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Author Topic: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation  (Read 1479 times)

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Thad

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So, okay.  As the thread name implies, you might want to steer clear of this thread if you haven't read all five books.

Or if you have read all five books but there are still things you don't want spoiled.

Like, say, if you haven't worked out who Jon Snow's mother is yet and would rather I didn't spell it out for you.

Because Jon Snow is where I'm starting.

First of all: He's not dead.

Dance makes a point of reminding us, at least twice, that you can't kill skinchangers easily -- first in the opening "Meet the Cannon Fodder" chapter, and later when Jon considers the possibility that Bran's mind is still alive in Summer.

But I think that's a red herring; I think Jon's still alive in his own body.

Because Melisandre needs him.

So okay, on to Jon's parentage, which I think is pretty widely accepted but I'll give it in brief so's we're all on the same page:

Jon isn't Ned Stark's son at all.  He's his nephew.  More specifically, he's the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

That much is pretty heavily hinted in the first book, during Ned's time in the dungeon just prior to his execution.  What becomes clearer as the series goes on and we hear more about Rhaegar is that, contrary to Robert Baratheon's Angry Drunken Exposition, there was no rape.  Every single person who actually KNEW Rhaegar has described a man for whom rape would be totally out-of-character -- as out-of-character as Ned cheating on his wife.

(There IS, of course, a Stark who fucks everything up by dishonoring his betrothal, which means Ned DOES have a son who turns out to be quite similar to Rhaegar.)

So Lyanna, with her dying breath, makes Ned promise to protect her baby -- and given Robert Baratheon's "Kill all Targaryens, children or no" attitude, it's pretty clear why Ned would pretend Jon was his own natural son.  Characteristically, the only thing Ned is willing to sacrifice his honor for is the safety of his family.

The only other survivor of the Tower of Joy is Howland Reed, which is why Jojen and Meera know the truth and have hinted at it to Bran.

But I suspect Melisandre knows too, because the irony is just too good to pass up.  I imagine she must be very amused at Jon's machinations, switching the babies, getting Maester Aemon the fuck out of Dodge, all for naught because he has no idea that HE HIMSELF is the king's son she's really after.

So yeah, that's the narrative reason Jon is safe: this has been building longer than any other mystery in the books, and it needs a payoff more satisfying than "(STAB) Oh BTW he was actually Rhaegar's son."

Which doesn't mean he'll make it through the NEXT book alive, of course.

MEANWHILE, there's the question of Ramsay's letter.  The most interesting thing about it, of course, is trying to determine what's true and what he's lying about.  The mention of Mance indicates that he's at least partially telling the truth -- we don't know whether he's really killed Stannis or not, though.  I'm leaning "no"; that IS the kinda thing Martin would do, just killing off one of the kings in exposition (in fact, he already has -- Balon Greyjoy), but I don't feel like Stannis's story is over yet.  Could be wrong, though.

There's also the possibility that Ramsay didn't write it at all -- but it sure sounds like his voice, particularly the bit at the end about "I want my Reek".  If it wasn't written by him, it was written by somebody who'd been spying on him pretty closely -- Mance, maybe with an assist from Tom O'Sevens.  Certainly if Melisandre wants Jon to do something rash, get himself stabbed, and put himself at her mercy, then this did the trick, and Tom is in Winterfell on Catelyn's orders, and she wasn't fond of Jon BEFORE she turned into a horrible undead monster.

But my money's still on Ramsay sending the letter himself.  Beyond simple cruelty, he has a motive for going after Jon: Jon is a potential challenger for Winterfell, and Ramsay is even more vulnerable now that his ostensible-Stark wife has fled.

Robb (not knowing Bran and Rickon were still alive -- which Ramsay, of course, DOES know) named Jon as his heir.  Roose Bolton knew that, and so would Ramsay.

But to the best of my recollection, the subject never comes up in Jon's conversations with Stannis; it's Stannis, as King, offering to raise Jon up as a Stark and the legitimate heir to Winterfell; I don't believe Robb's letter is ever mentioned.  And seeing as it's pretty pertinent to the subject at hand, this suggests to me that word never got to Jon or Stannis.

Mean-fucking-while, I think it's pretty clear that Littlefinger has designs on Winterfell, too.  His motivations up to this point have largely centered around unrequited love for Catelyn and taking every possible opportunity to say "Fuck you" to Ned.  He's the one responsible for the Jeyne-as-Arya ruse, so of course he knows Ramsay's claim is false, and here he is enjoying a thoroughly creepy father/suitor relationship with the ACTUAL heir apparent to Winterfell.  (I assume that Littlefinger knows Robb named Jon as his successor but does not know that Bran and Rickon are alive -- meaning he's one more person who benefits from Jon getting a knife in the gut.)

But it's gotta be bigger than just Winterfell.  Littlefinger's endgame is not clear, but he's the one who set this whole fucking thing in motion, by convincing Lysa to kill Jon Arryn AND send her sister the letter that convinced an otherwise-reluctant Ned to accept Robert's request that he become Hand.  And then put the Starks at war with the Lannisters by sending an assassin after Bran.

Every single thing that's happened north of Dorne and south of the Wall has happened because Littlefinger set it in motion.  Whatever he's up to, it has to be bigger than just ruling Winterfell, and more subtle than vying for the Iron Throne.

The other key player in the Game is, of course, Varys.  He and Littlefinger are opposite sides of a coin -- both completely amoral, but Littlefinger is motivated by self-interest and Varys is motivated by the Greater Good.  He knows the horror of what's coming better than anyone, and he believes a united Westeros with a Targaryen on the Iron Throne is the only way to stop it -- but he'll do whatever the hell it takes in the meantime.

The ending of Dance is quite interesting as it represents a major change in his temporary allegiances.  He's gone from trying to talk Tyrion out of killing Tywin, to re-enacting that exact murder on Kevan.

But I suspect that he was less than sincere in trying to talk Tyrion out of killing Tywin.  He'd been chipping away at the Lannisters' power for at least half a book by then, having helped clinch the case against Tyrion.  Obviously he wants Tyrion out of the way but not dead -- he sent him off to act as counsel to Aegon (and, even though things have gone awry, I'm sure he would be perfectly happy if Tyrion wound up advising Daenerys instead).

And I suspect that Varys was, if not actually COMPLICIT in Joffrey's assassination, certainly supportive of it.  (It probably bears examining the occasions when he and Littlefinger HAVE acted in common interest -- Ned's removal as Hand, Joffrey's ascension to the throne and subsequent assassination at the hands of the Tyrells, and the framing of Tyrion for it.)


And then of course there's the question of just what the fuck the Song of Ice and Fire IS, anyway.

The nice thing about Ice and Fire is that they can be used as a metaphor for pretty much goddamn anything.  The Starks and the Targaryens (oh hey, Jon is both!), the North and the South, the old ways and the new, even Varys and Littlefinger or the Brothers Clegane if you wanted to stretch it a bit.

But I think Melisandre's got it right: the Song of Ice and Fire refers specifically to the battle between the supernatural force she worships and the super natural force that's bringing ice monsters down on everybody.  And neither one seems particularly goddamn pretty.  The choice between Ice Zombies and Shadow Monsters isn't exactly an appealing one, and it's easy to sympathize with Varys's "absolutely any goddamn thing it takes to stop them both" view.

Of course, it doesn't seem like either the Ice or Fire side is exactly uniform.  Thoros of Myr wielded the same power as Melisandre does but seemed altogether less sinister (while Catelyn, on the other hand, has gotten quite a lot nastier, starting with the whole murdering-a-handicapped-guy business prior to her death and resurrection), and of course Coldhands seems to be a "good" White Walker.

I suspect we're going to see Melisandre at odds with Bran, even though they both have the same goal -- one more Game of Thrones preventing factions from coming together for the common good, except this one played for religion rather than a crown.  (Which is rather like what's happening in King's Landing now, with the Spanish Inquisition taking charge.)

I'm also hoping Martin continues to keep the actual presence or absence of any actual gods a mystery.  I was legitimately disappointed by the reveal that the Heart Trees are actually a four-dimensional communications network.


And one more stray thought: I don't think the Hound's really dead.  We've only got one dude's word for it, and there's already one Clegane who's managed to cheat death.  And c'mon, we all wanna see the Hound be the one who finally takes down the Mountain.  (There would be a certain poetic justice to Aegon doing it, but that's pretty much the very definition of an uneven fight.  These are not the kind of books where a scrawny teenager takes out a nigh-unkillable sociopathic giant just because it makes the audience feel good.)


So!  That's my very long Song of Ice and Fire post.  I hope to start a discussion with it!  What say you?
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Büge

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Well, the hypothesis that Jon is a Targaryen certainly came as a surprise. I suppose it's possible, although I prefer the idea that Tyrion is a Targaryen, since he hasn't contracted Greyscale, despite nearly drowning in the tainted water, and Jon Connington caught it even though he wasn't in the water very long.

There's also that vision that Moqorro saw in the flames: "Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of it all."
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Thad

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Well, the hypothesis that Jon is a Targaryen certainly came as a surprise. I suppose it's possible,

I came up with it on my own, but since I caught up on all the books and started reading spoilery things I've found it's a pretty widely-held guess.  The actor who plays Theon released more grist for it just this week:

Quote
You know, I asked [Martin] about who Jon Snow's real parents were, and he told me. I can't say who, but I can tell you that it involves a bit of a Luke Skywalker situation. It will all come to fruition eventually. The whole thing with all the fight over proper succession is partly inspired by the War of the Roses in the late 1400s, and back then, to ensure pedigree, the monarchies were kind of inbred. It's definitely fucked up, but it definitely happened back then, so that's why there's incest with the Targaryen line. It's toned down, though.

although I prefer the idea that Tyrion is a Targaryen, since he hasn't contracted Greyscale, despite nearly drowning in the tainted water, and Jon Connington caught it even though he wasn't in the water very long.

An interesting point.  I thought it was just bad luck, but it COULD mean something.

There's also that vision that Moqorro saw in the flames: "Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of it all."

I don't think that means he's a Targaryen, just that he's a kingmaker.

That his mother died in childbirth is a pretty well-established point.  I suppose his father COULD be the Mad King or Rhaegar or somebody else besides Tywin, but I wouldn't bet on it -- for one thing, it lets him off the hook for kinslaying, the most serious offense he's committed.

And of course prophecies in this series are famously unreliable -- one of my favorite things about it is that Martin threw out the "prophesied child" cliche in the very first book and then straight-up killed him in childbirth.  It is not a series that plays by the rules of the genre.

That said, I mean, obviously MOST of these prophecies have to have something to them, because otherwise it'd just be one anticlimax after another.

To that end, I think it's a pretty safe bet that Daenerys is completely misinterpreting Miri Maz Dur's prophecy.  Jorah's not the betrayal for coin, he's the betrayal for love, and it hasn't happened yet.  As for who's going to betray her for coin, well, it's a pretty big list of contenders.

I'm also thinking Shavepate's been manipulating pretty much everything.  And Ser Barristan's in way over his head -- he's too much like Ned.
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Thad

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The io9 comments section has some interesting discussion on Jon's parentage.  One poster goes so far as to suggest Jon and Dany are twins -- I'm not sold but it makes an interesting theory.

Other bits referring to the stabbing at the end of the latest book:

Quote from: stolen_pillow
Melisadre looking for Stannis in the flames and remarking "all I see is Snow" with the capital s.

At the end of ADWD the knight that Wun Wun smashed has a star for his house crest, covered in blood from the giants beat down. The prophecy refers to a red star bleeding.

"Born in salt and smoke" could be a reference to Jon's tears (salt) and wounds (steaming in the cold, i.e. smoke)

That last one's a bit of a stretch but the earlier one's interesting.  One of the things I love about the always-unreliable prophecies in the series is that EVERYONE has a different explanation for the significance of the red star.

Quote from: fettpett
At the end of ADWD Jon is being stabbed by one of the Nightwatch, on first read one assumes he dies or is really close to being killed. However if you read it carefully, you read that it becomes bitterly cold RIGHT before he's stabbed (colder than the Wall normally is).

Now this implies one of two things, the Other's are attacking or Melisandre does something to raise him (ala Kat) after he's stabbed

Someone also links a pretty thorough damn post at Tower of the Hand laying out all the evidence for the Lyanna/Rhaegar theory.  Plenty of stuff I'd noticed (mostly the aforementioned prison sequence), but also lots of tiny details I hadn't picked up on (Ned always refers to Jon as "my blood", never "my son").

I'd also forgotten that Ned asked Varys to deliver a letter for him.  That could mean that Varys knows about all three Targaryens -- the dragon, after all, has three heads.
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Thad

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 11:48:45 AM »

The Lannisters as the Addams Family

Quite a lot of fun little spoilery bits in there.  I quite like the use of the Thing, but there's subtler stuff too -- as someone in the comments points out, take a close look at Myrcella.
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Thad

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2012, 01:36:01 PM »

io9: 12 Book Subplots that Game of Thrones Season 3 Could Leave Out.

Most are pretty straightforward; some are simply the result of Storm of Swords being split across two seasons (I expect we'll see Oberyn and Coldhands, as well as Rickon and Osha splitting off from Bran and the Reeds, but maybe not this season).

The most interesting speculation is that Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions could be dropped entirely and Roose Bolton could take their place.
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TA

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 10:20:35 AM »

Well, now that I've finally read all five books ...

But it's gotta be bigger than just Winterfell.  Littlefinger's endgame is not clear, but he's the one who set this whole fucking thing in motion, by convincing Lysa to kill Jon Arryn AND send her sister the letter that convinced an otherwise-reluctant Ned to accept Robert's request that he become Hand.  And then put the Starks at war with the Lannisters by sending an assassin after Bran.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but wasn't that Joffrey's doing?
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Thad

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 11:37:02 AM »

Nope.  The knife the assassin used belonged to Tyrion, and was recognizable, but Littlefinger had won it from him in a wager.  It was a setup, just like having Lysa kill Jon Arryn and then send her sister a coded, terrified letter blaming the Lannisters.  (Pinning it on Tyrion, in particular, destroys the best chance for peace between the Starks and Lannisters, and leads directly to Catelyn taking him prisoner, which escalates tensions in King's Landing and ultimately leads to Ned's death.  And hm, now that I think about it, given that Cersei and Varys both intended for Ned to be sent to the Wall and Joffrey overruled them, I wonder if Littlefinger didn't plant that little suggestion in his head -- obviously Joffrey's more than capable of brutalizing his enemies without being told, but Ned being killed rather than simply disgraced would certainly seem to fit Littlefinger's agenda.  And the latest season of the TV show has him literally giving a spy to Joffrey for target practice; I'll grant that doesn't happen in the books but it does suggest that he's got the sense to let Joffrey do his dirty work for him.)

In my favorite scene between Tyrion and Littlefinger, the one where Tyrion has told each member of the Small Council a different lie in order to determine who's reporting to his sister, Littlefinger finds out he's been played and tells Tyrion to keep him out of his schemes from now on.  Tyrion stabs the knife into the table and says "Then you keep me out of yours."  I was pretty disappointed when that last bit didn't make it into the TV show.

Joffrey didn't like Bran but I think he'd have been perfectly happy to leave him alive and suffering.  And if he HAD sent an assassin after him, he would have taken the credit himself rather than trying to pin it on his uncle.
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Ocksi

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 11:52:47 AM »

I'm fairly certain it was Joffrey. Littlefinger lied about who won the dagger, but it turns out Robert was the person who bet on Loras and won the dagger. Joffrey hired a shitty assassin and the reward was to be a Valyrian steel dagger (and possibly some unmentioned pay). Tyrion discusses this at one point (and makes the utterly believable claim he would never bet against his brother), and Cersei is determined to be too careful for such a sloppy plot and also revealed to have so little control over Joffrey. At some point, the final clues effectively conclude that Joffrey took pity (or something similar) on Bran and went to put him out of his misery, without any care for how careless the plan is or the long term repercussions.
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TA

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2013, 02:07:44 PM »

Yeah I think it was pretty clearly stated that the Valyrian dagger wasn't Littlefinger's, it was from Robert's collection of stabbers that he brought up to Winterfell.  Joffrey yoinked it for the fun of it.  It'd take a little digging to find exactly where in which book that was, though.

In my favorite scene between Tyrion and Littlefinger, the one where Tyrion has told each member of the Small Council a different lie in order to determine who's reporting to his sister, Littlefinger finds out he's been played and tells Tyrion to keep him out of his schemes from now on.  Tyrion stabs the knife into the table and says "Then you keep me out of yours."  I was pretty disappointed when that last bit didn't make it into the TV show.

I'm pretty sure that wasn't a "You tried to kill Bran and frame me" thing, that was a "You made me out to be a killer just for shits and giggles".  Littlefinger didn't even go up to Winterfell, there's no way he could have sent that assassin.
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Thad

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Re: Song of Ice and Fire: The Books: Massive Spoilers & Rampant Speculation
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 02:47:14 PM »

Did a search; it appears there's some debate but the majority seem to agree with you guys.  Tyrion seems to conclude it was Joffrey -- I forget if that's before or after the scene with Littlefinger --, but Littlefinger has the far stronger motive and benefits more greatly from it.  (Though Joffrey's motive, just trying to please his father, is in-character too.)  Counterargument is that if it had been Littlefinger he wouldn't have fucked it up, which is a reasonable point but it's also entirely possible that he didn't really want to kill one of Catelyn's children.

I'll concede there's something compelling about Joffrey doing it on his own intiative just to try and please Robert; it furthers the notion of Joff as a tragic figure who, despite some pretty fucking clear sociopathic inclinations, could still have been set on the right path if his father hadn't been an emotionally distant, occasionally violent alcoholic.  But given how well it works out for Littlefinger's agenda, I'm reluctant to let go of the notion that he had something to do with it.  (And I see from that thread that I'm not the first person to consider that maybe he put the idea of executing Ned into Joffrey's head.)
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