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willofDorne

High Sparrow = Howland Reed 4.0

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Howland recreating the FM would be the single most idiotic thing anyone has ever done. If HR=HS, I can only conclude that Howland has the intelligence of Hodor.


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Great quote Ser Quark

Very interesting... I don't even need to read that chapter (or Reed?) to know there is undoubtedly also some connection to Howland in the chapter.

Only very circumspect. Although, there are a few places he should've mentioned Howland's name if, in his thoughts, he was even marginally important. But no. Bronze Yohn Royce, Jaime Lannister, Oswell Whent, Harwin, and a dozen others get a mention by name, but Howland Reed is not even a footnote in Ned's train of thought.

Actually, I came to a conclusion that you've already shown the best you could think of to support the hypothesis, and, frankly, you have nothing. Pure, completely unfounded crackpot theory, to put it simple, and it isn't getting any more convincing. I think I'm out of this thread.

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Only very circumspect.

... and clearly GRRM's intention - he doesn't want us to know who that message was for, or he would have told us outright. Whoever it was for, it has been heavily shielded from view.

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... and clearly GRRM's intention - he doesn't want us to know who that message was for, or he would have told us outright. Whoever it was for, it has been heavily shielded from view.

Like when he had a limping 6'6" grave digger near a horse who was owned by a 6'6" warrior who was severely wounded and limping when last seen?

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Like when he had a limping 6'6" grave digger near a horse who was owned by a 6'6" warrior who was severely wounded and limping when last seen?

Precisely not like that. That's hardly shielded at all.

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Precisely not like that. That's hardly shielded at all.

It's called sarcasm. It's way more likely it's a red herring. Foreshadowing 5 books ahead is, let's say, a bit reckless.

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It's called sarcasm. It's way more likely it's a red herring. Foreshadowing 5 books ahead is, let's say, a bit reckless.

In fairness, he only thought he had another two books to go at the time.

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The message could be for any number of people, but it's certainly possible it could be for Howland.

Ned only has one shot at sending a message here, and even that is questionable because Varys admitted that he may or may not send it. So what would Ned need to tell Howland that is so important that it outranks, say, sending a message to his actual family?

Howland recreating the FM would be the single most idiotic thing anyone has ever done. If HR=HS, I can only conclude that Howland has the intelligence of Hodor.

Please, let's not slander Hodor. Even he probably realizes the imbecility of such a move.

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Also, why is Galbart Glover in the RLs for no real reason, instead of maybe trying to spread the news of Robb's will?

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According to our source, ASOIAF wiki, he is from the North. The ASOIAF wiki is run by Westeros.org, who has been mentioned for being a big assist to the forthcoming book, "The World of Ice and Fire, An Untold History of Westeros."

edit: Hmmm.. there does seem to be a notation on the wiki site. It says that he is from the north by the ASOIAF "Campaign Guide."

No quote = lame. No citation other than "Campaign Guide" is not sufficient.

Also, the wiki could say that Wells is from the land of cheese, that is not even approaching plausible evidence.

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No quote = lame. No citation other than "Campaign Guide" is not sufficient.

Also, the wiki could say that Wells is from the land of cheese, that is not even approaching plausible evidence.

I don't agree completely, because all we need for this to be an indication of truth is a chance. Even if it were a 5% chance of truth, it's still more like than random. As we have it, it does not appear to be a random member of a house in the 9 kingdoms, but a 50% chance of being northern. I can't do the math off the top of my head, but that amounts to a better than 50% chance easily, without even considering the campaign guide or the fact that ASOIAF wiki is pretty legit for canon sources. It's more reliable than say, an appendix, which can be written to prevent spoilers. Pretty decent. You may consider that lame, but you are looking for proof, and not for indications of truth. You will find no proof here. So though you may consider it "lame" that you didn't get the exact answer you wanted, it is nevertheless more information than you could possible need.

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I think there are a number of connections.

This is Eddard's last chapter. He is delirious and starved. Early in the chapter, there's this.

He has many different dreams/thoughts before we come to his dreams of the tourney at Harrenhal (note: where the story of the KofLT takes place - a connection to Howland).

There is the lapse of of (I believe) some days before Varys arrives. This whole chapter repays careful reading, but in short between the one quote above and the one following is the quote about Ned wanting to send a message. Then Varys suggests Ned take the black.

The promise to Lyanna is playing on Ned's mind. Is that one of the broken promises? Had he promised to Lyanna he would tell Jon the truth some day? Did he promise more than just protecting Jon? I don't know, but his promise to Lyanna and talking to Jon are on Ned's mind, and who else knows about Jon now other than Howland Reed, also at Harrenhal?

The message could be for any number of people, but it's certainly possible it could be for Howland.

I really like this post, especially because you touched on this in ways I wasn't during my reading, but not in ways that interfere with my thoughts on it.

My personal impression is that Ned has at that point in the dungeon entered the world of shadow. Everything is dark, he's in complete darkness. He's become a shadow like the 6 men who went with him to the Tower of Joy. It's a dark and terrible place, and everything seems lost. When he says he wants to get word out, and Varys counters with words of peace and love... it's almost like Varys knows Ned has already planted the seeds for peace, but he doesn't. Anyways... This probably makes no sense and I'm rambling.

The fact that Ned doesn't think he did enough says something to me, the way he thinks about the tourney at Harrenhal says something. I think at this point, GRRM is foreshadowing that Ned Stark's memory.

And this quote... wow.

Varys gave a long weary sigh, the sigh of a man who carried all the sadness of the world on a sack upon his shoulders. "The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that's true, Lord Eddard, tell me, why is it always the innocents who suffer most when you high lords play your game of thrones?"

To me this is the surprising twist, Varys is coming to Ned's spiritual rescue much as he came to Tyrion's rescue. Varys is filling in the blanks at this point... and I believe Ned has sent Howland to the Riverlands already. Varys doesn't know Howland is in the Riverlands. Ned doesn't believe anymore that Howland is in the Riverlands, or maybe even thinks he shouldn't have done that. But we as readers can glean that between the two characters, a glistening beacon of hope is there in the distance. A high lord not playing the game of thrones, but instead giving peace and relief to victims of war. It's like Chekov's gun, GRRM can't say where Howland is because if he does, the audience will be second guessing each moment that Howland is like to appear. Instead, he plants the seeds of a mysterious shadow character.

I think when we know the full story and look back, moments like these will be more meaningful, as is true with many stories.

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As for the rest of the evidence, it is mostly Apophenia or "patternicity" which is "the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise".

I love this. Gonna try to remember those words. I think that's a good explanation for how there can be so much "evidence" quoted, and yet it ends up being so unconvincing.

Sorry to say, but as far as I'm concerned this theory is in the same category as "Syrio Forel is alive" and "Bran ate Jojen".

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I love this. Gonna try to remember those words. I think that's a good explanation for how there can be so much "evidence" quoted, and yet it ends up being so unconvincing.

I would urge caution with using words out of context.

Apophany was coined as psychiatric diagnostic term for delusional thinking in early stage psychosis (although some misuse it, as above). I don't think it's acceptable to imply someone has mental health issues because they don't share your view.

Please argue the point, not the person.

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I really like this post, especially because you touched on this in ways I wasn't during my reading, but not in ways that interfere with my thoughts on it.

[...]

I think when we know the full story and look back, moments like these will be more meaningful, as is true with many stories.

Everyone experiences reading and interprets it differently, and that's what makes discussion of hidden points and dynamics so enjoyable (for those inclined) - sharing each other's interpretation or discoveries, especially with someone like GRRM who layers his storytelling so well.

I bet we'll still be uncovering hidden gems long after the last book is published.

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The concept is interesting but it has one huge hole in it that hasn't been addressed. Most of the the North has very little to do with the Faith. Ned Stark had to build a small sept for Catelyn because there wasn't one in Winterfell at all prior to her arrival there. The crannogmen are of the North. They've basically been left alone for thousands of years due to the hostile environment of The Neck. As such they would have surely worshipped the Old Gods and had very little exposure or interest in the Faith of the Seven. I can imagine that any proselytizing septon that entered The Neck wouldn't have had much success as he would have been quickly dispatched by either the crannogmen, the diseases that flourish in the swamps, or by the hostile wildlife like the lion-lizards.

As a lord of his people, Howland probably had a better education and some knowledge of the Faith. I doubt though, as a northman and a probably follower of the Old Gods, that his most likely cursory knowledge of the Faith would be enough for him to successfully impersonate a travelling septon. To use the lingo of the books, it'd take one hell of a great bit of mummery for a non-practioner to fool not just the average follower of the Seven but also to then ascend over all other candidates to the position of the High Septon. A trained and intelligent mummer might be able to do this. Maybe even one of the Faceless as well. But a crannogman from the most isolated, inhospitable, and backwards part of all of Westeros? It doesn't seem all that plausible on that basis alone IMHO.

I do like the theory, and enough parts of the books (such as the physical similarity between Howland and the Sparrow) have been underlined to make it seem logical. It could all be just a swerve though by GRRM. I won't be disappointed if Howland = HS when it's all said and done but I just don't see it as likely.

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The concept is interesting but it has one huge hole in it that hasn't been addressed. Most of the the North has very little to do with the Faith. Ned Stark had to build a small sept for Catelyn because there wasn't one in Winterfell at all prior to her arrival there. The crannogmen are of the North. They've basically been left alone for thousands of years due to the hostile environment of The Neck. As such they would have surely worshipped the Old Gods and had very little exposure or interest in the Faith of the Seven. I can imagine that any proselytizing septon that entered The Neck wouldn't have had much success as he would have been quickly dispatched by either the crannogmen, the diseases that flourish in the swamps, or by the hostile wildlife like the lion-lizards.

As a lord of his people, Howland probably had a better education and some knowledge of the Faith. I doubt though, as a northman and a probably follower of the Old Gods, that his most likely cursory knowledge of the Faith would be enough for him to successfully impersonate a travelling septon. To use the lingo of the books, it'd take one hell of a great bit of mummery for a non-practioner to fool not just the average follower of the Seven but also to then ascend over all other candidates to the position of the High Septon. A trained and intelligent mummer might be able to do this. Maybe even one of the Faceless as well. But a crannogman from the most isolated, inhospitable, and backwards part of all of Westeros? It doesn't seem all that plausible on that basis alone IMHO.

I do like the theory, and enough parts of the books (such as the physical similarity between Howland and the Sparrow) have been underlined to make it seem logical. It could all be just a swerve though by GRRM. I won't be disappointed if Howland = HS when it's all said and done but I just don't see it as likely.

That's fair comment, although remember that he didn't ascend over other septons in the usual course of voting. It was a coup by his followers.

My own view on this particular aspect was set out in the previous iteration of the thread.

Howland Reed can 'weave words'.

Knowing (as we do from the story of the KotLT) that Howland Reed is not a fighter, I have often wondered how he saved Ned from Arthur Dayne. Was it guerilla tactics, or did he 'weave words' in some way to save Ned? I wonder what 'weave words' means.

Does this mean he can bewitch with his words or that he is a very charismatic orator or a persuasive man? I don't know, but I think it will prove important. However, being charismatic would certainly help to gain followers along the way, to persuade them and maybe even manipulate them into following him.

Whether it's religion or politics, charismatic leaders can and do obtain extraordinary loyalty from their followers.

Howland Reed worships the Old Gods.

True. And yet I don't have the huge problem with this as some others do. As has already been already said, Howland Reed is a lord and probably educated to a degree (although it is not known in canon to what degree).

If he's been educated as other lords are, I have no doubt he learnt of other religions (as the Stark children did) and political history.

Even if he's not educated to the level we see with various lordly families in the series, as long as he can read, he is still better educated than smallfolk, and he can learn about the faith of the Seven and political history if it suits his purposes.

It is also worth remembering that he is posing as an itinerant septon - a hedge priest, if you will. Historically, hedge priests (such as Lollards) didn't have parishes (septs) or even established orders, and some were unable to read Latin (as was usual for priests then) or could even uneducated all together. Theirs could be a 'rough' unlettered version of theology, aimed at the uneducated of the countryside. I think a weaver of words would be capable of this type and level of imposture.

This imposture is not a holy calling but is a means to an end, a way of building an army (even a guerilla one) within King's Landing itself. There is plenty of precedent for peasants being roused to revolt by charismatic men, especially by religious men - see John Ball (a Lollard priest) and the Peasants' Revolt. The aftermath of war is the very time for charismatic leaders to gain followers from amongst the dispossessed. The followers themselves may not even be completely motivated by religious fervour, but by many other emotions that can be manipulated, such as anger, revenge, or a desire for justice or reform, etc.

There have been imposter priests in history, just as there have been pretenders to the throne.

On the basis that Howland Reed is the High Sparrow, how did he contrive to be High Septon from the outset?

My view is: he didn't.

There were already vagabonds and dispossessed in the countryside and vagrants making their way to King's Landing following the various battles and their violent aftermaths. I suspect he could have been informed of this and set out with a number of crannogmen and Northmen to King's Landing under the disguise of an itinerant septon and followers as a way of blending in, in order to infiltrate King's Landing. My feeling at this stage was that he picked up followers along the way from amongst these disaffected and the dispossessed.

As their journey progressed, and his following increased exponentially, his plans probably developed with this, and he took advantage of the opportunities presenting themselves to him. What may have started out as an infiltration mission may have developed by pure opportunity into an overt power grab for high office.

Clever charlatans purporting to espouse beliefs (be they religious or political) they don't hold as a means to end can be found throughout history.

I'm not saying I'm definitely right, but I do think it's a possibility.

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But a crannogman from the most isolated, inhospitable, and backwards part of all of Westeros? It doesn't seem all that plausible on that basis alone IMHO.

I do like the theory, and enough parts of the books (such as the physical similarity between Howland and the Sparrow) have been underlined to make it seem logical. It could all be just a swerve though by GRRM. I won't be disappointed if Howland = HS when it's all said and done but I just don't see it as likely.

Yikes, I just have to address this statement as it's utterly ridiculous. What makes you think the crannogman are the most backwards house in Westeros?

Roose Bolton practices "first night" and has a flayed man as his sigil.

The Iron Born are basically just rapers and raiders.

The Freys said that the people of the Neck had green teeth. Did they?

There is a big difference between people being "percieved" as backwards, and actually being backwards. They may work with Bronze instead of iron, but I don't think that negates every aspect of their culture. What does Jojen say, a "Reader lives a thousand lives. A man who never reads, just one"

Meera and Jojen, as we've gotten to know them, have proven themselves extremely well educated, practical and anything but backwards. As for their enviroment being inhospitable, that has little and less to do with their level of education. They may work with bronze instead of iron, maybe, but there's no evidence that they can't work with iron, just that they prefer bronze. There are still other fields, such as medicine, philosophy, law, religion, art, etc, that we do not know their education level compared to others. But we do know Howland Reed went to the Isle of Faces and met the Green Men. We also know that Meera has an outsiders outlook on knights, "Sometimes knights are the monsters, Bran" that may help. This statement shows both a sympathy for knights, and a measure for a knight's faults.

If we've learned anything from GRRM, it's that things aren't always what they seem.

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Yikes, I just have to address this statement as it's utterly ridiculous. What makes you think the crannogman are the most backwards house in Westeros?

Roose Bolton practices "first night" and has a flayed man as his sigil.

The Iron Born are basically just rapers and raiders.

The Freys said that the people of the Neck had green teeth. Did they?

There is a big difference between people being "percieved" as backwards, and actually being backwards. They may work with Bronze instead of iron, but I don't think that negates every aspect of their culture. What does Jojen say, a "Reader lives a thousand lives. A man who never reads, just one"

Meera and Jojen, as we've gotten to know them, have proven themselves extremely well educated, practical and anything but backwards. As for their enviroment being inhospitable, that has little and less to do with their level of education. They may work with bronze instead of iron, maybe, but there's no evidence that they can't work with iron, just that they prefer bronze. There are still other fields, such as medicine, philosophy, law, religion, art, etc, that we do not know their education level compared to others. But we do know Howland Reed went to the Isle of Faces and met the Green Men. We also know that Meera has an outsiders outlook on knights, "Sometimes knights are the monsters, Bran" that may help. This statement shows both a sympathy for knights, and a measure for a knight's faults.

If we've learned anything from GRRM, it's that things aren't always what they seem.

Because logic, really.

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