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  1. In my opinion, Kevan was going along under his brother's guidence and not plotting anything until Lancel was at death's door and Willem was dead and he had this conversation. (ASoS Ch 19 Tyrion IIIU) Until this point, I don't think Kevan realised Ned had been sold to Cersei (which is really just Tyrion's belief, and Cersei's - in reality, Baelish took money from borh Cersei and Ned and screwed them both by arranging with Slynt, Payne, a couple of Slynt's goldcloaks and Joffrey to have Ned slaghtered rather than sent to the wall). Until this point, he had not considered the possibility that his brother's children were a nest of vipers who were capable of arranging murder. Worse, that they were so unscrupulous that they might even be up to paying a footpad to attack Ned's son, like Catelyn had claimed; poisoning Jon Arryn, as Ned had claimed; commiting incest, as Stannis claimed. Then, there is the thought that Cersei might even be capable of sending out a catspaw to poison a Lannister - and not just any Lannister, but his son. Some time between this conversation and Joffrey's wedding, Kevan grows closer to the faith of the Seven, and the faith of the Seven grow more militant. According to Lancel, when he was near death's door, the Old High Septon spoke to him. (AFfC Ch 7 Cersei II) The bit about atoning for sins makes me suspect Lancel gave High Septon a deathbed confession. We know from Lancel's interactions with Tyrion what a weak reed he is. Of course he has told about sleeping with Cersei and killing Robert with strongwine at her command. And of course, if he was so far gone as to be seeking last rites, Kevan has a reason to dismiss Ballabar, on the basis that he has already done all medicine can do for Lancel. Given Ballabar's liberal use of milk of the poppy, and maesters in general leeching and blistering whenever a person takes a turn for the worse, that is probably a good thing for Lancel even if the maester was in fact doing his best to cure him. When we next see Lancel (ASoS Ch 60 Tyrion VIII) I notice the last time brittle hair and stick thinness were mentioned, it was Doreah starving as she crossed the Red Waste with Dany. This description makes me suspect that Lancel had given up maesters medicine for fasting and prayer, growing slowly stronger by the grace of the Seven. Note too that Kevan cracks a smile for the first time in the books here. He is a loving father, as well as a warrior, commander of men, and a powerful dangerous and well connected person. Another thing I notice here is what a good match Lancel's 'holy purpose' and the purpose of the sparrows are (AFfC Ch 4 Brienne I) This was the plea of the Sparrow Septon to Ser Illifer. Illifer was not moved to go with the sparrows to King's Landing, but I can imagine them flocking around Lancel's bed with their fasts and prayers to the Mother very soon after they brought the bones of the martyrs to Baelor's Sept. Kevan would rather his son defended the King than the Faith, but any aquaintance that improved his sons health and showed genuine concern for him, and addressed Lancel as a warrior would be appreciated by Kevan, and might well get more of his notice than any Lannister would expect him to give a band of low-born beggars. A very short time later, Joffrey is poisoned and Cersei blames Tyrion. Kevan dutifully visits Tyrion daily, but if he has already suspected Tywin's children were snakes that would stop at nothing, Tyrion poisoning Cersei's son at his wedding, and Cersei's zealous persuit of the prosecution of the case against her brother makes it abundantly clear that these two were absolutely capable of killing their own kin. Then, Tyrion kills Tywin. Jaime had four turnkeys slaughtered in order to set Tyrion loose. And than the High Septon dies. Kevan might not be the grandmaster of strategy that Tywin was, but the bodies are stacking up and Tywin's children are looking like a threat to Lannisters as well as everyone else. Also, once Tywin was dead, Kevan might reasonably regard it as his turn to head the family and the realm. He might not be so ambitious as to take the rule unasked, but he is ambitious enough to find it galling to hear Cersei beg her twin to be her Hand when decency, protocol, and common sense dictate that she should be begging Kevan to be Regent and rule the realm for her. Kevan would have realised, when his eyes were opened to Cersei and Jaime's incest, that his brother had known this when the pair was fifteen, when he returned to Casterley Rock with Cersei rather than go to Harrenhal and watch Jaime join the Kingsguard. He might even have made Jaime Lord Sumner's squire in an attempt to seperate the twins when Joanna died. On the matter of poisonings and assasination attempts, Kevan would probably have been more circumspect, reluctant to reveal his brother's shame without strong proofs that he did not have. Also keen to make sure Lancel and Martyn were as small a target as possible, and his own food and person was safe before Tyrion, Cersei, and Jaime became aware of his suspicions. As he is not the sharpest sword in the Lannister armory, he might also be wondering if Tywin's children had been responsible for the death of Willum and the disappearance of Tyrek. Also, the death of Dontos and the disappearance of Sansa. But by the time he is Regent, he has become convinced that none of Tywin's children could be trusted, or are fit to carry the Lannister name. As it happens, Cersei is a Baratheon, Jaime a Kingsguard, Tyrion an attainted traitor. That would very likely put Kevan in a good place to lay his claim as heir to Casterly Rock against that of Cersei, as well as replacing her as regent. That is to say, would have done, before he died. Now the question in my mind is, how many of his doubts has he shared with Lancel and the High Sparrow, and what would the High Sparrow make of them?
  2. Tyrion pairs an unusual Dornish summerwine with the quails drowned in butter when he dines with Slynt, that he later shares with Varys. (ACoK Ch 8 Tyrion II) Daenerys had found the same wine in the Western Markets (AGoT Ch 54 Daenerys VI)
  3. Yes. Moonboy is the modern Mushroom, and maybe a bit too clever for his own good. Sansa is not very suspicious, or forever on the lookout for slights, but the Lannisters are, and Moonboy is quite lucky that Joffrey is content to explain his jokes to Sansa, while Cersei ignores his performance and Tyrion chows on his horse in the Mountains of the Moon. Moonboy pays attention to the High Septons of the day (it was he that dubbed the current one "High Sparrow") I wonder if perhaps he has some deeper connection to the faithful. Perhaps his father was a Septon? Or he was raised in the faith? I wonder too, if he knows more of the crown of the fat High Septon that was torn apart by the mob, the appointment and the death of the old high septon that Tyrion chose to replace him, the background and rise of the sparrows. Also, Moonboy is in very close contact with Dontos,thanks to Sansa. He sleeps with him(ACoK Ch 2 Sansa I), dances with him(ASoS Ch 28 Sansa III), is effectively his boss (ACoK Ch 18 Sansa II) and he knows whether or not Dontos had raped and impregnated Lollys a couple of months before the riots of King's Landing. Moonboy noticed Dontos absences before and at Joffrey's wedding feast, and might know more and care more about his death than anyone else in King's Landing. Unlike Taena, he was not quick to come forward with his observations of Dontos and Sansa, although Cersei would be glad to hear them, and he has taken Spider's gold for whispers in the past Patchface is a 'sacred clown', a mouthpiece of the drowned god, or some sea thing. He has not spent the last twenty-two years pretending to be an unfunny sinister halfwit with prophetic visions. If Sam Tarly interviewed him for his history, what he said would make no sense to Sam. But it would probably be hilariously ironic to a reader of Sam's history a couple of hundred years later, who knew how Sam's life had played out. Dramatic irony is really the only funny thing about him. ETA @Mad King Bolton, could you enumerate the "wee woods witches we've seen"? The only one I can recall is the Ghost of High Heart.
  4. (ASoS Ch 9 Bran I) A challenge he has met already. Be careful what you wish for.
  5. Oh, I believe he was Tywin's puppet in the sack of King's Landing, until I can get him from the flagpole above the goldcloaks barracks, where he was seen scaling the wall and hoisting the Lannister flag, to the nursery in the Crown Prince's quarters inside the inner wall of Maegor's holdfast, where the children and Elia were. That takes a bit more explaination than I have found so far. Although, I am not at all sure it was Tywin's idea to kill the children and Elia. It seems to me they were more useful to him alive than dead, that he might have preferred to be Aegon's Hand rather than Robert's goodfather; that he might have been played like a puppet and was only making lemonade out of the irretrievably, undeniably stabbed and crushed lemons his henchmen discovered. It was sly enough, the way he shunted the blame for these crimes onto Robert, for accepting his 'gifts' and his alliance, agreeing to support and acknowledge Robert as the supreme commander in whose name these atrocities were committed. And Gregor is someone's puppet on his way home from the Tourney of the hand. Chiswyck tells us his first-person account of what happened at the pub at Sherrer in ACoK Ch 30 Arya VIII, to compare with the one Raymun Darry orders Joss the publican to tell in AGoT Ch 43 Eddard XI. I can't help but notice it had been pouring rain and flooding in Chiswyck's version, which puts a damper on everything combustible in Ser Raymun's version. I wonder to, how the smallfolk feel about their 'protectors', the lords Darry, Vance, and Piper, who have driven them on foot to the Red Keep to accuse Clegane, without allowing them so much as a bath or a change of clothes. Perhaps Joss is as willing to thank these high lords for their favour. Tywin was willing enough to take his armies through the Riverlands to the Inn at the Crossroads where his son had been abducted. The Riverlords couldn't have stopped him if they had tried. Jaime's host stopped them easily, at small loss to himself and grievous loss to Darry. Piper and Vance took off to raid Clegane Keep while Gregor dutifully attended his bannerlord and Tywin waited hopefully for the Northerners to join the game. But, re the harrying of Sherrer, Wendish Town, Mummer's Ford and Darry's lands, I don't see how Tywin could have been in communication with Clegane until Clegane returned to the Westerlands, after his depredations in the Riverlands, unless at least one friendly River Lord was accepting messages from Tywin and getting them to Clegane on his way up the Red Fork after leaving King's Landing. I don't trust that feckless idiot Edmure and his Riverlads (all of them have the arrogance and beligerance of high lords of the manor, but none of them actually are River Lords, and none of their efforts protect the smallfolk or preserve their property, and they would rather fight Lannisters than take responsibility for their fathers' lands and people.). It seems to me that there is more to the story than Eddard was told, and both Varys and Littlefinger know it. Gregor and his men are no saints, as Chiswyck's account shows. I wouldn't put the harrying murder of the smith's apprentice past them, or the rape of the girl, but there were only eight of them: Gregor, Chiswyck, Raff the Sweetling, Joss Stilwood, Eggon, Tobbot and three others (I'm guessing Polly, and the Tickler, because these two were still trying to make a man of Joss when they met the Hound and Arya (.ASoS Ch 74 Arya XIII). And the last might be Dunsen? maybe Shitmouth?) Thing is, none of Gregor's lot seem to be archers. And it was too wet for setting things on fire. The Brave Companions had archers, Amory Lorch set places on fire, at a later date, when things had dried out a bit. It seems to me that Gregor is copping the blame for more than what he did, in the hope that Piper, Vance, and Darry had an excuse for helping themselves to Lefford's gold, and burning Clegane's smallfolk alive. Then, his liege lord seems unconcerned about his existence. On the Green Fork, Tyrion gets precious about his father attempting to kill him by making him lead the van - but his father chose the big man with the small shield to actually lead the van. Again and again we see Tywin deploy Gregor wherever the fighting is fiercest. Mummers Ford. Harrenhal. Ruby Ford. Duskendale. If Tywin sees anyone as dispensable, it is Gregor. So yeah, I think Gregor was a puppet-knight from the day he swore his knighly vows, and I can only hope that what Qyburn has done to him has at least cured his migraines.
  6. (AGoT Ch29 Sansa II) Gregor's gift was a puppet knight. And Gregor became a puppet knight.
  7. AGoT Ch33 Eddard VIII ADwD Ch 64 The Ugly Little Girl Petyr Baelish paid the price of a sellsword army to sink Beonze Yohn's insurer shortly after Jon Arryn died? At least, before Dany reached Vaes Dothrak. But it took them a couple of years to get around to it (or, the gift was given on conditional terms.) If Tyrion's fee to the Second Sons is any guide, that is 150,000 Gold dragons, fifty hides of fertile land, and a. Lordship. ( 30×100+27×1000+2×10000+1×10000 ) ADwD Ch 66 Tyrion XII
  8. Maester Coleman doesn't really know that much of medicine. He knows less than Grand Maester Pycelle, no match for Mirri Maz Duur, Qyburn, or even Maester Luwin. I think it is partly because of the parochial spin of the Citidel's teachings, their emphasis on scholarship, their qualms about experiment, their desire to distinguish themselves from the orders of pyromancy, religion, magic, alchemy and trickery. Colemon's understanding of medicine comes from the soundest authorities of the Citidel, and such experience as he encountered in John Arryn's household. That isn't extensive knowledge when we compare him with other healers. Mirri has a much broader clientele and has learnt the medical knowledge of at least half a dozen cultures other than her own. Qyburn, inquisitive beyond the point of being unethical, has his chain removed but not the knowledge the Citidel afforded him, which by his account was equal to that of the Archmaester of Healing. He has since developed his skills in vivisection and necromancy in a field hospital unrestrained by his former peers' scuples and prejudice. Marwyn remains an Archmaester, in spite of paying serious attention to the outlandish cures and medical practices of other cultures and not excluding religious and magical cures. His peers in History, Stargazing and (probably) Accounting openly discredit his knowledge but tolerate him, probably because his subject is the higher mysteries and not medicine after all, and possibly also because he has spent most of his term on sabbatical, his books are popular even if they do encroach on their own disciplines in unorthodox ways, and he does not giving formal lectures. Perhaps also because the Citidel don't know or care what he teaches in Asshai. The medical teachings of the Citidel have blind spots. Like infection control. Mirri and Qyburn understand how necrotic tissue works. While Aemon and Ballabar seems to have acquired a clue from experience, Pycelle shows us that the Citidel does not teach that it is critical or fundamental. Mirri Maz Duur has a lot more confidence than Colemon when it comes to what drugs do what and which to use when. For example, when Dany is recovering from the birth of Rhaego, (AGoT Ch68 Daenerys IX) Dany woke up thirsty, drank some water, and some more water, and then Mirri gave her some sweet wine. She sleeps some more, not as soundly as before, she has some more water and notices her fever has broken. Her strength has returned and her appetite, too. The waif has a similar confidence and competence. She uses a similar potion to blind Arya (AFfC Ch34 Cat of the Canals) I am not sure if the waif knew or intended Arya to warg into a cat - the Kindly Man hints at that when he says that she has been a cat, but he might only have been referring to her life with Brusco and his daughters. There is no doubt the waif does know how to keep her blind, and how to reverse the blindness (AFfC Ch45 The Blind Girl) Probably because the waif routinely blinds people and returns thier sight. When Arya first arrived at the House of Black and White she notes (AFfC Ch22 Arya II) The blinding/warging potion tastes like the drink Colemon gave SweetRobin (AFfC Ch45 The Blind Girl ) But I doubt Maester Colemon was trying to open SweetRobin's inner eye or blind him. The draught Dany was given by Mirri after Rhaego's birth seems to have included milk of the poppy. Maester Luwin gives Bran milk of the poppy in a green jar, in the hope of giving him dreamless sleep. Bran promptly wargs into Summer (ACoK Ch4 Bran I) Maester Aemon makes his milk of the poppy in a green jar, too (ASoS Ch48 Jon VI) Maester Aemon uses it as an anaesthetic. Jon does not go to sleep or warg into his wolf, but like Dany, it makes him thirsty. He is given it before his fever starts, and unlike her he is given it a few times, no sweetwine. He doesn't seem to warg into any beast - or maybe he wargs quickly through direwolf, eagle, crow, even weirwood. It is hard to tell if this is just part of his jumbled fever dream that ends up at the pool in the Godswood at Winterfell with Ygritte. The paste that the Children of the Forest prepare to open Bran's third eye also has a loathsome bitter taste, like Arya's blinding milk. (ADwD Ch34 Bran III) I suspect the waif could make Jojen paste if she mixed the blinding potion with the amortentia they put in the candles at the House of Black and White. (AFfC Ch22 Arya II) There seems to be some amortina in the shade of the evening that Dany drank at the House of the Undying, too (AGoT Ch48 Daenerys IV) And apparently, the smell of her brother dying is one of Dany's favourite things. There are lots of places where candles with amortina or some other kind of mood-altering substance in them could be influencing perceptions. -Maggi the Frog's burnt blood scented candle burning when she gave her prophecy, iCrc - the 'incense' scented devotional candles in septs.eg. the ones that were burning at Lancel's sept at Darry, and around Joffrey's bier at the Sept of Baelor. -the scented candles that Shae is forever lighting when Tyrion is around, from the jasmine scented one in Varys' cell, to the one he first examined her by (which was actually lit by Bronn, but still, kisses like cloves and honey, hmmm). The scented candle burning on Sansa's wedding night didn't work so well, though. - Perhaps the candles only affect Tyrion, not Sansa. The scented beeswax candles Lord Waxley had given Lady Lysa when he sought to win her hand don't seem to have an effect beyond 'smelling of nutmeg and other costly spices', though. -the candles in Renly's green tent might not stir passions, but they are mentioned so often they must be a clue to something -the candle Ramsey holds when he tells Theon Asha has arrived could provoke dread, and prophetic/foreshadowing dreams. - the "gold for iron" candle when Pate met the alchemist at the Quill and the Tankard - the candles in Arianne and Arys' loveshack - the candle when Cersei and Taena were interrupted by Falyse.(Worked for Taena,at least) - the light of the candles at Ramseys wedding to FArya reveal the animal natures of the guests to Theon. Sorry, only just noticed the candles, got off the point. Back to SweetRobin. (AFfC Ch41 Alayne II) Maester Colemon has not tried this medicine before, and he is not sure what effect it will have on his patient. (AFfC Ch41 Alayne II) When he woke, SweetRobin had a temper, a headache, was sniffling, red-eyed and glare sensitive. He doesn't say he was warging into anything, or having prophetic dreams. But how would we know of the experiences of Jon, Dany, Arya, and Bran outside of their first person point of view? There are wildlings that recognise Jon as a warg because of the way Ghost stalks him and because he "has a wolfish cast to him now that I look close". Jojen recognises Bran as a warg because he had a green dream about a winged wolf in chains. He claims he is not a warg himself, but Jojen also has shivering fits. If it were not for Jojen, Bran would just seem to be sleeping or shaking when he was warging. Varamyr could warg multiple beasts while he was awake. His parents only found out he could warg when they killed Loptail. His father's hands were shaking then, but he only fell into a flailing fit when his eagle died. Arya doesn't fall into a fit when she uses the eyes of the cat to hit the Kindly Man. So it is possible to warg without your body showing symptoms, too. As far as I can tell, the three key external symptoms of warging are an animal hanging around, sleeping, and fits.Sansa has observed the last two in SweetRobin. Downside is, everybody sleeps sometimes, animals have to live somewhere, and Catlyn shows it is possible to have a fit without warging (or at least, without being aware of what happens when you fit). Looking for other signs, SweetRobin is a sickly, runty child, as Lump was. The only animal I have seen potentially shadowing SweetRobin is the falcon Sansa observes from her balcony on the Maidens Tower. Perhaps a mule bit SweetRobin for attempting to warg him. The only animals at the Eyrie that I can recall are the winch oxen and Marillion's falcon. I am guessing there are other falconry birds, because Marillion's was Jon Arryn's favourite bird. But they don't keep chickens for fresh eggs (in spite of their plentiful grain store - which will be inaccessible until after the thaw) also in spite of SweetRobin's fondness for the song about the chicken that dressed up as a fox. I presume Maester Colemon had intended the vile milk to give the child a sound sleep before the descent (much like Luwin was attempting to give Bran dreamless sleep). SweetRobin's fingers were trembling before he got out of bed that morning. When he crossed the stone saddle before Snow, he had a turn. So Colemon had no more success than Luwin with his green jar. Maester Colemon had no objection to sedating him half the hours of the day. (AFfC Ch41 Alayne II) As soon as SweetRobin awoke from the experimental vile milk, Colemon came to his room to sedate him again. He was rewarded with the contents of SweetRobin's chamber pot. This seems a bit extra to me. Opiates are constipating and I do wonder that SweetRobin was strong enough to throw a chamber pot across the room, but these irrelevancies aside, it makes me suspect Maester Colemon was attempting to detox SweetRobin of Sweetsleep with deep sleep therapy, and without really knowing what he is doing, or seeing any clear signs of success. He isn't interested in explaining the vile milk to Alayne. He did object to giving sweetsleep (AFfC Ch41 Alayne II) The waif informs Arya that Sweetsleep is 'the gentlest of poisons' (AFfC Ch34 Cat of the Canals) Maester Aemon keeps Sweetsleep to 'give the gift of painless death', as far as Samwell Tarly can tell, when they don't have it and Bannen is dying slowly and painfully. (ASoS Ch33 Samwell II) Varys used it as knock-out drops (ASoS Ch77 Tyrion XI) But Longwaters followed an order to have them all killed, which was carried out before they woke, so we can't judge the spider's skill. It seems a bit reckless, to put the stuff in a common jug hoping that each man takes just enough, and none too much, that no man has taken much Sweetsleep before, and no-one else imbibes it. Cressen made that mistake with the Strangler, which was not as miscible with wine as he had presumed, or as quick to dissolve in it. Melissandre capitalised on her better knowledge of the poison, and no doubt her Ruby-fortified constitution, leaving him only the dangerous dregs. Pycelle soothed the violence of Ser Gyle's coughing with Sweetsleep (AFfC Ch36 Cersei VIII), but had nothing to slow the progress of his consumption, and his patient died. As a palatable poison that gives death in three pinches, and can kill with small cumulative doses, Swetsleep is noticeably underutilized. Dreamwine in Westeros seems to be milk of the poppy disolved in alcohol, a sedative and pain reliever that is not as strong as milk of the poppy. Tyrion at least noted the Dreamwine he took (ASoS Ch4 Tyrion I) After Tyrion takes it he is dizzy, and his legs tremble as he descends the stairs, but it makes the pain bearable without completely knocking him out. I wonder now if SweetRobin was tossing the pot for the same reason Tyrion was strangling Ballabar. At least Ballabar had a clear purpose for sedating his patient. When Jaime takes dreamwine on leaving Harrenhal, he has a frightening prophetic dream and wakes shivering, with the taste of bile in his mouth. His head pounds and he feels sick in his stomach. He has tears in his eyes and is running a fever. But he has enough of his wits about him to persuade Steelshanks to return to Harrenhal, and enough strength to drive his horse back to Harrenhal and vault into the bear pit. Jon Snow does not tremble after his half-cup of Dreamwine. He hobbles up the Kingstower, has an appetite for buttered buns with cheese and onions, and his hands draw arrows fast and true. He also has a chew of willow bark (asprin) and a battle to take his mind off his throbbing thigh. Like Lollys, a full cup of Dreamwine knocks Jon out for the night. Maester Colemon gives SweetRobin half a cup when he has a seizure after attacking Sansa's snow castle. He claimed the Dreamwine did not send him to sleep, the night before the Lords Declarant came up the mountain. Sansa doesn't believe this, however, and the morning they leave the Eyrie she offers him a cup of Dreamwine for his headache, warning "Only a little one, though. Mya Stone is waiting down at Sky, and she’ll be hurt if you go to sleep on her." (AFfC Ch41 Alayne II) I don't know if there are standard dosages for Dreamwine. Maester Aemon and Maester Colemon probably follow the same Citidel recipe, but the amount of opium in any particular poppy varys according to its variety and growing conditions, its harvest and processing, the conditions and length of its storage. Likewise the amount of alcohol in the wine depends on the sweetness of the grapes, vintage and variety. We know Qartheen Dreamwine is flavoured with 'strange spices', so it could be completely different from the Westerosi stuff. Still, it seems like a dose that would knock Jon Snow out like a light is just enough to put little SweetRobin into a tolerably good mood. Maester Colemon explains his treatment to SweetRobin (ASoS Ch 80 Sansa VIII) And to the Lord Protector (AFfC Ch 23 Alayne I) Young Maester Pylos on Dragonstone shows us how it is supposed to be done (ASoS Ch25 Davos III) So, fever, coughing, bloodblistered lips: leeches, milk of the poppy, garlic broth. Colemon must be aware SweetRobin has no fever, no cough for all his snivelling, and no bloodblisters. Colemon claims (AFfC Ch23 Alayne I) but (AFfC Ch23 Alayne I) Sansa is not Mirri Maz Duur, still, Catelyn and Tyrion both observe SweetRobin trembling on the verge of a fit, when he learns Catelyn's purpose in his mother's arms, and when he is denyed the pleasure of watching the little man fly. The fit when Sansa slayed his giant seems quite as violent as the one the morning of the day SweetRobin hosts the Lords Declarant and the one he has before Snow on his descent. I don't know if SweetRobin's fits are more frequent - they seem to have been frequent enough when his mother lived. If we are told of every major fit he has had, we can see his fits are becoming less frequent. I'm not sure what Maester Colemon means by violent, either SweetRobin doesn't seem to have any soreness or bruises as a consequence of falling, fits and spasms. He kicked Sansa and broke a porridge bowl in the throes of his second to last fit. It might simply be a sign that he is getting some strength back now he isn't being leeched so frequently. Maester Coleman must be aware that leeching didn't work for his condition. According to Roose Bolton (ASoS Ch47 Arya IX) Bolton also believes he thinks better with all the passion leeched out of him. He never met Chett. Pylos refused to leech the Knight of Flowers because he had lost so much blood already. Qyburn uses leeches to heal Jaime's puffy black eye. It took down some but not all of the swelling. And of course, Melisandre leeched Edric Storm when the boy fell into a convenient fever. He recovered, and three kings died. Lysa has the puffy pasty face, watery eyes, petulant mouth, hasty temper. And Catelyn had that turn just before the library at Winterfell burned. The trembling, crying, falling to the ground, irrationality are the same as SweetRobin. Only hers was a one-off, all she really needed was to wrestle off a man with a dagger, see his throat ripped out, and eat breakfast. Bit of salve on the cuts and she was all right. It seems to me that both Lysa and SweetRobin might have been exposed to some environmental factor over the last five years that accounts for flabby pasty skin, watery eyes, uncertain temper, and petulance. Catelyn did not remember her looking so frumpy and tired when they met five years before, when SweetRobin was still a babe. Maester Colemon's leechings has been singularily unsuccessful at resolving red eyes and puffiness. Worse, they might actually cause it. IRL blood loss makes people pale, tired, irritable, prone to colds and twiches. Maester Pycelle gives his opinion on Maester Colemon's medical ability. Not that Pycelle is especially qualified to give opinions on anything, really. His medical specialty seems to be keeping people in a state where their condition neither improves or gets worse, until they die. Then, he has more than one version of Jon Arryn's last disease. So we need to keep the version he told Tyrion in mind when we consider what he told Eddard, and remember Eddard was not holding a knife to his throat. (AGoT Ch25 Eddard IV) If humoural medicine in Westeros works the same as humoural medicine in fourteenth century England, Pycelle does not believe it was a chill on the stomach. Pycelle notes that Jon Arryn "looked melancholy and tired". Melancholy is a constitutional disposition caused by an excess of black bile. [Physicians had noticed that blood, when let and let stand, divided into four layers. Nowadays we would say red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Then they were known as blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. They believed the proportions of each depended on an individuals constitution, and each humour came in two types, good and bad. Bad humours could be something one was born with, or could be a byproduct of digestion, or induced by distempers. Distempers were the four environmental factors that put the humours out of balance - heat, cold, wet, and dry. Winds also influenced humours, depending on whether they blew from the north, south, east, or west. A physician could determine the balance or imbalance of a patient's humours by the colour of his complexion (red, white, yellow, black) and by his personality and changes in mood (sanguine (ie.courageous, hopeful, amorous, plenty of good blood); choleric (easily angered, bad tempered, preponderance of yellow bile), melancholic (despondent, sleepless, irritable, depressed, excess of black bile), phlegmatic (calm, unemotional,sluggish, apathetic, excess of phlegm). The main symptoms of illness were fever - excess of blood, congestion - excess of phlegm, chill - excess of black bile, headaches - excess of yellow bile. The main cure was letting blood - worked for everything because it removed the bad humours and allowed the body to rebalance. Also, it is a lot harder to remove bile from a patient without killing her.] So, by saying he noticed Jon Arryn was becoming melancholic, Pycelle was saying he saw Jon Arryn was building up black bile, which meant he was particularily liable to hot, wet distempers and should therefore be taking cooling, drying things like iced wine (wine and roast meat were considered 'drying' foods). He is also saying that Jon's illness was probably a constitutional imbalance, a chronic condition that built up over time. Colemon diagnosed an acute condition, a distemper caused by taking cooling drying foods into a stomach that was heathily hot and wet, turning it suddenly cold and too wet. It required urgent and plentiful application of heating and drying potions to the stomach to restore the balance. (AGoT Ch25 Eddard IV) Later Pycelle told Tyrion the problem was that Maester Colemon's treatment was working, (ACoK Ch25 Tyrion IV) Pycelle reveals a lot to Eddard when we keep this later confession in mind. The first thing I notice is "wine no longer agrees with my digestion", and how his preference is for sweetened milk and sweet fruit. He appears sleepy, too. Could Pycelle be taking sweetsleep? Or does he suppose that sweet milk will protect his old stomach against Coleman's harsh pepper potions, should he suddenly need to purge? Or do Tears of Lys curdle iced milk and remain undetectable in iced wine? It seems to me that Pycelle feared that whoever had poisoned Jon Arryn would poison him too. That whatever Jon Arryn knew, he knew too (or so he thought). Perhaps because he had read Malleon, or just because he had it. Although he did not hesitate to give the book to Eddard. He encourages Eddard to distrust Varys. Perhaps to take his focus off the Lannisters. Perhaps because he and Varys were the two councillors who remained with King Arys after Barristan left for the Trident with Rhaegar, so maybe Varys and Pycelle know something that Jaime doesn't, and Pycelle would like control of the narrative before Eddard Stark started bringing the subject up. Pycelle's reminiscences of that summer in Oldtown, his own phlegmatic disposition, and his comments on the hot moist heat of the day, make me think that it used to be his custom to take iced wine on hot days until very recently, as is still the fashion in Oldtown, according to Satin (ASoS Ch55 Jon VII). The little sigh Pycelle emits as he receives his phlegm-producing milk might be a sign he is missing his iced wine. Also a sign that he doesn't want Eddard poisoned - at least, not immediately after drinking iced wine with him. It seems too that Pycelle was aware that this was the last year of summer, and was anticipating a short Autumn and a brutal winter. When he argued about the gods of old, perhaps he had touched on the Great Sleeping Sickness that had struck down the High Septon, the king, his sons, his hand, and most of the silent sisters that spring? In his childhood Pycelle had seen men wake hale yet sicken and die of the Sleeping Sickness. It might have been his motivation for joining the Citidel. It might be why Jon Arryn's death looked natural enough for him, although the time of the Sleeping Sickness would have been a good time for poisoners to go about their business undetected as well. Maekar was not the king anyone expected, and the tourney of Ashford and other events that led up to the succession of Aegon the Fortunate must have added to mortal speculations on the intentions of the gods, and the means and degree of their interventions. Pycelle mentions the perfume of nightshade and moonbloom. Nightshade might be an ingredient in Shade if the Evening, the warlocks wine of Qarth, but the only place we positively know it exists is in Pycelle's collection of poisons. This is the only mention of moonbloom in the whole book. In real life, we have moon flowers, white, sweet-scented, bloom at night. Their seeds are mildly hallucinogenic, not as toxic as Sacred Nightshade (datura wrightii) which looks similar, and is also called moonflower. Actually, the more I look (flicking between this and Google as I type), the more this looks like GRRM's moonbloom is a datura species. It is native to Southwestern USA, Zuni healers used all parts of the plant (and all parts of the plant are crazy toxic). Apart from poisoning and death, it can destroy a person's ability to form memories and cause auditory and visual hallucinations. It can cause blindness that lasts for days- so maybe the waif has some in her Apothecary. It is pollinated by hawkmoths. And there is this Wikipedia entry on Datura So, sweetening his milk with honey might not have spared Pycelle from a poisoning. Or might have been an inept attempt to poison Eddard. There are lots of references to honey in the books that could foreshadow poisoning, too many to spend any more of this post on it. Daytura dies off in the frosts of autumn and won't flower again until spring. Pycelle notes that Jon Arryn had seemed more than ordinarily troubled when he came asking for Malleon, the day before he died. That Lord Tywin, Cersei, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen had left for Casterley Rock the day after Jaime was defeated by the Knight of Flowers. Pycelle does not seem to feel any need to protect the poisoner, except if the poisoner was Cersei, he wanted to shelter her from Lysa's accusations. He allows that poison is a possibility, if not a likelyhood, and throws shade on Varys. Apparently all Pycelle did for Jon Arryn was to halt Colemon's purges and, 'when he saw all hope had fled', administered the milk of the poppy that rendered his last words unintelligible. However, Jon had plenty of time to talk to Robert or Lysa if he wished. Then, when Jon died or was dying, Pycelle took his book back. So, we can't be sure whether Pycelle thought Maester Colemon's treatment was curing or killing Jon Arryn. I don't think Petyr Baelish wants to kill SweetRobin. At the moment, his position depends on SweetRobin being alive. While he is doing his best to consolidate his rule over the Vale by buying up debts and handing out titles dependant on the holder recognising his authority to bequeath them, his Lords Declarant are not staunch enough to ride into battle for him, and without the True Warden of the East to unify them, would probably start fighting each other. SweetRobin grants him authority for at least the eight years of his minority. Longer, if he mentors SweetRobin as he does Sansa. He has already managed to bond the boy's affections to Sansa, another way to control him, his love of Alayne acting as a carrot to the stick that is his fear of his Lord Protector. And Petyr can take away Alayne any time he chooses.) The whole 'marry Harry and the Vale is yours' thing is nonsense. It makes about as much sense as the fArya marriage securing the North for the Boltons and making Ramsey the Stark in Winterfell. Or Lancel's betrothal making Amerei the head of house Darry. Or Cersei's marriage to Robert making her the Queen Regent. These figleaf excuses are only as effective as the armies that will fight to uphold them. Robert had the armies of the North, the Vale, the Riverlands, and the West. Roose has the Northern army, who all know Jeyne is not Arya. He is marrying her to Ramsey at Winterfell in order to provoke any armies of Stark loyalists that Lord Commander Snow and Stannis have acquired. (He is not one to overlook a bastard). Amerei has the Freys and Ser Bonifer's holy hundred, Ser Kevan Lannister and Ser Harwin Plum to assert her claim. It probably won't be enough to stop Lady Stoneheart and Nymeria, but it deters opportunists like Randyl Tarly and brings unarmed civilians back to King Tommen's Peace. Harry is a jumped up squire. He won a fight that had been set up to exclude all the knights in the yard so that he would win it, and got his knighthood because Bronze Yohn had to counter the Lord Protector's overtures to Anya somehow. Harry's looks and attitude remind Sansa of Joffery. He has fathered two bastards to two different girls, and could answer Myranda's prayers without divine intervention. His value is that the Lords Declarant believe he has value. He is their heir to the vale, SweetRobin is Petyr's. Harry isn't the kind of person we would want Sansa to marry, and he seems more inclined to make bastards than marry one? Even if the dowry is exorbitant and the girl is pretty, she is a bastard and he is the heir of the Vale. Finding out afterwards that she was really an attainted traitor and the Imp's wife isn't necessarily an improvement from Harry's perspective. From Sansa's perspective, Harry is an unsuitable match for a princess and the heiress of Winterfell. An heir presumptive that is ten years older than the incumbent, from a minor bannerlord of the Arryns. With a track record that suggests he would treat a bastard wife as a disposable toy that could get him Petyr's position. And what about when Harry dies? Who is the heir to the Eyrie then? It seems to me that genealogically it might devolve to Sansa through her great-grand-aunty Royce. That Harry is another empty suit of armour. That Petyr might soon be giving Sansa Tears of Lys to put in Harry's wine, if he ever goes ahead with the wedding. Having Alayne betrothed to Harry has short-term benefits for the Lord Protector. It keeps Anya Waynwood honour-bound to uphold his title as Lord Protector. It forestalls any of the other squires of the Vale thinking they might make their fortune by eloping with the Lord Protector's daughter, or their evening by taking her virginity. If people are gossiping about the Lord Protector's bastard getting married, perhaps Ser Andar Royce won't remember the pretty girl with the green dress and the auburn hair that stood next to the Hand of the King at the tourney when he meets her. Like fArya, Alayne's identity is not a well-kept secret. The servants in the Eyrie, including gossipy Maddy, have seen and heard plenty that might raise suspicions. She made a castle with covered gardens out of snow. When Lysa was there she slept with the servants, she bears an uncanny resemblance to Lady Catlyn who stayed in the room she sleeps in now. Ser Lothar Brune defeated her father's man at the Tourney of the Hand, Myranda noted she knew the first name of the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. The inhabitants of Gulltown know nothing of this Alayne, Chella and Timmet know her...now that the Vale is out of Lysa's lockdown, Sansa's cover might not last as long as her hair dye. Petyr is no fool. He knows this, just as Bolton knows Jeyne isn't Arya and Manderley knows the prisoner he executed was not the Onion Knight. Petyr says the knights of the Vale will follow Harry and fight for Sansa's claim to Winterfell. I am pretty sure neither of those are true. Bronze Yohn had done his best to unite the Knights of the Vale, but Petyr has smashed the unity of the Lords Declarant. They won't come together for a stripling like Harry. Not when Cersei is offering big bags of gold for Sansa's head. If Bronze Yohn is starved into submission, he might unite the Knights of the Vale under Petyr Baelish, but not for Harry, and not to restore Sansa to Winterfell. Petyr Baelish is a suave and plausible liar, but he is a compulsive liar. There may be some truth in what he has told her, but this is the guy that used Ned Stark's gold dragons to kill Ned Stark's household. Then arranged the death of Ned Stark, blaming it on Cersei. Observe Petry's behaviour in AGoT Ch 51 Sansa IV and tell me how much he loves Catelyn, his paternal interest in Sansa's welfare. The hound rescued Jeyne Poole; Petyr used her as a sex slave in his brothel until he could sell Tywin on the idea of making her fArya. Petyr saw he could take Sansa off Cersei, who was slow to see the benefit of having a fArya. Tyrion lies too, but not when he points out Littlefinger only cares for Littlefinger. Littlefinger doesn't want the Vale. He wants to be Lord Paramount of the Riverlands, in fact as well as name. I doubt his plans for Sansa include paying Harry to take her maidenhead for him. I don't think much of Dontos, but when he first met her in the Godswood I don't think he was Petyr's catspaw. Dontos spoke of his "friend" coming back to the city, after Petry had left for Bitterbridge, but when Dontos swore his oath upon the heart tree, I believe he set out to do exactly what he said he would, to find her a ship out of King's Landing. That Petyr's men at the docks noticed a clown seeking passage for two, and that was when Petyr took over. But Petyr wanted to make sure he got all credit for the scheme, to give Sansa the notion that Dontos had worked for golden dragons and for him from the start. Petyr has a hatred of Tyrion, sets him up every chance he gets. Holding Sansa might be his insurance against Tyrion, when he resurfaces. His advice to Sansa that sometimes it is useful to kill the king you are allied with is bullshit. Again, he is attempting to claim all credit for saving Sansa, and giving her reasons to distrust her Tyrell friends. I have not worked out his game but I am pretty sure he is interested in her claim. That, and the fact that she is the image of her mother at the age when she refused to make him Lord Paramount of the Riverlands. If Petyr has a passion, it would be to rule the Riverlands and the North, make sure Sansa is the last Tully, as well as the last Stark, take Sansa's virginity (he is big on this 'gift that can only be given once' thing), destroy her Family, destroy her Duty, destroy her Honour. Then destroy her. fArya has given him a finger in the Bolton pie, his nominal Lordship is a finger in the Frey pie, and Lysa got him his finger in the Vale (and of course, he inherited his finger in the Fingers). He has other fingers in other places. His bargains with Renly and campaign with Lord Tywin have given him fingers in the Reach and the Westerlands, his time at court got him friends in the crownlands and on isles important for shipping and smuggling (I deduce, from the colour of his outfits when Eddard sees him, and his frequent attendance at Lady Tanda's feasts). It seems inconceivable that Petyr would play the Game of Thrones merely to be the power behind Ser Harry of the Vale, who is too old to need a regent. He is telling Sansa what he wants her to believe. He doesn't play to come second. He shares Cersei's view on the Game of Thrones. TL;DR SweetRobin is more resilient than Maester Colemon knows. And Petyr Baelish wants him alive.
  9. It seems to me that 18 years have gone by, they have been prosperous years, most of them have been summer years. Robert has been big on circuses and nobody has lacked bread. He forgave men who fought loyally for Aerys. Lord Darry might not be a bosum friend, but he inherited his brother's castle. And Ser Barristan Selmy was on Robert's kingsguard beside Ser Jaime Lannister, in spite of the fact that one had given him a near-fatal wound and the other had slaughtered the king on the Iron Throne. Some were not so lucky - but Rykker and Thorne had fought against Lord Tywin rather than Robert, and knew Tywin when he was Hand. Knowing how he had dealt with Tarbeck and Reyne as Aerys Hand, and how Aerys himself would have dealt with them if he had lived, they might see their life on the wall as proof that Robert was more merciful and just. To be allowed the choice to put as many miles between themselves and Lord Tywin as possible while still being alive and in Westeros, shows them Robert could restrain Tywin and had deposed Aerys. Of the smallfolk, we hear exactly one old man speak favourably of King Aerys (ASoS Ch50 Arya X) It is not clear what exactly "this" is - treason, Starks rebelling against the throne, paper currency, outlaws, dispossession, torture, murder, pressed labour - he has a range of grievances. It is likely the man had never met King Aerys, or even seen him. I note that nobody alive that knew Aerys is quite able to bring themselves to bless him. Not even 'lickspittles' like Rykker or life savers like Barristan. Viserys is under the impression his enemies enemies are his friends (AGoT Ch3 Daenerys I) His information with respect to the noble houses seems semi-solid. Balon Greyjoy in particular has no love for King Robert. Darry, like Tyrell and Redwyne, had supported Ayrs to the end of the war, but all had bent the knee and were willing enough to host King Robert and attend his tourneys now. The Martells do still burn (foreshadowing) to avenge Elia, and unlike Balon, would happily ally themselves with Viserys if he was to successfully invade Westeros with 40,000 Dothraki screamers. But it takes three sucessful conquests and living fire-breathing dragons to get Doran to remember he made a marriage pact with Ser Willem all those years ago. Mollander raised a glass to Daenerys, but Viserys had been long dead at Vaes Dothrak and his father had died on the Blackwater. Balon Swann had quipped of toasting three kings, but none of them were Viserys. It is difficult to pinpoint which holdfasts in Westeros might have men making secret toasts to Viserys and women sewing Dragon banners. But that may be because most of the Westerosi points of view we see through the eyes of are staunch supporters of the Stark, Lannister and Baratheon causes. Doubtless Varys could find Targaryen loyalists, if they exist. Perhaps Ser Maynard still toasts the dragon, and Eleanor Mooten treasures as an heirloom the dragon banner she finished for her late mother, who had intended it to fly with the salmon when her goodbrother returned from the Trident. The loyalties of the smallfolk don't matter. They serve their feudal masters, or whatever war lord co-opts them. The lords with the armies, Stannis, the Lannisters, Night's Watch, Tyrell, Arryn, Bolton, Tarly, Frey - those are the ones whose loyalties matter, because they are the ones with armies, the ones that can afford sell-swords, the ones smallfolk must obey or else. It seems to me that there are no shortage of houses that would happily ally with a strong friend who wanted to take the throne from Cersei, especially if that friend fought their enemies for them and left them to enjoy the spoils in peace. Aegon in the Stepstones has a fair chance of winning the love of smaller houses of naval significance like Swann, Tarth, and Estermont. Until someone with a bigger army than Aegon's whips them back into line.If Aegon is very lucky, Dany will arrive with a thousand ships and ten thousand Dothraki at her back while he still holds those isles. Not sure his local friends would like to host Ironborn and Dothraki, but at least if they are allies they won't die fighting them. The real enemy might be the white walkers. I am guessing their next reveal will be that they can transform into a cold mist to get to the wildlings sheltering in the caves at Hardhome. And there has to be a point where the wall fails to keep them out of Westeros, because really, until and unless they attack below the Neck, the Southerners will concentrate on 'real' enemies like Aegon and Euron and leave the Others to Stannis. I am not sure how the Others feel about a Targaryen restoration. They are an odd enemy. Their dead men remember particular targets, and their whole modus operandi so far have been strategies of assymetric warfare eg.planting of Othor and Jafer by the Wall then having them assassinate the Lord Commander. The White Walkers act like a much less numerous and poorly armed force than the Night's Watch, which has less than a thousand men. I am not sure Black Jack, Hal, and Garth are the work of White Walkers at all. If they are, it would seem the White Walkers know how the Night's Watch hate the Weeper. They did seem to be close enough to listen in to the Night's Watch before the battle at the fist of first men. They might have selectively claimed the corpses of Chett's mutineers.(Although, the mutineers that Cold Hands killed were not wights - you can tell from the steam still rising from their eviscerated bodies and the blood still flowing sluggishly from their cut throats, and that they smell like meat to the direwolf). But why would such petty enmities matter to a power that had been sleeping ten thousand years? They don't speak the common tongue, so how would they even work out who the weeper was and why the men at Castle Blak abhored him?And what would they care of the Iron Throne and the dragon lords that sat upon it less than 280 years, that are all gone now? The houses with armies in Westeros are looking for figureheads that they can overwhelm or undermine. Cersei is fine, if she can be controlled by her uncle and suppressed by her own small council. They flock to the banners of the younger pretenders with the weaker claims for that reason. They have no love for Stannis, because they know he will do them no favours for supporting his claim, and think nothing of sending them into battle against their own kith and kin. Dany will need a strong force to take the Iron Throne, and the stronger she is, the more she will be resented as a foreign invader. Even if she were to beat back the White Walkers she would earn no gratitude in the South of Westeros, where the armies of Westeros are. Aegon's claim to the Iron Throne is weak because of the number of people who saw his dead body eighteen years ago, and no sign of life from him these many years. People might be prepared to acknowledge JonCon was still alive when those that knew him meet him again, but in Aegon's case there was a body and lots of questions (like, if they could rescue the babe in arms, why not the mother, why not the daughter? Did the pisswater prince have to die?) And why, how, does a Targaryen pretender get the backing of the Golden Company. The highborn houses of the South know plenty about that lot. They know that they are returning to claim the thrones of Stormlords and Gardener Kings, to kill Fossoways and Lothsons. Stricklands, Peakes, Mudds, Rivers and Flowers returning to reclaim the lands of Oldstones, Summerhall, Shandystone, and Storms End from their current inhabitants, and set some bastard on the Iron Throne. Starting with Griffin's Roost. In our world, The French did not welcome back the Ancien Régime who had ruled for 800 years, after a break of twenty years full of bloodshed and upheaval, failed constitutions, directories and emporers. When every other nation in Europe was fighting for the restoration, the French fought them off. And when they were restored anyway, they managed to keep in power for fifteen years only because they did not reclaim lands taken from Royalist exiles, and they agreed to be constitutional rather than absolute monarchs. When Charles X tried to remove an elected government administration he opposed, he was deposed within a week, and Louis Phillipe was elected King of the French (no more kings 'of France', no more divine right of kings) for 18 years, until he was deposed in favour of a second republic. The Golden Company have started by reclaiming stolen lands, which will cost them any local support they might have hoped for, and remind those old enough to remember of the oppression and injustice and arrogance of the Dragon Lords. The lady that sewed a dragon banner will burn it, the cottager that blessed the last Dragon King will curse the current one, and any local supporters they have after that will be the ones paid or pressed into their service. TL;DR Realistically, there is no support for a Targaryen Restoration in Westeros. Especially not one supported by Blackfyres.
  10. (AGoT Ch55 Catelyn VIII) Catelyn can read a battle plan. Unlike Robb, she has some understanding of the motives and personalities they are dealing with. Which prooved handy when it came to crossing the Green Fork. If it was up to Robb and his Northmen, Lord Frey would have funneled the lot of them back down to the Ruby Ford before they found some way to storm his castle and lay it to waste. Compare and contrast Robb and his Northern commanders to Catelyn (AGoT Ch59 Catelyn IX) To stop Robb's bannerlords unhelpfully insulting the honor of house Frey in front of its emissaries, Catelyn steps forward and offers to explain their purpose and negotiate their 'toll' with Lord Frey. (AGoT Ch59 Catelyn IX) Lord Frey was pretty good at reading battle plans too. Most of the catastrophic errors in the Stark campaign were made by Catelyn's stupid unscrupulous siblings, or by Robb, when he laid plans without recourse to her or Brynden Blackfish. And it was Catelyn that brought the Blackfish into the campain. Of course, every character is righteous from their own point of view, and objectively, battle was not the best way to keep Ned safe, to find out who put a hit on Bran, to get her daughters back, to discover who killed Jon Arryn. But also objectively, the battles Catelyn planned worked out alright for the most part. Like the Impnapping - a dumb idea, but executed admirably. (AGoT Ch31 Tyrion IV) Agreeing to arm her Lannister enemies in the fight against the Mountain Clans was also a brilliant idea - she got rid of Jyck, the best fighter Tyrion had, at the first salvo, and Morrec, his only other servant, in the second. Their deaths laid heavy on her conscience, but nobody else accused her for making them martyrs to the wildlings, and Tyrion (implausibly) saved her life. Stannis and Renly should have listened to her. Her own host should have listened to her when she later realised the best she could do was sue for peace with Tyrion. But Umber and Karstark had come south for glory and lands and plunder, Theon wanted to be Prince of Casterley Rock, Bolton wanted to ensure the Hornwoods, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Manderleys, Umbers, Karstarks, Flints, Glovers and Starks never returned north to reclaim their lost lands from him and Ramsey. Robb never had his mother's understanding of the motives and strategic importance of his allies in the North and the Riverlands. She could remember Balon's rebellion, and Robert's, she knew the riverlords. He couldn't reasonably be expected to. Catelyn's battle plans are cannier than most of her opponents. If Lady Stoneheart still has the cunning of Lady Stark in battle, the King (or Queen) on the Iron Throne best not dismiss the expanding Brotherhood Without Banners as a rump of outlaws that a few good knights can tidy up at their leisure.
  11. Ok, so Bran and Rickon and the Walders are four ... are the other two Jojen and Meera?
  12. The raiding and carrying off of women (according to the Westerosi, who may have voluntarily left or remained with the Free Folk, according to the wildlings) has created a situation where border clans have children and grandchildren in both camps. The border clans have had troubles with the wildlings, but they have also had trouble with each other. They are culturally as well as geographically closer to the free folk than to the Lords they nominally serve further south. I believe border clansmen cut out the eyes of Jack Bulwar, Hairy Hal, and Garth Greyfeather, framing the Weeper (who was far to the west). They want the Watch to serve their interests, be on their side, and if anyone gets the gift, they want it to be them. Whether or not, the Flints, Norreys, Burleys, Harclays, Knotts, Lockes, Liddles and Wulls are playing their own game, not beholden to the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. They are willing to serve King Stannis or Lord Bolton to the extent that either serve or threaten them. I am not sure how staunch they will prove. It seems to me the most loyal left with Robb and died pointlessly in the south. The Flints and the Lockes sent their apologies when the Stark in Winterfell (Bran) held the Autumn feast, and many other clans did not seem to be there. No-one mentioned sighting a cripple-boy on the back of a half-giant heading north to the Wall with a direwolf to the Lord Commander. Are we to suppose that the Liddle Bran met was the only soul that laid eyes on them or saw their tracks, that he said nothing to anyone? That the Flints in the west are not as vigilant in their watchtowers as their cousins in the east who saw Sallador Saan's ships and passed the info on to Godric Borrel? That all the eastern Flints were too focused on pirates at sea to notice a wildling woman with a Stark and a direwolf heading towards White Harbor? The clansmen know more than they are letting on, like Lord Manderley (possibly in alliance with Lord Manderley). Stannis's kneelers have the run of the Gift, and Mance's union of the Free Folk has led to an uneasy broken medley of the raider folk familiar to the Northern Westerosi clans, and the linguistically and culturally different Hornfoots, Nightrunners, Ice River clans, Milkwater clans, Walrus men, salt sea sailors, mountain men, and cave dwellers, life in the far north is going to get interesting. Alys Karstark might make the Karstark lands a safe space for wildlings, if she wins over Arnolf's people. Who knows what Hrrion would have, or could have, if he ever comes back to the Karhold. Even supposing he embraces the Thenns, it is unlikely the neighbours will. Perhaps the clans have a home ground advantage, but the colonizers come from a tougher environment. Stannis supports them (but he isn't there). The Watch supported them under Jon Snow, but the stewards coup instigators are very anti-wildling. There might be massacares. On the other hand, the wildlings have a lot of warriors, the Westerosi clans were stripped of their fighters by Robb and Stannis. The stewards that stabbed Jon Snow have not got popular support (not yet). Both the Westerosi and the free folk know that when winter comes, you stop fighting, start sharing, hunker down and work together to survive. The lone wolf will perish but the pack survives. Maybe I am thinking like the Southerners at the wall, who have only experienced one or two northern winters, and those more than a decade ago, underestimating the power of a hostile climate to bring a cease to hostilities.
  13. But did he have victory in his grasp really? His own stated objective was that he would get a confession from Gregor that implicated Tywin, (ASoS, Ch.38 Tyrion V) When he offers to act as Tyrion's champion, he hints that he intended to have Tywin's life for Elia's (ASoS, Ch.66 Tyrion IX) He was too late to get Amory Lorch's life for Rhaenys'. He did not get the confession that implicated Lord Tywin, and trying to wring it from Gregor during mortal combat costed Oberyn his life, and his intended vengence for Aegon. For a Prince that commanded a company of sell-swords in war and a Lord Councillor on Tommen's Small Council, and prospective husband for Cersei, he is surprisingly ineffectual. If we assume Hoat was acting on Oberyn's command, we might give him credit for the loss of Jaime's sword hand and the death of Amory Lorch, granting him 1 out of 3 of his stated targets. But I see no reason to do that. The enmity between Hoat and Lorch explains the bear, and Hoat was famous for lopping off limbs before he met Jaime. Urswyck, Shagwell, the Myrish bowman, and Zollo all knew the drill, and of course it would be the sword hand for a swordsman. Brienne keeps her hands because sexism. Hoat would have fed her to the bear for amusement, when her father had no sapphires. There is no sign Oberyn was being consulted at every sept or cottage where Hoat lopped off a limb or killed someone; there is no sign Oberyn and Hoat keep in touch, are on friendly terms, have ever met. Self-defense and business as usual can fully account for Hoat's atrocities. Winning in single combat against Gregor would not have put Lord Tywin on trial for Elia's murder. I doubt it would have saved Tyrion from going to the Wall, or into exile, or into some small oubliette at Casterly Rock. It is hard to understand why Oberyn expected Gregor to talk when there was killing to be done, and his own life in the balance if he failed. Although the ploy worked much better than I would have thought; both Gregor and Oberyn had a VO2 max I can only envy. Seriously, though, it isn't a great tactic for getting Gregor to open up and reminisce about the old times. So it is zero out of three for Oberyn, and he put his life on the line to catch one of the minnows. And lost.
  14. Which reminds me - Quentyn and his mates, making sure that the whole of Planky Town and by extension, Dorne, knew his secret mission before he left. Then ensuring every captain and dockside worker in the free cities know that there are highborn Dornishmen pretending in their ridiculous Dornish drawl to be wine merchants, heading for Meereen. Notice how the innkeep at the Merchant's House bullies him into taking his cousin's hathay when his personal inclination is for walking and a merchant of westeros would not have his servants ride with him. We can be sure the "cousin" reported everything they did and said to the widow of the waterfront before nightfall. Also, double cross the sellswords (Daario as well as the Tattered Prince), attend Dany's wedding (to someone else). Stick around while there is a poisoning plot, steal a dragon/release the dragons, to create a diversion while Barristan stages a palace coup. (As much a pawn as Barry, but harming and alienating more people) and burning himself to death in the process. He was a pawn in his father's unfathomable subtle plan, which will start a civil war against Dorne if the Iron Throne finds out from some hot headed war-mongerer like Obara, if they spill the beans to Cersei and Mace before Prince Quentyn and his first wife Princess Daenarys descend on the Red Keep with dragonfire, using that and Aerys' and Cersei's wildfire to completely destroy her "home" and "birthright", so Quentyn can rule the Seven Kingdoms and Arianne, Dorne. Arianne, who only knows the children she played with in the water gardens, their families and her cousins. Who still doesn't realise that Tyene tipped Doran off to the plot to crown Myrcella. Arianne who did not notice she was telling Doran all she knew and everyone she plotted with, because she had been bored by her own company in the tower. Arianne who proposed to frame Darkstar for the downward slice of Ser Arys' sword that took Myrcella's ear off. Darkstar with his distinctive Targaryen features and no doubt linage. That seems like another great Dornish play in the Game of Thrones. Arianne, who is not bothered if her younger brother sits the Iron Throne and patrilinial descent continues to be applied in the Seven Kingdoms, as long as daddy gives her the rule of Dorne ahead of her brothers. But then, Dorne appears to have been losing the game of thrones for centuries. Elia and the babes, Daeron I devestating Dorne, and Dorne refusing the peace offered by Baelor, waiting 38 years before capitulating to Daeron II and suffering uneasy truce, with lawless marches and Vulture Kings in the Red Mountains, and only grudging acceptance, in spite of marrying into the Dragonlords. The sandsnakes carry on the honoured Dornish tradition of failing at the Game of Thrones, even when they seem to be winning. Given what we have learnt of them already, I shudder to think of what Lady Nym will do if she takes her seat on Cersei's small council. Cersei seems to have been aided by poisoners - remember the stench of Robert's bandages and the rapid decay of his belly? Poison. Wayward Joffrey dies of poison when he was beyond his mother's control - but it is a different type of poison. Tywin, nominally killed by a crossbow weilded by his son in a situation that had been set up by Varys (told him about Tysha and how to get to his father's chambers, having just smuggled Shae in to try to use her assets to get her assets back, the ones that were in the chest that Tyrion climbed up on to get the crossbow that was conveniently hung above it, after Jamie had decided to come clean about Tysha just after Varys had given him the keys and the rescue plan. Tywin was already griped up with a belly of stinking shit when the arrow went into it, and the rapid decay and stench of his corpse? Poison. Ser Kevan, the next true challenger to Cersei's rule, died of knives and Varys' arrow, not poison, but before that, after Tyrion pointed out to him that a coin is deadly in the right hands ( meaning Littlefinger's hands), Kevan realised Lancel was being poisoned, seemingly every time Cersei visited. His son had an ally in the High Septon that Cersei had her Kettleblack lover smother with a pillow (strangely, Osney is more concerned for the state of his soul if he lies to a High Septon, than if he murders one). Tyrion thought Cersei was poisoning Lancel and attempting to kill himself, but Tyrion thought that Cersei had ordered the death of Barra and Gendry, and Eddard. It looks to me that all three were arranged by Littlefinger in Cersei's name but without her knowledge. The murder of the four gaolers (who may well have drunk poison before the Lannister guards) is also blamed on Cersei, but these had been drinking wine before they were slain, and the stench of their remains is remarked on by Jaime, who bears smells well and does't heed faint smells. Rugen's overflowing privy might disguise or rationalise other smells (eg. Signs that the sewers were used for his escape. Or signs that someone with a gut full of poison that smelt like a privy had lain there, perhaps died there.) Oberyn reminds us that, if Cersei had not blamed Tyrion for the poisoning of Joffrey, the blame would naturally have fallen on the Red Viper. And if the Red Viper had not championed Tyrion, would the hard drinking, poppy-quaffing, migraine-prone Ser Gregor not suffer from slow-acting poison? While it is possible that some hopelessly convoluted and ineffectual plot of the Red Viper is behind all these poisonings (and Hoster Tully's death as well, why not), it seems unlikely. Lady Nym names Tyene as her hidden dagger, and Tyene names Oberyn as Gregor's poisoner, boasting to a man who seems as fond of strongwine and poppy as Gregor ever was, and in as slow an "exquisite agony". Tyene plans to have Myrcella crowned and the Lannisters descend on Dorne, where they can kill them in the passes. Nym's plan was to kill Tywin, Cersei, Jaime, and Tommen. Cersei herself does not seem to me to have used or ordered the use of poison ever. She was given laxatives by Tyrion. Her swollen tongue, shrinking gowns and dizziness are probably signs that she is being slowly poisoned. But the death plots she claims credit for/ overtly unstigated (ie. King Robert, the High Septon, Mellaria Heatherspoon, Bronn) were not poisoning plots. It seems to me that a lot of people who would have supplanted her rule as Regent have died from poison just when they became an obstacle to her rise. There is at least one poisoner who really would rather Cersei was Regent, and that is why she is still there after Jon Arryn, King Robert, Joffery, Tywin, Kevan are dead, and Tyrion exiled. She has a guardian angel, not dumb luck. .
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