She’ll be fine. I’ll put a wager on it.

I’m confident Brienne of Tarth will make it through The Winds of Winter alive and healthy. Who wants to take me on?

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This is a gentle reminder that Brienne HAS established a protector relationship with Sansa on the show, whereas she hasn’t even met Sansa in the books. This suggests there’s more left for Brienne to do before her story is finished.

BFish’s list of POV characters to die in TWOW:

Theory for Brienne’s death:

I’m not posting this to pick on BFish; there are lots of fans who think Brienne will be among the body count in Book 6, and they lean towards her dying in the Lady Stoneheart encounter via deliberately losing a fight to save Jaime. I’m here to challenge that theory.
So I’m all like, “COME AT ME, FISH!”:

(I’m also fairly sure Theon will be okay, but I’m more invested in Brienne, so it’s more fun to be right about her.)

But he wasn’t having that:

Context: I’ve taken one bet against BFish. We bet on whether Lady Stoneheart would show up in Season 6. I won. I’m confident enough to bet in favor of Brienne’s survival.

So now we know, BFish is confident enough about Brienne dying to put it on Twitter, but not quite confident enough to bet against your blogger. Honestly, that’s a legit position to take.

I still want to bet against someone, though.

The terms are:
1. If Brienne survives TWOW, I win.
2. If Brienne dies in TWOW, you win.
3. If Brienne and Jaime are kept out of TWOW altogether, it’s a draw. This is unlikely, but I’m willing to hold space for the possibility. If Brienne’s status is ambiguous at the end of TWOW, it’s a draw.
4. If I win, I choose your Twitter profile pic and you have to use it for 3 months. If you win, you choose my Twitter profile pic and I have to use it for 3 months.
5. Also, the loser has to write an explanation (250 words minimum) on how they got this matter wrong, and it must be posted online.
6. If you’d like to take this bet and you don’t have a blog, I recommend using IO.
7. I will allow ONE chance to call off the bet. If more evidence appears before we get TWOW (like, say, Season 7), and you decide Brienne is more likely to survive, it is okay to back out. I will make sure there is a public record of your surrender, but surrender will be accepted. However? There’s no going back and forth on this. I will not agree to revive the wager after you’ve backed out.

So…who’s up for a friendly wager between fans?

Of course I have room to obsess over multiple questions.

I need someone to discuss this with me.

I was re-reading Jaime’s last couple of chapters in AFFC last night because I need to take detailed notes for the last section of my Jaime essay, and something popped out at me.

The Freys assume Raynald Westerling (Robb Stark’s brother-in-law in book version) died at the Red Wedding, but they can’t verify having seen his body. The last anyone saw of him, he was wounded and hopping into the Green Fork. At the time, Raynald was not aware that his mother was making a deal with Tywin Lannister, so he was fighting for the Starks, not knowing they’d been screwed over with help from his own family. It’s an awkward situation for Lady Westerling, shall we say.

I think Raynald will turn up in TWOW, very much alive. And not loyal to the crown. The first assumption of where he’ll be is with the Brotherhood Without Banners, which means he may have interacted with Brienne off-page, but surely we can some up with some ideas aside from him running around with Lady Stoneheart?

Did anyone else pick up on this? I don’t see anyone else talking about Raynald Westerling, but I’m pretty confident he’s still out and about. Who’ll talk with me about him?

Also: Jaime Lannister would bitchslap Trump until his golden hand broke in half. It is known.

 

GRRM’s idea of a good leader

Winter posted this long-ass video interview with GRRM today. I have not watched the video because my attention span isn’t that long, but they also posted some edited highlights, and there are some really interesting answers there. I’m actually nowhere near as interested in what he says about the content of Winds of Waiting (it’s not really giving me any useful information) as much as his answer of who “deserves” to get the Iron Throne.

I don’t know that ‘deserve’ is really an operative word. The Iron Throne doesn’t necessarily go to who deserves it, but to who has the power to take and to hold it. But there are things in the books where I indicate what a king should be, what separates a good king from a bad king…It should be a public service position. The king’s job is the land, the people of the land, to make them prosperous, to protect them, to defend them, to provide them with justice. And that’s what the ideal king should be. There have been previous few of them in human history, sad to say.

Actually, I love this answer, because we can gather something about GRRM’s worldview from how he approaches this question. I think GRRM is an is/does/will sort of thinker, rather than building his narrative around matters of “should” and “deserve” and “right.” He’s thinking in terms of outcomes, rather than moral abstractions. The role of king/queen is a job, not a prize. The leader serves the people, not the other way around. A good leader is one who makes good things happen for the people, regardless of what that leader as an individual “deserves.” Furthermore, part of the king/queen’s job is to hold the throne. It doesn’t matter how morally upright and principled they are, how generous or gentle or clever, how hard they’ve worked to win that position; if they cannot stay on the throne for very long, they cannot look after their people.

What this tells me is that the endgame of ASOIAF will revolve around questions of who makes the metaphorical trains run on time, rather than deciding who deserves what.

Why Jaime doesn’t think about Bran—UPDATE

I’m reading through racefortheironthrone’s archives at the moment, and he took this ask earlier this month:

Anonymous asked: While Jaime seems to genuinely regret not being able to save Elia & her children (“I never thought he would hurt them!”), why is it that he never seems to feel any real regret to pushing Bran off the tower? He barely even thinks about it in his monologues.

Because direct personal culpability is worse than accidental neglect.

Freeing Tyrion was not Jaime’s idea

PoorQuentyn fielded this question on his blog a couple days ago:

Do you think Varys set up Tyrion to kill his father? If so was Varys planning on releasing Tyrion on his own even if Jaime hadn’t made him do it?

To which PQ answers:

Yes and yes.

I was unfamiliar with the idea of Varys having set Tyrion up to kill Tywin, but a little Google search reveals there’s plenty of support for it.

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Brienne’s family is deliberately under-described

Just this morning, I saw someone on a certain message board tell us “Tarth” is Welsh for “mist.” I checked with Google translate, and sure enough. There it is. Something tells me that was not an accident on GRRM’s part.

Some time ago, I went over what we know about Brienne’s family, and how much we don’t know. At the time, I wasn’t sure whether this shortage of information was a result of a lack of planning by GRRM, or whether he was keeping the Tarths deliberately mysterious.

The fact that their family name means “mist” should tell us a lot about that.

Before I go any further: I think it’s really weird that the books have been around this many years, and show has been running for this many years, and I’ve been following Watchers and Winter and the Wars and Politics peeps, and so much of the GoT cast, for this many months, and I’m only now finding out “Tarth” is a translation of “mist.” Surely someone should have mentioned this by now? Yet this is the first I’m hearing about it.

Still, that is what the name means. I’m bringing it up because it explains a lot about why there’s such a dearth of information on Brienne’s family, relative to what a significant character she is. We don’t know their motto. We don’t know anything about her mother. Her father’s been mentioned at least once every season on the show since Brienne appeared, yet we don’t know anything about him except his name, that Brienne is his only living child, and Blackfish seemed to think he was a good man. We know so little because GRRM has chosen to keep her family shrouded in mist for this long, and when he reveals more about her family, it’ll be significant.

 

Queens of the Seven Kingdoms

At Wars of Ice and FireWars of Ice and Fire, Something Like A Lawyer fields a question about the series ending with each of the provinces of Westeros having a female leader. His answer is, basically, no:

I personally don’t think that there will be a united Westeros at the end, but rather a federation of kingdoms. I don’t think there will be a female head of each independent kingdom, but rather they will be a generation that isn’t considered ‘perfect’ by the past generation’s social structure. They will be women (Asha), they will be bastards (Edric Storm, legitimized as a trueborn Baratheon), they will have physical impairments (Willas), they will care for their smallfolk (Edmure).

Sansa is a special case in that I don’t think she’ll stay in the North (though she will undoubtedly return there). I believe, as tied as she is to other kingdoms, she will strive her hardest to ensure that peace, trade, and justice remain between the kingdoms. A sort of honored diplomat and guest to all the Seven Kingdoms.

And sorry to say this, but Arianne is doomed.

I don’t know any more than SLAL about what the status quo will be at the end, but I have my own ideas. I agree with the idea of a federation of independently governed provinces. I don’t think each province will have a female leader, but a pattern I’m picking up from the series is that the men who are on track to survive are the ones who are willing to work with, and learn from, powerful and capable women.

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Kingslayer parallel, Cersei as Aerys

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Most of this information can be found in an older post, Book/Show Comparison 13, but I think it’s still relevant. Now that we’re far enough into Season 6 to see Lady Stoneheart is a non-presence in the show version, I think it’s worth taking a second look at the Kingslayer Parallel and what it suggests for the books.

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A little note to myself on Jaime’s redemption arc

Regarding the question of whether Jaime Lannister is on a redemption arc, and what that means for his endgame in ASOIAF, I’ve been doing some thinking, and the common thread is basically:

He needs to be redeemed from the twincest. His original sin is having an affair with his sister. Pretty much every villainous thing he’s done can be traced back to his having the bad taste to be involved with Cersei or the bad luck to be Tywin Lannister’s son.

And I’m not blaming Cersei for the times when Jaime behaved like an asshole. She didn’t make him that way. Jaime is the only one responsible for Jaime’s actions. Just that his actions tend to be less shitty when he and Cersei are in different parts of the country. Ergo, he needs to stay the fuck away from Cersei.

He also owes Bran Stark an apology, regardless of how thoroughly he disengages from his sister. And once again, his affair with Cersei was the first and last and primary reason why he chucked Bran out that window. There’s nothing he can do that’ll let Bran walk again, but he can still take responsibility for his actions, and that’s something he needs to do separately from breaking off the twincest relationship.

(But in terms of the character being redeemed; it’s mostly about him getting, and staying, the fuck away from Cersei.)