Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 May 2012

MMQB: Brady the Constant

This week Peter profiles Raiders UDFA Wayne Dorsey, talks "concussion crisis," and looks at the constants in New England.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 14 May 2012

189 comments, Last at 24 May 2012, 10:13am by Pat (filler)


by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 12:37pm

I love the tweet about stopping Josh Hamilton.

by Independent George :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 12:51pm

I think the Minnesota stadium deal should be a template for future NFL stadium deals -- assuming the stadium's not in a state like California, where there is relatively little available in the realm of public financing. Turns out the Wilfs, who own the Vikings, will end up paying 49 percent of the stadium costs ($478 million of the $975 million bill), plus 65 percent of the annual operating costs every year for 20 years. The Minnesota governor, Mark Dayton, will announce the deal and have a signing ceremony today.

Egads, I hope not.

Take it away, Will Allen.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 12:54pm

I think people on this site tend to underestimate how much money an NFL team adds to the local economy, but this deal seems absolutely ridiculous for Minnesota. I can't imagine them ever recouping this.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:14pm

There is a fair amount of data to suggest that if an NFL teams leaves, the economic impact is greatly overstated, because the moeny just gets spent elsewhere within the local economy. I'm not saying that taxpayer subsidies are always a disaster, but at the current prices of stadiums, with the amenities that the NFL requires, the numbers just don't work well, unless the taxpayer is only picking up a pretty small slice of the total costs.

by Independent George :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:33pm

Maybe I'm expecting too much out of the sports media in general, and PK in particular, but you would think he could at least acknowledge the opposing view on the stadium deal. This is one of those points where entertainment reporting crosses into business and politics/government. He has a right to his opinion, but simply editorializing in favor of the deal without addressing any of the underlying issues strikes me as bad journalism.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:54pm

PK knows where his bread is buttered. He isn't going to bite the hand that feeds him. I wish it made him a particularly bad journalist, but honestly they all do it. Such a pompous and self-righteous profession of people considering most of them might as well work at Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price.

The Star Tribune could hardly pull out the pom-poms fast enough when this topic came up. Sports is a big profit center for them.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:07pm

The Twin Cities sportswriters have been pathetically bad when writing on the issue.

by Independent George :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:49pm

But where are the business writers? Where's the metro desk?

A stadium deal is 20% a sports story, and 80% a business/government story. If the sports writers can't/won't cover it, surely somebody would?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:57pm

Pretty much silent. The StarTribune still owns significant real estate in the neighborhood where the new stadium is being built, so I doubt the publisher wanted his editor in chief to assign anyone to doing cold eyed analysis. The Pioneer Press never did such analysis either, for whatever reason. Probably because Vikings stories drive ciculation, which was true for StarTribune as well, no doubt.

by DoubleB4 (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:21pm

Let's remember that these folks are probably fans of the Vikings as well. They don't want them to leave for personal reasons.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:35pm

There have been a few studies over the past several years all suggesting that the impact of pro sports teams is overstated in terms of the local economy. Lots of factors come into play, but a big part is that pro sports teams simply don't directly employ all that many people full-time in terms of a metro region--it's probably under 200. There's lots of stadium workers, etc., but those are seasonal jobs that don't tend to pay much. Restaurants and bars always get trotted out as success stories, but, again, it's hard to stay in business if you only draw people for one season. Lots of times it tends to be just a chunk of their business, and sports bars can thrive even if there isn't a local team.

I liken it somewhat to how companies buying stadium naming rights don't always prosper. It's not that there's no advantages to the company having their name on the stadium (or the city having a team) it's just that it can be incredibly expensive to do so which means it's darn hard to come out ahead. Look at how much tourism advertising and business recruitment Minneapolis could do if they had those several hundred million dollars that will be spent on the stadium, for example.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 9:02pm

I'm not saying others don't overstate it, I just think it's understated here.

I could an NFL team easily being worth 200 million to a state over 10 years. Now that's about half what the Vikings are getting, but it's more than 0 which seems to be what a lot of people around here seem to think should happen.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:34am

I wonder what the route of the difference in practices between Britain and America on this front is (stadium subsidies seem like a completely alien concept here, and indeed teams are likely to be required to contribute serious money to infrastructure projects if their stadium plans demand them). Is it about the relative impossibility of teams moving a long way here? The fact that local government doesn't raise a very large proportion of its revenue, or have much flexibility in how it raises the part it does?

Let's allow that Blackburn Rovers aren't going to move to Nottingham, under any circumstances. Nearby London boroughs could clearly compete on this basis. If we assume that there really is a benefit to having a team on your turf (and it seems pretty clear to me you're right about this), why aren't Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Kensington and Chelsea competing to host the new Chelsea stadium? Why didn't Camden offer Arsenal cash towards building the Emirates on their turf rather than in Islington? I'd never really thought about this before. Hmm.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:01am

Yeah, I'd say it is the inability of a monopoly cartel to play nonnational governments with significant taxing power against each other. Does Britain have local governments with the sort of ability to tax and borrow, independent of national government? Certainly there is nothing similar to a state's ability to do so, is there?

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:14am

No, not really. They set the rate of domestic property taxes, and spend those themselves, but that's it.

I hadn't realized until just now that, although councils are responsible for collecting business rates (business property taxes) they don't get to keep them. They're pooled centrally and then reallocated to councils. Yes, this sort of thing is pretty typical of British governmental structures. No, it doesn't make sense to me either. But that's pretty much the kibosh: local government has no incentive whatsoever to encourage the development of successful businesses in its own area. It benefits from high house prices, and that's it. We have an answer.

by Jerry :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:23pm

I think the bottom-up nature of English football has a lot to do with it. When Wimbledon FC packed up and moved, Wimbledon fans could go and start another club that's making its way up the ranks. In the unlikely event that Arsenal had left North London because nobody would build them a stadium, there would be plenty of people willing to start another team in the area rather than transfer their allegiance to Spurs. There are people in Los Angeles with the wherewithal and desire to put an NFL team there, but they would have to get approvals from the league; they can't just announce they're starting a football team with the intention of joining the NFL.

by CraigoMc (not verified) :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 9:09am

Yes, it's entirely realistic that Arsenal, a Premier League power, would be in any way replaced by a bunch of scrappy North London locals.

They'd both be football clubs, in the same way that William Faulkner and starryeyes93 on fanfiction.net are both writers.

by Jerry :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 6:53pm

Arsenal wasn't going to leave the neighborhood (which already has another Premier League team), either. My point is that if Arsenal had gone to local governments and said they were leaving if taxpayers didn't build them a stadium, they'd have been told not to let the door hit them on the way out.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 7:48pm

Why does it have to be a bunch of Scrappy North London locals instead of , for example, Paul Allen deciding he'd like to try that other game called football and paying huge sums of money to build a team?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 8:39pm

The one time something approximating this happened with a former Premier League club was about ten years ago. The Scrappy South London locals now play only one tier below the one now occupied by the club that moved, and average roughly half as many fans at each game (4000 vs. 8000).

by dbostedo :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:01am

I'd guess it's a matter of scale in terms of what the term "your turf" means. The way US teams are setup, and the way the effect is talked about, Wandsworth, Hammersmith, Kensington, and Chelsea are all the same turf. I.e., they are close enough together that all feel the benefit (if it exists) of having a local team. They are all the same "market". Entire regions compete for teams in the US - at least at the city, and often at the state level. These are distinct markets in that money doesn't follow the team.

There may be some localized competition based on land development rights and what that can do to land prices/retail rents, etc. in the area right around the stadium, but that's secondary to the particular market the team exists in.

Of course, there are differences in the EPL in that you have many major teams packed closer together, and more than 1 per market in most of the larger cities - and a lot more in London. The US really only has more than one in a few of the largest cities, and most teams stand alone.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:16am

There is that, but you might think the urban regeneration effect would be worth something (national government is subsidizing the hell out of the Olympics on that basis). I think it's more about the lack of local authority fund-raising powers - see above.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:30am

It isn't whether or not there is an impact. Spending 500 million to subsidize ANYTHING will give you a big impact. Hell 500 million of hole digging and filling in will have a big impact. It is about the impact versus the costs.

I highly highly doubt the Vikings are "worth" 200,000 million to the state, and so what if they are anyway? If we had to reimburse every single activity that was of benefit to the state to a value matching or exceeding that benefit we would have no money to actually you know run the government.

I personally am worth maybe 10,000-20,000/year to the state, should the state subsidize me to that amount? I can move a hell of a lot more easily than the Vikings can.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 11:32am

Ah, but you don't understand; what counts is your ability to give a politician a high paying job a few years from now. I gotta hand it to the Twins. They figured out a decade ago that greasing a county board is much easier and less complicated than a state legislature, and that Hennepin County had enough economic activity to siphon off a half billion. So they bypassed the state, in terms of asking for money, went right to the county, and found enough board members who were willing to get out of elected politics, if there was a nice package waiting for them. I'd be shocked if a leader of the state legislature who carried water for this doesn't end up getting a decent gig, from somebody who supported the handout, that allows the legislator to no longer face voters.

by Sophandros :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:32am

Many people DO rely on those part time and seasonal jobs to make ends meet, though. I'm not aware of any studies on this, but I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the claim.

That said, I'm still opposed to having the public responsible for the majority of stadium building costs.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:31am

No one is relying on a job that lasts for a total of 16 days a year at most. On top of that all those jobs already exist at the Metrodome. There are very few new jobs here, in fact with most modern buildings you need fewer staff so there may even be fewer jobs.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:09pm

I love (not) the way the Wilf brothers were able to make a 50 million dollar "concession" as the bill made it's way through the state senate, boosting their share of the costs to all of 49%. The politicians, of course, now yammer about how they were such tough negotiaters with the Vikings. Gosh, if I were prone to skepticism, I might just think the whole thing was orchestrated! Watch a Senate or House leader or two retire from politics before 2014, and, coincidentally, get a Wilf-related job for a couple hundred k a year. Nah.......that'll never happen!

If the Wilfs had decided to build their own open air facility for 750 million, and the city of Minneapolis had decided to toss in 200 million to put a roof on it, so as to attract a Super Bowl, some Final Fours, and to have a venue in the winter that could seat 70,000, when that rare need arose, I still wouldn't have liked it, but it wouldn't be the blatant handout that this atrocity is.

by Subrata Sircar :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:10pm

I think the only stadium deal I've seen work out for the city was Pac Bell Park in San Francisco. The team built the stadium (~95% of the construction costs) in an area of San Francisco that was decrepit in exchange for tax breaks, cheap leases on the land and the city's muscle in clearing the regulatory labyrinth on any construction project. The result is a really great place to see a game, in an area of SF that is now worth visiting for various businesses aside from the park. It's even reasonable to take mass transit - CalTrain has a station about two blocks from the park, and there's an express heading back down the Penninsula 20 minutes after the game ends.

Contrasting that with the latest NFL-mugs-city project for the Niners ... ugh. The city is borrowing $850M and that won't even cover the entire construction cost.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:27pm

San Jose is putting 850 million into it!!!!????? Good grief.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:39pm

IIRC not even San Jose, Santa Clara, which is only 110,000 or so (granted a pretty well off 110,000).

Basically the team is setting up a stadium authority who will issue the debt, but the stadium authority is backed up by the taxpayers in the city not by the team. So if the revenues are less than expected it is the taxpayers who are on the hook.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:44pm

If Moody's rates that debt higher than junk, my estimation of that outfit will sink lower, which I did not think possible.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:59pm

Don't worry they'll just split up the bond and package with other types of loans to lower the risk. I hear mortgages are a really sound investment.

by Independent George :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:01pm

Moody's rates California as A1, my own state of Illinois as A2, which should tell you all you need to know about the ratings agencies.

It goes beyond state/muni debt. The 10 Trillion dollar question is whether the debt gets nationalized when it they eventually default.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:42pm

Oh, I'm waiting for that shoe to drop. The only suspense lies in how the lying bastards we elect try to relabel that big steaming pile of feces.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:05am

It'll be the banks' fault, of course. They tricked us. We couldn't help it.

Or they could borrow from the Simpsons: "They let me sign checks with a stamp, Marge! A stamp!"

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:44pm

Man, that's scary stuff on the horizon. California is a disaster and I see no way they can avoid bankruptcy. And once one state does it, it'll be next to impossible to turn the next one down. Nobody is going to want to nationalize a state's debts...but letting a state default would have horrific consequences for everybody. Nobody is going to win.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:02am

We're approaching prime directive territory here, but the way I see it, it's going to be impossible to bail out the states. Nobody has that much reserve capital to do it, not even the Chinese (and I doubt they'd be interested even if they did). The only solution at that point is to print money, which is arguably worse than the deflationary crunch that would follow a default.

I'm still betting Illinois defaults before California. Our finances are in worse shape - California only gets more press because they're larger.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:18pm

A) The "Vikings" are only covering 50% of the construction costs, not the overall costs. Half of that "Vikings" money is coming from naming rights to the stadium (which you would think the state and city should get a piece of since they are paying for it) and another $200 million is coming as a grant form the NFL (it is a supposedly a "loan" but they can "pay it back" with revenue sharing funds they will already be paying the league.

So really of his own personal money Wilf is putting up ~$50,000,000 almost all of which he will immediately recoup in suite and PSL sales. Meanwhile the state doesn't get any revenues from the stadium to offset its construction costs other than some minor increase in taxes (the change in economic activity from the Metrodome does not anywhere near justify a $500 million subsidy).

B) As for operations I believe the Vikings are putting in $13 million a year, and get all Vikings game-day revenue, with the city left to operate and wring a profit out of the stadium the other 350 days are year it is not needed by the team.

C) He also got exclusive rights to operate a soccer team in the stadium and a few other goodies thrown in for good measure, plus a bunch of random pork projects to secure votes from key legislators.

The bill is frankly an example of everything that is broken with our political system. Public sentiment was wildly against doing something like this, but a few hundred thousand spent on lobbying, the support of the unions for the 7,500 short term jobs they will see, one sided coverage from the local press (which has a deep vested interest in having a football team here), and some targeted campaign donations made sure no one really looked at the math.

Why worry about the details when it is only other people's money.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:32pm

There's always the ammo-box solution, I suppose. It helps that Wilf even looks like Snidely Whiplash.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:02pm

Don't the Vikings and any other users of the stadium have to pay the owners of the stadium a fee for that usage?

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:25pm

The Vikings have to pay a percentage of operating costs of the stadium. That's it. While they receive 100% of the revenues from the naming rights to the building.

(edit) It should be reiterated that the Wilfs will no doubt be seeling PSLs in their new building. If the economy rebounds a little by 2015, 50,000 PSLs at an average of 5k is not a crazy overestimate in the least, and may be a crazy underestimate. That's 250 million recouped right there.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:30pm

Plus since the team doesn't own it it is not on the tax rolls! It is a win-win for the Vikings. All the virtues of facility ownership (you get to decide and design everything and keep all the revenues) and none of the pesky costs (like constructions costs, or rent, or property taxes).

by Theo :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:57pm

In the end China is paying for it.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:14pm

Is a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health study of 3,439 players anecdotal? Wouldn't anecdotal evidence be drawing conclusions from one player? I'll put it another way, does Peter King need an editor, or at least one who owns a dictionary?

I was a little annoyed that he brought up the English Premiership title fight, it's hard enough to avoid that stuff over here. What I did find odd was that he used the phrase 'sticky wicket' in the next item. I would be amazed if many americans could identify where the term comes from and even more astonished if Peter King knew it's origin.

by are-tee :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:25pm

King is not saying the NOSHA study is anecdotal. He's saying that you should look at studies like this as opposed to drawing conclusions from anecdotal evidence, e.g. the recent suicides of several former players.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:39pm

You are quite right, my screw up. Maybe I should learn to read. (donning sack-cloth and ashes)

by Bill Walsh's Holy Ghost (not verified) :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 4:03am

NIOSH is part of the CDC. OSHA is part of Dept of Labor. I have never heard of "NOSHA".

by verifiable (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:10pm

From cricket. The bails stayed on the stumps because it was a sticky wicket

by rfh1001 :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:12pm

Nice try.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:16pm

Propinquitous but I withhold the rolled tobacco product.

by Drunkmonkey :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:12pm

Is it from Cricket? I didn't look it up, but when I read that, I assumed it was Cricket. Sorry for the American ignorance in advance, but I pretty much only follow football.

by rfh1001 :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:08pm

Because the ball bounces before it reaches a cricket batsman, the condition of the wicket has a huge effect on how easy or hard it is bat. Even if the wicket is predictable, it can be bounce either high or low, fast or slow. Nowadays, wickets are covered, which keeps them in a more consistent condition. But as late as the seventies, they weren't covered, and so a wicket might get wet, and then, as it dried, become 'sticky'. On a sticky wicket, the ball would spin miles, and bounce unpredictably, which dramatically advantaged whichever team was bowling at the time.

Periodically I try to do describe some small and simple part of cricket on a forum. It never goes that well.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:13pm

I'd just add that the wicket tended to dry out unevenly so two deliveries landing six inches apart will behave in completely different ways. Bits would be sticky and some would be dry. It becomes very difficult to avoid getting out and scoring becomes even harder.

In all it's a way of suggesting that you are facing very difficult circumstances that you will have to navigate through. PK used it correctly, I'm just surprised to see a relatively obscure piece of cricket vernacular in an american football column.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:04pm

I think it is something in general usage among educated Americans due to English literature. I am just surprised PK falls into the aforementioned class.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:30pm

Other common cricket phrases that I've heard american use are getting 'on the front foot', with it's opposite, 'on the back foot' and 'playing straight'. There are probably some more. (We used to have an empire you know.)

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 9:03pm

I thought playing straight was from theater.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 11:50pm

A bowled ball doesn't bounce off the wicket. If it did the bail would fall and the batsman would be out anyway.

by David :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 3:24am

Ah, sorry 'bout this - there are two meanings of 'wicket' when talking about cricket. You're describing the arrangement of wooden sticks - stumps (the vertical bits) and bails (the horizontal bits) - but the term also refers to the important bit of the playing area, 22 yards long, very short grass, arrangements of wood at either end, which is what the other poster was referring to.

Cricket - it's great!

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:10am

Three - there's also the use to mean what in baseball would I believe be called an "out" (obviously derived from the sticks).

He lost his wicket when the ball reared off the sticky wicket and while struggling to avoid treading on his wicket and getting out hit wicket, he fended a dolly to the fielder at mid-wicket.

Of course, wicket doesn't even come close to the in/out shenanigans, as per the famous account:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that‘s in the side that‘s in goes out, and when he‘s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he‘s out. When they are all out, the side that‘s out comes in and the side that‘s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 12:58am

I'm familiar with the usage of wicket for a batsman's participation in the innings. It's hard to say what the baseball equivalent for that is considering the different ways the games are played. I'd be tempted to call the closest equivalent in baseball an "at-bat" since that is a single player's role in the offense like a wicket is, bu a wicket for the team lasts until an out like an out in baseball does.

On the other hand I've always called and heard called that portion of the playing area mentioned above the "pitch" not the "wicket." Are you sure that's right? Hmmm, a thought. I'm American and I've played cricket with a predominantly Indian group with assorted Americans and Australians in the mix, but no Britons. Perhaps a regional difference in terminology?

by rfh1001 :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 4:11am

First up: pitch and wicket, for the 22 yard long strip of ground chosen for the day's play, are used interchangeably wherever I've played. It is also called a strip.

As for wickets and outs:

1. The parallels are inexact but, more or less, I'd say the closest translation of 'at-bat' is 'innings'.

2. To get out ahead of your possibly correcting me on this: 'innings' can mean the [inexact parallel] 'at-bat' of a single batter as well meaning as the innings of a whole team. In my team's innings there are many innings', etc.

3. The innings of a team (leaving aside limits on time and balls bowled) lasts as long as it takes the opposition to take ten wickets. These 'wickets' therefore, inexactly parallel 'outs'.

I am on Saturday taking an American actress to Lord's. My plan is just to get her drunk.

by Tri Shanku (not verified) :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 8:45am

No, it's not -- there is very little regional difference in Cricket terminology, at least between England and South Asia. I am not sure about Australia or Windies or African countries, but I'd guess that's unlikely.

Caveat: I never played Cricket with professionals.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:27pm

"I don't think it was a bad decision at all. I thought it was a good decision and a good matchup -- the athletic Gronkowski on the not-so-athletic Blackburn."

This would be the sprained-ankle Gronkowski who was gimping around the field about as athletically as Peter King, right?

by are-tee :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:44pm

Although I heard Gronk danced pretty well that night...

by RC (not verified) :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 1:08pm

Gronkowski beat Blackburn though, and badly. The ball was just terribly underthrown.

by bubqr :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:28pm

"The constant": Best episode of Lost ever ?

Lost: Biggest scam ever ?

You have 20 minutes.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:31pm

I gave up on Lost about half way through the 3rd season, when it became clear the writers had no idea where they were going and tried to hide it by adding more mysteries.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:35pm

Exactly, tremendous idea, poorly executed.

That show could have been so much more interesting, and instead it turned into "jumbled cliffhanger of the week".

by drobviousso :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 2:49pm


by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 10:33pm

Lost sucked. If on island like thay would make the people find all thr beer anf then would gobsteal it when all sleeping and go to owb private secrion of island. Then stay there with all the beer until rescued. Why woukd allbthose people syay around all the whiney people? So what if polar beats are running around. That isvwhat guns and fire are for. As long as you have
firearms, ammo, beer and fire yoy will do fine. If polar bear attack you have stuff to make it go away.

If do want a compabion could take one of thr females.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 10:36pm

Sorry doubler.

Will add thst by females meamt human females not polar bears.

by tuluse :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 1:01am

These two posts are sublime.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:17pm

Thanks for clarifying, joe.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:14am

Sounds like Doctor Who Season 6. There I was thinking "Wow, how's Moffat going to tie all these incredibly complex plot strands together? This is going to be fascinating."

Then Let's Kill Hitler happened and I was like "Oh. Oh, I see. Bugger."

by tuluse :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:36am

Spoiler warning for those who care.

It's worse. Imagine if they simply never revisited how he dies, ever. That's Lost.

Actually, Lost would be that he was dead all along and new Who has been his purgatory.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:58am

Sounds almost inspired, along the lines of my favourite ever suggestion for what's really going on in Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire - namely that Bran's actually a paralysed boy in late 20th/early 21st Century America and it's all in his head.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 5:05pm

If that were true, then that is one sick and twisted little kid.

by tuluse :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 5:14pm

It's a total cop out, and it means the writers can brush off any inconsistencies or unexplained phenomena with "god did it" or "it was just in their heads." It's lazy and it sucks.

I also hate that idea for A Song of Ice and Fire.

So yeah, a shape-shifting robot is much preferable to me.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 6:07pm

I wouldn't worry overmuch - I think it's roughly on a par with "It's actually set on Earth long after an apocalypse and the Others are Terminators" in terms of probability of being true, and considerably less likely than such relatively out there theories as "the Sailor's Wife is really Tysha".

by tuluse :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 7:05pm

I'm not worried about. I'm pretty sure it's just a fantasy land like Middle Earth, and I'm content with that.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 6:29am

Yeah. I did spend a bit of time trying to work out if there was some business with weird orbits or Long Period Variable stars that would do the lifting on the weather front, but no, it's just good ol' elemental magic.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:06pm

My current GoT theory is that Lyanna and Rhaegar had at least one child and that's the basis of Ned's promise to her on her 'bed of blood'.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:50pm

Yeah, there's actually quite a lot of circumstantial evidence supporting that theory.

(An absurd amount of spoilers are in that link, for those who are only watching the show)

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 12:19am

I feel like Ned would have confided in Cat if Jon wasn't his.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 6:25am


Nah - he swore an oath, and honour before reason and all that. Jon's Lyanna and Rhaegar's kid. Blue rose on the wall, heads of the dragon have to be Targaryens, what was half the Kingsguard doing down there instead of being at King's Landing or the Trident, etc. etc. But most of all, what the hell was the point of including all the Lyanna-Rhaegar stuff if it wasn't setting up a major plot point?

If Ned has a live bastard it's Edric Dayne.

Can we at least agree that Aegon's fake as all hell (even if he and Connington don't know it)?

I also have a fair amount of sympathy for the "Tyrion is Aerys' bastard" theory, but I accept that's highly controversial and may very well be wrong.

by Tim R :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 7:02am

A lot of the Stark bastard stuff depends on the time line of Robert's rebellion which I find all a bit sketchy. How long before it was the tourney at Harenhal? How long did the rebellion last for? For there to be a Stark/Dayne bastard it would have had to be conceived at Harrenhal which would make it older than Robb where as Edric Dayne is younger isn't he? And I don't buy Ashara Dayne waiting 9 months after Stark kills Arthur Dayne/takes Jon to kill herself.

Im increasingly of the opinon that Stark doesn't have a bastard, if he does I think its most likely to be some random on the Sisters from the fishermen's daughter who rescues him when he flees the Vale, thought he was going to die and wasn't married yet. But as theres no mention of this theoretical bastard other than the unlikely one that its Jon Snow it seems unlikely.

Is Jon actually Snow's name? It would seem a bit weird for Rhaegar/Lyanna to name their kid after Jon Arryn.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 8:51am

Rhaegar didn't name him - he was dead. Lyanna may or may not have lived long enough to pass on an opinion on the subject to Ned.

Ned doesn't have a bastard at all is an entirely tenable position on the subject, but I think the Edric Dayne theory hinges on the trigger being something other than (and subsequent to) the death of Arthur - possibly the stillbirth of a twin, or some definitive indication of abandonment by Ned.

by Tim R :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 9:11am

What so Ned hangs around for 9 months then leaves leading to her jumping off the walls after giving birth? Not sure I buy it. But again a lot depends on the amount of time things round then took which I don't think GRRM ever goes into.

Do we think Ned takes Jon with him to Starfall then leading to the whole Wylla milk brother thing?

He really needs to finish his companion book and have a nice fat timeline in it. Would make it a hell of a lot easier to place events and lend evidence/disprove various theories.

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 9:45am

He really needs to finish his companion book and have a nice fat timeline in it. Would make it a hell of a lot easier to place events and lend evidence/disprove various theories.

I think that's a good reason not to complete the companion book. The novels should stand on their own; all of the evidence for/against these theories should come directly from them. I think it's cheating if you need a sourcebook, and at this point, the ambiguity is meant for dramatic purposes. That's why we call them spoilers.

I've seen some crazy theories online; I think most of them are crap.

[SPOILER WARNING] R+L=J, The Gravedigger, the Frey Pies, and Alleras [END SPOILER] are the only ones I'm really confident in, and all are supported by the text without a sourcebook.

by Tim R :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 10:46am

Yeah I take your point, but I'd quite like a bit more hisotrical reference material for things that don't affect the story or dramatic tension but give you a better impression of the world. Even just a nice concise place where events that you're shown in the books are laid out chronologically and proper family trees just from whats in the books would be nice, to save having to go through the all the books to find one paragraph. Maybe i'll just rereread them and keep notes.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 12:13pm

I hadn't seen any of these theories but I agree with the ones you have picked out, they all seem to hold up. I certainly hadn't made the Alleras connection.

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:00pm

I never picked up on either Alleras or the Gravedigger, either. I was so proud of myself for R+L=J, until I looked online and discovered that people have been debating it since the first book was published.

The one I'm most embarrassed for missing was Renly & Loras. I never even thought of it until the show made it unambiguous.

You know, it's funny - I spend quite a lot of time lurking on the NFL discussion thread on the Westeros forums; I never thought we'd be bringing ASOIAF over to here. This seems almost as unlikely a crossover as the Top Chef/FO crossover discussions over at Skillet Doux. Heck, I broke the ASOIAF/Top Chef wall last season when they had the Fire & Ice challenge.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:06pm

"The one I'm most embarrassed for missing was Renly & Loras. I never even thought of it until the show made it unambiguous."

I think you must have missed a chapter. I don't remember it being unambiguous in the books either.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:28pm

It's not unambiguous in the books, by any means, but I think it's there. It's closer to being explicit than Dumbledore, put it that way.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:32pm

I wrote that wrong, I said I don't remember it being ambiguous.

At least I picked up on it quickly.

A lot of these other things flew completely over my head on the other hand.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 10:13pm

Yeah that I picked up on in 5 minutes, some of the other things you mentioned never occured to me (though R+L=J did.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 3:10pm


Does that mean you don't believe Jaqen=the alchemist="Pate" or that you don't consider that a theory because it's so clear-cut? Likewise FrankenGregor=Ser Robert Strong?

I agree that I'm confident in all of those. Frankly, I hope I'm wrong about as much as possible, because the degree to which I've found myself able to second-guess Martin in the more recent books has made me enjoy them less.

But, for the record:

Jon is technically dead but will be back after a few chapters inside Ghost's head
Sansa will kill Littlefinger at Winterfell
Arya will either kill or pointedly not kill Varys, who is a (possibly rogue) Faceless Man
Randyll Tarly will Bolton the Tyrells and is the one remaining major human villain we haven't really encountered yet
Sam has the Horn of Winter (found by Jon in the cache at the Fist of the First Men) and the fat doofus will probably bring the Wall down by mistake, because if not him, who?
Roose Bolton was killed or at the very least incapacitated in the battle with Stannis at Winterfell
Tyrion, whose biological father is Aerys, will betray Dany for love (Tysha)
Jaime will kill Cersei (love the Robert Strong zombie hand theory, but it's not happening) and die shortly afterwards
I have no freakin' idea what Darkstar's deal is. That could go anywhere.

On a more general note, the inescapable conclusion from the Dunk and Egg stories is that there must be Targaryens freakin' everywhere if you count the descendants of all the bastards Aegon IV spawned and legitimized. How far Martin's thought this through, I don't know.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 3:48pm

I see Sansa somehow restoring Winterfell and becoming the queen in the north/protectress of the north/something like this. I'm not sure she'll kill Littlefinger or be the cause of his death, but I don't think it really matters.

Could you be more clear about how Tyrion would betray Dany for Tysha? I don't see how they're connected.

I could see Jamie killing Cersei, but I could just as easily see him dying before he has the chance.

I don't see Sam bringing the wall down. I could see Melisandre doing so. I have no idea what her game is. I do think she's wrong about Stannis if she even actually believes what she says.

If Varys is a faceless man, why does he care about Westeros so much?

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 4:21pm

Sansa killing Littlefinger is a prophecy/dream thing, but it makes narrative sense.

Tyrion is my bet for third head of the dragon (hence being in a position to betray Dany). The mechanism's unclear, because we don't know where or who Tysha is, but a speculation I've heard which I wouldn't reject out of hand is that she is the Sailor's Wife (lost husband from when she was very young with whom she is still somewhat obsessed, blonde daughter about the right age called Lanna). If Braavos is a price Dany has to pay to achieve some larger goal (to Illyrio and Varys, for transport to Westeros and/or the unmasking of Aegon, perhaps?) we start to get the outline of a possible mechanism. Really, though, it's more that someone's got to betray Dany for love and I'm buying Tyrion.

I think true prophecies are always fulfilled - except perhaps in certain highly specific circumstances. That means Cersei's meeting her end at the hands of one of her brothers, and the fact that she thinks it's Tyrion makes me certain it's Jaime.

I think Melisandre absolutely believes (or at any rate for some time believed) what she says about Stannis and is/was 100% wrong - Jon is Azor Ahai come again.

I'm half-joking about Sam bringing down the wall. He's kind of a self-insert, and Martin probably wouldn't do that to himself. I do think his horn is the real deal.

I don't even want to begin to guess at Varys' inmost motivations. He's a Faceless Man because he exhibits the skills of one. That his actions don't appear to mesh with their philosophy as we understand it suggests he may have gone rogue. Then again, Jaqen's up to some pretty far-out shit in Oldtown (not to mention whatever got him busted in the first place) so it's possible they have some larger agenda we're currently in the dark about.

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 5:02pm

FFC was definitely my least favorite, followed by DWD. I just felt like GRRM needed an editor to cut down each volume by around 30%. Did we need all of those separate POV chapters? Did we need to spend that much time with the Greyjoys? Or the Martells? Don't get me started on DimBulb. There was some great writing in both books, but the whole mess just kind of collapsed underneath its own weight.

Both volumes together are basically an intermission, and intermissions shouldn't be two volumes of 1,000 pages each.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 5:20pm

I have no problem with GRRM writing as much as he wants, and I don't really care if the plot meanders. Other than my complaint about the 10 million Cersei chapters, I've enjoyed every word of these books. The longer the better I say.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 8:29pm

I don't mind the Cersei stuff, because I'm fairly interested in what's going on in them and she's entertainly whacko. Sansa's not quite as insufferable as she was, but she's still a bit too annoying for Littlefinger's awesomeness to fully compensate. Brienne is unbelievably tedious, because she's a dullard herself and everything she's doing is completely pointless and has no bearing on any part of the plot.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 1:33am

Big time spoiler alert

Well I assume that the Brienne -> Zombie Cat is going to lead to something. For a while it was interesting to get a different view point from a woman who tried to be a knight. I'm personally sympathetic to women trying to do traditional men's jobs so that made me inclined to like Brienne (and partially explains why I'm deeply in love with Peggy Olsen on Mad Men).

Cersei was simply too unsympathetic for me to be interested it. And her downfall was so predictable there wasn't much tension either. It did happen sooner than I expected, I figured Martin would carry on with that for at least another 1/2 book.

For reasons I can't explain I have a soft spot for Sansa. Maybe I feel she's paid enough for her crimes, and I liked her family so much that I'm just hoping she extracts some vengeance for them.

For another prediction, I think it's possible GRRM is setting up a "women take over westeros" ending. With Sansa leading the north, Dany returning, and something happening with all the women in Dorne. Also, Marcella is around and Margaery. So women are in position to take over all the major houses other than the Baratheons. Almost forgot about Asha, not sure how this effects my idea. She still could, but has failed once already.

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 7:47am

Well if you believe Ramsay Snow's letter then Stannis is dead and his daughter is Lady Baratheon.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 9:15am

This has got to be one of the longest off-topic diversions we've had on a PK Extra Points discussion thread. I'm surprised we don't see more GRRM-inspired Loser League team names. I think I'm going with 'Tormund's Member' next season.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:12am

Beats the hell out of talking about Kingy, right?

Travis IV Targhenryen
As High As Janoris
We Do Not Suh
Daenerys Targaryen's Liberal Interventionism
A Nice Bowl Of Browns
Shea McClellin's Golden Hands

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:16am

Oh Man... We Do Not Suh is friggin' brilliant.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 5:57am

Arguably Queen Shireen, right?

But she's dead as all hell anyway, so why worry?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:24am

I don't hate Sansa for ratting out her old man. She was 13/14, in love, in a huff, he killed her dog, whatever. Understandable. I hate her for being such a tedious, lame, insipid, whiny little bitch. It may be partly Sophie Turner's fault - that is a face/voice combination that makes you want to put it through a meat grinder - but my loathing was firmly in place before they even left Winterfell.

Agreed that women are apt to end up with a lot more power than they had at the start of the series. So long as it's Arya, Asha, Osha, Margaery, Margaery's gran, Arianne, the Sand Snakes, Val, Melisandre, even Myrcella, that's fine. Sansa, on the other hand, I want nuked from orbit. Brienne I feel no particular malice towards - I just wish she'd go away, because she's dull. Every time one of her chapters comes round, it's just more crap I have to wade through to get to someone worthwhile. If she wasn't a perspective character, she'd be fine.

Cersei's "downfall"'s going to prove pretty temporary, though, right? Ser Bobby S. is going to bail her out of that one, and she'll still be in charge of the Lannister faction in the struggle against the Tyrells/Tarlys and the Martells over the next book or two. I mean, she's dead as the dodo in the end, but she has some deranged power-tripping still to come.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:54am

I think Sophie Turner is actually fantastic casting. You're supposed to want to punch Sansa in the face. Like I said, I can't explain my soft spot for her.

As for Cersei, remember what Varys said. Power is where people think the power is. Cersei has lost the common people, and her family is basically opening ignoring her. I like her uncle takes over the Lannisters at least for a time.

I don't see any way that Arya ends up as the head of the Starks. She's in too deep with foreigners, and learning a whole new way of life. If the Starks are restored (which I think they will be), it's going to be Sansa or Rickon.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 5:40am

I was assuming you'd read DWD, but if not SPOOOIIILEERS!

Um. Kevan's dead, dude. Varys shot him. The common people of King's Landing may no longer respect Cersei, but it's hard to see who else has control of House Lannister's money and troops at this point, and FrankenGregor is a seriously powerful piece when it comes to manipulating individuals at court.

Absolutely Arya won't end up as head of the Starks - and I think Sansa might end up at the top of another house via marriage. I agree that the Starks have to be restored in some way, shape or form, but I wouldn't entirely rule out the Heir to the North theory (ie. that a fast one has in some way, shape or form been pulled with regards to Jeyne Westerling/Stark's supposed abortion). I can't quite buy Rickon. He's too much of a little shit. I think on balance the order of probabilities is 1. Bran, 2. Sansa, 3. Jon, 4. Rickon, 5. Son-of-Robb, 6. Arya.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 7:40am

I never believed that Jeyne Westerling drank the moonwine and tansy. There's a little wolf there for sure, especially if you consider that the TV show is setting her up as a medical type. Rickon's a little wild as a result of all his family going away, he wasn't so brattish in the flight from winterfell.

by Tim R :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 9:44am

Thats one of the bits the annoying me about series 2. Not sure whats gained by changing Jeyne into a random medic from Volantis, unless they adding Jeyne in later and the Volantene really is just a radom

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 10:48am

I thought she was just lying to him so that he didn't know her family are Lannister Bannermen. I'd expect this to become clear in the next episode or two.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 10:57am

Yeah, it's a fail. It makes Robb look far more of a douchebag and idiot, for starters. I guess they just didn't want to have to deal with the convolution entailed by Westerling-Lannister political intrigues.

by Tim R :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 12:50pm

Yeah. The change I am enjoying though is speeding up the Arya stuff so she serves Tywin not Bolton, mostly because both Tywin and Arya are awesome characters, but mostly because Charles Dance is brilliant and anything that gives him more air time works for me.

by tuluse :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 10:02am

I forgot Kevan died somehow.

by Tim R :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 12:46pm

I did exactly the same. Just finished rereading them and when I got to the DoD epilogue I was like huh I don't remember this at all

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 4:18am

Brienne is kind of tedious but I don't find her particularly annoying. Cersei is a mental bitch but as its all building to her failing I don't really mind her chapters. Dani is definitely the one that annoys me most.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:46am

She's only annoying in virtue of not being someone more interesting. But man, is she ever tedious.

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:50am

Yeah there wasn't a whole lot of point to her journey to Crackclaw Point

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 8:32pm

DimBulb is Brienne, or Cersei? Or am I overlooking someone even dumber? Is Emmitt Smith in Westeros?

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 9:40pm


by Mr Shush :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 9:50am

D'oh. Yes. Menace.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 5:11pm


Re: Tyrion: Where do whores go? Bravos?

I'm thinking that the only thing that can save Jon is Melissandre. However, if there need to be three Tygarians then you'd have Dany, Aegon and Jon.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 8:26pm


Sure you could . . . if Fakey McFaekgon was a. a Targaryen and b. not imminently dead. Dude is the deadest fake son of a bitch to walk on screen since Hart Bochner told Bruce Willis to stop messing up the works, capisc? First World War fighter pilots had longer life expectancies.

Edit: Except for Quedric Diggortell, obviously. That dude was born to die.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 5:22pm

Well I'm going to predict that Tysha doesn't show up again in the flesh in the books. I think she represents something that Tyrion has lost that he can't get back.

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 4:12am

Does he exhibit the skills of a facesless man? Most of what he does can be put down to disguises and being a mummer/pickpocket/thief when growing up in Braavos. His disguises are more outfits and makeup than actually changing his face as Arya/Jaqhen do.

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 4:42am

I think a lot of the bastards dies at the Redgrass/fled with Bittersteel or in the Spring sickness. Otherwise I would have thought there would be more dispute over Egg's ascension to the throne and more random rebellions. Wasn't Bloodraven the only one who stayed loyal to the Iron Throne?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 9:48am

Bloodraven and Bittersteel are definitely the only great bastards left standing after all that business - the only one whose mothers were nobles. But God only knows how many whores and tavern wenches and whatnot Aegon IV knocked up, and those kids were legitimized too. And then there's any bastards Bittersteel might have spawned, and their descendants . . .

I think Barristan's bloody optimistic in thinking the possibility of pretenders from bastard Targaryen lines is over for good, especially in such tumultuous times. In fact, I wouldn't by any means rule out the possibility that Aegon genuinely has Targaryen blood - just not via Rhaegar.

by Tim R :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:30am

Well weren't there 2 of Daemon Blacfyre's kids left alive overseas after the capture of the 3rd one left alive after the Redgrass? I mean there are loads of families that claim Targaryen blood to various degrees, Baratheon's for one as well as Plumms. I imagine that the bastard lines have died out or been so diluted that no one really takes them seriously anymore.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 05/18/2012 - 5:23am

Blackfyre's progeny certainly stuck around for a while, but I'm pretty sure Selmy extirpated the last of them during Aerys' reign.

The issue isn't whether someone has a slam-dunk claim that would stand a chance of widespread support in normal circumstances - it's whether someone can rustle up enough of a borderline claim to start some shit and cause problems in the current state of utter chaos. What if the Faith Militant got behind such a claim? Shitstorm. I don't think it will happen, because I don't think Martin cares about or has thought through such possible claims, but if the world was real and I was a player in the Game, it's an eventuality that would concern me.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 12:16pm

I think Edric might be too young to be Ned's. Why do you think that Aegon is a fake? He has me wondering if Ilyrio is who he claims to be.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:40pm


Edric might be too young to be Ned's. I just find this whole hypothetical-older-Dayne-brother-who-we-know-nothing-about-when-we-have-far-more-detail-on-otherwise-irrelevant-siblings thing a bit fishy.

Someone's got to be the "mummer's dragon" and Aegon fits the bill. Also, narratively, if he really is the rightful heir it undermines Dany in a way that doesn't mesh with my perception of how Martin's structuring this thing. And he's not a perspective character, which makes me suspicious. And he's Varys's creature, which makes me really suspicious. I think Varys and Illyrio found either some random Lysene kid or some descendant of an exiled Targaryen bastard who was the right age and looked about right and brought him up thinking he was Aegon.

And yeah, Illyrio could be damn near anything, but what he is after is to get someone on the Iron Throne who he can induce to make him ruler of Pentosh, or perhaps all the Free Cities.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:11pm

Okay, I have to go read A Feast For Crows before I accidentally spoil it and Dance (thanks for the SPOILER warning, BTW). I was under the silly notion that I could wait until he finishes the series and then read the whole thing through. Bad plan with all the discussion floating around.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:45pm

I'm just staggered at your willpower in stopping. Those things are terrifyingly addictive.

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 3:44pm

On the other hand, FFC and DWD are generally regarded as the two weakest books of the series. I count myself grateful that I came to the books late, and didn't have to wait 10 friggin' years for them.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 4:08pm

FFC is by far the weakest for me, due to the no Tyrion, no Wall/far north, far too much Brienne and Sansa issues. I think DWD might be the weakest of the rest, but without anything like the same gulf. I also came to the books late and read them all in the space of a few weeks, while watching the first series at the same time (I was always further ahead in the show than the books until the end of Season 1, but read all the books before watching any of Season 2.

Randomly, I vaguely know both Viserys and Renly from uni. I actually once shared a dressing room with Renly on a production of Three Sisters, and he beat me in an election to be President of the university drama society. And a mate (who now acts in my productions) was once in a school play with Dany, the lucky little sod.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 4:21pm

I don't even mind Brienne and Sansa that much. I was tired of every other chapter being Cersei. The Sansa sections also usually had Littlefinger imparting some of his wisdom which makes for fun reading and you can visualize those tiny little wheels of Sansa's brain starting turning after (how old is she 14 or 15 years?) of no use.

by tuluse :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:44pm

I still find it hard to believe that Ned could keep this secret for 16 years. He isn't exactly very good at that kind of thing. Plus, with how obsessed he was with the proper line of succession to the throne, it just seems out of character for him.

by Independent George :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 1:48pm

Given his BFF's propensity for baby-murdering, I'd say it's very much in character for him. Remember also that he made the exact same choice fifteen year later, at the Sept of Baelor.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:26pm

This. He gets awkward as hell whenever Robert brings it up, but Robert puts it down to guilt over his affair. And child protection is his one persistent reason for lying to Robert, or for betraying his honour in just about any way.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 05/16/2012 - 2:28pm

That's why his sister made him swear a promise on her death bed. I'm pretty certain that she had a child, it's less clear that it's possible to say exactly who it is. Given King Robert's temper and hatred of Rhaegar, the disclosure of the existence of a child who represents the apotheosis of everything Robert fought a war to stop would be a death sentence for the child. Plus it would put Ned in the position of having to defend the child against the King he's just fought a war to put on the throne.

by jimbohead :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:07pm

One of my favorite moments in Community is in the claymation "Christmas Special" episode of s2. Abed finds a present labelled "The Meaning of Christmas", unwraps it, and finds DVDs for the first season of Lost. "It's a metaphor. It represents lack of payoff."

by bubqr :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:49pm

I'll answer my own stuff: Disappointed like everyone by the ending, didn't want to hear any more about it for a while, but I realized a few months later that I now really miss the thrill of "waiting for the next episode" quite badly. I enjoyed the ride, overall.

by Lance :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:28pm

Is there something to be said, though, for the civic pride-- something that one can't put a price on-- for having an NFL team?

According to this article, the state's cost will come from "taxes on new electronic versions of pulltabs, a low-tech paper game sold by charitable organizations in bars and restaurants," which isn't the same as personal income taxes or taxes on food. Meanwhile, the city is expected to pay their share from "redirecting a hospitality tax," which, I assume, means hotel and car rental taxes that are paid largely by out-of-staters.

Granted, the city and state COULD have used those taxes towards something like education, or streets, or whatever. But what's funny is that if the state or city were to actually propose such things-- "let's raise some taxes to pay for our decaying infrastructure"-- you'd almost certainly have huge outcries from some on the political spectrum who hate such things. Thus, I doubt that MN seriously took money that was going to repair a bridge or build a school and used it to build a stadium. Rather, they took money from bar gamblers and out-of-towners and are going to use it to keep some civi pride and generate whatever sort of positive financial impact there is from having a state-of-the-art big stadium.

I grew up in Oklahoma and have not had the luxury of having a "hometown" NFL team to root for (well, I grew up rooting for Dallas, which is fine). Even though I don't live in OK anymore, it gives me great pleasure now to have a real pro team (not counting the Sooners) in the NBA to root for and watch and follow. My friends and family in OK watch and go to games and are happy to have that civic/state pride. If it went away, life would go on, of course, but all things considered I don't think the residents of Oklahoma City feel overly burdened by the sales tax to fund renovations on the old Ford Center.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:50pm

1. The pulltab money won't be anywhere near what they are projecting, and will cannibalize some of their existing gambling revenues and create shortages in the programs/projects/areas paid for with those funds.

2. Those "hospitality taxes" were supposed to pay down the debt on the convention center, so where do you think that debt is going to be paid from now? The general fund. on top of that if you think it is mostly out of stater's who use rental cars and hotels you are sorely mistaken. Most rental car use is for businesses and the hotels are just as much for rural Minnesota as they are for people from Chicago.

3. Subsidizing any economic activity to the tune of $500 million has a "big impact" when you don't measure that impact in relation to the costs you incurred.

4. What does Civic pride have to do with a football stadium? There are plenty of ways to foster civic pride for less than $500 million.

5. It is not about whether people "feel burdened" by a particular program or tax. People are freaking idiots. What matters is the actuality of whether or not the subsidy makes sense compared to other uses of those funds (or not taxing them at all). If you ask an average American how much money the federal government spends on NASA they will say around 10%, Foreign Aid 20%, Welfare 33%, and so on. Meanwhile the real figures are only a tiny fraction of that.

Taxpayers are happy to tell themselves that the enjoy paying for the things they like, but those other things they don't personally need are a huge waste, but if we used that system we would have functioning sewer systems and the elderly would be starving in the streets. I wouldn't take individual people's attitudes about their taxes very seriously.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:56pm

would *nopt* have functioning sewer systems...

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:03pm

"4. What does Civic pride have to do with a football stadium? There are plenty of ways to foster civic pride for less than $500 million."

Having an NFL team has a huge amount to do with civic pride, and feeling like your city is one of the major cities in America. Losing one that you already have feels even more ruinous - just ask Cleveland and Baltimore.

by Subrata Sircar :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:15pm

It certainly seems to be true that a large chunk of vocal people take pride in following their local sports franchise's achievements.

It bemuses me that many of those same people bitterly complain about crime, potholes in the roads, and lack of quality education in their cities ... and vote for stadium projects anyway.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:18pm

Maybe, but no-one is going to say that Minneapolis is losing relevance as a city because its roads have too many potholes. They are going to say that if the Vikings leave.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:34pm

The presence or absence of the Vikings has absolutely nothing to do with Minneapolis's (or Minnesota's) relevance. It will still be the 10th to 15th biggest media market (depending on how you measure it), it will still be the second strongest metro in the Midwest (after Chicago), it will still have the best educated populace in the country. It will still be a northern state with pretty crappy weather, lots of fishing and lakes, and a lot more love of hockey than football.

The Vikings leaving changes none of those things, or 60 others. Yes there would be 1500 less mentions of Minnesota on Sportscenter a year, other than that I doubt much of anything would change.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:41pm

Agree with most of this, but the popularity of hockey gets overrated in Minny. Yeah, the high school tourney gets a lot of play, but the Nielsons don't lie; the Vikings own the attention of the sporting public. This subsidy very, very, likely would have lost a referendum, but there was a very energized group of Vikings fans among the public that lobbied their politicians hard.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:55pm

If lakes, museums and other cultural/recreational things are worth investing money to build and/or maintain. Why not having an NFL team?

Apart from LA and some non-city in California, Minnesota would be the biggest metropolitan area not to have a team.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:00pm

Uh, because the cost is too high? Nobody cared about the Metrodome, because they built the thing for 60 million. Yes, the amenities for NFL stadiums are off the charts now, but that is due to taxpayer subsidies.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:13pm

$500m is about $160 for each of the 3 million-ish inhabitants. Over 30 years that's just over $5 per person per year. That doesn't sound like an enormous amount of money to retain a historic franchise in America's most popular sport.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:23pm

You really think this stadium is going to last 30 years?

Because if so, I have a bridge to sell you.

by Marko :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 7:50pm

Am I the only one who read this and immediately thought of the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis about 5 years ago?

by Anonymousjk (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 11:15pm


by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 2:32pm

I'm confused. Why do you think it won't last 30 years?

The stadium it's replacing lasted almost exactly that. If I had to guess the average would be something probably pretty close to 30. The Silverdome lasted 31 years as an NFL stadium (and still exists). Vet Stadium lasted 32 years. The RCA Dome lasted 24 years. Giants Stadium lasted 34 years. 30 years seems pretty realistic.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 2:39pm

It seems like NFL teams are building stadiums more often these days. I would be surprised if 10-15 years into this deal the Vikings didn't start asking for another new stadium.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 05/24/2012 - 10:13am

It may seem like it, but they're not. Like I said, if you look at the stadiums that the current ones are replacing, they're almost all 30+ years old. 10-15 years seems ridiculous - even the youngest demolished stadium there was 20+ years old.

My guess is that the reason it seems like it is that the stadium building is 'bunched' - you had lots of stadiums built in the 70s-80s, few in the 90s, so you're going to get a bunch in the 2000s/2010s, and not very many in the 2020s.

The reason the Vikings asked for a new stadium here was 1: the Metrodome was falling apart, and 2: their 30-year lease was up. If they asked for a new stadium in 10-15 years, I'm pretty sure the government would tell them to go jump off a bridge.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:33pm

Then, in contrast, the other things you mentioned cost about 1 cent a person per year. Like I said, NFL stadiums are not good values.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:39pm

That's pure assertion - the value people put on having a franchise is for them. Elected legislators in Minneapolis evidently differ from your views. I reckon the public in most sporting cities would too. Reckon many people in Philly would swap the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies for $20 a year? I don't.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:48pm

No, it's math. A 5 million dollar subsidy is 100 times less expensive than a 500 million dollar subsidy.

The reason why none of this stuff in Minnesota was put up for a referendum was because none of the rich people seeking the welfare had any confidence that a majority of the public would support it.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:52pm

Not rocket science to suggest that more expensive things are more expensive than less expensive things. As with any price, the question is whether people are willing to pay it.

The general view that the Vikings would have several suitors should they seek to leave suggests that I'm probably right, and you're probably wrong.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:05pm

No, the fact that the Vikings for a decade have opposed any referendum on the issue indicates that you are ignorant of the facts.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:06pm

If by several suitors you mean exactly zero with a competing facility.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:23pm

Yeah, it would be kinda dumb to build a stadium without having a team to put in it.

So you think there is no competition for the team and Minneapolis just gave the $500m for the sake of it? It's very odd how you crazy minimal-statists trust to competition and market theory, except when it doesn't suit your argument.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:37pm

Ya' know, it is kind of silly to reference competition when examining the relationship a monopoly cartel has to local and state governments. Now, do you want to address the fact that the Vikings fought very hard against a referendum for more than a decade, or do you want to persist in the fiction that the people who had most to gain from this had reason to believe that it was popular among the general public?

by Independent George :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:27pm

Elected legislators do not necessarily act with the public interest in mind. Shakedowns for public subsidies are almost textbook cases of rent-seeking.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:00pm

The day Detroit gets annexed by Canada will be the day MSP is the second most important metro in the Midwest. As is, Detroit is about 25% larger than MSP. And it doesn't count Windsor or Toledo, both of which are essentially sucker roots off of Detroit.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:41pm

I wonder what the total net worth of the Detroit metro is compared to MSP, but I'm too lazy to calculate it.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 8:11pm

I didn't say "most important" I said "healthiest". There is a difference.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:51am

You said "strongest", actually, but that's a meaningless qualifier, too.

Regardless, Detroit has a larger GDP than Minneapolis.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 10:35am

And Detroit has been shrinking for decades and MSP growing, stop being obtuse, you understood my point.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 12:32pm

Chicago is bigger, but MSP is both stronger and healthier. Chicago is currently held together with smoke, mirrors, and duct tape.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 11:35am

What would Detroit's GDP be right now, absent taxpayers across the country propping up the UAW?

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 5:37pm

Detroit itself? Pretty low. But much of the metropolitan area is driven by Oakland county, where most of Detroit's money fled between 1967 and 1990. Oakland county isn't as shackled to the big-3 as Flint/Wayne Co/Detroit are. The Detroit metro area is actually larger than it was in 1970. Detroit itself is less than half the size.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 05/15/2012 - 8:35pm

Well, I decided to expend some energy, and I see that Michigan ranks 13th among states in GDP, and Minnesota has about 30% lower GDP, ranking 17th. On a per capita basis, Minnesota ranks 14th, and Michigan has about 25% lower per capita GDP, ranking 42nd. I don't think it's crazy to think that without the auto industry bailouts, Michigan's GDP would have dropped to at least Minnesota's level.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 4:33pm

People really need to get a handle on their feelings, then. Or use their own money to assuage their feelings, instead of using laws to get everyone to take part.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:20pm

Yes, god forbid the idea that a majority of the elected representatives of a municipal area should be entitled to decide to spend some of that municipality's money for some kind of civic purpose.

And maybe drivers should use their own money to assuage their concerns about potholes, instead of using laws to get everyone to take part?

Perhaps schoolchildren should use their own money to assuage their concerns about illiteracy, instead of using laws to get everyone to take part?

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 6:21pm

I think the idea is that this is one of those scenarios where our representative government has been abused. No one is arguing against representative government, but that doesn't mean its decisions are perfect, and the lengths they went to to avoid a referendum (or even roll call votes on the floor) shows how unpopular they thought this was.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:39pm

No, a pothole does real physical damage. Being illiterate causes real physical damage. Your feelings and my feelings, as they are connected to a football team, aren't very important, by comparison, as hard as that may be to admit.

(edit) reply to #52

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 5:39pm

My favorite of today's meaningless PK stats was the Bears receivers height comment. They're not even the tallest in the NFL Central/North in recent history. The 1999-2000 Vikings frequently put 6'4" Randy Moss, 6'3 Cris Carter, and 6'3 Jake Reed (1999)/ 6'3" Matthew Hatchette (2000) at WR, 6'4" Andrew Jordan at TE, and 6'3" FB Jim Kleinsasser along with 6'2" RB Robert Smith coming out of the backfield. I remember hating playing against Minnesota then because the entire team was huge (even the QB Randall Cunningham (1999) and Daunte Culpepper (2000) was 6'4"). After 1999, the Packers used their first three picks on DBs just to try and stop the Vikings.

by rots (not verified) :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 7:32pm

That stadium deal is a debacle. I fervently love the NFL and i am even more fervently opposed to subsidies like these. what a rip-off for the local population.

by erniecohen :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 10:31pm

My favorite quote from the article is from Brady: "I can throw the ball today as far as I've ever been able to throw it,'' Brady said. "That's not the issue there. [Brett] Favre threw it great in his last year or so. Jamie Moyer's still getting people out. That's not a problem.''

Yeah, you really want your QB comapring his arm to Jamie Moyer's...

by Alternator :: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 11:31pm

I don't see a reason why that'd be a bad thing, given the context. Moyer doesn't have much velocity, but he's got a good combo with enough control to place his pitches well, and enough experience/craftiness to know where the hitter will expect it. If Brady is still playing at a league-average level at age 45, then he was playing at better than league-average into his 40s, and I think every Patriots fan would be delighted.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:24am

Spending tax dollars on a football stadium is always wrong.

Love my hometown Carolina Panthers!