John Suburbs

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  1. Since this whole world is based on the times surrounding the War of the Roses, then yes, everything that took place at court and other formal settings in which that king's words (aka, the law) was uttered is written down and disseminated throughout the realm. This is not only necessary to effective run the kingdom, but it preserves these actions for future historians. This is how we know about virtually every kingdom dating back to ancient Mesopotamia: decipher the records and you get a complete history of all the important events.
  2. This was also a way for readers to see through the story that Cersei and/or Jaime killed Jon Arryn: Why would she kill one hand who was on the verge of accusing her of incest when the only "proof" he had was some words in a musty old book, but then the second hand confronts her with the exact same evidence and she not only doesn't kill him but admits it freely? Now, instead of just looks -- which, as you said, she could easily have deflected by pointing out Ned's own Tullyish children -- she has to deny the word of the most honorable lord in the kingdom who also happens to be best friends with the king. Maybe she had advanced word that Robert was injured in the hunt, but she can in no way be certain he is going to die or that he will do so before Ned tells him the truth. So all in all, it was a completely unnecessary gamble for Cersei.
  3. Again, I would just point out that all that GRRM has said on the subject is true: the answer as to who tried at assassinate Bran was revealed in SoS, and could be deduced earlier. What we don't have yet, either in the books or in Martin's SSMs, is a credible answer as to why. So all I am offering is a more reasonable motive for Joffrey than either mercy for Bran or a desire to impress Robert, both of which run counter to Joffrey's characterization. So all I am saying to all those who say that Martin just blew this one and we just have to accept in ill-conceived and poorly executed explanation is to sit tight; we probably have not heard the last of this. There may, in fact, be a completely different explanation for Joffrey's actions, or indeed, that it was not Joffrey at all, but the most plausible one is Littlefinger. As to your other points: I think there is plenty to suggest that Littlefinger was a master manipulator of Joffrey, ie, the dwarf joust, Ned's execution... Martin "cleared up" multiple mysteries in the past in unconvincing, unsatisfying ways, only to reveal the correct, satisfying answer later, ie, the Arryn murder, the Westerling conspiracy... Your point about Martin revealing the truth in a "satisfying and usually shocking way" is well taken, which is why I point to the fact that Joffrey acting alone in this matter is neither satisfying nor particularly shocking. Readers who say that the surface text explains all and there are no big surprises to come are willfully ignoring the fact that Martin has pulled the rug out from under readers numerous times already, so there is no reason to believe he won't do it again. To think otherwise does a disservice to the author whose skill you claim to hold in such high esteem.
  4. Not quite the same thing. The mercy that Joffrey extended to Ned was the way in which he was killed, not the decision to kill him. The killing itself was a purely selfish act on Joffrey's part -- to show the crowd that he was a strong king. With Bran, the mercy would be to put a suffering boy out of his misery, which is wholly uncharacteristic of Joffrey. And this business about impressing Robert or the Hound falls flat as well. Neither of them would have any way of knowing that Joffrey was behind the catspaw, unless Joff told them, which he apparently never did. And neither man would be impressed by such a cowardly, despicable act: certainly not Robert, who beat Joffrey badly just for killing a cat, and not the Hound, who would only value someone who does his own killing with cold steel in his hand. And no, he's not trying to impress Sansa either. He is trying to control her through fear and violence.
  5. Yes, I agree 100%. Joff sent the catspaw, and that was revealed in SoS. But also note that the other big reveal in that book, Jon Arryn's killer, came after multiple "reveals" in the previous two novels that Cersei and Jaime were the killers, even though this explanation left many unsatisfactory conflicts with the text and characterizations. When the true, final reveal was made, all questions and conflicts as to motive, opportunity, personalities, etc. were resolved. So to say that Martin has revealed Joff as the killer and that's the end of it is wishful thinking at best. What we still don't have is the why, and sorry, but Joff trying to impress the father that nearly killed him for killing a cat is a non-starter. What boggles my mind is that so many readers would simply shrug their shoulders and say Martin left us with an answer that is so full of holes that no one is satisfied no matter what they believe, and ignoring completely that he has done this exact kind of semi/false reveal before. Why bother even reading such an amateurish, sloppy author? So I contend that what has been revealed so far is the truth, but that there is one more element yet to come out, and that will resolve this conflict as to why Joffrey would take this secret action to impress his father and then never tell him about it, or even more ludicrous, that he would show mercy on a suffering child. With Littlefinger as the instigator, we have a motive that aligns perfectly with Joffrey's characterization: his own, narrow self-interest.
  6. This is why I prefer my Joffrey-inspired-by-Littlefinger proposal: it conforms to the text and GR's statements while still leaving room for a nice reveal later that clears up all of this dissatisfaction among readers that Martin made a boner of this mystery. Before they left KL, Littlefinger tells Joffrey that Ned becoming hand is bad for Robert, Cersei, House Lannister and even Joffrey himself, and the only thing that could prevent this is the death of one of Ned's children. Then, the actual clumsy plan and the stupid decision to use Robert's knife is all Joffrey. If Bran hadn't fallen, it would have been one of the other children, probably Sansa. So now we have a clearer motive for Joffrey, being manipulated by LF, just as occurs later in the books, and we can square that with Martin's statements confirming who sent the catspaw: it was Joffrey, but LF, as usual, was the behind-the-scenes instigator. And all this can happen without LF having to know about Bran's fall or anything else that has happened at Winterfell.
  7. There is also another option that I'm surprised hasn't made its way into this thread yet. From SoS: Could Mance have sent the catspaw as a means to weaken House Stark before the battle that was expected to come? I personally don't think this is as compelling as the Joffrey/Littlefinger connection, but it is intriguing nonetheless.
  8. Sorry, Joffrey does not go around killing and abusing people willy-nilly, for no reason. Every cruelty he has meted out was intended for specific people for specific transgressions. I don't see how you can think that Joffrey intended Tommen to die in the tourney. Quintains spin around when you hit them, so it would be expected for Tommen's very first tilt. Plus, he's only riding a pony moving at a "brisk trot" not a full gallop, and he's so armored up that he probably didn't even feel the fall. Indeed, he gets right back up for another try. If there was any real risk to Tommen's life in all this, I would lay it at Cersei's feet rather than Joffrey's: she's the one who gave permission to ride in the first place. Well now I don't know whether you are trolling or not, but I'll bite as this is patently absurd. Myrcella and Tommen are both gentle, innocent children raised amid extreme wealth and the finest, most pleasing company in the realm. The catspaw is a scary, creepy dude: The idea that either Myrcella and/or Tommen would not run screaming from this man at first contact defies belief.
  9. It's not just a matter of getting it done, but getting away with it. The only time we see Joffrey is in the yard and in the hall, so I don't think we can conclude that he had the run of the castle. He certainly couldn't barge into Ned and Cat's bedroom, or even the children's private quarters, which is the only time I believe we see any of the Stark children alone. There are lots of people about, all the time: guards, servants, guests... Robert's retinue is 300-strong, so the castle is packed with people. The letter is a sketchy plan at best. First off, it was only a sheer stroke of luck that Luwin found it in the first place. When someone gets a package that has no note attached or explanation as to its origins, the first inclination is not to think this is some sort of subterfuge and start poking around the box. It would appear to be just a casual mistake: that the gift was a courtesy from the Grand Maester at King's Landing or perhaps from some friend from the Citadel who is now serving a seat along the Kings Road, and that the note explaining this was simply lost. So, again, an unbelievable stroke of good luck for Littlefinger. Secondly, Lysa is a grieving widow and is not known to be the most rational of thinkers in normal times, so there is a big question as to whether Ned or Cat would even believe her claim, which is offered with no proof or evidence. But suddenly, one of the children is murdered, and now the whole situation has invaded their lives in the most visceral and emotional way imaginable. If Ned had been wavering on Robert's offer, then this would most certainly push him to accept the job to find out who is committing these murders -- because it's personal now. Joffrey thinks this way, but the adults around him certainly don't. He is the crown prince, not just a mere child. In an age when children die easily, Joffrey's (and Tommen's) health and well-being would be a primary concern. And yes, the Hound is Joffrey's sworn shield, bound to protect him at all times -- a promise made not to Joffrey but to Robert and Cersei. In what way could he have been busy that day? What higher priority did he have? Where did he go when Joffrey told him to back away from Sansa? Did he just take that as license to take the day off and forget about his obligations? With no repercussions from Cersie as to why her son was by himself with his betrothed in strange country where he was attacked and savaged by a dire wolf? He's not slurring his words, he's not staggering... He sings, which is rather odd for Joffrey, but yes, he most certainly had some wine with her in the holdfast. But he was not drunk enough inhibit his ability to carry out his plan, if indeed this is what he was planning. His actions with Mycah and Arya don't suggest intoxication any more than his actions toward Sansa later on, his treatment of the Antler Men, his removal of the singer's tongue or any of the myriad other cruelties he has dealt out. This is a pattern we've seen from Martin over and over again: the explanation that is "clearly presented on the page" is unsatisfactory because it conflicts with known facts and/or characterizations; ie, Cersie and Jaime committing the Arryn murder, Robb and Jeyne just happening to fall in love and destroying his reign...) But then the reveal that was hidden in the subtext comes out and it provides a completely satisfactory answer, (ei, Jaime and Cersie had nothing to do with Arryn's death, the Robb/Jeyne thing was a setup all along, most likely abetted by a love potion.) So while I admit there is no proof, I believe the truth is in the subtext: Joffrey sent the catspaw but his motives are fuzzy. Littlefinger has been shown to be a master manipulator of Joffrey, and it is Littlefinger's interests that benefit from the attempt.
  10. Check my post above. In my scenario, Littlefinger does not have to be in Winterfell or know about Bran's fall or anything else that has happened in order to be behind it. He just manipulated Joffrey into murdering a Stark child and Joffrey then carried out his own bone-headed plan.
  11. I should point this out up front whenever I post this idea: this little game of Littlefinger's is not intended to prevent Ned from taking the job; it's to get Joffrey to act in a way that ups the friction between wolf and lion. As you said yourself, Ned is not going to let his second father's murder slide, and he will likely be doubly motivated to put himself in a position to investigate the crime if his own son has been made a victim as well. It's not so easy to kill the child of a high lord, even for a crown prince. Joffrey could very well have intended to strike after the royal party had left in any event. Sure, it could have been nothing more than a pleasant day out riding, except for the fact that this is the crown prince and the daughter of a high lord. It is inconceivable that these two would be allowed to just ride off from camp, with no escort and no chaperone. Even Robert and Ned have a tail when they go off riding. Sansa's POV has her drinking more than she ever had and that she was dizzy, but I don't see any sign the Joffrey was drink in the slightest. Please post some text if you have it. So, to me, this explanation makes the most sense. I simply cannot accept the idea that, once again, a completely random, utterly unpredictable sequence of events works out in Littlefinger's favor with no involvement on his part at all.
  12. Once upon a time there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly, everybody died. The end. Valar Morghulis, Valar Barnaclus
  13. I think it's pretty clear that Joffrey sent the catspaw. What we don't know is why. Personally, I find it inconceivable that Joff would order a mercy killing on Bran since, well, the words "Joffrey" and "mercy" simply do not jive. It also doesn't make sense that Joff would do it to impress Robert, since there is no way Robert would ever know it was Joffrey unless Joff told him. Joff had plenty time to tell Robert, but he never did, and why would Joffrey expect Robert to be proud of such an act when he practically beat Joffrey to death over the death of a cat some years earlier? So here is what I think happened: Before leaving King's Landing, Littlefinger pulls Joffrey aside and tells him that Robert is going to ask Ned to be Hand. He also points out how this would be very bad for Jaime, Cersei and even Joffrey himself -- to have this northerner mucking around in the king's business. And this view would be reinforced if Joff happens to overhear J&C arguing about the same thing. LF would also point out that the only thing preventing Ned from taking the job is if House Stark was beset by a significant tragedy, as in the death of a child. When Bran fell from the tower, it would seem to Joffrey that the problem has resolved itself. But then Ned decides to come south anyway, so Joff sends the Catspaw back to Winterfell in a last ditch effort to get Ned to change his mind. This is how we can have the clumsy attempt on Bran's life -- that was all Joffrey's doing -- while at the same time ramping up the hostility between wolf and lion -- exactly what Littlefinger wants. If Bran hadn't fallen, Joffrey would have chosen one of the other children, probably Sansa. In fact, we can look at Joffrey and Sansa's little ride along the Trident in a new light as well. Since news of Bran's murder has not flown south, Joff would assume his plan failed. So what now? Finagle an afternoon alone with Sansa -- and honestly, think about it: the crown prince and the daughter of a high lord allowed to ride off alone through strange country to do who knows what? Sorry, but no -- get her drunk and then either despoil her virtue or drown her in the river and claim it was a terrible accident.
  14. There is also the bit about Arya at the docks after Ned is taken prisoner, even though the gates are closed and the docks are outside the Mud Gate. Nightsoil happens.
  15. Also, Mel cannot produce any more shadow babies, at least not with Stannis: SoS, Davos II And we can see this by Stannis' deteriorating health. First: Then: I think there is another description of him in Dance, or maybe the Winds chapter, where he looks even worse: deep-set blue eyes, almost a skeletal frame with lean, sinewy limbs and face -- it almost seems that he is starting to look like an Other...