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Black Crow

Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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27 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

You are presuming that they saw each other, fell madly in love, and that children would follow quickly. That isn't the wildling way. I propose it happened this way: met the woods witch that repaired his cloak, noted the beautiful Dallah and perhaps even Val, learned what he could about how to create white walkers, goes off to build support to become King Beyond the Wall, and then comes back to steal his bride after he earns his title so the wildling priestess doesn't cut his throat! Otherwise why would a priestess with high social standing accept a defector of the Nights Watch as a husband unless his position was higher than hers?

Not really, I am pressuming a political marriage between a King Beyond the Wall and a woman related to an important group within the wildlings. These type of marriages can happen quickly as we have seen south of the wall (for example the marriage between Allys and Sigorn)

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30 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

I like to think the things I say aren't actually that stupid. Unpopular, now, that's another thing.

I didn't mean to imply that you were stupid, just don't even joke about the holocaust or lynching in relation to a discussion of a work of fantasy. Its just not cool, and its so far off from what I've been trying to say.

30 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

To think Mance and a bunch of co-conspirator would have also had to groom Jon to sympathize with them just in case he got any political power, which he eventually did due to factors outside of Mance's control, stretches credibility, especially in a series where master plotters like Illyrio, Varys, Tywin, Tyrion, Doran, Littlefinger, etc. often have their plans go awry because it's impossible to control every little element in play. For example, even if the wildlings specifically wanted him alive, Jon could have easily died in the battle at Castle Black due to a stray arrow (the battle was at night, mind you) or a slip and fall caused by his injured leg.

Mance may or may not have planned on Jon becoming a part of his plans, but he certainly became convenient. I guess Jon was Mance's lucky break. I'm not sure what the alternative would have looked like. Maybe when they got to the Wall they could've requested a parley, and then told the Watch about why they had come to Castle Black, specifically that the white walkers and wights were the real threat, that the wildlings were not, and that they needed to be saved. They knew that the Watch sent out rangers and their reports would eventually inform the rest of the Watch that the wildlings were gathering, and surely more rangers would have gone missing as they encountered the wights - triggering yet more ranges. That being said, you do have to wonder about Other and Jafer. Why would the wildlings want to get rid of Jeor Mormont? Of what benefit is one Lord Commander over another? Would they have known Jon was his steward and presumed replacement? Is Mormont's raven even connected to Bloodraven, or was it being skin changed by Orrel or some other skinchanger connected to Mance? If Mormont's raven was used to spy on the Watch, then they would have known Jon was being groomed for command. But why would they want him in place?

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5 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Not really, I am pressuming a political marriage between a King Beyond the Wall and a woman related to an important group within the wildlings. These type of marriages can happen quickly as we have seen south of the wall (for example the marriage between Allys and Sigorn)

But Mance wasn't King Beyond the Wall when he first met Dallah. He was a man of the Nights Watch on his way back from a trip to Winterfell with Qhorin Halfhand. He couldn't openly marry her then, and even after he defected the Watch it would have taken years to become King Beyond the Wall.

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I suspect there is more to the shadow cat story.   The woman is a healer with silk from a very infamous place.  Could she have been a shadow binder or something like Mirri Maz Duur?  The shadow tower is about as far from Asshai as possible,  unless you go around the world.  I think Mance learned something about the Others which led to his desertion and search through old graves, and possibly the return of the Others.   Maybe he really was upset by the cloak,  or he was torn between 2 decisions and it pushed him over the edge. 

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20 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Not really, I am pressuming a political marriage between a King Beyond the Wall and a woman related to an important group within the wildlings. These type of marriages can happen quickly as we have seen south of the wall (for example the marriage between Allys and Sigorn)

But this is how people South of the Wall think.  Mance was chosen as KBTW because he was strong or clever or otherwise for his own merit.  His appeal to women would be the same.

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16 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

But Mance wasn't King Beyond the Wall when he first met Dallah. He was a man of the Nights Watch on his way back from a trip to Winterfell with Qhorin Halfhand. He couldn't openly marry her then, and even after he defected the Watch it would have taken years to become King Beyond the Wall.

Well, from the book it is not clear if he met her after his first visit to Winterfell or after his second visit. My interpretation is that it was after his second visit. By that point he was already King Beyond the Wall.

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3 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I suspect there is more to the shadow cat story.   The woman is a healer with silk from a very infamous place.  Could she have been a shadow binder or something like Mirri Maz Duur?  The shadow tower is about as far from Asshai as possible,  unless you go around the world.  I think Mance learned something about the Others which led to his desertion and search through old graves, and possibly the return of the Others.   Maybe he really was upset by the cloak,  or he was torn between 2 decisions and it pushed him over the edge. 

Quite...

The story is nonsense both in its concept and the practicality. Mance has a black wool cloak. Its probably not a new one, and you don't repair a torn, worn and greasy old wool cloak with patches of fine silk. German landsknechts deliberately slashed their clothing and stuffed the rents with silk, but they were making a point, it wasn't done because they had no alternative. So what point was Mance making?

Its difficult to avoid the significance of a combination of black and red in this story of simple country folk

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20 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I didn't mean to imply that you were stupid, just don't even joke about the holocaust or lynching in relation to a discussion of a work of fantasy. Its just not cool, and its so far off from what I've been trying to say.

I wasn't joking, I was simply trying to deconstruct the narrative. George does touch on themes of racial and cultural discrimination (albeit lightly), which is why I thought he would have wanted to avoid the potential unfortunate implications of this plot twist. If you're saying the wildlings merely wanted to make the North/Watch sympathize and not stab them in the back afterwards, I concede that my concern was unfounded.

27 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

That being said, you do have to wonder about Other and Jafer. Why would the wildlings want to get rid of Jeor Mormont? Of what benefit is one Lord Commander over another? Would they have known Jon was his steward and presumed replacement? Is Mormont's raven even connected to Bloodraven, or was it being skin changed by Orrel or some other skinchanger connected to Mance? If Mormont's raven was used to spy on the Watch, then they would have known Jon was being groomed for command. But why would they want him in place?

Now that I think about it, it feels like Jeor Mormont would have been very likely to work with the wildlings if faced with a common threat like the Others. He was reasonable and tolerant, and apparently he had some respect for the wildlings, more than Bowen Marsh at least. So why not go straight to him?

Better yet, why not track Mormont's expedition and come in at the last moment to rescue them from the wight attack? That would have made the Night's Watchmen indebted to the wildlings, and would have shown most of them that they can be trusted and that it would be best for everyone to face this enemy together. It would have been a lot easier than trying to manipulate Jon and hoping he would be picked Lord Commander after Mormont's death. If we are going to assume some skinchanger was in control of Mormont's raven, they would have known where the expedition was at all times.

Note also that a lot of the circumstances that would lead to a good deal for the wildlings were created by the War of the Five Kings and the crippling lack of stability in the North at the onset of Winter. Without that war, they would have had to deal not with the Lord Commander, but with the Warden of the North, or even the King of Westeros, with a much larger imbalance of forces, and fewer chances to be allowed south of the Wall on their own terms even if they did fight together. Are we to believe Mance had a hand in that as well? I think that makes it even less likely.

 

P.S. I hope you're not taking it personally that I'm countering your theory. I agree with your reversal of the Conquest and I liked the parallels you found between the Dornish plot and Tywin's political maneuvers, but I don't agree with this one... And I think it's a good thing to strain a theory and try to disprove it; that's how we can force the better ones to the surface.

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57 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

Note also that a lot of the circumstances that would lead to a good deal for the wildlings were created by the War of the Five Kings and the crippling lack of stability in the North at the onset of Winter. Without that war, they would have had to deal not with the Lord Commander, but with the Warden of the North, or even the King of Westeros, with a much larger imbalance of forces, and fewer chances to be allowed south of the Wall on their own terms even if they did fight together. Are we to believe Mance had a hand in that as well? I think that makes it even less likely.

I don't know what George is telling us. I just want to point out that a lot (and I mean a LOT) of the story is focused around britain and a mass migration may have a solid historic base, it just has not much to do with George's undivided love for the island. 

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

Quite...

The story is nonsense both in its concept and the practicality. Mance has a black wool cloak. Its probably not a new one, and you don't repair a torn, worn and greasy old wool cloak with patches of fine silk. German landsknechts deliberately slashed their clothing and stuffed the rents with silk, but they were making a point, it wasn't done because they had no alternative. So what point was Mance making?

Its difficult to avoid the significance of a combination of black and red in this story of simple country folk

What point were the landsknechts making?

I am inclined to believe the story isn't totally made, simply because the reference to Asshai is too tempting.

Repairing an old dirty cloak with precious silk is not out of character if the woman was strongly attracted to Mance, which also explains his objection to burning it.

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26 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

I don't know what George is telling us. I just want to point out that a lot (and I mean a LOT) of the story is focused around britain and a mass migration may have a solid historic base, it just has not much to do with George's undivided love for the island. 

Well, I'd love to see a mass migration, it's just that I'm more interested in the one away from Westeros rather than the one from North to South. :D Though I have admit it may be too emotionally draining for George to pull off... if he left the Red Wedding for last when he wrote ASoS.

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2 hours ago, Tucu said:

Well, from the book it is not clear if he met her after his first visit to Winterfell or after his second visit. My interpretation is that it was after his second visit. By that point he was already King Beyond the Wall.

I think it's pretty clear he met Dallah while he was yet a man of the Nights Watch as indicated by comparing himself to Qhorin Halfhand and making it sound like she was one of the reasons why he defected. Black Crow's reference to the ripped cloak with red silt patches being akin to landsknechts might imply that Mance became a mercenary warrior after meeting with the wood's witch.

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I wasn't joking, I was simply trying to deconstruct the narrative. George does touch on themes of racial and cultural discrimination (albeit lightly), which is why I thought he would have wanted to avoid the potential unfortunate implications of this plot twist. If you're saying the wildlings merely wanted to make the North/Watch sympathize and not stab them in the back afterwards, I concede that my concern was unfounded.

I don't see the wildlings the same way that you do. If you feel my comparisons are like blaming the Jews for the holocaust and blacks for slavery, then your sympathies obviously lay with the wildlings and you believe the story Mance has woven for Jon. I don't believe they were ever in any danger until after they created it by resurrecting the practice of ice magic to create white walkers and wights. Mance is cunning and Dalla acted as his advisor.

  “Dalla’s time is near,” Mance explained. “She and Val will stay.  They know what I mean to say.”

  Jon kept his face as still as ice. Foul enough to slay a man in his own tent under truce. Must I murder him in front of his wife as their child is being born? He closed the fingers of his sword hand. Mance was not wearing armor, but his own sword was sheathed on his left hip. And there were other weapons in the tent, daggers and dirks, a bow and a quiver of arrows, a bronze-headed spear lying beside that big black . . . . . . horn. Jon sucked in his breath. A warhorn, a bloody great warhorn.

  “Yes,” Mance said. “The Horn of Winter, that Joramun once blew to wake giants from the earth.”

  The horn was huge, eight feet along the curve and so wide at the mouth that he could have put his arm inside up to the elbow. If this came from an aurochs, it was the biggest that ever lived. At first he thought the bands around it were bronze, but when he moved closer he realized they were gold. Old gold, more brown than yellow, and graven with runes.

  “Ygritte said you never found the horn.”

  “Did you think only crows could lie? I liked you well enough, for a bastard . . . but I never trusted you. A man needs to earn my trust.”

  Jon faced him. “If you’ve had the Horn of Joramun all along, why haven’t you used it? Why bother building turtles and sending Thenns to kill us in our beds? If this horn is all the songs say, why not just sound it and be done?”

  It was Dalla who answered him, Dalla great with child, lying on her pile of furs beside the brazier. “We free folk know things you kneelers have forgotten. Sometimes the short road is not the safest, Jon Snow. The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.”

  Mance ran a hand along the curve of the great horn. “No man goes hunting with only one arrow in his quiver,” he said. “I had hoped that Styr and Jarl would take your brothers unawares, and open the gate for us. I drew your garrison away with feints and raids and secondary attacks. Bowen Marsh swallowed that lure as I knew he would, but your band of cripples and orphans proved to be more stubborn than anticipated. Don’t think you’ve stopped us, though. The truth is, you are too few and we are too many. I could continue the attack here and still send ten thousand men to cross the Bay of Seals on rafts and take Eastwatch from the rear. I could storm the Shadow Tower too, I know the approaches as well as any man alive. I could send men and mammoths to dig out the gates at the castles you’ve abandoned, all of them at once.”

  “Why don’t you, then?” Jon could have drawn Longclaw then, but he wanted to hear what the wildling had to say.

  “Blood,” said Mance Rayder. “I’d win in the end, yes, but you’d bleed me, and my people have bled enough.”

  “Your losses haven’t been that heavy.”

  “Not at your hands.” Mance studied Jon’s face. “You saw the Fist of the First Men. You know what happened there. You know what we are facing.”

  “The Others . . .”

  “They grow stronger as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. First they kill you, then they send your dead against you. The giants have not been able to stand against them, nor the Thenns, the ice river clans, the Hornfoots.”

  “Nor you?”

  “Nor me.” There was anger in that admission, and bitterness too deep for words. “Raymun Redbeard, Bael the Bard, Gendel and Gorne, the Horned Lord, they all came south to conquer, but I’ve come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall.” He touched the horn again. “If I sound the Horn of Winter, the Wall will fall. Or so the songs would have me believe. There are those among my people who want nothing more . . .”

  “But once the Wall is fallen,” Dalla said, “what will stop the Others?”

  Mance gave her a fond smile. “It’s a wise woman I’ve found. A true queen.” He turned back to Jon. “Go back and tell them to open their gate and let us pass. If they do, I will give them the horn, and the Wall will stand until the end of days.”

 

I've bolded a couple parts that I read multiple meanings.

1) Mance does have the horn of winter.

2) Mance admits that he's been lying. 

3) His plan is not the shortest route past the Wall but it's the safest. There are additional dangers after they're through to consider.

4) Mance has multiple plans with contingencies. He's thought through every scenerio.

5) Mance lists all the ways he could have gone to get the wildlngs past the Wall. He's got the numbers to defeat the Watch, but what happens after that? He's playing a longer game and needs to figure out a way to diminish attacks from the south after they've passed. But if it's the Watch that allows them through, then the northern clans and the Warden of the North may not be so quick to attack.

6) "Not at your hands" includes, not just the white walkers and wights, but from the people south of the Wall.

 

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Now that I think about it, it feels like Jeor Mormont would have been very likely to work with the wildlings if faced with a common threat like the Others. He was reasonable and tolerant, and apparently he had some respect for the wildlings, more than Bowen Marsh at least. So why not go straight to him?

I have to agree with you here. I think Mormont would have been open to the idea of allowing the wildlings through. So why was he attacked? My finger is turned towards Jon.

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Better yet, why not track Mormont's expedition and come in at the last moment to rescue them from the wight attack? That would have made the Night's Watchmen indebted to the wildlings, and would have shown most of them that they can be trusted and that it would be best for everyone to face this enemy together. It would have been a lot easier than trying to manipulate Jon and hoping he would be picked Lord Commander after Mormont's death. If we are going to assume some skinchanger was in control of Mormont's raven, they would have known where the expedition was at all times.

Mance wanted to draw the Watch's garrison away from the gate so that his people could open it. Reducing the numbers of the Watch wouldn't hurt either. The Fist was an opportunity to not only reduce their numbers, but to obtain their weapons. Mance makes Jon think he blames him for the attack, but Mance is standing there dressed like a divine predator:

...Mance was at the top of the hill. Under his black wool and red silk he wore black ringmail and shaggy fur breeches, and on his head was a great bronze-and-iron helm with raven wings at either temple. 

Mance's helmet mirrors Ossa Ravenhead, a Viking warrior diety. Wearing a winged helmet is commonly used to depict Celts, but the shaggy fur breeches imply he’s wearing a ritual costume that projects the wearer’s intention to become a divine predator, which circles back to Black Crow's association to the landsknechts..

 

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Note also that a lot of the circumstances that would lead to a good deal for the wildlings were created by the War of the Five Kings and the crippling lack of stability in the North at the onset of Winter. Without that war, they would have had to deal not with the Lord Commander, but with the Warden of the North, or even the King of Westeros, with a much larger imbalance of forces, and fewer chances to be allowed south of the Wall on their own terms even if they did fight together. Are we to believe Mance had a hand in that as well? I think that makes it even less likely.

The War of the Five Kings did create a lot of instability in the Seven Kingdoms for sure. Could Mance even know these events would happen? Not likely, although I wonder if the ice priestesses have the means to divine the future like the fire seers do?

2 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

P.S. I hope you're not taking it personally that I'm countering your theory. I agree with your reversal of the Conquest and I liked the parallels you found between the Dornish plot and Tywin's political maneuvers, but I don't agree with this one... And I think it's a good thing to strain a theory and try to disprove it; that's how we can force the better ones to the surface.

None taken. I'm not new to these here forums, pardner. Been around since 2010, and am used to heaps of criticism.   :smoking:

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59 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

What point were the landsknechts making?

 

In those days there were what were called sumptuary laws, which limited who could wear what. Only high status people could wear silks and particularly of course brightly coloured silks. The landsknechts [German mercenary soldiers] ostentatiously thumbed their collective noses at the laws and basically said yah boo sucks, I'll wear what I damn well want and yoiu and who's army is going to stop me.

To a very large extent that's exactly what Mance says, but lansknecht tailoring doesn't really work with cloaks and as I said the colouring appears significant

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On 5/2/2018 at 0:25 PM, JNR said:

It's possible.   However, the wight horses are almost certainly as slow and clumsy as all other wights appear to be; for instance, the one we see Ser Puddles riding is literally dragging its guts behind it, not galloping.  I'm not sure any form of wight can do such a thing as jog, even.

Perhaps, although Coldhands seems to have no issues with agility when he's fighting off wights outside of BR's cave; of course, that comes with some asterisks, since we don't know if Coldhands is being animated by a different magic, and the fact that he has autonomy over his body presumably gives him superior coordination.

Nonetheless, the point is that the Others theoretically have means to travel at a non-sluggish pace (though the wight horde is a different story) if GRRM so chooses to "garden" some circumstances where he wants things to kick off with a bang after the Wall fails--and, perhaps overly optimistically, I'm assuming that he does, if for no other reason than the fact that the storytelling should reflect the dramatic shift in tone and stakes that would arrive with the invasion of the Others.

At the least, I expect Winterfell to be under duress in a relatively short period of time, in terms of chapter count, if/when the Horn of Winter has been sounded.

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Still not convinced the speed of Others and Wights matters, but they likely don't need to stop to rest, sleep or eat.  Even moving 2 mph, they cover 48 miles a day, or over 17000 per year, and can likely get where they need to be.

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

Repairing an old dirty cloak with precious silk is not out of character if the woman was strongly attracted to Mance, which also explains his objection to burning it.

I guess I'm in the Heresy minority on this one, but I really think the story of the silk is more appealing when taken at face value: that it encapsulates some of those qualities of the Free Folk that Mance finds so alluring. The woman's causal generosity with the silk is to be contrasted with the way the kneelers value wealth and status, to be contrasted with the way many in the Watch demonize the Free Folk as a whole; they're not all raiders and murders.

Mance, himself ostensibly of the Free Folk, was given the choice of trading in a symbol of some of the good that can be found north of the Wall for what was, for all intents and purposes, a fresh Wildling Killing Uniform.

Edit: Which is not to say that you're wrong about the woman liking Mance, only that I disagree that the cloak's value to Mance lay in its color combination or its connection to Asshai, rather than its value laying in what it says about the Free Folk.

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15 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I don't see the wildlings the same way that you do. If you feel my comparisons are like blaming the Jews for the holocaust and blacks for slavery, then your sympathies obviously lay with the wildlings and you believe the story Mance has woven for Jon. I don't believe they were ever in any danger until after they created it by resurrecting the practice of ice magic to create white walkers and wights. Mance is cunning and Dalla acted as his advisor.

I think we are going a little bit in circles here, and I probably didn't make myself fully understood.

It doesn't matter what the absolute truth is here, it matters how the story is presented and how it would be interpreted on re-reads. The wildlings are presented in a sympathetic light. They're not monolithic, obviously, some of them are downright horrible, but George goes a long way in trying to show their humanity to the reader. We can empathize with Ygritte, with Tormund, with Dalla, with Mance, with Gilly, with Osha, with Val as much as we hate Craster, the Weeper and Rattleshirt. Why? Because they do and say deeply human things.

And if we can't do it on our own, the "good" characters, who we know are compassionate and intelligent, like Jon, Sam, Bran and Jeor push us into humanizing them by doing it themselves. With most of these characters, we actually witness their mental and emotional process as they do it... and it's not like they are foolish bleeding hearts. They are fully aware of the dangerous side of the wildlings, they try to separate the good from the bad, and they make provisions to protect themselves... they don't appear as blind as Ned was when he warned Cersei or Theon when trusting Ramsay.

On the other hand, the characters who are against the wildlings tend to dehumanize them completely. They want to leave them out there to die, or at most use them in a way that would kill as many of them as possible. Characters like Janos Slynt, Queen Selyse, etc., who are made to appear like clueless xenophobes.

So it's not really me believing Mance's story, but me believing something George himself is saying by corroborating multiple PoV and non-PoV character assessments. Something that happens to align with his own political views, by the way. That the wildlings are just as human as the other characters and many (most?) of them deserve to be saved.

If your scenario is correct, all of the above is a trick, and the real message becomes: You're not supposed to be compassionate, those evil [blank] will always be out to get you. The "bad" characters like Janos Slynt are entirely justified in their position, and the "good" characters are suckers. It's one thing to do this with individual characters, and quite another to turn it into a blanket statement about an entire people.

Again, I'm not comparing you to a fictional-world Holocaust denier because you don't believe Mance... I'm saying the story would make a point of getting you emotionally invested in its own version of a Holocaust threat, only to tell you later that it was orchestrated by its own victims. And I can't imagine George wanting to make that sort of point. I think your only problem is that you are so invested in the "twist" that you don't really see how it would affect the themes and message of the story.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I've bolded a couple parts that I read multiple meanings.

1) Mance does have the horn of winter.

2) Mance admits that he's been lying. 

3) His plan is not the shortest route past the Wall and it's also not the safest. In fact he and Dalla realize the dangers of what they've done.

4) Mance has multiple plans with contingencies. He's thought through every scenerio.

5) Mance lists all the ways he could have gone to get the wildlngs past the Wall. He's got the numbers to defeat the Watch, but what happens after that? He's playing a longer game and needs to figure out a way to diminish attacks from the south after they've passed. But if it's the Watch that allows them through, then the northern clans and the Warden of the North may not be so quick to attack.

6) "Not at your hands" includes, not just the white walkers and wights, but from the people south of the Wall.

You are projecting too much on that text. If Mance is insincere there, it is because he's trying to pump himself up in front of Jon and make the wildlings look stronger than they actually are. I believe he truly doesn't want to bleed them, but the main reason he doesn't engage in some complex operations is that he fears his people would break hard if parts of such a complex plan went wrong. After all, they broke from a single cavalry charge of rather weak force.

The Watch has no authority to allow the wildlings south of the Wall. The only reason it can be up to them is that North is severely weakened and contested, otherwise they would have sent for the ruling Stark to come up there with an army, and he would have had the final say.

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5 hours ago, Tucu said:

From the context of that quote and the lack of older children, I always assumed that Mance met Dalla in 298 after he returned from his last visit to Winterfell (during Robert's visit)

You raise a good point about the birth of Mance’s first child, just as Feather raises a good point about Mance’s comparison to Qhorin’s discipline against having female companionship.  I’m officially on the fence on this.

It always seemed strange to me that Mance would have had the time to meet a “southron” girl (at least in relation to the Wall), develop a relationship with her and a marriage all the while that he has his Wildling army massing in the Frostfangs.  But perhaps as you suggested this might be a purely political marriage pre-arranged and part of Mance’s to do list in his journey to and from Winterfell.

I suppose in a way it could  parallel Robb’s sudden marriage to Jeyne, but even that was facilitated by his extended stay at her family’s castle due to injury.

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3 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

You raise a good point about the birth of Mance’s first child, just as Feather raises a good point about Mance’s comparison to Qhorin’s discipline against having female companionship.  I’m officially on the fence on this.

It always seemed strange to me that Mance would have had the time to meet a “southron” girl (at least in relation to the Wall), develop a relationship with her and a marriage all the while that he has his Wildling army massing in the Frostfangs.  But perhaps as you suggested this might be a purely political marriage pre-arranged and part of Mance’s to do list in his journey to and from Winterfell.

I suppose in a way it would parallel Robb’s sudden marriage to Jeyne, but even that was facilitated by his extended stay at her family’s castle due to injury.

Qhorin describes Mance like this:

Quote

He had a passion for wildling music. Aye, and for their women as well

...

"For a wench, some say. For a crown, others would have it." Qhorin tested the edge of his sword with the ball of his thumb. "He liked women, Mance did, and he was not a man whose knees bent easily, that's true. But it was more than that. He loved the wild better than the Wall. It was in his blood. He was wildling born, taken as a child when some raiders were put to the sword. When he left the Shadow Tower he was only going home again."

He doesn't sound like a guy that would have one monogamous relationship for years.

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47 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

Nonetheless, the point is that the Others theoretically have means to travel at a non-sluggish pace (though the wight horde is a different story) if GRRM so chooses to "garden" some circumstances where he wants things to kick off with a bang after the Wall fails--and, perhaps overly optimistically, I'm assuming that he does, if for no other reason than the fact that the storytelling should reflect the dramatic shift in tone and stakes that would arrive with the invasion of the Others.

At the least, I expect Winterfell to be under duress in a relatively short period of time, in terms of chapter count, if/when the Horn of Winter has been sounded.

The circumstances are already established and fairly simple. Luckily, Feather Crystal provided us with the quote:

Quote

They grow stronger as the days grow shorter and the nights colder.

That's it. The Others can only advance as far as these conditions allow them, and so far they weren't permanent, not even north of the Wall. I wonder if the wights have some restrictions as well. Have we ever seen them out and about on warm sunny days?

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