Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Game of Thrones Gossip #1: Maester Aemon

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.


My first topic has to be Maester Aemon as the actor Peter Vaughan sadly died last month. It was one of the deaths that affected me greatly because as well as being a great British actor, I loved this character in GoT so much. It seems fitting to start my posts with Maester Aemon.

Maester Aemon was resident at Castle Black offering his years of wisdom and experience, and being a father figure to all of the members of the Night's Watch. He had long since gone blind with age which prevented him reading his beloved books but continued in his duties as Maester. He was also of Targaryen blood, and became very close to his steward Samwell Tarly, who looked after him until his tragic death in season five. Here is the fascinating story of the character based on the books and it looks quite different from what we see in the series:

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Aemon_Targaryen_(son_of_Maekar_I) 

I loved this character from the first time he appeared on screen. He was the kindly grandfather who cared greatly about his men and was determined to do anything he could to help them survive the training and become valued members of the Night's Watch. He held the knowledge and life experience to advise the Lord Commander and his opinions held great weight amongst his men. He was not afraid to stand up and declare for Jon Snow as Lord Commander instead of the more experienced Ser Alliser Thorne, knowing that Ser Alliser would not be the right man to lead. He defended Jon Snow for breaking his vows beyond the Wall and ensuring that Ser Alliser did not put him to death for it. He was also the man who sent out a plea for help across the Seven Kingdoms when Castle Black was about to be attacked. 

Ser Alliser Thorne: 'You always know when a man is telling a lie. How did you acquire this magical power?'
Maester Aemon: 'I grew up in King's Landing.' 

I wish the TV series had done a bit more delving into his history. The fact that he was a  Targaryen in Westeros and could have been used by the witch for his royal blood would have added a whole new aspect to his character and presented Jon and Samwell with more problems (not that they NEED more problems!) According to a few fan sites, that makes him the great-uncle of Daenerys and the great-great uncle of Jon Snow.
I'll take their word for that as studying family trees in Westeros would make my head spin! It looks as if the books go a lot more into his story and I love the sound of that, even if some details are different!

Aemon was offered the throne when his older brothers Daeron and Aerion died but preferred to continue with his Maester training instead, allowing younger brother Aegon V to rule instead. Aegon V is 'Egg' from the Dunk and Egg short stories that feature in the book 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms'. I plan to read that book next!

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Aemon

I loved the relationship between Maester Aemon and his steward Samwell. You could see that Aemon cared about this misfit boy who started to develop into a much stronger man because of his feelings for Gilly and the desire to protect her and little Sam. Samwell learned so much from his mentor and started to realise that he wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a Maester in order to find purpose and help Jon rule. I think Maester Aemon also saw a lot of himself in Jon Snow and gave him the guidance and support that Jon required through his stay in the Night's Watch.

When it became clear that his health was failing, the scenes between them become so emotional. I was quite fearful of what Ser Alliser was going to do to Samwell and Gilly as soon as Maester Aemon was not around to protect them. In fact, it was only Maester Aemon that stood between Thorne and ruling Castle Black. As soon as Aemon died, Jon was murdered by Thorne and Samwell had already fled with Gilly. The death of Maester Aemon was one of the saddest scenes in  GoT for me. I was blubbering like a baby!

And now his watch has ended. Hey, was his death the only death from natural causes in the whole series???

What are your thoughts on this character? Favourite moments and quotes? Thoughts on his history? Thoughts on his relationships with other characters? Feel free to talk about anything related to Maester Aemon!

10 comments:

  1. You know, you may have a very good point about him being one of the few characters who died from old age. I wasn't aware the actor had recently passed - how sad. I loved his interaction with Samwell and while I think his death was important to the way the story developed, Castle Black was a much better place when he was around. I loved Maester Aemon's ability to see within people, such as Jon and Samwell. In a world filled with politics and violence, he wasn't afraid to look deeper and see "real life."

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    1. I need to think about all the deaths and see if I can find one that wasn't a violent death! He may have been blind but he could see better than anyone how things were and the true nature of people, which I loved. I was really sad to see Peter Vaughan's death last month and I did an obituary post about him as he was one of the deaths last year that most affected me. There was a lot of sadness on Twitter when the news broke.

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  2. First of all he did a great job bringing Aemon to life. One of better casting choices, frankly. I loved the character in the books, which I prefer to the show, so I'll talk mostly about book Aemon. We didn't see much of him in the last book but a pivotal moment for me is when he has Jon read the Jade Compendium (referenced in your link) and it's clear he has figured out Stannis is NOT the prophesied one. I love the part in the books where he asks Jon if Stannis' Lightbringer sword gives off heat, or just light. when Jon and Sam realize it's just light but there's no heat it's an indication that it's all a scam (Stannis and Lightbringer, I mean).

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    1. I've got to start on the books! I love that we are getting much more about him and the prophecy which has been mostly glossed over in the TV series. I wanted to see the dvds first because of the sheer number of characters so I could keep everyone straight in my head! I had been going to wait until all the books were published but who knows when that'll happen so maybe I should just get started ASAP. I'm looking forward to learning more about the characters and their history, and more Sam and Jon! Exciting!

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    2. I think I heard someone Martin said it's looking like the next installment will be published this year - not holding my breath though.

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    3. I'm trying not to think how long it will be until the whole series is published. Erk! I want to get started on them soon though.

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    4. I'm of course biased since I love the books but I think you should read them! Characters on the show will make a LOT more sense I think since they're so detailed in the books. and by the time you get through them the next one may be finally out lol. Like Barb said above, I did hear just this week that Martin mentioned on his blog he thinks it'll be out this year. but then he qualified that staement ha ha...

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    5. Honestly the man is driving me nuts-just write the darn books already! GAH! I'm definitely going to have to get on with the books. I have plans on a zombie series catchup next month so maybe March for GoT!

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  3. Oh yes, such a great character and some of my favourite quotes of the book series are from him:

    "What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy."

    ..Yeah, now I want to reread the series :D

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    1. That's a great quote Mila and it just sums up his wisdom and kindness. *snffles* I want to go and read the books right now AND rewatch the whole series!

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