Project #63042 - Nominals

identify all the nominals in sentence variations in this writing sample. Edit or “reengineer” one to two paragraphs in this writing sample to give greater emphasis to the explanation your peer is trying to make through the writing.

The world of Westeros in Game of Thrones is populated by a vast variety of characters from all walks of life. Every level of society is represented at some point in the novel, which means that the speech patterns and conversational tones of the characters are equally diverse. By carefully controlling the length and complexity of each characters’ sentences, George R.R. Martin reinforces the class boundaries that play a vital role in the world of Westeros. Even if readers were given no background information regarding the characters, they could form an accurate picture of each character’s personality, social class, and worldview by studying the length and intricacy of their lines.

The majority of the characters in Game of Thrones sound about the same in any situation. Their speech patterns and conversational styles are strictly defined by their upbringing and education. Osha the Wilding always uses broken grammar and avoids anything approaching respect towards authority, no matter who she is talking to. Sansa Stark stubbornly clings to the prescriptive grammar and strict rules of etiquette that she learned as a child, even when faced with the derision of Sandor Clegane, who in turn is never polite, regardless of his audience. Each character’s chosen voice reveals something about his or her personality. However, the most interesting voices are the ones that can adapt to new situations, because they reveal considerably more about their owners. The voices of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister change noticeably throughout the novel, and this change provides a unique insight into how one’s personality and surroundings can affect one’s voice. 

 

 

Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, holds very little power in the Stark household. Jon’s social standing differs depending on who he is talking to, and this affects his speech patterns. When he is at home, he is more submissive, unwilling to interrupt others. On the rare occasions that he voices his opinions, he does so with an almost apologetic tone. When he asks his father to not to kill a litter of direwolf puppies, he addresses his father with the caution of a servant. When the two are alone, Jon is usually more open. However, in this situation, his sentences are shorter, and he avoids directly stating any personal opinions (Martin 19-20). This is because, as Elin Sandqvist points out in her essay on the social classes in Westeros, bastards occupy the lowest rank in society, because they are first and foremost a stain upon their family’s reputation, incapable of any real honor (“Politics” 15). For this reason, when Jon is in Winterfell, his voice is marked by deference and restraint.

However, when Jon is around Tyrion Lannister, his speech pattern begins to noticeably change. He openly shares his opinions with Tyrion, and even goes so far as to issue an imperative command, ordering Tyrion to be silent when the dwarf mocks his loyalty to the Night’s Watch (Martin 125). In contrast to his previous tone, Jon is now confident and decisive in his word choices. Although he still has no hope of matching Tyrion’s rapid-fire style of communication, he manages to secure an apology from Tyrion, a victory in itself, considering that Tyrion makes it a point to never apologize for his actions (Martin 125). For a brief moment, the characters switch places in their tones, with Jon playing the dominant role and Tyrion the submissive one.

 

Since Tyrion treats Jon like an equal, Jon feels more in command during their conversations. Tyrion identifies with Jon because, as he so succinctly puts it, “All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes” (Martin 57). Even though Tyrion was born into nobility, he has no illusions regarding his status in the eyes of the other nobles. He is accustomed, like Jon, to being looked down upon for something he has no control over. This perspective greatly affects his tone during his conversations with others, as can be seen when comparing his interactions with his bodyguard Bronn and his father, Lord Lannister.

Bronn belongs to a lower social class than Tyrion, but he refuses to let this distinction affect their conversations. When he first agrees to serve Tyrion as his bodyguard, he warns Tyrion not to expect him to call him “m’lord” or follow any other of the conversational customs that one is supposed to follow when speaking with one’s betters (Martin 455). Tyrion, rather than being offended by Bronn’s attitude, is perfectly relaxed around Bronn. Their conversations quickly adopt the back-and-forth structure of two individuals who feel secure in each other’s company. Below is an excerpt of a typical conversation between Tyrion and Bronn:

 

Tyrion: “Lord Eddard is a proud, honorable, and honest man, and his lady wife is worse. Oh, no doubt she would have found a coin or two for you when this was all over, and pressed it into your hand with a polite word and a look of distaste, but that’s the most you could have hoped for. The Starks look at courage and loyalty and honor in the men they choose to serve them, and if truth be told, you and Chiggen were lowborn scum.”

 

Bronn: “You have a bold tongue, little man. One day someone is like to cut it out and make you eat it.”

Tyrion: “Everyone tells me that…Did I offend you? My pardons…but you are scum, Bronn, and make no mistake. Duty, honor, friendship, what’s that to you? No, don’t trouble yourself, we both know the answer. Still, you’re not stupid. Once we reached the Vale, Lady Stark had no more need of you…but I did, and the one thing the Lannisters have never lacked for is gold. When the moment came to toss the dice, I was counting on your being smart enough to know where your best interest lay. Happily for me, you did” (Martin 454).

The entire conversation can be found on pages 452-459 of Game of Thrones. As can be seen above, Tyrion’s sections of dialogue make up full paragraphs, while Bronn reserves himself to short, clipped comments. Tyrion’s sentences are complex, convoluted affairs, with the strange mix of formal and informal language that typifies the dwarf’s default tone. Bronn’s sentences are simple and unadorned.

 

Tyrion’s sections of dialogue make up full paragraphs, while Bronn reserves himself to short, clipped comments. Tyrion’s sentences are complex, convoluted affairs, with the strange mix of formal and informal language that typifies the dwarf’s default tone. Bronn’s sentences are simple and unadorned. Tyrion will often seem to meander off course, but he always manages to make his point in the end. Bronn is the picture of linguistic focus; he never says any more than he needs to. These differences are designed to remind readers of the vast gap between Tyrion and Bronn. While Tyrion learned from a young age that his greatest weapon was his tongue, Bronn learned to value action over eloquence.

 

Although Tyrion is sometimes casually insulting, he never makes a direct stab at Bronn. Tyrion feels no judgment from him, and as a result, he is less defensive than when he talks with his father, Tywin Lannister. From the beginning of the novel, father and son are continually interrupting each other, but the greatest moment of tension between them comes when Tywin orders his son to lead the charge against the Starks. When Tyrion refuses, his father in turn suggests that Tyrion stay back with the women. Tyrion responds, “Do me no kindnesses father. If you have no other command to offer me, I’ll lead your van” (Martin 677). Tyrion’s sentences are suddenly short and simple, devoid of any of the usual stylistic variations. This shift in sentence structure reinforces the antagonist nature of Tyrion and Tywin’s relationship. Whenever Tyrion is around his father, his comments are succinct and his tone is confrontational. Unlike with Jon and Bronn, he makes no effort at politeness. His father does not deserve it.

 

Tyrion and Jon were born into vulnerable positions. As a result, they learned to manipulate their words and speech patterns in order to protect themselves. However, there is one character who is even more adept at using words to control others: the narrator. The narrative voice in Game of Thrones matches the standard expectations for fantasy writing. It tells the story from the third-person omniscient perspective, and uses long passages heavy with description that match, as Dr. C.W. Sullivan III argues, “the elevated and formal style of the medieval romance” (“High” 303), interspersed with sections of intense action. What sets it apart from the traditional narrative voice is that it has been carefully crafted to manipulate the reader. In some instances, the invisible narrator intentionally lies to the audience, such as in the case of the apparent deaths of Rickon and Bran Stark (Cowlishaw 57). However, more often the truth is disguised by gracefully manipulating the reader’s expectations. Breaking with the traditional rules of writing, George R.R. Martin hides the most important information in the middle of paragraphs, where it is less likely to be noticed (Kholln 87). He distracts his readers by placing misinformation at the beginnings and ends of chapters, where they will draw the most attention. The truth is hidden in the middle of chapters, where it is less likely to be spotted by the casual reader.

Because of George R.R. Martin’s skillful control of the narrative voice, the characters are more trustworthy than the narrator, a definite reversal from the normal structure of high fantasy. When a new character is introduced, the narrator provides a detailed description of his characteristics, but reveals little of the character’s true nature. One of the most important lessons in Game of Thrones is that people cannot be judged based on appearances. People reveal their true natures through their actions and their words. By studying the speech patterns and word choices of individuals like Jon and Tyrion, one can gain valuable insight, not only into their linguistic backgrounds, but into the way they see the world.  

 

 

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/19/2015 08:42 pm
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