The Coconut God

Will Jon and Sansa lead refugees to Essos in TWoW?

26 posts in this topic

10 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

That's some nice circular logic you've got here... You doubled down on the parallel, but did nothing to support it. I don't really have much invested in this notion because it's not really apparent or meaningful so far. Certainly not meaningful and apparent enough to counter my own theory, as @chrisdaw suggested.

Can we see Arya develop more into a leader and savior figure in the future? Maybe... I doubt it, but maybe. Maybe when she's in her late twenties, in the epilogue of the last book, we can see Arya leading her people back to Westeros. But this isn't relevant to what's happening in TWoW.

And so far the biggest parallel Arya has with Nymeria is that she named her wolf after her, but most Stark children named their wolves after a childhood fancy. Sansa named hers Lady, a concept she only dreamed about without really understanding, just like Arya dreamed about an idealized adventurer queen. Bran named his Summer, and we know where he is now. If the wolves' names pay off in any way it's not going to be in TWoW (except perhaps for Ghost).

Of course she's allowed a plot, a plot that develops organically from her current character and situation. That plot, however, is a lot harder to guess. In any case, this is quite a tangent. Do you have any thoughts on my actual theory? If you do, I would love to hear them!

The names of the direwolves are hugely important and reflective of their owner's storylines. The death of Lady marks the beginning of the process that leads to Sansa's alienation from the traditional concept of ladyhood. Jon will likely spend some time in Ghost before coming back in Winds. Robb's reign was short and powerful blast from the North. Bran's story is about the struggle to see summer once again. The name Shaggydog doesn't look promising for Rickon as it means a protracted story that goes nowhere - could easily fit what we have so far and him being the only remaining non-POV Stark kid. A kinder interpretation would be that it reflects his wildness, with the dog rather than wolf showing that he has spent too long away from the Starks at an early age.

The wolf Nymeria has already started to echo Princess Nymeria in not only leading a pack but uniting all the disparate groups in the Riverlands into one. Even if you think the names have no relevance it is obvious that the wolves' characteristics match their owner's personality (e.g. Lady being very delicate and Shaggydog wild).

To reiterate in greater depth the point I made above, both Arya and Nymeria are commonly classed as fighters when their strengths lie predominantly in their strategic ability. To quote the World of Ice and Fire: "In the songs, Nymeria is said to have been a witch and a warrior; neither of these claims is true. Though she did not bear arms in battle, she led her soldiers on many battlefields, commanding them with cunning and skill." Many readers come away with the impression that Arya too is a warrior (not helped by a certain adaptation). This is despite her training in the House of Black and White revolving around languages, deception and making full use of her senses. Whenever she tries to fight anyone, Arya fails as she is only a little girl despite her enthusiasm. However, she demonstrates her cunning multiple times - most notably in tricking Jaqen into assisting her Weasel Soup plot. The lateral thinking she uses to get the most out of her one wish in a short amount of time is extraordinary for someone of her age.

Although the Maester writing the World of Ice and Fire is sceptical of the claims Nymeria had any magical abilities, the order as a whole looks down on belief in such practices. It is very conceivable that Nymeria was indeed a witch, much as Arya is a powerful warg - comfortably the second most powerful of the Stark kids.

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Arya is Nymeria's parallel with a side of Arianne. Arianne will be a wannabe Nymeria and failure. Attaching Nymeria anywhere else is leading the foreshadowing rather than letting it lead you.

And Arya will lead the people to salvation in the sea, only the sea will have dried. It will be the realisation of Mother Mole's prophecy/vision and multiple character's dreams and visions of a mass of spotted caves with fires. And from the shipwrecks of the Blackwater and the Gullet chain they'll throw together a makeshift wooden wall, and when the Others come Arya will order that the realm make their last stand there and to fire their wall. It will be the last battle in the war for the dawn.

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6 hours ago, RobertOfTheHouseBaratheon said:

But the world building of Westeros takes place throughout Feast & Dance. Why flesh all that out then leave the continent in the next book?

What is that world building telling us, though? Brienne's chapter show us that the Riverlands and Crownlands are broken. Displaced villagers, beggars, orphaned children, outlaws hiding in the woods, corpses strewn everywhere and little to no remaining able bodied soldiers. They're absolutely ripe for a zombie invasion, and we even get a nice bit of foreshadowing with stories of squishers and talking heads.

The North is covered in snow, so there's little chance we'll see another conventional conflict there after Stannis defeats the Boltons. Once that happens, there won't be any more plots waiting to be resolved in the North anyway. The wildlings made it through the Wall (there won't be any Hardhome rescue in the books, Mel already made that clear), Jon resolved the Karstark situation and the Grand Northern Conspiracy is baked in with Stannis's story and will be resolved early on, same as Davos bringing Rickon back into the plot. The only other thing George added was White Harbor... Why did he spend a whole chapter to meticulously describe it? Because that's where the Others will strike at Team Jon.

As for the Vale and the South, they still have a whole book worth of action before the Others get there. The Battle of White Harbor will take place halfway through the book at the earliest, we still need the Battle of Ice to happen, the Wall to fall and Stannis to have his defeat first, plus all the parallel chapters. Sansa won't know about of the Others' invasion earlier than that, and she won't need to leave until the the end of the book, so there's still a lot of time for conventional storylines in the Vale, and the South will be occupied with the Aegon vs Cersei conflict for the entire book, with the Others reaching the Crownlands in the epilogue at the earliest... so world building in the South and Vale is not wasted.

@Horse of Kent I enjoyed reading your post, but I get the feeling you're allowing symbolism to get ahead of character development with all that. Yes, there are some nice connection with the names of the wolves, but they're not "hugely important". Lady and Summer are very generic. Sansa's story is not greatly influenced by the wolf, it would have been entirely realistic without that connection, and the same can be said about Bran - one doesn't need a magical wolf to want summer to return. Ghost hints at one major event in Jon's life, and the role the wolf will play, but not his overall arc or personality.

If you want a parallel between Arya and Nymeria, it already exists. Just like Nymeria, Arya fled her oppressors across the Narrow Sea, stopping in various locations and having different adventures along the way until she finally found safety in a new way of life. But if you want Arya to literally parallel Nymeria and lead people, I'm sorry, but she needs far more development than she has time for in Winds. Dany took more than half the series to grow into a leader, and Arya has yet to start. She may not be a warrior like Brienne, she is a spy and assassin, but neither of those spells "political figurehead"... yet.

@chrisdaw That's a cool idea, but incompatibility with a crackpot theory, cool as it is, is not a good enough argument to counter my own. Where would all the water go anyway if the sea dries out? And why can't the Others attack from the land as well?

Edited by The Coconut God

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On ‎7‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:49 PM, The Coconut God said:

This is an idea I already mentioned in the Timeframe thread, but I've been mulling it over lately and I decided it deserves its own topic.

Basically, I believe that the final act of the story won't be about stopping the Others but about surviving them in the only way possible: fleeing across the Narrow Sea. There may be a last stand at the end of the series to prevent them from crossing the Broken arm of Dorne, or a desperate quest to reverse the Long Night that might eventually lead to the Others retreating back North, but before that happens Westeros will fall. This is a story where mistakes have dire consequences, and the Seven Kingdoms have done nothing to prepare for the Others; in fact, they are weaker than they've ever been. Stannis will no doubt try to fight them, but he will fail tragically, bringing his arc to a satisfying conclusion through a series of events that parallel what happened to him on the show.

Soon after regaining consciousness and becoming the leader of the North (either through Robb's will, the impact made by his resurrection or as regent to Rickon, it doesn't really matter), I believe Jon will realize he no longer has a chance to fight the Others, so he will try to get as many survivors as he can to White Harbor and use the Manderly fleet to ferry them to Braavos. I suspect this is what actually inspired the show's Hardhome episode, and it will play out similarly, with wights swarming the city and Jon narrowly escaping with heavy losses. Once they reach Essos, the Braavosi will most likely not allow the refugees to remain near their city, but the loan agreement Jon hammered out with Tycho will probably pay off here, and the coin will be used to start a colony further south in Andalos, between Pentos and Norvos (both of which are likely to play a role in the next books). I can see all this happening by the 50th chapter (give or take a few), around the point where the Red Wedding happens in Storm.

As news of the Others arrive in the Riverlands, people will seek refuge in the Vale of Arryn, but whether they all get it or not, in the second act of the book the Vale will need to be evacuated as well. It's hard to say if Sansa will still be in hiding at this time, but I suspect she won't, and she will probably play a role in allowing the refugees inside the Vale.

It's pretty clear that Sansa won't have anything to do with Ramsay in the books, but she may have to face another sadistic psychopath in Euron. If my theory is true, Euron, by now most likely allied with Cersei, will serve as a perfect foil for the second fleet of refugees headed for Essos. Whether Sansa will try to seduce him to gain his support and ships, oblivious to his real character, or he simply captures her during the crossing it's hard to say. If she does succeed in keeping him interested enough make him demote Cersei to salt wife, she could be the "younger more beautiful queen" from the prophecy, although I suspect in the end she won't be very happy with the situation either (the Valonqar will probably be Victarion and it will come completely out of left field for Cersei). In the final act of the book, or early in ADoS, I can see Jon becoming entangled in the Euron plot; if he's not the one sending the Manderly fleet back to the Vale to begin with, he will at least eventually try to rescue his sister.

I'm not sure about any details in the south, but I think it's safe to assume both Cersei and Connington/Aegon will ignore the invasion, either because they don't believe it's true or because they don't think it will spread beyond the North. The last remaining great armies of the south will probably slaughter each other just as the Others spill into the North and Riverlands. If she does burn King's Landing, Cersei might end up reigning from aboard Silence, which would be a way for her to eventually interact with Sansa and end up at Victarion's mercy. There may or may not be a grey scale plague triggered by Connington. Either way, I believe the South will fall to the Others as well, but probably not in Winds.

As for Dany, well, she is the main reason I came up with this theory. Dany and Jon are the titular Fire and Ice of the series, so their arcs are expected to merge before all is said and done. The only problem is that she is very far away from Jon plot-wise. As of ADwD, she apparently has to unite the Dothraki, subdue the Ghiscari, pacify Volantis, march West, deal with Pentos, get past Euron... and that's just to get to Westeros. Unless Jon somehow comes south by the time Dany arrives, she also has to deal with Cersei, Aegon and Dorne before she can get to him and the Others. Many people don't even think she can cover so many plot lines in two books... not without rushing them all.

But what if she doesn't have to cover them? What if Euron is Jon and Sansa's villain, not Dany's? What if Jon himself comes east to meet her half way? Suddenly there's a lot less pressure on Dany to move west. She doesn't have to be rushed ahead to propel the plot. She can follow her own arc, which I believe is using the Dothraki to conquer the entirety of Essos, effectively ending slavery on the continent (something that happens to be very convenient for all the Westerosi refugees, mostly women and children I'd assume, who would have likely ended up as chattel without her arc). Even if she gives up on Westeros entirely, she's still going to meet Jon when she moves to Norvos, or Lys, Tyrosh and Myr.

Speaking of the Free Cities... the cherry on the top is that if my theory is true and much of TWoW and ADoS takes place in Essos, then all the side stories set up on this continent in AFFC and ADwD are that more likely to pay off in the end without slowing the story down. Areo Hotah introduced us to Norvos seemingly without a point - he could have easily been Dornish. Well, maybe that's where Jon and Dany meet (and Quentin's mother gets to play a part as well, react somehow to the mother of the dragons her own son died to claim). Maybe Euron is the reason they make an alliance; or maybe Jon slays or claims a dragon before Dany gets to him.

What do you guys think? Do you see this being a possibility? Have there been similar theories? I'd like to read or listen to them if you remember any. Do you think it would propel the story or slow it down? Would you be satisfied with a story where Westeros falls to the Others, temporarily or permanently?

I don't think the story is about the others at all, it is about the game of thrones. In other words, the fight for control of the crown. The others are there to serve as a plot device for motivating various characters, but the thrust of the story is really about what is going on south of the wall. Remember, the role of the Whitewalkers in the books is very small outside of motivating movements of characters central to the story, they are barely mentioned at all. What is mentioned however is what the wildlings are doing, and so far as the story beyond the wall is concerned, it is all about them, NOT the Whitewalkers. It is not like the TV series where the Whitewalkers are portrayed as the primary protagonists and the wildlings play a minor role.

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@tugela Here's an interview with George from last december. This is the relevant quote:

"It is called The Winds of Winter, and I’ve been telling you for 20 years that winter was coming. Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fills the world, so this is not gonna be the happy feel-good that people may be hoping for. Some of the characters [are] in very dark places…In any story, the classic structure is, ‘Things get worse before they get better,’ so things are getting worse for a lot of people."

I don't think the show is portraying the Others just because they're cool. We're going to see them in the books as well. Otherwise, the people who've been motivated by them all this time, particularly Jon, will look beyond idiotic.

Edit: This is not to mean that the battle against the Others is the thematic endgame of the series. Politics and alliances are still going to be the focus, but on an apocalyptic background. Think of it in terms of what would happen politically if we were struck by a global disaster.

Edited by The Coconut God

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