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So how do you see the plot of WoW playing out?

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It’s been a while since I did one of these, and I’ve changed my mind on a couple points, so why not? TWOW spoilers below, natch.

In the East

Barristan and Victarion smash the slaver coalition (with a li’l help from those ever-treacherous sellswords), but neither get to savor their victory for long. Vic burns, either from without thanks to Rhaegal or within thanks to Dragonbinder. Barry returns to the city in triumph only to find that the Shavepate has wiped out his enemies root and branch, including Hizdahr and the child hostages. Furious and heartsick, the white knight goes for Skahaz’ throat, but is overwhelmed and killed by the Brazen Beasts.

Dany burns Khal Jhaqo and leads his riders to Vaes Dothrak, where the dosh khaleen declare her the Stallion (as she saw in the House of the Undying) and all the Dothraki are gathered into one gigantic khalasar at her back. All roads meet at Volantis: Dany and the Dothraki, Tyrion and the Second Sons, Moqorro and Benerro, Marwyn the Mage, etc. After overthrowing the Old Blood and being officially declared Azor Ahai Reborn, Dany consults her many advisors as to what to do next. Moqorro tells her to keep breaking chains, Marwyn passes along Aemon’s warning and urges her to fly north before it’s too late, but Tyrion plays his trump card, revealing Aegon’s existence and advising Dany to confront Illyrio about the “mummer’s dragon.” She burns the cheesemonger alive when he confesses that Aegon is not Rhaegar’s son but his, and turns Pentos over to the Tattered Prince.

Somewhere in all this, Tyrion becomes a dragonrider (possibly with Bran’s help, echoing Tyrion’s gift of a saddle in AGOT). 

In Braavos, the Faceless Men kick Arya to the curb and try to eliminate her after learning she killed Raff. She runs away…and slap bang into Justin Massey and Jeyne Poole. Hearing the latter referred to as “Arya Stark” leads the true Arya to give up all other identities for good. She returns to Westeros with them; her TWOW storyline ends with her reuniting with Nymeria. 

In the South

Jon Connington takes Storm’s End and then defeats Mace Tyrell, thanks in large part to the Golden Company’s “friends in the Reach” (I suspect Randyll Tarly may literally stab Mace in the back). Arianne calls Dorne’s spears north to join them. 

Meanwhile, in King’s Landing, both Cersei and Margaery win their trials, leading to the former sending Robert Strong to kill the latter. The city erupts as Aegon’s army arrives; Nym and Tyene kill Tommen and Myrcella, and the High Sparrow throws open the city gates to his new king. Cersei evades capture thanks to Qyburn and Robert Strong, and flees below the Red Keep to arrange a wildfire explosion. Aegon sits the Iron Throne, and Arianne is Queen.

In the Riverlands, Lady Stoneheart frees Edmure and kills Jeyne Westerling and her mother in the Prologue. She then launches the Second Red Wedding at Riverrun, massacring the guests at the Daven-Frey wedding while forcing Jaime and Brienne to bear witness. Our POVs escape towards King’s Landing as the Riverlands rise up once more. Jaime is horrified to find Cersei about to pull an Aerys and kills her, fulfilling the valonqar prophecy. The “jade holocaust” is averted…until Dany arrives, attacks Team Aegon with dragonfire, and in so doing, sets off the wildfire. (My guess is that this happens in the book’s penultimate chapter from Arianne’s POV, with the Wall coming down in the final chapter; TWOW ends with eruptions of Fire and Ice.) 

In the Vale, Sweetrobin succumbs to sweetsleep during the tourney, and Littlefinger frames Lyn Corbray. In the chaos, the Mad Mouse tries to make off with Sansa; he fails and is executed along with Ser Lyn, but Sansa’s identity is revealed in the process. She marries Harry, they are declared King and Queen of the North and Vale, the knights of the Vale muster at Gulltown, and they all set sail for White Harbor.

In Dorne, Darkstar retreats to Starfall, but the main branch of the Daynes refuse to help him, and he’s killed by his pursuers; Areo Hotah then kills Balon Swann on Doran’s orders. We learn some crucial R+L=J information from the Daynes, and Dawn is brought into play. 

In the Reach, Euron annihilates both the Redwyne fleet and his own in a massive blood sacrifice. Damphair’s final moments are spent watching something huge and hideous rise from the depths in response, realizing that Euron was right all along: the humanoid god Aeron rebuilt his life around was a projection, and the real deal is a monster. Meanwhile, Sam buries himself in books as Marwyn advised, but keeps being distracted by all the weird goings-on in Oldtown. He eventually ascends the Hightower and finds Leyton and Malora very receptive to his stories about the Others; they take an immense interest in the horn Sam’s been carrying around, and he leaves it with them. Then the Crow’s Eye arrives with his “black and bloody tide,” kraken tentacles tearing down the city’s defenses so Euron’s reanimated followers can invade. Euron himself kills Leyton and Malora, and as Sam and Sarella flee Oldtown one step ahead of the Ironborn wights, they hear him blow the Horn of Winter from atop the Hightower. 

In the North

Stannis defeats Hosteen Frey at the Battle of Ice; with the help of the Karhold men formerly in service to Arnolf, he then feigns his death. Ramsay buys it, sending the Pink Letter to Jon before killing Roose and Walda out of anger at the latter’s pregnancy. Stannis then takes Winterfell with Bran’s help, loosing Ramsay’s dogs on him while Theon watches. The younger Greyjoys (assuming they both survive all this) eventually return home thanks to Dagmer Cleftjaw. 

On Skagos, Davos finds Osha and Rickon, and convinces them to return to the mainland with him (helped along by Shaggy immediately falling in love with the onion knight, a la Brown Ben and the dragons). They wind up in White Harbor, staring down Sansa and her army. 

Bran continues his wizard training, learning about the Children’s earth magic as well as greensight, and has visions related to R+L=J, the Others, Euron’s apocalypse, etc. When the Others attack via the cave’s “back door,” Bran and Meera escape into the tunnels, while Jojen, Bloodraven, the remaining Children, and poor Hodor are killed. 

At Castle Black, Mel uses a glamour to swap out Jon’s body for Cregan Karstark’s, preserving the former in the ice cells before resurrecting him. Jon executes Bowen Marsh, sends Mel and Stannis’ family to Winterfell, and then rides for Hardhome with Tormund and his fighters (leaving Dolorous Edd in command). There, Jon reunites with Benjen, who reveals R+L=J before being killed in a wight attack. Jon and Tormund retreat back to the Wall…only to see it come crashing down thanks to Euron. The Long Night returns.

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davebelt
3 days ago
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earth dimension c-138

Abolish ICE: Workplace Safety Edition

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ICE is a government stormtrooper force engaging in ethnic cleansing. It’s employees should be publicly exposed and shamed. Many of them are fascists and the rest should resign to separate themselves from that fascism. ICE should be abolished entirely and we need to start over, with the first question investigated about potential immigration agents being their opinions about race. We need some kind of immigration agency, but it must be purged of racism. I believe this more every day, with continued stories over the ethnic cleansing going on around the nation. That insurance companies are able to turn over undocumented people in order to avoid paying workplace compensation after the workers get hurt is despicable beyond words I can express.

At age 31, Nixon Arias cut a profile similar to many unauthorized immigrants in the United States. A native of Honduras, he’d been in the country for more than a decade and had worked off and on for a landscaping company for nine years. The money he earned went to building a future for his family in Pensacola, Florida. His Facebook page was filled with photos of fishing and other moments with his three boys, ages 3, 7 and 8.

But in November 2013, that life began to unravel.

The previous year, Arias had been mowing the median of Highway 59 just over the Alabama line when his riding lawnmower hit a hole, throwing him into the air. He slammed back in his seat, landing hard on his lower back.

Arias received pain medication, physical therapy and steroid injections through his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. But the pain in his back made even walking or sitting a struggle. So his doctor recommended an expensive surgery to implant a device that sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord to relieve chronic pain. Six days after that appointment, the insurance company suddenly discovered that Arias had been using a deceased man’s Social Security number and rejected not only the surgery, but all of his past and future care.

Desperate, Arias hired an attorney to help him pursue the injury benefits that Florida law says all employees, including unauthorized immigrants, are entitled to receive. Then one morning after he dropped two of his boys off at school, Arias was pulled over and arrested, while his toddler watched from his car seat.

Arias was charged with using a false Social Security number to get a job and to file for workers’ comp. The state insurance fraud unit had been tipped off by a private investigator hired by his employer’s insurance company.

With his back still in pain from three herniated or damaged discs, Arias spent a year and a half in jail and immigration detention before he was deported.

However people feel about immigration, judges and lawmakers nationwide have long acknowledged that the employment of unauthorized workers is a reality of the American economy. From nailing shingles on roofs to cleaning hotel rooms, some 8 million immigrants work with false or no papers nationwide, and studies show they’re more likely to get hurt or killed on the job than other workers. So over the years, nearly all 50 states, including Florida, have given these workers the right to receive workers’ comp.

But in 2003, Florida’s lawmakers added a catch, making it a crime to file a workers’ comp claim using false identification. Since then, insurers have avoided paying for injured immigrant workers’ lost wages and medical care by repeatedly turning them in to the state.

Of course, the evil is concentrated in a few people.

Since 2013, nearly 75 percent of the injured immigrants arrested in Florida for using false IDs were turned in by Command — and half worked for SouthEast, ProPublica and NPR found. SouthEast has had 43 injured workers arrested for using false Social Security numbers — more than any other company.

One reason: SouthEast, as well as its insurance carrier, Lion, and its claims processor, Packard Claims, are all owned by the same person. The unusual arrangement gives the company more control over injury claims and a consistency other firms specializing in high-risk industries can’t provide. But critics say it benefits SouthEast in more pernicious ways: Knowing that Lion and Packard can deny the claims of unauthorized workers allows SouthEast to offer discounts to contractors that other leasing firms can’t.

“They sign up these companies knowing full well that 95 percent of the employees are immigrant workers,” said Cora Cisneros Molloy, who recently began representing injured workers after two decades defending employers and insurers. “Only after an accident occurred do they determine they’re going to do an investigation and check that Social Security number.”

It gets better:

The sting had been meticulously planned for weeks. The day before, detectives had scoped out the site — a two-story office building resembling a Spanish colonial mansion near downtown Fort Myers. Before the arrest, they tucked out of sight to surveil the building’s back entrance from across the street, according to the detective’s case report.

The time and manpower wasn’t to nab a gang member or drug dealer, but a coordinated effort with Command to snare a 27-year-old roofer who was at a court reporter’s office to testify in a deposition for his workers’ comp case. A year earlier in 2014, Erik Martinez was working on a roof when a nail ricocheted and hit him in the left eye. He was seeking medical care and lost wages, but like many construction workers, he was using a false Social Security number.

Though it was ostensibly a Florida Department of Financial Services operation, a state detective had worked closely with an attorney for Lion on a plan to alert officers in the final minutes of the deposition. In between questions, the attorney emailed the detective, at one point providing a description of Martinez’s clothing.

“We moved our position to the back parking lot,” the detective wrote in his report, “where we awaited word that the deposition was nearing an end.” Upon receiving confirmation, the detectives moved in, arresting Martinez as he exited the office.

Despite the extensive effort, the state attorney declined to prosecute. But the detective’s narrative reveals a larger story: In most of the injury cases reviewed by ProPublica and NPR, state fraud detectives were handed a packet from private investigators with nearly all the information needed to make an arrest.

This is absolutely reprehensible. It’s also entirely legal. The entire immigration system is broken. The people migrating here for work and to escape violence have done nothing wrong except make a better life for themselves. Employers know they can hire them and face no consequences should they want to get rid of these people. This is not only racist and immoral, it’s also part and parcel of a larger movement by employers to use up workers and throw them away, whether immigrants or native-born, documented or undocumented.

Again, we need an entirely new immigration structure. We need a new workplace safety structure as well.

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Missed Out On Comic-Con? You Can Still Stand Between Two Men Arguing About Sigils

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What do you think of Gary Gianni's illustrations in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms? Despite being "black and white", I personally thought they were beautiful.

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I think they look nice, but I’m not the best judge. I’m not an art person; I cannot art and have never been able to art, despite numerous attempts to learn by myself and others. I have artistic friends and I cannot understand how they art so well.

Thanks for the question, Anon.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

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Hennessy Tent Hammock

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[This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2003 – MF]

An ultralight gear item which I’ve been trying out is the Hennessey Tent Hammock. Part tent, part mosquito mesh, part hammock, the thing is pure genius and a pleasure to use — very light, ingeniously designed, and actually provides a comfortable backcountry sleep. Perfect for wet areas. You do have to worry a bit more about insulation under yourself, but not a big minus especially given the comfort of the shelter.

— Rex Ishibashi

Hennessy Hammock is a brilliant fine-tuning of the hammock concept into a tent substitute. It means I never have to sleep on the ground again! Being asymmetrical it allows me to lie relatively flat for a very comfortable night’s sleep. There is a large rain-fly that cocoons around the hammock in cooler weather, a fine insect/dust mesh enclosure, and an entrance that my weight closes behind me. You can even set it up on the ground like a bivvy-bag if there are no trees (or lamp posts, or bumper bars). Great for tropical camping.

— Toby Gibson

Hennessy Tent Hammock ($140)

International Amazon link

Available from Amazon

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davebelt
35 days ago
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Cool?
earth dimension c-138

How many characters are descended from Aegon IV, confirmed and suspected to?

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This is an impossible question to answer with any sort of certainty, given how limited our information on lineages is. Even where we have more complete House tables - House Targaryen’s being the most complete of the three in TWOIAF - there are still plenty of gaps in our knowledge.

Insofar as Aegon IV was truly the father of Daeron II (and I do think he was), then all descendants of Daeron II are descendants of Aegon IV. That means, as the modern narrative is concerned, that Daenerys is a descendant of Aegon the Unworthy (as were, obviously, her father and brothers). Jon Snow being all but confirmed the son of Prince Rhaegar, he too would be a male-line descendant of Aegon IV. The brothers Baratheon are also descendants in this way (as would obviously be Robert’s bastards and little Shireen), tracing their lineage back to Aegon IV’s great-great-granddaughter Rhaelle Targaryen, who married Ormund Baratheon. Likewise, if that Targaryen-Tarth marriage happened between one of King Maekar’s daughters and a Tarth, then it seems very likely that Lord Selwyn and Brienne of Tarth are descendants of Aegon IV.

Aegon IV never seems to have questioned the paternity of his daughter Daenerys, and neither do I. That would mean any descendants of this first Daenerys and her husband Maron, Prince of Dorne, would be descendants of Aegon IV. Both Doran and Arianne think of Maron as an ancestor, which suggests that Daenerys is an ancestress of the modern Martells - Prince Doran, Arianne, Quentyn, Trystane, Elia and her children, and Oberyn and his daughters. I’ve speculated for a while that Teora Toland is descended from Princess Daenerys as well, given her draconic prophetic dreams, but who knows.

This is only the legitimate side of things, though. Voracious in his lasciviousness, Aegon IV fathered plenty of bastards, high and low. He was almost certainly the father of his cousin Elaena’s son, Lord Viserys Plumm; it’s not unlikely that the current Lord Philip Plumm and his sons are Lord Viserys Plumm’s descendants, while Brown Ben Plumm boasts of being descended from Lord Viserys as well. With his cousin Daena Aegon had the future Black Dragon, Daemon Blackfyre, and so all Blackfyre descendants are descendants of Aegon IV. The male line of House Blackfyre might be extinct, but our Young Aegon being a potential Blackfyre, it would make him a descendant of Aegon IV as well.

But again, what we can know is severely limited by what we've been given, and there are still some significant gaps in our knowledge. Take the legitimate side of things, for one. Prince Maegor, the only child of Aegon IV’s great-grandson Aerion and his cousin and wife Daenora, disappears from the historical record after the Great Council of 233 AC. The same goes for Princess Vaella, the only child of Daeron the Drunken and Kiera of Tyrosh. Prince Duncan Targaryen infamously married the commoner Jenny of Oldstones, but whether they had children remains unknown. Maester Aemon spoke of his “sisters singing to their children”, which might imply both Rhae and Daella married, but whom the other married (if one wed a Tarth) and what Houses her children belonged to and married into are also unknown. Nor do we have any idea of the descendants of the first Daenerys between her and the Unnamed Princess, or where those descendants might have married. Any descendants of any of these individuals would carry the blood of Aegon IV. (And that’s only the legitimate side of the legitimate side - Aerion might have fathered bastards in Lys, Daeron the Drunken was well-known for his indulgence in prostitutes, and indeed any of the above could have begotten illegitimate offspring who would nevertheless be descended from Aegon IV.)

The illegitimate side is even worse for knowledge. We might know five of the seven sons of the Black Dragon (and one daughter), but after that our knowledge grows very thin: Daemon III was the son of fourth-son Haegon, Maelys and his cousin Daemon were Blackfyres of unknown male descent, and that’s about it. Do more female-line Blackfyres exist today? Did Calla Blackfyre ever have children with Bittersteel, and if so are descendants of them alive today? What about Bloodraven - did he ever father children? What about his sisters, Mya and Gwenys Rivers? What about Shiera Seastar? What about Jeyne Lothston, whom Yandel seems to strongly suspect was Aegon’s daughter? What about those bastards purportedly sired on the three maiden daughters of Lord Butterwell? What about Viserys Plumm’s descendants - what noble Houses of the Westerlands or other regions today carry Aegon IV’s blood via marriages with Viserys’ children? What about any of the bastards Aegon might have fathered on the 900 women he supposedly slept with in his life? That’s far more than we could ever hope to narrow down, of course, but you get a sense of why this is a largely unanswerable question, at least in a definitive sense.

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