I originally sent this article as a series of emails to AltShift-X, but they never responded. So I assume they deleted them.
I have to say, I don't go in for discussion groups or twitter. I have to also admit that I have never read the ASOIAF. All I know about them comes from sites on the internet. But I think I have garnered enough info to draw some conclusions.
First, I have to mention that it is really annoying that so many people who seem so into the books seem to miss what right in front of their noses. I mean really, they so often obsess over the most trivial details while missing the elephant staring them in the face. Some of what I am about to say should be bleeding obvious. It certainly is to me, but I'll let you decide. This will be a very long post, so I hope you will bear with me.
Let's start with the prophecies in the House of the Undying. The meaning of the first four are fairly obvious. I am only going to go over the ones that are causing confusion. These actually seem pretty straightforward to me and I can't understand why nobody else appears to have figured it out. Let me explain:
First, you have to remember story structure, and with this I mean how fantasy stories in general are put together. Whenever fantasy involves visions or prophecies they don't just show random events or things just to make the author look clever. They are intended to convey important information for the story, usually involving critical events and decisions the characters must make. Second, despite what people say, GRR Martin is not as unconventional as claimed. In fact, he is in keeping with most traditional, pre-Hollywood fantasy. You must remember, our way of looking at fantasy today has been strongly influenced by the way Disney and Hollywood have shaped it over the past hundred years. ie: for children! This is most definitely not how fantasy used to be. In fact, if you study Beowulf or the Arthurian sagas they are packed with adult content, including the willingness to kill off important characters. JRR Tolkien is actually the more unconventional regarding traditional fantasy format.
So what does this mean? You have to examine the visions more as if they were some kind of cypher and not as just a bunch of random pictures. And there is most definitely a pattern to them.
1) 1st linked groups: 3 fires, 3 mounts, 3 treasons
Each set of prophecies are inextricably linked. Each group has one each: 1 fire, 1 mount, 1 treason.
Each set of three involves the same event. Each event can be described as an important decision Dany has to make about her future. You might also notice each involves an important stage with her dragons. The decision and the dragons are also linked.
The easiest vision of all is of course the first one: the funeral pyre of Drogo. The mount is therefore Drogo himself. As you can see, I interpret the mounts to mean her husbands, not her transport. You'll understand why soon. Naturally, the treason is Mirri Maz Duur’s killing of her unborn son and Drago.
This gives you the clue as to the meaning of the other two linked groups. Note how all three are intimately connected. That is what will be true of the other two as well.
The second is a little more puzzling because it involves events that haven't happened yet. Note, I am only going by what is in the books as all these visions were excluded from the TV show. Here the key is in the mount, which is Hizdahr. She marries him in both the book and show. That leads us to the question of what people or events are linked to him.
This is where we are going to have to speculate a little. The show combines and reorders events which can be very misleading. What I suggest is that the attack which kills Barristan Selmy takes place after the siege of Meereen. What probably will happen is that after the slavers are driven off and Daario freed Hizdahr launches a plot to take over the city. I am certain that he is the leader of the Sons of the Harpy. Daario is going to be sent with the sellswords to retake Yunkai and Astapor, leaving Meereen vulnerable. Hizdahr will then enlist the help of Victarion, who joined in battle against the masters, and also bribe the Shavepate to take his side. This is the ‘treason for gold’. The Shavepate is supposed to hate Hizdahr, so it would be in keeping with the backstabbing nature of this world for him to turn on Dany for money. Dany is also specifically warned against him by Quathe. Victarion's part is naturally that he wants Dany's dragons. Their conspiracy succeeds in killing Barristan, but this is also the moment as in the show where Dany's Dothraki horde come riding in. Victarion blows the dragon horn, but it doesn't have the effect he thought. Instead Dany will come flying up on Drogon. After she establishes that the three men are her enemies she will command Drogon to burn them up, and incidentally the horn as well. This is the ‘fire for death’.
This leads us to the final linked group. In keeping with the previous two we can deduce that the third mount is Jon Snow. The ‘fire to love’ is actually quite easy, at least to me. When Dany finally meets Jon she is going to demand some proof as to his parentage for her to believe it. And there is only one possible test that could be. I've read all sorts of other things that might do it, but, really, would you simply accept a harp or a piece of paper for that kind of thing? Obviously that test has to involve fire.
Now I know that Martin has said that Targaryens are not fire-proof. But we also have to remember something else. Martin writes adult fantasy and one of the things that often distinguishes adult fantasy from children's fantasy is what is referred to as 'scientific magic'. What this means is that magic is treated not as some all powerful, abundant force which is just available. Like with real life forces it is something that is part of nature with rules guiding what it is and how it works. In ASOIAF context this means that the Targaryen 'resistance' to fire is graded and probably linked to heredity. If you'll remember, when Dany's brother Viserys is killed she says he is 'not the dragon'. He didn't inherit the 'fire-proof' gene the way she did. But, you will ask, Jon was burned. He didn't either. Here you have to remember that Martin has already said that resurrections change people. Yes, in the real Earth being resurrected doesn't change the way your genes work. But this is a fantasy world and the rules are the ones Martin decides they are. Dany will demand that Jon put his hand in a fire, which she will light obviously. And he will be just as surprised as everyone else when he doesn't get burned.
The last part is easily the hardest of all. ‘Treason for love’. Here there are a few possibilities, though I am only going to mention two in this email. How I interpret this is to think of an oath. When one makes a promise one could be said to be committing 'treason' when one breaks that promise. So what is the promise? This is admittedly a stretch, but I think we need to once again focus on the fantasy story structure. In fantasy a great sacrifice, usually by the hero, is required to overcome the evil force. This obviously means that Jon is likely to be called upon to sacrifice himself to save the world. This makes perfect sense. I have no idea how that will happen, but it calls back to the decisions I mentioned earlier. There are plenty of other possibilities, like Daario attempting to murder Jon, but I’ll stick with the first one.
You remember I said each event was connected by a choice Dany has to make. Each choice involves a critical decision about which direction her life will take. You can even describe them as a crossroads. And they also involve her dragons.
Crossroad 1) whether to retire to the Dosh Kaleen after Drogo's death or become 'the Mother of Dragons.' Early retirement verses giving birth the creatures that will change the world.
Crossroad 2) whether to remain quietly as Queen of Meereen or 'Fire and Blood'. This means either locking her dragons up forever or setting them loose on the world.
You see, each time she chooses the most difficult path. It hard to argue which the more difficult path is on the third choice, but the choice itself is clear.
Crossroad 3) to stay home and be safe as Jon flies off to sacrifice himself or to go after him. Or to put it another way, to sacrifice her man or her dragons.
This last choice is a question as to who or what she loves more, her dragons or her man. I pretty sure she's going to choose Jon, but that's just my opinion.
We are now at the second set of visions. These are actually easier. I'm not bothering with the last bunch since they are all self-explanatory.
2) 2nd linked groups: daughter of death, slayer of lies, bride of fire
As with the first group a vision of each group is linked with a vision in the other two. The connections are: the past, a false future that will not happen, and the prophecy of the prince that was promised.
Daughter of death: Viserys death (past), her son as a grown man destroying a city (false future), Rhaegar's death (Rhaegar is a critical component in that he is Jon's father in fulfilling the prophecy) and he also actively works to bring it about.
Slayer of lies: Stannis (not Azor Ahai reborn, past), the mummer's dragon (some will find this confusing because Aegon is a false Targaryen, but what it really means is that Aegon will not become king of Westeros, a false future), a stone dragon bursting from a tower (this clearly indicates that Melisandre's talk about awaking stone dragons is false, a false prophecy)
Bride of fire: her silver running toward the pond where she and Drogo made love (past), a skeleton smiling sadly (this could be either Victarion or Euron, though I think it's Euron, a man she will not marry, a false future [this also suggests that Euron is already dead as does the ghost of Highheart prophecy, see below]), a blue rose growing from a wall of ice (not only does this mean she will marry Jon, but is a blatant declaration that he is the prince that was promised, prophecy)
Additional note) when Martin said that some fans had guessed the ending I'm thinking it’s probably because they did what I did.
Now we move on to Arya. I have to admit, she is one of my favorite characters, but my analysis is done with a deliberate effort to screen out any bias I have. Part of the problem with fan predictions about ASOIAF is that they all too often predict what they want to happen, not what is actually likely.
So here goes. I have to mention that I really wasn’t into GOT until fairly late, about midway through the 4th season, and I still haven’t read any of the books. It was from reading all the articles with people speculating about what was going to happen that got me to watch the show. Even then I didn’t take any of the fan theories seriously, not even R+L=J.
What really triggered my interest was Lady Stoneheart. To me she makes no sense. I starting analyzing this from a story structure standpoint and not from any knowledge of the characters. She just doesn’t really fit any kind of role. When I first read about her my immediate thought was that she was an insert, an idea that seemed good at the time, but which served no purpose. So I starting thinking about what could her purpose be and I immediately fastened onto Jon’s murder. Deric died to bring Catelyn back to life and I thought ‘how cool’, she could do the same thing to resurrect Jon. This was actually a popular notion at the time. Now we know that’s not going to happen because Shireen is the one who dies for Jon.
That then leads to the question of who would she die for. There are only two possible answers: Sansa and Arya. Of those two only Arya makes sense. When looking at the facts we are going to have to mix the TV show with the books here, but it works. If we assume that Arya is going to be killing Walder Frey in the books, which is likely, then we have to ask ‘what will happen afterward?’ This is how I think it will go down TV and books both:
Arya, with the help of the pro-Stark Freys, of which there are some, free Edmure and they then let in the Tully men. You’ll remember all those men Jamie so conveniently let go last season. They all then take over the Twins, but not before most of the pro-Walder Freys escape. ‘Hooray!’ right? But then Arya insists on going after her kill list which means going to King’s Landing. All those escaped Freys will be outside waiting for her. By this point Arya has become a real kick-ass warrior. SUPER NINJA ARYA! Unlike some people I don’t think she’s going to slack off on her training now that she’s left the HoBaW. We’ve already had scenes showing her continuing to practice her waterdancing. Like Luke in STAR WARS, she learned the basics from the Faceless Men, but most of her skills are going to be self-taught. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ultimately ends up as the greatest warrior in Westeros’ history.
Anyway, Arya will kill 6-7 Freys, but will end up being overwhelmed. Just at this moment Sandor and the Brotherhood arrive just after the nick of time. We may even get a nice moving scene of Sandor crying over her corpse. As you can guess on your own, Deric sacrifices himself to bring her back to life. We’ll probably even get the reunion with Nymeria that everyone has been waiting for. If all this isn’t enough to finally prove that Arya is the 3rd head of the dragon, or rather 2nd to be technical, I’ll explain below, than a ‘re-birth’ scene with her standing in the middle of the giant wolf pack probably will. D&D simply removed the ‘middle man’.
As you can see my own opinions on the three heads of the dragon are very different from everyone else’s. But I do have strong reasons for believing it. I’m afraid I’m going to have to rant about the obvious again. To me, the evidence for this is so unbelievably obvious that I simply can’t understand how no one seems to have noticed it. Once again, we have to analyze the story structure.
I have identified 4 primary story threads running through ASOIAF. All others connect in some way to these 4. The first two are the most obvious, Dany’s and Jon’s. The third requires only a little more thought and that’s Arya’s. Her’s is simply meaningless unless you count it as one of the primary story arcs. The last, believe it or not, is Cersei’s. Now I know you’re going to object and say Tyrion’s and that Cersei doesn’t even have a POV until the third book. But believe me it’s her. Tyrion and Sansa’s arcs revolve around her until they both leave King’s Landing and even then we still concentrate on what’s happening in King’s Landing. The fact is even though you might argue that Bran, Tyrion, and Sansa all have their own independent arcs, the truth is all three are directly connected to one of the four primary ones, Bran to Jon’s, Sansa and Tyrion to Cersei’s until they leave King’s Landing when Sansa’s is tied to Jon’s and Tyrion’s to Dany’s.
All this makes story telling sense. 3 heroes and 1 villain. The three heads of the dragon and the biggest baddy of them all. Before you object and ask about the WW they don’t really count. The WW are really more like a force of nature. That’s is actually how D&D describe them. They kill because it’s their nature, not out of some intrinsic evil. I’ll go into more depth on them below. Suffice it to say, they are a force of destruction, but they aren’t the worst baddy of them all. Eventually, of course, all these arcs are going to converge, but you really have to think of ASOIAF more as four threads woven together than as one single story.
Let’s get back to Arya and how I think this will all play out. Once again I’m going to harp on the obvious. First, we need to look at Dany. Here we have one of the most obvious details in the story that literally NOBODY I’ve read or heard has talked about. Mirri Maz Dur says to Dany what I always took to be sarcasm, but what Dany interpreted as prophecy: ‘when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, when mountains blow through the air like leaves, when the seas dry up, and her womb quickens again then he will return.’ Dany naturally interprets this to mean she’s barren and it is a reasonable assumption. I think she’s wrong, but leave that for later.
If you don’t think this is really, really important than you clearly haven’t been paying attention. Family is everything to Dany. She makes this abundantly clear repeatedly. She only decides to go after the Iron Throne after the death of her brother. It is not her personal ambition which is driving her. Rather it is the wrong that was done to her family. She has to be thinking about her legacy. What happens after she dies? I don’t believe Martin intends a feel good ‘Westeros is now a democracy, feudalism is dead’ ending and he has already said it isn’t. How then is Dany going to deal with the future of the kingdom given that she’s convinced she can’t have children?
Dany is very much a controlling kind of person. She’s been burned repeatedly by trusting others and is unlikely to just let things work themselves out. Given that she’s going to have to accept that whatever man she marries, “cough” Jon Snow “cough”, is going to have to sleep with another woman, she is going to want to have some say in who that woman is. Face it, if it’s up to her, and it is, then she is the one picking his mistress. I’ve identified 5 criteria in her choice. Well, six really.
1) The two have to get along. Dany isn’t going to pick anyone she can’t tolerate obviously.
2) It has to be someone who can reasonably be assumed to be able to have children.
3) It has to be someone who has strong family ties. It can’t be just any tavern wench.
4) It has to be someone who can actively promote Dany’s agenda.
5) Most important, it has to be someone who is NOT afraid of dragons.
There is only one possible candidate who fits all these criteria: Arya. The two are really very much alike. Both are fundamentally after the same thing, a family. Dany has many followers, people who literally worship her and would die for her. She is indeed a person who inspires devotion. But none of them are her friend, not in the truest sense of the word. She tries to be close with Missandei, but Missandei can never get over her awe. Dany will always be ‘the Queen’. Arya can give Dany want she truly desires, someone to talk to, to be friends with. Someone who will treat her like a sister and not a queen. Knowing Martin and D&D, I think it’s highly likely that there will be some physical intimacy involved too. Anyway…
Arya is young, in the books only 11, but that’s almost marrying age for Westeros. And she has the Stark name. Enough said.
As mentioned before, Arya is evolving into a hell of a warrior. Here’s something out of history which any brits might know. Eugene and Marlborough. Anyone from England should know Marlborough and if you’re Austrian than Eugene should be familiar. John Churchill, ancestor to the more famous Winston, Duke of Marlborough was one of the greatest generals in all of history. Eugene of Savoy, a Hapsburg prince, was too. Together they were arguably the best power couple the world has ever seen. They were as close as two men who aren’t gay can be. They fought against France when it was at the height of its power. Nice irony: the two couldn’t speak to each other in their own native tongues so they communicated in French. People called Eugene ‘the brain’ and Marlborough ‘the brawn’. Arya is going to be Dany’s right hand, or left hand as the case may be.
Finally, everyone is afraid of the dragons including Dany. Arya isn’t afraid of anything. She demonstrates this fact repeatedly. Being nose to nose, literally, with a dragon she’s probably going to pet it, not scream in terror.
Oh, and here’s the bonus number 6: Arya’s already in love with Jon. There are clear hints of this even in the show. That certainly can’t hurt.
Here’s another point. Dany is identified as fire, but everyone always attributes ice to Jon. This ignores the fact that Jon is both ice and fire. He is the Song of Ice and Fire. The books fundamentally are about him. Therefore, who is ice? You can guess already. This is reflected in the triumvirate nature of the dragon which is endlessly repeated. Arya is also becoming far more cold than she was in the beginning, whereas Dany is showing more emotion.
Finally we reach the point of how I think things will go down. Dany is going to land in Westeros, but she is not going to seize King’s Landing immediately. The one serious flaw in Cersei’s planning is that she always telegraphs her moves. She’s already told everyone how she intends to fight Dany by blowing up the Sept. Dany is far too smart to just walk into the trap. So she will blockade the city instead.
Arya and the Hound are going to team up again. The Brotherhood is likely to head for the Twins. The two won’t be able to get past the blockade however. While trying to figure out a way in Arya is going to spot the dragons. Here we have to examine Arya’s desires a little.
I am going to endlessly harp on people’s obliviousness and here is a shining example. Arya’s greatest dream as a child was to be a dragon rider. They even tell us in that scene between her and Tywin in the show. How blatant does foreshadowing have to be? When Arya sees Drogon flying around she’ll have to make a choice and there’s actually some pretty good irony here. Whenever Sansa went after what you might call her ‘childish dreams’ she got burned. This is what drives her more and more toward the dark side. Arya deliberately chose to follow the dark side right from the start. Yet it will be her ‘childish dream’ which will prove her salvation. When she sees the dragon I don’t think she’ll be able to resist. Her kill list, her revenge, all of it will go out the window when she sees a chance to become what she always wanted.
Now, it won’t be easy. As the books tell us, all the Stark children are wargs. But two stand out, Bran and Arya. Arya doesn’t know how to warg consciously, but I doubt that will stop her from trying. It needs to be said that warging a self-aware, intelligent creature, like a person, is impossible. Bran can do it with Hodor only because Hodor is mentally challenged. Dragons are smarter than people. But I think her attempt will have an unforeseen consequence, causing her to form a telepathic link to the dragons. She’ll be able to actually communicate to them directly. Know exactly what they are thinking. Something even Dany can’t do. When she tries to warg Drogon this is probably going to lead Dany directly to her, literally. There will be some tension at first, ‘what the hells are you doing to my dragon’ and so on. But I’m certain the two of them are going to hit it off pretty quickly.
Before you start getting the idea of happily ever afters going, this is not going to be all roses. You’ll remember I mentioned how Dany inspires devotion, but there is a bad side to devotion: jealousy. How are all those people, some of whom have served her for years, going to react when this girl suddenly turns up and becomes her new bff? Especially Missandei and Jorah? This is exactly the kind of story Martin writes. And, quite possibly, could also lead to the ‘treason for love’ the prophecy mentioned. How Dany deals with an attack on Arya, especially if she’s hurt real bad, could be a good indicator of where she’s going as a character. All this might be emphasized even more if it appears to everyone, including the audience, that Arya is taking over and giving all the orders.
I doubt this story line is going to be pursued too long because there just aren’t enough episodes left and only two books. But don’t be surprised if an entire episode next season is devoted specifically to Arya and Dany’s relationship. Also, the two are probably going to be plotting their joint marriage to Jon too. There is plenty of foreshadowing of this as well. The constant references to Aegon the Conqueror and his two wives should be a dead giveaway.
Additional note) I guessed Theon was going to be captured by Euron before the rumors stared.
Additional, additional note) The foreshadowing of Arya going ‘west of Westeros’ is almost certainly a hint that Martin intends, or intended, to write a story about her set after the ASOIAF. She’ll probably build a fleet and be like a combination of Magellan and Captain Cook. We might even get to see what’s in all the blank spaces on the map. Unfortunately, given the speed of Martin’s writing we may never see it.
Given the talk about Euron and the Greyjoys I wanted to convey my own thoughts on the matter. First off we have to be clear. Euron’s story is arguably the most changed from how it will be in the books. Nothing, not even Dorne, has been changed as much. So it will be necessary to separate the book story from the show story to understand what is going to happen.
There are three main alterations between the books and show, not counted minor ones, and these are the Dorne storyline, Sansa’s storyline, and Euron’s. We can all understand why. There is only so much air time and given the parameters decided by HBO when they chose to make the show it was inevitable that sacrifices had to be made. D&D decided to concentrate on the Starks, the Lannisters, and Dany. Everything else was secondary.
If you understand that the books are going to inevitably end up where the show is it is actually possible to see what they changed and why. The Dorne story is easiest. We know where it is as of a DWD. How it reaches its end is probably something like this:
Aegon will eventually discover that he is a Blackfyre. He is also probably going to marry Arienne. For Jon Connington, who was almost a fanatical loyalist to the Targaryens, this would be the greatest of betrayals. Yes, he raised the boy as his own son, but it was always conditional on the belief that Aegon was Rhaegar’s son. His marrying Arienne instead of Dany would be the last straw. Since he’s dying of greyscale anyway he’ll have nothing left to lose. He’s probably going to murder Aegon and Arienne. Combine this with Quentyn being killed by the dragons and you can see why Doran would turn to the Lannisters. Family is everything. Trystane’s marriage to Myrcella is actually Doran’s backup plan, not an elaborate bluff as he told his daughter. This is why the Sand Snakes murder him, because they see him as a traitor. All of this, better story though it is, requires not just more screen time, but a lot more characters. So it is easy to see why it was cut out.
Sansa’s story isn’t so complicated, but it is a lot more negative. Obviously, she is not going to marry Ramsey in the books. She’s never going to meet him. She is going to be cooped up in the Eyrie with Littlefinger doing who knows what. Jon Snow is going to retake the north all on his own. Ramsey is probably going to win the battle and kill Stannis, but it’s going to be a pyrrhic victory. His army will be so shattered that a newly resurrected Jon will have no trouble rallying the north behind himself. The Wildlings will be outraged at the torture and death of Mance. Yes, Ramsey is going to capture him. Jon will thus smash Ramsey with ease. In other words, it’ll be too easy for him for the show. Only after he takes the north will Sansa show up. And there isn’t going to be any kissy reunions between them. Sansa hates Jon and there is nothing in the books to show that this has changed. She’s going to be all ‘I’m the Stark, you’re a bastard’, ‘this is mine, give it to me!’, and so on. She is going to be a lot more bratty and demanding, not nearly so sympathetic as she is in the show. I’m guessing most readers are going to hate her. Obviously, that’s not going to work so well for the show. In addition, D&D had to keep her in the loop somehow. All that being said, I am still convinced that Sansa is the one who’s going to kill Littlefinger. I’ve believed this since season 1 and I am still certain of it. She’s probably going to do it after she learns finally that he was the one who persuaded Joffrey to kill Ned. Revenge for marrying Catelyn as well as advancing his plans.
Now, I’ll deal with Euron’s TV plotline first. It isn’t going to be that complicated and I doubt he’ll survive to the end of season 7.
Because Yara and Theon are allied with Dany Euron is guaranteed to ally with Cersei. But he is going to be the main baddy of the season. Cersei is probably going to be isolated in King’s Landing and not taking much action outside it. Euron’s going to do what his idiot brother should have done. He won’t try to hold castles. He’ll have his Ironborn raid and pillage the coast as the real Vikings they’re based on did. Because all the lords outside King’s Landing are likely to swear allegiance to Dany as soon as she arrives she becomes responsible for protecting them. In addition, all those Lannister soldiers who engaged in banditry have got to be disposed of. The Riverlands are going to demand justice and Dany is going to want to give it to them. In addition, the slavers and the misnamed ‘Free Cities’ are going to cause trouble too. Dany has made many enemies in Essos and they aren’t going to leave her alone.
You should be able to see where this is heading. Dany is going to be scattering her army all over the place to deal with these threats. She’s probably going to be sending an army back to Essos to fight the slavers led by Jorah. All this is going to culminate in a massive raid on Oldtown. Euron’s plan is to get Dany to scatter her army, sail to King’s Landing, join with Cersei, and then their combined forces will smash the troops left with Dany. I stress plan because it’s not going to work.
Dany, being the genius she is, is going to see right through it. Oldtown is thus going to end up as a trap for Euron. He will escape, but lose most of his fleet. He will ‘capture’ Theon. Capture in quotes, because Theon is actually going to allow himself to be captured so as to get near Euron. I have been trying to figure out what Theon’s ultimate fate will be and a redemption tale with him killing Euron makes the most sense. He’ll probably die, but it still makes the most sense. He, like Sansa, will also receive help from Arya to do it. For Sansa I’m imagining something like ‘I have a gift for you… from my sister’ and then she stabs Littlefinger in the gut with the exact same knife he claimed was Tyrion’s.
This is absolutely nothing at all like how it will go down in the books. It seems that not even Martin could resist having a fantasiesk fantasy storyline in his fantasy epic.
To truly understand Euron’s book plot we going to have to do a little deep diving. The videos on IdeasOfIceAndFire talk about all the connections with HP Lovecraft that are in ASOIAF. If we think about the gods of Westeros, or Planatos as some people are insisting on calling it, as not ‘gods’ but simply really powerful beings we can start to get a grasp of what’s happening. These not ‘gods’ are immensely powerful, but not omnipotent or omniscient. They can influence people, through dreams, visions, prophecies, thoughts, but they can’t make people act a certain way. I noticed right from the start how ‘convenient’ it was that Littlefinger started a devastating war in Westeros right at the very moment the WW planned to invade it. The ‘Great Other’ didn’t make him do all this, but it probably put the notion in his head.
They also don’t give their favors for free.
Martin has said he opposes the standard Good vs Evil dichotomy. But what about Evil vs Evil? We have a perfect example of it from our own world all of us have heard of. It’s called WW2. Two of the most tyrannical, homicidal dictators that ever lived fought each other and cost the lives of tens of millions. All the evidence we have indicates that these ‘gods’ fit that description very well.
Here I admit I am going out on a limb, but I think Euron is already dead. I mean literally a walking corpse. Not a wight, but his spirit is gone. Replaced by… dun, dun, daaaa…, the Drowned God. People have speculated about how Patchface is an agent of the Drowned God or something similar. I think Patchface was a ‘preliminary’ try. A practice if you will. As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t possible to mentally control an intelligent, self-aware being. Patchface’s mind was destroyed when the Drowned God tried to take him over. He succeeded with Euron. Remember the story about how Euron tried to throw himself overboard? And remember how he cut out all the tongues of his crew because ‘I needed silence’? I think he actually did throw himself overboard. He drowned and the Drowned God took his body and made an avatar of it. He silenced his crew so they couldn’t tell anyone. Remember also the prophecies in the House of the Undying and the ghost of Highheart, a smiling skeleton and a dead crow with seaweed on its wings. Both are strongly suggestive that Euron is already dead.
So what is ‘Euron’ up to? The Drowned God, so Moqorro says, is an agent of the Great Other. And ‘Euron’ himself says he wants to join the kraken and the dragon. This, I think, says it all. ‘Euron’ is gathering all those priests and men of power. How did the warlocks get on his ship by the way? He’s going to use them to bind a kraken to him. Krakens are supposed to be like the dragons of the sea, creatures of ultimate destruction. He will then unleash the kraken on Oldtown. Whether he keeps control of it or it rampages doesn’t matter. He will demand Dany marry him or he will use the beast to destroy much of Westeros. And Dany is probably going to seriously consider it. It’s doubtful she’d be willing to sacrifice her dragons to kill it. I’m sure it’ll be bigger than them. Being a hero, she will of course sacrifice herself for the greater good. In the end though, she’ll be saved by Theon, who will once again sacrifice himself to kill ‘Euron’.
Here I’m talking about Cersei mostly. Her story is a little more difficult to suss out, but I will try. As most people seem to think, it doesn’t look like it can go anywhere next season, but I think I know where it will.
Martin has already talked about how history has influenced ASOIAF and people have also noticed Lovecraft and other fantasy in it. But one influence people mostly seem to have missed is Shakespeare. There is a lot of Shakespeare in ASOIAF, especially in Cersei’s story. The one character in particular she resembles is easily the Bard’s most famous: Macbeth. The man, not the lady. From her obsession with prophecy to her paranoia, she is a perfect reflection of that character. Her behavior is likely to be the same.
To begin, let’s start with another famous Shakespearean character, Richard the 3rd. Richard the real man is most famous for murdering, or being suspected of murdering, his nephews for the throne. This is what is likely to happen to Cersei, both book and show. She will be accused of murdering her son Tommen. Irony alert: of all the things she’s done this is the one thing she hasn’t done, although you can argue that she still bears responsibility for his death. Nonetheless, she will be accused of it and people are certain to believe it.
Arguably the one thing worse than kinslaying in Westeros would be a mother who murders her own son to obtain the throne. This is going to turn just about everyone against her. Like Macbeth in the movie version, she will be abandoned by just about everyone, including her family and Jamie. But not before her paranoia wreaks havoc on King’s Landing.
Here is how I think it will play out. Some of this I have mention already. Dany is going to land in Dorne with most of her army, but she will send some of it north to King’s Landing to blockade the city. She then marches north to reunite her forces, collecting new followers along the way. All the lords of Westeros south of the neck will be begging to join her including most of the Lannisters. There will be a few hold outs. There always are. Dany though won’t attack King’s Landing because of Cersei’s wildfire.
Dany will then have her hands full dealing with Euron, ex-Lannisters who have become full on bandits, and the slavers. This will leave Cersei cooped up in King’s Landing and she’s likely to go all Ivan the Terrible on the people there. I’m thinking The Terror and ‘national razor’ time. That’s a reference to the French Revolution for those who don’t know. Most of her men are going to defect led by Bronn, naturally.
Eventually of course Dany is going to have to take King’s Landing and given her propensity for covert operations it’s likely to involve Arya, the Hound, the Sand Snakes, Bronn, and probably Varys. You might think this would be the end for Cersei. Oh no. As one of the primary characters her story won’t end until the very end of the story. Cersei will escape, probably with the help of the slavers or the Iron Bank. They’ll likely hire Salladhor Saan, remember him, to smuggle her out of King’s Landing. Jamie is going to contrive to not go with her. Qyburn is probably going to die igniting the wildfire under the Red Keep. And you’ll finally get your Clegane Bowl you’ve wanted so bad, only it’ll be Arya, the Hound, and possibly the Sand Snakes against the Mountain. Though it won’t end the way you want. When they find the undead Frankenstein’s monster is immune to their weapons Arya is going to whistle up her dragon and ‘drakaris’ him.
What happens after that is even more interesting. Cersei will be running around Essos looking for help to get her revenge. Dany is going to send the Hound, because what are hounds for, to get her back. And Jamie is probably going to be forced to help him. This is definitely a poetic way for his storyline to travel. If the show were longer I’d even add Arya to the mix, but there just isn’t enough time. Daario and that surviving slaver guy are both likely to make reappearances. I’m betting that Tyrion’s judgement about ‘their self interest’ will finally be vindicated. ‘It is no longer in our interest to fight the Queen of Dragons.’
This is the key point of her storyline because it’s going to last through season 8. When the wall comes down at the end of season 7 the new war for the dawn is going to be a world war. I’m sure stories of ice demons and such are going to feature prominently in season 8. This is where Cersei makes her choice. She is going to put her revenge above that of all life on Planatos. Her madness and hate will cause her to do all she can to destroy Dany even if it means siding with the WW. She is going to actively aid them in destroying Westeros.
This shows you the difference between Martin and Tolkien and most other fantasy writers. To Martin, as it is with most humanists, evil is a decision you make, not an intrinsic quality you’re born with. To the religious, or at least the most stringent ones, good and evil are intrinsic to people which cannot be changed no matter what your behavior. Thus, if you’re good anything you do, however bad, is excusable. If you’re evil than even if you do good deeds it is only a ploy to win people over. To most of us good and evil are questions of behavior. You’re bad if you behave badly. Evil it therefore a conscious decision. Ramsey wasn’t born evil. He chose to do evil things. The same is true of all the other villains in ASOIAF. Cersei is going to choose evil and it is a very great evil. That is why she is going to be the ultimate bad guy in the story. And the more she suffers the worse her evil will become.
I wonder if Martin ever played D&D, the game not the producers. His story really does feel like a D&D session, pre-90’s version.
Here are some random thoughts to fill out my predictions for ASOIAF.
1st) The Winterfell crypts. A lot of talk is going on about these crypts. I confess I don’t know what’s in them, but I can make a guess. Many people assume it has to do with Jon. But the question about the crypts date back thousands of years. Surely whatever secret is there has to also be pretty old. Looking at the evidence we have: the crypts and the Wall were both supposed to have been built by Bran the Builder. The wall is supposed to have been made with magic. ‘The North remembers’, ‘A Stark must always be in Winterfell’, and ‘Winter is coming’ are all associated with the Starks. What does all this mean? Given that magic in Westeros has to function like any other force of nature I contend that it has to be connected with the Wall somehow. The most likely answer therefore is whatever magic maintains the wall must be located in the crypts. The hot springs, which we are told are only located there and at Dragonstone, are a natural energy source. Whatever power creates the Wall has to be very strong. The Wall is far too big to be made by a one off spell. That’s why the Starks are in Winterfell and what they are supposed to remember, though they obviously forgot. And that is also why they are seen as defenders of the Wall.
2nd) How will the Wall come down? There have been many suggestions, but none comes close to the truth in my opinion. The mark on Bran’s arm is way too weak to destroy the magic which maintains the Wall, assuming its even still there, which it probably isn’t. I’m betting it’s worn off by now. Only something of tremendous power could do such a thing and fortunately we have the answer. As with so much of Martin’s clues it is staring us in the face. There’s an event mentioned in the books called the ‘Tragedy at Hardhome’. Exactly what it is, is a mystery, but some have suggested that it sounds an awful lot like a volcanic eruption. If Hardhome is a supervolcano and it explodes… It is conveniently located close to the wall and it also fits with Martin’s use of real life events to make his fantasy more credible. Remember the destruction of Valyria? It leaves open the possibility that the catastrophe might be either artificial or natural, something else Martin likes. A volcanic eruption would also cause a ‘nuclear winter’, a permanent night with no end. Kinda like the ‘Long Night’. If you look at the map you might notice an island south of Yi Ti that looks a lot like the exploded cone of a volcano. It is also convenient for my next point.
3rd) Dany’s pregnancy. As I mentioned before, Dany thinks she’s barren. But that prophecy of Mirri Maz Duur sounds a lot like a volcanic eruption to me. ‘When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east’. As others have noted, this effect can be caused by many things, but especially forest fires. And volcanoes cause forest fires. ‘When mountains blow in the wind like leaves’ – volcanic ash. ‘When the seas dry up’. Volcanoes in and near the ocean can cause tsunamis as well as earthquakes and Hardhome is near the sea. If you remember the Indonesian tsunami the water receded from the shore before rushing back in. ‘When your womb quickens again’. Dany has what some have described as a miscarriage in ADWD. Dany is going to get pregnant again, probably in season 8.
Another Additional Note) In any fantasy story, if anybody gives a scenario that is impossible, than that guarantees IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN!
4th) Illyrio and Varys have a falling out. Both support Aegon, but what happens when he dies. Illyrio is a slave owner and a corrupt man. He helps Dany only to advance his own objectives. Would he continue to do so with his motivation gone? I don’t think so. He is a Blackfyre supporter, her enemy. And he isn’t likely to forgive Jon Connington for killing his son. Also, she isn’t going to fulfill Viserys’ promise to make him Master of Coin. She has Olenna, who is much better suited and more honest anyway. The dragon eggs he gave her almost certainly came from the Red Keep and not the Shadowlands, which means they were her rightful property in the first place. Illyrio is likely to become the new leader of the slavers, albeit unofficially. And he’s probably going to get some help from the Iron Bank because they are also invested in slavery.
So what does this mean for Varys? I think he undergoes a conversion. Yes, he is probably a Blackfyre himself, but I suspect that he’ll be won over by Dany. Her opposition to slavery, plus the loss of everything he fought for, is probably going to make him grasp his claimed motive as his new objective.
5th) The true objective of the Faceless Men. There is nothing in the story that says that only red priests can see the future. I’m guessing the Kindly Man might also possess the power to see visions. I think the Kindly Man knows what Arya’s future is going to be and wants it to happen. It has been mentioned that he advances Arya despite her frequent failures. Why I can’t tell you, but as has been noticed, they are far more forgiving than they should be. Even though the Faceless Men would appear to be allied with the Great Other, this is a total misunderstanding of the Faceless Men. The Faceless Men aren’t in love with death, or they’d go around killing everyone. They see death as a gift and you can’t give death unless people have life first. They believe in people living as well as dying, which is why they demand so much to kill people. They are actually allied with R’hllor.
6th) The Sand Snake who is killed by Euron is Sarella, the one hiding in Old Town. Sam is going to make friends with her before Euron destroys the city. She’ll die along with most of the other novice maesters. Sorry to disappoint people.
7th) The tourney at Herrenhall and Lyanna's 'abduction'. I believe that not only did Rhaegar and Lyanna elope, but that Robert knew about it. It's the only explanation I can find to why the whole rebellion happened. I'm sure Lyanna hated Robert and refused to marry him. But her dad was going to force her too. Running away was her only option. Robert almost certainly found out she married Rhaegar, probably because she told him. He lied to start the war and killed Rhaegar for marrying 'his' Lyanna.
8th) Ashara Dayne is Quathe. People totally misunderstand why Ned went to Starfall after the Tower of Joy. He didn’t go there to bring back a sword. He went there to ask Ashara to be Jon’s mother. I’m betting he already knew about her still-born daughter and that Ashara was the one who told him where the Tower of Joy was. It is reasonable to believe, given that she just lost a baby, that he would ask her to be the surrogate mother to Jon. There could be any number of reasons for why she refused, but I’m guessing it has to do with the prophecy. She was Rhaegar’s close friend and originally a pupil of Serra Seastar. She must believe in the prophecy herself and knows that Jon would never become the prince if she was the one who raised him. She understands, as the Kindly Man appears to, that you cannot interfere with prophecy. Both Cersei and Rhaegar, each in different way, tries to and it always ends up in tragedy. Jon has to join the Night’s Watch and fight the Others and he wouldn’t do that if she raised him. Her family helped her fake her death and she ran off to Asshai. Maybe to find Serra or maybe just to learn magic, who knows?
9th) Dawn is Lightbringer. I’m not going too much into this. It’s just that Dawn is too unique to be meaningless.
10th) Defeating the White Walkers. Strangely, nobody seems to be asking this question. How the hell are they going to defeat the WW? I don’t believe, as some do, that Jon is going to forge a peace with them. That is actually a more ‘feel-good’ ending than a big apocalyptic battle would be. So how is it going to end? The answer most likely goes back to fantasy story telling. In order to defeat the great evil some heroic act will be needed. Most logically this will involve reversing whatever magic created the WW in the first place. How to accomplish this I don’t know, but it’s guaranteed to involve a great sacrifice. Jon is going to be called on to make this sacrifice. Dany and Arya will almost certainly go after him to stop him. A powerful magic spell is also likely to be involved, probably with Melisandre sacrificing herself to fuel it. In the end I suspect Drogon will be the one who sacrifices himself to end the WW.
11th) How does this fit into a ‘bitter-sweet’ ending? This is tough because it depends so much on people’s personal perspective. Any ending with the hero alive and the evil vanquished can be described as a ‘good’ ending. I think we need to see it from the characters point of view. For them a bitter-sweet ending would most likely be a pyrrhic victory. Yes, they’ve defeated the WW, but Westeros is devastated. Millions are dead, food is scarce, cities, farms, and towns are destroyed, and winter is still here. The defeat of the WW will almost certainly bring an end to the unnatural seasons of Planatos, but that doesn’t mean that spring will suddenly start. It’ll still be winter and a bad one. How will our heroes deal with all those orphans with no families to feed them and no food to feed them with? Children without fathers, sisters without brothers, mothers without sons. Any ending is going to happen only after the Seven Kingdoms are all but annihilated.
Last point; I don’t think the two horns mean anything. They give every indication of being ‘MacGuffins’. For those who don’t know in the movie industry a MacGuffin is a plot device that eventually proves to be trivial or meaningless to the plot. The classic example is of the ‘Maltese Falcon’ from the movie of the same name. The characters in the film spend the entire movie chasing after it only to find in the end that it’s a fake. The dragon horn will be destroyed by Daenerys and the Horn of Winter is probably a complete myth.