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Posts posted by Mithras

    1. First Reich (1–48): Starts with the coronation of Aegon I and ends with the death of Maegor.
    2. Second Reich (48–161): Starts with the legal and religious reforms of Jaehaerys I and ends with the death of Daeron I.
    3. Third Reich (161–283): Starts with Baelor’s peace and ends with the death of Aerys II.

    Targaryen rule can be divided by the most significant regime changes (or revolutions if you like) like this. Blackfyre Rebellion is a reaction to a major regime change. The military wing which benefited from the Dornish wars; the regions that are traditionally antagonistic to Dorne; and the opportunists tried to reclaim the government with this rebellion. This is both politically and story-wise more significant than Robert’s Rebellion or the Dance of Dragons (which was a simple Targaryen civil war based on a mere succession crisis).

  1. 12 hours ago, Werthead said:

    I think you can transmit the Blackfyre Rebellion information solely through a D&E show. You don't need to do a Blackfyre Rebellion show and I doubt very much they will ever do one. If you have the Dance and you have the War of the Five Kings, then the next big project after that will be either Robert's Rebellion or the Conquest. Maybe you can do both. But at that point you're getting into absurd levels of repetition. In fact, widening out the D&E series to incorporate the Rebellions is probably the best way of doing that, and you could even do a prequel stand-alone movie spin-off about the First Rebellion and a coda one-off movie about the War of the Ninepenny Kings to really put a bow on it. But having D&E and a separate Blackfyre Rebellion show I think is a non-starter.

    What you propose is something like Supernatural. For example, Third Blackfyre Rebellion will be the big conflict of a season that will be resolved in the season finale. But we will have many "trial by combat of the week" type episodes throughout the season. I am not sure this formula would work with D&E. 

    I disagree about the repetition. Blackfyre Rebellion is a unique conflict. It is not a Dance of Dragons. It is not the Conquest. It is not Robert's Rebellion and it is not the War of the Five Kings. Had GRRM kept it contained to the lifetime of a single Daemon Blackfyre as mentioned upthread, it would have offered the best story potential among these conflicts. But killing Daemon at the beginning and drawing out the conflict through his unremarkable descendants kind of killed the potential. Now there is the chance to fix this.


  2. 3 hours ago, Colonel Green said:

    Dunk and Egg is one of the easiest ASOIAF properties to invent new material for.  It can easily be the GOT equivalent of The Mandalorian, they are in no sense bound only to things implicit in the published material.

    D&E started before the Blackfyre backstory existed. After the introduction of the Blackfyre backstory, D&E became increasingly intermingled with it. Now it seems highly implausible to think of a D&E story without some reference to the Blackfyre threat which will persist until after Egg's death. If you want to strictly follow the source material, all the later Blackfyre rebellions should be featured in the D&E show. But that brings a lot of problems. First of all, the first Blackfyre Rebellion would be out of the scope of this adaptation. That would require at least a full feature movie about the First Blackfyre Rebellion before this show starts. Second, introducing the later Blackfyre pretenders would cause loss of interest among the watchers, just like Ragnar's sons could not carry the show after Ragnar's death.

  3. 33 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

    ....you want Daemon Blackfyre to survive to be leading rebellions at age 70?

    I didn't say that. All the Blackfyre Rebellions will take place from the first one at 196 to the last one around 210. Dunk & Egg will start after that.

    33 minutes ago, The Dragon Demands said:

    And how the heck would the Second Blackfyre Rebellion plot even work out with the original Daemon still alive?

    Obviously it won't. Either it will be completely discarded or certain changes will be made. The plot of gathering the old Blackfyre supporters for a tourney can still take place with Daemon Blackfyre secretly joining the lists as a Mystery Knight to win the dragon egg. After the attempt fails, Daemon might succeed in capturing the dragon egg and fleeing across the Narrow Sea where he sells the dragon egg to hire mercenary companies for a future war.

    If you cannot stomach the idea of making even the slightest change to the source material, I have nothing to say to you.

  4. I've thought about the problems with Blackfyre and D&E adaptations before. It seems to me that the best solution to avoid a colossal mess is to do massive rewrites in order to separate the two definitively. And the process should start with the Blackfyre adaptation. Let me explain.

    First of all, we should go with the Dexter route for the Blackfyre adaptation. First Blackfyre Rebellion will be adapted rather faithfully and after that the show will write its own story. This way, they can avoid a generational saga (which doomed the Vikings after Ragnar’s death) and fit the whole thing into the lifetime of a single main lead that is Daemon Blackfyre. The later Blackfyre Rebellions will be heavily edited and merged. Each season might be a single Blackfyre Rebellion. The first season might feature the prelude to the First Blackfyre Rebellion and end just as Daemon Blackfyre rises in rebellion.

    As I mentioned before, Daemon Blackfyre should not die at the First Blackfyre Rebellion but instead survive till the end of the show, leading the rest of the Blackfyre Rebellions as well. The audience would not be interested at all in his lame-ass sons and other descendants that led the later Blackfyre Rebellions. Bittersteel should be reduced to a side role and Daemon Blackfyre vs. Bloodraven dynamic should be promoted as something similar to Thor vs. Loki. This can carry the show until the end.

    To make the story better, Daeron II needs to be changed. I think a king like King Baldwin from the Kingdom of Heaven would do well. This seemingly weak and sickly but actually smart and capable king will be opposed by a Thor-like figure that is Daemon who looks like every inch a king should be. Daeron II in the show will be basically Aerys I combined with Daeron II and Jaehaerys II. Team Blackfyre will claim that Bloodraven is a sorcerer and the weak king who is not fit to rule is his puppet. It might even be that Daeron II is slowly but secretly dying from greyscale. Team Blackfyre will also be opposing the Dornish marriage of this king as well as the peace with Dorne.

    Depending on what GRRM plans with them in the future, more roles should be given to some side characters like Shiera, Danelle Lothston, Elaena Targaryen etc. For example, the first Daenerys can be merged with Shiera and she could be the love interest between Bloodraven and Daemon Blackfyre. Elaena Targaryen might be made the mother of Daemon Blackfyre. Elaena might stay loyal to the king whereas Shiera might join Daemon for love. By giving more depth and connections to a select few of cast, the show can avoid some of the problems in the books. I mean, GRRM wrote all this historical stuff basically as wiki entries. There is over-abundance of characters. If GRRM wrote the First Blackfyre Rebellion as a proper narrative like a novella or a novel, then he would have to pay attention to character economy, which means he would be the one to make a similar consolidation of characters and events.

    All in all, the Blackfyre adaptation will cover a decade for 6 seasons at most. Daemon Blackfyre will survive and lead all the rebellions until the end where he dies. All this story will be concluded before D&E properly starts. Since the Blackfyre backstory will concluded by the time of Dunk and Egg, there will be major revisions to them as well.

  5. 7 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

    I recently re-read the Regency chapters in F&B, and with the show in hindsight, I realized that there may well be a parallel between Tyrion and Tyland Lannister. Although Tyland was originally handsome, he was tortured and mutilated by Rhaenyra's men, and became the Hand to Aegon III after the war, despite having spent years fighting Aegon's family. This is similar to show-Tyrion, who was gravely injured during the War of the Five Kings, then became Bran's Hand after their families had gone to war years earlier.

    I always thought Theon will be the new Tyland, not Tyrion. I don't expect Tyrion to survive the series. Especially in a Bran the Broken ending, Theon-Tyland makes much more sense than Tyrion.

    7 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

    I saw Egg as more of a precursor to Bran--early years spent on the road, selected by Great Council, choosing to send his relative to the Wall after he committed a murder (Jon killing Dany, Bloodraven killing Aenys).

    A lot of those things have not happened in the story yet and probably never will. For example, I don't think Jon kills Dany in the books. She will die in childbirth. Even if your scenario is true, that is still a very far-fetched parallel between Bran and Egg. Such parallels can be drawn between anybody. If anything, GRRM intended Aegon III as the more direct parallel to Bran, not the fifth.

    Dany-Egg have a lot more direct parallels than Bran such as Viserys-Aerion or the Tragedy of Summerhal. By the way, Bran doesn't even have a proper story in the books yet, let alone the best. GRRM has a lot of homework to do on Bran.

  6. TL DR: Egg is meant to be a precursor to Dany, including his tragic end.

    After Dany’s downfall is revealed in the show, the readers realized how essential the involvement of Young Griff is in the story. But the important thing is that Young Griff does not come out of thin air. He comes riding a backstory, the Blackfyre expansion of the world-building.

    GRRM created the Blackfyre backstory during the writing of ACoK where the series expanded from 4 books to 6 books with a 5 year gap after book 3. Before this point, Dany’s “invasion” was supposed to be the “second greatest threat” to Westeros. This was a vague idea that GRRM did not have clear clues to work with. After the Blackfyre angle was created, this upcoming conflict of Dany became more grounded in history and hence promising a stronger story.

    But GRRM did not stop there. He also created another backstory; the Dance of Dragons, which clearly gives another perspective to the upcoming conflict between Dany and Young Griff. It is unclear whether GRRM once entertained the idea of a descendant of Aerion being Dany’s adversary in the upcoming Dance of Dragons. Brightfyre theory incorporates both the Blackfyre and Brightflame angles.

    Regardless of the Brightfyre theory or the pure Blackfyre theory, the ultimate purpose of GRRM seems clear: he had the endgame for Dany in mind since the beginning but he did not have clear ideas about how to reach there. The expansion of the world-building about Blackfyres and the Dance of Dragons provided him a template to work with similar conflicts and characters. All of the Targaryen history work for Fire & Blood seems like a practice for writing the story of Dany in the main series, which brings us to the main point of this thread.

    I think after the show revealed Dany’s endgame, it became clear that even the D&E novellas were meant to serve as a template for Dany’s downfall. There are several parallels that can be drawn between Dany and Egg, which I leave to you because many readers made these comparisons as soon as TWOIAF was published. Some of them goes even directly to the novellas themselves.



    There were other battles during the time of Aegon V, for the unlikely king was forced to spend much of his reign in armor, quelling one rising or another. Though beloved by the smallfolk, King Aegon made many enemies amongst the lords of the realm, whose powers he wished to curtail. He enacted numerous reforms and granted rights and protections to the commons that they had never known before, but each of these measures provoked fierce opposition and sometimes open defiance amongst the lords. The most outspoken of his foes went so far as to denounce Aegon V as a “bloodyhanded tyrant intent on depriving us of our gods-given rights and liberties.”

    It was well-known that the resistance against him taxed Aegon's patience—especially as the compromises a king must make to rule well often left his greatest hopes receding further and further into the future. As one defiance followed another, His Grace found himself forced to bow to the recalcitrant lords more often than he wished. A student of history and lover of books, Aegon V was oft heard to say that had he only had dragons, as the first Aegon had, he could have remade the realm anew, with peace and prosperity and justice for all.

    And intent on one more thing: dragons. As he grew older, Aegon V had come to dream of dragons flying once more above the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. In this, he was not unlike his predecessors, who brought septons to pray over the last eggs, mages to work spells over them, and maesters to pore over them. Though friends and counselors sought to dissuade him, King Aegon grew ever more convinced that only with dragons would he ever wield sufficient power to make the changes he wished to make in the realm and force the proud and stubborn lords of the Seven Kingdoms to accept his decrees.

    The last years of Aegon's reign were consumed by a search for ancient lore about the dragon breeding of Valyria, and it was said that Aegon commissioned journeys to places as far away as Asshai-by-the-Shadow with the hopes of finding texts and knowledge that had not been preserved in Westeros.

    What became of the dream of dragons was a grievous tragedy born in a moment of joy. In the fateful year 259 AC, the king summoned many of those closest to him to Summerhall, his favorite castle, there to celebrate the impending birth of his first great-grandchild, a boy later named Rhaegar, to his grandson Aerys and granddaughter Rhaella, the children of Prince Jaehaerys.

    It is unfortunate that the tragedy that transpired at Summerhall left very few witnesses alive, and those who survived would not speak of it. A tantalizing page of Gyldayn's history—surely one of the very last written before his own death—hints at much, but the ink that was spilled over it in some mishap blotted out too much.


    Long story short, when Egg became the King, he tried to make reforms that improve the lives off the smallfolk (whose troubles he knew well from his time squiring for Dunk), but this infuriated the nobility and caused a lot of troubles in his reign (hint for breaking the wheel). It also did not help that his children chose love over duty (hint hint), and married according to their heart’s desire instead of accepting those arranged marriages with Great Houses and strengthening the dynasty. By the end of his reign, Egg became convinced that the only way he could accomplish his reforms was to recreate the dragons. His pursuit for dragons ended in the Tragedy of Summerhall where House Targaryen barely survived.

    The Tragedy of Summerhall was first introduced in ASoS by many references from different sources (like Alester Florent to Barristan to even the Ghost of High Heart). Then this backstory kept growing more and more. It is the great finale of the D&E novellas and GRRM conveniently avoided telling what really happened there despite publishing TWOIAF. Hell, even with a Barristan POV, GRRM is still not giving a clue, which I think hurts the story a little. It does not make sense why Dany does not learn more about her private family history, especially the Summerhall stuff, with a witness like Barristan at her disposal. GRRM clearly wants to save this mystery to the D&E novellas.

    The first D&E novella, the Hedge Knight, is an oddity. There is no hint whatsoever of the First Blackfyre Rebellion that happened some 13 years ago but it was such an important event and a still standing threat at that time that it should have come up in the novella, especially with some of the characters were present. The explanation is that GRRM had not created the Blackfyre Rebellions yet when he wrote the Hedge Knight.

    Finally, I am coming to the title. Leaving the Hedge Knight aside, the other two D&E novellas are all about the Blackfyre backstory, which as I argued above was created with the purpose of fleshing out Dany’s story in the main series. Now consider the Mystery Knight. D&E blunder into a Blackfyre Rebellion by accident. Egg was captured by the indecisive host Lord Butterwell, who had doubts about the outcome of the attempted rebellion. Worse, Egg’s true identity was revealed by his ring. Bloodraven had things under control regarding the outcome of the scheme but Egg’s life was in jeopardy, and maybe far worse troubles were possible if they successfully kidnapped Egg and sent him away to the hands of Bittersteel.

    At this moment, the prophetic dream of Daemon II Blackfyre about a dragon hatching at Whitewalls was fulfilled:



    “No, ser. I knew I was in trouble when the maester showed Lord Butterwell my ring. I thought about saying that I’d stolen it, but I didn’t think he would believe me. Then I remembered this one time I heard my father talking about something Lord Bloodraven said, about how it was better to be frightening than frightened, so I told them that my father had sent us here to spy for him, that he was on his way here with an army, that His Lordship had best release me and give up this treason, or it would mean his head.” He smiled a shy smile. “It worked better than I thought it would, ser.”

    Dunk wanted to take the boy by the shoulders and shake him until his teeth rattled. This is no game, he might have roared. This is life and death.


    As Bloodraven explained in the end of the story, the dream was true but Daemon was wrong about the interpretation. His egg did not hatch but the dragon that came into being was Egg, when he lied to Lord Butterwell and intimidated him by appearing sure of himself. Dunk observed a visible change in Egg and GRRM made it appear like a glorious moment for Egg.

    There is still a long way from this Egg to the one who sought the ways to bring dragons so that the Great Lords would submit to his reforms. But the way GRRM explained what it means to “hatch as a dragon” in Egg’s case and how he remembered Bloodraven’s mantra that it was “better to be frightening than frightened”, we can kind of tell how Egg can agree to proceed with whatever controversial thing that was supposed happen at Summerhall. Considering Dany’s final chapter in ADwD where she embraced that “dragons plant no trees” and the show line that “let it be fear”, we can tell that in the books, Dany will lead herself into her own Tragedy of Summerhall, from which House Targaryen might not survive.

    When TWOIAF was published, the wishful interpretation was that Dany will succeed where Egg failed and carry out her reforms thanks to her dragons. The show revealed that Egg’s end was not an inversion but a sign of things to come for Dany.

  7. Ned would never want to go to war against Robert over Jon's claim. If he were to do such a thing, he would have done that while Jon was a baby.

    And Jon wasn't mature enough to join the Night's Watch. That is the first thing in his story. He thought the Night's Watch was honorable and valiant knights wearing black, not the sweepings of the Realm.

  8. Ned's promises to Lyanna:

    1. Protect Jon by raising him as his own child and keeping his parentage secret.
    2. Tell Jon his true parentage when he grows mature enough to grasp it safely.

    Ned thought about broken promises only when he was thrown to the black cells. Ned was thinking that he would never go out of the black cells alive when he thought about the broken promises. Varys had not come with his offer of taking the black yet. That is one of the reasons why Ned accepted Varys' offer to take the black because he was going to see Jon and fulfil his promise to Lyanna by telling Jon who his actual parents were. This point is further emphasized by the following quote from the same chapter:


    “I want you to serve the realm,” Varys said. “Tell the queen that you will confess your vile treason, command your son to lay down his sword, and proclaim Joffrey as the true heir. Offer to denounce Stannis and Renly as faithless usurpers. Our green-eyed lioness knows you are a man of honor. If you will give her the peace she needs and the time to deal with Stannis, and pledge to carry her secret to your grave, I believe she will allow you to take the black and live out the rest of your days on the Wall, with your brother and that baseborn son of yours.”

    The thought of Jon filled Ned with a sense of shame, and a sorrow too deep for words. If only he could see the boy again, sit and talk with him…pain shot through his broken leg, beneath the filthy grey plaster of his cast. He winced, his fingers opening and closing helplessly.

    Therefore, when Ned was executed unexpectedly, his promise to Lyanna was broken. However, I think Ned's ghost will fulfil the promise in that crypt dream which Jon will finally complete till the end.

  9. Yeah, Rhaegar should have brought Lyanna directly to the court when they eloped. Then he would tell Aerys that he is setting aside Elia and marrying Lyanna. Brilliant plan. Or maybe Rhaegar would prefer to set aside Elia after he returned from Tower of Joy to take the leadership of the royal army, which had Lewyn Martell and lots of Dornishmen in it. That too would be a brilliant moment.

  10. Proposition: Rhaegar and Lyanna married even though Rhaegar was married to Elia at that time.

    Status: Confirmed for all intents and purposes (unless a person feels confident enough to know the story better than the people who learned GRRM's secrets).

    Examples of strawman attacks against this proposition:

    1. "Polygamy is illegal"

    Not only this is textually unsupported, but also it is irrelevant even if we assume that it is true. Polygamy being illegal does not mean that Rhaegar and Lyanna did not marry. Rhaegar might have still married Lyanna even if he, for some reason, considered it illegal. The proposition is about only the existence of this wedding, not its legality. Hence, this is strawman fallacy.

    2. "Rhaegar could never get away with polygamy"

    Again, a very popular strawman. The proposition does not have anything to do with whether Rhaegar actually could get away with it or he thought he could. We don't know Rhaegar's thought process until further material is published. Also similar to the point above, it might be revealed that Rhaegar still married Lyanna even if he thought, for some reason, he could not get away with it.

    3. "No one at that time or in the present story would consider that marriage legal/No one would consider Jon legitimate based on this secret wedding"

    Again, the proposition does not have anything to do with people's approval or the recognition of Jon's legitimacy. These are all speculations about the future unpublished material.

    I am sure there are more. These were the most common ones that came to my mind because the same people were typing the same things about a decade ago. You would expect some progress, considering the TV show started and ended in the meanwhile.

  11. On 6/30/2020 at 12:02 AM, QhorinQuarterhand said:

    George never did anything but smile. If he even did that. Since this isn't George's words. It's D&Ds. The name Lyanna was never even mentioned. George DID NOT confirm that Lyanna is Jon's mother. Just because they went that way in the show doesn't mean Lyanna is Jon's mother in the books. 

    Anyone who knows English and watches the interview I quoted can see that Kimmel asks whether the mother is the same in the books and D&D confirm that it is. Both in this interview and in others, D&D tell that they answered correctly when GRRM asked them Jon's mother. GRRM himself told that they were right.

    What you do is the ASOIAF equivalent of being a borderline flat-earther. There is no point of debating with you if you don't accept 2+2 equals 4.

  12. 54 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

    I’m referring to @Mithras since he seems to hold the show in such high regard.

    I will keep holding D&D in a much higher regard than random people on the internet who have not talked to George to learn his secrets.

  13. For the time being, the winning position is that Rhaegar and Lyanna married in some fashion.

    No one exactly knows what GRRM will do with Jon's parentage AND Jon's legitimacy.

    No one exactly knows how the characters in the story will react to Jon's parentage AND Jon's legitimacy (if it ever becomes public knowledge).

    LV might feel authorized to speak in the name of us or the characters inside the story about the stuff that is still unwritten, by typing things like "nobody would do this" or "nobody would believe that" etc. Thank you but no. I am allowed to have my own opinions about the things I read in the books. If there was a marriage, then it is done for me. If LV can't handle that, or if any character inside the story will have a problem with that (if it ever becomes public knowledge), too bad for them. It is their problem, not mine. 

  14. 1 hour ago, Bael's Bastard said:

    It's disingenuous to claim polygamy was an issue fiercely contested by the Faith when only one single High Septon in the history of Westeros actually made an issue of it, and in truth, that crusade was launched directly in response to Rhaena/Aegon incest.

    Not to mention, that High Septon would gladly turn blind eyes towards polygamy if it was her niece that became the second wife instead of the first one that got shafted.

  15. Did Rhaegar and Lyanna marry according to any given wedding ceremony?

    This answer is either Yes or No. There is no but. It is immaterial how many people would consider that marriage legal, be it a Tywin Lannister or a random Pate from nowhere. It is also immaterial how many vocal readers find that marriage illegal.

    If I were not on mobile, I would also give the quote from F&B about Cregan Stark and Sara Snow. He was furious at first when he heard that Sara slept with that Targaryen prince but after hearing that they had a wedding ceremony before the heart tree prior to bedding, he let his rage go.




    A Storm of Swords - Arya VIII

    I dreamt of a maid at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow.



    By itself, the prophecy of the Ghost of High Heart does not suggest that the castle made of snow should be Winterfell. All of the usual connections (like Sansa-Starks-Winterfell etc.) are flimsy evidences at best. Winterfell is not made out of snow, nor can it be symbolically or figuratively referred to as such.

    For example, if it was built of white stones like Whitewalls, then the poetic license in a prophetic line could have been accepted for the case of Winterfell. The castle might get covered with snow during winters but so are almost all the castles in the north and many others in the south. There is no way to single out Winterfell if we are talking about literal snow.

    The only way to single out Winterfell in the prophetic context among a host of potential castles made of snow is the scene with Robert’s doll where Sansa literally built Winterfell out of snow. That means the prophecy of the Ghost of High Heart about the maid is not enough to specify a particular castle and further explanation is required. Now, it is possible that GRRM provided this further explanation meant for Winterfell in the same book where he also revealed the prophecy.

    There are several problems with this plan. First of all, a lot of readers might take the savaging of the doll as the fulfilment of the prophecy, which is not the purpose at all. One cannot simply prophesize the savaging of a stupid doll in the same sentence with the deaths of kings. Another thing is that the scene with Robert’s doll is extremely heavy in symbolism and foreshadowing without having anything to do with the prophecy of the Ghost of High Heart.




    A Feast for Crows - Jaime V

    “You know why they call her Gatehouse Ami? She raises her portcullis for every knight who happens by.”


    A Storm of Swords - Sansa III

    He [Tyrion] hopped down from the dais and grabbed Sansa roughly. “Come, wife, time to smash your portcullis. I want to play come-into-the-castle.”


    A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

    “Winterfell is the seat of House Stark,” Sansa told her husband-to-be. “The great castle of the north.”

    “It’s not so great.” The boy knelt before the gatehouse. “Look, here comes a giant to knock it down.” He stood his doll in the snow and moved it jerkily. “Tromp tromp I’m a giant, I’m a giant,” he chanted. “Ho ho ho, open your gates or I’ll mash them and smash them.” Swinging the doll by the legs, he knocked the top off one gatehouse tower and then the other.

    It was more than Sansa could stand. “Robert, stop that.” Instead he swung the doll again, and a foot of wall exploded. She grabbed for his hand but she caught the doll instead. There was a loud ripping sound as the thin cloth tore. Suddenly she had the doll’s head, Robert had the legs and body, and the rag-and-sawdust stuffing was spilling in the snow.

    Lord Robert’s mouth trembled. “You killlllllllled him,” he wailed.



    The erotic metaphor about the gatehouse, the portcullis and come-into-the-castle is self-evident. In addition to the giant doll that attacks Sansa’s gatehouse, LF (the savage giant) literally says that he wants to come-into-Sansa's-castle.




    A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

    “That will give it strength enough to stand, I’d think,” Petyr said. “May I come into your castle, my lady?”



    With this perspective, “the giant doll” attacking “Sansa’s gatehouse” (and paying for it with his head) is itself foreshadowing a rape attempt in which Sansa slays the rapist. This result can be inferred without the prophecy of the Ghost of High Heart. The only problem is of course where it will take place.

    But this was mostly ASoS we are talking about and GRRM wrote it with a 5 year gap to follow. In the later stages of the writing, he dropped the gap, expanded the story and did a lot of major revisions.




    A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

    The Eyrie shrank above them. The sky cells on the lower levels made the castle look something like a honeycomb from below. A honeycomb made of ice, Alayne thought, a castle made of snow.



    Among other things, he made sure that Sansa literally refers to Eyrie as a “castle made of snow” in AFfC. Of course, Eyrie will be closed and unavailable during winter. GRRM solved that problem in the sample Alayne chapter from TWoW.




    The Winds of Winter - Alayne

    And best of all, Lord Nestor’s cooks prepared a splendid subtlety, a lemon cake in the shape of the Giant’s Lance, twelve feet tall and adorned with an Eyrie made of sugar.



    Recalling how GRRM likes to play with prophecies, we can realize how strongly above two quotes serve as evidence for the solution of the prophecy.




    Surely the plot is very unpredictable despite all the prophecies you give to help us…

    [Laughs] Prophecies are, you know, a double edge sword. You have to handle them very carefully; I mean, they can add depth and interest to a book, but you don’t want to be too literal or too easy... In the Wars of the Roses, that you mentioned, there was one Lord who had been prophesied he would die beneath the walls of a certain castle and he was superstitious at that sort of walls, so he never came anyway near that castle. He stayed thousands of leagues away from that particular castle because of the prophecy. However, he was killed in the first battle of St. Paul de Vence and when they found him dead he was outside of an inn whose sign was the picture of that castle! [Laughs] So you know? That’s the way prophecies come true in unexpected ways. The more you try to avoid them, the more you are making them true, and I make a little fun with that.




    Even if GRRM originally planned to have the slaying of the savage giant at Winterfell, the evidence from the later stages of the writing suggests that the castle made of snow will be Eyrie made of sugar that adorns the giant lemon cake. This is perfectly aligned with how GRRM likes to play with prophecies. And this whole thing will take place quite soon, while that Eyrie made of sugar is still on the table (literally).

  17. On 3/8/2020 at 3:40 PM, aryagonnakill#2 said:

    Shadrick made it clear to Sansa that he knew who she was in the spoiler.  When they are in the yard watching Corbray beat up on the other knight.

    Shadrich made it clear to the readers that he knew who she was. A huge difference.

  18. Problems with “Seven Days of Battle” and “Three Days’ Ride” 



    A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII   

    Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. 


    Medieval battles did not last for days. The actual engagement between two armies may take hours, even a whole day. But usually, one of the armies is routed and the victorious army starts chasing down the routed army, which is the part that might go on for days. In some historical battles, actual fighting went on for days, by giving a break during the night. But I don’t think this will be the case for the Battle on Ice. 

    As a side note, sometimes it would take many days for armies to meet each other, especially if they do not know where the other army was. The armies would keep moving, with scouts and possible skirmishes, which might have lasted for days until a preferable battleground is decided. But this is not the case for Stannis. He is not moving anywhere, even if he wants to. Roose knows where to find him thanks to the map sent by the Dreadfort maester. The letter also claims that Stannis is three days from Winterfell. 

    According to the Pink Letter, Stannis was defeated in seven days of battle. The ongoing assumption about the seven days of battle is that the fighting lasted for a day and the remaining six days account for the arrival to and the return from the crofter’s village as it is stated to be three days ride away. Regardless of whether the battle really happened like this or not, the fandom considers this as the best explanation for the mindset of the author of the Pink Letter. 

    This distance of three days ride is problematic for me. Let us have a look at where it comes from. 



    A Dance with Dragons - The King’s Prize   

    The storm did not abate. The march continued, slowing to a stagger, then a crawl. Five miles was a good day. Then three. Then two.  

    By the ninth day of the storm, every camp saw the captains and commanders entering the king’s tent wet and weary, to sink to one knee and report their losses for the day.   


    On the twenty-sixth day of the fifteen-day march, the last of the vegetables was consumed. On the thirty-second day, the last of the grain and fodder. Asha wondered how long a man could live on raw, half-frozen horse meat.   

    “Branch swears we are only three days from Winterfell,” Ser Richard Horpe told the king that night after the cold count.   

    If we leave the weakest men behind,” said Corliss Penny.   

    “The weakest men are beyond saving,” insisted Horpe. “Those still strong enough must reach Winterfell or die as well.”   


    Finally, after a nightmarish day when the column advanced a bare mile and lost a dozen horses and four men, Lord Peasebury turned against the northmen.   


    The next day the king’s scouts chanced upon an abandoned crofters’ village between two lakes—a mean and meagre place, no more than a few huts, a longhall, and a watchtower. Richard Horpe commanded a halt, though the army had advanced no more than a half-mile that day and they were hours shy of dark. It was well past moonrise before the baggage train and rear guard straggled in. Asha was amongst them.   

    A Dance with Dragons - The Sacrifice   

    “Then go. You have my word, I will not run. Where would I go? To Winterfell?” Asha laughed. “Only three days’ ride, they tell me.”   

    A Dance with Dragons - Theon I   

    “Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis.” Lord Bolton unrolled the parchment. “His host lies not three days’ ride from here, snowbound and starving, and I for one am tired of waiting on his pleasure.”


    It appears that at the thirty-second day of the march, Benjicot Branch claimed that they were three days ride from Winterfell. First of all, I don’t have any reason doubt his word. All the scouts and hunters given to Stannis by Lady Sybelle Glover seemed capable at their job. They know their wolfswood.  

    This might be trivial but in the series, when the distance between two places is stated in units of horse riding, it goes without saying that the horse should be a healthy horse being ridden by a healthy rider under normal weather and road conditions. Sometimes a “hard ride” is mentioned in the text. This means the rider is in hurry (like delivering a message) and riding the horse to its limits under normal conditions. 

    Reconsider the words of Richard Horpe and Corliss Penny. 



    “Branch swears we are only three days from Winterfell,” Ser Richard Horpe told the king that night after the cold count.   

    If we leave the weakest men behind,” said Corliss Penny. 


    Branch certainly said that they are three days ride from Winterfell. But did he also add the condition that if they leave the weakest men behind or is it a commentary by Corliss? The “If” is italic in the original text and it is possible to read the text such that Branch indeed added this condition to his calculation. This brings the question: did Branch use the three days ride (with or without the leaving the weakest men condition) under normal weather conditions or in the blizzard conditions they are currently in. Remember that at the beginning, they were able to cover some 20 miles a day. When their march came to a halt, they could only cover a mile or two in that terrible winter storm. Are we absolutely certain that the crofter’s village is some 60 miles away from Winterfell (based on the usual use of the unit “three days ride”) instead of some 6 miles away from Winterfell (based on the unusual and specific use of the unit “three days ride under their current condition”)? 

    By the way, the winter storm is so severe that even the fresh troops of the Freys and Manderlys will not be able to come to the crofter’s village in three days. The snow is waist deep and the Freys will be extra slow and careful in their march after the death of Aenys Frey. Moreover, the green boys of Crowfood will give them further troubles on the road. Also it is not clear how much time passed between Tycho Nestoris finding Crowfood at Winterfell and coming to the crofter’s village from there with Theon and fArya. Tris only said it took “some time” to find the place. 

    Another point is that even if the storm stops and the snows miraculously melt for some reason, it will still not be a three days ride journey for the Freys and Manderlys. So much snow melting so rapidly means that streams will be swollen and the roads will turn into mud. Remember they have to carry their baggage train to the battle and they can’t pull those carts across the mud. 

    Speaking of which, if the Freys only took 7 days of provisions in their baggage train for the campaign according to the letter of Roose, they will definitely starve if the crofter’s village is not around 6 miles away from Winterfell according to the specific interpretation of the distance. 

    Am I reading the text wrong? Even if this is the result of prematurely publishing ADwD without a proper editing, what is the correct way to solve this mystery? Did GRRM give enough consideration to the fact that it is impossible to cover the distance from Winterfell to the crofter’s village under those conditions within only three days? 

    Finally, Roose commanded only the Freys and the Manderlys to march. But that is not necessarily his final saying in the matter. Theon said that Ramsay will be coming too and I have no reason to disagree with him. The march will be very slow due to the weather and extra caution they have to take because of Crowfood’s traps. This provides many days for the Boltons to torture Mance/spearwives and catch up with the marching armies later.


    My solution 

    I think the distance is within the 60 miles scale and it took far more than three days for the Freys to reach the crofter’s village, followed by the Manderlys and finally Ramsay riding in a row. As for seven days of battle, the first day saw the actual fighting which ended with the army of Stannis being routed (despite a lot of Freys drowning in the ice lake). I also expect desertion especially from the Peasebury men and Karstarks before the battle (will come to that in a moment). More should have fled at the night of the first day. During the following six days, Ramsay hunted down the routed army, killing and taking prisoners wherever he can. From these prisoners, and also possibly from Mance and the spearwives, Ramsay picked up the necessary terms in the Pink Letter (such as the wildling princess and the wildling prince). It is very unlikely that anyone who has not been to the Wall recently should know their existence. Furthermore, the way Ramsay refers to them speaks of the ignorance of the southrons about the wildlings. That should mean that the source of Ramsay on the existence of Val and Monster should be some southron knight in the army of Stannis, probably one of the queen's men. Furthermore, there is a significant gap between the impending execution of Theon, and Ramsay thinking that Reek is alive and well at the Wall and demanding him in the Pink Letter.  

    Therefore, fArya (and Theon as I believe) left the village many days before the battle with the group of Massey. Not many people in the army of Stannis can be expected to see them leaving or know where they are going. For all they know, the people leaving the camp might be going to some northern castle or the Wall or across the sea or somewhere else or someone leaving the group on the way. Stannis does not share his plans with every single man in his army. Any random soldier Ramsay cannot be expected to tell him of their whereabouts. 

    Until after the battle, Ramsay will have no reason or proof to believe that Stannis sent fArya and Theon somewhere else. He will not find any trace of them because of the winter storm. Besides, with deserters and the routed army all over the map as I argued, even if there were any tracks of Theon and fArya, Ramsay will not be able to tell who left them. Only after hunting down Stannis and the remnants of his army, Ramsay will be able to piece together that Stannis sent Theon and fArya to the Wall before the battle. But by this time, a couple of weeks will have passed since they left the village and it is impossible to hunt them down especially with this winter storm making it near impossible to leave tracks or dogs to pick up scent. Recall that even without winter, Bran evaded being captured by Ramsay's hunters because they evaded the kingsroad. 

    The idea that Ramsay would go hunt Theon and fArya before such a proper setup stems from the failure to realize that the characters in the story cannot read the books just like the readers. Ramsay does not have these books. He has no way of knowing the whereabouts of Theon and fArya. His major evidence will be the confessions of Mance under torture plus the prisoners he will have caught from the army of Stannis who are privy to the plans with the departure. That is how Ramsay will know the involvement of Jon and be convinced that the runaways might have gone to the Wall. 


    The Upcoming Desertion 

    Before the Battle on Ice takes place, Lord Peasebury will desert with his remaining men and the leaderless Karstarks. 



    Asha had been as horrified as the rest when the She-Bear told her that four Peasebury men had been found butchering one of the late Lord Fell’s, carving chunks of flesh from his thighs and buttocks as one of his forearms turned upon a spit, but she could not pretend to be surprised. The four were not the first to taste human flesh during this grim march, she would wager—only the first to be discovered. 


    “Too few fish and too many fishermen,” Lord Peasebury said gloomily. He had good reason for gloom; it was his men Ser Godry had just burned, and there were some in this very hall who had been heard to say that Peasebury himself surely knew what they were doing and might even have shared in their feasts. 


    It was the same argument as last night and the night before. _Press on and die, stay here and die, fall back and die._ 

    “Feel free to perish as you wish, Humfrey,” said Justin Massey. “Myself, I would sooner live to see another spring.” 

    “Some might call that craven,” Lord Peasebury replied. 

    “Better a craven than a cannibal.” 

    Peasebury’s face twisted in sudden fury. “You—” 


    Above is all the textual evidence needed to understand that the four Peasebury men caught in the act of cannibalizing a corpse were not the only cannibals in the camp; in fact, Lord Peasebury was also eating human flesh along with his other men. Up to this point, cannibalism seemed like a “don’t ask don’t tell” thing in the camp. As long as it was done secretly, the men in the camp were ignoring cannibalism. What about Stannis though? 



    “Your king gelds men for rape,” she reminded him. 

    Ser Clayton chuckled. “The king’s half-blind from staring into fires.” 


    I give this as metaphoric evidence that Stannis is not really aware of everything that is going on in the camp. Of course, this will come as blasphemy to those who gave themselves into the popular wishful theories according to which Stannis knows everything before they happen, is playing 10-D chess and will totally stomp the Boltons effortlessly. But the truth must be told and the truth is, Stannis had not left his watchtower in the last four days until he appeared to observe the burning of the cannibals and he quickly returned afterwards. 



    “Have you lost your faith in red R’hllor?” 

    “I have lost faith in more than that,” Massey said,


    Specifically, Justin Massey has become “as formidable as a loose stool”. But of all the people, Stannis chooses this man and sends him away to Braavos. Massey is aching for a way out. This shows how clueless Stannis has become about his men. He truly became half-blind by isolating himself into his solar and staring into the fires. 

    Every night, the men let out all sorts of treasonous talk but Stannis is not notified about them (unless you want to argue that Stannis knows all about the cannibalism and the talk of defeat but lets it slide). I won’t give all the quotes but if you have a quick look at The Sacrifice chapter, you will see how desperate the situation seems to a lot of men. Those who think like Justin will not simply sit down and embrace death (unlike the northmen). Among the southrons, there are red god fanatics and there are brave men. These might be expected to stick with Stannis till the bitter end but there are also cravens and cannibals. They are the weakest link in the army. Cravens are cravens. After the burning, the cannibals also lost faith. 


    “One of Lord Peasebury's men was killed, and two of mine were wounded. If it please Your Grace, though, the men are growing anxious. There are hundreds of them gathered around the tower, wondering what's happened. Talk of treason is on every lip. No one knows who to trust, or who might be arrested next. The northmen especially—“ 

    After the Karstark leadership is apprehended, the camp starts boiling. Stannis thinks that the Karstark treachery is averted but these Karstark men are now leaderless, suspected of treason by the other men in the camp. Traitors or not, Arnolf was their leader and the Karstark men will not like the execution of Arnolf, no more than the Karstarks reacting to the execution of Lord Rickard by Robb. 

    As a result, at the very night of the Theon sample chapter from TWoW, the Karstark men, the cravens and the cannibals who would do anything to escape burning at the pyre will desert. This will be revealed at the beginning of the fragmentary Asha chapter we saw. But the fate of the deserters is another matter.  

    The deserters, much like the mutineers at Craster’s, will try to go separate ways. One of the greatest benefits of this desertion scenario is that just as mentioned in the Pink Letter, the battle will truly take seven days. The Battle on Ice will be concluded one way or the other in a quick manner. The rest of the “seven days of battle” will be reserved to Boltons tracking down and killing the deserters and survivors who make it out alive from the Battle on Ice. In the process, Ramsay will take southron captives from the deserters he tracked down like the Peasebury men.  

    It is very important that Ramsay catches and flays such Southron captives. This is perhaps the only reasonable source from where Ramsay would catch the terms “the wildling princess” and “the wildling prince” as mentioned in the Pink Letter. I think Mance and the spearwives are definitely caught by the Boltons but they will not refer to Val and Mance’s son as such. Ramsay needs a Southron mouth for that. 

    Finally, seven days long skirmishes and hunting of the deserters/survivors will provide Stannis the chance to flee and fake his death by leaving fLightbringer behind as proof of his death. Only after that Ramsay will return to Winterfell to write the Pink Letter.


    The Battle on Ice 

    According to the Pink Letter,  

    * Stannis dies off-screen,

    * Stannis would normally execute Theon but he is reported to have fled (again off-screen). 

    All of these really suck. The most important reason why the readers are looking for additional explanations for the Pink Letter is that we obviously do not have all the pieces for this mystery. Even if the Pink Letter is not meant to be a mystery, it is still a failure of editing because that intent certainly does not work for most of the readers. 



    TWoW Theon I

    Preps for the Battle on Ice. 

    TWoW Asha I

    Theon is brought before the weirwood tree. He confesses the truth about the boys he killed. His story is confirmed. Theon asks to take the black. The Northmen grudgingly raise their voices in favor. Stannis spares Theon and sends him to the Wall along with Massey’s party. Many days pass before the battle starts. Cold count skyrockets. Starvation and cannibalism run rampart. The morale in the camp gets worse and worse. Desertions start. Karstark and Peasebury men are chief among the deserters. Finally the Freys arrive. Battle on Ice starts. Ranks of Stannis are composed of hungry and weak soldiers. He has considerably weakened and depleted host. The only hindrance for the Freys is the winter storm and the deep snowfall. Frey vanguard breaks the enemy easily. The host of Stannis is routed. Survivors flee all over the frozen lakes. Freys give them chase. This is when the ice breaks. Both the fleeing men and their pursuers drown by the hundreds. The Freys still have their reserves and supply train intact. Asha spots the Manderly knights charging to battle. 


    If we had the above chapters in ADwD, the Pink Letter would have worked much better. The immediate impression of the readers would be that the Pink Letter is true. Only in rereads, some fans might consider that the Manderlys might have attacked the Freys instead of Stannis, which would put the contents of the Pink Letter under suspicion.

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