Friday, June 14, 2013

My stance on various ASOIAF conspiracy theories, Part 33

Thursday is theory day, but Friday's the charm this week.
This is the thirty-third 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 (stefan_sasse@gmx.de) 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 33. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously. 

Was the Red Wedding cowardice?
This is a tricky question, because it depends on your moral guidelines and what you define as brave. For example, is the use of drones by the US military "cowardice"? If yes, is a sniper a coward? A soldier with a rifle? A terrorist blowing himself up? You see where the problem leads us. Cowardice, especially if applied to stuff that happens in war, is a very subjective category, and oftentimes used by the victims of the attack. I'd say it wasn't cowardice, because Frey and Bolton both take a huge risk in this - if their plot is discovered, they're dead meat. And at least Bolton is directly involved in the killings, as are many Freys. Is it an despicable act? Oh yes, for certainty. But I have to side with Tywin here: it's not really inherently better to wage war with armies and fight in battles, because it certainly costs more people. This is, by the way, the reason why I always criticize the Blackfish for his decision to hold Riverrun after the Red Wedding - if there is no point in fighting, why fight and cause so many deaths? Judging the Red Wedding is therefore harder than it initially appears (for our sensibilities; in Westeros, the case is quite clear. It's an affront against the gods, all laws of society and an act of cowardice). Imagine the Allies in World War II inviting Hitler to peace talks and then killing him there. Not exactly nice, but it would save millions of lives. In the end, you have to judge such questions by yourself. Incidents like the Red Wedding provide a nice, literal background for this, because there are no stakes in this. But when you make up your mind about it, question the norms you're applying so you know them, and then take your honed skills of ethical judgement to questions that matter in the real world, be it the aforementioned drone strikes or the implemention of the Affordable Healthcare Act. 

Do you think Varys intentionally led Tyrion past the Tower of the Hand to kill Tywin, if so was Shae planted?Nope, I don't think so. If it was Varys' intent to kill Tywin, he could have done so a long time ago. For Varys, the murder is more than just an inconvenience, because it destroys his whole spy-network in the Red Keep. Any why would book!Varys give a shit about whether Shae lives or dies? No, I can't imagine Varys staging this. Tyrion's freed already, he would send him to Pentos anyway, so why giving the game away? It's clear for the world now that Varys has something to do with it, and destroys the eunuch's most valuable asset, making way for the rise of Qyburn. Not exactly something you would want to do. 

Will Tyrion and Sansa meet again?
That's a good question. I have no clue. I'm certain Tyrion will return to Westeros, and I'm also sure that Sansa will survive, but if they will meet again - I don't know. For neither of them is there any incentive to carry on this marriage. Sansa may or may not be married to Harry the Heir by then (I guess she won't), since Tyrion is a known traitor, king- and kinslayer, and Sansa is at least suspected to have taken part in it. So, no one would expect their marriage to continue, and none of them would have an interest in re-opening old wounds, I guess. So, it's rather likely that they won't see each other again, only from afar.

20 comments:

  1. Speaking of the Red Wedding, Stefan what is your take on the theory that when Robb died he warged into Grey Wind, thus dying twice. And also that while inside Grey Wind, he saw Arya. This can be a future post if you like. Ever since the Red Wedding episode this theory has gained some traction. I had never heard of it before the TV episode. I personally don't buy it. I don't think Robb had this ability, just as Sansa did not have it with Lady.

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    1. Confirmed by GRRM I believe all the Stark kids were warns

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    2. I don't really see the relevance of Robb spotting Arya before he died.

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  2. In regards to Tyrion, if you put that into context with what Vary's did to Kevan at the end of Dance then don't you think Vary indeed hoped Tyrion would kill Tywin if indeed he needs the chaos? Or was Kevan really that stabilizing of a force that he just had to go. Or I guess it was just time to move his plan even further forward.

    But Vary really has benefited the most (other than LF) in the ongoing Kings Landing chaos.

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    1. Yes, but that's seen with hindsight. Common wisdom was that Kevan would take over after Tywin's death. Everybody expected it, even Cersei. It was Kevan who refused and only returned when matters became too ill to bear. What Varys tries to maintain is a precious balance, not too chaotic (that's LF territory), not too orderly. And that is not helped by Tywin's death, who would have faced the Tyrells sooner and more cunningly than Cersei, I'd wager.

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  3. Hi Stefan, the reason I asked the question about Tyrion and Sansa is because towards the end of ASOS Sansa thinks back on her marriage to Tyrion and thinks something along the lines of "I am happy I will no longer be his wife... AREN"T I?" There are a few instances where she kind of questions whether she is happy to be rid of Tyrion. I just thought it would be interesting if they ended up together, especially considering Hound/Sansa romance that fans want, it would be funny to have her end up with Tyrion.

    On another related note, it could also be that Tyrion is the "giant" that Sansa slays in the castle made of ice, as prophesized by the Witch of High Heart. The castle could either be the Vale, which Tyrion has been talking about attacking since AGOT (I think this is where Dany will begin her conquest of Westeros with Tyrion's help) or Winterfell, which is foreshadowed in her chapter where she builds the snow castle and Littlefinger kisses her.

    Always enjoy you answers. Let me know what you think.

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    1. Might be, yes. But I don't really see them come together. The whole marriage was forced by forced that don't exist anymore, so why should they? And why should Sansa slay the giant?

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    2. The Ghost of High Heart says after predicting the purple wedding that she saw the same maid slaying a savage giant in a castle made of snow, so I assumed it would be either Littlefinger or Tyrion and the castle made of snow could be in the Vale or Winterfell. What do you think?

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    3. Hmmmm...indeed, that's strange, overlooked it until now.

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    4. Sansa tears apart Robert Arryn's giant doll in the snow castle she builds in her last chapter in ASOS - think this is the most likely interpretation of that particular prophecy, no?

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  4. Hi Stefan, your blog is amazing keep it up.

    Any thoughts on the Asha Wrote The Pink Letter Theory?

    Here is a link to one forum post going through it all
    http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/89103-asha-wrote-the-bastard-letter-theon-i-twow-spoilers/

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    1. Thanks!
      And it might be. I fear we won't know until TWOW.

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  5. What would you say the likelihood of Rickon Stark being wed to Shireen Baratheon is? Stannis has been looking for a Stark heir to unite the North around, as we saw when he was willing to legitimize Jon Snow. Now that Davos is going to find Rickon in Skaagos, it seems to me a good course of action to have a Stark/Baratheon marriage to cement their cause for good.

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    1. It would be a wise policy, but I doubt that he can pull that before overtaken by the events.

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    2. Also presumably then Rickon would get greyscale when they consummate the marriage. Maybe the heirs would have it too. Could endanger the alliance though it would fit with the Stark colours

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  6. Do you think we'll see Alliser Throne again? Alive or dead?

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    1. I put it in my list, but since there are items for ten weeks or so nowadays: I guess we'll see him again, alive.

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  7. A question for now or for next post: Perhaps I am misunderstanding how the priests of R'hllor operate, but Melisandre just seems incredibly stupid in assuming Stannis of all people is Azor Ahai given that very prominent priests like Benerro preach that Daenerys is the One. Does she not at least stop to consider for one moment the options? Blindingly blind. ORRRR she's so super cunning all along using Stannis for her own ends. Don't want to turn this into an Azor Ahai theory thread, but more about what we know of the red priests.

    Are we allowed to ask two questions? What makes Lord Beric so special? Why can't we just bring back loads of fallen warriors - I realize that's what people are predicting will happen to Jon but that also seems a bit of an obvious one that Martin might want to shit on.

    Thanks!

    Chris

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    1. Of course you're allowed. I took both questions in my list, but it'll take a while to get there.

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