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Ran

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Asha - Spoilers for ADwD

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As to the various forces involved:

You aren't really hit over the head as to who the two approching forces belong to--other than one group is Northerners and the other is implied to belonging to Stannis. When Stannis' group arrives at the end, you aren't told if they are working with the Northerners or not--it's all rather subtle.

Maybe it was a tactical decision on Stannis part. Send in "his" northerners to pin down the Ironborn and then sweep in with his knights. A similar tactic as to how he beat Mance Rayder.

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Maybe it was a tactical decision on Stannis part. Send in "his" northerners to pin down the Ironborn and then sweep in with his knights. A similar tactic as to how he beat Mance Rayder.

Didn't Stannis in one of the John chapters intend to use some of the Wildlings as vanguard when attacking Deepwood Motte ? Maybe those are the "Northerners" Asha fights, I don't think that most Ironborne would have the expertise to distinguish between those two groups.

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Stego,

Theon was never flayed. He was a hostage, but a friendly one, at the Dreadfort. (As he was at Winterfell.)
I assume this is speculative? The last time we saw Theon, his jaw got smashed in by the Bastard of Bolton. Why would he be a friendly hostage, and why should we doubt that they're flaying him? The Bastard of Bolton is cruel, murderous, dead-body raping scum -- I don't think he'd scruple against it. Roose Bolton also showed an alleged piece of Theon's skin in ASoS.

And this still doesn't explain how Stannis goes from being convinced to march on Deepwood by Jon to Stannis showing up at Deepwood with Theon in tow.

Asha references the skin she got (presumably Theons, but I heartily doubt it.) a long time ago, and recalls burning it when it happenned. This isn't real-time, it's a distant recollection.

Okay. But we still have George suggesting that it would fit in the timeframe of AFfC if he had put it there, sometime after the Reaver chapter. Probably towards the end of that book, chronologically, or perhaps a little beyond where it originally ended. There's still not much time for Stannis to troop down to the Dreadfort and collect Theon. I guess if Theon busts himself out somehow and links up with Stannis ... though how that works, I've no guess. Two very different directions.

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Asha says she would have liked to marry Qarl the Maid but he is the grandchild of a Thrall (what is the name of the people that work the land on the Iron Isles?) and unworthy of her.

Any indication as to what's Qarl's feelings are? Does he care about Asha or is he trying to sleep his way to the top?

Tris is the only Ironman to add his ships to hers when she left the Isles. Nearly everyone else left her. So basicly she is left with very few highborn Ironmen.

Any names?

The most interesting thing about the Theon revelation is what will happen to him. She needs to convince Stannis to release him now. Theon has a lot of baggage but needs must. It will be amusing to see Stannis get his teeth around letting Theon live. The Starks were rebels, so its doable. Also, Jon can't do much. Stannis can tell him that he had his chance to rule the North but he refused. He can't turn around now and demand Theon's head. That would be very hypocritical.

I can see Stannis (with Mel egging him on) getting more and more willing to burn people on more and more vague premisses. Burning Theon because of his supposed ties to the Ironborn kings from before the Targaryens or something similar.

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getting Theon seems expedient for Mel and Stannis. If fact, any Greyjoy has king's blood and would be helpful; this is especially true assuming that Mance was not very flammable. :)

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I might as well add that it looks like GRRM has a good bit left to write. :P He is still suggesting that he might add other POVs from aFfC into aDwD but it still depends on how big aDwD will be without these chapters. Since he isn't sure as of now, he clearly has a good few chapters to write.

Ugh. That's very discouraging. I guess a 2007 release is not very realistic at this point, right?

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PS - The fact that GRRM mentioned that the chapter was originally intended for AFFC might support the theory that Jorah is the New POV.

How come? I'm interested. I always had Quentyn pegged for the new POV.

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Ryswell must be one. Cersei says the Umbers, Ryswells, and several other northern lords have rallied to Bolton. IIRC, from other chapters I think we can take it that the Mormonts have not rallied to either side just yet, and were dubious of joining Stannis. The Karstarks were looking to be going Stannis's way. The Manderlys were professing loyalty to the Iron Throne, but if this is post "The Reaver" then it's not impossible they've switched sides from the last time Cersei/Jaime knew of their professed loyalty. We've got various candidate houses remaining -- Lockes, Dustins, Flints of Widow's Watch, Flints of Flint's Finger, and so on...
Right, I should have said that the names that were on the Bolton list didn't jump out at me except for the Umber. I think I would be surprised (and thus would have remembered) if I heard Manderlys, Karstarks or Mormonts mentioned. People like Ryswells, Flints, Lockes and Dustins wouldn't say in my mind for long OTOH. :)

I gather from all this that Asha thinks it's Boltons troops coming, and has no clue that Stannis has come down, which is exactly what Jon said would happen if Stannis used his suggested tactic.

Exactly. She knows that there is something peculiar about the trumpets but in the middle of a battle against northmen she doesn't have time to figure it out. Glad it makes sense for one of the attackers to be a Flint!

Regina, you weren't the only person to think it was 3 forces, so no biggie. I think GRRM designed us to be a little confused by events. Like Asha was. I do think that the northmen were just the vanguard (perhaps with some wildings help). Considering the Ironmen had problems travelling at night silently, it makes since for Stannis to use the Northmen's knowledge to track down Asha's forces.

Perhaps Asha thought that Euron went south, and Victarion with him, instead?
And I think Ran is right here. When I think about it I think Asha was thinking about how Euron went off chasing a dragon and Victarion went after him. I was thinking this referred to after the Shield Isles but more likely it was referring to the trip to the Shield Isles.

Has George added big revelations on to the end of an already read chapter before?

I believe that in aFfC GRRM read the Arys Oakheart chapter before hand but he excluded the part when Arys died at the end. Having Theon appear would certainly be a major surprise but as Ran said, how does he manage to join Stannis? He could manage to escape himself but it doesn't sound like the Boltons have left him in a fit state to escape anywhere. OTOH if he is returning to the story, he can't stay in prison throughout. But he could only have a couple of chapters I suppose. Stego is right that the burning of the letter from the Boltons was in the past. So sometime since her return to DM.

Any indication as to what's Qarl's feelings are? Does he care about Asha or is he trying to sleep his way to the top?
I think there is a very strong bond there. Asha is smart enough to see through Qarl I imagine. There are no mention of rows about him insisting on her marrying him. And they fight back to back for a while. And nope, don't remember any significant Ironmen with Asha besides the already mentioned.

Burning Theon because of his supposed ties to the Ironborn kings from before the Targaryens or something similar.

Vaguely possible but if that was the case then Mel could burn a lot of people. A lot of families must have a drop of kingsblood from the time Starks ruled. The Boltons probably declared themselves kings at times. I don't believe the Greyjoys were directly related to the Ironborn that the Targaryens slayed also.

I guess a 2007 release is not very realistic at this point, right?

Well...i'm sure the book could be finished by the end of May. That's probably GRRM's aim at the moment (although that is pure speculation on my part). Whether things work out that well, i'm not very confident. But who knows for sure. Once it gets into June though, the window of opportunity for a 2007 release begins to rapidly decrease.

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Everyone but Asha dies apparently.

On what is this conclusion based on? Does Asha see most or all her men getting killed?

Is there still fighting going on when she loses consciousness? If yes, how much?

One would suspect that the Ironmen who were still alive when Stannis' southerners join the fight might decide to surrender. So there might be prisoners, the number of them depending on how long and fierce the initial engagement between the northerners and the Ironmen was.

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I do think that the northmen were just the vanguard (perhaps with some wildings help). Considering the Ironmen had problems travelling at night silently, it makes since for Stannis to use the Northmen's knowledge to track down Asha's forces.

And I think Ran is right here. When I think about it I think Asha was thinking about how Euron went off chasing a dragon and Victarion went after him. I was thinking this referred to after the Shield Isles but more likely it was referring to the trip to the Shield Isles.

I believe that in aFfC GRRM read the Arys Oakheart chapter before hand but he excluded the part when Arys died at the end. Having Theon appear would certainly be a major surprise but as Ran said, how does he manage to join Stannis? He could manage to escape himself but it doesn't sound like the Boltons have left him in a fit state to escape anywhere. OTOH if he is returning to the story, he can't stay in prison throughout. But he could only have a couple of chapters I suppose. Stego is right that the burning of the letter from the Boltons was in the past. So sometime since her return to DM.

Vaguely possible but if that was the case then Mel could burn a lot of people. A lot of families must have a drop of kingsblood from the time Starks ruled. The Boltons probably declared themselves kings at times. I don't believe the Greyjoys were directly related to the Ironborn that the Targaryens slayed also.

So, I'm lost. Reading the different posts on the topic has gotten me really confused. Is the battle: Ironborn Vs Bolton loyalists Vs Stannis or Ironborn Vs Bolton loyalists or Ironborn Vs Stannis/Northerners.

It wouldn't suprise me at if Mel goes on a burning rampage. Wouldn't shock me at all if she tries to have Jon burned, either as a decendant of the Kings of the North or as Rob's Brother. The more Jon opposes the will of "R'hllor" (I.e her own will) the closer to the stake he comes.

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urizen,

I believe it looks like the engagement is between ironborn and Stannis's forces. Stannis's troops are initially wildlings and northmen, apparently, and then towards the end Stannis and his Queen's Men apparently show up.

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It might be helpful to know how the men Asha fought against were armored. If they didn't have much in the way of quality armor but only bronze or bones or such it might be a clue that she fought against wildlings, as we know that Jon refused to give armor to Stannis.

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What Ran said. Stannis's southern troops could have been focused on DM itself while he could have another force ready in case Asha tried to slip off (if so, that prove what a good general he was). Its mentioned that they have a ram in the initial engagement at DM btw.

Mel might go crazy but it probably depends on the success of Stannis's plans. So far so good it seems.

I would think that most of Asha's men are killed/badly wounded. Its incredibly difficult to kill/badly wound every man though and the arrival of Stannis's rearguard must have made it clear that the odds were insurmoutable (as Markus said). Seeing Asha fall in itself would be enough to get the remainder to surrender.

Asha is cut off from her men when she is knocked unconscious, which also suggests that Ironborn casualties were very high. They would have tried to stay close to her.

they didn't have much in the way of quality armor but only bronze or bones or such it might be a clue that she fought against wildlings

Good question...

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Heh. This is interesting. I had some debates with Stego about plausible theories but i'm more inclined to agree with this. :P I'm not sure would this go well with the timeline but if Theon is going to make a return and he isn't released by this stage, then he will only have a very small role, so you might wonder what's the point? His reappearance would tie her chapter nicely together (and there is a precedent of GRRM excluding the end of a chapter before when he was doing a reading).

Not just that. The spoiler chapter for ACoK included in the British paperback of AGoT (Theon's first chapter) excludes the last paragraph or two. In the AGoT version it ends on Balon saying he merely plans to make himself a kingdom like Urron Redhand did five thousand years earlier, so the reader just assumes that Balon is going to declare independence again and maybe war against everyone else. In the actual chapter in the novel, however, Theon asks him how he's going to do that and Balon tells him he will strike their enemies where they are weakest, and Theon guesses (and so do we) he plans to attack the North. I sometimes wonder if GRRM simply changed that in a rewrite between the spoiler chapter and the novel being published, but given the rest of the chapter is identical, I think he did that on purpose.

getting Theon seems expedient for Mel and Stannis. If fact, any Greyjoy has king's blood and would be helpful; this is especially true assuming that Mance was not very flammable. :)

Nope. The Greyjoys were unlawful rebels both times they rebelled (nine years before AGoT and during the War of the Five Kings). When Aegon the Conqueror made Vickon Greyjoy Lord of the Iron Islands, he just plucked up a strong candidate from the ironborn nobility to replace House Hoare (Harren the Black's house), which Aegon had obliterated at Harrenhal. The Greyjoys were never kings before that, although they may have had a distant connection to one of the royal houses in the past.

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The Greyjoys were never kings before that, although they may have had a distant connection to one of the royal houses in the past.

The Greyjoys are apparently descendants of the Old Kraken, one of the kings of old who was chosen at a kingsmoot.

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Having also been at the reading, I can add a few things. Possibly if I had ever read or heard the Jon preview chapter, I could give more information, but oh well.

I am postive that Moat Cailin had fallen, because it was mentioned as much at the beginning of the chapter, possibly in Asha's letter. Asha was thinking that Deepwood would go next, with Torrhen's Square going last in terms of the order of the castles being reclaimed by the northmen. In terms of location, this makes sense, because it is the furthest from the two forces possible, Stannis's up north and the Bolton's down south. I thought initially that there were two forces as well attacking at Deepwood, and not necessarily working together. But when I looked at the map and geography, I don't think Bolton's men would be that far north. Stannis's men certainly could be there. I also don't know about the relationship, if any, between the Boltons and Stannis, but I find it difficult to believe that Stannis would get along with Ramsay, given what the man is capable of. And unless Stego has knowledge from George I don't, I disagree with his statement that Theon is a comfortable prisoner of Ramsay's.

Tris Botley actually makes a better impression in this chapter. He and Asha are discussing the possibilities of what Asha can do at one point. Her choices are to go back to the islands to her husband; try to work with Stannis (possibly to get some land along the shore, like she mentioned wanting to do in AFfC?); sail south and become a pirate; sail south and become a trader. I forget how the topic comes about, but Tris tells Asha about a king's son who was off raiding when a Kingsmoot was called, and declared it illegal. This son was aided by the fact that the new king was a major tyrant. If I am recalling it correctly, the people of the islands actually rose up and killed said king before the son ever actually got there.

The fight at the end is long and very well done. There is one guy (whose name I cannot remember) who is counting his kills just like Gimli the dwark in Tolkien's work. It was not clear, at least to me, who was alive at the end besides Asha. But, seeing as how unless I actually read of someone being cut down or a character recalls seeing them killed, I presume someone is alive. Therefore, I don't think that either Tris, who was actually fighting well on his horse, or Qarl, were killed at the time that Asha lost consciousness. The tree roots broke her ankle, I believe.

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The spoiler chapter for ACoK included in the British paperback of AGoT (Theon's first chapter) excludes the last paragraph or two.

Ahhh interesting.

The Greyjoys are apparently descendants of the Old Kraken, one of the kings of old who was chosen at a kingsmoot.

But you got to admit that a 1000 year old (or whatever) connection to a king is too tenuous for Mel surely.

And true Fenryng, I think Stannis and Boltons (with Lannister support) will be the 2 main opponents in the coming battles, with the Ironborn been the wild card.

True about Tris also. He made a lot of sense in his comments. I'm not sure I think both he and Qarl are alive though. It might be a bit much to believe considering the losses that the Ironborn were taking. If I had to guess, i'd imagine Qarl is dead. Tris has more potential for character growth, you could already see that Asha's opinion of him was rising. And Qarl's death would give Asha another kick in the teeth, which she needs to recover from if she wants to take the Iron Isles. GRRM never makes things easy for his characters.

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The Greyjoys are apparently descendants of the Old Kraken, one of the kings of old who was chosen at a kingsmoot.

I don't think Stannis would take much notice of this. Maybe this ancestor was a king, but the Greyjoys themselves have never been kings and any line of descent would be highly disputable.

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Fenryng,

Interesting details.

I do wonder at Asha thinking Deepwood would fall before Torrhen's Square -- are you sure? Unless you're assuming that Roose and his son would go from Moat Cailin to the Dreadfort before they marched on the castles the ironborn held, it seems to me that Torrhen's Square is a great deal closer to them than Deepwood Motte.

I tend to agree with you that if we aren't clearly told someone is dead that we shouldn't necessarily assume it. Folks get captured all the time in the books, and Stannis is not one to order needless slaughter especially if he thinks prisoners might be able to give him useful information.

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Padraig,

But you got to admit that a 1000 year old (or whatever) connection to a king is too tenuous for Mel surely.

I didn't wish to advocate the opposite. Just pointing out that we've reason to think the Greyjoys have actually been kings in the past, though more than 2,000 or even 4,000 years ago.

Werthead,

I don't think Stannis would take much notice of this. Maybe this ancestor was a king, but the Greyjoys themselves have never been kings and any line of descent would be highly disputable.

Euron Greyjoy claims direct descent from the Old Kraken at the Kingsmoot and nobody seems to doubt it. I'm also inclined to suspect that the Old Kraken was a Greyjoy. Kraken = Greyjoy.

Not that I disagree that Stannis would probably think such a link a bit tenuous. It stands to reason that many nobles probably have royal blood among their ancestors in the last several thousand years.

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