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Aebram

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  1. In a recent thread about the Faceless Men, Evolett raised this interesting question: "Bold," indeed. Was that a deliberate reference to Ser Barristan's nickname? This is the man who entered a tourney at the age of ten, and later single-handedly rescued King Aerys from captivity at Duskendale. So if anyone can accomplish such a feat, it would be him. And there are a number of factors that make this feasible, depending on "Tatters's" actual goal. The text is not specific, but presumably he wants to rule the city, not burn it to the ground or sack it. Pentos is very lightly defended. As a result of its treaty with Braavos, it has no standing army except for its city watch. It has only 20 warships, and is forbidden from hiring sellswords. AWOIAF states that "... the Pentoshi are now notably less belligerent than the people of Tyrosh, Myr, and Lys. Despite its massive walls, Pentos is oft seen as the most vulnerable of the Free Cities." From a brief look at that book and the wiki, it seems likely that there are no living Pentoshi who have actually fought in a war, except for Tatters himself and any others who left the city to join sellsword companies. Currently, the title of Prince is largely symbolic, and most of the actual power is in the hands of the ruling elite, referred to in several books as the "forty families." That's not a very large number. If, as in most cities, the wealthy families tend to be clustered in more desirable neighborhoods, that makes it relatively easy to capture many of them with a small force. My guess is that Tatters wants to rule for real; he wants to make the title of Prince have actual power again. If he and Barristan can capture, kill, bribe, or recruit a sufficient number of the forty families, the rest will probably bend the knee without a fight, in return for an Aegon-esque promise that they can keep much of their wealth and power. ... Unless the Braavosi decide to get involved ... What say you? Your humble scribe, --Aebram of Underhedge
  2. Wow, what a great question! And I don't think I've seen it discussed here before. I'm going to take the liberty of starting a new thread just for that. Hmmm, was he really? The Ironborn never actually controlled more than a couple of castles and a chunk of the Stony Shore. And they lost Winterfell to Ramsay quite soon after they took it. So Balon wasn't as prominent, or as hard to get to, as Dany. Still, it's another great question. What sort of deal could Euron have struck with the FM? He may have had a lot of plunder collected during his travels. But given how easily he gives such things away, I wonder what sort of life-changing price he might have been required to pay. Maybe Pyke, or one of the other islands?
  3. It occurs to me that we really don't know much about what the Faceless Men charge for their services. Most references to them in the text are vague, and no character actually hires them, or tells of having done so in the past. In AFFC 34, "the waif" tells Arya that her father paid for the assassination of his second wife by giving the FM two-thirds of his wealth, plus his daughter. The wife had tried to kill the waif with poison; she didn't hire the FM because she "could not bear the sacrifice." I'm reminded of that line, "only death can pay for life." Maybe the reverse is also true, in a sense? To buy a death, you must pay a price so high that it's, not lethal, but life-changing. I think Brusco and Izembaro are former clients of the FM. Since they aren't wealthy, they pay by hosting and training apprentices Also, there's an SSM stating that "The [more] prominent the victim, the more difficult to get to, the more dangerous for the assassin and the guild, the higher the price." When Dany was in Qarth, she was fairly vulnerable; the Sorrowful Men almost succeeded in taking her out. But by the end of ADWD, she is much more prominent and harder to get to. If the Iron Throne wanted to hire the FM to kill her, the price would be something awesome. Maybe the entire Riverlands or the Vale of Arryn?
  4. I believe that was Maegor at the Red Keep, not Harren.
  5. Okay, I'll play... Do we know this? I don't recall it from the text. We know that Balon lost two sons in his first rebellion; I think he would be willing to sacrifice another one in his second. By that time, Theon had been away from the Iron islands for almost 10 years. Balon could easily convince himself that Theon had become a soft green-lands person, not a fit heir for House Greyjoy; so his death would be no great loss.
  6. Hmm, lots of careful research here, but it all seems very speculative to me. In that description of the Florent knight, the lapis lazuli flowers are on his breastplate. It's fairly common for breastplates to be decorated with images made out of gemstones: most notably Rhaegar's rubies, but we've seen some others too. So the reference to "lapis lazuli flowers" may actually mean some other type of blue flowers that were picked out with lapis lazuli stones. We've met two of Howland's children, and they don't seem to resemble Shadrich at all, except for being physically small. No color matches in hair or eyes, and neither of them is described as "fox-faced." If Ser Shadrich is "fox-faced," that seems more likely to suggest a connection to House Florent. To start there and loop back around to House Reed seems like a stretch. Also, can Howland ride a horse? From what we've read about the crannogs, it seems like they probably don't have any horses there. I would love to see Howland show up on page somewhere in the story. But I don't think this is him, much as I'd like to.
  7. "Want" can be a somewhat slippery concept. But no man does the things that Stannis did, in pursuit of a goal he doesn't want. IIRC there is a place in the dialogue where Stannis says that he "never wanted" -- past tense -- to be king, meaning that he had no desire for it while Robert was king, or the Targaryens before him. But after Robert died, Stannis felt that he was the rightful king by law; and being a law-abiding sort of person, he dedicated himself to making it happen. It may well be true that Stannis was driven, not by personal ambition, but by a desire to see that the laws of the realm were followed. Still, he put his life, and the blood and treasure of many other people, at risk in pursuit of his goal. No one forced him to do any of this. So I think it's fair to conclude that he did, in some sense, want to be king.
  8. Why do you think that? Are you just tired of waiting for the next episode? I don't read comics much (any more; I read plenty in my younger days, and on into my 30s and 40s). But my impression has been that the pressure of deadlines forces the writers to be constantly focused on the next episode. They don't have much time or freedom to think about the big picture. As a result, the story lines often end up being just "kill another bad guy" every month. New characters and subplots are introduced, but then they vanish without resolutions. Or maybe they come back later; but again, it's just from the need to meet a deadline. The writers don't get to do the kind of worldbuilding and complex plotting that an author can do when he writes the entire story before he starts publishing it. Of course, when a story stretches across several books, and the first ones are published before the later ones are written, then to some extent, it has become an episodic story. And when the writing process stretches across many years, it's possible for the author to make significant changes in midstream, such as the removal of the infamous 5-year gap. So ASOIAF is already something of a hybrid between a conventional novel and a comic series.
  9. "Cultural phenomenon" is a rather vague term. Here's my take on the question. I will admit that I haven't read much fantasy, except for Tolkien and ASOIAF; I'm more of a science-fiction guy. In the science fiction community, there are some authors who have achieved lasting fame, even if their names aren't household words. That includes Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, and more recently the "Big Three:" Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. Heinlein may not known to everyone, but his works are still on the bookstore shelves, even though they're all 35-40 years old, and some were written in the 1940s and '50s. Many younger authors acknowledge that he was an influence on them, as do some astronauts, scientists, and others who grew up to work in the space program. I will venture a guess that GRRM has earned an equivalent status in the fantasy world, even if he never finishes ASOIAF, by virtue of the sheer brilliance of his writing.
  10. Is one of the ones I mentioned (Hyle Hunt, Shadrich the Mad Mouse, Arlan of Pennytree) highborn? Sorry, I missed that. But I would guess that, if a knight isn't landed, and isn't sworn in service to anyone, then he's a hedge knight. I don't think Brienne was knighted. But she certainly was honest, and brave, and had other virtues of a true knight.
  11. For anyone (besides me) who wants to refresh their memory, there's a list of "Known hedge knights" in the wiki. However, I think it may be incomplete. It doesn't include Hyle Hunt, although he was sworn to Lord Tarly at some point, so maybe that's why he wasn't considered a hedge knight. For me, Hyle and Shadrich the Mad Mouse are two that come to mind as being clever and interesting. Also, Ser Arlan of Pennytree certainly had an influence on the story, because of how he raised and trained Dunk.
  12. ASOIAF is full of moments when a character must make a difficult choice: love versus honor, being caught between conflicting oaths, etc. Ser Barristan and Davos are two of my favorite characters, because of how they always chose the path that best serves their king or queen. I love this moment when Daenerys is confronting Barristan and Mormont about their deceptions: Barristan considers himself to be just holding the fort (literally and figuratively, LOL) until Daenerys returns. If and when she does, I expect that he will gladly step back into his role as her Queensguard. He doesn't seem to have any interest in being a player in the game of thrones. But if Daenerys starts to turn into a Mad Queen, then he might decide to learn from experience, and take some action against her.
  13. Hmm, yes, that does seem likely. Good catch!
  14. Wow, that would be a great story line! But ... maybe you haven't read the TWOW preview chapters? I don't want to reveal too much, so let's just say that when the OP referred to Waters as a "pirate lord," he had reason to do so. For those who want the details:
  15. The recent thread about Skagos got me thinking about Osha and Rickon, and I realized that there are some things about their story that deserve a closer look. We've been led to believe that they are on Skagos, but that raises some questions. 1. Why would they go to Skagos? If I was in Osha's place, after escaping from Winterfell with a small child in my custody, I would have headed for the closest place where we would be safe. That would be some castle held by an ally or vassal of House Stark, or possibly one of the mountain clans. Skagos is a notoriously harsh place, populated by harsh people who don't like outsiders. And it's an island, so getting there probably requires passage on a ship. Why would Osha go there, instead of heading for somewhere more hospitable and easier to reach? I'll make one attempt to answer that question myself. Perhaps Osha is originally from Skagos, and has family or friends there. If so, it raises the question of how she ended up beyond the Wall. I suppose there could be some explanation involving a ship on which she stowed away, or became the concubine of the captain. This is pretty far-fetched. I don't really believe it myself; I'm just throwing out a possibility. 2. How would they get there? Skagos is an island in the Bay of Seals. We don't know exactly how far it is from the Westerosi mainland; but from a look at the map, it seems that this would be a very difficult and risky passage to make on a small boat or homemade raft. Osha is strong and clever, but I think that building a suitable craft and sailing it on such a voyage is beyond her skills. So she would need to arrange passage on a ship for herself, a small boy, and a direwolf. The presence of the boy and wolf would raise a lot of eyebrows and inspire gossip. It might place them at risk of being killed or captured by someone who would turn them over to the Iron Throne, or hold them for ransom. Where would Osha even find a ship bound for Skagos? There aren't many harbor towns along the Narrow Sea in the North. And Skagos is not. a popular destination 3. Is that really where they are? Everything we know about this subject comes from Davos's conversation with Lord Manderly and Wex, Theon's former squire (in ADWD chapter 29). Wex is mute and mostly illiterate, so he can only communicate by sign language, drawing sketches, and answering Yes/No questions. He claims to have followed Osha and Rickon, but obviously he didn't follow them all the way to Skagos. At best, he might have been nearby spying on them while Osha was arranging passage. Also, it occurs to me that we really don't know what Wex reported. He threw a dagger at a map, and it landed on a place where there are cannibals. But Skagos was never mentioned by name. Here's my own theory -- or at least a hunch. We know that Osha is clever at escape and evasion, as demonstrated by how she confounded Theon when she escaped from Winterfell. And I'm reminded of how, when Lady Stark captured Tyrion, she told everyone, "often and loudly," that she was taking him to Winterfell, and then went to the Eyrie instead. Osha could have traveled to some coastal town where a trading ship had anchored before continuing North, stopping at a few other places before reaching Skagos. This journey would probably include a stop at Eastwatch. Osha never met Jon Snow; he left Winterfell to join the Nights Watch before she arrived. But while living at Winterfell, she may have heard that Jon became Lord Commander of the Watch. So I'm thinking: Osha books passage on a Northbound ship, and tells everyone she wants to go to Skagos. But she jumps ship at Eastwatch, and tells the Watch that the boy is the half-brother of their Lord Commander. The presence of the direwolf would give her story credibility, and the Watch would give them sanctuary before sending them on to Castle Black. This is still pretty far-fetched, and I haven't checked the time line to see if it's even possible. But if it's correct, Jon and Rickon may have a reunion early in the next book. -- Assuming Jon is still alive, or at least not completely dead. What do you think? Respectfully, from your humble scribe, -- Aebram of Underhedge
  16. I have a feeling that we've seen the last of Admiral Waters. For one thing, his "fleet" is not very large. The battle of the Blackwater reduced it to "fewer than a dozen" ships (AFFC 17); and he asked Cersei for funds to build 10 more. He chose younger men to captain them, instead of the more experienced "greybeards." Waters is an oathbreaker and a thief, and his captains know it. They are all accomplices to his crime, and they know that too. If he gets into a battle and things go badly, some of those captains will probably take their ships and flee, or perhaps switch sides. The Stepstones have been the target of many battles and conquests over the centuries. In the near future, they are likely to be visited by the Redwyne fleet, Euron Greyjoy's fleet, and possibly Victarion and his Iron Fleet bringing Daenerys and her army home. Some of Sallador Saan's Lyseni pirates are probably out there too, looking for prey. Things are likely to get messy ...
  17. If we want to limit this to knights who actually appear on the pages, as opposed to just being described or remembered by other characters, then the ones who stand out for me are Barristan, Davos, and Duncan. They all try to keep their oaths and stand by their principles, no matter how difficult or morally ambiguous the situation may be. I especially like the chapter where Davos has to give some bad news to Stannis, and Stannis gets angry and says, "I should have your tongue out," and Davos replies, "it's your tongue; do with it what you will." Now that's commitment! And of course Stannis calms down at once, realizing what a good servant Davos is.
  18. We know very little about this book. It's only been mentioned once (so far): We don't know when it was written, or what it contains. The doom of Valyria happened about 400 years before the start of ASOIAF. The Maesters and the Citadel have been around much longer than that. They may have acquired some knowledge of magic from Valyria, and locked it away in some vault. Marwyn implied (in AFFC 45) that the Maesters were somehow responsible for the dying out of the Targaryen dragons. That's another bit of evidence that they have some knowledge of how to kill them.
  19. Yes, I've believed for a long time that the real reason why Jaqen went to the Citadel was to steal that book. It's believed to be the only copy left in the world.
  20. "..." he wrote, in a forum section with 2.5 million posts, which was just one section of a much larger forum, which itself was just one part of a much larger Web site, which was completely devoted to discussion and exploration of that world.
  21. Found it: So both our memories were partly correct.
  22. There are so many possibilities here, it's hard to know what to expect. The War of the Five Kings happened during autumn, the worst possible time. It resulted in the destruction of food supplies, and the deaths of many able-bodied men, just at a time when they should have been preserving those resources and preparing for winter. We've had so many hints and foreshadowings of a long, hard winter, if we don't have one, it will almost be a disappointment of sorts. But Westerosi weather is known to be unpredictable, and so is GRRM. :^) Who knows; perhaps this winter will turn out to be unusually short or mild. We all know that there was "The Year of the False Spring;" perhaps Westeros is actually having a false autumn, and warm weather will return sooner than anyone expects. On the other hand, if we are really on the verge of another Long Night, then Yes, a lot of people will starve. Such a season would also make it extremely difficult to travel, to wage war, or to do almost anything except survive. That would bring everyone's plans to a halt ... Maybe the Martin will finally get to write that 5-year Gap into the story. I'll guess that the answer is somewhere in between these two extremes. The coming winter will be harsh enough to produce some starvation and other hardships for Westeros, but not so severe that it brings all the story lines to a halt. We don't know much about what winter is like in Essos or the Summer Islands. But the Iron Bank probably does, and they struck a deal with Jon Snow to bring food to the Night's Watch during the winter. Mayhaps the weather in those other lands will remain warm enough to allow food production to continue. Mayhaps some other lords and kings -- those who still have some coin left in their treasuries -- will make similar deals to keep their smallfolk fed.
  23. I'm with Nevets on this one; I think Tyrek ran away. I've written about this before, but I can't find the post, so I'll recap. We know that Tyrek was far down in the line of succession. We know that his family married him -- not just betrothed but actually wedded -- to the infant Lady Hayford, and the other squires made fun of him. So he probably wasn't very happy with the way his life was going. The whole family went down to the waterfront to see Myrcella off. That provided a perfect opportunity for him to slip away while everyone's attention was elsewhere. He could have arranged passage on some ship beforehand. The riot on the way back to the Red Keep was just a lucky (for him) coincidence. No one had noticed his absence before then. Where did he go? The life of a sellsword might seem like a grand adventure. I suspect that he's with one of the free companies. I won't be surprised if he and Tyrion meet up on some Essosi battlefield.
  24. It already was (from the north), by Roose, with help from Theon. Of course, the Iron Islanders were in pretty bad shape at that time, so it wasn't much of a fight.
  25. Where is this record please? I seem to recall reading something different: that GRRM chose to simplify the ranks because including all those other levels was an unnecessary complication. But I don't think that was an actual quote from him. I don't know much about medieval society, but I've read ASOIAF many times, and it "makes sense" to me. Some lords rule over other lords; we have terms like "vassal," "bannerman," and "liege" to identify the rank when necessary. If I wanted to be nit-picky, I might complain that the distinction between a lord and a landed knight seems unclear to me. But the question hasn't come up in any way that affects my understanding or enjoyment of the story.
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