Thursday, December 20, 2012

My stance on various ASOIAF conspiracy theories, Part 11

Thursday is theory day now. 
This is the eleventh article of the series. Since there are a lot of theories floating out there and I'm asked often enough what I think of them, I thought I write it down. You can then laugh about me when I am totally proven wrong by "The Winds of Winter" or something like that. Rules are as follows: you put a question about any theory or plot element (really, let's stress "theory" a bit for the sake of interesting questions) either in the comments of any theory post or by mail ( and I will answer them in an upcoming post. And if you now ask "Stefan, isn't this a shameless rip-off of Sean T. Collin's "Ask me anything"?", I would tell you to shut up, because you are right.
Prepare for part 11. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously. 

Is the real Jeyne Westerling on some secret mission with the Blackfish?
So, this is my favorite non-favorite theory out there. It was first brought to the world by Ghostlovesinger of "The Tower of the Hand", and I have a constant beef with him about it ever since. Hopefully, not too beefy, though ;) The theory goes as follows: The Jeyne Westerling Jaime encounters in "A Feast for Crows" is not the real one, but a false (like Jeyne Poole). The real Jeyne is out there, preparing to give birth to Robb's child, which she conceived. In the books, the Lannisters are told that Jeyne's mother gave her an equivalent to Moon Tea and she therefore isn't pregnant. The evidence for this is Jaime recognizing Jeyne's narrow hips, whereas Catelyn remarked on her wide hips on occasion, making her suitable for child birth. Now, I dislike this theory for two reasons. First, it doesn't make sense in the world. We know the Westerlings betrayed Robb, taking part in the Red Wedding, and were rewarded for it by the Lannisters. So why on earth should they try to hide Robb's heir, the same Robb they just helped to murder, and hide Jeyne? We can see in Theon's "A Dance with Dragons" storyline that pretending Jeyne Poole  is Arya is a real dangerous gamble and requires everyone wanting to believe it. But there are plenty people alive who know Jeyne Westerling. Why shouldn't one lonely servant don't sell the secret to "we pay our debt" Lannisters? It seems too reckless by far, especially for a woman like Sybelle Spicer. The second reason is that it would suck from a storytelling perspective. The whole Red Wedding loses emotional impact when we enter a "the heir is alive and preparing revenge". This is the premise of a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, not "A Song of Ice and Fire". The narrative use of this really falls short. The same is true, by the way, of the idea of the Blackfish somehow going north to do cool shit. 

What's up with Greyscale? 
To be honest, Greyscale didn't really pop up on my radar before "A Dance with Dragons" where it is featured heavily. Before, we knew it as a rare sickness that devestated Shireen Baratheon, but nothing more. But now, we have several very strange mentions of it. First, there is Tyrion's storyline, who encounters the "Stone Men" on the Rhoyne, who are feared and regarded with much superstition. We don't really know what their deal is, but they surely are important for the people there. Then, we have Val, who would like nothing more than to burn Shireen on the spot, because Greyscale is death. We had no indication before that the wildlings feared Greyscale, so this comes a bit sudden. And third, we have Jon Connington, developing the sickness himself and probably igniting a plague in Westeros. The sickness will play a larger role in the narrative in the future, with the previous books, "A Dance with Dragons" chiefly among them, preparing the ground. I'm not sure what it will bring, though. It may be that a plague of it will come, but I don't really know why. Perhaps it'll take hold of someone important, giving him or her enough time to fulfill a goal but making sure he or she dies in the end. It could happen to Dany, for instance. Also an interesting notion: dragons falling victim to the plague, although it seems unlikely. My best guess is as sure as yours, but be prepared for more Greyscale to come in the future. 

Who is Qaithe, and what is she up to? 
Qaithe, the woman with the mask giving prophecies to Dany (or Jorah Mormont, in the show), is a mystery. She surely guides Dany's steps to an extent, being able to appear as she wills and, more importantly, to disappear at will, too. It may be that Dany only imagines her, or that she is a vision appearing to her. Sean T. Collins, my much beloved co-host of the "Boiled Leather Audio Hour", threw the idea around she might be Dany from the future, guiding herself. I'm not sure about any of this, but I give you another possibility: George R. R. Martin will pull a "Lost" on us on this one, and the identity of Qaithe will be unresolved when we read the final words of "A Dream of Spring". For now, she's a mysterious woman from the East, giving cryptic hints and making everyone wonder who she is. I believe it will stay that way.


  1. The dragons getting greyscale is an interesting notion. Perhaps they are infected with the disease but live long enough to defeat the Others, ushering in a world free of magic?

    1. It would explain where the idea of stone dragons came from.

    2. That was my thought exactly. I don't really think there's something to it (yet), only a crackpot theory of mine with no textural evidence whatsoever, but hey, the notion is interesting.

  2. The fake Jeyne Westerling theory, I agree, doesn't hold water.

    It wouldn't be just the Westerlings or their servants in on the conspiracy. Queen Jeyne, the real one, was at Riverrun with Robb before he left to go to the Red Wedding. It isn't clear how long they're there from the summaries on Tower of the Hand, but it's at least a few days, so a huge number of the Tully servants, soldiers and bannermen would have see the real Queen Jeyne and could distinguish her from the false one turned over after the surrender of Riverrun in A Feast for Crows. The Frey envoys are there, would likely have seen her. It seems really implausible, without resort to finding someone who looks very much like Jeyne and could double.

    And, honestly, the Westerlings don't seem like people who'd risk anything for Robb. The motive that's sometimes put forward is they do it to protect Jeyne from Tywin's wrath, but the Westerlings seem to me like people who'd sacrifice Jeyne for the family's greater good, if it came to it.

    The inconsistent description between two different characters who would logically have different ways of looking at Jeyne Westerling is much to slender a reed of evidence to hang all this implausibility on.

    1. With all previous plots Martin hatched, in hindsight you saw the signs. There is nothing here.

    2. Nothing that I can see or that the proponents have come with as far as evidence or foreshadowing. Nothing on the level of R+L=J for sure.

      I kinda wonder if some hardcore fans who've gotten really involved in theories and speculations will be pretty disappointed when the series is finished and there's no more chance that Varys and Illyrio are Merpeople who plan to put Patchface on the Iron Throne.

  3. Hi Stefan.

    When you have a chance, would you tackle A+L=J? I floated it at Sean a while back, then it was immediately and irretrievably torpedoed by Elio.


  4. Jeyne on the run is properly not true but it would make sense if her mom (cant recall the name) was playing a even deeper game. Controlling a claimant to winterfell and riverrun could be profitable.