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Brandon Stark, the douchebag?


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Ned Dayne could be an unreliable narrator unwittingly , but Barbrey Dustin could knowingly be giving false information.

I've just been musing on this in the ADWD forum because of my serious doubts about Barbrey Dustin's truthfulness and my feeling that she's the Northern Lords' "deep cover" agent in Roose's camp.... That , and my strengthening conviction that Roose was at least complicit and possibly solely responsible for Domeric's death. ( Trust me , I'm coming back to Brandon )

We don't know what Domeric looked like , but he rode like a Stark( Roose compares his riding to Lyanna's , Barbrey equates Lyanna's with Brandon's ). Domeric was just a bit older than Ned's kids and died 2 yrs before the War of the 5 Kings. His mother Bethany died the year that war began...Roose's maester says D. died of a sickness of the bowels..Roose flatly says it was poison ( tears of Lys ?)...Bethany died of a fever ... The wiki says Greywater fever can be "treated" to end in a slow , agonizing death... I wonder if other fevers can be similarly "treated"..and what kind of fever Bethany had...By ADWD , we see that Roose has a different maester than the one he had at Domeric's death...

I'm pasting over some of my thoughts re; Brandon from that thread :

These are very speculative ,but... maybe Brandon's story goes : An early romance with Bethany , resulting in pregnancy (known or unknown), who then had to be married off to Roose , because Brandon's political betrothal to Cat was in the works. Cat was twelve when they were betrothed, and Brandon might really not have been entirely enthused. At Harrenhall , he falls hard for Ashara ( who is apparently breathtaking and has many admirers ). If Brandon had been unengaged , this could also have been a prestigious match... Maybe he , like Robb, thought he needed to cancel out of one agreement in favour of another, especially if Ashara had been compromised by pregnancy ... Regardless, either the Tullys or the Daynes would have been offended or disgraced , why not go with your romantic preference... The Rhaegar and Lyanna elopment ( not kidnapping IMO ) would have put thrown up a barrier to any such plans... Two broken engagements would have been more than Rickard could possibly take ...But maybe Brandon foolishly thought he could win his release by "rescuing" Lyanna...Or perhaps he foolishly thought he could appeal to Aerys to sort it out ( not knowing Aerys' own lust for Ashara )...

( Alternatively ,Barbrey mentions Rickard's marriage ambitions for his children, and says her father wanted to marry her to Brandon , but perhaps his plans were always for first daughter , first ..)

Now ,maybe Brandon would have dallied with both sisters .. but would Barbrey ,an otherwise astute seeming woman , share tales of her deflowering, and in such graphic terms with ...Theon ??... Rings a bit false to me. ...Ned, who was fostered out at 8 , was a true ward ( unlike Theon ,who though treated as a ward within the Stark family, was still a hostage and thus couldn't visit his family ) ...It seems unlikely that Ned would not have returned to be with his family from time to time. ( At Harrenhall , the siblings all seem to be on very familiar terms. ) ...And we know it doesn't take long for a serious infatuation take hold.( see R+L) ... If Ned was Barbrey's real love interest and Brandon Ashara's, then Ned's visits to the two women after the ToJ are still poignant, but for different reasons than first assumed.

Why does Barbrey not remarry ? Without children ,the Dustin seat will go to a Dustin relative anyway. Perhaps because as Lady Dustin she can make decisions in her own right that could avenge her nephew ( and possibly her sister )? ...If there's a "true love lost" reason, it's unlikely to be over Willam Dustin, who she implies no feelings for ,one way or another ( she was "left" with him ). He was just the consolation prize and had only been her husband for 6 months when he left for RR ...So, in the crypts ,is her last "lingering" look at Ned's statue truly indicative of hatred, or something else ?

Maybe Brandon, though impulsive ,wasn't a douchebag.. just a guy caught up in the machinations of bigger fish .( Likewise , Ned, Barbrey , Bethany,Lyanna and Ashara .)

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I think you strech it too much, bemused.

1, Roose compared Lyanna and Domeric because they both were excellent riders ... The quote also made it seem they were peers. He says something along the lines of "Not even Lord Rickard's daughter could outride him and she was half a horse herself". It appears they competed and Domeric won. If it is the case (that they were around the same age), then he possibly cannot be Brandon's son (the age gap between Brandon and Lyanna wasn't great, I assume).

If Domeric sounds like someone from history, it is Rhaegar Targaryen, but I highly doubt he ever visited the North, and also, what would the point be in a dead boy being a dead man's secret bastard ...

(But maybe Lyanna had a crush on Domeric and the similarities Rhaegar shared with him later made her elope with Rhaeg. Ha ha. I'm now going to stan for the theory that Jon Snow is a Bolton. It would be glorious!)

2, This is not that important for your theory, but a Dayne girl is not a good enough match for the Stark heir: the North and Dorne lay on the opposite ends of Westeros and the Daynes certainly must be poorer than the Tullys; the Riverlands are very fertile. Rickard would rage.

3, It makes more sense if she gives a vivid description of an experience she lived through than one she didn't. A lonely woman needs to get something off her chest. (Plus, George needs to give his readers information somehow. It's harder to do when the character isn't a POV.)

4, Seconds before Barbrey gives Ned's likeness that last lingering look, she talks about the awful things she means to do with his remains; Theon mentiones she has got an ugly smile on her face, which eerily reminds him of Ramsay's facial expressions. Doesn't sound very lovey dovey.

The last actually makes me think that while Barbrey will betray the Boltons (she loathes Ramsay deeply and after Roose's death all control would fall in the lap of this maniac), she's not exactly fond of the Starks either, but she views them them as the lesser evil.

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Plus, by the sound of it. Brandon Stark was a hypocrite; plain and simple. He dishonoured several noble women and yet blew his top off when it happened to be his sister

How is that hypocritical? There's an enormous difference between wooing a woman or seducing her and kidnapping a woman and raping her, which is what Brandon believed Rhaegar did to Lyanna. In the former case it's consensual, in the latter case it's violent and against the woman's will.

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I agree that from the way Roose compares Domeric's riding to Lyanna's you could take it that they were contemporaries, but I think that's deliberately misleading on GRRM's part. Domeric and Lyanna probably never competed against each other , but had ridden the same course or test , at different times.

I don't see how they can have been contemporary. Roose still refers to Domeric as "the lad", I believe , as if he was still fairly young when he died ....He was a page for Barbrey for 4 years and squired for Lord Redfort for 3 years before returning home , and he died not too long afterward, by the sound of things.

You probably wouldn't send a child to be a page until at least 6 or 7, and maybe a bit older for a squire..( 10 ? 12 ? ) He showed promise in the lists , but hadn't yet had much experience. I doubt he could have been more than 14-16 when he returned home... and he died 2 yrs before Robb called his banners. Robb was still 14-15 at the time.

Of course, it all depends on how much of what Barbrey says is to keep Roose believing she's on his side.

ETA; And really , why would someone like Barbrey confide in someone like Theon ? It's highly unlikely.. If she's managed to keep it to herself all these years , why blurt it out now ?.. This is probably the line she's already spun to Roose..

Both Roose and Barbrey tell Theon things they think he'll volunteer , or be forced to repeat to Ramsay...

I did say that outline was very speculative ... It's one alternative , but there could easily be others ... The point is what Barbrey says is definitely suspect to one degree or another ...and I don't think we should settle on an opinion of Brandon based on what she says..

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