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  1. I stand corrected, yet you may have lost the forest in the trees. Even though Tyrion's interest in her back story is overstated, does that change the outcome? Lemore is unlikely to be Ashara, as Tyrion would've remarked on purple eyes. That was my main argument, not that Tyrion was obsessed with Ashara's back story. I respect Tyrion's power of observation and for him to miss such a detail seems very unlikely - that is a better way to state it. It's Tyrion's acumen I trust here, not his interest in AD's back story which I overstated.
  2. I agree that nothing immediately comes to mind as far as a motivation for Varys or Illyrio to help Ashara. Maybe it would be the case if your theory is correct but as I've said I find this unlikely. I also agree that H + A = M & J would be fanservice, but that is not enough to discount it. We don't know about Howland's looks at all so assuming he's ugly is just that, an assumption. Even if true, there is more to attraction than looks. I didn't mention that the Dornish and Crannogmen have more in common than you might see at first: both are looked down upon by other houses for their guerilla tactics and liberal use of poison. Also it appears House Reed is influenced by Dornish succession customs: re-read the Harvest Feast chapter in Bran's ACoK POV: Meera is introduced first as the Lady of House Reed whereas Jojen is referenced as "her brother" this is very uncommon in Westerosi culture and we have no evidence it is practiced elsewhere in the North. Why with the Reeds? This is not proof, but interesting potential evidence H + A = M & J got me to think through. Indeed, we won't know for sure until we get more published books. As for fAegon being Illyrio's son - maybe. It would explain Illyrio's heretofore unexplained Targaryen loyalties, but obviously there could be other reasons. At the same time like you point out it would be a significant risk to send his son on such an expedition. Compared to Essos, Westeros is kind of a backwater so I'm not sure why the richest man in Pentos would want to risk so much for the Irone Throne when the Free Cities seem wealthier and more advanced anyway. More power for power's sake? I don't know. It's one of many issues I hope to see resolved in TWoW and ADoS.
  3. Is Ned the best politician or administrator? No, but Ned is definitely underestimated as a politician because of hindsight and plot necessity, in order for GRRM to pull off AGoT ending and pass the torch to a new Stark generation, he had to fail. Other posters on various threads have discussed "presentism" and hindsight being 20-20. Of course Ned should've seen it all coming! However he doesn't have the reader's perspective, his POV is more limited than our own. Did he make serious mistakes? Absolutely, yet is he a complete political incompetent? I think not, he engendered surpringly lasting loyalty for House Stark even after his death such as the Mountain clans still fighting for "the Ned's" daughter in ADWD even after his death and the Sack of Winterfell.
  4. Good effort finding connections for a Lemore = Elia theory. I think this is a lot more promising than some theories proposing Lemore = Ashara. Yet, I ultimately lean toward Elia and Aegon being dead. Maybe the Mountain is lying when he confesses in front of the KL court that he murdered Elia and her children during Tyrion's TBC but I find that unlikely. It also undermines the Dornish plot lines in a big way. It would at least diminish Doran's grievances against the Lannisters. Maybe Elia disappeared and has lived secretly without Doran's knowledge, again I find it unlikely. Certainly not impossible though.
  5. So Tyrion spent all that time on the Shy Maid and never looked into Ashara's eyes? I don't buy it, nor do I think George omitted Lemore's eyes to cover it up. I agree that there's some fishy stuff involving Ashara but that's not evidence in and of itself for your theory. The whole thing hinges on Ashara getting pregant by Rhaegar as proposed by Elia...there is no evidence for any of that in the text as far as I know. While I am not completely convinced by H + A = M & J (especially those who claim Arthur is still alive), there is more circumstantial textual evidence for it than the theory you have presented here. The KotLT story told through Bran's POV in ACoK and onward as well as Barristan's POV in ADWD are the main pieces of evidence for the theory combined the timeline of RR. There is more evidence from Meera's KotLT story in the odd focus on Ashara from Meera who supposedly has no connection to Ashara, than there is for Rhaegar knocking up Ashara let alone at Elia's behest. A lot of attention is paid by Meera to the movements of a supposedly random long-dead Dornish noblewoman. This is fishy to me. Proposing a match between Howland and Ashara is no less speculative as your outlook on Elia. As the sister of Rhaegar's best friend and strong Targ loyalist, and as someone who may have facilitated the relationship between Rhaegar and Lyanna, it is very possible Ashara and her hypothetical child could be in danger. Viewed this way, she got between Robert and Lyanna and that is a bad space to inhabit. This would also make her less than welcome in Dorne having helped Rhaegar dishonor Elia, the daughter of her family's liege and would be another reason to disappear. These reasons would be enough to go into hiding, particularly after the Sack of KL and Robert's approval of child murder. If Ashara took Arthur's mission and oaths to protect the king's heir seriously, her disappearance would also prevent a lot of unwanted questions surrounding Jon. Thus Ashara could help her brother's mission and prevent him from dying in vain. None of this is certain and both theories rely on speculation but IMO there's more evidence for H + A = M & J than the theory you present here. I think it's more likely that Aegon is fAegon, the "mummer's dragon" and is not a legitimate Targaryen but a Blackfyre or the descendant of another Targaryen bastard. Although I must admit part of me really wants fAegon to be legitimate and take the Iron Throne while Dany is bogged down in Essos. I like that he is similar to Aegon V (Egg) with more empathy for the smallfolk due to the adversity and skills he had to learn growing up per Kevin's POV in the ADWD epilouge.
  6. Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think this makes a lot of sense. Are you saying that Rhaegar fathered both Jon on Lyanna and Aegon on Ashara or that Rhaegar only fathered Aegon and Jon's father was someone else? If Jon isn't a Targ it would make no sense for Ned to lie about Jon's parentage and hide him away at Winterfell. The bigger problem with Lemore being AD is that in Tyrion's POV on the Shy Maid chapters he makes no mention of Lemore having purple eyes. It would be strange for Tyrion to miss that detail as he definitely notices Young Griff's purple eyes. Tyrion isn't just casually observing Lemore, but actively trying to ascertain her identity so I don't think that detail would be overlooked. For these reasons I find it hard to believe Lemore is Ashara. Ashara Dayne is compelling and has a weird way of showing up in tons of fan theories. If she is not dead, I think the H + A = M & J theory is the most compelling, if flawed, theory for AD if she is in fact living.
  7. It's embarassing now but for me without a doubt it was not accepting Lyanna Stark as KotLT. Like others I put too much stock into the booming voice element of the character. After thinking about it and reading more of GRRMs work both inside and outside ASOIAF universe there's no doubt in my mind of the theory's veracity.
  8. Maybe. I know Rhaegar was different from your standard Targ, but I don't know that he would've been as radical as Egg. We'll never know, but he did not have the extensive upbringing amongst smallfolk to impart the empathy Egg had. As an educated prince and given the events surrounding his tragic birth amongst the fires of Summerhall, I'd like to think Rhaegar would know the mistakes of Aegon the Unlikely and not make them had he lived.
  9. Lannister apologism. Yawn. "How will they be catastrophic?" It's pretty clear reading the text. The destruction in the Riverlands in AGoT and violent instability everywhere else thereafter in Westeros under the Lannister regime is evidence enough of the consequences of Tywin's decisions. I'm not going to lay out all of Tywin's atrocities as the text speaks for itself nor write a counterfactual about what could have been without the Red Wedding, that seems a rather pointless exercise. I never argued that guest right had never been broken nor that it would never be again. However, violation of guest right isn't going well for the violators: Freys are getting picked off and Tywin is dead and his incestuous legacy will not long survive him. "That is how warfare is in Westeros". No. It's disturbing to consider simply accepting slaughter of civilians as business as usual. GRRM through various characters in ASOIAF and in AWOIAF vividly describes the especially ruthless conduct of Tywin from the Reynes of Castamere onward to Connington's POV in ADWD. Tywin explicity orders the Mountain to ride disguised in order to rape and pillage the smallfolk of the Riverlands. No combatant in war is innocent and Bolton is the worst of the Northern commanders in terms of brutality and the reader's response shouldn't be to shrug and accept wanton, indiscriminate brutality as inevitable. We're supposed to be repulsed by the repugance of the Boltons or Tywins brutality and call it what it is. It's frankly scary if one doesn't find their actions repulsive. There is a distinction between the Trident, Redgrass Field or Whispering Wood and the sack of Tumbleton or the Reynes of Castamere or Sack of Winterfell. It is disingenuous to pretend that all sides are culpable to the same degree in TWo5K. Making excuses for war criminals is never a good look. The only way you can argue the Lannisters are doing well is with your thrumb on the scale. They've had a costly multifont war on the verge of winter combined with massive debts to the Iron Bank while KL is full of dubiously allied Tyrell soldiers while the Lannister army is occupied in the Riverlands. Worse, Tywin is dead and Cersei is disgraced and incompetent but may be back in charge again anyway after the only sane Lannister in KL was killed by Varys. Jaime went off with Brienne, perhaps to his death by Stoneheart. Tywin cared a lot about legacy and family honor so dismissing the fate of his children as a reflection of Tywin himself as unimportant is just trying to cover up his weaknesses as head of his house. Furthermore, fAegon has landed in the Stormlands bringing more problems Lannisters don't have the money or talent to counter. Remember the new fleet they built only to have Aurane Waters sail off into the sunset with it? They are not in a good position to face fAegon, let alone the Others or Dany. Good news for the Lannister apologists is that Varys might have Tyrek Lannister waiting so after the current brood of Lannisters are wiped out over the next couple books we could have a compliant Lannister figurehead to support Dany or whomever has power at the end of the series.
  10. Yep. Even if GRRM does a major shift and gives Dany a lot more POVs I don't see how it's possible for Dany to make it back to Westeros at the end. Especially if she doesn't want to abandon the people she just liberated to the power vacuum her absence would create and the inevitable chaos that would ensue. What could possibly go wrong for Dany's children if she leaves SB? A Lot. She can't simply conquer, dip out and expect her reforms to last. I mean, maybe she pulls a Nymeria II and brings everyone with her to Westeros? I just don't see that happening unless George and his writers are committed to another decade or two of this series.
  11. This. Aerys and Bloodraven certainly had enough political support to show up with an army and quash the rebellion before it started. The OP's "police state" characterization is rather hyperbolic.
  12. Yes, her arc had to get darker and we will see it darken further to the point that she will conflate the justice of her cause with an "ends justify the means" attitude which will lead to Dany committing further atrocity. I hope not, but that's my reading of the tea leaves. There's a difference between defeating your enemies and subjugating them and impaling scores of them on stakes. To use your Civil War analogy, the US did not hang the confederate leadership, repugnant traitors that they were who sacrificed all to preserve a barbaric "way of life". Breaking them is necessary but once you give in to the same dehumanization the slavers practice, you allow their hatred to live on and continue the cycle of conflict. That hatred stews in Dany as well as her justifiable resentment against all those who stand in the way of her mission. GRRM is setting us up for another switch: the Messianic hero of destiny slowly turns to the Mad Queen. I'm not arguing that Dany is wrong for fighting the slavers or a simplistic peace = good, war = bad paradigm. Let us avoid straw men. I'm arguing that her war against the slavers detracts from her likelihood (among other things, such as her lack of control over her dragons) of sitting the Iron Throne at the end of the series, which was the topic of the thread. Since her aim is to end slavery, there is no way she can make it back to Westeros to rule even in 2 books. Even necessary revolutions can create massive instability and this will prevent Dany from abandoning the people she just liberated in order to reclaim her family's power in Westeros.
  13. Barristan's POV at the end of ADWD has a recurring theme of regret: if only he had won the tourney at Harrenhal, if only he had been more effective convincing Dany to turn West sooner, if only Ashara had turned to him and not Ned etc. He also thinks about saving the Mad King from Duskendale and how Tywin gave him a day before burning the town. I think it's an interesting counterfactual. What if Tywin overrode Barristan as Hand and ordered the sack of Duskendale? Would the Darklyns have killed Aerys II as they threatened or would they have surrendered him in a last chance gambit for lenience? If Aerys II was killed at Duskendale and Rhaegar crowned, would this have avoided Robert's Rebellion? Or would Rhaegar still ultimately kidnap Lyanna and set off the rebellion anyway?
  14. Tywin's decisions were catastrophic for Westeros. The consequences of the Red Wedding are obvious for the long term impacts of the sacred Westerosi institution of guest right. The importance of this to the core of Westerosi culture can not be underestimated. The dire consequences of Tywin's plotting with the Freys and Boltons have been playing out in the North and will likely do so in Westoros generally for some time. Tywin's total war approach to the War of the Five Kings and the savage deployment of of the Mountain et al and the Brave Companions in the Riverlands was devastating in terms of human suffering and rapid degradation of social and economic cohesion in Westeros generally. I don't think you can counter these arguments without overtly generous Tywin apologism. Tywin also could have projected Lannister power more decisively during RR and probably ended the war rapidly in favor of whichever side he chose. This would have saved a lot of bloodshed. Instead, Tywin bided his time - which can be seen as astute from his perspective - but thousands of lives could've been saved had Tywin intervened swiftly perhaps to install Rhaegar and depose his ungrateful, insane monarch (who may or may not have raped his wife - it's a rather obvious justification for Tywin to turn on the Mad King if he truly had a lion's courage) or accomplish the same end by joining the rebels sooner. Instead, Tywin sacks KL and his men brutally murder the royal family. Again, the negative consequences for the long term stability of Westeros cannot be overstated given the justifiable Dornish hatred for the Lannisters. I also don't imagine House Lannister endeared itself to the people of Kings Landing with his sack. Tywin is effective in his brutality in the short term, but for what? His house is crumbling due to the incestuous and incompetent actions of his children. This is Tywin's failure, especially since he seems so concerned with the honor of his family and the greatness of his legacy. Under the surface, Tywin's toxic pride (seen passed on to Cersei) cripples his decision making. His lack of empathy blinds him to the negative consequences of his own actions on Westeros and the impending collapse of his own house due to incompetence and incest. Tywin's fatal pride results in underestimation of enemies evidenced in his defeats by the teenage Robb Stark. Thus, I find Tywin overrated and his actions have deeply harmed the Westerosi smallfolk and institutions.
  15. I agree with the OP in that I find it unlikely that Dany will rule at the end of the series but I find a lot of these arguments flawed because if Dany can effectively control her dragons a la Ageon the Conqueror, most of these arguments pose obstacles for Dany but are not impossible. What really makes her rule at the end unlikely are A.) her poor ability to control her dragons and B.) her darkening character arc. 1. Dany is a foreign invader...So was Aegon the Conqueror. While Targs had fled the Doom to Dragonstone, their customs were very foreign at the time of the Conquest and after. Effective control of dragons made armed resistance futile. Futhermore, the smallfolk aren't really focused on the game of thrones and are more focused on survival, even moreso during the LN. Thus, this is an obstacle, but not insurmountable. What is not mentioned and would probably be a greater obstacle is simply Dany's gender, given the more intense sexism in Westeros (except Dorne) compared to Essos. But again, I think the choice between serving a ruling Queen and death is easy for most. 2. Dany failed in Mereen...OP is right that her rule of Mereen wasn't good, but "failure" is unfair. For a teenage revolutionary, I think Dany did very well tactically in short term situations. I argue her main problems in ruling are long term strategic planning and areas that are not cut and dry, black and white since she is so young. She is consistently torn between the quest for love/acceptance vs the quest for power, the expedient vs right action, Daario vs Hizdar, power vs peace and this combined with her youth leads to a deficit in long term decision-making. It is reasonable to expect a ruler of Dany's talents to be able to learn...the problem is that she learns the wrong lessons and becomes darker than I expected reading GOT and I think that is more salient in why she won't rule at the end than the mistakes made a world away from Westeros. 3. Her allies...This is the worst of the arguments. Tyrion is not for sure a close ally yet in the books: this is only in the show. Even if Tyrion does become integral to Dany, effective control of dragons can render opposition to Tyrion mute. Often those surrounding the ruler who have to do the dirty work are disliked anyway. The knock on Barristan is baffling and simply textually wrong. If anything, Barristan is an asset. See Tyrion's POV in ACOK. Cersei/Joffery's dismissal of Barristan was the impetus (among other blunders) for Tywin to send Tyrion to KL as acting Hand. According to both Tyrion and Tywin, Barristan the Bold lent credibility to whomever he served because he was so respected. Despite their humongous flaws, I trust Tywin and Tyrion's political acumen and analysis in this case. Barristan is stuffy and not very bright but there is no way that he is a negative for Dany politically in Westeros. 4. No friends in Westeros...This is also not accurate. Not only are Targaryen loyalists actively (if secretly) plotting to get Dany or fAegon on the throne, Robert disinherited and/or reduced the lands of the staunchest Targaryen loyalists. Especially with Westeros in chaos and Lannister inepitude, these lords would be ripe for Dany. Her strategic mistake of staying in Slavers Bay will likely result in these lords going to fAegon in the short term, but again if Dany shows up with effective control of her dragons a la Targs of old, I think most lords would turn their cloak for Dany and not burn to death. 5. Dany is getting very brutal...This is the best argument. Dany made a strategic blunder in staying in Slavers Bay and forced her to get creative and win some tactical prryhic victories which put her in a terrible, almost unwinnable situation in Mereen. This has forced her to learn that she should be more brutal and by the end of ADWD Dany is a darker character than in GOT. There have been hints of her slow metamorphisis from hero to antihero, and it is this factor that most makes me doubt Dany's ultimate success in ruling at the end of the series. The main variables IMO for this question are A.) Dany's ability to effectively utilize her dragons and B.) Dany's darkening character arc. If Dany has control of her dragons like Aegon the Conqueror and she doesn't get too dark, the likelihood of her ruling at the end increases. Given Dany's relative lack of control over her dragons by the end of ADWD I find it unlikely that she will be able to claim the Iron Throne, if she makes it to Westeros at all. Dany's character has been slowly shifting since GOT from standard fantasy hero to antihero. Given GRRMs choices in character development over the series such as Ned's death or RW, I find it unlikely (despite my wishes) that Dany swoops in, saves Westros and rules happily ever after.
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