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Maia

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  1. Yea, but Blood of Eden moved their troops and operatives from planet to planet without necromancy fairly quickly. They wouldn't have been much of an opponent for the Cohort otherwise. And of course there are/were all these planets inhabited by non-ressurected humans, and though theoretically they could have gotten there via sublight, 10 millenia probably shouldn't have been enough for there to be so many. So, some form of non-necromantic FTL travel must exist and communication between planets ditto. Additionally in Nona: I have to say that I am in awe of all of you folks noticing all the many allusions and homages that flew straight over my head! And exponentially more so of Muir for elegantly cramming all this stuff into her books. And of how with each book we get better and deeper understanding of characters and their motivations. We got mystery boxes with actually satisfying contents, for once. For instance, it now seems clear that
  2. This is very much untrue. Lion's share of Jon's successes hinge on him being a son of Eddard Stark and having been raised alongside his legitimate siblings as well as his direwolf. Without the prestige of his father's family, a noble education at the most powerful regional court it afforded him, without his physical resemblance to the Starks and their sigil as his animal companion he wouldn't have had the opportunities he did. And all he had to do to get Ghost was to be self-effacing for a couple of minutes. Oh, and don't start me on his getting a Valyrian steel sword on a very contrived pretext and even more ridiculously, not being relieved of it by the wildlings. Finally, simply being male is also an unearned advantage for him. That's not to say that Jon didn't make a fairly good use of his advanatages, but let's not pretend that he is some kind of self-made man. @Oana_Mika: Sadly, we can't trust GRRM. I had had some reservations about his depiction of adult women in ASoIAF from the beginning, but it seems like at some point while writing ADwD and materials for the worldbook, which became WoIaF and FaB, he decided that his setting wasn't sexist enough and it's women too capable. I used to think that it was a clumsy and misguided set-up for Dany overcoming these obstacles, but after the ending of the show and reading the early outline for the "trilogy", I suspect that it was meant as a justification for her failing. Because whatever else may have been distorted by the showrunners' chase after subversion and shock, king Bran could have only come from GRRM. Ditto Martin's hypocritical stance on dragons, where they are simultaneously weapons of mass destruction and also somehow give their female riders and to some degree even Daemon zero political clout and don't prevent them from being pushed around by dragonless men. Oh, and also they are unbeatable by mundane means, except for all the many cases when they were killed by the same. Etc., etc. Honestly, very little concerning dragons and their use in FaB and WoIaF makes much logical sense.
  3. This is actually somewhat unclear, since we have a primogeniture versus proximity to the title holder situation here. Both principles were used to determine inheritance during the RL Middle Ages and it was very much situational which prevailed. This also happened in Westeros when king's sons inherited ahead of king's grandchildren from senior lines. i.e when Jaehaerys I chose Baelon over Rhaenys and Aegon V was chosen over his niece and nephew. There may even be an example in the Stark family tree where children of Cregan's second son Edric, including his sons, didn't inherit, but their uncle, the third son of Cregan, did instead.
  4. Well, I liked the show, but the title character actor isn't quite working out for me (and independantly for my brother as well, who also liked it on the whole, as I found out last weekend). There is just something undefinably goofy about him, and the way they have the music swell with pathos after his pretentious, pseudo-deep pronouncements is a bit silly IMHO . But the show is still absolutely deserving and it would be a huge pity if it got cancelled.
  5. I have been listening to a lot of library audio-books lately: "Certain Dark Things" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - an urban fantasy stand-alone set in Mexico City. Fresh setting made it an entertaining, but not particularly memorable listen. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee - I am happy to report that the suck fairy passed this one by - it was a re-read - still excellent, IMHO. "The Hate U Give" and it's prequel "Concrete Rose" by Angie Thomas, which I checked out on a whim due to the library homepage suggestion - coming of age stories in a black ghetto, one contemporary, one 18 years prior. I liked them, but preferred the prequel. "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman - another re-read, another book that held up well. I needed a refresh to decide if I should recommend it to my 11-year-old niece, but nah, she is too much of a scaredy cat and they have just moved . Currently listening to "A Psalm for the Wild-Built" by Becky Chambers , which is nice, but didn't bowl me over so far (3/4 through). I also read "Nona the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir, which I loved and wrote about in detail in the Locked Tomb thread. Currently making my way through "Locklands" by Robert Jackson Bennett and it is a somewhat slow going. I actually started it before Nona's arrival. This trilogy isn't quite doing it for me, sadly.
  6. Thanks, I guess I just have to wait for the final book to learn the answers. At least I didn't miss anything of substance. A slight correction - it is currently the other way round, which was an important plot point in Ht9. Hm, I wonder why they even needed it, though, given that they have alternative methods.
  7. I loved the book, as is evident from the speed of my reaction post . The main narrator voice resonated with me much better than in the previous volume, while the setting, plot and mysteries remain as intriguing as ever. I also enjoy having certain theories of mine having been proven right! It is great how every installment manages to have a distinct tone and show another part of this very imaginative setting. Yep. Have I missed something in the previous books? I didn't re-read, just read this https://www.tor.com/2022/06/08/as-yet-unsent-tamsyn-muir/, which wasn't in the ebook : Care to elaborate? I don't understand. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Nona is an absolute treasure.
  8. Stannis will last long enough to get re-united with Shireen and for the Others to put him into a hopeless enough situation that he'd sacrifice her. He is set to win the Battle of Ice and take Winterfell by subtrefuge. Beyond that, Ramsey isn't a particularly interesting villain in the books, despite his cruelty, Roose is superior to him in every way. I kinda expect either Nymeria's pack to move north and do for him, or for Bran to somehow remotely skinchange his dogs ditto. Though maybe Roose will finally decide to get rid of him too, as with "Arya" gone, he is just a liability. Frankly, even with her around he was already harming Roose's situation more than helping it. What I don't expect is some great rivalry like in the show or gathering of yet another army by Jon or yet another battle, etc. I think that attack on Jon is in part supposed to narratively stop him from running off to chase after Ramsey.
  9. It should be about whatever the Promised Prince was actually supposed to accomplish - which was completely cut from the GoT show, but had been set up in the books and is being constantly hyped up in HoTD. How they do it in detail would in part depend on which actors agreed to return, etc. They'd have to ret-con the "Short Night" into a mere skirmish, but it would only feel logical and be entirely in the spirit of humanity getting easily distracted from existential threats, which is supposed to be one of the main themes of ASoIaF. Only one season _is_ a problem - though if HoTD demonstrates that time jumps are viable, then they can work with that to bring more weight to the proceedings. But I suspect that it was always supposed to be a mini-series "with continuation potential".
  10. Yes, indeed. If this Chekov's gun doesn't fire, all the build-up, which even continues in HoTD would feel pretty ridiculous, like the last seasons of GoT did. It would be pretty bad writing after Cersei was already depicted as quite mad in her PoVs in AFFC and ADwD, though. GoT, of course, completely cut this aspect of her character. GRRM really needs to take a hard look at how he writes women who wield or aspire to wield hard power - so far it seems that he intends to vindicate all the bigots from WoIaF and FaB. Certainly, 12-13th century in England and France produced more capable noblewomen actively involved in politics and even war than the fake history of Westeros.
  11. That would depend - IMHO GoT used very little of the plot that GRRM envisioned for Jon after his assassination attempt. What we got instead was mostly a mix of Stannis's and (F)Aegon's arcs. And since the Long Night was flubbed as well and Jon was in all likelyhood integral to it, well, it would be reasonable to go in "they were wrong that the threat was decisively dealt with" direction. Certainly, focus on the prophecies in HoTD would make zero sense otherwise. Honestly, if GRRM is prepared to share, it would be less of a fan-fic than the last 2 seasons of GoT.
  12. It was what the book itself suggested, wasn't it? That they were supposed to kill Aegon or Aemond, but the first was too well guarded and the second wasn't even in KL. Because what Blood and Cheese actually did makes zero sense and it would have been so much better to hang on to the knowledge of the secret passages for a decisive advantage. Rhaenyra wasn't implicated in it at all, she was just told that Luke would be avenged.
  13. It is so weird that the Dance is actually more sexist than the historical events which inspired it! Because the 2 Matildas were both very personally active in the conflict. Matilda of Bulogne, Stephen's wife was actually _the_ reason why he managed to hang on to the throne. She even occasionally commanded troops and while Empress Matilda was more of a political leader, she still raised troops and was physically present at many significant battles, etc. They didn't just leave everything to their men once the conflict became a war.
  14. Um, given the numbers disparity only a fool would want to face them again. Yes, he is prejudiced, yes he considers the wildlings to be as much a threat as the Others, but a more imminent one, yes he probably even wants revenge for black brothers killed in the fight against Weeper's followers on the Bridge of Skulls. And yes, he short-sightedly believes that filling up the gates would bottle both of these dangers up north forever. But he does take risks with his personal safety when he feels that he has to. Tywin didn't threaten the lives of the officers at the Wall - he merely stated that they would receive no further support from the crown if they didn't elect Slynt. Marsh, as the chief accountant is more aware of how disastrous it would be for NW than anybody else. Jon's solutions also would cause issues later on and might even result in some immediately. And some of what Marsh wanted, like opposing Stannis's demands more, wouldn't have been safer in the moment. He is a conservative, who wants to hang on to how things have always been, which is yes, largely wrong in this unprecedented situation. But it doesn't mean that Jon is right either. How was, attacking Jon in front of his fired-up wildling followers cowardly? It was likely suicide. I don't understand your insistence on something that isn't supported by the text. He also has to realize that Stannis came because, among other things, Melisandre made him believe that there was a real danger behind the Wall, while the NW has done shamefully little to try to convince other lords of the same. That fool Thorne didn't even bother to show the wight hand around while Tyrion was snubbing him. And that while Stannis certainly would try to help the Watch if he wins... they would be completely SOL if he loses. That's the danger of tying oneself too closely to one side in a war and what neutrality was intended to prevent. Now, I know that many on the board and particularly in this thread believe that there would be enough time for Jon himself to go unify the North should Stannis fail, while the Others politely wait with their invasion until he is good and ready and nothing goes wrong among the disparate groups on the Wall in his absence... but IMHO it would be just bad writing, like it was on the show. Jon announced that he was going to attack Winterfell with about 200-250 wildling who were present in the Shieldhall, rather than meet Ramsay somewhere on the Night Watch lands, though. Which sounds pretty insane and also more damning re: oathbreaking. It would also break the promises he gave to the mountain clan chiefs and go against the advice he gave Stannis about not taking wildlings to the lands claimed by northern lords. Yes, there are theories that he in reality planned something else, but if so making this announcement was bloody stupid. Particularly after Jon repeatedly thought to himself in his PoVs that many in NW didn't approve of him and of what he was doing, after he himself questioned if letting the wildlings in wasn't a betrayal and a horrible mistake on the eve of welcoming Tormund's group and after even that latter warned him that many crows would disagree with it. This speech was just a capstone that confirmed the worst for all who already suspected him.
  15. The lords already can name heirs in disregard of primogeniture, though, this is referenced several times in AGoT - ASoS. Also, it is repeatedly mentioned throughout that a daughter inherits if there are no sons, yet you'll notice that this isn't always adhered to either.
  16. Well, it was one way to prevent enemies from punching through, as they have already tried to do. How so? He wasn't going himself, he was, ironically, worried for Jon. It is normally prudent to have a good relationship with the throne, as support from the South is crucial for longterm survival of the NW. Of course, Slynt is such an incompetent blowhard that it is completely unbelievable that he was the first commoner who managed to rise to the command of the City Watch and would have been an utter disaster as LC. But it has never been a good idea to alienate Tywin Lannister, so Marsh not wanting to do so is understandable, IMHO. Sadly, Ramsay is completely beyond the pale - which weakens the narrative, IMHO, because it excuses Jon's failure to even try to build bridges with the Boltons, in the name of protecting the North against the Others. It would have been far more interesting if Jon had to work with people who have hurt him personally instead of just demanding it from others. But Marsh can't know how irrational BoB is. Bowen fought bravely against the Weeper's people on the Bridge of Skulls and was badly wounded there. He also stabbed Jon in front of his wildling allies. He was also never afraid to speak his mind to Jon. He may not be a great warrior or leader, but he is no coward. Anyway, I re-read Jon's chapters in ADwD and intended to write a long post about it with quotes, etc., but I have to run. So, instead I'd just like to quickly throw in a few things about the actual topic of the thread: I think that the weightiest outcomes have been already set in motion before the attack on Jon, namely: The Weeper is going to punch through at the Shadow Tower, using the same tactics that Mance tried at Castle Black. 200 giants, 80 mammoths and Ser Glendon Hewett who is in charge at Eastwatch and who is the closest thing that Thorne has to a friend are an explosive combination that is bound to go wrong. The Wall is not so very like the Maginot line by accident - the Others are going to sneak around somehow. Maybe on the ships sent to Hardhome, that might drift in like Dracula's ship, maybe the Weeper's people will carry them through, etc. The wights in CB back in AGoT were a test of the Others powers south of the Wall and they work. They just need to somehow get through the latitude of the Wall. I say latitude because it wouldn't make sense if the Others had been able to just walk around it west of the Shadow Tower or around Eastwatch on ice when the coast waters freeze. The Wall must generate a "magic field" that prevents them from actively moving south of it... but it can circumvented. In fact, if GRRM doesn't want the Long Night plot-line to land like a damp squib, there should be oblique evidence of a few of them aready being discreetly active in the North. I always thought that the Battle of Ice would end with something like that. All those drowned knights rising from an icy lake once the living leave... Marsh is toast, but Thorne might swoop in. OTOH, Clydas likely sent ravens to the Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower so that they'd be ready to execute the hostages, which might hold back the wildlings, if somebody yells about it quickly enough. I also noticed in my re-read that there were only between 2 and 3 hundreds of wildling warriors in the Shield Hall, so the numbers are pretty even, rather than overwhelming. Concerning Jon himself, much would depend on whether he is mortally wounded or dead. In the first case, I expect Melisandre to cure him the same way that Drogo was, only without the brain-frying. He'd be fully alive then and the process would take a day or so, IIRC. In the second, he is going to be a fire wight and he could be raised pretty much instantly. Personally, I am inclined to the first option, because I think that the attack was supposed to prevent Jon from futilely chasing after Ramsay because of a lie, among other things.
  17. This was only true in AGoT. We know canonically from the later volumes that there are weirwood heart trees in Harrenhal, 3 at Highgarden and Casterly Rock has one as well. You are right that there are no weirwoods in the Red Keep and Riverrun in the books - in both cases it is mentioned in the text that the heart trees are oaks and they aren’t carved. I guess the show changed that.
  18. I wrote this for another thread, but it fits here even better: Jon will get his high-fantasy/horror? arc against the Others that was excised from GoT, and the outcome of that last is going to be treated as merely a respite, a False Spring. What else of interest is there still for him to do? Overthrow Sansa?. In hindsight, it seems that GRRM's subversion intent has always been limited to a Fisher King archetype becoming the "high king" rather than an Arthurian archetype, who would be the the prophesised savior, but remain largely unknown and unaknowledged. The idea that a woman might play either of these roles was clearly a step too far for him and only used as a diversion. In fact, the initial outline* spells rather clearly IMHO that Tyrion, Jon and Bran - i.e. "dwarfs, bastards and broken things" were supposed to be the overall main characters, with everybody else being merely a source of conflict or motivation for these 3. So, "Snow" could just go back to the roots, as it were, and somewhat redeem all the various set-ups of the Others, the Long Night, the prophecies, etc. Since the main political part is done, and Dinklage is unlikely to want to come back, they could even dispense with Tyrion at this point. There could be some limited politicking between various northern and wildling factions instead, if called for. *Which clearly demonstrates, along with WoIAF an FaB that GRRM's "gardening", despite all the annoyance and delays that it caused, tends to greatly improve on his original ideas. P.S. Re-doing season 8 is clearly a pipe dream, but salvaging the Long Night/ menace of the Others/prophecies is doable and even indicated, if they want Westeros to be a franchise. Build in a time skip, so that physical changes of the actors don't feel jarring. P.S.S. I hope that they wouldn't try to put back in side-plots that clearly have been already overtaken by the show narrative and aren't relevant any more - i.e. UnCat, Arianne, etc. Unless they can be somehow re-tooled to tie into new and different arcs.
  19. Yea, honestly, that's probably why they decided to beat the on "ice and fire" prophecy drum - they are creating a potential set-up for "Snow", where Jon will get his high-fantasy arc against the Others that was excised from GoT, and the outcome of that last is going to be treated as merely a respite, a False Spring. What else of interest is there still for him to do? Overthrow Sansa?. In hindsight, it seems that GRRM's subversion intent has always been limited to a Fisher King archetype becoming the "high king" rather than an Arthurian archetype, who would be the the prophesised savior, but remain largely unknown and unaknowledged. The idea that a woman might play either of these roles was clearly a step too far for him and only used as a diversion. In fact, the initial outline* spells rather clearly IMHO that Tyrion, Jon and Bran - i.e. "dwarfs, bastards and broken things" were supposed to be the overall main characters, with everybody else being merely a source of conflict or motivation for these 3. So, "Snow" could just go back to the roots, as it were, and somewhat redeem all the various set-ups of the Others, the Long Night, the prophecies, etc. Since the main political part is done, and Dinklage is unlikely to want to come back, they could even dispense with Tyrion at this point. *Which clearly demonstrates, along with WoIAF an FaB that GRRM's "gardening", despite all the annoyance and delays that it caused, tends to greatly improve on his original ideas.
  20. IMHO, for there to be a plausible conflict between Aegon and Dany, she'd have to be convinced that he is fake and maybe even that Varys and Illyrio have purposefully orchestrated the downfall of her family to sneak somebody like him onto the throne. Or he'd have to be the instigator, for some reason. Because otherwise, why would she fight him? She is barren, she can't revive the dynasty, while he in all probability can. And she has more than enough to conquer and rule in Essos. Even if she does become obviously pregnant, Mirri's curse was the inability to bear _living_ children. Unless Dany has a child that survives early infancy, she'd have zero reason to try to wrest the Iron Throne from allegedly her only surviving relative. Regarding Aegon, if he has taken Storm's End, he has pretty good cards. Between Stannis the sept-and-people-burner who is freezing his ass in the North and Tommen the child with a crazy and incompetent mother and spent Lannister support, he is obviously the superior alternative. The biggest obstacle to his cause is currently Margaery still tying the Tyrells to Tommen, but Varys is sure to have a plan to deal with this complication. I don't think that giving SE to Edric Storm or letting Baratheons continue in any form would be a good idea, BTW, it is better to make the Stormlands part of the royal domain.
  21. Time to stop being lazy and jump in before the quarter ends... yet again: I have recently listened to : a fantasy novella(?) "Made Things" by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which I enjoyed a lot - he never fails to come up with fresh and imaginative settings, likeable characters and interesting situations. Honestly, I am in awe of the man's versatility and imagination. Reading the prequel short story "Precious Little Things" on tor.com is highly recommended. "Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St.John Mandel. It is beautifully written as always, it even uses one of the SF tropes I normally hate in a satisfactory fashion, but the way she just transposes contemporary experiences and situations a century or 2 into a space-faring future, without bothering to adapt them into something that would actually fit there, was really jarring to me. So, I felt that parts of the narrative that happened in the past and loosely in our present/recent past were great, but the future ones mostly felt flat. "Remote Control" by Nnedi Okorafor. A wonderfully creepy dark SF/fantasy/horror near-future tale about a young girl with lethal power that is set in Nigeria, I guess. Then I read "Aspects" by John M. Ford and I... don't think that we were deprived of a classic? Despite what Gaiman says about it in the preface. It is a very long-winded story with lots and lots of architecture, clothing and food descriptions and constant streams of adoration for the main character from all the other PoVs. There are seeds of interest in all of this - the late 19th century-ish setting, sort-of parliamentary politics and attempts at reform that were set up to take central place eventually - though the important politicians, including the protagonists, are hereditary members and basically feodal lords, etc. But on the whole it was... OK and fairly forgettable. I have been plowing through Michelle West's "Essalieyan" books since then, and I can confirm they are indeed better than her "Elantra" books, which I bounced off. "The Sun Sword" sub-series consisting of 6 volumes in particular is very good, IMHO, if one likes epic fantasy. It is not perfect - in the end she pulls her punches too much and she overuses certain tabeltop RPG-like "bad-ass" characters whenever there is a major fight, but it has the best characters, plots and cultures. It also can be read without the other books in the sequence - all the preceding events that it references come across as more interesting in brief mentions in "The Sun Sword" than written at length in "The Sacred Hunt" duology or subsequently expanded upon in "The House War" sub-series. In fact, I am not sure if I am going to finish that latter (I am struggling with book 4), since it focuses on the least interesting character of the whole cycle, around whom things just happen because of rare supernatural talent, impulsiveness and a good heart*. This is a huge pity, because there are so many better PoV characters from the "Sun Sword" I'd have rather read about and of course there is a somewhat intriguing overall world arc that got massively stalled because of where the author chose to concentrate her efforts for the last 8(!) books. *It doesn't help that
  22. Did they explain why they decided to re-imagine Velaryons as a family, rather than just give Corlys a Summer Islander mother? I understand the decision to diversify important and somewhat sympathetic characters (which is why Cole wouldn't have been a good alternative), but given 2 centuries of inter-marriage with Westerosi, leave alone Valyrian roots, how could the family as whole have been/remained black? Also, having briefly scanned wikipedia about the Anarachy - wow, the 2 Matildas were so much more capable, politically powerful and active than the FaB women outside of Visenya, Rhaenys and Alysanne, it is not even funny. The same is true for many of the royal and high nobility women of the 12-13 centuries loosely connected/adjacent to the main players. Most of them lived to be over 40 - 50 too (quite a few even over 60) and only one died following childbirth. So anything that the show does to expand female roles would be a good idea and even "realistic".
  23. Sure. I was merely pointing out that you can't use Ghost's wolf-dar as an argument for Marsh's culpability, when Ghost didn't single him out in any way, despite several opportunities to do so. His nervousness was a general warning of something bad coming, but it wasn't in any way specific. Was the steward he attacked even one of the assassins? It did change the situation drastically, though - prior to that, Jon intended to lead expedition to Hardhome himself and take mainly wildlings with him - I am certain that Marsh and Co. hoped that it would have been his death because it was a suicide mission and even intended to ensure it somehow. The wildlings forgot the purpose of NW and the Wall too and did what they could to impede both. It seems very unfair that after doing as much harm as they did they are being welcomed with open arms and get to share scarce resources of NW, even more so that when those run out, they are inevitably going to kill and pillage the northeners, who have supported and provided for the Watch and the Wall this whole time. And yes, Marsh is unable to see beyond this, but it is hard. Jon, OTOH, is just refusing to think about the eventual consequences of his actions, concentrating solely on the present. The tragedy is that they don't even need to be "the worst". They just need to be a lot of normal people used to violence in order to move south, taking what they need or want, once they are through the Wall. If it was Summer or even Autumn, letting them settle in the Gifts would have been a real possibility. Even so, given their culture, there would have been violent clashes between them and neighboring northeners. But they won't be able to support themselves in Winter without food stores. And they aren't going to sit there and starve. Really, I would have liked how Jon was written more if he had been able to admit this hard truth, if only in his own thoughts. What irritates me is this fairy tale stance of "we will make it all work out! Somehow...". Even though historically nobody ever could and Jon didn't have any revolutionary ideas on how to feed additional tens of thousands mouths after Winter had already begun. And there is even an argument to be made for the wildlings to be let through anyway, if they could be trusted not to fall on NW itself, which under Weeper's leadership they can't. Namely, that it is NW's duty to defend Westeros from the Others and they can't waste their strength on fighting wildlings. Northeners had their chance when the NW pleaded with them for help, but they chose to do nothing. So, sadly, now the NW can do nothing for them and they have to deal with it. There was little any LC in this position could have done against Stannis in any case. Advising and warning him crossed the line, but as so often with Jon, he is written to not have any real alternatives, given Ramsey's awfulness. I don't see that being Ned's son precludes Jon from betraying the northeners. He is only thinking about and empathising with the wildlings in his PoV, while never wasting a thought on how his decisions would impact the northeners and how they might react to them. He has given up on convincing them of the threat, even though it really shouldn't be hard to find another wight and parade it or it's twitching extremities before the northern lords. Etc. As to Alys's situation, ironically it supports my argument rather than yours. Why does she need and has room for these wildlings? Because she intends to kill people loyal to her usurping great-uncle and cousins. That's the reason why there will be resources available to the Thenns in Karhold. It is a zero-sum game - for wildlings to live, northeners have to die. It is also super-convenient that Thenns are most like the northeners in culture and also don't seem to have any dependents, aka "useless mouths". But the mountain clan lords, for instance, unmistakeably told Jon that they don't have any room for extra people. Their men who joined Stannis already did so to save food for those who remain and they are going to kill any wildling who crosses their borders. But once provisions run out and maybe even sooner, that's going to happen and there will be bloodshed. Not true, he summoned a lot of wildling warriors from the castles he established, _and_ he was also ordering the NW remaining at Castle Black to Hardhome. Who would have been left to hold the Wall? Not to mention that together with the fiasco of the ship expedition, that would have eliminated most of the surviving NW members, which was bound to look quite damning to a suspicious mind. As to Mance - I know all the excuses. Jon is 100% responsible. He knew Mance's track record, he knew that he was an oathbreaker whose word couldn't be trusted and who was liable to disregard orders. He should have never tried to convince Stannis to spare him and should have executed the traitor himself the moment Mel revealed her deception. Mance is 100x guiltier than Slynt and more, letting him off the hook demonstrates to the wildlings that you can betray the NW in worst possible ways and get away with it. And Ramsey was making these demands in response to Mance's shenangians, performed ostensibly on Jon's command. Stannis was already gone when Tormund's people crossed, mountain lords had small retinues and their position was somewhat unclear. As to the opportunity to get rid of LC, Jon leading the Hardhome expedition was supposed to be it. Yes, but honestly at this point it would be a drop in the bucket re: number of wights, particularly since non-human ones are equally or more dangerous. I have repeatedly said that letting in Tormund's people was the right decision and even sending ships to Hardhome, to gather information and save who could be saved. Sending all available ships was a mistake - a couple should have been held back and immediately used to trade wildling treasures, such as they were, for food. Cutting one's losses is also a neccessary part of leadership - wasting precious resources and lives on overland expedition to Hardhome had no rational upside. From the PoV of Marsh and Co., if Stannis is really dead, then anybody associated with NW resisting Boltons can only make the situation worse. Nor does it make any sense to protect Stannis's family from them. Why would Boltons listen to any babble about the Others from the people actively fighting them? Jon's sophistry would have convinced nobody. The author doesn't allow Jon's opponents to make their arguments in rational and convincing ways, they just spout bigotry and then try to block him. Food - this argument should have been made repeatedly, with Marsh informing Jon for how long they'd have it after he let in Tormund, then adjusting for how Hardhome expedition would deplete the stores. Instead of scoffing at wildling treasures, he should have tried to trade them for food. He should have told Jon how slowly the wagons would move through snowy wilderness and how much of the load would have to be feed for horses, horses that would be eventually lost. He should have asked how Jon proposed to keep Hardhome expedition safe from the Others, when they made such short work of Jeor Mormont and all his rangers, as well as the ship mission. Marsh should have asked what crucial knowledge about the Others Tormund and Val could offer - I was quite annoyed how it never materialized and Jon seemingly "just forgot" about it being one of the more compelling reasons for this alliance. He should have suggested hunting the Gifts bare once Tormund's folk were in and while the weather wasn't yet prohibitively severe. And also, hunting beyond the Wall, while still possible. They were sending out rangers, right? No reason why hunting parties of wildlings couldn't go out to scramble some more provisions. If Jon continued to deflect the food situation with his nebulous "we'll figure something out", Marsh should have disseminated his concerns among the rank-and-file. Likewise, he should have asked Jon what he proposed to do if Stannis was defeated. Etc, etc.
  24. I am sayng that we can't use Ghost attacking a different person, while not as much as growling at Marsh himself as proof of Marsh's murderous intentions towards Jon before the Shieldhall speech. Grey Wind was certainly hostile to Spicer and Frey, who were both involved in the plot, not to some random soldiers. Maybe the steward had already decided that Jon needed to die, while Bowen was still vascillating and considering less violent alternatives for removing Jon from office. Is letting the wildlings through a betrayal of NW vows? Per se, no, if they don't make the NW's own mission harder. It is a bit of a betrayal of the northeners who have supported the Watch for all this time and who are going to suffer unless all wildlings can somehow be kept in the Gifts, or would be willing to integrate - which even Mance Rayder said in ASoS would be impossible. 10x during an early and severe Winter. And Marsh, ironically, is one of the few northeners among the NW officers. The Shieldhall speech is really beyond the pale, though, since it confirms all of Marsh's worst suspicions and also reveals Jon as a hypocrite and a liar who is A-OK with leaving the Wall completely undefended against the Others in order to chase after Ramsey and make a doomed attempt to rescue some wildlings. Oh, and he also not only spared that notorious oathbreaker and killer Mance Rayder, but he sent him to abduct his own blood sister, when he was supposed to have abjured all blood ties. Which is the whole reason why they currently have a problem with Boltons in the first place, and if Stannis is really dead, then anybody associated with the Wall fighting them is futile and can only make things worse. I can easily imagine that this was the straw that broke the camel's back. If Marsh had planned an assassination for a long time, it would have made more sense to kill Jon before he let Tormund in. OK, so one of the strengths of ASoIaF and what distinguished it from other fantasy of it's time used to be that it was honest about good intentions not being enough. That politics was the art of the possible. After Stannis left, we had this scene with Jon and Marsh in the storerooms of Castle Black, where Jon was informed that they had enough food for 3 years of Winter on reduced rations for the current contingent of the Night's Watch, which was about 700. Since then Jon let in 3K of Tormund's people. Do your maths for how long they can live on this food. Then Jon also wanted to bring in the Hardhome people, which were also supposed to be about 5K. And worse, to send a big chunk of their limited food with the expedition, on wagons through snowy wilderness. Even if somehow this insanity proved to be successful, what would happen in a few months when the food runs out? When he was questioned about this Jon could only say: "well, we'll figure something out". But the northmen have been unable to do so for millenia, so people who have lived through some Winters would be rightfully skeptical. In fact, nothing demonstrates how much of a summer boy Jon is than his trying to convince his officers that they need to save the old and the infirm at Hardhome, when the text repeatedly mentions that old northeners routinely have to kill themselves during hard Winters, so that their families might survive. That in fact many older men joined Stannis for that very reason. I think that GRRM was somewhat aware that Jon's position was untenable, because he wholly unexpectedly threw an implausible Iron Bank loan into his lap. Mind, we know nothing about the extent of this loan, nor did Jon mention it to anybody. But again, there should be a long way between a promissory note and actually getting provisions, unless we are talking the show-level jet-packing. Now, maybe Jon is just so special that in his case good intentions without any material basis for believably realizing them are enough and everything would have somehow worked out. I mean, GRRM planned/still plans? to make Bran king of Westeros, even though he was at best 10 in ADwD, but probably still 9, paralyzed from the waist down, separated by frozen wilderness full of ice demons from civilization and also doesn't have any claim to the throne. But if the same rules that apply to everybody else are supposed to apply to Jon, well, there should be some aknowledgement that he intends to sacrifice thousands of northeners living closest to the Wall to save the wildlings. That's the only way that bringing in the Hardhome and Weeper's folks after the Winter already began can play out. You can have an apple or you can have an onion, there is not enough to get both. You can feed Wun-Wun or you can feed 2-3 humans. I have already mentioned that Marsh et al. aren't allowed to make rational arguments or suggest practical alternatives. They are a bit of straw opponents to Jon, who are mainly allowed to spout repetitive prejudice rather than highlight real problems with Jon's plans. And of course the wildlings aren't as much an enemy as the Others... but have been an enemy for a long time and the narrative shouldn't pretend that there isn't a high cost attached to letting all of them in. Cost measured in lives of northeners. Tormund and Val are those most willing to cooperate and it was a good idea to ally with them. Though I'll point out that exclusive information about the Others that they dangled before Jon as one of the strongest incentives for the alliance still failed to materialize even after they have all safely crossed the Wall and settled down. Ygritte was quite gung-ho re: killing and pillaging, so I am not sure that she would have abided by Jon's restrictions. The Weeper is as bad as Ramsey, with whom Jon didn't even attempt to work with, and rightly, but had been about it for longer. But yes, the wildlings are just another people, rather than saints. They aren't going to sit on the Wall and starve, when they could kill some northeners and take their stored food instead. Some of them might not be willing to put up with reduced rations either, or to fight the Others, when they can just go south and make holding the Wall somebody else's problem. Their leadership structure is pretty loose, so taking hostages is only going to help so far. I do think that Jon could have made it work with Tormund's lot, even though he'd need a lucky break to feed them. But more than that?
  25. The theory existed well before it's show implementation and was popular among the readers who wanted Jon to become King in the North and prove that independent North could stop the Others in their tracks by itself, needing no degenerate southeners, who have been only holding it back for the last 3 centuries . Wordplay on Winter -fell -(here) was cited in support, as well as various mysteries associated with the castle.
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