Episode 88: The Power Couple of Ice and Fire

Episode 88 for the week of September 16th, in which we are joined by Elio M. García (aka Ran) and Linda Antonsson, the founders and managers of Westeros.org. We get caught up on their various ASOIAF projects, explore various fandom theories, and discuss their experiences with season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. We also cover chapter 18 (Tyrion IV) of A Clash of Kings.

Notes: Sorry about the audio quality in the first part of the episode. The Melisandre/Jon theory was actually suggested by FTWard in the comments here and is being further discussed in this forum thread. In other news, Amin is now on twitter!

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16 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. James

    great! two in a row :D


  2. brynden

    Thanks for the episode – great talks.

    Here is the exact data:

    Elio and Linda first visited aPoIaF in Ep. 37 (Interviewing Westeros) / February 2011

    - Since then Elio was in 4 more whole Episodes (GuysNO2-4 + Ep.88) and you called him 3 times (Ep. 52 / Ep. 65 / Ep. 80) – mostly because of the TV-show
    - Linda was in 2 more episodes (GirlsNO2 + Ep.88) and you called her in Ep.52

    Fun trivia: With his 8 appearances Elio is the guest with the most appearances.


  3. Kyle

    Woohoo! Thanks so much for chatting with the Podcast Elio and Linda. It’s always great to listen to you guys.

    Wish I could have been there.


  4. Jon

    “Hodor” is the name of his sled. That will be the big reveal in A Dream of Spring





  5. Ranjitb



  6. Rog

    Yes yes this is why I love the Manwoody I was at work listening and I almost yelled WTF when SandOR,GregOR,HodOR came up.


  7. Pete

    House Manwoddy you guys make working late bearable. Thanks for all of your great insights and most of all the laughs.



    Thanks so much for listening.


  8. Svartz

    Sweden loves you!


  9. jed

    great show guys , really enjoyed it , E&L great value as always


  10. Ranjitb

    I found it completely hilarious that Mimi unintentionally summarized why E/L episodes are bar none the worst – “I can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with you about anything at all because you are so awesome”.


  11. Lord Littlefinger

    I don’t know why Ran insists Littlefinger must be embezzling but I think it stems from a basic misunderstanding of finance. Not that I disagree that he intentionally made sure most of the thrones debt were held by the Iron Bank and Casterly Rock two forces which would unleash hell if no repaid.

    That being said, the comparison between Greece and Madoff is telling. There’s a large distinction. The Greeks like many southern european economies used long term financial contracts to disguise their debt level. Madoff’s approach was far more simplistic. One was mismanagement, but legal the other was fraud. They are not equivalent.

    Its the difference between bluffing and hiding an ace up your sleeve. One is within the rules, one is not.

    It diminishes the character greatly, to no real purpose for his gains to be fraudulent. A character who everyone agrees is quite intelligent. Who has access to information and resources few lords can match. A character who is unafraid of mercantile employment ass Ran notes. And the book explains how Littlefinger is making his money.

    The series, indeed the chapter in question, speaks of vertical integration and commodities speculation. That is something that took a thousand years to develop and could easily represent the type of increase in income that’s speculated. And if the increase were so astronomical one might ask how Robert is managing to spend it ALL. Something neither Tywin nor Jon Arryn are said to question.

    The reality is we don’t know what the 10 fold increase is increasing from. It seems doubtful Aerys was managing his finances particularly well after Tywin.

    Lastly, Petyr was pretty kind to Ned. He would have probably betrayed him in the long run but that’s not an insight and is true of most lords and their alliance. But as J.M. Keynes said, “In the long run we’re all dead.”


    Elio M. García, Jr.

    The reason I think Petyr’s been cooking the books is because, in _A Storm of Swords_, Tyrion — a very clever sort of person — spends weeks trying to make sense of the books, and he concludes that “It was all very well to talk of breeding dragons instead of locking them up in the treasury, but some of these ventures smelled worse than week-old fish.”

    Either one can read this as Tyrion just being wrong and not understanding how Littlefinger is being very effective, or… Littlefinger is up to no good, and it’s just really complicated to figure out just how that is the case. Someone more versed in economics than I might figure out what fishy ventures and (reported) massive revenue growth might mean if someone is deliberately sabotaging or mismanaging the economy.

    As to Aerys, remember that Aerys was not running the realm for more than two years following Tywin, and it seems that the treasury was just fine. Might Aerys have managed things a bit worse? Sure. But I don’t think we’re supposed to believe that the whole apparatus that Tywin had overseen just disappeared and that Littlefinger’s ten-fold improvement is just his improving on awful revenues. It’s presented as his having somehow grandly increased revenues on a system that was already functioning reasonably well.


    Lord Littlefinger

    Ah, ah, I see..

    There is a third option you don’t realize.

    I think. You merely misunderstand. There are two issues at hand:

    1) Petyr is at least as smart as Tyrion and has been working with the Kingdom’s finances his entire adult life. Tyrion comes from a noble house which disdains mercantile matters. It would surprising if Tyrion could understand everything within several months, let alone weeks. It should take Tyrion years to learn his trade.

    2) I have worked for several large financial institutions. ….”some of these ventures smelled worse than week-old fish.”

    Of course some of the ventures smell worse than week old fish! Some of them always do. Some of the ventures are going to lose money. Some of them will be inevitably be incredibly stupid. Afterall its difficult to distinguish the incredibly stupid from genius beforehand. People thought FedEx was incredibly stupid. People spent perfectly good money on shares of Facebook or Pets.com before that.

    Further, Petyr is said to speculate in commodities, and later we see him buying distressed debt in the Vale… These are very risky propositions, often times they go bad. The idea is that on the occassions they go well you make many tens or hundreds of times your original investment so the few large winners offset many more losers.

    So its not suspicious that “some of these ventures smelled worse than week-old fish.” It would be more suspicious if NONE of the ventures smelled like week old fish. The way Bernie Madoff never lost money. That’s the sign of someone cooking the books.

    With respect to the tenfold increase. I don’t see it that way. I don’t think Petyr would have ever been brought in as Master of Coin if the system was functioning reasonably well. The reason he gets chosen is because Jon Arryn is desperate. First Aerys an now Robert are running the Kingdom into the ground.


  12. Around minute 37 while discussing snake venom, maybe you (Amin) are thinking about the concept of homeopathy?

    This is the idea that a miniscule amount of a substance in a solution can heal. The amount is usually so very small that it could not actually produce an effect and it is considered bullshit by most. It’s a very old idea based on correspondences, usually summarized in the saying, “As above, so below.”


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