The Sunset King

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  1. Euron's plan only really makes sense if he is series about marrying Daenerys or using the horn to gain control of a dragon. The Essos trek is too elaborate and wasteful of resources (if neither of those were true) to simply be a way of disposing of Victarion. Somehow Euron expects the scheme to work in his favor and was either counting on poison killing Victarion or Victarion walking into a trap. Moqorro was unexpected and increasing Victarion's chances but that does not guarantee Euron will not be the one to profit. Either their is something about the horn that makes Euron extraordinarily confident about sending it with the Iron Fleet or he is secretly travelling to Essos. Given the claim that "all of Euron's gifts are poisoned," it is obvious that Victarion's interactions with the dusky woman are extremely dangerous. It is even possible that Euron took on her glamored appearance or that he somehow is coming to Essos as well (perhaps explaining the "corpse on the prow of a ship"). If Euron does end up at Mereen, he may have to dipose of Moqorro to avoid having the red priest contaiminating Daenerys's views of himself. Moqorro basically views Victarion as a tool and ally to help Daenerys; even with the horn he is not that dangerous to her. However, Moqorro already has heard enough from Victarion about Euron to be suspicious of the other squid and cannot risk trusting Daenerys's fate to Euron. He may already have put two and two together with the flame visions that showed threats to Daenerys. Another possibility is that Euron will try to lull his enemies into a false sense of security on a massive scale by allowing Daenerys and Victarion to unite together, bidding his time until they reach Westeros. At that point, he would try to assassinate Victarion and capture/enslave Daenerys. However, the chances of success in such a matter would likely be slim and like a pipe-dream. It would be an enormous gamble. Another thing that lends credence to the idea that Euron knows exactly what the deal with the horn is stems from the fact that he was aware precisely of the consequences of having it blown at the kingsmoot; that was not an experiment. His journeys in Asshai and meetings with mages all over the world may have radically increased Euron's level of knowledge about such artifacts. The question is whether events will thwart his plan or whether he will temporarily triumph. There is also the question of wth happened to his eye.
  2. I might have to check again, but I seem to recall that the Others do cast shadows or that characters have mentioned seeing them (might have been in a Bran chapter with Coldhands or the Varamyr prologue?). Either that or the Others were being metaphorically described as shadows. Neverthless, given that a lot of the books' visions just outright happen directly as seen, it seems perhaps more likely than not that the king in question literally is not casting a shadow (not only symbolism), either due to some physical/magical abnormality or perhaps due to something strange and significant plot-wise with the lightning in the vicinity. It would indeed be interesting to know whether his sword is casting a shadow somewhere on the ground in that scene. That would give some clues as to what range of weirdness is being conveyed there. Perhaps the Others are different from the legends about vampires and undead where sometimes this beings either have no reflection or no shadow.
  3. The most likely reason why Stannis would fake his death is to get inside of Winterfell without having to risk conducting a conventional assault or a siege. The ability of Stannis and his allies to send false letters would make any such effort easier substantially than it otherwise would be, provided that the events which transpire on the battlefield can be sufficiently obscured. If the Boltons actually depart Winterfell for the Dreadfort after hearing of Stannis's supposed death, they are done and have committed suicide, no matter how they divide/consolidate their forces. Roose is cunning but not invincible. The constant pressure from the infighting among his forces and the excursions repeatedly commited by Mors Umber are starting to unnerve him. Given how Ramsay signs the pink letter as the supposed trueborn lord of Winterfell, there is a fairly decent chance that Roose has died by that point, perhaps killed by Ramsay himself or by Mance.
  4. Given that Roose Bolton in part based sending large forces from Winterfell to attack Stannis's position on the notion that Karstark's map would provide a perfect chance to stage a fatal strike, the Boltons are in for an atrocious surprise. None of them are aware that Stannis discovered the treachery, knows that a map of his location was sent to Winterfell, and is aware of an impending assault. This means that Stannis will likely have enough time to prepare and deploy his forces appropriately. Furthermore, his forces, although very low on supplies, have higher morale and actually are dedicated to their cause. By contrast, the portion of the Bolton army that is coming is led mostly by ineffective commanders (the only decent one, Manderly, is 100% disloyal to their cause) and is rife for defections/betrayals. The mutual hatreds that Roose wanted to channel toward fighting Stannis and sacrifice so as to debilitate Stannis's host will outplay itself on the battlefield with the three components unable to coordinate or cooperate effectively. It would be extremely difficult for Ramsay to salvage this situation; he most likely won't and hence writes the infamous pink letter as an act of desperation. As Stannis, notes, Roose has blundered by wasting his advantageous position through the throwing away of a good portion of his force on an attack predicated on factors that have been reversed to work in Stannis's favor. The Bolton numerical advantage is being vitiated in this attack and, consequently, this conflict will Winterfell much more vulnerable soon.