Thursday is theory day.
This is the twenty-fourth 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 (email@example.com) 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.
Why did Gregor Clegane kill Ser Hugh during the Tourney in "A Game of Thrones"?
The question isn't as clear to answer as it seems. Instantly it seems like Cersei was the one commanding his death, because of Ser Hughs obvious involvement in the death of Jon Arryn, but we learn in "A Storm of Swords" that Cersei's actually innocent of the murder; it was Lysa and Littlefinger. So, why did Clegane slay Ser Hugh? It isn't really believable that Littlefinger paid him off, because Clegane isn't the man who's really interested in coin nor in plots and intrigues, which makes Littlefinger's options somewhat limited. One option to go would surely be that Gregor is simply a murderous brute and killed Ser Hugh just for the fun of it, but if so, it would be the exception. The shocked reaction of all people watching suggests that Gregor doesn't often kill his adversaries. I think it still was Cersei who commanded the killing because Littlefinger told her that Eddard made progress with his investigations. And it doesn't really matter if Cersei killed Jon Arryn - Eddard certainly believes that she does, and she needs to close loose ends regardless and stall his investigations because else he would find out what Jon Arryn discovered, too.
Do you think that Melisandre really doesn't have/need to eat?
Melisandre mentions in her chapter in "A Dance with Dragons" that R'hllor provides sustenance for her and she doesn't need to eat. There's no reason to doubt her. Why would she lie to herself? It's an internal monologue, after all. It's interesting, though, and rather a strange merit to be granted. It shows one thing to us as readers: Melisandre really has powers, powers that transcend those of most other followers of R'hollor, which may be why her ideas of Azor Ahai gained so much credence. Not needing to eat could also entail yet another feat: not to age. Many people have suggested that Melisandre is in truth older than she appears, and given her mentions of how long it takes to master the arts of fire magic (for want of a better word), this seems likely. Melisandre obviously takes great pains to keep up appearances, and she's wise to do so.
Do you think there could be a supernatural showdown between UnCat and Bloodraven/Bran?
No. First, geography. There are several thousand leagues between them. Why the hell would they have a showdown? And how? Bran hitting her with the branches of trees, and Lady Stoneheart hitting them back with oathkeeper until one of the two runs out of hitpoints? Second, the threat that Bloodraven and Bran are concentrating on is the Others. While UnCat is not pretty, she's not a danger to life (except to the lives of Freys, of course, but I don't see Bran intervening on their behalf). I could imagine a heartbreaking scene when Bran sees her through the trees, if she ever comes by a weirwood (or Bran learns to control all trees like that). Bran could even try to reach out to her like he does with Theon, or send ravens to call out to her, or wahtever. But why should he actually fight her? She's his mother, after all, and she's not a wight. I can rather see him trying (and failing) to convert her back to her old self, and her committing suicide over realizing what she has become or something, but I don't feel it. It seems to me that solving Catelyn's story arc by Bran's divine intervention lessens her, and that her arc has more to do with her daughters, Brienne and Jaime. Or, yet another intriguing possibility, the Blackfish could cross her ways. No way to know how he would react to this. I can see the crazy son-of-a-bitch cutting her down on the spot, and I can see him becoming her first henchman. And I'd guess that Martin didn't let him escape the siege of Riverrun for naught.