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Jeff Claburn

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  1. I'll grant you Val hasn't appeared a lot yet and that suggests she isn't too important. Maybe she is just proof Jon likes bloneds and foreshadowing of a Jon-Dany relationship as in the show. But.. 1. Jon has arguably married her already under wildling culture by stealing her. She was Stannis prisoner and Jon decided on his own to move her to his own tower to his own space to make her safer and ordered that done without any permission from Stannis. As a gentlemen he moved out first. But stealing is stealing, and he stole her and moreover put her in his own tower in his own room! That's legal marriage for wildlings. 2. Everyone calls her the wildling princess even though the wildlings have no princesses. This is driven into the ground over, and over, and over again. Then the real culmination of this is when she stands with a crown next to Stannis at the fake execution of Mance and Jon thinks she's the one who looks like royalty, not Stannis. That is George almost hitting us over the head telling us, hey, secretly she is really royalty, Targaryen royalty. 3. George is also obsessed with love triangles and all the Aegon I foreshadowing puts Jon in an eventually love triangle with two women. Who are these two women? There is only one woman who (a) has been flirting with Jon for a couple of books and thanks him for having rescued her and dresses like a bride all in white around him, and (b) whom he keeps thinking is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. 4. If there is anything George has set up, over and over again, because Jon is a secret Targaryen, it's Jon falling in love with his sister without realizing it. I for one am certain this is happening. There are not that many women in the story who can possibly be his sister. The one who most easily can is Val, and we do have a missing daughter of Ashara Dayne who completely could be Rhaegar's. I think she has to be important for these reasons!!! George hides fairy tales in his stories and Jon's hidden fairytales are Snow White and Aurora, gender swapped. I think Val kissing Jon is part of the ritual that brings him back to life, princess kisses prince back to life rather than the other way round. I tend to think that Val is a Dany clone in the sense that he originally planned for Jon to have a relationship with Dany in a much shorter story, but Dany is getting there so late in a much longer story, Val is taking the place of Dany as his Targaryen relative he unknowingly falls in love with. Maybe completely, but certainly for Winds of Winter. Dany isn't getting to Westeros until the very end of Winds of Winter, a lot of us believe, but not before. George has talked about writing lots of Dany chapters with the Dothraki while leaving a mess for her to go back and fix in slavers bay while loosing dragons she has to collect. He has also foreshadowed her attacking Volantis and going back to Pentos. That's her Winds plus probably more we don't know in Essos. In the meantime, Val wakes up Jon, and can no longer check his attraction to her since his consciousness is half wolf, keeping in mind that Ghost is really close to Val and she pets him while he goes around with her. Jon is torn by his sense of duty to the Night's Watch, and to the North, and his secret love affair with Val. That's where I see things headed.
  2. I respectfully disagree. Everyone says that Arthur was Rhaegar's best friend and the only one who truly understood him. He was the man whom Rhaegar trusted most. I actually think Arthur hated Aerys, though he served him. I don't like to rely on one theory of mine in arguing another, because then they become an upside down pyramid or falsely appear to be that. However, I have argued and wholeheartedly believe that Arthur Dayne was full on Lancelot, in love with the queen, and her secret lover. I also suspect that Dany is the daughter of Arthur and Rhaella instead of Aerys. Daenerys being the "Dayne heiress" makes so much sense if she is indeed Azor Ahai as you think, because then she is born of the Targaryen line as you say but also born of the House of the Dawn, capable of being the Sword of the Morning and wielding Dawn herself. She isn't just fire, she is Dawn + Fire!!!
  3. I am just suggesting that Val probably has a longer full name, and Valyria is the most obvious one for the son of Rhaegar, though she could be named Visenya or many other variants of either. But George Martin has repeatedly said that he is a big fan of Robert E. Howard, and the best love interest for Conan in Howard's stories is Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, adventurer and pirate. So she is probably named after Valeria, but the Targaryen spelling would be Valyria, which is also the name of their homeland. Valeria is also very big, I believe, in the Conan comics and graphic novels put out by Howard's estate, and George also grew up a gigantic comic book fan. You can search for her images from the comics. She is typically depicted with gorgeous golden hair, like Val, and wears a white top, like Val, and carries a sword, like Val. Arguably, Valeria is the protype for all the Valyrian warrior-women in A Song of Ice and Fire as well as other blonde swordswomen in modern fantasy such as Marya in Memory, Sorrow, and Thron, the biggest inspiratios for our Arya (though Marya is blonde). Which suddenly make me wonder, Oh God, what if Arya wears Val's face. Then she will look like Marya, and Jon will be in lust with her. George, NO, Don't do it to us!!! Don't give us Jon with sister-wives Val (who is really blonde Arya wearing Val's face) and Sansa. Please no...Please have Aria wear Arriane Martel's face instead and be married to Young Griff or Jaqen wearing his face, not Jon.
  4. History is written by the winners. And by politicians. I put up a second post, R + A = D or V, which includes the theory (I am convinced of) that Elia and Rhaegar were simply looking for a surrogate mother to birth the third head of the dragon. Meanwhile, Robert got jealous and drunk and tried to force himself on Lyanna, so she took them up on their offer. But Tywin wanted to get the Targaryens and Littlefinger wanted to get the Starks, so one of them told a lie about how it went down. Keep in mind Cersei told us that Robert gets drunk, rapes her at night, and then denies the next morning that he did anything wrong. Over and over again. That's who he always has been. That's what Robert did to Lyanna, sealing the deal for her, who was never interested in him. Compared to that, being a surrogate mother for the princess treated in luxury is a much, much better deal.
  5. Was Jon swapped for another baby by Ned, and if so, who? Yes! I think it was Val but it could have been Dany. But I do think it was one or the other…and the baby in question is Jon’s real half sister (instead of Sansa or Arya)! Val makes the most sense in terms of proximity to the North, as well as the fact that she is already developing a romantic relationship with Jon—given George’s fondness for Targaryen incest. Dany makes the most sense in terms of her essential importance to the story and key role in every book. Now for the explanation of how this is all possible! The Surrogate Mother Hypothesis The theory that I personally created is that Rhaegar and Elia agreed together to look for a surrogate mother in order to have the third head of the dragon, since Elia could not medically survive carrying a third Targaryen child. They would have preferred a women who was Dornish, if possible, and a woman from a magical family, if possible. They ended up with two candidates who both got pregnant by accident: The first candidate was Ashara Dayne, suggested and brought to Rhaegar and Elia by his best friend and personal kindsguard protector, Arthur Dayne. We know she only came from Starfall to Dragonstone a few months before the Tournament at Harrenhal. Ashara agreed and tried to get pregnant for these few months. The second candidate was Lyanna Stark. At the beginning of the Tournament at Harrenhal Ashara Dayne met Ned Stark and Howland Reed and fell in love with one of them, though my money is on Ned. She decided to end her surrogate mother contract with Rhaegar and Elia. That left Elia and Rhaegar looking for a new candidate as a surrogate mother from a magical family. About a week later, Rhaegar discovered the Mystery Night his father tasked him with unmasking and killing was actually Lyanna Stark, and she was from a magical family, able to warg her horse, beautiful and smart. Who better to birth the third head of the dragon than a woman with magical powers able to bond with horses and defeat male knights at jousting! So Rhaegar and Elia decided to have Elia ask Lyanna to be her new surrogate mother, and the next day Rhaegar awarded her Queen of Love and Beauty. Then the world fell apart. Robert being Robert, got jealous and angry and drunk and tried to force himself on Lyanna at the Inn at the Crossroads. Lyanna decided enough is enough. She never wanted to marry Robert and now he assaulted her. Meanwhile Rhaegar had sent Arthur Dayne to protect her and bring her in case she said yes. And that’s what she did there and then. "Arthur, my answer is yes, rescue me from Robert and take me to Rhaegar." But that’s not how the story got told. Littlefinger wanted Brandon Stark dead, and Tywin and Varys Blackfyre wanted House Targaryen over thrown, so someone just swapped who assaulted Lyanna in the story and whether she went to Arthur versus whether Arthur Dayne grabbed her. But we all know Arthur Dayne was a gentleman who even Jaime thought was flawless as a person. While we know Robert is a rapist from Cersei who gets drunk and comes and marital rapes her whenever he wants, then claims to remember none of what happened in the morning. Over and over again. Compared to that, being a surrogate mother for the future regents, treated as a princess for life was a much better deal. Meanwhile right after or as this was all going down, that’s when Ashara realized she already was pregnant…with Dany or Val, once she was already traveling around with Ned planning to marry him. Ashara is the mysterious pregnant “fisherman’s daughter” cloaked and covered whom Ned smuggled to the north with him at the start of the war. By this point he had just been forced by Lord Tully to marry Catelyn--to save his family, the Arryns, and his best friend--but Ned was determined still to protect Ashara and her future baby, even though it was going to be a dragon. This mean Ned both started and ended Robert’s Rebellion by deciding to protect secretly a baby of Rhaegar Targaryen! R + L = J R + A = D or V ------- The Baby Swap Negotiated at the Tower of Joy I am not going to explain here all the subtle textual clues that Arthur never died at the Tower of Joy. Either Howland Reed brokered a peace so that there was no fight, or the three kingsguard won, but spared Howland and Ned after the other five Northmen were dead. But when they compared notes, baby Aemon Targaryen looked like a Stark and could pass for one, but baby Daenerys / Valyria Targaryen with their golden hair absolutely never could. So Ned and Arthur agreed on a completely logical baby switch. Arthur agreed to take his own niece, Val/Dany north of the wall with him, where he took on the persona of Mance Rayder. (Or else he first took Dany overseas to Ser William Darry and Viserys, then he travelled back to go north of the wall.) Either way, Rhaegar’s instructions to Arthur were quite clear: in the event I die, make certain my children are safe; then after they are safely placed, then go north of the wall, unify the wildlings, and bring them south before the Long Night to fight for my son, because he will need them. Ned agreed to take his own nephew, Jon Snow. We have the perfect baby swap of a little baby named Aemon Targaryen for another baby name Daenerys or Valyria Targaryen, organized by Howland Reed and Arthur Dayne, who will become Mance Rayder. Does that sound to you at all like Jon Snow arranging a baby swap for Mance Rayder’s son named Aemon Rayder/Dayne for Gilly’s baby? What a coincidence! This is the biggest of all clues in the books as to what happened to Jon himself and his baby half sister.
  6. Let me follow up with more details for those who are interested: Gender Flipping Hides the Parallels One fascinating thing to note is that while the father and mother match one-to-one, for all five of the children the gender is flipped from Targaryen to Stark. This makes it so much more difficult to pick up what George Martin is doing. Three Secret Children of Rhaegar as Heads of his Dragon Not just Jon, but fully three of the characters, I maintain, have secret Targaryen parentages: Jon, Jaqen, and Val. But isn’t that consistent with House Targaryen, where everything comes in threes! As far as I am aware, I am the only one to suggest and aggressively argue that all three of Jon, Jaqen, and Val are Targaryens, and moreover sons of Rhaegar, with one being the Targaryen-Stark, one being the Targaryen-Martell, and one being the Targaryen-Dayne. Moreover, I think they all express Targaryeness but with the color of their mother’s house: Jon joins the Night’s Watch as Starks have always done, and is preoccupied with protecting the North from the Others as well as saving other Starks he learns are in grave danger (so far Arya, but then I think he will come to the aid of Sansa and Bran in the future). Jaqen is extremely associated with fiery imagery, including being born again amidst salt and smoke in a burning barn, and his real preoccupation—if you suppose he really thinks like Arya as I do—has been getting revenge for his House and his dead sister Rhaenys. This is the very thing that has also preoccupied Doran Martell and House Martell ever since Robert’s Rebellion. Finally Val is by far the least important of these characters, at least so far. We know a lot less about her. But she is a completely fierce warrior-princess who has killed a man with a dagger she stole from him. As a great fighter with blades, that puts her squarely in the Dayne family tradition. Many More Targaryen Triples Note that there is no attempt to dispute her that Dany is a much more important character than Val! There can be three heads of the Targaryen dragon in many different ways at different times. They just always tend to come in some version of three. Azor Ahai: So the three heads of the Targaryen Dragon who are Azor Ahai, I have argued, are Jon with the Night’s Watch as his Lightbringer, Dany with the dragons as her Lightbringer, and Jaqen with Arya Stark as his Lightbringer. Rhaegar's Surviving Kids: Meanwhile the three heads of the Targaryen Dragon who are children of Rhaegar who survived to our present story are Jon, Jaqen, and Val. Rhaegar's Legitimate Heirs: Finally the the three heads of the Targaryen who were legitimate children of Rhaegar (because Rhaegar legally married their mother in a ceremony) are Rhaenys, Jaqen, and Jon. There are many other versions of the Three Targaryens as well, including: Children of Rhaella Targaryen: The Queen's three children were Rhaegar, Viserys, and Dany. Bastards of Aerys Targaryen with Joanna Lannister: Jaime, Cersei, Tyrion. We also wholeheartedly embrace the view that the three apparent children of Tywin in the story are not really his biologically, but really the result of Aerys purposefully cucking him with Joana who was out to get her revenge against Tywin for all his whores, whom she always knew about, including Tywin's secret tunnel to Alayaya's. These are the Targaryen-Lannisters who don't know they have Targaryen blood but who do each take after the Mad King: Cersei is paranoid, sees false threats everywhere, turns allies into enemies, is increasingly obsessed with wildfire, and we fully expect to blow up part of King's Landing like Aerys wanted to. Jaime has a cutting wit combined with arrogant handsomeness which is how Aerys personality was described in his teens and twenties. Tyrion actively uses Wildfire as his best weapon to win on the Blackfyre and will increasingly enjoy burning his enemies as he gets older, we have hypothesized, eventually burning up the Vale and King's Landing, having sworn revenge against both for perceived wrongs against him. What about Viserys? I should note that Robb also corresponds to Viserys, if anyone is wondering, in the sense that both are killed at about the same age, and its the active and aggressive process of trying to reclaim a throne that was already well and truly lost (albeit 300 years ago for the Starks and 15 years ago for the Targaryens, when Viserys dies)—which is inherently an extremely dangerous thing to do if you want to keep your head!—that leads to the events of their death. Nonetheless, I think the primary Robb parallel is meant to be with Rhaenys as included in the list of seven, as it really gets to their being the oldest of the children in their House and how they are murdered so suddenly and unexpectedly. Viserys by contrast causes his own death so proximately and immediately through his action in Vas Dothrak breaking the law regarding swords and threatening Dany and unborn Rhaego in the presence of Khal Drogo. Viserys was a character who seemed destined to get himself killed one way or another by his viciousness and recklessnes combined with lack of judgement and perception, whereas Robb and Viserys were capable of leading normal lives but brought to horror by circumstances as the result of Tywin Lannister personally conspiring against House Stark and House Targaryen. But this additional parallel should be noted because it means Viserys is not left out of the trend, and when you include him, then it becomes seven pure Starks and seven Pure Targaryens plus Jon as the Targaryen-Stark in our tale of two parallel families of Ice and Fire destroyed by their enemies, particularly the Lannisters in both cases!
  7. How is what happens to the Starks in the present day similar to what happened to the Targaryens 17-years before? There are seven parallel Stark and Targaryen characters, and we are going to run through all of them: Catelyn’s murder at the Red Wedding right after watching her child be killed brutally in front of her is what happened to Elia Martell. Ned trying to do the right things but being naive about it, then painted after his death as the treacherous villain who instigated the conflict (In the story that everyone hears), is essentially what happened to Rhaegar. Sansa losing her entire family and becoming the bastard among the Arryns is what happened to Aemon Targaryen / Jon Snow. Bran losing all his siblings and his home at Winterfell and being carried over the Wall, wher he develops magical powers, before returning to be King in the North, is Dany loosing all her siblings and her home at King’s Landing/Dragonstone and being carried off across the sea, where she develops magical powers, and makes her self a foreign queen, before returning home to claim the Iron Throne as Queen. Robb, the oldest child, being murdered, with his consciousness warging into Grey Wind at his death is what happened to Rhaenys when she was murdered by Gregor Clegane and her consciouness warged into her black cat, who became the nasty stray who is the “true queen of the Red Keep” and Arya later chases all through the castle (until she overhears Vary and Illyrio plotting). Based on my Jaqen and Val theories, developed and supported in great length elsewhere: Arya’s being left without her family and eventually going to the House of Black and White looking for a path to revenge is what happened to Aegon VI / Jaqen H’ghar. Rickon losing his parents and growing up orphaned and wild in the far north, without parent or guardian, but becoming a prince to the half-wildlings on Skaagos is what happened to Val / Visenya, daughter of Rhaegar and Ashara Dayne (because Ashara Dayne was the surrogate mother for Elia so she and Rhaegar could have a second daughter), is what happened to Val losing her parents and growing up orphaned and wild, beyond the Wall, but becoming a princess to the Wildlings under Mance Rayder.
  8. Yes, I am referring to the Wolf's Den which most people seem to think is an abandoned, crumbling ruin but in fact in good shape by Manderly where he can hide guests, agents, ambassadors, and visitors. For example, I believe that Mance Rayder was probably visiting Wyman at White Harbor when he learned that Robert was coming to Winterfell. After all, Ned didn't even learn he was coming until he was a few days away. It seems impossible for Mance to have learned Robert was coming north of the wall, as he told Jon, and then had time to travel to the wall, climb the wall, travel to a village and buy a horse, and then ride through most of the North in time to fall in with Robert's group before they reached Winterfell. Probably, Mance had secret dealings with Wyman and perhaps also Ned himself, since Ned tells Catelyn right in her first chapter that they have nothing to fear from Mance Rayder and since Wyman is secretly building a fleet of ships for Ned. There was probably discussion and negotiation all along of the possibility of bringing some of the wildlings south of the wall to settle in the North before the coming anticipated worst Winter in a thousand years, in exchange for their pledging loyalty if Mance could arrange it. There is a lot weird about Mance's story of meeting Dalla and Val. He claims to have just met them on the way back from Winterfell after Robert's visit. But if so, almost all the trip was through the North not through wildling territory. However, clearly Dalla and Val have been raised or at least lived in recent years with the wildlings. It seems most likely to me that the "wise woman" with medical knowledge who saved Mance's life was in fact Ashara Dayne, and that her daughter was Val living with her, and that Mance continued to go back and visit them periodically and met Dalla there eventually in the same village. Now I am also partial to the view that Mance Rayder is in fact Arthur Dayne, although that is a much larger discussion and series of theories. It's not necessary for this theory. But in fact my belief is that Ned did not kill Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy, but instead he went north to take care of his sister Ashara and took her north of the wall to protect her and the baby Val. Then the real Mance Rayder was taken to the village they were hiding in and died (or nearly died). At that point Ser Arthur Dayne assumed the identity of the just deceased ranger or agreed with the man to take his identity so that the real Mance could escape to a quiet life and not be hunted down as Arthur Dayne was playing the part of him in the North thereafter, with the goal all along of unifying as many wildlings as he could and bringing them South of the Wall to save them from the Army of the Dead and the Long Night.
  9. Edric Dayne is twelve when he talks to Arya, so he is several years too young to be Ashara's son from the time of Robert's Rebellion. But clearly the Dayne's hold Ned Stark in very high regard, for some reason. Either Ned did not in fact kill Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy (as I have also argued elsewhere), or Ned did something great for Ashara, or both.
  10. Did Arthur Dayne bring Ashara from Starfall to Dragonstone to act as a secret surrogate mother for Elia Martell? —George Martin Most likely, yes. As explained below, until Rhaegar met Lyanna, the one and only seemingly suitable (and indeed perfect) “surrogate mother” for a third head of the dragon, whom Rhaegar and his best friend Arthur believed was needed for upcoming Battle for the Dawn, was Ashara Dayne. According to Barristan Selmy (A Dance with Dragons chapter 67), Ashara Dayne had only just come to court not long before the false spring of 281 AC, during which the legendary Tournament at Harrenhal was held. We have one actual scene between husband and wife Rhaegar and Elia, which is witnessed by Daenerys in the House of the Undying. It’s a loving scene between two happy parents where they discuss whether Rhaegar will write a song for the new baby. But Rhaegar’s comments show us that he was convinced that: His son Aegon is the Prince Who Was Promised, and his is the Song of Ice and Fire, and There must be one more afterborn sibling of Aegon’s—”the dragon has three heads”—in order to stop the Long Night and the Others when they come. But we also know from Barristan Selmy that the doctors determined that Elia definitely could not survive a third pregnancy after Aegon was born. That meant there needed to be another mother for the third head of the dragon. Now we all know that Lyanna met Rhaegar and Rhaegar met Lyanna at the Tournament of Harrenhal, and it’s clear that eventually they had Jon Snow together. But we have it on very good authority that another important romance started about a week earlier, right at the beginning of the Tournament: Ned Stark—or at least someone very close to Ned, such as his Brother Brandon or Howland Reed—fell in love with Ashara Dayne, or slept with her, at the Tournament at Harrenhal: Catelyn Stark heard a rumor from their servants that Ned had a relationship with Ashara Dayne at the Tournament and she was the mother of Jon Snow. Ned Dayne, apparently named for Ned Stark, tells Arya that her father fell in love with aunt Ashara at the tournament and she died loving him. Meera and Jojen reed describe in detail to Bran how their father Howland Reed watched Ashara dance at the tournament with Ned Stark, after speaking to Brandon Stark. They also note that she danced before Ned with Oberyn Martell, Jon Connington, and a member of the kingsguard (Barristan Selmy). Barristan Selmy reveals to Dany that he fell for Ashara Dayne himself but that he believes that “Stark” dishonored her at the tournament and got her pregnant. But while it’s very possible for Ned to have fallen for the beautiful Ashara—his being single at the time—no one really thinks Ned would have “dishonored” her at the tournament by sleeping with his new lady love. Because it’s widely reported that Ashara Dayne did get pregnant, this has lead to alternative theories that it was Brandon Stark who dishonored her or that Howland Reed and Ashara feel in love and they slept together at the tournament instead of Ned and Ashara. But let’s take a step back and look at exactly what the situation was: Rhaegar needed a baby mother from a noble lineage but neither he nor Elia wanted it to be someone that Rhaegar actually loved. Arthur Dayne was Rhaegar’s closest friend, and he would have been the one whom Rhaegar tasked with finding a “surrogate mother” quietly for Elia if possible. Ashara Dayne is Arthur Dayne’s sister; she isn’t bethrothed to anyone yet; and Arthur knows he can trust her. Ashara is beautiful and has violet eyes like a Targaryen, so she can produce a baby who looks like a Targaryen—indeed possibly a baby able to pass as Rhaegar and Elia’s daughter conceived, carried, and born off on Dragonstone. Ashara is from a magical lineage, possibly ancient dragon riders themselves from the dawn of days, making her the next best thing to an actual Targaryen mother, when there is no Targaryen option in this case. The Daynes themselves are keepers of the Sword Dawn and seem to believe, similar to Rhaegar, that they have a crucial role to play in a second, upcoming Battle for the Dawn. Ashara has spent her life in Starfall far off to the South: No one at Court knows Ashara. She doesn’t have any friends at Court to gossip about her. Thus the one and only perfect surrogate mother in all Seven Kingdoms for Rhaegar to have his third child was…Ashara Dayne!!! Rhaegar and Ashara probably started trying to conceive a baby, quietly and secretly during the months they were together on Dragonstone before the Tournament at Harrenhal. Dragonstone was Rhaegar’s seat and home with Elia and their two young children. If Ashara got pregnant and she and Elia cloistered together on Dragonstone (as Ashara was expected to do as her lady in waiting) without others coming in and out, then Rhaegar and Elia could actually present Ashara’s child by Rhaegar and claim it as Elia and Rhaegar’s! Moreover, look at the ones who were dancing with Ashara at the Tournament at Harrenhal, except for Ned: One was Jon Connington, known to be one of Rhaegar’s very closest friends other than Arthur Dayne—and someone who at least believed later that Rhaegar’s own son Aegon was sent to him to raise and protect. One was Oberyn Martel, Elia’s brother and closest friend, confidant, and protector in the world. The last was Barristan Selmy, who clearly wasn’t in the know about anything, but who was a trusted kingsguard charged with protecting Rhaegar, Elia, and possibly instructed to watch and protect Ashara as well by one of them. And that was it. Ashara seems to have been kept well protected and guarded, and the only one outside a narrow circle who spent quality time with her was our Ned Stark. Now let’s suppose that the sparks did fly when she and Ned danced! Ashara wasn’t in love with Rhaegar. They weren’t dating. Rhaegar and Elia would have been very nice to her essentially as their surrogate mother. But there was no romance. Whereas idealistic Ned would have been smitten with her beauty, wanted to dance with her for her. Wanted to hear all about her fellings and interests and family and life because he was interested…in her. So what happened is that Ashara feel in love with Ned and politely decided to end her arrangement to be surrogate mother for Rhaegar and Elia to instead begin dating Eddard Stark. And because all the evidence from Barristan Selmy points to Rhaegar being a gentleman whom he deeply respected, Rhaegar would have accepted that and moved on and started to look for someone else at the tournament to take Ashara’s place. Only neither Rhaegar nor Ned imagined that when Rhaegar started looking on his own for a new surrogate mother the at first unnamed woman he would find, and then actually start to fall for, would be Ned’s younger sister…Lyanna Stark. That caught everyone by surprise, but it wasn’t the only surprise. Ashara wasn’t aware that she was pregnant yet when she broke off her arrangement with Rhaegar and Elia so that she could date Ned! But at the end of her cycle she would have missed her period and realized that she was. This was right at about the same time that Lyanna ran away from her family and Robert (whom she couldn’t stand) to Rhaegar for protection from being forced to marry Robert. Ashara was the mystery pregnant woman whom most readers of the series don’t even remember. But when Davos is travelling to White Harbor through the Sistertons, he hears the story about how Ned Stark had travelled through Sisterton to the North shortly after the beginning of Robert’s Rebellion with a pregnant woman. Who was she? She was Ashara Dayne pregnant with Rhaegar’s child. That’s why the Dayne’s named Ned Dayne after Eddard and think he is such as great guy. Because Ned smuggled Ashara to safety at the outset of the war, and somewhere in White Harbor or the North Ashara was able to have her daughter. The baby didn’t die. Ashara didn’t lead from a tower in sadness over the baby and Ned abandoning her. Those are cover stories. Ashara had her baby, who is probably now Val “the Wildling Princess” but who might alternatively be Daenerys herself if she was smuggled over the sea and replaced a still born daughter of widow Queen Rhaella. Robert’s Rebellion didn’t just end with Ned Stark saving a secret boy child of Rhaegar’s. It also started with his saving a secret girl child of Rhaegar’s…one who is either Dany (if the “Lemongate” theorists are right) or who is Val if my theory is right that Jon has secretly, unknowingly fallen in love with his half-siter Val, both Jon and Val having been hidden in the North with fake identities to protect them from being killed. And Val with her golden-blonde hair and striking beauty, would have to have been hidden even further away from the capital and from other noble families than Jon, which would be a reason to hide her with Wyman Manderly in White Harbor who has a secret fortress, or the far, far of the North near the Wall, or across the Wall in one of the Southernmost wildling villages. But we especially see Ned’s passion in fighting Robert and being completely unwilling to accept the assassination of Dany if Ned had actually saved Dany, as the daughter of Ned’s own love, 15 years before, or if he had saved a very similar blonde baby girl from the same family who was the daughter of Ned’s first love.
  11. Bran thinks: Is this a giant hidden clue that the Others are ghosts of a kind and/or ice golems possessed by spirits of the dead?
  12. Will one of the 'Song of Ice and Fire' characters ascend to be the third head of the dragon at the destruction of Oldtown? And if so, will it be Euron--or Jaqen? My belief is that Euron will conduct a massive eldritch blood and fire ritual involving mass human death and the destruction of the Hightower, believing he will ascend to become the Storm God made flesh in Planetos (“I am the storm”), and that the ritual will appear to work by in fact giving him terrifying powers (and maybe also bringing down the Wall itself and/or bringing on the Long Night), but that at the same time the ritual will really cause a more powerful magical ascension for Jaqen H’ghar, who is already at Oldtown, so that he becomes the third head of the dragon and the true Storm God made flesh. I could expand much further, but the key components of the theory in a nutshell are: Jaqen is a paired character, both with Young Griff in some respects and with Euron Greyjoy in others. Jaqen is true oldest son of Rhaegar who was secretly taken overseas by the kingsguard before Rhaegar died: We looked for you at the Trident and King’s Landing, Ned says to Arthur Dayne. “Far away” is the answer. Not, here at the Tower of Joy, which has never made much sense. But far away, taking Aegon VI to safety across the narrow sea to Braavos or Pentos. We also have a lot of clues in the text about the switching of babies, including Jon switching the babies of Mance and Gilly and Varys telling Kevan that Aegon VI was switched for the Pisswater Prince. But this theory posits that these are all pointing to the key switch that Rhaegar had Arthur Dayne perform to protect Aegon VI in case he lost on the Trident. Arthur’s instructions further had him return to Westeros and go to the Tower of Joy to protect Lyanna afterward in the event Rhaegar lost. What could possibly be both more urgent and more important than fighting with Rhaegar on the Trident in the eyes of Rhaegar? Getting his son Aegon VI to safety, to be alive to fight the Long Night, no matter what happens with Robert’s Rebellion and to himself. Jaqen is also paired with Euron, as Jaqen appear to have been the faceless man who killed Balon Greyjoy for Euron for some great price, probably the dragon egg that Euron claims he once possessed but could not hatch, or some other great magical item. Jaqen has already been born once amid smoke and salt: namely, when Arya saved him from from almost burning to death in the burning barn, and then collapsed into tears herself. Note that at this time Jaqen was talking about the Red God and saying he was ready for the battle for the dawn, something that only Melisandre, Stannis, and red priests talk about! That was why Jaqen called on Arya to save him. Not that he could help her, or to save his life, but to free him so he could fight in the final battle. On this theory, that was a prelude to an even greater rebirth amidst salt and smoke in Oldtown, a magical ascension to becoming one of the three forms of Azor Ahai made flesh. This would mirror two other events in the story for the other two heads of the dragon: Dany’s miraculous walking into Drogo’s funeral pyre, hatching dragons, and emerging “Unburnt.” Note that because she hears the loud sounds of the eggs hatching as she is walking in, some have argued it was Mirri Maz Durr’s spell that was the final step to hatch the dragons rather than Dany herself walking into the fire. On this theory, Euron is performing the equivalent magical role to Mirri Maz Durr, although similarly the true beneficiary is Jaqen not Euron. Likewise, we expect a miraculous event where Jon’s consciousness is brought back to his frozen body in a ritual of blood and fire presided over by Melisandre. Here Euron is playing the Melisandre role in a massive ritual of blood and fire to awake the third of the dragon made flesh. Everything in ‘The Foresaken’ spoiled Winds of Winter chapter points to Euron sacrificing Aeron Greyjoy at Oldtown, as part of this ritual, which likely also involves massive death in a sea battle near the High Tower, the sacrifice of dozens of wizards and priests, and the blowing of a magical horn, perhaps the Horn of Joramun to bring down the Wall far away, cause an earthquake that collapses the High Tower, or start the Long Night. Aeron Greyjoy has so much symbolism announcing the coming of a messianic Storm God made flesh figure: His name is almost Aaron, brother of Moses and high priest of the Hebrews. He goes around baptizing people like Jon the Baptist, including Theon and Euron. He survived drowning under the sea like Jonah. Of course he could be announcing the ascension of Euron, and that’s what everything looks like, but the George Martin twist here is that Dany is going to expose that Euron’s ascension was false, but instead the magical ritual marks Jaqen’s ascension as the third head of the Targaryen Dragon and the final version of Azor Ahai besides Dany and Jon. Almost all the fans believe that Arya’s role killing the Night’s King was made up by David and Dan (and in one interview they seemed to confess exactly when they came up with the idea). But what if the reason for giving this kind of role to Arya is that she is a direct stand-in for something similar that is performed by a Targaryen, and her personal mentor, Jaqen H’ghar?
  13. The funniest thing about the Witcher is that the author doesn't believe in fate or destiny, even in his fantasy world, and most if not all of the characters make decisions based on supposed prophecy and destiny that all turns out to be garbage at the end of the story. They were all wrong to believe in this stuff. But the authors of the show never bothered to read all the books (or understand them at least) so besides the characters themselves, the ads for the show and their own commentary as show runners is that the whole series is about destiny and the three main characters being destined to have shared fates and they changed the story throughout from the authors to narrow and focus on that theme of destiny! I really enjoyed Season 1 of the Witcher, which I would put at about Game of Thrones Season 4 level, and mostly captured the magic of the books, such as the retelling of Snow White with a princess who turns out to be worse than the evil witch. But things went south fast as the next two seasons were at about Game of Thrones seasons 6-7 level. The characters stopped acting like themselves in Season 2 and it ruined everything that followed because the relationships were no longer believable. Season 3 ruined a great set piece twist and battle from the books and made it awful by trying to make it a double twist with extra factions, but if every faction in a GoT-like story with many sides shows up by surprise at the same place at the same time with a devious secret plan, nothing at all makes sense any more. It defies logic. It's no longer plot twists. It's absurd spectacle. I would classify the whole Wheel of Time series at about Game Thrones Season 5 level. It more or less carries over the main characters and biggest plot points while having lost some of the secondary storylines that are really important to some fans. Crucially, Wheel of Time is no where as good as ASOIAF and I gave up on it in the eighth book. Some things that they streamlined in the show I actually like better because Wheel of Time is very bloated compared to ASOIAF. As a master short story writer, Martin includes everything in every chapter for a reason, whereas Robert Jordan will just digress into a detailed first person description of a hill because it moved him as a writer at the moment. And Jordan will have his characters do raher random things bc he thinks they are fun like having one of the most powerful sorceresses in the world who could incinerate a small army learn to tight rope walk in the circus so she can maintain secrecy for a while. Or having a group of characters just get drunk at an inn one night and have one of them dance suggestively on a table, with nothing ever coming of it in the story again. That's not George Martin. But I would generally say that if the same producers are responsible for both shows, which is news to me, then they can do mediocre work with mediocre material but they can also ruin great material right up there with David and Dan. Essentially, they are hacks. They know something about storytelling, but don't really appreciate fantasy or the authorts themes or greatness.
  14. I am restarting a closed thread from six years ago: I think Mance does this specifically to show Jon that a two-handed sword beats a sword and shield in hand-to-hand combat and that, while skilled, Jon is not yet a great swordsmen. In other words, the whole point of the fight is to motivate Jon to switch to two-handed sword fighting and prepare Jon to one day wield the ancestral Dayne family sword Dawn during the Long Night. Yes, this rests on the Mance Rayder = Arthur Dayne hypothesis that I believe was created by the Order of the Green Hand, and which I have more recently written about on my Quora Q&A Space "A Theory of Ice and Fire." I have also created and proposed the theory that Arthur Dayne / Mance Rayder is really Jon Snow's grandfather. This theory goes that Martin is having fun with us giving him the name Arthur because he clearly was the Lancelot figure at the royal court. What does Lancelot do that is his great secret? He sleeps with the queen. In this case Queen Rhaella whom all the sources say was never too fond of her brother Aerys and was basically forced to marry him. The sources also say she had fallen hard for another dashing young knight, Ser Bonifer Hasty, but was forced to break up with him to marry Aerys, leading Bonifer to go into seclusion and found the Holy Hundred who currently occupy Harrenhal. To me it seems the perfect ground for a romance between Princess Rhaella and the youngest, newest, and most dashing member of the kingsguard, Ser Arthur Dayne. Arthur Dayne's exact age is never given, nor any facts or clues as to when exactly he joined the kingsguard. So we don't have proof he was a member of the kingsguard at this time but nothing in the canon rules it out either. Arthur Dayne is often considered to have been closer in age to Prince Rhaegar since he is described as Rhaegar's closest confident and oldest friend. But we are also told that Rhaegar as a child made no friendships with other children but preferred to read books and spend his time with adults. If the age is right, the one adult who seems to have spent the most time with Rhaegar growing up, apart from possibly his mother, was Arthur Dayne. He was like a father to Rhaegar. But what if he was his actual father too? We do know that Rhaegar came to Arthur Dayne one day to teach him to be a great swordsman based on a prophecy. That does suggest a general age difference between them, although keep in mind that the generations can be short in Martin's medieval world because Arthur Dayne could have been on the kingsguard at age 17 and fathered Rhaegar at that time, so that when Rhaegar was say 15 Arthur would have been 32. But presumably that prophecy is still in play and it applies to Jon in fact rather than Rhaegar, as we are told Rhaegar himself came to believe later in his short life. So Rhaegar believed that Jon to be the Prince Who Was Promised would have to become a great swordsmen. Ned and Ser Rodrik made sure that Jon grew up as an excellent swordsman, and we are told he was better than Robb. But in no way is Jon a great swordsman yet, and he is fighting one-handed style with a sword rather than two-handed style with his bastard sword Longclaw or a true great-sword like Dawn or the one that Mance as the Lord of Bones uses to crush Jon. The purpose of this scene and the reason it's in the story is that this marks the moment when Jon decides that being an excellent one-handed swordsman isn't enough for him. The Lord of Bones tried to have Jon killed three times in the story and he is Jon's principal living antagonist. Jon concludes at the end of the fight that he wouldn't have lost like this if he was wielding Long Claw two-handed. So thereafter Jon is presumably going to train in the yard as a two-handed swordsman. And for all his limitations glamoured as the Lord of Bones and unable to reveal his identity to Jon, Mance Rayder has managed to turn Jon into a future master of the greatsword who can one day wield Dawn in battle after the Long Night falls. What a great teacher and, just maybe, grandpa.
  15. I agree with @The Sleeper and the others that say that Dany doesn't need to go down a darker path to be portrayed in incredibly dark terms, as we have already seen, by her enemies in world (not to mention the critics in our world of her breaking the wheel of slavery in Martin's world). That's already happening, and she will probably destroy the citadel at Volantis--melting it down--to destroy the slave trade, especially since they declared war on her and sent their fleet to Slaver's Bay. Tyrion will also recommend that her forces attack the Vale and ally with Tyrion's mountain men who want to burn the Vale for how they have been treated for centuries. So again, she doesn't have to change at all for her to be portrayed as incredibly vicious and destructive and evil by her enemies.
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