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About bemused

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  • Gender Female
  • Location Canada
  • Interests Art, dance , film ,books, archaeology , history, politics. hockey, figure skating, dogs ..and on and on.

bemused's Activity

  1. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    This pretty much says it .  GRRM would never confirm or deny any questions in regard to plot before he has a chance to do it himself ... and he is King of the Cagey Answer. If it's a very direct plot question, you'll get something like "Keep reading ..", or "You think he's dead, do you?" If it's a more involved question, or one that could lead to a plot revelation, he'll honestly address the elements he can answer without giving anything away, and keep schtum about the rest.
    Moving on... I agree with much of what Lord Varys says, but have some differences. I don't agree that it wouldn't be important to Hizdahr and the GG to have an heir from Dany. Hizdahr goes out of his way to point out his own ability to give Dany heirs.. when she has not so much as raised the question.. When the GG and Reznak are trying to convince Dany to be examined and eat the "special" cake, in the matter of the tokar, etc., it's clear that the getting of legitimate heirs is a concern for them. When the time came that Dany was no longer necessary, the hope would be that Dany's followers (in particular the Unsullied) would feel loyalty to her child, and thus be kept under control. I think they're really hoping to play a mid-to-long term game.
    However, they are in a fluid situation and have to not only pay attention to their initial internal plans, but react to developments with the Yunkaii, the Volantenes, and so on. Skahaz says the pit changed all, and we can see that it did, not only with Dany's disappearance, but the death of Yurkhaz, etc.
    Skahaz also says that when the Volantene fleet arrives, Hizdhar would throw open the gates. ... Well, by that time, Hizdahr might have, since he obviously never had real, total control of the city.. But that wouldn't have been in their original plan. I don't think we should underestimate the ambition of GG / Hizdahr, once they saw the oportunity to re-create a dynasty (possibly an eventual empire) through Dany. They have (and would still want) their natural alliances with the other slaving states, but wouldn't want to actually be "rescued" by any of them, for fear of a takeover.. They don't want Meereen to become anyone's satellite or client state. If any one state is to become predominant in Slaver's Bay in the long run, they would want it to be Meereen.
    All of Hizdahr's off-page visits to the various pyramids were not to persuade the SoH to cease operations ... nor, in my opinion, were they merely for show. I think he was probably convincing the other masters that a royal marriage was their best move and that in spite of their own noble lineage, there was no use putting themselves forward - he was the only consort Dany would accept ( and of course the GG would back him up).
    I know we're led to see Skahaz as a dreadful torturer, but I think he's probably not unusually so. We never actually see any of his interrogations. But .. we know that Barristan refuses to go along with him until he can interrogate the confectioner himself. That also happens off-page .. but since we next see him co-operating with Skahaz we can assume he must have been satisfied that there was reason to move against Hizdahr .. Would he have been convinced, if the confectioner had shown signs of being tortured to the point of saying whatever his questioner wanted to hear ? I don't think so.
    We don't know what caused the enmity between Kandaq and Loraq, or whether it's of long duration, or not. From Skahaz' opposition the the slavers, I think it's reasonable to speculate that his family was not directly involved in the slave trade.(His pyramid is modest, and the GG seems to make a class distinction between Loraq and Kandaq.) We're really given no obvious clue as to what Kandaq's enterprise was, but we might see a hint in the olive groves outside the walls of Meereen that were destroyed as Dany approached. We don't know who was the originator of that plan. The text points out that it takes about 30 yrs before new trees become really productive. This, or something like it, might be enough to generate the extreme animosity of Skahaz (especially if there was loss of life to his family in the process). Even if you owned slaves to tend your orchards, what use would that be, if the orchards were destroyed ? Rather than an asset, they would become an added liability.... But that is just a speculation.
    Skahaz is a blunt man, in general, but he's more than just blunt in his vehement hatred of Hizdahr .. This seems to me to speak of a more recent rather than long past cause for offense.
    Early on, when Xaro offers his ships, the Meereenese don't want Dany to leave, because she would leave them vulnerable at that point.
    Reznak mo Reznak gave a piteous moan. “Then it is true. Your Worship means to abandon us.”
    He wrung his hands. “The Yunkai’i will restore the Great Masters the instant you are gone, and we who have so faithfully served your cause will be put to the sword, our sweet wives and maiden daughters raped and enslaved.”
    “Not mine,” grumbled Skahaz Shavepate. “I will kill them first, with mine own hand.” He slapped his sword hilt.

    Reznak plays on Dany's sympathies.. but since he is no doubt allied with the GG, this is not a real, personal fear on his part. If the great Masters were restored, Reznak, the GG's catspaw, would be alright. It would be a real fear for Skahaz and I don't think he's exaggerating... Perhaps the exchange should be looked at in light of Tyrion's later thoughts on slavery ... there is always a choice, even if the only alternative to slavery is death. If he's being honest here, Skahaz is very unlikely to act against Dany.
    He's ambitious, but I don't think he ever thought of marrying Dany until...
    Reznak and the Green Grace had been urging Dany to take a Meereenese noble for her husband, to reconcile the city to her rule. Hizdahr zo Loraq might be worth a careful look. Sooner him than Skahaz. The Shavepate had offered to set aside his wife for her, but the notion made her shudder. Hizdahr at least knew how to smile.
    I think Skahaz' offer is one made in desperation, to thwart the GG's plan, or he would already have set aside his wife and been wooing Dany.

    Obviously he has ambitions, allying himself with Dany from the outset, but if any scenario such as the olive grove postulation is true, allying with Dany may also have been his one opportunity to save his family from impoverishment (perhaps leading to eventual enslavement) without Dany's presence.
    Unless Dany changed her mind again and decided to stay permanently, he knows that she eventually intends to leave for Westeros. He may well feel that he would be the best person to fill that power gap (and I might agree with him). He may have it in for Hizdahr personally, but impersonally, he also wants to break the power of all the great masters ("slavers all"). He has no ambition to be one of them.

    I agree that while Skahaz may be in a position to betray Barristan and Dany's forces at the upcoming battle, there is no discernable advantage to him in doing so.
    But I want to bring this back to the abortifacient issue. I don't know why so many readers want to write the idea off, when it clarifies the situation considerably. It's fairly obvious that the events at Daznak's pit and Dany's disappearance threw the proverbial spanner into the works for everyone. Dany's death would have done the same. No-one's plans were in a secure position at that point.
    And there is so much in the text pointing to Dany's fertility.. the abundance of fertility symbolism in her dinners and meetings with the GG, Hizdahr and Daario and  whether she partakes or not.. the desire for heirs on the part of Hizdahr and the GG.. the likelihood that she does, in fact, miscarry later.. and the great similarity between her symptoms and actions and those of Belwas.
    Belwas doesn't throw up right away. Even after he finishes the locusts, there is at least one other bout in the pit (the youth), at least two beast fights, a mock battle and Tyrion and Penny's folly before the program gets around to Barsena and the boar, when Belwas begins to vomit..
    When Dany eats the green berries, George first has Dany equate them with spice and gives them a bitter aftertaste, such as would be masked by honey ... 
    Dany squinted at them suspiciously, then plucked one from a branch and nibbled at it. Its flesh was tart and chewy, with a bitter aftertaste that seemed familiar to her.“In the khalasar, they used berries like these to flavor roasts,” she decided. Saying it aloud made her more certain of it.
    Her belly rumbled, and Dany found herself picking berries with both hands and tossing them into her mouth.
    An hour later, her stomach began to cramp so badly that she could not go on. She spent the rest
    of that day retching up green slime.
    We follow her through a violent purging of her system into exhausted sleep, and when she wakes she realizes she's bleeding...
     Am I dying? Then she saw the pale crescent moon, floating high above the grass, and it came to her that this was no more than her moon blood.  ... ...  She was bleeding, but it was only woman’s blood. The moon is still a crescent, though. How can that be? She tried to remember the last time she had bled. The last full moon? The one before? The one before that? No, it cannot have been so long as that.
    Her period is out of sync with her regular cycle, and she seems to have missed one or two.
    The fact that GRRM has her wonder if she is dying before he goes on to "only a woman's blood" and then on to strongly imply that she has aborted, I think is meant to hint at the intent of her poisoner, as well as her status.
    ETA: I think there is a parallel to be made between Meereen and the situation at Winterfell, but GRRM places our sympathies a little differently.
    The Bolton's have taken WF, the northmen want him out - and though they've allied with Stannis, they don't really want Stannis to have the rule of the castle, or the right to dispose it where he will.
  2. bemused added a post in a topic Who is the hooded man in Winterfell   

     Glover is with Manderly forces..waiting. Waiting to be led into WF via the crypts by Benjen, joining forces with the other northmen.
  3. bemused added a post in a topic Who is the hooded man in Winterfell   

    Benjen. Theon does recognise him, but believes he is talking to a ghost.
  4. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    I'm just telling you this because I was part of the conversation on these boards.. Ran was present when GRRM was asked if he had read Feldmans essay on Meereen.. Ran's initial congratulatory tweet contained typos that made it  ambiguous as to whether GRRM was referring to character development  alone ,or whether he was including plot points. Feldman himself wondered about it on twitter.
    When (in the discussion thread, here) I pointed out the ambiguities in Ran's tweet , he came onto the thread to say that ,yes, his understanding was that GRRM referred to character development, rather than commenting on plot.
    Really, I highly doubt that GRRM would give away his own plot at this stage of the game, in order to compliment a blogger..  So, while Feldman deserves praise for identifying GRRm's dilemma and Dany's character development .. the matters of who poisoned the locusts, whether the peace was real or desirable, and Skahaz' motivations are very far from settled, or receiving confirmation.
  5. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    No. It does not confirm it. GRRM was talking about the author's perception of  why the Meereenese Knot was difficult for him to write and what he wanted to convey that Dany was going through psychologically. It absolutely did not refer to the plot ..and Ran later confirmed that,too.
  6. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    I don't think we can assume that anyone knew that Volantis was entering the fray for certain before the wedding and the locusts. The good ship "Stinky Steward" took a short cut, and the election in Volantis hadn't been completed when it left. The first we hear mentioned of the Volantene fleet from inside Meereen is when Skahaz mentions it as a new development when he meets Barristan in the stables.
    I think we have to take a hint from Skahaz - "The pit changed everything."
    I'm too tired to say more tonight.. but I welcome the prospect of the Volantine fleet changing sides.. thanks to Benerro ?
  7. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    We've seen no evidence of any of Dany's food being pre-tasted.. and she would have no reason to think her new husband, who provided the food ,might want to kill her, having just married her. If a taster was used, then I think the locusts would have been tasted as well. Everything including water and wine would have been tasted.
    It really wasn't such a bad plan...Dany might have made a show of trying something so solicitously suggested by Hizdhar in public .. If she hadn't been put off by the sight of Belwas sweating so profusely. It was going to be a long hot afternoon; she wouldn't want to be sweating all over her floppy ears.
    It certainly fits with what I think we know (or can deduce) about his character.
    He's extremely rich and powerful (rich from the proceeds of slavery), a persuasive speaker, well travelled with contacts (allies?) in many other states - so: used to moving in high diplomatic circles. He's fascinated (and probably sexually aroused) by bloody death. He's not a warrior himself, but loves to watch.. He's ambitious enough to want to be king, but even more than that, the first king in 1000 yrs. or more.. In fact, his dreams are of Empire..He's inspired by his tapestries that show the armies of Old Ghis defeating and subjugating Valyria. I think that speaks directly to his ambitions (and intentions for Dany).
    Skahaz has no power to disallow Dany's marriage.. and I don't know what you think constitutes a plot hole.. (Sometimes, when that charge is made, it means that people simply haven't identified the plot correctly.) Why anyone would risk poisoning the Queen or her King to get at Belwas, who was just one guy in Dany's army.. defies logic, IMO. Sure, we saw Arya concentrating on the little fish when it was within her power to kill Tywin.. but she was about 9 yrs. old. Pahl is a whole house with adults at the helm, who have much more reason to blame Dany than Belwas for their state of affairs.
    Of course Skahaz is willing to kill to reach his goals.. so are they all.. Much depends on what their goals are as to whether we see it as justified or not. How can we see Skahaz as any more bloodthirsty than the other Meereenese ? I'd say he's maybe less so than Hizdhar, who exhibits fascination and even lust for bloodshed and death. At least with Skahaz ,it's a means to an end (information, breaking the power of the slaving houses, etc.). Do we know that he's more of a torturer, or any worse than the norm (not only in Essos, but Westeros as well) ? No. (We see "sharp" questioning used in many places, even by Qhorin and the NW interrogating wildlings.)
    Barristan insisted on questioning the confectioner himself and alone, before he'd agree to move against Hizdhar. He must have been satisfied that the information was not just something that had been tortured out of the man, because a chapter or two later, we see Barristan and Skahaz moving against Hizdhar together..
  8. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    The GG and Hizdhar obviously know about Dany and Daario. The little cup bearers are no doubt being regularly questioned by the GG, who is related to some of them...and I think that Dany giving birth to a child of Daario's would be a huge problem to GG and H.. It could undermine their own legitimacy in the eyes of their people.. If Dany gave birth to an obviously full term baby 6 - 7 months after the wedding, anyone would put 2 and 2 together.
    Until they manage to fully take over, neither the GG or Hizdhar are in a position to make any demands of Dany.. After Dany refuses the examination and the "special" cake .. and after Daario kisses her in open court (probably his attempt to stop the marriage).. the GG comes close to making a demand and is rebuffed by Dany.
    Throughout the events of that day at the fighting pit, Dany is very aware that she .. and she and Hizdhar as a couple.. are on show to the populace of Meereen. She wears her floppy ears, rides in a litter, rather than on her silver. ..She refuses to try the locusts when she sees how they are making Belwas sweat. ..No one would expect her to do more than nibble at any of the refreshments, anyway.(She has been seen to be a picky eater at all formal dinners.) If it looked like she was going to eat too many, there are many ways Hizdhar could have intervened..(e.g. spilling the bowl by "accident" .. eating one himself and declaring them to be "off", and no-one should eat any more.. etc., etc.)
    I believe it would be too risky for them to attempt to kill Dany at this juncture (and an heir is everything). Not all the great families want Hizdhar as king. Many think one of their own would have been a better choice. How would Loraq be able to retain the throne at present .. without Dany, or without an heir and time to consolidate Loraq's power over the other families? (My bet is that we will find strong blood ties between Hizdhar's family and the GG's)
    And again, if they truly wanted to kill her, she's known to eat figs and dates all the time. Why not poison what is the "choicest dish" for Dany ? ( to quote the Tattered Prince )
  9. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    Protagoras.. yes, I think it's reasonable to believe they would have been lethal - if she gobbled up a lot of them (certainly if she ate them all, like Belwas). However, I don't think luck had anything to do with it.
    Since the locusts would be a new delicacy to Dany (Hizdahr has to explain how they're prepared) there was no guarantee she would eat any of them, though it might be expected she would eat a few, just to be polite to her new hubby...This would be a very haphazard attempt at assassination. If the object really was to kill her, why not poison the dates and figs, instead? Dany is known to like them.
    This is what makes me favour the abortifacient theory .. coupled with the earlier attempt to get Dany to eat the "special cake" (just for women)..after submitting to examination.. and with her later very abortion-like symptoms after eating the green berries.
    If Dany was pregnant, and had eaten a polite few, she would have miscarried later. If she was not pregnant, she and anyone else who had eaten had eaten a polite few, would have suffered stomach cramps and diarrhea, later... It would all have seemed like a case of normal food poisoning ( e.g., everyone ate the shrimp cocktail..  )
    Lord Fauntleroy.. I'm sure the GG and Hizdhar don't have everything they want ..yet. but they're probably pretty confident that they'll get it, because they've managed to manipulate Dany up to this point.
    But what do they want ? They want the dragons dead. They want an heir from Dany (and maybe a spare).. (Then she can "sadly" die from some illness or accident). They want to become the new "Old Ghis". They want the return of slavery.
  10. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    That's interesting... but I don't think he'd have an easy time of getting to Hizdhar's confectioner..
  11. bemused added a post in a topic What is Wyman Manderly Playing At?   

    Right.. Although we saw at the harvest feast that Manderly was one of those proposing to marry Lady Hornwood / provide her house with an heir .. he would no doubt have abided by Robb's ruling in the matter, and will follow the ruling of whoever the new Stark Lord will be.
    And so I think there is some truth in his claim that he seized the Hornwood lands in order to prevent Ramsay taking / keeping them. I have no doubt he would drop his claim with no problem , once Lord Stark (whoever that may eventually be) requests it.
    If Bran had been in a position to make a ruling at the feast, Larence Snow would have been named heir, and I'm betting that will be the eventual outcome.
    After all the discussion and research that has gone on here in regard to Robb's "will", I'm quite convinced that Manderly knows it's terms, and is moving to support it (though Rickon may really be seen to be second in line to Jon).
  12. bemused added a post in a topic What was Skahaz thinking?   

    I don't think it's brilliant at all. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
    If the locusts were intended to kill.. Skahaz couldn't hold power for long without Dany.
    But I don't believe they were meant to kill , but only to  make sure Dany would abort in case she was pregnant by Daario. The GG and Hizdhar would not want their new dynasty to be founded on a bastard heir.
  13. bemused added a post in a topic The Mystery of the Wind Witch   

    The Braavosi Wind Witch was sailing in three days time from when Ned told the girls. Sansa told Cersei, but Sansa may not have remembered more than the name.. (Cersei could have found that out anyway, in the interim).
    This won't be George's mistake.. it's clear the ship is using a false name and is there as a trap.
  14. bemused added a post in a topic Lady Hornwood   

    Yes, I suppose it could be a separate watch tower, or something.. what I would rule out is that Ser Rodrik found her at the Dreadfort. The strength of the castle is stressed by Jon in ADWD , and it wouldn't have been left without a garrison, surely.
  15. bemused added a post in a topic Lady Hornwood   

    I hadn't thought much about it before either.. but on checking.. 
    Ser Rodrik’s men had caught him on Hornwood land doing something horrible (Bran wasn’t quite sure what, but it seemed to be something you did without your clothes) and shot him down with arrows as he tried to ride away. They came too late for poor Lady Hornwood, though. After their wedding, the Bastard had locked her in a tower and neglected to feed her. Bran had heard men saying that when Ser Rodrik had smashed down the door he found her with her mouth all bloody and her fingers chewed off.
    ..and a few lines later... meantime we have Manderly knights and Dreadfort men killing one another in Hornwood forests, and I lack the strength to stop them.”
    ..I think this implies that they were indeed at the Hornwood castle, and that Rodrik ousted them, possibly at the very time Ramsay was off on his "hunt".. and followed on after him. But if he didn't have the men to stop the Manderly/Bolton fighting, afterwards,  he probably didn't have the men to secure the Hornwood castle either , which is how Manderly could take possession, for "altruistic" reasons..