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Yeade

Le Grande Northern Conspiracy, Parte the Fourth

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Just depends on whether Aegon or Dany would bend enough to pay back Robert's debts. I already argued in another thread about Massey and Stannis that there is no way Dany can get out of paying without throwing the realm into economic chaos. The notion that you don't have to pay your predecessors debts is a really modern one mostly seen in the 20th century. It's referred to as odious debt. And we all know that GRRM loves his history, and so I'm sure he's aware that the Bourbons paid Napoleon's debts, Charles II paid Cromwell's debts, Henry Tudor paid England's debts and the Swedish, Prussians and Danish all had pretty complex debt swapping arrangements in their wars of the 17th and 18th century. So there will be no convenient refusal to pay on the Targaryen's part

Strange how you go from historical truths to 'the Targaryens will pay the loan back'. There are just as much examples off countries not paying loans back, especially after a big war or revolution. For example, revolutionary France and Russia refused to pay back the former regime's debts and the Union refused to pay debts of the Confederation. Unless Dany/Aegon can accept that Robert wasn't an usurper and the debts he made were legal, they will not pay it back. They consider themselves superior of everyone, which includes any Braavosi. It feels especially shaky when you consider that paying the loan back would be rewarding the financers of her biggest enemy, the Usurper. That's not what a Targaryen would do.

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Strange how you go from historical truths to 'the Targaryens will pay the loan back'. There are just as much examples off countries not paying loans back, especially after a big war or revolution. For example, revolutionary France and Russia refused to pay back the former regime's debts and the Union refused to pay debts of the Confederation. Unless Dany/Aegon can accept that Robert wasn't an usurper and the debts he made were legal, they will not pay it back. They consider themselves superior of everyone, which includes any Braavosi. It feels especially shaky when you consider that paying the loan back would be rewarding the financers of her biggest enemy, the Usurper. That's not what a Targaryen would do.

Well, the examples you give are more modern (19th and 20th C) while HWC gave examples that are more in line with the time period GRRM consistently refers to. In particular I think the Henry Tudor reference is extremely significant since not only do we have a lot of obvious WotR parallels, but many people find a number of direct resemblances between Henry Tudor and Jon Snow.

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Well, the examples you give are more modern (19th and 20th C) while HWC gave examples that are more in line with the time period GRRM consistently refers to. In particular I think the Henry Tudor reference is extremely significant since not only do we have a lot of obvious WotR parallels, but many people find a number of direct resemblances between Henry Tudor and Jon Snow.

Yeah that pretty much covers what I was gonna reply, cheers. It's also worth noting that the French and Russian revolutions were huge turning points in world history. The French were plunged into a state of near constant war until the Bourbon Restoration, while the Russian Revolution involved mass centralisation and massive purges. As for the Civil War, don't know too much about it, but I think a more appropriate event it would mirror would be the Greyjoy Rebellion. If Balon did borrow any money, which obviously he wouldn't because of the Old Way, but if he did, Robert would make the perfectly reasonable argument that creditors shouldn't have been supporting secession anyway and would be under no obligation to pay.

Also, I've never argued that Dany isn't going to renege. Just that if she did the results would be unthinkable in their level of chaos. Or Aegon.

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On honouring the debts, a medieval example seems more relevant to Mr Martin's world. The 7 kingdoms isn't a nation state as we'd recognise now, it's the iron throne, the family holding it.

Stannis is duty, he would repay the IB, but would Melisandre?

I think the IB is onto a stinker with the nights watch.

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On honouring the debts, a medieval example seems more relevant to Mr Martin's world. The 7 kingdoms isn't a nation state as we'd recognise now, it's the iron throne, the family holding it.

Stannis is duty, he would repay the IB, but would Melisandre?

I think the IB is onto a stinker with the nights watch.

"That was easier than it should have been".

I've heard two pretty good theories for the relative ease at which Jon gets a loan. One is that it shows his inherent leadership skills and is a more effective negotiator than he thinks.

The other is that the Iron Bank wanted to issue this loan, that Tycho's protestations might have been put on and the IB recognise the need for the Night's Watch.

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"That was easier than it should have been".

I've heard two pretty good theories for the relative ease at which Jon gets a loan. One is that it shows his inherent leadership skills and is a more effective negotiator than he thinks.

The other is that the Iron Bank wanted to issue this loan, that Tycho's protestations might have been put on and the IB recognise the need for the Night's Watch.

I'd go with the other. The voyage of the three ships that Tycho seems to have been on is curious in itself, the Braavos interest again. I'm assuming the IB are acting as an institution of Braavos

So I guess why does Braavos see the Nights Watch as something they want to support, what is their motives in that?

I fear we're miles away from the GNC though.

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I think it's a combination of both... which is why I think they'd do a second line of credit to help restore WF and stabilize the North.

I think they see Jon as a person with vision and leadership qualities , but ( because I think they have at least information sharing with the FM ) they know the Others are real . I don't think FM ,in their espionage mode, would dismiss news from the far north as imaginings of grumkins and snarks..

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I'd go with the other. The voyage of the three ships that Tycho seems to have been on is curious in itself, the Braavos interest again. I'm assuming the IB are acting as an institution of Braavos

So I guess why does Braavos see the Nights Watch as something they want to support, what is their motives in that?

I fear we're miles away from the GNC though.

Miles and miles away. So here's a question for anybody. If the Riverlands are indeed conspiring, either separately or with the North, then what's their goal? Do they want to be a part of Robb's brief kingdom? I suppose this does tie in with the North's attitude to Stannis, and whether the North and Riverlands want to be part of the 7K, but I don't want to needlessly hijack this thread.

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Miles and miles away. So here's a question for anybody. If the Riverlands are indeed conspiring, either separately or with the North, then what's their goal? Do they want to be a part of Robb's brief kingdom? I suppose this does tie in with the North's attitude to Stannis, and whether the North and Riverlands want to be part of the 7K, but I don't want to needlessly hijack this thread.

I think it's pretty clear they are conspiring. Since people like Tytos Blackwood make a point of calling Edmure his "liege" it seems plain they will follow the Tully lead. And Blackfish has made it clear that he still supports the KitN. Of course, as Ragnorak pointed out upthread, we should consider Littlefinger who has the potential to be a wild card in the situation. I don't think any of the river lords will take him seriously though-- sure he can try to buy them with food and Sansa Stark, but he's missing some crucial information (we assume) like the fact that most of Sansa's family is still alive, and that her half-brother Jon Snow (in all likelihood) was named Robb's heir. By the end of Feast we begin to see the opportunities for northern lords (sorry Bran Vras, I can't think of any better shorthand for the conspirators in the north than that collective...) and the river lords to communicate, with points of contact being Ryger and Grell at the Wall, and the BwB in the Neck. I'm going to post a (somewhat) condensed version of the essay I linked upthread dealing with the situation at Riverrun and where the riverlands stand at the end of Dance. I am leaving out analysis on the BwB, as nenya will be looking at that. If anyone wants the full essay which includes all the text references, it is here. My apologies in advance for the length-- I just don't appear to have the gift of succinct summation ;)

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GNC- Riverlands Edition

When Jaime Lannister arrives in the Riverlands, the siege of Riverrun is not going well. Daven Lannister's forces consist of a contingent of Freys under the command of Ser Ryman, his own Westerland forces, Lord Emmon Frey and Ser Forley Prester's host along with the river lords who bent the knee. Daven tells Jaime that the half the men he sends to forage for supplies never return. Some desert, but others are found dead, possible evidence of an increasingly bold BwB. He also reports that his scouts have noted “fires in the high places at night. Signal fires, they think… “ After his cousin tells him he thinks the river lords are still "wolfish", Jaime makes note of the river lords' banners, including those he does not see: Mallister, Bracken (besieging the Blackwoods), Ryger and Paege in particular.

He meets with Brynden Tully to offer terms, and suggests the Blackfish take the black. Tully reacts with suspicion, making an odd statement comparing Jon Snow to Theon Greyjoy. Why? Because Jon made common cause with Stannis? Seems like laying it on a bit thick to me, especially since Robb, via Catelyn, once attempted to make common cause with Renly. While one could make a case that Brynden Tully was far away at Riverrun when Robb’s will was signed in Hag's Mire and is unaware of its contents, as evidenced by his next exchange with Jaime he is still flying the direwolf of Stark above Riverrun many months later. Surely he is holding out because he knows there is an heir?

"...Does it matter how the boy perished? He's no less dead, and his kingdom died when he did."

"You must be blind as well as maimed, ser. Lift your eyes and you will see that the direwolf still flies above our walls."

AFfC, Jaime VI

Coming from someone who thinks all of Ned and Cat’s children are dead (except for Sansa, married to the hated Imp), and has just dismissed the only surviving Stark out of hand, this seems like an odd statement. Is it empty bravado? Or a subtle threat? I think the latter is more the Blackfish's style.

When diplomacy with the Blackfish fails, Jaime summons a war council. Lords Piper, Vance of Wayfarer's Rest and Vance of Atranta are in attendance. Karyl Vance counsels against hanging Edmure to move the Blackfish and has nothing but scorn for Edwyn Frey's suggestion of arrows smeared with nightsoil. Norbert Vance offers to parlay with his old friend Brynden Tully and Lord Clement Piper scoffs at this idea. An argument with the Freys about the RW (that closely mirrors the scene with Lady Dustin in Dance) breaks out and almost comes to violence. Jaime puts Edmyn Frey in his place by reminding him of the Freys double treachery and dismisses the council. Jaime's next move is to retrieve Edmure from the Freys' gallows. As he cuts him down he is accosted by Ser Ryman Frey, in company of a whore wearing a very curious crown. After engaging in his new favorite sport of Frey bashing, Jaime dismisses Ryman and orders him to leave the crown. He departs the Frey camp with Edmure, Ser Ilyn, Strongboar and a singer with a woodharp.

Jaime delivers his terms to Edmure in the presence of his squires (Josmyn Peckledown, Garrett Paege and Lew Piper), Pia and the singer. Convince the Blackfish to yield the castle and the smallfolk can remain unharmed, the garrison (including Ser Brynden) will all have the option of taking the black and Edmure can choose between the Wall and captivity with his wife and child at Casterly Rock. If he refuses Jaime will destroy Riverrun and deliver his newborn child to him with a trebuchet. Jaime departs and leaves Edmure to consider the terms while being "entertained" by the singer. Presumably there followed an interesting interlude between Edmure Tully and Tom o' Sevenstreams, who beyond doubt is the singer and also one of the chief lieutenants of Lady Stoneheart's band of outlaws. The flies on the wall? Garrett Paege and Lew Piper. (Peck and Pia were no doubt rutting in a corner as soon as Jaime took his leave ;))

Next we see Jaime and Edmure is in the great hall of Riverrun. The Blackfish has slipped out by the water gate under cover of night. Edmure waited almost the entire day before surrendering the castle to the Lannisters. Emmon Frey is apoplectic. He wants Edmure punished. After being told by his wife that he must hold the castle or abandon it, Ser Emmon replies

"To be sure. Riverrun is mine, and no man shall ever take it from me."
AFfC, Jaime VII (italics mine)

Foreshadowing of the retaking of Riverrun by Lady Stoneheart, who now has an operative inside the castle?

...this castle seems a nice place to spend the winter
Tom o’ Sevens AFfC, Jaime VII

Yes, but with whom?

Edmure Tully and the Westerlings are sent to Casterly Rock with a guard of four hundred men under the command of Ser Forley Prester. Their probable route will take them through the pass at the Golden Tooth. The Riverrun garrison is allowed to depart: stripped of arms and armor they vanish into the Riverlands. Ser Desmond Grell and Ser Robin Ryger elect to take the black. They are dispatched to take ship at Maidenpool with an escort of twelve of Gregor Clegane's men under the command of Raff the Sweetling. In the process of departing Riverrun, Jaime takes leave of the Freys. They are wroth, as Ser Ryman and his escort of fifteen armed men have been hanged just south of Fairmarket. Jaime is unmoved, and repeats the order to release the RW captives to the crown that he first issued in front of Edmure Tully and Tom o' Sevenstreams to Ser Ryman.

What conclusions can be drawn from all of this? It’s worthy of note that with the forthcoming release of the captives from the Twins and abandonment of Jaime’s tail at Pennytree (which includes not only Hoster Tully, Garrett Paege and Lew Piper, but probably also Ser Hugo Vance, one of the sons of Lord Norbert Vance of Atranta, who has been acting as Jaime’s standard-bearer) and the recent capitulation of Riverrun, the only remaining hostages the Lannisters have firmly in their control are Edmure Tully and Jeyne Westerling. Roslin Tully presumably will remain at the Twins, where her child is certainly at risk once it is born, but anyone seeking to save or sacrifice it will first need to breach the Twins. Also of extreme interest is that the Blackfish was presumably the mastermind behind the great Stark-Tully victory at Oxcross, which involved circumventing the Golden Tooth via a secret path discovered by Grey Wind. Since there is no doubt that the Riverrun garrison is at large, I propose that the Blackfish means to take command of them once more and set out for the Westerlands to ambush Forley Prester’s party and free Edmure and Jeyne, whose safety he has been charged with. The problem of arms will be solved by the BwB, who seem to have no problem overcoming good sized groups of armed men. Besides the demonstrated availability of abandoned arms and armor throughout the Riverlands, each group of twelve or fifteen men they ambush or kill adds to their supply. Then there’s Gendry—one has to wonder exactly what he’s been doing at the forge at the Inn. Gendry has been demonstrated to have the knowledge for blade forging. In the many months he has been at that forge, there can be no doubt he has had time to forge (given the raw materials) or mend a great deal of weapons.

The ambush of Prester’s party cannot happen in isolation though. In order to preserve the delicate balance of rescue operations, there must be an established communications network. Let’s revisit the words of Daven Lannister:

My scouts report fires in the high places at night. Signal fires, they think… as if there were a ring of watchers all around us.
AFfC, Jaime V

I think the BwB have established a communication network that involves signal fires (we know from his remarks to Brienne that Thoros isn’t spending a lot of time fire gazing these days) and spies. From Lord Vance’s maester to Lady Smallwood to Sharna the innkeep to Tom o’ Sevens inside Riverrun, they seem to have endless capacity to get the downtrodden people of the Riverlands to cooperate with them.

The hostages from the Twins will be released, one way or another, by the BwB themselves. For good measure (my hopeful thinking?) Raff’s group will be ambushed on their return from Maidenpool. Ryger and Grell, by this time, are most like en route to Eastwatch. Weather may play a part in their journey, but as Tycho Nestoris was able to reach it, so should they. What messages, if any, they bring is anyone's guess, but we know they had ample opportunity to receive them from both the Blackfish and Edmure.

This will leave Riverrun and the Twins. Riverrun will fall at a time of Lady Stoneheart’s choosing. The fall of the Twins, IMO, will be carefully planned to coincide with Lord Walder’s death. We have had plenty of indication of the chaos that will occur when that happens, most clearly in Merrett Frey’s POV.

Bottom line: the Lannisters are losing their grip on the Riverlands, the Freys’ collective days are numbered and it would appear that—much like the North—the Riverlands also remember.

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So, I've been on vacation and now must scramble to catch up on pages of great discussion. I won't even attempt to address all the points raised but would like to comment on a select few.

The Cerwyn men fascinate me because there seem to be a fair chunk of them, and while they seem to be on Roose's side, the Cerwyn heir was killed by Ramsay during the Winterfell sack. Without having any eyes in their faction, it's really hard to tell what they know and what their motives are.

There are Cerwyn, Tallhart, and Hornwood men in Stannis's march, too. Stannis writes to Jon of northmen coming to Deepwood Motte in the aftermath of his victory there, including "survivors from the battle outside the gates of Winterfell, men once sworn to the Hornwoods, the Cerwyns, and the Tallharts" (Jon VII, ADWD). Given the presence of Alysane Mormont, I've speculated that these northern latecomers were originally organized to retake Deepwood Motte on behalf of another faction, the GNC, only for Stannis and the mountain clans to beat them to the punch.

Strategically, any northern conspirators wishing to oust the Boltons, restore the Starks to power, and possibly break with the Iron Throne again would do well to first rid their lands of those pesky ironborn. Deepwood Motte might have been given priority because the Glovers asked it of the Mormonts, but Torrhen's Square is no doubt next on the to-do list.

Looking at the map, it strikes me that a hypothetical army led by Robett Glover from White Harbor could make a detour to liberate Torrhen's Square before approaching Winterfell from the west-southwest under cover of the snowstorm. This, coincidentally, is roughly in the same direction the missing scouts, who left via the Hunter's Gate and are maybe Ryswells in on the GNC, disappeared (Theon VI, A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD). Where are Stannis and Crowfood's forces? To the north-northwest? Like the Lannisters and Freys in Riverrun, which has "a ring of watchers" (thanks for the quote, Lady Gwynhyfvar!), the Boltons and Freys in Winterfell may be similarly surrounded by enemies.

If the Riverlands are indeed conspiring, either separately or with the North, then what's their goal? Do they want to be a part of Robb's brief kingdom?

A large part of what's motivating the speculated riverlands conspirators is probably simple revenge. Of all the regions in Westeros, the riverlands have arguably suffered the most in the War of the Five Kings, beginning even before the deaths of Robert and Ned when Tywin orders Gregor Clegane on a campaign of terror throughout the countryside.

More broadly speaking, I think the Iron Throne has irretrievably betrayed the trust of the riverlords by sanctioning travesties against them like the Red Wedding whereas, again and again, the Starks have come to their defense in their hour of need. Lord Eddard, as Hand, tasks Beric Dondarrion with bringing the Mountain to justice, and the Young Wolf calls his banners to drive the Lannisters from his mother's home. Both Ned and Robb have shown by their actions a willingness to aid their family, friends, and allies despite the fact that doing so leaves them politically and/or militarily vulnerable to attack by their enemies.

While I find that this fandom tends towards cynicism, scoffing at the notion that sticking your neck out for others could result in anything besides losing your head, supporting a liege lord who'd take risks to protect you and yours over one who'd turn a blind eye to rampant murder and pillage so long as it serves his interests is at heart pragmatism, a matter of self-preservation. What the Starks have done for the riverlands can win a house fealty and lasting loyalty. Case in point, the Manderlys.

Regarding Littlefinger, I must admit I haven't given much consideration to what role he might play should the GNC unfold as discussed because I figure he'll be too preoccupied with the unraveling of his schemes in the Vale to get up to any of his usual shenanigans. tze made an excellent case in another thread for Littlefinger overestimating his hold on the Lords Declarant, who plan to depose him now that Sweetrobin's descended from the impregnable Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon, under Nestor Royce's charge. My preference is actually for Sansa to be the one who, over Littlefinger's dead body, lol, offers the Vale's untouched harvest to relieve starvation in Jon's coalition of northmen, riverlords, and wildlings as they make a fighting retreat from the Others.

Finally, Lady Gwynhyfvar, kudos on the illuminating analysis of events in the riverlands! The Vances and Blackwoods, the latter of whom worship the old gods, IIRC, are certainly acting quite suspiciously, and association seems to suggest they're in cahoots with the Pipers and Paeges. Lord Piper has no love for the Freys, but two Paeges are married to Lord Walder's thirteenth and fourteenth sons from his Blackwood wife, Jammos and Whalen, respectively. I'm not sure what this wrinkle means, though, along with the Vance-Freys being fairly high up in the line of succession for the Twins. Lame Lothar, Jammos and Whalen's older brother, is one of the key planners behind the Red Wedding, and Whalen gets drunk under the table by the Greatjon prior to the massacre, though his assignment to keep the Greatjon occupied perhaps indicates he's held in low esteem per Merrett Frey's POV. Jammos is also Big Walder's father. Yet the Paeges send no men to the siege of Riverrun... Just what is going on here?!

And what of the other minor houses Jaime spots while counting banners at Riverrun? Lychester, Roote, Goodbrook...? The problem of too many Freys sure makes figuring out loyalties among the riverlords difficult, lol. Of course, there are likely many families split by differences in opinion over the Red Wedding, same as the Westerlings, with Lady Sybell brokering deals with the Lannisters while her daughter mourns Robb and her son is missing, presumed dead after freeing Grey Wind.

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So, I've been on vacation and now must scramble to catch up on pages of great discussion. I won't even attempt to address all the points raised but would like to comment on a select few.

There are Cerwyn, Tallhart, and Hornwood men in Stannis's march, too. Stannis writes to Jon of northmen coming to Deepwood Motte in the aftermath of his victory there, including "survivors from the battle outside the gates of Winterfell, men once sworn to the Hornwoods, the Cerwyns, and the Tallharts" (Jon VII, ADWD). Given the presence of Alysane Mormont, I've speculated that these northern latecomers were originally organized to retake Deepwood Motte on behalf of another faction, the GNC, only for Stannis and the mountain clans to beat them to the punch.

Strategically, any northern conspirators wishing to oust the Boltons, restore the Starks to power, and possibly break with the Iron Throne again would do well to first rid their lands of those pesky ironborn. Deepwood Motte might have been given priority because the Glovers asked it of the Mormonts, but Torrhen's Square is no doubt next on the to-do list.

Looking at the map, it strikes me that a hypothetical army led by Robett Glover from White Harbor could make a detour to liberate Torrhen's Square before approaching Winterfell from the west-southwest under cover of the snowstorm. This, coincidentally, is roughly in the same direction the missing scouts, who left via the Hunter's Gate and are maybe Ryswells in on the GNC, disappeared (Theon VI, A Ghost in Winterfell, ADWD). Where are Stannis and Crowfood's forces? To the north-northwest? Like the Lannisters and Freys in Riverrun, which has "a ring of watchers" (thanks for the quote, Lady Gwynhyfvar!), the Boltons and Freys in Winterfell may be similarly surrounded by enemies.

A large part of what's motivating the speculated riverlands conspirators is probably simple revenge. Of all the regions in Westeros, the riverlands have arguably suffered the most in the War of the Five Kings, beginning even before the deaths of Robert and Ned when Tywin orders Gregor Clegane on a campaign of terror throughout the countryside.

More broadly speaking, I think the Iron Throne has irretrievably betrayed the trust of the riverlords by sanctioning travesties against them like the Red Wedding whereas, again and again, the Starks have come to their defense in their hour of need. Lord Eddard, as Hand, tasks Beric Dondarrion with bringing the Mountain to justice, and the Young Wolf calls his banners to drive the Lannisters from his mother's home. Both Ned and Robb have shown by their actions a willingness to aid their family, friends, and allies despite the fact that doing so leaves them politically and/or militarily vulnerable to attack by their enemies.

While I find that this fandom tends towards cynicism, scoffing at the notion that sticking your neck out for others could result in anything besides losing your head, supporting a liege lord who'd take risks to protect you and yours over one who'd turn a blind eye to rampant murder and pillage so long as it serves his interests is at heart pragmatism, a matter of self-preservation. What the Starks have done for the riverlands can win a house fealty and lasting loyalty. Case in point, the Manderlys.

Regarding Littlefinger, I must admit I haven't given much consideration to what role he might play should the GNC unfold as discussed because I figure he'll be too preoccupied with the unraveling of his schemes in the Vale to get up to any of his usual shenanigans. tze made an excellent case in another thread for Littlefinger overestimating his hold on the Lords Declarant, who plan to depose him now that Sweetrobin's descended from the impregnable Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon, under Nestor Royce's charge. My preference is actually for Sansa to be the one who, over Littlefinger's dead body, lol, offers the Vale's untouched harvest to relieve starvation in Jon's coalition of northmen, riverlords, and wildlings as they make a fighting retreat from the Others.

Finally, Lady Gwynhyfvar, kudos on the illuminating analysis of events in the riverlands! The Vances and Blackwoods, the latter of whom worship the old gods, IIRC, are certainly acting quite suspiciously, and association seems to suggest they're in cahoots with the Pipers and Paeges. Lord Piper has no love for the Freys, but two Paeges are married to Lord Walder's thirteenth and fourteenth sons from his Blackwood wife, Jammos and Whalen, respectively. I'm not sure what this wrinkle means, though, along with the Vance-Freys being fairly high up in the line of succession for the Twins. Lame Lothar, Jammos and Whalen's older brother, is one of the key planners behind the Red Wedding, and Whalen gets drunk under the table by the Greatjon prior to the massacre, though his assignment to keep the Greatjon occupied perhaps indicates he's held in low esteem per Merrett Frey's POV. Jammos is also Big Walder's father. Yet the Paeges send no men to the siege of Riverrun... Just what is going on here?!

And what of the other minor houses Jaime spots while counting banners at Riverrun? Lychester, Roote, Goodbrook...? The problem of too many Freys sure makes figuring out loyalties among the riverlords difficult, lol. Of course, there are likely many families split by differences in opinion over the Red Wedding, same as the Westerlings, with Lady Sybell brokering deals with the Lannisters while her daughter mourns Robb and her son is missing, presumed dead after freeing Grey Wind.

Well revenge is all well and good but again what is their goal? To be part of the kingdom of the north or to support Stannis or become an independent kingdom or....

Personally I like this sort of similarity with Roberts rebellion where we could see the north, Riverlands and the vale emerging as a bloc. Just depends on who they're gonna fight. I'd say Aegon but GRRM confirmed a second dance of dragons so that sort of throws a spanner in the works.

But wouldn't it be great to see Stannis decapitate Aegon on the Trident :P. Like Robert and Rhaegar but really emphasising that Aegon is just a boy who shouldn't be fucking about with fully grown generals and kings.

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Heyo Winter Comin', basically, I think the Iron Throne as an institution has lost all credibility with the riverlords over the course of the War of the Five Kings, and they're now looking towards the Starks, who've ever come to their aid in dire times, to be their new liege lords. While the riverlords have grudgingly bent the knee, believing House Stark lacks a true heir and fearing for the lives of their captive kin, they'd turn on their would-be Lannister and Frey overlords in a heartbeat the moment it seems a King in the North is viable again, IMO. And, despite reader doubts about whether secession is wise, there's at least one bit of textual evidence hinting that Robb's kingdom is not yet dead.

Melisandre's voice was soft. "I am sorry, Your Grace. This is not an end. More false kings will soon rise to take up the crowns of those who've died."

"More?" Stannis looked as though he would gladly have throttled her. "More usurpers?
More
traitors?"

"I have seen it in the flames." (Davos V, ASOS)

There's a queue of claimants for the Iron Throne: Joffrey dies, and Tommen, sadly, won't be long for the world of the living, with Myrcella like to follow him. Aegriff will probably ascend as king after the Lannister regime is toppled, only to be cast down himself when Dany finally arrives in Westeros for a second Dance of the Dragons.

Balon's crown has similarly been taken by Euron, who Victarion and Asha with Theon as her pawn are plotting to oust. That leaves only Robb's heir(s) to be named. Which is where I believe the GNC and related events (Davos's search for Rickon, Littlefinger's schemes for Sansa) come in, setting up a three-way northern succession crisis that can nevertheless be resolved in a timely fashion seeing as the speculated contenders would much rather fall into a puppy pile of hugs and kisses than fight each other over titles, titles.

Granted, Melisandre's ability to foretell the future has been made an object of derision. I, however, have found that her visions can be startlingly accurate and detailed when it comes to events of political significance. Take her seeing banners over Barrowton (Jon IV, ADWD), correctly identifying the Hornwoods, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Ryswells, and Dustins as the houses that have answered Roose Bolton's call for fealty. Melisandre is just pants at interpreting anything to do with Azor Ahai or, more generally, that she desperately wants to be true.

Now, I do feel the northmen and riverlords have grown more cautious in not airing their separatist sentiments and waiting for favorable conditions before making another bid for independence. Given the tinderbox that's King's Landing, I also think it's safe to say an opportunity will come. Jon, with the power vested in him by Robb's legitimization and his surviving siblings' deference, won't let things get out of hand, though, IMO. He'd continue to try his best to accommodate Stannis and wouldn't allow anyone to be drawn into southern conflicts, even if the Vale joins the alliance with its fresh strength. What with the ice zombie apocalypse and all.

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<snip>

This is great, I had forgotten about the signal fires. There really does seem to be a pretty coherent spy network in the Riverlands, along with a lot of people who are loose threads. I have no doubt that the Riverlands are playing their own game; it just depends on how cohesive it is with what's going on up North. I think though that enough links exist to make the case that it's one large plot playing out in two theaters.

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Heyo Winter Comin', basically, I think the Iron Throne as an institution has lost all credibility with the riverlords over the course of the War of the Five Kings, and they're now looking towards the Starks, who've ever come to their aid in dire times, to be their new liege lords. While the riverlords have grudgingly bent the knee, believing House Stark lacks a true heir and fearing for the lives of their captive kin, they'd turn on their would-be Lannister and Frey overlords in a heartbeat the moment it seems a King in the North is viable again, IMO. And, despite reader doubts about whether secession is wise, there's at least one bit of textual evidence hinting that Robb's kingdom is not yet dead.

Melisandre's voice was soft. "I am sorry, Your Grace. This is not an end. More false kings will soon rise to take up the crowns of those who've died."

"More?" Stannis looked as though he would gladly have throttled her. "More usurpers?
More
traitors?"

"I have seen it in the flames." (Davos V, ASOS)

There's a queue of claimants for the Iron Throne: Joffrey dies, and Tommen, sadly, won't be long for the world of the living, with Myrcella like to follow him. Aegriff will probably ascend as king after the Lannister regime is toppled, only to be cast down himself when Dany finally arrives in Westeros for a second Dance of the Dragons.

Balon's crown has similarly been taken by Euron, who Victarion and Asha with Theon as her pawn are plotting to oust. That leaves only Robb's heir(s) to be named. Which is where I believe the GNC and related events (Davos's search for Rickon, Littlefinger's schemes for Sansa) come in, setting up a three-way northern succession crisis that can nevertheless be resolved in a timely fashion seeing as the speculated contenders would much rather fall into a puppy pile of hugs and kisses than fight each other over titles, titles.

Granted, Melisandre's ability to foretell the future has been made an object of derision. I, however, have found that her visions can be startlingly accurate and detailed when it comes to events of political significance. Take her seeing banners over Barrowton (Jon IV, ADWD), correctly identifying the Hornwoods, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Ryswells, and Dustins as the houses that have answered Roose Bolton's call for fealty. Melisandre is just pants at interpreting anything to do with Azor Ahai or, more generally, that she desperately wants to be true.

Now, I do feel the northmen and riverlords have grown more cautious in not airing their separatist sentiments and waiting for favorable conditions before making another bid for independence. Given the tinderbox that's King's Landing, I also think it's safe to say an opportunity will come. Jon, with the power vested in him by Robb's legitimization and his surviving siblings' deference, won't let things get out of hand, though, IMO. He'd continue to try his best to accommodate Stannis and wouldn't allow anyone to be drawn into southern conflicts, even if the Vale joins the alliance with its fresh strength. What with the ice zombie apocalypse and all.

Ooo, I do like that Melisandre quote, pretty perfect in describing Tommen and Euron, and does sound like a good indicator for KITN. I still just think that the Riverlands will be more utilitarian in their goals. Their lands have been absolutely devastated, I'm not sure if they could muster the motivation for more rebellion without at least getting some serious relief when it comes to food and manpower to help rebuild their towns and castles.

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This is great, I had forgotten about the signal fires. There really does seem to be a pretty coherent spy network in the Riverlands, along with a lot of people who are loose threads. I have no doubt that the Riverlands are playing their own game; it just depends on how cohesive it is with what's going on up North. I think though that enough links exist to make the case that it's one large plot playing out in two theaters.

One thing we're working on now is finding the nexus of the various areas of plotting and loose ends. No surprise that it's looking like the Neck is where it's at, although of course White Harbor and the Wall remain "areas of interest."

Wrt Robb's kingdom being alive and well, we need look no further than Riverrun and this exchange between Jaime and the Blackfish:

"...Does it matter how the boy perished? He's no less dead, and his kingdom died when he did."

"You must be blind as well as maimed, ser. Lift your eyes and you will see that the direwolf still flies above our walls."

AFfC, Jaime VI

The direwolf of Stark, flying defiantly above Riverrun all those months after Robb's murder speaks eloquently of the continued existence of the kingdom of the Young Wolf.

As for the resources in the Riverlands, we should remember that when Robb left for the RW, thinking he would be returning to the North, he left all the river lords and their garrisons in place. So, in addition to the oft mentioned bands of "wolves", there will be plenty of men of the Riverlands. The BwB alone may number in the thousands:

By now there must be hundreds of us sworn to him [beric], maybe thousands, but it wouldn’t do for us all to trail along behind him. We’d eat the country bare, or get butchered in a battle by some bigger host. The way we’re scattered in little bands, we can strike in a dozen places at once, and be off somewhere else before they know. And when one of us is caught and put to the question, well, we can’t tell them where to find Lord Beric no matter what they do to us.”
ASoS, Arya IV

Clearly the BwB is very aware of the need to preserve resources, their willingness (also in Storm) to trade Arya to her grandfather for seed for planting illustrates that. Since it's plain that they have a much more sophisticated communications network than is at first apparent (the quote above also shows their consciousness of the need to control information) and there is some evidence that they are stockpiling weapons and even horses, it may be safe to also assume they have a plan for feeding themselves.

While the brotherhood has changed since LS became their leader, the move to being a more militant group seeking revenge on Lannisters and Freys actually makes the need for things like communications, weapons and food more important than ever.

While it is absolutely true that the Riverlands have been decimated by the war, the very pragmatism HWC mentions above, IMO, will lead them to take continued steps to rid themselves of Lannisters (and Freys, or most of them...) so they can get on with the business of consolidating their resources (with their northern brethren) and surviving the coming winter.

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I see a riverlands conspiracy and certainly find Lady Gwynhyfvar and Yeade posts are very good reads.

The target of the conspiracy must be the Freys. The great wrath of the North (and Stannis has nothing to lose by going along too is going to come to the Freys too.

We know Roose and Ramsey are the focus of the GNC, with variations on Stannis, the Wildings and the Nights Watch, even before The Others get through the wall.

But the Freys, they're being whittled down, They've plenty of enemies after the red wedding and even their 'friends' at court disdain them.

It seems a given that Red Wedding 2.0 will see the 'bad guy' Freys slaughtered.

I think they'll find some help at a late point from The Vale.

Littlefinger being the nominal Lord Paramount of the Riverlands is one thing, but on a look through the Frey family tree, they married into the families of most of the Lords Declarant. Perra Royce was Lord Frey's first wife. Stevron Frey married a Waynwood. Edwyn Frey married a Hunter. Walton Frey is married to a Hardyng, Arwood Frey married a Royce, Sandor Frey is squire to Donnel Waynwood. Willamen Frey is Maester to House Hunter.

It's nothing solid, but I have a feeling that those connections to the Vale would see the Freys getting some support and I don't see an unquestioning acceptance of Sansa even if she marries Harry the Heir.

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Alright so I finally finished writing about the BwB and their movements.

Tracking the Brotherhood Without Banners

Members

There are currently two groups in the Brotherhod without Banners. The ones under Lady Stoneheart, and the others who have separated from them, whose current leadership is unknown (listed under Beric Dondarrion but he's dead).

Beric's Group - Edric Dayne, The Mad Huntsman, Greenbeard, Anguy the Archer, Merrit O' Moontown, Watty Miller, Swampy (Feast, Appendix, p. 836). They don't show up anywhere in Feast or Dance as far as I know.

Lady Stoneheart - UnCat, Lem Lemoncloak, Thoros of Myr, Harwin, Jack-Be-Lucky, Tom of Sevenstreams, Likely Luke, Notch, Mudge, Beardless Dick, outlaws (Feast, Appendix, p. 836)

Timeline (tl;dr version)

  • Merrett Frey and Petyr Pimple hanged at Oldstones by the BwB. After the hanging, the BwB are scattered and tracked by the Freys.
  • One group goes to Fairmarket, but nothing else is said about them.
  • Another group (UnCat, Lem, Jack-be-Lucky) goes to Hag's Mire. They disappear into the Neck.
  • Jaime goes to Darry and learns of Merrett's hanging. Supposedly, there are still outlaws about as well and reports of them beyond the Trident.
  • Tom of Sevenstreams arrives in Riverrun.
  • A day later Jaime arrives. There are signal fires around Riverrun during the siege (BwB?). Jaime dismisses Ryman Frey.
  • Lem Lemoncloak and some of his men go to the Crossroads Inn but leave following a trail for the Hound. The Inn is attacked with Brienne there, and she's captured by the BwB. (Unknown as to how long Lem has been near the Inn).
  • Lady Stoneheart attacks Ryman Frey near Fairmarket and takes Robb's crown
  • Blackfish Escapes
  • Brienne and the BwB arrive at the cave and UnCat arrives having just come from Fairmarket.
  • Jaime ends the siege at Raventree, then goes to Pennytree. Brienne captured by Jaime's scouts, and asks Jaime to go with her saying she found Sansa

Timeline in Detail

Oldstones

We first see Lady Stoneheart through Merrett's pov at the end of Storm when he's in Oldstones where Petyr Pimple is hanged (and him right after). Tom of Sevenstreams, UnCat, Jack-Be-Lucky, Lem, and Notch are all there and a dozen (maybe a score) more men. Before they hang Merrett, they question him about Arya and if he had seen her with the Hound at the Twins during the Red Wedding.

Hag's Mire

We don't learn about the BwB scattering after the hangings until Jaime's chapters in Feast. One group goes to Fairmarket, while UnCat, Lem Lemoncloak, and Jack-Be-Lucky go to Hag's Mire. They then vanish into the Neck.

Could the Crannogmen be helping them? There's the theory of Lem being Richard Lonmouth, who was Rhaegar's squire and was mentioned in Meera's KotLT story. This means that Howland Reed would know who he is. Even the Freys think they may be helping them.

Another thing is that Lady Stoneheart wants revenge on the Boltons.

“She wants her son alive, or the men who killed him dead,” said the big man. “She wants to feed the crows, like they did at the Red Wedding. Freys and Boltons, aye. We’ll give her those, as many as she likes. All she asks from you is Jaime Lannister.” (Feast, p. 726).

Yet, so far there has been no (or little) indication that she got any of that vengeance. How would she get revenge on the Boltons other than sending someone North? I had wondered if the Hooded Man could be Harwin, but I'm not sure the timeline would allow for it if he was the northman that was in the cave when Brienne was there. However, that northman could very well be some one else because Harwin tells Arya in Storm that 6 Winterfell men survived Gregor Clegane's attack, but were scattered. They may have joined up with the BwB eventually.

If the Crannogmen are indeed helping them, they could have been contact with Maege, Galbart, and/or Hallis. Hallis Mollen is another candidate for the Hooded Man. Hallis Mollen had been a personal guard for Catelyn during the Battle of the Whispering Wood as well as when she went to treat with Renly after he specifically asks for the "honor of guarding her." The BwB go into the Neck sometime between the end of Storm and the beginning of Feast, so he could have had enough time to get to Winterfell. Of course, if LS did send someone north, that doesn't necessarily mean he's the Hooded Man, but I have no idea who else it could be.

Darry (Jaime)

Jaime learns of Merrett's death while he is in Darry. Supposedly there are outlaws hanging about still. There's also outlaws on the other side of the Trident. Whether these outlaws are part of the BwB is just speculation though and some could be Rorge and Biter's group.

Note: Ser Hugo Vance, Little Lew Piper, Garret Paege travel with Jaime. Ser Hugo is in attendance of the dinner when the conversation of Merrett's death occurs (Jaime notes that he closes his eyes during the feast and thinks he may have fallen asleep). Lord Vance's maester is mentioned as helping the BwB back in Storm.

Riverrun

I won't go into too much detail here since Lady Gwynhyfvar covered this. Tom of Sevenstreams infiltrates the Frey camp a day before Jaime arrives, and there are signal fires surrounding Riverrun. Jaime dismisses Ryman Frey (who has Robb's crown). Jaime leaves Tom with Edmure, and when Edmure goes into Riverrun, the Blackfish escapes. It seems likely that the signal fires are the BwB, and that the Blackfish would have sought help from them after escaping. After the Blackfish escapes, Jaimes learns that Ryman Frey had been hanged near Fairmarket.

Before the siege ends, Jaime tells the Freys to bring the prisoners from the Twins to King's Landing. Edmure is also sent to Casterly Rock with 400 men and 10 archers to kill him if he tries to escape. Tom decides to stay in Riverrun.

Note: Lord Lychester's maester and Lord Vances maester help the BwB in Storm. Both the Vances and Lychesters were present during the siege.

I'm not really sure of what the BwB motives are, aside from revenge. Free Edmure and prisoners from the Twins when they are being brought to the Twins. Take back Riverrun. Red Wedding 2.0. Jaime's hostages (Paege, Little Lew, Blackwood) would also need to be freed if those families are in on the conspiracy and to act out openly. They are looking for Arya in the epilogue of Storm, and I'm sure they still are. What about Robb's Will? Edmure knows of it and the Blackfish probably does as well especially since two of Riverrun's men, Grell and Ryger, head for the Wall. The BwB disappear into the Neck where Maege and Galbart, who also signed Robb's Will, were sent.

Do they have enough men to take on 400 men that are guarding Edmure? Or the Red Wedding prisoners? I think so:

By now there must be hundreds of us sworn to him [beric], maybe thousands, but it wouldn’t do for us all to trail along behind him. We’d eat the country bare, or get butchered in a battle by some bigger host. The way we’re scattered in little bands, we can strike in a dozen places at once, and be off somewhere else before they know. And when one of us is caught and put to the question, well, we can’t tell them where to find Lord Beric no matter what they do to us.” He hesitated. “You know what it means, to be put to the question?” (Storm, p. 250)

If the BwB really number in the thousands, and this is in Storm, then they could certainly ambush those parties, but are just laying low right now. Add in all the Riverrun men who were dismissed, and possibly any other northerners such as Ronnel Stout and Ser Condon's army of 600.

Crossroads Inn

Brienne fights Biter and Rorge at the Crossroads Inn. She's told that Lem and his other men were there but followed a trail for the Hound, then turned back when they realized they circled back towards the Inn. It's hard to get a sense of the timeline here because some of the chapters overlap. Brienne does mention the Blackfish as still being in Riverrun and under siege, so this probably occurs while Jaime is in Riverrun or before. Also, Lem was supposed to go to the Inn if he saw smoke coming from the chimney, so there is a precedence for the BwB using smoke signals (like the signal fires in Riverrun).

Fairmarket

After the Blackfish escapes, Jaime learns about Ryman Frey's death which happened 2 leagues south of Fairmarket.

The Cave

When Brienne is being brought to the cave, she is informed that Lady Stoneheart had just come from Fairmarket. She's holding Robb's crown which was in the possession of Ryman Frey before. She is given an ultimatum between being hanged or bringing Jaime to them.

Pennytree

Jaime arrives in Raventree to end the siege, but meets with Jonos Bracken first. Afterwards he goes to meet Lord Blackwood and takes Hoster Blackwood as captive. When Jaime asks Lord Blackwood if he would tell him if he knew where the Blackfish was, he just smiles (suspicious much). He meets Jonos again he tells him to send a hostage to King's Landing. Jaime then leaves for Pennytree, where Brienne arrives. Jaime disappears with her afterward. I imagine the BwB around around there as well.

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Finally, Lady Gwynhyfvar, kudos on the illuminating analysis of events in the riverlands! The Vances and Blackwoods, the latter of whom worship the old gods, IIRC, are certainly acting quite suspiciously, and association seems to suggest they're in cahoots with the Pipers and Paeges. Lord Piper has no love for the Freys, but two Paeges are married to Lord Walder's thirteenth and fourteenth sons from his Blackwood wife, Jammos and Whalen, respectively. I'm not sure what this wrinkle means, though, along with the Vance-Freys being fairly high up in the line of succession for the Twins. Lame Lothar, Jammos and Whalen's older brother, is one of the key planners behind the Red Wedding, and Whalen gets drunk under the table by the Greatjon prior to the massacre, though his assignment to keep the Greatjon occupied perhaps indicates he's held in low esteem per Merrett Frey's POV. Jammos is also Big Walder's father. Yet the Paeges send no men to the siege of Riverrun... Just what is going on here?!

And what of the other minor houses Jaime spots while counting banners at Riverrun? Lychester, Roote, Goodbrook...? The problem of too many Freys sure makes figuring out loyalties among the riverlords difficult, lol. Of course, there are likely many families split by differences in opinion over the Red Wedding, same as the Westerlings, with Lady Sybell brokering deals with the Lannisters while her daughter mourns Robb and her son is missing, presumed dead after freeing Grey Wind.

So I've been doing a bit of research on the Freys…

The Vance-Frey marriages are with Stevron Frey's daughters. Stevron was Walder's first son and heir but died of a minor wound inside his tent (suspicious no?). Stevron was one of the more decent Freys although his son and g.sons (Ryman, Black Walder, etc) are douchebags. Robb thinks if he was alive he could have negotiated better with him than with Ryman. Now, whether or not Stevron's daughters are more decent like her father or douchebags like her brothers, I don't know.

Regarding the Paeges, not sure if all of them would be on the same Paege ( :P). There's Ser Robert Paege that is listed as one of Edmure's friends and companions in Storm's appendix, and Jaime's squire Garrett Paege is listed as a hostage in Feast's appendix as well.

Others that were listed as Edmure's friends are the Vances, Lymond Goodbrook, Marq Piper, Patrek Mallister, Lucas Blackwood, Tristan Ryger (Robin Ryger went to the Wall), and Perwyn Frey (was not at RW). I don't know anything about the Rootes, but Lord Lychester is an "old and done knight, " but his maester helps the BwB in Storm. So Lord Vance's maester isn't the only maester helping the BwB.

And yes, All these damn Frey marriages with various Riverlords do seem to complicate things especially when trying to consider who's loyal to who, lol.

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Alright so I finally finished writing about the BwB and their movements.

Tracking the Brotherhood Without Banners

Members

There are currently two groups in the Brotherhod without Banners. The ones under Lady Stoneheart, and the others who have separated from them, whose current leadership is unknown (listed under Beric Dondarrion but he's dead).

Beric's Group - Edric Dayne, The Mad Huntsman, Greenbeard, Anguy the Archer, Merrit O' Moontown, Watty Miller, Swampy (Feast, Appendix, p. 836). They don't show up anywhere in Feast or Dance as far as I know.

Lady Stoneheart - UnCat, Lem Lemoncloak, Thoros of Myr, Harwin, Jack-Be-Lucky, Tom of Sevenstreams, Likely Luke, Notch, Mudge, Beardless Dick, outlaws (Feast, Appendix, p. 836)

Timeline (tl;dr version)

  • Merrett Frey and Petyr Pimple hanged at Oldstones by the BwB. After the hanging, the BwB are scattered and tracked by the Freys.
  • One group goes to Fairmarket, but nothing else is said about them.
  • Another group (UnCat, Lem, Jack-be-Lucky) goes to Hag's Mire. They disappear into the Neck.
  • Jaime goes to Darry and learns of Merrett's hanging. Supposedly, there are still outlaws about as well and reports of them beyond the Trident.
  • Tom of Sevenstreams arrives in Riverrun.
  • A day later Jaime arrives. There are signal fires around Riverrun during the siege (BwB?). Jaime dismisses Ryman Frey.
  • Lem Lemoncloak and some of his men go to the Crossroads Inn but leave following a trail for the Hound. The Inn is attacked with Brienne there, and she's captured by the BwB. (Unknown as to how long Lem has been near the Inn).
  • Lady Stoneheart attacks Ryman Frey near Fairmarket and takes Robb's crown
  • Blackfish Escapes
  • Brienne and the BwB arrive at the cave and UnCat arrives having just come from Fairmarket.
  • Jaime ends the siege at Raventree, then goes to Pennytree. Brienne captured by Jaime's scouts, and asks Jaime to go with her saying she found Sansa

Timeline in Detail

Oldstones

We first see Lady Stoneheart through Merrett's pov at the end of Storm when he's in Oldstones where Petyr Pimple is hanged (and him right after). Tom of Sevenstreams, UnCat, Jack-Be-Lucky, Lem, and Notch are all there and a dozen (maybe a score) more men. Before they hang Merrett, they question him about Arya and if he had seen her with the Hound at the Twins during the Red Wedding.

Hag's Mire

We don't learn about the BwB scattering after the hangings until Jaime's chapters in Feast. One group goes to Fairmarket, while UnCat, Lem Lemoncloak, and Jack-Be-Lucky go to Hag's Mire. They then vanish into the Neck.

Could the Crannogmen be helping them? There's the theory of Lem being Richard Lonmouth, who was Rhaegar's squire and was mentioned in Meera's KotLT story. This means that Howland Reed would know who he is. Even the Freys think they may be helping them.

Another thing is that Lady Stoneheart wants revenge on the Boltons.

&ldquo;She wants her son alive, or the men who killed him dead,&rdquo; said the big man. &ldquo;She wants to feed the crows, like they did at the Red Wedding. Freys and Boltons, aye. We&rsquo;ll give her those, as many as she likes. All she asks from you is Jaime Lannister.&rdquo; (Feast, p. 726).

Yet, so far there has been no (or little) indication that she got any of that vengeance. How would she get revenge on the Boltons other than sending someone North? I had wondered if the Hooded Man could be Harwin, but I'm not sure the timeline would allow for it if he was the northman that was in the cave when Brienne was there. However, that northman could very well be some one else because Harwin tells Arya in Storm that 6 Winterfell men survived Gregor Clegane's attack, but were scattered. They may have joined up with the BwB eventually.

If the Crannogmen are indeed helping them, they could have been contact with Maege, Galbart, and/or Hallis. Hallis Mollen is another candidate for the Hooded Man. Hallis Mollen had been a personal guard for Catelyn during the Battle of the Whispering Wood as well as when she went to treat with Renly after he specifically asks for the "honor of guarding her." The BwB go into the Neck sometime between the end of Storm and the beginning of Feast, so he could have had enough time to get to Winterfell. Of course, if LS did send someone north, that doesn't necessarily mean he's the Hooded Man, but I have no idea who else it could be.

Darry (Jaime)

Jaime learns of Merrett's death while he is in Darry. Supposedly there are outlaws hanging about still. There's also outlaws on the other side of the Trident. Whether these outlaws are part of the BwB is just speculation though and some could be Rorge and Biter's group.

Note: Ser Hugo Vance, Little Lew Piper, Garret Paege travel with Jaime. Ser Hugo is in attendance of the dinner when the conversation of Merrett's death occurs (Jaime notes that he closes his eyes during the feast and thinks he may have fallen asleep). Lord Vance's maester is mentioned as helping the BwB back in Storm.

Riverrun

I won't go into too much detail here since Lady Gwynhyfvar covered this. Tom of Sevenstreams infiltrates the Frey camp a day before Jaime arrives, and there are signal fires surrounding Riverrun. Jaime dismisses Ryman Frey (who has Robb's crown). Jaime leaves Tom with Edmure, and when Edmure goes into Riverrun, the Blackfish escapes. It seems likely that the signal fires are the BwB, and that the Blackfish would have sought help from them after escaping. After the Blackfish escapes, Jaimes learns that Ryman Frey had been hanged near Fairmarket.

Before the siege ends, Jaime tells the Freys to bring the prisoners from the Twins to King's Landing. Edmure is also sent to Casterly Rock with 400 men and 10 archers to kill him if he tries to escape. Tom decides to stay in Riverrun.

Note: Lord Lychester's maester and Lord Vances maester help the BwB in Storm. Both the Vances and Lychesters were present during the siege.

I'm not really sure of what the BwB motives are, aside from revenge. Free Edmure and prisoners from the Twins when they are being brought to the Twins. Take back Riverrun. Red Wedding 2.0. Jaime's hostages (Paege, Little Lew, Blackwood) would also need to be freed if those families are in on the conspiracy and to act out openly. They are looking for Arya in the epilogue of Storm, and I'm sure they still are. What about Robb's Will? Edmure knows of it and the Blackfish probably does as well especially since two of Riverrun's men, Grell and Ryger, head for the Wall. The BwB disappear into the Neck where Maege and Galbart, who also signed Robb's Will, were sent.

Do they have enough men to take on 400 men that are guarding Edmure? Or the Red Wedding prisoners? I think so:

By now there must be hundreds of us sworn to him [beric], maybe thousands, but it wouldn&rsquo;t do for us all to trail along behind him. We&rsquo;d eat the country bare, or get butchered in a battle by some bigger host. The way we&rsquo;re scattered in little bands, we can strike in a dozen places at once, and be off somewhere else before they know. And when one of us is caught and put to the question, well, we can&rsquo;t tell them where to find Lord Beric no matter what they do to us.&rdquo; He hesitated. &ldquo;You know what it means, to be put to the question?&rdquo; (Storm, p. 250)

If the BwB really number in the thousands, and this is in Storm, then they could certainly ambush those parties, but are just laying low right now. Add in all the Riverrun men who were dismissed, and possibly any other northerners such as Ronnel Stout and Ser Condon's army of 600.

Crossroads Inn

Brienne fights Biter and Rorge at the Crossroads Inn. She's told that Lem and his other men were there but followed a trail for the Hound, then turned back when they realized they circled back towards the Inn. It's hard to get a sense of the timeline here because some of the chapters overlap. Brienne does mention the Blackfish as still being in Riverrun and under siege, so this probably occurs while Jaime is in Riverrun or before. Also, Lem was supposed to go to the Inn if he saw smoke coming from the chimney, so there is a precedence for the BwB using smoke signals (like the signal fires in Riverrun).

Fairmarket

After the Blackfish escapes, Jaime learns about Ryman Frey's death which happened 2 leagues south of Fairmarket.

The Cave

When Brienne is being brought to the cave, she is informed that Lady Stoneheart had just come from Fairmarket. She's holding Robb's crown which was in the possession of Ryman Frey before. She is given an ultimatum between being hanged or bringing Jaime to them.

Pennytree

Jaime arrives in Raventree to end the siege, but meets with Jonos Bracken first. Afterwards he goes to meet Lord Blackwood and takes Hoster Blackwood as captive. When Jaime asks Lord Blackwood if he would tell him if he knew where the Blackfish was, he just smiles (suspicious much). He meets Jonos again he tells him to send a hostage to King's Landing. Jaime then leaves for Pennytree, where Brienne arrives. Jaime disappears with her afterward. I imagine the BwB around around there as well.

And I thought I worte long posts. Good for you, now that's posting.

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