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  1. The point wasn't making him an all knowing boy at 7 before becoming a greenseer, or making him the arbiter of all knowledge. The point was to set up a comparison: Bran not knowing of any "backdoor" for the crypts while he knows the layout and secret cutways better than anybody else even living in WF (the maester) at the start of the series versus this proposal that Barbrey and other lords who aren't Starks, who never lived at WF would know some secret way in, have the crypts opened, to smuggle in a murdering hooded man, to sow discord amongst the armies inside the castle. Heck, it's being contemplated by the proposers as some "common secret knowledge" amongst the older generations of several northern houses, from the Neck to the Last Hearth. And that's absurd. That's what I mean with "If Bran doesn't know it, then nobody of House Ryswell, House Dustin or Last Hearth knows of it". Correction: it's stated a few times that the way into the lowest and oldest vault has collapsed. There's a physical obstruction that prevents maesters and present day Starks to explore or visit the lowest and oldest cavernous vaults of the crypts. So, if that lowest vault was some secret way to a backdoor, then that backdoor would lead a man into being trapped. The walls of Winterfell were built by Edrick "Snowbeard" Stark. He reigned for almost a century, and one of the early kings of the whole North. His rule was troubled by quarrels amongst descendants, threat of Ironborn and the Boltons both, as well as slaving raiders capturing Wolf's Den (which roughly aligns with the era of the Andals conquering the Vale.) He was the king who ordered the outer walls that surround Winterfell to be built because of those threats and struggles. The walls were therefore built around the coming of the Andals in Westeros and House Stark was already a well established united kingdom "the North" for several thousands of years. How recent this is in comparison to their past is evident with Snowbeard being one of the king statues in the crypts in the upper vault (aCoK, Bran VII). In such times and with such rivalries and already so well established a family on a terrain as big as Winterfell, nobody's going to build walls and allow some backdoor to exist outside of those walls that becomes the common secret knowledge with other houses. Yes, it's fun to speculate about all sorts of secrets about the crypts or Winterfell, a clutch of dragon eggs, harps, secret backdoors. My proposal of the sanctuary underground city, Brandon's origin also belong to that realm, because it hasn't been confirmed yet. But at least I my speculation is based on the knowledge about Winterfell: architectural, layout, natural phenomena, events inside or around the crypts, and world book history. The secret backdoor speculation or people arguing "well hypothetically there could be yet another secret and wouldnt that be fun" have not actually checked either the "history" of the grounds and castle, pondered architecture or even the layout of Winterfell. The Winterfell in their head and its coming into existence and creation is not the one that George began to textually build since the earliest chapters of aGoT (Bran's and Cat's). The Winterfell in their head is: smaller than it is and leveled; the godswood is at the edge; the keeps or castles must have been the heart and everything else was built around that; the crypts were dug out as exclusive family graves; an architectural early completely First man-made wonder in stone that was built within the lifetime of one legendary man who was both founder, petty king and king of the entire north at once; it was always walled. Most of the text and descriptions contradict that Winterfell in many a reader's head (explicitly). So, yes, not all is confirmed or revealed yet. That allows for speculation. But some speculation actually uses information on Winterfell from the various sources and POVs, while others are absurd because based on a Winterfell contradicted by text and stuff that at least has been confirmed.
  2. Or fanzines where you get to write a heroic story of your own invention with a hero named and created by someone else
  3. If Bran doesn't know it, nobody else does. Everything points to the crypts having once been a secret underground greenseer cavernous capital, which goes mostly deep. The seated warg kings on "thrones" with wolves and their bones kept there are a remainder of it. It's just at the bottom, it wouldn't look like graves, but weirwood thrones with skulls and bones littering the areas. The crypts as they are now is a huge hint to this, but the biggest hint to it are the hot springs. Hot springs are geographically caused by two phenomena: either volcanic activity OR deep fissures that reach through the crust all the way to the magma beneath the crust. So, either magma is near the surface, or caverns reach as deep as magma. In both cases heat generated by radioactive decay heats the underground rivers, and thus hot springs. In the world book, maesters are only aware of volcanic activity as cause, but they do not have the knowledge about deep fissures. And here's the thing - neither in legends or tales or known written histories is there any mention of volcanic activity in and around the immediate environ of WF. So, the hot springs are not caused by volcanic activity (magma going to the surface), but because of fissures going deep and deep into the earth. That's why we do get figurative tales about a dragon sleeping deep underground at the lowest level of the crypts. It's also why the eldest graves are in the deepest vaults, and the most recent ones near the surface. Once you recognize that WF was a "sanctuary" (deep cavernous sacred space and shelter) for both greenseers and people and CotF during the Long Night and that Brandon the Builder was such a greenseer (and not an architect... WF was never leveled even), you come to realize that the entrance into the crypts is the natural and only entrance into this underground shelter city. That's WHY it leads to the heart tree and godswood (which are located at the physical center, heart of the entire grounds). Nobody began to build anything there until the Long Night was a memory and petty kingdoms started to pop up... 100-200 years after BtB was last "seen". And where would they have started to build their first holdfast towers and fortresses, against other people? At the entrance into the sanctuary. That's why the oldest buildings are situated near the entrance into the crypts. And yes, later generations kept on building, and building, but they built beyond the entrance into the sanctuary and around the godswood. This idea of a secret entrance into WF via the crypts shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how WF grew and what it originally was. When you realize that WF walls and stone constructions were basically the expansion beyond the sanctuary, and that the building commenced at the entrance into the undeground greenseer sanctuary, it becomes clear it's the sole entrance into the crypts, and therefore there cannot be another way outside of the walls in. The "crypts" predate any building or stone constructions.
  4. The "secret entrance" has no real foundation in the books Bran knows the castle's secrets, more than maester Aemon, but even he doesn't know about the secret entrance. If he had, he wouldn't have needed Hodor to throw all his strength against the blocked crypt entrance after the sack of Winterfell, with blocks of the First Keep blocking the door from being opened from the inside. He could have used the alternative route. If Bran doesn't know it, then nobody knows. The crypts themselves lead to the hot springs of the godswood, which is btw 3 acres big. So while it is a vast cavernous tunnel system, its sole entry point is the crypt's entrance. This makes sense when so many allusions about secret underground cities of the past is about "taking shelter". If you have only one entrance to seal, the enemy cannot get in. The latter is supported by the later building and lay-out of Winterfell: several (I repeat "several") hills and valleys within the walls of Winterfell, a 3 acre godswood at the heart/center of Winterfell, the oldest buildings (towers and first keep) near the crypt entrance, and expanions from thereon to an even bigger perimeter with the Walls fully enclosing it. So if there is a "backdoor" entrance it actually would still fall within Winterfell.
  5. No fanfiction sub forum, because George is anti-fanfic. I get why for various reasons. Although I do sometimes refer to the process of the various grail knight adventures and Arthurian cycles written over the centuries as basically an example of "fanfic"... with each author filling in a gap or period that wasn't in the older popular story/legend or focused on some obscurely mentioned knight of the round table and spin a whole new tale for that "superhero".
  6. Don't forget that JonCon's fake identity at Essos had a "red wolf" as symbol
  7. Team Varys is a strict "no-sorcery" team. Varys is the "magician" of team-exiles (per Illyrio in aGoT as Arya overhears them), and his magic are mummer tricks. JonCon ain't using sorcery.
  8. Which makes no sense, since Stannis' banners aren't anything remotely like the standard yellow Baratheon. Yes, I know the quote of Arianne's excerpt chapter. Imo it's a red herring. George put the mystery out how JonCon would take SE way before Arianne's excerpt. By raising the question already in aDwD for the reader "how is he going to pull that one off?" the tactics and who will be involved was already set up in aFfC and aDwD. It's not going to be Arianne in tWoW thinking to herself that golden banners can be mistaken for Baratheon banners that neither Stannis Baratheon or Tommen Baratheon use. And you're ignoring that there are two factions that need to be misled here: the forces besieging SE and the garrison inside SE.
  9. But then Bran and Rickon would not jump in line ahead of Robb's child if he would ever had one, right? While Aenys did it peacefully, he slily acted on his own to claim a crown, completely ignoring he had a nephew (Haegon died and fathered Daemon III before Aenys put his claim to the grand council). Furthermore, I believe Maelys was the last son of Daemon Blackfyre. But even if he was a grandson, like Aenys he upjumped his nephews or second cousins, but he did it by kinslaying. Bittersteel would have rolled in his golden grave if he had one. The timing of Daemon II's effort at Whitewalls coincides with a time when Bittersteel would have been fighting for the Second Sons, and before the existence of the Golden Company. So, I'm more inclined to think that Peake managed to persuade Daemon II to come behind Bittersteel's back. In fact, this could be the reason why Peake himself is annoyed whenever someone else mentions the absence of Bittersteel. It's not as if House Peake shies away from taking initiative and act without coordinating with Bittersteel. It's with their solo rebellion that Maekar dies, while Bittersteel makes a last attempt during Aegon V's reign (after Maekar) with Daemon III.
  10. Not sure. It's of course possible he had no children. But even then I still observe a succession of crownings that at the very least go against the image that Peake creates about Bittersteel being absent at Whitewalls and Daemon II not having Blackfyre. On the surface we are given the impression that Bittersteel isn't a fan of Daemon II and didn't back him. And yet, he did not crown another claimant until Daemon II had died. And he crowned a grandson over one of Daemon II's surviving younger brothers. More, I doubt that Bittersteel was upset with Bloodraven for arresting and killing one of Daemon II's younger brothers: Aenys Blackfyre was Daemon Blackfyre's 5th son, while Daemon III was a grandson via Haegon (4th son of Daemon Blackfyre). Grandsons come before uncles.
  11. The comparison of one knight against another knight (in duel or tourney) is not to be confused by extrapolating it to an army, which consists of knights, horsemanship, and thousands of levies from smallfolk sons, husbands and grandsons trained to wield a pike, a staff and/or bow. House Dayne may claim they produce the finest and best knight/warrior within the family, but one knight is not an army.
  12. I did not claim that Nymor wrote the letter from Dragonstone. He wrote it in Dorne and gave it to his daughter when she left overland. That gave him ample time to embark on a sea voyage to Dragonstone, while all spy reports and political debates are on his daughter making a continental diplomatic overland journey to King's Landing with the skull of Meraxes. And yes, there is cause for the castellan to be confused, since the very moment that Nymor puts up anchor at Dragonstone, Aegon and Visenya are welcoming his daughter (also an enemy) under a negotation banner and with the dragon skull. And here comes the Prince himself, without an army and the remains of Rhaenys, mentioning that he "informed" Aegon of his coming (which he does in the letter handed by Deria to Aegon) and that Aegon can be expected to come meet him that very evening and night. So, you're construing a nonsensical scenario to dismiss my proposal that you either misunderstood or as straw man because you did not even wish to consider it. Repeat: the scenario I'm proposing is that Nymor wrote the letter in Dorne, explaining how while his daughter traveled overland to King's Landing with the skull of Meraxes, he will have traveled to Dragonstone by ship to meet with Aegon. On the one hand he mentions that he has come with remains too precious to hand over to Aegon in a throne room while making an allusion to baby Maegor (and a veiled threat). Upon reading Deria's letter, Aegon realized that this may actually be happening. That they left baby Maegor without a parent and Dragonstone without a dragonrider. For a moment, Aegon would have wavered between "bluff" or "wtf if this is true". And the sole manner in which Aegon could discover whether it was true or not, was by flying to Dragonstone, and alone (to save his public face). Even having to fly to Dragonstone to verify the claim in the letter would be a personal diplomatic loss, just like someone making some outrageous but very scary claim of someone standing behind you and making you look. And Aegon knew it. Nymor used a similar psychological game against him, like he once did with Argilac. Aegon knew Argilac would refuse Orys Baratheon for a husband, that proposing Orys would be taken as an insult, and therefore Aegon goaded Argilac into a war/battle of Aegon's choosing. Nymor's letter goads Aegon into accepting a peace, because not doing so would not just endanger Maegor or Aenys' lives, but because of "made you look" manipulation. Aegon flew to Dragonstone, and he met Nymor briefly, received the returned remains of his wife and burned them. By the time he flew back to King's Landing, Nymor already sailed back for Sunspear, and Aegon announced there would be peace. Most actual truce or peace deals agreed to tend to have a public diplomatic event, but cannot succeed without a backdoor meeting. Deria is the public front. The actual secret peace agreement was reached on Dragonstone, where only Aegon flew off too, and the sole person with higher diplomatic rank than Deria is Nymor himself. And though it seems but a minor thing against claims of Dornish threats or secrets on how to destroy dragons or magic or prophecy, it explains exactly why Aegon took the secret of the content of the letter to his grave. The only people who knew Nymor managed to make Aegon look over his shoulder were Aegon and Nymor himself, and very maybe Visenya when it was decided that neither prince would ever be without a parent, without an experienced dragonrider, and grew up separate (eggs in different baskets). A fresh new King of so many kingdoms would loathe for anyone to ever find out how easily he and his sister were tricked. But in order to keep the meeting and the letter secret, the reason why he flew to Dragonstone at all, he also was bound to keep the return of his sister-wife's remains a secret.
  13. Well, I never claimed that Nymor paid Storm's End or the Reach a visit, did I? And Orys' proposals about what to do with Princess Deria Martell shows Lord Orys was in KL at the time. Vassal lords is something entirely different than a castellan or a guard on duty, either landless house nobility or smallfolk.
  14. I think it highly likely that if Nymor arrives at Dragonstone with just 1-3 ships, in rich dress, no army, no soldiers, just a few men of Dornish houses carrying the remains of Rhaenys could indeed "just stroll in" as you put it. They wouldn't be seen as a threat, but as a visitor. And you don't usually let a prince or king personally visiting your master's house with the remains of his dead wife wait outside of the gates in a shabby inn, because the master isn't home, especially if you're not from some illustrous noble house yourself. Guards only halt or stop dirty looking skinny girls they confuse for a street urchin at gates. And even when such a girl command them in a bossy tone, claiming to be the Hand's daughter, they let someone pass right into the red keep. Whether or not Nymor actually had baby Maegor in his arms, admiring him on his strength and vigor, the moment Aegon walked into his own hall is not even that important. What matters is that Nymor claimed he intended to or would be holding baby Maegor in the letter and for a moment succeeded to put deep fear and doubt into Aegon's heart. For a moment Aegon knew that what Nymor's letter claimed could be true, that even the most loyal guards, castellans and wetnurses could be duped or bossed around by anyone who was willing to deceive them and ill intent. The moment Aegon flew to Dragonstone on Balerion to even see with his own eyes whether the claim in the letter was true or not, that would be evidence of his doubt and vulnerability. The idea, the doubt and the fear of "could it be" serve their purpose. Aegon's conquering started with a letter to Argilac the Arrogant, and it ended with Nymor's letter.
  15. If the Prince of Dorne arrives with a few ships and announces himself at the gate without making any overt threat, and has the bodily remains of Rhaenys with him, would anyone dare to refuse him? Why would they leave 4-5 noble, rich men remain outside when they obviously cannot "conquer Dragonstone" and aren't there to assassinate Aegon or Visenya (who are in KL), and baby Maegor was the spare? It's not as if any of the garisson at WF ran inside, left Tyrion and Yoren waiting outside the gate and walls, when they came knocking late in the evening at WF while Ned Stark and Cat were away. They were let inside the gates and walls, and Robb and Bran warned and fetched. And baby Rickon for example ran around freely.
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