The north is hard and cold, and has no mercy. (ASOS, Catelyn III)
The North was in ruins. The North is in ruins. The king was dead. His armies decimated. Half the country was under foreign occupation. And the Starks, the ancestral rulers of the North, were dead, fled or captives of hostile houses. The Ironborn Invasion, the savagery of the Bastard of Bolton and above all the Red Wedding had despoiled a whole region of its king, its lords, its lands, its armies and its people. Injustice reigns in the North. But despite all the horrors visited on the region, despite it being a broken country, there was hope, a hope that wrongs would be righted and that justice would return.
Hello! And welcome to a brand new monthly series analyzing northern politics and winter warfare in the wake of the Red Wedding. In this series, I’ll be covering the major, middling and minor players, their plots and their conspiracies set in the North. We’ll be taking a deep-dive into all of this, because if anything, the North is an intriguing mess. Shifting alliances, vengeance and claims to Winterfell and the North present readers of A Song of Ice and Fire with a chaotic and enticing plot that starts in A Storm of Swords and takes off in A Dance with Dragons.
To kick things off, I wanted to talk about a theory about a subtle double-crossing that starts in A Clash of Kings, bounds its way into A Storm of Swords and sees some ramifications in the northern plotline from A Dance with Dragons. Tywin Lannister conspired with Roose Bolton and Walder Frey to betray the Starks and end Stark independence, but that may not have been the only betrayal he planned. In fact, Tywin Lannister seemed to be planning another betrayal against those he conspired with.
In Part 1, we talked about characters whose arcs in The Winds of Winter seem to be moving in good or neutral directions. But this time, we’re moving into the dark side where characters that we previously thought were good and noble are moving in ignoble directions. Or maybe they were never noble to begin with. But George RR Martin isn’t simply painting a black and white tale. There are shades of gray in these characters. Moreover, these characters turning to the dark side have both historical inspiration (within the universe) as well as ambiguity which colors all of Martin’s work.
Today, we’ll cover:
Tyrion Lannister: From Tyrion to Tywin (again)
Daenerys Targaryen: From Rhaegar to Aerys III
Cersei Lannister: From Rhaenyra to Robert Baratheon
Jon Connington: From Rhaegar’s lieutenant to Tywin’s Shadow
Barristan Selmy: From Gerold Hightower to Criston Cole
If you don’t care to listen to the podcast through wordpress, you are welcome to listen to us at the following places:
In terms of interests in ASOIAF, one of biggest interests is The Winds of Winter. George RR Martin’s long-awaited 6th novel is a topic that many people are curious about (or desperate to get their hands on). But for me, my interests in the book is… well, it’s something a little more than simple interest. Whether it’s the writing progress, sample chapters, read chapters or really anything, I’ve tried to get my hands on every scrap of information about The Winds of Winter. Over on /r/asoiaf, I wrote up a Grand Winds of Winter post about 9 months ago, but I didn’t have the space on reddit to make the post as grand as it could possibly be. So, I thought I might try to compile the true Winds of Winter resource here on the blog.
Spoiler Warning: Everything past this point will contain spoilers for The Winds of Winter.