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Black Crow

Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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2 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Question for native english speakers: What does "at a time" mean in context of the first quote ? Is there a reason to add that part to Old Nan's story ? Like the Long Night last several sun hides.

"At a time" means within a particular, unbroken moment; within a period of time.

In other words, the Long Night was a period where men went for several consecutive years without seeing the sun--without light, without warmth. 

It is said in contrast to what is "normal." If the sun normally sets at night and rises in the morning, you might say "the sun hides its face for hours at a time."

The reason, within the context of the story, is to reinforce how dire the situation was, how long mankind suffered without reprieve; think of it in relation to the winters and summers that last for years. The Long Night was a long winter, with cloud cover and storms so severe that there was no daylight, no dawn, no sun to slow the movement of the Others and the wights.

Edited by Matthew.

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8 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

The biggest mystery to me, is in the final conflict,  who is going to end up on which side.

The current direction of everything is that despite some conflicts and fighting,  all the POV characters are going to end up united under Jon against the evil Others.

Nothing could be further from what I expect from GRRM, and I think he is deliberately setting things up this way, only to have us find characters (Mel, Bran, Jon imo the most likely) on the Other side.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see a Night King exactly like on the show leading the Others, only to be replaced by some we know and love before the final battle. 

Oh I certainly think that this is going to be the case and will contribute to the bittersweet ending, although I'd disagree about the "evil" others. GRRM has repeatedly stated that that he's against that kind of polarisation. Its going to be a lot greyer and a lot more ambiguous than as first appears.

I don't think that there is, currently, a mummers'style Nights King, but I really won't be surprised to find a Golden Company scenario with the exiles [white walkers] looking for a Stark to lead them back to reclaim what was once theirs.

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7 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I agree. Of the listed characters, I feel like Bran is the one that is the most at risk of ending up aligned with the Others--or, more accurately, I think the Others might end up aligned with Bran.

I find it worth repeating that, in terms of ethical usage of power, what Bran is doing to Hodor is horrific, a fact that might be somewhat occluded by Bran's 'crime' lacking the physical, visceral repulsiveness exhibited by some of the more violent and sadistic characters; nonetheless, Bran casually stealing a man's body (while he cowers in the corner of his own mind) because he's bored and feels like taking a stroll around BR's cave is pretty fucked up.

Back when I first read AGOT/ACOK/ASOS my suspicion was that the ultimate point of Bran's arc was to master his power and take another metaphysical flight, past the ice spires with their impaled dreamers, and once again enter the Heart of Winter--all toward the end of disrupting the enemy's power. Now, I still think he's going to take another dream flight, but I suspect the possible end point is Bran seizing control of the wight horde.

Edit: In particular, I'm being mindful here of the fact that Bran knows about what has happened to his family in mostly abstract terms; indeed, he was "off the grid" when the Red Wedding happened, and while he sensed Robb's death, I don't think he knows about his mother yet.

IMO, the capacity to personally witness what has happened (and what continues to happen) to his fellow Starks through weirnet will be an irresistible temptation; in turn, Bran might be tempted to embrace House Stark's words, and punish their enemies.

:agree: but wouldn't limit it to Bran

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9 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Dreams, like prophecies, can be deceptive, and this wouldn't be the first time Dany had metaphorical dreams. It would be way too obvious and easy if this was really meant to be the Others... And, even if this is a prophetic dream, Dany never saw the Trident, so we can't know for sure it's hinting at Westeros.

Yah, my own interpretation of this dream is that these aren't her memories.  I think this is a prophetic dream, a dragon dream of sorts and the nightmare memories of the usurper at the Trident are the dragon's memories.  Specifically, Rhaegar's memories.

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9 hours ago, LynnS said:

Yah, my own interpretation of this dream is that these aren't her memories.  I think this is a prophetic dream, a dragon dream of sorts and the nightmare memories of the usurper at the Trident are the dragon's memories.  Specifically, Rhaegar's memories.

I agree that its Rhaegar's memories, but there's nothing prophetic about them. Rather its a reflection or introversion of what happened back then. The dragon should have prevailed, its what he marched north to do and immolating or melting the cold northmen was what should have happened - but it didn't and that's why Danaerys wakens with the almost petulent cry that this is what was meant to be.

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20 hours ago, LynnS said:

A Storm of Swords - Daenerys III

That night she dreamt that she was Rhaegar, riding to the Trident. But she was mounted on a dragon, not a horse. When she saw the Usurper's rebel host across the river they were armored all in ice, but she bathed them in dragonfire and they melted away like dew and turned the Trident into a torrent. Some small part of her knew that she was dreaming, but another part exulted. This is how it was meant to be. The other was a nightmare, and I have only now awakened.

 

31 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I agree that its Rhaegar's memories, but there's nothing prophetic about them. Rather its a reflection or introversion of what happened back then. The dragon should have prevailed, its what he marched north to do and immolating or melting the cold northmen was what should have happened - but it didn't and that's why Danaerys wakens with the almost petulent cry that this is what was meant to be.

Perhaps, but specifically, they are armored in ice and we've also had that same description of Jon.  

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8 hours ago, LynnS said:

Yah, my own interpretation of this dream is that these aren't her memories.  I think this is a prophetic dream, a dragon dream of sorts and the nightmare memories of the usurper at the Trident are the dragon's memories.  Specifically, Rhaegar's memories.

That's an interesting take on it. We already know weirwoods can store old memories, so why shouldn't Dany be able to access Rhaegar's somehow? I find it plausible. But there may be no deeper reason for this, other than she is before a great battle herself and her subconscious resonates with the remnants of Rhaegar's subconscious.

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6 minutes ago, LynnS said:

 

Perhaps, but specifically, they are armored in ice and we've also had that same description of Jon.  

True but from a Dragon's point of view they would be and once again no matter the attempts by some to shoehorn him into the AA role it emphasises where Jon's true allegiance lies, whether he recognises it yet or not.

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40 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

That's an interesting take on it. We already know weirwoods can store old memories, so why shouldn't Dany be able to access Rhaegar's somehow? I find it plausible. But there may be no deeper reason for this, other than she is before a great battle herself and her subconscious resonates with the remnants of Rhaegar's subconscious.

I've suggested before that the 'singing dragon' of Dany's recurring dragon dream is Rhaegar who of course is known for his songs; spending much time alone at Summerhall composing songs.  I don't think that Drogo's soul went into the black egg during MMD's tent ritual; but rather it was already occupied by Rheagar and this is the 'dragon' that she wakes.  

I think the black egg was Rhaegar's egg and this is the mystery of 'waking the dragon', that it contains his soul after death.  Jorah says it nicely:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys III

"I hit him," she said, wonder in her voice. Now that it was over, it seemed like some strange dream that she had dreamed. "Ser Jorah, do you think … he'll be so angry when he gets back …" She shivered. "I woke the dragon, didn't I?"

Ser Jorah snorted. "Can you wake the dead, girl? Your brother Rhaegar was the last dragon, and he died on the Trident. Viserys is less than the shadow of a snake."

His blunt words startled her. It seemed as though all the things she had always believed were suddenly called into question. "You … you swore him your sword …"

I think this is essentially why Aerys thought he could die and be reborn a dragon.  In this case, Dany sacrifices her unborn son who trades states with the 'dead' egg and so he is described as dead long ago and partially transformed into a dragon at birth; while Rhaegar is resurrected as a dragon with his memories intact.

Memories that Dany is subject to and the reason why she sees herself as Rhaegar or wearing Rheager's black armor.  Essentially the black dragon is the black armor; both when she rides the dragon and when she sees herself transformed into a dragon.

Waking the dragon from stone seems to be about waking the soul contained in the dragon egg.

32 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

True but from a Dragon's point of view they would be and once again no matter the attempts by some to shoehorn him into the AA role it emphasises where Jon's true allegiance lies, whether he recognises it yet or not.

What I wonder is how much Rhaegar knew about being transformed into a dragon and whether or not he knew something about Jon's destiny given the mystery around Lyanna.  Especially if he revels in bathing the northmen in fire in triumph.       

Edited by LynnS

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26 minutes ago, LynnS said:

What I wonder is how much Rhaegar knew about being transformed into a dragon and whether or not he knew something about Jon's destiny given the mystery around Lyanna.  Especially if he revels in bathing the northmen in fire in triumph.       

More than we do, and therein lies the problem.

Maester Aemon hints at it when he speaks of being misled by the translation and how dragons can be male or female. There is an assumption that when he speaks of dragons in that passage he's doing so metaphorically in the sense of Targaryen Kings being synonymous with dragons, but what if the prophecy or at least the Targaryen interpretation of the prophecy culminates in a literal transformation, of in this case Danaerys, into a dragon.

Where Lyanna and her son fit into such a scenario I don't know, but if its so we can't rule out a preemptive strike on the other lot, perhaps to prevent something happening, rather than a great love story.

 

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Where Lyanna and her son fit into such a scenario I don't know, but if its so we can't rule out a preemptive strike on the other lot, perhaps to prevent something happening, rather than a great love story.

 

When Kevan Lannister said that Rhaegar wouldn't have 'looked twice' at Lyanna if Cersei had been present; he assumes it would be a contest of beauty.  But 'looking twice' at someone can also mean that he recognized something.  I've come to think that his solo trips to Summerhall weren't just about composing songs but rather meeting with the Ghost of High Heart and trading songs for dreams.  She is most likely the woods witch who made the prophecy to Jahaerys.  That's speculation on my part but a preemptive strike might begin with recognition.  

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On 4/15/2018 at 11:49 AM, The Coconut God said:

Personally, I don't believe this is where the story is headed at all. Winter is coming all right, and the Others with it, but they will not be beaten. Stannis will try to face them on the field, as we all know he would, but he will fail miserably and from then on it will be a full on rout. By the time Jon regains his senses, the situation will already be hopeless (whether or not he could have changed anything if he was awake will probably be a point of contention both within the story and without), and his only choice will be to do what Mance did and flee with the survivors.

Only they won't flee south, into the desolation of the Riverlands and Cersei's war with Aegon. They will board the Manderly fleet at White Harbor and sail across the Narrow Sea to Braavos, where the two loans Tycho agreed to offer, the one to Jon and the one to the Baratheon family, which Justin Massey would have probably collected by this point, can be diverted towards buying food and supplies for the refugees as they attempt to settle on Essos.

As ravens fly with news of the invasion and the Others themselves make their way south, more will choose to flee, some with survivors, others with as many valuables their ships can carry, and Euron will prey on them relentlessly, either on his own, or with Cersei's blessing, since surely she would want to punish all these "traitors" for abandoning her kingdom and stealing from it men, food and treasures. Thus, Euron will probably be an antagonist for Sansa as the Vale and the Riverlands survivors attempt to cross the Narrow Sea, and eventually to Jon if catches wind of this and has any means to help.

By the end of the series, the south will evacuate as well, not before hundreds of thousands will die, and the entirety of Westeros will become the new "Land of Always Winter". What stops the Others from going even further? Imho, Jaime, Brienne and The Brotherhood Without Banners traveling to help Bran in a reenactment of the last hero story, but I doubt anyone other than the reader and Bran himself will find out about it.

During all this, the displaced Westerosi will inevitably encounter Dany as she sweeps across Essos with her Dothraki army, in a bid to eradicate slavery not only from Slaver's Bay, but from all of the Free Cities, and ultimately to unite the entire continent under her rule, Just like the first three books focused on the War of the Five Kings, the final two will primarily focus on the reshaping of Essos, with all the tensions, conflicts and alliances brought by Dany's conquest, the refugee crisis and the setting winter. Braavos will very likely play a very important role, since so many things gravitate around it: Jon's loan, Arya and the Faceless Men, Tysha/The Sailor's Wife, Dany's childhood memories, potentially the destruction of Valyria... hard to believe they won't be explored.

I've had this theory since last year, but as much as I managed to convince myself it's very plausible, it didn't seem to garner much support in the Winds of Winter subforum, so I'm really curious what you heretics think.

I like it. I’ve been predicting a reversal of conquests, but you’re theory takes it a step further with the return migrations to Essos. I can definitely see this as a possibility.

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3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I like it. I’ve been predicting a reversal of conquests, but you’re theory takes it a step further with the return migrations to Essos. I can definitely see this as a possibility.

There may well be some people moving to Essor but this story is about Westeros and always has been. It will culminate in Westeros andbe resolved there. There hasn't even been a hint of it moving to Essos

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5 hours ago, LynnS said:

When Kevan Lannister said that Rhaegar wouldn't have 'looked twice' at Lyanna if Cersei had been present; he assumes it would be a contest of beauty.  But 'looking twice' at someone can also mean that he recognized something.  I've come to think that his solo trips to Summerhall weren't just about composing songs but rather meeting with the Ghost of High Heart and trading songs for dreams.  She is most likely the woods witch who made the prophecy to Jahaerys.  That's speculation on my part but a preemptive strike might begin with recognition.  

Indeed, but on the other hand I'm not convinced that the move was specifically directed at Lyanna - rather at the Starks generally and she was the most vulnerable

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19 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

There hasn't even been a hint of it moving to Essos

Our little Nymeria will have to migrate her pack somewhere or else .... Sommer ends when Winter comes. 

Edited by SirArthur

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Indeed, but on the other hand I'm not convinced that the move was specifically directed at Lyanna - rather at the Starks generally and she was the most vulnerable

Aerys had a thing for the Starks.  Killing both Rickard, Brandon and then attempting to get his hands on Ned.  So if Rhaegar was involved with Lyanna's disappearance; was it to prevent Jon's birth or ensure it.  I still don't think that Jon is Rheagar's offspring.  If anything, Dany is his third child (child of three) and he wanted another Visenya to complete the second coming of Aegon and his sisters.

When Dany has her vision of Rhaegar, Elia and Aegon, Rhaegar thought this son was the PwiP and later we learn from Jaimie that he thought he would win at the Trident.  So why did he need Lyanna and Jon?  I suspect it gave him leverage and he needed the Starks to kneel.

Edited by LynnS

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9 hours ago, LynnS said:

Aerys had a thing for the Starks.  Killing both Rickard, Brandon and then attempting to get his hands on Ned.  So if Rhaegar was involved with Lyanna's disappearance; was it to prevent Jon's birth or ensure it.  I still don't think that Jon is Rheagar's offspring.  If anything, Dany is his third child (child of three) and he wanted another Visenya to complete the second coming of Aegon and his sisters.

I'm not sure that Jon was a factor. I think that Rhaegar was trying to neutralise the Starks and Jon was an unintended consequence whether Rhaegar or Rumpelstiltskin was the father.

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14 hours ago, Black Crow said:

There may well be some people moving to Essor but this story is about Westeros and always has been. It will culminate in Westeros andbe resolved there. There hasn't even been a hint of it moving to Essos

The story is about the Song of Ice and Fire, and everything Fire-related comes from Essos. I don't know what George might have said and what was the context, but the text itself makes no promises to culminate and resolve in Westeros. On the contrary, Feast and Dance focus on Essos a lot more than the previous books. If George chose to set things up on Essos when there are only two books left (and he reiterated recently that he's still going with that plan), then it is very likely, if not necessary, for the story to shift to that location.

The hints are there if you look for them. Indeed, they are few, but we're talking about a potential major twist from Winds. How many hints did we get about the Red Wedding before Storm came out? Plenty to notice during a re-read, but not enough to give the game away.

There's at least one instance of direct foreshadowing, though. Here's Davos thinking about a voyage to the east, from Davos II, ADwD:

Quote

When he'd been younger, Davos had dreamed of making such voyages himself [...]. One day, he told himself. One day when the war is done and King Stannis sits the Iron Throne and has no more need of Onion Knights. I'll take Devan with me. Steff and Stanny too if they're old enough. We'll see these dragons and all the wonders of the world.

If Stannis dies, Davos will more than likely gravitate towards Jon's camp, especially after saving, or attempting to save his brother. If Davos and Devan voyage east, it will be with Jon, and sooner than he expects. He will see dragons when they encounter Dany, and, of course, the Titan of Braavos is one of their wonders of the world.

The very next passage seems to foreshadow White Harbor as a refuge after the Others breach the wall, as well as a potential attack there:

Quote

Outside the wind was gusting, making the flames shiver in the oil lamps that lit the yard. It had grown colder since the sun went down, but Davos remembered Eastwatch, and how the wind would come screaming off the Wall at night, knifing through even the warmest cloak to freeze a man's blood right in his veins. White Harbor was a warm bath by comparison.

Now, here's a passage from Jon X, ASoS, Mance talking to Jon about the Others:

Quote

"The giants have not been able to stand against them, not the Thenns, the ice river clans, the Hornfoots..."

"Nor you?"

"Nor me. [...] I've come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall. [...] If I sound the Horn of Winter, the Wall will fall. Or so the songs would have me believe. There are those among my people who want nothing more..."

"But once the Wall is fallen," Dalla said, "what will stop the Others?"

A similar idea is stated again by Tormund in Jon XII, ADwD:

Quote

You killed a dead man, aye, I heard. Mance killed a hundred. A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up... how do you fight a mist, crow? Shadows with teeth... air so cold it hurts to breathe, like a knife inside your chest... you do not know, you cannot know... can your sword cut cold?

While Jon's Valyrian steel sword most likely can cut cold, it's only one sword. The cache of obsidian blades Sam brought to the Wall is also too small to make a difference. I'm not even sure if Jon armed his brothers with them yet, but even if he did, will they use them effectively without Jon in command? And if Castle Black falls or is abandoned, with Jon "dead" and Sam in Oldtown, will any survivors even know to take those blades with them, or will they just leave them behind?

At the end of ASoS, Stannis sent orders to Dragonstone to mine for obsidian, but almost certainly Loras taking the castle put a stop to that. I expect Rolland Storm, the castellan, to be dead or soon to be dispatched, because he was a pretender to a title the Lannister gave to someone else.

As of yet, assuming Jon will be "out cold" during the actual invasion, the reality is that the forces in the North, on top of being severely weakened and disorganized, have little knowledge and even fewer means of fighting the Others. Let's face it, if they breach the Wall, the outcome will be bleak. Fleeing is the only solution that seems reasonable to me based on the text... What are the alternatives? The Others conveniently waiting even longer? What, will they wait until Spring? An interview with George from 2016 seems to suggest it's finally time for them:

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

Will there be some last second McGuffin to hold them back? Doesn't sound like George. Will Jon simply treat with them? Ok, maybe the Others are not purely evil and there may be ways to do that... eventually. But it's not going to happen right away. Let's not forget Jon spent three books fighting the Wildlings before treating with them, and another book before he allowed the bulk of them south of the Wall, and there are still a lot of tensions. This time, the humans don't even know what the Others want or how to talk to them.

If there are negotiations, or some magical price paid, it will probably not even be Jon who does that, but the Last Hero party (like I said, I'm betting on Jaime and Brienne leading that group), independently from him (or anyone else but Bran). And the result likely won't be "Ok guys, we're heading home. Here's Winterfell back, I hope you like how we redecorated", but more akin to "So be it, we won't go beyond the Stepstones".

And if Jon gathers whatever survivors he can and flees, Braavos is the likeliest destination, via Karhold and White Harbor. These are the major locations that were set up by the events in ADwD with relation to the North. And Winterfell, Deepwood Motte and the lands of the Mountain Clans, but Winterfell was a given and the other two are less connected to Jon (if George is good, there will be some respite after the Battle of Ice to bring some women and children from the clans to Winterfell's Winter Town, so they can more easily reach White Harbor later; if not, they are likely doomed alongside Lyana Mormont and the Glover family, since they are sadly on the wrong side of the continent for a hasty retreat).

On Jon's side, the connection is established through Tycho Nestoris, the loan, and Justin Massey going there with Fake Arya. I know he was meant to take her to Jon, but since Jon will be "dead" and Castle Black in chaos, I assume he will take her there with him. Jon even considered sending her to Braavos himself, once he got her back. Jon IX, ADwD:

Quote

She could return to Braavos with Tycho Nestoris. Perhaps the Iron Bank could help find some noble family to foster her. Braavos was the nearest of the Free Cities... which made it both the best and the worst choice.

Of course, this could just be played for irony, since the reader knows Arya is already in Braavos, but Jon could easily go through the same thought process while looking for a refuge from the Others. Braavos is close, he has a connection there, and the Iron Bank can offer financial support.

Now, I should give you another quote, but it's too massive to post, so I'll just point you to the end of The Blind Girl chapter in ADwD. Arya explains at length how the Sealord seized the Lyseni ship Goodheart because it was transporting enslaved wildlings from Hardhome. This means that the Braavosi leaders are aware of what's happening north of the Wall, and there is precedent of having a few hundred wildlings in the city, so if Jon shows up with a fleet of refugees, they will already have some idea how to address the situation and have some talking points prepared.

Of course, all of this is presented obliquely, and it doesn't fully confirm that Jon will take his people to Essos, but if you read some of these chapters with that in mind, they make a lot of sense, and so far I haven't encountered anything in the text to contradict my theory, nothing to make me say "Ok, if this exodus thing happens, this wouldn't make sense anymore". Other readers' theories and expectations aside.

I'm not going to go into excessive details about Dany, because I already spent way too much time on this post. Suffice to say that most of ADwD seems to build her arc up towards a conquest to Essos, with a lot of seeds planted in most of the Free Cities, from the obvious ones like red priests worshiping her in Volantis to the more oblique, like the fact that Quentin's mom is a noblewoman in the (slaver) city of Norvos, and she may know her son was on a mission to marry Dany because Doran recently sent one of Arianne's conspirators to serve her for 3 years as "punishment".

Most readers are anxious to see Dany heading for Westeros in spite of her character development leaning in a different direction. This is because we all expect her story to intersect Jon's story before the endgame of the series can begin, and the fact that it doesn't look like it's happening makes people scared the series went off its rails with no end in sight. People are so concerned about that that they're willing to accept any plot device that would hurry Dany along, even if it doesn't make any sense. Jon going to Essos fixes that problem. If he comes to her, both characters can have believable arcs without delaying the endgame. It ties everything together.

In the end, I leave you with a quote from Tyrion II, ADwD, one of his most travelogue-like chapters:

Quote

"This is Andalos, my friend. The land your Andals came from. They took it from the hairy men who were here before them, cousins to the hairy men of Ib. The heart of Hugor's ancient realm lies north of us, but we are passing through its southern marches. In Pentos, these are called the Flatlands. Farther east stand the Velvet Hills, whence we are bound."

Is this George simply giving us fake history lessons? Or is he letting us know what @Feather Crystal cleverly pointed out, that a migration east would be a return home for the Westerosi (maybe not Jon's group in particular, but one of the later ones)? The chapter goes on to describe the region as relatively rich and fertile, but sparsely populated for fear of Dothraki raiders. Sounds like a good place to settle, especially if the Khalasars were held under control.

Edited by The Coconut God

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Aint gonna happen.

Fire may be based out east, but this is about Westeros, the Wall, Winterfell and about the Starks [and their Icy little secret] :commie:

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This has been around on the dark side of the web for a while:

 

Continuing the most imaginative and ambitious epic fantasy since The Lord of the Rings Winter has come at last and no man can say whether it will ever go again. The Wall is broken, the cold dead legions are coming south, and the people of the Seven Kingdoms turn to their queen to protect them. But Daenerys Targaryen is learning what Robert Baratheon learned before her; that it is one thing to win a throne and quite another to sit on one. Before she can hope to defeat the Others, Dany knows she must unite the broken realm behind her. Wolf and lion must hunt together, maester and greenseer work as one, all the blood feuds must be put aside, the bitter rivals and sworn enemies join hands. The Winds of Winter tells the story of Dany’s fight to save her new-won kingdom, of two desperate journeys beyond the known world in to the very hearts of ice and fire, and of the final climactic battle at Winterfell, with life itself in the balance.

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