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Question: Do we know Val and Dalla's family tree?

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On 11/12/2018 at 6:00 AM, Rufus Snow said:

For this to be true* then either Mance needs to be Craster's son, or Dalla needs to be Craster's daughter.

As one who sees some room for doubt that the babies were ever actually switched , Sam's "mistake" might be meant to prompt us to think about it. Who saw the actual swap ? Not Jon. Aemon wouldn't know even if he was there. That leaves Gilly and Val. There are hints in the conversation between Gilly and Jon and in the differences between the departure from CB as seen by Jon and again by Sam.

Maybe Aemon is right and Gilly weeps because of the switch ... but maybe he's wrong. Maybe she has her own baby and her tears are because of worry and fears. ... What if her deception is discovered? Jon did threaten her. ... Would Sam side with her or with Jon? .. Then, she's discussing "Aemon Battleborn" way early, and we don't hear her use a milk name for the child. Val calls the baby at CB "Monster" because she has to call him something for two years, but all we hear from Gilly is Aemon Battleborn. I think we have to wait and see, but I won't be surprised if Mance's son is still at the wall.

@Lollygag, you said...

Quote

 Maybe she will get more development in the next book beyond being too perfect especially for this world and this writer , but holy cow there's a lot of ground to make up

As for Val, I think GRRM has given her a lot of thought. He has to wait for the right place in the story's development (and Jon's development) to reveal it, and I think that place is just coming up.

That said, there's a lot of subtext - e.g. how the other wildlings treat her, and a lot of other clues that can be gleaned even up to this point. She and Ghost "look like they belong together" because they are both in their own way connected to the old gods. (And I believe Ghost can know this -long story)

This is a link to an old thread of mine ....

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/66294-tormund-and-val-jons-intermediaries-to-the-old-gods/

... and there are others ( "Val is Jon's True Queen" springs to mind)

Dalla is considerably older, I think. Mance describes her as "This good woman" .. ( IMO, not the way one speaks of a very young woman) ... also, "a wise woman" and a "true queen". Val he calls "this beauty".

I think they correspond to the female seers in Norse mythology and culture, and may not even be related at all, but sisters in the sense that they follow the same vocation and Val has likely been trained or mentored by Dalla (whether they're related or not).

That's a very brief taste. I think she speaks differently to show she has more knowledge and has an elevated status among the free folk (in her own right).

 

Edited by bemused

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On 11/12/2018 at 6:00 AM, Rufus Snow said:

It all depends on how you untie this little knot in the text:

For this to be true* then either Mance needs to be Craster's son, or Dalla needs to be Craster's daughter.

 Well, we know what happens to Craster's sons, and yet Craster's daughters don't exactly 'marry out', either. However, if anyone was able to recognise Val and Dalla as Craster's daughters, then it would be Gilly, as she would have grown up with them. Otherwise all we know of them is that they lived somewhere north of Winterfell, because Mance and Dalla met whilst he was returning from 'seeing Robert'.

  

 

* of course, it might not be true - Sam may be confused, or misinformed, or GRRM may have just had a brain-fart whilst writing that line....

I think this little slip is indication of Martin setting up Mance to be in cahoots with dark forces. I mean Mance did not grant Tormund his blessing to take the man’s head for some reason.   

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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On 11/16/2018 at 8:28 AM, Lollygag said:

 Ygritte actually stole Jon though she tried to convince him it was the other way around (he was the maid being pursued, not Ygritte!).

I've never looked at it that way before. But now I do, I completely agree.

................

The only tree's the free folk keep to are the heart trees. And even if they did maintain legacies, they mean nothing to the free folk. Mance is their king because of what he did and not who he was born to. It will be the same for any Wildling outside of the Thenns who famously maintain a more southron approach to ruling. 

So if Val walks, talks and acts like a warrior princess. Maybe she is? Based entirely on how she's perceived. 

That's how life works. To many, Jaime is the Kingslayer. Jon is a bastard. Aerys Oakheart is a soiled knight. Theon is/was Reek. And Val, to anyone with eyes, is a Wildling princess. I can go on. Sandor was the hound. Then Rorge was 'The Hound'. Now Lem is 'The Hound'. Arya has been a whole bunch of people. Ultimately, it's all about perception. Theon only returned from being Reek because people were treating him like Theon again. Because that's who they needed him to be. In Mance's absence, people want a legitimate leader for the Free Folk. And Val looks the part. 

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9 hours ago, bemused said:

@Lollygag, you said...

As for Val, I think GRRM has given her a lot of thought. He has to wait for the right place in the story's development (and Jon's development) to reveal it, and I think that place is just coming up.

That said, there's a lot of subtext - e.g. how the other wildlings treat her, and a lot of other clues that can be gleaned even up to this point. She and Ghost "look like they belong together" because they are both in their own way connected to the old gods. (And I believe Ghost can know this -long story)

This is a link to an old thread of mine ....

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/66294-tormund-and-val-jons-intermediaries-to-the-old-gods/

... and there are others ( "Val is Jon's True Queen" springs to mind)

Dalla is considerably older, I think. Mance describes her as "This good woman" .. ( IMO, not the way one speaks of a very young woman) ... also, "a wise woman" and a "true queen". Val he calls "this beauty".

I think they correspond to the female seers in Norse mythology and culture, and may not even be related at all, but sisters in the sense that they follow the same vocation and Val has likely been trained or mentored by Dalla (whether they're related or not).

That's a very brief taste. I think she speaks differently to show she has more knowledge and has an elevated status among the free folk (in her own right).

 

Super beautiful! Warrior princess! Smart! Confident! Fighter for Good! And now with Super powers! In a series famed for its grey characters by an author who likes writing the heart in conflict with itself, this just doesn’t fit in. She's even more cheesy now. Something ain't right here. She just pales in comparison to other characters. Even Lollys Stokeworth looks like she's had more thought at a personality level.

Your OP covers what Val might be able to do. Having some sort of unspecified magic powers tells me nothing about her personality though. All of the Stark kids have super powers in that they’re wargs/skinchangers, but they’re all very different people. Same with the Targs. If Val is some priestess for example, how is she different from other priestesses? How is she different than anyone beyond the above list? This is what I mean by not giving Val much thought. There’s a lot of characters where I have some idea of who they are, there's glimpses or hints as to their pasts, you can see complex motives and even better, some interesting questions have been raised. Another area where we might just not agree is that I'm not that interested in the magic of the series and when I am, it's because I see it as being tied closely to the way a character is written at a personality level.

I'm not saying what you suggest for Val won't come to pass and I wouldn't have a problem with something like that so long as she gets written more like the other characters in the process, but as evidence, I'm not sure here. As that thread is closed...

There's nothing hinting at what you suggest in the books unless I missed it. The worship of the Old Gods has always been shown as very personal and without methodology (one of the things I like about it actually) and a priestess or some sort of authority figure - where does that fit in? I can see something tied to BR, CotF, whatnot, but I'm not seeing that here. There might be some organized ritualization tied to the blood sacrifices from Ned cleaning the blood off his sword, to Whitetree, to what Davos heard about White Harbor to Bran's vision of the sacrifice, but if I was a Val fan, I wouldn't hope she was attached to more negative aspects of worship of the Old Gods (all of the religions have positive and negative aspects). Also, when Jon was with the wildlings, there's no hint of any kind of more complicated religious structure or magical practice. I don't see the other wildlings treating Val in the way a priestess, shaman, whatnot would be treated. She's a leader for certain, but it doesn't look like that sort of leader. Basically, this looks out of the blue.

Having a name based in myth doesn’t automatically transfer those abilities to that character. Quite a few characters can find some root in myth, but their parallels are often found in more subtle and interesting ways. Circe is a witch in the Odyssey, but that doesn’t mean Cersei is one too. But Cersei did detain Jaime in limbo with sex like Circe did Odysseus.

A lot of what is listed here is taking a very benign thing and projecting super powers onto it. Lots of characters sing, lots are clever, lots wear some sort of fancy clothes. One could plug in appropriate text from most characters and turn up the same conclusion that they have super powers.

I don’t know why Val is confident about going out to search for Tormund on her own. But there are other explanations beyond superpowers. She just may know something. Maybe used the tunnels. Other characters managed too without peeing their pants in fear or dying.

I think one can make more solid speculation that Val knows things in an extension of Ygritte’s you know nothing rather than the wild leap that she has powers for which I just don’t see evidence. It’s all through the books about cultures forgetting things, like old ways, the Old Tongue… but  super powers, ugh. And one thing to consider is that humans involved with magic is rarely a good thing in this series. Not a lot of folks portrayed using it for good.

 

There are a few red flags with Val. Unfortunately they don’t make her more interesting (yet) beyond making her unbelievable list of superlatives more tolerable.

She starts out with pale eyes. Specifically grey eyes.


ADWD Tyrion III (About Jon Con)

I do not like his eyes, Tyrion reflected, when the sellsword sat down across from him in the dimness of the boat's interior, with a scarred plank table and a tallow candle between them. They were ice blue, pale, cold. The dwarf misliked pale eyes. Lord Tywin's eyes had been pale green and flecked with gold.

ASOS Jon X

Val looked at him with pale grey eyes. "He always climbed too fast." She was as fair as he'd remembered, slender, full-breasted, graceful even at rest, with high sharp cheekbones and a thick braid of honey-colored hair that fell to her waist.

 

Val is in bad company where the pale eyes are concerned. Eyes pale because of old age is a different treatment and I don't put characters like Barristan, Old Nan, and Pycelle in this category.

The list of characters with pale eyes who are younger is rather ominous. An incomplete list...

Viserys

Bran’s would-be killer

Tywin

The Boltons

 Ilyn Payne

Jon Con (Tyrion compares his pale eyes to Tywin's)

Lysa

Selyse

Mandon Moore

Emmon Frey

The wights

Tyrion is one of GRRM’s favorite characters to write and given who receives the pale eye treatment in the series, I’m wondering if it isn’t GRRM who actually dislikes pale eyes.

 

ADWD Jon XI

They look as though they belong together. Val was clad all in white; white woolen breeches tucked into high boots of bleached white leather, white bearskin cloak pinned at the shoulder with a carved weirwood face, white tunic with bone fastenings. Her breath was white as well … but her eyes were blue, her long braid the color of dark honey, her cheeks flushed red from the cold. It had been a long while since Jon Snow had seen a sight so lovely.

Some like to focus on the Val and Ghost looking like they belong together, but lets not forget the rest. Jon is clearly twitterpated and it can’t be ruled out as the reason he sees Val and Ghost as belonging together. It’s both cute and something children with a crush are wont to do (we have the same favorite color!). Val isn’t afraid of the Others here, and she comes back all in white with her eyes changed from pale grey to blue. I don’t think it would go over GRRM’s head to miss the Othery/wighty blue and white combination and Val's initial pale eyes looks like a consistent and specific usage for certain types of characters. This eye color change doesn’t look like another Renly situation.

That discussions with Val drift to checklist-type characterization and what she can maybe do in a highly speculative way rather than generating the quality character analysis seen for other even minor characters says it all for me.

If you like Val, rock out. But I only see missed opportunities to write her in a more interesting way. But maybe that's intentional for some reason :dunno:.. I'm disappointed in her.

Sorry for this being a bit rambly.

 

 

 

 

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Val is obviously a secret Targ...

“When they emerged north of the Wall, through a thick door made of freshly hewn green wood, the wildling princess paused for a moment to gaze out across the snow-covered field where King Stannis had won his battle. Beyond, the haunted forest waited, dark and silent. The light of the half-moon turned Val’s honey-blond hair a pale silver and left her cheeks as white as snow. She took a deep breath. “The air tastes sweet.”

 :P

In all seriousness, though, I agree w/ what @bemused said here, and with @Jon’s queen consort (Val is Jon’s true Queen threads) and others. Val will have an important part to play in Winds, and I think she and Morna will be instrumental in upcoming events. And even though we are not given details or much of a backstory, I think she is what she appears to be: a woman of the FF, and a wise one at that. 

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18 hours ago, Lollygag said:

If you like Val, rock out. But I only see missed opportunities to write her in a more interesting way. But maybe that's intentional for some reason :dunno:.. I'm disappointed in her.

I'd agree she is rather a sketchy character, and I'm not entirely sure why. The thought that keeps prodding at me, though, is that she's like a type of person we all know -  those with a 'golden aura' due to their intense physical beauty, who get on so well in life because everyone is bowled over by that beauty, and the person in question consequently never develops much of a character or interpersonal skills, simply because they've never needed to. But on the other hand, Val does bring home the bacon re finding Tormund, so she isn't a vacuous beauty, either.... :dunno:

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18 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Val is obviously a secret Targ...

“When they emerged north of the Wall, through a thick door made of freshly hewn green wood, the wildling princess paused for a moment to gaze out across the snow-covered field where King Stannis had won his battle. Beyond, the haunted forest waited, dark and silent. The light of the half-moon turned Val’s honey-blond hair a pale silver and left her cheeks as white as snow. She took a deep breath. “The air tastes sweet.”

 :P

In all seriousness, though, I agree w/ what @bemused said here, and with @Jon’s queen consort (Val is Jon’s true Queen threads) and others. Val will have an important part to play in Winds, and I think she and Morna will be instrumental in upcoming events. And even though we are not given details or much of a backstory, I think she is what she appears to be: a woman of the FF, and a wise one at that. 

Not a secret targ, the Night's Queen reborn :-).

Quote

a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars

Quote

On the edge of the Wall an ornate brass Myrish eye stood on three spindly legs. Maester Aemon had once used it to peer at the stars, before his own eyes had failed him. Jon swung the tube down to have a look at the foe. Even at this distance there was no mistaking Mance Rayder's huge white tent, sewn together from the pelts of snow bears. The Myrish lenses brought the wildlings close enough for him to make out faces. Of Mance himself he saw no sign this morning, but his woman Dalla was outside tending the fire, while her sister Val milked a she-goat beside the tent.

 

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3 hours ago, Tucu said:
  Quote

On the edge of the Wall an ornate brass Myrish eye stood on three spindly legs. Maester Aemon had once used it to peer at the stars, before his own eyes had failed him. Jon swung the tube down to have a look at the foe. Even at this distance there was no mistaking Mance Rayder's huge white tent, sewn together from the pelts of snow bears. The Myrish lenses brought the wildlings close enough for him to make out faces. Of Mance himself he saw no sign this morning, but his woman Dalla was outside tending the fire, while her sister Val milked a she-goat beside the tent.

Yikes. Fire and goats is pretty bad stuff.

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21 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Super beautiful! Warrior princess! Smart! Confident! Fighter for Good! And now with Super powers! In a series famed for its grey characters by an author who likes writing the heart in conflict with itself, this just doesn’t fit in. She's even more cheesy now.

:D:rolleyes: Gee ...Why not come right out and tell us how you really feel?...:D What can I say?... One person's disappointment is another person's anticipation. And  M-m-m.. Graddost ! Jarlsberg!

We know nothing of Val's lineage, but if her changing eye colour is not a mistake, she could have  forbears among the ironborn Farwynds, whose eyes are often "now grey, now blue, as changeable as the seas", according to Aeron at the kingsmoot.

Not every character has to be conflicted all the time ... Val contributes to conflict in Jon's heart , that we know... but we've barely met Val; we don't know what her inner conflicts may be, yet.

We knew nothing of Mel's personal conflicts either, until George gave her a POV chapter. Suddenly, she became a more rounded character, one with self doubt, hopes and fears that were never apparent before.

We are going to need at least one other character's perspective on the events of Jon's last chapter if we are to understand more of what went on. Val would be one likely candidate.

 

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1 hour ago, bemused said:

:D:rolleyes: Gee ...Why not come right out and tell us how you really feel?...:D What can I say?... One person's disappointment is another person's anticipation. And  M-m-m.. Graddost ! Jarlsberg!

We know nothing of Val's lineage, but if her changing eye colour is not a mistake, she could have  forbears among the ironborn Farwynds, whose eyes are often "now grey, now blue, as changeable as the seas", according to Aeron at the kingsmoot.

Not every character has to be conflicted all the time ... Val contributes to conflict in Jon's heart , that we know... but we've barely met Val; we don't know what her inner conflicts may be, yet.

We knew nothing of Mel's personal conflicts either, until George gave her a POV chapter. Suddenly, she became a more rounded character, one with self doubt, hopes and fears that were never apparent before.

We are going to need at least one other character's perspective on the events of Jon's last chapter if we are to understand more of what went on. Val would be one likely candidate.

 

Ah, I’m sorry if that came off as personal in any way—that’s not what I intended. I’m used to the high standards of GRRM’s character so I get grumpy when one of the main characters in an arc aren’t up to par.

When you compare just Ygritte’s first scene only both in herself and her interaction with Jon, it’s just so much more than what we’ve been given with Val. If we dig into Ygritte’s introduction scene, we see that what a lot of reader’s assumed what love at first sight (come on!), was actually quite resourceful and quick thinking on Ygritte’s part. In the end, while Jon and Ygritte both truly loved each other, they were also using each other in a pretty deceptive way, too, though for understandable reasons. As you do rereads, pay attention to introduction scenes of characters who end up playing a significant part in the plot. You don’t need much time at all to create an interesting character where you learn something of their personality, how they view the world, etc.

I didn’t think of Mel as human so I didn’t really treat her as one, or at least a full one until she got a POV. I’m still not sure how much of a character Stoneheart really is either or how she should be treated. Beric’s whole thing was about how he was losing himself and sort of on autopilot. But Mel raised some interesting questions all the same. Again with the first scenes, we saw something of her with Cressen. She warned him repeatedly as if part of her didn't want to kill him, but all the same she didn't hesitate or seem to regret it either when he got in the way of her mission. She was set on this Azor Ahai thing, but we also knew that she was too smart to buy into the fake sword thing. That points to something rather complex going on. Not sure if that was a just a defect of the fire wight thing, or part of her as a true character. What did she hope to accomplish with a fake Azor Ahai? Doesn't it make sense that a faked Azor Ahai won't work so why bother? So maybe she's also playing some sort of Varys game where power is where people think it is? What makes her so certain that she fixates on what fits and turns a blind eye to what doesn't? That looks like desperation. Why is she desperate?

Much is made of how quiet Ghost is and how invisible he is in snow in ADWD so I think there’s a lot of spying in Jon/Ghost’s future. Ghost also has better hearing than Jon. I’m guessing the aftermath is going to be from Jon/Ghost. GRRM said there won't be any more new POVs though I'm not sure he'll be firm in this if he finds himself between a rock and a hard place.

The Farwynd stuff is really interesting! Had a feeling they’d factor into the story somehow. It’d be interesting to do a reread of Val and see if there are any hints or symbols which point this way. It might give her a more interesting history with motives.

On the side, I’m wondering if we don’t have some unreliable narrator from Jon’s twitterpattedness. He goes on and on and on about how hot she is that it makes me wonder if that blinds him to more interesting things. Poor kid is so horny that even Satin looks good! Meereen seemed cartoonish to me from Dany’s POV who was clearly bored out of her wits (and maybe uncertain of her own abilities?), but Barristan and Tyrion saw the same characters as completely different and more interesting. It was through Barristan and Tyrion that Meereen began to feel like it existed in the same world as the rest of the books and began to feel like a real Game of Thrones maybe on par with the more familiar Game of Thrones. I've entertained the idea more than once that Jon isn't really seeing Val and that this will be important ~somehow~.

Adding - and why was Mel so fixated on Azor Ahai if she didn't know about the Others yet? What was she thinking? 

Edited by Lollygag

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On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

I meant that Ygritte captured him romantically. Somehow I don't think Ygritte would have considered herself stolen if it had been Stonesnake or somesuch who'd captured her. The young not-ugly (he has all of his teeth!) bastard son of Lord Stark raised at Winterfell and brother of the KitN was to Ygritte like Joff was to Sansa. And he was potentially very useful if one wanted on the other side of the Wall. It's a misconception on this forum that every catuptured/capturee combination becomes married. That would result in some very awkward and unpleasant arrangements especially in a culture that wild. It's not even possible. I'm going to stop thinking about that now. 

I'm just going off of what Ygritte claims, that Jon Snow stole her. As we learn later(from Ygritte IIRC) if a woman is not pleased with who stole her or how they are treated then she and her family can take it their hands and kill the husband during or after the stealing, ending said "marriage." I think we'd agree the whole custom of stealing and wilding marriage is very strange and savage. Yet Jarl is the only man we know of that was referenced as being stolen by Val, a woman, by other wildings.

On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

bastard son of Lord Stark raised at Winterfell and brother of the KitN was to Ygritte like Joff was to Sansa. And he was potentially very useful if one wanted on the other side of the Wall.

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I don't think Ygritte ever planned on kneeling to Robb and I doubt she imagined breaking bread with Robb or ever sharing a table with him as she was a rebel and Jon was a brother of the Night's Watch who would be breaking his oaths if he crossed back over the Wall with her as his "wife." Maybe Jon as a hostage could work out for her, but not as a husband. As Joff's wife Sansa was to be queen of the 7 Kingdoms, as Jon wife Ygritte doesn't stand to gain much through the marriage as the marriage itself makes Jon an enemy to both his family and the Watch under their laws.

On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

The way she speaks is typical of how characters in general are treated. That's not enough to be interesting characterization compared to the standard of the other characters of this series.

I'm not quite sure what your trying to get at here. I said that Val's diction is unlike any of the other wildlings born north of the Wall and she speaks more like a noble than any other wildling. That makes the way she speaks unusual for a wildling, I never said it was supposed to make her objectively interesting.

On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

Jon went from resisting Ygritte to completely going at it like bunnies. No in between.

Kind of getting off topic from Val but again this is debatable and needs to be taken into context. After Jon sets up camp to sleep and Ygritte cuddles up to him most nights he get sexually aroused but still separates himself from Ygritte by using Ghost as a barrier, like he heard knight's did with swords. Then Mance gets angry with Jon because he thinks Jon lied to him about the NW numbers and Mance questions whether Jon is still a crow, Ygritte comes to Jon's defense and says he's not a crow anymore, lying that he broke his celibacy vows with her. Jon's taken aback by Ygritte putting herself out there by lying for him and Jon feels grateful to her which later leads to sex. So there was a build up or "in between" in my opinion.

On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

 Jon is horny as hell in ADWD checking out Val, Mel, Alys and Satin. He was on the prowl hence Ghost prowling. No chase was necessary with Ygritte. And like I said before, that speaks to Jon's feelings/horniness. Not interesting characterization.

You forgot Jarl, you might as well add him to your list as when Jon first sees Jarl he thinks him comely, which is just as much I can remember him thinking of Alys if not more. Alas we are getting way off topic from Val and heading more towards Jon. However, if Jon was this incredibly horny and was only thinking with his shorter sword I can't help but think he would have taken Stannis' offer to take Val as his wife and Winterfell. 

On 11/17/2018 at 2:10 AM, Lollygag said:

Lots to compare Val to who have had little time on page. Even Tycho was given more thought than Val who was just given the straight up stereotypical urban fantasy heroine treatment. There's a long list of characters throughout the series who were given more effort than Val while not having much page time. Compare just Ygritte's first scene with all of Val's content. You don't need a lot of time to build an interesting character.

Tycho Nesteroris is only the second member from the Iron Bank we meet on page, first being Noho Dimittis, who only appears in a Cersei POV for a short time. Not sure I'd consider Tycho Nestoris a mysterious or well devolved character, though I do find his character interesting because he's the first member of the Iron Bank we see in a real negotiation and he traveled a far way in bad weather conditions to do it.  So his occupation alone is going to make him stand out as the Iron Bank is the most revered and respected financial institution in the series.

For me Ygritte's and Val's arcs are so vastly different its hard to compare them. Ygritte is thrust upon Jon and once she's with him she considers him her husband until he leaves. We see and hear about Val before she starts to have a real on page relationship with Jon and there is still a lot we don't know about her and I feel like that she is partly doing that on purpose. Unlike Ygritte spending every moment with Jon telling him her past and thoughts. Val almost seems to be doing some sort of dance with Jon just telling him enough information needed. If she was similar to Ygritte I'd have personally fond her boring and repetitive.  As I said earlier we do see a dark side from Val when she tells Jon young sweet Shireen should be killed because of her greyscale, believing the decease can still spread. That's not really something a stereotypical fantasy heroine would say, in my opinion.

And again my argument was never that Val was necessarily "interesting" just that she is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of the wildlings in the ways I originally listed, whether you find her interesting or not is going to be your own personal opinion. And I think you'v made that very clear, cheers!

Edited by Ralphis Baratheon

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7 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

I'm just going off of what Ygritte claims, that Jon Snow stole her. As we learn later(from Ygritte IIRC) if a woman is not pleased with who stole her or how they are treated then she and her family can take it their hands and kill the husband during or after the stealing, ending said "marriage." I think we'd agree the whole custom of stealing and wilding marriage is very strange and savage. Yet Jarl is the only man we know of that was referenced as being stolen by Val, a woman, by other wildings. 

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I don't think Ygritte ever planned on kneeling to Robb and I doubt she imagined breaking bread with Robb or ever sharing a table with him as she was a rebel and Jon was a brother of the Night's Watch who would be breaking his oaths if he crossed back over the Wall with her as his "wife." Maybe Jon as a hostage could work out for her, but not as a husband. As Joff's wife Sansa was to be queen of the 7 Kingdoms, as Jon wife Ygritte doesn't stand to gain much through the marriage as the marriage itself makes Jon an enemy to both his family and the Watch under their laws. 

I'm not quite sure what your trying to get at here. I said that Val's diction is unlike any of the other wildlings born north of the Wall and she speaks more like a noble than any other wildling. That makes the way she speaks unusual for a wildling, I never said it was supposed to make her objectively interesting.

Kind of getting off topic from Val but again this is debatable and needs to be taken into context. After Jon sets up camp to sleep and Ygritte cuddles up to him most nights he get sexually aroused but still separates himself from Ygritte by using Ghost as a barrier, like he heard knight's did with swords. Then Mance gets angry with Jon because he thinks Jon lied to him about the NW numbers and Mance questions whether Jon is still a crow, Ygritte comes to Jon's defense and says he's not a crow anymore, lying that he broke his celibacy vows with her. Jon's taken aback by Ygritte putting herself out there by lying for him and Jon feels grateful to her which later leads to sex. So there was a build up or "in between" in my opinion.

 

ASOS Jon I

"This beauty is her sister Val. Young Jarl beside her is her latest pet."

"I am no man's pet," said Jarl, dark and fierce.

"And Val's no man," white-bearded Tormund snorted. "You ought to have noticed that by now, lad."

He's a pet, not a husband ("latest" meaning that Val would probably soon move on before Jarl would as Tormund is more or less calling him whipped). Also, Jarl's response is why Ygritte would be smart to not tell Jon that she stole him as that's not going over well with most guys. It's my impression that this isn't unusual for women north of the Wall as taken by women not being so bound as in the South, that Ygritte can't marry in her village as Longspear might be her real brother (implying wildling women have more sexual freedom and actually practice that), and that the Spearwives at the Wall took lovers with no problem at the Wall. Val's probably an outlier in that she gets men more easily because of her looks, but I don't think her arrangement is unusual in itself.

 

I don't think Ygritte meant to kneel either. But Ygritte didn't understand the culture south of the Wall and moreover, wasn't willing to learn. She and Jon argued about this. To illustrate the point, she thought the small stone building was a grand castle. I don't know what she expected, but she knew her life and just odds for survival when that was seriously in question would be better with the King's brother than not. And they were more likely to let the Wildlings through with the King's brother than without whether he was a hostage or not. Mance (and Qhorin) knew that the NW wouldn't have an option as they were so dependent on Winterfell for support.

I said that diction is used to portray intelligence, worldiness, etc. Lommy, Hotpie, Davos and Gendry are all from Flea Bottom, but they don't read the same way on page though their accents are probably quite similar. We also don't get accents and regional and class dialect differences on page unless it contributes to how a character is perceived, though we're told they're there. Val sounds different on page because the reader is supposed to see her as more worldly and sophisticated. If we were supposed to read into this, we'd have been told as much somehow with other hints that she had a different upbringing which I've not seen.

We're not on the same page as to what the inbetween references. I meant Jon's intentions and feelings had no inbetween which is what would affect Ghost's behavior.

7 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

You forgot Jarl, you might as well add him to your list as when Jon first sees Jarl he thinks him comely, which is just as much I can remember him thinking of Alys if not more. Alas we are getting way off topic from Val and heading more towards Jon. However, if Jon was this incredibly horny and was only thinking with his shorter sword I can't help but think he would have taken Stannis' offer to take Val as his wife and Winterfell. 

Jon thinks Joff looks like a girl, too. But he stares at and shows a weird fascination with Satin. That's different than just objectively acknowledging appearance (which wasn't what Jon was doing with Satin). I didn't say he was only thinking only with his other sword. He's not. Being horny doesn't mean he (or anyone) loses the rest of their mind, sense of religion, cultural identity, etc. And he was checking out Alys and they were definitely flirting.

As for Tycho and with the point I made about Mel, if I started a thread talking about Tycho as a character and Mel as a character pre-POV and maybe just focusing on her first scene only (the more I think on it, the more that keeps popping into my head), that there'd be more to discuss than character stereotypes and what's speculated to be in future books. I wasn't saying that Val or Ygritte were to be compared and contrasted as individual characters. They were to be compared in the quality and content from a writing perspective. Ygritte is only a good example in that arc as to the amount of effort put into them.

7 hours ago, Ralphis Baratheon said:

For me Ygritte's and Val's arcs are so vastly different its hard to compare them. Ygritte is thrust upon Jon and once she's with him she considers him her husband until he leaves. We see and hear about Val before she starts to have a real on page relationship with Jon and there is still a lot we don't know about her and I feel like that she is partly doing that on purpose. Unlike Ygritte spending every moment with Jon telling him her past and thoughts. Val almost seems to be doing some sort of dance with Jon just telling him enough information needed. If she was similar to Ygritte I'd have personally fond her boring and repetitive.  As I said earlier we do see a dark side from Val when she tells Jon young sweet Shireen should be killed because of her greyscale, believing the decease can still spread. That's not really something a stereotypical fantasy heroine would say, in my opinion. 

And again my argument was never that Val was necessarily "interesting" just that she is a bit of an outlier compared to the rest of the wildlings in the ways I originally listed, whether you find her interesting or not is going to be your own personal opinion. And I think you'v made that very clear, cheers!

I think you're probably right about Val here. But as seen with other characters playing a game (games don't necessarily need to be to bad ends) like Mance, LF, Illyrio, Varys, Stannis, Jon thinks Tycho is playing a game, and on and on and on, we can still have a mysterious character who is still a well-written character given a lot of thought, even if they don't have much page time. Unlike the other game players in series, I've not the faintest clue what Val might be up to unless she's just a soldier carrying out orders for Mance, in which case, that might be more about Mance than Val. I agree that what Val says on Shireen is definitely outside the stereotype. It's a rare passage that tells the reader something about her when you stop and think about it (not a lot of sympathy for Shireen as a child or her mother, extreme pragmatism, either not being aware of how she would be perceived by this statement or not caring. If she doesn't care, that says something about her intentions toward Jon who she knows to be more sympathetic, all of this my actually point to a great deal of fear though it doesn't come across like this, she has a certain arrogance like Ygritte that her culture and ways are right as she doesn't ask why those south of the Wall believe they can cured under certain circumstances, she doesn't notice that it's implied that greyscale may be curable in certain climates, but not cold, damp ones like in the North, Val doesn't try to convince Jon, she just expresses this as an absolute and expects Jon to go with it on her say so...)

Just to be clear, I wasn't saying that a person's unfounded in finding her interesting or not as that's personal preference and not up for discussion. I was saying that I have my doubts about her in the series as she wasn't given the same effort as other characters on-page. Yet again, that the thread can't seem to get anything going based on her character as published so far compared to the discussion which can be generated for other non-POV characters bears this out.

 

Edited by Lollygag

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On 11/19/2018 at 2:16 PM, Lollygag said:

Ah, I’m sorry if that came off as personal in any way—that’s not what I intended. I’m used to the high standards of GRRM’s character so I get grumpy when one of the main characters in an arc aren’t up to par.

:) Oh no, I wasn't taking it in a personal way, at all. It just strikes me funny/ surprising/ entertaining/interesting sometimes - the differing perceptions that people have. So I wasn't being upset, just playful ... you know - Yum! Loves me some Norse flavoured cheese... and so forth.

My take away was quite different.. since Martin was putting Val in a prominent position, I always trusted that he had a reason for not fleshing her out more fully.

At the same time, George had said that he based the religion of the old gods on the Norse religion as he based the faith of the Seven on Catholicism. In it's practice, the Faith has a rough approximation of the hierarchy of the Church - septons, septas, on up to the high septon/pope.

The wildlings form of worship is probably closest to the form of the old gods'religion practiced by the first men. We can see a nod to the Norse idea of a sacred grove when Jon takes his recruits out to swear their oaths. ... Tormund, speaker-to-gods seems tailor made for the role of the Norse chieftain/priest. ... Then the whole Spaekona/volva= Vala = Val and Dalla thing occurred to me and I was off re-reading for clues..

Assume for a minute that I (and others) might be onto something, and you might feel less critical of George. ;) At first, while (know-nothing) Jon is with Ygritte and in a relatively low position, it wouldn't have mattered much to the story if he knew more about Val ... that is, as long as things were going to stay that way. 

But GRRM destined Ygritte to die, Jon to save CB from Styr,  Stannis to come to the Wall,  Jon to become LC, but with the impediment of the presence of Stannis and Mel...

This makes it  fortunate that he had no real previous interaction with Val and his ignorance is a very good thing. Mance and Val had good reason not to reveal her true status, otherwise, she may have been burned by Mel. Val has to decide how far she can trust Jon as he gradually comes into his power and authority, while she gradually tries to encourage him to trust her.

If GRRM had given a lot more detail about Val earlier, we'd be reading a different story.

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Dalla is from Dragonstone. It is known.
 

Quote

 

Shireen was unconvinced. "What about the thing in the sky? Dalla and Matrice were talking by the well, and Dalla said she heard the red woman tell Mother that it was dragonsbreath. If the dragons are breathing, doesn't that mean they are coming to life?"

The red woman, Maester Cressen thought sourly. Ill enough that she's filled the head of the mother with her madness, must she poison the daughter's dreams as well? He would have a stern word with Dalla, warn her not to spread such tales. "The thing in the sky is a comet, sweet child. A star with a tail, lost in the heavens. It will be gone soon enough, never to be seen again in our lifetimes. Watch and see."

 

 

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2 hours ago, bemused said:

This makes it  fortunate that he had no real previous interaction with Val and his ignorance is a very good thing. Mance and Val had good reason not to reveal her true status, otherwise, she may have been burned by Mel. Val has to decide how far she can trust Jon as he gradually comes into his power and authority, while she gradually tries to encourage him to trust her. 

I guess I need to clarify, but I don’t consider not knowing a lot about a character as being equivalent to a character who has not been given some thought. There’s a lot of very mysterious characters in this series who were obviously given some deliberation (LF, Illyrio, BR in the main books, Hoster Tully, Varys, Pycelle, the heads of a number of lesser houses, and so, so, many more. Lyn Corbray, Robert Arryn, Lem Lemoncloak and the like definitely qualify. Adding everything up for Gerion Lannister who isn't even in the books except for being recalled by other characters reveals a complicated character and raises a lot of questions (been meaning to do a thread on that, but it's been tough to organize it). Aegon not so much. We don’t know much about these characters, but there’s something very intentional and not stereotypical about them. Val just comes across as having Perfect Urban Fantasy Heroine slapped onto her excepting when she was talking about Shireen as that scene actually told us something about her personality and raised a lot more compelling questions besides. Raising questions rather than revealing answers can be very compelling characterization as evidenced by a lot of threads on this forum.

GRRM has written deliberate and unique characters who retain a lot of mystery loads of times. I just don’t see why he couldn’t have done so with Val. So it was a bit of a fail on his part, or maybe we’re getting some unreliable narrator via twitterpated Jon. It’s interesting that the most interesting Val scene comes when Jon is rather turned off about Val’s wanting Shireen dead with no sympathy shown toward the child or her mother though she may be right about greyscale in the north (cold, damp) than in the south.

We don't know the real status or intentions of a great many characters, but they read as having been given more thought than Val.

Edited by Lollygag

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6 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I guess I need to clarify, but I don’t consider not knowing a lot about a character as being equivalent to a character who has not been given some thought.

No need to clarify. I understand your points, but I simply disagree. I think it's very premature to judge that the author has not given the character much thought. The very fact that we haven't been given more (in spite of the prominent position of the character) tells me that GRRM is holding something back. Even so, we've been given clues as to what at least some of that might be.

Just knowing how GRRM feels about the standard fantasy characters and tropes (for me) set off alarm bells when Jon thinks of Val as a "warrior princess". Especially when we know she's not a princess and doesn't appear to be a spearwife. I think that's a blatant hint to us that Jon is wrong.. So we can deduce that she isn't so confident about going north of the wall because she's just a fightin' machine ...  But if she's GRRM's version of a Norse spaekona, her person would be pretty much inviolate to most other wildlings, and this would explain her confidence. (I won't go off into the weeds and enumerate all the clues all over again)

I do feel that the characters you compare her to are not really equivalent, because we get to know them /observe them through multiple POVs and/or through anecdotes from non-POV characters. We know Val almost exclusively through Jon's POV , except for a teeny bit through Sam (but he's so shy he can barely look at her or speak to her)

8 hours ago, Lollygag said:

It’s interesting that the most interesting Val scene comes when Jon is rather turned off about Val’s wanting Shireen dead with no sympathy shown toward the child or her mother though she may be right about greyscale in the north (cold, damp) than in the south.

On the contrary, Val pities both mother and child, but is horror-struck because according to her knowledge (flawed or not) Shireen will  suffer greatly and then inevitably die ... and likely spread the disease to others.

But I don't find this to be the most interesting scene, necessarily, although it's dramatic.

In the same chapter (Jon XI) just preceding the offending "warrior princess" quote, we have... 

Quote

 

"Ask me a year from now. The hard part still awaits me. The part where I convince mine own to eat this meal I've cooked for them. None of them are going to like the taste, I fear."

"Let me help."

"You have. You brought me Tormund."

"I can do more."

Why not? thought Jon. They are all convinced she is a princess. Val looked the part and rode as if she had been born on horseback. A warrior princess, he decided, not some willowy creature who sits up in a tower, brushing her hair and waiting for some knight to rescue her.

 

Jon is worried about selling his agreement to the NW and perhaps the northmen. What makes her so sure she can help with that? She can do more. In what way?

Jon is busy admiring her  - how she looks, how she rides - not really twigging to what she's saying enough to ask how.  

This scene and others also raise questions that build a speculative picture of Val and I'm sure that GRRM thought to build the clues and questions in which says that he has /is building Val very carefully and deliberately.

But it's OK to agree to disagree ... We'll be able to judge better when TWOW comes out.

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8 hours ago, bemused said:

 

No need to clarify. I understand your points, but I simply disagree. I think it's very premature to judge that the author has not given the character much thought. The very fact that we haven't been given more (in spite of the prominent position of the character) tells me that GRRM is holding something back. Even so, we've been given clues as to what at least some of that might be.

Just knowing how GRRM feels about the standard fantasy characters and tropes (for me) set off alarm bells when Jon thinks of Val as a "warrior princess". Especially when we know she's not a princess and doesn't appear to be a spearwife. I think that's a blatant hint to us that Jon is wrong.. So we can deduce that she isn't so confident about going north of the wall because she's just a fightin' machine ...  But if she's GRRM's version of a Norse spaekona, her person would be pretty much inviolate to most other wildlings, and this would explain her confidence. (I won't go off into the weeds and enumerate all the clues all over again)

I do feel that the characters you compare her to are not really equivalent, because we get to know them /observe them through multiple POVs and/or through anecdotes from non-POV characters. We know Val almost exclusively through Jon's POV , except for a teeny bit through Sam (but he's so shy he can barely look at her or speak to her)

On the contrary, Val pities both mother and child, but is horror-struck because according to her knowledge (flawed or not) Shireen will  suffer greatly and then inevitably die ... and likely spread the disease to others.

But I don't find this to be the most interesting scene, necessarily, although it's dramatic.

In the same chapter (Jon XI) just preceding the offending "warrior princess" quote, we have... 

Jon is worried about selling his agreement to the NW and perhaps the northmen. What makes her so sure she can help with that? She can do more. In what way?

Jon is busy admiring her  - how she looks, how she rides - not really twigging to what she's saying enough to ask how.  

This scene and others also raise questions that build a speculative picture of Val and I'm sure that GRRM thought to build the clues and questions in which says that he has /is building Val very carefully and deliberately.

But it's OK to agree to disagree ... We'll be able to judge better when TWOW comes out.

As for it being premature to judge whether an author has given a character thought, I can only go on what’s been written to date like everyone. I’m not in the business of judging what’s not been written yet and may never be written. I don’t have a problem with you or anyone thinking that Val will become more in the future, but I can't go on anyone else's faith if they can't show me in the text that we have at this point why I should have that faith, too. GRRM has written a lot of interesting yet mysterious characters.

 

I do agree here that we might be getting Jon showing some major blindness here. While Bran and Dany are huge parallels, ruling style between Jon and Dany is big in ADWD. As Dany struggles with perception in Meereen and this is revealed through Barristan and Tyrion, I think it’s entirely possible that another character may view Val very differently (and much more interestingly).

The characters that I listed are just examples, and a very small sample at that. As we can have full and interesting discussions on lesser characters . The number of POVs observing the character isn't what makes them interesting or not, nor is it an impediment to being an interesting character unless that one POV is blinded, and Jon well may be that. Dolorous Edd is mostly only seen through Jon and he’s very interesting (another character I’ve been meaning to post an analysis on but haven’t as yet gotten to yet). But only being seen by one POV (mostly) isn’t an impediment to writing a good yet mysterious character.

 

---------

Sorry, but this looks nothing like sympathy to me nor does Jon take it that way unless there's another passage that I'm forgetting. True or not, this isn’t how one speaks of a child doomed to death if one is sympathetic with the tragedy of the situation.

ADWD Jon XI

"The maesters say greyscale is not—"

"The maesters may believe what they wish. Ask a woods witch if you would know the truth. The grey death sleeps, only to wake again. The child is not clean!"

"She seems a sweet girl. You cannot know—"

"I can. You know nothing, Jon Snow." Val seized his arm. "I want the monster out of there. Him and his wet nurses. You cannot leave them in that same tower as the dead girl."

Jon shook her hand away. "She is not dead."

"She is. Her mother cannot see it. Nor you, it seems. Yet death is there." She walked away from him, stopped, turned back. "I brought you Tormund Giantsbane. Bring me my monster."

 

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

I always saw the answer in the passage itself. Val has the potential to be a PR person. Sansa’s I’ll make them love me of a sort. But you do raise an interesting question. I’m not sure at all that this is what Val meant. Jon’s assumption might be wrong. Any ideas on what she might mean?

 

 

Edited by Lollygag

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13 hours ago, Lollygag said:

As for it being premature to judge whether an author has given a character thought, I can only go on what’s been written to date like everyone. I’m not in the business of judging what’s not been written yet and may never be written. I don’t have a problem with you or anyone thinking that Val will become more in the future, but I can't go on anyone else's faith if they can't show me in the text that we have at this point why I should have that faith, too.

This is quite OK, but the thing is , many of us accept certain things in the text as clues or hints (the same kinds of clues and hints that GRRM is well known to use) that apparently you do not accept. We also rely on outside-the-books information given in his many interviews and Q&As - such as what real world religions and historical events he's been inspired to use as a foundation. As a result, we find Val interesting while you do not.

No one expects you to go on faith, we're not going on faith either. We're speculating, certainly - but it's informed speculation, not simply inventing possibilities out of whole cloth. No one knows to what degree our suspicions will pan out or whether you'll eventually become interested. GRRM crumbles the cookies as he will. We can only wait.

In the meantime, I doubt I can convince you that GRRM has given Val a lot of thought, and I remain unconvinced that he hasn't.

-----------

I think it helps if you go a bit farther back in Jon and Val's conversation, re: pity .

Quote

 

"It is not always mortal in children."

"North of the Wall it is. Hemlock is a sure cure, but a pillow or a blade will work as well. If I had given birth to that poor child, I would have given her the gift of mercy long ago."

This was a Val that Jon had never seen before. "Princess Shireen is the queen's only child."

"I pity both of them. The child is not clean."

"If Stannis wins his war, Shireen will stand as heir to the Iron Throne."

"Then I pity your Seven Kingdoms."

 

Is she lying? I don't think so. She pities Shireen's condition, but she's angry that Monster and the milkmaids are being kept in such close proximity to what, to her knowledge, is a fatal communicable disease. The anger and the pity aren't mutually exclusive.

----------

I do have an idea of what Val might mean by "Let me help ... I can do more".

Quote

A small crowd of black brothers was waiting by the gate when Jon and his companions emerged south of the Wall. Ulmer of the Kingswood was amongst them, and it was the old archer who came forward to speak for the rest. "If it please m'lord, the lads were wondering. Will it be peace, m'lord? Or blood and iron?" 

"Peace," Jon Snow replied. "Three days hence, Tormund Giantsbane will lead his people through the Wall. As friends, not foes.

The "lads" Ulmer speaks for seem willing enough to live with Jon's agreement, but Jon knows gaining overall acceptance won't be easy.

I don't think Val would be much use as a PR rep for Jon. I can't see her winning over Bowen & co. and I can't see her thinking she could. Would she be as safe among the NW brothers as she was among the wildlings?

Because (for many reasons)I think she fits somewhere in the range of wise woman / witch /prophetess class of characters we've already met or heard about, I think she's referring to much the same service that Mel offers when she asks Jon if she should tell him the names of his enemies, or something along those lines.

That's without going into too much depth, and I suspect it might reinforce our differing perspectives ... but that's OK.

 

 

 

Edited by bemused
lost a few paragraphs grrrrr

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On 11/28/2018 at 10:58 PM, bemused said:

I think it helps if you go a bit farther back in Jon and Val's conversation, re: pity .

Quote

 

"It is not always mortal in children."

"North of the Wall it is. Hemlock is a sure cure, but a pillow or a blade will work as well. If I had given birth to that poor child, I would have given her the gift of mercy long ago."

This was a Val that Jon had never seen before. "Princess Shireen is the queen's only child."

"I pity both of them. The child is not clean."

"If Stannis wins his war, Shireen will stand as heir to the Iron Throne."

"Then I pity your Seven Kingdoms."

 

Is she lying? I don't think so. She pities Shireen's condition, but she's angry that Monster and the milkmaids are being kept in such close proximity to what, to her knowledge, is a fatal communicable disease. The anger and the pity aren't mutually exclusive.

I stand corrected on this one. I don't have the books handy and pulled it from A Search of Ice and Fire. I do think she was exceptionally harsh, but it's a great deal more complicated. A big part of the problem here is that the reader doesn't have a frame of reference for why Val thinks this (I imagine she has a solid reason for this relating to the increased cold and damp) and Jon doesn't seek an explanation for some reason. Probably because it'd be spoilery.

On 11/28/2018 at 10:58 PM, bemused said:

The "lads" Ulmer speaks for seem willing enough to live with Jon's agreement, but Jon knows gaining overall acceptance won't be easy.

I don't think Val would be much use as a PR rep for Jon. I can't see her winning over Bowen & co. and I can't see her thinking she could. Would she be as safe among the NW brothers as she was among the wildlings?

Because (for many reasons)I think she fits somewhere in the range of wise woman / witch /prophetess class of characters we've already met or heard about, I think she's referring to much the same service that Mel offers when she asks Jon if she should tell him the names of his enemies, or something along those lines.

That's without going into too much depth, and I suspect it might reinforce our differing perspectives ... but that's OK.

I don't think she'd win over Marsh or the other extremists, either, I was thinking more just adding to the number of Jon's supporters the way Jon suggests. She wouldn't be safer at all, but she could still function as a figurehead much in the way Stannis tried to treat her.

You're correct on the bolded. I was hoping for an idea sourced from something already written. We'll see. :dunno:

 

 

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3 hours ago, Lollygag said:

You're correct on the bolded. I was hoping for an idea sourced from something already written. We'll see. :dunno:

We can only wait...

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