The Murdered and the Missing Part 2: The Missing

Benjen Stark, artwork by Fantasy Flight Games

Earlier, the podcast team published a podcast discussing the murder mysteries and missing persons of the book series. The podcast ran a little long, so the podcast was split into two podcasts, one discussing the murders, and the other the missing. The second part is now available for your listening pleasure.

In this chapter, we discuss the following:

  • Benjen Stark
  • Tyrek Lannister
  • Gerion Lannister
  • Raynald Westerling
  • Ashara Dayne

We also talk about what it means for a narrative to have a character disappear to show up later, and to disappear to remove them as pieces from the plot, wonder if Brightroar is its own “missing person,” and voice such controversial opinions as: “Septa Lemore has hands.”

Check us out on Podbean or itunes. As always, feel free to check out our podcast notes on the topic.

You can pre-order the next Tower of the Hand e-book featuring essays by Jim (SomethingLikeaLawyer) and Jeff (BryndenBFish) over at Amazon if you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy. It’s set to come out on May 8, 2015.


Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF Podcast

18 responses to “The Murdered and the Missing Part 2: The Missing

  1. Robin Goodfellow

    Septa Lemore has hands!

    Fascinating discussion, definitely made me consider some stuff in a new light. I had always been of the opinion Benjen was either Coldhands or dead and since he isn’t Coldhands, well… I’d never considered the option you guys put forward, so that’s really interesting. And of course will all prove to be moot when Daario reveals his true identity 😉

    As for Ashara, I agree with you all that she’s dead. She’s served her function in the narrative which I see as twofold – firstly, as you say to add colour to the story, tragedy to Ned’s story, and to illustrate just how destructive the civil war was to that generation, and secondly, as a misdirection in the question of the identity of Jon Snow’s mother.

  2. Joseph

    Really liked this one. A couple random plots.

    1) I assume the Freys wanted to murder Queen Jayne primarily to rule out the possibility of an heir other than Tywin’s theoretical child, right? Revenge and spite were a bonus, of course. I think the Freys might have killed Reynald just because he was a Stark battle companion and not valuable as a hostage, then invented the river story to justify their desecration of an ally’s corpse, but if I had to guess, it’s true and he’s alive.

    2) No love for the “Gerion is a slave on the Silence” theory? I love the idea of Gerion coming back to clean up the Rock with Brightroar, but I doubt it. In any event, if Gerion is alive, slave or Corsair, it’s almost required by the narrative that he meet Tyrion, right? I guess it would work either to learn that he was a broken slave on the Silence of in the Yunkish army, or to learn that he was a Corsair with some ships that Tywin could deliver to Dany.

    3) On the controversial theories, I’ll defend the execution of the wise masters. (i) Did Dany promise not to? Assuming the surrender was unconditional, she wasn’t breaking her word. (ii) The Red Wedding was in direct contravention to the prevailing social norms, while the wise masters seems to be pretty much in line with what you would expect when the Dothraki or the Ghiscari sack a city. (Telling Drogon to flame whats-his-name in Astapor comes closer, IMHO).

    • Rob

      GRRM doesn’t leave Chekov guns hanging on the wall and has continually said that everybody who is missing / murdered will be confirmed by the end of the books.

      Ashara Dayne is Quaithe, not dead and is one of the key characters in the series, quite possibly the individual that fostered Dany in Dorne (where there are actual freaking lemon trees, not Braavos) – detailed discussion here

      Gerion is the Shrouded Lord – If you read Tyrion’s chapters carefully when he is passing through the Royne he thinks he sees his father when he is about to be kissed by the Shrouded Lord but is instead set free – because his uncle wouldn’t kill him. This isn’t a hazy dream or deathly vision when Tyrion is about to die, he just confuses his father for Gerion. The fun loving uncle Tyrion once knew is probably about to unleash hell with Euron on Westeros – both went beyond the Smoking Sea and both will return.

      With regards to Benjen Stark, that’s a bit harder to figure out. Could be dead, but I would take a look at the 2016 A Song of Ice and Fire calender that comes out at the end of this month that GRRM has confirmed reveals a scene from TWOW that will be spoilerish:

      Does that dark haired individual look like Benjen kneeling to the Others in the deep North……? Could be. GRRM has said that we will be seeing the far north in TWOW. Benjen could be the POV that shows us that, or Jon via Ghost warg. Should be interesting.

  3. hi,
    Are you putting out a transcript for the discussion, cause I am pretty sure I missed over 50% of it, and that is just in the first half.

    Though from what i did hear, I love the Benjen-sacrifice theory, not only does he have King’s blood but also the Stark blood. And by all reports, Brandon the builder’s sweat, BLOOD and tears is the reason the wall is standing. He even has royal wildling blood. So him being sacrificed would make sense enough. Plus, another Stark for GRRM to kill.

    I can’t bring myself to care about Tyrek Lannister. I am sure he will make an interesting point. What being one of the few witness of Robert’s death(Lance beyond the reach of mere mortals.) An d sure enpugh, he is climbing the line for the title of lord of westerlands.

    As for Gerion, i personally believe he is dead. I disagree with the grim theory nfriel(?) suggested. Tywin has many faults, but kinslaying is not really his style. Hehad more trouble relations than a brother who mocked ever. Case in point, Tyrion. The monster of House Lannister. Besides Tywin was desperate for a valyrian sword. Desperate enough to allow his brother to go on a fool’s quest?

    According to westerosi culture, he could easily forbid his brother from going. As for money, Kevan said that their father forgot none of his children when he died. It seems all Lannisters are trust-fund kids.

    • somethinglikealawyer

      Blast, I knew I forgot something. I edited the post in to include the post notes. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Another great Podcast guys, really enjoyed it, some insightful chat.

    Benjen – I really hope he is alive, and cling onto the hope that his ranging skills have served him well. Perhaps even an unexpected twist ? Probably not. I liked the idea of the sacrifice regarding the Others. Really, I have no clue.. 🙂

    Tyrek – I had not put much thought into Tyrek, but your chat has piqued my interest. The idea of a LPofW setup with Varys was intriguing, again some cool ideas.

    Gerion – A happy, laughing Lannister, now that would be a change, and the character is fleshed out enough that we all want to meet him. Alas, I feel this may never happen. My opinion is that when world building on such a scale as George you have to have some ‘outs’. For me, this is one such occasion. To give Tywin one brother and siblings to play with is fine. But why not throw in another brother, away from the narrative, with a cool story and personality to spice up the tale, while adding depth and intrigue.

    Raynald – Definitely agree there is a strong chance we may see him again. Not only did the Frey’s say he jumped into the river, but also that there was a trail of blood from the steps of the river. This may indicate he was able to climb out and escape, maybe not. Also notable is the time spent on the text pointing out that Raynald seemed loyal, and that Robb and Grey Wind both liked him. Perhaps it was a setup for a glorious end, but I like to think George has thrown us a scrap there. As for his options in the RL’s, it seems that the BWB and the River Lords have been scheming for quite a while, and have a lot of the area covered, I don’t see it beyond reason that Raynald could find friends in the RL’s, as he is probably still a Stark man, if alive at all. 😉

    Ashara – I’m not sure on Ashara, not Lemore, but her tale seems a little off to me. Really liked some of the ideas and chat on this subject. At the moment, I think I’ll go with ‘being a device to develop the story’, whilst never needing to meet them. Although I have one eye 🙂 on her.

    Again, great work guys and girls, keep it up. : )

    • somethinglikealawyer

      Thanks for the feedback, Wizz. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      One of the other ideas I had for Benjen (regrettably, after we recorded the podcast) to support the one man recon mission against the Others ties neatly into Bran’s story. We need a perspective north of the Wall, and for most of the story, it’s Bran. However, in order for Bran to *do* something, we would need an actor north of the Wall for Bran to speak through weirwoods and possibly control, if necessary. Benjen could very well be that someone instead of Hodor. If Bloodraven could control wights (as is the case for a popular Coldhands theory that he is a Night’s Watch brother controlled or liberated by Brynden’s greenseer powers), then Bran could do the same for Benjen, offering him support and aid.

      • Nice idea ! That would be sweet, I hope for something along those lines, that would be the twist I mentioned I suppose. 🙂 I’m almost certain there’s something there, as his companions return in wight form, and yet still Benjen is absent, and a mystery. George seems to be dangling a carrot there, an early ‘missing persons case’ to be pondered over.

        Bloodraven controlling wights is intriguing, and could work in this case, I hope you’re right, or close. The mind boggles when considering what BR, and subsequently Bran could see, or have seen through the weirnet, and add the Skinchanging abilities, always on a keen look out for rogue Ravens. 😉

  5. Onit

    whats the track at the end. great podcast btw

  6. kevintimba

    Based on the Freys’ stories to Wyman Manderly about the deaths of his relatives, I place no stock in anything they say about Raynald, and I don’t think we’ve grasped the full extent of the unreliable narration that we and Jaime received in his Riverlands PoV chapters. When the show wrote out Jeyne Westerling I assumed for a while that this was a dead end in books, but that was before the showruiners exposed their shocking incompetence and failure to even remember what they’ve done themselves, much less how the books fit together, so I’m quite confident that Raynald is alive and that all sorts of interesting Westerling twists are yet to come in TWoW.

    There’s no intelligence in the show. They wanted screen sex for the stud who played Robb so they invented a character, oblivious to the implications on the larger picture. Then they wanted to maximize the shock effect of the Red Wedding so they brought her along so we could see a pregnant woman stabbed in the belly and get even madder at the Freys. It’s as simple as that – those seeking meaning in the choices of Dork & Douchebag will be sorely disappointed. Raynald lives!

  7. athelas6

    Interesting. Of all of them I think it seems more likely that Tyrek could be living. I hope Benjen is but only the weirwoods know for sure, so to speak. I think your ideas in general are quite clever and thoughtful. I disagree somewhat with the girl at times mostly because it’s off on a tangent from the canon and isn’t always concise. Thank you for your hard work. The murdered and the missing is definitely a fascinating topic.

  8. delinear

    Multiple people thinking Varys took Tyrek is exactly what makes me think Varys doesn’t have him. People in-world are notoriously bad at second guessing the actions of each other (especially when it comes to inscrutable characters like Varys). What I find interesting is that there’s a Tyrion POV where he’s pondering how Varys was so conventiently absent during the bread riot, yet he doesn’t consider that LF is also absent at exactly the same time, and somewhat mysteriously (he’s meant to be either going to or returning from Highgarden, but even Varys seems to be vexxed that he’s lost track of his exact location). I think this is a sneaky way of George telling us to examine who else was absent during the riot that may have had reason to be instrumental in starting it without having a character outright say “Hmm, I wonder if X had anything to do with the riot…”

    Of the two, Varys and Littlefinger, LF seems better placed to both instigate the riot in which Tyrek is taken (the riot starts when a woman supposedly gone mad from gried and carrying her dead baby above her head somehow manages to get past two goldcloaks – and we all know who controls the goldcloaks and could easily arrange this little vignette) and he also seems to have the most to gain from the riot:

    – During the riot Aaron Santagar is killed, probably one of the few men alive who would recognise the infamous dagger LF seems to have reclaimed.

    – Sansa is almost taken, but for the Hound’s intervention. Obviously LF later gets Sansa out via Ser Dontos, so we know she was definitely on his wishlist, kidnapping her here would be a neat way to avoid undue suspicion, everyone would assume her dead or fled.

    – The old High Septon is killed – previously LF complained that he tried borrowing money from the faith and the High Septon was difficult to negotiate with. The replacement High Septon is apparently a nice enough man, but is weak willed and suspected of being a pawn.

    – Preston Greenfield is killed, opening up a spot in the Kingsguard. We later find out from LF that he had suggested to Mace Tyrell while in Highgarden that Loras becoming a member of the Kingsguard could be a condition of the marriage pact – too convenient that a space had recently opened up in the KG, but I guess slightly less convenient that it’s filled by Swann before his return.

    – And of course, Tyrek is snatched. We already know LF has a Stark and an Arryn as ward/captive. A Lannister would round out the set nicely, and he’s just as useful to LF for all the reasons he’d be useful to Varys (either as leverage or as an eventual heir to Casterly Rock).

    LF later revealed that his men had been spreading gruesome tales of the riot while at Highgarden, even though his party had supposedly departed before the riot began, suggesting they had perhaps delayed their departure (explaining Varys’ inability to account for their whereabouts) to take part in the events.

    Varys probably could have started the riot with a few well placed ringleaders in the crowd, but I’m not sure he could have guaranteed the woman with the dead baby could have bypassed the goldcloaks, and moreover I don’t think it fits Varys’ timing to have a highly dangerous riot with the king, the acting Hand and the Queen mother all at the centre of it. If it had gone badly, any one or all three of them could have been killed, which probably would have gifted Kings Landing to Stannis at the time, and a strong king who already seemingly dislikes Varys is the last thing he would have wanted ahead of the eventual arrival of Aegon.

    Varys also doesn’t seemingly have any connection to the other named victims of the riot while LF has at least some textual connection to the majority of them. I think if Varys had wanted to kidnap Tyrek he would have done it in much more controlled circumstances. There was perhaps some risk in all of this for LF, but not as much since he likely controlled both sides of the riots (the ringleaders of the riot and the goldcloaks) and could therefore have at least some control over how events transpired.

  9. GK

    You guys have no imagination. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy listening but cmon.

    You cannot actually believe that Ashara Dayne is gone forever and not someone else. I do not know who actually. Why would that kid that Arya meets from Starfall’s nickname be Ned? Why would the people of Starfall like Ned and the Starks if he killed Ser Arthur and his return caused Ashara to jump off a cliff. Maybe she is Quathe, septa lemore Howland Reed’s wife. I’m not sure. No way that Ned slept w Ashara though 100% Brandon.

    I also think that Arthur is Half Hand and Rhagear is Mance. So you will probably not agree with most of my thinking. Just remember these are fantasy novels with dragons and magic. Nothing is too “tinfoil” (i hate that term btw)

    All in all I enjoyed the listen I just didn’t care for the dude with the accent dismissing the Ashara is Reed’s wife and mother of Jojen & Meera. He sounded like a he was sitting on his high dragon calling people who believe the theory. So I was compelled to comment. I would argue it is laughable if you think Ashara killed herself.

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  11. siomhe

    If Benjen found the Horn of winter, wouldn’t it make sense for him to bury it in a cache of dragon glass wrapped up in a nightswatch cloak? These are the two symbols (dragon glass and night’s watch) of the two things that could stop white walkers. If you had the one weapon that vampires could use to make themselves invincible, wouldn’t you wrap it up in a bunch of crucifixes and bury it in a mound of salt to keep the vampires from being able to reach it. I don’t think the horn was buried for the nightswatch, I think it was buried in a mound of dragon glass to keep the white walkers from getting it.

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  13. Hi there, Could I copy that snapshot and implement that on my webpage?

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