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17 minutes ago, JNR said:

...by the First Men.  

That's the interesting bit to me.  

Whatever secret knowledge she may have of the Wall that those south of it lack... that knowledge appears to agree with Jeor Mormont's statement that the Wall was built by the First Men... and wasn't something built by the Others that the First Men stumbled onto one day.

Agree to the first, not at all sure about the second.  Beating the Boltons on territory he controls, for the moment, is not at all the same as successfully storming Winterfell with its double granite walls eighty and a hundred feet tall.  

Given the horrific weather and the damage his forces have already taken, and will take further in a battle, and the near-total lack of local food to be found... I have no clear idea how Stannis could take Winterfell without inside help.

I can, however, picture Jon being resurrected and ultimately joining Stannis with the wildlings at his back, which might make a considerable difference.

BTW, I still really like your idea that the double Winterfell walls were constructed to create a killing field for a mob of wights and/or Popsicles.  Shoot a few fire arrows down from the inner wall, and the ultra-flammable freeze-dried wights are toast in short order.

I suspect the name of the man thousands of years ago was also named, “Jon Snow”, because of this:

  Sheathing his dirk, he wrenched Longclaw free from the body of the man he’d killed. “You are my captive, Ygritte.”

  “I gave you my name.”

  “I’m Jon Snow.”

  She flinched. “An evil name.”

  “A bastard name,” he said. “My father was Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell.”

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7 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

I'm not sure about this. He looks poised to win the battle in the snow, which would set him up to take Winterfell (potentially). He would then hold a very strong castle and be "free" from Mel while he is there. With winter upon him, it seems unlikely he would leave the castle and return to the Wall; rather, he could stay to "wait out the storm" as the King in the North. (Ha ha. He is a king, and happens to be in the North.) Maybe he'll marry Shireen to Rickon (if Mel doesn't burn her first). Maybe Mel will burn her first, and he will finally see her for what she is and denounce her, leaving Jon to deal with her. He may even set aside Selyse if she participated, and marry Sansa to unite the North under his rule - giving us the long anticipated Stark-Baratheon marriage. 

As JNR points out, defeating the Bolton coalition outside of Winterfell is not the same thing as taking Winterfell itself, and even if Stannis succeeds on both fronts, it comes at a heavy cost to both himself and the forces of the North.

If he ousts the Boltons from Winterfell, that might be enough for a broken north to accept him as the best possible claimant to the Iron Throne, but the North already took heavy losses in the Wo5K, and will take greater losses in the current regional civil war. If, after all of that, the North is willing to bleed for Stannis in the south to deliver him the IT - which, outside of the Manderlys, seems a shaky proposition - I don't know that the North appreciably increases Stannis' forces, which will themselves be diminished just for the sake of taking Winterfell.

And, in the midst of all of this, Littlefinger has his own scheme in mind to create a united Vale-Riverlands-North coalition, and between LF and Stannis, I'd bet on LF's political scheming winning out.

IMO, things look grim for Stannis, even in victory, and I think Melisandre's pitch of what he might accomplish with a dragon is only going to become more enticing, especially if the Other/wight threat is also becoming more undeniable at the same time.

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On 02/04/2018 at 9:39 PM, Millimidget said:

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.

Hi there, Millimidget! Welcome! You make some great points!! 

AA was definitely involved in necromancy, as we are told that when AA reborn appears, death itself will bend the knee, and those who die in his service will rise again...

On 02/04/2018 at 9:39 PM, Millimidget said:

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.

Oooh I like the way you think!!! Please do elaborate on the creation of the Three-Eyed Crow! It's one of my favorite mysteries!

Your second point is intriguing as well. You're not the first to suggest that NK may not have been the only LC to sacrifice to the Others, but I have not come across the idea that these sacrifices were a common occurrence or possibly a mission of the Watch. The fact that there are no weirwoods on the Wall supports the idea that it was not the Old Gods who were worshipped there - ever. Both Castle Black and the Nightfort should have giant ancient weirwoods, but they don't. Not even stumps where weirwoods have been cut down. It seems they were never planted in the first place...

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5 hours ago, JNR said:

Agree to the first, not at all sure about the second.  Beating the Boltons on territory he controls, for the moment, is not at all the same as successfully storming Winterfell with its double granite walls eighty and a hundred feet tall.  

Given the horrific weather and the damage his forces have already taken, and will take further in a battle, and the near-total lack of local food to be found... I have no clear idea how Stannis could take Winterfell without inside help.

I can, however, picture Jon being resurrected and ultimately joining Stannis with the wildlings at his back, which might make a considerable difference.

The way I always pictured it was that the Manderlys would turn on the Freys once battle was joined. Stannis will use them to infiltrate Winterfell: they will return victorious and be let inside the walls. Then by night they will let in the others. 

Your scenario also works, but requires Jon to be resurrected quickly and for the weather to improve dramatically if he is to catch up in time. It does agree with ... other things we've seen, and would certainly make for a dramatic battle. Assuming Roose is dumb enough to face Stannis in open battle (which I suppose he might be, if only his forces are ragged enough, like in the nightmare that returns each spring). 

5 hours ago, JNR said:

BTW, I still really like your idea that the double Winterfell walls were constructed to create a killing field for a mob of wights and/or Popsicles.  Shoot a few fire arrows down from the inner wall, and the ultra-flammable freeze-dried wights are toast in short order

Ha! Thank you, I hadn't though about that one in a while. I do hope we get to see it, as it would be epic! 

 

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

As JNR points out, defeating the Bolton coalition outside of Winterfell is not the same thing as taking Winterfell itself, and even if Stannis succeeds on both fronts, it comes at a heavy cost to both himself and the forces of the North.

If he ousts the Boltons from Winterfell, that might be enough for a broken north to accept him as the best possible claimant to the Iron Throne, but the North already took heavy losses in the Wo5K, and will take greater losses in the current regional civil war. If, after all of that, the North is willing to bleed for Stannis in the south to deliver him the IT - which, outside of the Manderlys, seems a shaky proposition - I don't know that the North appreciably increases Stannis' forces, which will themselves be diminished just for the sake of taking Winterfell.

And, in the midst of all of this, Littlefinger has his own scheme in mind to create a united Vale-Riverlands-North coalition, and between LF and Stannis, I'd bet on LF's political scheming winning out.

IMO, things look grim for Stannis, even in victory, and I think Melisandre's pitch of what he might accomplish with a dragon is only going to become more enticing, especially if the Other/wight threat is also becoming more undeniable at the same time.

Oh yes, I agree completely that overall, things will not work out well for Stannis. I don't expect him to ever leave the North, at least not alive. I don't expect any sort of happy ending for him. I was merely disagreeing with an earlier comment that his time was over as there was nothing left for him to do. I think he can stick around for quite a while longer and still not come out ahead.

He may take Winterfell, and may even be accepted by the North. However, there is no way in hell the northmen are going to go south to win the IT for him. Luckily for him though, that's not his current goal. He seems to be aware of the threat from the north, and will make decisions accordingly.

As for LF, the book and show run together for me in terms of his plans so I will limit my comments to avoid potential show spoilers. I do think it's safe to say that once Stannis holds Winterfell with Jon Snow's support and possibly Rickon, LF wouldn't be dumb enough to think he could storm it. Fifty men can hold Winterfell, and presumably Stannis would have at least that many left. IF Rickon is found, Sansa has no claim to begin with and LF is out of luck. In that case, I expect Stannis would marry Shireen to Rickon. If Rickon is not found, I wouldn't rule out a Stannis-Sansa marriage alliance (assuming Mel burned Shireen to bring Jon back, after which Stannis is done with both his fire queens and goes for the icy variety). ETA: Could it be foreshadowing that Sansa tore the head off Robert Arryn's doll and stuck it above the Winterfell gates? Or that the GOHH saw her slay a giant in a castle made of snow? Perhaps Sansa will finally see LF for who he is, and begin to play the game on her own... first by marrying Sweetrobin to gain the Vale soldiers, then by allying with Stannis after he is dead? 

But all I'm really saying is that there are many interesting options the Stannis arc could take. I see no reason to kill off this character anytime soon. 

 

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On 3.4.2018 at 3:39 AM, Millimidget said:

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 have thought about Deep Lake and it makes sense to name the castle after the lake nearby. The entire water management system of the frozen Wall is a mystery, including the watershed. The lakes along the Wall (we know of at least two) suggest there is more to them.  And I am not sure about the distances. Quick math tells us there should be a castle every 16-17 miles. With equal distribution the 7 miles are still closer to the Nightfort (although not much).  However, it does not make much sense to build a replacement castle fairly in the middle, as the distance between the replacement and the castle to the west would be huge (assuming equal distribution). So from a logical point of view the castle should be closer to the Nightfort as the average distance without the new castle is larger and the distance between Deep Lake and Icemark (the other castle) would be larger. That's why I do not think Deep Lake is build in the middle spot between the Nightfort and Snowgate. I hope it is clear what I mean with the average distance calculation. You can only come to the conclusion if you think from the end with 19 castles. 

 

Why Snowgate was renamed Queensgate is something I do not really care about. When Stannis wants the Nightfort, no Lord Commander dares to refuse. And when the Queen wants Snowgate renamed into Queensgate who would refuse ? From a political context it makes more sense to rename the castle name opposing the own politics (the handling of bastards in that case).

 

Quote

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.

That is actually a pretty good conclusion I have never thought about. 

-------------------------------------

an afterthought regarding the Wall and the rivers:

It has been suggested several times, that the there is a river underneath the Wall. (A theory I do not share). If someone shares this belief, a closer look into the name Nightfort as a Nightford may lead to new ideas. 

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Oh no.... look what I just stumbled across... (Jon, ADWD):

Quote

“And other matters,” said Bowen Marsh. “The men have concerns, my lord.”And who is it who appointed you to speak for them? 

“As do I. Othell, how goes the work at the Nightfort? I have had a letter from Ser Axell Florent, who styles himself the Queen’s Hand. He tells me that Queen Selyse is not pleased with her quarters at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and wishes to move into her husband’s new seat at once. Will that be possible?”
Yarwyck shrugged. “We’ve got most of the keep restored and put a roof back on the kitchens. She’d need food and furnishings and firewood, mind you, but it might serve. Not so many comforts as Eastwatch, to be sure. And a long way from the ships, should Her Grace wish to leave us, but … aye, she could live there, though it will be years before the place looks a proper castle. Sooner if I had more builders.”

Did they ... GULP ... cut down the weirwood??!?!? :uhoh:

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8 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

Your scenario also works, but requires Jon to be resurrected quickly and for the weather to improve dramatically if he is to catch up in time.

Well, I was picturing it taking a fair amount of time, actually... hence "ultimately."  

Roughly, Stannis wins the battle, but can't make headway with the castle, and parks what's left of his forces not far from it to ponder options, build some sort of temporary shelter, and find and store food as best he can. 

And this faux-siege drags along in the novel for awhile... weeks... something like Dany's sequence in ADWD in charm and general tedium... until Jon eventually shows up and saves -- well.  If not Stannis, at least the reader.  :D

Part of my thinking also concerns a bit from AGOT that has never been utilized yet:

Quote

Bran knew about that. And he knew you could get inside the inner wall by the south gate, climb three floors and run all the way around Winterfell through a narrow tunnel in the stone, and then come out on ground level at the north gate, with a hundred feet of wall looming over you. Even Maester Luwin didn't know that, Bran was convinced.

This is the sort of thing Jon might know too, and that might make quite a difference in taking Winterfell, but Stannis would have no hope of knowing.

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12 hours ago, Matthew. said:

IMO, things look grim for Stannis, even in victory, and I think Melisandre's pitch of what he might accomplish with a dragon is only going to become more enticing, especially if the Other/wight threat is also becoming more undeniable at the same time.

I think things might look more enticing for Selyse.

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7 hours ago, JNR said:

Well, I was picturing it taking a fair amount of time, actually... hence "ultimately."  

Roughly, Stannis wins the battle, but can't make headway with the castle, and parks what's left of his forces not far from it to ponder options, build some sort of temporary shelter, and find and store food as best he can. 

And this faux-siege drags along in the novel for awhile... weeks... something like Dany's sequence in ADWD in charm and general tedium... until Jon eventually shows up and saves -- well.  If not Stannis, at least the reader.  :D

Gods I hope not! Haven't we suffered enough?! And what would they eat? (The Freys, I suppose, after fishing their corpses out of the lake... but Stannis doesn't approve of cannibalism!)

7 hours ago, JNR said:

Part of my thinking also concerns a bit from AGOT that has never been utilized yet:

Quote

Bran knew about that. And he knew you could get inside the inner wall by the south gate, climb three floors and run all the way around Winterfell through a narrow tunnel in the stone, and then come out on ground level at the north gate, with a hundred feet of wall looming over you. Even Maester Luwin didn't know that, Bran was convinced.

This is the sort of thing Jon might know too, and that might make quite a difference in taking Winterfell, but Stannis would have no hope of knowing.

Good point, but don't forget that Stannis has Theon! And Theon would have been playing with Jon and Robb as a boy ... so if Jon knows, Theon most likely knows too. 

If Jon and Theon don't already know, Theon is also best positioned to find out, as he is about to come face to face with a weirwood. :D

7 hours ago, JNR said:

I think things might look more enticing for Selyse.

I agree! She is in a pretty crappy spot right now, stuck on the Wall at the start of winter, with a mutiny underway and the Others approaching. Now she is about to move to the most terrifying place in all of Westeros, and she is about to learn (regardless of whether it's true) that Stannis is dead, his cause lost. I expect she will be very open to whatever Melisandre suggests to get them out of this pickle ...

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2 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

Good point, but don't forget that Stannis has Theon!

Well, he does in the latest TWOW sample chapter, but I doubt that situation's going to stand for long.  

Recall that Stannis (if he can ever stop grinding his teeth) intends to have Theon put to death as a traitor:

Quote

 

"Wise.  I am sorry for your mother, but I do not spare the lives of turncloaks.  This one, especially.  He slew two sons of Eddard Stark.  Every northman in my service would abandon me if I showed him any clemency.  Your brother must die."

     "Then do the deed yourself, Your Grace."  The chill in Asha's voice made Theon shiver in his chains.  "Take him out across the lake to the islet where the weirwood grows, and strike his head off with that sorcerous sword you bear.  That is how Eddard Stark would have done it.  Theon slew Lord Eddard's sons.  Give him to Lord Eddard's gods.  The old gods of the north.  Give him to the tree."

 

..., so either that will happen, or Theon will escape, probably with his sister's help somehow, and Stannis won't have him as a resource.

2 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

expect she will be very open to whatever Melisandre suggests to get them out of this pickle

Yes, she's a fool and a zealot and perhaps even more to the point, is directly local to Melisandre instead of being five hundred miles away from Melisandre.

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12 hours ago, JNR said:

I think things might look more enticing for Selyse.

Sure, and if Melisandre believes Stannis is dead - keeping in mind that she hasn't been seeing him in her fires, and with the Pink Letter possibly establishing the Wall's context for recent events - Selyse and Melisandre might take initiative when it comes to "waking dragons from stone;" nonetheless, I don't read Stannis in nearly as positive a light as some, even independently of what future actions he might theoretically take.

 

12 hours ago, JNR said:

And this faux-siege drags along in the novel for awhile... weeks... something like Dany's sequence in ADWD in charm and general tedium... until Jon eventually shows up and saves -- well.  If not Stannis, at least the reader. 

I agree that Jon will eventually be a part of the siege of Winterfell.

IMO, it has been foreshadowed in Jon's ADWD dream, a dream whose first half has been heavily discussed, while its second half is often ignored entirely in discussion--including being left out of this site's Citadel/Prophecy section:

Quote

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. "Snow," an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she'd appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. "I am the Lord of Winterfell," Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

I believe this points not only to Jon's next destination, but his motives; the men of the NW Jon is 'slaying,' in particular, representing Jon turning oathbreaker, and his slaying of Robb relating to Jon's internal struggle in ASOS when Stannis first dangled the prospect of Winterfell before Jon.

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3 hours ago, JNR said:

Recall that Stannis (if he can ever stop grinding his teeth) intends to have Theon put to death as a traitor:

Quote

 

"Wise.  I am sorry for your mother, but I do not spare the lives of turncloaks.  This one, especiallyHe slew two sons of Eddard Stark.  Every northman in my service would abandon me if I showed him any clemency.  Your brother must die."

     "Then do the deed yourself, Your Grace."  The chill in Asha's voice made Theon shiver in his chains.  "Take him out across the lake to the islet where the weirwood grows, and strike his head off with that sorcerous sword you bear.  That is how Eddard Stark would have done it.  Theon slew Lord Eddard's sons.  Give him to Lord Eddard's gods.  The old gods of the north.  Give him to the tree."

 

..., so either that will happen, or Theon will escape, probably with his sister's help somehow, and Stannis won't have him as a resource.

Or, Theon could tell them that the Stark boys are alive. The ravens and/or the tree will confirm this.

I expect quite a scene when it's time for Theon's execution in front of Bran. Northmen will be there, and if the tree - or the ravens in the tree- starts communicating, they will take note. Stannis, unlike Selyse, is not truly a fanatic; he has been struggling to believe in R'hllor this whole time, and like Victarion, may be willing to 'try out' other gods if their power is sufficiently demonstrated. Mel is far away, and his magic sword isn't doing him any good. Letting his men burn people hasn't been doing him any good either. He is a pragmatist in the end, and may not dare spurning the northern gods while stranded in the snow with a mostly northern host. 

There is, of course, another possibility that is a little more far fetched but nonetheless possible. We've been assuming that Bran is speaking through the ravens, and we know he spoke through the Winterfell tree. So he is starting to skinchange northern creatures, both inside and outside Winterfell. This opens a lot of possibilities for Bran actively participating in the war effort.

3 hours ago, JNR said:

Yes, she's a fool and a zealot and perhaps even more to the point, is directly local to Melisandre instead of being five hundred miles away from Melisandre.

Agreed! Poor Shireen is the character not long for this world, not Stannis. I don't expect him to be involved at all, as he is simply too far away, and I don't think his faith in R'hllor is strong enough to drive him to kinslaying. 

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

IMO, it has been foreshadowed in Jon's ADWD dream, a dream whose first half has been heavily discussed, while its second half is often ignored entirely in discussion--including being left out of this site's Citadel/Prophecy section:

Quote

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. "Snow," an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she'd appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. "I am the Lord of Winterfell," Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

I believe this points not only to Jon's next destination, but his motives; the men of the NW Jon is 'slaying,' in particular, representing Jon turning oathbreaker, and his slaying of Robb relating to Jon's internal struggle in ASOS when Stannis first dangled the prospect of Winterfell before Jon.

I'm not sure about the oathbreaker part. All these people are already dead by the time Jon has this dream, and in the dream, he is on the Wall, defending it against "dead men". He is doing his job. 

However, I noticed something interesting for the first time in this quote: the fact that the attackers are shooting burning arrows up at Jon and his scarecrows, and the scarecrows light on fire. This is not consistent with a prophetic dream of an Other attack, as the Others would not use flaming arrows. In addition, it's the wights that are flammable, not the NW brothers. At least not living NW brothers... 

Combined with Jon being armored in ice, the imagery here is more of an ice force, led by Jon and holding the Wall, being attacked by a fire force from below. Jon is dead, reanimated and armored in ice, with "scarecrows" (wights) beside him.  

But again, my main point is that this dream does not fit the imagery of an attack by the Others. Whoever Jon is fighting here is someone who fights with fire

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1 hour ago, MaesterSam said:

I'm not sure about the oathbreaker part. All these people are already dead by the time Jon has this dream...


That's exactly my point. The figures represented in the second half are not arbitrary: Qhorin died so that Jon could infiltrate Mance's host, and Donal Noye and Dick Follard died under Jon's command during Mance's attack. These are men that died so that Jon could fulfill the duties of the Night's Watch, and that Jon is 'slaying' them specifically while screaming "I am the Lord of Winterfell" is because to slay them is to slay the essence of his oaths.

Similarly, that Jon felt resentment toward Robb, and guilt over that resentment was a theme of Jon's ASOS chapters, culminating in a self-admission after he'd spent some time ruminating on Stannis' offer to make him Lord of Winterfell:

Quote

He wanted it, Jon knew then. He wanted it as much as he had ever wanted anything. I have always wanted it, he thought, guiltily. May the gods forgive me. It was a hunger inside him, sharp as a dragonglass blade. A hunger . . . he could feel it. It was food he needed, prey, a red deer that stank of fear or a great elk proud and defiant. He needed to kill and fill his belly with fresh meat and hot dark blood. His mouth began to water with the thought.


Ultimately, in that instance, he chose the Watch, chose his oaths, chose his duty--and the Watch literally stabbed him in the back...and the front, and a couple other places. The dream, in which Jon still exhibits a 'hunger' for Winterfell, is one chapter before his stabbing.

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I've been rather preoccupied with domestic matters for the last couple of days so please forgive my lack of direct responses.

We all seem pretty well agreed that the mummers'disposal of Stannis was premature and that the twist will involve him. I've read with interest the suggested cunning plans to resolve his current situation and would like to suggest, with reasons, another equally cunning plan.

Stan the Man needs to conquer or die so far as Winterfell is concerned. A lengthy siege is not survivable, especially as Winter is coming.

Jon may know of a secret entrance. Theon does not - if he did he would have taken Winterfell himself by the back door first time around rather than going over the walls. Its possible of course that he may have learned of it afterwards and indeed a possible motive for Mance's interest in the crypts may be to look for a secret entrance - always easier to find from the inside; think of fire exits, a blank featureless door on the outside, illuminated EXIT signs in the inside. 

Nevertheless, on the whole I think that Stannis is more likely to get in with the aid of Manderley and other northerners changing sides

As to Jon, I think that we have to deal with a very different agenda and very different allegiances. On the assumption that he either aint dead yet or will come back from the dead I think that he's going to be far too preoccupied with events on or near the Wall and I'm ever mindful of this comment by GRRM

http://www.newrepubl...artin-interview#

When we spoke, Martin was at home in Santa Fe, working “on the 747 things that I’m late on.” A Song of Ice and Fire, of course, is still unfinished, and the show’s producers are among the only people in the world whom Martin has told the answer to the biggest question surrounding his books: who will ultimately win the Iron Throne... The television production, the publishers and the editors with their deadlines, the fans clamoring for answers—it is a daily struggle to drown out the noise. So Martin tries to focus on the characters, plotting their triumphs and their ends. “You have to turn on the computer, and just look at the scene,” he said, “and suddenly Jon Snow is in the forest and there are enemies after him and what is he gonna eat and what is your next sentence, what is your next word?” 

 Sounds a bit fugitive-like to me, but be that as it may, yes, Jon Snow's destiny lies in Winterfell and its crypts, but when he takes it and however he takes it he will do so for himself, not for Stannis

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45 minutes ago, Matthew. said:


That's exactly my point. The figures represented in the second half are not arbitrary: Qhorin died so that Jon could infiltrate Mance's host, and Donal Noye and Dick Follard died under Jon's command during Mance's attack. These are men that died so that Jon could fulfill the duties of the Night's Watch, and that Jon is 'slaying' them specifically while screaming "I am the Lord of Winterfell" is because to slay them is to slay the essence of his oaths.

Similarly, that Jon felt resentment toward Robb, and guilt over that resentment was a theme of Jon's ASOS chapters, culminating in a self-admission after he'd spent some time ruminating on Stannis' offer to make him Lord of Winterfell:


Ultimately, in that instance, he chose the Watch, chose his oaths, chose his duty--and the Watch literally stabbed him in the back...and the front, and a couple other places. 

Yuup, I'll go with that, but... see next page

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However, I noticed something interesting for the first time in this quote: the fact that the attackers are shooting burning arrowsup at Jon and his scarecrows, and the scarecrows light on fire. This is not consistent with a prophetic dream of an Other attack, as the Others would not use flaming arrows. In addition, it's the wights that are flammable, not the NW brothers. At least not living NW brothers... 

Combined with Jon being armored in ice, the imagery here is more of an ice force, led by Jon and holding the Wall, being attacked by a fire force from below. Jon is dead, reanimated and armored in ice, with "scarecrows" (wights) beside him.  

But again, my main point is that this dream does not fit the imagery of an attack by the Others. Whoever Jon is fighting here is someone who fights with fire

 

And I can go with Maester Sam too

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