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    Art, dance , film ,books, archaeology , history, politics. hockey, figure skating, dogs ..and on and on.

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  1. Nymeria is poised to return

    I'd love to be participating, but I have to move at the end of Sept.,and I'm madly looking for a place to live (in the worst rental market in the bloody country). But I love these , and I like to think of the little shield-biter as Jon.
  2. @Ibbison from Ibben That's a quote from Shadrich in Brienne I, AFFC. And, of course, we will not see him participate in the tourney in the vale... So if he's Howland, he's posing as a knight.. but that wouldn't mean he hasn't seen battle.(We know he must have.) He's riding a "rangy chestnut courser" .. a horse commonly used in battle, but also hunting. (A tall horse is something of an equalizer for a small man.) Yes, as I said, this is the sort of thing that has always kept me from making a certain ID... and still does to a degree.. but l'm more inclined to it now, than previously. It's the potential involvement of Bloodraven that changes things. Dontos (of Duskendale) and Sansa do all their planning in the godswood.. and though the heart tree is an oak, when Ned takes his daughters there on an overnight vigil ... When dawn broke over the city, the dark red blooms of dragon's breath surrounded the girls where they lay. "I dreamed of Bran," Sansa had whispered to him. "I saw him smiling." ... AGoT, Eddard V I'm suspicious of that dragon's breath (at least as a possible significator of BR's presence in spite of the lack of a weirwood)... A black cat could also go unnoticed in a dark godswood, as well as roosting birds.. Littlefinger's part in the proceedings may not have been so easily discernable (depending on where he planned with Dontos, and later on the sea, in the dark).. so, searching to pick up her traces might be necessary (Or, LF's part may actually have been foreseen or quickly deduced with daylight, seabirds, the old hound at the fingers, etc.) However, we do know, if Creighton and Illifer are Varys' agents, where they could have met to discuss plans very privately, and how they could have been observed. - In AGoT, "Balerion" possibly led Arya to where Varys and Illyrio could be overheard, and because of Arya, we know there's an outside route from there to/from one of the city gates. (As Skahaz tells Barristan elsewhwere "Cats go everywhere. No one ever looks at them." .. I get the feeling that in this game, cat and mouse are on the same team.) I don't really think that Howland is the stay-at-home type. Besides the Isle of Faces, Harrenhal, RR &ToJ, I think there are some signs that he was perhaps personally liaising with Robb when Robb and Greywind (probably in contravention of what would be normal security measures) went out scouting alone, repeatedly, during Robb's progress through Hag's Mire. (I say this because by the time Robb gives instructions to Meage and Galbart, and discusses his homeward battle strategy, he's already certain of the role Howland and GWW will play.) In the years since the TOJ , Howland might have made many trips outside GWW. Did he never return to the Green Men , or to Harrenhal, where he would be known to Shella Whent? His lands border on Dustin lands to the north, would he never have had anything to discuss with Barbrey Dustin in 14+ years? We can't know, but many things are possible. **And Barbrey Dustin has just made me realize another possible reference the TOJ... Shadrich rides a "rangy chestnut courser" which is a similar description to Willam Dustin's "great red stallion". A chestnut is a red horse... It's not likely the same horse, but perhaps bred from the same stock ? ..or maybe, it's just a subtle evocation of Ned and his companions. Howland must have learned to ride (if not well enough to be a jouster) - because in order to turn up with Ned at the TOJ, he obviously responded when Ned called his banners, and fought with him through RR. Thinking about why he would take the Duskendale road... (apart from a possible meeting with Shella Whent) : Anyone who put Sansa and Dontos together in their mind would begin looking there.. just as Brienne did. He could be scouting to see who was on the hunt, while perhaps always knowing he'd need to make his way to the Vale. He doesn't seem to follow Brienne away from the inn, and probably stays with Hibald until Duskendale, watching for what Creigh and Illy might do next, and seeing who else might turn up on that road. The more I look, the more I think Howland can't be ruled out. I don't know that I'd use the word "tool" for any of them.. for most, I think it would be more a case of inspiring them to do what they would naturally want to do ,if they had access to the necessary information. I think there's very little about Shadrich, Creighton or Illifer that should be taken a face value. I do think Bronze Yohn will probably become another ally to the Mouse, Morgarth and Byron ..It depends how "reachable" he open to suggestion by BR.. His first men blood seems favourable, but we don't know if he keeps a godswood, etc. (Even though Morgarth is a devotee of the seven.. he lives in a cave, and has spent a good deal of time in meditation... I wonder if there are any weirwood roots in the caves on the QI?... and the rusted dragon head washing up on his shore suggests that he still may have red dragon sympathies) With the connections to the Blackfyre rebellions creeping in .. I even begin to have hope for Lyn Corbray.. especially in light of the TWoW Alayne chapter. (sorry, spoilers went wacky- too tired to fix.)
  3. Oh goody..some replies.. I'll have to come back later for some answers , though.. rushing now Ni-i-ice. I must have just dashed past Duskendale a gazillion times without even thinking about it. And yes, in the Hedge Knight we find.. "It would not be fitting for us to ride against those we are sworn to protect," answered Ser Donnel, red of hair and beard. ...(one of the KG) But I'm not suggesting that Jojen and Meera must have red hair (I know some people do). Too soon to say, IMO.. and I'm not even declaring that Shadrich must be Howland.. although he could be, and I lean more toward the idea than I did before writing this thread (I was always open to it). I think his hair could be dyed, like "Alayne", like "Aegon", like John the Fiddler, like Daario, and so on - as a disguise or a sign of who he represents (like wearing a lady's favour), or both. The Darklyns were also in Bloodraven's forces in The Mystery Knight... From Maidenpool had come Lord Mooton, from Raventree Lord Blackwood, from Duskendale Lord Darklyn. The royal demenses about King's Landing sent forth Hayfords, Rosbys, Stokeworths, Masseys, and the king's own sworn swords, led by three knights of the Kingsguard and stiffened by three hundred Raven's Teeth with tall white weirwood bows. Mad Danelle Lothston herself rode forth in strength from her haunted towers at Harrenhal, clad in black armor that fit her like an iron glove, her long red hair streaming. Barristan wonders if he did the right thing by bringing Aerys out of Duskendale.. and maybe Shadrich is a Darke or a Darkwood, etc., Hmmm.. I don't see how that helps with his motivation, much.. But think of the more recent action at Duskendale, part and parcel of Roose and Tywin's trap for Robb and his forces.. Then we can see that for BR and anyone allied with him, that might be yet another catalyst. Save a Stark/Tully/Whent and thwart a new Blackfyre attempt at the same time. I really have to come back later...
  4. Nymeria is poised to return

    @The Fattest Leech ... Predictably, I like the Val / Nymeria parallel very much. It's not always obvious which character is meant to be paralleled .. I suppose sometimes a name alone can be an identifier, but I think more often it's not. And sometimes the historic example can work in different ways for more than one character... So I say Val, yes .. but Dany, maybe in some ways, and maybe to a lesser degree. (This feeling might come as a result of my own long term predictions.) Instead of feeling the continent may eventually be divided into two at the Neck, I think there may be a third area encompassing Dorne.. and I'm leaning toward not just Jon and Dany - separate but equal - but Jon / Dany / Tyrion ....??? (suggesting the 3 heads,and various Essosi triarchies - both obvious and hidden. I also like that you stressed The Importance of Second Act Introductions (in ASoS).. and I'd like to point out that Daario was introduced to Dany, while Val was introduced to Jon. I think he's much more important than many assume - more than an object of lust, and more than an opportunity for Dany to learn where to place her priorities. ... Sure, he is both, but that's not the whole story. Hidden because it's a digression.. I completely agree on greyscale and.. @Lord Wraith ..your mention of historic John Snow is very cool. ... OK, we have greyscale occurring naturally(?) in Sothoryos... but Garin's curse (apparently) also had a complicating magical component, so finding a purely medical solution may not be possible ...Sounds like a job for someone good at thinking outside the box and having magic on his/her side... Who could that be? ... Or, will it take more than one character in co-operation ?
  5. @Isobel Harper and @sweetsunray ...I tried to flag both of you in the OP, but I guess it only works in the discussion section. Anyway, I don't think any of this is incompatible with your own topics, and I laughed out loud when I connected Sam's mouse avoiding being squished. (I adore that chapter. It's just brimming with information about other characters and situations) To anyone.. are you out there? can I get a nibble ? I hadn't given a lot of thought to the Rosby ward,but on another thread, @Lord Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Hors put forth Olyvar Frey as the ward and linked to this... I think Olyvar and Shella could be natural allies. And with Varys and the Blackfyre cause looming, I think Creighton and Illifer will surface again, and Tantalizing question arise around Lyn Corbray, whose house seems to have opposed the Blackfyres.
  6. Val is Jon’s true Queen. Part trois.

    I'll jump in. Since the publication of the world book, we know more about the Moonsingers, and there are some similarities, but I still think the two developed independently.. or if there's a connection, it's very far back in time. Maybe there were some bands of Jogos Nhai among the First men.. but by now the differences would be very great.. having adopted CotF gods, living in a very different climate, intermarrying with other First Men peoples.. Even in Braavos, they would now surely have differences from the original Jogos Nhai women. .. My bet is they're not a source so much as given as a parallel, as George does so often with his characters.(Look how often events in Dunk and Egg provide parallels for ASoIaF) Here are a few quotes from TWoIaF... Vayria's Children ... Seizing control of the fleet but realizing there was no place nearby to hide from the Freehold, the slaves instead elected to seek out some land far from Valyria and its subjects, and founded their own city in hiding. Legend says that the moonsingers prophesied that the fleet must travel far north to a forlorn corner of Essos—a place of mudflats and brackish water and fogs. There, the slaves first laid the foundation of their city. The Free Cities: Braavos... Braavosi histories claim that a group of slave women from the distant lands of the Jogos Nhai prophesied where they would find shelter: in a distant lagoon behind a wall of pine-clad hills and sea stones, where the frequent fogs would help to hide the refugees from the eyes of dragonriders passing overhead. And so it proved. These women were priestesses, called moonsingers, and to this day the Temple of the Moonsingers is the greatest in Braavos. The Bones and Beyond : The Plains of the Jogos Nhai... Unlike the Dothraki, whose khals lead huge khalasars across the grasslands, the Jogos Nhai travel in small bands, closely connected by blood. Each band is commanded by a jhat, or war chief, and a moonsinger, who combines the roles of priestess, healer, and judge. The jhat leads in war and battle and raid, whilst other matters are ruled by the band's moonsinger. Dothraki khals make endless war on one another once beyond the sacred precincts of Vaes Dothrak, their holy city, but the gods of the Jogos Nhai forbid them to shed the blood of their own people (young men do ride out to steal goats, dogs, and zorses from other bands, whilst their sisters go forth to abduct husbands, but these are rituals hallowed by the gods of the plains, during which no blood may be shed). ... .... The enmity between the nomads and the warrior women of the Bones runs deep and bitter to this very day, and over the centuries a dozen jhattars have led armies up the Steel Road. Thus far all these assaults have broken against the walls of Kayakayanaya, yet the moonsingers still sing of the glorious day to come when the Jogos Nhai shall prevail and spill over the mountains to claim the fertile lands beyond. I think the jhat/moonsinger leadership team is similar to what we'll find with the wildlings, and it's very similar to the old Norse culture - which George always cited as his model for the religion of the old gods (I assume that means as practiced by men). But I also think there will be important twists and differences from both the Norse and the JN.. like the Jogos Nhai women stealing husbands. @Lord Wraith... I don't know if what you've read is more recent, and so covers some of this stuff, but back when I read people saying Val was a moonsinger (well before TWoIaF) they were basing it purely on her speech seeming more educated. Thinking the wildlings were too crude, barbaric, or what have you to produce a Val ... they claimed Val must have come from Braavos......(burned my britches)
  7. Jon and Rhaegar comparison- in songs, in blood, in tragedy

    Oh I didn't mean to imply that you screwed up.. I was just saying "me too". I think Julia H was mentioning some of that stuff on a thread you and I were both active on, recently (maybe you were thinking of her)... and certainly she and I both discussed Thorne at length on the later Jon Re-read threads here .. It takes very little to get me started on Thorne..
  8. Jon and Rhaegar comparison- in songs, in blood, in tragedy

    It's certainly an idea I share .. but I'd say going right back to AGoT... Thorne set Jon's peers against him, dangerously ... goaded him into drawing a knife on an officer..etc. This is now an old thread, but I'd still change only a few minor details now...
  9. Jon and Rhaegar comparison- in songs, in blood, in tragedy

    I can see this, but I've always associated white, red and dark with Bloodraven, who is to my mind, influencing the dream. His presence is also shown by "ribbons of mist swirled back from their shoulders" and Rhaegar "crowned in mist and grief " From the wiki Bloodraven entry (because I don't have time to search the exact quote).. He typically wore the colors of "blood and smoke", with smoke being a dark grey that was mottled and streaked with black. Because his skin was sensitive to light, he usually went about cloaked and hooded. ... Black is dark but dark isn't always black. Cloaked and hooded figures prodded Jaime deeper into the dream. And of course, George often rolls multiple meanings into his clues. .. So I love the "armoured in snow" connection to Jon.. and also purely as a connection to winter, which works in more than one way, probably coming back around to Jon via his "Kings of Winter" heritage.. These men who were heroes to Jaime are now armoured in something Jamie equates with the north and Ned Stark.. who he remembers as being so coldly judgemental of him .. He thinks, in fact, it's Ned approaching, at first. Now he feels the same judgement from his heroes.. and they reinforce his own deep misgivings about the problematic nature of oaths, and his own failure to protect the innocent. I love the wealth of meaning in his thought after he's awakened.. The moonlight glimmered pale upon the stump where Jaime had rested his head. The moss covered it so thickly he had not noticed before, but now he saw that the wood was white. It made him think of Winterfell, and Ned Stark’s heart tree. It was not him, he thought. It was never him. But the stump was dead and so was Stark and so were all the others, Prince Rhaegar and Ser Arthur and the children. And Aerys. Aerys is most dead of all. ... and that... his head was pounding where he’d pillowed it against the stump... (something had been pounded into his head ?) It was not Ned's, never Ned's, judgement that was so cutting. That only reflects his own inner judgement of himself.. And it can simultaneously refer to the fact that Ned is not Jon's father. The seed of that knowledge has been planted, and Jaime may be set to act as protector, whether he knows it or not. (It may just seem the right thing to do.) And I think it will be Jon he will try to defend ... I have a .. theory?.. feeling?.. that the very old magical / first men bloodlines will come together to support Jon , and I can't help noticing that near the beginning of his dream, Jaime asks... “What place is this?” “Your place.” The voice echoed; it was a hundred voices, a thousand, the voices of all the Lannisters since Lann the Clever, who’d lived at the dawn of days. It will be "his place" to try to defend Rhaegar's child, and the magic will be drawing him in that direction. It's also been deeply impressed that the right thing for him to do is not just to rescue Brienne from the bear, but to set her free and give her a sword (Ned's steel). This act might ultimately ensure that he lives to answer the call .. that his flame, which goes out in his dream, will be rekindled.
  10. Terrific OP. Thanks! I haven't read all the way through, just skimmed (so far) so excuse me if this has already been mentioned... About the lemon tree in Braavos - as well cultivation by the wealthy, are we forgetting that when our story opened, they were just coming to the end of a ten year summer ? I live on the west coast of Canada - about midway in NA's temperate zone (and to boot, temperatures are often milder on the coast). Looking at the Narrow Sea map, I think Braavos would still be in planetos' temperate zone, though maybe closer to the northern edge.. (e.g., we haven't heard of Braavos' harbour being ice bound in a "normal" winter.) Lots of people in my area have citrus and even banana trees (usually ornamental) in their gardens. (In a hot summer, I've passed houses that even show a cluster of bananas.) It's very far from impossible that a young Dany could have seen a fruit bearing lemon tree in Braavos. I'm not sure it foretells bitterness for Dany in the long term though. It's for certain that the plans made for Viserys' and her future while they were in Braavos turned sour .. but her story continues.
  11. Val is Jon’s true Queen. Part trois.

    @Julia H. ...I had to rush out just as I was typing my post above.. But, yes! I love that great post of Fire Eater's. And I wanted to say that your comparison of the lot of women north and south of the wall is really excellent, and something a lot of people need to have pointed out to them, from time to time. @The Fattest Leech ... There's another example of being shown, a bit more spread out, that I love. Beginning with a bit of set up on ASoS... As he walked toward the armory, Jon chanced to look up and saw Val standing in her tower window. I’m sorry, he thought. I’m not the man to steal you out of there. ... OK, we know he is the man who will shortly steal her out of there... but it's Val in the window that I want to draw attention to. Moving on to that rich-in-so-many-ways Samwell I chapter of AFfC, when he emerges from the book vault... “Where's your longbow, Sam?” asked Grenn...<snip>... “Ulmer was expecting you at the butts.” ..<snip>.. “I forgot.” “You broke the heart of the wildling princess, Slayer,” said Pyp. Of late, Val had taken to watching them from the window of her chamber in the King’s Tower. “She was looking for you.” “She was not! Don’t say that!” ..<snip>.. “Why not?” asked Pyp. “She wants to have your children. Maybe we should call you Sam the Seducer.”... from here the narrative moves on to "The Great Lord Snow" and his duties, finishing with Grenn commenting about Jon ... “His duties don’t keep him from the yard. More days than not, he’s out there fighting someone.” That was true, Sam had to admit. We know that since before the election, Jon has spent a lot of time in the practice yard for one (good) reason or another, and Val is frequently in her window for one good reason or another ..but I doubt it's simply from boredom. (The chances are very good that she witnessed Jon's bout with Emmett.) Remembering that these are young people with an abundance of hormones, I can't help feeling (good political reasons aside) that there's an element of each hoping to glimpse the other (and hoping to be noticed by the other) developing. (He just chanced to look up , she just chanced to be there.) Since GRRM managed to work the word "seducer" into Pyp's banter, we should probably make the substitution, "Jon the seducer" .. or maybe Val is attempting to seduce Jon with her beauty (Sam tells us she's so pretty, he's reduced to stammering in her presence). I feel the electrical current of some good old mutual seduction in the air. ETA: this is OT , but I don't remember if this is the thread where I mentioned I was working on something about Ser Shadrich.. If so, it's up and it's daunting in length.. but opinions or feedback would be very welcome...
  12. Val is Jon’s true Queen. Part trois.

    @Julia H.... That a couple of great posts !
  13. Hmmm.. on consideration, I think Jeor's statement "since I became LC" is probably deliberate, and I may have a reason (or reasons) for the apparent slip. I was coming at the problem (and wrestling with the timeline) from another perspective, namely - when did Mance leave the watch, when did Benjen join the watch, and how could it be that the two had never met each other? ... resulting in the details in this thread : ('scuse, I meant that to be a link..)... leaving aside the question of Mance's suggested ID (which you may or may not like), I think the unfolding of the timeline around Mance and Benjen has to be pretty accurate, and it hinges on the ages of Jon and Robb in 288. I think GRRM has made quite an effort to obscure the timeline while leaving enough clues (if we really dig) to keep everything compatible. He's always said we'd find out what happened to BJ, who I think is about to put in an appearance in TWoW and he and Mance will meet properly. I think there are things that have carefully been kept hidden about both characters. With this is mind, having Mormont mis-speak with "since I became LC" is a small mistake for Mormont, and doesn't harm the context of his conversation with Tyrion ,or the overall context.. It doesn't alter his view of Thorne or change the ratio of knights in the NW. He was still in the Watch for at least 2 yrs. before Thorne (already on the rise?), and though Thorne might have been assigned to the Rangers, he's never been on a ranging .. so presumably, Qorgyle shared Mormont's low opinion of him, and probably put him to the same use (arms master).
  14. Of the various guesses that have been made at the identity of the Mad Mouse, I lean toward Howland Reed, but I always hold back from firm belief, because there are so many reasonable speculations about where else he might be, and what he might be doing .. and he is, after all, only one man. So I'm not setting out to prove or disprove the theory, but trying to find out as much as I can about his motivations, connections, etc., though I will take note (**) , if something particularly points in HR's direction. We'll just see what shakes out, but whoever he is and whoever he's allied with, I've always taken his intentions to be good.For me, he's one of the good guys. (I know, this is fiendishly long.) PART ONE - MUSINGS ON SHADRICH, HIS COMPANIONS .. AND HOUSE WHENT What can be said about Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen, The Mad Mouse ? Well, to borrow a familiar phrase - much and more, as it turns out - some of which has always been apparent, and some of which I've only been able to connect recently. I'm going to skip back and forth with my quotes, and - fair warning! - include references to the chapters from TWoW. So let's get the really obvious out of the way. I think for most of us, the very name "Shadrich" instantly evokes Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar, and the fiery furnace of religious mythology. Shadrach and his companions were cast into the furnace because they refused to bow down to the King's golden statue (either of a god, or of the king himself (as a god?)).. Of course, this would have been a new god to Shadrach and his stalwarts. They stand by their own "old" God. Similarly, we (mostly) accept that our Shadrich, in-story, is a follower of the old gods, evoked by the weirwood colours of his white mouse with red eyes (which suggests a connection to Bloodraven whether he's aware of it or not). There are many suggestions (which I'll come to) linking our Mad Mouse to Harrenhal and House Whent but first, I want to skip ahead to see if his companions in the Vale might be his allies (again, even unknowingly) and thus echo Meshach and Abednego. Ser Morgarth : ... Some have put forth Elder Brother as an alternate ID for Ser Morgarth, and I think this is very possible. In AFfC, Brienne VI, Bro. Narbert tells Brienne , "... The Seven have blessed our Elder Brother with healing hands. He has restored many a man to health that even the maesters could not cure, and many a woman too." According to Brienne, .. he stood straight and tall, and moved with the vigor of a man in the prime of his years. Nor did he have the gentle, kindly face she expected of a healer. His head was large and square, his eyes shrewd, his nose veined and red. Though he wore a tonsure, his scalp was as stubbly as his heavy jaw. He looks more like a man made to break bones than to heal one. (Brienne's thought) Looking at Ser Morgarth in AFfC, Alayne II, he's ... a burly fellow with a thick salt-and-pepper beard, a red nose bulbous with broken veins, and gnarled hands as large as hams. .. the nose is a good match, and considering how "stubbly" Elder Brother is, face and head, it wouldn't take long for enough hair to grow in to meet Morgarth's description. EB has been a fighter, and though Brienne doesn't describe his hands, their appearance could be quite as unexpected as the rest of him. ... But what about his possible motivation ? E.B. says, "...I fought for Prince Rhaegar, though he never knew my name. I could not tell you why, save that the lord I served served a lord who served a lord who had decided to support the dragon rather than the stag..." Of course he's aware that ... "The singers would have us believe it was all Rhaegar and Robert struggling in the stream for a woman both of them claimed to love.." .. and he will now be aware of the well known details of the sack of KL. He may even know more than we readers do, depending on who has visited him.. He could also easily have heard of the purge of Robert's bastards. Earlier in the chapter, when speaking of the "gifts" that wash ashore on the QI (like Rhaegar's rubies and the recent abundance of corpses) he says , "Sometimes we find a woman, though . . . or worse, a little child. Those are the cruelest gifts." Although he's turned his back on being a knight, that doesn't mean he can forgive the "cruelest" behaviour. We know how he feels about Quincy Cox doing nothing during the destruction at Saltpans. He tells Septon Meribald , "When you cross to Saltpans, no doubt Ser Quincy will ask you for forgiveness. I am glad that you are here to give it. I could not." (still AFfC, Brienne IV) .. I'm sure he's well placed to have heard stories of the Bloody Mummers, the kinds of things they've been doing elsewhere, and who hired them in the first place. He will have heard of Gregor's campaign of terror, and everyone knows whose man he is. Probably not coincidentally, Brienne earlier used the same word (though judging incorrectly) when musing on Sansa's situation... the girl had seen her father’s head lopped off and been forced to marry one of his killers afterward. If half the tales were true, the dwarf was the cruelest Lannister of all. ...AFfC, Brienne I Elder Brother could be motivated to try to save one child (Sansa) from Lannister cruelty, on behalf of himself and perhaps, on behalf of others. I'm putting him in the "good guys" category with Ser Shadrich, and they may know of and agree with each other's motivations. Ser Byron : ... I've been unsure about Ser Byron never having been able to find as convincing a possible ID for him. He's ... an elegant young knight whose thick blond mane cascaded down well past his shoulders. ... and we're told ... the tall one with the blond hair kissed her (Sansa's) hand before taking his leave. All we have to go on is his "thick blonde mane" and any hints given by his name.. Hmm.. He might be Shadrich's adversary. Since he's elegant, he's probably reasonably well funded.. His thick blonde "mane" easily could suggest a Lannister connection , or perhaps Targ/Blackfyre/Brightflame .. His name may also suggest those same houses, by inference. "Byron" strikes a chord with us because of Lord Byron, famous for being a great seducer, having an affair (and child) with his half sister, and being an exile (in his case, self - imposed). Augh! Wait ! ... As soon as I typed that paragraph, I realized that there could be, ... no, IS something that puts Ser Byron on the "good guys" list. (I'm just leaving the paragraph in for comparison and outside possibility). OK, here goes ... Questioning how aware or actively involved Bloodraven might be in their mission... (I mean beyond a character just believing in the old gods) ... and keeping in mind the Lord Byron assosciation, has just led to a real revelation for me. Bloodraven has Targaryen/Blackwood bloodlines - carrying the inevitable Targ. incest allusions. His own his own father was definitely a great seducer, while he, himself, was "exiled" to the Wall. This is all quite Byronesqe. ... Bloodraven is becoming one with a weirwood, blurring the line between life and death. Likewise, the weirwood at Raventree hall is "dead", but apparently still connected to the "weirnet". (The ravens still return every night). Perhaps it's just "mostly dead". According to Jaime I, ADWD, Lord Tytos Blackwood is tall and thin and something of a snappy dresser ... Lord Tytos Blackwood met him in the outer ward, mounted on a destrier as gaunt as himself. Very tall and very thin, the Lord of Raventree had a hook nose, long hair, and a ragged salt-and-pepper beard that showed more salt than pepper. In silver inlay on the breastplate of his burnished scarlet armor was a white tree bare and dead, surrounded by a flock of onyx ravens taking flight. A cloak of raven feathers fluttered from his shoulders. ... The "elegance" of his wardrobe belies the raggedness of his beard. His third son Hoster (Hos the hostage) ... could not have been any older than sixteen, yet he was even taller than his father, almost seven feet of legs and shins and elbows, a gangling, gawky boy with a cowlick. ... His apparel is not described, and he's still at the awkward stage. Lord Tytos' heir , Brynden Blackwood, is alive, was not at the RW .. "Brynden is my eldest, and my heir.".. yet he's not introduced to Jaime, although we repeatedly are shown a Lord would have his heir present, if possible, to observe important negotiations with important people. So I ask you, where is this probably tall, not-unlikely-to-be-elegant namesake of Bloodraven ? Tytos' and Hos' hair colour is not specifically mentioned, but Tytos seems to speak with some authority (and some kindness) when he says of Bracken's bastard who was killed in the war ... "Harry was a bastard, true enough, but whether Jonos sired him is a thornier question. A fair-haired boy, he was, and comely. Jonos is neither.”... Whose bastard was he, then? Perhaps the Blackwoods tend to have fair hair.. beard and hair colour don't always match, and "salt-and-pepper" just means grey or white mixed in with the original colour (not specifically dark). Now, that I think much better of Ser Byron, that may not have been a seductive or gallant parting kiss on Sansa's hand. If he is Brynden Blackwood, it may be more akin to Morna Whitemask kissing Jon's hand... an unspoken declaration that he is her man. Before I get in-depth with Shadrich, I want to say a bit about House Whent. We had some interesting discussion in a thread by @Isobel Harper recently... ...which led me to start musing more deeply on the Whent/Lothston hints I already saw surrounding Ser Shadrich. I won't go into a detailed discourse to start , but we can get into it more fully (if you like) as we go on in discussion. In brief, the Whents were knights in service to House Lothston, but helped to bring them down and succeeded them as rulers of Harrenhal. They echo the Lothston bat in their arms, but we don't yet know why theirs feature nine bats. It's quite possible , if not probable, that they carry Lothston blood in their family. Lady Shella Whent is the last of her line and is related to the Stark children through Catelyn. Cat's children are her heirs, so far as we can tell. There are a number of references to her beginning in AGoT. While she's with Yoren, Arya thinks Lady Whent might help her ... Later, she's disguised as a farmer with Sandor, when he falsely claims they serve "Old Lady Whent". Curious side note - While in Harrenhall Arya describes the Harrenhal heart tree for us... The light of the moon painted the limbs of the weirwood silvery white as she made her way toward it, but the five-pointed red leaves turned black by night. Arya stared at the face carved into its trunk. It was a terrible face, its mouth twisted, its eyes flaring and full of hate. Is that what a god looked like? Could gods be hurt, the same as people? I should pray, she thought suddenly. ...ACoK, Arya IX ... Being dreadfully hurt (tortured) can bring on madness, but we also get a taste of the other meaning of "mad" - anger and hatred ( frequently powerful motivators). The first Lothston/Whent hints that stand out to us about Ser Shadrich are his red hair and his sobriquet "The Mad Mouse", which bring to mind Mad Danelle Lothston, who we see marching with Bloodraven in The Mystery Knight. ... Sansa's auburn hair comes through Cat from her grandmother Minisa Whent. ... Later we'll see Shadrich say, in the released Alayne chapter from TWoW, "A mouse with wings would be a silly sight." ... winged mouse = fledermaus = bat. Looking back, there are quite a few places where "mouse" can be connected to Whent blood and Harrenhal, as well. The first, and most numerous occurances come through Arya, but her Whent heritage is not something on our minds at the time. These are only some of the many examples : On the road Arya had felt like a sheep, but Harrenhal turned her into a mouse. She was grey as a mouse in her scratchy wool shift, and like a mouse she kept to the crannies and crevices and dark holes of the castle, scurrying out of the way of the mighty. ... ACoK, Arya VII Arry was a fierce little boy with a sword, and I'm just a grey mouse girl with a pail.... ACoK, Arya VII Arya is a servant in Harrenhal and the Whents were in service to the Lothstons. A mouse couldn’t use a sword but I can. ... ACoK, Arya VIII She's a mouse girl that can use a sword, the Whents were sword bearing knights, and there seems no doubt the Mad Mouse can use one, too. I was a sheep, and then I was a mouse, I couldn't do anything but hide. ... ACoK Arya IX Arya was hiding her identity and Shadrich appears to be hiding his. Sansa doesn't call herself a mouse, but others do: Cersei to Sansa... “Try not to sound so like a mouse, Sansa. You’re a woman now, remember? And betrothed to my firstborn.” The queen sipped at her wine. ... ACoK, Sansa VI Lysa to Sansa... “You squeak like a mouse now, but you were bold enough in the garden, weren’t you? You were bold enough in the snow.” .. AsoS, Sansa VII A bold mouse... we'll meet another in the next book.. And later, well after we've met Ser Shadrich, Cersei will think... Catelyn Tully was a mouse, or she would have smothered this Jon Snow in his cradle. Instead, she’s left the filthy task to me. ...Cersei IV, AFFC ...This is fraught with extra meaning. Not only does it label Catelyn a mouse / Whent ... but no Whent would harm Rhaegar's child. Lord Whent appears to have been in on Rhaegar's plans to make changes from the beginning, and Oswell Whent gave his life to protect those plans (Jon) at the ToJ. **Of course, Howland Reed was prominent at both the Harrenhal Tourney and the ToJ. PART TWO - A PRELUDE TO SHADRICH I now want to look at Brienne I, AFfC where on the road from Rosby to Duskendale Brienne meets characters of varying importance that we may recognise later. There's Pod on his piebald horse, and there's the barefoot septon with his "poor fellows" - who we'll later recognise as the High Sparrow. The septon on the palfrey might also be traceable, or even the swineherd, but I'm going to cherry pick those who can possibly relate to Brienne, Sansa and Shadrich.. Very early in the chapter, "... she passed a swineherd driving pigs, and an old woman in a horse litter with an escort of mounted guards." Here are a few examples of horse litters - With her litter and her armed escort, the old woman had to be a noblewoman of at least some means. Although I've read right past her without taking notice a number of times, I'm now thinking there's a good chance she's Shella Whent, in light of many upcoming Whent/ Lothston (and Bloodraven) clues (and knowing how George likes to hide things in plain sight). This is one of only three horse litters mentioned in the whole canon - another is mentioned for Prince Doran and there's the grandiose example used by Illyrio and Tyrion. (But it's probably safe to assume that Manderly used one on his way to WF, and perhaps the wounded Myrcella on her way to the Water Gardens, though only "litter" is used for both.) I think the horse litter is supposed to stand out. .. It's also curious that though Brienne pays attention to arms, sigils and other identifiers all along her way, she notices none for the old lady or her guard, and she was close enough to notice. Of the people she encounters, we're told... She asked all of them if they had seen a highborn girl of three-and-ten years with blue eyes and auburn hair. None had. ... The old woman may be keeping a low profile by not bearing any distinguishing arms. Some last quotes and a question : Speaking of Harrenhal... That's Lady Whent's seat, and she's always been a friend o' the Watch." ... Yoren to Arya, ACoK " ... Lady Whent yielded Harrenhal for want of men to defend it. Ser Gregor burnt out the Pipers and the Brackens …" ... Kevan to Tyrion, AGoT (pushed out by Tywin.) "... Lady Whent’s died as well, I hear.." ... LF to Sansa, AffC, Alayne I In AGoT, she was among those ordered to present themselves in KL and swear fealty to Joffrey (or else). We don't see that she did. LF has only heard she's dead, and it could be a false report. .. One can see why she'd want to avoid going to KL and swearing to Tywin's grandson. She's already been disposessed by the Lannisters. And by AFfC, a number of her last remaining relations are dead or presumed dead at Lannister hands, or by their machinations. If she is the unidentified old lady, what is she doing there? She's moving toward Rosby.. the site of yet another mystery. Who is ser Gyles' ward?.. and when he refuses to let Falyse and her husband enter the castle, is it only because of their claim, or is he hiding something (or someone) else ? It's entirely speculative, but there's a chance these two mysteries may somehow connect. Now, let's move on with Brienne. Her next encounter is with Ser Creighton Longbough and Ser Illifer the Penniless.. (Ok.. this is where connections with the Dunk and Egg tales, as well as information from TWoIaF really come to the fore, strengthening the connection I feel between Shadrich and Bloodraven.) ... Here's the meeting, in spoilers to save space : Beginnng with Brienne, her very apparent descent from Dunk may now have been confirmed outright, I'm not sure.. She, like Dunk at the Ashford tourney in The Hedge Knight, makes an elm tree her shelter or "pavillion" if you like( and of course, she will later have her shield repainted, unknowingly, as a replica of Dunk's). A lot of the following sort of connected all at once for me, but I'll try to put it in some sort of order.. Creighton Longbough.. The name Longbough doesn't occur anywhere else, and gods only know what Creighton refers to could be some inside joke( or simply close to "cretin"). However, it's suggested he's a member of the nobility (if only minor) by the inclusion of a last name. "Longbough" could be a branch that extends far from the trunk of a tree. A distant cousin of a better known family, perhaps, or coming from a locale far removed from the original House. I feel he has a connection to House Fossoway, and though I at first considered the green-apple branch, because of the green field of his shield, on second thought, his connection could equally be to the red-apple Fossoways. ( Either way, Longbough is not listed among Fossoway cousins in the wiki.) In THK, the Fossoways, Steffon and Raymun, are among the first to "befriend" Dunk. They immediately comment on Dunk's size , as Longbough does on Brienne's here. Both Fossoways seem friendly, but Steffon will later turn on Dunk, while Raymun becomes the first of the green-apple Fossoways and stays friendly. (His new arms are a play on Steffon's repeated joke that Raymun is as yet unripe, a green apple , to which Raymun quips "better green than wormy". ... Steffon is boastful and arrogant, Raymun good natured and well-meaning. In ACoK, at Renly's feast at Bitterbridge, Catelyn notes that Jon (green-apple) Fossoway is "genial", while ..... Ser Tanton of the red-apple Fossoways climbed on the table and swore to slay Sandor Clegane in single combat. The vow might have been taken more solemnly if Ser Tanton had not had one foot in a gravy boat when he made it. ... AcoK, Catelyn II ... This sounds quite Creighton-ish. In TWoIaF, Targaryen Kings, Jaeherys II ... We learn that one of the Band of Nine was ... SER DERRICK FOSSOWAY, THE BAD APPLE - An exile from Westeros, and a knight with a black reputation. .. We don't know if he was of the red or green variety, but the War of the Ninepenny Kings (260 AC) was also the fifth Blackfyre Rebellion... ( Like Dunk, I feel like saying, "Oh, that again."). Odd notes: In THK, Steffon splintered Raymun's shield.. Only somewhat younger than the 60-if-he-was-a-day Illifer, Creighton is old enough to have fought alongside Maelys the Monstrous. (The "old gold" of the beard covering his cheeks and chin may be a slight evocation of the gold skulls of the Golden Company). I'll come back to Longbough in a bit, but let's look at Illifer the Penniless : ..The only possible connection I could come up with for his name, is that it's somewhat similar to Tristifer IV of the now obscure, (if not defunct) House Mudd. The gold and ermine gyronny of his shield could well hint at former greatness, if not royalty. That connection seems quite a stretch, at first.. but let's just dig a bit deeper. The vehemence of Ser Illifer's reaction to Brienne's bat shield is greater than any other reaction she encounters..(hidden again, for space) Of course we focus on the Renly accusation because that event took place within the time frame of our story, but after Brienne swears she didn't do it, Illifer just shrugs, and carries on. He spends more time and it seems to me, more hatred, on the Lothstons. Why? .. Lucas "the Pander" could hardly be thought to have done "black deeds".. unsavory, perhaps, but surely nothing to earn the outrage of a hedge knight, even if he was a pander (and I think we're entitled to doubt.) ... He says Brienne bears a liar's shield. A pander is not necessarily a liar, but a hooded man might be (including Illifer himself), by hiding his identity or his intentions. Manfryd o' the Black Hood seems a possible liar... In The Sworn Sword, Dunk serves Ser Eustace Ogrey, a blackfyre sympathiser ... Ser Eustace cradled his wine cup in both hands. "If Daemon had ridden over Gwayne Corbray . . . if Fireball had not been slain on the eve of battle . . . if Hightower and Tarbeck and Oakheart and Butterwell had lent us their full strength instead of trying to keep one foot in each camp . . . if Manfred Lothston had proved true instead of treacherous ... " ...That's treacherous to the Blackfyre cause..and he may not simply have been a turncloak, but Bloodraven's mole all along, since it's suggested Bloodraven had informants in the BF camp... In the end, years of such talk bore their fruit, and Daemon Blackfyre made his decision. Yet it was a decision he made rashly, for word soon reached King Daeron that Blackfyre meant to declare himself king within the turn of the moon. (We do not know how word came to Daeron, though Merion's unfinished The Red Dragon and the Black suggests that another of the Great Bastards, Brynden Rivers, was involved.) ... TWoIaF Targ. Kings Daeron II (Bloodraven used informants again in the second BF rebellion.) I think these two have some nerve, accusing Brienne of hiding her true colours.. Longbough may be using an invented name, neither of their shields correspond to any known houses, and Illifer carries a shield that shouts nobility, but claims no last name at all. Illifer says .. "My grandfather’s grandfather helped kill the last o’ Lothston." ... But that doesn't guarantee that the man swung a sword.. He might only have provided damning, or even false information. His involvement would take us back in time roughly 5-6 generations (remembering that Brienne is much younger) to probably the early part of Maekar's reign (221-233 AC), not long after the third BF rebellion (219 AC).. depending on at what time of life his great-great-great grandfather acted. And about that last name - when Griff meets with the Golden Company ... Ser Franklyn did the introductions. Some of the sellsword captains bore bastard names, as Flowers did: Rivers, Hill, Stone. Others claimed names that had once loomed large in the histories of the Seven Kingdoms; Griff counted two Strongs, three Peakes, a Mudd, a Mandrake, a Lothston, a pair of Coles. Not all were genuine, he knew. In the free companies, a man could call himself whatever he chose. ...ADWD, The Lost Lord Not all were genuine, but some might be.. Young John Mudd and Lorimas Mudd appear in the appendices of ADWD as sarjeants in the GC, and from TWoW, Arianne II ... The Mudds had been kings up by the Trident a thousand years ago, she knew, but there was nothing royal about this one. Nor was he particularly young, but it seemed his father had also served in the Golden Company, where he had been known as Old John Mudd. Is Old John Mudd alive? If so, where is he? Have we just met him? Brienne thinks she shouldn't fear these two, and after waking up unmolested (and not robbed), she even thinks they're "decent men". I'm not so sure. Perhaps she needs to be aware that there are more than just two sorts of hedge knights. They seem determined to accompany her even though she doesn't want them to. There's another possibly nasty sign in that they've caught trout for dinner. (Sansa also has Tully blood) and Ser Creighton pulls his trout apart with his fingers... I can't say I'm sure they fought at the Balckwater, but if they've been in KL, I'm sure they know about the "bag of dragons", yet they seem not to just be out for a reward. They may be working directly for Varys. Varys may want Sansa, not for Cersei's reasons, but his own. (Mummer's Dragon?) These two seem to have a relationship of long standing (Longbough calling his companion "Illy"). They can easily have been comrades since the War of the Ninepenny Kings. Should we pay attention to all this ? .. I think so. If BR and the old gods are connected to Shadrich, BR has been relentlessly opposed to Blackfyre ambitions from day one. PART THREE - SHADRICH AT LONG LAST ! Three hours later they came up upon another party struggling toward Duskendale; a merchant and his serving men, accompanied by yet another hedge knight. Brienne, Creighton and Illifer approach, and Brienne says she's searching for her sister. Here's the whole section in space saving mode.. “Ser Shadrich of the Shady Glen. Some call me the Mad Mouse.” He turned his shield to show her his sigil, a large white mouse with fierce red eyes, on bendy brown and blue. “The brown is for the lands I’ve roamed, the blue for the rivers that I’ve crossed. The mouse is me.” “And are you mad?” “Oh, quite. Your common mouse will run from blood and battle. The mad mouse seeks them out.” Right off the mark, there's another Blackfyre rebellion allusion. The words "shady" and "glen" are only used twice in conjunction with each other in the whole canon.. Here, Shadrich (dedicated to the old gods) is of "the Shady Glen", sounding like a specific place.. while in The Sworn Sword ... An hour upstream from the bridge, they found themselves riding on the edge of the small Osgrey forest called Wat's Wood. The greenery looked inviting from afar, and filled Dunk's head with thoughts of shady glens and chuckling brooks ... Inviting as it looks, the Osgrey forest is tinder dry - no chuckling brooks , no cool shady glens. It's ready to burst into a conflagration. This hints to the reader that BF pretensions have not been eradicated- they remain a danger - and probably that Shadrich is aware of it. “The brown is for the lands I’ve roamed, the blue for the rivers that I’ve crossed. The mouse is me.” ... ** Passing thought : If Shadrich is Howland , he must have crossed many rivers in his time (practically anytime he leaves home).. including to be where he is right now. " ... Your common mouse will run from blood and battle. The mad mouse seeks them out.” So, he's seeking battle, but with whom? Here's a possible answer... “This paste is spiced with basilisk blood. It will give cooked flesh a savory smell, but if eaten it produces violent madness, in beasts as well as men. A mouse will attack a lion after a taste of basilisk blood.” ... AFfC, Cat of the Canals (the Waif to Arya) Our mouse may be maddened enough to attack a Lion, not after a taste of basilisk blood, but after the spilling of a lot of blood, perhaps after being given a large taste of some other blood with magical properties (e.g., Stark blood). When he says he's seeking Sansa "for love", that rings more of truth, for me, than "love of gold". As Lady Whent's agent, the love would be familial. If Bloodraven is involved, it could be love of the realm (and perhaps more)... ** If he's Howland Reed, love of the Starks could be a motivator. If he was "ruined" by his ransom and in the hunt for "love of gold", why would he be so open with Brienne, a perfect stranger, and offer to share the reward ? ... No, their whole conversation is designed to warn Brienne - in general, and perhaps specifically of Ser Creighton and Ser Illifer. When Brienne suggests that he and Ser Creighton have much in common, he laughs and replies "Oh, I doubt that..". He may be referring to something much less obvious than Creighton's ridiculous claims of prowess. (They called out to Brienne to join them, she didn't ask.. they may have known to keep an eye out for her.) After the conversation with Shadrich, Brienne feels foolish. She hadn't given thought to a reward, though it would be predictable .. She hadn't been giving thought to the possibility of competitors in her hunt. Ser Shadrich has just given her a wake-up call. (It's very reminiscent of the Liddle's conversation with Bran, Jojen and Meera. He doesn't try to impede them, but gives them important information about the Bolton searchers and the situation at the wall.) Hibald points out that Ser Creighton seems remarkably well-fed "when so many lack for food". Have the two hedge knights been in KL (or some other relatively safe haven) during all the strife? We get a composite of Shadrich's appearance between this chapter and the TWoW Alayne chapter. Here... Ser Shadrich was a wiry, fox-faced man with a sharp nose and a shock of orange hair, mounted on a rangy chestnut courser. Though he could not have been more than five foot two, he had a cocksure manner. ... and from Alayne... Alayne turned abruptly from the yard… and bumped into a short, sharp-faced man with a brush of orange hair who had come up behind her. His hand shot out and caught her arm before she could fall. “My lady. My pardons if I took you unawares.” “The fault was mine. I did not see you standing there.” “We mice are quiet creatures.” Ser Shadrich was so short that he might have been taken for a squire, but his face belonged to a much older man. She saw long leagues in the wrinkles at the corner of his mouth, old battles in the scar beneath his ear, and a hardness behind the eyes that no boy would ever have. This was a man grown. Even Randa overtopped him, though. He's not a young man, has no doubt seen battle, and he's traveled. His small size is always noted and his "orange hair". No attempt is made to describe it any other way. It occurs to me that he may actually be grey, or turning grey. In our world, with natural dyes, red hair is very difficult to duplicate. Henna, e.g., turns the hair a quite unnatural shade of orange, but it hides grey very well. ** All of this would be quite compatible with H.R. He saves Sansa from falling, which may be foreshadowing, or just speak well of his intentions. The chapter Immediately following Brienne I, AFfC, is Samwell I, which opens with Sam's encounter with a mouse in the book vaults at Castle Black. Sam was reading about the Others when he saw the mouse. His eyes were red ..(This refers to Sam's eyes, which he's been rubbing, but since we've just met Shadrich, it's easy to think it means the mouse's eyes at first.. perhaps we should pay attention) ..<snip>... The mouse was half as long as his pinky finger, with black eyes and soft grey fur. Sam knew he ought to kill it. Mice might prefer bread and cheese, but they ate paper too. He had found plenty of mouse droppings amongst the shelves and stacks, and some of the leather covers on the books showed signs of being gnawed. It is such a little thing, though. And hungry. How could he begrudge it a few crumbs? It’s eating books, though... Books contain knowledge - in this case, knowledge of the Others and of history. So this mouse can be said to have been devouring knowledge. A person who devours knowledge knows a lot. Shadrich obviously knows more than he lets on. ** Howland Reed really knows a lot ... Harrenhal, ToJ, returning Dawn , Ned's plans going forward... and considering the time he spent with the Green Men, no doubt much more of history, the CotF, perhaps the Others, etc., etc. .. His son is a greendreamer.. is he, as well? On a fun side note for those familiar with @sweetsunray 's Avalanche-in-the-Vale theory, we'll return to Sam ... He knew he was not quick enough to catch the mouse, but it might be he could squash it. By his elbow rested a massive leather-bound copy of Annals of the Black Centaur, ..<snip>... Very slowly, Sam took hold of the book with his left hand. It was thick and heavy, and when he tried to lift it one-handed, it slipped from his plump fingers and thumped back down. The mouse was gone in half a heartbeat, skittery-quick. Sam was relieved. Squishing the poor little thing would have given him nightmares. “You shouldn’t eat the books, though,” he said aloud. Phew! He escaped .. and remember ..Eat books, no.. devour knowledge, yes. Just one more for good measure - In Arya's last chapter in AFfC, 'Cat of the Canals', we read.. Cossomo the Conjurer instructed her in sleight of hand. He could swallow mice and pull them from her ears. “It’s magic,” he’d say. “It’s not,” Cat said. “The mouse was up your sleeve the whole time. I could see it moving.” Cossomo can't work magic. He may be a street conjurer, but not a sorcerer. His mouse is trained to assist him in working his tricks (no doubt rewarded with food). Arya could see his mouse moving. Bloodraven is called a sorcerer, and we know he can actually work magic (conjure), e.g. glamours, and so forth... Should we see Shadrich as the "Mouse" up BR's sleeve.. in his case, not merely conditioned to act, but knowingly and willingly assisting ? A few chapters later, we come to Sansa's last AFfC chapter as 'Alayne', in which she meets Ser Shadrich, Ser Morgarth and Ser Byron. That brings us full circle, and I'm now sure Morgarth and Byron are Shadrich's allies, as is Bloodraven ... while Ser Creighton and Ser Illifer are probable adversaries, not to mention Varys and his cause... and the Lannister cause (Tywin's and Cersei's certainly, though Jaime and Tyrion are becoming exceptions). When you think about it, with the natural protection Greywater Watch enjoys, Howland Reed is better able than most lords to confidently leave his castle in uncertain times. I now lean much more heavily toward identifying Shadrich as Howland. I feel fairly confident, although we still haven't had a description of Howland as himself ... other than "the little crannogman".
  15. Official Testing Thread