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Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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19 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

If she just up and abandons her character development and her self-imposed goals because she had a plot-induced Jorah hallucination, her "going home" will end up looking more like this.

Well, I seriously doubt it's the "Jorah hallucination" that finally convinces her to leave for Westeros.  

I find it much more likely that Tyrion set up the triggering event earlier in ADWD, over that game of cyvasse with Young Griff (long quote here, so I'm hiding as a spoiler for length):

Spoiler

"...Your false father is a great lord, and I am just some twisted little monkey man. Still, I'd do things differently."

That got the boy's attention. "How differently?"

"If I were you? I would go west instead of east. Land in Dorne and raise my banners. The Seven Kingdoms will never be more ripe for conquest than they are right now....

... "But," Prince Aegon said, "without Daenerys and her dragons, how could we hope to win?"

"You do not need to win," Tyrion told him. "All you need to do is raise your banners, rally your supporters, and hold, until Daenerys arrives to join her strength to yours."

"You said she might not have me."

"Perhaps I overstated. She may take pity on you when you come begging for her hand." The dwarf shrugged. "Do you want to wager your throne upon a woman's whim? Go to Westeros, though... ah, then you are a rebel, not a beggar. Bold, reckless, a true scion of House Targaryen, walking in the footsteps of Aegon the Conqueror.  A dragon.

“I told you, I know our little queen. Let her hear that her brother Rhaegar's murdered son is still alive, that this brave boy has raised the dragon standard of her forebears in Westeros once more, that he is fighting a desperate war to avenge his father and reclaim the Iron Throne for House Targaryen, hard-pressed on every side... and she will fly to your side as fast as wind and water can carry her. You are the last of her line, and this Mother of Dragons, this Breaker of Chains, is above all a rescuer. The girl who drowned the slaver cities in blood rather than leave strangers to their chains can scarcely abandon her own brother's son in his hour of peril. And when she reaches Westeros, and meets you for the first time, you will meet as equals, man and woman, not queen and supplicant. How can she help but love you then, I ask you?" Smiling, he seized his dragon, flew it across the board. "I hope Your Grace will pardon me. Your king is trapped. Death in four."

The prince stared at the playing board. "My dragon—"

"—is too far away to save you. You should have moved her to the center of the battle."

"But you said—"

"I lied. Trust no one. And keep your dragon close."  [5.22 -- TYRION]

I think Tyrion's got Dany pegged, there. She is a rescuer, and she craves family - in fact, that's what her longing for home is really about... because the only way she's ever known to define "home" is through her family and family stories.

In the meantime, before she flies off to Westeros I fully expect her to lay the smack down in Meereen.  I'll go ahead and predict violence in Volantis as well - if only in some sort of fly-by flaming - and that should take care of the slave trade in Essos for the foreseeable future.

Then she'll be off to Westeros - and we will finally discover, one way or another, whether the (f) in "(f)Aegon" is silent.

Edited by The Snowfyre Chorus

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On 4/26/2018 at 0:34 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

My apologies if this has been pointed out already here, I did not see it, but in a 2014 interview, GRRM had this to say about Daenerys and Tyrion.

I saw a Tyrion dream on Reddit that I'd totally forgotten about, but it certainly seems to foreshadow Tyrion's eventual homecoming:

Tyrion II, ADWD

Quote

The wine, the food, the sun, the sway of the litter, the buzzing of the flies, all conspired to make Tyrion sleepy. So he slept, woke, drank. Illyrio matched him cup for cup. And as the sky turned a dusky purple, the fat man began to snore.

That night Tyrion Lannister dreamed of a battle that turned the hills of Westeros as red as blood. He was in the midst of it, dealing death with an axe as big as he was, fighting side by side with Barristan the Bold and Bittersteel as dragons wheeled across the sky above them. In the dream he had two heads, both noseless. His father led the enemy, so he slew him once again. Then he killed his brother, Jaime, hacking at his face until it was a red ruin, laughing every time he struck a blow. Only when the fight was finished did he realize that his second head was weeping.

In light of the events toward the latter parts of ADWD, with Young Griff and co. arriving in Westeros, the inclusion of Bittersteel becomes noteworthy in retrospect--it seems highly likely that Tyrion is dreaming of a battle that will take place in Westeros involving himself, the Golden Company/Young Griff faction, the Lannister faction, Barristan, and dragons.

It would also align well with the promise of this old SSM:

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Concerning_the_Dance_of_the_Dragons
 

Quote

Hi, short question. Will we find out more about the Dance of the Dragons in future books?

The first dance or the second?

The second will be the subject of a book. The first will be mentioned from time to time, I'm sure.

 

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17 hours ago, JNR said:

The problem, as always, is that it's GRRM's preconception, not ours, as you have repeatedly agreed.

If Dany conquering Westeros is (as you say) a pipe dream, then it's a pipe dream that governed GRRM's mind as he wrote the bulk of the canon from 1993-2000.

Your position: That he realized, after 2000, that two-thirds of his original story was bad writing and changed his mind to do radically different stuff.

You should be a little more careful not to put words in my mouth (or in GRRM's, I think). Strawmanning isn't constructive for either side of the discussion. My argument wasn't that the original story was bad writing and that's why George has to change it. Bad writing is turning hundreds of pages of built up character themes and motivations on their head because you need them to do an 180° for the plot.

My position is that Dany's motivations and character development are at this point so intrinsically connected to Meereen and the whole slave trade ecosystem, and the themes of slavery, freedom and their costs are so prevalent in all of her story so far, that it would be bad writing to abruptly change course and have her focus on Westeros instead.

I mean, Dany's actions reflected several times that for her freeing slaves and/or protecting her freedmen > getting to Westeros sooner. That's why she conquered Slaver's Bay and stayed in Meereen after all, and even though her attitude towards diplomacy and compromise has changed, her attitude towards slavery didn't. Why then would she take the Dothraki straight to Westeros instead of using them to free more slaves first? The character was simply not brought in a position where she can realistically support the plot from the summary. I hope it was intentional... if not, I will be disappointed, but at least George is good enough to make even bad writing half decent.

17 hours ago, JNR said:

Tell us how you picture GRRM plausibly concluding all the Westeros storylines and shifting the tale to Essos as the primary stage.  Tell us how he does that in the less-than-two-books he has left.

Bear in mind we've already read a seventh of TWOW, and it shows no sign of such a stupendous narrative reorchestration.

Challenge accepted. Here's a speculative breakdown of chapters and what arcs they could realistically cover in TWoW (they are clustered together based on minor arcs, so the order is only vaguely relevant):

  • the 9 chapters that were released in advance.
  • 4 chapters about the Battle of Ice, including a Davos chapter where events from the Battle are related indirectly and we also get to see the aftermath of the Ides of Marsh.
  • 4 chapters with Dany recruiting the Dothraki. She sends a khalasar across the Red Wastes to present Qarth with demands of surrender, which they will agree too via messengers later.
  • 3-4 more assorted Tyrion, Victarion and Barristan chapters showing us the rest of the Battle of Fire. Victarion will steal a dragon and flee at some point during or after the battle.
  • 1 second Aeron chapter depicting a sea battle.
  • 2 Areo Hotah chapters.
  • 3 Sam chapters in the South.
  • 4-5 chapters showing us the aftermath of the Battle of Ice and the fall of the Wall, ending with Stannis marching to his doom to face the Others.
  • 5-6 assorted chapters depicting the first stages of the war in the South, with Cersei, Connington and Arianne as PoVs. Cersei allies herself with Euron.
  • 3 chapters with Jaime, Brienne and Lady Stoneheart, culminating at the Twins with a twisted revenge against the Freys.
  • 5 chapters describing the retreat to White Harbor and final defense against the Others, culminating with Jon's fleet arriving in Braavos.
  • 2 more Alayne chapters, culminating with a raven from Jon announcing all the great houses that the Others are coming.
  • 3 chapters about Dany returning or sending messengers to Meereen and the aftermath of the Battle of Fire. Dany decides to march against the other slaver cities, and she will go north to Qohor and Norvos, while Barristan and Tyrion will go south to take Volantis.
  • 1 chapter aftermath of the sack of Qohor.
  • 4-5 chapters Tyrion, Barristan and R'hllor followers taking Volantis for Dany.
  • 5 chapters with Jon's refugees in Braavos and trying to find a place to settle in Andalos. Arya PoVs for some of these.
  • 4-5 chapters describing the second part of the Aegon-Cersei war, including Sam PoVs. Ominous warnings followed by displaced people start pouring in from the north. Culminates with Aegon taking KL and Cersei retreating on the Silence.
  • 3 more Jaime and Brienne chapters featuring LSH's death, the dead rising in the Riverlands and a dream quest from Bran.
  • 1 Victarion chapters returning with the dragon.
  • 5-6 chapters about Dany's conflict with Norvos. Archibald and Gerris will ask Dany to take Quentyn's bones to his mother, which she will do in hopes of finding an ally there, but she gets the opposite result instead. Somehow Norvos will end up in flames, souring Dany's image in the remaining Free Cities.
  • 3 Sansa chapters depicting the arrival of refugees from the Riverlands in the Vale and leading up to Euron becoming a major antagonist for her.
  • 1 Epilogue with the first white walkers rising in the South. Aegon conquered a kingdom that is about to die.

There you go, ~75-81 chapters, entirely feasible, although I'm sure GRRM would plot this a lot better. Dream would tie everything together around the western shores of Essos.

14 hours ago, Black Crow said:

You are entitled to your belief and your're entitled to argue for it. We've cheerfully discussed it, but with no-one lining up behind you it needs a far more convincingly evidenced argument as to why a story which is and always has been about Westeros should shift so radically at this stage in the game

 

7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Furthermore, as I pointed out earlier an exodus to Essos makes absolutely no sense in relation to Jon. He is a son of Winterfell; that is his gift and his curse. It is what defines him and his part in this story and his part in resolving this will be played out in or around Winterfell.

I find these two positions to be entirely subjective, but hey, I realize I'm the intruder here!  I feel a bit guilty I kind of hijacked one of your Heresies to plug my theory, but you have many of them, so maybe you will forgive me just this once.:P

I should probably edit my own thread, my theories evolved a bit since then, but I don't even know if people still read that subforum. Here at least there is some conversation.

Edited by The Coconut God

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4 hours ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

I think Tyrion's got Dany pegged, there. She is a rescuer, and she craves family - in fact, that's what her longing for home is really about... because the only way she's ever known to define "home" is through her family and family stories.

It's funny, because I got the exact opposite from that. :D Tyrion may be very smart, but he knows nothing about Dany at that point and everything he tells Aegon is a bad advice. Dany is a rescuer, true, but she is also a conqueror, and the two go hand in hand with her. She rescues the oppressed, not idiots who run headlong into trouble. And her reaction to Quentyn showed us that she is in no hurry to comply with other people's plans for her.

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3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

You should be a little more careful not to put words in my mouth

Small danger of that with your foot blocking it.  

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

My position is that Dany's motivations and character development are at this point so intrinsically connected to Meereen and the whole slave trade ecosystem, and the themes of slavery, freedom and their costs are so prevalent in all of her story so far, that it would be bad writing to abruptly change course and have her focus on Westeros instead.

We'll revisit this position when TWOW is out, since it conclusively establishes your opinion of GRRM's writing should he send Dany to Westeros, as he's repeatedly said he's going to do.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

There you go, ~75-81 chapters, entirely feasible

Is it, though?  Let's consider an instance.

3 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

4-5 chapters showing us the aftermath of the Battle of Ice and the fall of the Wall, ending with Stannis marching to his doom to face the Others

All that is simply not going to happen in four chapters unless GRRM descends into the ludicrous -- for instance, by having the Popsicles burn down the Wall in two minutes using a wighted dragon (which, despite being freeze-dried and ultra-flammable, somehow doesn't ignite like the Hindenburg in the first instant it tries to generate fire).

We're talking about TWOW.  It's the same book in which GRRM needed two full chapters simply to move Arianne Martell from Dorne to... well, not too far from Aegon at Storm's End.  Close!  (But she'll be there soon, we hope.)

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6 hours ago, JNR said:

Small danger of that with your foot blocking it.  

Appeal to authority, strawmanning and insults. Your arguments are getting better and better! :P

6 hours ago, JNR said:

All that is simply not going to happen in four chapters unless GRRM descends into the ludicrous.

We're talking about TWOW.  It's the same book in which GRRM needed two full chapters simply to move Arianne Martell from Dorne to... well, not too far from Aegon at Storm's End.  Close!  (But she'll be there soon, we hope.)

How many chapters do you realistically expect for the fall of the Wall (which can very well be only metaphorical, mind you, the point is the Others crossing it)?

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5 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

 

How many chapters do you realistically expect for the fall of the Wall (which can very well be only metaphorical, mind you, the point is the Others crossing it)?

I wouldn't like to speculate on the chapters but the Wall occupies a fundamental position in all of this. Its fall may be necessary to bring about a resolution to the whole screwed seasons business rather than a mere detail facilitating the blue-eyed lot passing it

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I wouldn't like to speculate on the chapters but the Wall occupies a fundamental position in all of this. Its fall may be necessary to bring about a resolution to the whole screwed seasons business rather than a mere detail facilitating the blue-eyed lot passing it

It's one of the Wonders made by man or gods.  It's 400 miles long and 700 feet high.  It dominates the landscape and not something that is a minor detail.  It's one of the hinges of the world and made with Great Lore.

Edited by LynnS

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I think you're getting a bit carried away with the importance of the Wall. Yes, it's a major landmark, but the true stakes are the people it's meant to protect, not the Wall itself. At least that's what I'm invested in. And don't forget George lets some major events happen off-page. There may not even be a viable PoV at the Wall when it falls.

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9 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Appeal to authority

It's reasonable to appeal to authority when that authority is the sole person (GRRM) who determines literally everything that happens in an imaginary world (that he himself imagined in the first place).

However, it's certainly true no one can prove you are wrong, for the same reason as the above: None of us are GRRM and none of us write ASOIAF.   We'll have to wait and see.   Since I hold views that are far from popular on this site (example: Jon's parentage), this is an area where I actually have some sympathy for you.

If TWOW comes out and Dany never goes to Westeros, we'll all be shocked, and you'll be proven right (at least insofar as that particular book is concerned).  

9 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

How many chapters do you realistically expect for the fall of the Wall (which can very well be only metaphorical, mind you, the point is the Others crossing it)?

Well, one is reluctant to speculate, but certainly more than four.  

Four is the number of chapters GRRM blew in ADWD simply to Davos going to White Harbor and learning Rickon might be on Skagos -- a far more trivial sequence than the fall of the Wall.

I also can't really imagine the Popsicles will make it south of the Neck in the next book.  It has taken GRRM five giant volumes, far over a million words, just to move the Popsicles from north of the Wall to... er... less north of the Wall. 

And that's despite the fact that they encountered no significant resistance at any point.   Like, you know... the Wall.  Which is presumably not going to be a pushover for them (a thing I really would consider genuinely bad writing if it happened).  So, as usual, we'll have to wait and see. 

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

There may not even be a viable PoV at the Wall when it falls.

Do you really believe this?

The next book is called "The Winds Of Winter" - so tell me, where does these winds will most likely blow?
Out of the "land of always winter"?
Or somewhere in Essos...???

Edited by The Chequered Raven
spelling

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20 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

It's funny, because I got the exact opposite from that. :D Tyrion may be very smart, but he knows nothing about Dany at that point and everything he tells Aegon is a bad advice. Dany is a rescuer, true, but she is also a conqueror, and the two go hand in hand with her. She rescues the oppressed, not idiots who run headlong into trouble. And her reaction to Quentyn showed us that she is in no hurry to comply with other people's plans for her.

I tend to agree with you on this point.  It’s pretty amusing that while Tyrion advises Young Griff to move further away from Dany and invade Westeros on his own, that appears to be the reason Young Griff loses his Cyvasse game to Tyrion.  His dragon was too far away to save him.  

I also somewhat agree that the Essos plotlines may not be finished yet.  My suspicion is that one of Illyrio’s alliances may be with Benerro and the Red Priests of Volantis.  

Quote

A sister’s screams. “Are you quite certain that Daenerys will make good her brother’s promises?”
“She will, or she will not.” Illyrio bit the egg in half. “I told you, my little friend, not all that a man does is done for gain. Believe as you wish, but even fat old fools like me have friends, and debts of affection to repay.”

Benerro is stirring up the slave populace by proclaiming Dany to be their foretold savior and by painting the Volantese as being an enemy of Dany.  And while this scenario is happening, Illyrio tries to arrange a meeting of the Golden Company and Dany and whatever portion of her army she can fit on any ships (perhaps the thirteen that Xaro offers her) right outside the city of Volantis.  And in the meantime, there just happens to be a Dothraki horde lurking north of Volantis diverting some of some of Volantis’ Tiger guard.  

My guess is, Illyrio knew that Dany’s arrival would cause Volantis to move against her and the Golden Company, which in turn would have sparked a slave revolt in the city, while most of Volantis’ city guard is either engaging Dany and the GC or the Dothraki horde to the north.  Perhaps Illyrio’s gift to the Red Priests, delivering Volantis to them on a platter.  Of course Tyrion advice to Young Griff and Dany’s refusal to leave Mereen, would have upended Illyrio’s plan.

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1 hour ago, Frey family reunion said:

I tend to agree with you on this point.  It’s pretty amusing that while Tyrion advises Young Griff to move further away from Dany and invade Westeros on his own, that appears to be the reason Young Griff loses his Cyvasse game to Tyrion.  His dragon was too far away to save him.  

I also somewhat agree that the Essos plotlines may not be finished yet.  My suspicion is that one of Illyrio’s alliances may be with Benerro and the Red Priests of Volantis.  

Benerro is stirring up the slave populace by proclaiming Dany to be their foretold savior and by painting the Volantese as being an enemy of Dany.  And while this scenario is happening, Illyrio tries to arrange a meeting of the Golden Company and Dany and whatever portion of her army she can fit on any ships (perhaps the thirteen that Xaro offers her) right outside the city of Volantis.  And in the meantime, there just happens to be a Dothraki horde lurking north of Volantis diverting some of some of Volantis’ Tiger guard.  

My guess is, Illyrio knew that Dany’s arrival would cause Volantis to move against her and the Golden Company, which in turn would have sparked a slave revolt in the city, while most of Volantis’ city guard is either engaging Dany and the GC or the Dothraki horde to the north.  Perhaps Illyrio’s gift to the Red Priests, delivering Volantis to them on a platter.  Of course Tyrion advice to Young Griff and Dany’s refusal to leave Mereen, would have upended Illyrio’s plan.

All of this is possible, but not necessarily to shift all the action to Essos.

In the original synopsis GRRM suggested three books; first the Game of Thrones in Westeros; then the conquest of a fatally weakened Westeros by Danaerys the Dragonlord and her Dothraki horde; then her struggle to re-unite Westeros against the blue-eyed lot.

As written it has so far been a bit different and above all totally screwed as to the timetable. I think that there's a massive logistic problem in shipping and disembarking a Dothraki horde in Westeros, but problems in Essos could help reduce the problem by bleeding the Dothraki off. That's not to say Danaerys aint going to make it, but rather that she will look to other allies to invite and carry her there without having to rely on Essos answer to the Comanche

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Well, one is reluctant to speculate, but certainly more than four.  

Four is the number of chapters GRRM blew in ADWD simply to Davos going to White Harbor and learning Rickon might be on Skagos -- a far more trivial sequence than the fall of the Wall.

I also can't really imagine the Popsicles will make it south of the Neck in the next book.  It has taken GRRM five giant volumes, far over a million words, just to move the Popsicles from north of the Wall to... er... less north of the Wall. 

And that's despite the fact that they encountered no significant resistance at any point.   Like, you know... the Wall.  Which is presumably not going to be a pushover for them (a thing I really would consider genuinely bad writing if it happened).  So, as usual, we'll have to wait and see. 

And in ASoS, it only took Dany six chapters to recruit the Unsullied, sack Astapor, defeat Yunkai and conquer Meereen. It takes longer to stack up the boulders than it does to roll them down the hill. I expect things to speed up once they gain momentum.

Try to put Davos's chapters into perspective. The last two are absolutely necessary, they set up the whole Northern Conspiracy situation. The first two, well... they establish White Harbor and the Three Sisters. If I am right, we will see these places again on Jon's way to Essos, and that's how the set up will pay off. If not, it remains to be seen why George thought they were worth a chapter each.

As for the Wall, we already had a big battle there, thematically speaking we don't need another. It would be far more dramatic to see the Others actually do some damage in the towns and castles of Westeros, which, let's face it, has been the real threat all along.

46 minutes ago, The Chequered Raven said:

Do you really believe this?

The next book is called "The Winds Of Winter" - so tell me, where does these winds will most likely blow?
Out of the "land of always winter"?
Or somewhere in Essos...???

I do believe it, yes. Jon is "dead" and things are about to get very messy at Castle Black. It's a coin toss whether Mel will be able to stay there and show us what happens with the Wall; she's just as likely to head for Winterfell or go to wherever they're taking Jon's body (*hint* Karhold *hint*).

So what other PoV do we have? I suppose Davos can see it from Eastwatch or from a ship, or Bran can have a vision, but otherwise George would have to bring a character to the Wall just to watch it fall, and then have them retreat to Winterfell or some other point that can actually be defended. It feels forced, and something similar has already been done with Sam.

47 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

Benerro is stirring up the slave populace by proclaiming Dany to be their foretold savior and by painting the Volantese as being an enemy of Dany.  And while this scenario is happening, Illyrio tries to arrange a meeting of the Golden Company and Dany and whatever portion of her army she can fit on any ships (perhaps the thirteen that Xaro offers her) right outside the city of Volantis.  And in the meantime, there just happens to be a Dothraki horde lurking north of Volantis diverting some of some of Volantis’ Tiger guard.  

My guess is, Illyrio knew that Dany’s arrival would cause Volantis to move against her and the Golden Company, which in turn would have sparked a slave revolt in the city, while most of Volantis’ city guard is either engaging Dany and the GC or the Dothraki horde to the north.  Perhaps Illyrio’s gift to the Red Priests, delivering Volantis to them on a platter.  Of course Tyrion advice to Young Griff and Dany’s refusal to leave Mereen, would have upended Illyrio’s plan.

That's a very interesting thought. If he wants to finish the story in two books, the key is to pull as many plot threads together as he can. I can see Volantis tying into Illyrio's plots instead of being a standalone thing. At the very least we might uncover something new about Illyrio, Varys or Aegon in those chapters.

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I too, like the Coconut God, suspect Dany won't come to Westeros, and the reason why I say this is, because I believe in the inversions and the reversal of history. If she were to come it would be a repeat of Aegon the Conqueror summoned to deal with the pesky Ironborn, er, I mean pesky wilding/white walker/wight horde invasion from the north. Would this truly reverse history and return everything to rights? Isn't the plan of the Children and their greeseers to return Westeros back to place in time before they "broke" planetos?

The titled chapters are inversion chapters. They demonstrate how various historical events are being relieved and changed. The Coconut God brought up Areo Hotah and his/her expectations about this character and where GRRM is going with his story arc. I believe Areo is reliving historical events experienced previously by Ser Illyn Payne and Ser Gregor Clegane - both men were Tywin Lannister's Captain of Guards, whereas Prince Doran Martell is reliving Tywin himself complete with his own "Cersei" in Arianne. Doran's gout are physical manifestations of Tywin's inward emotions. Doran's Water Gardens are a more pleasant parallel to Tywin's destruction of the Reynes of Castamere. The playing and splashing of children versus the people that drowned in the flooded caves.

Doran wants to watch the children play in the water until it gets dark and the children are gone. Tywin placed guards at every exit and remained at Castamere until all was quiet.

Doran tells Areo to have his things ready by morning for the journey back to Sunspear. They talk about siblings. Doran asks about Areo’s siblings, and them tells him about his own. Doran talks about being so much older than his siblings, yet they’re all dead and he’s still alive. Areo talks about himself being the youngest, and thinks about himself as being unwantedNot much is known about Ser Ilyn's family, but I do see an inversion here for Gregor Clegane. Ser Gregor’s feelings about Sandor are that he was just another mouth to feed, a big boy who ate too much and soon outgrew his clothes. There also were rumors that Gregor killed his father, sister, and his first two wives. 

Areo Hotah didn’t know what to say to Doran after he talked about his family. He reflects that he’s just a captain of guards and has been since he took his vows at the age of six-and-ten. This is the same age that Gregor became a Ser. Later on after Areo is lying in bed he thinks to himself, “I should have gathered up the oranges that fell.” Areo is above all things obedient, and likely didn't pickup the fruit, because he wasn't ordered. This would be a reversal to Ser Gregor, who was hinted to have taken it upon himself to kill Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon.

As he honed his axe, Hotah thought of his childhood home, the high city on the hill and the low part beside the river. He could still recall the sounds of the three bells and how they could set his very bones to shuddering. IMO the bell imagery is supposed to make us think about the Battle of the Bells, which was an early battle in the Rebellion, but being there are three bells, it could represent Elia, Rhaenys, and Aegon again. I'll double-check the World Book to see if there's any mention of Ser Ilyn as being at the Battle of the Bells as he may have been if he was guarding Tywin.

There is also some imagery with Areo’s recollections about being burned by a priest with his own axe, how painful it was, and how the hair never grew back where the axe burned him. Areo's memories parallel how Gregor burned Sandor’s face when they were children.

The parallels between Areo to Illyn and Gregor in the Captain of Guards chapter are laying the foundation so that the reader understands that the next Areo chapter will reveal more things about what Illyn and Gregor did leading up to and during the Rebellion.

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8 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

In the original synopsis GRRM suggested three books; first the Game of Thrones in Westeros; then the conquest of a fatally weakened Westeros by Danaerys the Dragonlord and her Dothraki horde; then her struggle to re-unite Westeros against the blue-eyed lot.

As written it has so far been a bit different and above all totally screwed as to the timetable. I think that there's a massive logistic problem in shipping and disembarking a Dothraki horde in Westeros, but problems in Essos could help reduce the problem by bleeding the Dothraki off. That's not to say Danaerys aint going to make it, but rather that she will look to other allies to invite and carry her there without having to rely on Essos answer to the Comanche

This sounds nonsensical, though. If there was a narrative problem with the Dothraki, George could have simply cut the Dothraki altogether or made it so that she only gets a few khalasars. He can still do the latter in Winds.

Uniting the horde is already going to be this big Fantasy Hero Moment that stretches credibility a little (kind of like how easy it was to take the Unsullied from Astapor). These moments shouldn't be overused, so why have it at all if you're going to immediately kill them off because they're too strong for your story? If two story arcs are meant to negate each other and you are short on time, why not cut both?

It's silly to assume that George, a highly acclaimed author, didn't realize this back in 2001-2010 when he was working on AFFC and ADwD, presumably with the rest of the story in mind. It's far more likely that he simply decided to turn the 3-steps story he had initially planned as a trilogy into a 2-steps story written as two trilogies, and revised his endgame. But, of course, we won't know for sure until TWoW is out.

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1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I too, like the Coconut God, suspect Dany won't come to Westeros, and the reason why I say this is, because I believe in the inversions and the reversal of history. If she were to come it would be a repeat of Aegon the Conqueror summoned to deal with the pesky Ironborn, er, I mean pesky wilding/white walker/wight horde invasion from the north. Would this truly reverse history and return everything to rights? Isn't the plan of the Children and their greeseers to return Westeros back to place in time before they "broke" planetos?

The titled chapters are inversion chapters. They demonstrate how various historical events are being relieved and changed. The Coconut God brought up Areo Hotah and his/her expectations about this character and where GRRM is going with his story arc. I believe Areo is reliving historical events experienced previously by Ser Illyn Payne and Ser Gregor Clegane - both men were Tywin Lannister's Captain of Guards, whereas Prince Doran Martell is reliving Tywin himself complete with his own "Cersei" in Arianne. Doran's gout are physical manifestations of Tywin's inward emotions. Doran's Water Gardens are a more pleasant parallel to Tywin's destruction of the Reynes of Castamere. The playing and splashing of children versus the people that drowned in the flooded caves.

I like this. This is the sort of things I enjoy about this series, all the little details that are there in the background, easy to miss, but reward you with some cool theories and a better understanding of the characters and the world if you pay attention.

That's why I don't want all those chapters in Essos and Dorne to be filler. I want them to tie into the story, so I can enjoy watching those little wheels turning on a reread, like ASoS did with AGoT and ACoK. I fear that would be very hard to achieve with Dany going to Westeros. With little over one book left for her to really do anything there, her fight with the Others would feel more like The Scouring of the Shire than a grand climax.

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think that there's a massive logistic problem in shipping and disembarking a Dothraki horde in Westeros, but problems in Essos could help reduce the problem by bleeding the Dothraki off. That's not to say Danaerys aint going to make it, but rather that she will look to other allies to invite and carry her there without having to rely on Essos answer to the Comanche

:agree:

Hard for me to see GRRM successfully bringing the Dothraki Horde to Westeros.  But maybe he’ll surprise me.

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I do think everything will end in Westeros,  but this isn't needed for the Wall to be relevant.  The Wall will come down,  probably from the Horn of Winter,  but that doesn't mean we can't see everyone left alive flee to Essos after that happens.

I remember GRRM talking about Essos, and him joking about how he regretted saying a city (Quarth I think) was in the middle of Essos,  because he never thought about anything East of it, and everyone wanted maps, so he not only had to make terrain East of Quarth, but cities and cultures and engage in a whole lot more world building than he planned.   Plans can change,  but he clearly didn't intend Essos to be that important. 

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