An update

I’m sure by now some people would like to see something new from me, or at least see me back in the community. That hasn’t happened yet, due to some major problems with my surgery.

I’m only putting this out there so that people know just how difficult writing is for me at the current moment. Since my brain surgery, I have been to the Emergency Room three times. Last night was the last, and by far the worst.

I am dealing with some sort of inflammatory process that will not relent and only responds to really strong steroids (dexamethasone) and opiates. I am essentially a non-functioning human being at the present moment. I want to write, I want to play with my kids and squeeze my wife. Heck, I almost want to work.

But I can’t. Further, I don’t have the energy right now to be involved in the threads on /r/asoiaf that I interest me. There are lots of good things I see that I can’t talk about these days.

Temporarily out of commission

Just a small alert to the community and anyone who might try to contact me in the near future: I am having brain surgery July 20th, and fully expect to be completely offline for at least two weeks.

The surgery is relatively minor as far as brain surgeries go… only a procedure called a microvascular decompression, designed to treat my ongoing trigeminal neuralgia. It’s just that any time you operate on the brain, healing can be slow.

Feel free to comment as usual, but I won’t be responding for quite some time. Seven blessings and all that.

Eye of the Storm

Bran listened. “It’s only the wind,” he said after a moment, uncertain. “The leaves are rustling.”

“Who do you think sends the wind, if not the gods?”

— BRAN VI, A GAME OF THRONES

In this quiet passage Osha introduces Bran, and the readers, to a recurring concept: the wind itself may occasionally carry supernatural importance.

Osha’s comment can certainly be dismissed as the primitive superstitions of a wildling—but as we’ve seen throughout A Song of Ice and Fire, folk myths often conceal compelling truths.

Getting to my point, I believe that Osha is largely correct in her statement:

The gods do appear to ‘send the wind’.

The reason for this claim is based on a more important observation:

Men and women can appeal to their gods for these winds.

Indeed, as I will show you there is plenty of evidence to suggest this is somehow true.

These are fun, insightful observations on their own—nice to know—but they do not inherently reveal details into the events that occur in the books. The only way to really generate exciting ideas from these findings is if we use them to explain or predict phenomenon. To that end, this essay proposes a possibly fantastical idea:

The blizzard that blankets the north was a deliberate ‘conjuration’.

It was conjured by someone allied with Stannis.

The two most likely candidates are Melisandre and/or Stannis himself.

Furthermore, I argue that such sorcery was likely a deliberate component of Stannis’s strategy, a key requirement for enacting the “Night Lamp” and subsequent plots. Even setting aside the Night Lamp theory and The Mannifesto, the ideas presented herein are thought-provoking at the very least. Continue reading

The Error of Her Ways

Melisandre has tremendous talent at seeing things in her fires, visions of events to come. She’s not perfect however—she predicted that Stannis could preemptively alter fate and avoid being crushed by Renly at that Blackwater, only to be instead crushed by Garlan Tyrell (in Renly’s armor) at the Blackwater.

At the Wall, Melisandre’s penchant for ‘misintepretation’ endures. She predicted Arya’s rescue, ‘a grey girl on a dying horse’, yet Alys Karstark appeared instead.

But there are underlying insights in her visions which cannot be ignored. Melisandre did predict Stannis’s defeat by a man in Renly’s armor, and that was correct. She also predicted the arrival of the grey girl, and that was correct.

By all appearances, Melisandre’s powerful visions are most vulnerable to error when she takes that extra step to apply proper names to the objects in her visions—to find their applicability. The ‘grey girl’ became Arya. The man in green armor became Renly. Towers by the sea became Eastwatch. In her obsessive quest to match vision to reality, she errs—a lot.

It seems obvious then that Melisandre’s visions do possess great value, but we must be wary of her attempts to apply them. We must look at all of the possible interpretations in the books.

When you do so however, an extremely bizarre pattern emerges: all of the visions that Melisandre has had since arriving at the Wall have more than one manifestation. In the case of Renly’s green armor, the resulting scenario where Garlan Tyrell wore the armor is the only observed manifestation of Melisandre’s visions. Compare that to her ‘grey girl’ vision, where there are perhaps a half-dozen candidates, all of extreme viability.

With that out of the way, here is what I want to do with this essay:

Reveal the errors in Melisandre’s recent predictions and identify other manifestations of the predicted outcomes.

Identify the failures of other seers and perhaps a root cause.

Analyze a vision Melisandre experiences but does not interpret.

Speculate on a major prediction from A Dance with Dragons.

Continue reading

A Ghostwriter in Winterfell

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME V, CHAPTER II

I formerly argued that Mance Rayder was the author of the infamous Pink Letter. I no longer believe that to be true. I believe the author is someone that the ASOIAF fandom least suspects.

Theon Greyjoy is the author of the Pink Letter.

If we assume for the moment that this argument is correct, it raises several logistical questions, to which I also propose compelling answers:

Under what circumstances did Theon author the Pink Letter?

Theon authored the letter after arriving at the Dreadfort.

Theon arrived at the Dreadfort as part of Stannis’s high-level strategy… to capture the Dreadfort under a false flag and draw the Boltons from Winterfell.

Why would Theon send such a letter to Jon Snow?

The Pink Letter’s purpose: To provoke. To inform. To confuse.

In short, the letter contains secret intelligence and/or messages. Yet the letter is written in a confusing and cryptic fashion, in order to confuse any readers who are unaware of the presence of secret content.

NOTE: The nature of these cryptic messages is not currently the focus of this essay. This essay has a very specific scope: to argue that Theon is the author of the infamous Pink Letter.

Continue reading

A Confederacy of Stewards

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME TBD

So I’m uh … I’m frankly terrified of publishing the following essay. In a series of essays making big claims, I am about to make some of the boldest and most contentious claims yet.

Where to begin the madness in this essay?

A fair criticism of the Mannifesto is that it paints Stannis and a few others as geniuses capable of little error and grand calculation. The Baratheon war machine as described in the various essays heretofore is well-oiled, precise in its engineering. However, such precision naturally leads to a weakness: throw a well placed wrench into the works and the entire machine can crash to a irreparable halt.

All it takes is a few unpredictable events to undermine the success of Stannis’s campaign.

Stepping further in this direction, most people believe that the unexpected sabotage will come in the form of something unpredictable from Ramsay Bolton. However, I disagree:

Stannis’s campaign may have been indirectly sabotaged by Cersei Lannister.

Continue reading

A League of Their Own

THE MANNIFESTO: VOLUME I, CHAPTER VII

To be quite frank, this essay doesn’t need polished presentation, nor well-articulated reason, nor well-timed salvos of ‘mind-shattering new theory’. I simply plan to prove the following:

Stannis’s campaign in the north draws directly on elements of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most famous triumphs: at Ulm, Austerlitz, and Arcola.

Specific elements of Stannis’s northern campaign are derived from Hannibal’s famous victory at the Battle of Cannae.

Continue reading