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  1. I think you might be right. And I like Matthew's idea in that area: Suppose in the timeframe of AGOT, Mel looked into her flames and saw Stannis waving around Lightbringer. That's a thing she would have considered extremely significant, and since then, it's actually happened multiple times now, in fulfillment of her vision... exactly because she made it happen. It also seems possible she saw Stannis wielding Lightbringer against Ramsay's forces in a blizzard, and concluded that this was AAR busy doing his thing in a Second Long Night. Lots of ways she might have settled on Stannis in addition to the usual stuff about salt, smoke, comets, etc.
  2. Well, they think it establishes the Hollywoodian meet-cute for the two. This is all-important. (Never mind the objective fact that the story says the dragon prince never found the Knight. This can safely be disregarded on the grounds that it's inconvenient.) The Knight must have been Lyanna because Jaime said jousting was mostly about horseriding. And when he said that, we can be sure Jaime was imagining a fourteen year old girl with no training or experience in jousting that can be established in canon, going up against three grown knights all of whom had training or experience. Jaime definitely wasn't talking about two knights who were fundamentally the same except that one was a better rider, and predicting the better rider would win most of the time. (That would be too logical.) We know Lyanna was a badass because we know she trained with swords because, um... because she beat her younger brother Benjen in stickfighting when he was prepubescent. Oh, and also because after announcing she was Lord Stark's daughter ("that's my father's man you're kicking"), she was able to scatter three squires. Which is a thing Cersei could have done too, by fiercely wielding a spoon, after announcing she was Tywin's daughter. We won't get into the humiliation Howland must have felt, repeatedly telling his children this story that made him look so weak and helpless. However bad he felt, he knew they should understand this crucial lesson: that they too were weak and helpess, and in their future lives, they must always hope someone else would be willing to solve their problems for them. All fathers want their children to understand that.
  3. She seems to have phrased her request a little differently: So this, I suspect, is why she never saw Stannis. Her delusion that Stannis is AAR doesn't make it so. Also, since this is her thought... as opposed to something she said, that someone else heard... we know the capital S is accurate and reflects what she was shown: Jon Snow. Really, I think everything she ever sees in the flames is accurate, in the sense that it happens at some point in time, under some conditions, in some way. It might be literal, it might be metaphorical (skulls, for instance, representing death), but it is accurate. But Melisandre is so thoroughly brainwashed she can't comprehend what she quite literally sees. To quote Syrio Forel: Just so. And if all this reminds anybody of a problem in... another place... why, that's not too surprising.
  4. Heh. Yes, that's what it would mean: In other words, via her flames, Melisandre could (assuming she's honest) talk to these creatures who only exist in the alternate future reality in which GRRM wrote them into ASOIAF. And since he didn't ever choose to do that, that's why they were... never born. (And that makes them cousins of Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film.)
  5. Well, actually she didn't mention babies: Her word is "children," which has a much wider meaning than "babies," but I don't think she means it literally. She calls them children because in her concept, they live in the future, and that's why they have not yet been born at the time she rattles off the above. She doesn't mean she can speak to future fetuses. Even if you assume she really is being literal, though -- past kings, future children -- a child a year into the future sure might know that Stannis was killed in battle at that time, just as children in King's Landing in AGOT might know Ned got his head chopped off. You'd think she'd pick up her mystic iPhone and call one and ask, if she possibly could. But it all just reads like self-aggrandizing hyperbole to me. I think she can sometimes see events as they occur or occurred, at some point in time. Just like Jojen can, in greendreams (metaphorically) and the Ghost of High Heart can too, and Moqorro (another Red priest) can via flames. Here's another point: Notice the boldfaced. She says the people she sees in visions of the future, doing things... may not ever do them at all. The events she sees may not ever occur. And if that's true, because she never lies, then the children not yet born with whom she claims she can speak... may never be born and may never say a thing to her. Which cancels out her hyperbole.
  6. Well, let's put that in context with this: Right. This is why it's not a lie when she says it. Compare to George Costanza -- "It's not a lie if you believe it" -- or Donald Trump, who in deluding himself, managed to delude so many others too. Mel is just as good at Trump when it comes to autodelusion. So when she says she can talk to kings long dead and children not yet born, what does that mean? IMO, at best, it means she has again somehow fooled herself into believing a thing (so it isn't a lie). If she could really do it, she would already know the outcome of so many events that she clearly does not know. For instance, we see her casting about desperately for Stannis' fate in her POV chapter: Why is she bothering with this? Fumbling around, looking into flames? Why doesn't she just ask Mr. Future, who lives two years down the road, what happened to Stannis, and know for sure? Why, in fact, is there no reference anywhere in her POV chapter to being able to do such things? Because she can't.
  7. Exactly right. She would be able to ask anyone from any time period any question; this would make her a virtually perfect oracle and thus, incredibly powerful. But she isn't perfect. What she sees in the flames is accurate, but her comprehension of it is... not. And when she feels doubt, she simply guesses some of the time, instead of confirming the answer by asking someone in the future who would know for sure. In this sense Melisandre is a special form of unreliable narrator and very useful for GRRM. Other characters say things that might be completely wrong, but Mel takes this premise a step further. Even her thoughts are unreliable, and she is capable of fooling herself. And in fooling herself, she may fool the reader, too. So for instance, if a team of mummers were somehow able to read her thoughts and put on a play in Essos that was based on the second Long Night, Eastwatch might indeed take a powerful assault from a Popsicle army. The mummer playwrights would have been fooled by Mel's bogus analysis.
  8. Actually, GRRM said he didn't know if they had a culture. Not quite the same thing. As for Craster's wife on the left, what we know is merely that she says that. This is roughly as reliable a statement as "The sun orbits the world," which any character in canon might say as derived from the personal experience of watching the sun appear to cross the sky every day. A character who says such a thing does not automatically qualify as an expert, but only as a human being with an idea. Here's a subtle point on this topic. Sam, who was standing right there when she said that, obviously considered her authority and decided not to believe her. We know this because he was chartered by his Lord Commander and personal friend to learn all he could on the Others and report back, and it never even occurred to him to mention the incredibly salient point that the Others come from Craster's wives' uteruses, which would surely be of interest to Jon. Sam's a pretty bright lad, and I think he made the right call. Those wives also claim that the Others are satisfied with sheep sacrifices, whenever babies aren't handy. This, I have to say, strikes me as a deeply dubious notion. Or perhaps it really is true, in which case we should expect a murderous ice-sheep with blue eyes and a bad attitude to come trotting out of the forest in the next book...
  9. ADWD: And... Nope.
  10. Sure. If by "worse," you don't mean "less happy for the characters," but "further removed from any kind of logical conclusion." We are nowhere near a logical conclusion in any subplot. The only way GRRM could wrap the series in two books would be to accelerate his storytelling so much that it'd resemble what we saw in AGOT. Example: in AGOT, Catelyn travels from Winterfell to King's Landing and we don't get a single pitstop chapter, though such a journey should have taken her months. Boom! She's there, and the plot rolls forward as a result. But It's been a long, long time since GRRM wrote this efficiently, and I don't see any sign he's going back to it. Since AFFC he instead focuses on slooooow transitions, because (a) they let him explore his world in a little more detail and (b) they let his characters muse over various factors, which GRRM sees as fleshing them out as people. Davos' chapters in ADWD are a good example. About all he accomplishes, really, is to find out that Rickon is on Skagos. Somehow, GRRM spends four (!) chapters achieving this tiny feat. Why? Well, I think it's because those chapters let GRRM explore both White Harbor (a place his story has never gone before) and Davos. But that kind of decisionmaking on GRRM's part, if it continues in TWOW and ADOS, is just never going to finish the series in two books. And he's on record that only he will ever finish the series. When you consider that he tends to take 1.5 more years for each book than he did for the last, it seems increasingly doubtful that ASOIAF -- if an eight-book saga at least -- will ever be finished.
  11. Plausible. It's true that these last two books involve plot and character outcomes he's been thinking about for a quarter century now, so you'd think it would come easily to him. But it's also true that that statement applies to Winds of Winter. And, by his own testimony, the writing has most certainly not come easily to him. You say ADOS will take close to a decade. I agree. So when will it come out? Well, if we believe this latest prediction for the pub date of TWOW (which is hard to do -- GRRM has routinely changed that prediction for years now, while simultaneously saying he's finished making predictions), he needs ~ 1.5 more years for TWOW. So it seems clear 2028 is a decent rough guess for ADOS. But will ADOS even finish the series? I doubt it. This is just a function of max book length. To kill ASOIAF in two books, GRRM has about 150 chapters to write out every mystery solution, every plot development, every character arc, tie off every loose string, fulfill every prophecy, and on and on. He can't just write more chapters; physical limits to book length make that impossible, as he learned with the single book that became AFFC and ADWD. So each one of those 150 chapters is precious narrative time he absolutely can't blow on minor stuff. Yet in TWOW we find his characters taking pitstop chapters in the middle of the woods... visiting minor castles we've barely even heard of... and other such locations that don't really advance the plot. We find him dedicating at least four chapters to a relatively insignificant event like the Battle of Meereen, when as he himself has said, ASOIAF is the story of Westeros. I just don't see him concluding ASOIAF in two books as a result. I don't think he can compress it down to 150 chapters. So if 2028 gets us to the seventh book, and the seventh book doesn't finish the series, what does that tell us about ASOIAF getting finished? It doesn't look too promising. And if there's one area where GRRM has never wavered, it's that he and only he will ever be allowed to write it out. Well. Is there some reason that we, as fans, should continue to think or care about a series that apparently isn't ever going to be finished? I guess there's a certain academic value in debating abstract matters that won't be resolved. Some do take pleasure in that. Scholars love to argue over which pharoah it was that was referenced in the story of Moses, or exactly when human beings first settled Australia. Whatever. But for others, I suspect whatever patience they had left for the tardiest project in F/SF history will soon be exhausted.
  12. I still think it refers to something from TWOW he just wrote. Which, sadly, doesn't appear anywhere near the end of the book. As of today, I no longer expect GRRM to finish this series. Why? Well, he now claims TWOW may come out in 2019 (or may not -- who knows). If that proves accurate, a very uncertain matter, it continues his trend of taking about a year and a half longer than he took for the last book, and projecting forward, it leaves us with a rough pub date of 2028 for ADOS. And will ADOS even be the last book? I doubt it. Having read about 10% of TWOW, meaning the sample chapters, I see no sign that he's optimizing the remaining story in such a way as to wrap in two books. He continues to indulge in pit-stop chapters of questionable narrative value largely because he wants to visit new places. He's just a little too prone to gardening, I'm afraid, when what he desperately needs is the discipline of architecture. And this is the outcome of his gardening to the architecture of ASOIAF:
  13. According to GRRM: So if you think GRRM is honest, Rhaegar is dead and gone.
  14. Heh. If you want to know that, you'll have to ask him and find out. Well, I'll meet you halfway: I think it would have been stronger if he'd never parked her in Meereen. I'll feel a lot more doubt that he'll finish the series than I do today. Well, as you suggest, it may depend on the version of the legend. We can only analyze what we have. The only version we've been given is the one told by people south of the Wall, and in that version, his "army" appears to have been the Watch. If he had been leading the Popsicles for thirteen years in that version, I expect it would be mentioned. Instead, we get this Craster-ish secret policy of sacrificing to the Others (as opposed to commanding the Others, which would not remind us of Craster at all). But, of course, history is written by the victors, and it was thousands of years ago, so I'd like to hear the free folk version of this legend. If there is one. And if there is, and that version is the reason "Jon Snow" is said by Ygritte to be an evil name... I won't be too surprised. Suppose I were to say to you: "I have a theory there will be a character in the next two books named Talisa, a whore in Molestown, and she will turn out to have had sex with Jon in the AFFC timeframe, and to have become pregnant by him. And her baby son will blah blah blah." Wouldn't you be skeptical? And say "But there was never any such reference in the previous five books" -- correctly -- and assume I had just yoinked a name and a very rough concept from another version of ASOIAF -- a concept that I didn't really get right at all. Yet you'd be unable to rule out my theory, too. Well, that's my take on this situation -- that D&D read the canon, did some yoinking, warped things considerably, and here we are. And if others see it differently, I'm not worried over that. Hopefully we'll get the complete series and eventually find out one way or another.
  15. Well, if you want to throw probability out the window as a metric, then as I said before, it's certainly possible that the canonical Night's King will turn out to be as dramatically different from the myths about him as the imaginary version given in the imaginary stage play. It's not for me to say things have a zero probability -- though others, in other threads, do that sort of thing all the time -- but like all other readers, I'm more interested in the creative options that seem more likely to me. Perhaps you should go to a convention, explain to GRRM that you consider his work to be pulp fantasy, and report back to us what he says. If the fans have taken something away from the canon, that's quite different from the canon stating that something. The fans have routinely taken away from the canon that the KotLT can only have been Lyanna, yet in a previous edition of Heresy you agreed with me that that is only one possibility and arguably not the most logical one. So we turn to the canon. The canon certainly does not ever say the Night's King led the Popsicles, or that his wife did, but that he was sacrificing to them. That's just a fact. Also, the sacrifices were never even known (in the myth) to have happened until after he had been defeated. So if the Night's King was leading the Popsicles, or his wife was, it was apparently a very subtle form of leadership. But I hope no one will take this, or anything else I've written, to mean the Night's King can't possibly turn out in canon to still exist... to be leading the Popsicles now, thousands of years later... and indeed to be a Popsicle himself. Until we turn the last page of canon, we won't know that. Agreed. In fact, I confidently predict we will learn new things about them, and have certainly never said we won't.