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Xray the Enforcer

[ADWD SPOILERS] Jon 8

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I really liked Jon in this chapter. He seems to be well on his way to becoming a grown man, and a compassionate one at that. Now I just want Ghost back safe n sound from his long hunting :)

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Another interesting Jon chapter, I think he has a firmer grip of what is going on than he did in his earlier chapters but he has still made a number of mistakes.

Observations from this chapter:

* Sending Val on a ranging mission is a huge mistake. While she is a memorable face amongst the free folk, we have been told that free folk follow a 'name' like Mance Rayder, not because they should - mance's sister in law. Jon has 62 other wildlings that he could send north of the wall without taking anywhere near as big a gamble.

* Snow and Marsh need to come to blows soon, Jon is not respecting the ancient order of the Night's Watch, these are the people that Marsh et al have been fighting for all of their lives and Jon just expects them to roll over on their stomachs and accept the Wildlings? Is he mental? The only reason that Jon understands the wildlings at all is because he spent time with them.

* His reasoning behind rescuing Mother Mole and the wildlings is sound and logical. I hadn't figured it out until Jon spells it out to Marsh and company. I wonder if the vision is going to be that the Wildlings all end up on Skaagos?

* Jon still has no faith in Mel despite her being right about the rangers?!

* Would it really have been so difficult for Jon to name someone of higher birth to be his steward? Don't get me wrong, I really like Satin as a character, but surely Jon should try and keep some of the old traditions going? He seems very much to be doing out with the old and in with the new.

* I love the idea of the corpses in the ice cells - good thinking Snow.

* He really needs to get a grip or Marsh is going to lead a coup and lock him in the ice cells! I always feel a bit nervous when Ghost isn't there.

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* Jon still has no faith in Mel despite her being right about the rangers?!

* I love the idea of the corpses in the ice cells - good thinking Snow.

* He really needs to get a grip or Marsh is going to lead a coup and lock him in the ice cells! I always feel a bit nervous when Ghost isn't there.

Great analysis-- I'm just calling out the parts I have a response to.

I don't think that Jon doubts Mel's power, it's her intentions that give him pause. And I think he's right to be suspicious. Her motivations aren't the same as his. If he relies on her too much, he becomes her servant.

Snow is really proving himself to be a good leader. Most of the Night's Watch are still fixated on their ancient enemy: the wildlings. Jon realizes that that's all totally irrelevant in the face of the real peril: the Others. I think if you asked Bowen Marsh or the others, they'd agree that the Others are the real danger-- it's just that they haven't realized that this means they have to adjust all their thinking now. Including about the wildlings.

Jon's strategy against the Others seems to be "corpse denial". He's moving as many living beings out of the Others' reach as possible to minimize the number of wights they can create. Studying the wights, rescuing the wildlings, offering terms to Tormund, even the rangings-- it's all in service to this strategy.

I think that Bowen Marsh would be arguing with Jon no matter what. Marsh's preference is to end all rangings, seal the Wall, and to hell with the wildlings. Short-term that might even be better and safer for the Watch. Long-run, it seals their fate. Jon's still establishing his leadership. He can't satisfy everyone, and has to establish that he's in command now. There's no easy way to do that. I'm not saying there won't be a coup attempt, just that giving in to Marsh won't prevent a mutiny.

Am I the only one who worries that Grenn and Pyp will be at the center of a mutiny if it comes? That would be really, really sad. Like, as in Red Wedding-level sad.

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I really like that so far in this book Jon has made tough decisions on his own time after time. Too often before he's evaded the need for that due to some plot device like Stannis arriving just when Jon had to choose whether to kill Mance.

Jon's plan looks good, but how is he going to feed so many people? Of course it's better to worry about that an year from now than to get slaughter by the Others next month, but still...

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* Sending Val on a ranging mission is a huge mistake. While she is a memorable face amongst the free folk, we have been told that free folk follow a 'name' like Mance Rayder, not because they should - mance's sister in law. Jon has 62 other wildlings that he could send north of the wall without taking anywhere near as big a gamble.

His only wants to convince Tormund. Sending Val to do that makes sense, since she probably has a better chance to succeed than some random other wildling.

Don't really understand why he is sending her alone though. hope we see her again ... alive

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anyone else notice that Val named Gilly's baby? Didn't Gilly specifically say not to give it a name for 2 years or something, or else it's unlucky?

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anyone else notice that Val named Gilly's baby? Didn't Gilly specifically say not to give it a name for 2 years or something, or else it's unlucky?

I think it's just a temporary name? Some way to distinguish it from Dalla's babe back when they were both milk brothers? I think Val notes that the name is just a "milk name" or something like that.

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Great analysis-- I'm just calling out the parts I have a response to.

I don't think that Jon doubts Mel's power, it's her intentions that give him pause. And I think he's right to be suspicious. Her motivations aren't the same as his. If he relies on her too much, he becomes her servant.

Snow is really proving himself to be a good leader. Most of the Night's Watch are still fixated on their ancient enemy: the wildlings. Jon realizes that that's all totally irrelevant in the face of the real peril: the Others. I think if you asked Bowen Marsh or the others, they'd agree that the Others are the real danger-- it's just that they haven't realized that this means they have to adjust all their thinking now. Including about the wildlings.

Jon's strategy against the Others seems to be "corpse denial". He's moving as many living beings out of the Others' reach as possible to minimize the number of wights they can create. Studying the wights, rescuing the wildlings, offering terms to Tormund, even the rangings-- it's all in service to this strategy.

I think that Bowen Marsh would be arguing with Jon no matter what. Marsh's preference is to end all rangings, seal the Wall, and to hell with the wildlings. Short-term that might even be better and safer for the Watch. Long-run, it seals their fate. Jon's still establishing his leadership. He can't satisfy everyone, and has to establish that he's in command now. There's no easy way to do that. I'm not saying there won't be a coup attempt, just that giving in to Marsh won't prevent a mutiny.

Agreed. Jon is a wise and just leader. I think his reign as Lord Commander of the Nights Watch will prepare him if the R+L=J theory turns out true and somehow he rules the kingdoms :)

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Great analysis-- I'm just calling out the parts I have a response to.

I don't think that Jon doubts Mel's power, it's her intentions that give him pause. And I think he's right to be suspicious. Her motivations aren't the same as his. If he relies on her too much, he becomes her servant.

Snow is really proving himself to be a good leader. Most of the Night's Watch are still fixated on their ancient enemy: the wildlings. Jon realizes that that's all totally irrelevant in the face of the real peril: the Others. I think if you asked Bowen Marsh or the others, they'd agree that the Others are the real danger-- it's just that they haven't realized that this means they have to adjust all their thinking now. Including about the wildlings.

Jon's strategy against the Others seems to be "corpse denial". He's moving as many living beings out of the Others' reach as possible to minimize the number of wights they can create. Studying the wights, rescuing the wildlings, offering terms to Tormund, even the rangings-- it's all in service to this strategy.

I think that Bowen Marsh would be arguing with Jon no matter what. Marsh's preference is to end all rangings, seal the Wall, and to hell with the wildlings. Short-term that might even be better and safer for the Watch. Long-run, it seals their fate. Jon's still establishing his leadership. He can't satisfy everyone, and has to establish that he's in command now. There's no easy way to do that. I'm not saying there won't be a coup attempt, just that giving in to Marsh won't prevent a mutiny.

Am I the only one who worries that Grenn and Pyp will be at the center of a mutiny if it comes? That would be really, really sad. Like, as in Red Wedding-level sad.

I agree with the points you've made here, Jon is definitely concerned regarding Mel's intentions.

The corpse denial strategy isn't necessarily a bad one, but perhaps sealing the wall would actually be safer? I know the wall can be scaled, the wildlings have done it enough times. But would wights and/or Others be capable of scaling the wall? If not than sealing it would make sense. If they really have no way through, then there's no danger?

It would be brutally sad if Grenn and Pyp were behind a mutiny, though I could certainly see that being the case.

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I'm finding that I have to have some suspension of disbelief when reading these Jon chapters. We have been told many times in the past how the Night's Watch is made of rapers, thieves, the scum of Westeros, disgraced knights and lordlings far down the line of succession with no other choice of advancement in their own worlds. We know how men come to the watch often very late in their lives, with long lives before them. And how people from all houses come together, often in time of war, and put their emnities aside, whether Stark or Lannister, or Tully or Frey. Joining the watch we are told washes away your past life.

The Watch is also an order that has stood on the north for thousands of years, and more than most understands what lies north of the wall, and the wildlings. We are told by Mance that there is more trade between the Watch and wildlings than he thinks. The half-hand seemed to have a respect for the wildlings, and told Jon that only fools truly hate them. And at this very moment the Watch is made of men, some of whom have actually seen undead jombies and bears attack them.

My problem is, I'm not buying that the officers of the watch would have such a blind, one-sided hatred of the wildlings like what we see here, or that it should bother them so much even after a wildling says the words. There are many cases of watchmen going to the wildlings, but we are supposed to think that the much more logical opposite, wildlings joining the wall, is somehow unheard of - while the scum of society and war enemies coming together and being bound as brothers is found. In a more realistic world, the Watch and the wildlings would have started trading and building diplomatic relations and turning Eastwatch into some huge trading city millenia ago. At the least seasoned watchmen would have more liking to the wildlings than to the green boys, rapists and whores that come to them. The North of the wall is as large as many real world countries, I'm sure the vast majority of the people living there aren't raiding and killing watchmen for most of their time, and I can't see why such a hatred is supposed to have persisted through millenia. Its not even as if there's some historical hatred for the personal lives of many of the watchmen, most of them come to the Wall with no connection to the North or its history.

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My problem is, I'm not buying that the officers of the watch would have such a blind, one-sided hatred of the wildlings like what we see here, or that it should bother them so much even after a wildling says the words. There are many cases of watchmen going to the wildlings, but we are supposed to think that the much more logical opposite, wildlings joining the wall, is somehow unheard of - while the scum of society and war enemies coming together and being bound as brothers is found. In a more realistic world, the Watch and the wildlings would have started trading and building diplomatic relations and turning Eastwatch into some huge trading city millenia ago. At the least seasoned watchmen would have more liking to the wildlings than to the green boys, rapists and whores that come to them. The North of the wall is as large as many real world countries, I'm sure the vast majority of the people living there aren't raiding and killing watchmen for most of their time, and I can't see why such a hatred is supposed to have persisted through millenia. Its not even as if there's some historical hatred for the personal lives of many of the watchmen, most of them come to the Wall with no connection to the North or its history.

From my perspective, absolutely: if USA warred with Canada then all of a sudden the French Canadians turn up with lasers, you would expect the US to allow all other Canadians behind their defences, share their rations and stores, and prepare for the coming French-Canadian destruction without any qualms? They were just hating each other 2 weeks ago and each had been the others enemy for thousands of years! They couldn't just settle down together, they were brought up believing entirely different philosophies and ways of life, it would be too much of a culture clash. In ASOIAF terms, general belief is that 'those beyond the wall' are enemies regardless of status (wildling/Other), and never in living memory has a distinction had to be made, therefore general assumption would be that they shouldn't be there; it's just how they're hard wired.

Am I the only one who worries that Grenn and Pyp will be at the center of a mutiny if it comes? That would be really, really sad. Like, as in Red Wedding-level sad.

Has there been even one mention of Pyp or Grenn so far in this book? Almost like GRRM wants their sudden appearance to be jarring/surprise us? So far we have no idea what they think of Jon's decision making. Got a bad feeling...

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We see them in one chapter where Pyp is I believe, telling jokes by the fire, and we see Jon later on sending them off to, either Eastwatch or the Shadow Tower, I don't remember.

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Ah, that'd explain it. I'd imagine the unrest is worst at Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower, where Jon isn't there to explain his actions, so this could be an issue yet...

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So it looks like Hardhome is the site of the hundreds of caves with fires that go out when the mist creeps over from Melisandre's vision.

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Need clarification...

A dead person rises as a wight when:

a ) an Other kills them and reanimates them

b ) any wight kills them without the required presence of an Other

c ) any person dies by any means north of the wall without any action by either an Other or wight

d ) an Other comes across a dead body and reanimates them as a wight

e ) None of the above

The reason I ask is the three rangers whose heads they find on spikes had no eyes, presumably removed by the Weeper(an at large wildling) with no interaction known with an Other/Wight.

Is Jon expecting them to animate as wights so that he can try and communicate with them? If so, it might depend on how they died.

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Need clarification...

A dead person rises as a wight when:

a ) an Other kills them and reanimates them

b ) any wight kills them without the required presence of an Other

c ) any person dies by any means north of the wall without any action by either an Other or wight

d ) an Other comes across a dead body and reanimates them as a wight

e ) None of the above

The reason I ask is the three rangers whose heads they find on spikes had no eyes, presumably removed by the Weeper(an at large wildling) with no interaction known with an Other/Wight.

Is Jon expecting them to animate as wights so that he can try and communicate with them? If so, it might depend on how they died.

It happens when an Other kills someone/ something with his ice blade, or so it was hinted often before.

Jon probably doesn't know this. He's put the corpses in the ice cells to study / learn. At the least, he would learn if just dying beyond the Wall is enough. If the corpses don't rise as Wights, he'll learn that something *else* is a sinequanon for Wighting. It's just an experiment, and in any case he will learn from it if his current assumptions are right or not.

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It happens when an Other kills someone/ something with his ice blade, or so it was hinted often before.

Jon probably doesn't know this. He's put the corpses in the ice cells to study / learn. At the least, he would learn if just dying beyond the Wall is enough. If the corpses don't rise as Wights, he'll learn that something *else* is a sinequanon for Wighting. It's just an experiment, and in any case he will learn from it if his current assumptions are right or not.

Actually I'm not so sure about this. Ygritte told the rangers to burn the men they had killed on the mountain for fear that they would come back.

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Actually I'm not so sure about this. Ygritte told the rangers to burn the men they had killed on the mountain for fear that they would come back.

Yes, it's not absolutely sure. Apparently that's how it works, and it was the general consensus (among readers), but that doesn't make it 100% certain. Jon's experiment will show beyond doubt if Others are a requirement for rising Wights or not.

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