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Yeade

Le Grande Northern Conspiracy, Parte the Fourth

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I posted this on the "I never noticed that" thread earlier today and got redirected here by the good Lady G:

Also I've just noticed that Lady Dustin is maybe in on a plan involving Mance/Abel and thus probably Wyman - crypt viewing aside.

When earlier in Theon's chapter:

May be small, but the choice of utensil and simile by Lady Dustin seems a tad specific - Holly probably gives a sit rep to the lords in on the plan, how Theon is weak, broken, probably not the murderer, while trying to turn him to help "Arya".

I love these little details! I think this apparently small observation makes it clear, at the very least, the Lady Dustin is up to more than she lets on. Clearly, she has either been observing Theon quite closely in the hall or, as TTLS suggests-- this is evidence of collusion between the northern lords and Mance.

I really need to do a reread, but when do the Boltons become aware that Stannis is marching on Winterfell, and why doesn't Manderly send a rider to let Stannis in on the conspiring? Is this purely a plot mechanism to allow for a big GNC reveal, or a sign that Stannis will be cut out of the loop?

In Dance, chapter 32, when Roose arrives at Lord Stout's keep to talk with Ramsay he reveals that Stannis is marching south from the Wall and not towards the Dreadfort (revealing at the same time Arnolf Karstark's treachery to Stannis) It is at that time that Roose reveals the change in plans for the wedding-- to hold it at Winterfell in a new attempt to trap Stannis between an attack on the Boltons and the treachery of the Karstarks.

I don't believe Stannis was ever meant to be in the GNC loop-- his imminent attack is merely a useful distraction to the Boltons and Freys from the GNC perspective. In fact, Manderly not sending word to Stannis is proof to me that he never intended to join himself to Stannis, no matter what he may have told Davos.

I have to say it. The only person who can lead any sort of vengeance campaign is Jon stark or snow. He's the only stark with the birth, experience, and understanding while also being the only one able to wield a sword. If there is a plan for northern independence Jon has to be at the center of it. No ordinary lord of last hearth or depwoode motte or even riverrun can lead armies against w/e foe for the revenge and honor of these kingdoms. Only a stark. The stark. Jon stark.

Most of us believe that is exactly what the northern lords intend. While my personal belief is that Jon will function as a dux bellorum for House Stark as long as any of Eddard's children survive, we've seen him reach some pretty big decisions about his place in avenging wrongs done to his family at the end of Dance. I don't think you'll find many to dispute that Jon is the ultimate leader of the northern resistance. Most of the disagreement centers on which direction people think the true enemy is coming from.

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Most of the disagreement centers on which direction people think the true enemy is coming from.

Yeah, that. I can see the need to fix Winterfell, and if the Boltons haven't been put in their place by doing so, do that as well, maybe, but after that? I don't think anyone is marching on the Freys before Winter is done. If they give Jon a leader position then perhaps he can finally convince them that those NW letters about the Others were no joke, that they need to prepare for the mother of winters and that people need to hide behind their castle walls and spare all remaining lives for fighting the Others.

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I love these little details! I think this apparently small observation makes it clear, at the very least, the Lady Dustin is up to more than she lets on. Clearly, she has either been observing Theon quite closely in the hall or, as TTLS suggests-- this is evidence of collusion between the northern lords and Mance.

Cheers Lady G.

I'd also like to throw in, if it hasn't aready been stated (since it was in the same Theon chapter which I just finished re-reading) that whatever Lady Dustin's intentions are, she is privy to a lot of key information from Roose's private meetings.

When Dustin speaks of the spoon, it is the same conversation where the Aenys Frey accuses Manderley of the killings that occur in Winterfell - a private conversation with only Freys, Roose, Ryswell and Lady Dustin (the so-called "staunchest support"). I am of the belief such a gathering was not a one off affair, and that during the stay at Winterfell, this group have been calling most of the shots.

If Lady D has been 'turned' for the GNC, then they have one (perhaps two, include Ryswell) members who privy to Roose's inner most secret plans - a valuable commodity for any conspiracy.

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Welcome, The Titan's Legitimate Son! It's always good to see new ideas, especially ones with textual support. New posters, too. ^_^

Regarding Lady Dustin and, through her, the Ryswells spilling Roose's secrets to Manderly and co-conspirators, I suppose it does seem quite likely after they've been converted to the cause, so to speak. Which I figure happens sometime between Lady Dustin's fact-finding visit to the crypts and Theon's following chapter, "A Ghost in Winterfell." Even without the Ramsay problem, upon Manderly revealing that Bran and Rickon live, the latter soon to be retrieved from Skagos, Lady Dustin may simply have seen how the wind was blowing, IMO. Well, assuming that Manderly's in cahoots with the Umbers, Mormonts, and Glovers, as theorized, and that he's already swayed the Hornwoods, Cerwyns, and Tallharts, who all have prior grievances with the Boltons, to his side at Barrowton.

Thanks to Lady Gwynhyfvar and nenya~'s tireless efforts, I think the riverlands have been pretty well exhausted as a basis for new discussion, lol. What to argue about now? I have a few suggestions...

First, Heyo Winter Comin' asking about when the Boltons learn of Stannis's march on Winterfell reminded me that not much analysis has been done, at least in these GNC threads, about what Roose may or may not know. His motivations in betraying the Starks for the apparent reward of the rule of the North are hard to divine, and what he has planned as his next move, given that he's fully aware Manderly at the very least is looking to backstab him at the earliest chance, is equally mysterious.

tze proposed a characteristically brilliant alternative theory to the usual explanations that Roose is a self-serving opportunist. Whether Roose is purposely leading House Bolton to destruction for the sake of avenging Domeric's death on Ramsay or not, though, he probably still doesn't want to be around when the wrath of the other northern lords descends upon his hated bastard with extreme prejudice, lol. So, a quick and quiet exit stage right to the Dreadfort? Where he can expect to withstand a siege for years until either he dies or his enemies are forced to the negotiating table, unable to continue hostilities in the face of winter. Maybe slipping away while everyone's preoccupied with Stannis? Or does Roose await the outcome of that battle?

Second, I can't remember if the Winterfell murders have ever been discussed in relation to the GNC. Besides Little Walder's killer most likely being Big Walder, I honestly have no clue where to begin on this.

Finally, instead of us regulars being our usual obsessive-compulsive selves and intimidating the hell out of lurkers with our novel-length posts filled with endless minutia, lol, we can... take turns writing about how we think and/or hope the GNC will play out in TWOW? Its role in the ongoing northern storylines and impact on key characters like Stannis, Jon, Sansa, etc. as well as on events south. We can even try to predict our reactions should this pet theory of ours turn out to be wrong! I mean, doesn't that sound like great fun? :laugh:

I also wanted to link JLE's post about the potential significance of how the Umber forces inside and outside Winterfell are distributed in age. This harks back to previous speculation about why there are few heirs with the Boltons, despite Roose expecting them to be presented as a show of fealty, IIRC, only old men who are perhaps on a sacrificial winter "hunting trip" per northern traditions.

I don't even think Roose Bolton has as much of Hother Umber's support as he thinks he does.

Let's look at it this way:

When the Greatjon took most of the fighting age men off to war, so many men went with him that some of the fields went untended and crops went unharvested.

Result: There's going to be a food shortage in Umber lands, for the two uncles Mors and Hother to deal with. Too many people (albeit mostly those too young to fight and those too old).

The uncles' forces split just too neatly for it to be a coincidence: *all* Mors's "loyalist" men are young, *all* Hother's "defectors to the Boltons" are old. And how does this leave the situation?

If they all stayed in Umber lands, with inadequate stores - some would starve. The starvation would have to fall disproportionately on the old, of course: the children must have the chance to grow up into next summer's adults, the young women must survive to look after their children and have more. The old are the most expendable: only enough need to survive to teach the growing youngsters how to manage the land for the next generation. Many of the old might even voluntarily accept starving themselves so that their grandchildren survive.

And it's the loyalist, Mors, who has all the young men, who are going to survive into the next generation. They are the ones eating the Umbers' winter stores right now, as they always would have been.

Meanwhile, Hother, I think, is playing a very clever gambit. He's taken the "expendable" portion of the population - the ones who would not survive the winter - and made his enemy, Lord Bolton, feed the lot of them. And try to keep them alive during the winter. Better still, they're eating up food that could otherwise have been saved for Dreadfort men or Freys (the Freys being the only ones who really don't have anywhere else to go but follow Bolton). And, more importantly, leaving all of the Umber stores to the next generation so they can live off them.

I think Hother is in fact as loyal to the Starks as Mors is and playing a very dangerous game - but a clever one: even if his treachery against the Boltons is uncovered, the only men who die - including himself - are the ones that would have died in the winter, anyway (and, at worst, they will take down a fair number of Dreadfort and Frey men with them). His forces will deplete over time naturally, whereas Mors's will grow stronger.

I'd also prepare to bet that the reason for Mors's men being able to get so close to Winterfell to dig pit traps is that it was Hother's men manning the walls at that particular point, and they officially "didn't see anything"...

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So if Manderley never intended to side with Stannis, why send Davos to get Rickon from Skagos. It makes no sense. Why risk the ruse being exposed and therefore the death of his son? Why place a valuable hostage into the hands of a man who will become his enemy?

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So if Manderley never intended to side with Stannis, why send Davos to get Rickon from Skagos. It makes no sense. Why risk the ruse being exposed and therefore the death of his son? Why place a valuable hostage into the hands of a man who will become his enemy?

Because someone had to retrieve Rickon, so why not a smuggler who knows what he's doing? And Manderly almost certainly has zero intention of ever letting Rickon end up in Stannis's custody. Davos delivers Rickon to Manderly; there's no hostage situation here because Stannis is never laying a hand on the kid.

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Because someone had to retrieve Rickon, so why not a smuggler who knows what he's doing? And Manderly almost certainly has zero intention of ever letting Rickon end up in Stannis's custody. Davos delivers Rickon to Manderly; there's no hostage situation here because Stannis is never laying a hand on the kid.

So why not any other smuggler and not risk Manderley's son's life? Why use one who you intend to make your enemy?

I thought the common thinking is that Skagos isnt as bad as rumoured anyway, and Manderley may have actually sent Rickon there as opposed to finding out he was there, so just leave Rickon there. Its safer for him than the mainland.

And Manderley may not intend to give Rickon to Stannis, but Davos may have other ideas. Remember, we as readers know Davos will do as asked, Manderley doesn't.

Whether or not Manderley wants to give Stannis a hostage, he has. He cannot move against Stannis until Davos gives him Rickon. If he does, Davos may just hurt Rickon out of spite, or use him as leverage when declaring Shireen queen. He certainly isnt going to give Rickon to Manderley after he betrays Stannis.

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I love these little details! I think this apparently small observation makes it clear, at the very least, the Lady Dustin is up to more than she lets on. Clearly, she has either been observing Theon quite closely in the hall or, as TTLS suggests-- this is evidence of collusion between the northern lords and Mance.

In Dance, chapter 32, when Roose arrives at Lord Stout's keep to talk with Ramsay he reveals that Stannis is marching south from the Wall and not towards the Dreadfort (revealing at the same time Arnolf Karstark's treachery to Stannis) It is at that time that Roose reveals the change in plans for the wedding-- to hold it at Winterfell in a new attempt to trap Stannis between an attack on the Boltons and the treachery of the Karstarks.

I don't believe Stannis was ever meant to be in the GNC loop-- his imminent attack is merely a useful distraction to the Boltons and Freys from the GNC perspective. In fact, Manderly not sending word to Stannis is proof to me that he never intended to join himself to Stannis, no matter what he may have told Davos.

Most of us believe that is exactly what the northern lords intend. While my personal belief is that Jon will function as a dux bellorum for House Stark as long as any of Eddard's children survive, we've seen him reach some pretty big decisions about his place in avenging wrongs done to his family at the end of Dance. I don't think you'll find many to dispute that Jon is the ultimate leader of the northern resistance. Most of the disagreement centers on which direction people think the true enemy is coming from.

I'm growing to accept that Stannis might get cut out of the GNC. Still, makes me sad. Still holding on to the off chance that Davos is going to ride up with 4000 skags and Rickon.

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So why not any other smuggler and not risk Manderley's son's life? Why use one who you intend to make your enemy?

I thought the common thinking is that Skagos isnt as bad as rumoured anyway, and Manderley may have actually sent Rickon there as opposed to finding out he was there, so just leave Rickon there. Its safer for him than the mainland.

And Manderley may not intend to give Rickon to Stannis, but Davos may have other ideas. Remember, we as readers know Davos will do as asked, Manderley doesn't.

Whether or not Manderley wants to give Stannis a hostage, he has. He cannot move against Stannis until Davos gives him Rickon. If he does, Davos may just hurt Rickon out of spite, or use him as leverage when declaring Shireen queen. He certainly isnt going to give Rickon to Manderley after he betrays Stannis.

Stannis doesn't have Rickon as a hostage until he actually, you know, HAS HIM. Manderly's wording implies that he's not doing shit for Stannis, one way or the other, until he has Rickon in his physical possession. The bolded part is where you're tripping up — Manderly, not being a giant moron, will not "betray" Stannis until he has Rickon. I won't even comment on the absurdity of Davos fucking Seaworth hurting an innocent child.

As for why he's using Davos, 1. he's in hand and more useful that way than keeping him locked up, 2. no one will be looking for him because he's dead, and it's obviously a sensitive mission, 3. he'll be cooperative and 4. the sea is getting harsher and more dangerous up there. Davos actually asks Manderly why him and not someone else — Manderly needs someone with actual sea experience.

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Stannis doesn't have Rickon as a hostage until he actually, you know, HAS HIM. Manderly's wording implies that he's not doing shit for Stannis, one way or the other, until he has Rickon in his physical possession. The bolded part is where you're tripping up — Manderly, not being a giant moron, will not "betray" Stannis until he has Rickon. I won't even comment on the absurdity of Davos fucking Seaworth hurting an innocent child.

As for why he's using Davos, 1. he's in hand and more useful that way than keeping him locked up, 2. no one will be looking for him because he's dead, and it's obviously a sensitive mission, 3. he'll be cooperative and 4. the sea is getting harsher and more dangerous up there. Davos actually asks Manderly why him and not someone else — Manderly needs someone with actual sea experience.

Wonder what his plan was right up until the moment davos seaworth just rocked up out of nowhere at white Harbor

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Wonder what his plan was right up until the moment davos seaworth just rocked up out of nowhere at white Harbor

Good question. I'm sure he had one — he had to get Rickon back somehow — but decided to make use of Davos since he sort of fell into his lap.

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In terms of your Davos fucking Seaworth hurting a child comment, I wasn't aware that Wyman Manderley had read the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. I wonder if he is a Jaime fan?

We as readers know Davos wont hurt him, Manderley does not. He does not know Davos at all, or what he is capable of.

And there is no difference between being in Stannis possesion or in the possesion of one of his men. There simply is not.

1.Why keep him in hand at all? Just kill him, like you faked (at risk) anyway. I assume he means to kill Davos anyway so his ruse isnt exposed.Just kill him and;

4.Use one of your own men who you trust. Being the ruler of a seaport I'm sure he can find plenty of able seamen as good as Davos, who don't serve his enemy.

2. That is true, but irrelevant. Using a guy people think is dead (but may recognise if seen, exposing your lies) or a random seamen who noone will recognise amounts to the same.

3. He does not know for sure Davos will be cooperative. The reader does, but as said, unfortuantely Wyman hasn't read Davos' POV like we have.

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Good question. I'm sure he had one — he had to get Rickon back somehow — but decided to make use of Davos since he sort of fell into his lap.

It's not something that will ever get answered, manderly would have just been thinking 'How the hell am I going to get Rickon from Skagos" and then out of nowhere a smuggler wanders in. Too good to be true

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I really need to do a reread, but when do the Boltons become aware that Stannis is marching on Winterfell, and why doesn't Manderly send a rider to let Stannis in on the conspiring? Is this purely a plot mechanism to allow for a big GNC reveal, or a sign that Stannis will be cut out of the loop?

Much like what Stannis said about Karstark's men, Manderly Cannot reveal the possible conspiracy until it is absolutely necessary. The risks of someone letting the cat out of the bag are too great. yes, it make have the added effect of keeping the suspense up until the dénouement of the Battle of Ice, but it isn't just a plot device.

So if Manderley never intended to side with Stannis, why send Davos to get Rickon from Skagos. It makes no sense. Why risk the ruse being exposed and therefore the death of his son? Why place a valuable hostage into the hands of a man who will become his enemy?

Because he needs Rickon. And to paraphrase Jaime:

There are no smugglers like Davos. There is only Davos.

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Good question. I'm sure he had one — he had to get Rickon back somehow — but decided to make use of Davos since he sort of fell into his lap.

He decided to make use of Davos and in turn risk his son's life and possibly expose the conspiracy (as I assume it was cooked up prior to Davos' arrival) or at least his part in one, when as you state he probably had another plan on how to get Rickon?

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In terms of your Davos fucking Seaworth hurting a child comment, I wasn't aware that Wyman Manderley had read the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. I wonder if he is a Jaime fan?

We as readers know Davos wont hurt him, Manderley does not. He does not know Davos at all, or what he is capable of.

And there is no difference between being in Stannis possesion or in the possesion of one of his men. There simply is not.

This is why, as has been pointed out to you a few times now, Manderly would not make any sort of move against Stannis until Davos delivers Rickon. To be clear: Rickon will be in Manderly's custody before the merman makes his move. He's done this before, after all: he was careful not to kill any Freys before the Lannisters actually sent his son safely back to White Harbor.

1.Why keep him in hand at all? Just kill him, like you faked (at risk) anyway. I assume he means to kill Davos anyway so his ruse isnt exposed.Just kill him and;

4.Use one of your own men who you trust. Being the ruler of a seaport I'm sure he can find plenty of able seamen as good as Davos, who don't serve his enemy.

2. That is true, but irrelevant. Using a guy people think is dead (but may recognise if seen, exposing your lies) or a random seamen who noone will recognise amounts to the same.

Manderly certainly would have used someone else if he had to. He informs Davos quite bluntly that if the Freys had noticed that the head on the spike did not actually belong to Davos, he would have blamed his jailer for the mix-up and produced the real Davos at once. But since he didn't have to do that, he decided to make use of a highly experienced seaman who is also the Hand of the King to Stannis. If Manderly truly killed him, then he would have been burning all bridges with Stannis in the future, and because he's not a moron, he didn't want to do that unless it was absolutely necessary. Why? Because Stannis is useful. Manderly is making moves as he goes.

3. He does not know for sure Davos will be cooperative. The reader does, but as said, unfortuantely Wyman hasn't read Davos' POV like we have.

Apparently he found out when he and Davos had their little chat.

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I doubt Davos could even hurt Rickon. Rickon has Shaggy and probably Osha too. Those two > Davos. Does he even own a sword?

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This is why, as has been pointed out to you a few times now, Manderly would not make any sort of move against Stannis until Davos delivers Rickon. To be clear: Rickon will be in Manderly's custody before the merman makes his move. He's done this before, after all: he was careful not to kill any Freys before the Lannisters actually sent his son safely back to White Harbor.

Manderly certainly would have used someone else if he had to. He informs Davos quite bluntly that if the Freys had noticed that the head on the spike did not actually belong to Davos, he would have blamed his jailer for the mix-up and produced the real Davos at once. But since he didn't have to do that, he decided to make use of a highly experienced seaman who is also the Hand of the King to Stannis. If Manderly truly killed him, then he would have been burning all bridges with Stannis in the future, and because he's not a moron, he didn't want to do that unless it was absolutely necessary. Why? Because Stannis is useful. Manderly is making moves as he goes.

Apparently he found out when he and Davos had their little chat.

I havent had that pointed out to me, I have pointed that out.

How does Manderley know exactly how long it will take for Davos to get back? He doesn't I wouldn't have thought.

I agree he didn't hurt Davos as he may need Stannis later on, and Maderley is making it up as he goes along, its part of my point.

If there is a conspiracy, The Northeners (or at least without question Manderley, and a few others) are plotting to remove Bolton, they are not plotting, based on sending Davos to retrieve Rickon, to remove Stannis.

But that isn't really even a theory, its mentioned flat out in the text for all intents and purposes.

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Stannis doesn't have Rickon as a hostage until he actually, you know, HAS HIM. Manderly's wording implies that he's not doing shit for Stannis, one way or the other, until he has Rickon in his physical possession. The bolded part is where you're tripping up — Manderly, not being a giant moron, will not "betray" Stannis until he has Rickon. I won't even comment on the absurdity of Davos fucking Seaworth hurting an innocent child.

As for why he's using Davos, 1. he's in hand and more useful that way than keeping him locked up, 2. no one will be looking for him because he's dead, and it's obviously a sensitive mission, 3. he'll be cooperative and 4. the sea is getting harsher and more dangerous up there. Davos actually asks Manderly why him and not someone else — Manderly needs someone with actual sea experience.

It also keeps him away from Stannis. If the northern lords are playing him and Bolton against each other, Ibdoubt they want Davos there pointing it out to Stannis.

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I havent had that pointed out to me, I have pointed that out.

I am somewhat baffled. Do the posts below look familiar at all?

Stannis doesn't have Rickon as a hostage until he actually, you know, HAS HIM. Manderly's wording implies that he's not doing shit for Stannis, one way or the other, until he has Rickon in his physical possession. The bolded part is where you're tripping up — Manderly, not being a giant moron, will not "betray" Stannis until he has Rickon.

Because someone had to retrieve Rickon, so why not a smuggler who knows what he's doing? And Manderly almost certainly has zero intention of ever letting Rickon end up in Stannis's custody. Davos delivers Rickon to Manderly; there's no hostage situation here because Stannis is never laying a hand on the kid.

How does Manderley know exactly how long it will take for Davos to get back? He doesn't I wouldn't have thought.

Does he need to? Did someone say he needs to? On both counts, the answer is: of course not.

I agree he didn't hurt Davos as he may need Stannis later on, and Maderley is making it up as he goes along, its part of my point.

If there is a conspiracy, The Northeners (or at least without question Manderley, and a few others) are plotting to remove Bolton, they are not plotting, based on sending Davos to retrieve Rickon, to remove Stannis.

The idea is based on quite a bit more than that, I assure you. Anyway, I hope I didn't imply that Manderly is making everything up as he goes. My point was simply that as the situation develops, Manderly is adapting whatever developments he can to suit his larger goals. Davos is one such development. The conspiracy itself is long in the planning and sure in its aim.

But that isn't really even a theory, its mentioned flat out in the text for all intents and purposes.

I guess it's a good thing that everyone in the books always does exactly what they say they're going to do.

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