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GoT Season 8

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  • First, apologies for coming so late to the board
    that not anyone will doubtless attend, but issues call-

    And the week was difficult-

    First, thanks upon thanks to TriBel for the
    excellent thoughts on Historiography/Tyrion/Power-

    To but take them a bit further, with some help from
    Derrida, who writes in Archive Fever, first of
    how the etymology of the word, the Greek Arkhe,
    takes us back to two principles of order: one of origins
    and one of the law. From there, he elaborates:

    In a way, the term indeed refers, as one would correctly believe, to
    the arkhe in the physical, historical, or ontological sense,
    which is to say to the originary, the first, the principial, the primitive, in short
    to the commencement. But even more, and even earlier, "archive" refers
    to the arkhe in the nomological sense, to the arkhe of the
    commandment.... [T]he meaning of "archive," its only meaning, comes to it from
    the Greek arkeion: initially a house, a domicile, an address, the residence of
    the superior magistrates, the archons, those who commanded. The citizens
    who thus held and signified political power were considered to possess the right to
    make or represent the law. On account of their publicly recognized authority, it is at
    their home, in that place which is their house..., that official documents are
    filed. The archons are first of all the documents' guardians. They do not only ensure
    they physical security of what is deposited and of the substrate. They are also
    accorded the hermeneutic right and competence. Entrusted to such archons, these
    documents in effect speak the law: they recall the law and call on or impose the law.

    And as Derrida will note a few pages later, There is no political power without control
    of the archive, if not of memory

    Of course the members of The Citadel do not have quite the power of Roman archons:
    they do not actively interpret the law, nor do they even fully control the contents of
    the archive, as we see when Cersei rips of Robert's will, his granting of Power to Ned,
    assuring not only that it would not become law but that it would not survive Ned to
    make its way to the archive...

    But they clearly have, as the guardians of the history and knowledge of Westeros,
    a certain power: this is why Sam pleads with them to listen to Bran's letter
    in S7-to listen to his eyewitness reports-about the threat of the White Walkers,
    for he believes that they would, should they try, be able to persuade the people
    (perhaps not Cersei, but... ) to believe in the unbelievable threat facing them, to
    fight for their survival, the survival of their future...

    But the Grand Meisters of the Citadel have become so comfortable in their sense
    of their possession of all knowledge, a possession that, not unsurprisingly, aligns
    itself with existing power structures, that they can but ridicule a "crippled boy"-
    just as Sam's would-be/former mentor could but ignore the dwarf Tyrion, no
    matter what he may have heard about him and the actual Battle of Blackwater. Their
    knowledge, sense of knowledge as something that can be possessed, housed in
    a library, mastered, renders them unable to recognize that some things beyond
    (although some may be sitting within their archive, deemed unworthy of reading)
    their neat laws may exist, exerting force upon the world, blinding them
    to their blindness-

    Later, in Specters of Marx, Derrida will say, among other things:

    If I am going to talk at length about ghosts, inheritance, and generations, generations
    of ghosts, which is to say about certain others who are not present, nor
    presently living, either to us, in us, or outside us, it is in the name of justice....
    It is necessary to speak of the ghost, indeed to the ghost and with it.
    If it ? learning to live ? remains to be done, it can happen only between life
    and death. Neither in life nor in death alone. What happens between the two,
    and between all the "two"s' one likes, such as between life and death, can only
    maintain itself with some ghosts, can only talk with or about some ghost. So
    it would be necessary to learn spirits.

    Here lies the difference between Bran and the Grand Meisters:

    The Meisters sees the past as an object distant from themselves as subjects,
    something that they can master, upon which they can issue authoritative
    pronouncements to the world. Bran, however, lives with ghosts-he speaks
    to and with them. Ghosts whom no power chose to archive,
    ghosts not of the archive but of the memories-human and inhuman-of
    the world, of its pasts and of its futures....

    Hence the White Walkers drive to destroy him, rather than The Citadel-

    Westeros could survive without the Citadel, but without Bran, life itself
    would have been erased...

    Crucial, too, I think, Bran's passivity in this:

    The Meisters all chose their roles: they sought knowledge as power. Bran
    did not desire to become the Three-Eyed Raven, and the memories came
    to him in a flood, far before he was ready for their onrush. Nor, at least
    initially, could he even slightly control his sight: he was ever elsewise
    than simply being present, ever between the dead and the living-

    Not as a knowing in which he was the active subject mastering an object
    but as one in whom the subject/object, self-other distinctions were, if
    not dissolved, then indeterminate, uncertain, ever wavering. Thus his
    affectlessness in the wake of The Door: he was so inhabited by
    ghosts, was no longer, as he said, truly Brandon Stark, no longer simply
    human-and thus unable to respond to the world in expected ways. To
    me, he was not unlike a survivor of trauma, but in his case, his trauma
    was that of the world-its pasts and possible futures, deadened to
    the other dimensions of himself, what we might call his own memories.
    Given, too, the responsibility he carried-to, precisely, carry those
    memories, to safeguard them and, with them, the world, his demeanor
    was ever understandable to me....

    And although I saw it coming from the moment it became clear that
    Dany could not be queen and that Jon did not want it, so that it was
    not a surprise, and although I found the second half of the episode
    struggled in terms of tension and sheer quality of writing, it made
    sense to me that he should become king-

    Moreover, in his response to Tyrion's question, I found it important
    that he smiled, ever so slightly, that the lilt in his voice was back:
    both indicated that he had begun to integrate Bran-his care, longing,
    loss, desire, climbing-back into the Others he had become-


    I must get back to work before attending to an obligation...

    I have more to say, particularly about Dany:

    I promise tonight or tomorrow morning, early-

    All and thanks to those who have commented above
    for their thoughts...