Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Alas, Little Walder - Long Live the Cup Bearer

It seems to be pretty much taken for granted that this is the case, since BW is blood spattered, and Ser Hosteen Frey, who carried the boy's body into the great hall is not. The body was frozen when he recovered it. There's a lot of speculation as to BW's motives. But he is only a 9 year old kid. Not that murder by a pre-teen is unprecedented in Westeros - we have Arya in the first book as an example; but the Walders are first cousins, and even Freys, including one as obviously smart and ambitious as BW, wouldn't take kin slaying lightly.

LW's blood had frozen and he was discovered half buried in a snow bank, under the ruined keep with the old gargoyls. I'm not quite 100% certain that this is near the entrance to the crypts, but I strongly suspect that it is.

Which suggests an alternate theory, at least as a possibility.   

It goes like this.  The Walders - or at least LW - were in the crypt. The Walders are among the very few familiar enough with Winterfell to know the location.  LW was attacked by someone - or some thing - lurking in the crypts; or, alternatively, immediately upon leaving them.

It's easy to imagine that LW would provoke an attack, while BW would not. BW then assisted or carried or dragged LW back up to ground level, or perhaps discovered him there still alive, and left him to find help.  By the time he located Hosteen, LW was dead and frozen.

This fits the narrative, as far as it is known, and doesn't require a great deal of tin foil. The involved speculation is that the boys were in the crypt, and the damage was done there, or perhaps immediately upon leaving.  So - was BW involved - if not as a participant then at as an accomplice or accessory after the fact?  

It's possible, but he could be completely innocent.  Likely suspects include Theon, Mance or his companions - known murders all, and the mysterious Lady Barbrey Dustin [or an agent of hers,] all of whom have knowledge of and/or interest in the crypts, and a variety of motivations. I'm leaning toward Mance, a man of many secrets, who I suspect to be lurking in the crypts.

UPDATE [10/1/16]: While the other murders at Winterfell were certainly committed by the Mance crew, Little Walder was definitely not their victim.  My bad.

Circumstantial evidence points strongly to Big Walder.  Therefore, concluding he's the perp is pretty straight forward.   Which, per se, makes me want to look in a different direction.  We are dealing with gurm here, after all.

As an afterthought - BW is not stupid.  Were he the actual murderer, there would have been some attempt to cover his tracks - or, in this case, spatters.  There was none.  Anyone who has ever read a mystery novel should be looking in a different direction for the actual culprit.

As a second afterthought, it's widely accepted that in some way the crypts are going to play an important role in the ensuing events.  Leaning toward the crypts and what may be lurking there rather than Big Walder simply makes more narrative sense.

As a third afterthought, there could be some wild beast in the crypts.  There's speculation of many things down there: Rhaegar's harp, the true Lightbringer, a dragon's egg.  More remotely - we have no recent knowledge of Nymeria.  Could Arya's lost dire wolf have made it's way down there?  Is there a secret entrance outside the walls?  None of this would surprise me, and Nymeria will almost certainly have a role to play before its all over.

The murderer's motive - if actually human - is unknown at this point, but it could be that LW learned something he could not be allowed to know, and therefore had to be silenced to keep it from getting to the Boltons.  BW's exact role in all this is yet to be determined.

Last afterthought - the thought processes involved in writing this have convinced me that Big Walder is, in fact, NOT the murderer of Little Walder.

[Extensively edited, 2/26/16]