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Buried Treasure

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  1. Even within the ranks of commoners there are constraints on social mobility. Not just anybody can become a skilled smith - apprenticeships would be highly prized. So those skills would mostly be kept within a select few families. To be taken in as an outsider would require a decent payment, as with Gendry. For all his many faults, Janos Slynt rose from butchers son to Commander of the Gold Cloaks. So joining a town watch might be a good way to from rank (though Kings Landing is so corrupt that advancing in the Gold Cloaks might be hard without grifting and taking bribes).
  2. Agree on these points, and add that Renly seemingly does not know about the incest. So for him it is not a case of whether Stannis is rightful heir being questionable - to Renly's knowledge Stannis was unquestionably not Robert's heir. Stannis was brooding on Dragonstone and for all Renly know he might have continued to so until the end of time. As I see it, after Renly fled KL he had a few options: a) Turn right back around and pay homage to King Joffrey (not a great choice, wouldn't have solved his reasons for leaving KL in the first place). b) Hole himself up in Storms End with his household guard, Stannis-style (not ideal, his seat is not on an island, and a Lannister army would come knocking eventually). c) Cross the Narrow Sea into exile (he wouldn't want the life of ignominy and poverty, and besides this is option is often chosen after losing a war, rather than running before even trying to fight). d) Call his bannermen, friends and allies to fight to protect him (the option Renly chose). Fighting the Lannisters didn't require Renly to crown himself - he could have continued with his original plan he suggested to Ned of overthrowing Cersei as Joffs regent. And I suggest that when Renly first called the banners that was still his plan. He didn't go to war to make himself king, but to protect himself from the Lannisters. He made the decision to crown himself when he looked at the size of the army he had already gathered and thought that if so many men already obeyed his command that made him worthy to be king.
  3. Jon's decision to order Slynt hanged was purely him as Lord Commander. Slynt would not take orders, which made him a useless mouth to feed and a danger to disciple. Justice in that decision is irrelevant; Aemon taught Jon that honour is a luxury he cannot afford in his duty to holding the Wall, and justice is an aspect of that. Jon's decision not have Slynt hanged but to take his head himself was tied to him being of the Starks. It was Ned's teaching to do the deed himself, and it was in that action that it felt like justice.
  4. The Starks (specifically Lady Stoneheart's wing of the BwB) killed Ser Ryman and his escort after he was dismissed from the siege of Riverrun. But they are mostly busy with other concerns. The revenge against the Freys isn't being directed by the Starks; it's organic and disparate. For Manderly the Starks are only of secondary concern, he wants revenge for his son Wendel, murdered at the feast. The BwB care for the comman man and are probably as upset about the deaths of the hundreds of Stark men in the tents as the highborn with the Stark name. We also see a difference in methods. Manderly was careful to obey the laws of the gods by not breaking guest right even as he broke common decency by eating Frey Pie with the the tale of the Rat Cook playing. Elsewhere death and guestright. They don't mean as much as they used to, neither one. Whats common with all the Frey deaths is they are happening in lands officially controlled by allies of the Freys, on quiet roads and in remote spots. No edict from the Starks or King Aegon or Queen Daenerys is going to quell secret murders by those inclined to take revenge, even after peace is nominally achieved. Anyone identifed as a Frey is always going to be at risk if they travel with too small an escort. So their best chance of survival is to not be identifed as Freys. Which is likely to be dependant not only on an individuals innocence/complicity with the RW, but also on their various non-Frey relatives. I can imagine See Perwyn & Olyvar ('good Freys') surviving if they get the Rosby inheritance. But would the Leffords take in Lame Lothar's children by his Lefford wife? Would Ser Whelen Frey (half-Blackwood) & his offspring be welcome at Raventree Hall?
  5. Horseshoes are well known for leaving tracks. Not that it matters in this case, by the time the Boltons sent out searchers any trace of the ambush would have been long obscured by Manderly's army overriding them, and by oncoming winter. The reason the Guest Gift was horses specifically is that this gave the Freys freedom to depart Manderly's column. If he had given a cyvasse set, then the Freys would not have had fast transport and would have been stuck with the clumnt, blurring the line on whether Manderly had truly stopped being their host.
  6. I agree that Stannis does not know he is funny. He seems a man who is always squinting at the world in distrust, which gives him a slanted worldview, so his observations seem humorous because so much of comedy is about turning our expectations slightly on their head. The clincher for me is that Stannis does not appreciate humour from others. Which makes him an interesting contrast with Jon, who enjoys the company of funny people like Tyrion, Pyp and Tormund, and will banter with them, but is not actually comedic himself. (Dolorous Edd I enjoy, but I'm British so I have a strong taste for self-depreciating bleak comedy.)
  7. The war between Renly and the Lannisters was progressing. It started the night Renly tried to persuade Ned to flee the city to raise an army to overthrow Cersei as Joffrey's regent. Then Renly did just that. He was in fact so successful in calling an army to his banners that it got to Renly's head and he decided that rather fight in his brat nephews name he was worthy being king himself. The choice to remain feasting at Bitterbridge was a deliberate strategy within the war. It allowed the host to grow in size even whilst it put pressure on the Lannisters hold of the city (bread riots). Tywin remained at Harrenhal for so long because he was at war with both the Starks & Renly. It was only when Renly's threat was put on hold by the Stannis-Renly war that Tywin moved west. Absent the threat from Stannis (let's pretend he caught a chill in Dragonstone and died in his bed), then whoever moved first between Renly and Tywin would have likely have lost the advantage. If Renly tried to capture Kings Landing then Tywin could fall on him from behind. I think Renly may have had more numbers than Tywin by this point so pitched battle world be costly for them both - though perhaps better for Tywin as the more experienced general. Maybe Renly would have done next by besieging Tywin at Harrenhal, as after Robb's victory at Oxcross Tywin lacked an army strong enough to relieve him?
  8. Are you a ghost? Because I think your husband probably only constructs that secret passage and favours courtesans after he is already embittered by your tragic death.
  9. Walda Bolton is pregnant. Roose thinks it likely that Ramsay will kill the child, but in a scenario where both men are defeated soon that might not happen. If she has a daughter then the direct Bolton line is ended. Perhaps the girl would be made a ward of whatever family was granted the land, eventually to be married to the male heir of that family. I'm not so sure about is Walda had a son - I don't think newborns are accepted into Watch. Maybe the House would continue but stripped of much of its land so it is not so powerful.
  10. There is no half-way to make someone legitimate. If Edric is made Robert's heir then he might claim anything that was Robert's, not just Storms End but also the Iron Throne. If Dany is going to repeat history is it not better to do what Aegon did in the Reach, as the extinct Gardeners were replaced with the raised-up Tyrrells, so could the Baratheons be replaced by a newly raised-up house (Penrose, for example).
  11. Dany won't legitimise Edric as her Lord Paramount of the Stormlands. The Baratheons are a House that have made a rival claim to her own throne. They represent a threat to the Targaryens as a source of pretenders, and especially anybody whose claim runs through Robert (including Cersei's children, who are presented as Baratheons). Robert's bastards are not Baratheons so long as they are Storms, which saves Dany the headache of executing them or exiling them to an order that forswears titles. Which House she appoints to rule the Stormlands is less important than ending Robert's line. And I don't think the loyalty of the northern lords to the Starks makes a relevant comparison. The mythology of the Starks is that they have had ruled unbroken for thousands of years and times were never right when there is not a Stark in Winterfell. The Baratheons have only ruled for 300 years, and any prominent Stormlands House to which Dany might appoint as Lords Paramount can probably make some vague claim to descent from the old Durrandon Storm kings.
  12. Just scrolled through this thread, and doesn't seem to be making any distinction between 'good match' and 'bridging yawning social gap'. Elia and Cersei both married into the royal family - into the top tier of the pyramid. But they were also preferred-rank candidates - they were both picked from a very small & exclusive marriage pool. Rhaegar could only have married another Targaryen (they had no girls at that time), the daughter of an Essosi ruler (Steffon Baratheon's search failed) or the daughter of a Great House. Robert had to marry into a Great House. That's quite different to the marriage that cross multiple social tiers. Which perhaps could be further divided into marrying up when the couple is welcomed into the family (often when the bride brings a rich dowry to a proud but impoverished house) or marrying down when there is a scandal (like Gatehouse Ami being hurredly married off to Pate).
  13. The heraldry of the major houses was fixed with the first book and the complex worldbuilding wasn't all there yet, that came gradually. The simplification of the heraldry is linked to the simplification of the entire rank system. Estates in Westeros don't seem to be combined to have multiple holdings where stewards are managing the lesser properties. A Westerosi lord would usually rule from their own single seat, and if a 2nd title comes to a family in one generation it would seem to be split in the next generation with the lesser lordship going to a second son. So that gives the in-universe explanation of why the heraldry remains simple. There is a also a comment about quartering arms being 'hungry for honour' - maybe this is Bran's about the Walders? It seems to indicate quartering is not fashionable - those entitled to the wear the arms of a higher ranked house perhaps disdain quartering to include lesser arms.
  14. I don't think they will be zombified. The Watch has learnt from the wildlings to burn bodies, and other bodies can be stored within the ice cells of the Wall, which has been noted for its preservation properties. Jon's body will probably be kept in an ice cell until his resurrection. Plus, I think the only wights that have resurrected south of the Wall so far where killed on the northern side and transported to the other side. It's a giant magical wall built for the specific purpose of stopping the Others, and we know it prevents other magical communication like the warg bond and the direwolves sensing each other.
  15. Stannis' claim is based on him being Robert's true heir. He intends to take Robert's throne and crown and kingdom back from Cersei's bastards, and no doubt his Kingsguard as well. This is different from Renly who's claim way not that he was true heir, but that he was best suited. Renly was intending to become king on the strength of his army, so he appointed the best of them to his guard to inspire and reward them. At the time of the Blackwater I think 6 of Robert's 7 were still alive (other than Preston Greenfield)? So Stannis only had one free slot. If he had won that battle then appointments to the Kingsguard would have likely been dealt with then - including recalling Selmy who has been exiled by a usurper, and execution / the Wall for Jaime. Not that I think Stannis sees much value in the KG, beyond their loyalty being due to him. He doesn't have a romantic or chivalric soul, and undervalues good PR messaging. He isn't the type of general who prefers to personally lead a cavalry charge, so doesn't need especial protection on the battlefield, and he has Melisandre see and protect him from other threats.
  16. Pins are used first for holding clothing. They are seen throughout the books because that is a common need, and why not have form follow function - if the nobles were to wear plain wood or bone pins then they would not look so different from peasants. And if they are going to be wearing highly worked items to display their wealth then why not have them be in heraldic patterns - that is the understood language in the 7K to show who the wealth being to. Wildlings also display their wealth on their bodies, Jon noted this when he collected all those gold torcs and other goods as toll for passing the Wall. Val's fine outfits are a sign that she is thriving not surviving, and without noble houses then a symbol of the gods is a good pattern to include. Val's story isn't some hidden background, but is a tale about how a mythos can be constructed. She's a beautiful woman who had a personal connection to important people through her sister, giving her advantage and (relative) riches, which further set her apart from the appearance of her peers, Then she started interacting with southerners who see the world through a rank-based lens, and Val's connection to the court of the King Beyond the Wall placed her near the top of the perceived (by the southerners) Wildling hierarchy. And her uncommon beauty kept her there - if she was as ugly as Brienne or merely pretty in a common sort of way like Ygritte she would have been deemed to have less value. And the perception she has rank has circled back to reality because she is one of the few Free Folk with access to the upper levels of Stannis' court, so she is learning to play the Kneelers' game of petitions on behalf of her people. Which increases her actual political relevance, so that the (once false) view of her as a fairytale Princess in a tower is at this point a self-fulfilling prophecy and the Knights are only pages away from drawing swords to vanquish giants and carry her off to be married.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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).
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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