The magic is linked to the materials in the comets that hit the planet. Each impact drives up ambient magic levels. This radiation is beneficial in that it grants magical powers. Its toxic in high levels, requiring the user to either evolve to resist its effects (Valyrian heat resistance) or suffer the consequences: deformities in Asshai and Harrenhal, Grey Scale in Valyria, and the Butterfly Disease in Naath.
The return of magic probably has less to do with the birth of Danys dragons, and more to do with the comet making it possible again. This would also explain the White Walkers being on the move, as well as Bloodraven and the children chasing down Bran.
We hear about the Bloodstone Emperor in Yi Ti worshipping a black stone which fell from the sky. This probably wasnt the crimson comet in the story, but *a* comet that fell.
All the magical areas have wierd radiation-esque issues:
Asshai has rampant magic, and rampant deformations. The city is made out of the black stone. Its deemed so toxic, few denizens, if any dare eat food from the enivronment.
The Northern Wastes have some magic, but not nearly like the other two locations. The Wierwoods are uniquely red in appearance. This isnt unlike the Red Forest near Chernobyl in the real world. This suggests the Weirwood trees are actually a mutated three species that evolved from centuries of comet impacts, driving up ambient magical radiation.
Valyria had radiation resistant humans. Harrynhall was burned down by dragons, and exhibits similar issues as Asshai: deformations, and magical sightings. People burn to death in the ruins, which might not mean conventional burning but radiation burning. What if dragon fire is fueled by the black stone, which the dragons metabolized when nobody knows where they went?
The Valyrian case is interesting because of the rampant incest. If someone was born and raised in Velyria, if they developed the radition resistance as a survival mechanism, then it would make sense they would have a preference for mates with similar resistances, lest their children be born deformed. In the case where there were plenty of Valyrians available to choose from, incest was probably a rarity. Once they became an indangered species, the only potential mates with the resistances are also their blood relations. Their survival instincts might see incest as a lesser risk, to losing their radiation resistance.
So, what happened to the magic?
Well, comets only hit the planet every so often. Heavy metals sink below lighter materials. You also have massive construction projects like Asshai, which has one of the largest concentrations in the world, and reportedly, the most (known) magic as well. Since Assahi is situated in a valley, the massive radiation waves it gives off are contained within the valley walls.
Couple this with the Doom of Valyria, which is likely due to a combination of the proto-faceless men killing off their mages which acted as cooling tower personnel to keep their magic reactor from exploding; and the vast concentrations of magic stone ore they were undoubtedly mining (hence the awful conditions). Since the Doom effectively buried the magic reactor, it stopped being a controlled source of magic.
All in all, this brings the ambient magic levels down to where they barely register. In the northern wastes, its unlikely the ore concentrations are even habitable, between the frigid temperatures, the White Walkers, and the radiation. Its possible though, that the unmentioned White Walker capitol IS where the ore is concentrated. They could have mines staffed with wights.
So, anyways... stuff got buried, and magic plummeted. Since White Walkers probably cant function without magic, they were forced back to where its concetrations are strongest.
Bloodraven probably fared well because he was bolted into the magic trees, force-feeding him magic. This probably makes him strong enough to survive the way he did, but not strong enough to do anything fancy.
The red witches have another approach: they have two sources of magic. The first, and most obvious is the stone in their chokers. The 2nd, particularly where shadow binders are concerned, is force-feeding themselves contaminated food, until theyre practically swimming in the stuff. This is why Milesandre is able to stay warm, because shes so heavily contaminated, that shes providing supplemental heat. Since shes already an adult, she doesnt need to worry about herself mutating, aside from her abnormally long life.
Then theres her shadow babies. We know that some contamination causes deformities in wildlife and human new borns. What if the shadow monster she births is actually the extreme of that? Something so contaminated, it becomes more magic than human?
In the real world, its known heavy metals can stay in the human body almost permanently if ingested. If the magic stone behaves like that, then Milesandre could just be on magical life support, where she cant actually live without having magic to keep her alive. It gets creepier to think that the chokers arent glammours but actually devices which prevent and reverse rapid on-set mutations.
Anyways... so magic levels went down. Then the comet hits. Since it impacted on the other side of the planet, nobody saw the explosion, but it kicked up radioactive contaminants, which were carried around the globe via the trade winds. Ambient radiation levels go up, and suddenly you have a White Walker population that can head south, a functional Weirwood network, and Asshai... just keeps being creepy as ever.
Dragons probably metabolize the black stone, both as a food and as energy for their fire. This also helps explain that gross wyrm situation with one of the Targaryans. If her dragon force her to go to Valyria, it went to munch on rock, and she wound up tangling with the wyrms in the process, the it would make sense they not only feed on the rock concentrations themselves, also on the trace amounts inside her body.
If the dragons didnt eat the rock, then it would be super difficult to explain why they havent starved to death without single handedly eating half of Danys empire. Now for Harrenhal, this suggests the dragons dont just breath fire, but actually spit some kind of concentrated chemical made from the rocks they ingest. When they blasted Harrenhal, they wound up coating the castle in tons of the stuff, contaminating it for generations.
Then we have Valyrian steel swords which look like real world damascus steel. Damascus steel, much like Japanese steel developed in areas where the available metal was generally poor quality. To overcome this issue, the civilizations devloped folding processes which attempt to create a uniform material throughout the blade. In damascus steel, this has the noticeable effect of leaving a wavy look. Now, if you take iron in the ASOIAF and mix it with dragon-melted black stone, youll probably get an effect similar to whats described in Valyrian steel swords. This also explains why some of the swords give off heat: theyre radioactive. This also explains why the swords can kill White Walkers: theyre virtually all magical.
Next, you have the Maester Conspiracy. Maesters didnt get rid of dragons or White Walkers, or magicians. They got rid of the stones. They moved it up north, either to put into the walls construction, or just to make sure the material is north of the wall.
Now, if you have dragons that depend on that stone to survive, they cant be chained up. They need to go find the stone to eat it. Otherwise, they starve / wind up stunted, because they simply suffer from malnutrition.
Since the stone was moved away by the maesters, the dragons in captivity, are virtually guaranteed to suffer from not having it. Since nobody knows that dragons actually need the stuff, it kind of backs everyone into a dragonless corner.
Then comes Grey Scale. Why does the Citedal dump Grey Scale sufferers in Velyria, rather than putting them out of their misery? Of course, also, why arent they refining the cure?
If we go back to the three magic locations, only one of them isnt actively defended by a political power, and thats Velyria. The north has the night watch on the wall, and then the white walkers more than likely guarding the actual ore deposits. Asshai must have at least some form of governing body that maintains some semblance of law. Nobody can theoretically make off with the building supports without attracting scary attention.
Valyria doesnt have any of these. Bring in a small army, with kill anything that moves, and they could theoretically get away with some grave robbing, much like Euron claimed to do. Sure, the fire wyrms are creepy, but a lot of their behavior is still animalistic. Grey Scale is a unique challenge because for every soldier touched, they become infected. Any soldier they touch in turn, also get infected. Their clothes and artifacts can also be contaminated. It makes the threat difficult to stay certain about. So, they maesters dump the infected in the area as a means to further discourage and magic ore mining.
Diseases associated with areas having high concentrations of black stone, or potential contamination:
Asshais descriptions are anywhere between a dead, sterilized wilderness, to wildly misshapen local creatures. The wildlife prevalent enough around the area to warrant names are unique to that location.
Butterfly disease is closesly associated with at least one black stone fort. Its symptoms include insanity / dancing, and what is presumably widespread necrosis of the flesh. The locals appear to be immune to this. Note: these symptoms are similar to radiation sickness, since there can be insanity, the dancing piece could come about when the pain subsides (also known as the walking ghost phase). The pain subsiding is the calm before the storm, when the nerves died, due to widespread necrosis. After that phase is the necrosis itself.
In Naath, its notable that the common method for avoiding the disease is not spending too much time on the island. If the disease truly came from the butterflies, then time spent wouldnt be regarded as a standard practice for avoiding it. In the real world, this is a common practice for working around radioactive materials. In extreme cases, if an individual spends too much time around it, they can develop symptoms similar to the disease above.
Grey Scale is associated with Valyria. Its speculated that Valyrians has some resistance to it. Since it appears to spread outwards from the point of contact with a Stone Man, this would suggest that contact is where the contamination starts. If the cure in the show is cannon to what the books will eventually reveal, then the true way to treat it cutting out the contaminated tissue, followed by an ointment probably designed to prevent infection after the dermal abrasion.
The reason why Grey Scale can behave differently than the Butterfly disease is the form of the contaminant. On Naath, simply leaving the island after a short while is enough. This means the black stone is solid, and not a true contamination risk.
Grey Scale on the other hand originates at or around Valyria, where black stone would have been blasted into dust by the explosions. In that case, the black stone settles on the skin, and provides a constant radiation source that the infected carries with them. The necrosis here starts from the point of contact and spreads outwards. Since its slower, the stony texture of the disease is liken to scar tissue. Amputating the infected limb isnt reliable because its probably not just that limb thats contaminated, its just the first location to show clear signs of necrosis.
Its important to note here: Grey Scale also carries with it, irrational behavior, much like the dancing in the butterfly disease. It just happens slowly. Its also important to note, at least in the books, Grey Scale is considered painless, which would be due to the nerve tissue dying off in the affected area.
Another notable location for Grey Scale is Choyane. This is one of the few urban locations to be razed by dragons, which this post already links to spreading black stone contamination.
Another pattern supporting this theory is that the Black Walls of Volantis, also require long-term residents to be of Valyrian descent. If the walls give off concentrated radiation at the center, then only people with Valyrian resistance to the radiation could survive there without rampant stillborn / malformities. The radiation diseases of the people around the walls are probably written off as a problem for commoners.
What does this mean for the fate of the world?
Well, not much, good or bad. The process appears to be gradual enough to prevent any wham moments. Weve already seen the way three races adapt to it:
Those with Valyrian links have resistance. The Children of the Forest and White Walkers appear to be symbiotic with it. They might be even dependent on it. Regular humans are either in areas where the radiation isnt, or go through high-speed natural selection in areas with high concentrations.
Since Asshai behaves like a giant reactor, much like old Valyria, dismantaling the city and leaving giant black stone obelisks everywhere isnt necessarily a good idea. The safer thing to do would be to dilute the black stone concentration first, or youll wind up with dead zones, possible grey scale outbreaks, and maurading wizards. Even doing that doesnt necessarily translate to an objectively good outcome, because youll end up with magic super powers humans, doing what people in ASOIAF are prone to do: rape and pillage.
There are some strategic considerations...
The Citadels base is the black rock. Suggesting maesters in on the ground floor, or below could probably make magic work. This would give them an unparalleled capacity for information collection. Whether or not the maesters have a secret sect doing this is unverified. Its also possible theyre so biased against magic, they stopped experimenting, or banned it completely. For instance, with their glass candle test, the entire setup could be designed in such a way where its doomed to fail (ie being too far away from the foundation).
Areas colonized with Valyrian descendants and with black stone structures tend be resistant to recolonization by non-Valyrians. The Valyrians can be conquered, but the occupiers will die of radiation sickness soon after.
Any place that sees really heavy dragon fire tends to become irradiated. This means a Valyrian attack is likely to result in scortched earth, where everything mutates or necrotizes. If the Valyrians are conscious of this, it allows them to easily hold territory.
Some, but not all humans benefit from being anywhere near the radiation. This means its really pure luck if you have anything to gain. This kind of puts the Maesters in a grumpy protector of the normals role. Which oddly, provides a sort of benevolent rationale to what they do. Everyone can do science, but not everyone can do magic.
Before Aerea Targaryen died, she was begging for death. This was due to her firewyrm infestation. While she was able to endure it longer than an average human, its pretty much guaranteed the average human suffers just as badly, but doesnt survive as long.
Where do these wyrms originate? The mines of Valyria (allegedly). The first gift also happened in the mines. Match these cases up, and you have a firewyrm infested slave, begging for death, and a very pissed off army of proto-assassins.
Then comes the slave rebellion, where enough Valyrian fire mages are killed, sparking The Doom.
This explains the Brovosi overall acceptance of an assassins guild operating in the open: the Faceless Men played a key role in the slave liberation and subsequent citys founding.
Of the known anomalies in the world, the Faceless Men are one of the few organizations that doesnt seem to be short on magic well before the dragons show up. Since only life can pay for death, the assassinations and various offerings of the gift fuel this requirement. Since the Faceless Men dont appear to do any super obvious magic, then this fuels things like their glamour magic, and whatever other subtle purposes they use it for.
Ryswell is a combination of the phrase "rides well" in reference to their horsemanship. The Y was added to make them sound fancy.
A few speculations on how the characters end up and how the story ends:
Daenerys comes to Westeros with Victarion and Tyrion, defeats Stannis and the Lannisters and claims the Iron Throne, Barristan Selmy dying in the process. Aegon turns out to be genuine, and he and Daenerys try to rule together but disputes erupt when she refuses to marry him. War between them breaks out which Dany wins, but allows Aegon to live on Dragonstone with his new wife Arianne Martell, even naming their son her heir since she cant have children.
Tyrion claims Lordship of Casterly Rock, but the other houses of the Westerlands turn on him. Tyrion wins the resulting battle, but loses his life. He names Bronn as his heir, with the condition that his son Tyrion takes over when he dies.
Jon Snow survives, and defeats the Others with the help of Daenerys, Bran and Samwell Tarly (who discovered a secret about the Others in a secret library of Oldtown which proves key to their defeat). Jon finds out about his true parentage from Coldhands, who turns out to be Benjen Stark. He refuses to rule with Daenerys as he prefers being Jon Snow, he travels north and becomes the next King-beyond-the-Wall.
Bran joins the Nights Watch, eventually becoming Lord Commander.
Stannis will die killing a dragon. Because hes just awesome like that.
Arya returns to Westeros with a new face and ends up being the valonqar who kills Cersei, finishing her death list, is captured and killed.
Tommen and Myrcella die, perhaps when Daenerys takes Kings Landing
Jaime is arrested, demands trial by combat, but loses. Brienne, heartbroken, devotes her life to finding Arya Stark, and becomes known as the Wandering Knight.
Melisandre flees east with Shireen when Stannis dies.
Victarion and Euron turn on each other, with both of them and Theon dying in the process. Asha claims that the Kingsmoot wasnt valid since Theon wasnt there, and since no-one else is left with a legitimate claim Asha becomes ruler of the Iron Isles.
Sansa marries Harold Hardying and takes the North with the knights of the Vale, defeating the Boltons. She refuses the North when she finds out that Rickon is alive, making him Lord of Winterfell and betraying Littlefinger in the process. She returns to the Vale and rules with her new husband.
Davos returns Rickon to Winterfell, and upon learning that Stannis is dead, decides he has had enough of war, takes his family and settles down in Winterfell under Rickons protection.
Walder Frey dies of old age. Catelyn, furious that she has been denied her revenge, goes on an even bloodier killing spree across Westeros before being stopped by Jaime, Stannis or Jon Snow
The series ends with a Distant Finale. The king of Westeros (Aegons grandson) receives three letters. The first informs him that the conflicts in the Iron Isles after Asha Greyjoys death have escalated to a full blown Civil War between the Greyjoy cousins and House Drumm. The second warns him that Shireens descendants are mustering support in the East, aiming to take back the Iron Throne in the Baratheon name. The third is from the North, and simply says Winter is Coming.
- An alternate version:
- Daenerys finally arrives in Westeros using the Iron Fleet. Euron was secretly following Victarion the whole time, and when Victarion's hownblower blows the horn, a battle between the brothers ensues. Victarion uses the dragons to burn Euron's ships, but is himself mortally wounded. Euron escapes. Dany arrives with a subjugated khalasar and restores order to Slavers' Bay, capturing the horn; it turns out that she can blow it without harm, because she's a descendant of Valyrian dragonlords. She uses the horn to restore control over Viserion and Rhaegal and prepares to leave for Westeros.
- Aegon is a fake, but everyone, including himself, believes him to be the real thing. He does not manage to take over the Red Keep, (Cersei is there), but sets up shop on the outskirts of the city and issues orders from there. When Dany arrives, he tries to blow the horn, which kills him.
- Tyrion arrives to Westeros with Dany. He manages to bond with Rhaegal (without use of horn, he finds a way to bribe the dragon, a la Nettle) and uses him to take control of Casterly Rock.
- Jon survives the "For the Watch" attack (with Melisandre's help, but no over-the-top undeadification, more like healing), but, since he was legally dead for a time (the brothers pronounced the eulogy over him), he's no longer a brother of the Night's Watch. He turns to the south with the Wildling army and arrives in the nick of time to save the scattered remnants of Stannis' army and take Winterfell. Soon, Howland Reed appears and tells Jon about R+L. Robb's Will is also revealed, Jon becomes King in the North. Davos brings Rickon to Winterfell, Rickon becomes Jon's heir.
- While Jon is gone south, the Others break through the Wall and collapse it. What's left of the Night's Watch goes to Winterfell and tells Jon. They start to evacuate the North.
- In the Vale of Arryn, Sansa manages to somehow thwart the schemes of Littlefinger and force him to run like hell. The Lords Declarant take control, Sansa tells them who she is. Once the Lords Declarant learn about the new King in the North, they decide to ally themselves with Jon and help clear up the Riverlands and prepare them for the refugees from the North.
- Cersei loses control over everything except the Red Keep once her champion knight is revealed to be a zombie. When fAegon's forces arrive, she threatens to set Aerys' old wildfire mines on fire. She tries to do exactly that after Dany shows up. But Jaime appears and kills her.
- What about Jaime? Brienne has won his life from Lady Stoneheart in a trial by combat. Later he and Brienne learn that Sansa is alive and well in the Vale. After that, Jaime feels free to leave Brienne and return to KL, where the aforementioned showdown is happening.
- Sam invents something really fascinating that works agaist the Others. Maybe even... firearms?
- What happens to Bran and Arya, I cannot predict, because I still don't know what to think about the Children of the Forest and the Faceless Men respectively, and their roles in all this.
- The grand battle against the Others happens somewhere between Moat Cailin and the Trident.
- Jon and Dany become king and queen, but the whole thing became too taxing for them. Jon soon dies for real (his health becomes already poor after his survival in the "For the Watch" attempt, and a job such as ruling a devastated humanitarian catastrophe of a country is not exactly healthy), Dany becomes convinced that she sucks as a ruler, and most of the ruling is done by the Hand, Tyrion.
- Quite a few problems. How could Tyrion name Bronn his heir? Bronn isn't even a Lannister. And Tyrion Tanner is Bronn's stepson. I doubt they could be named heir.
Playing off of the theory that the Doom of Valyria was a massive caldera or supervolcano, Dragonstone could likewise be a a figure that's bound to erupt, causing major weather changes that are in tune with the theme of winter. And with the nuclear winter such an event would cause, it would also give even more power to the Others, which thrive on the cold.
- By inference, Melisandre, waking all the statues on Dragonstone would be a very big case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
Buried in Littlefinger's extremely long explanation of why Harry is the heir to the Vale is that one of the older sisters was carried off by Burned Men, the same tribe Timmett is from. If Timmett father of Timmett was married to that woman, he could technically be the heir to the vale before Harry.
Of course, getting the lords of the vale to accept this would not be easy. Still, if the vale were somehow conquered by the mountain tribes, who've been mentioned as growing bolder and stronger several times, Timmett could both have a blood claim and be a powerful leader among the tribes, making him a good way to give the conquest of the Vale a veneer of legitimacy.
It's also amusing to note that Timmett is a skilled fighter with a serious burn injury on his face, giving him a superficial similarity to a younger Sandor Clegane, and might well recognize Sansa if he saw her.
The horns that the Valyrian dragonlords controlled weren't actually magic, they just trained their dragons to respond to signals from ordinary blowing horns. Their enemies thought that it wasn't possible for beings such as dragons to be controlled by mundane means and came up with the idea that the horns themselves were magical. The Valyrians themselves encouraged this idea since it gave them a sense of mystique and supernatural power.
Dragonbinder, the only dragonhorn actually seen in the series thus far, is nothing more than a red herring created by the Valyrians to obfuscate the issue of dragon taming (the key to their power) and discourage anyone from trying to do so. It's also noteworthy that the Targaryens were able to use dragons for over two centuries after the Doom, and there's no mention of them using dragonhorns to control them.
- An astute observation, but I think you have it backwards. They may have continued to have dragons, but they also built the Dragonpit to keep them in. Hasn't anyone ever wondered why? It was apparently not done in Valyria of old, and even if it wasn't known to begin with it must have become clear soon enough that it harmed them - my guess is that over time and generations, it ultimately killed them.
Dragons live for many human generations, we're told: were any of the tame dragons born and raised after the Doom? There was certainly at least one dragon - Silverwing - besides the three ridden by the Conqueror and his sisters that was tamed and ridden, but it's possible she/it and maybe others were brought from Valyria too. Perhaps hatchlings, too small to be ridden yet?
I don't suppose the horn has to be used every time you give the dragon a command: more likely it's used one to bind a dragon to your will forevermore. Since the horn is claimed with the blood of the person who wants to control the dragons, someone else who shares their blood will also be able to command them: any Targaryen would have been able to control the original Targaryen dragons, even without still having the horn, so there is something to that Blood of the Dragon business. Possibly it was necessary to keep that blood pure to do so, or maybe the Targaryens just weren't taking any chances, but I'll bet that's the reason for the incest tradition. Of course, the new dragons have never yet been bound by any horn, so Targaryen blood is likely to be irrelevant, though it's possible the three heads of the dragon will have to be related.
But the horns were all lost or left with the Doom, so when the Conqueror and his descendants bred new dragons in Westeros they were faced with the same problem as Dany - and solved it in the same way, to their eventual downfall.
...between Aegon VI and Daenerys Stormborn, the last scions of House Targaryen. After all, the Iron Throne only seats one. So lets take a look at the strengths and weaknesses on both sides.
(Apologies for big blocks of text, contains SPOILERS for the books)
The Right; by every precedent and custom Young Griff is the lawful heir of Aerys II, being the old king's trueborn grandson. While Daenerys is the Mad King's daughter by Queen Rhaella, House Targaryen practices agnatic succession which places all female beneficiaries behind behind the males. Thus Dany is, of all things, a usurper for claiming that which belongs solely to Aegon. Except there is no guarantee that Young Griff is Aegon VI, and that will play havoc when he tries to recruit followers in Westeros. Daenerys, by contrast, suffers from no such aspersions against her pedigree.
The Might; Dany is overwhelmingly powerful in this respect. What with commanding the only living dragons in existence? Pity she can't actually command them. Truth be told, she's rather frightened of them at this point. So she has to fall back on her Unsullied, her freed slaves, and her inconsequentially small khalasar. Knowing the attitudes and mores of the Westerosi, slaves and freed slaves will likely make the same difference to the knights and lords and smallfolk, and especially the Faith. Aegon is backed by the Golden Company; a combined arms legion of professional mercenaries ten thousand strong and the finest fighting force in the world exceeded only by the Unsullied. If Aegon can convince his kin, the Martells, of the truth of his identity than he can also can also count on Dornish support. Bear in mind that the Dornish are one of the few powers in Westeros still not ravaged by the War of the Five Kings. They're fresh.
- That being said, it is worth noting that the Golden Company is fighting for land, not just gold, as many counted among its number are Westerosi exiles or descended from Weserosi exiles. Bad for Aegon in the middle term, as the knights and lords of Westeros will quickly realize they have the most to lose in the face of a victorious dragonking who will need to confiscate and redistribute vast lands and powerful titles to the satisfaction of his officers (I can easily see Connington becoming the new Lord of Storm's End and Lord Paramount of the Stormlands) and to the begrudging of the losers.
The Sextereotype; ASOIAF takes place in a medieval fantasy world and just like the real one, there is a deep and uncompromising bias against female leadership. Witness the tribulations and mortification of Sansa, Cersei, Catelyn, Brienne, Arya, Margaery, and others based exclusively around their sex. Observe Samwell, who is viciously and mercilessly mocked for emasculating behavior. The only female character who does not suffer for her sexuality is Arianne. So while Daenerys might have hatched dragons, she is still going to have to overcome the unconscious prejudice of the thousands of war-mad, bloody-minded men who rule the realm in the name of the Iron Throne. It goes without saying that Aegon has all the bits and pieces necessary to be part of the boys' club, so this is a solid win for him.
Stark-Ice: Brandon the builder was able to create the wall which is hundreds of feet of Ice and snow they say he got help from Giants but the tallest giants in the series arent even 20 feet tall so it would make more sense if Brandon could control the ice
Arryn-Wind: The Arryns have a great fortress in the sky and it is amazingly well defended but seems a bit impractical and annoying especially for the King of the Vale so my theory is that at one time the Arryns could fly and that is why they were able to have such an impractical seat
Lannister-Earth: they control the largest gold mine in Westeros and their seat is Casterly ROCK, which looks and works like a medieval Mt.Cheyenne.
Gardener-Wood: The Gardeners came before the Tyrells in ruling the Reach which if I remember correctly is full of good farmland so my theory is this was due to the Gardener presence
Durrandon-Lightning: This is the house that preceded the Baratheons in ruling the STORM land from STORM'S end
Martell-Fire: They live in the hottest region of Westeros and like spicy food
Mudd-Water: This is the house that used to rule the riverlands possibly they used their control of water to help expand the rivers throughout their kingdom
Greyjoy-Metal: They are pretty big on paying the IRON price
Basically long before the start of the series the great houses had amazing abilities but they faded because most magic faded from Westeros the Targaryens, Tyrells, Tullys, and Baratheons don't have elements because they all gained their seats relatively recently
- Both Martells and Greyjoys are also relatively new as Lords Paramount. Martells only became important after one of them married Princess Nymeria of the Rhoynar. Greyjoys are far from being the only descendants of the Grey King, and only became Lords Paramount after the Targaryen Conquest, same as Tullys.
"And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low?": The Lannisters were the second most powerful house in Westeros and no longer wanted to bow to the most powerful the Baratheons. Cersei was the second most powerful person in Westeros (its queen) and no longer wanted to bow to the most powerful Robert the king.
"Only a cat of a different coat, that's all the truth I know.": Cersei despite being a woman is still a noble and therefore sees not real difference between herself and the other nobles trying for the throne.
"In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws,": the colors of the Lannisters is a golden lion on a red field and the colors of the Baratheons is a black stag on a golden field, that means that it does not matter what her name is or what colors she has to fly, she is and always will be a lion.
"And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours.": She is very deadly and dangerous, just as much as any other noble in court.
The rest of the song talks about the death of the Reynes and those parts have yet to happen to Cersei or the rest of the Lannisters but I bet at some point Cersei will be crying over the destruction of her house and family and no one will be a round to hear her.
- Considering how much Tywin hates Tyrion, if he suspected he was illegitimate wouldn't he have disinherited him by now?
- No, because Tywin doesn't have any way of proving this, and if he voiced his suspicions, well, first and foremost it would bring shame on the family, which Tywin dreads. Also, it might get people to start wondering whether Lord Tywin had anything to do with his wife's death. Not that I think he'd have a reason to fear formal punishment (especially not after Targaryens' dethronement), but such rumours would bring further shame on the family, and there's always the possibility that the rest of the Lannisters —particularly Jaime and Cersei— might turn against him if they suspected he was responsible for Joanna's death.
- Couldn't he have sent Tyrion off to the Citadel or something like that, as it would remove him from the chain of succession? I doubt Tywin would risk Casterly Rock passing to someone he knew wasn't of his line.
- Well, Tyrion wasn't the intended heir anyway. It was years after Joanna's death that Jaime joined the Kingsguard, and Tywin seems to have never lost the hope that some day somehow Jaime will accept (or be manipulated into) forsaking his vows and inherit Casterly Rock.
- Summers are eye infections and the Others part of Mac's immune system, cooling it down. Made a change in genre to Cosmic Horror Story here...
- In the books, Roose speculates, "Did Ramsay corrupt Reek, or did Reek corrupt Ramsay?" So he, at least, considers the possibility that some of the abuse may have gone the other way.
The Redforts could be an exiled cadet branch of the Boltons. Arguments for that:
- The Boltons of old were called the Red Kings, and their castle is Dreadfort. After the Starks vassalized them, they ceased to use red as their "official color" and switched to pink. A junior Bolton who refused to bend the knee to the Starks could escape to the Vale and build a castle named after both Dreadfort and the official color of the house. Hence Redfort.
- The Boltons and the Redforts were in particularly friendly relations during the events of the books; Roose Bolton's deceased son Domeric was sent to Redfort to train as a knight. The Boltons aren't exactly a bunch that can make friends, neither are they particular fans of knighthood; but having distant kin and having your son train from them is another thing.
- The Redforts are First Men rather than Andals, unlike their overlords the Arryns. Boltons are First Men through and through.
- The Redforts were strongly pro-Stark before the Red Wedding, during the time when the Boltons served the Starks.
- Lord Horton Redfort enjoys a vague, but frightening reputation as a "dangerous man", he's also the silent, non-overt guy among the Lords Declarant. Could it be the same kind of reputation Roose Bolton has?
- Ser Barristan has credited Jaehaerys II Targaryen as saying that that madness and greatness were two sides of the same coin. Every time a new Targaryen is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land. We've had five books to get to know Daenerys, and she has proven herself to be great.
- By contrast, in the one book we've gotten the chance to know Aegon, he started losing at Cyvasse and flipped the table, then changed 15 years of planning by two of the smartest men in the world on a whim, all because Tyrion Lannister mocked him and wounded his pride. So he decides to invade Westeros with only 10,000 men. His endgame is "Gosh, I sure hope Daenerys and her dragons come to rescue me because I'm in way over my head." Two Targaryens: one Great, and one Mad.
- We've all played board games with that guy who flips the board when he's losing. Now imagine he comes from a family with a history of epic mental illness, has an army at his command, and his aspirations are total hegemonic dominion over an entire continent. In short, he's proven that he's not Rhaegar's son, he's Aerys II's grandson. Remember the Mad King Aerys? Who decided to burn all of King's Landing to the ground when Robert started winning the rebellion? That's the real life equivalent of flipping a game board over when you start losing, and that's the behavior Aegon has shown he's prone to.
- Amusingly, flipping the board like that is exactly what convinced Tyrion that Aegon is a Targaryen.
- If he actually is Aegon, then Elia had to be in on it. She would know the substitute baby isn't hers, and speak up if she didn't know what happened. If she's in on it, she knew it was the only way to save her son and she didn't have any better options.
- Putting Daenerys in exactly the same position as the members of Robert's Rebellion that she is so against. Just as Ned sided against the rightful ruler of Westeros because he's a lunatic, so will Daenerys against Aegon
- Considering Stannis is based on Richard III and Dany on Henry Tudor. Of course, Martin might not just go with the rules.
- To provide a link to House Baratheon to the King.
- That would be a twist.
- Stannis may die and someone will marry Shireen to give legitimacy to a succession. Or Stannis may make sure she'll marry someone to win him support.
- Apparently not, as D & D spoiled it.
- Not necessarily. They only spoiled that she would eventually die, not when she would die or what would happen beforehand. Her marriage could be something else that had to be left out of the show.
We've never seen what's to the west of Westeros, apparently people don't sail very far that way for one reason or another. I'm never quite sure of distances but could it be possible that Qarth and the East of Essos are closer to Westeros than might be thought - and even if not closer by distance, all the people who would want to stop Dany returning to Westeros will be waiting for her to move West. Perhaps this is why "to go west, [she] must go east." Also food for thought is that the Qartheen are pale-skinned, as are the Westerosi, but not so much the rest of the peoples of Essos.
- Confirmed; in "Fire and Blood" it's out-and-out stated that the world is a sphere, and that Elissa Farman tried sailing west to find other continents, and it's implied she made it all the way around to Asshai.
My theory is that the Others raised the Wall when they retreated back to the uttermost North after they lost their war against Westeros long ago. They did it with their Other magic in a very short period of time, and can destroy it whenever they want just as quickly. The Wall acts as a boundary, but not with the purpose of keeping the Others out of Westeros. Rather it was meant to keep humans out of the Land of Always Winter. The Land Beyond the Wall could have been meant as a buffer zone, a staging area for future assaults on Westeros, or a land where the Others could "farm" humans and/or animals for wights (or several of these at once). Perhaps the Others meant to make a stand at the Wall, but as it kept getting warmer, they had to abandon it and retreat even further north. Eventually, with the Others vanished into the arctic lands, the humans took over the Wall. They may have added to it over time, or maybe not. This goes back to Sam's statement about how little the Westerosi actually know about their history.
Problems with this theory include the fact that Melisandre's magic is more powerful at the Wall (this could simply be because the Wall is impregnated with magic and enhances all magic cast nearby). Also, wights cannot pass the Wall, which seems counter-intuitive as wights are the Others' soldiers. However, it may simply be a side-effect of the Wall's magic and not intended, or it could be intended to keep the wights from wandering off (Coldhands shows that the Others might not have complete control of the wights). If the Others could destroy the Wall at will, the fact that wights couldn't cross it wouldn't be a problem. They could build up their forces north of the Wall, and when they were ready, just break it and invade Westeros again. This could also be how Joramun got hold of a horn that could break the Wall: the Others made it and he just found it, or maybe they gave it to him. How did anyone know it could break the Wall, anyway (if indeed it even can)? The Wall is still there, so it definitely hasn't been used before successfully.
Well, first we need to figure out who can afford a Faceless Man. The cost of one is staggering - nobody in King's Landing at least seemed able to purchase such service, not even Littlefinger (who seems to move gold around rather than hoarding it). Tywin might have afforded it, but this does not strike me as his style. Plus, was there any evidence that he had regular contact with Essos? But there is someone with hands in both Westeros and Essos, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest and craftiest characters: Illyrio Mopatis. And assassination definitely seems like his style.
So who would Illyrio want dead? Obviously, Illyrio would need to know or at least know of this individual. This person must be a threat to his plans. It has to be someone who is still alive as of A Dance with Dragons, since Jaqen remains active. But, the target also must have been selected before the end of A Game of Thrones, since Jaqen was in the dungeon by that point.
The sheer amount of deaths already eliminates a huge chunk of potential targets (i.e. it wasn't Robert or Tywin). Stannis would seem like a good candidate, but he wasn't actively doing anything by the time Jaqen was deployed. Let's look at Illyrio's motivation again: he apparently wants to put a Targaryen on the throne. Who would be a liability to this plan? I can only think of three (still living) candidates:
The first two are Varys and Doran Martell, being his co-conspirators. It's possible, I guess, that Illyrio might have found a reason to distrust one - Doran being a bit more likely. Perhaps Illyrio thought he might betray them, manipulating the young Targaryen ruler through marriage? Or by striking a deal with such top-secret information? Again, it's possible, but I'm not totally convinced; Doran and Varys both seem hella committed.
Before I reveal my personal suspicion, let me just come out and say that I support the theory that Jon is Rhaegar Targaryen's son by Lyanna Stark. If so, that could present a significant rival to Illyrio's personal pet dragon. In fact, even if that theory is wrong but Illyrio himself believes it in-universe, it still works! But only two men know the truth: Eddard Stark and Howland Reed. Ned's dead, baby, and besides, he'd faithfully kept his tongue shut for 15+ years. But Howland Reed? He's a wild card, no telling what he might do with this possible information. Not only that, Crannogmen are specifically notorious to find and defeat. But a Faceless Man, ah, he'll get the job done, you can bet on that.
It's also worth noting that Jaqen seems to currently be in Oldtown, conversing with Sam, who not only knows Jon, but also has met the Reeds. That might be a coincidence, but still, Jaqen could very well be trying to gather knowledge on how to assassinate this particular individual. And where better to go for knowledge? Also, if the theory that Alleras is Sarella is also true, that's another person who would be very interested in knowing about possible rivals for a Targaryen/Martell alliance...
The drowned god, R'hllor, The many faced god, all of them are just different faces the Great other uses to further it's goals and plans.All the prophecies, such as the prince who was promised, the Stallion who mounts the world, even the Azor Ahai are all false. Fake lies to further motivate men into action only to create further chaos and ruin in the long term.
Littlefinger and Varys are either witting or unwitting pawns or even outright servants. Both sowing chaos in order to leave westeros as unstable as possible so that once winter finally comes in force, there will be no one powerful enough to be able to resist the others and their army of wights.
Whats more all the sheer death and destruction caused by the war of the five kings has been deliberate so the Great other now has a literal continent's worth of corpses just waiting to rise up as it's army. And with famine all but guaranteed, in large parts of Westeros, further death is even more likely.
The wholesale annihilation of the starks and their corruption has also been deliberate and intended to turn them into servants.Jon actually will die and be revived as the new Night's King. Making his title as "Lord Snow" hold extra meaning.
In the end, all the various struggles, civil conflicts, and dispute over the iron throne will mean utterly nothing in the end. The truth of the long winters and who the others are will finally be revealed as will the meaning behind "All men must die." What that will come to mean is exactly what it says. All men literally must die. Everywhere and throughout the whole world. THAT is the ultimate goal of the Great other, to end all life through out the world in a cold, eternal winter.
The other's will break out of the wall, winter will engulf all of westeros with only small holdouts managing to endure, like Dorne. The others will rampage across the land unopposed till almost all of Westeros save from particularly stubborn places manage to hold out, but still be faced with doom in the long term.
Even Essos will be affected, only less so, with Dany's actions having been revealed to also be a part of this grand horrible plan.
In the end, the ultimate massage of the series will be revealed to actually be that "power really is where ever men believe it resides". In other words, a genuine savor will come about but it won't be because of any prophecy, or any gods, or anything supernatural. But because the people believe in them whoever they are.
it will also be revealed that the original Azor Ahai was actually just some random person who wasn't picked by any god or force or fate but was just someone who proved them self a true hero through there own actions.
- Feeling this is the only way he can regain some honor and because he is upset with his sister.
- Kind of moot, as everyone already knows.
- Jaime may reveal this to the High Septon, making it official.
- Never Tell Me the Odds!, after a famous smuggler litany
This could explain the rapid decline in the Targaryen's dragons. As the magic faded, the dragons became weaker. Why else would a family who had successfully been breeding powerful dragons for centuries be unable to keep a hatchling alive for even a day?
And so what, in my mind, is the series about? Two things. One is the titular song of ice and fire: the rise of the Others, and concurrently the rise of a Targaryen ruler who battled them with fire made flesh. But the second? The second is about the family that history forgot: the Starks, who were once a great house but were effectively wiped out in the War of Five Kings and never recovered.
I mean, whatever even happened to the Starks? They just seemed to disappear overnight. The lord, Eddard, was killed, as was his wife Catelyn and soon Robb. A woman named Sansa made some crucial contributions, but at that point she was married to someone else and a member of their House instead (House Hardyng, from the looks of things, unless Littlefinger can't keep his Wife Husbandry in his pants anymore and takes her for himself). Commoners still tell tales of a figure named Lady Stoneheart, but surely she was fictional, a bogeywoman crafted to scare children: I mean, an undead woman? Yeah right. There was a long-faced, brown-haired assassin involved, and occasionally a tree spoke up, but who knows where they come from. Rickon Stark, the youngest, is the only one in position to have any impact, and R'hllor only knows what he's been up to on an isle of cannibals. (Then again, maybe I'm underestimating Osha's mothering abilities. She does seem to have a solid head on her shoulders.) And one of the great figures of the War of the Others—Jon, the dragon-rider, the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch? Well, he was a bastard, a Snow, and in any case he had very different blood in his veins (like, "R+L=J" different).
Legend Fades to Myth, and the contributions of the northerners were forgotten forever. But fortunately we have the wise words and scholarship of George R. R. Martin, who unearthed the tale of Ramza Beoulve—excuse me, House Stark—to remind us that you don't have to be a king to be a hero, and that sometimes the forgotten are the most important.
(Though you do gotta have dragons.)
- The baby Gilly took to Oldtown is actually the "Wildling Prince", who Jon substituted with Gilly's son to protect them from Melissandre.
- Or he may give it to his kinsman Rickon, who he feels has more right to it.
- Alekyne Florent may go to Euron in the hopes he can get Brightwater Keep back and may even hope to get Highgarden, which the Florents have often wanted control off. He may even convert to the Drowned God, considering how changeable the Florents are.
- Or they may join "Aegon". I doubt Alekyne Florent will stay out of the game considering his current situation.
- When Rickon gets back to Winterfell, he may warg into his direwolf and avenge his brother. Anyway, Roose held Harrenhal so the curse may effect him...
- By the Brotherhood, the Crannogmen, and the Blackfish. My thoughts are the Blackfish will find TBWB, they would after all be natural allies, with his niece leading them and mutual enemies. The Crannogmen are old enemies of the Freys and will hate them even more after the Freys helped murder their King. My thoughts are a sudden attack will be launched, during which Walder and many of his descendants will be killed. It would be great to have a confrontation between Blackfish and Black Walder. Stoneheart, like happened to her, will kill one of Walder's sons in front of him, then kill him. Then maybe they would attack Riverrun. This could work in Stannis' favor, as by the time he gets to the Twins they will be under the control of enemies to the Lannisters.
- Also, this will enable Howland Reed to finally put in an appearance. Perhaps when he meets Stannis, whose heir may have died by then, he will confide in him that there is another possible heir to the Iron Throne...
- It is still up for debate whether Catelyn's anger at the Freys will extend to her killing Roslin, who carries her brother's child.
- Most likely Edric Storm, as he is the only acknowledged bastard. If Stannis gets the Iron Throne, he may have Edric returned from Essos. Stannis may do this to Edric to prevent the Baratheon line dying out, saying Edric can succeed to the Iron Throne or Storm's End if he doesn't have any children as Shireen will apparently die in TWOW, thank you for spoiling that D & D. He may even make Edric Lord of Storm's End immediately, reviving House Baratheon of Storm's End. By the finale we will hear of Lord Edric Baratheon.
- Or if Jon becomes King he may do so.
- Given how few viable members of the royal family there are that are both alive and likely to reproduce, legitimizing a bastard might be a necessary evil to keep the royal line from getting weak and dying out.
- Attacking King's Landing (in GOT Bran has a vision of a dragon flying over King's Landing) with dragons she can't control when there is wildfire hidden under the city. How could this turn out? What happened to Rhaenyra may foreshadow Daenerys...
- Their sigil, large size, and closeness to the Wall.
- ...and if Jon becomes King he will let Davos keep the Rainwood and be on the Small Council, as Hand or Master of Ships, seeing how loyal and efficient he is.
- When Cleganstein wins Cersei will order him to execute Margaery, not wishing to pass up this chance. Tommen will try to save his wife and be killed as well.
- During an attack on the Twins he will break free and kill Freys.
- ...Wyndafryd or Wylla Manderly.
- Jon Snow: One thing he does know is how to cheat death. Multiple times. So after his second coming, and proving again and again what an unforeseeable badass he is, Jon will survive the series. And, despite death relinquishing him of his oaths, he still remains either at The Wall or north of it. I dunno, it always seemed to me that the last epilogue of the series would be from the POV of a man of the Night's Watch (like the first prologue). Who better than Jon? It also seems like it would be rather poetic for Jon to stay true to his vow and continue defending the realms of men beyond The Wall, even after everything he will go through (war, loss of friends, loss of love) and learn (his parentage) in the last two books.
- Sansa Stark: Will get to finally return home, despite the fact that most of the family and friends she knew in the beginning are all dead now. She makes the best of her situation, though. And of her new skills in manipulation and deception. She's basically the one in charge at Winterfell in the end, since her little brother isn't quite up to the task.
- Rickon Stark: He will become Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, publicly. However, his vicious temperament requires that his sister do most of the work. Stark supporters will say that when Rickon comes of age, he will be a force to be reckoned with.
- Samwell Tarly: Succeeds in becoming both a maester and a man and lives out the rest of his days at The Wall. Though he will forever miss Gilly.
- Davos Seaworth: His cause will die with Stannis, then he will only be contributing to the war against the Others. Once it's over, he will return home to his wife and two sons; his son at The Wall is toast, sadly.
- Theon Greyjoy: Yes, despite all the shit he has and will continue to go through, GRRM will not let poor Theon die in peace. Unfortunately, he's going to become Lord of whatever's left of the Iron Islands when the series is done. With his sister's help, of course.
- Asha Greyjoy: After her uncles have fallen and Stannis has (reluctantly) freed her, she will be instrumental in uniting the Ironborn against the Others.
- Brienne of Tarth: Refuses to leave Sansa or any of the Starks when she finds them, and stays to defend them during the last great war. In the end, Sansa will release her of her oath, allowing Brienne to finally return home once the snows lift.
- Sandor Clegane: Though certainly broken, he will survive Cleganebowl and be spared anymore violence. He may have one last encounter with one or both of the Stark girls before returning to the Quiet Isle to live out the winter.
- Edmure Tully: He will be made Lord Paramount of the Riverlands in the end, becoming a good but ruthless lord like his father. His wife and child will be with him as well.
- Willas Tyrell: He will take over as House Tyrell's lord and resident devious bastard, after his father and grandmother.
- Loras Tyrell: He will survive his wounds and do what he can to defend the Tyrells and the Reach from the coming wars. His burn scars will make him something of a parallel to The Hound.
- Arriane Martell: Seems like she'll survive, but not sure what will become of her. If there's still an Iron Throne in the end, I'm assuming she will become Queen. If Trystane dies, she might finally get her wish of becoming ruler of Dorne like she originally wanted.
- Doran Martell: He will live to see House Lannister ruined and the Targaryens revived, but he will have lost a great deal in the process. His choices will weigh heavy on his mind, likely for the rest of his days.
- Penny: After surviving Slaver's Bay and returning to Meereen with Dany's army, Tyrion will make sure she's brought to (relative) safety.
- Gendry: Can't imagine he'd die, since he's basically House Baratheon's Jon Snow. I'd imagine Robert's other bastards that have been named (Mya, Edric, Bella) will get to live. Enough of them have died, I think.
- Bronn: You think Littlefinger's the series' ultimate Social Climber? Nope, it's Bronn.
- Roose and Ramsay Bolton: They're gonna get it. Whether it is Stannis or The Others. And they will both scream.
- House Frey: Walder will die of a stroke, and his House will crumble soon after that. While a few members may survive and vanish into obscurity, the family itself will be officially damned and exiled.
- Barristan Selmy: He will die for his queen, either in Meereen or Westeros. I'm hoping Westeros.
- Victarion Greyjoy: He will be spectacularly played by Euron, leading him and his crew to get roasted by Dany's dragons.
- Aeron Greyjoy: Rebels against Euron, and dies for it. Along with his devoted followers. I'm thinking they get thrown into the sea.
- Garlan Tyrell: Killed in the trial by combat, in defense of his sister.
- Mace Tyrell: Murdered by Ser Robert Strong.
- Margaery Tyrell: Murdered by Ser Robert Strong.
- Olenna Tyrell: The Queen of Thorns won't survive the winter. Pneumonia.
- King Tommen: Murdered by Ser Robert Strong.
- Princess Myrcella: Murdered by Obara Sand.
- Cersei Lannister: Choked to death by the valonqar, who I'm guessing is not one of her siblings. Best guess: Arya.
- Ser Robert Strong: Cleganebowl will happen, kind of spur of the moment, and it will exceed expectations. Qyburn's monster will prevail over his much weaker, living brother. But Sandor will be saved when one of Dany's dragons burst into the scene and incinerate the undead knight. He might even be thrown from off the top of the Red Keep.
- Qyburn: Killed by Varys when he tries to escape.
- Jaime Lannister: Executed by Lady Stoneheart and The Brotherhood Without Banners. Though death may not be the end for him, see Lady Stoneheart below.
- Areo Hotah: Will likely die defending the Martells against invaders; if the invaders are not Lannister/Tyrell men, then they will either be Euron's Ironborn or the White Walkers.
- Euron Greyjoy: He will raise some serious hell before being defeated and killed near the end of TWOW or near the beginning of ADOS. Most likely by Daenerys.
- Jon Connington: He will start to lose it shortly after Aegon's campaign in Westeros makes progress, and eventually die in vain for the boy's claim. I'm thinking he might wind up getting burned by a dragon.
- Mance Rayder: If he somehow manages to survive his stay with the Boltons, I'm thinking he'll die at The Wall in the war against the Others.
- Stannis Baratheon: While I don't think he'll be put out of his misery as quickly as he was on the show, it definitely seems like Stannis is doomed to fail, regardless of how awesome he may be. Let's hope he dies charging a horde of zombies and white walkers.
- Selyse and Shireen Baratheon: Melisandre's probably gonna burn Shireen for some reason, and Selyse will likely hang herself out of guilt, like in the show. Otherwise, Patchface will avenge Shireen by killing Selyse.
- Melisandre: While she may live, it would be rather poetic to see her freak out and die at the hands of an Other.
- Lady Stoneheart: Barring suicide, the only way I could see her finally going out is if she gave her life to bring someone back from the dead, as was done with her. My top picks are either Jon or Jaime.
- Littlefinger: No way after all the risky gambling and clever scheming and smug superiority does Baelish get what he wants. There are many ways he could die, but my personal favorite is him getting sold out by Sansa when they go to swear allegiance to Daenerys and Tyrion putting a crossbow bolt through his throat. He dies in front of the Iron Throne, reaching for Sansa as he chokes on his own blood.
- Varys: Like LF, very unlikely that he lives (especially with his "I keep on paddling" line in ACOK). It's a longshot, but I'm thinking Bronn kills him on behalf of Tyrion and company.
- Bloodraven: Seems he'll have to die to make way for Bran as the new Last Greenseer.
- Bran Stark: In spite of all the buildup, poor, sweet, innocent Bran won't make it out of this series alive. And he probably won't get to be the big hero like he wanted to. That said, his spirit will likely live on in the trees, becoming an Old God of sorts.
- Arya Stark: For someone so strongly associated with the phrase "All Men Must Die" and the general irrevocable tragedy that is infused into her arc, it seems like GRRM will break our hearts and kill the immensely damaged Arya. Though, it would be poetic if, when she dies, she lives on within Nymeria to rule the long winter as wolf queen with her massive pack.
- The White Walkers: In the end, their army is broken by the dragons, who also left their frozen wasteland a burning wasteland instead. While the Others themselves are defeated, we don't know if same can be said for the power that made them.
- Tyrion Lannister: GRRM will have his great creation go out in a final, tragic, yet outstanding blaze of glory. And on the back of a dragon. There will be tears.
- Daenerys Targaryen: She will light the last fire and give her life to defeat the Others. When she dies, the world will seem a far darker place for those who survived. Naturally, Dany will become legendary and rightfully so.
- I would be inclined to agree. As I said above, I think Edric may end up as Lord of Storm's End.
- ...and he'll turn her down. Finding out he's a Targ doesn't mean he'll decide to practice incest.
- While most signs point to Dany becoming the eventual ruler of Westeros, Sansa has finally started to take an active role in the game and is starting to show signs of becoming an effective ruler in her own right. Her story has a lot of parallels with Queen Elizabeth's life: suffering as a disgraced outsider in a Deadly Decadent Court, managing to survive through her quick wits and a facade of Incorruptible Pure Pureness, inexplicably remaining a virgin despite being married which fits into the Virgin Queen motif, enjoying masques, mummers, and dances, and her appearance matches that of Queen Elizabeth as a young girl.
- This is brilliant. Parts of it could also apply to Margaery.
- Or Hosteen may die on the frozen lake, so his fat niece will be told the contents.
- ...as the Golden Company attacks the castle.
- Martin says Aerion may have had bastards in Lys. Tying into the Aegon is Illyrio's son theory, Illyrio's second wife may have been descended from one of these unions.
- To ensure Hornwood support, as the title Lord of the Hornwood is currently being occupied by Ramsay. It would make an interesting foil to Jon Snow.
- He might see an opportunity to get more then piracy can get him.
- My feeling is that the Bastard of Driftmark is a chump for Victarion Greyjoy or Dany to roll over. Aegon and the G Cs are fighting a land-war after all.
- He'll probably just support whoever can get him the most wealth. However he probably won't work with the Ironborn, as they seem too untrustworthy. If Aegon seems to be winning, he may just sail over and offer terms.
- However, she will decide that the Seven Kingdoms are better off as seven separate kingdoms, and break them apart with their own rulers, in a poetic reversal of Aegon the Conqueror arriving in Westeros and uniting them. As such, the rulers will be as follows:
- The North: Likely Rickon, potentially Sansa.
- The Riverlands: Edmure Tully.
- The Vale: Sansa through marriage, if she isn't ruling the North.
- The Stormlands: Shireen, assuming she survives, or a legitimized Edric or Gendry.
- The Westerlands: Myrcella if she survives the prophecy against her, with Tyrion as her Hand, or Tyrion himself if she doesn't.
- The Crownlands: As said above, Daenerys.
- The Reach: Margaery if she survives all of her brothers, Willas if she doesn't.
- Dorne: Arianne.
- Iron Islands: Asha Greyjoy, even if Theon survives - he'd be too broken to rule himself. Plus, he can't extend the line due to missing a few pieces.
- King Beyond the Wall, or some variant thereof: Jon Snow.
- Better off? It will probably leave Westeros worse off, as there will be a return to the the days of constant warfare between the Kingdoms. Also the Seven Kingdoms are mainly used to being united, trying to split them would be disastrous.
- Sounds a little too idealistic.
- It's more likely that she will create a centralized, despotic absolute monarchy, with appointed satrap-governors instead of hereditary lords, and a State Sec complete with a second army ready to crush any dissent. This is how I understand her "Break the wheel" line from the series.
- Better give George R.R. Martin a big stash of high quality medicine and a personal crew of paramedics, to ensure his survival through the next forty years or so and give him time to write this. Or, better, put him in a Mr. House machine.
- I'd prefer stories about Westeros history. I imagine ASOIAF will end with a feeling of completion.*
- In order to make steel, you need to alloy iron and carbon. Now, in conventional steelmaking the carbon is derived from charcoal, but there's another technique. In the old days, people would sometimes use bones, especially the bones of dead relatives, to get the carbon for their steel. Now most of the time, that just makes steel, but if you use the bones of dragons, creatures already imbued with powerful magic, the alloy might well be invested with similar magic.
- Agreed. Furthermore, In the second Tyrion chapter of AGoT it's stated that dragonbone "is as strong as steel, yet lighter and more flexible, and of course impervious to fire".
- His troops will be attacked by the Brotherhood without Banners and Edmure freed. It may end with him being hanged by Stoneheart, similar to Merrett Frey's POV.
- Alternatively he will be attacked by Nymeria's pack.
- Bran, as he becomes a Greenseer.
- Brynden Rivers, as he dies, perhaps looking into the future.
- I think Bran being the final POV will be a terrific way to wrap up the series, we can see the epilogue 100 years from the present day, know what happened to the world, what new government took effect, who married whom and had whose babies.
- And of course Book-Ends.
- ...and name his first son Eddard.
Then the shipwreck happened, and Patchface was found cast up on the shore, half dead and two-thirds mad, and everybody just assumed he was the fool in question. But what if he wasnt? Weve never seen any other Volantene fools; for all we know Patchfaces patches may be the marks of some kind of priest or prophet or secret assassin.
The simple fact is that we have no way of knowing who or what Patchface was before the shipwreck. All we know is that he may be a seer, and he definitely creeps Melisandre the heck out.
- The Maesters try to suppress magic by introducing a logical, scientific worldview. But they are not very successful in this endeavour, because their science is rather pathetic. No Guns of Mistridge = no Technocracy.
Bit of a downer if you're proud of how independent you are...
- I am sure someone will strum up the World's Smallest Violin or Lyre or Flute for these guys.
- ...Olyvar Frey. As his mother was a Rosby, he may try to take Rosby and will oppose the Lannister regime due to their role in the Red Wedding. This article explains the theory.
Sorry Theon. That's just how it's going to be. Have fun dying alone.
- Orcs = Dothraki
Corsairs of Umbar = Iron Islanders
Haradrim = Dornishmen
Uruk-Hai = The Unsullied
The Fell Beasts = The Dragons
The Nazgul = Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm, Daario Naharis
Saruman = Varys
The Mouth of Sauron = The Hand of the Queen AKA Tyrion Lannister
The One Ring = The Iron Throne
It's possible we may know of some of these bastards. Donnel Hill is a steward of the Night's Watch and claims to be a bastard of House Lannister and has golden hair-maybe his mom kept in mind who his dad was and may have even had plans to use this against Tywin. Hell, she might have even tried and the (as of yet unknown) reason he's at the wall is because Tywin threatened him to be out of way to protect his image or he'd find a Loophole Abuse with kinslaying. He doesn't specify which Lannister fathered him to protect himself, just that it was one.
Marei is another possible bastard of Tywin. She's a whore who was born and lives in King's Landing, and was born in 280 AC or earlier. This would've been while Tywin was Aerys' Hand and thus available. She's described as being green-eyed and white-gold hair, similar to Cersei. Granted the "white" in white-gold hair suggests she may be Aerys' bastard(assuming she was conceived before he could only be aroused by fire), but appearance-wise she seems more Lannister. Tyrion has noticed her but never went through sleeping with her, which if she's his bastard half-sister it's a bit of near Surprise Incest similar to when Bella tried to ring Gendry's bells despite both being Robert's bastards.
- He was Lyanna's closest brother, since Brandon and Ned were fostered away and he was the one who knew Lyanna secretly trained with swords, so it's plausible he knew if she was in love with Rhaegar. Possibly he even helped her running off.
- That there's something more he knows it's clear from his interactions with Jon. He seems to dote particularly on Jon in A Game Of Thrones, and even calls him son, and the reason is that he's the son of his late beloved sister whom he's probably still mourning as much as Ned is shown doing.
- Knowing the secret could also have influenced his decision to go to Wall. He could have had trouble at coping with his sister's death (and the part he may have had in it) and the secret he found out and decided it was better for everyone if he went away.
- He was not surprised by finding intruders there, so it is safe to assume he knew about the secret path. The tunnel was ordered by a previous Hand to bring where's from Chataya's, but Chataya's is not that old. The last hand was Jon, who was almost impotent, the others before did not have time to commission secret passages. So that brings us to Tywin again.
While the majority of Craster's Parental Incest is him being a twisted Control Freak, maybe the Targaryen's tendency to wed relatives played a part as well? This would make Gilly and her offspring Aemon's descendants, and much like Jon Snow(if R+L=J) he's unknowingly helping out with his own blood. Of course, it's just as possible Bloodraven is Craster's dad, though at that age it'd be harder than with Aemon.
In this respect, he's far more like Ramsay than he'd want to admit. Both are compensating for something that'd be seen as shameful and threaten their lot in life-Roose being his frailty, Ramsay his bastardy and how he came to be. Ramsay just takes it to self-destructive extremes because he has far more to cover up and may simply have more in-born psychotic tendencies. By contrast Domeric Bolton, despite how much value Roose puts on his life he lacks this shared trait and is genuinely confident of himself, and as such is a much better person for it. However it may be the case that he inherited his father's sickness. Ramsay is accused of killing Domeric, but he is terrible at subtlety and probably couldn't make it look like an illness. And it's not like it'd do him any good, since Roose accuses him anyway and would've killed him right then and there were it not for opposing kinslaying (and really, if Tywin is any indication he should've found a loophole by now). Rather, Domeric genuinely died of a bad belly because he inherited his father's sickliness. Roose, already looking down upon his Serial Killer of a bastard and hating his own illness, cast the blame onto Ramsay rather than further acknowledge his personal weakness. If it wasn't for the Red Wedding, it'd almost make him pitiable.
Yet, one member of the family could easily have known everything about young Daeron just as he was trying out his skills for the first time — and, could outright have scared him off taking them any place useful. Bloodraven aka the Three-Eyed Crow may have deliberately or accidentally been behind some scary imagery. If deliberately, he might not have liked the idea of a young Targaryen Dreamer getting the inside track on what political shenanigans he was up to. If accidentally, high tier manipulation, murder and magic is grounds for Nightmare Fuel as it is, so... whoops? And, if you've got any sense, you'd spend a lot of time and money convincing the scary old Raven featuring in a lot of the crazy shit you Dream about that you're utterly useless, can't understand your own drink-addled dreams and couldn't scheme your way out of a paper bag if you tried. Particularly if you've had dreams that suggest he's murdering family for reasons you don't want him to know you know. Or, reasons you might even agree with, but still don't want him to know you do, just in case helping him gets you horribly worse-than-killed. Because, if he was willing to wait for and manipulate Bran to plug him into the tree network, what would Bloodraven have done to a promising young Dragon-Dreamer? In Technicolor?
While "L+P=R" is a theory on its own, it seems likely that if this is the case Jon would know. He is the one who discovered the royal children weren't true Baratheons, "the seed is strong" and all. Why he tolerated it? He needed an heir, and knowing he wasn't up for the task expected his wife to have an affair. He might have even had some sympathy for her given he could understand how Robert Baratheon felt being stuck with Cersei. However this was a dangerous game he was playing, since for this to work everyone needed to think Sweetrobin is an Arryn and that's what matters most of all.
He managed to pull this off, with the cheating parties believing he would've opposed this while his infertility remains a secret with him. True, the two would kill him, but that's because he was threatening to expose the royal affair rather than their own. And while not carrying his blood, he treated Robert Arryn as his son because he's a Nice Guy who's proven to have parental affection to those who aren't his kids.
Littlefinger was never informed of this because he does not want his influence on the kid and the future of House Arryn. Knowing Littlefinger, he may have already figured out Jon Arryn's plan and played dumb because it makes it easier to string Lysa along and/or he doesn't profit anyway by telling him or anyone else. Incidentally, this means that whether he knows or not Petyr Baelish's poisoning of Sweetrobin is tantamount to kinslaying. Given how this is seen in Westeros, this might finally use up his Karma Houdini Warranty
Rhaella isn't crazy since whatever kernel of insanity she had never grew compared to her brother-husband's deep envy and growing suspicions, but it did affect her. She gave birth to Rhaegar during the Tragedy, which must have led her to associate giving birth with the event. This trauma led to a number of her miscarriages or stillbirths, explaining why she suffered more in that regard than other Targaryen queens. And that only fed into Aerys' Start of Darkness. The tragedy of their grandfather is that in his final act to preserve the Targaryen dynasty, he indirectly led to their downfall. Though with a Prophecy Twist he did fulfill his dream of dragons returning since if the tragedy didn't happen history would not have led to Daenerys being in Essos and hatching her dragons.
Said child was adopted into another family to hide the family's shame, protect the Stark reputation and probably the babe's own safety. Catelyn bringing Ashara up was a Berserk Button for him because it reminds him he had to lose his first child, and still feels guilty about it alongside trying to cover for R+L=J. The babe may be a current character in disguise, Daenerys if you want to get really tinfoil or will appear as a new character. Said new character might be what's used in the books to help confirm Jon' parentage in-universe.
As stupid as Joffrey is, even he must have realized something is off. He accepted it as a possibility, maybe even realized it deep down, but being a "Well Done, Son!" Guy who's very life is tied to being Robert's son, didn't want to think about it. Robert was still his father where it counts(even if he was a crappy dad), same with Tommen and Myrcella, so had no incentive to think of him as anything but. Jaime would be worth of ire in his eyes because he literally fucked up. Unfortunately for Robert and his legal children, the problem couldn't be swept under the rug and a war was inevitable. Another reason for Robert to whore and booze his problems away.
- Nope, that doesn't make sense. Robert clearly hates Cersei and Joffrey and would be happy to no longer have them around. And while Tywin may be strong Robert would still have the strength to defeat him, he'd have the Crownlands, the Stormlands, the North, Vale and Riverlands behind him, and Dorne already hates the Lannisters.
Option 1: Jaime will turn out to be the valonqar, strangle Cersei, and be killed by Tyrion.
The popular theory that Jaime is the valonqar will turn out to be correct, and Jaime's character arc will end with him killing Cersei- probably after gaining better control over his hand or getting the chain that Tyrion strangles Shae with. Tyrion will then kill him in revenge for his lying about Tysha, which he's considered doing in A Dance with Dragons, and only regret it afterward.
Option 2: Tyrion will turn out to be the valonqar, strangle Cersei, and be killed by Jaime.
If Tyrion is the valonqar, it will be an untwist that nobody, except Cersei, sees coming. Tyrion has also fantasized about not just killing Cersei, but specifically strangling her. This would be a classic self-fulfilling prophecy, because it was Cersei's fear of Tyrion that caused her to abuse him in the first place. It would be incredibly satisfying- but just as the satisfaction of Joffrey's death was undercut by Tyrion's trial, Cersei's will be undercut by Jaime killing Tyrion in revenge for the death of their father.
Of course, all this assumes that Jaime doesn't get killed by Lady Stoneheart and Cersei doesn't get executed by The Faith.
One way to explain the date issues, at least? Is, perhaps, that they were stuck wandering around the Seven Kingdoms as a hot potato "hedge" House nobody much wanted to piss the political elite of the Reach off too much by harbouring for too generously long. It could have taken between two to four generations before House Stark finally took pity on them and granted them actual land to hold again.
Without the social institution and intricate customs of guest right to use as a shield, they could have quite easily been murdered in their beds and/or otherwise had all their disposable wealth either extorted or stolen from them by others at several points (that wealth which they hadn't, say, stuck in the Iron Bank or in other safe places, that is); no doubt well before they ever managed to settle in the North, too. And, they probably still have many stories about all the close shaves, nasty bargains and the clever tactics they had to use to overcome them all.
So, yeah: the biggest way to piss in House Manderley's porridge... beyond grotesquely killing their liege lords, forcing one of them into becoming a cannibal, killing one of their own House's direct line and abusing another relative in a naked land- and title-grab that got her horrifically dead? Undermine the whole (and vital) social institution of guest right on top of doing all of that.
- This is practically canon. You don't think it's a coincidence that the Lordship of House Manderly comes with the title of "Defender of the Dispossessed" ? Their flight\migration might have been over a millenia ago, but the Maderlys remember.
In addition, there's also the possibility that Ramsay isn't actually Roose's son but the miller his mother was originally married to and was conceived a few days before Roose raped her. Ramsay doesn't look much like Roose, with the eyes being the supposed giveaway they're kin. That might just be a coincidence and they aren't related; Ramsay's mother is conning Roose and has ruined him in the long run. Ironically if Ramsay was conceived by the miller it means he wasn't a bastard but at the cost of not being a Bolton.
Fake!Arya and Aegon's respective arcs in ADWD are remarkably similar. Both of them are being presented as members of great houses by political manipulators who are trying to use them to gain power. Thus, "Arya" being a fake makes it more likely that Aegon isn't the real deal.
However, it's a crucial plot point that no one in the North is going to challenge Jeyne's identity. Anyone who could definitively prove that Jeyne isn't Arya is either dead, presumed dead, or M.I.A. And it wouldn't be politically expedient for any former Stark bannermen to speak up without proof.
This is a clear parallel to Aegon's situation. The list of people who could prove he isn't who Varys, Illyrio, and Connington say he is is very short. Aegon himself wouldn't know if he wasn't the genuine article: he's been groomed since he was an infant to think he was. Jon Connington might not even know the truth, and it would be out of character for him to support Aegon so passionately if he didn't firmly believe he was the son of Connington's "silver prince". Only Varys and Illyrio know for sure who the hell this kid is, and they're not telling anyone.
If Team Aegon manages to amass enough political and military support to take the Iron Throne, those same supporters won't have any trouble securing his claim and silencing anyone who would dispute it.
Melony Piper, Rhaena Targaryen's firey, red-headed best friend, is stated to have died during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, but her name and her description (well, if she was able to disguise herself as a guy, presumably she was rather tall) fit well with what an un-Uncanny Valley-ified Melisandre might look like. There's nothing that says she couldn't have been kidnapped after the battle, sold as a slave, and then somehow made her way to Asshai.
This also might bring some reason to Melisandre's obsession with waking the "stone dragons" of Dragonstone: if her best friend in her youth was a dragonrider and she knew Balerion, the Black Dread himself, at the very height of his power, and she saw dragons battle, why wouldn't she want to give that kind of strategic advantage to Stannis and his crew? Her methods for waking the stone dragons may be a tad overkill, but to her they may seem to be the only logical choice.
This is assuming that Jon really is Lyanna's son and not Ned's in the book continuity, which has not been confirmed.
Ned says he had a bastard with a common woman named Wylla, and also that Jon "of his blood". It's possible that both of those statements are true, but the implication deliberately misleading. According to Edric Dayne (who was wetnursed by her) Wylla did have a child, and the Daynes believe it was Jon. While it's possible something happened to her baby and this really is Jon, it raises all sorts of logistical questions about how they pulled it off without the Daynes or other servants realizing something didn't add up. He would have had to have been there long enough before for the affair to be believable, and then shown up at the exact right time for nobody to notice an overlap or gap. The simpler solution is that there is simply another baby, who knows where. It would also explain a problem with the dire wolf scene in the first book; if Jon is a cousin instead of a sibling, why were there six dire wolf pups?
Its mentioned that Lysa paints and powders her face. Lead was used in the making of face powder for centuries. Sweetrobin displays some of the symptoms of lead poisoning like developmental delays, learning difficulties, irritability, and seizures, while Lysa displays mood swings. Sweetrobin could have easily absorbed lead through the placenta while Lysa was pregnant with him or through breast milk.
And that no-longer-narrator, who will nonetheless appear in most of the chapters of the novel, is... Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, the Stormborn: Daenerys Targaryen, First of her Name.
Why? Because nothing else makes sense.
First off: while we know GRRM only told David & Dan five things about how to end Game of Thrones, it is safe to assume that "Dany goes binky-bonkers and turns out to be the Bigger Bad" is one of them. Second, the book series has an absolute love of First-Person Peripheral Narrator — whenever somebody is in a position of power, they are not a narrator, creating a sense of mystique around them (since we never truly know what they are thinking). Finally, we can assume that (unlike in the show) Dany will display some Sanity Slippage in the sixth and seventh books before Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Such a thing would be way easier to convey through the eyes of other narrators... and, frankly, might prove impossible — even for a writer of GRRM's caliber — to convey through her own.
So, for ease of making the plot work, Daenerys will stop being a narrator.
Grandison was the Kingsguard who died so Jaime could take his place as Kingsguard. We know that Cersei wanted Jaime all to herself and she persuaded Jaime to join the Kingsguard to keep him from being betrothed to Lysa Tully, offering to make arrangements. We also know that Cersei has other people killed and make it appear natural; the second High Septon comes to mind and Cersei had already committed murder at the age of 10 when she drowned her friend Melara in a well. So it would be easy for Cersei to have Grandison smothered or poisoned to make a spot for Jaime on the roster.
Joanna Lannister (Cersei and Jaime's mother) was the one who caught Cersei and Jaime when they started sexually experimenting with each other, and separated them by putting them on different ends of Casterly Rock, warning them that if they did it again, she would be forced to tell their father; when Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime went right back to what they were doing. Cersei commits murder only three years later when she drowns Melara Hetherspoon. Plus, Cersei shows little feeling towards her mother in the present, with her only memory being of separating them. So it's likely that Cersei killed her mother shortly after Tyrion's birth because she got in the way of her and Jaime. Besides, it would be ironic that Tywin, who hated Tyrion because he allegedly killed Joanna by being born, had no reason to hate Tyrion because of one of his other children.
I don't see Tommen meeting the same fate as in the show, but I do think they teased what might happen to him in The Winds of Winter. Perhaps, with the threats of the High Septon and Aegon closing in, Cersei tries to flee to Casterly Rock and take Tommen with him with help from Ser Robert Strong. Tommen proves to be difficult and keeps protesting and crying, so Cersei gets some essence of nightshade to keep him quiet and sleeping on their journey to Casterly Rock but becomes so frustrated by Tommen's behavior that she gives him an overdose and accidentally poisons her own son, thus pushing her well and truly over the edge.