theory

Hardhome’s Refugees and the Rocks of Cannibal Isle

George R. R. Martin likes boats.

In Arya’s The Blind Girl chapter in A Dance with Dragons, we hear tell of two boats in particular: the Elephant and the Goodheart. These two ships – a pair of Lyseni galleys, crewed by pirates and rascals – dropped anchor at Hardhome after having been driven north by a storm. Ever the enterprising (and amoral) businessmen, the Lyseni pirates offered to take all the women and children from Hardhome to safety. As soon as the women and children were loaded on the galleys, however, they were clapped in chains and hauled off to be sold as slaves at the markets in Lys.

Fate intervened, though. The gales of autumn still blew in the Narrow Sea. Another storm separated the Goodheart and the Elephant. The Goodheart was blown to Braavos, where the Sealord immediately seized her and her cargo. Slaving, after all, is illegal in Braavos. Arya (as Blind Beth) overhears sullen sailors from the Goodheart discussing their plight. She relays their conversation to the Kindly Man:

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The Others as Shoggoths: Lovecraft & Martin

As much as GRRM likes to draw on traditional high fantasy tropes, A Song of Ice and Fire is very much a sword-and-sorcery world, akin to something written by Robert E Howard. Howard himself was a contemporary and collaborator with H.P. Lovecraft himself, the father of eldritch weirdness. A lot of people have pointed out the many Lovecraftian elements to the world of ice and fire – from Leng to the Five Forts to Asshai to Toad Isle to the Seastone Chair to Battle Isle to the mazemakers to the squishers.

But there’s one big element that needs to be addressed: the Others.

One common theory is that the Others are, essentially “misunderstood snow elves.” They’re a race whose goals and aims run contrary to human life…but they aren’t necessarily evil. This is a popular theory. Some think there’ll be a pact with the Others, that humans need to resolve their Other-ing of a different race. That to end with a big battle would be disingenuous to the messages of ASOIAF, about hard peace etc.

I disagree. And I promise I’ll explain! But first,

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King Broken-Smile: Theon’s Path to the Seastone Chair – Part 2: Landlubbers

In this long, LONG essay, I’m going to break down how I think Theon will end up sitting on the Seastone Chair by the end of ASOIAF (even if he doesn’t stay there for long!) In part 1, we looked at the conspiracies and revolts brewing on the Iron Islands, particularly on Great Wyk. In part 2, we’ll swing over to the mainland to look at the various parties potentially invested in a King Broken-Smile. Originally, I planned on a potential part 3 on the thematic importance and relevance of these plots. Because I am both lazy and economical, I’ve rolled part 3 into the end of this hefty-sized essay, making part 2 THE FINAL PART.

Onward!

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Tyrion’s Parentage: Ambiguity in ASOIAF

Tyrion Lannister.

Let’s dive right in: some people think Tyrion is NOT actually the son of Tywin and Joanna Lannister. More specifically, there’s a theory that Tyrion is actually the son of Aerys II “The Mad King” Targaryen and Joanna Lannister.

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