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Yeade

Le Grande Northern Conspiracy, Parte the Fourth

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I think Davos will take Rickon to White Harbour,fulfilling his promise to an extent,but also to guage the temperature of the political,military and weather situation.Taking him to Eastwatch would ostensibly be a betrayal of Manderly and taking him on a more direct route to Winterfell would be foolish.

Davos plays it by the book.He will take Manderly at his word,he can empathize with losing sons.But from White Harbour, Robett Glover can act as a go-between,at least giving the nod that the way is clear.

But of course,this is all assuming that everything has gone smoothly.It may turn out that just as they were boarding the boat,Rickon challenged a unicorn to a headbutting contest.

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You can take a look at this awesome timeline and use the filter (wish I would have found it earlier when I was doing the BwB summary lol)

In regards to Davos, Stannis' march, and the horn blowing...according to this timeline, these are the dates (year 300):

4/5 - Reek at Moat Cailin

4/10 - Manderly tells Davos to get Rickon (though we don't have an exact date of when he actually leaves)

4/30 - Stannis takes Deepwood Motte

5/3 - Reek at Barrowtown

5/18 - fArya's wedding

5/20 - Stannis marches to Winterfell

6/4 - Lady Dustin in the crypts

6/26 - Murders in Winterfell. Horn blowing outside Winterfell.

6/29 - Theon and Jeyne escape

Gonna leave at that for now (falling asleep at the keyboard). I'll take a closer look at everything else regarding GNC events on that timeline tomorrow.

THANK YOU for posting this nenya! When I saw HWC's post about the timeline project the obsessive compulsive in me was ready to roll. Phew :P

Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't Davos bringing Rickon to Manderly and/or Stannis at Winterfell be unnecessarily risky when Eastwatch is practically next door to Skagos and, so far as Davos knows, Stannis's family is being hosted on the Wall by Rickon's half-brother, who is Lord Commander there? Taking the heir presumptive to the North, who's a child besides, into an active warzone during winter seems like a terrible idea to me. Better that Davos stash Rickon someplace safer, then send word to White Harbor, preferably with proof that he's completed his mission or at least with assurances that Manderly can judge for himself whether Davos has kept his side of the bargain after the Boltons have been defeated.

If so, you can add Davos and Rickon to the growing list of people en route to Jon who haven't yet arrived. The Wall's kind of turning into Meereen at the end of ASOS/AFFC, lol, though hopefully GRRM will allow Jon to actually meet all these characters of consequence in TWOW rather than removing him from the Wall just as everybody begins to converge, like Dany flying off on Drogon leaves only Barristan in Meereen, with no queen, to greet Tyrion, Victarion, and the rest.

I tend to agree with this, having given a lot of thought to the future whereabouts of key players while compiling the Locator. However, Zman has an excellent point about the possibility of complications on Skagos. Would it be too repetitive to have Davos' first POV in TWoW be from a Skagosi captive situation? According to the timeline nenya linked approximately two and a half months have passed from Davos' departure from WH to Jon's final POV in Dance. If Davos had an easy time of it on Skagos and were coming via Eastwatch, I think news would have reached Jon by that point. But, autumn storms and the like... I could see it going either way, tbh. It's so hard to figure! :blink:

BTW, I've seen some excellent posts about the parallels between Meereen and the Wall so part of me worries that Jon being absent (at least consciously...) might be exactly what happens.

The consequences of Rickon first spending time with Jon instead of Stannis or anyone else who might wish to influence him are interesting to consider. I've theorized that Jon's resemblance to Ned, along with his prior connection to Rickon and the presence of Ghost, makes him the one authority figure that Rickon would heed, Osha aside. And I believe it's been speculated that the Skagosi, who suffered no losses in the War of the Five Kings, could send a representative or delegation. Ultimately, like the forces of the Vale, the Skagosi may be more instrumental in the war for the dawn than the game of thrones, IMO. Eastwatch, as one of the Wall's flanks and with dead things reported in the water at Hardhome, is a likely point of attack by the Others; I don't think it's a coincidence that GRRM has conveniently located an army there on top of having Jon send some two hundred giants and their mammoths as reinforcements in his last(?) ADWD chapter. In general, I feel any theory about events in the North from TWOW onwards, the GNC included, must account for the Others finally getting in on the action. So, for example, I doubt Stannis, the northmen, or the wildlings can play a role in the downfall of the Freys south of the Neck because they'll be otherwise occupied preparing for or fighting an invasion of ice zombies. Not that the Brotherhood Without Banners and riverlords necessarily need any aid in that respect...

I agree, and think it may even be possible that The Others ultimately do for the Freys (at least the ones left at the Twins) I think we may have the foreshadowing of this in the WF Freys' extreme discomfort about winter and the Old Gods. This line of thought opens up a whole area of speculation about the Stark words (Winter is Coming) and motto (...always a Stark in Winterfell...) and even the name of their seat (Winter-Fell) which is covered in depth elsewhere, but which we would do well to consider here.

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THANK YOU for posting this nenya! When I saw HWC's post about the timeline project the obsessive compulsive in me was ready to roll. Phew :P

I tend to agree with this, having given a lot of thought to the future whereabouts of key players while compiling the Locator. However, Zman has an excellent point about the possibility of complications on Skagos. Would it be too repetitive to have Davos' first POV in TWoW be from a Skagosi captive situation? According to the timeline nenya linked approximately two and a half months have passed from Davos' departure from WH to Jon's final POV in Dance. If Davos had an easy time of it on Skagos and were coming via Eastwatch, I think news would have reached Jon by that point. But, autumn storms and the like... I could see it going either way, tbh. It's so hard to figure! :blink:

BTW, I've seen some excellent posts about the parallels between Meereen and the Wall so part of me worries that Jon being absent (at least consciously...) might be exactly what happens.

I agree, and think it may even be possible that The Others ultimately do for the Freys (at least the ones left at the Twins) I think we may have the foreshadowing of this in the WF Freys' extreme discomfort about winter and the Old Gods. This line of thought opens up a whole area of speculation about the Stark words (Winter is Coming) and motto (...always a Stark in Winterfell...) and even the name of their seat (Winter-Fell) which is covered in depth elsewhere, but which we would do well to consider here.

I feel the puzzle regarding the location of Davos and Rickon is solvable with the various reports we get of wrecked ships in DwD, I'm just not smart enough to work it out. We get similar but conflicting reports of shipwrecks around Skagos, with reference to where they're from, etc.

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I feel the puzzle regarding the location of Davos and Rickon is solvable with the various reports we get of wrecked ships in DwD, I'm just not smart enough to work it out. We get similar but conflicting reports of shipwrecks around Skagos, with reference to where they're from, etc.

Davos may have shipwrecked onto Skagos, and therefore can no longer smuggle out Rickon but now needs the Skagosi to help bring Rickon to Westeros. So Davos and Rickon may return with a Skagosi army. Just spitballing though, not much evidence for it.

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Where was that?

It was a play on the conversation between Jaime and Catelyn, where she blamed the evils of the world on men like Jaime. His response was, "There are no men like me. There's only me."

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You can take a look at this awesome timeline and use the filter (wish I would have found it earlier when I was doing the BwB summary lol)

In regards to Davos, Stannis' march, and the horn blowing...according to this timeline, these are the dates (year 300):

4/5 - Reek at Moat Cailin

4/10 - Manderly tells Davos to get Rickon (though we don't have an exact date of when he actually leaves)

4/30 - Stannis takes Deepwood Motte

5/3 - Reek at Barrowtown

5/18 - fArya's wedding

5/20 - Stannis marches to Winterfell

6/4 - Lady Dustin in the crypts

6/26 - Murders in Winterfell. Horn blowing outside Winterfell.

6/29 - Theon and Jeyne escape

Gonna leave at that for now (falling asleep at the keyboard). I'll take a closer look at everything else regarding GNC events on that timeline tomorrow.

That can't be right as Robett Glover tells Davos Deepwood Motte has been retaken before Manderly tells him to get Rickon.

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It was a play on the conversation between Jaime and Catelyn, where she blamed the evils of the world on men like Jaime. His response was, "There are no men like me. There's only me."

Ok, I misread that. Sorry about that.

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That can't be right as Robett Glover tells Davos Deepwood Motte has been retaken before Manderly tells him to get Rickon.

Nice catch, and quite correct:

"My brother Galbart's seat. It was and is, thanks to your King Stannis. He has taken Deepwood back from the iron bitch who stole it and offers to restore it to its rightful owners. Much and more has happened whilst you have been confined within these walls, Lord Davos. Moat Cailin has fallen, and Roose Bolton has returned to the north with Ned Stark's younger daughter. A host of Freys came with him. Bolton has sent forth ravens, summoning all the lords of the north to Barrowton. He demands homage and hostages ... and witnesses to the wedding of Arya Stark and his bastard Ramsay Snow, by which match the Boltons mean to lay claim to Winterfell."

ADwD, chapter 29

Stannis at Deepwood Motte needs to go ahead of Davos leaving WH and possibly ahead of Moat Cailin. Since in the Theon at Barrowton chapter, Lord Wyman is already there and there has been a sixteen day hunt for the missing Freys the rest seems to be in order. Word of Deepwood was probably waiting when they reached Barrowton, about a week after Theon at Moat Cailin, so Deepwood seems to be listed about a month too late.

You should post your observation in the thread nenya found the timeline in:

http://asoiaf.wester...e-in-existence/

ETA- someone did mention this in the thread, but it didn't seem to get resolved (the timeline hasn't been corrected anyway) The main objection seems to be that the news of Deepwood is "fresh" in the Reek at Barrowton chapter. I would say upon re-reading that it seems fresh to Ramsay, who is just back from his sixteen day Frey hunt. Can it be explained if word reached Robett Glover BEFORE word reached Roose? This might be taken as an indication that Lady Sybelle was in communication with Lord Wyman and her husband and that news was being withheld from Ramsay. Remember all the time she was spending "praying"? Would "plotting" be more like it? She has a maester after all, and no official word of Robett's survival has reached Asha's ears in her Deepwood chapter. Any thoughts folks?

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Nice catch, and quite correct:

ADwD, chapter 29

Stannis at Deepwood Motte needs to go ahead of Davos leaving WH and possibly ahead of Moat Cailin. Since in the Theon at Barrowton chapter, Lord Wyman is already there and there has been a sixteen day hunt for the missing Freys the rest seems to be in order. Word of Deepwood was probably waiting when they reached Barrowton, about a week after Theon at Moat Cailin, so Deepwood seems to be listed about a month too late.

You should post your observation in the thread nenya found the timeline in:

http://asoiaf.wester...e-in-existence/

Always nice to get an actual excerpt from the book. Sigh. Look at that beautiful little speech. Surely these Northerners won't betray Stannis! If Stannis dies, the forums will burn.

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Is there a way that I can remove this thread from showing up in my "new content" folder? I am no longer interested in this topic.

No better way than bumping it.

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Thanks for the corrections on the timeline shearstone and Lady Gwynhyfvar, I'll change it in my post :P

Lady Gwynhyfvar, I'm confused enough as it is on the timeline...gonna have to rereread those chapters again! But if those dates are correct, it would seem Manderly knew about Deepwood Motte about 3 weeks before Ramsay, yet Barrowtown is much closer than White Harbor.

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Thanks for the corrections on the timeline shearstone and Lady Gwynhyfvar, I'll change it in my post :P

Lady Gwynhyfvar, I'm confused enough as it is on the timeline...gonna have to rereread those chapters again! But if those dates are correct, it would seem Manderly knew about Deepwood Motte about 3 weeks before Ramsay, yet Barrowtown is much closer than White Harbor.

Ramsay was out hunting for the missing Freys for a while, wasn't he? I'd have to do a reread too but does it actually record Ramsay learning of Deepwood Motte or just talking about it? Cause if he's just talking about it he could've known already and it just happens that Theon's perspective happens to be at that time.

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Varamyr Sixskins, you probably have to unfollow or unsubscribe from the thread.

Would it be too repetitive to have Davos's first POV in TWOW be from a Skagosi captive situation?

LOL! Yes, Davos does seem to be on the verge of starting a tour of the prisons of Westeros, doesn't he? Well, as Heyo Winter Comin' and Russo note, Davos may have been shipwrecked on Skagos, unable to leave the island without first treating with the Skagosi. His situation really depends on how aware the Skagosi are of Rickon, IMO, whether they've adopted Rickon as a Stark fosterling and for what reasons or Osha's been keeping Rickon away from them for fear of discovery.

BTW, I've seen some excellent posts about the parallels between Meereen and the Wall, so part of me worries that Jon being absent (at least consciously...) might be exactly what happens.

I'm kind of hoping that, like Jon and Dany's story arcs in general, while parallels between the Wall and Meereen will continue to exist, the timing of events will be off. The aftermath of the assassination attempt could mirror Meereen at the end of ASOS, I feel, in that an age-old institution is about to fall all to pieces, leaving chaos but also creating a rare opportunity for the enterprising to seize power and advance their agendas. Basically, it might just be getting around to Jon's turn as king vis-a-vis Dany as queen in ADWD, his stint as Lord Commander instead a parallel to Dany's time with the Dothraki in AGOT, even ending with a magical resurrection.

Of course, this is to some extent simply wishful thinking on my part. Jon is potentially needed to play a key role in too many outstanding plotlines (i.e. the war for the dawn, the heir to Winterfell) for him to be absent from TWOW for long, IMO.

[it] may even be possible that the Others ultimately do for the Freys (at least the ones left at the Twins). [snip] This line of thought opens up a whole area of speculation about the Stark words (Winter is Coming) and motto (...always a Stark in Winterfell...) and even the name of their seat (Winter-Fell), which is covered in depth elsewhere but which we would do well to consider here.

Truth be told, I'm wary of introducing too much speculation along supernatural lines when the GNC is, at base, a political theory. I believe the imminent invasion of the Others must be factored in, yes, but only in the sense that having ice zombies on the front doorstep makes people more motivated to quickly choose a supreme allied commander, the better to give battle to an existential threat. Also, signs that the Others intend to dally no longer in attacking the Wall could serve to spur Jon into actions, such as implicitly accepting regency over the North, that he would otherwise balk at.

Actually, the best comparison I can come up with is Minas Tirith following the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The political situation then is pretty complicated, with the Steward dead by his own hands and his heir apparent down for the count in the Houses of Healing, neither in a position to decide what ought to be done about the man claiming to be the king returned, though Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, the most powerful of Gondor's nobles and Faramir's maternal uncle, temporarily steps in to see to the realm. On top of the inevitable wreckage of war--casualties suffered, damages done to the city and environs--Minas Tirith is practically inundated with foreign nationals, from the Rohirrim with their new king to the northern Dunedain and representatives of Arnor, Legolas, Gimli, and the sons of Elrond all being royalty of sorts. If it hadn't been apparent to everybody that, with the Ringbearer already in Mordor, the most pressing issue is how to deal with Sauron or the rest is moot, I imagine there would've been days and days of political wrangling. Aragorn spares himself that trial by immediately appealing to Gandalf, as duly appointed herald of the Valar, probably banking, too, on the fact that he comes to Minas Tirith with a string of great deeds and staunch allies.

I expect a similar tabling of all political disputes unrelated to staving off the apocalypse when the Others finally make their presence felt, essentially kicking over the board and forcing the players of Westeros to scrabble around on the ground for their game pieces, lol. This doesn't mean the wrongs done during the War of the Five Kings will be forgotten--I figure, for one, that tensions will remain high between the southern kingdoms and the separatist northmen and riverlords--just deferred until the Others are defeated, if they are at all.

The main objection seems to be that the news of Deepwood is "fresh" in the Reek at Barrowton chapter. I would say upon re-reading that it seems fresh to Ramsay, who is just back from his sixteen-day Frey hunt. Can it be explained if word reached Robett Glover BEFORE word reached Roose? This might be taken as an indication that Lady Sybelle was in communication with Lord Wyman and her husband and that news was being withheld from Ramsay. Remember all the time she was spending "praying"? Would "plotting" be more like it? She has a maester, after all, and no official word of Robett's survival has reached Asha's ears in her Deepwood chapter. Any thoughts, folks?

Are we theorists becoming too paranoid, seeing conspiracy everywhere? :laugh:

It's possible, I think, though I'd add that Lady Sybelle need not have been the one who sent word given that Alysane is at Deepwood Motte, too, and the Mormonts may have been planning to retake the castle on behalf of the Glovers prior to even Stannis's arrival at the Wall.

As a related aside, Robett's children are still captive on Harlaw, IIRC. Which somehow helps explain Lady Sybelle's willingness to release her ironborn captives into Tycho Nestoris's custody? The Glover hostages and the surviving Tallharts, if Torrhen's Square hasn't been recaptured yet, are perhaps reason enough for Stannis, Jon, or whoever ends up ruling the North to open negotiations with the ironborn and/or support Asha's bid to oust Euron from the Seastone Chair.

Surely, these Northerners won't betray Stannis! If Stannis dies, the forums will burn.

Well, technically, it's not a betrayal because no one, with the exceptions of the treacherous Karstarks and Manderly personally, not White Harbor, has sworn to Stannis so far as we readers know. That seems to be contingent on whether Stannis is victorious over the Boltons and, even then, only by tacit agreement. Which, unfortunately for Stannis, means the northmen have reserved the right to change their minds on declaring him king the moment a Stark is once again in Winterfell, I think.

Stannis will see that as a betrayal, to be sure. However, the relative weakness of his forces compared to the northmen and, I'd guess, the long awaited appearance of the Others might prevent him from doing anything about it except grinding his teeth, lol.

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Ramsay was out hunting for the missing Freys for a while, wasn't he? I'd have to do a reread too but does it actually record Ramsay learning of Deepwood Motte or just talking about it? Cause if he's just talking about it he could've known already and it just happens that Theon's perspective happens to be at that time.

Honestly the timeline gives me headaches, but I read the chapters related to that part very carefully yesterday. Roose clearly was delivering the information for the first time to Ramsay, which leads me believe Roose only leaned about it AFTER Manderly arrived at Barrowton and Ramsay set out Frey hunting. I think that means that Stannis spent more time at Deepwood than previously believed. As far as how Manderly learned so quickly, as Yeade said -- the info could have come from the Mormonts, although I think Lady Sybelle being I contact with her husband is pretty reasonable. After thinking about it some, I also think it's reasonable that Stannis and co at Deepwood may have been trying to keep a very low profile and Roose learned about the situation through espionage, thus explaining the time lapse.

Two things I really want to know about the Deepwood/Torrhen's Square situation:

-What the h*** is going on at TS??

-Where is Larence Snow (the bastard of Hornwood) who was being fostered at Deepwood? He is never mentioned after the Bran chapter where Maester Luwin brings him up. Is he unimportant? If so why mention him? Incidentally, the Tallhart children who are captives at Torrhen's Square are also claimants to the Hornwood.

These are unanswerable questions, but I can't help thinking there is some significance there, especially since the Ironborn may be in possession of all the Hornwood, Tallhart and Glover heirs.

One more thing-- Manderly mentions that Roose was requiring hostages of the northern lords, and then Roose mentions to Ramsay that Manderly didn't bring any hostages. Did anyone else? If so I missed it... :dunno:

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*snip

I love the LOTR parallel. Very perceptive and overall similar to what I think, with Winterfell standing in for MT.

I just like to let my imagination hand me a whole bunch of satisfying Frey karma that may or may not come to pass :P

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Of course, this is to some extent simply wishful thinking on my part. Jon is potentially needed to play a key role in too many outstanding plotlines (i.e. the war for the dawn, the heir to Winterfell) for him to be absent from TWOW for long, IMO.

Whether Jon's wounds from the stabbing are fatal or not, I think there's more mileage for Mr Martin in not having Jon pop back up from the dead (or the heavily stabbed) instantly and then rush into the arms of the GNC.

The fallout of the stabbing has to play out, has Bowen Marsh doomed the watch? Do the Wildings/ northern clans and Queens Men react? That's before Val or Melisandre stick their oars in.

The threat of The Others has to build, the Nights Watch are vulnerable, the opportunity given by a leaderless or fractured NW is huge. Certainly it can play out if Jon has an extended recovery and/or spiritual discovery of some sort with Val or Melisandre.

What happened at Hardhome is another big question and events there can be used to explain the threat of the Others.

Truth be told, I'm wary of introducing too much speculation along supernatural lines when the GNC is, at base, a political theory. I believe the imminent invasion of the Others must be factored in, yes, but only in the sense that having ice zombies on the front doorstep makes people more motivated to quickly choose a supreme allied commander, the better to give battle to an existential threat. Also, signs that the Others intend to dally no longer in attacking the Wall could serve to spur Jon into actions, such as implicitly accepting regency over the North, that he would otherwise balk at.

Actually, the best comparison I can come up with is Minas Tirith following the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The political situation then is pretty complicated, with the Steward dead by his own hands and his heir apparent down for the count in the Houses of Healing, neither in a position to decide what ought to be done about the man claiming to be the king returned, though Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, the most powerful of Gondor's nobles and Faramir's maternal uncle, temporarily steps in to see to the realm. On top of the inevitable wreckage of war--casualties suffered, damages done to the city and environs--Minas Tirith is practically inundated with foreign nationals, from the Rohirrim with their new king to the northern Dunedain and representatives of Arnor, Legolas, Gimli, and the sons of Elrond all being royalty of sorts. If it hadn't been apparent to everybody that, with the Ringbearer already in Mordor, the most pressing issue is how to deal with Sauron or the rest is moot, I imagine there would've been days and days of political wrangling. Aragorn spares himself that trial by immediately appealing to Gandalf, as duly appointed herald of the Valar, probably banking, too, on the fact that he comes to Minas Tirith with a string of great deeds and staunch allies.

I expect a similar tabling of all political disputes unrelated to staving off the apocalypse when the Others finally make their presence felt, essentially kicking over the board and forcing the players of Westeros to scrabble around on the ground for their game pieces, lol. This doesn't mean the wrongs done during the War of the Five Kings will be forgotten--I figure, for one, that tensions will remain high between the southern kingdoms and the separatist northmen and riverlords--just deferred until the Others are defeated, if they are at all.

I see a slower build up,

Jon at the Wall recovering,

the pink letter being explained/unravelled.

Rickon returning (but to whom),

Roose possibly escaping to the Dreadfort.

Is Stannis heading south and how much northern support will he have?

What's in the Winterfell crypt and can it help in what lies ahead?

Mance.

Theon's fate.

The revelation of Howland Reed

Are we theorists becoming too paranoid, seeing conspiracy everywhere? :laugh:

It's possible, I think, though I'd add that Lady Sybelle need not have been the one who sent word given that Alysane is at Deepwood Motte, too, and the Mormonts may have been planning to retake the castle on behalf of the Glovers prior to even Stannis's arrival at the Wall.

As a related aside, Robett's children are still captive on Harlaw, IIRC. Which somehow helps explain Lady Sybelle's willingness to release her ironborn captives into Tycho Nestoris's custody? The Glover hostages and the surviving Tallharts, if Torrhen's Square hasn't been recaptured yet, are perhaps reason enough for Stannis, Jon, or whoever ends up ruling the North to open negotiations with the ironborn and/or support Asha's bid to oust Euron from the Seastone Chair.

Well, technically, it's not a betrayal because no one, with the exceptions of the treacherous Karstarks and Manderly personally, not White Harbor, has sworn to Stannis so far as we readers know. That seems to be contingent on whether Stannis is victorious over the Boltons and, even then, only by tacit agreement. Which, unfortunately for Stannis, means the northmen have reserved the right to change their minds on declaring him king the moment a Stark is once again in Winterfell, I think.

Stannis will see that as a betrayal, to be sure. However, the relative weakness of his forces compared to the northmen and, I'd guess, the long awaited appearance of the Others might prevent him from doing anything about it except grinding his teeth, lol.

I think Stannis will take an interest in settling Winterfell and restoring the Starks as Lords.

The logistics of Jon getting to Winterfell and off the wall will be Really important.

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One more thing-- Manderly mentions that Roose was requiring hostages of the northern lords, and then Roose mentions to Ramsay that Manderly didn't bring any hostages. Did anyone else? If so I missed it... :dunno:

That's a good question. I know Manderly was singled out for not bringing hostages, but I don't recall anyone else bringing any either. You'd think someone would have made mention somewhere about pages, squires or cupbearers. And what about ladies-in-waiting for "Arya?" It just doesn't add up to me.

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Lady Gwynhyfvar, I think the only mention of Torrhen's Square is in Asha's first chapter, "The Wayward Bride"?

Tris Botley turned to Asha. "If Moat Cailin has fallen, Torrhen's Square will soon follow. Then it will be our turn."

"Not for a while yet. The Cleftjaw will make them bleed." Torrhen's Square was not a ruin like Moat Cailin, and Dagmer was iron to the bone. He would die before he'd yield.

Ramsay's letter seems to be addressed to both Asha and Dagmer (see bolded below), so Torrhen's Square is still held by the ironborn at the time.

The first words were, "
I write this letter in the blood of ironmen
," the last, "
I send you
each
a piece of prince. Linger in my lands, and share his fate.
"

I'm not sure who Asha and her men believe Dagmer will be fighting, though. A hodgepodge force of northmen not unlike that gathered by, presumably, Alysane Mormont to retake Deepwood Motte? I doubt the garrison the Boltons must have left at Moat Cailin can be of much use considering the distances, terrain, and likelihood that, as soon as Roose was out of sight, the crannogmen resumed their guerrilla campaign of occupying Moat Cailin for the Stark loyalists. Either Dagmer retreated to the coast when word reached him of Deepwood Motte's fall to Stannis, IMO, or the wolves (led by Robett Glover?) caught him at Torrhen's Square and probably killed him, if Asha's assessment of his character can be trusted.

Larence Snow? The surviving Tallharts? The former might never have left Deepwood Motte because the ironborn don't necessarily recognize him as Lord Hornwood's bastard or care even if they do, having no interest in legitimizing him to claim lands already held by others (Ramsay, Manderly). The latter might have been shipped off to the Iron Islands for safekeeping, however, like the Glover children. As a plot device, I imagine this would serve to force the northmen to make concessions to Asha despite her being their or, rather, Stannis's prisoner.

Regarding my LOTR comparison, I only meant to suggest that, with the looming threat of winter and the Others, an ad hoc alliance with a somewhat unofficial leader chosen by consensus (Jon, IMO) could form, all other political issues tabled until humanity's survival of the apocalypse is assured. I figure this will be the pattern not only north of the Neck but when Jon and Dany, who brings with her the might of the southern kingdoms, finally meet to decide the fate of Westeros.

Joe Pine, I actually favor Jon appearing at the end of the prologue to TWOW, lol, similar to the revelation of UnCat in the ASOS epilogue, followed by a blackout on POVs at the Wall in a mini-cliffhanger until the Winterfell cast catches up on the timeline about a third of the way into the novel. Jon's last ADWD chapter is days to weeks ahead of everybody else's in the North, and more time could easily be added by having characters reminiscence about events such as Jon's revival and/or resurrection after the fact. GRRM is not categorically opposed to this, IMO, more efficient storytelling technique, as he uses it liberally in the first three books, especially to cover long journeys, and in what would become AFFC/ADWD before he ditched the five-year gap.

On a related note, I don't see Jon in Winterfell until at least ADOS. Looking at the logistics of the anticipated invasion by the Others: 1) The Wall must remain standing as the first line of defense through most, if not all, of TWOW or the North's outstanding political subplots (the heir to Winterfell, the Iron Islands) cannot realistically be resolved. 2) Any retreat from the Wall would naturally follow the kingsroad south to first Winterfell, then the Neck, which as a highly defensible location (a natural bottleneck) and bulwark of green magic is likely to be the last line that can significantly stall the Others.

The Wall does not prevent the Others from controlling wights already south of it (see undead Othor and Jafer Flowers in AGOT), but I suspect it does guard against their ability to raise the dead. This means the Others must be cautious in attacking the Wall because, until their necromancy can extend into Westeros proper, their reserves are limited. From the perspective of the realm's defenders, if I were, well, Jon, I would try to hold the Wall as long as possible, pushing all available military resources north, while at the same time evacuating the majority of noncombatants south because, should the Wall (inevitably) fall, the worst case scenario is for there to be tens of thousands of panicked potential wights in need of protection from an army stretched thin in the attempt to retreat in good order before a supernaturally relentless enemy. If the line breaks with frightened people scattering everywhere in small groups, the Others can inflict such casualties, just as they do on Mormont's ranging in the ambush at the Fist of the First Men and the defeated remnants of Mance Rayder's shattered army, that I'm not sure the North could play much of a role in the obligatory final battle afterwards.

While it's often speculated that Jon must find something of importance, particularly related to R+L=J, in the Winterfell crypts, it seems to me that he currently has zero motivation to go looking. This is why I feel it's quite possible that Jon may learn of R+L=J from Bloodraven and/or Bran via magical means in TWOW. Even if he dismisses the idea as impossible, which I figure he would in favor of more pressing problems like the Others, Stannis, and the GNC, he might be curious enough, doubtful enough that he'd seek confirmation in the crypts. As the probable leader of the retreat from the Others, Jon would conveniently hit Winterfell first, receive said proof of R+L=J, then be able to get all his questions answered by Howland Reed in the Neck before facing Dany farther south (in Harrenhal, for the irony?) armed with full knowledge of his lineage.

So, a big powwow of all the northern characters at the Wall--Jon could perhaps take a short detour south with the wildlings to Long Lake or thereabouts to pick up Theon, Jeyne!Arya, and their escorts, killing Ramsay in a bastard vs. bastard throwdown, lol, while Stannis finishes with Roose Bolton and treats with the northmen--as the Others begin to test the realm's defenses in earnest. I've got the fall of the Wall tentatively penciled in as the climax of TWOW, very nearly at the end of the novel, which would thankfully spare everybody the tedium of reading about the retreat south in real-time since ADOS can open with Jon at Winterfell. That's what I'd like to see happen because I think it makes the most effective use of, well, geography to streamline the narrative. YMMV.

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