Charity of the Iron Bank

THE MANNIFESTO: APPENDIX I, CHAPTER VII

Tycho Nestoris: Our intrepid banker from Braavos, the man who fearlessly seeks out Stannis, traversing miles of dangerous terrain in a historic blizzard.

And he does all of this in order provide loans and ensure Stannis claims the Iron Throne. The ultimate goal of Tycho’s mission? To negotiate repayment of debts owed to the Iron Bank:

Tycho Nestoris had impressed him as cultured and courteous, but the Iron Bank of Braavos had a fearsome reputation when collecting debts… …When princes failed to repay the Iron Bank, new princes sprang up from nowhere and took their thrones.
— JON IX, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Tycho sought out Stannis as such an alternative “prince”, one more amenable to repaying the Throne’s dues after Cersei abandoned those debts.

So why is it that when Tycho finally arrives at Stannis’s camp, one of the first things he does is give gifts?

Observe:

The Braavosi smiled. “We’ve brought a gift for you.”
— THE SACRIFICE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“The ironmen are to remain here, supposedly to fight for us. Another gift from Tycho Nestoris.”
— THEON I, THE WINDS OF WINTER

Not to be simplistic, but banks are not charities. They don’t believe in gods nearly as much as they believe in a reasonable return on investment. Thus we have a very simple motive for Tycho’s aid:

Tycho’s gifts benefit Stannis’s campaign. They improve the likelihood of his success and future repayments of existing debts.

But just as the Iron Bank wants to renew payments of dues owed, they also do not want to over-extend themselves in aiding Stannis: what good is it to extend too much financial aid if Stannis ends up failing? The Iron Bank would only end up all the poorer for their efforts.

Thus they will look for the most cost-effective ways to aid his campaign.

So then, what are some cheap and effective ways to aid Stannis?

There are two ways, the main subjects of this essay:

Tycho can provide Stannis with an extensive amount of intelligence regarding the situation around the north.

Tycho can provide Stannis with cost-effective means of hastening his campaign. Most specifically Theon.

In my first essay on Tycho Nestoris, I revealed that Tycho may have searched for Davos as far as White Harbor, before heading for Eastwatch and ultimately Stannis.

  • I also pointed out that Tycho was quite happy to provide Stannis with information of strategy value: the banker told Stannis about the death of Aenys Frey. This suggests that Tycho was quite willing to share military details.
  • Furthermore, in light of the miserly description of the Iron Bank, we can assume that Theon’s presentation (and the accompanying ironmen) as a ‘gift’ serves a financial interest. Most likely to aid in hastening repayment of debts.

This essay serves to identify all of the intelligence that Tycho has directly observed, or which we can infer or deduce. It also explores the Iron Bank’s interests in Theon and the ironborn.

Contents

  1. An Eye for Detail.
  2. White Harbor. The various details that Tycho or another agent of the Iron Bank likely learned in the Lazy Eel.
  3. The Wall. Rumors and eavesdropping at Eastwatch and Castle Black.
  4. Deepwood Motte. The secrets of the ironborn.
  5. A Piece of Prince. Revealing the true ‘gift’ of the Iron Bank.
  6. Conclusion.

*   *   *

AN EYE FOR DETAIL


Tycho takes a rather circuitous route to reach Stannis: first at Eastwatch, then Castle Black, on to Deepwood Motte, then to Winterfell and finally back to the crofter’s village.

Further, if you understand the previous essay on Tycho, you’re aware that he (or another agent of the Iron Bank) has most likely also been to White Harbor.

This is a bevy of locations, each with different sorts of information that Tycho could thereafter share with Stannis.

So what could Tycho have told Stannis?

What evidence is there that these subjects have been shared, implicit or otherwise?

I will tackle this subject on a location-by-location basis.

<table of contents>

*   *   *

WHITE HARBOR


white_harbor_by_captainklugsch-d6unyygAccording to Desperately Seeking Davos, Tycho or another agent of the Iron Bank visited White Harbor. This person was present in the same tavern that Davos loitered in. While Davos was there to gather information, so too was Tycho(or the agent).

Notice that a great deal of valuable intelligence is spilled in this tavern, in the presence of both men:

Most of what he heard he’d learned in Sisterton, from Lord Godric or the denizens of the Belly of the Whale. Tywin Lannister was dead, butchered by his dwarf son; his corpse had stunk so badly that no one had been able to enter the Great Sept of Baelor for days afterward; the Lady of the Eyrie had been murdered by a singer; Littlefinger ruled the Vale now, but Bronze Yohn Royce had sworn to bring him down; Balon Greyjoy had died as well, and his brothers were fighting for the Seastone Chair; Sandor Clegane had turned outlaw and was plundering and killing in the lands along the Trident; Myr and Lys and Tyrosh were embroiled in another war; a slave revolt was raging in the east.

Other tidings were of greater interest. Robett Glover was in the city and had been trying to raise men, with little success. Lord Manderly had turned a deaf ear to his pleas. White Harbor was weary of war, he was reported to have said. That was bad. The Ryswells and the Dustins had surprised the ironmen on the Fever River and put their longships to the torch. That was worse. And now the Bastard of Bolton was riding south with Hother Umber to join them for an attack on Moat Cailin. “The Whoresbane his own self,” claimed a riverman who’d just brought a load of hides and timber down the White Knife, “with three hundred spearmen and a hundred archers. Some Hornwood men have joined them, and Cerwyns too.” That was worst of all.
— DAVOS II, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

This is a fairly good deal of intelligence, for Tycho and for Stannis:

  • By far the most valuable piece of intelligence is the numbers of and affiliations of men traveling with Hother Umber. The riverman specifically shares that Hother has four hundred men, three hundred spears and one hundred bows. It is also helpful to know that the Hornwoods and Cerwyns have joined the Boltons as well. Note that there is no mention of Tallharts.
  • Knowing that the ironborn are fighting over succession makes possession of valid heirs important. Further, it lends itself to possibly interrogating the ironborn for details about the internecine conflict and ironborn leadership.
  • It’s also interesting to note that the Ryswells and Dustins have been engaged in conflicts with the ironborn along the Fever River. The optional theory Cinders from Barrow Hall plays quite well with this information.
  • The fact that Myr, Lys and Tyrosh are at war suggests that mercenaries will likely be found in the Disputed Lands, a fact that Stannis later mentions to Justin Massey.
  • Robett Glover’s presence and pursuit of aid shows that Glover is a foreseeable ally, if only temporarily. It’s particularly likely considering that Stannis liberated Deepwood and ‘rescued’ Sybelle Glover from the ironborn.
  • Although not heard in the Lazy Eel, it is quite obvious that refugees from the north are gathering in White Harbor’s Old Mint. Furthermore, it is also known that Manderly was offering positions in his forces for any able-bodied male over the age of twelve. This suggests that he would have a substantial force of spears himself. This is quite interesting because Manderly only arrives at Winterfell with three hundred knights.
  • Lastly, and only for the sake of completion, I already noted in Desperately Seeking Davos that the Braavosi oarsman (Tycho or an agent of the Iron Bank) was on hand to observe Davos’s “execution”, and it was from Tycho that Stannis learned of Davos’s “fate”.

The benefit of most of these is somewhat self-evident. I would like to take a moment and highlight why the details about Hother Umber are so vital. It is based on something Stannis relates at his last war council in Castle Black:

Stannis ground his teeth. “He informs me that Umber will not fight Umber, for any cause.”
— JON IV, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Also interesting in this chapter, Jon suggests that to avoid problems between the Umbers, Stannis only needs to arrange his army so that the Umbers do not clash:

Jon was not surprised. “If it comes to swords, see where Hother’s banner flies and put Mors on the other end of the line.”
— JON IV, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

However, what Jon fails to realize is that his words (coupled with Stannis’s) actually unveil a strategy by which Stannis can invert Hother’s loyalty:

  • Force Hother Umber into a situation where he *must* attack Mors Umber.
  • This violates Mors’s observation that “Umber will not fight Umber”.
  • Thus Hother must break with Roose Bolton.

Now imagine if he can sway Hother’s allegiance: that is a loss of four hundred men for Roose Bolton and an equivalent gain for Stannis, a net change of almost a thousand men.

Now if you recall my earlier essay A Page from History, it includes a high-level overview of Stannis’s campaign. In that overview, I presented the theory that Stannis will send two secret missions to the Dreadfort. One of these missions would have been composed of Theon and others from Stannis’s camp at the crofter’s village. I specifically stated that Mors and his “green boys” would also join this secret mission.

As you can now see, I’ve essentially argued that Stannis would be sending Mors and his boys to assist in the capture of the Dreadfort. This also means that Mors and his men would be inside the castle when Roose Bolton arrives to retake it, per the later phases of my high-level overview.

The genius here is self-evident: By sending Mors to the Dreadfort, he has in fact engineered the scenario wherein Hother is forced to attack his brother, which would compel him to turn on Roose Bolton, netting Stannis that 800 man swap and a massive surprise for Bolton.

Now you probably have some major concerns:

Is there any evidence that Stannis actually knew about Hother’s manpower?

Directly, no. But recall the main point of this essay: Tycho provided a bevy of intelligence to Stannis. Per the arguments previously in this section, Tycho (or his agent) learned of these facts. Thus it would seem entirely plausible.

There are very compelling implications as well, courtesy of Theon’s sample chapter from The Winds of Winter:

“As you will. Tell me, Theon, how many men did Mors Umber have with him at Winterfell?

“None. No men.” He grinned at his own wit. “He had boys. I saw them.” Aside from a handful of half-crippled serjeants, the warriors that Crowfood had brought down from Last Hearth were hardly old enough to shave. “Their spears and axes were older than the hands that clutched them. It was Whoresbane Umber who had the men, inside the castle. I saw them too. Old men, every one.” Theon tittered. “Mors took the green boys and Hother took the greybeards. All the real men went with the Greatjon and died at the Red Wedding. Is that what you wanted to know, Your Grace?”

King Stannis ignored the jibe. “Boys,” was all he said, disgusted. “Boys will not hold Lord Bolton long.”
— THEON I, THE WINDS OF WINTER

First of all notice, that Stannis does not seem to care a whit about Hother’s manpower: he ignores Theon’s attempt to rile him up. The subtext of that final line suggests that Stannis had his mind on other things.

A side point before continuing: it is ludicrous to think that Mors Crowfood would actually waste his green boys or his own life to try and engage with the emerging Freys and/or Manderlys. What I mean is this: Mors would abandon his position once it became evident that the emerging armies were capable of obliterating his paltry force.

This observation should have been self-evident to Stannis (and any other competent general).

So what I mean to suggest is this:

When Stannis says that Crowfood’s “boys” will not hold Bolton long, he is not referring to an engagement outside of Winterfell.

Instead, I hypothesize the following:

Stannis is referring to the green boys defending against the Boltons from within the Dreadfort.

This explains why he ignores Theon’s jibe: because Stannis is thinking about an entirely different scenario than what Theon assumes.

Refer back to my essay Deception in Siegecraft: it is immediately obvious that using Mors “green boys” from within a castle is much more tactically sound that attempting to use them in open battle. Couple that with the knowledge that Hother would not attack Mors and you can see why sending Crowfood and his boys to the Dreadfort is a winning play.

<table of contents>

*   *   *

THE WALL


IMG_0015Tycho spends considerable time along the Wall, first arriving at Eastwatch and thereafter traveling with Selyse and her entourage to Castle Black.

After arriving at Castle Black, Tycho spends substantial time in Jon Snow’s company prior to departing for Deepwood Motte in search of Stannis.

There is a bevy of intelligence that Tycho learns during this period:

  • Tycho obviously learns that Selyse has left Eastwatch and now resides at Castle Black alongside her daughter and her knights.
  • He knows that Selyse believes that Eastwatch is no longer safe, expecting it to be attacked. Considering that Melisandre told Jon in MELISANDRE – ADWD that Eastwatch would be attacked, it seems likely that Jon warned Cotter Pyke afterwards and that is how Selyse knows.
  • Tycho knows that Jon has allowed a giant (Wun Wun) to live at Castle Black.
  • The Nightfort is not yet ready to receive Selyse, hence Selyse is staying at Castle Black.
  • Tycho almost certainly knows that Val was released to find Tormund Giantsbane. This is because he was present at the argument between Jon Snow and Axell Florent regarding her location. Furthermore, Jon notes that rumors regarding her absent are running wild all over the Wall.
  • Tycho may very well know that the entire fleet of Night’s Watch ships as well as his own Braavosi vessels will be sailing to Hardhome. Recall that Jon Snow managed to achieve the use of Tycho’s three ships, adding them to his ‘rescue fleet’ that was sent to Hardhome. It makes perfect sense that Tycho would be adamant to know the distance, destination and duration that his Braavosi ships would be serving Jon Snow’s interests—prior to any contractual agreement to hand over use of the ships.

First and foremost, knowing that Val is gone is a big deal. Remember that Stannis made Jon vow to keep her close. As I show in other essays (The Captive Must Obey and Honor Has its Costs in particular), Val plays an integral role to Stannis’s campaign.

Indeed, in the high-level overview of Stannis’s campaign laid out in A Page from History, I presented the theory that Stannis planned to execute some sort of ‘wildling mission’ to capture the Dreadfort. Val was a central linchpin for this ploy. Without her, the plan may be altogether broken.

Perhaps this is what prompted Stannis to search for an alternative means of capturing the Dreadfort. It is out of this extreme necessity that Stannis concocts the secondary ‘secret mission’ to the Dreadfort.

At the very least, it is especially conspicuous that Martin makes it clear that Tycho is present at Jon’s table when the ensuing argument with Axell occurs. Tycho is a mute witness, but he is most definitely present. Notice that this bears some small, abstract similarity to the idea of the Braavosi oarsman discussed in Desperately Seeking Davos: both involve scenarios wherein an agent of the Iron Bank simply overhears information of great relevance.

It’s also interesting because Val’s absence suggests that Tormund Giantsbane might soon be ‘surrendering’ to the Nights Watch.

Another oddity based off of the above points is the fact that if Stannis knows that all of the ships in Eastwatch are out to sea on a rescue mission:

How does he expect Justin Massey to ‘quickly’ travel to Braavosi and recruit the sellswords he so specifically asks for?

In truth, I believe it is because Stannis does not actually intend for Massey to complete his mission. I explain this argument in the supplementary essay The Smiler and The Slayer.

<table of contents>

*   *   *

DEEPWOOD MOTTE


deepwoodearlyimageAfter leaving the Wall, Tycho eventually arrives at Deepwood. Here there are a few more interesting findings and developments that Tycho can learn:

  • He would learn of the seven ironborn prisoners in Sybelle’s dungeons, as well as Asha’s captivity. This is obvious since Tycho clearly ransomed them from Sybelle and into his service.
  • He also obviously would learn that Stannis departed for Winterfell.

Now, in Deepwood it is not so much what is obvious that interests us, but what is hidden.

NOTE: At some point in this section you are likely to say “Wait a minute, Shawn. Although you are making good points, you are assuming that Tycho would learn of certain things. Whereas the previous sections only showed what Tycho almost certainly knew, here you are just presuming that you’re right!”

I beg you for your patience, my reasoning will emerge as we near the end.

*   *   *

The Revelation of Torgon Greyiron

We know that Tycho liberates the ironborn and tasks them with accompanying him to Stannis. This is very odd.

How could Tycho trust the ironborn?

Furthermore, what would be the point of the ironborn considering they have absolutely no familiarity with the geography of the north?

According to Stannis’s letter to Jon, the ironborn were his to ransom, not Sybelle’s. Why then would she disregard Stannis and ransom them herself?

These are interesting questions, with one central answer:

Tycho learned about Theon’s survival, perhaps from Sybelle or her maester, perhaps from the ironborn themselves.

Subsequently, the ironborn told Tycho about how Theon could invalidate the kingsmoot.

I can see your objection already:

How on earth could the ironborn prisoners at Deepwood know that Theon was alive? Asha didn’t tell anyone!

This is correct. When Asha received the letter from Ramsay in THE WAYWARD BRIDE – ADWD, she burned the scrap of skin in the letter without saying anything about the contents other than “Moat Cailin has fallen.”

However, she gave the letter to the maester who was at her side when she read it, so that he could share the letter with Sybelle Glover. The maester saw the scrap of skin and obviously read the letter, thus he was familiar with the various lines implying that Theon yet lives. This information could have been readily shared with Tycho.

Furthermore, even though Asha did not specifically state the contents of the letter, she definitely implied that Theon lived.

  • First, she exploded with outright joy when Tristifer Botley reminded her of Torgon Greyiron and how he invalidated the kingsmoot because he was the only valid heir who was not present. There is no logical reason for her outpouring of glee at this revelation, other than the idea that there was an heir missing from the recent kingsmoot that crowned Euron. And the only missing heir was Theon. It wouldn’t be hard for Tristifer Botley to put all of this together.
  • Second, right before the northmen attacked the ironborn in the woods, Asha said something noteworthy:

She could turn merchanter, as Tris seemed to want, or else make for the Stepstones and join the pirates there. Or …

“I send you each a piece of prince,” she muttered.

Qarl grinned. “I would sooner have a piece of you,” he whispered, “the sweet piece that’s—”
— THE WAYWARD BRIDE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The line and self-directed manner in which she expresses it could easily be construed as her repeating a line from the letter. Because we’re talking about a book instead of a stage/show production, we lack the subtle inflections which could make this obvious. In any case, I believe those near Asha might have realized that she was saying a line from the letter.

Which is interesting because both Qarl and Tris Botley (the same one who told her about Torgon Greyiron) were present when she said this AND present when she burned the scrap of skin.

If you couple my earlier point about Tris witnessing Asha’s joy at the tale of Torgon with Asha’s muttering, you can see how Tris especially could easily decipher that Theon still lived.

*   *   *

Mutual Interests

Now, with everything we need in place, Tycho only needs to be informed about Theon’s survival, and then subsequently informed about Theon’s capacity to invalidate the kingsmoot.

As I noted before, it seems like I’m making a highly speculative argument here: that Tycho learned all about Theon and the kingsmoot while in Deepwood. This seems to be completely without evidence. And you would be right.

However, what renders this hypothesis almost certainly correct is that it is the only viable explanation for several phenomenon.

Let me return to the questions at the bring of this section:

How could Tycho trust the ironborn?

If Tycho knew that the ironborn had a compelling desire to find Theon, such that they could invalidate Euron’s crown, he could rest assured that their mutual interests rendered them allies.

Furthermore, what would be the point of the ironborn considering they have absolutely no familiarity with the geography of the north?

Knowing about the kingsmoot, the ironborn accompaniment are not there to aid in Tycho’s journeys… they are there to aid Stannis in handling Theon (should he appear), and perhaps testify before Stannis about the tale of Torgon and invalidating the kingsmoot.

According to Stannis’s letter to Jon, the ironborn were his to ransom, not Sybelle’s. Why then would she disregard Stannis and ransom them herself?

This is because Tycho knows that ransoming them himself serves Stannis’s best interests.

Furthermore, Asha holds Sybelle Glover’s children hostage on the Iron Islands. Should the ironborn prove amenable to using Theon in this fashion and pursue peace with Stannis, this expedites the return of her family.

Now to tie everything together.

<table of contents>

*   *   *

A PIECE OF PRINCE


tumblr_lsuqa0jZxn1qh0oqco1_500Let me return to the point I made at the beginning: banks are not charities.

With that in mind, why would Tycho provide Theon and the ironborn to Stannis and call them ‘gifts’?

The whole reason Tycho made such an arduous journey was to secure Stannis as the new owner of the Iron Throne’s debts. It would make tremendously little sense to sign Stannis to such a contract unless the bank felt confident of his ability to repay.

And yet Stannis, snowbound at the crofter’s village, appears to be sitting on the edge of a knife… a hair’s breadth away from total obliteration. As a moneylender, Tycho would appear to be extending an extremely unwise loan.

So again I ask… why refer to Theon and the ironborn as gifts?

You would think that a picnic basket would be more appreciated at this point.

These thoughts lead to the central assertion of the essay:

Any ‘gift’ from the Iron Bank to Stannis serves the interests of both parties. It is a ‘gift’ to both.

As such, Tycho knew precisely how Theon and the ironborn could benefit Stannis’s campaign.

Likewise, Tycho knew how Theon and the ironborn could expedite a return to steady repayment on outstanding loans.

To the best of my efforts, these are the only viable explanations for Tycho’s ‘gifts’:

Tycho’s ‘gift’ is an almost self-contained solution to the ironborn problem, a method to decisively undermine the current ruler of the ironborn.

The military advantages of this are incalculable.

Thus, despite the somewhat tenuous arguments made about what Tycho learned in Deepwood, they are justified by the fact that no other more reasonable explanation exists.

<table of contents>

*   *   *

CONCLUSION


The end result of the above?

  • Tycho almost certainly provided Stannis with a bevy of intelligence on a variety of matters, some of which gives Stannis a decided upper hand.
  • Tycho presented Stannis with a solution to the ironborn problem: Theon and an entourage of ironborn who all want to see Euron deposed. This ‘gift’ may as well have been neatly wrapped with a bow.

The benefits of both points have a variety of implications. As I noted in the observations about Hother Umber, Tycho’s knowledge may provide vital input for immediate strategic purposes.

Meanwhile, the ‘ironborn solution’ present Stannis with a long-term method of dealing with the threat from the Iron Islands and perhaps accelerating the process of bringing them to heel.

<table of contents>

<the mannifesto>

*   *   *

8 thoughts on “Charity of the Iron Bank

  1. Rob

    Another good essay. You should watch Preston Jacobs’ videos on Littlefinger’s strategy and how it relates to the Iron Bank:

    Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w118h5-Xa9U
    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vcDETkZ4jY
    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtDJd0XJCwU

    It seems that Littlefinger is using debts owed to the Iron Bank to collect allies and possibly heirs to lord-ships.

    It would be a great twist if the opening parts of The Winds of WInter has Randyll Tarly betraying House Tyrell by effectively holding Margaery Tyrell (in his ‘protection’ at the end of ADOD) as a hostage for Littlefinger.

    Reply
  2. Judson

    So, you are proposing that Stannis means to use Theon to bring the Ironborn to heel. Does that mean you think Stannis is not going to execute Theon (possibly in front of the weirwood as a ‘sacrifice’) to appease the Northerners? And if not, how does this affect Stannis’ relationship with said Northerners?

    Reply
  3. Demotruk

    He’ll fake it, just as he did with Mance. Someone else will burn in Theon’s place, at/above the heart tree for the Night Lamp trick.

    Reply
    1. cantuse Post author

      Yes, that’s exactly what I believe. The newer version of the Night Lamp opens up this possibility, and in the Theon mission I describe in Release the Kraken and the Fellowship of the King furthers this theory.

      Stannis will burn Arnolf in Theon’s place and send Theon to the Dreadfort.

      Reply
  4. Judson

    Ok. Interesting.

    I guess I just am not sure why Stannis would let Theon live when the Northerners believe he killed Bran and Rickon and want him dead as revenge. Plus, why send Theon on that mission when he may run straight for the coast or somewhere else? Why let him out of your sight or even trust him?

    I dont see how Stannis could swap out Theon for Karstark. The only way he was able to make that happen with Mance is through Melissandre’s glamour. She is at the wall.

    Also, and this may or may not be stupid, but I believe GRRM doesn’t write filler. Martin mentions the weirwood in the critters village multiple times. To me, that means it will have some significance to the plot. I personally believe Theon (or someone) will be sacrificed in front of it to win favor(approval?) of the Northerners and to have the help of the Old Gods. Burning Karstark is not the same as a sacrifice in front of a weirwood.

    Reply
    1. cantuse Post author

      I failed to articulate myself. Karstark will be sacrificed at the weirwood on the isle, as a part of the false beacon.

      The reason to let Theon live is because Theon’s knowledge of the Dreadfort is second-to-none. Theon knows about a lightly/unguarded postern gate and where to find the keys. That gate would allow a small force to infiltrate and take over the Dreadfort. As I’ve written in various points in the Mannifesto, taking the Dreadfort is the only sensible option for really fucking with Roose Bolton.

      You have to take a very close look at the physical descriptions of Theon and Arnolf, they are extremely similar. Plus, if you swapped their clothes, Theon could pass off as Arnolf with but a few exceptions. In particular, notice the way Arnolf’s clothes are discussed (esp. by Theon himself).

      Plus Stannis, Asha, Theon and Tycho (the Iron Bank) all stand to benefit if Theon can be sent back to the Iron Islands to invalidate the kingsmoot.

      There is a certain similarity here… just as Rattleshirt was executed instead of Mance, so too will Karstark be executed instead of Theon. Pay really close attention to *who* knows that it is Theon in those last chapters. Mors Crowfood goes out of his way to make sure Theon doesn’t say his name aloud. Nobody mentions him by name in Stannis’s watchtower.

      There is more scattered throughout my essays… I’m just busy with some sick kids. Hit me with questions if you want.

      Reply
  5. Judson

    Hmm. Very, very interesting. I hadn’t considered that Theon and Karstark look so similar. Coupled with some of your other insights I am changing my mind about how things unfold going forward. I had hoped Theon would get to redeem himself, but was for sure that he was going to die when Stannis had him.

    Amazing insights! I love reading your essays, most recently the ones involving Tycho have been really fun to read. I had thought I was familiar with the Night Lamp theory but apparently not. It has been mentioned on forums and even on one of the podcasts I listen to (HoW or RW, not sure). I will go back and read that and the other two you mentioned. Thank you for even taking the time to respond.

    Just a couple more quick questions:

    wasn’t Theon castrated? How can he continue the Greyjoy line? I remember now The Reader (I think that’s his name) telling Asha about how a kings moot was invalidated by a candidate not being there. Another foreshadowing pointing to Theon living that I overlooked.

    And another swap by Stannis? I mean, he isn’t as rigid as people make him out to be. He has been pretty brilliant and willing to seize on opportunities, I just think it’s repetative. But it does makes sense. A lot of sense.

    Thank you again! I look forward to your essays.

    Reply
    1. cantuse Post author

      WRT the kingsmoot, remember that Asha said she considers Rodrik Harlaw (her uncle) to be another valid candidate. The theory is as such… Theon would invalidate the kingsmoot and thus Rodrik would be advanced as a candidate for peace. Rodrik himself suggested suing for peace and allying with another king (in AFFC).

      And yeah faking the death may be repetitive, but I think a major component is to think of Mance’s ‘execution’ as a dress rehearsal… it was a chance to test out Mance’s glamor, the blinding light of Lightbringer, fooling people with an execution, etc.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s