three-eyed monkey

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  1. I agree that is a better description.
  2. I agree they are here for more than treaty negotiations and they are clearly an existential threat to the realm of men. The Others may well be evil. GRRM has certainly written characters I would consider evil, like Gregor or Ramsay. There are many shades of grey and some are far closer to black than others. However, there is a clear Winter v Spring theme going on here which, I'm sure most readers agree, will culminate in another Battle for the Dawn. I'm confident that spring will eventually prevail in this battle, but at a great cost, hence the bitter-sweet ending. Winter is symbolic of decay and death. Spring is symbolic of life and rebirth. We know that only death can pay for life, so perhaps we can extrapolate that only Winter can pay for Spring. Now if the Others have come to collect that toll, as part of a natural process that reboots a decaying society, then I find it hard to consider them as purely evil. While the Others are creature of ice and dragons are creatures of fire, and in that sense they are indeed opposites, I feel that the Green Men are closer to the Others true counterparts. We know the Green Men will play a part before the end, and have probably already influenced events surrounding TPtwP through Howland Reed. I see them as the Others of Spring, with neither party being truly good or evil but rather as morally grey as the seasons themselves. I don't see Jon joining Team Other to fight against the realm of men. More likely in my opinion that the Prince that was Promised will grow up to be the sacrificial king, aka the King of Winter. The promise is the promise of Spring, because as sure as Winter is Coming, Spring will follow, as long as the promise is kept. And by that I mean that I suspect it is the Others that the prince was promised to.
  3. That makes sense. I didn't know that about roses. I certainly works better that the petals are from the actual crown Rhaegar gave her.
  4. GRRM has to portray them as evil for the sake of drama, tension, conflict, etc. But you said it yourself, GRRM's comment about moral greyness was about writing more interesting characters. I don't believe he will abandon that and use the simple bad guy trope for the series' ultimate antagonists. I don't think they are simply evil, I suspect there is more to them than that. I think they have an important role to play in the natural order of GRRM's world, just as winter has a role to play in the natural order of our world.
  5. There is almost 2 years between Harrenhal and the Tower of Joy. If it is simple to keep the same roses intact for that long using medieval methods then I guess they could be the same roses. Ya that's the quote I'm thinking of. It's from Ned's memory when he visited Lyanna in the crypts of Winterfell with Robert. I know the petals are dead and black but I think they we are meant to take it that they were blue roses. It was one of the early clues that Lyanna loved Rhaegar and was not raped by him as Robert claimed. Later, when Ned has his fever dream about the fight at the Tower of Joy he remembers rose petals as blue as the eyes of death blowing across the sky. As this is a fever dream and Ned has had milk of the poppy I think it is less reliable than the one in the crypts. But even if this is not a literal memory, Ned clearly connects the blue rose with R+L=J.
  6. Winter roses grow in the glass gardens at Winterfell. The point of a glass garden or greenhouse is to create a more favourable growing climate compared to outside. So I don't see why blue roses could not grow in the Riverlands. As for the season, it was the year of False Spring and even snowed in King's Landing later that year if I recall correctly. The petals that fell from Lyanna's hand as she died are perhaps more puzzling. Obviously not the same roses considering the time that had lapsed since Harrenhal. Either Ned remembered it wrong and is attaching what happened at Harrenhal to the events at the Tower of Joy orelse the roses are easily accessible and Rhaegar was able to bring Lyanna fresh flowers before he left. Either works for me. The winter rose is obviously symbolic of Jon from a literary point of view, but I can see how a winter flower could be symbolic of the PtwP from an in-universe point of view. I don't think it is just coincidence that the garland Rhaegar gave Lyanna was made of blue roses. Rhaegar believed he needed one more child to fulfil prophecy, and I think the selection process for a suitable mother was finalised when he crowned his queen of love and beauty.
  7. I'm not sure non-living things have a perspective. And I doubt that insects and reptiles have a sense of evil. There is no question that the Others are a threat from the human point of view and it's easy to consider them as evil. The story requires that obviously. The question is are they evil, and to assess that we really need to know what motivates their advance. If it is simply conquest and genocide that motivates them then I would say they are evil. If they are part of a natural or perhaps magical cycle then I would have to say they are no more evil than the onset of winter, despite the fact that a harsh winter could kill many in Westeros.
  8. Ya I think it is valid to include more than one point of view when assessing if a group is evil. It's more than valid actually, it is essential. If we stand back and look objectively at the clash between the Others and the realm of men I think there is a good case to be made for men being evil. Not all men obviously but we can certainly see a widespread decay in moral virtues. Westeros is a pretty shitty place right now but I think the characters who survive to see the Spring will have the opportunity to build a better world. I don't think large scale social and political change can happen in Westeros without some sort of apocalyptic reset first. To use the seasonal metaphor again, without Winter there would be no Spring. It's not a clash of Winter and Spring, it's a song of Winter and Spring, which suggests a certain harmony between both forces in my opinion.
  9. If a swashbuckling hero laughed as he cut down monsters then would we see him as evil? It's a matter of perspective. That they laugh only tells us that they are not without emotion. I don't doubt the Others are intent on destroying or at least culling mankind, but as they personify Winter, amongst other things, I don't see their advance as any more evil than the onset of Winter. Winter makes the land barren but it does so as part of a greater cycle that allows nature start fresh again in Spring. Clearly the in world myths and stories portray them as evil from man kinds point of view and that adds to the drama but it doesn't mean they are actually evil. I agree completely. They are a magical or divine response to the moral decay of mankind.
  10. I agree that the moral of the story will be unity in the face of an external threat, but that does not mean the threat is morally evil. As you say, GRRM has likened them to a force of nature. Are floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. morally evil? No they are not.
  11. I think the case for Theon Durden is extremely weak. Certainly Theon is struggling with his identity, and traumatised, etc. But there is nothing in the books that supports a fight club like split. Besides, the hooded man is Halis Mollen, who has returned to Winterfell with Ned's bones as part of the contingent from White Harbour.
  12. The letter does fit Stannis arc. A character's arc is driven by whatever that character desires, and what Stannis desires has been made clear in the text several times. Stannis states quite clearly that he needs Jon to be his loyal Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, so part of Stannis arc must be his attempt to satisfy that need. We also know that Stannis has a desire to win the Freefolk to his cause. This desire drove him to take a significant risk in ignoring the laws of the Seven Kingdoms and saving Mance using subterfuge. Wining the Wildlings to his cause naturally comes hand-in-hand with a desire for peace between the Willings and the North, and we know Stannis has plans for Val in that regard. So when we piece together the clues we are given in the text then a picture of what Stannis wants clearly emerges. He wants a legitimised son of Eddard Stark to be his loyal Lord of Winterfell, Val to be his Lady Stark to seal a peace between the Wildlings and the North, and presumably Mance to play some part in binding the Wildlings to the cause as well. As I have said, we have seen Stannis use subterfuge to get what he wants, most notably in the case of burning "Mance." We have also seen Stannis use letters, in the cases of the incest letter, the letters to the northern lords demanding homage, and the letter to Jon from Deepwood Motte, so Stannis is clearly someone who, like Tywin Lannister, believes a lot can be accomplished with the pen. So when you put Stannis' clearly stated desires alongside his use of subterfuge and his political use of the pen, then you get the Pink Letter. Neither Ramsay or Mance give us anything as compelling in their arcs by comparison. I don't believe the letter was altered at the Wall for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it would essentially mean Jon never received a letter from Stannis, Ramsay, or Mance, but rather received a letter from someone at the Wall. Altering the letter would be extremely difficult. Much better to write a new letter on a new piece of parchment, which gives you the freedom to write whatever you want. So if the original letter, which I agree was read at the Wall before it was delivered to Jon, does not convey the message you want then you must compose a letter that does deliver the message you want, which means it is essentially a different letter, which means you are essentially arguing that Marsh, Thorne, Mel or whoever wrote the letter, loosely based on an original letter from Stannis, Ramsay, or Mance. Secondly, I believe every line in the letter has a clear purpose when viewed from Stannis point of view, and every person mentioned in the letter has a clear value when viewed from Stannis point of view, and that is not something that can be said for Mance, Ramsay, or anyone else in my opinion. So I remain at Stannis 100%.
  13. I think it does fit his arc, and I don't think there are any logistical considerations, but we can continue that debate in the Stannis thread.
  14. I agree there are lots of ideas about Mance writing the letter, just nothing solid in terms of motive, means or opportunity. Theories that promote Mance as the writer always require the evidence to be supplemented with supposition, often with suppositions built on supposition, like Mance might have escaped, and he might have had an alliance with the Northern houses, and he might have written the letter before hand, and if we add up all these mights then we might see how Mance might have written the letter, maybe, even if we might not yet have been given the information we need to understand why he wrote the letter. And if that's wrong, then he might have just glamoured Ramsay or he might have control of Winterfell. I agree that Mance may very well have evaded capture, I even think it likely that Mance's Rattleshirt glamour ruby was involved, and I agree that the Northern Houses are conspiring against the Boltons. But Mance writing the Pink Letter is too much of a stretch for me. The evidence does not fit because in Mance it is being applied to the wrong person.
  15. This is a good question to which there are two plausible answers. In my opinion it is very plausible that Stannis already has his own ravens. Communication is vital to any military campaign, and Stannis is a renowned and experienced military commander. There is no mention of ravens in Stannis baggage train, but considering Stannis is leaving a garrison at Castle Black, including this queen, daughter, and Melisandre, and given Castle Black would have a lot of ravens trained for Castle Black that are of no further use once they arrive, then I don't find it too much of a stretch to assume that Stannis brought ravens with him. We know he is no stranger to writing letters, and has turned to the pen on several occasions already, so it seems a reasonable assumption to me. But as the text makes no mention of ravens in Stannis baggage train, then personally I am inclined to think that the letter was sent from Winterfell, seven days after Theon I, by which time Stannis has control of the castle.