Thursday, April 11, 2013

My stance on various ASOIAF conspiracy theories, Part 24

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 ( 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 24. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously. 

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.


  1. I agree Stefan, I think Melisandre has this glamour going to hide her true age. Love your theories and writings and ASOIAF prophecies.

  2. This blog is great.

    Do you think the Hightowers will play a role in the last two books? I ask this because something will be happening in Oldtown, Sam's there, the Maesters are clearly up to something, there is a Faceless Man in the citadel and the city is being attacked by Ironborn. The Hightowers are one of the most powerful houses in Westeros, they managed to avoid the War of the Five Kings for the most part and preserved their resources, and were sufficiently prominent to allowed to marry into the Targaryen line. Lord Leyton and the Mad Maid are said to be consulting spell books, perhaps indicating they have a connection with Marwyn.

    Also, GRRM included the details of the family in the appendices of both AFFC and ADWD, despite the fact that the only member who has appeared in person is the somewhat inconsequential Alerie Tyrell, and were absent from both books on the whole.

    1. Thanks for the praise!

      I don't know about the Hightowers, frankly. I'd guess we will at least meet them through Sam, but whether or not they will play an important role...donnu.

  3. RE Gregor vs. Ser Hugh, it is written in the chapter when Snador escorts Sansa back from the feast after the tourney of the hand that the new-made knight dindn't have his gorget well fastened (because he couldn't afford a page/squire), Gregor saw that and went for it.. just for the fun of it.
    And it was Varys who implied to Ned that the potion to Jon Arryn was given by his (by then conveniently dead) squire, not LF.

    RE Melisandre, it is an interesting fact what happens in her chapter when she looks at the fires: she sees Bloodraven and Bran.. *and he sees her back*.. she then takes them for minions of the dark lord, wich by what we readers know of her interpretations of her sights, could mean the totally inverse thing.. regardless.. how cool is that?? If in fact BR can see through "the fires" or whatever magic is at works there, that means there's a connection between the Lord Of Ligth / watching the fires / greensight / the weirwood carved faces.

    thoughts? ;)

    1. @Gregor: Sorry about the mixup with Varys, but nothing of that proves anything, unfortunately.

      @Melisandre: Don't think BR watches through the fires. And "watching back" could be more metaphorical, as in "he also watches" and sees Mel all the time she walks past trees. Or something. Will be very exciting to learn more, in any rate.

  4. Littlefinger could be responsible for Ser Hugh's death by rigging the tourney bracket so that Hugh and the Mountain were paired up. While this wouldn't have guaranteed Hugh would be killed, it certainly didn't do much for his life expectancy. Littlefinger wouldn't have needed Gregor's cooperation at all, and it reeks of his arm's length, plausible deniability maneuvering. Doesn't Eddard specifically comment on the oddity of Ser Hugh being paired up to face the Mountain? Or is that only in the TV show?