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  1. #61
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    I'm getting way better at noticing the subtle things!

    When I first read the series ten years ago, I missed all the subtle stuff (i.e. Jon Snow's parentage, Renly/Loras being gay, the Hound still alive in AFFC). I only learned about those things by reading about them here. This time, however, I seem to be noticing more of them on my own. I guess I'm paying closer attention, and maybe I'm more familiar with GRRM's style. Whenever he says something weird, something that doesn't seem to make sense, I stop and think about it instead of just shrugging and moving on.

    For example, I just read the chapter where Ramsay Bolton marries Jeyne Poole (AWESOME chapter!) and was glad I picked up on a couple of things. A) Mance Rayder is the bard with the six women, and B) Wyman Manderly baked the missing Freys into the pies, and fed them to everyone, including eating six pieces himself!!! (I figured that one out even before Manderly asked the singer to sing the Rat Cook song!). Hahaha, Manderly RULES!

  2. #62
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    'White Walkers' and 'Others' are two phrases referring to the same creatures, a race of apparenty intelligent, sentient beings. The zombie wights are their minions.
    Excellent, I was hoping so. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Someone in the GRRM sub-forum mentioned the nods to Tolkien in ADwD (i.e. 'Oakenshield' = Thorin; Tyrion in a barrel = Hobbit). In that vein, I thought that Theon's transformation into Gollum...er, Reek, was also reminiscient of Tolkien, and very well done. Dioecious, dioecious, it rhymes with precious.

  3. #63
    Illustrious Gambler saintjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Not sure what you mean here. Bloodraven was the bastard son of King Aegon IV by Mylessa Blackwood of the Riverlands (Tytos Blackwood, who appears in Jaime's ADWD chapter, is descended from her brother, we presume). He wasn't from the North. After Aegon V came to power, he was packed off to the Wall in chains, but within a few years of arriving he had become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
    Forgot to respond to this earlier. What I meant was that IMO the guy Bran saw shaping weirwood branches into arrows to me had to be Bloodraven. In the Sworn Sword much is made of how he killed Daemon Blackfyre and his sons (I think that was how it went) with enchanted white arrows. "... killed him with a white arrow and a black spell" or some such. I forgot about Bloodraven's parentage though so I suppose he must have found his way north at some point before his banishment to the Wall.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Malthar View Post
    I wonder about Varys' statements about entitlement to the throne. Viserys certainly would have been worse than Joff. Does the eunuch not then support Dany? Or was she one potential alternative out of a few, and even then best used as a distraction (until she rose in the rankings by hatching some dragons)?
    It's confusing.

    a) Varys and Illyrio are apparently supporting Viserys early on, and Dany's role is to marry Drogo and win the Dothraki to the cause.

    b) Then Viserys and Drogo both die and Dany hatches dragons, so maybe it's time to shift their allegiance to her. Except...

    c) They've apparently been grooming Aegon for the throne from birth.

    To me, it's all beginning to look like a game of three-card monte with the Targaryen lost princes. I'm still betting Dany is the queen of hearts and that they're using the mummer's dragon as misdirection, but then the epilogue of aDwD is kinda hard to figure out.

  5. #65
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Obviously Aegon was the 'real plan' all along. You don't groom someone for rule for 17 years (15 before AGoT even begins) and then say, "Sorry, don't need you now, go chill out somewhere." There's also too many people by that point who know about him for it to say secret forever.

    On that basis, Viserys and Daenerys to some extent were useful pawns. They're misdirection: everyone knows they survived the Targaryen downfall and are hanging out in the Free Cities. Assassins and spies will be drawn to them, whilst no-one knows Aegon is even alive. They become useful misdirection with the idea that Viserys can marry Arianne to bring in Dorne and Daenerys can marry Drogo to bring in the Dothraki.

    So I think the original plan was that the Dothraki would come west, link up with the Golden Company and then cross to Dorne, where Viserys would marry Arianne and bring Dorne into the alliance as well. You then have a very powerful force (the Dothraki ferocity married to the discipline and siege equipment of the Golden Company and Dorne) at a time when the Starks and Lannisters and everyone else are at each other's throats.

    Problems set in when it became clear that Viserys was a nutcase who would not take well to learning that he wasn't going to be king. Varys and Illyrio's back-up plan was probably that Viserys could have an accident somewhere should he prove troublesome. However, Viserys' death came much to early and was a headache for them, since the alliance with Dorne was not a done deal. Drogo's death was then a further disaster, meaning they could not bring the Dothraki into the fight, but that was then compensated for by the hatching of the three dragons. This new plan of marrying Aegon to Daenerys to bolster his own claim was then hatched (Doran's plan to marry Quentyn to Daenerys seems to be of his own devising), but then thrown into a tailspin by Daenerys sitting in Meereen for too long.

    If we assume this is the case, it explains a lot. To a certain degree, as long as Aegon remained alive, Viserys and Daenerys were expendable. This now satisfyingly explains the long-standing puzzle as to why Varys didn't seem too concerned over sending an assassin after Daenerys; he may have assumed he'd fail (it's possible he even wrote to Jorah to get him to interfere with the attempt when it happened) or may have reasoned that if he succeeded, Drogo would be so infuriated he'd invade Westeros anyway out of revenge, with Viserys at his side and Aegon waiting with reinforcements.

  6. #66
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Hilarious. If a bit obvious :P

  7. #67
    I haven't read through this thread for fear of spoilers but I just wanted to say that I really can't understand all of the one star reviews this book is getting on Amazon. I'm a bit over halfway through and it is miles better than AFFC and probably on par with ACoK. I also can't understand why these "reviewers" are saying that nothing happens when a ton of cool stuff has happened. Is it me or are these people a little nuts?

  8. #68
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    People who think nothing happened are probably focusing on the Dany situation, which admittedly, has gone on rather long. However, things do happen with her and the Dragons specifically, it just takes a looong time to fall into place.

    Conversely, do you (in the general sense) think people are reacting so positively because the Tyrion/Dany/Jon triad are a focus of the book after such a wait?

    Adam, I think you've got the most of what Varys has planned. The question does remain, though, what of Littlefinger's plans? Clearly he and Varys are not working together and Littlefinger likely wants to somehow get a stronger foothold next to, if not directly on, the Iron Throne?

    Varys had some great plansj, and even some contingencies which factored in the personalities that could muck his plans almost on a Xanatos Gambit level. He doesn't seem to be factoring in Littlefinger, though.

    BTW Adam, how many times have you read the books?

  9. #69
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    I think you've got the most of what Varys has planned. The question does remain, though, what of Littlefinger's plans? Clearly he and Varys are not working together and Littlefinger likely wants to somehow get a stronger foothold next to, if not directly on, the Iron Throne?
    Hmm. Littlefinger's plans seem a bit random at the moment. He wants Sansa and Harry to jointly rule the North and the Vale together. Maybe he assumes that they can ultimately retake the Riverlands as well? That would give them and their offspring more power arguably than whoever ends up on the Iron Throne. I don't think Littlefinger wants to rule himself, as he knows he won't be accepted, but I definitely think he wants to be the power behind the throne.

    The other option is that Littlefinger simply loves plotting and scheming for its own sake - he loves the game, not winning - and constantly likes throwing the balls in the air to amuse himself.

    BTW Adam, how many times have you read the books?
    AGoT-ACoK 3 times, ASoS 2, AFFC 2, ADWD 1.

  10. #70
    Registered User robotosaur's Avatar
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    But is Aegon real? I doubt that would matter to Varys, but my BS detectors are going off here. I mean, really, they had the foresight to switch out the baby but not to just keep Elia and the children safe in the first place? Plus the mummer's dragon thing--could just mean he's controlled by Varys, could mean he's a fake Targ, could mean both.

    I'm a little stumped by this book. On the one hand, some awesome stuff happened--the Reek/Theon story was brilliant, some of the stuff at the Wall was interesting, I enjoyed spending more time with Arya--but on the other hand, big portions of the book seemed designed to frustrate readers. I know GRRM likes to avoid the obvious, but I was left feeling like he was so anxious to thwart our expectations that he thwarted his own plot. I think we all expected Dany and Tyrion to meet, but nope! Instead they cross paths but don't make contact. Surprising, but not actually more interesting. I expected Dany to get closer to Westeros, but instead she's farther. Again, surprising (though I guess it helps fulfill Quaithe's prophecies), but not more interesting.

  11. #71
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    I had it in my head you read the books a lot more, but I'm near the same ballpark.

    As for Littlefinger, I get a sense he loves the game but a lot of what he's doing is out of pure spite to the people who knocked him around when he was younger. I get a sense he has no thought whatsoever of keeping the Targs around.

  12. #72
    the Rake
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    So if we accept that Martin cannot credibly backtrack on the plot inertia of R+L=J, then who do we expect will be responsible for the big reveal? Selmy had to know, wouldn't be surprised if Connington did too.

  13. #73
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Hilarious. If a bit obvious :P
    Awesome! I'm halfway through the book, but the Manderly pie thing was my favourite part so far. (Although, to be fair, GRRM stole the idea quite blatantly from the Shakespeare play Titus Andronicus. Or I guess rather than stealing, we can call it an "homage". There was also a distinct homage to Macbeth in the first Asha chapter, when she sees the woods "moving").

    P.S. I can't believe I've read the books more times than you (AGOT-AFFC = 3 times).

  14. #74
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mshnd06 View Post
    So if we accept that Martin cannot credibly backtrack on the plot inertia of R+L=J, then who do we expect will be responsible for the big reveal? Selmy had to know, wouldn't be surprised if Connington did too.
    Howland Reed, almost certainly. He was there at the Tower of Joy, he was Ned's best friend (moreso, at least in this area, than Robert) and Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover were sent off to him in ASoS. My guess is that he'll either show up in TWoW, by maybe leading an army to aid Stannis at Winterfell (or will simply show up later on), or we'll get a chapter with Mormont or Glover where we meet him and find out his story (Reed himself is out as a POV, according to GRRM, as 'he knows too much').

    More to the point, GRRM said years ago that Jon's parentage would be revealed either in the last or penultimate book. Assuming he stays at seven, then it's possible that we find out Jon's parentage one way or the other in the next book.

  15. #75
    the Thirsty thirstyVan's Avatar
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    Finally finished. I really liked it overall. I didn't mind the "slowness" of the book so much because I love his writing, but I don't feel like this one really payed off. I'd give it 3 1/2 maybe 4 stars out of 5. A few notes (excuse the bad grammar/spelling, I was making these while reading through the thread.

    1. The Tom Cat –Bran. Duh. Bran is everywhere. All the time.

    2. Werts 4 things – Obvious, Obvious, Huh?, Dowhawho? I get it. 3 is Jon and 4 is Tyrions ship, I did not catch those. In fact, 3 I am not so sure about. It’s pretty obvious that Dany is AA to me. That could be misdirection on Martins part, but… who else has done anything with Dragons?

    3. The Young Dragon… what? This development frustrated me. If he IS what he claims, why are we just getting introduced to him NOW? Felt like it was maybe shoehorned in by Martin to let him do something else with Dany…

    4. Varys – awesome. Who were the kids? They were his little birds, it was mentioned specifically in the book that his little birds are little kids that he trains to be spys. I thought the fact that Martin FINALLY explained it, and even showed a couple of the murderous little bastards.

    5. Danys invasion – knew it wasn’t coming. Martin said as much. So it didn’t bother me, though I find the whole Mereen subplot annoying as well. Seems pretty obvious that Martin just needs her out of the way til she can show up in Westeros with fully grown and trained dragons and a Khalisar.

    6. Jon – I just… oh man. I can’t believe it. I DON’T WANT to believe it. The only consulation I have right now is, we haven’t seen the body. Usually when Martin kills someone, we see the body (or a faked body i.e. Bran). Here’s hopin, cos I don’t think I can keep going if he keeps killing all the main characters. You reach a point where it’s like, what’s the point?

    7. Jon’s parentage – Why does this book solidify that theory? I must not have caught it…


    Anyway. A good book, but a middle book. It lacks in satisfying conclusions, and that is particularly frustrating after waiting 10 *$&%ing years for it, and know it'll be another 5 before we get any resolution.

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