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  1. Adding on to @John Suburbs said (in frantic agreement)- Petyr Baelish does everything. Cersei, Renly, Eddard, Tyrion have all been his unwitting pawns. We first meet Bronn on the road to the Eyrie, as he hungrily watches Chiggen, his brother-in-arms, expertly butcher Tyrion's horse. (AGoT, Ch.31 Tyrion IV) His leaness shows he is no Riverlands henchman, living off the fat of a peaceful ten-year summer. His familiarity with Dothraki customs and Chiggen's expert butchery give us a clue - until very recently, they had been fighting in Essos, probably, like Jorah, in the disputed lands, where they had become acquainted with Dothraki ways. Bronn prefers his horseflesh fried with onions, the way fat Belwas prefers his liver, hinting they might have gone further east, perhaps trading Dothraki slaves with the slave cities ,as Jorah had. It is hardly surprising that such a man should be found at the Inn at the Crossroads. The melee with a purse of 20,000 gold dragons would draw such to the capital - if they had left the ship that brought them from Essos at a port north or west of Duskendale (or disembarked long before they met Tyrion on his easy-paced trip back from the Wall -less likely, because they are still very lean, and notably not wasteful with food, and not rusty with the knife skills). The suspicious thing is why such hardbitten mercenaries as Bronn and Chiggen (and such a coward as Marillion) would take up Catelyn's offer to make themselves the enemy of Tywin Lannister, the richest man in Westeros, who happened to be recruiting sell swords from Essos at the time. Marillion knows a Lannister when he sees one (and has heard Alia of Braavos, in spite of his dislike of the Northern clime. Although 'blizzards and bearskins' (AGoT, Ch.28 Catelyn V) might refer to tales told to him by Jorah Mormont in Essos. It is unlikely an 18 year old from Wendish Town would have first-hand knowledge of either.) Even the Whents, Freys, and Brackens Caitlyn directs her appeals for unpaid and dubious acts of fealty to hesitate (all but old . Why, if the melee had brought them to the inn, ssd
  2. Walda

    Think I found a little bird

    I don't think Littlefinger taught Marei to read. That is more a Varys thing. But I don't think Marei is that simple. I suspect she is another of Lord Velaryon's by-blows, as she has the silver hair and green eyes. She is older than the other girls, and solemn, which makes me think she has come to the game (or at least, to King's Landing) after enjoying a better life, or at least, a life that she had preferred. Maybe one where she was better provided for, and educated. Dancy strikes me more as being a simple common girl on her way up in the world, pleased to have made it to the classiest brothel in the capital. We know it was Marei that persuaded Dancy to hit on Tyrion. (ACoK, Ch.29 Tyrion VII) Noticing Alayaya's gains in literacy compared to the other girls (because she was more rested and had more leisure for reading than the other girls while Tyrion was spending his time with Shae) is a tip to Marei that Alayaya isn't hard at work in the secluded turret room. But my main reason for suspecting that Marei isn't spying for Varys is: (ACoK,Ch.15 Tyrion III) Varys already knows about this. Varys directed Tyrion to Chataya's. He knew Tyrion's need, he knows who Tyrion's whore really is, he knows the secret tunnel, he knows Chataya. He doesn't need Marei to spy on Dancy and Alayaya. He has Chataya, and through her, any other girl in the brothel, on Chataya's recommendation. And of course Chataya would have the most confidence in the discretion of her own daughter, whom she personally has trained from birth. Varys didn't need Marei to turn Alayaya over to Cersei, and if ordered to fetch Tyrion's whore to the Red Keep (as I suspect Tywin did) he would have known they were after Shae. Chataya's brothel seems to me to be under attack from someone who does need spies to find out who Tyrion is seeing - it has recently been raided by Goldcloaks, a child murdered in it, it's mother too, half a dozen gentlemen retainers killed on it's doorstep. Chataya's supplies of good wine dried up in the King's Landing siege, and after, a whore in it publicly revealed to be the favourite of the Hand and flogged ... Many gentlemen might prefer to visit quieter premises with less public exposure and better booze after these events. Petyr Baelish is a competing brothel owner with a certain ruthlessness and a purse that pays the Goldcloaks. It's easy to see why he might not lose by Chataya's brothel becoming the public face of King's Landing brothels and wearing the whip for their collective sins. It is easy for me to see that taking a child from it's mother to be threatened with death (killed, in Barra's case) and severely beaten (her own child), would be Petyr Baelish's way of letting Chataya know there is a new master of whispers in town, that she must sell out (her secrets to) or get out (of King's Landing). It is harder for me to understand why Varys would suddenly turn on Chataya this way, or how he would use Marei in these circumstances. ETA: John might also have deduced Marei's age from the text of the book (ACoK,Ch.29 Tyrion VII) At least in Tyrion's perception, Marei is older than Shae. And no other point of view makes reference to Shae's age, or Marei's, that I know of. Although Marei could of course be much older than Tyrion believes she is - brothels don't attract customers by advertising they have the oldest girls in town.
  3. Walda

    Think I found a little bird

    I don't think she is Varys's little bird, but Petyr Baelish's. She is how Littlefinger finds out about Tyrion and Alayaya, and how he supplants Varys in Cersei's trust (ACoK, Ch.54 Tyrion XII) Varys advised Cersei to send Ned to the Wall. Littlefinger paid Slynt's goldcloaks to push him forward and put his head on the block. Littlefinger was able to put ideas into Joffrey's head about how a King should act in such circumstances. I don't think Ilyn Payne needed any convincing or bribing - he loves his job. Still, if Varys had held sway, Ned would still be alive. I'm not sure if Varys regards Littlefinger as an existential threat, or a colleague. Most of the time that he is 'telling' Tyrion things, he is actually sounding out Tyrion for what he believes. (ACoK, Ch.08 Tyrion II) Varys knows it was Petyr Baelish that paid Slynt and Slynt's underlings to raid Chataya's and kill Barra. And sent two goldcloaks with a commission sealed with Cersei's seal, and an understanding that the message within was that they were to kill Gendry. Yet he lets Tyrion believe it was Cersei, who has known about Gendry's existence for years, and never attempted to have him or his mother removed from the King's Landing (where they live in the very shadow of the Red Keep), or prevented Robert from providing for him, through Varys. I'm guessing Varys paid Chataya to keep Barra's mother in the brothel and off the market, too ... it doesn't make financial sense for Chataya to do that in the unlikely event that Robert might return to the girl he had used and moved on from. So even though Varys has acted for a long while in a way that is clearly the opposite of Littlefinger, and very probably has a grievance of his own in the matter, he refrains from shunting the blame Tyrion heaps onto Cersei, to where it rightly belongs. It's hard to tell if Varys is so circumspect because he fears Baelish, or because he is complicit. In the same chapter, he regains control of the City Watch via Tyrion and Ser Jacelyn, and has the masters of the White Hart and the Moonrunner forestalled, which seem to me more like an attack on Baelish's power base than a friendly move. I think Baelish has something to do with the Antler men - that his dinners with Lady Tanda were about that. Varys also attempts to interest Tyrion in Lady Tanda's treasons when he sends Janos Slynt to the wall. Tyrion doesn't, but not long after, Varys produces the list of Antler men traders/merchants/craftsmen for Tyrion to arrest. Again, this seems like a direct attack on Baelish's powerbase. I'm pretty sure that Bronn is also one of Petyr Baelish's little birds (ASoS, Ch.68 Sansa VI) Certainly, it wasn't Tyrion that brought him to the notice of Lord Tywin, or reccommended him for a knighthood. (ASoS, Ch.12 Tyrion II) And I bet, if we ever see Marei again, her platinum hair and green eyes will be set off beautifully by the silver and jade jewellery Tyrion sent via Bronn, supposedly to Alayaya. When Lords Varys and Baelish are around, there is a lot of slippage between a command being given and it's execution.
  4. Walda

    For the record... and posterity!

    1. Jon's parentage I think Jon is the legitimate son of Oberyn Martell and the Prince That Was Promised. Just based on his widow's peak, dark eyes, age, and unStarklike intelligence. Not sure if he ended up with his uncle Eddard or if the Starks took him on in some baby-swap to protect him from Targaryen rulers (including cousin Robert Baratheon) who would kill him for his kingsblood. 2. Tyrion is a Targ A+J=T 3. Bran didn't eat Jojen 4. the PL was written by I think Tywin had a communication system that relied on three maesters writing letters that purported to be from, say, Lady Walda at the Twins, but the hand it was written in would reveal that it came in fact from, say, Ramsey at the Dreadfort or Tywin in King's Landing, or perhaps that the missive was to be relayed on to White Harbor or Winterfell, so it looked like it had been sent from the Riverlands. Qyburn informs Roose of 'Lady Walda's' letter, prompting Roose to send Tallhart and Glover to Duskendale, but it is only after Arya sees a raven arrive from the Twins that they learn of King Robb's marriage and Elmer is told that he won't be marrying a princess after all, and they learn they are now Lannister loyalists. Roose was already comfortably aware that Tywin was in King's Landing and not inclined to undo them. There can only be a certain number of birds at the Twins that know their way to Harrenhal, and at this point in the war, it is critical for Bolton to know what happened on the Blackwater, the intentions of Lord Manderley at Whiteharbor, the depredations of the Ironborn at Moat Calin, Deepwood Motte and Winterfell, the dispositions of the Dreadfort, Robb's actions in the Westerlands, Edmure's in the Riverlands, if Lysa will stir from the Eyrie, the current locations of Ser Gregor Clegane, Randolf Tarly, Mathis Rowan, the Redwyne fleet. It makes little sense to squander the limited number of birds available to transmit that intel on early morning love letters from Lady Bolton to her husband. If she must write to him, it would more naturally be in the post-script of a raven from Lord Walder packed with as much intel as his sons and commanders enable him to collate. So, I'm guessing the messages that Roose receives from Qyburn are not coming from any raven out of the Twins, and Tothmure, Lucan, Harra, and the head steward were killed because they could recognise people's marks on the paperwork that dictated how the internal bureaucracy of Harrenhal operated under Lord Tywin and Lady Whent. Arya knows that Lucan is illiterate, but Ser Lyonel Frey, second son of Lady Genna, sister to Lord Tywin Lannister, only knows that Lucan can recognise his mark, and the Freys are cowardly and cautious, which puts a target on any staff that know things like that Ser Lyonel was not really a prisoner, that his uncle armed him with a new sword, that he was an obvious channel of contact between the Freys and Lord Tywin. Tywin brought three maesters to Harrenhal (ACoK, Ch.30 Arya VII), and when he comes to Kings Landing in the aftermath of the battle of Blackwater, there are three maesters to tend to Joffrey when he cuts his hand on the throne.(ACoK, Ch.65 Sansa VIII) After Tywin dies, we learn that there are three maesters with Roose. In the same place (ADwD, Ch.37 The Prince of Winterfell) Coincidentally, Roose tells the northerners gathered to witness the wedding of fArya and Ramsey there are three military forces marching on Winterfell (Stannis and the clansmen from Deepwood Motte, Crowfood Umber from the North, the Karstarks from the East). Theon knows Arnolf Karstark was only awaiting a signal from Roose Bolton to turn his cloak. Just as Roose was only awaiting a signal from Lord Tywin to turn his cloak when he was being leeched by Arya at Harrenhal. Qyburn delivered the message, but it seems to me he is more likely a conduit of information from the scouts and freeriders of Gregor Clegane via their former brothers in arms, the Brave Companions. If he was getting his intel from Lord Vargo's foraging parties, that would remove the need for a raven from the Twins, and I'm wondering how the maesters of Oldtown would behave if they knew Qyburn had taken over Tothmure's place at Harrenhal - Pycelle for one would not be inclined to communicate with him by choice. I'm guessing the other two hosts also have secret daggers that provide Roose with information, not all of which he chooses to share unadulterated with his banner lords. I'm guessing Ramsey is illiterate, and his letters are dictated to amanuenses who could, if they chose, use his mark as easily as Arya contemplated using Ser Lyonel's. The pink letter was written by someone who could recognise Mance Raydar by sight, someone who doesn't believe Mance Raydar was burnt to death at the Wall by King Stannis. Someone with more recent knowledge of the Wall than Stannis, because they know that Selyse has stayed on at Castle Black not left for the Night Fort yet. They also know of Val and of Mance's son. My guess is the clansmen, a Flint, Wull, Norrey or Liddle. That the letter was from someone near Castle Black, someone who wants a new Acting Lord Commander for Castle Black, because they don't want wildlings populating the gift. They have a mole in Winterfell, and they know who Mance is. Some of them have also met Ramsey and perhaps know him well enough to write in what they imagine is his style. I think the mountain clans are also responsible for the three heads with the eyes cut out (done deliberately to implicate the Weeper and to entice Jon Snow to leave Castle Black and fight the Weeper), and they are also responsible for the face on the Drunkard, the Chestnut, and the Oak guarding the Kingsroad between Castle Black and Moles Town. I don't know if they are in league with Roose, or his three maesters - perhaps the three maesters are only relevant to the PL in that it explains why Ramsey's hand writing changes. 5. Red door/lemon tree = Yeah, I don't know about this one. I agree that lemon trees seem to be a better match for Lys or Dorne than Braavos. Then again, lemon trees are small and can grow in rocky ground and with brackish water, if they have a good micro-climate - say, a warm brick wall that radiates heat at the end of a sunny but cold day, and shelters it from cold winds and sleet and ice-storms. On the Isle of the Gods, R'hllor's house might have a red wall as well as a red door, and braziers that kept it warm even in winter. The Sealord has a glass house. Surrounded by water, both isles are less likely to have frosts, or at least less severe frosts than places further from the water. So it isn't impossible to have a lemon tree in Braavos, although trees of any description are atypical there. There is definitely an association between lemons and poison in the books. And between citrus generally and Dorne and poison. 6. Lanna is the daughter of Tyrion 7. Theon will not be killed before the heart tree at the CV. Theon is going to die for sure - in a sense he died when he became Reek. He asked the Old Gods for a sword, and to die as Theon not Reek. So he will die. But before he formed his Stark affinities, he was Ironborn. So when he dies (possibly when he is killed before the heart tree at the Crofters Village), there will be water involved, and once dead he will rise harder and stronger.
  5. Walda

    Who builds better ships?

    And the main purpose of "pitch" is to chuck it at the enemy in battle. And hempen rope is used mainly for hanging people. It is as if GRRM didn't give much thought to naval engineering until Clash of Kings forced him to, although he had clearly plotted a fair bit of naval action in the current books from the start - Viserys' (now Daenerys') plans to invade Westeros necessarily involved ships, and rightly bothered King Robert from the start. In retrospect, Stannis departing to Dragonstone with the entire Royal fleet ought to concerned both Robert and Eddard more than it did too. But these plot points, and foreshadowing for future Ironborn raids, were clearly there from the start. Perhaps the lack of detail is because the first three books have been told largely from land-lubber points of view. In the whole of A Game of Thrones, the only use of 'pitch' is to describe something black. I could only find one reference to tar (for heads) as well (although this could be because I searched with white space before and after the tar, to avoid wading through endless references to Starks, Targaryens, and bastards). But it could also be because GRRM always intended to ease us into the period detail, rather than launch straight into excruciating particulars, Patrick O'Brian style. (Which, of course, would also kind of force GRRM to commit to a particular period's technology - in boat styles, he cherry-picks from ancient Greek triremes to 19th century whalers - perhaps doing a quiet bit of tightening up certain specifications in Feast and Dance. And he already gets criticized for extraneous details. Still, I bet he regrets making the Ibbanese deep sea whalers, obsessed with bringing blubber to the world somehow, apparently because they just like to smell of it?) Game is a terrestrial-based book, focused on the Starks in the North and King's Landing. Dany is in an exotic land far from it, on a horseback, in a tribe with a cultural aversion to seawater. The only actual sea voyage in it is Catelyn's trip on Storm Dancer from White Harbor to King's Landing. Apart from that, Vayan Poole finds the Wind Witch, and whether it was really out of Braavos or Myr, nobody got on it and it didn't sail from King's Landing. There were other proposed sea voyages that came to nothing: Khal Drogo talked of getting a fleet of ships and invading Westeros when he set out for Slaver's Bay via Lhazareen lands (which implied Meereen had a navy - although we didn't hear anything about it directly until Dance). Ser Jorah talks to Dany of going to Asshai (apparently overland) and getting a ship to Pentos from there. Clash of Kings gets right into the naval theme straight up, first chapter Dragonstone, on the eve of Stannis setting off for the mainland. It introduces Davos, so we have a seafarers point of view for the first time. Immediately after Davos's first chapter we are re-introduced to Theon as a seafarer and a point of view character. Tyrion does a dockside tour of military defences of King's Landing before sending Myrcella to Dorne, Dany meets Quhuru Mo of the Cinnamon Wind, negotiates with Qartheen trading guilds for ships, heads off to the docks of Qarth where she conveniently finds three sent for her from Pentos. Jojen warns that the sea is coming to Winterfell, Theon gives us a short excursion to the Stoney Shore and a longer one to Pyke. Davos gives us a quick tour on the naval side of Storms Ends, as well as a naval view of the Battle of Blackwater. But still, there is not a lot about how ships are built and sailed. The focus is on military rather than naval concerns, even when the battles are on water. The tar is for heads or rum, perhaps except for on the Qartheen docks where (ACoK, Ch.63 Daenerys V) Not a wiff of bilge-water, raw fish, seaweed. Most of his choices don't seem to be even outdoors smells. The hot tar might be for waterproofing vessels or piers, but then again, maybe it is being used to warm honey to roast mice with. Pitch is for lighting, immediately prior to catapulting casks or barrels of it. Also for lighting, as in fuel for torches in the crypts of Winterfell. The one reference relating pitch to boat-building implies that it is something you only smell in the fresh-sawn timber of a brand new boat like the Sea Bitch: (ACoK, Ch.24 Theon II) Tar on the other hand (the only time it is mentioned in relation to ships), is a smell associated with hard use: (AFfC, Ch.34 Cat Of The Canals) Storm of Swords has a lot of people navigating rivers - wildlings coming down the Milkwater, Lannisters on the forks of the Trident, Davos and Tyrion on Blackwater bay, Daenarys observing the Worm and invading Meereen from the Skahazdahn. Sansa takes her first ever sail to the Fingers on the Merling King, and we could assume from her deft familiarity with boats that the Maid of Tarth has some coastal sailing experience too. Stannis gets to the wall without a point of view character, and while he brings men from Eastwatch with him, it is not until Feast for Crows that we start to learn of the Black Brother's fleet. When I look at it, it seems striking that there is so little sea, and so much water in Storm. In Feast, Arya and Samwell becomes seaborne points of view and gain maritime experience in Braavos, while the Ironborn get three new points of view, all experienced mariners. Euron returns from abroad with plans that scatter them across the oceans of Planetos. Arianne and Brienne travel along the coastlines of Westeros. Even compared to Feast, the maritime themes really ramp up in A Dance with Dragons. Tyrion, Victarion and Quentyn go by sea to Meereen. Daenarys is blockaded by a Qartheen and a Meereenese navy. Davos sails from the Sisters to White Harbor with many an appraising glance at their naval defences, Reek gives us a good look at the defences of Moat Calin, and Asha of Deepwood Motte. Even landlocked points of view get a glimpse of the sea: Melisandre sees visions of a port city, Jon gets dispatches from the fleet he sent out of Eastwatch to Hardhome. Tycho Nestoris comes to him, and to Asha. Qyburn brings news from the docks of King's Landing about their fleets in the Stepstones and Dragonstone, the depredations of Euron's and the landing of JonCon's in the Reach, to Cersei and Kevan. Dance also retcons maritime stories into earlier histories - a voyage across the bite with Wylla the fishwife into Eddard's backstory, maritime invasions of Blackfyres into Westerosi history. In Dance and Feast, there seems to be more effort taken with the nautical details - although this could be because there are more nautically informed points of view. There are more mentions of hemp rope, resin, cooperage, more thought given to the function of docks and the nature of harbours than previously. The world has opened up and become much larger, but paradoxically, the distances between places have become smaller, the peoples more cosmopolitan, largely though sea travel. There are clearly at least two big naval battles preparing for Winds of Winter. One that might start between Victarion and some other navy, but will end between Victarion and Euron, over dragons, in the South seas. Another would be the Targaryen conquests of Westeros. Aegon and the Golden Company have already started one. Dany with the Dothraki might start another. Harder to tell if these two will stay on the same side, and which side Sallador, Aurane, Redwyne will take. That would be on the Narrow sea. Unless Dany and/or Euron decide to come at the Kingdoms from the Shivering or Sunset seas, taking their chances on an unmapped and unknown route (Euron might have done this already -the Reader suspected he was lying about retrieving his hell-horn from the ruins of Valyria. Maybe he wasn't even on the summer sea). House Manderley seem to be taking an interested in things happening nearer the shivering seas, around Skagos and Hardhome. If the winds are cold enough, they could be battles of survival on ice more than battles for territory on sea. Still, most real-world "battle on the ice" stories are really maritime survival stories of men who started out in pursuit of territory (eg. Shakleton, Franklin, Amundsen). Dragons can fly to from and over boats, can burn them to the waterline, or melt a path through ice for them to navigate. They can burn wights too. Also, it seems to me that the relationship between dragons and ships is a bit like the relationship between aircraft and aircraft carriers. They don't seem to go any distance over seas without the ships, but they do seem perfectly able to keep themselves alive with fish and frolic when they travel with ships.
  6. Walda

    Who builds better ships?

    Groleo of Pentos points out that he is not a shipwright, but adds that (ADwD, Ch.30 Daenerys V) Rope and canvas are both made from hemp, pitch from pines. Boats need timbers that are knot-free, with a fine, straight grain, dense and buoyant, strong and light, not prone to rot or warp. That almost invariably means well seasoned wood from very old trees, typically hundreds of years old, that have grown in dense wet forests (where they have to compete for scarce sunlight by growing straight and tall, while resisting rot). It is often important that the wood for the hull can be steamed and bent into shape (rainforest timbers like teak are good for this). For the load-bearing timbers of the frame, strength is required so a wood with a high silica content. For knees (the curved part of the boat frame that bore the highest load) what is needed is a tree that not only grows tall with a thick straight trunk, but also has thick strong primary branches as well (because that angle between the trunk and the branch is shaped into the knee, and it needs to be strong) English oak is good, white oak is better - but the boat builder, or a forester that understands boat building, has to go out and spot the particular trees that will do individually, and they have to be felled and transported and milled in ways that preserve their structural integrity. So, it seems to me that Braavos is probably not on the face of it a good place for profitable ship building enterprises in spite of its large merchant and defensive navies - no trees, no room for hemp cultivation - there is hardly enough real estate and water to grow fresh produce to meet the needs of the denizens of the city. Like most things, their wood, pitch, canvas and hemp have to be shipped in from elsewhere. They need water and fuel to make the steam to bend the wood, too. On the plus side, as the aquaduct and canals show, they are very cluey about getting in water. And fuels make good ballast. But getting the materials in to Braavos is always going to be more expensive than building a shipyard in a place like Bear Island or White Harbor, that is surrounded by them. Ship building is also very labour intensive, requiring a variety of highly skilled artisans and a hoard of unskilled labourers too. This gives an economic advantage to a culture that embraces slavery, especially one where slaves are trained up in particular areas of expertise. It is no accident that the great naval powers of the sixteenth century (and of the classical world) were all slave traders, and their navys grew as the slave trade grew. A culture that embraced colonisation is more likely to have governments and non-state actors that will invest in large ships of war and transports (for troops and for slaves). Braavos has a democratic government with an emphasis on free trade - that tends to support smaller and slower boats. travelling slowly in convoys along trade routes to deep harbours with docks and warehouses, avoiding shoals and shallows and hopefully pirates, that they cannot hope to out-manoeuvre, with their big bellies filled until the waterline is almost to the deck, and their crews as small as can be contrived. On the plus side for a Braavosi boat-builder, there is a strong and constant demand for ships and ship repairs in Braavos. Braavos also has the most powerful bank in the world, it is led by a sealord, and it's navy (like Britain's) is it's wooden walls. Both their traders and their government understand the value of a navy and are prepared to invest in one. State investment and subsidisation have historically been a critical factor in the building of large navies and innovative ships. With a state keen enough to put in the money, the expenses of sourcing materials from other lands and paying for labour that other places exploit for nothing, become less of an issue. A ship, once built, can give service for up to a century, and (if a trading vessel) might return the cost of it's building with only one or two voyages (to the spice isles or some other super-profitable venture). A military ship might be the difference between being a powerful trading empire, and not existing at all, so the expense of a navy might be, like the expense of deep harbours, regarded as a common good, a justifiable and prudent item to invest customs duties and poll taxes in. Given the constant link between slave-trading expansionist colonial powers and naval might in real-world history, it seems to me that Braavos is must be on the verge of becoming that, or that in fact the Bank of Braavos has triangulated the slave trade a long time ago, but the Braavosi that Arya and Sam meet are unaware of the role of the bank and the sealord, the trade and the navy, in other parts of the world. Thinking about it, a city state with a large navy, that isn't supporting colonial factories full of unwaged, unfranchised compulsory workers requires a greater suspension of disbelief than magical dragons. Westeros also seems to be notably lacking in expansionist ambition. Except for Euron, the Westerosi navies aspire only to conquer each other . Volantis is a different story, though. (ADwD, Ch.14 Tyrion IV) this passage implies that the Stormlands, Tyrosh, Pentos, Qohor and Norvos also had navies. Lys and Volantis clearly still do. New Ghis, Tolos, and Mantarys might be allied with Yunkai'i because they realise that they are the next in line to be sacked, if Daenerys is left to decide the matter. But it seems to me that Volantis and Qarth have imperial ambitions, and are using their alliance with the Yunkai to get in and carve themselves out a concession in Slaver's bay. Volantis, first child of Valyria, is not a natural ally of the Ghiscari. (ADwD,Ch.16 Daenerys III) That might just be the way the Green Grace spins it to Daenarys, but it explains why the cities of Slaver's bay, so dependant on international trade, have no navy or merchant navy to speak of. (A slave-trading city without a colonising navy is almost as much of an oddity as a free city with one). Yunkai has a forest of birch (which rots easily), and Meereen has groves of olive (knotty gnarly wood) but it seems nobody has attempted to replant the cedars (excellent maritime timber, good to work, but strong) in the last 300 years. It is interesting that, in Slaver's bay and apparently throughout the world, copper has low value and apparently none to shipbuilders. The English started cladding the hulls of their boats with copper to make them fast, waterproof and protect from shipworm in the fifteenth century. It caught on, and the price of copper boomed whenever the ship building trade did for the next three centuries. GRRM's naval technology must be older - although he has naval technologies from a broad time range. Stuff like Victarion's collapsible telescopes (late 18th century technology) on the one hand, and on the other, the Swan ships from the Summer Isles (bronze age technology, but apparently vastly superior thanks to the choice of wood for their hulls). There doesn't seem to be any technological impediment to lining hulls with copper, beyond nobody thinking to do it. Renly and the Dothraki have no trouble getting their hands on copper tubs. the Dornish wear copper helmets, Maester Balabar has a copper funnel, Marwyn, Haggon and Ramsey have copper kettles and Braavos has copper domes... so the coppersmiths are clearly up to the task, as soon as someone realises the advantages of lining their ships bottoms with it. I think perhaps the Summer Islands naval forces are a cross between the South Sea Islands waka taua and Tolkien's elven ships. Hizdahr's rooms in the Great Pyramid of Meereen have supporting spars of black oak, that seem very good for ship building purposes. There was enough combustible material in the pyramids of Hazkar and Yherizan to keep them burning in the rain for days, and enough combustible material in the pyramids of Astapor to burn them out too. Looking at places that have forests that might yield suitable timbers: Lots of places in the North of Westeros: wolfswood, Deepwood, the Neck,Umber lands, Hornwood forests, in the Gift around the Night's Fort and Queenscrown, in the hills of the Norries and the Flints, Bear Island. We know there is a navy, newly built, in the White Knife at White Harbor, and that Jorah Mormont built a single ship in Bear Island. But the North seems to have had no naval forces in living memory apart from these recent and not extensive efforts. Historically, there are strong hints of a navy in firth at White Knife long before the Manderleys arrived: (ADwD, Ch.29 Davos IV) At Winterfell, the only allusion to naval forces in the ancient North are Bran the Shipwright and Bran the Burner. It seems odd and slightly suspicious to me that the West Coast of the North, and Bear Island, which has been harried by the Ironmen in Maege Mormont's time, and visited by Tyroshi slavers in Jorah's, should have no ship building industry but the one ship he banged together to escape to Essos in. Same for Deepwood Motte, Moat Calin, Greywater. I could understand if King Arys II or Aegon I had given some ultimatum that the North would have no navy but that of the crown, although it seems to me that Robert Baratheon might have relaxed rules like that, especially when putting down Balon's first rebellion, and afterwood ensuring the peace was kept. This account from the Wolf Den also makes mention of reavers from the Three Sisters, and kings from the Vale. A navy from the Vale (which we have otherwise heard nothing about) fighting with a Northern navy (ditto). The Sistermen don't seem to have lost their appetite for plunder, smuggling and betrayal, although they display a semblence of respect for the authority of the true Warden of the East by only conspiring against him in secret. The forests of the Mountains of the Moon and the Giant's Lance have the right sort of timber, and even supposing the Mountains of the Moon are too rugged and clan-infested to harvest and transport timber, there are Snakewood and Coldwater Burn right there in the webs of the Fingers, just the places to stuff hidden navies, and their slippery Lord Protector is just the type to hide an army in the inlets supposedly allied with his Lord Declarant rival, Bronze Yohn. Petyr Baelish has also been investing himself in the Gulltown merchant navy these last twenty years at least. The Riverlands are too far inland for the most part, and too long converted to agriculture, to furnish or feel the need for a navy since Harren built Harrenhal. Seaguard and Oldstones might have been useful places to have a navy before then, and we know from Merret's epilogue that there are forests around Oldstones with Elms (buoyant timber, resistant to rotting). The woods around Harrenhal could be accessed by river, but given the proximity to the God's Eye they might be sacred or part of the Pact of the God's Eye. The other possible site for shipbuilding in the Riverlands would be along the Trident between Castle Darry to the Saltpans. The combination of the timber and the river to transport it, and the bay and docks at the Saltpans, to float the finished product in and out, might make it a worthwhile. But it doesn't seem to be an industry that is already established. Perhaps the shallowness of the tidal estuary around the Quiet Isle makes the draft too shallow or the currents too strong to float ships out safely. I'm not sure if they grow hemp or if that was just a notion of Ser Hyle's, but the cleared parts of the Riverlands seem to be a good place for it. In the far North, beyond the wall, there are the forests of the Frostfangs and the Haunted forest and just about everywhere else before the plains of the Lands of Always Winter. There are also whole tribes of Wildlings dependant on fishing and harassed by slave traders from Tyrosh and Lys. But they don't seem to have had a navy. Perhaps because the Night's Watch at Eastwatch have been assiduously policing them to prevent them building warships or training crews to man boats to slip around to the south in. King's Wood does have a Navy, as to be expected in a place established by a naval power 300 years ago precisely because it had a good harbour and was surrounded by the right trees for shipbuilding. Dragonstone, where that Naval power had been based for a generation before the conquest, which definitely did have ships then, did not appear to have ships in the era of Aerys II. Dragonstone did destroy Aerys fleet, the night Daenerys was born. I'm not sure if Robert's fleet was entirely built in King's Landing and then sailed to Dragonstone, or if it was partly built on Dragonstone after Jon Arryn died. The Velaryons seem to have had ships, so maybe Dragonstone still had ship builders. It seems that the Storm Lords, that made their name as a naval force, have not had a ship to speak of since Steffon Baratheon died, in spite of the availability of natural resorces. I would think that Crackclaw point would be a good place for smugglers to repair their ships, although Duskendale would be a better place for a shipyard. And there is a market in Duskendale for repairing ships, if not actually for building them. We know Lannisport had a fleet that was burnt at anchor in Balon's first rebellion, and apparently never replaced. That Dorne had not had a fleet since Nymeria burnt her boats. Other places that seem to me should have navies and shipwrights, that I don't think we have heard of yet, are Ibben, the Basalisk Isles, Qohor, the Isle of Cedars, and New Ghis We know that the Ironborn do have a fleet, and at least two shipwrights. Ambrode, who is old, and Sigrin who in Theon's opinion is thick witted. Still, there is no doubt the Ironborn have leathally fast ships. So, to answer the OP's question, I would say the best warships would be built by the Ironborn, and that Pentoshi shipwrights make more and better trading vessels than the Braavosi. I'd rate Braavos above the Reach for shipwrights, because they are a culture focused on trading by sea, while the Reach seem to do a lot of wine and agriculture, so while their real estate and labour might be slightly less expensive than Braavos, their skilled labour would be in seasonal competition with agriculture (which would drive up wages as well as lowering the general focus on boat-building.) It is also likely that they would be doing a lot of trading up the Mander, to the Westerlands, Riverlands and Crownlands. So they might prefer to build small boats with shallow draft, carracks and barges only just sturdy enough to get to the Sheild Iles, rather than more expensive large sea-going vessels, which would only be really necessary for international shipping out of the Arbor and Oldtown. Oldtown's shipwrights might be spurred to innovation by having a Citadel, but I don't know. Marwyn seems to be the only Archmaester that goes down to the docks, and he hasn't shown much interested in naval engineering. There is no mention of shipwrights at Oldtown, and Humphrey Hightower is in Lys, attempting to supplement their small naval force with Lyseni sellswords. The Oldtown navy does at least appear to be orderly and alert, in marked contrast to Renly's huge army. Willas, at Highgarden, with his interest in astronomy and studiousness, might also be a force for naval innovation. We haven't really learnt enough about what is happening at Highgarden - all we know is that the Tyrells are right on to the Ironborn invasion, to the extent Cersei allows. I'm guessing that Winds of Winter will be all about naval forces and naval battles, given how much of what we know about the navies of Planetos was set up in Dance with Dragons. TL;DR Iron Isles, Pentos, Braavos, Reach in that order.
  7. Walda

    Happy New Year

    Time to deflower the maids of the fields and the seas. Here is wishing you a bountiful harvest and winnable wars. And the coming of a Windy Winter in its season.
  8. Walda

    Wow, I never noticed that v.17

    In ADwD Ch.36 Cersei VIII, Tommen tries to pull rank on Cersei and Cersei threatens Tommen Cersei then goes to bed, and in her dream she is the queen without a tongue
  9. Walda

    Mistakes/Contradictions in the books?

    This was a Tolkien issue too: How many miles in a league? According to Quentyn (ADwD, Ch.25 The Windblown) but to Dany (ADwD, Ch.30 Daenerys V) and (ADwD, Ch.57 Daenerys V) According to Asha (ADwD, Ch.42 The King's Prize) cf. ADwD, Ch.62 The Sacrifice Deepwood Motte is not so far from the sea, however (ADwD, Ch.26 The Wayward Bride) So Asha is clearly overstating her case when she lays it out to Theon (ACoK, Ch.56 Theon V) and Bran is confused (ACoK, Ch.35 Bran V) or the world around Winterfell has shrunk since the War of Five Kings. We learn the length of the wall early on, and are reminded frequently (AGoT, Ch.21 Tyrion III) cf. ACoK,Ch.43 Jon V; ASoS,Ch.26 Jon III; ASoS, Ch.60 Tyrion VIII; ADwD,Ch.07 Jon II In the first mention, we are also given the length in miles (AGoT, Ch.21 Tyrion III) So we know that Tyrion and Asha are using the same league Sam knows (ASoS, Ch.56 Bran IV) and uses the same ratio leagues:miles as Tywin and Asha (ASoS, Ch.46 Samwell III) But he gets lost (ASoS,Ch.46 Samwell III) If he was thinking clearly, he would realise that, as he was not on the Bay of Seals or the Bay of Ice, he could not have been more than thirty leagues from the gate at Castle Black. Jon has a better understanding of the distances involved...well, most of the time (ASoS, Ch.07 Jon I) Although, 10,000 leagues north of Dorne is actually in the ballpark of 1,000 leagues north of Dorne (if you take the shortest path rather than flying in a great circle around Planetos one and a bit times) and that is in fact where Jon happens to be when he says this, ±100 leagues (possibly even less than 100 Dany leagues).
  10. Walda

    Kraznys mo Naklos - Charming Villain

    That might be so - although I'm not certain the massacre of the Good Masters was as exhaustive as you imply. If Kraznys had relatives under the age of twelve, the unsullied would not have killed them, for example. The books suggest some of the Good Masters survived (ASoS, Ch.71 Daenerys VI) Later, when Astapor is under siege by the Yunkai'i (ADwD,Ch.30 Daenerys V) This might have been an utterly futile and irrational gesture, that only dispossessed the unfortunate freedmen who were squatting there, or it could have been that some of Kraznys' people had held the pyramid right up until then. We don't know how long Daenarys' unsullied spent freeing slaves and massacring Good Masters. Did they have time to search all the houses of Astapor, all the islands of the Worm, all the ships on its docks? Pyramids are defensively build structures, well guarded, huge and labyrinthine with multiple exits, difficult to search completely. Difficult to despoil completely, for that matter. Maybe they were not searched at all. Maybe the Unsullied only cleared the soldiers and Masters that had gathered in the Plaza of Punishment...there seemed enough key people there at the time to disrupt the rule of the city for a time. We do know that Cleon I turned back Astapor back into a slaver city in short order after Dany and the Unsullied left. (ADwD, Ch.02 Daenerys I) While Kraznys mo Nakloz is obviously not one of the enslaved survivors, this does not mean that the things that happened in his chapters will have no bearing on future events, or that he has no supporters. It doesn't even mean that his part in the story is over - there are a lot of dead people still having their say in this story. Viserys also died wreathed in a burning crown, and that didn't stop him Kingsplaining to Dany in the final chapter of Dance. Lyanna Stark was dead and gone fifteen years before the story started, but we haven't heard the last of her yet.
  11. Walda

    Kraznys mo Naklos - Charming Villain

    Just a small quibble about an excellent post: in the show Dany makes sure that Missandei is included in the deal. In the book Kraznys spontaneously gifts her Missandei, believing she has no other way to communicate with her Unsullied. (ASoS, Ch.27 Daenerys III) Of course, giving her away shows us Kraznys does not appreciate the extent of Missandei's talents. I'm wondering if that is under-valuing is market-driven, if because Kraznys is a slaver, he values slaves in terms like 'income per unit' and ten-year-old girl scribe-slaves sell at a much lower price than forty-year-old man scribe-slaves, or ten-year-old girl sex-slaves bring in more money for their owners than ten-year-old girl scribe-slaves. Or perhaps the Astapori train scribes the way they train unsullied, starting with a lot of children of diverse background and ages, training them rigorously and culling out the ones that can't keep up. That would mean that pretty much everyone in Missandei's cohort would be as fluent in languages, and some perhaps even younger than her. So while Missandei's precocity is a marvel to us, it might be expected among the scribe-slaves of Astapor. Missandei is quite calculating in her own way - in the same way as Tyrion manipulated his slave duties so he could escape with Penny and Jorah, getting employment with Kraznys might have been her way of staying with her brothers. While Missandei's tutors would have to know her intelligence and diplomacy were extraordinary even if her language skills were only as unexceptional as required, Kraznys does not seem to have the education to judge even Missandei's linguistic abilities. Not being bilingual, he could only judge on how readily a translator understands him, and how smoothly the sale went. He might well suppose that, if the sale went through, he could spare himself the upkeep of a translator for ten years while he trained the next cohort of unsullied, and when the time comes he can get another child-scribe who will do the job just as well, or well enough. He might even have become aware of that while he was ordering his current child-scribe around. This reminds me, (AGoT, Ch.32 Arya III) Illyrio was getting Varys tens of little birds at a time from somewhere, it seems to me that these children were not going home to their parents ever, and the gold was not making up their pay. And this talk of tongues - it doesn't sound consensual. It seems unlikely Illyrio was sourcing these children from Westeros, which means there is a high probability that the Common Tongue is just one of the languages these children understand ... there is a bit of overlap between the skill set of a little bird and that of a child scribe-slave. So perhaps Astapor trains scribe-slaves too, but not as extensively, expensively or prestigiously as they do the Unsullied. We know the Unsullied are necessarily more expensive, because they are sold in groups of a hundred at a time...which also makes me wonder, as the most we see in Illyrio's household is four that accompany him and Tyrion into Andalos, and he could not have purchased less than ten - so it looks like a person can break them up into smaller units than ten once they have purchased them, and probably on-sell them as well. Also, I'd like to add to your insightful point about the similarities between the Harpy and the dragon: when we first see the Harpy statue in the book we are told and (ASoS, Ch.23 Daenerys II) the Harpy of Astapor is also a breaker of chains.
  12. Walda

    Kraznys mo Naklos - Charming Villain

    I suspect Kraznys and things that were said and done in his chapter are going to prove relevant to matters that are in the process of being unfolded, and will be revealed further in Winds of Winter, like who the harpy is and the difference between a Loraq and a Kandaq. At least, in my headcanon I have found a lot to ponder in this chapter. Although it is difficult for the reader to sympathize with such an obvious puppy-kicking villain, his relations might be disgruntled about Daenerys crimes against the citizens of Astapor, her theft of their unsullied, etc. and not consider the matter to be unfinished. At the moment I'm attempting to put my many thoughts about this in some kind of order for another post (a long one, made longer by my laptop breaking down and by having still more thoughts every time I re-read the chapter while waiting for it to be repaired) but, to give you one example to illustrate why I don't think this chapter is done and dusted, have you considered that Stalwart Shield might have been missing a nipple before he was stabbed to death with his own short sword?
  13. Walda

    So, what's your head canon?

    - Only children of Vinsenya's line inherited the fire-proof dragon-rider blood. After Rhaenarys was bumped from the succession plan, the dragon blood left the Royal line of the Targaryens, but came back into it a generation or two before Aegon V by means of a cuckolding secret bastard, possibly a strong. -Rhaella had dragon-rider blood, but Aerys II did not. Their child Viserys does not. -Daenarys is the bastard daughter of Ser Arthur Dayne, who had dragon-rider blood on the maternal line too (I suspect from the Seafaring Velaryons, hence she is a dragon rider and can pass dragon riding along to her kin. Rhaegar probably had the same father - at least, Aerys always suspected he did, and wrongly believed that he would therefore not inherit the fire-proof dragon-genes, which Aerys II was obsessed with recreating, and believed he possessed - hence 'Let them burn', believing he would survive the flames). - The Arryns have a lot of King's blood and dragon-rider blood, as they have married successive female Targaryens in the past. Jon Arryn's fertility problems and Lysa's miscarriages of all his legitimate heirs arise from this. I'm guessing the Tullys have some female Targaryens in their lineage as well. - If Sweetrobin has dragon-rider blood, it comes from the Strong lineage of his real father (most probably Petyr Baelish - who knows his own descent, the reason his great-grandfather was exiled in Braavos, and from this stems his great desire to rule over the Riverlands from Harrenhal). Although, SweetRobin would have various old-Kings blood through both the Strong line and his maternal Whent line. These powers are more to do with stone and water and air than fire. - The Blue Bard is Willas Tyrell and Cersei is in big, big trouble. - Marillion lives, and lives to serve Petyr Baelish. If he didn't leave the Eyrie rolled up in a tapestry or in a chest, he is up there still, communicating by falcon, perhaps getting it to bring him meat also. Hopefully he has enough fuel and furs to survive, if he isn't down the bottom and on his merry way. The guy with the raspy voice and the blindfold who confessed, was SweetRobin's whipping boy. He is used to it,, poor sap. -Kezmya Pahl poisoned Strong Belwas with the chilled wine. The poison (perhaps tears of Lys?) was introduce to the wine by a Pahl relative of hers when Dany's chair stopped due to the collapsed palanquin-bearer. Luckily for Strong Belwas, he was taking the hot, purging spices, that were also super sweet (protecting his stomach from being stripped), and did not drink the poison on an empty stomach. Also he was very strong, and could afford to lose a bit of weight and condition in his convalescence. The Pahls intended target was Strong Belwas, the former pit-fighting slave who humiliated their champion and wiped his bottom on the house colors. Apart from this instance, they are loyal to Daenarys (if only because they have faith in Reznak and know that Meereen under Skahaz and/or the Yunkai will be worse for them.) Still, one of the cupbearers has successfully got away with poisoning the wine, and all of them know it. I don't like this hair-saving spin the dagger game they are playing - saving hair of dead/absent people as a death memorial thing was big in the 18th and 19th centuries, it looks like some kind of last-ditch suicide pact to me. - At a certain point in time, the mirrors that reflect the light around the citidel library (instead of candles) are going to line up in an unfortunate configuration of lenses and mirrors, one that simply couldn't happen in the Maester's model of the universe. Unfortunately, before they detect the error in their model, it will create a laser that will burn the whole library and all the books in it to the ground. There is more. I'll add them when I think of them.
  14. The concealment I was referring to was made by James Poniewozik - I've bolded the bit where Poniewasik mentions redacting the interview, and underlined the bit that I believe is GRRM comparing two of the season two rulers to historic rulers (probably Carter and Nixon), in that they did not follow the good man=good ruler, bad man=bad ruler formula (James Poniewozik, 'GRRM Interview Part 2: Fantasy and History', in Time magazine 'Tuned In' section April 18, 2011 [accessed http://entertainment.time.com/2011/04/18/grrm-interview-part-2-fantasy-and-history/ 17th November 2018]) It seems clear to me that they started by talking about Boromir and Aragon, moved on to Nixon/Carter and from there to two characters who encountered difficulties in ruling in season two of Game of Thrones. (I'll concede that Nixon/Carter parallels are a better fit for Robert/Ned than for Boromir/Aragon or Aragon/Boromir., though) And yes, the hand is more powerful than a vice president, but an absolute monarch is more powerful than a US president. The office of the president was designed to be weaker even than that of George III, a constitutional monarch well contained by his parliament. I dispute your claim that the office of the Hand was ever more powerful than that of the King. The Hand was appointed by the King and could be dismissed by him. A Hand with a flair for administration or a powerful personality could get more done than a King without these blessings, but the office ranked below that of the king, always. JonCon and Rossart were never more powerful as Hands than Aerys was as King, and I would not say that Ned as hand was more powerful than Robert, either. People like Tywin and Criston Cole could certainly wield more power than their monarchs, and might even have chosen their kings, but because of their personal qualities and ambitions, and perhaps also because of the comparative weakness of their monarchs. Not because the office of the Hand gave them the authority to usurp their monarch's power. From the assassination plot for Daenarys, it seems implicit that the hand was sworn to abide by the king's will, hence Eddard being obliged to hand in his badge when he refuses to approve the assassination Robert had willed. The similarity between the Hand and the Vice President is that both are public offices with a broad remit to serve the realm rather than merely the current head of state. Both require the holder assume the position of head of state when the head of state is indisposed, overseas, or dead. Both involve being sworn into office, having a chain or badge of office, having a place in the cabinet/on the small council. Neither are subordinate to any other member of the cabinet/small council. The office has existed a long time, has a basis in law, is not an office that exists only at the discretion of the incumbent head of state. As far as we know, every King since the conquest has had a Hand. The relative rank of the president and vice president to the monarch and the hand, is what makes me think they are analogous. The chief of staff seems to me more like a seneschal - someone like Reznak who the incumbent head of state could decide was surplus to requirements and decide not to have one at all. Someone that served the person of the head of state. rather than the state itself.