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You appear in Winterfell right before the series starts, with all your Game of Thrones knowledge. What do you do?

[Last updated 7/3/2020]“Halt, who goes there?” shouted Jory as soon as he saw me in the courtyard of Winterfell. The sight of a foreigner in odd clothing, inside the castle was alarming to say the least.“Relax Ser Cassel. My name is Jacob. I have traveled a long way to get here. I would like an audience with Lord Stark.” I replied with as much confidence as I could muster.“I’m sorry but I will need to know a lot more than just that. Who are you and how did you get past all the guards?”“I’ll tell you what Ser, give me a piece of paper and a quill, I will write down a message for Lord Stark. Deliver it to him and I swear he will immediately summon me for an audience. Can you do that for me?”Jory was clearly uncomfortable, but after a bit of time, he relented. He escorted me to a quiet room with as little fanfare as possible and provided me with what I asked.On the paper I wrote: “I know who Jon Snow’s mother is. And also his father.” and then I ripped out the note, and folded it in two so the text did not show.“Deliver this to Lord Stark. No one else. In the meantime, I suggest you bring a maester’s robe for me so I would be less conspicuous when you bring me before Lord Stark.”Jory left with the message. A few minutes later, a steward brought me a set of maester’s robes and I changed. Long minutes passed and then Lord Eddard Stark himself walked into the room .“Who are you?” Ned asked.I rose from my seat and bowed. “My name is Jacob my lord. I come from a far away land, at great personal cost and great personal risk on a mission of unparalleled importance. There is much I need to tell you but it has to be done in private as the things I speak of are best done in secret.”“I could bring you to my chambers. But before that, you wrote me a message, I’d like to know the answer.” Ned replied and pointed at the paper on the table before me.I sat down and wrote: “Lyanna Stark. And Rhaegar Targaryen. After the two had married.” and then showed it to Ned. Ned looked at the message I had written. The momentary shock in his face told me that my message worked.“Follow me” Ned said as he took the paper and opened the door. I walked with Ned to his chambers, hoping my new robes would attract less attention.Once inside, the first thing I said was “There is much more I’d like to tell you. But as I said, I traveled a long way to get here. May I have some bread and cheese, and a cup of wine?”“Yes of course.” Ned briefly opened the door and asked Vayon Poole to bring a plate of bread and cheese and two cups of wine before shutting it.“Before I tell you my story, there is a lot that you would have trouble believing. And yet everything I tell you is true. Events in the past, present, and even the future. There is a terrible calamity coming and great sacrifices will need to be made. I am trying to save your life. Yours, Catelyn’s, and Robb’s life.”“What do you mean?” Ned asked.“You’ll understand all in a moment. But my throat is a bit dry, may we wait for the wine before I discuss further?” Ned nodded, understanding why. The two of us sat in an awkward uncomfortable silence, during which Ned mulled over my words, until a rap came at the door. Ned is a good man, honest and honorable. He’s not the type to murder a man, which was why I was confident about leading with Jon, Rhaegar and Lyanna. But still, before going on, I wanted to be welcomed officially as a guest and obtain the benefit of guest rights.“Come in” Ned said. Vayon came in with the plate of food and wine. “Thank you Vayon, you may go. Make sure that no one interrupts us until my guest departs.” Ned said with an emphasis for my benefit.“Yes my lord” Vayon replied. Though he must have been curious, he kept it to himself and promptly left the room.“To Robert” I said as I raised my cup in a toast. “To Robert” Ned replied and we both drank and I took a bite of the bread.“I know what happened at the Tower of Joy. You confronted the three Kingsguard who were there that day. After your bitter victory, you climbed the tower to find Lyanna with her son. She made you promise to protect Jon. You swore to her and have upheld your oath ever since. You have lied to both Robert and Catelyn and many others about Lyanna’s son.” Ned was ready this time and the shock in his face was fleeting. I didn't bother waiting for a denial.“I tell you this only so that you know that I know things which no other person could possibly know. But believe me, there are far more urgent things that I need to tell you.”“Like what?”“Like Ser Wymar Royce is currently north of the Wall. He was on a ranging expedition to track some raiders. He is dead now, slain not by wildlings but by the White Walkers. Who have returned after thousands of years to lay waste to Westeros.”“That is ridiculous.” Ned interrupted.“Is it? Send a raven to the Night’s Watch. Ask Benjen where Ser Wymar Royce is. Despite being at the Wall for just half a year, Ser Royce demanded a command and Lord Mormont gave it to him. Oh and many years ago, Catelyn privately confronted you about Jon Snow, asking if Lady Ashara was his mother. You told her that all she needed to know was that ‘Jon was your blood’ and demanded she tell you from whom she heard Ashara’s name. What’s ridiculous is that I know the contents of thta conversation.”This time there was no hiding the shock. Ned simply looked at me with his mouth open, unable to formulate any words or coherent response.“Speaking of the Tullys, Hoster Tully is ill. He has stomach cancer, a disease which causes tremendous pain and discomfort that will only get worse as time passes. He has another year and a half left before he passes and there is nothing that can be done about it. He has kept this a secret because he does not want the Riverlands to be perceived as weak.”I stopped to take another sip of the wine and another bite of bread, letting Ned process.“Oh and I know Lyanna was the mystery knight in the Great Tournament at Harrenhal. That was how she and Rhaegar fell in love and also how she won Howland Reed’s loyalty. Speaking of Lord Reed, his son Jojen dreams greendreams.”With his mouth open, Ned looked more like a Tully than a direwolf. And with that, I sensed it was the time to strike.“I tell you these events to prove my knowledge. And save your life. Had I not shown up today, you would have died a year from now. Cat and Robb also, two years from now. I came here, I came to you to prevent the three of you from dying. By now, you must know that I have no ill intentions towards you and yours. If I did, I could have already sold these secrets to Lord Varys for a great sum of money.”“Why are you telling these things to me then?” Ned asked. “I have never met you before, why are you so intent on helping me and mine?”Because I got transported to Winterfell I thought, knowing full well had I been transported to King’s Landing, it would have been Lord Varys I would be having this conversation with. “Well it’s partly because I like you. I’m saving your life because I have a great admiration for your family. But it’s more than that. The calamity that I’m speaking of will sweep Westeros and kill millions. You are one of a tiny handful of people who have the power to mitigate this disaster. With your help, we can save not just your family, but hundreds of thousands of other families also.”“I am not sure that I believe you. Or trust you.” Ned responded.“I suspected as much. Send a messenger to Howland, ask if Jojen has the greensight. Send a raven to Hoster. Ask about the crabs. In the meantime, I’ll pretend to be a dignitary from Yi Ti, visiting Westeros. I will pretend to speak very little of the common tongue. When you hear back from Howland and Hoster, and when a deserter from the Night’s Watch tells you about Ser Waymar’s death, you will know that I speak the truth. When a raven arrives with news that King Robert is on his way north, and after your children adopt direwolves found south of the Wall, summon me in private and together we can continue our discussion.”“What will happen then?” asked Ned with“I will tell you more, and start telling you what you need to do.”“I’ll consider it”“Don’t forget to give Jory specific instructions to say as little about me as possible. The fewer people who know about me the better for everyone.”“Very well.” Ned responded after a moment of contemplation. He then walked to the door to explain to Vayon Poole about the dignitary from Yi Ti who had just arrived in Westeros, and asked that he brings Jory after showing me to an empty room.After being escorted to my room, I asked Vayon “Excusa mea” inwardly cringing at the incredibly racist fake Chinese accent I was using. “Whicha waya is Goda wooda?” While pantomiming a tall tree.“I'll bring someone who could take you my Lord" Vayon replied once he understood my question.Long minutes passed while I paced my room. It was a comfortable room with a window, desk, and a surprisingly soft mattress. And a chamber pot. But no WiFi. This was going to be tough. I literally cannot remember the last time I took a dump without my cell phone.Eventually there was a knock on the door.I opened it and on the other side was Vayon and a guardsman.“My Lord, this is Tom. Tom is one of Lord Starks finest guards.” This must be Fat Tom I thought to myself. “Tom this is Lord …” and as he trailed off, I realized I never properly introduced myself.“Chen. Lord Chen” I quickly said, momentarily forgetting my bad accent.“Lord Chen. Tom, please escort Lord Chen to the Godswood and once done, back to his room.” Vayon then turned to me. “And I shall bring you your supper once you return.”As Tom escorted me, I began thinking about my situation. The first part went off fantastically. But I was mostly being carried by adrenaline. Now my worries were starting to catch up. Did I really know what I was doing? What if I catch the flux? And will I be able to manage without running water and daily showers? With these thoughts rummaging through my mind, I forgot to pay attention to my surroundings and marvel at the fact that here I was. Winterfell. Somehow. I remembered how excited I was visiting film sites in Malta. And since Ned was not Sean Bean, I assume this was Westeros from ASOIAF, not the HBO adaptation.Once Tom brought me to the Godswood, I gave him a perfunctory bow and said “谢谢.” He understood me despite the language barrier. And then I walked into the Godswood. It was stunningly beautiful, everything I expected. Serene, picturesque, powerful. I walked to the Heart Tree, touched the carved face, and knelt down before it to pray.“Bloodraven, I know you can hear me. We must talk. I know what you want. Help me persuade Eddard Stark to trust me. And I will deliver you Brandon Stark to be your pupil so you can save the Seven Kingdoms.” I whispered into the tree. Loud enough that I hope the Three Eyed Raven heard, but soft enough I was sure no one else did. And for good measure, repeated it three times. The task of saving Westeros myself was too monumental for one man to accomplish alone. I needed help.Of course no one responded. But it was enough to just ask. I rose up and went back to Tom and allowed him to walk me back to my chambers. This time I paid more attention to the scenery and architecture, immersing myself into my new home and the adventure I was about to have.Over the next 2 months, I spent the vast majority of my time, when not bathing in the hot springs, in the Winterfell library reading book after book. I felt like a kid again. I interacted as little as possible with the Stark family, playing my role as a foreigner, speaking Chinese for the most part and occasionally the common tongue with a barbarous accent so thick no one wanted to speak to me. The experience was a bit isolating, but the books made it bearable. I did always love to read, and there was so much I needed to learn. I also spent a few hours a week training with Ser Rodrick. I knew I'll never be a knight. But without internet, or porn, there weren't too many other things to occupy my time. Plus you never know when a little bit of self-defense training may come in handy.Ned provided me everything I asked for and if there was anything I needed, all I had to do was write a note. But the two of us never met again privately. When we did meet, I kept up the careful ruse. One time Maester Luwin approached me and asked me about YiTi. I pretended not to understand most of his questions and bullshitted my way past the few questions I could answer.Since people assumed I didn’t speak the Common Tongue, they usually talked as if I weren’t in the room. Then one day I heard Ned was out traveling to bring judgment to a deserter from the Nights’ Watch. And I knew my time of waiting was over.Later that night Jory knocked on my door and escorted me to Ned's solar.“You were right” Ned said without preamble.“The King is coming to offer you the position of Hand of the King. It will be another month or two for the King to make it all the way North.”“I know”“Triple your guard. When you go to King's Landing, bring with you five hundred of your best and most loyal men.”“Why?”“You’ll need them. They’ll make your enemies think twice before moving against you.”“Enemies?”I just paused to let Ned puzzle it out himself.“The Lannisters?”“Yes. And others.”“But why would …”“Propose to marry Myrcella to Robb and insist that Myrcella stay in the North so she could get used to her new home. Insist. With Myrcella here, Cersei would never dare move against you.”“Why would the Queen …”“This is the easy part Lord Stark. There is a lot more you have to do to protect the world.”“Like …”“The long summer is drawing to a close. Order your lords to begin putting away their crops now and start buying long lasting food from the Reach or Essos. Borrow money if you have to. Stockpile as much food as possible. Food enough that if a hundred thousand Wildlings came to the Wall and you allowed them through, food enough to feed them also.”“What? I mean …”“That's all for now. If I tell you everything at once, you will be overwhelmed with information like the first time we met. It is safer if I share information a bit at a time. Trust me Lord Stark.”“Fine, anything else you can tell me? Including why the Queen will be my enemy?”“The Queen wants either her father or her brother to be Hand of the King. Your appointment threatens her power. And most of all, she is afraid you'll know the secret.”“What secret?”“I cannot tell you yet. If I do, it will change history too much, too quickly. Patience my Lord. You must have patience.”“Fine. I'll do as you say. What about the direwolves?”“As Jon said, these wolves are meant to belong to your children. They will keep your children safe, and teach them to manifest their innate powers.”“How do you know all these things?”“I have read several very detailed books by a prophet from my world named George Martin. These books speak of the return of the White Walkers and dragons. They speak of the deaths of you and members of your family. I have read these books many times and committed many parts into memory. Sadly, I was not able to bring the books with me on my journey.”“That’s impo …” Ned started saying before stopping himself. At this point, I could have told Ned I was really a three headed dragon disguised as a human and he probably would believe me.“Alright, we will talk again soon. By you leave my lord.” I said, giving Ned a bow of my head before exiting and returning to my room.Each day waiting for the King was agony. There was so much that needed to be put into motion. But I did not let the time go to waste. I asked Vayon for a chest and a blank book. It was risky, but I needed to start writing my plans down on paper. The chest would allow me to keep the book locked away, an especially important precaution. And lastly as one final precaution, I needed some sort of cipher. Locks can be picked after all. And once I went with Ned to King’s Landing, there’s a very real chance that the lock would be picked by one of Varys’ little birds. And then I realized the perfect cipher. Chinese.For weeks I wrote down half baked plans, ideas, important details from ASOIAF I could not afford to forget. Most importantly, I wrote down each and every prophecy I could recall. Interfering with prophecy is incredibly tricky business, and highly dangerous. Dany’s prophecy was pronounced long ago and that I could not interfere with. Robb’s death on the other hand, that did not get prophecized until after he was crowned King in the North - meaning that this prophecy could be averted. As I wrote those prophecies down, I felt a bit sad for Myrcella and Tommen. I’d like to save them if I could. I filed that in the back of my mind.Eventually the fated day came. King Robert had finally arrived. I waited in Ned’s solar pacing around and reviewing my notes. And then Ned walked in.“Okay Jacob, what now?”“Did everything go as I told you it would?”“Yes.”“Did you propose Robb’s marriage to Myrcella? How did Robert respond?” I asked. My first little change in the timeline. So much was riding on the answer. And I was genuinely afraid. On the one hand, Myrcella in the North would guarantee the Queen’s cooperation. On the other hand, Myrcella must die before Cersei. There were no Sandsnakes in the North, so how would that happen? But I judged it a risk worth taking.“He was open to it. I think Robert will speak with Cersei tonight after the feast and we will see after.”“Now listen closely. Mance Rayder will be at the feast.”“What? You tell me this now?”“It’s okay. He’s here as a musician who simply wanted a look at the King. There’s nothing to fear. But this is an opportunity. You must send Vayon to Mance telling him that the King greatly appreciated his music and wants to bestow upon him a gift. And then lead Mance into a room of guardsmen who will take him into custody. Whatever happens though you must not kill him.”“He’s a deserter. The penalty for desertion from the Wall is death.”“Be that as it may, he is an opportunity. The White Walkers are coming. They will drive the Wildlings to the Wall, and if the door is closed, the Wildlings will attack. Either they win, and the Wall falls. Or they lose, and every Wildling who dies North of the Wall will become another addition to the White Walker army. Ask Mance Rayder himself once you take him into custody. Hear his story. Listen to the man before pronouncing any judgment.”“Assuming I do that, then what?”“You are the Hand of the King. Or at least you will be. Pardon him. Pardon him for his crime and offer him a lordship if he will lead his people south and swear that they will obey the King’s Law in the North. Require the delivery of hostages to keep his people complaint. Spread them out so they cannot coalesce into one large force. Post them on the Wall itself to defend against the White Walkers.”“My lords will not accept this. Cannot accept this. There is so much bad blood between the Wildlings and Northerners. There will be fights, battles. Rebellions.”“And if there are, you will put them down. Winter is coming as the Starks like to say. You will need these wildlings, tens of thousands of warriors. They have giants and mammoths as well. You are Lord Eddard Stark, Hand of the King. Your daughter is to be married to the Crown Prince and your best friend is the King. No one in the North would dare to defy you. For now.”“Alright Jacob. I will. Anything else I need to know?”“Oh yes, you'll get a message from Maester Luwin tonight with a shocking message. Your wife will believe it to be true, but it isn’t. It’s complicated. Summon me, afterwards.”“Why so cryptic?”“You have a long day ahead of you. I don't want you distracted. Trust me Lord Stark.”That night I attended the feast thrown in Robert's honor. Once again I put on the charade, but this time it was much harder. Rumors about me have flown around for months since my arrival. During the feast several lords and ladies approached me to make conversation. I did my best to run them into the ground with my fake accent and occasional use of Chinese. I was 99% sure no one actually spoke YiTi or knew anything about their culture so my cover story was still good.As the hours ticked, everything went according to plan. Towards the end of the night, I saw Ned have a talk with Benjen and then I saw the singer being escorted away by Vaylon. Everything happened as I remembered and I breathed a sigh of relief.A few days later, there was a knock on my door. It was Ned himself.“My Lord, it is dangerous for you to come to me in person.”“Is it true?” Ned asked, with real anger in his voice.“No. The Lannisters did not murder Jon.” Ned didn't even look surprised that I knew.“Was he poisoned?”“Yes.”“Why didn't you tell me?”I paused a moment. Gave Ned's anger a moment to cool. “It was unavoidable. You would not have believed me if I told you who the real killer was.”“Tell me now.”“Lysa.”“What? Why? How?” Ned stammered.“The poison is called the Tears of Lys. Lysa did it because Jon was going to foster young Robert Arryn with Stannis and Lysa couldn't bear to be parted. She’s also gone a little bit mad during her time with Jon, thanks to the miscarriages. There is however no proof. Jon drank all the proof.”“This will break Cat's soft heart.”Lady Stoneheart will manage I silently chucked to myself. “She’ll be fine, believe me. Lady Stark is much stronger than you give her credit for.” At least until Bran’s fall. But she’ll bounce back eventually.“Thank you.” Ned said a bit hesitantly. “Jon, was he …”“His passing was quick and Grand Maester gave him milk of the poppy to dull the pain. He had lived a long full life.”Ned sat down on the chair. Anger and anguish warring on his face. I could see he had more questions, but I could not afford to answer them yet. I had to distract him. “Remember what it is we are trying to accomplish here.”“What do you mean?”“Winter is coming. As are the White Walkers. But they are not here yet. Go and spend time with Robert. Reminisce about your youths and the good times. Jon is not the only one who should live a little. Go my lord.”Ned seemed to recover himself just a bit and nodded to me before leaving the room.After Ned left, I could not stay in my room either. I needed light and air. I needed someone to bounce ideas with and discuss strategies. And I couldn’t do it with Ned. Bran needed to fall from the tower so he could become the Three-Eyed Raven. That part was easy. The hard part was Arya. How do I get Arya trained to be a Faceless Man? As I walked into the Godswood, a raven flew up to a branch in front of me. “Quork” it said. It started me out of my reverie and I looked up at it. “Quork, Quork. Chen. Quork. Quork.”I held my breath. Finally. Well, maybe. Maybe I just imagined it. Or maybe Bloodraven wanted to let me know, he heard me. I looked around, and as usual the Godswood was empty. The last thing I want was people to think I was crazy. I turned back to the raven and asked “How do I get Arya trained? Let me know if you have any ideas.” And then I walked on. Maybe Bloodraven could help me. Or maybe I was losing my mind and just talked to a bird. But hey, no one saw so what’s there to lose?I then walked back into the castle library and was reading another historical treatise when someone placed a hand on my shoulder.“Greetings.” said a short man with a large head and two mismatched eyes.I instantly panicked. “Hello” I said by default, forgetting my accent. And immediately cursed myself for my stupidity. I bowed my head and followed up with “你好.” I simultaneously wanted to burst in excitement at meeting the Tyrion Lannister, and burst my bladder because I was in dangerous waters. This was not a planned interaction and any mistake could be catastrophic.“I have heard about you Lord Chen” Tyrion said, slowly and presumably for my benefit. “I have never traveled to Yi Ti before and heard many wondrous things about it. I cannot help though but wonder why a Yi Ti dignitary would be visiting Winterfell instead of King’s Landing.”I gave Tyrion as a blank look as I could muster. “我不懂” I said and with a shake of my head to indicate my ignorance.“Have you been to King’s Landing before Lord Chen?” asked Tyrion, pantomiming what I assume was the Red Keep.That question was safe enough for me to answer I suppose. “No my lord” I said with my accent while shaking my head.“Interesting. And how did you get from Yi Ti to Winterfell?”“船” I said and used my arms and hands to charade a ship and rowing.Tyrion then chuckled. And looked down at the book I was reading. And I mentally kicked myself. “Come now Lord Chen. I have been watching you read for several minutes now. And this is not one of those books people read for the illustrations. I’ve watched how quickly you flip the pages and your lips did not move once. You read faster than the Grand Maester. And yet you don’t know the Common Tongue for ship?”I had but a handful of seconds to decide. Recruit Tyrion into the confederation? Or continue the ruse. There were grave dangers either way. If I continued the ruse, Tyrion would know I was lying. He would start paying people to follow me and become a hindrance to my plans. But if I brought him in, what if he exposes me?And yet there were great potential benefits in recruiting Tyrion. At minimum, someone to discuss ideas and strategy with. Someone clever. I already have the Starks bound to me. It would be nice now to have a Lannister also. But can I trust him? How do I bind Tyrion’s loyalty to me. And then I remembered.I leaned forward and whispered to Tyrion: “You have a daughter. I know where she and Tysha live. Come to my room tonight, discretely, while the castle sleeps. There is much I must tell you, but it must be done in private. Hour of the wolf.”I then bowed to a stunned Tyrion and returned to my book.Tyrion stood there, just looking at me from behind, I assume, for a full minute. Maybe two. And then I heard him walk away. After he left the library, I waited a few minutes myself and then rushed straight to my room. No more interactions. I wrote a note to Ned stating “Will have conversation with Tyrion Lannister tonight. Will attempt to recruit him. Please come a few minutes before the hour of the wolf.” The last thing I wanted was for Ned to think I was a Lannister spy. Plus, having him at this meeting could be quite valuable.That night after Ned arrived, I briefly explained to him my plan of recruiting Tyrion. And I reminded him that neither Tyrion nor the Lannisters had any responsibility in Jon’s death. Although reluctant, Ned eventually agreed. And then we waited until there was a knock on my door.“Come in Lord Tyrion.”Tyrion was clearly surprised to see Ned in the room also. I hoped the surprise would keep Tyrion off his game and let me enact mine.“Lord Tyrion, thank you for coming tonight. I’ll get right to the point. I come from a far away land, further than Yi Ti. I have read detailed books of prophecies and know a great many things, past, present, and future. I am here to avert a great calamity that would claim the lives of millions, including members of Lord Stark’s family, and also members of yours. I am inviting you to join us to averting that future.”“How do I know any of this is true?” Tyrion asked.“Lord Chen has told me many things, and predicted the future. He has known things which no one could have possibly known.” Ned answered for me.“Like what?” Tyrion asked.“Well Tysha for one.” I replied.“There are hundreds in Casterly Rock who know that tale.”“And your daughter?”“Something you could have made up.”I then walked up to Tyrion and whispered into his ear “Jaime has three children. Something I have not told Lord Stark because I do not want any harm to befall them.” I gave Tyrion a moment.“I do not know what you are talking about.” He whispered back. Unnerved, but also unconvinced.I stepped back. “I know that your favorite song. The Seasons of My Love. She used to sing it. I doubt that’s something hundreds know.”“What prophecy led you to believe that Tysha and I had a daughter?”“What do you mean?”“I have read a lot about prophecies myself. Daenerys the Dreamer famously had a prophecy and her family moved to Dragonstone and survived the Doom. But historically prophecies have been confusing things and open to multiple interpretations. That was why the other dragonlords stayed and perished. What prophecy did you read in your book. I want to hear it for myself.”It was a good question. And a difficult one to answer. “The books are very … unique. I could not bring them with me. Nor do I remember the exact text.”Tyrion then looked me right in the eye and said “I believe that you know a great deal. But how can I trust you? How do I know you have my family’s interests at heart?” And then he looked at Ned. “How do I know you have my family’s interests and his family’s interests at heart?”“I know many things, many dangerous secrets. Things that I could have sold to Lord Varys for your weight in gold Lord Tyrion, if money was what I wanted.”Both Tyrion and Ned mulled over my words. Cersei’s secret would have meant the death of Cersei, Jaime and their children. And probably Tywin and Tyrion’s as well. Ned’s secret would have meant the same. The fact that I haven’t told anyone was a mark in my favor.“Lord Tyrion. I do not know if you want to be reunited with Tysha. But I do know you would want your daughter taken care of. I swear if you work with me, I will make sure your daughter is well taken care of. Her name is Lanna and is as beautiful as her mother.”Tyrion continued to look at me with his mismatched eyes, trying to discern my loyalties. “Fine then Lord Chen. Tell me what is it you want from me?”“Ned will appoint you as the Throne’s Ambassador to the Wall. Soon, Ned will be sending Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, back to the Lands of Always Winter. We have negotiated a peace where the wildlings will be allowed through the Wall and into Westeros. Some of them will be settled in the Gift and New Gift. Others will be settled in other places in the North. Some may be settled in the Riverlands or further south. The logistics of this will be a nightmare and the politics incredibly difficult. This will be your responsibility.”“Why me?” Tyrion asked.“We need someone to manage it. Ned and I will be at the Capital taking care of other matters, dealing with other threats. We need you to manage affairs at the Wall. Ned cannot appoint a Northerner because they would have too many ties and alliances, favors to repay or enemies to frustrate. I can trust you to be impartial on the issues of resettlement. Make sure to take sufficient hostages and keep them safe.”“Why would you be doing this? The Wildlings have been enemies to the North for a thousand years.”“Because one of the threats I am saving Westeros from are the White Walkers. They are coming in force and driving the Wildlings and giants and mammoths south, having them smash against the Wall. Those who die will then be turned into wights to add to the White Walker armies. If they are let through, they cannot add to the army of the dead.”“Snarks and grumpkins? Is that the great threat you’re here to protect us from? You’re mad.” Tyrion exclaimed.“No, he’s not.” Ned said. “There was a man who deserted from the Wall who corroborated Lord Chen’s claim. And Mance Rayder himself said the same.”“How do you know they are telling the truth?” Tyrion asked. “Many a man would lie to spare himself the sword.”“They have no reason to lie” Ned answered. “The deserter knew his life was forfeit by all the laws of Westeros. As for Mance Rayder, too much of his story coincided with Lord Chen’s to dismiss.”“And so what you want is for the Wildlings to then man the Wall?”“Yes Lord Tyrion” I said. The ones settled on the Gift and New Gift will supplement the Night’s Watch and defend the Wall. They will understand the importance of the task and the dangers if the Wall is not manned. Speaking of which, the Wall must be reinforced, its defenses rebuilt. They must be armed with fire for the wights and obsidian for the White Walkers. There is a whole mine of obsidian at Dragonstone and I will start having them shipped for fashion into weapons.”I could see the skepticism in Tyrion’s face. If someone came to me and warned me of elves and vampires, I would have probably had the same expression.“You are an educated man Tyrion. And in your experience, people who talk about White Walkers are usually ignorant and illiterate. And so you have come to associate belief in the supernatural with ignorance and illiteracy. I am neither of these things. When all this is over, I may very well go and retire in Oldtown and teach at the Citadel.” I said, primarily to persuade Tyrion, but also to shore up Ned’s faith. And then I decided to go for the jugular.“Resettling a hundred thousand wildlings is a daunting task. The logistics and politics are challenging. When you succeed, you will finally prove your worth. To yourself, and to your father.”“You know quite a lot about me don’t you?” Tyrion asked finally. “Anything else?”“Please continue befriending Jon Snow. He will be joining your journey to the Wall. He is more important than you can imagine, so take good care of him. Now both of you, return to your rooms before we draw too much attention. We will talk again soon.”Once the two of them left, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I slumped into my bed.A few days later, Ned, Robert, and many others were making preparations to go out on a hunt. I had been wrestling with what to tell Ned about Bran. Finally I wrote:“Bran will be fine. The fall will be a catalyst to awaken Bran’s powers as a greenseer. He will walk, run, and even fly. Most of all, he will save Westeros. I could not tell you this earlier because if you prevented the fall, Bran never becomes a greenseer.”I folded the paper in half, and then half again and gave it to Vayon with very specific instructions. Ned was absolutely not to open it until night time.So far things have been going well. After today, everything might change. Ned will be angry about Bran’s fall. And my only defense is that Bran had to fall because it would change him into a sorcerer.“Lord Chen?” said a boy from behind me.I turned around. I did not recognize the boy. I nodded my head curiously.“Can we speak privily?” he asked.I took a closer look. The boy had green eyes. Could it be? I thought. Could this be Jojen Reed? No it couldn’t. It was too early by a year right? I led the boy to my room.“Thank you my lord. My name is Jojen Reed. I am at your service.”Why is he here? And here to … help? What was happening? “What do you mean?” I asked, slowly and with a Chinese accent. I wasn’t quite ready to give up the charade.“As I said. I am here to help.”“Why?”“I had a green dream. A grey wolf bared his fangs at a wizard. I dreamed I was there and stared the wolf in the eye and calmed it down. You were the wizard in my dream my lord.”Thank you Bloodraven. I thought to myself. You’re a lifesaver. Maybe literally. “Come back tonight after the King and Lord Stark come back from the hunt. Did you dream of the winged wolf?”“Yes my lord.”“Do you know who it is?”“As with you, I did not know until I arrived at Winterfell. I think it was Bran Stark.”“And do you know what Bran Stark must do?”“Yes. Bran Stark must journey beyond the Wall to be trained as a greenseer with the three-eyed raven.”“Do you now why the grey wolf is angry at me?”“Not quite.”“I knew Bran was, is, going to fall today. He will be badly injured and go into a deep coma. It will be months before he wakes up again. I did not tell Ned because I was afraid if he knew, he would try to prevent it and the world could not let that happen.”“I see. So you need me to vouch for you before Lord Stark.”“Yes. I need you to make sure Lord Stark doesn’t rip my head off. Tell him about Bran’s future. And make Lord Stark see what I did was for the best.”“It’s as good as done.”“Thank you Jojen.”That night events proceeded exactly as I predicted and Jojen foresaw. Ned burst into my room, and he was truly mad. Much angrier than the time he confronted me about Jon. But Jojen’s presence caught him off guard. Jojen told Ned about his vision, and about Bran’s future. I told Ned about the ancient sorcerer Bloodraven and how Bran must journey beyond the Wall for his training. Honestly, I think Ned was simply happy to hear that Bran was going to be okay from someone other than me.A few days later, I paid a visit to Tyrion.“Thank you for agreeing to see me Lord Tyrion.”“How can I help Lord Jacob?”“I need your advice.”“You need my advice? That’s an interesting turn of events. Aren’t you the all knowing one here?”“Thank you Lord Tyrion. But the truth is, I’m not all knowing. More importantly, I have a lot of information but I am not sure how to use this information to further my end goal.”“In that case I’d be delighted to help … as soon as you tell me what your end goal is.”“Is my promise about Tysha and Lanna not enough?”“You are sending me off to the Wall for a year, maybe two. A suspicious mind can’t help but wonder. Was it really because you needed my mind on this relocation project? Or you wanted to keep me away so I cannot protect my family from whatever cunning plot you have stored for them in the Capital.”I couldn’t help but smile at that. Talking to Tyrion versus Ned was like playing chess versus solitaire. “Do you know how Bran fell?”Tyrion paused to think about it a moment. “I have a guess. I assume you know the answer.”“Bran was climbing when he saw your brother and sister trying to give Robert another heir. They spotted him. Ser Jaime threw him from the tower.”“As Jaime’s still alive, I assume you have not said a thing to Lord Stark about this.”“No I haven’t.”“If I told Lord Stark about this, he would probably have your head for not telling him first.”“Probably. Especially since I’m the one who told Eddard to marry Robb to Myrcella. I don’t think he would be thrilled about having two of his children marry ‘abominations’ as the Septons would call it.”“Interesting.”“I trust you Lord Tyrion. And I need you. I have already proven that I harbor no ill against your family. Right now, Lord Renly is plotting to convince Robert to abandon Cersei and marry Margery. Ned and I can prevent that.”“But why? Why are you trying to prevent that? If you tell Lord Stark right now about Cersei and Jaime, Robert would have them killed. Stark would remain Hand in public, but it will be you who will be the Hand in truth.”You have no idea how tempting it is to do so. “Honestly, if it were just Queen Cersei, I would have done just that. But it isn’t. I am … not okay with killing children … except as an absolute last resort. Not even Joffrey. And that’s why I’m here. I need the Queen neutralized. And I need you to help me come up with a plan.”Tyrion barked out a tight laugh. “I was wondering when you were going to ask me to betray my family.”“I could destroy your family at any time. I just have to tell Ned how Bran fell out of the tower. I could tell the King that I saw Ser Jaime and Queen Cersei fleeing from the same tower Bran fell out of. I’m trying to save your family.”Tyrion sat back into his seat. I could see the gears in his mind starting to turn.This was a bad idea I thought for the tenth time as I walked into the Guest House alongside Tyrion for a private meeting with the Queen and her brother. I said as much to Tyrion earlier but as he pointed out, I didn’t really have much of a choice.Tyrion introduced as a foreign dignitary, and after I had met the family, Tyrion suggested that we adjourn to a private room suggesting we had an important issue to discuss. The Queen agreed and just like that, I was in a room. A room with three Lannisters.“Good morning your Grace, thank you for seeing me.”“Of course Lord Chen. I’ll admit, many people at Court are quite curious about you.”“For good reason your Grace. See the truth is, I’m not a foreign dignitary from Yi Ti. I’m actually a sorcerer.” I said with a smile. Desperately hoping my next words wouldn’t immediately result with Jaime stabbing me in the face. “I can prove it your Grace. For example, through my powers, I know it was Ser Jaime who pushed Bran out of the tower the other day because Bran saw the two of you fornicating.”Cersei and Jaime just looked at me. By now, I was used to the open mouth fish stare. Tyrion on the other hand was struggling not to laugh out loud.“How dare you come in here and make these outrageous allegations” Cersei thundered, finally finding her voice. “Ser Jaime, take this fraud and …”“Your mother caught the two of you once and moved you to different ends of Casterly Rock. She never told anyone, not even your father. And when she died, the secret died with her. So in an odd way, Lord Tyrion here is responsible for the two of you finding love.”And once again, the fish face.“By now you’re wondering why I am telling you all this. I think Tommen and Myrcella are beautiful children. And Joffrey, well, he’s young. He can still grow to be a good person. Believe it or not, I am actually here to save your children’s lives.”“That would be hard to do chained in a dungeon Lord Chen.” the Queen threatened.“Before coming here, I took a small precaution. In the event of my death, a trusted agent would deliver a note to both Ned and Robert, telling them, well, everything. So I think it would be in everyone’s interest to make sure I leave this tower the same way I came in - and not the way Bran did.”I wasn’t sure if either Cersei or Jaime believed me. And honestly, I did no such thing. It was too dangerous to actually write such a note, lest it fell into the wrong hands.“I know you love your children your Grace. Let’s be honest, how long do you really expect to keep your love a secret? It was only a matter of time before someone walked in on the two of you having sex. Some day, some servant will walk in and have the good sense to run away before Jaime could pull out his sword.”“It’s been decades.”“I imagine it couldn’t have been easy. For either of you really. And so that is why I’m here.”“What do you mean?”“This afternoon, your Grace will meet with the King. You will tell King Robert that you miss your home and family, and that you intend to go to Casterly Rock to spend time with your father and you want Jaime to accompany you. You may bring Prince Tommen as well. And there you will stay for the next two to three years, while Lord Stark and I do our best to fix the kingdom and prepare for the challenges that are coming up. Years during which you will not interfere in the slightest. You will joyfully agree to marrying Robb to Myrcella, and Joffrey to Sansa. And you will instruct Joffrey about the importance of keeping Sansa happy because Joffrey’s continued survival depends on him being a good husband.”I paused to allow my words to sink in. Honestly I was just glad to be still alive at this point. Despite my bravado, this extortion could have gone wrong in a thousand different ways. There was a small part of me, terrified, that Cersei would have ordered Jaime to cut out my tongue, and if she had, I think he’d have done it.“In Casterly Rock, you would be able to spend time in Jaime’s company. The servants there are loyal to you and you will be safer. Of course Ser Jaime, you just need to remember to spill your seed on the Queen’s belly. And you’ll both have Tommen to keep you company.”I paused again, expecting Cersei to surrender. She didn’t. “No” Cersei said instead. “I don’t think you have a man with a letter. And more to the point, you have no proof. I do not know what game your playing, but Jaime can slice it out of you.”The whole time Jaime had his hand on his sword. And with those words he unsheathed it. I was very glad I went to the privy before this meeting, otherwise I would have definitely peed my pants. Tyrion then stood up and stood between me and Jaime.“Calm down brother. And sister. I have spoken several times with Lord Chen. He truly means our family no harm. Do you think Robert needs proof? This man is very close to Lord Stark. If he had told Lord Stark, Lord Stark would have told Robert.” Tyrion said in my defense.Jaime looked at me, and then looked at Tyrion. And with lightening speed befitting a knight of his reputation, bulled past Tyrion, put his hands around my neck and slammed me against the wall. His fingers tightened around my throat. Rather than gutting me though, after several long seconds, his grip loosened up and I dropped to the ground.As I coughed, Jaime slowly walked to the door, and leaned against it.“Now my Lord, you will tell me everything” Cersei said with a frightening smile.As scared as I was, I came into this meeting with a quiver full of informational arrows. I still had quite a few left. “There is a lot I want to tell you actually. Before Jon Arryn’s death, the Grand Maester gave him a book. The book talks about unions between Baratheon and Lannisters, and other families. All Baratheon children have dark hair, regardless of the hair of the mothers. All of Robert’s bastards have dark hair.”The fear in Cersei’s face helped take the sting out of the manhandling I was just subject to. “You didn’t know that did you? Also I’m not the only one who knows. So does Varys, Littlefinger, and Stannis. Varys and Littlefinger will keep your secret for now, for their own ends. Stannis will not. My death will not prevent the inevitable. My presence can.” I said, making eye contact with both Cersei and Jaime.“My offer still stands. Go back to Casterly Rock. You and Jaime will be happy there. And Tommen will grow up learning to be a good man. You once convinced Jaime to join the Kingsguard when you asked him whether he wanted you or a rock. It’s your turn. Do you want him, and your children alive? Or is it more important for you to rule as Queen?”And then I reached into my pocket to take out a note I prepared before the meeting, and handed it to Cersei. She opened it up:“I know about Maggy’s prophecy. Work with me and I promise to forestall it.”Cersei was a consummate actress, far more convincing than Ned. Her face betrayed not the slightest bit of surprise or even interest in my note. But I didn’t need to read her face. I knew my note was going to work. “I need a night to think about this.” she finally said.“Of course your Grace.” I said. “And remember, if anything should happen to me …”“No attempt will be made on your life” Cersei said, almost grudgingly. “But we will talk again soon.”“Of course your Grace.” I said politely. “And now, by your leave, I have some messages I need to have undelivered.”That night as I sat on my bed reading and waiting, there was a knock on the door.“Come in” I said.It was, to no surprise, Queen Cersei.“Good evening your Grace” I said with a small bow. “I have been expecting you” I said and gestured to the two cups of wine at my desk.In truth, I had expected her that afternoon. When she didn’t show up, I drank both glasses and refilled it. This was the third round. I assume this was the sort of games Varys liked to play, and before someone like Cersei, I needed to appear omniscient for my own safety.“Dornish red, sweet and quite pleasant. Feel free to take either cup, I’ll drink from the other one.”Cersei walked to the desk and naturally took the cup closer to me. And also waited for me to take a sip before taking her own.“You know why I am here” she said.“Let me tell you a story. There was once a beautiful queen who had three beautiful children with her brother, a member of the Kingsguard. A grave and serious crime. The two of them did their best to hide the truth, but the truth was too obvious to be hidden forever. Eventually the King discovers the truth. He has the children put to death. The queen drowns herself in bitter tears. And then in an act of mercy, her younger brother, the valonqar, strangles her to death to save her from torture. No one was there to save him and he died in a horrific and agonizing way.”It was all horseshit of course. A complete bald faced lie from start to finish. But a convincing one, and a story that matches Maggy’s prophecy perfectly.“This was what happened. This is what will happen if you stay in King’s Landing and keep playing the Game of Thrones. Robert will discover the truth, have you executed, and replace you with a younger, more beautiful queen. I am here to save your life. Your life, Jaime’s life, and the lives of your children.”The reality is, I had no idea if Maggy’s prophecy could be forestalled. Maybe I could manipulate things in such a way that they are not fulfilled for another decade. Cersei’s children will still die before her, but maybe they could first get married and have children, and at least live a little bit. But that’s really a problem for another day. My problem now is to get rid of Cersei.“How do I know what you’re saying is true?” Cersei asked.“Because I know things that no one else knows. Things you have never told another living soul.”“That’s not what I mean. I know you know many things sorcerer. How do I know you are telling me the truth? How did Robert find the truth? And did I try to have him killed?”“I have seen several different futures. In one future, it was Ned who discovered the truth and told Robert. In another future, it was Stannis. In yet another future, it was Varys. In some futures, it was Littlefinger who helped Ned discover the truth. In some futures, you are arrested before you could do anything. In others, you attempt to have Robert killed but all attempts end in failure. In the end, so long as you attempt to play, the outcome is always the death of you, Jaime, and your children.”I could see Cersei believing me despite her paranoia. And in the end, it worked.“Fine. I’ll do as you asked. But I’ll also be keeping a close eye on you wizard.”“I have no doubt you will. The Grand Maester is one of yours I believe. I’ll give him updates periodically and he could send them to you. I swear that I will keep your secret and make sure it is never discovered.”Cersei nodded to me as she left my room. Once she was gone, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And began plotting the more serious obstacles before me - Littlefinger and Varys.A few weeks later we left Winterfell. Tyrion rode north with Jon, Mance, and a peace treaty. Cersei rode west with Jaime and Tommen for a ship to Lannisport. Jojen stayed to begin Bran's education once he wakes up.I rode south with everyone else, bound for King's Landing. Before leaving, I had Ned leave a note to Robb to arrest the suspicious looking guy hiding in the stables and let Bran's wolf stay with him. I almost wrote “Summer” before catching myself. Ned signed and sealed it so I could be sure Robb would follow the instructions.By now, I was reaching a dangerous level of fame and attention. Despite my efforts, rumors continued to swirl and grow with every telling. I burned my original clothing the day after my arrival, but that just made stories of my weird garb more fantastic. And of course rumors that I had bedazzled the Hand, the Queen and even the King with my magic. That rumor was actually not that far from the truth.It didn't help that Ned appointed Jory as my personal sworn shield. It made sense, I needed physical protection and Jory already knew I was more than I was pretending to be. But the sight of the Hand's former Captain of Guard at my side at all times only intensified the rumors.As we crossed the Riverlands, I interfered slightly to prevent a replay of the Joffrey Arya incident. The day Ser Barristan and Renly arrived, I told Ned that Arya needed formal training on fighting. He sent her to one of his men for some discrete training. Both Lady and Mycha survived and I was very happy about it.The journey to the Capital was a long one, but completely without incident. And finally months after my arrival, I was finally in King’s Landing. I somehow managed to avoid throwing up at the smell.As I climbed up the Tower of the Hand to my new room, I reflected on a private conversation I had with Tyrion before we parted ways.“Thank you for meeting with me Lord Tyrion.”“Pleasure is mine Lord Jacob.”“You know, I’m not actually a lord. In private you could dispense with the formalities and just call me Jacob.”“Neither of us are lords, so call me Tyrion.” Tyrion then looked me in the eye, making sure nothing would escape his notice, and asked point blank “I’d like to be a lord one day though. Do you know when and which castle?”“You would make an excellent Lord of Casterly Rock. And an even better Lord Hand. Assuming things go according to plan.” I responded.“And I’m guessing your here to tell me about my next part in this plan? After resettling a hundred thousand Wildlings?”“Actually no not at all. There is a complicated obstacle to my plan that I have to deal with once I get to King’s Landing. I’m here to bounce ideas with you and ask your advice. Where I’m from, we call it ‘brainstorming.’”“Interesting. Tell me more.”“Have you had the pleasure of interacting with Lord Varys at all during your time at the Capital?”“A time or two, why?”“Lord Varys is actually a Targaryen descendant. From the Blackfyre line. He shaves his head to help hide the Targaryen features. He has a nephew, a boy named Aegon. The boy thinks he’s Prince Rhaegar’s son and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Varys is conspiring with a Magistrate from Pentos to install ‘Aegon’ as the next King of Westeros. He pretends to give a shit about the realm, but in reality, his one driving motivation is the fulfillment of his family legacy.”I paused to let that sink in. If only Varys was the Varys from the TV show. That one sort of actually cared about the good of the realm and was someone I could reason with. The Varys from the books is a much more cunning and capable player.“The reason Varys has not exposed your sister is because he has been waiting for Aegon to grow older. The time has almost come, but his plans are still two to three years short of fruition.”Tyrion took a sip of his wine. “And?”“And he’s an impediment to my plans. Varys intends to stoke a massive civil war to create an opportunity for his nephew, and use his influence in the Capital to sabotage the war effort. I want to keep the peace, prepare Westeros for an invasion by the White Walkers, and in the long run, change our system of government to one that’s more stable.”Tyrion swirled his wine thoughtfully and took another sip. “Okay. So kill him.”“Well there’s a few problems with that.” I said. The first one being I am not okay, morally, with killing my political opponents. But that wasn’t something I wanted Tyrion to know. “First, there’s a practical problem. Ned is too honorable to kill someone without a trial. I have no tangible evidence to convict Varys. And I have no assassins in my employ who I can use to have Varys killed illegally. Second, there’s a very major prophecy which Varys helps fulfill when he simultaneously conveys Robert’s orders to have Daenerys Targaryen assassinated while also warning Ser Jorah Mormont about the assassination attempt so that Ser Jorah could prevent it. This prophecy is a major one and I do not want to risk messing with it. When you mess with prophecies, usually they mess back. This particular prophecy has killed half a dozen Targaryens.”“My father would say only a fool collects enemies. A wise man collects friends, hostages or heads.”“One enemy is hardly a collection. The hostage idea is a good one though. Varys’ good friend Illyrio Mopatis is enroute to King’s Landing. My fear is he’s not sufficiently valuable to stay Varys’ hand. The best hostage would be the boy, Aegon himself, but he’s in Essos and beyond my reach. I do not think I can turn Varys into a friend. And as I said, he’s too dangerous to kill.”“Have you ever killed a man before?” Tyrion asked.“What do you mean?”“You are no knight, I can tell that from just looking at you. You wear a maester’s robe. You admitted you are no lord. Have you ever passed judgment on a man? Or killed an enemy?”“I have killed many enemies Tyrion” in my imagination. Which should count on the off chance that I was hit by a car and this is all just one major hallucination. “I am not afraid to kill my enemies.” I am definitely afraid to kill my enemies. Heck, I’m afraid to kill mice. “My objection to killing Varys is purely practical.”“Fine. Can you remove him from power? Throw him in the dungeon?”“No. He knows the secret passageways in and out of King’s Landing and has many allies who may help him. Plus, that again runs the same problem as it may prevent him from carrying out his role in fulfilling the prophecy.”“Then torture him until he gives up all of his information and contacts, take them over, and use them to do everything he would have done.”I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. But to be fair, Tyrion was giving solid advice. Advice that I just refuse to accept because it fundamentally conflicted with my sense of morality. And then I thought about what happened to Ned.“Thank you for your input. I’ll take it under advisement.” I finally said in a neutral tone.“Anytime Jacob. Just remember, friends, hostages, or heads. Good night.”I spent my entire journey from Winterfell to King’s Landing wrestling with what to do. In the end, I decided to arrest him. It was him or me. If I don’t remove him from power, sooner or later, he was going to remove me. There’s only room for one fake “all knowing” character. With Varys’ removal, I would have Ned appoint me as Master of Whisperers. I would imprison Varys in the Tower of the Hand with Ned’s men keeping observation to make sure he is not smuggled out by the Little Birds. And I will attempt to mine him for information in exchange for comforts.These were my thoughts as I walked into my room.To find Lord Varys, sitting at my desk, and a cross-bow in his hand.“Greetings Lord Chen. Please, take a seat.”I sat down.I had always wondered what I would actually do in an active shooter situation. If I would hide and cower, or rush and charge the shooter in a heroic act of bravery. Now I know. I would just stand there like a deer in headlights. Good to know.I guess there was no point in using a fake Chinese accent. “I thought you were supposed to be in a small council meeting with the Hand of the King.”“I thought I was speaking to the Hand of the King.” Varys responded. I couldn’t help but feel flattered. Crossbow not withstanding.“There are five hundred Stark guardsmen in this Tower.”“Sadly none in this room.”“How did I screw up?”Varys laughed. “My Lord, I heard about you the moment you arrived in Winterfell. A foreign dignitary from YiTi having a private conversation with Lord Stark? A most curious thing. And so I had you watched.”It felt a bit weird to have the shoe on the other foot for once.“Two months ago, you had a private audience with the Queen and her brother. Now they are headed to Casterly Rock.”“She misses her family.”“Oh yes my Lord. The story you gave her was quite convincing. Except to anyone who has ever known her. That woman clings to power like a newborn to a mother’s teat.”“Fair point.”“And settling a hundred thousand wildlings south of the Wall? After a thousand years of enmity?”I shrugged nonchalantly. For some reason, I was still alive. I waited for Varys to explain why.“How did you accomplish these feats my lord?”And then it clicked. Varys wanted to know what I knew. Friends, hostages or heads. It was too late for me to take Varys’ head. But now I knew my hostage.“The same way you do Lord Varys. Information. Serra’s son’s is in grave danger, and only I know how to protect him.”In the books, there is a character named Aegon who claims to be the son of Prince Rhaegar and is being assisted by Varys and his friend Illyrio. It is implied, although never explicitly stated, that Aegon is really the son of Illyrio and his wife Serra, that Serra is Varys’ sister, and both Serra and Varys are Blackfyre descendants.“Meaning if I shoot you, I never learn what you know, and therefore Serra’s son dies.”“Yes.” I said with all the conviction I could muster. And honestly, I wasn’t lying. I don’t know how Aegon dies since neither Winds of Winter nor Dreams of Spring have been completed yet. But the likelihood of Aegon surviving both remaining books is between 0 and zilch.Varys weighed my words carefully, letting the tension build. And then he put down his crossbow. Still cocked and loaded, still within arms’ reach, but I exhaled a massive sigh of relief.“Tell me more my lord.”“What do you want to know specifically?”“How much do you know about Serra’s son?”“I know you and Illyrio care deeply about him and want what’s best for him. I know you have hidden his true identity from the boy himself so he would come across as who he claims to be. I know Connington loves the boy and will do everything possible to see him crowned. And lastly, I know your plan is doomed to fail. The boy will come close to taking the Iron Throne. But then things will take a turn for the worse and he will perish. And with his death, so too will end the Blackfyre line.”“I see. I assume you used Cersei’s children to manipulate her?”“Yes, that is correct.”“And what about Lord Stark?”“The same. I convinced Lord Stark that without my help, his children too would have been in grave danger. It wasn’t hard. How long do you think Lord Stark and his children were going to survive the viper’s nest that is King’s Landing?”“So tell me my lord. What can you do to save Aegon’s life?”“Aegon will never win the Game of Thrones. Playing it will mean his death. Why not just let the boy live his life?”“It’s too late. The boy will go for the Iron Throne, and succeed or die trying.”“You cannot want him to die trying.”“I’d much rather he succeed.”“That’s simply not in the cards. No matter how hard he tries, or how well you plot, he is doomed to failure.”“How can you know that?”“Because I know. I myself am neither prophet nor sorcerer. I cannot read the future. But I have read multiple reliable books of prophecies, written by those who can. I have reviewed prophecies and foretellings. And in none of them, does Aegon come out alive, if he plays the Game. The only way to win is to not play.”“We will talk again my lord. In the meantime, I have a council meeting that I am late for. Why don’t you take a walk. We will meet again soon.”I got up from the chair and walked backwards to the door, looking at Varys the entire time just in case he decided to pick up his crossbow. And then when I reached the door, I quickly got out and bolted down the stairs, ironically, almost falling and killing myself. Once I got outside, I sat down on the bottom steps, panting, as Ned’s guards gave me weird looks. Eventually a raven landed in front of me and looked at me curiously.“You could have warned me.” I said to the raven, eliciting more queer looks.“Quork, quork” the raven replied.And I started laughing. I was so relieved to be still alive that all the tension of the past moments burst out at once. Eventually I composed myself, politely bowed to the two very alarmed guards, and decided to look for Jory. Going forward, I decided, I really need at least one guardsman accompanying me at all times.The next day I went to visit the last person on my list. Littlefinger.Of all the “players” in Westeros, Littlefinger was actually the least dangerous in my book. I have him dead to rights on Jon Arryn’s murder, and Ned Stark was already predisposed to hate him. Without Catelyn, the dagger, or Bran’s assassination, Littlefinger has nothing to offer Ned. If Littlefinger played ball, great. That would expand my influence. If he doesn’t, I was willing to have him sacked and shipped back off to the Vale.I confidently walked to Littlefinger’s quarters with Jory behind me for protection. Littlefinger opened the door and welcomed me inside. I told Jory to wait outside for a little.“Good day to you Lord Baelish.”“Good day Lord Chen. To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?”“How much do you know about me Lord Baelish?”“That would be telling now wouldn’t it? Why don’t you get to the point and tell me what I am supposed to know.”I chuckled. I guess I wasn’t all that good at keeping my identity a secret. “I want you to know that I know that you gave Lysa the Tears of Lys and told her to put it in Jon Arryn’s wine. And one word from me, and Ned Stark would have your head on a platter.”“I see … and knowing that, why should I let you out of the room?”“Because outside this room is Jory, former Captain of Guards for Lord Eddard Stark himself. And I have also left messages with my own agents. If I go missing for any reason, Lord Stark will know you were responsible and why.”“All well then, you have me cornered. Well played Lord Chen. Consider me your agent going forward. I will do everything you ask of me.” And then Littlefinger bowed and escorted me to the door.As I walked back to my chambers, I couldn’t help but feel … this was just way too easy. I mean I expected it to be easy. But still, something didn’t feel right. The thought nagged at me, and continued nagging at me through the day.The next afternoon, there was a knock at my door.“Come in” I said.It was Vayon Poole with the Royal Steward. “A summons for Lord Chen to visit his Grace.”I was a bit suspicious, but one does not refuse a royal summons. “Jory with me” I said, and then on reflection, “And bring another just in case.”The three of us walked down the Tower of the Hand. I thought we were going to head to either the Throne Room or Maegor’s Keep, but instead we were being led to the Small Council room. Once there, the Royal Steward indicated that I was to enter alone and unarmed. I uncomfortably agreed and walked inside.And there at the Small Council table was the King slumped over. Dead I assumed, his glass of wine overturned. Also dead was Eddard Stark, Ser Barristan, Lord Renly, and the Grand Maester.“Why hello Lord Chen. We are pleased you could join us” Lord Varys said in a cheerful voice.“Ahh, our guest of honor has arrived. Splendid.” Littlefinger said right after.“Fuck.” was all I had a chance to say before being hit from behind in the head and blacking out.When I woke up I was in the Black Cells.It was cold, thanks to a flagon of cold water splashed into my face. I gasped and shuddered. I was restrained spread-eagle to the wall, and the metal cuffs chafed my wrists. There was not a scrap of clothing on me. It was terrifying (and erotic).Before me was Varys and Littlefinger, smiling.“What did you do?” I said, loudly. And a bit angrily.“Why whatever do you mean my lord?” asked Varys, in an innocent tone without the slightest inflection of sarcasm.“You have no idea what you have messed up.” I continued, almost frantic. “The fate of the world …”“Now rests in your hands” Littlefinger injected smoothly.I just looked at them confused.“I have been studying you since the day you arrived my lord” Varys continued. “You have plotted and conspired and put many plans into motion. Those plans are gone now. Whatever you had hoped to do, it’s too late. But it’s not too for you to be an asset to our plans.”“Your plans?” I repeated dumbly.“You see, after your visit to me, I realized I could not afford to kill you. Fortunately you are simply too valuable.” Lord Varys said. “But at the same time, I was not willing to put aside my own plans. Plans I have spent over a decade perfecting. At the same time though, your presence made me realize that I needed to make a change.”“Which was when Lord Varys appropached me.” Littlefinger continued. “He told me the most incredible story that I would never have believed … if not for the fact that it matched parts of what I already knew. Your interference wrecked both his plans and mine.”“I warned him of your arrival. That you were going to blackmail him with information that no one could have possibly known. And when you were talking to him, I was listening.”“And after you left, Varys came in. He told me of his plan to put Aegon on the throne. Varys promised to make me the new Lord of Casterly Rock once the Lannisters were eliminated. Lord of Casterly Rock and the Westerlands. All I needed to do was help remove the King.”“I do not know how much information you know. Or how you know it. But I do know with absolute certainty that so long as you are in our possession, you will be the key to Aegon’s victory.”I finally found my voice. “But why kill the King?”Littlefinger laughed. “Kill the King? Why that would be high treason. Punishable by death.”“Then what …” I asked confused.“You my lord” said Varys “are the chief suspect in the death of the good King Robert. Apparently you offered to share a rare vintage, a bottle of wine from YiTi, a valuable commodity. Except it was poisoned and all those who drank your toast died. A terrible crime. Fortunately Lord Baelish and I were occupied by other business or we too would have perished at your hands. You escaped custody and remain at large. There is a whole bag of gold dragons for anyone who can provide information leading to your capture.”“I see” I said, finally getting it. Varys and Littlefinger needed me alive and in custody. They also needed to take away my options. They wanted to leave me with no tools, no allies, no minions, no defenders. No one to run to if I escape from the dungeons. “And what is it you want from me now?”“Information” Littlefinger said. “You my little bird are going to start talking. And you will keep talking and sharing. Or otherwise …” Littlefinger then gestured to an assortment of what were definitely not sex toys, sitting right by a furnace.“Okay” I said quickly. “I’ll talk. But you’ll need pen and paper and I need something to drink. And probably a robe before I catch a cold. And would it really kill you to move me to a cell with a bed?”Varys chuckled. “Of course my lord. I am here to serve. But right now, we have a council meeting to attend. Someone will be along for you shortly.”And then they left me, still chained to a dungeon, to think about where I went spectacularly wrong.That night I did a lot of reflecting.I learned how to play chess at a young age. And I was good at it. I could read a few moves ahead, lay traps, and understand how to position my pieces to take advantage of my opponents’ mistakes. I used to play with friends regularly, and sometimes played online, and sometimes in public parks.But I would stand just as much a chance faced up against a Grandmaster as I would against Ser Gregor in a trial by combat.Since arriving in Westeros, I had been playing the Game of Thrones. Except thanks to my deep knowledge of people and events, it was like playing with two queens. My victories against Ned and Cersei had led me to think of myself as a skilled player, when in reality, I just had better pieces. Here in King’s Landing though, this was the “big leagues.” I really really should have taken Tyrion’s advice and had Varys and Littlefinger executed the hour of my arrival. Instead I tried to play the Game and I lost.Well … or did I?I’m still alive. And as long as I’m still alive, I have a chance. Cersei did it after her imprisonment. And it was time to adopt her playbook.“Guard! Guard!” I shouted to the top of my voice. No one responded. It made sense, Varys couldn’t risk any guards knowing about me.“Guard!” I shouted again, I had to make absolutely sure. “Varys! Littlefinger! I have something to share urgently!” Three times I shouted and then waited to see if anyone showed up.Varys and Littlefinger were devious and clever, but in the end, they are just people. They could not be in all places at all times. Perfect.“Jaqen H’ghar!” I shouted this time. “If you can hear me, say something. Please.” I waited and then in the silence, I heard a faint sound. It was a “Yes.”“Jaquen H’ghar. I know who you are” I shouted three times, just to make sure he understood. “I can free you from this prison, but in exchange, I need your help. Varys, Littlefinger and Joffrey. Do we have a deal?”I don’t know if he believed me, after all, I was locked up here in this prison with him. But I repeated my offer until my throat was hoarse from the shouting. And I waited until I heard his response. “Yes.”I finally relaxed and allowed myself to fall asleep. I had a big day coming up tomorrow.The next day, I woke up to the sounds of Varys and Littlefinger coming to pay me a visit with breakfast, a simple meal of porridge with honey.Varys personally unchained me from the dungeon and I felt my wrists, sore and chafed from the experience. When I use restraints, they’re usually padded and feel much more comfortable. I ate quickly, and once finished, I took a deep breath and said:“I’m ready to talk.”“Are you my lord?” said Varys, the skepticism clear in his voice.“Yes, I’m ready to tell you everything.”“Everything?” asked Littlefinger.“Yes everything. This will be a lot to take in, I suggest you get some pen and paper.”Varys already had paper, a quill and a bottle of ink in his pockets. He seemed prepared. Littlefinger simply rubbed his chin, apparently surprised at how “cooperative” I appeared to be. My guess, he just lost a bet.“I am from the future.” I said, and then paused for emphasis, seeing if either would interrupt me with some incredulous outburst. Neither of them did.“I was born three hundred years in the future, the year 610 AC as you would say in Westeros. The spell that sent me back in time came at a great cost and considerable sacrifice, but it was necessary. It was the only way they could think of to prevent the coming calamity that will destroy not only all of Westeros, but in time, the entire world.My lords, let me tell you what would have happened had I not made my long and perilous journey across time and space to Winterfell.Beyond the Wall in the Lands of Always Winter, the White Walkers have been slowly but steadily building their numbers over thousands of years. They have long planned to destroy the world, but they are immortal beings and to them, time does not matter nearly as much as it does to humans. They were more than willing to bide their time, until all memories of them have been forgotten, until the dragonlords of Valyria are dead and gone, the Targaryens included, until the Night’s Watch was but a pale shadow of its former strength, and until unrest and war in Westeros meant there was no help to send north when the time came.After Littlefinger murdered Jon Arryn, Robert appointed Ned as Hand of the King. While Robert was in the north, Brandon Stark saw Jamie and Cersei together and so Jaime threw him out the window. Robert while drunk made an off hand comment that it was better to be dead than a cripple and so Prince Joffrey hired a camp follower to murder Brandon Stark. The attempt failed, but it prompted Catelyn to make a secret journey to the Capital. You two found her immediately and Littlefinger persuaded her that it was the Lannisters who were responsible. While Catelyn was journeying back to the North, she happened to have a chance encounter with Tyrion Lannister at the Crossroads Inn. She arrested him and carried him off as her prisoner to the Eyrie. This led to Tywin calling his banners and marching north against the Riverlords.Varys tried to keep the peace, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Littlefinger helped Ned unravel the truth about Joffrey and Ned confronted Cersei in an attempt to spare her life and those of her children. Cersei had Robert assassinated. Ned foolishly asked Littlefinger for help and Littlefinger promised the assistance of the Goldcloaks, but instead handed them to Cersei. Ned ended up arrested and put in the dungeouns. Robb Stark then called his banners and marched south, both to rescue the Riverlands and also to force the release of his father. Again Varys brokered a deal where Ned would confess to treason in exchange for the lives of his daughters, but Littlefinger secretly persuaded Joffrey to have Ned executed instead, leading to what became the War of Five Kings. Robb was crowned King in the North, Stannis and Renly both declared themselves King, and Balon Greyjoy also rebelled and crowned himself King as well.In any event, the war was savage and brutal. With all the high lords preoccupied and fighting amongst one another, there was no one to stop the White Walkers. The White Walkers forced the Wildlings to make an assault on the Wall, and that assault destroyed the last remnants of the Night’s Watch. With the Night’s Watch destroyed, the White Walkers easily crossed the Wall with a mighty army, hundreds of thousand undead wights that are near impossible to kill, and thousands of White Walkers, impervious to steel, and an army of undead beasts and birds. They slaughtered millions as they journeyed south and the more they killed, the larger their army became.Just as Varys planned, Aegon landed in Westeros, and with the help of the Golden Company, ended up King. He personally led an army of all those left and still capable of fighting. He died in battle, his army overwhelmed, and himself turned into a wight after his death.A small number of survivors were able to flee Westeros for Essos. The smartest ones fled all the way to YiTi. There they wrote books detailing all that happened, very popular books that I have read many times. Books that talk about everything that happened, and all the plots and events. They lived the rest of their lives in exile.For the first hundred years after the destruction, the Free Cities of Essos invested heavily in their armies and defenses in anticipation. But nothing happened. Some brave traders would sail near the cities of King’s Landing, Oldtown and White Harbor, and see nothing. Not a single living creature. The consensus eventually became that the people of Westeros had somehow offended the White Walkers, and that the invasion was punishment for their sins. And then fifty years ago, in my time, the White Walkers emerged once again.We know now that they had been biding their time, building their numbers, while waiting for those in Essos to become lax. After a hundred years, the unity that once existed fell apart. The Free Cities began warring with one another again. The White Walkers formed a land bridge of ice through the Stepstones and then invaded in force. This time, there were millions of wights, and not just humans but also undead beasts. The Free Cities were woefully unprepared and fell quickly.Those in YiTi knew that we would be next. Our sorcerers made studying the White Walkers a priority, using our magics to spy on them and collecting as much information as possible. Our scientists and engineers worked on building better and more powerful weapons and defenses. We learned a lot about our enemy. We learned their strengths and weaknesses, their motivations, their history, and we fought them to the best of our abilities. But it was without hope. By the time they arrived in Essos, their numbers were simply too large. Millions, likely tens of millions, they came in endless waves and our borders were overrun.Finally we come up with a plan. I come from a family of sorcerers who have long served the emperor. My family experimented with spells that could send a person across time and space. Such a spell was not easy to cast. Eventually they learned that it was possible to send one person back in time. In the end, they decided to choose me. I was not born with the gift of magic. But I was born with a love of Westeros history. I had read all the books about the events leading up to the War of Five Kings and the destruction of Westeros. I had read various books about the rise of the Targaryens. I had read the biographies and autobiographies of Tyrion, Varys, and many others who survived the cataclysm. I know you all very well, your triumphs and tribulations. Of anyone, I was the best suited to mold events so as to prevent the extinction of humanity.”And then I stopped, to let my … story … sink in.“interesting story” Littlefinger said at last. “Please tell me it again from the beginning. Try not to forget anything.”Littlefinger was a clever one. The best way to smoke out a liar is to make him repeat his story. But this time, I was one step ahead of Littlefinger. I repeated my story, making sure to include all the highlights. And once I finished, I stopped again. Both Littlefinger and Varys had listened, and both of them believed.“Very well” Lord Varys finally said. “So now what?”I smiled. “Now you let me go.”“Pardon me?” Littlefinger said with a raised eyebrow.“I have a thousand things I must do to save my people. Tasks that I must accomplish to avert the oncoming apocalypse. The two of you have made my mission challenging but there is still a window of opportunity left, and I have one plan left that could save the world.”“There is no way. There is no place for you in Westeros. You’re a wanted man from Dorne to the Wall” said Littlefinger.“Then send me to Essos. I need you to send me to Qarth with a fast ship and a bag of gold.”“Why Qarth?” asked Varys.“Daenerys Targaryen. She will be in Qarth. She can save us all from the Long Winter.”“And how exactly will a teenage girl accomplish that?” Varys asked.“She’s the Prince That Was Promised according to ancient Valyrian prophecies. As her adviser, there is much I can do to help her with her quest. I will also do what I can to encourage her to marry Aegon.”“But she’s …” started Varys“The Khal will die. Before the end of the year. By the time she arrives in Qarth, she’ll be alone, and single. But she will also have through a magic ritual hatched all three of the dragon eggs given to her by your friend. Your Prince Aegon can be one of the heads of the dragon. In my timeline, she does not arrive in Westeros until after Aegon’s defeat. She too falls and her dragons die and end up becoming part of the undead army. It is those three dragons in fact, strengthened by unholy magic who destroyed the defenses mustered by the rest of Essos. But with my help, I can guide and persuade her so that she marries Aegon, lands at the right moment, unites Westeros, and stops the Night King before it is too late.”And once again, I stop to allow my captors to think about my story.

What would Barry Goldwater think of the modern day Republican Party?

Goldwater created the modern GOP by opposing every Civil Rights law. This recruited a huge number of angry racists and drove the GOP to a generation of great electoral success. Goldwater later grew alarmed at what he’d done, but it was too late. Here’s what Dr King had to say about Goldwater in 1964:“The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right.”—Economic Segregation: The Unacknowledged Backlash against Dr King

How is political correctness a bad thing?

Political correctness is essentially using people’s good will against them to favour seeming nice over doing the right thing.I think the open borders/borders control argument is a fine example.Every study that focuses on illegal immigration finds time and time again that illegal immigration hurts our most vulnerable and low wage citizens. Sure, many show that there are gains from both legal and illegal immigration but the effect on our poorest is undeniable. The open border (in terms of not much in the way of a physical barrier and catch and release) has led to an enormous rise in profits from both drug and human trafficking at our southern border. Most of our illegal drug trade can be traced below our southern border. But for some reason, what really matters to some folks isn’t the drugs or the lower wages…it’s the fact that Mexicans are brown people and therefore we need so much extra nuance and sensetivity.What should be an issue of economics, crime and drugs becomes an issue of race and people’s opinions change. It’s very easy to be anti drugs and crime, it’s very hard to be anti brown people. If you presented the border issue to most Americans as an issue of depressed wages and drug trade, we’d have had a 30 foot high wall years ago. However many people do not present the issue in those terms. Instead they take the race of illegal immigrants and use that and use people’s compassion against them. Does anyone seriously think that if Mexicans were white that we’d have 11 million of them living illegally in the country?There are a great many examples of political correctness being used over something stupid with adverse effects.Do you remember a few years ago, a team of Europeans landed a probe on a comet as it was passing us by? One of the scientists involved happened to be wearing a shirt at the time that depicted scantily clad women…a shirt, by the way, made for him by his wife. The guy got fired after a campaign was launched online by some feminists who apparently think its worth depriving the scientific community of a great mind if it means fewer offensive shirts.Speaking of which, a clothing line I believe in Sweden was doing a photo shoot of young child models in their clothing. One boy was black. He wore a sweater that had the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle” (all sweaters were animal themed phrases). The mother, when asked later, said she had no problem at the time and that it didn’t even enter her mind that the sweater or phrase was offensive. After the story broke, the store selling it was vandalised in multiple countries, most noteably in South Africa where the store was just wrecked. Hmm…South Africa. If you had to guess, what would you say were the ethnicities of the employees of a clothing store in South Africa? I’m guessing black…almost certainly had their jobs harmed because some people are simply children.Still speaking of clothing, there was a walking dead t-shirt made that had an image of Neegan’s baseball bat with the phrase “eenie, meenie, minie, mo” (I’m not a walking dead fan but I’ve been told this is Neegan’s thing to say). Apparently, because of the history of that phrase, the t-shirt absolutely had to be pulled.So that’s 3 stories of PC culture leading to retractions, destruction of property and leading scientist being fired…over clothing that wasn’t even offensive until viewed through the lens of political correctness.Or in the U.K. where we saw what happened to the walk-on girls at Formula 1. Walk on girls just in case you don’t know are the hot cheerleader type girls who accompany the racers to the tracks…they’re mostly there to look good and bring some sexiness to the sport. Apparently this just became too much for some and had to be banned. Possibly hundreds of women out of decent jobs because we gave power to the easiest offended. I remember seeing one interview after in which a feminist was being asked about what these women were to do for work and in one of the dumbest responses I have ever seen, she said “well why can’t they be the race car drivers?” which completely ignores what a sport is. If walk on models could easily alternate between model and F1 racer, the whole sport would be completely different. Jesus, imagine being one of those possibly thousands of women fired (in the name of helping women by the way) and then being told “why don’t you become a racer?”. But I don’t wanna be a racer! Well…sorry kid but you can’t work here. But on the same topic, why don’t these women go after porn? Why is it more respectable to have sex on camera than it is to accompany a man to his car? Which do you think more creates the idea that women are objects; accompanying a man to his car or having sex on camera with a bunch of dudes?Before I’m charged with focusing on trivial issues, let’s get more serious. The German army under Angela Merkel has committed to, and I’m really not kidding here, a target of 15% disabled personnel by I think it was 2025 she set the target at. Oh. My. God. I can understand maybe a target of a certain percentage minority or woman or whatnot. But disabled? Are you kidding me? I can’t even comprehend how mad someone would have to be to look at the army and say “you know what we need? Physically or mentally disabled personnel”. That I think is the best example of political correctness I can think of. Why? Because if you challenge it, the other side will label you phobic of disabled people and not being inclusive enough. I mean what’s next? Blind snipers? Wheelchair bound infantry?And what’s worse is once committed to, any attempt to go back on it just makes you seem worse. You would think that, especially for active duty roles, the military would want to actively weed out the disabled from their ranks. When push comes to shove it’s better to charge towards the enemy, not roll towards them. Why did she make this move? So that the disabled wouldn’t be marginalised. Sorry…when I think of national defence I think of like Navy SEALs, Marines, Army, fighter jets, submarines, etc…all of which require highly skilled, highly trained and highly abled people for maximum effectiveness. Stick a person in the pilot seat of an F-16 with the wrong kind of disability and you’re looking at a dead pilot and a lost aircraft.Another example also in the military is the inclusion of women. Now, regardless of your opinion of women being in the military, we should all want real equality…by which I mean equal standards. Yet the military instead opted to lower the fitness requirements for female recruits. This is a politically correct move. It is the removal of real and meaningful equality to achieve superficial equality. I mean imagine being a woman…you join the army. Two things can happen. You can either go the route of real equality and aim for the men’s target or you can go the superficial route and use the women’s. Sorry but I don’t understand how anyone who made it in by using a lower standard can actually really believe that they deserve their place. If I made it into some elite club because they suddenly lowered their standards, I don’t think I’d ever really feel like an equal member of said club. This was done to try and give the illusion that “women are just as strong as men” by implementing rules based on the belief that women are weaker! How crazy is that? “We proved that women are just as strong as men by lowering our standards because women are too weak to meet the men’s standards!”. Wow. But again, this is one of those things where opposition to said policy is always twisted into opposition to the subject of said policy. Women in the army? I have no strong opinion either way. I don’t hate women and if a woman can outdo the men, I don’t see why we should keep her out. But that isn’t what we’re talking about here.Here’s some examples of what I mean. In the army, a man’s upper body fitness test is to be able to perform 12–20 pull ups. A woman only has to perform I believe 7 or she can only hang onto the bar for 30 seconds. In addition to this, many observers have noticed that women, in order to pass basic training and finish hikes, often require assistance from male recruits in carrying their gear (in addition to their own) or sharing their water. Again…if a woman can make it on her own, by all means let her in. If she’s just as good as or better than the men she deserves her place. But I’d rather have an all male top notch military than a mixed military that’s slower, weaker and less efficient than it could be.I remember reading a study that the top 5% of female recruits were often only on par with the bottom 5% of male recruits. Now, applying logic to this, the military should only be made up of about 5% of women (and that’s assuming that top 5% edge out the bottom 5%). Yet countries set unreasonable and irrational goals for eventual gender parity in the military. Obama said he wanted us to eventually have 50% (but he set a goal of 25% by 2020 or whatever it was). The U.K. set a goal of 15% women by 2024. Australian groups have called for a complete down the middle 50/50 split of gender in the armed forces. What this means is people in the military’s top brass are well aware of the fact that they are accepting below average female recruits simply to look good. That is political correctness.PC culture usually walks a very fine line of being things that are in themselves not really objectionable…for example, at the Oscars if someone were to say “we must stamp out racism!” that’s a politically correct statement because it comes from a perspective of racism being far more prevalent than it actually is specifically because of politically incorrect culture, but being anti racism in itself isn’t really politically correct as much as it’s just correct.You may have seen the minor controversy over the new movie First Man. The controversy is there is no scene showing the American flag being planted into the moon. Now, I’m not director but I really don’t see how you make a movie about Neil Armstrong without showing the planting of the American flag. While the director said it was because the movie was more about Armstrong the man than Armstrong the astronaut, Ryan Gosling kinda screwed up that (probably fake) explanation by saying it was because Neil Armstrong would have considered himself a “global citizen” and it was an achievement of every country. If it were an achievement of every country, there’d be nearly 200 flags on the moon. There aren’t. There’s one. The most iconic thing we left on the moon was the US flag.And now we’ve got American astronauts apologising for quoting Winston Churchill, the man who sounded the alarm about the Nazis and led Great Britain to victory against them. I’m sorry…Churchill was a complex man. He certainly held views that wouldn’t be tolerated today and rightly so…but when you can’t quote the man who led the resistance against the Nazis something has gone wrong. Gandhi was a wife beater who himself held some offensive views about some minorities. Martin Luther King was an adulterer and possible communist at a time when communism was just about America’s greatest enemy. Bill Clinton, a man credibly accused of rape who definitely had sex in the Oval Office is still revered as a great president as is JFK who was also up to no good with women. What always drives me crazy is you can’t quote Churchill but you can wear a Che Guevara t-shirt. That just doesn’t sit right with me. We can’t expect to only revere perfect men. It’s not possible (and Guevara is about as far away from perfect as you can get). Think of George Washington. Held slaves. That’s pretty bad. The man gave America it’s independence! And upon winning independence, he refused the offer of many Americans to make him king and instead pursued a nation state of laws, a balance of power and justice. Are we really supposed to just dismiss the father of our nation because he did things that at the time were legal and commonplace?I think the worst thing about political correctness is that decisions are made not based on rationality or logic or the truth, but on how loud you can scream about something. It gives so much power to such an unbelievably tiny percentage of the public who themselves are often complete lunatics who often set out to ruin people’s lives over an offensive tweet or supporting the “wrong” person for president.And political correctness only seems to go one way. Recently Hillary Clinton, when asked if her husband should have resigned following his sex scandal said “absolutely not” and justified her defence of him by saying they were both consenting adults. The more politically correct narrative is that when a power imbalance exists, especially president - intern, it is essentially rape, just as sex between a teacher and over 18 year old student is still seen as inappropriate and a fireable offence (in some cases prosecutable). But Hillary is herself a feminist icon so she can get away with saying that. Yet people seem convinced that Trump having an affair with a woman as a private citizen is cause for him to resign now. I’m not a huge fan of Trump as a person but it’s a tough sell that he’s a more sexually scandalous president than Clinton especially since not one has happened while in any sort of public office.Or with Kavanaugh. In Kavanaugh we have a man who people are calling unfit to be a judge because it has been alleged that he committed sexual assault but he denies it. Ok. Fair criticism. In Cory Booker we have a sitting senator who openly admits to having sexually assaulted women in the past. No calls to resign? Really? It isn’t even up for debate whether Booker did it, he freely admits to it…yet he’s a likely candidate for president in 2020.And now we come to Elizabeth Warren. I’m old enough to remember when Rachel Dolezal was ridiculed for claiming to be a black woman…despite being at best a very well tanned white woman. She was called insensitive and a racial opportunist and whatnot. People from both sides acknowledged that she was being ridiculous. Then we have Elizabeth Warren who clings to the fantasy that she is a Native American. At best, Elizabeth Warren is 1/512 Native American maybe (her genealogist didn’t even use Native American DNA to match her up he used South America DNA) and at worst 1/1024. If I told someone “you know, I’m African American” and they asked for proof and I gave them a report saying I’m 1/512 African American maybe, I would be laughed at. Allow me to tell you the actual way of reading that. Elizabeth Warren is 511/512 white. She is whiter than David Duke. Yet people turned it around as though she’s the victim here and she turned it around as though the Native American population are the victims…even though Cherokee Nation has harshly criticised Warren for claiming to be a Native American and basically dismissed her claim to their heritage.TL:DR Political correctness is about as Orwellian a thing as there is because it makes people police their own speech from fear of social alienation. It almost always only goes in one ideological direction and is being used to defend stupid or irrational ideas that are implemented in the real world and have real consequences often just for a politician or public figure to brag about how ‘woke’ or progressive they are. It is the use of people’s good nature to defend terrible ideas. Political correctness is poison to the idea of truth and antithetical to justice and freedom. It is inherently the promotion of untruth for the sake of preserving a political narrative rather than acknowledging reality if it damages the status quo.

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