Before I began reading the books, I suggested someone start a thread dedicated to the books because I had a major plot point spoiled for me in our GoT thread. No one did. I, however, just finished all 5 books and want to talk about stuff beyond the show (aka spoilers for Game of Thrones) as well as theories, and don't want to fill our GoT thread up with this kind of in depth detail.
WARNING: This thread is dark and full of spoilers... from all the current novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Be aware and do not continue to read if you don't want Game of Thrones to be spoiled for you.
To start, it is known A Feast for Crows (AFfC) and A Dance With Dragons (ADwD) are not as well paced as previous 3 books in the series. However, there are still some very exciting plot point and twists and turns to be found in the books and we can finally see all the story lines closing in on one another. Pretty much every storyline in books 4 and 5 end with a cliffhanger, so I don't quite know where to start... so let's start with Jon Snow.
Is Jon Snow dead? His final chapter leaves you every reason to think he is, but I am not quite sure George RR Martin is done with him yet. GRRM has done the "dead/ not really" fake out several times (Davos, Arya, Asha, Tyrion... Stannis??? Let's get to that later though), and this could be another. Jon Snow's death would leave the wall without a POV character and the Wall is in a complete state of chaos as Jon Snow gets stabbed. Unless, that is, Melisandre becomes the main POV character at the Wall, and I don't see as likely.
Personally, I think we will find Jon Snow is still alive, but badly wounded. As far as we know, Bowen Marsh and Wick were the only attackers, if there were more, they were likely Stewards - Marsh had no sway over the Rangers. So, it is possible a ranger might have saved him. A theory I have read that I like is that Jon Snow had to undergo serious physical trauma to awaken his full warging capabilities. Like Bran's fall led to the events of him discovering he was a greenseer, Jon Snow may now be on the same path. The implication of this leds to the hints that Jon Snow may warg into a dragon.
Speaking of Dragons, lets talk about Jon Snow's parents. This is a well known theory and one I personally believe, so I will just put it out there. Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Tagaryen and Lyanna Stark. First, lets get this out of the way. Ned Stark is not Jon Snow's father. Ned never refers to Jon as a "son," but only "my blood." Bran's vision through the Weirwood tree of Ned in the past is also another hint. That and Sean Bean in a recent interview said "Ned is obviously not Jon's father, so they still have to get to the bottom of that matter." Second, at this point, I think it is pretty obvious Rhaegar is not the bad guy Robert Baratheon painted him out to be. In fact, Westeros seems like it would be a lot better of a place had Rhaegar become King. Knowing what we know about Rhaegar now, it seems uncharacteristic of him to "steal" Lyanna stark, rape her, and leave her to die. The much more likely scenario is that Lyanna, being betrothed to Robbert - a man who we now know Lyanna hated, willingly ran away with Rhaegar because they were in love. When the war broke out and Rhaegar had to go to battle, he left Lyanna to be protected by his 4 best men in the Tower of Joy. When Ned Stark shows up to "rescue" his sister he brings 7 men and the only men to survive the battle are himself and his friend Howland Reed. When they get to the top, all we know is Lyanna is dying in a pool of blood and promises Ned he has to keep a secret. We still don't know how Lyanna died or what that secret was... but this theory suggests Lyanna was pregnant and died giving birth. The secret was that he could never tell anyone that this child was the son of Rhaegar Targaryen... the boy Ned named Jon Snow. This theory explains many things. First off, how Lyanna died. Second, the questions as to how the honourable Ned Stark could break one of his oaths. The answer? He never did. Third, a further explanation as to why Ned got so upset over Robert wanting to pursue and kill Danny. That is, if Robert had a blood lust for Targaryen's again, if Jon Snow was found out, his blood would be on the table as well. And, finally, why Howland Reed sent Jojen and Mera to swear fealty to Bran instead of himself. Howland Reed would have known the secret to and this would explain why Howland Reed had gone into hiding since the rebellion. Obviously, this is a lot to take in and could prove to be false, but of all the theories out there, this one makes the most sense. It would also make Jon Snow the manifestation of the title of the series. A Song of Ice and Fire.
Lets talk about Daenarys next. Dany's storyline in the books is full of vision and prophecies. One of the earliest being the House of the Undying in Quarth with one of the most significant vision's so far was foretelling the death of Rob Stark at the Red Wedding. One of the most exciting and discussion stirring events in the House of the Undying is Danny being told that "the dragon has three heads." Obviously, Danny is one of the heads and the implication here is that she will need to find 2 other people with the blood of the Dragon in them to help her take back Westeros. This has led to much discussion of who the other 2 will be. The book obviously was hinting big time at Quentyn Martell and it seemed to prove true until the last minute... when he was torched by Rhaegal. So, who could the other two be? Most people think Jon Snow is the main contender. This would obviously depend on a) him not being dead and b) he is the son of Rhaegar. The other is Tyrion and this one is a lot more contentious, as this could possibly depend on him being revealed as a Targaryen. So let's talk about that for a minute...
The case for Tyrion being a Targaryen...
- Tyrion's fascination and dreaming of dragons as a child (which seems to be similar to dreams shared by Targaryens)
- Tywin's intense dislike of him, even before his first sexual misadventure with Tysha.
- Tywin's tense departure from King's Landing as King and his brooding over the 'wrongs that Aerys did him'. (aka Aerys rapped Joanna - Tywin's wife)
- The fact that we are told that Aerys 'envied' Tywin.
- The brutal way with which Tywin treated the Targaryens in King's Landing and the city itself.
- Tyrion's mismatched eye colors.
- Tywin's comment that he could not prove Tyrion is not his son, and the fact his final words are in fact, you are not my son.
I'm not sure I am inclined to believe this one, because Tywin's final words to Jaime are also "You are not my son." That, and when Jaime is in the riverlands trying to secure Riverrun, his relative who is married to a Frey (her name starts with a G and is his aunt? or cousin? I can't remember) tells him "Tyrion is Tywin's true son." Of course, this comment could more have to do with the fact Tyrion was clever and a thinker like Tywin, unlike Jaime who is quick and brash, but nonetheless, I think it counts against this theory.
The next most obvious candidate is Young Griff, revealed to be the thought-to-be-dead Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhegar Targaryen. Aegon does seem to be a prime candidate for this, but the vast majority of readers seem to believe Aegon is a fraud and not actually a Targaryen. Most of this belief comes from Quaithe's warning's to Danny. A reminder...
"No. Hear me, Daenerys Targaryen. The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal".
The Kraken and dark flame are Victarion and Moqorro. The Lion and Griffin are Tyrion and Jon Connington, The sun's son is Quentyn and the Mummer's dragon is... not known. But assumed to be Aegon by many. Aside from Quaithe's warning, there is an extremely elaborate and well flushed out theory in regards to who Aegon actually is. I will attempt to make a long story short. It all starts after the Blackfyre Rebellion. One female Blackfyre survived and was known to become a slave in Lys and had two children - a boy and a girl. The girl became a bed slave and the son a mummer. The son was eventually castrated and set free. He bought his sister's freedom and she married her brother's best friend. The two had a baby and after, the mummer and his best friend started plotting to put that boy on the Iron Throne.
The castrated mummer in this story is Lord Varys and his best friend is Illyrio Mopatis. The story goes that fate dealt them a lucky hand when The Mountain smashed Rhaegars son's face against the wall so badly he was impossible to be recognized, lending credence to their plan of later having Illyrio's son lay claim to being Aegon Targaryen. For what its worth, this theory also purports that Aegon doesn't even know he is fraud - nor does Jon Connington - and their plan hinges on neither of them finding out the truth.
This theory is, of course, based on a lot of speculation and "what if's," though, and is just as likely to not be true as it could be true. With that being said, the important thing is that either way, Aegon has the blood of the dragon running in his veins.
To get back on track, lets look to another possibility - Victarion Greyjoy. While Victarion does not have the blood of the dragon in him, the horn given to him by Euron is told to be able to control dragons. It is possible he will use this horn to take one of Danny's dragons and use this to take her as his bride.
Another possibility is Euron Crowseye. We don't know much about Euron at this point, other than that he is clever, villainous (but do we really know that? We only know about him through the viewpoints of the Damphair, Victarion, and Asha), that he has warlock friends, drinks Shade of the Evening, and has been to Ashaii and back. But from what we do know, it seems likely he would betray Victarion and take one of the dragons for himself.
Now, I know we just discussed Tyrion possibly being a Targaryen, but there are also theories out there claiming Jaime and Cersei are actually Targaryen's as well, and that Jamie not only could be one of the heads of the dragon, but Azhor Azai himself.
Once again, the theory goes that Aerys raped Joanna, but this theory suggests the rape happened earlier and that the rape resulted in Jamie and Cersei. This theory helps explains Cersei's increasing fragile mental state and her descent into madness (it followed the same patterns as that of Aerys) and of the cruel and evil tendencies of Joffry. It would also cause, as mentioned earlier, Tywin's comment to Jamie "You are not my son" and the "Tryion is the true son of Tywin" comment. As for Azhor Azai? This comes from the speculation that Jaime may "temper" his blade in the blood of Cersei (or, perhaps, Brienne) and be reborn as Azor Ahai. This theory is a little too out there for me, but it is worth discussing.
Some have suggested Bran may be one of the dragon riders and much of this comes from obscure hints and clues in the book stretched incredibly thin, as well as Bran's visions in Season 4 of Game of Thrones, where there is dragon flying over King's Landing. To me, even before I read the books, I had the theory that Bran would, at some point warg into a dragon, but Bran being a head of the dragon doesn't seem likely to me.
Arienne Martel is another I have read some suggested, but to me this mostly stems from the fact she is a strong and powerful women with large ambitions who empathizes with Danny. I do not doubt Arienne and Danny could possibly join forces in the future (if Danny is smart, she will head for Dorne first), but I don't see Arienne as one of the dragon heads.
Am I missing anyone? No? Ok. Moving on. Stannis. Is he dead? The first thing to look at is the letter itself - the letter to Jon Snow, that is. Ramsay typically wrote his letters in blood and sent a body part or some flayed skin along with his message. This letter was noted to have been written in Ink and there was no body parts or flayed skin. So, we don't know it was Ramsay who wrote it. I, personally, think it was written by Ramsay, due to the way he uses the word "bastard" (and Ramsay's known distain for that word), as well as his demand for "Reek" to return. We know that Theon has escaped with fake Arya (aka Jayne Poole) and presumed to be held by Stannis. However, the writer of this letter seems to think that Reek has fled for, or been captured by, The Wall. This raises some eyebrows. He also claims to have Mance being held in a cage in a coat of the 6 "whores" (see: spearwives) who went with him. It would appear he does hold Mance, or else how would he know about the exact number of the spearwives with him? I was thinking about this though... what if he heard about Mance approaching and found out how many were with him... and the man held in a cage is actually the singer Abel, and the six "whores" are actually his washerwomen (for a refresher, these are the people who convinced Theon to join them to rescue and free fake Arya). The writer of the letter also claims the battle lasted 7 days. 7 days? That does not sound like a boast from a victor of a bloody battle. We know Roose's hold was coming loose at every seem last time we were inside Winterfell with Bolton's host. We also know Stannis' men were dying, and quickly, out frozen in the snow. How could the battle last 7 days? Last of all, he claims Stannis is dead. If Stannis were really dead, wouldn't they have sent a token with the letter? Neither Roose not Ramsay would except anything less than Stannis' head to prove he was dead, so this seem suspicious.
I don't think Stannis is dead, but I am open to arguments otherwise. I don't think Stannis will ever sit the iron throne, but I think he still has a role to play going forward.
Let's switch gears now and talk about Sam. How would have thunk the best chapter is the book to follow the brilliant A Storm of Swords would be one of Sam's chapters? The chapter I am talking about is when Sam is in Bravos and he goes to fight Darion (the singer) and accidentally runs into Arya, yet neither know who the other is. But that is not what is to focus on here. Instead, I want to talk about the revelation at the end of the final chapter of AFfC where the boy in the room reveals himself to same to be "Pate, like the pig boy." Pate, of course, being the seemingly pointless POV character in the prologue of AFfC. One has to assume that the boy who reveals himself to Sam to not actually be Pate, but a faceless man. The descriptions are not exactly the same, but a comparison of the mystery man who kills Pate in the prologue roughly matches the description of Jaqen H'ghar after he changes faces in front of Arya in ACoK. If it is Jaqen H'ghar, what business does he have in Oldtown? Is it business of the faceless men and the Many-Faced god? Or is it personal business? I am not sure where this is leading, so any ideas or theories would be appreciated. In any case, I have a feeling Arya will become involved with this plot soon.
And, finally, lets talk about religion. What the fuck is up with R'hllor? (Aka The Lord of Light aka The Red God) So far, of all the gods in the series, "he" is the only one to show his power. Anyone have any theories about this?