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Asha's story in AFFC and ADWD


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What are your general thoughts on Asha Greyjoy and her story ever since beggining to explore the Iron Islands more and seeing her POV starting in A Feast for Crows until the end of A Dance with Dragons and the samples of The Winds of Winter ? 

What do you think about Asha's character  motivations and her relations with her family and other characters ? 

What do you think will be her future in the North and possibly beyond during the Winds of Winter ?

Will she really become the ruler of the Iron Islands by the end of ASOIAF ? How will her experience in the North change her ?

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6 hours ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

What are your general thoughts on Asha Greyjoy and her story ever since beggining to explore the Iron Islands more and seeing her POV starting in A Feast for Crows until the end of A Dance with Dragons and the samples of The Winds of Winter ? 

What do you think about Asha's character  motivations and her relations with her family and other characters ? 

What do you think will be her future in the North and possibly beyond during the Winds of Winter ?

Will she really become the ruler of the Iron Islands by the end of ASOIAF ? How will her experience in the North change her ?

I think asha is one of the main characters in the series. Despite what some people say, main characters aren't just the ones introdu.ced at the start of the books. At least not in this book series. 

Let's do a detailed study of her arc shall we. 

The kraken's daughter

Asha is at harlaw with her nuncle the reader, her aunt and her mother. She is determined to get her rights. In this chapter she is confident and optimistic. 

The wayward bride

Asha's mood turns dramatically after her defeat in the kingsmoot . She becomes dejected. She is not sure of what to do. But there is still some hope of happiness in her

The king's prize 

Her mood further sinks down the road. She is fearful of her future. Her friends are captured. She is lost. 

The sacrifice

Her mood goes an all time low. She is thinking that she will die and she has accepted it. This is her lowest point. After tris and her friends return to her her sad mood starts becoming happy. She reunites with her brother at the end. 

 

 

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I don't feel strongly about her character one way or the other. She's not a dumb, unlikeable piece of shit like the other ironborn PoVs, at least. I respect that she wants to change the culture of the Iron Islands and expand through diplomacy rather than conquest, which is good. But other than that there isn't anything that stands out about her. As far as I'm concerned, her Dance chapters are only worthwhile because we see King Stannis in them. 

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Aside from Theon, Asha is the best of the Ironborn POV’s. She is in a unique position within her culture, but not in the same way that Brienne or Arya are unique. She’s not the only woman to fight or take to the seas, but she’s fighting an uphill battle to claim what is arguably hers by birthright and by the intent of her father. It’s not like a Cersei position where she sleeps and murders and conspires her way into a position of power that she doesn’t deserve, either. Asha is three dimensional, she has flaws, she faces challenges, and despite being Ironborn, she’s somewhat likeable. 

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I enjoy her insight and perspective on things. Considering her view of Stannis and his physical deterioration, it’s surprising most of us who wrote on his threads are so bullish on his chances. His grip on his men is fierce and they’re loyal due to his strength and their own cost of buying into his cause, but they’re falling apart and suffering so badly, it’s a wonder there’s any hope at all despite strategy. Ashas read on Stannis’ forces is great. Individuals like the northern clans men and southron lords alike.

as for how Asha will make out, it’s hard to say. If Stannis wins, her story continues and she may find herself leading the white harbour fleet (I didn’t even consider it until writing this), maybe for Stannis or maybe for a Stark? Dunno. I can see her facing off on the sea against any one of the various seaborne forces including Euron, Victarion, redwyn, waters, pirates, etc. 

im thinking now this is the way

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I like her role as the witness or narrator of what is probably the start of the new Long Night. More than 40 days without seeing the sun. This line gets repeated in her chapters:

Quote

The sun and moon and stars had been gone so long that Asha was starting to wonder whether she had dreamed them

Once in the King's prize and once in The Sacrifice.

I don't expect any winners around Winterfell, just the wrath of the Old Gods.

Edited by Tucu
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I think the Ironborn culture is to be shown to be unsustainable and she's the only one who gets it and is actually thinking about how to save them. She'll succeed by resettling what is left of the Ironborn after Euron and The War for the Dawn at Sea Dragon point.

She'll be part of Jon's council when he comes south.

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Missing love for Asha's loyalty to her stupid brother even after his arrogance blinded him from her true identity.  Balon tossed the letter from Ramsay into the fire but Asha was the one who refused to give up on her brother and plotted his rescue.   In the TWOW Theon chapter we see that she hopes and campaigns to give Theon a palatable death--not burning but swift beheading.  Tacit meaning here is that she loves him and doesn't want him to suffer any further.   There is intelligence and compassion in Asha's character as well as courage and honor as illustrated beautifully in her trying to get Stannis to let her lead her people on Stannis' behalf.   Neither Theon nor Stannis have given Asha any real reason to join their cause but she is a dedicated warrior I think may be seriously underestimated.   Asha's story will likely cross paths with Euron's weird plot in books to come.  She will take the Iron Islands and rule them and likely bring them into the fold with the 7 kingdoms--but at what cost?  Asha thinks pretty fast on her feet, I would not discount her being the character to bring about Euron's demise and Theon's redemption.  I think it's entirely possible she will be permitted to join Stannis' cause, just not sure if it is before or after he dies.    It is Asha, not Arya who speaks of Nymeria's character most.  

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17 hours ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

What do you think will be her future in the North and possibly beyond during the Winds of Winter ?

Stannis will sacrifice her in a pyre.

17 hours ago, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

Will she really become the ruler of the Iron Islands by the end of ASOIAF ? How will her experience in the North change her ?

See above.

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1 hour ago, Willam Stark said:

I hope she will make it and become the leader of the Iron Islands, she is the only Iron-born who has a brain and a leader needs a brain to rule efficiently.

 

She still has a long way to go and learn before she can become an effective ruler and planner to really change the Iron Islands. 

While her plan at the Kingsmoot was far smarter and more pragmatic that anything her father and uncles ever planned, it was still an impossible plan since the northermen wouldn't accept to ally with those who stabbed them in the back right after they proposed them an alliance, even less after the taking of Winterfell and murder of "Bran and Rickon", and would certainely not give any of their lands to them. 

Not counting that she made that plan right after the Boltons were made rulers of the North, given that they owe their power to the Iron Throne and are far more ruthless than the Starks, and that liberating the North from the Ironborn was one of Roose's arguments to make the other northerners accept his rule.

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The best clues about Asha's evolution and intentions may be represented by her many and varied lovers. We see Walder Frey and Tywin Lannister use family marriage alliances as ways to grow or to gain powers in the Game of Thrones; Asha may be playing a solo game that involves lovers with some key "marriages" thrown in. 

This line, where Theon becomes a sort of Alice at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and learns about his place in the Iron Islands, gives us one or more important clues:

Quote

"There's my lord husband. And here's my sweet suckling babe."

—Asha to Theon Greyjoy while catching a finger dance axe and displaying her dirk

Asha claims to be married to an axe and to have a small knife as a baby. This would certainly fit with the "Ironborn" identity. 

Several characters are married to weapons: Areo Hotah and Robb Stark (a Catelyn POV says a sword is Robb's true wife). Jon Snow leaves Long Claw alone in his bed when he tries to desert and join Robb's army at the end of AGoT. 

Does giving birth to a weapon make Asha a kind of smith? I think GRRM wants us to examine the relationship between each smith and the weapon he makes. 

Quote

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. (ACoK, Theon IV)

Theon is comparing Osha to Asha. What could it mean that the two women are both "unnatural"?

But back to Asha's lovers and husbands (in addition to the axe). She and Tristifer Botley messed around, but a sailor from Lys was her first lover when she was 16. She also hooks up with Qarl the Maid.

At one point, Asha reflects that Tris Botley is "too sweet" for the Iron Isles; she also introduces Qarl the Maid to peaches during a voyage to the Arbor. I think this contrasting pair is significant in GRRM's unique set of symbols for ASOIAF. "Bitter" and "sweet" are a contrasting pair, and GRRM has said that the series will have a bitter-sweet ending. But he uses wordplay to equate "biter" with "bitter." We see the biting of peaches in Renly's attempt to come to an agreement with Stannis (he offers a peach to Stannis but ends up eating the peach himself). And again (symbolically) when the character Biter bites Brienne's cheek and eats her flesh just before Gendry kills him. Ser Jorah gives Dany a small peach that she enjoys eating, remarking on its sweetness. 

So what does it mean that Asha has her own bitter and sweet lovers?

Asha tells Theon that she is "Esgred" and that she is married to the shipwright Sigrin, who built Theon's new ship. After the Kingsmoot, Euron gives Asha in marriage to Erik Ironmaker, even though Asha is not present (she is represented by a seal at the ceremony). 

When Asha is a hostage of Stannis, Justin Massey tries to interest her in marrying him. This is another interesting allusion to one of GRRM's thematic pairs: Stannis had asked Jon Snow whether he wanted a smiler or a slayer to take Winterfell as his seat:

Quote

When his cup was filled the king drank, and said, "Horpe and Massey aspire to your father's seat. Massey wants the wildling princess too. He once served my brother Robert as squire and acquired his appetite for female flesh. Horpe will take Val to wife if I command it, but it is battle he lusts for. As a squire he dreamed of a white cloak, but Cersei Lannister spoke against him and Robert passed him over. Perhaps rightly. Ser Richard is too fond of killing. Which would you have as Lord of Winterfell, Snow? The smiler or the slayer?" (ADwD, Jon IV)

Massey wanted to marry Val but later takes an interest in Asha, perhaps hinting to the reader that we need to compare Val and Asha. Horpe is the slayer in this symbolic pair. But the symbolism takes on an added layer of meaning if we recall that Theon's horse, obtained from a Botley lord, was named Smiler. The horse caught fire when Winterfell burned. There are several known slayers in the books, including Kingslayer Jaime Lannister and Sam Tarly who is call Slayer after he kills a wight.

I do think that Asha has some role in uniting the North and the Iron Islands. I suspect that the Iron Islands will continue to crumble and the inhabitants will have to find a new place to live on the mainland. Asha's plan at the Kingsmoot was to create an alliance with the North so the Iron Born could live in peace along the shore. If we are comparing Asha and Val, this plan for her people could be similar to the wildlings coming through the gate to settle beyond the Wall among the kneelers. 

It would not surprise me at all if Asha ends up marrying Tristifer Botley, beginning anew the rule of King Tristifer of House Mudd. 

Or she may end up living in a sort of Amazon society with the warrior women of House Mormont.

 

 

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On 11/5/2021 at 12:14 PM, Mithras said:

Stannis will sacrifice her in a pyre.

See above.

I think Stannis will actually decide to behead her, and burn Theon as he sees him as a better sacrifice to R'hllor than Asha.

But I think some supernatural event likely involving Bran will allow Theon to survive. Not so sure about Asha.

I do think that Theon will become Bran's Coldhands-like bodyguard, but if so there is no better moment for Theon to die than now before being brought back to life. It just couldn't be as a result of a beheading or burning.

"What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."

That being said, Asha can stand for Ash, so dying burned would be in line.

Her saying she is married to an axe and a dirk is her child can mean she will die fighting, but leave "someone" to take revenge for her.

Edited by Egged
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On 11/4/2021 at 7:09 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

What are your general thoughts on Asha Greyjoy and her story ever since beggining to explore the Iron Islands more and seeing her POV starting in A Feast for Crows until the end of A Dance with Dragons and the samples of The Winds of Winter ? 

What do you think about Asha's character  motivations and her relations with her family and other characters ? 

She is a new kind of Ironborn and the future of her people.  She is the *Joshua York of her people.  A visionary who wants to lead the Ironborn into a more sustainable future of peace. 

*Joshua York is a leading character in Fevre Dream

On 11/4/2021 at 7:09 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

What do you think will be her future in the North and possibly beyond during the Winds of Winter ?

It is Asha's fate to confront and defeat her Uncle Euron.  I would not mind an Asha + Aurane marriage. 

On 11/4/2021 at 7:09 PM, Terrorthatflapsinthenight9 said:

Will she really become the ruler of the Iron Islands by the end of ASOIAF ? How will her experience in the North change her ?

 

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To be honest, my opinion is the entire Asha POV along with the other Greyjoys, just bogged down an otherwise bloated novel. Asha's an interesting outlier character with a sense of pragmatism that the Iron Islanders need but her story could've easily been represented through the existing POVs, especially Theon's. 

I'm inclined to think Stannis will spare Asha. She's too useful to him alive, especially if he marries her to one of his bannermen.

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On 11/7/2021 at 2:11 PM, Lord Lannister said:

To be honest, my opinion is the entire Asha POV along with the other Greyjoys, just bogged down an otherwise bloated novel. Asha's an interesting outlier character with a sense of pragmatism that the Iron Islanders need but her story could've easily been represented through the existing POVs, especially Theon's. 

I definitely think it was unnecessary to have three different ironborn PoVs in Feast for what was essentially the one story, but in Dance I can understand having both Asha and Victarian. We need Asha as a PoV for Stannis after he leaves the Wall but before he captures Theon, otherwise there'd be no PoV for his campaign in the North (one of my favourite parts of that book). And we need Victarian to get a window into Euron's scheming and the eventual ironborn involvement with Dany's storyline. Aeron feels like the redundant PoV, and his chapters are among the least enjoyable to read of any PoV in the series. I think Winds can very easily cull all of the non-Theon ironborn PoVs though; we don't need Aeron now that Euron is getting close to Oldtown (where Sam is); we don't need Victarian now that he's getting close to Meereen (where Tyrion and Barristan are); and we don't need Asha now that her and Theon are in the same place.

Edited by WhatAnArtist!
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7 hours ago, WhatAnArtist! said:

I definitely think it was unnecessary to have three different ironborn PoVs in Feast for what was essentially the one story, but in Dance I can understand having both Asha and Victarian. We need Asha as a PoV for Stannis after he leaves the Wall but before he captures Theon, otherwise there'd be no PoV for his campaign in the North (one of my favourite parts of that book). And we need Victarian to get a window into Euron's scheming and the eventual ironborn involvement with Dany's storyline. Aeron feels like the redundant PoV, and his chapters are among the least enjoyable to read of any PoV in the series. I think Winds can very easily cull all of the non-Theon ironborn PoVs though; we don't need Aeron now that Euron is getting close to Oldtown (where Sam is); we don't need Victarian now that he's getting close to Meereen (where Tyrion and Barristan are); and we don't need Asha now that her and Theon are in the same place.

I can agree with Stannis' army wanting for a point of view character. Though if you tweak the timing of Asha's arrival or Theon's escape you could mostly get around that without needing another POV. I honestly thing Euron would be far better served from a narrative standpoint if you only heard about him from the POVs of others. Hearing out the Kingsmoot, the possible murder, the Ironborn Raids, Victarion sailing east, it would really leave the reader wondering about just who this guy is and what he's up to. 

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12 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

I honestly thing Euron would be far better served from a narrative standpoint if you only heard about him from the POVs of others. Hearing out the Kingsmoot, the possible murder, the Ironborn Raids, Victarion sailing east, it would really leave the reader wondering about just who this guy is and what he's up to. 

Interesting idea. Now that I think about it, you're right that this might have been a better way to do it. Sort of like the Westerosi version of Daenerys - some strange and semi-mythical figure that suddenly comes to power and has all these magical rumours about them. I think if Martin kept the number of PoVs in Feast stricter and more in-line with the first three books, this might have been how he'd have done it, but his decision to massively expand the scope of the story made it inevitable that we'd get an in-depth look into ironborn politics.

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