Thursday, July 16, 2015

What If Robb Stark Got a Do-Over?

Today I've got another alternate-universe fan-fic from the world of A Song of Ice and Fire for your enjoyment. Both of them courtesy of the biggest alternate-history forum on the Internet, of course...

The first one is entitled "Robb Returns," written by the board member whose handle is Cymraeg (and who has a bunch of really awesome stories available for the Kindle). The gist of it is that the Old Gods send Robb Stark back to a year-ish before King Robert Baratheon comes to Winterfell to ask Ned Stark to become the Hand of the King. To the other denizens of Winterfell, Robb is acting quite strangely--he immediately hugs his sisters and younger brothers (whom he thinks are dead), acts disconcertingly hostile toward his foster brother Theon Greyjoy, and weapons-master Rodrik Cassel reports that he fights like a man who's killed.

Maester Luwin and Ned Stark soon suss out the truth and there's a chance to right the wrongs of canon. Goodies include...

*The touch of the Old Gods giving those who've been touched (first Robb and then Ned) red irises, like the sap of the heart trees. Fortunately for them it fades, but it's a cool little touch.

*An amusing bit about how...popular...King Robert and Tyrion Lannister were with the prostitutes and Winterfell's female staff.

*Ned, who'd kept his distance from Theon in the event Balon rebelled against and he'd have to kill him, actually tries to be the father-figure Theon needs.

*And best of all, Robb goes back early enough that Domeric Bolton, Roose Bolton's legitimate son, is still alive.

This story is of especial interest because my writing fan-fiction in Harry Potter and the Transformers movie-verse (you can see my page here) was inspired by reading the story "The Moment It Began," which gives the dying Severus Snape a do-over.

However, just because a character can avoid the mistakes of his canonical lifetime doesn't mean everything's going to be peachy-keen. Snape in "The Moment It Began" still had to deal with the petty torments of James Potter and his friends, the enmity of the Death Eater wannabes he's now spurned, and the war with Voldemort. Since a major trait of the ASOIAF universe is that (almost) everything that can go wrong will, I expect Robb and the Starks will have issues too. For starters, Roose has ordered Domeric to try to charm Sansa Stark, which might make things a bit awkward if King Robert wants to betroth Sansa to Joffrey. And Ramsay Snow is still out there, waiting to cause trouble...


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