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Hippocras

[spoilers]Inside Winterfell DWD WOW - Northern Conspiracy

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8 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

I think thats probable

Alright hear me out.

Rickon is deliberately being thrown into the game with the sole objective of dethroning his sister. Theres a strong chance the boy and his wolf will end up in Manderly or Umber hands. Shaggydog will solidify local conscription while Rickons age and temperament may reject it.

 

Arya is a prisoner of Stannis and also likely to draw recruits like he did when Big Buckets marched. This scenario is more of a masquerade of direwolves but Arya does exist. And although she has no wants of politics she does have a longing for home and a severe lack of self acknowledgement. Arya Bolton of Winterfell may be a startling sign that Arya must go home. Like her brother she does, and may soon have, a direwolf to identify herself as the real slim shady. Like her brother too, or way fucking more, her temperament may cause Winterfells subjects to reject her. Arya will be an antagonist to Jeyne and a probable enemy to the conniving great lords of the north that will control Rickon

 

Sansa, like her sister, has a deep want of returning home. Petyr however has no wish of going to the dreary place. Yet Sansas wish to reconcile, or perhaps something nefarious, with Arya will take command of the Vale knights who want to march north anyway in assistance of their cousins. Things between Alayne and her father may take a turn for the worse when Jeyne is revealed to be Boltons gift by ones truly. Alaynes mastery of politics will draw some to her cause, although Mrs. Hardying will be of lack of some recognition while her other Vale constituents will remember Mrs. Halfman which is sure to complicate matters. Through this confusion I believe Sansa may harm her siblings, especially when some backers will bring up Robbs will

 

Jon has been named heir by the conniving great lords of the Riverlands like Mallister and will be sure to treat Alayne or Sansa or Jeyne or Arya, even baby Rickon as an enemy. Jon however is not your grandfathers Lord Commander, he seems to be headed south to free Jeyne, and is fully capable of bringing his nightwatch brothers and wildlings with him. Jon back from the dead will still not want to harm his siblings but may through the confusion.

 

Catelyn may be capable of wishing harm on Jon. Although shes in the south and thanks to Jaime and Brienne she will know Jeyne isnt the real deal and will thusly be hesitant to interact with her unlike the other Starks. However Cat with her army is now north of the neck and in possession of Robbs crown, if word of Cats other children comes forward Cat will rush to Winterfell to fight her childrens puppet masters. LSH consequentially will receive lots of push back because of her irregular army and her general zombieness.

 

Bran, like Jeyne or Wyman, is actively partaking in the politics of Winterfell by sending signs to Theon. What Brans plan is is beyond me but I believe that Brans interference is the best chance the Starks have of avoiding a dance of direwolves

 

I think an interesting story could be made of this (with quite a lot of new build-up as very little exists) but to me it doesn't feel like THIS story. A lot of characters are racing to the bottom in the series, but ultimately GRRM is not writing a nihilistic series about all of humanity being shitty. There needs to be characters who provide hope and solutions while everything goes to hell. 

I agree that various factions WANT one Stark or another to gain the upper Hand, seeing advantage for themselves in one or the other. But I think the struggle that has been set up with the Stark family is to RESIST that pressure to fight each other. To come back together IN SPITE of all the efforts to tear them apart. Rickon will probably die first, but Arya will never fight to be a ruler, Jon is not politically savy, and Sansa does not have any training or experience in warfare. They will not fight each other. They will instead unite the North by NOT fighting each other in spite of all of the various characters working to pull them in different directions.

I think we are in basic agreement though that there are factions - West (Robb's will and King Jon), South of the North (Boltons control, supported by Frey and those connected), North (Stannis and fArya supported by the Iron Bank), and East (Manderly and Rickon). The directions are just helpful markers more than solid boundaries.

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8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

I think an interesting story could be made of this (with quite a lot of new build-up as very little exists) but to me it doesn't feel like THIS story

The conflict between the two girls, specifically Sansa, was an overwhelming theme of agot and is periodically sprinkled throughout the series. Just like Jon and Cat. 

While its certainly possible for these resolves to happen, a confrontation imo is more likely to manifest, at least at first.

These 4 have been through hell, Jon and Cat literally. Itd be too easy for them to shed their mental health problems and just hug it out because thats what Ned woulda wanted.

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

A lot of characters are racing to the bottom in the series, but ultimately GRRM is not writing a nihilistic series about all of humanity being shitty

I want to agree lol

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

There needs to be characters who provide hope and solutions while everything goes to hell. 

For sure. Honestly I think Tyrion and Jaime will make up one day, but not before an ugly road ahead.

I believe Bran will be the one to get his family to chill out, being the least confused in the confusing theater of the north

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

I agree that various factions WANT one Stark or another to gain the upper Hand, seeing advantage for themselves in one or the other. But I think the struggle that has been set up with the Stark family is to RESIST that pressure to fight each other. To come back together IN SPITE of all the efforts to tear them apart.

I agree that Jon will never want to attack Arya, under any circumstances. But what if shes possibly another impostor like Jeyne? A girl on the 15th grey horse, who kills mad people.

Alayne Stone? Thats not Sansas name. Or flip it and all reports say Jon Snow was murdered at CB, so who is this guy?

Hopefully Ghost, Nymeria and Shaggydog curb the confusion, and not kill people lol, but I believe some Starks may order attacks they arent fully aware of.

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

Rickon will probably die first, but Arya will never fight to be a ruler, Jon is not politically savy, and Sansa does not have any training or experience in warfare

Im not sure Rickons going to die, but if he does the consequences will be intense. (Not one character dies for no reason, everything happens for plot. i.e. Joff dies so Sansa can escape/Tyrion arrested. Cleos Frey dies so Jaime can take his sword and fight Brienne.) 

Arya is ruler. And while I totally agree she has no intention of ruling, let alone violently usurping Jon, Ricky and even Sansa, others may usurp her. Jeynes allies may cause friction, and uh, when it comes to killing the little girl whos actually Arya Stark. Lol good luck. 

Jons pretty good. Handled Stannis, Tormund. Not everyone, true. But maybe now hes learned that even his brothers are capable of murdering him, which really doesnt bode well for these kids.

Neither does Pete. Sansa is not the young wolf, she doesnt even have a wolf. But the knights of the vale conquered westeros 20 years ago and Sansas experience under Cersei and LF makes her an ideal candidate to send men to die while firmly holding on to her throne playing them off each other.

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

They will instead unite the North by NOT fighting each other in spite of all of the various characters working to pull them in different directions.

I agree thats probably the end game.

 

8 hours ago, Hippocras said:

I think we are in basic agreement though that there are factions - West (Robb's will and King Jon), South of the North (Boltons control, supported by Frey and those connected), North (Stannis and fArya supported by the Iron Bank), and East (Manderly and Rickon). The directions are just helpful markers more than solid boundaries.

Yea thats a good idea. I think Bolton and Frey are more isolated by the West faction because those damn frog people refuse to fight conventionally.

Also Bolton supported by Frey we should jump into more because thats clearly a faction about to blow. I always assumed Ramsay would murder Roose over Dreadfort but @Seams made some interesting connections with Hornwood. I do believe though that during the Dance of Direwolves Ramsay will be keeping rhythm like the best of them.

The lore of Bolton, as sick and twisted as it is, may come to instigate matters further. Skinchanging is a skill the Boltons seem to posses (although not at all) demonstrated by turning miller boys into princes, princes into reeks, and a collection of bitches named Kyra and such. Ramsay already created an Arya, through the glamor of Theon, perhaps that bastards got more tricks up his sleeve.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/4/2021 at 6:42 PM, Hugorfonics said:

The conflict between the two girls, specifically Sansa, was an overwhelming theme of agot and is periodically sprinkled throughout the series. Just like Jon and Cat. 

While its certainly possible for these resolves to happen, a confrontation imo is more likely to manifest, at least at first.

These 4 have been through hell, Jon and Cat literally. Itd be too easy for them to shed their mental health problems and just hug it out because thats what Ned woulda wanted.

Ok well here we actually agree. I think it is just a matter of degree. Having a shit load of issues to work through does not automatically mean they will send armies against each other. In fact I would say that is precisely the point: History is absolutely full of such tensions, and peace always comes from recognizing that wars are not a good way to deal with it. So the formula for peace between the Starks is not about a happy huggy family reunion, but about providing a model for how to pull Westeros out of the mess it is in, not because they all get along perfectly, but because the alternative is endless war.

 

On 4/4/2021 at 6:42 PM, Hugorfonics said:

I agree that Jon will never want to attack Arya, under any circumstances. But what if shes possibly another impostor like Jeyne? A girl on the 15th grey horse, who kills mad people.

Alayne Stone? Thats not Sansas name. Or flip it and all reports say Jon Snow was murdered at CB, so who is this guy?

Hopefully Ghost, Nymeria and Shaggydog curb the confusion, and not kill people lol, but I believe some Starks may order attacks they arent fully aware of.

The way I see it, the "Arya" group and the "Jon" group are well on their way to merging anyway. Jon is unlikely to fight Jeyne either, nor any other pawn impostor forced into their role. Regardless, I doubt their paths will collide. How things happen is a tricky puzzle frankly, and one I struggle with because the group bringing Jeyne to the Wall has no POV. Still, it is easy enough to see that Jeyne would be terrified of going to Castle Black and being identified by Jon. Tycho may even know she is not Arya, because the FM and the Iron Bank are likely very related institutions who share information. Also, unless Jeyne arrived right as the mutiny happened (doubtful) given the contents of the Pink letter the group will likely be warned that going to Castle Black would be a bad idea.

All that to say that when Jon is revived it does not mean he will know that the escaped Arya was fake, but her successful escape does fundamentally change who could be considered "followers" if you will of Arya. The escape brings her under the protection of the Watch loyal to Jon, Mel and her followers, and the Iron Bank of Braavos - all contingents who are coalescing around Jon.

 

Simmilarly, I would see the "Sansa" faction and the "Rickon" faction as very likely to become one and the same soon, after some initial twists and turns.

Edited by Hippocras

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2 hours ago, Hippocras said:

Ok well here we actually agree. I think it is just a matter of degree. Having a shit load of issues to work through does not automatically mean they will send armies against each other. In fact I would say that is precisely the point: History is absolutely full of such tensions, and peace always comes from recognizing that wars are not a good way to deal with it. So the formula for peace between the Starks is not about a happy huggy family reunion, but about providing a model for how to pull Westeros out of the mess it is in, not because they all get along perfectly, but because the alternative is endless war.

Word. Pack survives and all that. I think the Stark extended family may be the ones to really cement peace in the north. The hated brother in law, Imp Lannister, and the despised foster brother, Reek Greyjoy. 

2 hours ago, Hippocras said:

The escape brings her under the protection of the Watch loyal to Jon, Mel and her followers, and the Iron Bank of Braavos - all contingents who are coalescing around Jon.

No doubt. In terms of Lord Snow and his powerbase of crows, knights, wildlings, giants and skinchangers, Jeyne will be protected. Especially if she says Poole

But Jons more then LC. Mallister and co swore to their king, sealed papers and all, that Jon is heir. Now I like Mallister and Vance and them, but to pretend theyre anything less then pissing contestants is shortsighted. All game of throne lords are just war mongers who play a murderous treacherous real cyvesse. And that Jeyne Poole piece looks damn threatening to the high lords of the King of the North and Trident, Jon Stark.

Of course bringing up Jon Stark king of the Trident brings up his father, Rhaegar of the Trident. King Jon Targaryen should be able to check the scheming of the Riverlords, so that should be beneficial to stop the dance of direwolves, should. Probably not dragons lol

3 hours ago, Hippocras said:

Simmilarly, I would see the "Sansa" faction and the "Rickon" faction as very likely to become one and the same soon, after some initial twists and turns.

Again, huge fan of Wyman. But that dude schemes and murders like what! A large breasted teenager who thinks like Cersei and talks like Littlefinger will not be the puppet that high lords relish installing.

Also Greatjon as noted follows raw strength like Greywind, and perhaps Shaggydog, but Sansa cant compete with her siblings in that field. 

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1 hour ago, Hugorfonics said:

Again, huge fan of Wyman. But that dude schemes and murders like what! A large breasted teenager who thinks like Cersei and talks like Littlefinger will not be the puppet that high lords relish installing.

Also Greatjon as noted follows raw strength like Greywind, and perhaps Shaggydog, but Sansa cant compete with her siblings in that field. 

I see it working something like this:

1. Davos brings Rickon to Last Hearth (White Harbour has too many eyes as Wyman pointed out). From Last Hearth word gets into Winterfell (Ghost of Winterfell) that Rickon is back which gets the gears going inside Winterfell with the Northern rebels. But the Greatjon is still a hostage at the Twins and Roose finds out about Rickon. Roose threatens to have the Greatjon killed if Rickon is not brought to him. The Umbers comply to save the Greatjon. 

2. Ramsay makes his move, intercepting Rickon on his way to Winterfell while Roose believed him to be busy with Stannis and/or the Night's Watch, and then using the guise of Rickon's guard to gain access to Walda, her baby, and Roose and kill them.

3. Starfish soup. Wylis Manderly back in White Harbour finds himself with guests from the Vale. They are there at the request of King's Landing (as we saw in DWD) and have come (officially) to aid the Bolton cause. The Waynwood and Royce ties to the Freys, and the Redfort ties to the Boltons are a driving force in their willingness to comply with the request from KL. With Stannis for the moment defeated and White Harbour overrun with an army nominally sympathetic to Boltons and Freys, the ability of House Manderly to rebel openly is once again constrained. They also fear for the safety of Rickon if they do. However they are all horrified by Ramsay gaining control via patricide and fratricide. Rickon, Wyman and possibly others being hostages are the only thing keeping them on Ramsay's side. 

 

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5 hours ago, Hippocras said:

But the Greatjon is still a hostage at the Twins

Hes not.

Quote

When you return to the Twins, please inform Lord Walder that King Tommen requires all the captives you took at the Red Wedding."

Ser Walder frowned. "These prisoners are valuable, ser."

"His Grace would not ask for them if they were worthless."

These veteran lords should also be examined further. While Edmure is properly being escorted to prison I have doubts on the other captives. 

The most obvious ones to rescue Robbs inner circle is momma Stark, because shes there with an army. Many of these lords put their seal of approval on Robbs will so friction might commence when they ask Cat for Robbs hat for king Jon.

 

Ramsay, although not lacking of any guile, feels most comfortable spreading fear. While his letter writing father is happy to put the blame of Winterfells sack on Theon, Rams is upset of the lack of recognition, or at the least a dothraki bell.

So while I do see Ramsay murdering his father it will most likely be in such a horrific manner it will frighten his peers into submission or once again completely under wraps and Ramsays fingers will stay as clean as Petyrs.

Ricky would be murdered asap if Bolton or their agents get their hands on him. Rickons claim supersedes his fictitious sister. (Its as if Lord Hornwood came back to life, or Walda delivers a healthy son) And although inheritance law regarding a traitorous family is ambiguous the fact of Rickons existence will slay the lie of Theons sack and the truth will unravel faster then Ramsays fear mongering can spread.

Not that the truth is so wonderfully hidden. As @The hairy bear noted 600 Bolton soldiers know damn well who burnt Winterfell, they did, and although their fear could excuse their silence, they havent been silent at all, and have asked all Liddles and their mothers on the Kingroad if they know where a baby, cripple and two direwolves are.

The great, err, good lords of the far north like Buckets seem more down to earth then your run of the mill Webbers, and although theyre doubtfully chill enough to talk to their subjects they almost certainly listen to them.... This is interesting stuff. The chances of Buckets thinking of Neds little boy while he raises arms for Neds little girl is pretty high imo.

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On 3/26/2021 at 3:39 AM, Hippocras said:

I have no doubt at at all that the Vale will soon be involed in the North (probably are already).

They will be soon, but we know that the Vale has not done anything in the North, because of Lady Hermit, oh sorry, Lysa.

On 4/3/2021 at 9:19 AM, Hippocras said:

Ramsay only ever rules by fear anywhere, so I don't see why Hornwood men would be different from Bolton men. By the same authority that makes Roose Warden of the North, Ramsay is Lord of the Hornwood.

 

OK, quick question. How is Ramsay Lord of the Hornwood? He has no blood claim, and his wife is dead.

 

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2 minutes ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

OK, quick question. How is Ramsay Lord of the Hornwood? He has no blood claim, and his wife is dead.

 

He forcibly married Lady Hornwood and in such a society that means claiming what was hers for himself. This is why Karstark and Wyman Manderly were also trying to marry her back when Bran was acting as Prince of Winterfell. The three of them were rivals for her claim on the Hornwood, but Ramsay's answer to that dispute was to invade and just take it, and her.

His claim was then recognized by his father, the new Warden of the North, with the full authority of the Iron Throne behind him. Ramsay was styled Lord of the Hornwood and heir to the Dreadfort at his wedding to fArya.

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7 minutes ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

OK, thanks. But still, he doesn't have any blood claim.

Agreed. Unless we are talking about blood spilled.

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12 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Hes not.

Ok right, good catch. So, as far as we know he is still a prisoner but is being moved from the Twins. We do not, however know anything beyond that. It is possible he will be freed by the BWB  en route, but the question then is if Roose would have any reason to know that.

If the prisoners are freed and all their guards are either killed or taken prisoner it seems possible that noone would actually know including Roose. Therefore Roose could still threaten to get the Greatjon killed regardless of his prisoner status. So best IMO to assume that if anyone at or near Winterfell actually KNOWS the prisoners were freed, it will be because the prisoners have also already made it to the North, showing up in person. If so, it is one of those cases of the timeline being all warped and confused as things are told out of order.

As for Rickon being killed - Ramsay might kill him right away if he actually had possession of Arya, but with Arya escaped Ramsay needs some insurance. He is awful but not entirely stupid. As for Roose, I would say he has good reason to keep Rickon alive for the time being as it gives him control of his rebellious vassals. So it seems likely to me Rickon would only be killed when it is useful to do so after falling into Bolton hands. 

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13 hours ago, Jaenara Belarys said:

OK, quick question. How is Ramsay Lord of the Hornwood? He has no blood claim, and his wife is dead.

  Ramsay signed the pink letter as trueborn heir of Winterfell. His sense of legality is expansive and his usurpation is perfected. Renly once commented that only maesters care about law, Ramsay seems to agree.

But whenever these medieval claims get brought up I think of the play The Lion in Winter. The 1960s movie being 100 out of 10 with thanks to the legendary casting. Anyway, 

Henry II: The Vexin's mine.

Philip II: By what authority?

Henry II: It's got my troops all over it; that makes it mine.

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2 hours ago, Hippocras said:

So best IMO to assume that if anyone at or near Winterfell actually KNOWS the prisoners were freed, it will be because the prisoners have also already made it to the North, showing up in person

Idk, ravens are a thing. Umber and co could phone ahead and meet up with their army through the Neck, as Reed is probably already in cahoots with Mallister and co, plus those Frogmen are so damn sneaky

2 hours ago, Hippocras said:

As for Roose, I would say he has good reason to keep Rickon alive for the time being as it gives him control of his rebellious vassals

Yea I agree

2 hours ago, Hippocras said:

Ramsay might kill him right away if he actually had possession of Arya, but with Arya escaped Ramsay needs some insurance. He is awful but not entirely stupid

Rickon is such a standard to fight Aryas husband, being a boy, with a wolf. Plus all of a sudden Theons/Ramsays escapades get exposed and Ramsay would be declared a murderer while "Aryas" "brother" will be exposed as a liar. 

The lie is slain... Not that anyone believes the lie, Dustin Manderly etc, but they cant escape the facade. Rickon is their escape. Imo Ramsays only option would be to double down on his monstrosity and spread fear through in your face carnage, and slay Ricky and Shaggy.

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5 minutes ago, Hugorfonics said:

Idk, ravens are a thing. Umber and co could phone ahead and meet up with their army through the Neck, as Reed is probably already in cahoots with Mallister and co, plus those Frogmen are so damn sneaky

Oh yes, I know about ravens ;)

Problem is the ravens are tended by maesters, and noone in the North now, particularly any conspirators, seems all that keen on trusting maesters. If any ravens have reached the North about a prisoner escape that would be because the Lannister allies in the Riverlands thought to send a raven to tell Roose about it, assuming the Boltons would stop the fugitives at Moat Cailin if they tried to go North. But the question would be if word actually reached any Lannister allies that the escape even happened. Also, if Roose is the one who got the message about the prisoners, it would weaken his position to tell the Northmen about it so I doubt he would tell. That's why I think they would have to actually show up in the North to invalidate any threat the Boltons might make regarding the Greatjon or anyone else.

But, assuming they did turn up in the North - clearly they would arrive not via Moat Cailin but either through the crannoglands or by boat from Ironman's Bay. The East Riverlands are too overrun by armies and hard to hide, as well as the Narrow Sea route being the long way around.

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On 3/25/2021 at 9:41 AM, Hippocras said:

How likely is it that Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover have managed to inform the others of Robb's will?

Several weeks before arriving at the Twins for the Red Wedding, Robb dispatched Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover with a detachment of troops to Greywater Watch to prepare an assault on the Ironborn at Moat Cailin with Howland Reed. Maege and Galbart knew of Robb's desire to name Jon as his heir, believing that Bran, Rickon, and Arya were dead and Sansa wed to a Lannister. 

About three months later, we hear from a younger Mormont...

Quote

 

Jon took a knee. The king frowned at him, and rattled the parchment angrily. "Rise. Tell me, who is Lyanna Mormont?"

"One of Lady Maege's daughters, Sire. The youngest. She was named for my lord father's sister.""

"To curry your lord father's favor, I don't doubt. I know how that game is played. How old is this wretched girl child?"

Jon had to think a moment. "Ten. Or near enough to make no matter. Might I know how she has offended Your Grace?"

Stannis read from the letter. "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK. A girl of ten, you say, and she presumes to scold her lawful king." His close-cropped beard lay like a shadow over his hollow cheeks. "See that you keep these tidings to yourself, Lord Snow. Karhold is with me, that is all the men need know. I will not have your brothers trading tales of how this child spat on me."

"As you command, Sire." Maege Mormont had ridden south with Robb, Jon knew. Her eldest daughter had joined the Young Wolf's host as well. Even if both of them had died, however, Lady Maege had other daughters, some with children of their own. Had they gone with Robb as well? Surely Lady Maege would have left at least one of the older girls behind as castellan. He did not understand why Lyanna should be writing Stannis, and could not help but wonder if the girl's answer might have been different if the letter had been sealed with a direwolf instead of a crowned stag, and signed by Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. It is too late for such misgivings. You made your choice. 

 

Jon I, Dance

We know that Dacey went south with Maege and the Young Wolf, and that Lyra and Jorelle went south with Maege. Through Jon's musings, the storyteller suggests to us that Maege left Alysane as castellan when she marched south, and we find out later that Alysane joined Stannis after burning Asha's ships at Deepwood Motte, and that Lyra and Jorelle are still with Maege. 

Did Maege return to Bear Island clandestinely, or did Alysane act on her own? 

If Maege did not return, how did Lyanna know Jon STARK was the King in the North? (Bran and Rickon were presumed dead, so to what other STARK could she have been referring?) 

If Maege returned to give Alysane the order to burn Asha's ships, did she then leave again with Lyra and Jorelle leaving Lyanna at Bear Island? Or did Maege perhaps remain at Bear Island with Lyra and Jorelle? 

And where is Galbart Glover? Again through Jon, the storyteller suggests that he should have gone with Maege to free Deepwood Motte...

Quote

But my fathers bannermen have wives and children to protect,

Jon I, Dance

Galbart is not wed, but his brother's wife and children were captured when Asha seized Deepwood Motte. Or are Maege and Galbart just chillin' in the swamp at Grewater Watch? I just can't believe they sat around for three months with Bolton and Frey marching north, the Ironmen occupying Deepwood Motte, and Bear Island further threatened by the Ironmen. 

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52 minutes ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

Several weeks before arriving at the Twins for the Red Wedding, Robb dispatched Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover with a detachment of troops to Greywater Watch to prepare an assault on the Ironborn at Moat Cailin with Howland Reed. Maege and Galbart knew of Robb's desire to name Jon as his heir, believing that Bran, Rickon, and Arya were dead and Sansa wed to a Lannister. 

About three months later, we hear from a younger Mormont...

Jon I, Dance

We know that Dacey went south with Maege and the Young Wolf, and that Lyra and Jorelle went south with Maege. Through Jon's musings, the storyteller suggests to us that Maege left Alysane as castellan when she marched south, and we find out later that Alysane joined Stannis after burning Asha's ships at Deepwood Motte, and that Lyra and Jorelle are still with Maege. 

Did Maege return to Bear Island clandestinely, or did Alysane act on her own? 

If Maege did not return, how did Lyanna know Jon STARK was the King in the North? (Bran and Rickon were presumed dead, so to what other STARK could she have been referring?) 

If Maege returned to give Alysane the order to burn Asha's ships, did she then leave again with Lyra and Jorelle leaving Lyanna at Bear Island? Or did Maege perhaps remain at Bear Island with Lyra and Jorelle? 

And where is Galbart Glover? Again through Jon, the storyteller suggests that he should have gone with Maege to free Deepwood Motte...

Jon I, Dance

Galbart is not wed, but his brother's wife and children were captured when Asha seized Deepwood Motte. Or are Maege and Galbart just chillin' in the swamp at Grewater Watch? I just can't believe they sat around for three months with Bolton and Frey marching north, the Ironmen occupying Deepwood Motte, and Bear Island further threatened by the Ironmen. 

It is interesting looking at this because it makes clear the difficulties of pinning down the timelines for things. I have never put much thought into plotting out the timeline of the Red Wedding versus the Great Ranging and Jon's time as a wildling. So it feels off to me to say only 3 months passed between Maege and Galbart heading North and Lyanna's letter. I would have thought more. Certainly there would have been enough time for them to get North in the absence of other considerations.

It is just that there were other considerations. By the time they would have arrived at Greywater Watch, their King was dead. I would assume even the crannogmen would have heard about the Red Wedding. There was some detective work to be done figuring out just what happened and who was involved, and some Ironborn to be harassed with poison arrows at Moat Cailin. It is conceivable that Maege and Galbart had good reason to stay with Howland Reed for a bit therefore. Basically the people who knew about Robb's will were hanging with the one person alive who knows exactly who Jon is, and who also probably has reason to believe that Bran is alive (given that his kids have not returned and nor were their corpses strung up with fBran and fRickon). So I would say that complicates matters quite a bit.

So Galbart and Maege arrived at Greywater and learned about the Red Wedding. They told Howland about Robb's will. Howland told them Bran was probably alive. They all tried to figure out what exactly happened while shooting arrows at some Ironborn. The path forward would have seemed murky to them all IMO.

Regarding Lyanna's letter, I do find it interesting that she avoids the above issue by saying "Stark" without specifying WHICH Stark. Remember, it is not only Howland Reed who has reason to believe Bran might be alive; their travelling group was seen and almost certainly recognized by a Liddle, and from there it seems possibly that a few people the Liddles trust were made aware. House Mormont may well be in that trusted group and one of the closer Houses to the Hill Clans.

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On 3/25/2021 at 9:41 AM, Hippocras said:

A lot of us have been trying to unpick the clues about what has actually been going on in the North

Here are some clues from literary analysis that may offer insights.

Look to Megga Tyrell for clues about Maege. Both of these characters have names relating to the "game" that is at the core of the conflict for the Iron Throne. They may be personifications of the game itself. Megga Tyrell has danced with the king (Tommen) but has a new suitor every week. She likes Mark Mullendore (probably a symbolic Jon Snow) and wants Margaery to find a new monkey for him. I haven't looked deeply into monkey symbolism, but monkeys might symbolize Stark power. One possible reason: Mullendore's dead monkey was from the Summer Islands. I believe the Summer Islands might be symbolic for the North, explaining why Bran's wolf is named Summer and why the exiled  Jalabhar Xho is an important, constant presence in the court, the Hand's Tourney, Joffrey's wedding feast, etc. I know it sounds nuts, but Maege carrying Robb's will (naming Jon Snow as heir) is like Megga trying to get a new Summer Islands monkey for Mark Mullendore.

House Glover is part of the hand/fist symbolism in the books. Being a Hand of the King is important, and one of the first things that happens to House Stark in ASOIAF is that Ned is named Hand. The sigil of House Glover is a mailed fist. We know that Pate the novice has taken a key from a lobstered gauntlet that was hidden under the bed of Archmaester Walgrave, the master of ravencraft. The key is a master key to every door in the Citadel, iirc? Keep in mind that ravens can fly through the door between life and death and we have a guy named Walgrave whose key may be falling into the wrong (or right?) hands. I think House Glover likewise contains a key for some aspect of the plot. On the other hand, we may have already seen the fist symbolism for the northern part of the ASOIAF plot: Jon Snow and his direwolf found a treasure cache in a "grave" at the fist. Perhaps the obsidian dagger is the equivalent of the key in Walgrave's lobstered gauntlet.

"Rise. Tell me, who is Lyanna Mormont?"

"One of Lady Maege's daughters, Sire. The youngest. She was named for my lord father's sister.""

"To curry your lord father's favor, I don't doubt. I know how that game is played. How old is this wretched girl child?"

Lyanna Mormont is the daughter of Maege, i.e., part of the game. And she is named for Lyanna Stark who some readers believe might possibly be Jon Snow's mother. In other words, GRRM is giving us a hint of Lyanna's position on who should be king. Does she like Robert Baratheon's brother and heir? A big fat NO. (I think the "curry" remark is a hint about House Spicer and the spice merchants and we know that they are players in the Game of Thrones, too.) Lyanna likes House Stark. 

But wait, there's more. Remember how Renly tried to arrange for Margaery Tyrell as a second wife for Robert? And he asked Ned whether Margaery looked like Lyanna? And remember how, in his earliest appearance in the books, Robert said the best thing about living further south was the peaches from the Reach? But Renly ended up marrying Margaery (symbolic Lyanna) but not consummating the marriage. UNLESS you count his relationship with Ser Loras and/or the moment that Renly offered a peach to Stannis; Stannis refused and so Renly ate the peach. (I know, ASOIAF literary analysis is crazy and not for the faint of heart.) So in addition to Lyanna Mormont, we might get clues about Lyanna Stark from Margaery, who is also a symbolic Lyanna. 

I bet we could examine Margaery's ladies in waiting alongside the daughters of Maege Mormont. I predict that mining the two groups for more hints hidden in the symbolism will help us to determine who will be King in the North and the king on the Iron Throne. 

FWIW, we could probably also compare House Glover (silver fist) with House Gardner (green hand). There is a battle for the Reach that is symbolic of the battle for the Iron Throne: who will be the rightful occupants of Highgarden, seat of House Gardner and heirs of Garth Greenhands? The Baratheons / Lannisters are trying to be the heirs by marrying into House Tyrell. Stannis tried to claim that glory by marrying into House Florent. House Manderly may even have a claim to be rulers of the Reach and that brings us back to the North and fealty to House Stark. 

Has anyone compared Wylla Manderly and Lyanna Mormont? The two outspoken young girls who support House Stark. I believe Wylla's green hair strengthens the symbolic notion of the heir of Garth Greenhand favoring House Stark. (With her green braid, she is truly the Green Heir, the symbolism tells us.) There are a couple of tree houses (Rowan and Oakheart) that also claim descent from Garth. The Starks are part of Team Tree because of their Old Gods / weirwood affinity, Bran eating the weirwood paste, Stark kids using wooden swords, the parallel of Sansa and Arya to Willow (and Jeyne) Heddle, etc. 

I've been looking for a logical connection behind the wordplay around willow (and the many Will, Wylla, Wylis characters) and Robb's will - the Mormont / Manderly parallel might offer a connection: Maege carries Robb's will; Wylla Manderly is the personification of Robb's will; Lyanna Mormont expresses Robb's will in her response to Stannis.

I know this is all convoluted but just one more layer:

Follow the flour. And that includes flowers. And flowing rivers. And what is "flow" spelled backwards? And what is flow spelled sideways? (Fowl)

Lyanna is associated with winter roses. In a dream, winter roses grow from a chink in the Wall. The House Tyrell sigil includes flowers. 

We see several characters covered in flour: in a flashback, Robb leads the younger Stark children into the Winterfell crypt where Jon Snow emerges from a tomb covered in flour, pretending to be a ghost. (Later, Jon names his direwolf Ghost.) Sansa is mad that the older boys will scare the baby (I can't remember whether it's Bran or Rickon she refers to).

When Theon invades and takes over Winterfell, Osha emerges from the kitchen covered in flour. Osha? How does she enter into this? At one point, Theon observes:

Osha. He had suspected her from the moment he saw that second cup. I should have known better than to trust that one. She's as unnatural as Asha. Even their names sound alike. (Clash, Theon IV)

So there's a parallel between Asha and Osha. We originally met Osha in the company of Night's Watch mutineers. She is later the slayer of Maester Luwin at the base of the weirwood and the guardian of Rickon. What association does Asha have with little kids? The first one that comes to mind for me is when she tells Theon that her dirk is her suckling babe. (Her husband is an axe that is thrown to her across a room where Iron Born men are playing finger dancing - another Game in the Game of Thrones.) A mutineer Night's Watch member named Dirk kills Craster after Craster waves around the axe given to him by Mormont. Garth of Greenaway is a partner in Dirk's mutiny. So these details are leading us back again to Garth Greenhands, Highgarden and the Reach but also to a Mormont as a player in an axe game and the rivalry to be King in the North or King Beyond the Wall - Craster did not recognize Mance Rayder as a king and Craster sat in the only chair in his compound while others sat on benches or on the floor. 

Who are the other flour-covered characters? I think maybe the miller's sons, killed by Ramsay and Theon to simulate the deaths of Bran and Rickon. Millers grind seeds (wheat kernels) to make flour. The seed is strong. 

Recall, too, that Ser Loras has a horse covered in flowers when he competes in the Hand's Tourney. Flour, flowers, whatever. 

But it is important to note the wordplay link to flow, which is what rivers (and sewers and molten iron) do. We see several characters immersed in rivers or killed in rivers or wounded in rivers: Catelyn / Lady Stoneheart, Brynden Tully escaping Riverrun, Septon Chayle growing up on the White Knife, Tyrion and Septa Lemore and Jon Connington on the Rhoyne, Rhaegar at the Ruby Ford, Brandon Stark (when dueling Littlefinger). All of these characters are reborn in some way, shape or form and I think this is key to analyzing the flour / flower / flow-er / wolf / fowl wordplay. This set of symbols signals a rebirth for us. A close reading might tell us whether there are subtle differences in the rebirths - for instance, is your rebirth likely to be creepy and horrifying if you are reborn through the flow of a river? Is it more pleasant and natural to be reborn with flowers? 

But my point is to provide a path to more hints about Rickon's fate. He seems more closely associated with flour than flowers or flowing rivers so I offer the other examples for context. While Bran was part of the miller's sons symbolism along with Rickon, he also has an underground river in Bloodraven's cave. 

I know, I know. Literary analysis is all baloney and has nothing to do with making predictions about the plot. Carry on!

 

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4 hours ago, Seams said:

the parallel of Sansa and Arya to Willow (and Jeyne) Heddle, etc. 

 

What's the parallel?

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Seams said:

 

 

I personally think that one can be driven absolutely bonkers with symbolic analysis in this series. I am sure GRRM uses some, but it can hardly be the basis for solid predictions IMO. He is above all else a writer whose stories are driven by characters not by symbolism. Overemphasis on symbolism would make the characters behave in ways that feel contrived, which is not his method. In other words I see you have put thought into this, but I am not convinced.

Yes, the Glover sigil is a mailed fist, and more directly, a mailed fist means to invite a fight. It is a challenge. It is distinctly different from the Hand symbol IMO which is about governance, not fighting. If it means anything, it means this family will not shy away from a fight.

As for Megga Tyrell, even if she is meant to provide hints, I very much doubt the hints she provides have much to do with what will happen in the North (though of course all threads of the story connect eventually). If monkeys are from the Summer Islands I would suggest we are meant to infer a connection between Mullendore and the Summer Islands - a place that keeps appearing in these books in maddeningly brief but suggestive ways. Perhaps the act of obtaining a new monkey is what builds a link between the Tyrells and Jalabhar Xho, and he will, in turn, help shed light on the Cinnamon Wind, Marwyn etc. I just don't see any connection between the Starks and the Summer Islands - Bran's wolf name was about the seasons, which are something that are experienced by all, universally. The seasons as symbols in this story are about times of peace and times of hate and revenge, to life and death, ice and fire, but are not specific to any family. 

Wylla Manderly's green hair I would say is a reference to the other bright coloured hair in the story, in other words, Tyrosh. The boat Cat took from White Harbour was, after all, Tyroshi. At the very least we are meant to see that White Harbour is a city connected to world events and the Manderlys have their attention focused on the big wide world, not just the North. However there is possibly a more direct link between the Manderlys and the goings on in Tyrosh.

 

Edited by Hippocras

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