GyantSpyder

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  1. Not to rehash or repeat a lot of stuff you can find elsewhere, but it's hard to tell for sure what is part of Doran's plans and what isn't. Doran is definitely doing more than one thing at once, though. Also, it's worth noting that Doran and Oberyn, despite have very different personalities, are very close and are probably in on whatever they are doing together. Furthermore, of all his qualities, Doran is most described as patient (well, cautious, but the point is he takes his time). So to figure out what he's up to you can look over a very long time period. So, with that in mind, Doran is potentially involved in a lot of stuff. Much more than just Arianne and Viserys. But the evidence for his involvement tends to be circumstantial.
  2. The closest historical parallel might be the Fourth Crusade, when the Crusaders sacked Constantinople. It would be 250 years before the Empire vanished entirely, but it became fragmented as different players were able to carve out pieces of it, and it became more vulnerable to external exploitation and conquest. At some point, you would expect the Golden Company to invade again, but it seems exceedingly unlikely they would be able to create territorial integrity for all of Westeros. Like you might end up with a new Golden Throne at Duskendale, with Bittersteel's skull on it, but it might not even be able to control the whole Trident, let alone the whole country. It seems like the individual kingdoms would be back on their own - or at least much more autonomous - and maybe you'd see confederations between some of them - like maybe the Reach and Stormlands combine into one country and take over much of the Westerlands - but it would probably be messy until some new paradigm emerged.
  3. Also the brotherhood of "white cloaks" refers to the Kingsguard. There may be a symbolic relationship between the Kingsguard and the Others - especially when you consider that the Others live out in the middle of frickin' nowhere, and in the prologue the Night's Watch confronts three Others - and the Tower of Joy is out in the middle of frickin' nowhere, and in the fever dream Ned and his buddies face off against three kingsguard. And, if the Others need to use human babies to make more Others, there might be a connection with the celibacy clauses of both the Night's Watch oath and the Kingsguard oath. But if the Others are guarding something important out in the Land of Always Winter, that connection could make even more sense. It doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility for them to have a king - or, like Gerold, Oswell and Arthur - for them to have a dead king and be protecting some legacy of his or hope for the future - or at least some sort of persistence. If Jaime Lannister ends up abandoning his army and joining the Brotherhood without Banners, they could also become "white cloaks" in the winter (to distinguish them from the yellow cloak of Lem Lemoncloak - Jamie also has two colors to his two identities - the golden-armored lion, and the white-cloaked brother - changing from yellow to white like the Brotherhood, perhaps). Note also that "Theon Turncloak" - during his traumatic torture, transformation, and rebirth cycle - goes from having dark hair to having white hair. In effect, he turns his cloak from black to white, like the white raven of winter replacing the black raven of the other seasons. Or, you know, like a rabbit. (that's just a non sequitur) Theon also is involved in an intense struggle on his own behalf and the behalf of others: "you have to remember your name." To spin that out - if we look at the Others from a "cold preserves" mentality, and have them off in frickin' nowhere guarding something since the dawn of days - maybe they're the ones who actually know what is (frickin') going on in the world, and they remember their history. Maybe white turncloaks remember their names. It's interesting to think of the White Book of the Kingsguard - the Book of Brothers - in this context - as the definition of a person coming from what that person does in life, rather than who that person was before. All this starts looking very textured. It might be interesting to go through the text looking for cloaks or coats that change color from black to white and what they have to do with each other, and with both remembering your past or defining your present.
  4. If Stannis hasn't won the throne, he's not KING yet
  5. Sure. Two ways, but neither of them fit Balon's desires or character: - Re-assert the Ironborn's historical edge in magic, technology, and organization which is what previously allowed the Ironborn to dominate the Riverlands. The only reason to believe this edge might still be possible to reassert is that Euron might be doing it. - Participate in the insurgency/counterinsurgency game being played by the Brotherhood without Banners / R'hllorists and the Brave Companions / Sparrow Movement. If Balon had changed his character completely and decided what he really wanted to do was rule the Riverlands, he could have declared that Gregor Clegane being allowed to harrow the Riverlands was a sign the king was illegitimate, and he could have sentenced Gregor to death himself and sent his own people after him. Those people could have then started teaching people a modified version of the Old Way and baptizing people in fresh water instead of saltwater. He could have plundered the Westerlands and stolen food and given it to the Riverlands. It's a long shot, but the other people were doing stuff like this, so why not him?
  6. Add a little dose of "Harrenhal Fever" to the mix, as well.
  7. The other theory here is that Nagga's bones are not trees that grew there, but the weirwood frame of a ship's hull that was brought up on land and turned over to make it into a meeting house. While of course it's hard to get long, straight lumber from a wood that's generally twisted, it's not impossible. Another possibility is that weiwoods used to be straighter, and something happened, between the landing of the Grey King and now, to gnarl them.
  8. Conjecture: Dragons cannot hatch their own eggs, they depend on the presence of not just human beings, but specific human beings, to reproduce. This suggests dragons are bioengineered creatures, key-coded to respond to people who have a specific genetic trait, which is likely also bioengineered, all in the distant past. All of which now works mysteriously, as a form of magic. The way the understanding of this has warped over time is that people believe "the blood of the dragon" is necessary to hatch dragons. People think this means some sort of actual human sacrifice. But what it really means is an inherited genetic trait. We know one traditional way to try to hatch a dragon is to put the egg in a cradle with a baby with the blood of a dragon. However, if you look at the Targaryan bloodlines and marriages, you can infer three things: Not every Valyrian has blood of the dragon Valyrians are not the only people with blood of the dragon You can infer that it is not the baby that has the blood of the dragon that matters, but the mother. To flesh this last point a little more - only women can hatch dragons, because the trait that allows them to do it only occurs on the X chromosome, and thus only women can have a double of it. Men can only be carriers/riders. You can infer this by looking at when a lot of dragons hatched or only a few, and matching that up to the family trees of the matriarchs of the Targaryans at the time. A kid of a bullshitty fantasy version of Mendelian inheritance is, lest we forget, a huge part of the main story, and the basis for most of what Ned does in A Game of Thrones. We know the maesters keep copious, copious records of inherited phenotypical traits of great houses. So it's not outlandish to look for other ways in which Mendelian inheritance might matter. Now, it seems like a lot of the magic in the story has to do with ESP, the mind, mental powers, and most of the magic GRRM writes about in other stories are various sorts of mental powers. So it seems possible that the power to hatch dragons is a mental power - a form of telepathy. If the mother is the one with the genes to hatch dragons, why would putting the egg in the cradle with the baby make it hatch? The baby is the focus of the mother's mind and attention. If she has psychic powers, the baby is a focal point for her powers. The mother's attachment for the baby is sort of like tinder for a campfire, or a pilot light for a stove. Dany thinks strongly about her relationship and connection with Khal Drogo at his funeral pyre when the dragons are hatched. This seems like it might have a similar sort of effect to the egg being in the cradle with a baby. An additional conjecture you could throw in with all these conjectures is that the Oldtown Triad (the Hightowers, the Citadel and the Faith) figured this out some time ago, and have been manipulating marriages, succession, and even fertility and prenatal care to try to get the "blood of the dragon" out of the gene pool and in particular out of House Targaryan, so they no longer have access to dragons. It's also possible that there are rituals that were used, involving fire, to create a point of focus for magical telepathic energies, and that misunderstanding these rituals - seeing the ritual, rather than the psychic powers, as what hatches the dragons - is what led to some of the Targaryans going all "Hold My Beer, New Hampshire-style" with various incendiaries, with predictably catastrophic results. This carries over into a larger conversation about "blood and fire" - the various ways they relate to each other, and how the systems behind them might work, but it's all very interesting.
  9. I think there are three large-scale ways of looking at the Doran's take on the Quentyn plan. - Doran wanted Quentyn to succeed, but it was kind of a long-shot plan and it just didn't work. - Doran wanted Quentyn to succeed, but his plan is centered on Volantis - Quentyn was supposed to stay in Volantis and meet Daenerys there when she eventually showed up. This is similar to Varys's plan with Aegon, and it's against the backdrop of a ton of political maneuvering in Volantis, elections, religious uprising, slave revolts, etc. This plan is screwed up by Quentyn when he decides to go to Meereen, which Doran did not anticipate he would want to do, and it's screwed up on Varys's side by Tyrion, who tricks Aegon to going to Westeros instead. - Doran did not want Quentyn to succeed. He did not want Arianne's marriage to Viserys to succeed, he didn't want Quentyn's marriage to Daenerys to succeed, and he doesn't want Arianne to have a successful meeting with Aegon. He wants to have made offers of alliances to every Targaryan that look credible, and he wants it to look like the Targaryans shot them all down or screwed them all up. That way, when the Targaryans inevitably fight each other again (which he is also working toward), or when the Targaryans fight the Lannisters, he can say he has been offended by all of them and refuse to participate in the war. I favor the third of the three, but I think there are credible takes in all three camps.
  10. It's big purpose in the story is to call into question what "side" Bloodraven and Coldhands are on, and thus what "side" Bran is being recruited for, and ultimately frustrate the assumption that Bran being recruited to do whatever he's going to do is necessarily a good thing. It's also part of a larger theme of showing that humanity is not that great and capable of a lot of horror, and so if you see people like you fighting a monster, you shouldn't necessarily assume the monsters are the bad guys. ASOIAF is a lot like StarCraft. Most of the times you sympathize with the Terrans, but there are times you sympathize with the Zerg, or find yourself sympathizing with them without realizing it.
  11. Yeah - the trick is when you try to go from one to the other. Like when you try to apply Stark and Arryn justice to a Lannister (Cat/Lysa v. Tyrion), or Targaryan justice to a Stark (Aerys v. Rickard/Brandon), or Dornish justice to a Lannister (Oberyn v. Tywin). There's no agreed-upon, set way to do it that actually works - no agreed-upon, legitimate courts - so everybody goes around making it up as they go along and ends up starting wars.
  12. Legally the Westerosi legal system's biggest, huge flaw is there is no good way to bring legal charges against a Lord Paramount or his family. It's even worse than actual medieval law (much worse). When you're dealing with misbehavior by Lords Paramount, you pretty much have to fly over on a dragon - or ride over on a horse if you're not that fancy - and depose them by force.
  13. I think this piece of analysis sums it up pretty nicely:
  14. I don't think Tywin was justified at all, and I don't think the power of his own house was enough of a reason to do what he did. His job, if we presume he is acting as a feudal lord despite his father still being alive, is to protect his people. That doesn't just mean Lannisters, it means everybody who swears fealty to the Lannisters, and everybody who swears fealty to them, and so on. He's the father figure for the West, not just his own kids. That's the whole reason for him to be in charge at all. If he goes around murdering his own people en masse - if he refuses to accept the surrender of a castle when its traitorous lord is dead - if he refuses to negotiate or mete out resolutions to disputes - if the only terms he offers are extirpation - what's the point of any of it? This is a dude - the father of the queen, the former Hand of the King - who sends out Gregor Clegane to rape, burn and pillage the homes of his daughter's subjects - his own subjects - because of a personal feud with another lord's family. This is a guy who ordered the sack of the capital of his own country. Despite the attraction of the directness of his methods, and his effectiveness in accomplishing what he wants to accomplish, he is a terribly destructive monster who constantly picks his own interests over his duty or over basic human decency. The biggest threat to anybody living under the rule of Tywin Lannister is Tywin Lannister. Seems like a persuasive argument to put somebody who is not him in charge of things.
  15. The plan is definitely messed up. One thing we see Doran do a lot is stare at the children at the Water Gardens and ruminate on how all the children playing in the water look the same regardless of their family or social status - except he notes the conflicts between children with different skin colors. If we take this as character development, we can consider that maybe Doran isn't family-centric like the Lannisters, but ethnocentric. Maybe he has decided not to privilege his own children over the other children of his own race of people. Maybe he sees his responsibilities as broader than just to the Martells. The Dornish Rhoynar are his children. To Oberyn at least, direct biological children don't come with the same sort of protective responsibility - Oberyn's kids are all enlisted in the cause, and even conceived, it seems, as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves, as they seem to be placed in strategically targeted locations (as "snakes in the grass," or sand, that will lie low and then strike). Maybe Doran sees his own children the same way Oberyn did. They were, after all, very close and seem to have come up with their plans together, despite giving the world the impression that they are completely different. So the actual Martell children are okay sacrifices for the larger family of the Dornish Rhoynar children, with the goal being to have the Lannisters, Tyrells, Stony Dornish, Stormlanders, Targaryans and (f)Aergaryans all kill each other but not bring the fight to Dorne. It's like a racialist The Grapes of Wrath, where, for the Joads, it's okay, even good, for Tom Joad to die for the cause, but the starving man in the flood nurses from Rose of Sharon as if he were her own child. It's a different idea of family. Maybe. Although it also probably won't work. Just a hunch.