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  1. Lollygag

    Why Was Robb Such An Awful Diplomat?

    He was a 15/16 year old kid who'd never been outside the North. It's not fair to expect him or any of the other young characters to have the life-experience and judgement of someone much older. He was raised in the North and it's a completely different culture where a completely different skill-set is needed to survive. That is, southern style politics ends up further down the priority scale when you're trying to not freeze and starve to death. Ned did a great job managing the North and Robb was positioned to do the same. The South is entirely different and they had no reason to want nor expect to need to learn how to manage the different culture. AGOT Bran VI And when Lord Umber, who was called the Greatjon by his men and stood as tall as Hodor and twice as wide, threatened to take his forces home if he was placed behind the Hornwoods or the Cerwyns in the order of march, Robb told him he was welcome to do so. "And when we are done with the Lannisters," he promised, scratching Grey Wind behind the ear, "we will march back north, root you out of your keep, and hang you for an oathbreaker." Cursing, the Greatjon flung a flagon of ale into the fire and bellowed that Robb was so green he must piss grass. When Hallis Mollen moved to restrain him, he knocked him to the floor, kicked over a table, and unsheathed the biggest, ugliest greatsword that Bran had ever seen. All along the benches, his sons and brothers and sworn swords leapt to their feet, grabbing for their steel. Yet Robb only said a quiet word, and in a snarl and the blink of an eye Lord Umber was on his back, his sword spinning on the floor three feet away and his hand dripping blood where Grey Wind had bitten off two fingers. "My lord father taught me that it was death to bare steel against your liege lord," Robb said, "but doubtless you only meant to cut my meat." Bran's bowels went to water as the Greatjon struggled to rise, sucking at the red stumps of fingers … but then, astonishingly, the huge man laughed. "Your meat," he roared, "is bloody tough." And somehow after that the Greatjon became Robb's right hand, his staunchest champion, loudly telling all and sundry that the boy lord was a Stark after all, and they'd damn well better bend their knees if they didn't fancy having them chewed off. The World of Ice and Fire - The North: The Kings of Winter Song and story tell us that the Starks of Winterfell have ruled large portions of the lands beyond the Neck for eight thousand years, styling themselves the Kings of Winter (the more ancient usage) and (in more recent centuries) the Kings in the North. Their rule was not an uncontested one. Many were the wars in which the Starks expanded their rule or were forced to win back lands that rebels had carved away. The Kings of Winter were hard men in hard times. ADWD Davos IV "Then a long cruel winter fell," said Ser Bartimus. "The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard's great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf's Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he'd found chained up in the dungeons. It's said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don't know winter, and winter don't know them." ADWD - The Sacrifice The southerners looked a sorry lot, Asha thought—gaunt and hollow-cheeked, some pale and sick, others with red and wind-scoured faces. By contrast the northmen seemed hale and healthy, big ruddy men with beards as thick as bushes, clad in fur and iron. They might be cold and hungry too, but the marching had gone easier for them, with their garrons and their bear-paws.
  2. The problem was Aerys specifically, not the Targs in general. Rhaegar was well-liked, had lots of potential and was like a rock star of Westeros. Crap lords and kings happen and the burden is on the rest of the family to do damage control when that happens. That's what Tywin did with Tytos and later Tyrion, Cersei and Joff. Rhaegar wouldn't/couldn't 25th Amendment Aerys and it snowballed very badly. The Targs stayed in power post-dragon because they had the sense to step back and let the kingdoms roll how they wanted. It all blew up when Aerys didn't respect that tradition and messed with the heirs of the Eyrie, Winterfell, Storm's End and Casterly Rock. And it looked like he was just getting started. A rebellion against the Targs wasn't inevitable at all.
  3. Lollygag

    "characters who are perfectly nice"

    GRRM is referring to "some characters" which is plural and implied to be more than 2. My take is that GRRM sees a fair number of strong reactions that he didn't intend in the writing.
  4. Lollygag

    Did Varys wed Ned to the trees?

    If they're just technicians making wildfire and nothing more, they wouldn't be called pyromancers. Implied in there is that it takes magic to make wildfire. Somehow I doubt the wildfire recipe is as simple or benign as a cake recipe. Except Varys is all ok with Aegon marrying Dany and her dragons. We don't know what Varys expected, but the Targs kept doing woo-woo to to bring the dragons back. (Summerhall, whatever wacko stuff Aerys was up to with Rossart as Hand and believing he'd turn into a dragon). That woo-woo stuff, regardless of the lack of results until Dany, is practicing magic. We've seen over and over that some Targs (Aerys, Dany, Aemon, and perhaps Tyrion depending on your opinion of his birth) have a compulsion towards dragons and the woo-woo stuff that goes with them and that's very hard for them to resist. Even Egg gave in. Targs/dragons are magic and it's in their nature to keep trying for dragons. To deny that is willful ignorance of the text. Again: All I can say for a certainty is that he called it, and it answered, and since that day I have hated magic and all those who practice it.
  5. Lollygag

    On Janos Slynt

    Earlier in this conversation they go on about how they're upset that Jon has allied with Stannis to rationalize moving against Stannis and Jon, but there's more going on here. Cersei just did a Stark rant that left the them speechless. She also compares Jon who looks just like Ned to Robert's bastards whom she killed because they were a threat to her strongly implying that Cersei is more than a little motivated by Jon's resemblance to Ned and what that might mean to the North. But here they admit they know better about Jon's motives for working with Stannis to whom the North is still refusing to swear: they've been desperate for men for years and the need has escalated. Implied here is that they know that if Tommen sent men, Jon would accept them and work with them, too.
  6. Lollygag

    On Janos Slynt

    1. Jon's punishment for Slynt's disobedience of the order is "a day or ten" of imprisonment. 2. Jon doesn't consider harsher punishment until he realizes that Slynt is likely to lead desertions or rebellion. Desertion, especially leading a mass desertion, or rebellion are a life/death situation as the NW is barely holding it together to defend the ENTIRE KINGDOM from the Others and their zombie horde. 3. Jon had proof of rebellion plots on the part of Marsh, Thorne, Slynt, etc., when he directly overheard them speak of their loyalty to Tywin and to the Iron Throne when the NW is supposed to not be involved in politics. They were breaking some *major* NW rules. Big, big no no. Jon has known about the plot for some time, but didn't punish it until talk turned into action. AFFC Cersei IV: "The Night's Watch is sworn to take no part in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms," Pycelle reminded them. "For thousands of years the black brothers have upheld that tradition." 4. Slynt was nice enough to prove Jon right in front of everyone by trying to incite rebellion in favor of Tywin/the Iron Throne/the Others by calling Jon all sorts of things down to the implication that he was a demon, anti-whatever-passes-for-Christ-in-Westeros or something with that wacko mark of the beast crap. ADWD Jon II "You are refusing to obey my order?" "You can stick your order up your bastard's arse," said Slynt, his jowls quivering. Alliser Thorne smiled a thin smile, his black eyes fixed on Jon. At another table, Godry the Giantslayer began to laugh. "As you will." Jon nodded to Iron Emmett. "Please take Lord Janos to the Wall—" —and confine him to an ice cell, he might have said. A day or ten cramped up inside the ice would leave him shivering and feverish and begging for release, Jon did not doubt. And the moment he is out, he and Thorne will begin to plot again. —and tie him to his horse, he might have said. If Slynt did not wish to go to Greyguard as its commander, he could go as its cook. It will only be a matter of time until he deserts, then. And how many others will he take with him? "—and hang him," Jon finished. Janos Slynt's face went as white as milk. The spoon slipped from his fingers. Edd and Emmett crossed the room, their footsteps ringing on the stone floor. Bowen Marsh's mouth opened and closed though no words came out. Ser Alliser Thorne reached for his sword hilt. Go on, Jon thought. Longclaw was slung across his back. Show your steel. Give me cause to do the same. Half the men in the hall were on their feet. Southron knights and men-at-arms, loyal to King Stannis or the red woman or both, and Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch. Some had chosen Jon to be their lord commander. Others had cast their stones for Bowen Marsh, Ser Denys Mallister, Cotter Pyke … and some for Janos Slynt. Hundreds of them, as I recall. Jon wondered how many of those men were in the cellar right now. For a moment the world balanced on a sword's edge. Alliser Thorne took his hand from his sword and stepped aside to let Edd Tollett pass. Dolorous Edd took hold of Slynt by one arm, Iron Emmett by the other. Together they hauled him from the bench. "No," Lord Janos protested, flecks of porridge spraying from his lips. "No, unhand me. He's just a boy, a bastard. His father was a traitor. The mark of the beast is on him, that wolf of his … Let go of me! You will rue the day you laid hands on Janos Slynt. I have friends in King's Landing. I warn you—" He was still protesting as they half-marched, half-dragged him up the steps. ---------------- ASOS Jon XII The sound of voices echoing off the vaulted ceiling brought him back to Castle Black. "I don't know," a man was saying, in a voice thick with doubts. "Maybe if I knew the man better . . . Lord Stannis didn't have much good to say of him, I'll tell you that." "When has Stannis Baratheon ever had much good to say of anyone?" Ser Alliser's flinty voice was unmistakable. "If we let Stannis choose our Lord Commander, we become his bannermen in all but name. Tywin Lannister is not like to forget that, and you know it will be Lord Tywin who wins in the end. He's already beaten Stannis once, on the Blackwater." "Lord Tywin favors Slynt," said Bowen Marsh, in a fretful, anxious voice. "I can show you his letter, Othell. 'Our faithful friend and servant,' he called him." Jon Snow sat up suddenly, and the three men froze at the sound of the slosh. "My lords," he said with cold courtesy. "What are you doing here, bastard?" Thorne asked.
  7. Lollygag

    Did Varys wed Ned to the trees?

    The suffix -mancer means practitioner of magic. Pyromancer, necromancer, etc;, so it's in the definition. Actually being magical or succeeding at magic isn't Varys' issue. He's very clear that he hates anyone who practices it in principle including those who subsidize it. All I can say for a certainty is that he called it, and it answered, and since that day I have hated magic and all those who practice it. Aerys was an adult during Summerhall and Rhaegar was born there. Aerys never swore off magic in the meantime. Quite the opposite. So the Summerhall distinction isn't one at all. ASOS Jaime V "My Sworn Brothers were all away, you see, but Aerys liked to keep me close. I was my father's son, so he did not trust me. He wanted me where Varys could watch me, day and night. So I heard it all." He remembered how Rossart's eyes would shine when he unrolled his maps to show where the substance must be placed. Garigus and Belis were the same. "Rhaegar met Robert on the Trident, and you know what happened there. When the word reached court, Aerys packed the queen off to Dragonstone with Prince Viserys. Princess Elia would have gone as well, but he forbade it. Somehow he had gotten it in his head that Prince Lewyn must have betrayed Rhaegar on the Trident, but he thought he could keep Dorne loyal so long as he kept Elia and Aegon by his side. The traitors want my city, I heard him tell Rossart, but I'll give them naught but ashes. Let Robert be king over charred bones and cooked meat. The Targaryens never bury their dead, they burn them. Aerys meant to have the greatest funeral pyre of them all. Though if truth be told, I do not believe he truly expected to die. Like Aerion Brightfire before him, Aerys thought the fire would transform him . . . that he would rise again, reborn as a dragon, and turn all his enemies to ash. ACOK Daenerys III The mage was gesturing, urging the flames higher and higher with broad sweeps of his arms. As the watchers craned their necks upward, the cutpurses squirmed through the press, small blades hidden in their palms. They relieved the prosperous of their coin with one hand while pointing upward with the other. When the fiery ladder stood forty feet high, the mage leapt forward and began to climb it, scrambling up hand over hand as quick as a monkey. Each rung he touched dissolved behind him, leaving no more than a wisp of silver smoke. When he reached the top, the ladder was gone and so was he. "A fine trick," announced Jhogo with admiration. "No trick," a woman said in the Common Tongue. Dany had not noticed Quaithe in the crowd, yet there she stood, eyes wet and shiny behind the implacable red lacquer mask. "What mean you, my lady?" "Half a year gone, that man could scarcely wake fire from dragonglass. He had some small skill with powders and wildfire, sufficient to entrance a crowd while his cutpurses did their work. He could walk across hot coals and make burning roses bloom in the air, but he could no more aspire to climb the fiery ladder than a common fisherman could hope to catch a kraken in his nets." Dany looked uneasily at where the ladder had stood. Even the smoke was gone now, and the crowd was breaking up, each man going about his business. In a moment more than a few would find their purses flat and empty. "And now?" "And now his powers grow, Khaleesi. And you are the cause of it." "Me?" She laughed. "How could that be?" The woman stepped closer and lay two fingers on Dany's wrist. "You are the Mother of Dragons, are you not?" Merriam Webster names necromancer (and thus pyromancer) as a synomym for mage. So same thing. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mage ACOK Tyrion XI "Oh, pardon, I was just remembering something old Wisdom Pollitor told me once, when I was an acolyte. I'd asked him why so many of our spells seemed, well, not as effectual as the scrolls would have us believe, and he said it was because magic had begun to go out of the world the day the last dragon died." Dragons are magic. Valyrians are supposed to have dragon blood and with their compulsion and control of dragons and also having dragonish children on occasion speak to this. Can't separate Targs and magic. Direct contradiction to Varys' stated hated of magic and all who practice it. Even if you get one rare Targ who completely swears off dragons, most won't and will jump at the opportunity to get one.
  8. Lollygag

    Did Varys wed Ned to the trees?

    I agree. It can't both be true that Varys hates magic to the degree he claims but he's also supported the magical Targs for decades (pyromancers, Bloodraven's stuff, Summerhall, general wanting dragons...). I believe actions over words. And Varys had a motive to sell this particular story to Tyrion. This thread has a lot of stuff on why we should doubt Varys' origin story. That said, the voice is such a specific thing that I think this was true somehow but not how Varys presented it to Tyrion. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/155676-varys-the-sorcerer/&do=findComment&comment=8430337 --------------------- To your OP - this all feels organic to how Stark kings and lords specifically need to be buried with iron to keep them from rising. As most are long dead, the issue would be Stark bones. As this is an old, old tradition going back thousands of years, I have to wonder how much Varys might know about it. Also, after Jon decides to reject Stannis' offer of Winterfell because he won't sacrifice the heart tree and give up the Old Gods, he drinks *a lot* of wine. The mentions are on par with Cersei, though while Cersei shows signs of going overboard, I've not seen such from Jon. It's also interesting that the Stark's warg wolves somehow know Lady's bones. The surviving wolves are described as restless shadows akin to ghosts themselves. AGOT Bran VI Bran felt all cold inside. "She lost her wolf," he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father's guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady's bones. Summer and Grey Wind and Shaggydog had begun to howl before they crossed the drawbridge, in voices drawn and desolate. Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen, where the old Kings of Winter had laid their faithful servants. It was there they buried Lady, while her brothers stalked between the graves like restless shadows. She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.
  9. Lollygag

    Does Targaryen blood matter anymore?

    Dany, Rhaegar and Viserys are all a full half Blackwood since their line has been inbred since the Egg and his Blackwood wife. Glad you brought it up. Seems like something that'll have a big impact on the story but it doesn't register with the fandom much. Compare to Bloodraven... https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Aegon_V_Targaryen https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Brynden_Rivers
  10. Lollygag

    Sansa's betrayal consequences partly overestimated?

    To make it more confusing, the usage is evolving. One thing to be aware of is that it's increasingly being used as an ad hominem attack when someone says something true but not welcome. For example, HBO called GoT fans trolls for criticizing the show to avoid addressing very legitimate complaints. I only extend the term troll to those who knowingly mischaracterize, say something untrue, or say something irrelevant to be inflammatory because I don't think people who are being sincere and truthful should be insulted with name-calling, even if the truth is inflammatory to some.
  11. You're not the only one who forgets . I'm bad with names and all too often I see a name on here and I have no idea who that is. I don't disagree but I just see it more from the angle of Robb being a 15/16 year old kid who got the Lordship and then Kingship dumped on him in addition to massive family tragedies and a war with Tywin Lannister of all people. He was in waaaaayyyyyy over his head and anything other than a few major mistakes would be unbelievable for me in terms of characterization. He didn't really have any good options for rescuing the girls. No one else came up with a good plan either apparently. GRRM wrote the story that way because that's where he needed the characters to be. What you're seeing as Robb being distracted by war - I mean if someone's attacking you, you have to deal with that right now, no? Tywin was waiting for him when he crossed the Twins. Robb can't save anyone if he's under attack. That's always the priority. There's no incentive to give them the girls if the Lannisters are winning. Bold: The kingship wasn't Robb's choice. He got drafted. You'd have to convince the Northerners to stay with the IT and under the circumstances of that time, that wasn't going to happen. No way. Robb was stuck. And after one is crowned, the whole family has a target on them and are in danger. That was the whole point of Robert wanting to kill Viserys and Dany, Ned's gymnastics to hide Jon and Cersei's statement of winning the Game or dying with no middle ground. Can't put that toothpaste back into the tube. Especially when dealing with paranoid, unreasonable and sometimes astonishingly stupid Lannisters.
  12. My point was only clarifying that Robb didn't crown himself as the OP claimed.
  13. Yup. AGOT Eddard XII "Oh, but it was, my lord," Cersei insisted. "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." And because of their support, it means the entire Stark family may need to be wiped out if the IT wanted to be certain of no future problems, not just Robb. ADWD Jon I Stannis read from the letter. "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK.
  14. Robb didn't declare himself king, he was drafted into being king. He's a kid and under the circumstances we see below, I don't see how he walks this back without losing support. There's also a passage below about how uncomfortable Robb is in his king position. This is just one of several. I can't find it right now, but there's a passage in AGOT Bran where Robb shows Bran how scared he is to step into his father's shoes as Lord. Robb took his responsibility as king seriously, but he sure as hell didn't want that burden. AGOT Catelyn XI Catelyn was thinking of her girls, wondering if she would ever see them again, when the Greatjon lurched to his feet. "MY LORDS!" he shouted, his voice booming off the rafters. "Here is what I say to these two kings!" He spat. "Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine, from some flowery seat in Highgarden or Dorne? What do they know of the Wall or the wolfswood or the barrows of the First Men? Even their gods are wrong. The Others take the Lannisters too, I've had a bellyful of them." He reached back over his shoulder and drew his immense two-handed greatsword. "Why shouldn't we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead!" He pointed at Robb with the blade. "There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m'lords," he thundered. "The King in the North!" And he knelt, and laid his sword at her son's feet. "I'll have peace on those terms," Lord Karstark said. "They can keep their red castle and their iron chair as well." He eased his longsword from its scabbard. "The King in the North!" he said, kneeling beside the Greatjon. Maege Mormont stood. "The King of Winter!" she declared, and laid her spiked mace beside the swords. And the river lords were rising too, Blackwood and Bracken and Mallister, houses who had never been ruled from Winterfell, yet Catelyn watched them rise and draw their blades, bending their knees and shouting the old words that had not been heard in the realm for more than three hundred years, since Aegon the Dragon had come to make the Seven Kingdoms one … yet now were heard again, ringing from the timbers of her father's hall: "The King in the North!" "The King in the North!" "THE KING IN THE NORTH!" ~ end of chapter ~ ACOK Catelyn I As they waited in Riverrun's Great Hall for the prisoner to be brought before them, she saw Robb push back the crown so it rested upon the thick auburn mop of his hair; moments later, he moved it forward again; later he gave it a quarter turn, as if that might make it sit more easily on his brow. It is no easy thing to wear a crown, Catelyn thought, watching, especially for a boy of fifteen years.