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  1. bemused

    The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter 2.0

    I've been off in limbo. This thread makes me feel like I've hardly been away .. @Three Eyed Crow For some reason, what I would guess to be the final third or so of your OP came appeared as a blank on my screen. However, we've bandied this topic about so often I think I know where you're coming from - and I too agree in very large part. All that I was able to read I thought was very well reasoned and clearly laid out. I've only skimmed through the whole seven pages but there are a few random points I'd like to make. Re: Mance and the spearwives, I'm doubtful Theon ever did reveal the location of the crypts to them. From A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD : As far as Theon knows, the lower levels of the crypts have collapsed, and I think he's correct - Mance thinks the crypts may provide a way out. He would think that because Bael must have had a way out. (For all we know, versions of the tale among the wildlings may specifically say so.) In any case, that was very long ago. A collapse might well have occurred in the intervening years (centuries?). I doubt he'd be hiding in the crypts if he didn't think he'd have a way out and he's sure to still have Mel's ruby cuff about him somewhere (he'd have needed it to exit Castle Black). He'd only need put it on to become a shorter, plainer man that no-one would look twice at. Though he'd still be in danger, he'd have much more agency than if he was stuck in the crypts, wondering what was going on above. From what we have been told about the bravery of spearwives, I'd be surprised if Frenya wouldn't fall on her spear before she could be taken (if one of her attackers didn't kill her first). Rowan is very likely an Umber ; either the stolen Umber daughter or her daughter, or one of the Greatjon's daughters that Jon mentions to Stannis. In "The Turncloak", Rowan is described as... She'd probably be relatively easy to disguise as a man, and the Umbers would definitely shield her. Especially if she's one of the Greatjon's daughters, they would all know who she is. Wex's story may foreshadow Squirrel's chances of survival... ...ADWD, Davos IV. (Besides, squirrels live in trees.. ... and Bolton men will again be searching.) @redriver convinced me long ago that Myrtle is actually The Liddle (playing the part of his old mother come back to us, as in the dream he told to Bran & co.) Willow seems likely to be an actual spearwife like Holly, Frenya and Squirrel and she's the one whose chances I feel least confident of. Still, since Mance was only sending Holly and Frenya with Theon and Jeyne, I don't think Willow would be the only one for whom there was no contingency plan. Though I haven't seen a hint of what it might be, I feel it's more likely that there is one. Theon I, ADWD : Later in the chapter : Looking at these quotes, it seems to me that the plan never was for all of them to get out at once. They have to act on the spur of the moment. Squirrel knows that Abel can fend for himself. Rowan knows when to act - seemingly without direction. During the escape, as they hurry off on their own, Rowan, Willow and Myrtle seem very purposeful. They know what they're doing. It only seems logical that anyone as canny as Mance would have discussed various alternatives with the women depending on what might mean a change in plan.. say, like needing to act sooner than expected and certainly what to do if someone should be killed or captured. It's the kind of thing he would have had to plan for all the time. For example, I can't help wondering if the particular song he plays is a signal to the women to act. Rowan doesn't say it must be now until after he starts playing and it's an unfamiliar song, not on the usual list of requests. It might be something no-one south of the wall would recognise. I'll come back to get carried away some more tomorrow.
  2. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Well, I'm back sooner than I expected to be. This brings up language again. Here's Jon being sent on the suicide mission to kill Mance , (ASOS) ... ..and here's Ghost and John (ADWD).... I think this is a clue that Thorne is back (there are many others). These two examples are the only places "stink" is used in this way - in any character's POV. I think they are meant to connect. In ASOS, Jon couldn't actually smell Thorne, but I think Ghost can actually smell his presence in ADWD. Jon assumes it's the boar's scent, but he's wrong. It's not his nemesis but Jon's that Ghost senses. Mully did something suspicious while Jon was with Selyse - maybe tampered with Longclaw . ... Or maybe Clydas delivered the original letter, leaving it on Jon's table (as he's done before) and Mully came in and took it. I think Bowen and Mully are what Mully's old grandmother would call "winter friends" - friends forever. Ghost bares his teeth at Jon and later tries to leave with him to get at Thorne, not Borroq's boar. Jon doesn't recognise the danger he's in. Bowen wouldn't be such a threat without Thorne ( one of the main reasons Jon tried to reassign Thorne). ETA: About "Bastard".. Yes, they've all used it ... I never really felt the same vehemence from Stannis, though. Even when inwardly seething, he's outwardly contained (if rude) ... with Mance I felt more heavy sarcasm (to be fair, maybe with a smidge of hindsight gained once he revealed himself)... From Ramsay, I'd expect it in person (see: rant on Lady Dustin) .. of the other letters he's written, Asha's is the most threatening and it's couched in almost polite language. The threat is in the blood and skin. It's cold by comparison to the PL. (and as I've often said, when a possible attack from him is immenent, he gives no warning) ... Lady Hornwood receives a lofty "no Bolton would be questioned by a woman. " in the letter she received ... As you say, Thorne and Slynt take top honours for nasty use of "Bastard" ... and IMO, a lot of what Slynt says is parroting Thorne.
  3. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Fair points, but I don't think Stannis is the one doing the manipulating. I don't think Stannis would have changed his mind since he wrote from Mott Cailin saying he needed Jon at the wall. Of course, I think he sent the letter from the crofters' village following the battle I agree this has some importance, maybe in more ways than one. I believe Marsh says that this advice came from an uncle , not his father. It's always intrigued me because this uncle (that Marsh seems to idolize) could have been a maternal uncle and knowing what house he belonged to might explain a lot about Marsh and his motivations. I don't think it would be enough for the conspirators to just lock Jon out on the wrong side of the wall. It definitely would not be enough for Thorne. His plans for Jon's demise have been thwarted over and over again - by Mormont, then Aemon, then Stannis, then Sam and Mormont's raven. Thorne, at least, wouldn't want to trust the deed to wildlings or to the Others. He'd want to be certain of Jon's death as a result of his planning and preferably by his instrument. As for the NW brothers accompanying Jon - Jon would pick the men, so there would be no way to limit the men to his supporters only ... but we know that some Bowen cronies are included in those Jon thinks of his more able and experienced men (I'm thinking of Mully, in particular). What we shouldn't forget is the Black Gate. We don't see everything that has gone on at the wall, but we did see Stannis pointedly tell Sam that he expects Sam to show him the gate. I assume this probably happened off-page. So, who else would be present? NW leadership would surely want to be included. Wouldn't Stannis want to send someone through to check it out? Neither he nor any of his men could do that. ...Wouldn't the NW want to confirm Sam's story themselves? Wouldn't they want to take note of what landmarks to look for on the other side? ... Wouldn't they already have done it? Sam returned at the same time as Bowen. Bowen was in charge of the NW until Jon's elecion. Bowen and Thorne were thick.... Survivors of Jon's ranging could have been expected to return by this route. In fact, I don't think Thorne was absent from the wall for very long at all, returning secretly in this way. Just in Passing, @Clegane'sPup and @three-eyed monkey .. I simply throw up my hands over the gates ... The plan of WF in the wiki is now different from what was shown back in the dinosaur days of 2013 or so. Harking back to many a lengthy discussion and explanation and beating into my head, the main gate was set in the outer wall and the east gate was directly behind it set in the inner wall. Both eventually led to the Kingsroad (travelling to the south) via an approach road running eastward from the Kingsroad to the main gate stretching about 1/4 of the way around the castle. The gate's position was sort of on the SE. vector (or maybe ESE). There was no gate facing directly E. ... (If true, this might be because it would face Bolton territory ?!?) This whole arrangement might not be as strange as it first seems when you remember that the inner walls were raised long before the outer walls. It would be only logical to align the new main gates with existing gates.... At the same time, the north gate did face N, and led. directly to the northbound Kingsroad. The hunter's gate faced sort of NW or maybe WNW and there was no S. gate. According to this layout neither Freys nor Manderlys could exit before both gates had been worked free and then it would be Freys first followed by Manderly's men. (I always assumed with some sort of safety gap between.) The map in the wiki now is much different, and it's only a fan map , so I'm hesitant to trust it entirely. It shows a South gate which it must mean to be the main gates (there's nothing labelled "Main Gate") It shows an East gate way up at the north end of the east wall. It shows the Hunter's gate facing directly west. The only thing more or less in the same location as the old map is the North Gate . I think this is what is meant by the Kingsroad gate since it's the one that is in closest proximity to any part of the Kingsroad.. I still trust the old map more, in large part because of this quote from ACOK, Bran VII, when Bran & co are splitting up... . ... But the Kingsroad coming up from the south (on any map) doesn't run to the east of WF. If the new map is anywhere near correct, the "south gate" (if it exists) would have been a better option. If Osha meant to follow the Kingsroad southward then the location of the east gate according to the old map makes more sense. (After all, if the object was to separate Bran and Rickon by a wide distance, it wouldn't make much sense to have them both travelling northward on opposite sides of the Kingsroad.) The two quotes from Osha and Roose are the only mentions of Winterfell's east gate. It seems obvious that the descriptions, matched with the actions are meant to obscure Osha and Rickon's movements. I don't know that GRRM meant to confuse us much about Roose's deployments because the battle was originally going to appear in ADWD. ... If we're left scratching our heads, it's just a cruel twist of fate. I also disagree with Ran's early assessment (I don't know whether he's had any second thoughts). We don't know that Jon has seen anything more than Ramsay's signature. He may or may not have shown the letter to Stannis ... But regardless, Stannis has a very frightened Maester Tybald right where he wants him. He would know Ramsay's signature very well and I'm sure could render a passable forgery. At CB, the conspirators need only copy it. @Ser Hedge , I wanted to offer some alternative projections to your post at the top. Now, I'll have to come back to do it since I seemed to get myself off on a side track.
  4. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Omigod.. sort of caught up, but too many quotes to deal with. I'm just going to flag a few people I think might be interested, or that I would have quoted ... @three-eyed monkey ... @kissdbyfire ... @The Coconut God ... @Impbread .. and what the hell, anyone else It's not only important what is said in the letter, but the way it's said. Though we can't actually hear tone or inflection, I think we can discern them if we look closely. Whore : I'll correct myself from the last page - the letter speaks of his (Stannis') red whore, not Jon's ,but I don't think that makes much difference. This is the only time the term appears. We never see Ramsay use the word whore as an insult to or about anyone (even in reference to the hated Lady Dustin) We don't see Mance use it as an insult to or about anyone. We have seen Stannis use it, mysoginistically victim-blaming Gilly (goat's milk is better than whore's milk) when he learns of the incest forced on her by Craster. However, I don't think Stannis would use "whore" to describe Mel, even when hiding his identity. She's not just a sexual object to him, and to equate Mel with a whore would be to equate himself with Robert. Stannis prides himself in being a different sort of man.(Yet I think Stannis wrote the original letter.) ... Last but not least, Thorne refers to Ygritte as an “unwashed whore” in (to me) the same sneering way that the letter uses “red whore”. Bastard: I believe if Stannis has used it, it would have been matter-of-factly (I can think of no instance where he hurls it as an epithet at anyone). ... Ramsay uses it once in reference to his horse, but while telling Theon to take care of it... "Just see to Blood. I rode the bastard hard."...so, not in a cruel or insulting way. ... Mance uses it to Jon many times, but without hatred behind it. He's reminding Jon of their first conversation and Jon's supposed reason for joining him (rubbing it in a bit, but not smearing him). ... Disguised as Rattleshirt, he's trying to hint to Jon about his own real identity so that Jon can make use of him in the way Jon and Stannis discussed. ,,, But Thorne uses bastard about and to Jon freely and dripping with contempt. The same "tone" is clear in the letter. I found it really informative to compare the letter to the scene where Thorne and Slynt question Jon in ASOS, Jon IX. I think there is a discernible pattern in the tactics and desired result common to both. (And if not for the presence of Maester Aemon, Thorne would likely have succeeded in getting Jon executed in the first instance.) We can tell that Thorne has been working away at Slynt, encouraging his resentment of Ned and projecting it onto Jon, fueling Slynt's pre-judgement with his own hatred and false accusations. Slynt confirms this when he says, “Ser Alliser had your measure true enough, it seems.” .. and we know that Thorne continued doing much the same with Bowen and others up until Jon sent him ranging. In both the interrogation and the PL there's an attempt to implicate Jon in the deeds of others: letter - “Your false king lied and so did you, You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me.” ... interrogation - “Lord Snow is nothing if not arrogant,” said Ser Alliser. “He murdered Qhorin just as his fellow turncloaks did Lord Mormont. It would not surprise me to learn that it was all part of the same fell plot. ...” Both cases are marked by repeated insults and goading until, in the case of the interrogation , Jon does react by choking Thorne, which Thorne then uses to try to prove his case (that Jon did indeed turn his cloak)... “You see for yourselves, brothers. The boy is a wildling.” Of course , thanks to Aemon, the plan falls short of success. I believe the plan has not succeeded with the PL either, since I don't think Jon is dead, or even "mostly dead". But I'll leave that aside, for now. (And I'll leave aside the suicide mission which is in many ways dissimilar, although Jon realises that Thorne is the brains behind that plan, too.) I think the plan that was being formulated was to kill Jon on his ranging to Hardhome ( a fate Thorne accused Jon of planning for him). The danger to Jon is hinted at a number of times and I think the conspirators were set to make sure of it. However the ranging would be dangerous for their agents too ... as well as for any brothers who were not in on the plot. With the arrival of the letter, the chance to get John to go to WF instead would be safer for them (and must have seemed like a gift.) It would just take some of Alliser's tried and true tweaking. BUT... one of the recurring themes running through our story is - no matter how carefully laid a plan is, someone is likely going to throw a spanner in the works. Jon's decision to take only wildlings and the wildlings' rousing willingness to be led by him are a couple of really weighty spanners. Hence the rushed (and I believe botched) assassination attempt. So I think Stannis wrote the original letter (disguised as Ramsay) intending to warn Jon to try to scoop up Arya's party (which includes Tycho, bearing Stannis' hope of help from Braavos) and to warn Jon to protect CB against Ramsay. I agree that Stannis has a Trojan Horse plan and I expect he will win his battle at the crofters' village . I expect Ramsay will follow the Freys and Manderlys after giving them a good head start. Roose wouldn't want to risk his own men (or as few as possible) but they do need to retrieve "Arya". I just think there are spanners (at least one major one) in Stannis' future , but I've beaten my fingers up enough for one night. I'll elaborate tomorrow.
  5. bemused

    Please explain Ramsay and the Pink Letter.

    Life has been keeping me away (and problems with my hands), so I have a lot of thoughts pent up and I hope I've saved some of the multiple posts I started and couldn't finish. Anyway, when you think of the distance Jon's letter had traveled, compared to Roose's letter, Jon's should have been sopping. GRRM purposely has Theon point out that Roose's letter would be wet, precisely for comparison, I'd bet. There may have been time to dry it (e.g. by Clydas' fire), but then parchment wouldn't have dried flat and if it was pressed that would take longer to dry. So... I don't think there's any perhaps about Thorne's involvement.I think the letter reads most like the way we have seen Thorne speak to Jon when he's really trying to goad Jon into doing something rash. - Bastard, bastard, bastard ... earlier, Ygritte was an "unwashed whore"... here, Mel is Jon's "red whore" (not just the more usual red witch)... earlier, Thorne tries to goad Jon into attacking him, a senior officer, which is itself punishable by death ... now Jon is being goaded into attacking Winterfell , which is no doubt included in the conspirator's supposed reasoning / excuse for the assassination.... and many other etc's. (I could go on.) I agree the original letter was written by Stannis, but I think it was wriiten not from Winterfell, but from the field after the battle and after Ramsay , arriving late for the battle, continues on after his bride and his Reek. I've missed a lot, here. I have pages to read to catch up...
  6. Going back a bit... Probably, Daemon + Nettles = Pygmalion (GRRM echoes GBS)
  7. I,m not surprised Sansa doesn't know, either. I think Wyman Manderly would know ... (and I see @The Sleeper has just mentioned this as I type) and many of the others would have had reasons to visit WF themselves as Arya was growing up. In any case, believing as I do in a version of the GNC, I think that if Wyman knows, he will have told the other Lords. Manderly has the two visits to inform him, and he has a beloved granddaughter ("my Wylla") whose comparative age to Arya he would likely have noted at the time. While some of the Lords are not the same, the Ryswells, Barbrey Dustin, and Jonelle Cerwyn are still there , and while Jonelle is not in WF, it seems she was with Lady Dustin in Barrowton at the time Roose arrived. Theon/Reek notices her banner flying from Barrow Hall and she signed Jon's "wedding invitation/summons" letter and Asha's letter ..(possibly Wyman's, too?) She lends Roose her maester to take charge of Luwin's ravens which might be how she manages to avoid going to WF - someone has to mind the homefires. (I think that could be a convenient excuse to cover other activities, but that's another topic.)
  8. I'm sure many in the north do know, and many more have reason to suspect that the bride is an imposter. Some may not be sure of exactly how old Arya would be, though the northern Lords probably would. But all those who don't know Ramsay or his reputation - including Sansa when she finds out - have the very public example of Margaery and Tommen , where the marriage has been performed and sanctified, but not expected to be consummated until the younger partner is ready. ETA: Sansa doesn't know Ramsay, but undoubtedly has heard the same creepy stories of the Boltons and the Dreadfort that are referred to in the conversation between Robb and Bran when Robb calls the banners . With this in mind, I'm not sure Sansa would feel jealous...
  9. bemused

    [TWOW Spoilers] Alayne I, v. 3

    I do believe that Ser Shadrich (possibly Howland Reed) is there to rescue Sansa rather than kidnap her. Chances are that he will have help in Ser Morgarth (possibly Elder Brother) and Ser Byron (possibly the Blackwood heir, Brynden). I don't think Shadrich is after the KL reward ... but his conversation with Brienne was in part, to let her know that a reward for Sansa had been offered (and so to be more wary) ... and in part, to judge from Brienne's reactions whether her intentions were honourable. (In much the same vein as the Liddle's conversation with Bran and Jojen - giving information while testing them obliquely.) Yohn Royce (and even Randa Royce) might act in Sansa's interests, for different reasons ... and Sansa gives us something to think about in the Alayne chapter when she wonders if Lyn Corbray is really Petyr's bought ally pretending to be an adversary or if he's a true adversary pretending to have been bought. If Shadrich and his two companions arrived together, it was probably on one of the ships Brienne noted at Maidenpool. There was the Gulltown Girl and the Seastrider. She and Podrick Payne made the rounds of the ships that remained. The master of the Gulltown Girl took Brienne for a whore and told them that his ship was not a bawdy house, and a harpooner on the Ibbenese whaler offered to buy her boy, but they had better fortune elsewhere. She purchased Podrick an orange on the Seastrider, a cog just in from Oldtown by way of Tyrosh, Pentos, and Duskendale. "Gulltown next," her captain told her, "thence around the Fingers to Sisterton and White Harbor, if the storms allow. She's a clean ship, 'Strider, not so many rats as most, and we'll have fresh eggs and new-churned butter aboard. Is m'lady seeking passage north?" ... AFFC, Brienne V Shadrich (and perhaps Byron) may already have been aboard since Shadrich had been headed to Duskendale. Until the situation with the Corbrays comes into sharper focus, I wouldn't rule out an escape through Gulltown. Lyonel's young wife is the daughter of a rich Gulltown merchant who might be susceptible to persuasion.
  10. bemused

    [TWOW SPOILERS] Theon I, part vi

    From the "Even now, little things I've missed suddenly jump out at me" department .... (As I've probably said somewhere upthread, among other places) I've long held the opinion that Stannis most likely wrote a letter to Jon from the field, but that it was intercepted at the wall by the conspirators (including Thorne) and Jon received an altered version - edited to suit the conspirators' ends. I won't rehash all the possible clues in this chapter (Theon's opinions, ravens,etc.) or in Jon's last ADWD chapter (the appearance of the letter, Clydas behaviour, etc.) ... but a few days ago, while browsing the Theon chapter in ADWD, I noticed this.. "I see you all want blood," the Lord of the Dreadfort said. Maester Rhodry stood beside him, a raven on his arm. The bird's black plumage shone like coal oil in the torchlight. Wet Theon realized. And in his lordship's hand, a parchment. That will be wet as well. Any letter sent to Jon at Castle Black from Stannis, or anyone at Winterfell would have travelled much farther in the snow storm and would certainly be wet, but neither Jon nor Tormund take note of this, in spite of noticing many other details. Just one more sign that whoever wrote a letter to Jon, Jon did not receive it as it was originally written.
  11. bemused

    Songs that Make Us Think of A Song of Ice and Fire

    Indeed I did ! ..And here's one that I've loved for eons. The books remind me of the song,.. every time we read of some young thing being married off to a geezer Maids When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man ..Everybody, now !... He's got no fallurum , he's lost his ding duram da.. Maids when you're young, never wed an old man ! ETA: Besides, the boys look like they belong on the Wall...
  12. bemused

    Nymeria is poised to return

    I'd love to be participating, but I have to move at the end of Sept.,and I'm madly looking for a place to live (in the worst rental market in the bloody country). But I love these , https://www.google.ca/search?q=Viking+chess+set&espv=2&tbm=isch&imgil=b-ZcPAIqHIQsdM%3A%3BHyubyd5z0wyInM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.hurstwic.org%252Fhistory%252Farticles%252Fdaily_living%252Ftext%252Fgames_and_sports.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=b-ZcPAIqHIQsdM%3A%2CHyubyd5z0wyInM%2C_&usg=__E1GwRcIB4YfhuiemKiJRs4qD8vk%3D&biw=1088&bih=510&ved=0ahUKEwisxeeCjt3OAhVNVWMKHfeHBFwQyjcIMQ&ei=Qi2_V6ycFs2qjQP3j5LgBQ#imgrc=LSFw73UG5GnNoM%3A and I like to think of the little shield-biter as Jon.
  13. @Ibbison from Ibben That's a quote from Shadrich in Brienne I, AFFC. And, of course, we will not see him participate in the tourney in the vale... So if he's Howland, he's posing as a knight.. but that wouldn't mean he hasn't seen battle.(We know he must have.) He's riding a "rangy chestnut courser" .. a horse commonly used in battle, but also hunting. (A tall horse is something of an equalizer for a small man.) Yes, as I said, this is the sort of thing that has always kept me from making a certain ID... and still does to a degree.. but l'm more inclined to it now, than previously. It's the potential involvement of Bloodraven that changes things. Dontos (of Duskendale) and Sansa do all their planning in the godswood.. and though the heart tree is an oak, when Ned takes his daughters there on an overnight vigil ... When dawn broke over the city, the dark red blooms of dragon's breath surrounded the girls where they lay. "I dreamed of Bran," Sansa had whispered to him. "I saw him smiling." ... AGoT, Eddard V I'm suspicious of that dragon's breath (at least as a possible significator of BR's presence in spite of the lack of a weirwood)... A black cat could also go unnoticed in a dark godswood, as well as roosting birds.. Littlefinger's part in the proceedings may not have been so easily discernable (depending on where he planned with Dontos, and later on the sea, in the dark).. so, searching to pick up her traces might be necessary (Or, LF's part may actually have been foreseen or quickly deduced with daylight, seabirds, the old hound at the fingers, etc.) However, we do know, if Creighton and Illifer are Varys' agents, where they could have met to discuss plans very privately, and how they could have been observed. - In AGoT, "Balerion" possibly led Arya to where Varys and Illyrio could be overheard, and because of Arya, we know there's an outside route from there to/from one of the city gates. (As Skahaz tells Barristan elsewhwere "Cats go everywhere. No one ever looks at them." .. I get the feeling that in this game, cat and mouse are on the same team.) I don't really think that Howland is the stay-at-home type. Besides the Isle of Faces, Harrenhal, RR &ToJ, I think there are some signs that he was perhaps personally liaising with Robb when Robb and Greywind (probably in contravention of what would be normal security measures) went out scouting alone, repeatedly, during Robb's progress through Hag's Mire. (I say this because by the time Robb gives instructions to Meage and Galbart, and discusses his homeward battle strategy, he's already certain of the role Howland and GWW will play.) In the years since the TOJ , Howland might have made many trips outside GWW. Did he never return to the Green Men , or to Harrenhal, where he would be known to Shella Whent? His lands border on Dustin lands to the north, would he never have had anything to discuss with Barbrey Dustin in 14+ years? We can't know, but many things are possible. **And Barbrey Dustin has just made me realize another possible reference the TOJ... Shadrich rides a "rangy chestnut courser" which is a similar description to Willam Dustin's "great red stallion". A chestnut is a red horse... It's not likely the same horse, but perhaps bred from the same stock ? ..or maybe, it's just a subtle evocation of Ned and his companions. Howland must have learned to ride (if not well enough to be a jouster) - because in order to turn up with Ned at the TOJ, he obviously responded when Ned called his banners, and fought with him through RR. Thinking about why he would take the Duskendale road... (apart from a possible meeting with Shella Whent) : Anyone who put Sansa and Dontos together in their mind would begin looking there.. just as Brienne did. He could be scouting to see who was on the hunt, while perhaps always knowing he'd need to make his way to the Vale. He doesn't seem to follow Brienne away from the inn, and probably stays with Hibald until Duskendale, watching for what Creigh and Illy might do next, and seeing who else might turn up on that road. The more I look, the more I think Howland can't be ruled out. I don't know that I'd use the word "tool" for any of them.. for most, I think it would be more a case of inspiring them to do what they would naturally want to do ,if they had access to the necessary information. I think there's very little about Shadrich, Creighton or Illifer that should be taken a face value. I do think Bronze Yohn will probably become another ally to the Mouse, Morgarth and Byron ..It depends how "reachable" he is..how open to suggestion by BR.. His first men blood seems favourable, but we don't know if he keeps a godswood, etc. (Even though Morgarth is a devotee of the seven.. he lives in a cave, and has spent a good deal of time in meditation... I wonder if there are any weirwood roots in the caves on the QI?... and the rusted dragon head washing up on his shore suggests that he still may have red dragon sympathies) With the connections to the Blackfyre rebellions creeping in .. I even begin to have hope for Lyn Corbray.. especially in light of the TWoW Alayne chapter. (sorry, spoilers went wacky- too tired to fix.)
  14. Oh goody..some replies.. I'll have to come back later for some answers , though.. rushing now Ni-i-ice. I must have just dashed past Duskendale a gazillion times without even thinking about it. And yes, in the Hedge Knight we find.. "It would not be fitting for us to ride against those we are sworn to protect," answered Ser Donnel, red of hair and beard. ...(one of the KG) But I'm not suggesting that Jojen and Meera must have red hair (I know some people do). Too soon to say, IMO.. and I'm not even declaring that Shadrich must be Howland.. although he could be, and I lean more toward the idea than I did before writing this thread (I was always open to it). I think his hair could be dyed, like "Alayne", like "Aegon", like John the Fiddler, like Daario, and so on - as a disguise or a sign of who he represents (like wearing a lady's favour), or both. The Darklyns were also in Bloodraven's forces in The Mystery Knight... From Maidenpool had come Lord Mooton, from Raventree Lord Blackwood, from Duskendale Lord Darklyn. The royal demenses about King's Landing sent forth Hayfords, Rosbys, Stokeworths, Masseys, and the king's own sworn swords, led by three knights of the Kingsguard and stiffened by three hundred Raven's Teeth with tall white weirwood bows. Mad Danelle Lothston herself rode forth in strength from her haunted towers at Harrenhal, clad in black armor that fit her like an iron glove, her long red hair streaming. Barristan wonders if he did the right thing by bringing Aerys out of Duskendale.. and maybe Shadrich is a Darke or a Darkwood, etc., Hmmm.. I don't see how that helps with his motivation, much.. But think of the more recent action at Duskendale, part and parcel of Roose and Tywin's trap for Robb and his forces.. Then we can see that for BR and anyone allied with him, that might be yet another catalyst. Save a Stark/Tully/Whent and thwart a new Blackfyre attempt at the same time. I really have to come back later...
  15. bemused

    Nymeria is poised to return

    @The Fattest Leech ... Predictably, I like the Val / Nymeria parallel very much. It's not always obvious which character is meant to be paralleled .. I suppose sometimes a name alone can be an identifier, but I think more often it's not. And sometimes the historic example can work in different ways for more than one character... So I say Val, yes .. but Dany, maybe in some ways, and maybe to a lesser degree. (This feeling might come as a result of my own long term predictions.) Instead of feeling the continent may eventually be divided into two at the Neck, I think there may be a third area encompassing Dorne.. and I'm leaning toward not just Jon and Dany - separate but equal - but Jon / Dany / Tyrion ....??? (suggesting the 3 heads,and various Essosi triarchies - both obvious and hidden. I also like that you stressed The Importance of Second Act Introductions (in ASoS).. and I'd like to point out that Daario was introduced to Dany, while Val was introduced to Jon. I think he's much more important than many assume - more than an object of lust, and more than an opportunity for Dany to learn where to place her priorities. ... Sure, he is both, but that's not the whole story. Hidden because it's a digression.. I completely agree on greyscale and.. @Lord Wraith ..your mention of historic John Snow is very cool. ... OK, we have greyscale occurring naturally(?) in Sothoryos... but Garin's curse (apparently) also had a complicating magical component, so finding a purely medical solution may not be possible ...Sounds like a job for someone good at thinking outside the box and having magic on his/her side... Who could that be? ... Or, will it take more than one character in co-operation ?