A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
Memory and the Past Quotes in A Game of Thrones
How we cite our quotes: (Absolute Chapter, Character Name, Chapter.Paragraph)
He turned his back on it and lifted his eyes to the Wall, blazing blue and crystalline in the sunlight. Even after all these weeks, the sight of it still gave him the shivers. Centuries of windblown dirt had pocked and scoured it… (20 Jon 3.69)
In A Game of Thrones, we're only getting the most recent dirt on a world that has a long, long history. For example, think about the Wall that the Night's Watch guards: as Jon notes here, it is centuries old. (Which, come to think of it, is actually only about two summers ago, because of their messed up seasons.)
"The Others," Old Nan agreed. "Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels." (25 Bran 4.18)
Just as there's some disagreement between the Targaryens and the Starks about what happened in recent history, there's also some tension between the storytelling of Old Nan (and Osha) and the history books of Maester Luwin. Do you trust Nan because of her age or do you think that she's just a little out of it?
The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, With Descriptions of Many High Lords and Noble Ladies and Their Children, by Grand Maester Malleon. Pycelle had spoken truly; it made for ponderous reading. (28 Eddard 6.23)
Well lookie here. A record of the past that's written down. Eddard goes about solving the mystery of Jon Arryn's death both through people's stories and this important – and very boring – book. How does the presence of the book change the way Eddard is able to interpret history? Is something more likely to be true just because it is written down?