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About SFDanny

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  1. No, we don't know if the singer as well as the song moved Lyanna. Given the power Ser Barristan tells us about Rhaegar's singing and his communication of his own feelings through song, it is not hard to see that it is possible for Lyanna to have been moved by Rhaegar, and not just his song. This I will give you. We have lots of evidence that Rhaegar loved Lyanna, and much less so that she loved him. That's to be expected given the mystery Martin has wrapped Lyanna's feelings. Crying at his singing might be one clue of those feelings, and her dying holding onto roses that suspiciously remind us of her crown of winter roses might be another. Perhaps Howland or Benjen will comeback and tell us. I would put it as more than wary. She judges his character and finds it lacking. Place this in the context of her oldest brother's behavior, and Lyanna has every reason to be much more than wary of powerful men who treat women as just the next release of their sexual need. I've put forward the idea that Rhaegar used Lyanna at Harrenhal to send a political message to the Starks, and the STAB bloc. By crowning her Queen of Love and Beauty, he states before all the assembled lords of Westeros that he has an interest in Lyanna, and that does not include her marrying Robert. Whether or not this is just a political message or motived by multiple different layers of meaning is another question. I don't find it hard to believe at all that Rhaegar was extremely attracted to Lyanna, and not just by her beauty. How can one not be drawn to a young woman who stands up for those who are bullied and ridiculed for who they are, not what they do? If Lyanna was the Knight of the Laughing Tree, which I think is true, and Rhaegar finds her secret out, then we have a whole other level of bravery and strength that a man who sees jaded, sycophantic behavior every day of his life must find - different? No, no puppet. Yes, as both a way of sending a political message while, perhaps, sending another personal message to Lyanna herself.
  2. SFDanny

    Southron Ambitions - what were they?

    There is certainly a "anti magic bias based on empiricism" as I pointed out in the first post responding to @Bael's Bastard. But the evidence is pretty strong for a real conspiracy. Marwyn's warnings and rush to get to Daenerys before their agent can is evidence that he thinks the conspiracy ongoing and willing to commit murder to further its aims. And, once again, viewing Cressen's actions in the light of Marwyn's warnings, puts a whole new level of analysis on the ACoK prologue. Add in the history of Maester Walys and we have a strong case for Marwyn's view. Just how does one separate the Targaryen reign over Westeros from dragons, prophecy, and magic? Did the Targaryen kings wake up every morning after the death of the last dragon under Aegon III's reign and say, that's all right we will just be kings like these we conquered and accept the teachings of everything that separated them as Valyrians and the "rightful" kings of their domains? Do they forget their dragon dreams, or their study of magic, or their belief in prophecy? Of course, they don't! They are the embodiment of all of these things in their minds. And that is how the rest of Westeros sees them, most especially the Citadel. As to whether this is an ongoing conspiracy or just one that stopped with the death of the last dragon, I've already responded to that argument. I've dealt with this above, but of course the case against Pycelle's involvement in sabotage and murder at Summerhall isn't open and shut. The evidence is extremely scanty. That doesn't mean Pycelle's later actions don't make him a likely culprit. If you commit one murder, doesn't mean you will ever do another. Nor does it rule out that a murderer may have committed a previous one than we do have proof about. It does mean you have it in your character to do such a thing under the right circumstances. Divide and rule. Or in this case, divide and weaken the power of a central monarch to continue to rule based on the very things and ideas which the maester's conspiracy is supposedly willing to kill to end. Do you think a newly restored king of one of the Seven Kingdoms will be more or less a power in their world than a ruler who commands everything from the Iron Throne? I'd say less. I'd say this is turning a blind eye to the evidence. The Tullys, and perhaps the Tyrells or another powerful House of the Reach that have never accepted these "up jumped stewards, see this as their only way of ever reaching that goal. Obviously, the Targaryens will never allow it. But actions in concert with other High Lords whom they have solemn marriage ties with, may be a road that brings that dream to reality.
  3. SFDanny

    Southron Ambitions - what were they?

    Somehow, the "he only betrayed the king and caused his death once - that we are sure of!" defense of Pycelle's character doesn't exactly seem like a resounding endorsement. When you follow it up with he was only a "Lannister crony" from the moment Tywin showed his awesome leadership from, what?, the first days of Aerys's reign?, doesn't seem like a great argument either. The membership of Pycelle in a maester's conspiracy isn't based on his competence or incompetence as the Grand Maester. If it's true, it based on his actions against the Targaryens, and magic, and prophecy, and any attempt to bring back dragons. Given his betrayal of Aerys, it is something that has to be considered. Given his place at court during the Summerhall fires, he can't be ruled out as a suspect in possible sabotage and murder of another king. Not saying we have the evidence to convict him of the latter, but I wouldn't expect to until the last Dunk & Egg novella is published - knock on wood.
  4. SFDanny

    The danger of Gerold Dayne

    I think he is Aerion's son Maegor's grandson. He is dangerous because of who he is, not because of his skill with a sword. Arianne practically shouts out his Targaryen ancestry when we first meet him. Doesn't he even have Valarr's bicolored hair in reverse? And there is that crazy sadistic streak that is straight out of Aerion's playbook. The idea goes like this: if you where Egg and had the responsibility to place such a child when they grew up, where would you marry him off to? How about mom's family? Cousins you can trust to see he doesn't make trouble and try to cultivate those unhappy with Aegon V on the throne. Plenty of those types of little and big lords wandering around Westeros. High Hermitage is a great spot. Needs to have a daughter to lose the Targaryen name, so the move to Dorne may come in the next generation, but it is a solid plan to control and isolate a dangerous relative. I just think Ser Gerold got the idea that by starting a new war between the Lannisters and the Martells he might cause enough chaos to reopen his claim to the throne. Another thought exercise from the past. So, no, not hidden or secret in the way you mean. Just the crazy relative that no one talks about.
  5. SFDanny

    Southron Ambitions - what were they?

    Indeed. One of the more interesting theories from before I came here on about 11 years ago is that the new Grand Maester Pycelle was the one responsible for the sabotage of Egg's attempt to wake new dragons at Summerhall (thank you, Other-in-law) and it was he that started the inferno that killed so many. I didn't list him in my response only because he wasn't one of the maesters at the the rebel houses. He is, after his betrayal of Aerys with the opening of the gates to King's Landing, a top candidate for the maester's conspiracy that Marwyn warns Sam about, although obviously not in the Citadel at the time. I agree we are talking about factions here, not all of the maesters and acolytes. Clearly, if we believe Marwyn's tale he is not part of such a faction. It does look, however, like the members of the conspiracy are a very powerful faction if they can place their members in such powerful Houses. We don't know exactly how such decisions are made at the Citadel to send who to serve where, but it is a critical power for the Citadel however it is done. Placing one of the faction's members in the Grand Maester's chair is obviously critical as well. Perhaps we will learn more from a Samwell chapter as the Citadel chooses who to send to replace Pycelle. But even beyond the maester's conspiracy's membership, is their influence. Maester Luwin teaches Bran and clearly influences Ned to believe that magic is dead. Dragons gone to never return, and the Others only stuff of distant legend. That even the High Lord of the North has come to believe such things is an important part of our story here. So, even if Luwin has nothing to do with being a member, or would ever harm any of the Starks, he is influenced by this disbelief in these supernatural forces. An example of the faction's teaching. This is Martin to the core. There are no purely good guys here. There are no purely bad guys either. He has us cheering for Cressen's assassination attempt to save his beloved and misunderstood Stannis from Melisandre's evil influences. And then he lets us know later than maybe Cressen's sacrifice might have a darker side in his like minded brothers who would do what they can to destroy magic and those who believe in it. For us in the real world it is Martin asking us to ask ourselves if, in a world in which magic is real, would the rationalist ideas of the Enlightenment be all for the better? In a world where the Others walk the night with armies of undead, is it a good idea to ignore the prophecies, and kill the dragons?
  6. SFDanny

    Southron Ambitions - what were they?

    No problem. I'm trying to finish a long promised essay on this subject. If I actually finish it, and post it, I will be happy to let you know if you like. I think there are lots of reasons, but simply put they are trying to construct a world that rejects rule by those who have imposed their will through magic, superstition, prophecy, and dragons. They want a world ruled by reason. Reason supplied by their own guidance and approved learning. What we know is that Marwyn tells us that some maesters are willing to kill to bring this world about and to stop the power of magic and dragons and prophecy from returning. Which is precisely what Cressen does when confronted with Melisandre. We don't know enough about this conspiracy's internal structure to say how it is directed, but obviously there are members in the Citadel that Marwyn feels the need to warn Sam about.
  7. SFDanny

    Southron Ambitions - what were they?

    As someone who has argued that there is indeed a political bloc that Rickard is instrumental in constructing to do away with Targaryen power, let me say I disagree with this version. We know that Ned and Jon Arryn are blamed by Robert for making him king. That the three of them made the decision who would be king, and Ned being one of them, tells us that this decision to put Robert on the throne isn't made by Rickard in the pre-rebellion construction of the marriage alliances and foster relationships. Instead it tells us the decision to put Robert on the throne is made some time after Rickard and Brandon are murdered, and after Ned, Robert, and Jon agree to raise their banners in rebellion. This is, we are told by the author, proclaimed around the time of the Battle of the Trident. Which is a long way of saying the goals of the rebellion change by the developments of on the ground and don't strictly follow a blueprint made up by Lord Rickard or anyone else in the pre-war period. Why is Maester Walys encouraging Rickard to marry Brandon to Catelyn? Because Walys has his own agenda. It's an agenda that dovetails with Rickard's own and this marriage pact advances the aim of both - developing a political bloc aimed at getting rid of Targaryen overlordship. Walys, and Cressen, are two maesters whose actions place them at the forefront as candidates to be leaders of the maester's conspiracy that Marwyn tells Sam about in A Feast for Crows. If that is also true of Maester Kym in Riverrun, and whoever are the maesters in the Eyrie and Casterly Rock we have no evidence yet. There are many theories about this, but I can only really tell you my own. It is that Rickard's bloc, named the STAB bloc by another poster for the Starks, Tullys, Arryns, and Baratheons, and later with an attempt to bring the Lannisters and possibly powerful Houses in the Reach all into a political alliance consummated by marriages and foster relationships to basically tell the dragonless Targaryens to go fuck themselves and that the old kingdoms of the pre-conquest would be independent from their rule. At which point, if the Targaryens wanted war they would have to rely on Dorne, and perhaps the Tyrells, to support their rule. Given the internal conflicts in the Reach, and Dorne's less than warm relations with the king that doesn't bode well for Aerys. That seems to be the aim of Rickard's "Southron Ambitions." It is not to replace a Targaryen on the Iron Throne with another king. Although events lead to that end. This coalition of High Lords would never stand together to promote only one of their number to take control. It is a coalition that can push the ambitions of all of them. Or at least, in short form, that is how I see it.
  8. If you make them up, be sure to credit @Ran, I'm pretty sure he came up with "Brandon is a douche!" shortly after the publication of A Dance with Dragons. Sorry, about this. I was responding to the other poster and didn't really mean to derail your thread. The politics of Harrenhal and related subjects is something I easily get distracted by.
  9. We have not only the example of Brandon's reaction, and Walder Frey's reaction, but many others to interference in a Lord's right to negotiate a betrothal and for that marriage pact to be respected by the other party, and for his or her children to follow through on his commitments. Tywin's reaction to Tyrion's marriage, both Aegon V and the Laughing Storm's reaction to Duncan's marriage to Jenny, Hoster estrangement with the Blackfish, Hoster's reaction to Baelish's suit for marriage to the pledged Catelyn, and many, many more examples. Many of us have long believed Brandon's reaction is more to Rhaegar publicly declaring his interference to the pact with Robert, and thereby interfering in his father's rights and his own future rights as the High Lord of the North than it is an outrage over the "honor" that Rhaegar bestows on Lyanna. That does not mean there are more than one thing going on in this gesture. The brothers may know that Lyanna has some attraction to Rhaegar, and disapprove of any moves, publicly or private, that could cast doubt on their Father's word to Robert. Of course, Brandon doesn't seem to care about his own activities with other women, but that only shows his character. In short, I'm believe in the so-called "Brandon is a douche" theory. Please note that when Brandon rides into the Red Keep and shouts out for Rhaegar to "come out and die" we are not told anything about any shouts for his sister or her well being. Which begs the question, did he issue his challenge for a duel in the same manner as the Laughing Storm thinking Aerys would honor it and because of the same reason - the right of his marriage contract to be honored regardless of Prince Duncan's, or in this case Lyanna's feelings in the matter.
  10. I don't think it is the Tyrells that are in a conspiracy with the Martells, but Doran boast of friends at court in ADwD. Connington and the Golden Company also boasts friendship with pro-Targaryen forces in the Reach. None of this should come as a surprise. The Reach is made up of powerful families whose loyalties to Robert were never certain. They also look at the Tyrells as up jumped Stewards. As others before me have pointed to a prime suspect in this regard is Lord Mathis Rowan. This quote may be a clue.
  11. SFDanny

    Ashara, post Harrenhal possibilities

    I got that, and I agree we can't be sure of this or much of anything other than what we are explicitly told in the books. Which is why I tend to go with what the text says or what evidence strongly supports when sorting through our options. Which by the way, I'd point out that we have no real idea when the word of Brandon and Rickard's deaths actually get out. It could be much delayed after Aerys's demand for Ned and Robert's heads. Absolute monarchs are under no compulsion to reveal what they do with their prisoners or their petitioners. Mostly they do so in open court for the effect their pronouncements have, but that's not necessarily so in this case. Unless we have a leak from some witness to the "trial by combat" then it is up to Aerys when the results are announced. After all, we know that not all the fathers of the accused, or uncles in Jon's case, show up in response to the king's summons. If you want to persuade them to come for justice in order to murder them, it might not be the best strategy to announce the deaths of those who do show up, especially just how Rickard died. Which all is a long way of saying that your caution about assuming a specific timing in when the news is heard rings true both ways. Given that we know Elbert's father, Lord Jon's brother Ronnel, died about the time of Elbert's birth, I think it is safe to say Jon would be summoned to answer for Elbert's "crimes." However, here we get back to your warning about timing. We don't know when each father receives his summons or how close he is to King's Landing when he learns of it. Specifically, we have reason to believe that Rickard may well have been in the Riverlands on his way to his son's wedding when he gets the news, and if so he may have been the first able to respond. One would expect that no matter how fast the ravens fly to the Glover's home in Deepwood Motte, unless he is part of Rickard's company, he is going to take months to respond to the King's summons. Which may explain why Ethan survives in a black cell waiting on his father to arrive. It maybe that Rickard and Jon are informed in other ways than the king's summons. While Brandon rides into the Red Keep with a small party of companions, others in Riverrun, such as Winterfell guards who may have reported the news to Brandon of his sister's kidnapping, could know of where Brandon and friends were headed, and sent or delivered messages to both Rickard and Jon. There may have even been messages exchanged between the two, or three, or four High Lords as Rickard rides to King's Landing. There are just a lot of things about the timing of these events we don't know. One thing it does look like is that Aerys wants to kill both the fathers and sons. The easiest way to do that is to get them to walk willingly into his trap. But you are absolutely right, this is speculation built on some evidence, but speculation nonetheless. A couple of things we can say about both Rickard and Brandon's strategy is that it severely overestimated the power of precedent in what Aerys was likely to do, and severely underestimated the depths of Aerys's cruelty and madness. Aerys was never close to Aegon V Targaryen in his adherence to laws, and the idea he would allow a trial of combat between Brandon and Rhaegar, or between Rickard and a real Targaryen champion was wildly off base. One would have thought the lesson of Aerys at Harrenhal and after Duskendale would have given them pause. Sorry, just some other thoughts that spring to mind as we go down this very interesting tangent. I agree with all of this. I agree with all of this as well, but me add one more bit of speculation, not originally from me this time, to your last point. Just what is Brandon's relationship to Elbert and the rest of his companions, excluding his squire Ethan Glover? Stefan Stasse over at the Tower of the Hand and his podcast with Sean T. Collins has suggested, and I agree with him, that what we are seeing is not just a wedding party of young heirs and casual friends caught up in the moment of outrage, but foster brothers as well. It would explain a lot about Elbert if we knew he was fostered in the North with Brandon. We know from the Lady Dustin that Brandon was fostered in Barrowton with "old lord Dustin" and we also know that the Dustin's boasted of a great hero of the War of the Ninepenny Kings. This sounds like a spot in which young lords like Elbert Arryn might be fostered as well, especially in return for Ned's own fostering in the Eyrie. In the case of Royce, he may not be just a foster brother, but also a distant cousin of the Starks, and the Mallisters are close neighbors of the North and Barrowton. If so it would explain a lot about why they all so eagerly ride to their doom. I raise Hoster's reaction as a contrast, and I agree his motives likely involve everything you name and more. A war would place, and did place, the Riverlands in the forefront of the carnage. Only the Stormlands had near the measure of damage. He would know what he was risking to his people. In some ways much more than Ned ever risked for the North. Once again, I agree with most of this, but I think there is likely some time difference, and I admit you might be right on this point. We can't prove it one way or the other. I would just add that having reasons to want to raise his banners does not necessarily translate to a decision to do so. I have a hard time believing that Jon would sit out a war in which both Ned and Robert are fighting against Aerys, but starting a rebellion is a different thing entirely. I also think you may be right that this is just a preemptive act on Ned and Robert, but one would think a normal order of execution would be based on some supposed crimes. Whether those are wholly manufactured or not is my only question. Did Robert and Ned do something that Aerys used as a cause to order their deaths? Here again we agree. Thanks again for this very interesting discussion. I like your thinking on this very much, even if we disagree on some points
  12. SFDanny

    Small Questions v. 10105

    No one will ever replace Roy Dotrice, but Simon Vance is an extremely talented voice that has an extensive body of work doing audiobooks. He has been the voice for audiobooks by authors including Dickens, Tolstoy, Dumas, and many other widely read authors. Which tells you that the length the novels and the number of voices he must do is not a problem. In fact, if you got to point where Roy's voicing of children gave them too much of a grizzled old pirate accent, you might prefer Simon Vance's work. I love reading and listening to audiobooks at the same time, and I highly recommend Vance's work. At least give him a try. I have the audiobook on pre-order. I'm not sure which version of the Hedge Knight you listened to, but the new version that is published under the title of The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is done by Harry Lloyd - the actor who portrayed Viserys Targaryen on the HBO series, and he is British born. In fact, a descendant of Dickens or so I've read. I don't think you will find his accent too terribly American. note: given this review of Vance, I should say I'm in no way related to him or get any money for singing his praises.
  13. SFDanny

    Ashara, post Harrenhal possibilities

    I agree with most of that, but I would add that none of that excludes some serious discussion between people with understanding of the books seeking real insights into the material. Fun and games, yes. Sometimes learning as well. Hopefully that fun and games and learning sometimes makes our real lives more enjoyable and that can be a change for the better. That you disagree is all to the good. Disagreements can certainly help my understanding and maybe yours as well. I have to disagree that my theory makes it obsolete who was Ashara's lover, or what is the identity of her child's father. It is very important in trying to pin down some of her movements in the early days after Harrenhal. Particularly if she becomes pregnant at the tourney. It explains her "dishonor" Ser Barristan thinks of, and it explains his reference of her having turned to a Stark. But it doesn't mean that that is the sum of Ashara. Dishonored woman, tragic loss of a child, and suicide. My theory looks at the possibility that she is much more of an active player and less of a total victim than we have her as yet. Not because she has to be anything more than we know, but because there are clues that she might be still alive and active in Varys and Illyrio's plot. If so, that demands an explanation and I don't think that explanation depends on who her lover was, or at least not as the crucial part of that explanation. That Ashara would continue her mission to safeguard Aegon, and Lyanna's child as well, after her brother was killed makes sense if we see her as someone motivate by her loyalty to Rhaegar and/or Elia. That doesn't mean she shows no reaction to Ser Arthur's death; something I've never suggested. It only means she continues on with her mission despite her loss. Something real world women do all the time. That mission is two-fold. To help Ned provide a cover story to protect Lyanna's child from discovery from Robert's forces, and to hide Aegon not only from Robert's forces, but from Ned and Howland as well. I think any child of Rhaegar is in terrible danger from Robert's new regime, and Ashara may well have played a role in safeguarding more than one of them. That means also finding a safe hiding place for the child, or in this case children. Ned has promised to raise Jon as his own, and Wylla has a safe place to continue to claim she is Jon's mother. Ashara disappears after a supposed suicide in which her body is never found, and takes Aegon to the Free Cities. So far you are right, this assumes Aegon is Aegon, but as I said in the OP this doesn't mean that Young Griff is Aegon. He might or might not be. That is the importance of the five year gap in knowledge before Jon Connington is brought into the plot. You don't have to believe any of this. I started this thread saying this is an area of the story in which there is very little known and is open to lots of speculation. I think I've provided some interesting speculation based on working within the things we do know, and what I think is likely. I'm glad you found it interesting enough to comment on. Count me as one of those who doesn't believe for the reasons I've already stated.
  14. SFDanny

    Ashara, post Harrenhal possibilities

    It is possible. I'm sorry if I haven't made that clear, but I've also stated that it is likely that Ashara is with Elia on Dragonstone during this period because of her recent delivery of Aegon and during Elia's recovery from the birth. That's what we would expect from a lady companion to the Princess. My judgement on what is likely is certainly debatable, and I certainly do recommend using Martin's remarks about Ashara "not being nailed to the floor" as a referencing point for this discussion. In short, "Dungeon Sex Theory" is possible. I think for all the reasons I and others have stated it is highly unlikely. But go for it if it moves you. Oh, I know you didn't come up with theory. I've read it here before. I did not know it started elsewhere, but then I frequent just a few other boards. I do like many other informed ASoI&F sites and podcasts (shout out to Radio Westeros), but I find most of the other boards, with a few exceptions, filled with some very crazy ideas and little understanding of the books. That happens here sometimes, but the long history of this board and the built up knowledge over the years keeps me here.
  15. SFDanny

    Ashara, post Harrenhal possibilities

    The analogy fails on so many levels, LV. We are talking about a rebellion against a absolute monarch vs. sovereign powers allying themselves in open alliances and preparing for war well before the Archduke is assassinated. Once again, I have to point out I'm the one who believes in the STAB alliance in this discussion. The analogy would be closer is if we had agreement the High Lords were preparing to get rid of Aerys's control over them. Even then the contrast of revision of real world power balances between competing capitalist states versus a rebellion against a central monarch is too great to make the analogy work. What I do agree with is there is much more behind the scenes that lead to the rebellion than either the murders of Brandon and Rickard or the kidnapping of Lyanna show. I also agree that Jon Arryn's decision to raise his banners in response to the order to kill Ned and Robert is the precipitating cause of the rebellion as the murder of Franz-Ferdinand was of World War I. But to contributing causes we can go back to the deaths of the dragons, the effect of a united war against the Ninepenny Kings, and many others. You make some fairly large assumptions here. First and foremost is the idea that the Starks and the Baratheons were ever open to supporting Rhaegar in his effort to replace his father through his planned council. My opinion, which I've stated elsewhere many times, is that was never the case and that is what caused in part the "scandal" at Harrenhal. By which I mean the Rhaegar's crowning Lyanna his queen of love and beauty. I see this as the response to the Starks delivering a rejection of Rhaegar's proposal. The politics of Harrenhal is a topic for another thread, of course, but since you raise it here, I wanted to answer your hypothetical. Ignored? Never. The North remembers. But would Ned fight a hopeless fight if it was only the North versus the Iron Throne? That's not quite so clear. Torrhen Stark knelt in the face of a hopeless war to save his people and save his House. Ned was a brilliant general, but I'm not sure he would have chosen war against overwhelming odds. Perhaps, I'm wrong and he never would have done anything else but to fight alone to the last Northman, but that was never the case. Ned knew when he left the Vale that he had both Robert and Jon committed to fight with him. When Robb marches south he has every reason to believe the the alliances of the rebellion will hold. The Riverlands are under attack from the Lannisters and he is going to help their cause, not just free his father. The Baratheon brothers are themselves in rebellion to the Lannisters claim of the Iron Throne, even though they are hardly unified in their response. Robb also anticipates that the Vale will come into the fight given his aunt's claim that the Lannister's had killed Jon Arryn. Given all of that, I think there are similarities between Robb's and Ned's understanding of who will be his allies in Robert's Rebellion and the War of the Five Kings. And, yes, I believe Robert and Rhaegar would never see common ground after Lyanna's abduction. Would that have come to war between a King Rhaegar and a furious Robert? I don't know the answer to that hypothetical.