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Slayer of Lies

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Hedge Knight

Hedge Knight (5/8)

  1. Once again, I’m with you on the majority of your ideas! See below for more... The couple notes I would add to both of your posts are that – if Lemore is Ashara – then Barristan can go off-page for a while after the battle of Meereen, and after reuniting with Dany, etc., but might have some interesting play later as the POV that reveals Lemore/Ashara through his thoughts, or provides a public reveal, and/or betrays Dany for Aegon as the Treason for Love, etc. But I agree that he does not need a ton of POVs beyond the battle of Meereen given what we know at present. As for WF, I also like the potential for interchange between Asha and Theon POVs, and hope for a balance of the two in the telling of the battle of ice, the heart tree on the isle, WF, and possibly beyond. If they stay together, as the “Torgon’s kingsmoot precedent” indicates they should, then they can possibly continue “trading off” chapters to keep things interesting. But who knows if GRRM will “allow” them to remain together for long, noting that he doesn’t often lay plans in the text and then follow through with them as stated in dialogue? Not to mention that overruling the kingsmoot is what the reader wants, and therefore not likely what GRRM will give them (at least anytime soon). As for Brienne and Jaime, I’m not sure what to think of that pairing… Because Jaime has turned from being the most hated guy in the land to a character we can relate with and have started to like, it seems a “cathartic” death may be in is his future. Meanwhile, in Brienne’s “happiest” possible ending (assuming she’s Dunk’s ancestor), being elevated to LC of the KG would be a great “epilogue” for her. But it’s unclear to me at the moment what GRRM plans in the short or long game for either of these two… Meanwhile, the only suggestion I “disagree” with is Areo's POVs being done already, or being the "eyes of Dorne," at least for long... Even though when ADWD ends it seems like Areo is accompanying Arianne and not Obara (he thinks: We may depart by midday after hearing of Doran’s plans for Arianne to meet up with fAegon), the TWOW Arianne sample chapter indicates he’s with Obara. From Arianne I, not spoiler-tagged due to the fact that we’re in a Barristan spoiler thread: Hence my “suggestion” that – despite the “hype” and the singular display of Hotah’s fighting prowess in dispatching Arys – having Darkstar take Hotah out of the game does two things: It provides an expositive window into Balon Swann, Obara Sand and the hunt for Darkstar, and it also may very well provide the reader with an “oh shit” moment at the end of Areo’s final chapter when “No man can stand against Hotah” is proven wrong. So I don't this he's done, and he may start in Dorne, but he might already be afield when we get to his chapter, given the Arianne chapter making mention of his whereabouts.
  2. Fair enough. There are a lot of good ideas in your post, and I’m not claiming to know what’s going to happen, but rather to mention that the Volantene fleet is going to also matter somehow in TWOW. And it’s possible that – with all the buildup of how awesome the Ironborn/reavers are – that a “surprise loss” by the Ironborn could be in the cards. I suppose one of my main concerns with the overarching story, though, is that GRRM is presently trying to fit 20 POVs into a single book, until we learn otherwise. And in trying to hold with this goal, he needs to kill some characters, write others into obscurity, and/or pack more events into each chapter. To that point, ASOS is 82 chapters, which probably doesn’t mean that each character will get 4 chapters (plus a prologue/epilogue). But if he holds to the goal of fitting all the POVs in one book, and attempting to spin compelling multi-chapter arcs, some POVs may have 8 or more chapters, where others may only have 1 or 2, and we already know of 11 or so chapters so far, representing only 8 of 20 POVs… So while it’s entirely possible that everyone in and around Meereen lives, it also seems to me that nearly every POV has a reason for their “required” survival as well, or is simply a major character that “deserves” more chapters in GRRM’s mind than POVs he introduced in AFFC/ADWD. OTOH, perhaps minor exceptions/minimized chapter counts could include Areo Hotah being offed by Darkstar in his only chapter, or Connington dying/being written into obscurity when Arianne shows up. Maybe Bran only has a couple chapters too because his presence is witnessed through other POVs (like Theon’s or Asha’s, and sooner rather than later). Similarly, Jon could be a “slow play” with his first chapter (possibly titled “Ghost” or “The White Wolf”) showing up very late in the book, as Jon’s “return” is clearly much anticipated by many, but he may not be required in GRRM's mind to "accomplish" a lot in TWOW. Or maybe someone like Victarion or Barristan will be on the minimized chapter count list without necessarily dying, because characters like Dany and/or Tyrion are around to carry the narrative in their stead. In any case, I’ve been on the “lookout” lately for foreshadowing that certain POVs might die, or ways that they can without making things like Dany’s return to Westeros “impossible.” I suppose that’s why my original position on Barristan was that he could be disposable, riding a pale mare into live battle and all, although since changed my mind for the moment. Meanwhile, Victarion could very well be sandwiched between the Yunkish/Meereenese (whoever has more forces after a few “rounds” of battle) and the Volantenes, and Dany has an “unanticipated” ride to Westeros. Again, though, I’m not claiming to know what happens, but rather “prepare myself” for some potential upcoming deaths. I also know that I’m personally interested in reading a book that ends with fewer POVs than it starts with, and that mindset can impact how I might read between the lines that someone feels less necessary (IMO) than someone else. ETA: Not much.
  3. While GRRM seems to have set up on the surface the notion that the Volantene fleet is out to attack Dany, he’s also subtly buried an upcoming slave revolt just under the radar, with the widow of the waterfront telling Tyrion, “Tell her we are waiting, tell her to come soon,” and other clues dropped, for example, like those in Tyrion’s cyvasse game with Qavo that the slave masters are the only ones complaining about Dany’s recent actions. In Volantis, as we know, the slaves outnumber the freedmen five to one, and Dany sort of has a reputation for freeing slaves. So, in my case, I feel there’s as much reason to expect the Volantene slaves to revolt soon, and possibly even for the Volantene fleet to carry Dany to Westeros in a “surprise twist” – not the Iron fleet. Thanks to the spoiler chapters, unfolding in Meereen we have the Yunkish outside of Meereen’s walls, to be followed shortly by the Iron Fleet showing up. However, Vic’s crew reportedly starts off in Barristan II by attacking the Yunkish instead of the Meereenese, possibly because they mean to, or possibly because they are simply the closest force to the water, and the Ironborn have no idea that they’re not fighting the Meerenese. I mean, doesn’t it seem that Victarion is out to take Dany back to Westeros by force if necessary, with quotes like “she would not be the first woman I made a widow”? Further, we have an apparently untrustworthy Moqorro who’s seen Vic’s “future in the flames” (a possibly awesome double entendre in this case) and a dragonhorn that comes with no guarantee of what it will actually do. So, speculatively, if the dragonhorn “backfires” on Vic, angering one or both of the nearby dragons instead of binding them, and all Vic’s ships go up in flames like so many candles on a cake, who’s going to take Dany to Westeros now? If this happens, I think the casual reader’s reaction will be that Dany is doubly screwed now, because an even bigger, badder navy is on its way to sack the city. And maybe it goes this way. Or maybe, if Victarion is fighting the Yunkish on purpose, after he “saves” Meereen the Volantene navy bears down and crushes him against the shore. Either way, it seems the five-to-one slave-to-freedmen ratio could pay off in a surprise revolt that leaves all the slave master ship captains dead, but enough ships to transport Dany, the Unsullied, and the remaining supporting mercenaries to Westeros without involving Victarion at all. But perhaps there is a reason to believe Victarion is necessary to the plot beyond simply dying in or near Meereen after all the effort to get there, while certainly seeming like Dany’s ostensible ride to Westeros throughout most of ADWD with all the focus on his ship count. However, if the Volantene slave revolt hinted at throughout ADWD is a real thing, it seems to me that Vic may be one of the POVs that GRRM eliminates on his way to the finish line. Further, Euron is also a significant obstacle for Asha, and seems she is intent on overthrowing the kingsmoot by presenting Theon. So perhaps the critical bits of Euron’s whereabouts, activities and endgame plot involvement can happen without much of Victarion’s remaining involvement, unless I’m missing something integral to his necessity to the overarching plot that absolutely must be addressed before he can die. And, if so, perhaps there’s Victarion thread I’m not caught up on, and the discussion can be continued over there.
  4. Despite posting shortly after the Barristan chapter was release that I believed he seemed likely to die soon, a recent reread of a handful of chapters has made it clearer to me that he seems less “disposable” to the overall narrative than others. For example, as others have said, Jorah really does come off like a plot vehicle to get Tyrion to Meereen in ADWD, and could largely be written out of necessity fairly soon. He might not be, but it does feel like his “plot necessity” is nearly spent at the moment, outside of a possible “clue” that he could be headed for the Wall soon as opposed to dying in Meereen. Meanwhile, as for Barristan seeming likely to die, he does, to a degree. For one, he’s literally riding the pale mare in his chapter (possible foreshadowing of death), and it also seems somewhat obvious that the Shavepate could simply close the gates on him while he’s riding back to Meereen… However, what he has yet to tell us and Dany about RR, Rhaegar, and possibly more seems too important and unresolved to simply dead end his arc in battle at the top of TWOW, as others have said. Most especially, if Lemore is Ashara, Barristan seems almost indispensable at the moment, possibly even playing a role in her reveal. One further, as I suggested in another thread, if Lemore has a role to play in legitimizing fAegon (revealing her true identity as Ashara in the process to add weight to her claim) – and if Barristan survives Meereen to return west with Dany – it seems Barristan could end up betraying Dany for fAegon’s superior claim. In parallel, having done so out of love for Ashara, at least in part, Barristan’s possible betrayal might just be a roundabout way to fulfill Dany’s Treason for Love… In any event, while we can’t know at the moment exactly what GRRM has planned, I’ve slowly gotten on board with the notion that Barristan seems far less dispensable to the plot than Jorah at the moment, and the longer he lives, the more “obvious” it should become that he has a piece of information and/or will perform a deed integral to the plot in future, as opposed to simply dying in the first 300 pages of TWOW.
  5. It isn’t that I think Barristan is going to contract the pale mare disease. The argument that he’s going to die is symbolic in nature. The pale mare symbolizes death, and Barristan is riding a pale mare. This, to me, counts as potential foreshadowing, though it’s not a guarantee. While I have stated that I believe the Shavepate is the poisoner for the moment, that’s largely just a suspicion formed out of the lack of trust. A key quote, though, is as follows: So, despite part one of the Meereenese knot essay being an excellent and convincing read, the author does not directly address that Hizdahr stocked the box with the locusts, Hizdahr advises Dany to eat a few, and Hizdahr even appears to know how they were made. But – even if you don’t take Barristan riding the pare male as potential symbolic foreshadowing of his death, and even if you don’t believe the Shavepate is the locust-poisoner – Barristan is still riding out into a battle that he seems to believe is unwinnable, although a necessary (and honorable) effort, and GRRM still needs to whittle down his POV count throughout Book 6. “Proof” of his inevitable death aside, Barristan is a "relatively disposable" POV, IMO, despite being a very likable character.
  6. I did not say Barristan had to die only because Tyrion is in the area. I’m saying the foreshadowing is there for him to die if GRRM wants to kill him, and I think Barristan’s necessity in moving the overall story along becomes less and less the closer we get to the end. Unlike Tyrion, he’s not been a POV since Book 1, and he does not seem like an integral endgame character that has major plot foreshadowing dating back to Book 1 in the way that, say, Jon, Dany and Tyrion do. Contrarily, he wasn’t introduced as a POV until Book 5, and he only has four published chapters so far. Further, since GRRM has the obstacle of attempting to go from 20 POVs down to something more manageable by the end of Book 7, and since he’s already admitted the obvious – that killing POVs is a way to do this – Barristan becomes an obvious candidate for elimination, like him or not. Will he do something important before he dies? I hope so. Besides being a window into Meereen, he is also a window into things of historical interest to the reader concerning Rhaegar and Aerys II, if GRRM chooses to use him in this way (again). But he’s riding the pale mare. He’s speaking of possible defeat directly to the gods. And the Shavepate – a man Barristan should have the instincts to mistrust – is manning the walls – and gates – of Meereen while a battle involving the Army (Yunkai’i), Navy (Victarion/Volantis) and Air Force (fire-breathing dragons) wages on outside the walls. If the battle isn’t going the Shavepate’s way, or if a fresh wave of men is marching on Meereen while an injured Barristan is riding hard for the gates, I think the Shavepate locks him out, and Barristan’s done for.
  7. This chapter is short… In paperback, the Barristan chapter is only ~9 pages. Typically, in paperback pagination, GRRM’s chapters shake out to be anywhere from ~12 to ~17 pages or thereabouts… So, at first – after reading the full chapter – I had to go back to the first page of this thread to confirm that it was, in fact, two separate chapters, which it seems it is, which I presume is mostly for pacing. In that case, I’m guessing the battle goes something like Barristan à Tyrion à Victarion à Barristan à Tyrion… or thereabouts. Much like the Red Wedding and Blackwater battles, as mentioned above. In any case, I think my biggest takeaway on a full read is still Barristan’s apparent blind trust of the Shavepate and the Brazen Beasts. For the moment, I’m a subscriber to the Shavepate as the locust-poisoner theory, which suggests to me that the Shavepate is going to lock Barristan outside of Meereen to die, say, as Barristan is attempting to ride Dany’s silver back through the gates upon retreat from insurmountable odds. After all, now that Tyrion is in Meereen, and Meereen is going to hell in a hand basket, we won’t “need” Barristan’s POV for long, with the exception of being a window into the battle. Further, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, not only is Barristan literally riding the pale mare, but after thinking to himself: never speak of defeat before a battle, for the gods may be listening, he also thinks to himself multiple times that he may die, and even goes so far as to pray to the Seven for his safety prior to battle. Isn’t that expressing directly to the gods a fear that you might be defeated? Either way, on a full read, I didn’t really pick up anything that I hadn’t already gleaned from the synopsis on this thread, and from other reader observations throughout… However, reading the full chapter did make me think again about how this battle might shape up… In any case, before I get mod-gloved, it seems pretty clear Barristan dies. And, along with him, whatever he knows about Rhaegar and Aerys II that he has yet to share. The question is, will he spill any more info on his deathbed, a la Maester Aemon’s final moments, or the dying red shirt in every action movie ever made? Or will he simply die in battle without providing any additional exposition into the overall plot?
  8. A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd.

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