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

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  1. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    @Clegane'sPup.. I have given a lot of thought to Jon's first wolf dream, and I've reached some conclusions ... but it's complicated, and likely to be long. Would you prefer that I start a new thread as sort of an off-shoot, since that's not all that's being discussed here? and @Azarial, @Tagganaro, I happened across this quote from Jon VIII, ACoK... This comes in Jon's next chapter after the dream, so I don't know if anyone was thinking this could be like Bran and the weirwood paste, but it's only oats and blood. This is during their trek when Orell's/Varamyr's eagle is following and watching them. I didn't notice any mention of golden eyes here. The closest reference I could find on a quick search is in ASoS, Jon II, when the eagle attacks Jon... Hope this helps. I'm back to sorting out my breakdown of the dream(s).
  2. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    I think you should cross Chayle off your list. In Theon V, ACoK, Theon has a true dream of dining with the dead. All the corpses he sees are people he knows to be dead, or some, he didn't know to be dead for sure, but we do. At the same time, people he appears to think are dead (E.G. Benjen) are not there.. Here's most of it... Theon wakes screaming... of course, this is the first sign he has that Robb is dead, and it is right around the time of the Red Wedding. The half-seen pale shades would be long dead Starks that he later feels in WF. I don't think Chayle, a really, really unimportant character would be any different from the others.
  3. bemused

    Does Alliser Thorne know about Jon's true parentage?

    I very much agree with this, generally speaking. Thorne loves to foster resentment in the ranks, but I also detect an overlay of specific Stark hatred. At first, when he seems to be approving of Jon, it's only to make the others look worse by comparison. He knows that this will turn them against Jon, and if left unchecked, likely to bring more than one of them to grief. With Benjen away, Jon was very lucky to have Donal Noye to advise him. Looking back, Thorne seems to take a lot of satisfaction in being able to call Ned a traitor, as well as getting the desired rise out of Jon. We don't see Thorne interact with Benjen, but Smallwood was one of Thorne's cronies , and his petulant sense of being entitled to be named First Ranger, implies (to me) that he's resented Benjen for some time and has no respect for Mormont. Could Thorne have been encouraging his rancour ? I think it's pretty likely. Chett resents Jon, Sam and Mormont for the obvious reason, but I wonder (and we may never know) if someone was fanning the flames of that resentment off-page. I wonder, because we see Thorne doing just that with Slynt, leading him to conclusions about Jon, but making sure to implicate Benjen as well as Jon in Mormont's murder. @Seams.. For me, Thorne's name has a very simple interpretation - he is a thorn in Jon's side all through the story so far, from trying to alienate all Jon's training mates, to goading Jon into attacking an officer, to trying to effect Jon's execution (one way or another) numerous times. I think it continues to the present. I believe he will be revealed to be behind the assassination attempt on Jon ... and the editor of the damned pink letter. Okay, the last two are my predictions - but founded in my reading of the text. I don't know why he despises Starks, but I think it's important enough that it will be revealed. I think if it was some ages old dispute or enmity (e.g. Stark/Bolton , Blackwood/Bracken) there would have been some allusion to it by now, if only vague. So my guess is, it has to be rooted in something more recent, like the events surrounding RR. If he was on the walls at KL, as a knight from the crownlands, was he also in Aerys retinue at Harrenhall? ...If so, maybe he was another admirer of Ashara (maybe even the man who shamed her?) ... Maybe he thought Lyanna a hussy, throwing herself at Rhaegar... Maybe he blamed Brandon for setting the rebellion off. ... Maybe he blamed his lot on Ned for not getting to KL sooner, since Ned (unlike Tywin) would no doubt have offered the opportunity to bend the knee. I don't think he knows the details of Jon's parentage .
  4. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    @Azarial , @Tagganaro I really don't have time to post on everything I'd like to until later on , but I just wanted to jump in about Jon's rages.. So far, they always come in response to a perceived attack or insult against Stark blood, not so much about being called a bastard (which "fact" he's decided to own, thanks to Tyrion's advice). The first, against Thorne in AGoT, comes when Thorne is sneering at Jon, but also calling Ned a traitor... next, when Thorne goes beyond merely accusing Jon of breaking his oath, or being a bastard (Jon remained resolute but calm up to that point) Between Thorne and Slynt, Ned and Benjen are included in the smear. We see rage and unnatural strength as he lifts Thorne off the ground by the throat. In these cases, although he's overcome with rage and is difficult to stop, he's aware of what he's doing. When pulling the Weeper's spear out of the ground, his anger remains under control, and there is no insult to Starks involved. In his bout with Iron Emmet, he loses it completely. He had reminisced about his "I'm Lord of Winterfell" game with Robb... when he's stunned into that remembrance, he's tasting his own blood (not just any blood), so in a way there's an implication that his Stark blood is not worthy. For the first time, he doesn't remember the rest of the fight. In his bout with Mance / Rattleshirt, his mouth fills with blood, but he spits it out and remains in his conscious mind. The other Stark kids display unnatural strength, on occasion, but not the same altered mind state. Rickon, Robb and Arya display a fierce temper occasionally, but (e.g.) even though the Hound has to pull Arya off the Tickler (?), she later remembers in Braavos, how it felt as she was stabbing him again and again. So while I do think Jon's dragon blood acts as an accelerant, it's tasting blood, particularly his own, with it's wolf blood component, that is the catalyst. Aside: I don't think of wolves as cold, especially when attacking. I have to fly but here's the rest of that scene from Jon IX, ASoS...
  5. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    @Azarial Sorry I partially misunderstood you re: ghosts... I realise you're open to entertaining the possibility of Benjen as the HM, or at least are of no fixed position. I'd suggest Benjen - wounded, losing blood - was rescued (probably by Coldhands) and taken to the cotf cave, where he was healed and afterwards introduced to Bloodraven. Benjen cannot be connected to the tree as Bran can, but Bloodraven would be able to convince Benjen of who he was and that his word could be trusted about what was going on, the seriousness of the threat, the role of Starks in the coming struggle. He would be able to give many examples of events and conversations from the past that Benjen would know to be true. Benjen would be told about Ned and Robb, and what was happening / about to happen at Winterfell. He'd know about Bran's one-in-a-million abilities and the urgency of getting him to the cotf, and so much else, including the magical import of "there must always be a Stark in WF." If he returned to the wall, would he be believed? Would he get there before Mormont left? Would he be allowed to go to WF? (IMO, not if people like Marsh and Thorne had any say, especially if Marsh was communicating with KL.) I think BR/cotf would make the same case to Benjen that Qhorin made to Jon. One man's personal honour is not more important than serving the greater good. And like Jon, Benjen would still be thinking of himself as a man of the NW, and that what he was doing would benefit the NW, as well. So I assume that like Sam, he would have been escorted to the Black Gate to return. From there, he'd turn to the clans for help in getting to WF, to gather their latest news and to warn them not to impede Bran heading north.. As the Stark in WF during RR, and First Ranger of the NW, he would be well known to them. Now it's my turn to thank you for the Arya in Harrenhall quote ... It's a scene I hadn't read in a while. I agree that .. ... rumours about Robb having giants following him is probably foreshadowing about Jon. But the quotes about "more wolf than man" are only partly right. All Starks are not wargs, and all Stark wargs are not wolf-like to the same degree.. and in Arya's case there's an added Eowyn twist - she's not a man. Meanwhile, back at the wall, I don't think Jon is dead, perhaps not even fully unconscious. I think in his extreme circumstances, his resistance will be broken and there will be a sudden full bonding with ghost. Due to this , when angered he'll become a full-on wolf-berserker (ulfheddin), and while in this state, he will seem to many "more wolf than man" His blind rages have been becoming more extreme. Warging will only increase the tendency (probably the result of his Stark blood being mixed with Targaryen). Sure, he'll have wounds that need tending, but I don't think they'll keep him down. In the same way, Jon pretending to be ghost in the crypts could be foreshadowing for Benjen. There are lots of similarities between their paths. If the attack inside WF is to come now, I don't see how Jon gets there in time to take part.
  6. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    Ook... where to begin... I'll never get to all I'd like to say. Here's the quote from ACoK, Bran VII.. The door isn't mentioned again after that - until we see Barbrey's men open it, at which time it's closed, and reburied in rubble. So, who did that and when interests me. Once I began to be convinced that Benjen could be the HM, many more things began to fall into place for me (logically speaking) and this was one of the later clues to fall in line. It has to do with the squatters, not ghosts. The squatters are not inclined to flee or melt away when Roose's van is approaching up the Kingsroad, and some of them behave "belligerently".. This always seemed strange, because that many men and horses do not move silently, are bound to kick up dust and the "squatters" can survey the landscape from 100 ft. walls. Why are they still there when Roose arrives? Even if they didn't think Roose would be staying, they'd be safer to say, hide in the wolfswood until he was gone. Even if real squatters were foolish enough to stay, or for some reason had no forewarning, it would not be in the interest of self-preservation to be belligerent. Unless they had a common purpose, their behaviour makes no sense to me. I think they were the ones to rebury the crypt door. Not because they were afraid of ghosts; Theon notices dead bodies from the time of the sack still lying around - why close the door on one set of ghosts, yet live among another set ? ... They might have piled the rubble back on the door very recently - like when they noticed (or were notified of) Roose's approach. But if they had some necessary tasks to perform, like moving the rubble and perhaps getting rid of some tell-tale signs that something clandestine was underway, then they might not have had time to avoid Roose. They were roughly two dozen men - only men, which I think is odd. That's quite a number of random, unassociated single men to be in one place. If they were, e.g., survivors from Cassel's battle vs Ramsay , they should have had homes to go to. ... Outlaws? We haven't heard mention of any band of outlaws in the north. Unless they had a purpose in the story, I can't see George's purpose in putting them there. Logically, Roose wouldn't have expected to find a handy workforce there; he would have been expecting to set his own men to do the work. ... The reason can't be just to show Roose's cruelty and untrustworthiness. We already knew. So I think they were volunteers from the clans and other houses there to aid Benjen - serve as lookouts door guards and maybe security to shoo away any genuine squatters who might want to settle in, or deal with any snoopy Bolton men. You said... Now, that said, characters believing they see ghosts and starting to act based on their beliefs has little and less to do with what is 'really' happening. ... I can't totally agree with this. Seeing what men believed to be Renly's ghost had quite a bit to do with the outcome of the Battle of the Blackwater. Even in Theon's case... Summoned before Roose et al, he's under scrutiny himself, yet he never mentions the HM, because (IMO) he believes the HM's a ghost (even though he wonders, himself, if the HM is doing the killings). So no-one twigs to the fact that there really could be an interloper in their midst, and Frey suspicions focus even more strongly on Manderly.
  7. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    I may be wrong, but I'm almost sure George has said that we won't meet any ghosts. (I'd have to search the SSMs)... anyway, that wouldn't mean that their presence won't be felt. Theon is certainly convinced he feels them. And it wouldn't mean we won't meet people who are assumed to be ghosts. The Ironwood door was never destroyed just buried in rubble from the collapsed tower. Hodor manages to push it open and they leave it that way... But when Roose arrives, the door is closed and re-buried in rubble. (I say thanks to the so called "squatters".) The swords are interesting ... between ACoK and ASoS we learn that Osha took the sword from Ned's tomb, Meera - Lord Rickard's, Bran - Brandon's, Hodor - a centuries old one , heavy and rusted (but whose?). ... Then in the TWoW Theon chapter, If I'm right and he's there, Benjen may not have had a sword after what he'd been through, or he may have thought a particular tomb sword would have some symbolic value. He would have had time to work on it. ... The HM does have a sword when Theon meets him. (or there's some other explanation) I'm not sure there's anything so formal as a curse or if it's just that so long as the magic in WF holds (i.e., if a Stark is in residence) everything about the place, including the spirit (or spirits) of all the dead Starks will push back against any invader...? Theon senses all sorts of ghosts in WF - in my view, correctly and incorrectly identified ... and I think there may be more incorrect identifications to come. Here's what I mean - I think the secret passage under WF, first hinted at way back in Bran's first chapter in AGoT, does exist, but like the working of the Black Gate with the NW, only a Stark can find it and open it. - It has been forgotten for centuries , but the cotf and Bloodraven would be in a position to know of it and it's operation. Many (if not all) of the secret or hidden passages we've seen into castles, even the small holdfast by the God's Eye, open directly onto water , or close to it. WF is not close to the White Knife but we should remember the vastness of the crypts, and references elsewhere to vast networks of tunnels... Between WF and the White Knife sits House Cerwyn, very close to House Stark, and as it happens, quite empty at the moment. Although Jonelle Cerwyn was in Barrowton, she is not present in WF. Manderly has ferried fighting men and supplies up the White Knife before, to help Rodrik Cassel take Torrhen's Square. In his ADWD chapter, Theon draws our attention to the logistics of defending against men fighting up a spiral stairway. (Leaving us to consider- Yes, that can be defended, but, what if no-one is expecting the attackers ?... what if they have allies at the top holding defenders back?... etc.) With those in mind, I think/feel that the non-magical reason Benjen is there is to oversee the resurrection of WF ... to re-supply it and re-man it. I think this has been underway since before Roose returned and decided to hold the wedding there. This had to be undertaken secretly for as long as possible, to avoid Ramsay's notice. At this point, I think they (Northern Lords and select people they can trust completely) plan to retake WF from within. With the exit of the Freys and Manderly men and (very probably) Ramsay with some Dreadfort men bringing up the rear in search of fArya, the difference between Roose & Dreadfort men vs all the other Northmen (yes, I think all) is suddenly much closer to being evenly matched, though still in Roose's favour. So, getting back to ghosts, if (after the Freys et al are gone) the crypts open and "x" number of fighting men wearing the Stark sigil and led by a man widely thought to be dead emerge (maybe screaming "Winterfell !")... do you think that would help the odds? .. Would it have a similar effect to "Renly's ghost" at the Blackwater ? (Of course what they might wear and what they might cry is purely imagination, but I think there are enough clues scattered throughout the books to think the attack will happen) Benjen may indeed have been wounded and lying in a pool of blood as in Jon's vision, but rescued and healed by the cotf (think of Mance being healed after extreme blood loss,by the wildling wise woman's daughter - using porridges and potions). Qhorin convinced Jon to appear to break his oath, even break it outright if necessary, for the greater good. I think the cotf and Bloodraven did the same for Benjen and probably explained a lot to him. I think his mission is related to the Wall and the NW. WF and the wall were both supposedly raised by the same builder(s). The NW oath says "I am the watcher on the walls". Plural. I've often pointed out that might mean a NW brother has to be true to his oath wherever it he happens to be... and walls might also refer to the wall and WF's wall. Jon says the wall killed Jarl (who would have been his rival for Val and future leader of the free folk) ... later Jon comments or thinks (paraphrase) sometimes the wall just shakes them off, like a dog shakes off fleas ... Jon sees his reflection inside the wall. He doesn't see himself reflected on the wall, or reflected by the wall, but inside, as if he's part of it. ("Inside" always seemed an unusual word for GRRM to use, to me. ) I think it's likely that Stark blood and WF are connected to, or even a component of the magic of the wall. An integral part of the magical defense against the others.... There must always be a Stark in Winterfell. Is WF a back-up, a last redoubt? ..And I wonder if all those boy Stark LCs were very far back in history during winter, or when winter was approaching ? ... Must there also be a Stark LC when the Others threaten? got to quit for tonight..
  8. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    @redriver was the first to make the ID way back when and it clicked instantly for me (though we go on to differ on the implications it has on the larger picture). ... Myrtle is tall, older (hair turning grey) and deep voiced. Mance introduces her as his mother. Back when Bran encountered him in the cave (I think it was the Liddle , not a Liddle), he recounted sometimes having a dream that his "old mother has come back to us". Side note: GRRM points out that some "washerwomen" actually do some washing, and Myrtle Later shows up with the servants' disguises. How would she be able to get them, unnoticed? ... It occurs to me that providing laundry services to the various northern Lords would also give good cover for getting information between them and Mance. This also ties in with why I feel so sure Benjen is the HM. Leaving aside many other clues, when the boys escape from Theon, he muses that.. Later, at Deepwood Motte, Asha recalls... Hold those thoughts, for a bit. I think Rickon and Osha have received the protection Theon predicted - from Manderly and the Umbers. Bran .. not so much. From the Liddle, he just receives a warning that the Boltons are searching for him, and.. It appears that a mere, "it's not a place that I'd be going" is completely incompatible with (loose quote) "fighting for the honour of protecting Bran" or "rallying around him". It seems the Liddle should have done more to either dissuade Bran from going into danger or sent protectors with him. As to the Asha quote, I think Glover's maester was telling it true. Why did the Clans take so readily to Stannis' cause? They don't argue about whether or not to support him. "The Ned's little girl" may just be a convenient excuse. Such a quarrelsome bunch might have had differing ideas about how to help her.... She cannot possibly be leading them. There's one more puzzle piece of a quote back in Bran IV, AGoT when Yoren brings the news of Benjen's disappearance and probable death to WF... Obviously Luwin and Theon (and possibly everyone but Bran and Robb ) believe Benjen is pretty well inevitably dead. I think the four puzzle pieces fir together like this... Bran's intuition is right and the children (and Bloodraven) have helped Benjen. (Jon's vision of Benjen "dead" on the ground may also be an intuitive flash.... but we know that the appearance of death is not always true.) "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" (evoked by the Liddle's speech) is not just a family maxim but, though forgotten, is connected to the magic in WF. No Stark in WF - the magic begins to fade or die. The magic only responds to a Stark, just like the Black Gate responds to a NW brother. As Jon is sent on a mission by the Half Hand for the greater good, Benjen is likewise sent on a mission to be the Stark in WF. Benjen is also capable of leading the Clans and others. He has been the Stark in WF before and is well known to them. The Liddle would defer to him if he said it was important to let Bran proceed. The very snowstorm may be emanating from Winterfell not because there is no Stark present, but because there is. The Liddle's speech mentions his mother for a second time and in the next breath, mentions a Stark in WF and says " all that's left us is the ghosts" in relation to Starks. So I think the Liddle is portraying his mother's ghost and when Theon meets the HM, he thinks he's seeing Benjen's ghost. (Hence he's not afraid to show his hands - Ben's ghost would not be reporting him to Ramsay). ... Benjen is either a leader of the GNC or the leader. If he was on his way back as Bran & co were escaping, there has been time for him to co-ordinate with the other northern Lords. I have many more clues that I think support these points, but that would have made this much longer. Back to Rowan - she could also be one of the Greatjon's daughters mentioned by Jon to Stannis..
  9. bemused

    Meanwhile back at the Wall

    Boy this thread has been moving along at quite a clip ... I wanted to reply to one or two things this morning but had no time.. now where are we ... .. I've been spouting this for years.. What makes it the penguin theory ?... Is that a Batman reference, or...? I noticed there was some discussion of the accursed pink letter and wanted to chime in. For years I've thought one person wrote it (probably Stannis, IMO, though cases can be made for others) but the conspirators at the wall intercepted it and re-wrote it, making changes to suit their purposes before giving it to Jon. Yes, I think Alliser is there (the brain behind the conspirators) and suspect he is the editor. I've cited many reasons in the past, which I won't enumerate fully, unless asked. But there's one I only noticed recently on a re-read. First from Theon, ADWD... Later in Jon XIII... Of all the things Jon notices about the parchment, wet is not one of them... The raven that arrived at castle Black would have to have flown many times farther than Arnolf's raven to Roose. That parchment should be wet. Then this last.. .. serves not only as a hint at Jon's intended ambush, but it prods us to think about the condition of the raven and by extension, the parchment. (Or it would, if all hell wasn't breaking loose.) Although Mance appears as him self, he had to be wearing Mel's ruby as he left Castle Black, so he has it with him. He can take on Rattleshirt's appearance and fade into the background. Squirrel planned to go to the godswood - she can pull a Wex. Rowan is probably an Umber. Hother may have a contingency plan for her. I think Myrtle is a man (The Liddle, to be precise) and if "she" gathered up one change of clothes for the others (by actually doing some washing) she may have gathered up more. ... So, "she" becomes a man again. I bet Frenya would fall on he spear before being taken, if she could.... that leaves Willow (and I don't know why she's Willow Witch Eye).. perhaps Lady Dustin could claim her as one of her servants, or... ? The others always seem to have had another plan (or a plan b). There is a chance that all but Holly (RIP) and Frenya (gulp) could evade capture. Not much time, now ... but I think Benjen is the Hooded man (and there is a Stark in WF)... but Ramsay has done most of the killings, except Little walder (Big Walder probably at Roose's direction)
  10. bemused

    Secrets of Braavos by Jonathan Roberts

    @The Weirwoods Eyes ... Hi, there. Sure... The sign that got me thinking in that direction (pardon the upcoming pun), is that ... It feels silly having to hide all this when the Mercy chapter was put up on GRRM's site in 2014, but I guess I'll continue. As to the Black Pearl... I could rattle on but life is calling...
  11. I think there will be a battle at Stannis' camp , at which Ramsay will arrive late(ish), Ramsay will follow, hunting his bride and his Reek. And I think there will be another battle inside WF, all the Northmen inside except Boltons against Roose, from which Roose may find a way to withdraw to the Dreadfort, and continue to be a problem going forward. No meeting of the bastards at either one. But I think there will be a confrontation between Jon and Ramsay, foreshadowed in the way Jon would have liked to deal with Styr attacking CB from the south, if Jon had only had the men to do it ... and foreshadowed in the rescue of Alys and interception of Cregan. Whether it will be an all out battle , or a skirmish, ambush, or duel remains to be seen. George has Glover say to Davos that Ramsay "seems a beast in human skin" (paraphrase).. Jon is a skinchanger and I greatly suspect that in TWoW, he will have become George's version of an ulfheddin / wolf berserker as a result of his increasingly powerful rages, his wounding, and a sudden bonding with Ghost. I don't think that will be long drawn out process at all. (The long drawn out part has already happened through the previous books.)
  12. bemused

    Wow, I never noticed that v.16

    Here's one I noticed back in December. I posted it in the TWoW section and always meant to post it here, as well. For years, I've thought the "pink" letter was copied and edited by the conspirators at CB, for a whole host of reasons - but here's the new one, quoted fro the other thread.. There's even a subtle reminder in ADWD, Jon XIII, after Jon reads the letter aloud and just before all hell breaks loose... Horse and Rory fell in beside Jon as he left the Shieldhall. I should talk with Melisandre after I see the queen, he thought. If she could see a raven in a storm, she can find Ramsay Snow for me. Then he heard the shouting ...
  13. bemused

    Will Jon come back to life?

    Here's my prediction. Jon is not only not dead but not even so badly wounded to keep him out of commission for very long, at all. We won't even know if he's lost consciousness fully until we get his next chapter. I think not. When Ghost was wounded, we saw that Jon's presence lent him the strength to get up and keep going, after only cursory attention to Ghost's wounds. I think the same effect will be seen here, this time with the energy flowing from Ghost to Jon. I do assume someone will have set Ghost free (just as Dany's dragons were set free by a third party). There are many candidates - Mel, Devan, Dryn, Satin, etc., etc. - and many scenarios , intentional or inadvertent, through which this could happen. Jon has shown increasingly the tendancy to access abnormal strength and/or go into a blind fighting rage when angered. He must now be angry and I think Ghost's presence would only increase the ferocity of such a state. I developed these opinions much more fully in this archived thread.. https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/130451-jon-the-berserker/ ... if anyone's up for a longish read. ETA: It might be Jon's wounds will only be tended after he has settled a few scores - not by Mel, IMO. I'd guess by Morna White Mask and Val.
  14. bemused

    Opinions on Ghostwriters for remaining books

    Barristan I was the sample chapter in the US paperback. I believe Barristan II was only read out at a convention (no recording allowed). What we got was a fan report based on copious note taking.
  15. bemused

    Secrets of Braavos by Jonathan Roberts

    I had the following almost ready to post two nights ago when life intervened, so this comes a bit late ... I think Arya will definitely encounter her. Quotes from "Cat of the Canals" : You would find softer service in the household of some merchant. Or would you sooner be a courtesan, and have songs sung of your beauty? Speak the word, and we will send you to the Black Pearl or the Daughter of the Dusk. <snip> “I sold three cockles to a courtesan,” Cat told the sailors. “She called to me as she was stepping off her barge.” Brusco had made it plain to her that she was never to speak to a courtesan unless she was spoken to first, but the woman had smiled at her and paid her in silver, ten times what the cockles had been worth. “Which one was this, now? The Queen o’ Cockles, was it?” "The Black Pearl," she told them. Merry claimed the Black Pearl was the most famous courtesan of all. "She's descended from the dragons, that one," the woman had told Cat. "The first Black Pearl was a pirate queen. A Westerosi prince took her for a lover and got a daughter on her, who grew up to be a courtesan. Her own daughter followed her, and her daughter after her, until you get to this one. What did she say to you, Cat?" "She said 'I'll take three cockles,' and 'Do you have some hot sauce, little one?'" the girl had answered. "And what did you say?" "I said, 'No, my lady,' and, 'Don't call me little one. My name is Cat.' <snip> Cat told the kindly man about the Black Pearl too. "Her true name is Bellegere Otherys," she informed him. It was one of the three things that she had learned. "It is," the priest said softly. "Her mother was Bellonara, but the first Black Pearl was a Bellegere as well." Bringing this up to date, I have a slightly different take on the events of the Mercy chapter... It's my bet that the Sealord who signed the marriage pact was the current Sealord's predecessor. This one took a compliant stance toward Robert (supported by members of the wealthy merchant class) and was responsible for the expulsion of Dany and Viserys. Now, with Dany rising in power, Braavosi factions who sympathized with the Targaryens in the past will be trying to come to the fore again. Bellegere's bloodlines may evoke a personal sympathy with their cause, beyond obedience to "Valar Dohaeris". After thinking about the implications of the Mercy chapter, I have to wonder if Bellegere had some inkling of who "Cat" was when she called to her, and overpaid so generously for her cockles. The KM, a priest, speaks "softly" of Bellegere ... out of what, respect, friendship? I doubt it's purely physical admiration. And in ADWD, when Plague Face says to Arya... You were a cat, they tell me. Prowling through the alleys smelling of fish, selling cockles and mussels for coin. ... who are "they"? So yes, I think the Black Pearl could be quite prominent in TWoW. To come back to the OP, I quite like #6 as her residence. And if (big if) Otharys/Otherys is not a mistake, could it mark descent from a founding family on the female side?