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Matthew.

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  1. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Sure, and the text talks about the stony Dornishmen making their homes "in the passes and heights of the Red Mountains," so I suspect that some readers might be mentally envisioning the terrain as more inhospitable and difficult to traverse than what the author had in mind.
  2. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I don't agree with that interpretation of the conversation; he says he and Jon were milk brothers, that Wylla was Jon Snow's mother (just mother, not wet nurse, or "milk mother"), and that Ashara and Eddard fell in love at Harrenhal, all as distinct sentiments. Edric is surprised that Jon has never spoken to her of Wylla, but it's not surprising that Jon wouldn't speak about (or even know about) someone who nursed him briefly at Starfall before he was brought home. Rather, Edric is surprised because he's operating under the assumption that Wylla being Jon Snow's mother is a thing that is known and uncontroversial within Winterfell, having no awareness of Eddard's refusal to speak of such things, even with Jon. The conversation about Ashara is treated as distinct (and not in conflict with the idea that Eddard also fathered a bastard with Wylla) because it carries different social and emotional implications--Eddard having a physical relationship with a serving woman doesn't upset Arya, while the suggestion that he was in love with Ashara does.
  3. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Perhaps, though implicit in any scenario where Wylla is not Jon Snow's mother is the idea that certain members of House Dayne, elder staff of Starfall, and Wylla herself are already successfully keeping a secret, including from members of their own House; Edric Dayne believes that Wylla is Jon Snow's mother, either because this is what he has been told, or because, like Eddard, Starfall has refused to elaborate about events relating to Ashara, Eddard, Lyanna, and Jon Snow, allowing people to draw their own conclusions based on rumor. Though, none of that applies if Wylla really is Jon's mother (an answer that I would actually prefer, since I think the whole "secret parentage" mystery is gimmicky soap opera bullshit anyway ). In any case, this does raise what I consider to be the more pertinent logistical issues with the ToJ scenario, which is where GRRM's vagueness here is frustrating--not frustrating in relation to occluding a potential mystery, but just frustratingly vague in terms of envisioning even the broad strokes of what was happening. If the tower was small enough to be pulled down by Eddard and Howland, could it even accommodate 3 - 4 people, or be dwelled in at all? Was it a tower designed to be manned and issue warning to some nearby facility for housing guards, or just to be manned by a single rider, or someone who could send a raven? Did the KG set up a tent encampment, making it hard to accurately assess how many non-combatants were present? How long were the KG there? If they were there for months, were they being supplied and provisioned by Starfall?
  4. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I'm not so certain how broadly applicable Lady Dustin's sentiments are, not so certain that she represents what would have been the viewpoint of, say, the Whents--that honor obligated Eddard to return remains under those circumstances. It may be that that was the case, but it may also be that Lady Dustin - whose comments were broadly negative about House Stark, touching upon Brandon, Rickard's southron ambitions, Eddard and Robb calling their banners - feels aggrieved toward Eddard in a way that is not typical, but a part of a larger resentment. Moreover, the conversations both Lady Dustin and Roose Bolton have with Theon are to be viewed in the context that Theon, as Reek, is believed to be Ramsay's creature--so while they may make a show of asking him to keep these conversations private, they might be telling Theon the things that they want Ramsay to believe (eg, that Roose has given up on the hope of having any heir other than Ramsay). How this is relevant to Lady Dustin comes down to whether or not her words are actually sincere, or whether or not she is engaging in performative Stark hatred, while secretly being a part of any Northern conspiracy that might be fomenting. Both the Ryswells and the Dustins took losses at the Red Wedding, and Lady Dustin is one of the characters (along with Manderly) to vocalize "the north remembers." This remains true whether Lyanna died at the ToJ or died at Starfall. Either way, moving Sir Arthur - even under circumstances of decomposition - should not have been too great a burden, if it were truly Eddard's honor-bound duty. Again, I'm inclined to look at this as a case where GRRM gave preference to what he liked more as an image, as a narrative, which would have made moving Arthur alone inelegant; tearing down a tower to prepare cairns for the combatants is a melodramatic image, but clearly one that GRRM found more interesting than returning the bodies, or a more simple burial. While Lyanna dying at Starfall is the narrative that I think the author will craft, I'm not seeing any particularly strong reason that it would be implausible for him to craft a narrative in which Lyanna died at the ToJ, if that's where his preferences lay: to sum up, it's not a given in the first place that Eddard's actions were dishonorable, nor would it be contradictory for Eddard to act with insufficient honor at a moment of great emotional distress.
  5. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I agree that what Lady Dustin's grievance highlights is intentional. However, I see the significance as an open question--are we meant to use her words to find an interpretation of the ToJ that does fit with the idea of Eddard's reputation, or should we read Eddard as more flawed and more human than his reputation? Is she highlighting an incongruity, or adding nuance? Again, I don't view this as a binary choice, I would only argue that, were Eddard theoretically faced with the prospect of moving nine corpses through mountainous terrain - one of them his sister, who may have exhorted a promise out of him that she would be buried in the north - then it may be that giving the warriors an 'honorable burial' while only moving his sister was his best attempt at doing the right thing, even if it might have been imperfect, might have emphasized his own grief and obligations over the grief of those other families that also suffered losses.
  6. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Responding to the bolded, I think this factor is not irrelevant; it may be that destroying the tower and preparing the cairns for the combatants specifically - friend and foe alike - felt appropriate to Eddard, cathartic within the context. Or, for a more meta take, GRRM really liked that idea as an image, and considered concerns of what decorum dictated Eddard should do with the dead to be secondary to crafting a more compelling narrative. Again, I say none of this to suggest that I think Lyanna died at the ToJ - I think she died at Starfall - only that I'm not convinced that the way Eddard handled the bodies necessarily has broader implications--eg, Arthur dying somewhere else, and so forth. This could just as easily be an instance where the author has failed to achieve verisimilitude for every reader, rather than something that is actually meant to stand out as odd behavior.
  7. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Yes, I'm not really sure what the traditional expectations here would be either, though clearly Lady Dustin was mad; with Lyanna, there's the additional layer that, according to Eddard, Lyanna had asked to be brought home to "rest beside Brandon and Father," a comment that is immediately followed by one of the internal repetitions of "promise me." While I happen to agree with other posters broader premise that Starfall seems a more sensible place for Lyanna to have died, I don't think that the way Eddard handled the dead here seems noteworthy. Sure, as an adult and a lord he has a particular reputation for honor, but the context here is that he's a young man who has recently lost his father, his brother, had a falling out with Robert, has possibly lost (or is losing) his sister, and may have had certain heavy burdens placed upon him by whatever he promised Lyanna--it doesn't seem particularly odd that, in that state of mind, he may not have been sufficiently thoughtful toward the grief of others, such as Lady Dustin.
  8. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Yes, I think that would fit as well. I also forgot Hizdahr (died in season 5), though I shudder to think of a world in which TWOW has been delayed to accommodate a "great" Hizdarh twist. I would also add that I think the twist is likely something that happened in the present, as any twist from the past, or that is contingent upon character knowledge, seems easy to shift elsewhere--Varys, for example, could "know" anything Barristan would know, greensight can show the past, and so forth. My suspicion is that the twist must have had a "Meereenese Knot" effect, where adding the twist required several different POVs to have their chapters re-written. To use the Aegon VI example, if the author decided to introduce an Aegon VI twist, that wouldn't just be limited to Jon Connington chapters, it would bleed into Arianne chapters, Areo chapters, Cersei chapters, Brienne chapters and Jaime chapters at a minimum; if it happens late, it's possibly bleeding into Tyrion, Dany, and other Meereenese knot POVs. Myrcella would have a similar scope--many of the chapters that would need to be re-written to accommodate an Aegon VI twist would apply to Myrcella. Stannis/Selyse/Shireen are good possibilities, but my gut feeling here is that the northern plot line is a little more 'contained' and easy to manage, in comparison to any twist that would be introduced in the south.
  9. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    Possibly, and I wouldn't want to put GRRM's extemporaneous comments on the twist under too much of a semantic lens, so Catelyn should be a consideration. In fact, the removal of Stoneheart is one of the changes that GRRM is most vocal about, saying it was a big point of contention with D&D--as recently as an interview with the Chinese edition of Esquire in 2017, he was characterizing it as the biggest change between the two stories.
  10. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    It's a character that would have died in the first five seasons, but is still alive in the books, and GRRM has a notablog post that effectively functions as a good list of prospects: As far as I can recall, the only character missing from that list is Jojen--he died in season 4 of the show, while his status in the books might be considered undetermined, depending on whether or not the "Jojen Paste" theory pans out. Other aspects of the twist are that it "involves three or four characters," and the show (supposedly) cannot do the twist; IMO, the latter implies that not only can the show not pull off the twist verbatim, but that they can't easily shift the twist to another character. For example, any twist that involves Pyp could probably just be shifted to a different NW character, whereas characters like Stannis and Myrcella occupy more unique roles.
  11. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I don't love prophesy in general as a literary device, so my criticism on that front isn't strictly limited to GRRM. For example, I don't like the GoHH visions, but the gradual unveiling of information about Robert's Rebellion, and minor background mysteries - such as the disappearance of Tyrek Lannister - is the kind of stuff that I think has been handled well. I would also add that I still appreciate the HoTU chapter, as I consider it a highlight in terms of prose and atmosphere. As you say, miles above the show's version, which suffered from both clumsy foreshadowing and visual blandness.
  12. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    You're right, it may be that, with Dany, they had prior broad strokes conversations (eg, "characters X, Y, and Z make it to the end, the Iron Throne does/does not endure as an institution"), while a more specific detail within the Santa Fe meeting elevated the situation to a "holy shit." It's something of a tricky question, because there's a heavy element of subjectivity and context involved; they've elaborated that it was this week long meeting in a hotel room, doing a character-by-character assessment, and that those three moments drew a "holy shit" out of them in spite of the abstract circumstances of the discussion. I say that makes it tricky because, to my mind, that's a context where important broad strokes ideas - such as major POV causalities during the Battle for the Dawn - might not necessarily evoke a strong emotional response, but a weird specific detail can hit home, for whatever reason--because it's gruesome, or bizarre, or particularly tragic. With that in mind, I don't have any single guess as to the third "holy shit," but a couple broad prospects (some of which can overlap with each other): - Dany's third betrayal, the "betrayal for love" - The Battle for the Dawn is won, but someone is still playing the game of thrones, and backstabbing occurs among the survivors (obvious with Cersei, but there might be others) - We learn something disturbing about either Bran, Dany, or Jon that re-contextualizes them as characters in sufficiently shocking fashion - Overlapping with both of the above, one of the remaining characters is putting forth a duplicitous front, and this is being hidden from the viewer by only giving us insight into those characters by the way they interact with others I'm going to elaborate a bit on that last one, as there's a few characters that I believe could have hidden motives. IMO, Tyrion is being portrayed as having misgivings about Dany, Bran has become inscrutable, and finally, I think there's always the chance that we haven't seen the full scope of the game that Varys is playing. Perhaps Jon, as well, if death has changed him in some unrevealed way.
  13. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I agree with that interpretation of the vision; however, that's before the Santa Fe meeting, so whatever it is foreshadowing with regards to Dany, those plans were already in place, and possibly even independent of GRRM's plans (or, alternately, based on information he had given before the Santa Fe meeting). In an interview with TV Guide, before Season 1 had aired, D&D spoke a bit about being confident that ASOIAF and GoT wouldn't "pull a Lost," and already having some broad strokes in mind: ...and Weiss' comments in a 2017 Time interview about the Santa Fe meeting: That certainly makes it sound as though they intended to execute the broad strokes of what they wanted their final season to look like, regardless of what they learned in Santa Fe. ....err, the point being that the HoTU vision - ruined throne room filled with snow, Dany passing the throne and instead heading beyond the Wall as a metaphor for going into the Night Lands - is foreshadowing for plans that were already in place. Accordingly, I don't think it fits for the third "holy shit" moment.
  14. Matthew.

    Heresy 219 and a whisper of Winter

    I'll reiterate from the last thread that Jeyne was last seen being sent home to the Crag with Lord Gawen and Lady Sybell, and an armed escort; perhaps I'm thinking in overly simple terms here, but I assume this Prologue is going to follow the format of the others, and that the prologue character won't be Jeyne herself - perhaps it will be one of her parents, or Ser Forley Prester, the man tasked by Jaime with leading the escort - and that the escort in question will never make it to the Crag, with the Prologue character meeting an untimely end. I would have to re-read the Jaime chapter to fully refresh my memory, but I believe Tom of Sevenstreams from the BwB is hovering around during that same time period, so it may be the case that the BwB will be tipped off about the group's movement; presumably, contextual evidence - pardons issued, Lord Gawen being on the Lannister-Frey side of the siege of Riverrun - might lead the BwB to conclude that Gawen and Sybell were Red Wedding co-conspirators, and accordingly, they should be on Stoneheart's hit list. Alternately, Checkhov's wolf pack, lead by Nymeria, is still hovering in the Riverlands--it might be thematically fitting for GRRM to kick off TWOW (and the final arc, one would hope) with some direwolf action.
  15. Matthew.

    Heresy 218 a brief walk on the dark side

    Correct, even if Rhaegar didn't abduct Lyanna, circumstances in-world are such that the idea that he could have been involved in her disappearance is widely seen as a credible premise, even to his own allies. He is not, conversely, remembered by Barristan or Jaime as having an airtight alibi, nor is he remembered as being a man who was loudly and frequently protesting his innocence during the war. Regardless of the truth, the timing at least had to line up enough that the accusation was believable, and Rhaegar himself might have actually viewed the accusation as serendipitous--for example, if he was involved in an attempt at dragon hatching, or the supposed Aegon VI swap, then it would be safer to have people believe he's a philanderer than to have the realm (including Aerys) digging into his absence. Finally, it's worth revisiting GRRM's comment on Aegon's age: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Kings_Landing_10_Questions "Give or take a turn or two;" in short, Aegon was roughly somewhere between ten and fourteen months old--GRRM's giving himself a fairly generous window to work in. Something that I am, in turn, inclined to view in relation to the sentiment in this SSM: https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Chronology_and_Distances
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