Rule of Thumb in King Joffrey’s Court: A Game of Thrones Extension

In King Joffrey's Court

Cersei entered the hall with her usual escorts, and a groan escaped from her son’s mouth, as he sat atop his sword seat.

“Mother, must you interrupt justice?” he said with mock sternness. She said nothing and continued to approach him, indifferently stepping around a fresh puddle of blood and other indistinguishable bits. She was wielding a polite smile, in full view of the king now, and her guards fell back. She began to ascend the stairs while utilizing both hands to pinch her skirt so that it would not drag underneath her.

“What is it mother?” the king moaned. “I only have two more cases.”

“Cases? Are you a detective now too?” she smiled, showing genuine interest in her son’s growth as a king.

“Well mother, I have a hunch for figuring out the inner workings of my subjects, so yes I am quite an exceptional detective as I don’t need many clues, if any, not to mention that I can do all this while also judging.” He looked at his hand stretched low, pleased with himself. “But my talents are too many to list, and I would get quite winded telling you of all of them. Besides, it’s frustrating—my talents are too often wasted in the service of justice for the realm, and not often enough used for my own benefit. To that end, I have just two more cases, mother, and then I will go take care of my own interests, not have you dawdles beside me.

“Well it’s of those two cases, actually the next one really, your Grace, that I have come to discuss with you” she said courteously, in a lowered tone.

He adjusted himself to a lower tone: “I can’t be seen taking advice from you… make it fast please before the people start to notice.”

“I understand,” she said. “Your next accused is Walton Wissel of House Melcolm, and I think we’d be better to not upset any potential allies from the Vale.”

Joffrey was just going to speak when a side door clanged open and four guards, two in front and two behind, entered with a haggardly looking man. The man looked as if he weren’t aware that his surroundings had changed from the days of a solitary prison cell. Joffrey smiled.

“Ah, Ser Wissel, so nice of you to join us,” Joffrey got up from his seat. “Guards, you can leave his side, we are all friends here.” The guards stepped away and found wall spaces that were empty.

There was a nervous tension in the room that only Joffrey and Ser Wissel didn’t notice. Someone cleared their throat and Cersei looked up and swallowed, chasing away some inner thought.

Joffrey cleared his throat, “Ser Wissel, I have often been appreciative of your creative mind. As it is you are the only knight I have ever heard tale told of who has never owned armor. Your words are a real talent to you, something I can really relate to as an artist of the letter myself. You are a real muse to me, really,” he said with questionable sincerity. He let that last phrase linger in the silence.

“On previous occasions, when others had advised me to treat you with the full weight of the law,” he shot a stare at his mother, who was now standing very awkwardly. He continued, “When others wanted you brought to justice, I looked the other way, and took your perverted thoughts as necessities to generate your artistic proclivities that I find so akin to my own.”

Joffrey’s smile faded, and his demeanor became stern and thoughtful. He began pacing back and forth across the small platform, his hand pinching his chin as in deep reflection. Ser Wissel looked up at him, anguish now in his face.

“Sadly, Ser Wissel, this time your thoughts have led you astray, and I must assume my post as supreme protector of the realm, both it’s body and mind. I can’t have you disrupting the counting traditions in the kingdom. Peasants are confused enough, and what would The Seven think if they were no longer seven out of ten, but seven out of four?” Joffrey laughed aloud at his own comical mathematical analysis. “I have considered this too in my infinitely subtle mind, and in consulting with my own godliness,” he paused so the hall could consider his deity claim. “No god would stand for being counted as double digits.” Joffrey leapt from the upper to the lower platform of the approach to the throne.

“Just imagine!” Joffrey laughed, getting into his element. He mimed a hidden form: “Here is one god”. He stepped laterally, “here is the second god.” His mother stepped forward to say something to him, but he gestured her a look that made her step quickly back. She held her arms and took to biting her thumbnail and looking down and away. Joffrey moved another spot over.

“Here is the third god,” he outlined. Then he stepped over again, “and then here, here Ser Wissel, is your tenth god.”

“I won’t…” Ser Wissel began to say, but Joffrey continued without acknowledging him.

“Here is your eleventh god, Ser Wissel, and your twelfth god, and your thirteenth god!” his voice growing louder as he spoke.

“Thirteen gods! Just imagine the confusion of my people, Ser Wissel. Many of them are, well, not up to our caliber I’ll say. A base ten number system is challenging enough, moving to a base four system would cause great confusion among my people, it might cause a shut down to the economy. Thumbs should not be counted as fingers!? We have four limbs and four digits on the ends of them all, so four-ness carries the day. Do I have your argument right, Ser?”

“Your Grace, it was just an intellectual musing,” Ser Wissel pleaded “I didn’t mean for it to become anything more than…”

“Just,” Joffrey emphasized, “jussttt an intellectual musing? Well my people’s confusion isn’t the worst of it. What would god’s ten through thirteen think of your,musing?”

“I won’t do it any more, your Grace,” Ser Wissel said in the most apologetic tone he could muster. He was still kneeling but he began to approach Joffrey, grovelling in his own fashion.

“No, you won’t” Joffrey said, in lower tones, disappointed actually. “Maybe, you will,” the beginnings of an idea were evidently growing in Joffrey’s mind. “Since you have an obvious disdain for thumbs, lowering their rank in the hierarchy of digits, I’m assuming you won’t miss them.”

“No, Your Grace!” Wissel pleaded. “I’m only suggesting that thumbs be understood actually as part of a greater order.”

“Are you correcting me Ser?” Joffrey asked. “No, you are quite upset, I can understand why, my being someone who is also often frustrated by the stupidity that leads to misunderstandings of my great ideas.” He looked over to his mother.

“Your Grace,” Wissel ventured. “I am guilty as charged, and I had not considered my claims to the depths that your great mind has taken them. I never intended any offense to you or The Seven.”

“I understand Ser Wissel, I understand,” Joffrey said in a strong and reasoned voice. “All the same, a punishment must fit the crime.” Wissel was crying. Joffrey motioned to Ser Ilyn. “You may keep your fingers, for your counting, but your thumbs are mine.”

Ser Ilyn took out a peculiar device that he regarded as a wonder as he brought it to fix on Ser Wissel’s thumb. Ser Wissel screamed out in pain, but the guards holding him didn’t show any signs of emotion. “I want his big toes as well,” Joffrey said, “I wouldn’t want to rob him of the symmetry.” Wissel now had to be propped up as his old body was giving out.

“Ser Wissel” Geoffrey said walking down onto the hall’s floor, but Wissel could not respond in between his furious sobbing. “Ser Wissel” Geoffrey said louder, standing a short distance away.

He gestured at Wissel’s groin, “Do you consider that to be a thumb, or just a mere finger?” Joffrey now began broadly smiling, he walked right up to the whimpering Wissel, “Finger? Is that finger, I heard you say? Good choice! You can keep that digit for your counting, though I’m sure it is, should we say, quint unessential, ha!” he laughed to himself. “Yes, I believe his counting days have long been over by the looks of it,” he said to the guards with a smile, and he regarded the old man with kind pity.

He walked back towards his throne. “Dog, take him away.”

[minor edits on 2016-03-30]

Previous Game Of Thrones Related Writing –

Dating Your Age: Born 1 year, 1 month, 1 day before 2001-01-01

Those who were born on November 30, 1999 (and even moreso the parents of such a person) have probably realized that their exact age—to the day—is the same as the daily date. Today, August 3, 2015, they are 15 years, 8 months, and 3 days old. The only time they might employ a little carry-over math is during their actual birthday (when they know their age) and the month of December, when 12 months old could be translated as 1 year and added to the year column.

Their age is tracked, for their convenience or for their torment. A cliche would be that it is what they make out of it, but what has it made out of them? Born into an arbitrarity that marks them from birth onwards, so arbitrary is the changing of a day on Earth that a new day arrives more than 20 different instances. Their were many millenium babies, and probably several pregnant families who dreamed or pursued putting a 40 week pregnant woman on a plane to a timezone that would reward them with the first born of the millennium. There are twins (or triplets and beyond) who have to wander at being born in different millenniums.

I am categorizing this as unfinishe (a play on words) for the moment because there are many more political lessons to tease out. The societal (mis)use of temporal tracking and the repercussions, societal and not, of such activities is sure to cover a large spread.

8 fingers is better than 9

“Can’t you stop delaying?” winced Gabriel. He was holding his left hand out by its wrist with the tight grip of his right hand.

“I don’t know man, you are in this much pain and I didn’t even do anything yet,” replied Oliver.

“I’m anticipating the pain, that way the relative increase when you cut it off won’t be so extreme…” explained Gabriel, whose layers of thoughts put into this event continued to unfold.

“Oh, is that how it works?” said Oliver with amusement. “I still like my idea better of finding a local anesthetic, a practice mind you backed by thousands of years of human experimentation to reduce pain.” Oliver shifted his grip on the knife. “Besides,” he continued, “what are you drunk for if your so against reducing the pain? And are you in the best state of mind?”

“Yes, but I told you when I was sober,” Gabriel said with a whine of annoyance. “I told you that I would want to be drunk, and I told you specifically because I knew you’d be okay with helping me and not backing out, thinking I was just brave for something I’d regret when the Everclear wore off.”

“Your hangover’s going to hurt worse than your hand” Oliver laughed. He lifted the knife, ready to swing down at the counter with his friends hand on it. Gabriel strained his body away, as if the farther he got from his hand on the counter, the more disassociated he would be from what was about to result. Oliver looked at Gabriel’s twisted face: “are you sure you want to me to do this?”

“Stop asking that,” said Gabriel. “I just need you to cut this stupid fucking pinky finger off so I can have some normal, authentic interactions with people.”

“Isn’t it your ring finger you should be mad at?” asked Oliver, hoping he might have a new argument to back his friend away from the edge. He lowered the knife for the moment.

“I can’t get mad at the missing finger, because it’s fucking missing,” said Gabriel, ready to reveal his whole constructed logic out of his perceived misfortune. “It’s my pinky finger that stands out to me… everyone else notices the lack of a finger, not me. I notice the finger that makes the accident seem weird, seem cursed, seem like I’m in confederation with satanical forces. Missing a ring finger makes people wonder, create little stories in their head about me, maybe even gossip if they’re assholes. I know they do, I can tell… but usually I just keep my hand fisted, and then they have conceptions about why that is, and my tense body language I’m sure gives off bad vibes, and, and it’s just fucking with my life. But if you do this, maybe I can find a girl who won’t think I’m cursed and not marry me, who will overlook my maimed hand missing two fingers, rather than stare at my deformed hand missing one finger.”

“Clearing the path for you to get married is a reason not to do this, I might have to revoke my offer, sir” Oliver said as he put the knife down on the opposite counter. “Gay people are so happy that they just won the right to marry. I think maybe they haven’t thought it through yet. But maybe there are less arguments between people of the same sex?”

“It’s about equal rights dude,” said Gabriel with a corrective tone, “and you and I are arguing plenty. 

“But remember Frodo, he lost one finger and the ring, I don’t think he could trade a second finger for the ring back,” said Oliver, “and…”

“Fuck Frodo,” interrupted Gabriel. “But marrying or not marrying, I don’t want this getting in the way, and I don’t want to feel so awkward around people, around new people who aren’t used to me and vice versa.”

“Alright, alright,” said Oliver.

“No, it’s not alright,” continued Gabriel, “it makes me doubt myself in all social situations, it gnaws at me. If people can get plastic surgery to add things, and sometimes subtract things, can’t I? It’s not like I use the pinky finger for much, its on my non-dominant hand and it has no reinforcing finger to mesh and add support to. It’s aloofness only amplifies my own feeling of being aloof.”

“You could go to a surgeon with a psychiatrist’s note,” Oliver suggested. “I mean, there are plenty of them who chop off another thing that is aloof, a man’s most important digit, or limb according to some dudes who describe their appendage.” A wry smile grew on Oliver’s face, realizing how he could connect this situation with another that was always one of amusement and befuddlement to him. Gabriel snapped him out of his musings.

“I want the pain,” said Gabriel, resolutely. “I specifically didn’t go to a doctor, who would refer me to a psychiatrist anyways… a long fucking goose chase and a bunch of people trying to talk me out of what I intend to do. They would also do a much neater job than you, which would need explaining, and go against my story I’ve made up.”

“Your brother’s buzz saw?” asked Oliver.

“No, I changed it,” Gabriel said, “it was my granddad’s table saw in his basement. It works because he would be too old and out of it to realize I had injured myself. So basically I pass out after cutting my two fingers off, and by the time I come to and get to the hospital, they had been disconnected too long to reattach… technology wasn’t good back then for connection anyways. Also, my granddad is dead now, so he wouldn’t have to lie or listen to my bullshit story and then repeat it if ever asked.”

“Why were you cutting the wood? Or were you even cutting wood?” asked Oliver.

“I don’t fucking know.”

“Well you should know, cause some people might ask that.”

“Hmm, I’ll have to think of that,” said Gabriel. “But it works for my counting theory of 8 digits, too, though now I should consider my thumbs as fingers. I’ll have to theorize around that little problem. But I’ve got it figured out, and even if I don’t, you know how much I want this, so please just do it!” Gabriel held his hand out again. It was so tense and tight that all the ligaments and delicate bones were protruding from the top of his hand.

“Alright,” said Oliver, picking up the knife with a new resolve. He said nothing more, he just let his arm muscles take over, bringing the knife speeding down directly perpendicular to his friend’s pinky finger joint.

won, to, for, ate: The Troubling Doubling Homophonic Numbers

The only single digit—or any number four that matter—numbers that have homophones in the English language are also the first four doubling numbers: 1, 2, 4, 8 (nein is Germanic, as is English, but that’s even more of a stretch, and I respond to it by saying “no” , four it doesn’t fit the pattern and would break it)…  I think its appropriate, and pretty sweet, that it stops there and doesn’t go to 16, and that there are only four of them.

[edit: words below added on 2016-03-30]

A relevant related phenomenon exists in the number of letters used to write out a pronunciation matches for 1,2,4, as in 1, to, four (but not three, which is made up of 5 letters). Also, there are four Latin prefixes that have the same letters as the number they are to represent: bi, tri, quad, quint.

Allegory Of The Carve

A man is living in a cave, when a number of people enter from the opening. “We are all one family,” one of them beckons to the man, encouraging him to join them.

“No, you are just seven people,” replies the man, seated.

Most of the people exit the cave, but one remains, and declares, “I am one person, and I am here to take you home.”

The man rises and quickly pulls out his hunting knife and slits the man’s throat. He proceeds to carve out all his organs, as he would an elk. At last he speaks to the decapitated corpse laying before him, “you are fourteen organs, and twelve hunks of meat, by the knife’s count.”

The man starts to sit down, when a chill overcomes him.

Look into the mirror” a voice echoes in the cave. The man cleans the blood off his knife and looks at the reflection. “What do you see?” asks the voice.

Nothing,” the man replies.

Zero?” the voice asks.

Yes…” the man replied, as if waking from a daze, “zero.”

Then you count correctly, at last,” said the voice.

At last…” the man said, falling onto his knife. The last thing he heard, as he lay dying next to his father’s body, was the voice:

Too much light, just like too much dark, can make it difficult to see; in this cave you have been pulled apart by both extremes…”

**Alternative Titles: Encountering the Polymyth, and A void multiplicity

45678910 and 45678901

If you look at the number 45678910 you can see a clear linear pattern of growth by a factor of one, and if there were blanks for you to fill in you’d be able to do so to keep the pattern consistent. However, what’s rare about this number (I don’t know how rare) is that if you switch the two last digits, the “1” with the “0”, to get 45678901, you don’t have a broken pattern—you switch to a totally new pattern. What’s more, it’s a qualitatively distinct pattern, as you are moving from a linear pattern to a cyclical pattern (45678901234567890123…). Are there any other patterns out there that you can switch the final two digits in an already well established pattern and get a new pattern, not just a broken sequence?

I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to think of one deductively, though, as there is too much living to get stuck in math puzzles! This was just a situation of inductive luck, where luck was the collision of drifting thoughts and awareness.

Note: (April 19, 2015) - The pattern is made longer by changing the numeral system from decimal (ten single digits) to hexadecimal (sixteen single digits), for example. Further,  I started at the #4 for a curious reason to perhaps be elucidated in the future, but one could have started at the #1 or 0, or possibly even a negative number, though that might have broken the pattern rules somewhat... though I'm no referee of the math jungle, just an occasional adventurer there.