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Is Something Odd About Hildy?


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Posted (edited)

On my (hopefully) final re-read of ADWD before Winds of Winter releases, and a character stood out to me that I had brushed off in the past: Hildy. She is the "camp follower" in Lord Bracken's tent when Jaime arrives at Raventree. To be clear, this is nothing definitive, but something to keep in mind for any future hints.

I believe Hildy is a spy for the Brotherhood Without Banners. Evidence:

1. She is extremely modest and shy when Jaime bursts in, covering her parts and commenting that "her turnips are not for sale", before rushing to don her clothes. However, within a minute or two, she is speaking to Jaime as a woman who knows what she is doing, even "giving Jaime a brazen look" and commenting once Jaime rejects her "no turnips for you then". Nevermind that she "squeezes him" on her way out. That type of extreme switch reminds me of mummery more than anything.

2. She also receives a lot of words for a character that is only (supposedly) there to show characterization of Jonas Bracken and Jaime's sexual desires in conflict with his honor/thoughts of Cersei. How many named camp followers are there? Shae, Ser Ryman's Queen, Fireball's Mother, and Hildy.

3. A small connection, but this also comes on the heels of Jaime's previous chapter (in AFFC) which ends with him speaking to Tom O' Sevens, another smallfolk infiltrating Riverlands locations held by those loyal to the Lannisters. (Not to mention, Mance does that same thing as Abel throughout ADWD).

4. Finally, it seems to fit with Brienne miraculously coming upon Jaime at Pennytree. It makes sense that she is now "working with" The BWB to find Jaime, so it would be assumed that their network would have to bring them together.

Any thoughts? I know it is speculation, but a good reason to keep an eye out for a woman with "pug nose and a shaggy mane of hair, with nipples darker and thrice the size of Cersei's".
 

Edited by FourRavensBlackOnWhite
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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

It might just be because GRRM likes writing about sexy naked women. 

Not as much as he likes food porn. I can’t remember, does Bracken have any kind of food on display when Jaime enters?

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Posted (edited)
On 5/26/2022 at 3:05 PM, FourRavensBlackOnWhite said:

I believe Hildy is a spy for the Brotherhood Without Banners.

Hi @FourRavensBlackOnWhite hope you're well. :D

Yep, spot on. Nice catch.

Most of the Riverlands is working alongside the BWB, and the way Grrm has written those RL's chapters is masterful. During Arya's BWB chapters we visit many of the Riverland's Lords and Houses, confirming them as supporters and sympathisers. 

One of the places they visit is The Peach, a brothel. So the camp followers or sex workers are shown to be BWB supporters from very early on. 

Then we have the Queen 'O' Whores, a camp follower we find keeping Ryman Frey company. Ryman had placed Robb Stark's crown on the Queen 'O' Whore's head. Later on Ryman is hanged by the BWB and Lady Stonheart is suddenly in possession of said crown. Presumably this camp follower led Ryman to his death by tipping of the BWB of their movements. Again a sex worker involved in the destruction of Lannister - Frey men at arms. 

We also have Petyr Frey who was in the company of a camp follower/sex worker just before he was hanged by the BwB. In Merrett Frey’s POV/Epilogue he thinks this of Petyr.....

Quote

“Let them hang him, he brought this on himself. It’s no more than he deserves, wandering off with some bloody camp follower like a stag in rut.” 

Hildy makes a fourth example of where a camp follower has had a major influence on proceedings in the Riverland's.

I personally think the whole Blackwood - Bracken - siege thing was a ruse anyway. It was Karyl Vance who convinced Jaime to go Ravntree Hall and treat with Blackwood & Bracken, making sure to massage Jaime's ego by telling him it would be only his word they would repect and listen to.

Yeah right.

More likely it was a way to get Jaime away from the majority of his supporters at Riverrun by getting him to travel to Raventree with a far smaller retinue than normal, therefore making him an easier target. Then once Jaime arrived at Raventree he commented on how passive the siege was, it was a huge surprise to him. I reckon that's because it wasn't really a siege at all, more a mock siege designed as a ruse to entice Jaime into danger.

Then there's the suspicious Hildy interaction and Brienne finding them so easily etc. The whole thing from start to finish is a trap Jaime has walked straight into. THE BWB and the River Lords have been playing him like Tom 'O' Sevens plays his harp. 

Can't wait for this story arc in Winds, so much going on.  :D

Edited by Wizz-The-Smith
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

Hi @FourRavensBlackOnWhite hope you're well. :D

Yep, spot on. Nice catch.

Most of the Riverlands is working alongside the BWB, and the way Grrm has written those RL's chapters is masterful. During Arya's BWB chapters we visit many of the Riverland's Lords and Houses, confirming them as supporters and sympathisers. 

One of the places they visit is The Peach, a brothel. So the camp followers or sex workers are shown to be BWB supporters from very early on. 

Then we have the Queen 'O' Whores, a camp follower we find keeping Ryman Frey company. Ryman had placed Robb Stark's crown on the Queen 'O' Whore's head. Later on Ryman is hanged by the BWB and Lady Stonheart is suddenly in possession of said crown. Presumably this camp follower led Ryman to his death by tipping of the BWB of their movements. Again a sex worker involved in the destruction of Lannister - Frey men at arms. 

We also have Petyr Frey who was in the company of a camp follower/sex worker just before he was hanged by the BwB. In Merrett Frey’s POV/Epilogue he thinks this of Petyr.....

Hildy makes a fourth example of where a camp follower has had a major influence on proceedings in the Riverland's.

I personally think the whole Blackwood - Bracken - siege thing was a ruse anyway. It was Karyl Vance who convinced Jaime to go Ravntree Hall and treat with Blackwood & Bracken, making sure to massage Jaime's ego by telling him it would be only his word they would repect and listen to.

Yeah right.

More likely it was a way to get Jaime away from the majority of his supporters at Riverrun by getting him to travel to Raventree with a far smaller retinue than normal, therefore making him an easier target. Then once Jaime arrived at Raventree he commented on how passive the siege was, it was a huge surprise to him. I reckon that's because it wasn't really a siege at all, more a mock siege designed as a ruse to entice Jaime into danger.

Then there's the suspicious Hildy interaction and Brienne finding them so easily etc. The whole thing from start to finish is a trap Jaime has walked straight into. THE BWB and the River Lords have been playing him like Tom 'O' Sevens plays his harp. 

Can't wait for this story arc in Winds, so much going on.  :D

Hildy is Hildy, and the siege is a siege.  It's been going on for several months, and the physical condition of Raventree's residents suggests it's real.  No need for spies there.

Jaime's force is still a large one; several hundred men, and he isn't concealing his activities.  Anyone who wants to find them merely has to follow the trail of trampled grass and horse poop and look for smoke from campfires.  Or just ask the locals where the big ass army is camped. 

As for getting him alone, all you need is someone he trusts telling him he needs to go alone with her.  Size of army and location are essentially irrelevant. 

The BwB has lots of sympathizers and I expect we will see a few.  Hildy may be one, but I doubt it will matter. 

Edited by Nevets
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Nevets said:

Hildy is Hildy, and the siege is a siege.  It's been going on for several months, and the physical condition of Raventree's residents suggests it's real.  No need for spies there.

Hi @Nevets

Yes, Hildy is Hildy and yes it is a siege. I respect your opinion that it may be as simple as that, but with all the clues George has given us regards BWB sympathisers I don't think it's a stretch to consider there may be nuances and that everything may not be as it seems at first glance. Unless I've missed something (totally possible) we don't get any information on the physical condition of Raventree's residents other than that Tytos looks gaunt. Many characters look gaunt, and the fields around Raventree were burnt on Tywin's orders so that maybe a contributing factor to Tytos' gaunt appearance. As for there being no need for spies at Raventree, I disagree. If Vance has orchestrated Jaime's trip to Raventree then it would make total sense to implant spies/supporters within that camp to keep an eye on the movements of Jaime and his retinue. Especially if their plan is to alienate Jaime and weaken his position so they can approach him with less risk. 

The clues and set up for BWB and River Lords cooperation is comprehensive,  and once the reader is aware of said set up these conclusions are a natural progression. By no means confirmation, but certainty fair game for realistic discussion.

Here's a quick run down of the set up in Arya's chapters with the BWB for readers unaware of what I'm talking about.

BWB network of friends

Arya + BWB meet Lord Lychester.

Quote

''Lord Lychester's songs died in Robert's rebellion.'' [ Arya IV , ASOS ]

When they meet the Lady of the Leaves, Jack-be-Lucky is also with her, and claims he is from Piper lands.

Quote

''My father got himself good and hanged by Lord Piper's bailiff'' [ Arya IV, ASOS ]

At Acorn Hall, they meet Lady Smallwood.

Quote

''Lady Smallwood welcomed the outlaws kindly enough ' [ Arya IV, ASOS ]

Next is the Hound's trial with the BWB. He is accused of killing people from houses Roote, Charlton and Bracken.

They then meet with Notch, from Goodbrook's village.

Quote

''Notch was a stooped man, born in these parts. This was Lord Goodbrook's village '' [ Arya VIII, ASOS ]

The BWB has also been in contact with the Vance Maester.

Quote

''Lord Vance's Maester will know more.'' [ Arya VIII, ASOS ]

Arya and the BWB also visit The Peach, a brothel where these camp followers would have been working. 

So the families/Houses noted in these chapters as BWB sympathisers are.....

Lychester, Vance, Roote, Goodbrook, Smallwood, Piper, Bracken and Charlton.

When Jaime arrives at siege of Riverrun in AFFC we have this very revealing quote to tie these clues together...

Quote

''Jaime noted all the banners of Lychester and Vance, of Roote and Goodbrook, the acorns of House Smallwood and Lord Piper's dancing maiden ''

Jaime then muses about the fact the Bracken's are fighting the Blackwood's at Raventree. (The one missing is House Charlton, who are sworn to the Frey's, and probably with their retinue)

This set up is telling the reader that these Houses supposedly supporting Jaime and the Lannister-Frey army at Riverrun are in fact BWB supporters. We can also add to that the camp followers or sex workers linked to The Peach. (As detailed in my previous post, the camp followers or sex workers are obviously working against the Lannister-Frey men)

It's interesting that Jaime muses on the Bracken/Blackwood siege in the very same passage. This set up has long been in the works (From ACOK into AFFC) and outlines all the BWB sympathisers we've visited in the previous books. I think it's very reasonable to consider that the author wants the reader to consider the fact that Bracken & Blackwood are to be put in the same bracket. That of collaborative BWB sympathisers or supporters. 

So Vance alienating Jaime by sending him to Raventree and keeping close tabs on their retinue is by no means a stretch. In fact it makes total sense.

18 hours ago, Nevets said:

Jaime's force is still a large one; several hundred men, and he isn't concealing his activities.  Anyone who wants to find them merely has to follow the trail of trampled grass and horse poop and look for smoke from campfires.  Or just ask the locals where the big ass army is camped. 

I can't find any text that says Jaime has several hundred men with him. Maybe I'm missing that passage? And I'm not sure what Jaime concealing his activities has to do with this? I agree he's not concealing his activities. 

I find Brienne and the BWB following trampled grass and poop a poor literary device. Once the reader has realised there is a sophisticated trail of clues to follow, this outcome is realistic and a far more nuanced line of thinking. 

Maybe they could ask locals where the big ass army is camped. Alternatively, they could have well positioned supporters in place to give them constant updates and gain the upper hand in knowing Jaime's movements.

18 hours ago, Nevets said:

As for getting him alone, all you need is someone he trusts telling him he needs to go alone with her.  Size of army and location are essentially irrelevant

Yes, the fact that Jaime trusts Brienne is a huge bonus to the BWB. Brienne is in a horrible position, I'm sure she doesn't want to lie to Jaime but she has little choice if she wants to save Pod and Co. 

The size of Jaime's retinue is absolutely relevant. It is far easier and less dangerous to approach Jaime if he has a smaller support network around him. 

18 hours ago, Nevets said:

The BwB has lots of sympathizers and I expect we will see a few.  Hildy may be one, but I doubt it will matter. 

Indeed. We already have the clues to decipher who many of the BWB sympathisers are, and there may be more. As for Hildy (and to loop back around to the OP) you may be right that her presence didn't particularly matter in that scene. After all, any information about Jaime's whereabouts could have been relayed by people in the Bracken or Blackwood camps. But with all the set up regards The Peach, camp followers or sex workers I think it is absolutely reasonable to consider the fact that Hildy is a BWB spy and a good catch by the OP.

As for my personal view that the siege may be a set up as well, you are right to point out that the siege has been going on for months. Jaime muses that it's been 'half a year'. But I am still of the opinion that this being part of a set up is a reasonable take.

Bracken only has 500 men outside Raventree, there are no siege towers and Jaime (and the author) mentions how feeble this siege seems to be. If Bracken & Blackwood want to avoid giving their presence and supposed support to Jaime and the Lannister-Frey army then a siege is the perfect ruse. Add to that how it may play into the potential trickery I've outlined above and it works beautifully as a way for the Riverland's/BWB (and George) to manipulate the enemy by leading them astray and into BWB sympathiser territory. It would be a clever move and potentially give them the upper hand as they are always one step ahead.

To conclude, there is so much manipulation, spy craft, double crossing, anti Lannister-Frey sentiment, BWB/River Lord support that I think the arguments I have laid out are ripe for discussion and shouldn't be so easily dismissed. 

Of course we are all entitled to our own opinions, and if you are right I'll be the first one to concede that point. But at this juncture I personally think the Riverland's is working together on a huge scale, so all of these points are a realistic and viable option.  :D

Edited by Wizz-The-Smith
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Posted (edited)
On 5/26/2022 at 10:05 AM, FourRavensBlackOnWhite said:

I believe Hildy is a spy for the Brotherhood Without Banners.

A good theory, for all the reasons that have been given. Some additional thoughts:

1) The BWB has a hideout in a hollow hill. I think "Hildy" is a hollow hill personified. She is seducing Jaime, and he is tempted.

2) As others have pointed out, the BWB may be without banners, but they are networking with a lot of people who still have banners. This may be a tangent, but I think this may tie in somehow with the myth that "heraldry ends at the Wall." We actually see Mormont invite only the high-born officers to the feast where crab claws are eaten. And we are told that inexperienced Ser Waymar is given a command because he is high-born. When Jon Snow opens the long-closed Shield Hall, there are many displayed shields - demonstrating that the Night's Watch used to keep track of sigils, displaying them, in spite of their claims to the contrary. 

3) The BWB is led by dead people. I think this is a hint for us about their territory being "the Underworld.." They even swear fealty to a dead king. Although Hildy does not appear to be dead, there may be a "Where do whores go?" answer that involves the Underworld. (For more on this, see Molestown.) 

4) Jaime's kidnapping by Brienne at Pennytree is like King Aerys falling into the Defiance of Duskendale trap. Lucky for Jaime, Brienne is very much in the mold of Ser Barristan, who single-handedly brought about the escape of King Aerys. So look for Lady Stoneheart parallels in the story of Lady Darklyn. I suspect Podrick Payne will play the role of the youthful Dontos Hollard in this new iteration of the Defiance.

I put forward a Hildy theory a few years ago. In a nutshell, her "root vegetable" symbolism connects to the Underworld. Pennytree, where Jaime finds the mysterious tree covered in pennies, is an entrance to the Underworld. It is part of a trio (tree-o?) with Honeytree and Raventree. 

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On 5/26/2022 at 10:05 AM, FourRavensBlackOnWhite said:

On my (hopefully) final re-read of ADWD before Winds of Winter releases, and a character stood out to me that I had brushed off in the past: Hildy. She is the "camp follower" in Lord Bracken's tent when Jaime arrives at Raventree. To be clear, this is nothing definitive, but something to keep in mind for any future hints.

I believe Hildy is a spy for the Brotherhood Without Banners. Evidence:

1. She is extremely modest and shy when Jaime bursts in, covering her parts and commenting that "her turnips are not for sale", before rushing to don her clothes. However, within a minute or two, she is speaking to Jaime as a woman who knows what she is doing, even "giving Jaime a brazen look" and commenting once Jaime rejects her "no turnips for you then". Nevermind that she "squeezes him" on her way out. That type of extreme switch reminds me of mummery more than anything.

2. She also receives a lot of words for a character that is only (supposedly) there to show characterization of Jonas Bracken and Jaime's sexual desires in conflict with his honor/thoughts of Cersei. How many named camp followers are there? Shae, Ser Ryman's Queen, Fireball's Mother, and Hildy.

3. A small connection, but this also comes on the heels of Jaime's previous chapter (in AFFC) which ends with him speaking to Tom O' Sevens, another smallfolk infiltrating Riverlands locations held by those loyal to the Lannisters. (Not to mention, Mance does that same thing as Abel throughout ADWD).

4. Finally, it seems to fit with Brienne miraculously coming upon Jaime at Pennytree. It makes sense that she is now "working with" The BWB to find Jaime, so it would be assumed that their network would have to bring them together.

Any thoughts? I know it is speculation, but a good reason to keep an eye out for a woman with "pug nose and a shaggy mane of hair, with nipples darker and thrice the size of Cersei's".
 

Well, Hildy's presense definately suggests the BwB is organized and clever enough to use prostitutes as spies. To that extent, there is something odd about her. What is really interesting and important is that the BwB should not be written off as simply a rabble of disorganized peasants. Not only are they setting up a seemingly sophisticated network of spies in their enemy's camp, but we know from ASoS that they have support from some Maesters and Lords, so there is real institutional backing for the BwB. In real world terms, this group would be an insurgency, and its existence here implies deep trouble ahead for the Lannisters and especially the Freys.

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I think Hildy is there for comic relief, not that Jaime's chapters really need it.  The scene is kind of funny though.

That the BwB is a classic insurgency has been apparent since at least Arya's meeting with Beric, and it's quite obvious they have sympathisers throughout the area.  Most of the Lords appear to be generally on their side as well.  As Daven put it, "their hearts are ... wolfish".  

I expect any revelation that Hildy is there to keep an eye on Lord Bracken, or even to monitor Jaime's movements (though they're pretty obvious) would be met with a collective shrug, both by readers and characters.  She's not important and won't be.

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