Thursday, March 14, 2013

My stance on various ASOIAF conspiracy theories, Part 19

Thursday is theory day now. And sorry for blowing it last week. I'll make it up.
This is the nineteenth 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 19. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously.  

Will the Unsullied become the new Night's Watch?
No, they won't. I can see the rationale; after a victory of Dany's, an army of eunuchs like that becomes somewhat superflous if you don't want to keep a standing army, which in turn would alienate the whole of Westeros. So, being the new Night's Watch (or at least boosting up their ranks) makes sense on some level, but it neglects some basic things. First, these guys are free. They were bound in service to fight their whole life. Why should they choose to do this, except for Dany expressedly asking them (which I can't imagine)? There is no real reason for them to do this. It seems to me this idea comes from a deeper high-fantasy desire, to have something more akin like in the stories about the Watch or in inferior fantasy novels. A determined, disciplined and deadly force, united in one purpose against the dark powers beyond the Wall...I can see where one is going with this, but if you reread my sentence, does this strike you as particularily "A Song of Ice and Fire"? Me neither. 

Did Ned write a letter from prison?
When Ned is imprisoned, he asks Varys whether he could deliver a letter, and Varys answers that he would provide Ned with quill and ink, read the letter and decide on his own what to do with it. So, did Ned take the offer? We don't really get any more thoughts from him on the matter, because lopped off heads don't harbor many thoughts, so is there one? The question in itself serves only one purpose: would Ned have written anything important, we would know it by now - either Varys would have told on it or delivered the message, but I can't imagine anything of importance for Ned in that cell that Varys profits from by simply hiding it. So, the only thing such a letter could contain is the identity Jon's mother. This is yet another theory that derives more from the desire to have someone alive that knows about R+L=J other than Howland Reed, just to not have all eggs in one basket, but Ned would never give Varys a letter with that information if he couldn't be sure. And it seems to me Varys would have acted by now had he had this information, either in disposing Jon or in securing him. Besides, Howland Reed is Checkov's gun in the series. He will turn up at one point, and he has the information - nobody else. That just makes this so interesting. 

In Melisandre's chapter, Mance mentions he needs the spearwives from Mole's Town for a special plan he has in mind. Do you think the extent of the plan was to pose as a bard and company, murder a few people, and escape with "Arya"? The way he phrased it, exactly, made it seem like he had more in mind. Do you think Mance's plan is more involved than we know so far?
It seems like that was his plan, yes. Mance is, at his heart, a romantic. He loves the story of Bael the bard, and once just isn't good enough - he needs to do it a second time, but given the stakes and obstacles involved, he'll need some back-up. Meet the spear-wives, the only group of people with martial prowess he could possibly get into Winterfell along with himself. Think of it - how would Abel the Bard get in with five able-bodies other guys? No way. But "washerwomen", aka whores? Sure! Never get enough of those. Besides, if he took males, after the first murder everybody would suspect them. But nobody knows the washerwomen are wildlings, so nobody suspects them. And Mance can go through with his great charade until it ends at the hands of Theon Greyjoy. As a sidenote, that's one big beef I have with the "Stannis forged the Pink Letter" theory: I am under the impression that Stannis doesn't know of the Mance-Rattleshirt-glamor. 

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