I'm just starting my Stannis reread, basically I'm reading every chapter that involves Stannis physically.
I want to present a theory that has probably been discussed a few times, but with the Theon chapter I want to go deeper into it.
Stannis started out his journey to the Iron Throne in Dragonstone, the former seat of House Targaryen, much on that island is about Fire and Dragons. He had Melisandre as a Thrall of Fire basically, not really buying into the whole Lord of Light thing, rather using it as a tool for his campaign. He recognizes that Melisandre has (fire)power and uses it for his own goals several times.
Later on, he goes North to help the Wall against the wildlings and establishes his seat in the Nightfort, which is the former seat of the Night's King, a lot of things here have to do with Ice and Coldness. Whereas Dragonstone was a beautiful island with a beautiful carved out castle, he now has a broken down castle, with nothing much going for it except its history.
Dragonstone(Fire) ---> The Nightfort(Ice)
Stannis has a pretty hard time on his campaign. The first thing he does is killing his brother, using Dark Forces powered by Fire. He recognizes the power of fire a lot and uses it to see his future through Melisandre.
After that he loses the battle of the Blackwater because of Wildfire and flees. He returns to Dragonstone and because of this defeat he almost turns to the bad side by planning to burn Edric Storm for power. Davos prevents him from doing that and informs Stannis of the real threat.
Here we see how Stannis, driven by hopelessness, does not refrain from doing bad things for the greater good. We see how for him the end justifies the means if other options run out.
He then goes North to fight the real problem, but Stannis is only convinced because he sees it as a tool to make the realm follow him in order to get the Iron Throne. Despite his victory, Jon Snow is unwilling to let him have the wildlings and become a Stark to help him.
Despite this effort Stannis makes to help the realm, the realm still doesn't recognize him as a true king. This is something he very much despises. He gets more and more driven by his hate for the realm and everyone in it who doesn't recognize him.
When Stannis departs from the Nightfort to get back Deepwood Motte, he basically starts his transition from Fire to Ice. He uses the forces of fire less and less now that Melisandre isn't with him and starts hating on the snows. He recognizes that the cold and the North are powerful things and he has a hard time overcoming them.
Again despite his effort freeing Deepwood Motte from Asha Greyjoy, no Northern Lords except for Alysane openly declare for him. They still don't want to bend the knee even though he's proven again and again that he can handle the realm and that he'd be a good King.
In the Theon chapter, we see Asha making the request of offering Theon to the Old Gods at the Hearttree. As we see in Bran's adventures, offering blood to the Hearttree seems to have been a big thing in the olden days. We also see that Stannis has a plan to use his environment(Ice) to somehow trap his enemies in the battle.
In this chapter we also see that even though Stannis is doing what's good for the North, he learns of an attempt of a Northern Lord trying to turn his cloak. Again he is rewarded with treason and hate for his efforts.
Power of R'hlorr(Fire) ---> Power of the Old Gods(Ice)
Now here's the theory I have:
Stannis will offer Theon to the Hearttree. Something will happen that convinces Stannis of the power of Ice and he will start using that rather than Fire to help him on his campaign. He wins the battle and solves the North's problem with the Boltons.
Now what happens next? If he establishes the North and brings back peace, what will they do? Will they follow him to the South to take back what is rightfully his, now that Winter has come? I think not, I think they will tell Stannis to wait until the Winter is out. They will let him have the Nightfort and let him be to do whatever he wants, because he saved the North basically. They will swear they're his, but they won't do anything for him. There is even a big chance Manderly will crown Rickon King in The North once he gets his hands on him. Another treason. Justin Massey's resolve seems weak and he might even betray Stannis. We saw with Dareon what Braavos might do to you. The gold of the Iron Bank will do Stannis no good if he can't find any sellsword company anymore.
Basically, Stannis is again fucked and has too few forces to do anything. He will sit at the Nightfort and think of ways to help him get The Iron Throne and punish those who defied him and keep defying him. He will try to help out against the Others if they finally show up and he will see their power(Ice).
Now something clicked when I read the chapter where Stannis meets his brother. Stannis' sense of justice dictates that anyone who doesn't bend the knee will be destroyed.
Stannis: "The Iron Throne is mine by rights. All those who deny that, are my foes."
Renly: "The whole of the realm denies it, brother. All men deny it with their death-rattle and unborn children deny it in their mothers wombs. They deny it in Dorne and they deny it on The Wall. No one wants you for their king.
And Stannis will do exactly that. He will bring justice down upon the realm. At some point he will be so bitter, he will break before he bends. Whether this means he should actually die or just be overturned by the events that come to pass, I don't know. After what happened at the Wall he might not have the patience for another choosing, if there even is one. I could see him making himself Lord Commander, as well as King. He might somehow make a pact with the Others, convinced of their power. It might be that all The Others need to start their rampage on humanity is a leader. He will LEAD them down upon the realm, destroying ANYONE who denies him, unwilling to bend the knee. He will be the Night's King come again and lead the attack from The Others upon a treasonous realm. He will bring JUSTICE to those who deserve it. He will use the power of ICE to destroy those who defied him. The treason has gone on for too long and it is time for true justice. He would have finally found the army he needs and has always wanted, devoted to him, without question, without doubt, carrying out his every order, unyielding like he himself is.
Things from the books that support this theory:
There's possible foreshadowing of this in the fact that Shireen has greyscale and the Wildlings are all like WTF THIS KID CARRIES A CURSE. It might be foreshadowing in how Stannis might father other children to an 'Ice woman' that will be 'terrible abominations' like Old Nan says it.
Referring to a dream that Dany had in Storm of Swords:
That night she dreamed that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper's rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened.
This sequence is full of parallels between the war Robert fought and the war Dany is about to fight.
Rhaegar[Dany] on his horse[her dragon] fights Robert[Stannis] Baratheon and their army of rebels[Others] at the Trident.
Remember that the Usurper doesn't necessarilly indicate Robert. If Dany returns to Westeros, she will see Stannis and his army as The Usurper.
In the House of the undying Dany sees:
Glowing like sunset, a red sword was raised in the hand of a blue-eyed king who cast no shadow.
This obviously refers to Stannis. I think it is interesting though that the only things that distinguish him are the Red Sword(made by Melisandre), the Blue Eyes(parallel with the Others) and no shadow(Light is needed for shadow). In the darkness, in the night, Night's King Stannis would have a red sword, blue eyes and no shadow.
Not completely in line with my theory but there are several parallels between Melisandre and the Ice Queen of the Night's King another member has already remarked upon;
Melisandre - "Her eyes were red, but her skin was smooth and white ... pale as cream."
Night's King Queen - "...skin as white as the Moon and eye like blue stars."
Melisandre - "Jon could feel her heat, even through his wool and boiled leather..."
Night's King Queen - "...her skin was cold as ice..."
Soul Draining Coitus:
Melisandre - "...the king's fires burn so low i dare not draw off any more to make another son."
Night's King Queen - "...when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul..."
Melisandre - "Give me the boy for R'hllor."
Night's King Queen - "...he had been sacrificing to the Others..."
The only difference I notice is the flip between Hot/Cold - Red/Blue - Fire/Ice. Both want to sacrifice people. Both drain the soul from people when they have sex. Stannis might reunite with Melisandre when he goes back to The Wall or he might not, but the parallels are striking and maybe Melisandre takes a turn to the Ice too, who knows? Maybe Melisandre and the Night's King Queen are ONE AND THE SAME. People have already remarked upon how she seems to be using a glamour for herself and how she doesn't need food nor sleep.
This is when Davos talks to Stannis about burning Edric Storm and what his kingship might cost him. It seems to me foreshadowing to a point where Stannis might actually get burned and may rise again as something darker, something broken. You could discuss that this is about Viserys, but the crown Viserys got, was much different from a crown of flames, which is very resemblant to Stannis' crown. It might foreshadow how Fire is going to consume Stannis. He would then rise again as Ice.
"I saw a king, a crown of fire on his brows, burning... burning, Davos. His own crown consumed his flesh and turned him into ash."
In Sam's chapter where Aemon dies on the ship, he has one of his last conversations with Sam about Azor Ahai/PtwP and he says:
"Stannis ... Stannis has some of the dragon blood in him, yes. His brothers did as well. Rhaelle, Egg's little girl, she was how they came by it ... their father's mother ... she used to call me Uncle Maester when she was a little girl. I remembered that, so I allowed myself to hope ... perhaps I wanted to ... we all deceive ourselves, when we want to believe. Melisandre most of all, I think. The sword is wrong, she has to know that ... light without heat ... an empty glamor ... the sword is wrong, and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness, Sam. Daenerys is our hope."
We also learn from Bran's adventures that there's a gate through The Wall at the Nightfort.
This makes it more difficult for my theory if Stannis plans to use it, but he could become Lord Commander instead of Jon. He has said before that he would appoint one if it took too long. Will he have patience for the voting? Especially now that Black Brothers have killed Jon he might think it's necessary that he takes over before they all become corrupt and treasonous. Maybe he will use the Night's Watch for his own purposes, this would align with the Night's King theory. By doing this, the Night's Watch falls or at least a key point to their existence. The fact they can't take part in squabbles between Houses. Stannis has already tried to convince Jon to fight for him. If he becomes LC, what would stop him from doing just that?
Samwell: A hidden gate as old as the Wall itself, the Black Gate they call it. Only a man of the Night's Watch can open it, a Sworn Brother, who has said his words.
It would be quite ironical to see the Night's Watch align with the Others. The Wall would stand strong no more and Stannis could use the gate. This is all far out there, but knowing GRRM...
So, what do you think? There may be more hints to this than I spelled out here. I feel the Night's King HAS TO come again. There are so much dark stories about it and now that Stannis sits at the Nightfort I don't think anyone else is going to own that castle.
Edited by Babeldygob, 29 June 2012 - 09:42 AM.