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About Walda

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  1. Oh dear, I suspect you speak too soon. If Gendry comes back in Season Seven, she'll be on like Donkey Kong for sure. I love Lady Stoneheart, the mother who became the stranger. She is a desolate, ruthless, inconsolable character, born in the bloody grass by the Trident, with the taste of fire in her mouth, and a cold dead heart. She exists because Beric Dondarrion swore on his honour as a knight that Arya would be returned safely to her mother's arms. Apart from keeping Arya relevant (remember when the Kindly Man asked her if she feared death? It's all about Stoneheart), and killing Freys (which never gets old) in the surrounds of Weirwood Central (God's Eye), a region infested with Westeros's biggest wolf pack lead by Arya's warg (that pulled LSH out of the trident); Lady Stoneheart is also playing fairy godmother for Brienne, bringing her back together with Jaime. Because she is all about love, mother's love, true love, love of duty, love of family, love of honour. What's not to love about LSH?
  2. Lady Bolton might have been pregnant at the Red Wedding, but unaware that she was. Great catch. (and Gilly 2, too) So nobody thinks Tywin/Lanna Graceford is a likely option?
  3. ^Surely the Hightower has a winch @LordManderlyAsDragonRider All that fuel for the beacon. The Mad Maid would be the Step champion of Westeros otherwise. * When the seas fill with pack ice and the snow blows in drifts. Winter is coming. Der. (It must have been mentioned here before, I can't believe I've never noticed this interpretation.)
  4. What ought she be called, @Alester?
  5. ADwD, Ch.62 The Sacrifice Sometime Princess and would-be Queen of the Iron Isles subtly corrects the address of Tycho Nestoris, humble servant of the Bank of Braavos.
  6. Dalla, Gilly, and Lollys have all given birth before the White Raven of Winter flew from the Citidel, so Tyrion Tanner is, as far as I know, the last sweet child of summer. Lady Graceford, Lady Frey, Lady Bolton, and Lady Tully are known to be pregnant, Princess Arianne and Princess Asha might be pregnant...and there could be more. So, any ideas who the first child of winter will be?
  7. Well, you have already read Feast more times than me, but leaving that aside...while I found it distinctly underwhelming on the first time through, for Dorne Arianne Ironborn No Jon no tyrion no Dany Brienne So few chapters such tediously long chapters and especially those mendacious patronising intellectually insulting lies that were called 'chapter 46' to boost the word count all kinds of reasons, the second reading convinced me that maybe it wasn't the sign that GRRM had peaked in the '90s and didn't have to please his readership anymore, could now sit back and watch the royalties roll in and spend the rest of his life selling the derivative rights and organising trusts to ensure the profits flow where he wants them to flow, and not to fanfic writers, at least until the 22nd century. After Game, it is the one I keep going back to, to look forward. There is a lot of repetition in Feast, literally covering ground we have gone over before in the case of Brienne, retracing the route she took with Jaime in Storm of Swords. It gets very interesting, very intricate in the details. I've been stuck in the middle of a big post on the subject for some time, trying to get my head around Briennes chapters, just astounding how much I missed the first time, when I was so much less aware of what was to come, and oblivious of who had been there, by sea and land, before. Or who was likely to come that way in the future, by air. Note that Dragonstone, Duskendale, Rosby, Kings Landing are pretty much a straight flight path, and one that has been done before. We begin to understand better what the cost of Bolton sending Harrion Karstark et al to Duskendale was. (By the way, that re-read of Brienne's feast chapters was prompted by what you said, @Clegane'sPup, on the dead near the saltpans, about Gendry's meeting with Brienne at the Inn at the Crossroads. Although I didn't find anything impossible about Gendry showing up there when he did, I am still somewhat sidetracked by other things.) But there is also Lord Tywin's funeral, seen first through Cersei's eyes, then Jaime's. (Where Jaime sees Cersei abuse Tommen, and does nothing. And we learn that Cersei sees herself as an affectionate mother, is completely oblivious of her cruel treatment of Tommen). Sansa is in the same room in the same tower her mother had at the Eyrie (In these chapters, I believe we see that Marillion is alive and at large in the Eyrie, moving from the Maiden's Tower to the Tower of the Moon on the night Petyr entertains the Lords Declarant); we see Braavos through the eyes of Arya, then Sam traces her steps, then Arya traces his; we see Cersei travelling comfortably to Baelor's sept to bribe the septon with arms in exchange for a crown, laughing as she plots against Margaery, a plot that will have her walking butt naked from the Sept, humbled, we now know. With the prescience of reading Dance of Dragons previously, we also see her bring the Rosby Inheritance down on her own head. That is the real trick about Feast, it is like Janus, looking forward and looking back. Or maybe it is a three-headed beast, looking back to Game of Thrones and earlier, looking forward to Dance and Winds and beyond, and the third head right in the present, saying howdedo to the High Septon and his bones at Rosby, or visiting the ancestral home of the Brunes and the smugglers coves at Crackclaw point. I think Feast might be the pivot on which the whole Song turns, although I won't know until the story ends. I see a lot of things relevant to the riots of Kings Landing cropping up in Feast. There are also a lot of added developments (Like Melara and the Younger More Beautiful Queen) that seem to have been dreamt up this century, and a lot of development of other things mentioned in the Clash, like the Ironborn, and Dorne. Actually, a lot of water themes are being developed: Melara, the Kingsmoot; Cersei flirts with 'the biting crabs' of former Stannis Loyalists like Celtigar and Velaryon; Arya pushs a barrow of molloscs around the canals, Sam is at sea; the action in Oldtown winds around the Honeywine; Brienne heads towards Jaime in the riverlands, when she is not by the sea; and even the Dornish chapters make multiple references to the Watergardens, and reach their climax on the Greenblood. Practically the only part of Feast that doesn't have running water references are the Alyane chapters - Alyssa's tear has frozen at the Eyrie. That it was originally a part of Dance with Dragons, does not mean that it doesn't stand on its own. I can see the chapters that make this book have been carefully selected for juxtaposition: Jamie with Cersei; Cersei with Brienne; Jaime with Sam; Sam with Arya;; Arianne with Sansa, and Asha. Not all the juxtapositions are in Feast, for instance there is Gilly and Sam vs Jon and Val, connected by the swapped children. A lot of things in Feast become more interesting when you consider where people from other chapters and other books are at this point in time. The Ironborn story seems almost entirely unconnected with the rest of the book, until we remember that the Isle of Ravens at the heart of the Citidel was once the stronghold of a pirate king, or that Rosby and Duskendale are a dragon-flight from Dragonstone, where Loras is collecting a navy to repulse Euron (too late), and maybe dragon eggs or awakening a stone dragon (time will tell). Brienne and Arya almost cross paths. I suspect the real reason Feast was hived off from Dance was to introduce the territory before Davos, Stannis, Aegon, the White Walkers attack the east side of Westeros. And maybe to conceal something in Davos' storyline that might be obvious if his chapters are read in sequential order in a Feast/Dragon read. The single chapter points of view have points of interest. Although, to be honest, nearly the only thing that intrigues me about Arys is that he is the only point of view to die after just one chapter not an epilogue or prologue (although he doesn't die in his own chapter). For that reason alone, I wonder if he is really is dead. Or perhaps undead. Hotah, the renegade Norvoshi priest, I still find a bit underwhelming, with his hulk speech thoughts and his steadfast retainer schtick, apparently to foreshadow that Norvos will be as bullshit as Dorne. Still, he juxtaposes with Arys. Then there is Pate. Who is Pate? He doesn't wonder who he is, so neither do we, until he is no more. Likewise Archmaester Walgrave. But then, the prologue did not disappoint me on the first read, it is an elegant introduction to Oldtown and the Citadel, it's stone streets, its people, its politics, with secrets like Alleras and its Pirate heart. The real final chapter (ie chapter 45) bookends it. I think the pirate king has crept back into his ancestral home, although Oldtown does not know that yet. And look how much heavy lifting the Prologue did - the final chapter of Feast is only the second chapter at Oldtown, but it seems almost as familiar as Kings Landing by the time we return with Sam. @Good Guy Garlan , when you say that Sam's future is meant to be at Oldtown, you don't know that. Sure, Sam is under orders from Jon to become a maester of the Citidel, but his author is foreshadowing more like he is now zero chapters from his death. On my first read, Arianne was instantly unlikeable, an idiot full of what seems to me to be GRRM's contempt and objectification of young women. While I have not located any hidden depths in her childish character on re-read, it does make me appreciate Doran as a brilliant father, if not a masterly player of the game of thrones.Among other things, I appreciate the masterly way Doran extracts a full confession from Arianne, and she tells him the names of all her confederates (confirming the plot was hers, and her allies are only the friends she has known since childhood, that she is not the stalking horse of a foreign power) Also the way he strengthens her loyalty to him, by simply leaving her to her own devices in the tower. She is a contrast to the other princess in the tower, Sansa, and to the other Queenmaker, Asha. At the moment, I'm still re-reading Storm, but one of the questions I'm going to ask myself on the next re-read of Feast is why GRRM chose that chapter as the introduction to that place eg. Brienne I as the introduction to Rosby and the Northern Crownlands, Arya for Braavos, Aeron for Great Wyk, Asha for Harlaw, Hotah for Dorne, Victarion for the Sheild Isles, Sam for Skaggos (sort of - we haven't really been to Skaggos). There are a lot of mystery characters to identify, and a few mysteries to solve, a few new prophecies, but every other book in the series has their share of those. So far, Feast and Thrones have been the ones that offered me most on the re-read though. Although if @Cas Stark is right, I'm deluded and have wasted the last four years reading meanings that are not there. It is a bit disturbing to notice how many of the Feast haters here are people who have demonstrated their close-reading skills and sound understanding of the details in many a post, and have read Feast more than once with no lack of comprehension. Even so, I'm pretty sure what they call filler is at the least very high quality, carefully chosen and intricately thought through filler. Hopefully you can find something to keep you involved, or at least prevent you tossing it against the wall. ETA: Also, @Amris gave a good answer to the Feast question at the end of this post.
  8. Dynamite Entertainment are publishing the graphic novel of Clash of Kings on the 7th June 2017 .
  9. @Seams Thankyou. No, I had not read @sweetsunray's thread on tourneys, but I would like to. Do you have a title or a link? (I did a quick search but found nothing). The 'blaze of white' did seem to hint at a landslide/rockslide/avalanche of massive proportions. And the other non-tourney reference was the ice on the wall shedding Jarl and his team. The frozen water of Alyssa's tears seems to be waiting for such an opportunity. "Blaze" is, of course, a fire reference. 'shine' is one for the red god. It is used with reference to Sansa, especially her Auburn hair, several times; the hound, his burnt face, his helm; Marillion's eyes, viewing the Eyrie for the first time; Maester Aemon's tears; Drogo, when he became a star on his funeral pyre; the eyes of the innkeep at Sherrer, at the sight of Gregor's silver; No stars shine at storms end, but torches move in Stannis's camp; the bronze platter in which Dany spies Fat Belwas and Arstan on the docks of Qarth shines in the sun; Jon with Qhorin is reluctant to leave the fire for the cold silver shine of the half moon; Melisandre's eyes in the torchlight, when she comes to make Davos hand; her standard prayer to the Red God "Lord of Light shine your face upon us, for the night is dark and full of terrors"; Rossarts eyes, as he plans where to place his substance; Thoros admitting the sun will not cease to shine if they miss a prayer or two; Lady Nym dreaming of the day Casterley Rock is cracked open; Dany on her marriage day; Castle Black full of Queensmen and Kingsmen; Moqorro's face at prayer. And, on graduation day at Castle Black, when Jon joins the stewards (AGoT, Ch.48 Jon VI) 'Shone' has a whole host of meanings, more references to gold and sliver, moonlight, and Sansa in the Arryn colours. But, like 'Bright', there are lots of mentions, so I haven't had time to examine. Twinkle is also associated with fire, the two times it is referenced. Luminous refers exclusively to Tywin's eyes. Sansa looked radiant beside Joffrey, unOther's eyes were a radiant blue, the guildhall of Alchemists a radiant emerald, the ruby at Mel's throat, Lysa in the Arryn wedding cloak, lightbringer in Maester Aemon's solar. Dany is called 'your radiance' by the Meereenese, until the day she marrys Hizdahr and the Meereenese address Hizdahr as 'his radiance'. Dazzling is how the reviewers quoted in the blurbs describe GRRM's writing, but not a word he uses himself. Nor scintillating, coruscating, flugent, clinquant, lambent, or lucent (although 'translucent' gets plenty of mentions) Sparks are often associated with swords, but when I'm done analysing everything that blazes bright, splendid, lustrous, gleaming, glittering, sparkling, shining, I won't post it here. I can already see that only 'brilliant' is associated with the tourney.
  10. Oh my sweet summer child. I'm not convinced that the Meereenese knot was much more than an excuse to delay Dance of Dragons until the release of the Show. And I'm pretty sure the long wait between Storm and Feast was caused by Martin knowing that, after the Red Wedding, the time had come to monetise, hunt around for a film franchise, and settle for a cable franchise with Irish production when Hollywood wouldn't commit to a multi-film deal on his half-written book series. I also think he knew before 2015 that Winds was not going to be released before the final season of Game of Thrones screened. And the news in July that year, that Game of Thrones mass market edition was No. 1 on the NY Best Seller list 19 years after publication would only justify waiting a little longer. As long as gems like The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister were in production and so darn profitable. I mention that particular derivative work, because it takes at least six months to publish a book like that, with all the artwork and colour and marketing and a global distribution to co-ordinate. When I saw it in December 2013, I realised that his publishers really hadn't been pushing for a new SoIaF. If he attempts to bring out new work while derivatives like that were building in the pipe-lines and flying off the shelves, he would disappoint his editors and publishers, who count on those guaranteed money-makers to make their profits. And HBO, who have done so much to keep him on the bestseller list, would also be disappointed if he brought out a genuine part of the SoIaF that they didn't have any rights to, while their own writers had run out of his rich materials and had only an outline to work from, and nothing to do but bang their heads against a wall and hope that compelling dialogue and storylines for seasons six and seven would bleed out of their ears. The long tail of fantasy artists, translators, PR managers and other piece-work consultants would be disappointed, as fewer crumbs drop from the table while everyone is wolfing down the main course, and of course, no one could possibly be more disappointed than him, steeling himself for another year of mad autograph signing. He'll need a bionic right hand before this series is done. Feast for Crows was number one on the best-seller list on its week of release, in spite of being panned as his weakest novel in the series (I think unjustly, but it certainly is pivotal, and unlike what went before it) so there is no doubt the waiting game really works for him. I feel hopeful when I see GRRM doing what he can to get the Wild Cards TV franchise started. And that the iphone enhanced edition of Dance with Dragons is coming out any minute now. While such things are an iron-clad guarantee that we will see no book released this year, it seems to me that the derivative and spinoff works are running out of steam. And with the end of the television series, and even the slowest readers among the show fans now having the ability to read the books, even if their phones have to read it to them...when there is nothing left to do but watch the Wild Cards show, the gravy train will finally come to a dead halt, and then if there is no new book to drive consumer demand, the passengers will all have to get out and push, or walk away. I'm guessing he will get his film franchise for the last three books. Apart from the marketing hype, I think the delays have made this series absolutely fascinating. It is a story that has developed with the internet. Also, it is a story that has an adaptation in progress before its end is in sight (I don't think the Winds of Winter is going to resemble season six at all.) The show is going to finish an arc GRRM chose to abandon. At least, the impression I got from his post Jan 2nd 2016 and the show in the season before it was that he had stopped his contribution to the show narrative in season 4/2013 and by October 2015, decided to completely abandon the arc he had sketched for them in 2010 and take the story to a completely different place. So I suspect that some of the more dramatic things on the show in 2016 were not only to tighten up the show's focus, but to ensure the show had nothing to do with a whole heap of characters that are going to be GRRM's main event in Winds. That way, the people who think the show has spoiled them for the books will discover they know less than Jon Snow when they start reading. I hope that is what is going on because it could be really interesting. Although, clearly, they started writing season five before they started screening season 4. By October 2015, GRRM would have the data on audiences reactions to each minute of season five. Maybe that persuaded him to change tac completely. GRRM says art is not a democracy, but he has had more opportunity to find out how people react to his story than anyone could have imagined when he started the series. While most of the demographic reaction testing data would be the property of HBO, he and his publishers know how people have reacted to this or that plot point with more precision than was possible when he first published Game of Thrones. And his TV experience meant he would know better than most how to write to make best use of that kind of feedback. While GRRM doesn't do things like read posts in forums about his works, there must be some satisfaction in knowing that there are people giving his work almost as close attention in the reading as he gave it in the writing. It must be satifying to know he has readers that connect foreshadowing in book one with the event it foreshadowed in book three, that get his reference to Jack Vance, or picked up on all the R+L or A+J clues (whether or not they are true, the books are seeded with clues for them). It is nice to know people care, even if they uncover things that were meant to stay buried until the last book. He must get a kick, too, out of seeing how we all lap up certain things he put in to mislead or to highten suspense. Or that he didn't realise he put in, like Bran's absence from the feast of the King at Winterfell, or the more out-there theories his text can be made to support (eg. BOLT-on) He is big on engagement, with his convention attendances and book signings, his blog and its comments. Engagement is not new - Dickens had it, Scott had it, Twain had it. But their fans did not have the ability to communicate with each other as we do, or run the text through computers for word association searches like we can, or to grab a sample chapter (or indeed, a whole novel) off the internet the day it is released. 19th c authors might have got sacks of mail, but GRRM gets sacks of mail plus even more email, and comments on his blog; and things that happen appear on social media and internet news long before a paper has time to publish. He says he doesn't alter the work based on what the fans are saying, but there has been a change in style, a quiet filling in of plot holes, an exploration of turns of phrases and expressions that occur in the dialects of far-flung places of the world that he has started globe-trotting to since Storm was released. Feast in particular had a lot of what looks to me like quite a few retro-fitted meanings and backstories, and have quite a few developments on earlier plotlines that seem to be there purely to show there is more than one direction that particular plot could go in, it isn't necessarily the predictable line that everyone saw coming. On a literary level, I think this has generally made for tighter writing, better books. He does more polishing, there is more thought per line. Although another change with the more leisurely writing schedule is increasing vagueness for his own convenience when it comes to things like the layout of castles or the meaning of prophecies, or who was in what battle in the past, or who married who, and who Robb's heir would be if he died without a will. He has developed these ideas in Feast and Dance, but he seems a bit too keen on keeping all his options wide open - an author who drops so many clues that who done it could be anyone at all, is as bad as the author who hoards all the clues until the reveal so that in retrospect the reader realises there was no possible way they could have guessed. And it is possible to do both. Although I think we can trust him to do neither, in the last book, at least. Some people say his style has improved. I can see it is changed, and in interesting ways, although overall, to me the best written book in the series so far is the one he wrote on the tightest deadline - Storm of Swords. So yes, I like being a reader of a book that still has a live canon, where nothing set in concrete. Although maybe some things could be set on solid ground. If there is going to be an endgame, there must be some movement towards it. Still, I feel privileged to have got on board now, rather than ten years from now. And the SoIaF is complex enough for me to be still finding 'Wow I never noticed that' things literally every day. Some of those things leave me pretty sure there are a heap of things that very few if any fans have picked up on as yet, too.
  11. I did a search on GRRM's use of the word "brilliant" in ASoIaF. It features prominently in Tourneys. Reading Game of Thrones as a stand-alone, it means "exceptionally talented" and seems to have no meaning beyond that. The word is applied exclusively to tourney knights and their accoutrements in Game of Thrones: (AGoT, Ch.15 Sansa I) (AGoT, Ch.29 Sansa II) Barristan and Jaime are both brilliant tourney knights, and both have proven themselves on the battlefield as well. If only the first book was considered, 'brilliant' means no more than 'exceptionally talented'. Although the person who describes them as such is Sansa, who soon discovers her first impressions of knights in shining (another loaded word associated with Sansa, and also Bran) armour and of the golden beauty of Joffrey, were false. Also, the word is applied exclusively to tourney knights, and in the whole series, more than half the uses of the word 'brilliant' are tourney-related. Also, the first knight described as brilliant is unhorsed at tourney the sentence after the word is used a second time, to describe a second knight. Barristan and Jaime have not died so far. Jaime has had victory at the battle of the Gold Tooth, and Riverrun, before being imprisoned by Robb. He shows himself a capable strategic general as well as a brilliant soldier and leader of men in ADwD, and he's not dead yet. Barristan also goes on to exhibited soldiery talents beyond jousting. He saves Dany from the manticore and Mero armed only with his staff, does capable officer and soldier work in the siege of Meereen, effects a successful coup d'tat against King Hizdahr, and forms a council that seems to be working out, to govern in Hizdahr's place, although he personally feels such a task is well outside his skill-set, and there are others on his council that thoroughly agree with him. Also not dead yet. The first two uses of the word brilliant in Clash are very similar to what Game has led us to expect: (ACoK, Ch.22 Catelyn II) (ACoK, Ch.22 Catelyn II) But this time we are given a glimpse of the tawdry consequences of the melee (not a joust) and we can see how there are scars. Both of these could be making allusions to sell-sword companies we are still to meet - the tattered cloak (yet another loaded word) of the Windblown, and 'beneath the gold, the bitter steel' - although the brilliant armour is sapphire blue, not gold. We see the man Brienne defeated, restored to his place as commander of Renly's kingsguard in the second mention. It isn't quite the same as unhorsing her, although Loras still has Renly's heart, which is what they are really fighting for. He is also now Brienne's commanding officer, his defeat on the tourney-field having as little material difference to the battlefield command as to the true love of their King. This tourney was intended to lure Barristan to Renly's banner. It's observed by Catelyn, who looks a little deeper than Sansa, although, like Sansa, she proves capable of holding false impressions, being deceived. deceiving. Still, Loras has the Battle of Blackwater to his credit, and has broken the siege of Dragonstone, although not without damage to himself. He is still alive (to the best of our knowledge) so far. Brienne successfully evades the Riverrun pursuit, and survives Harrenhal, defeats Jaime when his right hand was still intact, and delivers him to Kings Landing. She wins against the three mummers and knows that Arya lives, she defeats the other mummers, with help from Gendry and the BwB. She too is still alive, but scarred. So from the first two books, we would learn that brilliant tourney knights are capable in the field, able street fighters. but fair. In Storm of Swords, though, the word brilliant has an abrupt heel turn, announced by Jorah Mormont (himself a sell-sword soldier and onetime tourney knight. (ASoS, Ch.23 Daenerys II) Here, brilliant does not mean brilliant. The eunachs are what keeps Astapor from invasion, not their commanders. What happens in the fighting pits is a mockery of war, a folly. (ASoS, Ch.36 Davos IV) We suspect that Lighbringer is a mummers trick, a glamour of Melisandre's, and not the true sword of Azor Ahai from the start. Sallador and Maester Aemon, who know the history, know it is just a burnt sword, a phantomine. Stannis, who had previously proved himself to be a competent commander, albiet one incapable of making a peace, and one who through no fault of his own, has been consistently robbed of unambigous victory. After this blessing ceremony, however, he lands his forces on the tourney-field of Kings Landing, where they are smashed by Lord Tywin's larger army, swollen by his brother's forces, led by the ghost of King Renly. Between the above two references, there is also the first use of the word 'brilliant' in a way that is unrelated to tourney champions and war generals, referring to that part of the Wall, immediately before it sheds the raid commander Jarl and his team. But we soon get back to the tourney-field: (ASoS, Ch.42 Daenerys IV) Like the melee at Bitterbridge, Barristan's description of the Tourney of Storms End seems to be foreshadowing future battles. I'm not sure if the future battles are the ones we have had in Clash, where the Lannisters triumphed over Baratheon, Mallister, Dorne and the BwB, or if it is a future battle where Aegon (or JonCon) will be facing off against Jaime Lannister (or some kind of Lannister). Twelve broken Lances. Well, if five of them are the tourney-derived ones on the Wydmen sigil ( Redfort, Lydnderly, Waynwood, Brax, Lannister), that leaves a sacred seven for the rest. Twelve is also a significant number. There were five days of jousting and a seven-sided melee at the tourney of Harrenhal, and the reigning queen of beauty had her five Whent champions...but the scope for guessing the symbolism is endless here. However confusing the foreshadowing, the point that Rhaegar won the tourney of Harrenhal, and lost the battle on the Trident, is not lost in it. Rhaegar was a brilliant tourney knight and a competent commander, but when he died the war was won. And not by him. The last reference to brilliance in Storm of Swords continues in this distinctly pejorative vein: (ASoS, Ch.55 Jon VII) Although, in the end, Robb died because his Bolton bannerman didn't want to hear him, and Robb failed to hear the crossbows loading under the Rains of Castamere. Feast continues to disabuse us of the notion that victory at tourney equates to victory in battle (ASoS, Ch.24 Cersei V) Although it is doubtful Ser Balman Byrch actually won at tourney, and it is not clear 'that affair at Duskendale' even took place on the tourney field, it is crystal clear that Bronn is going to kill Ser Balman, not vise versa. Dance continues to associate brilliance with tourney pageantry and mummery, deceit and defeat (ADwD, Ch.25 The Windblown) This is from Quentyn's ill-fated point of view, and associates all the murky depths that GRRM has imbued brilliance with, with the hollow/risen knight metaphor, and Dorne. The word is only used one other time, apparently unrelated to tourney (AFfC,Ch.41 Alayne II) The blue and white are Arryn colours. ETA: When comparing successful tourney knights to knights successful in battle, there is a strong prejudice against the the former, even by tourney knights themselves: “By defeated, you mean unhorsed, in tourney. Tell me who he’s slain in battle if you mean to frighten me.” Oberyn tells Tyrion in Ch.28 of Storm. Later he, the tourney knight, dies at the hand of Gregor Clegane, who lost so memorably at the Tourney of the Hand. Still, the men who can afford to play at tourney are training for battle, and participate in them. Tourney does require skill in arms, which doesn't hurt in battle. When it comes to the way GRRM treats tourney skills, I think Barristan puts it rather well: "I have seen a hundred tournaments and more wars than I would wish, and however strong or fast or skilled a knight may be, there are others who can match him. A man will win one tourney, and fall quickly in the next. A slick spot in the grass may mean defeat, or what you ate for supper the night before. A change in the wind may bring the gift of victory.” He glanced at Ser Jorah. “Or a lady’s favor knotted round an arm.” (ASoS,Ch.08 Daenerys I)
  12. Let me put it this way: (ADwD, Ch.56 The Iron Suitor) Victarion decides that Kerwin engaged in consenting homosexual sex, because Kerwin did not want to commit four murders, or did not like his chances of being able to murder all four of his assailants and anyone who was happy to help them out, before he was overpowered and murdered himself with his own knife. His assailants were practised predators, and skilled at killing. They can see him coming if he voluntarily approaches them. They and all the crew they work with. Including Burton Humble. Victarion identifies with his men, not with a soft boy from a pacifistic order. Victorian beat his wife to death with his bare hands because Euron had impregnated her, not necessarily consensually. Euron riled him up, knowing what he would do to her. No reason to believe Euron, who lies when it suits him, and makes no nicer distinctions between sex and rape than Victarion. "If you don't avenge it with appalling and illegal premeditated violence, then you consented and condone it" is another appalling rape myth. Its purpose is to deny that 'real' rape happened. Men are much more apt to believe it than women. ETA: Just to clarify, rape is when the perpetrator penetrates any orifice of another person with anything, if they have not given consent to that act, or if they change their minds and tell the perpetrator to stop but the perpetrator doesn't, or if they are not able to withdraw consent (eg. are unconscious, are unaware of the situation they are in), or are not able to give consent (eg. children) and even if they agree under duress or threat (as perceived by the victim, not the perpetrator). Sexual assault covers the situations where the unwelcome sexual things happen without penetration. While not all definitions of rape focus on consent (lack thereof), there is not a legal system in the world that (openly) supports the idea that the way the victim behaves after the rape is what decides if the act was rape or not. Most legal systems have much higher penalties for pre-meditated murder than for rape, and are leery of giving cold-blooded murderers an solid all-purpose excuse for aquittal.
  13. Moonpie Xaro Owen the Oaf Maybe Patchface, maybe Satin, maybe Lyn Corbray. Also, I'd like to point out that the hetro sex is pretty crappy. There's a focus on stuffing things into vags as fast as possible. Usually without a with your leave or a by your leave. There's also the way mustachios and body hair (invariably coarse) is described as if it is a huge turn-on for the ladies (or, as is often the case, pubescent and pre-pubescent girls). Mmmm, old guys with coarse pubic hair, and well oiled mustachios, that go a whole minute, whether you like it or not. Pretty darn hot, hey. And the girl-on-girl is not lesbian sex. Its hetro-male porn fantasy. The women who do it (Cersei, Dany) do it because they are jonesing for the cock, and they do it in a way that seems to be designed to aesthetically please an invisible onlooker, rather than even mildly enjoyable for their partner/ each other. GRRM is even less interested in portraying dedicated lesbians having sex than gay men having sex. Are there actually any lesbian characters at all, open or suppressed? Another thing is, he prefers to put his old fashioned rape myths and other outrageously sexist crap into the mouths of women. Stuff like “A man can own a woman or a man can own a knife,” Ygritte told him, “but no man can own both. Every little girl learns that from her mother.”(ASoS,Ch.41 Jon V) and "Common men deprived of whores are apt to turn to rape."(AFfC,Ch.36 Cersei VIII) I've heard enough heterosexual men say such crap in real life to suppose it is possible the guys who said it believes, or want to believe it. But women don't enjoy such easy certainty on such points. I've read interviews where he claims that the multitude of casual rape scenes and descriptions and mentions are an attempt to create a realistically medieval patriarchal society. But then, I've read interviews where he claims women come up to him and complement him on his female characters. Like, if one had stood in a line for several hours clutching copies of ASoIaF for him to sign, and finally got the chance to speak to him, one would waste the precious moment on a detailed critique of all that is implausible about his female characters. Also the gender of the person who gives the critique is not what gives the critique validity (or makes it invalid). As this thread shows, there are men who are gifted with the ability to recognise implausible female characteristics. Also there are implausible male characters. Given the Westerosi population of named/mentioned characters is four men to every woman/girl, there are probably more implausible male characters than female ones. There are also , any more than it prevents me noticing implausible male characters. I tend to blame the Marist Brothers for his attitude towards sexuality. He went to a Catholic boys school, and the Marist indoctrinate certain attitudes and beliefs about girls and women that are not compatible with the lived experience of people who actually associate with girls and women. There is a lot of Catholic dogma in there - although it is 20th century type attitudes, not medieval attitudes.But he very deliberately makes the religions in that society ones that have far fewer prohibitions on sex, where the main prohibitions on heterosexual sex are caused by secular laws concerning inheritance, not religious ones banning fornication that does not lead to procreation. He also endows Westeros with a free, available, effective and practically harmless contraceptive/abortifactant that every woman can take at will (and even be tricked into taking) to prevent/terminate unwanted pregnancy. And there doesn't seem to be any religious obsession with (male) homosexuality in Westeros religion. There's also the way brothels throw open their doors to all comers for free at times of public mourning in Dorne, and Meereen, and the number of religions that have prostitute priestesses, also occasionally free, and the way the girls give spontaneous freebies as in “I don’t cost nothing to friends of Thoros and the lightning lord.” Like, right there, under her Madam's nose. Also the way they don't ever seem to ask for money up front. And when Tyrion takes Shae's expensive clothing and jewels off her, to put in a trunk in his room for safe keeping, that she can wear there, if he allowed her, (reducing her to poverty and obliging her to reach out to Cersei and Tywin) Yeah, sure. Like, he wanted to create a realistic medieval portrayal of prostitution in the middle ages? Also, in Westeros, all men are rapists. Maybe that is too much of a generalisation, but even the men who prefer to engage with a willing partner make no objection to things like, at every feast, when they are just trying to eat a meal, there are guys sticking their hands down the bodice or up the skirt of the serving girls. And all serving girls are condemed to dress in thier authentic renaissance-fair front-laced bodice dirndls with special tit-baring kirtles under them, especially for the purpose of embarrassing them when their ever enlarging nipples are forcibly exposed for groping, twisting, being chewed off, or whatever lusts are stirred up by the sight of a roast and a jug of ale. I suppose it's worse in the less civilised rape-based cultures, like that of the Ironborn, the Wildlings, the Dothraki. Also, being male is a huge adventure being in a rape-based culture, and the women of that culture tend to say its an honour and a privilege to be raped, and so hot. There doesn't seem to be any hetro guys that have a view that if they can't get a partner that loves them, wants them, desired them, they would rather not have to rape to keep the peace or whatever. Let alone suggest that they really don't want to be complicit in all the raping that is going on, or suggest that maybe it isn't the OK. For a while, I thought Jaime might be like that, but then, you know, the sept, and then he dismissed Pia and pimped her out to his squire, which seemed unnecessary, and kind of Marist in that homosocial sort of sexuality, where the girls are just the glue in the male relationship. I suppose Jon Snow might still be that guy, he hasn't got around to raping Melisandre for reminding him of Ygritte or anything. Although he shares that strange tolerance for rapists - you would think that the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, whose main problem is a lack of men, would want to take advantage of the legal system and demand each Lord of the Realm give him their rapey warriors or castrate them, in those dire times. Gregor, Amory, the Bloody Mummers, Tywin's forces that sacked Kings Landing, the Karstarks, the Westerosi legal system could oblige them to choose the wall or their nuts, but even Stannis isn't such a zealot as to insist on that.
  14. Looking at the brothers of the Night's Watch, and others at Castle Black. Maybe Melisandre's memory is not what it once was: the queen’s man she knew as Alf of Runnymudd, one of the first to exchange his seven false gods for the truth of R’hllor.(ADwD, Ch.31 Melisandre I). • OTHELL YARWYCK, First Builder, • SPARE BOOT, HALDER, ALBETT, KEGS, ALF OF RUNNYMUDD, builders,(ADwD, Appendix) Then there is Toad. You know Toad? Toad of the Night's Watch? Real name Todder, an ugly boy with a voice like piss poured over a fart, called Jon Snow's mother a whore and got his head bashed in? Gave Sam a hard time too. Later retrieved Jon from the road between Castle Black and Moles Town, obliging him to keep his vow to the night's watch. A ranger, but it was Sam that got to go on the Great Ranging, while Toad stayed back at Castle Black with Pyp, under Bowen Marsh. Toad who was not afraid of speaking up in favour of the Old Gods, pointing out to Lord Commander Snow that Melisandre did not leave their Gods alone, and had made the wildlings burn Weirwood branches too.? He has made an appearance in every book but Feast for Crows. Sam even dreams of him. Know how many times he is mentioned in the appendices. Yeah, that is right. And who the hell is Elron.
  15. Whether Eddard foresaw a holdfast or not (I think not), he raised Jon to be a commander. Jon got the same education as Robb, and we know Eddard prayed Jon and Robb would grow to be close, and raised them together. If we look at Lords Frey, Allyrion, Velaryon, Caron, Hewett, we see it isn't that uncommon to raise a bastard with the legitimate children. The white book has stories of bastards being tourney champions and emerging as glorious commanders during wars (and Stannis had no hesitation leaving Dragonstone's home guard in the command of the bastard of NIghtsong.) When Eddard discusses what to do about Jon with Catelyn and Maester Luwin, both his anger at his wife's refusal to have Jon stay at Winterfell with her and Robb, and Catelyn's obduracy on that point, show that his becoming a man of the Night's Watch was a lower station than Jon had been raised to take. Catelyn doesn't mind removing him from the castle community and giving him a meaner post in life. Eddard does. It is interesting to me that Maester Luwin is an advocate for Jon joining the black brothers. Maester Luwin belongs to a brotherhood himself, albeit a less martial one, and one that keeps most of it's members apart from each other their whole lives, living in the world of the Nobility rather than in the Citidel with each other. Also, Maester Luwin sees no dishonour in serving in the Night's Watch. As a man who has lived in both the North and the South, he shows Tyrion's prejudice is his own, that it is completely plausible that Eddard regards the Night's Watch as a noble calling, and was not packing Jon off to a midden heap for the misfits of the realm. If it really was just that, Tyrion would have been sent there long ago. . Excellent point. Donal Noye is the right person at the right time. Eddard Stark had taught Jon to “Know the men who follow you...and let them know you. Don’t ask your men to die for a stranger.”, but look at how he puts that lesson into practice: "At Winterfell, he always had an extra seat set at his own table, and every day a different man would be asked to join him. One night it would be Vayon Poole, and the talk would be coppers and bread stores and servants. The next time it would be Mikken..."(AGoT, Ch.22 Arya II) Eddard's getting to know you sessions clearly demark who the ruler is, and who the servant is. Eddard had not been raised to be the Lord of Winterfell, but he had been raised a Stark, and his ideas of getting to know the men are no notions of equity. There is no idea here of him dining at a common table, jostling with all comers. He dines at the Lord's table, and a single servant under his command has the extraordinary honour to sit with him (on ordinary days), and speak about their contribution to his castle, and find a reason to die for him. Eddard is not the best person to teach Jon to check his privilege. Winterfell is not the best place for Jon to learn that lesson, either. In the Winterfell training yard, he is treated like a son of the Lord, except when the Royals enter the training yard. Then he is banished and watches (somewhat resentfully, going by remarks like “Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes,” and "Look at the arms on his surcoat...Bastards get the swords but not the arms. I did not make the rules, little sister...Joffrey is truly a little shit,”(AGoT, Ch.07 Arya I)) at a distance, out of sight in the covered bridge, how unchecked privilege operates. Later, there are recollections of this event. Arya witnesses both Tommen and Bran staggering, exhausted and well matched. She completely misses the one glorious moment that is relived amplified and repeated in Bran's memory, of striking Tommen into the dust. Later, she strikes Tommen into the dust herself, without a sword or a second thought. Sansa remembers how Bran and Tommen played together with wooden swords, and judging from Tommen's plucking up the courage to mew in his mother's presence “I don’t want Brandon to die,” his memory of the event seems to be consistent with Sansa's. Jon recalls how well padded Tommen was, (although Bran was likewise well padded), and takes it as a moral lesson on the unfairness of legitimacy “Yet Bran’s dead, and pudgy pink-faced Tommen is sitting on the Iron Throne, with a crown nestled amongst his golden curls.” There is not much to suggest that Eddard's children mixed with common children in his time in Winterfell. When Prince Bran is the Stark in Winterfell, the common children play Lord of the Crossing with the Freys and Rickon while Bran muses on the unfairness of mobility. This time, Little Walder smacks Rickon into the dirt. I can't find much evidence of the Stark children playing with commoners apart from that. Bran's reaction when baled up by Stiv, Osha, Hali. Wallen and the other two outlaws shows he really has little to do with commoners except when they are servants of Winterfell. Robb too. All he knows about the girls of Wintertown seems to be gleaned from what Theon tells him of his escapades at the inn with Kyra and Bessa. And the way Theon addresses Osha shows that he does not mix with the common folk. much to the amusement of the more egalitarian Ironborn, when he returns to them. It would be reasonable to infer that Jon's knowledge of the common folk of Wintertown was also obtained vicariously through Theon. Except that Jon dislikes Theon. At Winterfell, Jon is the underdog. The boys of Wintertown and the local holdfasts that enter Ser Rodrick's training yard hoping to join the guards of Winterfell, or marshalled to train to be part of Winterfell's militia, might have had greater disadvantages than him, but they don't count, they are not on his level, not of Stark blood. They, like all the commonfolk Jon and the Stark children meet, exist to serve House Stark, or to serve Winterfell. On the road to the Wall, the privilege of Jon's Stark blood seems, if anything, to be more pronounced. We don't see Rast and Albett, or even Yoren, sharing a shelter with Benjen Stark, Head Ranger, for all that they are his brothers and his blood runs black. After a fortnight on the road together, Jon still doesn't know the name of the two boys who are to be his brothers in Black. It is doubtful that Benjen ever bothered to find them out. It is partly Yoren's fault, introducing them as "Rapers" rather than "Rast and Albett". The relationship between Yoren and Benjen seems closer. They communicate with just a glance, but even this is not free of the trappings of unearnt status: Benjen isn't skinning a squirrel and helping the cook, Yoren doesn't retire in state to his private humpy, leaving the boys to wander where they will and himself with no idea where they have gone. Benjen talks a lot about how men earn merit in the Night's Watch, but truly, if merit and talent were the criteria, he would have Yoren's job, and Yoren would have his. Benjen, with his noble mein and nice clothes, has inspired Bran and Jon. They both want "to ride with Benjen Stark on his rangings, deep into the mysteries of the haunted forest, wanted to fight Mance Rayder’s wildlings and ward the realm against the Others" (AGoT, Ch.19 Jon III) and they are both the kind of recruit Jeor Mormont has identified himself to be most in need of. To Robb and Sansa (and Eddard, and possibly many Northern lords, and Lord Yohn Royce) it is Benjen's visage and Stark Blood they think of when they think of the honour it gives their family to have a brother serving on the Wall. They spout their history and geography lessons to impress him, and no doubt follow those subjects with the more interest because they associate his adventures with those of the legendary Night's Watch. Yoren, on the other hand, seems to be single handedly bringing the Night's Watch into disrepute throughout the realm. One look at his sinister, crooked old frame and tangled beard, one whiff of his unwashed body, and all the lords that see him know the Watch has fallen on hard times, is not like the songs. Then the Lords, from the Red Keep to the humblest holdfast, escort him to their dungeons and do their best to move him on quickly. Both Tyrion and Sansa feel sorry for Jon's fate, the minute they lay eyes on Yoren. Farmers hold their arrows at the notch and tell him and his rats to get out of their orchards. He is a magnificent man and a canny survivalist, but a lousy recruiter (literally lousy). Yoren doesn't have any illusions of equity in the Black Brothers, and he isn't particularly scrupulous when it comes to serving the Realm rather than playing politics. True, he doesn't defend Tyrion when Catelyn takes him, but he does take off as fast as he can go to tell Eddard Stark, Hand of the King at the Red Keep, exactly what happened. He claims he was moved to do so because Benjen's blood runs black, but truthfully, he gets a private audience with the Hand because Benjen is a Stark and they think he might have news of Benjen or Jon, whose blood runs Stark. He takes Arya from Kings Landing, and Gendry too. As Lommy pointed out, he refused to yield to Lorch's men and paid the price. As Arya pointed out, they should not have stayed at the holdfast that had been deserted by it's own people. Yoren's notion that they were at war, like it or not, while the Black Brothers took no part, was fatally flawed. But he knew that. He picked and chose whose hospitality he took, and whose he avoided. He died surrounded by the corpses of four Lannister lieges. I think he would have made a much better Head Ranger than Benjen, who seems to have spent the summer giving grief to wildlings indiscriminately, completely failing to detect the rise of the Others, or even to plumb the mysteries of the Haunted Forest. Even Caster dislikes Benjen, and Craster is barely a wildling, and a friend of the watch. Yoren's appearance and personal hygiene would do him no great disservice north of the Wall, and his canny instincts and many abilities would earn respect, perhaps even the trust, of some of the wildlings Benjen simply slaughters. Yoren is open-minded about the mysteries of the Haunted Forest and the return of the Others, and spent thirty years on the Wall, presumably not all of them recruiting in the south. (I'm basing that on the fact that if Yoren was bringing about seventeen recruits to the Wall every four months or so for the last thirty years, he would single-handedly have ensured the Night's Watch numbered over one thousand men by now). Benjen isn't quite as arrogant as Waymar Royce, but he is cut from the same cloth, trained by maesters in deductive reasoning, determined to make his missions successful, regardless of occasional twinges of uneasiness prompted by uncertain signs, or the fear of his superstitious underlings, fostered by the tales of women and wildlings. Still, Yoren doesn't call Jon out on his privilege and snobbery. He supports it. Benjen Stark's nephew remains his uncles charge, rather than falling in with the rapers as just another recruit. Never mind that it splits the party and facilitates a situation where team members can just wander off. While I am talking about missing people and Waymar, it seems very unlikely to me that Jeor Mormont would insist on having a man so young and inexperienced as Waymar to head a ranging sorty after only six months at the wall, on so flimsy and dubious a principle as the offence it might cause Yohn Royce, if he had to do so over the loud objections of his newly appointed Head Ranger. I'm thinking, if Lord Yohn got a raven from his son whining about how Jeor had wanted him to get a bit more experience of the terrain and of the men before taking the lead, while still in the first months of his ranging apprenticeship, only a few months after being awarded the honour of being a ranger of the watch, he might not be mortified. Even if he was, given the lack of men qualified to read, and lead, the situation would very shortly have resolved naturally, to the credit of his house, and hopefully with Waymar taking a command he was better equipped to hold. Given a choice between being transiently offended because his son was not pushed into a leadership position at the first opportunity, and being unsure if his son was dead or alive, with dead at the hands of a man under him seeming the most likely, I'm sure Bronze Yohn could get over the snub. But what of Head Ranger Benjen Stark? Where were his pep-talks on having to prove merit and not just being given things because of blood ties then? And where are the procedures that make it easier to trace, harder to lose rangers that venture into the Haunted forest in small sorties. Where were their cage of ravens? The specific blazes that mark which sorty they were, and where they went? The maps, the planned area they intended to scout. What they intended to do if they encountered the wildings, eight armed and seasoned fighters against the three intruding on their home terrain? Honestly, Benjen seems to have let Waymar lose to hunt wildlings the way you might let a dog lose to chase cars. Then we learn from Mance that Benjen had been promoted to Head Ranger not long before the King started for Winterfell. Really, the increasing number of Rangers going missing since Benjen became Head Ranger, is not inconsistent. In fact, having men go missing on his watch is Benjen's most consistent trait. Benjen might talk about equality, but his actions show something else. And he is inconsistent above all. Benjen is the kind of person who assures Jon "We could use a man like you on the Wall.” one minute, and then seriously informs him “The Wall is a hard place for a boy, Jon.”(AGoT, Ch.05 Jon I) the next. He claims Honour as his mistress in one breath, and in the next he advises Jon to father a few bastards of his own before talking about taking no wife, forsaking his family, and fathering no sons. Benjen claims to have no family, but really, he is Head Ranger because he is a Stark, brother to the Stark in Winterfell, who is the oldest friend and soon to be Hand of the King. Eddard's plan for Winterfell to join the Watch in putting down the pretensions of Mance Rayder once and for all, Benjen's plan to repopulate the Gift with Winterfell men who paid taxes to the Wall, would those plans even be thought of if Benjen was not a Stark? It is interesting that the person appointing Benjen to the honour due to bloodlines rather than politics is Jeor Mormont. He only joined the watch that summer, to atone for his son failing to give the wall a tithe of poachers, and disgracing the honour of his House in the eyes of his liege-lord. His oath, forsaking both his son and his Lordship of Bear Island, to serve the realm, is highly symbolic. The decline of the watch seems to have been going on long before he joined it, although in the time since he has been voted Lord Commander, Jeor doesn't seem to have done much to reverse it. Or perhaps he thought that currying the favour of the old noble houses that had previously supported them, like Stark and Royce and Lannister, was the way to reverse that decline. If it is that, Benjen is not on the same page as Mormont. He is only going to curry the favour of the Starks and their friends. And he is not a competent trek leader, let alone a competent Head Ranger. His inconsistency again - he can't say no to the King's brother when Tyrion takes the opportunity to visit the wall. However, having undertaken to escort an inexperienced trekker with special needs and inadequate clothing into isolated and difficult terrain, he makes up for that imprudent decision by being counter-productively curt and unpleasant to his guest, by pushing Tyrion's stamina in the pace he sets for the party in the first week, and worst of all, by his apparent indifference to whether his guest keeps up with the party or the Others take him hindermost. The fast pace at the start of their journey puzzles me. When Jon finds Robb to make his goodbyes, Robb tells him that Benjen is waiting for him and wants to be off pronto. No time for Jon to say goodbye to his sisters, or his father who are leaving Winterfell at the same time. What is Benjen's excuse? What is his hurry? I can see the convenience of getting his smaller party on their way north before the frenzy and confusion of the southward party saddling up and making their way to the gates, but I can also see the policy in taking his leave of the King and his party, using their departure and Tyrion's relationship with them as well as his with Eddard, to get one last audience with the King for the Watch. Was he annoyed that Eddard dismissed his plan to populate the gift as 'a dream for spring'? Was he frustrated in his attempts to gain the King's ear? (but if he was, why take that out on Tyrion, who could potentially get him that.) Their next rendezvous is with Yoren, a week later. They could have travelled a half-hour longer that day, or get up a half-hour earlier the next, to make up for the late start. At the very least Benjen could have made sure that Jon, as well as Tyrion, Jyck, and Morrec, knew at least 24 hours earlier the exact hour they were to assemble, and the exact assembly point. allowing half an hour for dealing with skittish horses and so on, but making it clear they must be there (or miss out on the trip) at there would be no time for running errands and saying goodbyes in the morning, that must all be done the day before. So he starts the expedition by spending over an hour looking for his missing team member,, keeping Lannister waiting, leaves with all his horses in the confusion of the King's departure and has to make up the time anyway. Way to go Benjen. Maybe there is more to this haste than a desire to snub a Lannister. Tyrion's imagination is very lively where snubs are concerned, and Jon also notices that "Up here, the genial Benjen Stark he had known became a different person."(AGoT, Ch.19 Jon III) An curt, aloof and more sweary person who has no time for boys and civilians, spends his time with the officers, and seems willing to abandon even his blood nephew. Eddard put his Still, the snub to Lannister in "Jon, damn it, don’t go off like that by yourself. I thought the Others had gotten you.” is clear enough. Quite apart from the fact that he has apparently spent all the time he felt concern for Jon's absence searching his humpy for him, Benjen should be aware that Lannister is both his weakest link and his glittering prize. He can't afford to let Lannister wander off accompanied only by a book and skins of bear and wine. Even if he were truly under foot and in the way, a smart team leader would make a point of finding things that Lannister must do with at least one other team member to make and break camp, if only to prevent him wandering off by himself. Keeping track of the whole team is his job, and he seems to be doing everything in his power to ensure there is no attempt at keeping the team together, now there are no roofs to shelter under and they are thrown back onto their own resources. Worse, he seems to be fracturing the team: men of the Night's Watch are setting up humpys and watering horses, servants of Lannister preparing the the food. The boys from the Fingers are making themselves useful under Yoren, who has found time to trap a squirrel, so presumably they were collecting firewood after assisting with the shelters and watering the horses. Yoren is doing what he can to keep the common folk acting as a team, but he won't tell the Lordling Lannister what to do and those of the Stark blood are free to wander idly off on their own, or retire to their humpy as the mood takes them. Stark, who should be keeping the team in action, is in his humpy, letting the situation drift, and has apparently been making a habit of that, allowing Tyrion to get into the dangerous routine of toddling away by himself with a book and a few wines when things are busy and it is growing dark, and nobody knows for sure which way he went, or how long he has been gone, or when he intended to come back or if he had lost his way. Benjen is stupid. Even if Tyrion was a nobody, if he trips over a root and sprains an ankle, if he is bitten by a wolf, if his chapped thighs get infected, these things that would be no big deal with a castle and maesters an easy distance away, become dangerous, and even deadly time and resource sinks, when a group has only their own resources to rely on. Even (in fact, especially) wandering off in the late afternoon in that rugged isolated place, has the potential for a diaster - a night where the whole team are out looking for the missing person, tripping over things, losing their own way, becoming hypothermic themselves. Or maybe waiting until the morning, and then finding themselves forced to choose to leave when he doesn't show, or stay until they find him or his body. If there is still a body to find. And Tyrion isn't a nobody. If he gets drunk and drowns, with direwolf bite marks on his person, if he goes missing while with the Starks and nobody knows exactly where or what happened to him, if his small size and insufficient bedclothes mean he freezes to death in the night, there will be hell to pay. As in "Lord Tywin Lannister cared not a fig for his deformed son, but he tolerated no slights on the honor of his House."(AGoT, Ch.31 Tyrion IV) and also as in "Robert might not care a fig for Tyrion Lannister, but it would touch on his pride, and there was no telling what the queen might do."(AGoT, Ch.33 Eddard VIII) Having taken on this difficult guest, a competent Head Ranger would have made it his business to look after Tyrion for the sake of the team, an astute politician for the sake of the honour of his House, a Black Brother for the sake of the Order and the realm. But Benjen is apparently too partisan to do anything at all, and too self absorbed to even keep an eye out for his nephew, like an affectionate uncle. Tyrion does a better job at building relationships. He wins Jon over (if not Ghost), and Yoren. Also, for all the Lannister pride, Tyrion and Morrec have the kind of seamless relationship that renders words superfluous, as Benjen has with Yoren. Tyrion also builds a bond with Yoren. When Yoren comes to Eddard to tell his tale, he claims to be motivated by love of Benjen, but he might also be motivated by I doubt he learnt that from his father, although both Tywin and Jaime share his gift for knowing their men. Cersei isn't so great at that, but then, Robert, who has the Octavian gift of inspiring loyalty in former foes, and marshalling forces, is not so great at knowing his men, and is generally a bad boss in peacetime. Donal Noye's remonstrance really does seem to be the first time anyone has had the nerve or felt the inclination to call out Jon for being a bully, rather than excusing him as a natural underdog. At Wintefell his discourtesies, sullenness, and jealousies are regarded (at least by guests) as the natural humours of a bastard, and the idea that he is privileged seems laughable. Noye is the first to associate his sense of entitlement and desire to command, to his willingness to manipulate and bend others to his will by fair means or foul. His redemption relies a lot on the good will of the people who had been on the receiving end of his behaviour. Grenn and Pyp are willing to believe they copped a hiding because Jon was so concerned about his little brother back in Winterfell. Halder is stronger than Pyp and smarter than Grenn, he is not so quick to be the bullies best friend just because he got a bit of news from his privileged and powerful family that clearly have not disowned him and have excellent Raven-net access. Rast and Albett, who knew him first, know him too well to trust NewJon, Rast also has the audacity to openly defy Jon, so OldJon comes back with his new friends and Ghost jumps on the boy's chest and bites his throat, drawing blood. I'm not sure I would classify that as an end to Jon's bullying, or a lesson learnt. Jon gets away with it in that instance, because Rast is piked by a wildling and dies. Halder and Albett go to the builders, no doubt glad to put some space between themselves and a high-needs friend like Jon. Toad also seems to harbour some reservations about his good mate Jon. Cuger and Jeren might too. Wick Whittlestick, Left Hand Lew, and Bowen Marsh are none of these, but (like Caesar) this proved a lesson Jon could not afford to only half-learn. (ADwD, Ch.69 Jon XIII)