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Alyn Oakenfist

Jorah's story reeks of BS, or why he's even worse than we thought.

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@Walda

You’ve put more thought into the character than George did. It’s just like Marwyn, another one of those smartarse smug Chaotic good know it all characters that come out of nowhere and wax lyrical about utter nonsense. Marwyn is much worse BTW and far more obnoxious.

If she knew it was Jorah why would she send him back to Dany? We know Danys conflicted over this but so far as the world is concerned he was sentenced to death and sent on his way. Why would the Widow be party to that and what’s to be gained by not talking plainly about how she knows who he is? She just randomly decides to include Jorah in her own plans despite seconds earlier accusing him of conspiring to kill her. But yeah I don’t think she had any clue who he was and certainly had no prophetic insight into his character that Dany or Tyrion would have failed to pick up on. Why should i second guess two POV over one throw away characters three second assessment?

She basically implies Jorah wants to kill Dany and dismisses entirely his motivation for wanting to save Dany. Which doesn’t square with his actions or behaviour in ADWD at all. If he was a mercenary he would sell TYrion to Cersei. Of course, he’s a bastard to everyone else, but that has no bearing on his intent.  

At the end of the day he asks for a boat trip, not a moral lecture. Then he says the idealistic response and she doesn’t believe him because reasons. It’s a random scene only meant to remind us Tyrion exists and let us know Tyrion’s super smart with people. It’s like Stannis and Jon he’s pushing one character down to lift another up.

Also, I actually think Volantis might become a victim of Danys dark turn. So the Widow and all those on the fence slaves might become victims of her wrath. A way of showing Dany descending into madness and becoming an unnecessary extreme. 

Edited by Tyrion1991

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42 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

If she knew it was Jorah why would she send him back to Dany?

She isn't helping Jorah, she is helping Tyrion. And Penny. And Dany.

She believes that life has already become too dangerous for dwarves in Volantis, and that will only get worse when the tigers start their war against Meereen.

She thinks Jorah is the kind of person who should be getting into a Volantene war ship to fight against Dany. But she is quite sure he won't be an appreciable increase of the threat to her, just as she is sure that he and his longsword alone were not enough to protect and defend her from the armies of Yunkai'i, Qarth, Tolos, New Ghis, and Volantis.

I think her idea is that Jorah is one of the godless outlanders conspiring with the eye of evil to put Dany in peril, but Dany is Azor Ahai reborn and he will have to run, like a shadow from the light, or Kraznys' eyeballs.

The Widow intends Tyrion to be her messenger, and her gift to Dany. Her message is "come free Volantis now. " ie. First Volantis, then Westeros, with the help of the freed devotees of the Red God.

Slavery is banned by order of the Dragon Queen, so it is unlikely Jorah will get past the gates og the city dragging Tyrion in fetters behind him as a gift.

Tyrion's head has a fair chance of staying on his shoulders because Dany and her loyalists shouldn't be overly interested in Westerosi Lordships (althoughit turns out Ben Plumm did not get the agenda). He will be able to advise Dany, and they can send Jorah packing again.

Penny will have a better chance of living if she goes with them, because where Dany and her dragons are ,is like Canada in Antebellum America. Westeros and Pentos are like New York City (technically free, but lots of blackbirders around) and Volantis is Mississippi.

Also perhaps because her schtick is a double act, so she needs another dwarf?(tbh I personally really dislike Penny and would much rather she had been helped along by the Widow in Volantis, than board the Selaesori Qhoran with Tyrion and Jorah)

 

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1 hour ago, Walda said:

She isn't helping Jorah, she is helping Tyrion. And Penny. And Dany.

She believes that life has already become too dangerous for dwarves in Volantis, and that will only get worse when the tigers start their war against Meereen.

She thinks Jorah is the kind of person who should be getting into a Volantene war ship to fight against Dany. But she is quite sure he won't be an appreciable increase of the threat to her, just as she is sure that he and his longsword alone were not enough to protect and defend her from the armies of Yunkai'i, Qarth, Tolos, New Ghis, and Volantis.

I think her idea is that Jorah is one of the godless outlanders conspiring with the eye of evil to put Dany in peril, but Dany is Azor Ahai reborn and he will have to run, like a shadow from the light, or Kraznys' eyeballs.

The Widow intends Tyrion to be her messenger, and her gift to Dany. Her message is "come free Volantis now. " ie. First Volantis, then Westeros, with the help of the freed devotees of the Red God.

Slavery is banned by order of the Dragon Queen, so it is unlikely Jorah will get past the gates og the city dragging Tyrion in fetters behind him as a gift.

Tyrion's head has a fair chance of staying on his shoulders because Dany and her loyalists shouldn't be overly interested in Westerosi Lordships (althoughit turns out Ben Plumm did not get the agenda). He will be able to advise Dany, and they can send Jorah packing again.

Penny will have a better chance of living if she goes with them, because where Dany and her dragons are ,is like Canada in Antebellum America. Westeros and Pentos are like New York City (technically free, but lots of blackbirders around) and Volantis is Mississippi.

Also perhaps because her schtick is a double act, so she needs another dwarf?(tbh I personally really dislike Penny and would much rather she had been helped along by the Widow in Volantis, than board the Selaesori Qhoran with Tyrion and Jorah)

 

 

If she only needs Tyrion why take the added risk of bringing Jorah along? She clearly holds the power at that point and could just dispense with him. For somebody who was point blank suspicious that he had darker motives she quite inexplicably decides to include Jorah in her plan.

Honestly I think George is railroading here. He wanted Jorah to meet with Tyrion but then get them to Mereen. However Jorahs meant to be viewed by Tyrion with no filter and them starting to work together is an arc so he can’t/won’t be nice to him. I mean Jorah literally does not want to talk to Tyrion so he makes excuses for this to happen. So, rather than just buy passage he has a third party randomly decide they should both go to Mereen but free Tyrion without making Jorah unnecessary. The whole situation is really contrived. How Jorah even crossed path randomly with Tyrion. How is the only path of passage an anti slavery group who would want Tyrion freed. 

Plus i don’t get what’s achieved by berating Jorah over wanting to pay for passage by boat. It’s not unreasonable and why wouldn’t that be a typical exchange here? When she makes it a test of sincerity she dismisses his motivation which Tyrion who’s meant to be perceptive actually agrees to be the case; so she has misread him completely. But then is okay with the Dwarf who confesses to wanting to murder his Sister because at least he’s honest about being a malicious scumbag. Yeah I am not buying this situation at all. Why does she trust Tyrion exactly? George wants a particular scenario to unfold so is having this bizarre series of events occur.

Oh and you also get the obligatory “oh dumb Jorah can’t read people like clever clever Tyrion.” Because you need complex and nuanced people  skills to pay ten gold to fast travel. You shouldn’t need to trade wits with an enigmatic wise woman. Especially when hundreds of ships are going in an out of Mereen all the time. Clearly the Ironborn are just terrible sailors because those slavers are just coming and going with their armies, camp, siege equipment and supplies. It’s a false situation. He should be able to get passage on any number of ships. Notice Quentin breezes through because the plot needed it but the only way for Jorah is haggling with the Wise Woman.

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13 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

If she only needs Tyrion why take the added risk of bringing Jorah along?

Because Jorah has Tyrion in chains and in Volantis it is illegal to help a slave escape

ETA @Tyrion1991, "is okay with the Dwarf who confesses to wanting to rape and murder his Sister" - no need to bring Jorah into it, or even to amend your original point, her love of honesty seems morally questionable.

Edited by Walda

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13 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

He has a funny way of showing it then. It’s a common take away from his work that good is dumb.

George praises the Nights Watch and blames human weakness for the institutions problems. He’s being very literal when Aemon tells him that the Greater Good is served by letting go of your selfish desires that are a temptation which leads men astray. Love to George is depicted as something that is a sin. It’s a temptation and people want it but that makes it socially dangerous.

It has nothing to do with lack of knowledge or naivety. Look at Cat. Whenever she does anything that does not directly concern her she is very wise, intelligent perceptive and has a good measure of things. George repeatedly shows her bad decision making as a result of her emotions clouding her judgement. So he’s not actually saying the characters just need the knowledge, experience and judgement to carry their idealism forward. He’s saying that such feelings and temptations are a corrosive force. 

Thats because those authors don’t railroad the characters with absurd situations. Oh yeah I want to plant some trees in a city, let’s have half the world declare war on me, forget the few million freed slaves who like me, make it impossible geographically for people to get to me etc etc. You can’t railroad a character that much and then pontificate on how you’re the only writer who gets it whilst everyone else is being naive. He isn’t presenting natural situations that would play out. At one point George has Dany read about how she wishes people were like those shifty eyes villains in the stories when George has Mirri, Littlefinger and Varys be exactly that trope. He’s a total hypocrite.

 

 

 

It's your takeaway that George thinks "good is dumb." The truth is that this takeaway is a very simplistic misread of the text. The world George is building is morally complex and machiavellian politicians can and do commit atrocities and get away with them, its true. But he doesn't endorse these atrocities. He's constantly using literal excrement in association with Tywin for example, to show that Tywin and his worldview is, well, shit. He has Jaime go on a monologue about how his KG vows are hopelessly condradictory and forced him into an impossible choice; kill his father, or disobey his king. He has Measter Aemon tell Jon that "love is the death of duty," only to later show us how deeply Aemon loves his little brother Egg and how his choice is still a cause of emotional torment for him. Again and again, George shows us that vows like the ones required by the NW and KG are completely inneffective because they ask human beings to do something that they simply can't do.

I, like others here, do find it odd that you invest so much time into these books when you don't appear to like them all that much.

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9 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

It's your takeaway that George thinks "good is dumb." The truth is that this takeaway is a very simplistic misread of the text. The world George is building is morally complex and machiavellian politicians can and do commit atrocities and get away with them, its true. But he doesn't endorse these atrocities. He's constantly using literal excrement in association with Tywin for example, to show that Tywin and his worldview is, well, shit. He has Jaime go on a monologue about how his KG vows are hopelessly condradictory and forced him into an impossible choice; kill his father, or disobey his king. He has Measter Aemon tell Jon that "love is the death of duty," only to later show us how deeply Aemon loves his little brother Egg and how his choice is still a cause of emotional torment for him. Again and again, George shows us that vows like the ones required by the NW and KG are completely inneffective because they ask human beings to do something that they simply can't do.

I, like others here, do find it odd that you invest so much time into these books when you don't appear to like them all that much.

 

He doesn’t endorse the atrocities, he places the blame on personal hubris and passion. It’s the other side of the coin for the good is dumb element. Which is why he will push emotionless King Bran. Tywin is condemned for his lack of self control and letting his hatred consume him. He doesn’t put the blame on other factors like society, the state, and the nature of war. Which he gives a pass for anyone fortunate enough to wear a Wolf Sigil. 

The blame is put on Jamie having an excessive idealism and his vanity about wanting to be a perfect knight. George introduces that conflict to punish the character for that delusion. In George’s world the ideal man would not place value on that sort of vanity about what people think of you but would do the greater good. Plus, frankly, this is the decision he makes when he kills Aerys and it’s an easy decision to make. It’s just weird that Ned and Rob have a problem with this considering they were rebels themselves. Basically it’s about Jamie letting go of his vanity and ego. 

Which George and Aemon describe as having been weakness. It shames Aemon that he considered breaking his perfect vows for such a base and selfish reason. George isn’t throwing shade at the NW institution. I could say it’s a gulag but that bit how it’s depicted.

I like the complexity and mystery of the story. There’s a lot of humor and witty dialogue which creates suspense and drama. Some of the characters I am quite invested in. However I think the author is totally wrong in the point he’s driving at. It’s on one level a satire of fantasy that’s no longer written for three decades and on another it’s got some sinister undertones that I think DnD inexpertly laid out in the show. Also, he’s clearly making the story up as he goes along and has no plan for the series; which undercuts a lot of the speculation you can make. By Crows and Dance I d say he was starting to lose me and the show has pretty much confirmed that view.

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10 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

He doesn’t endorse the atrocities, he places the blame on personal hubris and passion. It’s the other side of the coin for the good is dumb element. Which is why he will push emotionless King Bran. Tywin is condemned for his lack of self control and letting his hatred consume him. He doesn’t put the blame on other factors like society, the state, and the nature of war. Which he gives a pass for anyone fortunate enough to wear a Wolf Sigil. 

The blame is put on Jamie having an excessive idealism and his vanity about wanting to be a perfect knight. George introduces that conflict to punish the character for that delusion. In George’s world the ideal man would not place value on that sort of vanity about what people think of you but would do the greater good. Plus, frankly, this is the decision he makes when he kills Aerys and it’s an easy decision to make. It’s just weird that Ned and Rob have a problem with this considering they were rebels themselves. Basically it’s about Jamie letting go of his vanity and ego. 

Which George and Aemon describe as having been weakness. It shames Aemon that he considered breaking his perfect vows for such a base and selfish reason. George isn’t throwing shade at the NW institution. I could say it’s a gulag but that bit how it’s depicted.

I like the complexity and mystery of the story. There’s a lot of humor and witty dialogue which creates suspense and drama. Some of the characters I am quite invested in. However I think the author is totally wrong in the point he’s driving at. It’s on one level a satire of fantasy that’s no longer written for three decades and on another it’s got some sinister undertones that I think DnD inexpertly laid out in the show. Also, he’s clearly making the story up as he goes along and has no plan for the series; which undercuts a lot of the speculation you can make. By Crows and Dance I d say he was starting to lose me and the show has pretty much confirmed that view.

I would say that Martin’s position on the NW is clear.  It’s a corrupt institution that has lost sight of its purpose.  By allying with Craster, and fighting the wildlings, they are allying with the Others.

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1 hour ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Lynesse the gold digger scorning poor put-upon Jorah is sketchy and one-sided. He really gives off incel vibes.

Thanks for summing up my whole argument in just two sentences!

Yes, Jorah is basically the worst kind of incel, though with more than a helping of sexual predator.

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15 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

Lynesse the gold digger scorning poor put-upon Jorah is sketchy and one-sided. He really gives off incel vibes.

 

I don’t think that’s the case at all. Even the She Bears don’t say that. They dislike her for being a soft and vain outlander; obsessed with luxury. 

I think, barring some messed up glass candle mad maid Hightower I can see the future nonesense, that its a case of Anna from Frozen. She falls madly in love with this guy and then the relationship does not work. But, she stayed with him a very long time, nothing prevented her throwing in the towel earlier or returning to her family and she probably wouldn’t have liked the Puritan Northerners disdain for her culture. I do think George is shaming the character for the vanity of luxury and contrasting her sharply to Cat; but you could view her very sympathetically. She stays with Jorah through exile for quite some time despite repeated failures and disasters. Only then does she leave for another guy which freed the family from debts.

I mean, for all we know, she might have reasoned that this was good for both of them because she could see that Jorah was driving himself into the ground trying to make this work. So her making that decision freed them both. If Jorah still loves and hates her then it stands to reason that the other half is meant to mirror that. Probably wrong, she’s probably going to show up like Cleopatra in Winds and be all sass with Jorah and Dany.

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15 hours ago, SeanF said:

I would say that Martin’s position on the NW is clear.  It’s a corrupt institution that has lost sight of its purpose.  By allying with Craster, and fighting the wildlings, they are allying with the Others.

 

That has lost its way from the pure path. That’s no different than Egwene trying to set the Aes Sedai back onto the correct path. He doesn’t question the core values of the institution being a penal colony, the vows and the whole spartan mentality. These things are praised and contrasted sharply with it compromising those values. George is telling us the NW is good but has lost its way; not condemning it ideals.

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5 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

I don’t think that’s the case at all. Even the She Bears don’t say that. They dislike her for being a soft and vain outlander; obsessed with luxury. 

I think, barring some messed up glass candle mad maid Hightower I can see the future nonesense, that its a case of Anna from Frozen. She falls madly in love with this guy and then the relationship does not work. But, she stayed with him a very long time, nothing prevented her throwing in the towel earlier or returning to her family and she probably wouldn’t have liked the Puritan Northerners disdain for her culture. I do think George is shaming the character for the vanity of luxury and contrasting her sharply to Cat; but you could view her very sympathetically. She stays with Jorah through exile for quite some time despite repeated failures and disasters. Only then does she leave for another guy which freed the family from debts.

I mean, for all we know, she might have reasoned that this was good for both of them because she could see that Jorah was driving himself into the ground trying to make this work. So her making that decision freed them both. If Jorah still loves and hates her then it stands to reason that the other half is meant to mirror that. Probably wrong, she’s probably going to show up like Cleopatra in Winds and be all sass with Jorah and Dany.

I dont really care about Jorah, he's not even worth all that text you just wrote. But we only hear Jorah's side and he makes it sound like he did nothing wrong, and that Lyness was the unreasonable one, when it may not have been that simple. And if it was, well then Martin just used the same characterization twice, with Shae - both women who were unreasonable about money and too uppity, while the sad, earnest men want nothing but their love. :ack:

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3 hours ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I dont really care about Jorah, he's not even worth all that text you just wrote. But we only hear Jorah's side and he makes it sound like he did nothing wrong, and that Lyness was the unreasonable one, when it may not have been that simple. And if it was, well then Martin just used the same characterization twice, with Shae - both women who were unreasonable about money and too uppity, while the sad, earnest men want nothing but their love. :ack:

 

The only reason to care about Jorah is because Dany does. You remove that element and well there wouldn’t even be much characterisation at all. He’s entirely defined by how Dany views him and to what extent he meets her idealised view of him.

We also hear Jeor, the She Bears, Sam at the dock where the people of Hightower describe her as a whore. Those aren’t all bigoted individuals and that’s quite a lot of sympathy George wrote into the text which verifies what Jorah said. Plus, he’s not really that harsh on Lynesse considering they divorced (there’s a throwaway line that’s slightly more harsh with Tyrion in ADWD) and that in George’s world wanting things like jewels and singers is bad and not meant to be viewed sympathetically. I think George has pegged Lynesse as a bad apple. If he wanted Jorah to rant about Lynesse he had a good excuse to do that with Tyrion out of Danys earshot and “she left me so she’s could keep her jewels” is pretty milld. Compare that to what Tyrion says of Shae after she testified against him.

George is criticising Jorah because he should have judged Lynesse on her character and not on her looks. It’s that vanity that he’s criticising. The idea that he should then do everything to please his wife becoming a socially destructive thing with the slavery and the debt. The Good Man wouldn’t have wanted to marry Lynesse in the first place and would have had the foresight to not get into that tangle. 

That could very well be George’s view. Certainly in the case of Tyrion with Shae. It’s quite likely given how the She Bears view Lynesse and that they are given favourable treatment by George that this is his view. His criticism of Jorah is almost entirely due to him placing his selfish desires over the society. That’s where the push for him to join the NW comes from. But again he’s criticising the judgement of character that those men had in falling for those women. He’s saying they shouldn’t want their love.

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1 hour ago, Tyrion1991 said:

It’s quite likely given how the She Bears view Lynesse and that they are given favourable treatment by George that this is his view.

Quote

But again he’s criticising the judgement of character that those men had in falling for those women.

I dont think its favoritism, it's just contrast. Cat thinks she is similar to Lynesse because she couldn't be tough enough like the Mormont women, using axes and shit. But still House Mormont faces tragedy at the Red Wedding even if they are "tough as nails." It's not all about jewels for Lyness either - Jorah says Lynesse wanted to be somewhere warm. Can't really blame her there. It sounds like she is spending extravagantly to cope with the huge change in her environment. It's relatable. I spent a lot of our household's money when I moved across the country as shopping therapy, and I resented my husband for not earning more. Am I one of "those women"?

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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On 2/20/2021 at 2:17 PM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So, is Jorah worse than we're led to assume?

He's grey.  Just the sort preferred by the author.  Jorah sold poachers to the slavers.  I had no illusions about him being a nice guy.  But I appreciate his transformation into a loyal protector to Dany.  I can forgive Jorah for his past as long as he continues to protect Dany and her interests.  

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38 minutes ago, Rose of Red Lake said:

I dont think its favoritism, it's just contrast. Cat thinks she is similar to Lynesse because she couldn't be tough enough like the Mormont women, using axes and shit. But still House Mormont faces tragedy at the Red Wedding even if they are "tough as nails." It's not all about jewels for Lyness either - Jorah says Lynesse wanted to be somewhere warm. Can't really blame her there. It sounds like she is spending extravagantly to cope with the huge change in her environment. It's relatable. I spent a lot of our household's money when I moved across the country as shopping therapy, and I resented my husband for not earning more. Am I one of "those women"?

 

TBH I never got how a man ruling an island the size of Iceland can’t afford a bard and sundry luxury items for one woman. It’s a little bit off. Plus he wouldn’t be the first absentee Lord or could have taken up court service in a warmer climate. I mean if he is a military guy he could offer to be a Varangian style mercenary at Oldtown for her father. The situation is kind of suspect.

George frames that as a martyrdom at the Red Wedding. So he makes us like Dacey and Maege to put some faces to the brutality of the Red Wedding. Rather than it be some miserly Glover let’s focus on the down to earth cool warrior women being killed by the Freys. It’s why the Reeds and Mormonts are so pro Stark, it’s part of George framing the Starks as good if these virtuous little guy Houses are so beholden to them. So I think that does set Jorah up as a prodigal son type character and that requires some sympathy from his family. It’s setting up him leaving Dany for his family by joining the NW.

I think that’s George having a sly dig that she should have known who she was marrying. Which is him knocking the whole love at first sight story and that they haven’t thought this through. It’s right next to the wall how would you not know it was cold? 

You’d have to ask George that. It’s fair to say he has an issue with materialism. I don’t think Lynesse is really at fault here and it’s a little bit too absurd to take seriously. You’re saying love at first sight is bad and working hard to please your other half is bad by creating this absurd and contrived situation where it leads to slavery and this dramatic exile of Ned coming for his head? Yeah I don’t buy that. It’s like the Twincest where the situation is so bizarre and weird that it undermines what he’s passing commentary on. There’s a dozen different ways that could turn out if you shifted a few circumstances, solutions that fail because reasons and potential work arounds that are left unspoken. That’s kind of fine if you’re doing a tragedy. But again it’s all part of that love vs duty angle.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Tyrion1991 said:

 

TBH I never got how a man ruling an island the size of Iceland can’t afford a bard and sundry luxury items for one woman. It’s a little bit off. Plus he wouldn’t be the first absentee Lord or could have taken up court service in a warmer climate. I mean if he is a military guy he could offer to be a Varangian style mercenary at Oldtown for her father. The situation is kind of suspect.

George frames that as a martyrdom at the Red Wedding. So he makes us like Dacey and Maege to put some faces to the brutality of the Red Wedding. Rather than it be some miserly Glover let’s focus on the down to earth cool warrior women being killed by the Freys. It’s why the Reeds and Mormonts are so pro Stark, it’s part of George framing the Starks as good if these virtuous little guy Houses are so beholden to them. So I think that does set Jorah up as a prodigal son type character and that requires some sympathy from his family. It’s setting up him leaving Dany for his family by joining the NW.

I think that’s George having a sly dig that she should have known who she was marrying. Which is him knocking the whole love at first sight story and that they haven’t thought this through. It’s right next to the wall how would you not know it was cold? 

You’d have to ask George that. It’s fair to say he has an issue with materialism. I don’t think Lynesse is really at fault here and it’s a little bit too absurd to take seriously. You’re saying love at first sight is bad and working hard to please your other half is bad by creating this absurd and contrived situation where it leads to slavery and this dramatic exile of Ned coming for his head? Yeah I don’t buy that. It’s like the Twincest where the situation is so bizarre and weird that it undermines what he’s passing commentary on. There’s a dozen different ways that could turn out if you shifted a few circumstances, solutions that fail because reasons and potential work arounds that are left unspoken. That’s kind of fine if you’re doing a tragedy. But again it’s all part of that love vs duty angle.

 

 

Maege wasn’t at the Red Wedding. She’s somewhere in the Neck.

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Alot of great writers can't do math. I wouldn't be surprised if the inconsistency about how rich Jorah was was simply a mistake by George. With that said Jorah fucking sucks.

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Posted (edited)
On 26/02/2021 at 7:36 AM, Tyrion1991 said:

We also hear Jeor, the She Bears, Sam at the dock where the people of Hightower describe her as a whore. Those aren’t all bigoted individuals and that’s quite a lot of sympathy George wrote into the text which verifies what Jorah said.

 

These people who refer to Lynesse might not be bigots but they are all in situations which prejudice them against Lynesse. All except Sam and 'the people of Hightower'

Sam has nothing to say about Lynesse. Sam asks the captain of the Huntress what Lord Leyton Hightower is doing to fight the Ironborn raiders, when the Cinnamon Wind is sailing through the Whispering Sound, a couple of days out of Oldtown. 

The Captain tells Sam

Quote

  “Lord Leyton’s locked atop his tower with the Mad Maid, consulting books of spells. Might be he’ll raise an army from the deeps. Or not. Baelor’s building galleys, Gunthor has charge of the harbor, Garth is training new recruits, and Humfrey’s gone to Lys to hire sellsails. If he can winkle a proper fleet out of his whore of a sister, we can start paying back the ironmen with some of their own coin. Till then, the best we can do is guard the sound and wait for the bitch queen in King’s Landing to let Lord Paxter off his leash.”

(AFfC, Ch.45 Samwell V)

This man's bitterness is mostly directed at Cersei, but there is a note of contempt in there for the Hightower ladies too. It is hard to say if he blames the sons of Lord Leyton for being too slow at hustling up a fleet, but he definitely does blame Lord Leyton for being distracted by his oldest daughter's books. He doesn't blame Lord Paxter for being on a leash, so much as he does Cersei for holding it. The canine metaphor hints at who he thinks ought be held on a leash. Sam is shocked by his bitter tone, and fears his resentment of the Iron Throne is widely shared in Oldtown. But I see the satin flames that line the captain's smoke-grey cloak, and wonder if this man worships the Red God that Stannis champions, and his opinions, while strongly expressed, are not a majority view.

Neither we nor Sam are given reason to suppose the captain of the Huntress knows any Hightowers personally. His profession might bring him into contact with Gunthor's men, but there is no evidence to suggest the captain of the Huntress has been inside the Hightower, or seen Lynesse (or Cersei, for that matter) in person.

You say he is not a bigot, but I can detect just a teeny taste of misogyny in the captain's regrets that Oldtown is not yet able to match the Ironborn in a pitched battle. He calls Lynesse a whore, but in the same breath he expresses the belief that she might be able to give her brother a proper fleet. It is quite unlikely she would have that ability if she had left Tregar's household to make her living as a sex worker. What he says of Humphrey's mission implies that Lynesse is still the favourite of the Lysene merchant prince with the fleet of galleys, and has never done any kind of paid work for her living. I think the contradiction arises because the Captain of the Huntress does not make nice distinctions between adulteresses, whores, and women who are taken into slavery for their husbands' unpaid debts.

To be fair to him, he shows no hint of sexist prejudice against the wife of the Oarsman of the Lady of the Tower, who taught her husband Tyroshi, So only three out of the four women he mentions are given derogatory adjectives. Compared to none of the six men he speaks of. For me, the principle point of interest in his speech is that he almost certainly has not heard about Cersei's or Margery's trials in King's Landing yet, or of Aurane's defection to the Stepstones.

I don't accuse Jeor of being a bigot. 

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“The things we love destroy us every time, lad. Remember that. My son loved that young wife of his. Vain woman. If not for her, he would never have thought to sell those poachers.”

(AGoT, Ch.52 Jon VII)

But I do think we should bear in mind that he is a father. Jorah's father. His dying words were for his son, “Tell Jorah. Forgive him. My son. Please. Go.” . No signs of forgiving Lynesse, According to Jeor, her vanity somehow led to Jorah selling those poachers. He blames it all on love, his son's love, not Lynesse's. But of course he does. He is not a bigot, but he is not an unbiased source.

Did Jeor ever meet Lynesse in person? He once tells Tyrion

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"my sister Maege rules Bear Island now, since my son’s dishonor. I have nieces I have never seen.”

(AGoT, Ch.21 Tyrion III)

Note the plural.

Lyanna Mormont is Maege's youngest child, ten in the year 300AC, as Stannis discovered to his chagrin. So in 289, when Jorah went south to put down Balon's first uprising, and returned to Bear Island with Lynesse, Maege was pregnant with Lyanna, whom Jeor has never seen. Jeor had also never seen at least one of Lyanna's older sisters, all of whom must have been born before Balon's first uprising.

Of course, it is possible that Jorah and Lynesse visited Jeor at the Wall. They might have met with him at Winterfell if Jeor had escorted Lord Commander Qorgyle to Winterfell. But it is also entirely possible that all Jeor knows about Lynesse came to him second-hand. And the most likely hands to write to him on the subject are Jorah and Maege Mormont. 

Even without any personal or epistolary knowledge of Lynesse, Jeor could form an opinion of her simply by comparing the match that Jorah had made to the one he had made for him, or by comparing what he knew of Jorah's conduct before he married Lynesse with what he knew of his conduct after. Jorah was not known to have sold slaves before he married Lynesse. When Jeor knew him, he was not a knight, not enamoured with the trappings of Southron chivalry, not attempting to win glory at tourney, or spending any money on things for his wife. Ergo the new wife was to blame for Jorah's behaviour.

Comparing the match with Lynesse to all the benefits of the match that he had brokered would have highlighted a number of deficits that her personal charms could not alleviate. The Glover wife was a Northerner, Lynesse was alien to the North.

The Glovers live in a strategically useful place if the Mormonts were looking to allies to help defend Bear Island from Ironborn. The Hightowers are a notably unmartial family from a town that the Ironborn can only reach by sailing away from Bear Island. Jorah might think there was no risk of attack from the Ironborn since he had put them to the sword at Pyke, but Jeor would know that would only stay them for a season.

The Glovers are a humbler house than the Mormonts, honoured to accept the heir of Bear Island as good-kin. Jorah himself had difficulty believing his luck when Lord Leyton accepted his proposal, though as far as we know, the Hightowers gave Jorah nothing but Lynesse and had nothing to do with him after. We could say the same about the Glovers.

Still, Jeor's match had been a practical one, made without the bias of personal interest, while Lynesse was a match from lust, from desire for a pretty face and young blonde flesh, made in haste to repent at leisure.

Jorah's first marriage was as much a failure as his second, in terms of his wife's happiness and the number of true-born heirs she bore him. But Jeor would not blame Jorah for her barrenness - Jorah had sucessfully impregnated her three times. Nor would he be inclined to sympathise with the unhappiness she found in marriage. Jeor did all he could to make her marriage rewarding for her. He made her Lady of Bear Island within the first year of her marriage, when he left for the Wall, foreswearing his lordship and leaving it to her to carry on his line. Jorah left  to join the Northern banners and fight on the trident not long after, but  at that early stage, they all might have hoped that she would deliver a true-born heir if and when he returned from the battles in the South.

Jeor might choose to think Jorah's slave trading was confined to selling some poachers to a passing Tyroshi trader. Maybe it was. I find it a bit unlikely that a Tyroshi trader would just happen to pass Bear Island at a time when there were people Jorah was keen to sell into slavery because he needed the money.

Still, as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and in need of men,  Jeor could not have avoided knowing that the men Jorah sold into slavery should legally have been given the option of being sent to the wall. That Jorah had failed to give the Black Brothers their due.

And because Jeor was also the former Lord of Bear Island, he would be aware that Bear Island was an island. Those poachers were not wildling raiders, that could be cut down like the outlaws they were, nor Ironborn raiders (not with Theon safely ensconced at Winterfell). They were not some other lord's lieges. These men were rent-paying Bear Islanders, who had fought beside Jorah on the Trident and at Pyke, who had endured his depredations on their daughters and wives, who had built a fine boat for him, that he had sailed to the Free Cities and learned what a good price he could get for skilled boatbuilders there.

Then suddenly Jorah gets precious about his rights over the deer in the piny wood just around the time he replaced his cook for one who wasn't always serving venison? Around the time these men had finished building him his boat, the better for him to spend his time over seas, rather than hunting at home?

Jeor must have been aware on some level that his son had betrayed his own men. He was scapegoating Jorah's young trophy-wife for Jorah's selfish calculations, to avoid feeling a shame too deep to express. Of course his father would rather attribute Jorah's crime to love, to his son having only too big a heart to see the evil this girl's vanity had reduced him to.

Jeor at least accepts that it was Jorah's idea to trade slaves. He doesn't claim it was Lynesse's idea, only that Jorah wouldn't have thought of it if he had not married her. Jeor seems to know no more of him after he fled Bear Island. He doesn't seem to know, as the Captain of the Huntress and Humphry Hightower do, that Lynesse is no longer living with Jorah, or that Jorah has been making a living as a slaver without any input from her.

Maege and her daughters also don't seem to know what has happened to Jorah and Lynesse in exile.  Dacey's whole argument against Lynesse is that she was "a proper lady".

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“There’s a carving on our gate,” said Dacey. “A woman in a bearskin, with a child in one arm suckling at her breast. In the other hand she holds a battleaxe. She’s no proper lady, that one, but I always loved her.”
    “My nephew Jorah brought home a proper lady once,” said Lady Maege. “ .... How she hated that carving.”
    “Aye, and all the rest,” said Dacey. “She had hair like spun gold, that Lynesse. Skin like cream. But her soft hands were never made for axes.”

(ASoS, Ch.45 Catelyn V)

Lynesse's hair was too blonde, her complexion too flawless, and her hands too soft to wield an axe. Dacey is aware that she was not raised to be a proper lady, but she was raised a Mormont, and however questionable the taste of the carving on the gate, she identifies with it, and she'll protect her leige-lord to the end.

Dacey is a young woman, Lynesse is no more than three or four years her senior. When Jorah left to fight the Ironborn on Pyke, she was the oldest of Maege's four girls, about twelve years old. Not too old to still be playing with her morningstar, but old enough to be a maiden newly flowered. Jorah had inherited her ancestral home of Mormont Keep with the She-bear on the gate, the only home she knew. And he was single, and heirless, and a new wife might want to turn the aunt and sisters out of the Keep in order to fill it with sons and heirs of her own.  I think it is entirely possible that Maege had offered Jorah her Dacey in marriage, knowing it would secure the place of the Mormont women at Mormont Keep. Cousin Jorah left considering the offer, but then chose himself a wife soft hands to caress him, rather than one who could tower over him with an axe. When he brought his "proper lady" to  Bear Island, Lynesse served as a constant reminder that she, Dacey, was not what men wanted in a wife. While they shared a roof, the contrast also served to remind every man who saw them together of what a savage she was. A decade later she was still unmarried.

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“My nephew Jorah brought home a proper lady once,” said Lady Maege. “He won her in a tourney. How she hated that carving.”

“Aye, and all the rest,” said Dacey. “...But her soft hands were never made for axes.”

“Nor her teats for giving suck,” her mother said bluntly.

(ASoS, Ch.45 Catelyn V)

Maege is a "hoary old snark" and even her own brother can hardly stand to be around her (AGoT, Ch.70 Jon IX). Her judgement that Lynesse's teats were not suitable for giving suck is probably because Lynesse had the small, highset breasts one would expect a slender maid of fifteen years to have. Maege was suckling her fifth daughter when she lived with Lynesse. No doubt about the utility of her large low-slung maternal breasts. Her daughters could have given Jorah heirs, but he chose an ornamental wife that he won as a knight, not a woman to defend his home and heirs.

Maege had four daughters and one on the way when Lynesse descended on her so unexpectedly, shattering her hopes of securing Mormont Keep for her girls. At the time, it seemed she was destined to leave Bear Island when Jorah found husbands to marry her and her daughters. However little she liked the idea of leaving the Island and being separated from her girls, the lack of lordlings stepping up to facilitate the process could not have done much for her self-esteem or satisfied her maternal pride.

We don't see anything of Maege's husband, if she ever had one. Given her surname, she either married a cousin, or never married at all. From what Jorah has said, it seems she was born and bred in Mormont Keep, about nineteen years after her brother. She seems to have been the mistress of the Keep before Jorah's first marriage. Not long after her brother had Jorah's first wife replace her in that position, and left for the Wall, she had her first two girls. The nearest thing I could find to a reference to their paternity is this:

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 Mormont snorted. “My sister is said to have taken a bear for her lover. I’d believe that before I’d believe one fifteen feet tall.

(ACoK, Ch.06 Jon I)

Although, not much later, he sees the undead fifteen foot bear with his own eyes. More remarkably, Janos Slynt, the upjumped butcher from King's Landing has heard this rumour about Maege too.

Quote

“Whoever the king names will not have an easy time stepping into your armor, I can tell. Lord Mormont faces the same problem.”
Lord Janos looked puzzled. “I thought she was a lady. Mormont. Beds down with bears, that’s the one?”

(ACoK, Ch.08 Tyrion II)

Very mysterious.

So it seems that Maege is unmarried herself, and her children are all bastards. I like the notion that Tormond raided Bear Island at this time and the two became lovers, but Dacey's long face reminds me that Maege was only in her early thirties when Brandon Stark was twenty and still sowing his wild oats. Maege is only about five years older than Jorah, who was also sowing wild oats at the time, and on Bear Island.

Whomever the father or fathers of her children are, they have not acknowledged the girls or played an active role in raising them, as far as we know. Maege stayed on in Mormont Keep and let the 'fathered by bears ' rumours swell as she gave birth to one girl after another in the next dozen years or so. While she owed something to the grace of the Glover wife in this matter, it must have felt a bit of a reprieve for her when the Glover wife died without children, and Maege, pregnant once again, could resume her place as mistress of Mormont Keep while Jorah went to Pyke, and dare to dream that he might marry her Dacey, securing her family there forever after.

But Jorah returning with Lynesse meant that she and her four (soon to be five) young girls were once again at the mercy of a new Lady of Mormont Keep.  Maege might have dreamed of Jorah coming home a knight, or not coming home at all, but she could hardly have supposed he would come home with a nubile young wife to produce an heir to Bear Island that would shut out her and her daughters altogether.

If Lynesse, when she arrived at Bear Island, looked like the death of every hope they cherished and every thing they loved, what did the Mormont women look like to her? She is also a young girl nobly born, but gently bred, raised in the light of the Seven, with a better than average enlightenment education thanks to her proximity to the Citidel, which creates a local surplus of quality teachers.

Perhaps she might have visited her older married sisters sometimes and formed her expectations of marriage from thier circumstances. Alerie had married the Lord of Highgarden, and Alysanne, Lord Ambrose. Leyla and Denise had married mere knights of the Reach. At the Tourney of Lannisport, she is finally stepping out from the shadow of her older sisters, and her beauty is celebrated. Jorah is introduced to her as a peerless warrior, a knight, and the Lord of an ancient and honourable Northern house. He begged her favour and proved his skill in the manly art by winning every tilt, and his gallantry by crowning her Queen of Love and Beauty, and begging her father for her hand in marriage. After a week of being toasted and acclaimed as the newest Bride, they board a boat to the remote but beautiful island that her Lord rules over and calls home.

She would have warned herself not to expect a well-developed island with two busy ports and rich orchards and vinyards like the Arbor, that she should not expect to be mistress of so large a castle as Highgarden,  but nothing she knew could have led her to suspect she was to live in a Keep made of logs, fortified by an earthern palisade, in a windswept wilderness. The only ornamentation was an obscene depiction of a woman weilding a battle axe, clad only in a bearskin, with a child suckling at her bare breast, on the front gate.  And far from being her own, it was crammed full of surly half-wild female bastards that acted like they owned the place and treated her like an unwelcome intruder.

What we are told of Mormont Keep makes it seem very similar to Craster's Keep, although probably without the shared loft and the deerskin doors.  A castle that looks like a midden heap with a roof and a firepit.

Then, there are the habits of its inhabitants. While we know that Dacey had the foresight to pack a gown when Robb raised his banners, and Lord Jeor has a steward to wash his smallclothes, the other Mormonts seem to share Craster's habit of wearing the same soiled and sweat-stained woollens and furs day in and day out.  And the mother of these surly violent she-bears have the hide to blame Lynesse for not carrying the axe, or the babe, or the bearskin pelt.

Maege does have quite a hide, though. When Robb called his banners, she called him a boy and tried to get the Stark in Winterfell to agree to marring her seven year old bastard grandaughter, before his parents could come back and stop her. It reminds me of Alysanne, who has breasts like her mothers, turning to attack as a form of defence when she told Asha "better to start young than wait too late". I am pretty sure if Catelyn as a new bride had found herself living in unexpectedly close quarters with a heavily pregnant despoiled cousin and four noisy, wild, rude female bastards of the same, she might be horrified, she might want to know why.

Alysanne would have been another horror for Lynesse. Just when people were starting to suspect or accuse Lynesse of being barren, Alysanne falls pregnant and she is just twelve years old. Even if Lynesse does not suspect her husband, the only man in the Keep, there are those that will. Twelve year olds, even wild ones, do not stray far from the family home, and Bear Island is an Island. Jorah has form when it comes to taking the Lord's right, by his own admission, and people who have tongues will talk. Also, because Alysanne was with child so young, it is possible that the sex started before she 'flowered'. In the south, they have child brides, so perhaps it isn't such a big deal (as long as the couple are joined in the light of the seven before consummation) but in the North, respectable families preserve their daughters' virtue until they have 'flowered'.  And Maege turns this awkward fecundity, bastards having bastards, possibly Jorah's bastards, into an attack on Lynesse for being childless!

Lynesse tries to bring some sense of normalcy to this situation, does her best to give them nice things, like fine dining and beautiful music. The she-bears despise her for taking the trouble to dress for dinner, for her pointless insincere courtesies, her showy, ornamental, expensive, barren tastes. They have no use for a woman who fails to bear children, and can't weild an axe. How could they not be delighted to discover she could not outbreed them? They fill the nursery of Mormont Keep with their own line pushing her out, Jorah did nothing to stop them and his milk-sop wife had no means to stop them, and can only weep silently.

Jorah, like his aunt and her daughters, is quite unconcerned that he exudes an 'earthy' smell, slurps the soup, expects his main meal to be served in a single bowl, and wears the same clothes he has worn all day to it. The Mormonts only notice, unfavourably, suspiciously,  the smell of people who prefer to bathe and perfume themselves and dress in well-laundered clothes. I can understand why Lynesse wouldn't want to spend any part of a summer in close proximity to them, and wouldn't imagine she would be required to, when she wed the Lord of Bear Island.

Unlike Jeor, Maege and her girls don't value Lynesse's beauty, youth, or grace, and they are not afraid of making remarks about how useless she is. Even when they technically owed the roof over their heads to her good grace.

When Jorah went into exile he decided to take his trophy-wife with him and the She-Bears were given the run of Bear Island officially while Lynesse shared her husband's disgrace. Anyone who listens to the Mormont family version of the story is under the impression that she drove him to it.  It is a bit of a triumph for Maege to be made a Lady by Jorah's disgrace, and Dacey the heir to Bear Island, their family united and secure. Much better than they had any reason to expect with Jorah and Lynesse both still alive, and still married (note that Lynesse and Jorah were never divorced, merely separated).

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Catelyn knew of whom they spoke; Jorah Mormont had brought his second wife to Winterfell for feasts, and once they had guested for a fortnight. She remembered how young the Lady Lynesse had been, how fair, and how unhappy. One night, after several cups of wine, she had confessed to Catelyn that the north was no place for a Hightower of Oldtown. “There was a Tully of Riverrun who felt the same once,” she had answered gently, trying to console, “but in time she found much here she could love.”

(ASoS, Ch 45 Catelyn V)

Catelyn met Lynesse in person, and unlike Maege and Dacey, Lynesse was not a threat to her status or her place in the family home. Lynesse, in her beauty and refinement, her gentle manners and high birth, could not be taken as an inherent criticism of the type of woman Catelyn was. At the time Catelyn met Lynesse, she had no dog in that fight. Catelyn shared Lynesse's southron education and sensibilities.

This view of Lynesse hints of a drinking problem, a woman whose inhibitions would normally let her hold her own counsel, rather than reveal that her life at Bear Island was miserable, she was treated like an outsider and intruder, useless and irrelevant, in the household that she was technically the mistress of. That her attempts to make a home of it had failed. That her husband is the type of person who tries to patch up every fight with a pretty gift and make-up sex, or by running away to another tourney. Anything but respecting her, supporting her, seeing her side of the story. There might be a hint of wounded pride in there too - what a step down in the world for a Miss Hightower, what a humiliation, to be taken down by the bastard she-bears.

Catelyn does not seem aware that her words, intended to be consoling, have the power to cut Lynesse to the quick. Catelyn makes it clear (to us at least), that the change that time would make, that would reconcile Lynesse to the North, was simply the breeding Northern children from her own loins.  It was really the same thing that Maege was using to attack her with, from a different angle. If Lynesse knew by then that she wasn't going to have children, perhaps wasn't able to, Catelyn's misreading of her situation, and her apparent happiness with her own life and satisfaction with her own husband, would not be a source of strength and inspiration.

Really, we learn very early on that Catelyn still finds the Northerners a queer breed, that she was still felt like the Godswood resented her intrusion, still hoped to secure her cold, dutiful husband's affection with more sons, still resented having to share Winterfell with just one declared bastard, in part because Jon Snow is a reminder that there was another woman once, that Lord Eddard truly loved.

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All lost now, she reflected. Winterfell and Ned, Bran and Rickon, Sansa, Arya, all gone. Only Robb remains. Had there been too much of Lynesse Hightower in her after all, and too little of the Starks? Would that I had known how to wield an axe, perhaps I might have been able to protect them better.

(ASoS, Ch.45 Catelyn V)

Catelyn is the closest thing to a sympathetic perspective on Lynesse. But she isn't. She tried unsuccessfully to console Lynesse at the time that she knew her, and on the eve of the Red Wedding, she is comparing Lynesse (and herself) unfavourably to the warlike Mormont women.

This newfound respect for the Mormont women seems to come from Maege's kind assurance, when Catelyn apologised for attempting to exchange Jaime Lannister for Sansa and Arya, that she would have done the same to save her daughters. Perhaps having Brienne as her sworn sword had inured her to the shocking sight of armed women. Makes me wonder how she would react if she meets Arya again.  

I think GRRM does not share Catelyn's admiration of Maege's fierce mothering. After all, in this very scene she plods across the leech-filled Hag's Mire, foreshadowing her own descent into Mother Merciless. And Dacey's death, single and childless, of an axe in the womb, her mother unable to protect her, and she proved unable to protect Robb.

It seems to me, too, that Maege, the GreatJon and Rickard Karstark are too often grouped together, and too often grouped together by the side of Lord Bolton, before Robb died. They are the first to test Robb with idiotic ploys before he left Winterfell, the first to protest against declaring a truce with the Lannisters, the first to name Robb the King in the North (in the South) and to lay their swords at his feet.

The Karstarks and the Umbers are still part of the story, spouting more heirs and grandchildren with every book, strategically placed all over the place, eg. Harrion in the care of Lords Mooten and Tarly at Maidenpool, Alys Thenn marching to the Karhold with her new Wildling army, Cregan in the undercroft of the King's Tower deciding whether he will take the Black, Arnolf and his boys with Stannis but in league with Roose,  and his daughters presumably at the Karhold, the unmarried ones. The Greatjon is at the Twins, his treacherous uncles with Stannis and Roose, and presumably someone remains to head the Last Hearth.

But it seems to me that the Mormonts are even more entrenched in the plot. Alysanne with Stannis and Asha, Lyanna on Bear Island with Alysanne's children, Lyra and Jorelle with Maege on the Greywater, looking for the mysterious Howland Reed. Jeor has left a few mysteries behind him at the Wall, as well as a sword and a dying wish, and of course, Jorah has been making his way back from Volantis to Meereen for another battle. Their ages, their experiences, their characters have all been carefully fleshed out.

There is a lot more to Jorah than what Dany thinks of him - his role in A Dance with Dragons shows us that. His mentions in Eddard's chapters show us that as well. And I'm pretty sure that most of the imagery that involves bears (eg. Tyrion borrowing a bearskin from Benjen on the road north to the wall, the song "Bear and the Maiden Fair", Sansa, Kevan's messenger boy and other people so swaddled in furs they look "like a bear cub", Harle the Huntsman's bear claw necklace) are all foreshadowing something that involves Mormonts.

Lynesse is another weeping woman of Lys. Another fair haired blue eyed Lysene beauty of the kind Illyrio buys by the dozen, apparently. She connects us to a Lysene merchant prince that is not Sallador Saan. If Jorah's source tells it true, and "she is his chief concubine now, and even his wife goes in fear of her.”, that is a sign that Lynesse learnt something from her time in Bear Island, about how to take over a household when the mistress by rights is someone else entirely.

Edited by Walda

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That was very interesting Walda.  So very perceptive and insightful.  I always enjoy reading your posts.

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