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three-eyed monkey

The three Kingsguard were loyal to Rhaegar, not Aerys.

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50 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

We had a discussion over this over at heresy and Cat points out that Arryn needed an heir. Although he had an heir, the son of the heir that fell at Bells.

Jon Arryn probably did not realize that child existed, since it seems she was only with child at the time. And the child died shortly after birth, regardless. But for the purpose of this discussion, the only thing that really matters is that the Battle of the Bells is before the weddings according to Catelyn's own understanding of the timeline. 

Edited by Ran

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48 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

We had a discussion over this over at heresy and Cat points out that Arryn needed an heir. Although he had an heir, the son of the heir that fell at Bells.

He had an heir, but no closely related Arryn. After his brother's son Elbert was murdered by Aerys, he named his sister's daughter's husband Denys Arryn his heir. So even before Denys was killed in the Battle of the Bells, Jon had motivation to take another wife and try for an heir of his own body. And Hoster making it part of the price to bring him into the war made it all the more necessary.

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47 minutes ago, Ran said:

Jon Arryn probably did not realize that child existed, since it seems she was only with child at the time. And the child died shortly after birth, regardless. But for the purpose of this discussion, the only thing that really matters is that the Battle of the Bells is before the weddings according to Catelyn's own understanding of the timeline. 

My understanding is the agreement to wed was negotiated and made before the Battle of the Bells, and the wedding occurred after, during the lull before the Battle of the Trident.

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1 minute ago, Bael's Bastard said:

My understanding is the agreement to wed was negotiated and made before the Battle of the Bells, and the wedding occurred after, during the lull before the Battle of the Trident.

I suspect it wasn't quite that straightforward, but I certainly think Arryn and Stark had begun efforts to get the Tullys involved to get Hoster to join them for Stoney Sept. I don't know that Jon Arryn was necessarily a part of the deal until after Denys Arryn's death, though. 

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48 minutes ago, Ran said:

I suspect it wasn't quite that straightforward, but I certainly think Arryn and Stark had begun efforts to get the Tullys involved to get Hoster to join them for Stoney Sept. I don't know that Jon Arryn was necessarily a part of the deal until after Denys Arryn's death, though. 

I just assumed Hoster's holding Jon and Ned over the barrel for his swords made more sense before he fought in the Battle of the Bells than after, when it would seem to have been more difficult to get back in with the Targaryens.

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23 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

I just assumed Hoster's holding Jon and Ned over the barrel for his swords made more sense before he fought in the Battle of the Bells than after, when it would seem to have been more difficult to get back in with the Targaryens.

Yeah I've always had the same interpretation/assumption - that Hoster only participated in the BotB after securing the marriage agreement.

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One assumes Hoster Tully was very much a haggler there. Ned Stark showed up with his host in the Riverlands, and he agreed to help him save Robert with the Tully men (and perhaps some other houses close to Riverrun) to save Robert at Stoney Sept, but he would have made it clear that this was not meaning he espoused the rebel cause as such nor would he commit any further troops to the rebel cause until his demands were met. After all, one can construe the Stoney Sept thing as doing a friend a favor and restoring the King's Peace in your own lands - even more so since the rebel leader, Robert Baratheon, was afterwards in Hoster Tully's hands and could have been handed over to the king.

And thinking about that possibility: Perhaps Ned only had marched with a small advance army to the Riverlands by that point? Perhaps the main strength of the North was only assembled by the time of the Trident? The months passing between Stoney Sept and the Trident make no sense if large foreign armies - from the Vale and the North - had already assembled in the Riverlands this early. They would have to do something. They could not stick around this long in the land in late winter/early spring, doing pretty much nothing of significance.

So perhaps Ned and Robert (and even Jon Arryn, who seems to have arrived later) were essentially at Hoster's mercy at this point, being completely dependent on him to continue the war and thus forced to meet all his demands.

If we don't assume something like that then the entire early narrative of Ned and Jon basically marrying the Tully girls in exchange for the support of Lord Hoster and whatever Riverlords would follow his lead would break down. If Hoster already had fully committed himself to the rebel cause by accompanying Ned to Stoney Sept, Jon Arryn - who apparently wasn't there yet - would in no way have been bound to marry soiled Lysa. After all, if Hoster's actions at Stoney Sept made him a rebel, too, he could not have made any demands, could he? He could either side with the rebels or face the Targaryen wrath alone.

As for the time after Stoney Sept:

George should elaborate somewhat more on the battles/events happening thereafter. We know Ned supposedly rode to war immediately after the wedding, which makes no sense if nothing happened between Stoney Sept/the wedding and the Trident. And we cannot really retcon this as Cat misremembering. The memory is connected to her wedding and her first interactions with her husband. She would only misremember there if she was already senile - which she is not in AGoT.

The rebels could have had some issues getting the Vale men to the mainland of Westeros (we don't know whether the war was fought in the last years of winter or early spring - and even if it already were spring this would be no guarantee that the high road was open yet) and Robert may also have tried to get some support from the Stormlands (although I don't see how any of the men there could have joined him easily). 

Hoster could have had severe problems with many a Riverlord attacking him and/or refusing to commit his men to his cause. We do know that there were campaigns against Targaryen loyalists in the Riverlands.

A possible interesting campaign idea there to explain how Ned was occupied and separated from Catelyn in those days might be that Lord Whent (whoever he may have been at the time) took it upon himself to march against the rebels while Rhaegar was marshaling his own army. This could help explain the further decline of House Whent and how some of the sons of Lord Walter died in such a campaign.

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On 1/15/2019 at 9:26 AM, Leo of House Cartel said:

I certainly agree that Gerold's Hightower lineage shouldn't be discounted when trying to establish the man's motives.

Yeah, KG serve for life/hold their vows above all else and all that jazz, however; Fire and Blood has given us so many examples of not only Kingsguard members behaving oddly, but also Hightower/Oldtown-connected agendas against the IT, that the idea of White Bull's loyalty lying more with Oldtown than the IT sounds highly plausible.

Perhaps the White Bull spent the majority of his KG service as a man of unwavering loyalty to his post, holding his station of guarding the royal presence above all else - that said, what the Mad King had turned into might be enough to make Gerold eventually begin to question his King's position. This idea might even apply more so to a Lord Commander of Hightower origin, considering how important the governing of the realm must be to the Citadel, Starry Sept and the general trade of Oldtown.

Also, considering that roughly three years later, Lord Leyton Hightower would imprison himself in the Hightower for a decade, with many a sorcery based rumour surrounding him, there's always the possibility that an Oldtown based conspiracy against the IT during the time of Robert's Rebellion had some form of magical/prophetic connotations, but I might be getting ahead of myself.

It's something to chew on, anyway.  It seems that Aerys's madness was well taken-advantage-of by many houses, why not theirs?

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11 hours ago, SirArthur said:

 

We will never get to an agreement over this. This is like 2 trains racing at each other. You have the backwards train, trying to explain why 3 KG are at the ToJ. You have no seats for Aegon or Rhaenys and interpret the command given before the Trident in a  "meta" way, because Aegon was still around and Lyanna could have been transported to a safer place in the Reach. Your train is going straight for baby king station, there is no Aegon station. There the 3 KG leave the train.

I ride the forward train, where bastards have no seats and Gendry has no protection from 3 KG, just because he is the oldest of Robert's bastards. My seats are for the likes of Stannis, Renly and Edric Storm. In this case Rhaegar, Viserys, Aegon, Rheanys, Rhaella. If baby king wants to join my train, he has to use another station. I have no clue why there are 3 KG at the ToJ, I just know that they exited my train at another station.

 

 

Robert Baratheon had 3 legitimate heirs. Officially.

And two male brothers. 

Not civil war against his house was around.... the moment he died.

Not even later. 3 of the 5 kings at war... are Baratheon. 

And even tho Robert’s brothers believe Joffrey and his siblings to be Lannisters abominations, they haven’t proved that. And the KG therefore stays with the actual King, his brother, sister etc... 

Therefore the context is completely different than the one the Targaryens had to face during Robert’s rebellion. In the aftermath of Robert’s death there’s not need to care about the surviving itself of House Baratheon. However, Cersei orders Robert’s bastards to be killed. Why? Because she fears that these children, kids, young men may be used one day against her children.

When it comes to the difference between Edric Storm and Gendry - or other Robert’s bastards that die at KL - the point is simply that Edric’s mother is not a nobody... quite the contrary. Edric is in a “privileged” position if compared to Gendry beacuse of that. 

But that has nothing to with his “potential” claim, at that point in history. However, truth to be told... it may change in the future... if Stannis and his daughter will die too.  Baratheon’s loyalists may use a bastard to rise again vs the Crown, sooner or later. And that’s why Cersei took care of the most of them.

Because she thought (just like Cat did, speaking with Robb)... who knows what may occur in the years to come.

In a sense, that’s just the other side of the same coin, that is the reasoning the Targaryens may have had. Even more so, because the lack of Targaryen heirs at an adult age, made more urgent or less hypothetical for them the need to rely on every Targaryen left. Even on a bastard, if that’s the case with Lyanna and Rhaegar son.

That said, sure, we don’t know why the 3 KG were at ToJ.

So sure I am speculating as everybody here does, more or less.

And yes, I should be less asserting. I see that. But I am / was trying to explain why I believed more likely a scenario rather than another.

But it’s not that I said that nobody cared about the Queen and Viserys. Or that nobody should have done, because baby Jon was surely the new King.

I said that from my pov, the Targaryens take care of them all and used their resources in the most effective way, given the circumstances and the context. And the KG are part of those resources. Not them all.

But of course that’s only my opinion.

Edited by lalt

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Well, it appears that Dayne and Went were already with Rheagar, protecting him as the heir and Hightower was sent to find him, bring him back to lead the Royal Army after the Bells fiasco for the Loyalists. Hightower found him and then Rheagar ordered him to stay and protect. No vows appear to be broken by the Kingsguard in regards to serving Rheagar over Aerys. 

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14 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I'm not saying he knew what she prophesied exactly, more that he may have been exposed to the same source of knowledge as her. The promised prince is connected to the war for the dawn. Dawn is synonymous with spring in this context. Green Men are symbolic of spring. So there is an obvious thematic link between a promised prince and the Green Men, regardless of whether it's been established directly in the text yet or not.

I'd not connected 'dawn' to 'spring' all that much in this context. It is called 'the Long Night' and not 'the Long Winter'. The Long Night is not just some long winter, it was a time when the sun itself was disappearing and not only cold but also darkness ruled the land. In addition, the freak seasons only seem to have started after the Long Night, meaning the season symbolism would have only taken root after the Long Night - prior to that winter was as ominous in Westeros as it is in our world. Which means not all that much unless you are stupid enough to live in the far north/south.

Also, there is at this point no evidence that the promised prince is connected to another 'war for the dawn'. If people had understood that this prophecy referred to 'a war for the dawn' then they should also have realized that the enemies of the prince are the fabled Others of legend and his destiny awaited him beyond the Wall.

But not even Rhaegar seems to have realized this. Even Aemon may have only realized that after he received credible reports about the Others.

And what the Green Men are about we don't know at all. They were founded in the wake of the Pact. What their purpose is is completely unclear.

14 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I don't think Howland has special knowledge beyond what he knows about the ToJ. Howland sent his kids to Bran after Jojen dreamed of the winged wolf in chains, and they end up with Bloodraven. They might not have gone directly to the Isle of Faces but they did go somewhere Bran can access the Isle of Faces, with a little help from his mentor. Again, this part of the story is central to the wider ice and fire theme.

We have no reason to believe at this point will access the Isle of Faces, or that he can even do that. The Isle of Faces is far too interesting a place to be accessed or enter the story via remote control. Not to mention that Bran doesn't really need the Isle of Faces or the Green Men to acquire knowledge. Ha can use the weirwoods now.

14 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

We know Bloodraven has used his powers to influence people and events. He is hooked-up to the weirwoods. There are weirwoods on the Isle of Faces. Howland Reed went to the Isle of Faces. There is certainly room for Howland to be influenced by the dawn agenda, whether it stems from Bloodraven or the Green Men. Otherwise Howland's journey there seems rather pointless, and I don't think that will prove to be the case. From a story-telling point of view, I just can't see Howland Reed's connection to the KotLT, ToJ, and Isle of Faces as being purely coincidental.

Just because there are weirwoods at a number of places doesn't mean Bloodraven has or could influence people there. What Bloodraven implies in ADwD is that he could not speak through the trees, so I very much doubt Bloodraven ever had the powers to do more than just watch - he is basically little more than a wooden voyeur. He certainly can influence and shape the dreams of people, but if he could actually talk through the trees or reach people directly in a manner that they realized what was going on then he would have reached out in that manner to Ned, his children, and all the Westerosi spending some time in the various godswoods. Not to mention the wildlings beyond the Wall. I expect that Bran will have much greater powers, but I doubt Bloodraven could pull off all that much.

Any theory ascribing grand powers to Bloodraven has to explain why this man - whose motivation seems to be direct the fight against the Others - did not actually do anything to prevent the War of the Five Kings. It is quite clear that Bloodraven desperately tried to reach Ned in AGoT - but all he could do was to trigger a strong reluctance to leave Winterfell and later a strong longing to return back home. This was not particularly helpful. The same goes for him being completely unable - as far as we know - to reach Robb.

Jojen's green dreams seem to be an innate talent - they are not sent or shaped by Bloodraven or anyone else as far as we know. If we keep that in mind then Bloodraven didn't even play all that active a role in getting Bran to his cave. He only reached Bran directly once - in his coma. Afterwards he could not establish contact at all.

From a storytelling point of view I see no connection between Howland's visit to the Isle of Faces and Harrenhal. His visit there is certainly a very important plot point, one that's subtly hinted at in Meera's story, but it is a plot point that will only become relevant when Howland actually enters the story, most likely when the Green Men come to the fore, too. Which is likely going to take place around the time the Others finally make their great move.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

One's destiny is one's destiny regardless of whether one knows it ahead of time or not. In fact, Jon would more likely fulfill his destiny if he does not know it growing up, which would put an awful lot of pressure on a little boy.

That is just an assertion of yours, and one based on a view that doesn't seem to be shared by many people in the novels. In fact, I don't remember a single character who ever expressed his belief or knowledge that prophecy has to be always right or destiny cannot be changed. Instead there are many characters - Melisandre, Qyburn, Marwyn, etc. - who express the view that prophecy and destiny are not set in stone nor are they as reliable as certain people hope/wish they were.

Even more so, we do know that many a character believing in his/her destiny actually tried to change it or prepare for the inevitable. Rhaegar, for instance, did not declare that prophecy will take of itself, not training at arms nor deciding to emulate Viserys I or Aegon IV insofar as his body size is concerned...

In that sense, it seems to be a huge stretch to just assume without basis that a character knowing/believing another character had a certain destiny to fulfill would not try to prepare said character for that destiny. Even more since there is, at this point, no reason to believe that the prophecy of the promised prince also prophesied that he would be victorious in the end.

George could stop write the novels if some prophecy actually set everything in stone.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Ned may know all about Jon, or he may not. Lyanna may have sworn Howland to secrecy, or they mutually agreed that no one but them and Rhaegar know what this is all about.

Those are just ad hoc speculations. I'd say we have at this point no reason to entertain such speculations to explain an issue caused by another speculation.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Jon is more likely to learn proper warcraft and the ways of the world at Winterfell than at Greywater Watch. Brought up as a crannogman and trained with net and spear, Jon would be next-to-useless outside the Neck.

Well, one can also have a proper master-at-arms on a boat, can't one? Prince Aegon was trained at warcraft and in the ways of the world by 3-4 competent teachers in the middle of nowhere. Nobody said anything about Jon Snow only being trained/educated by Howland Reed in the Neck.

But Howland would have been the one teaching him about his destiny and also giving him information on the enemy/mission - of which Jon Snow still doesn't have so much as a clue.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Bran needed the escort to the 3EC, not Jon. If they had brought Bran to Jon, he never would have made it to the 3EC.

That isn't a given.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Jojen is the greenseer, not Howland. So yes, Jojen told Howland what he saw in his dream, and that was to bring Bran to the 3EC. None of this had anything to do with Jon.

Jojen isn't a greenseer. He just has green dreams.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Of course I'm assuming. If it was stated clearly and unequivocally in the book then there would be no need to even discuss it. He spent a good two years on the IoF. What could he have possibly been doing all this time if not discussing lore with the Green Men? And what lore would be more important than that which involves the coming threat to all mankind?

If he had received information on the promised prince we would assume that such knowledge actually would have shaped some of his decisions.

I do not doubt that Howland received important information relating to the Others, etc. while he was on the Isle of Faces. But to assume he received any information to a specific Targaryen prophecy is, at this point, completely without basis.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Why do you assume that this knowledge would then cause Howland to become the chief instigator of all the subsequent events and ultimate protector of Jon? There are other people, kin to Jon, who are far more capable of protecting him than he, and as I said, if Jon's destiny is set, then there is nothing that Howland, or anyone, can do to change that.

See above about your ideas of 'destiny'. We don't have to play it up as high as you do - what about Howland spending some time at Winterfell to tutor Jon there? What about him sending a close confidant of his to Jon to tutor him, like he does later with Bran?

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

It's whatever True Tongue word that most closely translates to "song" in the common tongue. The children are "those who sing the song of earth" and they do literally sing this song:

I imagine there are, or were, other ancient races who sang the song of the seas, the wind, ice, fire . . . 

If I had my guess, the song is everything that comprises the being of the singers: history, culture, beliefs, memories . . . And those who learn to sing these songs in their totality can use them to do all kinds of amazing things, like shatter land masses and control rings of volcanoes.

In other words, the "song" is the underlying element of magic. It's the Force.

That seems to be a huge stretch on the basis of the information we have. We have no clue how metaphorical the use of 'song' in this song is. Nobody doubts that the Children can work powerful magic - but we cannot pretend to have a clue how this works.

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

 Jace was a direct, first-born descendent of a Targaryan -- first-born son to the first-born child of King Viserys Targaryen. The pact would have married his first-born daughter to the first-born son and heir to Cregan. I doubt very much that last names count when it comes to blood magic, or else Edric Storm would be useless to Melisandre.

My point merely was that there is no reason to believe literal or not-so-literal Stark-Targaryen unions are so special as to happen only at 'the right time'. That seems to me an uncalled mystification of such a union, especially since there could have been some such unions. Who knows how many Targaryen descendants were among the women marrying into House Starks? And who can dismiss the possibility that Aegon V's queen Betha Blackwood may have had (quite recent) Stark ancestors?

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Lyanna and Robert may also have produce an Ice-Fire baby, but it never happened so we'll never know. Mayhaps this was why the Green Men sent Howland to the tourney; to warn her against the marriage with Robert. Being the wolf-blooded child that she was, however, she decided to do so anyway with a Targaryen crown prince.

Again, what reason do we have to assume that anyone in this series cares about a Stark-Targaryen marriage? That anyone thinks such a union were *important* or *special*?

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Blood magic is a central element to the story, and the Targaryens are "blood of the dragon" whose forefathers supposedly descended from actual dragons. The Starks, meanwhile, were Kings of Winter and might, just might, have a touch of Other blood in their veins (but that's another theory). So I find it unusual that anyone would think that a fantasy series entitled "A Song of Ice and Fire" would think that there is not only no song in the story but no ice or fire magic either.

The ice-and-fire element/symbolism of the entire series is certainly reflected in some degree in the Starks and Targaryens, but nobody in-universe overemphasizes any of that.

And it it is quite clear that both the Targaryens and the Starks reflect those elements only in a metaphorical sense. Just think of Aerea's death - the Targaryens are not fire, not truly. Even dragons are not fire - else they would have not burned in the fires of the Doom. And compared to the Others and the Heart of Winter any claim the Starks have to *ice* pales beyond recognition. The wildlings are much more *ice* than the Starks could ever hope to be. They like in the lands where winter truly reigns.

And while we have no clue whether the Others can naturally procreate chances are very low that the Starks might be descended from them. The Targaryens claim to be kin to dragons, but nobody ever said anything about the Starks being kin to the Others, no?

11 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

No, but it's odd that the only other mention of "ice and fire" comes from the Reeds. It must be important to them if they use it to re-swear their allegiance to Winterfell. And it seems to be the most important element of the oath because they say it together. There are all sorts of various natural things they could swear by, but they happen to pick ice and fire -- two things that have no known connection to House Reed.

Ice and fire are powerful (magical) elements in this series. Why shouldn't they be used in an ancient vow?

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25 minutes ago, A Ghost of Someone said:

Well, it appears that Dayne and Went were already with Rheagar, protecting him as the heir and Hightower was sent to find him, bring him back to lead the Royal Army after the Bells fiasco for the Loyalists. Hightower found him and then Rheagar ordered him to stay and protect. No vows appear to be broken by the Kingsguard in regards to serving Rheagar over Aerys. 

They would not have broken vows there, of course, but there is certainly a chance that Hightower decided to not follow orders given to him by Rhaegar, or that he chose to do things he knew his king would not want him to do.

We also have to keep in mind that Aerys II once assigning Dayne (and Whent, too, perhaps) as sworn shields to Rhaegar and/or his family doesn't mean the king cannot reassign them. Hightower could have had the order to bring them all back to KL, not just Rhaegar but Lyanna and the other Kingsguard, too.

We just don't know at this point. If he had had such orders he would have disobeyed them, obviously. But disobeying orders is not necessarily the same as breaking solemn vows.

But they really have a lot of leeway there - a truly die-hard Aerys loyalist would have gone back to KL no matter what. A man who was happy to do some other task fitting the job description of the KG - protecting the wife/mistress of a royal prince and his unborn child, say - because this would allow him to spend less time in the presence of a crowned lunatic would have little issue if he was offered the chance to do that.

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1 minute ago, Lord Varys said:

They would not have broken vows there, of course, but there is certainly a chance that Hightower decided to not follow orders given to him by Rhaegar, or that he chose to do things he knew his king would not want him to do.

We also have to keep in mind that Aerys II once assigning Dayne (and Whent, too, perhaps) as sworn shields to Rhaegar and/or his family doesn't mean the king cannot reassign them. Hightower could have had the order to bring them all back to KL, not just Rhaegar but Lyanna and the other Kingsguard, too.

We just don't know at this point. If he had had such orders he would have disobeyed them, obviously. But disobeying orders is not necessarily the same as breaking solemn vows.

But they really have a lot of leeway there - a truly die-hard Aerys loyalist would have gone back to KL no matter what. A man who was happy to do some other task fitting the job description of the KG - protecting the wife/mistress of a royal prince and his unborn child, say - because this would allow him to spend less time in the presence of a crowned lunatic would have little issue if he was offered the chance to do that.

I figured Hightower may have done what he did out of plausible circumstance sort of speak. My King commanded me to find his son and heir, send him back, so I did. While there, the Prince, second in command ordered me to stay etc.... , we may never really know but we do know that they did nothing when Aerys murdered the Northern and Vale lords and called for innocent heads. They did nothing. 

Ser Barristan did tell Dany but was either distracted or cut off by her. Something alone the lines, "We all knew or thought the King was a little mad but it was not until after..... - he must be referring to that incident because up until that point, they all followed him obediently. 

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'd not connected 'dawn' to 'spring' all that much in this context. It is called 'the Long Night' and not 'the Long Winter'. The Long Night is not just some long winter, it was a time when the sun itself was disappearing and not only cold but also darkness ruled the land.

Dawn and spring are natural metaphors for each other. I don't see why it would be different in Westeros  when the days grow shorter in winter, and longer in spring. Just as night gives way to dawn, winter gives way to spring.

Old Nan connects the Long Night and Winter:

"The Others," Old Nan agreed. "Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels.

Joer Mormont also connects the Long Night to Winter:

Winter is coming, and when the Long Night falls, only the Night's Watch will stand between the realm and the darkness that sweeps from the north.

And this from the world book:

It is also from these histories that we learn of the Long Night, when a season of winter came that lasted a generation—a generation in which children were born, grew into adulthood, and in many cases died without ever seeing the spring. Indeed, some of the old wives' tales say that they never even beheld the light of day, so complete was the winter that fell on the world.

It seems to me that the Long Night is the pinnacle of an apocalyptic winter that comes some millennia apart, for reasons as yet unknown. I would even say that the "Winter" the Stark words warn against is actually the Long Night. This makes complete sense given what the Three-eyed Crow said to Bran.

"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.
Because winter is coming.
 
And of course I would add the title of the last novel in the series which suggests that not just day but spring will dawn after the Long Night.
 
2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In addition, the freak seasons only seem to have started after the Long Night, meaning the season symbolism would have only taken root after the Long Night - prior to that winter was as ominous in Westeros as it is in our world.

I know this is a popular idea in the fandom. I genuinely don't know what it is based on, but even if it is a well supported idea I still don't see how it conflicts with dawn being a metaphor for spring?

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, there is at this point no evidence that the promised prince is connected to another 'war for the dawn'. If people had understood that this prophecy referred to 'a war for the dawn' then they should also have realized that the enemies of the prince are the fabled Others of legend and his destiny awaited him beyond the Wall.

But not even Rhaegar seems to have realized this. Even Aemon may have only realized that after he received credible reports about the Others.

I disagree. I don't see the promised prince associated with anything in-world but the Long Night. Mel certainly thinks Stannis is the prince that was promised:

"It means that the battle is begun," said Melisandre. "The sand is running through the glass more quickly now, and man's hour on earth is almost done. We must act boldly, or all hope is lost. Westeros must unite beneath her one true king, the prince that was promised, Lord of Dragonstone and chosen of R'hllor."

"You are he who must stand against the Other. The one whose coming was prophesied five thousand years ago. The red comet was your herald. You are the prince that was promised, and if you fail the world fails with you."

Aemon also connects the prince that was promised with the war for the dawn:

But all of them seemed surprised to hear Maester Aemon murmur, "It is the war for the dawn you speak of, my lady. But where is the prince that was promised?

So those who knew about the prophecy, and studied it for millenia certainly connected the prince that was promised with the war for the dawn.

4 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And what the Green Men are about we don't know at all. They were founded in the wake of the Pact. What their purpose is is completely unclear.

True, but given their real-world symbolism, coupled with the title of the last book, it's hardly a stretch to connect them to spring.

An interesting aspect of what we are told in-world is that they are "watchers". But what are they watching for? I would speculate that it is the prince that was promised, as it seems this promised prince is important if spring is indeed to follow the apocalyptic winter that brings the Long Night.

When Howland Reed set out to the Isle of Faces, it was the Green Men he meant to find. and he did find them, though Meera says that is another tale and not hers to tell. In other words, we will hear that story at a more appropriate time, probably closer to the end of the series. That means there is a reveal about Howland and the Green Men coming, which might even include what motivated him to seek them out in the first place. We might disagree here, but as I said, I just can't see Howland's connection to the ToJ, where TPtwP was born, and the Green Men on the IoF as being coincidental.

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Just because there are weirwoods at a number of places doesn't mean Bloodraven has or could influence people there. What Bloodraven implies in ADwD is that he could not speak through the trees, so I very much doubt Bloodraven ever had the powers to do more than just watch - he is basically little more than a wooden voyeur. He certainly can influence and shape the dreams of people, but if he could actually talk through the trees or reach people directly in a manner that they realized what was going on then he would have reached out in that manner to Ned, his children, and all the Westerosi spending some time in the various godswoods. Not to mention the wildlings beyond the Wall. I expect that Bran will have much greater powers, but I doubt Bloodraven could pull off all that much. 

Any theory ascribing grand powers to Bloodraven has to explain why this man - whose motivation seems to be direct the fight against the Others - did not actually do anything to prevent the War of the Five Kings. It is quite clear that Bloodraven desperately tried to reach Ned in AGoT - but all he could do was to trigger a strong reluctance to leave Winterfell and later a strong longing to return back home. This was not particularly helpful. The same goes for him being completely unable - as far as we know - to reach Robb.

Jojen's green dreams seem to be an innate talent - they are not sent or shaped by Bloodraven or anyone else as far as we know. If we keep that in mind then Bloodraven didn't even play all that active a role in getting Bran to his cave. He only reached Bran directly once - in his coma. Afterwards he could not establish contact at all.

I don't think Bloodraven is all-powerful, but he is certainly able to influence people and Bran is the clearest example of that. I can't see how it can be argued otherwise.

I agree that Bloodraven's motivation is the fight against the Others, but again I see that as a reason for him have interest in the prince that was promised.

On the subject of how Bloodraven might specifically influence someone like Howland on the Isle of Faces, Meera does tell Bran that Howland could talk to trees.

"No," said Meera, "but he could breathe mud and run on leaves, and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word. He could talk to trees and weave words and make castles appear and disappear."

5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

From a storytelling point of view I see no connection between Howland's visit to the Isle of Faces and Harrenhal. His visit there is certainly a very important plot point, one that's subtly hinted at in Meera's story, but it is a plot point that will only become relevant when Howland actually enters the story, most likely when the Green Men come to the fore, too. Which is likely going to take place around the time the Others finally make their great move.

From a story telling point of view I think it is clear. Look at Howland's story so far. He went to the Isle of Faces in search of Green men. Next he was at Harrenhal and was directly involved in the KotLT incident, where the Rhaegar and Lyanna story begins. He was then at the ToJ where Rhaegar and Lyanna's child, (who I, like many readers, believe is the Prince that was Promised), was born.

I agree that the reveal will come later, through Howland most likely, and that the Green Men will come to the fore near the endgame, as GRRM has said as much. But that does not mean the plot point is irrelevant until then.

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Hoster had another reason to join the rebels: Aerys also had at least one Mallister killed. While we don't know what relationship Jeffory Mallister had to the main family, it is still could very well have been a factor in Hoster's decision.

"My banner man, my so to be son-in-law, and my friend who was the Lord Paramount of the North (and maybe others) were all executed for no reason." Seems like things to consider when going rebel or not.

And for that matter Jon Arryn himself, having lost a Royce and his own nephew, Elbert.

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6 hours ago, A Ghost of Someone said:

Well, it appears that Dayne and Went were already with Rheagar, protecting him as the heir and Hightower was sent to find him, bring him back to lead the Royal Army after the Bells fiasco for the Loyalists. Hightower found him and then Rheagar ordered him to stay and protect. No vows appear to be broken by the Kingsguard in regards to serving Rheagar over Aerys. 

Protecting an heir that planned to depose the king since Harrenhal, and meant to return to that plan after the rebellion was dealt with. If Rhaegar told Jaime he planned to make changes, then I feel confident that he told Dayne and Whent too. Also Darry, who did not seem surprised by what Rhaegar told Jaime. The first duty of the Kingsguard was to defend the king from harm or threat. Someone planning to replace the king is obviously a threat to the king, regarless of him being the crown prince or not, so the conflict is quite clear.

And there is a second conflict because men who are considered the paradigm of knightly honor cannot serve Aerys without breaking one vow or another, as is best illustrated by the murders of Rickard and Brandon or the rape of Rhaella, an attested to by Barristan and Jaime.

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31 minutes ago, Ser Leftwich said:

Hoster had another reason to join the rebels: Aerys also had at least one Mallister killed. While we don't know what relationship Jeffory Mallister had to the main family, it is still could very well have been a factor in Hoster's decision.

"My banner man, my so to be son-in-law, and my friend who was the Lord Paramount of the North (and maybe others) were all executed for no reason." Seems like things to consider when going rebel or not.

And for that matter Jon Arryn himself, having lost a Royce and his own nephew, Elbert.

Yet neither the murder of his daughter's betrothed, Brandon, and father, Lord Rickard, nor the murder of his bannerman, the Mallister, caused Hoster to join in the war. He waited until the Battle of the Bells, and even then, he forced Jon and Ned to agree to wed his daughters before he would lend his swords.

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48 minutes ago, Bael's Bastard said:

Yet neither the murder of his daughter's betrothed, Brandon, and father, Lord Rickard, nor the murder of his bannerman, the Mallister, caused Hoster to join in the war. He waited until the Battle of the Bells, and even then, he forced Jon and Ned to agree to wed his daughters before he would lend his swords.

I never made my actual point, which is, maybe Hoster's decision was cumulative.

After all that, Ned and Jon arrive with soldiers, heading to rescue Robert. They lay it out to Hoster (and Ned agrees to stand in for Brandon and marry Cat and Lysa to marry Jon), "if Aerys is willing to do all this and appoint and send a new Hand to go through the Riverlands to capture/kill Robert, 1) why didn't Aerys ask you to capture Robert, he a fugitive of the crown loose in the Riverlands, and 2) why won't you be next after Robert and I (Ned saying this)?"

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On ‎1‎/‎22‎/‎2019 at 9:08 AM, Lord Varys said:

That is just an assertion of yours, and one based on a view that doesn't seem to be shared by many people in the novels. In fact, I don't remember a single character who ever expressed his belief or knowledge that prophecy has to be always right or destiny cannot be changed. Instead there are many characters - Melisandre, Qyburn, Marwyn, etc. - who express the view that prophecy and destiny are not set in stone nor are they as reliable as certain people hope/wish they were.

Even more so, we do know that many a character believing in his/her destiny actually tried to change it or prepare for the inevitable. Rhaegar, for instance, did not declare that prophecy will take of itself, not training at arms nor deciding to emulate Viserys I or Aegon IV insofar as his body size is concerned...

In that sense, it seems to be a huge stretch to just assume without basis that a character knowing/believing another character had a certain destiny to fulfill would not try to prepare said character for that destiny. Even more since there is, at this point, no reason to believe that the prophecy of the promised prince also prophesied that he would be victorious in the end.

George could stop write the novels if some prophecy actually set everything in stone.

You're confusing prophecy with destiny. One is the ability to accurately predict the future and the other is the future as determined by fate. So when Mel, Qyburn etc., talk about the uncertain future, they are talking about the ability to predict it. Mel certainly believes it is Stannis' destiny to be the PtwP, but whether she is right about it is another question. So when applied to Howland's approach to Jon, he could very well believe that if it is Jon's destiny to be the PtwP, that is what he will be. If not, then he isn't and was never meant to be. There is certainly no reason why Howland would decide that it was his responsibility to ensure that Jon fulfills his destiny.

Besides, it wouldn't be Howland's place to do such a thing. Jon is Ned's responsibility. And frankly, it would look rather suspicious if Howland were to suddenly take up residence in Winterfell and start showing a piqued interest in Ned's bastard.

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Those are just ad hoc speculations. I'd say we have at this point no reason to entertain such speculations to explain an issue caused by another speculation.

 Of course, the whole thing is speculation. I never claimed otherwise. But Martin has already revealed all sorts of answers to mysteries that previously could only have been answered through speculation. To say that we shouldn't consider alternate possibilities until Martin makes it plain in the text is silly. That's the whole purpose of this forum.

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Well, one can also have a proper master-at-arms on a boat, can't one? Prince Aegon was trained at warcraft and in the ways of the world by 3-4 competent teachers in the middle of nowhere. Nobody said anything about Jon Snow only being trained/educated by Howland Reed in the Neck.

But Howland would have been the one teaching him about his destiny and also giving him information on the enemy/mission - of which Jon Snow still doesn't have so much as a clue.

Why is it necessary for Howland to be there at all? Why is it necessary for Jon to be aware of this destiny of his in order for him to fulfill it. His fate will arrive one way or another. What possible reason could there be for laying this much responsibility on the shoulders of a little boy, and what if this information were to pass beyond Jon, Howland and Ned?News that Jon is a special ice-fire child would spread around Winterfell first, then the north then to the whole kingdom.

Sorry, but no. Best to keep everything on the down-low for now, and when the time is right, if ever it is, then Howland can have his chat with Jon.

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That isn't a given.

Jojen certainly thinks so, and he is the one having the dreams. And honestly, you think Jon would let Bran and Co. skip through the Wall while Mance's army is bearing down on them? Please.

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If he had received information on the promised prince we would assume that such knowledge actually would have shaped some of his decisions.

I do not doubt that Howland received important information relating to the Others, etc. while he was on the Isle of Faces. But to assume he received any information to a specific Targaryen prophecy is, at this point, completely without basis.

So, you can assume he received information on only the Others, but to assume anything else is "without basis." The fact that such an ice-fire person would be the one prophesied to defeat the Others, or herald their arrival, would be irrelevant to this tale? And as I said, this knowledge did shape some of his decisions; he told Lyanna what was up, which led her to Rhaegar. Now, whether that was by intent or merely the result of Lyanna's willfulness is another question.

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See above about your ideas of 'destiny'. We don't have to play it up as high as you do - what about Howland spending some time at Winterfell to tutor Jon there? What about him sending a close confidant of his to Jon to tutor him, like he does later with Bran?

 

Again, we don't know what Howland is thinking or what, exactly, he was told on the IoF. For all we know, he doesn't know what to make of Jon. Maybe he is the PtP, maybe he isn't. We do know that Ned went to great lengths to keep Jon in cognito, and either Howland's presence or some confidant of his at Winterfell year after year hanging out with Jon would certainly draw notice, especially since the crannogmen are rarely seen outside the Neck.

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That seems to be a huge stretch on the basis of the information we have. We have no clue how metaphorical the use of 'song' in this song is. Nobody doubts that the Children can work powerful magic - but we cannot pretend to have a clue how this works.

We know the children sing "the song of earth" and that it is a real song, not a metaphor. So it stands to reason that there are also songs of ice, songs of fire, songs of air . . .  Whether these songs are the source of magic or not is irrelevant. Those who sing them are important, and whomever sings the song of ice and fire is very important because that is the name of the series.

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My point merely was that there is no reason to believe literal or not-so-literal Stark-Targaryen unions are so special as to happen only at 'the right time'. That seems to me an uncalled mystification of such a union, especially since there could have been some such unions. Who knows how many Targaryen descendants were among the women marrying into House Starks? And who can dismiss the possibility that Aegon V's queen Betha Blackwood may have had (quite recent) Stark ancestors?

This is an odd statement from someone who talks about making huge stretches based on the information we have. The information we have is that no Stark has ever made a baby with a Targaryen, and the none of the Blackwoods who married into the royal family had any direct connection to Starks. Nada.

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Again, what reason do we have to assume that anyone in this series cares about a Stark-Targaryen marriage? That anyone thinks such a union were *important* or *special*?

Nobody does. Why should they? Nobody outside of Rhaegar seems to have heard of the song of ice and fire either. Rhaegar undoubtedly read about it in some book somewhere, and when he finally learned what the ice component of the song was, he acted on it.

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The ice-and-fire element/symbolism of the entire series is certainly reflected in some degree in the Starks and Targaryens, but nobody in-universe overemphasizes any of that.

And it it is quite clear that both the Targaryens and the Starks reflect those elements only in a metaphorical sense. Just think of Aerea's death - the Targaryens are not fire, not truly. Even dragons are not fire - else they would have not burned in the fires of the Doom. And compared to the Others and the Heart of Winter any claim the Starks have to *ice* pales beyond recognition. The wildlings are much more *ice* than the Starks could ever hope to be. They like in the lands where winter truly reigns.

And while we have no clue whether the Others can naturally procreate chances are very low that the Starks might be descended from them. The Targaryens claim to be kin to dragons, but nobody ever said anything about the Starks being kin to the Others, no?

I'm not talking about characters in-universe. I'm talking about a reader who doesn't seem to recognize that blood magic is central to the story, that Targs are said to be descended from dragons, are "blood of the dragon" and that dragons are "fire made flesh." There is the fire component of Targaryen blood (and no, this does not mean their blood is actually fire). Meanwhile, the Starks were the former King's of Winter and, through the Night King, may very well have descended from the Others. Not everything has been revealed in the story, no? There is the ice component to Stark blood.

So, sorry if I sound incredulous, but it amazes me how someone reading "A Song of Ice and Fire" could fail to appreciate the significant of Ice blood and Fire blood mixing in the same person, especially since this has apparently never happened before, ever.

Blood magic is not metaphorical. Mel used king's blood to bring about the deaths of Stannis' rivals, unless you think that was just a coincidence. MMD used blood to call up demons and keep Drogo from dying, unless you think she just got lucky. Maggy the Frog used blood to predict Cersei's future, unless you think she too had a series of incredibly lucky guesses.

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Ice and fire are powerful (magical) elements in this series. Why shouldn't they be used in an ancient vow?

Why would the Reeds, of all people, use ice and fire as the primary elements in their vow? They live in a swamp and talk to trees and animals. Why would ice and fire be of such crucial importance to them to elevate them above earth, water, bronze and iron?

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