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Black Crow

Heresy 207 :skinchanging

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44 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

For some reason I have a feeling that GRRM has grown quite fond of Stannis Baratheon as a character and I think he may be increasing the role that he initially intended for him.  If nothing else it seems that Stannis is experiencing a bit of a character arc, and is growing in complexity as a character (especially if it turns out he is the author of the pink letter).  So I wonder if his twist might involve Stannis and Theon?  The haphazard death toll of the show blends together for me, however, so I'm not sure if they killed Stannis off in the 5th or 6th season.

Yah, I just don't see Stannis' character going nowhere given that Mel has plans for him.  The character has an association with three or four other characters; so this could be Shireen, Patchface, Mel and Stannis or Jojen, Hodor, Meera and Bran.

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21 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Yah, I just don't see Stannis' character going nowhere given that Mel has plans for him.  The character has an association with three or four other characters; so this could be Shireen, Patchface, Mel and Stannis or Jojen, Hodor, Meera and Bran.

Stannis is probably the most likely character to be referred to. As I recall there was a meeting in Santa Fe between GRRM and the mummers to brief the latter as to the outcomes of a surprising number of character arcs, which they seemingly took advantage of to prematurely cull those considered expendable. I'd be inclined to think that Stannis then had no clear role going forward - he wasn't one of the characters in the 1993 synopsis - but that the "twist" may mean that GRRM has now figured out what to do with him. 

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I always assumed the twist involved Barristan,  but it could be anyone dead in the show and not the books, or even someone with a slightly different storyline. 

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Despite GRRM saying Stanis is very much alive,  I feel otherwise.   His life force is tapped by Mel, and his death seems needed to further the plot around Mel and Jon.  He never had the depth of personality of many characters who got less screen time.  There really isn't much he can do to contribute to the story except die.  His time is imminent. 

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56 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Stannis is probably the most likely character to be referred to. As I recall there was a meeting in Santa Fe between GRRM and the mummers to brief the latter as to the outcomes of a surprising number of character arcs, which they seemingly took advantage of to prematurely cull those considered expendable. I'd be inclined to think that Stannis then had no clear role going forward - he wasn't one of the characters in the 1993 synopsis - but that the "twist" may mean that GRRM has now figured out what to do with him. 

I also agree that Stannis is the most likely candidate, though I also think GRRM had a distinct plan for him.

I appear to be in a minority of the fandom (at least in terms of the terrible acts that I believe Stannis is capable of) in that I don't interpret Stannis as unchanging, but unyielding, which is not the same thing--in my opinion, the Stannis we meet in Cressen's prologue is a character that has already changed for the worse, that has spent years stewing in resentment. That is the central theme of the chapter: All's not well in Dragonstone, and Cressen is trying to save Stannis, the "son he never had."

I think GRRM's original plan involved Stannis' ominous choice to make the Nightfort his seat, the seemingly unwinnable nature of his cause...and Melisandre's thought that such shadows as she brings forth at the Wall will be terrible.

Nonetheless, I think Stannis is a fair candidate for the twist, with Barristan also being in close contention.

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16 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

There really isn't much he can do to contribute to the story except die.  

I fundamentaly disagree. If Stannis gets the option to go full Night's King he will. Out of duty. Or as another escape route. Whatever it takes. 

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2 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Nonetheless, I think Stannis is a fair candidate for the twist, with Barristan also being in close contention.

The term "twist" implies something unexpected and the context suggests a game-changer. Baristan provides advice, support and a degree of personal protection. He may know more of Rhaegar and the events leading up to the Trident than he has so far revealed. He may therefore be able to serve as a vehicle to reveal secrets, but that hardly constitutes a twist, whereas Stannis has a range of options on the Wall or beyond.

That being said the Nights King scenario has been hinted at in ADWD, whether it come to pass remains to be seen, but I don't see it as a twist GRRM has come up with since.

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11 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

That being said the Nights King scenario has been hinted at in ADWD, whether it come to pass remains to be seen, but I don't see it as a twist GRRM has come up with since.

Has heresy ever discussed Devan Seaworth, the squire of Stannis ? He is like little Ned Dayne. Somehow very close to the action but yet so far away. 

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24 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

That being said the Nights King scenario has been hinted at in ADWD, whether it come to pass remains to be seen, but I don't see it as a twist GRRM has come up with since.

I think something terrible going down involving Shireen and Melisandre (with the Nightfort now a likely site) was foreshadowed as far back as the prologue to aCoK, where Shireen tells Cressen she'd had a nightmare that the stone dragons were "coming to eat her;" that Stannis will be complicit is a more controversial opinion in the fandom, but I think that's foreshadowed as well.

So, no, Stannis as NK 2.0 wouldn't be a new twist, but I would point out that it is possible for Stannis to a have a new twist in his journey, while keeping the destination the same--at present, Stannis' story is intersecting with those of Theon, Asha, Mance, and the Boltons, so GRRM may have decided on some new twist involving all of those characters, and the battle of Winterfell.

I might also disagree about Barristan's twist potential; if GRRM wanted to introduce a twist involving Aerys, Elia, Ashara, or Robert's Rebellion that might echo forward into the present story in some fashion. For example, GRRM might be changing his original plans regarding Young Griff.

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37 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

Has heresy ever discussed Devan Seaworth, the squire of Stannis ? He is like little Ned Dayne. Somehow very close to the action but yet so far away. 

Not that I can recall. He may have a role to play at some point but I don't see him becoming a major character

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11 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

...Stannis as NK 2.0 wouldn't be a new twist, but I would point out that it is possible for Stannis to a have a new twist in his journey, while keeping the destination the same--at present, Stannis' story is intersecting with those of Theon, Asha, Mance, and the Boltons, so GRRM may have decided on some new twist involving all of those characters, and the battle of Winterfell.

That one's possible, but given the existing pointers I'm not sure whether a particular outcome would qualify as a twist

As to Baristan, I remain unconvinced it would be something from the past, but for now its time for bed, so good night all.

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23 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

That one's possible, but given the existing pointers I'm not sure whether a particular outcome would qualify as a twist

I don't disagree, but I'm also not sure what GRRM might think qualifies as a great twist, especially when it comes to scale and consequences.

One of GRRM's earliest public disagreements with the show was them killing Mago in season 1, which is when he started talking about the butterfly effect and unintended consequences, so when GRRM considers changes or twists consequential, that might apply to the Dothraki, Qarth, Dorne, the Battle of Winterfell, or any number of things that others might not characterize as major plot twists.

As an addition to the discussion, GRRM did a notablog in early 2016 where he gave a rundown of some of the "dead in the show, alive in the books" characters, with a couple I'd forgotten:

Quote

Just consider. Mago, Irri, Rakharo, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Pyat Pree, Pyp, Grenn, Ser Barristan Selmy, Queen Selyse, Princess Shireen, Princess Myrcella, Mance Rayder, and King Stannis are all dead in the show, alive in the books. Some of them will die in the books as well, yes... but not all of them, and some may die at different times in different ways.

(side note: this list might also be subtle fuel for Jojen Paste proponents)

IMO, Stannis, Barristan, Mance, and Myrcella seem like the most notable deaths, in terms of the plot lines they might impact.

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7 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

For some reason I have a feeling that GRRM has grown quite fond of Stannis Baratheon as a character and I think he may be increasing the role that he initially intended for him.

That would certainly fit, yeah.  Interesting premise, and lots of possibilities.

7 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

The haphazard death toll of the show blends together for me, however, so I'm not sure if they killed Stannis off in the 5th or 6th season.

Season five, so it works fine.  

GRRM's remark about having decided to do the twist, and how it involved a dead character on the show, came in Feb. 2016, almost a year after his initial remark about coming up with it and pondering it.  

I think we can also look at that timeframe -- that he pondered doing this "great twist" for the better part of a year before deciding to do it -- as evidence that it wasn't going to be simple to implement.

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Also likely to be of interest to Heretics is this Reddit link given to me by the good Lynn S:

https://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/7vn9dk/spoilers_extended_a_media_professional_in_grrms/

An anonymous person who claims to have inside knowledge from the media world claims among other things that:

Quote

 

• As he publicly acknowledged, GRRM decided to undertake a major undisclosed plot change in TWOW. Apparently this change proved more unwieldy than he anticipated and necessitated several tweaks in multiple storylines he had previously assumed wouldn’t need much revising.

• GRRM is adamant about not altering his story in reaction to the show, but has told people that TWOW will “toy with” some reader expectations that may result from watching the show.

 

Whether it's true, who knows?  But it does fit the Great Twist narrative previously put out into the world by GRRM.

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On 4/1/2018 at 9:36 PM, MaesterSam said:

I don't think it's good enough at all. Mance could have quietly started digging out just a few tunnels - those farthest from CB, EW and the Shadow Tower. He could have the work done by night, when nobody is patrolling the Wall. All his people could have crossed to the south with no bloodshed at all. 

Alternatively, just the warriors could have crossed (by any one of the many available routes), taken out CB from behind, then opened the gate. This way they wouldn't have to worry about the NW coming down on them later. Instead, he sent a group that wasn't up to the task (if he had 10,000 extra men why not send 1000 across the Wall?? With CB fallen, there would be no need for a frontal attack at all!) and included Jon of all people. Did Mance seriously think that his newest recruit - a freakin' STARK - would not only desert the NW after less than a year but would be willing to betray, attack and kill his sworn brothers in the sneak attack on CB? 

The Eastwatch plan he describes also sounds like a much better approach than what he ended up doing - one that would cost fewer wildling lives, b/c they would have more of an advantage (a few hundred feet by raft vs scaling the Wall and Eastwatch has far fewer men than CB). 

Literally any other plan would have cost fewer wildling lives than running his entire force against the Wall in the best-defended location of its entire length. 

Mance's planning is so poor that it almost looks like deliberate self sabotage to me. I think maybe he didn't want to win, given that winning would mean the end of the NW. Once across the Wall, Mance wants there to still be a NW to defend the Wall behind him. Maybe he even still feels some small bit of loyalty / gratitude toward them. Whatever the reason, he doesn't want to decimate the NW. So he plans an attack to show his strength, with the hope of reaching a deal to be let across. Which did work out in the end, in spite of Stannis's interference. 

Perhaps there is something to having to be invited through? Its often a fairy requirement. Even though there have been raiders that climb over, they've always gone back again. But, if you need to get 10,000 wildlings through and retain the ability to work magic maybe they need to be invited?

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On 4/2/2018 at 5:13 PM, SirArthur said:

Myrcella's show death is something strange as I expect her to follow on Tommen. 

Maggie the Frog's prophecy was that all three of Cersei's children would die wearing crowns. In the books Arianne declares Myrcella queen stating she's older than Tommen and should inherit before him. Not sure if that was explicitly declared on the mummers version, but I guess all bases are covered in the books.

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On 3/28/2018 at 9:33 PM, MaesterSam said:

You should really check out some of LmL's threads and/or podcasts. He has a theory that the original NW consisted of dead reanimated greenseers.

That's an interesting theory, and one worth exploring. Certainly, I think AA, or the Last Hero, or any of the other figures who fill that role, was a greenseer, may have been involved in some form of reanimation, and may very well have been an undead greenseer. I also have some suspicions about greenseers warging other greenseers (or at least greenseers warging wargs), and suspect that may describe how the Others operate on some level.

Personally, I think too much greenseer blood was sacrificed to create the Three-Eyed Crow entity/conciousness. There simply wasn't/isn't enough left to man a Watch composed of undead greenseers. And beyond that, it appears the Night's Watch was intimately involved in some sort of scheme to transport bastard born children (likely carrying the holy blood line) north of the Wall for sacrifice.

I have another theory that this may have been their original purpose; to maintain the holy blood line (ie the greenseer gene/genes), as a gardener might maintain a plant. Ensure that the blood line remains intact, while pruning any superfluous offshoots. I can think of several reasons why they might engage in either the former or the latter, but one reason shared equally by both objectives is to "guard the realms of men."

This leads me to an image in my head of the Night's Watch guarding the walls of every (major) castle in Westeros, like a militant version of the maesters, watching primarily for people trying to sneak away with bastard born children. Certainly, an agreement (maybe the Pact, maybe another) which included the provision of bastard born children would be a strong motivator to develop and/or adopt jus prima noctis. And consequently, any push to ban the practice would indicate both a break from traditional practices, as well as an answer to one of the overarching questions of ASOIAF, why now? As in, why are the Others becoming (significantly) more active now. More broadly, what happened to uppend an apparent balance which it seems lasted for thousands of years.

The answer is not going to be so obviously simple as Good Queen Alyssane happened, but the visit to the Wall (with dragons, no less), and the push to ban jus prima noctis, both stand out to me as red flags. The visit itself seems in some way connected to Bael the Bard, whose exploits likely took place during the reign of Jaehearys I. We're also supplied with some indication that this is a possible moment when the Night's Watch changed its vows to include the additional statements about not marrying, fathering children, holding land, etc.

At the very least, there's something off about Snowgate being renamed Queensgate, when the Queen paid for the construction of Deep Lake. Typically, the structure whose construction is funded by a singularly noteworthy donor is the one named after that donor; I can't say I've heard of so generous a gift being met so poorly. It suggests to me that the primary motivator for the name change may have been the commander of Snowgate, or Alyssane herself; either way, there's a connection between the renaming and the Snow in Snowgate.

I also have to wonder why there was a fairly sizeable gap between the Nightfort and Snowgate, when all the other fortifications seem to be built at roughly even intervals of distance. The gap was so sizeable that they could drop Deep Lake in roughly equidistant from the two nearest fortifications, and it seems to fit right in as though it had always existed there. On some level, it makes me wonder if there wasn't an earlier fortification at the site of Deep Lake.

I would need to track down the quote, but in one of the books, Sam tells us that 600 years prior, the commanders of the Nightfort and Snowgate declared war on eachother (edit: actually, I think it's two books, as I think this story is part of the infamous 'list of Lord Commanders' speech we read twice). His story continues, with the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch stepping in to settle the agreement. We can immediately conclude that as far back as 600 years ago, the Night's Watch had already moved its headquarters from the Nightfort to Castle Black.

This indicates that the secret at the heart of the Night's Watch, namely whatever the story is regarding the full weirwood tree they built the Nightfort over, had already been forgotten. This is why I say above that "the answer is not going to be so obviously simple as Good Queen Alyssane happened." The traditions had already been forgotten by the time Alyssane visited the Wall, and indeed were probably forgotten or abandoned in bits and pieces over centuries. Alyssane merely enacted a rule change which undermined any (un)official return to a practice that may very well have been all that was keeping the peace between the Others and the rest of the world.

We can also conclude that the Lord Commander during this conflict 600 years ago was likely an Andal, as the story concludes with the commanders of the Nightfort and Snowgate joining to assassinate the Lord Commander. That sounds to me like some Northerners getting into a brawl, and only ending their fight when an outsider presented himself as both an obstacle and target.

I know this is a long post already, but there were two more thoughts I want to get out there before I promptly end it.

Yes, I adhere to a literal interpretation of Bran's impaled dreamer vision. As a real location/object, it works equally well as the literary device most fans restrict it to being. Further, there's no evidence in the description of the impaled dreamers to suggest it's not real; namely, they're not impaled shadows. This is important, as George gives us the description of "visionary" figures, ie the shadows Bran sees earlier in this same dream, as well as the shadows Dany sees in the ritual tent. Further, we have good reason to doubt that failed dreamers are impaled, literally or metaphorically, as we see no evidence of such with Euron, who seems to be a failed candidate. He is neither dead (as far as we know), nor does his third eye seem permanently locked.

Finally, and I don't mean this to be offensive to anyone who does support the following theory, it's extremely unlikely the weirwood underneath the Nightfort (really, the weirwood the Nightfort was built on top of) is connected to the weirwood at Whitetree. First, if I recall correctly, Whitetree has moved, from north of the Nightfort in earlier books, to north of Deep Lake in more recent maps I've seen. Beyond that, George's description is plainly of a buried tree; specifically, what is confused for its trunk is merely a branch, hence it being thin, twisted, and reaching. This description, to me, is so obviously of a buried tree I'm somewhat amazed that no ASOIAF theory I've read has correctly identified it as such. Also, I don't see why anyone would want to devalue the Nightfort by making it an extension of Whitetree.

If anything, I feel Whitetree is meant to serve as our mental template for the tree underneath the Nightfort. If the tree at Whitetree is large and monsterous, the tree beneath the Nightfort is likely that much further beyond the Whitetree as the Whitetree is to other weirwoods. In fact, the Nightfort tree is so wild and crazy, it even has an interactive face (edit: in re-reading this, I have to wonder if that's Bran's face in the Nightfort tree; it would certainly add tremendous significance to the image of the baptismal tear shed by the tree, even if the "tear" is indicative of the presence of salt water in the Wall).

I know I said only two more, but I thought of a third; if the Pact was thousands of years ago, and the Children fled north of the Wall thousands of years ago, and mankind cut down all the weirwoods south of the Neck thousands of years ago, where did Harren find numerous weirwoods to chop down and use for the construction of Harrenhal? And, why would he leave the closest weirwood standing? Even if my last assumption is incorrect, that mankind cut down all weirwoods south of the Neck thousands of years ago,I have difficulty reconciling that so many weirwoods were still standing.

And, am I the only one seeing parallels between the desecration of numerous weirwoods which it seems prompted the Pact, the construction of Harrenhal which required the desecration of numerous weirwoods, the rise of Night's King ~100 years after the formation of the Watch, and Alyssane's visit to the Wall, which resulted in a doubling of the Night's Watch's lands ~100 years after Aegon's Conquest.

It has been discussed on this sub-forum that the Age of Heroes, the Long Night, etc., all happened much more recently than the ubiquitous 10,000 years ago, 8,000 years ago, or "thousands and thousands" of years ago. I'm personally looking at a Long Night which took place ~5,000 years ago, and I'm even open to a further condensed timeline, but on some level I keep coming back to the idea that 200-300 years is easily enough time for a society to have forgotten something important, and even something as important as the details of Long Night and its resolution, assuming a society even had those answers in the first place.

This isn't actually consistent with George's references to a written history dating back thousands of years, but outside of Sam's "600 years ago" story, I can't say I've seen much which is even that accurately dated. During what, Sam? You were obviously going to connect that list to a specific period in history (correctly or incorrectly). If the list represents something like 5,000-5,500 years, what was going on that Sam could attribute it to "during...."

Well, beyond the obvious, like the rise of Valyria and its dragons, the fall of (Old) Ghis and its harpies, and the possible origin of the AAR prophecy.

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6 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Maggie the Frog's prophecy was that all three of Cersei's children would die wearing crowns. In the books Arianne declares Myrcella queen stating she's older than Tommen and should inherit before him. Not sure if that was explicitly declared on the mummers version, but I guess all bases are covered in the books.

 "gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds"

And I really don't understand where Mycella's golden crown should be. I see a possibility for her to die in the Kingswood with a molten crown like Viserys. Or at any time fullfilling the prophecy. I just don't understand how the failed coronation can fullfil the prophecy. It's a very loose interpretation. 

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2 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

 "gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds"

And I really don't understand where Mycella's golden crown should be. I see a possibility for her to die in the Kingswood with a molten crown like Viserys. Or at any time fullfilling the prophecy. I just don't understand how the failed coronation can fullfil the prophecy. It's a very loose interpretation. 

Could it be their hair colour as well?

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