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the trees have eyes

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  1. I'm minded of the story behind the film ALIVE, a plane crash in the Andes where the survivors resorted to cannibalising the dead in order to stay alive.  Gruesome enough but I doubt they became addicted and I'm unaware of cannibalistic practices other than to avoid starvation or for ritual purposes.  The New Guinea tribes I imagine you are basing your reference to prion disease on consumed the brains of dead male ancestors in order to pass on something of the dead man's spirit to the next generation but it was a highly restricted cultural practice limited to young men only, essentially as part of a funerary rite.

    I don't subscribe to Jojenpaste and the bitter taste could simply be a reference to acorn paste, supposedly very bitter.  We're dealing with magic and horror (Bloodraven is both being kept alive by and consumed by a tree) so the whole atmosphere is unsettling and there's surely something going on with Bran and the paste but I don't see Jojen and/or Meera's unspecified absence as sinister, in fact I hadn't noticed it at all; time is hard to keep track of in the cave after all.

  2. Arya is impulsive and has a hot temper.  This really shouldn't be confused with mental illness.  What provokes her temper is injustice, whether a sister being snooty or fibbing, or soldiers torturing and murdering smallfolk.  That's hardly a red flag for mental illness.  She's been brutalised and left to make her own way in a violent world while still a child but all her choices and actions are easy enough to follow rationally whether we approve of all of them or not.

  3. On 8/5/2023 at 12:04 PM, SeanF said:

    I’ve often thought about that passage, but I think Tywin’s lying, perhaps to himself, as you suggest.

    His self-image, and the image he likes to project, is that he’s only as cruel as he has to be.  In reality, he’s often driven by spite, pettiness, and misogyny.  So, if it was not realpolitik that led him to have Elia killed, spite that she was chosen in place of Cersei would suffice, as Oberyn suggested to Tyrion.

    It’s possible that he’s persuaded himself, after 16 years, that her death was not intended.

    It's possible but his intention is still unclear to me.  In a highly patriarchal society women, even noble women who have children, are really just a tradable commodity (and a very valuable one) in the marriage market (sorry, ladies! :(). 

    We see this with Tywin telling Cersei to her face, despite her being King-mother and Queen Regent that he will pack her off to Pyke or Highgarden for the political benefits her marriage will yield.  If he will treat his own daughter this way it's quite possible he expected Doran to marry Elia off to a Dornish Lord (one not in need of an heir given her health) for regional political benefit.

    Plus there's the short term hostage value, a theme throughout the series, and we know Aerys effectively used Elia as a quasi-hostage to ensure Doran's loyalty so it should have loomed large as a consideration for Robert and Tywin.  E.G., despite the slaughter of The Red Wedding, Frey took many hostages including GreatJon Umber, a strange choice given his dangerous nature and his son's murder.  If The GreatJon can be kept alive in these circumstances - and he has no marriage value unless Frey wants a grandson on The Last Hearth - why would Elia need to be killed?

    In the same conversation with Tyrion, Tywin talks of The Red Wedding:

    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VI

    "It was to be an arrow, at Edmure Tully's wedding feast. The boy was too wary in the field. He kept his men in good order, and surrounded himself with outriders and bodyguards."
    "So Lord Walder slew him under his own roof, at his own table?" Tyrion made a fist. "What of Lady Catelyn?"
    "Slain as well, I'd say. A pair of wolfskins. Frey had intended to keep her captive, but perhaps something went awry."

    Now you can read that as Elia Mk II with Catelyn's death all part of the plan, just not admitted to, but it makes more sense to me that she was intended to be kept as a hostage.  Edmure has clear hostage value until Riverrun is secured, Cat less so as the Tullies are effectively attainted and dispossessed so she has no real marriage value any more but it's possible she would have a ransom value to her remaining family, Lysa & Robert Arryn.  Out of simple spite, Walder might marry her to one of his brood, and although that is obviously of dubious practicality, not to say illegality, look at poor Lady Hornwood.

    To be clear to anyone reading this I've no clear view of what Tywin intended, I just don't quite see how this supposed master of realpolitik intended to handle Elia.  Unless in the grand scheme of things she wasn't important enough to give much thought to.

  4. 3 hours ago, SeanF said:

    I’m quite sure that Elia’s murder was intended.  She would be a perpetual embarrassment to the new regime, seeking justice for her murdered children.

    That does seem logical but we have this from Tywin to Tyrion:

    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VI

    It might serve, Tyrion had to concede, but the snake will not be happy. "Far be it from me to question your cunning, Father, but in your place I do believe I'd have let Robert Baratheon bloody his own hands."
    Lord Tywin stared at him as if he had lost his wits. "You deserve that motley, then. We had come late to Robert's cause. It was necessary to demonstrate our loyalty. When I laid those bodies before the throne, no man could doubt that we had forsaken House Targaryen forever. And Robert's relief was palpable. As stupid as he was, even he knew that Rhaegar's children had to die if his throne was ever to be secure. Yet he saw himself as a hero, and heroes do not kill children." His father shrugged. "I grant you, it was done too brutally. Elia need not have been harmed at all, that was sheer folly. By herself she was nothing."

    Now he could be lying, even to himself, but it does seem he is telling Tyrion the truth here.  He explains why he decided to have the children killed and earlier gives the detail of what Lorch did to Rhaenys.  It doesn't show a great insight into motherhood or close-knit family relationships but Tywin is Tywin and in a patriarchal society he might expect the realities of power and realpolitik considerations on Doran's part to override a grieving mother's desire for revenge.  I imagine it's how he would handle it unless the odds were in his favour.  And in the short term Elia is still useful as a hostage until Doran's loyalty is gained, grudgingly or not.

  5. On 7/27/2023 at 7:16 AM, Lord of Raventree Hall said:

    Anyways, I honestly think I will probably quit the forum. I don't know, maybe y'all can convince me to stay. But I just can't handle it. I don't want to spend time in my life telling people that evil actions that everyone should know are bad..are evil. I don't want to explain that rape or murder or torture are...bad things to people who for some reason have decided they are acceptable actions. It's just too much. 

    Honestly, I think some people just enjoy a good villain.  Although this is high fantasy GRRM's writing borders on the horror genre so we have the undead and a large cast of sadistic psychopaths - instead of Jason and Freddie Kruger we get Gregor and Ramsay.  People know they're bad but they enjoy them on page and so root for them in some weird way.  I doubt they morally agree with their choices but as they've decided to root for them they suspend their critical assessment of their actions and say "does this work for this character / my guy?" or to take it a step further they pick a House in "the game" and treat it just like a game - so Tywin / Roose / Walder murdered a bunch of wedding guests but it advanced their interests, good game plan, right?  I wouldn't worry about this too much as good villains need to be either terrifying or truly effective and I don't think people really approve of them, they just like the role or effect they have in story, or see that these actions help them to win.  You know, you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.......  And being contrarian and rooting for the villain is always going to appeal some people just because.

    Unfortunately ancient, medieval and modern history is full of an even larger cast of ruthless individuals and GRRM is heavily influenced by real examples of realpolitik, mass slaughter and cruelly inventive murder so the problems of politics, statecraft and war in ASOIAF are harsh and unsparing.  Many historical figures who gave their realms peace, prosperity and good governance were merciless tyrants or bloodthirsty conquerors (like the pax Romana, the peace came after) and just as there's two sides to anyone labelled "Great" historically so there is to Aegon or Tywin. Note that this isn't my view of Tywin, who I find loathsome, but he was an able administrator so that allows an interpretation which would focus on that side of the coin.  Add in the age old moral touchstone of does the end justify the means and that history is written by the winners (or the author) then readers can pick their own facts selectively (or through unconscious bias).  Does that necessitate downplaying or handwaving certain actions?  Maybe.  I'm not sure it necessarily entails justifying (or refuting) them but one probably leads to the other to some degree.

    What GRRM explores in great detail is how "good" people can do "bad" things in the right circumstances and how the choice is often only comprehensible (though maybe not justifiable) when we understand their motivations or pressures.  So, e.g., AGOT really lifts off with Jaime throwing Bran out of the window ("the things I do for love") and ACOK gets darker and darker with Theon's cruelty and child murder at Winterfell.  I loathed both of these characters at those stages of the story but by ADWD I'm unsure about Jaime and at least pity Theon and both these characters might impact the story for the good, whether consciously and selflessly or accidentally (Gollum-like).  So maybe I root for them now?  I'm not sure but I can see some possibility of this and that's with full knowledge of how appalling and surely how unforgivable their earlier actions were.

    The hardest point of disagreement seems to be over whether the use of violence is ever justified.  This is a stick that can be used to beat every character in story (even Sansa, the evil scheming poisoner of Robert Arryn).  The idea that violence is only justified in self-defence has some merit and gets wide agreement of course but leaves out "in the defence of others" which is part of Arya and Jon's stories and critical when it comes to Dany's in particular.  Some people don't think Slaver's Bay was any of her business, some criticise her for the way she liberated Astapor, others for a short term success only but for failure and not having a concrete and effective long term plan for the new regime, others for the violence at Meereen, the crucifixions or the re-imposition of slavery for those requesting to be enslaved.  These are difficult issues that have been argued over for years and there's merit to some or all of these points - I would discount the idea that Dany should just have said "not my problem" and not tried to do anything at all - but I've yet to see any basis for the idea that Dany committed genocide in Astapor without a highly partial interpretation of the text (quite on display in this thread) or any basis for leaving Astapor's ante-bellum regime intact.

    On 7/29/2023 at 11:29 AM, SeanF said:

    Actually, I can remember quite a few “highlights” over the years

    1. The murder of Elia, Aegon, and Rhaenys was realpolitik.

    TBF it is, though.  I mean it's also truly appalling child murder (and that's before we get the details of how they were killed) but I always thought of it as a highly speeded up equivalent of "the princes in the Tower" with the dead King's descendants disappearing off stage so his wicked uncle / remote cousin can take the throne.  In this case the blood is on Tywin's hands rather than Richard's / Robert's so that's a plus for Robert but I never really got Tywin's thinking.  I mean if he spares Elia and returns her safely to Dorne does he really expect to get a pass from Doran, Oberyn or a single person in Dorne for killing Aegon and Rhaenys?  Either way he is going to earn their enmity.  I guess it's like Roose and Walder at The Red Wedding: he thought being on the winning side would insulate him from any consequences.

  6. On 7/15/2023 at 10:28 PM, Tradecraft said:

    Did you miss the word "only"?

    She "only" danced with him because his brother interceded. Which means she wasn't going to do it otherwise.

    It means Ned was too shy to ask her to dance so Brandon asked her on his behalf.  If Ned doesn't ask and Brandon doesn't intercede then they don't dance.  That's the meaning of "only" here.

    You are taking that and assuming it means 1) Ashara did not want to dance with Ned and 2) she only danced with Ned because Brandon asked her to do, i.e. she did it as a favour to Brandon.  That's not what's written or implied.

    On 7/15/2023 at 10:30 PM, Tradecraft said:

    Marriage pacts are broken all the time in ASOIAF. 

    Which means he can offer Winterfell. 

    Not at all.  Marriage pacts are a serious business and breaking them without reason is not something done lightly and has major repercussions.  Even if it doesn't result in Walder Frey like revenge it show the House breaking the pact cannot be taken at their word or trusted, a major problem in Westerosi feudal society, and results in ill will from the insulted and dishonoured House.

    For example and most obviously, when Brandon dies Ned marries his betrothed in his place to cement the alliance.

    Marriage pacts are political alliances and to suggest Brandon (and more importantly Rickard) would abandon the marriage alliance with the Lord Paramount of The Riverlands in return for a subordinate House in Dorne is bizarre.  What is the reasoning for this shift in Rickard's or Brandon's view?

  7. On 7/17/2023 at 12:09 AM, sifth said:

    To be honest my biggest issue with the ages comes from the Mercy chapter; where 11 year old Arya is seducing a grown man. While reading that chapter I had to imagine Raff was a pedo for it to make sense.

    He is intended to.  His fellow guard tells him "She's too young" but he bats him away.

    It's not really a seduction - for which Arya has no training (thankfully) - more the setting of a trap that Raff obligingly steps into.  There is nothing sexual or sensuous in Arya's behaviour, which would be glaring as she's pre-pubescent, just a bare invitation and I don't think she would have turned into an accomplished seductress if Raff had acted like the other guard.

    But GRRM wants us to know Raff is a total sh*t, if poor Lommy's fate didn't make it clear enough.

    I actually found Sansa's flirting with Harry the Heir more jarring, as this sheltered and chaperoned 12/13 year old with no experience with boys and living in hiding suddenly turns into a confident and accomplished adult woman, wrapping Harry around her finger. 

    That felt like her age and experience were not adequate for the scene GRRM wanted to write but he wrote it anyway.

    On 7/17/2023 at 6:21 AM, Sandy Clegg said:

    This is a product of abandoning the 5 year gap I guess? And it puts Arya in a position of peril that is more akin to what we might expect from a chapter featuring Sansa, whose story typically plays with the theme of vulnerability and victimhood that has those sexual undertones. Arya is usually the more proactive of the two sisters, the one who seems able to take charge of her destiny a little more. Yet she's still having to deal with sleazy guys in her storylines. I guess it says something about the general pervasiveness of creepy men in the world of ASOIAF - it's a reality that the female characters cannot avoid no matter their age.

    IIRC when Arya is with the BWB she is approached by a sleazy man at the brothel they stay at (The Peach ?) who seems to mistake her for one of the working girls (or at least would like her to be one) before Gendry sends him packing.

    On 7/18/2023 at 7:10 AM, The Bard of Banefort said:

    @EggBlue and I spent a fair amount of time advocating for this, or for making the years longer.

    Personally, I don’t think the kids act like kids. But more than that, they don’t physically resemble kids either.  Just consider how 15-year-old Aemon and Jocelyn are described on their wedding day. 

    One of the biggest tributes I pay to GRRM's writing skill and characterisation is how he manages to write pov chapters for Bran, Arya and Sansa that, to me at any rate, feel like young children.  Bran wanting to get his legs back, his boyish crush on Meera, his "are we nearly there yet?" complaints on the journey from WF to find the three-eyed crow; Sansa's unique world view where everything is seen through the lens of songs and the idea of knights and chivalry as an heroic and romantic ideal, her naive trust of Cersei and infatuation with Joffrey; Arya's sincere white hot anger at the cruelty the powerful or vicious inflict on the helpless smallfolk, coupled with a child's fury at the injustice of it, leading to her obsessive list, and the  lack of impulse control leading to her taking of revenge when opportunity presents, coupled with her desire to return home and fear her mother won't accept her after the things she's done; all feel pretty real to me for children their age.

    Having read a lot of fantasy and fiction over the years I didn't expect to be so interested or emotionally engaged in the stories of young children.  GRRM took quite a gamble in writing them as major characters but I think it pays off handsomely. Arya's training as an assassin might seem unrealistic but we live in a world where the abduction and training of child soldiers is sadly real.  The problem is - as he's referenced himself - when you need a 15/16 year old to save the world.  That seems to be giving him some grief, sadly.

    20 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

    That tall in the Netherlands at 15? Wow. I do think George throws out these  outliers occasionally as a way of mitigating against the ages of the younger protagonists. The idea that the seasons being off kilter is perhaps being employed to some extent too? 

    I was 6 foot at 14 and I'm not Dutch :)  I stopped growing pretty much at 15 and I'm 6 foot 2.  In any case GRRM wrote of them as unusually tall so it's not intended to be representative, the opposite in fact, it's intended to be noteworthy.

    In general, it's worth remembering that in the medieval world what we regard as children were squires and that teenagers from the aristocracy were expected to be exposed to if not involved in battle.  Take the future Henry V of England for example: he took part in the battle of Tewkesbury in 1403 and was badly injured by an arrow that went through his visor and lodged in his cheek just under his eye.  He was 14 years old at the time.

    GRRM is heavily influenced by The Wars of The Roses which serves as a rich repository of background detail for him to pluck from or be inspired by for ASOIAF.  What he writes doesn't need to be commonplace historically to feel "real" or believable but he does have historical precedent for what he imagines his child or sub-adult characters undergoing (magic aside ;)), e.g. Sansa's plight seems quite heavily influenced by Margaret Beaufort as does the infant marriage of Ermesande Hayford.

    2 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

    It’s not really anything specific, but more so their characterization in general. If I read their chapters without knowing their ages, I would think they were both well into their teens, especially considering Arya’s remarkable survival skills and Bran’s emotional maturity. 

    Most ASOIAF characters seem to skip the awkwardness of puberty. A 6’2” fifteen-year-old boy would likely be gangly and uncoordinated, but Aemon’s written as a complete Chad. It’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those details that strikes a discordant note. It’s more like a high school TV show from the 90s, where the teens are all played by actors ten years older than them. 

    Thinking of AGOT through ASOS all the children, Bran, Arya and Sansa, strike me as children.  Where GRRM is going since the abandonment of the five year gap is to be seen but they are all older in any case. Robb, though not a pov, and Jon are clearly older from how they act and have a teenager shifting into adult's reasoning and emotional and behavioural frame of reference. 

    Arya gets one protector / rescuer-captor after another (Yoren, Harrenhall, The BWB, The Hound, The House of Black and White), on her own she was close to starving in KL and grubbing for worms with Gendry and Lommy before they were captured.  I think you could argue she has plot armour but she's captured again and again (Yoren, The Mountain's Men, The BWB, The Hound) and either kept as a hostage/refugee (BWB and Sandor / Yoren) or exploited as child labour (Harrenhall).

    I was definitely gangly but quite good at sport so I draw the line at uncoordinated :D

  8. On 7/4/2023 at 4:19 PM, SaffronLady said:

    Care to give a quote or are you content with randomly saying stuff?

    He is randomly saying stuff.  There's a group of people who don't like the Starks (and an invented "inherited Tully madness gene" gives another arrow to their quiver to target all Ned and Cat's children) and enjoy bashing them almost as much as they do prompting a reaction from people who find these kind of arguments silly.  Objective analysis and sweet reason will get you nowhere here as the idea is to wear team colours (anti-Stark) and just repeat the same arguments ad nauseam to drown out anything which points out how silly those arguments are.

    But engage as much as you have an appetite for! 

  9. On 7/10/2023 at 8:01 AM, Aebram said:

    Good morrow to all,

    I think I found another clue to this mystery. A discussion on a different topic motivated me to reread the conversation between Illyrio and Varys, as overheard by Arya in the dungeons of the Red Keep.

    This is all rather vague, but we can draw a few interesting conclusions from it. The reference to bastards tells us that Varys is concerned that Ned will soon learn the truth about Cersei's children.  The reference to the wolf and the lion tells us that, when Ned learns the truth, he will have anger towards House Lannister. Therefore, "the fools" who tried to kill Bran must be Lannisters, or Lannister allies.

    So Varys thinks that the attempt on Bran's life was motivated by a desire to keep Cersei's secret, not by Joffrey feeling some childish resentment towards Bran. Varys may be mistaken, of course; but he's not a man to bet against.

     

    He's half right, though.  "The Lannisters" did try to kill Bran to protect their secret because he stumbled on Jaime and Cersei in flagrante. 

    If you have no further information or merely heard from Catelyn what she thought had happened (as Varys did first hand), the follow up attempt at assassination that you're referencing looks very like it was meant to finish the job and guard a "secret" Varys knows perfectly well.  He simply has confirmation bias here as does, e.g., Stannis in believing the Lannisters murdered Jon Arryn (I doubt he received a helpful secret letter from Lysa accusing them to help him reach that conclusion).

    Unlike Varys in AGOT we have the narrator steering us in Tyrion and Jaime's chapters in ASOS to the answer.  Amid all the plotting and manipulation there is random unpredictability in the form of rogue actors muddying the waters and causing confusion that the author helpfully resolves post hoc.  As before, you might prefer a different resolution but it's what GRRM wrote. 

  10. On 6/25/2023 at 2:17 AM, Gilbert Green said:

    I'm not necessarily talking about you, but the Lemonhate is real.  I don't see how anyone can deny that, whether "pejorative" or not.  But maybe that's not worth arguing about either. 

    Is it?  What makes it real as opposed to any other rejection of a theory - say that Mance is/was Rhaegar/Arthur Dayne or Howland Reed is the High Septon or Jaime and Cersei are Aerys' not Tywin's children?

    You've opined on it as if there's some sort of intellectual discourse here with two schools of thought and I have to agree with the poster who thought this was an attempt to give more status to a fringe theory than it deserves.  We all read the text and make up our own minds so I won't try and move yours but trying to undermine the criticisms of a fairly flimsy theory by painting them as some kind of reactionary or knee-jerk response to a supposedly "objective" reading of the text (in reality speculation, assumption and non-textual constructions of where babies / children were etc) seems both artificial and effectively ad hominem.

  11. On 6/18/2023 at 7:34 PM, Hippocras said:

    Tywin spent his life torturing his family members (not just Tyrion) over their affection for women he considered unworthy. We then find him on the last day of his life with a whore, and not just any whore: Tyrion's whore. He is then shot to death on the toilet, and after that, his body is so stinky that noone can bear to properly pay their respects. The message is that his entire legacy is foul and built on lies.

    Tywin spent his life restoring the power and prestige of his House.  Tyrion marrying a commoner and consorting with prostitutes goes against a powerful, proud and cruel man's lifelong goals and results in "sharp lessons".  Although Tywin is a dick this is a patriarchal society and the family patriarch decides who marries who (see Hoster Tully's estrangement from Brynden over the latter's refusal to obey).

    Tywin's pride and concern for his personal and family name leads him to keep secret his own consorting with prostitutes.  Consorting with Shae is of course the trigger to instil a murderous fury in Tyrion at his father's betrayal and hypocrisy.  And his execution on the toilet it is to set up the closing chapter line that "Lord Tywin Lannister did not in the end shit gold".  His undignified fate is the further humbling of a proud man as is the corruption of his corpse.

    On 6/18/2023 at 7:34 PM, Hippocras said:

    It is therefore very reasonable to consider that his "love" for Joanna may be one of those lies or distortions. I think that his "love" for Joanna was inseparable from the fact that she was a prize that he got and Aerys did not. This, at the very least, is supported by hints in the text. As for the actual details, we will have to see. But given the rivalry over Joanna that we know existed, and the way Aerys went about putting Tywin in his place by taking from him things that he cared about, it is certainly not unreasonable to speculate that Aerys took his liberties with Joanna in a way that soured Joanna's relationship with Tywin and could provoke in him a deep murderous rage. Tyrion IS his son. What Tyrion did to Shae IS the clue.

    How does that follow?  He married a cousin rather than into a powerful House or the Royal family as he intended and then achieved with Cersei.  That marriage, and the fact that he never remarried afterwards, suggest love.  It's also commented on by his siblings, e.g.

    A Storm of Swords - Tyrion V

    A queer time to come visiting. His mother had died giving him birth, so the Martells would have found the Rock deep in mourning. His father especially. Lord Tywin seldom spoke of his wife, but Tyrion had heard his uncles talk of the love between them. In those days, his father had been Aerys's Hand, and many people said that Lord Tywin Lannister ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but Lady Joanna ruled Lord Tywin. "He was not the same man after she died, Imp," his Uncle Gery told him once. "The best part of him died with her."
     
    Saying Tyrion killed Shae is a clue that Tywin killed Joanna is pretty bizarre to me.  Joanna died in childbirth, an incident where Tywin was probably not even in the room as, until very recently, fathers were not expected to be present and where she would have been surrounded by attendants.  Tywin may not have been off hunting boar like Robert but it's more plausible by far than him somehow murdering Joanna and then somehow covering it up.  How would he have killed her?  What would the maester and funeral attendants who prepared her body for burial have thought of her injuries and why are there no rumours of this supposed event?  By contrast Tyrion sneaks through a secret passage, etc....
     
    I don't see any clues in the text, just an attempt to imagine and impose a symmetry in Tywin and Tyrion's characters and affairs of the heart.  People have free agency and walk their own paths and paternity / maternity does not govern a child's future behaviour; far less so does a child's actions govern a parent's.
     
    Sadly, women die in childbirth to this day and in story, Dalla, Lyanna and Joanna all die in childbirth and Elia came close.
  12. You have to bear in mind different values.  Until quite recently (in historical terms) infants stood a high chance of being abandoned if they were disabled.  Poverty would be the main driver for abandoning an unwanted but healthy child but an unhealthy or crippled child could be rejected or left at an orphanage depending on the society's institutions.

    From Tywin's point of view, Joanna bore him two perfectly healthy and apparently perfect (on the outside not the inside) children and then one "monstrosity".  It's highly likely he would have traded Tyrion's "flawed" life for Joanna's in a heartbeat and hoped to have more children with her.  The fact that Tyrion lived and Joanna died is something Tywin has never really recovered from, remaining unmarried despite being one of the most eligible men in the realm, so it's not surprising that a proud and rigid man like him would resent Tyrion. 

    The rumours of Aerys and Joanna can never be resolved so it's another frustration or sleight to his honour that Tywin has to bear - and that he can project on to and take out on Tyrion.

    I don't see any hints in story that Tywin was responsible for her death.

  13. 15 hours ago, The Lord of the Crossing said:

    It will collapse the order of the Night's Watch and cause more conflict in the North.  The worst diplomatic move was sending Mance Rayder to get Arya from House Bolton. 

    All 300 of them that are left?

    2 hours ago, James West said:

    Jon's blunder stands at number 1.  The business of plotting to take his sister across the sea to take her away from Ramsay Bolton will be the ruin of the ancient order of the night's watch.  

    Copy paste? :D  If you are so worried about it you could volunteer, give us some peace.

    I would say the Meerenese "diplomacy" of crucifying hundreds of children to taunt and enrage Dany.  I mean it worked, but not in the way they intended.

  14. On 5/23/2023 at 7:45 AM, James Arryn said:

    I think George still intends to use her to put Jon’s heart in conflict with itself, but it won’t be as clearly defined

    I would say he has already done this by working in (F)Arya's marriage to Ramsay and the grey girl on a dying horse.  It's possible he could return to the theme but I think his initial romantic angle morphed into a close sibling bond and Jon's heart has already been in conflict (as it was when he learned of Ned and Robb's fates).

    Arya is more of a wildcard now, totally unscripted in her arc and potential course of action.  She's well positioned to learn of Jon's promotion to LC and to travel back across the Narrow Sea to The Wall but I think that ship sailed with Sam and Aemon. 

    The more interesting but more distant (for now) interaction is with Dany as Arya has her heart set on justice for the murdered smallfolk - The Mountain's Men, Lorch, Weese all make it on to her list because of the brutality they inflict on the people of the Riverlands - and this has a parallel with Dany's "Mysha" persona.  As with Dany's crucified slave masters it can lead to brutal consequences but it comes from the same place - fury at their behaviour and a determination to see them punished for it.  Whether Arya sees in Dany a benevolent protector of the smallfolk and righteous punisher of the wicked or another player in The Game of Thrones, more interested in her claim on the IT and vengeance than in the smallfolk depends both on how Dany's arc progresses and how Arya's sojourn with the FM develops. 

    Then again with the arrival of any refugees from Hardhome she could be drawn into a more "Northern" plot line.

    GRRM being a gardener at heart, this is wide open.

  15. On 4/19/2023 at 5:15 PM, Frey family reunion said:

    While I sort of see what you’re getting at, it kind of misses the point, at least for my version of the theory.  So there is probably only one Targaryen loyalist back when the switch would have been made, which is Willem Darry.  It’s unlikely that either Oberyn or the Sealord of Braavos are Targaryen loyalists. 

    The Martells are out for revenge, who have to have little love lost for Aerys or perhaps even Rhaegar.  And who knows what Braavos’ ultimate goals were, but I don’t ever think it’s been argued that they were Targaryen loyalists.

    Darry isn’t really in a posture to negotiate.  Other than having the two children, he has nothing.  So to build an alliance he has to make a payment.  My guess is the payment was Viserys’ true sister.  So she gets pledged either to Dorne, Braavos, or to some other co-conspirator that we don’t know about, perhaps one of the other free cities.  That’s where the true marriage alliance is.

    Dany is the imposter, the changeling that Oberyn gives them to dupe someone into giving them an army.  I don’t think we’re talking about a long term alliance here.  I think they consider whoever they give Dany to as expendable, as cannon fodder.

    Now is this a desperate gambit?  Yes, but presumably, Darry’s not in a prime place to negotiate.  Plus the benefit of this scenario is that he’d at least believe that the true Targaryen princess is kept safe as opposed to remaining with Viserys living out in the streets begging for aid.

    I have to admit I'm having a hard time following what you are saying or what exactly your version of the theory is but my point is that fakes are anathema to the Feudal System as they subvert the basis on which it works.  No "Targ loyalists" would think on the death of baby Dany let's swap in a fake and pretend: this includes Darry, the one person who actually has custody of the child.  The Martells and Braavosi aren't "Targ loyalists", they are the duped allies if they don't know she is fake or the cynical opportunists if they do, either way they are not scions of the Targaryen family allegedly using cuckoos to try to prolong themselves.

    If your version is they would simply use a second fake Dany for a marriage alliance while also using the real Dany for a marriage alliance then at some point it is going to become clear there are two Danys and no one will know which is real so both allies are aware they have been played and there is no way of regaining the trust of either.  There is also no way of winning new allies when your word is publicly revealed as worthless.  All you've done is question the legitimacy of any children the "real" Dany goes on to have, if the marriages are not repudiated before there are any.

    The Feudal system is about the clear and obvious legitimacy of offspring to continue the family line.  The Queens of France even went through public births in the early modern period to ostentatiously display to the Court that this was their child.  Marriage alliances were a fundamental part of the system and you won't find any examples of regimes passing off imposters as their legitimate children.

    On 4/20/2023 at 12:12 AM, Gilbert Green said:

    I don't suppose there is any plan for any putative ally to find out the truth.

    Right.  Like Cersei and Jaime never planned for Robert to find out the truth but the whole Realm did...

    The point about the Feudal system is not to taint your own blood, which is exactly what allowing a fraud to wear your own colours and use your family name does.  And all you do is risk creating a rival claimant, something the feudal system was notoriously averse to doing.

    On 4/20/2023 at 12:12 AM, Gilbert Green said:

    It would be Illyrio's plan, as far as I know.  His, and that of Mad Viserys, who he no doubt talked into it.

    If Dany died at birth on Dragonstone there is nothing Viserys, a child at the time, and Illyrio, across the Narrow Sea and completely unconnected to events, can do. 

    You might think it's okay to assume a significant gap in the knowledge of Dany's whereabouts but Rhaella and Viserys were on Dragonstone and the Barratheon net was closing in on the last Targaryens.  To avoid it the survivors fled into exile and although the reader can't put a daily diary account on their location there is no reason to think Barratheon agents were not well aware of their location.  If they knew where Viserys was they would know whether his sister was with him or not.  Speculating that they lost track of here for years until she was somehow reunited with Viserys in Essos is not credible.

    On 4/20/2023 at 12:12 AM, Gilbert Green said:

    "The Prisoner of Zenda"?  And those were the good guys.

    Oops.  Sorry.  That's not history.  That's just a colorful and imaginative work of fiction.  Well ... so is this.

    So you can't.  Funny, that.

  16. On 4/17/2023 at 3:23 AM, Gilbert Green said:

    How is it "literally the opposite"?  Under the Fake Dany theory, Viserys is not planing to use Fake Dany to continue his own line.  If he were, he probably would have married her himself, being the blood purist that he is.  Dany even notices the apparent inconsistency.

    And of course Illyrio doesn't plan to use Fake Dany to continue his own line either.

    Fake Arya is used to supplant and destroy the Starks not to continue their line.  She is not proposed or used by Stark loyalists. 

    I think you greatly misunderstand the importance of legitimacy or blood in feudal systems if you think "Targ loyalists" would simply use a fake to try and bolster their position.  The obvious problem is when your putative ally finds out they have been duped and your word is worthless......  Cynical opportunists might use fakes, yes, but Varys and Illyrio are more likely that than "loyalists".

    Do you have any examples in story or in history of regimes based on hereditary succession using fakes?  Their enemies might in order to undermine them but they don't do so themselves because blood is everything.  If they can sell their ally a pup then their ally can sell them a pup so it's anathema to their principles and system.

    As to why Viserys doesn't marry Dany, the answer is obvious however unsatisfactory you find it: the author simply has no use for him and a quite different arc for her than birthing Viersys's children.

  17. On 4/12/2023 at 1:18 PM, Gilbert Green said:

    The reason is because noble girls are routinely used as playing pieces for the forging of military and political alliances, and are well known to be useful for this purpose.

    Which is how Dany (whether real or fake) was in fact used.  But it is not necessary to have a specific husband in mind when the scheme was first formulated.

    See also the Fake Arya scheme for a similar logic in action.  But I forget.  Had a husband already been decided upon when Fake Arya first began her training?

    You obtain a replacement child at the age of 3, 4, or 5.  After a suitable period of training, you reintroduce her to the world at 6, 7 or 8.  Not much chance of hair and eye color changing much after this point.  And if anyone wants to know where she's been, you say she's been in hiding to protect her from the hired knives of King Robert.

    It's hugely more feasible than the Fake Arya scheme.  Not only do you work with a younger and more malleable child, but you may actually stand assured that the real child isn't going to suddenly show up, because you may have secret-but-sure knowledge that the real child is dead.  And far fewer people are going to be in the position to say "Wait, that's not her; that's actually so-and-so."  

    About a thousand times less flimsy than the Fake Arya plot.  But I think this subplot, involving a minor character, is a clue and foreshadowing of something more major.

    I don't think you get how this works.

    Dynasties work by genetic inheritance.  The whole shebang about continuing the line relies on legitimate or legitimised offspring not on cuckoos in the nest - that's the whole point about how Cersei's betrayal of Robert is so scandalous to Westeros.  Barratheon loyalists like Ned won't tolerate it just to continue the dynasty because they are not in fact continuing the dynasty..... Targ loyalists, like those surrounding Viserys, or Viserys himself, won't tolerate an imposter because that imposter isn't of their line and can then supplant the real line.

    OTOH, cynical opportunists like LF, Tywin and Bolton will attempt to use a fake for their own political advantage and to promote their own power (possibly Varys as well with Aegon who is possibly real but possibly a fake modelled on Perkin Warbeck / Lambert Simnel - GRRM being heavily influenced by the wars of The Roses) but they would never do that with their own family line.  "Blood" is everything in Westeros and the feudal system and if Dany is dead in childbirth there is no further interest from the Targ loyalists in her "substitute": instead it's all on Viserys who would really have been married at the first available opportunity to produce an heir / claimant.

    You get that Roose and Tywin are not exploiting "Arya" to continue their own line but using Jeyne parasitically to control the North and supplant the Stark line with the Bolton line, I trust.  It's literally the opposite of what you are positing about efforts to "continue" the Targaryen line.

    I also trust you realise that a lot of people are extremely doubtful about Arya's identity.  Roose is banking on getting established and brazening it out and Tywin doesn't give a damn, just as long as the North is not riding south to cause trouble for Joffrey.

  18. On 4/14/2023 at 10:25 AM, Craving Peaches said:

    I cannot believe you revived a month's old awful thread just to repeat the same tripe

    I can :P

    It's illuminating to hear that some people consider emotional reactions from people who survived near lethal encounters, particularly from mothers who also saw an attempt to murder their child averted, are signs of madness :rolleyes:

  19. 9 hours ago, Gilbert Green said:

    Like what?  I agree that a little girl was born on Dragonstone during a storm, and was given the name "Daenaerys" and fled with Ser Darry.  But AFAIK we are entirely dependent on Viserys for concluding that the Dany we know is that same little girl.

    If Rhaella's child died then that's the end of the "Dany" storyline because Viserys is heir and there is absolutely no reason to pretend that the dead child actually lived.  Some random baby just happened to have Valyrian features to be substituted?  How would they know the baby would grow to look like a classic Targaryen?  The idea is flimsy but you know this.

  20. 1 hour ago, Mourning Star said:

    I'm not sure why anyone would expect to find a new subject or debate about a story that hasn't had new content in over a decade.

    What's shocking to me is that even after a decade there are still people denying anything about the lemon tree being out of place in Dany's memory. I get that you've made up your mind and don't want to engage about it anymore, but to me it just seems like denial.

    "Lemons. And where would we get lemons? Does this look like Dorne to you, you freckled fool? Why don't you hop out back to the lemon trees and pick us a bushel, and some nice olives and pomegranates too."

    We can quibble about the details of what it means to the story, one can only speculate anyway, but not until people can admit there is something there. 

    Or, if you've made up your mind and don't want to talk about it anymore, don't engage.

    Or do, but it's hard to give weight to opinions when the person writing it won't defend it, imo.

    Oh, I know your m.o.  I was only commenting on you expressing your bemusement that people don't get what you think you get and to say why people aren't always mad keen on walls of texts and quotes for the nth time.  Rather as expected you're here to tell me people are wrong about this as well and either have to take part in a topic the way you want them to or they shouldn't at all.  That's something you'll just have to muddle on through.

  21. On 3/28/2023 at 3:00 PM, Mourning Star said:

    But, it is always shocking to me that people can have read this story so far and really believe there is nothing to the lemon tree or Dany's past, we can certainly debate what, but that people are still denying it all together is shocking to me.

    Just to comment on this.  For a lot of people in this thread, myself included, this is not a new subject or debate so you aren't running into people who are simply slapping this down, but into people who have read or debated this for years so suffer perhaps from a bit of lemongate fatigue and offer comments that reflect the lack of appetite to return to first principles and go through every single argument and factoid all over gain.  Now I admit that must be frustrating if you have the appetite for a fairly comprehensive run through but it's a mistake to think that people haven't been over all this before or, as I said, find the logistical issues of an unDany switch or Ned's abandonment of a putative daughter of Lyanna more of an issue than a childhood memory.

  22. 1 hour ago, Mourning Star said:

    I don't think Ned intended there to be any switch.

    I think he probably thought the safest thing for her would be to grow up in secret, maybe somewhere like the House with the Red Door. 

    As for a protector, it's hard to know. What happened to Ashara Dayne? Why didn't Ned bring Lord Dustin's bones home? What happened to the Maester of Winterfell from the time of Robert's Rebellion?

    I have to wonder why Lord Dustin would do this rather than return to his wife.  I mean Barbery would have to be really beyond the pale for him to decide to up sticks and forget about his Lordship and his line.  The maester of Winterfell, likewise, is just an appointee from the Citadel not Ned's devoutly loyal and selfless servant - his job is not to obey Ned like a Kingsguard and babysit a child round Essos.  Why is his existence even relevant?  Ashara is the only real puzzle as her backstory is dodgy.

    2 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    I would guess that whoever her original protector(s) were, she changed hands in what she remembers as being thrown out of the House with the Red Door, which "had not been home for him" (Viserys).

    So why didn't Ned try and recover "custody at one remove" instead of leaving her to be tied to Viserys and have a nice bullseye painted on her for Robert's fury to seek out, or to be sold to a Dothraki Khal like a piece of meat?  I doubt that last was his promise to Lyanna.

    I just don't buy this disinterest and complacency from Ned.

  23. On 3/23/2023 at 9:09 PM, Mourning Star said:

    They aren't twins in appearance, Jon looks like a Stark, Dany has hair color that would indicate parentage that would incur Roberts Wrath, similar to the Lannister kids Ned is talking about in the quote where he says what he would do.

    With Howland being a hermit on a floating castle in The Neck no one would know what she looks like.  I don't buy the idea he made Lyanna a promise and then left *one of her children* for others to look after.

  24. 23 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

    So you think the plot would have to be too complicated for Dany to have a mystery to her identity, but prefer the idea there was an unnamed eccentric Dornishman with a passion for a lemon tree in Braavos?

    The dragonlords of Valryia, as is well-known, possessed the art of turning stone to liquid with dragonflame, shaping it as they would, then fusing it harder than iron, steel, or granite.

    They still endured, unchanging, four centuries after Valyria itself had met its Doom. He looked for ruts and cracks but found only a pile of warm dung deposited by one of the horses.

    I think it is literally spelled out actually. Nor do I think she is a pisswater princess.

    No need at all for a random Dornishman.  Lemon trees from further south in Essos can easily be collected or planted by the rich and powerful in their pleasure gardens or parks.

    Dragons melting stone, agreed.  But a castle is a large construct so even a large dragon can only deal with so much stone at a time.  Dealing with blocks and shaping or fusing them together sounds practical enough to me.

    Are you arguing that Valyrian-formed stone is indestructible and eternal?  I know we're dealing with magic but I think it makes it stronger and with unique properties - see Valyrian steel - not that an entire castle is a permanent and indestructible addition to the geological record.

    So the daughter of Lyanna and Rhaegar.  Honestly, I don't really mind if that's true.  I think it has more logistical difficulties and inconsistencies than those you leap to point out but if you are determined to reject Dany as herself this is the better option among the lemon flavours.

    19 hours ago, BalerionTheCat said:

    That could be what GRRM would say, if he was making fun of an insane speculation. Timeline and all.

    Would Ned abandon his sister's daughter in Essos? The blue rose in the Ice Wall? Why to pretend Jon is his son?

    Idk why he didn't send her to Greywater Watch where Howland could keep her safe and anonymous on his floating reed castle.  Seems a better bet than hoping Robert would not have her killed along with Viserys.  It's like he put her out there unprotected for no discernible reason while he took "twin" Jon under his wing.  Doesn't seem likely to me.

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