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  2. Zorral

    The Forgotten Christmas Specials

    Located on Christmas Eve, one of my favorite television episodes from the old Granada 1984 - 1994 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series featuring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock (still hands down the best Sherlock ever), is the Christmas episode, "The Blue Carbuncle." https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0506446/
  3. Soylent Brown

    Football: foreVAR confused

    So, how long does everyone think the fat lad at left-back will last before he has to come off injured? I'm putting my money on the 35 minute mark.
  4. Seams

    The Meaning of Horses

    I know there have been threads about horses over the years, but I haven't seen a good analysis of the relationship of a horse's symbolic meaning to its rider. Another important layer of meaning seems to come from the person who gave the horse - the horse source? - and the person who accepted it. The wheels started turning again on this topic when I thought of Dunk selling a horse named Sweetfoot, riding a horse named Thunder and dreaming about burying a horse named Chestnut. He turns down a horse named Flame or Amends. Each name and type of horse seems to have deeper meaning: Sweet is part of the major theme of "bittersweet" outcomes that GRRM has told us will sum up the series. Foot is an ongoing motif about losing hands and arms and - more rarely - feet. Dunk is told that Prince Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen will cut off one of his hands and one of his feet until Dunk is victorious in the Trial of Seven. He later wonders whether it would have been worth giving up a foot to prevent the death of Prince Baelor. Chestnut is part of a major tree motif in The Sworn Sword and the books in general. Tree trunks are used to build a dam and Wat's Wood suffers from drought and then burns as the story progresses. In Dunk's dream, the burial of Chestnut dredges up thoughts of people who have already died and (in Dunk's mind) shows the likely deaths of bannermen and of Dunk's squire, Egg. Dornishmen chastise Dunk for wasting water by crying over the dead horse. Thunder may represent the Storm King. He is a warhorse "inherited" by Dunk from Ser Arlan of Pennytree. Dunk says that a knight cannot be a knight without a warhorse. When Dunk is training Ser Osgrey's bannermen, Thunder runs at the shield wall the men have formed, causing the wall to break open as the men shy away from the galloping animal. I suspect that the symbolism of Thunder breaching The Wall may foreshadow later developments in ASOIAF. Maester is a donkey on which Egg rides in The Sworn Sword, apparently a gift from Aemon Targaryen (Egg's brother and the future Maester Aemon at the Night's Watch). Egg finishes the story on a new horse (name not yet revealed) that was apparently a gift from Rohanne Webber. I suspect it is significant that Maester carries the casks of wine that Dunk and Egg have obtained for House Osgrey - is it a blood transfusion? Dunk notes that Maester probably wants to get the heavy things off his back, however. Dunk turned down a gift horse offered by Lady Rohanne, a "blood bay with a bright eye and a long, fiery mane" that may be symbolic of Lady Rohanne herself. Rohanne says she calls the horse Flame, but Dunk can rename her; suggesting the name "Amends" as a symbol of Lady Rohanne's apology to Dunk. Dunk says the horse is "too good" for him. What does it mean that Egg accepts a horse from Rohanne and Dunk declines the offer? We see Lady Dustin give away horses in ASOIAF - two colts go to the Walders who come under the protection of Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell. With her Ryswell pedigree and sigil, Lady Dustin seems to have a special affinity for horses. She tells of the horse her husband rode when he accompanied Ned to the Tower of Joy and she expresses her resentment that Ned brought the horse back to her but did not return her husband's remains. I suspect we are supposed to compare the death of Chestnut (or Dunk's dream version of the death) and the death of Lyanna Stark at the Tower of Joy. Both incidents occur in the Prince's Pass in the red sands of Dorne, if I recall correctly. In one case, the horse is returned (along with the Dane family sword); in the other case, the dead horse is left for sand dogs to scavenge the carcass. Is Ned's gesture of returning Lord Dustin's horse similar to Dunk rejecting the gift horse offered by Lady Rohanne? Lady Dustin also tells us that Brandon Stark (the uncle) and Lyanna Stark were like centaurs because they spend so much time on horseback. Arya, who is said to resemble her aunt Lyanna, is sometimes called Arya Horseface. When Arya tries to escape from the Brotherhood Without Banners, it is Harwin, son of the Master of Horse at Winterfell, who manages to catch her and rein her in. Another major hint that horses can tell us about their riders is that Jaime Lannister maintains two regular mounts that his squires have named Honor and Glory. Sometimes Jaime rides one and sometimes the other. Jaime also maintains two suits of armor - a gold "Lannister" suit and a white King's Guard suit. There has been a lot of talk about Jaime's redemption arc in this forum, but it seems he is still wrestling with the competing instincts toward Honor and Glory. (And he gives away a sword called Oathkeeper.) Off the top of my head, I can list the following named horses: Craven - found by Arya and The Hound after the Red Wedding Smiler - Theon's black warhorse, purchased by Theon from Lord Botley (an Ironman) but only if he also takes Wex Pyke as his squire. Ironmen usually "ride" ships, not horses. Dancer - Bran's horse at the Harvest Feast at Winterfell. Bran rides him into the feast, using the saddle designed by Tyrion, but rides Hodor out of the feast when he goes to his room. My Silver - Dany refrains from naming her horse (Dothraki custom) but refers to it as "my silver." It is her wedding gift from Khal Drogo and she immediately jumps the horse over a fire, impressing the Dothraki observers. Podrick Payne's horse is unique and is very specifically described: The old piebald rounsey is a swaybacked, broken-down stot. Why does GRRM give Pod this particular and unique type of horse? There is extensive symbolism around eating a stallion's heart or horse flesh or blood. Dany eats a stallion heart to help prove that her baby will be the Stallion the Mounts the World. From within the crypt, Bran wargs into the direwolf Summer while the carnivore eats flesh from dead horses in the burned ruins of Winterfell. Qhorin Halfhand requires his remaining rangers to mix blood from a lame / euthanized horse with oats and to eat the mixture. I suspect "oats" might be wordplay with "oath" as Qhorin is very focused on Jon's oath to the Night's Watch. Gregor Clegane beheads his own horse with a sword after the horse is distracted by the horse ridden by Ser Loras Tyrell. My goal here is to pin down the meaning of horses vis-a-vis riders. I know there is a theory that red horses have a special meaning, but I can't remember what it is or whether the cited evidence stands up. If you can think of other named horses or if you can help crack the code that tells us the meaning of colors, genders, palfreys, destriers, warhorses, garrons and ponies, please share your thoughts in the comments.
  5. Posts made while drunk are a nasty waste of other posters' time, and certainly waste of forum space. To be clear I am not being anti-drinking. I am anti-irresponsible behavior, like driving while drunk. Don't think posting while drunk is harmless. Stories are rife by now of people who have destroyed significant and valued relationships due to sending emails or leaving posts and arguing while drunk, who have released information they never should, have causing waves of hurt and dysfunction. As dangerous as lecturing while drunk, or giving an address, or being on stage in other ways. Just coz it was gotten away with previously means generally a major blow up is on the way. End of lecture. And ya, it's cold outside, so we all want a drink!
  6. This post examines Stannis’ plan from the moment he decided to turn north to “save the kingdom” as a means to winning the Iron Throne. It looks at his motives, political and military objectives, the strategies he employs to achieve his goals, and will demonstrate how the Pink Letter neatly dovetails with these objectives. It will scrutinize the letter, highlight clues of authorship, and propose the letter’s purpose. It’s a long and detailed read but the conclusions are summarized at the end. Dragonstone. After his defeat on the Blackwater, Stannis looked over the painted table at Dragonstone and saw that his options were few. "I have thirteen hundred men on Dragonstone, another three hundred at Storm's End." His hand swept over the Painted Table. "The rest of Westeros is in the hands of my foes. I have no fleet but Salladhor Saan's. No coin to hire sellswords. No prospect of plunder or glory to lure freeriders to my cause." At that time, Tywin was consolidating the Lannister position at King’s Landing and the garrison at Storm’s End was under siege. The Reach had declared for King Joffery. There was little room for political manoeuvre in Dorne or the Vale, both had stayed out of the war and were not likely to change their position for Stannis. The fighting was ongoing in the Riverlands between King Robb and King Joffery’s forces, but Stannis rejected the suggestion of an alliance with the King in the North, whom he saw as a rebel. Meanwhile, the Ironmen invaded the north at the command of another rebel king, Balon. Then Robb and Balon died, and their deaths greatly altered the political landscape. The King-in-the-North was dead, betrayed by his own bannerman, who was in turn rewarded by the Lannisters with the title of Warden of the North. This created an opening for Stannis as it is safe to assume that some of the northern lords, who had only recently raised Robb to King in the North and essentially declared independence from the Iron Throne, would not be content to be back under the yoke of King Joffery by extension of the treacherous and dishonourable Boltons. Stannis saw a way back into the war. Stannis considered the Painted Table. "The wolf leaves no heirs, the kraken too many. The lions will devour them unless . . . Saan, I will require your fastest ships to carry envoys to the Iron Islands and White Harbor. I shall offer pardons." The way he snapped his teeth showed how little he liked that word. "Full pardons, for all those who repent of treason and swear fealty to their rightful king. They must see . . ." "They will not." 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." Stannis believed the lions would devour the wolves and kraken unless they united under him. Mel insisted they would not and warned that instead new kings would rise up to take the place of those who’d died. “If sometimes I have mistaken a warning for a prophecy or a prophecy for a warning, the fault lies in the reader, not the book. But this I know for a certainty—envoys and pardons will not serve you now, no more than leeches. You must show the realm a sign. A sign that proves your power!" Mel urged Stannis to burn Edric Storm so that she could use her magic to show the realm a sign that proved his power. Stannis considered it, even rationalized it in his own mind, but then Davos removed that particular option. Soon after, Davos presented the king with an alternative, a letter from Castle Black, a plea for help from the Night’s Watch to the kings and lords of Westeros. "We fear Mormont slain with all his strength . . ." Davos suddenly realized just what he was reading. He turned the letter over, and saw that the wax that had sealed it had been black. "This is from the Night's Watch. Maester, has King Stannis seen this letter?" Stannis seized upon the idea, sailing north to save the kingdom from a Wildling invasion. In his mind this was an opportunity to distinguish himself as the only king who answered the call and came to the defence of the realm. This would be the sign to the realm that proved his power and his worthiness to rule, or so he hoped. "Yes, I should have come sooner. If not for my Hand, I might not have come at all. Lord Seaworth is a man of humble birth, but he reminded me of my duty, when all I could think of was my rights. I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne." Save the Kingdom. Up to this point, Stannis had been trying to win the Iron Throne in order to save the Seven Kingdoms from the immoral, divisive, and dishonourable reign that has been unlawfully imposed by the Lannisters. "I am king. Wants do not enter into it. I have a duty to my daughter. To the realm. Even to Robert. He loved me but little, I know, yet he was my brother. The Lannister woman gave him horns and made a motley fool of him. She may have murdered him as well, as she murdered Jon Arryn and Ned Stark. For such crimes there must be justice. Starting with Cersei and her abominations. But only starting. I mean to scour that court clean. As Robert should have done, after the Trident. Ser Barristan once told me that the rot in King Aerys's reign began with Varys. The eunuch should never have been pardoned. No more than the Kingslayer." To Stannis, saving the kingdom means more than saving it from a Wildling invasion. It also means bringing justice to the realm; and if he can’t start with King’s Landing then there is no better place to start than in the North, where the injustice of Lannister rule is so glaringly evident. "Tywin Lannister has named Roose Bolton his Warden of the North, to reward him for betraying your brother.” Correcting that injustice would only support the “lawful king” image he portrays. While Stannis once tried to win the throne in order to bring law and justice to the realm from the position of king, he was now trying to bring law and justice to the realm in order to win the throne. Save the kingdom had become a means but win the throne was now the end. Stannis sailed to Eastwatch-by-the-sea with clear objectives in mind, knowing that he needed to defeat the wildlings and unite the north before he could ever hope to turn his gaze south towards King’s Landing. Wildlings. Once Stannis smashed Mance Rayder beyond the Wall, he decided it was best to bind the remnants of Mance’s host to his cause rather than continue to war with them or risk having turned by the Others. The North and the Wildlings are traditional enemies so sealing a peace between them was essential. He planned to settle the wildlings on the Gift and make them part of his kingdom, while marrying the “wildling princess” to his Lord of Winterfell to bolster the deal, in typically southron fashion. Sam reddened. King Stannis had plans for Val, he knew; she was the mortar with which he meant to seal the peace between the northmen and the free folk. Ned Stark once had a similar plan to settle the Gift with new lords as a shield against the wildings. His lord father had once talked about raising new lords and settling them in the abandoned holdfasts as a shield against wildlings. The plan would have required the Watch to yield back a large part of the Gift, but his uncle Benjen believed the Lord Commander could be won around, so long as the new lordlings paid taxes to Castle Black rather than Winterfell. "It is a dream for spring, though," Lord Eddard had said. "Even the promise of land will not lure men north with a winter coming on." Luring men north was not the issue for Stannis. To advance his plan he first needed his own Lord of Winterfell to replace the treacherous Boltons, the Lannister appointed rulers of the north, with someone loyal to him who could rally the north to his cause. For this purpose Stannis turns to the obvious choice and makes the offer to Jon at their very first meeting. “I am the only true king in Westeros, north or south. And you are Ned Stark's bastard." Stannis studied him with those dark blue eyes. "Tywin Lannister has named Roose Bolton his Warden of the North, to reward him for betraying your brother. The ironmen are fighting amongst themselves since Balon Greyjoy's death, yet they still hold Moat Cailin, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, and most of the Stony Shore. Your father's lands are bleeding, and I have neither the strength nor the time to stanch the wounds. What is needed is a Lord of Winterfell. A loyal Lord of Winterfell." He is looking at me, Jon thought, stunned. "Winterfell is no more. Theon Greyjoy put it to the torch." "Granite does not burn easily," Stannis said. "The castle can be rebuilt, in time. It's not the walls that make a lord, it's the man. Your northmen do not know me, have no reason to love me, yet I will need their strength in the battles yet to come. I need a son of Eddard Stark to win them to my banner." Stannis expands on his plan for Jon. "My father dreamed of resettling the Gift," Jon admitted. "He and my uncle Benjen used to talk of it." He never thought of settling it with wildlings, though . . . but he never rode with wildlings, either. He did not fool himself; the free folk would make for unruly subjects and dangerous neighbors. Yet when he weighed Ygritte's red hair against the cold blue eyes of the wights, the choice was easy. "I agree." "Good," King Stannis said, "for the surest way to seal a new alliance is with a marriage. I mean to wed my Lord of Winterfell to this wildling princess." Taking both together, we can see that the ideal solution for Stannis was Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell, married to the wildling princess Val. Stannis would hope that such a marriage would bring both the north and the wildlings to his cause, united under his Warden of the North in Winterfell. That would give him the swords he needs to advance his campaign against the Lannisters, while the wildlings settled on the Gift would bolster the defence of the Wall as he pushes south with his northern swords. That was the plan, although achieving it would not be straight forward. Jon explained why. “Your men call Val a princess, but to the free folk she is only the sister of their king's dead wife. If you force her to marry a man she does not want, she is like to slit his throat on their wedding night. Even if she accepts her husband, that does not mean the wildlings will follow him, or you. The only man who can bind them to your cause is Mance Rayder." "I know that," Stannis said, unhappily. "I have spent hours speaking with the man. He knows much and more of our true enemy, and there is cunning in him, I'll grant you. Even if he were to renounce his kingship, though, the man remains an oathbreaker. Suffer one deserter to live, and you encourage others to desert. No. Laws should be made of iron, not of pudding. Mance Rayder's life is forfeit by every law of the Seven Kingdoms." "The law ends at the Wall, Your Grace. You could make good use of Mance." Mance. That Mance knows much and more about the true enemy is important, but he has another value. Jon told Stannis that Mance is the only man who could bind the Wildlings to his cause. This is common in Westeros, the king keeps lords loyal to him, the lords keep their smallfolk loyal to them, and by extension loyal to the king. Sometimes these loyalties are enforced by wards or hostages like Theon Greyjoy or Hoster Blackwood. Ned spoke of making new lords on the Gift, and if Stannis planned on settling the Gift with wildlings, then Mance would be the natural choice as their lord, especially when Stannis holds Mance’s son as a hostage, or a potential ward to the Lord of Winterfell and his wildling princess wife. And where better to position someone who knows much and more about the true enemy than near the Wall. The big problem is, as a Night’s Watch oath-breaker, Mance’s life is forfeit by all the laws of the Seven Kingdoms. Here we get a very clear example of how Stannis solves problems in order to keep his options open. Despite all Stannis said about laws being made of iron not pudding, he was quick to take advantage of this legal loophole of sorts and burn Rattleshirt north of the Wall, beyond the realm and the extent of the law. This allowed him to keep Mance alive without tarnishing his image as a “lawful” king. "Stannis burned the wrong man." "No." The wildling grinned at him through a mouth of brown and broken teeth. "He burned the man he had to burn, for all the world to see. We all do what we have to do, Snow. Even kings." Mance revealed it was Stannis who burned the man he had to burn for all the world to see. And Mance, a king himself, understands this very well. He knows what kings will do to achieve their objectives. "Our false king has a prickly manner," Melisandre told Jon Snow, "but he will not betray you. We hold his son, remember. And he owes you his very life." "Me?" Snow sounded startled. "Who else, my lord? Only his life's blood could pay for his crimes, your laws said, and Stannis Baratheon is not a man to go against the law … but as you said so sagely, the laws of men end at the Wall.” Melisandre revealed it was Jon’s advice that prompted the solution for Stannis. The solution demonstrates that, though well-renowned for his unyielding approach to the law, Stannis is more than capable of engaging in subterfuge when it serves him to do so. Stannis is a player, not a piece, and in the game of thrones you win or you die, there is no middle ground. So with Mance still alive to be revealed when the time is right, and peace to be sealed with the northmen by a marriage between Val and the Lord of Winterfell, Stannis only needed his Lord of Winterfell. However, his efforts to put this final piece in place proved most frustrating. Jon and his Night’s Watch vows. All he had to do was say the word, and he would be Jon Stark, and nevermore a Snow. All he had to do was pledge this king his fealty, and Winterfell was his. All he had to do . . . was forswear his vows again. For Jon, the internal tug-o-war between Winterfell and his Night’s Watch vow continued all through his arc in ADwD. Stannis ignited this internal conflict and his repeated offers only further fed the flames, but Stannis has little choice but persists in his pursuit of Jon because Jon is central to his plan. "No," Jon said, too quickly. It was Winterfell the king was speaking of, and Winterfell was not to be lightly refused. "I mean . . . this has all come very suddenly, Your Grace. Might I beg you for some time to consider?" "As you wish. But consider quickly. I am not a patient man, as your black brothers are about to discover." Stannis put a thin, fleshless hand on Jon's shoulder. "Say nothing of what we've discussed here today. To anyone. But when you return, you need only bend your knee, lay your sword at my feet, and pledge yourself to my service, and you shall rise again as Jon Stark, the Lord of Winterfell." Stannis asked again. “Without a son of Winterfell to stand beside me, I can only hope to win the north by battle." And again, ruling out Sansa as an alternative this time. Jon said, "Winterfell belongs to my sister Sansa." "I have heard all I need to hear of Lady Lannister and her claim." The king set the cup aside. "You could bring the north to me. Your father's bannermen would rally to the son of Eddard Stark. Even Lord Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse. White Harbour would give me a ready source of supply and a secure base to which I could retreat at need. It is not too late to amend your folly, Snow. Take a knee and swear that bastard sword to me, and rise as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North." While Jon is clearly sympathetic towards Stannis’ cause, aiding the king on several occasions, there is one significant obstacle that prevents him from joining that cause. His vows. How many times will he make me say it? "My sword is sworn to the Night's Watch." Stannis changed tactic slightly, playing on Jon’s emotions with the threat of Winterfell passing from his father’s line to a Karstark, and by implication essentially ending the Stark male line. Stannis looked disgusted. "Your father was a stubborn man as well. Honor, he called it. Well, honor has its costs, as Lord Eddard learned to his sorrow. If it gives you any solace, Horpe and Massey are doomed to disappointment. I am more inclined to bestow Winterfell upon Arnolf Karstark. A good northman." Stannis wisely inclined to choose a northman over his southron knights like Horpe and Massey. Still, Jon’s reaction to his father’s seat going to the Karstarks would not have escaped the king. "A northman." Better a Karstark than a Bolton or a Greyjoy, Jon told himself, but the thought gave him little solace. "The Karstarks abandoned my brother amongst his enemies." Jon openly declared his misgivings about the Karstarks and in doing so gave Stannis a first glimpse of a chink in his armour. If Jon was not happy about Winterfell going to distant Stark cousins, the Karstarks, because they abandoned Robb amongst his enemies, then what would he think about his father’s seat being held by Roose Bolton’s bastard? Stannis must have thought that with a little more persistence then perhaps there was still a chance he could get his man. But persistence takes time and that was not something Stannis had to spare. Political Overtures. On the grounds of his victory over Mance Rayder, Stannis expected the northern lords to pay him homage and side with him. When only Arnolf Karstark answered his call, it became clear that his victory over Mance would not give him the political traction he had hoped for. "Two score ravens were sent out," the king complained, "yet we get no response but silence and defiance. Homage is the duty every leal subject owes his king. Yet your father's bannermen all turn their back on me, save the Karstarks. Is Arnolf Karstark the only man of honour in the north?" Stannis must have been surprised at the lack of support for him against the treacherous Boltons, especially when Roose’s host was still south of the Neck at this time. Wyman Manderly sends Stannis an insulting letter while Lyanna Mormont’s reply clearly alluded to northern independence, an idea Stannis would have hoped had died with Robb Stark. Stannis read from the letter. "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK. A girl of ten, you say, and she presumes to scold her lawful king." His close-cropped beard lay like a shadow over his hollow cheeks. But Lyanna’ letter underlined the reverence with which the Stark name is held in the North. The following comes from Jon’s pov but no doubt Stannis was thinking the same thing. How many lords would have answered his summons if it had come through his Stark Lord of Winterfell? He did not understand why Lyanna should be writing Stannis, and could not help but wonder if the girl's answer might have been different if the letter had been sealed with a direwolf instead of a crowned stag, and signed by Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Stannis next move was to send his Hand to treat with Lord Manderly, as White Harbour is a key position in the north and the obvious place to start diplomatic efforts. Stannis Baratheon had desperate need of White Harbour. If Winterfell was the heart of the north, White Harbour was its mouth. Its firth had remained free of ice even in the depths of winter for centuries. With winter coming on, that could mean much and more. So could the city's silver. Once again the result was not as Stannis had hoped, with no news from Davos, and the Onion knight feared lost at sea. So we can see how Arnolf Karstark emerged as the only candidate Stannis has to replace Jon as his Lord of Winterfell given that a southron lord would not be a popular choice. Karstarks did stem from house Stark a long time ago, but Arnolf is not even the Lord of the Karhold. That honour belongs to Harrion, who is a Lannister hostage. Alys is Harrion’s heir. Arnolf is merely the castellan. He’s not a particularly inspiring choice compared to the son of Eddard Stark, especially when the Karstarks abandoned the Young Wolf in the south. Military manoeuvres. “The Bastard of Bolton has gone south, taking Hother Umber with him. On that Mors Umber and Arnolf Karstark are agreed. That can only mean a strike at Moat Cailin, to open the way for his lord father to return to the north. The bastard must think I am too busy with the wildlings to trouble him. Well and good. The boy has shown me his throat. I mean to rip it out.” Stannis’ first instinct was to move against the Dreadfort but Jon advised against it. Jon glanced down at the map. "Deepwood Motte." He tapped it with a finger. "If Bolton means to fight the ironmen, so must you. Deepwood is a motte-and-bailey castle in the midst of thick forest, easy to creep up on unawares. A wooden castle, defended by an earthen dike and a palisade of logs. The going will be slower through the mountains, admittedly, but up there your host can move unseen, to emerge almost at the gates of Deepwood." Stannis rubbed his jaw. "When Balon Greyjoy rose the first time, I beat the ironmen at sea, where they are fiercest. On land, taken unawares … aye. I have won a victory over the wildlings and their King-Beyond-the-Wall. If I can smash the ironmen as well, the north will know it has a king again." Stannis saw the military and political advantages to such a move and took Jon’s sage advice once again, recruiting the northern clans along the way. The seat of House Glover was easily retaken and Asha Greyjoy captured. There, Stannis received news that the Boltons had moved on Winterfell. Meanwhile Mors Umber and Arnolf Karstark, Stannis’ new Lord of Winterfell in-waiting, were marching to join him. Even prisoners have ears, and she had heard all the talk at Deepwood Motte, when King Stannis and his captains were debating this march. Ser Justin had opposed it from the start, along with many of the knights and lords who had come with Stannis from the south. But the wolves insisted; Roose Bolton could not be suffered to hold Winterfell, and the Ned's girl must be rescued from the clutches of his bastard. Stannis had little choice but to march on Winterfell. The northmen, who make up a large portion of his army, insisted on it to begin with. And he gains nothing by delaying as it only gives Roose more time to restore the castle to its former strength. Stannis needs to move swiftly or not at all. The king cut him off. "We all know what my brother would do. Robert would gallop up to the gates of Winterfell alone, break them with his warhammer, and ride through the rubble to slay Roose Bolton with his left hand and the Bastard with his right." Stannis rose to his feet. "I am not Robert. But we will march, and we will free Winterfell … or die in the attempt." Robert was famous for his forced marches and midnight rides, but even he would have struggled with the weather. The march slowly reduced to a crawl and then ground to a halt. When Arnolf Karstark found Stannis snowed in at the crofter’s village, the king’s army was starving and freezing to death and had lost most of their horses. Stannis looked doomed, until 19 days after arriving at the village his luck changed dramatically with the arrival of Tycho, Reek and Arya, and a game-changing letter. The Crofter’s Village. The unexpected arrival was the catalyst for Stannis to start planning ahead, beyond Winterfell and the North, as evidenced by him sending Justin Massey to Braavos and the Disputed Lands if necessary to hire sellswords, something that will not be accomplished in time to help with the taking of Winterfell or the winning of the North. If indeed the sellswords should ever arrive, and that is a big IF for several reasons, then it’s much more likely that they will be used for the push south after the north has been secured. It should be noted that Massey was forewarned about rumours of Stannis death, and instructed to return with the sellswords regardless of what he hears. "It may be that we shall lose this battle," the king said grimly. "In Braavos you may hear that I am dead. It may even be true. You shall find my sellswords nonetheless." The knight hesitated. "Your Grace, if you are dead — " " — you will avenge my death, and seat my daughter on the Iron Throne. Or die in the attempt." “It may even be true,” implies that there is a chance that it may not be true. Stannis knows he could lose the battle and his head at any time, so it is only natural for him to instruct Massey on how to act upon news of his death. But why would he imply that such news may not be true unless he was considering a plan that involved false news of his own death? Theon. Stannis also needed to consider his western flank, commanded by the Iron Isles. Theon is the son and lawful heir of Balon Greyjoy, with a better claim than Asha and male besides, and in Theon, Stannis faced the exact dilemma he faced with Mance; a life of a valuable asset is deemed forfeit by the law and by popular demand. "I know what he wants." The king indicated Theon. "Him. Wull wants him dead. Flint, Norrey... all of them will want him dead. For the boys he slew. Vengeance for their precious Ned." "Will you oblige them?" "Just now, the turncloak is more use to me alive. He has knowledge we may need." It’s no surprise that Stannis wanted to mine Theon for information, but he has value beyond that. His death would both appease the northmen and satisfy the law, true, but alive he might hold the key to the Iron Isles, much in the same way Mance holds the key to the Wildlings and Jon holds the key to the north. So perhaps we should expect Stannis to at least attempt to keep his options open as he did with Mance, keeping Theon alive with a view to using him at some time in the future. As we saw with Mance, Stannis will find a way to do whatever he needs to do to advance his position. Battle of Ice. "Bolton has blundered," the king declared. "All he had to do was sit inside his castle whilst we starved. Instead he has sent some portion of his strength forth to give us battle. His knights will be horsed, ours must fight afoot. His men will be well nourished, ours go into battle with empty bellies. It makes no matter. Ser Stupid, Lord Too-Fat, the Bastard, let them come. We hold the ground, and that I mean to turn to our advantage." "The ground?" said Theon. "What ground? Here? This misbegotten tower? This wretched little village? You have no high ground here, no walls to hide beyond, no natural defences." This was a monumental blunder by the Boltons, undoubtedly driven by rising tensions within the castle. Stannis was as good as dead, but now he has been presented with a way of taking the castle. “The ground” obviously refers to the frozen lakes, which have been holed in multiple places for ice fishing purposes. "I know them lakes. You been on them like maggots on a corpse, hundreds o' you. Cut so many holes in the ice it's a bloody wonder more haven't fallen through. Out by the island, there's places look like a cheese the rats been at." He shook his head. Those holes would probably have a thin layer of ice on them once again and a blanket of fresh snow. The wind was swirling from the west, driving still more snow across the frozen surface of the lakes. The lake is the only feature of the village that could be considered advantageous to Stannis. I don’t think the specific details are important here, the point is Stannis will win the battle by using “the ground” to his advantage. Theon believes that Ramsay will be coming too, for his bride and his Reek, while Roose sits in Winterfell. While this is not confirmed, as we lost our pov in Winterfell once Theon leapt from the walls, the numbers do suggest the Freys will have some Bolton support. Stannis is reported to have 5,000. It is odd that Roose would send 1,400 Freys and 300 Manderlys of uncertain loyalty to deal with an army of that size, even if they are unhorsed and starving, when he has 4000 troops of his own in Winterfell as well as Ryswell, Dustin and Umber troops that he considers loyal. Given that Ramsay likes to hunt girls through the woods and would be seething at the thought of Reek escaping him, it is entirely plausible that he would go too, in command of a large Bolton force. Roose’s intention is not just to rid himself of Stannis, but also the Manderlys, and probably reduce the Frey strength in the process. He is no stranger to such tactics, as we saw at Duskendale. It should also be noted that if Theon is right, and Ramsay goes too, then the likelihood of Ramsay being in a position to receive false information about the battle, as some theories suggest, or send a raven to the Wall is greatly reduced. "Answer me. If we were to loose these birds, would they return to the Dreadfort?" The king leaned forward. "Or might they fly for Winterfell instead?" Maester Tybald pissed his robes. Theon could not see the dark stain spreading from where he hung, but the smell of piss was sharp and strong. Taking Winterfell. Thanks to the letter from Jon, Stannis uncovered the Karstark plot and the spy in his camp, the Dreadfort’s Maester Tybald. This letter demonstrates Jon is clearly invested in Stannis winning against the Boltons, and Stannis would have taken note of that. As the Boltons have no way of knowing their scheme has been foiled, Stannis is free to turn both the ravens and the Karstarks to his advantage. Tybald’s ravens are trained to fly to Winterfell, so Stannis will use one to send false news of a Bolton victory to Roose. "Ser Richard, whilst I am breaking fast with Lord Arnolf, you are to disarm his men and take them into custody. Most will be asleep. Do them no harm, unless they resist. It may be they did not know. Question some upon that point... but sweetly. If they had no knowledge of this treachery, they shall have the chance to prove their loyalty." The Boltons think the Karstarks belong to them, and Stannis will use that against them. They will head the “victorious” column returning to Winterfell, led by Arnolf or Arthor Karstark, both of whom Stannis spared, while the other is held hostage as a deterrent against further betrayal. "You will not take Winterfell!" "Aye, we will," came a cackle from the high table, where Arnolf Karstark sat with his son Arthor and three grandsons. Lord Arnolf shoved himself up, a vulture rising from its prey. One spotted hand clutched at his son's shoulder for support. "We'll take it for the Ned and for his daughter. Aye, and for the Young Wolf too, him who was so cruelly slaughtered. Me and mine will show the way, if need be.” Lord Arnolf’s words would certainly seem to foreshadow the Karstarks leading the way into Winterfell. Stannis’ men will follow behind with Frey banners. The guards at Winterfell did not see Crowfood’s boys digging pits outside the gate so they are unlikely to see much more than the head of the column. Roose will already have had a raven proclaiming victory, what reason would he have to keep the gates closed to the victorious army led by a Karstark who Roose thinks is an ally? A traditional assault with rams and towers would be costly on a well-defended double-walled castle, with little or no chance of success given his numbers. And Stannis does not have the capacity to sustain a siege. If he wants to take Winterfell then he has no choice but devise some ploy that will get his freezing and starving army into the castle as quickly as possible. Once Stannis takes the castle he must next win the North to his cause or risk being considered another foreign invader sitting in Winterfell, no different than the Greyjoys. But Arnolf Karstark, his distant second choice to Jon, just crossed himself off the very short list of candidates. Furthermore, the Karstarks’ treachery was exposed by Jon of all people, enhancing his reputation as loyal in Stannis’ eyes. Stannis next needs Jon to break his vows and finally accept the king’s offer. The question is, how can he make that happen? As it turns out, a letter was the quickest option given the distance between them. He had put it straight to Jon on several occasions and was refused every time, but the lesson of proudwing was not forgotten by Stannis. “Proudwing, I named her. She would perch on my shoulder and flutter from room to room after me and take food from my hand, but she would not soar. Time and again I would take her hawking, but she never flew higher than the treetops. Robert called her Weakwing. He owned a gyrfalcon named Thunderclap who never missed her strike. One day our great-uncle Ser Harbert told me to try a different bird. I was making a fool of myself with Proudwing, he said, and he was right." It was time to try another hawk. A pink hawk. The Pink Letter. Bastard, was the only word written outside the scroll. No Lord Snow or Jon Snow or Lord Commander. Simply Bastard. And the letter was sealed with a smear of hard pink wax. "You were right to come at once," Jon said. You were right to be afraid. He cracked the seal, flattened the parchment, and read. Your false king is dead, bastard. He and all his host were smashed in seven days of battle. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore. Your false king's friends are dead. Their heads upon the walls of Winterfell. Come see them, bastard. Your false king lied, and so did you. You told the world you burned the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Instead you sent him to Winterfell to steal my bride from me. I will have my bride back. If you want Mance Rayder back, come and get him. I have him in a cage for all the north to see, proof of your lies. The cage is cold, but I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell. I want my bride back. I want the false king's queen. I want his daughter and his red witch. I want his wildling princess. I want his little prince, the wildling babe. And I want my Reek. Send them to me, bastard, and I will not trouble you or your black crows. Keep them from me, and I will cut out your bastard's heart and eat it. It was signed, Ramsay Bolton, Trueborn Lord of Winterfell. The letter is clearly antagonistic in tone from the very outset. But let’s boil down what Stannis actually tells Jon, paragraph by paragraph, and assess how that information affects Jon. It first informs Jon that the Boltons have already won against Stannis, removing any hope that Stannis might yet win and render the letter redundant. It next accuses Jon of saving Mance, which Stannis knows is not true, and then sending him to kidnap the Lord of Winterfell’s bride. These are serious crimes punishable by death. The letter later informs Jon that there is proof of these crimes hanging in a cage at Winterfell, therefore Jon’s guilt is beyond question. Stannis then informs Jon that “Arya” is no longer a hostage of the Boltons, removing her as a deterrent to Jon taking action. The letter informs Jon that the man he sent to rescue Arya is dangling like a carrot in Winterfell, and that the women who helped him have all been skinned, underlining Ramsay’s cruel and dishonourable nature, which is so ill-suited to the seat of Eddard Stark. This gives Jon two clear motives upon which he can act, killing Ramsay and rescuing Mance. The letter makes a list of demands, all of whom coincidentally have personal or political value to Stannis. And Stannis knows that complying with the letter and handing women and children over to Ramsay, considering the fate of the spearwives, is not an option that is likely to appeal to Jon. Finally, the letter gives Jon an ultimatum, which leaves him with three logical options; comply with the demands, defy the letter and wait for Ramsay to come to him, or defy the letter and go to Ramsay. Given that Jon does not have Arya or Reek, full compliance is impossible, even if he wanted to comply. But Stannis has seen more than enough from Jon to make an accurate assessment of which option Jon is most likely to choose. Of course, if Jon does make that choice, as indeed he does, it means forswearing his vows. “This creature who makes cloaks from the skins of women has sworn to cut my heart out, and I mean to make him answer for those words … but I will not ask my brothers to forswear their vows.” That is exactly what Stannis wants. Problem-reaction-solution. Stannis is setting a trap of sorts for Jon using an old political strategy. Create a problem, wait for a reaction, and then step forward with the solution. The letter created the problem. Stannis hoped and predicted Jon would react by breaking his vows and riding to Winterfell. If Jon had managed to do that he would have found Stannis in possession of the castle. Ramsay would be dead and the assumption would be that he wrote the letter sometime after he had been deceived by Stannis’ false message of a Bolton victory but before he died. And who could argue otherwise? At Castle Black ravens would have flown, with Bowen Marsh, still keen to appease King’s Landing, calling for Jon’s head as an oath breaker, leaving Stannis with a by-now familiar decision, the same one he faced with Mance and possibly Theon too, does he burn the man or do what he needs to do to keep him alive? With Jon’s vows already broken and death as the alternative, Stannis would hope that Jon finally sees sense and accept the king’s offer in return for a pardon, fulfilling Stannis simple problem-reaction-solution strategy. Stannis and Theon’s fingerprints. When we examine the letter in closer detail we see that there are some notable text-to-text connections in play. Huge Spiky Hand- Both Jon, in a previous letter, and Asha at Deepwood Motte, make note of Ramsay’s huge spiky hand. This is somewhat odd given that the description comes from two different povs with different backgrounds. GRRM is very good a selecting adjectives that reflect the character of the person who uses the words. What is pale as ice to a northman is pale as sea foam to the Ironborn. White as snow in the north might be white as bone in Dorne. Red as a rose to Sansa, might be blood red to Arya. A huge spiky hand to one person might be a large jagged scrawl to another. This means that “huge spiky hand” is set up as a story-telling device, at the cost of Jon or Asha more realistically describing Ramsay’s hand in a similar yet different manner. Its absence from the pink letter is a classic mystery-writing clue that the letter is not from Ramsay. This also applies to other characteristics that we have come to associate with Ramsay’s letters, like the use of blood for ink or a piece of skin to intimidate, or the signatures of the northern lords when flexing political muscle. GRRM could have used any or all of the above to clarify that the letter was indeed from Ramsay, but he tellingly chose not to. I have his magic sword. Tell his red whore- A boast from Ramsay, perhaps. Or is it a clever hint from Stannis to Melisandre that the letter is a lie, as it clearly contradicts what she has seen in her flames. “Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer raised on high. Lightbringer!" Wildling Princess- Stannis and his men consider Val a wildling princess and therefore Stannis is the most likely potential author to have used this term. "Do I have your word that you will keep our princess closely?" the king had said, and Jon had promised that he would. Val is no princess, though. I told him that half a hundred times. I want my bride back. And I want my Reek- This is almost a direct quote of what Theon said to Stannis, change of person aside, “He wants his bride back. He wants his Reek." Theon's laugh was half a titter, half a whimper, again making Stannis the most likely potential author to use those precise words. I have made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell.- Another clue that Theon was directly or indirectly responsible for some of the letter’s content. Theon heard Ramsay make a similar threat in the hall at Winterfell after Little Walder’s murder. "What man?" Ramsay demanded. "Give me his name. Point him out to me, boy, and I will make you a cloak of his skin." Conclusion. Jon is central to Stannis’ plan to unite the north and the wildlings under the king’s banner. He needs Jon to forswear his vows and be legitimized as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, as well as marry Val and seal a peace with the wildlings, who will settle the Gift. Jon refused the offer on several occasions, citing his vows as the reason. Stannis decided to stop asking Jon and try a different hawk, electing to make it happen using a problem-reaction-solution strategy designed to put Jon in a position where he could no longer refuse the king’s offer. Stannis was the architect of the Pink Letter. The purpose of the letter was to provoke Jon into forswearing his vows and riding to Winterfell to confront Ramsay, where he would find Stannis waiting with a pardon in exchange for accepting the king’s offer of Winterfell. Theon’s influence can be seen in the letter, but whether he helped Stannis craft the letter or Stannis simply used the information without Theon ever knowing anything about the letter is unclear. The later seems more likely because Stannis would want as few people as possible to know about the letter and Theon is not someone Stannis would consider trustworthy. Tybald penned the letter, and Stannis signed for Ramsay. Tybald is craven and facing execution. I cannot see him refusing the request. And it is Stannis style to dictate to a maester. The seal showed a stag's head within a flaming heart. Stannis. Jon cracked the hardened wax, flattened the roll of parchment, read. A maester's hand, but the king's words. Even after this Tybald will at the very least loose his tongue or possibly still be executed. The question as to when the Pink Letter was written remains open. All we can say for certain is that it was written sometime after Jeyne’s escape and before she reaches Castle Black. This was an 18 day journey for Jon and Tyrion in AGoT, but probably a lot more for Jeyne and company given the weather, assuming that at least one person from Jeyne’s party will eventually get there. That’s more than enough time for Stannis to win the battle at the crofters village, send word to Winterfell of a Frey victory, and gain entry to the castle disguised as the returning victors, all of which could be accomplished in several days. Add a couple of days for the raven to get to Castle Black and it would still be well ahead of Jeyne and company. It’s hard to believe the letter was sent from the crofter’s village because there is no mention of ravens in the lengthy description of Stannis’ baggage train as it leaves Deepwood Motte, and it seems Tybald’s ravens are trained to fly to Winterfell. The letter must have been sent from Winterfell after Stannis had taken the castle. A caveat on chronology. It should be noted that the Battle of Ice was originally intended to be in ADwD, so would probably have come before the climactic Jon XIII in chapter order. GRRM has confirmed that some events at the start of TWoW do take place before some events at the end of ADwD. This was due to ADwD reaching the publishable limit in size, which meant that a number of chapters had to be bumped into TWoW. For this theory to work, TWoW Theon I, Asha I (the Battle of Ice), and Theon II (Winterfell) must take place before ADwD Jon XIII. I propose the taking of Winterfell will come from Theon because he is the one with the emotional connection to the castle, and therefore the better story-telling choice. Given that there will be several battles in various locations in the first half of TWoW, we should not be surprised if the taking of the castle will not be in real-time but relayed in retrospect by Theon, a technique GRRM has used several times in the story so far.
  7. frenin

    Just Another R+L=D (and J) Theory - detailed

    Oh you're right, i still think that the timing couldn't be more than 4 or 5 months but i do agree that we lack of the timing to precisely date all that was happening in the Riverlands. It could be 9 months, it could be 4. So, your claim is that Sansa's words to manipulate Harry not only are the only true but they are the only truth anyway?? We know that not virgin nolewomen are frowned upon in Westeros and that pregnant women are seen as soiled goods, what we don't know is if Elia cared about that to dismiss Ashara, norwe do know that insane Aerys cared about that, nor we do know if Ashara didn't just leave early to have the kid in Starfall and to keep quiet , nor there is someone who says that Ashara was disgraced by that. I did, that's why i'm saying it. Yes and Barri B standards tells us that women having sex without being married is dishonorable, nothing else, nothing more. Probably because se wanted a quiet place to have her bay, she asked permission to leave. And Lollys got raped by half KL, we know why and how she got married but we don't we even know if there was someone waiting for marry, if there was any arrangements made or if they believed an arrangement was the appropiate. No, having sex prior marriage, unless they had already perfectioned the pull out game, the risk was plain clear and i'm not saying that the guy who got her pregnant can wash his hands, i'm arguing that if one's dead and the other got married without knowing, there is a small room to hate. When he thinks about Ashara, he thinks that a Stark dishonored her but he doesn't brood on it, he just accepts that Ashara desired whatever Stark, the only one he blames there is himself. Barristan knows that Rhaegar didn't abduct her to sing her songs. Again, but we were talking about Dorne. I suppose that any memory in which his sister is involved would be that, i'm not arguing that Ned don't feel sad about that, i'm arguing that Ned is losing memory of many of those events and what he remembers vividly is the KG which is both bitter and disturbing anyway. I will not get tired of saying that Robb and Jeyne are not Ned and Ashara/Cat, they all have different upbringings and backgrounds to treat them as carbon copies, they are not. If Ashara was worried about her maidenhead, assuming here that she was not either raped or they weren't on another level of drunkness , she would not have lost it, or what do you think would hapen with Brandon?? Both knew that Brandon couldn't get off the bethrothal, it wasn't his call. Btw, i'd argue against the idea that sleep with a drugged struck with grief boy is very voluntarily... Because...
  8. Prince of the North

    The Forgotten Christmas Specials

    I really like the Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, and Mickey Mouse versions of A Christmas Carol (not sure I'm familiar with the Alistair Sim version?)
  9. three-eyed monkey

    Mel & Shireen

    That is a brief summary of part of The Stannis Plan and why he wrote the Pink Letter. I know you favor Mel as the author but I'll repost the Stannis plan and we can continue discussions there because I think we're straying off topic here.
  10. williamjm

    Fourth Quarter 2019 Reading

    I finished Peter F. Hamilton's Salvation Lost. It was a fairly typical Hamilton book, the usual mix of high-concept space opera, action, mystery and bad sex scenes. I liked the way the first book in the series had gradually revealed the nature of the threat facing humanity and the second book did a good job of developing that and introducing a few new twists as it became clear some of the characters were a bit over-confident in terms of how much they thought they knew about what was going on. The far-future part of the story was the more compelling this time around (I thought the opposite was true in the first book). I think the weakest subplot was the one focusing on a criminal gang in London who find themselves entangled in an alien conspiracy, all the characters in that part of the storyline were unlikeable and although it does intersect with the main plot towards the end most of what happened in the subplot felt irrelevant. Next up I think I'll start Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea. It's been well over a decade since I read the series so I can't remember exactly how far into the book certain things happen but I remember liking the initial part of the story and thought it was a good introduction to the characters, however the pacing really slowed to a crawl later in the book before it got more compelling again towards the end.
  11. drawkcabi

    The Forgotten Christmas Specials

    I don't know how much it's played in the UK but every Christmas I see versions of it (Patrick Stewart, George C. Scott, Alastair Sim) popping up on TV a bunch. Maybe not as much as A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life, but quite a bit nonetheless. Also, I suppose because the story is in the public domain everybody does a version of it, Mickey Mouse, Muppets, Mr. Magoo, etc. @Cas Stark I really like the Bill Murray Scrooged movie!
  12. The longer someone sticks around the more dirt and baggage they will accrue. There's been a super PAC dedicated to digging up dirt on and spreading misinformation about Elizabeth Warren since just after she unseated Scott Brown. Because this really is't an activist court, and that would be such an inflammatory, potentially destabilizing decision to make, no mater how they came down. I don't see them taking that case when the issue could potentially solve itself and not have to be their problem (IE, Trump could win). And once the election is over, I just don't see who would raise that challenge. And even if they did, the most valuable thing AOC has to offer would already have been utilized by that point. You can replace a vice president. I mean, it's been a while since I took con-law, but yeah, it would be for the Supreme Court to say, and they only have such authority if somebody with standing challenges it. I guess Congress could impeach her if they won, but again, I don't see it happening. Is it unconstitutional? Technically yeah, but so are a lot of things that happen right out in the open. I don't think it's politically nonviable. Is that what you guess?
  13. Chaircat Meow

    UK Politics: Who Pays the Andyman?

    No, a BMG poll a week or so ago also has the Tory lead down to 6%, and an ICM poll recently had it on 7%. There have been a few polls that were on the edge of hung Parliament territory.
  14. williamjm

    UK Politics: Who Pays the Andyman?

    Given how much the Tory campaign has focused on anti-semitism I think maybe they should have tried a bit harder to vet some of the candidates: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/07/tories-investigate-three-candidates-over-alleged-antisemitism That might be the first poll during the campaign that could indicate the Tories not getting a majority. Of course, it's always dangerous to read too much into a single poll.
  15. Ygrain

    On Janos Slynt

    More like, highly dysfunctional, relying predominantly on the supply of criminals, manning barely any towers and entirely forgetting who the true enemy is and how to fight them.
  16. Apoplexy

    Jaime is Destined to be Horribly Disfigured.

    He changed his armor and then killed rossart and aerys. While changing his armor, he did not know what aerys and rossart were upto as I think his messenger came to him after he changed. So there was no way for him to know how many people could have been around the throne room. Again, I'm not saying I know there was someone outside. I'm saying there could have been, which is why killing aerys was important. And no, Jaime didn't have to kill aerys. I just think it wasn't wrong for Jaime to kill him. So is your argument that lords of westeros are so religious that they would pick religious morality over getting money and power? Are you saying lords of westeros are not opportunistic? So are you saying that the Lannisters have no personal army and their army is exclusively formed from men paid by the rest of the houses of the westerlands? We disagree. We disagree completely. In addition, I would argue that if Jaime hadn't intervened, most people inside riverrun would be dead, including probably the blackfish. The freys has botched the situation badly. We disagree again. We have completely different readings of the same text.
  17. Iskaral Pust

    Football: foreVAR confused

    Yes, nice to have a comfortable game for once. And the goals are flowing a bit more now. Shaq, Ox and Keita added some goals from MF this week. It’s so good to see them all looking healthy and sharp after struggling with injuries for a long time. I’m delighted for Curtis Jones to make his PL debut as a reward for very good form in the U-23s. He had a great pre-season in 2018 but not in 2019. He needed to learn to not always dribble into blind alleys. It’s a great milestone for him, and it would be a huge boost to the squad if he can become a back-up for Robertson. I’m surprised that neither Firmino (who looks tired) or Salah got some rest at 3-0 ahead of Salzburg midweek. A win there tops the group but a draw would probably see Napoli push us into second place, while a loss would very probably kick us into the EL. There’s a lot more riding on that game than I would have liked, but our own fault for not beating Napoli at home.
  18. kissdbyfire

    On Janos Slynt

    You do understand Mance’s desertion is not really about an “article of clothing”, right?
  19. Chaircat Meow

    UK Politics: Who Pays the Andyman?

    This is the highest I have ever seen Labour; still all to play for. Westminster Voting Intention: CON: 42% (=) LAB: 36% (+4) LDM: 11% (-1) BXP: 4% (+1) GRN: 2% (=) Via @SavantaComRes, 2-5 Dec. Changes w/ 2-3 Dec. edit: apparently Lab have not been this high in a national poll since April!
  20. Soylent Brown

    Football: foreVAR confused

    Much better overall game from us today, and we looked solid at the back. I know we were playing Bournemouth at the right time, but we've made a meal of it against other struggling teams recently. Gomez looked really good in the centre, not trying to force things quite as much as he had been doing. Nice to see Curtis Jones get some minutes too. He's another one who looks like he has the quality to make the step up.
  21. Datepalm

    Laptop Advice

    For the windows side anyway - most of my colleagues have Macs. Well, the architects have strange, giant monstrosities, I see a lot of economists with thinkpads, dunno what's going on there, and for the rest of us, yeah, Yoga seems to work. Good balance of price, specs and doubling up as the thing you marathon netflix on in bed.
  22. Rhom

    NFL 2019 Midway Point: Gase into the Abyss

    This is my thought as well.
  23. Lord Varys

    ASoIaF and LotR parallels

    I'd say the two series have nothing in common there. George has a POV structure that follows individuals exclusively (the only exception I remember is the Vic chapter in ADwD where we suddenly get described the spell healing his arm from the outside rather than be with him when it happens). The narrative voice of LotR is actually more complex and all over the place although it does follow the main characters for the most part (and usually gives us the thoughts of the spectators rather than the guys with deep insight). The Orcs are described as individuals in LotR - Ugluk and Grishnakh and Shagrat and Gorbag are all individuals. They are not slaves, they work for their masters, be they Sauron or Saruman. And they do have the ability to turn against or betray them over trivial matters (just think how the guys at Cirith Ungol turned against each other). It seems clear that the fall of Barad-dûr and the disappearance of Sauron's presence had a very strong impact on them - their living god suddenly died and all - but that doesn't mean they weren't individuals with their own free will. Nothing in the text indicates their were broken or completely under the thrall of Sauron. That may be the case for the Nazgûl, though.
  24. SeanF

    Master thread on what the Show means for the book plot

    Dany's dream at Astapor suggests that the final defeat of the Others will be on the Trident.
  25. Today
  26. Raja

    Laptop Advice

    I feel like this has become the go to laptop for *so* many people! I feel like all my peers in grad school had this laptop. Lenovo must be doing something right!
  27. " He felt intense pain as the scrote struck him with the bannister. And that was to the good. For the pain simply fuelled the flames of his anger. Anger that washed out across the children, across the city. Joe hated all living things. But his deepest-rooted, oldest-buried, most burning hatred, that was for the scrotes. Their death was a thing already written. Carved in burning letters across the pavement. "I am waiting" he hissed, the sound like water hitting burning coals."
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