The Vale storyline from TWOW is expected to be very different from rest of the book, because everything is still a game for the Vale populace. In other regions of Planetos we have magic, (oncoming) war, famine and diseases, while Vale is set to witness a grand tourney. To be sure, there are schemes planned underneath by the players of the game of thrones. Littlefinger, Myranda Royce, Mad Mouse, Lyn Corbray – all of these people have power to turns the events or cause some incidents for their own advantage. It is expected that either Harry or Sweetrobin will be killed or badly injured. Whatever happens, LF has a knack to come on top. If Harry dies, LF won’t be suspected because he betrothed his daughter to Harry, and if Robert dies before Harry-Sansa marriage, LF loses all power, so he can defend himself against any accusations.
However, what if Littlefinger dies?
In the Vale, a lot of people (except perhaps Nestor Royce) will be glad to find LF dead. LF’s death frees both heirs to the Vale of ‘bad influence’, and the Vale nobility will be back to their status. Lyn Corbray will lose a source of gold, but the gold is the only thing he will miss about LF. It is even possible that Lyn will be accused of LF’s murder. Myranda could influence little Robert to conserve her father’s status as Keeper of Gates of the Moon. Myranda could even seduce Robert Arryn (if he’s alive), though it is a gamble from her part since the boy could die any moment. Yohn Royce could also make some changes in the power-politics of the Vale, thanks to the sudden disappearance of LF factor.
What of Alayne Stone? With LF dead, she will be in a precarious position, but during her time at the Vale, she has risen to be popular among the Arryn household, especially Lothor Brune and Mya Stone. At the very least, Alayne can use her relations to ensure her immediate safety following her father‘s death (such as making sure no one blows her cover until she is ready to come out as Sansa Stark). If Harry is alive, her chances of becoming future Lady of the Vale is still intact, but once out of LF’s clutches, Sansa will have a lot of options regarding her next move, more than half of them provided thanks to LF’s past actions.
- Alayne is the only known child and an acknowledged bastard of Petyr Baelish. This means all of LF’s wealth could pass to her. If so, it will be upto Alayne to decide the status of the various debts owed to LF. Since she has never been greedy for money, she could forgive some debts to gain influence of her own. In case of the Rosby inheritance, lord Gyles’s ward did not get the inheritance because he was ‘no child of his body’ – which implies that in the absence of any other trueborn relatives, a bastard could inherit the father’s wealth. If the Vale nobility opposes, Alayne can handle herself, and although the Iron Throne would be wiser to take a huge part of LF’s wealth to themselves, those at KL have no idea how wealthy LF really is. They might even legitimize Alayne like they did Ramsay (not ever seeing the person).
- If all of Littlefinger’s pass to Alayne, it includes the castle of Harrenhal and Lord Paramount status over Riverlands. It will be fun to have the Riverlands come to a half-Tully thanks to Lannisters and Littlefinger, but the Lannisters are more likely to give the Lord Paramount title to Emmon Frey, but they might let Alayne keep Harrenhal. If they don’t, it will look bad on the crown’s already bad name – the poor man (LF) helped them win the war, and when he died his bastard daughter was sent to the impoverished Fingers because the crown took away the castle that was well-earned by her father.
- The last Vale post discussed the possibility of familiar character entering Sansa’s story. If Alayne comes into the possession of Harrenhal, it will be Sansa entering theirs. She could meet Brotherhood without banners, she could reunite with Arya and Nymeria, she could help her uncle Edmure to consolidate power in Riverlands, she could influence Ser Bonifer Hasty to turn against the Lannisters in favour of either Targaryen claimants (Aegon is more likely than Dany), she could be found by Jaime and Brienne, she could be cause for Cleganebowl (if the Hound finds her and Cersei sends Gregor Clegane after sniffing out Alayne’s identity).
- If Alayne does not get (or go to) Harrenhal, she will be staying in the Vale for a while, thanks to her (ostensibly) good relationships with the Royces and Waynwoods. If at least one of Harry and Sweetrobin are alive, she can still be the de facto lady of the Vale (like she was at the end of AFFC). In this scenario, it might be up to her to respond to the plea for food and provisions for the Night’s Watch. Jon’s thoughts about NW lacking food and gold:
Our best hope may be the Eyrie. The Vale of Arryn was famously fertile and had gone untouched during the fighting. Jon wondered how Lady Catelyn’s sister would feel about feeding Ned Stark’s bastard.
Maybe it will be his own sister at the other end, not Lady Catelyn’s. (Of course, if it was LF who got the messages they are going in the fire).
Jon: “We will bring in food by ship, as much as might be required. From the riverlands and the stormlands and the Vale of Arryn, from Dorne and the Reach, across the narrow sea from the Free Cities.”
It is not explicitly said, but Jon might have sent some ravens for more provisions to all important castles of Westeros. Since he signed the loan from the Iron Bank, he would have promised to pay, instead of ‘begging’ for help. In Alayne I, we see that the lords of the Vale are ready to sell the grain for high enough prices, despite approaching winter.
- If Alayne stays in the Vale for a while, she might be in time for a dragon or two landing. I just hope that she survives or escapes the Mountain Clans invasion foreshadowed in the first books. Speaking of Mountain Clans, I support Timett son of Timett and Myranda Royce for the Lord and Lady of the Vale.
All these are speculations, partly motivated by my desire to see LF die ASAP. I admit the more plausible course of story will be Harry or Robert dying or Mad Mouse wreaking some havoc, but since those are done-to-death in various forums, I thought this one (Vale plus Sansa minus LF) is worth considering.
To summarize, it seems to me that LF is repeating the mistakes of Tywin Lannister, in planning so much and having high ambitions but not accounting for the possibility of what happens if the player himself is removed from the game. In Tywin’s case, his fall affected House Lannister very badly. LF has nothing to lose, but he is unwittingly giving a lot of power to Sansa, and at one point she may decide that he is disposable, a nice reversal of how LF treated all his former ‘allies’.
Hopefully this is the last of my posts about the Vale storyline.