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  1. The eloping vs kidnap/rape reads like a red herring to distract from their being other options. This isn't the only place where the readers have led down one path to distract them. My top guess right now is that they ran away together to prevent a war when Aerys found out about Lyanna being the knight and fearing a war between the Targs and Starks which would blow up. Stuff happened while they were on the run. It all lies with Ned: if Lyanna had eloped effectively ruining his life, the life of his family and truly screwing Westeros leading to countless deaths and even more misery, Ned would have more mixed feelings about Lyanna than he does. If Rhaegar had kidnapped/raped her which led to her death, Ned wouldn't be meh towards him. So whatever it is, it's door #3, something consistent with Ned putting Lyanna on a pedestal and being ok with Rhaegar.
  2. GRRM sets up the readers to fall into the game of thrones like the characters do themselves. Given his opinion of the game, can't imagine how that'll go in the end.
  3. My prediction for what it's worth: There's zero - ZERO - indication anyone saw Marsh and co so he slips back into the crowd. They bring an unconscious (don't think he's dead) Jon to Marsh! In the confusion, the wildlings ditch the Wall and head to Stannis at Winterfell for Mance with Ghost knowing it's Jon. Marsh can't risk Jon waking up and talking and we've been told over and over about no Maester being around so he ships him off like Maester Aemon/Sam/Gilly (hence why we see that through their POV). We're told that Marsh's dude now runs Eastwatch (again, no Maester, could wake up and talk), so he dumps Jon on the food ship (Marsh obsessed with food supplies) to the Vale* - and Lannister's henchman who is also Jon's step-Uncle Littlefinger, his closest living non-missing "relative" to heal. That's saying a lot, but it's what it is. Just because it'd be more fun, maybe Mel, Val, some wildlings get sneaky and follow him. Let's toss in the Blackfish too. Why not. Jon gets away from the NW (we know how that's going), onto his KitN/RLJ arc (see symbolism around Maester Aemon/Sam/Gilly/Monster and compare to RLJ, also the Sleepy Jon story parallels for KitN). TWOW Spoiler In the meantime, Jon/Ghost is dealing with Winterfell. He's not abandoned fighting the Others, but he's a wolf, so options are limited. Best bet is installing Arya in place and ditching the Boltons to mobilize the North so he's the invisible white wolf sneaking around Winterfell (told a lot in ADWD about how Ghost is invisible in snow - the Ghost of Winterfell) trying to get Stannis an angle. We had endless discussions of what Marsh wanted to do for a reason so we didn't need to be told what Marsh will do with no Wall POV. A whole lotta denial, nothing and every bad decision. They'll seal up the Wall and pretend things are all good. No story here. The epilogue of TWOW or the prologue of ADOS is Bowen Marsh and Others breaching the Wall. He dies. Hence why certain other characters need away from the Wall because they wouldn't survive that. Or not. *Disclaimer - for some reason, I think everyone's going to the Vale.
  4. I have my doubts as to how many other haters are actually out there. There's a subset of this group of posters who all exhibit startling similarities. Double space between sentences. Use a rather choppy and awkward sentence structure that doesn't sound like natural speech. Tend to show up, bomb a lot of threads and then disappear for long periods. The bombs are usually brief comments rather replies engaging in discussion. All use the same set of talking points expressed in the same way even if they're new posters. Those talking points are questionable if not outright incorrect. When challenged with the correct info from the books, they never reply or defend their viewpoint.
  5. That next trip to the grocery store just got more interesting.
  6. I'm going to go with a more lewd interpretation but it fits well with what's already been suggested. I often see peaches symbolically associated with...well listen to Prince's Peach and take a look at the cover for the single. GRRM also seems to be following this pattern. Peaches and Summer fruit have juices running down, they burst, explode, have bites taken. In House of Cards (1x03), a teenager texts while driving that the local peach-shaped watertower looks like, well, you can see in the clip below. She dies in a car wreck because of texting while driving. Sorry about the quality. It's the only one I can find right now. No spoilers for House of Cards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0t5Qh_2l1A Anyways, I find this interpretation consistent with the text in that peaches represent carnal luxuries and being too into peaches means you're not properly focused on what you're doing (in HoC, that would be driving). So it's not that Gendry doesn't like girls, he just won't allow himself to be distracted by them. Pycelle says minds are like swords and if neglected, they go to rust. Peaches can be dangerous distractions when one allows it. ACOK Catelyn II "War will make them old," Catelyn said, "as it did us." She had been a girl when Robert and Ned and Jon Arryn raised their banners against Aerys Targaryen, a woman by the time the fighting was done. "I pity them." "Why?" Lord Rowan asked her. "Look at them. They're young and strong, full of life and laughter. And lust, aye, more lust than they know what to do with. There will be many a bastard bred this night, I promise you. Why pity?" "Because it will not last," Catelyn answered, sadly. "Because they are the knights of summer, and winter is coming." "Lady Catelyn, you are wrong." Brienne regarded her with eyes as blue as her armor. "Winter will never come for the likes of us. Should we die in battle, they will surely sing of us, and it's always summer in the songs. In the songs all knights are gallant, all maids are beautiful, and the sun is always shining." Winter comes for all of us, Catelyn thought. For me, it came when Ned died. It will come for you too, child, and sooner than you like. She did not have the heart to say it.
  7. I unexpectedly really love this series and also Hunter's Soulwood series which is set in the same universe and intertwines with the Yellowrock series. I usually ditch a series long before book 13 because the quality goes downhill so much but she's really held it up. One of the very few series of this genre which works great on reread as she plants a lot of little details to discover later. 13 isn't her last JY book. For some reason, her contract is usually renewed only a few books at a time so who knows how long it'll go but it causes a lot of confusion with people thinking every book is the last. Since she just did a total reset, I'm thinking she's not ending it soon at least by choice. Her new Soulwood book is out in July and she's working on the next Jane Yellowrock now. Just checked her blog and 14 is titled True Dead. http://www.faithhunter.net/wp/2020/04/18/title-reveal-2/
  8. Very nice find. I always thought their conversation when Ned was trying to convince her to flee with the kids sounded much more personal than it should have given what we'd been told at that point and Cersei was less Cersei where Ned was concerned. I wasn't sure what to make of it. Maybe we'll find out that there's a history when we get more info about Robert's Rebellion.
  9. What still gets me is that Arya could have killed Dany and saved Jon from the both the emotional burden and kinslayer/queenslayer burden if she had done it herself at little or no personal risk. But she just says "I know a killer when I see one" and skips away leaving it all to Jon. W.T.F. D&D completely misunderstood Arya's arc. Her lesson to learn is that revenge killing and living your life always looking backwards is bad. It eats your soul (becoming no one) and ultimately changes nothing. But D&D somehow interpreted this as killing someone to save the lives of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people including those you love (something you can change for the better) is always bad too.
  10. Not a theory, but maybe keep in mind that there's a lot of crossover between snakes/bats/dragons in the series. Bran thinks the dragon vision from Winterfell as a snake with wings. Rhaego was described as having been born with bat wings. Sansa was described as a wolf with bat wings when she and Tyrion were clearly symbolic Targs (or not so symbolic depending on your views of A+J=T) at the Purple Wedding with Tyrion in red and black and Sansa in silver and purple with stones from Asshai. Harrenhal was burned by dragons but is now inhabited by giant bats. Bran sees giant bat skeletons in the caves, but the dragon stuff going on there is fairly screaming so I'm not so sure at all that he isn't seeing small dragon skeletons. ADWD Daenerys VIII The dragons craned their necks around, gazing at them with burning eyes. Viserion had shattered one chain and melted the others. He clung to the roof of the pit like some huge white bat, his claws dug deep into the burnt and crumbling bricks. Rhaegal, still chained, was gnawing on the carcass of a bull. The bones on the floor of the pit were deeper than the last time she had been down here, and the walls and floors were black and grey, more ash than brick. They would not hold much longer … but behind them was only earth and stone. Can dragons tunnel through rock, like the firewyrms of old Valyria? She hoped not.
  11. Why the Hound protected Sansa and Arya: Joffrey remembers. AGOT Tyrion I Tyrion Lannister reached up and slapped his nephew hard across the face. The boy's cheek began to redden. "One word," Tyrion said, "and I will hit you again." "I'm going to tell Mother!" Joffrey exclaimed. Tyrion hit him again. Now both cheeks flamed. "You tell your mother," Tyrion told him. "But first you get yourself to Lord and Lady Stark, and you fall to your knees in front of them, and you tell them how very sorry you are, and that you are at their service if there is the slightest thing you can do for them or theirs in this desperate hour, and that all your prayers go with them. Do you understand? Do you?" The boy looked as though he was going to cry. Instead, he managed a weak nod. Then he turned and fled headlong from the yard, holding his cheek. Tyrion watched him run. A shadow fell across his face. He turned to find Clegane looming overhead like a cliff. His soot-dark armor seemed to blot out the sun. He had lowered the visor on his helm. It was fashioned in the likeness of a snarling black hound, fearsome to behold, but Tyrion had always thought it a great improvement over Clegane's hideously burned face. "The prince will remember that, little lord," the Hound warned him. The helm turned his laugh into a hollow rumble. ---------- AGOT Sansa I Then a grey blur flashed past her, and suddenly Nymeria was there, leaping, jaws closing around Joffrey's sword arm. The steel fell from his fingers as the wolf knocked him off his feet, and they rolled in the grass, the wolf snarling and ripping at him, the prince shrieking in pain. "Get it off," he screamed. "Get it off!" Arya's voice cracked like a whip. "Nymeria!" The direwolf let go of Joffrey and moved to Arya's side. The prince lay in the grass, whimpering, cradling his mangled arm. His shirt was soaked in blood. Arya said, "She didn't hurt you … much." She picked up Lion's Tooth where it had fallen, and stood over him, holding the sword with both hands. Joffrey made a scared whimpery sound as he looked up at her. "No," he said, "don't hurt me. I'll tell my mother." "You leave him alone!" Sansa screamed at her sister. Arya whirled and heaved the sword into the air, putting her whole body into the throw. The blue steel flashed in the sun as the sword spun out over the river. It hit the water and vanished with a splash. Joffrey moaned. Arya ran off to her horse, Nymeria loping at her heels. After they had gone, Sansa went to Prince Joffrey. His eyes were closed in pain, his breath ragged. Sansa knelt beside him. "Joffrey," she sobbed. "Oh, look what they did, look what they did. My poor prince. Don't be afraid. I'll ride to the holdfast and bring help for you." Tenderly she reached out and brushed back his soft blond hair. His eyes snapped open and looked at her, and there was nothing but loathing there, nothing but the vilest contempt. "Then go," he spit at her. "And don't touch me." ------------- When the Hound realizes he's met Arya and she's alive, the first place his mind goes is to how she ticked off Joff. ASOS Arya VI The Hound answered. "Seven hells. The little sister. The brat who tossed Joff's pretty sword in the river." He gave a bark of laughter. "Don't you know you're dead?" "No, you're dead," she threw back at him. -------------- ACOK Sansa IV (Cersei speaking) "Joffrey will show you no such devotion, I fear. You could thank your sister for that, if she weren't dead. He's never been able to forget that day on the Trident when you saw her shame him, so he shames you in turn. You're stronger than you seem, though. I expect you'll survive a bit of humiliation. I did. You may never love the king, but you'll love his children." It's no coincidence that Arya and the Hound part ways in the same chapter where they find out Joff's dead.
  12. Bran as Plato's Philosopher King I will say that while the show shoe-horned in Bran as King, he's a great fit thematically for the books. I'm not sure that GRRM is pushing the Philosopher King as an ideal ruler as his m.o. is treat things more grey, present pros and cons, and instill debate among the characters and readers. But perhaps Bran who understands history better than any becomes king to break the wheel of history repeating itself through knowledge of history finally allowing Westeros to progress. https://www.inverse.com/article/56007-game-of-thrones-finale-plato-reference-tyrion-bran-philosopher-king Forgotten History - A massive point in the books is how history is forgotten and it's explored in multiple ways. The wildlings are more closely linked to old ways and they tell Jon that he knows nothing. The Starks follow traditions without knowing why, and there's hints at other things they've forgotten entirely. The Royces can't get their runes right. The Isle of the Faces and the Pact are important, but no one can say why anymore. Singers tell of historical events, but in an effort to tell a good story, the actual events are lost. GRRM's in-world histories are filled with what they've forgotten. biases, guesses, etc. Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. Westeros has been stagnated in their Medieval period for thousands of years. Checked that box. The books are filled with parallels upon parallels of the current events which mirror past events in a repeat of history. And we're getting ready to repeat the Long Night because of what we've forgotten. In Westeros, forgetting history and its lessons can have grave consequences which can't be overstated. [Insert STEM rant here.] Enter Bran, the holder of the most complete accounting of history available. Arya sailed for "America", Bran was dressed in Renaissance-influenced clothing at the end, and Tyrion argued to "elect" Bran for his "stories" as D&D eloquently called it (ugh), but it would have been more accurate to say he was chosen for his knowledge - another Renaissancey idea. Under Bran, Westeros will finally no longer be doomed to repeat their history and they can now begin to leave their Medieval period, or the un-pc term, their Dark Ages. The show underscored the importance of Bran in Brienne's writings on Jaime's deeds. In her affection for him which is a bias, she records that he killed Aerys without mentioning that he did so to save the city, and he died saving his queen, not mentioning which queen or the context of either. Sam writes a work titled ASOIAF, but he neglects to mention Tyrion. Both forgotten history. The idea of the philosopher king prioritizes knowledge and experience as the best qualifier for a ruler over random luck-of-the-draw birth or rule by uneducated masses. Plato compares society to the mutinous crew of a ship who fight with each other to become captain despite none of them having knowledge of navigation (heh - The Game of Thrones). They dismiss the captain's ability to navigate as useless star-gazing (again heh, Bran). An idea like this is already recognizable in the books as this is how Aegon was trained, so some version of this idea is already at work in the series and it's escalated for Bran as one of the most important points the idea of the philosopher king makes is that rulers be free of conflicting interests, biases, and promoting the self. Along with the philosopher king, we have Plato's cave, also from The Republic. According to this, all men live in a dark cave facing a wall. Their entire understanding of the world is created as shadows on wall created by puppeteers. In ASOIAF/GoT we have Varys the mummer/puppeteer who says power lies where men think it lies. The shadows are cast by a fire behind the men and this reminds me of Mel who says that without light, there can be no shadows which puts R'llhor into the same category as Varys/LF. There may be more aspects, because these cast shadows on the wall of the cave that we understand to be reality are the creation of powerful people, religion, culture, tradition, the people who have influenced us, etc. At one point, the cave dweller (us) must turn around to look into the fire behind us to see the source of what we think to be our understanding of the world, and to finally turn our eyes to the sun and leave the cave and its cast shadows (our culture and experience which dictates our understanding of the world) behind. So Bran will have to leave the cave. ADWD Bran III "A man must know how to look before he can hope to see," said Lord Brynden. "Those were shadows of days past that you saw, Bran. You were looking through the eyes of the heart tree in your godswood. Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."
  13. No. Why do you ask? If you were so overwhelmed and overextended, why didn't you delegate writing duties to other writers who would have loved the job? Or why didn't you just resign from the show altogether and pass the reigns to others? Did you intend Cersei to be a parallel to yourselves? Is that why you love her? Have everything start to fall apart, run everyone off, crash it into the ground, refuse to leave when faced with dragons (critics and fans), and then have your house of cards fall on your heads in the end after it was too late? Which one of you is Jaime and which is Cersei? Edit: missed the game part.
  14. Oh, absolutely and her end being a Joff parallel makes her more tragic. That's the nice thing about parallels: they also highlight the differences which are just as important.
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