Thu
Dec 5 2013 2:00pm

Spoiler Thread for A Read of Ice and Fire, Part 5!

Welcome to Part 5 of the Song of Ice and Fire thread, in conjunction with Leigh Butler’s fabulous Read of Ice and Fire. (The first, second, third, and fourth threads are now massive, but you can read through them at your leisure.) 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.

1059 comments
Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
Should I start by saying "First!" or "Hodor!"

I don't see any spoiler re Aemonn here. Egg's future is discussed by Aemonn in detail in FFC, not at this point in the story (unless I've forgotten something).

I'm a bit surprised she hasn't guessed Aegon for Egg's name, but we'll cut her some slack on that one.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
2. AlirozTheConfused
Am I the only one who vastly prefers The Hedge Knight to the main series?
Michael Duran
3. MRHD
Well, there is the passage in Game of Thrones where Aemon goes into detail about his family history and mentions how he is the son of Maekar and his brother succeeded to the throne. Then later it is mentioned by LC Mormont how Aemon was the third son and could have been king but refused to let his younger brother Aegon rule instead. Still, if Leigh isn't piecing together that the brother is Aemon, then I really doubt she'd then remember all that ancient Targ history she read in passing years ago. So I personally wouldn't consider it a spoiler.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
4. AlirozTheConfused
Egg, Baelor, Maekar; we get to see non-awful Targaesoijgapsijapans.

In the main series, we only see Aemon.

In the Dunk and Egg series, we learn of bookish Aerys who was decent enough to not do incest and loved books and knew how to grow a beard, crazy awesome Rhaegel who ran around naked through his castle, brilliant and wise Baelor and the amazing Maekar who was awesome and had two awesome kids, one kinda lame kid, two kids we don't even get to really see, and a terrible kid.

So yeah, the kids of Dareon II seem to be more awesome than is statisically likely.
Michael Duran
5. MRHD
@4: Hey, I see what you did there! Trying to stir up trouble. I know a LOT of fans will disagree with you on that one. ...after all, a lot of people think Viserys' soul had been crushed by humiliation and fear, and that you can't really blame him for how he turned out.
KingsGambit
6. KingsGambit
@4 I think you forget Dany, unless you have a minority opinion on her awful/awsomeness

I agree that Aemon being the third brother isn't a spoiler. I'm not sure Leigh will catch on to that before aFfC without us telling her, though. Book 1 is a long time ago. Stannis did mention Aemon's last name, but not his relation to the rest of the family.

Leigh wrote that Dunk lied when he gave his name as Ser Duncan the Tall. From the context, I'm not sure if she means if the lie is in the Ser, the Duncan or the nickname. Maybe all of the above. We don't actually know that any of it is a lie, do we? Or does Dunk admit to himself that he makes up the nickname?

We get another hint later that he's probably not knighted, but even without mentioning that hint, I guess questioning the 'ser' part is a spoiler as well, if Leigh didn't question that herself?
Michael Duran
7. MRHD
@6: Well, we see in Dunk's thoughts that he doesn't even know if Dunk stands for Duncan or not, and he definitely makes up "the Tall" nickname on the spot, so she could mean either of those. She hasn't speculated about the ser thing, so I would assume she hasn't questioned that as of yet.
KingsGambit
8. KingsGambit
@7: thanks, I didn't remember that
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
9. AlirozTheConfused
Okay, Viserys had his neice the baby Rhanys killed and that would make anyone go sad and get all soul-crushed.

Also, I could go on for hours on how awful that stupid, stupid, STUPID gold-melting thing was.

But we didn't get to see Viserys do anything particularly awesome. Can't blame Viserys for how that turned out, I agree.

Danaerys I dislike mostly because of how she loves Khal Drogo, who I really despise.
KingsGambit
10. bookworm1398
What's wrong with the gold melting scene? Next you'll be saying that Damphair was wrong when he said "if he was drowned, no blood was shed" :-)
KingsGambit
11. AsbjornGV
I think you guys should stop saying "Egg's future" in the main thread. Use "future story" or something instead. Knowing Egg has an important future might clue her in, considering kingship is the most logical narrative choice for his story-arc.

Also, can we all agree beforehand not to tell her how Aerion dies?
KingsGambit
12. KingsGambit
There could be a spoiler over in the non-spoiler thread: #20 mentioning Loras & Renly that was not picked up by Leigh.

Not sure if that still counts because Renly has been dead for more then a book and iirc won't be mentioned again.

I'll agree with #11, mostly because I don't remember :)
Scott Silver
13. hihosilver28
@12
She already figured it out. She discusses it in the recap part where Loras tells Jaime that they were "...praying" the night before Renly died. Basically, somehow the surprise did get ruined for her.
Chris Nelly
14. Aeryl
@12, Leigh has addressed that she now knows about Renly & Loras, mainly because people were dropping too many hints, so talking about it isn't considered a spoiler anymore.
KingsGambit
15. zambi76
She got L&R after much prodding and "We ... we had prayed together that night", KingsGambit. And Renly will feature plenty (for a dead guy) in AFFC, via Brienne and via Cersei's insane musings.
KingsGambit
16. KingsGambit
@13 through 15: ah, I obviously missed that.

I did read up on Aerion's death. Not sure what that spoils and how: the story was told in book two and while I don't remember the details of the next two D&E stories, I'm pretty sure I would have remembered if that featured in one of them.

Nice one, though: "He drank a jar of wildfire after telling his friends it would transform him into a dragon, but the gods were kind and it transformed him into a corpse".

That entire exchange between Jon and Mormont pretty much covers who's who in THK and what happens to them, including the 'tourney mishap' that's central to D&E itself.
Bill Stusser
17. billiam
The funny thing is that people who come up with fancy ways to say names, like pronouncing ae as 'ay-ee' or g as in 'generation' probably had (or will have) a harder time figuring out who Egg is. Since I had always read the name Aegon as 'egg on' the nickname was a dead give away.

As far as I can tell there aren't any spoilers in THK, as far as the family trees go, for someone who paid attention to that stuff in AGoT.

Also, the jury is still out on which side the coin landed on concerning Dany. While I like her (but agree with the hate for Drogo the child molester) and don't think she has done anything too crazy so far (I know some fans will disagree with that statement), sometimes she is a little too "I will take what is mine by BLOOD and FIRE and CAPSLOCK!". Hopefully she won't go off the deep end before the end of the story.
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
I'm on Team Dany, at least as shown in books! Jury still at least somewhat out on TV Dany.
C R L
19. Maac
I would never have made the Aegon-Egg connection left to my own devices. I'm definitely a reader who hears the words in my head as I go, and the "ae" sound (I can't make the letters overlap on my computer to denote a single sound) is closer to "ay" than the "eh" of "egg" in my native accent. It's startling how much those tiny vowel variations can influence one's perception.
KingsGambit
20. AsbjornGV
True, Aerion's death (and Baelor's and all the others') has already been mentioned. But Leigh clearly doesn't remember it. Mentioning it now would just take a lot of the tension out of the tourney scene.
KingsGambit
21. Crusader75
By the rules that had been previously establised in similar situations, hinting at the third brother's identity is a spoiler if Leigh has not twigged onto it by herself. It's not that hard to figure out who he is if the hints make her realize he's still alive in the main series.
KingsGambit
22. Bungo
Also, can we all agree beforehand not to tell her how Aerion dies?
FFS, Can we all agree beforehand not to tell her ANYTHING?

All this "but it's not really a spoiler, because it was mentioned once about 3000 pages ago" bullshit has to stop.
KingsGambit
23. Lyanna Mormont
What Bungo said.

Leigh has repeatedly asked not to have anything "helpfully" explained or pointed out to her. She wants to put it all together herself. Why on earth would anyone who claims to enjoy her Read deny her that right?
Matt Fimbulwinter
24. curgoth
Argh. It's been years since I read THK, so I had compeltely forgotten who the third son was. Except, my subconscious obviously hadn't since I decided to use him for my example of bloody ae pronunciations.
Michael Duran
25. MRHD
Just finished my re-read of the Hedge Knight for the read, and the name of the third son will be mentioned in the very next section of the story.

For Potential White-Out: post #30 on the non-spoiler thread mentions the fact that Duncan might not be a knight. The biggest hints towards that conclusion are in the second half of the story, so might it not be better to leave Leigh in the dark about such speculation, at least until next week?

Also, @11, point taken: I changed my mention of Egg's future to a more generic Targaryen history.

Anyways, it will be more rewarding in Feast for Crows if Leigh doesn't learn Egg's future before then, since Aemon talks about how Egg ascended to the Iron Throne when he sees Jon for the last time. We also have the part where Aemon is dying and mistakes Sam for Egg in his delirium. Was definitely a good idea for her to read these first.
Bridget McGovern
26. BMcGovern
Hi, all--just a note to say that given the confusion about spoilers (and potential gray areas, hints, etc), I just went through and whited out anything that could be remotely considered spoilerish or hint-ish. I'd already advised Leigh to ignore the thread until she's finished the story, since making our way through these shorter pieces may be a bit trickier than tackling the novels themselves (at least in terms of discussing the connections between D & E and later events/characters in the books). I think she'll appreciate the chance to make connections at her own pace, and in the meantime, discussing the things that she hasn't gotten to or hasn't realized yet can be tackled here in the spoiler thread. Thanks!
Rob Munnelly
27. RobMRobM
I'm glad we've been avoiding the big spoilers that Leigh has read about when Jaime was reading the White Book of the Kingsguard but (understandably) hasn't remembered - that Egg becomes Aegon V and Duncan the Tall eventually becomes a great knight and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons that Leigh should not watch the TV show. Spoilers abound as to points covered in FFC or later. For example, Old Nan in season 1 asks Bran if he wants to hear stories of Ser Duncan the Tall, which she said were his favorites. (He responds that his favorites were the scary stories.) This would give her a clue that Dunk became a famous knight.

By the way, BM, thanks for your noble efforts at wiping the potential spoilers.
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
To be clear, I don't view fact that Dunk is not a true knight as a spoiler.

Once Arlen is dead, text says he contemplates finding another knight to squire for - implicitly acknowledging he was not a knight himself. Then the text says "Or else...." and he proceeds to act as if he had been knighted, since no one can gainsay him on that. All this becomes even clearer towards the end of THK when Dunk declines to knight the green apple Fossaway before the trial by seven - he doesn't want to taint Raymun by doing it himself.
Michael Duran
29. MRHD
@28: While true, Leigh hasn't made mention of it or speculated on it herself, which I would take to mean the implications of that passage didn't come through for her. As you say, it becomes far more obvious in the next part of the Hedge Knight, and personally I think it would be more fun to see her reactions from figuring it out herself rather than finding out from the comments. See: Loras & Renly reaction v. any of Leigh's "holy crap I just got that" reactions.
Antonio Dagnino
30. andaco
@26 BMcGovern
In this post I will explain why Leigh must read AFFC & ADWD independently instead of together.

I read ASOIAF & from the beginning I knew beforehand Ned died when I started Game, then knew Bran's dead will be faked at mid Clash, knew Robb & Cat were killed and resurrected at Storm. Why I read them? Because of the minor character arcs that weren't spoiled beforehand to me.
I started reading Leigh's blog mid Clash and it's nice to see her reactions because that's the only way I can enjoy these books without spoilers. So thanks a lot the people that hasn't let Leigh be spoiled.
Know I wanted to tell that Leigh should read the books in order because I made the stupid thing of reading AFFC & ADWD for the first time combined in the http://boiledleather.com/post/25902554148/a-new-reader-friendly-combined-reading-order-for-a version, and I can tell you for a first read is shit. If you really want to read them together https://docs.google.com/a/dwight.or.kr/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AqChU8L5ihy1dHdHWTBPNU02LVdTNUxJWjhydFFSX0E#gid=0. I would have enjoy more reading them independently.
About Feast, I liked it and also disliked it, but definitively is better going through all the dry meat and get a delicious Dragons dessert.

- Past this point, this is only my opinion on reading them the first time like this, if you are intereste -

I had heard so much Feast was shit, that I decided to mix it with good Dance, and, well Feast is slow, but is slower if you mix it with Dance as both books are thematically separate stories. By the end of the read I decided to leave Dance midway and finish Feast alone because it's cliffhangers were more intense than Dance, at that point. I haven't finish Dance, but I have past the point where Jaime and Cersei reaapear in Dance.
Those who say that the books has tons of parallellism and some chapters were meant to be together are epileptic trees. The ruling of Dany & Jon in comparision towards Cersei's may have some paralelism, but not more noticable for reading them together, and not hypersymbolic and meaningfull. I think there is more similarities between Bran's short rule at Winterfell than Cersei´s rule of King's Landing. Tyrion's, Bran's & Quentyn's journey have no paralelism towards Brienne's or Jaime's.
Feast is a good book, and despite less action intense than Dance, is better to read it alone, as it features Euron (the COOL BIG BAD), and I liked it, it's not that bad as everyone says, but has a long never ending fill POV chapters at the beginning, for god it takes 200 pages to get to a previously existing POV, and it's Samwell. But Cersei's arc is not a very entretaining to read, but pays off at the end. Who the hell said the Iron Islander's POVs were boring? Jaime's, Arya's, Alayne's & Dorne's storylines are great, are the heart of the book, creative and leave you wanting more. Greyjoy's and Samwell's, well, they are not masterpieces, but they are not dull. The problem with the book were the lead players Brienne & Cersei, Brienne takes a hundred pages to introduce you Cracklaw point journey, despirte her arc started with great promise and ended great, reading it felt like medicine.
And Cersei's, well, in every book of this series you got those boring political POVs that give you tons of details that only pay off at the end, such as Ned's in A Game Of Thrones & Tyrion's in Clash of Kings.
And also the writting lacks a little, too much description and detail plantation, less action and dialogue.
But in Dance, wow, all the story is thematically growing together, feels more like a story instead of many novels with chapters mixed. It is building up to something epic. Theon's arc and Jon's are well planned and fuck, everything in Essos seems as a epic-epic movie about slavery, revolution and the epic-epic war.
In my opinion. I highly recommend reading them as they were published.
Bridget McGovern
31. BMcGovern
Just for the record, it's my understanding that Leigh is sticking with her original plan to read all the novels according to their publication order. There are no plans to combine A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons.
Faiz Imam
32. FaizImam
Yeah. I don't think anyone other than us plebes ever considered a combined read a real possibility.

Still, really nice write-up. I apriciate your opinion.

I read Feast twice and Dance once. I speed read them each time, and have missed practically all the nuances and hints. Practically speakuing many of the things we've been talking about have been spoilers for me.

As we appraoch feast I'm wondering how to proceed.

Since about half way through Clash i've been following along with Leigh, keeping 1-3 chapters ahead. The combined read idea intregues me, but at the same time I feel like respecting GRRM and the editors choices on the matter.

Have others here read it that way? anyone else have an opinion?
Chris Nelly
33. Aeryl
Interesting thought I had last night.

Speculation about Jon, thinking back to Dany. Who thinks that maybe, the NW and Mel will put his body in a pyre, as is demanded by the presence of the Others, and that, like Dany, he will emerge from it whole?

There's always been speculation about the Targs and their possoble LITERAL relation to dragons, which are "fire made flesh". Well, knowing that, throwing Targ flesh on a flaming pyre seems like a somewhat logical form of healing, IMO.

Somewhat wilder speculation, what if Mel's entire purpose in being there, with Stannis to go to the Wall, is to be the "death that pays for life" atop the pyre. I think it plausible she'll recieve a vision while Jon is burning, showing her what she must do. And it'll be something sexual, I think the "sword" Lightbringer, may refer to a phallus, with the whole "plunging into the body of beloved".

So Mel may climb onto the burning pyre and take Jon's member into her body, which could then magically bring him back as Azor Ahai reborn.
Antonio Dagnino
34. andaco
@33 Aeryl
Haven't you read the Winds of Winter samples, that actually happens.
Or it must, it definitively is a Crowning Moment of Insane Awsome.
Eric Lesch
35. Eric Lesch
@34 andaco
I know this is the spoiler thread and all, but is it unreasonable to ask for no spoilers from unpublished books?
Faiz Imam
36. FaizImam
Ditto. I've ignored the exerpts from WOW thus far.
Antonio Dagnino
37. andaco
@35 Eric Lesch
Sorry, I was just joking, haven't even read the samples myself.
Rafael
38. Ryamano
Ressucitation by sex with a redhead in a flaming pyre. That would be a first. I can see HBO doing this scene and making it last 40 minutes just for the audience.
Eric Lesch
39. Eric Lesch
@37 andaco
Gotcha. Sorry I only skimmed Aeryl's post before yours and didn't realize how silly and unlikely it was.
Chris Nelly
40. Aeryl
Silly and unlikely? Really? These are stories where ee have a dead man walking around without a head, dragons born because a woman burned her husband's corpse, and ice monsters that reanimate the dead. What seems so bloody unlikely about my theory?
Scott Silver
41. hihosilver28
@RobMRobM
Who is Duncan in the Kingsguard? I don't remember that.
...
Wait...isn't it mentioned at the end of the third novella that Egg wanted Duncan in it? Now that you've mentioned it, my memory is jogged a bit...

@Aeryl
I don't think that's likely, but you do get kudos for coming up with something I hadn't considered. I still don't think Jon's dead or will die. But that's because Martin has cried "wolf" once too many for me to believe him.
Michael Duran
42. MRHD
@41: In the chapter where Jaime is going through Barristan's page in the White Book, it mentions how Barristan unhorsed Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Duncan the Tall at a tournament. The assumption is that Egg appointed him to the Kingsguard, although I think it is also possible that Maekar might have been the one to do so, considering Dunk was always hanging out with his only non-screwup non-maester son anyways and well liked by Egg.
Adam S.
43. MDNY
After becoming king, Egg appointed Dunk to the kingsguard, where he became the lord commander. Egg then sent bloodraven to the wall, where he became lord commander of the nightwatch (and later, maybe, the 3-eyed crow...) Dunk as a member of the kingsguard was already remaked on in one Jaime chapter in ASOS, and I believe Jaime reads further about Dunk in AFFC.
Rob Munnelly
44. RobMRobM
Yes, Dunk ended up as Lord Commander of Kingsguard. I'm betting on D and E 7 or so, whenever it gets written.

Bloodraven is unambiguously (as far as I am concerned) the three eyed crow Bran meets north of the wall. Physical description is identical plus his name (Brynden). As hand of King, Brynden was considered the great spymaster, with "1001 eyes" - he almost certainly was warging into birds, so this made complete sense.
Chris Nelly
45. Aeryl
Still haven't acquired these yet, so I'm not following along, but IIRC, didn't the three eyed crow imply he'd been there for hundreds of years at least? If he's a character in THESE books, that doesn't seem likely.
KingsGambit
46. dpt24
How is Leigh ever going to piece many of these things together? For instance she's long passed Jamie's references to Ser Duncan the Tall behind in the books, as well as other references to Egg and Aemon. I understand not wanting spoilers but... with such a spread out read unless she reviews her own notes/re-read how could anyone keep up with the huge numbers of theories, plots, and backstory? I'm pretty sure without looking up Dunk and Egg I wouldn't have guessed Duncan became the commander of the Kingsguard, or that Egg became King.
Scott Silver
47. hihosilver28
@46
I didn't get that Duncan became commander of the Kingsguard initially, but there's a chapter in AFfC that will unequivocally tell her that Egg became king. It's where Aemon is in the boat and he says something about remembering Egg and being sad about the memory and I'm pretty sure it's in reference to him being king.
Michael Duran
48. MRHD
@46: There's what @47 mentioned, which will let her know Egg becomes king (and a reaction I'm very much looking forward to) and in The Mystery Knight there is Daemon Blackfyre II's vision of Dunk as a member of the Kingsguard, which will clue her in to that.
Rafael
49. Ryamano
Bloodraven is most certainly the 3 eyed crow. Why else would he use the phrase "a thousand eyes and one"? One has to read the third Dunk and Egg novella, The mystery knight, to see that those words were used only when describing the time when Bloodraven was Hand of the King, hunting Blackfyre loyalists.
Rafael
50. Ryamano
I remember reading The Mystery Knight right before ADWD came out. When I saw the 3 eyed crow speaking about "a thousand eyes and one", his description and his name, I was totally "WTF! It's Bloodraven! How the heck did he survive into present times? He must be at least 150 years old by now! Oh yeah, magic. Right, forgot about that. And it'd figure that the one guy to have magical means to survive into present time would be Bloodraven, who was suspected of having magical powers even in Dunk and Egg times".

Can't wait for Leigh to have the same reaction. She's going to read The Mystery Knight before ADWD, right? Otherwise it's impossible to have this realization.
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
@50 - yes, TMK before ADWD.

In general, during AFFC, Aemon talks a lot about Egg and his tall knight friend. Leigh will follow those references closely now.
Faiz Imam
52. FaizImam
Also, can the Powers That Be nudge Leigh to go back and reread Jaime's Chapter where he goes through the book?

Should be helpful.

Also, will she do a retrospective/review of her SOS posts? Those are some of the most rewarding parts to read.

SOS was so long I think she could benifit from going back through them.
Sasha P
53. AeronaGreenjoy
Along with Tales of Chivalry Getting People Unnecessarily Killed, here are more alternate titles for the D & E books:

Misadventures of Boys with Big Hearts and Bigger Mouths

How a Street Urchin Repeatedly Clouted a Dragon Prince's Ear -- and Lived

A Clout in the Ear May Prevent a Weapon in the Vitals

Tales of Aegon the Unlikely and Duncan the Really Unlikely


Egg's travels remind me of Aegon VI's -- a prince roaming the land in disguise, learning the ways and experiences of smallfolk while training for virtuous kingship. The circumstances are very different, but I wonder if anyone working with Aegon VI knew/thought about the parallel. (This applies even if he's not the actual prince; I have no thoughts on that speculative debate)
Faiz Imam
54. FaizImam
I forgot about "Aegon the Unlikely"

the 4th son of a 4th son
Scott Silver
55. hihosilver28
So, I was absent from the threads over the weekend and I'm still a little disappointed with the main thread re: the discussion of Dunk as a "true" knight. I am vociferously in support of Leigh reading this series unspoiled and have made every attempt to do so in the comments that I leave on the main thread, even with something that is so far unsupported in the main books such as the R+L & A+J theories. But if we can't talk about what's in the text, then why do we have a comments thread? I actually am curious about that aspect. I thought that the concept of Dunk upholding the knightly ideals while possibly having lied about being knighted was a compelling thematic point to discuss, and one that is wholly contained within the text that was being discussed. It sometimes seems to me that we shouldn't have a comments section there at all, and just have the spoiler thread...which I would be fine with. I just don't know what I can discuss on the main thread. I honestly thought it would be fine since she mentions both scenes that have Dunk thinking about his knighting. I simply thought the "what if" discussion could have been interesting.
Faiz Imam
56. FaizImam
I think Dunk's lie is a special case and is somewhat unique vis a vis the comment policy.

It's a specific plot point that is subte, and unfortunately Leigh missed(or perhaps did not think was important enough to mention)

And yet it's such a fruitful point of conversation.

Personally, I don't see the problem with having a conversation in White out.

Just preface it with "Dunk talk" and write away sa much as you want.

Everyone who wishes can read, but Leigh knows to stay away.

It's not like posts get deleted or anything.
Rafael
57. Ryamano
@AeronaGreyjoy

I think Egg's tale of being raised not as usual for nobility was used to bolster False Aegon's claim. Such as in "look, we raised this guy like the last good king. He'll be awesome if you accept him". Of course, considering how history went, not even putting a commoner on the iron throne would actually guarantee a stable system. From Egg's reign to Aerys the Mad was just two generations. That's why I think Varys and Illyrio's motives are more selfish (they should know that putting a guy that was raised as a commoner in the throne wouldn't matter in the long term and wouldn't justify the bloodbath that's happened so far. So everything Varys said as Kevan Lannister was dying was just a lies). Probably False Aegon is a descendant of both the Blackfyre dynasty and a son of Illyrio, with Varys being a Blackfyre loyalist.
Rob Munnelly
58. RobMRobM
@55 - I agree with you, but it's not a sufficiently important point for me to go to war over. I see it as an issue of textual analysis that is blindingly obvious but not conclusively confirmed in the later books. Indeed, the same sort of textual issue arises in The Sworn Sword - the Lady asks directly if Arlen knighted Dunk and Dunk stammers and temporizes an incomplete response.

The problem we had on this issue in particular is that some readers took the public position that it should be considered a spoiler, which means the issue couldn't be conclusively resolved one way or another unless BM stepped in with a conclusive ruling, whicb understandably she is not willing to do. So, the safer course turned out to be to white it out and move on.
KingsGambit
59. Gregor Lewis
@55; 56; 58 -
As someone who inelegantly lost his temper over the matter, I will make one last attempt to calmly rationalise my ... disappointment.

More than the conceptual nuance, the issue of whether Dunk is actually a knight evokes, the key issue for me is the opportunity that was lost.

The Hedge Knight is a remarkable example of the Art of Short Fiction, juxtaposed with the evolution of the windy epic series. It was an opportunity to contrast just how cleverly GRRM changed gears, without sacrificing and perhaps actually heightening the level of nuance & detail bubbling under the surface.

It informed the tight story he wanted to tell, while offering grace notes for those who had read the first three books of the main sequence. The 'Is Dunk Truly a Knight?' references, wholly contained within the complete ambit of the story, were the perfect gateway for that.

Instead those references were an excuse for the commentary to devolve into what constitutes a spoiler and repeated references to Leigh Butler's playground.

The Ice & Fire Read has been reduced, for me, to a forlorn hope Leigh Butler comes up with a worthwhile zinger and trawling through empty praise and vacuous one-upmanship.

Where once it was a conduit to intelligent multi-faceted discussion, it has devolved into lazily inconsistent, chapter by chapter 'whine-skimming'. Of course, a story as rich and thoroughly well put together as The Hedge Knight was likely to expose that ... And so it has.

grl
Scott Silver
60. hihosilver28
@59-Gregor Lewis
I definitely don't blame Leigh for any of that though and I'll definitely continue to read her posts because they are intelligent and more than that, highly entertaining. I'm just disappointed that any deeper thematic discussion is immediately nixed if something is brought up that wasn't explicitly mentioned in the main post. Oh well.

I was also disappointed when people said go somewhere else to talk about this. Tor is where I want to be and has the people I want to get into discussions and debates. I also think that someone can bring something up that Leigh didn't without spoiling or winking at future events for her. I felt that this was one of those things and one that I hadn't thought much about initially until someone first brought it up in the post and I thought that thematic idea fascinating.

But apparently that wasn't/isn't the case. I don't see much of a compelling reason to comment on Leigh's posts at this point in time since the only form of expression allowed is simply reiterating what she says.
Sasha P
61. AeronaGreenjoy
I wonder how Leigh will handle the handfuls of backstory strewn all over TSS. When reading it, I kept going "Huh?? Who's Bloodraven? What is/was the Blackfyre Rebellion? When was that Redgrass Fields thingy?" and had to look up everything on the Wiki of Ice and Fire before I remotely understood. It was like the AGoT beginning.
Rob Munnelly
62. RobMRobM
@61 - she'll make a good effort to figure out the basics of the info dump. I don't expect that she'll throw up her hands. And she'll say - what the heck is up with everyone talking about Bloodraven's sorcerous powers?
Rob Munnelly
63. RobMRobM
Leigh mentions Bloodraven but makes no effort to figure out why everyone thinks he's a sorceror. Curious.
Julian Augustus
64. Alisonwonderland
@61, I had similar reactions to yours. TSS is the only Martin book that made me feel as if I was reading Erikson (Malazan Book of the Fallen), who loves that kind of narrative structure ... presenting the reader first with the results of an action, then explaining what happened one or two or three books later. The first Blackfyre Rebellion is described in the next D&E story, I believe.
KingsGambit
65. zambi76
Cute how the unspoiled are concerned about the foreshadowing of Dunk and Egg dying together (in Dunk's dream) not considering that this must not mean this will happen immediately, but will eventually, just 50 years later.
Faiz Imam
66. FaizImam
spoiler!

Ok, that's a joke.

But seriously, I have no recollection of the death of Duncan or Aegon, or anything about their final moments.

When does that story get told?


I'm a bit dissapointed in the length of the post today. Do we know whether she is doing 2 or 3 posts?

Because she stopped at the 28% mark.

Doing three is fine, it's only that I just read TSS and was hoping that she'd get to the good stuff. Lady Rohanne is revealed *just* after the halfmark!

January 7th is going to be awesome!
Michael Duran
67. MRHD
Dunk and Egg apparently died at the Tragedy of Summerhall, that happened on the day Rhaegar was born. We don't as of yet know exactly what happened at Summerhall, but apparently there was a plan to hatch dragons that went awry. I suspect there is more to the story than we (or the people of Westeros) know, that we'll hopefully get in the final Dunk and Egg.
Rob Munnelly
68. RobMRobM
@66 - I'm guessing 3 posts. Two much to unpack in one more effort. I'd guess they'll go until Lady R slaps him in the face and he heads back.
Adam S.
69. MDNY
Regarding the family trees linked in the main post, the big potential spoiler is that Egg becomes King Aegon if you look at the Targ family trees you'll see him coming up as king (Aegon V aka The Unlikely). While Leigh has realized he was Aemon's brother, she hasn't remarked on knowing Egg is a little future king, and she might see that if she looks carefully at the family trees.
KingsGambit
70. zambi76
The Tragedy of Summerhall. Oh yes, the final D&E will be very interesting indeed (and probably horribly sad too). I hope we don't have to wait actually 47 years for it, because GRRM would be 112 or so then and he's no Bloodraven.
Faiz Imam
71. FaizImam
Has he in any way confirmed that there will only be 4 D&E stories?

Do we know if it's possible that there could be more?
Rob Munnelly
72. RobMRobM
No - he's made clear he'll be doing a whole bunch of them.

At some level it's a meta story - he's writing the tales of Ser Duncan the Tall, beloved of noble, Kingsguard-wannabe chidren across Westeros for many years after Dunk's death and before ASOIF times.
KingsGambit
73. SwordoftheMorning
The family tree in 8 has a picture of an adult Aegon, son of Rhaegar. Major spoiler if she stumbles into that and wonders.
KingsGambit
74. Reader
Hi, I'm still in a Dance With Dragons and just wanted to comment of how amazing is that Daenerys storyline affected Jon's. It means that finally all the threads are cooming together. I just read the first Arya chapter on this book where she overhears some mysteriously white haired men (¿Secret Taragaryens?) talk about how some ship took some wildings and is going to sell them to the free cities. Jon was planning to save those wildings but unfortunate circumstances of a ship finding them and how Dany pierced through the slave trade system caused them to be kidnapped.
Sasha P
75. AeronaGreenjoy
Two weeks down, one to go...as I pass the time with the Boiled Leather Audio Hour, the Podcast of Ice and Fire, and any other ASoIaF commentary I can find. (Me, obsessed? Why do you ask?)
Deana Whitney
76. Braid_Tug
@75: I've printed out Boiled Leather's recommended combined reading of FFC and DWD. While it can get confusing to switch between everything on my Kindle, it much better to read this way.
And I finally got to watch all of Season 3, thanks to a new HBO Go subscription. Why does Season 4 have to be so far away!?

The Good news is, we should be done with FFC this year. 46 chapters + Prologue. Even if she does get bogged down at 1 chapter a week, this leaves room for breaks, such as JordanCon in April.

She has 13 chapters left of the WoT Re-read, for those not on that read. But we are in the middle of 'The Last Battle" so that will take a few more weeks on it's own. She is only doing 1 chapter a week there.
Chris Nelly
77. Aeryl
@75, I can't recommend The Mereeneese Blot enough. It does not really indepth examinations of Dany, Jon's and now Tyrion's stories in ADWD. Cool stuff.
Sasha P
78. AeronaGreenjoy
I really want to find more commentary on AFFC, my favorite ASOIAF book by far. So many new places, POVs, plots, and lovely meanderings, so little fan attetion. Most rereads and discussions I've found currently focus on ACOK, ASOS, or ADWD. Can't wait for Leigh to start it!!!!!

Lacking HBO, I'm also anxious for Season 3 to come out on DVD, and will be grateful for this Read's spoiler-free zone during Season 4.
KingsGambit
79. zambi76
Oh, look it's another AFFC aficionado, waves @ AeronaGreenjoy! I also hate how this book is pretty much ignored in ASOIAF fandom, even on the most obsessive fansites, and I look very much forward to Leigh's read of it.
Lindy Brown
80. lbrown
I just finished reading "The Princess and The Queen". Have any of you read it? The name Velaryon (House name) is mentioned in it a lot and I'm trying to remember where I heard that name before. I could have sworn it was in A Dance With Dragons but I did a search in my Ebook and came up with nothing. I also did a search of the 3 Dunk and Egg stories and nothing still. Those are the only books or short stories I have in Ebook form. Maybe Velaryons are mentioned in Feast for Crows?
Antonio Dagnino
82. andaco
@Ibrown
In A Feast for Crows, you may remember Aurane Waters, he appears to be a bastard of House Velaryon.

He was the master of ship of Cersei's failure council, he asked Cersei to make a new fleet for Tommen, amongst those ships was Queen Cersei, leader of the battle to take Dragonstone from Stannis until Loras Tyrell arrived and almost killed himself (or almost, is he still alive?). Then when Cersei was captured by the Faith, he escaped King's Landing with the whole fleet.

I don't know nothing else of the House, or the backstory of this Aurane Waters, but if you want to know more there is always A Wiki Of Ice And Fire: http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_Velaryon

But beware there are spoilers even from The Winds Of Winter in that wiki. That's why I don't use it. Also becuase if you investigate all the backstory of a character before reading sometimes surprises lose impact because sometimes you read the backstory that was about to be revealed.

And also because sometimes you kill re-read revelations. For example, when Tom-o-Sevens reappears on A Feast for Crows, he sings for Edmure and Edmure is scared of the singer, you don't know why, but then if you re-read the books you suddenly get a moment of realization middle A Sotrm of Swords when he is introduced and talks about how once he stole a whore from the heir of Riverrun.
Sasha P
83. AeronaGreenjoy
Yay! *waves back at zambi76* Even if it weren't the only ASOIAF book I own on paper as well as audio and have thus reread half a zillion times, I would adore it for the Iron Islands, Dorne, Braavos, Brienne, Jaime, Cersei, and the relative paucity of extreme carnage. Struggling not to make fixed expectations of what she'll love, headdesk at, or brand with the colorful insults which make everything easier to deal with...

@82: Ooh, I forgot that. I assumed Edmure was agonized by hearing 'The Rains of Castamere" (as Jaime ordered), a reminder of the Red Wedding where his family was murdered while he...uh...didn't have a floppy fish. Either way, it's like Vogon Poetry Torture.
KingsGambit
84. bookworm1398
@80 In a Clash of Kings, it is mentioned that Velaryon is one of the houses sworn to Dragonstone who fight for Stannis. Nothing special, one lord in a list.
Rob Munnelly
85. RobMRobM
AFFC - love the Dorne, Braavos and Jaime chapters, as well as the first half of Brienne (before she goes all Samuel Beckett wandering around Westeros). Cersei chapters are interesting but painful to read as she heads downhill. The volunqar (sp) story is awesome. That said, my big problem is I really don't like the Iron Islanders much (except for Asha) so they push the book to the bottom of my ASOIF priority list.

Velaryon - real steel in that house, I say. ba-da-bum. I'll be here all week.
Lindy Brown
86. lbrown
Thanks, all for your answers. Good to know Velaryon wasn't a big part of the plot that I just forgot.
Sasha P
87. AeronaGreenjoy
@82: When last reported in ADWD, Loras was still dying. The Wiki contains no later information.

I hate Brienne's last chapter, Arys's chapter, Arianne's time "imprisoned," and a smattering of other events. But love everything else, especially Brienne's wanderings (up to the moment Biter attacked her) and the Iron Islands. I loathe Victarion, wouldn't want to share a continent with Euron, and have Personal Jealousy Issues regarding Asha, but...they worship the ocean. So do I. 'Nuff said for now.
Sasha P
88. AeronaGreenjoy
Humph. Leigh hasn't yet noted that Rohanne is a fierce young lady and Bennis is a giant bucket of maggoty fish guts. Till next week...
Rob Munnelly
89. RobMRobM
I'm surprised Leigh hasn't asked yet what type of sorcerous powers is Bloodraven supposed to have. That's an interesting line of questions if she goes down it.
KingsGambit
90. KingsGambit
Bloodraven is still a vague character at this time. At least he was to me. He's mentioned a few times, but unless you read really closely, you don't get a real sense of who or what he's supposed to be.

RobM, in the other thread, you talk about the Blackfire side of the rebellion. Isn't that coverd in the last part of this story as Lord Osgrey sort of explains himself to Dunk?
Rob Munnelly
91. RobMRobM
@90. Hope I didn't jump the gun. We have seen a decent amount of Blackfyre info in the early part of this story (and in the principal text) and I thought I was within that - if not, mea culpa.
Sasha P
92. AeronaGreenjoy
A man takes an orphan boy from the Flea Bottom streets and turns him into a formiddable fighter. That's the backstory of Arlen & Dunk -- and Rorge & Biter (http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Canadian_Signing_Tour_Vancouver, bottom of page). Gendry too, in a way. Evidence that upbringing trumps origin, isn't it?
Deana Whitney
93. Braid_Tug
Something you all will understand. Ever do a 're-read of the last two books, and on a bad day, just can't tolerate reading certain chapters?

So what will come first? The last D&E story or the end of the main tale?
Chris Nelly
94. Aeryl
@BraidTug, I have had both my attempts at a reread halted by this. The first time, I was on CoK, and couldn't get through Theon self serving whineyness. The last time, it's Ned that's driving me up the wall, as my opinion of him has changed greatly since reading ADwD.
Faiz Imam
95. FaizImam
Yeah, some of the Brienna chapters in FFC are that for me, especially because we know her search is mostly fruitless. It gets better as she goes of course, but those early ones...
Michael Duran
96. MRHD
I've actually found the experience of the last two books, especially Feast, improved on re-read. This is because I'm not blowing through it impatient for the action, but instead can take time to appreciate all the little details and world building that the book has to offer.

I'd definitely bet on the main series finishing first, as IIRC GRRM is planning about a dozen Dunk and Egg tales, and has said he won't finish the fourth one until Winds is completed.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to Leigh's reaction today: with the way she sounded like she was expecting a lot of death at the end of last week, I want to see how she handles an ASoIaF story where only one person dies, and the one who most deserves to at that.
KingsGambit
97. zambi76
I want to see how she handles an ASoIaF story where only one person dies, and the one who most deserves to at that.
For being the least interesting character in the whole story? That was all that Lucas Longinch was to me at least. I didn't find him particulary bad, just pompous and useless. Perfect "cannon fodder".
KingsGambit
98. bookworm1398
I'd say Benis was the one who most deserved to die. It is nice, though, to see a story in which a character actually manages to prevent war - both this story and the next one. In the main story, it is mentioned how several characters prefer to decide things by fighting it out because it is easier than thinking. Dunk, who is "thick as a castle wall" however, makes the effort to think about alternatives.
George Jong
100. IndependentGeorge
Something you all will understand. Ever do a 're-read of the last two books, and on a bad day, just can't tolerate reading certain chapters?
Pretty much all of the Greyjoy chapters, plus 90% of Meereen, in DWD. I actually liked FFC more on subsequent readings than on my initial one.
Rob Munnelly
101. RobMRobM
@99 - this is typically bad. I don't recall one of these posts ever being more than 10 minutes late and actually getting posted the same day. We're doomed (I think).

@100 - oh goodness, yes. Iron born for the not-win!
Chris Nelly
102. Aeryl
If I had nothing but Asha chapters, I'd be happy. But listening to Aeron and Victarion whine I could so do without.
Bridget McGovern
103. BMcGovern
Hey, guys--just a heads up that Leigh has been hit with the flu, so apologies but no new post this week :(
Scott Silver
105. hihosilver28
Damn, Leigh. I'm sorry. You've gotten more than your fair share of illnesses and just general shit over the past year. Feel better soon.

(Yes, I know there's no way she'll get to read this on the spoiler thread, but hopefully BMcGovern can pass along the well-wishes). Also bummed that the finale to The Sworn Sword is delayed. Ah, vell.
Scott Silver
106. hihosilver28
@Aeryl
What changed your opinion of Ned after ADwD? I still just thought him naive in his honor, but nothing worse beyond that.
Chris Nelly
107. Aeryl
Just seeing how misogynistic a lot of the Northerners are in ADWD, which isn't Ned's fault, but seeing him as a product of THAT environment, knowing what likely happened with Lyanna & Rhaegar, it angers me that he didn't stand up for Lyanna's choice.

Now, I know that I may be incorrect in my assumption that Lyanna went to Rhaegar willingly, but as I feel it likely, I'm operating under that, so I could be off base.

But yeah, Ned's not the paragon I felt he was. He was already a man who'd compromised what should have been his deepest morals, devotion to a beloved family, in service to the ambitions of a friend, a friend who sacrificed the welfare of a nation and plunged it into war over his own jilted heart. I have a hard time accepting that it was so hard for him to do what was necessary for the realm(ally with Renly, IMO, who had the best plan) when he was already so compromised, what honor did he have left after his actions led to the death of his beloved sister?
chris reiser
108. halibulu
@107 - Aeryl

Can it really be said Ned took up arms in the rebellion to support his jilted friend's ambition? Initially he was nothing but a second son, and his father still ruled at that, so while he was likely present during whatever councils his father had following Lyanna's kidnapping or running off, I doubt his words carried much weight. Then when he becomes Lord of House Stark in his own right, it comes after his father and brother were wrongfully murdered (debatable I know) by the King, and had a warrant out for his own head as well. At this point, Ned has no choice but to declare against the throne, honorbound or not. I just don't see how it could be said that anything Ned did led to the death of his sister, especially if it turns out she died from childbirth in bringing forth Jon. That would have happened regardless of if he showed up at the Tower of Joy or not.
Chris Nelly
109. Aeryl
There were several ways things could have gone differently. He wasn't even in Winterfell when these debates were being had, he was at the Eyrie with Robert, as that was what called Jon Arryn to declare against the crown.

The fact that there was likely already a rebellion in the works, makes it even worse, IMO. There was no reason to let the rebellion become all about Robert's percieved slights, there were plenty of legitimate reasons to rebel against Aerys, and since Aerys believed Rhaegar was in on it, there was no reason to rebel against Rhaegar too, unless it was about Lyanna. If it hadn't been for Robert being angry over Lyanna choosing Rhaegar over him, there would never have been a battle at the Trident.

In addition, the only reason the Starks were in trouble at all, was because Brandon thought it best to start shit with the Mad King, and their dad was stupid enough to follow him. I agree that Aerys was wrong to do what he did, but if a cocksure spoiled brat hadn't thought the best way to handle his sister acting with some agency was to go yell at the admittedly INSANE king, this wouldn't have happened. And then all Ned would've needed to do, once he was Lord of Winterfell, was say he had no problem with R+L, so long as it was what Lyanna wanted. That would have upset Robert, no true friend to Ned anyways, IMO, but it could have averted a civil war and made sure that Lyanna had the best care possible, instead of having to send her away for her confinement. Then he could have continued working to overthrow Aerys for Rhaegar.

But instead, Ned was too bound up in the retrofuck ideas of Westeros, that what the men plan for their women is more important than what the women want for themselves(a fact he tries to make up for by getting Arya her dancing teacher, though he still cannot imagine that she won't live the life he's dictated for her, husband, castle, & brood), he was a unneccessarily bitter man too caught up in his distrust of the Lannisters to ever be effective(seriously compare his constant paranoia about the Lannisters to Cersei's paranoia as Regent, Cersei is despised for it, Ned lauded, and it turns out, Ned was wrong, and Cersei is somewhat right), he was too frightened to be truthful to Robert and too easily led astray by his hopes. He's prejudiced, against the Wildlings, against the Lannisters, against Southerners(remember he dislikes Loras as well, thinks he's too fancy to be a REAL fighter), he'd have HATED Oberyn, he hated Tyrion. The only person he thought was of value, was Robert, who's ALWAYS been a drunken lecherous fool.
Bridget McGovern
110. BMcGovern
@105: I'll certainly pass along the well-wishes; sure Leigh will appreciate it!
Scott Silver
111. hihosilver28
@Aeryl
I think that's going a little too far in the Ned hate. I think it's a little more complex than all of that. Granted, Robert was a very real weak spot, and not considering Lady Dustin's desires is indicative of the misogyny inherent everywhere in the story, not just the North, but mainly, I think that much of what happened in the rebellion is utterly out of his control. He couldn't sit it out, and he couldn't declare for Aerys (for obvious reasons). He might have been able to convince his father and brother to not go down and stir shit up right after Lyanna had been "kidnapped", but even then we don't know enough. We do know that Brandon was vain and headstrong, and if anything that their father likely was as well. I don't think Ned could have done anything to stop them.

Anyways, Ned had some character flaws and made many, many mistakes, but I still find him compelling in how he tried to live his life before being dragged back in, and I in no way find him culpable in what happened with the rebellion. Well, maybe a small way in how it all shook out, but not in the major points.
Chris Nelly
112. Aeryl
Well, like I've said, I think he should have been more loyal to Lyanna than to Robert, or to the idea of what everyone wanted from Lyanna. And again, somehow the rebellion turned against Rhaegar too. That wouldn't have happened, if not for Robert, and Ned's support of him. So for that I hold him completely culpable.

And the Lannister hate has really turned me off, knowing what actually happened to Jon Arryn, and how prejudical he is about Jaime and Tyrion. If he hadn't been so focused on the Lannisters, maybe he could have had better ideas to deal with the stuff that happened, like again Renly. Passing over Stannis is so hard, when you've already instigated a civil war because your sister dumped your best friend? What kind of situational honor is that? And what value does it actually have? None.

He's prejudiced against Varys, for no other reason that Varys is a victim of a crime he's never suffered. He never judges anyone he meets in KL on their merits, only on the rumors he's heard and believes most of them, because of his own prejudices.

Is he any worse than anyone else in the story? No, but he's no better either, and I used to feel he was.
Michael Duran
113. MRHD
@112: You seem to be assuming that Ned realized pre-Tower of Joy that Lyanna went of her own volition and was not kidnapped. I don't think we have any evidence of this. Indeed, not only Robert, but Ned's older brother Brandon also thought that Rhaegar forcibly took Lyanna, so it seems as if it were a common misperception in Ned's close circle. The fault seems to be with Rhaegar and Lyanna not communicating their intentions to their families and letting the kingdom devour itself while they ran away from reality.
Chris Nelly
114. Aeryl
I think that with what we know of Lyanna, any of her relatives who thought Rhaegar COULD TAKE HER against her own volition were deluding themselves.

Especially given what we're told of Brandon, I have no problem believing he knew she chose Rhaegar, and DIDN'T CARE. If HE didn't get to marry who he wanted, Lyanna sure as hell wouldn't get to.
George Jong
115. IndependentGeorge
If Lyanna had gone willingly with Rhaegar, this whole bloody mess could have been avoided if only Lord Rickard had hired J. Waltyr Weathyrman to teach his kids to always leave a note.

More seriously, the Rebellion didn't start because Lyanna was kidnapped. The rebellion started becaue Aerys killed Rickard, Brandon, Elbert Arryn, and their retainers, and then demanded Robert and Ned's deaths.
I think that with what we know of Lyanna, any of her relatives who thought Rhaegar COULD TAKE HER against her own volition were deluding themselves.
And I think you're deluding yourself if you think Rhaegar couldn't take her against her will. Lyanna was tough and independent, but was not a ninja, and she could not outfight Rhaegar if he was determined to abduct her.
Bill Stusser
116. billiam
I do not think that Ned knew that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar or went with him willingly until he found her at the ToJ and by then it was too late to do anything about it because everything had gone to hell in a handbasket by then. It is obvious that Ned had a lot of regrets about how things turned out.

Also, I don't think that Ned or Robert knew that Rhaegar was thinking about/planning on overthrowing his father.
KingsGambit
117. Bookworm1398
Aeryl, interesting point about Ned being so judgemental about everyone he met in KL. I hadn't really noticed it before, but it is extremely true.

Regarding the events of the rebellion, I think there are details yet to be revealed. Did the rebels turn against Rhaeger, or did Rheager declare he was going to side with his father no matter what? It could have gone either way, even if he thought that Aerys was unfit, Rhaeger could still have thought that the lords didn't have the right to make the decision to depose him.
Chris Nelly
118. Aeryl
@115, If Lyanna had gone willingly with Rhaegar, this whole bloody mess could have been avoided if only Lord Rickard had hired J. Waltyr Weathyrman to teach his kids to always leave a note.

The tourney at Harrenhall happened when Jaime was 15. He killed the Mad King when he was what, in his late teens early 20's? If he and Cersei are of an age with Ned and Robert?

That affair was not an overnight thing, it had to have been going on FOR YEARS. Don't tell me nobody knew it was consensual. Some people might not have. But some people HAD to.

@116, Ned and Robert might not have known, but Jon Arryn, as one of the initial planners of the rebellion with Lord Rickard and Lord Hoster Tully, sure as hell did.
Sasha P
119. AeronaGreenjoy
Ned was rightly suspicious of the Lannisters in AGoT, but wrongly non-suspicious of Littlefinger.

I'm amused that Leigh assumes Bloodraven must be evil, immediately after the Red Widow demonstrated the unreliability of nicknames. "Bloodraven" sounds typically villainous, but so do Queen of Thorns, Red Viper, Kingslayer, and Lightning Lord. And some of the nastiest characters call themselves things like Brightflame, Darkstar, and Sweetling. Mind you, opposing our man Baelor Breakspear and being feared throughout the land are not endearing either, but still.
Julian Niquille
120. Gesar
An idea hit me recently, I don't know if that has been discussed or not. It's about this whole concept of 'When dragons come back, magic becomes stronger'. I wonder if the people who say that in Westeros aren't mistaking the consequence for the cause.
Dragons being kind of hard to miss, while magic is more subtle, it would make sense for people to see dragons before they see magic, and think the return of the second is triggered by the return of the first, when the opposite could also be true, and imo would make more sense. Kind of like "when magic becomes stronger, dragons come back." Do we have actual evidence either way?
KingsGambit
121. Lyanna Mormont
@118 - Jaime was seventeen when he killed Aerys, and the rebellion lasted for a year, so it was about a year between Lyanna and Rhaegar's first meeting and the abduction or elopement. We don't know how many times they met during that time, but given the geography it seems unlikely to have been often. That leaves very little to base an assumption that she'd gone voluntarily on, as far as the Starks knew.

Also, I don't see how Ned could've had any influence on his brother's or father's behavior, since he was in the Vale at the time it all went down.
Julian Augustus
122. Alisonwonderland
Aeryl @108 and subsequent.
I do not particularly like Ned myself because of what I consider his hypocritical insistence on "doing the right thing" and wanting to pass on the throne to Stannis even though he was assured by Renly and Littlefinger that it would lead to civil war. In my mind, he didn't care about the masses of people who would die in a civil war so long as he could protect his "honor", yet quickly changed his mind and confessed to treason when it was his own children who were to die.

Nevertheless, I think your dislike seems to be based on complete misinterpretation of events and highly questionable assumptions.

As far as I know, everybody in Westeros (perhaps other than Rhaegar and Lyanna, and even then we are only supposing it was actually a love match) believed that Rhaegar had kidnapped Lyanna. This caused her father (Rickard) and her brother (Brandon), in order to first retrieve an abducted family member and second to protect the honor of their house, to ride into Kings Landing and demand that Rhaegar come out and meet them. Of course, they didn't know that Rhaegar and Lyanna were not even in the capital. What happened next?

Mad King Aerys promptly arrested Rickard and Brandon, and tortured them hideously to death. Then King Aerys went even further. He demanded that Jon Arryn turn over his wards Ned (Lyanna's remaining brother) and Robert (Lyanna's betrothed) for torture and execution. Jon Arryn instead struck his banners and started the rebellion.

Do you consider these facts in dispute?

I have a hard time understanding how you are blaming Ned for the ensuing civil war and justifying that blame with claims that first it would have been impossible for Rhaeger to have taken Lyanna by force because she was a stron lady, and second that someone somewhere HAD TO HAVE KNOWN that it was an elopement and not an adoption, both of which are highly questionable, to say the least.
Antonio Dagnino
123. andaco
Normal people who read the books unspoiled, when do you realize the R+L theory. At what point in the books. I didn't realized it by myself, but by the internet, so I wanna know at what point it turned so damned obvious.
KingsGambit
124. zambi76
(Would have) never realized it by myself either, andaco, because here is the horrible truth: I don't care one bit about Jon Snow. Sucks to be me, cause he is A Song of Ice and Fire.
Sasha P
125. AeronaGreenjoy
I never noticed either, until the Fandom explained it. Ditto for half a hundred other theory inspirations and confirmed-but-subtle subplots. Guess I was too busy fearing for everyone's lives and obsessing over Greyjoys.

I've never found Jon especially interesting either. We just experience interesting people and places through his POVs.

Latest commentary find: Tower of the Hand's AFFC/ADWD Group Read at
http://towerofthehand.com/essays/reread/afwd.html . I can't easily do the Combined Read, owning only AFFC, and these concise but oft-witty analytical recaps really show how well the chapters pair up or transition smoothly through various plot threads.
KingsGambit
126. Nessa
@120: I think it's magic, then dragons, actually. Since we see the direwolves return and the wights, before the dragons are reborn. At the very least, it seems like a chicken and egg scenario.

Of course, it could also be that fire and ice magic come and go together, and that the direwolves and the dragons are a symptom of that.

Regarding R+L=J: Yeah, I didn't realize either until I came to the forums. Partly because I didn't really read the books in detail (most of the time when I come across a mystery, I just skip it). And partly, yes, because Jon (especially in book 1) wasn't very interesting to me.
Chris Nelly
127. Aeryl
@122

This caused her father (Rickard) and her brother (Brandon), in order to first retrieve an abducted family member and second to protect the honor of their house, to ride into Kings Landing and demand that Rhaegar come out and meet them.

I agree with most of what you said, but that is not what happened. It was not a joint endeavor. Brandon ran off to KL, and Rickard followed in an attempt to stop him. Rickard KNEW going to KL was a bad idea(crazy king). Brandon likely did too. I don't recall it being said that Brandon went to call Rhaegar out, just to demand Lyanna's return.

With the year long affair, I don't believe NOBODY knew it was consensual. Based on the info we're given about Brandon, and how he wished to marry Lady Dustin, and his hotheaded nature, I can totally see him being angry that his baby sister DARED to imagine she could do as she wished, while he was stuck marrying a Southern girl for their father's ambitions.

None of that is Ned's fault, but at the same time, there HAD TO BE opportunities for them to have war councils and find out the truth about Lyanna. What was more important to ALL OF THEM(Ned and Robert mostly), was that Lyanna be brought back into line to marry Robert, than learning the truth of what she wanted.

Once Ned learned the truth at ToJ, while it was too late for the war, it didn't mean he couldn't tell the truth to ANYONE. Instead, he chose to maintain the lie.

These are things that I despise Ned for, y'all are getting to hung up on one thing I said, when, as I've stated, there are many other reasons, like his prejudicial nature, his stupid focus on being "honorable" over being effective, his stupid vendetta against the Lannisters, and his desire to comfort Robert with illusions rather than forcing his KING deal with the cold truth.
Deana Whitney
128. Braid_Tug
I've always wondered why Ned couldn't tell his wife "Oh, by the way, since I see you hate my 'son', he's actually my nephew. Please act nicer, but don't tell anyone the truth."
He could have pretended it was from a rape still, IDK.

Just wishing GRRM would start letting some of these bombshells be known In-Book. and to finish the whole damn thing.
@123 & 124: I’m right there with you. Didn’t know until I started reading the Spoiler thread here.
Adam S.
129. MDNY
I figured out R+L=J pretty early on, and I'm not usually that good at guessing plot twists. The thing is, it's been obvious from the first book that the identity of Jon's mother was important, and Leigh even came close to guessing it once (when she speculated on Lyanna being his mother but then grossed herself out and didn't take it the next step). The key is the blue rose. Once you remember the places we've seen blue roses (Lyanna's crown at Harrenhall, blue rose petals on the wind in Eddard's memory of Lyanna's death, and a blue rose on a wall of ice in Dany's vision at the house of the undying) it seems pretty obvious that Jon is Lyanna's son, and then the logical conclusion is the Rhaegar is the father. As for Eddard not even telling Cat, I think he promised Lyanna to keep Jon's parentage secret (Lyanna's last words were "Promise me Ned, promise..."). We all know that Ned was a slave to his honor, so if he promised his dying sister never to reveal her son, he would keep that promise to the grave. However, I'm still hoping Howlan Reed emerges at some point to tell someone the truth.
Chris Nelly
130. Aeryl
@129, My guess is that, if she survives her run in with Lady Stoneheart, Brienne will learn it from Reed as she travels north looking for Sansa.

Whether she will ever reach the North is still up for debate, I think it likely she will since she has half of Ice, but it would be irritating as FUCK if she learns the truth, and dies.
Rob Munnelly
131. RobMRobM
Why would Brienne head north? Is that from a WoW excerpt? I'm still wating for the Jaime cliffhanger resolution.
Chris Nelly
132. Aeryl
No, that's my assumption, as she HAS Ice. Plus, rumors of Arya being there, and inability to find Sansa(cuz WHO WOULD LOOK FOR HER IN THE EYRIE?)
Adam S.
133. MDNY
Brienne was actually considering the Eyrie, until she heard of Lysa's death. She could go anywhere, really. I don't see her going to Howlan Reed, however- if she wants to go north, she would just go up the kingsroad all the way to the wall (where she might look for the girls, joining their brother Jon). But Aeryl, I don't see why Brienne having one of the 2 blades made from Ice means she would go north- will Tommen go north since he inherited the other blade from Joff?
The bottom line is, Brienne has literally no idea where the Stark girls are, and hasn't really covered any useful ground looking for clues until she reached the BWB and discovered Arya's still alive, but no clue as to where. The only person in Westeros who might know or guess where Arya is now would be Jacquen H'gar/Pate the Pig Boy/whatever his name is now, but he is completely removed from everyone's story arc except for Sam, at this point.
Chris Nelly
134. Aeryl
Fate.

Ice has to BE at the Wall, so circumstances will send her North. It's NOT A LOT to go on, but it's all I got.

And no, Dany will fry Tommen to a crisp, and take his half of Ice and bring it to the Wall.
Adam S.
135. MDNY
Why does Ice have to be at the wall? Ice isn't even a great sword of legend, it's only a couple hundred years old or so, unlike some of the other great hereditary house swords. The original Ice was a legendary sword, but the current incarnation isn't, especially since it's now split into 2 blades dyed red.
Tommen will die before the end, because all of Cersei's dreams will be crushed before she dies, but I don't think Dany will kill him (nor would she). It will likely be a Sand Snake, but whoever it is, Cersei will again believe Tyrion was behind it, just as she believes Tyrion was behind Darkstar's attack on Myrcella.
Chris Nelly
136. Aeryl
It's just speculation, MDNY, it doesn't really matter(and the Dany line was a joke).

Having Ice returned to the North, some way or another, has a nice bit of symmetry I like to see in my fantasy, and I'll believe it will happen, until it's demonstrated that it won't.
Chris Nelly
137. Aeryl
Look at it this way, if you wanna get mystical(and who doesn't?).

The very first act of the book(not counting the epilogue) is that Ned beheads someone with Ice. Someone who is warning him of the White Walkers. A warning he ignores. He forsakes his sacred duty to protect against the WW, in favor of his mundane duty to a fallow king. And he is punished. By Ice itself, the symbol of the legacy of Bran the Builder, who built the Wall(allegedly).

So of course, to me, it makes sense that whatever mystical forces are at work in Westeros, wants Ice at the Wall, for a Stark to uphold the sacred duty of the Starks.
Bill Stusser
138. billiam
@ 123

For me it was the Ned chapter where he had his dream about what happened at the ToJ, pages 424 & 425 of the paperback version of AGoT (the version with the GoT cover of Eddard sitting on the Iron Thrown from the show, I had to buy the book again after the TV series was out since I lent my first copy to someone and never got it back). At least that was when I began to think about it. I've written a few comments about that dream on these spoiler threads.

Then the theory was pretty much confirmed for me in the Eddard chapter where he remembers the tourney at Harrenhal, pages 630 & 631 of AGoT.

And yes, both of those passages contain referances to blue roses.

Its funny, while I was reading AGoT I was talking to a friend of mine who had read all the books and I mentioned that I thought that Jon was Lyanna's son and he said that he had never thought of that. A couple days later he got back to me and said that he had been looking around on the net and that R+L=J was a big theory in the fandom but that I should stay away from the interwebs until I finished the books that were out.
George Jong
139. IndependentGeorge
Self-flagging a note to the moderators:

The spoiler link from the main index page takes us to the 2nd spoiler thread, and not the current one (Part 5).
Bridget McGovern
140. BMcGovern
@IG--thanks for the heads up; it should be fixed now!
Scott Silver
141. hihosilver28
@BMcGovern
Get ready to delete/whiteout all sorts of posts next Thursday regarding the mysterious man who kills Pate.
Bridget McGovern
142. BMcGovern
@hihisilver28: Right. Argh. Yep, thanks! Katharine and I will try to be as quick on the draw as possible :)
Deana Whitney
143. Braid_Tug
@hiho: Who did kill Pate? read it 2 weeks ago, and can't remember. :-)
Scott Silver
144. hihosilver28
@Braid_Tug
The prevailing theory is Jaqen H'gar, or at least the Faceless man who assumed that identity. If you go back to the chapter where Jaqen changes in front of Arya, and then read the description of the Alchemist, they are incredibly similar. Why he did it, is anyone's guess at this point though. It's odd that a Faceless man was trapped in the dungeons of the Red Keep, which is where Jaqen was. So, we still don't know who he was paid to kill/what his end goal is.
KingsGambit
145. olethros
A mysterious stranger widely believed to be Jaqen Hghar.
Deana Whitney
146. Braid_Tug
@ 144& 145: Thank You! As to why, I’m reminded of a quote from Martin Blank:
“Why does everyone believe it’s personal?”
Scott Silver
147. hihosilver28
Well, if it was a contract from the Faceless Men, there was someone who hired them, or they were acting on their own. It's an interesting theory to try and see what is behind this group.
James Whitehead
148. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@146Braid_Tug:

"If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there."

Kato
Chris Nelly
149. Aeryl
OH YAY We're back to the ones I've read next week!

I still haven't gotten my hands on any Dunk & Egg, so I've been staying away.

I always felt the hit wasn't on Pate, but that they were using Pate to get close to who they wanted to kill, which was born out by Pate still being "alive" at the end. I wonder who though.
Chris Nelly
150. Aeryl
And YAY for the Gross Pointe Blank references I love that movie.
Scott Silver
151. hihosilver28
@Aeryl
Oh, I definitely agree. I never thought that Pate was the target, but rather a means to get to the target, but I also don't know why Jaqen was in the dungeon of the Red Keep in the first place.

You should definitely read through the Dunk & Egg stories. They're fantastic. I got all of them from the library, so cost isn't an object. You should check to see if yours has them. A Wiki of Ice and Fire has a list of where each story appeared.
Chris Nelly
152. Aeryl
Oh I plan on it, there are just...other...books.

I think the target is Samwell. I'm not sure why, but being in the dungeon of the Red Keep, if you'd snuck in and there were no actual charges on record against you so they don't execute you or whatever, is a good way to get to the Wall under cover. There seems to be some connection between their worship and R'hllor(the show's made this more explicit than the books), so maybe he has visions, and knew that by the time he got to the Wall from Harrenhall, Sam would no longer be there.

Now, I don't know why Sam would need to die, but I don't think he's there for "hire" but following the religious tenets.
Scott Silver
153. hihosilver28
Jeez, do I know that feeling well. So many books, so little time. I'm still trying to wrap up Infinite Jest. Worth it, but difficult. The Dunk & Egg stories are really quick, though.
Adam S.
154. MDNY
Ha! Infinite Jest is my favorite book, and 90% of people who have tried to read it tell me "it's great" but they couldn't finish it. Just wanted to point out that SUPPOSEDLY GRRM will release a collection of the D+E stories sometime soon, in which case Aeryl and others can pick them up without having to get a whole collection of other stories (I read them in the library, but it was hard to find all of them).
Chris Nelly
155. Aeryl
I know, I was hoping the 4th one would be out so the compilation would be out before Leigh got this far, but alas, Martin's terrible timing burned me on this.

I'll probably hold out until we get closer to ADWD, when I know she'll do the next two. I've heard there's some stuff that recontextualizes ADWD, so I'm looking forward to that.
Scott Silver
156. hihosilver28
If she holds true to form and goes by release schedule, she'll do the third D&E, then ADWD, then The Princess and the Queen from the Dangerous Women collection. Then it'll either be the fourth D&E novella, or TWOW, depending on which he releases first (or neither as the case may be and is looking more likely). ;-)

@MDNY
Yeah, I started it last February, got a hundred pages and didn't pick it back up. I'm about 600 pages in this time, and really enjoying it. It's my wife's favorite book, and I had been wanting to read it for a while. It's just damnably difficult, especially early on. It felt like Wallace was being difficult just to be difficult. Now that I'm further along, I don't feel like that is the case, but still, those first 200 pages took some effort and a hell of a lot of trust in the book and DFW.
Sasha P
157. AeronaGreenjoy
For Sam to be Jaqen's target, the AFFC Prologue would have to occur after he somehow got word of Sam's departure from the absolute opposite corner of the Seven Kingdomes. I suppose it's possible, given the timeline fuzziness, but hard to imagine.

I have wondered how Jaquen got into the Red Keep, and how he still had that savagery-inducing poison afterward. Wouldn't it have been confiscated if he were arrested? I suppose he could've found more at Harrenhal or somewhere else.

Incidentally, I never realized that Jaqen killed Pate with a poisoned coin, until The Fandom explained it. The kid just seemed to mysteriously drop dead as if the "Alchemist" had cast a spell on him. I wonder what Leigh will surmise from that. (Ditto with Arya's method of killing the man in ADWD; I thought maybe she'd given him an iron coin, indicating he's on the FM hit list and causing a fear-induced heart attack. *facepalm*)
Chris Nelly
158. Aeryl
@157, I agree the timing is tight. That's why my guess is visions.
KingsGambit
159. Lyanna Mormont
I'm not convinced that The Faceless Man Now Known As Pate is necessarily in Oldtown to kill someone. Maybe he's just gathering information, and/or waiting for the chance to use that key Real!Pate stole for him. It leads to that vault that has all the rare valuable books, Sam says some of those books are about dragons, and TFMNKAP is hanging around Marwyn...
Rob Munnelly
160. RobMRobM
Faceless Man formerly known as Jacqen is probably getting the Citadel key to either kill or dig up info on Archmaester Marwyn - who is savvy about magic, dragons and prophecy. My guess is that he's been hired by one or more traditional Archmaesters who are trying to eliminate all magic in the land. I don't know whether FMFKJ had a plan to do something in KL or simply got caught in passing (still, a huge mystery of the books) but I doubt it had anything to do with the wall or Sam.

NOTE - I see Lyanna has similar thoughts in mind.
Scott Silver
161. hihosilver28
I highly doubt that Sam is a target. There's no reason to kill him...or at least he's such a low priority target, I can't see anyone ponying up the cash to put a hit out on him, and nearly everyone who surrounds him would be viewed as more important than him. So, I think that the FMFKAJ being near Sam is a coincidence rather than him being the target. Like RobMRobM, I think that Marwyn is a much more likely target, whether for knowledge or death.
Chris Nelly
162. Aeryl
I think Sam's a lot more important than they story has let on so far, and according to what Arya's learning, it's not about money for the Faceless Men, it's about the calling. And the clincher for me is where was Jaqen going when we first "met" him? The Wall. Now he's Oldtown. Who was at the Wall, and is now in Oldtown?
Rob Munnelly
163. RobMRobM
I doubt he planned to go to the Wall. He was in KL cells that were cleaned out in order to find people to go to the Wall.
Scott Silver
164. hihosilver28
I think what Aeryl is saying is that Jaqen is exactly where he wants to be. At all times. I'm inclined to agree with her about that, but I still don't see how he could know that Sam is integral, when we, the semi-omniscient readers don't know what Sam's importance is to the story. I do think he placed himself in those cells for...some reason, and is in Oldtown, again...for some reason. I just have no idea what both of those reasons were. The only people we've seen him kill were either Pate, or people not originally on his list because of the three names Arya gave him.
Chris Nelly
165. Aeryl
@163, Even if you're in the Red Keep for murder or rape, going to the Wall is still voluntary. It's a way to get out of your sentence, but you aren't forced to accept it.

Now he could have been in there unintentionally, and just used the offer to take the black to bide his time until he could escape.

BUT

If you were in Westeros, and you wanted to be taken to the Wall, well hiding in the Red Keep's dungeons is the way to go.

And the way he knows about the movement of his intended is magic of some sort, I'm sure we'll be learning more in TWOW.

The other option is Maester Aemon, whose Targ blood is already sought by Melisandre. But how they could know he was being sent to Oldtown, and NOT KNOW he died enroute escapes me.

My guess is that Sam will become a wizard of some sort(foreshadowed since the first book) and that when he returns to the Wall what he's learned is integral.
Deana Whitney
166. Braid_Tug
It's funny how GRRM planned for a 5 year gap. Which would have work for: Sam, Arya, Sansa, and Jon.
"5 years later the White Walker did very little. Spring is about to arrive, but they have to survive the coldest part of winter."

But not for the others.
So now how much of Sam at Hogwarts are we going to see?
Maiane Bakroeva
167. Isilel
Braid_Tug @166:

I think that the gap was supposed to be 5 years of Autumn and the story would have picked up again at the start of Winter. There may be Martin's quote to that end somewhere, but I am not sure.
So, it wasn't only the 5-year-gap that got cancelled, but also a whole season!

I still don't see why GRRM was unable to advance the timeline more quickly, BTW. A lot of things such as army movements, etc. happen with unrealistic speed in the first 3 books. They could have easily covered double the in-series time than they actually did with minimal changes. Oh, well.
Deana Whitney
168. Braid_Tug
@167: Thanks for the info. and very true about the movements. Then again, they are getting even more skewed in the show.

I'm now doing the joint re-read of FFC & ADWD. Victarion just got sent off to "collect" Dany. And I'm suddly thinking "How many men want to marry her?" 4? 5? all for the Dragons and the power she represents.
An how many of them even get to see her?

I sort of gave up halfway during my first ADWD read, so I'm about to get to newish information to me. From summaries and you all I have the outline of things to come.
KingsGambit
169. zambi76
I have even read GRRM just planned to have 5 years (298-303) covered by the end of ASOS but for some reason it ended up just being 2 years (298-300). Also funny how long/much of fandome thought we were already in 301 by ADWD, which is impossible except Westeros pregnancies last way longer than Earth pregnancies (there is nothing indicating this). We know Roslin conceived in the last month of 299, and she still hasn't given birth.
Chris Nelly
170. Aeryl
The way I was keeping track of time, was Joff's birthday. The tournament for his birthday was before Robert went North to get Ned, and the COK opening with another birthday tourney.

Then he never had another one, so I'm somewhat lost.
Deana Whitney
171. Braid_Tug
@169: I'm more amazed at the number of women who get pregnant from one night of sex. Willing or rape, seems like a really high fertility rate.

@170: How long after his second birthday was the riot in KL?
Can we judge anything from when Lollis (?) gives birth?
Chris Nelly
172. Aeryl
@171, Didn't they keep Edmure prisoner at the Twins for awhile to make sure she got pregnant? Like wasn't that part of what was so shameful about him in AFFC, was that not only did he finish the consummation while his famliy and liege were slaughtered, but that he kept doing it?

And the riot wasn't too far off, as a matter of fact, I now vaguely recall that Joff's wedding was on his birthday, so that would line up about right.
Deana Whitney
173. Braid_Tug
@172, honestly I have no clue. Haven't gotten to Jamie back in the Riverlands again. One line / thought I do remember is "No that's your death she carries in her belly."
Show makes it sound like they threw him in a dungon that night, so it muddies the waters more.
KingsGambit
174. zambi76
@171: Anecdotally that's really not that unusual. Both of my grandmothers convieved their first time. (Dad was an "Oopsie", and Mom was likely a "Wedding Night Gift" --> Grandpa of to WWII again).

@170: Yes, Joff's nameday is very early each year (298/12) (299/13) (300/14) except he didn't quite make that last one.
Deana Whitney
175. Braid_Tug
@174: Ture, just seems that it happens "every" time in GRRM world that we hear about.
I've know a few "wedding night gifts" too.
KingsGambit
176. zambi76
Show makes it sound like they threw him in a dungon that night, so it muddies the waters more.
Probably to circumvent the issue of a perpetually pregnant Roslin.

Cersei wails about Joff only being 13 at his death, so his nameday wasn't the first day of the year, as is wedding was (but should be really soon after).
KingsGambit
177. Lyanna Mormont
@176 - Or he did die on his 14th birthday, and Cersei just hadn't made that mental adjustment to him being 14 yet. I know it usually takes me a while.

On dragons, maesters and faceless men (oh my) - I'm open to the possibility that the mission is actually to make sure that the traditional maesters DON'T have the means to kill the new dragons. Maybe because someone wants them alive, maybe because someone just thinks the maesters aren't the ones who should have that kind of power.

On the gap-that-wasn't - it's not hard to see why it would've been useful for a bunch of characters. Five years for Sam to train to be a maester, for Arya to train to be a FM, for the dragons to grow and Dany get some experience wrt ruling, for Bran to become an expert greenseer, perhaps throw in an interim Lord Commander at the Wall before Jon takes over... But what would Stannis be doing in the meantime? The wildlings and White Walkers? Does Tyrion reach Dany, do the Lannisters pacify the country and establish a firm grip on the 7K, what about the Greyjoys, how is there anything left of Theon in Reek, when does Aegon appear and how does Dany react, and so on.
George Jong
178. IndependentGeorge
I liked FFC more than most, but I have to say that I think GRRM made a tactical error in starting the book (post-prologue) with Aeron, followed by Areo.

First, we have no emotional attachment to either at the start. After the earth-shattering events of SOS, readers wanted to know what was happening to the characters they were already familiar with. COK began with Arya, SOS with Jaime - people we were already familiar with, and actively rooting for/against.

Second, neither character is exactly the most dynamic or sympathetic in their own right. In addition to being complete strangers (which is not inherently bad), they are boring strangers. Their defining characteristics are piety (Aeron) or dullness (Areo), and both go on to be largely bystanders in the rest of the book.

If GRRM wanted to start with the Greyjoys, he should begun with Asha (who is a bit of a cipher to us, but at least we're familiar with her). For the Martells, Arianne is a much more natural choice - even though she is completely new, she is related to the incredibly popular Oberyn Martell, she should (theoretically) interact regularly with Myrcella, and she goes on to drive much of the action in Dorne.

Last, it's much more natural to pick up where the plot left off in SOS than to start a new thread in FFC. There were three earth-shattering events in SOS: Tywin's death/Tyrion's escape, Lyssa's murder, and Stannis' arrival at the wall. Tyrion and Jon are relegated to FFC, but Cersei, Sansa, and Sam could all pick up right where we left off in the previous book. Sam in particular would have worked well with the Prologue, given his arc here and the parallels Jon's chapters in DWD, but really any of those three would have been a better choice.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
179. AlirozTheConfused
You know what just bugs me about this series?

Not only doe Martin not describe Allosteries

But he fails to explain why obsidian's efficacious

When dealing with others, it's not perspicacious

to leave off the why and the how, amirite?

If it's igneous rock we need, then why not granodiorite?

why won't Diabase, Feldspar, or gabbro strike true

Need plutonics? than Tuff and pumice will do

And heck, Quartz is just obsidian stuff

that when it cooled, had time enough

to crystalize properly; so why the dragony glass

is first in the Other-killing class?

(and yes, I use dictionaries for these rhymes

I'm bored you see, it passes the times).
Sasha P
180. AeronaGreenjoy
@179: That's excellent.

@178: I think the Dorne chapter ties in well with the KL plots late in ASOS, picking up just when the news of Oberyn's death reaches home. I knew the tragedy would set the Martells against the Lannisters (even more), but didn't expect such an outcry in the region and a many-way schism in the family as we meet three of the scarily-remarkable Sand Snakes calling for a different kind of vengeance. Not much comes of it in AFFC/ADWD, but at this point War Seems Imminent And yet it manages to be a nice change of scene from currently war-torn places. Areo is bland indeed, and thus a relatively-objective video camera though which to watch the drama. We return to the main plots soon enough, joining Cersei on the night of the Tyrion & Tywin scene. That's my experience. We'll see what Leigh makes of it.
Chris Nelly
181. Aeryl
My issue with their introduction is that there's not enough information to tell what bearing they have on the story. I had literally just put down ASOS and had NO CLUE who these people were.

Figuring it out later didn't help my enjoyment.
Sasha P
182. AeronaGreenjoy
True, it was more immediately understandable and thus better on the second read...and third...and fourth...
Adam S.
183. MDNY
I didn't like all the new Krakens in AFFC, but then I don't enjoy them in general, with a couple exceptions (apologies to Aerona and other Krakens in the audience). I really liked the Dorne sections though, cause Dorne is awesome, especially the Sand Snakes.
Michael Duran
184. MRHD
@178: I agree. Areo really didn't need to be a PoV. Neither did Arys, for that matter. It would have been better to have the scenes done from their PoVs done through Arianne's instead.
Sasha P
185. AeronaGreenjoy
The Arys chapter is depressing indeed, especially in retrospect. I can only guess it was to show the emotional-power imbalance in his relationship with Arriane and why he so unnecessarily threw away his life for a woman who only mildly cared for him. A bit like Quentyn, though his plot arc and death were mercifully shorter. But Quentyn at least went out doing something to keep a larger plot rolling. Arys, not so much. I'm not so sure the Areo chapter's events would've gone the same way had Arriane instead been the one by Doran's side. Areo's main personality-based contribution was to make me curious about Norvos.

If I didn't love the sea as they do, I'd dislike more of the Iron Islanders too. Still can't wait to see what Leigh will call Victarion, though she's been less generous with the insults lately.
Chris Nelly
186. Aeryl
Arys was an interesting way to introduce Arianne without letting us inside her head from the start, which I am okay with. My problem with Areo is just that there is just NOT ENOUGH information to make that first chapter make any sense.
Scott Silver
187. hihosilver28
Though it's easily a highlight in ASOS, I still think Martin made a mistake in killing Oberyn. The Red Viper was such a fascinating and badass character, I instantly liked him...and then he was killed. Basically, I was interested in Dorne because of the Viper, and then my interest died with him. I really am not invested in any of the Dornish characters. And holy crap, Quentyn's chapters were insufferable. I would not have been upset if every damn one of his were cut from ADWD.

I seem to be in the minority among this group w.r.t. the Greyjoys. I love Victarion. I find him fascinating to read. Now let it be said that he's an awful human being, but I still want more of his chapters.
Chris Nelly
188. Aeryl
I was willing to give the Martells some time because Oberyn IS so awesome. The Sand Snakes hooked me, as well as the lack of male primogeniture.

The Ironborn OTOH are all tarred by Theon(still not over it) and Asha is just not enough to redeem them. I might like them better if I had the story that drives them, but Victarion and Aeron are too oblique in their references to exactly what Euron did for their story to be that compelling to me.
Rob Munnelly
189. RobMRobM
C'mon, I like Hotah and he's necessary. He is our view into Doran Martell without letting us know all the devious thoughts required if we had a bird's eye into Doran's PoV. I also like our brave white knight. Great look at Dorne from the outside and a great character study of a conflicted knight. I like Ariane as well but a little bit goes a long way.

Re Iron born ... I just don't enjoy them (except for Asha and the Reader, both of whom are awesomesauce). But with benefit of ADWD it is clear that they play a significant role as things move forward so it's nice to have spicy characters such as Vicatarion and the Crow's Eye.
Chris Nelly
190. Aeryl
I don't mind Hotah, I just think they could have introduced him better. I was totally lost as to who he was, who he was with, and where the hell was Norvos?

That's not a good way to start the 4th book in your 7 book series, IMO.
George Jong
191. IndependentGeorge
The problem with Areo, Arys, and the Greyjoys is that there is no emotional resonance with any of them at the start of FFC. They exist to react to other characters, and there's never any reason to get invested with them individually.

If we started with Arianne, our introduction to Dorne would have been witnessing her grief and anger at Oberyn's death, which directly paralleled that of the readers, and of Dorne itself. We'd have a window into Dorne's nationalism, and it's cultural differences from the rest of Westeros. Doran's introduction (and eventual turn) be much more effective had he been primarily introduced with Arianne's contempt instead of Areo's devotion or Arys' pity.

If we began with Cersei, we'd be thrown directly back into the whirlwind that Tyrion's departure left in King's Landing. Brienne would have tied us back in to the aftermath of the war-torn countryside, and the fate of the Stark girls.

Aeron, Arys, and Areoh, meanwhile, add very little to the narrative besides bloat.
Michael Duran
192. MRHD
@191: Very well stated. While I have enjoyed AFfC more on subsequent re-reads, I can't help but think the book could have been improved with some streamlining, especially where the number of PoVs are concerned. Do we really need three PoVs in Dorne? Do we really need three PoV Greyjoys? (I'd cut out Aeron, have the Kingsmoot from either Victarion or Asha's PoV).

I'm really interested to see what Leigh makes of this slowing down of the plot: while I've never read WoT I've heard that the middle books of that series suffer from significant slowdown (from what I've been told Crossroads of Twilight in particular), so maybe there will be comparisons in pace for her to draw between series?
KingsGambit
193. Lyanna Mormont
I can see the authorial reason for using Areo and Arys as the first windows into Dorne - it's that old "audience viewpoint character" trick, where an outsider can react to things the Dornish would take for granted and therefore not (believably) be spending time thinking about. But the unfortunate side effect is the othering and exoticizing of Dorne. If you use Arys to go on about the wantonness of Dornish women, it comes hand in hand with the implication that this is a strange and unnatural thing - because to him, it is.

And while I'm not against opening with a new viewpoint character, I think Prologue - Aeron - Areo, followed by Cersei and Brienne (who are also technically new, as POVs) is a bit much. It wouldn't have been so hard to break up that chain by putting the Sam and/or Arya chapters somewhere inbetween those. More like Prologue - Sam - Aeron - Cersei - Arya - Brienne - Areo, or something of the sort.
Adam S.
194. MDNY
Hey, hey, hey! Chill out on all the Dorne hating! I liked the Dorne sections of AFFC, especially Areo Hotah, who's plain badass and loyal. I think Dorne is a cool (well, a hot) region, and the sand snakes plus all the intrigue are fun. The only annoying Dornishman is Prince Quentyn, who just sucks for a few chapters in ADWD and then dies. I could definitely have done with less Iron Islanders in AFFC, though, they weren't fun.
Sasha P
195. AeronaGreenjoy
Yeah, I seem to be the only person in the world with a massive crush on Aeron. C'est la vie. @188: I, too am not over Theon's betrayal of Winterfell (which upset me even more than the RW) or the horrors which made his Reek chapters the worst in ADWD. But I enjoyed Victarion's chapters except the last one, hope to read more about the morbidly-fascinating Euron, and became less irritably-jealous of Asha during the Wolfswood Death March. So...bring 'em on!

@193: Good point about exoticizing the Dornish. They all seem powerful and mysterious and passionate to POV outsiders, including Tyrion in ASOS methinks. Then we enter Arriane and Quentyn's minds, and find two kids blundering through life with diverse groups of friends. Very different from each other, but not inherently different from people in other regions. Still a fascinating place full of colorful characters, though.
George Jong
196. IndependentGeorge
I'm not hating on Dorne! I'm hating on the Iron Islands, but I love Dorne! That's why I get so irritated with how it's presented to us. Arianne's chapters are great (minus Mr. "I am of the night."), but Arys and Areo take an interesting setting and drain the life from it.

@193 - great point about the orientalism (Dornientalism?) in Arys' POV. I had similar thoughts, but it was really muddled in my head and couldn't express it clearly the way you did. And yes, I think Sam would have been a great POV to start with, especially when you consider how he eventually ties in with the prologue (which we only discover at the end).
KingsGambit
197. lololol
Looks like Leigh didn't recognize the Alchemist.
Adam S.
198. MDNY
ARGH! The alchemist is by far the most important thing in this chapter, and Leigh totally swung and missed. Without that link to the rest of the series, this prologue just becomes yet another random one-off character death. The question is, will Leigh realize the truth about the alchemist when Arya kills a merchant using a coin, or will she be REALLY confused when Pate reappears at the end of AFFC? I doubt she'll catch on to Alleras' true identity, which is a shame as it could produce another interesting commentary on women and their allowed places in a medeival society. I guess we have the rest of the Sand Snakes for that.
George Jong
199. IndependentGeorge
@198 - I think it's very much a side-effect of it being close to two years since Leigh read the matching description of Jaqen's appearance. I blitzed through the books and read it less than a week later, and so it was a lot easier for me to make the connection.

I never figured out Alleras until reading about it in a forum, though. Or of Marwin's probable connection to Mirri Maz Dur.
Sasha P
200. AeronaGreenjoy
This nice essay speculates on what the Oldtown Maesters might be doing, and lays out the reasons why Alleras is either Sarella or a very red herring: http://towerofthehand.com/blog/2010/08/24_if_its_chains_you_want_/index.html

I never got Allerasaarella, the poisoned coin, Jaqen, or how Pate improbably "reappeared" at book's end until The Fandom explained it. :-P For the first, I blame the Appendix, which says Sarella's "Oberyn's daughter by a trader, captain of the Feathered Kiss." I took that to mean she (not her mother) was the ship captain a la Asha, which Doran could consider a "game." But now, if the theory is right, she's my favorite Sand Snake and I really wanna see her again.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
201. Lisamarie
I feel dumb, but I don't know who the alchemist is either - although as soon as I read the part about the coin I was like WAIT A SEC, Arya did that! So I'm guessing it's connected to Jaqen, etc.

So please enlighten me about the alchemist ;)
Michael Duran
202. MRHD
There really wasn't ever any chance that Leigh was going to pick up on who the alchemist was. I mean seriously, who actually remembers character descriptions read two years prior? Even if she goes back and raeds the prologue description a dozen times I doubt it'll click. It didn't click for me the first time I read Feast, and I had just re-read the first three books in anticipation of Feast's release.
Marie Veek
203. SlackerSpice
@201: It is Jaquen - the description of the "Alchemist" matches Jaquen's after he changes faces in Arya's chapter.
Julian Niquille
204. Gesar
Well it's a good thing I'm following this reread, I had completely forgotten about these glass candles in the citadel, so I was sort of at a loss about that one vision where they're mentioned. Sometimes stuff is just easier than I think it is.
Adam S.
205. MDNY
@201 as Slackerspice said, the alchemist is clearly Jaquen based on his description. Then later, he apparently takes Pate's face and assumes his identity? We still don't know what his target is, only that apparently he needed a set of keys to the Citadel to accomplish it.
Vincent Lane
206. Aegnor
MDNY@198,

It's not important at all that she figure out who the alchemist is right now. It is important that she remember him and that there is something special about him and his appearance.

When I read this I had no idea who he was. When I read about Arya killing with a coin, I didn't immediately think of this scene either. Then later on, when Pate shows up, I immediately thought of the faceless men. That then connected all the dots in my head to Pate being killed by a coin, which Arya just did while training with the faceless men. Then I went back to the faceless man who we know about, Jaqen, then compared the descriptions of his new face, with the description of the alchemist, and presto. Expecting her to figure that out now is expecting too much.
Deana Whitney
207. Braid_Tug
Y'all she has twigged to the fact that the alchemist was someone she might have seen before, just can't remember / doesn't care enough to realize who.

And she'll meet new Pate about 2 years before she sees Arya kill a guy with a special coin. So if she even remember Pate the Novice by that time, it will be a miracle. Am hoping she does more than one chapter a week... Because next two chapters are going to be filled with - "who are these people?" in her comments, I'm guessing.

Alleras? I’m confused again. Will re-read that again.
Cody
208. Tarcanus
Has anyone brought up how the hit on Pate had to specifically be on Pate? I mean, in aDwD you have Arya being scolded for thinking of killing one person to enable her to kill the target. If Jaqen was trained similarly, then he would only kill the intended target and no one else.

So all speculation on "Who is the real target?" is misguided, unless the higher up Faceless Men have different rules than recruits such as Arya.
Jessica Trevino
209. Ciella
@207. Braid_Tug Alleras is thought to be Sarella, one of the Sand snakes who is mentioned at being in Old Town.
Adam S.
210. MDNY
@208 I thought of that, but if Pate is Jaquen's target, why did he need him to get the keys first? He surely could have killed him the first time they met. And later he takes his face and his identity, clearly toward his goal (whatever it is). It just doesn't make sense for Pate to be his ultimate target. I think he killed Pate because it was the only way to reach his true target, whoever it is, and he unfortunately had to kill him to get where he needs to. That might also explain why he speaks sadly at the end of the prologue, because he had to kill someone other than his prime target. It is clearly not forbidden for faceless men to kill men other than their target, because Jaquen agreed to kill 3 men to repay Arya, and she didn't hire him with a contract to the temple. I'm guessing a fully trained faceless man is given some leeeway in reaching their target, allowed to kill others only as a last resort, and Jaquen's target is impossible to reach without assuming the identity of someone in the keep (i.e. Pate).
Rob Munnelly
212. RobMRobM
Yes, he needed Pate to get the key and to "do" whatever he needs to do in the Citadel with said key and Pate's identity. Really wondering what that is. Since original Faceless Men hated Valyria and magic, query whether he is there on an anti-Marwyn, anti-magic agenda.
KingsGambit
213. Lyanna Mormont
@ 212

But the original FM also detested slavery, and who do we know who frees slaves in Essos? That girl with the dragons. So if you have anti-slavery-with-magic on one side, and anti-magic-with-slavery on the other... It's not clear which they'd go for, I think. Maybe they'd try to find a way to have their cake and eat it too. (Steal the manual for how to slay dragons from the Oldtown archives so the maesters can't use it, let Dany free All The Slaves, then use the manual to get rid of the dragons in the hope that it would lead to the extinction of magic.) Of course, somewhere in there they might find out about the impending ice zombie apocalypse and rearrange their priorities.
KingsGambit
214. SDGlyph
Ugh, comment #22 on the current AFFC post. Any mods here atm?
Chris Nelly
215. Aeryl
@SDGlyph, just hit the flag button by the author's name on any comment that's spoilery. Ms. McGovern does an incredible job monitoring the threads, so that's they best way to go. It's already gone.
George Jong
216. IndependentGeorge
Deleted because I'm dumb.
David Goodhart
217. Davyd
Yay for being back in the main series! I can play again!
KingsGambit
218. Maddy1990
I can't wait to see Leigh's opinion on Victarion - in my opinion, the most unpleasant POV character by far. Yes dude, you are definitely the victim and I feel so sorry for you that you were forced to bash your wife to death. I have a little violin in a corner going just for you.
Rafael
219. Ryamano
Regarding the question of which comes first: egg or chicken? I mean, dragons or magic?

The alchemist in ACOK does seem to think his powers are improved due to dragons returning to the world. Therefore, more dragons = more magic for the alchemists. Quaithe also seems to imply in her conversation about a fire ladder that this also seem to be the case.

But we know there's magic before the dragons appear.

The prologue of AGOT shows Others and Wights rising from the dead before dragons were born. We also know from the King beyond the Wall that the Other's attacks are becoming stronger and forcing the wildlings to unite before dragons were born (Mance Raider's campaign to become king seemed to have taken a long while).

Cersei got a foretelling of her future that so far seemed to hold true (her friend did die in a well). And this happened when she was a child.

Bran was also able to see the future before the dragons were born.

And finally, Bloodraven was probably a warg 100 years before dragons were born. Everything he does in the prequels could be just luck, but also could be explained by him being a warg that wargs into ravens to get the best arrow shots (and hear people's conversation).

So what's the cause and effect? Or maybe dragons are both? They can only be born in a world when a certain level of magic is present, but once they return they amp the magic factor by a 100?
Adam S.
220. MDNY
It is clear that magic existed at the start of the series. There were the Others, Bloodraven, the dwarf woman at High Heart, Cersei's blood witch prophesy as a child, shadowbinders in Assai, and even the warlocks of Qarth (who, admittedly, were not very impressive until dragons returned to the world). It is also clear that magic is becoming more potent, explained as due to the presence of dragons in the world. The question is if this is coincidental. We know that there are old prophecies about the War for the Dawn, Azor Ahai reborn, etc. So it seems to me that it was inevitable that magic would ramp up on a worldwide scale as the prophesied war of the Dawn approaches. GRRM is very circumspect about most of the magic in his world, but if you look at the large picture it seems almost like all the different magics are part of some larger struggle that has gone on for thousands of years and which is approaching a (?final?) conflict, likely with Dany and Jon and Bran (and Tyrion?/Faegon/Davos depending on your interpretations) at its center. Melisandre thinks she and Stannis are at the center, too, but she just misses some key points in the prophecy, thus pinning all her efforts erroneously on Stannis the grump. In this light, it was almost inevitable that Dany's dragons would hatch, because they were needed to help in the war.
Sanctume Spiritstone
221. Sanctume
@220 The dragon eggs already, existed but just dormant. I would guess that magic existed, and the increase in magic is related or even cause of the change to the dragon eggs going from dormant to active.

And the increasing of magic also increased the activity of The Others.

Or it magic could be related to the changes of the season, and every 1000 Wall Commanders, magic has some sort of "leap" year that has a long winter come along.
Chris Nelly
222. Aeryl
I see their close proximity to Dany had more to do with that.
KingsGambit
223. bookworm1398
Mel thinks her magic works much better at the wall. Is she misattributing again, is her magic just working better because all magic is? Or does the Wall have something to do with it?
Chris Nelly
224. Aeryl
That's a good question. Aside from the two assassins, what other magic has she done?

She resisted Cressen's poison and she did the spell that killed the 3 Kings.

Now, surviving the Tears of Lys was after the dragons were born, but she seemed to be unconcerned that he could have hurt her, so I'm not sure what's up with that.

The spell that killed the 3 Kings feels fake to me. I think it's more likely she already knew those men were dead, because of her visions, and acted accordingly to enhance her own mystique.

And the shadows were something she could apparently do before the dragons were born, and definitely feel like more of a blood ritual, which fits the reduced vitality we see in Stannis afterwards.

So, if she was resistant to poison regardless of the dragons, she could cast shadow assassins before the dragons, and the spell to kill the Kings is fake, then she could very well be misattributing what has enhanced her powers, as she hasn't actually used them since before the dragons were born.

I'll be glad once these books get further along and we start to get answers instead of more questions.
Bill Stusser
225. billiam
There is definitely some kind of old magic at work at the wall. Bran could feel it when he was there and Coldhands couldn't pass the gate. It doesn't surprise me that Mel's magic works better while there. I'm pretty sure some nasty shit is gunna go down there once the wall falls.

I agree that Mel didn't cast any spell to kill the other kings, she saw their deaths in her flames and used that knowledge to make it seem like she did something. Also, I would say her visions count as magic.

Also also, it was blood magic that caused the dragon eggs to become active and to hatch.

So, it is obvious that there is always magic with or without dragons, they just seem to make magic more powerful/work better in some way.
Rob Munnelly
226. RobMRobM
Yes, warging, blood magic, shadowbinding, anti-Other spells at the Wall, wildfire magic and maybe some forms of prophecy all seemed to work pre-dragons. At least some and perhaps all have been enhanced by the birth of dragons since then.
Rafael
227. Ryamano
@224 Aeryl

Mel also burned the eagle Varamyr Sixskins was warging into during the battle at the wall. That was probably her most impressive magic. It was fireball or implosion or whatever your favorite D&D spell is.

She also made a glamour or illusion spell that made everyone think Rattleshirt was Mance Rayder and vice versa.

Crazy theory that I had right now: Mel was always talking about king's blood having power and being instrumental in waking dragons, but even she knows it's bullshit. What actually wakes dragons is sacrifice, as in the story of Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa. Only when he tampered his sword with her blood did it become the flaming sword. So Mel knows that only when Stannis makes a sacrifice, a very difficult moral choice regarding saving the world at the expense of a loved one or family member, will he get the dragons he need to defeat the Great Other. That's why she invented all this stuff about blood of kings, to try to justify to Stannis why he should kill Edric Storm. She thought this was going to be the sacrifice that would bring dragons back. If king's blood was all that was necessary to bring dragons back, she wouldn't have saved Mance Rayder, she would have killed him in a pyre with dragon eggs or something else in a ritual that would have at least tried to wake some dragons. Insted he (*acually rattleshirt) was burned normally. That's why she was also after Mance Rayder's infant son. Again the moral question is what's important (killing a baby?), not who is the child's father. And Dany got her dragons (besides because she is Azor Ahai reborn) because she made a difficult moral question and killed her loved one.
KingsGambit
228. dpt24
Will Leigh pick up the pace on the re-read a little so she's covering 2-3 chapters like she did earlier? I understand why she slowed down the pace a bit both here and in WoT re-read. But I think the Read could get pretty tedious if we go through a month and all we see are Ironborns and maybe a Dornish plot which goes nowhere. I know some people love AFFC but I don't particularly enjoy it. Especially the character plots which go nowhere (RE: Asha, Dorne) or are just so unlikeable (ironborn) you wish they'd all die. In my fairly biased opinion Jamie and Cersei are what makes this book interesting and bearable. I'm thinking the same will be true for the read. The only reason I've wanted Leigh to get to this book is to see her reaction to Cersei.
Julian Niquille
229. Gesar
The pace is one thing, but frankly I'm more afraid about how she will feel about AFFC as a whole. Based on how she usually reacts, the pirate's chapters, and some of Cersei's, run the risk of infuriating her a lot. I've been under the impression that she's been a little annoyed with what she was reading lately, and I wonder if she won't want to just plainly stop after some of those (which would be a damn shame :'( ).
Faiz Imam
230. FaizImam
I'm not worried about that, Her concluding thoughts about SOS were extremely positive, and infuriating parts were very much a part of what she was approving of.

As for the rise of Magic, I've always thought of the rise of Ice, Green and Fire magic to be related, but independent.

Or perhaps better phrased as the magic of the Others, of the children of the forest and of Valaria.

They are undoubtedly connected on a fundamental level, but their re-emergence over the recent past follows separate courses and cannot be correlated with each other.

But that's just me.
KingsGambit
231. corbon
@aeryl #127
Some corrections on your corrections.
Rickard did not follow Brandon to stop him. He likely did not even know of Brandon's actions until he (Rickard) was summoned to KL *by Aerys* to *answer for his son's crime*, along with the other fathers.And there's no evidence Rickard was worried going there. Nor any that he was not. The trial by combat with Rickard as champion was even at Rickard's insistence (just Aerys cheated).

According to Jaime, who was there, and the only information we have, Brandon never mentioned Lyanna (well, Jaime does not say that Brandon definitely didn't, just doesn't include any such information) but instead rode up to the gates with his colleagues and did, literally, call for Rhaegar to "come out and die". Whatever the motivations, that is treason punishable by death (though wise and cool heads might understand, and reduce any sentence). Its also somewhat condemnatory of Brandon if he truly did not mention Lyanna at all, *perhaps* indicating he cared less for her than his families honor, or maybe that he thought she was already too 'spoiled', or even dead.
Or maybe Jaime just omitted it.

We don't know how long Rhaegar and Lyanna were having an 'affair' before the abduction but almost certainly not a year. The abduction is approximately a year after Harrenhal, but there is literally zero rumour or hint of any affair between those times, suggesting that if anything happened it happened late and privately, not at Harrenhal. More importantly, Rhaegar has no motivation to have any particular link with any other woman until Aegon is born and suddenly Elia cannot give him his third head of the dragon. Then and only then need he look elsewhere - he was, above all 'dutiful' so unfaithfulness before necessity rears its head doesn't fit character or match known motivations or behavioural patterns.
I believe he awarded Lyanna QoLaB due to her actions as KotLT, but nothing major happened between them at that time. Or else surely it would have been mentioned or remarked upon by now. However, most of a year later after Aegon is born and Elia cannot provide his third head, he realises that he must find a second wife and then, and only then, may he act on any attraction to Lyanna - strong, spirited, truly honourable and ice to his fire (ring any bells, that combo?).
Thats a bit of a distraction though...

The war is about Aerys calling for Ned and Robert's heads, nothing to do with Lyanna. Thats just Robert's bullshit fantasy speaking, painting himself in a more noble and sympathetic light (for his own self-view more than others IMO). So I don't think Lyanna and her fate would have featured significantly in *any* war councils. Her fate is simply insignificant once the war has started as demonstrated by the fact that she is never mentioned until after the war is completed. Robert didn't truly love her (just his false idea of her) and certainly wasn't pining away for concern about her fate as he fucked entire brothels senseless during the war.
And even if Ned does know her fate, telling Robert is just going to make things worse, not better. Robert can't handle the idea she rejected him for Rhaegar, even though he knows it deep down ("he has her") .
So I think your criticisms of Ned in these areas are very unfair, though I do agree wth the ones you didn;t explain out as much.
Chris Nelly
232. Aeryl
@231, I've stated a few times I've had a real hard time with rereading this series, but as I move forward with it (AGAIN) I will keep an eye out for the things you've pointed out.

One thing to remember to, as far as what happened, and who called for who, we really don't know any of that, because A) most of those people are dead, and B) the maesters control the communication, and we've been given reason to question their integrity.
Faiz Imam
233. FaizImam
Assuming she gets to Hotah, what do you guys feel about Leighs odds of totally falling for the misdirection at the end?

"I only pray Lord Tywin ... knows what a loyal friend he has in Sunspear"

The contrast between Oberyn and Doran is shown and repeated numerous times in this chapter alone, and so I think there is a chance she picks up that he's the type to play the long game.

But probably not. While we learn plenty about Dorne and the others, there is not nearly enough about Doran himself to give him the benifit of the doubt.
Rob Munnelly
234. RobMRobM
I'll bet a dollar she realizes there is a game being played here, even if she doesn't know what it is.
Adam S.
235. MDNY
It's pretty clear that Doran is subtle and doesn't truly support Tywin. Even without being in his head, I read that as him pretending to support Tywin while still working on some unknown plot, and Leigh is smart enough to likely suspect the same. I'm excited to get to Dorne, I'll be very disappointed if we only cover the iron islands this week.
Chris Nelly
236. Aeryl
I'll admit it, I didn't. I think Doran's infirmities played a role in that, it misled me to believe that he was tired sick old man, heartsick over the losses of his siblings to vengeance, and was ready to pack it in. '

But, I had a hard time getting a read on Areo in that section too, I was confused as hell for most of the chapter as to who Areo was even observing, so that likely played a part too.
KingsGambit
237. Maddy1990
I really don't get the point of Arys Oakheart or Areo Hotah as POV characters and wish all of the Dorne storyline in AFFC was from Arianne. I remember not being that into Dorne the first time, but now I find them really interesting in terms of the plot moving forward. Interested to see what Leigh thinks. I predict she will not be a fan of the Greyjoys, except possibly Asha. I really just want to see what she thinks about Cersei, the most compelling part of this book for me.
Michael Duran
238. MRHD
Surprised we got two chapters this week. Guess that means we can start getting to the star PoV of Feast, Cersei, next week... hurray!
Chris Nelly
239. Aeryl
I'm kinda cryin right now that she don't like Asha, but she hasn't gotten to her POV yet either, so I'll hope she'll come around.

Asha's a lot more forward thinking than she acts IMO, because she has to play into that stereotype to be successful amongst the Ironborn.
Julian Niquille
240. Gesar
I'm pretty sure GRRM didn't plan to have Hotah as a POV, he wanted to have Aryanne see everything at first, but then he realized it made no sense that she would be a witness to all these encounters with sand snakes given the relationship she had with her father, so he had Hotah take the POV instead. The sentence that Leigh emphasized probably comes from an earlier version of the chapter where Arianne was there or something like that.

IndependentGeorge: the Queenmaker is Aryanne, not Arys
Adam S.
241. MDNY
Hotah makes sense to me. GRRM likes to have POV from people near the top positions of power, but usually not the rulers themselves except Dany (like Ned instead of Robert, Cat instead of Robb, Victorian instead of Euron, etc.) It also makes this book flow better, because if we only saw things from Arianne's POV we wouldn't see how her decisions hinder her father's plans.
KingsGambit
242. Maddy1990
I get that Hotah is necessary in a way to see what Doran's doing, he's just such a bland nothing character. It's not like he gets a lot of chapters or anything so it's not a big deal though. I think Leigh will come around to Asha once she gets inside her head - she is a lot more progressive, if that's the right word, than she seems from the outside. She is not nearly as terrible as the rest of her family, although that's not exactly difficult. She's not one of my favourite characters or anything, but I do give her credit for being a lot smarter and more compassionate than most of the Ironborn. I'm actually now really impatient to see what she thinks about what happens to Theon in Dance, but obviously that's ages away.
Rob Munnelly
243. RobMRobM
FaizImam - I owe you a cyberbuck. Will you accept payment in bragging rights?
Chris Nelly
244. Aeryl
@242, EXACTLY! The regressive act is just that, an act. It's a pose she has to put forward to survive as a woman in a man's world, and I think Leigh will be bit more sympathetic to that, once she sees that.
KingsGambit
245. Maddy1990
@244 Yep. Even though she loses, her speech at the Kingsmoot is one of my favourite things where she's basically like - all this pillaging and reaving shit was pretty dumb guys, maybe we should have peace. And then all the dumb dudes are like, you're a weak woman because you don't want to wage a war for no reason. And then I almost throw the book in frustration at stupid Ironborn bros who are like - look Euron has a horn and we're going to take all of Westeros with dragons! Hurray!

Also, she is friends with Rodrik the Reader and that dude is awesome.
Chris Nelly
246. Aeryl
I was pretty sure Rodrik was her uncle, but maybe that was just a term of affection. He is pretty cool though.
KingsGambit
247. Maddy1990
Does anyone else feel like the fact that Leigh is already so frustrated with the chapter naming thing ... does not bode well for the next two books. I'm sure she'll get used to it - it's a relatively minor detail, but I kind of feel bad for her now.
Adam S.
248. MDNY
@246 I believe he is her maternal uncle, thus her "non-Kraken" uncle, which would explain why Asha's mother is in his castle.
George Jong
249. IndependentGeorge
@242, 244, 245 - I agree about all of that, but that also leads to a moment where I can't suspend disbelief. Asha's perspective is really the only way the Iron Islands could have ever functioned and survived as a society.

Ironborn culture just makes no sense from a real-world perspective - they seem to be based on how the Europeans perceived the Vikings to be, as opposed to what they actually were (a relatively advanced, agriculture-based society). For a book that deconstructs a lot of traditional medievel fantasy tropes, this always struck me as somewhat ridiculous.
KingsGambit
250. cleopatra2525
@245 @246: Yes, Rodrik the Reader is her uncle, her mother's brother.
Chris Nelly
251. Aeryl
@249, But it's pointed out, the Ironborn do do agriculture. They have those they consider the lower classes perform those acts, much like the Vikings did.
Rafael
252. Ryamano
Someone once compared the Iroborn's foundness for reaving and leaders that allow them to reave to the Americans' foundess for cowboys. It's nostalgic (the ironborn are like: remember when we were great and ruled almost 3 out of the 8 realms?) and people still like that attitude, that's why they vote for leaders that are like that (Reagan and Bush Jr), even though it doesn't necessarily mean anything in current politics.

Also, reaving could've been forced upon Ironborn during winter. Their isles aren't that fertile and they could be hit harsh during winters, thus forcing them to take stuff from others. It's somewhat a parallel to what forced norse to get out of their turf and start viking (the little ice age, if I'm not mistaken).
Chris Nelly
253. Aeryl
Oh goodness, what's about to come from the little ice age we're having now(she types from under a foot of snow and an inch of ice)
Rob Munnelly
254. RobMRobM
Aeryl - I had to shovel my car out from 2 feet of snow (one that fell from sky, one pushed up by plows) when I got to my train station parking lot last night. I did pack a shovel with me (I've been through this before many times.) I'm located outside of Boston, by the way.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
256. AlirozTheConfused
Re: Lyanna having a right to go off with Rhaegar.

No. Personally, I think that Lyanna going with Rhaegar to wherever-I-think-it-was-King's-Landing is something that has continent-wide effects, politically. In my mind, it's basically like if a girl fell in love with, say, someone in some country and out of love, gave him an atomic bomb. I think the effects are international, the leverage is there. Yeah, Lyanna is an individual, and individuals can do what they want; but this has repurcussions on millions of people. To me, it is fundamentally irresponsible. I mean, the effects on Dorne politics alone from Rhaegar running off with Lyanna...

I think even if it didn't cause a war, it's messing with the successsion; and when the succession gets messy, war tends to happen. Aegon the Unworthy was an individual who had the right to love whoever he wanted, and in my opinion, that didn't end well at all.

Suer, the hypothetical girl loves the hybothetical boy and can only express that by the gift of the atomic bomb; but to me the thing is, it's bigger than the two of them.

To each his or her own; though.

@ 254, 255:

What, you think a foot of snow is a lot? You guys are absolutely adorable with your itty bitty fall that you think is a terrible winter. Come back when the snow is taller than your head and the air outside is the equivalent of second-hand smoke because the inversion keeps the air from getting out of your valley; and there are official warnings not to go outside; and there's robot sharks spitting out incendiary canarymobiles driven by irate cuttlefish.

Seriously, a measly foot and you guys flip out? Wimps. Real men walk through seventeen feet of snow, barefoot, while punching robot sharks and growing a beard that grows it's own beard; and naming your son Fistbeard McBeardfist. Blindfolded.

I bet you think the appalachians are mountains. They're baby mountains, for little baby men, with little baby shoes. baby baby baby.

Note: The above is joking; and I can understand how a foot of snow, to someone not used to it, can be overwhelming.
Sasha P
257. AeronaGreenjoy
Giving us summer children the Old Nan talk, Aliroz? Hilariously put. ASOIAF already has irate (metaphorical) cephalopods, and airborne incendiary devices also used for transportation, so robot sharks shouldn't be far behid.

*waves at RobM* My sympathies with doing that commute in the snow. I just spent a season at three successive Boston-area residences while interning at the aquarium. (I live in upstate NY before and after)

I was a bit surprised by Leigh's mild dislike of Asha, who back in ACoK she declared both horrible (for seducing her brother) and awesome. I guess Asha's participation in the subsequent reaving changed that.
Rob Munnelly
258. RobMRobM
Re snow (and Aerona and Alrioz in particular)- we had a Boston area record snowfall year back in the early 90s and were pretty darned impressed with ourselves until our friends, who lived in Binghamton NY, said that our total was the same as their average year. Burned. I could understand truth, having lived in that part of NY for three years back in the 80s.
Chris Nelly
259. Aeryl
A foot of snow isn't a big deal if you live in an area that gets it typically. For those of us to whom this is atypical, it's a huge deal. Stores have run out of snow shovels(because we don't keep them) and our cities have exhausted our supply of salt. People don't have proper clothing for protection against below zero weather, and our houses aren't properly insulated.

I feel for people who go through this every year, I do.
Chris Nelly
260. Aeryl
@Aliroz, I agree that Lyanna just running off was a bad thing for the realm, and that the responsibilities of nobility should have precluded her from doing that.

But we still don't have the full story about what really happened. And considering we have examples of more forward thinking societies, that aren't as restrictive to women, that hold elections, I don't feel it's untoward to judge Westeros as a retrofuck example of "civilization" within this fantasy world.
Michael Duran
261. MRHD
Something that struck me as funny with the talk about how backwards the Ironborn are. For as regressive their culture seems, they came THIS close to freely elected a woman to be their leader; certainly, they got closer to doing so than we ever have in the United States.
KingsGambit
262. Lyanna Mormont
For that matter, we don't actually know that Lyanna did run off rather than be kidnapped. Other than being rebellious, not thinking Robert was all that great, and wanting Ned to make her a promise, we know next to nothing about her. Just because she loved her child (assuming R+L=J) it doesn't automatically mean that she must've loved the father. She could still have been kidnapped.

I sometimes wonder if Rhaegar simply pulled the Prophecy card on her. We know he believed it, we know he was charismatic, we know Lyanna was young... If he convinced her she had to give him a child to save the world, that Stark sense of honor and duty might have kicked in enough to make that child more important to her than anything or anyone else. And if that prophecy actually mentions the Others, well, Lyanna was from the North, after all. It would probably be easier to persuade her than someone from Dorne or the Reach.
Chris Nelly
263. Aeryl
@262, That's true, it's an assumption on my part that R+L is consensual and on the up and up, with no coercion. But I despise Robert, and can totally see him being arrogant enough to be incapable of understanding that Lyanna didn't actually WANT him, and thus classifying her desertion of him as "Rhaegar kidnapped and raped her"
KingsGambit
264. Lyanna Mormont
@263 - Oh, I agree, Robert would assume that. I'm just saying that doesn't automagically mean he must be wrong.

And there's plenty of gray area between True Love and kidnapping/rape. This is ASOIAF - when have things ever been black and white? (Not counting the Night's Watch and Kingsguard outfits, of course.)
Adam S.
265. MDNY
Everyone talks about Rhaegar abducting and raping Lyanna. I've always believed it was consensual, but the fact remains that Rhaegar was married and Lyanna, though flowered, was still under the domain of her father. I don't think she had a LEGAL right to run off with anyone, even the crown prince, when she was promised to the heir of the stormlands. Lyanna was an unwed maid, and as such I believe was still under her father's jurisdiction. Until we learn more, I continue to view it as Rhaegar and Lyanna jointly running off on an illicit elopement of sorts, likely because of a prophecy Rhaegar encountered when he was young and "bookish".
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
266. AlirozTheConfused
Going by A Wiki OF Ice And FIre, Lyanna was born in 267, the tourney at Harrenhal happened in 281, and Lyanna died in 283.

This makes Lyanna approximately thirteen-fourteen at the tourney; and fifteen-sixteen at her death.

In 281, Rhaegar and Lyanna run off together. Rhaegar was born in 259, making him 21-22 at the time of the tourney (and of the running-off with Lyanna, who was thirteen-fourteen at the time).

(according to this same wiki; Theon Greyjoy was born in 279, Shae was born in 281, and Brienne of Tarth and Loras Tyrell were born in 282. This makes Theon two-three years old in the year that Brienne and Loras were born.) Theon is thus two to three years older than Brienne. Not at all what I got from my mental image.

Elia was born in 257, making her 23-24 at the time of the tourney, and she died in 283, making her 25-26.
Birgit
270. birgit
You have too much snow because you have stolen our winter. Meterologists say that we don't have a proper winter in Europe as a balance for the cold in America.
Rafael
271. Ryamano
You're all lucky. In South America we're having the hottest and driest summer in 71 years. It's almost impossible to sleep at night.
Sasha P
272. AeronaGreenjoy
I'm always amused by what Leigh predicts and what she doesn't expect. Actually, Leigh, the Greyjoys won't object to a Kingsmoot and Doran will successfully lock up the Sand Snakes...but many other things will subsequently go wrong.
George Jong
274. IndependentGeorge
*sigh*

"I was his squire! And he left me!" is maybe the second-saddest line in the entire series.

"Egg, I dreamed I was old." is the first. Both are from this book.
Rob Munnelly
275. RobMRobM
The theory I just mentioned in the main thread relates to Ser Shadrich, who talks with Brienne in this chapter. He ends up being one of the three hedge knights hired by Littlefinger in the Vale at the end of AFFC. He's going to recognize Sansa and try to bring her back to Kings Landing for the reward. He needs it - he fought for Stannis and lost nearly all of his money paying his ransom. Wow.
KingsGambit
276. AsbjornGV
@266 - Brienne is only 18 years old? I'm really baffled by that.

@274 - For me, the saddest line in the series is a three-way-tie between Aemon's "Egg, I dreamed I was old," Catelyn's "Don't cut my hair, Ned loves my hair," and Theon's "Where was I? I should have died with him." (sorry if its not the exact quotes, I don't have my books with me right now)
Adam S.
277. MDNY
@275 I had that same thought, when Sansa meets him. I'm not sure what the repurcussions will be, if he will figure it out and report to Cersei or LF will have Brune kill him, but his presence in the vale definitely increases Sansa's danger.
Chris Nelly
278. Aeryl
Well, Varys is the one offering the reward, so he'd go to him not Cersei(especially considering that she has little power at this time). And Sansa free to claim the North does more to destabilize the realm, which is apparently Varys' plan now, than Sansa in hand.
George Jong
279. IndependentGeorge
RE: Shadrich - My WMG is that the 'controversial' Sansa chapter in WOW involves her outwitting him and putting him to death in some manner.
Adam S.
280. MDNY
@278 Varys put out the reward initially, but he's in hiding now. Chances are, if someone reached King's Landing with info on Sansa or Arya, they'd be intercepted by Qyborn or Cersei before they found Varys. I imagine that it would play it like the dwarf heads, and they would first have to go to a guardsman or member of the kingsguard, who would then alert Cersei before Varys could act.
Chris Nelly
281. Aeryl
Valonquar is one of the trickier things GRRM has done, IMO. If it was obvious that it meant "little brother", people MIGHT POSSIBLY start suspecting Jaime, because of the falling out. But because Cersei believes it's Tyrion, and he is harboring that justifiable vendetta against her, it's easy for the audience to believe her. But as soon as I learned what it meant, I immediately thought Jaime would be the one to do it.
KingsGambit
282. MorsManwoody
I'm really intrigued by the possible valonqar interpretations. I think it's Jaime as well though prior to Dance I had a crackpot theory that it was Kevan since Maggy the Frog said the valonqar not your valonqar.

iirc, didn't Aemon say that Valyrian was genderless and it was mistranslation that led people to assume the it was a prince who was promised and not a princess? If Valyrian is genderless, then I don't think val- wouldn't be a masculine identifier, which would open up valonqar to be any younger sibling.
Rob Munnelly
283. RobMRobM
@279 - What's WMG? I usually think of WAG (wild assed guess).

@281 - agreed.

@282 - yes, no Varys, so someone would have to find someone in power to get the reward (which, depending on timing, might or might not be Cersei who could be in sparrow jail).
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
284. AlirozTheConfused
WMG is from the Tv Tropes site!

It means Wild Mass Guessing; which is a delight.

I miss Tv Tropes, it was very fun.

But like all good things, my time there is done.
Chris Nelly
285. Aeryl
Well I see it like that because of "valar marghulis" and "valar dohaeris" are both "All Men".

You could be right, but Dany, who's fluent in Valyrian, obviously sees gender in those.

Just because the prophecy promises a "prince" may have been referring to either prince or princess, to me that only indicates that titles are genderless, but that actual gendered people could still exist.
Jakub Wrobel
286. ptyx
I still bet on Arya being the valonqar.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
287. AlirozTheConfused
Well, back in the way back when, lots of people in English would use "he" as a genderless pronoun; and use him/his/himself in a similar way.

You need to walk a mile in his shoes before you judge him.

Here's Henry David Thoreaus:
"If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away"

Here's a different version of the quote:
If a man or woman loses pace with his or her companions, perhaps it is because he or she hears a different drummer or drummerette. Let him or her step to the music which he or she hears, however measured, or far away.

It's rather clunky, don'cha think? Kind of loses something, there.

Thoreau, in his time, could use "he", "him", and "his" in a gender-neutral way. We know that THoreau didn't mean to refer to only men with that statement.
KingsGambit
288. MorsManwoody
That's what I was thinking as well. I'm pretty sure "All men must die" is supposed to be gender neutral. Either because the Valyrian language as a whole is gender neutral or by using it in a gender neutral way. Taking "All men must die" as a statement that applies only to men would be rather strange.
George Jong
289. IndependentGeorge
@283 - What's WMG? I usually think of WAG (wild assed guess).

That's the singular of WMG (Wild Mass Guess). My phrasing was confusing because, while this particular guess is singular, I meant it to be read in the context of all the fan theories (including yours).

@284 - I miss Tv Tropes, it was very fun. But like all good things, my time there is done.

My time is done, too. It always gets lost there.
KingsGambit
290. MorsManwoody
@285 true, but I'm not sure we can trust Dany on that point. She's fluent in Valyrian but Aemon was fluent and much better educated and he didn't consider that the prophecy could refer to a woman until near the end of his life.

For reference, here's the relevant quote:

"No one ever looked for a girl," he said. "It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought . . .
What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it."

Admittedly, that doesn't make clear whether it was the word for prince or the language itself that is gender neutral. I've always thought he meant the language but unless there is another quote on the subject I am missing, it's ambiguous.
KingsGambit
291. Son of an Other
Several times in AFFC and ADWD I remember reading from Jamie and Ceresi's povs that "They came into the world together, they will die together" something like that. That to me tells me that Jamie is in fact the valonqar, which I think it was stated somewhere in the books to only mean 'little brother,' and we were also told in the books that Ceresi was the first born and that she was grasping Jamies foot or something as they came out.
George Jong
292. IndependentGeorge
I'm 99% sure that Jaime is the valonquar. My only doubts stem from the "it's too bloody obvious" line of though, but ultimately I think that's overthinking it.
Chris Nelly
293. Aeryl
Aliroz, the ONLY reason he/him were considered "ungendered" is because men were the only people who mattered to the people who did all the writing, and learning, and educating of that time(and I haven't seen anything to indicate that Thoreau was any different). It has nothing to do with being lyrical, but being certain of the belief that men are people, and women are not.
Chris Nelly
294. Aeryl
@292, The only reason I know it's true is because a picture of Jaime with his hands around Cersei's throat is listed in the dictionary under "justice".

I know, I checked.
KingsGambit
295. Nick S.
@290

I read that quote as Aemon saying the prophecy referred to a dragon and everyone assumed it meant a targaryan prince. However he realized that dragons were genderless, therefore it could also refer to princess. Don' t see how whether valyrian is gender neutral or not is relevant.
Sasha P
296. AeronaGreenjoy
ASoIaF review project of the week: UNspoiled, a podcast in which a certain first-time reader debates each chapter with his wife-who's-read-it-all without revealing spoilers. They started with AGOT in January 2012, and appear to have covered everything through the TWOW previews. He's passionately disturbed by the displays of sexism and rape culture, apropos to this week's Leigh reviews.

The main site is http://unspoiledpodcasts.com/category/literature/a-song-of-ice-and-fire/ , but they're having difficulties and have temporarily transfered the archives to
http://unspoiled.libsyn.com/ , so go there for the oldest episodes.
Antonio Dagnino
297. andaco
Is it only me, but, does anyone after hating Cersei through all AFFC, and then having two great chapters at ADWD that at least stop being boring, found it heartbreaking the way she spoke in the epilogue? Like her character development had emptionally crippled her, and her sadness is devastating, and only imaging the only thing she has are her son and her daughter now that Kevan died, also knowing Tommen is going to die as the prophecy indicates she will see all her sons survive. I really want her to be happy, desesperately. I want her to survive her trail by battle, and after all her character development rule in the correct way. But Jaime is going to kill her after that, tell me if that is not as sad as Catelyn's dead. I hate GRRM just made me attached to a character that is doomed. I only know her chapters from now on are going to be heartbreaking and my only hope is that Myrcella survives somehow.
Really, is anyone else in love with Cersei afterwards, I just want to hug her.
KingsGambit
298. Scott Wood
Regarding gender in High Valyrian, the creator of the languages for the HBO show has a blog with lots of information about them. Granted, show canon is not book canon, but he seems to have made an effort to conform with what is in the books, plus maybe extra info from GRRM.

http://www.dothraki.com/2013/12/seasons-bleatings/ has a PDF with a large vocabulary list, which shows "vala" as meaning "man", versus "?bra" meaning "woman".

http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/qilonario-geron/ discusses Maester Aemon's comment and the question of whether High Valyrian has gender.
KingsGambit
299. zambi76
Really, is anyone else in love with Cersei afterwards, I just want to hug her.
Yeah, I'm sorry but no. The Walk of Shame was horrific and the dumbest thing to be done to an already mentally unstable woman like Cersei, but hugging is out. Not after what she has pulled off in the story before. I just want her put out of her misery now, preferably not by Jaime.

I'll give you that her overall story is not less sad than Catelyn's though.
And I guess we can be sure she will go out with a bang rather than a wimper.
tayyab saeed
300. skyhawkafm
"the valonqar not your valonqar."
This quote makes me wonder who gets the title of "The Little Brother"
though my gut always points to Jamie
Tabby Alleman
301. Tabbyfl55
"All men die". At first you'd think that has to be gender-neutral, unless women are immortal. But then, wait a minute.

Dany spends the night in a pyre. Doesn't die.

Catelyn gets her throat slashed. And. Well.

Have any female characters actually died in this series?

Hmmm.

When I first started watching the HBO show, I was very disappointed by the casting. Almost NONE of the characters looked the way I pictured them from the books. But after watching them over and over again, I'm starting to get used to most of them, except for one.

Lena Headey's a fine actress, but I still just hate the choice of her as Cersei. She's too lean and physically imposing, and stern-faced, and, despite hollywood's best efforts, too OBVIOUSLY NOT BLONDE.

I say this without a person in mind for a better choice, because there must be hundreds, and I'm not trying to steer the discussion in that direction. But since Lena got such attention in the comments this week...well, it will be interesting to see how she plays the role when we get to this point in the story, assuming the show even resembles this story by that point.
Brandi Carrier
302. Brandi
@301
Agree about Lena Headey, great actress but not the right Cersei looks-wise.

@297

I still didn't have any feels for Cersei after reading her POV. I feel like her better qualities-dedication to her children and family, etc. were better described in the earlier books, and AFFC and ADWD just show you that's paranoid, kinda nuts, and not nearly as smart/clever/perceptive as she thinks she is. Still looking forward to her dying.

I know everyone thinks its going to be Jaime but I still hope it's a different little brother (not hers). There's a fair amount of support for it being Sandor Clegane over on the asoiaf subreddit. I've also seen Stannis, Kevan, Loras, Tommen, and even Rickon and Aeron Damphair mentioned lol. I still think it could very well be Jaime even though it seems "too obvious," it's probably only too obvious for us readers who spend too much time thinking about it. It would still be the shock of a lifetime for Cersei, so in that way I guess it would be apropos.

I was sad when Cat died, but mostly sad for the kids. After several rereads I found myself blaming her more and more for her own problems.

Valonqar theories:
http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/meaea/affc_spoilers_the_valonqar/

http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1lnuc3/spoilers_allmy_theory_of_cercei_and_the_valonqar/

http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/t5v5k/spoiler_allspeculation_cerseis_valonqar/

http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1f00xp/spoilers_all_the_valonqar/
Tom Smith
303. phuzz
I can't think of any women who were PoV characters who have actually died and not come back in some way, but Ygritte was a pretty major character who's dead*.
I suppose Lyanna Stark is the most important female character who's dead, but that wasn't really 'in' the books.


*Or is she? Yes, she probably is.
Tabby Alleman
304. Tabbyfl55
Oh Ygritte HAS to get wighted...and then re-united with Jon.

You think GRRM would pass THAT up? : )
Rob Munnelly
305. RobMRobM
@304. The Legend of Snow Wight. I like it.
Don Barkauskas
306. bad_platypus
Son of an Other @291: Actually, it was Jaime who was holding Cersei's foot when they were born---unless they were both breech births, that's the only way it could have worked with her coming first. :-) (Unless it was a C-section, but that doesn't seem likely.)
KingsGambit
307. Lyanna Mormont
@ 301 - I realize this was probably a rhetorical question, but... Lysa Arryn. Dacey Mormont. Mirri Maz Duur. Dalla. Doreah. Hazzea, the girl killed by Drogon. The women Ramsey Snow Bolton names his bitches for. Thistle, the wildling killed by Varamyr in the prologue of ADWD. Old Nan? Beth Cassel? And of course all the nameless ones.

That line in the show always annoyed me, precisely because it was so absurd. What, women don't have to die? We're going to live forever?
KingsGambit
308. Jeff R.
@294: Funny, mine has a picture of Walder Frey's last two living descendants running each other through with swords in front of the old man's deathbed...
KingsGambit
310. draco vulgaris
@297
I wouldn't go so far as wanting to hug her, but I was on her side when she was being prepared for her Walk of Shame. She wasn't actually being punished for any of the heinous things she did, she was just being punished for having sex. I can't say that I like Cersei, but I understand her and I do sympathize with her to some extent. Maybe because I think I'd have ended up very much like her if I'd been raised the way she had.
KingsGambit
311. tMaac
@301
Also Shae, and a few Septas...
Maiane Bakroeva
312. Isilel
"The Promised _Prince_" conundrum is not an evidence of gender neutrality of Valyrian language. It is just that they used the same word to denote an actual dragon and to denote a prince. Which makes sense, since they were ruled by the 40 Dragonlord families. Dragons, however, can change gender, which is where the loophole for Dany possibly being the PtwP comes from.

As to Cersei, she got standard upbringing for a noblewoman in Westeros.
For all of his other failings, Tywin was a perfectly average, if largely absent during most of their childhoods, father to the twins for a man of his class. I am sure promising her that she'd marry Rhaegar and then failing to deliver didn't help things, but it couldn't have been enough to screw Cersei up so badly.
Her aunt and uncles, who would have been actually raising her after Joanna's death, are/were perfectly normal people as far as nobles go, who loved and admired Tywin (and Joanna?) and tried to do their best by his daughter.

Nothing in Cersei's upbringing explains or justifies what she has become, IMHO.
Yes, women in Westeros get poor cards when compared to men of a comparable social level, nor do they have options for social climbing like men do, but Cersei had a very decent hand, which she has played horrendiously.
KingsGambit
313. Maddy1990
I love how Leigh points out all the subtle sexist bullshit that Brienne has to deal with constantly, her chapters in this book make me so depressed. I just want to give her a hug and tell her how awesome she is. I can't wait for her rage when we get to the bit where RANDYLL TARLY TELLS HER SHE TOTALLY DESERVES TO GET RAPED. Everything is terrible, and Leigh's feminist rage and indignation makes it a little bit more bearable.

Although at least the Brienne-Pod teamup is all kinds of adorable.
Marie Veek
314. SlackerSpice
@312: Other than her shitty marriage to Robert, who beat her and raped her while he was drunk - which Tywin also arranged after Robert became king.
KingsGambit
315. Maddy1990
@314. Yep - people always seem to gloss over how awful Robert was to Cersei. Just because marital rape isn't a concept in Westerosi society (and only relatively recently became accepted as a real thing in modern society) doesn't mean it doesn't have a profound debilitating effect on the victim. I mean, I don't agree with how Cersei chooses to deal with her problems, but I can kind of see why she does it - denying Robert trueborn children is her only means of fighting back against him in a system that is stacked against her. I feel like saying that Cersei's situation as a noblewoman isn't as bad as others isn't really much of a constructive argument - yes other people have it 'worse', that doesn't mean her specific situation hasn't profoundly affected and shaped her into the person she is.

And I definitely think she is getting killed by Jaime - it might be obvious to us that the 'valonqar' is Jaime rather than Tyrion, but it's not to her. I'm really not a fan of the Maggy the Frog prophecy thing though - it seems like an overly simplistic device to explain Cersei's character, and it is way too specific.
Sasha P
316. AeronaGreenjoy
Yeah, going by Cersei's memories, Robert sounds like a dreadful lover. I've long wondered what other women, e.g. Barra's mother, saw in him.

I'm most eager for Leigh to rage at Randyll (again). We might get a bit of that with this week's Sam chapter, but Randyll's "justice" and sexism will make him especially loathsome. Also Hyle and the memories of The Wager. Probably. It's interesting that Leigh was more vocally upset about the hedge knights' careless remarks to Brienne than by Aeron's insistence that women are categorically unfit to rule.

I'm glad Cersei's out of power, and quite enjoyed watching her grovel and "confess" for the High Septon (coincidentally, my first-read of his was on US Presidential Election Night, mwahaha), but got no joy from the Walk of Punishment. The best I want to grant her now would be a merciful death, one not preceded by the deaths of her children to torment her a la Red Wedding. Not likely, though. :-/
KingsGambit
317. Maddy1990
I'm still not sure whether to award Randyll Tarly or Tywin Lannister the Worst Father in Westeros award.

That wager thing with Brienne makes me so mad. No wonder the poor girl has self esteem issues. And then she has to get HER CHEEK BITTEN OFF. Because apparently GRRM thinks Brienne didn't have enough problems! One of the reasons that I think Brienne is such an interesting realistic character is that despite the fact that she is presented as such a 'masculine' warrior, she is almost like Sansa in her emotional vulnerability and naiivety. I think people forget that Brienne is still pretty young.

I know people hate on AFFC, and sure it doesn't really compare with ASOS in terms of HOLY SHIT moments. But some pretty messed up stuff happens in this book.
Sasha P
318. AeronaGreenjoy
I'd give the Worst Father in the Seven Kingdoms award to Randyll. Tywin only tried to kill his son after Tyrion was thoroughly convicted for murder; Randyll was ready to kill Sam for being harmlessly Sam. Craster gets the Worst Father in Westeros award for habitually killing his sons (or something like that) and raping his zillion daughters.

I agree with everything re: Brienne. There were other ways to demonstrate once again that you really, really should avoid the Crossroads Inn, and other people to take Rorge or Biter's place at the Maimed Characters Club of Westeros. But she seems to be a designated Perpetually Unfortunate Character, even by this story's standards.
Captain Hammer
319. Randalator
@316 AeronaGreenjoy

Yeah, going by Cersei's memories, Robert sounds like a dreadful lover. I've long wondered what other women, e.g. Barra's mother, saw in him.

No, he was a dreadful husband. I'm pretty sure he was a decent lover when he was in the mood for fun with a comely wench.

Cersei was a constant reminder of the wife that should have been at his side but wasn't and that showed in his attitude towards her. Through no fault of her own she was an intruder, a usurper who took Lyanna's place and he could never forget that. Buxom barmaid no. 3,852 on the other hand never was any of that, instead being an escape from his miserable marriage. She never saw anything but the wooooooooh-party-hard-let's-shag-till-we-pass-out side of his personality...
Valentin M
320. ValMar
Robert was the king. If ol' Lizzie the Second came calling, I'm not sure I'll say no :)

PS This is purely hypothetical, of course. Don't want to be constantly on the look out for Philip when going through tunnels...

PPS To clarify my point, Robert being the king would've been an aphrodisiac for some "barmaids" or a consent issue for others. The end result the same, irrelevant of his prowess as a lover.
George Jong
321. IndependentGeorge
Nothing justifies Cersei's behavior, but Robert really was not just a lousy king, but a lousy human being. I retroactively think less of both Ned and Jon Arryn as a result. The man was just an absolute mess, and they were his enablers.
Chris Nelly
322. Aeryl
@321, Robert is a big factor is my lowered view of Ned and Jon Arryn, because they thought so highly of him.
Adam S.
323. MDNY
Robert was a terrible king, but he was charismatic and generally well intentioned I think. I disagree that he was an awful person. Ned wouldn't have been his best friend if he were. He just lost his way. He was charismatic like Renly (several times, it is remarked how like Robert Renly looks after he declared himself king). He was a man that people would follow, a man that people WANTED to be king, he just pissed it all away once he was in power. I don't view Robert as a terrible person, just not a great one.
Chris Nelly
324. Aeryl
The flashbacks to the Harrenhal tourney paint a picture of a young ignorant brash drunkard. Nothing changed after he became king.

Here in the US, a common question polled about presidential candidates(all offices actually), is who would you rather have a beer with? The winner typically turns out to be an atrocious president, IMO.

Let's not forget, since we're comparing Robert and Renly, that Renly too would have been a terrible king, by everything we've been shown. Ned was friends with Robert, not because he was possessed of redeemable features that he lost after becoming king, but for the same reason I remained friends with the same girl I became friends with in the first grade, even years after she began displaying atrocious behavior, because inertia is a powerful force. They were friends as children.
Lindy Brown
325. lbrown
Leigh: I do not know what is up with these sparrow people, but I find myself hoping I don’t have to. Know what is up with them, I mean. Because, really, we have quite enough rando crazy factions out there already, thanks, let’s not introduce any more for a while, mmmkay?
But these sparrow people are so awesome! They arrest Cersei!
Sasha P
326. AeronaGreenjoy
Right, women couldn't refuse the king, especially not prostitutes. But Barra's mother seemed smitten with him (so hopefully wasn't smitten by him), and Bella's mother apparently cherished the memory of her conception. Maybe it was like the difference between wedding-night Drogo and subsequent-night Drogo.

@325: Leigh should have an interesting reaction to that. A sexist obnoxious murderess gets derailed at last...by a bunch of sexist obnoxious religious fanatics! Moral conundrums, yay!
George Jong
327. IndependentGeorge
@323 - but what does being charismatic and likeable have to do with being a good person? Good intentions are nice, but they can only go so far. Let's leave aside, for the moment, his obvious failings as a king. Strictly in family terms, he was an abusive husband and a neglectful father - and I'm not even talking about his royal non-children. He was utterly indifferent to the care of his myriad bastards across Westeros. He even joked about how ignorant he was of Edric Storm's upbringing, and that was an acknowledged, noble bastard; it was Varys who took care of Gendry, Barra, and the other common-born bastards in King's Landing.

Now, getting back to his role as king: he was a lazy, irresponsible, and utterly indifferent leader. Yes, the charm and charisma was a good thing, but that's only a small part of leadership. He had a duty to the kingdom, and just couldn't be bothered with it. I don't care that he 'lost his way', or that he never wanted to be King. I dont' care because none of that matters. He was the King, and with it came responsibilities which he just didn't give a damn about.

There's a passage somewhere in FFC about how Robert was great at playing with children, but couldn't be bothered with the more difficult aspects of fatherhood - the actual 'work' part of it. The same applies to his leadership - his grace and charisma were essential in unifying the Kingdoms after the rebellion, but his utter indifference to the hard work of ruling would have doomed his dynasty regardless of Cersei's machinations. Even without the twincest, Cersei could have given him three trueborn children, and his indifference to what kinds of kids they were would have ensured they would be just as bad at ruling as he was.
Tom Smith
328. phuzz
Regarding Brienne being 18 in the books. I either assume that years in Westeros contain more days and that all the characters would be older in our dating system, or I just drop it in the mental box of "stuff that makes no sense", like how the winters spanning several years are supposed to work, and ignore it.
Pretty much all of the characters 'feel' older to me than Martin says they are.
Captain Hammer
329. Randalator
Personally, I put it in the mental box of "GRRM screwed up all characters' ages by at least three years"...
Faiz Imam
330. FaizImam
He free admitted to making the characters too young when the show was being put together.

He said at one point that the ages of the characters on HBO are what he was imagining when he wrote them up. He's fully supportive of the casting choices they made.
Adam S.
331. MDNY
@327 IG- I'm not saying Robert was a good king, or a good person, but he wasn't a terrible person either (like Cersei, Tywin, the Boltons, the Mountain, LF, etc...) Robert was a man wbo had promise when he was young, but power ruined him. Regarding his attitude towards his bastards, I recall once (I think in this book) that Cersei threatened to kill his bastard daughter if he brought her to court. Mya Stone has memories of him throwing her up in the air when she was young, and Gendry at least had Varys looking after him , possibly 2/2 Robert's wishes. He wasn't a good father, but he wasn't that much worse than some others (e.g. Tywin). I find it hard to understand all this Robert hatred. He wasn't a good king, or a great man, but he was a good man at the start of the rebellion, raised by Jon Arryn who I feel safe in saying was an honorable man, and best friends with Ned Stark who I also feel safe in saying was honorable.
Chris Nelly
332. Aeryl
but he was a good man at the start of the rebellion

I've seen no evidence of this. The only thing we've had have been childhood recollections by Ned, which aren't unbiased, and the Harrenhall tourney recollections told by Jojen, that paints Robert identical to who he was as king.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
333. AlirozTheConfused
You're right that we don't know, Aeryl, except from biased sources.

But, I guess biased sources are better than none; and an idea for which there is iffy evidence is better than an idea for which there is very little evidence. We don't get very many views of Robert in that time; and the person probably closest to him and who spent the most time with him would be Ed Stark; though clearly, he would be biased more than anyone.

I think it's more pathetic if Robert actually started out as a good man, a man with great potential, but who wasted it and developed into the beastly brute we see in the first book. There's a greater sense of failure, then; when he had the potential to be something else. It makes him seem, in a way, almost more responsible for his actions (though not really).

The idea that Robert could have been a person, husband, and father like Ed, and could have developed in that direction, but didn't; really makes Robert a failure on an additonal level. I like the idea that Ed could have ended up becoming like King Robert of the first book; and that Robert could have ended up becoming like Ed Stark from the first book; but didn't.

I like the idea that at a certain age, Ed Stark and Robert were very similar; but Ed developed the actual leadership and administration skills (I know he screwed up in KL, but in the actual North? Daaang, he inspired loyalty and only had to have one hostage. From what we see, the North under Ed Stark and his administration was well-run. Sure; Ed had people like Maester Luwin and Rodrick Cassel, he had a great administration where Robert had Varys, Littlefinger, etc.; but still, there's something to be said for finding good people who have the skills you lack and putting them in the right positions.).

Yes, Robert was a lazy, irresponsible leader of his half of the continent where Ed was not; but we all start out incapable (and then, I hope, we become capable after developing skills and such).

If, at the Harrenhal Tourney, Robert was identical to who he was as king; then that, in a way, implies that he was incapable of being anything else, that he was automatically that way, that that's who he is. That that personality was, on some metaphorical level, what he was on default. I think that that idea gives Robert too little culpability for his failures.

But to each his or her own.
Chris Nelly
334. Aeryl
in a way, implies that he was incapable of being anything else, that he was automatically that way

I see what your saying, but I don't feel that's implied at all. Robert always had the potential to be better. He was still a teenager at the Harrenhal tourney, there was a period of time he could have grown into a man like Ned.

But, being king indulged all his worst proclivities, and he had no one to curb his indulgences. Jon Arryn was singularly ineffective at that when Robert was a child, he obviously continued to be so after Robert was King. Perhaps if he'd brought Ned to KL at the start, it would have been different. Or perhaps Ned would have grown into a man like Robert. We'll never know.

But I don't feel that just because Robert was a rash brash obnoxious teenager that means he never had a chance to grow beyond that, he just never took the opportunity to grow.

And from what I recall, the reason Robert became king was not because he was this charismatic leader that got everyone to work together, he was A)an unparalleled warrior and B) the closest living relation to the Targs.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
335. AlirozTheConfused
Yeah, Robert's grandmother was a Targ.

Betwen Robert, Ed Stark, and Jon Arryn, you have three of the seven kingdoms (and the North is the size of the rest put together, so it's more like Eight twelfths); and with Catelyn marrying Ed, that brought another kingdom in. (nine Twelfths.)

So, the Riverlands are the thing that feeds and supports the Northern half of Westeros; and the (I think) Reach supports and feeds the southern half of Westeros. The Reach is the second largest kingdom.

They, in a way, did make Ed Stark king; just king of the Northern half.

Now, what they should have done was marry Robert to someone from The Reach; to bring the Reach and The Stormlands together like how they brought The North and The Riverlands together. Since The Reach is the rival of Dorne, which is very loyal to the Targs and nearly did an uprising for Viserys; putting them in power gets you a mutual ally against a Targ ally.

So, the choice is between Dorne, the Reach, and The Westerlands. Dorne is a Targ ally (so marrying Robert to one of them might tutn them to your side; or it might just give power to those of shaky loyalty and turn away The Reach) and is the unconquerable little town of Westeros. The Reach is a rival of Dorne; is the second biggest nation of the seven, and is the breadbasket of the southern half. The Westerlands...

The westerlands just suck.

Man, that was a poor decision right there, Jon.
Rafael
336. Ryamano
My opinion regarding Robert was that he was a good war time leader, but a terrible peace time leader.

He was able to successfully lead armies to defeat the Targaryen loyalists. He got the help of important people (Ned, Jon Arryn), and that’s important: he was able to get good allies. Like others said, he was charismatic, and that was one factor of why he was successful. Noyen, the blacksmith at Castle Black, said that Robert was very good at leading men and had found memories of him.

He also was able to make allies out of past enemies. Barristan the Bold is the prime example of this, and he also has good memories of Robert. Barristan changed his loyalties completely and doesn’t seem to have any kind of regret over this.

Also on this: out of the two great houses that helped the Targaryens during the civil war, only one kept plotting for a Targaryen resurgence (the Martell, in a very long term plan). The Tyrells, for all we know, changed their loyalties completely to Robert and his family.

Robert successfully quelled the Greyjoy rebellion and made a solution that was able to hold peace for 10-15 years (Theon’s age basically). It was not a permanent solution, but it’s difficult to imagine a permanent solution that wouldn’t have involved genocide at that time (there was no Asha and even now there are just a few lords that like Asha’s plan for the ironmen).

Actually, I can’t remember other people besides Cersei that have bad memories of Robert.

Nevertheless, Robert was irresponsible financially, and that had consequences on his legacy (greater Lannister influence, etc). He also appointed the wrong people to positions of power (Jaime – warden of the east, retaining Varys, etc) and couldn’t rule anything besides an army (always thinking about spending first and later about the consequences).

Considering historical comparisons of good war time leaders and bad peace time leaders, Robert would be comparable to Winston Churchill or Lord Nelson. Both were very good at their wars (one was a kick-ass general), but their opinion on peace-time questions seem rather questionable now (not wanting to give independence to the colonies or voting rights to Catholics, respectively).
Rob Munnelly
337. RobMRobM
1. Donal Noye of the NW, who grew up with the Baratheons and acted at the Wall in a trustworthy manner, endorsed young Robert in strong terms. That's as unbiased as we get in story and should carry weight. He just wasn't a good king or husband afterwards.

2. The Robert-Cersei match made all sorts of sense in story. Tywin's army played a major role in winning the war and could easily have brought the new regime down. The marriage sealed the seal that established the new kingdom on a permanent footing. I'm also not aware of any marriageable Tyrells at that time, there were no marriageable Martells either (putting aside the fact that Elia was just killed by a Robert ally, so that was a nonstarter), and the two Tully girls had just been married off - so there really wasn't a good top tier Queen candidate other than Cersei.
Rafael
338. Ryamano
Regarding Robert's personal life: he was a terrible husband. In this, he parallels more John Kennedy or Bill Clinton than the other leaders I mentioned. He's worse than them because he committed marital rape in addition to lots of infidelity, but it's interesting to notice people's opinion on these presidents to see that people don't think they were awful as presidents (your mileage may vary depending on your political opinion). So the personal life and political life can be separated in public opinion.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
339. AlirozTheConfused
I wasn't talking about the Tyrells, I was talking about the Reach.

House Florent or Hightower for the win. Forget those newbies the Tyrells. Who needs lannister gold when you have Hightower's riches? And the Florents by right should have the Reach; and they're already kinda sworn to the Baratheons.

Onhly problem is the Redwynes, who stayed loyal to the Targs and will stay loyal to the Tyrells. And the Tarlys, but heck, Randyll's wife is a Florent.

And, while Tywin's army could have easily taken King's Landing and the Crownlands, they still would have to take on The Vale, The North, The Riverlands, The Stormlands, The Reach. Both of the beadbaskets of Westeros, plus the northern half of the kingdom. And Storm's End is untakeable except by shadowbaby scumbaggery and being a Baratheon to have a good claim.

And it's not as though Dorne would have allied with Tywin, not after the Elia incident.
Chris Nelly
340. Aeryl
Donal Noye didn't know Robert, Robert grew up in the Vale like Ned. He knew Robert as a war leader, which again has been pointed out, doesn't translate to a good peace leader.

Also,

Barristan changed his loyalties completely and doesn’t seem to have any kind of regret over this.

He very explicitly details his regrets about serving Robert to Dany.

And

He got the help of important people (Ned, Jon Arryn)

That depends on what actually happened. If you believe as I do, that the rebellion to depose Aerys was already in the works, led by Jon Arryn, Hoster Tully and Rickard Stark, then the fact that he got their help doesn't come down on Robert, but on extenuating circumstances.

The only people Robert recruited were people who were almost in rebellion anyways. The Martells and Tyrells, two of the most politically savvy families in Westeros, IMO, didn't join Robert's rebellion.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
341. AlirozTheConfused
And look what happened to the Martells and Tyrells. They LOST!

Even if the rebellion was in the works (which I doubt), that would mean Robert had a good administration behind him. Robert =/= house Baratheon, or the stormlands. He may be an idiot, but that doesn't mean that the stormlands aren't capable of planning or recruiting.

Ooh, and Rickard Stark's maester was a Hightower, too! More evidence of a hightower thing. In the war of the five kings, they really only gave nominal support to anyone...

And Lord Hightower is married to a Florent. Yeah, depose the Tyrells and raise up the Florents/Hightower.
Deana Whitney
342. Braid_Tug
Yes, but Lannister gold was how the kingdom was funded again to begin with.
Before Littlefinger and his barrowing from the Iron Bank.
Chris Nelly
343. Aeryl
But he didn't have a good admin behind him, Jon Arryn was completely incapable of reining him in. Jon Arryn appointed Littlefinger, who robbed the throne blind. Jon Arryn proposed the marriage to Cersei.
Chris Nelly
344. Aeryl
And lost how? They maintained their titles, lands, banners. The dragon they were backing lost, but they came out pretty clean. If Rhaegar had won at the Trident, you think the Starks would still have the North(hell, they backed the winner and don't have it now).
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
345. AlirozTheConfused
I agree with you, Aeryl, that Jon Arryn majorly screwed up with the politics and rule right there.

I'm saying he should have gone with the Hightowers and Florents over the Tyrells and Lannisters.

@Aeryll: Dorne lost Elia and her kids; and she was, if you remember, married to the prince who was going to be a king. They could have had a queen, there.

And I'm saying that if Jon Arryn had gone with my advice and deposed the Tyrells in favor of Hightower and Florent, Tyrell would have lost, too.
Rob Munnelly
346. RobMRobM
@341 - not getting this. Aerys got increasingly crazy, so there was no reason for the rebellion to start earlier.

@340. Robert grew up at Storms End and got sent to be fostered in the Vale as a teenager. Noye had at least a dozen years to interact with him and learn his character, plus interaction time during any visits home (I wouldn't be surprised if there were some) and during the actual Rebellion. He spoke with authority on the character of all three Baratheon boys while at the Wall.

@339 - Having Robert marrying a Hightower or Florent would have been seen as a mortal slap in the face to Tywin.

.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
347. AlirozTheConfused
I just don't think that a Rickard plotting against Aerys would let his heir go straight to KL; or go with him, himself.

Westerlands + Tyrell + the crownlands (if they take them) can't beat the Florents/Hightower + the vale + the riverlands + the north + the stormlands.

That's basically everyone except the Greyjoys and Dorne. Seeing how Dorne has good reason to hate Tywin and Tyrell; they're not gonna step in to help him. And the Greyjoys are gonna be jerkfaces, regardless.

And even Stannis can't object to deposing Tyrell for Florent, because Florent actually has the superior claim.
Chris Nelly
348. Aeryl
@346, I don't know the exact age, but Ned constantly refers to them as "boys" which seems to imply more youth than that. I thought Robert was sent to the Vale after his parents died for fosterage, as he needed a peerage parent if he was to be the Lord of Storm's End, while Stannis and Renly, not to be the Lord of Storm's End, were left to be raised by the servants.

He spoke with authority on the character of all three Baratheon boys while at the Wall.

And people of lower classes NEVER inflate their own worth and knowledge of the powerful, huh? I think it more likely he extrapolated what he knew of the brothers onto Robert, based on his interactions with him. And hell, Ned, who was closer to him than anyone, barely knew the man Robert became, why would Noye's word be any better?
Chris Nelly
349. Aeryl
@347, But Brandon went off alone. Rickard was later summoned to answer for Brandon.
Chris Nelly
351. Aeryl
@350, No problem, the suspicion of a rebellion is just that, but I infer enough evidence from we've been given to feel it's credible, and am applying that interpretation to what I'm reading.

If the truth comes out, and I'm wrong, I'll change my interpretation.

And there's supposition against it. While it's true that the North and Riverlands were allying themselves more closely than ever with the betrothal of Catelyn and Brandon, and Ned's fosterage in the Vale created more ties between those houses, that doesn't necessarily indicate that they were planning to rebel with Rhaegar. They could have just been planning to split Westeros in two, from the Vale, the Trident, Riverrun to Seagard, and Aerys' belief that they would plot with Rhaegar at Harrenhal just paranoid delusion.

BUT the betrothal of Lyanna to Robert, whose lands are FAR to the South of that, creates doubt. Robert's fosterage at the Vale could just be because of the death of his parents, but the Baratheons were the only house related to the throne through marriage, until the Martells. Arryn could have been plotting that far back, when he agreed to take in the oldest non Targ heir to the Iron Throne. Which means they were planning to usurp Rhaegar.

But that just seems monumentally stupid without the support of the South. Then again, there are Lady Dustin's hints that the maesters, who despise the Targs, manipulating the whole thing from Oldtown, whose meticulous plotting was disrupted by a rash young love, or worse, abduction and rape in the service of prophecy.

And honestly, rash young love(a la Robb & Jeyne) causing the disruption of a kingdom, seems more GRRMs MO, than making Rhaegar out to be this evil villain who did all the things Robert accuses him of doing.
Chris Nelly
352. Aeryl
Unless we're about to learn from Samwell's adventures in Oldtown, that the prophecy Rhaegar thought he had to fulfill was a warning about the love spell the Oldtown maesters cast to cause a civil war and bring down the Targs.

jk/?
George Jong
353. IndependentGeorge
Off-topic, but does anybody else want to see a GOT spinoff show following Sam's adventures in Oldtown as a screwball coming-of-age sex comedy like Revenge of the Nerds? Lazy Leo would be the head of Alpha House, while Sam, Pate, and Alleras are Lamba Lambda Lambda.
Captain Hammer
354. Randalator
Dear God, no.

American Pie already was 1700% more screwball coming-of-age sex comedy than I ever needed in my life...
Valentin M
355. ValMar
Crap- how can someone post images here? There is one very topical cartoon from the Metro newspaper from London.
Chris Nelly
356. Aeryl
Across the top of the comment box there is an edit bar. The button all the way to the right inserts image.
Adam S.
357. MDNY
IG- I could see it. Alleras/Sarella would end up getting jealous of Gilly, fake Pate would get laid by half of Oldtown, and in the end Sam would have to defeat Leo in a pie eating contest.
Valentin M
358. ValMar
Aeryl, thanks but I tried it and it didn't work. I'll try again.


It's a bit small, so note that the name on the book cover in the 1st picture is our GRR Martin ;)
Sasha P
359. AeronaGreenjoy
And the message is "You'll frequently be murderously infuriated with these books, but unable to stop reading"? Sounds accurate.

@357: Nice. I'd greatly pleased for Leo to get beaten at something. He's like the token cruel character of House Tyrell.
Valentin M
360. ValMar
@ Aerona
Or maybe this is one wicked marketing ploy strategy by George to increase sales :)
Faiz Imam
361. FaizImam
Sam chapter coming up, anyone want to take bets on if leigh intuits that the babies were switched?

I didn't figure it out till it was stated explicitly, but on re-read the clues are obvious.

I'm pretty sure She'll get it.

Also, this line slightly confused me:
A spasm of anger flashed across Gilly’s face. “Don’t you call me that. I’m a mother, not a lady. I’m Craster’s wife and Craster’s daughter, and a mother.”
I'm not sure what the message is here, other than the obvious.
Captain Hammer
362. Randalator
@361 FaizImam

re: not a lady

I guess that's just outrage due to "free wildlings, equality now, yadda yadda yadda"...and probably also "Wildling bitches be no simpering noble milksops, yo! Wildlings represent!".
Sasha P
363. AeronaGreenjoy
She might explain it as the above plus "Lord Snow took my baby from me, to save King Mance's baby from King Stannis and Lady Melisandre. I'm no heartless southron noble. I'm a mother and they've broken my heart!"

Just a guess.
Deana Whitney
366. Braid_Tug
Nope, didn't catch the bit about the babies yet.
too much info dump. But there is time.
Chris Nelly
367. Aeryl
“Longclaw is Valyrian steel, but I’m not.”

Jon thinks it nonsense, saying Mance is no more royal than he is.

This is funny. Now I need to go back and see how many more times that was done.
KingsGambit
368. Jeff R.
Given how loosely defined "king" seems to be to qualify for Mellisandre's blood magic, (it seems to accept both people of no particular bloodline who happened to take the title, and their descendants, as well as completely unknown bastards, so it isn't working directly by either bloodlines or some kind of collective belief thing), it's a wonder the priesthood doesn't routinely game the system, encouraging some poor sap to declare himself King of these ten acres over here and bleeding him and his children dry.

Or encourage kids to change the game from Lord of the Crossing to our version, King of the Mountain, and cull the game's winners now and again for that matter...
Adam S.
369. MDNY
Ha! Leigh's comment about Jon maybe being in danger because he's a Stark was another priceless Leigh moment- so close to why Jon has royal blood, yet so far away.
@367 Aeryl- I actually caught that on my first read and laughed out loud. I don't think he mentions anything like it anywhere else.
Rafael
370. Ryamano
Maybe king's blood doesn't have power per se. Maybe there's just a prophecy that says that dragons will arise from king's blood amid great moral sacrifice, and Mel is trying to make it come true (as she tries with so many other prophecies). She just hasn't realized that this one has already come true and it was a khal that stood for a king and the moral sacrifice was a wife killing a husband, not an uncle killing a nephew.

The other times she says she uses king's blood to do things, she could just be lying, to make Stannis more liable to do what she wants. Like using the leeches to kill three kings. She could've just foretold that and made it look like the king's blood was behind a spell. All just to force Stannis into fullfilling a prophecy and being able to awake dragons.
KingsGambit
371. Jeff R.
In line with what I said above, I'm pretty sure that Jon qualifies three times over: his actual parentage, the reason Leigh cites, and the fact that Robb stated his intention to make Jon his heir out loud. M's never considering him for that purpose is apparently another of her blind spots...
David Goodhart
372. Davyd
If Melly only knew about the rest of Jon's alleged bloodline.. lawd.
Adam S.
373. MDNY
Melisandre has seen Jon in her flames, so she knows he is important in the struggle against "the great Other"- I never feared that she would seek to sacrifice Jon to her flames, even if she thought she could get power.In fact, like others, I believe she may resurrect Jon after ADWD.
The babies switch isn't clear until the next Sam chapter, in which it's explained anyway. We know that Dalla's babe is bigger than Gilly's, and cries more, but in this chapter the baby Gilly is carrying isn't really remarked on, either in size or loudness, so there aren't really any clues that Jon switched them.
George Jong
374. IndependentGeorge
So I charted the FFC chapters, and it really drives home how the POV bloat in FFC hurts the narrative. The number of chapters per POV are:

Aeron: 2
Arianne: 2
Arya: 3
Arys: 1
Asha: 1
Brienne: 8
Cersei: 10
Hotah: 1
Jaime: 7
Sam: 5
Sansa: 3
Victarion: 2

There are way too many POVs which only have 1-2 chapters. I liked FFC much more than DWD, but I think it would have been a much stronger narrative if Hotah and Arys had been rolled into Arianne's POV.

Also, Aeron's and Asha's chapters should have been folded in to Victarion's POV (I prefer Asha's POV, but FFC is really about Victarion's story; Asha really belongs in DWD only). Everything in the Iron Islands could have been told entirely from Victarion's perspective.

Last, Arya's two DWD chapters really belong in FFC, leaving us with:

Arianne: 3
Arya: 5
Brienne: 8
Cersei: 10
Jaime: 7
Sam: 5
Sansa: 3
Victarion: 5
Chris Nelly
375. Aeryl
@370, I have always wondered how Mel determines who qualifies as "king". Acclaim likely has something to do with it, so Drogo qualified as does Mance. Legitimate bloodline, so that's why Stannis, Edric Storm qualifies.

But there really doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. But they do seem to understand, tinpot monarchs of 1 acre properties need not apply.
KingsGambit
376. Lyanna Mormont
The way I see it, Melisandre is just desperately grabbing for anyone with what might be considered king's blood. She'd be perfectly willing to try them one after the other in the hope that one would stick. What's one bastard boy or wildling against the fate of the world? What are three of them, or five, or ten?
Jakub Wrobel
377. ptyx
@ IndependentGeorge
This is Areo Hotah

So in total we have POV's from: Areo, Arya, Arys, Arianne and Aeron. And you get Asha and Alayne on top of that.

No wonder GRRM changed the chapter titles' pattern as you can really get dizzy with all the similar names.
Deana Whitney
378. Braid_Tug
@337: No Joke! 'similar names'!
He is not friendly to the mildly dyslectic.

Really hoping he stops with the "A" names soon. Pick a different letter!
Scott Silver
379. hihosilver28
@IndependentGeorge
I completely agree. That would have made for a stronger book. It also would have made me more inclined to believe in Jon's death at the end of ADWD. Because he pulled the "Arya's blind-PSYCH!" move to end her portion of the book and then took it back when she came back in ADWD. Martin's cried wolf far too many times for me to believe anything that happens at the end of a book.
George Jong
380. IndependentGeorge
So in total we have POV's from: Areo, Arya, Arys, Arianne and Aeron. And you get Asha and Alayne on top of that.

No wonder GRRM changed the chapter titles' pattern as you can really get dizzy with all the similar names.
Can you imagine autocorrect having to deal with that?
Tom Smith
381. phuzz
The fact that Jon swaps the babies shows he must consider Mel to be right about Mance's kid having some power, and he's trying to deny her that power. That or he's planning to let her know later on that he's swapped them, in the hope that it will stop her killing Gilly's kid.
Or maybe he just thought Mance's child deserved to live more than Gilly's. It certainly has less chance of being horribly inbred, and might be useful as leverage over Mance in the future.
KingsGambit
382. Lyanna Mormont
@381 - In ADWD, Jon promises Gilly her baby will be safe because Melisandre will have nothing to gain by burning him. So he was planning to tell Melisandre as soon as Mance's baby was safely away - which means there's no reason to believe Jon thinks there's actual power involved, he just doesn't want a baby burned.
Valentin M
383. ValMar
Re: Jon's real parents, I thought it was still a theory as to who they are and we don't know for a fact? Some recent comments appear to support the opposite.
Can anyone elaborate?
Chris Nelly
384. Aeryl
With the mention of the blue rose at The Wall, it's as close to confirmed as anything in this story is without actual confirmation.

Many of us operate under the assumption that it is true with our analyses, with the intention of looking at things differently if the theory isn't correct.

Does that help?
KingsGambit
385. Lyanna Mormont
@383 - While it's never been explicitly stated in the books, a lot of fandom does consider it to be beyond reasonable doubt. I've even seen some proclaim that if we are given explicit confirmation in the books of some other parentage for Jon, they'll still believe the original plan was R+L=J and GRRM changed his mind after too many figured it out... which I personally consider a bit over the top.

Because 1) when I write a mystery into something, I actually want some of the audience to figure it out, since that'll show that it's believable, and 2) just because a big chunk of the online fandom are convinced of it, doesn't mean there aren't a whole lot of people out there who have never thought of it.
Valentin M
386. ValMar
Aeryl & Lyanna

It's clearer for me know. The blue rose at the Wall looks too strong a clue for this theory, but not blatant enough to be used as a red herring by GRRM. I hope it's true because it's a very good story.
I don't believe GRRM will change it just because many readers figured it out- not least because already he has enough on his plate, plotwise.
Eric McCabe
387. Zizoz
@377: You think that's confusing? Imagine if "The Lost Lord" had instead been titled "Jon". :P
Rob Munnelly
388. RobMRobM
R + L = J - no doubt. Ice and Fire, just like the title.
Deana Whitney
389. Braid_Tug
@385: I never knew until reading all you guys.

Some people have had over 15 years to figure some of his clues out. I'm very glad I came to his books about 2 years before ADwD.

So if GRRM is mad, he should be mad at himself for giving fans too long to figure it all out.
KingsGambit
390. Lyanna Mormont
@389 -It's been so long, I honestly can't remember whether I first came up with it myself or read it online. And I don't believe GRRM is mad, I just think that's the fallback of some fans who refuse to concede even the most remote possibility of being wrong.

@386 - The first big clue is Lyanna dying "in her bed of blood" when a few chapters later Mirri Maz Duur refers to Dany's impending childbirth as "the bloody bed." Aha, so Lyanna died in childbed? But what happened to the child? Which is when you get to little details like "Promise me, Ned," and the scene with Cersei when Ned doesn't think of Jon when he wonders how far he'd go to protect his children. (He does name all the others.) And he always refers to Jon as "my blood," not "my son." And if Lyanna is the mother, then the father must be... So yeah, the clues were there in the first book, and then came the blue rose vision in the House of the Undying to make it look even more certain.
Rob Munnelly
391. RobMRobM
Classic GRRM - bits and pieces through the story that one has to put together to get to the intended conclusion. It's why we love him.

FYI - really impressed that no one has spoiled Sarella's "game" in the main thread. No hinting, no anything. That's another classic piece of GRRM misdirection.
KingsGambit
392. Lyanna Mormont
Oh, ditto. I'm very happy about that.
Marty Beck
393. martytargaryen
Braid-Tug @378
He is not friendly to the mildly dyslectic.
:)
Yeah, tell me about it! But that's why my "re-reads" are from audio books.
Valentin M
394. ValMar
Lyanna @ 390

Thanks for putting all these clues together. I find frequenting these forums hugely beneficial.
Sasha P
395. AeronaGreenjoy
We don't really know what Sarella's up to, and she's only in two very distant chapters, so there's not much to not-talk about. It would be nice if Leigh eventually started suspecting her identity, simply because she'll be delighted that a woman is illicitly pursuing a forbidden and scholarly profession.

The guy on UNspoiled, who patently has no contact with ASOIAF fandom besides his dutifully non-spoiling partner, came up with RLJ by the middle of AGOT and was immediately certain of it. I was impressed, as it had never crossed my mind. (He also solved the Royal Bastard Mystery before it was revealed, unlike any other reviewer I know, yet remains surprised at many a turn)
Faiz Imam
396. FaizImam
It's funny, i've read FFC multiple times, but my only contact with ADWD is a marathon speed read the day it came out.

So while I have a good grasp of the big events, almost all the subtle details in DWD is lost to me.

I have no idea what Sarella's up to, though your comments these last few weeks give me an idea.

I'm really struggling with what to do. The past 18 months I've dutifully followed leigh at her pace. My method is to stay 1-3 chapters ahead of her.

But I really wishing I could jump ahead and absorb the nuance of DWD now that I know all the minutiea to look for :/
Rob Munnelly
397. RobMRobM
Sarella - won't say anything more than that we've met her already. ;-)

p.s. If you really want a full explanation, we can of couse oblige.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
398. Lisamarie
I was so jazzed when I read the Sarella theory. I wish I'd come up with it myself, heh!
Faiz Imam
399. FaizImam
aha. Lots of good comments this week.

Also, yay for 2 chapters! I made the misjudgment to go 3 chapters ahead ast week so a single one would have really bummed me out. Imma gonna read Briennes chapter ASAP.
Sasha P
400. AeronaGreenjoy
Haha, Cersei probably will ultimately be more memorable than Twyin in Westeros history, but not in the way she expects.

She just seems to pathetically misjudge almost everything and everyone. Like the bit somewhere in AFFC where she considered getting a Dornish master-at-arms simply to oppose the Tyrells. EARTH TO CERSEI, Highgarden is your strongest ally (at that point) and Dorne your biggest enemy! *facepalm*
KingsGambit
401. cleopatra2525
LOL at "Kevan will be very, very lucky to survive this book now". If you consider AFFC/ADWD as book (which I do), he totally doesn't.
Chris Nelly
402. Aeryl
I can't believe, knowing Varys has his disguise as a jailman from GOT and SOS, she completely missed the fact that Varys is Rugen.
Adam S.
403. MDNY
@402 Leigh misses a lot, mostly because she is reading so slowly, and often you have to connect things from multiple chapters or books. I never expected her to figure out Rugen, when she sometimes forgets things that she wrote in earlier entries from the same book.
Chris Nelly
404. Aeryl
When she mentions that he's disappeared along with Varys in the same sentence though?
Deana Whitney
405. Braid_Tug
Count me among those I didn't realize that Varys was Rugen.

@401, right? Had to laugh at that line of hers.

@400, yep, she's so worried about a "younger Queen", that she hyper focuses. Never realizing that maybe its the Dragon Queen across the big water that is her problem. Or even giving it a moment of passing thought.
Chris Nelly
406. Aeryl
@401 & 405,

I laughed, but mainly because it's not Cersei that does it!
Sasha P
407. AeronaGreenjoy
Too bad Brienne left town before she and Cersei could discover their common interest and start a Margaery Tyrell Hate Club. It would be a club of two, since everyone else loves her (*grumble*), but at least they wouldn't feel so alone.
Faiz Imam
408. FaizImam
What the hell? Varys was Rugen?

I literally have read this chapter 5 times in the past month, in addition to numerous times in the past, and it never occured to me!

Can't blame her at all lol.
Chris Nelly
409. Aeryl
Well we know Varys, in a jailor's disguise, helped Tyrion escape. We saw him use the same disguise to visit Ned in GOT, and escort Tyrion from Ayalaya's. When they pointed out that the jailor who was on duty, a mysterious man people only saw rarely but had been appointed to the position under Aerys, had disappeared, it seemed the most logical thing to me.
Rob Munnelly
410. RobMRobM
@408 - GRRM apparently confirmed it outside of the books. I was not aware either.
Adam S.
411. MDNY
He's definitely Rugen. Varys dosed the jailers to make them sleep, so they were found sleeping when the kingsguard went looking for them, yet Rugen wasn't there. We know Rugen wasn't another jailer involved in the escape because Jaime only approached Varys. So for Rugen to have vanished means he really was involved, and therefore was Varys. Plus his description as a smelly drunkard matches the description of Varys when he visited Ned in the black cells, waaaay back in AGOT, posing as a turnkey.
KingsGambit
412. Lyanna Mormont
Varys-as-Rugen is obvious once it's pointed out to you, but it's easy to miss if you're more focused on other parts of the chapter. Depends on how much conspiracy theorist you have in you, I guess, as well as how many times you've reread the previous books while waiting for Feast to hit the shelves. (Or after it did, for that matter.)

I for one was pleased to see Leigh pick up on the overly convenient find of the old Highgarden coin. Like anyone from the Reach trying to bribe a Kingslander would pick a rare and recognizable coin that could be linked back to them, when any gold would do? Like the bribed jailer would keep that coin lying around, just in case anyone searches his cell?
Chris Nelly
413. Aeryl
That Highgarden has it's own currency is weird, IMO. Everyone else uses gold dragons and silver stags, why do they have their own?
KingsGambit
414. Lyanna Mormont
@413 - They don't have their own currency anymore. The coin was old, from before the Conquest.

... which just makes it even less likely to be used to bribe someone with.
Adam S.
415. MDNY
@413 It's an old coin, from when Highgarden was ruled by the Gardeners. In fact, these coins are mentioned again when we're told that Olenna keeps a stash of such coins so that she can pay for goods and services with coins of less value than dragons.
Tom Smith
416. phuzz
Hmm, I never suspected Rugen = Varys. I assumed that they were somehow linked, and guessed that the coin was a (unexpectedly clumsy) misdirection. It's a pretty small detail though.
Thinking more though, it's not like Varys to have a scheme that's as unsubtle as "oh look, here's a coin from Highgarden, it must be them wot dun it!" Not to mention that a bribed jailer would take his money when he ran, not leave it in his room.
Of course it could have been hidden there years ago by someone else.
Chris Nelly
417. Aeryl
@416, Cersei is stupid enough to fall for it. Case in point, she just did. Varys can be subtle, but he's also smart enough that TOO subtle, and the clue is missed.

As far as taking the money, well obviously a job of such import would have cost a lot more than one gold flower, it seemed obvious to me that we're supposed to assume Rugen dropped it as he ran, and never missed it amongst the plethora of other coins.
Valentin M
418. ValMar
I am right to assume that Varys left the Highgarden coin for the same reason for which he had to kill Kevan? Sowing chaos in preparation for the Targs? In hindsight it looks fairly obvious.
George Jong
419. IndependentGeorge
When I first read FFC, I didn't catch on to Varys being Rugen in this chapter, but I literally facepalmed over it when I read the very next one. There's a long section in Jaime's internal monologue where he goes on about how utterly stupid it is for him to investigate "Rugen" when he knows exactly who Rugen really is and exactly what role he played in Tywin's death. He even feels guilty over it, which narrows the list of people who Rugen could be to exactly three (Varys, Jaime, and Tyrion - and the latter two clearly don't count).

That's a pretty big hint, and might be enough for Leigh to figure it out if she remembers Varys' history of disguises.
Chris Nelly
420. Aeryl
@418, Yup, keeping Cersei unbalance and paranoid ensures that realm stays in chaos, making it more likely that the returning Targs(FAegon or Dany) will be welcomed.
Faiz Imam
421. FaizImam
IG: DOH!

I've combed over those passages multiples times, and now that you mention it it's clear as day... UGH...
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
422. AlirozTheConfused
I'm the only one who hopes that the opening of the next book will be Kevan walking into the council room, covered in blood, holding Varys's severed head, and calling for a maester. Then he collapses.

When he is healed and comes to, Kevan says, "Varys did not, it seems, know everything. Guess his little birdies never told him that I didn't get this old by being easy to kill. And they never told him not to explain your plans before your deathtrap has done its work.".

Because that would be SO SO AWESOME!
Valentin M
423. ValMar
Aeryl @ 420
"FAegon"- is that a weird typo or the F stands for something like, to pull a word completely randomly out of the air, Fake? I personally find it very annoying if a character is introduced so late for such a fundamental role such as replacing Dany. Not that "genuine Aegon = replacing Dany".

Aliroz @ 422

Kevan is too decent to stay alive ;)
Adam S.
425. MDNY
@423 Faegon is the common fan name for "Aegon" introduced in ADWD, as almost everyone universally assumes he is not a real Targ, so yes it stands for fake, as in Fake Aegon.
Tricia Irish
426. Tektonica
Did not pick up on Rugan= Varys, but then it's been years since I read this book. And who is Sarella? Don't remember that at all!! Oh my brain, she's full of holes and other books. Help.

I'm learning so much here!
KingsGambit
427. Lyanna Mormont
@426 - Try reading Sarella's name backwards...
Rob Munnelly
428. RobMRobM
Sarella is the missing Sand Snake, who is off "playing games" away from Dorne so is beyond the reach of the imprisonment order.
Valentin M
430. ValMar
Tek @ 426

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one ;)
Sasha P
431. AeronaGreenjoy
For better or worse, "womens' issues" will be an especially large part of AFFC reviewing. If I counted right, 60% of AFFC chapters have female POVs, and 45% of the remaining male ones are from Jaime. By contrast, 25% of ADWD chapters have female POVs and 55% of those are from Dany. (The first three books are pretty evenly divided, though the series' male POV characters outnumber females almost 2 to 1 even without counting prologue & epilogue)
Tricia Irish
432. Tektonica
RobM@429: Moi???? I haven't been in the Bunker much lately. I've been lost in Ericson, Rothfuss, Weeks, and Sanderson.

ValMar@430: Glad to know I'm not the only one too!

Lyanna@427: Alleras?? Allergy medication?
KingsGambit
433. Lyanna Mormont
@ 432 - Heh. Go take another look at the prologue of this book. Secretive half-Dornish character?
Sasha P
434. AeronaGreenjoy
I didn't care a whit about Kevan until his chapter, but was then upset about is death, mostly on behalf of his gentle wife and young children. I tried to keep in mind that he'd stood by while Tywin's armies turned the populace of much of the riverlands into widows, widowers, and orphans. Still, the scene was only made palatable by Varys's classiness ("I do apologize that it's so cold in here. Pycelle soiled himself when I killed him and my delicate senses couldn't bear the smell"...ahaha)
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
435. AlirozTheConfused
Yeah, but Varys contributed to Aerys's paranoia and insanity, which culminated in a thing to kill a half-million people; and Varys also thus was in a large way responsible for both wars (rebellion and five kings); causing millions of people to die, especially peasants from starvation because they have it the worst.

"Doing it for the children" my foot.

Varys, you're just scum.
Sasha P
436. AeronaGreenjoy
Not saying I approved of Varys killing Kevan, especially since he explicitly did it to prevent the restoration of order in a kingdom which has suffered way too much chaos lately. I just have somewhat-limited sympathy for Kevan and slightly enjoyed Varys's signature demeanor.

I'm amused that Leigh thinks "All men rise again" is a logical response to "All men must die" in this context. Arya's not in the Iron Islands, ya know.

Watching GoT on DVD and seeing its logo, I'm reminded of how far AFFC goes beyond the early combatants. We have many Lannister "lions" and two wolf-less Starks, but the dragon and stag are replaced with the kraken, the sun/spear/snake(?), and interesting none-of-the-aboves galore. I don't want to discuss the show here, but must presume it'll merge AFFC and ADWD to keep the trademark sigils (and popular characters) in the picture.
Sky Thibedeau
437. SkylarkThibedeau
I think one reason that the vision of Rhaegar and the woman and the Blue Rose have not appeared on the HBO show is it would tell us for sure if R+L=J. Of course if Jon is dead all is moot. We'll never find out.
Adam S.
438. MDNY
@437 Jon is as dead as Cat, Sandor, and Jon Connington.
KingsGambit
439. Jeff R.
The show is going to have even more problems than the books when it comes around time to reveal Jon's real backstory, having cut out every ounce of Ned's internal monologues without ever externalizing them, leaving out Dany's Prophecy of Threes, and establishing a set of storytelling rules that will not allow flashbacks, but meanwhile not really able to create any new scenes to set it up in any season that airs before it comes out in the books.

(Of course, it may still boil down to Revealed Truth from Mellisandre and/or ability to ride a Dragon combined with Howland Reed explaining everything to Rickon or Brienne or someone else hundreds of miles away, which I guess works in either format.)
Adam S.
440. MDNY
@439 I'm banking on Howlan Reed, but I've seen Varys, Melisandre, Marwyn, and Asmodean suggested...wait, strike that last one, wrong series.
Chris Nelly
441. Aeryl
Hell, JonCon might know the truth too.

But yeah, I'm betting on Howland Reed telling Brienne(she's the likeliest POV character to end up in The Neck, IMO).

Speaking of bets, anyone want to call who they feel are definites to survive the series? I've got Sansa, Brienne, and Jon. My maybes are Tyrion and Arya. Jaime and Dany I'm pretty sure are toast.
Rob Munnelly
442. RobMRobM
Yes, Howland the Human Checkov's Gun Reed FTW. Doubt it will be Brienne who comes to him - Howland will come north during the Last Battle and tell Jon directly.
KingsGambit
443. Jeff R.
Actually, after posting that it occurred to me that it's probably Davos who'll hear the story from Howland Reed. That would explain why he's been hearing stories about Ned's potential mistresses during his unrelated activities in Dance...
Chris Nelly
444. Aeryl
Davos is a possibility. I can see someone like Stannis, who is SO invested in familial legitimacy, would think that the way to get Jon on his side is to give him the information that's always been denied him, the truth about his mother.
KingsGambit
445. Lyanna Mormont
@ 441 - JonCon might know R+L=? but he wouldn't know for sure about Jon being part of that equation. He could make a guess, maybe, but it would take Howland Reed, or possibly something hidden in those Winterfell crypts we keep getting teased about, to say for sure.

I would say that out of Dany, Jon, Tyrion and Arya, at least one will live and at least one will die in the last book. Not sure who's more likely to play which role, though. Sansa is likely to make it, perhaps Rickon too. If Bran survives, it will be as part of a tree. I think Sam will make it.

Cersei, Myrcella and Tommen will die, and Jaime probably won't be far behind. Lancel hasn't got long, either. Loras and Margaery could go either way. JonCon and fAegon are dead, and will take at least one member of the Dornish royal family with them. The Hound is probably gone, but he may die saving someone's life. Shireen will most likely die, and Stannis will either die or survive to rule over a wasteland. No clue about Brienne, Asha, Theon...
Chris Nelly
446. Aeryl
I really hope that's not how Bran story ends. I was so pumped for the story of this disabled boy, but if his resolution is that his disability makes him uniquely qualified to be a tree for the rest of his life, IDK, that's just not very uplifting to me, especially since at first his story seemed to be about integrating this disabled boy into this world, not cutting him off from it.
KingsGambit
447. olethros
@446: Uplifting? That was rather optimistic of you.
Chris Nelly
448. Aeryl
Well, I find the entire series to be a story of apocalypse and rebirth. Death of the old world, birth of the new one.

Which means that people who represent the values of the old world*, monarchy, divine right to rule, might makes right, must die or be reeducated(which is why I'm pretty sure Dany's toast by the end, as much as I like her, she is the epitome with everything wrong with Westeros).

So I think, at the end, the story WILL BE uplifting, we just have to get through a lot of pain and suffering to get to it. Buffy was uplifting, and she died twice!

So it's possible, and given how I've heard GRRM talk about the story, I think that is his intention.

*And Bran is uniquely placed to be a visionary for how this new world should be structured. Which he can't, if he's stuck in a tree.
George Jong
449. IndependentGeorge
@439 - I think the two most likely means are:

1. Howland Reed
2. Bran getting a vision via the WeirWideWeb.
C R L
450. Maac
@446 ...if his resolution is that his disability makes him uniquely qualified to be a tree for the rest of his life, IDK, that's just not very uplifting to me, especially since at first his story seemed to be about integrating this disabled boy into this world, not cutting him off from it.
I agree wholeheartedly. It seems to me the story is pretty much hurtling in that direction, but I'm really hoping for a subversion of that trope.

@other people

Am I alone in thinking that this little blue-haired Aegon is the real deal? What with baby switching having a precedent in the narrative I'm pretty much gone with this being the real prince in hiding. Of course, ASoIaF being what it is, I expect the Returned Prince trope to be completely run roughshod over, but I kind of like the idea of Martin giving me a bit of a scare before he sets Aegon Returned on fire or something.
Chris Nelly
451. Aeryl
@450, If he is the real deal, he's only been introduced into the story to be killed, which sucks for him, so I hope he's fake so he can survive. See I only want what's best for him! It has nothing to do with my opinion that THIS is Jon's story dammit!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
452. Lisamarie
I have to admit - and this is pretty dumb of me - I pretty much took JonCon's story at face value and assumed Aegon was real. I did wonder a bit how that would impact what seemed to be Jon Snow's arc, but it didn't occur to me that they were just lying/mistaken about it, until I read some of the theories and vision interpretations (I think the fake mummer one was the most convincing). Even so, I think it is at least a possibility he could be the real deal.
Sasha P
453. AeronaGreenjoy
What? A fake Aegon could be killed just as easily. I have no idea which he is. I was incredulous when I first heard him state his identity -- how could a baby be swapped without even his mother noticing? (Maybe Varys said something to the effect of "They're coming for you and your family and I can't save you but I can save you're son") But with so many body-swaps already, it's possible. It comes down to: is the "mummer's dragon" a fake Targ, or a real Targ backed by a mummer (Varys)? Haven't the froggiest.
Sasha P
454. AeronaGreenjoy
Drown it, Leigh didn't recognize Brienne's new sigil. Too much else happened in this chapter, I guess.

Jaime thinks he forced Varys to free Tyrion, but doesn't wonder that Varys immediately came up with an escape route. Score one for the profesional actor. Though perhaps Jaime has no idea where Tyrion went after leaving Tywin's room and doesn't care because (for better or worse) it's "anywhere but here."
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
455. Lisamarie
Oh crap, see, this is why I follow this thread, I don't think I even twigged to the mummer=Varys connection.

I used to be smarter when I was younger, I think...
Sasha P
456. AeronaGreenjoy
@455: As with nearly all ASOIAF theories, I never thought of it either until other fans explained it in detail. Though in this case, I'd forgotten the very mention of a "mummer's dragon" back in ACOK.
Deana Whitney
457. Braid_Tug
@454, I think she's being corrected on the shield. But not in a "It's Dunk!!!" More of a prompting - dude, you read it in this chapter!!

And my comment. One of those "hint, hint" comments, but I'm hoping not in the bad way we all hate.

@455: right there with you!
Chris Nelly
458. Aeryl
@453, I know that, I just think his chances of survival are greater if he's NOT in a position to stand between Dany and what she thinks is hers.
KingsGambit
459. Minstral
Sort of a new poster here so I have a question. Would anything be remiss if somone were to point out that Leigh missed mentioning the Rugen and Varys connection. It seemed to puzzle her last week and all.
Scott Silver
460. hihosilver28
Does Jaime have his golden hand yet? I thought that he did.

@Minstral- That is frowned upon, because that's the commenters making the connections for her. And Leigh has specifically requested that anything of that nature be relegated here, and not to the comments on her posts so she can make the connections on her own. Which was why Loras and Renly didn't get discovered until late last book, and she was pretty upset because many of the commenters were so obvious with their hints that she figured it out, but not from the text.
KingsGambit
461. Minstral
@460
I get the point of not revealing things that she has missed, like the Renly/Loras thing, but here it is straight out mentioned by Jaime that Rugen is an alias of Varys. Its a point that seems to be missed when its right there in the book s. Wouldn't that be fair game to mention like I have seen others make a connection to the shield in the comments?
Scott Silver
462. hihosilver28
To me yes, but I got jumped all over just trying to have a theoretical philosophical discussion about whether Dunk had ever truly, legitimately been knighted...so long answer, no, you shouldn't. Besides, as has been pointed out on this thread, not everyone got the "obvious" connection that Rugen was Varys.
KingsGambit
463. Lyanna Mormont
@461 It's actually not mentioned straight out by Jaime that Rugen was Varys. What he says is that he knows who Rugen was. Not quite the same thing.

Either way, Leigh does not want things pointed out to her that she may have missed, especially if they're plot points. I mean, it's one thing to genuinely react to different things in the chapter than she does, and talk about them, but another to go "Hey, look at this! Pay attention to this! Hint hint!"
Jakub Wrobel
464. ptyx
If Leigh includes two chapters next week, there is some fun stuff coming: Asha's uncle mentioning works of one Archmaester Rigney ;)
Rob Munnelly
465. RobMRobM
@464 - and his circular time theory (or words to that effect).
Faiz Imam
466. FaizImam
@ Minstral

I've read the series through FFC multiple times, and I read this chapter 5 times in the past month alone, and I had absolutely no idea Rugen=Varys.

I totally missed it everytime, though now that I know it's blindingly obvious.

So I don't think such decaltations are fair. She might not get it now, and she might never figure it out, but that's part of the adventure we all chose to embark on when she started reading and writing this the way she did.
KingsGambit
467. Lyanna Mormont
@ 464,465 - "Archmaester Rigney once wrote that history is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging. What has happened before will perforce happen again, he said."
Adam S.
468. MDNY
Yes, I'm hoping Leigh picks up on the Archmaester Rigney theory of time being a wheel as well. Like Brienne's/Dunk's shield, I think it would be a safe one for commenters to point out if Leigh misses it.
KingsGambit
469. Gregor Lewis
I like the 'doubtful certainty' sewn regarding fAegon's true provenance. I have no opinion I'm particularly attached to, but all the declarations followed by the counters, followed by the 'if' allowances, as counters to the counters ... Just makes the reading experience that much richer.

I see the ol' chestnut of revealing clear plot-points, unobtrusively (but still unambiguously) nuggeted into the text ostensibly read (but 'NOT' re-read) by Leigh Butler, has reared up again.

The double standards here make my guts tired, but y'all can keep your illusions. They are after all ... precious & must be used 'wisely' at the expense of proper discussion.

grl
Sasha P
470. AeronaGreenjoy
@457: I assumed mentioning the shield bit would be a Loras/Renly sort of forbidden hint. Glad I was wrong!!

@458: If (f?)Aegon isn't outed (or "outed") soon, he could end up in Dany's path, or that of another conqueror, regardless of his actual ancestry. He seems a decent kid, so boo to that.

@460: I thnk Jaime's new hand is first mentioned in his third chapter.

Re: Rigney, Leigh immediately caught the "House Jordayne of the Tor" reference in ASOS, so I'm hopeful.
Sky Thibedeau
471. SkylarkThibedeau
@451 Jon is dead. He's so dead he's barefoot in the Tapestry showing the Starks crossing Abbey Road.
Sky Thibedeau
472. SkylarkThibedeau
@441 Who survives? I'm betting with the way GRRM defys conventions no one survives. the White Walkers win!
Chris Nelly
474. Aeryl
@472, I'm pretty sure this ends with BOTH the White Walkers and the dragons dead, finally restoring balance.
Rob Munnelly
475. RobMRobM
@451 - Jon is the Walrus? Or is ASOIF another representation of the Helter Skelter prophecy, like what the Manson Family believed. "Blackbird singing in the dead of night...." Night's Watch reference, obviously.
George Jong
476. IndependentGeorge
I'm not getting fooled again. Jon's only mostly dead.

Ever since Bran & Rickon (whom I totally believed), I've been extremely skeptical of supposed character deaths. Neither Brienne nor Davos fooled me for a second, and I knew there was more to Arya's blindness than we were being told.

Someday, I hope FFC/DWD gets re-edited. If you move Arya's two chapters in DWD to FFC, then you get an actual arc:

1. It starts with Arya's arrival in Braavos, and ends with her departure as No One.
2. All five chapters involve Arya being challenged, and proving herself to the temple: she kisses the skull, gives up all her possessions, gains her first identity, overcomes her blindness, then makes her first sanctioned kill.
3. The Kindly Man telling the story of the Faceless Men's first recruit in DWD casts light upon The Alchemist's mission in the prologue.
4. Arya's use of the poisoned coin explains the manner of Pate's death.

As it is now, the narratives of both books are significantly weakened.
Sasha P
477. AeronaGreenjoy
It's understandable for readers to be frustrated when Brienne considers going where we know Sansa to be and then decides to go where she definitely isn't. But I'm not sure how she could ever have gotten to the Eyrie, much less recognized and rescued "Alayne."

Brienne's sword in this week's chapter made me think of the lost "Lion's Tooth," which is what "dandelion" means. Now I'm happily imagining Joffrey getting teased for having a sword named Dandelion.
KingsGambit
478. kiwifan
I think Dany is more likely to die than Aegon is (especially if she stays barren). Dany's role in the series is to bring dragons back to the world. However the dragons are kind of small for conquering. Does anyone think that sheepstealer (from the princess and the queen) is still alive somewhere he is the only ridden dragon whose fate we don't know - surely GRRM won't leave a loose end. He would be over 200 years old I believe (but dragons do live a long time when not in battle).
Chris Nelly
479. Aeryl
I don't think Dany is going to make it all, she's not the solution this world needs. If Dany "wins" it's just a victory for more monarchy, might makes right, divine right to rule, and eugenics through incest.

My issue with Aegon, is that A) he's a new character and B) he's not here to change what's wrong, he, like Dany, is here to take what's his with "fire and blood". I've been reading this story for Sansa, Arya, Jon and Bran, people who have learned that privilege and luxury does not, in the end, protect you, and have learned to empathize with those not born with their privilege. They are the characters A)I'm invested in, and B) I think are most suited for leading the new world that is to be created, not another guy who believes in monarchy, might makes right, the divine right to rule and eugenics through incest.
Adam S.
480. MDNY
GRRM is too crafty to not realize that FAegon is annoying, and there's no way he successfully holds the throne in the end. Possibly Dany believes him, right up until she gives him a dragon and it eats him. That would be SWEET.
Deana Whitney
481. Braid_Tug
@480: Agree.

After reading DWD with more care the second time around, I have to ask....
Why the hell do all the mercenary captains want Pentos? It's not like they could hold it for long. And the people "giving it" can't actually promise anything.
So I'm confused.
George Jong
482. IndependentGeorge
Possibly Dany believes him, right up until she gives him a dragon and it eats him. That would be SWEET.
I'd actually enjoy it more if he turned out to be legit, and gets fed to Drogon anyway. By the end of DWD, Dany is in practice little different from Viserys, justifying her every whim with being "blood of the Dragon". Her killing the 'rightful' heir of the Targaryen dynasty and justifying it by claiming he's an unworthy successor would be a brilliant subversion.
Agnaldo S.
483. Greenseer
For those who claims to be in favor "of what is best for the Seven Kingdoms," Varys was interested in keeping The Mad King in power. In ADWD, it became clear that Rhaegar intended, in tournament of Harrenhal, win support of lords to depose his father and take the throne. According to many characters, Rhaegar would have been a great king, but Varys tried to poison the ears of Aerys on the "conspiracy" of the child.
I believe Varys gained with the fall of the Targaryen dynasty. Later put a fake dragon in iron throne (one Blackfyre or a son of Illyrio, or both). GRRM some clues:
… mother of dragons, slayer of lies …
“A cloth dragon swayed on poles amidst a cheering crowd.” (Lords of Westeros?).
"A mummer’s dragon, you said. What is a mummer’s dragon, pray?”
“A cloth dragon on poles,” Dany explained. “Mummers use them in their follies, to give the heroes something to fight.”
GRRM also leaves a possible clue in a POV Brienne, over a black dragon "comes out" of Westeros, but red rust returns:
"a bastard son of the fourth Aegon rose up in rebellion against his trueborn brother and took for his sigil a black dragon. These lands belonged to Lord Darry then, and his lordship was fiercely loyal to the king. The sight of the black iron dragon made him wroth, so he cut down the post, hacked the sign into pieces, and cast them into the river. One of the dragon’s heads washed up on the Quiet Isle many years later, though by that time it was red with rust.”
In ADWD Tyrion is surprised to learn that the Golden Company (founded by a Blackfyre) would support "Aegon":
The magister: “Some contracts are writ in ink, and some in blood. I say no more.”
“I admire your powers of persuasion,” Tyrion told Illyrio. “How did you convince the Golden Company to take up the cause of our sweet queen when they have spent so much of their history fighting against the Targaryens?”
Illyrio brushed away the objection as if it were a fly. “Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre.”
Quaithe tells Dany a mummer's dragon would go looking for her:
“Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them.”(Eventually, Tyrion would change this.)
I think this helps prove that "Aegon" is not the son of Rhaegar Targaryen.
Varys is a snake that retains most of the information. Possibly he knew about plans of Aerys to burn King's Landing, but what he did to avoid? When Ned walked investigating the motive for the murder of Jon Arryn, the Spider knew that Robert had no legitimate children. It is also likely that he knew about the conspiracy to murder King Robert and the betrayal by Cersei and LF.


@480 If Aegon is really a false Targaryen, Dany will be which will expose him and Tyrion to end plans Varys.
George Jong
484. IndependentGeorge
Leigh reaction shots I'm still looking forward to during this FFC read:

1. Gemma Lannister.
2. The Elder Brother at the Quiet Isle
3. Ser Pounce, Lady Whiskers, and Boots
4. Tyrion Stokeworth (or is it Hill? Waters?)
5. Sam opening a can of whoop-as on Dareon
6. "Egg, I dreamed I was old"
7. Aemon's death and memorial
8. Marwin the Mage
9. Blackfish vs Kingslayer
Sasha P
485. AeronaGreenjoy
Waters is the normal bastard name in the KL area (Hill is for the westlands), and I can't find mention of Tyrion's surname in the books, but for some reason the Wiki of Ice and Fire says it's Tanner.

I most look forward to seeing Leigh rage at Victarion, Euron, Randyll's "justice," the Brienne wager, and Cersei's exploits. And seeing her celebrate Briene's fight at the Whispers, Jaime's justice, and the other fun things you listed. And learning what she thinks of the baby swap, the Sam/Gilly love scene, Cersei's downfall, and Arya's Braavos adventures ("Death cult! YAY!")
Chris Nelly
486. Aeryl
He called himself Hugor Hill, so he went with Hill. I figured bastards of Casterly Rock would be Golds.
KingsGambit
487. Lyanna Mormont
@ 486 Not him. The son of Lollys, whom Bronn named Tyrion. I've seen hi last name given as Tanner, too, but I don't remember that from the book, so I have no idea where it comes from.

Oh, wait, I checked. It's in the ADWD appendices.
Sasha P
488. AeronaGreenjoy
@486: Gerrion's bastard is Joy Hill (AFFC appendix)

@487: Thanks. I only have ADWD on audio, so never read that appendix.
KingsGambit
489. Gregor Lewis
@484
Gemma Frey ... Nah, you had it right. Although she married the chinless wonder Emmon, she fairly reeks of Lannister, what you associate as the "best" traits of that family - intelligence, wit, independence of thought, courage of convictions, love of family.

Her scene with Jaime is my absolute favourite in AFFC. Not only for her, but for giving us further access to Jaime's 'progress' (in his father's stead as a 'conqueror' or perhaps 'settler of disputes'/ 'accord bringer' might be more apropos at this stage - the war is over through the lands he's travelling in, with the exception of intermittent holdouts which he sets himself to bring back into the fold).

Their back and forth starting with her, "I'm sorry for your loss" & Jaime's response just sucked me right into that scene & showed Jaime's 'progress' has a ways to go.

grl
George Jong
490. IndependentGeorge
@489 - I love Gemma, but what I really want to see from Leigh is her reaction to the wider array of Lannisters. Yes, Tywin's nuclear family is all kinds of screwed up, but Gemma, Davin, and even Kevan are all reasonably good people who could have fit into just about any family in Westeros. Even crazy religious Lancel is interesting, because he's a genuine penitent. Plus, Gemma's genuine love for Tywin, even though she candidly admits she didn't always like the man he'd become, is actually pretty heartwarming.

And, of course, "Tyrion is Tywin's son." That was a definite wham line for me on my first reading.
KingsGambit
491. Gregor Lewis
@490
Davin's a riot! (Davon? I don't remember spelling).
I don't have the book handy but he's the one who pokes fun at Jaime's squire isn't he?

Something about beating up a relative of his in a Tourney Melêe and that dude hid behind his shield, whose sigil was a naked maid... '...made me feel unchivalrous every time I hit her.' (or words to that effect).

In fact, for me that whole interlude at Riverrun is what makes AFFC. There's so much frustrating characterisation and stagnation going on, when we get to Jaime here, we see movement! Progression!

It's GRRM at full throttle - humour, conflict, poignancy, actual genuinely interesting exposition...

I'm not big into following the theories out there, but the whole 'Tyrion was Tywin's son' line led my mind down conspiratorial pathways.

Does anyone know, or has anyone seen any concrete speculation regarding Tyrion actually being Tywin's only trueborn child, that the twins are actually a result of Aerys' affair with their mother Joanna, before he went completely bonkers?

I don't bother following the websites more tailored to this kind of discussion. Don't have time. And, prefer the goings on here (for the most part), as well as the variety throughout tor.com itself.

But anyway, just a thought.

grl
KingsGambit
492. zambi76
Does anyone know, or has anyone seen any concrete speculation regarding Tyrion actually being Tywin's only trueborn child, that the twins are actually a result of Aerys' affair with their mother Joanna, before he went completely bonkers?
There are definitely so called "Lannitarg" theories out there and I for one would find it delicious if the golden twins turn out to be Aerys's bastards (but how? via Selmy?). Many are fed up with secret Targaryens everywhere and don't like this line of thought at all, though.

Other are sure that Tyrion is Aerys bastard because of his different blond of hair and two different eye colors, but GRRM has said something like "Tyrion was named by his father Tywin and Jon by Ned of course." *trollface*" in a Q&A lately which put a bit of a damper on that one.
Sasha P
493. AeronaGreenjoy
It's Daven. And Genna, not Gemma. Both of them are fun indeed.

I always took "Tyrion is Tywin's son" to mean that Tyrion shares Tywin's innate gift for assessing people and manipulating them with words, money, and military strategy, which Jaime is laboriously learning and Cersei utterly failed at. But it could mean uncertain paternity. Maybe we'll find out someday.
KingsGambit
494. Gregor Lewis
Daven! I should've bought another vowel!
Genna! Man, I would totally suck at Wheel of Fortune.
Thanks.
Completely agree, that is what Genna would have meant on face value. It's Tywin's reaction that raised my 'conspiracy' hackles. But then again, someone as prickly as he was when it came to Tyrion, may have been sufficiently offended at only the comparison itself.

More grist, or maybe my inner conspiracy theorist needs more practice.

grl
Sasha P
495. AeronaGreenjoy
Tywin would be sufficiently angry about getting likened to Tyrion, especially in comparison to the twins, even if the notion of challenged paternity never crossed his mind. But I haven't the froggiest idea which one is true.
KingsGambit
496. Gregor Lewis
@492
Delicious is right.
Thanks for the confirmation.
I must admit, I kind of like the idea of the obverse situation you raise.
It would certainly be interesting if Tyrion were the resultant 'Targ Bastard'.

I can understand the fan frustration you note, but if the recent contribution by GRRM to Dangerous Women is any guide, 'Targ Bastards' were certainly not rare in the Dynasty's Ascendancy. Looked at objectively, it's hardly surprising they're popping up, at most, intermittently now.

Last thing on Tyrion's parentage, is the 'Targ Bastard' thing why I have seen his name mentioned in dispatches as a possible Dragon Rider? Or is it that he shares the same ancestry as Ben Plum - Dany saw him as a possible Rider because of the heritage he claimed to her, no?

Didn't Plum say he had a particular branch of Lannister blood? Gotta read up again I s'pose.

Oh! And sorry to keep flogging this 'ded orse' but wrt Tywin, I never felt he believed Genna was challenging his paternity.

(She was just doing the Relative thing, you know - 'oh look at/listen to him/her, that's definitely your son/daughter' - probably meaning it as a compliment).

But here's where my conspiracy kicks in:
Tywin KNOWS something 'bout someone maybe and a comment like that cuts him to the quick, perhaps too close to a deeply hurtful truth.

After all, the conventional wisdom in Westeros when he was Hand was of course,
"Lord Tywin may Rule the Seven Kingdoms, but at Home, he in turn was ..."

grl
George Jong
497. IndependentGeorge
I despise the secret Targ theories, especially Tyrion as Aerys' bastard, for the same reason I hate Jaqen=Syrio: it robs the story of significant meaning.

Tywin's great weakness was his blindness to his own children - he doesn't let himself see the truth of the twins' incest, and he doesn't see the value of his stunted son. Making Tyrion into Aerys' bastard not only means that Tywin was right not to let Tyrion inherit Casterly Rock.

I love Genna telling Jaime (and Tywin, years ago) that Tyrion was Tywin's son because he's the one who Tywin despised the most. Making Tyrion into a secret Targ not only eliminates that, but it also makes Tyrion's angst and guilt over murdering his own father largely meaningless.
KingsGambit
498. Gregor Lewis
@497
I can certainly understand that viewpoint.

J'aqen=Syrio huh? I completely missed that percolating round the fandom & I just don't see it myself. But then I s'pose that's the point of a Faceless Man eh?

As for who if any of the remaining Lannister heirs are illegitimate? I like the added flavour provided if it were actually the twins most. It adds layers of depth to SO MANY actions and interactions, going back to Aerys keeping Jaime with him, accepting his Kingsguard vows so young.

Sure, tweaking Tywin's nose was part of it (denying Jaime glory at the Tourney of Harrenhal & in the field, during Robert's Rebellion) but was he sawing away at the heartstrings as well. Did Jaime hear those things he confessed to Brienne because of a madman's obliviousness or a maniac's trust in his own blood?

I guess I'm drawing too long a bow here now. However, one thought I will go out on a limb on ... Incest ... Tywin knew.

How else to explain his numerous attempts to keep the twins separate. He wouldn't tacitly acknowledge it because there was no need. He held the power over those who knew or suspected and dared challenge him on it. Everyone else who knew or suspected didn't dare.

Why weaken your own position further when you can face these accusations down in your own person & through your station as well? His continued failure to separate the twins was as vulnerable as he would allow himself to be.

grl
Chris Nelly
499. Aeryl
I agree that Tywin knew about the incest and didn't care. The Lannisters were inbreedy that way anyways, with Joanna being Tywin's cousin.

I think Tyrion is a chimera, a fused set of fraternal twins, one fathered by Tywin and one fathered by Aerys. That allows him to still be Tywin's son, with all the attendent drama(though his guilt over killing Tywin is misplaced and BORING, IMO), and Aerys' son and a dragon rider.

How we are ever going to learn that, IDK.
KingsGambit
500. bookworm1398
@499 I suppose a chimera is possible, but it would be extremely weird.
I would prefer it if Tyrion got to ride dragons without being a Targ, disproving the whole Targ blood is needed for dragonriding, its so special idea. Or alternately, if it turned out that a little Targ blood from 250 years ago was enough, and that half of Westeros had enough magical blood at this point to ride dragons.
Rob Munnelly
501. RobMRobM
If anyone has read the latest GRRM novella, dragon blood is key to dragon riding. Tyrion seems to know this (as he should, as a student of Westeros history), and my hope there is some Targ blood in his lineage rather than the Aerys theory - which is icky for all sorts of reasons and Tyrion has shown no understanding of that to date, so I hope it's not true.
George Jong
502. IndependentGeorge
@501 - is it actually confirmed, or is it one of those mythic Targ things which they certainly believe, but may not actually hold up to scrutiny? In DWD, Dany honestly and truly believes Targaryens are immune to disease, apparently not knowing that dozens of her relatives died during the great Spring sickness.

I'm honestly sick of hearing about the "blood of the dragon". It has all the same unfortunate implications as midichlorians.
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
503. AlirozTheConfused
I have many problems with this series, many things that tick me off. Many irks and ARGHs and wearies, things that make me sigh and scoff.

but the worst of all the failings, worse than melting gold that way is the image of the sailing, sailing sailing Nordic Way.

As a swede, my goat is gotten, has this rotten man forgotten with a mind much made of cotton, the truth of the Viking Day?

We had culture, we had feeling, we weren't vultures unappealing we were poets while we're stealing, stealing from a british bay.

By what measure, for what pleasure, does this Martin trash our treasure, Sagas, runes, and all our leisure, everything we had to say?

You'd not dare condone such slander, no, indeed, you'd gawk and gander, it would get up all your dander, if other folks were shown this way.

SIck of complaining, it's so draining, with stupid non-words like "mansplaining", now's the time I cease my straining; I'm outta here, Caloo, callay!

I won't fake it, I can't take it, sorry guys, you'll have to make it through the read sans me, starting on this merry day.

Count me out, won't be about, please don't pout or swoon or spout; I'm outta here like a herd of trout, not to post here evermore.

Shall I one again post song, singing views sick and wrong, making life a pain prolonged? Quoth the raven, "nevermore".
Zorila Desufnoc Eht
504. AlirozTheConfused
And, for the record, I came up with the "chimera" theory before Aeryll did. Someone probably came up with that idea before me, but I came up with it independantly.
Agnaldo S.
506. Greenseer
GRRM mentioned that for be a dragon's head, it was not necessary to have dragon blood. Dany is a Targaryen, but still cannot control Drogon as Aegon controlled Balerion.
Dragon horn does the control of dragon. Dany quoted from this in ADWD.
Probably one skinchanger also be able to control a dragon. Bran could, he can control a human.

When Quaithe and Moqorro mentioned Tyrion in his "prophecies”, he was a lion.
Marie Veek
507. SlackerSpice
*nudges in link* http://beautifuldeath.com

They're doing a countdown to season four with artwork of a different onscreen death for each episode, and allowing fans to submit artwork, as well. (The only exception so far has been "Lord Snow", which has a very Mark Mignola-esque picture of the three-eyed crow.)
Rob Munnelly
508. RobMRobM
@501 - In the novella, no Targ was unable to ride a dragon (as far as I can recall) and there is a strong sense that the handful of bastards and others on Dragonstone who were able to bond with and ride dragons probably had Targs in their line somewhere. No clear confirmation of anyone who had no Targ blood but could still ride a dragon.

That, of course, wouldn't foreclose any of the non-Targ riding options - use of magic dragon control horm, warging the dragon, or riding on back along with an approved Targ rider.
Deana Whitney
509. Braid_Tug
@503, Aliroz: I sent you a message to your shotbox.
But will also say some of it here.

I hope you don't leave the read.
George Jong
511. IndependentGeorge
@510: This is where fantasy tropes collide with my deeply suspicious mind. In another series, I might take it at face value. Here, I find it awfully convenient that the control over the greatest force multiplier in the world depends on having the right bloodlines.

If anybody could control dragons with the right magic, then everybody would try to discover the secret. However, if only someone with the right bloodlines could do it, and a horrible death awaited anyone else who tried... well, that might deter further investigation.

Is it more likely that the Targs are truly ubermensch uniquely capable of controlling dragons? Or that theier ancestors were the the first to discover the secret of controlling dragons, and then closely guarded the secret over the succeeding generations in order to maintain that monopoly of power?

If somebody declares himself king because he pulls a sword from a stone, first I want to know who put the sword there, then I'm going to check for magnets. If somebody says that only he can ride a dragon because of his bloodlines, then I want to know why is he so keen on keeping the actual methods to training a secret if nobody else can use them.
Rob Munnelly
512. RobMRobM
IG - I agree I'm not a big fan of this development as hinted at in ADWD and as discussed pretty openly in the novella. But it may be that dems da rules as set up by GRRM.

Not to spoil too much, but many dragons were bonded to a Targ rider. There were, however, a bunch of dragons without riders and pretty much anyone was invited to try to get one to accept him or her as a rider. There was a rush of trying to find Targ bastards to bond to the dragons on each side of the aisle. It is then implied that many, if not all, of the remaining successful riders had some Targ blood someone. So not locked down, but pretty suggestive. And not a training issue - a dragon acceptance issue, with the rejected applicants often getting turned into dragon toast.
KingsGambit
513. Gregor Lewis
@511; @512
I'm getting a headache trying to follow yer thinkin' IG.

But while I try to get my head around it all, here's what I was thinking ...
... LA LA LA LA LA ... LA LA LA LA LA ... LALA LA LALA ... I kid, I kid!

The Dragoneers around at the height of dragon warfare, as recounted by a Maester's historical tome, didn't have any access to magically control a dragon. It was all Bloodlines and luck of the draw.

Now the more we hear about Maesters in general and the Citadel specifically, the more we seem to be getting lead somewhere, like a bull to market. The 'historical' tome that serves as the basis for 'The Princess and the Queen', in the Dangerous Women anthology could be a fat lot of misdirection, as part of a Maesterial Grand Plan, thus conditioning those well read enough to condition those who can't read to expect & believe that none other than a Targaryen or one with some Targaryen blood can hope to control a dragon.

But if we take everything at face value, Targ blood in your heritage = dragon riding candidate.

Two adendums, Quentyn Martell claimed Targaryen heritage no? He seemed to believe he could subdue a dragon until Rhaegal roasted him like a Dornish pepper. Should we believe then that Dragons view prospective riders through Purity Prisms, with an acceptable percentage of Targaryen blood flashing a green light, halting their inbuilt 'Human Roast Reflex' ?

Much like the Terminator when he first starts scanning for a suitable clothes supplier, do Dragons view prospective riders in shades of Red and Green?

One thing we do know, Victarion has a magic horn. What does it do? So far it seems to roast the unworthy, and it is this association with fire that leads one to suspect it might be dragon related.

However, if its correct manipulation is discovered, will its purpose be revealed as a means of controlling a dragon in the vicinity, or will this horn, if sounded correctly, transfer the 'ability to control dragons' to the bloodline of the hornsounder?

Have the Targaryens been centuries long beneficiaries of an ancestor's successful 'blow job' on said magic horn?

Or, is the horn an older, rediscovered magic, perhaps by Euron in his travels in the Doom of Old Valyria?

With the Others present, it seems everything Old is New again, so it's hardly a stretch to think some old magic resides in Old Valyria to counter the Targaryen ancestral means of Dragon Control, if it exists thusly.

grl
Captain Hammer
514. Randalator
re: How to tame a dragon

I'm not entirely sure that it's really just bloodline at work. To me it seems more likely that certain Targs just have an unfair advantage...they're made of Asbestos.

The tendency not to turn into charcoal the first time your dragon in training is unhappy is a huge plus. However, not all Targs are Asbestargs. So I'm thinking this: The Targs have a quasi monopoly on dragon taming because they spun the success rate of the Asbestargs into a birthright thing when in reality anyone could ride a dragon as long as they avoided bursting into flames. Which apparently not very many did.

So, after a century or two everyone assumes that the Targs have some magical mystery connection with dragons and doesn't even try to tame them, despite it being a ridiculously dangerous but still viable option.

tl;dr: Everyone can form a bond with a dragon. Asbestargs are just more likely to survive long enough. Targs have good marketing.
Chris Nelly
515. Aeryl
I don't get the resistance to "bloodlines" wasn't it established in the VERY FIRST BOOK that Stark(i.e. FIRST MEN) blood was needed to warg with the Direwolves. Why would the dragons be different?
Captain Hammer
516. Randalator
@515 Aeryl

I don't think First Men blood was established as the definite source for the skinchanging ability. The Children of the Forest are also associated with skinchanging, much more so than the First Men.

Unless you're implying that skinchanging is a CotF attribute that got mixed into the First Men bloodline...
Chris Nelly
517. Aeryl
@516, Probably a more accurate interpretation.

Whether or not "bloodlines" are important to dragon riding matters little to me because I dont see the dragons surviving the story, thus rendering bloodlines moot.
Adam S.
518. MDNY
Regarding skinchanging, while it seems that the Starks have the ability (at least Bran, Rickon, Arya, and Jon), it is not exclusive to Starks, or even to those with the blood of the first men. The three eyed crow, the last greenseer before Bran showed up, was not a Stark (I subscribe to the theory that he is Bloodraven, so in fact he has Targ blood but no Stark blood).
Chris Nelly
519. Aeryl
If Bloodraven is the greenseer, that is still an indicator that bloodlines(the passage of magic through generations) are important.

I think what's really likely, is that the Targs were wargs and warged their dragons, which means ANY skinchanger could control one.

I mean, I get the resistance to these ideas of eugenics in our modern world, and while Martin is all about using and discarding the tropes, this is one I don't see getting that treatment. Even the novels I consider the best fantasy novels ever, Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's series, uses this trope about bloodlines, and it's the most progressive fantasy I've read written by a white woman.
Agnaldo S.
520. Greenseer
Bloodraven (Brynden Rivers) is a Targaryen and is a Blackwood. The Blackwoods are descended from the First Men. Is one of the few houses in the south that follow the old gods.

The Targaryens are descendants of Valyria. The dragon's blood possibly comes from blood magic. It has no relation with the First Men.
The First Men has a greater relationship with the children of the forest.

Possibly the Last Hero was the first Stark. Maybe he has made a sacrifice for the children of the forest, to discover or get a way to stop the Others. (I do not exclude the possibility of there a relationship between the Others and the Children of the Forest). Hence, all children Stark are skinchanger, and Bran be a greenseer, Jon is also a powerful Warg (he can see through all other direwolves Stark).
KingsGambit
522. Gregor Lewis
Why all this talk of warging?

The wargs in the series have been clearly signposted, even when presented obliquely.

At the end of ADWD, we saw Dany ride Drogon, the wildest and most volatile of the dragons.

Nevertheless, Dany succeeded in stopping, mounting and riding Drogon, even after he had been attacked and injured, making him even more likely to lash out.

If there was evidence of warging there, I definitely missed it.

The evidence we do have, is that Dany was not alone in nurturing her dragon-eggs. The young Targaryen princelings were described as doing same in 'The Princess & the Queen'. Perhaps that nurturing ensured the Targaryen Royal Line had no trouble bonding with their dragons once they hatched.

In the same tome, we have a depiction of Targaryens in desperate need of riders to make use of their dragon surplus. Again, if this Maesterial historical account is to be taken at face value, then it was 'Bloodlines' that got you in the door, when it came to dragon-riding.

The rest was on you.

Given the example of 'Frog' Martell, then 'Bloodlines' was only the price of admittance, and no guarantee of success.

But I suppose the nurturing could be a watered down display of warging. It just surprises me that with all the opportunities we've had through Dany, her control cues with the dragons have been verbal only ... Haven't they?
Did I miss something?
Please fill me in if I have.

grl
George Jong
523. IndependentGeorge
I just remembered - one of my favorite exchanges is in FFC. Paraphrased:

"Bugger me with a bloody spear!"

"You heard the man. Fetch a spear."

"You stay the hell away from me with that!"

"Make up your mind already!"
Chris Nelly
524. Aeryl
@522, When Dany jumped on Drogon during the fights, that ws Barristan's POV, so we don't know how she did it. When she's riding Drogon later, she's delirious with dehydration and illness, so we don't know how she's doing it. I'd say we don't know if it is warging, but we don't know it's not.
KingsGambit
525. Gregor Lewis
@524
I've misremembered things before, especially regarding the last two published books in ASOIAF. You've helped me and others out, on names and such. I've stood corrected.
I'm not misremembering now.
The scene is from Dany's point of view and while I'm prepared to stand corrected regarding oblique references to warging, from memory, it's all guts, gumption and pure survival instinct that Dany uses to get the job done.
Not magic.
If you have the books handy and the time, read it again and please let me know what you think.

grl
Sasha P
526. AeronaGreenjoy
@23: That conversation always makes me laugh. Jaime's deadpan pseudo-serious response is perfect (though he probably wouldn't object to actually doing it, given his experience with sellsword vermin)
Chris Nelly
527. Aeryl
@525, We don't recognize it as magic, because Dany doesn't. She's never seen anyone warg, why would she know how to name what she's doing?
Agnaldo S.
528. Greenseer
@522 @527
Indeed, Dany gotta ride Drogon through whip, not having been burned (immune to fire dragon) and Drogon know who Danny is.
The only Targaryen who was Warg is Bloodraven.

Apparently, the First Men are quite different from Valyrians.
Maybe the abilities of being Warg and have green dreams are knowledge transmitted by the children of the forest for the First Men. While the relationship between dragons and humans and have dreams of dragon, is related to the Dragon blood and sorcery (“All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire.”)

I still think that to control a dragon is necessary have dragon horn. Dany rides Drogon, but he cannot say to whither it should go, as Aegon riding Balerion and Dragon Lords of Valyria.

About the dragon horn of Euron. I think he do not was the Valyria. I suppose he got the horn with those mages he has on his ship. The same Wizards of Qarth who wanted revenge on Dany.
KingsGambit
529. Gregor Lewis
@527
OK.
Wow. I gotta say, instinctively, I don't remember it as being so open to interpretation.

Even when we have our best examples of warging without intentionality - Arya's dreams and Arya's utilisation of it in her training at the temple - it is still apparent, TO US, that is what she is doing.

I better read that scene with Dany and Drogon again myself just to carefully parse the meaning I missed before.

Oh well, gotta get my books back first.

Thanks for the clues!

@528
So, are you of the opinion we have enough information for Brynden Rivers = Bloodraven?
Given your thinking above, the answer probably lies in what will happen to Jon.

Given he represents the key to solving for 'x', in the simultaneous equations:
R + L = J; x / dragon = dragon rider;
solve for x

I tend to think Jon will introduce dragons to the warging experience, given his unique mix of bloodlines and First Men connection.

grl
Rob Munnelly
530. RobMRobM
Yes, through Dunk and Egg we know Brynden Rivers = Bloodraven. Through ADWD, we know enough to confirm that Three Eyed Crow = Bloodraven (unusual physical description, acknowledgment of name Brynden, acknowledgment of NW membership, etc). Jon could very well warg dragons, but I'm not sure that BR will be the one to "solve" his identity. More likely will be Howland Reed who fills that particular bill.
KingsGambit
531. Gregor Lewis
@528
Never mind.
There seems no doubt.
I meant to say:
Brynden Rivers = Three Eyed Crow
But alas, I was never very good at maths.

grl
KingsGambit
533. Gregor Lewis
@530
Thanks mate!
Beat me to my own correction.
Howland Reed!
Man I hope we DO meet this guy.
He's been built up through the kids and for me, Ned's reminiscences of the Dayne family. The things HR must know and have seen!

But, I worry it may end up another 'author keeping it real' c#@k-tease ... And we'll be left unfulfilled.

Patience is a virtue and waiting for GRRM's brilliance the trial, eh?!

So be it ...

grl
Agnaldo S.
534. Greenseer
@529 Given he represents the key to solving for 'x', in the simultaneous equations: R + L = J; x / dragon = dragon rider; solve for x I tend to think Jon will introduce dragons to the warging experience, given his unique mix of bloodlines and First Men connection.
I agree with you.

GRRM was smart in showing the only known character that is Targaryen + First Man (Bloodraven) without having a characteristic favoring this or that family: gray eyes (common for FM) or purple eyes, silver hair ... He is an albino.
Jon has all the features Stark and, if the theory R + L = J is right, no trace Targaryen. He has prophetic dreams, but no Dragon dreams.
Has many shadows on the wall in this story.

@530 Yes, Howland Reed may be the key to unlocking the mystery about the origin of Jon. And it is also possible that he has a letter from Robb appointing Jon his heir.
Sasha P
535. AeronaGreenjoy
I'm not that interested in Jon's parentage, but really want to meet Howland as well, simply because he's an intriguing character with a mysterious home and wonderful kids.
Faiz Imam
536. FaizImam
I just caught up on my reading.

Tomorrow is Tommen's weddings via Cersei, with her drunkenness and the burining of the tower. Then we have Arys and Arianne, which should be fun.

But next week will be awesome. it's Brienne in Maidenpool, with the wonderful victim blaming by Randyl and the story of her time with Renly's camp. All sorts of wonderful reactions from Leigh.

Then we have Sam in the ship, with stories of his upbringing, Aemon talking about Dunk, Egg and Blackraven as well as the baby switching.
Sky Thibedeau
537. SkylarkThibedeau
I was reading the Tyrion POV in WOW George released online. How many ironborn ships did Euron bring?
Adam S.
538. MDNY
@537 He brought the Iron Fleet, around 200 ships. In ADWD he thinks about how they lost some when they were scattered, but captured some more ships as well, so they still have somewhere close to that number.
Chris Nelly
539. Aeryl
Is there a link to that online yet?

Don't do iphones or android, so...
Chris Nelly
540. Aeryl
Part of my defense of Cersei's gendered view of things, is knowing where this goes.

Yes, the power given to the Faith is Cersei's own damn fault, but her later punishment is so obviously gendered, that it ultimately proves her point. Robert was celebrated for doing what she was accused of, while she is forced to parade herself naked through the population of KL.
Sky Thibedeau
541. SkylarkThibedeau
Aeryl. Not yet but there is a screen shot of a page on IO9. Mentions Ironborn ships fighting in Slavers Bay and there seems to be a bunch. I couldn't remember how many Euron brought with him
KingsGambit
542. Crusader75
Aeryl, was what Robert did celebrated or merely tolerated? Also, while Robert was alive the High Septon had anything but the sort of ascetic sensibility of the person that occupies the position at the end of AFFC. Cersei's punishment is a response to the excesses tolerated during Robert's and Joffrey's reigns, but they are dead and Cersei's alive.
Captain Hammer
543. Randalator
re: Dany and warging

I'm not 100% on this, but doesn't warging leave the human body in a trance-like state. I don't see how that would work in battle on the back of a huge, flying, fire breathing beast. Even if we assume that a dragon rider gets strapped in, that still leaves the issue of being unable to shift weight or brace against sudden changes in direction which might very well lead to a broken neck.

So, unless I'm mistaken regarding the warging mechanics, I would discount the dragon riding = warging theory.
Jakub Wrobel
544. ptyx
Re: Iron Fleet
Do you mean Euron or Victarion?
Victarion had 60 ships in ADWD
Chris Nelly
545. Aeryl
@542, His sleeping around. Even Ned, who didn't approve, didn't think he should be punished for it, even though as the Blackfyres prove, it can disrupt line of succession and the peace of the kingdom, just as much as what Cersei did.
Adam S.
546. MDNY
@543 While I agree that warging is not necessary to be a dragon rider, I disagree with your premise that it would leave you defenseless on the battlefield. Remember Varymyr Sixskins, who was looking through his eagle to scout during the battle and also controlled a bear and several other animals as well.
@544 The Iron Fleet is Victorian's, and Euron commanded him to take it to Slaver's Bay. The fleet had about 200 ships in AFFC, but Victorian split it in 3 separate convoys to get to Slavers Bay by different routes, with each having around 60 ships (guess they lost 20 or so before then). Victorian only had 60 ships with him,but that was just one third of the fleet.
Michael Duran
547. MRHD
Re: Needing Targ blood to ride dragons. I think the impression that all the bastards in Princess and the Queen MUST have Targ blood somewhere in their line might be the prejudices of an unreliable narrator, the "maester" who is writing the history, as well as because of the mistaken beliefs of those looking for new dragon riders in the first place. Certainly, there are no apparent links between Nettles and the Targaryens beyond her living on Dragonstone-- could just as easily show that a non-Targ can ride a dragon if he or she is willing to bring it a sheep to eat every day for long enough.
Chris Nelly
548. Aeryl
In re Robert and his alliances:

By all indications the rebel coalition that was behind Robert existed before they tried to put Robert on the throne, and that was because of Hoster Tully, Rickard Stark and Jon Arryn, so that's nothing to with Robert's alleged ability to create alliances.

And Renly is an even more laughable example, he "created" alliances because he had a boyfriend who had a marriageable sister.

It wasn't any of Robert or Renly's charms that got them their armies, it was the luck of their bloodline and connections, that's all. Which again proves the point. For men in Westeros, they are playing on Easy Mode, with the expanded player's guide, women have to play on God Mode, with the booklet that comes with the game.
Agnaldo S.
549. Greenseer
@548 Well, the way alliances were being formed are undoubtedly suspicious (Baratheon and Stark, Stark and Tully, Lannister and Tully).

Regarding the maester Stark, some considered the son of Olenna Hightower Tyrell. However, why the Tyrell remained supporting the Targaryens? They would have benefited to bring their armies to cause Robert.

I am not yet considering a conspiracy of maester to overthrow the Targaryens.
I cannot see Tywin be manipulated by his maester for joining the Lannister with Tully. Unless were the Tully who proposed the alliance.
Hoster Tully would marry Brynden Tully with a Redwyne.
KingsGambit
550. Crusader75
Aeryl @ 545: Cersei also got herself caught up in the trap she set for Margeary. She had been encouraging the idea that the adultery of a Queen was something that had to be punished. Her own scheming backfired on her badly. Though the mechanics of reproduction make a Queen's adultery more politcally problematic than a King's. You always know that a King's bastard is actually a bastard. With the Queen, there is doubt.
Sasha P
551. AeronaGreenjoy
@549: If you mean the Queen of Thorns, she's Redwynne by birth. Mace's wife Alerie is the Hightower.

Randomly, I just learned about the goofy Merling Theory. OMDG, it's hilarious and I shall espouse it.
Agnaldo S.
552. Greenseer
@551 If you mean the Queen of Thorns, she's Redwynne by birth.
Thanks for showing the difference.

Yes, indeed. Thus, Maester Walys Flowers (maester of Stark) cannot be the son of Olenna Redwyne (not Hightower). In ADWD, Lady Dustin said the maester was the son of a Hightower with a Archmaester of the Citadel.

Possibly the idea that maester were conspiring to make alliance of the Great Houses of Westeros is just resentment against marriage of Brandon and Catelyn... Or not.

However, Tyrell stayed out of the alliance. The Martell were already connected with the Targaryen dynasty by marriage.

Anyway, I still think Olenna Redwyne a great player in ASOIAF.
Eric Lesch
553. Eric Lesch
RobM, over in the non-spoiler thread you mention the "valonqar". That part of the prophecy has not been mentioned yet.
Captain Hammer
554. Randalator
@546 MDNY

While I agree that warging is not necessary to be a dragon rider, I disagree with your premise that it would leave you defenseless on the battlefield. Remember Varymyr Sixskins, who was looking through his eagle to scout during the battle and also controlled a bear and several other animals as well.

But he wasn't in the thick of it as far as I recall.

Being strapped to the back of a dragon in the midst of battle is quite different than being behind the lines away from direct attacks. In a manner of speaking, Sixskins was sitting at a table watching the mechanical bull through someone else's eyes, while a warging Targ would actually be tied to the bull at maximum setting. While being paralyzed AND being shot at.
Sasha P
555. AeronaGreenjoy
@553: In Cersei's first chapter, she thinks of Tyrion as the "valonquar," recalling the tent where she learned her future in a drop of blood. In this chapter, we get the forseer's name and the "new queen" bit of the prophecy. I don't know if Leigh has connected the two flashbacks, though. And the number-of-children part hasn't come up yet.
Deana Whitney
556. Braid_Tug
?? I wanted to ask on the main thread, but it's HBO show spoilery.

In the HBO show, we always see Cersei in the small council rooms. So she sees that Daddy's will is not always 100% agreed with.

In the books, is she in the council rooms? She’s there when they learn about the Red Wedding, but what about the “day to day” business? Could she not really know how things operate?
Yes, she’s still crazy.
Chris Nelly
557. Aeryl
She's not in the small council until after Robert's dead, as Queen Regent. And you can tell it's the first time she's actually seen what Tywin does, because she constantly disagrees with it, thinking he should act like the mythical Tywin does.

Unable to reconcile the actual Tywin to the mythical Tywin, she decides he's just gone soft, never actually learning that mythical Tywin doesn't exist except in the minds of the peasantry and her.
Deana Whitney
558. Braid_Tug
Thanks Aeryl.
I see you are trying to get people to see this on the main thread too.
Brandi Carrier
559. Brandi
I just cringed at Leigh's inadvertent foreshadowing of what's going to happen to Myrcella's face/ear in the near future. So true, but poor Myrcella.

From today's post-"getting crowned in this series has the survival rate equivalent of whitewater rafting without an actual raft: even if you do make it past the rapids, you ain’t gonna look pretty when you arrive. And that’s not an experience I would wish on any ten-year-old who isn’t Joffrey."
Julian Niquille
560. Gesar
I'd like to raise a point regarding the absence of certains characters in book 4. I know that I knew they weren't here when I read book 4, but I can't remember whether I was supposed to know or if I just picked it up on the interwebs. If I was supposed to know, however, I think we should tell Leigh, because it certainly mattered in my perception of the informations we get about Essos. You can tell Leigh was dismissive about the Golden Company in this chapter, because she assumes we'll have a Dany chapter in two or three weeks, and she will learn more about that here. I, on the other hand, was very acutely focused on them, because I knew I needed to collect the tidbits while the story wasn't happening.
Faiz Imam
561. FaizImam
I know it's says at the end of the book, I forget if it does at the start, but I think she knows only some of the characters are in this one, perhaps not which ones.

either way, we are not suppose to know much about the golden company at this point, so there isn't much we need to say.
Bridget McGovern
562. BMcGovern
We've been talking about this here at the office, and it sounds like a few of us remember reading an introduction discussing the structure upfront, while others remember reading it at the end. I'll get in touch with Leigh and try to figure out how best to approach this issue, but in the meantime Katharine and I would appreciate it if we could avoid discussing the missing POV characters in the main thread for now--thanks!
Adam S.
563. MDNY
It was after the book in my version. After Sam arrives in Oldtown, there's a chapter heading: "Meanwhile,Back on the Wall..." in which GRRM says he will discuss Tyrion, Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Dany, Jon, and Bran in the next book.
Deana Whitney
564. Braid_Tug
@562: I'm with MDNY. It's at the back of Book 4. It's not talked about at the front of the book, so she "shouldn't" know, unless that rummor has hit her already.

Re: Post
Wow did she make some great comments. Like Myrcella getting out of it "unharmed" would be a shock.

Now we have a year+ wait to see her run into Quenton.
Bridget McGovern
565. BMcGovern
Yep--after a bit of digging (although I still don't have my copy of the book handy), it seems that "Meanwhile, Back at the Wall" is actually the afterword, so Leigh may just have to figure things out for herself, here, without any helpful hints about how the book is structured or related to ADwD. I've explained to her in vague terms what the situation is without getting into details, and if she decides she wants additional information, she'll let us know.
KingsGambit
566. Jeff R.
Leigh is wrong about the Iron Throne's succession rule, right? It is male-preference primogeniture, just like every other house, and it just happens to be the fact that changing the rule to the Dornish pure primogeniture is slightly more workable, politically and logistically, than murdering Tommen without arousing obvious suspicions.

Not sure whether or not it's too spoilery to bring up in the weekly thread, though.
Sasha P
567. AeronaGreenjoy
Whoa. I hadn't predicted much of a Leigh response to this chapter, besides a headdesk-y "This will end badly, like all harebrained ideas in this story." But of course it's heavy on dialogue, information, and feminism-related moral conundrums.

In retrospect, the chapter is both more depressing and more necessary, inasmuch as this misadventure is necessary. Arys is sealing his own doom before our eyes, but his POV allows us to understand why he went against his vows, his king, and his sense of self-preservation for a someone who considered him little more than "pleasant company abed." One could argue that "He's a man, she's hot, enough said," but this makes it more convincing. And makes Arianne seem skilled at politicking as well as manipulation, kinda like Cersei defeating Robert and Ned.

I also forgot about the early reference to the Dance of the Dragons, aka Death of the Dragons, aka Death of Many Dragons, Their Riders, and Innumerable Other People. I suppose Leigh will have to read that novella eventually.
Georgianna Miller
568. gomiller
Re: AFFC, can't someone suggest that she look at the table of contents? It's not a secret that this one is structured differently, she just hasn't noticed.

It would be interesting to hear Leigh's take on the balance between m/f POVs in the booksk anyway, as that has been an interesting discussion here also.
Julian Niquille
569. Gesar
Well if it's really stated only at the end of the book, I'm going to backpedal on that and say that we shouldn't tell her anything. If George wanted us to know from the start, he would have put it at the start, and that would mean Leigh's reactions will mirror more people's reactions if she doesn't know than if she knows.
Eric Lesch
570. Eric Lesch
@568 These books do not have tables of contents.
KingsGambit
571. kiwifan
What did people think of the Arya/Mercy chapter George put up on his website? I'm still waiting to read the Tyrion one. The app is not available in the New Zealand play store.
Chris Nelly
572. Aeryl
@571, There is a post with a link, and comments.

I liked it, but some here in the thread may not want to be spoiled.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/03/winds-of-winter-excerpt-mercy-george-rr-martin
Michael Duran
573. MRHD
@566: Actually, I think she is right about it-- at least under the Targaryens post-Dance, even if there were no males in the direct descent it wouldn't go to a female in the direct descent, but to the male closest to the main branch in an offshoot/cadet family branch.
KingsGambit
574. Jeff R.
I'm looking at the tree and not seeing any post-Dance case where it would have made a difference. Pre-Dance, Aenys's accession to the throne implies the Dornish rule, even.

In practice, the system seems to be "any time there is more than one colorable claim, let's have a civil war to decide." Which really defeats the entire purpose of having a hereditary monarchy rather than a series of warlords, honestly.
Adam S.
575. MDNY
I think the rule in Westeros, or at least the custom, is that males take precedence but female offspring are in line for succession (except in Dorne, where gender doesn't matter). When everyone believes Bran and Rickon are dead, Sansa is assumed to be next in line for Winterfell, and Arya after her-which is why the Boltons are so eager for Ramsey to wed Jayne Poole/fake Arya. Balon wanted Asha to follow him in the iron isles, despite opposition from his brothers, and I think Myrcella would be next in line for the Iron Throne after Tommen. It also seems that Stannis' heir is his daughter, and Brienne is to take over Tarth when her father dies.
Rafael
576. Ryamano
The Iron Throne's sucession laws seem to be a slightly different version from agnatic primogeniture. The Iron Throne can go to an uncle before it goes to a daughter, so it is agnatic. But it's not absolute agnatic (salian), or Daenerys (and Myrcella) would have no claim at all.

@ 574 The law serves to give legitimacy, not to settle disputes without a care to the powers of the land. In our world, wars were made between states when sucession was actually pretty straightforward, but the power balance between countries would change (spanish sucession, for example). The same happens inside countries. In 1383 the people of Portugal (both noble and common) preferred a bastard of the previous king (Joao de Avis) to a foreign king (Juan I of Castille), even though the law said Juan I should get the throne.
George Jong
577. IndependentGeorge
Is this the place to talk about the new WOW preview chapter? I know this is the spoiler discussion, but there are different levels of spoilers, and I know some readers avoid the WOW previews.
Chris Nelly
578. Aeryl
I was talking about it in the comments for the article that linked to it, for that very reason.

Which is here

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/03/winds-of-winter-excerpt-mercy-george-rr-martin
Faiz Imam
579. FaizImam
I dont' intend to read the WOW fragments, I've only read the Asha one, and even that once quickly.

But I don't mind discussion here, its an excellent place for it.
KingsGambit
580. zambi76
Leigh, if it’s any consolations, this is one of the worst offending chapters with slap you in the face “You deserved to be rape” conversations. I won’t say “It gets better”, however.
Emphasis mine. Yeah, we will get another dose of that soon, from Queen Cersei the awesome.
Sasha P
581. AeronaGreenjoy
Which Cersei misdeed are you thinking of in particular? The plot agains Margaery? Thinking "half the septas are probably praying for a good raping"? Something else?

In hindsight, I've wondered why ND agreed to accompany Brienne to confront a group of people he'd badly cheated? I'm guessing he was that hungry for gold and thought/hoped they would truly be a frightened fool and two young girls instead of what they were -- three men, armed and angry.
Adam S.
582. MDNY
@ Aerona I can't speak for Zambi, but I distinctly remember Cersei having a thought when visiting the Great Sept- something along the lines of "many silent sisters are probably praying for a good raping". Cersei has some of the most outlandishly anti-female thoughts in this series.
Chris Nelly
583. Aeryl
Cersei is a good analog for Ann Coulter, IMO, someone who cynically uses her feminity to her advantage, as well as understands how she's been disadvanted enough in the system as a women to be angry, while still viewing most other as competition, preventing her from uniting with them.

Well, plus, I don't care exactly how Merriweather intended to use or benefit from her friendship with Cersei, that relationship isn't really consensual. None of her sexual relationships are, aside from the one with Jaime, which is poisonous in other ways. The Kettleblacks might be there at LF's behest, but if they weren't, were they going to say no to the Queen Regent? Lancel certainly couldn't.
Adam S.
584. MDNY
I'd say Cersei's sex with Kettleblack(s) is consensual, just kinda gross. She sleeps with ?Osmund (I can never keep those Os- Kettleblacks straight) in return for him seducing Margaery- she may not have desired him, but she still slept with him willingly. If she had slept with the bastard of driftmark (before he took her fleet of dromonds and fled King's Landing, as everyone who isn't a total moron could have predicted) that would have been consensual. I think the Lancel thing was mutually consensual, too, Lancel wanted her, he was even willing to kill the king for her. The Merryweather thing is consensual too, if another squicky Cersei sexscapade. All her relations are just gross, not necessarily nonconsensual. Early on, though, the Jaime one was the only one that resembled an even approaching a normal sexual relationship. Other than that whole, you know, incest thing.
Faiz Imam
585. FaizImam
This is preaching to the choire I imagine, but lol at "we come here for fresh perspective on ASOIAF, not feminist analysis"

The critical feminist perspective is at the heart of all of her writings, it's kind of her thing.

Wanting her to be blind to it all is an insult to this whole enterprise, really.

Anyways... while I would have preferred she talk about the plot a bit more, I have to admit its all pretty straightforward, not much to really dig into beside Brienne herself.

Can't wait for the next few weeks, there's some great material:

-Sam on the boat with the baby switching and Aemon "I dreamt I was old".
-Then Jaime being all reasonable and awesome(BTW, what is the subtext with him reading about the Kingmaker?)
-Then we have more Cersie slowmotion train wreckage with her leading the council session and plotting to kill Jon.

Good stuff.
KingsGambit
586. zambi76
Which Cersei misdeed are you thinking of in particular? The plot agains Margaery? Thinking "half the septas are probably praying for a good raping"? Something else?
I don't think she ever had actual rape fantasies about Margaery yet, but the books are still young. ;-)


I was thinking of her flipping out about Bronn naming Lolly's bastard son Tywin/Tyrion. And blaming Lolly the "retard" for getting herself raped, but now that I think about it, that must have already been covered.
Deana Whitney
587. Braid_Tug
@586: Permission was asked to name the child Tywin at the funeral. She was insulting in her "no." don't remember the thoughts.

But I don't think the child is born yet to have the name Tyrion. Next Cersei POV
Faiz Imam
588. FaizImam
It's in the 2nd Cersei chapter, Lolly's sister asked Cerseir if the child might be named Tywin:
Cersei stated at her, aghast. 'your lackwat sister gets herself raped by half of kings landing, and Tanda thinks to honor the bastard with my Lord father's name? I think not'"
Sasha P
589. AeronaGreenjoy
I meant the plot to have Margaery lose her head for losing her maidenhead, though Cersei might've liked to imagine someone raping her. I was also thinking of the Lollys and sept bits, the latter of which might elicit some Leigh commentary. Maybe Cersei can't imagine a woman taking a vow of celibacy for the sake of career and not wanting someone to "make" her break it. Or maybe she's just contemptuous of everyone on Planetos.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
590. Lisamarie
I'm kind of wondering about how the HBO adaptation of FFC will go, specifically because of the Merriweather/Cersei sexcapades. The 'sexposition' is bad enough without HBO feeling plot-justified in it...I'm wondering how much they will try and sensationalize that aspect.

(I'll be honest, I'm still a bit prudish and not a huge fan of all the sexposition and super-graphic violence in the series, as captivating as it is in general).
Chris Nelly
591. Aeryl
@584, Absence of choice means you can't meaninfully consent. NONE of Cersei's partners can say no, most certainly not Lancel(who wasn't willing to kill the king, he was willing to keep the king drunk), who was ordered to obey the queen in all things. It's just that Kevan did not concieve the depravity Cersei would command of him
Sasha P
592. AeronaGreenjoy
Leigh might be heartened by the next Brienne chapter, where some Bloody Mummers get justly eliminated, even if Brienne is miserable about it and ND's death is tragic.
Sasha P
593. AeronaGreenjoy
In the very next chapter, she's going to be PISSED at Dareon for calling Sam a craven.
Adam S.
594. MDNY
The question is, will she be pissed at Jon?
Faiz Imam
595. FaizImam
Good question.

They do note that Mel wanted kings blood, and the Jon probably made the switch to keep the kid alive. Hard to say how much thats worth.

In hindsight the choice is merited, but at this point she will either let it be based on a lack of information, of judge Jon negatively, I think.
Adam S.
596. MDNY
How far in do you think Leigh will get before she realizes that Jon, Tyrion, and Dany take the place of Sers (+madame) not appearing in this book. I foresee much book throwing at that point.
Sasha P
597. AeronaGreenjoy
I kind of dread that moment. She's rapidly losing patience with AFFC already, and I fear her giving up -- or, if that's not possible, becoming endlessly resentful.

Heh, I never realized it while reading. I got to the afterword and went "Saaaay, now that you mention it, where WERE they??" I feel like the world's most oblivious reader sometimes.
Adam S.
598. MDNY
That's my biggest problem with the read these days- her lack of enthusiasm. There's a big difference in reading a commentary written by someone who loves their subject versus someone who is doing it because it's their job, and sometimes Leigh's complaints about the darkness of ASOIAF (like this past week) disappoint me. The fact that she didn't love ASOS, and never even went back to do an overall impression of it, worries me, since it's really after that book that the series became problematic with all the wonky timeshifts etc... I generally enjoy Leigh's commentary, but she sometimes seems to express a lack of enthusiasm for the books, which is reinforced by how often she stresses that she "appreciate[s]" the writing, often followed by a "but---".
KingsGambit
599. Black Dread
When she's reviewing one short chapter a week and getting frustrated with that, it's pretty obvious. Back in the godd old Game of Thrones days, it was always 2 a week.

I wonder if I would become fed up with these books at a 1-chapter-a-week pace?
Faiz Imam
601. FaizImam
Well I'm rereading the books along with her and i'm definetly getting frustrated.

I desperatlely want to jump ahead and get to DWD, as I mentionned before I read that book so fast anything not explicitly stated went over my head.
Sasha P
602. AeronaGreenjoy
Re: the previous Brienne chapter - I understand reader frustration at Brienne considering the Vale and deciding against it, given that she definitely won't find Sansa anywhere else, but how could a rescue there have been successful?? The mountains and valleys teem with murderous clanspeople, the Eyrie is impregnable on a gigantic steep mountain topped with a 600' vertical cliff, and if she somehow got there, LF would chuck her out the Moon Door. He's bought or cowed most of the local nobles from whom she could've tried to s seek help, and the area would be even more snowily impassible before the household migrated down for the winter.
Jakub Wrobel
603. ptyx
In hindsight, it would have been much better if Brienne had gone to the Vale in search for Sansa.
Not for Brienne, who wouldn't have had much chance to succeed in the Vale against Littlefinger.
Not for Sansa, who wouldn't want to be "rescued" by Brienne anyway.
It would have been better for Jaime... although, who knows how will his story continue?
Rafael
604. Ryamano
@602 Aerona

She could've tried to do what Shadrich apparently did. In Brienne I (first Brienne chapter) she meets a hedge knight named Shadrich that is also looking for Sansa. We see that guy later in the last Sansa POV chapter as a hedge knight who offered his services to Litttlefinger. So he made it to the Vale and into LF's service, all that is left is for him to realize that Alayne is Sansa. I think Brienne could've done that. But, of course, her story isn't about that (rescuing Sansa), it's about showing the horror that is a place after war (feast for crows) and also the growing piousness of the people in Westeros. Also, lots of drama between her and Jaime being forced to kill each other in the future.

@others

Maybe she'll get less frustrated once she starts reading two chapters a week again, once the WoT re-read ends. But I don't think that'll happen.

Leigh's favorite things in fantasy is seeing a character that is kick-ass being recognized as kick-ass in another's POV. There's not much of that in ASOIAF, which is a tragedy in a fantasy setting where most of the excitement comes from plot twists and character's deaths. There's not much ass-kicking and even less seeing our favorite characters from another POV. So I could see she losing more and more interest in the series as it goes on (especially because the last two books weren't as good as the first three, IMO).
Rob Munnelly
605. RobMRobM
My sense is that Leigh is reflecting back some irritation expressed by some with respect to her approach to the re-read. It has been a rough couple weeks in that regard. I expect she'll snap out of it and get her enthusiam back once she gets some fun chapters and the comment thread isn't a continual back and forth over feminist-related critiques.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
606. Lisamarie
I also wonder if she'll go back to two (or maybe four) chapters a week once the WOT reread is done. She used to post the WOT reread twice a week, until she started the ASOIAF read. So I wonder (hope!) if she'll do that with ASOIAF, and be able to make a little more progress.

But yeah, people trying to dictate how the read should go is so annoying...especially since it seems like people have to bring it up every damn time. Isn't the whole point of the read to get HER honest reactions? I have probably made a few missteps myself.
Rob Munnelly
607. RobMRobM
Ryan - I like ADWD better than ACOK. Some seriously nice ass kicking in that book, including Jon's "Bring me a block," Jon's "Take a walk and go hang out with Big Bucket and friends," Manderly's "I'll have some yummy pie," the Glover-Davos "let's go get Rickon," etc. More than AFFC for sure, although the Jaime and Arya scenes are full of win.
KingsGambit
608. adamas
For anyone who thiks Leigh isn't going to like books 4/5 as much... I think you are underestimating GRRM, and Leigh's ability to analyze things. (I'll admit that things like R+L=J are hard to get on the first read, but if she re-read book 1, I bet she would figure it out pretty quickly.)

This blog has some fantastic insights about the new plotlines of books 4/5 that I am fairly confident leigh is going to figure out on her own

http://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/essays/
Faiz Imam
609. FaizImam
Aww shucks.

I totally forgot there was no read this week.

that's a downer.

Carry on.
Scott Silver
610. hihosilver28
I don't know if Leigh will enjoy the rest of the read. ADwD is still incredibly frustrating to me, especially when the characters that were fun to read just end up spinning their wheels, going nowhere. Dany and Tyrion...I'm looking at you.

But at the end, it does come down to preferences. I am, and will always be a The Wheel of Time fan way more than A Song of Ice and Fire fan. But that's just me. I appreciate the series and will definitely read the final two books and any novella that Martin releases, but WoT is my comfort blanket and a series that I will reread for the rest of my life. It might be the same case for Leigh...that combined with how some of the commenters interact on the pages. But as I'm not as personally invested with ASoIaF, it doesn't affect me as much if she doesn't like it. Jeez, I feel proactively sorry for her having to read Dany's and Tyrion's chapters in ADwD. Luckily we had Jon throughout that book.
KingsGambit
611. Black Dread
I like ADwD just because - Tyrion's awesome drunken journey!

I also hope it picks up when WoT finishes. I read the series just to read something but it always felt like I was borrowing one of my kids' books.
Faiz Imam
612. FaizImam
I haven't been tracking the WOT read. when is it projected to end?
Sasha P
613. AeronaGreenjoy
Oh, I keep forgetting Shadrich. Nobody remembers the mouse...

I still have high hopes for Leigh's AFFC read, but I'm not sure if she does. And ADWD is much bleaker, with less constant misogyny (because most of the POVs are men or Dany) but a massive flow of torture, slavery, battles, death marches, famine, epidemic disease, and other forms of murder and misery. Critical things happen in AFFC, but I mostly consider it a very welcome breather.
Rafael
614. Ryamano
@Faiz Imam

Her last post (this tuesday) ended on chapter 44. She has been doing two chapters a week in the last few weeks. So, since there are still 5 chapters and one epilogue to cover, it could take between 3 to 6 weeks for her to finish, depending on her pace and whether she'll have posts on final thoughts on the series.
Sasha P
615. AeronaGreenjoy
Last week's chapter made me wonder -- if Randyll is still sending rapists to the Wall, who's been taking them there, and how? I don't recall Castle Black getting much in the way of new (non-wildling) recruits in ADWD.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
616. Lisamarie
Wow, I didn't realize we were so close to being done with the WOT re-read. That makes me kind of misty...
Captain Hammer
617. Randalator
Well, there's always the WOT re-read re-read...
KingsGambit
618. kiwifan
I haven't read WOT, I chose to start Malazan instead after I finished Adwd. Hope this means we will get two posts a week after it's finished.
Faiz Imam
619. FaizImam
Or a more comprehensive 2-4 chapter post once.

I don't mind either way, but the status quo sucks for everyone, her most of all.
Sky Thibedeau
620. SkylarkThibedeau
I was thinking that Jaime being a member of the Kingsgaurd should know the story behind Robert's Rebellion. Think we'll get any insight on what happened and if R+L=J?
Chris Nelly
621. Aeryl
That's an interesting thought. Since Lyanna was holed up at the ToJ it's likely no one knew she was pregnant.

I'm real surprised no one has thought of it before, tbh. Ned goes to war childless, comes back from trying to save his sister, who everyone knows was having sex with Rhaegar, consensual or not, with a child and NO ONE goes, hmmm?

I still think Howland Reed is going to be who we learn it from.
Adam S.
622. MDNY
@620 Skylark-I highly doubt that Jaime knows anything about R+L=J. If any living member of Aerys' kingsguard knows, it would be Barristan Selmy, who was one of Rhaegar's close friends and would certainly tell Dany about Jon if he knew. The only members of the kingsguard that likely knew were the ones guarding Lyanna at the Tower of Joy (Arthur Dayne, Gerold Hightower, and whoever the third one was) and they're all dead. I agree with Aeryl about Howlan Reed, I've been waiting 3 books for him to appear already and tell someone, but I can't figure out how the hell it's going to come out. I've seen people speculate that Brienne, Davos, Melisandre, or Dany figure it out but my money is still on Howlan Reed showing up, I just don't know who he's going to tell...If only Dany would get her ass to Westeros already it would be a lot easier for R+L=J to be confirmed by SOMEONE.
Chris Nelly
623. Aeryl
I think Brienne will figure it out when she meets Howland Reed. He's been under the influence of the trees on the Eye of the Gods, he may be a greenseer like Jojen, but I have a feeling he'll know she has a part of Ice and will tell her to take it to the Wall and about Jon.
Rob Munnelly
624. RobMRobM
"You know nothing, Jaime Lannister!" LOL. I agree with that, and that Selmy is the only KG candidate (since he was with Rhaegar on the Red Fork when Rhaegar died). But...I expect he would have told Dany already if he knew anything, so doubt Selmy was in on the secret.

The third one was the Martell one, I think. Maybe he told the girlfriend we learned about in the last chapter....
Adam S.
625. MDNY
No, Lewyn Martell died on the trident with Rhaegar, I think it was mentioned in a Jaime chapter, or else a Dorne chapter (Ser Aerys Oakheart?)-No, I remember now, it was a Sansa chapter! Lyn Corbrey has Lady Forlorn, his family's Valyrian blade, because he picked it from his fallen father at the Trident and killed Lewyn Martell with it.
According to the ASOIAF wiki, the third member at the TOJ was Oswell Whent.
C R L
626. Maac
@618 Kiwifan -- Is Malazan worth getting into? They've got a complete series book bundle thing happening on the Nook right now...
Agnaldo S.
627. Greenseer
@622: If any living member of Aerys' kingsguard knows, it would be Barristan Selmy, who was one of Rhaegar's close friends and would certainly tell Dany about Jon if he knew.
Barristan Selmy was no friend of Rhaegar, at least not as Arthur Dayne was.
According Barristan, there were no secrets between members of the Kingsguard, but do not believe he knows what really happened in the story R+L.
However, there is information that Barristan knows, but he did not mention. For example, how he entered the services of Illyrio.
The first duty of the Kingsguard was to defend the king from harm or threat. The white knights were sworn to obey the king’s commands as well, to keep his secrets, counsel him when counsel was requested and keep silent when it was not, serve his pleasure and defend his name and honor. Strictly speaking, it was purely the king’s choice whether or not to extend Kingsguard protection to others, even those of royal blood. Some kings thought it right and proper to dispatch Kingsguard to serve and defend their wives and children, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins of greater and lesser degree, and occasionally even their lovers, mistresses, and bastards.
Jakub Wrobel
628. ptyx
@626
It definitely is.
I'm waiting until Martin finishes ASOIAF to decide which series is better of the two, but IMHO both are better than WOT, for example.
Sasha P
630. AeronaGreenjoy
"Cannibalism = no." Mwahaha, just you wait. We haven't been to Skagos yet (take us there already, George!) but elsewhere cannibalism is getting more popular all the time.

I look forward to her reaching the Sam/Gilly sex scene. Many readers hate the way it's written, but I personally consider it the sweetest in the story so far.
Adam S.
631. MDNY
@Aerona Agreed. I totally wanted to give Sam a drink, a cigarette, and a fist bump after he popped his cherry, plus I loved the way the Cinnamon Wind's crew treated him afterward.
David Goodhart
632. Davyd
How Samwell Got His Groove Back.

I'm a fan.
KingsGambit
633. kiwifan
@626. I really enjoy it. I am upto the 8th Erikson book (10th of the combined series with two authors). You can get away with just reading Erikson but think it is best to include Esslemont's books to read in their appropriate place in the series. They built the world together so it should be read together. I like it how each book actually has a story with a beginning middle and end unlike asoiaf which seems to generally be one long story. Erikson doesn't ease you into his world so there is a steep learning curve but once you are over it (late book 2/book 3) it is well worth it.
KingsGambit
634. kiwifan1989
@628, I am actually leaning towards Malazan (but I am sure asoiaf will have an explosive ending to bring it back). It doesn't have that slow middle stage that asoiaf is going through (however that is more a structure problem - on my reread when twow has a release date I will be putting them back together). I think Erikson should give Martin some writing skills. He produced 10 800-1000 pages books of high quality (so far as I have read can't confirm for the last two yet) and released almost 1 a year. None of this 6 year business the orginal fans had to go through (I feel for you guys I came to the series as ADWD was released and this 3 year gap (so far) is bad and the TV show catching up just makes it worse).
Scott Silver
635. hihosilver28
I enjoyed ASoIaF, but it's not my love when it comes to fantasy. I enjoyed WoT much more, and am enjoying Sanderson's and Rothfuss' work more than Martin's. I'm looking forward to finishing the series (whenever that happens), but I like my fantasy a little more fantastical. Martin is absolutely a master of his craft and I love the characters, but I'm always more excited to read other works than ASoIaF. Granted, the anchor that is ADwD always drags the series down a few rungs for me.

I've finished Gardens of the Moon, but it was such a steep learning curve, that I haven't gone back. I also haven't gone back to the First Law series, but that's because I didn't like any of the characters and wasn't able to see where the story was going.

Anyone else getting frustrated by the comments on this weeks post? I just don't want Leigh to ragequit the read because of commenters.

Oh, and Aeryl, you should totally read the Dunk & Egg stories through the library. They are utterly worth the effort. That's how I did it because I didn't want to pay for 3 anthologies. (The Hedge Knight is in Dreamsongs Vol. II; The Sworn Sword is in Legends II; and The Mystery Knight is in Warriors)
Chris Nelly
636. Aeryl
I intend to read them once the new one comes out and they are anthologized together.

I am a terrible library patron. I never return books on time, then I become ashamed and never take them back because I've kept them forever. So I show my support for libraries by not exploiting them.

You don't even want to know how many times Redbox has gotten me.

They are building a new library right next to my house, so I might try again.
KingsGambit
637. Maddy1990
Well Leigh should be happy when Sam and Gilly get it on. Also I didn't remember Skagos and cannibals being mentioned before ADWD, so there you go. Until proven otherwise, I'm conviced that Rickon is being a crazy feral king of the cannibals.
C R L
638. Maac
@ 628, @ 634 Excellent. I'm checking it out. (I had a gift card and wanted to spend it on a book bundle of some sort!) Thanks!
C R L
639. Maac
@ Aeryl -- I'm awful with returning books too. I assuage my feelings by telling myself that the libraries really could desperately use my fine money! (Granted, just donating would be the ethical thing to do but I'm human and have flaws. ;-D )

Having a library so close to you will be fantastic. Kinda jealous...
Nikki Ebright
640. LilRedHead
I just discovered Leigh's read of ASOIAF, and I have only recently (since this past winter) have gotten into both the book series and HBO series.

I'm catching up on reading Leigh's posts and today just read her Storm of Swords, Part 1 post (in which she gets into Jaime's head and doesn't like it). I just watched an episode in which Jaime's behavior was also controversial and the web is a'sploding, so I'm enjoying the synchronicity. :)
KingsGambit
642. Black Dread
Aeryl - I love my libraries! In NJ, you can borrow from any county library state-wide. And, they have electronic resources now.

When Lea started AFFC, I borrowed the Overdrive audiobook and listened to it again on my phone.

(Roy Dotrice needs to make up his mind on how to pronounce "Brienne" and "Petyr")
Sasha P
643. AeronaGreenjoy
I used the Library of Congress audiobooks, being legally blind. They were collectively narrated by three people (doing books 1-3, book 4, and book 5 respectively), and each of them pronounced certain names differently. One called Jaime "Jame," as in tame. Another called Brienne "Bree-en-ny," as in Jenny. All called Danaerys "Day-ner-is" instead of "Dah-nair-is" like the show. GRRM doesn't have pronunciation guides like Robert Jordan, so one guess is as good as another. :-P
Don Barkauskas
644. bad_platypus
AeronaGreenjoy @643: But since GRRM is a consultant on the show, I would assume those pronunciations are correct until proven otherwise. :-)
Nikki Ebright
645. LilRedHead
GRRM has even said that there's no "right" pronounciation, so it's kind of a free for all anyway.

And something odd I just noticed: Addam Marbrand is around a lot during the books. And he hasn't died or been killed or captured; nothing exciting has happened to him (well, except being stuck with being Commander of the City Watch for a while).

I'm not used to characters just being there in this world and nothing bad happening to them. Which makes me think he's important in some way, like I think that Howland Reed is important. But I'm not seeing any breadcrumbs to lead me to seeing anything about Addam that makes him important, so maybe he's not. But if he is, I leave it to the larger community to help me see it. :)

I read up on Addam because I was looking into the Tyrek investigation, and they're probably related (with Tyrek's mom being a Marbrand). I still wonder if there's something up with Tyrek. They mention it too many times to (usually) be just a passing remark.
Chris Nelly
646. Aeryl
What does Jon Snow know?

Harington also revealed that once the show has its final colorful
wedding – which could still be five or more years away – he hopes to
enjoy different sorts of roles. “I told my agent, ‘No more swords, no
more horses,’” he said. “You get stuck in things. And
maybe I can cut my fucking hair.”

WHAT WEDDING?!?!?!

http://www.themarysue.com/huisman-talks-new-daario/
Adam S.
647. MDNY
@646- Dany, Jon, and Tyrion in a 3-way wedding? Sansa and Faegon? Arianne and Rickon? Victorian and Arya? Jaime and Brienne? Daario and Missendei? Loras Tyrell and Lyn Corbray? Bran and Meera? Mance and Asha? The possibilities are endless (and no, none of the above are serious guesses, though I do think that Dany may be involved in whatever wedding was hinted at).
Rob Munnelly
648. RobMRobM
Libraries - I'm probably a top 1 percent borrower in my highly literate, suburban town. I read lots of books, my son likes books and borrows videos from the town's extensive collection, and my daughter reads quite a bit as well. Even my wife chips in, mostly by e-book borrowing using Overdrive. We go every Saturday in the midst of weekend errands. I buy books only when I want to keep them longterm but I feel good that I talk favored books up among the librarians-just this weekend, I gave one of the reference librarians some hints on the Jo Walton oeuvre. I just took out the first two S.M. Stirling "change" books and put in requests for the new Jo and the new Cherryh. Hope they are good ones. If not, I'll find others.

Yes, lots of controversy on the HBO show. The Jaime/Cersei consensual sex scene in the sept turned into an out and out rape, for no apparent reason. Really poor decision - I hope that it has meaning for the rest of season and beyond because it is a major change that alters perspectives of both Jaime and Cersei.
Adam S.
649. MDNY
@648 RobM The rape scene may have ended my fandom of the show. I have felt like it is on a steady decline since the first season, but this was the first time that it departed SO far from the books that I quite literally could barely pay attention to the rest of the episode. Jaime has now lost all the credibility as a sympathetic character (something that was already not as strong in the show as in the books), and Cersei really shouldn't be given any reason for viewer sympathy considering the path she will take as she consolidates her power. It's hard to understand the show's decision..
I will probably watch the next episode, but without high expectations, and they better have some redemption coming QUICKLY or I'm done with it. Such a shame.
Chris Nelly
650. Aeryl
In re Jaime and Cersei, IMO, it's not that big a departure from what happens in the book. This act is symptomatic of their larger relationship issues, and is no worse for Jaime's character than trying to kill Bran was. I just feel this moment was coming between the two for some time, this is a mutually abusive relationship. It kinda parallels the moment Cersei recalls in AFFC where she concieved Joffrey, but inversely, with Cersei demanding sex and Jaime trying to abstain.

And I don't accept that Jaime's POV(or Cersei's lack of reflection on it in later books) makes it clear that this scene is consensual. As someone said on the show thread, Jaime is as delusional as GOT- era Sansa when it comes to Cersei. He could have believed Cersei wanted him, eventually consenting, but WE know what she's said to Ned about rushing Robert through the instances of marital rape, it's also very believable she was doing the same to Jaime.

I also disagree that Jaime is less sympathetic in the show. His genuine care for Cersei and Tyrion, and the damage done by serving Aerys are made apparent sooner in the show. I was excited when I first opened ASOS and saw Jaime's chapter, because of the groundwork the show had lain for his character.

@649, Given the way this episode's director has talked about it, I'm gonna say it's not going to be an issue the show plans to address(much as the book never did). He's given conflicting statements, once saying they were going for ambiguity, and then after the ep aired, saying it was consensual.
Adam S.
651. MDNY
@650 I didn't see the quote that it was consensual. It never appeared even remotely consensual to me or anyone I know. I have to go with bad directing, then, which isn't much better.
Chris Nelly
652. Aeryl
The actual quote is that it was consensual "eventually"

Like I said, I don't mind the plot development, and I think it's in line with what we know of both of them, I'm just REALLY tired of idiots who don't know the first thing about rape and how to portray, USING it.

Like on The Vikings, first episode, they had a character rape a woman to establish him as a bad guy, but now want us to view the guy as sympathetic and give him a redemption story, and I'm just like STAWP
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
653. Lisamarie
Consensual eventually?

That is even more upsetting than it supposedly being ambiguous and being really poorly shot. Like, as long as you convince somebody at some point that they want it (or the physical enjoyment is too much to resist even if intellectually, they have reasons to not want it), it's okay and negates all the parts before it that were NOT consensual?

Anyway, we just saw the episode, I'm still kind of processing it - it was definitely an um-ambiguous rape to me - but not like it was totally out of character with all the other horrible things people do to each other on this show (and maybe I should have more of a dinstinction for bad behavior) but if they ARE going to try and do a 'redemption' arc with Jaime (and I agree with some of the points being made that in the books it is not necessarily a true redemption/atonement) I don't think him raping Cersei necessarily prevents that. Rape is pretty horrible, but I don't know that it is necessarily any more horrible than throwing an 8 year old boy out of a window. It is definitely a different kind of horrible though...so it does change the dynamic a bit of how that arc could go. Assuming they even acknowledge it.

I do remember thinking the book scene was a bit more ambiguous (although not really a shining example of a healthy, consensual relationship) although the context/timing of it was totally different too.
KingsGambit
654. Lyanna Mormont
@646 - It could just be their funny way of saying "When the show ends." You know, like "When GoT has finally killed its last protagonist..."

On Jaime/Cersei - that was clearly a rape on the show. Yeah, I've seen that one interview where the director says it "became consensual" (idiot!) but I've also read another where he refers to it as rape. One of the showrunners described it in yet another interview as Jaime forcing himself on Cersei. As for that scene in the book, it has issues of the "A no can be turned into a yes if you just keep going" kind. And as was pointed out, we only see it through Jaime's eyes, and have no idea what Cersei is actually thinking or feeling. So IMO, book and show are both majorly problematic, just in somewhat different ways.
Captain Hammer
655. Randalator
Yeah, GoT is killing a whole lot of buzz on my part with its recent episodes (Hello, Shae-Tyrion-dynamic switcheroo).

And now this. What the fuck was with that scene? This was rape, plain and simple. And rape does not become consensual. At best the victim "surrenders" which, hello? RAPE! Let alone that the so-called "consensual" part apparently ended up on the cutting room floor, because it sure as hell didn't appear on screen. Which makes this whole thing doubly idiotic because it's basically "Oh yeah, remember that horrible thing? Not to fret. That became totes non-horrible in the part we didn't show you. Herp derp."... Jesus H. Christ.

Rape is not exactly the way to go if your character arc is all about redemption, is all I'm saying. Could we at least TRY for a little ambiguity here? Maybe make it more 'reason vs. desire' and have her protesting but at the same time be just as pro-active tearing Jaime's clothes off?

Season 4 so far has had so many weird decisions and a complete lack of subtlety and ambiguity that it just sucks the fun out of it for me...
KingsGambit
656. zambi76
This is getting long. New spoiler-thread for today?
Sasha P
657. AeronaGreenjoy
Bah, now I'm even more anxious for the DVDs to come out...in 10 months...so I can draw my own conclusions about that widely discussed scene.

@646: That makes it sound like the wedding will somehow involve Jon, and/or be at the very end of the show series. Haven't the froggiest idea what it could be. @647: Euron and Mel would be colorful (and terrifying).
Chris Nelly
658. Aeryl
They are going to start offering them on Amazon!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
659. Lisamarie
Oh, and my husband also saw it as rape and was actually so disturbed by the whole thing that I was wondering if he was just going to turn it off and give up on the series right then. Although, actually, the part he was really disgusted by was the fact that their son's dead body was right there (which is not to say that rape does not upset him, just that this added yet another layer of wrongness to it)...which, I had to explain WAS actually one of the things that was true to the book, which kind of bothered him even more.

Sometimes I do worry a bit about this show because I just kind of shrugged and that and was like, "it's Game of Thrones". My husband is actually a bit more sensitive (or not as desensitized) to things like that (and actually, I am a lot more sensitive to anything involving children and parents having to watch children suffer, partially because of my anxiety issues and the way my PPD manifested after I had my first child - the scene with Barra in the brothel was actually almost enough for ME to stop watching the show). But, for example, as soon as I saw the happy father/son couple in the field, I said, "They're going to die" - because NOBODY can be happy in this series, obviously - and just kind of resigned myself to another scene where children were going to get slaughtered (although surprisingly, that boy did make it). Not to mention the fact that we think the high point of the show worth cheering for is watching a child get poisoned to death, and another child stab somebody in cold blood? Like, we've kind of accepted the crapsackiness of this world so much that we now think those are good? I am absoultely not passing judgment on people who enjoy the shows and movies (I know we'll still watch the next episode...) but I am kind of starting to wonder what's the point. I think the show expecially is kind of becoming horror-porn and despair for the sake of being outragey and shocking.
KingsGambit
660. Gregor Lewis
I really don't understand this insistence in some of the comments above, in promoting a point of view the writer has directly, unambiguously refuted.

The books are abundantly clear. The style AND substance of the scenes is absolutely consistent. In the comments of Theresa Delucci's latest post, quite a few people have made the point that Cersei doesn't love Jaime in the traditional sense (the way he loves her). They note instead that she FEELS he is an extension of herself.

IMO that rings resonantly with the stylistic approach of how GRRM depicts the two times I can remember Jaime and Cersei having sex 'on screen' in the books.

I see Cersei's whole deal as being defined by strength of self. She sees herself as strong. Stronger in herself than anyone she knows. The only person she will countenance as an equal in strength of self, is Jaime, and only briefly, when he asserts himself in initiating sex with her.

In otherwords, she sees herself mirrored completely in him. It turns her on.

Both those scenes, through different points of view start the same. An equivocating Cersei allows Jamie to take the lead before dominating what comes next.

Please excuse my vulgarity, but it seems to me Cersei will not allow herself to be fucked ... by anyone. She is the one who will do the fucking.

The initial demurral is merely par for the course, the way it is written, in story.

Of course that does not mesh with my modern reader's educated expectations. Nor should it. This is a wholly realised invented fantasy setting. Why would I choose to impose my contemporary expectations on what the author has created and is trying to convey?

Has he chosen a contemporary setting?
Obviously not. Why then should I expect contemporary norms to be honoured? Of course, I shouldn't.

Now I agree that the scene, as presented on the TV Show is unambiguously rape. IMO, as incompletely presented 'in scene', the rape is just as unambiguous on TV, as the sex is unambiguously consensual in the books.

With knowledge of the interviews, I watched it unfold again. Although I can see beats where you might expect the ambiguity to be played up, they are ignored by the actors ... pregnant pauses that remain unfulfilled, with the director allowing Jaime's hunger and aggression to define, dominate & end the scene.

Just as I can only come to one conclusion of absolute consent as a reader with the book scenes, as a viewer, I can't see the TV moment as anything other than rape.

When the last bit of dialogue is something like:
Cersei: No! Don't! We can't!
Jaime: I don't care.

And you end on that?

There is no ambiguity there in my eyes.

Just like there is no ambiguity in the books. Cersei wants Jaime to show enough strength so she can see him as an extension of herself, at which point - as written clearly - she takes over and - again, apologies for the vulgarity - derives her greatest pleasure in fucking herself.

None of her other sexual encounters, which for the most part happen 'off-screen', are depicted or intuited as anything other than - for want of a more elegant expression - a Cersei domination.

Lancel was required to enact 'the rhythm method', the Kettleblacks were seduced, not t'other way 'round. Lady Merryweather was dominated. And none of them gave Cersei the needed pleasurable illusion that she was fucking herself.

Only Jaime could.

I disagree with assertions their relationship was poisonous. It was an incestuous Westerosi version of a rom-com (She's just not that into you Jaime) for the most part ... Combined with Borgiastic elements of premeditated bastardry.

In the books, the dynamic was clearly dominated by Cersei, until Jaime realised & accepted his patient wait for the romantic vision of Cersei was never going to be fulfilled, and broke it. He thus ended the accepted norm of the relationship, causing Cersei's habitual contempt for anyone she doesn't see as strong as herself to come spewing forth, even at Jaime.

It looks like the TV show has chosen the catalyst for the breakdown of their relationship to be a role reversal, with Jaime stripping Cersei of her dignity, in sight of their dead son.

I much prefer the book version. Mainly because it doesn't create an abrupt switchback on Jaime's recently revealed (but IMO always present) redemptive path in readers'/viewers' eyes.

Not to mention the balance Jaime's dignified refusal brings to all the nihilism and dark emotional mayhem of ASOS. The books use the Cersei-Jaime break-up as a building block in readers' bulwark against nihilistic despair. The TV show uses what I expect will be the Jaime-Cersei break-up ('stay tuned 'til next week sports fans') as an extension of the nihilism. A deeper descent for viewers into disgust and despair.

grl
Chris Nelly
661. Aeryl
Has he chosen a contemporary setting?

Obviously not. Why then should I expect contemporary norms to be honoured? Of course, I shouldn't.

But he has included things from contemporary times, like effective birth control and religious coexistence. Why include those if we aren't suposed to view these things with contemporary norms?

I disagree with assertions their relationship was poisonous.

They fed into each other's worst impulses. It was a mutually abusive relationship. I don't see how you can look at it, and not see it's poisonous.
Chris Nelly
662. Aeryl
Wow, lot's good stuff I never caught before in today's chapter. Like the foreshadowing of Kevan's death, the Iron Bank, the Golden Company, Wyman Manderly and Dany's dragons, and the plot to kill Jon begins.

I had completely forgotten about this when Jon's attacked in ADWD, but now you can see how it happened, coupled with the genuine fear that some Brothers had, the recruits were under orders as well.
KingsGambit
663. zambi76
Lord Stannis appeared to have left only a small garrison behind him when he sailed north, so two thousand men would be more than sufficient, Cersei had judged.
has the feel of foreshadowing to me.

Very good observation from stevenhalter. As a Loras fan this gave me a sad.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
664. Lisamarie
Call me old fashioned or conservative or intolerant, but I believe that there are some things we can view with 'contemporary norms', even in a non-contemporary setting, that transcend time and place. One of those is rape/consent. Just because not all times and places have the same understanding that we are attaining in our culture today (still imperfectly)...doesn't mean it's not any less wrong. There may be perhaps less culpability for various people in those times, but it's still rape and wrong. The book example, I think makes Jaime a lot less culpable, as Aeryl and others have pointed out the various dynamics in the relationship - but the relationship is still toxic.

But I do agree with GL's other points about the dynamic and how they each view the relationship, I had the same thoughts - in the books, Jaime more or less ends the relationship because of his own realizations. Here, if he is still the one to end it, he's going to come off as very callous and cruel. Or, maybe they will have Cersei end it instead?

Also, regrading Leigh's post and Aeryl's at 662 - me too! When I read about the plan I thought, "Oh, I totally forgot about that, is that how Jon got stabbed?" I don't have ADWD (read it through the library) so I don't remember all the details about who stabbed him and why and when.
Adam S.
665. MDNY
@662 I'm not sure that the scene at the end of ADWD was Cersei's assassins...she plans on sending Kettleblack with the hundred new recruits to do the assassination, but the men who stabbed Jon were not just new recruits, and Kettleblack was still in Kings Landing I believe (it's hard to be sure of timing but I'm pretty sure he hasn't been sent to the wall). Jon's assassination (attempted) was just the result of discontent among the brothers, perhaps fanned by Alister and Janos (before he died).
Scott Silver
666. hihosilver28
@Aeryl
I agree. Leigh is picking up on a lot of stuff that I flat out missed the first time around.
Chris Nelly
667. Aeryl
@665, I don't think Cersei had anything to do with, it's just foreshadowing.

While Kettleblack wasn't there, that's because her plan for Margaery fell apart, but this implies to me that the recruits they just agreed to send were complicit(Kettleblack was merely insurance) and went along with Marsh's plan, not because they cared about the NW, but because they were ordered to.
Chris Nelly
668. Aeryl
HA! stevenhalter caught the tapestries!
Peter Stone
669. Peter1742
It's amazing the stuff Leigh picks up.
They discuss the vicious raiding along the Trident, said to be Sandor Clegane with Beric Dondarrion, and Kevan takes offense at Jaime’s caution to him to be careful in dealing with them, saying “not every Lannister is a fool for glory.”
Jaime really should take his own advice.
Scott Silver
670. hihosilver28
@668
Remind me...what's up with the tapestries?
Chris Nelly
671. Aeryl
He smuggled the KL treasury out in them.
Rafael
672. Ryamano
@661 Aeryl

Religious tolerance as depicted in the world of ASOIAF isn’t necessarily something contemporary. Martin took lots of stuff from the medieval times in our world, but some others he took from Antiquity. Like noble families claiming they descend from ancient heroes (Lann the clever, Bran the builder, much like noble families in Greece “descended” from Perseus, Theseus, etc or Roman senators from Hercules, Eneas, etc). Or a colossus in a city (Rhodes-Braavos). So I think the religious tolerance between the three religions in westeros (old gods, drowned god, seven) can be seem like the one that existed in ancient times, not like one we have today (separation between state and church). Notice that the Seven have a certain preeminence in state affairs, since the other religions are marginal (being majorities only in 2 out of 8 kingdoms) and the Seven have become the state-sanctioned one, being used to celebrate royal weddings and coronations. We could compare this state of affairs to what existed in Imperial Rome. There were places where the majority religion was different from the one in Rome (like Syria or Judaea), and they were tolerated (to certain limits). But I think if a king came from a different religion (like an Old Gods follower) there would be certain turmoil, especially if this clashed too much with the previous state religion. Like what happened between Emperor Heliogabalus and the old Roman elite.
KingsGambit
673. Lyanna Mormont
@671 - That's one theory. How crackpotty it is remains to be seen. But yeah, given that they get mentioned again later on, clearly something is going on with them, and something being hidden inside them seems like a good possibility...
KingsGambit
674. Lyanna Mormont
@ 661, 672 - The old caliphate of Al-Andalus was known for the relatively peaceful coexistence of three religions. Sure, Jews and Christians had to pay more taxes than Muslims, and there were some other restrictions, but there was no active persecution or blatant attempts to force conversions.
Scott Silver
675. hihosilver28
@Aeryl, Lyanna Mormont
Wait...what?!? Jeez, I must have just skipped over everything on my first read through. So, this was well before the Purple Wedding when Petyr first left near the beginning of ASoS? Also, do we have confirmation in AFfC that the treasuries have been emptied?
KingsGambit
676. Lyanna Mormont
@675 I don't remember any mention of "emptied" treasuries. But it always struck me as strange that Littlefinger the supposed financial genius has been in charge of the treasury for years, and yet the Crown is so deeply in debt. Where's the genius in that? And Ned is astonished to hear that all the money that was in the treasury at Robert's accession to the throne is gone, and more besides.

Since we have some idea of how reliable LF is... wouldn't it be almost inevitable that he had found some way to get his own little fingers on some of that money? Easily covered up, just blame it on Robert's spending.

Hiding it in the tapestry is a theory. Personally I think it more likely that he invested it through buying himself brothels or something - he did have a saying about making gold dragons breed by putting them to work, or some such. But he does send a raven to Cersei asking for these old tapestries, and later on he tells Sansa that the Queen is sending him some tapestries, so it does seem he values them for some reason. Maybe there are important papers stitched into them, maybe there's something about what they depict, or maybe it's something else. But I'm keeping an eye out for further mentions of them.
Chris Nelly
677. Aeryl
I could have sworn there was a mention of the tapestries being excessively heavy and clanking.
Adam S.
678. MDNY
The tapestries remain a mystery, but I don't recall anything about them indicating gold smuggled inside. If you look at ASOIAF theory sites, the only theory put forth is that maybe there are clues or valuable information in them, maybe portraits of Robert to further weaken Cersei's claims that her children are legitimate, but I don't buy any of that. Clearly LF used his position as Master of Coin to embezzle tons of money to set up his whorehouses and bribe people, setting up his own hidden financial empire and funding hidden swords (like the Kettleblacks and Janos Slynt). I think he just likes helping kill Cersei's oldest son and harboring Sansa, then having Cersei thank him and send him some expensive royal tapestries as thanks. IF he does want something smuggled out in them, they have more significance but I doubt it's something like coins, which would be clanking and rather obvious in bulk.
KingsGambit
679. Lyanna Mormont
@677 If there is, I've completely missed it. I only know of two mentions; the one in this chapter where Cersei says LF asked for "some old tapestries" and Alayne's Lords Declarant chapter, where LF says the Queen is sending him "some splendid tapestries."
KingsGambit
680. Gregor Lewis
@661; @672; @674

Great point Aeryl. Really made me think back to my history studies and examine why I didn't consciously consider the 'religious tolerance' aspect.

@Ryanamo and @Lyanna Mormont have drawn historical parallels I find interesting. (I'm mad for Flamenco, so exploring the historic societal roots of Al-Andalus has been a dream hobby of mine I haven't had the opportunity to realise. Man! I'd love to travel through Cordoba and Cadiz. Visit Seville, Granada...)

But I digress.

The answer I felt instinctively is the one I will stick with.

In ASOIAF the interpersonal relationships are definitive, overarching elements. I always saw the religious aspects as situational, not something I have to consider definitively, except in specific instances - Melissandre's interactions for example.

When I say I don't choose to impose my contemporary expectations on what the author has created and is trying to convey, I mean that I don't see the characters as having the same level of expectations in terms of respect, self-respect even.

Therefore what my contemporary synapse relfexively labels rape, these characters (as I see them portrayed) wouldn't even consider such a thing, let alone invoke their own sense of self-respect that way.

I'm not saying I can't possibly see what you see. I'm saying the way I read the books situationally & overarchingly, I feel I have to let such expectations go.

I think it was LisaMarie above who also added that she sees the Cersei-Jaime relationship as toxic.

Given the way I accept the setting when reading, I don't see it that way at all.

Aeryl, you say they bring out their worst impulses. I don't see it like that. Jaime is not an impulsive killer and as we're now seeing, with Jaime or without, Cersei has deeper internal issues from which darker impulses and fears stem.

As for the relationship itself, Jaime's in love. I find the fact that it's his sister (EEEEEEK!) almost unfathomably disgusting, but I can't argue the truth of the emotion. It doesn't come across to me like the Targaryen incestual intimations of superiority and purity, even though Jaime himself invokes their precedent.

He doesn't want to marry Cersei because he sees himself as superior and others as lesser beings. He wants to marry her because he is in love.

As for Cersei. Well like the comedian Al Lubel used to say,
'To love others, first you must love yourself ... I'm just NOT FINISHED YET!'

That about sums up Cersei's capability for romantic attachment - with anyone, not just Jaime - to me.

I suppose we are approaching this from opposite sides of the emotional and historical spectrum.

I'm just as content not to draw historical analogues as I am not to impose my own contemporary expectations. However, given the intelligent points you raise encouraged me to think about things a certain way, I would say I see GRRM's depictions of religion and contraception as somewhat idealistic amplifications of what could conceivably have historically existed, instead of reverse-anachronisms, substituting modern sensibilities and expectations in a less enlightened historical analogue setting.

Great points from all of you. Apologies for the long wind but your depth of intelligence above has really given me so much to think about and work with.

grl
Chris Nelly
681. Aeryl
He is in love. Just because its TRU LUV doesn't mean it can't be toxic.

But their view of one another has led them to refuse to see each other as individuals most importantly, and this I think is where the toxicity come in. They view each other as their missing half, and while this idea is a romantic notion, it's an inherently unhealthy one as well. There is no room for autonomy when you're only half a person.
Sasha P
682. AeronaGreenjoy
I’ve oft pondered why so many fans vociferously deplore Cersei’s (fictional) existence while enjoying characters like Roose, Tywin, Mel, Victarion, Euron, and Littlefinger. I suppose it’s respect for competence. Most of the above are monsters but capable administrators. Mel is an effective sorceress and manipulator, even if she’s privately less sure of herself. I believe Vic would’ve been as bad a ruler as Cersei if he’d been elected at the moot – both he and Aeron are too single-minded and incapable of diplomacy or subtlety – but instead we just see him doing what he does best, pirating. But Cersei spectacularly fails at her chosen endeavor, as we see in detail from inside and outside her mind, earning a lot of reader contempt. Personally? I enjoyed her eventual downfall but hate her less than many characters, view Euron, Mel, and Littlefinger with morbid fascination, and want Roose and Vic (among others) to get respectively eaten by direwolves and dragons ASAP.
Chris Nelly
683. Aeryl
Honestly, I think the Cersei hate traces back to Ned. He was our first "love" the hero of this story, and Joffrey aside, it was Cersei's doing that put him on the steps of Baelor's Sept that day.

I have noticed that as I've become less sympathetic to Ned, I've become more sympathetic to Cersei.

But when we got to know the rest of these morally compromised characters, we knew what we were in for. We knew what story we were reading. When Ned died, we still believed the good guys won. Cersei is the one that shattered that illusion, and I think we still hold that against her.
Sasha P
684. AeronaGreenjoy
Hmm. I never loved Ned much, having gotten a bad first impression of him beheading Gared (reaction: Hello, the man was fleeing in terror from ice monsters, and warning you about them too). Ned's death upset me mostly because it devastated his family and empowered the Lannisters. Cersei's arc is an impressive piece of character development -- I came to simultaneously feel more sympathy and dislike for her, understanding her humanity better while watching her horrible deeds pile up. Well done, GRRM.
KingsGambit
685. Black Dread
@683 - That is part of it. She's so self-absorbed and vindictive it's hard not to hate her guts. The way she threw Falyse Stokeworth to Qyburn like a piece of trash sealed the deal for me.

Roose is pure pycho creepy - hard to hate somebody who doesn't care.
Victarion acts out of appetites, not hate.
The rest we have yet to get in their heads.
Adam S.
686. MDNY
The thing about Cersei is, she's incompetent. Roose and Ramsey Bolton, Littlefinger, Euron Crow's Eye, Gregor Clegane, etc... are all terrible people, but they're effective. Cersei is evil too, and she gets worse as time goes on. Cersei is causing so much collateral damage, even to those who should be her own allies, it's staggering. No wonder LF and Varys both love having her in power.
Faiz Imam
687. FaizImam
ooh, leigh picked a good time to do two chapters, both this week and the next.

Next week is the kingsmoot where Asha gets to be all badass, and Euron pulls out his dragon taming horn.

Reading both together is ideal, since I know many people are not too into the iron islands plot, and knowing how it directly affects the rest of the story is important.

Both aspects should make for some interesting commentary.
Bridget McGovern
688. BMcGovern
Hi, all--here's an odd request: we can't quite seem to figure out where the spoiler is in Comment 73 of today's post. I'm without a copy of the book at the moment (and am probably just missing something obvious), but if anyone can identify what needs to be whited out, we'd be happy to do so--thanks!
Nikki Ebright
689. LilRedHead
I just finished ADWD this afternoon.

*blink blink* *blink blink*

I started reading GOT this winter, so I've had wikis and next books all at the ready for me. I'm not sure what to do now that I don't have spoilers to keep me going! :D

Guess it's wacky theory time for me. I'm loving the read - she catches so many things that I have just walked right past.
Adam S.
690. MDNY
@688BMcGovern I flagged the post. Here is why:

"Then Jaime chooses Westeros' breadbasket as his 'Area of Operations'. Perhaps because he recognises his presence there might ensure it falls beneath Cersei's notice. Perhaps because he recognises just how important order in the Riverlands is for a return to normal function. Probably a bit of both, with honour and redemption being secondary concerns, if that.

I may be giving him too much credit, but I think Jaime is doing two very important things. Firstly, taking a source of conflict out of KL and the corridors of the mighty. Secondly, ensuring an alternative source of supply gets up and running ASAP (while beneath Cersei's notice because he is there), thus eventually lessening the Crown's reliance on Highgarden."

Jaime's whole voyage to the riverlands is in future chapters. Leigh hasn't reached ANY of that yet.

(flagged for attention, ignore my accidental flagging of my last post)
KingsGambit
692. Gregor Lewis
@690
Thanks MDNY!
I got way ahead of myself.

grl
Birgit
693. birgit
There is still a spoiler before the whiteout:

He removes himself from KL, thus removing a focus point for Cersei's contempt

Jaime hasn't left yet.
Adam S.
694. MDNY
@692 grl No problem, I've been guilty of it myself, which is why I'm so conscious of it. Regarding what you wrote, remember that Jaime didn't elect to go to the riverlands. He enjoyed being just a soldier once he was there, kind of "one of the guys", but he complained to Cersei about it first, saying his place was protecting the king. She then ordered him to go, and when he said he wanted Loras in charge of the kingsguard she said she would put Kettleblack in charge, which led to more of Jaime's repetition of Tyrion's list of men Cersei has fucked. I agree that he was doing good work there (for the crown and Tommen), but he did NOT elect to go, he was forced to by Cersei, who views him as a threat (as illustrated by the last chapter in the read, where she thinks something along the lines of "good, let them laugh at my twin brother").
KingsGambit
695. Gregor Lewis
@694MDNY
Huh...
I was way off !
I wonder why I got that so completely turned around in my head. Even with your prompting, I don't remember that scene at all!
Your last line jibes with how I remembered Cersei's opinion of Jaime's presence in the Riverlands, prospectively being received. I suppose I reverse engineered my own remembrance from there... I'm drawing a complete blank.
Thanks mate ... For the notice and the gracious explanation.
I'm gonna have to buy a new copy (my own are in different households amongst a group of mates I have been proselytizing the 'gospel' according to GRRM).
It's been going well, so I don't wanna rock the boat there.
A question if I may?
Do you remember the last time Cersei offered Jaime the position of Hand?
Is it even in this book?
Thanks again for your help mate.

grl
Adam S.
696. MDNY
@695 grl - Without extensive book-searching, I would say that she offered it twice. The first time is the one we all remember, the second is the one when she approaches him after Kevan refuses her, and he denies her again, which leads to her sending him on his quest to the riverlands (I think she says something like "very well, if it is battles you want"....in a Jaime flashback). The second one is in a future Jaime chapter, I think. I may be wrong, I have my old beaten up paperbacks and I can't search as easily as those with e-versions of the stories.
KingsGambit
697. Lyanna Mormont
@ 694-696 - Strictly speaking she makes the offer twice, yes, and we've already seen both. First the very night Tywin is found dead, when she blurts it out without thinking, and he calls it a bad joke. The she offers it to Kevan, and after he turns her down, she goes to Jaime again (in the funeral chapter from Jaime's POV) and he says he was made for a battlefield, not a council chamber.

Then she send him to check the city walls. After that, she sends him off to the Riverlands. Jaime says he should be with the king, and besides, he swore and oath not to fight against the Tullys, but Cersei insists. She wants Kettleblack to lead the Kingsguard in Jaime's absence, but he says it'll be Loras.
C R L
698. Maac
I have little sympathy for Ned OR Cersei. I had more for Cersei before I found out how bratty, and more importantly NOT SHARP, the inside of her head was. Also, she got very rapey up in there with her Myrish swamp (and no, I don't have any more positive feelings toward any of the other rapey people in the series either -- although during my teenage read I did definitely miss some of the rapey implications. I missed a *lot* of the sex-related implications of all sorts.)

I had sympathy for Ned my first read, when I was a kid -- this second read-round I still have vague sympathy for him for being in over his head but wholly blame him for all the things that have gone wrong with Robb and Sansa. (He did right by Arya though, but that might have been luck and whim.) I have SERIOUS issues with Cersei's Walk. But these are more writerly/structurely, what-are-you-trying-to-say, sir issues; they do not change my feelings toward the character. (To clarify, I'm fine with Cersei being punished; I still don't like it that it was her sexual activity that landed her there, nor the sexualized nature of her punishment -- and I think the negative reaction of the smallfolk -- underfed, unhealthy, unwashed people -- to her appearance was extremely incongrous, added on for the sake of extra, unncessary humiliation.)

Then again, there are only a handful of people I do care about anymore in the world of Ice and Fire, though I have every intention of hanging on to the very bitter end, because for some reason I still desperately care about what happens to the *world*.
Chris Nelly
699. Aeryl
Oh, the Walk.

I am so conflicted on the Walk. I saw it coming way back in AFFC(not it specifically) when she started empowering the Faith. I think it's brilliant that she got caught in her own trap, but I despise the sexualized nature of the punishment. But again, who's bright idea was it to empower the Faith and start feeding the nasty sex rumor mill? Hoisted on her own petard, indeed.

Plus it parallel's Dany's walk at the end, which I think is a neat piece of writing. I'm still trying to pull all the symbolism out of it.
Captain Hammer
700. Randalator
Yeah, the nature of Cersei's punishment is particularly disgusting. Unfortunately, this kind of punishment is exactly what you would expect from that kind of medieval, male-centric society.

So, nauseous 'Yay' for GRRM sticking with the established rules? Ugh...
Rob Munnelly
701. RobMRobM
And so begins Cersei's redemption arc - no doubt to be brought to a premature end by the volunqar.
Chris Nelly
702. Aeryl
@701, Redemption? HA! She's gonna cackle in delight when she realizes Kevan's dead and try to take power again. Her humble gig she was doing for Kevan was a show.

But her life will be brought short by the valonqar

WOW Spoilers ROLL OVER

I imagine Arya's gonna hop a ride back to Westeros with that diplomatic envoy that was in Braavos in her Mercy chapter. I don't know how much further she can go with the Faceless Men. That would have her in King's Landing shortly, and in position to take out Cersei.
C R L
703. Maac
@702 -- oh that would be FUN.

And yeah, Arya's one of the few characters my heart is still invested in. And yes, she's a killing machine assassin person. I'm still trying to talk that over properly with my heart. We'll sort it out. (Is talk of Arya too spoilery for the spoiler thread??)

I admit I have never, ever before thought of the words "Cersei" and "Redeemed" in the same sentence. I don't see her even wanting it -- where I do see Jaime wanting at least something different than what he wanted before. He's had a character change/arc/something. Not seeing that in Cersei.

I'd love to see Asha's story beefed up more, so I can have more contrasty goodness to hang on to. It would be cool to see her with some successes. And she's the only Ironborn who, to me, seems like she even belongs in this series. The Ironborn always seem to have accidentally wandered out of an entirely different story by accident, to me.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
704. Lisamarie
I think it is spoilery because it refers to segments of a book released before it was published, and some people might not want to read them or know of their contents yet. I do like that idea though :)
Chris Nelly
705. Aeryl
@703, Completely agree about Asha. I really hope Leigh warms up to her after the Queensmoot.

And yeah, I whited it out for those who haven't been reading all the WOW excerpts.
Adam S.
706. MDNY
I agree about Asha. I'm confused by Leigh's reaction to her, she kinda liked her on her first appearance but since then has seemed to dislike her equally with the rest of the iron islanders (not that I can complain about dislike of THEM).
I've always liked Arya, and I loved the released WOW chapter. Won't say more for those who don't want WOW spoilers.
C R L
707. Maac
(Understood. Will continue with the out-whiting.)

OH!!!

I can see clearly now If "valonqar" is actually a gender neutral term and refers to ANY "younger sibling"?

Guys, this could totally work. :-) (My only regret would be that a Jon/Arya reunion really was something I had my heart set on.)

HA. Nearly got myself into some trouble there, coloring my spoilers lavender instead of white...
Chris Nelly
709. Aeryl
@706, I think she's hesitant unless she get accused of being biased as she was in re Cersei.
Sasha P
711. AeronaGreenjoy
Also, Asha had a commanding role in the ACoK invasion of the North. She might not have personally raped and pillaged and slaughtered innocents, but Leigh really dislikes that sorta thing for some reason (*sarcasm*). She should make a better impression at the Moot, where she audaciously speaks in favor of peace, even if it proves no more effective than Cat's plea in AGoT. Mootmootmootmootmoot...can't wait!!!

@703: What story could the Ironborn have wandered out of? Because I need to go read it now.
C R L
712. Maac
@711 -- Something Lovecraftian! :-)
KingsGambit
713. Black Dread
@711 - To me they wander out of the history of England and Scandinavia. Euron reminds me of Harald Hardrada with some magic tossed in. A crazy Viking who gets kicked out of Norway by the Danish King.

He spends years in the Mediterranean (Essos) accumulating wealth, followers, and a badass reputation. He became head of the Varangian Guard, had an affair with the Byzantine Empress Zoe, may have taken part in a coup, was tossed in prison, abducted her daughter while escaping, raped her and put her ashore with a nasty note to her mother. He stopped in Russia on the way home to marry a famous beauty (Elisiv of Kiev).

Back in Norway he unifies the country with himself as King – and gets them behind the idea of invading rich lands to the south. He is killed in 1066 while invading northern England (unwittingly paving the way for the Normans to successfully invade from the other direction).

Sound familiar?
Read 1066: The Year of the Conquest by David Howarth
KingsGambit
714. kiwifan
I am interested in book readers views on this. What was people's view of the latest episode? Especially the last part. I recon the last scene could be the land of always winter (that would be a nice parallel with the begining talking about the summer isles). If it is the lands of always winter what are your views of the tv show showing it before the book? And what are peoples views of the bran addition? I understand why they did it (else we wouldn't see much bran this season). A big change from the book with Jon knowing bran is alive.Who thinks they will see each other and who thinks bran will escape before Jon gets there? I think the second option.
Chris Nelly
715. Aeryl
I liked the final scene, as it confirmed what most of us suspected. Though people are huffing that the last person seen was named as a legendary figure in Westerosi lore, and feel that it's confirming the legend.

I don't agree, we know the legends have gotten messed up and misinterpretted, so Darth Maul's cousin could be that guy, and the story be true but talking about someone else, and the two different people have been conflated.

I like the change in Jon and Bran's story, Bran's story in the book is slow and boring and doesn't translate to TV well. So this gives him something to do, and I always wondered what happened at Craster's after the revolt.

Now, I am NOT happy that the show is using rape to demonstrate how evil these former brothers are, especially the casual way it was being depicted.

I agree that Bran will likely escape before Jon gets there, probably through some Hodoring and maybe an intervention by Coldhands. I have a feeling Jojen's toast though. I know he's still alive in the books, but his upcoming death has been heavily foreshadowed there, I think the show will move it up, just to shock the book people.
KingsGambit
716. Black Dread
I do not like that these losers could capture 2 Dire Wolves. I predict some gruesome mauling next week.
Chris Nelly
717. Aeryl
Yeah, I don't like that either. Seems to me though, the trap wasn't for Summer, but for Jon, who would come looking for Ghost. Didn't Ghost stay with the NW? I guess they captured him at Craster's during the revolt.

But, yeah, their bellies will be full next episode.
C R L
718. Maac
@714: I am watching a thread of angry -- well, somewhat miffed (they are mostly British) -- people on Facebook who are not pleased, because 1) they consider it a spoiler and 2) they consider this a harbinger of things to come if GRRM doesn't get his heiney in gear and finish the series. They're worried about the show catching up to and passing the books.

I watched the episode and it didn't even register with me AS a spoiler, so I had no problems with it. I mean, either they were dead for food, dead for mana/power/whatever, or they were zombied -- I was never reading the series with the understanding that they were forming either a cheerful day camp or a set of living wildling assassin-spies for the zombies.

I suppose some people were maybe hoping they'd been rescued by Benjen Stark or something similar?
Chris Nelly
719. Aeryl
I don't know what they are upset about, I guess the fact that the show told us before the books did.

Which is nothing new. The show let on that there was more to Jaime's "kingslaying" way before the books did too.
C R L
720. Maac
I do wonder if ice zombie babies grow -- and if they don't, is it really efficient to make ice zombies out of them at this stage?
Chris Nelly
721. Aeryl
I guess they have to, but that's the first question I as asked by TV people who know I read the books.
KingsGambit
722. Black Dread
@720 - Did the baby become an ice zombie or an Other? Very big difference.
Faiz Imam
724. FaizImam
Hey, I'm one of those that hasn't read the WOW exerpts yet, and I appriciate the effort people are taking in whiting that stuff out.

I may or may not read up on that stuff, it depends on when WOW comes out.

I'm hoping it comes out next summer, if that dealine skips i'm gonna indulge in some spoilering.
KingsGambit
725. kiwifan
I have a question that I hadn't considered until that final scene. Are the Others a different species of creature with their own societies rather than frozen zombies, as in fulling functioning and can think. I have always assumed they were a stronger version of the zombies that we have seen. Could you consider them Martin's Orcs (as in humanoid but not human)? I don't remember much in the books telling us the difference. Has there been anything so far telling us? If it is the case Westeros is transforming from a medieval-like world to a fantasy one. The return of dragons and magic and now other creatures looking for dominance.
C R L
726. Maac
I was always under the impression that the Others are a different species and the Wights are converted humans, so maybe a slightly less powerful order of creature -- a lower caste. The converted humans can kill and can go along unharmed by most weapons, but the Others are sentient, direct things, and can create the Wights.

I can't vouch that this is the case, but this has been my understanding while reading.

Now, as I read, what I'm very sure I *don't* understand is where the Coldhands fits in along this spectrum. (Or whether "White Walkers" refers to Others, turned humans, or all of them collectievely as a category.) I feel like the Cold Hands is supposed to be a turned human with superior strength of will, or someone in whom the turning got interrupted, but I don't know. ( I believe it is Benjen Stark -- but again, no proof.)
Adam S.
727. MDNY
I agree with Maac @726. The Others are creatures of Ice and cold, I believe GRRM has stated that somewhere (can't remember where I saw the quote- he said once that their swords are sharper than steel because they are made using old forgotten methods of forging ice into weapons). The wights are just reanimated corpses. Apparently Craster's children are able to be turned INTO Others, instead of wights, somehow.
I also agree with your speculation on Coldhands, Maac, however Coldhands did seem to imply that he has lived a looong time, which doesn't seem to fit.
C R L
728. Maac
@727 --
however Coldhands did seem to imply that he has lived a looong time, which doesn't seem to fit.
Maybe not Benjen Stark, then, but the Night King from Bran's tale in Storm of Swords? That would still explain the familial impulse to not kill Stark children.
Chris Nelly
729. Aeryl
Coldhands isn't old enough for that, he'd have been around LONGER than the Three Eyed Raven.

Probably a former commander of the NW though, and I think the only reason they haven't hurt Bran is because he's the next Greenseer, not any familial connections.
George Jong
730. IndependentGeorge
Oh darn. I was travelling the last three Thursdays, and so now I'm back just in time to catch up with... the Greyjoys. As you might imagine, they are not my favorite heads to spend time in.

On the plus side, now that Leigh's doing it for me, I guess that means I don't ever have to do it ever again.

I'll have to wait and see how I feel about the changes to Bran's story on the tv show, but I accept them as necessary. They needed to do something to make his storyline more dynamic. His post-SOS storyline basically involves freezing, starving, and turning into a tree. It literally involves watching leaves fall - not exactly compelling television.

I'm a little trepidatious because Jon knowing about Bran changes his motivations a bit when he turns down Stannis' offer, but then again Jon might go to Craster's and come to believe Bran is dead.

Also, is it time for Spoiler Thread 6: Spoiler Balboa?
Rob Munnelly
731. RobMRobM
@728 - re your spoiler text, HBO websites originally used that particular term to refer to the particular "White Walker" that turned the baby's brown eyes blue....
C R L
732. Maac
@731 -- I know. Acquaintences of mine are up in arms about that. They're taking it as a spoiler where my first impusle was to take it as an error, possibly because I am a weirdo. (It's been one of the fan theories over on Westeros.org and elswhere for quite some time, though.)

It does make the most sense. (And I keep asking the miffed Facebook people -- even if that turns out to be the case, it's not a major spoiler, is it? Certainly nothing to threaten to give up watching the show in disgust over? The specific castes and identities and internal political divisions of the incoming ice plague don't really affect my perception of them as a huge freaking incoming scary ice plague mass of badness. Unless one of them is Benjen Stark, whom I've actually met. :-D And liked. Which is unlikely.)

(I am a dreadful fan; I haven't reread since around January 2012, and some of my opinions are totally driven by unadulterated sentiment. It definitely, I am realizing, inserts subconscious ideas in my head during the act of reading that are not backed up by the "science." I admit it: I want Stark reunions. LOTS AND LOTS OF HAPPY STARK REUNIONS. I am well aware I am not going to get these.)
Rob Munnelly
733. RobMRobM
I view it as a spoiler as well, but I'm ok with that.

I also view it as an increasing issue with the TV show as it proceeds towards the end. (One could already view it as an issue, in light of creative decisions to date. For example, TV show used Gendry for Edric Storm role in Stannis/Melisandre leach blood scene. Does that imply that Edric is not going to play a big role in the last two books - because otherwise he would have been included in some way?)

There is always the potential for butterfly effect with minor characters (Bloodrider Mago being alive in books and killed off in TV show - can be addressed if needed in TV show but creating a new former Drogo bloodrider; Irri or Doreah can be replaced by another handmaiden (and may already have been replaced by the aged up Missandei); etc. But I expect we are going to start seeing additional creative decisions that will be harder to work around and may very well hint at future plot lines for the final two books.
Chris Nelly
734. Aeryl
Aw, she forgot the part of the Ghost of High Heart's prophecy!
Deana Whitney
735. Braid_Tug
Oh, good post today. She saw so much.
And is going to so "enjoy" when they get on Victarion's ship and one of the first things we hear about is the guy who complains about being
"used as a woman." But that's not until DwD, right?

They have to raid High Garden first.
Sasha P
736. AeronaGreenjoy
Yes, that's late in ADWD, when I started to REALLY hate Vic. But it's the Shield Islands we see him raid in AFFC, not Highgarden yet.
KingsGambit
737. MorsManwoody
I always thought of the wights as ice zombies and the Others as roughly analagous to vampires. They are said to either only come at night or they bring darkness with them and they create spawn out of living creatures. They seem to be intelligent, have their own language, and are toying with Waymar Royce way back in the very first chapter of the series. So I've thought of them as vaguely ice vampirey with some sort of intelligent society and likely with motivations of their own.
KingsGambit
738. Black Dread
She should really enjoy the victory party at Oakenshield. Good times.
Sasha P
739. AeronaGreenjoy
Vic refrained from killing his brother Euron, who then killed their brother Balon. Roose refrained from killing his bastard son, who then killed his (Ramsay's) half-brother. I guess when kinslaying is outlawed, only outlaws will kinslay.
Deana Whitney
740. Braid_Tug
@739: such lovely people we are dealing with.
One thing I find (yes among so many others) is how blasé Roose is about Ramsay's killing his other son. And about how accepting he is that if Fat Walda produces a new son, that Ramsay will kill it too.

I have no words for that.
Chris Nelly
741. Aeryl
I don't get, why if Fat Walda get's preggo, he doesn't just kill Ramsay. Then he'd have a legitimate heir, instead of worrying about it.
KingsGambit
742. Black Dread
Because he is a full-blown sociopath who doesn’t care.
Sasha P
743. AeronaGreenjoy
According to Theon, Walda's noticeably pregnant by the end of ADWD, poor girl. Roose says "boy lords are troublesome"...like Ramsay isn't the most troublesome and immature lord you could not-hope for. But Ramsay's thoroughly Bolton by nature, even if his parents weren't married, and apparently that counts for something.
C R L
744. Maac
Perhaps Roose overestimates himself and thinks since he has placated Ramsay with legitimacy and a castle, he can dangle him until his new child is old enough?

Or he's a dumbass. Or he doesn't regard his child as "real."

Or he's just a dumbass. (Is there some reason I or Roose should believe Ramsey won't kill Roose eventually?)
Chris Nelly
745. Aeryl
I think we are supposed to understand that Roose is scarier than Ramsay, because he's not out of control, but instead keeps a lid on his more brutal impulses for maximum effect.

Now, that's a reason for Roose to believe Ramsay won't kill him, but not you or I.
Adam S.
746. MDNY
@745 Ramsey may heed his father's advice if he starts to believe in it. That's what is most worrying about him, he may be smart enough to become a true Bolton.
Sasha P
747. AeronaGreenjoy
Next up: Brienne ventures into the wilderness on a doomed mission involving a young girl, and has a violent confrontation instead. So does Arianne.
George Jong
748. IndependentGeorge
I'm really looking forward to the next few chapters. I really enjoyed most of the non-Greyjoy chapters of FFC, and we're heading into a nice stretch of no Greyjoys.
Faiz Imam
749. FaizImam
Anyone want to venture a guess as to what "andNowMyWatchBegins" is referring to with this:
Also. you may want to glance back at the previous chapter and the 'creaking door' based on your discussion here and see if you end up with the same theory that some others in the fandom have thought up...Jus' sayin'
Michael Duran
750. MRHD
Well, this will be an interesting topic to revisit once we get to the part of how the Maester is treated on Victarion's voyage to Slaver's Bay.
Adam S.
752. MDNY
@749 I've seen the theory on ASOIAF sites. People speculate that Euron sexually abused Aeron, mostly based on Aeron seeming to have repressed his memories of the abuse. Clearly he abused his little brother, but I don't buy that Euron actually did anything sexual to him.
Georgianna Miller
753. gomiller
@FaizImam, #749 - there is speculation that Euron sexually molested, at the very least, his brother Aeron Damphair, see http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/wm6x7/spoiler_all_to_be_safegreyjoy_family_relations/
Chris Nelly
754. Aeryl
It's the reference to the creaking gate in Victarion's memory of Euron
Sasha P
755. AeronaGreenjoy
@754: That's Aeron's memory, not Victarion's.
Faiz Imam
756. FaizImam
Awesome link, I totally agree with this speculation.
Eric McCabe
757. Zizoz
I asked this in the comments to today's post, but I haven't gotten an answer and it's possible it's a spoiler anyway, so I'll ask here too:

So, I may have forgotten -- when did Brienne have "suitors" at Harrenhal? I'm struggling to think why she would have been there.

Thanks.
Sasha P
758. AeronaGreenjoy
This chapter says the wager game was at Harrenhall, though the previous one said it was at Highgarden. I vaguely suspect a missing "and" -- it should have said Brienne's distrust served her well at Harrenhall AND when the knights played their game . I could be thoroughly wrong, though.
KingsGambit
759. zambi76
Tarth's seat is called Evenfall Hall maybe it was an editor mistake.
C R L
760. Maac
Did Dacey Mormont get as many rape threats -- let me rephrase, because what I was about to say is impossible (both because I am being sarcastic and because she's not a POV character, where Brienne is one). Is there any record of Dacey Mormont being threatened or disrespected at all?
KingsGambit
761. Crusader75
Well, Dacey Mormont did get disemboweled at a wedding, so there's that. However, I do think the difference between her Asha and Brienne is that Dacey and Asha are at the head of forces loyal to them personally and their families, while Brienne is operating essentially alone. I think with Brienne, Martin is doing the nasty things to "woman hero" trope that he has been doing to more traditional ones in this series. I don't think Leigh is going to like where this storyline is headed.
Deana Whitney
762. Braid_Tug
@757: Where were Renely's forces first gathered? Was it at Harrenhal?

Otherwise it could be a sick joke in reference to her time as a prisoner at Harrenhal with Jamie.
Captain Hammer
763. Randalator
@762 Braid_Tug

No, Harrenhall lies to the north of King's Landing and yielded to Tywin Lannister virtually immediately the Waof of the Five kings broke out.

Renly OTOH went south towards the Stormlands to garner support among his/the Baratheon bannermen. Harrenhal wouldn't have made sense as a gathering place at any time.
Adam S.
764. MDNY
Harrenhall is probably an editing/writing error. Brienne only experienced imprisonment by Roose Bolton and the bloody mummers at Harrenhall, plus a fight with a bear and a rescue by Jamie. The tournament was in the Reach.
Sasha P
765. AeronaGreenjoy
An unusual assertion, that readers give Brienne more praise and less criticism than they give the story's male ‘heroes.’ She’s certainly a feminist-fan favorite, and many approve of her quest when it begins – it was what made Leigh unwillingly like Jaime! – but by the end of AFFC, most readers consider it a giant waste of our time for not moving the general plot forward. I adore the travelogue for its own sake, but am in the minority.
Somas Baser
766. sobas
part 5!!! awesome!! i need read it.....
C R L
767. Maac
@765 I like her travelogue too, but I'm no longer convinced that there is a plot, really. I think we're getting a lot of character sketches before a mass destruction and/or world rebirth of some sort. So spending time with a character I like is fine with me. (Oddly enough, I did not feel nearly as charitable towards Quentyn. Having just the one book to get to know him worked against that whole setup for me -- not against the character as himself, but against the character as a seeming device/ha-ha on the reader.)

RE Dacey Mormont -- there's no way I can use her to make a point as she's such a minor character, I'm just trying to figure out if she was ever spoken of as not being an equal in terms of battle prowess and expecation. Yes, she died at the Red Wedding, but she did so beside and amongst warriors. (Of course, the Mormonts are a special family.)

Asha Greyjoy doesn't get nearly as much in the way of threats and disrespect, but she's 1. a king's daughter, 2. has been raised with family support, and 3. is portrayed as being more conventionally attractive, or at least not as big.

(Look, I'm quite tall and therefore inclined to believe Brienne isn't really as funny-looking as all that, so much as dealing with the provencial f*cking Westerosi mind too much.)
Deana Whitney
768. Braid_Tug
@767, Maac:
I agree with you. I don't think Brienne is as ugly as we are lead to believe. She is not "typical", therefore is seen as ugly or freakish because of the mindset.


On the same line, but from a totally different genre: Regency romance / historic books.
The tall brunette is called "unfortunate" because she does not conform to the petite blond beauty that was preferred at the time.

The brunette could be a knock out to average in beauty, but could still be called less because she wasn’t "fashionable." In the terms of gentry polite society. A life time of hearing you are “unfortunate” would leave you believing you are unattractive.
KingsGambit
769. Black Dread
Isn't she described as completely flat-chested, massive jaw, big crooked teeth, broken nose, and stringy hair? She doesn't sound like the hidden beauty who will shine after a make-over to me.
Chris Nelly
770. Aeryl
@769, Arya's called ugly too, but is also commonly compared to Lyanna, who was considered one of the beauties of the realm.

Actually spending some time doing a beauty routine does wonders. She has stringy hair because she doesn't have servants spend hours combing it, like a woman like Sansa does, I will almost guarantee that EVERYONE in Westeros has crooked teeth. Flat chested she can't do anything about, but longer hair would soften her jawline. And broken noses can be charming, I think my crooked nose is adorable.
Sasha P
771. AeronaGreenjoy
Leigh didn't connect Timeon's comment about Rorge leading a group to Saltpans with the rumors of the towns' sacking by especially vicious outlaws. Brienne wouldn't have picked up on it since she had no reason to believe Sandor wouldn't still be running around with his distinctive helm, but we might've wondered, since he was last seen dying not far from there. (I don't think I caught it the first time, but was in another room when my audiobook was playing that bit)
Sky Thibedeau
772. SkylarkThibedeau
@770 I thought it was mentioned Lyanna had a horse faced look. If she ran around with swords beating up on Brandon and Ned I could see that like Arya she didn't like doing lady things like sewing much.
Sky Thibedeau
773. SkylarkThibedeau
In today's reread she completely missed Myrcella being whacked in the face with a sword by Ser Dayne. Have we had any Dorne POV's after this one? I can't remember.
Scott Silver
774. hihosilver28
@773
We have at least one more where Arianne talks to Doran after she's been imprisoned for so long where he reveals that he has been playing the long game regarding Lannister revenge.
KingsGambit
775. Lyanna Mormont
@773 - we have one more, "Princess in the Tower," where Doran begins to explain his plan to Arianne. Fire and Blood. That's also where we find out the specifics of what happened to Myrcella, as opposed to confusedly seeing that she was covering her face and had blood running through her fingers.
Chris Nelly
776. Aeryl
@772, Arya is referred to as horse faced by the people that pick on her, but in the same sentence, she remembers that Ned tells her she looks like Lyanna.
George Jong
777. IndependentGeorge
@772 - Jeyne Poole gave Arya the name "Horseface" in the way that school kids will come up with insulting nicknames regardless of the facts on the ground. Kevyn Lannister remarked on Lyanna's "wild beauty", and the kindly man explicitly states that Arya's next face will be "as pretty as your own" (referring to Arya's natural face).

@773 - She didn't miss it - that particular fact isn't revealed until the next Arianne chapter. All we learn here is that Myrcella was screaming and covered in blood (which I assumed was from Arys' death).
Scott Silver
778. hihosilver28
@IndependentGeorge
I never thought that, mainly because we have the description of Arys charging the boat, implying distance from Myrcella. I knew something awful had happened to her, but I didn't know exactly what.
Adam S.
779. MDNY
@778 Agreed. I thought it was pretty clear that Darkstar had attacked Myrcella, with him being chased by Hotah's men and Myrcella on the ground clutching her bloody head. She was way too far away from the boat to have been splattered that much by Arys' beheading.
KingsGambit
780. MorsManwoody
@ 778 & 779
Agreed as well. I thought it was clear that Myrcella was injured in some way.

I found it odd that Leigh didn't mention it at all. Would've expected some mention of Myrcella being screaming and covered in blood, even if she didn't connect it with Darkstar attacking her.
KingsGambit
781. Lyanna Mormont
IIRC, the first time I read it I missed it completely, because I was focused on what was going on with Arianne and my eyes must've skipped a couple lines. Of course, Leigh generally reads more carefully and attentively than the average first-timer, because of the Read, but she did say it had been a crazy week for her.
Captain Hammer
782. Randalator
re: Leigh's miss of Myrcella's injury

Maybe Ms. Butler has become jaded and such a comparably minor injury (vital organs intact, limbs still attached, not dead) just isn't worth mentioning anymore.
Sasha P
783. AeronaGreenjoy
A Brienne-Arianne difference I can't yet point out to Leigh is in their view of family. Arianne sees her father as a useless craven who seeks to give her rightful inheritance to her brother. Brienne sees her father as a paragon of noble virtue, and says (on the Quiet Isle) that she wishes she weren't his heir and only living child, unable to be the proper son or daughter he "deserves." Brienne has in most ways had a much rougher life than Arianne, but here's an exception.
KingsGambit
784. Black Dread
Too much WOT - maybe she's thinking an Aes Sedai will fix her up no problem.
Faiz Imam
785. FaizImam
It's been a few years since I read AFFC and thus my memory is spotty.

So reading the chapter last week, I was under the assumtion(till just now when I read your comment) that she lost her eye in random crossfire from all the arrow bolts going from the soldiers stations all around all aiming at Arys.

There is nothing in that particular passages at the end that suggest a source for the injury. In hindsight it makes sense, but I think darkstar is the 2nd or 3nd most plausible culprit, at this point.
C R L
786. Maac
@783 -- Part of me wonders, though, if Brienne is really just suffering a bit of Stockholm Syndrome in relation to her culture.

@769 -- There is "plain" and then there is being treated as a walking deformity so freakish that it needs to be pointed out and mocked every time she appears. Most people are average looking, not ravishing beauties waiting to be revealed with a new hairdo -- this doesn't make them the butt of every joke for miles around. I still don't think the treatment of her is normal. I do think it's bound up in this (false) in-universe idea the characters have that extreme Sansa-esque beauty is a natural trait of being highborn in this world (contributing heavily, for example, to Stannis and company regarding Dalla and her sister as princesses when they emphatically did not see themselves as such).

I don't think anything is going to turn Brienne into a supermodel, but most people are not supermodels, so that should be fine. The features that they list for her strike me as not covering the whole situation fully. (In addition to Aeryl's points -- if having a small chest is the same as ugly then the vast majority of supermodels are in the wrong line of work.)

I feel the same way about Tyrion, actually. I loved Oberyn's speech on the last episode of GoT, by the way. "Hey, that's not a monster it's just a baby! I feel cheated!" (very very much paraphrased)
Chris Nelly
787. Aeryl
I loved that entire speech, including Tyrion's callback about justice, which was his initial goal when he came to KL.
George Jong
788. IndependentGeorge
@786 - The highborn really should be siginificantly better than the average commoner. They have significantly better nutrition and medical care, and lead relatively sheltered and physically undemanding lives; all together, that's going to leave you looking much better than people breaking their backs in subsistence-level agriculture.

Brienne's features are likely plain, but when combined with the shoulders and trunk of a linebacker, plus the social expectations that comes with being a noble Lady, it's unsurprising that she is viewed as being outright ugly.

One of the truly great things about watching the show is the opportunity to see some truly first-rate acting. Dinklage's expressions during Oberyn's monologue? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Faiz Imam
790. FaizImam
I am so pumped for tomorrow!

Arya's first real step into the house of the undying. It's one of the best chapters in this book IMO.

Then, if she gets to it, we have Sansa witnessing Petyrs cunning conquest of the dissenting lords of the vale.
Captain Hammer
791. Randalator
@790 FaizImam

"I am so pumped for tomorrow!"

Keep pumping, because:
No post today, cause Leigh has gone away.
The read will stand forlorn, a symbol of the dawn.
No post today, it seems a common sight
But people passing by don't know the reason why.

How could they know just what this message means?
The end of our hopes, the end of all our dreams.
How could they know the post that would have been
Behind the blog where our Leigh reigned as queen?
Adam S.
792. MDNY
@790 I think you mean the House of Black and White. The House of the Undying was the warlocks' house in Qarth, where Dany saw all her visions and Drogon breathed fire to save her from being eaten. And I agree that it's one of the best chapters in the book. And I'm crushed that we have yet another week to wait.
Chris Nelly
795. Aeryl
Because reasons, is what she posted
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
796. Lisamarie
Makes me sad, especially because there's no TV show episode this week (I'm still upset about that, having just learned about it on Tuesday!)....argh!
Reese Pistole
797. Domino
@796 Exactly! Now I won't get my weekly ASOIAF fix from two places. I'll be having withdawl by next Thursday. I hope all is well for Leigh but we better get two chapters on the 29th.
KingsGambit
798. AeronaGreenjoy
@792: You could say Arya is at the House of the Dying.
Deana Whitney
799. Braid_Tug
No one's started this week's talk here? Uh?
Good double post today. Great paring of chapters.

I figured that if Arya stays in the HoB&W, that she would go sterile. All the potions that she has to drink, for blindness and other matters.

Rather like Robin’s “sweetmilk”, will the kid even be capable of producing viable sperm, if he’s able to grow to that age? Or is it making him sterile while it builds up in his system?

8th Hunny up for grabs!
Chris Nelly
800. Aeryl
Leigh will flip her shit at Arya's next chapter.
Adam S.
801. MDNY
Arya's fertility is not determined, I never read anything that suggested to me that she would become sterile. The FM want to take her whole identity, including what makes her a woman, but I didn't get the sense that they will actually damage her reproductive organs, especially not before she leaves. On the other hand, Arya doesn't seem to care much about having kids, and I'm not sure she'll be in a place to change her mind by the series' end.
Yes, the chapter pairing is very good here, the Stark girls trying to find their way in new situations, and adopting new identities with varying success. Arya has always been someone who adapts well, changing her name constantly over the series (ever since Yoren made her Arry). Sansa is somewhat newer at the name game, and without LF guiding/forcing/seducing her I doubt she'd be successful.
While I love these chapters (well, the Arya one really, the whole Sansa experience has never been my favorite in ASOIAF), I'm getting more and more dismayed with every Leigh post. I don't feel that she even likes this series anymore, and for a reader who loves it that makes her read hard to follow sometimes. She complains of the depressing events and to me the most downbeat aspect of the read is Leigh's feelings on it. I'm no longer sure it was a great idea to have her do this read. I love her read of WOT, but maybe they should have gotten someone else to do it, someone who actually likes it.
Chris Nelly
802. Aeryl
@801, I wouldn't worry too much. She's engaging with the material, picking up on nuances and themes.

I felt much the same way about the series at this point, but I'm still completely invested, and having finished ADWD, I definitely feel things are starting to look up.
Scott Silver
803. hihosilver28
@MDNY
I think it's valuable to have someone go through it who doesn't have the same perspective. I don't think it's a case of her not liking the series, or not being invested, as we've seen with her reactions to many of the characters and situations. But, I tend to be with Leigh on this series, I enjoy it, but WoT is my first love. I do think that ADWD is going to be more rough to get through than this. But I loathed half of that book...okay, that's hyperbolic, but I would read Crossroads of Twilight multiple times over ADWD. Which gives me hope that stuff will actually happen in The Winds of Winter and he'll be able to wrap the story up in a satisfying fashion.
Sasha P
804. AeronaGreenjoy
It's interesting to see so much despair vocalized when reading AFFC,
which always seemed to me like a respite from the war, pillaging, mass torture, natural disasters, nasty-things-happening-to-many-POV-characters, and other horrors which wracked the first three books and return with a vengeance in ADWD. I suppose it's the more insidious and persistent grimness present here, where baddies take and hold power less bloodily but just as ruthlessly, well-meant missions turn tragic, and institutionalized sexism is the unbreakable rule.
Chris Nelly
805. Aeryl
The desolation of this book is right there in the names, A Feast for Crows, all the carrion eaters coming along to gobble up what's left. Roving bands of Northern and Southern Soldiers with no direction, religious extremism in response to the desolation, and those who've been hoarding their strength, consolidating and preparing to strike.

And worst of all, since Sam left the Wall, it's been completely disconnected from what readers feel is the true threat of the story, the Others.
Captain Hammer
806. Randalator
Eh, I never really cared about the Others. I've always read ASoIaF as medieval history IN SPAAAAAACE WITH DRAGONS! The Others are just "that other thing that also happens", even though they'll probably be Ye Olde Evile Antagoniste in the final Epic Battle .

Although, wouldn't it be hilarious if they –in GRRM's good old trope-averting, deconstructing fashion– would turn out to be completely irrelevant to the overall outcome?
James Whitehead
807. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
@806Randalator, that would be the biggest unfired Chekhov's gun in the history of the genre.

Kato
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
808. Lisamarie
Ooh, I agree, I find the plots regarding the Wall and the Others the most boring and tend to groan when I hit a Jon chapter. I guess because so much of the other stuff is deconstructing or subverting fantasy tropes and can lead to those types of discussions, whereas the Wall/Others is just so...stock fantasy, even if I can see where it might fit into the overall story. And I might like that in another context, but I find it very 'meh' here.
Rob Munnelly
809. RobMRobM
But I like the Jon chapters....I also liked the Egwene chapters in WoT as well, so sue me.
Faiz Imam
810. FaizImam
Wait, people didn't like Egwene chapters?

Perhaps a few of the chapters after she was fake elected was a bit long, but I enjoyed pretty much all of her stuff.

In both her case and Jon, I guess I enjoy small time politics/leader drama, so I guess that makes sense.
Tabby Alleman
811. Tabbyfl55
erm, ok, I'm reading DwD for the first time, and I just got through the chapter where Arya kills the merchant by cutting his friend's purse and swapping a coin.

So did I miss something that would cause this to make sense? How did she kill the merchant with a coin? How did she know she *could* kill with a coin? Did the guy see the Faceless Men's coin and have a heart attack because he knew it meant he was marked for death? That's kinda tenuous. If this is a RAFO, I'm cool with that. But if I missed something that I should have picked up on by this point, please feel free to enlighten me.
Deana Whitney
812. Braid_Tug
@811: Tabby,
She dropped a poison coin in with the captain’s coins she was trying to "steal." The merchant always tested each coin a captain gives him by biting it to make sure it’s real.

The other clue about how this was possible is way back in the Prolog of, FoC, the student Pate, died after being given a poisoned coin.

At this point, I think this spoiler thread had clued me in, because I didn't read ADwD that closely to begin with. Caught it on my combined re-read of book 4&5.
Tabby Alleman
813. Tabbyfl55
The biting! Nice.

I remembered the bit about the coin from the AFFC prologue, and I think even in that case I didn't realize that it was because biting the coin poisoned him. Thanks!
Sasha P
814. AeronaGreenjoy
@811: I, too, didn't realize the poison-coin method in either case until The Fandom explained it. I had the same "heart attack from fear" belief about Arya's kill, and was long confuzzled by Pate's death but thought maybe the "alchemist" had cast a spell on him or something.
Faiz Imam
815. FaizImam
I thought it was obvious that the coin was the vector, but i didn't clue in to the biting till reading this right now.

I figured it was poison that transmitted through the skin just by touch,but biting makes way more sense.
Tabby Alleman
816. Tabbyfl55
Thanks 814 & 815. I feel less dumb now. : )
KingsGambit
817. Oberyn4thewin
Longtime lurker here. This comment string was a while back but I read them all today, and I just wanted to chime in that I do feel for Leigh, if in fact she is losing interest in the series. I am far from the typical fantasy fan anyways - I loved WoT back in 8th grade when there were 7 out, gave up on it until long after Sanderson took over, and then reread them all and found the first 4 to be great and the rest to be only ok. I watched GoT at the insistence of my sister and ended up starting the books in the middle of Season 1 to find out what happened. I'm a very fast reader and made it through the first 3 super quickly (with the obligatory pause for "what the *$(#@, I quit" after RW) and then could barely slog through 4 & 5. I like to catch up here with what's going on, although most of the comments in the spoiler thread made me feel like I missed all of the clues in ADwD and that I should immediately spend the $ on Dunk & Egg in its scattered form. These books are not a walk in the park, especially at one glacial paced chapter a week where all of the bad guys seem to be winning. I think it will eventually pay off, and I can't wait for WoW, but Leigh has a long way to go ahead of her. I wish her godspeed - I wouldn't want her job!
KingsGambit
818. Black Dread
I found A Feast for Crows a bit of a slog until Jamie got out on the road then it picked up.

Everyone seems to complain about it, but other than the Daenerys chapters, I enjoyed the hell out of ADwD. Tyrion on the road, Griff, Aegon, Davos, Wyman Manderly’s awesomeness, a Melisandre POV chapter, Quentyn Martell, Stannis’ march south, the beginning of the real war for Westeros. I loved it.
Rob Munnelly
819. RobMRobM
Even with ADWD's Dany chapters, I'm re-thinking them based on the posts at the Meereenese Knot website arguing (pretty strongly) that Hizdahr was innocent and that Dany's marriage to him would have saved Meereen if she stuck it out, and that Barristan made a huge error siding with the rebels who are really behind Dany's troubles. Still a slog but politically interesting. I agree that most of the rest of ADWD is very good. I place it above ACOK.
Faiz Imam
820. FaizImam
The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers.
Chris Nelly
821. Aeryl
To touch on Maggy the Frog, she's not a "curse" in the typical sense of the word, it's about how knowing the future is a curse, which is different.

Maggy didn't make Cersei make those choices by cursing her. Cersei was always going to make those choices(just like Robert was). What's interesting to me, is how Cersei reacts.

She assumes valonqar must mean Tyrion, so treats Tyrion like shit, thus creating her own problems.

She knows Robert is alleged to have 16 bastards, and that she will have three, and instead of trying to avert that by reconciling with Robert, she instead ensures it happens by sleeping with Jaime while in Dorne.

It's just an interesting observation, and it gives you a small insight into the cause of Cersei's paranoia, but it's definitely playing with the idea that the worst thing you could ever know is the future. But I don't think either Maggy or Mirri Maaz Duur cursed Cersei or Dany. They gave them enough knowledge, to curse themselves.
KingsGambit
822. Black Dread
Why do people think Maggy cursed her? I think she just made some really accurate predictions. Cersei, being Cersei, is doing everything possible to make them come true.
KingsGambit
823. Maddy1990
Poor Leigh is going to have to wait a while to find out that Davos is indeed alive. I know people complain about Feast and Dance (and they are a bit of a slog and not as exciting as ASOS) but there is so much cool stuff going on.
Faiz Imam
824. FaizImam
Seriously. Sam and Arya meeting up next week is the best!
Chris Nelly
825. Aeryl
I don't know if "meeting up" is the term I'd use, but yes it's awesome and terrible that Sam has spent more time with the Stark children than Jon has lately.
Tricia Irish
826. Tektonica
I can't believe Leigh quoted that bit about Cersei thinking that if she'd married Rhaegar all would've been well, and completely missed the line that said "if Rhaegar had married her (Cersei), he never would've looked at that wolf girl"....What wolf girl??? Uh, Lyanna maybe?? Nice hint at Jon's parentage, maybe?
Sky Thibedeau
827. SkylarkThibedeau
My thinking on the Maggy the Frog Dues et Maschina is that no where in the first three books is she mentioned. She drops out out no where leading me to believe that George became aware of the witchcraft/Curse stories about Elizabeth Woodville and her Mother which was later also used by Phillipa Gregory and decided to add that plotline to ASOFAI. Just like Young Griff is a riff on Perkin Warbeck who was sposed to be Prince Richard York spirited from Sanctuary to Flanders and replaced with a commoners son before Uncle Richard III could nab him.

Elizabeth is said to have cursed whomever was responsible for the death of her sons, the Princes in the Tower. The curse was for their firstborn to die. She inadvertantly doomed her Grandson Arthur Tudor who was the firstborn of her daughter Elizabeth and Henry VII who's mother Katherine was one of the people suspected in the disappearance of the York Princes.
Deana Whitney
828. Braid_Tug
@827 & others: But until book 4, we are not in Cersei's head. So how / where / why would we have heard of Maggy the Frog? The boys did not go visit her. She would not be an important part of their childhood memories. Cersei did visit. But yes, we now get to hear about Maggy all the time. :-/
Then we get there and realize how crazy she is. Yes, losing her son and father so quickly helped her get un-hinged quicker, but she was crazy before that.

Later we learn that 'Maggy' is a word heard before, just not by the West.
Chris Nelly
829. Aeryl
To me, that's the entire point of getting new POVs from established characters, to get some piece of background info that allows you to recontextualize what you think you know about them.

Like the real reason why Jaime killed Aerys. Ned and the like always assumed it was to further his own, and his family's, ambitions, but that was wrong, and learning that he really just wanted to be a true knight, and protect the weak, it forces you to reconsider who Jaime is.

So with Jaime, you learn something about him that allows you to extend sympathy to him, but with Cersei, you learn something that lessens it instead.

I mean, consider the reason why she went to Maggy in the first place. It wasn't because she was concerned for her future, but because she was so secure in it, she wanted to gloat about it to others, people she imagined to be her friends.
Pirmin Schanne
830. Torvald Nom
@826: Tektonica, Rhaegar's infatuation with Lyanna (as well as sexual intercourse) has been common knowledge since book one - after all, Robert accused Rhaegar of raping her.
Tricia Irish
831. Tektonica
Torvald Nom@830:
Oh I know! I wish there was a way to type in "sarcasm" font.
Sasha P
832. AeronaGreenjoy
Those tired of Leigh's discussion prioritization of misogyny (of whom I'm admittedly becoming one) will get a break in ADWD. Most of the non-Dany chapters have male POVs, and while rape of both sexes remains rampant -- not to mention Cersei's ordeals -- the focus shifts from institutional sexism to similarly delightful topics such as torture, slavery, cannibalism, diseases, human sacrifice, and the apparent futility of idealistic government.

I refer to the Robert's Rebellion backstory as a combination of "Everybody Loves Rhaegar" and "I Love Lyanna," and leave it at that.

I wonder if Robert actually had 16 bastards, as Maggy predicted. LF or Varys told Tyrion there were 8, and we've met 5 and heard about 2 (the twins Cersei killed), but maybe there were others. She was right about Cersei's 3 kids, anyway.
Chris Nelly
833. Aeryl
Edric Storm
Barra Rivers
Mya Stone
The Dornish bastard, concieved when Cersei recalls her time with Jaime
Gendry Rivers
I think three more in KL(depicted in show, not named)

So that's 8. And those are the ones we know about, I can easily imagine he had as many we didn't. Many of the women he slept with were in no position to know who exactly impregnated them.
Sasha P
834. AeronaGreenjoy
At Greenstone, you mean? He and his cousin weren't said to have made a bastard there, though they could have. We've met Barra, Mya, Gendry, Edric, and Bella (the whore at the Peach), and heard about the murdered Casterly Rock twins. From the show, I recall a brief shot of another one getting stabbed and dumped in the river, and I'm apparently forgetting some. I think Gendry and Barra would have the surname Waters, if anything, being from King's Landing.
Julian Niquille
835. Gesar
It's not really fair for me to say that, cause I obviously didn't make studies on this or whatever, but I do think a lot of people enjoyed the last two books less because they read them a bit too fast. I think especially the meereenese chapters, most podcasts I listened just went "uuuh this is boring let's just not think a lot about it".

It's still a fault of Martin for not predicting people would react that way, but I do think it will be a lot more interesting on a reread with a slower pace and more time to think about what is said and/or implied.
George Jong
836. IndependentGeorge
My biggest problem with Meereen is virtually the same problem I have with the Iron Islands: just about everybody there is bloody awful. As awful as Joffrey and Cersei were, I could actually respect Tywin (who, as far as he knew, was acting to defend the rightful King against unlawful usurpers), and started to like Jaime.

Through FFC and DWD, though, everybody from Volantis onwards is written to be a complete monster, and the Iron Islands is one of the least believable cultures in the series. They are written as nations of sociopaths with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I find that... boring.
Adam S.
837. MDNY
Re: the bastards. I always assumed that Maggy the Maegi was correct, and there are 16 total bastards out there (or there were, at least, before Cersei started her crusade to kill them). I also assume that the whore that Arya and Gendry meet at the inn, the one who Arya notes has black hair like Robert and thinks "that doesn't mean anything, lots of people have black hair, Gendry's hair is just as black", is one of the uncounted bastards.
Chris Nelly
838. Aeryl
@836, If you haven't checked out the Mereeneese Blot you should.

It gave me a different perspective, it's not necessarily that everyone there is awful, some people are awful, and much like Cersei, those happen to be the people Dany is listening to.

And I think part of the purpose of all these places, is to show us where other places are getting it wrong, and getting it right. Pentos isn't too bad, Braavos is great, too much income inequality. Volantis is outright terrible, but the truth is that no place is 100% bad nor 100% good, and that perspective is important.

The Iron Islands are terrible if you don't want to be a reaver, but at the same time they do offer a greater meritocracy than any other kingdoms.
Sasha P
839. AeronaGreenjoy
@837: Yes, that was Bella (presumably-)Rivers, who tried to seduce Gendry for our scandalized amusement. As Leigh said in ASOS Part 17: "Holy crap. Robert Baratheon left more bastards floating around in his wake than most men do farts. Sheesh."
Captain Hammer
840. Randalator
@831 Tektonica

I wish there was a way to type in "sarcasm" font.

I wish Tor comments didn't automatically remove sarcasm html-tags...
Tabby Alleman
841. Tabbyfl55
What if you type them like this:

testing...

?

Damn.

Ok how about this:

{sarcasm} test two {/sarcasm}
Chris Nelly
842. Aeryl
@MDNY

About your mention of the Hound, I did find it funny that the show confirmed our speculative timeline, that when Brienne saw the Titan's Daughter in AFFC, Arya was still on it.

Now, not saying it's true in the books, but if it is, then there is NO WAY Sandor's had time to heal to do all of that.
Adam S.
843. MDNY
@842 - Yeah, Aeryl, I always assumed that the ship Brienne sees is the same embarking that Arya caught- I think it's a little tease from GRRM, that Brienne believes Arya dead at this point, yet she just missed her at the port.
As far as Sandor goes, I don't know what they're going to do in the show, but in the books I always believed him to be the tall hooded gravedigger on the quiet isle, who we meet in the next Brienne chapter. I'm not sure what to say at that point- the likelihood is very low that Leigh will make the connection, and if she doesn't I don't think we can talk about it. It's not a connection I made on my first read, so I won't comment even though it is pure speculation and not really a "spoiler".
Regarding speculation, are we just never going to be able to say the R+L=J one? I know that it's not allowed in main thread, but it's not really a spoiler, technically, and it is something that I came up with on my own (and on my first read), though it was only after reading some things on the internet that I came together with all the convincing arguments and fit all the pieces together. It's driving me mad that Leigh may just never know about that.
Chris Nelly
844. Aeryl
GRRM is definitely playing that one close to the chest, which is irritating.
Deana Whitney
845. Braid_Tug
MDNY: We are just going to let the R+L=J have to slide.
It's a worse "non-plot point spoiler" than that Renley was gay. And she really didn't like all the hints around that one.
Reading one chapter a week is killing her in the memory department, and the connections. It also might be something StevenH wants to figure out on his own. or any on the lurkers who are doing the same thing.

And no, I doubt she will see the tall gravedigger as anyone important. I didn't until you all told me about him. She might mention him as a soldier who got tired of the war.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
846. Lisamarie
I don't think it's fair to bring stuff like that up since it IS possible they will be revealed or relevant in later books.
Adam S.
847. MDNY
I know we can't bring any of that stuff up. It's just KILLING me. I'm not even a big Jon Snow fan- I'm not a hater, but he's definitely not among my favorite characters, I find him a little dull (unlike Samwell, Aemon while he lived, or even Dolorous Edd). But the whole R+L=J is SO interesting, and so integral to the overarching story (the Song of Ice and Fire), and Leigh is such a big Jon fangirl, that it's just KILLING ME SLOWLY WITH A RUSTED SPOON that she might never know about the whole R+L=J thing, at least until possibly it's revealed when book 7 comes out in 20 years if GRRM lives long enough and stops doing 2 anthologies plus other works every year rather than finish this damn series.
Bill Stusser
848. billiam
I too have always thought that the grave digger was the Hound. For me, the dead give away was the Hound's horse being in the stable. Which makes me wonder if that scene will make it into the show now after the travesty of a sword fight we saw in the last episode. I mean, I can't be the only one who thought it was contrived and too much like bad fan fiction, can I? Anyways, I never thought that it was actually the Hound who was causing all the trouble since up until Brienne gets to the quiet isle I thought that the Hound was dead.

Also, I always assumed that the ship had returned to the salt pans since dropping Arya off in Braavos.

AS to R + L = J, we'll be able to talk about it when Leigh starts her reread of the read, right? How long will it take her to get through the rest of this book and ADwD? Will TWoW be out by then?
Adam S.
849. MDNY
Will TWOW be out by the time I die?
Tabby Alleman
850. Tabbyfl55
I finally finished aDwD not too long ago, and was aware of R+L=J, but hadn't read any explanations of why...actually I still haven't, but there's a Barristan chapter near the end there that really makes you go "hmm". The woman Selmy liked, but she liked Ned, and she had a still-born child and killed herself, all at the same tourney where R made L the queen of love and beauty. Verrrrry interestink....
Adam S.
851. MDNY
Tabby- here's a rundown on R+L=J. For me, it all comes down to Blue Roses. They appear 3 times in the first couple of books. One, Lyanna was crowned with blue roses by Rhaegar when he won the tourney at Harrenhall. Two, in Ned's memory of his sister's death, GRRM writes something like "Rose petals swirled on the wind under a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death". At first read, I thought the sky was blue, but if you look at the sentence carefully, you see that the sky was red (blood-streaked). So what was as blue as the eyes of death? It was the rose petals on the wind. Since there was also mention of her dying in a bed of blood, I always assumed she died in childbirth (one of the most common causes of death for a young noblewoman who survived her childhood years, in the middle ages). Third, is Dany's vision in the House of the Undying, where she sees all these visions, many references to "the dragon has 3 heads", and she sees a "blue rose on a wall of ice", giving sweet fragrance to the air around it. So the symbol that is associated twice with Lyanna, the blue rose, is also associated with a wall of ice, and it is important to Dany. What is important to Dany? Finding dragon riders (the other heads of the dragon). What is a wall of ice? The Wall, duh. What does it mean? That Lyanna's son is at the wall, and is half Targaryan. I rest my case.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
852. Lisamarie
Not to mention that Lyanna extracts a promise from Ned on her death bed that he seems to take very seriously, but is of course vague about in his recollections (probably that he take care of Jon as if he were his own son and never reveal the truth, since that would put him in danger).
Adam S.
853. MDNY
@852 Lisamarie- oh yeah, nice one, forgot about that. "I promise, Lyanna..."
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
854. Lisamarie
If it is true, in a way this may be the SECOND time Ned has lied about something in a way that compromised his honor for the safety of a child. People have also brought up as secondary evidence that it is a little hard to believe that somebody so focused on honor would have fathered a bastard and broken his marriage vows (although that in and of itself isn't evidence since people do not always live up to their ideals).

There's also a scene where he promises he'll tell Jon about his mother at some point that takes on new significance if you think his mother is actually Lyanna (although doesn't necessarily prove anything either).
Chris Nelly
855. Aeryl
@850, That woman is Ashara Dayne. Her brother was Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning, fellow Knight of the Kingsguard and close friend of Barristan Selmy. Ashara and Ned danced that party for the Harrenhall tourney.

One theory I heard was that her child wasn't stillborn, it's Ned's actual bastard, and it's the purple eyed guy that attacked Myrcella in Dorne.
Chris Nelly
856. Aeryl
@854, See I actually don't have a problem believing Ned fathered a bastard(see my response @855).

Sleeping around on his wife, is not considered a mark against a man's honor. Ned cared enough about Cat's honor to not do it as Robert did, but he had a camp follower named Willa who kept him company during Robert's Rebellion.
Adam S.
857. MDNY
IF Ashara Dayne had a child by Ned (not sure I believe she did), it was definitely before he married Cat. When Ned knew Ashara, his brother was due to marry Cat, so while any child they had would be a bastard, he wouldn't have any reason to hide it from Cat. Because of that, and also because having a bastard just seems inconsistent with Ned's personality, I tend to doubt that he fathered any bastards. As for Willa, if she was indeed Jon's wetnurse, that just means Ned was looking out for his sister's son. I have no reason to believe Ned slept with her, though he may have encouraged rumors (or not denied them) to help keep people away from speculating on Jon's true parentage.
Rob Munnelly
858. RobMRobM
Ashara Dayne-Ned issues, if any, would have happened before he was married to Cat. Not that big stain on Ned's honor if that is the case.

Westeros website people believe that Ashara actually had the fling with Ned's brother, Brandon. I'm not sure I buy that but there it is.

I don't buy for one moment that Ned had a fling with Wylla. I do think that the story of Wylla was spread around to explain the genesis of Lyanna's baby.
KingsGambit
859. Lyanna Mormont
@855, 856 - the Darkstar (ugh) is several years too old to have been born during the Rebellion. And Wylla was mentioned exactly twice in the books - once when Robert was talking about "that common girl of yours, you know the one I mean, your bastard's mother" and keeps mixing her up with his own, and which point Ned says her name was Wylla and he doesn't want to talk about it. The other time it's Edric Dayne going on about how Wylla was his wet nurse which makes him and Jon milk brothers, and Arya has never heard the name before. So there's not much evidence to suggest she was a camp follower. And of course, if the truth was that simple, what's Ned's reason for never telling Jon or Cat anything?

@ 851-54 - for me, one of the big indicators that Something Is Up is when Cersei asks Ned how far he'd go to protect his children, and he thinks "Yes, how far would I go for Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon?" No mention of Jon. Also, he keeps saying Jon is his blood, rather than his son.
Chris Nelly
860. Aeryl
@859, Robert saying that, as he's Ned's BFF, seems to me a pretty big indication that she was around before he went to the Tower of Joy.
KingsGambit
861. Black Dread
@859 - I'm not too clear on how old DarkStar is and how long the Rebellion lasted.
KingsGambit
862. Lyanna Mormont
@ 860 - I'm not so sure. He doesn't remember her name, all he knows is that she's Ned's bastard's mother. If she was nursing a baby, and Ned claimed Jon as his, I don't see Robert thinking twice about it. They weren't together for much of the rebellion, after all, so he'd probably just assume it happened when he was elsewhere, and think no more of it.

@ 861 - The Rebellion lasted for about a year. Darkstar is in his late twenties when we meet him (GRRM said so, apparently) while Jon is still in his teens.
Chris Nelly
863. Aeryl
Well, the tourney at Harrenhall was before the Rebellion, and that's when, if it did, an ellicit premarital affair began between Ned and Ashara. Darkstar would be older, and not born during the Rebellion.
KingsGambit
865. Lyanna Mormont
@863 - The Harrenhal tourney took place about a year before the start of the Rebellion, which in turn lasted about a year. There's not a whole lot of room for age differences.
KingsGambit
864. Black Dread
I was about to suggest that Ned was a player before the Rebellion and his marriage. He was a younger brother after all.
KingsGambit
866. Black Dread
Kind of fun to see Leigh still thinks Cersei could be headed for anything except absolute disaster.

If she does 2 chapters next week, we'll see ever bigger fuck-ups from Cersei - then the Reaver party on Oakenshield. She'll really love that one.
Chris Nelly
867. Aeryl
HAHA I wonder how Leigh will feel when the next time she see Dareon, Arya kills him.
KingsGambit
868. Black Dread
Yep - and she feels absolutely nothing, less guilt than I would have had for stealing a piece of candy.
Chris Nelly
869. Aeryl
That doesn't bother me too much, that's her way of holding onto her Stark identity.

The Stark family, as Wardens of the North, hold the responsibility for dispensing the King's Justice. What was the first act Ned did in the book? Dispense the King's Justice to a Night's Watch deserter.
KingsGambit
870. Black Dread
But Ned did feel something afterwards and had to go spend some time in the Godswood to deal with it.
Chris Nelly
871. Aeryl </