A Song Of Ice And Fire: answering the big questions

Feature Juliette Harrisson Louisa Mellor 30 Jun 2014 - 07:00

Who is Azor Ahai? Who are the heads of the dragon? We tackle the spoiler-filled, big questions of the Game Of Thrones novels...

Warning: contains spoilers for A Song Of Ice And Fire, all the way up to A Dance With Dragons.

Having mulled over some of the many reader theories circulating about the A Song Of Ice And Fire novels, now we set our attention to the questions that won't be answered until George R.R. Martin's seventh - or eighth, according to recent rumours - book in the series finally hits the shelves.

Some are raised by prophecies (who will be the Valonquar? Who is Azor Ahai? Which three characters will form the three heads of the dragon?) and others by the structure of the series itself (who will sit the Iron Throne? Will the Seven Kingdoms still be united by the end of the saga?). We've given the questions our best go below, and are keen to hear your interpretations and pick over the evidence with you. Without further ado then, here are some of the big questions of A Song Of Ice And Fire...

The Big Question: Who is the valonquar?

When Cersei was a child, fortune teller Maggy the Frog gave her a fairly long prophecy about her future, which culminated in the statement that “when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you”. But just who is meant by ‘the valonquar’?

Possibilities: ‘Valonqar’, we learn, is High Valyrian for ‘little brother’. The most obvious candidate is Tyrion, Cersei’s younger and littler brother who has already literally strangled a woman with a chain made up of golden hands. Cersei herself thinks it refers to Tyrion and that’s partly why she hates him so much. The chief objections to this theory are one, that Tyrion is in Essos and it’s unclear if he and Cersei will ever meet again, and more importantly two, that this particular solution is far too obvious and therefore almost certainly wrong.

The next most obvious candidate is Jaime, the second twin to be born and currently not overly happy with Cersei. The most obvious practical objection to this theory is that it would be quite difficult to wrap a golden hand around anything, but since Jaime can apparently lace britches one-handed that probably isn’t a major issue.

However, there is another alternative. Qyburn took an unhealthy interest in Jaime’s severed hand when they first met at Harrenhal, and it has been strongly implied that he has since performed a Dr Frankenstein on Gregor Clegane, possibly going so far as to replace the man’s head. Unlike either Jaime or Tyrion, FrankenGregor is currently in King’s Landing, with Cersei. Did Qyburn give him Jaime’s hand, and will he use it to kill Cersei? Alternatively, and given that the prophecy refers to ‘hands’ in the plural, did Qyburn give FrankenGregor the late Oberyn Martell’s hands and maybe even his head – the younger Martell brother, who hated all Lannisters?

Beyond that, since the prophecy refers to the valonqar rather than Cersei’s valonqar it could be almost any younger brother in the series, including the Hound (if he’s still alive), Rickon Stark, Garlen or Loras Tyrell, Theon Greyjoy, etc. etc. etc. However, the prophecy would seem to make more sense if the valonqar related specifically to Cersei in some way – the Hound or Loras Tyrell, both supposedly out of the picture but neither seen to be dead, seem the more likely options (bonus points if Loras, whose father is the current Hand of the King, uses the same chain Tyrion used to kill Shae). Arya Stark is a possibility (and Cersei is on her kill-list), on the grounds that she is a ‘brother’ of the Faceless Men (and she’s posed as a boy a few times) or that the translation should be ‘sibling’ rather than ‘brother’ (as ‘prince’ is not gendered in High Valyrian), or perhaps Stannis Baratheon, Cersei’s brother-in-law and Robert’s younger brother.

We'd bet on: Both Tyrion and Jaime seem too obvious, the unrelated options not obvious enough – we’re plumping for FrankenGregor.

 

The Big Question: Who is Azor Ahai?

As its title indicates, the big picture conflict in A Song Of Ice And Fire is the approaching battle between the the undead and the living, between White Walkers and humans, between Ice and Fire. Compared to that, the game of thrones is a mere playground punch-up.

According to Assai prophecy, the person destined to defeat the White Walkers is a second coming kind of deal, a reincarnation of the ancient warrior Azor Ahai who, with his famed burning sword Lightbringer (forged after three attempts, by being plunged into the heart of his willing sacrifice and beloved wife, Nissa Nissa), once banished the darkness. It was foretold that Azor Ahai would be reborn “after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world”. “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers,” the legend states, “Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone”. Fans will recognise that as a fair description of the period in which ASoIAF is set (the bleeding red star = the red comet). Additionally, a Wood’s Witch/The Ghost of High Heart is said to have once told King Jaehaerhys II that The Prince Who Was Promised (widely accepted as an alternative title for Azor Ahai) would be born of the line of Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen.

So, assuming that one of our characters is the second coming of Azor Ahai, and thus the person prophesied to defeat the Others, who might it be?

Possibilities: Let’s start with the strongest possibility: Daenerys Targaryen. No other character currently has as many ticks in the ‘Could they be Azor Ahai?’ evidence column as the Khaleesi. To begin with, she’s the daughter of King Aerys and Rhaella Targaryen, and was born on Dragonstone Island while a great storm raged, which could be interpreted as providing the (sea) salt and possibly (dragon) smoke, though a more convincing reading is less to do with Dany’s actual birth and more to do with her rebirth as the Mother of Dragons. The red comet - a portent of Azor Ahai’s second coming - was first glimpsed in the sky prior to the hatching of Dany’s children, when she literally awoke dragons out of stone through the smoke of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre, and the salt of her tears.

What about Lightbringer? According to prophecy, “…a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again”. Dany pulled no sword Red Sword of Heroes from the flames, only her dragons. It’s been theorised that Lightbringer is not an actual sword, but another weapon that will vanquish the darkness, i.e. the dragons themselves. The fact that the dragons, like the legend of Lightbringer, were ‘forged’ on Dany’s third attempt to hatch them (first on the brazier, then after her post-childbirth fever dreams, then successfully on Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre after she mercy killed her lover), further supports this theory.

An option given plenty of inches in the novels due to it being the belief of Melisandre, the Red Priestess, is that Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn. George R.R. Martin has provided enough clues however, that Melisandre is barking up the wrong tree and Stannis is roughly as likely as Hodo to be be Azor Ahai. First of all, Stannis hasn’t been ‘reborn’, unless you count his pragmatic conversion to the Lord of Light. Yes, Stannis pulled a flaming sword out of the burning wooden effigy of the Maiden’s heart in his own homage to Lightbringer’s forging, but it was more pantomime than prophecy. The sword set Stannis' glove on fire before he plunged it into the ground, leaving his servants to retrieve it later. It’s hardly heroic stuff, and as Davos Seaworth remarks, watching the scene, “The Red Sword of Heroes looks a proper mess”. Later on Salladhor Saan (originally from Lys, where they know about this stuff) disparages the notion that Stannis is Azor Ahai, telling Davos “that sword was not Lightbringer, my friend”. In  A Feast For Crows, Maester Aemon comments to Samwell that Stannis’ sword “is wrong… an empty glamour”, giving further credence to the idea that it has merely been enchanted by Melisandre and is not the real McCoy.

Images of flaming swords abound in A Song Of Ice And Fire. Jaime Lannister dreams that in A Storm Of Swords that he and Brienne’s swords burn with silvery flames until their life drains from them. Thoros of  Myr used to fight with one anointed with wildfire to impress the public at tourneys, though it was known there was no magic in it. Thoros is later able to light the resurrected Ser Beric Dondarrion’s sword aflame using blood and magic, positing the latter - like Victarion Greyjoy, whom some believe is the reincarnated warrior - another unsubstantiated possibility.

Much more likely is a character whose anticipated rebirth is yet to come: Jon Snow. Assuming that R + L + J (see Theories), Jon has the right provenance to be Azor Ahai reborn, though few of the other requirements. Yet.

The best evidence so far that Jon could turn out to be the warrior who repels the darkness is from Melisandre, who is frustrated when flame-gazing that “I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai and R’hallor shows me only Snow”. Add to that the Jon’s prophetic dream in A Dance With Dragons of being “armoured in black ice” but having a blade that “burned red in his fist”. If Jon is Azor Ahai, then it’s likely we’ve not seen the forging of Lightbringer yet (unless you follow the theory that the Night’s Watch itself is Lightbringer - a weapon that will repel the Others). If however, Jon has to follow the legend and kill his beloved in order to forge it, then a juicy suggestion has spread that Melisandre, using the same glamour she employed to make Mance Rayder look like Rattleshirt in A Dance With Dragons, will appear to Jon disguised as Ygritte, and he will forge his burning sword in her heart…

We’d bet on: Maester Aemon was convinced it was Daenerys, and ordinarily we’d never question him, but the arguments putting Jon forward for the role are too enjoyable to dismiss. We're eighty percent Dany, twenty percent Jon at the present time.

 

The Big Question: Who are the heads of the dragon?

While Daenerys is in the House of the Undying, she sees a vision of a man who looks like Viserys (presumably Rhaegar Targaryen) and a woman with a newborn baby. Rhaegar says that the baby should be called Aegon and that he is ‘the prince who was promised’ and ‘his is the song of ice and fire’. The man looks at Daenerys and tells her “There must be one more… the dragon has three heads”. It is presumed that Dany’s three dragons each need an individual rider, and that Dany plus two others will be the three heads of the resurgent Targaryen dragon, riding Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal. But which two others?

Possibilities: There’s some debate over whether the three heads of the dragon all need to be Targaryens. Targaryens certainly have an affinity with dragons, and presumably the three will have some kind of connections with dragons, Dany and the Targaryens, fire or animals – they won’t be random – but whether they all have to be biologically related to Targaryens is less clear.

Naturally, Aegon Targaryen immediately springs to mind as one of the heads of the dragon since that seems clearly implied in the vision. But this is far from certain. For one thing, it isn’t clear whether Aegon really is Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar and Elia, or not (depending partly on whether the Quaithe’s reference to a ‘mummer’s dragon’ simply describes him as belonging to Varys the mummer, or implies that he is a fake).

For another, Daenerys does not know who she is looking at, other than recognising Rhaegar thanks to his resemblance to Viserys, so the woman and the baby are not necessarily Elia and Aegon; they could be Rhaegar’s mistress/second wife and their child. Seeing the boy’s father say that he should be called Aegon is not the same as confirming that the child was known by that name – he could have later been given another name. Jon Snow, for example. If R+L=J (see Theories) then Jon Snow seems a pretty likely candidate for one of the heads of the dragon, especially if ‘his is the song of ice and fire’ (if he is the offspring of a Stark and a Targaryen, living on the Wall, possibly raised from the dead by the fires of R’hllor – granted there’s a lot of conjecture here but it’s fairly solid conjecture).

Even if we assume that seems likely – what with the whole ‘ice and fire’ motif fitting Jon and Dany perfectly – that still leaves one more head of the dragon. There are no other known living Targaryens beyond Dany and (possibly) Aegon, but while Jon Snow is the most popular guess for a secret Targaryen, there are also a number of fans who think Tyrion Lannister might not be a lion after all (see Theories). Even if he is as Lannister through and through as he thinks he is, he could still be a head of the dragon, though that wouldn’t necessarily fit in with the Quaithe’s warning to Dany against ‘the lion’ (presumably Tyrion).

Outside of Targaryens, Bran Stark seems the most likely guess, since the Three-Eyed Crow told him that although he will never walk again, he will fly. Bran could either ride a dragon (if helped up) or, more likely, warg into one. On the other hand, there are plenty of flying creatures around and Bran has a much closer affinity with birds than dragons.

Warging is also not the same as riding, so even if Bran did warg into a dragon, there’s still a chance it will have a human rider as well. If it’s someone close to Bran, Meera Reed might fit the bill. Victarion Greyjoy is currently bent on finding and controlling the dragons, so he’s clearly a possibility. Beyond that we’re mostly into wild guessing that could run to any character in the series, but Arya Stark has got to leave Braavos at some point and seems the strongest candidate of the rest, due to her admiration for warrior women, her close connection with Jon Snow and her current lack of much direction beyond ninja training and working her way through her kill list.

Or perhaps it will be someone else entirely, someone new that Dany finds. In her vision, Rhaegar suggested a second ‘head’, with her the first, and told her they still needed a third. Maybe Missandei will really come out of her shell.

We'd bet on: Jon Snow and Dany seem almost certain bets at this point. For the third, it seems likely that Bran will have something to do with it, but if he wargs there’s still space for a human rider, most likely Meera or Arya due to their closeness with him. Plus, Jon and Dany are the actual protagonists of the whole series, the possible royal heir and the exiled princess, and Bran is their kooky prophet sidekick and the first character whose viewpoint we experience in first book (excluding the Prologue). Jon, Dany and Bran are by far the most likely candidates for the three heads of the dragon.

 

The Big Question: Who will win the Iron Throne?

Considering the fates of those who’ve fought for it so far, winning the Iron Throne can be considered something of a pyrrhic victory, the cost outweighing the reward. Robert Baratheon won it and was murdered, Joffrey inherited it and was poisoned, Tommen sits it currently and (according to Cersei’s fortune) his days are also numbered. Add to that the aforementioned fact that when the real battle of the Seven Kingdoms - between humans and the Others - arrives, whose buttocks are warming the Iron Throne will be little more than an irrelevance, and it’s a wonder anyone bothers to play the game of thrones at all.

But play it they do, and here are the most likely candidates for future occupants…

Possibilities: Let’s consider the blood claims. Despite their crowns, Cersei and Jaime’s children have no legitimate claim to the throne (well, unless you’re one of those who believes that their father was secretly Aerys Targaryen instead of Tywin Lannister), and Cersei is destined to outlive both Tommen and Myrcella according to Maggy’s fortune, so even if Myrcella does inherit the throne after Tommen, she’ll likely share her brothers’ mayfly longevity of rule.

What about the legitimate Baratheon heirs? Stannis is Robert’s rightful heir, followed by his daughter Shireen. After all he’s done to secure it, including rescinding his religion and getting up to his armpits in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, the fates would be cruel to Stannis if he didn’t eventually win the throne, but then, the fates of ASoIAF are notorious for their cruelty. Shireen’s prospects don’t look too hot either, what with Val’s predictions in A Dance With Dragons that her greyscale is slowly killing the child.

Edric Storm (or Gendry, as the TV series has it) is one of Robert’s bastards, giving him a blood claim, but not a legitimate one. In the Seven Kingdoms, unless a father legitimises his bastard - as Roose Bolton has done to Ramsay - they have no claim to an inheritance. A few fans would like to see Arya and Gendry unite as adults to rule the Seven Kingdoms, but their claim is a weak one.

Now for the most likely contenders to end the series on the Iron Throne: the Targaryens. Assuming as we are that R = L + J, there are two, possibly three, Targaryen heirs in the running. Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Young Griff/Aegon (if the latter isn't a fake). Dany, thanks to her dragons and substantial army, is the most visible threat to King’s Landing, but her nephew(s) also have their claim. Of course, it’s common for Targaryen siblings to marry, so there’s no reason Dany wouldn’t take nephew Jon as a husband, for instance, so they could rule together. Varys and Illyrio have plotted for Young Griff to share the throne with his aunt, thus restoring the Targaryen royal line, but the Mummer’s Dragon really what he seems? (See Theories).

We should also remember that blood claims have little to do with it when armies are involved. Robert the Usurper took the Iron Throne by force, leaving the way open for any other warrior with the means and the motivation to seize power. Victarion Greyjoy is a strong possibility, Roose Bolton and House Tyrell certainly have ambition, but who knows? Perhaps Littlefinger and Sansa, or Bran, Davos, Bronn or one of ASoIaF’s bit players might step up? There's little textual evidence to suggest that Robb Stark's bride, Jeyne Westerling, was pregnant before his death (she survives in the books, unlike the TV show's Talisa), but if she was, there could be a little heir to the North somewhere in the background, too.

We’d bet on: As we say below (Will the Seven Kingdoms still be united at the end of the series?), the significance of the Iron Throne is likely to change before the books are out. If the kingdoms split back to their pre-Aegon the Conqueror days, there may not even be an Iron Throne by the books' close. If we’re forced to pick one sure bet though, our money’s on Dany.

 

The Big Question: Will the Seven Kingdoms still be united at the end of the series?

Not all the kings in the War of Five Kings were fighting for the Iron Throne or the Seven Kingdoms. Robb Stark was named King in the North and was really only interested in ruling the North as a separate kingdom, while Balon Greyjoy was also after the North, ruling from the Iron Islands. Will there still be a Seven Kingdoms by the time winter has come and gone?

Possibilities: The simplest possibility would be that the North (with the Iron Islands) splits off to become an independent kingdom. Alternatively, it could become a slightly more independent state with the Seven Kingdoms, like Dorne.

Speaking of Dorne, the Martells would probably be quite keen on independence as well and may try to break away from the influence of the Iron Throne. This seems especially likely considering that Cersei was told that all her three children would have golden crowns by Maggy the Frog. While Myrcella might come back to King’s Landing and sit on the Iron Throne after Tommen’s death (the deaths of all three children before Cersei herself were also part of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy), it seems more likely at this point that she’ll be crowned in Dorne, either as the rightful heir of the Iron Throne according to Dornish law (pretending that her father was Robert) or as Queen of an independent Dorne, married to a Martell.

Another possibility is that the lands controlled by the Iron Throne might expand rather than contracting. Daenerys currently rules in Meereen – will she simply stay there? Or will she install a ruler who reports to her and continue to rule nominally, expanding her territory out into Essos? The fact that the Free Cities plus an extensive wasteland sit between Meereen and Westeros might be a problem there. Perhaps more likely is the addition of lands north of the Wall. The Wildings do not bend the knee to kings, but they ended up with one anyway in Mance Rayder. They do want Westeros’ protection from White Walkers, so perhaps they might be persuaded to join in a more formal alliance or federation of states.

It may be worth bearing in mind here that while Dorne is culturally fairly Spanish, its political place as part of the Seven Kingdoms is more analogous to Wales’s place in the United Kingdom, or medieval England. The Wall is based on Hadrian’s Wall, which would imply that North of the Wall is Scotland and the North is the north of England – but none of these analogies are absolute, so an alternative reading might see Scotland in the North, above the neck. Insert your own political comment/reading here. On the other hand, George RR Martin is American and may not be that heavily invested in current British politics.

We'd bet on: It seems unlikely that the Seven Kingdoms will be unaffected by its current political turmoil and surfeit of kings. We reckon at the very least the North will either split off all together, or gain an increased degree of independence from the Iron Throne. Which would allow more than one character to rule in the end – Daenerys on the Iron Throne and Jon Snow in the North, for example.

Read more spoiler-filled theories about the A Song Of Ice And Fire series, here.

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Valonquar - little brother - maybe it's Tommen? Kills his mother for what she did with his Uncle/Dad??

Tommen's my favourite for the valonqar as well.
Although I imagine his killing of Cersei (in spite of his growing misgivings) would be inadvertent more than deliberate.
And his "hands" may be people. The then Hand of the King for example, and one other yet to be clarified.

Cersei will have a trial by combat. FrankenGregor will be her champion and represent the dark. Against her will be the repentant Sandor Clegane, representing light (Although, also the Seven, a different faith to Melissandre's fire. Hmmm) . Anyway, Sandor will win, and so the younger brother will be responsible for her death.

I'm happy to be corrected but it doesn't seem likely that Jon could be the Aegon referenced in Dany's dream of Rhaegar. I can't figure out a point in time when Rhaeagar could be naming Jon Aegon, when his other son Aegon was not yet born or had died.

It would seem odd for anyone to have two sons and name them both Aegon, wouldn't it?

Yes, I was thinking that as well. There is a reference to Cersei's children dying in the same prophecy but it's not necessarily sequential. It could be there to throw one off the track.

I prefer to let things play out rather than trying to predict exactly what means what (though everything mentioned here probably has some truth to it, especially Azor Ahai). I just came to say FrankenGregor is now my favourite nickname for Ser Strong/Clegane.

The Tyrells sure would like that, I imagine!

Dany's visions in the House of the Undying are very interesting and seemed to point the way to where Martin was leading, she saw Robb's death for example and rather interestingly she saw the Iron Throne covered in ice now whether this is due to winter or the Others reaching as far as Kings Landing I'm not sure. There was an interesting part when she went north of the wall in her vision and met Khal Drogo again. Whether or not this means Dany will arrive long after the war is over I don't know but it doesn't look for the Seven Kingdoms.

I have never before seen that map showing land both north of the Shivering Sea and west of the Sunset Sea. Where's that from?

I love it too, even though it irks me that it perpetuates the misconception that Frankenstein was the name of the monster. (Call me Kryten).
On that topic, I thought Qyburn gave Ser Strong the head of Robert Baratheon. Hence Robert Strong. Or did I misremember that?

'...did Qyburn give FrankenGregor the late Oberyn Martell’s hands and maybe even his head – the younger Martell brother, who hated all Lannisters?'

That smashed creme egg will probably not be up to the job, even in Qyburn's hands.

I thought Robert was killed by a wild boar out hunting rather than murdered?
Or am I misremembering?

He was, but it's all but outright stated that the wine his squire (Lancel, Cersei's cousin) was giving him was much stronger than usual and dulled his senses enough so he couldn't react properly when the boar attacked him.

It was an orchestrated "accident".

It could be any brother, not just Cersei's brother. It could be a short member of the Night Watch or, (my favourite) Rickon Stark who is the youngest child and therefore "The Little Brother".

Who will sit on the Iron Throne? At this
point, as far as I know and remember, only 2 people are ambitious enough and interested
enough to sit in the chair: Varys and Littlefinger. The Game is played by them,
and everyone else is just a pawn for them to position around the board that is
Westeros (and Essos by extension); that becomes very clear at the end of ADwD.
However, the game is but one verse in the Song of Ice and Fire and the Throne,
in my opinion, is a fool’s errand, a distraction. Which brings me to another
question…

Will the Seven Kingdoms be ruled as before?
I really don’t think so. I think big changes are, like winter, coming. This
story is about humans facing the Others and since they all think that White
Walkers are just a legend to frighten children and don’t pay to much attention
to the North (even Tyrion), the cold will come down and bite them in the arse
big time. I think in the end Dany will swoop in with her dragons, burn all the
Others and finish her assault by having Drogon melt down the Iron Thrown, the
cause of all the White Walkers’ destruction in Westeros. She will live out the
rest of her days roaming the Dothraki Sea with the largest Khalassar in
history, while the remaining Stark and Lannister children lay the ground work
for a future democracy. /violin music
loll

Maybe Cersei will finally have enough of all the sneezing and have Ser Pounce boiled in a stew, which will trigger Tommen's repressed rage and murder half the castle, including his mother. Hey, you never know.

That's what I thought!

Tommon is going to strangle his mom after he finally gets fed up with her machinations.

I just want to give props that someone actually wrote a real article about Game of Thrones, and a pretty deep and detailed one at that. I have Google Alerts for GoT's updates (mostly looking for a WoW release date) and 90% of the hits I get are just garbage. Mostly just stupid speculation about when the next book is coming out or someone meaningless quote GRRM said (Spoiler- the next book is going to have some deaths).

The White Walkers will somehow get past The Wall and begin destroying Westeros. Shortly after that Daenerys will arrive with her dragons. There will be a battle if Fire (dragons) and Ice (white walkers), which Dany will win and the people will be glad to have a Targeryn once more on the throne.

Shireen (Stannis' daughter) has dragon skin....is she the 3rd rider?
She was also fascinated/obsessed with the history of the dragons and their riders, her hero being the the small girl who rode one.

Gendry is the son of Robert and Cersei. She told Caitlyn Stark how her child died and was taken from her.(a dark child) He remembered his fair mother.

I'm going to hold out for Tyrion as one of the "heads of the dragon." No real reason for thinking this, other than Tyrion having a fascination with dragons and wanting one as a small child. Yes, this is a really long shot and Martin is more likely to deny Tyrion just because it's something he would really want.

On the question of whether the Seven Kingdoms will be united at the end of the series, I think they'll end up more united than at any time in the past. The "Inconvenient Truth" threat posed by the Others has put the civil strife in Westeros in perspective as ultimately pointless. The only institution that has bought the Kingdoms any time at all, the Night's Watch, is also the only truly continental institution in the series. GRRM's message seems to be clear that cohesion is going to be necessary to face the threat- Jon's ADWD arc is pretty much beating this message into the reader.

The overall structure of the story also supports the position toward ultimate Union. There are three main story threads in the series. The threat of the Others in the North, the conflict for and around the Iron Throne and Dany the exile queen in the east. The three threads are bound to converge because otherwise, AOIAF is not one story but just a collection of parallel stories.

Finally, in the three centuries since the conquest, there have been several Great Council sessions of the lords to decide major questions, usually the succession to the throne, on a collective basis. This can be regarded the the precursor of a parliament and one of several signs that the forging of the Iron Throne also bound the kingdoms together in a way that makes backsliding seem very unlikely. I personally am betting that the succession will ultimately be decided by a Great Council that would also mark a major step toward deeper cohesion.

I'm actually wondering if the Tyrells will end up on the Iron Throne, or Sansa and one of the Tyrells - because the Starks are York, the Lannisters and Lancaster and the Tyrells are the Tudors

I also thought this but in the books Cerci is clear that she was pregnant and aborted using moon tea. Not that she's an honest lady. Only the show hints that.

Great article, and FWIW, I completely agree with the author's opinion regarding the ultimate "winner" of the Iron Throne.

I had to gulped it down hard after reading this article. I need to consider that it's merely all hypothetical. I wonder if Jon is really aware at all even tho Ned never got to chat with him, and would he be willing to marry he's sweet pretty Auntie Dany.

The biggest unanswered question is now that Sophia Turner is 18 and can do nudity, will she be known as Lady Strawberry Patch or Lady Red Bush?

get hype

Okay, I might be completely off (it's been a while since I read the books, I'm currently in the process of re-reading them), but didn't Young Griff get killed by the dragons? When Dany had to refuse him and married another guy(for the life of me I cannot remember his name), Griff had gone to where she was holding the dragons in the hopes of taking one and ended up being BBQ'd?

As for the prophecy about Cersei's children all having golden crowns, I thought that was just a reference to the color of their hair, not that all of them would end up ruling in some capacity.

As to Jeyne(Robb's wife) being pregnant with his heir, (I just read this part last night) her mother had told Jaime that she had "made sure she wasn't". I'm not sure what mommy-dearest methods were, but she seemed damned certain that Jeyne lost any child that she may have had.

My theory as to who will rule the Seven Kingdoms? Jon and Dany. The title of the books: A Song of Fire and Ice, just screams Jon and Dany (Him the Ice and she the Fire, of course). I'm still not full on board that Jon is a Targaryen. From the way Martin plays it out in the books, there wasn't enough time for Rhaegar to capture (or she ran away with him?) Lyanna, get her with child, and her to have the child. But, there were no... "time stamps" on the events other than it lasted "close to a year". So eh, who knows? Either way, I think Jon will still end up ruling beside Dany. In all technicalities Jon is still of royal blood, the blood of the Kings of Winter.

Now I have a question. In the books, the others look fairly human with blue glowing eyes, and extremely beautiful. Enchanted with ice magics and such. In Valyria, they were human with purple glowing eyes, and extremely beautiful. Enchanted with fire and blood magics and such. Polar opposites... The Lord of Light is the polar opposite of The Great Other...

Now Rheagar comes from the line that originated in The Lands of Always Spring (Valyria ). Lyanna Stark comes from the line that originated in The Lands of Always Winter. A Union of those two would be a union of Ice and Fire. Jon Snow.

Now I know you're saying, hold on a minute, the Starks are not related to Others. And to this I say, not that they know of. The Starks have wildling blood in their veins. If Valyrians can breed with non-Valyrians. Who's to say that Others can't breed with non-Others. After all, in the books they are fairly human looking and quite beautiful. The Night's Queen was a female Other.

Now whether Jon Snow knows it or not. He is the culmination of Ice and Fire magic. And quite possibly the most powerful person in the world because of it. And a possible leader of Humans, Valyrians, and Others. After all, Dany did see Snow on the Iron Throne.

First part, You're thinking of The Martell prince from Dorne that let loose the dragons. Last part, Dany saw in her prophecy that snow was falling and on the Iron Throne.

@the Martel Prince. Ah, ok. See this is why I'm re-reading the books again. So many characters have to read them a dozen times just to keep all of them straight.

That was worthless... George Martin isn't even going to finish the actual books, he made more money in 1 season on HBO than all of his book sales combined, The script is already deviating, too bad for the pretentious book readers.........

Littlefinger is the Valonquar. He's arguably already responsible for Joffrey being crowned when he betrayed Ned Stark, then he was responsible for his death when he set up the poisoning scheme with Ser Dontos and the Queen of Thorns. I also believe we will find out that he was responsible for Darkstar's attempt to kill Myrcella in Dorne, its exactly his style and would have served to further distract Cersei. He's trying to keep her eyes off him as he builds his alliance in the Vale, and possibly the Riverlands and the North. He is Cat's "little Brother" as he was raised as a ward of Riverrun, and I believe that makes Sansa the younger, more beautiful queen named in Maggy the Frog's prophecy.
Jon is definitely Azor Ahai, any other interpretation completely ignores vast amounts of foreshadowing. Dany is too obvious and we know how adverse George RR Martin is to go with the obvious. The Red God is blatently trying to tell Mellisandre that it's Jon, but she's too blinded by her earlier mistaken reading of the prophecy. Now that Jon has met his end at the hands of his brothers, he's ready to be reborn amidst smoke and salt, now freed from his Night's Watch vows because he died at his post.

I respect the out of the box thinking, but NO. That scene between Cat and Cersei was made up show nonsense. In the books Cersei's inner monologue tells you that anytime Robert actually managed to get it in and knock her up, she had the pregnancy terminated with a drink the Maesters call Moon Tea. Maggy the frog tells cersei that she will have 3 children, and the king that she marries will have 16. Gendry is definitely a bastard.

you go about trying to answer questions but you leave out quite a bit.

Who is the valonquar?

what you forgot i the details of when Cersei heard about this. Melara Hetherspoon was with Cersei when she heard not just that prophecy but another as well.

"Cersei: I will be queen, though?
Maggy: Aye. Queen you shall be... until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear"

"Cersei: Will the king and I have children?
Maggy: Oh, aye. Six-and-ten for him, and three for you. Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."

then Merlara asked a question

"Melara: Will I marry Jaime?
Maggy: Not Jaime, nor any other man, Worms will have your maidenhead. Your death is here tonight, little one. Can you smell her breath? She is very close.”

so there are a few things here. One points to why Cersei acted the way she did both to Sansa and to Margaery Tyrell. that a younger queen would be her undoing. This of course could likely have something to do with Daenerys. It describes her children in a curious manner as well. Pointing out the two would have children but probably not by each other. It also points out that she will outlive her children "Gold shall be their crowns (hair) and gold their shrouds"

now on the valonqar you just know it's a little brother but curious she used those words. It could be Jamie because of part of Melara's prophecy since there are hints in the prophecy that it was Cersei who killed the girl, "your death is close". or it could be a younger brother of Melara herself who died when she was about 11. Her father could have had a son in that time and Cersei may or may not know about it.

The Big Question: Who is Azor Ahai?

the strongest? no among the strongest? perhaps and perhaps a twist involved as well. The Dragon must have three heads so the prince who was promised might be altered by that and really be 3 princes who were promised, but only if you use the dragon must have three heads with it.

there however is someone who is an even stronger match than Daenerys. you need to add up a few things but it is there. That person is Jon Snow.

1. It is likely his mother is a Stark and his father Rhaegar targaryen.

This is hinted at multiple times in the series from the way Jon himself looks. He looks more like a stark than any of the "official" stark children. He looks more like a stark than Ayra who looks the closest to him of all of them, and she looks like Lyanna. Ayra doesn't have all of the stark features but she looks close enough to Jon that her own sister thought she was a bastard as well. There are other hints to such as why someone who never breaks any vows or oaths would cheat on Cat. Something completely out of character for Ned. Not only that but Neds own comments about and too Jon are suggestive enough that he isn't Ned's son. He never actually calls Jon his son to my knowledge but does admit Jon has his blood (a nephew perhaps). Add to the fact that Robert would have killed Jon if he found out and you can see why Ned would let the world believe something. Even his phrasing to others is curious. He never outright tells anyone he cheated and with who, but rather he allows them to come up with their own conclusion. All to avoid a lie. He lets others create the facts so he doesn't have to.

2. The day that Lyanna died (assuming 1 is true) is described by Ned in a dream as a blood streaked sky. Sound familiar? add something to strengthen 1. Lyanna died in a pool of blood which is closer to a description of dying while giving birth than anything else. want another? she died in the Tower of Joy guarded by 3 of the best Kingsguard. They don't just guard anyone. They don't guard mistresses. They don't guard someone who was (or hold them ransom). They guard the King and his family. So ask yourself why were they guarding Lyanna? if she were only a mistress even if she had a child the Kingsguard would not guard her, only if Rhaegar married her in secret. want more? Daenerys herself sees a blue rose in a chink in the wall. Blue Roses were unquestionably Lyanna's flower and who is at the wall who fits every description of Lyanna (or what her son would look like if he took after her)? Jon Snow.

3. Jon's own dream dream about wielding a red sword while fighting the others/white walkers. Lightbringer anyone?

4. Whenever the Red woman asks to see the Azor Ahai, she only sees Jon Snow. So much so it fustrates her where she says roughly "it only shows me snow"

"I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow"

true you mentioned 4 but you left out quite a bit. if 1 is true then Jon is born of a prince, and he was born under a sky where the stars seemed to bleed. true daenerys was born during a storm, but there is nothing i recall about stars bleeding like there is when Ned remembers when Lyanna died.

There is another flaw in your logic. What makes you think that the lightbringer must be forged anew every time?

There are other players in the Game, not just Varys and Littlefinger. "This is no longer a game for Two, and perhaps it never was." Varys to Magister Illyrio, over heard by Arya Stark in the bowels of the Red Keep in AGoT.

This may well form part of the ending of the story but it's too limited to be complete. What about all of the prophesies? The most satisfying conclusion to the series involves a revelation around Jon Snow's heritage and the subsequent power that this implies.

Lady Wearing-my-tongue-as-a-tampon, but unfortunately since the character hasn't aged along with her, I don't think it will be either.

It can't be Jon in the Rhaegar vision unless Dany's vision is of an event that never happened. Rhaegar was cold and dead by the time Ned would have made it to the Tower of Joy where he found Lyanna in her "bed of blood" (the birthing bed).

R + L + J
R+L=J
R = L + J

What is this, algebra? Hire a frickin proofreader.

there's always the possibility that "the others" may have a champion of their own... being Jon Snow brought back as one of them, thus giving us an inside look at them from a POV character, which would lead to many many possibilities.

Very good theories, i always wondered though, what if Martin uses a complete twist and has Jon Snow brought back instead by The Others... which would make Dany the "Fire" and Jon the "Ice" part of the "Song", which could lead to many new possibilities, hell, he could possibly be both the Azor Ahai and still be brought back as one of the Others, and the way that they are "stopped" are because he becomes their leader and he and Dany marry/ally themselves, likely after much fighting of course. Not sure, but it's fun to think about, heheh.

Tommen and Myrcella will have to have died first. Sandor will not win.

true, that also would go with his dream of wielding the red sword though being encased in armor of dark ice, i'm glad to see someone who had close to the same thoughts i did about it... perhaps he is reborn by the Others, perhaps also marrying Dany. If he was reborn as one of the Others, that would also allow for a POV character to be behind the scenes in order to show the readers the details of their lives, culture, etc. Also if he were both, perhaps that's how he ends the war, by uniting everyone (of course after crushing/sublimating the many other contenders to the throne, possibly even fulfilling Cersei's prophesy, as he could also be the "little brother" refered to. Quite fun to theorize about...

I'd add a fifth clue to Jon being AA (found it on another forum) : when he is killed by his brothers, Martin realizes the entire prophecy of how Azor Asai shall be reborn.
The bleeding star : the star on the sigil of the knight crushed by the Giant
amidst salt and smoke : the author insists on Bowen Marsh's tears (salt) and Jon notices some smoke rising from his wounds

His head was not smashed in the book.

I think the timeline fits perfectly for Jon to be a Targaryen. Rhaegar and Lyanna fall in love and elope. Robert is furious because he was betrothed to Lyanna. He accuses Rhaegar of kidnapping Lyanna, unwilling to accept that Lyanna left him willingly for Rhaegar. Aerys is upset that his heir has married someone who is not a Targaryen, so he summons the Starks to King's Landing and executes them. Robert goes to war against the Targaryens to win back his love and kills Rhaegar 1 year later. Shortly after, Ned finds Lyanna on her deathbed from complications of childbirth after giving birth to Rhaegar's son. Her dying wish is that he protect the child. Knowing that Robert would kill the boy if he knew his true lineage, Ned tells Robert that this is his bastard son to protect Jon. It all fits.

I'm pretty sure it was.

John Snow is the song of Ice and Fire, Dany will help the prophecy come to "light".

It looks like a screen cap from the opening credits.

Yeah, the way I remember the book version is very similar to how it went on screen. Man, George RR Martin really made The Mountain a full-tilt no-foolin' horror story of a character didn't he?

......Stannis is the Valonquar. He's the younger brother to Robert and he keeps mentioning how he would strangle all those who oppose him to take the throne. Couple that with his vision of sitting the Iron Throne before being burnt and it is more than likely he'll kill Cersei to take the throne to then shortly be killed by D.

As for the head of the dragons, D, Jon S, Griff....

I love your theory. So, in your theory, is Jon the Night King?

Don't forget that Old Nan said the Night's King was a Stark of Winterfell, so let's not go saying just yet that no Stark was an Other. Nan seems to have her histories straight.

I think Ned also wants to protect Robert Baratheon from the knowledge that Lyanna was in love with Rhaegar and not Robert. Robert was Ned's dearest friend and Lyanna's love for Rhaegar didn't change that. Ned didn't give a damn for his honor because he easily gave it up for his sister's and to protect her child from Robert's wrath. Even his own wife's honor did not deflect Ned from protecting Lyanna's honor, Robert's friendship and Jon's life. Jon, also named after Jon Arryn whom both Robert and Ned loved, admired and respected.

it should be noted that the prophecy Cersei receives doesn't give an indication of when this happens only that she will outlive her children and when her sorrow breaks her.. then she'll be strangled by the Valonquar. it could be a year from now.. days from now.. 40 years from now anywhere between or longer

there is another theory as well that works differently from the books to the tv series. in the Books the Valonquar could very well be Rollam Westerling... Little brother to Jeyne Westerling who married Robb Stark. His other brother is to my knowledge assumed dead at the same wedding and after what the Lannisters did, the little brother might want revenge. He's currently 10 or so i think but the propecy doesn't say when.

The red Viper after all waited quite sometime to get his revenge against the Mountain.

on the TV series.. well Talisa Maegyr might well have a little brother waiting in the wings and he'd have even more of a reason to seek revenge.

I would love the bitch to be killed by Robert's brother!

What about Loras Tyrell as the Valonqar? He's a 2nd son too and harbors no love for Cersei.

Very good point! 8)

Thanks, now I have to spend many nights trying to figure this out again! loll

Regarding Cersei and the Valonqar, I was always assuming it was Margaery: there were always lots of other prophecies that she was next in line, the beautiful one to replace Cersei, etc.

With all Cersei has done to her, the motive is there. As pointed out, Valyrian does not strongly distinguish gender, and they are "royal siblings" in a sense, since they've both been queens. Only that last point is much of a stretch, and prophecies are never obvious in their wording.

First question, could the answer beToman?

It's possible, but I don't think so. If the show has anything to say about it, the Night King may already be out there beyond the wall gathering his levies, however I lean towards Stannis being the Night King. Remember what Donal Noye said of Stan the man before you ever even meet him in AGoT, "Robert was the true steel, Renly only bronze, and Stannis is pure iron, he'll break before he bends." I think this is foreshadowing a psychological break for Stannis after it becomes clear his cause is lost. He won't bend the knee, but rather find common cause with the Others, making for an incredible irony for Melisandre as she has unintentionally been working against the Red god this whole time.

I do remember Donal saying that about Stannis. It would be a quandry for Melisandre. She's already due for one when she finally figures out the reason she keeps seeing snow when she thinks she should be seeing Stannis. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer is she?

Zealots never are, you have to be a bit of a sucker to believe that fervently in any religion. Mel might surprise us though, I think it will be her giving Jon the breath of life, and if she saw Jon come back she might realize her mistake real quick. That might even be the trigger for Stannis to flip out if that's something that's in the cards. I also think we'll go deeper into her own backstory eventually, and it wouldn't surprise me if we don't know the half of what she's about. I keep thinking about her last chapter in ADWD, that's a huge chapter for foreshadowing for the next book and I can only say Im sure about half of it.

Valonquar - did anyone think that it could be a younger brother of the Night's Watch AKA Jon Snow

No because Maggie also said Cersei would outlive her children so if Tommen kills Cersei then Maggie was wrong. We have to be on the assumption that Maggie is right about all she said.

Where was it pointed out that Valyrian does not strongly distringuish gender? Dragons are unisex other than that I haven't heard of anything else like that.

boring

Boring especially since Cersei had nothing to do with the Red Wedding. the North knows it was Tywin

Song means battle
Ice means Stark
Fire means Targaryen
Battle of Jon and Dany. The two protagonists will actually be against each other in the end
mind = blown

I would literally burn the books and never read another word ever again if he goes there

No, there will be a sack of King's Landing and Cersei will kill Tommen or Myrcella to save them from being killed by others. As she is hysterically crying, Jamie will have found her with the dead body of Tommen or Myrcella and he will kill her with the very hand she made for him.

Boo - Littlefinger will probably never see Cersei and if he is the one to kill her then that is boring as hell. It needs to be a Stark or Margery that does it. The revenge factor. If Martin doesn't give us that instead has littlefinger do it, a guy who actually owes alot to the Lannisters then the revenge factor and peace of mind that a Stark or Margery could get from killing her is lost. Anti-climatic.

The main plots are in place - the deviations are small. Now Instead of Balon Swann going to Dorne I guess Jamie will be going to dorne so that change will take place - but I am huge advocate of NO Lady Stonehaert in the show and I trust the writers to tie it in nicely. But my point stands true - the mains plots of each character from the books are still in place - just cause they created their own scenes that werent' in the books doesn't mean they have deviated in a major way.

You could be wrong. It is believed that the Night's King is a dead Stark

No, Quentyne Martell got killed by the Dragons, Young Griff never went to Dany and never saw the Dragons.
That is a good point about there hair instead of crown - however I have never heard any other light haired or blonde characters be referred to have golden crown for hair.
It has been rumored that Jeyne was actually a spy for the Lannisters who did fall in love with Robb. Also, everyone questions if the Blackfish took her with him when he fled Riverrun due to the different descriptions Martin gave Jeyne in the book. I believe Martin has since said this is a typo and the Jeyne that met with Jamie Lannister is the true Jeyne and Blackfish couldn't have taken her.
Alot of people think the term "Song" is a good term - it could easily be referred to as a fight between Jon and Dany. The two protagonists could actually be against each other in the end. Just a thought.
the timeline fits perfectly. Rhaegar and Lyanna left and then Brandon and Rickard went to KL and died and then war happened. Rhaegar wasn't in the fighting at the beginning he was with Lyanna and then he left to go fight Robert and lost. The war lasted a little over a year from Lyanna leaving with Rhaegar to Ned coming back to Winterfell. That is perfect timing.

She didn't say she would outlive them only that they would die and her tears would drown her. It may be implied but not specifically said. But assuming you are right and this is just a shot out of the blue as he has had a very quiet time of it. Rikon? I know I am just throwing names about but I agree with the author that it will likely not be an obvious candidate.

I think Jon is a man of committment, even though he left Ygritte, but that was because of a prior committment. He is or was committed to the wall nothing else. He wasn't ever worrying about his parentage when you could read his thoughts. He is also a man who is loyal to family and family values and history. If he finds out to be a Targ and accepts the Targaryen lifestyle with his Stark blood he could def. marry Dany. But only for love not to unite a kingdom.

You are correct about there names close to that of well known ancient names however he doesn't completely make his stories off history. I don't think they will. I actually think they will dwindled soon. Young Griff and the GC are coming for Storms End - however they are lucky cause Mace tooks his army back to KL to get marg out of jail. Look the war is pretty much over in the Riverlands now everyone who can still fight is south. Dorne is getting ready, young griff is south and Tyrells are to worried about Marg in KL. I also don't trust Randyll tarly, he beat Mace to KL and got Marg out. I think Randall will kill Mace.

alot of characters are fascitnated abouit the history of dragons

Way to think out the box, bleh, I agree that the white walkers will somehow get past. I also think you don't put that big of an object in a book, meaning THE WALL, and NOT bring it down. That wall is going to crumble. That will be Jon at the end of book, overseeing the construction of a new wall.

The announcement of George RR Martin release date for the 6th book will be all over the place. News and internet. Everywhere. So put it this way if you have google TWoW for a release date then you are going to get nothing but BS.
Spoiler (the next two or three books are going to have some deaths, just like the 5 that are already out)

Cersei is going to kill Tommen because KL is being sacked and she will cry hysterically (drowning in her tears) over his dead body. Jamie will walk in and get mad and strangle her with the very gold hand she made for him. that fulfills all three prophecies in one scene! BOOM this is the assumption that Myrcella is dead already

Everyone thinks Dany and her dragons are the savior, remember Aegon the conquerer couldn't even dominate all the kingdoms and they trained with their dragons. You need an army, the dragons absolutely help, but just cause there are dragons doesn't mean its a given. I also believe one of the dragons will die

You never see his head - his helm is always on and he never goes to the bathroom

No it can't be Jon. He had his second child and in Dany's vision he states there must be three, well it is known that if Elia had another baby she would most likely die so he went to find a new love. That is when he met Lyanna, he knew he had to make three babies so he gets Lyanna to make the third.

The fight is coming to soon and Sandor is no where to be found right nor do we know if he is alive. You think he is heading back to KL?

Yeah, she seems to be quite apt at adapting to dire circumstance. At any rate, I do believe she will be essential in bringing our Jon back to us no longer encumbered by the Night's Watch or honor bound to keep his oath. Jon unleashed! Now, that's a story I want to read!

I'm not clear on why Cersei drowned Melara in the well. Is it because she witnessed the prophecy? I get muddled on quite a bit of this stuff although I keep on reading over and over again. This forum helps, so does WoIaF

Which is exactly Martin's style. I disagree that its anti-climatic, but this is what GRRM does, takes the audiences assumptions and throws them out the window. Ned Stark deserved a happy ending didn't he? So did Robb. Who didn't want Joffrey to be stabbed by Arya, but it didn't happen did it? Because he doesn't care if you think his story should fall in line with every other story you've ever read or seen. That's what's boring and anti-climatic, when you can tell right from the beginning who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and therefore exactly how it will end. Cersei has been Littlefinger's pawn since day one, and it will be him who chooses when to remove her from the game.

Loras is a 2nd son too. Why not him? He is fiercely loyal to Margaery and its quite clear he has no love for Lannisters.

I'm not so sure. I've always thought that Sandor is a hero, however gruff an exterior. He always claims he is no knight, but his heart is as true as Arthur Dayne from where I'm sitting.

Well I guess think of it this way... when has the "hero" won in ASoIaF? ;)

Right, but if Sandor wins then Cersei will be executed... most likely within the next day or two. The kids would have to bite it before she does then. So it's practical to say if the kids aren't dead before the TBC... then Sandor most likely won't win.

I cannot argue with that logic, but I suppose, if one is for House Baratheon, then Robert was the hero on the Trident.

I think it is a reference to Maester Aemon's reflections surrounding the the phrase "the prince that was promised" possibly being "the princess that was promised"

Why would song mean battle? I don't follow.

to each their own. just like in real history not every problem gets solved within a series so there is no telling when that one will be fullfilled. it could be during the books or it could be when Cersei is 80

was Tyrion executed? despite losing his trial of combat? plus the young queen has to replace her first if we go by what Maggy said.

I think there are a number who cold potentially fill it. a few have a really good reason to do so. Not as sure about Loras tho, but i could be wrong if he was pushed far enough. I would think however he would rather kill Stannis if he ever found out who really sent that shadow.

do they? she's a Lannister and that's all they need to know. How many Freys who had nothing to do with the Red Wedding were killed by Lady Stoneheart? This is a world that is brutal where they kill you for any reason and often for no reason whatsoever. so boring? i'm not sure where that has to do with anything.

think on this.. everyone thinks Tyrion murdered Joffery. so also think about what they know and what they don't know and if they are even remotely right about what they suspect.

Anyone can keep twisting the theory further and further, I'm not here to convince you where to stop.

touche

I thought Dance meant battle. Songs are tales. IMO.

There are many younger brothers in the series, most likely by devious design.... Lol. Jon Snow though, to my knowledge, is no one's brother. He only thinks he's the bastard brother of the Stark children, but conventional wisdom seems to say otherwise. Of course, all of his brothers on the Night's Watch, you could say he is younger, but, I think that's a bit of a reach.

I like your theory, at least its original. I think finding original ideas is a huge part of reading, so good for you and not at all boring.

I agree he'd rather kill Stannis, but how many of these characters ever get what they want? It seems they are all almost on the brink of happiness, even get to taste it for a second or two be it their love or their ambitions and then SPLAT! "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." Or is it death?

Why would Jaime kill her? He's never shown the slightest interest in his children. I could make a pitch for him killing her for other reasons, one being that as his character continues towards developing a moral compass, Cersei's continues to devolve into absolute evil. I definitely could see Jaime killing her but not because of the children.

He is not a little brother. His feelings for Cat were anything but brotherly. Cat said he was "like" a little brother. That is not the same thing. Jaime it could be even though his feelings for Cersei were anything but brotherly also, but he is her younger brother. Cat's younger brother is Edmure.

By the way, Littlefinger is also responsible for Joffrey being poisoned.

If there's one thing that's consistent about GRRM's use of prophecy is that its meant to play games with your mind. Petyr is definitely a little brother in Cat's eyes, and from a very literal interpretation, that's all the prophecy requires. The language is very specific "the Valonquar", not a Valonquar, or her Valonquar; its a very small modifier, but an important one. It changes the word from a description to something more like a title or a nickname. Look at Quaithe's prophecy to Dany, she tells her to "beware the perfumed seneschal" most people would assume this refers to Dany's flowery smelling seneschal Reznak Mo Reznak, and while this remains a possibility, he's not the only one because of GRRM's deft use of language. The ship that carried Jorah, Penny, Moquaro, and Tyrion to Slavers Bay is named Selaesori Qhoran which Moquaro explains translates to "pleasant smelling steward" which Tyrion immediately changes to stinky steward, but an equally valid translation would be "perfumed seneschal". Perhaps Quaithe is warning Dany of this ship's arrival, after all she seems to also warn her of Tyrion and Moquaro's coming specifically (lion and dark flame). I dont know, but I do know better than to take a literal interpretation here.
My theory about Littlefinger being the Valonquar is based in the fact that we know he's been a central player in all the parts of the prophecy that have been checked off so far, along with one more that I heavily suspect him of, that's a he'll of a lot stronger evidence than there is for any of the various other little brothers in the story, and that includes my previous favorite for the Valonquar, Arya. Edmure is a possibility I suppose, but only because he's headed for a hostage's life at the Rock, and I do expect Cersei to run to the Rock at some point as King's Landing becomes more untenable for her, but Edmure is a supreme f-ck up and a bit of a wuss so I wouldn't hold my breath on that one. Jaime may never even see his sister again, and it doesn't really suit the character arc he's on, he's supposed to be finding his honor, but he's just going to give up so he can go kill his sister? Littlefinger has the means, the motive, the will, and he stands to gain in Cersei's death as well, not to mention he's the one who's been playing her for a fool since the day he arrived in King's Landing. Like I said, Cersei is Littlefinger's pawn, and he will be the one who decides when to remove her from the game.

You definitely pose a lot of extremely interesting and well thought out points. I was wondering about this though, as far as the dark flame, what about the Dark Star? "I am of the night." I wondered if he could be the dark flame. His whereabouts are currently unknown. (at least to me) I know I'm not as schooled as many on these books, but I'm trying.. thanks for your patience and pov. I find it engrossing.

Cersei’s prophecy: Here’s a thought;
Catelyn Stark had her throat cut by a young Frey after outliving all her
children…

And Jon Arryn.

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