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Slayer of Lies

Septon Chayle is the Hooded Man in WF (Theon I Spoilers)

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Don't get me wrong PotN, I'm a huge fan of Fight Club and I see where you're coming from, and personally I think the moniker is pretty cool. It still doesn't quite fit for me though.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the HM is, as you say, the person Theon wants to be again, Theon as opposed to Reek, and the narrator is Reek, as opposed to Theon. With that in mind, let's just look at the beginning of the exchange.

Farther on, he came upon a man striding in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him. When they found themselves face-to-face their eyes met briefly. The man put a hand on his dagger. "Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer."

"I'm not. I never... I was ironborn."

My question is why the accusation of kinslaying? I can understand the turncloak accusation in this situation, because Theon knows he turned his cloak and he regrets it, so there is room here for internal conflict, but Theon knows he is not a kinslayer. Yet it is the kinslayer accusation he responds to, despite he fact that there should be no internal conflict in that regard.

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Absolving HM of the murders definitely boosts this theory. I don't think a septon would go around murdering people (well maybe Septon Utt but not a normal septon).

I still think Robett is most likely

I think it's pretty clear that the first two murders, (Ryswell guy and Yellow Dick) were the washerwomen's work. They were probing for ways out of the castle and they got caught so they had to kill. In Yellow Dick's case, he probably tried to put his penis in one of them, and she put his penis in him.

Little Walder is the mystery.

I always assumed that he wasn't afraid because, if the HM was not a figment of his own imagination, it was someone he expected might give him a mercy death. Theon is not afraid of dying, so long as he doesn't have to suffer any more. If the HM, as the OP puts it, is Chayle, he'd know that Bran and Rickon are still alive and that it was Ramsay who torched Winterfell when Theon's attempts to hold it intact and convert its people to his rule fell to the shitheap. If the HM can see he's already been tortured, why would Theon be afraid of someone he recognises who he'd expect to put him out his misery. So it could be anyone from a variety of suspects so long as they weren't confirmed definitively dead.

Thanks, all. I think the re-spun OP opens up some possibilities for various readers – e.g. The HM doesn’t necessary have to commit some or all of the murders, though I suppose it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for those that enjoy that angle.

What continues to amuse me is that readers – for good reason – are all over the map on this one. It’s Chayle, it’s Robett, it’s Harwin, it’s the Blackfish. It’s Theon Durden. The HM committed somewhere between zero and all of the murders, etc.

I personally feel like the SW’s admission of guilt and BW’s deducible guilt are pretty clear, where the HM is an intentional red herring. The series of events as I see it is:

  • Initial murders occur
  • HM appears, Theon suspects him
  • The spearwives show up and take credit for the initial murders, absolving the HM (though not everybody buys it)
  • LW’s murder happens, the SWs deny that murder very specifically, the HM comes to mind for many, though other readers discern that BW is the primary suspect due to the frozen blood observation
  • Somehow the HM is still somehow on the suspect list

Others believe that Ramsay is on the murder suspect list (or is the HM), based on the fact that “Reek” committed the initial murders, Ramsay’s men are basically “excusing” several of the murders, and Ramsay walks into the long hall strapping on a sword belt like he’s fresh from the shower – one of a million suspicious activities that happens during A Ghost in Winterfell and Theon I.

But the point remains the same regarding the murders, for me at least. If all the murders are accounted for by anyone other than the HM, I think the suspect list shifts.

If the HM is absolved, for example, Chayle springs to the forefront for me, followed by Robett, followed by Anyone Else.

If the HM committed some (or all) of the murders, Robett becomes a good #1, as does Ramsay perhaps (history repeating itself, as Theon observes). Chayle is on that list too, though, as the “all men have murder in their hearts” observation is one of the few factoids we know about him.

The point there is that lots of people are on the suspect list, if you factor in the variety of reader opinions on the matter.

And in addition to all of the proposed scenarios and suspects, there are people who believe that we will never hear from the HM again (whether he committed the murders or not), which would allow readers to speculate ad nauseum about his identity, a la Syrio Forel.

And all of that has been said on this thread and others.

In the face of that, I posted the Chayle theory because I was actually quite surprised – with such an astute reader collective – that no one had posited this theory yet, a full two years after ADWD came out (which is tomorrow, btw).

To that end, I hardly expect to “convince” everyone that Chayle is the HM, especially on such a divided subject with so little textual information to go on. But I was personally thrilled to identify his plausibility and to be able to share it with the same group of people who has brought me so many amazing theories over the years – whether they come to fruition or not.

If anything, I do enjoy reading all of the various rationale behind what people believe.

Even thought this thread inherently has multiple personality disorder. :uhoh:

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Don't get me wrong PotN, I'm a huge fan of Fight Club and I see where you're coming from, and personally I think the moniker is pretty cool. It still doesn't quite fit for me though.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the HM is, as you say, the person Theon wants to be again, Theon as opposed to Reek, and the narrator is Reek, as opposed to Theon.

Further to your question, 3EM, why would Theon address Reek as Theon? :leaving:

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Further to your question, 3EM, why would Theon address Reek as Theon? :leaving:

Indeed, and why would Reek tell Theon he was ironborn?

In Fight Club the narrator unconsciously creates Tyler as a vehicle to change all that is wrong in his life. There is a lot that's wrong with Theon's life, but kinslaying is not one of them in Theon's mind.

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Don't get me wrong PotN, I'm a huge fan of Fight Club and I see where you're coming from, and personally I think the moniker is pretty cool. It still doesn't quite fit for me though.

Yeah, I don't really think the Theon Durden name is really all that derogatory but I know there have been some who use it that way.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the HM is, as you say, the person Theon wants to be again, Theon as opposed to Reek, and the narrator is Reek, as opposed to Theon. With that in mind, let's just look at the beginning of the exchange.

Farther on, he came upon a man striding in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him. When they found themselves face-to-face their eyes met briefly. The man put a hand on his dagger. "Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer."

"I'm not. I never... I was ironborn."

My question is why the accusation of kinslaying? I can understand the turncloak accusation in this situation, because Theon knows he turned his cloak and he regrets it, so there is room here for internal conflict, but Theon knows he is not a kinslayer. Yet it is the kinslayer accusation he responds to, despite he fact that there should be no internal conflict in that regard.

Hmm...I don't necessarily believe Reek was responding only to the kinslayer accusation. I think he was responding to both the turncloak and kinslayer accusations when he said "I'm not. I never...I was Ironborn." I believe what we see here is the person he used to be and wants to be again (Theon) looking on the person he is and is in danger of becoming for good (Reek) with derision. I think Theon is leveling those accusations at Reek that Reek knows the world at large, basically, levels at him.

Also, when it come to the kinslaying accusations, etc. I think it's basically just the acknowledgement by everyone that the Starks and other people of Winterfell were more "kin" to Theon than anyone and he killed many of them (especially Bran and Rickon). I guess I don't think it really has anything to do with the miller's kids at all or that one or both of them could have been Theon's. :dunno:

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Thanks, all. (snipped great post for brevity)

It's a great and interesting theory SoL and thanks for sharing it! However, I'm stickin' with Theon Durden for now ;)

ETA: Apologies for the triple-post! :leaving:

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Can we at least come up with something less pejorative than Theon Durden? What an awful theory name! :( I was under the impression Theon killed Little Walder in a fugue state before I came across the 'HM is Theon's conscience' theory, so I thought it fit with me quite well. I now lean towards the Chayle theory, though I don't really want to (I'd prefer a different character), thanks to SlayerofLies, but think at least one of the deaths was caused by the washerwomen. No matter who killed who, though, and it seems clear there were multiple murderers, I am convinced the HM is a red herring also, intended to make you believe there's a single operative, and hide a few surprises in the mix.

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I'd love this quote if it's not too much trouble.

Not sure what “quote” you mean, PotN, though I imagine we can clear up the issue with your input…

3EM’s read on your Theon Durden position is that the narrator is “Reek,” and that the HM is “Theon.”

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the HM is, as you say, the person Theon wants to be again, Theon as opposed to Reek, and the narrator is Reek, as opposed to Theon.

Perhaps that’s not how you see it, but if it is, and if the HM is the “Theon” personality, and Theon is the “Reek” personality and narrating POV, wouldn’t the HM address him as “Reek”? Instead, the HM calls him, "Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer."

Maybe that’s a non sequitur to the way you perceive Theon’s reliability as a narrator, or maybe you have an answer.

---

Bigger picture, one of my problems with Theon running into “himself" is that it would render his entire POV unreliable to the potential extent that the murders may not have happened at all, he might not even be in Winterfell, and the whole thing could all be a dream.

Yes, that’s the infamous slippery slope argument, but to be willing to suspend one’s disbelief about Theon’s sanity only as it pertains the 125-word HM encounter is something I have trouble accepting, because I hardly expect Theon to wake up with all his fingers only to learn that the last two years were all an elaborate hallucination, or that several other things he may have perceived simply never happened.

Anyway, just one more thing that makes Theon2 harder for me to buy into as readily as other readers.

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Anyway, just one more thing that makes Theon2 harder for me to buy into as readily as other readers.

An excellent alternative to "Theon Durden," IMO.

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Hmm...I don't necessarily believe Reek was responding only to the kinslayer accusation. I think he was responding to both the turncloak and kinslayer accusations when he said "I'm not. I never...I was Ironborn." I believe what we see here is the person he used to be and wants to be again (Theon) looking on the person he is and is in danger of becoming for good (Reek) with derision. I think Theon is leveling those accusations at Reek that Reek knows the world at large, basically, levels at him.

I see your point and I don't want to split hairs or turn it into a Theon Durden thread, but this is how I read the response.

"I'm not. I never... [thinks about confessing that he never killed Bran and Rickon but then thinks better of it and reverts to a safer excuse i.e. not that he didn't kill them but that they were not truly his brothers] I was ironborn."

That's my take on it anyway, make what you will of it. So that's my reasoning for not buying the TD theory, be it right or wrong, but I would never dump on a theory just because I didn't like it.

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Not sure what “quote” you mean, PotN, though I imagine we can clear up the issue with your input…

3EM’s read on your Theon Durden position is that the narrator is “Reek,” and that the HM is “Theon.”

Perhaps that’s not how you see it, but if it is, and if the HM is the “Theon” personality, and Theon is the “Reek” personality and narrating POV, wouldn’t the HM address him as “Reek”? Instead, the HM calls him, "Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer."

Maybe that’s a non sequitur to the way you perceive Theon’s reliability as a narrator, or maybe you have an answer.

Ah, OK, now I get the reference. I just didn't remember the instance where compartmentalized Theon (for lack of a better description in my interpretation) called compartmentalized Reek "Theon". For now, I simply interpret it as I said up-thread: that it's Theon levelling the accusations at Reek that those around him/them do. As just a bit of support I happened to find this on page 490 of the US hardcover ADWD:
I made myself the Prince of Winterfell, he thought, and from that came all of this. He had thought that men would sing of him for a hundred years and tell tales of his daring. But if anyone spoke of him now, it was as Theon Turncloak, and the tales they told were of his treachery.

Bigger picture, one of my problems with Theon running into “himself" is that it would render his entire POV unreliable to the potential extent that the murders may not have happened at all, he might not even be in Winterfell, and the whole thing could all be a dream.

Yes, that’s the infamous slippery slope argument, but to be willing to suspend one’s disbelief about Theon’s sanity only as it pertains the 125-word HM encounter is something I have trouble accepting, because I hardly expect Theon to wake up with all his fingers only to learn that the last two years were all an elaborate hallucination, or that several other things he may have perceived simply never happened.

Anyway, just one more thing that makes Theon2 harder for me to buy into as readily as other readers.

Yes, I don't have anything to add to this except to agree with you that it's a slippery slope argument.

I see your point and I don't want to split hairs or turn it into a Theon Durden thread, but this is how I read the response.

"I'm not. I never... [thinks about confessing that he never killed Bran and Rickon but then thinks better of it and reverts to a safer excuse i.e. not that he didn't kill them but that they were not truly his brothers] I was ironborn."

I agree with you here - I think that's exactly what Reek was doing with that statement. However, I don't think he's only responding to the accusation of kinslaying with it. I think he's also trying to use the fact that he is Ironborn as a defense against the accusation of being a turncloak as well. I believe his thinking is that he couldn't "turn his cloak" on the Starks because he was never one of them (i.e. Ironborn not Northman).

That's my take on it anyway, make what you will of it. So that's my reasoning for not buying the TD theory, be it right or wrong, but I would never dump on a theory just because I didn't like it.

(bolding mine)

Excellent! That's exactly how I feel about theories on the board in general. But the post above that was, basically, [paraphrasing] "If Theon Durden turns out to be true it will ruin the second-best storyline in the books!" does come across as dumping on a theory simply due to not liking it.

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Yeah. I regard the theory with a pinch of salt myself, not because I don't think he has a hallucination when he's trying to reclaim his identity (and it may not even be that - he might be getting manipulated by Bran) or even because of the extensions of the 'unreliable narrator' argument. I don't think it undermines his credibility regarding what actually happens elsewhere in the chapter. I stand by my guns re: Little Walder, but the Reekster was simply incapable of delivering all those deaths. Two things to bear in mind, though:

Theon is a 'representation of the Seven' character, as I pointed out in an old thread I started which no-one seemed to agree with. He represents The Stranger. The only other character with this attribute is Arya, who occupies an assassin role, and once described herself as 'the ghost of Harrenhal'.

All of the proper titles in the series, where they're given, relate to the POVs, so Theon himself is one of the ghosts in Winterfell he alludes to later, and the chapter title in question seems to tie him up with a similar role in Winterfell as Arya occupies in her stay at Harrenhal. She is of course there a secret agent of death.

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@Killer Snark.

I have made comments on the Stranger aspect of the HM meeting.Can't remember where!

My take is that there are only two true Stranger encounters in the novels-the HM/Theon one and the Bran/Liddle one.It's one of the coincidences I use to back up my rather unpopular Liddle is both Myrtle and the HM theory.You could make a case for the Pate/Alchemist encounter,but he is at least physically described and recognizable as the last incarnation of Jaqen H'ghar.

The HM and the Liddle are not physically described.The only two characters in the novels who are not physically described.I don't get the case for Theon or Arya to be manifestations of the Stranger?

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What exactly is the Theon Durden theory? Is it the dual personality one?

Yes, the theory that the HM is Theon and the encounter between them is some sort of Gollum/Smeagol split personality encounter.

(This theory is also known as the Theon2 theory!)

@The Killer Snark & redriver:

This has probably been brought up before, but it just occurred to me that the faceless men are literal strangers to the people they kill. They will not accept assignments to kill people they know. Those on the ship bringing Arya to Braavos made sure that she knew their names, presumably so she wouldn't kill them.

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Yeah. I regard the theory with a pinch of salt myself, not because I don't think he has a hallucination when he's trying to reclaim his identity (and it may not even be that - he might be getting manipulated by Bran) or even because of the extensions of the 'unreliable narrator' argument. I don't think it undermines his credibility regarding what actually happens elsewhere in the chapter. I stand by my guns re: Little Walder, but the Reekster was simply incapable of delivering all those deaths.

Yeah, while I do subscribe to the Theon Durden or Theon2 theory (I think I still prefer "Theon Durden" - embracing what originated as a derogatory label appeals to me a bit more :D ) I don't believe Theon is responsible for any of the mysterious deaths. I also don't believe the mysterious deaths are the work of a single person.

Two things to bear in mind, though:

Theon is a 'representation of the Seven' character, as I pointed out in an old thread I started which no-one seemed to agree with. He represents The Stranger. The only other character with this attribute is Arya, who occupies an assassin role, and once described herself as 'the ghost of Harrenhal'.

All of the proper titles in the series, where they're given, relate to the POVs, so Theon himself is one of the ghosts in Winterfell he alludes to later, and the chapter title in question seems to tie him up with a similar role in Winterfell as Arya occupies in her stay at Harrenhal. She is of course there a secret agent of death.

Funny you should mention the chapter titles. I was thumbing through ADWD last night and I noticed something again that I guess I sort of knew but hadn't given as much thought to previously. The Theon-related chapter titles in ADWD are thus:

Reek

Reek

Reek

The Prince of Winterfell

The Turncloak

A Ghost in Winterfell

Theon

Hmm...might mean nothing, might mean something ;)

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mushroomshirt - All of the Faceleless Men, including Jaqen H'ghar, are representatives of The Stranger. But only two POVs, Theon and Arya, correspond to the symbolic aspects of the role. I really need to bring the old thread back but make my arguments more extensive. 'Theon squared' is excellent, isn't it? I' wish I'd come up with that.

redriver - See above. My thread was not a popular one, but apart from me coming up with it on my own, it predates me reading the novels. All I did was throw some weight behind it. It will be back.

Prince of the North - The chapter titles are very significant. I spotted the Arya analogue pretty much straight away.

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PrinceoftheNorth - The chapter titles are very significant. I spotted the Arya analogue pretty much straight away.

Do you mean the Ghost in Winterfell chapter title? Hmm...there could be something to that but what I am getting at is the change from "Reek" earlier on to finally "Theon" at the end. Could that correspond to him moving away from being or, at least, trying to be Reek to being Theon again?

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Yes, partly. Theon is metaphorically, as a character forgotten to himself, one of the 'ghosts' in Winterfell. It seems odd to me that he only becomes Theon fully again in the titles after the killings have taken place.

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