings discussion


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Does Robert Arryn have epilepsy?

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TheBohemianBookworm The fits he is constantly having in the books where he seems to just go limp. It just reminds me of an epilepsy attack. Anyone else agree?


Stephen If he's just going limp, I'm guessing that it's just a temper tantrum.

Breast feeding at that old an age suggest an unhealthy relationship between mother and son.

When Caesar's epilepsy is described, it's as a falling down, thrashing about, foaming at the mouth thing.


Laura Herzlos Actually, the fits described made me think of a form of epilepsy (there are a few different forms of it, from absences to the known tonic-clonic seizure), untreated. Also, epileptic crisis may be triggered by stress, especially in an unstable person.


Deeptanshu I thought the same thing. After all its not like he is a very healthy boy even without these fits of his.


message 5: by Laura (last edited Jul 29, 2014 06:42AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura Herzlos I just checked again (my memory isn't so sharp) and Robert actually has some sort of seizures; apparently after the seizure he goes limp.

I re-checked my old med notes to check for other causes of chronic episodes of seizures: Brain congenital abnormalities, brain injury during labor or childbirth, certain drug use and others.

Besides his [likely] epilepsy, I think that Robert Arryn suffers from chronic effects of the "treatment" that the Maester applies: he bleeds him (making him weak) and he gives him sweetsleep continuously.

Sweetsleep sounds a lot like diazepam or something similar: anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, sedative, etc. Like sweetsleep, too much can kill you. Withdrawal symptoms can include seizures and psychosis, sometimes it just looks like the pre-existing condition (in Robert Arryn's case, the seizures) and be misdiagnosed.

Please somebody stop me, I love talking about this stuff and I don't want to bore everyone to death.


Annemarie Donahue Laura wrote: "I just checked again (my memory isn't so sharp) and Robert actually has some sort of seizures; apparently after the seizure he goes limp.

I re-checked my old med notes to check for other causes of..."


Trust me, no one is bored, that was awesome! I'm glad someone else asked this question because I thought I was making an assumption that RA had epilepsy. I imagined that the "going limp" was his body's reaction to the seizure that his muscles were exhausted and he was weakened by it.
But GRRM is good at hiding it because everytime RA opens his mouth it's to whine like a baby which would make me think the fits are tempertantrums. So it's nice and obscure. We're gonna have to keep an eye on him... that is if Peter let's him live.


TheBohemianBookworm Well I am glad no one thinks I'm crazy. It just occurred to me last night and I wanted to see if others agreed.


TheBohemianBookworm Also, please excuse my ignorance but could someone please explain the difference between epilepsy and seizures? I am not very knowledgeable on this.


message 9: by Annemarie (last edited Jul 29, 2014 09:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Annemarie Donahue Hannah wrote: "Also, please excuse my ignorance but could someone please explain the difference between epilepsy and seizures? I am not very knowledgeable on this."

Laura's gonna do a better job at this one, but I'll say what I know.
Seizures are the physical reaction of your body to a stresser of the brain. Your brain sends out incorrect information based on something that has happened, like a drug introduced to your system, or a fever, withdrawal or trauma.
Epilespy is a disorder which can cause seizures.
Again, I'm leaving this to Laura.


TheBohemianBookworm Thank you. This helps my understanding.


Laura Herzlos Actually, Annemarie explained it perfectly. I'll add that there are different kinds of seizures. Without much detail, sometimes it's just clapping repeatedly, like a nervous tic, and the kid doesn't realize that he's doing it, like a short-circuit of the brain. The generalized convulsive seizures are when you see a person often shooting their limbs, the muscles hypercontracted (all of them, so often they bite their own mouth or tongue), the classic image that we have of epilepsy. But there are also "absences", which are also complete seizures, just not convulsive. The kid stays staring blank or blinking for a few seconds, like totally gone. Epileptics may also have these. Or sometimes the child just loses all tone in their muscles and drops on the floor, limp and unresponsive.

Sometimes there is something called "aura", which are subtle symptoms that a seizure is coming. It can be a strong feeling of fear or nausea, or both. But sometimes there isn't aura. My partner describes his auras as being in a sound-proof room and a pressing feeling, like his voice has no reverberations, then he panics and the seizure starts (yeah, besides being a doctor, my partner is epileptic). They recover from it drowsy and confused, then usually sleep like a rock.

Several things may cause seizures. In children, even a high fever. Infections like meningitis and other intoxications, too. However, Robert has them all the time, so it's either some brain trauma that he suffered at birth, a brain tumor or epilepsy. There are also a few types of epilepsy, basically depending on which kind of seizures it brings.

A lot has been written about the so-called "epileptic personality". I could find my notes on that for another moment, to see if it matches our Lord of the Vale.


TheBohemianBookworm Laura wrote: "Actually, Annemarie explained it perfectly. I'll add that there are different kinds of seizures. Without much detail, sometimes it's just clapping repeatedly, like a nervous tic, and the kid doesn'..."

Wow! You are so informed! Thank you for supporting me on this theory. I am so sorry about your partner's suffering with it. How awful. :(


Annemarie Donahue Laura wrote: "Actually, Annemarie explained it perfectly. I'll add that there are different kinds of seizures. Without much detail, sometimes it's just clapping repeatedly, like a nervous tic, and the kid doesn'..."

Silas Marner was another literary character also with epilepsy. He had something more like the "absences" that you describe.


Laura Herzlos Thanks Hannah! My partner is doing great. Unlike Robert Arryn, he has a wonderful neurologist, whom he visits regularly to check on the treatment. He had difficult times, with a lot of seizures, but now he's under control. He only had one in a whole year, and that one was because he forgot to refill his pills and didn't take them for two days, so his fault.

Naturally, when we started our relationship I started reading more about epilepsy, because what I had learned in med school was a little outdated now.


Laura Herzlos I was sure Annemarie was going to ask me if my partner is still breastfeeding, too. :D


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