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the trees have eyes

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  1. Raiders do their thing south of The Wall not north of it. And Mance is King of The Wildlings so why would he or "his" raiders destroy Whitetree? Whitetree is the closest wildling community or village to The Wall, that's all.
  2. Whitetree was abandoned, though. Like all the other wildlings the villagers went to join with Mance and are fleeing south or are dead. Craster freely gives The Others what they want. That makes him unique among humans north of The Wall - and he is reviled by the other wildlings for breaking this taboo - but there is nothing to say he is special in any other way.
  3. Indeed, (F)Arya is essential to his claim to WF succeeding. Until she bears him an heir he can claim to be the grandchild of Ned Stark he is on incredibly shaky ground. He needs her back to cement his claim and establish his dynasty. And as you say she is his hostage for the Northern Lords' good behaviour. Without her he's a bastard Bolton in a Stark castle with no legitimacy and a whole host of enemies. Tywin proposed the same marriage-inheritance plan to Tyrion but with Sansa as bride. That plan would collapse as well if Sansa ran off without Tyrion having an heir. I'm surprised there is an argument Ramsay doesn't want or need (F)Arya back.
  4. And how do you fit the fact that Jon is both Stark and Targaryen into this?
  5. This made me laugh. If there is an award for intentionally (or unintentionally) silly posts this is a contender. Thorne is a political exile who chose The Wall over execution. He didn't choose this life and he despises the boys he is obliged to train and is a bitter bully who taunts and abuses them. Jon's original confrontation with Thorne and the reason for Thorne's enmity was Thorne urging the boys to continue beating the pitiful Sam who had yielded in the practice yard after being soundly thrashed. Jon's first leadership role in the NW is to protect one of the recruits from a jaded and unpleasant bully. When Jon lashes out at Thorne it is after Thorne has taunted him over his father, "Not just a bastard, but a traitor's bastard". Mormont showed his view of Thorne's behaviour by removing him from his position and sending him to KL to get him out of the way. Oh yeah, in a strictly hierarchical medieval military society "disagreeing" with your superior, actually open defiance, contempt and repeated refusal to carry out orders is called mutiny and is punishable by execution. This isn't rocket science. The combined actions and mistakes of The Wildlings, Others and Mormont have created the larger problem and it is the arrival of Stannis together with Jon's promotion and policies that have steadied the ship. Marsh and Ramsay may f*ck it all up but that remains to be seen.
  6. Yes, that seems their object as evidenced by A Storm of Swords - Samwell II "The boy's brothers," said the old woman on the left. "Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons." My point point is that are Craster's sons in some way special or just the most easily and reliably obtained human children, as in why look a gift horse in the mouth? Good point. What would happen to the ranger who recognised the child as his? A Game of Thrones - Jon VI "Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow," they recited, their voices filling the twilit grove. "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come." It's not so much about this conjecture, imo:
  7. There is nothing to suggest that Craster's sons are special or preferable in any way. As to why they take his sons, well, why not? It's the same reason we domesticated animals, you keep them and tend them (or let them wander at pasture) and take a lamb or calf when you need one. Much less effort than hunting or trapping though in this case the supply is not for food but for "adoption" or "conversion".
  8. Indeed. No dragons, no bloodriders or Dothraki followers and off to the Dosh Khaleen with her. No dragons, nothing to bargain for The Unsullied. The best way to see the dragons is as part of her. She is the mother of dragons but without them she would have been in a tight spot after Drogo's death. It's possible GRRM could have conjured up some escape with Ser Jorah but then she's in the middle of the Dothraki Sea with one follower. Of course she was doing just fine without dragons before Drogo's death, having embraced her role as Khaleesi, won Drogo's love and, after the botched assassination attempt, his commitment to conquer Westeros. But GRRM then did one of his signature rug pulls by taking it all away from her except, for once, he made it a net win by giving her the dragons.
  9. Indeed, the only thing Sansa knows is that her father is sending her and Arya away and that she won't be allowed to marry Joffrey, which as an immature pre-teen she considers horribly unfair and so goes to the "kind" Queen rather than the "scary" King to try and get them to order her father to allow the marriage to go ahead. I've never understood the condemnation of Sansa for "betrayal" rather than naivety and childishly poor judgment, things normally seen as eminently understandable and forgivable if frustrating. Ned makes far too many mistakes of his own yet either Sansa or Cat seem to get the blame. As far as Sansa knows her father and the King are best friends and she is betrothed to The Crown Prince, a Barratheon, so she is approaching the King through his wife, hardly an enemy from her pov. The exact timing of the strongwine given to Robert to induce boaricide is unclear but I think Ned has already told Cersei he knows about the paternity of her children and that she is moving against Robert and laying plans for how to deal with Ned. The key element in Cersei's success / Ned's failure is of course LF's betrayal and the consequent trap Ned walks into, not Sansa's revelations. At best, you could argue that Sansa's news make Cersei aware of the need for speed by clueing her into the fact that Ned is not just planning to lay his findings before Robert when he returns but to make his family safe and that this gives her tactical advantage and Sansa as a hostage (an unused hostage until later) but surely she has spies and can observe Ned's guards (few since he sent so many with Beric). Without the Goldcloaks (i.e. LF) Cersei would have failed.
  10. It seems too great a risk and Tyrek is too incidental a character to take that risk for. And direct intervention in a riot that saw one of the KG killed and the High Septon slaughtered could just as easily ended with Tyrek dead whatever LF intended. LF's m.o. is to cause chaos, stand back and see which way events unfold then try and latch on to that. An abduction seems too dangerous to both him and the intended abductee and I'm not sure how this would further any aims of his.
  11. Well, I meant that people will see what they want to see if it entertains them or fits their theory, magic or no magic involved. There is nothing for any of these assumptions and the glamour / Faceless Man magic works by assuming someone else's appearance. The allegation that Craster is a Stark rests on the idea that his father was a ranger but we of course have no idea who and no idea if there was even a Stark / Stark bastard in The Watch when he was sired.
  12. If Howland Reed can be the High Septon or Euron can be The Dusky Woman (or Daario Naharis) then anyone can be anyone
  13. Interesting. I never saw any reason to put any more stock in the tales of The Night King than in Garth Greenhand or Lann the Clever. Or The Thing that Came in the night. Stories that are Westeros's equivalent of Hercules or Pandora or Count Dracula. But there is definitely something about how history becomes distorted and turned about over time and the stories of The Last Hero and Azor Ahai and maybe The Night King too are all in play. I agree. The apparent relevance I can see would be The Others take Craster's children to join them. Whatever ritual that required could be used on Jon / Jon's corpse if they recognised some kinship with him The Others want Gilly's babe as an "offering" stolen from them and are determined to recover their lost brother It ties the Starks to The Others as Craster "Stark" is shown to gift them his sons Against this it has to be said the wight sent to kill Mormont had no problem trying to kill Jon and there seemed no recognition or consideration of a Stark bloodline Benjen has been missing since AGOT so, either they had no problem snuffing him out as well (or, if you prefer, you could argue they have already co-opted him into their ranks) The Others' schemes were in motion long before Gilly gave birth. Her babe's presence/absence seems an irrelevance to whatever they are intending It appears to give Craster a pivotal role in the return of The Others, in a sense creating them with his "Stark" sacrifices. But there had to be someone for him to sacrifice to, so the argument becomes circular and his apparent importance diminished. It all feels a bit contrived and irrelevant to me. I understand the thematic desire to equate Starks with Ice as Targaryens are equated with fire but I don't think that fits.
  14. I think Davos brought Aemon's letter to him. That combined with what Stannis sees in Mel's flames sways him. The NW do write to everyone. Only Stannis comes. I'm pretty sure the hand disintegrated on the voyage so there is no eerie twitching evidence to display. A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII 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. I know he says he will go to Winterfell alone if need be, but it doesn't seem like he's marching on Winterfell, he needs Mel to find Ramsay not the Kingsroad. GRRM is all about how difficult leadership is. If all the decisions were easy there would be no problems. He goes a bit too far for me as all his leaders fail and usually quite spectacularly because they face impossible quandaries or betrayal.
  15. There is also (F)Arya herself. As long as she is believed to be Arya Stark the Boltons need to possess her so Ramsay can have her produce what he claims is a Bolton-Stark heir to rally the Northerners around. Her only options out are death, flight and hiding, or to reveal she is really Jeyne Poole and beg for mercy/asylum. There is already suspicion about her identity, we see that with Mors Umber questioning her to see if she knew the people of Winterfell, sadly mostly now dead. Her identity could be corroborated by either Jon or whatever survivors taken from Winterfell to The Dreadfort still live. 1. But Ramsay has not just demanded Jon and he has not just threatened Jon if the other people he has demanded are not handed over, he has threatened The NW. 2. Obviously it's because Castle Black has no defences that Jon intends to meet him on ground he can have some advantage on. 3. There is no need to repeat (well, maybe there is) but Jon intends to take no members of The NW with him to face Ramsay. He's threading the eye of the needle but given Ramsay's demands he's doing it pretty well. 4. Killing Jon or Jon surrendering is not the answer to anything. Imagine if Ramsay turned up at Castle Black to demand Arya and then impaled Marsh and The NW present (like the Ironborn at Moat Cailin) for not complying. 5. Jon refuses Stannis's offer to make him Lord of Winterfell, despite how much he reflects that he wants it. He embraces duty instead. How is refusing Stannis selfish? Cersei sent six Goldcloaks after Gendry. Lorch led one of the three reaving forces Tywin unleashed on The Riverlands (Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch the others). As well as causing mayhem, Lorch was looking for Dondarrion and I always thought he simply didn't believe Yoren's claims that they were not his men. I don't really understand why Mance went to Winterfell given how far it is and he could easily have missed (F)Arya while heading there. It could be he is determined to secure her so he could force Jon to hand over The Monster in exchange but I don't know if he knows his son is out of reach or why he would go to Winterfell rather than search around Long Lake assiduously.
  16. It works both ways. If Ramsay threatens The NW they can make tactically sound decisions. Castle Black has no defences to the south so waiting for Ramsay to attack would be suicide. And Jon of course takes no member of the NW to meet Ramsay (or at least that was the plan). He's attempting to meet Ramsay's challenge without involving the NW, that much is clear: A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII The roar was all he could have hoped for, the tumult so loud that the two old shields tumbled from the walls. Soren Shieldbreaker was on his feet, the Wanderer as well. Toregg the Tall, Brogg, Harle the Huntsman and Harle the Handsome both, Ygon Oldfather, Blind Doss, even the Great Walrus. I have my swords, thought Jon Snow, and we are coming for you, Bastard. Yarwyck and Marsh were slipping out, he saw, and all their men behind them. It made no matter. He did not need them now. He did not want them. No man can ever say I made my brothers break their vows. If this is oathbreaking, the crime is mine and mine alone.
  17. This whole thing honestly baffles me. The only reason to connect The Night King with the Starks is Old Nan's ghost story told to Bran to give him the creeps. In other words, if you don't see Old Nan as something magical or the Mystic Meg of Westeros, nothing at all. Warging or greenseeing are rare abilities that are connected to bloodlines but the Starks as a bloodline are hardly unique in this. Borroq, Varamyr, Haggon, Bloodraven are all examples who have nothing to do with the Starks. Even then, what The Others are and how they control the wights is unknown. There is no reason to presume reanimating and controlling a legion of corpses is a special warg ability. There is no reason to suppose Craster is a Stark. As the son of a ranger we would need a suitable Stark ancestor a generation before Benjen to even be in the NW, something we have no indication of. Craster propitiates "The Cold Gods" with sacrifices and is known as a friend to The Watch, in other words he plays it both ways. He's an ambiguous bit part character with little page time who died several books previously. If Monster has this magical bloodline then so do all his brothers. That would make Bran the ultimate red herring and the whole Leaf wandering the 7K looking for "the Bran boy" when there's a greenseer factory north of The Wall a colossal misunderstanding. Why not try and poach one of them rather than let The Others take them all? The NK is supposed to have married a female Other. That defies interpretation at present but a corpse bride would be more Lady Stoneheart than Arya. Where's all this Brandon and Lyanna incest talk coming from? It's totally unsupported. I understand this sounds dark and subversive and turns our understanding and expectations on their heads, hence it's appeal, but it seems like it rests on one leap after another.
  18. So we agree neutrality is unfeasible and undesirable in certain circumstances? Jon didn't. Ramsay threatened him personally, the NW generally and Stannis's family and adherents specifically. A lot of that refers to apples and oranges without any discrimination. Of course Ramsay and the Boltons are threatened by (F)Arya reaching Jon. He'll refute her identity and loyalty to "Ned's little girl" is all that is keeping the Boltons on their precarious and murderously-gained perch. Mance's actions are obviously a provocation but as Stannis provides an alternative source of legitimacy and power to the Boltons the apples or oranges would both point them against The NW anyway. Unless they had a man on the inside, or just a useful idiot, to take care of things for them.
  19. Indeed. If it ain't broke don't fix it seems an apt summary here. By the time Mormont began to get uneasy about what was happening north of The Wall and attempted to convey it to Tyrion it was already far too late. People simply don't believe or consider it too remote for them to care about and the NW is far too hollowed out to be effective. Stannis and Stannis alone finally answers the call so the decision is between "neutrality" and The NW's purpose, not really a hard call to make. I quite agree. Any Lord Paramount has the duty to maintain law and order and as Ned explains to Bran about "justice": A Game of Thrones - Bran I His lord father smiled. "Old Nan has been telling you stories again. In truth, the man was an oathbreaker, a deserter from the Night's Watch. No man is more dangerous. The deserter knows his life is forfeit if he is taken, so he will not flinch from any crime, no matter how vile. But you mistake me. The question was not why the man had to die". Or, as Chett surmises, what every NW member knows is that the penalty for desertion is execution by the relevant local authority: A Storm of Swords - Prologue "I'm going to make for the coast," Lark the Sisterman confided. "Me and my cousins. We'll build us a boat, sail back home to the Sisters." And at home they'll know you for deserters and lop off your fool heads, thought Chett. There was no leaving the Night's Watch, once you said your words. Anywhere in the Seven Kingdoms, they'd take you and kill you. This has nothing to do with limiting the NW's say over it's own affairs and everything to do with protecting the realm from the dangerous criminals sent to The Wall. It's hard to see how anyone would interpret it any other way. I think we are meant to see Marsh as narrow-minded, short-sighted, prejudiced and fundamentally flawed in his thinking and decision-making. He also appears to be a drunk. There seems to be a school of thought that celebrates his attempt to deal with his limitations and "do the right thing" as he sees it, whatever the cost to himself, as heroic. Being prepared to sacrifice yourself, or at least put yourself at risk for something you believe in, is generally considered heroic or noble but we have to be able to divorce the action from the goal to reach that conclusion and things look very different from opposing sides of the fence (e.g. a suicide bomber, considered a martyr or terrorist / mass murderer depending on your pov, or a coup leader claiming to save the nation from whatever threat becomes a national saviour to some or self-serving autocrat to others). I can see how Marsh taking this risk could be considered in this light but his goal and the muddled, limited and reactionary thinking he displays leads me pretty firmly towards idiotic. He reminds me more of the communist die-hards who launched a failed coup to oust Gorbachev and roll back his glasnost and perestroika reforms than of a "hero". This sums it up perfectly for me. We're really in new territory and the status quo ante no longer works. How quickly and effectively The NW can adapt will determine whether it can meet its goals. Jon sees that, Marsh wants everything to continue as before. Perhaps if he had been a survivor of The Fist rather than fighting Wildlings at The Shadow Tower he might have been able to adapt but he is very much still Marsh v1.0.
  20. There is like 300 or 500 of them. I think people forget that when we get into these discussions about neutrality and purpose. They are militarily insignificant and functionally incapable until Stannis assists and Jon starts recruiting Wildlings and bolstering the ranks. The idea that Marsh and his 300 are going to turn into Leonidas and pull a Thermopylae at The Wall is pretty funny to me. Marsh does not have any answers and has screwed things up royally.
  21. Break neutrality =/= Betray the NW. Otherwise, accepting Stannis's aid (which is given long before Jon is LC and it's not like anyone was in a position to do so anyway) is betraying the NW. When Stannis's knights turned up to defeat Mance they came from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with the NW garrison in tow. No one complains that Stannis is a rebel and accepting his aid or sheltering him is a betrayal. "Neutrality" is not some aim in itself or some shibboleth to be upheld regardless of how that cripples the NW's purpose.
  22. Indeed. I was addressing the apparent love (or absence of) for Ramsay. The institutionalist argument has some merit but in a limited fashion - it has been the operating condition of the NW for most of its history in order to preserve it and keep it focused on its mission. But it forgot that mission which makes adhering to the rules, without understanding their true purpose, both ironic and misguided. Now that a LC understands the true purpose of the NW, political neutrality is unattainable and actually contrary to the mission of the NW, as rejecting Stannis's aid, impossible since he has already granted it without needing permission to do so, fractures the coalition aimed at forestalling The Others and undermines that mission. How the whole tangle plays out, with Stannis offering to make Jon Lord of Winterfell, Jon trying to keep the NW as autonomous as possible without sacrificing Stannis's goodwill, Jon attempting to rescue F(Arya), The Lannisters / IT making it clear they want "their man" in charge, the reactionary faction in the NW taking aim at Jon for allying with the Wildlings, the institutionalists unable or unwilling to accept any aid from Stannis and the political "realists" backing the Boltons over Stannis, both before and after The Pink Letter, is pretty realistic to me. I'm still surprised Marsh is elevated to hero status but stranger things have happened on this forum and in real life.
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