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The hairy bear

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    Honey in the summer air!
  • Birthday 08/28/1980

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  1. We don't know whether Edmure was fostered away or not. Someone had to knight him. It could be that he never left Riverrun and was trained by Ser Desmond Grell, but is just as possible that he spent some years a squire to, let's say, Lord Mallister or Lord Piper. But I'm not claiming that every single other highborn has been sent away. I was saying that the Starks are the only Great Family where NO ONE had been sent away, which is particularly noticeable being a larger family than most. To go through this in detail, and considering only the ones that we know for sure: Tywin Lannister sent Jaime to squire for Lord Crackehall when he was eleven, and offered Cersei for Rhaegar when she was around 7 years old. Before him, Tytos had sent Kevan as page to Roger Reyne and had Genna bethroted at 7. Hoster Tully bethroted Catelyn to Brandon Stark when she was 12 years old. Jon Arryn intended to send his 7 year old son to foster with Stannis Baratheon. Mance Tyrell sent Loras to squire at Storm's End before he was 15, and marries Margaery to Renly when she's 14. Steffon Baratheon had sent Robert to the Eyrie "at an early age". Also "at an early age", Doran Martell sent Quentyn to Yronwood and wanted to sent Arianne to serve as cupbearer to Tyrosh. And of course, among the Stars themselves, Rickard Stark sent Eddard at the Eyrie at 8 and bethroted Lyanna at 14. So I don't think it's unwarranted to say that Eddard was unusual as far as this aspect goes.
  2. The actual context is a little bit more complicated, since Lyanna was 16 when she died. At that age, she was already a woman grown and old enough to marry by Westerosi standards. But in any case my point was only that, regardless of whether he understood Lyanna's reasons for going with Rhaegar or not, Eddard may have thought that the fact that Lyanna had been unwillingly betrothed to Robert played a part on her decision to flee. And for this reason, he may have decided to wait. It's something that I feel it's in character and fits naturally with the setting. I never get the feeling, in Ned's POV, of him having any negative opinion of Rhaegar. Even when Robert explicitly verbalizes his hatred ("in my dreams I kill him every night. A thousand deaths is still less than he deserves"), Eddard doesn't say or think anything. And later on, he is "uncomfortable" at the thought of Robert still hating Rhaegar, which IMO implies that he doesn't (Suddenly, uncomfortably, he found himself recalling Rhaegar Targaryen. Fifteen years dead, yet Robert hates him as much as ever. It was a disturbing notion...). That's correct. But if you assume that not thinking of Ashara is proof that he didn't love her, then you should conclude that Ned didn't love his mother. ;P I think Eddard is more 'special' that you give him credit for. He clearly educated Arya with a lot of lenience, allowing her to own swords and befriend commoners, and he even procures her a fencing teacher. And the fact that none of his kids has been betrothed or fostered away seems unusual by Westerosi standards. All the other great families have sent away (for squiring, fostering or marriage) some of their children.
  3. I wouldn't want to derail this debate with discussions that should belong to a R+L=J thread, but if you accept that Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly, and even if you assume that Ned didn't know about it during the war... ...then Ned would have surely learnt the truth after the Tower of Joy. He had the chance to talk with Lyanna, and after her death he could interview all the servants around. And Ned thinks of Rhaegar as an honorable man in his thoughts, which shouldn't be the case if he saw him as a rapist. I wouldn't draw many conclusions from that. Ned is not a sentimental man. He also dedicates zero thoughts to his mother, for instance. Or Benjen. And we only read him thinking about his father, Brandon or Jon Arryn in the context of him remembering the war or his investigations at KL, but not in a loving way. But he only accepted a marriage for Sansa when the king offered his heir. And he accepted it reluctantly, when Cat insisted that he couldn't refuse. Not sure what you mean about Arya. Eddard didn't push her to marry anyone, and even supported her to engage in unladylike activities such as fenciing.
  4. Eddard knew that Lyanna had been unhappy when she was bethroted to Robert, and it seems likely that he knew she had eloped with Rhaegar willingly. He may also have wanted to marry Ashara Dayne, but ended having to marry Catelyn instead. This past personal experiences may have convinced Ned to allow his children to choose their wives/husbands once they were old enough. If Ned told that to Rickard when he visited Winterfell with Alys, it makes sense for him to give up. He wouldn't want to keep his daughter unmarried hoping that Robb chose her in the future.
  5. And we, as readers, should be able to discern how reliable are absolute statements depending on who says them. Sam is learned and knowledgeable. Bran is not. We, as readers, should be able to admit that there are some times when we simply do not have enough reliable information to conclude about a character's age. If have no idea. I'm fairly confident that neither did GRRM when he wrote Bran's fourth chapter in AGOT (where this 'Brandon' is discussed). That's why his identity is described in such an ambiguous way. The Ghost of High Heart came to court at some time after 239. If she had been 20 then, she'd be 80 now. Nothing she does when she meets Arya is not possible at that age. Walder Frey is 91. We never see him outside the Twins, and we are told that he no longer can stand without assistance. I see nothing strange with him, except perhaps his surprisingly high fertility (although it must be mentioned that children by his last wife are rumored to be Black Walder's) The other three are just magic users, so my point remains: so far I haven't seen George depicting elder people performing actions out of scope with their realistic abilities. He is called simply "boy" on the text: Hallis Mollen looked abashed. "Between the horses Lord Eddard took south and them we sent north to the Night's Watch, the stalls were half-empty. It were no great trick to hide from the stableboys. Could be Hodor saw him, the talk is that boy's been acting queer, but simple as he is …" Hal shook his head. I don't imagine Mollen calling Hodor "boy", in front of Cat and in the framework of a very serious condition, if he was 30+. Also, in the appendixes the distinction is made between the child Turnip (called a Pot Girl) and Osha (defined as a Scullion). Bran doesn't say anything about ears and backs. He only says that Hodor's body is "covered with brown hair, thick as pelt". This could be said of many on their late teens (me included, at the time). Hair in the chest can start growing as soon as 13. Are we talking about Theon? The same man who doesn't have space in his head for the name of the captain's daughter he thinks that has probably left pregnant? He interacts with her during two chapters and he doesn't even think of her name! Theon is arrogant, frivolous and superficial. At best, he would ignore a simple-minded stableboy. At worst, he'd be cruel to him. And he wouldn't care at all about his personal background, regardless of Hodor's age.
  6. The first quote is said by an eight year old who hasn't seen much beyond Winterfell's walls. I wouldn't treat it as gospel truth. I'm trying to assess Old Nan's age without any preconception. Without attempting to push his age in any direction in order to fit a given theory. And my humble conclusion, given that she is given relatively hard and demanding tasks, and also she is entrusted with significant responsibilities, is that she can't be as old as some of you pretend her to be. I'm not sure which characters act unrealistically for his age 'past the point of realism'. Maester Aemon's lucid head is exceptional, but not impossible, and we never see him performing any physical effort. There may be magic, but it wouldn't used by an frail old woman from a remote castle involved in some absurdly complicated conspiracy to influence the Stark children. I can buy that Quaithe, Melisandre or the Ghost of High Heart use magic to prolong their lives. But not Old Nan. Where does that come from?? I may be missing something, but as I see it Hodor has to be much younger than Ned. He is called a "boy" both in the text and in appendixes. If Hodor is 18 (and he could be younger) and his female ancestors gave birth at 18 (and it could be before), then Old Nan would only have to be 72. So there's plenty of margin. The Ghost of High Heart was so short that she was confused with a dwarf. Also, the wife of the Lord of Casterly Rock that had mysteriously disappeared just a decade before would have been immediately recognized at court. Rohanne can't be the Ghost of High Heart. Or Old Nan. Or anyone alive by 300 AC.
  7. Rohanne Webber was 25 years old in 211. That means that if she was alive at the time of the books, she'd be around 114. Of maester Aemon (who died at 101), it was said that he was the oldest man in Westeros. There's little doubt that Rohanne is already dead, but if she wasn't, she would be a decrepit woman unable to perform any task on a household. Rhae would be in his nineties. While we don't have a definite age, I'd say that Old Nan can't be that old. She is active in taking care of the younger Stark kids, to the point that Rickon punches her when she tries to sing him to sleep. She is also active in trying to heal the wounds inflicted to Cat by the catspaw, and is forced to act as a servant to the Ironborn during Theon's occupation. All this suggests that she would be in her eighties at most.
  8. Tywin is profoundly misogynistic. Much more than he despises Tyrion, he despises the idea of a woman ruling. That's probably due to his own childhood traumas, with his grandmother Rohanne Webber having abandoned Gerold, Ellyn Reyne taking control of the Rock and humiliating the Lannisters, and then his father being controlled by mistresses. At the end of AGOT, Tywin had the choice of allowing Cersei the control of the Throne, but decided to send Tyrion at King's Landing as acting hand. He preferred Tyrion to Cersei to rule the realm at the time, and it'd be the same in the succession of House Lannister. But Tywin also didn't had to name a heir because he had other options than Tyrion and Cersei. He may have hoped that at some point he could convince Robert (perhaps by condoning the crown's debts to House Lannister) to release Jaime from his vows. And if that didn't work, he could always name Tommen as his heir if the boy grew up to become someone he deemed worthy.
  9. That's Mysaria / Sonoya Mizuno. If he was already a KG knight he would bear a white shield. So it's a fair to assume that the Tourney at Maidenpool has been replaced by a Tourney at Horn Hill. As Ran suggests, it may also be a way to introduce some of Rhaenyra's suitors. I Claudius, Rome, the Tudors, the Last Kingdom, Versailles, Medici... I'm fairly sure that the blond guy is the same one who appears at the left of the Velryon family shot at 0:39. So it would be Laenor, I'd assume.
  10. Except for the black Velaryons, everything looks great. Rhaenyra dressed in black, Blackfyre, adding more swords to the Iron Throne, etc. But of course, not looking good has never been a problem with GOT. The two knights at the tourney are some Tarly knight and Criston Cole. The tourney seems to take place at Horn Hill, since the Tarly huntsman is featured on the castle walls. It's weird, and probably a mistake, that there are some Stark and Bolton banners in the tourney grounds. Although it's a very minor issue, I'd had hoped that there were someone in the production paying more attention to detail. I also wonder if they plan to make some Tarly a recurring character in the show. The Tarly family is an interesting one to follow through the Dance, because while the green leader Ormund Hightower (nephew to Otto) is married to lady Sam Tarly, the lord Alan Tarly supports the blacks.
  11. Fair enough. Martin tried, and he felt it didn't work, and he knows best that any of us. It's his call, of course. That's why I say that I'm OK with George scraping the 5 year gap, while pointing out two aspects of how he dealt with his decision where I think he erred.
  12. Who wants to read a book with only character development and zero plot? That one is also a straw man, and luckily there's no one around arguing for such extreme absurd positions. We all agree that it's a matter of finding a good balance of both. Character development doesn't need to happen at a constant continuous pace. It's fine the leave a story at a point where things are more or less stable, and reprise it later. Movies do it all the time: The Empire Strikes Back starts 3 years after A New Hope and I've never seen anyone complaining that character development of Luke, Leia and Han where harmed by not seeing the interim. We learn everything we need to know about what those characters have been doing and how they have evolved in the past years with a few scenes at the begining of Empire. I share this feeling. I'd be fine with Jon's chapters starting with thousands of wildlings already settled in the Wall and half the Night's Watch openly opposing the Lord Commander. I'd be fine with Cersei's chapters starting with her thoughts about how difficult is to find competent underlings now that she is replacing her fifth Hand. It would all be in-character, and not much in deep explanation would be required. I believe I'd preferred the books if the five year gap had been retained. I understand that this would have harmed some storylines, but I think the benefits would have outweighed the negatives. But I guess it's a matter of taste. And in any case, what irks me with this issue is not that George decided to scrap the five year gap, but the two [IMHO] mistakes the he made in the process: It may not be credible that in some places nothing of importance happened in five years. But why not try at least to skip one year? Or six months? Or least a few weeks?? If you wanted the young characters to get older, at least try to make feast advance as much time as possible. No need to begin half the storylines before the end of Storm, seeing the immediate reaction to Oberyn's and Balon's deaths. No need to start with Tyrion still on the boat to Pentos or Cersei on the night Tywin is killed. No need to dwell on Tywin's vigil and funeral. If there were some characters like Arya or Bran where the time skip did work, those ones should not have been included in Feast. That book should have been used to move forward the stories that could not wait, in order to reunite with the characters that would benefit from the gap in the next book.
  13. In an interview from 2013 that I can't find online anymore Martin gives a detailed explanation on the matter: I'm obsessed with the five-year gap you originally planned in the middle of the series. How would that have happened? Originally, there was not supposed to be any gap. There was just supposed to be a passage of time, as the book went forward. My original concept back in 1991 was, I would start with these characters as children, and they would get older. If you pick up Arya at eight, the second chapter would be a couple months later, and she would be eight and a half and [then] she'd be nine. [This would happen] all within the space of a book. But when I actually got into writing them, the events have a certain momentum. So you write a chapter and then in your next chapter, it can't be six months later, because something's going to happen the next day. So you have to write what happens the next day, and then you have to write what happens the week after that. And the news gets to some other place. And pretty soon, you've written hundreds of pages and a week has passed, instead of the six months, or the year, that you wanted to pass. So you end a book, and you've had a tremendous amount of events — but they've taken place over a short time frame and the eight-year-old kid is still eight years old. So that really took hold of me for the first three books. When it became apparent that that had taken hold of me, I came up with the idea of the five-year gap. "Time is not passing here as I want it to pass, so I will jump forward five years in time." And I will come back to these characters when they're a little more grown up. And that is what I tried to do when I started writing Feast for Crows. So [the gap] would have come after A Storm of Swords and before Feast for Crows. But what I soon discovered — and I struggled with this for a year — [the gap] worked well with some characters like Arya — who at end the of Storm of Swords has taken off for Braavos. You can come back five years later, and she has had five years of training and all that. Or Bran, who was taken in by the Children of the Forest and the green ceremony, [so you could] come back to him five years later. That’s good. Works for him. Other characters, it didn’t work at all. I'm writing the Cersei chapters in King's Landing, and saying, "Well yeah, in five years, six different guys have served as Hand and there was this conspiracy four years ago, and this thing happened three years ago." And I'm presenting all of this in flashbacks, and that wasn't working. The other alternative was [that] nothing happened in those five years, which seemed anticlimactic. The Jon Snow stuff was even worse, because at the end of Storm he gets elected Lord Commander. I'm picking up there, and writing "Well five years ago, I was elected Lord Commander. Nothing much has happened since then, but now things are starting to happen again." I finally, after a year, said "I can't make this work." So you had to have change it, so that Arya was not as seasoned, Jon Snow not as experienced as lord commander. I know not all my readers are happy with that, but I think I made the right decision. The readers are unhappy with leaving out the five-year gap? Well no, some of the storylines from Feast for Crows. I get complaints sometimes that nothing happens — but they're defining "nothing," I think, differently than I am. I don't think it all has to battles and sword fights and assassinations. Character development and [people] changing is good, and there are some tough things in there that I think a lot of writers skip over. I'm glad I didn't skip over these things. [For example], things that Arya is learning. The things Bran is learning. Learning is not inherently an interesting thing to write about. It's not an easy thing to write about. In the movies, they always handle it with a montage. Rocky can't run very fast. He can't catch the chicken. But then you do a montage, and you cut a lot of images together, and now only a minute later in the film, Rocky is really strong and he is catching the chicken. It’s a lot harder [in real life]. Sometimes in my own life, I wish I could play a montage of my life. I want to get in shape now. So let’s do a montage, and boom — I'll be fifty pounds lighter and in good shape, and it will only take me a minute with some montage of me lifting weights and running, shoving away the steak and having a salad. But of course in real life, you don't get to montage. You have to go through it day by day. And that has been interesting, you know. Jon Snow as Lord Commander. Dany as Queen, struggling with rule. So many books don't do that. There is a sense when you're writing something in high fantasy, you're in a dialogue with all the other high fantasy writers that have written. And there is always this presumption that if you are a good man, you will be a good king. [Like] Tolkien — in Return of the King, Aragorn comes back and becomes king, and then [we read that] "he ruled wisely for three hundred years." Okay, fine. It is easy to write that sentence, “He ruled wisely”. What does that mean, he ruled wisely? What were his tax policies? What did he do when two lords were making war on each other? Or barbarians were coming in from the North? What was his immigration policy? What about equal rights for Orcs? I mean did he just pursue a genocidal policy, "Let’s kill all these fucking Orcs who are still left over"? Or did he try to redeem them? You never actually see the nitty-gritty of ruling. I guess there is an element of fantasy readers that don't want to see that. I find that fascinating. Seeing someone like Dany actually trying to deal with the vestments of being a queen and getting factions and guilds and [managing the] economy. They burnt all the fields [in Meereen]. They've got nothing to import any more. They're not getting any money. I find this stuff interesting. And fortunately, enough of my readers who love the books do as well.
  14. While I'm very skeptical, I'm also very excited to see what JMS can deliver this time. I assume he'll want to stick to his original plans for the show that were hampered by real-world issues: a single captain throughout the whole run, transgender Delenn, the second in command being a traitor, etc. I hope he'll also be able to improve some of weaker resolutions from the original show, such as the Valen time-travel or the climax of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict.
  15. I would have merged Feast and Dance in a single book by cutting half the chapters. Sam, Arya, Sansa and Bran are characters whose stories in AFFC and ADWD weren't needed, as they end the books at a place that was the logical evolution of their ASOS ending. This is proven by the fact that Sansa's and Arya's first chapters from Winter were originally written as the first chapters from their POVs after ASOS. They are in learning stages that would be best skipped, so all their chapters should have been cut. Brienne's story didn't need to be told. She had sworn an oath to Cat before she did to Jaime. Her story would work just as well (if not better) if we encountered her in Jaime's final chapter from Dance without knowing what she has been through. The Cersei, Jaime, and Daenerys chapters could be reduced by half, and Tyrion doesn't need more than four chapters. This would reduce the length of the book to around 65 chapters, which would be publishable. (Dance has 72)
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