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Richard Hoffman

“For the watch”

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1 hour ago, divica said:

I explained next why I thought it didn t work (previous post). It is related to GoT not caring about logic...

I was thinking more along the lines that instead of being stabed to death jon marched to winterfel and defeated the boltons (which can still happen). In the scenarion Stannis was either dead or had been defeated and is hidden somewhere (giving some truth to the PL) and rickon is assumed to be alive (don t know if found or not)

You do realize that I am playing along with you because I am bored?

1 hour ago, divica said:

I think this theory works very well for GoT. In the books I don t think so.

Like the theory or no, agree with the theory or no you were the one who said you wanted to get on with the conversation. The theory, wait one minute while I unscramble my befuddled mind --- what do you mean when you type GoT?

5 hours ago, divica said:

Honestly lets move on to more interesting things!

I am quite curious to know who people think would be in charge of winterfell and the north if jon and the wildlings conquered winterfell and killed the boltons.

Assuming that jon is LC (as he was before being stabed) and that stannis was either defeated (and has basically no army) or is dead. We can also assume people at least know he is alive but at the same is a kid and the north is at war with the IT and the watch says the ww are coming.

I think there may be more than one trisky bird in this thread.

Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off who was left?

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43 minutes ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off who was left?

The other one! :D

 

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On 11/5/2017 at 0:13 AM, Bowen Marsh said:

Dear Mr. Hoffman,

It is very kind of you to show interests in these matters.  It will be my pleasure to talk about what happened on that day when we had to execute Jon Snow.  After all, I am the only member of this forum who was present when it happened.  I was there at the meeting and heard Snow's revelations and intentions.  I was there when the execution took place.  Know that these words are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It was never my intentions to punish Jon for his treason though he deserved an execution for those crimes.  The assassination was a desperate act.  My brothers and myself had no choice.  It was our responsibility to prevent our mad commander from committing an act so unspeakably vile.  He put together an army of wildlings for the purpose of attacking Lord Ramsay Bolton, the heir to the warden of the North.  This is an unprecedented act of aggression.  At no point in our long history has a sitting lord commander ever did anything so illegal as to attack the citizens that we are supposed to be protecting.  This is a clear violation of our oaths and vows.   Even the ancient Night's King drew the line at attacking the people of the north.

What Jon has been doing to get his sister away from Lord Ramsay was already an act of war.  Wildlings acting under Jon's orders went to Winterfell under the guise of friendship and murdered the servants of Lord Roose.  A violation of guest rights by even liberal standards.  He deserved to be removed from his office for this act alone and given an appointment with the chopping block.

Jon planned to further aggravate an already tense situation by making a direct assault on Lord Ramsay and his men.  It was our duty to prevent this atrocity from happening.  Jon was beyond reason by this time and his behavior in the past is an indication that he never valued our counsel nor took our concerns to heart.  Execution was the only way to stop him.

Neither I nor the brave men who followed me were warged nor under the influence of another.  What we did we did of our own free will and out of love and loyalty to the kingdom of Westeros and the watch.  It was a hard decision and one that we did not take pleasure in.  Jon just put us in a difficult situation.  Any blame should rest on his shoulders.  This is all his fault. 

I am proud of the men who helped me take down Jon Snow.  They are all men of honor who risked their lives to prevent war between our former lord commander and the Boltons.  We should make common cause and build an alliance with the warden of the north instead of trying to steal away the bride of his son.  Killing people we are supposed to protect is conduct that is not acceptable for a lord commander of the night's watch.  Our lives are fair trade to stop someone like that and take him down.

I do not have an explanation for Jon's inability to pull his sword out from its scabbard.  Perhaps we took him by surprise and maybe the ice had something to do with it.  Water on the blade will freeze and turn to ice causing a bind between metal and leather.  Perhaps the Gods are punishing him for the unjust execution of our sworn brother, Janos Slynt, and they caused the blade to bind. 

 

For the Watch - Bowen Marsh

Great reply.  To Mr. Hoffman with your letter.  And to Jon Snow with your dagger. 

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7 minutes ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

Great reply.  To Mr. Hoffman with your letter.  And to Jon Snow with your dagger. 

Is there a Mr. Hoffman in your favorite author's books? Yeah I get the satire. What is your point?

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17 minutes ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Is there a Mr. Hoffman in your favorite author's books? Yeah I get the satire. What is your point?

My point?  I agree with Bowen Marsh and his reasons for what he did to Jon. 

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8 hours ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

My point?  I agree with Bowen Marsh and his reasons for what he did to Jon. 

Presumably you think Jon sent the Pink Letter to himself as a pretext for waging war on Ramsey then?  You know like the German border gaurds claimed the Poles were the aggressors in the Gleiwitz incident they staged themselves. 

If not you'll have to allow for Jon responding to an act of aggression from Ramsay.  Threatening to cut someone's heart out if they don't meet unmeetable demands is the very definition of aggressive intent.

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4 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Presumably you think Jon sent the Pink Letter to himself as a pretext for waging war on Ramsey then?  You know like the German border gaurds claimed the Poles were the aggressors in the Gleiwitz incident they staged themselves. 

If not you'll have to allow for Jon responding to an act of aggression from Ramsay.  Threatening to cut someone's heart out if they don't meet unmeetable demands is the very definition of aggressive intent.

You presume too much. 

You're forgetting, Jon triggered that conflict because he sent his wildlings to rescue Arya from Ramsay.  That is an act of war.  Jon started it.

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4 hours ago, the trees have eyes said:

Presumably you think Jon sent the Pink Letter to himself as a pretext for waging war on Ramsey then?  You know like the German border gaurds claimed the Poles were the aggressors in the Gleiwitz incident they staged themselves. 

If not you'll have to allow for Jon responding to an act of aggression from Ramsay.  Threatening to cut someone's heart out if they don't meet unmeetable demands is the very definition of aggressive intent.

I believe Ramsay sent the pink letter in response to Jon's attack on his house.

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3 minutes ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

You presume too much. 

You're forgetting, Jon triggered that conflict because he sent his wildlings to rescue Arya from Ramsay.  That is an act of war.  Jon started it.

Nope. Wrong. 

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5 minutes ago, Lyanna<3Rhaegar said:

Nope. Wrong. 

One thing I just thought now.

How did ramsey discover jon sent mance to winterfel?

I mean, stannis ordered mance's burning. Melissandre is stannis "servant". Mance was stannis prisioner. Stannis was basically in charge of the Wall because he had the army and there was no LC. Stannis would also want to have arya to win the north...

Why would mance tell ramsay the story about jon sending him and why would he believe? How could jon even have faked mance's burning? and why?

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35 minutes ago, divica said:

Why would mance tell ramsay the story about jon sending him and why would he believe? How could jon even have faked mance's burning? and why?

??  It's Melisandre who glamors Mance and hides him as Rattleshirt.  She glamors Rattleshirt to look like Mance and burns him instead.  Jon knows this because Melisandre shows him when she removes the glamor from Mance.  This is all in Melisandre's chapter in Dance with Dragons.

 

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1 hour ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

You presume too much. 

You're forgetting, Jon triggered that conflict because he sent his wildlings to rescue Arya from Ramsay.  That is an act of war.  Jon started it.

Only Jon didn't do that. Perhaps it would be beneficial for you to reread the books. 

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1 hour ago, Skahaz mo Kandaq said:

I believe Ramsay sent the pink letter in response to Jon's attack on his house.

What attack?  Jon sent Mance to fetch a grey girl on dying horse near Long Lake who turned out to be Alys Karstark.  What Mance is up to at Winterfell may well benefit Jon but it's at Melisandre's instigation. 

Jon doesn't have and has never had (f)Arya to be able to return to this psycopathic rapist and serial murderer whose rights you seem so vexed over.  I think Ramsay actually knows that because if Jon had (f)Arya he would lose no time in revealing that she is not in fact Arya Stark and all those Northmen following him and Roose would start using those knives they have been sharpening since the Red Wedding and Sack of Winterfell.  It smacks of a desperate attempt to keep the Bolton's sham marraige that enables their shaky power grab on the road but the wheels are falling off.

It will be interesting to see where all these fans of the Boltons go when their House is extinguished in TWOW.  You could start getting exercised over UnGregor's rights I suppose.

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38 minutes ago, LynnS said:

??  It's Melisandre who glamors Mance and hides him as Rattleshirt.  She glamors Rattleshirt to look like Mance and burns him instead.  Jon knows this because Melisandre shows him when she removes the glamor from Mance.  This is all in Melisandre's chapter in Dance with Dragons.

 

yes. But why would mance tell THAT story. It is very unbelivable that melissandre faked mance's burning because jon asked her or that she would volunteer mance to go get arya because jon wanted it. Mel obeys stannis and stannis was the one in charge of the wildlings at that time. It is very unbelivable that jon could do anything it is said in the PL.

It would make more sense to say that stannis was behind everything. That he ordered melissandre to do those things so that mance could go get arya and he could use her to unify the north! From ramsay's perspective he knows stannis needs a stark and arya is the most available one.

In addition, if the PL is true. By acusing jon mance is putting the wildlings in danger...

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21 minutes ago, divica said:

yes. But why would mance tell THAT story. It is very unbelivable that melissandre faked mance's burning because jon asked her or that she would volunteer mance to go get arya because jon wanted it. Mel obeys stannis and stannis was the one in charge of the wildlings at that time. It is very unbelivable that jon could do anything it is said in the PL.

It would make more sense to say that stannis was behind everything. That he ordered melissandre to do those things so that mance could go get arya and he could use her to unify the north! From ramsay's perspective he knows stannis needs a stark and arya is the most available one.

In addition, if the PL is true. By acusing jon mance is putting the wildlings in danger...

I don't think we know what Mance is up to.  He seems to have his own agenda when speaks of the 'ploy'.  I'm not even sure Melisandre knows what this is.

Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - Melisandre I

"Are we talking about betrayals? What was the name of that wildling wife of yours, Snow? Ygritte, wasn't it?" The wildling turned to Melisandre. "I will need horses. Half a dozen good ones. And this is nothing I can do alone. Some of the spearwives penned up at Mole's Town should serve. Women would be best for this. The girl's more like to trust them, and they will help me carry off a certain ploy I have in mind."

 

I suspect the PL is part of the ploy.

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39 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I don't think we know what Mance is up to.  He seems to have his own agenda when speaks of the 'ploy'.  I'm not even sure Melisandre knows what this is.

I suspect the PL is part of the ploy.

This precisely.  Mance clearly speaks of a "ploy" that has nothing to do with rescuing Arya from Long Lake.  It's likely he needed the spearwives to as part of his plot to infiltrate Winterfell, but it's unclear what exactly he wants from Winterfell.  2 best guesses as you mentioned are the PL and/or something to do with the Crypts of Winterfell.  I suppose that it's possible Mance upon not finding "Arya" at Long Lake decided she was likely at Winterfell still and changed his plans to go rescue her, but again, I think it's far more likely that Mance always had a "ploy" in mind involving using the spearwives to infiltrate Winterfell.

This begs the question of whether Mance is doing this of his own accord or whether Melisandre is pulling the strings (and furthermore whether Stannis is pulling Melisandre's strings and knows that Stannis is alive, etc.).

I do think, that supposing Ramsay is actually the author of the PL, Ramsay could have caught and tortured a spearwife and she likely would have told him that she was there with Mance and that they were sent by Jon Snow (I don't think a spearwife would have been made aware of Stannis/Melisandre's involvement, it was Jon who ultimately agreed to allow Mance the spearwives, and Dolorous Edd who went and smuggled them from Mole's Town.)  

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29 minutes ago, Tagganaro said:

This precisely.  Mance clearly speaks of a "ploy" that has nothing to do with rescuing Arya from Long Lake.  It's likely he needed the spearwives to as part of his plot to infiltrate Winterfell, but it's unclear what exactly he wants from Winterfell.  2 best guesses as you mentioned are the PL and/or something to do with the Crypts of Winterfell.  I suppose that it's possible Mance upon not finding "Arya" at Long Lake decided she was likely at Winterfell still and changed his plans to go rescue her, but again, I think it's far more likely that Mance always had a "ploy" in mind involving using the spearwives to infiltrate Winterfell.

This begs the question of whether Mance is doing this of his own accord or whether Melisandre is pulling the strings (and furthermore whether Stannis is pulling Melisandre's strings and knows that Stannis is alive, etc.).

I do think, that supposing Ramsay is actually the author of the PL, Ramsay could have caught and tortured a spearwife and she likely would have told him that she was there with Mance and that they were sent by Jon Snow (I don't think a spearwife would have been made aware of Stannis/Melisandre's involvement, it was Jon who ultimately agreed to allow Mance the spearwives, and Dolorous Edd who went and smuggled them from Mole's Town.)  

I wonder if Mance's ploy involves infiltrating the enemy camp by joining them.  Ramsey wouldn't have a hard time believing that Mance is Jon's enemy.  The language of the letter points to Mance except for the add-on of Reek at the end.  It's purpose seems to be to get the wildling army to Winterfell which would give Mance the chance to take WF from Ramsey and then negoitiate with Stannis.  I'm not sure if Stannis' women will go but I can see Melisandre going with the wildlings since I'm not sure that Stannis knows Mance is alive.  Was this done in secret without Roose's knowledge?

Edit: Mance has to know that Jon will not bring the women; so he's after fighting men.  He knows how the wildlings will react.  He's playing Jon as well since Mance must know that Arya is a fake; Jon doesn't know that and neither does Melisandre.  He's playing Ramsey who thinks that Jon has both Arya and Reek.  

Edited by LynnS

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Wick Whittlestick is Casca...

Just as Wick barely grazed Jon's neck with the first dagger, Casca was the first to cut Ceaser with a glancing cut to the neck. Just as Caesar caught Casca by the arm, Jon caught Wick's wrist. Just as Wick retreated and put his arms up, Casca was frighted and shouted for help. That Jon understood this to mean that Wick was denying involvement was very curious. I'm not sure what to make of that other than he might have been mistaken. That Bowen Marsh wept and claimed to be doing it for the Watch clearly alluded to Brutus...

"Let's kill him boldly, but not wrathfully; Let's carve him as a dish fit for the gods, Not hew him as a carcass fit for hounds:"

--Julius Caesar, Shakespeare

And Brutus expected his fellow Romans to be glad, going so far as to persuade his fellow conspirators to ignore Marcus Antonius. Given the strong allusion to the assassination of Julius Caesar I'm assuming that Bowen will expect his brothers to be glad. I don't think he has a plan. And much like Brutus was forced to flee Rome in short order I think Bowen is in a very, very tight spot.

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First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the people who come to this site to tangle with the colossus that is ASoIaF and want to especially thank this thread for stretching my understanding in so many ways. I honestly believe it has changed and expanded my efforts in ways that I never expected and appreciate the encouragement and affirmation for my efforts as well as the criticism and denials. I also feel like I should freely and unabashedly admit Jon Snow is my favorite character and will probably always be, up to and until the last page of ADoS passes before my eyes and into my heart and soul, gods willing. I love other characters wholeheartedly too, but Jon was my most immediate and visceral portal into the squalor and splendor that is Westeros. I was a 14 year old boy getting drunk with the other riff raff at the lower tables once too and more times than not woke up the next day with a headache and a dog eared copy of some sci fi or fantasy classic. Times change but men do not, unless they choose to do so. I mentioned on another thread I picked up a copy of AGoT on a whim one day while grocery shopping because there was buzz about the other version and I was curious. I hadn't read a fantasy novel in more years than I will admit and feel blessed that I returned to where I began. It sat on my table for a month. I picked it up a handful of times and thought, "What are wildlings? What is an Other? Why do they always mix real names with made up ones?" But after a few attempts, I was in the flow with really no other preconceived notions except I knew there were dragons and my brother told me the other version had lots of sex and nudity. Two things I happen to enjoy. That got me as far as AGoT, Bran 1 and as they say, the rest is history and mythology and mystery and magic and violence and hate and war and religion and politics and love and the promise of peace... well you've all read the books, but Jon was the one who I needed to seal to the deal for me. "Many roads lead to the same castle." I even went to my local bookstore for ADWD and was surprised when the clerk brought out a hardcover and even more surprised to find out the series wasn't even finished! All of this is to say, I feel I was fortunate to get my first full read without any real outside input except what GRRM put down on the pages, because I was able to transport myself back to that 14 year old sense of wonder and imagination and at this point in my life, trust me, that is a rare and precious thing. I won't experience the final two books in the same manner, except that I have faith GRRM will surprise and baffle and delight me in ways I haven't guessed. Now I came to this site and other sites because I wanted to learn what the group mind had to offer and be open to new ways of looking at the novels and have been astonished at times, how much it has increased my appreciation and awareness and sometimes it comes from unexpected places. But openness was my vow. It's not just an intellectual puzzle. If it upsets me, I try to ask myself why. Sometimes Patchface knows more than Tyrion, and Mully more than Jon, but always and I mean always, listen to your Direwolf!
I promised a few weeks ago to visit The Garden of Gethsemarsh and I meant it, but first I needed to take some time to reflect on what I should say and how and what the power of a moment of clarity holds. I also want to thank kissedbyfire for her graceful generosity and dedication to these books and this site as, I think, 10,000 plus posts and counting attests and her uncanny ability to drop nuggets of gold into the middle of any discussion and for dropping the perfect quote for me personally when I needed it, proving words matter and miracles happen. I bend a knee. I also want to thank Widowmaker 811 for "snarling in the midst of all" because he helped me look deeper and maybe I wouldn't have otherwise. I extend a hand. Mysteries great and small are what I believe the master is asking us to look at and he's given us clues great and small from his first word but: What is an Other?, I believe is the biggest of them all, followed by a number of others including: What do Dragons know? Why is the Sphinx the Riddle? Where do Whores go? GRRM is truly a master and I owe him a debt of gratitude I will never be able to pay directly, for the Song he has brought us, but even if I had the chance to kneel and pledge, I know beyond the Shadow of Asshai, he would snort like an Old Bear and tell me to put my sword on, because I'm going to need it.
So, all that being said, I would like to say a few things and drop a few quotes to hopefully further this discussion. I've been asserting the idea that Jon assumed a ruling authority when he became Lord Commander that was akin to a king within the boundaries of the Wall but maybe it's more helpful to think of it more like the authority that Doran holds in Dorne. We know the title of the Prince of Dorne is largely ceremonial and ruling authority similar to that of a Lord in any of the other Kingdoms but again I think GRRM purposefully leaves some of the legal distinctions vague and why he may have done so, was to set up a contrasting parallel between Doran in the South and Jon in the North, much the way I read somewhere that he wanted to do between Cersei and Daenarys. I don't have the SSM but believe it was one of the harder decisions for him when he split AFfC and ADwD to not be able to have us read them together and I think he wanted us to do the same with Jon and Doran. One of the reasons, I think, is about temperament and decision making in both cases and it's a really crafty one. Doran sits and thinks and broods and never seems to act, whereas Jon moves constantly, trains constantly and makes loads of decisions and commands as he deems necessary. One is plotting at a glacial pace and one is forging ahead and they are both worried about where those plans are headed, what might happen to foil them and especially worried about what has or may happen to someone they love; Quentyn and Arya. Someone up thread and I wish I could find it, mentioned the pacing of Jon's final chapter and how he felt it almost seemed rushed to the printing press and it reminded me of some of my feelings of frustration reading Jon's chapters, most notably the chapters revolving around his plans for letting the wildlings through the Wall and how dense Bowen and Yarwyck seem to be. I believe it's intentional on GRRM's part and a sublime use of the POV technique. I think a careful analysis of Jon's thoughts and his feelings throughout ASoIaF are very illuminating, but it seems to me it gets ramped up significantly by Jon Chapter 13. I think GRRM wants us to feel Jon's frustration and he wants us to look at why and what the reasons are for that frustration, but I think most importantly he wants us to feel it. I believe the same of Doran, but this is a thread for the Watch. I hope to find time in the future to do an AFfDwD reading because I wonder if it adds insight.

Quote

Quote
A Dance with Dragons - Jon VIII
"Thousands of enemies. Thousands of wildlings."
Thousands of people, Jon thought. Men, women, children. Anger rose inside him, but when he spoke his voice was quiet and cold. "Are you so blind, or is it that you do not wish to see? What do you think will happen when all these enemies are dead?"
Above the door the raven muttered, "Dead, dead, dead."


 This one in particular has stuck with me from my first reading and I'm glad it did because I picked up my book and looked to see what I could find and it helped me pick up on a few others that I think are crucial to a better glimpse into unraveling what happens in Jon Chapter 13.

Quote

Quote
A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
Let them die," said Queen Selyse.
It was the answer that Jon Snow had expected. This queen never fails to disappoint. Somehow that did not soften the blow. "Your Grace," he persisted stubbornly, "they are starving at Hardhome by the thousands. Many are women—"
"—and children, yes. Very sad." The queen pulled her daughter closer to her and kissed her cheek. The cheek unmarred by greyscale, Jon did not fail to note. "We are sorry for the little ones, of course, but we must be sensible. We have no food for them, and they are too young to help the king my husband in his wars. Better that they be reborn into the light."
That was just a softer way of saying let them die.


 
Probably the hardest, coldest, but most prudent message Jon needs to hear, from one of the worst possible candidates to tell him and later it's reiterated by Melisandre. We know Hardhome is probably a lost cause because we have more information available to us than Jon does, but even without the full picture, the message is most likely true. He can't save them. He doesn't have the men or resources to do so and his mind seems to get more and more focused on it and in some ways, blind to the bigger picture around him. It's a noble and even practical desire to a certain extent, but probably in vain regardless. The thing that finally dawned on me though was his emotional state. He is worried he can't convince enough people and scared he might be wrong and then angry to the point of projecting what the answer will be and when he gets what he feared, the disappointment cuts even harder than he expected. The queen kisses her child and he judges the way she does it. Now I would suggest a reread and note that Selyse gives as good as she gets, but it's Jon's POV for a reason. I think this next passage is interesting too.

Quote

Quote
A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
Queen Selyse pursed her lips. "Lord Snow, as Lady Val is a stranger to our ways, please send her to me, that I might instruct her in the duties of a noble lady toward her lord husband."
That will go splendidly, I know. Jon wondered if the queen would be so eager to see Val married to one of her own knights if she knew Val's feelings about Princess Shireen. "As you wish," he said, "though if I might speak freely—"
"No, I think not. You may take your leave of us."


 
Sarcasm mixed a bit with scorn from Jon, he has little respect for her viewpoint, as he recognizes the ignorance contained in it and is, I believe, angry he has to defer to her in her rank as Queen. He also recognizes her scorn directed at him and his viewpoints.  When he persists despite all that, he  gets a brusque dismissal. Interestingly too, this exchange also comes on the heels of a joke from Patchface (which I believe hints at Jon's resurrection) and Jon is "less amused" than the assembled Queen's Men and I think he feels thay are mocking him and his efforts.
 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
He took the steps two at a time, nodding to the queen's guards as he descended. Her Grace had posted men on every landing to keep her safe from murderous wildlings. Halfway down, a voice called out from above him. "Jon Snow."
Jon turned. "Lady Melisandre."
"We must speak."
Must we?" I think not. "My lady, I have duties."
"It is those duties I would speak of." She made her way down, the hem of her scarlet skirts swishing over the steps. It almost seemed as if she floated. "Where is your direwolf?"

He leaves in a rush and encounters Melisandre. Again his thoughts are turn to sarcasm with the mention of "murderous wildlings" and anger at the Queen's ignorance, but then he adopts the Queen's dismissive tone with Melisandre. "I think not." "I have duties." The isolation of his command and the adoption of an imperious tone. He believes Mel has power and wants to believe it will help him, but he dismisses her as being below him in the ranking. They argue somewhat  about the validity and value of her help and I think as a result he misses her most crucial counsel, "Where is your direwolf?" Jon has isolated himself from his best friends and most ardent supporters but most critically has shut himself off from his most potent power, the direwolf, which I believe is a totemic connection to the will and power of the gods.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
"I have made mistakes, I have admitted as much, but—"
"A grey girl on a dying horse. Daggers in the dark. A promised prince, born in smoke and salt. It seems to me that you make nothing but mistakes, my lady. Where is Stannis? What of Rattleshirt and his spearwives? Where is my sister?"
"All your questions shall be answered. Look to the skies, Lord Snow. And when you have your answers, send to me. Winter is almost upon us now. I am your only hope."
"A fool's hope." Jon turned and left her.


 
Melisandre admits she is imperfect and Jon concludes that only a fool would believe her, so even though he knows she has power, he almost seems to label himself a fool, as he is running out of hope and he rejects her counsel. The clincher for me in this passage too, is his thought "Where is my sister?" He is immersed in feelings of anger and frustration at what he believes to be the potential unraveling of his plans and his best work as LC, but his mind goes to his most personal  and perhaps, worst fear; Arya's death or maybe even fate worse than death.  After leaving Melisandre he engages Leathers in another discussion of the logistics of the Hardhome mission. Interpersed with the dialogue are Jon's thoughts and doubts. Leathers is a fine swordsman and able Master at Arms but he is probably not the wisest adviser. Then the pivotal confrontation with Ghost.

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A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
"Unless your lordship has some other white wolf, aye. I never seen him like this, m'lord. All wild-like, I mean."
He was not wrong, as Jon discovered for himself when he slipped inside the doors. The big white direwolf would not lie still. He paced from one end of the armory to the other, past the cold forge and back again. "Easy, Ghost," Jon called. "Down. Sit, Ghost. Down." Yet when he made to touch him, the wolf bristled and bared his teeth. It's that bloody boar. Even in here, Ghost can smell his stink.
Mormont's raven seemed agitated too. "Snow," the bird kept screaming. "Snow, snow, snow." Jon shooed him off, had Satin start a fire, then sent him out after Bowen Marsh and Othell Yarwyck. "Bring a flagon of mulled wine as well."

This passage always struck me because Ghost is oviously agitated but most tellingly he is angry with Jon too and I believe it's because Ghost is trying to tell Jon exactly what Jon tells Ghost: Easy. Stop running. Sit down. Think this through. Listen to your heart. Use the power the gods have given you! I also love that Mormon't raven, another totemic vessel is agitated as well and screaming his name, but Jon can't hear the warnings or doesn't know how to listen. He is locked into his frantically searching mind. Jon resolves to blame the boar ( who I believe plays a part in the overall tapestry of ASoIaF, as Robert was killed by a boar, but that's for another thread) and it echoes the same rationale he gave to Melisandre earlier when they discuss Ghost. I think it even reflects some of the same ignorance that Yarwyck displays in his observations of the boar army and his ignorance of skinchanging. Jon has the power but he resists using it out of fear of how he would be perceived and also because of a lack of knowledge. Then enter Bowen and Yarwyck. I won't pull a lot of quotes because I think we all have a good understanding of the conflicts and tensions between Jon and Marsh, in particular, but also with Jon and other members of the Watch. Jon believes what he is doing with regards to the wildlings is in everyones best interest and I think it is too, but  his hardest task is teaching and enlightening his Sworn Brothers. It is easier to convince the wildlings to trust him, even with the hostages, I believe, because Jon's truce gives them hope. The doubting brothers of the Watch, however, are less faithful. Many are riddled with fear and doubt and prejudice and some, like Bowen worry that Jon't methods will get them all killed. So, after the final argument with them we get another passage that I find pivotal.
 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
Jon sat back. "Is that the only counsel you can offer, my lord? Tormund is bringing eighty men. How many should we send? Shall we call upon the giants? The spearwives at Long Barrow? If we have women with us, it may put Mother Mole's people at ease."
"Send women, then. Send giants. Send suckling babes. Is that what my lord wishes to hear?" Bowen Marsh rubbed at the scar he had won at the Bridge of Skulls. "Send them all. The more we lose, the fewer mouths we'll have to feed."
Yarwyck was no more helpful. "If the wildlings at Hardhome need saving, let the wildlings here go save them. Tormund knows the way to Hardhome. To hear him talk, he can save them all himself with his huge member."
This was pointless, Jon thought. Pointless, fruitless, hopeless. "Thank you for your counsel, my lords."
Satin helped them back into their cloaks. As they walked through the armory, Ghost sniffed at them, his tail upraised and bristling. My brothers. The Night's Watch needed leaders with the wisdom of Maester Aemon, the learning of Samwell Tarly, the courage of Qhorin Halfhand, the stubborn strength of the Old Bear, the compassion of Donal Noye. What it had instead was them.

Jon reiterates his desire for real help and real counsel but I think from the viewpoint that though, they both "were no lickspittles," the are "seldom any help either." He's beyond tired of fighting with their prejudices and fears and ignorance. He's reached a point of despair coupled with excessive pride. Jon has lost hope. He believes his worst fears will come true. Bowen for his part reminds Jon of his personal wounds but also his utter antipathy for Jon's refusal to listen to him and I think, maybe also a recognition that sometimes Jon wants approval more than counsel. He wants them to tell him what he wants to hear, rather than maybe what he needs to hear. I think that  the hard truth is that despite Jon's best intentions and courage and wisdom and compassion and strength and learning, he can't possibly solve his dilemma and he can't save everyone. In fact, the gods aren't calling him to save everyone. They are calling him to lead and even though he does it better than anyone else the watch has to offer, he doubts his abilities and he fears the fruit his endeavors will bear.  If Jon had been able to set aside his stubborn pride and surrender to his faith, he would unlock the fullness of his potential and realize the power that is right in front of him and has been guiding him since chapter 1 of AgoT, and the final line of the paragraph would have read "What it had instead was me," and the recognition the gods have placed him there to take those lessons of the former leaders, honor his oath and lead the NW toward the fulfillment of their vows. Jon has transferred his inner crisis of doubt and his failure to recognize his truest strengths to his brothers inability to recognize the value of his efforts. Quite simply stated, I believe, Jon wants to be the Warrior but the gods are telling him he is called to be the Father. He wants to be a Lord Commander but the gods are telling him he is called to be a Prince and that is what lead me to the Garden of Gethsemarsh.
After the meeting with Bowen and Yarwyck, Jon moves quickly towards his reckoning but the warnings don't cease. He finds some solace in Tormund's company and the last gathering in his apartments. . He reminds himself of his desire to learn more about the wights and what to do about Cregan. All things that he knows are important to learn about and understand, but he's unable to shake the worry and the obsessive need to solve the dilemma of Hardhome. Mormont's raven urges him to eat and that subtle "Corn? Corn? Corn?" warning of where he is headed. Then the bombshell of the Pink Letter with one of my favorite serious jokes.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
"Dark wings, dark words," muttered Tormund. "Isn't that what you kneelers say?"
"We say, Bleed a cold but feast a fever too," Jon told him. "We say, Never drink with Dornishmen when the moon is full. We say a lot of things."
Mully added his two groats. "My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever."

The seriousness of the letter is evident in Clydas' demeanor. Tormund is almost silenced (Har! Fer Once Almost) by the implication of gravity but Jon again resorts to sarcasm in the face of another unwanted intrusion on his overwrought plans. Mully then offers Jon maybe the last best bit of wisdom he will get before the reading of the letter and the events of the  Shieldhall and he dismisses it out of hand. Winter has arrived. Melisandre warned him it was close and his efforst were in vain. She told him to look to the skies and he sees that as the "Dark wings, dark words," of the letter but just prior to his Ghost confrontation he had gotten another sign from his gods.
 

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
"He glanced up past the King's Tower. The Wall was a dull white, the sky above it whiter. A snow sky. "Just pray we do not get another storm."

I think it's a call to him to stay his course and use his power to cement the bond between the wildlings and the Watch and also a call to pray and ask for guidance before the full storm arrives. It reminds me of Melisandre seeing Snow in her fires, but Jon lacks the full awareness of faith he needs to recognize the signs. He doesn't yet recognize it's his power. The Wall is his wall. Snow is his element. He is the snow sky and the white is the light of truth. The power to unlock the mystery of the Other. But the Pink Letter, even with him and Toregg realizing it contains half truths and impossible demands, breaks most of the last strands of Jon's hope. It inflames his worst fears and feelings of guilt and the utter shock and despair and hopelessness of believing he has lost all of the people he holds most dear in his heart, excep, perhap, for one. The faint glimmer that Arya, his beacon of innocence and love may be alive. He makes the choice I would make and I believe most people would. We know it's a "fool's hope" in that it's not even Arya, but Jon doesn't. He clings to it like it's a fading ember and all his other worries recede. He puts Hardhome and the potential for all the dangers around him aside and focuses on the most personal and poignant of his fears and I think resolves to take the power of the wildlings as his own and many of them readily agree to follow him. He chooses to be the Warrior, but again, I believe the gods want him for another purpose.

I have much and more to say on this but am still working on the Shieldhall and assassination scenes. I hope it speaks to some and hope my delay in getting this down hasn't atrophied this thread to the point of no return. It's a great topic.

Edited by Edgar Allen Poemont
Clarity

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19 minutes ago, Edgar Allen Poemont said:

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the people who come to this site to tangle with the colossus that is ASoIaF and want to especially thank this thread for stretching my understanding in so many ways. I honestly believe it has changed and expanded my efforts in ways that I never expected and appreciate the encouragement and affirmation for my efforts as well as the criticism and denials. I also feel like I should freely and unabashedly admit Jon Snow is my favorite character and will probably always be, up to and until the last page of ADoS passes before my eyes and into my heart and soul, gods willing. I love other characters wholeheartedly too, but Jon was my most immediate and visceral portal into the squalor and splendor that is Westeros. I was a 14 year old boy getting drunk with the other riff raff at the lower tables once too and more times than not woke up the next day with a headache and a dog eared copy of some sci fi or fantasy classic. Times change but men do not, unless they choose to do so. I mentioned on another thread I picked up a copy of AGoT on a whim one day while grocery shopping because there was buzz about the other version and I was curious. I hadn't read a fantasy novel in more years than I will admit and feel blessed that I returned to where I began. It sat on my table for a month. I picked it up a handful of times and thought, "What are wildlings? What is an Other? Why do they always mix real names with made up ones?" But after a few attempts, I was in the flow with really no other preconceived notions except I knew there were dragons and my brother told me the other version had lots of sex and nudity. Two things I happen to enjoy. That got me as far as AGoT, Bran 1 and as they say, the rest is history and mythology and mystery and magic and violence and hate and war and religion and politics and love and the promise of peace... well you've all read the books, but Jon was the one who I needed to seal to the deal for me. "Many roads lead to the same castle." I even went to my local bookstore for ADWD and was surprised when the clerk brought out a hardcover and even more surprised to find out the series wasn't even finished! All of this is to say, I feel I was fortunate to get my first full read without any real outside input except what GRRM put down on the pages, because I was able to transport myself back to that 14 year old sense of wonder and imagination and at this point in my life, trust me, that is a rare and precious thing. I won't experience the final two books in the same manner, except that I have faith GRRM will surprise and baffle and delight me in ways I haven't guessed. Now I came to this site and other sites because I wanted to learn what the group mind had to offer and be open to new ways of looking at the novels and have been astonished at times, how much it has increased my appreciation and awareness and sometimes it comes from unexpected places. But openness was my vow. It's not just an intellectual puzzle. If it upsets me, I try to ask myself why. Sometimes Patchface knows more than Tyrion, and Mully more than Jon, but always and I mean always, listen to your Direwolf!
I promised a few weeks ago to visit The Garden of Gethsemarsh and I meant it, but first I needed to take some time to reflect on what I should say and how and what the power of a moment of clarity holds. I also want to thank kissedbyfire for her graceful generosity and dedication to these books and this site as, I think, 10,000 plus posts and counting attests and her uncanny ability to drop nuggets of gold into the middle of any discussion and for dropping the perfect quote for me personally when I needed it, proving words matter and miracles happen. I bend a knee. I also want to thank Widowmaker 811 for "snarling in the midst of all" because he helped me look deeper and maybe I wouldn't have otherwise. I extend a hand. Mysteries great and small are what I believe the master is asking us to look at and he's given us clues great and small from his first word but: What is an Other?, I believe is the biggest of them all, followed by a number of others including: What do Dragons know? Why is the Sphinx the Riddle? Where do Whores go? GRRM is truly a master and I owe him a debt of gratitude I will never be able to pay directly, for the Song he has brought us, but even if I had the chance to kneel and pledge, I know beyond the Shadow of Asshai, he would snort like an Old Bear and tell me to put my sword on, because I'm going to need it.
So, all that being said, I would like to say a few things and drop a few quotes to hopefully further this discussion. I've been asserting the idea that Jon assumed a ruling authority when he became Lord Commander that was akin to a king within the boundaries of the Wall but maybe it's more helpful to think of it more like the authority that Doran holds in Dorne. We know the title of the Prince of Dorne is largely ceremonial and ruling authority similar to that of a Lord in any of the other Kingdoms but again I think GRRM purposefully leaves some of the legal distinctions vague and why he may have done so, was to set up a contrasting parallel between Doran in the South and Jon in the North, much the way I read somewhere that he wanted to do between Cersei and Daenarys. I don't have the SSM but believe it was one of the harder decisions for him when he split AFfC and ADwD to not be able to have us read them together and I think he wanted us to do the same with Jon and Doran. One of the reasons, I think, is about temperament and decision making in both cases and it's a really crafty one. Doran sits and thinks and broods and never seems to act, whereas Jon moves constantly, trains constantly and makes loads of decisions and commands as he deems necessary. One is plotting at a glacial pace and one is forging ahead and they are both worried about where those plans are headed, what might happen to foil them and especially worried about what has or may happen to someone they love; Quentyn and Arya. Someone up thread and I wish I could find it, mentioned the pacing of Jon's final chapter and how he felt it almost seemed rushed to the printing press and it reminded me of some of my feelings of frustration reading Jon's chapters, most notably the chapters revolving around his plans for letting the wildlings through the Wall and how dense Bowen and Yarwyck seem to be. I believe it's intentional on GRRM's part and a sublime use of the POV technique. I think a careful analysis of Jon's thoughts and his feelings throughout ASoIaF are very illuminating, but it seems to me it gets ramped up significantly by Jon Chapter 13. I think GRRM wants us to feel Jon's frustration and he wants us to look at why and what the reasons are for that frustration, but I think most importantly he wants us to feel it. I believe the same of Doran, but this is a thread for the Watch. I hope to find time in the future to do an AFfDwD reading because I wonder if it adds insight.


 This one in particular has stuck with me from my first reading and I'm glad it did because I picked up my book and looked to see what I could find and it helped me pick up on a few others that I think are crucial to a better glimpse into unraveling what happens in Jon Chapter 13.


 
Probably the hardest, coldest, but most prudent message Jon needs to hear, from one of the worst possible candidates to tell him and later it's reiterated by Melisandre. We know Hardhome is probably a lost cause because we have more information available to us than Jon does, but even without the full picture, the message is most likely true. He can't save them. He doesn't have the men or resources to do so and his mind seems to get more and more focused on it and in some ways, blind to the bigger picture around him. It's a noble and even practical desire to a certain extent, but probably in vain regardless. The thing that finally dawned on me though was his emotional state. He is worried he can't convince enough people and scared he might be wrong and then angry to the point of projecting what the answer will be and when he gets what he feared, the disappointment cuts even harder than he expected. The queen kisses her child and he judges the way she does it. Now I would suggest a reread and note that Selyse gives as good as she gets, but it's Jon's POV for a reason. I think this next passage is interesting too.


 
Sarcasm mixed a bit with scorn from Jon, he has little respect for her viewpoint, as he recognizes the ignorance contained in it and is, I believe, angry he has to defer to her in her rank as Queen. He also recognizes her scorn directed at him and his viewpoints.  When he persists despite all that, he  gets a brusque dismissal. Interestingly too, this exchange also comes on the heels of a joke from Patchface (which I believe hints at Jon's resurrection) and Jon is "less amused" than the assembled Queen's Men and I think he feels thay are mocking him and his efforts.
 

He leaves in a rush and encounters Melisandre. Again his thoughts are turn to sarcasm with the mention of "murderous wildlings" and anger at the Queen's ignorance, but then he adopts the Queen's dismissive tone with Melisandre. "I think not." "I have duties." The isolation of his command and the adoption of an imperious tone. He believes Mel has power and wants to believe it will help him, but he dismisses her as being below him in the ranking. They argue somewhat  about the validity and value of her help and I think as a result he misses her most crucial counsel, "Where is your direwolf?" Jon has isolated himself from his best friends and most ardent supporters but most critically has shut himself off from his most potent power, the direwolf, which I believe is a totemic connection to the will and power of the gods.


 
Melisandre admits she is imperfect and Jon concludes that only a fool would believe her, so even though he knows she has power, he almost seems to label himself a fool, as he is running out of hope and he rejects her counsel. The clincher for me in this passage too, is his thought "Where is my sister?" He is immersed in feelings of anger and frustration at what he believes to be the potential unraveling of his plans and his best work as LC, but his mind goes to his most personal  and perhaps, worst fear; Arya's death or maybe even fate worse than death.  After leaving Melisandre he engages Leathers in another discussion of the logistics of the Hardhome mission. Interpersed with the dialogue are Jon's thoughts and doubts. Leathers is a fine swordsman and able Master at Arms but he is probably not the wisest adviser. Then the pivotal confrontation with Ghost.

This passage always struck me because Ghost is oviously agitated but most tellingly he is angry with Jon too and I believe it's because Ghost is trying to tell Jon exactly what Jon tells Ghost: Easy. Stop running. Sit down. Think this through. Listen to your heart. Use the power the gods have given you! I also love that Mormon't raven, another totemic vessel is agitated as well and screaming his name, but Jon can't hear the warnings or doesn't know how to listen. He is locked into his frantically searching mind. Jon resolves to blame the boar ( who I believe plays a part in the overall tapestry of ASoIaF, as Robert was killed by a boar, but that's for another thread) and it echoes the same rationale he gave to Melisandre earlier when they discuss Ghost. I think it even reflects some of the same ignorance that Yarwyck displays in his observations of the boar army and his ignorance of skinchanging. Jon has the power but he resists using it out of fear of how he would be perceived and also because of a lack of knowledge. Then enter Bowen and Yarwyck. I won't pull a lot of quotes because I think we all have a good understanding of the conflicts and tensions between Jon and Marsh, in particular, but also with Jon and other members of the Watch. Jon believes what he is doing with regards to the wildlings is in everyones best interest and I think it is too, but  his hardest task is teaching and enlightening his Sworn Brothers. It is easier to convince the wildlings to trust him, even with the hostages, I believe, because Jon's truce gives them hope. The doubting brothers of the Watch, however, are less faithful. Many are riddled with fear and doubt and prejudice and some, like Bowen worry that Jon't methods will get them all killed. So, after the final argument with them we get another passage that I find pivotal.
 

Jon reiterates his desire for real help and real counsel but I think from the viewpoint that though, they both "were no lickspittles," the are "seldom any help either." He's beyond tired of fighting with their prejudices and fears and ignorance. He's reached a point of despair coupled with excessive pride. Jon has lost hope. He believes his worst fears will come true. Bowen for his part reminds Jon of his personal wounds but also his utter antipathy for Jon's refusal to listen to him and I think, maybe also a recognition that sometimes Jon wants approval more than counsel. He wants them to tell him what he wants to hear, rather than maybe what he needs to hear. I think that  the hard truth is that despite Jon's best intentions and courage and wisdom and compassion and strength and learning, he can't possibly solve his dilemma and he can't save everyone. In fact, the gods aren't calling him to save everyone. They are calling him to lead and even though he does it better than anyone else the watch has to offer, he doubts his abilities and he fears the fruit his endeavors will bear.  If Jon had been able to set aside his stubborn pride and surrender to his faith, he would unlock the fullness of his potential and realize the power that is right in front of him and has been guiding him since chapter 1 of AgoT, and the final line of the paragraph would have read "What it had instead was me," and the recognition the gods have placed him there to take those lessons of the former leaders, honor his oath and lead the NW toward the fulfillment of their vows. Jon has transferred his inner crisis of doubt and his failure to recognize his truest strengths to his brothers inability to recognize the value of his efforts. Quite simply stated, I believe, Jon wants to be the Warrior but the gods are telling him he is called to be the Father. He wants to be a Lord Commander but the gods are telling him he is called to be a Prince and that is what lead me to the Garden of Gethsemarsh.
After the meeting with Bowen and Yarwyck, Jon moves quickly towards his reckoning but the warnings don't cease. He finds some solace in Tormund's company and the last gathering in his apartments. . He reminds himself of his desire to learn more about the wights and what to do about Cregan. All things that he knows are important to learn about and understand, but he's unable to shake the worry and the obsessive need to solve the dilemma of Hardhome. Mormont's raven urges him to eat and that subtle "Corn? Corn? Corn?" warning of where he is headed. Then the bombshell of the Pink Letter with one of my favorite serious jokes.

The seriousness of the letter is evident in Clydas' demeanor. Tormund is almost silenced (Har! Fer Once Almost) by the implication of gravity but Jon again resorts to sarcasm in the face of another unwanted intrusion on his overwrought plans. Mully then offers Jon maybe the last best bit of wisdom he will get before the reading of the letter and the events of the  Shieldhall and he dismisses it out of hand. Winter has arrived. Melisandre warned him it was close and his efforst were in vain. She told him to look to the skies and he sees that as the "Dark wings, dark words," of the letter but just prior to his Ghost confrontation he had gotten another sign from his gods.
 A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII
"He glanced up past the King's Tower. The Wall was a dull white, the sky above it whiter. A snow sky. "Just pray we do not get another storm."

I think it's a call to him to stay his course and use his power to cement the bond between the wildlings and the Watch and also a call to pray and ask for guidance before the full storm arrives. It reminds me of Melisandre seeing Snow in her fires, but Jon lacks the full awareness of faith he needs to recognize the signs. He doesn't yet recognize it's his power. The Wall is his wall. Snow is his element. He is the snow sky and the white is the light of truth. The power to unlock the mystery of the Other. But the Pink Letter, even with him and Toregg realizing it contains half truths and impossible demands, breaks most of the last strands of Jon's hope. It inflames his worst fears and feelings of guilt and the utter shock and despair and hopelessness of believing he has lost all of the people he holds most dear in his heart, excep, perhap, for one. The faint glimmer that Arya, his beacon of innocence and love may be alive. He makes the choice I would make and I believe most people would. We know it's a "fool's hope", but Jon doesn't. He clings to it like it's a fading ember and all his other worries recede. He puts Hardhome and the potential for all the dangers around him aside and focuses on the most personal and poignant of his fears and I think resolves to take the power of the wildlings as his own and many of them readily agree to follow him. He chooses to be the Warrior, but again, I believe the gods want him for another purpose.

I have much and more to say on this but am still working on the Shieldhall and assassination scenes. I hope it speaks to some and hope my delay in getting this down hasn't atrophied this thread to the point of no return. It's a great topic.

I was recently rereading jon's chapters in dance and I must say I really disagree with most of what you have written.

For exemple, in regards to mel. I think he wants to listen to her but at the same time he hates her. He believed in her when he sent mance to get his sister and what the result? Mance is loose in the north and the girl wasn t arya. The fact he feels he compromised his honnor because he believed in mel and she was so wrong makes it impossible for him to take her seriously. In addition she burns people, jon knows she has lied about lightbringer and jon doesn t think it makes sense that stannis is AA because he wasn t born in dragonstone. All in all mel is very unreliable from jon's pov. We can say it is foolish to not listen to her, however it is equally foolish to listen to her lol.

Then jon wasn t obecessed with hardhome. He thinks about it 2 or 3 times in the final chaps. However he doesn t believe the wildlings in hardhome are doomed. And why would he? Because of mel's vision that might happen today or next year? Ok, it is dangerous to go beyond the Wall. But it isn't a certain death setence! On the other hand jon is obecessed with saving as many wildlings as possible and is almost blind to the opinions of the NW. while he uses good arguments to persuade people to his side he should do more. At the very least he should isolate and be careful about the NW brothers that clearly hate the wildlings.

And while all this wildling business put a lot of brothers against jon I don t think it was what led them to attack him. To me bowen and company atacked jon because they thought he would be defeated by the boltons and then they would attack the NW and kill them all. We have seen how afraid bowen is from the IT and how he thinks that going against the wishes of the IT will end the watch. This is a similar scenario! And is proof that who wrote the pink letter is very smart and wanted a lot of hostages. If you really think about it, the moment jon tells the NW about the contentes of the letter there would always be people trying to take the hostages away because of fear.

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