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About bemused

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    Art, dance , film ,books, archaeology , history, politics. hockey, figure skating, dogs ..and on and on.

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  1. I just discovered that I had an unfinished post saved from weeks ago (before life called me away). I'm just going to put up most of it as is and then continue. I'll come at this backwards... I think a letter appearing to be from Ramsay was received at CB for Jon while he was with Selyse. If Clydas is not to be trusted, it went straight to Bowen... if he is to be trusted, he maybe left it in Jon's solar, only to have it purloined by Mully and delivered to Bowen, (As three eyed monkey suggested) ... Side note: IMO, Thorne is already back at CB, hiding in the wormways and directing the conspirators - probably from the very same cell that Sam found in the book vaults in AFFC - either way, Bowen then takes the letter to Thorne. I think the conspirators would accept what was written as fact, but forge it anew, adding extra inflammatory language (including all the "bastard"s) intending to goad Jon into going south with the NW. This would bolster their claims of treason , which (along with their declaration of "For the watch") they hope will win exoneration for themselves when they kill Jon. They would have parchment and ink at their disposal but would have to reuse wax from the seal. Language used, short version : Ramsay hates being called a bastard himself but I don't think there's an example of him taunting anyone else with it.. He tells Theon to look after his horse in Barrowton, adding.. "I rode the bastard hard", but IIRC from past searches, that's the only example I found, and it shows no animosity toward the horse. It's Thorne who has used "bastard" repeatedly to Jon in the same sneering, insulting way used in the letter. ... Even when Mance used it to try to give Jon a clue to his identity, it never read quite so much like a curse, to me. Red Witch / Red Whore - again, we can see that "red witch" is not exclusive to Mance, but is probably fairly common since it's in use in White Harbour (and used by a high born lady) ... "Red whore" is seen nowhere else but in the PL, but the clue is in how it's used ... Ramsay doesn't even use "whore" in his furious rant against Lady Dustin, who he despises. But Thorne calls Ygritte "this unwashed whore" (with a smirk). Though used at different times for different women, both the PL's Red whore and Thorne's unwashed whore are used as insults to provoke Jon, not the women themselves. I think these examples come from the same vindictive source. Signing, "Trueborn Lord of Winterfell" is just one last way of calling Jon "bastard". In the other letters from Ramsay that we see, Ramsay Bolton, Lord of the Hornwood, e.g., has been enough to make a point of his legitimacy (even he doesn't add the redundant "trueborn", previously) .... But if Thorne has had input in the letter, I don't think he could resist getting in one last barb. The conspirators would also love to be rid of Selyse, Shireen, Mel, et all (don't want to feed them & want to please KL), so I think it's an open question whether the original letter even asked for them. What does/would Stannis want if he wrote the original letter? Yes, he always wanted to install Jon in Winterfell, but with Jon's continuing refusal, he'd settle for another northman. Mainly, he wants a Lord of Winterfell indebted to him for the position. In his letter to Jon from Moat Cailin he says... I don't think he would change his mind about wanting Jon at the Wall. He plans to return (no doubt to wait for the outcome of Massey's trip) and he sees Jon as the best and most trustworthy leader to have at the Wall - to protect his interests. Even though Jon is unwilling to be Stannis' man in WF, even with Arnolf and his offspring busted, Stannis still wouldn't want Roose (or Ramsay) to restore WF to it's former strength. Stannis still wants possession of the castle. I'll note here that I don't think Stannis has any ravens with him because Jon doesn't hear from him until he reaches Moat Cailin and hasn't heard since. It's very possible Lady Glover is in short supply of CB ravens - she's been under occupation, and there's been a crisis or two at the Wall. (Regular deliveries of ravens from the watch interrupted.) I think Stannis is restricted to using Tybald's ravens, but since they are definitely behaving as if possessed, I feel sure one could be steered to Castle Black by BR or Bran. I say this taking a few things into consideration, such as whether Ramsay leaves WF... Yes, I too feel sure we can trust Theon's judgement in this. We also have to consider what Roose is likely to do. He always tries to conserve his own men, but it's imperative to keep Jeyne and even Theon from falling into other hands. Since he doesn't fully trust the other houses with him in WF, I think he would make the best of a bad situation and send Ramsay and some Bolton men out after them, still retaining the greater part of his men in WF. I don't think he would send them out immediately with the Freys and Manderlies . I think he'd hold Ramsay back, maybe by as much as a day, letting the Freys and Manderlies take the brunt of battle along with the Karstarks. Ramsay could well arrive to find Stannis supposedly dead, his corpse and his sword in apparently Bolton-friendly hands. In such a case, he would light out immediately after his bride and his Reek. ... We've already seen Ramsay be fooled by Roose's use of a body double dressed in his armour when Roose returned. Foreshadowing? Coming back to the OP's list ... I don't think Stannis would ask for Selyse, Mel, etc. unless he had taken WF first ... but at the same time, I don't think he would wait the 3 days to get to WF before trying to alert Jon. If Ramsay pursues Jeyne and Theon, that also would put Tycho and Stannis' loan at risk. If Stannis thought there was even a slight chance that he could send one of Tybald's ravens to Jon, he would take it, but he'd have to keep up the ruse of his death in case the raven went to Roose. Although Stannis, personally, has not been truly converted to belief in R'hlorr, through Mel , he has been brought to realise that magic exists, and he hasn't shied away from using it in his own interest. I think he would now be open to magic from another source and equally open to taking advantage of it's use. GRRM has laid a lot of groundwork for some dramatic magic-based occurrence at the tree on the island and kept Asha's POV with Stannis to provide a fully rational account. I project that Stannis will send one of Tybald's ravens to Jon as soon as Ramsay has left the scene of the battle in pursuit of his bride and his Reek. As I mentioned previously, "seven days" must include travel time to the lake and back (3 days one way) with some harrying by Umber's boys on the way there and allegedly back (but not really, because the survivors are all secretly on the same side - Stannis's). They must have brought Stannis's unique sword and some bald guy's head back to Winterfell as "proof" of his death. Stannis' information on the approaching forces comes from Theon and Tycho, not scouts.... I think too much attention has been paid to trying to interpret the "seven days of battle" - and I include myself in this. Even quite recently I thought it must be some kind of clue as to how long "Arya" had been on her way or something like that. .. No mas. I've given up... There would be no point in including travel time from WF to the battle and back, since Jon has no way of knowing Stannis' location. Even before the weather took such a nasty turn, Jon pointed out to Stannis that a siege wouldn't work, so it can't refer to a siege with daily forays. Medieval battles in our world lasted hours, not days... there are some exceptions.. say if it's a series of skirmishes over days between two armies in the countryside ending in a final battle (but still described as a battle in our history), or one army trailing and harrying another before finishing them off ( a running battle, I guess) ... but Jon would know these sorts of things couldn't be the case. ... So I think the whole point of "seven days of battle" (if written by Stannis) is to make a claim so unbelievable that it casts serious doubt on some other claims as well - such as Stannis' death,e.g. (and the letter does specifically urge Jon to ask Mel about it). The most important thing is , Ramsay doesn't have "Arya" and wants her back, which I agree Ramsay would never tell Jon ... and he wouldn't forewarn Jon that he might attack CB to retrieve her. So... the next most important thing (or equally important) is Jon needs to take steps to defend CB from the south. We know from Jon's previous musings that the best way to do that is preemptively strike the attackers on their way.
  2. bemused

    Poll: Did Jojen Die Off-Page in DANCE?

    No, no, a thousand times no. (count 'em)
  3. Going back a bit... Probably, Daemon + Nettles = Pygmalion (GRRM echoes GBS)
  4. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    We can only wait...
  5. Even "Mance in a cage" could be written by Stannis making an assumption based on Theon's ramblings. ... When he arrived Theon was trying to tell Asha all about Abel and the spearwives. Hours have passed, and he's been talking to Stannis. ... Stannis has had hours of conversation with Mance. Mance didn't hesitate to tell Jon about his singer disguise. Why would he not mention it to Stannis.? Stannis can add two and two and come up with four.. ... Prisoners in cages are commonplace in Westeros. Stannis had Rattleshirt/Mance in a cage"for all the world to see" at WF. ...(Mance gives this quote to Jon ... but was he just repeating what Stannis said to him ?) ok..'snuff.
  6. Attaboy! You know I'm on the same bandwagon.. And I completely agree with this: Absolutely... Ramsay would never give warning if he was actually on his way, and I think he will be - straight from the battlefield. Looking forward to your new thread. Lost quite a long post last night.(I'll save it up, now.)
  7. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    This is quite OK, but the thing is , many of us accept certain things in the text as clues or hints (the same kinds of clues and hints that GRRM is well known to use) that apparently you do not accept. We also rely on outside-the-books information given in his many interviews and Q&As - such as what real world religions and historical events he's been inspired to use as a foundation. As a result, we find Val interesting while you do not. No one expects you to go on faith, we're not going on faith either. We're speculating, certainly - but it's informed speculation, not simply inventing possibilities out of whole cloth. No one knows to what degree our suspicions will pan out or whether you'll eventually become interested. GRRM crumbles the cookies as he will. We can only wait. In the meantime, I doubt I can convince you that GRRM has given Val a lot of thought, and I remain unconvinced that he hasn't. ----------- I think it helps if you go a bit farther back in Jon and Val's conversation, re: pity . Is she lying? I don't think so. She pities Shireen's condition, but she's angry that Monster and the milkmaids are being kept in such close proximity to what, to her knowledge, is a fatal communicable disease. The anger and the pity aren't mutually exclusive. ---------- I do have an idea of what Val might mean by "Let me help ... I can do more". The "lads" Ulmer speaks for seem willing enough to live with Jon's agreement, but Jon knows gaining overall acceptance won't be easy. I don't think Val would be much use as a PR rep for Jon. I can't see her winning over Bowen & co. and I can't see her thinking she could. Would she be as safe among the NW brothers as she was among the wildlings? Because (for many reasons)I think she fits somewhere in the range of wise woman / witch /prophetess class of characters we've already met or heard about, I think she's referring to much the same service that Mel offers when she asks Jon if she should tell him the names of his enemies, or something along those lines. That's without going into too much depth, and I suspect it might reinforce our differing perspectives ... but that's OK.
  8. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    No need to clarify. I understand your points, but I simply disagree. I think it's very premature to judge that the author has not given the character much thought. The very fact that we haven't been given more (in spite of the prominent position of the character) tells me that GRRM is holding something back. Even so, we've been given clues as to what at least some of that might be. Just knowing how GRRM feels about the standard fantasy characters and tropes (for me) set off alarm bells when Jon thinks of Val as a "warrior princess". Especially when we know she's not a princess and doesn't appear to be a spearwife. I think that's a blatant hint to us that Jon is wrong.. So we can deduce that she isn't so confident about going north of the wall because she's just a fightin' machine ... But if she's GRRM's version of a Norse spaekona, her person would be pretty much inviolate to most other wildlings, and this would explain her confidence. (I won't go off into the weeds and enumerate all the clues all over again) I do feel that the characters you compare her to are not really equivalent, because we get to know them /observe them through multiple POVs and/or through anecdotes from non-POV characters. We know Val almost exclusively through Jon's POV , except for a teeny bit through Sam (but he's so shy he can barely look at her or speak to her) On the contrary, Val pities both mother and child, but is horror-struck because according to her knowledge (flawed or not) Shireen will suffer greatly and then inevitably die ... and likely spread the disease to others. But I don't find this to be the most interesting scene, necessarily, although it's dramatic. In the same chapter (Jon XI) just preceding the offending "warrior princess" quote, we have... Jon is worried about selling his agreement to the NW and perhaps the northmen. What makes her so sure she can help with that? She can do more. In what way? Jon is busy admiring her - how she looks, how she rides - not really twigging to what she's saying enough to ask how. This scene and others also raise questions that build a speculative picture of Val and I'm sure that GRRM thought to build the clues and questions in which says that he has /is building Val very carefully and deliberately. But it's OK to agree to disagree ... We'll be able to judge better when TWOW comes out.
  9. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    Oh no, I wasn't taking it in a personal way, at all. It just strikes me funny/ surprising/ entertaining/interesting sometimes - the differing perceptions that people have. So I wasn't being upset, just playful ... you know - Yum! Loves me some Norse flavoured cheese... and so forth. My take away was quite different.. since Martin was putting Val in a prominent position, I always trusted that he had a reason for not fleshing her out more fully. At the same time, George had said that he based the religion of the old gods on the Norse religion as he based the faith of the Seven on Catholicism. In it's practice, the Faith has a rough approximation of the hierarchy of the Church - septons, septas, on up to the high septon/pope. The wildlings form of worship is probably closest to the form of the old gods'religion practiced by the first men. We can see a nod to the Norse idea of a sacred grove when Jon takes his recruits out to swear their oaths. ... Tormund, speaker-to-gods seems tailor made for the role of the Norse chieftain/priest. ... Then the whole Spaekona/volva= Vala = Val and Dalla thing occurred to me and I was off re-reading for clues.. Assume for a minute that I (and others) might be onto something, and you might feel less critical of George. At first, while (know-nothing) Jon is with Ygritte and in a relatively low position, it wouldn't have mattered much to the story if he knew more about Val ... that is, as long as things were going to stay that way. But GRRM destined Ygritte to die, Jon to save CB from Styr, Stannis to come to the Wall, Jon to become LC, but with the impediment of the presence of Stannis and Mel... This makes it fortunate that he had no real previous interaction with Val and his ignorance is a very good thing. Mance and Val had good reason not to reveal her true status, otherwise, she may have been burned by Mel. Val has to decide how far she can trust Jon as he gradually comes into his power and authority, while she gradually tries to encourage him to trust her. If GRRM had given a lot more detail about Val earlier, we'd be reading a different story.
  10. @lalt - I agree with @kissdbyfire in the above post. Jon has become de facto king of the FF by proving that he has their interests at heart and by being a strong leader. They follow strength ,as Mance told Jon. Furthermore, I think that Mance understands this and approves of it. If he survives, I think he will be quite OK with taking on a secondary role to Jon, like Tormund , first in support of Mance and now of Jon. In regard to motives, I agree with you that GRRM intends ultimately to move Jon away from the wall, but I don't think this is the juncture. I suspect there will be a confrontation with Ramsay, not at WF or at the wall but some point in between.
  11. I guess I'll weigh in yet again There's no proof that Ramsay had Mance in a cage, at all. There's only a claim. Looking at Mance and the remaining spearwives, while pretty well all of them have a chance of escape (some better than others) , Mance has the best chance of any of them. All he would have to do is change clothes (we know Myrtle collected changes of clothes for at least some of the spearwives), and then put Mel's ruby back on. Instantly, he'd appear to be a smaller and much homelier man. However, while I think a very logical case can be made that Mance wrote the letter, I don't think he did. Even if he privately suggested to Jon that Val could bring in Tormund's people, he'd have no way of knowing if Jon would send her or what had been accomplished. So he could'nt think that Jon would have enough men at his disposal to challenge the Boltons. And he would know that the length of time it would take for Jon to reach him wouldn't favour any rescue plans. Just a tiny note on the language used, though I could say more - Mance-as-Rattleshirt uses "red witch" and so Does the author of the letter.. but so does Tormund and Lady Leona in White Harbour. .... so I think that "red witch" is probably fairly common - and Mance is not the only character to use "bastard" to Jon repeatedly. (See Thorne) I agree with this, but reach different conclusions. I think Theon is right when he says in the TWoW chapter that Ramsay is coming... I think Roose's plan will change once he knows of the escape. He'll let Ramsay ride out in mop up position, letting the Frey and Manderly forces deplete each other and help Arnolf deal with Stannis' starving forces. Ramsay's main goal / motivation will be to recapture fArya and Reek/Theon. (The Boltons have no claim to WF without fArya). Ramsay will follow after them. Roose won't be there to restrain him. So I think Stannis will have believably faked his death, and will write to Jon using Tybald's WF ravens (I bet something will happen at the tree to convince Stannis they have a chance of reaching CB.) In case they do fly to WF, he writes as Ramsay to keep Roose believing he (Stannis) is dead. His motive is to give Jon warning that fArya is coming with Roose after her (knowing CB has no defenses to the south).... It's a Hail Mary pass. At the wall, I believe that Thorne has been back secretly for some time and has been directing Bolton and the conspirators. They intercept the letter an recopy and edit it- making it more insulting adding "bastard, bastard..etc." , taunting Jon come to WF , adding the requests for Selyse, Mel etc.,etc. Their motive is to get Jon to march south (thinking he will take the NW)..They hope he might comply with the requests for Stannis' people (They want rid of them) There's a fair amount of foreshadowing that their plan at first was to make sure Jon was killed on the ranging to Hardhome. But if he goes south to WF, they can still kill him without the risk of going north of the wall. Bowen personally is motivated by a desire to stay in KL's good books. Thorne is personally motivated by a hatred of Starks and Jon in particular He's been trying to bring about Jon's death and disgrace, one way or another for the whole series. So as I see it, there's not one person's motives behind the letter, but many. The conspirators could equally have tampered with a letter from Mance or Ramsay, but Stannis is my choice ... and yes, I think GRRM has purposely made it possible for a decent case to be made for a number of different characters.
  12. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    Gee ...Why not come right out and tell us how you really feel?... What can I say?... One person's disappointment is another person's anticipation. And M-m-m.. Graddost ! Jarlsberg! We know nothing of Val's lineage, but if her changing eye colour is not a mistake, she could have forbears among the ironborn Farwynds, whose eyes are often "now grey, now blue, as changeable as the seas", according to Aeron at the kingsmoot. Not every character has to be conflicted all the time ... Val contributes to conflict in Jon's heart , that we know... but we've barely met Val; we don't know what her inner conflicts may be, yet. We knew nothing of Mel's personal conflicts either, until George gave her a POV chapter. Suddenly, she became a more rounded character, one with self doubt, hopes and fears that were never apparent before. We are going to need at least one other character's perspective on the events of Jon's last chapter if we are to understand more of what went on. Val would be one likely candidate.
  13. bemused

    Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

    As one who sees some room for doubt that the babies were ever actually switched , Sam's "mistake" might be meant to prompt us to think about it. Who saw the actual swap ? Not Jon. Aemon wouldn't know even if he was there. That leaves Gilly and Val. There are hints in the conversation between Gilly and Jon and in the differences between the departure from CB as seen by Jon and again by Sam. Maybe Aemon is right and Gilly weeps because of the switch ... but maybe he's wrong. Maybe she has her own baby and her tears are because of worry and fears. ... What if her deception is discovered? Jon did threaten her. ... Would Sam side with her or with Jon? .. Then, she's discussing "Aemon Battleborn" way early, and we don't hear her use a milk name for the child. Val calls the baby at CB "Monster" because she has to call him something for two years, but all we hear from Gilly is Aemon Battleborn. I think we have to wait and see, but I won't be surprised if Mance's son is still at the wall. @Lollygag, you said... As for Val, I think GRRM has given her a lot of thought. He has to wait for the right place in the story's development (and Jon's development) to reveal it, and I think that place is just coming up. That said, there's a lot of subtext - e.g. how the other wildlings treat her, and a lot of other clues that can be gleaned even up to this point. She and Ghost "look like they belong together" because they are both in their own way connected to the old gods. (And I believe Ghost can know this -long story) This is a link to an old thread of mine .... https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/66294-tormund-and-val-jons-intermediaries-to-the-old-gods/ ... and there are others ( "Val is Jon's True Queen" springs to mind) Dalla is considerably older, I think. Mance describes her as "This good woman" .. ( IMO, not the way one speaks of a very young woman) ... also, "a wise woman" and a "true queen". Val he calls "this beauty". I think they correspond to the female seers in Norse mythology and culture, and may not even be related at all, but sisters in the sense that they follow the same vocation and Val has likely been trained or mentored by Dalla (whether they're related or not). That's a very brief taste. I think she speaks differently to show she has more knowledge and has an elevated status among the free folk (in her own right).
  14. bemused

    Bowen Marsh's Plan

    From the moment the attack begins, Jon's attention is wholly taken up with the attack itself. I don't assume any and all shouting (e.g.) has stopped because he's not giving a complete running commentary. Nor do I assume that no-one intervenes or joins in in any way. We have a very limited view from Jon's POV. It's not only incomplete as to what all onlookers are doing due to the fact that he's completely preoccupied by the attack, but I think we have to allow that his perception of what's going on out of his line of sight can be wrong. This is in regard to the third "dagger" which he can't see because it's behind him .. it could as easily be a sudden push, shoving him out of the way (or a blow that's poorly aimed)... and the fourth "knife" which he never feels - possibly because though he assumes a fourth knife is coming, it never does. (He has taken note of Bowen and his three companions in the sheildhall, and two of them have attacked him, so to assume four is very reasonable.) I think both Wick and Bowen do show signs of some apprehension about possible intervention and/or consequences. "For the watch" is a hoped for verbal shield. For me, "It was not me' translates to "not my idea to do this" .. and on a side note, it seems entirely possible that at least some of the men screaming at this point could be reacting to the attack on Jon. Bowen's tears have never seemed to me to be tears of regret for Jon or having to perform a hard duty, but for himself (he knows there will be consequences)... tears of self pity and fear. I suspect that like Wick, this was not Bowen's idea either... at least not solely his. He's been groomed and led to it. I suspect that if he doesn't go through with it (in spite of there being witnesses) he will have to answer to Thorne. I agree that it seems inevitable that the Wall will fall (or be breached or overrun) but I don't think that will happen until probably the end of TWoW. (Or even the beginning of ADOS?) Though I think Jon survives very much intact, I do think he will be moved away from the wall at some point ... just not yet. But I doubt Bowen will ever become LC. He would have to be elected, and that seems very unlikely. His chances seem almost slim as Thorne's were. The men have never thought he was good for much but counting and they're not likely to forget that he led 100 of them to their deaths chasing the Weeper.
  15. bemused

    Bowen Marsh's Plan

    I think a lot of people witnessed it... I don't think GRRM would describe a mere handful of men as pouring out of the keeps and towers. It's an unknown number, but it has to be considerable. Also, who is he directing to form a line? We know Leathers is at the scene, but Horse, Rory and Leathers couldn't be expected to form much of a line. "Then he heard the shouting" seems to imply multiple people shouting at once. We know Othell and his builders left the shieldhall at roughly the same time as Bowen, so they are likely to be on the scene as well. Anyone who heard the shouting would be gravitating toward it, curious as to what's going on. That's only natural. So there would have been plenty of witnesses. If Bowen survives, I think it will be in custody. There are a fair number of clues that Othell is not in on the plot with Bowen, and I agree with @Seams that Bowen is not the actual ringleader. In my estimation , that would be Thorne and there are clues that would suggest that he is actually at CB, but out of sight. We know that the great majority of the NW would not support him.