Unexpected Guests at The Tourney of the Winged Knights

A follow-up to this post. No tourney in ASOIAF goes uneventful and as expected. Something happens (most often bad) or someone turns up. Here I am listing a few possible surprise guests who could (re)enter Sansa’s storyline through the Tourney of Winged Knights.

521px-Brynden_Tully_personal_armsBrynden Tully: In AFFC, Jaime thinks ‘If I were Blackfish, where would I go?’. If Tom o’Sevens did not have a meeting with Edmure, the Vale was a likely place. Blackfish stayed in the Vale for a long time, and he must have friends there – whether for vengeance or survival. Riverrun has fallen by the last Alayne chapter of AFFC, allowing BF time to reach the Vale. However, the more widely accepted theory is that Blackfish will try to rescue Jeyne and Edmure and other hostages by leading the BwB to attack Forley Prester’s entourage. We know Jeyne Westerling appears on TWOW prologue, so this would be how we finds out what happened to Blackfish. Showing this event in a Prologue implies there may not be any PoV character (Brienne or Jaime) present. If Blackfish knew Sansa was at the Vale, he might go there, but the Blackfish we saw in AFFC was intent upon protecting his queen (ie Jeyne). I’d say it is more characteristic of Blackfish to lead an assault of the Lannisters, than to go a seemingly wild-goose chase in the Vale. He could always go to the Vale after fixinp up stuff at Riverlands, though if that was the case the news of the fall of the Twins or like will reach the Vale sooner or later.

DunkBrienne and/or Jaime: When we last saw Brienne, it was near Pennytree, abducting Jaime. Clearly the BwB has spies all over Riverlands, many of them targeting Freys and Lannisters. Brienne could try to escape with Jaime, but GRRM has confirmed that the reason for Brienne choosing ‘Sword’ over ‘Noose’ was to save Podrick’s life. In that case, Brienne will keep the promise of bringing Jaime to LSH. What happens after is anyone’s guess. Would Jaime or Brienne convince the BwB that Sansa would have gone to the Vale and they  are in a good position to bring her to LSH? Both Brienne and Jaime swore oaths to Catelyn about returning her daughters. There is the distant possibility that Jaime or Brienne willKingsguard try to lengthen their lives by bringing some of the BwB to the Vale, to look for Sansa. Unlike last time, they will be watched by men loyal to Catelyn and smarter and less noticeable than Cleos Frey or Brienne. The Vale still being loyal to the Iron Throne, Jaime can use his position as the Lord Commander of the KG to find and abduct Sansa if she was in the Vale. LF may know Jaime went missing, but Jaime can cook up a story to cover his current mission and his temporary loyalty to BwB.

545px-House_Payne.svgPodrick Payne: If Brienne or Jaime goes to Vale, Pod might also go. Unlike either of them, he can participate in the melee. (Jaime is one-handed and Brienne is a woman accused of kingslaying). Maybe Jaime will knight Pod and send him to the melee? Having served as Tyrion’s squire in the past, Pod is familiar with Sansa enough to recognize her even with dyed hair. Except Littlefinger and Mad Mouse, no one in the Vale is likely to recognize Pod. Sansa knows Pod to be harmless and goodhearted, so he has a better chance of earning Sansa’s trust than either Brienne or Jaime.

Ser Gendry of Hollow Hill: I don’t think either Thoros or Blackfish (if he’s with BwB) thinkBaratheon it’s a good idea to parade Gendry around a place where Robert Baratheon spent so many years of his youth. I do think Thoros knows who Gendry is, and did not mention it so save the boy – they are in the middle of an outlaw band who’d sell anyone for money, and Thoros seemed more goodhearted than the rest, and maybe wanted to protect his friend’s son. However, Gendry will have some role in the story, and him going to Vale opens some interesting possibilities – most important one is that he could meet Mya, and I think both of them will be happy to find someone whom they can call family. It will be a nice change from the highborns who always use them to discard later. I’m not implying Arya discarded Gendry, but after his mother died, he never had anyone to call his own – Arya was his friend, but he knew she was too bloody highborn and they could not remain friends forever. But no matter what happens, a sibling will always be a sibling. If Gendry attends the melee, he may do it as a traveling smith than as a knight, as it is a good job to collect information. Gendry himself may want to enter as a mystery knight, though.

Lem Lemoncloak: If some of the BwB makes it into the Vale, Lem is one well-suited to enter the melee without arising suspicion. All he needs is to don a different cloak.

Lady Stoneheart: Only if she hears news that Sansa could be at the Vale. As far as we know, BwB does not have spies in the Vale. So this is unlikely. Also LSH’s revenge spree seems destined to happen around Riverlands. I only added her because it would bHouse_Starke nice to have a meeting between her and Littlefinger.

Hallis or Harwin: I believe one of them is the ‘translator’ whom Brienne meets in AFFC. If BwB sends someone to Vale searching for Sansa, a Northmen from Winterfell is a good option. He will be recognized as a Northman, but many Northmen who came down with Robb must be wandering about after the war, so it won’t be hard for him to keep his head down. LSH and BwB would expect Sansa to come with one of her father’s men – though I don’t think Sansa would trust any of these BwB messengers.

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Hyle Hunt: Another unrecognizable person. As Randyll Tarly’s household knight who was last seen near Maidenpool, he could also be present in the Vale under the pretense of going to Gulltown or something. LF or Lothor Brune may know him, given LF’s familiarity with the Tyrells (not sure about his familiarity with Tyrell bannermen).

Septon Meribald: The person who will have least trouble wandering around. His regular FaithStarcoverage area is Riverlands, and BwB let him go before they interrogated Brienne, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be at the Vale on BwB’s bidding. If (a big if) he somehow ends up in the Gates of the Moon, say to gather goodies for the poor from the chivalrous knights and lords, a wandering septon will be totally welcome in the Andal-heavy Vale. Not sure if he will meet Sansa, but if he does, he too could recognize her (if she is seen in the sept praying under torches or candles that makes her hair look auburn). This is a very weak possibility, but since he’s heard all about Brienne’s mission, and as a wandered by nature, he can’t be neglected.

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Sandor Clegane: While most fans expect him to reenter Sansa’s storyline, this tourney is not the place. There is no reason for the Elder Brother to send a gravedigger to the Vale. If Quiet Isle was attacked, leaving Sandor homeless, he may decide to find to some new place to live, but Quiet Isle looked safe.

Arya Stark: It would be great to have Arya, a walking lie-detector and Stark-to-the-core545px-Faceless_Men.svg around Littlefinger. We know she will eventually return to Westeros, but we don’t know to where. Most theories I’ve read suggests the North or Riverlands. If by some chance Arya ends up near this tourney, it could be as a mission from FM (even to kill Alayne whose name she does not know). Whether by mission or by her free will, Arya will be under some disguise and no one would be able to recognize her – except perhaps Gendry (if he’s in the Vale too), who as a smith, might think that her sword looks familiar. While Arya seems poised to leave the HoBaW, I don’t think the Braavos storyline is over, and the Tourney must happen the chapter following Alayne I in TWOW. Overall, I think there is only slim chance for Arya to make an appearance in Alayne II.

There are other possibilities for pawns and players of the game to look to the Vale, however, as the Alayne I chapter seems to be lagging behind many other important events (Cersei’s trial, Aegon’s invasion, Stannis’s march etc), I have ignored the toruney-crashers from those quarters. Also ignored my personal favorite surprise appearance to happen in the Vale – Tyrion riding Viserion.

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Plot Armour Revisited

Following BryndenBFish’s Ultimate Winds of Winter Resource, my spirits are elevated in general about TWOW expectations. Mainly because I’m more hopeful about Dany/Tyrion meeting and ‘cooperation’. I don’t care if Tyrion causes the second Dance – I just want to see him by Dany’s side. He deserves that position better than anyone on TeamAegon, in my opinion.

But the worrying thing was GRRM mentioning there will be a lot of deaths, including PoVs. I am worried about the main five – Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Arya and Bran – especially Dany because GRRM did not mention her in a post where he listed a lot of other characters, but there is a more than 50% chance that she’ll survive TWOW.

“the viewpoint characters are occasionally meeting up with each other now and being in the same point at the same time, which gives me a lot more flexibility for killing people.” – GRRM

GRRM said ~13 will be the initial PoVs. That does not add up. Let’s see who are meeting up and facing death.

1. Bran: From the show it seems he won’t stay at the cave forever, but even so it will be a long time before he reaches any other PoV. And Bran is the character I personally rate as the most likely to survive the series. My bet is he’s safe. [0]

2-3. Jon/Melisandre at the Wall: We don’t know if Jon will return as a PoV, but if Melisandre gives her life for resurrecting Jon (the show may have kept her alive to fill the role or Marwyn or Moqorro), we will need Jon back as a PoV. Shireen’s burning will happen in the books, but it could be just Stannis doing it (making it holy-shit). [1]

4-5. Theon/Asha: We already have one PoV chapter from Theon in TWOW, but his prospects for living did not look bright in that one. Redditers analyzing GRRM’s photo in front of his monitor have concluded he was writing an Asha chapter. It is possible that Asha chapter occurs after Theon was executed, though personally I want both of them to survive. [1]

6. Davos: He’s off to Skagos, and GRRM confirmed we’ll see more of Osha, so Davos must return as a PoV and he’ll be safe until he is near/around another PoV. [0]

7. Alayne: She’s amidst a lot of dangers and people plotting in the Vale, but it seems we’ll see a lot of interesting stuff going on in Vale, so I’d bet Alayne is safe for at least the first half of the book. [0]

8-9. Jaime/Brienne: Last seen near Pennytree. Brienne agreed to take Jaime to BwB, so the next time we see them will be in one of the BwB lairs. LSH would want Jaime dead, but she may also use him for Red Wedding 2.0. Between Brienne and Jaime, Jaime’s fever dream from ASOS suggests Brienne will survive, but the valonqar suggests Jaime will survive. But chances are high for at least one of them to die. [1]

10. Cersei: Eventually she’ll meet with Arianne, Jon Connington or Jaime, but before any of that, there are a lot of things that must happen in King’s Landing. The trials and the Sand Snakes reception mainly. But Cersei is doomed to die, and the next book must be more about the war for the Dawn in which Cersei has no role to play. I think she’ll die in TWOW, but not necessarily in KL (we’ll see Casterly Rock sometime), and not likely  during the first half of the book. [1]

11-12. Arianne/JonCon: JonCon is afflicted with Grayscale, but he still have a few years. Arianne has a penchant for getting into dangerous situations. Both of them seem to have more stories to be part of, but if GRRM is on a POV killing spree, one of them could be expendable. [1]

13-14. Aeron/Sam: Right now they are not in the same area, just the same kingdom (Reach). There will be at least one more Aeron chapter (in addition to the Foresaken). While we all would love Sam to have some happy time at the Citadel, well-set plans rarely come true in the series, so it is more likely that Oldtown will be raided and Sam will be forced to flee or serve Euron. This is pure speculation on my part, but I don’t see any other way we’ll get a PoV around Euron or the regions attacked by Euron. Maybe Sam is how we’ll meet Willas and Garlan, though my initial guess for Highgarden PoV would be Arianne (trying to recruit lords for Aegon). I definitely don’t see Aeron surviving TWOW. [1]

15. Aero Hotah: He could get killed by Obara or Darkstar. But we lose all info on Dorne then (not that I’d mind). He will have at least one PoV in TWOW, but I have no idea whether he’ll survive or not. Since he is an isolated PoV and no other is likely to go to Dorne in near future, I’d keep him on the survivor list. [0]

16. Arya: Arya is another isolated PoV, and a main character, so even if I expect her to return to Westeros by end of TWOW, I’m sure she’ll survive this book. [0]

17. Dany: GRRM hasn’t confirmed Dany will return as a PoV, but he said we’ll revisit Dothraki, so it has to be through Dany PoVs. She’ll survive the Dothraki and return to Meereen or Volantis and meet with Tyrion where he’ll tell about Aegon and Targaryen history (Blackfyre rebellions). Dany may be doomed to die, but I don’t think it will be in this book. [0]

18-20. Victarion/Barristan/Tyrion: All three have PoVs in TWOW, but Barry and Vic seem doomed to die. At least one of them will die in the early chapters of the book. [1]

That makes 13 locations with 20 possible PoVs of which at least 7 could die, meaning at most 13 PoVs will live. If Martin was right and there will be fewer than 13 PoVs by the end, I’d expect Hotah, Barristan, and Jaime to bite the dust sooner or later. Davos is also not very safe if Shaggydog story is to be taken into account. Overall, my guess is that 10 PoVs will survive TWOW.

Of Mermaids, Seashells, and Seahorses

Most of the visions and prophecies in ASOIAF uses heraldry as hints towards identifying the characters involved.

  • Dunk and Egg – All dragons in dreams correspond to Targaryen individuals, not actual dragons.
  • The Ghost of the High Heart – ‘a woman who was a fish’ is Catelyn, ‘golden stag’ is Renly, ‘wolf’ could be Robb
  • In Quaithe’s warning to Dany, the following fits with the sigils of the characters – the Kraken (Euron or Victarion), Lion (Tyrion), Griffin (Jon Connington), Sun’s son (Quentyn).

But not Patchface’s. Patchface uses a very different language for his sayings, and most of them are related to death. This link does a good job of interpreting Patchface prophecies as not related to sigils, but death. I tend to agree with most of it, but this post (original reddit link here) is a conventional attempt of interpreting the following Patchface verse:

“I will lead it!” His bells rang merrily. “We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming.”
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Patchface with Shireen, Art by Louisa Giliberti .

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Sleeping with the Enemy I : The Targaryens and Braavos

Assumption: Facelessmen caused the Doom of Valyria

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Proposition: The first facelessman was a Targaryen

The Alchemist’s presence in Oldtown, as well as the ‘FM caused the Doom’ theory have caused many readers to theorize that FM is anti-dragons, anti-Targaryen, and therefor they will send someone (Arya in many theories) to kill Dany and her dragons. In this post, I’ll attempt to claim that FM could be pro-Dany and pro-Targaryen. This is not new, but I haven’t read much on it.

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Where in the world is [character X] ?

My guesses regarding the whereabouts of the various characters MIA in the series.

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Class I. Characters whose location I’m pretty certain

  • Jaqen H’ghar – At Oldtown, disguised as Pate
  • Sarella Sand – At Oldtown, disguised as Alleras the Sphinx
  • Sandor Clegane – Quiet Isle
  • Aurane Waters – The Stepstones
  • Edric Storm – Lys

Class II. Characters whose location I can guess confidently

  • Hot Pie – Inn of the Kneeling Man
  • Howland Reed – At Greywater Watch
  • Gendry – Inn at the Crossroads

Class III. Characters whose location I can guess with slightly less confidence than II

  • Benjen Stark – North of the Wall.
  • Mance Rayder – At Winterfell, alive.
  • Galbart Glover – At Greywater Watch
  • Maege Mormont – At Greywater Watch
  • Podrick Payne – Hollow Hill or another BwB lair
  • Hyle Hunt – Hollow Hill or another BwB lair
  • Blackfish – River road, on way to Casterly Rock, waiting ambush Forley Prestor’s party

Class IV. Characters whose location I have a rough guess about

  • Jaime Lannister – Hollow Hill or another BwB lair
  • Brienne of Tarth – Hollow Hill or another BwB lair
  • Marwin the Mage – On way to Meereen
  • Stonesnake – With Benjen (he was with Qhorin and Jon, then went missing. Probably found Benjen but both of them got trapped the same way)
  • Alliser Thorne – Lost, or plotting with Bolton men at Dreadfort to have Jon killed.
  • Areo Hotah – Searching for the Darkstar with Obara Sand.

Class V. Characters whose location I have no clue about

  • Gerion Lannister 
  • Tyrek Lannister – Probably somewhere under Varys’s custody
  • Sheila Whent – Probably dead
  • Gerold Darkstar Dayne – Probably somewhere in Dorne.

Plot Armour

Incomplete.

Meereen (Tyrion, Barristan and Victarion)

  • I’m certain Tyrion will come out of Meereen alive. Tyrion is wanted for murder, and in the middle of a war. Despite all these, him dying in Meereen makes no change to any other part of the story. Cersei will be glad, Jaime might be sad, Dany would never have known him. The only major thing is Sansa becoming a widow. I doubt GRRM will kill off Tyrion just to make Sansa a widow, especially she is in the care of Littlefinger who can find other ways to annul their marriage (by producing Tysha)/
  • Victarion so far has been safe, but I assumed he will be soon dead, because of the ‘corpse on the prow of a ship’ vision. From Aeron I sample chapter, it is almost certain that this corpse will be Aeron. Between the Dusky Woman, Euron, Moqorro, Slavers and dragon, Vic is walking thin ice and could get killed, but if Aeron dies, Vis is our only Ironborn POV  (someone with good access to Euron) in outside the North.
  • Barristan is in very precarious position. He is the Queen’s Hand, and has been involved in everything that happened in Meereen in Dany’s absence. He unmade king Hizdahr (for good or bad), he made the deal with Dornishmen and Windblown. And he is in the forefront of the Battle. With Jorah already in Meereen, we have someone in Team Dany to interact with the Unsullied and we can watch Jorah through Tyrion’s POV. Things are not looking good for Barristan. Except that Barristan is one of the few people who knew Rhaegar well, and this knowledge may come to use.

Braavos (Arya)

  • Arya was safe ever since she escaped King’s Landing. As long as she is isolated from all other POVs, killing her off will only help to sadden the readers. GRRM is not JK Rowling to kill major characters off-screen and mention it one line (Lupin and Tonks) just for the sake of emotional turmoil, so it is safe to assume that Arya will live until her story shifts to near some other character. In case of Bran, at least Sam and Gilly knows the truth, not to mention the others who escaped Witnerfell with Bran, but the only people who know Arya is alive are the Facelessmen (and probably Bran). Both these have no direct ties with other characters. Rest of the world believes Arya is dead or married to Ramsay. Real Arya is safe for now.

North of the Wall (Bran)

  • Valyrian Steel plot armor. Only his companions know he is alive, and others (Osha, Rickon, Wex, etc) can’t know for certain if he is still alive, or even access Bran. World believes him dead. Him really dying have serious impact on the long run, but no one is affected visibly.

The Bleeding Star

Tinfoil alert: The following theory is based on speculations and post hoc analysis, rather than actual building up on evidences.

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‘The bleeding star’ is part of the Azor Ahai (AA) prophecy :

 There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world.
“When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt – Melisandre

The bleeding star is also part of Prince that was Promised prophecy, heralding the arrival or the prince:

“A comet had been seen above King’s Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet.” – Aemon

There is no mention that comet Rhaegar saw was red. A comet looks like a star that bleeds (with light), this must be Rhaegar’s reasoning calling a comet (of any color) as a bleeding star.

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The Tourney of Winged Knights

The upcoming tourney in the Vale poses all sort of possibilites to happen. The Winged Knights was Alayne’s idea, or so she thinks. It is hard to tell with people around Littlefinger. At any rate, there is going to be a grand tourney in the Vale (Gates of the Moon to be precise), hosted by Nestor Royce and sponsered by Petyr Baelish. The young knights who earn the top 8 positions will constitute ‘Brothehood of Winged Knights’, who will stay with Robert Arryn, guarding him, for three years.

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The Rejected Bride

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Myranda Royce art by DaenatheDefiant (Deviantart)

 

Myranda Royce is a beautiful young widow in need of a rich husband. She wants to marry Harrold Hardyng aka Harry the Heir, but Nestor Royce could not meet the dowry. Myranda is not exactly ‘virtuous’, but she is a (relatively) good match for Harry. It is possible that Anya Waynwood rejected Myranda because Petyr Baelish was already forcing her to consider Alayne. He has been buying Lady Anya’s debts – in fact he was buying Harry. This left Anya in a helpless position. The best argument she could make was that Harry would not like Alayne, and Petyr agreed that the marriage will happen only if Harry liked Alayne. The long and short of it is, Anya Waynwood could not engage Harry to Myranda because of Littlefinger’s intervention.

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The Vale

Introduction

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The Eyrie by Ted Nasmith, from A World of Ice and Fire

On the surface, everything in the Vale seems to go as Littlefinger has planned. The Lords Declarants are in his pocket, Harry the Heir is enamored by Alayne, the tourney for Winged Knights presents a good occasion to get someone killed if necessary. Littlefinger’s end goal is a mystery, and he is known to act in a way that will appear to act against him only for confusing his opponents. But we can theorize about what the other characters in the Vale will be planning. Let’s analyse their resources and interests. Read more