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Mourning Star

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  1. Vengeance itself is often a misguided attempt at justice, or justice is often used as an excuse for vengeance, however you want to phrase that. In the case of Cat and Tyrion, Cat (who has no right to be enforcing any laws) uses her dad's name to rally men to abduct the man she believes responsible for the attempted murder of her son, and attack on her own body. This is a prime example of what Ned characterizes as vengeance, not justice. She is avenging damage done to her personally and this can never be justice. Cat did not hold a trial for Tyrion. She lies to the men gathered saying she is taking Tyrion to Winterfell, but it is Lysa who puts Tyrion on trial. Justice is not an emotion, it is not, and I believe cannot, be personal like vengeance, love or hate if it is truly going to be justice. (Loyalty, and vows, are a whole other can of worms). We haven't seen much of Lady Stoneheart yet, so this is all speculation. But the way she holds the crown shows some memory for a loved one, no? And can you really feel hate and vengeance without having loved (and lost)? She has returned embodying one aspect of her personality in the extreme, but it's hard to tell at this point how much if any of the other aspects remain. Beric admits he is losing memories, and seemingly will to keep going, with each death, but he still makes a joke and seems to care, nothing about his behavior is very inhuman. While it's easy to highlight the times when Cat is a proponent of peace instead of war, she does so when it benefits her personally, not others (family before duty or honor), and we see that she turns to vengeance just as easily once her hope is lost, like in the quote above about Bran and Rickon. Cat's death and resurrection was different, to be sure, and the loss of parts of her character and humanity appear to have been more profound, but what is left is still entirely human. I think this is sort of a human internal reflection of the sort of imbalance we see at large with the seasons lasting years. Fully embracing the hate, without the accompanying love, like a winter that lasts for years. However, I expect that her demise, or passing on, will occur when something breaks threw and melts that heart of stone, and gives her hope again. But, maybe that's optimistic!
  2. Well we know that even come the events of ASoIaF he is remembered as a bastard sorcerer. (Unrelated, but Bloodraven is in a throne missing his sword, Darksister, when Bran finds him.) But, I agree the personal relationships are unclear to us back then, and those can certainly change over the course of years. I suspect Bloodraven may have simply been to powerful for Maekar to remove (and perhaps Egg could only achieve this because of all the gathered lords for the council). Isn't it odd that Maekar hadn't named an heir before he died also? There is a lot going on at this point that is unclear to us, and I suspect that is intentional.
  3. I have to strongly disagree with you here. Vengeance is just as human an emotion as love, and just as personal. First and foremost, vengeance is part of Cat's character, and the road for her to get there was much of her arch. Perhaps the line between a Cat and a Cersei, both loving mothers, isn't as stark as one might suspect. Cat jumps to conclusions and wrongly abducts Tyrion on the King's Road, using an authority that was not hers to break the peace, and starts the War of Five Kings. As it turns out, I think Beric is very much a part of this same arch, the difference between justice and vengeance. It is Cat's abduction of Tyrion that causes Tywin to send Clegane to rape and pillage the Riverlands, and in turn which causes Ned to send Beric after him. Ned sends Beric exactly because it wouldn't be personal vengeance. Unfortunately for Ned, we clearly see another dance of blood and vengeance, and this is the crux of Cat's arch for the rest of her story so far. And, at first, Cat seems to be the staunch advocate for peace, mercy, and wanting to see an end to the bloodshed. But, it is a thin veneer at best, and mostly seems to be based on wild hopes of saving her own children. Cat makes a seemingly legitimate effort to end the war here, coming close to getting the gathered lords to listening, but instead it results in Rob being crowned King in the North. But she begins, honestly, by admitting she would take vengeance on Cersei given the chance. The parallel between Cat and Lord Karstark should also not be ignored in this conversation. Cat lets Jaime go in a desperate attempt to help her daughters. So again, while Cat seems to be a proponent of peace here, it is really about her personal situation, something she herself realizes. When it is Cat's sons who have died she suddenly changes approach entirely. And this brings us to the Red Wedding. Where we see Cat's last act is one of petty vengeance, worried about her word and her honor, it is entirely personal, and entirely human. And the saddest sound was the little bells. Which is again highlighted in the epilogue. And now Cat has come back, less human perhaps, and full of hate and vengeance, but those are as human as any quality can be. Vengeance cannot be justice because it is personal. This is not the same as Beric, who also may have forgotten things and become a little less human with each death, but never lost his sense of justice. Beric was about the cause, not the man. We do see from Arya that Beric is still able to make jokes about being killed by Cleganes three times, so I can't believe his humanity is entirely gone. As much as I think love and hate are human, humor is doubly so! In conclusion, I guess the point of this rambling was that Lady Stoneheart may have lost parts of herself and memories of Cat, the vengeance and hate were already there and are entirely human and part of her character from the start. In fact it seems to be the crux of her story arc.
  4. I think Bloodraven was tired of being king in all but name.
  5. Obviously this is all just my speculation: Pale mare - Dany's silver Kraken - grey lips smiling (Greyjoy) Dark flame - The king who casts no shadow (Stannis/Melisandre, the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness) Lion - The white lion in the grass (Tyrion or perhaps Jaime or even Cersei) Griffin - Stone beast breathing shadowfire (Connington) Sun's Son - Aegon (Elia's son, or perhaps Rhaego the son of Dany's Sun and Stars) Mummer's dragon - cloth dragon (fAegon) This has an added layer since they were given in pairs. Kraken and Darkflame - Is this Euron and Melisandre? Lion and Griffin - Would Jon Connington agree to marry Cersei? Sun's Son and Mummer's Dragon - Aegon and/or false Aegon? or perhaps Aegon and/or a Brightflame, or Blackfyre descendent. So many possibilities!
  6. My point is that you are not providing any evidence either. What evidence is there that he was so loyal? And more importantly, as a Targaryen, I don't think he thought himself as disloyal by trying to claim the throne. We know he hated the Blackfyres, but Egg doesn't seem to have a good opinion of him, nor does Maekar. We don't get any insight into the real feelings of most of the players at the time. The fact is we just don't have that much information about what was going on. I would point to the absurd death count of Targaryens under suspicious circumstances, but obviously any discussion of this time period will be rife with speculation. But it is speculation raised in the text of Dunk and Egg, not invented by me. Maybe, again, hating Blackfyres isn't the same as loving Targaryens. I think Bloodraven was motivated by self interest, or his view of what was best, and that is literally the whole point here. We do not know the details of the event, and that's why I'm speculating. Also, I don't think Bloodraven would say he was being treasonous or disloyal. He is a legitimized Targaryen and probably thought himself the best option for ruling, after having ruled in all but name for years already. Perhaps, Obviously we can't prove anything either way, although it does lead directly to Bloodraven becoming Hand of the King, and he by far the greatest beneficiary. The man who blames Bloodraven in the text is publicly executed and left to rot. I suppose we just disagree here. Bloodraven was likely responsible for the death of Fireball before a battle, and certainly the deaths of Daemon and his sons on the Red Grass Field. Daeron II, Valarr, and Matarys die of the Great Spring Sickness Aerys I, cause of death unknown. Rhaegel choked on lamprey pie. Aelor died in a mishap with his sister wife Aelora. Aelora committed suicide. Maekar crushed by a rock in a siege. Daeron died of a pox. Aerion drank wildfire. It is just incredibly hard for me to believe that this list of deaths is all just coincidence, from a very basic story telling perspective if nothing else. Or that Bloodraven was in a position of power? Take a look at Tywin for example. He served "loyaly" for a long time, but do you ever really think it was out of love for Aerys? I do not. I think it was his own self interest and doing what he thought was "best". Not sure what this is referring to. Because we haven't gotten that far in Dunk and Egg and it gives away too much about the future of ASoIaF. Or Egg surprises Bloodraven, probably largely in part because of powerful friends made during his travels with Dunk, like Lady Webber and her Lannister Husband, and the actions of himself and Dunk in the Blackfyre Revolt, Greyjoy attacks, etc. I understand what I am suggesting isn't provable with the text so far, and I hear where you are coming from, but I think it is genuenly worth trying to read between the lines if we are going to speculate about where the story is going.
  7. I disagree with your assessment of the prophesy here. I do not think the "pale mare" is referring to the disease here. Remember the Undying: I think Quaithe is referring to Dany's Silver.
  8. Do we know Bloodraven was childless? I certainly agree that he wouldn't be a good candidate for king, but am trying to suggest that this isn't how he would see it. Maekar seems like like he had the best claim, but only a few spoke up for him, and Bloodraven would have known that. Once, you start skipping over claimants it open's the field to more claims. Bloodraven would see himself as necessary and, after having ruled in all but name for so long, justified in taking power for the "greater good" as well as by right. I think the realm did unite against him, and elected Egg. I don't see anything to suggest Bloodraven supported Egg's ascension to the throne during the Great Council. In fact he probably seemed like another candidate who would be passed over, like the lackwit daughter and the mad man's newborn son, since many lords saw him as half a peasant (enough to try and get a sworn maester to renounce his vows).
  9. We see he hated Bittersteel and fought the Blackfyres but what gives you the idea he was so loyal? Bloodraven becomes de facto ruler and remains such because of all the suspicious Targaryen deaths. He has by far the most to gain from the deaths, and has the means to do it. This is why I said he is the obvious candidate, it is even literally suggested in the text of Dunk and Egg. Presumably by the time Maekar was crowned, Bloodraven was to powerful to remove since its made pretty clear in Dunk and Egg that Maejor and Bloodraven did not get along. The Maekar is killed in an uprising. I am suggesting Bloodraven called the council to crown himself, and I do not think he "let" himself be sent to the Wall. Thus the largest guard since 5 kings were sent by Nymeria, including Dunk himself.
  10. I always learned the story as Merlin dying in a cave under a rock, but I like the parallel. Where "Bran" is welsh for crow, "Bryn" is welsh for hill. Meanwhile "Don" was a welsh goddess, mother of one of two warring families of gods, and the "Children of Don" were the indigenous gods, while the "Children of Llyr" were the invaders. Or they are called the forces of light and darkness... although to be fair it gets muddier as Llyr's wife was Don's daughter. I also think that the The Dream of Rhonabwy is super interesting as far as references go. Arthur, while awaiting battle, plays a board game against Ywain, the son of Morgan le Fey, and Ywain's ravens fight with Arthur's squires. Both conflicts end in peace rather than continued conflict. Mostly I love how deep the rabbit hole goes! As far as the identity of the three eyed crow goes, I have to admit to really liking the idea that it's Old Nan the whole time.
  11. Presumably both the Blackfyres and Bittersteel were attaind during one of their several open revolts. Bittersteel was even sent to the Wall. While Aenys Blackfyre may well have put forward his claim in advance, a good point, he was beheaded when he arrived. While the gathered lords surely considered his decapitation, they question of his claim no longer needed consideration.
  12. It's interesting that you mention Summerhall. The Tragedy at Summerhall occurred in 259. Bloodraven disappeared beyond the Wall in 252, 7 years previously. I expect it will turn out he was somehow responsible, at least in part, for the disaster. But I do not understand the idea the Seastar had something to do with Bloodraven being in the Weirwood... Where does this come from?
  13. I'd take a step back first and ask about what happened to the other's in line so that a fourth son of a fourth son inherited. Rhaegel died in 215 AC, whilst choking on a lamprey pie. Aelor was married to his twin sister, Princess Aelora. He died in 217 AC at the hand of his sister-wife through a mishap, which left her mad with grief. Some time later, Aelora took her own life after being attacked at a ball by three men known as the Rat, the Hawk and the Pig. And this was not the start of the suspicious deaths in the Targaryen line of succession. Valarr died in 209 AC from the Great Spring Sickness, as did his younger brother Matarys, and their grandfather, King Daeron II Targaryen. In 211 AC, Duncan and Prince Aegon Targaryen heard a septon in Stoney Sept preach that the Hand of the King, Brynden Rivers, had killed Valarr's sons in their mother's womb, and suggest that Brynden was responsible for Valarr's death. The septon was later beheaded for speaking treason. And it is still unclear to me how Aerys I died... Even if you discount the deaths from the Great Spring Sickness as being unremarkable, there are still a series of suspicious deaths leading up to the Great Council, and Bloodraven is the obvious suspect, imo.
  14. So first of all I understand what you are saying and you said it well. It is the "classic" view of these events, for lack of a better name. However, I suspect this is not what actually happened. The point of calling a great council to get himself named King makes sense because Bloodraven clearly has a claim, and the "best" claims were already going to almost certainly be passed over. He wouldn't have had to kill Egg and his children. But he didn't need to call a council to crown Egg either. I don't think Bloodraven was loyal to the Targaryens so much as he hated Bittersteal, which for a long time looked like the same thing. After years of ruling in all but name, he probably though it was his right and for "the greater good" for him to become king instead of a child or some hedge knight's squire. I do agree that he is currently motivated by hate and revenge (if not the bound to a tree by Shiera part).
  15. And had a Monarch after him declared he was never King that probably would have been the case as well.
  16. Aerion predeceased both his son and father, if that really matters. The question is really one of politics, what legitimate candidates are there to debate between? Aemon was not a possible claimant, having sworn vows and quietly refused the offer. It's obvious that nobody was supporting either Vaella or Maegor, so again, the question becomes why call a Council when there was a clear choice in Egg... because Bloodraven, who called the Council, wanted to pass him over as well. And honestly, isn't he the obvious choice, having ruled in all but name for years already? I think the Lords choose Egg mostly out of fear (or hate) of Bloodraven, not respect for the succession or love of Egg. Aenys is said to be in addition to the four, not one of them.
  17. Only a king can legitimize a bastard in A Song of Ice and Fire. In the case of Brynden Rivers, better known as Bloodraven, this is exactly what happened… in fact it is the “textbook” example provided to the reader by Cat, along with the other Great Bastards, namely the males: Bittersteal and Blackfyre. While I would first note that this is directly compared to releasing someone from an oath, like those sworn by Night’s Watchmen or Maesters, and will come back to that below, it is also of interest that legitimization cannot be undone. Being legitimized gives one the right to use one’s father’s name, like a trueborn son, as opposed to a bastard (recognized or otherwise). So why do none of the son’s of Aegon the Unworthy ever use the name Targaryen? In the above quote from Dunk and Egg we see Bloodraven, disguised as Ser Maynard, drink to his own legitimacy. Daemon Waters was knighted and given the sword Blackfyre by his father Aegon and took the name Blackfyre at the age of twelve, before being legitimized. So continuing to use his established name, essentially a cadet branch of the house, makes some sense. Aegor Rivers, two years younger than Daemon, commonly known as Bittersteal, was a supporter (and likely instigator, at least in part, of some of) the Blackfyre rebellions. He married Daemon’s daughter Calla. Either his hate/opposition of the Targaryens in power, or his ties to house Blackfyre, could explain why he never called himself Aegor Targaryen. Brynden Rivers, better known as Bloodraven, served House Targaryen as Hand of the King, and ruled in all but name until his exile to the Night’s Watch. Was it out of loyalty that Bloodraven never used the Targaryen name? Or did he simply bide his time until it best suited him? When he gives Bran the name his mother gave him he says Brynden, but gives no last name, the name his father gave him, nor does he call himself Brynden Rivers. Jon learns from Mormont that Aemon was offered the crown quietly, and that he refused quietly. Aemon never made any claim on the crown, and as we learned above, there is more precedent for legitimizing bastards than for releasing someone from vows. But, one thing is odd, there was no need to pass over Maegor and Vaella to give the crown to Aegon, who was Maekar’s eldest son still eligible to inherit, and the obvious choice. When the World Book says that Bloodraven called the Great Council, and there were four possible claimants, I would argue that Aemon cannot be counted as one of them, as he never made a claim, and had sworn a vow relinquishing any claim, despite it being quietly offered and quietly refused. In fact, it’s odd that there was any confusion at all, the line of succession should have been clear. Maekar had a living son who had not sworn any vows giving up any claim on the crown. I believe Bloodraven called the Council to pass over the claims of Aegon, Vaella, and Maegor in favor of himself, Brynden Targaryen, the fourth claimant. If the intent was not to pass over Aegon, there was no need to call a Council. As it turns out, another challenger appeared, heir to Daemon Blackfyre, and after being promised safe passage, Bloodraven beheaded him and paraded the head in front of the gathered lords. The line of succession wasn’t unclear at all, and the only reason to call a council was to pass over claimants, and the the obvious choice, Egg, is who the Lords end up choosing. Then Egg, Aegon the Unlikely, sentenced Bloodraven to die, but allowed the sentence to be commuted to service in the Night’s Watch. Aemon and Bloodraven went to the Wall together, but I highly doubt, the “honor guard” was really for Aemon. Many of Bloodraven’s loyal guard, the Raven’s Teeth, were said to have gone with him, and Duncan the Tall was even sent to make sure no mishaps (like Bittersteel’s escape on the way to the Wall) occurred. Aemon references the six kings sent by Nymeria, and Aemon and Bloodraven were both a short step from being Kings themselves. For fun, I want to conclude with a quick look at these six kings in gold fetters and what I believe are all references alluding directly to Bloodraven. Yorick, The Bloodroyal, is probably a reference to a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the court jester whose skull is consulted (Alas poor Yorick!). Bloodraven is now a skull being consulted by Bran, and Bloodraven was also obviously of the royal blood Vorian is an uncommon name, but Vorian Atreides from the Legends of Dune series is the founder of House Atreides who had an extremely extended lifespan and was the bastard son of the Titan leader Agamemnon. The Blind King, is, I believe a reference to Phineus of Greek myth, most prominently from the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Phineus was blinded for revealing the future to mankind, or alternately, as a punishment for kinslaying, he was given the choice of losing his life or his sight by Zeus, and he said he would rather never see the sun. Lucifer, the lord of hell, is trapped in the deepest darkest pit after rising in revolt against the lord. Benedict, a name synonymous with treachery thanks to Benedict Arnold, and this one worshiped a dark god and was said to change into an animal. Albin (which comes from the root world meaning “white”) Manwoody, is an allusion to the white man-tree.
  18. While I suppose at the end of the day it is in large part, if not entirely, semantics... I think it's very hard to say she had been a "true" queen when the war hadn't ended, the lords hadn't knelt, she didn't really rule the realm, and the histories don't record her as a monarch.
  19. Maybe I should have been clearer... The Princess and The Queen is a story written and published by GRRM set in Westeros. It's cannon. Fire and Blood and The World of Ice and Fire are seudo histories produced with assistance and are thus less reliable since much of it has been interpreted/written by intermediaries. If you want to debate an author's authority to retroactively change their own artwork and the nature of cannon, or what the definition of cannon is, that's cool, but it won't be with me. Plenty of people agree with both sides of that debate. Do with it all what you will.
  20. I tend to consider them more cannon than the semi cannon f&b and woiaf but to each their own. Nothing suggests this detail has changed.
  21. It's not so much the final version as a new thing that covers the same material, imo... but this quote is also the reason the story is called The Princes and the Queen.
  22. The road, or your journey, isn't straight, and if the light is the destination then you must deal with things in the way casting shadows. Can't help but think of Tolkein. The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began... Dany's red door, home. Roads go ever ever on, Over rock and under tree, By caves where never sun has shone, By streams that never find the sea; Over snow by winter sown, And through the merry flowers of June, Over grass and over stone, And under mountains in the moon. Roads go ever ever on Under cloud and under star, Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar. Eyes that fire and sword have seen And horror in the halls of stone Look at last on meadows green And trees and hills they long have known -The Hobbit And then if we compare the Lord of the Rings version, which we get in bits: The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. ... The Road goes ever on and on Out from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, Let others follow it who can! Let them a journey new begin, But I at last with weary feet Will turn towards the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet. We see a nice duality of start and finish here... but also oddly reminiscent of Frost's Poem, The Road Not Taken, (which itself is a reference to the beginning of Dante): Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. And Frost, of course, borrows the allegory of the yellow wood from Dante, whom he also references in Fire and Ice, from which the series A Song of Ice and Fire gets it's name. And when Frodo does return to the Shire, this is what he sings: Still round the corner there may wait A new road or a secret gate, And though I oft have passed them by, A day will come at last when I Shall take the hidden paths that run West of the Moon, East of the Sun. After all, in the words of Dante, Frost, or Samwise, the message remains the same: For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach
  23. Because she lost the war... While she did spend six months on the Iron Throne, she ran and tried to escape into exile. The first thing Aegon II did was declare her never to have been queen and demanding she not be referred to as such.
  24. I think Barristan almost has it here. Heroes are usually thought of as those who are remembered positively for their deeds. For Barry, that means duty above all else. However, some men's heroes are other men's villains. Daeron is remembered as Daeron the Good by many, but not by all: And Blackfyre is remembered by many as a traitor, and by many as a hero. Perhaps what the world really needs are not men remembered as heroes but men who do what is right. Not strength, conviction, or duty above all else, but mercy, doubt and wisdom. The last hero didn't win with a magic sword. He won by learning the language of the other side and speaking with them. The First Men didn't conquer the Children, they made a pact, when the wisest of both races prevailed. The world is not a cosmic struggle of good against evil, it is a complicated mess that we need to make the best of. Be like Davos, be full of doubt.
  25. The only mention of a rushlight in the series is in Bloodraven's cave. The Farthing Rushlight is one of Aesop's fables: I think one should be wary of viewing Bloodraven as representing any of the sun, moon or stars. As Aemon would say, "the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness".
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