Thursday is Theory Day! Finally, I did it in time.
This is the fourty-first 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 41. Spoilers for "A Song of Ice and Fire", obviously.
Who was Rhaella Targaryen’s true love?
When Barristan Selmy told Dany in "A Dance with Dragons" almost casually that there had once been a Stormlander knight madly in love with Aerys' sister/wife, a host of speculation rose up. The answer, however, is supplied by Jaime Lannister, of all people, in the previous volume "A Feast for Crows". What we know from Ser Barristan, of course, provides the key that Ser Jaime lacks - Rhaella's suitor was a pretty good tourney knight, but he put aside the lance after realizing that he couldn't win Rhaella and turning pious. Now, Jaime accompanies Ser Bonifer Hasty to Harrenhal, who has his own little army, the "Holy Hundred". He's an extremely pious man who was a promising tourney knight back in the day, but set aside the lance for a reason unknown to Jaime, whon muses it could have to do something with a woman he didn't get. And there you have it. No big surprises here, no conspiracy, alas, but a nice piece of worldbuilding scattered across two volumes for those who read closely.
Which can't be said about this one. Hell, I have to confess I had to look the two up in the Wiki of Ice and Fire and I still don't remember them. Let's quote the Wiki: "Lord Roose Bolton leaves a strong force of Stout and Cerwyn men under the command of Ser Kyle and Ronnel Stout to strengthen the defense of the Trident against the Lannisters." Well, thanks for clearing that up. The information in question relates to the Battle of the Ruby Ford, where Roose Bolton delayed his crossing of the Trident until Gregor Clegane caught up with him, leaving Stark loyalists to their fate under the command of Stout and Condon and went to the Twins with Karhold and Dreadfort men. It was a move to rid his host of Stark loyalists, and it worked pretty well. Since they were left behind to hold the Ruby ford against the Mountain, who is later commanded to clear Harrenhal, we can safely assume that the Lannister army joined forces with Bolton and the Freys and simply butchered the remaining army. Remember from Reek II that the army Bolton brings home has almost no men in it that are not either Bolton or Frey, so they certainly did not join him. That doesn't leave much options, because a force this strong joining the Brotherhood without Banners or any other Riverlander force would have been an event that someone mentioned. RIP Ser Kyle, RIP Ser Ronnel.
When did Roose Bolton decide to betray Robb Stark?
Bolton answers exactly this question to Theon in "Reek III" in "A Dance with Dragons": when Theon conquered Winterfell. His words were that "the Young Wolf was doomed the day you took Winterfell", which makes it pretty likely that this was the moment when he began hatching his plan. It helped that around that time, he already was in contact with Vargo Hoat about some shenanigans in Harrenhal and then got the castle delivered by Arya, which allowed him to safely treat with Tywin Lannister. Robb marrying Jeyne provided him with the allegiance of the Freys, which made the whole plan workable, securing his retreat to the North once Robb was destroyed.