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Secret Merlings! Secret Merlings everywhere!
April 28, 2014 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Who is Jon Snow's mother? What's up with the crazy seasons in Westeros? Why have the White Walkers returned after all this time? These questions and more have been the subject of much speculation and debate among fans of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire / Dunk and Egg universe for more than a decade. Fans have published their theories in forums, on fansites, and even as the occasional academic journal article. (Spoiler warning: All sources -- show, books, cut scenes, DVD special features, pre-released chapters, interviews, visions you got from a tree, etc. -- are fair game in this thread!)

SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND MAGIC:

Why Are the Seasons of Westeros So Irregular?
Is it just magic? Or could there be a scientific explanation? One journal article posits that the planet orbits a pair of stars instead of a single sun, whereas some people think that the visuals of the opening credits suggest that it isn't a planet at all but instead a Ringworld or Dyson Sphere. (The official story is that the Dyson Sphere allusion was merely artistic license.)

Are Any of the Gods Real?
Just like in the real world, the different characters hold a variety of competing religious beliefs: the Old Gods, the Faith of the Seven (the "New Gods"), the Iron Islands' Drowned God, R'hollar (the Lord of Light), and more. While we may not get any definitive answers from the author, so far it seems that R'hollar is the god with the most tangible power in the world. But is he a good god as his followers believe, or is he actually an evil god leading them astray?

Why is Magic Returning to the World?
One way this series distinguishes itself from most other fantasy series is that most of the main characters don't believe that magic exists. However, in recent years magic has been returning to the world at an accelerating pace. Are the dragons responsible? The direwolves? Were the Masesters suppressing magic? Or the Night's Watch?

Why Are the White Walkers Returning?
Is the return of the White Walkers (known as the Others in the books) merely part of the general trend of the return of magic? Or is Craster inadvertently responsible for repopulating their ranks?


POLITICS:

Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not Out to Get You
King Aerys might have been mad, but he wasn't wrong when he thought he was being plotted against. The theory of "Southron Ambitions" argues that the Tullys, Starks, Lannisters, Arryns, and Baratheons were creating a unique web of alliances through marriage to possibly overthrow the Targaryens.

The Grand Northern Conspiracy
When looking closely at seemingly unrelated movements and motivations of major and minor players in the North, a picture begins to take shape: not everyone seems happy with a North run by Boltons, and the situation may soon come to a head as plans put in motion by Stark loyalists begin to play out. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7)

The Winterfell Huis Clos
A very long set of theories and speculation about the simmering political intrigue in Winterfell during A Dance With Dragons. An ambitious take along some of the same lines as The Grand Northern Conspiracy, focusing mainly on the players within the walls of Winterfell at the time of Ramsay's wedding.

What is Littlefinger's End Game?
Of all the players in the game of thrones, Littlefinger is probably the most brilliant. What are his true motives? Does he really want to follow through on marrying Sansa off to Harry the Heir, does he want to marry Sansa himself, or does he want to sacrifice her to the Faceless Men? When Littlefinger says that he wants "everything," does he mean that his goal is to eventually sit upon the Iron Throne? Or does he actually just want to tear everything down by deliberately destroying the Westeros economy and smashing the system of nobility altogether? What might Marx say?


ASSASSINATION PLOTS:

How Many People Were Involved in the Conspiracy to Kill King Joffrey?
While the show has now confirmed that Olenna Tyrell did indeed poison Joffrey with the help of Ser Dontos, who else was involved? Littlefinger, clearly, but why? Did Tywin know what was going to happen? Was there more than one poison plot in play at the wedding?

Balon Greyjoy Was Murdered
Balon Greyjoy fell to his death after slipping off a bridge -- or did he? Was he murdered, as prophesy suggests? Did Melisandre's leech magic somehow cause his death, or just predict it?

Prince Oberyn Poisoned Tywin Lannister
When Tyrion shot his father with the crossbow, he only cut his life short by a few days -- Tywin was already dying.

Does Jon Snow Die?
Jon Snow is repeatedly stabbed by his brothers in the Night's Watch at the end of ADWD -- but did he actually die? GRRM has hinted that Jon survives the assassination attempt. But how? Could Melisandre resurrect him using the same magic that Thoros used to resurrect Berric Dondarrion? (Not if she was behind the plot to kill him herself!)


SECRET IDENTITIES:

Jaqen H'ghar is Syrio Forel
Despite GRRM's strong hints to the contrary, many fans still cling to hope that Syrio Forel survived that swordfight. Some go on to speculate that Syrio Forel was actually a Faceless Man all along, and that he continued to watch over Arya as Jaqen H'ghar.

Coldhands is Benjen Stark
Where did Benjen Stark go? Many speculate that he became the mysterious Coldhands, but that's just one of the several competing theories about Coldhands's original identity. Perhaps Benjen is just off having fun in a warmer climate instead.

The Gravedigging Monk is The Hound
When Arya last sees The Hound, he is dying against a tree. But many theorize that he survived his wounds and joined the Quiet Isle monastery. Meanwhile, his brother The Mountain may not exactly be resting in peace either.

The One-Eared Black Tomcat is Balerion the Kitten
The cat Arya chased into the dungeons of the Red Keep was a black cat. Seventeen years ago Princess Rhaenys had a black kitten named Balerion. Coincidence? I think not! Someday old Balerion might even play a role in either confirming Prince Aegon's identity or proving him to be a fraud.


SECRET HERITAGES:

Jon Snow is Jon Targaryen
Perhaps the most famous ASOIAF fan theory is “R+L=J": Jon Snow is not Ned Stark's bastard, but is instead the son of Ned's sister Lyanna Stark and Mad King Aerys's son and heir Rhaegar Targaryen. Furthermore, if Rhaegar wed Lyanna before Jon was born, Jon would then outrank Daenarys in the Targaryen line of succession. Jon might even end up as the most senior heir if Aegon Targaryen dies or is discovered to be a fraud. Could proof of Jon's heritage be hidden in the crypts of Winterfell? Will we one day see Snow on the Iron Throne?

Tyrion's Biological Father Isn't Who You Think Either
Jon Snow might not be the only one with secret Targaryen heritage. Some speculate that Mad King Aerys raped or seduced Tywin Lannister's wife Joanna and that Tyrion was born from that union. (Others strongly disagree.) If Tyrion does have Targaryen heritage, could he be one of the three heads of the dragon?

Aegon Targaryen is a Fraud
Varys smuggled baby Aegon across the Narrow Sea before The Mountain could murder him -- or did he? Perhaps "Aegon" is just the latest in a series of Blackfyre Pretenders, being groomed by Varys and Illyrio for their own agenda.

Varys is a Secret Blackfyre
Varys presents himself as selflessly serving the best interest of the realm but what if he is secretly working to restore power to his family's dynasty? He might even be lying about being a eunuch.


PROPHECIES:

Who is Azor Ahai?
Melisandre believes that Stannis is Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised, but Maester Aemon thinks it is Daenarys. Or maybe it's Jon? The debate rages on!

Tyrion is Not the Valonqar
Cersei has hated Tyrion ever since Maggy the Frog prophesied that "the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you." But Cersei has two valonqars (little brothers), for Jaime "came into this world holding [her] foot" -- Cersei exited the womb first, and thus is the eldest. However, some argue that Jaime now lacks the "hands" (plural) to fulfill the prophecy, and others theorize that the little brother could be a reference to Tommen instead.

Daenarys Can Bear a Living Child
Daenarys assumed that Mirri Maz Duur's prophecy meant that she could never bear children. But if the prophecy was meant to be taken figuratively instead of literally, it may have already come true. Did Daenarys miscarry Daario's child at the end of ADWD, and can now get pregnant again? Perhaps Mirri Maz Duur was just a liar.


CRACKPOTS:

Fans have come up with their share of silly theories as well, both to have fun and to demonstrate how easy it is to selectively read the text for clues that support your pet theory.

Varys is a secret merling! So are Illyrio, Biter, and Benjen, and Littlefinger is their king!

When the Mountain murdered Elia and her children, Princess Rhaenys warged into her kitten Balerion just before she died. Or perhaps baby Aegon did the warging, and the now-grown Balerion is literally "the king of the castle." Could the warged Balerion also be the sire of Tommen's three kittens, making those kittens the three heads of the dragon and Ser Pounce Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised?

Or perhaps the whole series is just the Book of Revelations.


CREDITS:

This post was a collaborative effort of several MeFites. A big thank you to Alterscape, Brandon Blatcher, corb, jason_steakums, lonefrontranger, lunasol, misha, nubs, Pink Frost, and restless_nomad for all your contributions and help. Apologies to anyone I've missed -- I don't know the MeFite handles for some of the Google Doc contributors.

All typos, omissions, and other errors are my fault.
posted by Jacqueline (500 comments total) 234 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh man what a post. this is like my next months casual reading right here. thank you / I hate you, now I have to read all of these
posted by young_son at 5:12 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


And with last night's episode, we have confirmation of one of the consensus theories of the Others confirmed before the books.

In addition to the Other baby-interaction, some enormously book-divergent shit went down in last night's episode. Bran captured? Sam gives up his secret and now Jon knows about Bran north of the wall?

All well and good and makes for a wild ride but what I want to know is...will we see Coldhands?

If they leave ColdHands out of the show, that's a fairly big piece of the mythology that will be left unknown/unexplained. Is he Benjen Stark? Is he a hybrid Other/human? Is he what happens when Others "convert" humans that aren't newborns?

Gotta think Martin had at least some sort of over-arching plan for Coldhands or he wouldn't figure so prominently in the Bran story.

Last night was by far the most shocking television episode to day. Our group of faithful watchers was stunned by that final scene (after much yelling and shouting at the earlier divergent scenes). Mouths agape everywhere.
posted by NervousVarun at 5:18 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Agreed. The only thing I could think (basically for the entire second half) was, "Well, that's new." All those shots at the end were totally Coldhands teasers; they were focusing on the hands entirely too much to be otherwise.

D&D have said that Coldhands will be left out of the show, sadly; I'm guessing that whatever role he plays in the books will be filled in by hybrid characters, a la Gendry.
posted by supercres at 5:59 AM on April 28, 2014


this is like my next months casual reading right here.

And those links will tempt you with more links, just like TV Tropes. You're doooooooomed.

I'm pretty sure that the combined word count of all the fan theories and debates on the internet easily exceeds the word count of the actual books. This post is seriously just a small sampling / quick roundup of what's out there.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:03 AM on April 28, 2014


One other link: I like the Clegane theories, because they led to this bit of fan ridiculousness (warning: ear-splitting audio).
posted by lunasol at 6:05 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


some enormously book-divergent shit went down in last night's episode.

I am a season behind in the show so can't speak to the details of this episode, but I've long assumed that as they go forward they will have to increasingly deviate from the books because the books get considerably sloppier over the course of the series. Just maintaining a tight and entertaining set of characters and storylines will necessitate changes.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:11 AM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


The people of Fannfayre, finding their native land as yet unready for the plow, launched a minor raiding party on the Blue Lands, laying claim to a small section of land where they could survive for the moment. Perhaps they are just passing through to their Homelands, and will move on. Or is this the beginning of a long border war, where many a comment will be launched, and many a favorite spent?
posted by benito.strauss at 6:15 AM on April 28, 2014 [18 favorites]


Benjen = Dario !
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:18 AM on April 28, 2014


Benjen = Dario !

Sadly this seems to have since been disproven by the show's casting, but that was one of my personal favorite crackpot theories so I had to include it anyway.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:20 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


But what was the Doom of Valyria??????
posted by prefpara at 6:26 AM on April 28, 2014


But what was the Doom of Valyria??????

Pycelle ate too much Astaporian food and people overreacted a little when recounting the story later.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:29 AM on April 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think the thing with the book and the Others is that really, beyond what we'd already seen in the show, there isn't that much direct exposition about them. They appear in legend, and we know they exist and that they're an omnipresent threat, but beyond that there isn't much at all. It's necessary in the show for them to pop up on occasion to underline that threat, otherwise every curse in the show would have to be "The others take you" just to remind show watchers that they exist.

To do this though I think we've reached the point where the books and the show aren't diverging, but the show is providing hint at things that are yet to appear in the books.

That guy last night with the horns in the final scene was the Night's King, 13th commander of the Night's Watch. He fell in love with an Other and he lot his soul in the process. Old Nan tells Bran tales about him in the early chapters when he's in bed and can't run away, and there other hints about him as they travel north.

At this point in the books he's a legend, but now he's as good as confirmed to exist.
posted by vbfg at 6:30 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


But what was the Doom of Valyria??????

Personally I'd always assumed that it was either a volcano or meteor strike so I didn't even think to go looking for fan theories on that, sorry.

If anyone has any theories about that or anything else you'd like to share, please do! The list of theories and links in the FPP are meant to be a jumping off point for discussion, not a constraint.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:30 AM on April 28, 2014


Benjen = Dario !

Sadly this seems to have since been disproven by the show's casting


The fact that they switched the actor for Dario has shown that just because a different actor was originally cast for a role doesn't mean they will always play that role! Benjen can easily be recast as well.

Let the mythos live on!
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:35 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just started trying to re-read the books so I could (maybe) pick up on all of the connections I missed on the first go, but I'm having trouble because I know what doom lies ahead with each page flip. It's like going to the eye doctor - the first glaucoma test isn't so bad but they have to practically tie me down to get the second eye with that puff machine. Ugh. It's been a week and I just got brave enough to push through the Bran stumbling on Jaime and Cersie chapter.
posted by double bubble at 6:38 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just want to get out with no psychic dragon sex
posted by thelonius at 6:45 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I just started trying to re-read the books so I could (maybe) pick up on all of the connections I missed on the first go, but I'm having trouble because I know what doom lies ahead with each page flip. It's like going to the eye doctor - the first glaucoma test isn't so bad but they have to practically tie me down to get the second eye with that puff machine. Ugh. It's been a week and I just got brave enough to push through the Bran stumbling on Jaime and Cersie chapter.

I am doing the exact same thing double bubble but I am just skipping the chapters where I can bear the darkness. I didn't want to see Bran pushed again for example, going to skip all the Reek chapters.
posted by shothotbot at 6:47 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just started trying to re-read the books so I could (maybe) pick up on all of the connections I missed on the first go, but I'm having trouble because I know what doom lies ahead with each page flip.

I started watching the show when I was reading the 3rd book, and I just couldn't stomach going through all the child abuse, rape, etc., again.
posted by signal at 6:48 AM on April 28, 2014


Omg this is amazing! Bravo(s) to everyone involved with this post.

Now I am REALLY hating that I have to be at work in an hour.
posted by littlesq at 6:50 AM on April 28, 2014


A method of rereading the books that might work better for some people is to only read the chapters of the POV characters whose storylines you like and just skim the chapter summaries for the rest.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:51 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wish I could scrub the Reek chapters from my brain entirely. Actually, I kinda feel that way about Theon overall. Blechhh. He makes me want to hurl.
posted by double bubble at 6:51 AM on April 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Ah chapter summaries. Nice. I'll probably miss some interesting nuances, but maybe I'll have less nightmares.

I'll give it another week and see how it goes.
posted by double bubble at 6:52 AM on April 28, 2014


I'm going to wait until this series is warm and dead before picking through various theories. GRRM is a self-professed garden writer, its like reading tea leaves while they're growing on the vine and just so happen to make pretty patterns every so often.

If we get to the end of this series, that is.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:54 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm still pretty proud of my GoT Library Display. Teens have taken to taking pictures of themselves with the crown and sword, so nice promotion all around.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:55 AM on April 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


I'm only a book and a half into it, but I hope the weirwood starts walking by the end of the series.
posted by drezdn at 7:07 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I forgot to add the theory about the Starks and the Others. Why, indeed, must there always be a Stark in Winterfell?
posted by corb at 7:12 AM on April 28, 2014 [16 favorites]


I just wanted to throw in that if you're interested in historical analysis of the books (what historical events and people is this chapter based on?), political historian Steve Attewell is awesome. He's done a full chapter-by-chapter analysis of A Game of Thrones (including political analysis, what-ifs, and historical models), and he's currently moving on to A Clash of Kings.

A few examples of his writing: In terms of new conspiracy theories, he has an interesting one: he thinks that Roose Bolton wasn't trying to win the Battle of the Green Fork, the first battle between the Starks and the Lannisters.
posted by russilwvong at 7:24 AM on April 28, 2014 [27 favorites]


"Here are the good guys, they’re in white, there are the bad guys, they’re in black."

Bit of misdirection there from George. The good guys are in white, and they're walking towards the bad guys in black.

It is known.
posted by vbfg at 7:28 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


add the theory about the Starks and the Others. Why, indeed, must there always be a Stark in Winterfell?

Yesssssss. I loved this.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:31 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm reading the eBook compilation of Attewell's posts about AGOT right now; it is thoroughly enjoyable.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:36 AM on April 28, 2014


So, last night's final twist was a total surprise to me (and apparently to many other readers as well), but it turns out that there actually was a significant clue in ASOS Chapter 33:
"Gilly was crying. "Me and the babe. Please. I'll be your wife, like I was Craster's. Please, ser crow. He's a boy, just like Nella said he'd be. If you don't take him, they will."
"They?" said Sam, and the raven cocked its black head and echoed, "They. They. They."
"The boy's brothers," said the old woman to the left. "Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons."
(emphasis added)
posted by Jacqueline at 7:48 AM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the really big twist is just if it's actually Night's King. I definitely knew about Craster's sons prior.
posted by corb at 7:49 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Despite GRRM's strong hints to the contrary, many fans still cling to hope that Syrio Forel survived that sword fight.

Syrio was teaching Arya to "see with [her] eyes" immediately prior to her not seeing him killed. Even on my first read I thought it obvious he survived, otherwise what was the point of all that?

GRRM's "strong hints to the contrary" consist entirely of statements like "draw your own conclusions" or "we saw what happened". See with your eyes, readers!

Becoming Jaqen is a bit of a stretch, though.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:52 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Remember - new episodes of Game of Thrones are also being discussed over on the beta sub-site Fanfare, including the latest episode.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:54 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, thanks for destroying my day before I even got out of bed.
posted by phaedon at 7:55 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the really big twist is just if it's actually Night's King.

This seems to indicate it was, although it's since been amended.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:56 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just want the recipe for the chicken.
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 AM on April 28, 2014


oh, man. this is going to ruin getting everything done I wanted to do for the next six months. epic!
posted by bluesky43 at 8:18 AM on April 28, 2014


But what was the Doom of Valyria??????

I haven't seen any speculation about this online, but if you look at a map, the remnants of Valyria look passingly like the Stepstones. Whatever magic the Children of the Forest used to shatter the Arm of Dorne and strand the First Men could have also been used to shatter Valyria.
posted by painquale at 8:20 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


But what was the Doom of Valyria??????

I don't remember where I read this theory (it might have been on MeFi, actually): the Children of the Forest had Westeros on some sort of magical lockdown, and no Men could reach it. Valyria figured out a way to break the enchantment but in so doing blew themselves to smithereens.

Then the First Men sailed over and everything was perfect and good forevermore.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:21 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


IT IS KNOWN.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:22 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


davidjmcgee, The Doom was centuries ago. The First Men arrived in Westeros thousands of years ago.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:28 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Jinx! I'm not sure that timeline works out though. The Doom of Valyria happened long, long after the Arm of Dorne was shattered. The Targaryans left for Dragonstone before the Doom of Valyria, and Westeros was already long conquered by the First Men at that point.

On preview: double jinx!
posted by painquale at 8:29 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean, sure, that's what they want you to think.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:33 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are hints in the books that the Doom was caused by the first Faceless Man. The first FM was a slave or was involved with slaves in Valyria, and his story mentioned firewyrms in mines under the Fourteen Flames, so my money's on a slave uprising that involved harnessing the wyrms to blow the volcanoes.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:35 AM on April 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


I mean, yes, clearly there was either a meteor situation or like eleventy billion volcanoes went off at once, but it just seems like such a pat story of hubris and overreach that I think it has to be part of the hidden big-picture narrative. The Valyrians got too big for their britches and a major power smacked them down with crazy fire situations. R'hllor? Certainly doesn't seem like the work of the force that is behind the Others. Maybe the two are in opposition. Or maybe there are many gods. Super many. The manyest.
posted by prefpara at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


oooh, nice one, jason_steakums, I hadn't associated that.
posted by corb at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2014


A lot of the theories I've seen lately take it as known that the Blackfyre Rebellion continues to play itself out through Varys and Doran and the Golden Company and the Yronwoods and Brynden Rivers and any number of secret partisans, and almost every event in the series bears some esoteric significance in their decades' long game of nth-dimensional cyvasse.

This would explain why Martin took so long with the last few installments--he's interleaving five or six secret novels into a single text, and his late adjustments to the chronology meant that he had to rearrange and rewrite all of them. It also explains why HBO is looking to adapt the Dunk and Egg novellas--they're the most efficient way to convey the story of the Rebellion and its sucessor wars, and that context will be necessary going forward.

But why? Martin's central thesis has always been that monarchy sucks regardless of the person on the throne, so why would he go to so much trouble weaving in Super Secret Clues about yet another couple factions of punks with strong opinions about a butt in a chair?

I think if the Blackfyre Rebellion has an esoteric significance, it's because at some point the partisans hooked up with (or were co-opted by) supernatural forces. That's obviously true for Brynden; does R'hllor or the Others or the Many-Faced God or Ser Pounce take a similar interest in his opponents?
posted by Iridic at 8:42 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


That speculation about a slave uprising in Valyria is intriguing given Dany's opposition to slavery. Aegon I supposedly moved the Targaryans to the Blackwater Rush because his daughter Daenys the Dreamer had a premonition about the Doom. But it is also possible that this is a cover story. Perhaps (non-mad) Targaryans are all extremely opposed to slavery, and Daenys was told by befriended slaves that an uprising was in the wings. Perhaps the Targaryans even had something to do with it.
posted by painquale at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Was there slavery in Westeros before Aegon's Landing? Or was Aegon the one to abolish it?
posted by painquale at 8:46 AM on April 28, 2014


Oh god, that link! He's been writing "The World Of Ice And Fire" instead of WRITING THE DAMN NEXT BOOK. I swear, that man.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is boring, but since Valyria was basically Rome, I figured the Doom was just a really big Volcano, like Pompeii but bigger.
posted by lunasol at 8:52 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I quite enjoyed the Great Northern Conspiracy - not that I hadn't had similar thoughts already but seeing it laid out in meticulous, carefully-cited detail was a treat.

And if stuff like that doesn't convince people to read the books I can't imagine what will.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:53 AM on April 28, 2014


Oh god, that link! He's been writing "The World Of Ice And Fire" instead of WRITING THE DAMN NEXT BOOK

He also just published "The Princess and the Queen", which is a thirty-five thousand word account of the first Dance with Dragons. I think he wants to get all the supplementary backstory and history wrapped up before he concludes the series. This was probably always the plan, so the fact that all this stuff is coming out is actually good news and shows that he's making progress at a good clip. I think he's scared of the show catching up and it's lit a fire under him.

Also, to answer my own question, I just looked it up: slavery was abolished in Westeros by the Faith of the Seven, not Aegon.
posted by painquale at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I forgot to add the theory about the Starks and the Others. Why, indeed, must there always be a Stark in Winterfell?

I find it interesting, but I don't buy 100% yet. I think there is an important connection between the Starks and the Others, but not one of blood - I think the Starks have some important connection with Winter and the Long Night, but it isn't quite what that theory suggests.

If Bran the Builder (who was possible also the last hero in Old Nan's tale) laid the Wall, and the Wall keeps the Others out, and he also laid Winterfell...then I suspect the Starks have more to do with keeping the Others contained and at bay then with them being appeased. It runs through their family history:

Winterfell - The name is interesting to me; look at the varying definitons of "fell":

-To cause to fall by striking; cut or knock down
-To kill: felled by an assassins bullet
-Of an inhumanly cruel nature
-Capable of destroying
-Dire, sinister
-Scots - sharp and biting
-idiomatic - in one fell swoop: all at once; to pass rapidly
-as an adjective (of persons or their actions): able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering

there are others of course that I don't view as relevant (hide of an animal; past tense of fall; tract of upland moor), but the Stark words are about the cruelty of Winter, it's inhumanity and also, potentially, about it's end; about it being felled. I view the Starks as being in opposition to the Others, and their association with Winter is related to that opposition. Note also that at a few points the Starks are referred to the Kings of Winter; the series as a whole pretty much shows that Kings achieve and retain that title through conquest and force.

Also note another phrase that is picking up some currency: The North Remembers. But Remembers what? I think the danger here is that the North may have forgotten something...and that something is related to why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell. And the Winterfell Huis Clos theory gets into the fact that the Horn of Winter was likely in the Stark crypts...

And there's this quote from the GRRM interview:
Why your saga is called A Song of Ice and Fire, because of the Wall and the dragons or is something more beyond that?
Oh! That’s the obvious thing but yes, there’s more. People say I was influenced by Robert Frost’s poem, and of course I was, I mean... Fire is love, fire is passion, fire is sexual ardor and all of these things. Ice is betrayal, ice is revenge, ice is… you know, that kind of cold inhumanity and all that stuff is being played out in the books.
The Starks, by and large, have always been examples of humanity despite their setting and harsh words and reminders.

Not to say that I think the Others will just be a straightforward Big Bad; because R'hllor doesn't seem to be shaping up as a Great Good on the other side of things. What if they are both threats of differing kinds?

The above line of thought is why I want to do a re-read focused on the imagery/symbolism and so forth of winter/ice/cold versus summer/fire/heat as I see a lot of symmetry starting to form up in places:

-Winterfell/Summerhall
-The Others/R'hllor
-Starks/Targaryens

And probably countless others I am not thinking of at the moment because I'm theory-crafting rather than doing my job, which I really should be doing. Anyways, that's my two cents.
posted by nubs at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh my Smith I hate you I have stuff to do today.

*favorites, has to come back later for All of the Links*
posted by seyirci at 9:00 AM on April 28, 2014


Something else for the theory pile:

ASoIaF and Norse mythology.

(Hodor!)
posted by Iridic at 9:15 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


This post is like falling into the sea
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


A fell is also the name for hills in northern England. The closer you get to the inspiration for the wall (i.e Hadrian's wall) the more likely it is that a big hill is a fell.

It's where this northern lad always assumed the name came from.
posted by vbfg at 9:18 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh good, a thread with spoilers! I love how Martin first shows the Lannisters in near-total control of the kingdom and by the end of ADWD their alliances are worthless, Tywin is dead, Jaime is indifferent, Cersei is under the power of the Faith (giving them martial power predictably came back to bite her in the ass), Tywin is dead and the Lannister children are figureheads... so that Kevan Lannister appears to be the last Lannister who could wield power for the family and he dies in the traditional Lannister way with a crossbow bolt inside him.
posted by ersatz at 9:18 AM on April 28, 2014


This post is like falling into the sea

I know! I know! Oh oh oh!
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:19 AM on April 28, 2014 [13 favorites]


But did you really fall? Or might a Faceless Man have pushed you?
posted by Iridic at 9:24 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


This post is like falling into the sea

What is drowned may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger
posted by nubs at 9:27 AM on April 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


Whelk fell into the sea! Now we have to hold a Whelksmoot!
posted by jason_steakums at 9:27 AM on April 28, 2014 [23 favorites]


Now we have to hold a Whelksmoot!

*introduces 300 new characters*
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:30 AM on April 28, 2014 [39 favorites]


Wow, what a mountain of a post. Well done.
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Last night was by far the most shocking television episode to day. Our group of faithful watchers was stunned by that final scene (after much yelling and shouting at the earlier divergent scenes). Mouths agape everywhere.

we book readers have been smugly gliding along for three seasons, comfortable in the knowledge that we alone knew what was coming, but no more.

i for one fully embrace being fucked with by the showrunners. bring on the jaime/brienne/cersei love triangle!
posted by echocollate at 10:22 AM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


we book readers have been smugly gliding along for three seasons, comfortable in the knowledge that we alone knew what was coming, but no more.

Yep - I know some book readers who are upset and are thinking of refusing to watch the show for fear of spoilers - I say - bring it on; it was nice to have a moment on the couch with my wife where we both didn't know what was happening or about to happen.

The playing field begins to level out...
posted by nubs at 10:25 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


we book readers have been smugly gliding along for three seasons, comfortable in the knowledge that we alone knew what was coming, but no more.

Really? Jon chasing after Ygritte, Asha Yara off to rescue Theon, Talia?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:34 AM on April 28, 2014


oh good lord let's just write off things like SLEEP and WORK and PRODUCTIVITY OF ANY SORT right damn now.

amazing, amazing post. I thought I'd winkled out all the little ASOIAF fan theory hiding spots on the interwebs, turns out I was so, so wrong.

for the net is dark and full of terrors.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:38 AM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Really? Jon chasing after Ygritte, Asha Yara off to rescue Theon, Talia?

Talisa?

I guess I've viewed the sideplots/pacing decisions as different; it's the TV show choosing to take a different path that still ends at the same place for reasons of pacing, character, actor involvement as opposed to revealing pieces of the story that no one has been to yet.

In short, we knew the map and the destinations along the way to this point, even if the road looked a little different. Last night, they gave us something off the map.
posted by nubs at 10:40 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah the whole Gendry thread and Jeyne Westerling vs. Talisa change was my cue that the show was going to diverge from the books, and probably pretty spectacularly. They've got to simplify storylines and cut to the chase somehow.
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:40 AM on April 28, 2014


In short, we knew the map and the destinations along the way to this point, even if the road looked a little different. Last night, they gave us something off the map.

Exactly. I took the minor deviations in stride as nips and tucks in the adaptation process.
posted by echocollate at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2014


As long as we find out whether a Lannister does shit gold by the last episode of this season, I'm good with whatever changes they make.
posted by Ber at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Asha Yara

My brain always wants to call her Tasha Yar.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:47 AM on April 28, 2014 [15 favorites]


Heh. I'm looking forward to her surprise return on Yesterday's Westeros.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:49 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Let's supplement the original post a bit. Here are some other questions and theories that haven't been mentioned in this thread but that have caught my eye in the past. (Some of these are crazy, but endearingly so.)

Where is Howland Reed? He is probably the most important character in the story who hasn't yet been seen. Unless Howland Reed is Jojen Reed. Of course, this is unlikely if Bran ate Jojenpaste.

The Daynes are another extremely mysterious and little-seen faction in the story. What is Darkstar's plan? Is Darkstar really Aegon Targaryan? Could Arthur Dayne still be alive? Is Ashara Dayne still alive and living with Howland Reed?

And whatever happened to Edric? Is Edric actually Young Griff? For that matter, is Young Griff actually Aegon? Or (more likely I think), is he a Blackfyre pretender being propped up by Varys and Ilyrio?

What about the Hightowers? Are they playing the Game? There is evidence that they dabble in sorcery even thought they were instrumental in forming the Citadel, and the Citadel is purported to have snuffed out magic and killed the dragons. Could Marwyn be Lord Leyton Hightower, Old Man of Oldtown? Is Qyburn a Hightower who has infilitrated King's Landing? Is Moqorro actually Marwyn in disguise?

Did Dany actually grow up in Braavos? Or did she grow up in Dorne?

What happened at Summerhall? ( I assume we won't get an answer to this until the last Dunk and Egg story.)

Did Oberyn poison Tywin?

Is R'hllor just a ruse put on by the Children of the Forest?

Where is Tywin's younger brother, Gerion Lannister? He sailed off looking for the Lannister House sword, Brightroar, and never returned. Here's some crazy speculation about Brightroar. Is Gerion the Corsair King? Or is Euron the Corsair King?

What kind of sorcery has Euron been up to, anyway? There is evidence that he captured Pyat Pree. Did he buy Balon's death from the Faceless Men with a dragon's egg? One of the tinfoil crackpot joke theories of the merfolk-Varys variety is that Euron is "the dusky woman."

I'm sure I'll think of more....
posted by painquale at 10:53 AM on April 28, 2014 [15 favorites]


Ah, it's funny to see show-people excited about Brienne's exciting new plotline with Pod. Maybe the show runners can manage to scrape something interesting out of what was easily one of the worst part of the books, but I doubt it.
posted by codacorolla at 10:55 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm still wondering why in the latest episode they changed the, 'Tyrion and Jaime Have a Chat in the Dungeons' scene so radically from the books. Maybe I am just remembering it wrong?

As I recall, Tyrion is feeling so incensed and betrayed after Jamie confesses his part in their father's ugly scheme to nullify Tyrion's first wedding (to a woman who never had been actually a whore), he falsely confesses to murdering Joffrey in retaliation.

Tyrion then rubs Jaime's face in it by detailing Cersei's numerous trysts while Jaime was being held captive and having his hand hacked off. Which naturally devastates Jaime, who always thought he and Cersei were Soulmates Destined to be Together Forever (But Cruelly Thwarted by Fate Just Now) and that Cersei was as devoted to him as he has always been to her.

But in the show version the brothers are totally close and as chummy as ever! WTF is up with that?
posted by misha at 11:01 AM on April 28, 2014


Misha, wait for ep. 9 or 10.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm simultaneously interested and irritated by the replacement of Ilyn Payne as Jamie's sparring partner with Bronn, because now either his eventual betrayal will be that much more appalling, or it will not even happen? Since the whole situation with Lollys didn't happen in the show (did it? i forget) then what do they have to bribe him with?
posted by elizardbits at 12:03 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ahhhh thread! I recently read "The Princess and the Queen," and the biggest thing I took away from it (aside from how these power struggles have been going on for hundreds of years), is that dragons can be killed. And not just by other dragons.

Another very interesting tidbit was that dragons can be 'tamed' by non-Targaryens (or at least people with very little Targ blood). This is important because the tinfoil theory that Tyrion isn't Tywin's son is (imo) ridiculous. As Genna Lannister (Tywin's sister) says: "Jaime, sweetling, I have known you since you were a babe at Joanna's breast. You smile like Gerion and fight like Tyg and there's some of Kevan in you, else you would not wear that cloak...but Tyrion is Tywin's son, not you. I said so once to your father's face, and he would not speak to me for half a year."

Here's a recent tinfoil theory that I rather like: Howland Reed is the new High Septon. It makes a good case that the HS is a crannogman if not HR himself.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:07 PM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


I recently read "The Princess and the Queen," and the biggest thing I took away from it (aside from how these power struggles have been going on for hundreds of years), is that dragons can be killed.

Blood and Cheese's Sophie's Choice reversal was what really stuck with me. Shudder.
posted by painquale at 12:10 PM on April 28, 2014


Also, I thought Nettles's clever, patient taming of Sheepstealer was very Tyrion-esque.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:22 PM on April 28, 2014


Whenever I dig into an ASoIaF theory I find myself wishing that GRRM had written or gets a chance and a wild hair to write a dense Cold War spy novel. He's so good at the wheels within wheels within wheels thing.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2014 [6 favorites]


Brienne's exciting new plotline with Pod

Well, the end of it is pretty freaking exciting, that's for sure.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:30 PM on April 28, 2014


I'm simultaneously interested and irritated by the replacement of Ilyn Payne as Jamie's sparring partner with Bronn...

Ilyn's actor has terminal cancer.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:31 PM on April 28, 2014


I just want to know if Catelyn Stark will be back. I'm guessing not at this point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on April 28, 2014


You have to go through all the Brienne and Pod bonding on the road in order for her choice at the hands of Lady Stoneheart to make sense. The only reason she chooses what she chooses is to save Pod.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:34 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just want to know if Catelyn Stark will be back. I'm guessing not at this point.

I'm guessing Lady Stoneheart will be a last/next to last episode reveal.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:37 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess the White Walkers can't reproduce on their own? I choose to believe that the White Walkers had to resort to tacky baby-freezing ceremonies for increasing their numbers after their recruitment booths in King's Landing were shut down by some very embarrassed and negligent neighborhood associations
posted by clockzero at 12:39 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Very nice post! Sorry I wasn't able to make the Game Of Thrones post I had considered making some months ago -- things came up. This one is excellent though!
posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on April 28, 2014


painquale: "Here are some other questions and theories that haven't been mentioned in this thread"

And here's my own contribution: After re-reading AFFC, I noticed that, when discussing the plot of Sam going to Oldtown, lots of people referred to things as though they had panned out exactly the way Sam had planned: they spoke of Gilly having gone to Horn Hill, of Sam having the putative Horn of Winter, etc. But Marwyn the Mage changed all that—he ran off down to the docks to take the ship before Sam could retrieve Gilly, Mance Rayder's infant son, the broken horn from the fist of the First Men, the preserved body of Aemon Targaryen and his chain, or the books Sam sold to Quhuru Mo.

Some or all of those things may be with Marwyn on the Cinnamon Wind as he sails to Essos, and I feel pretty strongly that some or all of those things are going to be important in his storyline.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:56 PM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I just want to know if Catelyn Stark will be back. I'm guessing not at this point.

I'm guessing Lady Stoneheart will be a last/next to last episode reveal.


Maybe someone can point me to what I missed, but one of the tells on this has been the lack of an exit interview. The actor for pretty much every major character who has died in the last two seasons has some interviews about their death ready to go right after it happens on the show. Haven't seen one for Michelle yet.
posted by nubs at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2014


She did do interviews about the Red Wedding, but they don't say anything about her leaving the show exactly. The actors who played Robb and his wife, it's mentioned that they left. But Michelle got a haircut, went out to dinner with the showrunners and drank a lot.

Hmmm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:27 PM on April 28, 2014


Is there any chance they won't do the Lady Stoneheart storyline?
posted by lovecrafty at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2014


Ilyn's actor has terminal cancer.

ugh fuck cancer
posted by elizardbits at 1:34 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is there any chance they won't do the Lady Stoneheart storyline?

No way, none whatsoever.

But I am curious whether they'll save her for the last shot of a season finale, or whether she'll appear mid-season. If this season goes to the end of ASoS, she should be the final reveal. But on the other hand, this season will probably also end with Tywin's death and Tyrion's escape and the battle against the Wildlings and Littlefinger taking over the Aerie --- ASoS had an absurdly eventful conclusion. The next couple of seasons don't have as many interesting events to portray (I mean, besides Cersei's walk and Dany's dragon-taming, what is there really?), so they should probably save some things. I think they might reveal Lady Stoneheart in the first or second episode of the next season to open it off with a bang, like Joffrey's death.
posted by painquale at 1:39 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I know you can tell a lot about what's going on in episodes whenever IMDB or whoever starts having information about where the episodes are filmed and who's in them. Not that casual fans would go to that level, but if the saved the Catelyn as Stoneheart reveal to season 5 wouldn't it get ruined by promo type stuff when it's clear she's still involved? I guess Bran could get really plugged into weirwood.net and have a "flashback" to his mom which could justify her still being a cast member, but I think it'll be hard to keep the secret under wraps if they don't do it by the end of this season.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:43 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


My bet is on Stoneheart showing up in the last five minutes of the last episode this season. With maybe rumblings and rumors of Freys getting killed and strung up by 'bandits' in a few episodes before.

ASoS is really the most action packed of the novels. So much game changing shit happens.

I know we're not supposed to whine at GRRM for being slow, but really George. Taking this much time between novels is how you get crazy merling theories.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:52 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I know we're not supposed to whine at GRRM for being slow, but really George. Taking this much time between novels is how you get crazy merling theories.

Yah, as can be seen from the plethora of links leading there the /r/asoiaf subreddit is a great place for discussion, but during the "offseason" between TV seasons its hard to even look at because its like 5% interesting points, 45% articles about whether or not the next book is close to completion, and 50% crazy merling theories that get voted up based on their craziness, then all the comments are just people saying "this is what happens when we don't get books for 5 years".
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:55 PM on April 28, 2014


The next couple of seasons don't have as many interesting events to portray (I mean, besides Cersei's walk and Dany's dragon-taming, what is there really?)

Well, there's Arya's Faceless Man training, Tyrion-in-Essos (will they do the Penny storyline, I wonder?), the introduction of Jon Connington and the reveal of "Aegon", Ser Jorah-the-slave, the introduction of the Second Sons, Dany's marriage, Quentyn Martell, worst dragon tamer ever (if they even show it), and Jaime trying to honor his promise not to take up arms against Tullys or Starks (by threatening to catapult babies... another scene that will play very differently because we don't have access to internal monologues.).

Not as many deaths as ASoS, but lots of moving pieces on the board, setting up for TWoW.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:09 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but with the possible exception of Quentyn's death, I don't really think of those as "events." They're not payoffs in themselves. Like you say, all those things are just setting up the board. I think the showrunners are going to have to manufacture some events that'll get people talking around the water cooler, and it makes sense to hold over some of the events from the jam-packed ASoS.

I guess Jon Snow beheading Janos Slynt and Brienne getting her face eaten are other neat events. Brienne might get eaten this season though, since her story is being hustled along.
posted by painquale at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the kingsmoot, with Guaranteed Fan Favorite Victarion finally showing up.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:22 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The Ironborn will probably play a lot better on screen than on the page. I think people will be excited to see bloodthirsty pirates.
posted by painquale at 2:24 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not to mention the kingsmoot, with Guaranteed Fan Favorite Victarion finally showing up.

Victarion? Really? When you've got handsome one-eyed mad pirate Euron right there?
posted by lovecrafty at 2:26 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


the Penny storyline is so terrible because she's this totally sweet and painfully naive character and it was so fucking agonizing to read, i don't know if i can bear to watch it as a tragic performance
posted by elizardbits at 2:27 PM on April 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


I swear I read four out of five of these books.

I have no memories whatsoever of 90% of the characters mentioned in this thread.
posted by kyrademon at 2:31 PM on April 28, 2014 [16 favorites]


Victarion? Really? When you've got handsome one-eyed mad pirate Euron right there?

Euron's also a bit of a brother-molester, depending on how you read the evidence.
posted by dhens at 3:21 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


also potentially a fishfucker or at the very least a krakenfondler
posted by elizardbits at 3:36 PM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Could the white walker in the final scene be Benjen Stark?
posted by cairnoflore at 3:44 PM on April 28, 2014


least a krakenfondler

I cannot BELIVE the amount of mollusksexual hatred on this site, disgusting.
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


kyrademon don't feel bad not only have I read all of the books and graphic novels and prequels and pre-release chapters and (re)watched the series multiple times, I've also exhaustively read most of the fan theory blogs / subreddit musings and forum discussion AND I am a personal friend of the author's niece who does nice things like give me signed copies of the hardbacks AND has gotten me into a con or two and I STILL have no fucking clue what's going on at the end of like Book 5 so, yeah, it is a mystery.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:57 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


(but also I'm old and have a job and other hobbies too plus I'm forgetful so there's that)
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:58 PM on April 28, 2014


Euron's also a bit of a brother-molester, depending on how you read the evidence.

Oh yes, I know that. But if we're taking bets on which Greyjoy brother will be the fan favorite, my money's on the sexy pirate with an eyepatch who's so badass he once threw a dragon's egg into the ocean. I'll also bet they don't get into anything he may or may not have done with Aeron, unless GRRM tells them it's Very Important plot-wise. Plus, Victarion beat his wife to death for 'honor' when Euron knocked her up.

So if we're playing which Greyjoy is the biggest asshole, the answer is all of them.

I mean, I know uptight teeth-clenchers like Victarion and Stannis (this is going to get me in trouble...) have levels of popularity I sometimes find... odd? But I think Euron has the potential to play better on screen.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:35 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that the current popular theory of Coldhand's identity wasn't included (not really, there are a lot of theories.) Namely, that he's the Night's King.

We learn of the Night's King, the 13th Lord Commander who cavorted with an Other (or a Wight). All record of him was stricken from the Wall, but Old Nan tells Bran that he was a Stark, and hints his name was Brandon. Later, Coldhands responds to Bran's accusation that he's a monster with "Your monster, Brandon Stark." We're meant to read that as him addressing Bran, but he could also be literally introducing himself.

This theory got a boost after ADWD when Leaf describes Coldhands as having been killed "long ago." The Children of the Forest are very long lived, and it seems unlikely they'd describe someone like Benjen (the previous favorite for Coldhand's origin) who only went missing a couple years earlier as having died long ago. The Night's King, on the other hand, would have died thousands of years ago.

Now, Coldhands being absent from the show struck a lot of readers as curious. He's the one who revealed the gate beneath the Nightfort to Sam and Gilly. (The Nightfort, perhaps not incidentally, was the seat of power of the Night's King during his brief reign.) If the Night's King was indeed the big reveal last episode, it would make much more sense why we haven't seen Coldhands already.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:44 PM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Can I just say how much I love "wierwood.net"

because it's the best
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:47 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Still prefer WeirWoodWeb, myself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:52 PM on April 28, 2014


I read the books. But looking at those summary sites....the characters I don't remember AT ALL scatter like roaches when you turn on the kitchen light
posted by thelonius at 4:58 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


so badass he once threw a dragon's egg into the ocean
Or used it to hire a faceless man to kill his elder brother ;-)

I mean, I know uptight teeth-clenchers like Victarion and Stannis (this is going to get me in trouble...) have levels of popularity I sometimes find... odd?

Don't besmirch Stannis the Mannis's name; the showrunners are doing that well enough already. He is one of the saddest (but also one of the funniest) characters in the series.
posted by dhens at 5:41 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh I know Stannis has a sad tragic middle child background. He's still an uptight teeth-clenching kinslayer. #dontburnme
posted by lovecrafty at 5:52 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


One of the biggest crimes the showrunners have perpetrated against Team Dragonstone is the omission of Patchface (aka, the Drowned God?). Even Melisandre is scared of Patchface.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:03 PM on April 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Stannis the Mannis

Now there's an appellation you didn't hear before the show.

Team Dragonstone

Aside from possibly the Tyrells, I can't think of a family that can currently be described as Team Anything.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:23 PM on April 28, 2014


He's still an uptight teeth-clenching kinslayer.
Renly died a traitor's death. I concede that the Edric Storm case is deeply troubling.

#dontburnme
Enh, Stannis seems to be moving away from the religion of the Red God:

Clayton Suggs: A sacrifice will prove our faith still burns true, Sire.
Godry the Giantslayer: The old gods of the north have sent this storm upon us. Only R'hllor can end it. We must give him an unbeliever.
Stannis: Half my army is made up of unbelievers. I will have no burnings. Pray harder.


Of course, the show has Alester Florent burned because he's an "infidel" (!) and not because he tried to negotiate a separate peace -- including marrying off Shireen to Tommen -- without Stannis's consent.

Selyse is the true believer. I've read a theory that says that Melisandre will convince Selyse to let her sacrifice Shireen in order to resurrect Jon, thereby waking a dragon (Jon, son of Rhaegar) from stone (Shireen, the greyscale sufferer).
posted by dhens at 6:25 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Stannis the Mannis

Now there's an appellation you didn't hear before the show.


A contributor to the Westeros.org forums came up with (in jest) "Janos the Manos."
posted by dhens at 6:27 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Renly died a traitor's death

The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Not the shadow of the man.
posted by ersatz at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2014 [5 favorites]


Stannis : R'hllor :: an early 1980's office manager : computers, in that he doesn't fully buy in or understand it at all but, by god, we're going to fully commit to this thing and we'll get those third quarter numbers up, I mean look at what Mel in accounting was able to do, streamlined that whole department.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:52 PM on April 28, 2014 [36 favorites]


Renly died a traitor's death. I concede that the Edric Storm case is deeply troubling.

Hmmm... using a shadowbinder to stab his own brother (traitor or not) in the back and then doing the same to Cortnay Penrose when he wouldn't turn Edric over, fearing for the boy's life (as he should)? There's no honor in that. Davos is pretty much the only really decent thing left about Stannis. Though I most definitely am rooting for him to burn the crap out of Ramsay.

I've read a theory that says that Melisandre will convince Selyse to let her sacrifice Shireen in order to resurrect Jon, thereby waking a dragon (Jon, son of Rhaegar) from stone (Shireen, the greyscale sufferer).

I like this! Though it's pretty clear Jon warged into Ghost at the last minute. I don't know if that'll mess up the Red Priest resurrection ritual.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:55 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Though it's pretty clear Jon warged into Ghost at the last minute. I don't know if that'll mess up the Red Priest resurrection ritual.

Fan consensus seems to be that it'll actually avoid the "fading" we've seen in Belric and Cat, since his consciousness will be preserved during his "downtime."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:18 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


So Ghost is like his external backup hard drive?
posted by Jacqueline at 8:22 PM on April 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


In High Valyrian "Ghost" literally translates as "Dropbox"
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:32 PM on April 28, 2014 [20 favorites]


Let me at least maintain the fantasy that Jon is dead for good. Stop saying so many plausible things!
posted by codacorolla at 8:45 PM on April 28, 2014


Stannis derives his popularity from the fact that out of all of them, he's the one who has acted most like a King - he figured out what the threat to the realm was and moved to face it.

Then, despite not always getting the answers and easy solutions he hoped for, he has taken advice and done the hard work to build up his army. Stannis is hard, Stannis is uncompromising, but Stannis also generally does what needs to be done. He resents the fact that the rewards for that are slow or non-existent, but he keeps doing it. That's why he is gaining fans amongst the readers, though the show hasn't figured him out yet.

And I expect the upcoming Battle in the Ice will be spectacular, not least because of the trap that has been laid (someone out there has done an extensive prediction of what is to come in that Battle, not sure if it's been linked here or not yet - I'm on my phone or I would find it).

It says something about the books that Stannis is being viewed as a good candidate for King by the end of ADWD.
posted by nubs at 9:07 PM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


But if Jon is really dead then we have so much more setup ahead of us before the payoff. Because who else can turn the Night's Watch around into a competent line of defense against the Others? Stannis is bogged down and on his last legs, and nobody else at the Wall is remotely capable. GRRM would have to spend so much precious book time putting someone else in that position.

Speculation time! I think Jon lives, his "death" frees him from his vows, but as the last remaining viable Stark (now would be a great time for Robb's will to show up) and a dude who does the right thing he isn't going to give up on them - so he goes to stomp the Boltons for good with Stannis and Manderly and the other Stark loyalists (maybe Ramsay runs into Davos and Rickon as they're coming back and Ramsay's fleeing to the Dreadfort and captures them, and then Stannis, Jon and Theon mount a rescue mission ending in dead Ramsay), and then something something crypts/birthright and something something Stannis/Melisandre (I'm betting one or both of them dies or turns straight up evil, leaning towards Mel goes rogue and Stannis, betrayed and dying, has a lovely speech about Jon Stark truly being a man of honor and worthy of being the king and so on and so forth and Davos Seaworth Has Now Joined Jon's Party) and then it's off to the Wall with a bunch of reinforcements from the Stark loyalists and a bunch of former Bolton guys who have to take the black to make up for backing the wrong horse, and then things are really cooking with the Others finally, coming to a head when dragons show up and the Wall comes down and getting sorted out in the nick of time when Samwell Goddamn Tarly swaggers in all Neville Longbottom and saves the day with something he learned in Oldtown.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:20 PM on April 28, 2014 [11 favorites]


I totally agree that I think Jon will technically die so that "now his Watch has ended"
posted by Jacqueline at 9:27 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


My favorite little bit right now that I read in one of the theories in the FPP is that the Old Gods are totally just Bran, Bloodraven and the other weirwood.net users through the years reaching back in time through the trees.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:30 PM on April 28, 2014 [8 favorites]


Speculation time! I think Jon lives, his "death" frees him from his vows...

I think this will probably happen too, but it will disappoint me a little. It feels like a cop out, like rules lawyering. And I mean, he's the Lord Commander. What happens to the Night Watch if he just leaves?

Though maybe if he wargs Ghost and stays in him for a while, leaves the Wall maybe, then meets up with Mel and gets resurrected a while later. In the meantime the NW choose a new LC. So he's away from the Wall and that makes it easier to consider himself free.

A few other possibilities for getting out of his vows: Robb's will legitimised him, or J=R+L turns out to be correct. In which case he's really Jon Stark or Jon Targaryan, whereas the man who joined the watch was Jon Snow. Who doesn't exist anymore, so no-one's breaking vows. (Bit more rules lawyering I think). Or, he just decides once again to ignore his vows....

Whatever happens, Jon dying means that some random (probably a bad guy) can be the 999th LC, leaving the way open for the book to finish with a major character as the 1000th LC, which seems likely because it's a nice round number (Jon again? Sam? Jorah? I'm kinda guessing here)
posted by Pink Frost at 10:24 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


leaving the way open for the book to finish with a major character as the 1000th LC, which seems likely because it's a nice round number (Jon again? Sam? Jorah? I'm kinda guessing here)

Jaime Lannister. Starts out the series as a bad guy in a white cloak, ends it as a good guy in a black cloak?

(And he's the valonqar, not Tyrion, right? Right? He's ten minutes younger than Cersei.)
posted by lovecrafty at 10:32 PM on April 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


Though I'm in the J=R+L camp and also the "Tyrion is a Targaryen" camp, so I expect Dany to get to the wall and the three of them to somehow end up as the three heads of the dragon. Although that isn't incompatible with jason_steakums' suggestions.

There's a lot of fun stuff in the first book that could be read as foreshadowing this (like Jon deciding that he needs to abandon the NW to help his brother and avenge his father - which would mostly fit with helping a relative (Dany and/or Tyrion) and avenging his father (Rheagar). And then you have the otherwise superfluous sections early on where Tyrion visits the Wall and befriends Jon.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:32 PM on April 28, 2014


And I mean, he's the Lord Commander. What happens to the Night Watch if he just leaves?

Well, presumably the people stabbing him have some sort of plan for whom they wanted to take over after Jon was dead.

Regardless of whether he survives without sorcery or technically dies and is resurrected, it's pretty hard to continue to lead an organization full of people who literally just stabbed you in the back.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:32 PM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Tyrion doesn't have to be a Targ to be a dragon rider. I'm in the camp that says he's Tywin's son through and through, but will still end up as one of the three heads.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:40 PM on April 28, 2014


Jaime Lannister. Starts out the series as a bad guy in a white cloak, ends it as a good guy in a black cloak?

Nice thought. It'd be a perfect role for him, too.

(And he's the valonqar, not Tyrion, right? Right? He's ten minutes younger than Cersei.)

IMO yes. A perfect fake-out on Cersei, and their story is certainly heading that way.

It's pretty hard to continue to lead an organization full of people who literally just stabbed you in the back.

Hah, true. I just re-read, and it's unclear from that chapter how many mutineers there are - Jon reads Ramsay's letter, says he's going south, asks for volunteers and gets a roar in response that is "all he could have hoped for", but at the same time Yarwyck and Marsh and "all their men" leave. So I guess there'd be a large number of people on both sides. I was assuming if he came back he'd still have a large number of supporters and would weed out and execute the mutineers.
posted by Pink Frost at 10:44 PM on April 28, 2014


I like this! Though it's pretty clear Jon warged into Ghost at the last minute.

Whoa whoa really? I'm going to show how little I'm up on fan speculation/discussion by admitting that never crossed my mind. I'm an idiot. I hadn't been able to come up with any "out" for Jon except for resurrection as some kind of creature that would surely be distasteful.

So... what are the indications that he warged, and how would this supposedly play out? Does his body still need to be resurrected by some kind of firey magic? I've gotta read up on the connections between Dondarion Bombadil whatever-his-name-is and Mel's god. Honestly that stuff interested me so little I haven't paid much attention to it even on rereading.
posted by torticat at 11:44 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Now, Coldhands being absent from the show struck a lot of readers as curious.

So is Coldhands really out? I'd thought after Sunday's ep that Coldhands would probably show up at Craster's and extract Bran & co., creating another missed connection with Bran and Jon and getting the book storyline with Bran back on track (not that I mind the divergences).

It's hard to imagine Coldhands being a dispensable character. His identity, whatever it is, seems too important.
posted by torticat at 11:51 PM on April 28, 2014


One more question and I'm out for the night... shouldn't Balon Greyjoy already be dead, fallen off his swinging bridge or whatever, in the book timeline? In the show, did Stannis burn a leech for Greyjoy? (I've never rewatched and my memory's not great.)
posted by torticat at 11:56 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


So... what are the indications that he warged, and how would this supposedly play out?

First, the prologue in ADWD establishes that Varamyr Sixskins lives on in his wolf, even though his human body died. Sixskins had also recognized Jon as a powerful warg, and he coveted Ghost for himself. Jon has warged into Ghost and scouted things before, as Bran does with Summer at first. He has wolf dreams in ADWD. Finally, his last action is to whisper Ghost's name. As he falls, he doesn't feel the last blade, but "Only the cold."
posted by lovecrafty at 12:07 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "least a krakenfondler

I cannot BELIVE the amount of mollusksexual hatred on this site, disgusting.
"

Maybe we can get place of our own. :(
posted by barnacles at 12:54 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


In the show, did Stannis burn a leech for Greyjoy?

Yes. Joffrey, Robb and Balon. I feel like Balon must be due to die soon.

So is Coldhands really out? I'd thought after Sunday's ep that Coldhands would probably show up at Craster's and extract Bran & co.

I thought we'd see him in E04. When Bran etc are being questioned inside the keep, there's a strange light from outside that I thought indicated something supernatural approaching - probably Coldhands. Then when we first saw the WW on his horse, I thought that would be CH. Still time for him to turn up I guess. I feel like Jon rescuing Bran would be too big a departure from the books, but in the books CH does kill some Night's Watch members (presumably deserters) to protect Bran.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:17 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Coldhands is in for sure. There was a big flock of ravens when Sam and Gilly had the encounter with the Other in the last season. They're hinting at him, they just haven't shown him yet.
posted by vbfg at 4:15 AM on April 29, 2014


shouldn't Balon Greyjoy already be dead, fallen off his swinging bridge or whatever, in the book timeline? In the show, did Stannis burn a leech for Greyjoy?

I think there was a Balon leech, because I saw a prediction after Joffrey's death from a show-watcher-only that Balon would die because of the leeches.

I imagine we'll get Balon's death later this season, and then the kingsmoot next season. I'm curious about how they'll handle Asha/Yara's plot and the kingsmoot, since she just took off to find Theon.
posted by lunasol at 4:16 AM on April 29, 2014


I STILL have no fucking clue what's going on at the end of like Book 5 so, yeah, it is a mystery.

Whenever people talk about the Bran chapters north of the Wall, I'm like "... that happened?" Seriously, I think I must have just completely skimmed those chapters or skipped some, because 90% of what people talk about with Bran and the weirwoods and the children of the forest is total news to me.

I do think it's interesting how ASOIAF has such dedicated readers who are able to read into the tiniest little clues and illuminate things that probably would be unclear to most readers, but because of the internet, these things become widely known. I think Frey Pie is my favorite example of this - it's not referred to explicitly at all in the books, and I'm sure I would have missed it on my own, but it absolutely makes sense.
posted by lunasol at 4:25 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there's a whole bunch of stuff that I missed and only picked up on because of the internet. I read the books because of the shows and mostly because I'd spoilered myself on a lot of things anyway. I knew about R+L=J before I'd read anything and hadn't yet seen all of season one. There's no way I'd have picked up on it from reading though, I'm not that kind of reader.

Somehow I managed to get the full Red Wedding experience though. No idea how I managed that.

When talking about the books with a colleague who'd also read them I asked him who he thought John's mother was (having read that it was one of the questions GRRM asked the show runners to find out how serious they were). He had no idea. I didn't tell him, cos if you haven't figured it out and someone tells you then for me it's a spoiler no matter how much you've read.

Personally though if I find something I enjoy I'm straight on the interwebs looking for discussion about it. But I think for many readers the tinfoil theories pass them by.
posted by vbfg at 4:33 AM on April 29, 2014


The Frey pies is one of the few things I thought was strongly hinted at, but then again I like penny dreadfuls and pies. I really hope that Tyrion doesn't end up being a Targ because if the ending is three Targs riding dragons, burning Others, and killing Blackfyre for good measure, it will be an ending more disappointing than Battlestar Galactica's. On that note, I like that show!Dany seems to get a bit unhinged.

and the Wall comes down and getting sorted out in the nick of time when Samwell Goddamn Tarly swaggers in all Neville Longbottom and saves the day with something he learned in Oldtown.

Gee, Lord Commander, who knew all the Others really wanted was ma's roasted almonds?
posted by ersatz at 4:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


if the ending is three Targs riding dragons, burning Others, and killing Blackfyre for good measure, it will be an ending more disappointing than Battlestar Galactica's.

Most predictions seem to think that from now on it's a forced march toward a particular sort of ending. I am really hoping that Martin keeps throwing in monkey wrenches and screwing with expected narrative structure. For instance, I think that the battle against the Others might end up being not the climax, but simply a drain on Stannis and others who go to fight them. I hope no one saves the world in the traditional fantasy sense and that it ends with Littlefinger taking the throne or something like that.

I also hope that Martin does something to make the reader truly hate --- Ramsey-level hate --- Tyrion, Jon, Dany, Arya, or Varys. They are too Mary Sueish and the hero's journey needs to be upended. I doubt he'll let Tyrion do anything too ignoble, but the others can all be soiled.
posted by painquale at 5:08 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I doubt he'll let Tyrion do anything too ignoble, but the others can all be soiled.

Well, he did murder his ex-girlfriend. That's not great.
posted by lunasol at 7:27 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Jaime Lannister. Starts out the series as a bad guy in a white cloak, ends it as a good guy in a black cloak?

I love this. So many great ideas in this thread. Guys, why don't we do GRRM a solid and finish the series for him.
posted by echocollate at 7:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Tyrion's journey in ADWD makes me think he might be heading toward "soiled" territory. (Alas, that journey contains an ASSTON of filler.)

If there's to be a "crack" ending, I'm still hoping for a republic with Davos as President or the equivalent. Or even a constitutional monarchy with Sansa or Shireen as Queen and the country run by a council. Everyone's probably going to be sick to the death of kings by the story's end, and who can blame them?

More realistically, Sansa is my favorite character (which makes me an oddity outside of the Pawn to Player threads on westeros.org and, of course, Tumblr) and I hope she's either Queen or happily married; whether she is the Elizabeth of York to Aegon Blackfyre's Henry VII or Queen in her own right. And I don't want her married to Tyrion, no matter how much of a Nice Guy(tm) he is to her. (Given GRRM, I wouldn't put it past him for that to be the ending. Blech.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:38 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, he did murder his ex-girlfriend. That's not great.

You know, I'm not proud that I kind of papered over that in my mind. Martin still loves Tyrion and he conveys that love, so Tyrion doesn't seem horrible. He's still portrayed as an audience surrogate and an empathetic figure. I guess I want a mirror of Jaime: a beloved character who becomes despised through his actions (rather than vice versa). Maybe Tyrion is a good figure to take up that mantle, becoming the Imp everyone thought he was.

I haven't thought about what it'll look like for Dinklage's Tyrion to kill Shae on-screen. The optics of the event will definitely make it come across differently than in the books. I can imagine that it might ruin Tyrion for some viewers and make him seem beyond redemption. I don't think I've heard book readers think that way of him. They aren't that vocal, at least.
posted by painquale at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to place on the record here, 27 hours after this thread was posted, that I hate you all. I have wandered deep into the rabbit hole and now I'm all excited about this series again, and after the brutal wait for ADWD, this is just NOT FAIR.

Jon Snow, just a bastard with a harp. ("A harp can be as dangerous as a sword, in the right hands." - Littlefinger)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:08 AM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


I wouldn't mind an ending where all magic - the Others, the dragons, the wargs, all of it - has to pull a trip to Valinor kind of thing and leave the known world at the end, and the magic users have to go with, north of the (rebuilt?) Wall and on to parts unknown, or lose it. Maybe Bran lingers through the connection to the weirwoods, but Sansa can stay since she hasn't really had the whole warging experience. The three heads of the dragon go off to rule in some faraway magic land, the seasons even out for the rest of the world, Sansa rules with Davos as Hand, Rickon's the Stark in Winterfell, and Jaime and Brienne hold watch at the Wall.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:22 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Actually, scratch that - Brienne as Lord Commander of the Queensguard.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]




Re: Frey Pie. To me, it's crystal clear that's what happened. Martin did everything short of saying "Wyman Manderly served people pie." The making a big show of saying the guest right was over (after all, Wyman Manderly is no Frey to violate the sacred right!), the disappearance of the three Freys, the appearance of the three huge pies, Wyman calling for the song of the Rat Cook, who so deeply violated guest right (by serving a king his own son for dinner) he was turned into a rat unable to eat anything but his own young.

And then of course Wyman's delighted eating of a second helping.

As for Tyrion, there is the theory that the whore known as the Sailor's Wife in Braavos is actually Tyrion's first wife, Tysha (the crofter's daughter). She only beds men who marry her. She has a blonde teenaged daughter named Lanna.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


"Relax, Ser Aenys! I've got a gut feeling your kin are around here somewhere. After all, isn't there a little Frey in all of us? In fact, you might say we just ate your son, and he's in our stomachs right now!"
posted by Iridic at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


To me, it's crystal clear that's what happened. Martin did everything short of saying "Wyman Manderly served people pie."

That all makes sense, but I still totally missed it! I also missed that Mance and the spearwives were the musicians at Winterfell in ADwD, so I probably just need to re-read that book.

I haven't thought about what it'll look like for Dinklage's Tyrion to kill Shae on-screen.

Oh god, I've been a little bit worried about that since they introduced show Shae. She is so much more of a sympathetic character, and their relationship was so much more real. Plus, watching it happen on screen is going to be just horrible.

On a sort-of related note, it really bugs me how much some fans love Victarion. To me he read as a brute who beat his wife to death for sleeping with (possibly was raped by) his brother, and yet somehow still manages to think of himself as having been the victim in that scenario. He also appears to be beating the "dusky woman," his concubine.

There is even a somewhat popular fan prediction that Dany will fall in love with him when he shows up in Mereen, which just ... no. That is not going to happen. Actually, I was a little bit worried it would, but then I saw GRRM speak and he called Victarion "dumb as a stump" so I'm pretty sure that's off the table.
posted by lunasol at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


Victarion's hubris for wearing that full plate armor on a ship to show that he doesn't fear drowning is going to bite him in the ass.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is even a somewhat popular fan prediction that Dany will fall in love with him when he shows up in Mereen

Oh god no. No no no. No good things for Greyjoys, I say. Assholes the lot of them. Plus I think Dany's marrying days are over. Her big come to Jesus moment in the grasslands was accepting that dragons plant no trees.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:26 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't realize that Victarion fans existed. I'm a Rodrik Harlaw man, myself.
posted by Iridic at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Victarion's as flawed as anyone, but I'll admit I'm a fan. I love the scene where the red priest heals his arm and he immediately walks out of his cabin and orders the Maester killed. He's crazy.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I didn't realize that Victarion fans existed.

Hell, Quentyn Martell fans exist.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:31 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Dickon Manwoody fans exist.

Although that's probably not so surprising.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Quentyn getting roasted at the end of Dance was a high point in the series for me, after suffering through every horrible chapter devoted to him.

I realize that's how I'm largely interacting with the book and show at this point: I hate almost every major character because they do nothing but mope and fret and I just want them to die and suffer since I'm sick of their story-lines.
posted by codacorolla at 9:57 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Quentyn getting roasted at the end of Dance was a "would throw book at wall if it wasn't ebook" moment for me because what on Earth did I suffer through that storyline for?!

Although right now I'm in the middle of a reread, where I'm alternating chapters from Feast with chapters from Dance, and I suspect it'll read better the second time through, when I'm not so frantic for what's going to happen now now now.
posted by seyirci at 10:15 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really think Doran Martell should have sent Arianne to make a deal with Dany instead of Quentyn. I think Dany would have respected her as a kindred spirit and they would have been much more likely to form an alliance, as opposed to Quentyn's weak-sauce familial obligation twice removed argument.
posted by lunasol at 10:15 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Although right now I'm in the middle of a reread, where I'm alternating chapters from Feast with chapters from Dance, and I suspect it'll read better the second time through, when I'm not so frantic for what's going to happen now now now.

Yeah, I think that's why I missed so much in the last two books, because I was speed-reading for plot. Whereas the last two books are less about plot and more about backstory and (hopefully, god) setting up for the final phase of the story. Which is what made them not as good as the first three, but that's another story.
posted by lunasol at 10:19 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hate almost every major character because they do nothing but mope and fret

They just all look bad in comparison to Dolorous Edd, who turned it into an art form.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:20 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


lunasol: That's a very good point. But Doran Martell has a blind spot when it comes to Arianne (and Quentyn) and their roles, capabilities and responsibilities. So in a sense, maybe what happened to Quentyn was Doran's comeuppance?

See, I'm already beginning to feel better about it, and I'm not even far enough in the reread for Quentyn to have appeared yet!
posted by seyirci at 10:21 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


My favorite little bit right now that I read in one of the theories in the FPP is that the Old Gods are totally just Bran, Bloodraven and the other weirwood.net users through the years reaching back in time through the trees.

Is that even controversial? Does anyone think that there exist Old Gods who aren't greenseers, human or otherwise?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:30 AM on April 29, 2014


I like the image of people sacrificing others and stuffing their parts in the gaping weirwood mouth and Bran-as-Old-God being all WHAT ARE YOU DOING I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS STAHP
posted by jason_steakums at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


WHAT ARE YOU DOING I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS STAHP

Tastes like Jojen.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:40 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ooh, ooh! I was just reading one of the linked posts about the Lord of the Light, and it reminded me of one of my favorite theories that I forgot to add for this post: The Starks as the Seven Gods.

This theory doesn't actually mean anything per se (though if Rickon is the Builder/Smith then it might mean he is the one to rebuild Winterfell). I just like it because it's an example of how carefully GRRM links his mythology and his characters, and how intricately the symbolism, characterization and plot can be woven together.
posted by lunasol at 10:45 AM on April 29, 2014


>BRAN_FL@KES has entered the room.
BRAN_FL@KES: uh guys any advice how to make people not sacrifice to my tree
ILL-DER1: huh, NOT sacrifice
ILL-DER1: LOL noob
DARKSQUIRREL: Long Winter? Try Eternal September.
ILL-DER1: what's a branf latke anyway
BL∞DRAVEN: be cool guys, he's a kid.
WIREDWOODY: iF hE'S oLD eNOUGH 2 pOST hE'S oLD eNOUGH 2 rEAD tHE faq.

posted by Iridic at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


So Ghost is like his external backup hard drive?

I totally believe Jon warged into Ghost at the end of the last book. I felt like the prologue set it up in an obvious way, though my son who has also read all the books (and actually remembers everyone's names!) flatly disagrees with me on that. He is a staunch Stanns fan, though, while I am Jon Snow, Dany and Tyrion all the way.

I do find it weird how much Ghost resembles Bloodraven, right down to the albino hair (fur) with red eyes. Seems like a weird similarity for it to have no significance; Bloodraven also legendarily used grey wolves as spies and such. Hypothesis: Were the dire wolves set up by Bloodraven in some way to give the Starks an advantage in the wars to come?
posted by misha at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


How about THIS for an ending: a triumvirate consisting of Dany, Margaery and Sansa with Tyrion as their Hand and Asha (Yara) in charge of their navy?

Dany keeps the skies clear with dragons, Margeary handles the feeding, clothing and taking care of the people, and Sansa--okay, look, I personally don't care for Sansa, but she is some fans' favorite character, so I think she could be part of the Big Three--maybe she is able to bring the North into the fold again?

Bran stays underground, becoming the new Varys, in control of whisperers and "Little birds". Arya controls her own network of spies, becoming the new Littlefinger.

Jaime commands the Wall, because he loves that stuff anyway, Brienne maybe at his side as co-commander because I like that pairing--this strikes me as more in character for them than any lovey-dovey deal would, too.

Some of the Unsullied become the new Queensguard, the rest serve on the Wall with Jaime and Brienne.

Rickon is the Stark who rebuilds Winterfell.

Tommen, who didn't care much for being King after all, takes off with Sir Pounce and they have all sorts of adventures, spawning a new kids series that will be out sometime in the next twenty years.
posted by misha at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


If there's to be a "crack" ending, I'm still hoping for a republic with Davos as President or the equivalent. Or even a constitutional monarchy with Sansa or Shireen as Queen and the country run by a council. Everyone's probably going to be sick to the death of kings by the story's end, and who can blame them?

A friend and I came to this conclusion about a year ago, that the series is not actually about who wins the throne in Westeros, but about Westeros' transition to some form of democracy. It makes sense when you think about it, because GRRM makes the point over and over again about how much this system of aristocracy is bad for Westeros. At this point, I have to admit that I'll be disappointed if the endgame is just a new butt on the throne.
posted by lunasol at 11:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I haven't thought about what it'll look like for Dinklage's Tyrion to kill Shae on-screen.

I think that and the crossbow bolt to his dad's bowels are going to be this season's Episode 9 moment.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


My guess is there won't be an Iron Throne to win by the end of the books. The show skipped several of Dany's (thus far very truthful) House of the Undying visions, but added (I think, I don't have the book on hand to see if it's in there, but I remember thinking it was new) a scene of the throne room, filled with snow, the palace broken, the Iron Throne empty and cold.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Sansa--okay, look, I personally don't care for Sansa, but she is some fans' favorite character, so I think she could be part of the Big Three

Sansa as the Master of Whispers on the Small Council. She's getting some excellent one-on-on tutoring on politics, conspiracies, and espionage, after all.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:02 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


...a scene of the throne room, filled with snow, the palace broken, the Iron Throne empty and cold.

Here's the whole vision.

It left me wondering whether the vision of snow on the Iron Throne was foreshadowing for Snow on the Iron Throne.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:05 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Didn't Bran also see a snowy Iron Throne in his visions two weeks ago? Or am i just conflating the two?
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2014


A friend and I came to this conclusion about a year ago, that the series is not actually about who wins the throne in Westeros, but about Westeros' transition to some form of democracy.

Have you read the Littlefinger theories from the FPP yet? Some people theorize that LF's end game is total destruction of the noble class. That would certainly leave a power vacuum in which a constitutional republic might be implemented.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


It left me wondering whether the vision of snow on the Iron Throne was foreshadowing for Snow on the Iron Throne.

What makes that idea scary is that Ramsey is also a Snow. I seriously doubt that would happen, of course. Can't see GRRM going there after Joffrey.
posted by misha at 12:15 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jaqueline, I haven't read those yet - they're now next on my list, and I love the idea that the person who brings about democracy wouldn't be a righteous freedom-fighter, but a duplicitous power-player with revenge as his goal.
posted by lunasol at 12:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Didn't Bran also see a snowy Iron Throne in his visions two weeks ago? Or am i just conflating the two?

He did. A lot of the images from Bran's vision were recycled from clips from previous seasons. IIRC, only the shots of big weirwood tree were new footage.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2014


I love the idea that the person who brings about democracy wouldn't be a righteous freedom-fighter, but a duplicitous power-player with revenge as his goal.

I'm really sad that I could only find one tidbit of Marxist analysis to link in the FPP, because I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the theory that Littlefinger's character arc is supposed to symbolize Capitalism overthrowing Feudalism.

Maybe the big story of ASOIAF is about Marx's Stages of History?

I mean, so far we've seen examples of:

Primitive Communism: The Children of the Forest (and maybe some of the Wildling societies?)

Slave Society: Most of Essos

Feudalism: Westeros

Capitalism: This could be what Littlefinger is bringing about

I don't think we'll see Socialism within the scope of the story because even Marx thought Capitalism was a prerequisite stage for that.

Some obsessive book reader more schooled in Marxist theory than me could have a lot of fun fleshing that analogy out.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


What makes that idea scary is that Ramsey is also a Snow. I seriously doubt that would happen, of course. Can't see GRRM going there after Joffrey.

Don't call him that!! You don't want to see what he does to people who call him that. He's a fully legitimized Bolton. Yessir, that's a fact.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Ramsay is a Bolton now so I think if we're going to have a Snow on the Iron Throne then it's far more likely that it will be a POV character who has been a Snow the whole time.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2014


Hmm... Prime Minister Baelish as endgame?
posted by lovecrafty at 12:32 PM on April 29, 2014


More like Lord Protector, no?
posted by elizardbits at 12:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aw, shit, I included the wrong link in the FPP. This is what I meant to link to when referencing Littlefinger destroying the nobility:

http://www.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/1d5l07/spoilers_all_petyr_baelish_king_of_the_ashes/
posted by Jacqueline at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mayor Baelish? Just for the Wire fans?
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:56 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yay, cortex fixed the link. The Littlefinger section in the FPP should make a lot more sense now.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2014


...that the series is not actually about who wins the throne in Westeros, but about Westeros' transition to some form of democracy. It makes sense when you think about it, because GRRM makes the point over and over again about how much this system of aristocracy is bad for Westeros. At this point, I have to admit that I'll be disappointed if the endgame is just a new butt on the throne.

GRRM has apparently said that we will see at least one more person on the Iron Throne before the end of the series, and it will be someone unexpected. But I agree with arguments above, there's a good chance we'll see some form of democracy:

Davos as hand or admiral. Asha as admiral if Davos isn't. Tyrion as master of coin. Brienne to restore honour to the King/Queen/President's guard. Sam is the Maester on the Small Council. Jaime at the Wall (assuming that there's still any need for the Wall, though - if the Free Folk are onside, and the Others are defeated/gone/not a problem/actually the good guys). Sansa as Varys is good (if she's not President), but maybe as some kind of diplomat instead - does democratic Westeros need a Master of Whisperers? Mance could be involved somehow seeing as the Seven Kingdoms are friends with the Free Folk...

(Which leaves out Arya and Dany and Margaery and and and....)
posted by Pink Frost at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


does democratic Westeros need a Master of Whisperers?

Modern democracies in the real world have intelligence agencies, so yeah, of course.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:04 PM on April 29, 2014


GRRM might say it's unexpected, but as we can see people have pet theories about everyone. Somewhere out there someone is rooting for Dolorous Edd on the Throne. Just his luck. Made ruler of the seven kingdoms only to have to sign the whole thing over, part and parcel, to some mad revolutionary.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


King Hot Pie
posted by Jacqueline at 2:10 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh, Jacqueline, I did read that Littlefinger post ages ago but forgot about it. You know who I think would actually be an ally in this, if they could bury their respective hatchets? Tyrion. As the de facto voice of the modern world, he's also the representative of liberal individualism, and has shown himself to be unimpressed with family or rank, and very enterprising. Of course, there is the little thing about how Littlefinger framed Tyrion for murder ...

But I think it makes more sense to think of Littlefinger as a capitalist than an advocate for democracy.

I mean, so far we've seen examples of:

Primitive Communism: The Children of the Forest (and maybe some of the Wildling societies?)

Slave Society: Most of Essos

Feudalism: Westeros

Capitalism: This could be what Littlefinger is bringing about


The Free Cities seem to have capitalism too, yes? Or at least some of them do.
posted by lunasol at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sansa as Varys, you say? Sansa with an eyepatch and black cloak, all Westerosi Nick Fury. Builds a team with the toughest paladin ever to come out of House Tarth, a young woman trained in the art of assassination and disguise, a Red Priest skilled in fire magic, and a young man who can warg into a direwolf (or dragon?) at will, backed by the shadowy master of weirnet surveillance...
posted by jason_steakums at 2:23 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


The Free Cities seem to have capitalism too, yes? Or at least some of them do.

They have merchants but I'm not sure if their economic system can be classified as capitalism.

One of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism is its effectiveness at creating and growing capital. My impression of the Essos city-states is that they are the dwindling remnants of past empires, not rising centers of industry. They are living off past wealth instead of creating new wealth. But I'm not much of an expert on the history of the various civilizations so please correct me if I'm wrong.

On a semi-related note, one thing I've wondered about is why technological advancement has been stalled for seemingly thousands of years.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:25 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


You all understand that Martin is going to read all of these threads, including THIS ONE, and then tailor the ending just to fuck with everyone, right?
posted by norm at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


HEY, GEORGE! STOP SCREWING AROUND THE INTERNET AND GET BACK TO WRITING!!!
posted by Jacqueline at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I hope the ending is basically the last scene from Burn After Reading with Bronn as Palmer and Tyrion as the CIA director.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


On a semi-related note, one thing I've wondered about is why technological advancement has been stalled for seemingly thousands of years.

In a word: Magic. I believe we'll see exactly why the Maesters (allegedly) 'helped' the last of the Targaryen dragons to their deaths. Dragons are linked to magic (GRRM says). As they grow, magic gets stronger. Thoros can bring Beric back to life. Melisandre has to rely less and less on trickery. No dragons = weak or little magic. More room for technological innovation, i.e. a Maester's purview.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:35 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


My impression of the Essos city-states is that they are the dwindling remnants of past empires, not rising centers of industry. They are living off past wealth instead of creating new wealth.

I did get the sense that some of the cities were pretty hopping, financially. Of course, I can't remember which because they all kinda blend together in my mind.

On a semi-related note, one thing I've wondered about is why technological advancement has been stalled for seemingly thousands of years.

The glib answer is medieval stasis (warning: TV Tropes!). I think the years-long winters is a decent enough explanation though. Those winters are basically a years-long massive natural disaster every decade or so.
posted by lunasol at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


GRRM says the weather cycle is also linked to magic, iirc.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2014


In terms of capitalism, my money's on the Citadel. You remember the warning to Sam? They've got a goal, and it doesn't involve sorcery or dragons, and people will be murdered if they get in the way. They're sciencey, but we don't know how much - the only learned people.

My bet is they want to kick off an industrial revolution type world, except one where only Maesters can make these things work and where they are indispensable.
posted by corb at 3:23 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


In the last book everyone is suddenly wearing goggles, top hats, and jodhpurs.
posted by Iridic at 3:45 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


And riding in dirigibles.
posted by lovecrafty at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Littlefinger, the steampunk king of ashes. I'm thinking of Reaver from the Fable universe right now...
posted by corb at 4:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


In the last book everyone is suddenly wearing goggles, top hats, and jodhpurs.

I enjoy that this is basically what happended to the Discworld books and they are so much better for it.
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Um, a while ago I realized that I enjoyed fan theories and critical essays about these books way more than I enjoy the books themselves. Which is not to say that I don't enjoy the books, but they can get a bit grim and plodding sometimes. But they sure do make for a rich source material for theorizin'.
posted by lunasol at 4:02 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fortunately, at this point I think the total word count on all the fan theorizing probably exceeds the total word count on the book series by at least an order of magnitude. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


So here's something interesting. GRRM did an interview with the Nerdist podcast last summer. He was talking about the superhero-based RPG he used to GM back in the day, that eventually led to the Wild Cards series. (Here's the podcast, the game discussion starts around the 22:00 mark.)

Apparently, the system would give your character more points to spend on powers if you took on disadvantages. So he says if they saw some guy who looked like Superman, they'd be okay. But if they saw someone who looked extremely physically disadvantaged, they'd know to run the hell away. Tyrion, anyone?
posted by lovecrafty at 4:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, min-maxing GURPS characters is like a science.

My favorite trick was taking the disadvantages of no sense of taste and no sense of smell with the advantages of immunity to poison and immunity to disease. My character can now eat ANYTHING, motherfuckers! (OK, so maybe that's not so impressive by itself, but it was neat how that combo turned out to either have a 0 or very low net point cost.)
posted by Jacqueline at 4:15 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know who I think would actually be an ally in this, if they could bury their respective hatchets? Tyrion. As the de facto voice of the modern world, he's also the representative of liberal individualism, and has shown himself to be unimpressed with family or rank, and very enterprising. Of course, there is the little thing about how Littlefinger framed Tyrion for murder ...

Someone on the Internet either here or elsewhere said that the common antagonist throughout the entire series for every single character is the patriarchal society of Westeros. The tiny handful of characters who aren't visibly struggling with it (because they're not women, or homosexual, or low-born, or enslaved, or born with visible birth defects, or born with mental health issues, or maimed, etc.) almost all end up dying horrible deaths because it turns out it's actually completely impossible to successfully navigate the overlapping obligations that are presented to the likes of Robb and Ned Stark.

All of which is to say that Littlefinger and Tyrion would absolutely make excellent allies in the struggle to tear down this horrible system, because they're both keenly aware of the disadvantages it has placed them at. But, like you say, it's probably not actually going to happen.
posted by Copronymus at 4:49 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Man. I knew I wasn't fully caught up on the books, but I clicked anyway. What's my problem?
posted by Night_owl at 7:41 PM on April 29, 2014


Plus I think Dany's marrying days are over. Her big come to Jesus moment in the grasslands was accepting that dragons plant no trees.

Of course if Dany can't or won't have children, then either she will never sit on the Iron Throne, or the whole war will start up in a couple decades when it's apparent she won't have an heir- ah, who am I kidding. No matter who wins the throne in the end, it's only gong to be a respite of at most some decades before the war starts again. In a feudal system like the one in ASoIaF peace is only a brief interval to rearm between each struggle for the throne.

That's the real bittersweet ending for the series I think- no matter who wins, the Game of Thrones will continue, with new players.
posted by happyroach at 9:32 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I haven't thought about what it'll look like for Dinklage's Tyrion to kill Shae on-screen. The optics of the event will definitely make it come across differently than in the books. I can imagine that it might ruin Tyrion for some viewers and make him seem beyond redemption

Going back in the thread a ways to reply to this... I think actually the tougher thing for the audience will be seeing Shae testify that Tyrion planned & carried out Joffrey's murder. The relationship between Tyrion and Shae is much better developed in the show than in the books, and it's going to be a real shocker when Shae goes over to the side of the folks wanting to chop off his head.

Given that Shae basically cooperates in trying to have Tyrion killed before Tyrion kills Shae, the sympathy of the audience could easily remain with Tyrion. Payback is generally okay in a story like this (cf. Sansa's nearly shoving Joffrey to his death), though of course it would be more complicated IRL.

[I'm still trying to figure out in my own head why payback in the form of murder seems more acceptable than payback in the form of, say, rape. Anyone want to help me out with that? It must be related to our aversion to "cruel and unusual punishment," though I'm not sure why death seems preferable.]

Anyway, so much of the audience reaction is going to depend on how they play Shae's betrayal. If she refuses to accept the escape Tyrion offered her and testifies willingly, that will be one thing. If she's captured by Cersei and tortured into testifying, that'll be another thing entirely; in that case she'll be nothing but a tragic pawn, and Tyrion will be much more tarnished by the way he reacts.
posted by torticat at 10:00 PM on April 29, 2014


I'm still trying to figure out in my own head why payback in the form of murder seems more acceptable than payback in the form of, say, rape. Anyone want to help me out with that?

Murder stops someone from doing anything bad to you or anyone else ever again.

Rape is just hurting someone for fun.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:07 PM on April 29, 2014


I guess that's right, Jacqueline. Murder on Tyrion's part is a tragedy for him as well as her. It's harder to see rape or torture as a tragedy on the part of the perpetrator.

He could have maimed her face or something, which would have allowed her to live but made it harder for her to pursue her profession. And created a nice parallel with Tyrion's own physical liabilities, which she once accepted but cruelly turned against him during the trial.

But I suppose the murder could also be seen as a mercy killing in some ways, because it certainly wouldn't have been pretty what Cersei would have done to Shae after Tywin's death was discovered.
posted by torticat at 11:22 PM on April 29, 2014


Apparently, the system would give your character more points to spend on powers if you took on disadvantages. So he says if they saw some guy who looked like Superman, they'd be okay. But if they saw someone who looked extremely physically disadvantaged, they'd know to run the hell away. Tyrion, anyone?

Reminds me of Terry Pratchett's Rule One.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:58 AM on April 30, 2014


And I expect the upcoming Battle in the Ice will be spectacular, not least because of the trap that has been laid (someone out there has done an extensive prediction of what is to come in that Battle, not sure if it's been linked here or not yet - I'm on my phone or I would find it).


And now that I have a computer again, here is the Complete Analysis of the Upcoming Siege of Winterfell
posted by nubs at 6:44 AM on April 30, 2014 [5 favorites]


Now that nubs has posted about the Siege of Winterfell, perhaps it's a good time to mention the striking parallel to the Battle of the Ice in the Middle Ages.

Battle of the Ice, 1242:

"According to contemporary Russian chronicles, after hours of hand-to-hand fighting, Alexander ordered the left and right wings of his archers to enter the battle. The knights by that time were exhausted from the constant struggle on the slippery surface of the frozen lake. The Crusaders started to retreat in disarray deeper onto the ice, and the appearance of the fresh Russian cavalry made them run for their lives. When the knights attempted to rally at the far side of the lake, the thin ice began to give way under the weight of their heavy armour, and many knights drowned."

From part II of the analysis of the Siege of Winterfell:

"As the Freys attempt to cross the lake with heavy horse, the ice will give way under the feet of their horses near the Weirwood Tree in the middle of the northern lake as most of the holes in the lake having been drilled near the weirwood tree in the center of the lake. I think that most of the Freys charging across the lake will drown under the weight of their armor."

I do wonder what part Barbrey Dustin will play in the upcoming battle.

I also wonder if we'll ever figure out what the deal is with Roose Bolton. Between the leechings and his burning a book at Harrenhall (in Arya's last chapter in A Clash of Kings), he is one odd fellow (in addition to being, well, evil).

Finally, where is the Blackfish?
posted by dhens at 9:51 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Varys is a secret merling! So are Illyrio, Biter, and Benjen, and Littlefinger is their king!

So, there's a strategy game called Crusader Kings. And there's a total conversion mod for Crusader Kings that turns the game into an intricate Westeros intrigue simulator. And there's an easter egg built into the mod that sometimes spawns nobles with the "not_a_bear" trait...
posted by Iridic at 9:58 AM on April 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


Anyway, so much of the audience reaction is going to depend on how they play Shae's betrayal. If she refuses to accept the escape Tyrion offered her and testifies willingly, that will be one thing. If she's captured by Cersei and tortured into testifying, that'll be another thing entirely; in that case she'll be nothing but a tragic pawn, and Tyrion will be much more tarnished by the way he reacts.

I assume, as per the show's previous handling of all female characters, that Shae will willingly testify for money, because that's presumably what they think a prostitute would do. Then again idk why I would assume they would not use her for an egregious torture porn and/or rape scene.

Basically no matter what happens to Shae, it is going to be terrible. I have already accepted that.
posted by elizardbits at 10:20 AM on April 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


In the books, they kind of lead up to it a lot more - having Shae more concerned about when she can wear her jewels and her clothing again. Essentially, the signs are there, but Tyrion can't (or doesn't want to) see them.

But I really hope they don't neuter the Shae testifying scene - it's so powerful, especially the parts that Tyrion knows must have been volunteered by Shae, and her obvious enjoyment in the people who are watching her testimony. "My giant of Lannister", man.
posted by corb at 10:23 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Shea's testimony is brutal and heartbreaking, and I can't wait to see it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:00 AM on April 30, 2014


Yeah, Shea's testimony is brutal and heartbreaking, and I can't wait to see it.

Ugh, it's going to be even more so since show Shae is much more likable than book Shae.

I can't wait to see Jaime tell Tyrion the truth about Tysha. Jaime man, every time he tries to do the right thing it just ends up even more horrible. I love it. (They will show that, right? They have to. It's the whole thing that sets Tyrion after Tywin instead of just straight escaping.)
posted by lovecrafty at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


There are a few scenes left for this season that I have great, great anticipation/hopes for them doing well:

-Shae's testimony; it needs to be devastating to Tyrion emotionally;
-The duel between Oberyn and the Mountain (and wow, what a recast) - needs to be really well put together; we need to feel that desperation of Tyrion's and the crushing moment when the Mountain gets his hands on Oberyn just as you think he's won...
-Jaime and Tyrion's final conversation. I just don't know if they'll be able to make that conversation resonate the way it does in the books because we've spent so much time in Tyrion's head by then that we know the massive significance he attaches to Tysha and that part of his life, and Jaime's role in it
-The final moments between Tyrion, Shae, and Tywin. That moment in the Tower of the Hand is gut wrenching - not just because Shae's betrayal of Tyrion is complete, but because his father - the man who has berated and threatened him about whores since Tysha...is bedding Tyrion's whore. The levels of betrayal and hypocrisy and everything about that moment are incredible to me.

So these are the moments where I'm hoping they don't drop the ball, like they did with Craster's rape shack (not just the rape, but the cartoony villainy stuff too).

Speaking of the cartoony villains, I have this idea in my head that the Night's Watch is basically a subversion of a fantasy novel thing/trope of having a Legion that is made up of people who became part of that Legion to avoid a crime or some past dishonour; they are always thrown in wherever the fighting is the worst because they are criminals, and yet somehow always seem to be portrayed as noble, brave, selfless heroes in the end. Where as the reality would be that you would get the Night's Watch - a group of thieves, killers, and rapists put somewhere where they have ample opportunity to do all three. But the more I think about this, the more I realize I can't really identify what books I would say use this as a trope, so maybe I'm wrong? (I'm thinking of Elfstones of Shannara as one example, but am blanking on others...I guess the Dirty Dozen is another example from a non-genre source).

And a completely unrelated question - Jorah Mormont. On the show, has he revealed to Dany why he is in exile? Because I'm pretty sure that little reveal won't go down too good with the hard core abolitionist if it hasn't been already discussed. I know the fact that he started as a spy for Robert has definitely not been revealed yet, but I can't remember the other point.
posted by nubs at 11:50 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


But the more I think about this, the more I realize I can't really identify what books I would say use this as a trope, so maybe I'm wrong?

And TV Tropes for the win, as always:

Army of Thieves and Whores
Legion of Lost Souls

I guess the NW isn't an out and out subversion of the trope, but it at least depicts the fact that building any force of this type will be problematic.
posted by nubs at 11:55 AM on April 30, 2014


There's Lysa's death too! Damn, Storm of Swords has a lot of stuff happen all at once.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2014


Damn, Storm of Swords has a lot of stuff happen all at once.

Yeah, which is why I'm looking at the series now as two interconnected trilogies - ASOS ends the first trilogy with a series of dramatic conclusions to some storylines.

The next trilogy - of which AFFC and ADWD are really the first book, in two volumes - has really just started, and since the table was pretty much swept clean at the end of ASOS, it needs some time to set the new table.
posted by nubs at 11:59 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


From The Toast: Popular A Song of Ice And Fire Fan Theories:

2. Sansa will destroy Littlefinger’s reputation and leave him penniless and alone. She will then retake Winterfell and will sit as the Wolf in the North. She will redeem her entire family and shame all those who stood against the Starks. She will rebuild. She will do this without ever personally wielding a sword, but through diplomacy, intelligence, and grace. People will continue to log onto Tumblr to talk about how much they hate her, how she is super lame, whiny, and is totally “not a strong female character.”

3. Jon Snow will discover through a series of dramatic revelations that he is his own mother.

22. Ser Pounce will be spared due to his bravery and charm, and will sit next to Nymeria on a comfy blanket set in a golden sunbeam.

posted by lunasol at 12:38 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


I feel like the show is REALLY CHUGGING through the books faster than it was last season. Is there an infographic that shows where in the book timeline events in the show are pulled from?
posted by rebent at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is it chugging faster through the book material or is it just that the second half of ASOS had a ZOMGWTF moment almost every chapter?
posted by Jacqueline at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2014


well, I think a lot of the scenes this season have been more around AFFC than ASOS - jamie sending briann out, reek's story, etc. But then those things don't line up with the other story bits, so I'm all confused and stuff. Also: I maybe am misremembering! I would love love love something like this, one for the books and one for the TV show, with dotted lines connecting relevant events.
posted by rebent at 2:13 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]




I've been rewatching Seasons 1-3 (just finished, in fact), and one of my favorite things that I'd kind of missed previously is how very badly Cersei wants to be her father. She's capricious and arrogant and cold, because as Tywin notes, she's not as smart as she thinks she is, and she doesn't understand that she's merely performing Tywin's demeanor without any of the underlying skill and actual ruthlessness (as opposed to petty nastiness) that breeds that demeanor. What it reminds me of more than anything is Dermot Fictel from The Venture Brothers, trying so hard to perform a teenager's idea of masculinity despite having none of the traits he so admires.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


ok so I've finally (re)surfaced from 3 days' worth of reading tinfoil fan theories on reddit, and lo and behold I think I found a gem. Jacqueline, feel free to mock me if this is already linked above but I couldn't find it.

Brienne and Jaime: an in-depth character analysis (and parts 2, 3, 4, 5).

which I found by reading a recently posted, in-depth analysis of the significance of Renly's peach, of all things.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:45 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


oops, there's also a part 6 and 7 to the Brienne/Jaime analysis! So much good content here!
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:51 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was just reading that last night (also via the peach post). But she never posted the eighth and final part. *sadface*
posted by lovecrafty at 2:56 PM on April 30, 2014


Here is a narrative chart that's somewhat easier (at least for me) to read.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:59 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


nubs: "I'm looking at the series now as two interconnected trilogies - ASOS ends the first trilogy with a series of dramatic conclusions to some storylines"

Sean Collins and Stefan Sasse would argue that the overall structure of the series is still the one trilogy GRRM set out to write in the beginning: AGOT/ACOK/ASOS is Part One, AFFC/ADWD ("Feastdance") is Part Two, TWOW/ADOS is Part Three.

I tend to agree with them. To use a sort of facile comparison illustrated by three of the main POV characters:
  • AGOT/ACOK/ASOS is like Star Wars
    • Jon's Death Star: the battle at Castle Black and being chosen as Lord Commander
    • Dany's Death Star: dealing with the treachery of Jorah Mormont and conquering Meereen
    • Tyrion's Death Star: surviving his trial and slaying his father

  • Feastdance is like The Empire Strikes Back
    • Jon's Carbonite: being "Caesared" by his NW brethren
    • Dany's Carbonite: the dissolution of Meereen's peace via the poisoned locusts and Drogon's fury, and her exile to the wilderness
    • Tyrion's Carbonite: being sold into slavery with Penny and Jorah Mormont

  • So, TWOW/ADOS will fill out the third act a la Return of the Jedi, though with fewer ewoks, I hope.

lonefrontranger: "So much good content here!"

I know! During "the season" (i.e. March-May) I spend more time reading /r/asoiaf than I do reading Metafilter. (But I still love MeFi best.)

Here's my favorite narrative chart. It's show only (and only through Season 3 so far) but it sure is preeeeeetty. This book-sourced chart on When The What is also quite good as a reference for the pre-ASOIAF history of Westeros.

And here's a cartogram I made that shows chapters in ASOIAF by region through ADWD.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


TWOW/ADOS will fill out the third act a la Return of the Jedi, though with fewer ewoks, I hope.

Well... we do have the Children of the Forest. (Does that make Bran C-3PO?)
posted by lovecrafty at 3:54 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Interactive timeline/map of ASOIAF
-- Excellent, though a minor quibble: doesn't include Sam and the Cinnamon Wind making brief stops at Pentos and Tyrosh between Braavos and Oldtown.

Detailed timeline.
Main worksheet shows the series of events; other worksheets show assumptions/calculations.

Both of the above contain information from some but not all of the sample chapters from The Winds of Winter that have already been released.
posted by dhens at 5:38 PM on April 30, 2014


Dany's Carbonite: the dissolution of Meereen's peace via the poisoned locusts

Without a man of the stature (and girth) of Strong Belwas, someone will be dying in the show.
posted by ersatz at 7:03 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Who Poisoned the Locusts? I found this via /r/asoiaf a while back, and it made me actually interested in the 'Meereenese Knot" plot line. He's got a bunch of other essays on the blog too.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:53 PM on April 30, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's really interesting just how much stuff there is in ADWD that isn't actually on the page and only reveals itself when you think about the motivations of characters and connections between characters and events both current and historical. That series on the Meereenese Knot is a perfect example, some of the best things in that book were absolutely not explicit in the text. It's an odd choice, it totally alienates people who don't catch that stuff (and I constantly look for that kind of thing when I read these books and missed that interpretation of the Meereen events entirely!) but it's fascinating to me. I can totally see how the absurdly confusing names of characters in and about Meereen could have been intentionally used to make the reader as confused as Dany and Barristan and miss what's really happening under the surface, and that's just awesome.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:30 AM on May 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


Is there any information that I'm forgetting or solid theories about how The Citadel functions? How did it get started? Why is there a Maester in each major house? By royal decree? Whose? And given Aerys's paranoia, why did he allow what might have seemed a learned cabal to have representatives spread far and wide? What's the application process like? And how do they get assigned? Jon sends Sam to become a Maester: do they just HAVE to take him? Who killed and replaced Pate and is there any chance it wasn't Jaqen? HOW DO THE RAVENS KNOW WHERE TO FLY? Why do I care more about this than I do about how the actual world functions?
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:07 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


Who Poisoned the Locusts? I found this via /r/asoiaf a while back, and it made me actually interested in the 'Meereenese Knot" plot line.

Just starting to dig into this bowl, and it's really, really interesting. I love the point about parallels between the Meeren/Barristan situation and KL/Ned...because I'm seeing Martin more and more as a writer who loves to use parallel situations/moments and take them in a variety of directions.
posted by nubs at 12:25 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


davidjmcgee: we're just now getting some details of the Citadel. We're not sure about applications although it appears to be at least partially meritocratic. The Maesters predate Aegon I, and he figured the start of his rule from the day he was acknowledged by Oldtown.

Jaqen > Alchemist > Pate seems clear from the text. Alleras/Sallera only slightly less so.

Ravens work like carrier pigeons in this world. That's a plot point in a TWOW chapter.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:41 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I keep wondering what is happening with Rickon. GRRM has a habit of bringing known characters back into the story by having them interact with new characters, so maybe Rickon will be with someone we haven't yet seen.

But...

Rickon, in the show, is set to go to House Umber's holdout. Now, in the books, the GreatJon is alive, but captured and at the Rivers, but I believe in the show he is free? Or at least that is what Bran and Rickon think.

House Umber's place, though, is near enough to the Wall that they worry about Wildling attacks there. And apparently there is even some conjecture that the Night King was once an Umber.

Which makes me wonder if Rickon is going to be safe as houses (heh) on his journey, or if he might run into the White Walkers, despite Bran's attempt to keep Rickon safe. No one he is with (in the book or the show) has any way to kill a White Walker, do they? Unless Shaggy Dog counts.

So, here is a question: Do the White Walkers only change babies into new White Walkers? Or would six year-old Rickon still be young enough to become a target? What if Rickon became a White Walker?! Could that be his part in the "Ice" side of the story?
posted by misha at 2:53 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Rickon is reportedly (according to Wyman Manderly's intel) on the island of Skagos, where dwelleth wild cannibals and ferocious unicorns. He's drafted Davos Seaworth to go and fetch him.

There's theories that Rickon will be a totally wild feral child, more wolf than man. Or that he'll be the last one standing, and the whole tale has been one long Shaggy Dog story.
posted by lovecrafty at 6:35 PM on May 1, 2014 [4 favorites]


Or that he'll be the last one standing, and the whole tale has been one long Shaggy Dog story.

OW OW OW OW OW
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's a theory floating about that Roose Bolton is a necromancer, and his young sons died as experiments. The leeches, the burning of books he has been studying and most of all, everyone noting that for a man in his 40s-50s, he has an unlined face and bears no scars. I seem to remember the revolting Querryl, the one doing the experimental Frankenstein knight for Cersei, also came from Bolton's people.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:54 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does he have a covered portrait locked up and hidden away in the attic?
posted by misha at 8:02 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's a theory floating about that Roose Bolton is a necromancer, and his young sons died as experiments. The leeches, the burning of books he has been studying and most of all, everyone noting that for a man in his 40s-50s, he has an unlined face and bears no scars. I seem to remember the revolting Querryl, the one doing the experimental Frankenstein knight for Cersei, also came from Bolton's people.

Aka:The Bolt-On theory; one of the stranger tin foil corners of ASOIAF from my perspective. But who knows?

And Qyburn - the disgraced Maester - was actually riding in the company of Vargo Hoat (and oh, how I wish the show had given us Hoat - though I understand the choice to have Locke take that part) and Hoat's mercenary company; I don't think there's any connection there except for the brief period that Hoat's company serves Bolton.
posted by nubs at 8:22 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


That Meereenese Knot series of essays is great. I have a newfound respect for Dany.
posted by painquale at 9:47 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re: the Night's King. Old Nan says people have many theories about which House he came from, including the Umbers. But she herself says he was a Stark. A Brandon Stark at that. I'm inclined to trust her.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:06 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


the experimental Frankenstein knight for Cersei

Ahhh, Cleganebowl!
posted by lovecrafty at 10:50 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


and the whole tale has been one long Shaggy Dog story.

Hey, I already made that joke. oh nevermind
posted by JHarris at 10:51 PM on May 1, 2014


I think GRRM already made that joke.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:53 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


CLEGANEBOWL!

GET HYPE!

Also, a Theory on Old Nans Identity
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:24 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


That Mereenese Knot article makes me want to re-read ADWD again after finding it tedious the first time around. Of course, even if the article is correct that doesn't make it a well-paced book, but I'm open to giving it another chance.

I love the Great Northern Conspiracy thing too. Not that I thought the northern lords would really bend the knee to either Bolton or Stannis, but the writer makes a good case that they're actually quite organised and ready to make a move.

And the Varys = a Blackfyre theory is the most sensible thing I've heard about him - it resolves quite a few conflicting bits of info.
posted by harriet vane at 1:37 AM on May 2, 2014


I want Ser Pounce sitting in the empty helmet of Ser Robert Strong's frankencorpse piloting him before this is all over.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:17 AM on May 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


If Old Nan is Shiera Seastar, maybe she's waiting in the crypts - I've always wondered what could be down there that would tip off Jon to his parentage if every member of the Stark family has been down there countless times and hasn't seen it. Somehow Abel/Mance and his washerwomen and Barbrey Dustin know that something important is down there but not what when they go looking around the wedding, but if it's not a thing but a person, that person could be hiding deeper in the very deep crypts waiting for the right person to come calling. Maybe she revealed herself to Mance and used his information to write the Pink Letter to make sure Jon comes - she knows how to spin a story, and she'd know what would push Jon's buttons.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:26 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


harriet vane: "even if the article is correct that doesn't make it a well-paced book"

I really think the key to the pacing is reading AFFC and ADWD together, in the Feastdance order. It feels counterintuitive; since you're taking two long and unwieldy books and putting them together, you'd think it would feel even MORE unwieldy, but you really do end up with a much more satisfying whole. And because it's more narratively satisfying, it doesn't feel as long as you expect.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:27 AM on May 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


>I've always wondered what could be down there that would tip off Jon to his parentage if every member of the Stark family has been down there countless times and hasn't seen it.

One curious thing about the crypts is that only the actual lords (and earlier, kings) are buried there *except* for Lyanna. There is speculation that her (Targ) bridal cloak is entombed with her.

Another curious thing about the crypts is that the *oldest* ones are the *deepest*. Modern Starks have only (as far as we've seen) been to the most recent level. Jon's dream has him descending deep into the crypts.

Now, that could imply that Bran the Builder knew about how many generations would pass before Winterfell, er, fell and planned the crypt accordingly. Or it could just be GRRM being crap at imagining large physical things (e.g., the walls of Winterfell are described as *100 ft.* high. )
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:48 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've always had a chuckle thinking about the crypt design. "Hmm, we can't fit any more Starks in the unbroken line stretching back to time immemorial in the crypt... OH WELL THIS PORTENDS NOTHING!"
posted by jason_steakums at 7:22 AM on May 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


Also a weird design in that they have to walk past older dead Starks to get to Lyanna from the entrance. I wonder if the crypts maybe start in the lowest level along one wall, climb to the entrance, and then go downstairs again on the other wall, which would make it only just over halfway full.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:24 AM on May 2, 2014


GRRM's comments on his blog about the last episode and spoilers for the series overall:
How do you define "spoiler?"

If something happens on the show before it happens in the book, I suppose one could call that a spoiler.

If something happens on the show, but happens very differently in the books, is that still a spoiler?

If something happens on the show, but never happens in books, what precisely was spoiled?

And how many children did Scarlett O'Hara have, anyway?
posted by nubs at 8:45 AM on May 2, 2014


Huh. Vanity Fair runs with r/asoiaf's favorite joke theory.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:56 AM on May 2, 2014


The Ser Strong descriptions were totally nuts from my reading and reached Jon Snow / Cat Stark levels of stupid. The small council knows or seriously thinks that a member of the Kingsguard is undead? And they plan on putting the headless zombie in a fight were a stay blow could knock the helmet off? During a religious revival where the church has rebuilt its private army? When someone figures out what it is, they'll all burn. They should be arranging for a redshirt to accidentally drop a barrel of wildfire on the thing so that the remains can't be identified. I fully expect GRRM to have Strong beat the Hound in the trial, but still.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:48 PM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


you really do end up with a much more satisfying whole.

100% true.
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:28 PM on May 2, 2014


I have returned every day since this was posted in order to read another link or five and I estimate I am still only halfway done with this.
posted by norm at 3:08 PM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Huh. Vanity Fair runs with r/asoiaf's favorite joke theory.

Wouldn't Benjen be like a generation older than Daario? Wasn't he Ned's older brother?

Not that I believe anyone's taking that theory seriously.
posted by torticat at 4:04 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


They plan on putting the headless zombie in a fight where a stay blow could knock the helmet off?

I would assume the helm is riveted to the breastplate.

The small council knows or seriously thinks that a member of the Kingsguard is undead?...During a religious revival where the church has rebuilt its private army?

"Last of all, and worst of all," (says the High Septon in aDwD), "there are some who say your children were not fathered by King Robert, that they are bastards born of incest and adultery...These are terrible charges, and the realm must know the truth of them. If Your Grace has told it true, no doubt a trial will prove your innocence."

The members of the Small Council have staked everything on Tommen's legitimacy. If Cersei loses her trial, then Tommen will be accounted a bastard, and their power will evaporate. Having, therefore, a strong interest in seeing Cersei receive as formidable a champion as possible, Mace Tyrell, Randyll Tarly et al. have reconciled themselves to the unkillable abomination in the role.

Ser Robert's secret won't get out unless he loses; Ser Robert must not lose; Ser Robert can't lose -- all of these premises dovetail nicely.
posted by Iridic at 4:05 PM on May 2, 2014


torticat: "Wouldn't Benjen be like a generation older than Daario? Wasn't he Ned's older brother? "

Benjen is Ned's youngest sibling. Lyanna is between Ned and Benjen. Brandon was the oldest.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2014


Not only is Benjen the youngest, but in the books, Ned and Robert are 35 when they die. Jaime and Cersei are only 32 at the start of the series. Lyanna was four years younger than Ned, and Benjen is younger than her.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:28 PM on May 2, 2014


Or it could just be GRRM being crap at imagining large physical things (e.g., the walls of Winterfell are described as *100 ft.* high. )

That's about 8 storeys, which is tall all right, but not absurd. There are real world city walls that approach that height. Dubrovnik's walls reach 80 ft, for instance, and they never had to contend with dragons and mammoths. (Dubrovnik is King's Landing in the show.)
posted by painquale at 8:37 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. Vanity Fair runs with r/asoiaf's favorite joke theory.

Not enough merlings.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:43 PM on May 2, 2014


Ser Robert's secret won't get out unless he loses; Ser Robert must not lose; Ser Robert can't lose -- all of these premises dovetail nicely.


It's OK, because having scanned an advance manuscript, I can reveal that Ser Strong isn't actually an undead abomination after all. He's actually a clockwork mecha piloted by Ser Pounce.
posted by happyroach at 12:03 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


Ser Pounce? You mean the Prince That Was Promised?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:25 AM on May 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


The members of the Small Council have staked everything on Tommen's legitimacy. If Cersei loses her trial, then Tommen will be accounted a bastard, and their power will evaporate. Having, therefore, a strong interest in seeing Cersei receive as formidable a champion as possible, Mace Tyrell, Randyll Tarly et al. have reconciled themselves to the unkillable abomination in the role.

They have a lot staked on Tommen, but so does the High Septon. If Cersei's kids aren't legitimate, then Robert's heir is Stannis, who would burn the HS at the stake. Without Tommen they are looking back into the pit of civil war. The church is looking good in terms of renewed influence, but they don't have the amoral killers that the lords do or control over agricultural production and won't be able to establish a theocracy or survive in a return to independent kingdoms. If the Lannister-Tyrell alliance fails, the church has just demonstrated to whoever comes next that they are a threat whose independence needs to be eliminated. They need to resolve this crisis by making a deal. The HS can drop the charges, or just pick a scrub as their champion. Making a deal has a lot less risk than naming an undead golem as your champion. If nothing else, the Lannisters and Tyrells have access to the best fighters in the kingdom to win the trial.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:17 AM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dubrovnik's walls reach 80 ft, for instance

Around an entire city. Make them 25% taller and bring them in around a castle (in a northern latitude, no less.) Now, tell me where they put the greenhouses.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:25 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


A wizard did it.
posted by Justinian at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2014


More seriously, my understanding is that the 100ft walls are only around the inner Keep. The outer walls are a bit shorter and surround a much larger area, with the greenhouses receiving plenty of southern exposure by being located towards the extreme northern side of the complex. And the inner keep with the big walls is off to the side.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on May 3, 2014


Huh I did some googling and while there is an inner keep it is apparently true that one of the outer walls is supposed to be 100 feet high. BACK TO A WIZARD DID IT.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh I did some googling and while there is an inner keep it is apparently true that one of the outer walls is supposed to be 100 feet high. BACK TO A WIZARD DID IT.

When I was ten or twelve, me and my nerdy friends would take graph paper and draw plans of our fantasy houses, with things like race tracks in the basement and a movie theater upstairs, without the slightest connection to reality or livability. The architecture in the GoT books always read to me as having about the same relation to reality; I just interpret units like "100 feet high" as meaning "impressively tall" and have total certainty that no one ever calculated the angles of solar exposure for the greenhouses or anything else remotely practical.

The ice wall similarly doesn't stand up to an engineering analysis, but the books are no worse for it. There's nothing worse than a book that drops the storyline to tell you all about the spaceship's engines -- much better to just do a little handwaving about faster than light travel and get to the good parts.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:43 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


When I was ten or twelve, me and my nerdy friends would take graph paper and draw plans of our fantasy houses

We did that too! Ours were inevitably complex mobile castles.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:26 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


We drew, uh...vampire lairs...which were totally not nerdy at all. Right? Right?
posted by corb at 5:39 PM on May 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Bran the Builder did it.
posted by painquale at 9:07 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]




Not only is Benjen the youngest...

thanks lovecrafty!

Unrelated question for anyone who remembers: On the show, what has Tyrion said about what happened with his first love/wife? Has he talked about Tysha, and if so was the story the same as in the books? And was Jaime's role the same?
posted by torticat at 11:05 PM on May 3, 2014


On the show, what has Tyrion said about what happened with his first love/wife? Has he talked about Tysha, and if so was the story the same as in the books? And was Jaime's role the same?

Yes, Tyrion talks about this with Bronn and Shae the night before the Battle of the Green Fork in "Baelor" (the same episode that ends with Ned's beheading).
posted by dhens at 8:32 AM on May 4, 2014


...but Tyrion hasn't told the whole story because he doesn't know it yet.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on May 4, 2014


Huh, according to the wiki Tyrion is only 25. I always pictured him as being in his mid 30s, even before seeing Dinklage protray him.
posted by codacorolla at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


And Jaime doesn't talk about his role because the show has progressed that far. He certainly will though. Probably in episode 9.
posted by Green With You at 10:09 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh, according to the wiki Tyrion is only 25. I always pictured him as being in his mid 30s, even before seeing Dinklage protray him.

The TV characters are aged up. At the beginning of the books, Tyrion is 25/26 and the twins are 32; but in the TV show the twins have turned 40 (as of Season 4) and Tyrion is only 4 years younger than they are. Note too that Tyrion is 16 in the Tysha story in the TV version and 13 in the books.
posted by dhens at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2014


Great r/asoiaf thread on details picked up during rereads.

The books really do reward close reading; my favourite detail picked up on a reread was this:
...She could her angry voices coming from a window, many men talking and arguing all at once. Elmar was sitting on the steps outside, alone.

"What's wrong?" Arya asked him when she saw the tears shining on his cheeks.

"My princess," he sobbed. "We've been dishonored, Aenys says. There was a bird from the Twins. My lord father says I'll need to marry someone else, or be a septon."

A stupid princess, she thought, that's nothing to cry over...
From Arya's last chapter in ACOK.

From AGOT:
"Also, if your sister Arya is returned to us safely, it is agreed that she will marry Lord Walder's youngest son, Elmar, when the two of them come of age."
Arya's betrothal, and the fact that the two of them wind up together at Harrenhal with no clue as to this relationship, just tickles me for some reason. And it's a detail so easily overlooked in the middle of everything else going on.
posted by nubs at 10:38 AM on May 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


The ages are why the Sailor's Wife = Tysha theory holds any water at all, imo. Her blonde daughter Lanna is about the right age to be Tyrion's daughter.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2014


My favorite detail that is only apparent on a reread is the Lord of the Crossing game that is popular at the Twins and that the Frey children teach Bran at Winterfell. In the game, a lord can demand oaths of other players in order to let them cross a bridge, but the oaths are not binding if the player can say "mayhaps" without the lord noticing.

When Robb takes Jeyne Westerling as his bride, Walder Frey tells Robb, ""You wanted crossing and I gave it to you, and you never said mayhaps, heh." And then, just before the Red Wedding, when Catelyn demands bread and salt to secure guest right, Frey responds, "Food, heh. A loaf of bread, a bite of cheese, mayhaps a sausage."
posted by painquale at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


That's great! I never caught that.
posted by Justinian at 11:39 AM on May 4, 2014


And Jaime doesn't talk about his role because the show has progressed that far. He certainly will though. Probably in episode 9.

Yeah, that's why I was asking, I was trying to remember if they'd set up the backstory for the prison scene when Jaime tells him the real truth about Tysha.

Thanks for the link dhen. That was a great scene. I remember it now, and it seems better to me on rewatch. I think at the time I felt like the actors on GoT generally were still finding their feet. But that was excellent on the part of all three actors.
posted by torticat at 1:42 PM on May 4, 2014


"Food, heh. A loaf of bread, a bite of cheese, mayhaps a sausage."

Asshole!

And yeah, that's a great catch.
posted by torticat at 1:46 PM on May 4, 2014


I caught the "mayhaps" thing when he said it to Robb, but I never noticed it when it was used during the offer of guest right. Walder Frey is such a jerk.
posted by nubs at 2:48 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


nubs, you cut that first quote off too soon.

...“My brothers might be dead,” she confided. Elmar gave her a scornful look.

“No one cares about a serving girl’s brothers.”

It was hard not to hit him when he said that. “I hope your princess dies,” she said, and ran off before he could grab her.

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:22 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think at the time I felt like the actors on GoT generally were still finding their feet. But that was excellent on the part of all three actors.

Indeed, this is the episode that Dinklage chose for his (successful) candidacy for an Emmy, despite the fact that he had relatively little screen time in it compared to other episodes that season.

I do note that the show omits the "detail" from the book that Tywin made Tyrion go last after all the guardsmen had finished raping Tysha, paying her a gold coin because "a Lannister is worth more." I think this is part of the show's trend of making Tyrion less of a "grey" character than he is in the books.
posted by dhens at 7:04 PM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


good grief that is mayhaps the best tidbit i've read yet
posted by rebent at 7:39 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


They didn't include a 'mayhaps' in the RW episode of the show, unfortunately. I was keeping an ear out for it.
posted by painquale at 7:58 PM on May 4, 2014


Yeah, I'm actually wondering why they're working so damn hard on making Tyrion less grey. My personal pet theory is that GRRM already told the showrunners how the show ends, and Tyrion ends up doing very well, so they want to make sure the viewers don't feel cheated when it happens.

If you take out Tyrion raping Tysha himself, a lot of the grief and guilt of the horrible revelation is muted.
posted by corb at 8:10 PM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Frey responds, "Food, heh. A loaf of bread, a bite of cheese, mayhaps a sausage."

And then two books later Wyman Manderly is all like: 'you're going to rules-lawyer guest right? Alright then, two can play that game, have some Frey Pie'.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:37 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


And then two books later Wyman Manderly is all like: 'you're going to rules-lawyer guest right? Alright then, two can play that game, have some Frey Pie'.

He uses a 'mayhaps' too, but I don't know if he's intentionally mocking the Freys with the Lord of the Crossing language:
"So young," said Wyman Manderly, "Though mayhaps this was a blessing. Had he lived, he would have grown up to be a Frey.
posted by painquale at 3:41 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


He uses a 'mayhaps' too, but I don't know if he's intentionally mocking the Freys with the Lord of the Crossing language

I tend to doubt it, since it is implied that Lord of the Crossing is a game that only Freys play.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:26 AM on May 5, 2014


The rules-lawyering of the Frey Pie (I think) is that he let them ride out of his household and presumably killed them in the woods immediately afterwards, when they weren't expecting anything because they had been his welcome guests. And he brings the Frey Pie as a guest, not as a host - which, if guest right is anything like it worked historically/classically, is a clever way of getting around the rules on what hosts should feed guests. Sine he's not the host, he's not breaking guest-right by providing food which happens to be their family.
posted by corb at 8:46 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I tend to doubt it, since it is implied that Lord of the Crossing is a game that only Freys play.

Well, that would make it all the more delicious of a jibe. Walder's comment to Robb suggests that the other houses at least know the game exists. If Manderly knows about the special significance of 'mayhaps' and oath-breaking for Freys, it would be an especially personal coded addition to Manderly's insult.

Everything Manderly says to the Freys is basically a barely-veiled Fuck You. The Freys themselves have a dogwhistle (in the political sense) that is perfect for barely-veiled Fuck Yous; Manderly might as well use it.
posted by painquale at 9:49 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Corb, guest right works both ways but it has to be invoked by the offering and accepting of bread and salt. That's why Manderly's Meat Pies were doubly effective. Since he brought the food it prevented the hosts from even accidentally invoking the privilege.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:52 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Manderly rules lawyers guest right to a T. He spends some time with Davos discussing what parting gifts to give the Freys, as that is the formal way to end guest right (you give bread and salt when they arrive, and then a parting gift at the end). Then he has them killed, so that he's not in violation of that right as the Freys were.

I'm hoping the Manderly words are something along the lines of "Care for some pie?" or "You want Freys with that?"

I was also thinking this weekend about the parallel situations that the series likes to use, and Lord Bolton. At the end of ACOK, he's holding Harrenhall with a Frey host when the news arrives about the crumbling of the Frey/Stark alliance (it's not explicit in the text, but Arya's encounters with the Freys show what's going on with the benefit of hindsight). So that's when he starts plotting, but he's basically holding Harrenhall under false pretenses from then on, with potentially hostile forces inside - he sends Stark loyalists out on doomed missions, he has Frey men around for at least a while, and so on...

In ADWD, he's holding Winterfell, again with hostile forces inside his walls. And again he sends some of them out on what is potentially a doomed mission. But this time he doesn't appear to have the out he did at Harrenhall...
posted by nubs at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


"You want Freys with that?"

Ha ha ha!
posted by painquale at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2014


i'd love to see a word frequency table for the series to see how frequently "mayhaps" is used, and in what contexts. In my lingo, mayhaps is a very uncommon word and therefore unique enough that its use could be seen as a signal. However, in GRRM's purple prose, it's just a "maybe." Can we truly say that any time a character says "maybe" in a paragraph or entire conversation, they are trying to sneak out of an oath? And if a character was planning to break the oath when they made it, would they use such an obvious tell? Better to just say "yes absolutely"
posted by rebent at 10:40 AM on May 5, 2014


Can we truly say that any time a character says "maybe" in a paragraph or entire conversation, they are trying to sneak out of an oath?

Well, no, but Walder Frey's use of it when offering a sausage is obviously intentional. The Manderly use is less clear, but he's trying to goad the Freys, so it's not an entirely unmotivated interpretation in that instance. I don't think there are any other suspect mayhapses.

There's something pretty silly about the Lord of the Crossing game. It's basically unplayable unless all the players are perfectly honest and perfectly trust one another. A player scores points when the lord doesn't catch her saying 'mayhaps'. But then there is nothing to keep her honest. It's not like there is video replay. She'll have to say, 'yeah, I said it, you didn't hear me,' and cheating becomes indistinguishable from non-cheating.
posted by painquale at 10:51 AM on May 5, 2014


When the Big and Little Walders and Rickon were playing the game at Winterfell, they made Bran the judge of who said "mayhaps".
posted by lovecrafty at 11:02 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


And then promptly ignored him.

Re. Mayhaps, GRRM tends to fall in love with a word or phrase and suddenly it's everywhere. Just ask Nuncle.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:04 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Just ask Nuncle.

I'll beg off for the nonce.

Luv u GRRM
posted by dhens at 1:13 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


You can have some milk of the poppy, if it would make asking Nuncle easier. Or you could send a raven, but you know - dark wings, dark words. And words are wind.
posted by nubs at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the offer, my leal sweet sister, but I'd rather have some fearsomely strong cider.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:14 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


the wind is always blowing on metafilter
posted by rebent at 2:29 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jaqueline, I haven't read those yet

You're commenting in the thread without reading all the links first? FOR SHAME
posted by Greg Nog at 2:33 PM on May 5, 2014


Ooh, I just remembered another left-field theory! This one comes courtesy of Mefite Slap*Happy:
...There's some indication that it's a regressed, post-apocalyptic colony world salted through the stories, if you keep a close eye on small throw-away details...Bronze Yohn Royce's armor is essentially a space "hardsuit", albeit without a power supply, the way it's described, and this curious indestructible "bronze" makes a few more appearances in other artifacts, usually with "ancient runes." Magical inscriptions or instructions for operation no one knows how to read anymore?
I'll just note that a bronze link in a Maester chain signifies the study of astronomy.
posted by Iridic at 4:28 PM on May 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


Now that is cool.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:50 PM on May 5, 2014


I'm curious as to what makes Royce's armor a hardsuit? AFAIK it was simply described as bronze armor engraved with magical runes. I don't know how you get from there to "space hardsuit".
posted by Justinian at 7:27 PM on May 5, 2014


The same way you get to Benjen=Daario=Varys=secret Targ=merling, I'd suspect.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:56 PM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. Having it all turn out to be secret sci-fi would be pretty disappointing.
posted by lovecrafty at 8:02 PM on May 5, 2014


Sansa remembered Lord Yohn Royce, who had guested at Winterfell two years before. “His [SPACE HARDSUIT] is bronze, thousands and thousands of years old, engraved with magic runes that ward him against harm,” she whispered to Jayne.
Sola scriptura, baby.
posted by Iridic at 8:07 PM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I see. Sooooo... just some armor with runes engraved on it then.
posted by Justinian at 2:09 AM on May 6, 2014


Question about Lady Stoneheart: if indeed they wait until the end of the season (or even the beginning of the next), isn't that way too long? I know they fudge the timeline both for dramatic convenience and out of necessity, but if memory serves her body is supposed to be found weeks after the red wedding. Even if you push it to a month plus, surely even in the most charitable interpretation of the timeline at least a few months have passed since then?

My money is on it being revealed this season, within the next episode or two. Curious to hear any other theories on the matter though!
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 4:27 AM on May 6, 2014


If they're leaving out Nymeria pulling the body after the water, then yes, she's out of the water and found, but it doesn't have to be shown.
posted by corb at 5:40 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ah. I haven't read that far ahead in the books so I was going off hazy memories of reading about it on a GoT wiki. The resurrection scene is almost certainly too dramatically juicy to skip, at least if I'm remembering what I read right? Especially given Arya namedropping Beric Dondarrion on her hitlist, they kind of have to account for him now. Although given how horrifically awful the exposition was in the Petyr/Lysa scene, maybe ZombieCat turning up out of nowhere is acceptable. Hmm.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 5:52 AM on May 6, 2014


Having it all turn out to be secret sci-fi would be pretty disappointing.

I doubt it will. However, there are a couple similarities to Dragonrders of Pern, namely the periodic threat that has been absent so long as to be nearly forgotten and the presence of both dragons and their smaller cousins/ancestors.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Secret sci-fi is one of the great tropes of fantasy, it's everywhere. Not saying that's what Game Of Thrones is, but there's a reason it's common.
posted by JHarris at 8:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see some Fictional Science - how do the maesters get the crows to go where they want? Through the application of psychoanalysis! How do you re-forge valyrian steel? Why, here's three chapters about how metalsmithing works in that world (it is not how it works in our world). How do people predict the weather? Because of compasses that always pull to the nearest storm, of course - isn't that how it works on earth?
posted by rebent at 8:29 AM on May 6, 2014


Secret sci-fi would fit with the "Dragons are from the moon" theory.
posted by drezdn at 8:59 AM on May 6, 2014


So dragons were genetically engineered by a space faring race which had read too much fantasy?
posted by shothotbot at 9:17 AM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd love to see some Fictional Science - how do the maesters get the crows to go where they want? Through the application of psychoanalysis! How do you re-forge valyrian steel? Why, here's three chapters about how metalsmithing works in that world (it is not how it works in our world). How do people predict the weather? Because of compasses that always pull to the nearest storm, of course - isn't that how it works on earth?

As to the ravens, I think the Theon preview chapter from TWOW touches on it - they can be trained to recognize the names of a couple of castles, and fly to them (exceptional ravens can be taught three or four); but it sounds like there used to be a time when the ravens could be taught the names of all the castles, and speak the messages they had been entrusted with. So it sounds to me like some magic is at play here, and that like other forms of magic it has waned with time. And while some other forms of magic - the wildfire, Melisandre, etc seem to have gained in strength with the rebirth of dragons - we haven't seen any improvement with the ravens, so there may be multiple sources/methods/ideas at play behind it all.

Having heard GRRM speak on the topic of magic and fantasy novels, I wouldn't expect to see what you are talking about at any point. He likened magic in fantasy novels to anchovies on pizza; he loves pizza and he loves anchovies. And one time in college, when no one else would go in on a pizza with him, he ordered a large anchovy pizza. And he discovered, by the second slice, that it was horrible. He learned that anchovies add flavour when present in small amounts and alongside other ingredients, but too much of them ruins things. Magic needs to be magical; to invoke a sense of awe and wonder in both the characters and the audience. So he doesn't like fantasy stories where everyone goes off to boarding school to learn magic; and he also notes that in LOTR Gandalf performs very few acts of magic "on screen" and that the mechanics are never explained. So he has deliberately made magic rare and hard to understand in ASOIAF.

With that philosophy, I would be upset if ASOIAF suddenly turns into a story about a fallen sci-fi world because that would imply everything we don't understand about the world is due to technology which would ruin the point of the talk I heard.
posted by nubs at 9:24 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Since everyone cares, I'd just like to point out it's been 8 days since this was posted and I'm almost 2/3 of the way through the links.
posted by norm at 11:15 AM on May 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm running alongside you with a squeeze bottle of water, orange slices, and a towel to wipe the sweat off your brow. Go norm! You can do it!
posted by ocherdraco at 11:18 AM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm so steeped in this stuff that I forget how overwhelming it can be. Fear not, soon you'll be forging your own tinfoil.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:28 AM on May 6, 2014


Cat's resurrection scene isn't shown in the books. We just extrapolate from seeing Beric resurrected by Thoros after his duel with the Hound. Thoros tells Brienne that Beric gave his last breath to revive Cat when Thoros himself refused to do so since she was so far gone from being in the river.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2014


but it sounds like there used to be a time when the ravens could be taught the names of all the castles, and speak the messages they had been entrusted with.

I thought this meant people used to warg into ravens.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:40 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought I remembered the "ravens used to be trained to speak the messages" was an explicit point, but I am not down with the books in a chapter-and-verse way. Which is a pity. Now that I have these theories fresh on my mind I'm going to have to start a re-read.
posted by norm at 11:55 AM on May 6, 2014


I don't know why beric gave his life for Cat. I hope that's explained in the future. Maybe the red god told him to?
posted by rebent at 12:07 PM on May 6, 2014


Stuff from this thread I have learned or been reminded of that I love:
  • Arya dreams of a wolf (Nymeria, I presume) that pulls Catelyn's corpse to the shore for the BwB to find.
  • Jon's dream of being frozen with a red sword and Mel's complaint of "I asked for visions of Azor Ahai and all I get is visions of Jon Snow."
  • The missing Sand Snake is a student at the Citadel! And her name and her nom de homme are the reverse of each other.
  • That there are Podric Payne fanboys.
  • That other people were as irritated as I was about the dead end plot of Quentyn Martell.
  • That if I read a little crackpot fan theory every day, by a week in I will start to have strange dreams that end with me (dreaming I was) typing the letters "R+L=J".
Also, I love the stunning amount of work that some of these fans have put into their opuses.
posted by norm at 12:20 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jon's dream of being frozen with a red sword and Mel's complaint of "I asked for visions of Azor Ahai and all I get is visions of Jon Snow."

Uh, you're stepping on the punchline. She says "all I see is Snow". You have to infer she could be talking about Jon Snow because of the capitalization. Because otherwise you'd assume she's referring to the blizzard going on outside.

That other people were as irritated as I was about the dead end plot of Quentyn Martell.

I'm irritated at the dead end plots of half the characters by the end of DwD. Maybe 2/3.
posted by Justinian at 12:38 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


She says "all I see is Snow". You have to infer she could be talking about Jon Snow because of the capitalization.

Good point. Gotta stop assuming stuff.
posted by norm at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]



That other people were as irritated as I was about the dead end plot of Quentyn Martell.

I'm irritated at the dead end plots of half the characters by the end of DwD. Maybe 2/3.


I would suggest reading the series of posts regarding some of the events in ADWD at The Mereense Blot. Not going to suggest that everything there is right, but it provides a more interesting take on it all.

As for Qunetyn:

When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east
When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves.
When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child.
Then he will return, and not before
posted by nubs at 2:21 PM on May 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not actually suggesting any of the plot threads are necessarily pointless, only that they are agonizingly boring. Martin even somehow managed to make Tyrion tedious in ADwD. Tyrion! How is that even possible?
posted by Justinian at 2:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


also: nuncle nuncle nuncle
posted by Justinian at 2:43 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am loving the Fanfare threads as the show only crew slowly realizes that the "Dany = white savior" is not going to work out.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not actually suggesting any of the plot threads are necessarily pointless, only that they are agonizingly boring. Martin even somehow managed to make Tyrion tedious in ADwD. Tyrion! How is that even possible?

Judicious application of moping.
posted by codacorolla at 4:02 PM on May 6, 2014


Who would have thought that invading a country, taking out the leadership and power structure (tyrannical as it may be), and then declaring MISSION ACCOMPLISHED without any sort of plan for what comes next would not work out for everyone involved? That's completely unrealistic.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on May 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


I do hope the end of ADwD indicates Dany has had enough of this bullshit and is going to sod off to Westeros. Because otherwise I'm gonna cut someone.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Spoiler alert: more fucking moping.
posted by codacorolla at 5:46 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am loving the Fanfare threads as the show only crew slowly realizes that the "Dany = white savior" is not going to work out.

Yeah, I am feeling a lot more benevolent towards the showonlyiers now that 01) we Ihave this thread to faff about in bookishly and 02) i get to watch slow-motion trainwrecks of dawning disappointment in real time.
posted by elizardbits at 8:23 PM on May 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


My sister said she has been finding Bran's storyline to be kinda boring. I said get ready to find everyone's storyline kinda boring. She was disappoint.
posted by Justinian at 9:01 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I suspect we're going to see a lot more wholesale invention on the show. Also a lot of wholesale deletion of Quentyn scenes.
posted by Iridic at 9:04 PM on May 6, 2014


If the show runners thought Asha was too similar to Osha and would be confusing to viewers, I wonder what the heck they're going to do with all the Ghiscari names in Meereen.
posted by lovecrafty at 9:29 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the show runners thought Asha was too similar to Osha and would be confusing to viewers, I wonder what the heck they're going to do with all the Ghiscari names in Meereen.

"Hizdahr, Humzum, Hagnag, what does it matter? I call them all Harzoo."
-- Archibald Yronwood

But seriously, part of me thinks that the whole Slaver's Bay storyline is a kind of sneaky way of making people confront their prejudices:

"What, you don't like all the intricate politics of these darker-skinned people with names that are hard to understand, yet you're just fine with all these people with pseudo-English names that happen to be fair-skinned? How interesting…"*

*Yes, I realize that we have not followed the Slaver's Bay folks for 5 books like we have with the Westerosi. But still.
posted by dhens at 10:49 PM on May 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also saw a theory somewhere that GRRM made it confusing deliberately, so that the reader would feel some of the same confusion that Dany feels. (And a similar claim somewhere else, that he repeats phrases (such as 'fearsomely strong cider') as a misdirection and distraction technique. I like your interpretation though.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:36 AM on May 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


Another question: are we 100% certain who killed Joffrey? That Tyrion wasn't involved? He obviously tells Jaime he killed him in ASOS, but I'd assumed he did that in anger. But he keeps repeating it in ADWD - is he just a bit unhinged, or was there more to the Purple Wedding than we think?
posted by Pink Frost at 12:38 AM on May 7, 2014


I'm not actually suggesting any of the plot threads are necessarily pointless, only that they are agonizingly boring. Martin even somehow managed to make Tyrion tedious in ADwD. Tyrion! How is that even possible?

There is this thread on the blue that, inter alia, mentions that Lolita is a fantastic road trip book – it is – and it reminded me of one of the problems of that storyline: Tyrion is travelling most of the time in that book, but it means nothing to him. He has no goals, he'd rather get sloshed and the whole adventure is perfunctory as its point is to get Tyrion There and Back Again.

I ended up liking Kevan Lannister, who was one of the few remaining adults in Westeros. The bar is pretty low at this point.
posted by ersatz at 3:41 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


pink frost, I see that actually as being a type of personal armor - owning the misdeeds that were incorrectly laid at his feet as a way of proclaiming himself better than his accusers.

as in, "I did not kill your son, but if that's what you want to believe, I will act the part - I will act like I'm out to kill my whole family!"
posted by rebent at 5:48 AM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the showonliers (nice word) are going to really hate the fact that there is almost literally nothing that happens with Daenerys from now until the end of the story-as-it-is-currently-written. Nothing! She's already where she is at the end of ADWD, just some pointless dicking around with politics that we don't care about.
posted by norm at 6:21 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Another question: are we 100% certain who killed Joffrey?

I'm in the minority here, but I don't think so. We do know that there was an elaborate plot to poison him, but I suspect he actually stumbled into another plot to poison Tyrion. Joff starts choking after unpredictably grabbing a bite of Tyrion's pie (which was kept in the show.) He even blames the pie himself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:28 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


norm: "almost literally nothing that happens with Daenerys from now until the end of the story-as-it-is-currently-written. Nothing! "

Except for the whole how do you build a peace thing, which is kind of the main thrust of at least three storylines in AFFC/ADWD: Dany, Jon, and Cersei.

I'm one of the weird outliers who likes Feastdance best, though it did take me a couple rereads to get there.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:14 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


I ended up liking Kevan Lannister

I did too, but not just out of a sense of "well, no one else is left." I realize that the show is already juggling a lot of characters, but I wish he'd been left in beyond a few perfunctory appearances in the first two seasons.

In the books, it's Kevan and not Varys who reacts with the "WTF Sansa is your aunt" when Joffrey wants to serve Robb's head to her at his wedding. Kevan also calls Cersei out on her bullshit at the beginning of AFFC. Finally, in ADWD you can tell he has some human feelings, when he reflects that Tommen is a sweet lad.
posted by dhens at 7:15 AM on May 7, 2014


"What, you don't like all the intricate politics of these darker-skinned people with names that are hard to understand, yet you're just fine with all these people with pseudo-English names that happen to be fair-skinned? How interesting…"*

TBH, most of Lady Cersei of Circling the Drain's chapters were less interesting than actual English history. I took the end of QM as a delightful authorial recognition of how things were going: "Enough minor characters doing politics! The dragon eats you!"
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:18 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Who would have thought that invading a country, taking out the leadership and power structure (tyrannical as it may be), and then declaring MISSION ACCOMPLISHED without any sort of plan for what comes next would not work out for everyone involved? That's completely unrealistic.

I know that Dany actually takes over Meereen in ASOS (which came out in 2000), but given that ADWD came out in 2011, I wonder if GRRM deliberately inserted parallels to the US' misadventures in the Middle East.
posted by dhens at 11:44 AM on May 7, 2014


By the way, since I know everyone still here is only checking in breathlessly on my progress, here is your update. I'm almost done with the links posted in here, but I keep getting sidetracked by other interviews and links in the various things posted. Since I didn't see it listed anywhere, I thought I'd share a link that *I* found in that process. It's a really, really long interview from 2012 with GRRM and I found it fascinating.

Adria's News Interview 2012
posted by norm at 12:00 PM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it does turn out to be secret sci-fi, I hope there's a Biff Tannenesque character who can drop this sick burn:

"Make like a Bran, and tree."
posted by davidjmcgee at 4:18 PM on May 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


drop this sick burn

I think Rhaegal dropped the sickest burn of all. #RIPQM
posted by dhens at 4:54 PM on May 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


"I did not kill your son, but if that's what you want to believe, I will act the part - I will act like I'm out to kill my whole family!"

"You poor stupid blind crippled fool. Must I spell out every little thing for you? Very well. Cersei is a lying whore, she's been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know. And I am the monster they all say I am. Yes, I killed your vile son"

Since his family leaves him no other way to be, he becomes the monster and embraces it - which includes taking on every vile thing he is accused of, true or not.
posted by nubs at 5:03 PM on May 7, 2014


That Adria interview is pretty good. The line about how maybe winter is coming in our world made me shiver.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:11 AM on May 9, 2014


Oh god damnit, just when I think I'm out on Daario=??? theories they pull me back in.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:08 PM on May 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, if that's true, that'll be a challenge to film without spoiling things.
posted by painquale at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2014


Daario = "X" theories are kind of dumb, I'm sorry. Especially after GRRM already did that with Arstan Whitebeard / Barristan Selmy.

Also, why would Euron have sent Victarion to "fetch" Dany for him? Unless (as some of the redditors seem to argue) you think that the Iron Islands Euron is a fake/double/etc.
posted by dhens at 1:45 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be hilarious if they cast the previous Daario actor as Euron just to screw with people.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:06 PM on May 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


Daario actor number 1: NAILED IT.
posted by dhens at 2:34 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Daario = "X" theories are kind of dumb, I'm sorry. Especially after GRRM already did that with Arstan Whitebeard / Barristan Selmy.

He likes using parallel structures/situations though, and then (possibly) bringing things to a different conclusion than what happened the first time (Tyrion is saved in trial by combat in AGOT & he is not saved by trial by combat in ASOS; Barristan Selmy acting in the Queen's stead in Mereen versus Ned Stark as the King's Hand in King's Landing, and probably others that are a bit deeper that I can't think through right now). So I suspect there is more to Daario, but every time he's had a character in "disguise" somewhere the names are similar (Barristan/Arstan; Sarella/Alleras). Anyways, as to Daario specifically, my guess is that he is somehow involved in the Illyrio/Varys scheme to get a Targ back on the throne.
posted by nubs at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2014


lovecrafty: As for Tyrion, there is the theory that the whore known as the Sailor's Wife in Braavos is actually Tyrion's first wife, Tysha (the crofter's daughter). She only beds men who marry her. She has a blonde teenaged daughter named Lanna.


There's a competing theory about a possible Tyrion daughter, that makes me even more anxious to catch up with his story line.
posted by twoporedomain at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh man. I could do without potential Oldboy scenarios... Though I guess it wouldn't be all that out of place in the ASoIaF world.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:55 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Someone on /r/asoiaf put together a spreadsheet to search the full text of the books for word/phrase frequency and is taking requests.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:59 PM on May 9, 2014


It's sad that permission culture has gotten so bad that they're afraid to release a spreadsheet.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:22 PM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


There aren't nearly as many 'mayhaps'es as I would have thought.

And 6 'nipples on a breastplate'!
posted by painquale at 8:28 PM on May 9, 2014


Plus, didn't Daario take a short walk off a long catapult at the end of ADWD?
posted by bq at 9:26 PM on May 9, 2014


Plus, didn't Daario take a short walk off a long catapult at the end of ADWD?

I don't think that the Yunkai'i were hurling back envoys/hostages; rather, they were hurling plague-ridden corpses (those who had ridden the pale mare) as a form of biological warfare.
posted by dhens at 9:35 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


That spreadsheet I mentioned has now been turned into a bot on /r/asoiaf. It's pretty neat. It gives you a nice list of chapters a particular term shows up in, and also makes a visualization, like this one for the phrase "Mance Rayder."
posted by ocherdraco at 8:05 PM on May 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Heh. Nuncle.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:25 PM on May 11, 2014


She says "all I see is Snow".

ye gods, please don't let it be Ramsey
posted by harriet vane at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am absolutely giddy with anticipation for Pedro Pascal's portrayal of Prince Oberyn fighting The Mountain in episode 8. I expect that it will end up being one of the best scenes of the series.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:43 AM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


A thought triggered by the current show thread: does the Iron Bank suspect that Littlefinger directed a massive share of their loans into his own pocket? And if so, what are they going about it?
posted by Iridic at 10:22 AM on May 12, 2014


ok so I'm rewatching s01e05 to see how the last trial by combat went, and I gotta ask

where the heck did the hill tribes come from???

Are there just wild savages speckled all throughout winterfell? Do they pay taxes? If not, why not? We see them in the Vale, and we see the wild hill tribes up north in the last book too. Are they all over the place?
posted by rebent at 12:13 PM on May 12, 2014


does the Iron Bank suspect that Littlefinger directed a massive share of their loans into his own pocket?

Barring an audit, I don't see how. I also doubt that they care about the details. They just want someone to assume (and repay) the debt.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:13 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Are there just wild savages speckled all throughout winterfell? Do they pay taxes? If not, why not? We see them in the Vale, and we see the wild hill tribes up north in the last book too. Are they all over the place?

Wildlings live primarily north of the Wall, but the tribes in the Mountains of the Moon are an exception to the rule - basically, anywhere the ruler can't/doesn't enforce the rule of law, you get bands of troublemakers/clans that live outside the King's peace. With the clans around the Vale, the impression I had is that while they give small traveling parties grief, they largely aren't a big threat to the Vale itself, so they are pretty much ignored.

The Northern clans/tribes in ADWD are sworn to Winterfell, but they seem to live an almost wildling-like existence. Which is interesting in and of itself...
posted by nubs at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


holy crap, tyrion was positively gleeful at seeing the two strangers fight to the death over himself. Is bronn the first man-at-arms that he became friends with? Before that, do their lives mean as little as lannister gold to him?
posted by rebent at 12:34 PM on May 12, 2014


Do they pay taxes?

I have been laughing about this simple statement of confused outrage for approx. 15 minutes now, thank you.
posted by elizardbits at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


holy crap, tyrion was positively gleeful at seeing the two strangers fight to the death over himself.

I always thought he looked rather stressed; the only glee is when Bronn gains the upper hand - which is understandable, because if Bronn dies, Tyrion dies.
posted by nubs at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


yes but bronn got the upper hand... and then kept fighting. It was like Lysa thought "Oh, he's only been stabbed twice! Maybe he will still win!"

I guess that's the whole ethos of the country anyway: "Someone was killed, here's the person we think did it, let's kill a ton of proletariat!"

but the thing is, even the villagers are happy with it! they volunteer to fight, kill, and/or die for someone else and not even for someone else's life, but for their honor. And then the accused is still as guilty/not guilty as before, really.

it's like, oh man I loooooove the detroit tigers, I'll have a fight to the death with anyone who loves the... other sports group. Before the play-offs.
posted by rebent at 1:11 PM on May 12, 2014


back to the point at hand: based on my read of tyrion this season, and from the latest books, I would expect him to say "yes well fought, I believe it's obvious who won, Bronn please stop stabbing that man." But instead he says "Yess in your face people who accused me! Look how dead that guy is, aren't you all idiots!"

I guess what I'm saying is - something changed in him between then and now. As the hand he was a pragmatist to the extreme. But his glee at the eyrie wasn't pragmatism.

Maybe tywin isn't as much a bad guy as we think. Maybe he had good reason to distrust his son's leadership. Maybe naming him Hand was a test - if so, Tyrion failed the test, but I wonder how? I'll have to go back and look for those answers, too.
posted by rebent at 1:17 PM on May 12, 2014


yes but bronn got the upper hand... and then kept fighting. It was like Lysa thought "Oh, he's only been stabbed twice! Maybe he will still win!"

I felt like both Bronn and Vardis look to Lysa to end it, and she doesn't. Bronn has to carry through; Tyrion can't call him off as the "judge" has to be the one to declare the winner. And leaving the other guy a corpse is the surest way to win in this case.

they volunteer to fight, kill, and/or die for someone else and not even for someone else's life, but for their honor. And then the accused is still as guilty/not guilty as before, really.

It's a farcical way to do justice; it's just another data point in the series that points out how arbitrary and whimsical the structures of this type of feudalistic/medieval society were - along with a value structure that is hard to understand. The beauty of a trial by combat is in its simplicity - two men enter, one man leaves. But the horrible thing is that it is really about who fights better, not justice. The show/story is giving us what appears to be a simple answer - the answer we will like, a fight and somebody dying. But then it shows us a fighter who uses his greater mobility to wear the other down, limit his options, and then kill him. There wasn't much honour in the fight itself - but we like the outcome, so we go away satisfied though shaking our heads about it. And then it gives us a second trial by combat that goes horribly, horribly wrong (and I freaking cannot wait for the Viper and the Mountain).

But the larger question is - what is justice? And how do you deliver it, without knowing all the facts? The trial by combat was a simplistic way to attempt this, and I think both the on screen/on page examples show how horribly flawed it is...but so is the trial process as it seems to exist. And Dany is now struggling with how to deliver justice as well; it seems simple and easy when you have a sword in your hand, much more difficult when you set down the sword and try to ascertain the truth.
posted by nubs at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Rebent, Tyrion's life was in the balance, of course he is glad to see Bronn getting the upper hand. He already knows the deck is stacked against him because Lyssa refused, against custom and etiquette, to honor his choice of champion and declared that the trial must take place immediately. He could, and arguably ought to be held as an extremely valuable hostage, but Lyssa is clearly beyond reason at this point. She just wants to see him dead. He can't expect any mercy from Cat, because she thinks (or at least thought) he was responsible for the assassination attempt on Bran, and Robin just wants to see the Little Man fly.

Besides, combat by trial is nearly always (if not always?) to the death anyway, isn't it? I guess if one of the competitors clearly yielded, it could come to an end, but pride and stubbornness carries the competitors beyond any point when they could have ended it and both walked away. Lyssa stubbornly believes her chosen champion can win the match, and his pride keeps him from yielding and losing face in front of this woman he's been courting even once he is in over his head.

But gleeful? I think it's a stretch to describe Tyrion's reaction that way. Robin is the only one I'd call gleeful, and that's mostly over the prospect of someone falling through the Moon Door.
posted by misha at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2014 [1 favorite]




NB: That pdf is intended to be given to booksellers, to help them determine whether or not to stock the book—having formerly been a book editor myself, I can assure you that the typos, unfinished bits, etc. won't be representative of the final product.

But still, squee!
posted by ocherdraco at 8:04 PM on May 12, 2014


I've been thinking about when the show will have to either start making more of the storyline up out of whole cloth or moving ahead of the books to the consternation of book purists. It seems to me that's going to start happening towards the end of next season (season 5) with season 6 being more or less entirely comprised of new material.

Going to be interesting to say the least.
posted by Justinian at 12:16 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Besides, combat by trial is nearly always (if not always?) to the death anyway, isn't it?

In a Trial of Seven (the melee version of trial by combat) the rules allow yielding:
“If Ser Duncan is killed, it is considered that the gods have judged him guilty, and the contest is over. If both of his accusers are slain, or withdraw their accusations, the same is true. Elsewise, all seven of one side or the other must perish or yield for the trial to end.”
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:40 AM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't surprise me that it is possible for the accusation to be withdrawn in single combat as well; certainly watching the fight between Bronn and Vardis seems to indicate it because there are at least two moments where both pause (once the outcome is clear) and look to Lysa/Robyn.
posted by nubs at 10:03 AM on May 13, 2014


I like how the show has played up Oberyn. It will be all the better when he bites the dust.
posted by ersatz at 5:31 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love that database which shows how often words have occurred in the books and in which books they occurred. It really shows how the last two books received virtually no editing compared to the first three.
posted by Justinian at 6:09 PM on May 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like how the show has played up Oberyn. It will be all the better when he bites the dust.

That's true I guess. I didn't really care when book-Oberyn died. I'll be really sad to see the show character go!

I'm kind of interested in the speculation in the fanfare thread about who the champions will be. Seems like the showrunners aren't even trying to hide this, I mean aren't they making it kind of obvious?
posted by torticat at 3:41 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seems like the showrunners aren't even trying to hide this, I mean aren't they making it kind of obvious?

Considering how much grief I got in the other room room for even suggesting Tyrion is going to have a champion at all, I guess it's not that obvious. I agree that I'm going to miss tv Oberyn a lot more than book Oberyn.

I don't remember Shae betraying him during the trial in the books, did she? I know there's the Ultimate Betrayal still ahead (although I don't know for sure if it's going to happen, but I don't see why not) but it was really heartbreaking to watch her testimony as she was another character I didn't care much for in the books but I really liked and believed in tv Shae.

The trial was also great in comparison to the books as you got to see the various reactions from everyone in the room.
posted by like_neon at 5:04 AM on May 14, 2014


for even suggesting Tyrion is going to have a champion at all, I guess it's not that obvious.

I guess. And I suppose if previews and upcoming show titles (I mean "The Viper and the Mountain," come on) are considered spoilers, it might not be so clear?

But even just given what's been on the show so far... didn't Oberyn practically offer to fight for Tyrion if necessary? I have to go back and rewatch that scene.

Also, yes, book Shae very much betrayed Tyrion in the trial--I would say even worse than she did on the show--but it was a bit more credible because book Shae was not as strong or smart as she's been played on the show.

I think that, given Tyrion's treatment of her, it's still not implausible that show-Shae would turn against him. But maybe I'm carrying that over from the books... from the reaction of TV-watchers in the fanfare thread, it seems like the showrunners didn't sell it as well as they should have.
posted by torticat at 6:29 AM on May 14, 2014


Seems like the showrunners aren't even trying to hide this, I mean aren't they making it kind of obvious?

We've seen Tyrion on trial before. I think watchers assume that's what trials normally look like.

Also, yes, book Shae very much betrayed Tyrion in the trial--I would say even worse than she did on the show--but it was a bit more credible because book Shae was not as strong or smart as she's been played on the show.

What we're missing is a scene where show Shae is confronted with what her actual prospects and options are. Last we saw she seemed to have no clue.

Switching the badge of office from a chain to a pin is going to make her fate even more gruesome, too. I'm curious how watchers will react.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:34 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Tyrion gave Shae a gold chain necklace earlier in the show. I imagine it will come into play.
posted by bq at 6:46 AM on May 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


I guess we'll know by the previouslies if it does.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:58 AM on May 14, 2014


Switching the badge of office from a chain to a pin is going to make her fate even more gruesome, too

sort of... I mean one of the key psychological points there was she had a fetish for wearing his chain of office when he was Hand...and is wearing it in the final Ultimate Betrayal scene. That was one of the more cruelly written pieces of the book especially if I'm remembering it this vividly.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:00 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think that, given Tyrion's treatment of her, it's still not implausible that show-Shae would turn against him. But maybe I'm carrying that over from the books... from the reaction of TV-watchers in the fanfare thread, it seems like the showrunners didn't sell it as well as they should have.

Hopefully this isn't a spoiler, but in one of the links above with Shae's actress, she explains the show-why of the betrayal.
posted by corb at 7:49 AM on May 14, 2014


What interview? I can't figure out which link you mean.
posted by bq at 9:43 AM on May 14, 2014



What interview? I can't figure out which link you mean.


I think it's this one, which is over in the FanFare thread for the latest episode. I know I'm getting confused at times between this thread and that one.
posted by nubs at 2:10 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


It has been 17 days since this was posted. I am now almost done with the links. I've also been forced to start re-reading the series. It is funny how much detail you miss when you're reading it a) for plot and b) don't know who the characters are the first time you read it.
posted by norm at 12:39 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that's going to start happening towards the end of next season (season 5) with season 6 being more or less entirely comprised of new material.

They might be able to get one more out of it. If the showrunners are being really nice to GRRM, they can end next season where FeastDance ends (or maybe to burn off some of that budget show how everything in Meereen falls out so that something will have happened in Essos other than shifting pieces into place), which would give Martin until they start filming Season 6 to finish Winds of Winter. That's, what, July 2016? Possible, yeah? And then Season 6 would be more or less matching book canon.

But him then finishing Book 7 in time for summer 2017 or 2018? Not a chance.

And yeah, that's exciting, show-wise. It will be cool to watch and not have any idea what's going to happen. And to see some sort of ending. At this point, I'll take even ersatz closure.

That being said: I know Martin is not my [B WORD] but I really, really, really, really, really really really hope he finishes writing the books. Like really. Really really.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:48 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


which would give Martin until they start filming Season 6 to finish Winds of Winter. That's, what, July 2016? Possible, yeah?

No, they have to start filming Season 6 in fall of 2015. Which means the scripts have to be written before that. Even if they push all new material to season 6 that's barely a year.

But I don't see how they stretch Brienne's storyline out for a season and a half from here, for example.
posted by Justinian at 1:07 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anybody think Martin will finish TWoW in the next year?
posted by Justinian at 1:08 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah, you're right. Thanks!
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:14 PM on May 15, 2014


But him then finishing Book 7 in time for summer 2017 or 2018? Not a chance.

You never know. Maybe Book 7 turns out to be a slim chapbook. 80 pages, including the illustrations.
posted by Iridic at 2:26 PM on May 15, 2014


This story says that GRRM's publisher said in January that TWOW is "certainly" not going to be released this year, so I take that as a "don't get your hopes up" for release anytime soon. Also, HBO just released synopses of the last episodes for this season. Episode 8, airing June 1, is entitled "The Mountain and the Viper", so I guess we know when THAT thing is happening.
posted by norm at 2:35 PM on May 15, 2014


But I don't see how they stretch Brienne's storyline out for a season and a half from here, for example.

Wacky Brienne-and-Pod hijinks, please.
posted by asperity at 2:39 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Given that, norm, I think it's a damn good bet we see everything that occurs post-TWoW on screen before we see it on a page. Assuming we ever see it on a page which is a big assumption.

Will sites like the AV CLUB be firing one of their recappers since everyone will be non-readers at that point? ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS!
posted by Justinian at 3:21 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think it's a damn good bet we see everything that occurs post-TWoW on screen before we see it on a page.

I think that's correct; I'm also interested in the comment GRRM made shortly after the end of the episode where we saw what happens to the children taken by the White Walkers. Which has me thinking that once the show passes the books we might be seeing a divergence of book and show much more than we have now.
posted by nubs at 3:33 PM on May 15, 2014


Another (really awful) theory.
posted by corb at 4:10 PM on May 15, 2014


A more interesting theory: that the Faceless Men have a darker agenda.
The FM see death as a gift and an end to suffering. The kindly man describes the world as a "vale of tears and pain". But if we take this to its logical conclusion, something probably only a very small, select group even among the followers of the Many-Faced God know, then the "gift" should be given to everyone. Again this fits with them using/following the death/ice force. So how can this be achieved? How to kill humanity? The answer is to help their natural allies, the Others, who is also using the cold/death magic, take over the world and exterminate humanity.

This gives a new meaning to the phrase "All men must die".
posted by corb at 5:02 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


Anybody think Martin will finish TWoW in the next year?

I think it's about as likely as me successfully getting my space program underway within the same time period.
posted by elizardbits at 5:07 PM on May 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


And yeah, that's exciting, show-wise. It will be cool to watch and not have any idea what's going to happen. And to see some sort of ending. At this point, I'll take even ersatz closure.

I'll start writing right away.
posted by ersatz at 5:07 PM on May 15, 2014 [7 favorites]


corb: A more interesting theory: that the Faceless Men have a darker agenda.
The FM see death as a gift and an end to suffering. The kindly man describes the world as a "vale of tears and pain". But if we take this to its logical conclusion, something probably only a very small, select group even among the followers of the Many-Faced God know, then the "gift" should be given to everyone. Again this fits with them using/following the death/ice force. So how can this be achieved? How to kill humanity? The answer is to help their natural allies, the Others, who is also using the cold/death magic, take over the world and exterminate humanity.

This gives a new meaning to the phrase "All men must die".
We believe in nuzink, Lebowski Westerosi. We are nihilists. The man will have all your names.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:05 AM on May 16, 2014


I just finished Dunk and Egg last night, and it seems that trial by combat is Serious Business in westeros.
posted by rebent at 6:33 AM on May 16, 2014


We believe in nuzink, Lebowski Westerosi. We are nihilists. The man will have all your names.

I mean, say what you want about the tenets of R'hllor, Dude, at least it's an ethos.


That throne really tied the room together!
posted by nubs at 8:10 AM on May 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


A more interesting theory: that the Faceless Men have a darker agenda.

I would actually be really interested if anyone has managed to put together a systematic pantheology that explains how all of the various gods relate to each other (if they even do outside of the niches they rule). Just the other day I was idly speculating about whether the Drowned God might actually be an aspect of the Anti-R'hllor God (whatever its name is) somehow, since the Drowned God is also locked in a dualist struggle for eternity and the Ironborn seem more likely to be on the side of grim, cold darkness than searingly glorious light. Or maybe there's just a lot of divine infighting going on all over the world and we just don't hear about most of it because it's happening under the sea or somewhere else far away from where the books' action is.
posted by Copronymus at 10:00 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


A combined and re-ordered version A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons called "A Ball of Beasts" can be downloaded at http://ballofbeasts.weebly.com/, though you need to 'prove' that you own the books first.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I just finished Dunk and Egg last night, and it seems that trial by combat is Serious Business in westeros.

Hey, just curious, where did you find a copy of this? I've been wanting to read the Dunk and Egg stories and would be glad to buy them but can't seem to find them online (or else I am just looking in the wrong place? Under the wrong title? All of the above?)
posted by misha at 10:58 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, just curious, where did you find a copy of this?

The first Dunk and Egg story (called "The Hedge Knight") is in the 1998 Legends anthology edited by Robert Silverberg. It's also been done as a short comic series. The second story is "The Sworn Sword" and it's in the Legends II anthology. The third is "The Mystery Knight" and it's in an anthology called Warriors (2010).

There are more stories planned, and eventually a collection of just the Dunk and Egg stories will get released, but for now these collections are the only legal place to read them. Their all available on amazon, or there's always the library.
posted by lovecrafty at 11:13 AM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


i paid the iron price
posted by rebent at 11:52 AM on May 16, 2014 [15 favorites]


The other piece that may be of interest is "The Princess and the Queen" in the Dangerous Women anthology - not a Dunk and Egg story, but about a war between two branches of the Targaryen family tree over who would sit the Iron Throne.
posted by nubs at 11:53 AM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Dunk and Egg stories have been collected in one volume already, but only in translation. Here's the German edition, and I know there are more. So, if you happen to be multilingual, you might could read them in one volume.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:58 AM on May 16, 2014


thetruthisjustalie: "A combined and re-ordered version A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons called "A Ball of Beasts" can be downloaded at http://ballofbeasts.weebly.com/, though you need to 'prove' that you own the books first."'

I was curious as to how A Ball of Beasts compared with the Feastdance order that I linked in my comment earlier, so I threw together an Excel spreadsheet to highlight the differences. The differences are really quite minimal. It's a little frustrating that the person behind A Ball of Beasts doesn't explain their reasoning for the changes they made from Feastdance. I want to know why they felt changes were necessary!
posted by ocherdraco at 12:18 PM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Dunk and Egg stories have been collected in one volume already, but only in translation.

Huh. The translations of ASOIAF are notoriously bad, but that seems to be fairly highly rated.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:15 PM on May 16, 2014


Here's some interesting detective work someone did based on comparing GRRM's current public appearance calendar with his calendar from before ADWD was published
A reason to be hopeful for TWOW in 2015

It's a little frustrating that the person behind A Ball of Beasts doesn't explain their reasoning for the changes they made from Feastdance. I want to know why they felt changes were necessary!

Yeah, and the new title doesn't exactly evoke confidence in their taste. Maybe I'll read FeastDance instead.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 1:30 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


If we ever get books on FanFare I'd love to see a mefi FeastDance readalong just to see if alternate read order really is as good at changing opinions on those books as it seems.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:59 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


HOTPIE
posted by Justinian at 6:56 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


I will probably try a FeastDance combination when I get back there in my re-read. However, I only have e-book versions and it is going to be really annoying to figure out which chapter is which every time I get to a new one. The tables of contents in these e-reader editions just specify chapter numbers and not POVs. Urgh.
posted by norm at 9:21 AM on May 19, 2014


Norm, that's the beauty of the ballofbeasts link above. The reading order is nearly identical to FeastDance, and the download has the chapters already sorted.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:13 AM on May 19, 2014


Ah, I see. Well, I'm two books away from that point, so I guess I'll try it then.
posted by norm at 3:18 PM on May 19, 2014


Can I just say that I absolutely loved how Bronn completely forecasts the duel to come in the latest episode? Or at least, the one he describes is the what happens in the book. Run around, tire him out, stick him, but if you get too close...
posted by nubs at 1:24 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


And out of the recap in screencaps, my favourite pair. The secret is lack of Frey - they give the pie a greasy, slimy feel.
posted by nubs at 2:47 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wish Martin had put Cersei's valonqar bit earlier in the series, I keep having to bite my tongue in the FanFare thread to stop from mentioning there are other reasons besides their mother's death for which Cersei hates Tyrion.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


(Well, fears Tyrion anyway, which for Cersei amounts to the same thing since she hates and wants to destroy anything she fears.)
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on May 20, 2014


Yeah, I had to really carefully write my analysis of one of the other main reasons to avoid saying that while also avoiding lying.

Hey, question for you guys - anyone have any idea how Littlefinger is going to get off for Lysa's death, given the Marillion situation?
posted by corb at 7:56 AM on May 21, 2014


honestly, I think that LF is going to just state "Oh yes, I'm in charge now" and no one will question him. They haven't spent enough time setting up the characters that would question him. The books still haven't really gotten LF and Sansa forward to the next real plot point - they "are going somewhere" is as interesting as its gotten. I predict that all the drama surrounding those two characters will revolve around LF/S relationship, and dealing with their captive lord and how winey he is.
posted by rebent at 8:08 AM on May 21, 2014


Yes, that's one of the total dead end plot points as the books are now written. There's very little beyond "negotiating with the other lords of the vale" for them to do. Not exactly compelling TV.
posted by norm at 8:11 AM on May 21, 2014


Well, there's the Harry the Heir thing, but yeah. I mean, it could be compelling TV if they cast great actors, but since they haven't been developing them it's a weird thing.
posted by corb at 8:24 AM on May 21, 2014


I think their plan is to find characters that don't have much to do and create a plot that incorporates multiple of them. (Roose needing to hunt down Bran, for example.) They can create an exciting little side story without affecting the major plot too much.

Maybe Pod and Brienne will come poking around the Vale, or maybe the Hound will make it all the way there just before losing Arya (who narrowly misses meeting her sister), or maybe Gendry will appear for some reason and Littlefinger thinks he can exploit a Baratheon bastard somehow. I'm not caught up with the show, so maybe these aren't possibilities any more, but it does strike me as fairly easy to invent a lot of possibilities.
posted by painquale at 8:40 AM on May 21, 2014


It is a testament to how much time I have spent reading the links in this post (I'm done, I think) that I got to the end of them and thought "wait, where are the Patchface theories?"
posted by norm at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Under the sea, under the sea
Darlin’ it’s better
Down where it’s wetter,
Take it from me
I know, I know
Oh, Oh, Oh!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2014 [8 favorites]


god i hate patchface and his oh oh oh. Written english does not well translate what I assume is going on there - is it a sing-song rising tone? is it a sassy "oh OH oh"? is it an "Oh yes, I see" sound? we use "oh oh" as a way to write "uhuh", so is oh oh oh an elvis-esque "uh huh huh"? Or is it, as I always read it, disturbingly pleasurable?


god i hate patchface.
posted by rebent at 1:17 PM on May 21, 2014 [9 favorites]


The trick is to read Patchface's oh oh ohs as the oh oh ohs from New Kids on the Block's "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
posted by jason_steakums at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2014 [6 favorites]


norm: "It is a testament to how much time I have spent reading the links in this post (I'm done, I think) that I got to the end of them and thought "wait, where are the Patchface theories?""

Patchface theories
posted by Happy Dave at 2:18 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Straight up now tell me
Do you really want to love me forever
Oh, oh, oh!
posted by Iridic at 3:26 PM on May 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


More Patchface. From the Compendium of Theories, which I see was recently updated with new content, just in case anyone's read through everything here....
posted by Pink Frost at 6:09 PM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've totally blocked out patchface.

I read that GRRM had intended to have a five-year gap in the action wherein all the younger characters would, uh, in my paraphrase, 'level up'. Hence the Mereenese knot. Clearly Sansa is supposed to be hanging out at the Vale getting groomed.
posted by bq at 6:22 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the comments refers to Patchface as the "Westeros's most annoying prophet." Love it. Also, thanks for the reading! I was worried I was going to get withdrawals after getting in the habit of starting my day with a dorky ASOIAF link or three to read.
posted by norm at 6:05 AM on May 22, 2014



A combined and re-ordered version A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons called "A Ball of Beasts" can be downloaded at http://ballofbeasts.weebly.com/, though you need to 'prove' that you own the books first.


This is exactly what I'd like to do, re-read books 4 and 5 interleaved, but I gave away my copy and cannot provide the word they ask me for. Argh.
posted by Dashy at 6:49 PM on May 24, 2014


This is exactly what I'd like to do, re-read books 4 and 5 interleaved, but I gave away my copy and cannot provide the word they ask me for. Argh.

Is it the last word of the epilogue? that should be "daggers".
posted by Greg Nog at 7:33 PM on May 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Huh. Nothing much happened on last night's episode. So they either didn't air one or are already adapting A Feast For Crows.

OOOOHHHHH SNAP
posted by davidjmcgee at 1:34 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


The secret word can also be gleaned via the super-hacker method of "View page source".
posted by vibratory manner of working at 6:53 PM on May 26, 2014


I wish Martin had put Cersei's valonqar bit earlier in the series, I keep having to bite my tongue in the FanFare thread to stop from mentioning there are other reasons besides their mother's death for which Cersei hates Tyrion.

In case you missed the cast list for Season 5 posted in the most recent FanFare thread, they've announced that Maggy the Frog will be there. So at least we'll get the valonquar reveal soonish (And yeah, agreed that it should have happened earlier in the books).
posted by Pink Frost at 8:41 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just finished reading all the books. So what's going to happen between the windings and watch with Snow injured or dead? What will the Khal do with Dany? Did Bolton's bastard write the letter and if not, who knew everything it mentioned? How is Moonboy doing is he good?
posted by drezdn at 8:21 AM on May 27, 2014


I'm going to miss this thread.
posted by norm at 10:57 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


drezdn:

1. Everyone's gonna die.
2. Sheyit, I think the khal better worry about what Dany is going to do with him. Especially because in AGOT Dany threatens/promises his death.
3. Probably? There is a pretty good link above on that subject.
4. Probably fucking Cersei for all we know.
posted by norm at 10:59 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm going to miss this thread.

Valar claudere
posted by nubs at 12:18 PM on May 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


My favorite theory that isn't backed by evidence is that Victation has the Horn of Winter, and Samwell had the broken Dragonbinder (or another important horn).
posted by drezdn at 5:53 PM on May 27, 2014


Well apparently (via inscription) Victarion definitely has Dragonbinder, but it would be cool if Samwell's horn was important but not the Horn of Winter.
posted by drezdn at 6:03 PM on May 27, 2014


Sam doesn't have the horn anymore—Marwyn does.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:11 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


So we're going to make another spoiler-filled thread for the rest of the season right

RIGHT
posted by elizardbits at 10:08 PM on May 27, 2014 [8 favorites]


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