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three-eyed monkey

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  1. Come on now. Do you really think that's the only reason Jon wants Stannis to win? Because Stannis came to the defense of the Wall? Do you think it has nothing to do with Robb, the Red wedding, Arya, etc? Jon does not like the idea of Stannis giving Winterfell to a Karstark because they abandoned his brother amongst his enemies. After Stannis defeated Mance he resumed his campaign for the Iron Throne. In fact I would say it's the very reason Stannis came north to defend the Wall, to get himself back into the war for the throne after his defeat on the Blackwater. I disagree that it's a way of avoiding moral responsibility. The Watch are sworn to defend the realm of men. That realm has changed through the millennia, from the kingdoms of the First Men, through the arrival of the Andals and the dragons, but the Watch have always stuck to their duty to defend the realm and not become involved in the internal wars of the realm. So I would argue, based on what Maester Aemon said, that it is a way of sticking to their duty and staying true to their oaths. That day when it is not so easy, when he must choose, came for Jon as Aemon said it would. When Ned and Robb died Jon was conflicted, sure, but he stayed at the Wall. Exactly my point. It's not just Jon but also Bowen and company who have failed to stay true to their sworn purpose. Both parties are choosing sides in the war for the realm. They are picking different sides, Jon choosing Stannis and Bowen choosing Tommen, a conflict that came to a head in Jon XIII, ADwD, when Jon chose to ride against Ramsay and Bowen chose to stop him for fear the Watch would be branded traitors by King Tommen. Therefore, the Watch is no longer true. Old Nan tells Bran that the Others cannot pass the Wall so long as the men of the Night's Watch stay true. I think she is right, again. So I suspect the "spell" that wards the Wall, which is the Watch oath in my opinion, is now broken and the Others can pass the Wall. As Ned says, a wall is only as good as the men who defend it.
  2. The thing about a Weirwood brooch is that it can represent the free folk but also the North. As such it is a symbol that unifies both cultures. My instinct about this gift from Dalla to Val, although I can't prove it, is that it was given when Mance first introduced the two girls. When Dalla left the Last Heart to go north with Mance, she knew she would be meeting a lost Umber, and so she brought a gift for the occasion. White breeches, boots, cloak, and tunic. White being a color that is symbolic of peace and harmony, which is further emphasized by the fact that Val would rather not stain the outfit with blood.
  3. I would still argue that giving advise to assist another party to achieve their objective is taking part. Not giving advice is not taking part. Edit: I should also add that it's not just advice. He shared intelligence when he sent the letter about pending Karstark treachery, and he gave the green light to Mance's mission. Sorry, but I just don't buy the suggestion that Jon was not taking part. And I don't think Jon buys it either. He's conflicted on the matter, but he progresses towards taking part through Dance.
  4. I agree that they came to judge Jon for themselves. I don't think it is because Stannis wanted to name Jon as Lord of Winterfell but rather that he was Robb's heir. This was one of the points back in the day when the Grand Northern Conspiracy theory was being put together shortly after the release of Dance. I'm still of the belief that the intention to crown Jon and return Winterfell and the North to the Starks goes well beyond White Harbor. In fact I think most of the North are involved in the plan. Certainly Crowfood and Whorsebane Umber. Definitely Bear Island too. The Northern Clans. And of course, Lady Barbery. I accept you can make it work for Mance's first trip to Winterfell, with explanations like the one you have given above, but I'm still not convinced. Why would the Lord Commander, who I agree would probably be stationed at Castle Black, request someone to come from the Shadow Tower to escort him to Winterfell? A simpler explanation might be that Mance was stationed at Castle Black at the time, and then later was stationed at the Shadow Tower. Or perhaps our assumption that the Lord Commander was stationed at Castle Black is wrong and he was at the Shadow Tower. Mance told Jon he met Dalla on his return from Winterfell and that she is blameless when it comes to him deserting the Watch. He also told Jon the story about the Shadowcat, implying that the unnamed woman who nursed him was part of the reason he left the Watch for a place where a kiss was not a crime. These two stories don't tally if Dalla is that woman, as you claim. The second trip makes far more sense to me. It also makes more sense to me that Val, not Dalla, was the woman who nursed Mance and mended his cloak. Yes, if he's returning to the Shadow Tower and he met Dalla on the first trip. However, we get clues that Mance traveled through Umber lands the second time. Raiders have been coming across the Bay of Seals for centuries. Mance tells Jon he could send an army across the Bay of Seals and take Eastwatch from the south. Mance says he knows hidey-holes east of Long Lake, and he has used them from time to time. That's Umber lands. And again, I think "stealing" a bride in wildling tradition is far more likely to have been done when he was King-beyond-the-Wall and not a brother of the Watch in the company of his Lord Commander. Both scenarios are possible but I think the later is far more probable.
  5. Jon is being accused of sending Mance to steal the Lord of Winterfell's bride. Jon agreed to send Mance to find Arya, who he thought was a girl on a horse fleeing from a wedding. The next he hears of this is the pink letter, where "Ramsay" accuses Jon of sending Mance and spearwives to steal his bride. Tormund says it might be a lie, but Jon replies - no, there is some truth here - and then thinks to himself - Ramsay knows about Mance. Note that Jon thinks but does not say, He knows about Mance. So Jon knows this is not an unprovoked threat from Ramsay because, according to the letter, Ramsay has proof in the form of captured Mance that Jon acted against him. Self-defence is justified, but it is hard to claim self-defence if you are the one who initiated the conflict. My point is Jon says it is not for the Watch to avenge Stannis or oppose Ramsay. The reason Jon gives is that he is going to make Ramsay answer for his words and he will not ask his brothers to come with him, as that would constitute forswearing their vows. The letter is purposefully constructed so that Jon can't comply. The person who really wrote the letter has Theon and fArya and knows Jon cannot comply. But that's a separate issue. As to your second point. You are ignoring that Jon was the one who gave Mel and Mance the green light. He sent Ed to get the women Mance needed for his ploy. Jon's actions are guided by what he thinks, and he thinks he's been caught sending Mance to get Arya. Ramsay's threatened to cut Jon's heart out and those are the words Jon says he is going to make Ramsay answer for. But what he is not telling the shield hall is that he was party to Mance's mission to find Arya. It is not an unprovoked threat from Ramsay. Jon is the Lord Commander of the Watch, therefore part of the Watch. He's being trying to keep his oath, but he is caught between his love for Arya and his duty. This is his internal conflict. This is the day, as Aemon said, when it is not so easy to be honorable and do your duty. The day every man must choose. The men of the Watch had no sons but they had mothers and fathers and sisters, and when the Andals invaded or dragons invaded and killed their families, they took no part. Yes it is, and that is what the real author of the pink letter is hoping Jon will do. I would argue that advice is taking part. Before the US sent it's troops to Vietnam it had military advisors there. Many people would argue that this was when the US started to take part in Vietnam. I'm not interested in debating the politics or the right and wrong of this situation, I'm just using it as an example. In Jon's case it's more than advice though. It's not a reason he gives for marching on Winterfell, but it is central to the decision. I agree that Cersei is not justified in thinking Jon is a traitor to the realm, because as readers we know Jon and understand he wants to protect the realm, etc. But it is characters, not readers, who drive the story. He wanted to protect Arya, naturally, but it is his vows that prevented him acting overtly. That's why he tried to do both, keep his vows but at the same time help Stannis defeat the Boltons. And agree to send "Rattleshirt", who he knew was really Mance, to find his sister.
  6. The Watch take no part. This is why Castle Black can only be defended from the north. Their duty is to defend the realm from the threat from beyond the Wall, and not become involved in the internal wars of the realm. Aemon explains this and why this is in the passage I quoted above. Jon understands what Aemon told him. He says it is not for the Watch to avenge Stannis or oppose Ramsay. As such, Jon should comply with the demands in the letter and get on with defending the realm. However, Jon has decided that he will make Ramsay answer for his words (even though they are not Ramsay's words, but that is beside the point). Jon knows this could well constitute forswearing his vows and that's why he looks for swords amongst the wildlings rather than his sworn brothers. Certainly if Ramsay attacked Castle Black, then naturally the Watch would be expected to defend themselves against the attack, but theoretically this should not occur if the Watch take no part as Ramsay would have no reason to attack Castle Black. If the Watch take no part and Ramsay attacks unprovoked, then the act of aggression is on Ramsay's part and the Watch would be fully justified in defending themselves. Stannis answered the call against the wildlings, and if Stannis is there to defend the realm from further threats from beyond the Wall, then fine. Jon is justified in accommodating Stannis and his army. However, Stannis has another agenda too. Having defeated Mance, Stannis resumed his campaign for the Iron Throne, the first step of which is winning the North. The Watch should take no part in that, but Jon has repeatedly assisted Stannis in this matter. Advice about attacking the Dreadfort, or recruiting the northern clans to his cause. Informing Stannis that Arnulf Karstark is going to betray him. Jon clearly wants Stannis to win against the Boltons. Jon could accept Stannis' offer, and he considered it plenty, but he always resisted the offer and upheld his vows much to Stannis' frustration. He was caught in a hard place between Winterfell and the Watch, family and duty, which is what Aemon warned him of, and felt he needed to choose duty. This is the central conflict Jon faced all through Dance, until he finally caved in when the pink letter came. Protecting Arya was a large part of his motive, but also the fact that he though Stannis was defeated and therefore his proxy war had ended, meaning he now had to fight the war against Ramsay overtly. Objectively, I agree. Jon made this case in his letter to King's Landing. But from Cersei's point of view Jon is assisting her enemy. Bowen did have a choice. There comes a day when every man must choose, as Aemon said, and Bowen chose to take a side rather than take no part. If Jon did nothing to move against the Bolton's then Stannis would have marched on the Dreadfort with his small army and whatever happened would have been no concern to Jon. That is not the case though. I agree with you that the demands cannot and should not be met. This is part of the point. Honor is doing the right thing, not necessarily sticking to your duty for as we know there are many good men, like Barristan, sworn to bad causes like Aerys. And Jon always strives to do the right thing, and he strives to keep his oath, but sometimes these things come into conflict and that is the conflict he must learn to resolve. I'm not dumping on Jon, or Bowen for that matter, I'm just explaining from my perspective how and why the characters find themselves in such a predicament.
  7. It is perfectly feasible that Mance and Dalla chose not to have a child for 10 years or indeed they had children that did not survive. But it is equally feasible that they had a child soon after being married. So this point is a stalemate really. However, first time to Winterfell Mance was a brother of the Watch, traveling with the Lord Commander. We need a rather convoluted explanation to account for this, such as Mance just met Dalla on his way back to the Wall. Then he returned to the Shadow Tower. Went ranging and had the encounter with the shadowcat north of the Wall, was nursed back to health and had his cloak sewn, was told to burn the cloak on his return to the Shadow Tower, left the Watch for a place where a kiss was not a crime and a man could wear whatever cloak he chose, (a clear reference to the woman who nursed him back to health north of the Wall), but went to find Dalla instead, who presumably lived somewhere south of the Wall. Second time he was the king of the free folk, traveling by himself disguised as a bard, and it is the free folk tradition to "steal" wives. Even if you don't believe Dalla is an Umber, meeting her on the second trip just makes much more sense in my opinion. I agree, and I think we are meant to assume he met her somewhere north of the Wall on his return after the second trip. This is what I believed for some time. I took the bait. But the more I thought about Mance, his affinity for Bael, and his plan beyond getting past the Wall, I started to change my mind. This is an important point. Val and Dalla identify as free folk, so how could they be Umbers? Val first. If she is Crowfood's grand-daughter then she was born north of the Wall after her mother was stolen as a wife 30 years ago and therefore has been a woman of the free folk all her life. However there is a clue that she may have southron origins, or should I say a southron high born mother. Val says "my lord" not "m'lord." Roose explained the difference to Theon. I think this must come from her mother. Not conclusive but I do feel it's a hint. Dalla says "we free folk" which suggests she is what she seems, a wildling woman. I take your point that she might have embraced the culture after a period of time. However, it might have been rather quick. I feel we get a clue to this in a conversation between Jon and Mance, shortly after Jon had turned his cloak, regarding the Fist of the First Men. Jon quickly learns what side of the us and them divide he needs to be on around Mance. Dalla is the wife of the King-beyond-the-Wall. I think she knows what side of the divide she is on too. To her the free folk are "we" and the kneelers are them. The following is speculation, I admit, but it is based on my firm belief that Mance must have had some plan on how to keep the free folk south of the Wall if ever he got that far. He's a peace-maker and a peaceful solution would be most desirable, given that he feels the free folk have bled enough already. And peaceful solutions require opening a dialogue between enemies. It's a bold move but no one ever named Mance fainthearted, according to Qhorin. We see on his third trip to Winterfell that he is certainly ballsy. I think Dalla was completely on-board with Mance from day one. I don't think she was taken from the Last Hearth against her will. Mance is a charming guy. I doubt too many people with his charisma visit the Last Hearth, and I suspect she was smitten by the singer. If Mance took the opportunity to open discussions with Greatjon under the protection of guest right, proposing the possibility of peace between free folk and Umbers as future neighbors, I imagine Greatjon probably shot the idea down due to the centuries of hatred between both parties. One of the cards Mance might have played is Val; he'd be returning with Crowfood's grand-daughter when he comes south. This might have sweetened the deal somewhat, but probably not enough. In fact it probably enraged Crowfood into wanting Mance's head though guest right would have protected him for the night at least. However, I think Mance did find one sympathetic ear in Greatjon's hall. His daughter, similar in ways to Davos in the court of Wyman Manderly. I think Dalla believed in Mance's plan, and eloped with him willingly that night. I accept this is very possible, but if she is just a random wildling woman, then I still struggle to see her purpose or that of her son to the story?
  8. Jon and Bowen are both in the wrong here. The key point is that the Watch take no part in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms. Jon himself accepts that he is about to forswear his vows. But Bowen is equally guilty, although it's perhaps not quite as obvious. Bowen is concerned about the Watch being labelled traitors to the Iron Throne for aiding Stannis. So Bowen is actually advocating taking part in the war between Stannis and the Iron Throne, by insisting that the Watch choose a side, and not the losing side who he sees as Stannis. In other words, Bowen is in favor of siding with the crown against the rebel Stannis, which is taking part. Jon insists that he is not choosing sides, but that's not really true as he is clearly waging a proxy war against the Bolton's through Stannis when he assists Stannis in several aspects of his campaign. We can trace the Iron Throne's concern about Jon and Stannis back to a small council meeting with Cersei. So Cersei's council see Jon as a traitor. Ser Harys Swyft, who was Hand at the time, suggests the Watch must remove Jon. Pycelle proposes informing Castle Black that the Watch must remove their Lord Commander or else... Cersei prefers a different course of action, however, and jumps on Qyburn's idea. Cersei tells the council to leave it to her, and in what she believes to be a Tywin moment, concocts a plan to kill two birds with one stone. Osney Kettleblack will confess to sleeping with Margery, he'll then take the black for his crimes, and kill Jon when he gets to the Wall. But this plan backfires when the High Sparrow breaks Kettleblack and Cersei is imprisoned. Later, Qyburn visits Cersei in her cell and tells her that he has been removed from the small council and Swyft and Pycelle have been running the realm in her absence. The implication of this is that Swyft and Pycelle's preferred method of dealing with the Jon Snow situation, which was declaring Jon a traitor and informing Castle Black that he must be removed is the way the council went in Cersei and Qyburn's absence. By informing Castle Black, they most likely mean Bowen Marsh, who is a senior officer of the Watch. So Bowen, under pressure from King's Landing, has no choice but move against Jon when the Pink Letter arrives and Jon outlines his intentions. Again, this is taking a side. The bottom line is that both Jon and Bowen have allowed themselves be drawn into the game of thrones, instead of taking no part. Therefore the men of the Watch are no longer true, involving themselves in the politics of the realm rather than the defense of the realm, which is the duty they are sworn to uphold. And what happens when the men of the Watch are no longer true? The Others can pass the Wall. Now some will argue that they cannot while the Wall still stands, but I think that's missing the point because as Ned says: So I believe this is the major consequence of the most recent events at Castle Black. I'm sure there will be a bloodbath, but expect those killed in the battle to start rising with blue eyes, including Jon.
  9. Jon does not come to any conclusion about whether it was the first or second trip as far as I can see. He's talking about Mance's oathbreaking and he's listing off his crimes in the order they appear in the Watch vows. Mance ended his watch. He took a wife. He made himself a king. I don't see the need to presume anything about off page conversations.
  10. As I said, if there was a Stark woman of age then Mance might have considered this, but there was not. Osha actually had little faith in Mance. As far as Osha knew, Mance was planning on fighting the Others. That's why she was fleeing south. The reason she suggested bringing Bran to Mance was for reward. Benjen Stark, as first ranger of the Watch, was a thorn in the side of Mance. Bran was Benjen's own blood so it's a very reasonable suggestion. The theory that the Catspaw came from Mance is very unlikely to be true. I doubt Mance is the sort of man to send a catspaw assassin to do his dirty work. Mance is actually quite honorable and even though he wears no crown, etc., he is a true king who puts his people ahead of his "throne", unlike most of the kings we know. I would say that it's far more likely that the catspaw was sent by Littlefinger, attached to the king's train all the way from King's Landing with instructions to kill a Stark child when he was there. It would certainly be easier for Littlefinger to access the dagger in King's Landing than it would be for Mance's catspaw to get hold of it. Littlefinger had already made a public show of handing the dagger over to Tyrion at the tourney as part of the framing set-up. And of course we know that Littlefinger was trying to start a war between the Starks and Lannisters. The only thing that links Mance and the catspaw is a bag of silver, but it's not very strong evidence given that the catspaw would have been paid by whoever sent him and clearly he was paid in silver. Mance is not the only one in Westeros with a bag of silver. If she's an Umber then she probably does have Stark blood as the Starks and Umbers intermarried. Mors is called Crowfood, because he bit the head off the crow who stole his eye. In Dance, Crowfood says he will side with Stannis but he wants Mance's head as his price, or his skull to drink from, which amounts to the same thing. This seems to be a personal gripe Mors has towards Mance. Mance was a crow. Mors took the head of the crow who took his eye and I believe the parallel here is that Mors knows Mance took Dalla. Or perhaps it refers to her refusing to look away from Mance/Rattleshirt being devoured by the Red God. Sorry, I meant oldest son, not only son. Typo. And how would Mance prove that Dalla is the bastard of Brandon, given that no one seems to think Brandon had kids. And why would a potential bastard of Brandon become heir of Winterfell? Do you really think that if Mance showed up with a wife he claims to be Brandon Stark's bastard, the North would just roll over and accept it?
  11. Jon's not in a position to know the sequence of events with Mance and Dalla though. Jon is talking about Mance's oath-breaking in the passage you cited, and he is using the Watch vows as a frame of reference. This is where the sequence comes from. Turn cloak, wed Dalla, declare himself king.
  12. Just to be clear, I'm not saying Jaime will kill her out of revenge. I'm saying he will try to stop her from destroying herself and King's Landing, but she will deliver a mortal wound in the process and he will have no choice but act. Like I said, Honor is the quality of knowing and doing the right thing. Vengeance and Justice are juxtaposed in the books, most notably by Ned when he was Hand and sent Beric to deliver justice to Gregor. Vengeance is not the right thing. Justice is the right thing. Justice is the idea that everyone gets what they deserve. The innocent people of King's Landing do not deserve to die just because Cersei loses the game of thrones, and I feel Jaime will be the one to bring justice to the situation, albeit at a great personal cost.
  13. Yes, but I'm saying clearly Val is not a midwife, otherwise she would not have looked for one for Dalla. You are the one who said Val could not have nursed Mance back to health because she was not a midwife. I pointed out that even nurses defer to midwives when it comes to delivering babies. The woman who nursed Mance cleaned his wounds, sewed him up, and fed him porridge and potions. All of which is rather rudimentary. She is not referred to as a healer, that was the old wise woman who was dead when Mance reached the village. It was her "daughter" who saw to Mance. Yes, but what's the connection? Jarl and Bran both fell therefore Val might be a Stark? Crowfood Umber has one eye too. Lot's wife looked back at a city God destroyed for being evil and was turned to a pillar of salt. I see no narrative connection other than the word pillar. Yes, the point being sorcery is dangerous, a sword without a hilt, there's no safe way to wield it. Again the only connection I see here is the word sword, but there are thousands of references to swords in the series. Jon observed that Val looked more regal in the bronze than Stannis did in gold. Bronze is often used in the series to refer to the time of the First Men, and of course the Starks were kings in those days. I would think something like this fits your theory better than Jarl falling from the Wall. However, the Umbers were kings themselves back then, so it fits my theory too. GRRM chooses to present Val as a princess from Stannis' point of view because Stannis needs her to be a princess if he is to marry her to his Lord of Winterfell and seal a peace between the North and the Free Folk. That's how things work in Stannis' world. But Val is not a princess, she is just the "sister" of Mance's dead wife. GRRM also presents this point of view through Jon, so you really need to look at the whole picture here. It was all meant for Brandon, he was Rickard's only son and he was betrothed to Cat. I am aware of the theory that Mance met Dalla on the way back from his first trip to Winterfell in 288. It's a reasonable question. However, rather than meeting Dalla while in the company of the Lord Commander and not having any children with her that we know of for ten years, I personally find it more likely that he met her on the way back from his second trip to Winterfell in 297, when he stole her from the Last Heart, and she was pregnant soon after. Mance tells us he met Dalla on the way home from Winterfell, not when he was injured by the shadowcat which took place north of the Wall during a ranging.
  14. To be fair I think most of the fandom accept that this is a reference to their Lannister hair. I agree that Jaime will take up Widow's Wail at some stage. Jaime and Brienne both wield flaming swords in his dream, and that is a reference to Lightbringer. I would say this is a hint that Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail, Jaime and Brienne's swords, once reforged, will be Lightbringer. Or perhaps when Jaime proves himself as a true knight once again, it will cost him his life and love.
  15. Mance spent less than 10 years uniting the free folk. He was a brother of the Watch when he visited Winterfell in 288. Ned knew he had assembled the host by 297. So 20's at least. I think that would fit with Val, though we don't have a confirmed age for her. Well midwives specialize in delivering babies. Even in modern times, nurses leave the delivery of babies to midwives. Val has some skills at cleaning and sewing wounds and nursing someone back to health, but it still makes sense that she would look for a midwife when it comes to delivering Dalla's child, given that the free folk would have midwives and delivery of a child posed a high risk to both mother and child and is therefore best left to someone who knows what they are doing. Even then, there are no guarantees but clearly her preference was to give Dalla and child the best chance. The woman who nursed Mance was not described as a healer. The old woman who was known as a healer was dead when they brought Mance to the village. Her daughter saw to him instead, cleaned his wounds, sewed him up, and fed him porridge and potions until he was strong enough to ride again(?). That's a lot different than delivering a baby. That may be so but there was no Stark bride available. If there was then I suggest that he might have Baeled with her instead. Ned was open to this, it makes a lot of sense to re-settle the Gift and make it productive, which would only be good for the North. The problem was that Ned couldn't lure settlers north, not with the northern winter coming on. A dream for spring. Mance does not have that problem though. Mance's problem is the Umbers, who would be the free folks closest neighbors if they re-settle the gift. Especially given the animosity the Umbers have towards wildlings after centuries of raids. When it comes to Winterfell, Mance is clearly in favor of Jon becoming the Lord of Winterfell or better still the king of an independent north. He's not banking on a secret Stark. He has invested in Jon, Ygritte set the trap and Mance pushed him in, etc. And how would Mance prove that Dalla was a hitherto unknown Stark bastard? Far easier to prove Dalla is Greatjon's daughter if Dalla actually is Gratjon's daughter. Just to be clear, I see Val as Crowfood's grand-daughter. I see Dalla as Greatjon's daughter.
  16. I agree that power is everything Cersei holds dear. When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. That's all in. Queen she shall be. Right now she is queen regent, well, before her imprisonment. Tommen is her son and he is king, and his wife will be queen. However, with Aegon approaching then Tommen's reign is drawing to a close. I doubt he or Myrcella will survive, hence the gold funeral shrouds. So how could Cersei become queen? The simplest answer is by marrying Aegon, which would mean she is queen until Aegon dies, keeping her in place up until the end game. That's right, I'm saying Aegon will have a thing for older women, lost mother issues maybe, and we know Cersei likes the Targ look. I expect her to cling to power until late in the game. Aegon's death is probably going to come at the hands of Dany, as he is the mummer's dragon. When that happens a lot of people are going to expect Dany to become the younger and more beautiful queen. However, if Dany sacrifices the throne to save the kingdom, she will not be the one who takes power, which is everything Cersei holds dear. I think that will be Sansa, the Queen of Spring. In relation to @The Bard of Banefort's point in the spoiler box. There are similarities between Jon and Jaime in that they will have to do a bad thing that will cost them greatly in order to achieve a good outcome for the people they are sworn to defend, but I think there is a difference between them too. Jon will have to sacrifice his honor to keep his oath. Jaime will have to sacrifice his love to keep his oath.
  17. I think you might have the wrong Northman. I wrote an OP a couple of years ago about Mance's plan, which touched on the identity of Val and Dalla, but I'll give a brief outline of the theory here for context. Osha tells us Mance was just a crow who flew down from the Wall, and not really of the Free Folk. However, Qhorin tells us that Mance was the child of raiders who were killed and was taken in by the Watch when he was young. In 288 Mance was still in the Watch, when he escorted Lord Commander Quorgyle to Winterfell. Sometime after that, while ranging north of the Wall, he had an encounter with a shadowcat that altered the course of his life. When injured he was taken to a wildling village where it was said an old wisewoman did some healing. The old woman was dead, but her daughter nursed Mance instead. Mance never names this woman who saved him and mended his black cloak with red silk. Back at the Shadow Tower, Mance is told to burn the cloak and get back into the black of the Watch, so the next day he flew down from the Wall for a place where a kiss was not a crime and a man could wear whatever cloak he chose. This strongly suggests that he had an intimate relationship with his healer, and that when he left the Watch he returned to her. As I said, this was a turning point in his life. Over the next several years he went about uniting the Free Folk, traveling from village to village, winning over some with his words and others with the edge of his sword, dueling potential rivals as King beyond the Wall, and making peace between rival tribes and clans, etc. It's important to note that Mance is a peace maker, and while there was inevitably some blood spilled along the way, he united the Free Folk by largely peaceful means. In less than ten years he had assembled a host, the size of which concerned the Lord of Winterfell, Ned. This was 297, the year Mance attached himself to Robert's train and attended the king's feast in Winterfell, disguised as a singer or course. Mance went to take a look at Robert, and was probably disappointed in what he saw, and so this was a reconnaissance mission of sorts, which makes sense given that we know he was planning on bringing the Free Folk south to save them from the Others. A number of Kings beyond the Wall had gotten a host past the Wall before, but every time the Starks and Umbers came down on them and put an end to the wildling invasion. Mance therefore has two problems; getting his host south of the Wall and then keeping them south of the Wall. The first part is the easier part, it has been done several times before. The second part is where he has to succeed where his predecessors failed, which has never been done. Mance told Jon that he didn't want to launch a full assault against the Wall because even though he would win the Watch would bleed him, and he believes his people have bled enough already. If that's true, then going to war with the North is surely not his first choice when it comes to how to keep his people south of the Wall if and when they get there. Remember, Mance is a peace maker, he prove that when uniting the Free Folk, so peace with the North would be more desirable. And if you want to make peace, then you need to open a dialogue with your enemy. The North has no love for the wildlings. The Umbers in particular are bitter enemies of the wildlings, who have been raiding their lands for centuries. If Mance wants to forge an unlikely peace with the North, then where better to start than with the Umbers, especially if the empty Gift is the piece of land Mance is hoping to gain for the Free Folk. He might have even seen the Umber sigil as a good omen, but i think he had another reason, and it goes back to the unnamed woman who nursed him after the shadowcat. Back to Val and Dalla. There's a relatively prominent old theory that Val is Crowfood's daughter, but personally I find it more likely that she is his grand-daughter. Crowfood's daughter was stolen in 270, approx. Wildlings don't steal daughters, they steal wives, so she must have been a woman at that stage if she was seen as a potential wife by the raider. That would put her in her mid-forties now, at least, which I feel is to old for Val but a good age to be Val's mother. Not only that, but I believe Val is the woman who nursed Mance back to health. Why else do we not have her name? Why else do we not have a backstory to how Mance and Val met? Nor did we ever find out what happened Crowfood's daughter. There are too many gaps in these three stories, but Val being Crowfood's grand-daughter and the woman who nursed Mance fills those gaps. It also means that Val is a huge catalyst in Mance's story, as that was the encounter that set him upon a new path. She may even be the inspiration behind his plan. However, romantically it didn't last. Mance refers to Jarl as Val's latest toy, and something about the way he says it makes me think he was a previous toy of hers, although they clearly still have a good relationship and share the same mission. Val considers Dalla to be her sister, but we should not take that too literally. The free folk have a clan system, and we hear of clan mothers and clan kin, who may not be direct relatives but kin all the same according to their culture. However, I do think Val and Dalla share blood, Umber blood. Mance said he met Dalla on his return from Robert's feast in Winterfell. Mance later reveals that he knows some hidey-holes east of Long Lake, which is Umber land. This is a route known to Mance as he has used these hidey-holes from time to time, and I believe this was his route home from Winterfell. We're told raiders have been crossing the Bay of Seals since the dawn of days, and I think this is the likely route Mance took. What better place to make a final stop before heading north again than the Last Hearth, which lies between Long Lake and the Bay of Seals. Mance had just infiltrated Winterfell as a singer and I doubt the Last Heart would be any more difficult. This was before Robb called his banners and Greatjon had not yet gone south. We are told Greatjon has daughters, though we are never told their names, but I would say one is named Dalla. Mance told Jon that if he had been discovered at Winterfell, then he would have had to trust that guest right, a custom well-respected in the North, would keep him safe. The same rules would apply in the Last Hearth. Once the singer had eaten of Greatjon's bread and salt, he would be protected. This was Mance's opportunity to open that dialogue with Lord Umber, and take the first tenuous steps towards forging an unlikely peace. He wants to bring Crowfood's grand-daughter back, and that's a good place to start. Then it's on to the trickier proposition of bringing 100,000 free folk with her. There's centuries of hatred to overcome here, but a peace would benefit both parties long term, for several reasons. I'm not saying they trashed it all out there and then, just that the dialogue was opened. We know Mance likes playing at Bael the Bard. If Sansa had been a few years older, then I think Mance might well have taken her from Winterfell. However, Ned had no older daughters. So Mance played Bael at the Last Heart instead, taking Lord Umber's daughter with him when he slipped away before guest right expired. Like Bael, he was planning on bringing her back with the King beyond the Wall's child in her belly. The point of the songs about Bael and the flower of Winterfell, from a free folk point of view, as explained by Ygritte to Jon, is that the north and the free folk share the same blood. So I think the Northman's daughter Mance has tasted is Dalla Umber.
  18. I accept that this is a valid point. Aemon is talking about tPtwP but it is in the same novel as the Valonqar prophecy, so I feel we are meant to connect these things. I've got no problem with the idea that we could be looking for a little sister instead of a little brother. That widens the mystery beyond Tyrion and Jaime, but it automatically points us in one direction. If it's not Jaime, then I would lean towards Arya too. Cersei is the last name on her prayer. Arya has the motive to kill Cersei and is gaining the skills she needs to get her vengeance. In many ways she is as obvious as Tyrion if we account for the word gender clue. But is it really a clue or is it just a way of bringing other likely suspects into the fold to further cover Jaime? Broadening the field in what was essentially a two-horse race. It's not just about the mystery though, we must also consider the impact from a story-telling point of view. Someone like Reynald Westerling would be a surprise for sure, but how does he killing Cersei make for better drama than Jaime, Tyrion or Arya? I don't think it would destroy Jaime's character if she was beyond redemption and about to commit a vile crime against innocent people. A tragic hero, and a dead one in the process, but a hero nonetheless. He would have done the right thing, proving he is honorable, because honor is the quality of knowing and doing the right thing. He would prove that he is a true knight. There's Jaime's final conflict, buried in the passage side by side. Love for Cersei or duty as a true knight to protect the realm? We should expect him to resolve this in the end. I think this is a strong theme about prophecy, and I think in the end we will see that all prophecy is self-fulfilling in many respects. It comes down to the choices the characters make. She thinks that killing Tyrion will prevent the prophecy from coming true, but she needs to change her ways if she wants to prevent it coming true. She essentially needs to start her own redemption arc, like Jaime did. I don't think she will, because Jaime is the penitent half and Cersei is the impenitent half of the whole they make up There's more bible symbolism involved here, with the good thief and the bad thief, which seems fitting to me given that in many ways Jaime and Cersei stole the throne when they seated their son under the pretense that he was Robert's son. It doesn't exclude the wighted little brother of Cersei, Jaime, having been recently dealt a mortal blow by her hands. If the Others are in the vicinity of King's Landing by the end, as I suspect they will be, then the Valonqar might have blue eyes by the time he kills her. I think it's a more powerful choice, more tragic, more intimate, flailing hands beating tears etc. Basically, more GRRM.
  19. Haha. I love this line. The only problem is GRRM doesn't seem to have an issue writing supplementary material.
  20. To be fair, he writes 1000-page novels, therefore people who will read 1000-page novels are his target market, and so far it is estimated that he sold 90 million copies. I'm not comparing it to television figures. I think the show did about 20 million viewers a week at it's peak, and I fully accept that most viewers don't read the books. The show did great for book sales though, moving GRRM form around 10 or 15 million copies before the show, which are numbers 99.9% of writers can only dream of, to 90 million by the time the show was done. That's what happens though, whenever there is a television or cinema adaptation. I bet a lot of copies of Dune have been sold in the last couple of years. In 1999, LotR had sold an estimated 150 million copies. Since then, largely due to the Peter Jackson's movies in the early 2000's, it is estimated that LotR sales have grown to around 400 million. These books were published in the 1950's, and JRRT died in the 1970's. Yet more copies have been sold in the first 20 years of this century than the last 50 years of the last century. I doubt JRRT could ever have envisaged Amazon paying his estate a reported $250 million to adapt his work all these years later, and that's not to mention the bounce in book sales that is almost inevitable as a result of the show bringing his story to the attention of a new generation of potential readers, who do exist if growing book sales over the last number of years is anything to go by. So I would say there is always room for growth. There are people still buying copies of Don Quixote 400 years later, with estimated total sales for that book running close to half a billion now. However, Don Quixote and Lord of the Rings are complete. If GRRM doesn't finish ASoIaF then it is unlikely to stand the test of time, because readers like an ending and are less likely to start a series that has no ending, so that will have a big bearing on any potential future growth. In fact I would be fearful that the story could fade into obscurity over time if it remains unfinished, and that would be a pity because I think it's a great story, but great stories need great satisfying endings, or at least an ending.
  21. There's a few more thoughts I could add on the subject of Jaime strangling Cersei with the chain of the hand. The chain of the Hand is made up of gold hands, and Jaime has a golden hand. Lannisters are known for gold, so in many respects gold hands represent Lannister hands. The position of Hand has already been held by Tywin and Tyrion, and I suspect Jaime might become the Golden Hand at some stage. If so, then the chain will be present when Jaime confronts Cersei for the final time. We are told that hands of gold are cold. So are the hands of dead people. Cersei has played her part in bleeding the realm, creating a lot of dead people in the process, so being choked by a lot of cold hands would symbolize the realm's revenge on Cersei. The hands in the chain are also linked, each holding the next, and as such the chain is a symbol of unity, while Cersei is a divisive character, and this would symbolize the victory of unity over division. Finally, Ned wore the same chain so it might symbolize Ned and honor's ultimate victory over Cersei and her dishonorable methods. And who better to strike a blow for honor than Jaime, who is on a path to redemption and will need an act of redemption to resolve his arc.
  22. Yes, the one hand thing is meant to divert suspicion from Jaime. But the fact is one hand is all he needs.
  23. It's worth remembering that GRRM's current fans are just a fraction of what he hopes his readership will be for generations to come. Compare how many people read LotR when it was released to how many have read it since, and will probably continue to read it into the future. So I can understand that he wants to get the ending right so that the series will stand the test of time and secure his place in the pantheon of fantasy greats, and that trumps getting it released quickly to satisfy a relatively small section of people. This is his magnum opus, by his own admission, and as such he has his lifetime to complete it. I hope he does because I love this story, and the way he tells it, and I want to read the ending in his words. I think he will. So may the Mother grant him mercy from the wrath of his fans, may the Smith bless his typing finger. He doesn't need the Crone's lamp to guide him because he knows exactly where he's going. So Smith, let's go before we make it the Six.
  24. I agree that GRRM is using apocalyptic symbolism, because we know as readers there is an apocalyptic event coming to Westeros. It's no different than the bleeding star been seen as a sign. But while he is using symbolism borrowed from the Bible or mythology or whatever, as readers we must connect the symbolism to the canon of this series. So the monstrous and swollen moon that looks like it swallowed the sun represents Dany. Monstrous because she will wake the dragon, swollen because she will be pregnant again, swallowed the sun because she is the bride of fire and will be hailed as the chosen one of R'hllor by the Red Temple. I think it also means she will kill the father of her child, symbolized by the sun, who I feel will be the Greyjoy smiling sadly on the prow of a ship. But in terms of Mirri's riddle about when she will see Drogo again, it is when her womb will quicken again, and that won't happen until she passes Valyria heading west, that's when the the sun will rise in the west and set in the east, or at least appear that way thanks to the fact the the sky is always red over Valyria.
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