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Sly Wren

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  1. With you both on the state of the Others--a very workable theory. And I also see it as a collective: to get back to the Last Hero (before he fell--IMHO). They taught Brandon a "song"--how that helps. What that will lead to: we are still guessing unless we get Winds. But--why not be about raising the dead? The whole series calls us to realize the Westerosi dead can rise. The life is not fully gone. I agree that he's fighting against going in because "he's not a Stark." But when he finally agrees, goes in and goes all the way down--what's the result? The Old Kings rise. Not his recent family. The original family. Because he's one of them. Because they are waiting for him. To do what? Absolutely. And an "old hand at justice" according to Bran in the first chapter of Game. The chapter that contrasts the Justice of a Stark vs. the Cruelty of the Others in the Prologue. Right from the start, Martin contrasted that justice with the Others. Contrasted Ned and Jon with the Others. Later, contrasts Dany's horrifying embrace of the Dragon with Jon's re-embracing his duty (vs. desire to join Robb). Really don't think that's setting Jon up to join the Others. Jon sees himself reflected in the Wall. Sees the Sword of the Morning with the Wall. Yes, he thinks of the cold of the ice dragon--but he embraces duty and the defense of men. The Sword (of the Morning) and the Mirror Shield of the Wall. I have a hard time squaring all that with Jon becoming an Other--especially when, as you noted, he's such a newbie at skin changing. Instead, he's an "old hand at justice." Stark justice. Just Maid justice (that story about Galladon and how Brienne used the sword has to be there for a reason). Really think that where he's going. But Bran--he definitely could be the next Symeon.
  2. Been so long since I re-read that section. But off the top of my reckless head: The trees of the Undying (the shade of the evening trees) remind me of the weirwoods. The house of the Undying is all shadows and death--not unlike the cave: darkness, bones, the almost zombie-fied Children. They feed Dany the Shade--the Children give Bran that paste. Maybe they aren't the "same"--but they seem to echo each other. I got theories. I got fears. Got no certainties.
  3. Yup! The Varamyr prologue really does seem like it fits Bran well (in my not at all flawed opinion). Though Jon will push barriers, he then hems himself in with the words of his oath--comes back to the Wall instead of going to Robb. Refuses Stannis' offer for Winterfell. Jon sacrifices his desires to his idea of the rules. Varamyr and Bran . . . they aren't so scrupulous. As for what BR wants: I really vacillate on him. In the novellas, he's clearly the guy who's willing to do terrible things for the good of the realm. To basically sacrifice himself. But he and the Children seem really creepy--and remind me of the Undying. Does BR want Bran to be like him? To sacrifice himself? If so, the Other body idea . . . not sure how that would help BR. But given the stories of Symeon Star Eyes and Bran's longstanding desire to be a knight: I could see Bran going rogue. To help defend his family (like he uses Summer to attack Jon's attackers). If Bran could be an Ice Knight (AKA Other)--yes. I could see him doing that whether BR liked it or not.
  4. I agree with you both--and all the more reason why Bran-the-seasoned-skinchanger (with access to info) is far more likely to attempt such a thing than Jon-the-newbie.
  5. I take your point--Varamyr is clearly significant. Shows a side of what Bran could have become. Could still become. But really seems like Martin has been showing the various ways "second life" works for a while now: Others and Wights in Game. More Others and the Undying in Clash. Beric and Coldhands in Storm. Then, in Dance, we get a whole bunch: Varamyr, Stoneheart, Coldhands again, and Bran: seeing souls in animals, climbing around in Hodor, seeing the Children "plugged in" to trees. Given that, seems like Varamyr's prologue could be a warning for Bran. Plus, there's Jon's long-recurring dream, which we hear about in Game: being called against his will into the crypt and seeing the Kings of Winter rise. Jon only sees this part of the dream AFTER they find Othor and Flowers. That seems like the dream is tied to the finding of the wights. An answer to the wights: raise the Starks, waiting in their completely unique crypt. And in that dream, Jon makes no mention of the old kings looking like ice-beasties. No matter how freaked out Jon is by the nightmare, really seems like he'd remember if the Kings looked like ice. If the people he's waking are Others. Right--but this seems like it's tied to the lessons we are seeing Bran learn (or not learn) about second life, morality, etc. And, again: Varamyr is not a Stark. Not related to all those strangely crypted bodies in Winterfell. There is something unique about Stark dead. Varamyr cannot go back to his body. But we know both Beric and Stoneheart can--it is workable. So, what if that body is a Stark? And, given your point about Jon's whopping inexperience compared to Varamyr, really think it's more likely Bran would make himself an ice body (or be tempted to). Bran, not Jon, has dreamed of being Symeon Star Eyes--likely an Other. Bran, not Jon, looks to use/create bodies that are not his own. Bran, not Jon, has practice. If anyone's going to make an ice body in the series, showing us how to do it, my money would be on Bran--not newbie Jon. That would be just as radical--and make a lot more sense, given Bran's interest in Symeon and his talent/practice. Why kill Jon? To have him raise the dead of Winterfell. Like he's been dreaming of since Game. Bran's making an ice body would show us all the things you suggest. Be just as radical--and fit with his character and earlier ideas. But Jon's dreams, when they come, what he sees and doesn't see (no Ice People in the crypts)--really, really seems like Jon is more likely to be a different kind of undead altogether. A unique one--like Coldhands. Not a wight. Not an Other (they aren't unique). Something much more rare. And very Stark.
  6. Right--but if "they killed him"--doesn't that innately imply he left his body? Beric and Stoneheart are "brought back" without warning, but are less. So--I guess it's fair to argue that maybe the soul sticks around in the body until it's "fully" dead. Or--we don't know for sure where souls go. But we do know he was "dead." Like Cat. Like Beric. So--really seems like we are being shown that Jon can "come back" into his dead body somehow or other. Without becoming an Other--in body or in vicious spirit. Right--but Jon seems to be the one who had the epiphany about the watch. Takes his brothers to task on who they are protecting. Seems like his take on the Oath is rather different. That's what I'm wondering about that Oath--does understanding it "properly" make a difference? Agreed. And, I'd reiterate: Jon is a Stark. They seem different when it comes to the dead. And not just because of that crypt (though I think that's a key part of it."
  7. Agreed--this is one of the key, if not THE key, mysteries. (I think the source of the dragons and the Doom are key, too, but the North seems like the "magic" focus from the Game Prologue on). That said--I'm not convinced Jon must become Other for us to understand the Others. Stuck and not--yes. Like Coldhands. Coldhands seems to occupy the space between Other and human. The Others, so very, very hostile to life. Who play with Waymar. Who enjoy killing him. Vs. Jon--with his realization via Ghost that the Wildlings are all men, just like him. Because they all smell the same (that moment he has seeing/smelling/hearing them as Ghost does). And then Jon asserts that his Oath covers all men. Then Coldhands: Othered but not cruel to humans. Still guarding the realms of men to protect Bran. If Jon is to take a new form (very very likely)--my money's on Coldhands. If humans cannot re-enter their dead/dying bodies ever ever ever--how account for Coldhands? ETA: "They killed him long ago." Leaf doesn't say "wounded." She says "killed." ETA: Even seems to imply that the Others killed Coldhands. I'm thinking the difference might be that Oath. The "I am" section--becoming/transforming into weapons/qualities that guard men. By taking that oath, by understanding it better than the rest of the Watch does, Jon "transforms"--at least psychologically and morally. Coldhands, unlike the Others, seems to maintain that Jon-like morality and focus. So--could that oath and morality be the difference here? That Oath that ties at Watchman to the world is a way that Varamyr was not? Or--it could be Jon's Starkiness: they are the liminal ones. Grey. Twilight. Living in Winterfell, a realm of the living literally built on and protecting a realm of the dead. The dead kings who will come from their tombs when Jon goes down to them. ETA: The Starks seem to be made of different stuff. Maybe from lying with Others before, who knows? But they are different. I think there's a really, really good chance that Jon's being a Stark may make a big difference in whether or not he becomes a Coldhands or an Other.
  8. Well--if, like Stoneheart or Beric or (I think) Jon--he may not have been able to die without some kind of intervention. May have embraced his oath and kept living as a guardian. If so, if he was like Jon, could see him being willing to stay alive until all the nightmare returned. A living sacrifice. Would fit with Leaf calling his death "long ago"--that would be long, even to Leaf. Maybe.
  9. Hey! Language is meant to be played with! Well--this is getting into my crazy idea about the Night's King and the Black Gate--but I do wonder if the Wall more "grew" than was "built." So, has been growing in response to whatever the Night's King did and whatever his brothers did to throw him down. Something is very, very wrong with the living Black Gate--and the Wall. I think Ygritte is more right than she knows that it's made of blood. But if I'm anywhere in the ballpark of right, that would mean the Wall has been growing/building for a long while. Would include during the Andals. ETA: Just realized I misread what your said so my answer is a bit nonsensical. I do take your point that the NK Wall and Watch could have been later--I just doubt it due to the old gods, the apparent fears about the skin changers--really seems like the NK is a First Men kinda guy. But I would;dn't be surprised if the Andals embellished it all--and if having Andal kings made it easier to hide the story of the NK. I'm pretty sure we'll never get a clear timeline. Agreed--though I have wondered is Brandon the Breaker and the Night's King were actually the same person. . . especially since it's the World Book maesters who name him as the one who overthrew the Night's King. . . Agreed--and would be more reliable. A fair theory. I just wonder what part of the story he'd be telling--that Jojen was necessary? Seems like we as readers could figure that out on our own. Could be CH is just a Zombie ex Machina--but I'm currently thinking he has more to tell us. Well--I'm still thinking the Horn was like the Oath: a man of the Watch calling on all the the powers of the earth: "I am the horn that wakes the sleepers"--and Jon does that in his dreams repeatedly when he goes into the crypts and wakes the Kings of Winter. I still think Jon is going to "be" the horn. I'm currently thinking that the Horn of Joramun and all that--they are stories built up around "being" the Horn. Counterfeits/explanations. Sort of like I think there's a chance that Valyrian steel was an attempt to create at sword like Dawn. That would fit with the "evil" horn that gets blown at the Kingsmoot. An evil version of the unifying power set out in the Oath. So, if the Horn is the person who wakes the sleepers, who is the shield, who is the sword (Dawn's coming!!!), etc.--then it would be a person who chose to engage all that who "freed" them. That said, I think it was @Black Crow who posited that the men of the Watch "claimed" to be enslaved so they could get off the hook for their actions. That said--I do think sacrifices were very likely on the menu. And I think the NK could have been sacrificed when he was thrown down (my current explanation for the gate). Sacrifices must have happened, given all we've seen so far. Good luck! Moving is always an epic journey!
  10. Or--if Coldhands is the one who threw down the NIght's King. He would then be a monster to that first Brandon Stark. He's the one who took down the first Brandon Stark? And, per your point that the NIght's King is playing out again--what if, like Jon, the Brother who threw down the Night's King also underwent a transformation (assuming Jon is reanimated--which seems like a good bet)? If so, he could have been "monsterized" prior to "The Battle for the Dawn." A hint at where the story is going with Jon? This--I don't see why he couldn't be hiding monstrosity vs. just identity. UnCat and Beric are horrifying. Coldhands--could be hiding the worst of his monstrosity. Would clearly be echoes in the horror of the 79 Sentinels. And would fit with my idea that Coldhands is the one who threw the Night's King down. Maybe.
  11. Perhaps a hint of the Night's King? He seems to have been put down by his brother--could easily be a NW brother. But since we have traces of the Sword of the Morning and Sword of the Evening in Dorne (traces I think are tied to the Night's King)--perhaps the Starks having one in Winterfell and one at the Wall--a hint at the need to guard? And to be on guard for another Night's King?
  12. I've been thinking for a while that the Wall and Dawn go together. Jon took a breath of the crisp morning air and allowed himself to hope. The eastern sky was pink near the horizon and pale grey higher up. The Sword of the Morning still hung in the south, the bright white star in its hilt blazing like a diamond in the dawn, but the blacks and greys of the darkling forest were turning once again to greens and golds, reds and russets. And above the soldier pines and oaks and ash and sentinels stood the Wall, the ice pale and glimmering beneath the dust and dirt that pocked its surface. Storm, Jon IV I've even got a crackpot theory about Serwyn of the Mirror Shield--that it's really about Ice Dragons and the Wall. Jon sees himself in the wall, like a mirror. Melisandre's flame show with Stannis' sword lights up the Wall. Jon dreams of himself on the Wall, "armored in ice," red blade in his fist--what happens if Dawn really burns? Like dawn? Shining off that Wall? Could that kill the ice dragon? Seems possible. YUP! The oath is about humans with attributes, acting like a force--a sword, a horn, a Wall. Keeping the oath for justice--not domination or greed or vengeance. OOHHH! I hadn't thought of it that way! Very cool idea! So, the Others are those who failed to fly? Flying--as in connecting with all the earth. The song of the earth. Those who fail to do that, just fly for power (like Euron) become abominations? Am I getting close to what you're thinking? Could be. I'm still holding to the idea that Jon will "wake the sleepers" in the crypts. The kings deep in the crypts whose tombs will open. But Bran, down in the dark? I could absolutely buy this. Question: why with Ice?
  13. The bolded is one of the reasons I've changed my mind on anyone "fixing" the seasons at the end of the books. I think this world is fallen--like all of his worlds. And the Fall is permanent--Martin doesn't have a Christ figure coming (unlike Robert Jordan, to some extent). So, if my mad speculation about Jon and Dawn holds, it would just be one win--and not a permanent righting of the seasons, let alone a social or political utopia. It would just be a doorway to the "dream of spring." Not a "promise" of spring. Because all the things that made the world fall remain, no matter how "Just" Jon is. Or how well the Stark bastard raised by Ned rises up to administer Justice.
  14. YUP!!! And, in my humble opinion, he got her in the form of Dany--via Ashara. OOOHHH! Very interesting! Could explain how Varys and Illyrio got their hands on it . . . Workable. I also think it was possible someone else attacked Lyanna (I agree she was unlikely to be with Brandon at the time of assault) and she ran (my money would be on a lackey of Tywin). Like Arya does. Lyanna then ended up with either Rhaegar and his KG, of the KG found her and took her to Rhaegar (like Ygritte gets Jon to Mance and the Brotherhood gets Arya). As for witnesses . . . I've wondered for a while if the "Rhaegar took her!" was a planted story. 1. I agree Ned found out she was never raped. 2. Agree on the bolded--but I favor the first: Rhaegar and his KG held onto her. A useful hostage. Like the Brotherhood hold Arya. But she could have hidden. 3. It is heavily implied that Ned knew where to go to find those KG--really think they sent word to lure Ned for a parlay. . .
  15. Agreed--And I reserve the same right (a good thing, since I change my mind all the time!). As for the "Love Story"--the ground is very shaky. Not gone--can't say that until/unless we get more books. But shaky. And porous. Not sure--but I think a key point is a Day's King. The Sword of the Morning. Throwing down the Night's King--like the old story. Exactly what that looks like . . . not sure. I put up an OP a while ago that Jon will finally execute the person in the Black Gate. I think the Night's King was "thrown down"--not executed justly as Ned taught his kids to do. Instead, the fallen Night's King got tortured for power (turned into the Black Gate) instead of executed with justice. Vengeance and power cause chaos, darkness, winter. Justice comes with Dawn. I think it's one of the key conflicts of the novels--the cruelty of the Others, torture killing Raymar for pleasure in the the Game Prologue, vs. Ned's justice, the beginning of the first chapter of Game, riding out to administer justice at Dawn. The "king's justice." I don't think that's the "King of Westeros." I think it's the justice of the Day's King (Sword of the Morning) vs. the power hungry shenanigans of the Night's King. I think Jon, "an old hand at Justice" (according to Bran in the first Game chapter), will administer justice with Dawn. I used to think that would end the problem of the seasons. But . . . I'm much less sure now. Given all of Martin's other stories, I'm thinking the damage that caused the crazy seasons might be permanent. And need to be dealt with ever so often in the fallen world that is Westeros. But all of that is clearly speculation. Ned fears Robert's jealousy. Maybe rightly. Maybe wrongly. Maybe both Ned and Lyanna overreacted--but they clearly fear something. And Robert doesn't hate Rhaegar and the Targs because they are Targs. He hates them because Rhaegar took the woman Robert loved away from him. So, Robert would hate any man who "took" his love away. Rhaegar, Arthur, or just Stable Boy #4. And Ned fears that hate and rage. So--mum's the word about any father of Jon--if Jon's mom is Lyanna.
  16. A story with flowers blue as the eyes of death: The Others are the "problem" to be solved. I've seen others make that argument, too. Real roses? You can dry them, but the resulting color isn't particularly vivid. Hellebore? No clue. But one way or the other, pretty sure those rose petals against the blood-streaked sky are an image. Ned conflating things in his imagination. Seems very unlikely that someone chucked a bunch of rose petals into the air right before the fight. . . No question: hiding her at the Quiet Isle would work. But the novels also show how easily Stolen Stark maids can hide in plain sight. Sansa's got a price on her head--and so far (at least), she's staying safe in plain sight. Arya? Lady Smallwood clearly suspects something's up and makes Arya bathe and dress up. But she doesn't ask for details because of her affinity for the Brotherhood (and Tom). And Arya, like Sansa, hides under aliases pretty well. So, if Lyanna's abductors were like Baelish or the Brotherhood, they could hide her almost anywhere--long as they had hair dye, or sympathetic allies ready to turn a blind eye. So--Starfall might work really well for a hiding place, too. @LynnS: on the growth places of Hellebore from the previous thread. Of course--just noting that if those roses are hellebore, real-world hellebore can grown in some pretty hot, dry places. So, they might be able to get them for her room, even in Dorne. Maybe.
  17. Very cool! One way or another, Horned God Robert's death is a shift. And Ned, a Night's King Stark being imprisoned and soon to be sacrificed by an unjust king and his unjust executioner (using Payne means Joff does NOT follow Ned's teachings on Justice)--it does feel like that might be speeding up the turn to Winter. The turn to Winter's been happening for a while--but that set of deaths, arguably could even call them "sacrifices"--with those deaths, Winter comes sooner.
  18. My money's on Lyanna was a useful hostage who ended up pregnant due to mutual lust--my money's on Arthur. This created a big problem for Rhaegar: pregnant Lyanna was a much worse bargaining hostage than virginal Lyanna. Either way--they decided to hide Lyanna the hostage at the extremely secluded Starfall. And Jon was born there. Maybe. This and the rest of your post has gotta be on the table--especially considering Rhaegar's Summerhall creepiness. I just have a really hard time with Ned's neutral attitude towards Rhaeagar if this was the plan. And have a hard time with why Ned showed up with only a few companions--seemed like he would have had a lot more people to make absolutely sure they won. The small numbers make better sense with a parlay . . . at least to me. But. . . no way to rule out that Rhaegar might have contemplated your ideas. Just no way to eliminate it without the next books. No way I can see, at least.
  19. Well, I think you are probably aware of my Dayne-blindness by now--but yes. I think Ned's misery about that fight is directly tied to Arthur--the only one he speaks of admiring directly. Even Bran notes it. Arthur, the last one Ned sees before the fight starts and Lyanna screams. That last fight--pretty sure Ned thought it was a surrender. The KG either lied or decided to fight anyway. True knights, to the best of their abilities. As you say--it comes up again and again. The True Knight vs. the Smiling Knight or the Night's King. The three KG are trying to be true knights. But Arthur--he matters most to Ned. And Ned--he matters a lot to the Daynes. Nice! though this doesn't preclude that part of those promises might be tied to this moment. That the outcome of the fight led to a need for promises. . . Though I also think there's a whopping good chance the 3KG arranged this "surrender"/Parlay themselves. And that's why Ned came with a small force. The KG are like Jon being sent to kill Mance: no chance to win, but gonna do their best. Like Dunk trying to parlay with the Widow--that one works out, but really could have failed. Loving the bold! And it works--especially with the "blue as the eyes of death." I looked a while ago--that's the only time something has been compared to the Others' eyes. Lyanna's cry, a banshee cry, over the horror of this fight and what it will bring? And (for me) a portent of the horror of the death of Arthur, the KG Ned sees last before the fight, the only KG Ned really mourns. . . So--a portent for the return of the Others? I know you think Jon was probably at the tower, but I think he and Lyanna were at Starfall. I do think he also returned Arthur's sword out of honor. But Arthur may have had enough breath to tell Ned where Lyanna was . .
  20. Maybe--but according the "infallible" Wikipedia, Hellebore varieties grow in southern Italy, southern Greece, Turkey, into the middle east--place that can get pretty hot and dry. No idea how cold Dorne gets in winter, let alone how realistic Martin is being if the winter roses are hellebore--but Dorne really might be workable. OH! Absolutely! Unless Lyanna died in that tower, there's a whopping good chance Ned is lying. If she did die in childbirth, he's clearly lied about that, too. Yup. I tried to figure out ways Rhaegar would be "innocent" of the mess of the war--can't do it anymore. Really think he fully intended for that war to happen. To use it to get rid of Aerys. He would have used them. No question. Look at his creepy fascination with Summerhall. Yet another reason I really think Dany is his--they are dragons. Entitled. High-minded. And dangerous.
  21. Well, if the blue roses do turn out to be hellebore--they grow lots of places and climates. And it was winter. So--can't see how that takes the Red Mountains off the map. But--Ned could have lied completely about where Lyanna died--the Appendix shows in-world knowledge. But something about that fight at the toj is clearly tied to Lyanna. Something about Starfall is tied to Jon. Really think it went down in Dorne.
  22. Yup! And then, just a few chapter later, he shows how a wild-wolf-maid loves flowers. Seems on point. He said basically what I just said. Just wanted to be sure to give credit where it's due. I have OCD issues. Yup! Dany buys the love story. But no one who knew Rhaegar ever seems to present him as lusty. Really think he was likely a lot more like Stannis. Very iron, very singular minded--dangerous. It's one of the reasons I can't write of the "baby sacrifice" theory, even though I do not like it.
  23. As is Bael the Bard--Ygritte says it flat out that Bael claims all the maids he seduced loved him, regardless of the truth. Illusions Bael tells others--and maybe even himself. But the tale is really much darker. And ends in kinslaying. And the Bael Maid killing herself over that kinslaying--reality showing up and hitting hard. As you have noted many times, Professor Crow, Martin's made it very clear: we should be very wary of the love stories told by Bards. All illusions.
  24. Oh, yes--the tie between sweetness and even affection with poison--that's something Martin does a lot. The other thing that strikes me about the poison kisses is what @Voice pointed out years ago: how Arya likes flowers. She collects them. Counts all the new ones they find in the Neck. Gathers them up to gift to family. And if they hurt her? Easy fix with mud. None of that is romance. It's all adventure and exploration and gifts to beloved family. Really think it changes the romantic frame some reader put on the roses. But the idea that lovely, loving gifts could accidentally be poison? Yes--that fits with the faceless men very well. I'm still thinking that's Sansa--and that she may end up pretty poisonous herself to Baelish. After all, as Merillion insists on telling her, she is a Roadside Rose, dressed in blue.
  25. So--basically Lyanna's blue roses are "Bitterblooms?" And thus--a lot like Arya's "poison kisses?" None of which stopped Arya, of course. One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers. That just made her worse. Then it turned out the purple flowers were called poison kisses, and Arya got a rash on her arms. Sansa would have thought that might have taught her a lesson, but Arya laughed about it, and the next day she rubbed mud all over her arms like some ignorant bog woman just because her friend Mycah told her it would stop the itching. Sansa I: Game. GRRM really likes this trope.
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