Aug 15 2013 1:00pm

Spoiler Thread for A Read of Ice and Fire, Part 4!

Welcome to Part 4 of the Song of Ice and Fire thread, in conjunction with Leigh Butler’s fabulous Read of Ice and Fire. (The first, second, and third threads, now massive, can be found here, here, and here.) Please join us below for our ongoing, spoiler-filled dissection of George R. R. Martin’s bloody fantasy epic.

(Please note that while the forums are closed for comments, you can still access them here if you’d like to read up on previous conversations in the the thread.)

Spoilers for the entire series ahead, naturally.

Sudo Nym
1. Shakerag
Oh so hoping for two chapters next week.
Chris Nelly
2. Aeryl
So we think Varys set Tyrion up for conviction, so he could send him to Dany?
Chris Nelly
3. Aeryl
And her observation about Tyrion's privilege of wealth and nobility is interesting, considering ADWD is all about taking that away from him.
Jeff R.
4. Jeff R.
I think "use him to eliminate Tywin" was Varys's primary motivation, with sending him to Dany being a secondary economical recycling of tools.
Deana Whitney
5. Braid_Tug
Knew we just about broke Part 3 already. :-)
Any bets on how many of these we will have befor Winds of Winter comes out?

Now to read her post this week.
David Goodhart
6. Davyd
I don't think it's in Varys' nature to have just a Primary Motivation.. He seems to have been thinking several steps ahead in every move he makes. I think it's likely that ending Tywin was just one of those steps, and Tyrion getting to Dany is another step, still. I wouldn't be surprised if he had aspirations beyond even that.

For me, Varys remains one of the story's most intriguing characters.
Marie Veek
7. SlackerSpice
"...but if he accomplishes the twofer of saving Tyrion's life while simultaneously ridding the world of that butt-boil Gregor Clegane..."

*mad snickering* Though, okay, he did manage the latter, even if it was posthumously. I still anticipate much angry ranting when she reads that, followed up by grim satisfaction when she finds out Gregor's dying.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
8. AlirozTheConfused
Thread three is dead,

so we have a new thread

how things have spread

since the Wedding of Red.
Chris Nelly
9. Aeryl
Until she finds out he's alive again.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
10. AlirozTheConfused
And that is why this series is mean

'cause seriously guys, Gregor lives with no bean?

I've heard of the transplants, I've heard of the grafts

but something like this, and I do belly laughs.
Marty Beck
11. martytargaryen
@2, 7 - I have always felt that ASoIaF was the Littlefinger-Spider show. Anyone not being manipulated by one is by the other.

I found it very amusing that Leigh dismissed Varys so quickly here.
Adam S.
12. MDNY
I'm not sure if Varys was planning all along to have Tyrion convicted and sent to Dany. Varys is exceptionally clever and lays plans within plans (not to mention having almost unlimited knowledge thanks to his little birds-except where Littlefinger manages to hide from him) but I always thought he more took advantage of events as they unfolded, rather than orchestated them himself. I think Jaime approaches him to create the escape, and he rook advantage when the opportunity came to further damage Cersei's reign. But he couldn't know ahead of time how the trial by combat would unfold. Either way, he has another layer of plans to fall back on in his overall game plan of undermining those ruling Westeros in preparation for his hidden Targs.
Marie Veek
13. SlackerSpice
@9: For a given value of alive, considering that he's now minus a head and we don't quite know what Qyburn did to him.
Sudo Nym
14. Shakerag
@4: I thought Varys was trying to dissuade Tyrion from visiting his father during the escape. Am I not remembering that correctly, or was it a ruse on Varys' part?
Peter Stone
15. Peter1742
@13: We don't know whether he's minus a head. There was a large head sent to Dorne, but presumably Gregor Clegane is not the only man with a large head.
Chris Nelly
16. Aeryl
I think Varys was trying his best to get Tyrion outta KL, however he could.

Help railroad him at trial, maybe he'll take the black. Varys can have him intercepted to tell him about Dany.

Trial by combat finds him innocent, Tyrion will still need to get the hell outta dodge, send him to Dany.

He gets convicted, help him escape, tell him about Dany.

I can't remember if he tried to dissuade Tyrion from killing Tywin or not(seems unlikely, or else why kill Kevan), but regardless of the outcome, it really seems getting Tyrion the hell outta KL was his goal here.
Michal Jakuszewski
17. Lfex
@15: I think it probably was head of a big headed dwarf we see in AFFC. Martin does mention his head was freakishly big, and presumably he does it for a purpose.
Marie Veek
18. SlackerSpice
@15: But there's also Bran's dream, in which he sees "a Giant in armor made of stone, but when he opened his visor, there was nothing inside but darkness and thick black blood."
Nathan Martin
19. lerris
Varys did make some noises to the effect that Tyrion should not go to his father's room, but whether that was an exercise reverse psychology or a legitimate concern that Tyrion was jeopardizing his escape is unclear.
Either way, Varys undoubtedly knew Shae would be there and the possible consequences of Tyrion seeing her in his father's bed.

And if the theory that Tywin was poisoned is correct, Varys certainly knew about it and knew that he didn't need Tyrion to do the deed.
Jeff R.
20. AeronaGreenjoy
How did you find part 40?? The index shows it only up to 39, which has now "next" link, so I only found it on the "recent posts" sidebar. (Sorry to interrupt).
Faiz Imam
21. FaizImam
Same problem here. I went to Part 39 and simplt changed the "39" to "40" and voila.
Adam S.
22. MDNY
@20 Just click this post's link on the main Tor page, it takes you right to part 40.
Adam S.
25. MDNY
@23 It's a theory. Oberyn was always looking to punish not just Gregor, but the man who ordered the deaths of his sister and her children (who he believed to be Tywin). Tywin was on the toilet, plus his stench was overwhelmingly awful when he died. A poison was mentioned by Pycelle that shuts down a man's bladder and bowels (Widow's blood), and it's supposed to be extremely unpleasant, and people think Oberyn used that, though I'm not sure. He was famous for using poison, after all.
Jeff R.
26. Milk Steak
Oberyn's plan wouldn't leave room for killing Tywin unless he was already on the way out. If Oberyn had kept his distance he surely would have been sent back to Dorne soon after the trial. Tywin's decomposition is unusual, enough so to flummox Pycelle and it does match the effects of widow's blood. Oberyn had several meals with Tywin which would have given him ample opportunity to slip him the poison. You can also contrast Oberyn's attitude about Tywin when Tyrion first welcomes him to King's Landing to how relaxed Oberyn is when talking about Tywin's mortality in Tyrion's cell and believe that something happened in between. The first time I reread that section after figuring/finding out about the theory I could practically hear Oberyn saying "wink, wink, nudge nudge" talking about Tywin.
Jeff R.
27. Asbjorn
(!!!Wheel of Time Book 12 spoilers ahead!!!)

I just re-read the Wheel of Time re-read, and reached this chapter, in which Leigh talk about Rand's personal nadir; a nadir is, as far as I have understood, the point where a character have suffered so much pressure and bullshit that he/she snaps and becomes a much darker character. When I read this, my mind immediately went to Tyrion's arc in the end of Storm of Swords and during Dance with Dragons. Do you think Leigh is going to make this connection?
Adam S.
29. MDNY
@27 By definition a nadir is the bottom point (it's a geometrical term, opposite the zenith or highest point). In literature, it is used with a character who has reached bottom (like Rand after Semirrhage makes him choke Min, right through Natrim's Barrows and meeting Tam again). Tyrion, however, has not even reached his nadir yet, IMHO- I'd say getting kidnapped by Mormont, then enslaved, brings him even lower than he is now. In a few chapters, he reaches even lower mentally when Jaime frees him and tells him the truth about Tysha, which leads him to kill Tywin his (presumed) father. It's hard to pinpoint the nadir for many characters in ASOIAF, because it's so dark. Jon's nadir is approaching when Thorne and Slynt have him imprisoned, yet he rises again quickly, until his next nadir comes in ADWD when he gets stabbed by his men. GRRM is so playful with "traditional" story patterns that I am wary of ever saying someone has reached their Nadir- except Cat, who clearly reached it at the Red Wedding, though I'm not sure how much she will rise again as a Fish Zombie.
Jeff R.
30. Asbjorn
@29 so that's what a nadir is. I stand corrected.

Now that I think of it, there are many nadirs in the series besides those you mentioned. Arya and Davos both have smaller ones, at the Red Wedding and at Blackwater. Cersei's is her Walk of Punishment. Theon's nadir is fairly obvious. As Tyrion, I would say learning the truth of Tysha is his mental nadir, and being sold as a slave is the point where he is furthest from reaching his goal and has least power.
Jeff R.
31. Jeff R.
Why is it, exactly, that Tywin managed to get away with not ever remarrying? I mean, everyone at Casterly Rock had to know that he didn't have a suitable heir for decades (and going throught Kevan after him meant Lancel eventually getting the Rock, which surely would have been barely better recieved than Tyrion.)

Just went through the bit where Tywin is talking about his long trials in matchmaking for his sons, and repeatedly wondered why offering himself was off the table for the more favorable dynastic matches that fell through when Jaime joined the Kingsguard. Also finding it hard to believe that Tywin couldn't have secured a Frey girl for Tyrion at any given time and at the drop of a hat...
Noneo Yourbusiness
32. Longtimefan
Tywin could have found a Frey daughter for Tyrion at any time. There would be a few hitches though.

A) Walder Frey. Easily takes offence and is always looking to improve is side of the bargain. Offering him a dwarf even from a powerful house would cost the Lannisters quite abit and Tyrion even more (emotionally).

B) Tywin Lannister. Calculating. Would not see much of an advantage to marrying a dwarf to a Frey daughter. There would be no inheritence from the Frey side as there are so many sons competing for the Frey land. So the advantage to Lannister is... an heir, from a dwarf and a Frey with no place in the line to aquire land. Not something they would really want.

C) Tyrion Lannister. Not into arranged marriages. Because he is intelligent and independent he would not be satisfied in an arranged marriage (see Sansa Stark) both for himself and for his bride. This would lead to his general fall back of women who are willing (and preferably able to have a conversation) which would make the marriage less sound. Thus irritating both TL and WF and creating a conflict where the marriage was supposed to produce an heir.

D) Unnamed Frey daughter. Not knowing the general charater basics of all the Frey daughters eligible for marriage lets just say that the over all attitude for Tyrion's dwarfhood has not been viewed favorably and it is more than likely that a Frey daughter would not be willing or tactful if such an arrangement were made.

E) This is Westeros. There are no easy solutions. :)
Jeff R.
33. Xyst3rn3ss
@9,13,15,18 I've always assumed Qyburn pulled a frankenstein on the Mountain to create Cersei's monster/new kingsguard. Might be I remember Cerseis chapters wrong?
Jeff R.
34. Aerona Greenjoy
Ha. When Jaime held him at knifepoint and demanded Tyrion's release, Varys geve a good impression of doing so unwillingly and unexpectedly. I'm not sure what (or if) Jaime thought of the fact that Varys had a ship handy to whisk him off afterwards.

Been pondering character nadirs. I haven't found any for Bran or Sansa yet, despite all of their horrible experiences. Jaime's low point was probably the first trip to Harrenhal, though his personality has been improving since then, unlike Tyrion's. Brienne's may have been getting (nearly) hanged, though we must wait to see how it's affected her, if she lives long enough. Most of the other POVs haven't been with us long enough, or changed enough in the process.
Jeff R.
35. Aerona Greenjoy
I was amused by the reminder that Bronn's marriage to Lollys was Cersei's bribe, given how it backfired on her later. He's a self-serving mercenary to the marrow.
Faiz Imam
36. FaizImam
33. Xyst3rn3ss

You're right, we know enough to reasonably assume he "re-activated" the body.

The uncertainty is the head specifically. Was the one given to Dorne a fake? or Real?

both are currently possible. Since we don't know whats under that helmet.

The default assumption is that they gave the real head, and that the Helmet is hollow, or otherwise occupied. I assume it will be revealed at some point.
Marie Veek
37. SlackerSpice
@36: Well, there's always the possibility that while there is a head, it's not necessarily Gregor's head. (Why yes, I read the last Sandor chapter of "The North Remembers" . Why do you say that?)
Jeff R.
38. Jeff R.
@32: Most of those are non-problems, really. Inheriting land by marriage is extremely rare in this system, certainly the exception rather than the rule; a Lannister second son couldn't expect to do so even without Tyrion's disadvantages. If we read part of the problem as 'give Tyrion some land that isn't Casterly Rock', no problem there, either: Tywin has recently taken the lands and castles of two of his bannermen. Generally when one does such a thing it's considered impolitic to keep them forever; creating fresh titles for surplus sons and nephews is what one's generally expected to do instead.

Tyrion would have most likely been a lot less against an arranged marriage pre-Shae as well.
Sydo Zandstra
39. Fiddler
@SlackerSpice in 37:

I've seen it mentioned the big skull sent to Dorne could belong to the Greatjon/Smalljon. I think it was somewhere on the Westeros forums...
James Reid
40. JamesReid

Another theory is the head belongs to one of the many dwarf heads turned into Cersei because of Tyrion's bounty.
Faiz Imam
41. FaizImam
All true, but I find those speculations unsatisfying.

It's all so much darker and poetically evil if the head is genuine.

I mean, if we are agreed that the Champion's helmet is hollow(or at least does not contain a head) then whats the point of keeping the real one?

Unless the magic involves a phychic link where the real head is being kept alive in some lab somewhere....?

ok. nevermind, that's pretty cool.
Chris Nelly
42. Aeryl
@26, Milk Steak, I agree with pretty much all of that, but Oberyn wouldn't be leaving KL. He was there not only to claim vengeance for Elia, but to take the Small Council seat Tyrion awarded to Dorne with the betrothal of Myrcella. Which is why, in ADWD, Lady Nym is sent instead(much to the outrage of the King's Landers, I imagine, as she's a bastard born girl).
Chris Nelly
43. Aeryl
In re: Gregor's Head, I think that seeing him without in vision is just metaphorical, to demonstrate that there is no cognition going on in Robert Strong, he's just an automaton, not that there is PHYSICALLY no head there, and the head sent to Dorne was a fake.
Faiz Imam
44. FaizImam
I agree that the vision is ambigious. And since i'm not married to any of the speculations I prefer to be ambivilent about the whole thing.

Head, no head, the only question is how would it really affect the plot?
Adam S.
45. MDNY
A better question is how is Walder Frey going to end up eating the remaining thousand members of his family by the end? Cause I really hope that happens.
I always assumed that the head sent to Dorne was fake, and presumably Robert Strong has some rotting corpse head under his visor, or something similar. I assume Bran's vision of darkness in a stone giant's visor was just the reanimated Gregor, who is no longer a real person, not that the helmet is actually empty. But as FaizImam says @44, how would it affect the plot either way? Well, at some point I assume we will see what is under Sir Strong's visor, and someone will be in for quite a shock whatever the truth.
Chris Nelly
46. Aeryl
Knowing/thinking that he's more automaton than reanimated Mountain is a relief to me. When I first heard that Cersei wanted him to be her champion, I got very concerned that, knowing his penchant for sexual violence, his "reward" was going to be something terrible to Cersei. And if Martin starts "punishing" the villainous women in his story with rape I'll be a little upset.

Like I get that it happens(poor Jeyne), but the instances of sexual violence in the story haven't been gratuitous, IMO. But I've noticed a tendency in grimdark fantasy(like Sara Douglass) to have women villains "get theirs" by becoming victims of rape and abuse, and I'll pass, thanks.
Jeff R.
47. nick s.

What if Jamie rapes her before he strangles her? Or while he strangles her?
Adam S.
48. MDNY
If Sansa hasn't been raped yet, I'm not sure it's going to happen to anyone, certainly not as cosmic justice to Cersei. I often feel that it is a bit unrealistic that no one (Joffrey, the Hound, and especially Littlefinger) has gone for it by now with Sansa. Because really, the girl is universally viewed as beautiful, virginal, and she has this whole naive innocent girl vibe (one that clearly turns Littlefinger on). I've been waiting for that shoe to drop for pretty much the whole series, now I'm not sure it will. Though maybe Littlefinger going too far will wake her up and push her into action finally...
Chris Nelly
49. Aeryl
@48, I have too, which is why I'm pretty sure it WON'T happen, though I do think LF's creepin is about to step up a notch.

@47, I hope, that by the time Jaime strangles her, he'll be a person who won't do that. So no, I wouldn't like to see Jaime do that, or Tyrion, or any other person. I don't like rape being used by authors as a way to bring a woman low. It's, well, rapey.
Jeff R.
50. Aerona Greenjoy
I'd rather Old Walder have a horrible end which doesn't involve killing all of his relatives. As of AFFC's beginning, his trueborn descendents included at least 31 children aged 10 or younger, some of them babies, and I personally couldn't demand the deaths of those little ones to spite their forefather. I'll be pleased StoneCat grabs him by the throat and forcibly kisses him while Nymeria and/or Shaggydog eat him slowly from the balls up. A girl can dream.

Might be espousing a double standard here, having just said that, but I agree with Aeryl in not wanting to see our female "villains" raped.
51. Maac
@29 -- one of my greatest fears for this series is that Catelyn/Stoneheart will meet Arya or Sansa at some later point and kill them unknowing, or unable to know/recognize them.
Jeff R.
52. Aerona Greenjoy
That would be horrific. I vaguely hope for her to learn that any one of her children is still alive, without first killing them or even subjecting them to the sight of her ruined self. Could theoretically happen, especially with Rickon or Sansa. Not looking likely, though.
Jeff R.
53. Asbjorn
@52 No way the BwB haven't told Stoneheart Arya is alive yet. They actually asked Merett Frey if he saw her in the Epilogue.

They still don't know if she survived the Sack of Saltpans, though.
Jeff R.
54. Aerona Greenjoy
Good. Oy, I hope Arya never learns about the Sack of Saltpans and who did it, or she'll beat herself up for having saved them.

No Lysa/Littlefinger for at least another week?! Aaargh! *mentaly throws Sweetrobin-style tantrum*
George Jong
55. IndependentGeorge
@47 - Why would he ever do that? It would be way out of character for Jaime to even consider it. This is the guy who refused Pia, and regularly expresses his disgust at Gregor's men.
56. Maac
@53 -- I'm afraid she might be so altered as to not care. Is she a revenant, or is she just... monstrous? Is she just numb and bitter (as well as corpsified), or is she really not human anymore?

I really, really hope not. Mistakes or no, I always loved and felt for Catelyn, and her chapters, even when I disagreed with her actions, or wished she had, say, absorbed different ideas from life!

I want her back, bascially. Internally at least. And I want reunions. *is a sap*
Chris Nelly
57. Aeryl
It's hard to say what's going on with Catelyn. Has she been so changed by the RW, she cares nothing for those who MAY be her enemies, like with how cold she was with Brienne? Or is it that coming back from death has changed her, to the point where she doesn't care for anything but vengeance?

For her to be a revenant, following fantasy novel logic, she would have had to do something inhumane, which killing Jinglebell qualifies I suppose, but I dunno, it doesn't seem earned, I guess. She didn't maliciously engineer the downfall of her family and house after all.
Adam S.
58. MDNY
I think Catelyn is gone. All she has left is a thirst for vengeance. Dondarrion complained about how much of his memory faded each time he was brought back, and he only briefly died each time. Cat was in the river at least a couple of days before Nymeria pulled her out, so there would have been significantly more deterioration of her memories and her mind, I think. While she lived, she cared more about seeing Arya and Sansa again than vengeance for Ned. After the Red Wedding, she seems to care only about vengeance, which is very different from her original character (just look back at Leigh's post at the end of AGOT, when she rolled her eyes at the "King of the North" cheer and supported Catelyn for wanting peace with the Lannisters so she could get her daughters back. The new UnCat doesn't seem capable of that).
59. Maac
@58 -- Deep down, I believe -- and have believed -- you are most likely right.

I do want GRRM to throw me a bit of a bone. :-) And hoping against hope keeps the journey exciting.
Faiz Imam
60. FaizImam
Don't worry, whatever trecherous road GRRM leads us, I doubt it'll lack excitment :)
61. Ryamano
One gay character most readers seem to have missed in ADWD was Jon Connington. According to GRRM, he's gay for Rhaegar. Re-reading it, it seems obvious now to me (but wasn't at first read).
62. Maac
I missed all the gay first time around. I don't remember if it was the show or that cleared that up for me, but on my first reading I was firmly ensconced in Christian college and the Internet was barely a thing -- I was not going to get it, even if I had developed a woobie-crush on Vanyel Ashkevron (don't judge me) at the time. (Took me long enough to absorb THAT one even. I assumed there were typos with the pronouns. I was a very young person!)

But yeah, during the massive reread marathon I did before Dance with Dragons, it was pretty darn clear (though still unfortunately semideniable, if one had had a stubborn, vested interest in denying it -- unlike the female-female instances).
Peter Stone
63. Peter1742
I really hope that in TWoW, one of Jon Connington's ex-lovers is going to try to seduce him (I assume he had some after Rhaegar died), and that he is going to have to try to refuse because of the greyscale.

Could lead to some interesting situations.
Jeff R.
64. Ibid
@61 Ryamano:

Right, Jon Con, Brynden Tully, and was it also Lyn Corbray? Someone from the Vale, anyway.

I'm not sure if GRRM put a lot of thought into the fairly high number of organizations where Celibacy is expected of their members:

Night's Watch
Kingsguard (though it's a small group)
All Maesters
Silent Sisters
... others??

Throughout medieval Europe the church was a great place to stash younger sons, who might rival their older sibs. Inheritance by strict primogeniture actually causes a lot of problems over the course of a couple of generations. If you could provide some oblates for the local monastery, you'd fulfill your obligations to the church as well as remove rivals from your heir. The other convenient thing about the church and/or the Regular life is people who had no interest in marrying anyway could choose to take some sort of orders from the church and there wouldn't really be much question.

This is a long, rambling, roundabout way of saying there are probably a lot of gay characters in Oldtown, in the Night's Watch, maybe even the Kingsguard. What about Ser Barristan? I understand that the Kingsguard is a huge honor, but I think anyone might balk at giving up all that just so you can stand around in white armor for 12 hours day doing absolutely nothing almost all of the time.
Jeff R.
65. Nessa
@57,58: I used to think that the old Cat was completely gone and the only thing Stoneheart had left was a hunger for vengeance. But then I remember reading in the fourth book that she and her followers had actually set up an orphanage for children. I'm still not sure what to think. Stoneheart wouldn't care for orphans, would she? Even the BWB when working for Dondarrion didn't do anything like that. Maybe there's a little bit of the motherly Catelyn showing through?

@64: I always found it somewhat strange that there weren't more mentions of gay people in the Citadel, Night's Watch, etc. I think there was one mention of some random guy in the NW whose lover died, but surely there must be more. Sure, there's the Mole Town (sp?) village, but I doubt that the men of the NW are going to trek through all that snow to get laid when they could just work out something between themselves at Castle Black.

Barristan isn't gay, by the way. He was in love with Ashara Dayne, as was made clear in his POV chapters in ADWD.
66. Ryamano
I think there might be more gay Septons and gay Maesters than gay Night Watchmen. The Night's Watch is seen as a very terrible sort of work, almost like exile in a very terrible, cold place. Maesters and septons, on the other hand, command respect out of the population (even if that line of work is hard, requiring knowing how to read or knowing the scriptures).
Faiz Imam
67. FaizImam
Perhaps its worth differentiating between people who are gay vs those that seek sexual satisfaction where they can get it?

Because the NW has mole's town close by, so the latter group would not nessesarity engage in homosexual acts, on the other hand it creates a situation where the former group can meet and interact.
George Jong
68. IndependentGeorge
But then I remember reading in the fourth book that she and her followers had actually set up an orphanage for children. I'm still not sure what to think. Stoneheart wouldn't care for orphans, would she? Even the BWB when working for Dondarrion didn't do anything like that. Maybe there's a little bit of the motherly Catelyn showing through?
I don't think they set that orphanage up so much as pledged to protect the orphans from raiders - and that's definitely the type of thing the BWB did during Dondarrion's time. It's really no different than Hot Pie staying with the inkeep in SOS, except on a larger scale. Thoros of Myr explicitly says in FFC that under unCat's direction, the Brotherhood has become far more about bloody vengeance than about defending the smallfolk (though the two obviously intersect).
Adam S.
69. MDNY
Leigh joked about the BWB being like Robin Hood. That's actually how I always thought of them, under Beric. They're outlaws, but generally honest men who were serving the King (through Ned acting as Hand), and who started out fighting Gregor and the Lannisters and started protecting the poor and weak. Under UnCat they are much more sinister, not even bothering with a trial for Brienne like Sandor got. UnCat=sinister (Thoros even comments on how different it is now, I forget exactly when).
Eric McCabe
70. Zizoz
The BWB set up the orphanage to look for Arya. This was pointed out to me quite recently on, and it makes total sense.
Chris Nelly
71. Aeryl
I'm loving that she caught Lysa's line about poison. That'll help later.

@70, I don't know whether that motive makes me feel like she's still Cat or not. Believing that Arya would purposely and intentionally seek the help of adults is delusional, but Cat seemed to have little awareness of the reality that is Arya, so it's not really indicative. It's either Cat is still delusional about Arya, or unCat has no idea of how Arya really is.
George Jong
72. IndependentGeorge
I just wanted to address something touched upon in the comments, which we can't quite discuss openly yet.

It makes more sense to me that Littlefinger manipulated the Tyrells into assassinating Joffrey, but the use of Dontos to deliver the poison hair net implies that they conspired together. Which really makes no sense for either party.
Chris Nelly
73. Aeryl
I don't know if I'll say they conspired. LF placed people to spread rumors/truth about Joff, but the Tyrells made the leap themselves to have him killed. They approach LF, who's a known opportunistic bastard, to help them accomplish this. He gets with Dontos and gets the hairnet to Sansa. He reports back that the plan is a go.

Now, the thing is, DID HE REALLY? That's a far reach for me, that he could plant the stories and expect AND plan that they would act as they did. I think he's doing that thing again, like he did with the assasination attempt on Bran, where he manipulated a situation he had little to do with, and made himself look more involved. This time, Sansa's actions were the REAL impetus for the assasination(IIRC, she doesn't get the hairnet until AFTER that meeting with Olenna, but then again, LF's gone from KL at this point), but he's taking credit and poor Sansa believes it.
Jeff R.
74. bookworm1398
Regarding LF's motives, do you think he can actually become King, get enough people to accept him as such? Or is just delusional in thinking that is even a possibility?
Mike Lapp
75. MorsManwoody
@73 While that certainly fits LF's MO, how would he know that Olenna adjusted the hairnet to get the poison unless he was at least somewhat involved with the plan?

@74 I don't think he wants to be king, I think he wants to be the power behind a king
Chris Nelly
76. Aeryl
Oh, I believe that he did that part, but whether he went so far back as to manipulate the Tyrells before the Battle of Blackwater? That's where I'm skeptical. I think it's more likely that the Tyrells did it because of Sansa's claims, and LF is taking credit for scaring the Tyrells, as it enhances his image.

But, if he didn't, the Kettleblacks were there and their dad is LF's man.
Adam S.
77. MDNY
People keep saying they hope/think Sansa will wise up. I don't think she will. She has certainly learned a lot, she knows that life is not a story or song, but she is still easily guided and too passive, and those seem like core elements of her personality. She is not a great thinker, and I doubt she ever could be. She may eventually wise up and kill LF, but I don't see her becoming a major player. In fact, since she got her wolf killed by lying (the first of multiple betrayals of her family) I have always thought she was doomed from the beginning, of all the Starks (other than Robb who betrayed his oath to Walder and got the worst commeuppance ever).
I agree LF wants to have power, not be in power. He has maneuvered himself into the ruler of the vale but he knows he can't keep that, so he is setting Sansa up with the prospective heir when little Robert dies. He means to control the vale through her, and the North, while he has Harrenhall and the Riverlands from the Lannisters, plus leverage on Margaery and Olenna over the Joff poisoning. Plus a member of the kingsguard and 2 more highly placed knights serving Cersei (the Kettleblacks- "serving" Cersei in more ways than one, LOL). Plus several other plans we don't know of probably. As Varis (or was it Ilyrio?) said, "the gods only know what game Littlefinger is playing".
Mike Lapp
78. MorsManwoody
@76 Ok, got it. I really could see it going either way, certainly don't want to take anything LF says at face value. I lean towards him being somewhat involved before Blackwater but I'm not super confident about it. Spreading the rumors so the Tyrells would ask Sansa about it seems a reasonable move to me. LF knew that Joff was an intractable psycho and he wanted someone predictable that would be a little more biddable
George Jong
79. IndependentGeorge
They approach LF, who's a known opportunistic bastard, to help them accomplish this. He gets with Dontos and gets the hairnet to Sansa. He reports back that the plan is a go.
This is what doesn't make sense to me about the whole hair net plot, though:

1. Littlefinger had said nothing but praise for Joffrey, consistent with his role as the Lannister's agent. That makes him even less trustworthy than usual.
2. The Ladies Tyrell very clearly (and correctly) don't trust anyone outside their family, and very few people inside of it. Olenna and Margaery are obvious conspirators, and I suspect Garlan as well, but Mace, Loras, and the various spouses, are clearly out of the loop.
3. A regicide is not the kind of thing you'd bring an outsider into, especially one who's evidently proven himself loyal to the family you're moving against.
4. Dontos is an absurd wild card whom the Tyrells have never before had any dealings with. In espionage, addicts are easy marks to turn, but extremely unreliable as assets. The very things that make Dontos easy to bribe/cajole also make him very hard to control or rely upon. He's useful as a go-between as long as he doesn't fully understand what he's doing; he's terrible as an integral part of an assassination attempt.

Add all of those together, and it makes no sense to me that Littlefinger and the Tyrells would collude using Dontos. It's a terrible risk for everyone.

It would make much more sense if Littlefinger manipulated the Tyrells into believing Joffrey needed to be eliminated, and let them act on their own without ever revealing himself. But that's impossible because of Dontos' involvement.
Mike Lapp
80. MorsManwoody
Dontos is a wild card but I don't think he knows anything about the assasination plot. He thinks he's getting paid to smuggle Sansa to LF. He probably got the hairnet and was simply told to impress on Sansa that it was important that she wear it the night of the wedding. Plus, while Dontos in unreliable if caught the actual risk seems fairly low to me. Sansa did save his life and now he's a knight turned fool that everyone dismisses as a drunkard. He couldn't be allowed to live once Joff was killed but before that why would anyone care what Dontos was doing and if he blabbed that he was working for LF, who would believe him? It is known that LF is in the Vale wooing Lysa so if a know drunk is babbling about it why would anyone think he's telling the truth.

Do we have any evidence that Dontos knows anything about Tyrell involvement? I don't remember there being anything.
Deana Whitney
81. Braid_Tug
@MDNY, Sansa rising up:
Think about GRRM's original plan to have a 5 year break after this book while the kids "Grew Up."
Seeing Sansa after 5 years of LF's tutelage, I think she would be much changed and much more aware of everything. Think of yourself at 18 vs. 25. She would become a “player.”

Wish he had been able to follow that path, but wrote himself into too many corners as we all know.
Chris Nelly
82. Aeryl
@79, IndependentGeorge, I'm with Mors, if Dontos did eventually learn what was up, it was very late in the game. I think he really thought the hairnet was magical or something.
Jeff R.
83. Aerona Greenjoy
Some things about the Joffrey-poisoning plot, as we know it, confuzzle me.

Why did the jewel have to be smuggled in on Sansa instead of Margaery or Olenna? Were the Tyrells searched at the door for such things?

How could anyone think that the jousting dwarfs incited Tyrion to immediately kill Joffrey with a poison he just happened to be carrying?

And if Loras was considered to be commiting 'incest bymarriage' with his sister's husband, what about Tommen marrying his brother's widow?

I wonder who would've been used instead of Dontos if Sansa hadn't saved him. They would probably have found someone somehow.
Jeff R.
84. Gold for Petyr
Finally! Petyr's full greatness is revealed. Just wait till that other shoe drops.

God I love you Petyr.
Marie Veek
85. SlackerSpice
@83: Re: the hairnet - I imagine they weren't searched, but I imagine it wouldn't hurt to not have the murder weapon on them in case someone suspected they wanted Joffrey dead rather than wed.

As for the jousting dwarves, I think it was more Joffrey's reaction that people would point to, especially as part of several disagreements that Tyrion had with him (e.g. standing up for Sansa, slapping Joffrey when he set off the riot).
Adam S.
86. MDNY
The hairnet plot was overly complex- they didn't need Sansa to wear it, since she and Tyrion were immediately suspected anyway, and she was spirited away before she could be arrested. It still doesn't fully make sense that they needed Dontos in any way- except to tell Sansa it was from Asshai. Olenna or Margaery could have had the poison and the end results would have been the same, though now LF has Sansa because she knows she was involved, however unwittingly. I would guess that's why he wanted it done that way, so he has leverage on both Sansa and the Tyrells.
Jeff R.
87. Gold for Petyr
@ 86. MDNY:

Yes, the reason Littlefinger has Sansa deliver the poison hairnet is so that Sansa has to run and hide.

Also, the Tyrells don't know about Dontos since that's how Littlefinger learned of the Tyrell plan to marry Sansa to Willas.

What's funny is Littlefinger already has achieved almost everything he wanted, this whole thing, alerting the Lannisters about the Sansa-Willas marriage, the jousting dwarves, and killing Joffrey, that whole thing is just to get Sansa. This is all a minor side game to the murder of Jon Arryn, destroying the Tullys and gaining control of the Riverlands and the Vale.
Chris Nelly
88. Aeryl
@83, The same way Maegaery could marry Joffrey's uncle and still marry him. The marriages aren't "official" because they've never been consumated.

And yes, that means that Margaery's marriage to Tommen isn't official yet either. Live by the unconsumated marriage, DIE by the unconsumated marriage.
Jeff R.
89. olethros
Renly's marriage was never consummated, either. So far as we know.
91. Ryamano

Dynastic alliances happen no matter who's the brethothed (sp?). Look at Ned Stark, having to marry his older brother's fiancee after Brandon is killed in King's Landing. The thing that matters is that the dynasties are joined and become allies, which is cemented by marriage, not how close were the people being married.
Jakub Wrobel
92. ptyx
The way I see the plot to kill Joffrey:

1. LF and Olenna meet after Renly's death, LF gains the Tyrrells's support for Joffrey with a promise that Margaery will marry the king, but at the same time he plants the idea that Joff may not be the best party for Marg. There may have been some kind of informal agreement between the T. and LF behind the apparent support for the Lannisters.

2. Olenna interrogates Sansa to confirm that Marg should not marry Joff and she (they) decides to kill him so that Marg could marry Tommen instead. She also plans to marry Sansa to Willas.

3. LF finds out about Sansa+Willas and has to prevent it, so he spills the beans to the Lannisters.

4. Now I imagine an offscreen scene between Olenna and LF:
Olenna is angry because of what LF did and tries to find out what his motivation was. LF admits he knows the Tyrells are going to get rid of Joffrey and that he actually supports them - he has it all planned and he needs Sansa to be at the wedding to succeed (hairnet, poison etc.) He probably reveals how he wants Sansa to be the scapegoat (if anybody ever follow the trails to get the truth, they will all lead to Sansa), but also how he plans to help her escape the very same moment that Joffrey dies.
This idea must appeal to Olenna - the risk for the Tyrells is low, the plan is likely to succeed and nobody would suspect them, whereas there will probably be no harm for Sansa in the end.
Michael Langer
93. Baba_Yaga
@61,63 JonCon love for Rhaegar:

JonCon sure waxes rhapsodic about Miles Toyne, former commander of the Golden Company. Could have been something there as well..
Sanne Jense
94. Cassanne
I think LF put a weapon in that room (ie Sansa's hairnet) just in case. Never hurts to have a hidden weapon, right? Then he offered it when Olenna asked him / got pissed off with him. Dontos was just a convenient method of delivery.
Chris Nelly
95. Aeryl
@94, But LF also knew that there would be enough of an uproar to enable Sansa's escape, so he knew before he gave it to her that it would be used.
George Jong
96. IndependentGeorge
@92 - The book spells out #s 1-3, but I have a real problem with #4.

There is absolutely no benefit to confronting Littlefinger, or any reason to trust him after he's already thwarted one of her plans. Furthermore, it also means that Littlefinger has reveals to the Tyrells that Sansa is with him in the Vale - which puts a huge risk on his own plans.

As a wise philosopher once said, "Is you taking notes on a criminal &%*#@! conspiracy?".

Olenna's circle needs to include Margaery, and I suspect it includes Garlan, but anybody beyond that adds nothing while increasing risk of exposure. If Littlefinger knows that the Tyrells plan to assassinate Joffrey, letting them know that he knows is equally stupid, especially when it involves revealing Sansa's whereabouts. There is absolutely no upside for Olenna and Littlefinger joining forces, and a godawful amount of risk.
Jeff R.
97. olethros
Yay for 2 references to The Wire in one comment thread.
Jakub Wrobel
98. ptyx
How can there be little risk in murdering a king? ;)

If LF already knew about their plan, they could either cooperate or kill him. And Sansa was actually their leverage in all of this.

If the Tyrells and LF conspired together, they were not likely to betray each other, because the betrayed party could easily blame the other one.
The Tyrells could say that LF used Sansa to kill Joffrey and took her with him after she did the part.
LF could say that the Tyrells used Sansa (against her will or without her knowledge) to kill Joffrey, but she managed to escape and looked for a shelter in the Vale.

If LF was not involved in the plan, but we know he knew about it, why didn't he simply reveal who's guilty? It would have caused even more chaos that could have been beneficiary for him.
Chris Nelly
99. Aeryl
I think Winds of Winter is going to end with another chapter like ADWD, except it will actually reveal what LF wants, or who he's working with.

Right before Sansa kills him.
George Jong
100. IndependentGeorge
Man. Based on today's post, Leigh is seriously going to be flipping out next week, especially if (as I suspect) she only does one chapter.

Which, in theory, should just make "Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!" and "Any of them, including the cook" all the more awesome. Next week is the nadir of SOS (and possibly the whole series); epic bone throwing should commence around the 19th.
Jeff R.
101. MotherOfFirkins
Do we know how Leigh is reading Feast & Dance? Is she reading them in order or is she going to read them in one of the FeastDance orders?
Marie Veek
102. SlackerSpice
@100: Oh, yeah, especially if she compares it to what happened at the Vale.

@101: As it's her first readthrough, I'm thinking she'll just read through FfC and then DWD.
Jeff R.
104. TBGH
Anybody else just realize John's unusual strength here might be a cluebat to Targaryen 'dragon' blood?
Michael Duran
105. MRHD
As far as Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS! goes, considering her thoughts on Stannis up to this point, I imagine that Leigh's going to assume that Stannis will be just one more asshole around to work with Thorne and Slynt in making Jon's life hell. I think his clarity towards Slynt, and especially the "bromance" between him and Jon in Dance (when she gets to that point in the far distant future) will take her by surprise.
Adam S.
106. MDNY
@104 Hmmm. Was it ever mentioned that Targs have super strength? I don't think that's a general trait of theirs, so I'm not sure how much to read into his strength here.
Next week will have another downer, that's true, but it's such an exciting chapter I don't see how Leigh could get that down even with Tyrion imprisoned again and sentenced to death. The red viper is a personal favorite, so I was crushed, but I never once thought Tyrion was going to die (just as I never thought Jon would die, but of the 2 I always thought Tyrion was safest).
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
107. AlirozTheConfused
In response to post one oh four

some mean criticism I must pour

tragaresarasean spawn

haven't been noted for brawn

that's not part of their haviour.

If anything, it's the bananatheons who are said to be stout

Also Cleganes and (pl)Umbers; what're you on about?
George Jong
108. IndependentGeorge
@105 - I love the Stannis/Jon "bromance" even more than Stannis/Davos one - probably because we mostly see the latter from Davos' viewpoint. Jon & Stannis is so much more hilarious because neither one really understands the other, but somehow it all clicks.

I didn't appreciate it on my first read, but the comedy stylings of Stannis Baratheon starts at the end of SOS.

ETA: It's too bad the way FFC/DWD is structured, because "Edd, fetch a block" would really bring the house down if it were in a few weeks.
George Jong
109. IndependentGeorge
@104 - no, because the Targaryens aren't demigods; they just had better "tech" than anyone on Westeros.
Jeff R.
110. Aerona Greenjoy
@106: The next chapter is "crushing" indeed...especially for Oberyn.
Jeff R.
111. Alejandro1
@IndependentGeorge: I was actually thinking it would be great if Leigh read AFFC and ADWD together, using the Boiled Leather reading order ( I am using it for my reread and the flow is much, much better than reading first one book and then the other. Has this possibility been suggested/discussed here before? Then the "block" moment would come much sooner...
Michael Duran
112. MRHD
The only thing I was thinking that might go against Leigh for a combined reading order is the very slow pace at which the Read is going. It might be more helpful to have half the storylines at a time, since I imagine that would make them easier to follow/remember what was going on with PoV X for someone reading at such a slow pace.
Jakub Wrobel
113. ptyx
I'm wondering, is there anyone who has actually read these two books in combined order in their first read? I'm not sure if it would be that good really. There are many not really connected storylines and many (too many?) POV's, whreas the pace of the plot slows down.

BTW, I believe we still have Dunk&Egg to be read by Leigh before she even gets to AFFC.
Marie Veek
114. SlackerSpice
Next time on Read of Ice and Fire: Tyrion experiences a crushing defeat... oh, and he loses the trial, too. *ducks*
Jeff R.
115. Asbjorn
I also think she should read AFFC and ADWD separately. Boiled Leather's reading order is awesome, and I'm gonna use it myself next time do a re-read, but IMO it is best for first-time readers to read them as they came out - among other things because (as @112 and @113 said), the pacing would be too slow and the POV characters too numerous.

But I see why you might prefer Boiled Leather's solution. I also ache to see her reaction to Bloodraven and Reek and "Edd, fetch me a block" among other things. But we'll just have to wait a little longer.
Rob Munnelly
116. RobMRobM
Believe we discussed the potential for a boiled leather joint read with Leigh and she respectfully declined.

Re Dunk and Egg - think we agreed on 1 and 2 before FFC and 3 (and potentially, by that time, 4) before ADWD. We'll also have to decide whether and where to fit in the new Dances with Dragons novella that's coming out in November. May be best to do that before ADWD as well.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
117. Lisamarie
Just curious, is there a good place to get all the Dunk and Egg stories? I have the old Legends anthology that has the first one, but I don't want to have to buy anthologies for all of them (not that I have anything against anthologies). Is there a place they are compiled, in either printed or ebook format?
Chris Nelly
118. Aeryl
Not yet. After the fourth one is released they are going to bundle them.
Rob Munnelly
119. RobMRobM
Legends II has second one.

Warriors (Dozois/Martin) has third one.

Fourth one will come out, and then the compilation will come about a year later once the exclusive sales period for the fourth one runs out.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
120. Lisamarie
I'll probably just wait on the compilation then, ah well. Although I do kind of want some of those other anthologies too. And Unfettered. Oh, my reading list is never going to get smaller is it? Doesn't seem to matter how much I read....
Chris Nelly
121. Aeryl
@120, I hear ya. It's never helped that I'm a AVID re-reader and will postpone new things to reread something awesome.

There are some sites(that I won't mention here, since Tor wants to sell books too) that you can get the used anthologies at a pretty low price, I've looked into it.

I'll probably end up doing it, because I want to keep up with the read, but I kinda wish they'd postpone the Dunk & Egg part till the anthology comes out. I really don't have the money for all those books.
Rob Munnelly
122. RobMRobM
@121 - I read Dunk and Egg stories from Library. Works for me.
Chris Nelly
123. Aeryl
I'm a bad library patron. I never return books, keep them late.

I support libraries, and because I support them, I do not use them!
Rob Munnelly
124. RobMRobM
I'm a bit of a power library user. I've been plowing through a whole bunch of books during my train commute to/from City and in evening after spouse and kids go to bed. Currently reading Cherryh (Cyteen) and just finished most of Guy Gavriel Kay (ending with the Sarantine Mosaic books). I only buy books that I intended to re-read multiple times, including ASOIF.
Chris Nelly
125. Aeryl
If I buy a book, and afterwards know that I have no plans on rereading it, I take it to a local shop that gives you trade in credits for books, movies and video games.

I was able to complete my HP harback collection at the place, found the first four in still mint condition for $20. :^D
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
126. Lisamarie
I've been trying to work on using the library more - I used to have this thing of having to own every book I read, but I'm really trying to break myself of that.
George Jong
127. IndependentGeorge
Only a few more hours until Leigh's next meltdown...
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
128. Lisamarie
Heh, I hope she doesn't just give up on the book when Oberyn is crushed.

I have a feeling it will be a one-chapter post though. Is she actually reading in real time? How can she stand it? I am pretty sure I tore through the latter half of the book!
Chris Nelly
129. Aeryl
I was the same way. I slowed down a bit after the RW, but the Joffrey died, I couldn't put it down!
George Jong
130. IndependentGeorge
I think this will be a one-chapter recap filled with rage and existential despair.
Jeff R.
131. MotherOfFirkins
I'd think she'd almost have to get back to double chapters at least in the Jon/Sam back to back action coming up.

But yeah, I have no idea how you could read this part of the series one chapter a week. Some of it is so devastating that you have to read on just in the vain hope that something good happens to someone somewhere.
Marty Beck
132. martytargaryen
If anyone cares, I mapped out the rest of the book. At one or two per week, with Thanksgiving as a break, she will be done between 17 Oct and 05 Dec.
Adam S.
133. MDNY
I'm a little surprised Leigh hasn't caught that Jaime has still not seen Tyrion, when we already know that he has always been his biggest ally. I guess she dismisses Jaime's help because of his infatuation with Cersei, and the fact that he hasn't seen him since his return to King's Landing, but I was waiting for Jaime to save the day ever since his last chapter when he ruminated on "other debts he had to pay".
Deana Whitney
135. Braid_Tug
So, she's seen part of Shay's betrayal. Think she'll have a fit at the second part of it?

I'll admit, it's been so long since I first read the books, I forgot about the "Giant" line being used at the trial. Thus his really negative reaction later on.

But she might be doing too many happy dances at the death of Daddy to really comment on it.
Chris Nelly
136. Aeryl

There would have been no war (probably)

I disagree with this, and I don't know if maybe you're only avoiding spoilers.

But it seems obvious that the Lords(along with the Maesters) were preparing to rebel, there were too many alliances by marriage ongoing. Whether they only turned to Robert as a candidate for King or would have supported Rhaegar prior to getting with Lyanna, has not yet been revealed.

And this

instead of stealing Lyanna Stark

You know, ever since one of Ned's chapters, where he remembers Lyanna telling him that Robert would never be faithful, I've felt that what she and Rhaegar did was likely consensual. That she, as a wolf's child, like Arya, would tolerate NO double standards. Now, I get that per Westerosi law, Rhaegar DID steal her, that she had no agency of her own. So I'm just curious if you think it was non-consensual, or if you are just going along with Westerosi belief to not alert Leigh's suspicions?
Chris Nelly
137. Aeryl
I still really enjoy Tyrion, and I liked him in ADWD, but it seems like after he kills Shae, he really starts crossing lines he's not coming back from.

I think that GRRM is turning him. As we started hating Jaime, and now "we" love him, I think he's trying to make Tyrion hateable. To take the good guy and make him evil. Have to see how things go in WoW.
Adam S.
138. MDNY
@135 Braid_Tug: There is sooooo much packed in that chapter, who can say? From Jaime's confession about Tysha, to Varys being involved in the jailbreak, to Tyrion getting the info from Varys on how to get to the Hand's room (I'm still torn on whether Varys planned Tywin's death- I don't think he did, but he certainly wanted it), to Shae in bed with the chain, to Tywin's death, and the possibility he was poisoned (which really comes from the next book when his body smells so terrible). There's just so much packed into all these chapters late in the book, it's almost impossible to pick up on everything or comment on everything.
@136 Aeryl: I think Rhaegar did steal her, regardless of whether she came to love him (which I believe she did), no matter what he was acting outside the laws of Westeros, which is why the Starks and Baratheons were in their rights to demand justice from the king, who burned them alive. As for the war, the Starks and Baratheons wouldn't have rebelled, and we learn later that Rhaegar had told Barristan he intended to make changes in the realm, likely moving against his father to secure the realm and prevent rebellion, which based on all we know of him I think he would have succeeded in doing.
Jeff R.
139. Dragonriding Moogle
@ 135 I think she was sympathetic enough to Shae's reasons that she won't be thrilled with Tyrion's actions towards her, personally. Especially considering her comments on the way women are treated in this world overall....
Chris Nelly
140. Aeryl
As for the war, the Starks and Baratheons wouldn't have rebelled,

They were two of the houses aligning with one another, defying centuries of tradition. I just wonder why you feel that way.

Before I pass judgement on whether Rhaegar "stole" her, I'll have to hear the story of how she ended up with him in the Tower of Joy. All we know so far, Rhaegar gave her the crown of blue roses, ???, Rickard and Brandon went to KL and died, Robert started a war over it, she died in the Tower of Joy.

I think it more likely she ran away to Rhaegar, not that he had her abducted. The ONLY people who we've heard flat out claim that he "stole" her has been Robert, and he's not exactly reliable on this, and Ned tries to redirect him when the topic comes up in the catacombs of Winterfell.

Now, you are correct, the Starks were within their rights to demand justice, and Aerys was TOTALLY wrong to kill them for it. But I don't think that makes Rhaegar culpable, anymore than that makes Dany culpable. And while it was what sparked the rebellion, I still feel it was in the works for some time. But whether it was to throw over Aerys for Rhaegar or Robert, IDK.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
141. AlirozTheConfused
I don't care whether Lyanna and Rhaegar were in love. They started a war that killed thousands. Moral judgement they are not above. They deserve to be slaughtered like hausens.

How many childrn lost fathers and brothers? How many nameless peasants died? How many sons can't come home to their mothers? To live with lost loved ones, how many tried?

What gives them the right. Why's their love worth more than the peasants who fight unrecorded in lore?
Chris Nelly
142. Aeryl
No, Aerys and Robert started a war that killed thousands. Just because it was OVER what Rhaegar and Lyanna did, doesn't make them culpable for it.

If Aerys had sensible addressed the issue, made good on a dowry payment to the Starks and arranged a marriage for Robert, this could have all gone away.
Marty Beck
143. martytargaryen
@134 - :)

@14 on the main thread...calling Tysha a "peasant" instead of a "whore" is spoilery, is it not??
Deana Whitney
144. Braid_Tug
@141, if you believe one of the theories going around Lyanna & Rhaegar were meant to be together in order to have “The Prince who was Promised.” IE. The Westeros Jesus.

Therefor it was about more than them being “in love.” It was about them fulfilling destiny. And, I think, the Prince is supposed to make life better for all the unrecorded peasants too.

So… your mileage my vary, but it wasn’t just them being entitled selfish people.
Jeff R.
145. Dragonriding Moogle
Yeah, no war is over any one thing, and if one's actions leading to something terrible happening is enough to make one terrible, then most people in this series would be condemned. We don't have enough information yet to know whether or not Rhaegar (and Lyanna if she was in on it) could have predicted what would've happened, or know those motivations.

One thing this series makes clear to me anyway, is just how many people's actions, some unknowing, some not, led to these terrible wars and thousands of people dying. I don't think anybody would argue that Rhaegar and Lyanna's love was more important than/worth thousands of people dying, but it's unlikely it was as clear cut as that for anyone anyway.

The War of Five Kings happened because of so many people's actions or lack thereof. If Ned, Cat, Robb, Sansa, Littlefinger etc had done things differently things wouldn't have played out the same way at all. But we have hindsight and literary arcs to determine what those actions were and what they should've done.
George Jong
146. IndependentGeorge
I'm with Aliroz with this one - it doesn't matter whether or not Lyanna consented or if they were in love. They each had responsibilities that went beyond their own personal feelings. The bulk of the responsibility lies with Rhaegar, who was (1) the crown prince, (2) older by many years, and (3) married with children of his own.

Aerys technically started the war by executing Brandon & Rickard Stark and Elbert Arryn (and demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark), but that hardly absolves Rhaegar of his responsibility. Aerys acted with malice, but Rhaegar acted with negligence. What did he think was going to happen when she disappeared with him without any word of their whereabouts or intentions?

And THAT is why you always leave a note.

@144 - That theory just makes him crazy on the level of Baelor the Blessed, instead of negligent.
Chris Nelly
147. Aeryl
What did he think was going to happen when she disappeared with him without any word of their whereabouts or intentions?

Do we know that's what happened though? Obviously, they knew she was with Rhaegar, or else why go to Aerys, but do we know she didn't tell them? And they just didn't care what Lyanna, and so figured they'd go over Rhaegar's head?
Adam S.
148. MDNY
I trust Barristan Selmy's assessment of Rhaegar as an honorable man. I think it all depends on what really happened at Harrenhall, and Meera's story is closely related. I can buy that Rhaegar fell in love when he discovered Lyanna rode in the tourney, and named her. Whether he "stole" her or not, I think she clearly loved him, and more importantly their child that she begged Ned to protect with her dying wish. Regardless of whether what Rhaegar did was wrong (it was, mostly to his wife though, and maybe to Robert, but not to Lyanna if she did go willingly) it was Aerys who inflamed things to the point that war was inevitable. Rhaegar's action was folly, in hindsight, but whether it was to fulfill a prophecy or twoo wuv or just infatuation with a young girl, I still believe he was overall a good man and would have made a good king had events fallen out differently.
George Jong
149. IndependentGeorge
@147 - if she sent word back, I would have expected Ned, Cat, Jaime, or Barristan to have recounted it. All were in position to know, and none make any mention of it. Maester Luwin and Jon Arryn also would have known, and would have shared it with Ned once the war was done.
Chris Nelly
150. Aeryl
If she sent word back

Maester Luwin wasn't the Maester then, remember that really bitter Northern woman who was in love with Brandon? It was a different Maester, one she believes was helping to foment a civil war. What better way than to hide/destroy the letter that told everyone she was safe and secure and with the man she loved?

151. Ryamano
Regarding alternate history, there was a 4 house alliance brewing between Arryn – Baratheon – Stark – Tully already. There was another conspiracy being done by Rhaegar, which we can see from Jaime’s POV, but we don’t know which were the houses that were part of that (Connington and what others?). The best case scenario would be one of a bloodless coup d’etat: Rhaegar gets in contact with the 4 house alliance and they agree that he will be their leader. They all together take Aerys from the throne and put him in exile at Dragonstone without blood being shed. Rhaegar rules the Seven Kingdoms, but with the creation of a new Council of Lords or with a representative of the great houses on his small council. Of course, that’s the happy ending, so it could never happen in GRRM’s world.
Jeff R.
152. Jeff R.
I'm still convinced that Elia cheated first, probably with her father-in-law Aerys, and that the kids were not Rhaegar's{1}. And Aerys really,really had to go, and Rhaegar was the 'proper' candidate to try and replace him with. And that Rickard was the head conspirator setting up the rebellion.

So what made the whole plan go wrong was (1) underestimateing how strongly Robert would react (nobody with anywhere near so little Targyren blood had attemped to play for anything more than local independence before, and certainly nobody had succeeded. I suspect that everyone (mis)evaluated the biggest Robert-related risk as 'might support Viserys in a war 20 years later, if it comes to that.') and (2) Aerys managing to kill the Starks who could have known to plan and put Robert's best friend in charge of the North. The latter of which could very well be the work of well informed whisperers-in-ears rather than a chance correct paranoid moment.

{1} And that Rhaegar knew that a prophecy required an actual child of his to work out right.
Chris Nelly
153. Aeryl
I find it more likely that Elia was raped by Aerys than she she cheated on her noble valiant husband by a crazy old man.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
154. AlirozTheConfused
I don't see how Rhaegar would be a good king. Such negligence as his is acceptable in a peasant, but unforgivable in a prince, and certainly unforgivable in a king. The only thing he has going for him is Not Being Aerys. And you know what? Quite a lot of people are, in fact, not Aerys.

I also seriously don't see why there would be a conspiracy to put Rhaegar, the heir of the king, on the throne. I mean, he's already going to get the throne. You're not putting him in power, he's already there.

He doesn't need to get the 4-house-alliance on his side. He already has all the Targarayrayrahran-loyalist families on his side.

That's as stupid as breaking into your own house and stealing your own stuff.

If there was a conspiracy, why would it be a conspiracy to do something that could be openly stated; and would already happen anyway?

If anything, if there was a conspiracy, it seems more reasonable that it would be a conspiracy to depose the targarasraensafsaklkaap9gean; that at least would explain such secrecy.
Chris Nelly
155. Aeryl
A few reasons.

A) Aerys seemed to think Rhaegar was conspiring against him, that was why he demanded to attend the Harrenhal tourney.

B) Targs are notoriously healthy and long lived, according to rumor, so NO ONE wanted Aerys to stay on the throne any longer. He and Tywin are of an age, they were once close friends, and Tywin's still around, imagine Westeros after another 20 years of random burnings, not to mention the Wildfyre buried all over KL. What if he got it into his head to have the pyromancers bury it all over the nation?

C) Regicide cannot be openly stated, not even in Westeros, why would you think Rhaegar plotting to usurp his father before his rightful time would be ANYTHING other than a crime?

D) The Tullys and Baratheons WERE ALREADY "Targarayrayrahran-loyalists", the Starks and Arryns were allying themselves MORE CLOSELY to the Targs. Which makes sense if you want a united front to depose the king.

As far as Rhaegar being a good king, that's irrelevent, it always has been, what mattered was blood. Rhaegar had it. When Jon Arryn went into open rebellion to protect Robert, and brought Ned into it, that meant the Tullys could go either way. With Rhaegar, which would have brought a swift end to the rebellion, or with Robert, who also had a smidge of Targ blood, which again, was all that mattered.
Chris Nelly
156. Aeryl
Oop, duplicate
Marie Veek
157. SlackerSpice
Next time on Read of Ice and Fire: Targaryens plan, the gods laugh, Dany finds out the truth about her very-much-not-sainted father, and Jorah learns the hard way about when to keep your trap shut.
Joe Vondracek
159. joev
@148: "more importantly their child that she begged Ned to protect with her dying wish"
Although I subscribe to this theory, I don't really know what Lyanna was making Ned promise her. Maybe she was saying, "Promise me, Ned, that you'll track down that raping SOB Rhaegar and kill his abducting ass." Did she know that Rhaegar was already dead? Where's Howland Reed when ya need him??
Bill Stusser
160. billiam
I agree with Aeryl, for the most part, on this one. While we don't have all the information at this point in the series, I think that Lyanna went with Rhaegar willingly and that the Starks knew about it; at least Rickard, Brandon, and Ned; but didn't care what Lyanna wanted.

Why wouldn't Ned tell anyone about that? Simple, to keep his promise to his sister to keep her son's identity a secret. If people knew that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar and went with him willingly they might put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out that the bastard son that Ned brought home wasn't his.

I also believe that Rhaegar's children with Elia were not his, although I have no idea who the father was. I guess it could be Aerys *shrugs*.

I am still under the assumption, until we get the whole story at least, that the woman with Rhaegar in Dany's HotU vision was Lyanna and the baby Aegon was Jon. As I've said on one of these spoiler threads before, I believe that Jon is older than we've been told and that he was born before Rhaegar was killed. I don't think that Lyanna died during childbirth, but rather that Ned is somehow responsible, accidently of course, for her death. That would fit the tragedy of this series and Ned is obviously haunted by what happened at the ToJ.

And yes, I believe that Lyanna knew that Rhaegar was dead, the Kingsgaurd outside the tower certainly knew. And because of that I've also wondered whether or not Ser Barristan knows about Jon.
Jeff R.
161. Jeff R.
I'm pretty sure Eddard didn't know about it until after it was too late to do anything about it (after Rhaegar was dead and Lyanna was dying), and I'm not at all sure Brandon wasn't out of the loop as well. (If he had known, going to Aerys to complain is the kind of double bluff that I don't think he was either smart enough or dumb enough to attempt. So it's very likely that Rickard kept this entirely under his hat the whole time, much to his own and every else's misfortune.)
jeremiah gaster
162. jer
Aeryl @137,

I have the same fear, the turning of Tyrion...

but at the same time, it is possible that in GRRM's deconstruction of fantasy, the winner of (something, not necessary the throne) could be Tyrion.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
163. AlirozTheConfused
Why not kill Aerys and try to make it look like an accident?

Or give him a bunch of wildfire to play with and take bets on how many minutes it takes for him to blow himself up?

Or trick the guy into sitting on a chair made of swords?

Wait, that's stupid.

Nobody would be dumb enough to make a chair out of swords and still leave it pointy.

And nobody would be dumb enough to sit on it.

I am ashamed for even considering that idea.
David Goodhart
164. Davyd
But seriously, anything that throws more confusion into Tywin...
Or shoots into Tywin.... *snicker*
Chris Nelly
165. Aeryl
@163, It's been mentioned that the Iron Throne "bit" Aerys often, so he was hyper sensitive about threats. Plus, he'd been kidnapped and held prisoner before, he was pretty damn paranoid, it wouldn't have been that easy.
Adam S.
166. MDNY
The question is, was Varys intentionally making Aerys more paranoid, as Barristan implies? If so, to what end? I always kinda liked Varys, at least compared to LF, but I definitely don't trust him. However, I feel like we have to take everything he said at the end of ADWD at face value- he had no reason to lie then, with only his little birds and the dying Kevan to hear his speech.
Chris Nelly
167. Aeryl
Well, even evil people think they are good, so you can take it at face value, and still feel that Varys is trying to cast himself in the best light possible.
Jeff R.
168. JoannaTargaryen
Actually, I don't buy it about Varys having no reason to lie at the end of ADWD. Littlefinger explains it very nicely to Sansa/Alayne in AFFC. When she asks if they are to call each other father and daughter even when they are all by themselves, LF tells her "especially then" (don't remember the exact quote), then goes on to explain the particular dangers of letting your guard down when you think you're alone. I don't expect that LF knows anything about deception that Varys doesn't.
George Jong
169. IndependentGeorge
@168 - He then goes on to grope his 'daughter' in private, because nobody's there to see.
Julian Niquille
170. Gesar
This is quite random and I appeal to your inner geek with it: what would be Tyrion's alignment? I have little experience with D&D, but from a quick search I would say the closest is Neutral Good, could anyone argue for or against that?
Jakub Wrobel
171. ptyx
Neutral Good? Ned Stark maybe, Robb too and some other characters, but Tyrion?
I would say True Neutral, changing towards Chaotic Neutral after Joffrey's death and all that followed.
Chris Nelly
172. Aeryl

Ned: Lawful Good(c'mon)
LF: Chaotic Evil(too easy)
Arya: Chaotic Neutral(I almost went with Lawful, because she's got a pretty strict code, but decided not to, because that code isn't very LEGAL)
Cersei: Lawful Evil(She's all about making the screwed up system work for her, while being blind to that, railing against how it's held her back.)
Dany: Lawful Neutral(for now, she's got a code, but she hasn't yet established whether her influence will be to the benefit of others yet)
Sansa: Chaotic Good(I worry for her, without her wolf, but at heart Sansa's a good person, and LF is teaching her how to make chaos work for her own ends)
Brienne: Lawful Good(again too easy)

People like Catelyn and Jaime I have a hard time classifying, because of their evolutions.
Julian Niquille
173. Gesar
I don't understand how Tyrion can be true neutral (that's actually the reason of my post, there is a picture circulating where Tyrion is true neutral and I just can't understand how that works). I thought true neutral were either people like Gendry, who doesn't give a shit, or Bronn, who just adapts himself to whoever pays him. Tyrion has oftentimes shown that he meant well, and I thought that put him in the Good category.

Other than that, I thought Dany was Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral was more Stannis' area. Agree with you that Ned Stark seems obv Lawful Good, and Arya Chaotic Neutral. It seems hard to classify Varys and LF without knowing their true endgames.
Jakub Wrobel
174. ptyx
Tyrion - he does many things that can't be considered good, he cheats, birbes, blackmails and bullies others to achieve his goals. He disobeys his father, his king and the queen-regent. And later he shows signs of lack of mental stability that drives him towards chaotic alignment.

Ned - would be a typical lawful good, except for the times that he isn't (Jon's case, Robert's will, confession at Baelor's sept). Lawful good is for people who stick to their code more firmly, i.e. Brienne, Barristan.

LF - typical neutral evil, why chaotic? Chaotic evil character does evil things without any reason, just because he/she likes it (Joffrey, Gregor Clegane). LF acts evil only when it serves his needs - it may be that chaos is useful for him, but this is a part of his gameplan, not his character.

For me the typical examples would be:

lawful good - Brienne, Barristan
neutral good - Jon Snow, Robb Stark
chaotic good - Sansa, Blackfish
lawful neutral - Stannis, Doran Martell
true neutral - Tyrion, Varys
chaotic neutral - Arya, Theon
lawful evil - Tywin, Craster
neutral evil - Littlefinger, Walder Frey
chaotic evil - Joffrey, Gregor Clegane
George Jong
175. IndependentGeorge
This has been much debated on, but here's how I arrange my alignment chart:

LG: Brienne, Ned, Maester Aemon, Varys
NG: Cat, Robb, Varys
CG: Dany, Robert, Jon, Sansa, Arya (GOT), Thoros of Myr, Varys
LN: Stannis, Randall Tarly, Varys
N: The Tyrells, Tyrion, Jaime (SOS+), Arya (COK), Varys
CN: Arya (SOS), The Hound, Oberyn Martell, Renly, Lysa, Varys
LE: Tywin, Roose Bolton, Varys
NE: Cersei, Jaime (GOT, COK), Arya (FFC+), Varys
CE: Littlefinger, Ramsay, Varys
Scott Silver
176. hihosilver28
Is there not a post this week? I thought they usually went live at 1.
Faiz Imam
177. FaizImam
Soo... delayed post today? or none at all?
Marie Veek
178. SlackerSpice
@177: She got word about family health issues, so there won't be one until next week.
Deana Whitney
179. Braid_Tug
@176: Funny to see Arya move around the list. I don't remember her FFC appearance, so was thinking she's still in the Neutral area. Yes, she's killing, but with purpose and still has her own set of rules.
Chris Nelly
180. Aeryl
In FFC, she arrives in Braavos, hooks up with the Faceless Men, works the docks selling fish, kills the NW guy who abandons Sam and Aemon, and is blinded.

That's the time I feel she veers closely to evil, cuz while it's gratifying for us to see that guy get his after abandoning the NW like that, and she actually has that whole "punish the NW for desertion" thing in her background, it's still a pretty sketchy thing to do.
George Jong
181. IndependentGeorge
Arya's borderline, but it comes down to motivation for me. I would treat the Faceless Men as a whole as Neutral, as their entire theology is based on the idea of death as mercy, and treat assassination as a sacrament. That might be completely messed up, but there's no malice involved.

With Arya, though, it seems to me that she doesn't accept or even understand that philosophy. Killing Dareon wasn't a hard act of justice, but a petty act of anger and resentment. When she scouts the old man in DWD, she rationalizes it by claiming he's evil based on his appearances. That he is (according to the Kindly Man) a cheat is irrelevant, because she had already agreed to kill him before she found out, and was making up reasons to do so.

We don't know all the rules of the FM yet, but I have to imagine that they kill the innocent as well as the guilty, becaues they explicitly do not judge those whom they've been hired to kill. That Arya doen't believe in their philosophy (yet) means that she would at heart believe what she's doing is wrong, but do it anyway. She might shift again in WOW, but for now, straddling a moral line still counts as crossing it.

Anyway, I listed Varys in all nine because, depending on what story you believe, everything he does can be interpreted as 100% consistent with any of those alignments.
Adam S.
182. MDNY
@181 Are you saying Varys could even be lying about being a eunuch? We haven't seen any proof, true...
183. Maac
What with all the burning alive, Stannis for me is well and solidly into Lawful Evil territory.
Noneo Yourbusiness
184. Longtimefan
"And… I’m betting this is goodbye to Dany for the rest of this book, since this is just about as obvious a cutting-off place for her particular story arc as can be imagined. ASOS for Dany was travel, and all the consequences that brought, so I’m wagering the next book for her will be dealing with all the consequences of stopping."

Yes, we were are all looking forward to more Danny chapters in the next book....

Um, except not. Poor Leigh, she knows not what is ahead.
George Jong
185. IndependentGeorge
When we do eventually get to DWD, it's going to be hard not to refrain myself from spamming the boards with how much I hate everything about the Meereen storyline. Because I do hate it so so much.
Adam S.
186. MDNY
@184 That's why I laughed so hard at Leigh's hatred of the word Meereen. Dany stays there, and isn't in the next book, and remains there for most of ADWD, and even when she leaves on Balerion Drogon her captains (including Barristan) stay, plus the stupid Dornish prince arrives there.

Leigh needs to reread her notes on the House of the Undying, and in general, cause she's getting some things mixed up and that's only going to get worse as the books progress.
Noneo Yourbusiness
187. Longtimefan
@ independantgeorge:

I also found the Meereen story in DWD a bit horrible. Do you think this will become the Ice and Fire version of the Path of Daggers plod?
Chris Nelly
188. Aeryl
@186, She leaves on Drogon, Balerion was Aegon's :^D

@185, Can I ask why? I mean, I'll grant that it's not a pleasant read, but I am fascinated by trope deconstruction, so seeing how the whole White Savior would actually play out was so interesting to read!
Jeff R.
189. Gold for Petyr

Do I go around calling Sansa evil. Lets not call Littlefinger evil, ok, he's the hero of the story.

The boy maimed by a 20 year old man while fighting for his love, who goes on to rise to power and gain his revenge on all those wronged him. (mostly Hoster Tully)
Chris Nelly
190. Aeryl
And engineered a destructive and costly war while ensuring his own comfort and survival for the upcoming winter.

And let's not get into creep factor of his unrequited love for Cat, because regardless of what romcoms will tell, obsession isn't romantic, it's terrifying. I'm sure Catelyn felt "loved" as she carressed the bones of her dead husband, or felt the steel at her neck, all as a result of LF's actions.

I don't find what LF with Brandon* did over Catelyn, romantic, I find it astoundingly creepy. He doesn't "love" her, if he did he'd respect her agency and desire to marry Brandon. He doesn't, because his desire to possess Catelyn overrode any actual caring he had for her.

I understand that we live in a world that has consistently painted that scenario, "Boy loves girl, girl rejects boy, boy overcomes and 'earns' her affections" as a lovely reality, but it's not, and Martin's entire purpose for putting it in these books is to show you how terrible that trope is, how hostile it is to consent, how it leads people to act in terrible ways to fulfill that desire.

It's not meant to paint LF as a unseen hero, it's meant to demonstrate him as a villain.

*Brandon is no prince either, he should have acceeded to her wishes and left LF alone.
Faiz Imam
191. FaizImam
Path of daggers is a pretty good analogy, since I actually (mostly) enjoyed it.

It's obvioulsy haevy on the details ,and is critisized for it by many, but the actual core of the arc is pretty great.

Also it really depends on where Winds of Winter takes it. I personally will not judge the arc till we see where it goes.
Marty Beck
192. martytargaryen
Aeryl @190 - Bravo and well said. For all those reasons, I LOVE LF's storyline....but yes, totally creepout-worthy.
Jeff R.
193. Gold for Petyr
@190. Aeryl:

I said he got his revenge.

Catelyn of course, had no agency, she wanted to marry Brandon because her dad told her to, if her had told her to marry Littlefinger then presumably Catelyn would have wanted to do that, the same way she later wanted to marry Ned.

As for Littlefinger's "love" for Catelyn, I don't think he cares about her. I don't think it's romantic, but I think Littlefinger has every right to consider himself the wronged party and to seek revenge. And the person who rejects Littlefinger, his foster son, to advance the prospects of his biological son is Hoster Tully. And Littlefinger destroys everything Hoster cared about. I also, agree Littlefinger is only interested in Catelyn as status symbol, but then that's how most marriages in Westeros work.

I don't think their are any villains in a song of ice and fire. But I do think people are the heroes of their own stories, so Robert, Ned, Rhaegar, Tywin, Tyrion, Robb, Theon, are all heroes of their stories from their perspective. We can see this most with their interpretations of the red comet which everyone sees's a portent for their own cause.

At any rate, Littlefinger is just as much a hero as Robb or Dany or Ned or Robert who start wars for their own selfish purposes. Or Arya who plots her own murderous revenge.
Chris Nelly
194. Aeryl
LF slights are miniscule compared to everyone else you list there.

And Cat had agency, she chose to use it to do what her father wanted. Disagree with it all you want, if he truly cared, he would have respected it. Since he didn't actually love her, as you agree, than his slight is even less, and is no way comparable to the wholesale slaughter of loved ones Dany, Arya, Sansa, Cat, Robb & Jon have been forced to endure(most at the hands of LF, don't forget).
Chris Nelly
195. Aeryl

"Child of three... three heads has the dragon... three fires you must
light: one for life and one for death and one to love...

Drogo's pyre is the one for life
I have a feeling Drogon's about to make it a little bit stuffy in Meereen, so that's for death

three mounts you must ride: one to bed and one to dread and one to love...

Daario's the one to bed
Loraq's the one to dread

three treasons will you know: once for blood and once for gold and once for love..."

(Like some others, I'm sketchy on this. The other two groups are all things Dany will DO, not experience, so it seems more likely that she will do the betraying here. So here goes)

Viserys is for blood
Astapor is for gold
Jorah is for love
Jeff R.
196. Gold for Petyr
@194: Littlefingers emotions are just as valid as anyone else's. And he certainly has reason to be upset, he's nearly killed, Edmure his foster brother squires for Brandon, while drugged on milk of the poppy Lysa rapes him, then Hoster banishes him from the place he considers his home.

Also, doing whatever someone else tells you is not agency. To put it another way, this has nothing to do with romance for Hoster or Catelyn or Littlefinger. This is about the game of thrones and personal advancement through marriage. Littlefinger is insulted that his value for advancement is being under appreciated by Hoster.

Lastly, Littlefinger doesn't actually cause most of the trauma these people experience, First of all they're playing the game of thrones. Which is a deadly game that they all more or less choose to play. Second there was going to be a war as soon as Cersei popped out those bastards and passed them off as Robert's heir. Third Littlefinger doesn't actually kill any of these people's relatives. Jon Arryn's relatives could be pissed, but he doesn't have any.
Chris Nelly
197. Aeryl
Sure he can be upset.

Not so upset that his response is "BURN THE WORLD".

And again, the whole thing NEVER would have happened, if he had just accepted Cat's decision, to DO AS HER FATHER WANTED! The Cat we've been shown through the whole series has ALWAYS done what she wanted, because that was how her father raised her. This is confirmed in the text, in her very first chapter, that Hoster raised her to be heir to Riverrun because Edmure wasn't born til she was a teenager. That's agency. You can believe she did it solely "because dad said so" but that doesn't mean she didn't consider it and still decide it was for the best. If LF had just accepted that course, he never would have been injured in the first place, then he'd have nothing to be upset over. The fault still lies with him, and his refusal to accept Catelyn's decision.

And whether or not he's directly responsible, he's the impetus behind the war. Sure, there MIGHT have been a war since Cersei had illegitimate children. Or LF could have just told Robert they weren't his, Robert would have taken care of it, and Tywin could have tried to rebel.

Or Robert could have survived, had Cersei not been trying so hard to poison him, and married Margaery and disowned Cersei's heirs, like Renly planned.

The fact of the matter, LF, through Catelyn, engaged the Starks and Lannisters in direct conflict with one another before Robert was even dead. That is the sole action at fault for most of the events of this story. That means the blood is on his hands, regardless of who wielded the dagger.
Adam S.
198. MDNY
Remember Ilyrio and Varys' conversation that Arya overheard in AGOT? Varys was trying to delay war, but after the assassination attempt on Bran that became very hard, and he added a line about the gods only knowing what LF was after. Turns out that LF was forcing a war even as Varys tried to prevent/delay it. LF clearly was one of the primary instigators of the war between Stark and Lannister. He caused Lysa to kill her husband, he caused Ned to confront Cersei unsuccessfully, he caused the Tyrells to poison Joff... I can't understand how ANYONE can not see he's a bad guy.
I have no empathy for him.
Hoster Tully took him on as ward as a favor to his father, who befriended Hoster during war (I think the Ninepenny Kings war). That was a huge favor, far above what the son of a hedge knight who became lord of the smallest, most worhless land in the vale, could expect. LF should have been grateful that Hoster ever took him in, rather than being angry that he couldn't get Cat, who liked him as a sort of foster brother but never romantically (unlike her crazy sister). LF had no right to seek Cat's hand in marriage, and no basis (legally or morally) for challenging Brandon Stark.
Jeff R.
199. Gold for Petyr
@197: But littlefinger doesn't burn the world. He only burns Hoster Tully's land.

Look I like 35 year old Catelyn. I think she's the only reason Robb didn't die on his first visit to the twins and the only reason his rebellion succeeds at all. That Catelyn does have agency. The 16 year old girl? No. There's evidence that she "does what she wants" unless you mean in the sense that people can only do what they want because the alternative is worse. Lets not forget how Hoster treated the Blackfish trying to force him to marry to the point the Blackfish leaves the riverlands for 15 years. Hoster Tully is basically a slightly less dickish Tywin. He is not going to let his daught chose who she marries, just ask Lysa. There is no agency here, for Catelyn because she doesn't have a choice.

Littlefinger does accept that Hoster marries off Catelyn. But we're playing the game of thrones here. Pissing off other lords has consequences. The Martells pissed off Tywin and Elia ended up dead. Aerys pissed of Tywin and he ended up dead. Robb pissed off Walder Frey and the Martell pissed off the Yronwoods and had leave a son as a hostage. Lords have to be careful about how they reject marriage proposals in Westeros, because they provoke the other house. Hoster considers Littlefinger's house of too little account to consider this, and Hoster pays for it.

There's no might about it. Renly was plotting with the Tyrells, Varys and Illyrio expects a war to start, the heirs to the kingdom are bastards Stannis and Jon Arryn know it! and Tywin is Tywin. How will there not be a war? Do you think Tywin would let Cersei be removed from the throne?

That's a joke right? Did anyone tell Catelyn to kidnap Tyrion? That's her own stupid decision. She immediately recognizes it puts the riverlands in jeopardy. You can't blame littlefinger for that.
Adam S.
201. MDNY
@199 Cat took Tyrion ONLY because LF had told her it was his dagger, lost to Tyrion on a wager. Littlefinger was responsible for that kidnapping, the resulting burning of the riverlands and war between Stark and Lannister. Littlefinger. Is. Evil.
Jeff R.
200. sofrina
@195 - leigh got me thinking about them too. we agree on a few and some of your's have me thinking. i admit these are very fluid depending on the day i'm thinking about them:

"Child of three... three heads has the dragon... three fires you must light: one for life and one for death and one to love...
for life: drogo’s pyre to hatch the eggs
for death: the masters of astapor
to love: ?

three mounts you must ride: one to bed and one to dread and one to love...
to bed: khal drogo, certainly a man
to dread: drogon. of course she’ll invade westeros on her most powerful dragon for maxim effect.
to love: tough call. is this a person or a beast. "to" a tryst? "to" a wedding?

three treasons will you know: once for blood and once for gold and once for love..."
this one gives me more fits than the rest. it feels more open to interpretation. today’s votes:
for blood: jorah, king robert wanted her dead
for gold: brown ben plumm, the sellsword
for love: quentyn martell, for love of his father, though he fails spectacularly
Jeff R.
202. Gold for Petyr
@198. MDNY

See this is why the Riverlands had to be burned down

" LF had no right to seek Cat's hand in marriage"

He's has just as much right as anyone else, he's a living male human, that qualifies him.

The idea that Littlefinger should just be grateful with the crumbs from Hoster Tully's table and be happy the Tullys even bother to treat him like shit. Is offensive and probably what drives Littlefinger to ruin Hoster Tully.

Nor did Littlefinger cause Ned or Lysa to do anything. Lysa hated Jon Arryn and wanted him dead. Ned decided to confront Cersei rather than take her captive as Littlefinger tried to advise her. Why on earth should Littlefinger help Ned and lose his position as master of coin just to put Stannis on the throne? There is no reason and Ned expecting Littlefinger to do it is insulting to Littlefinger and idiotic.
Jeff R.
203. Gold for Petyr
@201. MDNY:

You're being ridiculous. Obviously Littlefinger lied about the dagger. That's not the same thing as telling Catelyn to kidnap Tyrion . Even if Littlefinger told Catelyn to kidnap Tyrion, it would still be Catelyn's fault for doing it. Its an absolutely horrible idea. You can't blame Littlefinger for that. There's no way even in his wildest dreams could he ever expect Catelyn to do something so monumentally stupid as kidnap the son of Tywin Lannister. I mean seriously?
Jeff R.
204. Crusader75
@202: Littlefinger had no right to expect Hoster Tully to give him Cat's hand in marriage. Tully was looking to marry his daughters up. The Starks and the Arryns are as up as you could get without landing the Crown Prince. Littlefinger, at the time, was a decided step down. Furthermore, Cat had no romantic interest in LF. Technically, the only wrong Brandon did LF was NOT killing him in the duel as it implied LF was an unworthy opponent. Lastly, the duel was a diplomatic embarrassment for Tully which is why Hoster sent LF packing after he healed.
Jeff R.
205. Jeff R.
Also remember that up until the very end of aSoS,Littlefinger believed that Cat came to his cave bed and made enthusiastic love to him before marrying Ned; he had every reason in the world to believe that his feelings were not nearly as unrequited as they actually were.
Jeff R.
206. Gold for Petyr
@204. Crusader75:

Well Littlefinger has the right to expect whatever he wants. That expectation wasn't reasonable I agree. But Littlefinger also has the right to be pissed about not being considered good enough.

I never said Hoster or Brandon did anything wrong. They didn't. But that doesn't mean Littlefinger can't be pissed. The same way Tywin is pissed over Elia or Lady Dustin is pissed over Brandon.

Lastly, this is just inaccurate. Littlefinger was banished because Lysa got pregnant after she forced herself on Littlefinger while he was insensate. Two more reasons for Littlefinger to be pissed off.
Grant Bester
207. Jockey
@195 & 200

Shot in the dark here, but what if the three treason's that Dani will know refer to other people (or possibly the other 2 heads of the dragon) ?

Blood: Dani herself (Drogo's death) - Drogon]
Gold: Tyrion (Tywin's death) - Viserion
Love: Jon Snow (if R+L=J) - Rhaegal

Probably way off, but it came mind so there it is
Rob Munnelly
208. RobMRobM
re HOTU visions. I'd suggest that the "slayer of lies" section is key, including Mummer's dragon - bye bye Aegon
Man with blue eyes and flaming sword - bye bye Stannis.

Also, the "mount to dread" is going to be Victarion, our friendly neighborhood ironborn who is invading Meereen and going to grab Dany and Drogon (using the dragon controlling horn).
Chris Nelly
209. Aeryl
@208, I dunno, I have a feeling that's not going to work out as well as Victarion hopes it will. It seemed pretty obvious that the horn is meant to be used by someone of Targ blood, because having to replace the hornblower all the time will get tiresome.
Jeff R.
210. Aerona Greenjoy
I've rather hoped for Victarion to become Drogon's lunch, if and when he finds them. But his capturing them with the horn would be a Bad Thing, and therefore not unlikely. Presuming he can become the horn's master, make someone sound it, achieve the desired effect despite being non-Targ, and overpower Dany and the other dragons as well as Drogon. It's been noted on that Moqorro's claim of glimping "the glory that awaits you" in all of his fires could mean Victarion's "glory" will simply be fire, i.e. getting burned. Clever.
Rob Munnelly
211. RobMRobM
Recall that Victarion is splitting horn blowing among three of his guys to see if they can survive. In any event, he's not putting himself at risk.

I don't hold out much long term hope for him. Dany and Drogon will eventually get away and then it's toast-icity.

@210 - I like that "glory" point.
Chris Nelly
212. Aeryl
@210, See in my way of looking at it, we are coming into the upswing. Things HAVE to start looking up. So I think we are going to start seeing some of these scary things we've been dreading, NOT work out!

I mean, a big deal was made about the horn Mance was looking for, but it's come to nothing, it got broke while Samwell was on his own adventures(not that it won't get fixed by the mages in Oldtown).

Some storytelling tropes Martin's been playing with, and I can see his use of these horns, to kinda give lie to that whole idea of "If someone places a gun on the mantle in the first act, it will be fired in the third" by never having the gun go off.
Bill Stusser
213. billiam
Well, I think that Victarion will get to Meereen while Dany is off with the Dothraki so he will take one of the other dragons. Once Dany finds out she will have to go after him, thus finally leaving the mess in Meereen behind, thank the old gods. I too did not like Dany's chapters in ADwD, me and a friend like to call that storyline of the book 'The Bachelorette starring Dany". Gods, if I wanted to read about a teenage girl struggling with which guy to hook up with I woulda read Twilight!

Also, LF is evil, get over it. I'm not sure how anybody can like that douchebag. Hero of the story? Please! I hope he dies in the most unpleasant way possible.
Jeff R.
214. Aerona Greenjoy
Why do all readers passionately despise Daario's relationship with Dany? I don't know what she sees in the blue-haired jerk, would rather see her with someone likeable, and generally dislike reading about people with great love lives. But after the many hells this girl has been through, I was grudgingly fine with whoever could make her happy.
Jeff R.
215. Gold for Petyr
213. billiam

Fuck that, Dany precipitated a genocide in Astapor and Littlefinger is evil? There's just no logical case that Littlefinger is "bad" by the standards of westeros.
Bridget McGovern
216. BMcGovern
I'm just going to jump in here with a reminder to please keep the discussion civil--or simply agree to disagree when it comes to certain characters. Everybody's going to interpret the characters according to their own readings and opinions, but don't take it personally if/when other fans of the series disagree with your interpretation. Thanks, all!
Bill Stusser
217. billiam
@ 214

It isn't all about Daario. As a matter of fact I would have liked it better if she had just said 'fuck all this marriage shit I'm just gunna fool around with this mercenary guy I find hot and everybody can just deal with it'.

What drove me crazy was all the teenage angst. 'Oh my, what should I do? Who should I choose? Should I marry this guy or just sleep with this other guy or maybe that other guy', it made me dread anytime I turned the page and saw Dany's name as the POV of the next chapter.

As to Daario, I don't think he's interested in Dany at all other than getting into her pants. She is just a conquest for him, he has no feelings for her. Does anybody think he's going to settle down and stop having sex with other women? Does anybody think he won't turn around and betray Dany if someone were to offer him a shit-ton of gold? I don't think that Daario will make Dany happy, just the opposite in fact.

@ 215

Well I never compared LF to Dany so I don't know why you are but LF is 'bad' by any standards. Period.
Jeff R.
218. Gold for Petyr
217. billiam

They both characters in the same series... That's why they're compared.

All Littlefinger is guilt of is trying to start a war for personal advancement. That is the name of the game, the game of thrones. That's how lords in Westeros gain advancement, in war. That is Dany's life long ambition, personal advancement through war. Then why pick on Littlefinger?

So he isn't bad by my standards.
Rob Munnelly
219. RobMRobM
Actually, I'm going to change my prophecy view above. I'll go for Victarion as a future husband to the "bride of fire." "A corpse stood at the prow of a ship eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly." So "mount to dread" is back in play. Maybe Hizdar, who has been backstabbing her in Meereen....
Jeff R.
220. Gold for Petyr
@219. RobMRobM

You think Euron would let Victarion get away marrying Dany?

Also, is it Hizdar who is behind the sons of the Harpee, some people think its the Green Grace?
Jeff R.
221. Aerona Greenjoy
Dany's situation features a recurring theme in this story -- the conflict of love/desire vs. duty and the consequences thereof. She's trying to have it both ways.
Chris Nelly
222. Aeryl
I like Daario just fine.

"What drove me crazy was all the teenage angst. 'Oh my, what should I do? Who should I choose? Should I marry this guy or just sleep with this other guy or maybe that other guy',"

Yeah, cuz it's not like peoples lives were on the line or anything. What a devaluation of her story, to just write her off as Bella.

Unlike that terrible work you compare her too, there were actual consequences to Dany's choices, not just wish fulfillment. And don't forget that by marrying Hizdar, she was hoping to avoid becoming a genocidal madman like her father.

But yeah, let's just write off her story as frivolous, like most people do to teenage girls, and while they are so busy writing them off, miss the incredible things they can do.
Rob Munnelly
223. RobMRobM
@220 - not sure how Euron can stop him. And, yes, Hizdar is up to no good.

@221 - Nice. I agree.

@222 - I also found Dany's chapters to be pretty painful but not from a teenage Twilight wuv standpoint - more of a Vietnam-type trainwreck of trying to rule a country where the countryside is against you. The love versus duty piece was secondary to the sh*t-storm she was forced to deal with in Slaver's Bay.
Chris Nelly
224. Aeryl
I do agree they are painful, but not because Dany's stuck in a silly love story, but because she is dealing, in an honest and brutal manner, with the consequences of her actions, and she is attempting to show restraint in dealing with fanatics who do not do her the same courtesy.
Jeff R.
225. Aerona Greenjoy
I agree. Essos is cruel to the hearts of those who attempt benevolence, as we and Dany have been learning since the days of Eroeh and Mirri. I pity her more than most POV characters -- and that's saying something! -- for having to watch whole city-states become apocalyptic hellholes because of her attempts to improve them. Westeros might not be better...
Jeff R.
226. Aerona Greenjoy
Admittedly the Dany/Daario fling didn't make me go "awww" either. It's the language. "That night, Daario had her in every way a man can have a woman" just doesn't sound romantic or inspiring. That could be said for much of this story's sex, but somehow seemed especially jarring here.
Jeff R.
227. Gold for Petyr
223. RobMRobM:

Well Euron knew Victarion hated him when Euron sent Victarion to Meereen so presumably Euron has agent in the Iron Fleet and also Euron would have already claimed the dragon horn. Also Victarion is an idiot.
228. Ryamano
Going with the comparison between ASOIAF's A Dance With Dragons and WoT's The Path of Daggers, I think ADWD feels like the Iraq War, while TPoD is more like Vietnam. In TPoD Rand tries to defeat the Seanchan in a bloody war that kills a lot of people but ends up being a stalemate for the two of them. Also Rand is in a very dark place emotionally at that moment. In ADWD Dany is kind of breaking up considering how futile her attempts at ending slavery have been when considering the big picture, and she has to rule people that are doing a guerrilla war against her.

Even though it's not joyful reading, ADWD's approach to how ending slavery could come to be is actually much more realistic than any other I've seen in fantasy. Maybe beacuse those I've seen are too much polluted by Hollywood's storytelling standards, which is to wrap up the story in 3 hours or less (due to the medium, people do not endure more than 3 hours of movies, not necessarily a problem with how Americans tell their stories). Ending slavery in the real world was a veeeeery long process, with lots of backtracking. ADWD shows that, with Dany ending up compromising her whole "let's end slavery forever" with "let's at least make this city free of slaves". She already starts to compromise in the end of ASOS, letting people sell themselves when they're hungry.

It's very hard to destroy completely an economic or political system overnight. There's backlash, and thankfully ADWD shows that, with a coalition forming between several city states, including Qarth, to stop "the dragon queen".

Dany's problem is that she seems to have become less politcally savvy in the last book. In ASOS she was OK with assassinations of mercenaries and crucifications of meereenese nobles. In ADWD she stops short of executing hostages. OK, that could be a moral event horizon, but it basically ends her threat to the noble houses. As does her refusal to use dragons once she finds out a kid is killed. Again, morally that's fine, but she basically cripples her army, she stops being a threat like Aegon the conqueror (that could defeat all opposition even with unreliable allies) and becomes an isolated ruler of a city-state doomed to being forgotten once she dies and her lineage becomes just another meereenese one.

She also tries to find allies, but apparently holds the idiot ball, since she only tries to find them in the lamb people (who she saw being easily conquered by the dothraki, in other words, not very powerful military), not sending emissaries to Braavos (the city state that has a history of trying to end slavery) or trying to incite the slaves of other city states to rebel. I'm just saying, every time someone fought a slave power, that someone promised freedom to their slaves. Just see how many times helot uprisings happened when someone was figthing Sparta. Or the American Independence War, with the British promising freedom to black slaves that fought on their side (this ended up costing them the South, but still, it was a valid strategy). There's basically no moves of her doing that.
Jeff R.
229. Aerona Greenjoy
Yeah, I wondered how and why she sought military aid from the Lhazareen, who are notoriously peaceful and have little reason to love a former khaleesi of a tribe which regularly assaults them in more ways than one. The word of one freed slave hardly seems enough to sway an entire people.
Rob Munnelly
230. RobMRobM
Braavos is too far away, and with several slaveholding cities between before one can get from Braavos to Meereen. They may be sympathetic to Dany but are not likely to offer material assistance.

She's on her own at this point, so Lhazareen are pretty much the only game in town, albeit a slim one.
Jeff R.
231. Nessa
@228: I don't think it's necessarily because she became less politically savvy. Dany has a tendency to put her faith in the wrong people, especially with women, which comes to bite her in the ass later on. She did this with Mirri in the first book, and she's doing it with the Green Grace in ADWD. Not killing the hostages would have been fine, if she hadn't blabbed to the Green Grace that she wouldn't kill the kids. I mean, come on! The GG is obviously working with the slavers, so why would Dany trust her with that information? Once the GG relayed this info to the noble houses, clearly they would keep continuing the carnage, knowing full well that Dany wouldn't kill the hostages as retribution. Remind me why Dany felt it was a good idea to trust the GG in the first place? Because I really can't find the reason...

Daario didn't actually bother me, as he bothered some of the others here. I sometimes felt like he was the only one out of all her advisors, that was actually telling her to be herself, instead of pandering to the wishes of all the slavers. In some ways, he was like a second Jorah. Yes, he was annoying at times, but he had a way of telling the brutal truth to Dany, and make her listen to it. Not many people can do that with Dany.

P.S. I hope this doesn't come off as Dany-bashing. I like her character, I really do. It's just that her storyline got so disappointing in ADWD, that I got really frustrated with her.
Rob Munnelly
232. RobMRobM
There's a good article available on the Winds of Winter site arguing that Hizdar is innocent and that the real troublemaker is Shavepate - the Varys equivalent in Meereen.
George Jong
233. IndependentGeorge
We are in such an epic home stretch right now I can't decide which chapter I'm looking forward to most. Maybe "Is there gold in the village", though it's hard to put that ahead of "Wherever whores go", "Only Cat", or the epilogue.

I distinctly remember finishing SOS around 4AM, and having to slog through work with 2 hours of sleep the next day.
Marie Veek
234. SlackerSpice
Tomorrow on Read of Ice and Fire: We meet Fauxrya, Oberyn gets the last laugh, and Jaime works to fulfill old debts.
Jeff R.
235. Asbjorn
Yeah, I think chapter 72 is going to put Leigh in a good mood. We've got Gregor dying of his wounds, Loras actually believing Brienne, Jaime actually distancing himself from Cersei a bit, and finally Jaime giving Brienne Oathkeeper and a new mission.
Jeff R.
236. Aerona Greenjoy
She might shudder a bit over any girl getting sent to Ramsay, even though she doesn't yet know some of his crimes.
Jeff R.
237. ebev91
I hope she gets to the "Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!" chapter today.
Marina Sokol
238. GreyJay
"I hope she gets to the "Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!" chapter today."

Me too!!!
Chris Nelly
239. Aeryl
A note on Cersei: I have to wonder whether my sympathy would be more geared toward her than Jaime if it had been her head Martin had chosen to invite us into instead of his.

She'll have an answer on THAT soon enough.
Jeff R.
240. Black Dread
239. Aeryl - Yes that will be fun. Looking forward to some commentary on Cersei's long road to self-destruction.
Marie Veek
241. SlackerSpice
@240: Not to mention her speculation about the prophecy.
Jeff R.
242. littlebit_liz
I, personally, did not really feel any sympathy towards Cersei upon reading her chapters. I thought it was funny, actually, that once you get in Jaime's head you start understanding him and sympathizing with him, but once you get in Cersei's head, you realize she really is exactly what she appears to be. I loved reading her chapters, thought, because she had this constant Mean Girl inner monologue haha.
George Jong
243. IndependentGeorge
I found Cersei's chapters fascinating (except for that stupid bit about the prophecy), but disliked her even more after reading them. Partly because she's nowhere near the mastermind she pretends to be; to quote Lester Freamon, "This is the shit that goes through your head?"

Come to think of it, Cersei really does remind me of McNulty. She's a narcissistic, self-destructive, alcoholic determined to prove her superiority regardless of the cost to everyone around her.
Michael Duran
244. MRHD
EDIT: Whoops, somehow I lost my text here, I'm not quite sure how.
Chris Nelly
245. Aeryl
@242, Me too. It's a real neat inversion of what Martin did with Jaime. You start reading expecting to get this in depth look at her, but instead you learn that she's rather petty, mean, and not as smart and cunning as you believe she would be, when you first think she's responsible for all this stuff(like Jon Arryn's death).
Michael Duran
246. MRHD
@242, Haha, yeah that is definitely true about getting into Cersei's head. Most characters are at least a bit more sympathetic once you get in their heads, even Melisandre (who I originally thought was a force of evil and darkness but now comes across as someone who is kind of earnestly-yet-disasterously bumbling through visions). Not Cersei, though. It's fun watching her self-destruct from her warped viewpoint, but never once did I feel any sympathy for her.
Adam S.
247. MDNY
yeah, Cersei is never portrayed as a sympathetic character, even when we're in her head. We are just better able to see her self-destruct than she is.
Leigh's reaction to this week's chapter saved the read today, but in general I found this chapter one of the least interesting of the last 10 chapters of the book. I am SO looking forward to STANNIS! Leigh has already acknowledged that Martin has been making her see Stannis acting wisely and she resents it- what will she do when Stannis saves Jon's life (and the whole watch)?
Michael Duran
248. MRHD
@247: Yeah, my first reaction was disappointment when I saw we weren't getting the Jon chapter this week, since I also consider this Jaime chapter probably the least interesting of the chapters remaining in Storm. But her reaction to liking Jaime made me forget all about that.
Chris Nelly
249. Aeryl
Steve Halter called Jaime helping Tyrion escape!
Jeff R.
250. Black Dread
Stannis' battle at the Wall is cool and all, but we cannot get to chapter 78 (Tyrion) fast enough for my tastes.
Adam S.
251. MDNY
@250 that one too. The STANNIS Jon chapter is a personal favorite, as is the Tyrion "Tywin Lannister did not in the end shit gold" chapter, as is the Lysa takes a silent dive chapter, as is the UnCat epilogue. SO MUCH GOODNESS! (and some of my favorite Dolorous Edd moments ever are coming, too).
Jeff R.
252. Lyanna Mormont
Pretty much every chapter left has some big dramatic event in it. I mean, next up is "STANNIS!"; then "Is there gold in the village?"; Sam's return to the Wall is a fairly slow, taking-stock chapter; then Jon being offered Winterfell; Tywin not shitting gold; Sam politicking; Jon's election; then "Only Cat" - and finally the epilogue. It's just one big thing after another at this point.
Chris Nelly
253. Aeryl
@252, Which is why this book ends the most satisfactorily of all the books, IMO.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
254. Lisamarie
Tylin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold is probably one of my favorite chapter endings EVER.

It's such a great brick joke, you know? We're constantly hit over the head with this idea/image, I love how he pulls it in there.
Scott Silver
255. hihosilver28
@Independent George
Always glad to find another The Wire fan. :-D Though, I wouldn't say that Cersei is least McNulty is often correct in his assumptions. Cersei just thinks she's a genius, when in reality she is nothing close to it and almost single handedly brings everything down to ruin.
Jeff R.
256. Aerona Greenjoy
Interesting response to Jaime sending Brienne on a quest for Sansa. I don't recall my mental reaction the first time, but when (repeatedly) reading Feast, I winced every time she asked after the girl who we know is out of her reach in the Eyrie. Though it sure didn't hurt my perception of Jaime, and gave rise to a most enjoyable subplot.

Caaaaaan't waaaaaait for Leigh's commentary on the Cersei chapters. But although Cersei was never the brains of the outfit -- Littlefinger, Tyrion, and Tywin are responsible for most Lannister victories to date -- I believe she really was more cunning and capable in AGoT. A series of losses and betrayals (Myrcella, Joffrey, Tywin, Jaime), Tyrion's escape, and Tommen's control by a powerful queen who (she thinks) just might be the one prophesied to destroy her have made her more paranoid, reckless, and ahortsighted. Add the drinking problem, and you have a walking disaster. Yes, everyone suffers here and some are better for it (Jaime, Sansa), but not her.
Chris Nelly
257. Aeryl
It's not that she wasn't cunning, it's just her pettiness makes her self-defeating, and I have a hard time believing she hasn't always been this petty and vindictive(thinking back to Oberyn's story about how she hurt infant Tyrion), which makes it hard to believe she's accomplished as much as she did.
258. Maac
I don't think Cersei or Jaime is very smart. Cersei is cunning, but she has more wrath (some of it quite justified) than brilliance. And she has a blind spot the size of a barn when it comes to analyzine what she's actually accomplished and who is actually on her side, or how to get them there.

I must admit -- and this actually makes me like Jaime more (which still doesn't cross the line into actual like for the character, but does edge closer) -- it hadn't dawned on me until Leigh's review today that a man sending a woman on a quest in an epic fantasy was actually pretty rare and freaking cool in fantasy. And all the ramifications of respect wrapped up in there. I knew he respected her -- this adds to it more.

I find it hard to forgive egregious crimes, though. Child defenestration, setting flaming skiffs of girls adrift... (Still trying to figure out why I'm madder at Tyrion for threatening Cersei-rape than I am at him for strangling Shae. I certainly was fonder of Shae than Cersei, if not greatly so. Don't get me wrong, I understand the motivation for both things, but I am still pretty pissed off about both things. Maybe it's down to how the scenes were written.)
259. Maac
Addendum -- I'm not madder. I figured it out. It was more of a final-straw sort of thing.
Jeff R.
260. Gold for Petyr
239. Aeryl: I don't think so. Cersei takes a couple readings to appreciate and enjoy. Her chapters are on the surface so disturbing that one tends to dismiss her on the first read. The reality is Cersei has a lot in common with Theon. A demanding and distant father who never teaches the child how live up to expectations. Cersei and Theon both emulate what they is necessary ruthlessness they see in their fathers but they don't really understand how and why to be ruthless and they end up causing more problems for themselves. Watching Cersei work is actually really interesting once you understand her, its like reading a bizaro world Tyrion chapter. All the plotting and scheming is there but instead of things coming together they fall apart. Its really insightful and its hard to just feel bad for Cersei, as you end up doing for Theon, they're just trying to live up to what they think the world expects of them.
Jeff R.
261. Gold for Petyr
251. MDNY: That's my favorite chapter, Lysa take a fall, and we all find out Who's The Boss, the man behind the curtain, who shot J. Arr(yn). We meet the real winner of the Game of Thrones.
Chris Nelly
262. Aeryl
Watching Cersei work is actually really interesting once you understand her, its like reading a bizaro world Tyrion chapter.

I agree with you that she's very similar to Tyrion, the reason her stuff falls apart, is she has no allies, and she's too petty to see past her own desires.

Is part of that owed to being Tywin Lannister's ignored and neglected daughter? Likely. But Tyrion was ignored and neglected too, and it didn't turn him into a petty and vindictive person(not that he can't act that way, it's just those aren't the forces that rule him).
Jeff R.
263. Hertolo
With Cersei one often forgets that she managed these long years under King Robert. She wouldn't have been able to pull that off so succesfully (not getting caught/told on by the many vipers around) if she wasn't clever in some way. Before AGOT she accumulates more power f.e. than Tyrion who gets his first real job/thing to do in the first book. Her descent is partially caused by her getting the first taste of freedom/being the number one in the city after Robert's Death, before getting put back into place by Daddy Tywin. So when he dies and she's the only one left, she's determined to not lose that freedom again. And on comes the descent into madness. This also has some literary reasons as the development goes to fast. The 5-year-gap would've been helpful here I guess.

That Cersei comment will be very interesting to get back to when Leigh gets around to her chapters. Speaking of them, has it been decided/discussed if Leigh will go forward book-by-book or doing a combined reading order mixing the two books together. I'd prefer the second way.
Michael Duran
264. MRHD
@263: I think the reading order came up earlier in the thread, with Leigh reading the books in order. This way makes the most sense, I think. At such a slow reading pace of one or two chapters a week it's probably better to only get half of the storylines at a time to better keep track of what's going on, rather than juggling the myriad of different PoVs between the two books all at once, with months between reading two chapters of the same PoV.
Rob Munnelly
265. RobMRobM
In my post, Fake Arya is obviously Jeyne Poole, as confirmed in ADWD.

Very nice Leigh foreshadowing/predicting re what is to come. I'm a bit surprised she didn't do her usual "I'm happy for the quest but this is GRRM and it's all going to go to sh*t, isn't it?" bit. Because, of course, that's what happens.
Jeff R.
266. Aerona Greenjoy
Cersei was always cruel, but may once have had more self-control regarding People Who Matter. Torturing her baby brother is less risky than seriously antagonizing her most powerful allies (Tyrells). As Hertolo noted, she kept a low profile through the long years of Robert's reign.

@258: The burning-boat sacrifice cemented Victarian's place on my Most Hated list. I really can't wait for Leigh to cuss out him and Euron. I'm not certain Tyrion really intends to rape Cersei, given the many flippantly-outrageous things he says, but will be angry if and when he does so.

Jeyne, Jeyne...eek. Fun fact: According to the Wiki, ASoIaF contains 17 Jeynes. Most are only mentioned in the appendixes, luckily.
Steven Joyce
267. sjoyce
Fun fact: According to the Wiki, ASoIaF contains 17 Jeynes. Most are only mentioned in the appendixes, luckily.
According to the Tower of the Hand, there are 16 Jeynes. Between the two lists, there are a total of 20 different characters.

In ToH but not Wiki:
Jeyne Farman
Jeyne Fowler
Jeyne Royce

In Wiki but not ToH:
Jeyne Fossoway
Jeyne Lothston
Grey Jeyne
Red Jeyne

In both:
Jeyne Stark, nee Westerling
Jeyne Poole
Canker Jeyne
Squinty Jeyne
Jeyne Beesbury
Jeyne Darry
Jeyne Goodbrook
Jeyne Heddle
Jeyne Lydden
Jeyne Rivers
Jeyne Swann
Jeyne Waters
Jeyne Targaryen, nee Westerling
Jeff R.
268. Aerona Greenjoy
Thanks for the fact-checking!
Jeff R.
269. Hertolo
@264 Valid argument, the pace can be quite slow. I counted it quickly for Cersei, she would have around 10 chapters inbetween hers. So I do get this point, but I still think it's a pity since the two books improve so much when read together and you can see the similarities between the arcs, the quests and the "how-to-rule" ones. I'd still vote for trying it this way since even though you lose the speed of plot in the various locations, you gain the comparability inbetween them (which frankly improves Cersei's and Briennes's chapters a lot for me).
270. Maac
@263 -- well, we mustn't forget that King Robert was not the most observant of characters.

And I think Cersei, having learned to effectively use her "woman's power" or whatever, according to the social mores of Westeros, had more *room* to be petty than Tyrion ever did. As someone looked upon as not only not-quite-human but very likely a punishment from some sort of god/possibly evil by nature, and in danger of exposure at birth, Tyrion had to be more circumspect than his siblings (though with Tywin as a dad, possibly not *much* more). I think he is objectively smarter than Cersei as well. Not that she is dumb, but resentment overtakes discipline with her.

I haven't read through the books since 2012, in one big swoop, in order to refresh my memory for Dance With Dragons, but I do remember a certain sense of disappointment with Cersei's point of view (and again, fuzzy memory, so I can't remember when it started). Once inside her head, I was much less in awe of or "afraid" of her. Of course, this is when she began to break down a bit after Joffrey's death.

Cersei is one character where I unequivocally prefer the televised version, and have from day one.
271. Maac
I do like the above parallel between Cersei and Theon. Good point.

I've always contrasted Cersei and Asha -- basically when Cersei begins to seem like an egregious sexist stereotype (I cannot tell you how much I disliked how the Walk of Shame was framed/conceived/written up), I think of Asha and how HER situations are framed/conceived/written up, and then I think that this was all done on purpse, and then I feel good about the series again.
Chris Nelly
272. Aeryl
@271, I see a lot of parellels between Dany and Cersei, down to the Walk of Shame. Dany's is even worse, with the diarrhea and the bleeding.
George Jong
273. IndependentGeorge
I really hope we get a double chapter this week; I find "Is there gold in the village?" to be one of the most harrowing passages in the entire series.
274. Maac
#272 Not to dispute your point, because I see that parallel as well, but Dany's walk doesn't bother me in the same way because I see no shame it (she's just ill), and particularly, no authorial intent to shame. Dany's walk can be read as almost purifying, a transformative purge.

Whereas Cersei's walk is just pure slut-shaming. Half her character is built on extreme beauty and sexuality, and that walk punishes her for that -- not for the other, more influential half of her characterization, being mean and petty and scheming and vindictive and treasonous slightly rapey in some places. (I mean, the bit of her that deserve punishment. She has some decent bits, but they don't enter into this.) Lip service is paid to her actual crimes, but that's not the focus of her walk.

And the idea that this pampered, clean healthy, all-her-teeth having, and well-fed woman would be displayed to an impoverished populace, even at her age -- which I think is less than mine! -- and they would STILL not be in awe of her is a scenario I can't believe. I believe modern 21st century humans with access to Perez Hilton who think that Scarlett Johanssen is overweight might look at Cersei and go "Oh her breasts are SAGGY!" but not the starving, ill-treated, war-torn (and brassiere-less) working-class and serf-class members of Westerosi society.

It's the idea that taking away Cersei's beauty is the worst possible karmic punishment for her, and that doesn't sit right with me.

I admit I have a particular issue with female villainy being continuously bound up in sexuality as though there were a cause and effect thing going on. Whenever you have a woman character and the plot needs her to become evil, she immediately loses half her outfit and/or begins acting with her breasts (in a visual medium at least).
Chris Nelly
275. Aeryl
@274, I don't disagree with you, Cersei punishment was framed as a woman failing "womanhood". And the Faith can go take a long walk off a short pier.

But I don't get too upset in this case, because who gave the Faith that power? Cersei(hopefully) learned a valuable lesson. In this instance she wanted to use society's fucked up rules about women against Margaery, NEVER imagining it would be used against her. She empowered some angry patriarchal old fucks and then was surprised when they took that power from her? I can't get upset about this, as I would in other books, if the groundwork for Cersei's walk of shame hadn't been laid so well by her own actions.

The scenes aren't really parallel, they're perpindicular. Assuming that Dany is about to take control of the khalasar she found at the end of ADWD, then being seen sick and naked didn't deprive her of her power. So why did it for Cersei? Their situations are primarily self inflicted. The obvious answer is dragons, but also Dany's relatively low status for most of her life has stopped her from putting on the airs of nobility that Cersei has used to insulate herself from the harsh realities of the world. That means it's not so easy to humiliate Dany, what humiliations does the world possess that she's not known?
Jeff R.
276. Aerona Greenjoy
I agree with numerous recent posts.

I enjoyed watching Cersei grovel before the High Septon, but was ultimately disgusted by the display of priorities in the Walk. She ordered the torture and murder of (relatively) innocent men, women, and children, let her sadistic son do the same, turned her back on city and kingdom torn by war and famine, and is now spectacularly punished...for bedding her brother. Granted, some of her other acts were done in the name of keeping that secret, but in itself it's the least of her crimes.

Cersei's arc does rather parallel Theon, as Dany does Jon. Dany and Jon tried so hard to be "good" rulers, Cersei and Theon were ruthless rulers with really poor judgement, and all of them suffered for it in remarkably different ways.

Contrasting Cersei with Asha makes me wonder if Cersei might've been somehow different if, like Balon, Tywin had supported her fighting inclination. Actually, we've had a number of lady warriors...Obara, Chela, Ygritte, the Mormonts, etc. Compared to them, Brienne seems to get an exceptional amount of flak from her peers (except her father). I wonder how her appearance fits into that. Ack, I'm rambling. Must go to bed. :-P
Jeff R.
277. Gold for Petyr
Cersei's walk of shame says nothing about her and everything about her uncle and the high septon. They're trying to eliminate Cersei as a rival by humiliating her and rendering her unfit to follow. I think we see this with other characters, whether its Tyrion shaving Pycelle or Euron cuckolding Victarion or Vargo Hoat chopping off Jamie's hand. I really like Cersei but I find it hard to view her as a victim, she like the Prince of Winterfell is a player in the game of thrones and she suffers and deals out suffering in turn.
Jeff R.
278. Gold for Petyr
275. Aeryl: Yeah, also I don't think the patriarchy (jesus do I hate that word, because it implies Tywin and some peasant farmer are on the same side against Cersei) Cersei failed to realize that the current high Septon was a begging brother. He was a commoner who disdained the prestige seeking of the Most Devout. This guy spent his time going from village to village like septon merribald and has nothing in common with Cersei. Turning on Cersei seems to me to be a class movement by the subjugated downtrodden oft murdered peasantry, who now finally have an army of sorts. I don't think its sexists at all, Cersei did murder the last high septon, and she did try to pass off bastards as the heirs to the throne. And I think he would have turned on Tyrion just as fast.
Chris Nelly
279. Aeryl
@278, Then why are they going after Margaery for her alleged sexual indiscretions as well? If it was class based, that would have moved them to protect Margaery, she of the many loaves of bread and beloved of the populace?

No Cersei, in the vein of Phyllis Schafly and Ann Coulter, tried to use the patriarchy against a woman she would views as political threats, without suffering the same.

And your issue with the word patriarchy is not my concern, nor your misunderstanding of what it means(it does not refer to individuals but systems and institutions, so feeling that it says what you think it says isn't really correct. In addition, the walk of shame demonstrates, rather effectively, that yes peasant men did agree with Tywin that Cersei was stepping outside a woman's proper sphere.
Jeff R.
280. Gold for Petyr
279. Aeryl: Well I don't think they are going after Margery. Cersei is the one who went after Margery.

Patriarchy literally means government by men. I think my issues with it as a description are legitimate. My problem with it is that Cersei or Olena or Catelyn have a lot more power than the average common male (or female) in Westeros. Not that Westeros isn't a sexist and misogynistic society. But its an aristocracy, so Mage Mortmont, Cersei, Lady Hornwood, Arrianne can all inherit. These women all have more in common with Tywin and Robert than they do with Hotpie and Yoren. And Hotpie and Yoren have more in common with Masha Hedell or another common woman than they do with any male lord.

I don't think the walk of shame demonstrates any such thing. The complaints about Cersei are not that she's a woman in power.

The problem is that Cersei by passing off bastards as heirs, who's title derives from her spouse, is committing treason. There's obviously a gender differential because a man in the same position could not do this. But that doesn't make the issue inherently sexist. Given a monarchy I don't know how we cannot consider what Cersei does to be a legitimate crime. Its the reason we have this whole war!

When there is not a title at stake, say with Genna Lannister or Amerei Frey or Arrianne Martell or Asha Greyjoy or Miranda Royce, no one gives a shit who they sleep with because they hold the title in their own names. This is not the case for Margery or Cersei.
Chris Nelly
281. Aeryl
Considering the ONLY mention of patriarchy in my post you responded to, was in referring to the Septons, the head of a patriarchal religious institution, this whole argument about what patriarchy means, and what I'm implying with it is honestly beside the point.

Yes, Cersei convinced the Faith to go after Margaery, but regardless of who instigated it, if the issue were really about underlying class issues, they'd drop the case against Margaery. They haven't, even though the only evidence of wrongdoing is Cersei's insinuations, ergo they are some panty sniffing old fucks with the power of an inherently patriarchal institution(remember Baelor's belief that his sisters were evil temptresses? He got that from the Faith).

The reason no one has ever done anything about those other women, is because the Faith didn't have the political clout or popular influence to affect such things. This will be changing.

I'm not arguing that there aren't legitimate reasons for Cersei to be brought to trial. But think of who she asks for help, Jaime. He's just as culpable and guilty as she is, but she has no fear that he'll be charged. Now this could be considered just typical Cersei shortsightedness, but I think it comes from the very real fact that fathering bastards is acceptable, but mothering them is not.

Then there is the punishment. It was a punishment geared towards a women. What man have they done this to? What man have they arrested? What punishment could you do to a man that is the equivalent of the humiliation and shaming Cersei was forced to endure?

What's happening to Cersei, is an inversion of a common female villain trope, where she effectively uses her sexuality to seduce and manipulate men into doing what she wants, where she plays the part of the pure perfect woman in public to get the patriarchal church institutions of their worlds to go after her competitors.
Jeff R.
282. Gold for Petyr
281. Aeryl: Well I don't think Margery is any less guilty than Cersei on a class basis. Sure she hands out some food, but as Tyrion pointed out, it was the Tyrells who cut off the food supply in the first place. The Tyrells plunge the realm into war for personal ambition just as much as the Lannisters. Obviously Renly had no legitimate claim. I'm not saying Margery is in the wrong, merely that there's no reason for the high Septon to drop the charges against Magery once all this "evidence" is provided against her, they'll just have a trial and find her innocent.

I don't think you can separate the animosity between the High Septon and Cersei from a class issue. He is the first high septon not to be hand picked by the crown. And how did he get his new powers? Because he withheld his blessing from Tommen so Cersei bargained with him. And what did he say was his reasons were, poor septas and septons being killed in Cersei's war. That's where the antagonism began with the sparrows complaining the king did not protect the common people, with the sparrows storming the High Sept and putting a commoner on the throne.

You may be right about that the faith's lack of power is what spared these other women, but I think you're projecting the Christian Church onto The Faith. I don't think we've seen examples of the faith promoting misogyny in Westeros.

Baelor is a perfect example, I don't see him as treating women as sinful (that's a judeo-christian-muslim religious construct). He thinks sex is sinful, not women. When Lancel turns super devout and Jamie tells him his wife Amerei is going to sleep with other men, Lancel wishes her joy of it! He doesn't condemn her based on The Faith. I don't think we've ever seen The Faith proselytising against female sexuality the way the christian church does.

Do you have some examples of The Faith persecuting women for having sex outside of marriage?

But we know mothering bastards is acceptable! We have Elaria Sand, we have Alysane Mormont, we have Genna Lannister. The problem is passing off bastards as legitimate heirs, common women can have all the bastards they want, and when men father bastards they can't pretend someone else is the mother. Its an inherent problem of hereditary titles. You see the problem right? Independet of misogyny, you still have this inheritance issue.

Now the punishment. First of all, that punishment is all Kevan. I don't think the faith just happened to pick this punishment that was used before in Lannisport by Tywin. Kevan did that to force Cersei out of power. The punishment is definitely sexist. Is there a male equivalent to this, I dunno, you'd have to go into Reek territory probably.

I don't think Cersei is a villain.
Chris Nelly
283. Aeryl
Well, you don't think Littlefinger's a villain either, so we'll just have to agree to disagree.

The fact that the church celebrates the most sexist and misogynistic of the Targarayen descendants is evidence enough for me that it's an inherenly patriarchal institution, along with the limited allowed roles for women, the fact that there is no High Septa.

Yes, I am imputing a lot of factors onto it from our world's Catholic chuch, but that's because you are supposed to, just like you are supposed to impute some stuff about the old Druidic religions onto the Old Gods.

The women you select in your examples are women who do not live under the influence of the Faith. Dorne's women are openly sexual, and women are allowed political power, so the issue of inheritance is moot. Mormont's are in the North, and again, have a strong tradition of women ruling them. Even the Lannister history venerates women, and I'm one who believes Lann the Trickster's greatest trick was getting everyone to believe she was a man. These are exceptions, not the rule.

The impression I get from Cersei, was that making "bad" women parade naked was a common thing to do before Robert's rise encouraged a more licentious attitude amongst the nobles and peasants. I don't think this was something they cooked up to target her specifically, based on her history, but more the resurrection of an old custom, which was common enough that Cersei remembered attending one herself. YMMV of course. That still doesn't preclude Kevan's involvement, but I think shaming the Lannister matriarch isn't the best way to go about ensuring security for Tommen's throne. To the rest of the rebellious realm, it looked like the Lannisters themselves were shamed, not just Cersei on her own. While it may have the desired effect of neutering Cersei as a political power, it also made Tommen look weak, and Kevan knew that.
Jeff R.
284. Gold for Petyr
283. Aeryl: Yeah, I don't think there are any villains in this story, just people.

You're getting to my point! Was Baelor sexists and misogynistic? All we know is he refused to have sex with his sisters and they were kept in a separate part of the palace. Cersei considers this a huge afront, but was it? I don't think that's clear. (No one else but Cersei thinks Baelor mistreated his sisters, not Catelyn not Brienne not Tyrion not Ned nor the Oberyn.) And, how did Baelor behave towards other women he wasn't forced to marry? Not to even mention the fact that Baelor was fucking nuts.

Yes, you are supposed apply some aspects of the Catholic Church to the faith, but not all of them. I just don't see the evidence that the misogyny applies. You just ignore the fact that Lancel is very devout and doesn't condemn his wife for adultery.

Dorne and the Lannisters follow The Faith! These aren't just exceptions, they're all there is. Can you come up with an example of a woman who holds a title and who is condemned for adultery? You're saying there's this sea of counterpoints, but they don't exist. Asha, Randa Royce, Amerei Frey, they sleep with who they want.

The inheritance issue isn't moot when women can hold power, the issue who from whom the title is derived. If a Dornish Lord's wife cheats on him, you still have the same issue because the title is derived from the male and children's parentage may not be from that male. If the woman holds the title then the issue is moot.

There's only one other example of this type of Walk of Shame in the series, it's Tywin's dad's mistress. Tyrion, Jamie and Cersei all speak of it. They don't call it a custom or a common practice, it has nothing to do with the faith, this is some of Tywin's fucked up shit, just like Tysha's gang rape.
George Jong
285. IndependentGeorge
283. Aeryl: Yeah, I don't think there are any villains in this story, just people.
People can be villains. Just because you can empathize with someone doesn't mean he's not also villain.
Jeff R.
286. olethros
I would argue that being a person is a prerequisite for being a villain, actually. If character X is of another species (this is sff, after all), they're not a villain, they're just acting contrary to the interests of people, which is pretty much what all of nature does anyway.
287. Ryamano
It's been a long time since I reread the "Stannis to the rescue" chapter. I hadn't noticed that Jon's idea on settling the wildlings in the south came up while he was speaking to Mance.
Deana Whitney
288. Braid_Tug
Memory fuzzy here:
How is Tomman still king after Cersei's walk? It seems her crimes all but confirm that he is not Robert's son, therefore should not be king?

Show vs. Book matter:
In the books, I always saw Margery as innocent of any crimes.
The show Margery however, I feel will be guilty of infidelity.
Wonder how it’s going to play out. But I guess that’s 2 seasons away.
Chris Nelly
289. Aeryl
@288, The walk is not a confirmation of the crime, she will still have a trial. The walk was her bail.

I always thought Margaery was sleeping with all the women she surrounds herself with. But I met ShowMargaery first, so that may have colored my view.
George Jong
290. IndependentGeorge
@286 - I meant a person as opposed a psychopath, rather than machine/ghost/monster/etc. A person can have good reasons for what he's done, and be a sympathetic person in his own right, but still be a villain (not that I think either really applies to Littlefinger).

The comment @283 implies there is no such thing as villainy, and I reject the premise outright (as do you, judging from your comment).
Jeff R.
291. zambi76
About Cersei's Walk: She has just confessed to have slept with Lancel and the Kettlebacks and some other minor stuff (that's what the "repentance" walk is for). She still denies to have slept with Jaime or killed the former High Septon, and the High Sparrow wants to hold trail (Cersei chose by combat) to clear those major crimes up too.
Jeff R.
292. Gold for Petyr
285. IndependentGeorge:

No I don't think so. So say there is a villain implies that there is particularly valid narrative to which the villain acts in opposition to. A villain to me is just a poorly developed character in a one dimensional story. I don't think we go around calling people in the real world villains and the literary world should aspire to reflect that when it attempts to have realistic portrayals.

289. Aeryl: I meant what I asked. Do you have examples of the faith proselytizing against women? I thought about it last night and Brienne spends time with three Septons in AFFC and they never say she doesn't know her place, the way many men in Westeros do. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something or if you're adding something.
Chris Nelly
293. Aeryl
I didn't answer because I haven't read the books in full, except ADWD, in over a year. When I read them again in the next month or so, I will address your question. References to historical stories like you are asking for are buried under tons of individual narratives.
Jeff R.
294. KingofFlames
Cersei's walk was Kevan Lannister pulling every string he could find to keep her from being executed. It's a plea bargain. She confesses to adultery, plays the lonely, sympathetic widow, gets a humiliating walk of shame (significant, but not a punishment that does any lasting harm to her body or status, just her reputation). Kevan is trying damned hard to get her off the hook as best he can, but because of the Kettleblack confession, he can't get her off scot free, so he manages to give her the least punishing thing he can. It's not some plot on his behalf to undermine her as a rival, he's trying to keep her alive.
Stefan Mitev
295. Bergmaniac
"The wickedness of widows is well-known, and all women are wantons at heart, given to using their wiles and their beauty to work their wills on men."

That's the High Septon speaking. Textbook blatant sexism.
Jeff R.
296. Gold for Petyr
293. Aeryl: Yeah I thought you knew of something specific because you were so adamant.

294. KingofFlames: Kevan wants Cersei out of power. He tried to send her back to Casterly Rock before Cersei threw wine in his face. So while Kevan doesn't want Cersei convicted of treason he also doesn't want her in power. You're telling Kevan couldn't have ordered the gold cloaks to go in there and get Cersei, there are 4,000 goal cloaks.

295. Bergmaniac: Yeah that's good example. I'd like to see more from various septons before I conclude the faith condemns women, but that's a very good example.

I'm not beyond thinking the faith couple be sexist, it just didn't seem that way to me. As opposed to say Stannis or Tywin or Randyll Tarly, where characters constantly note this person has issues with women. I didn't think we'd seen that with the faith and its representatives. But your quote may indicate otherwise.
Jeff R.
297. olethros
No I don't think so. So say there is a villain implies that there is particularly valid narrative to which the villain acts in opposition to. A villain to me is just a poorly developed character in a one dimensional story. I don't think we go around calling people in the real world villains...

Pull the other one. First, there is obviously a valid narrative here, we're reading it. Second, you yourself have referred to LF as the "hero" of this story, meaning there has to be a villain somewhere. Third, plenty of villains in fiction are well-rounded, multidimensional characters in well crafted stories. Finally, if you really believe that the real world is bereft of villains or people who call others villains, you live on another planet with unicorns that shit rainbows.
Jeff R.
298. olethros
Fucking formatting.
Jeff R.
300. Gold for Petyr
297. olethros:

But there isn't *A* particular "right" narrative (there are many). I can give you a narrative where Ned Stark is a monster who deposed the rightful king, its called Dany.

A hero does not imply a villain. A doctor or a firefighter can be a hero in our world, that doesn't make cancer or fire a villain. And when I say Littlefinger is the hero, I don't really mean it, what I really mean is, Littlefinger is as much a hero as Dany or Tyrion and his story could easily be framed in a similar manner.

If they're well rounded and multidimensional then, I wouldn't call them a villain. To put it another way, a villain does things because they are "bad" for no other reason than to spread pain and misery. A person has more subtle and complex motivations.

People don't call other people "villains" in my experience, they might call them Hitler or demonize them in some other way be not by using the term villain.

No I don't think there are villains in our world, there are people that do things we do not deem acceptable as a society, but George Zimmerman is a "villain" to some people and hero to others, as is George Bush or Osama Bin Laden. The issue is more complicated than them being villains or heroes.
Faiz Imam
301. FaizImam
Heh, as usual I stay 2 chapters ahead of the read, so I just read Sam's chapter. I am giddy with anticipation over leigh reading about the voting process.

Her thoughts over a democracy where voting once ""lasted near two years, with some 700 votes" will be just wonderful.
Jeff R.
302. Nessa
This may be a little after the fact, but I want to say that Baelor was only married to one of his sisters: Daena. His other sisters, Rhaena and Elaena were not married to him but were locked up in the Maidenvault anyways, separate from men so that they won't tempt anyone into carnal desires or some such. From what little information that GRRM has given about this situation, we know that Daena and Elaena were furious at being locked up and not being allowed to see any men at all, while Rhaena (the one who followed the Faith) was okay with it. And I can see why Daena and Elaena were pissed off; it's okay for him to swear off sex himself, but he doesn't have to prevent his sisters from doing so, especially since he wasn't even married to two of them. Daena at least, was annoyed enough with the circumstances that she often sneaked out of the Maidenvault in disguise with the help of her cousins, and even fathered a bastard while "married" to Baelor. She refused to name the father, earning the name of Daena the Defiant. (It turned out to be Aegon IV, the Unworthy)

I think the reason that you don't see many characters condemning Baelor in the series is mainly because Baelor was known to have the crazy Targ genes. Most people, when they talk about him, seem to see him as a bit of a joke (e.g. Oberyn joking about how no self-respecting snake would bite a bloodless stick like Baelor, Tyrion saying that he was afraid of his own cock). His actions aren't seen as malicious, simply because he was crazy as fuck (didn't he raise some 9 year old kid as High Septon?). Cersei takes the actions personally because she has a tendency to take things personally, but that doesn't mean it was okay for him to lock his sisters up so that they wouldn't be seducing any men.

The High Septon puzzles me. As of now, I can't really see what his endgame is. I definitely think that the reason he wanted a WoS was to discredit the Lannisters (and Kevan fell for it spectacularly, but then he was never as clever as Tywin). I also think that the reason he locked up Margaery was also to demonstrate his power to the Tyrells, and to weaken them as well. While the WoS was a sexist punishment, and he doesn't seem to care that it was, I don't believe that his motive is simply to punish Cersei for sleeping outside of marriage. I think he simply wants to increase his power. What he will do once he gets that power is anyone's guess, and I'm not sure I'll like the consequences, but we don't really know yet what's going to happen.

Of course, there is some obvious sexism in the organization of the faith itself (like Aeryl mentioned, there is no High Septa). And I do believe that many of the Faith's underlings do believe in the idea that the worst sin that a woman can commit is adultery (e.g. the septas that decided to rip of the dresses of Margaery and her cousins based on shaky testimony, and the hypocritical septons that preach chastity but consort with whores behind closed doors) but I don't believe that the High Septon himself buys into that entirely. He may "pretend" to, just to gain leverage over the powerful nobles, but I don't think his true motives have been laid bare yet.
Jeff R.
303. KingofFlames

If Kevan sends in the gold cloaks, he starts another war with the sparrows just when the realm seems to be starting to recover. And he might not even win, as the sparrows have commoner support.
Jeff R.
304. Aerona Greenjoy
The Maidenvault story amusingly shocked Leigh a while back. I don't fee like combing the archives for her response, but it was something like:


That's...I don't even...

*headdesk.* That's it. I give up. Everyone go home!"
Faiz Imam
305. FaizImam
BTW, do we know if one chapter a week is the new normal? Or is it the byproduct of either the longer/more intricate chapters, or Leigh's personal life? or both?

I find mysef feeling a hit of dissapointment every post as a result of the uncertainty.

I'd prefer to be able to set proper expectations for myself going forward.
Jeff R.
306. Aerona Greenjoy
Never thought I'd see Leigh say "yay?" about anything done by Mel. Or Stannis the fundamentally unpleasant compassionless obtuse jerk (ACOK prologue) but especially Mel the Religious Fanatic. Mwahaha.
Jeff R.
307. Lyanna Mormont
@ 305 - Why not just set expectations to one chapter a week, and be pleasantly surprised if there's more than that?

@ 296 - Sending the gold cloaks into the Sept of Baelor to free a queen accused of treason and incest, a queen who happens to be your niece, right when the Faith is gaining power and becoming increasingly militant? That would be abysmally stupid, killing-Thomas-Becket -in-his-church levels of stupidity.

On the discussion of Baelor himself - I don't have the books at hand, but didn't Tyrion at some point, I think during the PW, think to himself that the Seven Kingdoms would've been better off if Baelor HAD died from those snakebites, rather than live another year or two? Something along those lines.

On the Faith - it exists in a patriarchal, misogynistic society. The Faith has had a strong influence in building that society, and has no doubt been influenced by it as well. So yeah, I don't see how it could be anything but patriarchal and misogynistic.
Faiz Imam
308. FaizImam
@Lyanna: By and large that's indeed what I do. But there is a small corner of my brain that takes advantage of the uncertianty and always hopes for 2.
Jeff R.
309. Gold for Petyr
307. Lyanna Mormont:

I don't think so. I think Kevan can do whatever he wants. Tywin sacked kings landing and did far far worse than attacking just Baelor's Sept. Mace certainly would have gone in after Margery. I don't think the populace is capable of posing a credible threat to the Lannister when they live in the Red Keep and the commoners don't really have weapons. I just don't buy it.

Certainly Westeros is sexist and misogynistic so the question isn't whether the people of the faith share the characteristics of their society. The question is whether misogyny is part of the doctrine of the faith, whether misogyny is advocated, spread and tought by the faith. And I don't see evidence of that. I don't think.
Chris Nelly
310. Aeryl
Just started my GOT reread and am somewhat floored by the misconceptions AND contradictions we get at the start.

The assumption that the second attack on Bran is related to Lysa's letter? That is a crazy ass assumption from Catelyn.

In some ways, LF's cleared a bit(not a lot, don't get excited Gold for Petyr), as there was no way*, when he convinced Lysa to send the letter to Cat, that Bran would catch Jaime and Cersei mid-coitus and be hurt, and then attacked again. If that hadn't happened, Cat wouldn't have come south, been lied to(by LF!!!) about the dagger and taken Tyrion prisoner.

Then again, look at Lysa. Her reaction to Cat bringing Tyrion is understandable, she's trying to stay neutral, but Tyrion makes that hard. But then why allow the trial? If she truly wanted to stay neutral, allowing Tyrion Lannister to be executed in her home IS NOT the way to go about it.

Now of course it would look weird if she didn't allow the trial to go forward, but it runs counter to her intentions, so it's kinda contradictory.

*Now NONE of this is a problem is say, LF is a wizard. Which is possible. It would be the one thing about himself he'd keep secret, even from Sansa. It explains why he's trying so hard to fortify for the coming winter, because he knows the stakes. Best of all, it gives him the omniscience to do what he's done in a plausible way. Because while Lysa acted counter to her own interests, she did assist LF by exacerbating the Stark/Lannister situation. And who's to say LF didn't have Cat followed upon leaving KL, followed to the inn? And then that person**, with some means of contacting LF, who tells him that Cat has Tyrion and is headed to the Vale? Giving LF the opportunity to tell Lysa how to play this.

Jeff R.
311. Gold for Petyr
310. Aeryl:

Catelyn is an adult human being. You say she has agency, and I agree. She is responsible for her own actions. Taking Tyrion prisoner is on her. She knew it was a bad idea when she did it.

P.S. don't be ridiculous. Just structurally it makes no sense, how and when would Littlefinger become a wizard?

Also, I don't believe anything Littlefinger tells Sansa, I mean ...come on....
Jeff R.
312. Gold for Petyr
Also, Catelyn isn't wrong. The reason the Lannisters would have killed Jon Arryn is the reason Bran got thrown out the window. And Jon Arryn's death is a result of him and Stannis threatening to reveal Cersei's secret with leads Littlefinger to have Jon Arryn killed.
Chris Nelly
313. Aeryl
I never said Catelyn wasn't responsible for taking Tyrion(seriously did you even read my comment?).

What I said was that she made a LOT of assumption, most of which were wrong.

While yes, it's true, what Bran was thrown out the window for, is the same secret that Jon Arryn(we assume) had learned, those aren't really connected. She also assumes the second attack on Bran is related to Jon Arryn's death, and THAT'S the furthest thing from the truth. It was Joffrey trying to live up to his father's ideals.

And the reason Jon Arryn died was not because he suspected Cersei's incestuous relationship(we know Stannis believed it, and Jon might as well, but they don't have proof, what were they going to threaten Cersei with?), but because, while he was roaming around with Stannis, he agreed to have Robert Arryn fostered at Dragonstone.

What did LF tell Sansa that I'm believing? All of this is confirmed in other people's storylines.

And as far as when LF could have become a wizard. His father's from the Free Cities, who knows what their history really is, they could come from wizards. He could have been learning since childhood, and planned to use his power to eventually woo Catelyn, if only she'd refuse to marry Brandon. He could have learned it while working in KL for Jon Arryn. Who knows? It's a lot less believable than some stuff this story's done, and actually explains a bit.

Like again, why, if Lysa was staying neutral on LF's orders, did she allow the Vale to get drug into the matter with Tyrion? If she'd really wanted to stay neutral, she could have given Cat an escort BACK to KL, to have him stand trial there, leaving her out of it. But she didn't. Instead, she allowed the situation to play out in the way the benefitted LF and his plan the most? Coincidence? I don't think so. You can even tell, she was rigging the trial by combat from the start, that's why she gave her champion Jon's old sword. But why risk Tyrion's death at all, when it would undo LF's carefully laid plans, placing the Vale so far outside Lannister regard they may not want to bring her back in the fold as they did later?

I don't know if this is true or not, it's a neat speculation. It explains some stuff that could be nothing more than Martin getting in the way of his own story.
Jeff R.
314. Gold for Petyr
Well when you say Littlefinger is responsible for the war or Littlefinger is cleared in this case, the implication is that causality can be drawn directly from him to the war of the five kings. That removes agency from all the people who make their own bad choices along the way.

The reason Jon Arryn was going to have Robert Arryn fostered at dragonstone is because Stannis and Jon Arryn were going to move against the Lannisters. Remember Stannis says this Catelyn. And Remember Lysa doesn't come up with idea to kill Jon Arryn herself. So it can't be Robert Arryn being fostered at dragonstone that prompts the poisoning because there's no motivation for Littlefinger to tell/help Lysa in that swcenario.

You said being a wizard is the one thing Littlefinger would hide from Sansa. That implies Littlefinger is truth with the other things he tells Sansa and isn't hiding things.

Just no. Littlefinger isn't wizard. There's just no evidence what so ever. There's no reason to think that.

The problem with Lysa is she's insane. I just think Lysa has no idea what to do with Tyrion. If Lysa really wanted to keep Tyrion alive she wouldn't have let him walk the high road alone or put him in the sky cells. Tyrion should have tied 3 times over. I don't think Lysa has anymore realistic an appraisal of trial by combat than Littlefinger did when he dueled brandon.

I also don't think Lysa's trial helped anything, if Lysa had stayed neutral and just put Catelyn on a ship to the North with Tyrion how would things have been any different? Or even if Lysa have keep the bloody gate closed and Tyrion and Catelyn were killed on the high road, no one would have known they were dead, Tywin would still have invaded the riverlands, ect ect.

Yeah, I just think its too complicated. I don't like stuff like that because it breaks the suspension of disbelief. Same thing with the dagger, before we figured out it was Joffrey. Joffrey is good writing, its just Joff being crazy. Same thing with Lysa, Lysa is just being Lysa and random and crazy. There needs to be happenstance, otherwise the plans get to complicated and its no long believable.
Chris Nelly
315. Aeryl
So it can't be Robert Arryn being fostered at dragonstone that prompts
the poisoning because there's no motivation for Littlefinger to
tell/help Lysa in that swcenario.

Except that Lysa says that is exactly what happened, she learned about the fostering, and went to LF for help, who suggested poisoning.

That implies Littlefinger is truth with the other things he tells Sansa and isn't hiding things.

No, you feel it implies that. I think that while he may be besotted enough to let slip too many truths in front of Sansa, THIS is ONE THING he will never expose.

There's just no evidence what so ever. There's no reason to think that.

That makes it the BEST reason to think that.

if Lysa had stayed neutral and just put Catelyn on a ship to the North
with Tyrion how would things have been any different? Or even if Lysa have keep the bloody gate closed and Tyrion and Catelyn were killed on the high road.

Neither of those is neutral, one is abetting Catelyn, the other is criminal negligence with the family of the king. Neutral would be doing what I said, which is sending Cat and Tyrion back to KL.
316. Ryamano
Lysa was given the order to remain neutral by Littlefinger, but I don't think it was expected she would follow that order to the point of growing suspicion, like refusing entry to her sister on the castle and making Cat suspicious of why she wouldn't let Tyrion be tried. So Lysa played along with the act she was posing for Catelyn in her secret letter, making her appear anti-Lannister.

If the Vale didn't remain neutral (because, I don't know, Tyrion was killed while remaining there and Tywyn issued a statement saying he would seek revenge), I think Littlefinger would've some backup plan in order. After the battle of the Blackwater and maybe after the Red Wedding he could say to the Lannister-Tyrell alliance that he would woo the Vale back to the Crown without the risk of an impossible siege (remember, Sky was never taken in the 8,000 years of Westeros warfare) with the weapon in his pants, offering Lysa a royal pardon if she betrayed the Starks, like the one that was given Bolton. Then he'd promise Tywyn that Lysa would get conveniently killed (a Lannister always pays his debts) and that he'd rule the Vale as a loyal bannerman to the king.
So everything would turn out the same (with even more justification for Lysa dying). The Vale remaining neutral wasn't really the most important matter. What mattered was the Vale not losing its manpower reserves, so that they could be used for further conflict in a position of advantage. In the case of the Vale actually having to sign with the Starks, LF could've said that Lysa should send just a token force to help them. Then the scenario described above would play out, which would be very similar to the one seen in the story.

To sum up, I think LF gave Lysa just general guidelines of what to do and didn't plan that far ahead as to have Bronn as a double agent. But he did plan ahead and probably had a contingency plan in the case the Vale was dragged into the war, making the Vale much less affected by it. Also, in case the Starks even won the war, he could conveniently disappear and reappear later in the Vale (married to Lysa) to offer his services to the King of the North, saying how much he helped his mother to catch his brother's assassins.
Jeff R.
317. Aerona Greenjoy
I located Leigh's Maidenvault response, and had gotten it almost right:

I just – I don’t –
Ugh. Everyone is fired, go home. Go!

No comment on LF, save that he's a champion in deviousness and opportunism who seems to always be five steps ahead of everyone else.
Jeff R.
318. Gold for Petyr
Lysa says it, but she doesn't explain the order of events. Littlefinger already knows what Stannis and Jon Arryn are up to, removing Robert Arryn from Kingslanding is to keep him safe from the Lannisters, like when Ned tried to send away Arya and Sansa. And similarly by telling Lysa, Jon Arryn lets Littlefinger know that he's about to move on the Lannisters. That's why Jon Arryn dies. Surely you can't think Littlefinger would kill Jon Arryn over Robert Arryn being fostered... Why would he care?

And I said I don't believe anything Littlefinger tells Sansa. You do. That is the answer to your question, "What did Littlefinger tell Sansa that I said I believe"

No this is a logical fallacy. There are an infinite number of things that there is no evidence of. The Others could be aliens. Hot Pie could be Azor Ahai, you can claim anyone is a "wizard". The fact that there is no evidence doesn't make them more true. And most of the things that happen in the story, there actually is foreshadowing if you go back and look for it. But not in this case.

Sending Catelyn back to Kingslanding is not neutral. The Lannisters are in control of Kingslanding, that's why Stannis and Lysa ran away. Also, there's no criminal negligence in Westeros and Lysa isn't required to admit Catelyn to the Vale. Seriously, you think sending Catelyn to Cersei is neutral? Do you remember what happened to Lady?
Chris Nelly
319. Aeryl
At that point, Robert is still alive. After Robert's death, yes that's different. But while Robert still alive, it's all written off as "respecting the King's Justice"
Jeff R.
320. Gold for Petyr
That's why I mentioned the incident with Lady. Even when Robert was alive the Lannisters had control. Jamie assaulted Ned in the streets remember. Again, that's why Lysa and Stannis ran away There's no way sending Catelyn back to Kingslanding is a neutral action.
Chris Nelly
321. Aeryl
It is if you are pretending to be unaware of the upcoming civil war, and going along with the polite fiction that Robert's in charge, which Lysa has to do if she doesn't want to be implicated as in rebellion to the throne(yet).
Jeff R.
322. Gold for Petyr
OK, now I don't even understand your point. Lysa is already claiming the Lannisters killed Jon Arryn and hiding in the Vale because Robert can't protect her/wants to give her son to Tywin. So who is Lysa supposed to be fooling?
Chris Nelly
323. Aeryl
But her running off to the Vale is relatively minor, in re the security of the realm. Robert Arryn isn't Warden of the East, and she's isolated there. No harm, no foul.

Allowing the King's brother in law to be killed in a trial by combat, while aiding and abetting the rogue wife of the King's "former" hand is not a minor transgression against the crown.

What you described can be written off as ravings, with no detrimental effect on the kingdom. What she did went beyond raving, and it ran counter to her claims of neutrality. But it did continue to help foment the civil war, which helped LF, someone Lysa is devoted to.

I also do not accept your assertion that Jon Arryn's agreement to fostering with Stannis meant he was about to move against the Lannisters. It's just as likely he just wanted to get Robert away from Lysa. From everything that's implied about Jon Arryn, he's kinda inert, it took Aerys threatening his wards to prompt him into complete rebellion, and as Hand he allowed Robert to bankrupt the country. Arryn knows how deep into debt the crown was to Tywin Lannister, forcing the Lannisters out of the royal family, as Renly was intending, was not possible, and Jon Arryn certainly knew it.
Chris Nelly
324. Aeryl
Was reading the Bran's chapter with the three eyed crow last night, and hidden in there is another indication that Sansa will play a role in bringing down Robert Strong.

One of Bran's visions is of Sansa and Arya and the Darry castle when Lady was executed. He saw them surrounded by a shadow with the head of a Hound(Sandor, who has watched over them both), a figure armored in gold(Brienne, who's been sent to look for them), and a monstrous individual with no head, just a pool of running black muck behind the visor, that obviously refers to Strong.

My guess is that once word reaches Cersei that Sansa is alive, she's going to send him after her.
Jeff R.
325. Gold for Petyr
How do Lysa's actions further the civil war? Tywin and Cersei already think Tyrion is dead (by the time Tyrion comes back) Tywin has already invaded the riverlands. If Lysa had refused to open the bloody gate, nothing would have changed. Or If Catelyn had gone north or to Riverrun, nothing would have changed. If Lysa were actually being helpful to littlefinger, she would have acted as though she was willing to go to war then held her troops back at the last minute, rather than refusing to give the blackfish any men.

While its possible Jon Arryn wouldn't have moved against the Lannisters, that isn't the picture we get from Stannis. I think from their behavior, along with that of Renly, the Lannisters and Baratheons are moving toward a breach. You really think Jon Arryn isn't going to tell Robert his "children" are bastards?
Jeff R.
326. Gold for Petyr
324. Aeryl: The gold armor is Jamie, obviously, not Brienne.

Also, just to make your day. Some people think the giant is Littlefinger because his grandfather is from Bravos and the house sigil is a titan's head (which littlefinger doesn't use). Then they combine that with the ghost of highheart prediction that Sansa will slay a giant.

...Unfortunately I don't think it quite works, all the ghost of high hear prediction come true in Storm of Swords, so it seems weird for one random one not to. So that giant was probably Robert Arryn's toy.
Chris Nelly
327. Aeryl
I think it was originally intended to be Jaime, but not anymore. Plus, Jaime's not actually doing anything. Whereas Brienne is blond haired, carrying a Lannister sword and traveling under a Lannister's aegis, therefore "armored" in gold.
Chris Nelly
328. Aeryl
If Lysa had refused to open the gate, she would have left the King's kinsman to die. Not Nuetral.

You really think Jon Arryn isn't going to tell Robert his "children" are bastards?

Not with the crown millions of Stags in debt to the mother of those children.
Deana Whitney
329. Braid_Tug
Oh, ya'll should go watch this. "Medieval Land Fun" by Bad Lip Reading. Using GoT footage.
Think on the footage used is from seasons 1 & 2, so no spoiler for Leigh, but since she doesn't want to see any of the show yet, I'm not posting on main tread.

Will give you a laugh.

EDIT: Sorry, y'all. I saw this on FB before posted it. But I'll leave it here anyways.
Marie Veek
330. SlackerSpice
Tomorrow on Read of Ice and Fire: Troubling Unchildlike Behavior for the OHGODWHY!
Chris Nelly
331. Aeryl
She's going to be elated and pissed at the same time(I'm STILL not over what he did to Shae)
Marie Veek
332. SlackerSpice
@331: Probably the worst part is going to be when she realizes that no, Arya's not going to go Kill Bill on some Lannister/Bolton/Frey ass and is fact going to be leaving the country.
Jeff R.
333. Aerona Greenjoy
Have you seen the "Arya in 'Kill Ilyn' etc." internet image? Personally, I was fine with her quitting this crazy scene for the relative peace of Braavos, though it would be great if she returns someday to dose Ramsay's hounds with that savageness-inducing poison and make them eat him (I can dream).

My chapter summary: Two major characters walk into an inn. People die as a result. As usual.
Marie Veek
334. SlackerSpice
@333: I suppose it's one of those things where I could go either way. She'll be relatively safe in Braavos - assuming the Others don't swim - but at the same time I would like to see Arya get a break that won't increase the risk of a mental break. Not likely, I know, but...
336. Ryamano
You really think Jon Arryn isn't going to tell Robert his "children" are bastards?

Not with the crown millions of Stags in debt to the mother of those children.

Actually, now that I read both of your posts, this actually seems like motivation for Jon Arryn to be going against the Lannisters and trying to find out their dirty secrets (like the twincest). After having proof of the twincest, Arryn could acuse the Lannisters of treason and sin and have the Lannister family excomunicated and their lands seized by the crown, or something like that, with all debts owed to the crown forgiven.

You think that's impossible? That's what happened between the Templars and Phillip IV, king of France, who owed the Templars a lot of money. Some heresy charges and a crusade later, the French crown was debt-free.
Chris Nelly
337. Aeryl
If he was so concerned he shouldn't have let it happen. I just don't see Jon Arryn being that swift and cunning, at least not going up against a house REKNOWNED for it's cunning.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
338. AlirozTheConfused
Yeah, the thing is; if you do it right; you shouldn't be renowned for cunning. You shouldn't be famous for sneakiness; or famous for trickery.

If you've done it right, people might not think you've done anything at all. If everyone knows that you're a trickster, you're doing it wrong. If everyone knows you have secrets; if everyone knows you have an ace up your sleeve and don't play by the rules; you're doing it wrong.

If people know you're deceptive, they'll be less inclined to trust you.

I think that many of the most cunning people in history are unknown; and schemed so well that nobody realized they were scheming. I mean, if later historians can figure out that you were an untrustworthy schemer, it means you failed to decieve said historians; or that you failed to decieve the records.

In my mind, the mark of the truly magnificent trickster is that he is not known for being a trickster; his stories go unrecorded, and he is not renowned for cunning.

Which is the better cheat? The person who you know has an ace up his sleeve and tends to win with unrealistically good hands after hugely upping the amount he's put in the pot? Or that guy in the corner who sometimes wins and sometimes loses; but all in all makes a good profit over many games; slowly making money over many games; sometimes winning and then cursing himself for not upping his wager?

Who's gonna get kicked out of the Casino? Who is going to have more people willing to bet against him? Yeah.

So yeah, being famous for sneakiness? Known for deception? Renowned for cunning? How is that sneaky, deceptive, or cunning?
Jeff R.
339. bookworm1398
@338 I agree with you, but in the THIS case I think cunning means good military strategist, not trickster. You don't have to stay hidden for that, its better to be renowned since the enemy's nervousness will give you an additional advantage.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
340. AlirozTheConfused
Yeah, but still, now the king wouldn't have to pay his millions in debt money.

So all those loans from Casterly Rock to the crown? Now the king doesn't have to pay any of 'em back.

What does "millions in debt to Casterly Rock" mean? Does it mean
A) "You don't have any money of your own in your treasury; you have millions (in your treasury) loaned from Casterly Rock and you have no way to pay back those millions"

or B) "You have no money in your treasury, your treasury is empty, and you need to pay Casterly Rock a few millions 'cause you bought stuff with their money".

In both of these situations, there is the same amount of debt to Casterly Rock; but in one of them; the money you spend is in your own treasury (even though it isn't really yours); and in the other one; the money you spend was in the Casterly Treasury.

It's the difference between taking a loan of a few million from the bank and using that; and using the bank as your treasury, buying stuff with the bank's money and promising to pay it back.

'Cause in the first case, you now have millions in your treasury that are now all yours, no more debt to Casterly Rock. In the second case, you have no debt to Casterly Rock; but you still have an empty treasury.

If it is the first one; then perhaps some of that newly-belonging-to-you money could be used to pay off the Iron Bank?

Also notice that in this situation where Jon Arryn tells King Robert; Robert would have Stannis and Renly together on his side against the Lannisters; not to mention he'd have the Vale on his side.

Also, everybody who is in debt to the Lannisters is now free from having to pay those debts.
Jeff R.
341. MjF
About Cersei's walk of shame: Could someone remind me, was Jaime's name ever even mentioned? As I recall, the incest was the one crime of Cersei's that the Faith had not discovered, and she was just accused of having sex with Lancel and Whatshisname Kettleblack of the Kingsguard (and possibly others).
Jeff R.
342. Aerona Greenjoy
"War ? Lord Baelish is a most amusing man, but one does not fight a war with witticisms." -- Orton Merryweather (AFFC). Orton may be a knucklehead, but nobody on Cersei's council corrected him, possibly because they either agreed or were afraid to antagonize LF. I think he's doing it right.

Cersei denied bedding Jaime when accused by the High Septon. He acted as if he believed her word against that of the "demon-worshipping" Stannis, but this didn't stop the mob from calling her "brotherfucker" and suchlike.
Jeff R.
343. Milk Steak
The faith got their new found powers from Cersei and her children. It benefits them to pretend to believe Cersei only started sleeping around after Robert was dead as to do otherwise would put Stannis on the throne and undo the faith's gains.
Chris Nelly
344. Aeryl
Another indication that Jon Arryn had no intentions of moving against the Lannisters. Stannis.

Stannis goes away, doesn't share what he knows with Ned, just holes up in Dragonstone. If there was a plan in place to confront Robert over Cersei's infidelity, why wouldn't he bring in Ned, Robert's closest confidante and Warden of the North?

Because there was no plan. Whatever Arryn may have learned with Stannis, there's just no indication that he planned to move against Lannisters. The only indication there ever was, was the implication the Lannisters killed him, which was a misdirect.
345. Ryamano
@344 Aeryl

Ned Stark, in his POV, thinks that Stannis fled Kingslanding due to the secret he and Jon Arryn found out. Stannis, in Davos POV, seems to indicate that this is just one of the reasons. The other is he felt slighted after Robert chose Ned to be his next Hand instead of Stannis. This could've affected his decision not to share information with Ned. On the other decision, fleeing to Dragonstone, this is Stannis being reasonable. He just saw the guy who he budged into investigating the matter be killed. He rightly fears for his life in Kingslanding.

Also, I think you underestimate Jon Arryn. You criticize him for moving too late against Aerys, but there is great evidence, from Lady Dustin's chat with Theon in ADWD, that Jon Arryn was one of the conspirators that Aerys feared were trying to overthrow him (and the mad king was surprisingly right in this score). The Baratheon-Stark-Arryn-Tully alliance was already being made months before Aerys killed anyone, probably with the meeting place being the tournament at Harrenhal (just like in Dunk and Egg's tales tournaments are used as meeting places by Blakfyre conspirators). Jon was right being prudent, considering these are 4 kingdoms among 8, so he wouldn't have numerical superiority over his enemies (considering Tyrells have more soldiers than other kingdoms and that the Tully bannermen can be not so loyal, like the long time the late lord Frey took to help his liege). He probably was waiting until some other alliance could be made (with Lannisters, Greyjoy or Tyrell, who knows). The civil war, in the time it happened, wasn't probably in his plans or in anyone's. It just sparked that early because Brandon Stark and his father Rickard Stark are idiots by going to Kingslanding and getting killed way too early in the conspiracy.
346. Ryamano
Looking at some chapters in ADWD, it seems that several conspiracies in Westeros overlap. The Lady Dustin chapter is very useful in this. She shows great distrust over maesters, saying one was responsible for Rickard Stark's southron ambitions that resulted in Brandon Stark being brethothed to Catelyn Tully instead of a northern lady, like her. So, it's not difficult to say that the maesters' conspiracy instigated the nobles' conspiracy against the Targaryens. This makes sense, considering that from Oldtown chapters we see that lots of influential maesters are against magic. The maesters are responsible for the Targaryens' dragons reduction in size and eventual extinction. Dragons are related to magic, or so most scholars think (the pyromancer says their magic is working again because possibly dragons have returned, the fireladder Dany sees works because dragons returned, etc). Dragons can return only in a ritual done by a Targaryen, like Egg tried in Summerhall or Dany succeeded in her husband's funeral. So the maesters wanted not only the Targaryen's dragons out of the picture, but even the possbility of dragons and magic returning. So after there are no dragons anymore, the maesters instigate a civil war to oust the Targaryen dynasty and probably kill all the people with Targaryen blood. Considering that Grand Maester Pycelle helped as well the Targaryen overthrow, by counselling Aerys to open the gates to the Lannisters, this all seems to fit a pattern. Notice that not all maesters are into this conspiracy (Aemon, Luwin and Marwyn and his students most certainly are not), but it seems that a lot of them are, and in influential positions.

Why would maesters dislike magic so much that they'd go through all this trouble? Maybe it's just personal opinion, but it's possible they also have some prophecy saying that the return of magic is related to the coming of the Others. They might think that by denying one they can avoid the other. I think that they have that, and that they are wrong, considering we saw the Others and other forms of magic (Mirri Maz Duur) before dragons. The return of dragons actually helps humanity fight the Others and the long winter, but the maesters might not know that and might have misinterpreted prophecies.

At least that's my wild theory :P
Chris Nelly
347. Aeryl
I know all of that Ryamano. My judgements of Jon Arryn are based on what he did after the rebellion than his shit from the past(though his terrible rearing of Robert is also a strike against him).

He was a terrible Hand. He allowed Robert to run roughshod over the country's stability by plunging it into debt.

I agree those are the reasons Stannis left, but that still doesn't indicate that prior to Arryn's death, he and Stannis had a plan to expose Cersei. And screw Stannis, if that's the case. If he felt his ego was more important than ensuring the security of the kingdom, screw him. And fearing for his life is an even greater reason to share the information, not play it close to the chest.

Ned's POV is based on erroneous information. It's heartbreaking actually, rereading his chapters now, knowing just how many incorrect assumptions he makes(and how his own bigotries get in his way, that's not so much heartbreaking as ragemaking). And considering Ned's notorious honor, that makes Stannis even more stupid, as he should know that once Ned found out the truth, his conscience would demand he support Stannis. That Stannis went home to nurse his wounded ego, instead of mobilizing with the crucial forces that would support his claim once he exposed Cersei, tells me there actually was no plan to expose Cersei.

Once Robert died, that changed.
Jeff R.
348. Gold for Petyr
347. Aeryl

Stannis specifically says his plan was to expose Cersei.

Robert could never have known, Catelyn thought, or Cersei would have lost her head in an instant. "Lord Stannis, "she asked, "if you knew the queen to be guilty of such monstrous crimes, why did you keep silent? "
"I did not keep silent," Stannis declared. "I brought my suspicions to Jon Arryn."
"Rather than your own brother?"
"My brother's regard for me was never more than dutiful," said Stannis. "From me, such accusations would have seemed peevish and selfserving, a means of placing myself first in the line of succession. I believed Robert would be more disposed to listen if the charges came from Lord Arryn, whom he loved."
"Ah," said Renly. "So we have the word of a dead man."
"Do you think he died by happenstance, you purblind fool? Cersei had him poisoned, for fear he would reveal her. Lord Jon had been gathering certain proofs-"
Chris Nelly
349. Aeryl
I'm not exempting Luwin just yet. He helped send Ned south as well.

And not ALL maesters are against magic, as the ones Sam meets in Oldtown attest.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
350. AlirozTheConfused
Personally, I just think that there wasn't any geat conspiracy against the Targaeasgasogipoeijians and that the reason why Jon Arryn failed to tell Robert was that GRRM wrote it as such. Renly had to die because he had a big enough army to end the war, Drogo died because he had a big enough army to sweep Westeros; Stannis had to fail to take King's Landing because otherwise the war would have ended earlier; and so on, and so on.
Chris Nelly
351. Aeryl
@348, Then why abandon the next possible ally(Ned) who'd be mostly likely to help him? If he felt Robert would believe Jon Arryn over him, the same certainly holds true for Ned, perhaps even more so.

And again, even Stannis is operating under the erroneous assumption that Cersei had Jon killed, which we now know isn't true. Stannis is assuming Jon Arryn was gathering "certain proofs" but if those proofs weren't anything other than "The Seed Is Strong", they wouldn't have held up in any trial that Tywin would have demanded for her, so where is the physical evidence?
Joseph Haines
352. IamJoseph
It all makes sense when you realize that Stannis only had suspicions, not proof. It was Jon Arryn's job to find the proof. He found the genealogies which were highly suggestive, but even they were not iron-clad. You don't accuse the Queen of the realm of incest and cuckolding the King without direct proof. As far as we know, Stannis never even learned of the bit that Jon did find. Jon was found dead beforehand. Without even the slightest bit of evidence, how was he ever supposed to convince Ned Stark that his best friend was being deceived before his very eyes.

I start to think that Stannis would never have launched his own war without Ned's actions in King's Landing. He never acted until after Ned's big proclamation in the Great Hall where he tried to have the Queen arrested by the Goldcloaks. He took that as proof that there was something behind his suspicions, even if he didn't know what the proof was.
Jeff R.
353. Gold for Petyr
351. Aeryl:

The point is all evidence points to Jon Arryn confronting Cersei.

You have to remember Stannis doesn't know Ned well. Stannis has already fled by the time Ned gets to Kingslanding and is preparing for war (And so is Tywin, Vargo Hoat hat to be brought all the way from Essos).

The reason the whole thing turns into a clusterfuck is probably the absence of trust. Lysa doesn't trust Catelyn, Hoster doesn't trust messengers, Stannis doesn't trust Robert and Ned can't trust anyone. Its the same thing that brought down Aerys, and Varys, Pycelle and Littlefinger a feeding that mistrust.

350. AlirozTheConfused

Yeah but that's not a satisfying answer. You could say the same of any story. But only for a very bad story is that the actual answer. True the Lannisters are in a dire situation but I don't think Drogo would ever have made it across the ocean. The Dothraki have no experience with doing any such thing. Renly could have won the war and then have been murdered by Stannis. And Stannis probably should fail, he doesn't have a loyal army so any real opposition was always going to be a problem.

So obviously Jon Arryn failed to tell Robert, but not for no reason. Rather because he was murdered for attempting to.
jeremiah gaster
354. jer
@353 Gold for Petyr, I thought ja was killed for saying that Robert a was to be fostered with Ned (? I don't remember with who) (I.e. He was murdered by Lysa)
Jeff R.
355. Gold for Petyr
354. jer:

He was but Littlefinger told Lysa to poison him and gave her the poison. Littlefinger doesn't care about Robert Arryn so the question is why did Littlefinger want Jon Arryn dead and that seems to be because he was going to expose Cersei. Littlefinger seems to have wanted to control the release of that information to provoke a war.
jeremiah gaster
356. jer
@355 Gold for petyr,

I think you have just taken a few steps that are in fact ridiculous. I understand your obsession with mr. Littlefinger, I get it, he's a manipulative bastard, and you think he is a genius. I also get that in this case he manipulates Lysa into killing Jon A. Nevertheless, I think you misunderstand a thing that GRRM did here. He broke the tope of the “evil mastermind” causing the chain of events to happen. In fact, Littlefinger used the opportunity to kill JA, and he probably had even hoped that Lysa would kill him, but in fact, it was not something that was necessary to him, for the very reason that he wouldn’t have killed JA, if it wasn’t for Lysa’s overly protective (sick, etc.) mothering. JA was not killed because Littlefinger, he was killed because Lysa didn’t want Robert A. to be fostered away from her. Littlefinger may have supplied the poison and he may have had his own reasons, but Lysa was the killer. For a crazy silly reason JA was killed, and thereby setting forth the destruction kingdom on its way. It wasn’t that he was poisoned by Littlefinger (Lysa was a subject in her own right doing it for her own reasons), and she wasn’t poisoned by Joffry or Jamie or Cersai, it was by his own wife, not even for the game of thrones. I love that GRRM set it up like this, that the whole shebang happened, not through an evil mastermind, but through the crazy obssession of a mother. (note: I'm not freaud here, blamng mothers for everything bad, simply pointing out how crazy lysa is)

Littlefinger’s reasons and his manipulation was secondary to Lysa’s actions, if she hadn’t done it, LF wasn’t going to do it, an opportunity came up and he used it, but he wasn’t going to do it otherwise.
Jeff R.
357. Gold for Petyr
356. jer:

I don't think I disagree with any of that. But it wasn't Lysa's idea to kill Jon Arryn. So the question still remains why did Littlefinger suggest killing Jon Arryn? It doesn't seem to be to protect Robert Arryn.
Chris Nelly
358. Aeryl
Why? To bring Ned South and instigate a civil war between the houses most closely aligned with the Baratheon dynasty.
359. Ryamano
What do you guys think Littlefinger's plans actually originally were? Is anyone else amazed that the current situation is probably plan C for Littlefinger?

LF's intentions are always a bit murky, as is the case of every powerful character and every character that's not a POV. What I could gather from all the books is that he either wants to become king or become the power behind the throne.

Littlefinger probably always intended to betray Lisa Tully-Arryn someday and become the ruler of the Vale. Lisa was too unstable to count on for too long, but I think he intended to gather more support inside the Vale before she was killed. Her death at the end of ASOS didn't come in a good time.

Anyway, I came to the conclusion that probably plan A for Littlefinger was ruling together with Ned Stark for a time, as he proposed to Ned in one of the later chapters of AGOT. If Ned had accepted LF's proposal (ruling together Westeros as a biumvirate of regents for Joffrey), I think he'd roll along with it for some time. Surely another plan that depended on betraying Ned and working his way up to a position as powerful as that again (taking several more years) was more of a backup in case Ned proved way too rigid and full of honor.

LF's intentions were probably making Lannister, Baratheon, Stark and Tully fight each other a lot in a pointless civil war while preserving the forces of the kingdom he intended to control, the Vale. Some time along the way in the civil war (probably after the threat Stannis, Renly and the Lannisters were had been dealt with) he'd assassinate Ned Stark, and the biumvirate would become the rule of just one man, who controled the one kingdom which still had manpower reserves to threaten the neighbouring kingdoms. Then he'd be settled as sole regent for Joffrey. If Joffrey proved too unruly to influence, he'd kill him, as he proposed, and he'd be regent for Tommen. Then the difference between wanting the throne or just being the power behind the throne would show. If he wanted to rule from behind the throne, he'd influence Tommen to make him his Hand for the rest of his life, gathering more land and allies along the way, so that even if Tommen decided to take the power back when he became an adult, that'd be very hard. But if he wanted to become king and don't depend on the authority of others to have absolute power, then there's basically only one option available to him (he isn't Aegon the conqueror, so no rulership by conquest): become the regent for Myrcella and later marry her.

This case of wife husbandry would be very irksome to our modern perspectives, but this did happen and people did try to do this, even in the 19th century. In a deal between several political factions, it was agreed that D. Miguel I would become king of Portugal only if he married his niece, D. Maria II. Maria was 9 at the time and Miguel was 26 at the time, and this happened in 1828, less than two hundred years ago.
Chris Nelly
360. Aeryl
Civil war between the Starks and Lannisters to destabilize the Baratheon throne. Get revenge on Cat and the Starks who "stole" her from him, by manuevering the Lannisters over them. Marry Sansa, to recapture Cat in her youth, but to mold her into he wants her to be. With the North and the Vale, he can conquer the realm.

So pretty much exactly what has happened. Any deal LF may have offered Ned was false, a gambit(since Ned would never have accepted) to get Ned to reveal what he'd do instead. Plus, Ned still alive prevents him from him getting to Sansa, so he HAD to go.

Has everything gone according to plan? No, like you said, Lysa out the Moon Door was definitely NOT IN THE PLAN. He definitely wanted more time there. But his passion overwhelmed his cool reason when it comes to Sansa.

I even think part of him thinks she will marry Harry the Heir, but again his passion will overwhelm him again, or he'll try to get Sansa in cahoots to assassinate Harry.
Jeff R.
361. Gold for Petyr
Hold on Hold on. Now you're making littlefinger omniscient.

It doesn't seem likely Littlefinger targeted the Starks. I think Littlefigner tried to get Ned not to support Stannis. And its only after Ned refuses him that Littlefinger write off Ned. Its seems to me much more likely that Littlefinger is going after the Tullys not the Starks. The Tullys will be right in the path of Lannister retribution, not the Starks. The Tullys lack effective leadership with Hoster sick, not the Starks.

Second, remember Littlefinger has never met Sansa or seen Sansa until the Hand's Tourney. So clearly his plan can't be all about getting Sansa because Jon Arryn is dead before Littlefinger ever sees Sansa. Also, I don't think Littlefinger's offer was fake if Ned had supported Joffrey and made Littlefinger hand, then he'd still be alive.

The reason Littlefinger pushed Lysa out the moon door, is because Lysa was spilling secrets. She just told Sansa and Marillion who killed Jon Arryn. She has to die at that point.

The whole Harry the Heir plan doesn't make any sense. It strips littlefinger of power which is why I don't believe it, what's in it for him?
Chris Nelly
362. Aeryl
It doesn't seem likely Littlefinger targeted the Starks.

Yeah, the only "took" his girl and scarred him for life.

Second, remember Littlefinger has never met Sansa or seen Sansa until the Hand's Tourney.

Yeah, and he HAD NO SPIES in Winterfell that told him Cat's oldest daughter was Cat all over again. Yes, before she showed up in KL, he'd never EVEN HEARD OF HER, yeah right.

Lysa was spilling secrets.

And threatening Sansa. If the secrets were the important part, Sansa would have to die too. Sansa's still alive, so obviously she's more important than the secrets.

Also, I don't think Littlefinger's offer was fake if Ned had supported Joffrey and made Littlefinger hand

That's because you refuse to see LF for who he really is. Anybody with a modicum of sense(which LF has in abundance) HAD TO KNOW that Ned would never except that deal. Hence, the deal was never authentic.
Chris Nelly
363. Aeryl
As far as Harry goes, I think a part of him has deluded himself that he wants the best for Sansa, like a father should. And what's best for her is Harry.

Of course, he cannot let it happen, because he's not rational when it comes to her. Over and over again, he's risked ALL his plans for her. Trusting Dontos as intermediary with her was huge risk. Killing Lysa was a huge risk. His passion for her overrides his good sense.
Jeff R.
364. Gold for Petyr
I think its you who doesn't see Littlefinger for who he is, but hey, whatevs.

Yeah but the Starks didn't have the power to make the decision, it was Hoster Tully who decided who Catelyn married.

No I don't think Littlefinger has spies in Winterfell. There's no evidence of it. Things have to actually be reference in the books before I think they exist....unlike some people...

No. Lysa had just demonstrated she couldn't be trusted to keep her mouth shut. Its not Sansa and Marrillion that are the problem its WHO ELSE is Lysa going to tell. That's why she's killed.

The fact that Ned would never accept the offer doesn't make the off disingenuous. The fact that Ned won't take the offer is Ned's problem. Ned was given the opportunity to save himself, and Ned refused.

I disagree, on the Lysa thing, Littlefinger had to kill Lysa she's a loose canon. The thing with Dontos, I dunno, it wasn't that huge a risk but I agree that Littlefinger's desire for Sansa is irrational. I mean what's the fucking point of it? There's no benefit to it.
Chris Nelly
365. Aeryl
No, LF offered Ned some rope for that noose, and Ned gladly took it.

"Hey, let me in on YOUR PLAN, I'm your guy" is the best way to ask "WHAT'S YOUR PLAN". That's exactly what LF was doing.
Jeff R.
366. Gold for Petyr
365. Aeryl

There's no reason Littlefinger needs to do that. As Ned says the only force in Kingslanding that can confront the Lannisters is the gold cloaks. Littlefinger already had Ned at his mercy, he doesn't need to know Ned's plan. The goldcloaks could have come into the room right then and murdered Ned.
Chris Nelly
367. Aeryl
No they couldn't, because that centers LF in Ned's murder, because EVERYONE knows who the goldcloaks ultimately answer to. This way, betraying him to the "throne" leaves his hands clean.

In addition, killing Ned in his sleep doesn't start a civil war. Neither does admitting to treason, which is why I'm convinced he helped manipulate Joffrey into killing him, instead of releasing him.
Jeff R.
368. Gold for Petyr
367. Aeryl:

I don't think that matters as soon as Littlefinger starts working to actively help the lannisters and being reward by them he's implicated anyway. Maybe I'm underestimating Littlefinger but I assume he thought the Starks would lose almost immediately. That's certainly what Tywin and Tyrion thought. I don't think Littlefinger was trying to preserve plausible deniability in case the Starks won. No one expected them to win.
Chris Nelly
369. Aeryl
No, but if Ned is murdered before he can be branded a public traitor, then instead he's got pissed off family members marrauding around KL trying to find the truth, which puts LF at risk.

Look at what happened to the Lannisters as the Martells try to discover what happened with to Elia, and now Oberyn.

You are saying that if LF wants Ned dead, he uses the goldcloaks to murder him. I'm saying that doesn't work, unless you do it as he did it, brand him a traitor first. Now the family won't come to KL for the truth, and has now started a civil war they will surely lose(as they did, just like LF wanted, Cat had everything she cared about taken from her, just like he did)
Jeff R.
370. Gold for Petyr
Look at what happened to the Lannisters as the Martells try to discover what happened with to Elia, and now Oberyn.


Yeah I don't think Ned dying would stop him from being labeled a traitor. Cersei would still order Robb to kingslanding. Robb would still refuse. There'd still be a rebellion.
Chris Nelly
371. Aeryl
They only had Oberyn up their ass, their most fearsome bannerman killed, their dirty laundry aired in front of half the kingdom, it's likely Tywin was about to follow Gregor when Tyrion finished the job, and now Lady Nym is about to head to KL and fuck all their shit up.

If Ned had been murdered in his sleep, no one would believe he was a traitor. The ONLY reason people believe it now is because Ned flat out admitted to it. And Cersei could order Robb all she wants, he could act just like Doran Martell and say, "Not until you've delivered the head of my father's murderer" and so long as he stayed above the Neck, there wouldn't have been shit she could do about it.

The Martells weren't considered in rebellion, and they'd been ignoring Robert for years.
Jeff R.
372. Gold for Petyr
Yeah I agree, I just don't think that would have meant anything for the Lannisters or Littlefinger. The as the Martells 15 years they've been sulking in Dorne and they're yet cause any more inconvenience than a single dead knight.
Chris Nelly
373. Aeryl
@373, 8^D Revenge is a dish best served cold. I know Doran's got a better line, if I can ever make it to AFFC again, I'll remember it.

This rereads kicking my ass to be honest. I've always been an avid rereader, but knowing where this story goes makes a reread a unique version of frustrating.
Jeff R.
374. Nessa
I've heard it thrown about that LF actually killed Lysa on purpose. Lysa was getting a little crazy. LF likely knew that none of his plans for Sansa would come to fruition if Lysa started interfering (like trying to marry her off to Robert, yuck). It's possible that he had her killed on purpose, and he realized that if he make it look as though he was saving Sansa in the process, that would make Sansa trust him (and feel indebted to him) even more. Double win for Littlefinger, really.

He kissed Sansa out in the snow when he likely knew Lysa was watching. He stayed silent the whole time Lysa was threatening to kill Sansa, even though Sansa was screaming and the guards were hammering on the locked front door. Then when Lysa has almost - almost! - succeeded in pushing Sansa out, in comes LF through the back to save the day. What are the odds of that?
It might seem like he's shooting himself in the foot for him to plot to kill Lysa. But he only needed Lysa to kill Jon Arryn and to get the Vale. And now he needs Sansa, who can't entirely be "his" unless he gets rid of Lysa (being Sansa's aunt, she's the only other person who has control over her).
Jeff R.
375. Gold for Petyr
374. Nessa:

I would say the only problem with that is the Littlefinger doesn't need Sansa. She's a resource sink. She has not actual power, or money or anything of value.

373. Aeryl:

Honestly, I hope for the sake of the character that Doran isn't trying to get revenge on the Lannisters. Because then Doran is a noble character trying to protect his people from war. and not an idiot. If Doran has been trying to get revenge all this time, then he's a complete failure. Doran has lost a son, a brother, alienated a daughter in service of his "revenge" and Tywin went off and died on his own. That's not revenge Tywin was always going to die eventually. Who's left Tommen? Doran's going to take revenge on Tommen?
Chris Nelly
376. Aeryl
He made it fairly explicit to Arianne in AFFC that vengeance is exactly what he's about.
Jeff R.
377. Gold for Petyr
376. Aeryl:

Presuming you believe what he tells Arianne. That could just be a tactic to keep her from taking things into her own hands again, and to get her to calm down the sand snakes. By promising them vengeance.
Chris Nelly
378. Aeryl
If vengeance is not his plan, why is he sending the sneakiest of the Sand Snakes? (GAWD I HOPE NYM GETS HER OWN POV).

I love the Dornes.

Also, I'll touch lightly in case you are avoiding previews of WOW, but one of Arianne's chapters is already out, and her actions point to my reading as right(plus why risk his son if he's not looking for vengeance).
Jeff R.
379. Gold for Petyr
378. Aeryl: As I said that's the charitable interpretation. I hope Doran wasn't trying to achieve vengeance because if is trying then he's a complete failure.

Doran does say he cares about the people and that the commoners are the equal of his own family, so the fact that he would have sacrificed Oberyn and Quentyn in order to be said to be doing something, while avoiding war, that would be commendable.
Chris Nelly
380. Aeryl
Yet, the one character that completely subsumed by an irrational vengeance is your favorite character?
Jeff R.
381. Ragnarredbeard
@375 Gold for Petyr

I would say the only problem with that is the Littlefinger doesn't need Sansa. She's a resource sink. She has not actual power, or money or anything of value."

No power? No value? HA!

Sansa is a Ginger. She has the power to cloud men's minds and devour their souls. LF hasn't got a chance.
Jeff R.
382. Gold for Petyr
380. Aeryl:

Littlefinger is good at it! Doran is not. Its all in the execution.
Chris Nelly
383. Aeryl
Books ain't over yet. We'll see who still standing before we say who's good at it.
Jeff R.
384. Gold for Petyr
no reread this week?

383. Aeryl:

In my book Doran can't succeed, Tywin is already dead. That's who ordered Elia and her children murdered. Doran has already failed.

As for Littlefinger, Hoster's lands were burned, Edmure is imprisoned, Tyrion's bannished, Cat's dead, Ned's dead, Bradon's dead. Littlefinger has already won. If he died on the first page of the next book, he would still have won. He bested his enemies.
Chris Nelly
385. Aeryl
No. Leigh's sick.

If you're not alive to gloat about it, you didn't win.

Doran's revenge goes far beyond, kill Tywin, just as LF's goes beyond Kill All Tullys and Starks, he wants their lands.

Doran wants the "Baratheon" dynasty burned to ashes, never to possibly be resurrected, a reinstitution of Targaryean rule, and Dornish supremacy in the South. With Dany about to be on her way, fully committed to her path of violence, fire and blood, Doran's revenge looks a lot more likely, while LF's house of cards is getting closer to crumbling every day he maintains is obsession with Sansa.
Jeff R.
386. Gold for Petyr
Everyone dies eventually. Which is why Doran lost his bid for revenge.

OK maybe Doran wants all of those things. But that has nothing to do with his would be revenge on Tywin. And Doran has nothing to do with Dany, if Dany ends up in charge that will be Dany's revenge not Dorans. It won't be Doran's doing, it'll be the dragons.

Just as Littlefinger's revenge on Hoster is already over. It can't be undone. None of these characters can "win in the end" they're all going to die eventually. Littlefinger has outplayed all his opponents that's all there is to it. That doesn't make him immortal. That doesn't make Maester Aemon or Old Nan the best players of the game of thrones because the lived the longest.
Chris Nelly
387. Aeryl
We'll just have to agree to disagree.

For one thing, neither Aemon nor Old Nan were playing the game of thrones, so THEIR longevity is irrelevant.

Yes it matters whether or not LF survives. Sure he's dispossessed Hoster Tully of his holdings and his legacy, but it doesn't matter if he can give it to no one. The whole point is to demonstrate he would have been a good Lord for Cat, having children is a part of that, and that's where he has failed.

Doran on the other hand, is looking to ensure that Tywin's legacy doesn't survive and that he can hand his , earned with Fire and Blood, down to his daughter.

All you are doing is making LF seem even more petty, if you think he has no long term strategy in mind to secure his gains.
Jeff R.
388. Gold for Petyr
387. Aeryl: Maybe be petty to you. I don't think Littlefinger seems to have any desire to have children. You know, we are not our children, no matter what we pass on to them or try to encourage them to do. Our life ends with us. Tywin was killed by his own son and new it, Robert thought another man's sons were his children. Does that mean Robert succeeded and Tywin failed, since Robert didn't know any better when he died... No, we are ourselves not our children, whether Littlefinger passes on anything to any children has nothing to do with anything.
Chris Nelly
389. Aeryl
I think that's a huge misreading of A) my comment and B) LF's motivations.

I'm not saying "we are our children" I'm saying in this story, legacy is prime. Robert did fail. If Tommen is ousted, Cersei and all her children killed, Tywin has failed. He's already failed, as his progeny killed him. Securing their legacy was these men's prime motivations in life. Legacy not secured, means they failed.

LF whole claim of being slighted comes from the fact that his manhood(as percieved by Westeros), his ability to be a good husband and father, was judged and found wanting. Not having children just proves Hoster right. He knows this, it's why he's created this persona of Sansa as his daughter and heir to his cunning and wisdom. His desire for her, to "take" her from Catelyn(who would never accepted LF or his legitimate children as viable suitors for her children) is competing with this desire to establish Sansa as his legacy. When she kills him, he will have failed, just as Tywin did.
Jeff R.
390. Gold for Petyr
389. Aeryl:

I understood what you were trying to say. My point is thinking about things objectively, you have no control over the actions of your children once you're dead. The entire concept of the legacy is flawed, I think Martin tries to tell us this over and over again, with Tywin, with Robert, with the story of Tristopher Mudd and Theon, Quentyn Martell. Again and again. The only thing that people can be judged for is what they can actually control. I get from Littlefinger, that he recognizes this, and that he doesn't have any interest in creating or passing on any kind of legacy. What's the point after all?

Also, I don't think Hoster challenged Littlefinger's "manhood" Hoster's problem with Littlefinger is his birth not his manliness. So I think Littlefinger's desire for Sansa is more similar to that of Bael(ish) the Bard or Lan the Clever, the desire to outwit your opponent and deprive them of what they hold most dear.
Faiz Imam
391. FaizImam
Aww man...

I'm not in a very good place right now and I have to say. For the first time ever the lack of a post has really ruined my day...

Rob Munnelly
392. RobMRobM
Sitting here munching on virtual popcorn watching the Aeryl-GFP battle royale. Anyone want to join me?

As I noted on the main thread, I've become addicted to BBC America's show Orphan Black, which aired in the US this Spring and is still available on demand. (Believe it is in the middle of its British and Aussie runs now.) Brilliant, brilliant show - can't recommend it enough.
Chris Nelly
393. Aeryl
Well, yes, LF gets that the entire concept of your children as your legacy is pointless(and is part of why I have hope this series will end overturning hereditary monarchy, the first clue is Dany's barrenness), but he does believe in legacy all the same, or else why invest all this time into Sansa.

It's made fairly obvious that his irrational obsession for her stems from two things, his desire to mold her into the daughter he and Cat would have had in his imagination, and a more perverse desire to know her sexually, to try and recreate what he thought he had with Cat, but with him holding the power.

That paternal desire is very real, and it may be the ONLY thing that saves him(in the holistic sense, he's dead meat regardless). So even if he wants to reject that system, he still clings to it. And to an extent, the way he goes about it is better than the rest. It's not your genetics that matter, it's whether you can impart your VALUES to another person, and have them behave in the manner you wish them to. He's close to achieving that with Sansa. She's learning from him, following his plans. That's the legacy he's after, for someone to hold what he's earned, and use what he's taught them. Even if they aren't his direct progeny, legacy is VERY important to LF.

And of course, it's this very failure to pass on those values that makes Tywin a failure, and Doran a winner. Doran's children are all very noble and sacrificing and cunning. He's taught them well. Tywin's children, none but Cersei act in service to the family that he finds acceptable, and this can be traced back to his terrible treatment of them.
Valentin M
394. ValMar
RobM @ 392

Already have ;) It is fascinating, guys.
Also, may have to check this TV show.
Jeff R.
395. Gold for Petyr
I agree that Littlefinger's desire for Sansa is two fold both stemming from her reminding him of Catelyn. I also its irrational, whether it will be Littlefinger's undoing, I'm less than convinced, its a little to obvious right? for Martin? The captive or the adopted child who turns on their captors, its so tropie and so obvious everyone who even pays the slightest bit of attention thinks its going to happen, but the more I think about it, the weaker and more obvious it seems, not when you have Stoneheart and Brienne and the Blackfish roaming around out there.

Now you want me to believe that Littlefinger cares about his legacy. I would simply say that Littlefinger isn't close to anything with Sansa, he's had only a few interactions with her even now and spends most of his time courting his banner men. Even if we except your premise, the type of protege/teacher relationship you describe should take years and years to develop not a few months. And Littlefinger should keep Sansa with him during all his negotiations, not leave her to babysit Robert. So, Sansa isn't in a position take on Littlefingers legacy, she wouldn't know how.

So I would say Littlefinger isn't behaving like a person who cares about his legacy and is grooming Sansa to take over.

Further, I would go on to point at that Sansa is an idiot and doesn't seem to be learning anything. When she meets the Lords Declarant, she tries to wear a Tully dress that could have gotten her killed and definitely was poorly advised, then she lets it slip to Randa Royce than she knows who Jon Snow is. She's dumb. She's not fit to step into Catelyn's shoes let alone Littlefinger's.

Doran's children are all IDIOTS! Quentyn the boy who was on fire. Arrianne, she of the 15 minute rebellion. And the youngest Trystane, Mycella is way younger than him but kept kicking his as at Cyvasse. Seriously Arriane and Quentyn are two of the biggest fools in the series. They make Theon look like a rocket scientist. At least Theon's plans could possibly work out well.

ROFL, Doran's children are cunning? Sometimes I wonder if we're even reading the same book. DORAN's CHILDREN ARE CUNNING!!!!!!!!!! BLAHAHAHA

Also, with respect to Tywin, I would say Tywin failed at his personal objective of extending his families legacy. But Doran had nothing to do with the failure. Which is why I'd say in the grudge match between Doran and Tywin, Tywin won.
George Jong
396. IndependentGeorge
@391 - I would have thought waiting for GRRM would have numbed us all from the pain of anticipation by now.
Sudo Nym
397. Shakerag
Is it just me, or does Leigh seem to have the constitution of a wet paper towel?
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
398. AlirozTheConfused
Maybe if she read something less cynical and mean-spirited than ASOIAF, her health would improve?

I recommend she read The King's Shadow; but I know you guys would hate that book.
Jeff R.
399. Aerona Greenjoy
As far as I recall, she's postponed postings due to illness just twice in the 5-6 months since I started following.
Adam S.
400. MDNY
I don't think Leigh has been sick that often, but I do think she is more likely to miss a ROIAF post than a WOT one. Take from that what you will...
Chris Nelly
401. Aeryl
WOT is a reread though right? Always easier.
Deana Whitney
402. Braid_Tug
@397: Someone in Leigh's family is having a major medical problem. But that's the only details we know. She’s missed several posts due to this. Please be respectful of that.

I'm guessing most of us have dealt with that same issue, and were not 100% committed to our jobs during that time.

Yes, she’s missed more of the Read posts than the Re-Read WOT ones. As Aeryl said, Re-reads are easier, and I’m guessing them being on Tuesday helps her out is some way.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
403. AlirozTheConfused
Maybe Leigh doesn't want to read these books anymore; but she doesn't want to upset us by telling us so.
George Jong
404. IndependentGeorge
I think she's just wisely slowing down so she doesn't catch up to GRRM. Otherwise, she might have another three or four years before the next Winds of Winter preview chapter comes out.
Jeff R.
405. Aerona Greenjoy
I agree that while Doran may be cunning and cautious, his reckless children have badly Messed Things Up. Such was his apparent dedication to quiet duty that Quentyn died trying not to fail him and Arianne disastrously tried to defy him. He has an intricate Planned Vengeance, but imparted it to Quentyn too thoroughly and hid it from Arianne too well. There's hope yet for (most of) the Martells, though.

Tywin's legacy is in doubt, given his death and the danger all his descendents are in, but Jaime and Tyrion have come to excell at politicking, and probably picked up some of that from him.
Jeff R.
406. Aerona Greenjoy
Anyone know how Leigh will divide her readings of the Tales of Chivalry Getting People Unnecessarily Killed Dunk and Egg, since they don't have chapters? I presume they don't, anyway, having only used the audiobooks.

I'm eager for her to start reading AFFC (my fave in the series), but it will be fun to watch her cuss out Aerion and Bennis, then hopefully rejoice in the rightness of Brienne unknowingly adopting Dunk's sigil. (I just saw the fan speculation that she might be his descendent. Holy carp, YES).
Adam S.
407. MDNY
@406 LOL at your title for Dunk and Egg. I think they said that she is supposed to read the first 2 stories next (however many weeks that takes), then AFFC, then the third D+E? Then ADWD...Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
Rob Munnelly
408. RobMRobM
@407 - correct, unless she also wants to read something else after D and E 3, such as the new novella or if D and E 4 comes out.

Yes, to me pretty clear sense that Dunk is Brienne's great-grandfather (probably hooks up with a nobleworman and has an illegimate daughter who then marries Lord of Tarth and then has Brienne's Dad). Not just shared height, shared attitudes towards honor, etc., but Brienne's Dad is nicknamed the Evenstar....probably a direct reference to Dunk's sigil. And shields with sigils don't usually end up in a castle cellar without a good reason (as Brienne remembers Dunks in her cellar), and I can't of a better reason why this one would be there.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
409. AlirozTheConfused
Naw, what happens is that Dunk marries Old Nan, and they have kids, one of which marries Lord of Tarth and has Brienne's dad; and another of which eventually has Hodor.

Bran sees a young Old Nan and Dunk kissing.
Adam S.
410. MDNY
@408 Absolutely Dunk is linked to the Tarths somehow-maybe via illegitinate child, maybe just a visit to Tarth. But Evenstar isn't necessarily related to Dunk's sigil. Their hall is Evenfall, after all. Dunk is from 100 years ago and died about 50 years ago, so it's not that far in the past, and he couldn't be a long-distant relative. Quentyn Tarth is in the tournament at Ashford, and Selwyn is 54 years old in AFFC (Brienne says so), so he was born a few years before Dunk died. There just don't seem to be that many loose ends in the Tarth family tree for Dunk to be Brienne's ancestor, but maybe more will be revealed in one of the upcoming D+E tales.
Katie Frey
411. TalithaSedai
If I have the chapter order right... next week, you guys... next week! AMG.... I dont know about anyone else, but ever since Joffery was offed, I've been looking forward to her reaction when Tywin gets it...
Adam S.
412. MDNY
@411 Leigh's happy dance next week be huge. I still think her reaction to the last chapter, though, will exceed it. Not to mention the epilogue and the introduction of unCat...
Katie Frey
413. TalithaSedai
@412 Yes! Those as well, for sure. =D Can't wait!
Sky Thibedeau
414. SkylarkThibedeau
Leigh wants answers about COLDHANDS hahahahahahahahaha So do we Leigh! So say we all.
Chris Nelly
415. Aeryl
If any mods are watching, I think the threads getting too big again.
Adam S.
416. MDNY
@414 It's still undetermined, but I stand by my assumption that coldhands=Benjen. Benjen still hasn't turned up, but somehow he avoided becoming a wight and the 3 eyed crow (who I believe is Bloodraven) is in touch with him. This isn's so much spoiler as it is conjecture, but I think someone would have noticed if one of the wights was Benjen.
Jeff R.
418. bookworm1398
We don't know anything about Dunk's parents, right? Could be that he was the illegimate son of some Tarth, who steps forward to claim him after he gets into Kingsguard and becomes famous.
Re: Littlefinger, I don't think his motives for killing JA were that complicated. He simply hates all those $%& high lords, why would he pass up such a good opportunity to murder one? It would also open up the possibility of him controlling the vale through Lysa or Robert appointing him Hand, or other options but those are secondary considerations. He just wants him dead.
Also, IMO Littlefinger does not want civil war. War introduces too much of a random factor, who is going to win/die in xx battle. He fits his plot around the war, but he would have preferred to plot in peacetime when he could be more sure of his achemes working as planned. And it would have been easier for him to continue his financial chinacery.
Adam S.
419. MDNY
@418 I disagree strongly. LF is an agent of chaos. He thrives on strife, he promotes fighting and murder (e.g. Jon Arryn, Joffrey), and he absolutely prefers war to peacetime. After all, it was the war that got him promoted from master of coin to Lord of Harrenhall and the Eyrie, plus get rid of the dude who stole his woman.
Chris Nelly
420. Aeryl
@416, But Bloodraven says that Coldhands is hundreds of years old, doesn't he. I think it's likely we will find that Benjen is in a similar state to Coldhands, who is a wight, but still has his own cognition. I think the other wights are being warged by the WW, so somehow Bloodraven is protecting Coldhands, and probably Benjen too. Or as wargs themselves(likely with Benjen) maybe that protects them from warging after death. What was the final word on Varamyr Sixskins?
Adam S.
421. MDNY
@420 I have no recollection of Bloodraven stating that coldhands was hundreds of years old, but if so then that blows that theory...A lot of the theory threads I've encountered have debated this with no real concusion, but a LOT of people believe he is Benjen, not someone from hundreds of years ago. The fact that he knows Bran by sight, and refused to reveal his face, reinforce this for me. If he was hundreds of years old, why keep his face hidden?
Deana Whitney
422. Braid_Tug
@415: agree, but I'm wondering if they will try to wait until we finish this book before starting a Part 5. I just wish they had a "View Latest Comments" button on the top of this post, like they have on the mobile version.
George Jong
424. IndependentGeorge
@422 - If at all possible, I think it's better to try and finish out SOS before starting a new spoiler thread. The first thread went over 600 posts, and the next two were at 550 or so; I think we're on pace to last until the end of SOS.

My guess is we'll only go three more weeks - Chapter 77 ("Tyrion") next week, Chapters 78-79 on the 14th("Samwell", "Jon"), and Chapter 80 ("Sansa") & the Epilogue on the 21st. That finishes SOS right before the Thanksgiving Holiday, giving us a chance to start fresh after a nice long break.
Jeff R.
425. Gold for Petyr
421. MDNY:

Bloodraven says no such thing. Bloodraven says of Coldhands "they killed him long ago". that could mean anything from last month to hundreds of years to my ears, since we're talking about when someone died before the came back to life. Long ago could just mean not today.
Jeff R.
426. Aerona Greenjoy
So she'll find reasonable weekly stopping places within D&E stories? Sounds good.

The Brienne-Dunk speculation is based partly on GRRM's alleged statement that AFFC features a descendent of Dunk (and doesn't feature Hodor). Brienne is definitely the Dunk of her time, kinship or no.

Besides Brienne's adopted sigil and Aemon's references to Egg, what parts of AFFC relate to D&E? I read D&E long after the other books, so didn't notice much.
Chris Nelly
427. Aeryl
MDNY, I wanted to touch on your comment in #52, in today's post.

If she wasn't so convinced that she should back Stannis, she might be right about everything.

I'm pretty convinced she is right about everything important, and that the flames have shown her Stannis over and over again. She assumes that means he is Azor Ahai, but I think her flames show her Stannis, so he can put her where she needs to be, on the front lines at the Wall.

I personally don't think the legend of Azor Ahai is true either. But I do think whatever power there is that stands against the WW wants her on the Wall. Probably to help save Jon, also to help Dany when she gets there.

Now does the greater power that wants here there, necessarily good? I doubt it. I still feel there is a greater mystery behind the WWs existence, and I think it more possible it's to defend from what Melisandre, Maqorro, and Dany could represent.
Adam S.
428. MDNY
@427 I'm not sure she's right about Stannis. I think in ADWD Aemon says that the terminology in the old Valyrian prophecies was gender-neutral, so no one looked for a woman, but Dany could very well fit the prophesies. So I always assumed that Meli is taking prophecies possibly about Dany and making them fit Stannis. If she came to him because she saw him in her flames, I'm not sure what that implies. I find it hard to buy that the WW and others are not evil though, based on what we've seen, though that doesn't mean that the source of Meli's power is purely good, I grant you. At least we can look forward to some answers before I die, hopefully, as I will be an old man by the time GRRM finishes the series in 40 years.
Chris Nelly
429. Aeryl
Mel has stated she sees Stannis in the flames, I just think that means she seeing him because HE will take her where she needs to go, not that he is AA. She's just misinterpreting it, like always.

My supposition on the WW, is that they are Children of the Forest who were looking to for a way to repel the First Men, trying to harness the power of ice, but it went terribly wrong, creating the WW and leading to the creation of dragons near 10,000 years ago. They are evil now, and must be stopped, but the solution will be to banish both dragons and WW(aren't all Dany's dragons male?) to restore balance.
Adam S.
430. MDNY
@429 Dragons are neither male nor female, I'm sure I read that. Not sure how they make eggs, exactly, but Dany's dragons are neither male nor female because gender doesn't exist for dragons.
Jeff R.
431. Aerona Greenjoy
@428: Aemon did indeed say that, to Sam, in AFFC. Dragon biology is confuzzling, but I think he meant that nobody expects a female dragon-riding savior. Could be right, but apparently hasn't occured to anyone else at this point. Could make things interesting...
Jeff R.
432. Gold for Petyr
430. MDNY

Well the could be hermaphrodites like earth worms and they all produce eggs.
Jeff R.
433. Gold for Petyr
429. Aeryl:

Ugh, again with the stupid evil. How about they're just another group of people like the Children of the Forest, who first believed the first men to be evil just as the First Men believed the children to be evil. Maybe they just need a pact like on the isle of faces so everyone can get along.
Chris Nelly
434. Aeryl
@433, I'm not sure of the critique here? My supposition comes from my previous experience with books of fantasy, when you have two diametrically opposed forces as blatant as "Ice & Fire" there tends to be a magically influenced imbalance at work. We've already got indications that Targs were using magic, trying to create dragons out people(if I'm reading the hints about Summerhall correctly, and don't forget Dany's unborn son's corpse had many dragonlike qualities), so I don't see it too far outside the realm of the possible, that the WW are people/Children who were warped by their attempts at ice magic.
Jeff R.
435. Gold for Petyr
My supposition comes from my previous experience with books of fantasy

Precisely, why I think its wrong. Its trite, cliched, obvious, and completely uninteresting. A dark lord, a magic sword, and a hero? I think Martin has plainly stated is dislike for Tolkien derivativeness of fantasy. Sure his works contain these things, but they always seem to be subverted and the opposite of their original use. I cannot imagine Martin forced to resort to "evil monsters" or ice orcs as you would have it.
Jeff R.
436. Aerona Greenjoy
Good point. Reminds me of the authors' other creature portrayals. In Tolkien books, dragons and magic wolves are Evil and Must Be Killed. In ASoIaF, they're dangerous but not evil, forming powerful positive bonds with relatively "good" characters (a different fantasy cliche) but killing other innocent and less-innocent people alike. The WW situation is probably rather different, and may well threaten all of (Westerosi) humanity as effectively as any 'dark horde', but its morality may prove characteristically unconventional.

The one-hero-one-villain cliche is definitely unlike these books' conflicts thus far. Mel just doesn't know what kind of story she's in.
Stefan Mitev
437. Bergmaniac
But The Wall and the Others plotline so far is a total fantasy cliche, and Jon Snow is pretty much the ultimate cliche for a main fantasy character. All fresh and more unconventional elements in the series are in the other plotlines and characters.
Jeff R.
438. Gold for Petyr
I think Jon Snow is the most cliche character, we maybe Arya as well but we've only seen the Others twice. All the things people think about them or that the reader is led to think about them seems like Martin leading the readers where they want to go. The same was true of Ned and Robb too, they both seemed like their archs would be cliche as well, until they weren't.

I think Martin told us with the children of the forest, that the evil "other" is never really evil at all just people with different perspectives and different motivations.
Adam S.
439. MDNY
GRRM is subverting tropes by making the heroes of the story seem to be murderous Ice monsters. "Oops, my bad, sorry about that killing rangers and wildings thing, just trying to make our way to the cold beach"
Jeff R.
440. 439. MDNY
Well now rangers kill wildlings and wildlings kill rangers. Neither group is evil. Shit Jon Snow has called at least one ranger and several wildlings.
Rob Munnelly
441. RobMRobM
GRP @433 and 435 - I must confess I'm having trouble reconciling the Others being anything other than evil with the opening scene of AGOT in which they came upon three rangers, immediately executed the nearest one and then turned that one into a zombie that killed the second one. Ditto re Bran's prophetic dreams in AGOT in which he saw an evil force in the far north. Ditto re the Wight attack on the Lord Commander in AGOT, Other/Wight attack on the Fist of the First Men in ASOS, and the Wight attack on Coldhand, Bran and the gang in ADWD. Not seeing any basis for arguing that they are good or even neutral. You can't imagine GRRM relying on the evil ice monster trope but I see the water as being well under that particular bridge.
Jeff R.
442. Gold for Petyr
@441. RobMRobM:

The first time we meet Ned Stark he's killing a ranger too. Mad king Aerys wanted to burn an entire city full of people alive. Tywin Lannister tells his men to burn the riverlands from the God's Eye to the Red Fork, raping and murdering anyone they come across.

I can only conclude from this human beings are evil.

As for the Bran, no where during his dream does it say the others are evil. All the three eyed crow says is "Winter is Comming" which doesn't even tell you which side he's on? Is Bran suppose to help winter or stop it. These are all assumptions you as the reader are making.

We don't have any idea what the relationship between the Wights and the Others is. They're related somehow but that all we know. Again, assumptions.

My point is, nothing the Others have done is any worse than anything people do to each other constantly in Westeros. The Nights Watch was attempting to massacre the wildings at fist of the first men!

How is it the Others are the evil ones?
Jeff R.
443. Aerona Greenjoy
Re Mel: Is anyone else weirded by the ascription of magical powers to the blood and life of people on the basis that other people declared them royal? Robert was declared king after the Targs were killed, so he and his children are magic. Stannis declared himelf king, so he's magic. OK, they're all descended from Targs who've ruled for centuries. But Mance, a wildling of unknown family, gets declared King-beyond-the-wall through his own efforts, so now he and his son are magic?
Jeff R.
444. Gold for Petyr
443. Aerona Greenjoy: No its awesome cause it makes no sense. Mance, Aemon, Asha, Stannis, Robb, Elvis, is there anyone in Westeros who doesn't have kings blood? I mean all you have to do is declare yourself king and then you're magic, right? I mean Theon was a prince for three days, so he counts right? Its HIGHlarious.

I presume Martin is lampooning the concept of hereditary monarchy and divine right of kings. Anyone can call themselves a king and therefore they become magic.
Jeff R.
445. Aerona Greenjoy
Makes sense, though I hadn't thought of it that way. Sooo many trope satires and inversions in these books.

Randomly: Likening Stannis to iron amuses me, accurate as it may be, because "Stannis" basically means "relating to or containing tin" in real-life-speak (i.e. stannic or stannous).
Rob Munnelly
446. RobMRobM
GFP - Ned executes the ranger pursuant to rule of law, with opportuntity to protest. Others kill a ranger, then transform the ranger in a Wight that kills the second one. Not the same thing. I see nothing in the story anywhere to support the concept that Others are other than evil and opposed to humanity in all of its forms. Apart from your concerns that GRRM wouldn't fall into trope-ville and the obvious fact that some (not all) humans are dirtballs, what can you give me to support a contrary conclusion - if I may ask. Interesting and provocative argument but I'm not seeing it, sorry.
Jeff R.
447. Gold for Petyr
446. RobMRobM:

Look at the argument you're making. Its all assumptions. First of all Ned kills the guy "according to the law" this matters how? This is just a justification of the humans actions. Seriously, I mean it. Objectively dead is dead. Ask yourself this what are the Others, laws? I mean think about it. The Children of the Forest had laws against cutting down trees. We know nothing about the Others, you're just making assumptions.

Second, we don't know how the Wight come to be. We don't know the Others transformed the guy. I'm not saying they didn't. I'm saying we don't know.

Third, you never addressed any of my points. We see people murder rape and destroy, but you don't classify humanity as evil. Why not? Why is it that the Others we have directly killed two people (small paul and waymar royce) are evil?

Fourth, why do you assume they are a monolithic group where they are all culpable for the actions of each other? And by that standard how can you not describe human beings as evil when they have engaged in far more death and destruction?

This why I say you're being set up to interpret them as evil. We all know the formula of the great evil who's goal is simply to be evil. So when presented with certain facts we extrapolate a known pattern. The same way we did with Ned. Ned was honorable, Ned was moral, Ned was on screen first, so Ned MUST BE the hero of the story. The Others are alien, so therefore they MUST BE evil? I just don't think from an objective examination of the story, independent of other works, that the evidence for that conclusion has be given.

Again, think objectively. Are the Others, objectively, worse than the humans in this story? Is there any basis in the story what so ever to consider them in their entirety as a race of sentient beings to be "evil"? And remember that the story already contained one group of sentient beings who were deemed evil by humanity only to have the conclusion demonstrated to be wrong.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
448. AlirozTheConfused
The mean Others that you see killing rangers (and bringing gloom and cold) are the ones that got kicked out of Other society. The nice Others are located much farther north; and leave humanity alone (Others can't survive heat well, humans can't survive cold well; so the nice Others went to the poles and agreed to be peaceful).

Essentially, if you took all the monstrous humans in Asoiaf, all the Joffreys, Gregor Cleganes, Ramsay Snow, Roose Bolton, Rorge, kicked them out and have them stay together; and then a group of aliens met that group of monstrous humans, well, what do you think would happen? Yeah, all the humans that interacted with the aliens would be evil, but not all humans are evil.

Similarly, the humans send the worst of the human bunch to the Wall; just like the others kick out the worst of the Other bunch and send them south to the Wall. That way, the worst of both species take each other out. The Wall works both ways; to keep men south and to keep Others north.

There are other Walls, all in all making a truly massive circle around a certain latitude, encircling the northern polar area. Down south, around the Southern polar areas, there are also Walls, protecting the Southern Others from people and vice versa.

The Others took the North and South polar regions, and Humans took the middle; and they made walls to separate them. This way, they were able to both live in peace and happiness. The worst of Other society and Human society are sent to the Wall, and they cancel each other out by killing each other.

So, yes, the Others at the Wall are the mean ones; like how the People at the Wall are the mean ones.

This explains why we see no nice others.
Adam S.
449. MDNY
@448 Either that, or we only see the Others' warriors, just as they only see our rangers and soldiers of the NW. There may be a whole Other society with families, restaurants, and Leigh's frozen zombie daycare. But I doubt it...
George Jong
450. IndependentGeorge
Awww... do we really have to wait a year for Leigh to reach, "Edd, fetch a block."?
Rob Munnelly
451. RobMRobM
GFP and others - sorry I haven't had time to respond.

I'm not accepting the logic here. As I see it, you are postulating: 1) some humans are good and some humans are bad; therefore 2) some Others are good as well as bad. We've seen data points in text for good humans, even at the Wall and even among the wildlings, but I don't see any data points in text suggesting that there are any good Others.

With one exception, every Other has tried to kill every human it has encountered, either directly (Waymar, Small Paul, other Rangers on Fist, trying to kill Sam post-Fist) or through the Wights (Waymar activated in a matter of minutes to kill Will; Othar activated to try to kill Mormont; lots of Wights seeking to kill lots of rangers on the Fist; lots of Wights seeking to kill Sam and Gilly until saved by Coldhands; lots of Wights seeking to kill Bran and his company until saved by Coldhands and getting into the CoF cave; and the apparent mass killings of wildlings at Hardhome). * This is only the recent experience and it does not count the old stories of people killing Others and Wights as told by old Nan. Only exception is the one way deal with Craster to take all of his sons in return for leaving him alone - and while Craster is pustulent I doubt that the deal is a good thing for his many sons taken. Certainly, Gilly didn't think so.

* Respectfully, saying "we don't know what's up with the Wights" is ridiculous. In text Others killed Waymar. Minutes later he was turned into a Wight, approached Will and killed him. Circumstantial, yes, but circumstantial evidence can be incredibly strong (e.g., classic hypothetical - detective sees man enter a room with a gun on the table and no other door or window; detective hears gunshot and finds man dead in the room; no other person has had an opportunity to enter the room. Circumstantial but more than strong enough to be beyond a resonable doubt).

So, I can concede it is possible that some Others woke up from a several thousand year sleep with goodwill towards all on their mind but I haven't seen any evidence of that inclination in text. I may be "making assumptions" as you say, but I don't see a basis for contrary assumptions at this point in the story.
Jeff R.
452. Gold for Petyr
Yeah you misunderstand my argument. I never said the others were good or that there were any good others. I said the default position is unknown and we don't have sufficient evidence to change the status of the Others from being unknown. I would probably describe everyone in the story, like Davos does, as being part good and part evil. Even if the Others wanted to kill every person in Westeros, I doubt they would be evil, ie, killing everyone solely for the sake of doing so. As you say, Craster has already demonstrated the Others can be negotiated with. The issue would be to find some way to communicate with the Others that murdering everyone in Westeros is a bad idea, the same way one would do with the Dothraki.

My point is more fundamental than that. Logically, the "all anything is something" argument is one that can be over turned with one counter example. Its a very weak assertion and needs an incredible amount of evidence to be made convincingly. This story does not contain that evidence, that the Others are all evil. I wouldn't even say any of the Others are evil. I don't think trying to kill a human being makes you evil or otherwise, there aren't any good humans in this story. They've all tried to kill at least one person.

With regards to the Wights it simply isn't clear. It seems to be the case that anyone who dies North of the wall is subject to come back as a Wight. The fact that Waymar Royce died North of the wall, already qualified him to come back as a wight regardless of whether the Others were the ones who killed him or not. All, I'm saying is we haven't seen Others and Wights working in close coordination or the Wights behaving in very intelligent or directed manner. What the relationship between the Wights and the Others is unknown.
Jeff R.
453. Aerona Greenjoy
I have little reason to believe the Others aren't an absolute threat to all humanity within their reach. We just don't know if that makes them evil in the traditional fantasy sense. Mel think they're the minions of a classic dark overlord, the "Great Other", but we have no evidence of that either. GRRM opines that nobody in his world or ours is completely good or evil; I wonder if that includes non-humans. (As evidence, he says even Hitler took good care of his dogs. I don't know if he deliberately likened Ramsay to Hitler, but it came out sounding that way.)
Michael Duran
454. MRHD
Hah, I loved this bit from this week's post:

I have to assume that with Tywin (and Tyrion) out of the way, Cersei is going to be pretty much running the show. And while in principle I am in favor of Chicks In Charge (ChIC, whoo!), this particular chick is… problematic, to say the least. Whatever happens in court after this, though, is sure to be… dramatic and interesting. Of that, I have no doubt.

The Cersei chapters in AFfC are going to be a lot of fun to go through in the Read.
Jeff R.
455. Aerona Greenjoy
Leigh recognized that Tywin's death doesn't necessarily improve the political ugliness in Westeros. One thing I enjoy in retrospect about the ASOS-AFFC/ADWD transition is that many of the people we spent the first three books loathing are either dead (Joffrey, Tywin, Lysa, the Tickler) or seriously incapacitated (Gregor, Theon) by the end of ASOS, but is the world a safer or better place? Nope. Other nasties appear or take the spotlight. The books are like one big game of Whack-a-Villain (with "villain" as shorthand for "cruel and/or obnoxious git") -- as soon as one gets flattened, another pops up somewhere else.
Deana Whitney
456. Braid_Tug
But with "Others" being rather cold nature, isn't their effective range limited? Don't want to be D&D rules lawyer, here, but it is a question.
The North is hosed. But even with Winter coming, they can't make it Winter cold enough to support them everywhere.
The Free Cities and Dorn could just say "screw you, we'll wait for the next Summer."
Unless this series goes very mystical / magical EotWaWKI. With Others fighting the Fire God for world domination.

This week’s post: everything that could have been wished for.
Adam S.
457. MDNY
@455 Yes, but the Others remain a threat and likely ultimate antagonist throughout, plus Gregor Clegane remains as a tool of evil even after his death...
Rob Munnelly
458. RobMRobM
@452 - I did want to say I appreciate your thoughts, even though I don't agree with them. Interesting perspective and, for all we know, you may be proven correct down the line.

re today - yes, the Cersei quote was choice. We probably should come up with a few more sh*t, *ss and d*ck puns in the main thread just to make things interesting.
Jeff R.
459. Gold for Petyr
458. RobMRobM:

Depends on how your reckon such things. I think the people and the Others will fight, I don't think the necessary resolution will be a genocide of the Others. If the Others just lose and go back north. Then we will probably still disagree about whether they ever were evil.

Here's another question for you. What are the Others doing with Craster's sons. I don't think they're eating them, why eat babies, they have the least amount of flesh? I doubt they're killing them, what kind of bargain would that be for Craster? Why would the Others want them just to kill them. Personally, I think they're raising the kids, the kids might even be infiltrating Westeros once grown.
Jeff R.
460. Aerona Greenjoy
@457 -- Certainly. But at the end of ASOS we don't anticipate the latter, don't know how seriously to take the former, and might reasonably expect things to improve from here. After all, many a litaerary tale hinges on the life and death of a relative few villains. Enter Euron, Victarian, Qyburn, Ramsay, empowered Cersei, the Sons of the Harpy, and sundry lesser scumbags.

@459: It wouldn't be weird for the Others to eat the babies, as a standard religious sacrifice. But Craster's wives are certain the boys will return in some terrible form, so I'll trust that belief for now. Would love to learn about the process of being raised by Others. Gilly thinks a son's fate would be worse than a daughter's fate of being married to Craster and living in that keep, though of course she's known no other kind of life.
Jeff R.
461. Aerona Greenjoy
"But, Tysha might still be alive?? Holy crap. I had totally assumed she was dead. As, apparently, had Tyrion. So I guess we know what Tyrion’s next quest is going to be. I might be wrong, but I don’t think he’s getting on that ship to the Free Cities."

Impressive foresight, Leigh, but he'll be double-tasking.
Jeff R.
462. Gold for Petyr
460. Aerona Greenjoy:

Lets not go insulting Euron. He does a pretty impressive job of taking over the Iron Born. From gis secret assassination of Balon to the Kingsmoot to winning over the main supporters of all his rivals. And the attack on the Reach, yes everything is coming up roses for Euron.

(I can't wait to see what Euron has in store for Paxter Redwyne and his fleet. He lets the ravens fly from the shield islands after all, so he's got to expect the Redwyne fleet)
Nathan Martin
463. lerris
RE: Others and Evil

It is clear that Good and Evil in the manner of God vs. Satan is not the pattern here. Rather, it is a battle for human survival against the Other, who may, like Lovecraftian entities, be indifferent rather than malevolent.

Re: This week's reread:
As a popular theory online goes, tywin may have been poisoned with Widow's Blood, which shuts down a man's bladder and bowels until he drowns in his own poison, explaining both why he was found in the privy, and why his body decomposed quickly and unpleasantly. If this is true, was Shae perhaps the agent used to administer the poison?
Adam S.
464. MDNY
@463 Tywin was almost certainly poisoned with Widow's Blood, but weeks ago by Oberyn (there was a scene where Tywin was either heading to or coming from dinner with Oberyn and Mace Tyrell, which seems a possible time for the poisoning). Presumably he's been quietly suffering constipation since then, until his death releases all the gold- I mean shit. There's nothing to indicate Shae in that, she had no reason to kill him. People keep ascribing shady motives and actions to Shae. She was a whore, she slept with people for money, she was good at her job and worked her way up to the top spot in the kingdom before she was killed, then made her first major mistake with a man when she called Tyrion her giant of Lannister after her performance at the trial.
Jeff R.
465. Gold for Petyr
464. MDNY:

You really think Tywin was poisoned. I dunno. Just based on him being constipated?
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
466. AlirozTheConfused
People see things all time in this stupid series; all these implications and things that are implied and all that stuff.

Like the "Alleras is Sarella sand", the "Rugen is Varys", the "Syrio is Jaqen h'stuipdname", the "Rhaegar and Lyanna had a kid and it was Jon Snow", the "Rhaegar was plotting against his dad", the "Fake Jeyne Westerling thing", the "Joanna Lannister cheated on Tywin with king supidname and that made Tyrion and/or the Twins", the "Quaithe is actually Viserys, who survived and is now just trying to mess with Dany stupidname's head".
Nathan Martin
467. lerris
@464 I never really got the impression that Shae had any loyalty to Tyrion beyond the gold from the books. However, upon watching the HBO show, which is produced with some involvement from GRRM, I have a less cynical view of the character. Whether this is to intensify the shock of the betrayal, or whether it portrays a point of view that was unavailable in the books, has yet to be proven. But if Widow's Blood requires more than a single dosing to be effective, what better agent than one sharing the target's bed?

@465 Constipated, in conjuction with rapid and particularly malodorous decay of Tywins body, plus the Chekhov's Gun that is the mention of Widow's Blood earlier in the series. Of course, I'm sure GRRM will be quite happy to just let the theories fly and never confirm one version of events or another, which also applies to Jon's parentage. Fantasy readers expect answers, so what better way to subvert expectations?
Adam S.
468. MDNY
@467 Lerris- I agree with almost all you said, but I take exception to Jon's parentage never being revealed/confirmed. It may or may not (I'm sure that at least Howlan Reed knows the truth) but I believe that the 3 dragon riders will reveal previously unrevealed Targs, and Jon will be one. Perhaps it's explained explicitly, perhaps GRRM lets those who caught the deal with Lyanna's death and the blue rose symbolism understand while letting others be shocked, but I think someone will let Jon know, either before or after he rides/bonds with a dragon.
Jeff R.
469. Jeff R.
I am, by the way, more convinced than ever that Shae was working for Tywin all along, deliberately placed with Tyrion through Bronn (who was also working for Tywin from that night in the camp onward, although his task was likely 'keep Tyrion alive' while Shae's was to spy on him and keep any prostitutes who might be working for Petyr or Varys away from Tyrion.)
Jeff R.
470. Gold for Petyr
466. AlirozTheConfused:
Yeah not all of those things actually happened in the series though. I put Tywin being poisoned in the Syrio is Jaquen category.
Jeff R.
471. Lyanna Mormont
@456 re: Others not being able to make the whole world cold enough - can't they, though? All those old stories about the Long Winter... I never got the impression that was limited to the North. They do tell those stories in the rest of the Kingdoms, too, IIRC. Not just the ones about the Others, but Symeon Star-Eyes who suddenly got very blue eyes, and all that stuff. The R'hllorites have the legends, too, which suggests the Long Winter took place in other parts of the world, too. (Unless the cult of R'hllor is originally from the North, several thousand years ago? That could be interesting, too.)
Jeff R.
472. Aerona Greenjoy
A man needn't be constipated to be on the privy, but I find it plausible for Oberyn to have poisoned Tywin. He had the reason, the opportunity, and likely the means. We'll probably never know.

@462: Euron is cruel and obnoxious as well as powerful, charismatic, and successful, and probably wouldn't mind being told so. I loved the Kingsmoot chapter, but its outcome has been Bad News for the Reach's smallfolk and gentry.
Michael Duran
473. MRHD
The poisoning theory has always seemed absurd to me. There's absolutely no evidence for it. Being perhaps a little constipated does not equal being poisoned, and I'm sure when he wrote the scene GRRM didn't think "well gee, Tyrion's scene with Shae must take up a bit of time so that means Tywin has been on the pot for awhile so that will show the readers that he's constipated which will show that he's been poisoned by Oberyn which is brilliant because Oberyn is dead and soon Tywin will be killed in a completely unrelated way making this hidden plot point pointless lol" I'd bet a significant amount of money that GRRM wasn't even taking into consideration how long Tywin would have had to been away when he wrote the Tyrion/Shae scene.

Tywin seems perfectly fine and healthy up until the moment he gets a crossbow in the gut. There is no mention of him sitting there looking pained, or discomfitted, no remarks by Jaime or anyone else who sees him post-Oberyn death that he seems unwell, nothing. Absolutely no evidence whatsoever that he was anything but completely healthy right up to the moment Tyrion kills him. For a poison that supposedly shuts off the bladder and bowels until the person dies of their own poisons, Tywin seemed to be managing it remarkably well for quite a number of days.

Tywin's body decaying is not proof at all. Pycelle, and presumably others, examined the body after his death. No one brings up the possibility that he had poison in his system, nor do any of those involved think that the decay is anything unusual for a body lying in state for as long as Tywin's did. I've never even heard of poison making a dead body smell worse than those who have died by other means. Is this an assertion with any basis or is it just something pulled out of thin air to support a bad theory?

On the other hand, a victim having their bowels punctured smelling worse in a world with less sophisticated embalming methods might make sense, which if Tywin's body smells worse than others (and again, no one in the text seems to think the smell is out of the ordinary for a body that has been allowed to sit and rot as long as Tywin's had) would be a much more logical culprit than poison.
Nathan Martin
474. lerris
@473 MHRD: all good points. I would not claim any of the details to be proof. I would, however, call them evidence.

@468 MDNY: GRRM has flat-out denied that R+L=J is true. Which is the reason I'm on the fence about it. And Jon may never find out, even if it is spelled out for the reader. That depends on whether Jon is still alive for the next book or not. There are two people who might find the revelation significant... Danaerys and Catelyn.
Chris Nelly
475. Aeryl
@474, Lerris, I agree that it's likely the characters will never learn about R+L=J, even if we do because Brienne meets Howland Reed or something. It'll be told to someone who doesn't understand the significance, and the other characters will remain ignorant. But where have you seen that he's flat out denied, because from what I've seen, that's not like him to be so blatant. He prefers to be cagey.
Rob Munnelly
476. RobMRobM
Ditto. I've never seen R+L to be denied and I've seen big hints from GRRM and others (GOT producers following their meeting with GRRM) that it is true (as it absolutely is - Ice and Fire personified). Give up the source if you have one, please!

Nathan Martin
477. lerris
Wish I could find the source.

I read it on a forum many years ago, so naturally it has to be taken with a grain of salt. I took it as a knee-jerk reaction to having his dirty little secret discovered the first time he was asked about it. But it's just enough of a tidbit for me to retain a kernel of doubt.
Jeff R.
478. Gold for Petyr
Didn't Martin's wife say R+L=J was weak? It seems too obvious not that I ever noticed it while first reading.
Bill Stusser
479. billiam
The fans over on the Westeros site are pretty obsessive, lol, so you would think that if anyone would know about what GRRM or his wife have said it would be them and they are up to R+L=J v 64 on their forums.

As for R+L=J being weak, then why were the Kingsguard at the ToJ?
Jeff R.
480. Gold for Petyr
479. billiam: I thought I read that on Westeros.

Well Rhaegar and Lyanna could have had a kid that isn't Jon for example. Or Lyanna could have not had a kid but Rhaegar order the kingsguard to protect her cause they got married. Or Lyanna's kid could have died in childbirth with her.

There's a million possibilities. Again, the theory makes to sense to me. But it does seem like Martin was super obvious with it if it was supposed to be some big reveal. But maybe that a pre-internet artifact. He never expected readers to communicate about the clues so much. Cause there are a shit ton of them, too many.
Faiz Imam
481. FaizImam
@Gold for Petyr

The most powerful evidence for the poisonning is the events of his funeral.

The intensity of the way the stench is described strongly suggests (to me) that something abnormal is going on.

Poinsonning fits the evidence much too well to be dismissed.

@Aerona Greenjoy

I am pretty sure Tysha is gone. "Wherever whores go" is way to vague a phrase to take literally.

I find it very much against GRRM's MO to take that narrative in such a fantastical direction. Her being alive and meeting with Tyrion in any way woudn't make any sense.
Sasha P
483. AeronaGreenjoy
Oh, I don't expect we'll ever see Tysha. But Leigh predicted that Tyrion would go looking for her instead of adventuring in Essos, so I noted above that he'll try to simultaneously do both. Darn it, you've introduced me to Mark Reads through that link in your Hobbit re-read. I shall accomplish nothing for the foreseeable future. :-)
Jeff R.
484. Gold for Petyr
481. FaizImam 483. AeronaGreenjoy:

Oh really you never think we'll see Tysha again? Tysha, a girl who was married only briefly to her "client" and then told she was a dock side whore. No one knows what port in a storm this poor girl could have sought? Certainly she'll never be happy again. But simply gone? Maybe she simply became some humble Sailor's Wife.
Sasha P
485. AeronaGreenjoy
Hadn't heard that theory before. So maybe we've seen Tysha without knowing it yet Tyrion probably (but not certainly) never will. Sounds like Martin's style. I really can't venture a gues at this point.
Julian Augustus
486. Alisonwonderland
I recall in one of the free cities (Braavos?) a famous whore courtesan who is said to hate men. Could that be Tysha?
Jeff R.
487. Lyanna Mormont
Just because Tywin refers to Tysha as a whore doesn't mean she actually is one. Yeah, I guess it's possible that the trauma of being gang-raped sent her down the path of "what else am I good for" - but she could also be living a quiet life in some town in Westeros where nobody knows her past. For all we know she's married with kids. Or she could be long dead.
Jeff R.
488. Gold for Petyr
487. Lyanna Mormont:

For we know she could be married (frequently) and have a blonde haired daughter named LANNA(ster).

p.s. how dare you slut shame the ladies of the happy port. What else is she good for, who says what she's doing isn't good?
Sasha P
489. AeronaGreenjoy
The timing could be a little tight for that, according to AWOIAF (which I just checked), unless their years are longer than ours. Tyrion was born in 274 AL and married at age 13; Lanna was born in 286.
Jeff R.
490. Gold for Petyr
489. AeronaGreenjoy:
The Braavosi do have a different calendar. Remember Arya says she doesn't know how old she is anymore. And I don't think we have a birth date for her, she's 14 and her mom was allegedly around the same age when she had Lanna (I assume that's how they came up with a birth year). Tyrion is around 26 or 27 so the timing seems to line up once you consider Tyrion and Tysha were only together for a few weeks. (I don't think we have an exact date of birth for Tyrion either) So, I think the time is fine.
Jeff R.
491. Lyanna Mormont
@ 488

Nope, not going to fight that strawman. We're talking about a the mental state of a victim of gangrape, not about the morality-or-not of prostitution.

I think the Sailor's Wife is more likely to be connected to the missing Lannister uncle - Gerion, right? He's the one who was a sailor.

If you want a candidate for Tyrion's daughter by Tysha, how about Penny? We don't have an age for her, only a rough estimate by Tyrion (who could easily be wrong), and she did talk about how her mother used to sing to her, just like Tysha did for Tyrion. Plus, you know, dwarfism. And he just happens to have actually met her...
Stefan Mitev
492. Bergmaniac
If Tysha is the Sailor's wife, this would be some terribe writing. Lanna is the very last name she'd choose for her daughter after what happened to her.
493. Ryamano
I think the natural reaction after what happened to Tysha was for her to go away to a far corner of Westeros to live another life and forget about it (like, moving to the north or the stormlands), or to find support in religion (becoming a silent sister). For Tyrion to actually find Tysha is so ... improbable. His father didn't actually answer his question. "Wherever whores go" is just like saying "I don't care where she went". Tyrion is obsessing about this answer much in the same way that Stannis was obsessing about the peach that Renly was talking about before he was murdered. It makes no sense, it just is there.
Jeff R.
494. Gold for Petyr
492. Bergmaniac:

Well the sailor's wife is supposed to still love her first husband. I don't think its obvious exactly that Tysha hates Tyrion or thinks he is responsible for Tywins actions. She certainly might blame Tyrion, but its not clear.
Jeff R.
495. Gold for Petyr
491. Lyanna Mormont:

I wasn't making an argument, just an observation. You're the one who implied she'd think she wasn't good for anything.

Gerion is a possibility. The sailor part is the only part that makes sense though. The timing doesn't seem right. And the "wherever whore's go" line seems to particularly to imply a port. Tyrion says at one point in ADWD every port in the world has whores, so I think that's what, the line "wherever whore's go" mean.

There's just no evidence for Penny. Penny knows who her father was, or at least she thinks she does. Penny had a brother, they weren't twins. Penny is probably too old.
Its just not there.
Jeff R.
496. Lyanna Mormont
@ 495

It's not uncommon for victims of rape and/or sexual abuse to take away the message that the only thing they're good for is providing sex. Acknowledging this fact is not at all the same as suggesting that they should feel that way, or that being a prostitute makes you a bad person. Those implications were brought into this by you, not me.

"Wherever whores go" was not a message or a clue. It doesn't imply or suggest anything. It was just Tywin shrugging it off, saying he has no idea where Tysha went. Just because Tyrion fixates on that line doesn't mean it's actually important in any way - because Tysha wasn't a whore, and Tywin wasn't giving out hidden clues when he said it.
Jeff R.
497. Gold for Petyr
496. Lyanna Mormont:

I don't think Tywin has any idea where Tysha is. Regardless of whether Tysha was a whore or not, Tywin thinks she a whore and he's the one speaking.

Like "promise me Ned" or "fear cuts deeper than swords" or "life is not a song" or "you know nothing, jon snow" any phrase that is repeated over and over again in the series has significance.
Sanne Jense
498. Cassanne
I'm convinced Tywin was poisoned and Shae was drugged. Further, I doubt Tywin even knew Shae was there.
Varys smuggled her in and drugged her. Tywin was dying from poison (probably not applied days ago, but maybe during the trial by combat for extra poetic justice).
I mean, she's naked, sleepy, responds slowly and stupidly and barely fights back as she's strangled (you'd think a prostitute would know better how to defend from that kind of attack). The point of this is to further destabilize Tyrion, as there's no possible scenario here that ends well. She's drugged so she's too weak to fight Tyrion or act in any other way.
There's a very convenient loaded weapon sitting right there (thanks, Varys).
Tywin is in no state to fight either, or he'd at least have tried to stand up and try to kick away the crossbow or stab Tyrion or something. He was convinced Tyrion wouldn't shoot, after all. And he's a veteran soldier. He keeps up a pretty good poker face there with the tough talk, but his body clearly isn't functioning properly. (Occam's razor says Varys did this too, to make sure the timing is right.)

You could argue Varys could just kill Tywin with poison, but Tyrion is a much safer weapon for him.
Chris Nelly
499. Aeryl
@498, That's a very good theory, and bears a lot out. I think Varys gave Shae to Cersei so Tyrion would lose his trial(not expecting Oberyn to come in and be his champion) so he could then offer Tyrion an escape to Essos.

I'm still partial to the idea that Oberyn posioned Tywin, but in this theory, Varys wouldn't have had to kill Tywin with poison, just give him the same stuff Tyrion have Cersei.

The only thing left open, is Varys is banking on Tyrion's anger at his father being enough to drive him to murder. IMO, Tyrion really didn't get to that point until after Jaime told him the truth about Tysha.
Sanne Jense
500. Cassanne
I think Varys counted on Shae in Tywin's bed, with symbolic hand chain (and the highly likely resulting violence) to have that effect. Coupled with the easily available weapon. Seems a good bet to me.

Just imagine finding your girlfriend in your (really horribly bad) father's bed. Naked, drowsy and relaxed. Playing with a symbol of power your father took from you. (Plus you're already a convicted murderer, by the same father and girlfriend!) You'd have to be a saint, and Tyrion certainly isn't...

I think he shows amazing self-control in having any conversation with daddy at all. Shows how alike they really are.
Scott Silver
501. hihosilver28
EXACTLY! Ugh, that is the very reason that I found Tyrion so incredibly frustrating through most of ADWD. He's always asking people "Where do whores go?" as if his dad had given him a clue. All Tywin was doing was twisting the knife and being blasé about it. The fact that Tyrion couldn't grasp that and was fixated on that line just started to aggravate me as the book went on.
Chris Nelly
502. Aeryl
I don't think it wasn't that Tyrion didn't grasp the reality of what Tywin said, it's that he can't let go. He keeps repeating to keep his anger.

I never interpreted anything in ADWD as him seriously pursuing Tysha. His singular focus is to meet with Dany so he can join with her and complete the ruin of his family. Asking everyone "where do whores go" is just his way of reminding himself the full depths of what Tywin did to him(Tysha's a remorseful afterthought by this time), to allow him to embrace his new "role" as the King and Kinslayer, outdoing both Jaime and Cersei, who only killed Kings.
Scott Silver
503. hihosilver28
Okay...I'll buy that. It feels like a generous reading of the text, but I like that interpretation way more than how I felt reading it the first time.
Jeff R.
504. Gold for Petyr
503. hihosilver28:

its obvious Tywin had no idea where Tysha is or went, nor would Tywin care. I don't think Tyrion is searching for Tysha.

499. Aeryl:

The only thing is Tyrion was always going to lose his trial. And Shae would always have been snatched up by Cersei since she was Sansa's maid.

Also Varys didn't have to help Tyrion, Jamie is no longer a fearsome warrior, I think Varys could have just killed Jamie if he wanted to, since he was going to have run anyway. Or Varys could have killed Tyrion down in the dark.
Jeff R.
505. NickH
I don't buy the theory that Varys had it all planned for Tyrion to kill Tywin, its too complicated:

1. Jaime tells Tyrion about Tysha, which makes Tyrion want to go see Tywin. To learn about Tysha's fate, not to kill him (though he probably realized it might come to that).

2. Tyrion finds Shae alone and manages to kills her before she can call the guards and/or Tywin.

3. Tyrion arms himself with the crossbow.

4. Tywin provokes Tyrion into shooting him by repeatedly calling Tysha a whore. Sure Tyrion hated his dad already and wanted some sort of vengeance.. but it is is still increadibly hard to actually pull the trigger and shoot your own father. If Tywin wasn't so blind about his children he could very well stay alive or even manipulate Tyrion into surrendering.

I belive that it was impossible to arrange all these events, even for a master manipulator such as Varys. Besides, i don't see what Varys gains by making Tyrion kill Tywin. If he really wanted Tywin dead, he could kill him with his own hands, like he did Kevan. He had to hide after Tyrion's escape in any case and it is much easier that way: he could have come armed and well prepaired.

Of course it is hard to be sure about Varys's reasons, but we know that he killed Kevan shortly after Aegon landed in Westeros. At that point the dice were cast and it was time to remove all the competent rulers from Kings Landing, ot help Aegon win the war. But at the end of ASOS there was no such urgency for Varys to cause chaos, and he was probably content to just sit and wait how the situation develops (being a member of the small council and thus having some influence). So it seems like he was indeed compelled to rescue Tyrion by Jaime, and then just saw an opportunity to cause some trouble for the Lannisters when Tyrion asked about the passage to Hand's appartment.
Chris Nelly
506. Aeryl
But I guess we’ll NEVER KNOW, WILL WE.


That's what so funny, because OH YES WE WILL!
508. Ryamano
Leigh is prophetic in the post today. The epilogue will be covered next week, right?
Scott Silver
509. hihosilver28
I would doubt it. The only time he goes through time is through the weirwood faces.
Michael Duran
510. MRHD
@508: Not sure. The final Sansa chapter is a doozy in its own right, so I wouldn't be surprised if that gets the standalone treatment. As for the raven, it is possible that Bloodraven was warging it.
511. Ryamano
Well, it's theorized he goes through time to speak with his brother Jon in a dream in ACOK. That part where Bran says he's fine because he's in a dark place. At first I thought that was Bran from present ACOK, when he was hiding in the creeps, but Bran from ACOK never remarks upon this. Bran from ADWD gets this power to go to the past and even some people seem to notice him (his father). So it's possible Bran from future books learned how to go through time without weirwood faces, to go into dreams (Jon) and even animals (like ravens).
Chris Nelly
512. Aeryl
It's a neat theory, but what investment does Bran have in Jon being the LC of the NW?

IMO, as cool as this chapter is, it's also pulling Jon in the wrong direction, as evidenced by ADWD.
Scott Silver
513. hihosilver28
Remind me...who is Bloodraven and why would he be invested in Jon getting command?
Michael Duran
514. MRHD
@513: He's the three-eyed crow that Bran meets in ADwD. Being the current greenseer, he might want to use his powers to get someone competent in charge of the Wall to fight the Others, as opposed to someone useless like Slynt. If R+L=J is true and Bloodraven knows this through his warging/weirwood net, he also might do it because he believes Jon is Azor Ahai Reborn, or possibly just to back family (since Bloodraven himself is the son of Aegon IV Targaryen).
Beth Meacham
515. bam
I always thought that the raven in the voting kettle was put there by Sam. Or maybe Maester Aemnon. The raven frequently said "Snow Snow Snow" when Commander Mormont was alive. It would be great political theater, and our Sam has suddenly revealed a talent for that.
Scott Silver
516. hihosilver28
Okay, that's what I thought. Still...that would mean that he's been watching the Watch (chuckle) for quite some time. I mean, I buy that since he's literally grown into a throne and doesn't have much time for anything else, it's just something I never thought of. So, if that's the case, do you think he was warging into Mormont's crow at periods through the entire series?
Rob Munnelly
517. RobMRobM
Bloodraven is also a former Lord Commander of the NW in his own right, fyi.

I'm a proponent of the future Bran as having go back in time powers. Not sure that he'd put the raven in the kettle, especially where the raven has had its own agency through the books so far. Maybe he just supports Mormont's no. 2. Or maybe it's just magic....
Michael Duran
518. MRHD
@516: Maybe he was, but maybe not. Some other readers seem to think so. I certainly think it's a possibility, but I'm not going to a hundred percent back the theory, either. Since we did learn Bloodraven was once Lord Commander himself in a Feast Sam chapter, that might also be a reason to lend credence to the notion that he'd be invested in how the Watch is doing. I wish we had gotten more of what he had been up to all those years in a tree in ADwD, but maybe in Winds?
Scott Silver
519. hihosilver28
RobMRobM, I strongly dislike (might even loathe) the idea of Bran having temporal powers. There doesn't seem to be anything to support that. Maybe in dreams...but even then I don't like it.
Aw, crap. I just remembered that Bran tried to communicate with...Eddard? in the book and he responded. Okay, so there is a bit in the text to support it, but I still think it's more that he can see the collective memories of the trees since they've been around for about forever. I don't think there's much to support the fact that he can untether his mind from his current temporal position and warg into anything at any time. I think he can see into anything that has had the memory, not go back in time to fix something.
Adam S.
520. MDNY
I strongly support the idea that greenseers like Bran and Bloodraven can see time through the trees and can even influence the past to a limited extent. I don't see any evidence to support either of them influencing the voting for NW with a raven.
Chris Nelly
521. Aeryl
@519, I think he does have temporal powers, but they are limited to the trees. The scene with Ned proves Bran was there with Ned, it wasn't a memory, Ned sensed Bran was there.

But, as I've said, while Jon as LC is cool, in the end, being in command is asking him to override his more heroic instincts, which isn't a good thing.
Scott Silver
522. hihosilver28
@MDNY, Aeryl
I agree with the both of you that that is how I think the temporal shifting works...only through the weirwood trees.

Aeryl, I don't know that I buy that. I think Jon is just as heroic when acting as commander, but it's a different kind of heroism. He's making the same choices his instincts call for in the other 3 books. If you're saying that the choices that he makes results in bad things happening to him, I'd say that's true throughout all the books. He usually makes the choice to stick up for the undefended and while he is usually successful, he also suffers for it.
Chris Nelly
523. Aeryl
Someone posted a link to a blog called the Mereneese Blot, that examines Jon and Dany's stories in ADWD, and he makes the convincing argument that Jon as LC is forcing him to choose between being a hero and being a Brother.

The knife wielding Brothers AREN'T WRONG. Jon's actions, allying himself with Stannis, allying the Freefolk with the Umbers, sending Mance to Winterfell, are all violations of his vow to stay neutral.

It will be less of a conflict of Jon's own ethics if he's no longer LC. Of course, after spending time stuck in Ghost while the Wall degenerates in open conflict as Brothers, Queen's Men and Freefolk all start fighting one another, there probably won't be much of a NW to be LC of once Mel resurrects him.
Rob Munnelly
524. RobMRobM
Re future Bran - the problem is that the powers Bran showed when he appeared to Jon in ACOK in the middle of a mountain pass - growing a mystical weirwood tree of himself in a rock and giving third eye sight to Jon - are so far beyond Bran's minor league abilities at that point in the story to be laughable. If it is just Bran in the crypts below Winterfell, then this is a huge magical handwave the cuts into story credibility. But if there is a future Bran who can go backwards, it makes a lot of sense. He can look back, find Jon facing Mance Rayder's army, and prevent Jon from walking into a massive death causing trap. Makes perfect sense to me. Also, I'll be that he does this a couple of times and then BR tells him how dangerous it is, so it is not overused textually.
Scott Silver
525. hihosilver28
RobM, I'd be more comfortable with the explanation of BR using Bran's face as a familiar one to open Jon's ability. We already know that he opened Bran, so for him to do the same with another Stark follows Occam's Razor a little bit more than Bran has time travel powers.
Jeff R.
526. Maddy1990
OK I seriously cannot wait to read Leigh's reaction to Lady Stoneheart now considering her opinion's on Catelyn's character (which I pretty much agree with for the most part). When I first read the epilogue chapter I was just super happy and wanted her to kill all the Freys but now it just makes me sad and I'm not sure I'm a fan of this plot development - it would have been kinder to Catelyn for her to stay dead. Also can't wait for Leigh's reaction to the complete mess Jon makes of the LC position (Although I guess we have a long time to wait for that)
Sasha P
527. AeronaGreenjoy
I agree about StoneCat. The RW merits avenging, but to do it Martin the Monstrous denied Cat even the peace of death, forcing her to exist indefinitely in the maddening grief which made her last chapter so memorably heartrending. Ser Beric Diesalot was cruel or idiotic to resurrect such a rotting and mutilated corpse, knowing very well what a wretched unlife she would have. And she's not likely to get her hands on Old Walder anytime soon, which is the only killing I really want her to commit. Hanging (or almost hanging) Brienne, Pod, and Hyle made me terminally sick of her plotline. Anxious to know what Leigh will make of it all...
Jeff R.
528. Maddy1990
Yeah I agree, I kind of think Beric was so sick of 'living' at that point and knew that resurrecting Catelyn would kill him for good - he wasn't really caring about Catelyn herself - although it was pretty cruel when you think about it since he knows better than anyone how shitty that life is. I choose to believe that Lady Stoneheart is not truly Catelyn, the flawed but empathetic and intelligent character that didn't want revenge, she just wanted her family back together. I still have faith that this plotline will pay off in the end but I agree that at the moment I am sick of it as well - I feel like in some ways she was cheated of her 'moment' if that makes sense
Sasha P
529. AeronaGreenjoy
Beric could have given his life-force to someone fresher and more intact who would've truly appreciated a second chance at life. Such corpses are probably easy to find in the Riverlands right now. (That wouldn't have suited The Plot, of course, but technically it could have been done). As it is, I can't encounter Cat in the show or early books without thinking of her as She Who Will Soon Be Stoneheart.
Jeff R.
530. Gold for Petyr
529. AeronaGreenjoy

I don't think Beric was alive.

“Can I dwell on what I scarce remember? I held a castle on the Marches once, and there was a woman I was pledged to marry, but I could not find that castle today, nor tell you the color of that woman’s hair. Who knighted me, old friend? What were my favorite foods? It all fades. Sometimes I think I was born on the bloody grass in that grove of ash, with the taste of fire in my mouth and a hole in my chest. Are you my mother, Thoros?”

Which is also why I don't think Jon Snow will die, neither second life nor being brought back by a red priest makes you the same person. You're like a remnant. So I think Mel will heal Jon Snow the way Moqorro did to Victarion.
Jeff R.
531. NickH
Unlike other fake deaths in ASOIAF (Bran & Rickon, Davos, Arya, Brienne, etc) Jon's death is a consequence of ethical mistakes he made - choosing the needs of the few over the needs of many (choosing to help "Arya", but putting the whole NW at risk). His whole arc in ADWD leads to his death logicaly. There was also much foreshadowing ("daggers in the dark" prophecy, Jon having to lock Ghost, etc). All this makes it more similar to Ned's death in AGOT and the RW then to any of the fake deaths. Like most people I don't think that Jon will be dead forever, but something important must happen. Maybe that is the whole point that Jon must be changed somehow by his ressurection.
Faiz Imam
532. FaizImam
I imagine so. I mean, he's the Nine Hundered and Ninety Eighth Lord commander.

That number was not picked by coincidence (in fact i was surprised Leigh did not comment on it)

It's obvious that he will be absent(by choice or not) for long enough that they will pick a the Nine Hundered and Ninety Ninth.

After which point some shit is going to go down. Doesn't matter if its Jon or someone else, the picking of the Thousandth Lord Commander almost certainly has to be of vital importance.
Jeff R.
533. Lyanna Mormont
@ 532

Unless that's the exact trope that's being deconstructed. Maybe having the 998th - or 999th, if Jon dies or "dies" - Lord Commander be the one to face the Others is commentary on how numbers don't actually work that neatly. Not to mention Sam's little comment on how the history doesn't seem to match up and the oldest list he found listed 700-some LCs...
Chris Nelly
534. Aeryl
My impression, and maybe I'm wrong, but the impression I got wasn't that Beric intentionally resurrected Cat, but that he gave her the "last rites" so to speak, like Thoros would have, not knowing it would take the power from him and give it to her.
George Jong
535. IndependentGeorge
The knife wielding Brothers AREN'T WRONG. Jon's actions, allying himself with Stannis, allying the Freefolk with the Umbers, sending Mance to Winterfell, are all violations of his vow to stay neutral.
I agree with the larger point (Jon clearly violated the watch's neutrality), but disagree on the exact moment when he crosses the line.

I think he trod exactly the right path in his negotiations with Stannis, and technically followed the letter of the law with regard to Alys Karstark. To me, it's when first he sends Mance to Winterfell, and then compounds that by abandoning his post to go to rescue Arya himself with a cadre of Wildlings, that he clearly crosses the line.
Sasha P
536. AeronaGreenjoy
@530: True. Beric lost more humanity and memories with every death, so by the end he may have had too little left to truly resurrect anyone. Even Moqorro's healing seems to have left Victarion more brutal. I won't speculate on Jon's fate, but it could be interesting.

Say, doesn't R'hillorHim-worship feature the "only death can pay for life" tenet? If so, did Beric and Thoros comply? I don't remember any BwB killings explicitly linked to Beric's resurrections, but could be forgetting.

I assumed Jon's "fatal" "mistake" was allowing the Wildling populace through the Wall, just what the NW has spent millenia trying to prevent. (Never mind that the Others are the original and impending foe; I don't know how many people believe in them right now) It's the kind of merciful act that concurrently got Dany in deep trouble. I like to imagine those two swapping tales of their troubled reigns in ruthless worlds. As you've noted, though, Jon first did other unpopular things. I wonder if we'll learn which one set off his men.
Chris Nelly
538. Aeryl
@535, At first, Jon hits just the right note with Stannis, but as the story goes on, looking at Jon's internal thoughts, you can see that he's slowly becoming a stan for Stannis. He refers to him as "King Stannis", becomes VERY invested in the outcomes, directs Stannis to ally with the hill people.

Plus, look at it from the Lannister side. ANY assistance he gave Stannis that doesn't involve five handspans of Valyrian steel planted in his chest, is breaking neutrality.
George Jong
539. IndependentGeorge
@538 - We're splitting hairs, but I think offering advice does not violate neutrality, nor does pointing Stannis in the direction of the hill tribes. Had he written a letter to the tribes recommending they ally with Stannis and signed it as the son of Eddard Stark, that would have clearly violated neutrality. Merely telling Stannis where and how to find the hill tribes does not strike me as an overt act of allegiance, especially when the alternative was for him to take the wildlings.

It does not matter how Jon personally feels during his interactions; he does not commit an overt act violating neutrality until he sends Mance to effectively kidnap his "sister" from her lawfully wedded husband.
Plus, look at it from the Lannister side. ANY assistance he gave Stannis that doesn't involve five handspans of Valyrian steel planted in his chest, is breaking neutrality.
THAT itself would be the most blatant violation of nuetrality of all the things mentioned.
Jeff R.
540. Gold for Petyr
536. AeronaGreenjoy:

Victarion, the man who beat his wife to death? Left more brutal? OK....

I don't think Jon has violated his oath, as of yet. He didn't send Mance to Winterfell. And Jon didn't march to save Arya, he starts to march because Ramsay threatens to attack the wall, certainly Jon Snow can't allow that. And treating with the wildlings is certainly within the remit of the Lord Commander, he only allows the wildlings onto the gift, which is his remit. Sure Mance runs off, but that wasn't Mance's first trip to winterfell, the wildlings have been running around the north for as long as there has been a north.

539. IndependentGeorge:
But Jon didn't send Mance, Melisandre did.
Chris Nelly
541. Aeryl
I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying that to Marsh and the others, with the Lannisters the ones ACTUALLY in power, having Jon as the LC is itself a subversive act. The perception is what matters. And I think pointing Stannis to the hill people does count as a violation. It's intelligence. Intelligence Stannis didn't have. Providing intelligence to someone is a sign of allegiance. There's a reason people execute spies after all.

And remember, Jon GAVE Stannis that intelligence, because he wants Stannis to prevail. Because Jon knew if Stannis "invaded" the North with wildlings, he'd never prevail. Like you said, he can want it all he wants, that's not a violation. But he's acting on that want. And yes Alys Karstark counts too, they were allied with the Lannisters until she married Magnar. Arranging that marriage had a detrimental effect on Lannister power, that's violating his oath of neutrality.
Jeff R.
542. Gold for Petyr
541. Aeryl:

All I can say is, oh come on. I only say this because, not helping Stannis is also an act allegiance, to the Lannisters. Stannis is just as much the king as Tommen. Presumably if Tommen showed up Jon would offer him hospitality as well.

Granted intelligence is given. But all communication is intelligence of some form, that surely can't be the standard.

I mean dunno, I don't think Jon has done anything. But he is playing it close to the line. Then again, not helping Stannis, is also helping someone. To me Jon doesn't go off the reservation until Ramsay threatens the watch.
Chris Nelly
543. Aeryl
Stannis is just as much the king as Tommen.

In theory. In actuality, who holds KL? Who's got the most powerful families support?

I can't be angry at the NW, for living with reality of an apparent Lannister victory, and acting accordingly.
Jeff R.
544. Gold for Petyr
543. Aeryl:

Well no that's fine from a realpolitik standpoint. But that has nothing to do with vows, they're still taking sides. Not to mention there's a proximity standard at play. Stannis is a lot closer than Tommen as far as realpolitik goes.
Chris Nelly
545. Aeryl
There are no sides if someone has difinitively won.
Jeff R.
546. Gold for Petyr
545. Aeryl:

Agreed, yet here's Stannis, Stanning around, providing evidence no one has definitely won. I mean, I hear you, Stannis looks likely to lose, but that's what Renly said.

Basically I think, Bowen's mutiny is all about racism against the wildlings and nothing to do with vows.
Jeff R.
548. Maddy1990
I agree that I can understand why Bowen et al decided to assassinate Jon, from their point of view he is completely screwing up the Night's Watch, but that doesn't mean it isn't stupid - what do they expect to happen now? There is going to be complete chaos at the Wall now at the moment when that is exactly what they don't need. Jon letting the wildlings through is SMART and logical - better to have them on side than have to fight them as wights, but he needed to try harder to sell his men on it, he has allies in people like Satin, Pyp and Grenn but chooses not to use them, and like his father doesn't seem to understand how real politics works - you need to have allies, you can't just go it alone no matter how justified or honourable you think you are. Jon definitely made mistakes, but the inherent idea of letting the wildlings through is not one of them in my opinion.
Jeff R.
549. Gold for Petyr
548. Maddy1990:

That's the Ned Stark school of management. Send your allies away. Become distant. Ignore warnings. Support Stannis. Repeat until murdered.
Jeff R.
550. o.m.
I got myself Legends I and II and Warriors I, but it seems there is no Dunk&Egg in Legends II. What did I do wrong?
Rob Munnelly
551. RobMRobM
@550 - The Sworn Sword should be there.

Edit - looks like a publisher split Legends II into two parts in 2004. You may have gotten one of these and picked up the "wrong" part. Should be in Dragon, Sword and King part.
George Jong
552. IndependentGeorge
That's the Ned Stark school of management. Send your allies away. Become distant. Ignore warnings. Support Stannis. Repeat until murdered.
That. Is. AWESOME!
Basically I think, Bowen's mutiny is all about racism against the wildlings and nothing to do with vows.
I disagree. The racism is a large part of it, but the fact that he's in tears when he betrays Jon makes me believe it was his allegiance to the Watch that pushed him over the edge.
Jeff R.
553. Maddy1990
@549 Haha very true! I didn't even think about the fact that they are both Stannis supporters - clearly not a good idea ...
David Goodhart
554. Davyd
Well, that was awfully satisfying. And, as much as I am loathe to admit it, I have never read the novellas, so I better get on that before 12/5!
George Jong
555. IndependentGeorge
Well, that was awfully satisfying. And, as much as I am loathe to admit it, I have never read the novellas, so I better get on that before 12/5!

Neither have I - I had been waiting for them to be compiled into a single collection, but I've got a lot of travel coming up for the holidays and anthologies are pretty handy when you expect to get interrupted. Decisions, decisions.
Jeff R.
556. Gold for Petyr
555. IndependentGeorge:

Oh come on, you don't like the Greyjoy Chapters, Hello, Euron, is so fucking awesome.

Also COK might be my favorite book. Its just so full of possibility. By the time you get to SOS Theon is defeated, Stannis is defeated, Renly is dead, Tyrion is out of power. In some ways COK might be the best book.
Chris Nelly
557. Aeryl
I like Asha's chapters, the rest of the Greyjoys can take a long walk off a short pier for all I care.
Chris Nelly
558. Aeryl
Ooops duplicate
Jeff R.
559. Gold for Petyr
552. IndependentGeorge

Oh also, its the racism that makes Bowen think inviting in wildlings is betraying the watch, Its often noted that Bowen's anger traces back to his battle with the weeper on the Bridge of Skulls. Unlike the rangers who have a broad experience with the wildlings on their own terms, Marsh is a steward had stayed safe behind the wall before his one brush with battle.
Rob Munnelly
560. RobMRobM
Yes, I agree the driving force for mutiny against Jon is his position bringing the historic enemies, the wildlings, to this side of Wall. They don't care about the rest even though the rest is Jon's real treason.
Jeff R.
561. zambi76
I can tolerate Asha, Theon and even creepy Aeron chapters but Victarion (& Euron) is total Greyjoy overkill I'm sorry.

And ADWD is indeed a big fat mess that wasn't even finished FFS.
GRRM should have gone with 3-3-3 books for his three acts (instead of the initally planned 1-1-1, I think.
Chris Nelly
562. Aeryl
I really enjoyed ADWD. And I LOVED where it ended, it was the perfect conclusion. The book was all about bringing these characters to the realizations they needed to reach, and not telling the audience what conclusion was reached, was brilliant.
Jeff R.
563. zambi76
Oh, the epilogue was brilliant but it wasn't supposed to be there but 2000 or so pages later. Except the publishers finally went: FU George! ADWD will be out in 2011 or bust. AFFC+ADWD (with the rest of it that will now be in TWOW the first book of the third act) should have been three books of their own, is all I'm saying.
Jeff R.
564. Gold for Petyr
560. RobMRobM:

Meh, I'm sure Stannis would say its treason not to help him. Damned if you do damned if you don't.
Michael Duran
565. MRHD
As far as Sansa goes, I do think she is very naive due to living such a sheltered life, although not stupid. She catches on quickly to the fact that Lyn Corbray was bought off my Littlefinger to cause a scene, for instance. She also shows a lot of skill in manipulating Sweetrobin herself. Certainly, I think she is becoming less naive and more savvy.

That said, she is prone to making errors that could cost her, and isn't as deft at the game as others yet. The biggest error, I think, being knowing that the bastard son of Eddard Stark Myranda Royce was talking about was named Jon Snow. She was warned to be careful around Myranda, and I have a feeling this slip will come back to bite her at some point.
Jeff R.
566. Gold for Petyr
565. MRHD:

Yeah, though you'd think everyone would know Ned's bastards name in the Eryie, he and Robert grew up there. I mean Robert's bastard is right there with them. And people seem to think Ned's bastard's mother is from the Vale, the fingers.
Jeff R.
567. Maddy1990
I am definitely not a Greyjoy fan (especially Victarion 'my brother raped my wife so I had to kill her' Greyjoy), although I don't mind Asha, and the Theon chapters in ADWD were masterful and heartbreaking even if I don't particularly like his character, but I think it's important to show their POVs since they are important players in this story. I liked AFFC and ADWD - especially as an exploration of the complete shitstorm and repurcussions from what happened in ASOS, although I feel like I am one of the few people who liked AFFC more than ADWD, but maybe that's because I really liked batshit crazy Cersei being a terrible ruler, and think Dorne is awesome
Jeff R.
568. Gold for Petyr
567. Maddy1990:

Fuck that shit, Euron did not rape Victarion's wife. There is zero fucking evidence of that shit. Can't you just enjoy the books George wrote without making shit up that's not in there?
Sasha P
569. AeronaGreenjoy
@567: I love AFFC too, and have encountered few people who do, only those who dislike it but hate ADWD more. Aside from adoring Aeron (he's a git but otherwise basically me), I agree with all of your points. Greyjoys, Old Town, Dorne, Braavos, Brienne, Cersei...yeehaw.
Stefan Mitev
570. Bergmaniac
IMO AFFC is way better than ADWD, it isn't even close. ADWD has the brilliant Theon arc and a few other high quality chapters, but the rest is pretty average, some of it really boring. I'd take any Brienne chapter any day of the week over most of Tyrion's travelogue in ADWD or Jon being tedious as usual. AFFC is also better stylistically for the most part, much more thematically consistent IMO.
Bridget McGovern
571. BMcGovern
Gold for Petyr @ 568: I'll ask you once again to please be more respectful of other commenters and keep this discussion civil. There's no need at all to be abusive or rude, here, when expressing your opinions.
Sasha P
572. AeronaGreenjoy
Aaaand enter that troublesome moon tea, whose inconsistent presence long puzzled me. If there's such an available and effective way to prevent and end pregnancies,why are bastards so ubiquitous? Why don't whores drink it daily and rape victims seek it out? Moon tea facilitated Lysa's sad situation, served as key "evidence" in Cersei's accusations against Margaery, and allowed Arianne to fatally seduce Arys, Asha to be freely sexual, Cersei to deny Robert heirs (unless she was "cleansed" by some other means), and Sybell to (as theorized) prevent Jeyne from getting pregnant by Robb. But when The Plot needs a bastard or five, the stuff is nowhere in evidence. GRRM has the right to use any plot device when and only when he chooses, of course, but it makes some developments hard to explain.

@570: I found ADWD not so much boring as unrelentingly and unprecedentedly grim and gory. I enjoyed Tyrion's travels, except the brothel scene, but hated the early Theon and later Victarion chapters, while Dany's time in Meereen was (literally) shitty until ended by draco ex machina, and all despair continues to break loose there. Blargle, as Leigh would say.
Michael Duran
573. MRHD
@569: I've appreciated AFfC more on re-reads. After eagerly anticipating it after Storm I found it a let-down on my first read. It's definitely slower paced. But I found it much better on my recent third read of the book, because there is a lot of background detail, history and nuance in the book that is a lot more appreciated once you have a more in-depth understanding of the series. Also, Cersei's chapters are pure gold.
Eric McCabe
574. Zizoz
Maybe moon tea is expensive/hard to obtain and thus only available to nobles? The only bastard I can recall with a noble mother is Edric Storm. (And possibly Jon Snow, of course.)
Jeff R.
575. Gold for Petyr
571. BMcGovern:

I wasn't being abusive or rude, that's how I normally talk. I just mean "i disagree" I just think saying "fuck that shit" is more colorful and interesting.
Jeff R.
576. Gold for Petyr
572. AeronaGreenjoy:

There are two types of teas. Tansy Tea causes an abortion while Moon Tea prevents pregnancy.
Jeff R.
577. Maddy1990
@568 It's OK, I get that you disagree but I wouldn't say there is 'zero' evidence. I don't have books in front of me at the moment so just looked at the wiki
which states that "After the rebellion's end, Victarion continued to serve as Lord Captain faithfully. His brother, Euron, seduced and impregnated Victarion's third wife, which drove Victarion to beat her to death to retain his honor. Only the taboo against kinslaying kept Victarion from killing Euron. He has not married since, nor has he forgiven Euron, who was forced into exile by Balon" So fair enough the text suggests it was consensual (but we don't know this for sure) - so honest mistake but I wasn't intentionally 'making shit up' but regardless KILLING your own wife is an overreaction, and is completely fucked up. I always got the impression that he didn't even bother to find out the specifics of it, and for all he knows she didn't consent, and at the very least had limited agency and power compared to Euron. I will freely admit that I absolutely cannot stand Victarion as a character and I find him very difficult to read. While I don't like Cersei and Theon I can at least find some empathy and understanding for their actions, but Victarion is one of the POV characters that I hate being inside the mind of. Sorry, but fuck the Greyjoys.
Jeff R.
578. Gold for Petyr
577. Maddy1990:

I wasn't defending Victarion, only Euron. The thing you have to understand about Victarion is he's really really stupid. Like super fucking stupid. So... you can empathize with him cause he's so stupid he can barely even understand other people's motivations. Victarion thinks he has to kill his wife. He thinks has to reject Asha's offer to be his Hand, He thinks he has to obey Euron, Victarion lacks critical thinking skills.

He's like the Iron Born equivalent of Aerys Oakheart, he has a code, he lives by his code, he doesn't contemplate his code.
Bridget McGovern
579. BMcGovern
575. Gold for Petyr

Clearly you are capable of expressing yourself in a less aggressive and offensive way, and I am asking you to do so, as a moderator. This is the last time I am asking; here is the Moderation Policy--I would refer to you to points 1, 4, and 5 in particular. Your posts regularly come off as hostile and disrespectful to other commenters, whether that is your intention or not, so please abide by our community standards or find another forum for your opinions.
Jeff R.
580. Gold for Petyr
579. BMcGovern

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.
Bridget McGovern
581. BMcGovern
580. Gold for Petyr

Given the multiple complaints I've had about your behavior from commenters and bloggers, I don't believe that I am. It's too bad that we couldn't come to an agreement, but the policy exists for a reason.
Scott Silver
582. hihosilver28
Sounds like I'm one of the few people who enjoys Victarion (terrible person though he is). He was one of my favorite characters to read.

@Gold for Petyr
Tone is nearly impossible to convey through text. So, while it may come off as a "friendly jest", we are unable to do anything but literally read what you're saying. Which is why your comments come across as more aggressive than you are intending to most (including myself) who read them.
Rob Munnelly
583. RobMRobM
GFP - I appreciate your imagination and vigorous advocacy for your positions but, yes, I also wish you would moderate your tone. It's getting in the way of enjoyment of the substance of your posts.

Euron and Victarion - interesting set of brothers. Euron is vile and scary - we don't know yet what he is capable of, but taking Euron's wife in Iron Price manner is scummy, whether voluntary on her part or not (as I fear). I wouldn't say that Vicatarion is dumb but I would say he is single minded. He focuses on his tasks and seeks to accomplish them. He's not above some subterfuge - he plans to marry Dany himself rather than save her for Euron - but you get the sense that he doesn't have the playing several moves ahead capabilities that Euron has. In sum, Victarion's cunning plan is likely to fail for some reason.
Adam S.
584. MDNY
As RobM said, Victorian is very direct, whereas Euron is wily and cunning. I'm not sure I would say that Victorian is stupid, however. He's just limited in his imagination. But his later actions (like taking on the red priest Moqorro, and aiming to marry Dany himself) indicate an ability to adapt and attempt to manipulate things to his own advantage. Ned wasn't stupid, either, but his inabiity to adapt, plus his trust of LF, led to his demise.
Victorian's moves in ADWD indicate an attempt to manipulate events as Euron did, by binding the dragons and Dany to him. If he succeeds, he would be more powerful than Euron could ever hope to be.
Bottom line, I don't agree with those who assert that Victorian is stupid. However, I do agree that I don't like either Euron or Victorian-though Euron is clearly more despicable since he doesn't even abide by the laws/customs of his own savage culture.
Chris Nelly
585. Aeryl
I think Victarion's chapters in ADWD are only in there to get us concerned for Dany, but she'll fry him into roasted squid as soon as he arrives, IMO. Plus, I doubt Maqorro would let him imprison her with the horn, even if he could.
Sasha P
586. AeronaGreenjoy
According to AWoIaF, moon tea and tansy tea are the same thing. In any case, its availability seems spotty. Other bastards with highborn mothers include Tyrion (son of Lollys), Nymeria Sand, and Aegon IV's Great Bastards. How did that happen? Asha learned its making from a woods witch, so it isn't a trade secret of maesters either. It was apparently unobtainable for Ramsay's mother (too bad!!) and camp followers like Redgrass Jenny, but should still be more prevalent. It may be costlier in cities where the herbs are less common, but I would've expected high-end brothels like Chataya's (where Barra was born) to make the investment.

Victarion's ADWD chapters didn't make me fear for Dany, but for everyone else in his path. Euron is a vicious sadist, but so cheerfully and imaginatively so that I find him easier to read about than Victarion, even if I don't want to be within ten miles of either. Maybe this would change if we had a POV window into his twisted mind. Victarion just goes around killing people because he thinks he should, and I eagerly hope he'll become a dragon's lunch. Sometime before that, though, we'll have the pleasure of watching Leigh cuss out both boys. She'll hate Aeron, too, but I'll forgive her.
Rob Munnelly
587. RobMRobM
Based on house of undying prophecy, seems pretty clear that Victarion is going to succeed at marrying Dany. Grey man in a ship - bride of death lines.
Chris Nelly
588. Aeryl
@586, And plenty of women who have easy access to abortion still choose to keep unplanned pregnancies. I don't think anything more is being said about the use and prevalance of Moon Tea, it's inconsistency of use is just Martin showing us that opinions about keeping pregnancies are just as varied in Westeros as they are in our world. Some of these noble women may belong to strict families who want them to carry the shame of fathering bastards. Other women may be desperate for a child. And others are like Lysa, desperate to keep the child but forced to abort anyway.

In addition, while it works, it also seems like it has harmful side effects, looking at Lysa's inability to concieve. But that could be because she hid her pregnancy until it was damaging to abort, but Hoster didn't care, and women like Jeyne Westerling and Margaery Tyrell, who take it the onset of their cycle may not suffer such side effects.
Scott Silver
589. hihosilver28
Rob, the page for that chapter doesn't list bride of death among the lines (granted it's a summary), but can you remember what the line says? They say it may be about Jon Connington.
Chris Nelly
590. Aeryl
Grey man in a ship makes more sense for JonCon than Victarion, IMO. If I had to select the "greyest" Greyjoy I'd go with Aeron anyways.
Rob Munnelly
591. RobMRobM
Bride of death is the line following, which is the pattern for all HUD prophecies.

From an analysis site:

7) Dany’s horse trotting towards a stream at night, a corpse on the prow of a ship “grey lips smiling sadly”, a blue rose in a wall of ice. “Bride of death”.
The “bride of death” part suggests that these are three of Daenerys’ husbands, all of whom will die. The horse almost undoubtedly represents Khal Drogo. The corpse on the ship is more of a *ahem* grey area. The grey lips smiling sadly could mean Greyjoy, and we all know Victarion is on his way to her by ship.

Could be JonCon - given his incipient greyscale - but he's not as tied to ships as Vic and and Vic is getting closer to dead as he approaches Dany by ship. As the old expression says, the race goes not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet. I'm betting on Vic.
Chris Nelly
592. Aeryl
But on a ship is where we meet him, and unlike Vic, he IS a corpse. Walking, talking, breathing and wishing, but still a corpse.

Plus, Jon Snow is obvs the blue rose on the Wall, and the thought of Dany and Jon is ICKICKICKICKICKICK.

More likely, to me at least, is that these are the people who will lead her to where she needs to go, not necessarily people she will marry. Drogo to her dragons, Vic to Westeros, Jon to the Others, where she will become "Bride of Death" by killing a lot of shit. Plus, I didn't see Hizdahr in there. So the prophecy knew she'd stay in Meereen, because she'll meet Vic there, but it didn't know about the husband she'd likely have to kill to escape? So I doubt that "bride of death" is meant to be a literal interpretation.

Which means Victarion is coming for her, but won't get to marry her.
Scott Silver
593. hihosilver28
Aeryl, why does Dany & Jon give you the howling fantods?
Chris Nelly
594. Aeryl
Too closely related, and a desire to see the end of heriditary monarchies in Westeros. If Dany and Jon do get together and Dany's infertility is "cured" then it's pretty much a validation of the worst things Viserys believed.
Rob Munnelly
595. RobMRobM
@594 - Fire and Ice, baby. Same with Rhaegar/Lyanna, Rhillor/Scary evil god north of the Wall, Dragons/Direwolves (or Dragons/Others, take your pick). Maybe Bran and Mel FTW!
Chris Nelly
596. Aeryl
But Jon is Fire and Ice, he doesn't need Dany to complete the set. If Jon is not the son of Lyanna Stark by Rhaegar, then it doesn't bother me. But if he's not, he's not the blue rose at the Wall either.
Jeff R.
597. bookworm1398
End of heriditary monarchies? I think you are reading the wrong series.

I don't see Dany/Jon together either. The only reason would be thinking, well we are Targs, we have to marry each other. Jon would not think that, he does not show much tendency to do anything just because it is tradition. Dany still thinks conservatively when she thinks about Westeros, but in actual actions so far she is more a radical revolutionary. So once she gets to Westeros, I think she will start looking at things differently.
Sasha P
598. AeronaGreenjoy
Ironborn are water, not Ice or Fire. Where might they fit into the dichotomy? Vic has allied with Fire and Euron intends to, but Aeron and his followers may be less willing to take sides. I like to imagine that Aeron will have a theological shouting match with Mel before he and Patchface go off to become the Drowned God's most effective missionary duo ever, but I'm not holding my breath on it (har har).
Jeff R.
599. Maddy1990
I think it would be weird if Dany and Jon got together. I hope they meet and team up to defeat the Others, or maybe even have some kind of antagonistic relationship, but them getting together and taking the iron throne would be super cliched. I kind of like Dany/ Jorah now - except in my head I imagine Jorah looking like Iain Glen and Dany being the same age as Emilia Clarke so it's not as creepy because I always get super icked out when I remember how old she is in the books, but that's a random tangeant.
Jakub Wrobel
600. ptyx
Don't know what site you are quoting, but there seems to be a mistake there.
The exact quote from ACOK is:
"A corpse stood at the prow of a ship, eyes bright in his dead face, grey lips smiling sadly. A blue flower grew from a chink in a wall of ice, and filled the air with sweetness…. mother of dragons, bride of fire"
Rob Munnelly
601. RobMRobM
ptyx - I don't have my book with me but several references, including the one I used and the Tower of the Hand, say it is bride of death.

EDIT - I also, however, note that Steven Halter used the bride of fire quote in his comments on the HoD comments on this re-read. I don't know what's up.
Chris Nelly
602. Aeryl
@597, Really? So all the continued additions of other forms of self government, Dany's deliberate barrenness, the incest and resulting chaos from that, these aren't indicators that this world needs to change it's ways. Good to know.
Don Barkauskas
603. bad_platypus
@600, 601: My copy of the book (Bantam trade paperback from June 2002) also has "bride of fire."
Rob Munnelly
604. RobMRobM
If it's really bride of fire (and it may well be), likelihood appears to increase that it's Victarion rather than JonCon - given V's new deep involvement with Rhillor and associated fire magic.
Chris Nelly
605. Aeryl
Or it's an indicator that she won't get married for love again, because her true love is conquering with fire and blood.
Jeff R.
606. bookworm1398
Aeryl, The world may need to change its ways, but there is nothing to indicate that it will do so. Even the outlaws, Beric's group, justify themselves by saying they are doing it in the name of the king. Varys says he is helping the smallfolk by introducing a better king, not changing the institution. The head septon wants the lords to follow to law, that is closest we have to anyone wanting to change the system.
I just don't see how a different form of government could be realistically introduced, first you need to convince people that "laws are laws not guidelines", and that "might=/= right" and thats got to take atleast a generation.
Amy Hajny
607. calicodisko
my ASOIF 5-book bundle ( nook ebook) also says Bride of fire.
Rob Munnelly
608. RobMRobM
@ 606. Why do I keep thinking of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie during this discussion? "Bloody peasant!" "Help, I'm being oppressed."
Chris Nelly
609. Aeryl
@606, Yes, but the existence of democratically elected rulers in Essos is an indication that it's not unheard of in this world. It won't be anything we'll see the effects of, but yes I firmly believe this series will end with the dissolution of hereditary monarchy, somehow or another.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
610. AlirozTheConfused
I love how there are horses in this series that can run for almost two days without getting tired (apparently in Dorne). I also love how there are vibrant purple insects that suck blood, how there are basilisks, dragon-like creatures that breathe fire and bore through rock, lizard-lions, giant ice spiders; and of all these creatures, who does Martin focus his series on?

The humans.

Gosh-darn spotlight-stealing humanity continues to take up all the pages and be terrible all over the place (yes, there are people like Dolorous Edd; but does he get his own POV chapters?).

I think that the series should end with the lizard lions and giant ice spiders allying with the fire-breathing-not-dragons and basilisks and taking over the world with the help of the purple bloodsuckers; and then those species get to run Planetos, and do a better job of it than humanity.

Because none of you even would see that coming.
Sasha P
611. AeronaGreenjoy
Ahahaha, yessss. Add some krakens, of the eight-armed variety. And squishers, which exist because I said so, nyah nyah. And now I'll start calling that world Planetos, too.

Two cross-referenced lists of confirmed and possibly-mythical ASOIAF wildlife:
Rob Munnelly
612. RobMRobM
Hi Ms. McGovern - happy Thanksgiving and a gentle reminder that it is just about time to open up the next Spoiler thread before our computers explode.
Bridget McGovern
613. BMcGovern
Hi, Rob--hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too! I've definitely told the production guys that we need to start a new thread with the next post, so help is on the way :) Thanks!
Bridget McGovern
616. BMcGovern
THE DREADED DOUBLE POST!!! Sorry about that :) I promise to stop making your computers explode, right now!
Faiz Imam
617. FaizImam
So, it just occured to me, is Leigh going to do a SOS retrospective?

For the previous 2 books she did a formal post looking back at what happened, re-reading her previous thoughts and poking fun at herself and such.

But based on what she said last week, we are heading straight to THK.

What's the plan?
Jeff R.
618. dpt24
Most likely democracy isn't coming to Westeros, but I wouldn't dismiss it completely. Two key points. First is that there are a lot of forms of what I would call "More Representational Goverments" and not all of them have to include everyone. The second is to look at the English Civil Wars/Revolution. No one there wanted to abolish monarchy until they did. On top of that it is totally possible to get a more representational goverment while still perseving a monarchy. RE: United Kingdom.

It would be pretty shocking for Westeros to see USA style democracy in the current series. But it is worth remembering that Republic/Democracies existed in Europe in the ancient world (Athens, Rome, Carthage, various Gallic tribes, ect.) and were quite common place so to get something somewhat representational doesn't have to result in a complete revolution of society. Again not saying it is likley just that it would be possible. Also it should be remembered that there were City-States in the Middle Ages that had some sort of election/council or other alternative to complete monarchy.

The fact that there hasn't been much movement towards democracy/republicism doesn't mean it couldn't happen either. I would suggest listening to Mike Duncan's Revolution Podcast which is covering the English Revolution (English Civil War, think Oliver Cromwell). The fact is until right before they actually did it no one was planning on killing the king or removing monarchy. Sometimes events can move really rapidly and things that were once unthinkable become reality. With all of the crazy things going on in Westeros who knows what might happen? After all Joffery wanted to create the New Model Army.

I guess what I could see happening is some sort of Parliment/council of lords which meets and has real power. In real life the big power is/was that this group was the one allowed to levy taxes. The King wasn't allowed to tax on his own. The House of Commons wasn't originally about commoners it was about people who weren't Lords but owned land. So the Knights, merchants, and other land owning people (Plus some sons of lords or relatives which would be like someone such as Kevan Lannister being in it). The House of Lords was exactly what it sounds like although in England it also included some Bishops. Vary's comments at the very end of ADWD does make me wonder a little bit since they seem to be wanting something beyond just the right to rule. That would be a big change and a step towards democratization without being too jaring or radical. It's not the end of lordships, kings, or peasantry but it is a major step towards preventing another Mad King.
Chris Lough
619. TorChris
Now that A Storm of Swords is concluded, we've opened up a fresh spoiler post for everyone. This one's closed for business (but not for posterity!) so get thee hence!
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