cgrav

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  1. I was trying to obtain clarification on the OP, because it was unclear if s/he was saying that Benjen was like the NK or if s/he thought the NK was like a leadership position that Benjen somehow took. I don't think either are true.
  2. Binding presumes a binder. Who would constrain Rhaegar if he told a Septon that Elia was no longer able to discharge the various customs and duties of the a royal wife? Her inability to have more children may well have been enough, if a reason was needed. Would a Septon even need to be involved if a royal could simply command a Maester to declare the annulment on paper? For the heir apparent, maybe even political considerations were enough, as when Joffrey's betrothal was annulled after Ned's treason-ish and the North's subsequent uprising. If there's one thing we glean from the books, it's that the "rules" of medieval culture only apply when convenient to those who have the power to enforce or ignore them.
  3. Right, I don't disagree, but meant to challenge the original post to see what exactly what s/he meant by Night King. If the original NK was a position held by a specific Other, it would mean that Benjen somehow now commanded the Others despite being really new to the walking death thing. I think it's part of the mythology and symbolism, and possibly foreshadowing of Jon's death/resurrection. Beyond being a technically true statement, it's meant to tell us something about the nature of the Others in contrast to R'Llhor or the Dragons. Magic has persisted in the Wall and beyond it, despite dying the South. Whatever magical force has a grudge against humanity, it's a very old grudge. We definitely know what life and death are somewhat flexible terms, especially up north, so I do think it's fair to question if the Others are immortal or experience time differently.
  4. Do Others age? "Cold preserves". The show's portrayal is likely different from the books, but in the absence of direct evidence I think it's reasonable to assume that there is some sort of Central authority that the Others are acting to support. Could be a humanoid ice thing, or a magical force of will, but something is giving them their priorities. As for Benjen being such a thing... seem unlikely. He didn't disappear until after Waymar Royce and company went missing. That means if Benjen is a powerful Other, he attained the position very recently and that would beg thorough explanation.
  5. @Jon Ice-Eyes The icy Dayne and fiery Stark symbolism makes sense when you consider the season cycles they represent (among the many meanings we can construe). It's tricky because so many symbols represent processes rather than things/ideas. Dawn, Starfall, and The Sword of the Morning don't just represent the idea of light and the summer season, but the actual change from winter to summer. That is, the winter solstice and symbolic rebirth of the sun. Dawn is not the day, and the solstice is not the summer. It's still mostly dark at dawn and very cold on the winter solstice. The winter solstice is also the sun's southernmost point on the horizon, while the summer solstice is the northernmost. The Daynes thus are the symbolic gatekeepers of summer. And that makes perfect sense when we consider the physical resemblance between Daynes and Targs, their possible shared heritage, and the fact that the Sword of the Morning was a stalwart guard of solar/summer figures Rhaegar and Jon. In this role we should expect the Daynes to be cold, because they symbolically slay the night/winter at its darkest and coldest. And the Stark/Ice counterpart has fire because the Summer is slain at its hottest. Fittingly, Ice is a stand-in for the aspect of Lightbringer that steals life and warmth with its darkness. And to bring in book action... if my recent thoughts on the ToJ events are true, then Dayne was indeed acting to secure the ascent of Rhaegar. The death of the Sword of the Morning by Ned, then, shows us the breaking, or at least changing, of the seasons. The symbol of winter's arrival slew the herald of summer, preventing the change of seasons. No coincidence that Rhaegar's ascension plot was hatched in the year of the false spring.
  6. I think that's exactly why it's so easy to speculate. Suicide isn't particularly common in the story, and many characters endure far worse losses without the thought even crossing their mind. We aren't told of her being melancholy at any other mention, for what it's worth, and that would have been a very easy way reinforce the truth of the suicide. Her brother and household servant were at ToJ, which strongly implicated the whole of House Dayne in the attempt to secretly continue the Targaryen line, a position that practically guaranteed her death or severe punishment. They didn't just fight for the Targs, they conspired with Robert's arch nemesis and against the Iron Throne. Remember that Ned was in the south ending the war, not just trying to find Lyanna. He offered the holdout KG chances to kneel for Robert or flee, and I'd say it's entirely possible Ned asked Ashara to pledge fealty on behalf of her otherwise treasonous house. I have an inkling that one of Ned's "lies" was covering the circumstances of Ashara's death in order to hide Rhaegar's shadow dynasty. Either he let her flee, let her commit suicide, or executed her himself. The result in any case was to close the door on any questions about Rhaegar's conspiracy, which would have eventually led to the discovery of the secret Targaryen heir.
  7. The non RLJ theories are unconvincing. They rely almost entirely on logistical possibility and are not backed by sensible or consistent literary evidence. Compared to the Targaryens and Starks, the Daynes have very little thematic significance within the story itself. They may be a tip of the iceberg of other important world building stuf, but they are only peripheral to the present action. In other words, they don't matter enough to be part of our main character's mysterious parentage. GRRM hasn't made us care much about the Daynes, save for Dawn, and it's way too late to bring that stuff in. We don't even have a family tree for the Daynes beyond a the most recent generations, while pretty much every other house of note (even Frey) is fleshed out with such background. What's the point of the mystery if half the readers need to be reminded of who Ashara Dayne was? What's the point if Jon is just some bastard? Being non-Targ also contradicts the mountain of textual implications, particularly Jon's "kissed by fire" and "dragon at winterfell" themes. There's a reason Jon doesn't belong in the crypts, and it quite simply that he is not a Stark. He is a character essentially of Fire and must pass through Ice (death) in order to attain his full identity. And from a symbolism point of view, the purpose of the Daynes is to be dead. They were the carriers of Dawn, and their death heralds the Long Night. Their castle name, Starfall, is a direct reference to real-life Venus descending the sky immediately before dawn. Hence the introduction of the Darkstar, showing the evenstar aspect of Venus only after the Starfall Daynes have basically disappeared (unclear what Edric's role may be). While there's a lot of fun lore that could implicate Dayne genetics in Jon's (and all Targaryens') heritage, I don't see any affirmative reason to believe that Jon is anyone but Rhaegar's and Lyanna's.
  8. I suspect she died/vanished because the Daynes were part of Rhaegar's plan to depose Aerys. When Ned showed up with Dawn, she knew that the cause was lost and her house was implicated in the treason. Robert would probably not act kindly towards a house that tried to help propagate the Targaryen line.
  9. Strong Belwas actually has a lot of moon symbolism. Read the chapter where Drogon comes into the fighting pit, it's got a ton of Lightbringer stuff. Recall that Strong Belwas has a big, round belly with lots of scars, visually resembling the moon. The first thing that happens is a deception: the poisoned locusts (sweet/sour or sweet/hot have been discussed as metaphors for deception) The next is Barsena being gored by the boar and screaming loudly, echoing Nissa Nissa's cry. Her wound is from the thigh to the groin, highlighting the moon/maiden blood symbolism. Belwas says Barsena's screame is causing his head and belly to hurt, and shortly after he starts retching. That's the metaphorical sickness and explosion of the moon. At the same time, Drogon is descending into the pit, which is itself is a symbol of Lightbringer penetrating the moon. Dany then commandeers Drogon out of the pit, just as AA pulled the hot sword out of NN after stabbing her. Of course his symbolism isn't exclusively lunar, because moon symbolism overlaps with NN and Weirwood symbolism. The weirwood represents the moment of lunar transformation/destruction, being white and wreathed in red leaves, so it makes perfect sense for moony Belwas to also carry some tree-ish symbols. This scene is also a wonderful example of the recursive symbolism in the books. One event begets a further generation of the same. The moon is destroyed by a flying object, and then the moon itself becomes a bunch of flying objects that wreak havoc on the planet, and then the people on the planet turn the even into legend and symbolically reenact it, and eventually the longest recursion cycle comes back around and causes another disaster, etc. What we see in the fighting pit is a series of LB reenactments, each one pushing the metaphor further along. The same concept shows up in Lord of the Rings, Njal's Saga, and other Norse-based myth (plus plenty of other cultures' myths I'm sure): the same events keep happening because of some paradigm or ultimate problem that must be overcome. In LotR, it's the existence of Sauron and the Ring. In Njal's, it's the generational cycle of blood fueding. In the Norse myths, it's the conflict between giants and gods, which ends in Ragnarok. And Ice and Fire... well that's what we're trying to figure out in these discussions.
  10. yeah, it's all a matter of which exceptions to the rule are more acceptable. By the rules strictly (and still ignoring the likely Targs), only Stannis is the heir, and if he dies there's nobody else that people know of. I think there really are not any more highborns with the Baratheon name. So we have to trace the line back up the Baratheon line to find a cousin or nephew, but there aren't any remaining on the Baratheon side, so you have to go to the Targaryen side, and that brings us right back to Dany, Jon, and Aegon. And prior to Feast, Maester Aemon (abdication of inheritance notwithstanding), as he was the last known living male Targaryen. And if nobody believes Jon or Aegon, and they deny Dany, then it would be some descendant of Daeron or Aerion. Targ royalty goes all the way back, so you can play this game endlessly, really.
  11. Well I think the premise of the topic is who is the rightful heir according strictly to the rules of succession. Without a clear successor it's a hierarchy of exceptions, so it really is pretty unclear. Is bastardy a more allowable exception than femininity? Dorne obviously allows female succession, but the rest of Westeros may consider a male bastard above a female trueborn. I almost picked Edric Storm, actually, but went with Gendry solely because of age. You're right that acknowledgment may be a factor, seeing as no living people know who Gendry is. And if bastardy is a total no go, then I'd say the succession needs to move backwards to Stannis. GRRM was clever enough to kill most of Robert's family, leaving no nephews or cousins to succeed.
  12. I really don't see Myrcella being assented to readily, if at all. The unacceptability of a female succeeding to the IT was/is a big part of Arianne Martell's plot: they would engineer a conflict by declaring for a Myrcella, which they assumed would be rebuffed by the rest of Westeros. Obviously we don't know that would actually play out unless Tommen dies before her, but the difference is given cultural significance, so I very much doubt that very many houses would line up behind Myrcella without being "convinced". So the answer is Gendry. By right anyway, which is pretty much an abstract hypothetical at this point.
  13. This is pretty much the epitome of a circumstantial argument - your argument is held together only by the assumption of its own correctness. You haven't shown evidence that actually points to your conclusion, rather just a bunch of things that require your conclusion to make any sense together. The fact that something goes unstated does not mean we get to invent explanations for why. You're making a massive and very specific assumption without any affirmative evidence. The amnesia contention is just absurd because opens too big of a door when it comes to who knows what and when. This is on the level of Bloodraven or Bran secretly being every consequential character. It is also completely senseless for GRRM to give us the straightforward fact and then obfuscate it with inconsistent explanations and symbols. What is the point of this dramatic tension if the truth was stated openly at the outset? I feel it's pretty clear why they had to keep it secret: Rhaegar was married and Lyanna was betrothed. This is Tawdry Affair 101. Even without the political angles, it shouldn't be surprising that two committed people are trying to hide their affair. And how does secrecy make any sense for a hostage? The whole point of taking a hostage is that everyone knows! The long and short of this is that you are filling the story's gaps with your assumptions and asking the rest of us to disprove them. You need stronger textual evidence. As I've said many times, if a theory relies entirely on logistical possibility and lack of specific contradiction, it's probably wrong. You could replace "Rhaegar" with "alien spacecraft" and your argument would be exactly as strong.
  14. But where are the negative thoughts? You contend that Ned believes Rhaegar abducted and raped Lyanna to death, but the worst of his thoughts are that Rhaegar wasn't into whores, and that the guy guarding Lyanna was the finest knight he'd ever seen. Where's the negativity? He doesn't have to express strong negativity, but you're telling us that it's there without being able to show us. Is Ned's hate for Rhaegar manifest in some action or other thought of his? You're not making an affirmative argument here, only showing factual and logistical gray areas. A point doesn't stand on mere possibility. I think you're applying an excessive standard of historicity on these events, which is inappropriate for literature. In literature we are supposed to read into the details and search for thematic consistency, whil history requires eschewing the use of themes to guide factual interpretation. In other words, things like the roses in Lyanna's death scene matter. We don't get to dismiss such details that contradict our conclusions.
  15. Other than Jaime's plot being still clearly unfinished, it's awfully silly for Bronn to save him from the fire only to drown him in the lake. It seems like when major characters die, it happens all at at once. No close calls leading up to it. Ned's might be the only big death where the reader/viewer was actually faked out right beforehand.