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The search goes on for the Hooded Man

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5 hours ago, Lady Dacey said:

I don’t find it so very likely. I might be very wrong, but the way I see it if Mance had always had the political ability to negotiate his way south with the northern lords there would be no point to Jon’s arc. Umber’s words to Stannis stating their thirst for revenge don’t strike me as a ruse because I identify cultural biases that arise from ethnocentric world views as one of the things the author is actively trying and succeeding to depict. If it were all a ruse, well, I’ll be disappointed - what is there to overcome if not the mutual prejudice? 

In the thread @kissdbyfire provided the link for, the one where it’s proposed the hooded man is a Liddle, there is an argument that the clans might be aligned with the free folk. I’m not sure I’d go as far as say they are working together, but I can see the clans having a more sympathetic view on “wildings” than proper aristocratic lords like the Umber and the Karstarks. 

Mance had been a man of the Night’s Watch and as a leader of the free folk he was convinced that to go south of the Wall he’d have to fight his way through. Mance is not obtuse, I don’t think he’d miscalculate that. What changes things radically is the arrival of Jon Snow: he is a natural son to Eddard Stark and becomes the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, therefore he has political leverage, and he is a man with a personal interest in bringing every human being together in the face of the supernatural threat that looms north of the Wall. Things do change. And Mance is not stupid. 

I hear you but there is more to this than I can mention here without going off topic. I have a piece written on the subject, I'll dig it out and post it and we can chat about it there.

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16 minutes ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I hear you but there is more to this than I can mention here without going off topic. I have a piece written on the subject, I'll dig it out and post it and we can chat about it there.

Hey I'm excited! Do tag me when you post your work please ^_^

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On 12/10/2019 at 4:14 PM, Ygrain said:

Well, eastablishing an orphanage while sending someone up North aren't mutually exclusive. Plus, how can she be sure that the girl Jaime saw leaving KL is the same that arrived North?

If LS sent someone to WF to get fArya out, imo it's not because she doubts Jaime and Brienne and all the evidence in the RL that Arya was never captured by the Freys or Boltons or Lannisters. She knows fArya is an imposter, but you can argue that LS might still see benefit in extracting the false bride, as strategically the Boltons not having even an imposter bride helps to lose their grip on WF.

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

To the OP, Still the Theon Durden camp of it all though. There's a gollum/smeagol aspect to Reek/Theon, and the more I reread the chapter with the scene of the HM, the more the HM being a real Northern character seems like a carrot on a stick by George. Even the interaction with this HM as described is in stark contrast to other people and scenes described by Reek/Theon's POV. The soldiers before it, the meeting with Roose, the spearwives... all these scenes include cynical unspoken thoughts to what they say or ask. But not the HM. Hell, Theon doesn't even think of the HM afterwards, despite the fact that it is written that Theon wondered whether the HM was the killer and how oddly enough Theon wasn't afraid.

And overall to the rest of George's mystery writing, this man is unidentifiable. There is no set-up for him earlier. No reminders to him afterwards, and no identififiable descriptions (tall is meaningless). The OP tries to make aspects into clues, but none of these are comparable to clues that George tends to give. George has a habbit of making the mystery person a subject of thoughts or discussions in precluding and after-scenes: for example with the gravedigger and then Stranger his horse, and Brienne discussing the Hound. Nothing of the sort occurs with the HM. Suddenly he's there, basically unidentifiable to the reader, and then he's gone again. And that's it. Someone might show up at some point in WF, and there's no way for us to be certain they are or are not the HM. Any man who's tall, wears a cloak, and thinks of Theon as a kinslayer and turncloak could be argued to be the HM. And the way it was set up, George basically has to make the man himself confess to some character after the fact that he infiltrated WF long before. That is very unGeorge when it comes to mystery identies of real people imo.

However, the HM scene reminds me a lot on how George writes ghosts, ethereal or cyber beings interacting solely with the POV in other stories (the final maze scenes of Stone City for example). 

If we are to go by the subject matter surrounding the HM then we notice two things: it centers around Theon's identity. Ramsay's men who laugh at Theon and make jests of him before the HM meeting. The HM himself only talks about Theon. And Roose and the other lords and lady discuss whether Theon might be the killer. More, the subject of Theon's thoughts immediately after the meeting with the HM are about how there's only WF left in the world, with just him and his ghosts.

If this man had been a real person, Hal, Harwin, Liddle, then Theon would have similar sceptical concrete thoughts of them as much as he does for the spearwives and Mance. He would think the HM would get caught by Ramsay or his helpers. He would think cynical arrogant thoughts to himself as the HM speaks to him, how he doesn't know the truth, doesn't understand the motives, yadayadayada.

So, chasing a real identity for this appearance is mostly wishful thinking.

Edited by sweetsunray

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On 12/10/2019 at 4:35 PM, three-eyed monkey said:

What the Hooded Man said to Theon, makes me quite sure it was someone who knew Theon well from Winterfell, back when he was Ned's ward, and is someone genuinely hurt by Theon's crimes. That leaves Hal and Harwin.

It also includes Theon, who would laugh at the pitiful man he turned into. ;)

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6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

There is no set-up for him earlier. No reminders to him afterwards

This is why I don't think it is Theon Durden. It's dropped in too suddenly. Sure Theon is traumatized, but do you think GRRM is writing towards this split in personality where Theon is confronted by himself, because I don't think he is. It drops out of the blue and disappears without trace a couple of paragraphs later without any growth or progression from Theon. Unless this is the first of a number of hooded man appearances, that will eventually lead to character progression, the way Theon's later encounter with Bran in the weirwood did, then I find it far more likely that the hooded man is a real person.

6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

George has a habbit of making the mystery person a subject of thoughts or discussions in precluding and after-scenes: for example with the gravedigger and then Stranger his horse, and Brienne discussing the Hound. Nothing of the sort occurs with the HM.

Well, I would say Lady Dustin reminds us of Ned's bones. Which in turn should remind us of Hal.

6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Someone might show up at some point in WF, and there's no way for us to be certain they are or are not the HM. Any man who's tall, wears a cloak, and thinks of Theon as a kinslayer and turncloak could be argued to be the HM.

I think if Hal shows up in Winterfell, or Harwin or Blackfish or whichever candidate you chose for that matter, then it would go a long way towards confirming that particular theory. I think we will get an answer. It might not be spoon fed to us, but we will get enough information to put it together.

7 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

More, the subject of Theon's thoughts immediately after the meeting with the HM are about how there's only WF left in the world, with just him and his ghosts.

Theon's ghosts are a combination of the old Stark kings, people he knew from Winterfell who were dead, and the people he killed. They represent his regrets.

If there is a connection between ghosts and the hooded man, then it is possible that Theon thought it was the ghost of someone he knew that was now dead, to the best of his knowledge at least.

 

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3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

This is why I don't think it is Theon Durden. It's dropped in too suddenly. Sure Theon is traumatized, but do you think GRRM is writing towards this split in personality where Theon is confronted by himself, because I don't think he is. It drops out of the blue and disappears without trace a couple of paragraphs later without any growth or progression from Theon. Unless this is the first of a number of hooded man appearances, that will eventually lead to character progression, the way Theon's later encounter with Bran in the weirwood did, then I find it far more likely that the hooded man is a real person.

I'm of the exact opposite opinion. And in fact there is growth and progression from Theon. In the immediate passage after, before he gets called into the room for questioning by Roose, his mind is on what he did and his ghosts. It's the rare paragraph from Theon where he doesn't make excuses for himself and acknowledges to himself WF was the only home he ever knew and that he harmed the people who lived in it. He's as accepting of it as he is accepting of HM and showing him his fingers without reserve.

And yes, if Theon lives and survives (which I think he will, somehow) then I expect the Gollem-Smeagol like stuff to reoccur, including the HM.

What is the logic behind dropping the HM into the scene to then completely forget about him, without a distinct identifiable sign, and only have Theon be aware of him, which is sooooooooooo massively different to any other character set-up, and concluding he therefore must be "real". Isn't it more logical to suppose him real if the set up and temporary conclusion is more like other "real" characters being set-up in certain locations, rather than vastly different from it?

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Well, I would say Lady Dustin reminds us of Ned's bones. Which in turn should remind us of Hal.

In a different chapter.

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

I think if Hal shows up in Winterfell, or Harwin or Blackfish or whichever candidate you chose for that matter, then it would go a long way towards confirming that particular theory. I think we will get an answer. It might not be spoon fed to us, but we will get enough information to put it together.

Ah, and in which POV do you suppose this will happen? If any of these show up after the Boltons have been ousted from WF, then any of these showing up might have happened AFTER. And unless the man confesses to it, you don't have a leg to stand on. And if George has to write that, I would consider it a weak plot of George. At least, the dagger of VS that Joffrey once held had an elaborate supbplot in aGoT. Guess what the HM doesn't have - a subplot.

 

3 hours ago, three-eyed monkey said:

Theon's ghosts are a combination of the old Stark kings, people he knew from Winterfell who were dead, and the people he killed. They represent his regrets. 

Yes, I know, but still the theme here are "ghosts". Also, see! Character growth. Theon has regrets.

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Reading the except in isolation it certainly has that otherworldly quality but its also a nice touch the way the man sounds very much alive and in the here and now. I think its an encounter with a real person.

I was also struck by how high born and courtly he sounds - he has both that hardness and the ironic edge that only a few of the characters display. But he also leaves Theon to his fate - he either has no particular grudge against Theon (ie he is not a Stark family member) or he is not generally into vengeance.

I have always thought Septon Chayle was considered the front runner for the Hooded Man, and thought this man sounded more confident than a Septon. Then I re-read some of Septon Chayle's few utterances and he did have something of the same brevity and tone. So I think Chayle is still in the running.

Edited by Castellan

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1 hour ago, Castellan said:

Reading the except in isolation it certainly has that otherworldly quality but its also a nice touch the way the man sounds very much alive and in the here and now. I think its an encounter with a real person.

I was also struck by how high born and courtly he sounds - he has both that hardness and the ironic edge that only a few of the characters display. But he also leaves Theon to his fate - he either has no particular grudge against Theon (ie he is not a Stark family member) or he is not generally into vengeance.

I have always thought Septon Chayle was considered the front runner for the Hooded Man, and thought this man sounded more confident than a Septon. Then I re-read some of Septon Chayle's few utterances and he did have something of the same brevity and tone. So I think Chayle is still in the running.

Septon Chayle died in a well.And he didn't swim out of it.Because you can't swim out of wells.

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4 hours ago, redriver said:

Septon Chayle died in a well.And he didn't swim out of it.Because you can't swim out of wells.

I've never investigated the idea that thoroughly, just thought it was popular. However, unless they actually dragged his body out of the well, there is always a chance he floated there looking dead and got out or was taken out later. 

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6 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

And yes, if Theon lives and survives (which I think he will, somehow) then I expect the Gollem-Smeagol like stuff to reoccur, including the HM.

What is the logic behind dropping the HM into the scene to then completely forget about him, without a distinct identifiable sign, and only have Theon be aware of him, which is sooooooooooo massively different to any other character set-up, and concluding he therefore must be "real". Isn't it more logical to suppose him real if the set up and temporary conclusion is more like other "real" characters being set-up in certain locations, rather than vastly different from it?

In a different chapter.

Beg your pardon but giving us something in one chapter and providing additional information in a different chapter - even a different PoV - is very much the way GRRM works. A case in point - Lyanna's "bed of blood" in Ned's PoV, explained via Mirri Maz Duur's "bloody bed" in Dany's PoV chapters later, and confirmed in Damphair's books later.

6 hours ago, Castellan said:

 But he also leaves Theon to his fate - he either has no particular grudge against Theon (ie he is not a Stark family member) or he is not generally into vengeance.

Or, seeing what Ramsay has done to him - and here I don't mean just the maimed hand that Theon shows him - he knows that leaving him to Ramsay is a much worse fate than mere death.

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1 minute ago, Ygrain said:

Beg your pardon but giving us something in one chapter and providing additional information in a different chapter - even a different PoV - is very much the way GRRM works. A case in point - Lyanna's "bed of blood" in Ned's PoV, explained via Mirri Maz Duur's "bloody bed" in Dany's PoV chapters later, and confirmed in Damphair's books later.

I agree that is how GRRM works, but then you would have a clear theme. "bed" and "blood" combined together is a team. 

Here your link is the assumed identity of the HM, which makes for circular logic. Lady Dustin is giving the clue by talking about Ned's bones, because it's Hal, and it's Hal because Barbrey talks about Ned's bones.

 

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29 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

Here your link is the assumed identity of the HM, which makes for circular logic. Lady Dustin is giving the clue by talking about Ned's bones, because it's Hal, and it's Hal because Barbrey talks about Ned's bones.

Not really. You have a mysterious character which seems to have some Stark connection. Then you are reminded of Ned's bones, and that should in turn remind you that there is a Stark man unaccounted for, who was originally headed for Winterfell. It's not circular because you don't start with assuming Hal, you are later given a detail which might make you think of Hal retroactively.

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4 hours ago, redriver said:

Septon Chayle died in a well.And he didn't swim out of it.Because you can't swim out of wells.

^this. It's actually important that Septon Chayle is dead for Bran's arc and the theme of human sacrifice that George explores in this, and Bran requiring to save WF from being "poisoned" by the Faith and the Drowned God and the dragon's grasp.

Several characters end up being killed with various levels of religious motivations. Sometimes it looks like a sacrifice through mists of time, but may actually be an execution of a criminal found guilty by a greenseer who can see the truth, and we only think it's a human sacrifice because old women and sickles are images that fit our preconceived notions about it. Then you have someone like Stannis who combines justice and execution with a religious rite, but refuses to do the religious rite without having someone at hand who doesn't break the law. And then you have Theon who doesn't believe in the drowned god and sacrifices first a POW because his fanatic uncle insists on it, and then later comes back on his promise to those of WF (that he wouldn't harm them if they surrendered peacefully) and has Chayle (a sweet young man who wouldn't harm a fly) drowned to please the religious feelings of his men. In one fell swoop Theon did the most extreme form of religious human sacrifice, as much as Vic does it with those innocent maidens, except Theon doesn't even have the excuse he does it because he believes. Chayle's death is just one line, but damning Theon as much as he's damned (in the eyes of the readers) for killing innocent children.

Bran's chapters in aCoK are steeped in St George and the Dragon references over and over. There the dragon threatens to "poison the well", and so people sacrifice their husbands, children and princess to the dragon to preserve the well. St. George saves the princess, who in her own turn girdles the dragon (sort of like a net), and then both have the dragon follow the princess meekly into the city. St. George offers the citizens to slay the dragon if they agree to convert to Christianity. 

In the St. George scenes of Bran's POV in aCoK, the direwolf Summer gets the dragon-role, except in a consistent reversal. Meera catches him with a net (girdle, since she wears it on her hip), but then Bran demands Summer to be set free. Another reversal occurs in the re-enactment of a Serwyn of the Mirror Shield scene (Serwyn's the aSoIaF figure inspired by St. George legend and the hero upon whom St. George is based on): the giant (Hodor) saves Meera (stand in Serwyn) from the prince (Bran, stand in princess) who endangers her through Summer because he's angry. Normally it should be Serwyn saving the princess from the giant. The ultimate reversal is Bran converting away from his mother's Faith and the maesters. The drowning and death of Chayle is one of the crucial closing arguments for this. Not only does it make Theon decree a religious sacrifice that is a waste of human life, he rids WF from the sole septon that ever performed rites there, and converts Bran into a believer of Jojen's green dreams, as he foretold that Chayle would drown.

So, fully agree, Chayle did not survive and swim out of the well.

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7 minutes ago, Ygrain said:

Not really. You have a mysterious character which seems to have some Stark connection. Then you are reminded of Ned's bones, and that should in turn remind you that there is a Stark man unaccounted for, who was originally headed for Winterfell. It's not circular because you don't start with assuming Hal, you are later given a detail which might make you think of Hal retroactively.

The order is

  • a reminder of Ned's bones
  • an unidentifiable man

You are not given a detail later that might make you think of Hal retroactively, as the HM is without detail.

And unfortunately Barbrey talks about a lot of subjects, so do others in Theon's POV. For example Wyman Manderly and his 300 are mentioned a lot prior to Theon meeting HM, which makes the case for those who believe it's Glover. The sole reason that people argue Barbrey mentions Ned's bones and Hal is because they already assume the HM to be Hal, and that assumption isn't based on Barbrey mentioning Ned's bones, but on wanting to identify the HM as one of the missing men in the story. It is Barbrey's mention of Ned's bones that is used retroactively to argue for Hal, and that in a sea of subjects being mentioned. On top of circular logic it also makes for cherry picking, for a character whose identity is left explicitly to be unidentifiable by George that any man who's tall is a candidate.

I hoped it was Hal, Benjen or Glover once too. Didn't need Barbrey's mention of Ned's bones to hope for Hal. And each of these proposed candidates have arguments why it could be them. The only way to solve the mystery was to wait for tWoW and for George to reveal the HM's identity in it, because there's just no way you can form a definite conclusion based on the scene with HM itself, or the scene preceding it or following from that. George left out any such required positive identifiable traits for the HM. George just isn't as coy when it comes to Alleras, Podrick following Brienne, Gendry, Young Griff, JonCon, or even the half-Septa and halfmaester, or Tom inside RR. Sure readers still disagree on their identities and argue amongst one another, but at least with these there are actual positive identifiable aspects and traits.

And perhaps one could argue the after-clue went missing from aDwD, because George had to cut out chapters for publishing length. But Theon I of tWoW also conspicuously lacks any reference to the HM.

So, there is an inherent issue with the identity of the HM. It isn't a George-traditional "who is x" mystery. It is fundamentally obscured. Therefore, we shouldn't treat it as a traditional "who's x" mystery. I was never a fan of the Durden proposal, still am not. But it's the sole proposal so far that recognizes the fundamental identification issues with the HM, while giving it literary gravitas. I'd be glad if it's someone real, a Northern hero wannabe trickster who's a wildcard joker that George put into play aside from Mance and Theon and so on. But the literary construct of it would be one of George's weakest. Theon Durden might be the answer I least wish for, but literary-wise it holds up to Theon's arc, especially in aDwD.

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Ah. My bad with the reverse order. But how does it change a thing? Barbrey reminds us of Ned's bones, and by extension, Hal, whose fate is unknown but was headed for Winterfell. And then we meet this unknown Stark supporter. Hm...

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I wonder if it couldn't be Lemoncloak of the Brotherhood without Banners. 

Quote

He was class in rusted rings and a studded belt. At his hip hung longsword and dirk. A yellow great cloak was plastered to his shoulders, sodden and filthy.

Not quite sure about the timeline, but Lem was last seen at Brienne's hanging. Not sure how he knows Theon either, but we don't know a lot about him.

Edited by Loge

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6 hours ago, Castellan said:

I've never investigated the idea that thoroughly, just thought it was popular. However, unless they actually dragged his body out of the well, there is always a chance he floated there looking dead and got out or was taken out later. 

Colour me as utterly convinced.

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7 hours ago, Castellan said:

I've never investigated the idea that thoroughly, just thought it was popular. However, unless they actually dragged his body out of the well, there is always a chance he floated there looking dead and got out or was taken out later. 

Leaving a body to decompose in the water well of a castle isn't a good idea, and a sure way to make everyone sick. Pretty sure, they drowned him in the well, and then dragged him out, once he was dead.

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13 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

I'm of the exact opposite opinion.

I appreciate that. It's what makes these discussion boards interesting. I think Fight Club is a great book, one of my favorites, but Theon Durden? I don't buy it, never have and never will. Theon is changing, regrets and ghosts and the old gods are all part of that change, but the hooded man is not. At least not in my opinion, which I accept is different than yours.

13 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

Ah, and in which POV do you suppose this will happen?

Theon II TWoW will be set in Winterfell. If not II then definitely by III. Even if I'm wrong we will see Winterfell soon from some pov because there is so much going on there.

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8 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Ah. My bad with the reverse order. But how does it change a thing? Barbrey reminds us of Ned's bones, and by extension, Hal, whose fate is unknown but was headed for Winterfell. And then we meet this unknown Stark supporter. Hm...

Sure, could work. But it also works with the reminders of Manderly bringing his 300 (but nobody else) and all that food, including in the chapter where HM appears. Where are those and where's Glover who's working with him? And then we meet this unknown Stark supporter. Hm...

Thrice we are reminded of Benjen's disappearance in aDwD, including a "you know nothing, Jon," whenever Jon supposes him lost in the frozen waste north of the Wall. And then we meet this unknown tall Stark supporter. Hm ...

I'm not being sarcastic here, but trying to pinpoint the issue at heart.  When looked at objectively Barbrey's mention of Hal carries no more weight than Glover being implied by the repeated mention of Wyman Manderly's undisclosed plans. Too many Stark supporters are missing, the HM cannot be all of them, and yet his description is so vague, that you cannot rule anyone out but the commoners and small ones. Meanwhile, the HM himself cannot resolve the issue between these three possible identities. So, whomever you back is based on personal preference, and what you believe befell the others or what they are about simultaneously.

Edited by sweetsunray

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