Game of Thrones "Predictions" #3
Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first two novels of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings.
Continuing on my series of "predictions" on A Song of Ice and Fire, I am now about halfway complete with the second novel, A Clash of Kings. I stopped readong right before as Stannis and Renly Baratheon seem ready to attack one another: they've already had their face-to-face mediated hopelessly by Catelyn Stark, and basically just agreed to fight. Arya had just used her hitman to kill her first saddistic Lannister. Tyrion has arrested Pycelle and kicked him off the Small Council, and then rescued Sensa from a beating (and at the very end Sansa seems to have one-upped him in the lying). Jon Snow is on the way to confront Mance Rayder. That's where I am.
Assessment of Prior Predicions
Well, my predictions after the first novel were way off base because I was expecting a time jump, for a few reasons.
- Peace seemed likely because of the relative positions of the armies. (I didn't anticipate that they would dig in and start petty warfare for several months, nor that Renly would take his sweet old time advancing on King's Landing.)
- Based on book descriptions, I was expecting several changes of season throughout the series, but since the seasons are so long a flash forward seemed like a good way to advance in time to get those seasons in. (Also, I didn't think the series was ready for winter yet, and thought it might bypass a short one.)
- Not only is peace boring, but so is stalemate. I figured Martin would want to get back to the exciting part, war, quickly and so time jump ahead quickly to the point it would erupt again. (Obviously, Martin disagreed.)
As a result of this incorrect assumption, many of my predictions were about the aftermath, rather than the immediate continuance of action. I incorrectly predicted that peace would be made (though under terms that were similar to but weaker than the actual Stark proposal), and that Renly would back off as a result and bide his time in Highgarden. I did correctly predict that a bunch of kings would spring up, but believed that the Lannisters would have instead consolidated and bided their time on that (and still think that's what they should have done).
I predicted that Arya would be conscripted into Night's Watch by Yoren, but I guess Yoren was actually trying to rescue her on the pretense of conscripting her. Still think she might end up there.
Heretofore, I've been pretty wary of doing what I call metapredicting. Regular predicting would be to consider the personalities of the characters and the situations they're in, and try to predict what those characters would do. Metapredicting would be to think about what the author would do, and takes into account things like forwshadowing and surprise. But everything I heard about Game of Thrones led me to believe that Martin liked to build sympathy for characters only to kill them off, and that I therefore shouldn't trust him since he doesn't follow typical narrative structure. However, now that I've read more, I think I have enough familiarity to attempt a little metapredicting. In fact, I am even audacious enough to predict that one character will survive to the very end. But I am still wary.
Bran is already known to have prescient dreams: his crow dream right before he awoke had information he couldn't have known in it. I suspect he'll reluctantly give up his dreams of knighthood and take up as a maester (or even a maegi).
Based on the fact that authors like to "bookend" their works (have it begin and end the same way). Therefore, I predict that the very last chapter in the series will be entitled "Bran" where he will die at old age, probably as King of all Westeros. Note that this is a prediction, not a "prediction". (Though, of course, Bran might already be dead.)
Renly versus Stannis I somehow have this feeling won't go at all the way we expect. I think it's been foreshadowed that the God of Light will actually bring great power to Stannis's small army (think of how Melisandre somehow was immune to the poison). Also, note that Davos is now a character with his own chapters; it'd be kind of a waste to do that for just two or three chapters. (Though he doesn't necessarily have to remain with Stannis.) With all the focus on Stannis in the narrative, it just seems unlikely that in the same narrative Renly would simply destroy Stannis's entire forces, then shrug his shoulders and move on to King's Landing. Factor in Renly's overconfidence and Davos's underconfidece, and we are definitely being conditioned to expect a "surprise" upset by Stannis that cripples Renly and allows the Lannisters to keep King's Landing and focus more effort on the Northerners.
Which is exactly why I don't think it'll happen. Something completely unexpected, perhaps completely out of nowhere, will interfere with this battle and put both Renly and Stannis somewhere no one expected. I don't know what it'd be, but to throw out a guess, I'd say Stannis is not showing his whole forces. Ok, he actually is, but Melisandre has her own forces, followers of the God of Light, backing them up, that no one else has the slightest idea existed. Stannis will put up a good enough fight that Renly has to recall his other forces to break the siege. Then, decimated, Melisandre's forces will arrive to siege him.
Sansa, as a I said, had a suprising one up on Tyrion and I hate to think it would go to waste. Sansa disappearing would certainly add an intriguing element to the story to parallel with Arya's disappearance. So, warily, I predict that Sansa's escape to the godswood that night will be crucially timed to allow her escape--then again it could also be crucially timed to allow something bad to happen as well.
Arya. Wouldn't it be cool if she took down the Mountain? Don't think she will, though. I'd guess #2 is Tickler or Weese, and #3 is someone relatively nice like Shitmouth who she regrettably has to kill to allow her escape. She knows that Robb is (or was) in Riverrun, so she escapes somehow and travels there to reunite with her family. Somehow she'll reunite with Needle.
Sansa has hope of escaping, Arya has fear of being recaptured, and Tyrion has sent experts to rescue Jaime Lannister. Two things would be interesting: a hostage rebalance in either side's favor, or a loss of all hostages (leaving no barrier to resume the war). I'd say most interesting would be to find the Lannisters without any hostages (Arya and Sansa both rejoin the Starks), but most shocking would be to find the Starks without any (Lannisters free Jaime then capture or kill Arya or Sansa). Tyrion's been on a roll lately and he's due for a fall, so I'll guess the Starks discover the Lannister's rescue team and send them back in boxes with the next peace offer, while rejoining Arya at least.
What is that chain for? The only thing I can think of would be to hoist something. Is Tyrion going to deploy the wildfire from catapults deployed down the road, then drag the device back toward city walls as they manage to advance? Only think I can think of.
With Robb marching more toward Casterly Rock, I am thinking the Iron Islands will open a painful second front on the North. However, Theon, who I originally thought would destabilize the Starks, might actually help them in the end due to the cool treatment from his family.
Shae is faking it and will break Tyrion's heart (probably right before he is cruelly killed).
Still too early for dragons and Others to make a major impact.
Not too much this time. Starks are still good warriors but stupid, Lannisters are smart but overly inflexible and have a major thorn in their side (Joffrey).
Renly Baratheon I declared very capable and think his easygoing style is actually very effective when combined with a decisive and serious personality underneath, which I think he has. Yet he has a weird blindness which I think might be his fatal flaw. For instance, he sees the obvious truth that his brother came to the Iron Throne in reality through power and not by inheriting it, but somehow misses that this doesn't impress people.