Log in

No account? Create an account
08 April 2012 @ 12:28 am
throneland challenge-traits switch: essay + fic, for he's an honorable man (Robb/Theon)  
Hi, drive-by post which is happening now because for a miracle no one is on the phone and I can use the grandparents' internet, and this was too long for comment boxes. Real entry shall happen soon.

Sooo, there's this challenge going on at throneland consisting in picking two ASOIAF/GOT characters, switching their personality traits and write a short essay on how they'd change/would their story change. And you could do some bonus stuff based on it. Clearly I went and picked THOSE TWO, and I had zilch to do this afternoon and I have no internet on the netbook so here it is before I forget that I actually did this.

character essays

Robb Stark: Since the moment Robb Stark knew he would be a lord someday, and that his house is the most important in the North, he has never gone out of his way to hide it. He fantasized (also loudly) about the day he’d come to rule as a child, and he grows up knowing that he’s above most people in the house (with his parents’ exception, obviously). It’s not that he’s rude to them, lords aren’t supposed to be rude, but he doesn’t play it down or behave as if he’s talking to equals, either.

After he starts noticing girls, he takes to the act of bedding them quickly enough. He doesn’t hide his face or his identity whenever he visits the nearest brothel (though he knows how to be discreet), and he isn’t a stranger to most of the maids in Winterfell. Not even to the serving wenches (or the miller’s daughter). He never has much of a relationship with his bastard brother, even if he doesn’t mind that he’s raised along with Lord Stark’s rightful heirs – he’s no menace to him or his title, so why should he care either way? He likes his brothers well enough, but there’s enough difference of age between them that he never develops much of a relationship with them, either. And his sisters are women – what would he have in common with them at all? His lord father isn’t too happy about the entire household knowing about Robb’s tendency to bed any willing woman he’ll find (or to pay for one), but he never says much about it – Robb is still his heir and he hopes he’ll grow out of it.

But while Robb likes being a lord, he likes being the firstborn and he likes every advantage that comes with it, he can’t help resenting a bit that everyone (his parents included) doesn’t really know him. They all see him as Ned Stark’s heir, but not as Robb Stark. Sure, he brought it upon himself – he knows that his attitude isn’t the easiest to deal with, but that’s how he is and he can’t certainly change just for the sake of pretences – but sometimes it gets tiring to never being able to talk to someone without feeling as if they don’t know you and never will. It feels tiring to smile pleasantly to the rest of the world just so that they don’t know what’s wrong with you. People say behind his back that he always smiles as if the world is his own private joke. Robb doesn’t find it entirely wrong. But there is someone that gets it.

Robb is almost seven when his father comes back from some war in the Iron Islands with a kid slightly older than him – he learns that he’s Balon Greyjoy’s son and that he’s his lord father’s hostage. His mother warns him not to get attached. Ironmen aren’t worthy of much trust, and some of them are beasts – who knows if taking a hostage wasn’t useless? Robb pretends to care about it and then sets on observing Theon Greyjoy with utmost interest – after all, he isn’t a bastard, and he still comes from a great family, so he’s an acceptable person to spend time with, and while Robb doesn’t mind being alone most of the time, sometimes he thinks he’d like some change. Turns out that his impression is right – the Greyjoy heir is maybe a bit too eager to please and cares too much about his house’s honor or past glory, but he’s a great sparring partner, a good listener and he seems so very pleased that they spend time together. Robb worries for a while that he might get tired of him after a while, but that never happens. He just likes Theon a lot, and he keeps on liking him through the years – also because he’s the one person who never spends all of his time telling him to behave like he should, or to stop chasing girls, or to be a bit more like his lord father. Theon’s the only person he feels completely comfortable with, the only person around whom he doesn’t feel like smiling all the time, and probably the only one at whom he smiles for real. It’s a bad thing, he always figures, that he’ll have to go back to the Iron Islands at some point – but maybe when he becomes lord of Winterfell in name he could always marry Sansa to him. Or he could convince his father to do it first – his sister likes Theon well enough after all, surely better than she likes him – not that Robb cares any. He’s the heir, he doesn’t need his siblings to like him, or anyone to like him (even if he wants Theon to).

Theon Greyjoy: When Theon Greyjoy arrives in Winterfell, a hostage after his father’s rebellion failed, he’s a terrified boy of ten who tries his hardest not to let it show. And who mostly can’t help himself from wondering if his father thought so little of him, since the moment Ned Stark demanded a hostage, Balon Greyjoy was quick when deciding who was to be sent away. He never was close to his father, true enough (his father always favorited his two older brothers, and Theon hadn’t grown up as built and strong as the two of them, even if he was quick and agile and good with a bow), but he had been close to his elder sister, and his mother never made him feel as if he was any less than his brothers.

Before he was to leave, she had taken him aside and told him to never forget that he came from a great, honorable family. Everyone thinks of Ironborns as lesser men, as savages, and Theon should prove them all wrong, for his house’s sake. Theon had sworn to himself that he’d honor her request, because you should always honor what your mother asks of you, but he hasn’t found much of a welcoming atmosphere until now.

Everyone looks at him with distrust and it makes his heart sink in despair – he has done nothing to displease these northmen after all, why should they hate him when everything he wants is to try and show them that he isn’t some kind of beast? Lady Stark is nice to him but not overtly so, her husband is kind but detached (understandably so), their two daughters don’t show much interest in him either way and Ned Stark’s bastard son spends most of his time with other commoner kids. Theon doesn’t expect Robb Stark to be the first one to befriend him (or better: two days after they meet, Robb Stark had come to see him, declared that he liked him well enough and ordered him to come to the courtyard. Theon had been too out of his depth to say no). The Stark heir doesn’t have much of a good name between the servants – Theon has overheard them wishing that the little lord was a little less demanding and a bit more courteous – but Theon finds out that he doesn’t mind much.

Sure, the little lord is demanding, he won’t hear no for an answer and he always takes all of the decisions, and doesn’t look up at him even if he’s younger – at best, he looks straight at him as if he was his peer. But his presence still brightens up a room, and he never makes Theon feel alone or put aside. And he always smiles, his lips always curled up; Theon can already see that girls will fall at his feet in some years, but what’s the harm? The Iron Islands never were famous for being a place where people are happy as a given mood and being around someone who smiles all the time isn’t so bad.

Theon also doesn’t miss that Lord Stark isn’t as bad to him as he could have been – aside from his distance, he never makes him lack for anything, says that he’s a ward to everyone who asks. Other than that, things get better as years pass. He does win both the Stark daughters over – Arya by teaching her to use a bow when no one was around and Sansa by stealing extra lemoncakes from the kitchens for her. The two little Stark boys like him because he’ll spend time with them and sneak into their room to read them one more story at night, and Jon Snow has warmed up to him, too. Theon doesn’t dislike him at all – they get on well enough, and after all it wasn’t the lad’s fault if Ned Stark has been dishonorable once in his life.

He doesn’t expect Ned Stark to take him aside, one day when Theon is almost eighteen and Robb fourteen, and tell him to please keep an eye on his eldest whenever he can’t – after all, Theon’s a responsible person and Robb obviously still hasn’t learned what responsibility means. Theon answers that of course he will, his heart soaring when Lord Stark tells him that he’ll make a good ruler when he goes back to the Iron Islands. Even if, to be entirely honest, Theon doesn’t miss home as much as he thinks he should – he doesn’t dislike the North, Winterfell has been more of a home than he thought it’d be, and it took some time but everyone trusts him now, even lady Stark. And while Robb can be an arrogant little prick at times, Theon still likes him best, with his lovely charming smile (and Robb always has one for him), with his tales about the girls in the brothel or some serving wench or the miller’s daughter, and with his dreams of greatness. He loves Robb like a brother, he does, and he knows he’s like some moth drawn towards a fire as red as Robb’s soft, bright hair. He’s the only one around whom Robb doesn’t smile all the time. He’s the person Robb goes to when he has something to share or to say, and it’s the same thing for him, and all things considered, coming here hasn’t been the worst thing that ever happened to him.

... aaand, the bonus fic.

Title: for he’s an honorable man
Pairing: Robb/Theon (sort of...)
Rating: PG13
Word count: 1000 ca
Spoilers: for ACOK/ASOS (with a twist)
Warnings: none really.
Disclaimer: they belong to GRRM, I own zilch. And the title is from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which is most definitely not mine either.
Summary: where Robb doesn’t marry Jeyne Westerling and Theon is a honorable man.
A/N: er... so, here you have not-so-honorable Robb and absolutely-honorable-and-reliable Theon. Look at the previous cut for explanations. Yes, I totally don’t know either, but it was quite fun.

“Your Grace, I’m not sure that it’s a good idea,” the Greatjon says, and Robb scowls in return, staring up at him.

“I wouldn’t be the first to do that. Or the last, for that matter. I can’t throw away the Frey alliance, even if I’ll admit that I’d rather marry the one I bedded than any of that old bastard’s daughters.”

Theon sits on Robb’s right and says nothing. There has to be a way to solve this mess – Lord Westerling hasn’t been too happy about the loss of his daughter’s maidenhead, and Robb doesn’t need to leave a spoiled highborn girl behind, not when he’s winning the war. Not that it matters, but it’s the kind of thing you can’t underestimate. Not when Theon’s father has rebelled again. He sighs, remembering the useless, horrible trip he had taken to the Iron Islands to convince his father to side with Robb. The terms had been refused, and he had been given a choice – to stay and fight against Robb, or to go and lose his rights, and Theon had been horrified at seeing his father looking as if he didn’t care either way. He remembers his father telling him that he had no right to say that Robb was like a brother to him, how would he want to say that he was friends with a disgrace for his house such as Robb Stark?

Theon had left and come back to Robb – it was obvious that he wasn’t wanted, and after ten years North he knew in his heart where his alliances lay. His rights hadn’t mattered much in the end – he had seen his sister again and realized that she’d have been a better fit for leading than he could ever be, and there would have been no point in betraying the one person who had trusted him first.

And it had all gone fine until they had conquered the Westerling castle. Jeyne Westerling is pretty, no doubts about that, though Theon isn’t sure that she’s the kind of woman you risk a war for. Not that this entire conversation isn’t proving him right – Robb has no intention to lose the war for the likes of Jeyne Westerling, but he obviously realizes that leaving her behind like a spoil of war wouldn’t be a wise move.

“Anything would be better than a Frey,” the Greatjon agrees, “but it doesn’t change things. We can’t leave her behind like this. If you won’t marry her, we need to find another solution.”

“I had gotten that far already, my lord. But none of the options I have right now fall under the definition of honorable,” Robb almost spits, and then Theon thinks that he has a solution.

Which the girl and her father won’t like at all.

“I have an idea,” he says, standing up. Everyone falls silent and Theon can’t help feeling a certain satisfaction when the Greatjon nods grudgingly. After his mission to Pyke, no one doubts where his heart is anymore, and that’s the most important thing.

“Speak,” Robb says, blue eyes fixed on him.

“I’ll say that I was the one spoiling her.”

For a moment no one says anything, and then the Greatjon clears his throat. “Lord Greyjoy, with all due respect, but no one will believe that it was you. Everyone knows that you’re too honorable to –”

“Every man can have a moment of weakness,” Theon interrupts. “Who is to go against my… honorable word? And after all, if I had bedded her, I’d do the proper thing, marrying her. She won’t be too happy for now, but however my father’s war goes, I think I could arrange things with my sister when she inherits, so that I retain some rights. And then it wouldn’t be a match beneath her name.”

“Leave us alone,” Robb says then, and people hurry to leave the room. A minute later, it’s just the two of them.

“You would do that for me?” Robb asks, sounding strangely awed. It’s the first time Theon has heard his voice sounding like this. “When I had promised you my sister’s hand?”

Theon shrugs, taking a step closer so that they’re face to face. “Sansa isn’t here and you need a way out of this now. Of course I would, Your Grace. Haven’t I sworn myself to you? I can keep my oaths. And after all, you aren’t marrying me to a fucking Frey, aren’t you?”

“You don’t have to call me Your Grace when no one’s around,” Robb whispers before moving even closer. It’s just inches between them now.

“Sorry. Force of habit. But titles aside… I’ll marry Jeyne Westerling if you need me to.”

“But I wanted – I didn’t want it to go like this.” Robb sounds almost angry with himself now – that usually happens, when things don’t go his way.

“Stark, didn’t we say that we were brothers now and always? I don’t need to marry your sister to know that.”

“Right,” Robb says. “Now and always. Fine. You know what, she’s better off if she’s married to you, anyway. Everyone would know that you’d treat her better than I would have.”

“Wait, is that a compliment? Coming from you? If I hadn’t believed Jon already about the Others being right outside the fucking Wall, I’d believe that now.”

Robb tries to glare at him, but it’s obvious that he can’t, and the smile on his lips is among the most real Theon’s ever seen coming from him. And while Theon knows that marrying Jeyne Westerling means that no one will think of him as completely honorable ever again, it’s not too high of a price to pay. Not when it means that he can do something tangible to help Robb avenge his father and win his war. There’s nothing else that matters.

feeling: sleepysleepy
No Apologiesaidenfire on April 8th, 2012 02:47 am (UTC)
If only! One of the things I love about the whole aSoIaF verse is that the smallest decision can completely change everything. Things would have been so different if this scene had happened. I liked your take on this, both the essay portion and the fic.
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb/theon 3.0janie_tangerine on April 8th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
I know? This thing about Theon marrying Jeyne Westerling instead (if he had picked Robb's side, of course) has been nagging me for a while and it fit with this challenge's theme, so I figured I'd go with it. I'm really glad that this worked for you, thanks! :)
alemandine: thrones - robb is better than youalemandine on April 8th, 2012 05:15 am (UTC)
This is awesome. I adore the swap of Robb/Theon, your essay makes so much twisted sense! Bless him, honourable Theon is so lovely. Also, totally love the title of the fic - Julius Caesar is a fantastic play. (And I saw a production of if it fairly recently that had a genderswapped Cassius, which was awesome! ... Sorry, just had to share that.)
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb 3.0janie_tangerine on April 8th, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so very much! :D I'm really glad that you liked it, and that the swap worked for you. And I know that honorable!Theon is just too lovely for his own good? ;) though to be entirely honest, considering that he's the way he is also because no one ever trusted him except for Robb I figured it wasn't too far-fetched to think that if someone ever gave him more credit things would have turned out better.. and omg genderswapped!Cassius? DO WANT SO HARD. That must have been great!

Edited at 2012-04-08 01:46 pm (UTC)
alemandine: thrones - king in the northalemandine on April 9th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
I know, bless him, I love that Robb was really the only Stark who trusted him, and how it all turned out was awful, and yeah, Theon! I have thoughts about him and I cannot express them!!

Genderswapped!Cassius was so awesome. I went and saw the show twice. Sadly, my non-fandomy friends didn't quite appreciate my love for genderswapped!Cassius and the fact that it just added another layer to what is an awesome commentary on politics and power and the love men bear for one another.

I am working on the throneland challenge but with Jaime and Robb - it is challenging but awesome. But my brain keeps running away with plot bunnies and I'm all: focus, brain, focus. Terrible.
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb/theon 5.0janie_tangerine on April 9th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
The fact that Robb is the only one who ever gave him credit is probably half of the reason why I ship those two *cough*, but that said, I really can't blame poor Theon for having crazy identity issues. Anyone would in his place..

I'd have totally loved to see such a staging - it's such an interesting take. Mh, hopefully someone here will have the same idea at some point - one can hope. (Also because I'd really like to see Julius Caesar staged nonetheless since I never had the chance until now, but that's another point entirely.)

Omg Jaime and Robb? I'M SO SO SO INTRIGUED BY WHAT'D COME OUT OF IT. And haha the plot bunnies are such a distraction. For this one I had to force myself to pick one scene and stick to it or I'd have written two novels..
mihnnmihnn on April 8th, 2012 07:54 am (UTC)
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb/theon 5.0janie_tangerine on April 8th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it, thanks! :D
brontefanaticbrontefanatic on April 8th, 2012 11:40 am (UTC)
Your fic was wonderful! great job.

And, like the person above stated, how much differently everything would have gone if Theon had married Jeyne. Although one can't help but wonder what kind of king your Robb might have been.

I really enjoyed reading this.
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb/theonjanie_tangerine on April 8th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm so glad that you liked this! :)

That 'what if Theon had married Jeyne Westerling if he had sided with Robb' idea has been nagging at me for ages so I figured I could give it a go, it's great to know that it worked for you. And haha this Robb wouldn't probably have made a great king (though considering the switch I guess it depends on whether you think that Theon in his original flavor would have made a decent ruler or an abysmal one) but at least he'd be better at the game of thrones than he was in the original canon...
oximore: Nimuehoximore on April 14th, 2012 12:55 pm (UTC)
I have so much love for this twist in their personalities it's not even funny! ♥
the female ghost of tom joad: asoiaf >> robb/theon 4.0janie_tangerine on April 14th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it! ;)

And haha they're strangely appealing, aren't they? also because having switched personalities would have made their survival a lot easier in their respective positions all things considered I picked the two of them just to see if it had any chance to work but I couldn't help be intrigued by what could come out of it..
oximore: Nimuehoximore on April 14th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
"also because having switched personalities would have made their survival a lot easier in their respective positions all things considered"

so accurate it hurts >_>