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  1. I think this is the first instance in which we've seen the specific term "High King" used in ASOIAF. When Aegon landed he didn't declare himself High King, he declared himself King and demoted the other Kings to lords. The Stark material doesn't mention the Starks historically using a High King title. I don't recall any mention of a High King from the Westerlands material (though obviously that was an oral report, and parts were necessarily left out). I'll be curious to see if the specific title of "High King" was ever used elsewhere in Westerosi history. Also interesting is that "King of the True Men" title used by Osgood Shett that Yandel finds "vainglorious". What specific honor was Shett claiming, and why did Yandel seem to find the title so pompous? Supposedly the title goes back 10,000 years to the Dawn Age---is "King of the True Men" just another name for King of the First Men, and Yandel finds Shett's claiming of that title presumptuous? (If so, Yandel's phrasing here is odd. According to the table of contents, the Vale section comes after the Dawn Age/Coming of the First Men material, and also after the Northern material that we know mentions the idea of some First King, yet it treats the "King of the True Men" title here as something not yet mentioned.) Or does "King of the True Men" refer to something else? To be King of the True Men might imply the existence of false men, and what historical group might be considered false men? The Others? The Children? Some ancient mythical group that hasn't yet been mentioned? Or might it be a relic of some as-yet-unmentioned schism among the First Men, with one group denoting themselves "true men"? Or that information is conveyed later in the excerpt, so Yandel felt no need to highlight it here. And again, Ran said that Lady Forlorn should not have been described as Valyrian steel. I'm pretty sure he knows what he's talking about here.
  2. Tyrek Lannister

    To foment chaos in the future. This is one major reason why I think "Littlefinger has him" makes more sense than "Varys has him", actually. Varys needs an amenable Lord of Casterly Rock to help stabilize Aegon's reign, but he already has that in Tyrion. Littlefinger, on the other hand, requires chaos to thrive. (And Tyrek was 13 years old when he vanished---and do we have precedent for Littlefinger grabbing a 13-year-old highborn heir, intending on using that heir's relative youth and fears to manipulate her?) As Jaime pointed out, "Tyrek had served King Robert as a squire, side by side with Lancel. Knowledge could be more valuable than gold, more deadly than a dagger." Tyrek might very well have seen something he shouldn't have. It's possible that Tyrek was convinced (either pre or post-kidnapping, if in fact he was grabbed) that he was in danger from his own family members because he "knew too much", which would make him amenable to some anti-Lannister plans. Moreover, his youth and his vulnerability (as Tyrek's father was long since dead, he didn't really have any strong figure he could rely on to protect him from the older Lannisters' potential future wrath) would make him a prime target for manipulation. (It's also possible he was angry with the other Lannisters for being married off to a baby---I doubt the "Wet Nurse" nickname filled him with glee.) And when he vanished, Tyrek was way down the line of succession, which means grabbing him in order to successfully seize and hold the Rock would have been a chancy prospect at best. That could indicate that his claim wasn't the primary motivation for his disappearance, or it could indicate that putting Tyrek in control of the Rock wasn't necessarily the end goal. When he vanished, Tyrek was (potentially) in a position to cause chaos within House Lannister on a number of fronts: he could be manipulated into making a play for the Rock once Tywin inevitably died, and he could potentially be used to bring to light any number of dirty Lannister secrets (Robert's murder, the incest, Cersei and Lancel, etc.), depending on what he knew. What's important to note is that It doesn't necessarily matter if Tyrek succeeds in anything here. Logically, you don't grab the guy a dozen spots down in the succession if you truly need him to succeed to the title (as Varys would, were he the culprit), you grab him because you want to ensure that no matter what happens, the transition of power in House Lannister doesn't go smoothly. If Tyrek managed to take the Rock, Littlefinger would benefit. But if Tyrek failed to take the Rock, then Littlefinger could use the chaos of the situation to manipulate the other Lannisters to whatever personal benefit he desired. No matter what happens, Littlefinger stands to benefit. If Tyrek knew some of the Lannisters' secrets, Littlefinger could use his knowledge and/or testimony to throw the Lannister power base into chaos, allowing Littlefinger to sidle in and manipulate that chaos to his benefit. It doesn't necessarily matter if Tyrek's claims are believed. All that matters, in the end, is that Tyrek be used as a tool to ensure that Lannister unity and the Lannister power base are disrupted and chaos is achieved.
  3. Serwyn of the Mirror Shield has been mentioned in every book thus far (save for AFFC), and as the only (named) dragonslayer in ASOIAF, I think his story contains a number of hints relevant to the future of the dragons and of House Targaryen. As other threads have pointed out, it's impossible to "date" Serwyn's story because it contains clear post-Conquest elements (Serwyn as a Kingsguard, a princess with the Targ-ish name of Daeryssa) right alongside clearly pre-Conquest elements (saving that princess from savage giants, being lauded as a hero for killing what was, post-Conquest, a symbol of royal authority). And we know the story can't be 100% accurate because a person who tried to copy it (Ser Byron Swann) during the Dance was roasted for his trouble. The combination of pre-and-post-Conquest elements, coupled with the discussion that immediately follows Tyrion's recitation of Serwyn's story---that is, his analysis of clues showing that parts of Ser Byron Swann's dragonslaying attempt have been altered---leads me to conclude that readers are being shown that the "current" story wasn't passed directly down from the Age of Heroes, but has been actively (or passively) altered over the centuries, particularly post-Conquest. On the one hand, I think we as readers have to look at clues elsewhere in the text to figure out what part (if any) of Serwyn's dragonslaying technique is accurate (just as Tyrion looked at the Byron Swann situation and decided one element, the dragon being targeted, could not be accurate); and on the other hand, I think we have to look at the "whole" story as presented by GRRM to see what literary hints we can take from it for the future of our various "dragons" (literal and Targaryen). The first time we get the "full" story of Serwyn's dragonslaying is via Tyrion in ADWD: The story of Serwyn and Urrax is reenacted here: because the "dragon" (Dany) is distracted by what she sees (Barristan and Strong Belwas) in the "mirror" (the brass platter), she's blindsided when the "dragonslayer" (the Sorrowful Man with the manticore) attacks. In Serwyn's story, the end effect of the dragon/reflection/mirrored shield combination is that the dragonslayer essentially bears a shield that "reflects" the dragon he slays. Who would bear a shield that "reflects" the Targaryen sigil? A Blackfyre. And look at what Dany sees in her "mirror": a eunuch and an old man---perhaps representing Varys the eunuch and Illyrio "I am an old man, grown weary of this world and its treacheries" Mopatis, whom many readers believe to be championing House Blackfyre? The Perseus reference I mentioned above would also track with that idea, given the number of parallels between Perseus and Daemon Blackfyre (both of their mothers were "mysteriously" impregnated while imprisoned by the King, both ended up crossing the sea, both were associated with a "winged horse" (Pegasus/Bittersteel)). Interestingly, the "dragonslayer" in Dany's particular encounter is not the person actually bearing the "mirror shield" (the brass merchant appears quite innocent in all of this). And Dany is distracted from the true threat because she perceives a threat reflected in that brass platter (Barristan/Belwas), a threat which did not actually exist---the whole situation which reminds me quite a lot of Quaithe's "sun's son, mummer's dragon, trust none of them" warning. In other words, Dany here mistakenly thinks the people coming to help her actually mean her harm, and because of that, she's unprepared for the source of the true attack. The same thing could end up happening with the "threats" Quaithe warns her of: they don't actually mean her harm, but her belief otherwise distracts her from the source of the true threat she'll encounter. For that matter, this could indicate Dany's future with the (presumably) Blackfyre continent: she'll be so concerned with the "threat" they pose that she'll end up blindsided by the "true" source of danger to her. The Sorrowful Man is a Qartheen, an ethnicity known for their extremely pale skin, and sent by the warlocks, a group heavily associated with the color blue. A hint that Dany will be so concerned with the threat posed by Aegon and his backers that she'll end up blindsided by the Others? Moreover, the Sorrowful Man tries to kill Dany with poison (well, venom). Could this be a literary hint that Marwyn's accusations were at least partially correct, and the Targaryens' dragons were in fact poisoned? (It is interesting how many times people try to specifically poison Dany, rather than trying to shoot/stab/strangle her.) This could be a literary hint that the dragons will be poisoned, or that Dany will die of poison . . . though it should be taken into account that these poisoning attempts never succeed, which could indicate the opposite. Moreover, a "manticore" did successfully murder the last Targaryen princess---Ser Amory Lorch, whose sigil was a manticore, successfully murdered Dany's niece Rhaenys. But he did it with "half a hundred" stabbings instead of poison (and instead of the "soft silk pillow" that Tywin claimed to want him to use), which could be relevant, foreshadowing-wise. The "dragonslayer" hands Dany a box, and inside it is "a glittering green scarab carved from onyx and emerald". Onyx is black, emerald is green---green and black are (as other threads have pointed out) likely to denote the factions in the upcoming Dance. A hint that the Dance will destroy Dany, or that the second Dance will kill off the dragons just as the first Dance did? Or perhaps a hint that the "true" threat to Dany is associated with both black and green---not just the Dance, but also the black and green associated contingent in the North? Bloodraven is a greenseer and a member of the Night's Watch, and his skin is known for its extreme whiteness, rather like a Qartheen. Futhermore, the manticore itself has "a malign black face, almost human"---so it has a face associated with another entity. Rather like a Faceless Man, perhaps? Perhaps it's also relevant what body part the Sorrowful Man targets: Dany's hand. A hint that destroying Dany means targeting her hand---or rather, her Hand? Does anybody else see any hints for the future, or the past, in the story of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield?
  4. [TWoW Spoilers] Barristan

    Oooh, shiny. Given that Maekar ended up eventually killing Baelor Breakspear, this comparison might not presage positive future relations between Barristan and Victarion.
  5. Just to add onto my point upthread about the possibility that the hill clans have been conspiring with the wildlings, potentially via the "wet nurse" sent by Old Flint: In addition to the fact that the infamous woman who lied about herself at the Wall was also a Flint---Dany Flint---it's striking how many times House Flint in particular has been juxtaposed with the wildlings. The Lord Commander who once tried to make himself King-Beyond-The-Wall was Rodrik Flint. Old Nan associates Bran's climbing skills with his Flint heritage, and climbing is of course a skill heavily associated with the wildlings. When Tormund's people cross the Wall, The Horn of Joramun symbolized a union between the wildlings and Winterfell, and the fact that it's a Flint (not one of the First Flints, granted, but Jon says that supposedly all Flints derive in some way from the First Flints, so there could be a connection nevertheless) who brings up the idea of the Horn of Joramun in Winterfell could be meant to evoke the wildlings. On the march to Winterfell, one of Morgan Liddle's mules goes missing, he claims the Flints stole it. The only man who comes over the wall of Deepwood Motte and speaks to Asha is a Flint. House Flint has been surreptitiously associated with sneaking over walls, theft, and the Horn of Joramun---all things associated primarily with the wildlings.
  6. What does Blackfish have against Jon Snow?

    Red Ronnet Connington isn't married, though, so bringing his bastard son to Griffin's Roost couldn't offend his nonexistent wife, nor pose a threat to his nonexistent trueborn children. Humphrey Hewett's bastard daughter, Falia Flowers, wasn't raised like a member of the Hewett family---she was treated as a servant, so her position in Oakenshield wasn't analogous to Jon's in Winterfell. And Walder Frey has such a freakishly large number of trueborn children that adding some bastards into the mix wasn't radically altering the political atmosphere of the Twins (and his many wives keep dying off---it's hard to offend them with some bastards' presences if they die after only a few years, and before they died they'd have had to deal with previous Lady Freys' trueborn children posing threats to their own trueborn children, so Walder Frey's bastards couldn't really pose the same "issues" in the Twins that Jon posed in Winterfell). Jon was raised right alongside the trueborn Starks and was shown a huge amount of favor by Ned. Bastards don't usually get treated like "equal" members of the family, they're kept out of the family castle while trueborn heirs live (Ramsay Snow) or fostered out to bannermen (Laurence Snow). The only bastards I think we've been told were treated like trueborn children were the Great Bastards of Aegon the Unworthy, and Aegon got that nickname for a reason (and one (two, counting Bittersteel) of them did in fact end up posing a political risk to his trueborn brother). The Blackfish presumably knows the same history that Catelyn did (she expressly brought up the Blackfyre pretenders to Robb), so it wouldn't be at all odd for him to intuitively understand why Catelyn disliked Jon---paranoia, fear of what he could do, not what he necessarily would do.
  7. This is kind of a random point, but: do dragons . . . excrete? In the dungeons where Viserion and Rhaegal were chained, Quentyn and Dany mentioned seeing charred objects, bones, etc., but never mentioned any of the heaping piles of dragon dung you'd expect to find when two large animals are trapped in an enclosed space. Here at her new Dragonstone, Dany sees charred objects, scorched bones, but never any dragon "leavings", as it were. Given the fact that Viserion and Rhaegal were stuck for months in an enclosed space (and I seriously doubt men were going in with shovels there), there should logically have been droppings there, and it's not like GRRM exactly shies away from this particular topic. But if dragons don't . . . ahem . . . excrete anything, that would fit with the general idea expressed about fire: it consumes everything in its path. Animal droppings serve as fertilizer, but dragons only destroy, they don't fertilize. Drogon is on the Dothraki Sea, but his den is a place of fiery destruction, a place where the grasses char and die. Dany spends most of her final chapter walking on the Dothraki Sea, her hair burned off. The Dothraki, the rulers of the Dothraki Sea, view "walkers" as the lowest of the low. And a khal cutting his braid is a sign of defeat, not victory. What does it mean among the Dothraki for a khal to shave his head entirely? Nothing positive, I suspect---a hairless khal would be incapable of putting bells in his hair. Ouch. The "Jorah" in Dany's head is telling her that, as a Targaryen (blood of the dragon), she can be a queen in Westeros, but she cannot plant trees. This is absolutely terrible for her. She's telling herself that she can somehow be a queen in Westeros, as she could not be in Meereen . . . because she's the blood of the dragon and dragons plant no trees? Planting trees didn't work in Meereen, but planting no trees will somehow work to make her a queen in Westeros? I know others think she's given up the idea of Queenship altogether, but "Jorah" (who is really just Dany herself) tells her she is a Queen---just in Westeros, not Meereen. I don't think she's given up the idea of being a queen. She seems to think that she failed in Meereen, but it's really Meereen's fault, and all the things the prevented her success in Meereen won't prevent her success in Westeros, which obviously is untrue. Dragons don't plant trees. Neither do wolves, or lions, or trout, or roosters, or any other animal. Humans, however, do. One of the striking things about Dany's "epiphanies" in her final chapter is how incredibly ignorant she seems to be of what "the blood of the dragon" actually wanted to do in the past. Aegon the Conqueror didn't just rain down fire and blood on everyone. Harrenhal seems to be the only major castle in Westeros that was hit by dragonfire and the Field of Fire is famous because it was the exception, not the rule. The Targs' entire basis for making themselves kings wasn't that their so-called superior blood made kingship their only option, it was the idea that they were going to unite the seven kingdoms, to bring peace and prosperity. Had none of them ever "planted trees", the Targs would never have lasted as long as they did. In Meereen, we saw Dany go way too far to one extreme: all compromise, no fighting. In the Dothraki Sea, she seems to decide to go to the other extreme: dragons plant no trees, fire and blood, an extreme that seems just as doomed to failure.
  8. That's a very interesting idea. One of the themes of "The Last of the Giants" appears to be the idea of killing the thing that's greater than you on the assumption that once it's gone, you can pretend to be great because there's nothing left to highlight your inadequacies. Killing all the giants doesn't make the humans any less "small", it just lets them pretend that they're really "tall" in a way that they simply can't do while the giants still live. The Lannisters, for example, harp on and on about being lions---but Leaf points out that the great lions of the western hills are all dead, and though she never specifies which "great lions" she means, Jaime wonders in his fever dream in ASOS if there's a cave lion waiting in the dark beneath Casterly Rock, which heavily implies that cave lions once lived in the Westerlands; I'd say chances are good that cave lions are the "great lions" that Leaf calls extinct. (And given that the Lannisters have a gold lion sigil at Casterly Rock, and the Reynes had a red lion sigil at Castamere . . . well, we're never told what the sigil of House Casterly was, but I'll bet it was a cave lion.) If cave lions still existed in the Westerlands, the Lannisters wouldn't be able to trumpet their magnificent sigil like they do, because lions look far less powerful with cave lions in the picture. It's only because the cave lions are all dead---possibly even hunted out by the early Lannisters---that the lion-associated Lannisters can look powerful. I think Jon does associate the Starks with the giants. Jon, throughout ADWD, is associated with wanting to save things from extinction: the giants, the tongue of the First Men, etc. He doesn't need to destroy these things to make the Starks look powerful and unique by comparison because the Starks, unlike the Boltons, are already "tall", not "small". With Dany and the Targ legacy, things are more muddled, primarily because of the Doom. The Targs were not Kings of Valyria, they were one noble family among many, and apparently not even the most powerful family. The only reason they can trumpet their superspecial uniqueness, their "blood of the dragon", is because the Doom killed off everyone else whose existence would've put the Targs' claims in proper perspective. Rather like how if the Stark kids started killing off every skinchanger they could find, it wouldn't make skinchanging a uniquely Stark power, it would just create the illusion of such. I think both Jon and Dany do have directly paralleling internal identity conflicts---with Jon, the conflict is between being a man vs being a wolf, and with Dany, it's between being a mother and being a dragon. The difference there is that Jon literally becomes a direwolf, while Dany only (eventually) rides---but does not become---a literal dragon. We've seen Dany fetishizing her all-too-human capacity for destruction as "the dragon", and she swings wildly from one extreme to another because she does not accept that both her compassion and her temper are aspects of a single human whole. She associates her temper with "the dragon", implicitly identifying her very human darker impulses as somehow "separate" from her humanity. With Jon, the issue exists on a different level, because he literally is a man and a direwolf simultaneously. He doesn't compare his actions to what a direwolf would do because his perspective doesn't permit him to project his human qualities onto "the direwolf", as he knows firsthand exactly what a literal direwolf does and feels.
  9. I doubt he'd have done anything to Wun Wun---not only are the ice cells apparently ill-equipped to handle a giant (certainly one of Wun Wun's size), but there's also Ser Patrek's idiotic Darwin Award-winning actions as the instigator there (Ser Patrick might even be viewed as guilty of breaking of guest right, depending on if guest right exists between two guests of the same host, rather than just between the host and the guests themselves). If Wun Wun had just gone apeshit for no reason, that would've been one thing, but Ser Patrek attacked first, so Wun Wun was just defending himself (and Val). Whatever plans the conspiracy was making, I think the end of ADWD indicates that the conspirators weren't necessarily operating as a well-oiled machine. We don't know whether the Pink Letter's contents were known to Marsh et al beforehand (though it's very, very possible they were clued in there), but even so, there's a pretty huge chance that the conspirators didn't realize Jon's reaction to the letter would be to gather a host of wildlings and march south. Given what they'd have known about Jon's actions thus far (he's repeatedly chosen to stay at the Wall rather than head south), his reaction to the Pink Letter quite likely shocked the conspirators greatly. I think there's an excellent chance that the conspirators had too many moving parts in play here, and the result they get in TWOW won't be the result they intended. Jon was stabbed in front of an absolute shitload of people---northmen, wildlings, Watchmen, and Queen's Men. But the only reason there were so many people pouring out of the surrounding buildings was because Ser Patrek failed to kill Wun Wun quietly, and the commotion drew a crowd. It's not really clear if Ser Patrek was ordered to try and grab Val, or if he decided on his own to do it (to get Val's respect); if the latter, then Selyse or Bowen Marsh probably weren't calculating on his actions when one or both of them decided to assassinate Jon. For that matter, the stabbing itself might have been the part that wasn't planned out ahead of time. Remember, Ghost didn't bite Marsh earlier in the day. It's possible that Marsh and his cronies went to the Shieldhall expecting to hear Jon either 1) finalize the plans for Hardhome (a suicide mission, by their calculations), or 2) cancel the plans for Hardhome entirely and have everyone stay at the Wall. Jon pulling out Option #3 could have thrown them for a loop, and the whole "stab him!" idea, which seems utterly idiotic, could have seemed so poorly planned because it literally had been thought up on the fly.
  10. Perhaps it's meant as a hint that the Green Grace was behind the assassination attempt on Dany.
  11. I think boars can also be seen as heralding regime change, because every time a boar shows up, it either foreshadows the ascension of a new ruler or it literally causes the ascension of a new ruler. The boar in AGOT heralded the death of the Baratheon dynasty and ascension of Joffrey, a 100% Lannister King. The boar in Daznak's Pit heralded the ascension of King Hizdahr as a sole ruler (and began a string of events that led to the deposition of the Meereenese monarchy and the ascension of Barristan and his council). Cersei sought out boar for dinner when she began her "Let's kill Margaery" plan---but the kitchens had no boar, so she made do with eating a sow; Cersei's lack of boar = Cersei's failure to knock the Tyrells out of power. At the Harvest Festival at Winterfell, Bran specifically sent boar to Whoresbane and Crowfood Umber, two men who now seem to be working to destroy the Bolton regime. In ACOK, Roose Bolton, who later tries to usurp the Starks, returns to Harrenhal after hunting wolves and specifically asks for a dinner of boar. Jon sees a roasting boar in the wildling camp right before he's taken to meet Mance for the first time (thus heralding Mance's future loss of power), and Sansa is served boar at the Queen of Thorns/Margaery dinner where it appears the Tyrells fully decide to murder Joffrey and make Tommen the King. Right before Missandei comes to tell him about the Shavepate's invitation to conspire against King Hizdahr, Barristan remembers the taste of the boar he ate the day he was first knighted. Every time boar shows up, it seems to herald someone losing (and someone else gaining) political power.
  12. Yes, Qhorin never says Mance wasn't fathered by a Watchman, but "taken as a child when some raiders were put to the sword" implies that Mance was the child of those raiders---it kind of stretches the story to try and meld the two versions--- "oh by the way, the kid taken when those raiders were killed was also known to be the son of a Watchman". I mean, it's entirely possible that someone just told Selyse a false story. but I wonder where she could have heard this version? Has she been in contact with the Shadow Tower (the place where you'd logically find the most Watchmen with intimate knowledge of Mance's history)? Could that tie into a potential alliance between Selyse and the oh-so-proper Ser Denys Mallister? Or are wires crossed here, and someone in Selyse's entourage mistook tales of Mance for tales of Craster? Yarwyk intrigues me in this chapter. There are multiple hints that he's been interacting with the wildlings---he seems to have firsthand knowledge of Tormund's member-centric rants, and he's been dealing with the wildlings when it comes to refitting the ruined castles. He points out that most of them don't know how to build, but admits that some of them aren't completely incompetent, and doesn't seem quite so . . . blindly fearful? of them as he was in the past. Yeah, there's the whole "pig army" concern, but we don't know whether he genuinely fears this, whether some of the wildlings told him stories about skinchangers to freak him out, whether he was joking, etc. I mean, the wildlings crossed the Wall and could have destroyed the Watch in a single night---and didn't. Yarwyck is having issues with rebuilding the castles, but Jon makes it clear in this chapter that if those castles aren't fixed up properly, the wildlings will be the ones to bear the consequences---another leader might have threatened to blame Yarwyck himself for such a failure, to put the consequences on him. But if these castles aren't fixed up, that's not going to affect Yarwyck himself in the slightest, only the wildlings who will have to live in crappy conditions, so it's hard for me to suss out Yarwyck's exact thoughts/fears/motivations. I can't tell if Yarwyk is in on the assassination plot, is in the dark about the assassination plot, or was in on the plot at the beginning but decided against it at the last moment (we've seen him do this in the past----he was supposedly going to back Slynt for LC in ASOS, but changed his mind about supporting Slynt's candidacy at the last second). Interesting that Ghost supposedly tried to bite Mully, but only "sniffed at [Marsh and Yarwyck], his tail upraised and bristling". Why doesn't he try to take a bite out of them (or at least Marsh himself)? Perhaps it's because, at this point, there doesn't seem to be a Marsh-centric plan for Jon to be stabbed---it seems like the Marsh conspiracy expects Jon to die during his ranging. So what's going on with Mully? The answer might lie in the Pink Letter: Mully is the person who announces the letter's arrival, and Mully is the one who really, really wants Jon to read the letter right this second. If Mel had something to do with the Pink Letter (and never told Selyse), then perhaps Mully is working primarily with Mel, not Marsh or Selyse? (And as a side note: Mully claims Ghost tried to bite him in Jon's absence, but . . . Mully was stationed outside of the armory door. So when was Ghost, who was inside the room, have a chance to attack Mully, who was outside the (presumably) closed door?) I love how Borroq has "taken up residence in one of the ancient tombs beside the castle lichyard." Yeah, cause that's not creepy in the slightest. Borroq's attitude toward Jon is a bit of a cypher: obviously he realizes Jon is also a skinchanger, and he should logically realize that skinchangers are treated differently south of the Wall. I'm very curious how he views Jon: LC of the Watch, a Stark bastard, an apparently quite powerful untutored skinchanger. Is he actually opposed to Jon, or is he only reacting negatively to Jon in the Shieldhall because he's kind of insulted that Ghost seems to want to attack his boar, and assumes Ghost wants to do that because Jon subconsciously wants to attack Borroq himself? Or is it that he just doesn't realize Jon is untutored in skinchanging, and thinks Jon is lying about being unable to control Ghost if Ghost attacks the boar? Jon mentioned that Borroq's boar wasn't with him in the Shieldhall. So where was it? I've seen speculation that Melisandre left the Shieldhall to go get Ghost. But I wonder: perhaps she went to go kill Ghost, and Borroq's boar will actually end up saving Ghost's life? Wouldn't that be a kicker. Interesting tidbit: Jon mentions seeing men pouring into the yard: not just Queen's men and wildlings, but northmen as well. I was assuming that Old Flint and the Norrey had left the Wall, but is this a hint that they're still present? What other Northmen could Jon mean?
  13. Well, we don't really know what "being a Loraq" actually means in Meereen. :) To transpose it to the Westerosi context (given that we have very little actual knowledge about how the hierarchy of the Meereenese nobility works), imagine that "Loraq" is, perhaps, the Meereenese equivalent of "Lannister": wealthiest (but not necessarily most powerful) of the families, very proud, an ancient line who were once kings, owners of a presumably magnificent (but not necessarily objectively the most magnificent) home (Loraq Pyramid/Casterly Rock), etc., etc. Imagine the Green Grace as perhaps the equivalent of a lesser Lannister, or the member of a family with marital ties to the Lannisters, or maybe even the equivalent of a member of House Swyft/Marbrand/Crakehall/some other Lannister bannerman. From her perspective, it would be "obvious" that only a Loraq should be the King of Meereen, and she might even genuinely believe that only a Loraq could be the King. That doesn't mean the Meereenese equivalents of House Stark, House Arryn, House Martell, etc. would agree with her, nor that all of the other "lesser" noble Houses would either. Of course I'm not arguing that Loraq necessarily is the equivalent of House Lannister, I'm just throwing out an example of the type of paradigm that might be playing out in Meereen. We don't really know what the Galare relationship is to Loraq, but we don't know anything about the relationships between Meereenese noble families other than apparently Loraq and Kandaq loathe each other. Barristan flat-out says that there are others in Meereen who felt that they would have been better choices for King than Hizdahr, so clearly not everyone agrees with the Green Grace on the obviousness of the Loraq pick. And actually, there's been a lot of discussion about the really quite excellent possibility that the Green Grace is the Harpy. Now if that's true . . . then what exactly was the purpose of Hizdahr visiting all those pyramids prior to marrying Dany? Twenty-six days into Dany's "give me ninety days of peace" challenge, Hizdahr had already visited eleven pyramids, ostensibly as part of his quest to convince the Sons to lay down their knives. But if Hizdahr already had the Harpy's support from the get-go, and it seems likely that he did, then obviously his visits to the other pyramids weren't really geared around getting the Sons to lay down their knives. So what was he doing during these visits? I'd say there's a pretty excellent chance he was on the Meereenese equivalent of a campaign tour, trying to get the other noble families to support him as their (future) king. And he wouldn't have had to do that if the other noble families already wanted Hizdahr as their king, or if they really were assuming that only a Loraq could have the support/prestige to be their king.
  14. I never noticed it before . . . but it's interesting just how much of "Hizdahr's" court session in Barristan's first chapter was actually conducted by Reznak. Hizdahr is seated on the throne, but it's Reznak who is actually dealing with the petitioners and the Yunkish, not Hizdahr---Hizdahr is basically just sitting there quietly up until the head is thrown on the floor (and even then, Reznak is the one broaching issues of state (the other hostages, for example), not Hizdahr). Is Reznak dead? Fled? In a dungeon somewhere?
  15. I think option 3 makes the most sense. Bowen's entire schtick is that the wildlings can't be trusted, they'll attack the Watch, they're murderous savages. He probably assumed that, without a figure like Stannis to "cow" them into submission, there would inevitably be fights between the wildlings and the Watch and the whole thing would descend into chaos. When everybody just queued up and passed through peacefully, Marsh was probably at a loss for what to do---he'd probably been mentally practicing his "I told you so" speech all afternoon. It's interesting to compare this wildling crossing to the willding crossing Stannis orchestrated earlier in ADWD. There, Val and Melisandre were standing on ground level with Stannis, while here, both Val and Melisandre are up in towers. There, a false King-Beyond-The-Wall and (presumably) a false Horn of Joramun were both burned, and the people were forced to come near the apparently blisteringly hot fire pit, and burn bits of weirwood, before being allowed through the gate. Here, the wildlings (surrounded by snow, not fire), give up their treasures---not to the fire where they'd be pointlessly destroyed, but to the stewards, to pay for food to keep them all alive (the former sacrifice only feeds Mel's vanity and pride, and the latter sacrifice is meant to literally "feed" the wildlings themselves). There, Jon ordered out two hundred men, almost half the Castle Black garrison, and had them keep their hoods up to hide the presence of so many "greybeards and green boys" in the ranks, because Jon wanted the wildlings to fear the Watch. Here, Jon surrounds himself with only eight men, explicitly passing up all the "greybeards and green boys", and when Tormund tells Jon he wants the wildlings to see the Watch should not be feared, Ghost causes Tormund's garron to almost throw him; the idea of fear is there, but there is a trust and a comraderie between Jon and Tormund that was never present between Stannis and any of the wildlings. There, wildlings balked at the gate and ran from the Wall back to the Haunted Forest (according to Jon, almost one in ten). Here, Jon explicitly mentions that nobody, not even the child hostages, balked at the gate. There, one of the wildlings used a piece of weirwood as a weapon and was set upon by the Queen's Men. Here, one wildling stabbed another, and Toregg---a wildling---was the one to separate the two and send both back to the camp to start again (neither died, while people were literally forced to go around the weapon-wielder's body during Stannis's little show). There, everyone knelt before Stannis, while here, nobody kneels before Jon---but the wildlings give their own oaths to Jon, and seem far more likely to obey him than they ever were to truly follow Stannis. Jon very explicitly brought only two men (one of them a wildling) to his initial meeting with Tormund, yet now he surrounds himself with able-bodied bodyguards. Why does he feel the need for an entourage now, when he has all of Castle Black at his back, yet felt no need for one when he was literally surrounded by Tormund's people in Tormund's camp, the same people now heading through the Gate? Jon's made a mental connection between Mel's "daggers in the dark" prophecy and Bowen Marsh, but if Bowen Marsh wants to attack Jon, the only logical time would be before the wildlngs fully cross the Wall. I wonder if Jon's entourage isn't meant to discourage wildling attacks, but to discourage Watchmen's attacks? Jon makes sure that Bowen himself is very busy here, and has Ulmer of the Kingswood holding the Wall (and we saw earlier that Ulmer 1) has actually been appointed to speak for (at least some of) "the men", and 2) seems on board with Jon's pro-wildling plans). If Bowen Marsh was going to make a move against Jon and have any logical hope of ultimate success, he had to move in this chapter, before the wildlings (at least fully) crossed.