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Bran Vras

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  1. Bran Vras

    Is Marwyn the Mage an Ibbenese, at least partly?

    I have noticed too the resemblance to Axell Florent, but it is not as strong as one would think. Axell has indeed the barrel chest, hairy nose and ears, brow ridge and thick arms. But he does not have the stature of an Ibbenese or Marwyn. He has bowed legs (not short and thick), no long arms are noted. He is stout but not short. His allure is not brutish (rather comical). He displays no special strength. No sign of a large head. The prominent ears, broad nose, double chin, close set eyes of Axell are noted neither in Marwyn nor in the Ibbenese. By contrast, Marwyn is really strong, short, has a brutish look, a square jaw. Long arms and sloping brow are not specified, but somewhat implied (extraordinary large hands, thrusting forward face and ridge). Some features of the Ibbenese are noted neither in Marwyn nor in Axell: wiry hair, sunken eyes, dark blue veins. Thanks @John Suburbs @Legitimate_Bastard for mentioning the Ib-Skagos connection and the chewing mania. @Lollygag there might be something to Selyse moustache, as Ibbenese women have a beard (or at least a moustache like Assadora in Braavos).
  2. Bran Vras

    Is Marwyn the Mage an Ibbenese, at least partly?

    As to whether Marwyn is really an Ibbenese, note that his appearance is weirder than Casso Mogat, Casso Mogat was a mongrel of the narrow sea, fathered on a Sisterton whore by an Ibbenese whaler. Only five feet tall and very hirsute, he dyed his hair and whiskers a mossy green. It made him look like a tree stump in yellow boots. Despite his appearance, he seemed a good sailor, though a hard master to his crew. Clearly Marwyn fits better as an Ibbenese. As to the meaning of this for the wider story, I don't really know. But here are a few thoughts. Recall this interesting passage from TWoIaF. The God-Kings of Ib, before their fall, did succeed in conquering and colonizing a huge swathe of northern Essos immediately south of Ib itself, a densely wooded region that had formerly been the home of a small, shy forest folk. Some say that the Ibbenese extinguished this gentle race, whilst others believe they went into hiding in the deeper woods or fled to other lands. The Dothraki still call the great forest along the northern coast the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, the name by which they knew the vanished forest-dwellers. The fabled Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon, Lord of the Tides, was the first Westerosi to visit these woods. After his return from the Thousand Islands, he wrote of carved trees, haunted grottoes, and strange silences. A later traveler, the merchant-adventurer Bryan of Oldtown, captain of the cog Spearshaker, provided an account of his own journey across the Shivering Sea. He reported that the Dothraki name for the lost people meant “those who walk in the woods.” None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. At its greatest extent, the Ibbenese foothold on Essos was as large as Ib itself and far richer. More and more of the hairy men crossed over from the islands to make their fortunes there, cutting down the trees to put the land under the plow, damming the rivers and streams, mining the hills. Ruling over these domains was Ibbish, a fishing village that swelled to become a thriving port and the second city of the Ibbenese, with a deep harbor and high white walls. [...] Ib retains a modest foothold on Essos even to this day, on a small peninsula surrounded by the sea and defended by a wooden wall almost as long as the ice Wall of the Night’s Watch, if not a third as high, a towering earth-and-timber palisade bristling with defensive towers and protected by a deep ditch. Behind the earthworks, the men of Ib have built the town of New Ibbish to rule over their much-diminished domains, but sailors say that the new town is a sad and squalid place, more akin to Ib Sar than to the thriving city that the horselords reduced to ruins. I have a few remarks expanding on my first post. The story of the Ibbenese is alike the story of the First Men in Westeros, conquering woodlands of "Children of the Forest", with interesting parallels. Definitely the Ibbenese were ruining the realm of the forest folk. So a peaceful coexistence seems unlikely. The striking thing is that we have no information at all about this from the Ibbenese themselves, although the latter were the conquerors (Ifequevron is a Dothraki word). Surely they knew how to handle the forest folk, and the Dothraki didn't. All this happened fairly recently, just before the doom. Compare with the First Men in Westeros, thousands of years ago. The question is whether any knowledge will transpire, and Marwyn could be an intermediary. About the secrecy of the Ibbenese, here is again Maester Yendel: Such matings are uncommon; though ships from the Port of Ibben are a common sight in harbors up and down the narrow sea, and even as far away as the Summer Isles and Old Volantis, the sailors who crew them keep to their own kind even when ashore and display a deep suspicion of all strangers. On Ib itself, men of other lands and races are restricted by law and custom to the harbor precincts of the Port of Ibben and forbidden to venture beyond the city save in the company of an Ibbenese host. Such invitations are exceedingly rare. While a lesser version of its Westerosi counterpart, the Ibbenese Wall is still impressive. I understand it as a defense against the Dothraki, not against the forest folk. But I might be wrong. Note the parallel with what happened in Westeros: the Ibbenese/First Men conquer the woodlands, and destroy the world of the forest folk, a destructive race (Dothraki/Others) appears and the Ibbenese/First Men are forced to retreat behind a Wall to keep the Dothraki/Others at bay. All this should be known to Marwyn, even if he is not an Ibbenese, as he has read Yendel, and has talked to Ibbenese people in their own tongue, perhaps to some of those who guard this wall. Did he understand something hearing Sam's story that we didn't?
  3. First the evidence. Recall the appearance of the mastiff. “Sam,” said Alleras, “this is Archmaester Marwyn.” Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head. Though short and squat, he was heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round, rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore in place of robes. Bristly white hair sprouted from his ears and nostrils. His brow beetled, his nose had been broken more than once, and sourleaf had stained his teeth a mottled red. He had the biggest hands that Sam had ever seen. And a little more info had come in the prologue of AFfC: People said that he kept company with whores and hedge wizards, talked with hairy Ibbenese and pitch-black Summer Islanders in their own tongues, and sacrificed to queer gods at the little sailors’ temples down by the wharves. Men spoke of seeing him down in the undercity, in rat pits and black brothels, consorting with mummers, singers, sellswords, even beggars. Some even whispered that once he had killed a man with his fists. On the other hand, Maester Yendel tells us that: The Ibbenese stand apart from the other races of mankind. They are a heavy people, broad about the chest and shoulders, but seldom standing more than five and a half feet in height, with thick, short legs and long arms. Though short and squat, they are ferociously strong; at wrestling, their favorite sport, no man of the Seven Kingdoms can hope to equal them. Their faces, characterized by sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws, seem brutish and ugly to Westerosi eyes, an impression heightened by their guttural, grunting tongue; but in truth the men of Ib are a cunning folk—skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors. They are the most hirsute people in the known world. Though their flesh is pale, with dark blue veins beneath the skin, their hair is dark and wiry. Ibbenese men are heavily bearded; wiry body hair covers their arms, legs, chests, and backs. Coarse dark hair is common amongst their women, even on the upper lip. Hence Marwyn is short, squat, broad in the chest, with sloping brow, huge jaw, abondant facial hair, large forelimbs – all like a genuine Ibbenese. Moreover he speaks Ibbenese, and fights like an Ibbenese (supposedly killed a man with his own fists). No mention of strange accent though. Some say that GRRM has modeled the Ibbenese on the Neanderthals (short stature, sloping brow, large chest, fighting prowess etc). If Marwyn were a trueblood Ibbenese, people, even people such as Pate, would have noticed or been told. Indeed Ibbenese sailors pass through Oldtown and the Mage consort with them. Moreover, they look so alien that people recognize them at once (partly because of the smell of their ship though). More likely, we have the case of a hybrid Ibbenese. Evidently Marwyn has been raised in Westeros. I would suggest that he is the bastard of an Ibbenese sailor and possibly a highborn woman (influential enough to find a place at the Citadel for such an undesirable offspring). We are told that Westerosi-Ibbenese hybridation is difficult, but we see another case in the person of Casso Mogat. In any case, everyone at the Citadel could notice what I have noticed, so Marwyn's pedigree should not be a big secret especially since people already whisper abundantly about him. An interesting chunk of history: the historical Ibbenese expanded their realm into a forest at the expense of what seemed to be Children of the Forest. To this day, Dothraki don't dare going into that forest even though they proudly fought and defeated the Ibbenese. So I am inclined to think that the Ibbenese had something to their advantage in their confrontation with the Children or, like the First Men, they eventually found an agreement. But they are a secretive people. Maester Yandel has been unable to collect anything from them about this, except « None of the Ibbenese that Bryan of Oldtown met could say they had ever seen a woods walker, but claimed that the little people blessed a household that left offerings of leaf and stone and water overnight. » His other sources were from the Dothraki side. Marwyn might know more. Further possible developments: if Marwyn reaches Daenerys, the whalers form Ib could be invaluable in the transportation of people from Essos to Westeros, probably not the Dothraki though, due to noted bad blood with the Ibbenese.
  4. Bran Vras

    The execution of Janos Slynt was spot on

    I have argued in the past that the execution of Janos is a deeply ambiguous act on the part of Jon Snow. Indeed, GRRM gives us several hints that it is so. First, for a general background on Jon's arc, consider an early pronouncement by Donal Noye. “Yes. Cold and hard and mean, that’s the Wall, and the men who walk it. Not like the stories your wet nurse told you. Well, piss on the stories and piss on your wet nurse. This is the way it is, and you’re here for life, same as the rest of us.” “Life,” Jon repeated bitterly.[...] “Yes, life,” Noye said. “A long life or a short one, it’s up to you, Snow. The road you’re walking, one of your brothers will slit your throat for you one night.” “They’re not my brothers,” Jon snapped. “They hate me because I’m better than they are.” “No. They hate you because you act like you’re better than they are. They look at you and see a castle-bred bastard who thinks he’s a lordling.” The armorer leaned close. “You’re no lordling. Remember that. You’re a Snow, not a Stark. You’re a bastard and a bully.” “A bully?” Jon almost choked on the word. The accusation was so unjust it took his breath away. “They were the ones who came after me. Four of them.” “Four that you’ve humiliated in the yard. Four who are probably afraid of you. I’ve watched you fight. It’s not training with you. Put a good edge on your sword, and they’d be dead meat; you know it, I know it, they know it. You leave them nothing. You shame them. Does that make you proud?” Jon III, AGoT What is striking about this is that is not merely a warning, or a metaphorical prediction. It is actually a literal description of Jon's fate throughout ADwD, with an allusion to the number of assassins. Jon gets assassinated as a consequence of his own actions. Also, note Jon's astonishment at how his self-regard differs from what others could perceive (*). Second, how not to draw the parallel with Ned Stark's execution? Us readers are horrified at Joffrey's cruelty. But the situation is essentially equivalent. A new leader faces a rebellion, and needs to assert his authority. For all the sympathy we have for Ned, there is no question that Ned Stark is no less of a traitor than Slynt. It is not unreasonable for men of the Watch, like Marsh, to see Slynt's execution as cruel and capricious as well. Third, not in the same book, but at the same time, Euron earns his kingship in circumstances very much alike Jon's election (also an election, with hints of sorcery). In one of his first acts, Euron has Baelor Blacktyde executed. How not analyze this as the need to affirm one's authority and to purge dissent? Consider that some men in the watch eventually see Jon as we see Euron, and perhaps rightly so. The objective validity of these comparisons is not the main point. Our varying reactions as readers is. The lesson here, and in so many places in ASoIaF, is that moral evaluations are elusive, depend on our point of view, our biases etc. (*) Of course, this is not a definite opinion from Donal Noye, who has sensed a certain greatness in Jon, as later events would show. But, in my opinion, it is unwise to dismiss this piece of dialogue.
  5. Bran Vras

    Most precise ASOIAF timeline v.3

    My first visit here for a long time. I have been unlucky in determining when the Vale tourney in TWoW happens relatively to other events. Looking at the timeline I thought a few comments would be useful. They don't concern the Vale tourney but the late part of ADwD, especially in the north. It seems to me that the synchronisation between events in the north and in the south is wrong by a wide margin in this timeline. First, Jaime in his only ADwD chapter mentions that a daughter of Eddard Stark has just been married. So this chapter happens after the Winterfell wedding. The same chapter can be related chronologically to Cersei I, where Kevan informs the queen that Jaime has disappeared in the Riverlands. Hence, the order is 1) The Prince of Winterfell, 2) Jaime 3) Cersei 1. The timeline lists 1) after 3). What happened is that a raven informed the south (by letters to King's Landing and probably the Twins as well) that the wedding had taken place, the news reached Riverrun, for instance through the Freys, then Jaime disappeared, then a raven was sent to King's Landing, and then Kevan informed Cersei in her cell. One can expect several weeks of delay between 1) and 3). Second, the white ravens of winter should be useful to calibrate everything in Westeros. They are all freed at the same time in Oldtown and arrive at their destination with a delay proportional to the distance covered (at what speed though?). By the final Jon chapter in ADwD, no white raven has reached the Wall. Indeed, Melisandre says on the day of Jon's assassination "Winter is almost upon us", proof that Winter is not there yet. Of course, the Wall is considerably farther from Oldtown than King's Landing is. In any case, Kevan's assassination can not have taken place almost two months before Jon's assassination. Another piece of evidence is the fact that Kevan expects a letter from the Boltons in the epilogue. Either the Boltons never sent such a letter after the battle (possible, but significant) or not enough time has elapsed for the delivery of the news to King's Landing, which would show that Kevan's assassination does not take place long after Jon's assassination. Third, the coming and going of Val and Tycho Nestoris at the Wall are difficult to reconcile. Val leaves at half-moon (waning or waxing?) and promises to return at full moon, presumably, but not certainly, the full moon that follows the half-moon. In that case, the delay before her return is at most three quarter of a moon turn, that is twenty one days or so. Compare now to Tycho's journey. The banker arrived at the Wall after Val's departure, left for Deepwood Motte, then went to Winterfell, and finally reach Stannis in the Wolfswood at about the time of Val's return. The whole journey took about twelve days, which seems incredible especially in a snowstorm. So we have to assume that Val did not return on the following full moon, but on the next full moon. There is no proof that she returned on any full moon though, but it would be treacherous from GRRM if she didn't, so I suggest to assume she returned on the next full moon as the best fallback hypothesis. On that basis things seem to fall into place. In any case, the timeline forgets completely the chapter of Val departure (Jon 8), and no answer to this problem is offered. Fourth, it seems to me that the chapter in the north (not counting the epilogue) are in chronological order (except the Theon chapter in TWoW, which obviously happens before Jon 13, and the King's prize which covers a long time) and this is coherent with the next full moon hypothesis. The return of Val to the Wall coincides with the raven in King's Landing (take or leave half a day, it's the full moon). The raven of Winter would be on his way to the Wall when Jon is assassinated. If we accept that the chapters are in order, the escape of Theon and Jeyne from Winterfell happens at that same time as Val's return too. To sum up, Val's return, Theon's escape and Varys' reappearance happen under the same full moon, about a week before Jon's assassination. I could add a little speculation, when Melisandre declares "Winter is almost upon us", it could mean that she saw in the flames the white raven coming, just like she foresaw the arrival of Selyse a few chapters earlier. (That last episode might give us an idea of the speed of flying ravens: the bird who announced the arrival of Selys at Castle Black arrived almost a day after Melisandre made the prediction. What to conclude from that? Perhaps that a raven needs less than a day to travel from Eastwatch to Castle Black.)
  6. Bran Vras

    [twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

    It's a fine question. Quentyn had no need to to state that number. He could simply say "I promise all the strength of Dorne, which has triumphed over the Young Dragon". By stating the number, he makes a false promise which could be very embarrassing later with serious consequences. Moreover, we see several times that Quentyn is not prone to deception. The only possible conclusion is that Quentyn believed in the 50 thousand spears propaganda, and that he has not been told this state secret. If you want to pursue the logic, you can check this thread.
  7. Bran Vras

    [twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

    The predecessor of Jorah Mormont, Lord Qorgyle, has spent much time at the Wall since he was there before Denys Mallister who has spent more than thirty years at the Shadow Tower. It's not known how much time he spent as Lord Commander though. Probably not that long since Mallister entered the election for the command of the Watch against Qorgyle.
  8. Bran Vras

    [twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

    Good points. The Golden Company is strong enough to storm of few castles. But It can not be more than a diversion without allies. Jon Connington has expectations, but no allies are guaranteed at the moment, it seems. I have gathered hints that the Volantenes are probably manipulating the Golden Company and that the large Volantene fleet that everybody expects in Meereen has left for an entirely different destination: See The strange and subtle Elephants of the Golden Company.
  9. Bran Vras

    [twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

    One little thing: In a ASoS, Robert (and Stannis, and Renly)'s grand father, Lord Estermont, was still alive. We see him at Joffrey's wedding. In AFfC, the lordship seems to have passed to Eldon Estermont, Stannis' uncle. Should I conclude that the elderly Lord has died quietly? It's important, since the there are Estermonts in Storm's End and the Golden Company has just taken the Estermonts of Greenstone as prisoners. Havind the old Lord as hostage could prove useful to take the castle. Besides the Estermonts proper, the prisoners would include a character to watch: Eldon's new wife and Arianne old friend, Sylva, née Santagar, aka Spotted Sylva.
  10. Bran Vras

    [twow Spoilers] Arianne II, Part 2

    An explanation for the capture of Storm's End. We know that the Golden Company has taken Greenstone and its lords, the Estermonts. House Estermont has been split since the Battle of Blackwater. The heir Eldon has bent the knee to Tommen. The younger brother Lomas and his son Andrew remained faithful to Stannis. Lomas is in Storm's End, perhaps even as the castellan. Most likely the Golden Company could simply use the hostages it has gained, including the elderly Lord Estermont, Stannis's grandfather. Edit: Ser Gilbert Farring is the castellan. However Lomas Estermont can be won over using the hostages.
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