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  1. As part of his guest-right, Stannis can expect Jon to do what he can to secure his safety when he rides from Castle Black. At least for as long as he rides through the lands of the Night's Watch. When Lysa sent Tyrion out to die in the Mountains of the Moon, even she had stone faced Lyn Corbray secure his passage as far as the Bloody Gate. Lord Manderley gave his Frey guests safe passage to the Barrowlands, and professed a willingness to accompany them all the way to Barrowtown, but they wanted to move at a faster pace, so he gifted them three fleet horses. When even such as these take the letter, if not the spirit, of guest-right so seriously, Jon's suggestion that Stannis avoids the Umber's lands and the Kings Road, could pass as merely what he owes Stannis by rights. But he is pushing the envelope. The spears he gives the King's men are arms, even if they are not swords. He didn't have to tell Stannis how he could recruit men as he rides, although that was really a bargain, an exchange - getting Stannis to cede his command of the kneelers to the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, in exchange for men that would only respond to requests made to them in person, men that Jon could not control or dictate to. But Stannis took the risk, and Jon gave him guides, as Guest-right minimally demanded he provide. He chose men for that task that could secure Stannis invitations from the clans-folk (which I would think was just the right thing to do, for both the neighbours and the guests, although clearly beyond the generosity of Lady Arryn or Lord Manderly). He also gave Stannis tips re ask not command, to fight the Ironborn. Praise their daughters beauty, allow them to feast him, the Flint and Big Bucket are the keys to the guest-right train that will carry Stannis all the way to Deepwood Motte. All of which is generous to a fault, and most of which was absolutely necessary to prevent Stannis stuffing up too much. Suggesting that Stannis attack the Ironborn at Deepwood Motte was probably on the outside of a generous host's duty, though. Likewise, his pointing out the weaknesses of the castle's defences. Here he can say 'the Night's Watch played no part' only in the sense that it was Stannis and the clansmen doing what the Night's Watch Lord Commander suggested. While sending requests for men to defend the wall to all the kings was only fair, and not a breach of the Night's Watch's code of independence, entertaining a King at the wall probably is. From Queen Alysanne's time at least, it has been an allowable breach, but the watch has suffered from her time because of it. In Mormont's time it led to Waymar taking command as rangers within six months of joining the watch to appease the Royces, and before that, Aemon being sent to the wall essentially to ensure the new Targaryen King had a trusty there. Aemon was not a bad thing for the watch, but the Targaryen loyalists, especially after Robert's rebellion, seem to have created a natural fault line in the Watch, especially when there have been Starks (who have been interfering with the independence of the Night's Watch since before the conquest) in key positions. Benjen for example. The Lannisters have gone one better even than the Targaryens, sending their most corrupt goldcloaks with a coded demand to make their leader Commander of the Night's Watch, Or Else. Then Cersei followed up with 100 men specifically selected for the purpose of assassinating the elected commander, when their candidate did not get in. There is no law that says the Lords of the Realm are not to interfere with the watch. For the Royces, Mormonts, Starks, and Targaryens, its a time-honoured tradition. But still, not good for the watch. In fact, it would seem that, of all the Lord Commanders since Quellon, Jon Snow is the one that kow towed least to the Lords of Westeros. And he is paying the price for that.
  2. I don't think Melisandre is warging anyone, I think she has cast a shadow force-field around Jon. Wick is pushed back by it (because he managed to get to Jon's neck before it was in place), and Bowen and the sholder-blade knife are able to get their knives in with difficulty because they had enough momentum before the shield went up, to get them in (with unexpected effort) before being blown back. Or perhaps she has a shadow physically fighting them, one at a time. It is a dark night before they go to the Sheildhall so it woudn't be particularly easy to see a shadow in the yard. Although, if Melisandre was giving birth to it, the way she did with Davos, they probably wouldn't miss that. Although they probably wouldn't be screaming at that, either (well, Davos didn't). Something is making them scream. A shadow giant might do that. I don't think Melisandre is controlling the bodies or the minds of Jon's attackers in any way, beyond having a shadow force field or a shadow attacker of great strength protecting Jon. I agree, having Melisandre suddenly warg at least four human beings, without any symptom of being able to warg anyone before, or any inkling of her power from any other warg, is implausible. When she destroyed Varamyr/Orell's eagle, is about as close to warging as she ever came - but it seems to be something other than warging itself. The only foreshadowed ways of Melisandre controlling people is through ceremonies with an element of burning the unfaithful and the false gods, and Mance's ruby. Jon has no ruby, nor any of his attackers. Also, I remember now, (ACoK, Ch.33 Catelyn IV) Melisandre's shadows are cold, not hot. So the smoking wound and the difficulty getting Longclaw out are probably due to her shadow-magic, rather than the Others. If the degree of cold is indicative of the strength of the spell or the shadow-daemon, it is very strong. But, it is also a very cold night to start off with. The destruction of Orell's eagle seemed to be a hot magic. The bird burned from the inside. I suppose Bowen Marsh's reaction might be the result of a sudden burning heart attack, but Wick's is more as if a big invisible policeman has picked him up under the armpits and dragged him off, pinning back his forearms. Anyway, I'm pretty sure Melisandre wants Jon alive, and Lord Commander. The only person she is less likely to want dead is Stannis. Jon is critical to her cause, she has invested a lot in getting him to her cause, and when Melisandre misinterprets things, it is because she has invested in them - meaning even if the fires indicated that she should prepare for Jon Snow's death, that it was unavoidable, she wouldn't see it, would keep trying to save him. She won't give up on Stannis as Azor Ahai, even when her flames are telling her different. She won't lift a finger to save Hardhome, in fact would go some way to prevent it's salvation. I don't know how it is that Patchface is still alive and jesting in her presence, when Alester Florent has been burnt, but Melisandre wouldn't mind sacrificing him. Jon, though, she wouldn't toy with. She believes she needs him, and she does everything she can to show him upfront she is a loyal ally. Just that, she is slippery by nature. She can't help channelling Ygritte, and enslaving Mance, and in her enthusiasm, mistaking Alys for Arya. Every attempt to make Jon trust her, reveals the deceits and seductions she uses to get her way...but she sincerely wants Jon alive. I don't think she would let him face the daggers in the dark just to prove her point, when she knew exactly who would wield them. That seems as little in character as suddenly turning warg. (ADwD, Ch.03 Jon I) Melisandre consistently, earnestly, warns Jon, tells him to keep his wolf beside him, tells him the signs. But it is like Bran trying to warn Alebelly - her vision and her conviction that it is correct and must happen, doesn't give Jon a clear idea of how he can circumvent this fate. Her previous efforts have in fact left him doubtful it will happen as she says. Still, we don't see Melisandre trying to exploit this to show off her power. Melisandre has never been as fatalistic as Jojen about her ability to change her visions of the future. In this instance, Melisandre didn't feel death was inevitable (unlike the wildlings at Hardhome, or Jojen with Alebelly). She repeatedly tells Jon the signs as plainly as she can. And, alone among the Queens people, she comes to the Sheildhall. Not to hear Jon (she already knows what he has to say), but to protect him from his enemies. She knows names, but I don't think the names she knows are Whittlestick Wick or Bowen Marsh. Jon is not in a storm. Ice, naked steel, blood frozen red and hard, we have not seen yet. Melisandre misidentifies things sometimes, but she reports the content of her visions as clearly as she can, and those elements don't seem to have been fufilled, although there are daggers in the dark. She is an all or nothing kind of woman, too. It seems completely out of character that she would let a blade touch Jon, if she could help it. So I'm inclined to think this isn't playing out quite how she expected.
  3. I've been coming around to it for a few years now, but found the first encounter with it very heavy going. Barrelling out of Storm of Swords buzzing, head spinning, full of crackpot and tinfoil, to the sedate pace and tranquillity of a golden day in the beer garden by the river at the Quill and the Tankard.,,well, OK, time to catch a breath before - before Aeron Greyjoy, never pleasant, an infestation of Theon's other uncles, a host of names never heard before (Merlyn, Rus, Sparr, Gorrold etc.) that were unlikely to be significant. My heart sank a bit on learning Balon had nine bloody brothers. That only two had died in infancy was insufficiently consoling. Then Dorne. Dorne that I had been looking forward to for so long. But why now, when there were Starks to follow up, and Jon, and Tyrion, and Dany, ... and yet another placid waterside setting. He gives us Sand-snakes, but he also gives us Areo Hotah. I tried to remember that I had wanted to see a Norvoshi priest, but then, I'm not sure if Hotah is one of those or not, and being frankly aphasic is not great for a viewpoint in a novel. Although to give Hotah his due, he was the most sufferable Dornish point of view I encountered. I'm still wondering if he has a point, or is just another non-entity whose point has been made already. Yes, it was a slow start to a disappointing slog the first time through. The worst was, still is, what GRRM chose to call 'chapter 46'. Lies, I call them. By the time I read them, close on a decade old - I can't imagine how bitter the taste they left must have been to the readers who had waited six years already and would have to wait for another six for Dance, but I did feel genuine anger at his disrespect for them, and, by extension, contempt for us. By his condescending tone, it seems he assumes his readers are all sixteen-year-old boys that would rather play football and would have preferred the graphic novel to all those words anyway. As if his meta-fictional efforts were not gleefully offensive enough, he gives it a title that implies it will contain something about what is happening on the wall. (The most disappointing of a series of chapter headings that deliberately frustrate expectations.) I was lucky, in that Dance with Dragons was already written, I could plunge into it and the parts of it that have largely reconciled me to Feast, and changed my view of everything but that last snide attack on the reader's patience and intelligence. But that 'chapter' was a mistake. His editor should have insisted he keep that to maybe a promotional blurb after the appendices, or maybe nowhere between the bound pages of AFfC at all - if it had been in an article by Variety or Entertainment Now, it would still be all over the internet, if anyone bothered to look for it, but it wouldn't be a part of his body of work. Now it hangs like an albatross around his neck, reminding us that sometimes he is not so much a genius as a resentful and petty man that could forget about literary reputation long enough to send out a big f-u to all his readers for all time. I mean, sure, artists do things that contend against their own interests sometimes, eg. Lena Heady has tattoos everywhere, gave birth to two children, and had a relationship that ended badly with one of her co-workers, but she had directors and producers that airbrushed all that out, so we see the art in all its glory, unmarred by the murky mundanities of the person who created that otherwise marvellous art. Which we can read about elsewhere if that is what we really want to do. Why his editors could not do what D&D did, forestall the artist vandalising his own work, make him look good and keep his literary reputation where it deserves to be... I don't know. Maybe he likes them because they signed a contract that gave him his own way in everything, and minimal deadlines, and truckloads of money dumped on his doorstep at the least provocation, and more long lunches in fine dining restaurants than he can attend or eat, but still, I think sometimes an editor has a duty to oppose what their artist wants, and that was one of those times. Now, of course, we can read it AFwD, which eliminates nearly all the perceived deficiencies of AFfC. However you choose to read it, I strongly recommend skipping 'Meanwhile back on the wall', as all it tells you is that sometimes even a genius can be a two-bit putz. You know, I don't think so. I think the real danger is that AFwD makes those thematic linkages too obvious, so the reader can't miss them. I'm pretty sure the misleading heading and unexpected cast of new points of view, and the lack of Tyrion, Dany, Jon etc. were about building anticipation for the next book, and partially concealing themes, especially the ones that only start developing in Feast.
  4. Just re-reading this thread from the OP, and these caught my attention as they did not before: Gosh darn. There it is. Wick's blade barely touches Jon, and Wick finds himself thrown back, unable to approach Jon. Bowen Marsh is crying with the effort it takes him to resist the backward force and can't hold out against it when his blade enters its target. The blade between his shoulder blades was the last to touch him before Melisandre got her force-field up to full strength, deflecting the fourth knife (but not the cold). Of course, she was there. The only Queens Men that came to the Shield Hall were the two guards Melisandre always had escort her: She knew the daggers were closing in on Jon. She had magic powers that could protect him - she had nearly burnt the ruby off her neck preserving Mance, so he could help make Jon trust her. She attended the Sheildhall to protect him. She already knew about Hardhome, and had spent long hours reading her flames for Arya stuff, had come from her flames to the Shieldhall when she saw how close his doom had come. But Ser Narbert and Ser Benethon didn't know they were trappings. Their duty was to protect the Lady Melisandre. From threats like - an angry giant swinging Ser Patrek's headless corpse around. So before she could get to Jon (who was standing right next to said angry giant) she has to push through her guards and their steel. It doesn't take her too long, but it is a fatal delay. What Melisandre is doing isn't shown in the point of view, because Jon was too busy with other stuff to notice her arrival, except in the way it affected his attackers. First, he was distracted by Wun Wun, and by the time she is there to be seen for the looking, his focus has narrowed right down to the distance between his neck and Wick Whittlestick. So my answer to the OP is now this: Melisandre's attempts to protect Jon with magic would explain why the assassins are acting like they are being warged - why they are so distressed and can only bear to strike him once. I still think Jon's smoking wound, and clumsy hand, are more probably signs that the Others have arrived on the South side of the wall. Which would mean that Melisandre and her fire magic is going toe to toe with the Others and their ice magic. Great observation, @Richard Hoffman. Thank you for asking the question that made me look closer (eventually).
  5. I think this girl is Dorea. Pate proves she can be Dorea. If you look at the way Dorea died in the Red Waste, it isn't the way others died, and no one caught her fever. She also had a premonition she would die if she went into the Red Waste, that went beyond the dismal expectations anyone might have. Almost certainly talking about Viserys. Young Griff is most probably a virgin - remember he is just fifteen, and Illyrio hasn't seen him for years: (ADwD, Ch.08 Tyrion III) When Illiryo thinks of getting a little something young Griff might like, he thinks "candied ginger". And he is far too discreet to casually give Tyrion Griff's secret identity. Although I agree, Illyrio has a type. He might have more Serra-clones where that one came from.
  6. What am I becoming? A couple of days ago I heard this item on the news, with the horrific addition that the tortured child's mother had been decapitated. My first thought: (AGoT, Ch.27 Eddard VI)
  7. I wish I'd thought of that - and yeah, you'll be at least fine (the show has already given you one kind of narrative order anyway), and most probably better than fine (reading in something more like the order in which GRRM thought of it, rather than what fit the pressures of publishing houses and the constraints of the paperback bookbinders a dozen years ago). Look forward to seeing your insights here.
  8. Melisandre is a good example of a girl who has read a nerdy book (we only have proof of one, but perhaps there were more), yet isn't nerdy. She quotes from a text that Maester Aemon, and Rhaegar, and even Jon (at Maester Aemon's especial behest), and maybe Sam has read, one that is not much read - a book that in Westeros is a nerdy book. But Melisandre quotes it as part of the catechism of her faith, and insists the words in it are true because they are written, that it is proof of divine revelation - that Stannis is the Word Made Flesh and Dwelt Among Us. Septon Celador can recite parts of the seven pointed star from memory, and when Jon puts the corpses in the ice cells, he can remember reading disturbing prohibitions in it about speaking to the dead, but he is not a nerd just because he has read the tenants of the faith he has trained to practice, the books that everyone in his business must learn somehow, no more nerd than Thoros, or Aeron (although the Drowned God might have an oral tradition). Sallador Saan is no nerd, and no great believer either, but he knows that story of Azor Ahai that the worshippers of the Red God tell. Melisandre is portrayed as particularly missing the intellectual activity that reading has created and nurtured in Maester Aemon. She quotes from the Jade Compendium about Lightbringer, claims that Stannis is Azor Ahai reborn...and he notices that the sword is a glamour, most likely of her own creation, that her fiery sword has none of the warmth of fire. Even Jon, on having the 'born in salt and smoke' quote foisted on him by Melisandre after he has read the book once, can point out that Stannis is only Lord of Dragonstone, not born there, can point out Melisandre is blind to things that don't fit her pre-conceived ideas. She insists that there is only good and bad, light and dark, that a half-rotten onion is a rotten onion. Like Aeron, her zeal becomes more zelot-like as her doubts grow - there is a desperation in her belief, that it must be right because if it was not, what was happening, what she was doing about it, what she had already done, would be too horrible to contemplate. Maester Aemon and Rhaegar read the prophecies in a way that allowed them to doubt, and to toss around alternatives: (AFfC, Ch.35 Samwell IV) Marwyn, whose extensive reading includes this one book Melisandre quotes from, understands the value of doubt: (AFfC, Ch.45 Samwell V) But Melisandre clings to her faith and pushes her doubts away. Fwiw, I also think AA reborn is likely to be female - to be Arya, reborn as No-one, at the Saltpans, when she paid her passage in the Titan's Daughter. But even if there is no AA, Melisandre is more likely to be Nissa-Nissa for Needle, than a nerd.
  9. Glass candles are swords:
  10. Ok, so why did the white walkers choose that location for their waill?
  11. My thought on gargoyles is that GRRM does not distinguish between them and grosteques. In real life, a gargoyle is a water-spout, a run-off draining point, in the shape of a humanoid or animal - usually but not always with the spout forming it's mouth. Functionally, they are about drainage, and their position has structural and functional implications, as well as decorative purpose (and therefore, you can deduce certain things about the size, shape, and strength of the roof that they are part of, and of the weathering and strength of the walls and foundations they are above). Grotesques can be purely decorative. They don't have to hang out beyond the eves of a roof, or obey the law of gravity for the purpose of directing water. Although they can be located beyond the eves, or in the local low point, as long as their attachment is strong enough, as long as there is some way a mason/ team of masons can install them. But they could also sit inside tympanum, archivolts, terminate balustrades, ornament colonades. At a guess, I would say the gargoyles on the First Keep really are gargoyles. That the grotesques on Cressen's balcony are clearly grotesques. But GRRM isn't clear on this point. He uses the two words interchangeably for both the structures Bran swings off on the First Keep, and the ones that substitute for crenellations on Dragonstone. The meaning of the word grotesque focuses more on what the stone carving represents than it's function. It is a synonym for 'chimera' or 'mythical beast' - so anything thus named lends itself to association with griffins, sphinxes, harpies, pegasi, squishers, merlings, unicorns, manticores, basilisks, cockatrice, minotaurs, wyverns, deamons, fauns and other hybrids referenced in the mythos and heraldry (and actuality) of Planetos. I think GRRM might sometimes use the word 'grotesque' to sneak in a mention of a sphinx or a harpy without seeming to. And vise versa, for instance, when we learn that the citadel's gates are flanked by green marble sphinxes (AFfC, Prologue). He more often uses the word 'grotesque' describe someone or something wildly twisted, like Bran's legs after he falls, or Tyrion generally, or the oak he leans against as he reads about the properties of dragonbone (AGoT, Ch.13 Tyrion II). Miscellanous Other gargoyles: I'm not sure the ancient tower in Bran's dream of AGoT, Ch.24 Bran IV is the First Keep - it could be Hightower, or some structure associated with Casterley Rock. It doesn't seem a good fit for the detailed description of the first keep we were previously given. There might be gargoyles other than Tyrion perched over the great hall at Winterfell, or on the battlements of the Mud gate. There are definitely something like grotesques on the Gate of the Gods (ACoK, Ch.03 Tyrion I) Some of the silent faces watching from the Bloody Gate might be stone grotesques as well - we know there are 'stoneworks' on the near side of the gate (AGoT, Ch.34 Catelyn VI). The Horse gate of Vaes Dothrak might count- if bronze stallions count as grotesques. Even if they don't, some of the stolen statuery behind it almost certainly began life as grotesques. The designers of the fountains of Qarth were evidently capable of designing gargoyles, although there isn't much mention of the guttering of Qarth. The Great Sept of Baelor has a rainbow fountain, and one might suspect there was some drainage system on that great dome to feed it. The figurehead of the Selaesori Qhoran is described as 'a grotesque figurehead' (ADwD, Ch.33 Tyrion VIII), although it is not clear if he means it was deliberately carved to look like an ugly chimera of some kind, or if it had started as a relatively humanoid figure and become warped and twisted by age and weather. Of course, it could be both.
  12. Yeah, for me the biggest mistake Ned makes is persuading Robert that Danarys is not a threat, but a child that should not be assassinated before she makes trouble for Westeros. Only, I can't be too angry at him for that. The things that annoy me about Ned are his deadbeat dad moves: like and, on this basis, Ned insists on giving a direwolf pup to three year old Rickon, who wasn't there when the contract was agreed to. Or when Bran broke his promise to his mother: Because there is no dishonour in breaking the promises you make to women? Or perhaps because, since Rickon was born, he would still have an heir and spare if Bran fell. He took the day Bran made the inevitable slip much more in his stride than Catelyn did. All she could do was hang over Bran, feeding him honeywater to keep him alive. He headed south with the king as soon as it was clear that Bran wasn't going to die immediately, and would probably just be an unconscious quadriplegic for life, no use as a companion for the royal children, and in no more need of a father's care or guidance than a squirrel. In the Eddard chapters, we are shown more of Robert's intelligence, diplomacy, tact, and efforts to be a good king than anywhere else, but Ned doesn't see it. To him his formerly best friend as an inadequate lout, and he is particularly critical of some of Robert's most canny decisions - his decision to make common cause with Tywin Lannister, marry Cersei, keep Jaime in his Kingsguard, suffer Lancel and Tyrek as his squires, for example. Eddard approaches everyone in Kings Landing with suspicion and easy contempt: "Robert and his council of cravens and flatterers would beggar the realm if left unchecked … or, worse, sell it to the Lannisters in payment of their loans" - Renly was a craven flatterer in Eddard's opinion. Petyr Baelish had at least demonstrated a kind of loyalty to his wife, and had clued him in to the spies parked outside his tower. Petyr had cultivated his trust, was secretly helping him discover who murdered Jon Arryn. Renly was clearly very eager to take part in the tourney Robert had foisted on Ned as an honour. Petyr Baelish probably gets more out of the tourney than Renly, and is probably conspiring with Renly, using the tourney as an excuse to canvas the views and loyalties of the many lords attending, forming a guard ostensibly in the name of the king, but under Renly's command. It seems to me it was Petyr that introduced Renly to Loras, under the guise of introducing him to Margery. That Renly and Eddard both made the mistake of trusting Petyr Baelish. But Eddard doesn't seem to hold Petyr responsible for beggaring the realm, or selling it out to the Lannisters. It is Renly he finds strange. Eddard completely underestimates Cersei (and Danny). The idea that women can play the game of thrones doesn't seem to occur to him, even in prison. Also, Eddard did commit treason. He did pervert the meaning of Robert's last words to suit his own purpose. He did not protect Joffrey or attempt to offer him better guidance than Cersei, a fact that led directly to his own imprisonment, and Joffrey being the king on the Iron Throne, with his mother calling the shots in the exact nightmare scenario that King Robert had attempted to avoid by bringing Ned to King's Landing and in his attempt to bind Joffrey to the Starks via Sansa. In the end, I suppose I am more angered by Eddard's failure to befriend the Lannisters, than his failure to countenance the slaughter of children, or to accept Renly's military support.
  13. Yeah, I think the enemy they built it against might have been a consideration, as well as the lay of the land, and other engineering considerations. And that it wasn't so much about keeping exploitable resources south of the wall. I'm not sure Bran the Builder would even have valued the forest as you do @Freys Injustice. Remember it was built in an age when the wolfswood was huge and on this side of the wall. In the real medieval, when there were forests everywhere, they were regarded as an inexhaustible resource. Not just inexhaustible, but belonging to the Lord. And just as Norman England defined the forest legally as the property of the king, stealing venison being punishable by death, grazing domesticated animals on the venison's graze costing the offender their right hand, in Westeros the wood is the legal property of the lord, with similar strict penalties and similarly used by outlaws escaping the Kings Justice as a refuge. So there were dangers in even talking of a forest as a resource, if you were not a lord. And a lord that was attempting to exploit a forest that was not his, would be effectively starting a war, against a foreign king or his own, depending on the forest he was attempting to exploit for resources. Geographically, on the south-western side of the wall, the wolfswood gives out to the flint hills, where people survive by grazing mostly, because the land is unsuitable for crops. On the south-eastern side, there is the natural boundary of the Lonley Hills and the Last river before the Last Hearth. Brandon the builder saw the necessity of clearing the forest between the lands of the Umbers and Karstarks and the wall, in order to keep it strategically viable. Giving the incomes of that land to the 'neutral' Night's Watch to support themselves with, as their payment for the onerous duty of keeping it clear and orderly, seems to have been taken as a palatable alternative to a levy or tax, by the lords whose lands bordered and might even have been appropriated by the gift, which strongly hints that it wasn't really that highly valued as a resource. The peoples north of the Last Hearth are socialised in clans rather than feudal structures, and eke out a subsistence in small isolated communities. On the other side of the wall, it is much the same, but the communities are smaller and more isolated, the subsistence even harder to eke out, even in good times. Clan and tribal structures hint that they were at least semi-nomadic, expanding into Northern fields in the summer, and retreating from them in the winter. So Brandon the Builder might not have regarded the Haunted Forest as a resource that was his for the taking, nor felt much pressure to exploit it. It might in fact have been regarded more as a wasteland - an area of marginal fertility, which would force upon any lord who attempted to exploit it more expense in draining swamps and cutting out meadows and towns than it would return with it's infertile soil, uncertain crops and difficult trading conditions. That he gave a huge swathe of it to the Night's Watch to manage, apparently unopposed by his king and the neighbouring lords, tends to support it. The Watch has been in the habit of clearing the Haunted Forest immediately north of the wall for centuries: (AGoT, Ch.21 Tyrion III) and note the name - the Haunted Forest. GRRM hasn't done much with it other than note the name yet. Characters travel though it, much the same as any other woodland, with the occasional tingle in their spine, often shrugged off as imaginary: (AGoT, Prologue) (AGoT, Ch.21 Tyrion III) (AGoT, Ch.48 Jon VI) But our points of view soon get the better of it: (ADwD,Ch.35 Jon VII) Admittedly, most of our points of view on the wall are unusually fearless: Tyrion, Jon, and Melisandre. But there is also Sam, who is unusually fearful, although not at all of the haunted forest. Once he is actually in it, rather than facing the thought of going into it, he doesn't feel it at all the way Jon and Tyrion do. In later books, while it is still accompanied by 'forboding', 'brooding silence', and 'darkness', the terror of the Haunted Forest has become the wights and the white walkers, rather than any intrinsic horror in the wood itself. (AFfC, Ch.15 Samwell II) That would be Chekov's gun loaded, if I am not mistaken. The early mentions of the forest 'like a second wall', untouched by axes, with a godwood grove of faces a day's ride from Castle Black, hints at the pact that ended the dawn age and ushered in the age of heroes - the age of Bran the Builder. I'm wondering if the thick lines of the trees might in fact have been an earlier wall, built by the Children of the Forest or the trees themselves, guarding the realms of men before the wall was built, marking a boundary that might or might not have been guarded on the south side by the Night Fort and perhaps more transitory forts or villages of first men, now long gone, perhaps swallowed by the forest on the northern side, or cleared by the Night's Watch when they were granted the Gift. In the pact we are told of, the forest had been granted the Children of the Forest, and the open lands to men. Although that pact was signed in the God's Eye, which seems to hint that back then, before the Andal invasion, the boundary between the forest and the open lands was in fact the Trident. Still, I think Brandon the Builder knew better than to touch a tree in the Haunted Forest with steel. In the present times, it seems they don't. The bans on providing Wildlings north of the wall with steel axes that the Night's Watch policed in Davos' boyhood (ASoS, Ch.54 Davos V) seem to have relaxed, or become unenforcible due to the lack of manpower on the wall. Or are openly flouted, like when Jeor Mormont presented Craster with Answered Prayer. Waymar Royce draws his sword to hack through the undergrowth. And as for King Stannis: (ADwD, Ch.10 Jon III) (ADwD, Ch.39 Jon VIII) and that would be Chekhov's gun locked.
  14. On the OP - I think warging is a long shot, and not well supported by the text. Giving an anonymous vote for Jon for Lord Commander, and being prepared to take an arrow for him are two different things. Although slicing Jon in front of Wun Wun, who has just been sliced himself, and who might have gathered that Jon was preventing people from attacking him - either they have not had time to contextualise their current situation, or they were prepared to die. I suspect the former. I suspect there have been previous assassination attempts that had been called off because something came up - like the heads of Black Jack and Hairy Hal and Garth, or Janos Slynt being ordered to Greyguard... and so they had steeled themselves up to just DO it this time, no matter what. Chett's prologue in Storm seems to me to be foreshadowing Jon's death, showing us how hard it is to keep a motley crew of stewards on task and ready to roll, to stop them quarrelling among each other, or forgetting their part, getting distracted, backing out, or turning them all in. Chett is foiled by Snow and Others, dies without even the satisfaction of slashing Sam's throat, or even seeing terror in Sam's eyes- which was not a high bar in normal circumstances. This time the mutinous stewards have at least managed to slash a throat before being inundated by a series of unfortunate events. My picks for the third and fourth knives are Left-hand Lew and Alf of Runnymudd. They were seated on the same bench as Bowen and Will in the shield hall, the last time we see them before they attack. Left-hand Lew is a survivor of the Fist and Craster's (and possibly one of Chett's mutineers) although he is not mentioned by name until the second part of Storm. (That is, unless he is also Long Lew, the Stark/Tully guardsman, sent to the wall as a prisoner of war or broken man). Alf was the friend of Garth Greyfeather, he and his home-town first appeared in Dance. Will Whittlestick is first mentioned in the appendix of Feast for Crows, and as the appendices show the allegiances, life states, and ages that people are at the start of the current book, it hints that he arrived at the Wall sometime in the Storm of Swords timeline (ie. that he might have been a former goldcloak that Tyrion sent to the wall), and also that GRRM felt the need for his named existence this century, not while he was writing Storm.There might have been more knives after Jon lost conciousness, too. But it is Bowen Marsh that makes me suspect that this plot against Jon was prepared a long time ago. GRRM invites us to under-rate Bowen Marsh, through Mance, and Ed Tollett, and Cotter Pyke, in just the same way as JonCon under-rates Homeless Harry, and in spite of his chasing the weeper all the way west of the shadow tower, and winning a bloody battle (strategically, playing to Mance's strengths, but he shows himself a competent and brave battle commander in this, and in the state in which he left Castle Black - lacking nothing but men, which they all knew were in short supply). Bowen Marsh is the person who has been corresponding with the Lannisters, he is the one that knew that 'fondest regards for my faithful friend and servant' meant "Janos Slynt or Else". He was the psephologist that organised Janos Slynt's campaign - part of his purpose in leaving Castle Black was to give Janos the place of Castellan, to give the dimmer conservatives the notion that Janos was naturally their leader, and the brighter ones the chance to see the sky did not fall in, associating the new guy with incumbency and the status quo, which are by definition the preference of the uncertain conservative.) Just as he is the only one with the wherewithal to make Janos Acting Lord Commander, he is the only one really qualified to organise the 'else', too. He is deliberate man. He isn't a visionary, but he can do the math, and is a competent administrator. He is also a liar, or at least, a capable misrepresenter of the truth -there is more to the food stores that what Bowen Marsh has chosen to share with Jon, for example. Bowen Marsh has been at the wall a long time, Othell Yarwyck and Three-Finger Hobb, men in critical roles on the wall, know he is a smart one and listen to what he says. He is a crony of Alliser Thorne, and now Alliser is in the rangers, the class of black brother that Bowen Marsh was least important to, and least regarded by, feel his influence. He has always been well regarded by the stewards. When I look back before Storm of Swords, I still see hints that Bowen Marsh is involved in assassination and power plays, but I think these hints look more like he is plotting to make Jeor Mormont Lord Commander (rather than Benjen Stark), and Ser Jaramey head ranger (rather than Benjen Stark), rather than foreshadowing Jon. (I've come upon this notion recently, and still have not got a good reason why Bowen Marsh would want to off Benjen with extreme prejudice in 297AD, after so many years working together. Head Rangers, like kings, have a much higher turnover since then, too. Which I'm pretty sure is not all down to Bowen Marsh.) Bowen Marsh is the only one of them that seems to have above ordinary abilities (I guess that is partly because any recruit that shows a valued kind of skill or talent, ends up in the rangers or the builders. The stewards take the butter-churners and the snow-shovellers). Hatred of the Wildlings (and in particular the Weeper) seems a dependably fixed motive for him (and for Alf, after the weeper took out Garth's eyes). Wick hears Bowen Marsh moan about the wildlings eating their food all day. He guards Cregan, who has a lot to say about Jon Snow being half-wildling (and it wouldn't surprise me if Cregan's howling was partly about pointing out Jon Snow is a warg). Wick guards the wildling corpses all night, wondering uneasily why Jon Snow would need the corpses guarded, and even more uneasily why Jon Snow would choose to leave the corpses unguarded tonight. I don't know what motive Left-hand Lew would have - maybe he just thought what his mates thought. Basically, I think what you call 'warging' is the endless, methodical patient influence of a man with plan, on the doughy minds of swing voters, where no impression stays fixed for long, and even their most certain resolutions are a mire of doubts and fears, when examined. Apart from the Giant going ape (which might have been part of the plan - Bowen's cronies are mostly titled men, his currency is influence. His being a Lannister pawn would not make him less keen to know Stannis's men, many of whom have swung from Renly to Stannis already) and the cold rising (which I don't think Bowen took into account), immediately after Jon Snow's galvanising speech was a great time to strike. All the Night's Watch have been sorely provoked. Jon Snow has just sent them to Hardhome, where none of them want to go, on a suicide mission, when none of them want to die and become wights, to rescue wildlings that none of them want to save. And he won't be going with them because he has a gripe about some other bastard that is marrying his sister. Ever since he became Lord Commander, Jon has become more distant and withdrawn from the men - he doesn't sit by the fire and eat with them (as Eddard used to, with his men). He cuts them unnecessarily (for instance when Mully offers "Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”, or when he hammers Iron Emmett while the guy is yielding). He has his reasons for becoming colder, sterner. He is trying to 'kill the boy'. But as he grows more distant from the men he commands, sending the ones he most likes and trusts the furthest away, he also grows closer to the wildlings. And the Red Woman. And Stannis. And less and less inclined to tolerate his brothers' ignorance and stupidity. The stewards don't need to be warged. They have motive enough. If they were being warged, who are they being warged by? Bran regards himself as some kind of uber-warg for being able to warg Hodor. All the wildling wargs, who meet together and share knowledge, know that you don't warg human beings, and it would seem from Varamyr's experience that it is quite a feat to grab even a lungful of breath from another human being. Varamyr considered himself an uber-warg for being able to warg three wolves, and a shadowcat, and a bear, and an eagle, a feat that nobody he knew or knew of had equalled. He could also warg more than one beast at a time, and keep his human form concious, telling Mance what his eagle could see, while warging it. Bran's boy self loses conciousness when he wargs Summer or Hodor. So if it was, say Borroq, it seems to me it's a pretty big step, from warging a single boar, to warging at least four human beings. And what does Borroq have against Jon Snow, anyway? The Black brothers don't approve of warging, but then, they don't approve of sodomy either. Doesn't mean that some of them are not wargs. But I don't see anyone being a secret warg, or trying to deny they are a warg, except Jon. If it is true that a warg can always tell another warg, the only warg he has tipped us off to is Borroq, and Borroq didn't tip Jon off to anyone else. There are plenty of forms of magic about Castle Black. Melisandre senses the old magic of the wall, that makes her own spells so amazing. There is a Godswood full of faces just on the Northern side. Doubtless there are spells the wildlings know, too. Jon notices the cold rooms getting colder in a way that defies physics, which makes me wonder what could be wandering the wormways. Apart from a couple of dead humans, and herds of dead animals. (If anyone does know exactly how many of what is in there, though, it would be Bowen Marsh and Wick Whittlestick). It is pretty obvious that Jon hasn't been sweetsleeped- he didn't drink the mead, he left the hall and left it to Tormund. What you attribute to Jon being spellbound, I attribute to Others. Jon finds it hard to draw his sword because it has frozen in his scabbard. The suddenly clumsy hand is the one he is in the habit of flexing to keep it's fingers limber since he burnt it, now stiffening as it freezes. We know the wind had risen (all that snow from the south blown against the wall) , and the dark has fallen, his wolf and Mormont's raven have been restive all day, (like Craster's old wife, they can feel it in their bones). Jon's wound is smoking because it is suddenly getting cold, so cold... * Oh dear. Where to start... 1/ Treason Treason is betrayal your own country, usually by attempting to overthrow the legitimate monarch or disrupt the legitimate government. Ramsay is not the legitimate monarch of Westeros, nor does he have any role in the government of Westeros. Ramsey is a person who got himself a Lordship by forcibly marrying a woman of large title, then (at the very least) locking her up until she died malnourished and before her time. He was able to get away with such flagrant bad behaviour because she had no sons or brothers whose duty was to defend her, and her King and bannerlord was preoccupied with war. Roose Bolton is now the Warden of the North and therefore does have a role in King Tommen's government of Westeros, but Mance isn't stealing his wife. And if he was, it still woudn't be treason because stealing Roose's wife would not cast doubts on the legitimacy of the next Warden of the North (although it might cast doubts on the legitimacy of the next heir to the Dreadfort, which would have implications for Ramsey and the Freys). Wife stealing is normally a 'domestic situation', only treasonous when the legitimacy of a governer is dependant on who his father was, and whether he was married to his (its usually his, not hers in the patriarchy) mother. So if Mance was intending to stealing Margaery, thereby casting doubt on the legitimacy of her progeny by Tommen, that would be treasonous. If Mance attempted to steal Cersei, that might be treason because Ceresi is the acting head of the government of Westeros. But it might be an excuse to make Kevan regent instead. If Mance stole Jeyne Stark, to set his progeny up as Robb's, and himself as the Protector of the King in the North, that could be treason. But there is no woman in the North that he could steal that would disrupt the royal line or the government of the nation. Even if Mance stole Sansa Lannister, it wouldn't interfere with the government of Westeros (and that would be true before Sansa lost all her patriarchal claims due to being an attainted traitor - poisoning a king is treason). The title of Warden of the North is customarily, not necessarily, inherited. Roose Bolton being the exception that proves the rule. In times of war, the King has the power to bestow it on strategically significant and competent generals like Bolton. Even in times of peace, a king might refuse to squander the title on the likes of Robyn Arryn. While we are on the topic of patriarchal entitlement, lets not forget that Ramsey is only heir presumptive to his father. If Lady Bolton's child is a son, Roose can change his heir. Or Roose might decide the estates Ramsey has by marriage, and his name, are enough. That his younger son, with the untainted blood of Frey and flayer, can be Lord of the Dreadfort. Interrupting Ramsey's breeding is unlikely to interrupt even the Bolton line of succession, let alone the Royal one. - he sent the wildling outlaw Mance Rayder to steal Arya from the Boltons. Melisandre charged Mance Rayder with heading out to Long Lake to find Jon Snow's sister. Melisandre had the authority to do this, because she is one of Stannis Baratheon's commanders, and Stannis put Mance in the custody of Melisandre after capturing him as a prisoner of war. Stannis intended to use Mance as an example of how he dealt with challenges to his rule: (ADwD, Ch.10 Jon III). And Jon had plans for Mance as well: (AFfC, Ch.05 Samwell I). Maybe. But Eddard didn't return Gared to the Lord Commander for trial, Robb and Theon didn't stand on ceremony with Stiv and Wallen, either. And Mance was commanding an invasion on Stannis's kingdom, and styling himself the King beyond the Wall as he did (which would be treason, on the other side of the wall - that is the other thing about treason. It can only be committed by subjects and citizens of the nation attacked). Still, he does seem to be Stannis's by right. And Janos Slynt didn't press the Watch's claim when he was Acting Lord Commander, which makes it difficult for Jon to press the point later. Melisandre may have over-reached her authority with the prisoner-swap, allowing Stannis to believe that he has tried and executed Mance. Or she may not have. We see Stannis place a lot of trust in not only Melisandre, but Davos, and even Sallador Saan, who act on their King's behalf without their King's knowledge or consent, in ways their King wouldn't act himself, and would be unlikely to openly consent to, occasionally expresses his displeasure at, but without quite committing treason and being sacrificed to the Red God. Stannis isn't quite as liberal as Tommen when it comes to handing out cartes blanches, but he gives Melisandre a lot of leeway. And she might have told him, sort of. At the time Jon was thinking of cutting off Mance's head himself, Sam shared a rumour: (AFfC, Ch.05 Samwell I) It seems unlikely that Pyp would have heard this rumour, and Stannis know nothing of it. Especially given her past form. But when it comes sacrifices involving Kings Blood, there is a whole lot of plausible deniability that Stannis would rather have than not. He would rather be in his bed, grinding his teeth in strange dreams, when she does stuff like that. When it comes to Melisandre's sorceries we see plenty of moments like this one: (ADwD, Ch.03 Jon I) So maybe Stannis gave Melisandre the permission to choose as she thought best. Not that Melisandre seems to need Stannis's permission anyway: she spends more time telling Stannis what his duty is than vise versa. Melisandre was very conscious of the role of individual choice in the Manichean body politic when she burnt Rattleshirt in the weirwood cage instead of Mance: (ADwD, Ch.10 Jon III) This was not where the choices ended. After not executing Mance, Melisandre, as Stannis's herald, preform a creepy citizenship ceremony/bar mitvah: (ADwD, Ch.10 Jon III) Mance, disguised as Rattleshirt, is the second wildling to be pardoned by King Stannis. Whether she acted with her King's authority or imposed on him, Melisandre had Stannis pardon Mance. Poor Rattleshirt isn't even remembered as the one that never bent his knee. Stannis brings the man to the next council he invites Jon to, offering him to Jon as a gift. Jon recoils inwardly, Melisandre explains the gift is in bond to her anyway, and Rattleshirt/Mance insists he won't take the black. (ADwD, Ch.17 Jon IV) Jon doesn't explicitly accept this gift, but after the henchmen have been dismissed, he haggles with Stannis to give him (as commander of the Night's Watch) command over all the former wildlings that are now subjects of Stannis. The next Rattleshirt/Mance scene make it clear Rattleshirt/Mance takes his orders from Melisandre, not Jon: and underlines why this scheme can't be and isn't of Jon's making: Jon did not send Mance out to rescue Arya. Jon did not send anyone out to rescue Arya, because vows. Melisandre wants to make an alliance with Jon by doing him a personal favour, that he cannot do for himself. And she employs Mance to do it. Jon does control the facility that imprisons Mance, and does allow her to release Mance into the Gift. He allows horses and the spearwives, too. I'm not certain he could have stopped them if he didn't: Melisandre could take the horses from Selyse's Queensmen, and have Selyse demand Ed Tollett extract the spearwives from moles town, too. The prisoner was in her custody, even when housed in Jon's facility. Jon doesn't send Mance to Winterfell, didn't even know he is going to Winterfell. No more did Melisandre. Her vision was about finding a girl who is fleeing on horseback, seeking protection from Jon Snow. They both thought Mance was heading off to Long Lake to meet her. I'm surprised you neglected to mention that Jon sent Stannis to Winterfell with an army to rescue Arya: (ADwD, Ch.35 Jon VII) Stannis demanding things that were his by rights (guestrights,mostly) from Jon before heading south, and later on Jon is sent a letter telling him that he is at Winterfell, trying to save Jon's sister, is analagous to Jon allowing Mance to leave Castle Black, and getting sent a letter informing him that Mance went to Winterfell later. This is an act of war Stannis marching an army to Winterfell in order to take it from the Boltons is an act of war. And you could reasonable argue that Jon virtually planned that campaign, as well as giving the army horses, provisions, armour and even weapons (spears, not swords). If not for Jon, Stannis would have marched down the Kings Road with a wildling Army to the Dreadfort and death, if the Umbers hadn't killed them before that. Admittedly, his planning was given as a trade negotiation (Stannis's wildlings for Northmen), and local knowledge Stannis was free to ignore. But the route and the plan of attack and the dispositions of the Boltons made it almost inevitable that they would come to Winterfell before they got to the Dreadfort. I can understand how bringing an army to the gates of Winterfell to rescue Arya from her marriage to Ramsey could be sufficient casus belli for Bolton and Baratheon both. Strangely, though, neither Stannis nor Roose identify this as Jon Snow's fight. It is harder to understand how Mance's mission could be taken as an act of war. For a start, it was a covert mission. Their objective was to spirit Arya and themselves out of Winterfell, with nobody knowing where she was gone or how, until she was under the protection of her brother at Castle Black. They are seven, not an army, armed with harp and drum and tub and rope and knives. They are not coordinating with Stannis or anyone who does have an army. Their plan hinges on avoiding confrontation and on running away. Avoiding confrontation and running away is sometimes declared an act of war or a revolt by the side that puts an end to it, but historians tend to call such events massacres. That the author of the Pink Letter claims they were a rescue mission from Castle Black, is only because they stuffed up and got caught. Stannis inconveniently set a huge army up under the walls of Winterfell, which tightened security and restricting the comings and goings to the castle just as they were about to leave. Then they were snowed in. Someone inside the castle decided it was a good time to commit a few murders, and everyone else had nothing better to do than look very closely at everyone around them and figure out who done it. Holly forgot Frenya had the rope. None of that was part of the plan. The plan Jon neither knew nor agreed to. On the plus side, Jeyne got away, at least as far as Stannis, so they achieved their objective. To an extent. That the Pink Letter assumes Jon had Mance steal Arya, is one of the many odd things about. That it identifies Mance as Mance, is odd too. Who, south of the wall, could identify Mance by sight? Stannis and his men saw Mance burn at Castle Black. I don't know how Ramsay even knows that Stannis claims to have burnt him, let alone why he would take the word of 'Mance' over Stannis. And he knows other things: that Val and Mance's son are at Castle Black, that Val is the 'Wildling Princess', that Dalla is dead, that Selyse and Shireen have not yet left for the Nightfort. I can't see where he gets his information from. The whole purpose of the Pink letter seems to be to goad the Lord Commander into leading an attack on Winterfell. There would be no point in its bellicose threats if Jon had committed an act of war on Winterfell. And if Jon had already started a war on Winterfell, why send the letter to Castle Black? The metadata is a tacit concession that Ramsay knows the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch had not left his post, nor taken the Night's Watch south to attack Winterfell - which would be an act of war. that Jon started As the first three books make perfectly clear, Roose Bolton started this war (or started taking the North) around the time he married Walda Frey, and Ramsey married Lady Hornwood (by abducting her - just saying), when Joffrey still sat the Iron Throne. Fake Arya was a Lannister notion - they are the ones that were pretending to have Arya at Kings Landing. But it was Bolton's idea to marry fArya to Ramsey, upgrade his hold on Winterfell from a 'by conquest' to a 'by marriage' and sealing his claim on the north with his own Stark in Winterfell. A deal that is sweetened for the Lannisters by the recollection that Sansa Lannister has a stronger claim to Winterfell than Arya Bolton, and by remembering that this way they can repudiate the real Arya if she turns up married to Willas Tyrell or Elmer Frey, or even if she just turns up. And they keep the option of repudiating fArya if the Boltons ever get out of hand. Roose explains to Ramsey: (ADwD, Ch.32 Reek III) There it is. Before Roose had left Harrenhal, he had decided to use Arya, and the scandal of Ramsay's first marriage, to draw his enemies in the North to Winterfell for a wedding, to bind them to him or destroy them. He adjusted the plan to suit later developments, like Stannis becoming the commander of the clansmen and attacking the Ironmen at Deepwood Motte instead of the Umbers and the Dreadfort. I don't doubt that Roose and Tywin both hoped to inveigle the 998th Lord Commander and the Night's Watch in this war as well. Being Arya's only living brother and knowing how Ramsay treats wives without brothers to defend them is a sore provocation. The Young Wolf would not have stayed put in the circumstances. The fact that Jon makes no move until the Pink Letter arrives, shows that he didn't start it. While being stabbed multiple times and perhaps dying is not good, there is a silver lining in that it has delayed his leaving for Winterfell. Winterfell was a trap, set to destroy the Night's Watch when they didn't vote for Janos Slynt. If I recall correctly, Tywin intended to open negotiations with Mance, too. I assume this means Roose is aware that Mance has value to him. Which brings us to point two. 2/ Unjust Janos Slynt was guilty as charged. When he was summoned to receive his orders at first light, he arrived after a late breakfast. Then when he was granted command of Greyguard, he refused, and when he was told that was an order, he compounded his insubordination by speaking disrespectfully to a senior officer, and kicking a chair. When the time came to fufill his orders, he remained by the fire in the common room instead. When he was given without penalty a second chance to fufil his orders, he kept up his insubordination and disrespect, only this time in front of all his brothers. As Lord Commander, Jon Snow had the right to give those orders and to expect them to be obeyed. Making Slynt commander of Greyguard was not unreasonable nor dishonourable, it was a legal command. (In fact, it seems highly suspicious to me that Slynt took such deep and immediate offence to being commander of Greyguard, when it had been so generally expected that he would be relegated to the kitchens to cut up turnips.) Slynt himself ensured there was no doubt as to whether or not his behaviour was insubordination. He was insubordinate and he treated both his orders and his commander with contempt. There is no doubt in the minds of his friends or his enemies that he committed the offence he was executed for. he killed Janos Slynt for a minor offense. Insubordination is a serious offence. In most military codes it is still a capital offence. Insubordination breaks the chain of command, preventing an army from achieving its objectives. It opens up opportunities for enemies to attack, corrupt, compromise, and to kill fellow soldiers or the civilians their objective was to protect. Greyguard needs to be manned. A wildling army breached the wall there and attacked Castle Black from the Southern side, while Janos Slynt was Acting Lord Commander. On his watch. Janos owns as much, when he refuses the command. Janos was also well qualified for the command. And Janos has already delayed his mission (and the thirty men he would take on it) for several hours, before Jon called him to answer for it. While punishing insubordination with summary execution has become less popular since 1945, it was almost routine before 1918. Just last week the US commander in chief was tweeting that Sargent Bergdahl be executed as a traitor for leaving his post. The army recommended 14 years in military prison, and the court decided dishonourable discharge and some hefty fines was sufficient for a person who spent five years malnourished and tortured in a Taliban prison in the meantime. Insubordination and contempt are still serious offenses, even by today's comparatively liberal terms. He later let Mance Rayder walk from much, much more horrible crimes (ADwD, Ch.10 Jon III) Lord Commander Jon Snow had Mance Raydar shot by firing squad, for desertion. The man he let ride had been pardoned by Stannis and the Lord of Light, and was protected by Melisandre and her ruby. and sent him Melisandre sent him on an illegal mission The mission was to rescue a woman who was fleeing her marriage. A woman who wasn't the person she claimed to be, fleeing a brutal marriage, that was almost inevitably a death sentence. Abduction is never respectable, but done right, there is nothing illegal about it. For example: Alys Karstark. She was betrothed by her Uncle Arnolf to his son, Cregan Karstark, and kept at the Karhold ready for her marriage when she escaped, most probably with the secret assistance of some servants (I deduce from the horse she rode and the speed with with which two of the men sent to hunt her down turned against Creagan, and also from how willing Alys was to forgive the women who betrayed her - I assume by preventing her leaving the Karhold until she had married her cousin). Note servants don't have guest-right, they are not guests. She asked Jon for his protection, as her kins-man. Kinsmen were expected to protect and defend their female kin as a duty. The main reason Ramsay got away with Lady Hornwood was that she didn't have any kinsmen to protect her and advocate for her. (Kin, can't slay them, must protect them.) Jon has a personal duty to protect his kin when called on (if there is no bloodfeud between them) which is why Alys goes to him. Alys ate the bread and salt of Castle Black, gaining the protection of guest-right for the time that she there, insurance against Jon using his vows as an excuse for avoiding family duties. As it happened, he did not. He took care to ensure Cregan was not able to claim guest-right of him: And one of Cregan's men goes one better, loosing an arrow on his party, thereby justifying his taking them as prisoners. Once this has been done, Jon points out to Cregan: The betrothal to Cregan was not legally valid Arnolf's claim to Lordship of the Karhold is not legally vaild As a host, he has to ensure that Alys is protected not only when she is at Castle Black, but when she leaves, and as a kinsman, he has the duty to keep her safe, until she has the protection of a suitable husband or a more able kinsman. (Cregan is ineligible for this duty, having killed two wives already, as Alys was careful to mention). The solution Jon finds is to allow Alys to choose her own husband (as she can, because she is of age), and to suggest a match with the guy with the small army that could enforce her (or may be Harrion's) claim to the Karhold . She marries, and as she is a lady over the age of sixteen, she has the right to choose her own husband. Presumably they intended to leave for the Karhold shortly, if they had not already left. There are still issues that will need to be sorted out - Styr bent the knee to Stannis, Alys is a Stark loyalist to the core, but it is all perfectly legal. Jon plans to keep Cregan on ice until he takes the black, pointing out that Stannis will kill him. (Treason, conspiracy, hunting without a licence...can't imagine Stannis concerning himself overmuch about the matter of Alys's wedding or the minutiae of Northern succession laws, with so many violations of his own rights to burn Cregan over.) Mance and the spearwives don't breech guestright because they are employed as servants in Winterfell, not guests. They perform the duties they are paid for dutifully. Jeyne also is not a guest. Helping her to escape is not a breach of guest right. It is disloyal to their employer and her husband, but not illegal. Once she is in front of Stannis, Jeyne can put plenty of arguments that would invalidate her marriage. The fArya marriage seems to have been decreed by King Joffrey, who Stannis regards as an abomination that had no right to rule. She isn't Arya. If she was, she would only be eleven years old. Lady Ermensande shows that the King on the Iron throne can, apparently, decree child marriages, although Alys mentions that they wait a little longer in the North "We were only waiting till I flowered to be wed,". This was the case with Sansa and Joffrey,too. I'm not sure what Stannis would make of this, other than that he woudn't recognise Ramsey having a legitimate claim on Winterfell. I'm not sure if he would accept Jeynes marriage as valid or not. The rites were performed in front of a heart tree, she said the vows, but she wasn't the person she claimed to be at the time (hmm...I wonder if her oath could mean that rArya was married to Ramsay, as for as the trees were concerned.) Anyway, it isn't necessarily illegal to steal a bride. Especially when she has every reason to believe that her husband will flay her. 3/Destructive to the Watch Since Jeyne left Kings Landing. recruitment to the wall has risen and fatalities have reduced. Ruins that had been empty for generations have been rebuilt and garrisoned, a lacklustre training program has been sharpened up, the gift is being repopulated. And this in spite of a full-scale wildling invasion that has affected both Castle Black and the Shadow Tower grievously, and a war in the Seven Kingdoms that has cost the Watch recruits and provisions from the South. In the very short time that Jon Snow has been Lord Commander, the Watch has been strengthened, not destroyed. And Jon found funding from Braavos to strengthen it still more. Ramsay Snow's second marriage is no more destructive to the watch that his first; it hasn't cost the watch a man, or gained it one. Jon Snow's election, and the consequent failure to elect Janos Slynt, has earned the Night's Watch Lannister enmity, but that enmity has taken the ambiguous form of Cersei sending a hundred new recruits to the wall (with the secret mission of assassinating Jon Snow). They seem to be destined to arrive too late. Jon's assassins were at the wall before Cersei sent her men, and we only know of Stannis's ships berthing at Eastwatch. and the realm Ramsey's marriage shows every sign of being as destructive to the realm as the last wedding Roose planned, but that would be the case whether or not Mance sang at it, and regardless of what happened to the bride. Roose planned it as prelude to a battle in the North, to weed out his friends and settle scores among the Northerners. It is a disastrous thing to be happening on the eve of winter, while the Others are massing their forces. But that is nothing to do with Jon and there is nothing Jon could do to change that one way or the other. The watch takes no part. picking a fight In the actions of Stannis and of Mance, it was not a fight Jon could pick. Jon advocated stealth to Stannis - avoiding the King's Road, not attacking the Dreadfort, going around the Boltons, sneaking to the Doors of Deepwood Motte and surprising the Ironborn. Marching on Winterfell was Stannis's idea, that Roose had already thoroughly thought through last year. Mance's action was never intended to be a fight, or to provoke one. The plan was to spirit Arya out without anyone finding out they were there or how they did it. Jon's role in this one was confined to giving the horses and allowing Mance and the spearwives to go. He managed to do his part without picking a fight with anyone. with the ruling house of the north Roose Bolton is Warden of the North, for now. But to say the Boltons are the ruling house of the North is a contentious claim. The Mormonts still recognise the Starks, the Umbers and the Karstarks are not absolutely recognising Bolton's rule, Deepwood Motte seem to be for Stannis now. Lord Manderely makes a show of supporting Roose that fools nobody, and with friends like him you don't need enemies. This lack of support is why it is necessary for the Boltons to marry into the Starks, as best they can. That is why they are at Winterfell, not the dreadfort. Because they know that the North still regard the Starks as their lawful rulers. But Mance's mission is not about starting a fight with the ruling house of the North, it is about saving a girl from a monstrous husband who is after her claim. (As far as the North is concerned, Jon is more a member of the ruling house of the north than Ramsey). Mances action taken on behalf of Jon, and Jon's own intention to set out south for Winterfell, are personal. They are to do with Arya being his sister, not with the Bolton's being the ruling house in the north. Stannis's intention of marching on Winterfell and marrying Arya to one of his men, on the other hand, is political. Stannis clearly is in a fight with the current ruling house of the North. And he is doing it to win the North to his rule. For Stannis Arya is a pretext, a side-issue. not what you do if you want to prepare for the white walkers. To prepare for white walkers, the thing to do is...what Jon has been doing since he learnt of Arya leaving Kings Landing. Get as many living wildlings as you can find on your side rather than his, build up the wall, strengthen its defences. Jon put Arya's saftey ahead of the realm by doing...everything he had to do to prepare for white walkers, and twice thinking to himself 'Hope Arya is alright. Not sure letting Mance out on his own recognisance was a good idea' Jon was about to commit an atrocity. An attrocity - more like a duel. Remember it is Ramsay that said he was going to cut Jon's heart out. Jon means to make him answer for those words. It is unlikely Jon is coming down there just to allow Ramsay to keep his word and cut out his bastard heart and eat it (the endless oddities of the Pink Letter. Since when did Ramsay become a cannibal? He's more likely to make Jon eat his own heart out.) still, his language is vauge, we are not sure what he intends to commit. The Pink letter is more specific, though. Cannibalism is pretty atrocious. Jon was getting ready to lead an army of wildlings An army of nine, kneelers all.. against the ruling noble house of the north and their men. Against Ramsey Bolton solely. Ten swords is not enough to face Roose Bolton's army, or any army. They outnumber the Bastard's boys by three, until Jon dies.But they don't have the bastard's girls on their side. None of the Bastards boys are nobles. And whether you support King Tommen or King Stannis, the ruling Noble house is still BARATHEON.
  15. Just noticing how much Jon's chapters foreshadow the war for the dawn. (ASoS, Ch.64 Jon VIII) (ADwD, Ch.58 Jon XII)