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[QC] Omega Aqua Terra Ryder Cup A8900 VSF - Geek Time
2020.09.14 03:28 FrostyCosmonaut[QC] Omega Aqua Terra Ryder Cup A8900 VSF - Geek Time
Timegrapher numbers: 281 amp, +2s/d, 0.0 beat error. Damn near perfect for what it's showing.
Anything else you notice: Only thing that I noticed was the lume on the 7 marker, but looks like that's just the sticker. This might be the best QC pic I've personally received yet, and super fast as well (placed order Friday morning).
Honestly, just doing my due diligence and looking for feedback from those with better eyes here. I'm inclined to just give the GL, and super excited for this one. But wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything.
Since the Age of Heroes, the Wildlings have repeatedly tried to invade the Seven Kingdoms for different reasons:
Raymun Redbeard, Bael the Bard, Gendel and Gorne, the Horned Lord, they all came south to conquer, but I've come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall."
I thought it would be interesting to list out the different invasions and discuss. Some maesterly wording:
The threat posed to the realm by these savage peoples can safely be discounted, save for the times, once in a great while, when they united beneath the leadership of a king-beyond-the- Wall. Though many wildling raiders and war chiefs have aspired to this title, few have ever achieved it. None of the wildlings who have risen up to become King-Beyond-the-Wall have done aught to build a true kingdom or care for their people; in truth, such men are warlords, not monarchs, and though elsewise much different one from the other, each has led his peoples against the Wall, in hopes of breaching it and conquering the Seven Kingdoms to the south.
It should be noted that dating fake ancient history is a rough estimate at best. The in world maesters confirm this. There have been up to 6 possible attempts at Kings-Beyond-the Wall invading the Seven Kingdoms: Joramun - "ancient days", lots of myth and legend involved in the story Gendel and Gorne - 3,000 years ago (so occurred ~2700 BC) The Horned Lord - 1 or 2 Thousand years after Gendel/Gorne (anywhere from ~1700 BC to ~ 700 BC) Bael the Bard - The hardest one to nail down from a timeline perspective, especially due to the conflicting evidence, but it should be noted that even in the wildling story the Starks are called Lords and not Kings and it took place "centuries" after the Horned Lord Raymun Redbeard - 226 AC (about 75 years before current events) Mance Rayder - 300 AC
Joramun If this happened at all, it most likely happened in the Age of Heroes when legendary characters were walking around Westeros:
The first King-Beyond-the-Wall, according to legend, was Joramun, who claimed to have a horn that would bring down the Wall when it woke "the giants from the earth." (That the Wall still stands says something of his claim, and perhaps even of his existence.) -TWOIAF, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings
Was involved in the defeat of the Night's King:
He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night's King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night's King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden. -ASOS, Bran IV
The oldest of these tales concern the legendary Night's King, the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, who was alleged to have bedded a sorceress pale as a corpse and declared himself a king. For thirteen years the Night's King and his "corpse queen" ruled together, before King of Winter, Brandon the Breaker, (in alliance, it is said, with the King-Beyond-the-Wall, Joramun) brought them down. Thereafter, he obliterated the Night's King's very name from memory. -TWOIAF, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch
"So how did you come by your other names?" Jon asked. "Mance called you the Horn-Blower, didn't he? Mead-king of Ruddy Hall, Husband to Bears, Father to Hosts?" It was the horn blowing he particularly wanted to hear about, but he dared not ask too plainly. And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, and woke giants from the earth. Is that where they had come from, them and their mammoths? Had Mance Rayder found the Horn of Joramun, and given it to Tormund Thunderfist to blow? - ASOS, Jon II
Whether they found the actual horn is still debated:
"Not for fear!" She kicked savagely at the ice beneath her with a heel, chopping out a chunk. "I'm crying because we never found the Horn of Winter. We opened half a hundred graves and let all those shades loose in the world, and never found the Horn of Joramun to bring this cold thing down!" -ASOS, Jon IV
"Yes," Mance said. "The Horn of Winter, that Joramun once blew to wake giants from the earth." The horn was huge, eight feet along the curve and so wide at the mouth that he could have put his arm inside up to the elbow. If this came from an aurochs, it was the biggest that ever lived. At first he thought the bands around it were bronze, but when he moved closer he realized they were gold. Old gold, more brown than yellow, and graven with runes. -ASOS, Jon X
Mel burn's it:
Lady Melisandre watched him rise. "FREE FOLK! Here stands your king of lies. And here is the horn he promised would bring down the Wall." Two queen's men brought forth the Horn of Joramun, black and banded with old gold, eight feet long from end to end. Runes were carved into the golden bands, the writing of the First Men. Joramun had died thousands of years ago, but Mance had found his grave beneath a glacier, high up in the Frostfangs. And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter, and woke giants from the earth. Ygritte had told Jon that Mance never found the horn. She lied, or else Mance kept it secret even from his own. -ADWD, Jon III
Or did she:
"Melisandre burned the Horn of Joramun." "Did she?" Tormund slapped his thigh and hooted. "She burned that fine big horn, aye. A bloody sin, I call it. A thousand years old, that was. We found it in a giant's grave, and no man o' us had ever seen a horn so big. That must have been why Mance got the notion to tell you it were Joramun's. He wanted you crows to think he had it in his power to blow your bloody Wall down about your knees. But we never found the true horn, not for all our digging. If we had, every kneeler in your Seven Kingdoms would have chunks o' ice to cool his wine all summer." Jon turned in his saddle, frowning. And Joramun blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth. That huge horn with its bands of old gold, incised with ancient runes … had Mance Rayder lied to him, or was Tormund lying now? If Mance's horn was just a feint, where is the true horn? -ADWD, Jon XII
It also should be noted that we have a couple other horns that do very similar things to "waking giants from the earth":
Claw Isle was but lightly garrisoned, its castle reputedly stuffed with Myrish carpets, Volantene glass, gold and silver plate, jeweled cups, magnificent hawks, an axe of Valyrian steel, a horn that could summon monsters from the deep, chests of rubies, and more wines than a man could drink in a hundred years.
That horn you heard I found amongst the smoking ruins that were Valyria, where no man has dared to walk but me. You heard its call, and felt its power. It is a dragon horn, bound with bands of red gold and Valyrian steel graven with enchantments. The dragonlords of old sounded such horns, before the Doom devoured them. With this horn, ironmen, I can bind dragons to my will. -AFFC, The Drowned Man
Gendel and Gorne Gendel and Gorne were brother kings who used caves to go beneath the Wall:
"... and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne ,... Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side . . . -ASOS, Jon X
"You know nothing, Jon Snow. It went on and on and on. There are hundreds o' caves in these hills, and down deep they all connect. There's even a way under your Wall. Gorne's Way." "Gorne," said Jon. "Gorne was King-beyond-the-Wall." "Aye," said Ygritte. "Together with his brother Gendel, three thousand years ago. They led a host o' free folk through the caves, and the Watch was none the wiser. But when they come out, the wolves o' Winterfell fell upon them." "There was a battle," Jon recalled. "Gorne slew the King in the North, but his son picked up his banner and took the crown from his head, and cut down Gorne in turn." -ASOS, Jon III
Gorne was slain but the tales differ about Gendel:
"And the sound o' swords woke the crows in their castles, and they rode out all in black to take the free folk in the rear." "Yes. Gendel had the king to the south, the Umbers to the east, and the Watch to the north of him. **He died as well." "You know nothing, Jon Snow. Gendel did not die. He cut his way free, through the crows, and led his people back north with the wolves howling at their heels. Only Gendel did not know the caves as Gorne had, and took a wrong turn." She swept the torch back and forth, so the shadows jumped and moved. "Deeper he went, and deeper, and when he tried t' turn back the ways that seemed familiar ended in stone rather than sky. Soon his torches began t' fail, one by one, till finally there was naught but dark. Gendel's folk were never seen again, but on a still night you can hear their children's children's children sobbing under the hills, still looking for the way back up. Listen? Do you hear them?" -ASOS, Jon III
Some supposed history on how Gendel/Gorne got the cave:
It has long been held that they did this for protection from predators such as direwolves or shadowcats, which their simple stone weapons—and even their vaunted greenseers—were not proof against. But other sources dispute this, stating that their greatest foes were the giants, as hinted at in tales told in the North, and as possibly proved by Maester Kennet in the study of a barrow near the Long Lake (same place Raymun Redbeard was defeated)—a giant's burial with obsidian arrowheads found amidst the extant ribs. It brings to mind a transcription of a wildling song in Maester Herryk's History of the Kings-Beyond-the-Wall, regarding the brothers Gendel and Gorne. They were called upon to mediate a dispute between a clan of children and a family of giants over the possession of a cavern. Gendel and Gorne, it is said, ultimately resolved the matter through trickery, making both sides disavow any desire for the cavern, after the brothers discovered it was a part of a greater chain of caverns that eventually passed beneath the Wall. But considering that the wildlings have no letters, their traditions must be looked at with a jaundiced eye. -TWOIAF, Ancient History: The Dawn Age
The Horned Lord This is my favorite, He used sorcery to pass the Wall:
The Horned Lord would follow them, a thousand years after (or perhaps two). His name is lost to history, but he was said to have used sorcery to pass the Wall. -TWOIAF, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings "We free folk know things you kneelers have forgotten. Sometimes the short road is not the safest, Jon Snow. The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it." -ASOS, Jon X
Since we know that the Horned Lord was able to "pass the wall through sorcery" (only guess is black gate?) and was defeated at some point, I think we can assume (from the Dalla quote) that since "all magic has a cost" is one of the major themes of the series, that some magic/sorcery could have been involved in his defeat. Seeing that the Starks have warg powers its possible that that was his demise. Lastly its possible the Horned Lord is a mention of skinchanging itself kind of like Warg King. Maybe relevant:
The "unicorns" of Skagos were once scoffed at by maesters at the Citadel. The occasional "unicorn horn" offered by disreputable merchants has never been more than the horn of a kind of whale hunted by the whalers of Ib. However, horns of quite a different kind—reputed to be from Skagos—have been seen by the maesters at Eastwatch upon occasion. It is also said that those seafarers brave enough to trade on Skagos have glimpsed the stoneborn lords riding great, shaggy, horned beasts, monstrous mounts so sure-footed they have been known to climb the sides of mountains. A living example of such a creature—or even a skeleton—has long been sought for study, but none has ever been brought to Oldtown.
Bael the Bard Bael the Bard story inspired Mance's exploits as Abel. It also should be noted the imagery between Lyanna/Jon/Winter Roses as we see in Dany's vision and Ned's dream. Bael's exploits are less of an "invasion" than the rest of them. The Tale (short version):
After him, centuries later, came Bael the Bard, whose songs are still sung beyond the Wall...but there are questions as to whether he truly existed or not. The wildlings say he did and credit many songs to his name, but the old chronicles of Winterfell say nothing of him. Whether this was due to the defeats and humiliations he was said to have visited upon them (including, according to one improbable story, deflowering a Stark maid and getting her with child) or because he never existed, we cannot truly say. -TWOIAF, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings
She smiled again, a flash of white teeth. "And she never sung you the song o' the winter rose?" "I never knew my mother. Or any such song." "Bael the Bard made it," said Ygritte. "He was King-beyond-the-Wall a long time back. All the free folk know his songs, but might be you don't sing them in the south." "I'll hear it all the same." "Brave black crow," she mocked. "Well, long before he was king over the free folk, Bael was a great raider." Stonesnake gave a snort. "A murderer, robber, and raper, is what you mean." "That's all in where you're standing too," Ygritte said. "The Stark in Winterfell wanted Bael's head, but never could take him, and the taste o' failure galled him. One day in his bitterness he called Bael a craven who preyed only on the weak. When word o' that got back, Bael vowed to teach the lord a lesson. So he scaled the Wall, skipped down the kingsroad, and walked into Winterfell one winter's night with harp in hand, naming himself Sygerrik of Skagos. Sygerrik means 'deceiver' in the Old Tongue, that the First Men spoke, and the giants still speak." "North or south, singers always find a ready welcome, so Bael ate at Lord Stark's own table, and played for the lord in his high seat until half the night was gone. The old songs he played, and new ones he'd made himself, and he played and sang so well that when he was done, the lord offered to let him name his own reward. 'All I ask is a flower,' Bael answered, 'the fairest flower that blooms in the gardens o' Winterfell.'" "Now as it happened the winter roses had only then come into bloom, and no flower is so rare nor precious. So the Stark sent to his glass gardens and commanded that the most beautiful o' the winter roses be plucked for the singer's payment. And so it was done. But when morning come, the singer had vanished . . . and so had Lord Brandon's maiden daughter. Her bed they found empty, but for the pale blue rose that Bael had left on the pillow where her head had lain." Jon had never heard this tale before. "Which Brandon was this supposed to be? Brandon the Builder lived in the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before Bael. There was Brandon the Burner and his father Brandon the Shipwright, but—" "This was Brandon the Daughterless," Ygritte said sharply. "Would you hear the tale, or no?" He scowled. "Go on." "Lord Brandon had no other children. At his behest, the black crows flew forth from their castles in the hundreds, but nowhere could they find any sign o' Bael or this maid. For most a year they searched, till the lord lost heart and took to his bed, and it seemed as though the line o' Starks was at its end. But one night as he lay waiting to die, Lord Brandon heard a child's cry. He followed the sound and found his daughter back in her bedchamber, asleep with a babe at her breast." "Bael had brought her back?" "No. They had been in Winterfell all the time, hiding with the dead beneath the castle. The maid loved Bael so dearly she bore him a son, the song says . . . though if truth be told, all the maids love Bael in them songs he wrote. Be that as it may, what's certain is that Bael left the child in payment for the rose he'd plucked unasked, and that the boy grew to be the next Lord Stark. So there it is—you have Bael's blood in you, same as me." "It never happened," Jon said. She shrugged. "Might be it did, might be it didn't. It is a good song, though. My mother used to sing it to me. She was a woman too, Jon Snow. Like yours." She rubbed her throat where his dirk had cut her. "The song ends when they find the babe, but there is a darker end to the story. Thirty years later, when Bael was King-beyond-the-Wall and led the free folk south, it was young Lord Stark who met him at the Frozen Ford . . . and killed him, for Bael would not harm his own son when they met sword to sword." "So the son slew the father instead," said Jon. "Aye," she said, "but the gods hate kinslayers, even when they kill unknowing. When Lord Stark returned from the battle and his mother saw Bael's head upon his spear, she threw herself from a tower in her grief. Her son did not long outlive her. One o' his lords peeled the skin off him and wore him for a cloak." "Your Bael was a liar," he told her, certain now. "No," Ygritte said, "but a bard's truth is different than yours or mine. Anyway, you asked for the story, so I told it." She turned away from him, closed her eyes, and seemed to sleep. -ACOK, Jon VI
"Would that I were. I will not deny that Bael's exploit inspired mine own . . . but I did not steal either of your sisters that I recall. Bael wrote his own songs, and lived them. I only sing the songs that better men have made. More mead?" -ASOS, Jon I
and Theon's thoughts on Mance:
Every word she said persuaded Theon that this was all some ploy. But whose, and to what end? What could Abel want of him? The man was just a singer, a pander with a lute and a false smile. He wants to know how I took the castle, but not to make a song of it. The answer came to him. He wants to know how we got in so he can get out. Lord Bolton had Winterfell sewn up tight as a babe's swaddling clothes. No one could come or go without his leave. He wants to flee, him and his washerwoman. Theon could not blame him, but even so he said, "I want no part of Abel, or you, or any of your sisters. Just leave me be." -ADWD, A Ghost in Winterfell
Raymun Redbeard Raymun Redbeard invaded during the time of William Stark who was slain:
"Wildlings have invaded the realm before." Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. **"Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather's grandfather," ... Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side . . . -ACOK, Jon III
The story of Raymun's invasion:
If the climbers reached the top of the Wall undetected, however, everything changed. Given time, they could carve out a toehold for themselves up there, throwing up ramparts of their own and dropping ropes and ladders for thousands more to clamber over after them. That was how Raymun Redbeard had done it, Raymun who had been King-Beyond-the-Wall in the days of his grandfather's grandfather. Jack Musgood had been the lord commander in those days. Jolly Jack, he was called before Redbeard came down upon the north; Sleepy Jack, forever after. Raymun's host had met a bloody end on the shores of Long Lake, caught between Lord Willam of Winterfell and the Drunken Giant, Harmond Umber. Redbeard had been slain by Artos the Implacable, Lord Willam's younger brother. The Watch arrived too late to fight the wildlings, but in time to bury them, the task that Artos Stark assigned them in his wroth as he grieved above the headless corpse of his fallen brother. -ADWD, Jon II
The last King-Beyond-the-Wall to cross the Wall was Raymun Redbeard, who brought the wildlings together in 212 or 213 AC. It was not until 226 AC that he and the wildlings would breach the Wall by climbing in their hundreds and thousands up the slick ice and down the other side. Raymun's host numbered in the thousands, by all accounts, and they fought their way as far south as Long Lake. There, Lord Willam Stark and the Drunken Giant, Lord Harmond of House Umber, brought their armies against them. With two hosts surrounding him, and the lake to his back, Redbeard fought and died, but not before slaying Lord Willam. When the Night's Watch appeared at last, led by its Lord Commander Jack Musgood (called Jolly Jack Musgood before the invasion, and Sleepy Jack Musgood forever after), the battle was done and the angry Artos Stark (the late Lord Willam's brother, accounted the most fearsome warrior of his age) gave the black brothers the duty of burying the dead. This task, at the least, they performed admirably. -TWOIAF, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings
Some of his relatives (through his younger brother) still live:
..."Him with the red hair, he's Gerrick Kingsblood's get. Comes o' the line o' Raymun Redbeard, to hear him tell it. The line o' Redbeard's little brother, you want it true." ... -ADWD, Jon XII Amongst the stream of warriors were the fathers of many of Jon's hostages. ... Red-bearded Gerrick Kingsblood brought three daughters. "They will make fine wives, and give their husbands strong sons of royal blood," he boasted. "Like their father, they are descended from Raymun Redbeard, who was King-Beyond-the-Wall." Blood meant little and less amongst the free folk, Jon knew. Ygritte had taught him that. Gerrick's daughters shared her same flame-red hair, though hers had been a tangle of curls and theirs hung long and straight. Kissed by fire. "Three princesses, each lovelier than the last," he told their father. "I will see that they are presented to the queen." Selyse Baratheon would take to these three better than she had to Val, he suspected; they were younger and considerably more cowed. Sweet enough to look at them, though their father seems a fool. -ADWD, Jon XII Gerrick Kingsblood was a tall man, long of leg and broad of shoulder. The queen had dressed him in some of the king's old clothes, it appeared. Scrubbed and groomed, clad in green velvets and an ermine half-cape, with his long red hair freshly washed and his fiery beard shaped and trimmed, the wildling looked every inch a southron lord. He could walk into the throne room at King's Landing, and no one would blink an eye, Jon thought. "Gerrick is the true and rightful king of the wildlings," the queen said, "descended in an unbroken male line from their great king Raymun Redbeard, whereas the usurper Mance Rayder was born of some common woman and fathered by one of your black brothers." No, Jon might have said, Gerrick is descended from a younger brother of Raymun Redbeard. To the free folk that counted about as much as being descended from Raymun Redbeard's horse. They know nothing, Ygritte. And worse, they will not learn. "Gerrick has graciously agreed to give the hand of his eldest daughter to my beloved Axell, to be united by the Lord of Light in holy wedlock," Queen Selyse said. "His other girls shall wed at the same time—the second daughter with Ser Brus Buckler and the youngest with Ser Malegorn of Redpool."-ADWD, Jon XIII
Raymun's little brother was called the Red Raven due to being craven, but the only reason that I really even brought him up is because Bloodraven mentions his daughters possibly:
"He has a little red cock to go with all that red hair, that's what he has. Raymund Redbeard and his sons died at Long Lake, thanks to your bloody Starks and the Drunken Giant. Not the little brother. Ever wonder why they called him the Red Raven?" Tormund's mouth split in a gap-toothed grin. "First to fly the battle, he was. 'Twas a song about it, after. The singer had to find a rhyme for craven, so …" He wiped his nose. "If your queen's knights want those girls o' his, they're welcome to them." "Girls," squawked Mormont's raven. "Girls, girls." -ADWD, Jon XIII
It should also be noted that many characters we meet in the She Wolves of Winterfell will probably be alive/involved in the battle against Raymun:
In the decades that followed, the North saw the Starks dealing with the rebellion of Skagos, a renewed onslaught of reaving by the ironborn under Dagon Greyjoy, and a wildling invasion led by Raymun Redbeard, the King-Beyond-the-Wall in 226 AC. In each of these, Starks died. Yet the house continued with its fortunes mostly unchanged—likely because of the firm resolve of most Lords of Winterfell not to become embroiled in the intrigues of the southron court. -TWOIAF, The North: The Lords of Winterfell
Mance Rayder I don't think I need to say to much about Mance, outside of noting the fact that he is the only king we know of to actually assault the Wall. Which makes sense since the Wall is pretty hard to storm Unlike the other kings who came south to conquer, he is running:
Raymun Redbeard, Bael the Bard, Gendel and Gorne, the Horned Lord, they all came south to conquer, but I've come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall."
There are probably other kings (Mance notes he defeated some) and invasions that havent been mentioned yet, but I tried to list out as much relevant info on each as I could. TLDR: Some thoughts on the different Kings-Beyond-the-Wall and their attempts to invade/infiltrate the Seven Kingdoms
“So, if, if the impulses come from somewhere, can't our arms move and all that? You know, it's the Frankenstein thing. It's what inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein, where she read about the experiments where dead frogs, if you poked them with electricity, their legs jumped. So, Frankenstein comes from that.”
This comment by Martin peaked my interest for several reasons.
Some believe Frankenstein was, in fact, largely a collaborative piece greatly inspired, if not partially written by Percy B. Shelley, Mary Shelley’s husband. To be clear, I’m not arguing this is true. Merely that the idea has been discussed, and even publicly argued by author, John Lauritsen who published a book titled, ‘The Man Who Wrote Frankenstein’ in 2007. A year later, in 2008, Percy Bysshe Shelley was credited as the co-author of Frankenstein by Charles E. Robinson in a new edition of the novel entitled The Original Frankenstein published by the Bodleian Library in Oxford and by Random House in the US.
Martin is smart about the information he gives us and/or does not give us. If these connections do wind up being real, George would NEVER specifically mention Percy. He would, however, leave breadcrumbs. And pointing to Frankenstein is a very, very yeasty breadcrumb. The similarities between Percy Shelley’s poems and George’s characters/themes are nothing short of startling.
Martin is very specifically stating that his novels and Frankenstein were inspired in the same way. He points to creepy frog experiments, but it’s also widely suggested that M. Percy’s ‘dreams’ came about after she, Percy, and friend Lord Byron started a friendly competition to see who could write the best horror novel. If Percy inspired Mary, and George is stating he and Mary were inspired by the same thing, then it is absolutely reasonable to conclude that Percy may have influenced George.
I’ve spent a LOT of time familiarizing myself with many of Percy Shelley’s poems. It’s the themes, metaphors, and words that first lept of the page at me and SCREAMED A Song of Ice and Fire, but before I talk specifically about the poems themselves, I want to talk about the common theme that exists in almost all of P. Shelley’s writing. Artists, Authors, Poets as Powerful Heroes and Change Agents Percy’s poetry consistently suggests that the speaker (poet, artist, etc) have a greater appreciation for, connection to, and understanding of nature. This special bond and deep emotional connection give ‘them’ a particular gift or ability to access and comprehend certain truths about the world. This gift, however, in many cases, is accompanied by a heavy burden. It is then the duty of the artist to express what they learn or know and to share that knowledge by translating it so that the average person can understand. If done well, these individuals are perhaps the most powerful amongst the rest of humanity, and are perhaps the only one’s TRULY capable of instigating, leading, navigating, or steering massive political/societal change. Early in Percy’s career his work reflected some (small) degree of religious sentiment, however, overtime this evolves into a radical pagan-like spiritual perspective, and ultimately he starts to question the existence of any “greater power” at all. At some point, Percy starts asking philosophical questions about the validity of nature’s power, wondering whether it matters if humans can intervene or even control the conditions of the world. There is a LOT of internal conflict about who really controls the state of humanity. Sometimes he seems certain it is nature itself, other times he seems puzzled by human intervention. Percy was known for his disdain and distrust in political power or tyranny, and advocated passionately for individual freedom. Most of his well-known literature was published in 1816-1822 England. The early 1800’s in England were a time of great social polarization, when the rich were VERY rich, and the poor were VERY poor. Percy criticizes the state of government and society in several of his most well-known works. Title: Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1816) Link to full:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45123/hymn-to-intellectual-beauty Connection(s): Bran (holy sh*&, I cannot stress this enough, BRAN STARK) Right out of the gate, with one of Percy’s older, more circulated poems, the speaker suggests that a spirit or ‘shadow’ exists or lives among humans and only occasionally speaks to or is felt by someone. This thing that is capable of visiting a human heart is manifested (again, only sometimes) in the SUMMER WINDS or through music, or moonbeams. In this case, the POV directly addresses the Spirit of Beauty, questioning why it’s gone away or is no longer present (with him). He actually suggests that “Demons, Ghosts, and Heaven” aren’t really anything more than an interpretation of this powerful spirit altered or interpreted to convey the magnitude of it’s influence/existence so that any average-joe can wrap his/her head around it. The POV explains that when it’s (the spirit) ‘there’ people can experience more fulfilling things; love, hope, transcendence beyond one’s lifetime in a physical world, etc., and that without its presence it death is just…nothing. He specifically thinks back to his childhood, when he went out looking or hunting for ghosts, hoping to communicate with the dead:
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin, And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
Eventually, after some sort of “awakening” (during which the speaker “shrieked, and clasped his hands in extasy”), he vowed to dedicate himself and his life to this powerful spirit. And after that experience, all he cared about, fought for, or worked toward was freeing the world from some horrible force (or “slavery”) by sharing the knowledge given to him by the spirit in a way that would actually make sense to everyone else around him. He briefly mentions that after “noon” the day becomes more solemn, serene, and that specifically in the fall there is a glow in the sky that isn’t there in SUMMER. The objective of the speaker, we learn is to recall or restore that connection in order to once again experience the “calm” or sense of awareness/understanding he had when he was younger. At this point, presumably after some tumultuous experience, he intends to be entirely dedicated as a man who serves only this spirit, and therefore will “fear himself, and love all humankind” going forward. I don’t know that I need to interpret ANYTHING here further for you to understand the link I see between this poem and Bran’s experiences in AsoIaF. That “epiphany” sure reminds me of the time he stole a glance into the Heart of Winter just before dedicating his life to leading humanity forward using his profound super-natural knowledge. Not that it’s particularly relevant, but there are also SEVEN stanzas in this poem. Just FYI. Title: Mont Blanc (1816) Link to Full Text:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45130/mont-blanc-lines-written-in-the-vale-of-chamouni Connections: Jon Snow though this poem could arguably have ties to almost all/any story line in the series in some way. Especially House Stark, for reason’s I’ll explain. I’m covering this piece next because chronologically speaking, it would have been written at the same point in Percy’s spiritual journey as Hymn to Intellectual Beauty. This is the poem that actually triggered my interest in Percy and lead me down the path of this analysis. I think you’ll quickly understand why that is. But before I get too far I want to talk a little bit about the very REAL place which was Percy’s Muse. [Edit]: Added later because I forgot to insert this part. Mont Blanc is a well-known mountain in the Alps. It's the highest point in Eastern Europe, and can be seen from both France and Italy in the Graian Alps (range). The border between France and Italy actually passes directly through the summit of the mountain. One of the nearest towns was the very first sight of the Winter Olympics. There are A LOT of interesting stories and legends online about the peak, but probably the most interesting involves an "enchanted kingdom", now lost, that was once governed by a fairy called “Déesse Blanche”. Stories say that she ruled over the lives and destinies of the people surrounding the Valley of Chamonix. But until the mountain was successfully explored for the first time in 1786 by Jaques Balmat and Dr. Michel Paccard, the townspeople didn't dare approach the mountain summit, or even the ice/glaciers that surrounded it. Most believed it to be a land inhabited by demons. Or a place where witches "danced" to strange musical instruments. “Déesse Blanche” translates to white women or white maidens. Quite similar to the Night's King and his pale maiden bride. Even today, the peak is somewhat ominous, and claims more lives each year than most (sometimes any other) mountain climbed. [End Edit] In the first stanza of Mont Blanc, the POV considers “the everlasting universe of things” as he sees it based on his understanding/observation of nature. He thinks that the minds of most people are not the same, and more feeble. He compares the human mind to the earth that is carved by water or “secret springs” that move through it. In the second stanza things get particularly interesting, and eerily familiar. POV discusses a time or times when power itself comes down from it’s secret seat on Mont Blanc in the ‘likeness’ of “the Arve” (a river). He describes an overwhelming force that presents itself to humanity, which is terrifying, and insinuates that this is a recurring event that has been experienced by past inhabitants and will continue to be experienced by future generations but is to most people completely inconceivable.
Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne, Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame Of lightning through the tempest;—thou dost lie, Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging, Children of elder time, in whose devotion The chainless winds still come and ever came
The name "Arve" is actually an old Norse name, Scandinavian (usually a boy's name) meaning "inheritor of property", "heir", or in some translations I've seen, "Eagle Tree". In the same stanza, POV describes some phenomenon I think may be key to our story. The speaker describes himself as having the heightened awareness that leads to being completely controlled by this force, and that to the normal human-eye, it may seem like he is in a trance, a puppet of nature. But, he suggests, that it’s actually the purest state of freedom and wilderness doing the bidding of he or that which is the only true power. He actually stops and backs out of attempting to describe this “army of nature” because stories and myths don’t do it justice, and the reader can’t possibly understand it. They would just see it as him being easily manipulated. (Ya know, like…a dead body being controlled by the Others or.. i dunno.).
I seem as in a trance sublime and strange To muse on my own separate fantasy, My own, my human mind, which passively Now renders and receives fast influencings, Holding an unremitting interchange With the clear universe of things around; One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
In the third stanza our POV goes back to expressing how unattainable power is in it’s place in the wilderness. Oh, and a wolf even makes an appearance.
Mont Blanc appears—still, snowy, and serene; Its subject mountains their unearthly forms Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps, Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread And wind among the accumulated steeps; A desert peopled by the storms alone, Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone, And the wolf tracks her there—how hideously
Then he circles back to talk about the way nature goes about who it tells what and how its messages are interpreted depending on the depth of the receiver:
The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild, So solemn, so serene, that man may be, But for such faith, with Nature reconcil'd; Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood By all, but which the wise, and great, and good Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.
Then he transitions into the fourth stanza which stresses, again, the inhibility of most of humanity to ever grasp, see, understand, let alone possess true power. It dwells alone in the serenity of the ice and mountains, and always will. Finally, in the fifth stanza, he concludes that true power, bright and gleaming, almost always exists in total silence and solitude. To most people, it may not even seem appealing or interesting. It may just seem like nothing, but this powerful force is actually governing everything with “secret strength”. Ultimately he wonders what power this spirit or force would truly have should it never present itself and be left only to each person’s imagination.
Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:—the power is there, The still and solemn power of many sights, And many sounds, and much of life and death. In the calm darkness of the moonless nights, In the lone glare of day, the snows descend Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there, Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, Or the star-beams dart through them. Winds contend Silently there, and heap the snow with breath Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home The voiceless lightning in these solitudes Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods Over the snow. The secret Strength of things Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome Of Heaven is as a law, inhabits thee! And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea, If to the human mind's imaginings Silence and solitude were vacancy?
This is..such a perfect explanation of the kind of divine force that makes sense in the world George has (or would) create. It is just power, natural power that has always and will always exist. All of the myths and prophecies - none of which are necessarily “true” or “untrue” are just a variation of interpretations of the same thing … a thing that most people don’t ever get to see or can’t understand or accept even if they experience it so they have to humanize it with mythology. This power is hidden away in the Lands of Always Winter (if true), protected and hidden by vast wilderness, and seldom understood or even recognized save for a small few who share the ability to process all that is nature. There’s only one place in the series where the words “White Mountain” (Mont Blanc) are uttered. Not surprisingly, it happens north of the wall, just after Jon sees, or thinks he sees, his brother in the form of a weirwood. His brother tells him to “wake up” and he jerks back to reality but notes his “paws” in the snow, suggesting he may now be seeing through the eyes of Ghost amongst the ice mountains, looking at what we are lead to believe is Mance Rayder’s army of Wildlings.
“Across the long lake, one of the mounds moved. He watched it more closely and saw that it was not dirt at all, but alive, a shaggy lumbering beast with a snake for a nose and tusks larger than those of the greatest boar that had ever lived. And the thing riding it was huge as well, and his shape was wrong, too thick in the leg and hips to be a man. Then a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings. As he lifted his eyes to the ice-white mountain heights above, a shadow plummeted out of the sky. A shrill scream split the air. He glimpsed blue-grey pinions spread wide, shutting out the sun … “Ghost!” Jon shouted, sitting up. He could still feel the talons, the pain.”
The last TINY tid bit I want to include about Mont Blanc, which is probably no more than a coincidence, involves searching reddit for any association between both George R.R. Martin and "Mont Blanc". I found ONE post. So.. Mont Blanc is apparently also a well-known luxury pen retailer with locations in both Europe and America. According to a 4-year-old post by u/abraxart related to his visit to a Montblanc retailer, George R.R. Martin himself may very well be a customer. Title: Ozymandias (1817 or 1818…I’m seeing mixed publishing dates) Link to Full Text:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias Connections: Dany This one is short and sweet. The speaker refers to an interaction with a “traveler from an antique land” who described seeing the ruins of a statue in the desert of his native country. I’m going to pull straight from a spark notes analysis of the sonnet:
‘Essentially it is devoted to a single metaphor:the shattered, ruined statue in the desert wasteland, with its arrogant, passionate faceand monomaniacal inscription (“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”). The once-great king’s proud boast has been ironically disproved; Ozymandias’s works have crumbled and disappeared, his civilization is gone, all has been turned to dust by the impersonal, indiscriminate, destructive power of history.’
This poem strays from Percy’s usual subject matter, to just briefly (but impressively) explain the impermanence of man-made power. This has Dany written all over it. She is literally all that is left of a broken dynasty, alone in a desert wasteland when we meet her. Yet she is fiercely passionate, arrogant even, about reigning again over the people in a home she never knew first-hand. Title: England in 1819 (1819) Link to Full Text:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45118/england-in-1819 Connections: The State of Westeros at the beginning of AGoT (or Robert's Rebellion) All you have to do is read the first line. I’m not even going to bother interpreting or expanding on this. But the entire premise revolves around the desperate need for a revolution.
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King; Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring; Rulers who neither see nor feel nor know, But leechlike to their fainting country cling Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow.
Title: Ode to the West Wind (1819) Link to Full Text:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45134/ode-to-the-west-wind Connections: Arya It’s funny that the line “Words are Wind” are so often taken to mean that words are nothing. This poem curiously also compares words to wind, but the speaker clearly sees words as one of their only means of control and power. As such, words are the closest thing to power any human can hope to attain. In this poem the POV speaker is addressing, again, some natural source of power. The wind, they say, is a powerful creative and destructive force. One that creates life by scattering seeds, yet destroys life with powerful storms. At first they seem to be angry with it, suggesting even that if they had such power, they’d never had to have called out to it like this to ask for help. They ask the winds to grant them the ability to be quick, to ‘fly’, to provide strength. They seem to offer up their life in exchange to become a tool to scatter their “dead” thoughts like leaves. To leave a path of destruction.
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
Arya is a tragic character who shares the same deep connection to nature that most of her siblings do, yet has some desire to wander, be free, and make her own path. She too, is angry with the gods for a time for the utter destruction of her family, and she finds a place where she can give up her own life to grant the gift of mercy to those who desire (or in some cases, from her perspective), deserve it. I’ll again, pull from the spark notes analysis because I myself can’t think of any better way to say…
“The thematic implication is significant: whereas the older generation of Romantic poets viewed nature as a source of truth and authentic experience, the younger generation largely viewed nature as a source of beauty and aesthetic experience. In this poem, Shelley explicitly links nature with art by finding powerful natural metaphors with which to express his ideas about the power, import, quality, and ultimate effect of aesthetic expression.”
Title: To a Skylark (1820) Link to Full Text:https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45146/to-a-skylark Connections: Sansa In this poem, the speaker is someone observing the skylark, who they believe is not a bird, but a divine spirit. The bird is actually described as “a cloud of fire” singing as it flies.
Like a Poet hidden In the light of thought, Singing hymns unbidden, Till the world is wrought To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
The speaker asks the Skylark to tell them “sweet” things, and is taken by the power and beauty of what is shared. He suggests that the Skylark knows more and understands things simple mortals cannot. The underlying theme is that human happiness cannot exist without sadness, and that the skylark has they ability to understand and convey that sense of longing for the past and youthful hope for the future even in the midst of terrible events, because she knows the truth of possibility.
Like a high-born maiden In a palace-tower, Soothing her love-laden Soul in secret hour With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Guess who is a maiden, hidden high in a tower, who uses song to sooth her broken heart? Oh… hey and…she’s also frequently associated with birds…. Conclusion: There are more. Oh boy, there are more. A reanimated dead person who visits her loved ones after death. An incestuous relationship between siblings. More on the power of nature itself. Meanderings about the source of nature's power. I could write pages - and I can’t recommend enough that you explore P. Shelley’s writing yourself. But what do I believe it means for our story?
The Stark Children, while all experiencing events through unique lenses, are powerful characters. Their “powers” are really just a deep understanding and appreciation of nature and ultimately familiarity with some divine force. The knowledge they gain through their connection to the natural world give them some degree of adventageous influence and control particularly in times when everyone else seems to be spinning OUT of control, and this level of influence doesn’t need to be accompanied by a crown or a title to be impactful. I propose that they are, in a sense , the conduit through which this great creative/destructive force works, but I don’t see them as being the ‘only’ chosen ones. Martin repeatedly references the words of “the singers”, a nameless source of stories or “history” in some cases. We see numerous people give moving monologues throughout the series, and in some cases those people may be just as powerful. Percy believed that singers, poets, artists in general, were those with the power to change the world. Melisandre is no less of a “singer” than anyone else, simply because of where she comes from or from what element of nature her power is connected to. The difference, I think, is just each man-made personification and misdirection that narrows the scope of their relationship and their perception of the knowledge they are given. The real source of power is both good and bad, benevolent and malevolent, not purely one or the other. Their understanding of this, I believe, is what has allowed house Stark to survive so long, while power like Dany's, which seems to come from the inside (self) outward, burns bright but is fleeting. Ice preserves, fire consumes - if you will.
The phrase “words are wind” is a farce. It is intentionally placed to make us think it means the opposite of what it actually means. Tyrion almost hits the nail on the head when he claims "the reader lives a thousand lives", but to be a productive member of society one needs the skill to both consume knowledge, translate, and reintroduce that information into humanity so that it is accepted by the standard human mind. Those who listen, hear, see, smell, touch AND speak intentionally in a way that can be heard…those are the people who, while often casting no shadow, truly control and create the future of humanity. They, unlike most, do not seek out power in order to possess it or obtain it. Instead they are conscious of its existence and understanding of it’s inaccessibility. Instead, they channel what they know of it for the sake of people - in general. THEY are the 'greenseers'.
Prophecy matters because of what it inspires not because of what it says. To understand it you need only understand the source, what they may want from you, or what events may have lead them to where they are. What is the source of what they know. In this way, the Sphinx is the Riddle, not the riddler. And in the same light, artists understand that their words will have different meanings to each person with whom they cross paths, and because of this awareness, they can influence others merely by carefully orchestrating their messages.
TL;DR — There are so many connections between the work of poet Percy B. Shelley (husband of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein), that it’s almost impossible for me to believe George was not at the very least inspired to write certain characters in ASoIaF. Moreover, George has FLAT OUT SAID he was inspired the same way M. Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and it’s commonly believed that her husband, Percy, was heavily influential in the creation of the well-known novel. The concepts in his poetry are an almost impossibly accurate reflection of several characters in the series. At the heart of most of his work is an understanding that true power (nature) is unattainable for humanity. The closest to it are those who are conscious of and deeply familiar with nature. They make decisions based on what they learn from it, and are not driven by a desire to control anything or anyone unless this "spirit" or force presents it as such.
2019.11.06 10:18 altovalirianoReviravolta inesperada em Ventos do Inverno
Em 03 de abril de 2015, Martin revelou à Entertainment Weekly que havia pensado em uma reviravolta, inesperada até para ele, na história de um personagem em particular, mas que envolveria outros três ou quatro personagens:
“Isso vai deixar seus leitores loucos”, ele brinca, “mas eu amei. Ainda estou pensando se devo ir nessa direção ou não. É uma ótima reviravolta. É fácil fazer coisas chocantes ou inesperadas, mas elas precisam crescer dos personagens. Elas têm que crescer das situações. Caso contrário, é apenas chocante por ser chocante. Mas isso é algo que parece muito orgânico e natural, e eu pude ver como isso aconteceria. E com os três, quatro personagens envolvidos ... tudo faz sentido. Mas não é nada que eu já tenha pensado antes. E não é nada que eles possam fazer no show, porque o show já - em relação a esse personagem em particular - tomou algumas decisões que impossibilitarão isso - as quais, no meu caso, não foram tomadas.”
Em 25 de fevereiro de 2016, em uma entrevista à IGN, Martin revelou que a reviravolta foi incluída nos livros e que não apareceria na série porque o show da HBO já havia matado um personagem-chave envolvido na reviravolta. Martin ressaltou que isso não dizia muito, pois já haviam 15 personagens vivos nos livros e mortos no show àquela altura. GRRM já havia listado 13 destes 15 personagens em um post em seu NotABlog quase um mês antes da entrevista à IGN: Mago, Irri, Rakharo, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Pyat Pree, Pyp, Grenn, Barristan, Selyse, Shireen, Myrcella, Mance Rayder e Stannis. Neste post muito completo no asoiaf, BryndenBFish (quem mais?) levanta 7 hipóteses para essa reviravolta, todas válidas, até porque todas desprovidas de qualquer evidência concreta. Ele classifica as hipóteses segundo o núcleo no qual aconteceriam, a saber:
Patrulha da Noite
Senhora Coração de Pedra
Eu não vou repetir os argumentos exposto por BBF, mas recomendo a leitura, pois o artigo é realmente limpinho e cheiroso. Só vou ressaltar que à época da primeira declaração de Martin, a 5ª temporada de Game of Thrones ainda estava começando. Portanto, este é o corte temporal que precisa ser feito. Algum palpite de qual seria a reviravolta ou quem seriam os personagens envolvidos?
2019.08.28 16:51 M_TootlesA House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand: Young Aegon's True Lineage and Targaryen Re-Unification — Part 1 of 2 (Spoilers Extended)
This writing is also available on my wordpress blog, asongoficeandtootles, HERE Note: The main body of this writing is divided into two posts. The entire writing is complete, and it forms a cohesive whole. Its length, however, practically necessitates two posts. In an earlier writing, I asserted that although "Young Griff"/Aegon/"fAegon" is not the boy bravo represented by the statue in Illyrio's garden, he is nonetheless Illyrio-the-maternal-Blackfyre's son, although not by Illyrio's late wife Serra. So who do I think is Young Aegon's mother? The answer is simple, although at least seemingly problematic for the conventional reading of ASOIAF, per which Dany is what she is said to be: the daughter of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen, conceived on the night Aerys burned Lord Chelsted and birthed on Dragonstone—a narrative which happily dovetails with the conventional belief that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
Queen Rhaella, Her Savage Beast Illyrio, And Their Son: Young Aegon
In this writing, I'll argue that Illyrio Mopatis did indeed sire Young Aegon… on Queen Rhaella Targaryen. Specifically:
I'll contend that Rhaella gave birth on Dragonstone after fleeing King's Landing, just as we've been told, not (just?) to Dany, but to Illyrio's son Aegon. Aegon thus represents the reunification of Houses Targaryen and Blackfyre via their female lines.
It's my hypothesis that Illyrio and Rhaella probably had a longstanding consensual sexual relationship prior to Aegon's conception, facilitated by Varys.
I'll argue that Illyrio certainly had sex with and likely impregnated Rhaella in the Red Keep on the very night Aerys supposedly visited Rhaella's bedchamber and left her "as if some beast had savaged" her.
I'll argue that the "crowned beast" Jaime saw enter Rhaella's bedroom was not Aerys, but Illyrio glamored as Aerys. I'll explain how this Is not only possible but heavily hinted at in the text.
I'll argue that whereas we've been led to believe that Aerys pretty much raped Rhaella, who had no desire for him, Rhaella did want Illyrio (who she expected and who dropped the glamor once the door was closed and barred), and that there's a good chance their sex, while very rough, was at root consensual.
Indeed, I'll propose that in the final weeks of her time in King's Landing, it's quite possible a mostly unwatched Rhaella also fucked Illyrio while seated on the Iron Throne as one last "fuck you" to Aerys.
I'm sure right now you're wondering how in the hell these patently ridiculous things can possibly be true. I mean, a glamor? A glamor of the king? Come-the-fuck-on, right? There's actually a ton of evidence for all this, much of it wonderfully lyrical and/or metatextual. So let's go.
The Day Aerys Burned Lord Chelsted
Jaime tells a story which seems on its face to be about Aerys raping Rhaella (who loathed Aerys) and impregnating her with Dany.
A king has no secrets from his Kingsguard. Relations between Aerys and his queen had been strained during the last years of his reign. They slept apart and did their best to avoid each other during the waking hours. But whenever Aerys gave a man to the flames, Queen Rhaella would have a visitor in the night. The day he burned his mace-and-dagger Hand, Jaime and Jon Darry had stood at guard outside her bedchamber whilst the king took his pleasure. "You're hurting me," they had heard Rhaella cry through the oaken door. "You're hurting me." In some queer way, that had been worse than Lord Chelsted's screaming. "We are sworn to protect her as well," Jaime had finally been driven to say. "We are," Darry allowed, "but not from him." Jaime had only seen Rhaella once after that, the morning of the day she left for Dragonstone. The queen had been cloaked and hooded as she climbed inside the royal wheelhouse that would take her down Aegon's High Hill to the waiting ship, but he heard her maids whispering after she was gone. They said the queen looked as if some beast had savaged her, clawing at her thighs and chewing on her breasts. A crowned beast, Jaime knew. (FFC J II)
This incident took place just before Darry and Selmy rode to the Trident with Rhaegar, leaving Jaime as the only Kingsguard remaining in King's Landing:
The day had been windy when he said farewell to Rhaegar, in the yard of the Red Keep. The prince had donned his night-black armor, with the three-headed dragon picked out in rubies on his breastplate. "Your Grace," Jaime had pleaded, "let Darry stay to guard the king this once, or Ser Barristan. Their cloaks are as white as mine." Prince Rhaegar shook his head. "My royal sire fears your father more than he does our cousin Robert. He wants you close, so Lord Tywin cannot harm him. I dare not take that crutch away from him at such an hour." (FFC Jai I)
It's plain that around the time of and especially after the incident, Jaime was Aerys's constant shadow:
"Aerys burnt [Lord Chelsted, his mace-and-dagger Hand,] alive for that, and hung his chain about the neck of Rossart, his favorite pyromancer. The man who had cooked Lord Rickard Stark in his own armor. And all the time, I stood by the foot of the Iron Throne in my white plate, still as a corpse, guarding my liege and all his sweet secrets. "My Sworn Brothers were all away, you see, but Aerys liked to keep me close. I was my father's son, so he did not trust me. He wanted me where Varys could watch me, day and night. So I heard it all." (SOS Jai V)
From his foregrounded position of exceptional access, Jaime clearly states that Aerys only saw Rhaella after he burned someone alive. Given that Chelsted was the last known victim of Aerys's burnings, and given that Jaime categorically states that as Aerys's shadow he did not see Rhaella again until "she left for Dragonstone", it seems certain that the last time Aerys (seemingly) bedded Rhaella was the night Jaime and Darry stood guard at her door. Thus we're invited to conclude that this was when Dany was conceived, since we're told she was born nine moons after Rhaella's flight:
She had been born on Dragonstone nine moons after their flight… (GOT D I)
Notice, though, there were no Kingsguards to watch over Rhaella in her last days in King's Landing. With that in mind, consider as we move forward the possibility that Rhaella had more (dramatic) agency and savvy than our sexist chroniclers, including Jaime—
"The queen's eyes had been closed for years, and Rhaegar was busy marshaling an army." - Jaime (ibid.)
—have granted her to date.
Very Separate Bedchambers
On the face of things, it seems certain that it was indeed Aerys and only Aerys who was in Rhaella's bedchamber while Jaime and Jon Darry guarded the door. To imagine otherwise, we'd seemingly have to assume that Aerys used some second, known-but-unguarded entrance to the queen's chambers and that Jaime simply heard noises through the queen's front door he surmised were caused by Aerys. The idea that there might have been an unguarded back door to Rhaella's rooms while two Kingsguards watched the "front" door makes no sense unless it connected only to the king's chambers, but we never hear of any such connection. Instead we read about "the" door—as in a singular door—to each royal apartment. To wit:
Ser Meryn Trant guarded the queen's door this night. His muttered "My lord" struck Tyrion as a tad grudging, but he opened the door nonetheless. (COK VI) Ser Barristan Selmy waited at the door of the king's bedchamber. (GOT E XIII)
The idea that there was only one way in to the queen's apartment and no "back door" access from the king's apartment is consistent with Cersei's implication that her chambers are on a totally different floor from the king's:
"I know other ways to pleasure [Robert], when he leaves his whores long enough to stagger up to my bedchamber." (GOT E XII)
We can almost assuredly rule out the possibility that there is an unguarded, private staircase and/or passage directly connecting the king's apartments to the queen's, given the way certain events are described in Fire & Blood:
Rhaenyra's men found her rival’s wife, the mad Queen Helaena, locked in her bedchamber … but when they broke down the doors of the king’s apartments, they discovered only "his bed, empty, and his chamber pot, full." King Aegon II had fled. So had his children, the six-year-old Princess Jaehaera and two-year-old Prince Maelor, along with the knights Willis Fell and Rickard Thorne of the Kingsguard.
Clearly each bedchamber was isolated, and clearly Helaena wouldn't have been left for capture if she could have been brought via such a passage/stair to the King's bedchamber and evacuated the same way Aegon II and his children obviously were: via "Maegor's Egress". (See below.) Varys tells Tyrion there are no secret passageways in the walls of Maegor's Holdfast save for a single exit to the outside from the King's chambers:
"You will bring Shae to me through the walls, hidden from all these eyes. As you have done before." Varys wrung his hands. "Oh, my lord, nothing would please me more, but . . . King Maegor wanted no rats in his own walls, if you take my meaning. He did require a means of secret egress, should he ever be trapped by his enemies, but that door does not connect with any other passages. I can steal your Shae away from Lady Lollys for a time, to be sure, but I have no way to bring her to your bedchamber without us being seen." (SOS Ty II)
Unless GRRM is being impossibly "cheap" with us here ("Zoink! Varys was lying!"), this rules out the already remote possibility that anyone made use of some nominally "secret" but Known-to-Aerys-and-his-Kingsguard passage to enter Rhaella's chambers sight unseen, leading Jaime and Darry to assume she was being visited by Aerys. Given the heavy implication that there is no private connection between the royal bedchambers, it seems certain Jaime saw "Aerys" enter Rhaella's chambers via the main, front, and only door, probably after he and/or Darry escorted Aerys there. And that means that if the man who cause Rhaella to cry out "You're hurting me" was someone other than Aerys, that someone must have been glamored as Aerys when he walked through Rhaella's door under Jaime's nose.
Entering Via Maegor's "Secret Egress"
Before we can even talk about something as ridiculous as Illyrio being glamored as Aerys, we have to get Illyrio into Maegor's Holdfast, which houses the royal apartments. Did he simply walk in the front gate, already glamored as the king? Not at all. Even as Varys tells Tyrion that Maegor's Holdfast has no network of secret ways like the rest of the Red Keep and thus no way to enter a bedchamber "without… being seen"—which just so happens to speak directly to the topic at hand—he allows that Maegor built himself "a means of secret egress, should he ever be trapped by his enemies". The logical place for a king's escape hatch would be in his own bedchamber, and Aegon II's mysterious escape from his locked apartments during the Dance of Dragons all but proves that that's where Maegor built his "egress". Where might a Targaryen king position his secret egress within his chambers? Perhaps in one of its fireplaces?
Fires blazed in the twin hearths at either end of [Robert's] bedchamber, filling the room with a sullen red glare. (GOT E XIII)
I think so, because the "sullen red glare" prefigures a motif found both times we see the secret passageways honeycombing the rest of the Red Keep:
The coals in the beast's yawning mouth had burnt down to embers, but they still glowed with a sullen orange light. (SOS Ty XI) He remembered the sullen orange glow of the coals in the iron dragon's mouth. (FFC J I)
It's thus my belief that Illyrio entered Aerys's bedchamber via Maegor's Egress, located in one of the room's hearths, probably after accessing the Red Keep's sub-cellars via the same "great black well" Arya sees he and Varys ascending in AGOT. While Illyrio may not yet have been (and probably was not yet) as obese as he is now, his size would not have been a problem, regardless, as Maegor's Egress was surely built large enough to accommodate Maegor, who GRRM describes this way:
A big man, even taller than his father Aegon, bull-like, heavy shoulders, thick neck, huge arms. On the heavy side, but more massive and square than fat. (SSM Targaryen Kings)
It's no accident that the first time we see Maegor's Holdfast, it's (a) in the context of "the royal apartments" and (b) described using the same "massive and square" language used to describe Maegor himself:
The royal apartments were in Maegor's Holdfast, a massive square fortress that nestled in the heart of the Red Keep behind walls twelve feet thick and a dry moat lined with iron spikes, a castle-within-a-castle. (GOT E XIII)
Those walls are certainly thick enough to contain a secret shaft large enough for Illyrio, who just so happens to likewise be called "massive"—
He moved with surprising delicacy for such a massive man. (GOT D I)
— particularly in his Maegor-ish shoulders:
He gave a massive shrug. (D I) Illyrio gave a massive shrug. (D II) The last that Tyrion Lannister saw of Illyrio Mopatis, the magister was standing by his litter in his brocade robes, his massive shoulders slumped. (DWD Ty III)
The rhyme between the two men isn't just about pegging Illyrio as a maternal Blackfyre (much as Maegor was, I believe, "only" a maternal Targaryen); it's about suggesting that Illyrio availed himself of Maegor's Egress, becoming the proverbial "rat" Maegor feared "in his own walls"… much as Cersei imagines Tyrion to be when he uses the secret passageways to escape the Red Keep:
She imagined Tyrion creeping between the walls like some monstrous rat. (FFC C I)
(And where does Tyrion go? To Illyrio's manse, reversing the course I believe Illyrio-the-rat took some sixteen years earlier.)
A Sneak Thief
Once in Aerys's hearth, how would Illyrio get past Aerys? It's not like there was some glamor he could don that would prevent Aerys from raising an alarm if a man suddenly appeared in his chambers. I suspect it was actually pretty easy. It's likely that Varys, who Aerys trusted like no other—
For the rest of Aerys's reign, [Varys] would crouch at the king's side, whispering in his ear. (TWOIAF)
—slipped some sweetsleep or dreamwine into the royal wine, just as he drugs Tyrion's gaoler's wine in a passage which "just so happens" to involve exiting the Red Keep via Maegor's secret passageways and ultimately traveling to the manse of none other than Illyrio himself:
…Tyrion almost stumbled on the turnkey, sprawled across the cold stone floor. He prodded him with a toe. "Is he dead?" "Asleep. The other three as well. The eunuch dosed their wine with sweetsleep, but not enough to kill them. Or so he swears. He is waiting back at the stair, dressed up in a septon's robe. You're going down into the sewers, and from there to the river. A galley is waiting in the bay. Varys has agents in the Free Cities who will see that you do not lack for funds . . . but try not to be conspicuous. Cersei will send men after you, I have no doubt. You might do well to take another name." (SOS Ty XI)
("Take another name"? Just as Aegon, the product of Illyrio's commando raid of Rhaella's "privy purse" took the name "Young Griff"?) It just so happens that Shae (who I've argued elsewhere was raised in Illyrio's manse) has a very similar thought vis-a-vis Sansa which (it further just so happens) involves using dreamwine to facilitate illicit extramarital sex:
"You should give her dreamwine," Shae said, "like Lady Tanda does with Lollys. A cup before she goes to sleep, and we could fuck in bed beside her without her waking." She giggled. "Maybe we should, some night. Would m'lord like that?" (SOS Ty VII)
Given this potentially potent foreshadowing, I suspect Varys and Illyrio did use sweetsleep or dreamwine on Aerys. Still, it was surely out of an abundance of caution, because Illyrio is famously light on his feet—
Grossly fat, yet he seemed to walk lightly, carrying his weight on the balls of his feet as a water dancer might. (GOT Ary III) He moved with surprising delicacy for such a massive man. (D I)
—and Aerys was a drunk:
"…your father [Aerys] drank too much wine at the wedding feast…" (DWD Dae VII) The king (very much in his cups) asked her if giving suck to them had "ruined your breasts, which were so high and proud." (TWOIAF)
It was surely easy for Illyrio, in an ironic reversal of what we see in ADWD Tyrion II—
When the magister drifted off to sleep with the wine jar at his elbow, Tyrion crept across the pillows to work it loose from its fleshy prison and pour himself a cup.
—to slip unnoticed past a passed-out Aerys, much as Arya pads past Pinkeye here:
Each evening [Pinkeye] fell into a drunken sleep after supper, wine-colored spit running down his chin. Arya would wait until she heard him snoring, then creep barefoot up the servant's stair, making no more noise than the mouse she'd been. She carried neither candle nor taper. Syrio had told her once that darkness could be her friend, and he was right. (COK A IX)
Note the curiously resonant motifs here: Arya using a back staircase in the dark recalls her walking through the dark basements of the Red Keep and stumbling upon none other than Illyrio and Varys walking up a dark stair lining a "great black well" which seemingly leads to the outside world:
A flickering light brushed the wall ever so faintly, and she saw that she stood at the top of a great black well, a shaft twenty feet across plunging deep into the earth. Huge stones had been set into the curving walls as steps, circling down and down, dark as the steps to hell that Old Nan used to tell them of. And something was coming up out of the darkness, out of the bowels of the earth … (GOT A III)
Most pertinently to the thesis that Illyrio snuck past a passed-out Aerys en route to fucking Rhaella, consider that we see a queen fuck her paramour right under her king's shitfaced nose:
"That was Raymun Darry's bedchamber. Where King Robert slept, on our return from Winterfell. Ned Stark's daughter had run off after her wolf savaged Joff, you'll recall. My sister wanted the girl to lose a hand. The old penalty, for striking one of the blood royal. Robert told her she was cruel and mad. They fought for half the night . . . well, Cersei fought, and Robert drank. Past midnight, the queen summoned me inside. The king was passed out snoring on the Myrish carpet. I asked my sister if she wanted me to carry him to bed. She told me I should carry her to bed, and shrugged out of her robe. I took her on Raymun Darry's bed after stepping over Robert." (FFC J IV)
Edit: Notice whose "bedchamber" this takes place in: Raymun Darry's, such that Queen Cersei fucking Jaime under her King's passed-out nose here "rhymes" all the more perfectly with Illyrio fucking Queen Rhaella under the noses of not only her passed-out King, but also those of the Kingsguards Jaime and Jon Darry. Illyrio sneaking right past Aerys en route to his liaison(s) with Rhaella feels right for another reason: Illyrio's partner was Varys, a former "prince of thieves" to whom all the "footpads" in Pentos reported. (DWD Ty II) By sneaking into Maegor's Holdfast and padding past Aerys en route to fucking Rhaella, what was Illyrio doing if not "stealing" something that "belonged" to Aerys? There's one more bit of seemingly innocuous "worldbuilding" which resonates with my hypothesis. Consider the story of the black brother named "Softfoot":
They had Dirk as well, named for his favorite weapon, and the little grey man the brothers called Softfoot, who'd raped a hundred women in his youth, and liked to boast how none had ever seen nor heard him until he shoved it up inside them.
There's a neat "rhyme" between Softfoot the sneak-rapist and the idea that the explicitly soft-footed Illyrio and Varys-the-footpad conspired to cuckold Aerys by sneaking past him in his own boudoir, such that Illyrio was the "rapist" Jaime ear-witnessed. Softfoot being an implicitly old (per "in his youth"), "little grey man" helps the rhyme, because it's redolent of (a) Maester Luwin, who's repeatedly called a "small grey man", and (b) Thoros of Myr, who's called "an old grey man" and, again, "the grey man". So? So, both those references are readily connected to Illyrio. How? First, Illyrio is a "Magister", right? In-world, the term is merely an honorific, but historically a "magister" was a teacher in a medieval university, a man of learning. In short, a "magister" was an earthly "maester". Like Luwin, who is a "small grey man" like the old "grey man" Softfoot-the-sneak-rapist. Second, Illyrio and Softfoot-the-sneak-rapist's fellow "old grey man" Thoros are highly parallel figures in about a hundred ways. I'll exhaustively detail the massive rhyme between them momentarily when I talk about Illyrio being coded as a glamor-weaver. For the nonce, I ask that you provisionally grant that when Softfoot being an old, "grey man" makes us think of Thoros, a verbatim "old grey man", this should immediately make us think of the soft-footed Illyrio, too. With that in mind, it's curious that when Thoros is first called an "old grey man" a la Softfoot—
Something moved in one of the shadowed alcoves behind the candle; an old grey man clad in rags. The blankets that had covered him slipped to the floor. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. "Lady Brienne? You gave me a fright. I was dreaming."(FFC B VIII)
—the scene can be read as a kind of rhyming re-shuffling of Illyrio emerging from a secret opening behind the flames in Aerys's bedchamber hearth and slipping soft-footed past the sleeping, almost certainly dreamwine-dreaming, often "fearful" and "terrified" (i.e. easily frightened) Mad King. Setting "Softfoot" to one side, the language used when we first "discover" Maegor's secret fireplace "doors"—
The hearth! He almost laughed. The fireplace was full of hot ash, and a black log with a hot orange heart burning within. He edged past gingerly, taking quick steps so as not to burn his boots, the warm cinders crunching softly under his heels. (SOS Ty XI)
—has has some curious resonances with the idea that Illyrio used Maegor's Egress to enter Maegor's Holdfast to have impregnating sex with Rhaella. First, Tyrion is literally "soft-footing" here. And "gingerly"! Recall that Aegon, the very boy I am arguing was conceived after Illyrio emerged from Aerys's fireplace to bone Rhaella, loves ginger.
"There is a gift for the boy in one of the chests. Some candied ginger. He was always fond of it." Illyrio sounded oddly sad. (III)
This now seems weirdly appropriate, given that Illyrio surely traversed the fireplace on the night he sired Aegon as "gingerly" as Tyrion does above. But we've actually seen these motifs before. Back in ACOK Tyrion VI, we see (a) an in-use fireplace; (b) Tyrion "stepping gingerly" over something akin to kindling wood (i.e. the remains of a door axed to "splinters"); and (c) an explicitly shadowy bedchamber a la Thoros's:
Timett followed, and then Tyrion, stepping gingerly over the splinters. The fire had burned down to a few glowing embers, and shadows lay thick across the bedchamber.
So what? So, this occurs when Tyrion figuratively cuckolds Pycelle, throwing out his bedmate and literally "bearding" him in his own den, much as I believe Illyrio came through a fireplace and stepped "gingerly" through Aerys's bedroom en route to literally cuckolding Aerys, thus figuratively bearding him in his own den.
A Royal Glamor: Illyrio the Sorcerer
Illyrio emerging from Aerys's fireplace to sneak past a drunk and/or drugged Aerys might be (a) coyly foreshadowed and (b) easy for the soft-footed Illyrio, but how could he hope to avoid being seen when he emerged from Aerys's bedchamber to walk to Rhaella's? Remember, Varys foregrounds the impossibility of hidden movements between the rooms of Maegor's Holdfast:
"I have no way to bring her to your bedchamber without us being seen." (SOS Ty II)
The answer, of course, is that while Illyrio couldn't avoid being seen, being seen doesn't matter if you "seem" to be someone who is supposed to be there—someone like Aerys himself. Illyrio glamoring himself to look like the Mad King was the perfect solution… if he knew how to pull off such a glamor. I believe we're all but told he did. I submit that the very first description of Illyrio's clothing—
Beneath loose garments of flame-colored silk, rolls of fat jiggled as he walked. (GOT Dae I)
—is a sly hint that he is capable of weaving a glamor:
The flames were so beautiful, the loveliest things she had ever seen, each one a sorcerer robed in yellow and orange and scarlet, swirling long smoky cloaks. (GOT Dae X)
Illyrio thus dresses like Dany's figurative "sorcerers", while ASOIAF's glamorer-in-chief Melisandre (who is also likely glamored herself) calls herself "a sorcerer" immediately after she explains how glamors work, plainly indicating that glamors are sorcery per se:
That was a lesson Melisandre had learned long before Asshai; the more effortless the sorcery appears, the more men fear the sorcerer. When the flames had licked at Rattleshirt, the ruby at her throat had grown so hot that she had feared her own flesh might start to smoke and blacken. (DWD Mel I)
Note the flame motif (a la both Illyrio's silks and Dany's figurative robed sorcerers) in conjunction with (a) the glamored Rattleshirt and (b) Mel's glamor-controlling ruby. It's not just that Illyrio is coded as a "sorcerer" like Mel-the-glamor-weaver. It's also that Mel is a red priest(ess) of R'hllor—
Melisandre of Asshai, sorceress, shadowbinder, and priestess to R'hllor, the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. (COK Pro)
—whereas Illyrio's "loose garments of flame-colored silk" tag him as a figurative red priest of R'hllor, too:
As ever, [Mel] wore red head to heel, a long loose gown of flowing silk as bright as fire… (COK Pro) He could see [Mel]… her red gowns moving like flames as she walked, a swirl of silk and satin. (SOS Dav I) The acolytes were clad in robes of pale yellow and bright orange, priests and priestesses in red. (DWD VII) A huge man, taller than Ser Jorah and wide enough to make two of him, the [red] priest wore scarlet robes embroidered at sleeve and hem and collar with orange satin flames. His skin was black as pitch, his hair as white as snow; the flames tattooed across his cheeks and brow yellow and orange. (DWD VIII)
If that's not enough, Illyrio's garb is "flame-colored", flames and fire are repeatedly and explicitly "red and orange and yellow", (COK Dav I; see also J VIII; SOS Sam V; FFC C III) and red, orange and yellow are explicitly the colors of R'hllor—
From every stern streamed the fiery heart of the Lord of Light, red and yellow and orange. (COK Dav III) [T]he Temple of the Lord of Light loomed like Aegon's High Hill. A hundred hues of red, yellow, gold, and orange met and melded in the temple walls… (DWD Ty VII)
—as embodied by Stannis's R'hllorian sword:
The steel had a glow to it; now orange, now yellow, now red. (SOS Dav IV) Light rippled up and down the blade, now red, now yellow, now orange… (DWD Jon I)
The intimation that Illyrio is in some significant way "like" a Red Priest becomes almost absurdly on-the-nose when the red priest Thoros of Myr is the implicit touchstone for Tyrion's description of priests who just so happen to sound exactly like Illyrio:
The only red priest Tyrion had ever known was Thoros of Myr, the portly, genial, wine-stained roisterer who had loitered about Robert's court swilling the king's finest vintages and setting his sword on fire for mêlées. "Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical," he told Haldon, "the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweetmeats, and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believe in gods who make the trouble." (DWD Ty VI)
The general rhyme with Illyrio speaks for itself. The details are fun, though, and show how carefully our text is encoded. Illyrio is "portly" and "genial" turned up to eleven: he's grossly obese and "all smiles and bows". (GOT D I) While surely "corrupt" like Tyrion's "priests" in the sense of immoral, perverse and/or depraved, Illyrio is also (if purely textually) "corrupt" in the other sense:
"A drunken dwarf," [Illyrio] said… . "A rotting sea cow." (DWD Ty I)
To be sure, Illyrio talks like a worshipper of R'hllor:
"May the Lord of Light shower you with blessings on this most fortunate day, Princess Daenerys," the magister said as he took her hand. (GOT D I)
But like Tyrion's preferred, Thoros-esque priests, he's clearly "cynical" about the efficacy of prayer:
"It is not that we fear these barbarians," Illyrio would explain with a smile. "The Lord of Light would hold our city walls against a million Dothraki, or so the red priests promise … yet why take chances, when their friendship comes so cheap?" (GOT D I)
Like the priests Tyrion champions after fondly remembering Thoros, Illyrio explicitly "nibble[s]" sweetened meat—
Illyrio smiled enigmatically and tore a wing from the duck. Honey and grease ran over his fingers and dripped down into his beard as he nibbled at the tender meat. (GOT D II)
—eats actual "sweetmeats"—
The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture. "All the gold in Casterly Rock, why not?" "The gold I grant you," the dwarf said, relieved that he was not about to drown in a gout of half-digested eels and sweetmeats, "but the Rock is mine." (DWD Ty I)
—and has a thing for sitting on "soft… cushions":
The dwarf clambered up onto a chair. It was much too big for him, a cushioned throne intended to accommodate the magister's massive buttocks, with thick sturdy legs to bear his weight. (DWD Ty I) [Illyrio's] litter swayed side to side… . Silk pillows stuffed with goose down cushioned his cheeks. (Ty II) A pile of crushed cushions remained to show where Illyrio had sprawled. (Ty III)
Thoros happily "swill[ed] the king's finest vintages", while the wine-swilling Illyrio has a wine cellar which surely matches Robert's:
Tyrion… went in search of the cellar where Illyrio had decanted him the night before. … There was enough wine there to keep him drunk for a hundred years; sweet reds from the Reach and sour reds from Dorne, pale Pentoshi ambers, the green nectar of Myr, three score casks of Arbor gold, even wines from the fabled east, from Qarth and Yi Ti and Asshai by the Shadow. (DWD Ty I)
The Illyrio-ish Thoros's wine stains, meanwhile, remind us of the Targaryen Great Bastard Bloodraven (he of the "wine-stain birthmark") and thus of Bloodraven's half-brothers and nemeses, Daemon I Blackfyre and Bittersteel, Daemon's right-hand man and founder of the Golden Company. (tSS) The relevance to Illyrio, a maternal Blackfyre in cahoots with the Golden Company, is obvious. Thoros is a "roisterer": someone who "revels noisily and without restraint". (dictionary.com) Vocabulary.com says:
You can describe the guy at your birthday party with the loudest laugh as a roisterer.
Illyrio is a roisterer for certain:
The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture. (Ty I)
Illyrio's story even nods to Tyrion remembering Thoros "setting his sword on fire for mêlées." Thoros's flaming sword is a "trick" that "ruins the steel". (SOS A IV) Davos points out "there was no true magic to it". (COK Dav I) This talk of "the steel" and "no true magic" reminds us of the statue of "Illyrio":
So lifelike did he seem that it took the dwarf a long moment to realize he was made of painted marble, though his sword shimmered like true steel. (DWD Ty I)
The statue's sword isn't "true steel", of course: like Thoros's sword, it's in every way a trick. (As is the statue itself, inasmuch as it isn't of Illyrio, per my writings elsewhere.) As if all that weren't enough to encode Illyrio as at least a figurative "red priest" and thus a potential glamor-weaver, there's a verbatim rhyme between Illyrio and Thoros independent of the passage I've been mining—
The priest [Thoros] slapped his belly. (SOS Ary V) Illyrio gave a laugh and slapped his belly. (DWD Ty II)
—and another passage which can be "misread" as implying that Illyrio is a "red priest":
Yet among [the Dothraki guests] moved bravos and sellswords from Pentos and Myr and Tyrosh, a red priest even fatter than Illyrio, hairy men from the Port of Ibben, and lords from the Summer Isles with skin as black as ebony. (GOT D I)
Yes, the comparison makes sense simply as one between two fat men, but grammatically it makes even more sense as one between two fat red priests: here's a red priest even fatter than that really fat red priest Illyrio! I'm not saying Illyrio is a red priest, in-world, but I am saying that the text is coding him as one, and that the main such priest(ess) in our story is also ASOIAF's primary glamor guru. (If I'm right that Illyrio sired Aegon on Rhaella, by the way, his activities under Aerys's roof surely also have a winking, metaphorical resonance with Thoros "loiter[ing] about Robert's court swilling the king's finest vintages", don't they?) Mel-the-glamorer parallels Illyrio in another curious respect. What's the very first thing we hear about Illyrio, before we've even met him?
Magister Illyrio was a dealer in spices… (GOT D I)
While Tyrion famously refers to Illyrio as "lord of cheese" and "cheesemonger", this actually stems from Tywin saying that Pentoshi magisters like Illyrio are "Spice soldiers and cheese lords", "spice lords and cheese kings". (DWD Ty I-III) And Mel-the-glamorer? Curiously spicy:
Her voice made Jon Snow think of anise and nutmeg and cloves. (DWD J III)
Illyrio's "flame-colored" silks actually suggest he's a glamorer in another respect, too. I've argued elsewhere that this passage—
The burning gods cast a pretty light, wreathed in their robes of shifting flame, red and orange and yellow. Septon Barre had once told Davos how they'd been carved from the masts of the ships that had carried the first Targaryens from Valyria. Over the centuries, they had been painted and repainted, gilded, silvered, jeweled. (COK Dav I)
—helps code Illyrio as a Targaryen. (Recapping: Illyrio is definitely "jeweled" and "gilded". Indeed, the burning statue of the Father has a literal "gilded beard", while Illyrio's beard is figuratively gilded: "oiled… to make it gleam like gold" [DWD Ty I]. Illyrio's bravo statue is painted, and even seems to have been freshly "repainted". Illyrio gives Dany a "silvered looking glass". The burning wooden gods Targaryen gods are "wreathed in their robes of shifting flame" a la Illyrio's "loose garments of flame-colored silk [which are probably "robes", since the only named garments Illyrio wears are a "bedrobe" and "his brocade robes"].) But where else do we see "wreathing" in fire besides these Illyrio-esque Targaryen statues? When Rattleshirt is glamored as Mance Rayder:
A woman's sobs echoed off the Wall as the wildling king slid bonelessly to the floor of his cage, wreathed in fire. (DWD J III)
Finally, Illyrio is the one and only "Magister" we've met thus far in ASOIAF. While it may only be an empty honorific, it's worth noting that in medieval times a "magister" was a teacher in a university: a man of learning. It thus makes a certain degree of sense if Illyrio possesses the esoteric knowledge of glamor-making. Even more to the point, the closest we come to meeting another magister is via Tyanna of the Tower, who just so happens to be the sorcery-wielding bastard daughter of a Pentoshi magister like Illyrio:
Tyanna was the most feared of the brides of King Maegor. Rumored to have been the natural daughter of a Pentoshi magister, she… was said to practice sorcery and alchemy. (TWOIAF)
If ASOIAF is a song, and if a Pentoshi magister's bastard daughter was a sorcerer (and an alchemist: someone who turns things to gold) who became a Targaryen king's queen, then surely a "verse" in which a Pentoshi magister (with a yellow beard he "oiled… until it shone like real gold") used sorcery to conceive a bastard on a Targaryen king's queen makes perfect poetic sense. I thus suspect that Illyrio's chuckle here—
"Do you take me for a wizard?" [Varys said.} The other [Illyrio] chuckled. "No less. … You are a true sorcerer. All I ask is that you work your magic awhile longer." (GOT A III)
—has to do with the irony of him suggesting that Varys is the "true sorcerer" of the two. Regardless of whether Illyrio wove his own glamor, though, the hints that a glamor plays a major role in his story are, for me, overwhelming.
A Royal Glamor: Magic Gems
Consider what we know about glamors. Melisandre uses rubies to anchor her Rattleshirt glamor on Mance—
Melisandre touched the ruby at her neck and spoke a word. … The ruby on the wildling's wrist darkened, and the wisps of light and shadow around [RattleMance] writhed and faded. (DWD Mel I)
—and probably to anchor a glamor on herself as well. (Sidebar: A glamor associated with writhing wisps? Funny, that's verbatim what Arya sees when she spots Illyrio and Varys secretly entering the Red Keep—
"The gods alone know," the first voice said. Arya could see a wisp of grey smoke drifting up off the torch, writhing like a snake as it rose. (GOT A III)
—just as I'm arguing Illyrio must have done prior to donning his Aerys glamor.) Bloodraven likewise used a precious stone to anchor his Maynard Plumm glamor in The Mystery Knight:
Dunk whirled. Through the rain, all he could make out was a hooded shape and a single pale white eye. It was only when the man came forward that the shadowed face beneath the cowl took on the familiar features of Ser Maynard Plumm, the pale eye no more than the moonstone brooch that pinned his cloak at the shoulder. (tMK)
Illyrio's hands are covered in bejeweled rings, including rubies:
His rings glimmered in the torchlight, red-gold and pale silver, crusted with rubies, sapphires, slitted yellow tiger eyes. Every finger wore a ring; some had two. (GOT A III)
So Illyrio certainly had the gems to pull off a glamor. The "red-gold" of his rings even matches the "red-gold" of Mel's glamor-controlling choker:
Around her throat was a red gold choker tighter than any maester's chain, ornamented with a single great ruby. (COK Pro)
A Royal Glamor: A Crowned Beast
A glamor is most effective when the glamor-wearer wears a personal effect of the person whose "seeming" or "shadow" is being stolen and worn "like a cloak":
"The bones help," said Melisandre. "The bones remember. The strongest glamors are built of such things. A dead man's boots, a hank of hair, a bag of fingerbones. With whispered words and prayer, a man's shadow can be drawn forth from such and draped about another like a cloak. The wearer's essence does not change, only his seeming." (DWD Mel I)
2019.08.18 08:00 GenghisKazoo(Spoilers Extended) Mance Rayder woke the Others on purpose, to gain personal power and further the interests of an Asshai'i conspiracy
"See, lad, that's why he's king and I'm not. I can outdrink, outfight, and outsing him, and my member's thrice the size o' his, but Mance has cunning. He was raised a crow, you know, and the crow's a tricksy bird."
TL;DR: The return of the Others was an inside job. Mance woke them up on purpose by tearing up graves, lighting massive fires, and searching for the Horn of Winter. He did it both to gain personal power and as part of a grand conspiracy running out of the most sinister place on Planetos: Asshai. This also explains his motive for paying the catspaw to kill Bran and for writing the Pink Letter. The wall is for the Others' protection, as much as it is for humans. Probably more. Reason #1: Ice is not a normal human building material. Seriously, even if “the giants did it,” why would humans ever build an ice wall when there’s perfectly good stone right there? Ice is a terrible building material for keeping humans out, as evidenced by how wildlings with ice axes climb it on a regular basis. And it certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for keeping out ice demons. Is it better at holding spells than stone is? Probably no, given that Storm’s End, which was supposedly also built by Bran the Builder, also has warding magic (which works against Asshai’i shadow creatures, funny that). Reason #2: Ice is the perfect building material for the Others.
Shaw: Do you know what substance an Other sword is made from. Martin: Ice. But not like regular old ice. The Others can do things with ice that we can't imagine and make substances of it. -
Self explanatory. Reason #3: The Wall not only has anti-wight wards, it has anti-dragon ones too.
“Thrice I flew Silverwing high above Castle Black, and thrice I tried to take her north beyond the Wall,” Alysanne wrote to Jaehaerys, “but every time she veered back south again and refused to go. Never before has she refused to take me where I wished to go. I laughed about it when I came down again, so the black brothers would not realize anything was amiss, but it troubled me then and it troubles me still.” -F&B
This would strongly, strongly imply that the Wall was a cooperative effort between human and Others as part of a truce, creating a barrier past which neither of their servants could pass. But wait, you say, couldn’t that just imply that the dragon refused because it could sense that the Others were dangerous to it? Yeah about that. Dragons vs Others is an utter curbstomp in favor of dragons based on all available information This ain’t TV. There is no Night King to yeet magical javelins at the dragons that one shot them from a mile away. No, what we have are creatures wielding weapons made of magic ice, with no missile weapons that we've yet seen, leading an army of ultra-flammable wights, against an airforce that spits magical fire. Who would win: 3 fighter-bombers fully loaded with napalm, or a medieval army except slower and soaked in gasoline? The answer will not surprise you! Face it, even without dragons, the Others seem scary as hell but not exactly unbeatable when you know their weaknesses. Samwell Goddamn Tarly killed one with a rock. Aka dragonglass, which judging by its widespread use among the CotF in weapons, is widely available. Wights meanwhile are super-strong, durable, and sloooooow. And are consumed by flames immediately when set alight. The ultra-dense, fast tsunami of wights that barreled over Daenerys’ army in GoT? In ASOIAF, it would go maybe 3 mph, half of them would be tripping over each other, and within seconds of touching that compact formation with dragonflame the entire undead army would be in flames because fire spreads, guys. Thanks for playing Others, probably should have spread out before the airstrike came in. So that’s the Army of the Dead’s weaknesses. What are the dragons’ known weaknesses again?
Other dragons, mostly.
The supervolcano that destroyed Valyria.
Whatever attacked Balerion in Valyria.
An extremely lucky artillery strike in the eye.
5,000 times their number in peasants, but only if they’re chained to the ground.
A magically summoned tornado of water.
Being poisoned by maesters.
Huh. Those don’t seem to be as easy to exploit as “a rock” or “a chemical reaction humans have used for millions of years.” But wait, what if the Others are made out of magical ice that fire can’t melt? Then that’s dumb. Magic fire > magic ice is the intuitive conclusion anybody who has played Pokemon could tell you. If GRRM decides “well actually, this is special magical ice that magical fire can’t harm” then that’s some “five year old making up new powers as they go in their mock superhero battle” bullshit. Not to mention, Septon Barth suggests in TWOIAF that dragons were actually intentionally designed by the Valyrians
In Septon Barth's Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns, he speculated that the bloodmages of Valyria used wyvern stock to create dragons. Though the bloodmages were alleged to have experimented mightily with their unnatural arts, this claim is considered far-fetched by most maesters, among them Maester Vanyon's Against the Unnatural contains certain proofs of dragons having existed in Westeros even in the earliest of days, before Valyria rose to be a power. -TWOIAF
Septon Barth is pretty much always at least partially right about these sorts of things. While he’s wrong that dragons originated in Valyria (they probably date back to the Great Empire of the Dawn), he’s probably right about them being a chimera created through blood magic. Probably designed as a weapon. Maybe designed to fight ice creatures. It thus makes sense to me that dragons hard counter Others in every way; that’s probably what they were designed to do. And at the very least, fire definitely scares them. Which would make sense if at least some fire can harm them.
Fire will dismay them, though… -A Feast for Crows - Samwell I
I imagine a gigantic flying fire elemental would do a little more than dismay them. But there’s ice dragons bigger than any Valyrian dragons! One, there may well not be, since there are never any corpses found. Two, see above. They’re made of ice. It doesn’t matter how big you are when your opponent can reduce you to a puddle by breathing on you. But weirwood arrows! This is one thing that could work. Presumably an arrow that can be fired with unnatural range and accuracy, like the one that killed Daemon Blackfyre from 300 yards, could get in a dragon’s eye and do some damage. However… it probably can’t outright kill a dragon, judging by what happened to Dreamfyre when it took a lucky crossbow bolt in the eye (disoriented and angry). And even if it did, those are CotF weapons, we have no idea if Others could use them. The last time an Other and a CotF weapon came into contact it didn’t go well for the Other. I could be horribly wrong, but as it stands the Others have a snowball’s chance in hell against dragons. So the wall that keeps them out is extremely valuable to the Others. What would they do then, if someone were to try and bring it down? Kill the people trying to do that. Mance Rayder and the Horn of Winter
"I'm crying because we never found the Horn of Winter. We opened half a hundred graves and let all those shades loose in the world, and never found the Horn of Joramun to bring this cold thing down!" -Ygritte, ASOS
The generally accepted sequence of events North of the wall is as follows: The Others wake up. Mance unites the freefolk. Mance starts kicking over graves searching for the Horn of Winter. My conjecture is that this is bullshit. The actual order is: Mance starts kicking over graves searching for the Horn of Winter.The Others wake up.Mance unites the freefolk. Ygritte hints that this may be the case when she says they “let shades loose in the world.” The Others are often described as shadows, white shadows especially.
Will saw movement from the corner of his eye. Pale shapes gliding through the wood. He turned his head, glimpsed a white shadow in the darkness. Then it was gone. -A Game of Thrones - Prologue "We have white shadows in the woods and unquiet dead stalking our halls, and a boy sits the Iron Throne," he said in disgust. -Jorah Mormont, AGOT "What gods?" Jon was remembering that they'd seen no boys in Craster's Keep, nor men either, save Craster himself. "The cold gods," she said. "The ones in the night. The white shadows." -A Clash of Kings - Jon III
"strange, beautiful… think, oh… the Sidhe made of ice, something like that… a different sort of life… inhuman, elegant, dangerous." They are particularly associated with underground burial mounds, Sidhe actually can refer to both the Aos Sí and their mounds: The most common names for them, aos sí, aes sídhe, daoine sídhe (singular duine sídhe) and daoine sìth mean, literally, "people of the mounds" (referring to the sídhe).
And woe betide those who disturb the Sidhe.
Aos sí are seen as fierce guardians of their abodes—whether a fairy hill, a fairy ring, a special tree (often a hawthorn) or a particular loch or wood. It is believed that infringing on these spaces will cause the aos sí to retaliate in an effort to remove the people or objects that invaded their homes.
So looting graves to try and find the Horn of Winter is probably a double provocation. And it’s quite possible Mance was doing other things to irritate the Others.
He says one of his men discovered huge, misshapen footprints not three leagues from Eastwatch. Rangers from the Shadow Tower have found whole villages abandoned, and at night Ser Denys says they see fires in the mountains, huge blazes that burn from dusk till dawn. -A Game of Thrones - Jon IX
Huge fires, burning from dusk till dawn! Huge misshapen footprints! Obviously a huge camp of wildlings and giants! Except, aren’t most of the wildlings hundreds of miles north of the wall? Past Skirling Pass? Could you see them from the Shadow Tower? Well, if so, they must be massive damn fires, way beyond what’s necessary for warmth or cooking. These are probably ostensibly to ward away the Others. However, they may also be intended to provoke the Others. There's a strong indication that they would do so when the NW camps at Craster's.
There had been no attacks while they had been at Craster's, neither wights nor Others. Nor would there be, Craster said. "A godly man got no cause to fear such. I said as much to that Mance Rayder once, when he come sniffing round. He never listened, no more'n you crows with your swords and your bloody fires. -A Storm of Swords - Samwell II
Craster told Mance the Others weren't a threat, and not to set fires. But Mance didn't listen. Because he didn't want to listen. You could get into some super deep tinfoil and speculate on whether the footprints are dragons… but that’s a bridge too far for now. Mance Motive #1: Personal power Mance has one extremely clear motive for provoking the Others: his own personal power. By stirring them up he can use fear of them to unite the freefolk. And this was successful. Mance has become the first true King-Beyond-The-Wall in a long time, with enough strength to roll over the Wall and carve himself out a nice little kingdom somewhere in the North before the Long Night falls. Unless of course some other army randomly shows up. Then he might have to call an audible. This idea of using “the Others” as a scapegoat fits perfectly with the phenomenology of the Other, which I think is essential to understanding GRRM’s actual intentions for them. It’s the kind of twist anti-war GRRM would love and I expect we’ll see it from at least one other person when the wall drops (cough Euron cough). But I think there's much more at play here. Let's check out Mance's name real fast... "Mance" suggests "-mancer," as in a sorcerer. Rayder, obviously, is similar to "raider", like a wildling raider or, more importantly, a tomb raider. Mance's name may indicate that he raids tombs on behalf of sorcerous masters (assuming he does no magic himself). Also, if you anagram his name, you get "da mercenary." A bit on the nose. Someone is paying Mance to do what he does. But who? Mance Motive #2: the League of Shadows.
"The grey sheep have closed their eyes, but the mastiff sees the truth. Old powers waken. Shadows stir. An age of wonder and terror will soon be upon us, an age for gods and heroes." -A Feast for Crows - Prologue
It is my theory that there is a large conspiracy of powerful and mysterious individuals, which I am tentatively referring to as the League of Shadows (other options: The Bloodstone Brotherhood, the Church of Starry Wisdom, the Kraken’s Arms, SPECTRE… lots to choose from). They are connected to Asshai and the Shadowlands either loosely or directly, and they are manipulating events around the globe in an attempt to fulfill the prophecy of Azor Ahai (note: this is not a good thing). Probably the most important of these individuals is Euron Greyjoy. Daario Naharis, who is immortal btw, is another. Quaithe and Jaqen, probably. Marwyn and Qyburn, perhaps. But Mance Rayder?
"One day on a ranging we brought down a fine big elk. We were skinning it when the smell of blood drew a shadow-cat out of its lair. I drove it off, but not before it shredded my cloak to ribbons. Do you see? Here, here, and here?" He chuckled. "It shredded my arm and back as well, and I bled worse than the elk. My brothers feared I might die before they got me back to Maester Mullin at the Shadow Tower, so they carried me to a wildling village where we knew an old wisewoman did some healing. She was dead, as it happened, but her daughter saw to me. Cleaned my wounds, sewed me up, and fed me porridge and potions until I was strong enough to ride again. And she sewed up the rents in my cloak as well, with some scarlet silk from Asshai that her grandmother had pulled from the wreck of a cog washed up on the Frozen Shore. It was the greatest treasure she had, and her gift to me." -A Storm of Swords - Jon I
So, the silk from Asshai. It's the most distinctive aspect of Mance's outfit. He receives it immediately before he deserts the Night's Watch. And his account of where it came from is very weird and on examination, really really unlikely. It is possible it's from a normal wrecked cog that just so happened to be carrying Asshai'i silk which found it's way to a ship passing the Frozen Shore through the normal diffusion of goods. But is it likely? No. The Frozen Shore is not only on the opposite side of the world from Asshai, it lies between Bear Island and absolutely nowhere of note. There is zero reason for a trading ship to risk this journey to trade with dirt poor wildlings in places where the demand for silk must be non-existent. Some suspect that the inclusion of the cog carrying Asshai'i silk wrecking on the Frozen Shore is supposed to be a hint that the world of ASOIAF is round. Which, yes, it is. GRRM has made zero bones about that, it's not new information really worth dropping hints about. But additionally, if random cogs from Asshai were just showing up off the coast of Westeros from over the Sunset Sea, on random trading missions, everybody would know about them. If ships actually do cross the Sunset Sea, they probably are not random trading cogs, but something more seaworthy. And they're probably not there to sell completely legitimate goods (a process that involves attracting attention, if you're doing it right), but to make contact with potential agents, and bribe or otherwise manipulate them to carry out their agenda. And if you were trying to fulfill the prophecy of Azor Ahai, you would absolutely want at least one person north of the wall, looking for the Horn of Winter and riling up the Others for Azor Ahai to heroically defeat. Many of the other agents in the conspiracy, like Euron and Daario, are tied to the motif of crows. Euron is known as "the Crow's-eye." Daario is leader of the Stormcrows. And Mance?
Mance thinks he'll fight, the brave sweet stubborn man, like the white walkers were no more than rangers, but what does he know? He can call himself King-beyond-the-Wall all he likes, but he's still just another old black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower. -A Game of Thrones - Bran VI
A crow from the Shadow Tower?
A few tents were still standing on the far side of the camp, and it was there they found Mance Rayder. Beneath his slashed cloak of black wool and red silk he wore black ringmail and shaggy fur breeches, and on his head was a great bronze-and-iron helm with raven wings at either temple. -A Storm of Swords - Jon II
A raven helm? This could also tie him in with Bloodraven, but since I'm still not sure where he stands vis-a-vis the League of Shadows, I'll put that on the back burner for now. It's more crow symbolism though. Implications (there’s lots) Mance (almost certainly) wrote the Pink Letter, to throw the Night’s Watch into confusion There is an excellent case made in this asoiaf.westeros.org thread by “Aegon VII” that Mance wrote the Pink Letter. The main argument against it was that if Mance truly has his people’s best interests at heart, it’s completely counterproductive. This theory explains the dissonance perfectly: Mance does not care about the wildlings. What he cares about most of all is ensuring that the defenders of the Wall are in no condition to protect it when the rest of the conspiracy (Euron or Jaqen) brings it down with the Horn of Winter. Mance (probably) paid the catspaw to kill Bran There’s already a theory that this is the case, laid out by u/do_theknifefight, and like “Mance wrote the Pink Letter,” the main problem is the lack of motive. Between “a wildling would consider it a mercy” and “to sow disset between the North and the Iron Throne,” there really isn’t much there motive wise. Unless, of course, Mance is in league with an organization of glass candle and prophecy wielding sorcerors who know that Bran actually is a more valuable target than, let’s say, Robb. Mance is in Winterfell with his spearwives for his own reasons What are those reasons? Searching for dragon eggs in the crypts? Some other artifact? Who knows. I am rather surprised Theon was allowed to get out safe given Euron and Mance are ostensibly on the same team. Then again, “safe” in this case means surrounded by people who want him sacrificed. Aemon Steelsong may end up driving a wedge between two members of the League of Shadows, Euron Greyjoy and Mance Rayder. Horn Hill is screwed. So, so, so screwed.
It made him wonder if even Horn Hill was truly safe. The Tarly lands lay inland amidst thickly wooded foothills, a hundred leagues northeast of Oldtown and a long way from any coast. They should be well beyond the reach of ironmen and longships, even with his lord father off fighting in the riverlands and the castle lightly held. The Young Wolf had no doubt thought the same was true of Winterfell until the night that Theon Turncloak scaled his walls. Sam could not bear the thought that he might have brought Gilly and her babe all this long way to keep them out of harm, only to abandon them in the midst of war. He wrestled with his doubts through the rest of the voyage, wondering what to do. He could keep Gilly with him in Oldtown, he supposed. The city's walls were much more formidable than those of his father's castle, and had thousands of men to defend them, as opposed to the handful Lord Randyll would have left at Horn Hill when he marched to Highgarden to answer his liege lord's summons. -A Feast for Crows - Samwell V
Of course, Sam decided to send Gilly and Aemon on to Horn Hill anyway. And that castle, having had its weak defenses mentioned, is probably doomed when Euron and the ironborn inevitably come calling. What will happen to little Steelsong then? If Euron kills Steelsong, it could potentially lead to Mance defecting from the conspiracy later. If Euron find out who the infant is and sacrifices him for his king’s blood, likewise. If Euron finds out who the infant is and then inexplicably begins to treat the baby like a decent human being would, well, #confirmed. Personally, I lean more towards each member of the conspiracy working towards the same goal but otherwise being scheming dirtbags towards each other (for example, Daario and Euron both pursuing the same woman). So RIP Steelsong most likely. Again, in conclusion: The Others are defending the Wall, Mance Rayder is a manipulative sociopath working for the Planetosi Illuminati, and everything you know is a lie.
2019.07.22 01:31 altovaliriano"And not just the free folk" - Where Benjen Stark hasn't been (spoilers published)
I've posted this on the Brazilian subreddit (/Valiria/), but I felt someone here would be interested too. (english is not my first language, so sorry in advance for the grammatical errors). Premise When Jon meets Mance for the first time, he reports on the activities of the Night Patrol full of half-truths. Among the facts reported, Mance and Jon hold the following dialogue:
Still... a boy from Castle Black with rangers from the Shadow Tower? How did that come to be?” Jon had his lie all ready. “The Lord Commander sent me to the Halfhand for seasoning, so he took me on his ranging.” Styr the Magnar frowned at that. “Ranging, you call it... why would crows come ranging up the Skirling Pass?” “The villages were deserted,” Jon said, truthfully. “It was as if all the free folk had vanished.” “Vanished, aye,” said Mance Rayder. “And not just the free folk.Who told you where we were, Jon Snow?” Tormund snorted. “It were Craster, or I’m a blushing maid. I told you, Mance, that creature needs to be shorter by a head.” The king gave the older man an irritated look. “Tormund, someday try thinking before you speak. I know it was Craster. I asked Jon to see if he would tell it true.” (ASOS, Jon I)
Styr reacts to Jon telling it was a ranging because Quorin’s band was too far off Shadow Tower territory. Then he immediately asks for the reason that brought them to Skirling Pass (where Rattleshirt had captured Jon). When Jon answers the deserted villages rose their alert, Mance starts to suspect they had paid Craster a visit (a detail we became of aware because of Tormund’s bluntness). But before he began to test Jon’s honesty, he responds Jon report with “And not just the Free Folk”. Mance could be referring to giants, CoTF, animals, etc, but his intervention only fits like a glove if he is telling Jon, a deserter, of vanished NW men, especially the First Ranger, Benjen Stark, Jon’s uncle. Mance mused why Jon was there, and as Styr’s frown showed, a range that far from Shadow Tower was unusual. So, what better reason than looking for Benjen? Despite Mance and Benjen never met (“Your uncle did not know me by sight, so I had no fear from that quarter”), Benjen’s disappearance is something that Mance would have known. Note, he knew when Robert was coming to Winterfell and that Benjen was coming to the feast. And that’s a much lesser deal than Benjen’s disappearance. If Benjen had passed by Mance, the King-Beyond-the-Wall would have noticed. So Benjen didn’t. It happens we know where Mance was all this time. Chronology When Jon arrives at Whitetree (April 21th of 299, if we believe “The most precise Timeline”) we hear there where wildlings there “only a year ago" (298 DC). According to Craster, the empty villages were work of Mance Rayder, but the aforementioned dialogue shows it was not the case. However, Craster thinks it was so due the fact Mance sent a rider for him, when Craster probably learned of Mance’s horde. We don’t know the date the rider arriver at Craster’s keep, but we knew that there still were people on Whitetree around the day Benjen left the Wall (Jun 15th of 298). So, the place the rider told Craster where to find Mance should be the same Mance was when Ben Stark disappeared. Location "A wolf dream," the Halfhand said. "Craster told the Lord Commander that the wildlings were gathering at the source of the Milkwater. That may be why you dreamed it. Or it may be that you saw what waits for us, a few hours farther on." The official maps diverge a bit regarding the exact location of the source of the Milkwater (check ot the maps from James Sinclair, Jeffrey L. Ward e Jonathan Roberts), but all converge on some characteristics:
It is on the Frostfangs;
North to Skirling Pass;
West of Fist of First Men.
A very wide and vague area to make a good cut out, no? Maybe not. Benjen was headed west from Castle Black (“Uncle Benjen said they might search as far as the Shadow Tower. That's all the way up in the mountains.” – AGOT, Jon III), he didn’t reached Craster’s Keep ("I've not seen Benjen Stark for three years" – ACOK, Jon III), nobody saw him near Shadow Tower, Mance had eyes in Skirling Pass, like Rattleshirt’s band ("Watchers in the Skirling Pass," … "What is it Mance Rayder fears, I wonder?" – ACOK, Jon VI), and Ben did not went as far as the Milkwater’s source, otherwise Mance would have spotted him or his men. So it is likely that whatever happened to Benjen, it did happen inside the following perimeter: west of Castle Black, south of Milkwater’s source, east of the Frostfangs and north of the Wall. Any thoughts?
2019.07.01 04:51 GenghisKazoo(Spoilers Extended) Euron will steal the sword Dawn from Starfall
The reasons are as follows: 1) Legendary artifacts are kind of Euron's favorite thing. He has a set of Valyrian steel armor and Dragonbinder, he may have had a dragon egg at one point, and he's probably about to acquire the Horn of Joramun and glass candles from Oldtown. He's a pirate first and foremost, and what's a pirate without treasure? 2) Dawn is the legendary sword of Westeros, if not the world. Made from a stone that fell from the sky. As strong and sharp as Valyrian steel, but made from a completely different metal. Probably dating back all the way to the Long Night and named appropriately. A sword worthy of Euron's armor. 3) Dawn is at Starfall, by word of GRRM:
Dawn remains at Starfall, until another Sword of the Morning shall arise.
It may not be in the castle itself. Ashara Dayne might have taken it with her when she committed suicide by jumping from the Palestone Tower into the Torrentine River. But a little water is hardly going to stop Euron from finding it. 4) Starfall is fairly close to Euron's primary target of Oldtown, sitting near the westernmost edge of Dorne. It sits on an isle in the middle of the mouth of the Torrentine River, and will be quite accessible to ironborn longships. Much less a dragon if Euron binds one. 5) It is also rather close to one of Euron's secondary targets, Horn Hill, on the other side of the Red Mountains. The wooded surroundings of Horn Hill may be the burning forest from Aeron's dream, and Gilly has taken Mance Rayder and Val's son there. He may have significance for one of Euron's blood rituals. 6) A visit by Euron to Starfall will allow GRRM to tie off a loose end, Dorne's resident edgelord, Darkstar, as well as Ser Balon Swann, Obara, and Areo who have been sent after him. Perhaps Ser Harras Harlaw and the Valyrian steel sword Nightfall will be involved? 7) By claiming Dawn, Euron will be able to strengthen his claim to being Azor Ahai reborn. Many theories suggest that Euron may play the role of "false messiah," and/or team up with Melisandre. Dawn, as the most thematically appropriate base for Lightbringer, would do much to strengthen his claim and convince Melisandre and others to join him. 8) Euron's Valyrian steel armor, the sword Dawn, and the bound dragon Rhaegal create a convenient package of legendary artifacts for the real Azor Ahai, probably Jon, to acquire either after Euron's death, or, in one theory I consider kind of tinfoily, through possessing Euron's body. All Euron has to do is deliver them to the North in order to set up the most epic loot drop in the history of Westeros. 9) Euron acquiring the artifacts and dragon that Jon will use, assuming Jon and Daenerys have a relationship in the books, explains how Euron is so confident he will be able to wed Daenerys. Euron most likely saw a figure using those artifacts through his captive warlocks, shade-of-the-evening dreams, greensight, or whatever, who also was in a relationship with Daenerys. He concluded it was him, when in reality it will be Jon.
2019.03.09 05:43 PM_ME_UR_BEST_ANGLE(Spoilers Extended) The King Beyond the Wall's true identity
I have read a lot about the theory mance = rhaegar, and I stumbled upon this old post https://www.reddit.com/asoiaf/comments/1jenfc/spoilers_all_just_a_little_theory_of_mine_about/ And it lays out very strong and convincing evidence that mance is really rhaegar targaryen, making mance Jon snows father in a very big nod to luke skywalker being darth vader's son. The post is very well written and i really advise people to read it if you are not convinced or are not familiar with the theory. There is probably several other posts similar aswell or videos about the theory, but I Just think this one was well explained and simple. In the comment section the majority is not at all convinced, and by 'disproving' the theory the argument is mentioned several times that mance has an alibi as he was born and raised at the NW, and therefore cant be rhaegar. But melisandre has already demonstrated what her powers are capable of by swapping mance and rattleshirts identity and faking his death. So that means she (or any other red priest) could easily have done the exact same thing to fake rhaegars death at the trident, and saved his life twice. Also rhaegar had the most famous appearance in all of westeros so of course he would need a disguise (like for example a glamour like mel uses). What is stopping rhaegar after he flees to the wall to take a glamour? Glamours are already established to be a thing. So the real mance having an 'alibi' is IMO irrelevant as he could be killed to not talk, while rhaegar steals his identity. Or maybe the real mance did it willingly and is still alive (maybe he is rattleshirt, that would be the most mind boggling crazy confusing thing ever). Obviously this could only happen in the books, as the show killed this 'seemingly unimportant' storyline. I made this post to know how many really believe in the theory vs. how many are convinced its tinfoil. Also if you do or don't support the theory, please discuss your opinion why. Edit: Also Mance Rayder suddenly getting the urge to go beyond the wall, gather all living men and marching them to the wall in a ultimate preparation for the long night is too significant. It's been awhile since I was up to date on the books, but I seem to recall rhaegar and Bloodraven being close. The only person who would be able to convince Rhaegar that the long night is coming, that he might have seen in a vision could be Bloodraven. This makes too perfect for an explanation for 'mance rayder' motives, im unable to see this theory not to be true.
2019.01.30 16:25 Artichoke19Feedback for a small piece of creative writing inspired by Mieville's Bas-Lag universe (<500 words)
First off, I'll happily delete this post if the mods aren't happy for me to post this as I know this isn't news about Mieville or his work directly. I thought it would be OK to seek the feedback for my target audience, so to speak, before posting it on subs where writers specifically ask for feedback. So a few months ago I mentioned in this thread, that out of impatience and/or frustration that China hadn't written another full-length Bas-Lag-set novel that I had started imagining a 'weird fantasy' universe of my own to satiate that desire for anything like it. It's been slowly developing in fits and starts on scraps of paper for 15 years but the main issues I have persistently had are just lack of belief in my abilities, that anything I write will just come off as pretentious or aping Miéville too much, or just plain juvenile shite I'd be naive to think there's any hope in pursuing. u/bromance_rayder encouraged me to write 5000 words by Oct 1st and while I did write something I could barely manage 2000 words by that date and they were piss-poor so I didn't post them. Any-who, long story short I've resolved to venture out of my comfort zone and seek some feedback on some of what I did manage to squeeze out, for better or worse. Here is a short excerpt from what I wrote back in September. The first 500 words essentially. It's supposed to be like a sort-of prologue or introductory overview of the setting to set the tone before a first chapter goes into my main character and her situation. I can post the rest if anyone is interested after reading this. Thanks in advance! Intro to Ungol The accursed storm had raged over the planet for an epoch. Radioactive winds, summoned through dark magick pummelled white hot hail into the battered landmass, putrid chemicals had leeched from the frothing soils and into the waters, salts and impossible elements reacting, the broth boiling off into the atmosphere. The storm's self sustaining winds had carried its broad mass for millennia. It roiled around the planet, forever skimming over a global ocean of thick, oily rot. The toxic remains of pulverised biomass. Like a glistening black marble, this former world hung suspended indistinguishable from the surrounding emptiness of space around it, but for the faint glint from the stretched shell of irregular ice in impossibly low planetary orbit. As this world's last surviving generations slowly choked into oblivion, if they ever thought to look up from their suffering to squint through gaps in the endless black cloud, they would not have seen stars. What light reached this world was from a distant cooling sun; the last in existence. The others had been jealously snuffed out. Strained through the cloud cover, weak light illuminated a continent. Just one had survived. A singular mass pierced above the inky waterline. Strewn over mountains and marshes, the churned remains of a past technological civilisation were the only evidence of anything that had come before the devastation. The smashed and fossilising brick and glass remnants revealed themselves within and without of the ground. Twisted steel skeletons of industry threaded through igneous rock or forgotten deep in sediment. Molten ends of fibre-optic cables thick as a man jutted from dry soil. Acres of underground server farms clotted with radioactive fungi. Bone and concrete pounded into the same dust, scattered on the winds. Somehow on this decaying remnant world a perversion of life survived. Lurking in pools underground, obscured in the shadowed crevices and venturing out over desolate plains, beings with distant echoes of humanity within them crawled, slithered and wriggled out into the open, looked up at the ruinous skies and wondered aloud to one another. Scraps of sentience slowly returned, language congealed out of barbarity. From the shared experiences of mutated throats and eyes, a common tongue persisted. Reports of the limits of the lands, the endless sludge of the seas around them in all directions, the great punctured rent in the earth at the centre of the continent, the second wave of darkness that was cast over them as the thick sheet of orbital ice passed above. They knew the land had once had other names in the distant past but those names were forgotten in the Breaking. They all had just one name for it now. Ungol.
2018.12.26 21:57 three-eyedmonkey(Spoilers TWoW) The Mance Plan and how the Pink Letter killed it.
Mance was a crow who flew down from the Wall for somewhere where a kiss was not a crime and a man could wear whatever cloak he chooses. He spent years uniting the freefolk, winning them over with his lute or his words or the edge of his sword, and forging a thousand daggers into a single spear aimed at the heart of the Seven Kingdoms, or so it would seem. In truth, Mance wants to lead the great host he had gathered past the Wall before the cold winds rise and the dead come walking. His initial plan was to draw defenders away from Castle Black with a feigned attack on the Shadow Tower while raiders climbed the Wall, attacked Castle Black from the south, and opened the gates. When this plan failed and Jon returned to him wearing black, Mance opted to try a bluff, using the fabled “Horn of Joramun”. He turned back to Jon. "Go back and tell them to open their gate and let us pass. If they do, I will give them the horn, and the Wall will stand until the end of days." ... He touched the horn again. "If I sound the Horn of Winter, the Wall will fall. Or so the songs would have me believe. There are those among my people who want nothing more . . ." "But once the Wall is fallen," Dalla said, "what will stop the Others?" Leaving the Wall standing is clearly preferable considering what Mance knows is coming, and even if he had the real horn it is unlikely he would blow it when he still had other options. Mance believes he could storm the Shadow Tower as he knows the approaches well. He says he could build rafts and send ten thousand men across the Bay of Seals to take Eastwatch form the south. Or he could simultaneously dig out the gates of several of the abandoned castles along the Wall, stretching the defenders thin until he breaks through. But these options come at a price Mance would rather not pay. "Blood," said Mance Rayder. "I'd win in the end, yes, but you'd bleed me, and my people have bled enough." And getting past the Wall is only half of the problem. If Mance succeeds he need consider what’s next? “If we let your people pass, are you strong enough to make them keep the king's peace and obey the laws?" "Whose laws? The laws of Winterfell and King's Landing?" Mance laughed. "When we want laws we'll make our own. You can keep your king's justice too, and your king's taxes. I'm offering you the horn, not our freedom. We will not kneel to you." Mance is adamant that the freefolk will not kneel. Freedom is naturally a large part of the freefolks’ identity and culture, again a price Mance would rather not pay. In fact it’s a price Mance could never pay even if he wanted to, as the freefolk are accustomed to following whomever they choose. This raises the question of what Mance expected to happen if and when the freefolk entered the Seven Kingdoms? It is possible that he planned to carve out a piece of the kingdom for the freefolk by military conquest, but history tells that every king-beyond-the-wall who led a host south was stopped by the Watch or the Lord of Winterfell. "Wildlings have invaded the realm before." Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. "Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather's grandfather, and before him there was a king named Bael the Bard." "Aye, and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun, who blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth. Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side.” From a military perspective it is a good time for Mance to strike, given that Watch is weak and the north is in a state of upheaval, but it is only a matter of time before the northern lords reorganise again. And when they do the freefolk will be left to fight a war on two fronts, with the Others closing from the north and the northern lords from the south. There is no satisfactory military solution, especially as the freefolk would bleed in any given scenario and Mance believes they have bled enough already. Mance needs a political solution that will allow his people to live south of the Wall while maintaining their freedom and subsequently their cultural identity. "Free folk don't follow names, or little cloth animals sewn on a tunic," the King-Beyond-the-Wall had told him. "They won't dance for coins, they don't care how you style yourself or what that chain of office means or who your grandsire was. They follow strength. They follow the man." So when Mance talked with Stannis for hours he had two main objectives in mind. The first was to secure safe passage through the Wall for his people. The second was to integrate the freefolk with the north in a way that would best preserve their freedom. Of course Stannis also wanted the Wildlings south of the Wall, so both men have common ground upon which to build an agreement, but Stannis insists on the conditions that they swear fealty to him, keep the king’s peace, and take the red god as their own, terms that gravely threaten the second of Mance’s objectives. Your brothers will not like it, no more than your father's lords, but I mean to allow the wildlings through the Wall . . . those who will swear me their fealty, pledge to keep the king's peace and the king's laws, and take the Lord of Light as their god. Even the giants, if those great knees of theirs can bend. I will settle them on the Gift, once I have wrested it away from your new Lord Commander. When the cold winds rise, we shall live or die together. It is time we made alliance against our common foe." He looked at Jon. "Would you agree?" The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Stannis sees the sense of an alliance even if he knows the Watch and northern lords won’t like it. In his eyes, however, he has to proceed to choose between defending the Wall against the Wildlings or with them, with the latter being the obvious preference, as long as they accept his terms. And Mance Rayder is essential to such an alliance. “The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder." "I know that," Stannis said, unhappily. Although we were not privy to the meeting between Stannis and Mance, we can make some reasonable assumptions, based on what we know about the situation and the motives of each character, as to what they discussed and the resulting agreement. To begin with, Stannis holds both Mance’s life and his son in his hands, which is a very strong position from which to negotiate. Mance on the other hand has been defeated and captured, the horn he was using as a bluff has been seized, and he has little choice but to accept Stannis’ terms or be executed as an oath-breaker. His position is weak, yet not without hope. In Stannis, Mance is confronted with a king who sees the sense in an alliance with the Wildlings because he believes in their common enemy. If Mance had been defeated and captured in any other king or lord, then it would have surely spelt his doom, but luckily for Mance, Stannis needs him. Stannis clearly planned to use Mance in a process of loyalty-by-proxy, which means keeping Mance loyal to him and trusting Mance to keep the wildlings loyal in turn. This is no different than how a king uses any lord throughout the Seven Kingdoms, and that is effectively what Mance would become in Stannis’ eyes, a new Lord of the Gift, ruling over the Wildling settlers on behalf of his king. If the Wildlings are to come into Stannis’ kingdom then it only stands to reason that Stannis would want them subjected to the kingdom’s traditional feudal hierarchy. The creation of a new lordship on the Gift would be the smart move on Stannis behalf, especially as it does not require taking lands from any existing lords. Holding Mance’s son as a hostage, or possibly appointing him a ward of Winterfell, would be advantageous to this end as well. Marrying the “wildling princess” to the Lord of Winterfell would, from Stannis’ southron point of view, only further strengthen the bond. Stannis’ terms are clearly too much for Mance, but the king-beyond-the-wall is left with a simple choice between death or accepting those terms and living to fight another day. By virtue of the fact that Stannis spared Mance, we know that Mance must have compromised to the king’s satisfaction. But Qhorin Halfhand told us that Mance never learned to obey and that his knees do not bend easily. Mance’s personal objections aside, there is a political implication to kneeling as well. As Mance tells Jon: “You don't become King-beyond-the-Wall because your father was. The free folk won't follow a name, and they don't care which brother was born first. They follow fighters.” If Mance was seen to kneel to Stannis, then he would most likely lose support amongst the freefolk, who would clearly see him as a kneeler, not a fighter. This is where Mance catches another lucky break. Stannis, under pressure to execute the oath-breaking king-beyond-the-wall, solves this problem for him when he burns “Mance” for all the world to see. This means he was free to privately accept Stannis’ terms, swear an oath to the king, live, and not lose face. And if he needs to renege on the deal at a later date, then it’s not as if he is unaccustomed to oath-breaking. Faced with the choice of kneel or die, Mance did what he had to do. “We all do what we have to do, Snow. Evenkings." So what did Stannis and Mance get from the discussions, bearing in mind the objectives of both men and the fact that Mance was spared? Stannis thinks he has gained a means of binding the Wildlings to his cause, even if the problem of Mance’s oath-breaking and calls for his execution still needs to be solved at some stage, like with a pardon and lordship in exchange for some fingers perhaps? Who knows what Stannis had in mind. From Mance’s perspective, he has secured a place south of the Wall for his people on the strength of his oath of loyalty to Stannis, and importantly he lives to break that oath should the opportunity arise. It may even be that Stannis, given his disadvantageous military position in his war for the Iron Throne, will die soon and negate the oath that way. The fact is, while Stannis has proved useful to Mance, Mance doesn’t need Stannis. Especially when there are other political players and political philosophies in play that would better suit his objective. Stannis wants the Wildlings to be kneelers in his realm, he consorts with a sorceress and purports to follow the red god, and he has a child with greyscale, none of which would appeal to the freefolk, no more than being ruled by the Iron Throne through Bolton wardens would. An independent north under Robb Stark’s heir would be a far better proposition from Mance’s point of view. More so if Robb’s heir was someone Mance and the freefolk could respect, a fighter, someone who could unite the north and the freefolk in the wars to come. So Mance donned Rattleshirt’s bones and bided his time until Melisandre eventually gifted him an opportunity. He travelled south through Umber lands and attached himself to the Bolton tail, just as he had with Robert a few years before. In Winterfell, Abel and his washerwomen murdered a number of serving men, something that is not productive in the rescue of Arya for it puts the Boltons on alert and works against a stealthy extraction of Ramsay’s bride. These killings demonstrate that Mance has an agenda in Winterfell that goes beyond the rescue of Arya. It’s clear he wants to destabilize the Boltons, but whether he acted in support of Stannis or another cause remains unclear. Mance was well placed to understand there is a northern agenda working against the Boltons and by extension the Iron Throne, and that is a cause he and his people could benefit from. When last we saw Abel he was singing in the hall at Winterfell before the rescue commenced. What fate befell him is unclear. He may have been captured and caged as the Pink Letter suggests, or he may have escaped to hide in the crypts as many fans theorise. But unless he was killed off-screen, which is unlikely, he should still be alive when next we have a pov character in Winterfell, regardless of whether he’s to be found in a cage or in the crypts. It remains to be seen where the balance of power lies within Winterfell when Stannis takes the castle, given that he is outnumbered by northerners who have a different agenda to him, but when Stannis and Mance are reunited they will again find themselves with a common interest, that being Jon, though for very different reasons. Stannis needs Jon to come to Winterfell, swear his sword, and help win the north to the king’s cause. Mance would prefer Jon to come to Winterfell to be crowned king of an independent north by the northern lords, and become something Mance could never hope to be, a man who both the north and the freefolk would choose to follow. Uniting both factions under a common leader is the best political solution Mance could hope to find in his bid to achieve his second objective. Of course, that solution requires Mance sacrificing his own kingship, something he could not have realistically hoped to hold for long once he was south of the Wall anyway. But I don’t see Mance as being hung up on kingship, he wears no crown, holds no lands, and has no wealth. I believe his mission to save the freefolk is more important to him. Having them south of the Wall under Jon’s leadership is something he would surely consider a success, and is certainly preferable to any other political solution he could hope to achieve. What all this means is that if Stannis defeats the Boltons and takes Winterfell, as I suspect he will, then we will have three parties inside the castle who have an interest in Jon. Stannis, who wants to make Jon Stark his loyal Lord of Winterfell; some northern lords, who seem to be working against the Iron Throne’s Wardens of the North with a return to northern independence the obvious motive; and Mance, who would much prefer to be left dealing with King Jon than with King Stannis. I believe that the Pink Letter is designed to provoke Jon into breaking his vows and riding to Winterfell. Personally, I think Stannis wrote the letter, and I detail why in my post titled - The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter, naturally. But I also believe some of the language in the letter is reminiscent of Mance, which suggests he is involved directly or indirectly in the crafting of the letter. In my opinion, Mance was involved directly, happily assisting Stannis get Jon to Winterfell in the knowledge that the northern lords had an agenda that would undo Stannis and win Jon to their cause, if indeed he ever did arrive. Jon being “dead” due to the unintended consequences of the letter is not a good result for Stannis or Mance and is a very definite game changer as Jon was central to both their plans. Rickon’s stock has risen now making Davos a crucial player and that gives Stannis an unexpected lifeline, with the onion knight primed to come to his king’s rescue once again it seems. Jon’s “death” is a far bigger blow to Mance, however, but he too may yet receive an unexpected lifeline, with much now depending on resurrection and what type of Jon returns. Thanks for reading.
2018.11.27 17:35 JocelynStark_(Spolier Tag) Lady Stoneheart’s Possible Fate
Well, first I’d like to apologize for my grammar mistakes. English isn’t my mother tongue. “She clutched tight at his hand. “Nothing will happen to you. Nothing. I could not stand it. They took Ned, and your sweet brothers. Sansa is married, Arya is lost, my father’s dead… if anything befell you, I would go mad, Robb. You are all I have left. You are all the north has left.” – ASOS, Catelyn IV In the Hindu tradition, the expression "Atithi Devo Bhava" represents a code of conduct which translates as "The guest is God." In Westeros, there is a similar conception as old as the First Men, and according to Mance Rayder, as sacred as a heart-tree. Legends that reflect the consequences of the violation of guest’s rights extend from beyond the Wall to the roynar culture. In the book Justice and Injustice of the North: Trials of Three Stark Lords, maester Egberd points out that only regicide is considered more sinful. Although the efficiency of "divine" decrees is debatable, it is speculated that the misfortune of the Freys and Lannisters elapsed after the Red Wedding was a result of the breaking of the laws of hospitality, and this includes the return of what’s suppose to be Catelyn. "After Catelyn's resurrection, it was Lady Stoneheart who became a vindictive and ruthless assassin. In the sixth book I still write her. She's an important part of the >entire< book.” GRRM The resurrection in George R.R Martin’s universe is approached in a different way from part of the modern fantasy, bringing more tragic effects than benign effects. Catelyn's body was stripped and thrown into the river as a mockery of the Tully’s funeral ritual, and upon being brought back by Beric Dondarrion, all traces of what had once been Catelyn Stark disappeared, emerging in her place the so-called Lady Stoneheart, a subversion of the devout mother and wife who now dedicates her existence to revenge. The question is: where does her story end? It started with Arya removing from the river the already decaying corpse through Nymeria, something predicted to happen since the first chapters of A Game of Thrones: "Maybe you should do the same, little sister. Marry Tully and Stark in your arms.” "A wolf with a fish in its mouth?" The thought made her laugh. " Later, in the third book, we have the Ghost of High Heart’s quote: "I dreamed of a roaring river and a woman who was a fish. Dead she floated, with red tears on her cheeks, but when her eyes opened, oh, I woke up terrified." Nymeria follows the smell that leads her to her mother's body and pulls her out of the water. Looking at the corpse, Arya's wolf-self thinks "Rise, rise and eat and run with us." Not long afterwards Lord Beric found Catelyn's body lying, and the promise he swore cost him his life. "Like Thoros, I do not have the power to bring your father back, but I can at least try to return you safely to your mother's arms. - Do you swear it? - She asked him. Yoren also promised to take her home, but instead he’d let himself be killed. - For my honor as a knight - said the lord of lightning.” Half of Arya's story in Storm of Swords is summed up by the longing to find her family again and get to Riverrun. In the meantime, she wondered if Catelyn would accept her back because of her dirty, ragged state, since for Arya her mother had always wanted her to be like Sansa. Upon hearing of Jaime’s release, Arya discredits that her mother would do something like that for love. During her journey with Sandor Clegane, the concept of "gift of mercy" is introduced to her, where death can be seen as an act of mercy. In Arya's perception, death remains the instrument of justice. In the Faith of the Seven, the figure of the Mother is considered the supreme expression of mercy, and Lady Stoneheart is also known as Mother Merciless, a title that connects with the identity of Mercy that Arya uses to kill Raff. The way revenge is addressed in the saga suggests a dark and endless path: “Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maidenhood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?" Ellaria Sand laid her hands on the Mountain's head. "I saw your father die. Here is his killer. Can I take a skull to bed with me, to give me comfort in the night? Will it make me laugh, write me songs, care for me when I am old and sick?”
Ellaria Sand, ADWD
The despair of an orphan girl in an war environment created a copying mechanism so that she can do some justice. Arya's list carries specific names of people who’ve harmed others, while Stoneheart kills whoever is connected to the harm suffered by her family, with a clear ideological disparity. However, the crimes that succeeded against House Stark and the numbers of participants involved are countless, which emphasizes the vicious cycle commented on by Ellaria. "But how would Arya and Stoneheart’s paths intersect? Arya is in Braavos with the Faceless Men! " At the Balticon dinner in 2016, Martin confirmed that he intends to visit Arya and Gendry's relationship in the future, you guys can check it in So Spoke GRRM. Gendry is still a member of the Brotherhood, and Arya has unfinished business in the Riverlands, such as Nymeria's pack, a part of herself left in the Trident. Soon she will be leaving Braavos, which is described as a city of fogs, masks and secrets. Braavos, for Arya, represents the struggle against her own nature, the rejection of her identity and a mental haven, since the existence of the region was revealed to the world only after 111 years, a date that is celebrated with feasts and masks in the period of ten days; where at midnight on the tenth day, the Titan roars and all revelers remove their masks in union. Braavos is a place where trees do not grow, where there are no old gods of the North for whom Arya prayed, there she can not take root. All symbology in the character's narrative indicates that when she sails back to Westeros, it will be as Arya Stark, not under another name or using someone else’s face. It will be her unmasking. The textual importance of Arya and Stoneheart is likely to be enormous. For Arya, it's the realization that her mother has always wanted her back with the frustration of seeing what she has become, as well as living up to Beric's promise. Throughout the books, Arya has often proved herself incapable of criticizing her family because of her pack mentality, she doesn’t understand the concept of Valar Morghulis (why her family had to die while bad people are alive doing terrible things?) as well as a strong sense of guilt over killing in self-defense, making it conflicting to witness the murder of innocents by what she would consider her mother. All this entails the most plausible fate, which would be the death of Stoneheart. Seeing the personification of revenge and understanding what it means, when faced with arbitrary and false judgments that go against all her conceptions (now she’s able to identify truths from lies, while Stoneheart isn’t and doesn’t care), in noticing the miserable reality of this posthumous figure, Arya would find herself in the most challenging moment of her life, where she would finally understand what the "gift of mercy" is, where other aspects of her relationship with the Hound would come to light, as when she said "you should have saved my mother," and especially "do you remember where the heart is?" Since Stoneheart’s throat is already cut off, Arya would have to stick Needle in her stoneheart to save her mother. Then she’d realize what Valar Morghulis means: all men must die. And yes, even her family. Of all the Stark children Arya is the one who has Ned’s eyes, the one who persisted to return to her mother, the who could prepare her body for an appropriate funeral and return the trout to its primordial home, the one who’s had and will have an important plot in the Riverlands. From the river Arya took Catelyn, and to the river Arya will send her back. Some people seem to believe Jaime will be the one to finish her but seriously what has more emotional impact Jaime killing Lady Stoneheart or Arya coming face to face with the mother she thought was dead, the mother she was so close to being reunite to, the mother she wanted to rescue who is now the embodiment of vengeance which has been a major theme of Arya’s story since the beginning? Also Stoneheart still has Robb’s crown. Arya could be the one to bring it back to it’s rightful place. Perhaps on Jon’s head? “Bastards get the swords but not the arms, girls get the arms but not the swords. I didn’t make the rules, little sister.” Yet, he gave her a sword, maybe she should give him the arms and crown him the way Visenya did to Aegon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdLletjWIew&t=118s (1:58 - 2:34) : this same spy letting Littlefinger know "It's time. Your time is up" before being handed an iron coin. An item of great value to the Faceless Men that would pay for her impersonating the Mockingbird;
Every single time, calculated and impeccable control. As you would expect from a man that has been plotting for 25 years straight without a rest. Such a man will not be taken by surprise when the end comes. But a faceless man playing the last moments of this man would think he would be... Aidan Gillen: "I think over-discussing things, particularly in a show that’s as over-discussed as “Game of Thrones” is diminishing. My job, as this character, will probably go on for a while avoiding questions like that. It’s a good one to ask, but Littlefinger will take secrets to his grave and so will I." Who says that?? What kind of answer is that? What secrets could you possibly be taking to your grave Gillen if this was the last we were ever going to hear from Littlefinger? It’s just an acting gig. Unless… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsrD2429XEk&t=1061s (17:41 - 19:04) Petyr is alive, well and plotting ready!
The Fate of Arya Stark
One of the most uncharacteristic plotlines of season 7 was Littlefinger trying to exploit the tension between the Stark girls in the hope of turning Sansa against Arya from episode 5 to 7. Look how unusual and unfamiliar Aidan Gillen acting is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERsd7cFCRY&t=2145s (35:45 – 37:40) & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERsd7cFCRY&t=2462s (41:02 – 43:28) Baelish’s train of thoughts is less cunning and his attempts at manipulating Sansa blunt and straightforward, almost as if he was on autopilot, almost as if he was another person… Now, why would Baelish ever want Arya dead? Because he was afraid of her skills as an assassin or afraid of the possibility she might kill him in the future? Getting rid of Arya would not amount to anything for Petyr as Bran and his knowledge are still around. Even Sansa would end up figuring things out at some point. Baelish is not Joffrey. He’s not the type of person to plot the execution of people that dislike him or have the physical aptitude to eventually kill him; otherwise, he’d be plotting the execution of 95% of the people he has ever encountered. This doesn’t add up because the answer is he doesn’t. Littlefinger doesn’t care about the fate of Arya Stark but the Faceless Men do. By this time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERsd7cFCRY&t=1760s (29:20), the mastermind had already fled and been replaced by his faceless man body double who started pushing forward her own clumsy scheming agenda. And just like that, the dumb plotline turns into a very cohesive one. Arya was allowed to leave the cult of the faceless men after the debt of life she owed to the many faced god had been paid with the death of the waif instead of Lady Crane’s. But after her departure, she went straight back at her obsessive list of names and went on to eradicate all the Freys using the faces of a servant and of Walder Frey. By doing so, a girl stole from the many faced god. These men’s lives weren’t hers to take, at least not by abusing the magic of the faceless men. And we know what of a bunch of extreme fanatics the faceless men are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljFljgf2USk&t=38s (00:38 – 1:10) & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljFljgf2USk&t=95s (1:35 – 2:10) “Now a debt is owed and only death can pay for life”, Arya Stark’s death. As Jaqen H'ghar said: “The faces are for no one, you are still someone. And to someone, the faces are as good as poison”. In this case, the faceless men are the poison that has come as far as Winterfell to take her life in exchange for those she stole from the many faced god. Being present at the execution of her father and at the murder of her mother and brother at such a young age (red wedding) has traumatized her. Her pursuit of bringing death to the people she hated has consumed her. And her time with the faceless men as altered her mental even more (their training consists mostly on a self-inflicted brainwashing and feelings’ stripping). But in exchange, she gained a lot of strength. This strength has made her become overly confident. It’s almost as if she now believes the power she has obtained allows her to get away with doing anything or assassinating anyone without any repercussions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERsd7cFCRY&t=1331s (22:11 – 25:00 &) Look at the constant smug on her face. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ERsd7cFCRY&t=1610s (26:50 – 27:12) Obviously, the plot to trick Sansa into getting rid of Arya failed when the faceless woman playing Littlefinger died at the hands of Arya by the end of season 7. But there are more faceless men to come and contrary to the time when the waif attacked, this time, Arya’s guard is down. Cue the young actress around Arya's age they cast in November to play in a Dave Nutter episode (most likely 1 or 2), which will be a faceless woman sent to kill Arya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwF5J3moJ0A&t=77s (1:17 - 1:52). There will be consequences to Arya turning into a killer. And the Faceless Men are a relentless and skilled bunch. With her death, the Valeryan steel dagger will be picked up by Jon as something to remember Arya's spirit by. Arya will warg into her direwolf before she dies (thus preventing Martin from becoming single ;D). Allowing her to fight with her pack as Nymeria during the battle against the dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTJXYknxhWM. In the woods, NymArya will meet the Red Woman one last time. Melisandre has returned. This is why in her first encounter with Arya, Melisandre recognizes not her, not her face, but her eyes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAyCpREHf6k&t=10s (0:10 - 0:45). These are the eyes she will meet again (warged into Nymeria).
A Fight between Good vs. Evil?
What have D&D been trying to convince us of for the past 2 seasons? That in the end, this show is about the fight between a gathering of good guys (Jon Snow/Daenerys & Co., aka Strong/Just/Good looking/Anything else cool you can think of) and the big villain (Night King and White Walkers, ugly and so bluntly evil that they can’t even talk, forged with one sole purpose by the children of the forest: to end life). Most people think this is the direction the show has taken and some have been disappointed or unimpressed by this development. This means the show runners have done a fantastic job at adapting the novel series as almost nobody is doubting the path it is taking. But if you think this story leads up to someone defeating the Night King and the Wights, you haven’t been paying attention…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YxeHFU8SKE&t=1616s (26:56 – 27:19): "[...] I think the battle of good and evil is a terrific subject for fiction. But I don't think it's fought between really good looking guys in white cloaks on white horses and really ugly guys in black armor, who smell bad, as in too much fantasy. I think it's fought within the individual human heart. I've always been attracted to gray characters. That's what I try to write, because I think those are real characters, real human beings."
& (32:33 – 32:40) “If everybody thinks your character is a hero or if everybody thinks your character is a villain, then you are writing cardboards.” - GRRM
And let's be real, at this point, everybody thinks the Night King is the braindead (literally) villain and Jon & Co. are the ultimate gathering of the good guys. So are D&D writing cardboards to end the story? Of course not! Martin would never have let that happen. What is the most important message George will want to get across the entirety of this series? To understand that, you need to look at the event that has most shaped GRRM as a young adult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIva5LzhPFE&t=374s (6:14 – 8:30) “Before researching the Vietnam War, I just thought that we were in another war and we were helping poor people defend themselves against evil communist aggression. And then I actually researched the war, […] suddenly, it did not look at all so clear cut to me.” George has been repeatedly illustrating this idea at every chance he gets in the series: very few confrontations between people are as black and white as we would like to believe. Both parties are always motivated by strong convictions (whether it’d be reasoning/law/ideal/faith/love/honor or survival). Once these convictions are strong enough, they act as a veil that allows one to justify any action (even it being taking the life of another person in the name of such a cause). But if you take time to understand both parties’ motivations from their perspective; oftentimes, it becomes very difficult to point out the good guy from the bad guy (in real history as well). It’s a point of view that is easy to grasp when you look at fights such as the Battle of the Wall between the Men of the Watch and Mance Rayder's wildling army. Our heroes, Jon, Sam & Co. need to protect Westeros and their lands from Northern invaders while the ever likable and charismatic Mance needs to fight the Night’s watch in order to go south or all wildlings will die by the hands of the Whitewalkers. Hard to root for any specific side in a battle between these too, isn’t it? But what happens when the 2 parties are: 1) the army of the dead (Night King & the Whitewalkers) and 2) the alliance of the living (Jon Snow & Co.)? Surely, against this kind of pure evil, such thinking cannot be applied, right?
The White Walkers: An unheard voice
You’ve been told by the Children of the Forest, ancient tales and various manuscripts that the White Walkers are a weapon of mass destruction and are here to kill all of the living and you have seen with your own eyes the mass murder they afflicted upon the Wildlings at Hardhome. But has anyone in Westeros taken the time to thoroughly think through how they operate and clarify what their goal is? Is the Night King’s goal really to wipe out all form of life in the world? Does he have any consciousness at all? We need to look at what we have seen so far from the White walkers to try to answer this question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXbz6YZt9U&t=845s (14:05 – 15:00) A White Walker looks into the unharmful and fearful eyes of Sam and does not kill him but rather keeps on marching south. This shows that there is some degree of free will in the Whitewalkers (or in the Night King, since he is most likely controlling them) or at least, that they can refrain from killing anyone alive (probably as long as they do not express any harmful intention towards them). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXbz6YZt9U&t=1028s (17:08 – 17:40) Wights however, attack anyone without hesitation. These are mere tools, animated and controlled by the power of the White Walkers and solely programmed to attack on sight. Wights have no conscience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXbz6YZt9U&t=1645s (27:35 – 28:52) Further proof that White Walkers are capable of not killing every human life they see: e.g. Crestor and the babies that the Night King intends to turn into White Walkers. So these scenes let us know that: 1) White Walkers are capable of sparing human life, 2) their sole purpose is not to kill any living form on sight and 3) they are marching towards a goal, something or someone that is south of the Wall. Then around s06e05, the White Walkers are gathered as they intend to march South. But once the Night King sees Bran looking at them, he marks him and all the Whights go back North to kill this kid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do2M5V3mlak&t=687s (11:27 – 12:17). Now, why would killing Bran be so important to the Night King that he’d specifically mark him and turn around his entire army just for one man’s life? Is it because he sees the strong potential in Bran and needs to get rid of him before his powers grow too much? The answer is no. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UsSH1E01LM (3:55 – 5:37) Benjen Stark “The children found me. They stopped the walkers’ magic from taking hold the same way they made the walkers in the first place” Through Benjen, we learn that it is possible for a host in which the children of the forest have plunged dragon glass to still have most of his consciousness. So when that dragon glass is plunged into a host, the children can control how much of his former self and his awareness they choose to leave in that body. In the case of the Night King, being in the middle of a violent war, the children tuned the awareness down to a minimum to make him as much of an inhuman killing machine as they could. However, what they didn’t account for, was for Bran’s spirit to be in that body at that time, high jacking the process and resulting in a failure to turn this body into a simple weapon… What if a shred of his former human consciousness remained in the Night King? What if the strongest will of the former owner of the body remained in this killing machine? Being at war with the Children, the First Man's strongest will would have been to kill the Children of the forest. Hence the Night King turning against its creators. But in the Night King’s body is trapped another spirit, Bran’s. And what is Bran's single everlasting conviction: to protect life. Once the Children of the forest started going extinct (against a combination of White Walkers, the Andals & the Night King), only Bran’s will remained in that body. And what could the remaining pieces of Bran’s spirit do with a body that can only do one thing, killing? How do you protect life when you know the only thing you can do is bring death and when you know that no one has the power to stop you from inflicting it? The answer is by killing. Killing and destroying is the only tool and form of free will at the disposal of the Night King in his current state of existence. Destroying the source of magic that keeps him bound to the curse: the main Heart tree at the Isles of Faces that is at the center of all Weirwood trees in Westeros (similar to this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do2M5V3mlak&t=473s "7:53 – 7:55") and killing himself by killing Bran. This is why the army of the dead completely turns around and goes back North when the Night King marks Bran. Because killing Bran is the priority. This is why the White Walkers have been specifically trying to march south past the Wall and this is why they had been trying to communicate their intentions to whoever could see by forming symbols on the ground using the only pen they could, dead bodies:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXbz6YZt9U&t=153s (2:33 – 3:05) A 2D drawing of the weirwood Heart tree at the Isle of faces (as well as a Whight can draw with dead body parts); the circle represents the isle and the line in the middle is the Heart tree (the part of the line going above the circle designates the trunk above the surface and the part of the line under the circle is the root of the weirwood tree).
Had they known, all Westerosi people had to do was let the Night King and the White Walkers pass through. As a result, who would be the villain in this scenario? Is it the Night King and the Whitewalkers that killed tens of thousands so they could stop themselves from endlessly killing life? Or is it Jon/Bran & Co. that sent tens of thousands to their death instead of stepping aside like Sam did in his first encounter with a White Walker? One thing is for certain, knowledge would have been their true savior. Even with the most unlikely kind of people or thing, there may be common ground. In this case, both the Night King & Jon Snow were fighting for the same cause without realizing it: to protect the living. Make sure to think things through before you act. In the end, Knowledge is Power.
Newborn Babies, a Recipe for White Walkers
The Night King is the same man we saw in the origin story with the addition of Bran spirit being trapped inside of him, turned by the Children of the forest into a killing machine. The only semblance of free will he has in this state of existence is: 1) killing humans and animals 2) expanding his army of the dead and 3) to be fair, probably also being able to move in whichever direction he chooses and some other small things like drawing with dead bodies to a certain extent, etc. To expand his army, this Night King chooses newborn babies. Now why would the Night King specifically need to use babies to create walkers? I would assume turning babies into Whitewalkers means he has to wait at least 15-20 years before he can realistically cash back on an adult Whitewalker? Why not simply use any strong adult warrior captured among the wildling ranks? The answer is because a new born does not have time to form any strong conviction or thought. Which means when the Night King turns the baby into a Whitewalker, he will transform into his complete puppet without any chance of it having any shred of strong conviction/motivation. Because a newborn baby never had time to experience much thought. Bran, aka the Night King, needs his Whitewalkers to be completely obedient to his will, contrary to what happened when the Children of the forest created him. So that there is no chance of the Night King ever turning a psychotic adult human filled with hatred for other human beings into a Whitewalker that could disobey his will and attack men that would not present a threat.
The Lion vs The Kraken & The Dragon
In season 8, we will be introduced to the Golden Company, which Euron is bringing to King's Landing to support the Lannisters. By this time, Euron has proven himself a "faithful" servant to the Crown. While he is traveling, Cersei has a miscarriage and loses her unborn child. Like the Valonqar prophecy stated, she will drown in her tears. Having lost every person she has ever cared for, Cersei agrees to proceed with marrying Euron (which is also a little brother). And to pay homage to the Iron Born custom, she agrees to be reborn by "drowning" in the ocean. In the meantime, Theon plots the rescue of Yara and fails miserably. After this regretful event, Euron is crowned King and marries Cersei. Now remember what Euron's sigil is? It's a silver Kraken above a glaring red eye. The red eye symbolizes Bloodraven, aka Three Eyed Raven (=TER), aka Brynden Rivers, aka the most dedicated defender of the Targaryen reign ever. The TER had helped Euron awaken his powers and had taught him how to use them in exchange for helping Daenerys bring her dragons to Westeros. Bloodraven made Euron believe he intended on having him sit on the Iron Throne by Dany's side. So on their wedding night, Euron distracts the Mountain. While in bed with Cersei, he tries to murder her. With Cersei's death, Euron would have become the ruler of the 7 Kingdoms. Then, he would have convinced Dany to marry him instead of fighting (which he could have done with the big Dragon controlling horn he had acquired, had she not fallen in love with Snow). Except by the time our story begins, Bloodraven's will had been completely bound to the Children of the Forests by the many roots that had taken over his body. As a result, the Children were pushing forward another agenda through the TER. They had never intended on Euron helping Daenerys sit on the Iron Throne: Euron is " the storm - the first storm, and the last." (more on that in part 3) A dashing young man covered in Black & Red saves the Queen and executes the Greyjoy, putting an end to whichever scheme Euron had been building up to. This soldier from the Golden Company is Aegon Targaryen (Elia Martell & Rhaegar Targaryen's first born son, that Varys had smuggled from death and raised among Blackfyres). With their leader's death, the Iron Born's fleet dismantles and scatters throughout the seas.
Aegon Targaryen, A Many Faced Prince -
Aegon Targaryen being Elia & Rhaegar's son that had been miraculously saved by Varys from the hands of the Mountain is a show related idea. In the books however, Aegon Targaryen is "Young Griff", son of Rhaegar Targaryen & Lyanna Stark. And Jon Snow is really the King in the North, the rightful heir to Winterfell, the Sword of the Morning, the wielder of the true Lightbringer, Dawn, and the first son of Ned Stark & Ashara Dayne. While Mance Rayder is really Arthur Dayne, Jon's uncle working as hard as he can to make Jon look like he has plot armor North of the Wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ti6z8KL44g&index=1&list=PLQrZpjVj947iED_JCrqwGFW1VkchOnl1f. Merging these two characters into Jon Snow was a tough choice from D&D. It created a ton of plotholes and forced us into another incestuous relationship between Jon & Dany that should never have happened, had Jon been the result of Ned's first marriage with Ashara. But it would have been very difficult to fit all of this into a 73 hour series. So in the books, we have Daenerys and Aegon (son of Rhaegar & Lyanna) as the 2 heads of the dragon. But "There must be one more. The dragon has three heads," had said Rhaegar. The third head is no one else than Aegon Targaryen, first son of Rhaegar & Elia Martell, that had truly been smuggled by Varys. After Robert's Rebellion, Varys could not afford to lose the little Prince. To protect him, Varys sent baby Aegon to be fostered by one of the strongest and most faithful supporters of the Targaryen reign, to the man that had inflicted Robert his only defeat at the Battle of Ashford, Lord Randyll Tarly. "That name means something. We're not oathbreakers." - had said Randyll Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar & Elia, had been in front of us all along, his name is Samwell Tarly. "Aegon. What better name for a king... He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire" - Rhaegar told Elia, as she was nursing their boy. Samwell Tarly is "the prince that was promised, and his [book] is the Song of Ice and Fire". And guess who's playing Samwell Tarly at the end of this series? The mastermind himself, George R.R. Martin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkzodgRaze8&t=2431s (40:31 - 40:50). Therefore ladies and gentlemen, George is the true prince that was promised and his book is the song of Ice and Fire! Sam, aka George R.R. Martin, is destined to lead mankind in its war against darkness (ignorance) by wielding a sword known as Lightbringer (the book of A Song Of Ice And Fire). But Varys is a careful and calculated man. Instead of betting everything on one Aegon, he had found himself two rightful heirs, both named Aegon Targaryen. And just in case something were to go wrong with Aegon (Sam) Tarly, Varys never told the Martells their prince was alive. Otherwise, the Dornish would have fiercely supported his claim to the Iron Throne until the end of time. While Lyanna's Aegon (Young Griff) turned out to be everything Varys had hoped for in a King, Elia's son was different... Samwell had inherited his mother's Dornish looks and most of her character: kind and clever, with a gentle heart and a sweet wit, though with a delicate health; exactly like Ser Barristan Selmy had described Elia. From his father, Sam had inherited Rhaegar's love for books and songs instead of his ability for battle. Lord Randyll, being the Tarly that he is, tried his best to raise the young Prince as a fighter. But even after giving it his all, poor Sam could not do it. His training was proving a failure. And to cope with the stress and the pain, Sam hid behind food... Seing how poorly Elia's Aegon was doing, Varys came to the conclusion that the kid was not fit to rule. Therefore, he switched his every hope onto Lyanna's Aegon, Young Griff. But by doing so, Varys had abandoned Lord Randyll Tarly to his fate. The plan for Randyll, had always been to protect the young prince by claiming him as his legitimate first son. And when Aegon would come of age, he would reclaim his rightful place on the Iron Throne. At which point Randyll's loyalty would have been rewarded and his true first born, Dickon Tarly, would have inherited Horn Hill. With this scenario however, the Tarly name, that had meant so much for centuries, was set to be lost to a former Dornish/Targaryen prince. A man abandoned by his people, who would never be able to wield Heartsbane. That much, the honorable Randyll Tarly could not do. He would not be able to live with himself knowing he had forsaken his House, denying Dickon the legacy that was his by right. All in order to cover for one of Varys's failed attempts at reclaiming the Throne. And there was only one way to save the Tarly's name in Randyll's eyes, Aegon/Sam had to go. So before it was too late, Randyll convinced Sam to abandon his name and his title the only way the rigid Lord knew how to, by displaying strength: "You're almost a man now, but you're not worthy of my land and title. Tomorrow you're going to take the black, forsake all claim to your inheritance and start north," said Randyll. This is why he had ignored Sam from the day Dickon was born. And had devoted all of his time and energy towards raising his true heir. This is why Lord Tarly had wanted to disown Samwell so desperately: "You have given me no cause to disown you, but neither would I allow you to inherit the land and title that should be Dickon’s." Notice how collected and honest Randyll his in his statement. It is not that he hated Sam beyond measure, but he would never be able to forgive himself, had he forsaken the Tarly name to a stranger. This is why Randyll told Sam "[he] did not want [him] near [his] son", Dickon (instead of "his brother"). And this is why D&D gave us this scene in season 7, where Gilly tells Sam: "Sam, that's your father's sword."; To which he replied: "It's my family's sword.", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOrpMeb9M-M&t=130s (2:10 - 2:20). It's indeed his [adoptive] family sword, not his father's (since Rhaegar Targaryen is his father). And this is how George and D&D fooled us all with Maester Aemon's dying scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2FuZKth-TM&t=3s (0:03 – 1:12). Maester Aemon was calling for Egg (Aegon Targaryen) and thought he was talking to him. While Aemon was raving, the old man was actually talking to an Egg, (an Easter Egg) right in front of him, Samwell Tarly, aka Aegon Targaryen, first born son of Rhaegar Targaryen. In the end, Randyll's heir and name got vaporized by Daenerys's dragons. And his sword and possibly his title, were passed down to Aegon Targaryen, the 3rd head of the Dragon, Samwell Tarly. P.S. In the World of Ice and Fire mobile app, Martin wrote: "Young Griff is Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar. Elia Martell is his mother". These two sentences state that there is a connection between Young Griff & Aegon Targaryen. And that there is connection between either Aegon & Elia, or Young Griff & Elia. The way this is written, Elia Martell could either be the mother of Young Griff (Lyanna's son) or the mother of another Aegon Targaryen (in this case, Samwell Tarly).
The End of the Spider
All this time, Varys's real intentions had never been to get rid of the Targaryens and have the Blackfyres sit on the Iron Throne, like his ancestors had wanted. Nor was it to devote himself to the well-being of the small people like he had claimed so often. Varys had seen what internal conflict had done to their family and to the realm and he was sick of it. This is why he had worked his whole life to bring together the divided Targaryen family (Blackfyres + Targaryens). His raising Aegon Targaryen/"Young Griff" (in the show, son of Elia & Rhaegar) among Blackfyres, was the perfect opportunity for Varys to forge a good King for the Iron Throne. A man with a strong name, raised with knowledge and empathy, that would one day close the rift between Blackfyres and Targaryens. Aegon would have healed the realm back to its former glory and to its former peace. Like it had been once, before the civil rebellions. Ironically, Bloodraven/Brynden Rivers, stuck in his old ways and convinced that Balckfyres could never be trusted, had been fighting Varys as the Three Eyed Raven all along, since the day he ordered Varys's genitals burnt. In the end, Bloodraven had wasted most of his energy fighting the one man that was putting his soul out to help his family recover from continuously killing each other. Once again, knowledge would have been power. Back in the North, Tyrion reunites with Jaime and is desperate to understand how Cersei managed to outmaneuver him. To prove his good faith, Jaime lets Daenerys know the spy master, Varys, had betrayed them and was the one leaking their battle plans to Cersei & Euron (in season 7). You didn't think Jaime, Euron or Cersei would outmaneuver Tyrion without some serious insider help, didn't you? In this case, Tyrion misplaced trust in Varys was the reason for his failure. Faithful to her word, Daenerys burns Varys alive after he gets exposed. But Varys's lifetime sacrifice had not been in vein, as his protege, Aegon Targaryen, was as close as any Blackfyre had ever been to the Iron Throne. Varys had to leak Tyrion's plans to Cersei for Dany's overwhelming army to be reduced to a more manageable size, in case she were to become a threat to Aegon/Young Griff (for whom the Golden Company fights). At first, Varys still supported Dany as she was the perfect ally to weaken the stability and the strength of the Crown. And he was hoping to marry her to Aegon and see both of them reign from the Iron Throne. But when Dany fell in love with Jon Snow, Varys's plans at any marital alliance fell into pieces. And the only way Aegon would rule would have been by fully supporting Cersei & defeating Daenerys's army (aka the Foreign Invader). Then, he would have gotten rid of Cersei (aka the Mad Queen), thus presenting Aegon Targaryen as the savior of the realm and the rightful ruler of the 7 Kingdoms.
Now, most people believe the key to defeating the dead is a legendary figure known as Azor Ahai. Therefore, it is one of the most debated subjects in Game of Thrones. But who is it? Is it Jon? Is it Dany? Is it Sam? Azor Ahai is the man that has the smartest and most magnetizing dialogues in the entire series, the man that has been singing the song of Ice & Fire for 20 years: Petyr Littlefinger Baelish. But it just isn't as literal as you would think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNPCGcfcBbA&t=396s , GRRM: "The prophecies must be taken with a grain of salt. I am amused to see fans argue over the true identity of a character that is a legend, when you have to know how to read between the lines and distinguish the facts from the speculation." Littlefinger will be the savior of King's Landing. But not the savior from the army of the dead. He is no fool to ever get into stabbing range of the Night King. Given how much power the Night King has, given how little Petyr knows about him (would stabbing the Night King with the Valyrian steel dagger even kill him? we don't even know for sure and so does Littlefinger). And given that Baelish knows he is not a warrior, it would be very uncharacteristic of him to be anywhere near the Night King any time soon. He is a betting man indeed, but not one to act without knowledge. And there are very few things he could possibly know about the Night King. But do you know who can certainly be killed by a weapon? Daenerys Targaryen.
The fate of Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons (I am running out of breath here), has a good heart and has suffered and overcome an heroic and extreme journey. But she has also repeatedly demonstrated that she was a terrible politician and has had tendencies to resort to extremism when she felt cornered. It doesn't help that she has weapons of mass destruction at her side (dragons), making her every will almost unstoppable. Daenerys is a bad ruler: she burnt most of the things she encountered south of the narrow sea and left Meereen in complete chaos to be ruled by Daario Naharis, a mercenary that never expressed any interest in politics. And after one final round of burning stuff around in Meeren, she left (thank god for D&D not keeping us to date with Meeren, cause by now, it must have become a tragic mess). The only decent political choices she has ever made happened the few times she managed to listen to the advice of Jorah or Tyrion. N.B. In the books, Daario has been killed by Euron since the beginning. And the Greyjoy has enjoyed his time with the mother of dragons to its fullest, hiding under the face of Daario Naharis (ala faceless man): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO-RiqaK8n0 Back in Westeros, Dany wanted to quickly get rid of Cersei by burning King's Landing down (just a little bit). But as long as she was certain to win, she showed patience and listened to her wiser advisers. However, the second things turned sour and Tyrion got outmaneuvered by Jaime and Euron, she went back to her extremist thinking and was ready to burn it all in King's Landing. The only reason this did not happen and she moved on to burning parts of the Lannister army and their food provisions instead was because she listened to the irresistible charisma of Jon Snow. He, who is becoming, by the end of season 7, the most important man to her eyes. (End of part 1; part 2 here: https://redd.it/89pw94)
2018.02.21 17:12 BryndenBFish(Spoilers Extended) Revisiting GRRM's TWOW Twist and Talking Through the Possibilities
Three years ago, George RR Martin told James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly about a twist he was considering for The Winds of Winter:
“This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teased, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist. It’s easy to do things that are shocking or unexpected, but they have to grow out of characters. They have to grow out of situations. Otherwise, it’s just being shocking for being shocking. But this is something that seems very organic and natural, and I could see how it would happen. And with the various three, four characters involved … it all makes sense. But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already — on this particular character — made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.” - GRRM, Entertainment Weekly Interview, 4/3/2015
A year later, in an interview with Terry Schwartz of IGN, GRRM confirmed that he decided to go through with the twist:
"I have decided to do that, yes. It’s something that involves a couple characters one of whom is dead in the show but not dead in the books. So the show can’t do this, unfortunately.” - GRRM, IGN Interview, 2/24/2016
So, the twist involves a character alive in the books, dead in the show. Unfortunately for our purposes, that was the last word on the twist and what it will entail in TWOW. In the years since, people have come up with different theories on who and what the twist might entail. Recently, there's been renewed interest in this twist on account of industry rumors regarding the status of TWOW. For today's purposes, I thought it might be fun to revist the twist and discuss who/what it involves.
Other GRRM Statements
In helping us craft the framework for the discussion, let's look at something George RR Martin said back in his infamous New Year's 2016 blog post:
Just consider. Mago, Irri, Rakharo, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Pyat Pree, Pyp, Grenn, Ser Barristan Selmy, Queen Selyse, Princess Shireen, Princess Myrcella, Mance Rayder, and King Stannis are all dead in the show, alive in the books. - GRRM, notablog, "Last Year: WINDS OF WINTER", 1/2/2016
Given that GRRM was originally considering this twist right around the time that Season 5 of Game of Thrones was airing, this is helpful, because it puts some parameters around the characters that George has for his twist. So, we can exclude those characters that die in Season 6 and Season 7 in the show (Roose, Ramsay, Tommen, Rickon, Loras, Alliser Thorne, Walder Frey, Olenna, the Sand Snakes, Ellaria Sand, Randyll/Dickon Tarly, Thoros, Benjen etc) But also among those characters that George lists are a few that George has long had plans for their deaths such as:
Princess Myrcella Baratheon: though it's entirely possible that the twist would involve her, the "gold would be their crowns and gold their shrouds" that Cersei has w/t her children likely indicates that Myrcella's death has long been in the works for GRRM.
Even excluding these individuals, that leaves a lot of possibilities. To help organize our list of potential twist suspects, I'm going to group a few of them together the following way:
The Dothraki Twist
The Qartheen Twist
The Night's Watch Twist
The Mance Twist
The Stannis Twist
The Barristan Turn
Let's jump into it, shall we?
The Dothraki Twist
Shortly after ADWD was released, George RR Martin was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly and said the following about Mago, a Dothraki bloodrider, who was killed in S01 of Game of Thrones but remains alive in the books:
“So Mago is not dead in the books. And, in fact, he’s going to be a recurring character in Winds of Winter. He’s a particularly nasty bloodrider to one of the other Khals that’s broken away after Drogo dies.”
In the books, Mago, now sworn to Khal Jhaqo, is likely in the khalasar that chances across Daenerys at the end of ADWD. Given that he'll be a "recurring character" and given George's description, it appears that he'll have a significant role in Dany's arc in TWOW. Additionally, Irri, Jhiqui and Rhakaro die in S02 of Game of Thrones but they remain alive in the books. In 2013, GRRM said this about these characters:
If they are alive in the books, they are alive in the books, and may well turn up again. Irri (and Jhiqui) is still serving as Dany’s handmaid, Rakharo remains one of her bloodriders.
So, is George planning a Dothraki twist? It's certainly possible that we'll see something major come of this. Perhaps, Mago murders someone close to Daenerys or perhaps Irri, Jhiqui or Rhakaro turn cloak on Daenerys, because she refuses to join the Dosh Khaleen. Still, these are decidedly secondary, if not tertiary, characters to the story. It's perhaps difficult to imagine that George would be excited to write a TWOW twist on these bit characters. But that may be bias-projection on my part.
The Qartheen Twist
In that same notablog comment from above, George also said this:
You will learn the fate of Pyat Pree in WINDS. The Thirteen are still one of the factions contending for power in Qarth.
In ACOK, Qarth served as the setpiece for much of the action in Daenerys Targaryen's arc with Dany sheltering in Xaro's manse. In ASOS, Dany learns that Pyat Pree and the warlocks have been dispatched to hunt her. Finally, in ADWD, Xaro shows up in Meereen with ships, begging Daenerys to depart Essos. When she doesn't, Qarth declares war on Daenerys, and Qartheen ships assist the Yunkish in blockading Meereen. Though we haven't heard much more about Xaro since ADWD, Daenerys III, we do get potential word on Pyat Pree in TWOW, The Forsaken as Aeron Greyjoy is in the belly of Silence. There, he watches as two warlocks are strung up against the rafter of the ship. One of the warlocks says something interesting:
Last were two warlocks of the east, with flesh as white as mushrooms, and lips the purplish-blue of a bad bruise, all so gaunt and starved that only skin and bones remained. One had lost his legs. The mutes hung him from a rafter. “Pree,” he cried as he swung back and forth. “Pree, Pree!” (TWOW, The Forsaken)
Whether this individual is, in fact, Pyat Pree is left unconfirmed, but it does hint that Pyat Pree will be involved in Aeron Greyjoy's arc in some fashion (if only to be a name muttered in horror by a Qartheen warlock). So, is it a Qartheen twist that George has in mind? Well, maybe. But again, I do wonder at the narrative impulse and why it would matter to us as readers if there was some enormous Qartheen twist in mind. Though there's been discussion about whether Daenerys might go back to Qarth in TWOW, I'm of the opinion that there's simply not enough pagespace in TWOW for that to occur (opinions differ of course!). That being said, if the twist involves three or four characters, there's the potential that a Pyat Pree-twist could involve the characters of Aeron, Euron and potentially Samwell Tarly as Euron looks to do some Eldritch apocalypse blood sacrifice thing before barreling down on Oldtown. So, is it a Qartheen twist with a Greyjoy flair? Perhaps.
The Night's Watch Twist
As everyone and their mother's cousin knows, Jon Snow dies at the end of ADWD. Before that happens though, he dispatches his friends away from him to help man other castles on the Wall. Grenn and Pyp die in Game of Thrones, Season 4, but they're still quite alive in ADWD, serving at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea:
He wrote two letters, the first to Ser Denys, the second to Cotter Pyke. Both of them had been hounding him for more men. Halder and Toad he dispatched west to the Shadow Tower, Grenn and Pyp to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. The ink would not flow properly, and all his words seemed curt and crude and clumsy, yet he persisted. (ADWD, Jon III)
That's the last we hear of these two friends of Jon. It's possible that they'll re-appear in TWOW. In fact, I think it's likely. Still, I'm not sure what type of twist they'd be involved in. Could they have a role in bringing Jon back from the dead? Potentially, but again, Jon's return from the dead has long been in the works as bookshelfstud helpfully put together in his great "Return of the White Wolf" analysis from a few years ago. So, I consider Pyp and Grenn's role in a major TWOW twist unlikely at best, but perhaps you have a better, mind-blowing idea for why they're perfect to be the twist character.
The Mance Twist
(Thanks to ATriggerOmen for bringing up my oversight in a comment!) At the end of ADWD, the Pink Letter arrives, stating that Mance Rayder is alive but just barely. According to Ramsay (or whoever wrote the Pink Letter. Opinions vary), Mance Rayder has been put in a cold cage and is wearing the skins of the spearwives that have been sewn together. But is that true? Does Ramsay have Mance Rayder? We can't know for sure until TWOW comes out, but given that, George has an open pathway for Mance Rayder's arc. In ADWD, Mance was up to something at Winterfell, and we're not entirely sure what it was. We know that there's time between his departure from Castle Black and his arrival at Winterfell that is unaccounted for, and we know that he likely passed through Umber territory (and there's speculation that he may be somehow coordinating with Manderley and the Umbers). His fate at the end of ADWD is ambiguous and undecided, too, so it would be (relatively) easy for GRRM to change course given the published material. Mance also has the significance of being really important to the Jon story or potentially to Stannis' story if Stannis wins the Battle of Ice and needs to infiltrate Winterfell to clean the castle of Boltons and Freys. So, is it Mance? It could be! If it is him, what would the twist involve?
The Stannis Twist
One of the most shocking developments in Game of Thrones, Season 5 was the deaths of Selyse, Shireen and Stannis Baratheon. For many of us who were looking forward to Stannis battling (and winning) against the Freys and Boltons in TWOW, this was an unsettling development. However, in 2015, GRRM said this about Stannis in the books:
Alright mr Martin, lets cut the crap, is Stannis alive or dead GRRM: In my books? Alive, beyond a doubt.
He re-emphasized that Stannis was not dead in the New Year's post. Given that Stannis is alive - at least at the start of TWOW - there's been a lot of suspicion that the twist may involve the king. It's unclear what that twist may be though. It seems that George has definite ideas for how the Battle of Ice and Winterfell will go down given that these battles were set to end ADWD before they were cut to TWOW. And the S"hireen burns" stuff has had groundwork set in motion since the ACOK Prologue with Shireen telling Cressen:
"I had bad dreams," Shireen told him. "About the dragons. They were coming to eat me." (ACOK, Prologue)
So, I'm unsure what the Stannis twist may entail. Perhaps, George has something in mind for the king in Winterfell (provided he wins the battles ahead of him) or back at the Wall (provided he loses the battles ahead of him).
The Barristan Turn
In S05E04, Ser Barristan Selmy has a heroic last stand fighting off the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen. Of course, in the books, Barristan is still standing by the end of ADWD, preparing for battle against Yunkai. In TWOW, we see the start of this battle with Barristan giving a terrific speech and then leading sellswords into battle against the Yunkish front-line. So, why would Barristan be ripe for a twist? For one: It may be that Barristan won't die in the Battle of Fire. That, of course, remains a danger for Barristan. But it may be that George has another arc in mind for him: one that will propel his character forward to the end of TWOW and perhaps even into ADOS. Recall that George had never thought of this twist before he envisioned it in 2015. For many of the current players in the game, George has had definite ideas of how their arcs would shape out. However, for Barristan, he didn't become a POV character for ADWD until very late in the game. What I mean by that is that Barristan became the POV character that George used to cut the Meereenese Knot, and he only came into George's mind in early 2010 -- 9 years after he started writing AFFC/ADWD. So, what twist might George have in mind if Barristan will be the twist character? Well, I've proposed in the past that Barristan may turn cloak on Daenerys Targaryen in TWOW when he finds out about Aegon. Perhaps that would be the twist that George has in mind. This fits given that the twist was something George didn't originally envision -- remember that he didn't write Barristan until very late in the game. It also fits, too, because it would involve three or four characters. Barristan's turncloaking would have an impact on Daenerys, Tyrion, Jon Connington, Arianne, Aegon -- a lot of people. Obviously, I am bias-projecting here, but I do think that Barristan may fit the best as the twist character, so take me to the woodshed if you must. But there's one final character worth mentioning.
The former Catelyn Stark, now reanimated as Lady Stoneheart, is in a weird spot in George's mind. In the narrative, Stoneheart looks to play a major role in the Riverlands and beyond with a proposed Red Wedding 2.0 occurring at Daven Lannister's wedding as well as Jaime Lannister's seeming confrontation with Stoneheart. But in Game of Thrones, Lady Stoneheart doesn't exist. This is something that seems to have bothered George. In an interview this past July, GRRM said the following:
At some points, when David and Dan and I had discussions about what way we should go in, I would always favor sticking with the books, while they would favor making changes. I think one of the biggest ones would probably be when they made the decision not to bring Catelyn Stark back as Lady Stoneheart. That was probably the first major diversion of the show from the books and, you know, I argued against that, and David and Dan made that decision. - GRRM, Time Magazine Interview, 7/13/2017
In his notablog post, George didn't list Stoneheart as one of the characters alive in the books, dead in the show, and I do think that's clever on George's part. Stoneheart is dead. And she will not return as a POV character per George. But this doesn't mean that Stoneheart will have no impact on major characters throughout the rest of her undead reign of terror. So, what might be the twist involving Stoneheart? I've thought that perhaps Stoneheart and the BWB will infiltrate the Tourney of the Winged Knights, but this seems unlikely given the timing issue of the Tourney about to start by the end of TWOW, Alayne I. The other alternative is that maybe the BWB has a role to play in the King's Landing/Aegon stories or has a role to play in Jon Snow's arc in TWOW. There are a lot of possibilities for her, and it's possible that given George's feelings about the show cutting Stoneheart, that she may be the candidate that George has in mind for his twist.
This post is intended to be a conversation/discussion starter. Though I cannot say that my OP is unbiased, what I'd like to see is discussion over the possibilities and what you think is the TWOW twist, who it will involve and how it will play out in the narrative. So, comment. It'll be fun. I promise.
Setting: Beyond the Wall, in the Crownlands, at Dragonstone, at Harrenhal, in Slaver’s Bay
Synopsis: Season Three Premiere. Jon is brought before Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, while the Night’s Watch survivors retreat south. In King’s Landing, Tyrion asks for his reward, Littlefinger offers Sansa a way out, and Cersei hosts a dinner for the royal family. Dany sails into Slaver’s Bay.
2017.12.07 12:22 YezenIRL(Spoilers Extended) No, the Horn of Joramun is not a Red Herring or: Why the internet makes things obvious
Red Herring 101
So in response to this post, and people subsequently buying into the idea that the Horn of Winter is a red herring, I just want to make clear to everyone what a red herring actually is.
red herring:(noun) something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.
The Horn of Winter seemingly appears on the cover of TWOW, and it is said to bring down the Wall. In ASOS, Mance Rayder threatens to use the Horn to Bring down the Wall if the Watch does not let them through, and when he is captured by team Stannis, Mance's great horn is burned along with Mance Rayder. As the horn burns with the King beyond the Wall, it changes in appearance and seems to look much too new to be the ancient Horn of Winter. Of course, we later find out that the Mance Rayder that burned was a fake, and actually Rattleshirt glamoured to look like Mance, and so too was the horn a fake. The real horn was never found by the wildlings, so they used a fake. Many readers have surmised that just as the true King Beyond the Wall was sent south of the Wall by Jon, so too did Jon (unknowingly) send the true Horn of Winter south of the Wall with Samwell Tarly. Sam's horn is a perfect candidate for the horn. It is dug up by Ghost along with dragonglass in a buried Night's Watch cloak way back in ACOK, it has the old bronze look of a relic dating back to the age of heroes, it serves as a modest, genuine contrast to the large fake horn presnted by Mance Rayder, and most importantly, no one ever suspects that there is anything special about Sam's horn. For more on the Horn of Winter, BryndenBFish has a good series on it. Now, let me get this out of the way. Sam's horn literally cannot be considered a red herring. Calling Sam's horn a red herring is like calling R+L=J red herring. Just because internet theorists have seemingly figured a mystery out by piecing together subtle clues in the text, and their interpretation has become commonly accepted within the fandom, does not make that thing obvious in the text. Before the RLJ reveal, many (including myself at one point), did not like RLJ and thus scoured the text for an alternate explanation for the Tower of Joy and Jon's parentage, finding tiny little potential plot loopholes and making huge deals out of them. Lemon trees in Dorne, House Dayne, etc. All of this was under the pretense that RLJ was too obvious.. a red herring, and that the real answer would be something more surprising (even if it was fucking convoluted and came out of left field.) Except R+L=J never qualified as a Red Herring. The clues for it are all reasonably subtle for the average reader. They only become obvious when you have millions of internet theorists combing through the text for evidence and piling up every little subtle clue they can find in one place... yea, then it becomes obvious. But the average reader may or may not figure out RLJ if they were just reading through the text naturally for entertainment. Besides, when the books were written GRRM had no idea what an enormous fandom he would have. Which brings me back to Sam's horn. When you pile all of the evidence in reddit threads, then yes... Sam's horn as the true horn of Winter becomes obvious. It's just the perfect candidate. It looks right. It's subtle, it's humble, it's uncovering was covered in Old Gods-y imagery, and no one in the narrative suspects it. But it's specifically for that last reason that it does not qualify as a red herring. The most basic narrative function of a red herring is to trick the reader. But if GRRM were trying to trick readers with Sam's horn, he would have Sam actually fucking suspect his horn of being special. The same applies to the argument that "maybe it's the horn of winter, but the idea that the Horn of Winter can bring down the Wall is a red herring." That shit is madness. In order for the Horn of Jormun bringing down the wall to classify as a Red Herring, characters still need to be worried about the Horn of Joramun bringing down the wall. Again, you can't consider something a red herring just because it's the prevailing reddit theory on asoiaf. But as it stands, everyone either thinks that the horn of winter was burned, or that it was never found. Neither the characters, nor the reader are being told that the horn is still in play. Only people on reddit, or who have been playing close attention and suspect Sam's horn as the culprit still expect that the horn is going to bring down the Wall. That's the whole point of a red herring. A red herring is there to convince readers that one thing is going to happen, and then leave them in shock when something totally different happens. To be more specific, in order for Sam's horn to function as a red herring, readers need to be shocked that it didn't bring down the Wall. tldr; the Horn of Winter bringing down the Wall is NOT a red herring because no one in the novels is expecting it to happen, nor is the reader told to expect Sam's horn will do anything, much less bring down the Wall.
2017.08.27 04:13 cosmicsynapseEpisode Discussion Megathread - Season 7 Episode #7 - The Dragon and the Wolf! (Finale!)
Here it is Ladies and Sers, the Finale of season 7! At 80 minutes of runtime, this is longer than last week, and by extension the new longest episode ever! Here's a detailed summary of last week if you need a recap: At Winterfell At Winterfell, Arya Stark talks to her sister Sansa Stark about borrowing Bran Stark's bow and arrow. She tells Sansa that she practiced several times until she finally hit the bullseye. Arya recalls that their father Eddard Stark had been watching and clapped his hands in praise of her accomplishments. Arya reasons that their father knew that the rules were wrong but that his daughter was in the right. She then confronts Sansa about her alleged role in their father's death. Arya presents the letter that Sansa had written to their late brother Robb Stark urging him to come and bend the knee to King Joffrey Baratheon. Sansa replies that the Queen Mother Cersei Lannister forced her to do it under duress. Arya counters that she was not tortured and that she saw Sansa at Ned's execution; Sansa retorts that Arya did nothing to stop their father's execution either. Arya chastises Sansa for betraying their family but Sansa responds that they have only returned to Winterfell because of her, while Arya travelled the world in pursuit of her own agenda. Sansa adds that their half-brother Jon Snow was saved from defeat when Petyr Baelish and the Knights of the Vale came to their rescue and insists Arya would not have survived the torments she endured at the hands of Joffrey and Ramsay. Sansa demands to know where Arya found the letter and chides her younger sister that Cersei would be pleased to see them fighting but Arya is still bitter towards Sansa. She realizes that while Jon would understand the difficult circumstances Sansa was under when she wrote the letter, Sansa is afraid the Northern lords will discover it and turn on her, including Lyanna Mormont. Arya adds that Lyanna is younger than Sansa was when she wrote this letter but argues Lyanna wouldn't agree with Sansa's defense that she was a child at the time. While recognizing that Sansa wrote the letter out of fear, a bitter Arya says that she prefers to embrace anger over fear. Later, Sansa asks Petyr Baelish about where Arya got the letter from, unaware that Baelish orchestrated the entire incident. Sansa tells Petyr that she is commanding 20,000 men who answer to Jon but not to her. Petyr tells Sansa that the men will trust her because she can rule. Sansa does not trust the loyalty of the Northern lords, citing their history of switching sides. She counters that the discovery of the letter will turn her liege lords and men against her. Sansa confides in Petyr about her strained relations with Arya. Petyr suggests that Sansa talk to Brienne of Tarth because she has sworn to protect both of Lady Catelyn Stark's daughters from harm's way. Trusting Baelish, Sansa accepts his advice. The following morning, Maester Wolkan informs Sansa that they have received a letter from Queen Cersei. Sansa meets with Brienne, who advises her not to leave Winterfell. Instead, Sansa decides to send Brienne as her representative since she could reason with Jaime Lannister. Brienne warns that it is too dangerous for her to leave Sansa alone at Winterfell with Petyr. Sansa insists that her guards and men are loyal to her but Brienne warns that Petyr might be bribing them behind her back. Brienne offers to leave her squire Podrick Payne, whose swordsmanship has improved, but Sansa insists that she can take care of herself. Following the events of the Wight Hunt, Sansa enters Arya's quarters and opens a leather case containing several "faces", including the literally late Walder Frey's face. Arya catches her sister pilfering through her personal effects. When Sansa tells Arya that her men are loyal to her, Arya mockingly retorts that they are not here. Arya tells Sansa that she obtained the faces from the Faceless Men of Braavos and admits she spent time training to be a Faceless Man. She forces Sansa to play the lying game and begins by asking if she thinks that Jon is the rightful King. Sansa demands that Arya tell her what the "faces" are. Arya replies that they always wanted to pretend to be other people. Sansa wanted to be a queen while Arya herself wanted to be a knight. In the end, neither of them got what they wanted. Arya says that the faces allow her to become someone else and toys with the idea of assuming Sansa's face and status. Arya approaches Sansa with her dagger and muses as the possibility of becoming the Lady of Winterfell. However, Arya relents and leaves a disturbed Sansa alone with the dagger. At Dragonstone Queen Daenerys Targaryen and her Hand Tyrion Lannister chat in the Chamber of the Painted Table. Daenerys tells Tyrion that she appreciates the fact that he is not a hero because they have a tendency of risking their lives to do dangerous things. She compares Tyrion favorably to "heroes" such as Khal Drogo, Ser Jorah Mormont, Daario Naharis and Jon Snow, most of whom "do stupid things, trying to outdo the others". Tyrion, slightly amused, notes that all of those individuals fell in love with Daenerys, but she dismisses the obvious implication that Jon Snow is in love with her – to which Tyrion sarcastically quips that Jon must be staring so longingly at her because he is so eager for a military alliance. Daenerys remarks that Jon is too little for her tastes, but immediately apologizes when she realizes she's accidentally insulted Tyrion's height. Daenerys also recognizes that Tyrion is no coward. The two then turn their attention to the topic of their impending meeting with Queen Cersei in King's Landing. Tyrion admits that Cersei cannot be trusted and could be setting a trap for them, but that Daenerys will have the Unsullied, the Dothraki and her dragons at hand; if anyone tries to harm her, King's Landing will be leveled to the ground in response. Daenerys wonders whether, given that Cersei will almost certainly be attempting to double-cross them, they should be planning something similar. Tyrion is firmly against any deceit, counseling Daenerys that while she needs a healthy degree of fear to instill respect, she cannot rule through fear alone, as leaders who rule through fear alone like Cersei, Tywin, and Joffrey are hated by their people and forever vulnerable to being overthrown. Tyrion reminds Daenerys about her vision of creating a new society by "breaking the wheel" rather than merely imitating prior rulers like Aegon Targaryen, and cautions her about her temper and impulsiveness, citing the fiery executions of Lord Randyll Tarly and his son Dickon. Daenerys asserts that such an action was necessary, but Tyrion still believes she should have attempted more merciful means of dealing with the problem the Tarlys posed, or at least left them alive long enough to consider her other options rather than having them summarily executed. As Daenerys becomes increasingly agitated in the face of Tyrion's blunt but reasonable remarks, he reassures Daenerys that he supports her vision and ideals. Tyrion also proposes that Daenerys consider a succession plan in the event of a disaster, given that by her own admission, she believes she is incapable of bearing children but she refuses to consider this plan until she has donned the crown, also coldly blaming Tyrion's policy of caution for causing her the loss of Highgarden, Ellaria Sand, and Yara Greyjoy. The Wight Hunt Jon Snow and his ranging party travel through the lands beyond the wall on their mission to capture a Wight. Gendry complains about the bitter cold and asks Tormund about life as a Wildling. Tormund later confides with Jon about the foolhardy nature of their mission, while Jon discusses his difficult negotiations with Daenerys. Tormund points out that the pride of the Northmen may cost them too many lives, citing Mance Rayder and the Wildlings as an example. While walking, Gendry also confronts the Brotherhood Without Banners about selling him off as a sacrifice to Melisandre. Sandor Clegane sneers that Gendry should be grateful that he is still alive and points out that Beric Dondarrion has been kiled six times (including once by Sandor himself) "and you don't hear him bitching about it". Not entirely sure what to think of that particular revelation, Gendry accepts a drink form Thoros's wineskin. While walking, Jon and Jorah Mormont also chat about their relationships with their fathers Eddard Stark and Jeor Mormont respectively. They say that their fathers were good and honorable men and did not deserve their deaths. Jon tells Jorah about the brutal death of Jeor at the hands of the Mutineers and that Eddard was beheaded. Jon tries to return Jorah his father's Valyrian sword Longclaw but Jorah tells him that he is not worthy to bear his father's sword and tells Jon to keep it. Later, Sandor and Tormund trade jabs about sex. Sandor takes offense when Tormund asks about how he burnt his face. Tormund then confides in Sandor about his infatuation for Brienne of Tarth, who is nearly as tall as Sandor. He jokes about having "monstrous" babies with her, to Sandor's utter bewilderment. Beric and Jon talk about Eddard Stark and how they have both been resurrected by worshipers of the Lord of Light. Beric tells Jon that he is fighting for life because death is the first and last enemy; it is inevitable, but it is human nature to fight it for as long as you can. He warns Jon that they have to work together to fight death and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Jon reflects on his Night's Watch oath about being the "shield that guards the realms of men" and agrees. Sandor sees the mountain from his vision lying ahead and steers the group in that direction. While trudging through a snowstorm, Jon and his party sight a massive snow bear with blue eyes approaching them. The snow bear turns out to have been resurrected by a White Walker. The monstrous creature mauls and kills three of their company. Beric and Thoros manage to set the snow bear alight with his flaming sword but it continues to attack, forcing Thoros to get in its' way when it attacks Sandor. Thoros is unable to break free of its jaws until Jorah stabs it with a dragonglass dagger. Beric cauterizes Thoros' wounds with his flaming sword. Jorah asks the wounded Thoros about his experience charging with a flaming sword during the Siege of Pyke, and commends his old comrade for his drunken bravery. While navigating through the mountain, they see a column of Wights marching through the canyon below. The ranging party plants a fire and then ambushes the Wights and the White Walker leading the pack. Jon Snow manages to kill the White Walker with Longclaw, causing most of the Wights associated with it to disintegrate, while the rest of the group manages to capture the only unaffected Wight. Sandor tries to silence the creature but gets bitten as it cries for help. Jorah and Sandor managed to muzzle and bind the creature together. As a horde of Wights approach, Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to bring news to Daenerys. The Wights pursue the group over a lake of ice. One of the ranging party is captured by the horde but manages to drag many of the Wights down with him when the ice collapses under their weight. Gendry manages to outrun the Wights after lending his hammer to Tormund. Meanwhile, Jon and his ranging party manage to retreat to the middle of an icy lake to escape the wights. Throughout the night, Jon and his comrades wait in the middle of the ice while encircled by the army of the Undead. Meanwhile, Gendry reaches Eastwatch's outer gates but collapses from exhaustion. Davos Seaworth and several guards attend to him. When Davos asks what happened, Gendry tells him to fetch the Maester and to send ravens to Daenerys. In the morning, Jon and his company awake to find that Thoros has died from his wounds. Beric and Sandor pay their last respects, with the former praying for the Lord of Light to guard them. At Jon's insistence, they burn the body with Beric's flaming sword. The Wights watch while their captive Wight struggles under its hood and restraints. Jorah proposes killing the Wight but Jon counters that they need to keep it as evidence. Beric suggests that Jon kill the Night King, who has just arrived on horseback; given that they've seen killing a Walker destroyed the wights it controlled, killing the Night King might destroy them all. He then adds that the Lord of Light has not resurrected Jon for no reason, but Sandor reminds him that they have just lost their priest, and Beric is now down to his last life. After receiving Gendry's message from Eastwatch, Tyrion implores Queen Daenerys, who has donned a cold-weather version of her Targaryen garb, not to leave for the North because it is too risky. Daenerys counters that he told her to do nothing before and she lost. Dissatisfied with his advice, Dany leaves with all three dragons to the lands beyond the Wall to aid Jon Snow and his ranging party. Bored, Sandor hurls two rocks at one of the undead minions, knocking its jaw off. The second however, skids across the ice, and both the party and the undead quickly realize the ice, which has hardened overnight, is strong enough to support their weight, and in ever-increasing numbers, the horde attacks the group's position. Sandor holds them back with Gendry's hammer while Jon and the other members of the ranging party join in, wielding weapons of fire, dragonglass or Valyrian steel. Beric manages to set several of the Wights alight with his flaming sword. The ranging party hack and slash at the Wights with their blades but are unable to stem the tide. With the group overwhelmed, Jon orders them to fall back to the highest part of the island. Tormund is dragged into the ice by several Wights but is saved from death by Sandor, who drags him back onto the island. The group continues fighting against the Wights. One of the Wildlings falls off a ledge and is ripped apart by the creatures, who begin to scramble up the ledge towards Jon's group. When all seems lost, Queen Daenerys arrives with her dragons, who attack the wights with dragonfire. Hundreds of Wights are burned to ashes while others collapse under the ice, which is melted by dragonfire. Jon and his party rush to Daenerys and her dragon Drogon, dragging their captive Wight with them, while Viserion and Rhaegal provide covering fire from above. Meanwhile, the Night King obtains an icy javelin from one of his lieutenants and hurls it at Viserion, scoring a direct hit. Viserion is struck in the neck and plunges helplessly into freefall, shrieking in agony as blood and fire pour from the fatal wound. Drogon and Rhaegal cry out for their brother, but are powerless to help him as Daenerys watches in horror and sorrow. Viserion crashes onto the frozen lake, shattering the ice, and slowly sinks beneath it. As the Night King readies another spear, Jon tries to fight his way to him, but is dragged under the ice by two Wights. Before falling under the ice, he hollers at Daenerys and company to leave with her remaining dragons. Daenerys and the survivors of Jon's ranging expedition flee with Drogon and Rhaegal before the Night King can kill them. He hurls the second javelin, but Drogon narrowly dodges it. With the dragons gone, the Night King and his army leave the scene. Later, Jon Snow climbs out of the ice, finding Longclaw fortuitously right in front of him. Jon tries to pretend to be a Wight but is spotted and pursued by a large horde. Before the Wights can finish the King in the North, his uncle Benjen Stark appears on horseback with his flaming flail. Benjen tells Jon to flee on his horse while he stays behind to buy time for Jon to escape. While riding away on horseback, Jon watches his uncle being overwhelmed and killed. At Eastwatch Sandor carries the struggling Wight into a boat. Tormund and Beric tell him they will meet again but Sandor retorts he hopes not. Daenerys sends Drogon and Rhaegal to scour the surrounding mountains for Jon. Jorah tells Daenerys that it is time to leave but she insists on waiting a bit longer. Before she can leave, they hear a horn blowing signalling a rider approaching. Looking down from the battlements, Dany sees a wounded Jon Snow approaching on horseback. Aboard their ship, Davos and Gendry tend to Jon Snow, who has suffered severe hypothermia and several minor injuries. Daenerys also notes the massive scars on his chest from his previous fatal wounds. In the Narrow Sea Jon Snow wakes to find Daenerys watching over him in his chambers. Jon apologizes for the disastrous ranging party and the fact it caused Viserion's death, but Daenerys tells him not to apologize because she now knows that the Army of the Dead is real. Overcome with emotion, she tells Jon that the dragons are the only children she will ever have, and vows that she and Jon will together destroy the Night King. Jon thanks her for her support, addressing her as "Dany", and Daenerys realizes that the last person to address her by that name was her older brother Viserys Targaryen, who Daenerys remembers as not being a good person. Jon apologizes and asks if "My Queen" would be more appropriate; realizing he is agreeing to bend the knee, Daenerys asks Jon what the Northern lords loyal to him will make of this. Jon assures her they will come to see her for the good person she is, as he already has. Touched by his statement, Daenerys gently takes Jon's hand in her own for a moment. They gaze into each other's eye for a moment – a long moment – but Daenerys suddenly pulls away and tells him to get some rest and leaves him alone. Elsewhere Later, hundreds of Wights use several large chains to drag Viserion's corpse out of the frozen lake as the Night King and one of his lieutenants watch. When the dragon's corpse is dragged far enough out of the lake, the Night King walks over and places his hand upon Viserion's snout. All is quiet for a moment... and then Viserion's eyes snap open, shining icy blue. WHEN: August 27, 9 P.M. P/T on HBO WEST & 6 P.M. P/T on HBO EAST Runtime: 80 Minutes Directed By: Jeremy Podeswa Written By: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss Summary Snippet Link to HBO West Schedule Page Link to HBO East Schedule Page RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS Applications For New Mod Open! UPDATED RULES EXPANDED FLAIR SYSTEM! Season 8 Information Theme Update POST MEMES HERE --> The Fool's Corner <-- Our Megathread for Silly Content.
2017.05.02 07:42 idols2effigies(Spoilers Extended) Who's responsible for the rise of the Others? (My tinfoil theory)
"My pride broke it. My rage broke it. This excellent knight, who fought with fairness and grace, was meant to win. I used Excalibur to change that verdict. I've lost, for all time, the ancient sword of my fathers whose power was meant to unite all men." King Arthur (Excalibur, 1981) Throughout both the book and television series, the looming threat of a second Long Night, with the Others as its harbingers, is what most people speculate the end game will be for the series, with an army of undead threatening to destroy the Seven Kingdoms. The motivations of the Others are largely a mystery. We know some things about their origins thanks to the television show, but we still don't know why they are just now becoming an active threat. I mean, if they've been around since the first Long Night, what have they been doing this whole time? Why now? I believe I may have a possible explanation. Although there is a great deal of speculation, I think that this theory may prove to have legs in regards to the overall story. Before I jump in with the what/who is responsible for the rise of the Others, we need to set the groundwork with a few sub-theories (I'll include a tl;dr summary at the bottom if you just want to cut to the chase, though I'd bet you'll get more out of it if you see the logic progression). First, we have to acknowledge that the timeline of the rise of the Others pre-date the beginning of the series by several years. Since the resurgence of the Others was part of the impetus and drive for Mance Rayder to begin unifying the various Wildling tribes and the sort of broad-scale unification Mance achieved doesn't occur quickly, it's almost certain that Others were threatening the Wildlings years before making first contact with the Night's Watch. This is also supported by the fact that Craster has been sacrificing to the Others for quite a long time, indicative of their presence well before the events of the series. Next, I want draw attention to a section out of the the World of Ice and Fire book, there's an interesting bit about it in the Yi Ti chapters on the source of the Long Night that may help explain some of the mechanics when the Long Night begins. Specifically: "...her envious younger brother cast her down and slew her, proclaiming himself the Bloodstone Emperor and beginning a reign of terror. He practiced dark arts, torture, and necromancy...feasted on human flesh, and cast down the true gods to worship a black stone that had fallen from the sky...it was the Blood Betrayal, as his usurpation is named, that ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night." Whether or not Yi Ti's Long Night corresponds with Westeros's Long Night is a subject for a debate. However, if a black stone that fell from the sky is one of the major causes of the Long Night (the Children DID use black obsidian stone to create the Others in the show), then it has an interesting implication: If a black stone that fell from the sky is the cause of the Long Night, then what if a white stone that fell from the sky was used to end it. Hopefully, you see where I'm going with this: I find the black/white space-stone parallel a compelling piece to add to the growing body of evidence that Azor Ahai's fabled sword, Lightbringer, the sword that ended the Long Night, is none other than Dawn, the sword forged from the heart of a white comet and formerly held by Arthur Dayne. In addition to being the original Lightbringer, it's also vital that we bring up the myriad of fairly overt ties that Dawn has to the mythology of Excalibur. In versions of the mythology, Excalibur was also a sword made out of a fallen star that was only wielded by "chosen" people (the most famous of which are both named Arthur). GRRM is definitely quite familiar with a host of Arthurian legend (critiquing various versions in interviews), so it definitely would be an influence. You still with me? Good. Lightbringer = Dawn = Excalibur. Now let's move on to the final stage, to the Tower of Joy. Assuming that the events of the Tower of Joy went down very similar to what is portrayed in the television show, it is my theory that Ned Stark is the cause as to why the Others are rising. I'm not one of those who thinks that Ned is secretly evil and in league with White Walkers directly, but let me propose the following: In many versions of the Arthurian mythos, Excalibur loses its power when used in an act of treachery or injustice. Probably the most prolific pop-culture example of this is from 1981's Excalibur (which we know GRRM is familiar with directly), where Excalibur breaks after Arthur calls on it's power to kill Lancelot in a duel, betraying his honor. It's from this scene that the quote that started this essay began. Watch the Tower of Joy fight again. After Howland Reed stabs Arthur Dayne in the back, Ned picks up and uses Dawn to deliver the killing blow to Arthur Dayne. With that act of treachery (one Ned tried to make up for the rest of his life, seemingly), the power of Lightbringer was broken (possibly physically shattered in the books) and the Sword of the Morning had fallen. It's power and protection wouldn't stand in the way of the Others anymore, and so they began their rise. Again, I want to stress that I don't think Ned is acting as a deliberate participant of this. In fact, I think he doesn't believe in magic and the like. But how GRRM would it be that the first thing to cause the chain events leading to all that death comes from a man who only knew arguably one treachery in a life of honor? tl;dr version: (/s "Ned Stark's treacherous kill of Arthur Dane at the Tower of Joy eliminated one of the greatest deterrents the Others would face. Without the power of Dawn (aka Lightbringer) and the Sword in the Morning, they could begin their ascension anew.") Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down the tinfoil rabbit hole. The only question remains is who, if anyone, is fit to be a new Sword in the Morning and stand against the Long Night? I may get around to that next when I get some time (spoiler alert: I don't think it's Jon or Dany).
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