Do you think we will be seeing someone replacing Pycelle in the Winds of Winter? If yes, any guesses on who? I really enjoy your meta!
Well, since Pycelle’s dead, I would think the court will want a replacement Grand Maester, yes. :) I think the subplot around Pycelle’s funeral and the election of a new Grand Maester will be part of what ties together the King’s Landing storyline and Sam’s storyline at the Citadel. (Because with Targaryen invasions, ironborn attacks, and the apocalypse coming, there’s nothing better than the distraction of academic politics, which
are “the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.”)
As to who the next Grand Maester will be, I think the most likely candidate is the one the Conclave almost sent to King’s Landing before, when Pycelle was dismissed by Tyrion:
“After giving due consideration to Maester Turquin the
cordwainer’s son and Maester Erreck the hedge knight’s bastard, and
thereby demonstrating to their own satisfaction that ability counts for
more than birth in their order, the Conclave was on the verge of sending
us Maester Gormon, a Tyrell of Highgarden.”
—Varys, ASOS, Tyrion II
Maester Gormon is Mace Tyrell’s uncle, and it was this near-appointment that had Tywin reinstate Pycelle, for less Tyrell influence at court. But that’s obviously not possible now, and also Mace is the King’s Hand. And he may manage to seize the Regency as well, after Kevan Lannister’s death. (Or he may not, as TWOW’s Mercy shows that Cersei has power in King’s Landing again… but we’ll see.) So Gormon seems like a lock-cinch, right?
Well, maybe not. Since that almost-election, Gormon has become the acting black-iron archmaester – not the actual one, as Archmaester Walgrave is still alive, but since his senility is advanced, Gormon sits in his place in the Conclave with the black iron ring and rod and mask, and judges those novices and acolytes seeking a maester’s link in ravencraft. Gormon may not want to go to King’s Landing and its madness (especially since the last Grand Maester was assassinated), when he has the sure thing of becoming an archmaester as soon as Walgrave dies. A raven in the Citadel is worth two in King’s Landing, y’know.
Furthermore, in the AFFC prologue, Maester Gormon was set up as an antagonist to the novice Pate – who even though he served as Walgrave’s assistant with the ravens (and body servant), couldn’t get a link in ravencraft because Gormon mistrusted him and once accused him of theft. (Gormon was right, eventually.) Now, Pate has been replaced by the Faceless Man formerly known as the Alchemist (formerly known as Jaqen H’ghar), and seems to have some personality changes because of that, so it might be that antagonism doesn’t exist anymore. However, Sam has been assigned to help “Pate” with his duties, and it’s probable that Gormon’s mistrust will be transferred to him. Or at the very least I can see Sam having trouble dealing with him (his major antagonist at the Citadel will be his fellow novice Lazy Leo Tyrell), for some chapters. Maybe this trouble will be relieved when Maester Gormon is made Grand Maester and sent to King’s Landing… but maybe that will be a hope that will be dashed. Citadel politics, after all. Or Gormon might be the maester the Citadel sends to Dany (though Marwyn should get to her first), since we already know he’s a dick, but we’ll see. (I mean, Archmaester Vaellyn is also a dick, so he’s an option for her too.)
Though if the new Grand Maester isn’t Gormon, I’m not sure who else it would be… we really haven’t had that much of a look into the higher echelons of the Citadel yet, to see who the options are. (Note, Maester Yandel might be hanging around the Red Keep, desperately trying to present his book to the King, but he’s probably not an option. ;)) Mostly we know archmaesters (Ebrose, Marwyn, etc), and while I don’t think there’s anything preventing an archmaester from being elected Grand Maester, the Conclave might try to keep those positions separate. They also might prefer a younger man, as Pycelle was only middle-aged when he was appointed to Aegon V, over forty years ago.
As for names, the AFFC appendix (under House Hightower) lists a whole bunch of them. (Which is pretty much their only mention in the book.) Gormon is the only named maester, which is a further point on his side, but those are some options at least. There’s also Turquin and Erreck, who were considered by the Conclave before (ostensibly), so maybe they have a chance again, but we don’t know anything about them otherwise. Could be Sam will encounter some of them in his early TWOW chapters, and we’ll get their personalities, and then we’ll see the Citadel getting the news of Pycelle’s death, and he’ll probably witness the Conclave election somehow. I’m actually very interested in Sam witnessing Citadel politics – I mean, there’s going to be a lot of other stuff going on in Oldtown too, but he’s got to fill time before that big climax, and this should be viciously fascinating, I think. Very appealing for ASOIAF nerds (like me!), rather.
Anyway, basically I think the next Grand Maester will be Gormon (formerly) Tyrell… but there might be a dark horse, someone we’ve never really heard of. Hope that satisfies!
Few of the birds that Aemon had sent off had returned as yet. One reached Stannis, though. One found Dragonstone, and a king who still cared. A thousand leagues south, Sam knew, his father had joined House Tarly to the cause of the boy on the Iron Throne, but neither King Joffrey nor little King Tommen had bestirred himself when the Watch cried out for help. What good is a king who will not defend his realm? (A Storm of Swords)
We’re west of Castle Black, but the Nightfort’s closest to us. It was the first castle on the Wall. The Watch abandoned it during the reign of King Jaehaerys I. Too big. Impossible to maintain. Other than Castle Black itself, the Nightfort’s the perfect castle for us. It’s got a secret sally port, the Black Gate, as old as the Wall itself. No one’s used it in centuries most likely. It leads through the Wall right down into the Nightfort, if one knows how to find it, which, it just so happens, I do.
I never met my mother. My father wouldn’t even tell me her name. I don’t know if she’s living or dead. I don’t know if she’s a noblewoman or a fisherman’s wife…or a whore. So I sat there in the brothel as Ros took off her clothes. But I couldn’t do it. Because all I could think was what if I got her pregnant and she had a child, another bastard named Snow? It’s not a good life for a child.