The Son of Ice and Fire

Assumption: R+L=J. (It is always the case with me, but more than regular for this one.)

Jon Snow by Magali Villeneueve
Aegon I by Magali Villeneueve

This is motivated by this post in r/freefolk (Warning to non-freefolkers: Tread carefully, because ere be all sort of spoilers and leaks, without spoilertags), which suggested that Jon looks like Aegon I Targaryen. The OP was comparing the above images (seeing them side-by-side, I can’t but help more and more appreciate G-Girl95), and I posted a long-ish comment. Thought that I’d post it in an organized fashion here.

Most readers assume Jon to be a carbon-copy of young Ned Stark, and they have good reason to do so.

Jon’s eyes were a grey so dark they seemed almost black, but there was little they did not see. He was of an age with Robb, but they did not look alike. Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast. Bran I, AGOT

Jon was never out of sight, and as he grew, he looked more like Ned than any of the trueborn sons she bore him. Catelyn II, AGOT

Jon had their father’s face, as she did. Arya I, AGOT

He had the Stark face if not the name: long, solemn, guarded, a face that gave nothing away. Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son. Tyrion II, AGOT

Riding through the rainy night, Ned saw Jon Snow’s face in front of him, so like a younger version of his ownEddard IX, AGOT

And that’s just the first book.

“Who’s this one now?” Craster said before Jon could go. “He has the look of a Stark.” Jon III, ACOK

Arya was the only one to show much of Ned in her features. And Jon Snow, but he was never mine. Catelyn VI, ACOK

Jon looks like me, even though he’s bastard-born.” Arya VIII, ASOS

Stannis snorted. “I know Janos Slynt. And I knew Ned Stark as well. Your father was no friend of mine, but only a fool would doubt his honor or his honesty. You have his look.” Jon XI, ASOS

It was Lord Snow who faced him now, grey eyes as hard as ice. Samwell I, AFFC

The flames crackled softly, and in their crackling she heard the whispered name Jon Snow. His long face floated before her, limned in tongues of red and orange, appearing and disappearing again, a shadow half-seen behind a fluttering curtain. Melisandre, ADWD

Other than this, what I could find was his height was probably average, given his comparison to Joffrey (Lannisters are generally tall, and Joffrey resembles Jaime) and Grenn (nicknamed ‘Aurochs’).

He[Joffrey] was twelve, younger than Jon or Robb, but taller than either, to Jon’s vast dismay. Jon I, AGOT

Grenn was sixteen and a head taller than Jon.  Jon III, AGOT

There might be more if I did a more thorough search. But already we have five mentions in the first book and six in the remaining books, relating Jon’s appearance to that of traditional Stark/Northern. There are a large number of misguided “fans” who had refuted R+L=J solely on the basis that Jon did not have silver hair or purple eyes. But what can really be inferred about Jon’s looks?

  1. Coloring: Dark (dark/brown hair)
  2. Eye color: Deep gray
  3. Face: Long
  4. Build: Slender
  5. Height: Not tall for his age, unlike Joffrey. Probably average. [Could get taller, since he was only fourteen at the time of meeting Joffrey or Grenn]

These are the only physical aspects of Jon that we know. The first three are definitely Stark traits, and just these constitute his ‘Stark look’, as far as readers are concerned. I do not doubt that Jon resembles Ned through Lyanna, hence his resemblance with Arya, but that does not necessarily mean that his real appearance was a complete opposite of what Tyrion thought (“Whoever his mother had been, she had left little of herself in her son”). We do not have enough information to conclude that Jon does not resemble Rhaegar in any way – let it be external appearance, abilities, or character. One could argue, based on Tyrion’s comment, that all of Jon’s features must have looked like Ned’s for Tyrion to make that comment, but all Tyrion actually makes mention of is what everyone else notices – Jon’s long solemn face.

It so happens that, there exist many other features which could be remarked upon to emphasize the similarity between a parent and  his/her child. Here is a list of some such features, unknown in the case of Jon, and therefore having a finite possibility of being inherited from Rhaegar or the Targaryen side. (Quotes about Rhaegar listed in the end)

  1. Slender build – Viserys was described as gaunt by Dany, but that could be due to all his hardships. But Targaryens in general do not seem to turn out to be muscular.
  2. Face – We know it is long, but is it also narrow? Cersei says Aurane’s face is too narrow to be like Rhaegar, but this may suggest that Rhaegar’s face was somewhat narrow. Does Jon have a thin face?
  3. Eyes – We know the color, but are his eyes narrow? Too far apart? Thick eyebrows or light? Are Jon’s eyes big or small? Does he have thick eyelashes? Did Rhaegar?
  4. Nose – Is it flat, straight, pinched, thin or aquiline? Is it like Ned’s or Rhaegar’s or Viserys’s?
  5. Cheekbones – High? prominent or not? how do they compare with Starks and Targaryens?
  6. Voice – Soft? Ringing? Deep? Coarse? Does Jon have the ‘iron tones of Rhaegar’ that Jaime would identify?
  7. Gait/antics – Does Jon have a special way of walking that can be identified as similar to Rhaegar’s, or Ned’s or Brandon’s? Does Jon fights in some typical way that would remind Jon Connington or Ser Barristan of Rhaegar? (These things could be inherited). There are no less than 35 mentions of Arya biting/chewing her lips, but only one each of Robb and Jon doing it and twice for Sansa.

Above given are all unknowns related to Jon Snow. It is entirely possible that in none of the seven listed categories does Jon resemble Rhaegar in the slightest sense, but the point I’m making is that we don’t know it, either way.

Then why do they matter? Because, if  someone who is familiar with Targaryens but having no idea about ‘the Stark look’ should meet Jon in the future books, they may spot some similarities. (I say this from personal experience of my mother’s friends/family saying I look like my mother, when I actually resemble my father more.)

So far, the people who have met both Rhaegar and Jon are Ned, Benjen, Yoren, Jaime, Robert, Cersei, and probably also Alliser Thorne, Jaremy Rykker, Stannis Baratheon (less chance there), Aemon Targaryen (even less chance, but Aemon knew other Targaryens really well to know the Targ look. Considering he was blind by the time Jon came to the Wall, I will add that Aemon may also have know the Targ voice, if there is one),..

All of them, with the exception of Jaime and Cersei, has spent more time around one Stark or other (Ned in case of Robert, Benjen for Alliser and Jaremy) to connect Jon to Rhaegar rather than Ned. Jaime and Cersei are also first introduced to Ned and Benjen, then get a passing chance to observe Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell. Not surprising that they didn’t see in Jon anything more than Tyrion did. Because people see what they expect to see. This is probably another reason for Ned to keep Jon in Winterfell (in addition to the safety) – in Winterfell, standing next to Ned, no one is going to suspect that Jon is not Ned’s son. But Ned leaves Winterfell and Jon leaves to the Wall – where Benjen Stark has lived for nearly as long as Jon was alive. The wildlings, Craster, Stannis – all the people Jon met after leaving home also had no reason to doubt Jon’s origins.

Take an imaginary scenario – take Daenerys for example – who only know Ned as the hard-faced lord who was the usurper’s dog  but nothing really about how he looks; but grew up with Viserys – if she meets Jon without being told who he was, would she observe that Jon resembled Viserys or Rhaegar (from her visions/dreams), or would she not? We don’t know. It is not impossible. Or take Jon Connington, who knew Ned Stark well enough (Battle of Bells), but spends most the life dreaming/brooding/reminciecsing about Rhaegar, what would his impression of Jon be? I am curious.

There are other skills and qualities that Jon have and Rhaegar had (like determination, efficiency, resourcefulness, kindness, chivalry, etc.), but they have been analyzed already and are too subjective and verbose to include in this discussion, so I’m leaving them out for now.

Quotes about Rhaegar Targaryen’s looks:

Viserys, was her first thought the next time she paused, but a second glance told her otherwise. The man had her brother’s hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac.  Daenerys IV, ACOK. [About Viserys: He was a gaunt young man with nervous hands and a feverish look in his pale lilac eyes. Daenerys I, AGOT]

And beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rode Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Jaime VI, ASOS

On the floor he’d found a scuffed mosaic of the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen done in tiles of black and red. I know you, Kingslayer, the beast seemed to be saying. I have been here all the time, waiting for you to come to me. And it seemed to Jaime that he knew that voice, the iron tones that had once belonged to Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone. Jaime I, AFFC.

 It was not the first time the queen had made note of Waters, a lean young man with grey-green eyes and long silver-gold hair. The first time she had seen him, for half a heartbeat she had almost thought Rhaegar Targaryen had returned from the ashes. It is his hair, she told herself. He is not half as comely as Rhaegar was. His face is too narrow, and he has that cleft in his chin. Cersei III, AFFC.

Many a night she had watched Prince Rhaegar in the hall, playing his silver-stringed harp with those long, elegant fingers of his. Had any man ever been so beautiful? Cersei V, AFFC

Next to Rhaegar, even her beautiful Jaime had seemed no more than a callow boy. Cersei V, AFFC

“Your Grace is kind,” said Waters with a smile. A wicked smile, the queen thought. Aurane did not resemble Prince Rhaegar as much as she had thought. Cersei VIII, AFFC

His silvery hair was blowing in the wind, and his eyes were a deep purple, darker than this boy’s. The Griffin Reborn, ADWD


The Heir to Harrenhal

Alayne Stone by Nicole McEvoy (Leafette)

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.

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.”
Patchface with Shireen, Art by Louisa Giliberti .

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The Bleeding Star

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


‘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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