Buried Treasure

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  1. 'soon after' is relative. Barristan is an old man reflecting on events 16+ years ago; two events seperated by around around a year could seem close together to his mind. Cersei suggested Ashara as a possible mother for Jon yes, but because Ned and Ashara are linked by his journey to see her in Dorne, and the existence of Jon. Cersei (nor anybody else outside Barristan) does not hint of any rumours of Ashara having a non-Jon pregnancy.
  2. I lean against Ashara being in Dorne for most of her pregnancy because Barristan knows or thinks he knows what happened at the end of her pregnancy. Barristan was not in Dorne, and certainly not late in the war when he was Robert's prisoner, and there is not otherwise gossip of her stillborn (such rumours as there about her work backwards from Ned's acknowledged bastard's mother being unknown). I would suggest that Ashara and Barristan were in proximity in KL or Dragonstone, which allowed him to see or hear something to conclude that she had a stillborn baby.
  3. It's Westeros, a horrific number of people come to bad ends. If Maggy had told her granddaughter to avoid everyone who had a foreboding prophecy she wouldn't be able to leave her chambers.
  4. Her suicide was because when Ned arrived she learnt of her son's death at the hands of Gregor Clegane. An unwedded noblewoman having a pregnancy would be considered dishonorable, so she would have good reason to keep it secret. There are reasons Barristan would know things about Ashara that are not common gossip - he was infatuated with her so would have paid close attention to her actions, and he was a KG so would have had access most do not. As you say Ashara was close to Elia so anytime they were together in Dragonstone or Kings Landing is a time Barristan might have been close enough to learn some of Ashara's secrets. What Barristan thought he knew might not be the whole truth though; Elia gave birth in the year after Harrenhal, so the possible windows for when the two women conceived / were pregnant overlap. Elia was sickly, and her husband had already started looking elsewhere, so if she had given birth to a stillborn girl she might have been afraid of being set aside, and if Ashara had given birth to a healthy bastard boy whose Dayne looks resembled Targ looks then switching could have solved problems for both of them.
  5. Which do people think? For me, prophecy is a weather forecast that people in-universe have a tendency to try and force by ticking off items like a shopping list. Most prophecies seem to arise from visions (the wolf dreams of the Starks, Daeron's dragon dreams, Mel looking in the fire etc.) which the prophet then interprets when they try to describe the prophecy to a second party. That may not be true for all prophecies, for instance we don't know if Patchface has visions or if his little verses come to him fully formed. When a prophet describes the vision it could perhaps be like describing a picture of a crime scene - they might describe the most obvious features, not the most relevant ones. I'll take a simplified version of the dragon hatching as an example. This was a momentous event so it cast a big shadow forward and some prophet long ago was able to see it; most prophecies are about event significance to the fates of fewer people, so only prophets close to the individuals or events can foresee them. The prophet foresaw a complex series of visions, but picked out petrified dragon eggs, a mighty fire and silver hair & purple eyes to tell people about: so for hundreds of years everybody thought Stone Eggs + Targs + Fire = Dragons and a load of royals managed to get themselves killed by trying to force the prophecy into fulfillment through assembling a list to recreate the reported parts of the vision, this roughly what Mel has been trying with her 'take two kings...' approach to prophecy . But let's say that anybody could have hatched a dragon had they put a stone egg on a fire on the day of the red comet - Hot Pie could have done it, and if he had then the prophet might or might not have described the baker at the centre of the scene. I actually don't think the comet was relevant to hatching dragons, I think Dany succeeded where others had failed was because she was a pregnant woman who was able to give create life, to literally be a mother, and that it just so happens she is a Targaryen, with the main significance of that is only Targs are mad / bold enough to try walking into fire. But, much as a storm will arrive whether you see the weather forecast or not, so would the the dragons have been hatched even if a prophet had not foreseen it.
  6. Rhaegar saying that 'his is the song of Ice and Fire' isn't the only title drop in the series, it's merely the only one so far, with hundreds of thousands of words still to come. Prophecy is moving from the background to a more prominent feature as the series progresses. The last couple of books had more emphasis on things such as the Ref Priests' beliefs concerning AA, and prophecy in the Jade Compendium, and I would expect that to continue so that by the series conclusion we know the full picture of what was prophesised, and how that was fulfilled or subverted. I wouldn't take a vision of Rhaegar having spoken about this prophecy years earlier as anything more than a hint that at some point we will learn more about about an individual having a song of ice and fire.
  7. The point of the great lords of the realm coming together as a political bloc would surely be to limit the power of the throne. In broad terms a Magna Carta type situation where strong lords can unite against a weak king (in this case due to his weakening mental state) not to overthrow him, which could be costly to themselves in case of war, but to limit his authority and this strengthen their own positions.
  8. You have the order right, but the problem Robb was facing was: Bran - to Robb's knowledge, dead Rickon - to Robb's knowledge, dead Sansa Arya - to Robb's knowledge, dead Jon - as a bastard not in the succession by default, and in the the NW anyway Robb's only remaining heir (to his knowledge!) was unsuitable by dint of her Lannister marriage. I don't think anyone would dispute that a king can strike a particular heir from their line of succession for cause, like treason, and Sansa was almost be described as unwilling traitor by virtue of her forced marriage to Robb's enemies. If Robb had disowned Sansa and had Arya by his side, or Uncle Benjen (if he had never joined the NW), or Jon (if he was a legitimate cousin and had not joined the NW), then that would have been his next heir by default - Robb would not get free choice of who to name. It is the fact that Robb had reason to disown Sansa and then had no other direct successors that make it such an open question of who he would name to succeed him.
  9. Especially when those scouts (Mormont and Glover) were told they would be carrying false orders in case of capture. The significance of M&G was that in the immediate aftermath of the RW they were the only witnesses to Robb's will that were alive and free to act upon it. Edmure and the Greatjon were made prisoner at the Twins, Mallister was besieged at Seagard, Cat was mad and undead*, so if anybody was going to turn up at the Wall or Vale or wherever to hand out a crown it was going to be them. After ADwD that is less significant, Maege and Glover might still be making plans based on their knowledge of the will, but time has passed for them to share that knowledge out and Edmure has also had the chance to tell the Blackfish. *If Cat even knows what the will stated. She believed that Robb named Jon based on their earlier conversation, but she was not a lord in her own right so her signature would not have been required as a witness, so she may not have had the opportunity to read the document.
  10. I think you are right, Edmure and Jeyne are already on the road from Riverrun whereas the bulk of the RW hostages are at the Twins. Do you think there will be two seperate rescue attempts? I said upthread that I think Mormont and Glover are waiting to free the RW hostages for the sake of strengthening the Northern Kingdom. I wonder if an attack on the troop taking Edmure and Jeyne west is more likely to come from Lady Stoneheart and her faction of the BwB - rescuing a widow and one lord seems less pragmatically useful and more likely to be driven by family loyalty or desire for revenge, and LS seems to me motivated by emotions not practicalities.
  11. I think there could well be a little bit of that. There is a also the possibility they are staying with Reed because it is a good position from which to act. Whomever Robb named as heir, they can't take that crown unless there is a kingdom and the main reason the kingdom fell apart after his death is that all the hostages taken at the RW meant most houses had to dip their knee to the Iron Throne. The Neck borders the Frey lands, so although assaulting the Twins would be foolhardy the moment the hostages are on the road to Kings Landing an attack can be launched from the marshes to rescue them.
  12. Harrion's father committed treason, and was punished for it, Harrion himself had committed no crime. Harrion was probably already a prisoner by the time Robb made his will, but that would not have been known to Robb at the time - Harrion was with Bolton's army and Robb had sent orders to Roose to keep Harrion close, Robb did not learn of Duskendale (where Harrion was recaptured) until after arriving at the Twins. A Karstark is not so ideal as a trueborn Stark, but in the absence of one of those to hand it makes a decent political choice. Robb's goal was to leave a strong, united kingdom in the event of his death and one of the greatest internal weaknesses to his kingdom at the time was that one of his major northern bannerhouses had marched home. Naming Karstark as heir would mean that in the event of his death that rift would be instantly healed, and even if he did not die it would be a major olive branch towards healing the division eventually. By contrast if Jon or Edmure were named heir they would still have to deal with the Karstarks being divided against the kingdom.
  13. This is all right, but I'd emphasise a further point. Robert only dictated a Will because Joffrey was not of age. He wrote it to name Ned as lord protector. Robert took for granted that Joff as his eldest trueborn son was his heir and that was not the subject of the will, but merely mentioned as the condition for Ned being regent.
  14. A cracked pot holds no water. But when you shove the broken shards of several different pots together and hold them together with rubber bands it barely looks like a pot and there is nowhere to pour the water. Occasionally that makes pretty shapes that are fun to look at like NEDBERT!, but mostly it is just crap that just litters up the place with dozens of threads from ppl who either lack basic reading comprehension or are trolls arguing nonsense like Mance being Rhaegar. i prefer my pots to have enough structural integrity that you don't notice spilling out for at least a few seconds. Maybe Syrio is alive, maybe Elia and Ashara swapped babies after the birth of Aegon and the stillborn... There is not enough evidence to say those things are true, but theres a lot more fun in speculating what pieces George might give us in the next novel to make those pots more watertight.
  15. Stannis did not raise his banners. He spent months sitting on Dragonstone doing nothing after Robert died, long enough for Renly to gather his great army, for Robb to march his army from the north and fight a couple of battles and both of them to be proclaimed kings. During that time nobody knew if Stannis was going to sit out the entire war, claim a crown, or declare for King Joffrey - nobody can be judged for not supporting Stannis as that was not an option on the table. I actually think we are missing some information about Renly's motivations, to wit - did he decided to become king then call his banners or did he call his banners then decide to become king? The one is naked ambition from the start, but the other is subtler and makes him a more complex character. I think perhaps Renly formed his army to continue the plan he had proposed to Ned, to remove the Lannisters and take the Regency for Joffrey, arguably he would even have been justiied to do so - as a lord who had committed no crime he had a right to defend himself and he had reason to fear arrest or death from Cersei. I think it was only when he saw the sheer numbers of the army he had raised that he let it get to his head and thought that if all those men were willing to answer to him it was because he was most fit to be king.