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[Book Spoilers] EP510 Discussion

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See that's the thing he's not risking anything with Sansa being there. Sansa has one value and that is legitimacy in the North to whoever is married to her. Outside of that she doesn't matter. She doesn't matter in the Vale. She doesn't matter in KL. She's the heir to a dead house. That dead house just happens to have a name that still carries weight among Northeners.

So once Sansa is in there it gives the Bolton's something they desperately need because their reputation is shit from betraying the Starks. It gives Cersie a cause to sanction LF's Vale attack.

Lets say Sansa dies. Okay now whoever wins between Stannis and Roose is depleted and open season for LF. He wins the North. He avenges Sansa's death. He names himself Warden. The crown gives him legitimacy because Sansa is dead. So he has the North just by defacto of being backed by the most power and he isn't as hated as the Bolton's and he is now invaluable to the crown.

Lets say Sansa lives. If the Bolton's win, he ousts the Bolton's. Marries Sansa for himself. Is a big hero who defeated the people who betrayed the Starks and is married to the eldest trueborn Stark. If Cersie is pissed he has the North and Vale in the middle of winter when Cersie could never hope to retaliate for many years, by which point she will have lost the bulk of her influence. In the meantime the North and the Vale (who has been completely untouched by the war) can bring in the Riverlands and mount a campaign against the weakened Lannister/Tyrell alliance.

If Stannis wins, Stannis names her Wardness anyways. He can just marry her under the guise of shoring up an alliance between the North and the Vale. He gets control of the North. And when Cersie gets irate that he fucked her over by keeping Sansa alive, he now uses the North and the Vale to back Stannis in his campaign to take the crown. So now he's invaluable to the new king, and controls the North and has massive influence over the Vale.

There are no scenarios where LF is not in a massive position of power and has the biggest advantage.

First of all, I disagree that Sansa has only one value. She is half-Stark, half-Tully and, as far as many are concerned, the only surviving Stark. And I also think that LF wants Sansa. But let's leave those things aside.

Stannis wins, Sansa marries Ramsey

OK, so in this scenario, presumably some of the first things Stannis will want to know are: why did Sansa marry Ramsey, who got her out of KL and who arranged this marriage. If LF chooses to attempt to ally with Stannis, Stannis will want to know why LF arranged the marriage, essentially working against Stannis. If LF chooses to fight Stannis, it risks getting Sansa killed. If he wins, LF will be named Warden of the North. Perhaps he could marry Sansa, though that would make him an enemy of the Crown and I have no idea why she would agree to it.

Stannis wins, Sansa remains in Vale

Here, LF can present Sansa to Stannis (if he wishes to ally with him) and claim (truthfully) that he got Sansa out of KL. Stannis will presumably name her Wardeness of the North and LF could offer to marry her to secure an alliance between the Vale and the North. If LF wants to fight Stannis, Sansa is not at risk.

Stannis loses, Sansa marries Ramsey

Assuming that Sansa survives the battle/siege, the Boltons now have a hostage to use against the Vale when they arrive. If she survives this battle/siege against the Vale, I suppose LF could marry her to secure his Warden of the North title, although in this case she has plenty of reason to say no, and of course he'll be making himself an enemy of the Crown.

Stannis loses, Sansa stays in the Vale

Assuming LF wins, he is now Warden of the North. He could marry Sansa (and in this scenario she might be more inclined to say yes) or not.

In all scenarios possible, Sansa being in Winterfell doesn't help at all. It either hinders LF's goals, or does nothing. So putting her there is a completely pointless risk that has no positive outcome.

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If Sansa lives, there is literally no way Sansa would agree to marry LF. The Northern Lords will back her as warden (or more likely Rickon if/when he turns up). She's watched him murder his last wife and marry her off to Ramsay. Why would she agree to marry him?

If she dies, I severely doubt the Northern Lords would agree to LF as warden even if he had played a part in the downfall of house Bolton.

It's a hopeless plan.

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Lets take each of those then



Stannis wins. Ramsay marries Sansa.



Because Sansa is in the Vale, LF still has the backing of the crown to crush Stannis with the Vale's troops. The worst case scenario for him at that point is that he has to make a decision between marrying or turning over Sansa. Realistically he gains more from flipping the crown off. Marrying Sansa. Then daring Cersie to march on him with the entire North, Vale, and possibly Riverlands in the fold. In which case he induces a war with a weakened Lannister/Tyrell force and probably usurps them. That's a pretty good deal for him.



His other option in that scenario is that he can just lie to Stannis and say he planted Sansa there to get the crown to turn on the Bolton's. Which would diminish Roose's support and make him an easier target for Stannis. Which is true. He can even say Cersie gave him the go ahead to crush the Bolton's in case Stannis failed to rescue Sansa. Then he offers the Vale's troops to help Stannis in his war if he agrees to let him marry Sansa and take the North. In which case he has the North, Vale, and is the most valuable ally of the new king.



Now lets say Sansa dies in the North. LF can just crush Stannis who will be weak. And now he has the crowns backing. So he takes the North and the Vale and he is the most valuable ally to Cersie and has her loyalty



Stannis wins, Sansa remains in Vale



This is significantly riskier. First off you need Stannis to win. No guarantee. Yeah if Stannis wins it works out. But notice how the last scenario was pretty much a win/win because Sansa is in the Vale. In this scenario, Sansa only matters if Stannis can win. And then he has to get the Vale willing to back his Stannis war. Which would be a harder sell. It leaves to many variables just by virtue of Sansa being there. He has to hope Stannis wins, hope he can get the Vale to rally around Stannis (doubtful). He will now be torn between the crown and Stannis. It's just too iffy.



Stannis loses, Sansa marries Ramsey



Once again every option is a win for LF here.



He now has the crowns blessing to take the Vale and oust the Bolton's.



So option one. Sansa dies. He takes the North. The crown backs him. The power of the Vale is the might that backs his claim. He also is the hero that defeated the Bolton's and avenged Sansa's death to the Northerners. Which is a much better option than the Bolton's. So he has the North, Vale and is the most valuable ally to Cersie and the crown.



Option 2. Sansa lives. He marries Sansa. Now he has the North, and the Vale. Cersie is pissed and provokes him. He uses the North and Vale, and probably the Riverlands (married to Hoster Tully's granddaughter, formerly married to his daughter Lysa, has custody of his other grandson) and can quite easily beat the Lannister's and Tyrell's. So he could have quite the opportunity at the crown for himself.



Stannis loses, Sansa stays in the Vale



Except without Sansa in the North, he would have no reason to attack the Bolton's? He wouldn't have the crowns go ahead? Sansa wouldn't be there as an incentive. It's just a much harder sell all around. He's basically openly rebelling against the North and the crown. How is the Vale supposed to take that? Atleast he has the crown's backing with any scenario that has Sansa in the Vale. And then if he chooses to marry Sansa by that point he has so much power he can dictate everything anyways.



Once again, it's too much of a risk.


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If Sansa lives, there is literally no way Sansa would agree to marry LF. The Northern Lords will back her as warden (or more likely Rickon if/when he turns up). She's watched him murder his last wife and marry her off to Ramsay. Why would she agree to marry him?

If she dies, I severely doubt the Northern Lords would agree to LF as warden even if he had played a part in the downfall of house Bolton.

It's a hopeless plan.

Why would she agree to it.

Because

1. He rescued her from King's Landing

2. He recued her from Lysa.

3. He likely was the one who had the Bolton's ousted.

If she dies.

1. Well he still ousted whoever was there.

2. He has the Vale and the crown backing him so try to beat him with the biggest and least damaged army North of Dorne and the Westerlands and Reach supporting him. Good luck.

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Liking Ramsay as "a villain" is like when I see little kids thinking Darth Vader is awesome! because of the nice costume and the force tricks. "Look, mommy! he's the bad guy!". Vader is not just "the bad guy", he's a more complicated character with a more complicated background (putting aside the terrible adaptation done in SW 1, 2 and 3). Vader is a very appealing character not because he's a "villain" but because of his characterization.

What complicated background? If you put aside the terrible adaptation done in SW 1, 2, and 3, there is no complicated background, just a handful of bare facts, in only a handful of lines across all three movies. And every one of those facts just serves to set up what archetype he represents (the fallen hero turned villain, and the dark sorcerer of the evil overlord), with no extraneous detail.

Vader's depth of characterization, such as it is, does not come from his background, but from his interactions with others (especially Tarkin, Leia, Lando, and Luke) during the course of the story. But even there, Lucas takes great care to make sure he always remains larger than life, and firmly within his traditional story role.

And if you listen to Lucas himself on what made his movies interesting, this exactly what he says: a myth requires archetypes rather than detailed characters. "Everyone knows Luke's story from the moment they meet him, because it's the story of the young hero, the only story that matters."

Of course that's one of the main points of departure for GRRM. He wanted to show both that the tropes of mythology are cliches, many of them don't work at all. Right from the start, Tywin Lannister is not Darth Vader (he does bad things for the good of his family and of the realm, not just to be evil), and that's why he succeeds. Quentyn Martell, on the other hand, is Luke Skywalker, but that's why he utterly fails. Robert is Aragorn, a great war hero who's a good man, but that doesn't mean he'll be a great king, or even necessarily a halfway-decent one. And so on. He also wanted all of his characters to be living, breathing people, and for their human traits, rather than their archetypal roles, to determine their story. Tywin is brought down by the blind spot caused by his disappointment in his children, not the good guys getting justice; Sansa is almost immediately forced out of her fairy-tale princess role and forced to deal with disillusionment; etc. The only characters who remain archetypes are the ones who stay in the background and rarely interact directly with the main characters (the Mountain being the best example that GRRM himself used).

So, the show, by expanding on Ramsay without making him more complex, has done something GRRM would never have done. But that's not because he's the opposite of Darth Vader, but because he is Darth Vader, and Darth Vader does not fit in ASoIaF.

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Littlefinger could just tell Cersei that Sansa married Ramsey without actually doing it.

They have ravens in Westeros.

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It still seems very hazy to me. Don't get me wrong, I see what you're saying. It kinda annoys me though how easy it was for LF to gain the full backing of the Vale and I'm not sure why the Vale would actually agree to give him an army to attack the Boltons and claim WF.

This is the problem. If you refuse to accept what the TV series blatantly shows you just because it's different from what happened in the books, then all of the subsequent events don't make sense. Sure, show-LF's plan only makes sense if he has the Vale Lords behind him, but that doesn't mean show-LF's plan is stupid, because show-LF does have the Vale Lords behind him. If you're incapable of accepting that this is even possible, much less what's actually happening, then there's no point in continuing to watch the show; nothing afterward will make sense to you.

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If Stannis wins, Stannis names her Wardness anyways. He can just marry her under the guise of shoring up an alliance between the North and the Vale. He gets control of the North. And when Cersie gets irate that he fucked her over by keeping Sansa alive, he now uses the North and the Vale to back Stannis in his campaign to take the crown. So now he's invaluable to the new king, and controls the North and has massive influence over the Vale.

This seems to me to be the one actual flaw in LF's plan (as opposed to all of the non-actual flaws people keep finding by trying to read the details of the book situation into the show).

One of the first things anyone said about Stannis was when LF told Ned that he could not expect any gratitude for sitting Stannis on the throne. And LF seems to be in the same situation Ned was in then. With the added problem that, as a turncloak, he still has to be punished as well as rewarded, a la Davos (but with a much worse crime). The North, for all their Remembering, will accept as a hero anyone who defeats the Boltons, avenges Robb, and saves Sansa, no matter what they'd done in the past, but Stannis is not the type to forgive and forget (TV-Stannis even less than book-Stannis). Also, we don't know what's going on with the show-Tullys, but assuming even one of them is alive, it will be Stannis, not LF, that re-seats them at Riverrun and gives them back control over the Riverlands. Sure, Sansa is their (granddaughter/great-niece/whatever), but LF will still have a hard time manipulating them against Stannis if he's their savior.

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They have ravens in Westeros.

LF offers Cersei no evidence of his assertion. She just accepts it when he tells her. So why the need to actually put Sansa there?

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Lets take each of those then

Stannis wins. Ramsay marries Sansa.

Because Sansa is in the Vale, LF still has the backing of the crown to crush Stannis with the Vale's troops. The worst case scenario for him at that point is that he has to make a decision between marrying or turning over Sansa. Realistically he gains more from flipping the crown off. Marrying Sansa. Then daring Cersie to march on him with the entire North, Vale, and possibly Riverlands in the fold. In which case he induces a war with a weakened Lannister/Tyrell force and probably usurps them. That's a pretty good deal for him.

His other option in that scenario is that he can just lie to Stannis and say he planted Sansa there to get the crown to turn on the Bolton's. Which would diminish Roose's support and make him an easier target for Stannis. Which is true. He can even say Cersie gave him the go ahead to crush the Bolton's in case Stannis failed to rescue Sansa. Then he offers the Vale's troops to help Stannis in his war if he agrees to let him marry Sansa and take the North. In which case he has the North, Vale, and is the most valuable ally of the new king.

Now lets say Sansa dies in the North. LF can just crush Stannis who will be weak. And now he has the crowns backing. So he takes the North and the Vale and he is the most valuable ally to Cersie and has her loyalty

Stannis wins, Sansa remains in Vale

This is significantly riskier. First off you need Stannis to win. No guarantee. Yeah if Stannis wins it works out. But notice how the last scenario was pretty much a win/win because Sansa is in the Vale. In this scenario, Sansa only matters if Stannis can win. And then he has to get the Vale willing to back his Stannis war. Which would be a harder sell. It leaves to many variables just by virtue of Sansa being there. He has to hope Stannis wins, hope he can get the Vale to rally around Stannis (doubtful). He will now be torn between the crown and Stannis. It's just too iffy.

Stannis loses, Sansa marries Ramsey

Once again every option is a win for LF here.

He now has the crowns blessing to take the Vale and oust the Bolton's.

So option one. Sansa dies. He takes the North. The crown backs him. The power of the Vale is the might that backs his claim. He also is the hero that defeated the Bolton's and avenged Sansa's death to the Northerners. Which is a much better option than the Bolton's. So he has the North, Vale and is the most valuable ally to Cersie and the crown.

Option 2. Sansa lives. He marries Sansa. Now he has the North, and the Vale. Cersie is pissed and provokes him. He uses the North and Vale, and probably the Riverlands (married to Hoster Tully's granddaughter, formerly married to his daughter Lysa, has custody of his other grandson) and can quite easily beat the Lannister's and Tyrell's. So he could have quite the opportunity at the crown for himself.

Stannis loses, Sansa stays in the Vale

Except without Sansa in the North, he would have no reason to attack the Bolton's? He wouldn't have the crowns go ahead? Sansa wouldn't be there as an incentive. It's just a much harder sell all around. He's basically openly rebelling against the North and the crown. How is the Vale supposed to take that? Atleast he has the crown's backing with any scenario that has Sansa in the Vale. And then if he chooses to marry Sansa by that point he has so much power he can dictate everything anyways.

Once again, it's too much of a risk.

In the scenarios I proposed where Sansa stays in the Vale, LF simply tells Cersei that Sansa has married Ramsey. She asks for no evidence and he has none to offer anyway, except his word. So why even bother with the marriage? Cersei gives him the full go-ahead without a shred of proof, so just tell Cersei that Sansa married Ramsey but leave her in the Vale. Cersei is stupid enough to name a man who is already Lord Paramount of the Riverlands and Lord Protector of the Vale the Warden of the North.

Edited by WSmith84

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This is the problem. If you refuse to accept what the TV series blatantly shows you just because it's different from what happened in the books, then all of the subsequent events don't make sense. Sure, show-LF's plan only makes sense if he has the Vale Lords behind him, but that doesn't mean show-LF's plan is stupid, because show-LF does have the Vale Lords behind him. If you're incapable of accepting that this is even possible, much less what's actually happening, then there's no point in continuing to watch the show; nothing afterward will make sense to you.

Exactly. And notice how LF only turns on Cersei after she has given him the North. He was always planning to use Lancel to eliminate Cersei at some point. The queen of Thornes just brought forward his need to take her out.

At this point LF is on track to be Warden of the North and the East at the same time. He has Harenhall and the Riverlands, the Eirie and the Vale and the Sansa gambit has positioned him to take Winterfell.

There are only two other houses left, the Lannisters and the Tyrells. And both are largely in his power. It seems fairly clear that Littlefinger will take the Iron Throne fairly soon.

LF offers Cersei no evidence of his assertion. She just accepts it when he tells her. So why the need to actually put Sansa there?

Because he doesn't care about the whiny brat. It is all Littlefinger for Littlefinger. he is just as bad as Ramsay.

Refusing to accept that the show character is evil and then complaining that he is doing evil things is pathetic.

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Exactly. And notice how LF only turns on Cersei after she has given him the North. He was always planning to use Lancel to eliminate Cersei at some point. The queen of Thornes just brought forward his need to take her out.

Wait, Lancel was the 'handsome young man' that he offered Olenna? Seriously? What leverage does he have over Lancel?

Because he doesn't care about the whiny brat. It is all Littlefinger for Littlefinger. he is just as bad as Ramsay.

Refusing to accept that the show character is evil and then complaining that he is doing evil things is pathetic.

Ah, and it's the snobby book readers who are vitriolic...

*Sigh*

Whether or not LF cares about Sansa is irrelevant. It's the fact that he's risking a game piece needlessly. No good player risks a piece, not even a pawn, if they don't have to.

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Wait, Lancel was the 'handsome young man' that he offered Olenna? Seriously? What leverage does he have over Lancel?

Ah, and it's the snobby book readers who are vitriolic...

*Sigh*

Whether or not LF cares about Sansa is irrelevant. It's the fact that he's risking a game piece needlessly. No good player risks a piece, not even a pawn, if they don't have to.

Littlefinger knows that Cersei was sleeping with Lancel. Lancel has obviously not told the High Sparrow or the High Sparrow has chosen not to make the accusation public yet.

If people want to go round saying the showrunners are stupid then I feel its only fair to point out that the people making the accusations are not the ones in charge of a half billion dollar show and don't appear to be particularly smart.

Littlefinger isn't meant to be a smart player of the game. He is a reckless gambler. He explains this to Sansa earlier in the season. Sometimes you do something that appears to be a mistake just to confuse your enemies.

The reason for sending Sansa to WinterFell was so that he could get the Vale lords to help rescue her.

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Littlefinger knows that Cersei was sleeping with Lancel. Lancel has obviously not told the High Sparrow or the High Sparrow has chosen not to make the accusation public yet.

Except it was pretty clear in the episode that Cersei was arrested that Lancel had confessed. Why would he do so on LF's orders?

Littlefinger isn't meant to be a smart player of the game. He is a reckless gambler. He explains this to Sansa earlier in the season. Sometimes you do something that appears to be a mistake just to confuse your enemies.

Varys called LF the most dangerous man in Westeros. LF has gone from Lord of the Fingers to Lord Paramount of the Trident and Lord Protector of the Vale. He is meant to be a very good player of the game.

The reason for sending Sansa to WinterFell was so that he could get the Vale lords to help rescue her.

Surely one of the first questions that they would ask is: how did she get from the Vale to Winterfell? And the only reasonable explanation is: Littlefinger took her there. And there were a bunch of Vale knights to witness it.

But of course, wasn't the argument that the Vale Lords will follow LF and we snobby book-readers have to accept it? So why does LF need Sansa in Winterfell as their motivation at all?

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Littlefinger knows that Cersei was sleeping with Lancel. Lancel has obviously not told the High Sparrow or the High Sparrow has chosen not to make the accusation public yet.

If people want to go round saying the showrunners are stupid then I feel its only fair to point out that the people making the accusations are not the ones in charge of a half billion dollar show and don't appear to be particularly smart.

Littlefinger isn't meant to be a smart player of the game. He is a reckless gambler. He explains this to Sansa earlier in the season. Sometimes you do something that appears to be a mistake just to confuse your enemies.

The reason for sending Sansa to WinterFell was so that he could get the Vale lords to help rescue her.

Oh and frankly, digs at critics' intelligence just makes you look petty and childish.

Edited by WSmith84

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LF offers Cersei no evidence of his assertion. She just accepts it when he tells her. So why the need to actually put Sansa there?

She doesn't ask for evidence because it would be stupid of him to lie when she can and will find out the truth. You think KL isn't in communication with the Lords Paramount? Unless LF somehow knows that she'll soon be arrested by the Faith and no longer a problem (which seems unlikely), he'd be a fool to make such a transparent lie.

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While flat-out lying about Sansa marrying Ramsay is not even close to an option, disguising a Jeyne Poole as Sansa for Ramsay still seems like his best option.

In fact, it's a better option than the book plot of disguising her as Arya, because (a) she's not the wrong age, and ( B) it's even more believable that show-LF has Sansa under his control (given that it's actually true...) than book-Arya (who hasn't been seen by that many people, but that's still more than the zero who have seen Sansa). As long as LF keeps the real Sansa hidden from the Vale Lords, there's no one to contradict his story. Of course this would require having Roose and Ramsay in on the plot before betraying them, but, as we saw on screen, bringing Roose and Ramsay in on a plot before betraying them is exactly what he intended.

The show doesn't really have Jeyne Poole. (Benioff did claim that the unnamed extra who sat next to Sansa in one scene was Jeyne Poole, but she was never mentioned by anyone in-universe, and never appeared in any scenes in KL.) However, show-Veyon Poole says he has five daughters, and he probably isn't the only one of Ned's men in Winterfell with a daughter reasonably close to Sansa's age and reasonably familiar with Winterfell. And it's not like the writers would have had to set this up in advance; the books didn't set it up at all, and nobody found it implausible.

So, while there's nothing really wrong with LF's plot on the show, there seems to be an obvious even better plot he could have used instead.

Also, even ignoring the in-story benefits of this plan, D&D were looking to introduce a hot new actress this season, and a fake Sansa would have been a way to introduce a hot new actress and show her topless (by having the character/actor both just a tiny bit older than Sansa/Sophie), all while making their writing easier by allowing them to borrow a little more Theon stuff from the books. So, I'm curious why they didn't think of it.

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1. No. You can't blame them for stupid expectations. Mother's Mercy is no different than any other vague title they've had. It's your fault for thinking LSH. Like you can't mention mother without people thinking of LSH.

I believe the title had to do with Cersei and her talk with the high sparrow about prayin to The Mother For Mercy.....maybe?

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This is the problem. If you refuse to accept what the TV series blatantly shows you just because it's different from what happened in the books, then all of the subsequent events don't make sense. Sure, show-LF's plan only makes sense if he has the Vale Lords behind him, but that doesn't mean show-LF's plan is stupid, because show-LF does have the Vale Lords behind him. If you're incapable of accepting that this is even possible, much less what's actually happening, then there's no point in continuing to watch the show; nothing afterward will make sense to you.

I don't feel it makes sense in the show's own context, regardless of the books. It seems to me I'm perfectly within my rights to analyse the show critically. Also, unlike some others who are critical I haven't completely given up on the show and feel this season could just be its lowest point. I admit I consider it an extremely low point but still...

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It is one thing for the show to decide he has the Vale Lords, and another to justify it. "LF has the Vale Lords" is like "Half of Stannis's army disappears with all the horses and nobody noticed". It's stupid and nonsensical and they don't evem try to justify it.

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