Sometimes I remember how Beric Dondarrion was 22 years old in A Storm of Swords and I suddenly feel like shit for not having already died six times while fighting tyranny with a ragtag band of unlikely heros.
Hi. Once LS is gone, what do you think will happen to BwB?
I think Lady Stoneheart will die, someone will “kill” (she’s already dead though) her. Once she’s “dead”, the Brotherhood Without Banners will be in need of leadership as I think they’ve proven that they need guidance.
But I will admit that the theory/speculation I always return to is Arya returning to the Riverlands- which is why I brought her up here. People don’t seem to realize that even including the Mercy chapter, Arya has had more chapters with the Brotherhood Without Banners than the Faceless Men. They were a huge part of her character arc and not one to be taken lightly.
What connects Arya to Westeros and her old life? Her family and her bond to Nymeria primarily.
And who is actually looking for Arya still? Brienne, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and the Wall/Ramsay plot.
Looking at it, it seems like the Riverlands makes sense.
The BWB are there. They are introduced to us through Arya, she has close bonds with a few, and is held with affection by others. Besides, they have been searching for her for a while as we have been reminded over and over. It makes sense that Arya will meet up with them again. There’s no other reason I can see that will make them get involved in what’s to come otherwise. They definitely are not fans of Jaime or Brienne, the other POVs that they have dealings (or future dealings) with.
There are only so many ports that Arya can enter into Westeros from. The Saltpans seems logical compared with other options. And since it was the way she left, it makes sense that it would be the way she gets back.
Nymeria. Full stop. Nymeria isn’t leaving the Riverlands. She has been there for five straight books. And now she has the pack to consider. Even for Arya, I can’t see Nymeria leaving the place she’s been so long without reason. I think Arya’s going to have to pick her up to be honest. The pack, too. I feel like it must have some significance (see here,) since it has been so heavily referenced. It’s one of the chekov’s guns waiting to go off. Nymeria’s in the Riverlands, Arya’s definitely reuniting with her, I think she’s going to have to go to her though- after all, she’s the one who against her will drove her away. There’s definitely hints that Nymeria was chasing after Arya in ASoS though,
Brienne’s there and not looking like she can leave any time soon (what with the BWB.) She’s looking for Arya, too.
Arya continues to feel connected with the Riverlands even in the House of Black and White. She even thinks about how it’s snowing there. She sees it through Nymeria’s eyes.
There are a few minor reasons why as well, but those are the big ones.
It isn’t impossible that Arya will be the one to “kill” Lady Stoneheart. She was the one who found Catelyn’s body in the river and alerted the BWB through Nymeria. She tried to save Cat and was miserable over the guilt of being unable to even though she was at the Red Wedding. Moreover, Lord Beric promised to reunite Arya with her mother, which is at least part of the reason why he gave her back her life.
Also, so much involving LS we see through Arya- Arya as Nymeria saves her body, Arya’s former companions the BWB are the people she travels with, we have the whole “wolf with a fish in it’s mouth”, “can you bring back a man without a head?”, and “you should have saved my mother” stuff just waiting to play out completely. Arya fixates on Catelyn’s death way more than Robb’s too. This could be why.
The point is that Lady Stoneheart (less so than Catelyn herself in a lot of respects) is tied to Arya’s storyline.
Then there’s the fact that around the time of LS and the Red Wedding, Arya was taught the “gift of mercy” by Sandor. That definitely seemed to be building somewhere, but when it came up (i.e. when Sandor was dying and asked for mercy,) Arya didn’t do it. The whole concept of the “gift of mercy” that Sandor tried to instill in Arya hasn’t really played out yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to play with LS.
It would be a mercy to put Lady Stoneheart to rest. She’s become unrecognizable from her former self and is a tormented figure to the extreme. The idea of the “gift of mercy” returning when Arya sees Lady Stoneheart and gives it to her makes sense.
Not to mention how symbolic it would be. A lot of fandom mischaracterize Arya as a revenge-obsessed when she really isn’t. She’s not searching people out to kill. The only time she’s consciously taken revenge (in the chapter entitled “Mercy” no less) was when the guy stumbled onto her. It’s not her focus or priority and her list functions as a coping mechanism first and foremost. More so, she doesn’t ever extract justice on bystanders, innocents, or people considered guilty by association (i.e. why she doesn’t kill Raff’s companion, a Lannister man, because to her he’s done no harm just because he’s a Lannister man and Raff’s companion in “Mercy”.) She’d never harm anyone who she doesn’t know is bad- which is why she watches her assassination target for days to determine that he’s “evil” first.
But Lady Stoneheart (and by extension the BWB as a whole) subvert that so hard. Everyone at all associated is guilty- right down to people like Pod, who’s a kid- and deserves to hang. All they care about is vengeance, they’re not even really taking care of the smallfolk anymore because of it. They’ve become a part of the problem they were fighting.
So it’d be symbolic of Arya saying no to blind vengeance as well. And it’d be a way of correcting and focusing the path that the BWB have fallen off of since Beric’s death.
I could see Arya leading the BWB (who are definitely going to have some big part to play regardless) to the Wall/battle with the Others, along with the giant pack of wolves that are just waiting to be utilized.
“You know, I don’t like to give things away.” says Martin, a grin spreading across his face. “But you don’t hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it." (x)
So that’s my theory on what’s going to become of Lady Stoneheart/BWB.
If the Brotherhood knows who Gendry is do you think they have any special plans for him such as getting him legitimized and trying to make him king? Or they might just be trying to protect him.
Just because Thoros is informed doesn’t mean the rest of the BWB is. He might be keeping that to himself.
And if they all do, why would they care? They suspect Bella is Robert’s bastard, everyone knows about Mya Stone and Edric Storm, why would Gendry be all that special. I’m sure they want to protect him as A) he’s one of them, B) it’s the “lions” they hate who are after him, and C) they’re pro-Robert, but like the importance of bastards is way overstated by the fandom.
Part of it is the show, they didn’t make it clear why Cersei was so afraid of Robert’s bastards- and by giving the order of their execution to Joffrey, it made it appear as though he viewed them as a threat to the throne or something.
But bastard claims are hardly worth fretting over really because rarely do bastards ever get legitimized and for other reasons.
The books make this clear, too:
(on Stannis wanting Edric Storm) Catelyn read the letter again after the maester was gone. “Lord Meadows says nothing of
Robert’s bastard,” she confided to Brienne. “I suppose he yielded the boy with the rest, though I confess, I do not understand why Stannis wanted him so badly.”
“Perhaps he fears the boy’s claim.” “A bastard’s claim? No, it’s something else… what does this child look like?” Catelyn, ACoK
Bastards aren’t as important as the fandom seems to think politically. The reason why KL’s after Gendry (and wants him dead) is because Cersei’s children are illegitimate. He can’t get the throne, but he can prove (by his appearance) that they shouldn’t be on there. Stannis wants them (Robert’s bastards) as proof of his right to rule over Joffrey/Tommen. Melisandre wants Edric because his blood has power- but no political power.
While I don’t think it’s impossible for Gendry to be legitimized at some point- especially since the fate of the Baratheon line looks grim and so much emphasis has been placed on his parentage with regards to him- it’s not a certain thing by any means.
And besides, Gendry’s pretty much the least desirable bastard to legitimize. He’s uneducated, spent most of his life as an orphan in Flea Bottom and the rest as an outlaw, prisoner or the like. He can’t read or write, he speaks like a commoner, he has no knowledge of ruling/lordship/etiquette/anything that would be at all useful.
Bastards like Jon, who was raised as a highborn in all but name, are desirable because it’s the name they lack- the lordship and house- not the actual abilities to be a lord. Jon was trained in arms, he’s very well educated, taught by Ned Stark and treated to a lord’s life in many respects. It would be easy for him to become a lord by legitimization. No one would balk at that compared to someone like Gendry, or Bella. To say nothing of how Gendry was never recognized in life by Robert.
Bastards like Ramsay SnowBolton, Aurane Waters, even the Sand Snakes all have backgrounds that make them a higher quality of bastard than Gendry in terms of legitimization.
If you want a Baratheon bastard as king (which no one does, I’ll get to that though,) then why not hunt down Edric Storm- the awknowledged bastard who was raised as a noble and educated and is noble on both sides.
Gendry is a baseborn, Edric is not. (Neither is Jon with R+L=J for the record, but people like Sansa assume he is.)
Not all bastards are created equal though. Gendry would be no one’s choice for a lord really, much less a king. I could see him getting legitimized because the Baratheon line is dying (and maybe Edric’s still MIA) and he has a highborn friend/lover/who knows from a very prominent family (Arya) but it’s not at all a certain thing.
And even if I would bet on GRRM going there (which I’m not,) the BWB really have no reason to even jump there. Who’s going to back an unacknowledged blacksmith, baseborn bastard of a dead king for the Iron Throne? While aforementioned dead king’s legitimate (supposedly) and noble son sits on it?
Brotherhood without Banners. 92) Sorry and/or 88) Resigned.
Lem and Harwin dragged the youth into the cave. He looked bruised and battered. His surcoat was a faded grey colour, emblazoned with the twin towers of House Frey on it. The youth coughed and his face contorted in pain. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
“He tried to fight us,” Lem said, scowling.
“Did he really require such a beating to subdue him?” Thoros asked.
Lem shrugged. “It makes no matter. M’lady will hang him anyways.”
Thoros knew it was true. He could not help but think back to Lord Beric. If he had known the path it would lead us to would he have made the same choice? Thoros had made his mistakes, he knew that. He had lived a life of sin but things had never seemed as dark as they were now.
“Mercy,” the youth pleaded. “I did nothing wrong.”
Thoros grimaced and he saw the signal. “You will find no mercy here,” he said sadly.
“I only watched,” the young man pleaded. “I did none of the killing.”
Thoros sighed. “It will make no matter.”
It was he who watched now as the Brotherhood led the youth through the cave. If I only watch, does it make me any better than those who do the killing? Somehow he thought not.
“Can I dwell on what I scarce remember? I held a castle on the Marches once, and there was a woman I was pledged to marry, but I could not find that castle today, nor tell you the color of that woman’s hair. Who knighted me, old friend? What were my favorite foods? It all fades. Sometimes I think I was born on the bloody grass in that grove of ash, with the taste of fire in my mouth and a hole in my chest. Are you my mother, Thoros?”
Awesome Westerosi Characters You Don’t Know Because You Only Watch Game of Thrones: #27 Harwin son of Hullen
You know what squad is cool? The Winterfell squad. Seems like every other has spies and losers in their ranks but Ned and Cat only seemed to employ awesome people.
Harwin was one of these people. He’s the son of Hullen, Winterfell’s master of horses, and he was one of the men who went south with Ned to King’s Landing. When Ned sent a group of guys, led by Beric Dondarrion, to go bring Gregor Clegane to justice, Harwin was among them.
That mission didn’t turn out so great, as you may recall. Harwin was one of the few who survived. He says that of the twenty Stark men who went with Lord Beric, he is one of six still alive.
Then he joins Beric’s “Brotherhood without Banners” who try to bring justice to the Riverlands. He is among the brotherhood men who stumble upon Arya Stark and her friends, and he recognizes her. (In the show, Sandor Clegane serves this purpose.)
When Arya finds out the Brotherhood isn’t going to take her directly to her mother (and will, in fact, attempt to ransom her) she attempts to flee on horseback. Harwin is the only one who can keep up with her, and he says she rides like her aunt Lyanna.
Arya feels betrayed by him, but I think ultimately comes to see that the Brotherhood will eventually take her to her mother (at least if Sandor hadn’t stolen her) and that they do need the money to continue their work. And he tries to comfort her a bit when she’s grossed out to learn her father had a maybe love affair with Ashara Dayne. (Ned/Cat is Arya’s OTP.)
I thought their relationship was kind of cute and maybe not brotherly but familiar. It was nice to see Arya with someone she was comfortable with after that long period where she was at Harrenhal.
I also think that Harwin and Lord Beric felt guilty that they were not able to make good on the promise to reunite Catelyn and Arya. (Beric says, “I do not have the power to give you back your father, no more than
Thoros does, but I can at least see that you are returned safely to your
mother’s arms.“) And that is perhaps why, when he finds Catelyn Stark’s body in the river, he begs Thoros to bring her back, but Thoros says he cannot and Beric steps in…
Image of Harwin by JB Casacop for Fantasy Flight Games
Her eyes had grown accustomed to blackness. When Harwin pulled the hood off her head, the ruddy glare inside the hollow hill made Arya blink like some stupid owl.
A huge firepit had been dug in the center of the earthen floor, and its flames rose swirling and crackling toward the smoke-stained ceiling. The walls were equal parts stone and soil, with huge white roots twisting through them like a thousand slow pale snakes. People were emerging from between those roots as she watched; edging out from the shadows for a look at the captives, stepping from the mouths of pitch-black tunnels, popping out of crannies and crevices on all sides. In one place on the far side of the fire, the roots formed a kind of stairway up to a hollow in the earth where a man sat almost lost in the tangle of weirwood.
Lem unhooded Gendry. “What is this place?” he asked.
“An old place, deep and secret. A refuge where neither wolves nor lions come prowling.”
Neither wolves nor lions. Arya’s skin prickled. She remembered the dream she’d had, and the taste of blood when she tore the man’s arm from his shoulder.
Big as the fire was, the cave was bigger; it was hard to tell where it began and where it ended. The tunnel mouths might have been two feet deep or gone on two miles.
A Storm Of Swords, Arya VI, George R.R. Martin
Something I had forgotten (and probably not even noticed when I first read the book, because the other cave this one reminds me of hasn’t appeared yet at this point) is that the hollow hill used by the BWB is very probably a cave that had been inhabited by the Children, when still there were some in the Riverlands.
This cave’s big and seems to have lots of tunnels leading to other spaces, all concealed and secret, as Lem says - like the one beyond the Wall. And, most important of all, the ceiling and walls of the cave are full of white roots - weirwood tree roots. That even seem to form a seat eerily similar to the one where Brynden Rivers (and greenseers in general) sits.
Are there any theories about this hill? And won’t Thoros’s fire magic clash a bit with Brynden’s magic, assuming that above the hill there actually are weirwood trees from which he sees what’s happening there? Or at least sense that someone’s watching from nearby.. Melisandre can sense Bran and Brynden watch through her fires and they’re not very close to her (nor there are weirwood trees at Castle Black), or at the very least farther away than the hypothetical weirwoods are to the hill.
Brynden wouldn’t be able to see what’s happening in the cave, but the comings and goings around it are a different matter. (Anyone knows of any theories about it?)
Do you think that Brienne is going to kill Jaime for the BWB? I truly hope not, because I really loved the infractions between the two. They just argued and agreed in the most interesting ways.
No way. I think Brienne and/or Jaime might die but definitely not by each other’s hands. Not GRRM’s style if you ask me. Though Cersei might die because of Jaime…
I actually ship Jaime/Brienne (but I somehow really like Jaime/Cersei’s relationship, too, so I’m strange.) Anyway, my point is I love their interactions as well. The gender subversion of the class Beauty/Beast trope was nice in my opinion with touches of the original (Jaime is more the beast on the inside with Brienne more of the beauty on the insider.)
I think that Brienne is stuck. I’d like to say she has a plan, but I doubt it. I imagine she’s leading Jaime, with no intention of killing him (she very obviously cares about him a great deal,) but with no knowledge of how to save him either. I assume the BWB are holding Pod (and Hyle) hostage until Brienne fulfills her “sword” oath. That might be interesting by the way, Brienne’s been reaching a breaking point for a while in my opinion, I wonder if this will finally force her to give up her imbued sense of honor (the honorable must die in this series after all or give it up or give it up and die.)
Given Brienne’s claims to Jaime:
“My lord, you gave me a quest.”
“The girl. Have you found her?”
“I have,” said Brienne, Maid of Tarth. “Where is she?”
“A day’s ride. I can take you to her, ser … but you will need to come alone. Elsewise, the Hound will kill her.” Jaime, ADWD
The BWB might have a trap waiting for them involving Lem and the Hound helm. Maybe even Willow, as the Stark girl stand in. I imagine Brienne will try and plead Jaime’s case at some point again to no avail. Brienne makes it clear before she vows to kill Jaime that she wants to save Podrick most of all. That’s going to be a factor here.
All that being said, I wonder if we should be focusing on Brienne to get Jaime and co. out of this mess. I rather think there might be different players to consider.
Something’s going to give with the Brotherhood anyway. All of Brienne’s chapters with them just oozed tension in my opinion. Thoros was almost despondent. Ned Dayne and others up and left after Beric’s death. Lem had become Rorge/the “Hound” in many ways. Gendry’s just a mess. There’s a build up that’s bound to break soon. This is a group that was founded to protect the smallfolk and help the helpless. Now they are running around and stringing up some of those they should be protecting’s necks to nooses.
“We were king’s men when we began,” the man told her, “but king’s men must have a king, and we have none. We were brothers too, but now our brotherhood is broken. I do not know who we are, if truth be told, nor where we might be going. I only know the road is dark. The fires have not shown me what lies at its end”…
“Lord Beric’s fire has gone out of this world, I fear. A grimmer shadow leads us in his place"…
“I do not doubt that kindness and mercy and forgiveness can still be found somewhere in these Seven Kingdoms, but do not look for them here”…
"We were king’s men, knights, and heroes… but some knights are dark and full of terror, my lady. War makes monsters of us all.”
“Are you saying you are monsters?”
“I am saying we are human. You are not the only one with wounds, Lady Brienne. Some of my brothers were good men when this began. Some were… less good, shall we say? Though there are those who say it does not matter how a man begins, but only how he ends”….
Thoros sucked in his breath in dismay. “Is this true? A dead man’s helm? Have we fallen that low?”
The big man scowled at him. “It’s good steel.”
“There is nothing good about that helm, nor the men who wore it,” said the red priest. “Sandor Clegane was a man in torment, and Rorge a beast in human skin.”
“I’m not them.”
“Then why show the world their face? Savage, snarling, twisted… is that who you would be, Lem?”
“The sight of it will make my foes afraid.” “The sight of it makes me afraid.”Brienne, AFFC
The BWB I suspect will be involved in the events to come. They are a huge force, scaring Lannister/Frey forces, just waiting to be capitalized. Since they are made up of many Stark loyalists/anti-RW men and led by Lady Stoneheart, I suspect a Stark will be involved. “We were king’s men when we began,” the man told her, “but king’s men must have a king, and we have none.”Not Jon, Bran, or Rickon I’m relatively sure (and yes, I tend to count Jon in these discussions.)
The obvious choice is Arya. I still think she’s returning to the Riverlands after her adventures with the FM. She’s connected to LS in ways the other Starks are not (Nymeria found her body, Beric revived her partially because of his oath to Arya, ect.) Not to mention the full circle of “mercy” could play out with Arya/LS. She’s the most connected to the BWB of any character in the series, they’re looking for her and everything. She has personal connections with them, like Gendry and Harwin. Just makes sense- not to mention Nymeria and the wolf pack are in the Riverlands. Arya dreams nightly of the Riverlands all the way in Braavos. But all that assumes she doesn’t join up with Dany like I suspect may happen.
Anyway, I doubt it’s feasible that Arya will reunite with the BWB before Jaime and Brienne need an intervention. That being said, the BWB may be forced to face what they’ve become before meeting back up with Arya/during Brienne/Jaime’s moments of need.
But however they manage to get out of it (or not I suppose is an option,) I doubt Brienne will kill Jaime.
"Without his labour, who would the Warrior defend?":social advancement and religion in ASOIAF through a comparison of Davos Seaworth and Gendry (with some BwB too)
ASOIAF meta. May be a tad biased in favour of Gendry, because he is my fave. Also discussion of religion, social banditry (though this will be addressed more comprehensively in another essay), class (Marxist to a fault most likely, sorry) and knighthood.
Also sorry for any grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Awesome ASOIAF Characters You Don’t Know Because You Only Watch Game of Thrones: #34 The Ghost of High Heart
Firstly, the Ghost of High Heart is not an actual ghost. She’s an old lady. I love old ladies (see previous post about my Old Nan obsession). Secondly, it’s not TOO odd that she was cut from Game of Thrones. Until Maggy the Frog appeared in the first episode of this season, many of the characters who spouted prophecies–like Patchface and Quaithe–had been removed or reduced.
We don’t know the Ghost of High Heart’s true name. Barristan Selmy refers to her as a “woods witch” who was friends with Jenny of Oldstones. Jenny of Oldstones was married to Prince Duncan Targaryen (son of Egg from the Dunk and Egg stories, and named for Dunk).
The Ghost of High Heart declared that the “Prince Who Was Promised” would be born from the line of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen. So their father, Jaehaerys who as then only a prince not king, arranged his two children to be married. They, of course, are Dany’s parents.
The same year that Aerys and Rhaella’s first son, Rhaegar, was born there was a great tragedy at a place called Summerhall, which was a Targaryen castle. We don’t know exactly what happened. But Aegon V, Ser Duncan the Tall, Prince Duncan, and Jenny of Oldstones were all killed. This led to Jaehaerys becoming king instead of his brother.
It was assumed that Jenny’s “woods witch” died at Summerhall as well. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Arya encounters her at a place called High Heart in the Riverlands, when traveling with the Brotherhood without Banners. High Heart is a hill that was sacred to the children of the forest. There are 31 weirwood stumps there and Thoros says they whisper to her. The Ghost herself is rumored to be a child of the forest, which might explain her incredible longevity. Though some just think she’s a dwarf.
The Brotherhood without Banners seek her out intentionally and seem to value her counsel. For rpayament, she asks their musician Tom O’Sevens to play a song–always the same one–about Jenny of Oldstones.
The dwarf woman studied [Arya] with dim red eyes. “I see you,” she
whispered. “I see you, wolf child. Blood child. I thought it was the
lord who smelled of death …” She began to sob, her little body
shaking. “You are cruel to come to my hill, cruel. I gorged on grief atSummerhall, I need none of yours. Begone from here, dark heart.”
Image of the Ghost of High Heart and the Brotherhood without Banners by Patrick McEvoy for Fantasy Flight Games.