I've had an idea regarding this that has never seen much if any warm reception in the boards, but I'll say it again.
It's pure tin foil as there's no hard evidence.
The idea asserts that the motto that "a Stark must always be in Winterfell" pertains to the Wall, specifically the magic that wards and sustains it.
Btw, without magic, the Wall would no longer stand but 'flow' like a glacier at the very least. It might be more unstable than that. Even people of this state of science can know this by building a narrow stack of blocks in the winter, shaded from sunlight, with a wood inner frame to allow a very narrow, tall stack to remain aloft. They would observe a slow compression in height and growth in width at the base. Also, folk may have already observed glacial movement wrt to trees or other fixed points.
Back to point...But surely there have been periods over 1000's of years where there have NOT been Starks in WF. So, there's a second part to the idea.
I don't recall the exact quote...'so long as the NW remains true'. We know of multiple occasions where this was NOT so.
So, if the magic relies on both requirements failing, then we know of no time where this has happened. Yes, this proves nothing!
WoW will certainly kill or validate this idea with no Stark and Winterfell and the assassination/aftermath of Jon Snow. If affirmed, I'd expect to see the Wall slowly destabilize and collapse in places but not immediately collapse in whole. As weeks and months pass, its height would decrease, big chunks would fall off, even sections of wall might fail catastrophically. If the Others can move through ice or something else that gives them a sustainable, tactical advantage, it might become to dangerous for men to be upon, regardless of stability. It would become a fortress for the Others.
If it does happen, I'd prefer more Tyrion POV's than Jon of their encounters. Jon would likely be a far more changed character. Tyrion, having known him before so much of Jon's experiences, would perceive many of Jon's changes. And even a Jon POV depicting his perceptions of Tyrion would reveal other Jon changes.
Perhaps, seeing the changes might play a minor role in Tyrion better understanding Dany should that ever be an issue.
I agree with just about every post in this thread criticizing the scene selected by the OP, except for the one about Tyrene's boobies...there's always a good reason to release those hounds.
As soon as I realized Jon was leading the Free Folk through the north entrance of the Wall at CB, I tried to think of an explanation or remedy. My answer: Jon learned from the Free Folk from Hardhome that there were 1000's of Free Folk survivors that refused to go to Hardhome (haunted, whatever) that were scattered all along the wall. If Jon and Tormund sent 50 men to try to gather them and extend Jon's offer, it might take months, which they may not have. So, a 1000 or so, could gather the stragglers much, much faster and more convincingly. Now, this would beg difficult but surmountable questions about logistics. But, why would Karsi's daughters be on the expedition instead of routed through EW? Finding the right shaped bandaid...
On the way home from the office tonight, I listed to a Bran POV from aDWD where he first wore the skin of the WeirNet as well as a Raven. Brynden Rivers told Bram that it might be a year or longer until Bran could see beyond the sight of weirwood trees. I suspect it will be sooner because Bran is a Stark Greenseer, and because of the era the story explores.
Now to my point...
How many POV's and/or plot threads could be covered in WoW by Bran POV's? Some ideas:
- Davos's adventure seeking and retrieving Rickon and Shaggy with Bran wearing Shaggy's skin
- Kingslanding threads from Arya's tomcat and/or other animals
- the fate of Brienne, Pod, and Jamie via Bran wearing Lady Stoneheart's skin (Bran frees them), or just whatever animals are nearby
With so much snow fall accumulated on the lakes, I wonder just how different they are to fight upon compared with snow covered ground.
I'm doubtful as to how much BUILDING (eg snow walls) Stannis can afford from his men given the severely constrained food supplies.
I've had an idea but I don't know if the tech, materials, and experience are available in this context. Stannis would have men pump water out of the lake, spreading it on the ice, transforming the snow on it into treacherous footing for the enemy. Not just slippery, but a rough, uneven surface that would hinder men and horse from moving easily. Get them on this surface with no cover save the shields individuals carry, and Stannis's archers can assault them indefinitely from the tree lines.
Have there been hand pumps in Westeros? Conduits could be cut from trees/limbs. I doubt they'd have enough buckets. But even so, that would be slow and much more labor intensive.
Then again, maybe Rhollor might be persuaded to yield the same result if they burn Theon. Doubt it!!
I agree that Manderly having no good choices amongst his own resources to recover Rickon is problematic. I like the point made regarding the trustworthiness required of those that would retrieve Rickon. This would reduce the pool of candidates.
Commerce with Skagos is apparently extremely low, if not non-existent. Thus, history becomes legend becomes superstition. Treacherous waters surrounding Skagos would sink ships, reinforcing fear. This fear even reached Davos, whose experiences were mostly far from Skagos. To those whose experiences are mostly near Skagos, I speculate these fears are felt more intensely. Bear in mind, this is a mostly illiterate society where such things sustain and grow.
So, this fear can also reduce the pool of resources that can and would be willing to go to Skagos.
I wouldn't say this fully reconciles the problematic point identified. But, I'd like to think it helps.
Finish off Boltons and Iron Men (in the North only) send emissary to Vale to increase food, supplies, and personnel to fight the Others, including inviting witnesses from the Vale to see Wights with their own eyes. Send word to Riverlands that anyone loyal to Tullys and Starks are welcome in the North. Establish rookery at Winterfell to broaden, deepen comms and intel. Just top of mind...gotta run
I hate to draw from the show. Sometimes I cannot recall details from the book because of better remembered ones from the show.
JA was the single greatest source for calm, reason, and stability during Robert's reign. LF knew JA was investigating Robert's bastards. Eventually, JA would gather enough evidence and deal with it in a manner that might maintain order.
Eliminating JA let loose the chaos that the show said LF would use as a ladder to gain more. What better chaos than war, which is why he told Lysa to send the note, not starting it, but one of many sparks to ignite it.
He didn't need a grand plan for meticulously manipulating the houses. He probably knew he only needed to crank up the temperature and plenty of opportunities would arise for him to exploit, playing one party/house against another.