George R.R. Martin R.Revisited

by Maria on May 20, 2004

Like many others, I’ve been re-reading George R.R. Martin’s ‘Ice and Fire’ series while waiting for the long-delayed next book, ‘A Feast for Crows’. Henry was in Paris last weekend and we three (he, me and our youngest sister Eleanor, aka Nelly) spent several dinners discussing our theories of how the next three books will pan out.

My favourite aspect of this series is the many hints Martin drops about his characters’ side-plots and back stories but that he never bothers to confirm. This makes me feel like a very clever reader (at least about the ones I’ve figured out). For example, we can infer that Jeyne Westerling, Robb Stark’s frisky young bride, is being fed contraceptives by family members during her doomed marriage. And the Knight of Flowers, beautiful Loras Tyrell, is in love with and loved by Renly Baratheon, a pretender to the Iron Throne. So we all had a grand old time running through the evidence for these and other revelations.

Then Nelly’s theory of how the next three books will go blew us away. It’s all there already in the first three, but for some reason I’m the only one who thinks old George has given us so much to chew on, he can relax and let his readers write the rest of the books ourselves.

Over to Nelly:

The first three books, gargantuan though they are (around 2400 pages so far), are nothing but a curtain-raiser for the main act. The civil war which has been devouring Westeros simply sets the scene for the main event; the fight between the forces of light and darkness. The main player for the good guys, the Prince That Was Promised (PTWP), has yet to be revealed.

Who is the PTWP? Stannis Baratheon has been hailed by the Red Priestess as the PTWP. Beric Dondarrion is another strong contender, as a messianic figure to the ‘small people’ and strong links to the mystical. But Martin has left plenty of clues pointing to another, stronger possibility; Jon Snow.

Firstly, we must consider the popular theory that Jon is not Ned Stark’s son, but Ned’s sister Lyanna’s, with Rhaegar Targaryen as his father. Now remember
the prophecy that Azor Ahai, an ancient hero, will come again and defeat the Others, in the form of the Prince That Was Promised. Ser Barristan tells Dany a story in which her bookish elder brother, Rhaegar, comes across a scroll which convinces him to become a warrior. Earlier, when Dany was in the House of the Undying, she had a vision of Rhaeger with his wife Elia, standing over their son, Aegon. Rhaegar remarks that Aegon is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of Ice and Fire. Unfortunately, Aegon later has his brains smashed in by Gregor Clegane, counting him out.

My theory is that Rhaegar came across a prophecy which convinced him that he would father the PTWP. If this is true, and if Rhaegar is indeed Jon Snow’s father, then that leaves Jon perfectly placed as the PTWP. He has the right parentage. The coming together of Stark and Targaryen symbolise the main theme of the books; ice and fire. Even more importantly, as part of the Night’s Watch, he has already started to fight the Others and is most definitely in the right place at the right time.

Jon may not have a glow-in-the-dark sword, or have been brought back to life several times, but he gets my vote for the Prince That Was Promised.

So, all going well (though it never seems to in Martin’s books), Jon will lead the lead the war against the Others, and, who knows, might even win. Maybe his prize will be to join two family traditions (ice and fire and,um, brotherly love) by also winning a queen, Daenerys.

{ 14 comments }

1

Scott 05.20.04 at 1:57 pm

My wife and I have had the same discussions, and agree. It’s definitely going to be intense.

The next book has Cersi as a voice, too — she comes across much less intelligent than we thought. Vapid, I daresay. (My wife has read fan-dissertations on Martin’s reading of chapters at conventions, so this is how we know this.)

2

asg 05.20.04 at 2:41 pm

I thought Jeyne Westerling ended ASOS pregnant with Robb’s child; what’s the origin of the hypothesis that she’s being fed contraceptives?

3

asg 05.20.04 at 3:01 pm

Incidentally, one of the things I did while waiting for “Feast” was to try some of GRRM’s other books, rather than re-reading the other books in the series. In particular I got the fairly recent collection “Tuf Voyaging”, which was very well done. And the average CTer will probably like the politics. ;)

4

Bruce Moomaw 05.20.04 at 5:20 pm

I’m in full agreement with the Jon Snow theory, but let me add two points. (GODDAMN, this series has a hard plot to remember — especially given the long pause since the last book…)

(1) I think that Gregor Clegane (aka Mr. Congeniality) did NOT bash Aegon’s brains out — I think he bungled that assignnment becuase the kid had already been taken away, that he tried to conceal this fact from Tywin Lannister, that Lannister had come to suspect it, and that those “howls of agony” we were hearing from the palace where Gregor was supposedly recovering after his duel were actually Tywin trying to torture the truth out of hm. I think Jon Snow IS Aegon, having been rescued by Ned Stark.

(2) I think that humanity will be threatened not only by ice (the Others) but also by fire (the equally destructive force worshipped by the Red Priestess), and that the marriage (or at least the partnership) of Jon and Daenerys will ultimately be necessary to allow humanity to play off these two great destructive powers against each other so that it can slip between them to survive. (I also suspect that the Doom of Valeria, which has been referred to but never described, will turn out to have been a volcanic eruption — another manifestation of the destructive power of Fire.) What I can’t figure out is Littlefinger’s role: surely a destructive one (unless Martin has another real surprise set up for us), but on which side?

By the way, has anyone noticed that the series’ title also refers to the ice of Hate and the fire of Desire, the two great motivators for all its characters?

And I’m pleased to learn that I was right in guessing that Cersei will be the next new viewpoint character introduced. (Although — since Martin has managed the astonishing feat of allowing us to see those two child-murderers Sandor Clegane and Jaime Lannister to be more sympathetic than we had thought — I was wondering if he might now reveal Cersei to be less pure a fiend than we’ve thought. After all, she DIDN’T want Jaime to throw Brandon out that window, and she did apparently genuinely love her horrific son Joffrey…)

5

asg 05.20.04 at 6:02 pm

The real feat would have been, had Joffrey survived book 3, for HIM to get a viewpoint and therefore we all come to understand he isn’t such a little monster after all.

6

Jeff R. 05.20.04 at 6:05 pm

I’m also firmly convinced that this [Lyanna and Rhaegar's child] is the correct view of Jon’s parentage. I’m not so sure about his fate, though.

Remember the Prophecies that Danaerys gets in the second book. The most repeated on is that ‘the dragon has three heads’. The most reasonable reading of this is that there are _three_ Targyren Heirs running around. If Dany is one of the heads[1], and Jon is the other, who is the third?

My Guess: Tyrion. “All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes”, after all. Tywin was a bright fellow, and if he always suspected something was up…Supporting evidence for this includes Tyrion’s fascination with the Dragon skulls, his instant friendship with Jon, and (on a symbolic level), the fact that in the entire first book, only three characters ever use Fire as a tool: Jon (against the wight), Dany (to hatch the eggs), and Tyrion (to attract the wildlings.)

Footnote 1: Dany may not be one of the heads; I vaguely suspect that she’ll get killed almost immediately after setting foot on Westeros. If this is the case there’s _another_ Targyren bastard out there, probably in the South. Of course, I also vaguely suspect that Walder Frey will die with no living heir; the sort of natural justice that is returning to Martin’s world along with magic would seem to demand that sort of pride-laid-low fate.

7

Jonathan Edelstein 05.20.04 at 8:30 pm

I haven’t read Martin’s latest series, but he’s one of the very few science fiction authors for whom I have time – his worlds are vividly realized and the technology is a backdrop to the social/psychological exploration rather than an end in itself. Windhaven is probably one of my all-time favorites.

8

Nelly 05.20.04 at 9:19 pm

The Jeyne Westerling-contraceptive theory is all based on a random remark, when Jeyne tells Catelyn that she and Robb are trying for a baby, and that members of her family are giving her herbs to ‘help’ her get pregnant.
I think Jeyne’s family did it to be pardoned by the Lannisters (which they are). Maybe Jeyne was even given a little encouragement to ‘comfort’ Robb after his brothers’ deaths. Who knows?
I know some other view-points in the next book will be Dornish characters – I think Dorne will play a vital role in the next book, because they have all the incentives to support Myrcellas’s claim to the throne.

9

J. Bryan 05.21.04 at 12:07 am

“I think Jon Snow IS Aegon, having been rescued by Ned Stark.”

The problem with this is that Jon’s age isn’t right for him to be Aegon. Aegon would be a bit younger, if he were alive, than Jon is.

Personally, I think the evidence for the Rhaegar/Lyanna is quite convincing.

“What I can’t figure out is Littlefinger’s role: surely a destructive one (unless Martin has another real surprise set up for us), but on which side?”

My thoughts on Littlefinger (surely one of Martin’s most fascinating): this son of a house so low as to be almost common is gaming for only one thing… the Iron Throne. He wants nothing less than to be king, he’s just not doing it nearly as openly as, say, Renly or Robb or Stannis.

Think of the position he’s in at the end of the third book. He’s been granted lordship over the Trident/Tully lands, as thanks for his role in winning over the forces of Highgarden; he’s won lordship over the Vale/Arryn lands, by way of successfully courting Lysa and then killing her; and he has in his possession the (as far as is widely recognized) heir to Winterfell and all the Northlands… does anyone want to place odds on Littlefinger marrying her?

If he does, that would make Littlefinger lord of three of the Seven Kingdoms, without having fought a single battle.

This guy’s shooting straight for the top. My guess (given that he was clearly conspiring with Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns, over the assassination of King Joffrey) is, look for him to make a play for Highgarden next.

10

asg 05.21.04 at 2:45 am

I can forgive GRRM a lot, but if he kills off Daenerys, at least half the rationale for my wanting to plow through his books will go poof.

11

Roman Levin 05.21.04 at 5:48 pm

I think Littlefinger may use his new position as Lord of the Trident to get rid of Frey, partly in an attempt appease Sansa, maybe. Not to mention avenging Cat’s “death”. He can force Sansa to marry him, easily, but I believe he actually has a soft spot for her, on account of her being Cat’s daughter and all.

Jon cannot possibly be Aegon because he obviously has some Stark blood in him. So much he looks more of a Stark than any of his “siblings”.

There is this silly little theory about Sam being Aegon though. Could be fun. He is the only man alive that had killed an Other (Another?).

12

yabonn 05.21.04 at 8:06 pm

Aaaaack! Warn for spoilers, people!

In france, the books have been salamied into smaller ones. So we’re late : in the most recent one, g r r martin, as the loveable murderous maniac he is, just awfully murdered robb (a pox on him if he ever touches tyrion).

True i could have avoided the whole thread altogether. But you wouldn’t have resisted yourself, would you?

13

asg 05.21.04 at 10:29 pm

Also, FYI, the first two chapters of “Feast” are available at Martin’s website, http://www.georgerrmartin.com.

14

maria 05.23.04 at 6:39 pm

Sorry Yabonn – I should have thought of warning for spoilers.

I’ll never forget how Christmas 2002 was ruined (or like dust in my mouth, as George RR might say) by that disastrous dinner party chez Frey…

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