Thursday is theory day.
This is the twenty-eighth 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 28. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously.
What's the fate of Loras?In "A Feast for Crows", Loras Tyrell was reported horrifingly burned when storming the walls of Dragonstone to free the Redwyne fleet. Now, we all know not to take reports at face value, especially after the one from White Harbor proved to be...exaggerated. Couldn't the Tyrells fake the message of Loras' plight to lure Cersei into doing something stupid? Of course, this is possible, but I don't think it's likely. The first and foremost reason is that the Tyrells haven't displayed any political savy in this direction in the books. There's no real reason for them to do that. What's the end of this plot? If they are politically savy, they will see Cersei's stupidity themselves, but it seems like they don't, really. If the Knight of Flowers is secretly kept alive, what's the point? He's kingsguard, and he's a fighter, not a politican. He can't really do anything, except defend Margaery in a trial they didn't anticipate. Plus, Margaerys breakdown in front of Cersei seems a tad too real to have been played out. It might be, mind you, but in that case Margaery really has some great acting chops underway she never used before, or else she wouldn't have infuriurated Cersei all the time like this. It comes down to the question of "why" in the end. What do the Tyrells gain from such a plot? I can't see anything they don't have already. There's several points where a great conspiracy makes more sense than with Loras, especially if they're out for a power-grab: in that case, a triumphant return of Loras would be just the thing.
Who is Eddard Stark's mother?
The question arises only because there is a new and rather popular theory out there claiming that Eddard's mother, whose name and origin is unknown (in contrast to his grandmother, who had been a Flint from the Mountain Clans), was from Skagos. The idea behind is that a tidbit that Sam throws around in "A Feast for Crows", claiming that Skagos rose in rebellion against Winterfell some 100 years past and that it took a rather long time to quell the rebellion. Since a marriage alliance would be a usual way to seal a peace treaty, it might be that Eddard's grandfather made such a pact to ensure Skagos's loyalty. The big downside of the theory is that we have no clue about it from the books. Skagos has a really sinister reputation, and if Eddard's mother would have been from there, I just have the feeling someone would have mentioned it, especially considering that Rickon was sent there. Of course, this in turn could be just the proof you want: Maester Luwin could have told Osha about the family ties, which made the choice of Skagos as a destination for a six-year-old much more rational. My BLAH co-host Sean T. Collins always emphasized the point that we would have heard of such an unusual marriage, and I tend to agree with him, but it's tempting to accept the reasoning as the destination for Rickon, so I'm a bit undecided on the matter.
What characters do you wish you could get more interaction between?
That's a tricky question. The dialogues are among the best stuff from the series, period. But the restriction to POV characters means that many pairings are falling out of the realm of possibility (Littlefinger and Varys, like it's done in the show, wouldn't have a chance). Since I'm a Bran-fan, I would always want to have more Bran dialogues in the books, especially between Bran and Meera (I like their non-romance, and she could tell more awesome stories) and Bran and pretty much everything. I'd also like to see more interaction with Stannis. But really, whatever Martin wants to provide me with is fine by me, because so far I have to receive a character or chapter I'm not enjoying.