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Buried Treasure

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  1. No matter how diplomatic Robb's envoy, they could not have pursuaded Renly to ally with the North, he wanted Robb to kneel to him, and none of Robb's Lords would have had the authority to promise that on Robb's behalf. And the besides the outcome of those negotiations were made moot by the shadowbaby. For that part of the plot, the initial differences would likely have been personal. A northern lord / riverland Knight might not have been invited into Renly's presence whilst he was preparing for battle to witness the assassination and almost certainly would not have fled the camp with Brienne. That initially only had a small effect on the conduct of the war (even Robb losing the Karstarks was only a footnote) but Jaime would not have had his character growth without Brienne. I think you'd start to see the changes in full effect by AFFC though, if Jaime had been freed and put in charge of an army without that character growth then his pacifying of the Riverlands would have been conducted very different style. I am more hazy on the timeline for Cat Ruthin returning to the North - could she have even reached Winterfell before Theon captured it? If we assume she did make it back, I certainly think she was more cautious (or paranoid, if you prefer) then Ser Rodrik, so maybe she would not have permitted him to strip the remaining Winterfell garrison.
  2. I don't see Elia needing to protect Ashara from Aerys - Elia herself would likely be a target for his wrath before Ashara. The protection that Ashara might have needed would have been from it becoming known that she had a child out of wedlock, if she has in fact been pregnant. I suggested that maybe it was Elia that gave birth to the stillborn girl that Selmy thinks was Ashara's, but my full theory is that they swapped children. So the wider world never learnt Ashara was pregnant, but she in fact have birth to a healthy purple-eyed, silver haired boy (traits inherited from his Dayne blood). And Elia, despite the stillbirth, was able to present the world and her husband with a boy that looked Targaryen.
  3. I am confused with your proposed timeline here. Are you suggesting she was already pregnant before the tourney, as the explanation for her desperately needing a man? How could she then deliver at the toj? My understanding is that the timeline allows for two distinct pregnancy windows. Conception at Harrenhal for birth shortly before the war, and conception early in the war for delivery around the storming of KL / Ned's visit to the toj (with Dany's birth in a third window of conception at the end of the war). Damned right on Selmy and his concept of honour. The interesting thing about Barristan is he is a source that was observing Ashara from a distance but was not part of her inner circle. So any person he links to Ashara we can trust was actually involved somehow in events aroind her, but not necessarily in the way he concluded. We have to break down the picture he created to work out which jigsaw pieces he was working with to assemble them some other way. I do think Barristans believes that when Ashara 'looked to Stark' she was 'dishonoring' herself by sleeping with one of the brothers, but I doubt he personally witnessed inappropriate behaviour which would have been taking place in private. I think he instead witnessed something when they were all together at Dragonstone that led him to count backwards 9 months and conclude that Ashara's public dancing with Stark at Harrenhal went further in the dark of the night. Selmy believes Ashara had a stillborn daughter, so the simplest explanation is that he witnessed her giving birth to that daughter, but again he was not inner circle and might not have had access to the full picture (and as a man would have been very unlikely to be permitted into the birthing chamber so we can almost rule him out as a direct witness). Ashara was a lady-in-waiting and her role was to protect her Lady, so an alternative explanation is Ashara claimed the stillborn was hers to cover for Elia, and that Ashara never was pregnant.
  4. George has done a lot of set-up work for Jon coming back roughly intact: - Beric Dondarrion was resurrected early through for magic, though this method alone cannot protect against the body ravages of decay. And there is a Red Priest at the Wall ... - The Wall preserves. Aemon commented on it when he left, and there have been comments that meat stored within the Wall & bodies stored within the ice cells do not have normal decay. Jon's body would very likely be taken to an ice cell... - Skinchangers can flee into the bodies of their companion animals upon death. Jon is a warg that is bonded to an animal that itself is unusually magical... If none of this foreshadowing were present and Jon were resurrected then it would strike of Deus Ex Machina. But because these elements are all present they need a payoff to avoid being loose ends. Tie all the ends together into a pretty bow and the story becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
  5. The Night King makes a good horror story for the people of the North because it was a relatable scale - a man, who was leader of an organisation that still existed, who was tempted and had q dark end. That a story-teller in Winterfell can say it was a Stark, and in Last Hearth they can say it was an Umber, and so on, just makes it a richer tale. That doesn't mean that a human Night King is actually necessary to lead the Others. They are intelligent. They have their own language and even twisted sense of humour - the Other that spoke to Waymar Royce had a mocking tone. They seem quite capable of leading themselves.
  6. I place the fault in expecting the other party to mind-read the other way round. Both Edmure and Robb made plans to trap Tywin. Robb's was for Tywin to come west, Edmure's was to trap Tywin between Riverrun and Harrenhal, then finish him when Robb returned from the west. That is to say: -Edmure had a plan that depended on Robb taking a specific action they had not discussed. - Robb had a plan that depended on Edmure continuing to do what they had agreed when they were last in a room together (each of the Riverlords defending their own castle rather than leveed as an army - which is a strategy that Edmure himself had asked Robb to permit).
  7. I agree with all this, and would go further and say that the Targaryen gift isn't dragon dreams it's prophetic dreaming. We get the term 'dragon dreams' from Daeron the Drunk, but I think the phenomenon derives from several factors combining together: (1) Daeron was the strongest prophet in the family since Daenerys the Dreamer + (2) prophets can most easily see people and events closest to them, as explained by Mel + (3) Daerons close family members were symbolically represented by dragons, so that's how they show up in dreams, much as a prophecy about a Greyjoy would feature a kraken. = Daeron's subjective experience was that all his dreams about dragons came true. There is also (4) he had dreams of the return of actual living dragons, but I think that is because his gift was so strong he could glimpse major events that would not occur for 100 years, and they level of ability is very rare. The Targaryen line only has a handful of true prophets, but it does seem that there are a handful of Targs with latent ability for prophetic dreaming. This seems to break through when they have fevers (Aemon in his final illness, Dany when stranded by Drogon), or at significant times (the night Dany dreamt of the great black dragon as the night she conceived). So for Jon: (1) He's not a true prophet, but has the Targ latent prophetic ability which gives him prophetic dreams when he's fevered, such as when he was arrow-shot. (2) His prophetic dreams are about what is close to him - so the crypts of Winterfell and whatever truth about himself they hold. (3) He isn't emotionally or geographically close to anybody represented by the dragon sigil, so they haven't shown up in his dreams in a symbolic manner.
  8. Turn it on its head, what if Rhaegar acted even he did because he was upset with Elia's actions? Healthy Ashara had a bastard boy and sickly Elia a stillborn girl. They switched to preserve Ashara's reputation and because Elia felt under pressure to give Rhaegar an heir. When Rhaegar learnt he was was two children short of his prophecy he sought out the girl that has caught his eye at the tourney.
  9. There isn't a hard rule that if both parents rule a major seat the inheritance well be split between two children, but Westerosi seem to have a reluctance to combine Houses, so it is one way to avoid that.
  10. I did the same several years ago; that's how I came to my pet theory that Ashara & Elia switched babes at birth. Both pregnancies would fall into the post-Harrenhal / pre-RR window, they could have been on Dragonstone at the same time, and they would have had motive. Elia needed to provide Rhaegar with an heir & a stillborn daughter would not serve, Ashara would have lost standing if it was known she had a bastard boy, but a child of hers that had the silver hair and purple eyes of the Daynes would have 'looked like a Targaryen'. And it explains the timing of her throwing herself from the tower in grief, as she would have just learnt of the the death of her son. The birth of Jon Snow does not overlap so neatly, in time or geography. He wasn't switched, the Jon we know is the one with the Stark blood.
  11. The other aspect to consider is any reduction in the crown's income. Robert liked to be popular, and taxes are unpopular Aerys left a strong treasury in part because there was a long period when people were used to paying taxes to the Targaryens, and for most of that time the crown was strong enough to enforce those taxes. With Robert taking the throne, already done some of the richer regions were resentful if him and not fully accepting of his authority and likely emboldened to hold back taxes - that is part of what Littlefinger was later bought in to fix. And Robert's generosity might have extended into this area as well - any lordling comes to court to petition for lower taxes; Robert would rather reward the ones who fought for him & turn the old enemies into friends by granting what they wanted, then take them hunting, than actually deal with the case on merit.
  12. This is 100% on Stannis. Stannis had not declared. Robb was waiting on a letter from Stannis, expecting that he would declare, which would have allowed Robb to back Robert's oldest living brother against Robert's son, but Renly had too weak a claim for Robb to back. If Stannis had gotten his ass in gear and actually declared himself King Stannis, that would have surely been the answer Robb was looking for.
  13. I'm not fully convinced on the meaning of destiny & whether prophecy is a shopping list or a weather forecast (can you force an event to happen by having all the prophesised ingredients, or does the prophecy only exist because the event was going to happen anyway?). But to my wider point 'Dany is Azor Ahai' falls under the umbrella of her hatching the eggs due to some unique combination of magics. Her being of the Targaryen bloodline was not sufficient to hatch the eggs.
  14. The Valyrian Empire was, it dominated a continent for thousands of years. Dragons were their greatest weapon in forming that Rome-like empire. I'm talking about the pre-empire Valyrians, and how they might have gotten their dragons in order to create that civilisation.
  15. Within universe the Westerosi believe that Targaryens / Valyrians have mystical properties passed down through their bloodlines, that allow them to master Dragons. But I am always surprised that this belief is so accepted on the forums. We know about confirmation bias, we know that bird hatchlings can Impress upon humans, & we know that George is a fan of Pern, where Dragon Impressing is a major theme. So let's go though some reasons to believe that Targaryen Dragons favour Targaryens because they impressed upon them as Hatchlings. - The ancient Valyrians didn't have a mystical link to dragons, they tended animals in the lower slopes of the volcanoes, over time some dragons became acclimatised to the humans, which led to the first Dragonriders. - This dynamic was replicated during the Dance. Sheepstealer was hatched from a wild clutch and did not Impress upon a human. Nettles used sheep carcesses to get the dragon used to her, until she could mount him. There is no direct evidence she is Targ blooded, she is afterwords considered a dragonseed because of the fallacy that only Targaryens can ride dragon. - The eggs of tame dragons are valuable and given to family of existing Dragonriders. Hatchling dragons form bonds with their regular handlers, allowing them to become Dragonriders in time. - Dragons will favour people most similar to their original rider. Valyrians & Targaryens practiced incest to keep the bloodlines pure, so looked and smelled alike, which meant dragons would accept them as replacements. - Controlled supply of eggs to a few families + those families all being incestuously inbred, led to many centuries of only people with those particular traits riding dragons, which created the belief that those bloodlines had an inherent affinity for dragons. - After dragons went extinct, only sorcerers and Targs tried to resurrect them from fossilised eggs - to make the attempt required some combination of possessing rare eggs, madness, magic or belief in prophecy. That meant any successful attempt was more like to come from the Targ line (trying) than from non-Targs (not trying). Dany succeeded in hatching eggs through some unique combination of magics - sacrifice, kings blood, pregnancy, fire etc. Her being a Targ may not have been an essential ingredient in all that (except for giving her the self-belief it would succeed). - Targs have a separate (non-dragonish) talent for prophetic dreaming. Daenaerys the Dreamer & Daeron the drunk had the full gift, Aemon & others have a latent form which expresses when they are sick. Prophets most easily see what is closest to them, and so Targ prophets, being linked to dragons both figuratively (their sigil) and literally (the families greatest asset) have dragon dreams.
  16. The reason to lie about Aegon's identity would be if they have no real goods; if there was no child from Pisswater and Elia's little boy did die, then Varys could not go back in time to get him, and the only way to have an 'Aegon' was to procure a living babe at breast. Whatever the provenance of the child, his current name is Aegon, and he is coming to take the Iron Throne. So what Varys said to Kevan was the truth as he sees it. Nobody cares about Blackfryres now. Not even the Golden Company cares - the meeting of their captains showed that descendents of the original exiles are outnumbered by more recent exiles and Essosi officers. They have the usual sellsword motives of wanting to go home / get revenge / profit. If the Westerosi at large where to hear of a Blackfyre Pretender, they would probably just be frustrated that yet another faction was getting involved, prolonging the war. One of the advantages of Aegon is that he is making his claim in the Targaryen name, so his supporters assume he will be able to ally with Dany as a single Targaryen faction.
  17. He got a high price with the promise of marrying into a great House, and having the Walders fostered. The Freys are proud, and want their place at the high table. And the risks didn't seem so great at the time, because nobody was expecting Ned to be executed - the North declaring itself an independent Kingdom wasn't on the table before that. So they joined as one House among many in a low-stakes war to determine the power balance in the reign of the new king. If they hadn't joined, and the war had resolved with Ned being sent to the Wall, then the Freys would have stood alone as the one House that didn't back it's liege lord (again, after being late to join the Tullys in RR), and they might have paid a price in Riverland politics.
  18. Robert was a flawed man, who would have probably had affairs and drunk too much whomever he was to, but the flaws might have grown in different way. Married to Cersei, who is a toxic person, he matched her toxicity for toxicity. Married to a mousey type, he might have tried to hide the affairs out of shame, and grown to resent her for making him feel bad. Married to a self-assured woman, maybe he would have faced an ultimatum about being discrete with his affairs, it else she would go back to her father's household. Again, there is the possiblity that he would have resented this and turned to drink, though I think a scenario like this would have likely been healthier than his marriage to Cersei. I'm almost certain that any other marriage would have better for the kingdom. On his deathbed the one thing Robert thought her had gotten right was leaving a stable succession, and it is something most Westerosi nobles believe is important - more likely than not a different queen would have accepted bearing the king's legitimate children. The choice to have treasonous bastard offspring was on Cersei (and Jaime), not on Robert.
  19. Such salt! I love it! Actually on the subject of hatching dragons from fossilised eggs, one thing that set Dany apart from all the Targaryens and sorcerers that tried before is that she was a woman. And more, a pregnant women - she only began to feel heat in the eggs after she conceived. The sacrifice she made to give the life to the dragons was the life of her unborn child - hence why the stillborn baby was described as dead for years.
  20. The Boltons are several weeks travel from the Wall in Summer conditions. They aren't an immediate consideration for what happens next at the Wall. The more immediate concern is that Marsh is pre-occupied with food stores and anti-wildling. He's going to want to cut them off, and is likely to loose control before anyone can arrive from Winterfell
  21. After the Greatjon had shouted 'King in the North' I don't even know how Robb could have not accepted the crown. That is, I literally cannot envision how he says no at the gathering. He was made king by acclaim. If he had decided to back another king earlier in the council, then his only option was Renly. He wouldn't back Joff after Ned's death, and didn't know Stannis was going to declare. If Robb had called Renly his king, I think the war would have continued on largely similar lines. They would have exchanged ravens and Cat would have gotten a warmer welcome at Bitterbridge, but Robb would still have had the same military reasons to go West, and Stannis would have still murdered Renly.
  22. That alliance of Houses hadn't been relevant since they put Robert on the throne. What matters is the 15 years of fealty and taxes that the entire kingdom gave to Robert, and would have been expected to owe to his heir. Renly was only the 2nd king to declare. In the period a Renly regency was possible, the last third of AGOT, Joffrey was widely seen as the legitimate king and expected to reign. The Starks were in rebellion over Ned's capture, but their goal was to secure Ned's release not dethrone Joff. The importance of oaths is a pervasive theme throughout the books, to which itis shown many lords and knights are genuinely committed, and their oaths of fealty to Robert and his heirs has not yet been challenged. Throughout that last third of AGOT, there are various reports of Renly hosting a large army at Bitterbridge. Yet there are no rumours of Renly being crowned until he sent out ravens near the end of the book. The stormlords and Reach- men that flocked to Renly's banner can't have known they were headed to a would-be king, or rumours would have spread. It was practically a tourney, and most of them probably didn't want to miss out on their generation's Harrenhal, or Woodstock. They probably didn't even consider that they were committing treason against King Joffrey - they were supporting the king's uncle against the king's mother to determine the power dynamics of the new reign. And once Renly did decide to be king and proclaimed himself king, well... there were probably a few doubters but they were already in his army so could hardly ride away.
  23. Consider that when the Tyrells first backed Reply, it probably wasn't for the Crown. Renly had to fight the Lannisters. He fled the city to avoid being killed in Cersei's custody, and wouldn't attend Court when summoned on fear of death. It was rebellion or exile for him. Probably Renly's original intention in calling the banners was to overthrow Cersei and install himself as Joffrey's regent. He'd proposed a similar plan to Ned before leaving the city. He didn't know about the incest & believed Joff to be Robert's heir, and winning custody of him would have neutralised the Lannisters. Renly did not proclaim himself King until after he had gathered his great army, because that is what made him decide to be king. His success calling the banners got to his head. He practically said as much to Cat - look at how many people are following me, doesn't that make me most worthy to be king? Backing Renly for Regency was low risk for a lot of potential power. The only enemies is made was the Lannisters. If they lost then it would have been possible to bend the knee and be pardoned, as it was not treason against Joff himself. And if they won, when it came time to call on other regions for fealty and taxes, they would have been able to claim legitimacy and stability as they were ruling through Robert's lawful heir.
  24. It's a good point. Though I think she doesn't realise the hypocrisy because Robert is king. What's her line 'You knew the man, how well do you know the king'? Also, Littlefinger of the Milo Milobender of this situation, nobody wants to dismiss him because they are all really impressed by his financial wizardry that they don't understand but think is helping them.
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