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Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020
Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020.
Wall Street braces for more market volatility as wild swings become the ‘new normal’ amid coronavirus - (Source)
The S&P 500 has never behaved like this, but Wall Street strategists say get used to it.
Investors just witnessed the equity benchmark swinging up or down 2% for four days straight in the face of the coronavirus panic.
In the index’s history dating back to 1927, this is the first time the S&P 500 had a week of alternating gains and losses of more than 2% from Monday through Thursday, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Daily swings like this over a two-week period were only seen at the peak of the financial crisis and in 2011 when U.S. sovereign debt got its first-ever downgrade, the firm said.
“The message to all investors is that they should expect this volatility to continue. This should be considered the new normal going forward,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped north of 1,000 points twice in the past week, only to erase the quadruple-digit gains in the subsequent sessions. The coronavirus outbreak kept investors on edge as global cases of the infections surpassed 100,000. It’s also spreading rapidly in the U.S. California has declared a state of emergency, while the number of cases in New York reached 33.
“Uncertainty breeds greater market volatility,” Keith Lerner, SunTrust’s chief market strategist, said in a note. “Much is still unknown about how severe and widespread the coronavirus will become. From a market perspective, what we are seeing is uncomfortable but somewhat typical after shock periods.”
More stimulus?So far, the actions from global central banks and governments in response to the outbreak haven’t triggered a sustainable rebound.
The Federal Reserve’s first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis did little to calm investor anxiety. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a sweeping spending bill with an$8.3 billion packageto aid prevention efforts to produce a vaccine for the deadly disease, but stocks extended their heavy rout that day.
“The market is recognizing the global authorities are responding to this,” said Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report. “If the market begins to worry they are not doing that sufficiently, then I think we are going to go down ugly. It is helping stocks hold up.”
Essaye said any further stimulus from China and a decent-sized fiscal package from Germany would be positive to the market, but he doesn’t expect the moves to create a huge rebound.
The fed funds future market is now pricing in the possibility of the U.S. central bank cutting by 75 basis points at its March 17-18 meeting.
Where is the bottom?Many on Wall Street expect the market to fall further before recovering as the health crisis unfolds.
Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank’s chief equity strategist, sees a bottom for the S&P 500 in the second quarter after stocks falling as much as 20% from their recent peak.
“The magnitude of the selloff in the S&P 500 so far has further to go; and in terms of duration, just two weeks in, it is much too early to declare this episode as being done,” Chadha said in a note. “We do view the impacts on macro and earnings growth as being relatively short-lived and the market eventually looking through them.”
Deutsche Bank maintained its year-end target of 3,250 for the S&P 500, which would represent a 10% gain from here and a flat return for 2020.
Strategists are also urging patience during this heightened volatility, cautioning against panic selling.
“It is during times like these that investors need to maintain a longer-term perspective and stick to their investment process rather than making knee-jerk, binary decisions,” Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
Major Indices for this past week:
Major Futures Markets as of Friday's close:
Economic Calendar for the Week Ahead:
Sector Performance WTD, MTD, YTD:
Percentage Changes for the Major Indices, WTD, MTD, QTD, YTD as of Friday's close:
S&P Sectors for the Past Week:
Major Indices Pullback/Correction Levels as of Friday's close:
Major Indices Rally Levels as of Friday's close:
Most Anticipated Earnings Releases for this week:
Here are the upcoming IPO's for this week:
Friday's Stock Analyst Upgrades & Downgrades:
A "Run of the Mill" Drawdown
If you're like us, you've heard a lot of people reference the recent equity declines as a sign that the market is pricing in some sort of Armageddon in the US economy. While comments like that make for great soundbites, a little perspective is in order. Since the S&P 500's high on February 19th, the S&P 500 is down 12.8%. In the chart below, we show the S&P 500's annual maximum drawdown by year going back to 1928. In the entire history of the index, the median maximum drawdown from a YTD high is 13.05%. In other words, this year's decline is actually less than normal. Perhaps due to the fact that we have only seen one larger-than-average drawdown in the last eight years is why this one feels so bad.
The fact that the current decline has only been inline with the historical norm raises a number of questions. For example, if the market has already priced in the worst-case scenario, going out and adding some equity exposure would be a no brainer. However, if we're only in the midst of a 'normal' drawdown in the equity market as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to put the economy into a recession, one could argue that things for the stock market could get worse before they get better, especially when we know that the market can be prone to over-reaction in both directions. The fact is that nobody knows right now how this entire outbreak will play out. If it really is a black swan, the market definitely has further to fall and now would present a great opportunity to sell more equities. However, if it proves to be temporary and after a quarter or two resolves itself and the economy gets back on the path it was on at the start of the year, then the magnitude of the current decline is probably appropriate. As they say, that's what makes a market!
Long-Term Treasuries Go Haywire
Take a good luck at today's moves in long-term US Treasury yields, because chances are you won't see moves of this magnitude again soon. Let's start with the yield on the 30-year US Treasury. Today's decline of 29 basis points in the yield will go down as the largest one-day decline in the yield on the 30-year since 2009. For some perspective, there have only been 25 other days since 1977 where the yield saw a larger one day decline.
It Doesn't Get Much Worse Than This For Crude Oil
Crude oil prices are down close to 10% today in what is shaping up to be the worst day for crude oil since late 2014. That's more than five years.
10-Year Treasury Yield Breaks Below 1%
Despite strong market gains on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the on-the-run 10-year Treasury yield ended the day below 1% for the first time ever and has posted additional declines in real time, sitting at 0.92% intraday as this blog is being written. “The decline in yields has been remarkable,” said LPL Research Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “The 10-year Treasury yield has dipped below 1%, and today’s declines are likely to make the recent run lower the largest decline of the cycle.”
As shown in LPL Research’s chart of the day, the current decline in the 10-year Treasury yield without a meaningful reversal (defined as at least 0.75%) is approaching the decline seen in 2011 and 2012 and would need about another two months to be the longest decline in length of time. At the same time, no prior decline has lasted forever and a pattern of declines and increases has been normal.
What are some things that can push the 10-year Treasury yield higher?
- A shrinking but still sizable yield advantage over other developed market sovereign debt
- Added stock volatility if downside risks to economic growth from the coronavirus increase
- A larger potential premium over shorter-term yields if the Federal Reserve aggressively cuts interest rates
On balance, our view remains that the prospect of an economic rebound over the second half points to the potential for interest rates moving higher. At the same time, we still see some advantage in the potential diversification benefits of intermediate maturity high-quality bonds, especially during periods of market stress. We continue to recommend that suitable investors consider keeping a bond portfolio’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates below that of the benchmark Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index by emphasizing short to intermediate maturity bonds, but do not believe it’s time to pile into very short maturities despite the 10-year Treasury yield sitting at historically low levels.
- A second half economic rebound acting a catalyst for a Treasury sell-off
- As yields move lower, investors may increasingly seek more attractive sources of income
- Any dollar weakness could lead to some selling by international investors
- Longer maturity Treasuries are looking like an increasingly crowded trade, potentially adding energy to any sell-off
U.S. Jobs Growth Marches On
While stock markets continue to be extremely volatile as they come to terms with how the coronavirus may affect global growth, the U.S. job market has remained remarkably robust. Continued U.S. jobs data resilience in the face of headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak may be a key factor in prolonging the expansion, given how important the strength of the U.S. consumer has been late into this expansion.
The U.S. Department of Labor today reported that U.S. nonfarm payroll data had a strong showing of 273,000 jobs added in February, topping the expectation of every Bloomberg-surveyed economist, with an additional upward revision of 85,000 additional jobs for December 2019 and January 2020. This has brought the current unemployment rate back to its 50-year low of 3.5%. So far, it appears it’s too soon for any effects of the coronavirus to have been felt in the jobs numbers. (Note: The survey takes place in the middle of each month.)
On Wednesday, ADP released its private payroll data (excluding government jobs), which increased by 183,000 in February, also handily beating market expectations. Most of these jobs were added in the service sector, with 44,000 added in the leisure and hospitality sector, and another 31,000 in trade/transportation/utilities. Both of these areas could be at risk of potential cutbacks if consumers start to avoid eating out or other leisure pursuits due to coronavirus fears.
As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, payrolls remain strong, and any effects of the virus outbreaks most likely would be felt in coming months.
While there is bound to be some drag on future jobs data from the coronavirus-related slowdown, we would anticipate that the effects of this may be transitory. We believe economic fundamentals continue to suggest the possibility of a second-half-of-the–year economic rebound.
Down January & Down February: S&P 500 Posts Full-Year Gain Just 43.75% of Time
The combination of a down January and a down February has come about 17 times, including this year, going back to 1950. Rest of the year and full-year performance has taken a rather sizable hit following the previous 16 occurrences. March through December S&P 500 average performance drops to 2.32% compared to 7.69% in all years. Full-year performance is even worse with S&P 500 average turning to a loss of 4.91% compared to an average gain of 9.14% in all years. All hope for 2020 is not lost as seven of the 16 past down January and down February years did go on to log gains over the last 10 months and full year while six enjoyed double-digit gains from March to December.
Take Caution After Emergency Rate Cut
Today’s big rally was an encouraging sign that the markets are becoming more comfortable with the public health, monetary and political handling of the situation. But the history of these “emergency” or “surprise” rate cuts by the Fed between meetings suggest some caution remains in order.
The table here shows that these surprise cuts between meetings have really only “worked” once in the past 20+ years. In 1998 when the Fed and the plunge protection team acted swiftly and in a coordinated manner to stave off the fallout from the financial crisis caused by the collapse of the Russian ruble and the highly leveraged Long Term Capital Management hedge fund markets responded well. This was not the case during the extended bear markets of 2001-2002 and 2007-2009.
Bottom line: if this is a short-term impact like the 1998 financial crisis the market should recover sooner rather than later. But if the economic impact of coronavirus virus is prolonged, the market is more likely to languish.
Monday 3.9.20 Before Market Open:
Monday 3.9.20 After Market Close:
Tuesday 3.10.20 Before Market Open:
Tuesday 3.10.20 After Market Close:
Wednesday 3.11.20 Before Market Open:
Wednesday 3.11.20 After Market Close:
Thursday 3.12.20 Before Market Open:
Thursday 3.12.20 After Market Close:
Friday 3.13.20 Before Market Open:
Friday 3.13.20 After Market Close:
([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())NONE.
Adobe Inc. $336.77
Adobe Inc. (ADBE) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.23 per share on revenue of $3.04 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.29 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $2.23 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 29.65% with revenue increasing by 16.88%. Short interest has decreased by 38.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 10.9% above its 200 day moving average of $303.70. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, February 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,109 contracts of the $400.00 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.1% move in recent quarters.
DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. $34.98
DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.23 per share on revenue of $2.56 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.28 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 14.95% with revenue increasing by 2.73%. Short interest has decreased by 29.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 20.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% below its 200 day moving average of $39.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 26, 2020 there was some notable buying of 848 contracts of the $39.00 put expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 14.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.3% move in recent quarters.
Broadcom Limited $269.45
Broadcom Limited (AVGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $5.34 per share on revenue of $5.93 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $5.45 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 5.65% with revenue increasing by 2.44%. Short interest has decreased by 15.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 15.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.7% below its 200 day moving average of $291.95. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,197 contracts of the $260.00 put expiring on Friday, April 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 11.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.9% move in recent quarters.
Thor Industries, Inc. $70.04
Thor Industries, Inc. (THO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:45 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.76 per share on revenue of $1.79 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.84 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 62% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 16.92% with revenue increasing by 38.70%. Short interest has decreased by 12.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 5.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% above its 200 day moving average of $62.53. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 6.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.
ULTA Beauty $256.58
ULTA Beauty (ULTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $3.71 per share on revenue of $2.29 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $3.75 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 73% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 2.77% with revenue increasing by 7.78%. Short interest has increased by 8.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.5% below its 200 day moving average of $283.43. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 15.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 11.7% move in recent quarters.
Slack Technologies, Inc. $26.42
Slack Technologies, Inc. (WORK) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.06 per share on revenue of $173.06 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.04) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 67% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.07 to $0.06 per share on revenue of $172.00 million to $174.00 million. Short interest has increased by 1.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.3% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Dollar General Corporation $158.38
Dollar General Corporation (DG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:55 AM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.02 per share on revenue of $7.15 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.05 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.78% with revenue increasing by 7.52%. Short interest has increased by 16.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 1.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.7% above its 200 day moving average of $149.88. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 28, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,013 contracts of the $182.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.
Stitch Fix, Inc. $22.78
Stitch Fix, Inc. (SFIX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.06 per share on revenue of $452.96 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $447.00 million to $455.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 50.00% with revenue increasing by 22.33%. Short interest has decreased by 4.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 16.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $24.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 19, 2020 there was some notable buying of 4,026 contracts of the $35.00 call expiring on Friday, June 19, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 28.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 15.2% move in recent quarters.
Sogou Inc. $3.85
Sogou Inc. (SOGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share on revenue of $303.08 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 58% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $290.00 million to $310.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 28.57% with revenue increasing by 1.78%. Short interest has increased by 6.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 27.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.7% below its 200 day moving average of $4.57. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 3.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.
DocuSign (DOCU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $267.44 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.08 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $263.00 million to $267.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 600.00% with revenue increasing by 33.90%. Short interest has decreased by 37.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 12.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 31.9% above its 200 day moving average of $63.71. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, March 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,698 contracts of the $87.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.0% move in recent quarters.
DISCUSS!What are you all watching for in this upcoming trading week?
(Spoilers Extended) Doran is Dorne is a Desert: Quentyn and Stonesnake, The Wyl of Wyl. Part 2 of 2.
This is a straight continuation of Part 1, which you can read here. I just divided it into two posts for logistical reasons. It is one contiguous writing.
Tourneys, Hawking and HuntingGetting back to Quentyn and House Wyl, Quent's wistful desire to return home so that he can "ride in tourneys, hawk and hunt"—
I want to ride in tourneys, hawk and hunt… (DWD tDT)—might be dismissed as a product of his fostering at Yronwood, but textually, it smells more like House Wyl. The Wyls explicitly hunt, hawk—
The Wyls kept him hunting and hawking for eight days on the Boneway, and Lord Yronwood feasted him for a fortnight when he emerged from the mountains. (FFC PitT)—and (in a suspiciously quiet way) ride in tourneys:
The shields displayed outside each tent heralded its occupant: the silver eagle of Seagard, Bryce Caron's field of nightingales, a cluster of grapes for the Redwynes, brindled boar, red ox, burning tree, white ram, triple spiral, purple unicorn, dancing maiden, blackadder, twin towers, horned owl, and last the pure white blazons of the Kingsguard, shining like the dawn. (GOT E VII)That's the blackadder of House Wyl, nestled away at Ned's tourney.
"Who Did Not Drink"We see some nameless "Wyls of the Boneway" in The Watcher. Their only action is to "not drink" to the toast Ricasso makes to Tommen (thus helping to prompt Hotah to think about how "Dorne was an angry and divided land"):
Hotah paid more note to those who did not drink: Ser Daemon Sand, Lord Tremond Gargalen, the Fowler twins, Dagos Manwoody, the Ullers of the Hellholt, the Wyls of the Boneway. If there is trouble, it could start with one of them.Despite the fact that Quent finds solace in a glass of wine and at least pours another at the beginning of The Dragontamer, he also pointedly ignores the Tattered Prince's offer of a drink—
"Sit. I understand you are a prince. Would that I had known. Will you drink?" (DWD tSS)—and tells Gerris not to drink before they embark on D-Day:
When Gerris made to pour himself a cup of wine, Quentyn stopped him. "No wine. There will be time enough for drink afterward." (DWD tDT)I do wonder if these details are included as a nod to a Wyl-Quentyn connection (and as a sign that Quent isn't Oberyn's kid, after all).
Will Wells?One of Quent's dead friends is named Will Wells, which reminds us of "Wyl of Wyl".
Madness, and Worse Than MadnessWe see a bunch of people suggest that Quentyn is not entirely sane—the captain of The Fawn "three mad Dornishmen"), Beans (he "asked if I was drunk or mad"), Meris ("You were told your scheme was madness"), Selmy ("that was madness and worse than madness"), and Gerris ("Quentyn, are you mad?")—and it's pretty clear that he isn't, especially given Selmy's ironic statement about "good men" being driven "into madness" by "grief and guilt".
While this would absolutely jibe with Quentyn being Oberyn's son and thus the grandson of the Mad King, I happen to think that the same genes that cause Targaryen insanity (and the ability to skinchange, green dream, ride dragons, etc.) are floating around in the gene pools of all manner of First Men houses (allowing them to do the same), all passed down from the "Gemstone Emperors of the Dawn". The Wyls chopping off hostages' hands despite the fact that their ransoms were paid, defying their Prince's armistice by murdering the king and kidnapping his cousin, and then defying their Prince's negotiated peace by forcing the new king to enter a literal pit of vipers to retrieve his cousin seems more than a little mad to me. As do the "infamous" deeds "still remembered" in Fawton and Old Oak. Indeed, the viper pit bit is much akin to the way Aerys kills Brandon and Rickard Stark.
Selmy's evaluation of Quentyn's scheme—
"…that was madness and worse than madness. That was treason."—gets a better ironic pay-off is Quent is a Wyl, since the very same Wyl deeds that can be seen as mad were for the most part treasonous as well. What else to call the way they responded to "the Dornish prince… explicitly command[ing] the Dragonknight's release"?
Letter of the LawWhen the Wyls hung Aemon the Dragonknight over a pit of vipers, their response to the Prince of Dorne's explicit command to release him to Baelor was to hand the key to Baelor and invite him to use it, necessitating that he walk through the vipers. They basically followed the letter of the Prince of Dorne's commands (at least in their own minds) but continued to behave more or less as they were, acting as if they were totally oblivious to the spirit of his order, right? In many ways, this is exactly what Quentyn does when he stubbornly insists that he must marry Dany, not merely make an alliance with her, even though she pretty blatantly offers him that prospect when she says…
"My marriage need not be the end of all your hopes. I know why you are here."
Quentyn "Looks Like" Doran?The glaring problem with the idea that Quentyn is a Wyl—or, indeed, that he is Oberyn's son, or the son of a commoner, or anything but the spawn of Doran's seed—is that Arianne tells us twice that Quentyn "looks like" Doran. "Too much like" Doran:
"You favor [Quentyn] and always have. He looks like you, he thinks like you, and you mean to give him Dorne, don't trouble to deny it." (FFC PitT)If this is true how could it be that Quentyn is not Doran's son?
Her brother was an earnest boy, well-behaved and dutiful, but dull. And plain, so plain. The gods had given Arianne the beauty she had prayed for, but Quentyn must have prayed for something else. His head was overlarge and sort of square, his hair the color of dried mud. His shoulders slumped as well, and he was too thick about the middle. He looks too much like Father. (WOW Ar I)
First, as an aside, let's stipulate that Arianne is really saying that her dated memory of Quentyn—perhaps a prepubescent Quentyn—looks "too much like" Doran looks now, when he's old and sick. This opens up some margin of error. As if to emphasize this, Arianne has her thought about Quentyn looking "too much like" Doran immediately after she remembers how she was once…
just a pudgy flat-chested girl on the cusp of maidenhood who prayed every night for the gods to make her pretty. (WOW Ari I)If puberty changed Arianne's appearance that dramatically, might Quent now look somewhat different from her memory? Somewhat less like Doran than her statements lead us to believe, if not in broad strokes than in the specifics of his facial features?
Regardless, I believe it's entirely possible that Quentyn and Doran resemble one another in certain easily conveyable respects even if Quentyn was sired by a Wyl. Why? Because some Wyls almost certainly look a lot like some Yronwoods, whereas some Yronwoods very probably look a lot like some Martells. Why do I think this is the case? Because of the history of relations between Sunspear and Yronwood, and between Yronwood and Wyl.
The Wyls have been allies and bannermen to the Yronwoods for millennia. A simple glance at the appendices of ASOIAF and the histories and family trees in TWOIAF demonstrates that lords marry their sons to the daughters of their bannermen and vice versa. The Wyls and Yronwoods live "next door" to one another, and for the last 1000 years the Yronwoods surely have far fewer houses sworn to them than they once did. Thus the Men of Yronwood and Wyl have surely taken more brides from one another's houses than from anywhere else. To the extent that the Wyls parallel the mountain clans of the North and the First Men Kings of Yronwood parallel the Starks, it is telling that two Starks in recent memory have taken women of the mountain clans to wife. And indeed, Stonesnake, who I believe is a Wyl, bears a certain resemblance to Gwyneth Yronwood (which isn't to say either is typical of their house):
He was a short wiry man, near fifty and grey of beard but stronger than he seemed… (COK J VI)Quentyn's attraction to both Ynys and Gwyneth Yronwood can be read as an ironic confirmation that he is a Wyl, as the highest marital aspiration for every lad of Wyl is surely to marry a maiden of Yronwood.
Gwyneth was but twelve, a small, scrawny girl whose dark eyes and brown hair set her apart in that house of blue-eyed blondes.
If Yronwood/Wyl intermarriage makes sense, why should we think the Yronwoods share siginificant amounts of blood with the Martells, whose rule they've resented for 1000 years? In short, precisely because of that thousand-year grudge: the (First Men) Yronwoods and (Andal/Rhoynar) Martells have surely intermarried repeatedly in an effort to bury their feud, just like the analogous (First Men) Blackwoods and (Andal) Brackens:
"We've had a hundred peaces with the Brackens, many sealed with marriages. There's Blackwood blood in every Bracken, and Bracken blood in every Blackwood. The Old King's Peace lasted half a century. But then some fresh quarrel broke out, and the old wounds opened and began to bleed again. That's how it always happens, my father says. So long as men remember the wrongs done to their forebears, no peace will ever last. So we go on century after century, with us hating the Brackens and them hating us. My father says there will never be an end to it." - Hoster Blackwood (DWD Jai I)Note the clear analogue between "Yronwood" and "Blackwood". What analogue? Iron AKA "Yron" is indubitably black, as evinced by 36 references to "black iron" in the canon and three explicit statements that iron is black:
A beard as coarse and black as iron wire… (GOT E I)More directly and damningly, "ironwood" is literally black wood:
Stannis is pure iron, black and hard and strong (DWD Jon VII)
claws black as iron… (P&tQ)
Finally his lord father gave a command, and two of his guardsmen dragged the ragged man to the ironwood stump in the center of the square. They forced his head down onto the hard black wood. (GOT B I)(It's curious that there so happens to have been a Quentyn Blackwood, whom we learn about in a passage—
The brown tent beneath red stallion could only belong to Ser Otho Bracken, who was called the Brute of Bracken since slaying Lord Quentyn Blackwood three years past during a tourney at King's Landing. (tHK)—which highlights the Blackwood-Bracken feud.
Consider also what Jaime says about lords and their bannermen nemeses:
"Every great lord has unruly bannermen who envy him his place," he told her afterward. "My father had the Reynes and Tarbecks, the Tyrells have the Florents, Hoster Tully had Walder Frey. Only strength keeps such men in their place. The moment they smell weakness . . ." (SOS Jai VII)What did the Reynes do? Marry Ellen Reyne to Tion Lannister. (TWOIAF) What did Walder Frey do? Try to marry one of his daughters to Edmure Tully. (AGOT C IX) The Tyrells and Florents claim descent from the same legendary ancestor. If the Yronwoods and Martells follow this pattern, we'd expect that Yronwood and Martell blood would be comingled.
Doran "Yronwood"Hopefully it seems plausible that there has been significant intermarriage between Houses Martell and Yronwood and between Houses Yronwood and Wyl, such that a bastard boy sired by a Wyl on the wife of a Martell prince might be plausibly believed to be the trueborn son of that prince. It goes without saying that if the prince was himself one-half or one-quarter Yronwood, this would be even more likely to be the case. With this in mind, I suspect that not only has there been considerable intermarriage between the Yronwoods and the Wyls and between the Yronwoods and the Martells over the years, but that Doran's mysterious father—most likely his mother's formal consort who, remember, did not father Elia nor Oberyn—was an Yronwood (who was himself likely the child or grandchild of a Wyl).
If Doran is half-Yronwood/half-Martell, and Quentyn is half-Wyl/half-Norvoshi, it's no wonder they look similar. The Yronwoods and Wyls are practically cousins. Meanwhile Doran's Nymeros-Martell side has Rhoynish, Andal and Valyrian blood for certain. Norvoshi blood is likely similar, given that Norvos is a daughter of Valyria lying on a tributary of the Rhoyne and abutting the former realms of the Rhoynar (to the south) and the Andals (to the north).
At minimum, I suspect one of Doran's grandparents was probably an Yronwood. Either way, Oberyn may have been "visiting relatives" when he cuckolded (Doran's uncle?) Lord Edgar, dueled him and killed him, thereby inflaming age-old wounds.
The Name "Doran" and Doran's Yronwood LineageAs discussed, Doran's name is practically "Dorne". It sounds nothing like any of the other Rhoynish names we hear. It's short and blunt. I believe that in-world his name connotes his relationship to the Yronwoods, who after all were the "High Kings of Dorne" before Nymeria's conquest. Consider that the names of Doran's two dead brothers:
"I was the oldest," the prince said, "and yet I am the last. After Mors and Olyvar died in their cradles, I gave up hope of brothers." (FFC CotG)Mors is the most famous male name among the Martells. And Olyvar? Unless a Dornishwoman decided to name her baby after an Oakheart famed for helping Daeron I conquer Dorne—
Ser Olyvar the Green Oak all in white, dying at the side of the Young Dragon. Dorne is no fit place for any Oakheart. (FFC tSK)—that sounds like a good name for a boy sired by an Yronwood:
The Storm King was embroiled in his own wars at the time, attempting to reconquer Massey's Hook from its infamous pirate king, Justin Milk-Eye, whilst fending off the incursions of the Dornish king Olyvar Yronwood. (TWOIAF)
Archibald YronwoodI believe Archibald Yronwood's physicality demonstrates the ways in which an "Yronwood" might appear similar to a "Martell". Setting aside Arch's height, his physique—
Arch was six-and-a-half-feet tall, broad of shoulder, huge of belly, with legs like tree trunks, hands the size of hams, and no neck to speak of. Some childhood malady had made all his hair fall out. (DWD MM)—and large "boulder" of a head are remarkably reminiscent of Marwyn Martell, with "his bull's neck", his head that "was too big for his body", his "squat" frame, "heavy in the chest and shoulders, with a round-rock-hard ale belly straining at the laces of the leather jerkin he wore", and "the biggest hands that Sam had ever seen". (FFC Sam V) Meanwhile Arch's height, broad shoulders and ham hands are also reminiscent of Lewyn/Elder BrotheMorgarth, who is "burly", "tall as a tower", "straight and tall", who has "big hands"/"gnarled hands big as hams", and who has "knight… written in his chest and shoulders". (FFC B VI, Ala II; FFC tSK)
Arch's "hands the size of hams", by the way, tie him not just to Ser Morgarth's (AKA Lewyn's) "hands as large as hams", but also to Doran, whose knuckles are likened to "cherries"—
His knuckles were as dark as cherries and near as big. (DWD tW)—(given how well cherries and ham pair, both in ASOIAF—
Instead, the cooks… served them ham studded with cloves and basted with honey and dried cherries. (C IX)—and in general).
It's easy to see Arch's curious hairlessness as supporting the notion that Arch's physicality is an important clue, as if his hairlessness is hiding the fact that he is not just another of House Yronwood's "blue-eyed blondes."
Before I get into how Quentyn's physical appearance might square with his being sired by a Wyl, let's review what we're told about Dornish phenotypes.
Salty, Sandy, Stony AppearanceBoth ASOIAF—
There were three sorts of Dornishmen, the first King Daeron had observed. There were the salty Dornishmen who lived along the coasts, the sandy Dornishmen of the deserts and long river valleys, and the stony Dornishmen who made their fastnesses in the passes and heights of the Red Mountains. The salty Dornishmen had the most Rhoynish blood, the stony Dornishmen the least.—and TWOIAF—
All three sorts seemed well represented in Doran's retinue. The salty Dornishmen were lithe and dark, with smooth olive skin and long black hair streaming in the wind. The sandy Dornishmen were even darker, their faces burned brown by the hot Dornish sun. They wound long bright scarfs around their helms to ward off sunstroke. The stony Dornishmen were biggest and fairest, sons of the Andals and the First Men, brown-haired or blond, with faces that freckled or burned in the sun instead of browning. (SOS Ty V)
From such origins did the three distinct types of Dornishmen we know today arise. The Young Dragon, King Daeron I Targaryen, gave them the names we know them by in his book, The Conquest of Dorne. Stony Dornishmen, sandy Dornishmen, and salty Dornishmen, he named them. The stony Dornishmen were the mountain folk, fair of hair and skin, mostly descended from the First Men and the Andals; the sandy Dornishmen dwell in the deserts and river valleys, with their skin burned brown beneath the blazing Dornish sun; the salty Dornishmen of the coasts, dark-haired and lithe and oliveskinned, have the queerest customs and the most Rhoynish blood. (When Princess Nymeria came ashore in Dorne, most of her Rhoynar preferred to remain close to the sea that had been their home for so long, even after Nymeria burned their ships.)—proffer the idea of a sharp delineation between three types of Dornishmen (in addition to the more purely Rhonynish "orphans"). While there is certainly a range of phenotypes among the Dornish, that doesn't mean everyone falls neatly within Daeron's clear-cut system of delineation, especially among the highborn, who surely intermarry across geographic boundaries far more than the smallfolk.
Quentyn's LookHere's what we're told about Quentyn's appearance:
Quentyn cut a poor figure by comparison—short-legged and stocky, thickly built, with hair the brown of new-turned earth. His forehead was too high, his jaw too square, his nose too broad. A good honest face, a girl had called it once, but you should smile more. (DWD tMM)It's perhaps not insignificant that the last thing Arianne thinks before "He looks too much like Father" is that Quentyn slumps and has a thick mid-section. Doran has been ill for some time. It's entirely possible that his posture and his midsection were wholly different when he was Quentyn's age.
Frog, the squire, was the youngest of the three, and the least impressive, a solemn, stocky lad, brown of hair and eye. His face was squarish, with a high forehead, heavy jaw, and broad nose. The stubble on his cheeks and chin made him look like a boy trying to grow his first beard. Dany had no inkling why anyone would call him Frog. (DWD Dae VII)
Short and stocky, plain-faced… not the sort to make a young girl's heart beat faster. (DWD tDK)
Her brother was an earnest boy, well-behaved and dutiful, but dull. And plain, so plain. The gods had given Arianne the beauty she had prayed for, but Quentyn must have prayed for something else. His head was overlarge and sort of square, his hair the color of dried mud. His shoulders slumped as well, and he was too thick about the middle. He looks too much like Father. (WOW Ar I)
That said, we are told that Quentyn is "brown of hair and eye." Arianne thinks Quent looks like Doran shortly after thinking about Quentyn's hair, so Doran probably has brown hair too. Quent's eyes are also called "dark eyes", as are Doran's. (DWD tDK; FFC PitT) Tyrion notes that stony Dornishmen (like the Wyls and the Yronwoods) can be "brown-haired". Indeed, Gwyneth Yronwood has "dark eyes and brown hair", thus matching Quentyn and Doran. (DWD tMM)
Quentyn and thus Doran having "stocky", "thickly built" bodies also reminds us of Archibald Yronwood being "broad of shoulder, huge of belly, with legs like tree trunks":
stocky adj of solid and sturdy form or build; thick-set and, usually, short.
Quentyn's Pale, Pink SkinWhile Tyrion unhesitatingly calls Oberyn "a salty Dornishmen for certain" moments after saying that salty Dornishmen have "olive skin", thus implying that Oberyn does, too, we're told nothing of the sort as regards Quentyn and Doran. (SOS Ty V) Doran is, however, called "pale" three times—
The prince sat in his high seat beneath the Martell spear, his face pale with pain. (FFC CotG)—and Quentyn's skin is light enough that he goes "pale", turns "red-faced", "blush[es]", "flushed red" and grows "flushed and ruddy". (DWD tDK; Dae VII; tMM) He even goes "white as milk". (DWD Dae VIII)
The prince looked worse than she had ever seen him. His face was pale and puffy… (FFC PitT)
Beneath the coverlet, his legs were pale, soft, ghastly. (DWD tW)
This seems to imply that Quentyn and Doran share a skin tone, but do it really? Doran is likely pale at least in part because he is sick. And just because one is "pale" doesn't mean one's skin is not olive-toned. Nymeria demonstrates this, inasmuch as she is called both "olive-skinned"—
Nymeria, languid, elegant, olive-skinned, her long black braid bound up in red-gold wire. (DWD tW)—and "milk-pale":
With her high cheekbones, full lips, and milk-pale skin, [Nym] had all the beauty that her elder sister lacked… (FFC CotG)While this is popularly believed to be a mistake, being "olive-skinned" and "pale" are in no way mutually exclusive. Olive skin is properly about a greenish/yellow tone, not about being dark or light. While many people with olive scale also have medium-to-dark skin, this is not universally true. See http://oliveskinbeauty.com/olive-skin-care/what-is-olive-skin/ and/or this page on "really pale" but still olive skin.
Nymeria is surely "milk-pale" because her mother was of "the noblest blood of old Volantis", said blood being Valyrian—
At the mouth of the Rhoyne, the Valyrians founded the first of their colonies. There, Volantis was raised by some of the wealthiest men of the Freehold… (TWOIAF)—which means pale skin:
the white-blond hair and smooth fair skin of Lys, where the blood of the old Freehold still ran strong. (TWOIAF)Something the Tattered Prince says to Quentyn strongly implies that Quentyn's skin pointedly lacks the olive hue Nym has (and which Doran's pale skin may well have):
The Tattered Prince glanced at Pretty Meris. "He does not lack for gall, this Frog. Must I remind him? My dear prince, the last contract we signed you used to wipe your pretty pink bottom."If Quentyn's complexion is the sort to inspire an offhand remark about his "pink bottom", he seems to have plain, "fair" skin, with pink rather than olive undertones, just like a "fair of… skin" stony Dornishman would have. The phrase "pretty pink bottom" even recalls the stony Dornish Arch Yronwood's head reminding Quent of a "smooth pink boulder", especially inasmuch as "smooth as a baby's bottom" is a cliché and Quent is likened to a nursing babe. Indeed, might the pink-skinned Quentyn's "overlarge" head, with its "high forehead" and "heavy jaw" resemble Arche's "smooth pink boulder", were Quent to have all his hair fall out?
The fact that…
Dany had no inkling why anyone would call him Frog. (DWD Dae VII)…confirms that Quent's skin is not olive-hued, else Dany would assume that he is called Frog due to his skin tone (which is almost certainly why the "sallow" Meria Martell was dubbed "The Yellow Toad of Dorne"). (TWOIAF) Instead, Quentyn has the easily flushed, occasionally "white as milk", "pink" skin of a fair-skinned stony Dornishman.
Hair The Color of Dried MudWe get two rather vivid descriptions of Quentyn's hair color that seem loaded with possible portent.
Arianne's description of Quentyn's (and perhaps Doran's) hair as "the color of dried mud"—
[Quentyn's] head was overlarge and sort of square, his hair the color of dried mud. … He looks too much like Father. (TWOW Arianne I)—is consistent with the idea that Quent's hair is a medium brown, if not lighter and perhaps slightly reddish, and thus that he is at least as "stony" looking as he is "salty". How so? Because Sunspear is built of (dried, obviously) mud bricks and is "colored brown and dun":
Sunspear was built from mud and straw, and colored brown and dun. … To the west, in the shadows of Sunspear's massive walls, mud-brick shops and windowless hovels clung to the castle like barnacles to a galley's hull. (CotG)The mention of "straw" makes it clear that Sunspear is constructed of adobe mud-bricks, in which straw serves as a binding material. (wikipedia: mud-brick & adobe) Adobe is "dried mud" and straw. A glance at any number of famous earthly mud-bricks structures (including castles and forts) in North Africa, Arabia and Iberia shows that we are rarely if ever talking about a dark brown color. Indeed, it's often a lighter tan (i.e. dun) shade or even reddish-brown. The latter is interesting as we're constantly told about the "Red Mountains" and "red sands" of Dorne, a "dry red land". There's even a book about Dorne called "Red Sands". It's also worth mentioning that in horse breeding, at which the Dornish are expert, a classic "dun" horse has a "tan" or "gold" color. (wikipedia: dun gene) Again, many real world adobe buildings in the North African, Arabian and Iberian settings evoked by Dorne are this color. All this suggests that Quentyn's (and perhaps Doran's) hair is considerably lighter than Oberyn's, Arianne's, or that of the average black-haired salty Dornishman, at most a typically stony Dornish neutral "brown" but perhaps even lighter and/or tinged with red.
Besides the in-world question of what color Arianne is describing, we might also note that "dried mud" are almost literally "stony"—stone-like.
"Hair the Brown of New-Turned Earth"Quentyn calls his own hair…
the brown of new-turned earth. (tMM)This is a more interesting description. Superficially, it seems to imply that Quentyn's hair is a darker brown, given that "new-turned earth" sounds to many of us like moist, dark soil. But again, Dorne is a "dry red land", and this complicates that picture.
I think Quent's description is more interesting considered metatextually. First, it just so happens that the soil of both eastern Dorne generally of the Martells' core lands specifically is called "stony" (as in "stony Dornishman"):
The eastern half of Dorne is largely barren scrub, its dry, stony soil yielding little… (TWOIAF)Even better, the phrase "new-turned earth" links Quent to the earth-turning Gravedigger of Quiet Isle, thus implying that Elder Brother is a Martell like Quent "is", not least because Dunk also digs a grave in his dream in The Sworn Sword while Dornish knights—a la Lewyn Martell—talk in Quiet Isle-ish "quiet voices":
[House Martell founder Morgan] Martell and his kin… established dominion over a strip of stony coastlands fifty leagues long and ten leagues wide. (TWOIAF)
There were red mountains in the distance and white sands beneath his feet. Dunk was digging, plunging a spade into the dry hot earth, and flinging the fine sand back over his shoulder. He was making a hole. A grave, he thought, a grave for hope. A trio of Dornish knights stood watching, making mock of him in quiet voices.(tSS)Notice that a "trio of Dornish knights" stand around "making mock", whereas we're told that Quentyn is accompanied by Cletus, Kedry and "three of Lord Yronwood's best young knights", including Gerris, who "mocks" Quentyn's "hopes", whereas Dunk digs "a grave for hope". (FFC PitT; tDT) Quent's earthy hair is thus very connected to Dunk's dream, in which the "earth" Dunk new-turns is "fine sand", which is the exact material that constitutes 55-75% of an ideal adobe (i.e. "mud-brick") construction (as in "hair the color of dried mud") per wikipedia's entry on adobe:
The most desirable soil texture for producing the mud of adobe is 15% clay, 10–30% silt, and 55–75% fine sand.Given that the new-turned "earth" from Dunk's Dornish dream is "fine sand", might we suspect that Quent's hair is "sandy brown"? Hold that thought a moment.
What about the earth the Gravedigger of Quiet Isle turns over? It just so happens to be called "stony" as well:
As he flung a spadeful of the stony soil over one shoulder, some chanced to spatter against their feet. (FFC B VI)
Quentyn, Daeron the Dreamer, and other such DreamersSo, what about the suggestion that Quentyn's hair might be "sandy"? Whether it is or not in-world, I think the connection is real. I've repeatedly cited Maekar Targaryen as a kind of "proxy-Martell" given that he is the son of Mariah Martell and Daeron I Targaryen, whereas "our" Martells descend from Mariah's brother and Daeron's sister. When Maekar coupled with Dyanna Dayne, one of their sons, Daeron, had "common", "sandy brown hair". (tHK) And who are the Daynes? First Men and stony Dornishmen, like the Wyls and Yronwoods. Much as the Yronwoods are mostly "blue-eyed blondes", so does Edric Dayne have "blue eyes" and "pale blond [hair], more ash than honey." (SOS Ary VIII) Ashara, though, had "dark hair", recalling how Gwyneth Yronwood has "dark eyes" and "brown hair" and underscoring the idea that stony Dornishmen aren't always blond.
The fact that Daeron's hair is called "sandy" is especially interesting vis-a-vis Quentyn with his (figuratively, at least) "sandy" hair because Daeron is clearly a "dreamer"—something we learn in the same breath we're told about his sandy brown hair:
Across the room, the lordling raised his head from the wine puddle. His face had a sallow, unhealthy cast to it beneath a rat's nest of sandy brown hair, and blond stubble crusted his chin. He rubbed his mouth, blinked at Dunk, and said, "I dreamed of you."And what is Quentyn—whose hair is "the brown of new-turned earth" like the "fine sand" Dunk digs—called? A dreamer.
The innkeep leaned close. "Never you mind that one, ser. All he does is drink and talk about his dreams."
"I dreamed of you," said the prince.
"My dreams are not like yours, Ser Duncan. Mine are true. They frighten me. You frighten me. I dreamed of you and a dead dragon, you see."
"Quentyn was our friend, yes. A bit of a fool, you might say, but all dreamers are fools. But first and last he was our prince. We owed him our obedience." (DWD tQH)Just like Daeron of the "sandy brown" hair.
(By the way, who else has "sandy" hair? Gerris Drinkwater—
Tall and fair, with blue-green eyes, sandy hair streaked by the sun, and a lean and comely body, Gerris Drinkwater had a swagger to him… (tMM)—whose house is, like the Wyls, sworn to House Yronwood.)
A pity he's the prince, and not the one with the wide shoulders and the sandy hair. (DWD Dae VII)
Quent's connection to Daeron the Dreamer isn't the only connection he seems to have to similarly "dreamy" figures. After Gerris demonstrates remarkable patience with one of Quentyn's frequent, interminable, borderline hostile brooding silences, he gamely seizes upon the appearance of some animal vendors to break the ice:
"Perhaps your silver queen would like a monkey," said Gerris.Quent continues to brood on, utterly oblivious to how awkward his lengthy silences must be for Gerris. His silent response is this:
Quentyn had no idea what Daenerys Targaryen might like. He had promised his father that he would bring her back to Dorne, but more and more he wondered if he was equal to the task.In this moment Quent gets a little testy, a little petulant, a little resentful. Given that Quent is explicitly called "a dreamer" and that he spends a night weirdly "dreaming without sleeping" (among other suspicious things)—
I never asked for this, he thought. (DWD tMM)
The prince lay abed, staring at his ceiling, dreaming without sleeping, remembering, imagining, twisting beneath his linen coverlet, his mind feverish with thoughts of fire and blood. (tDT)—I am reminded of Bran—
Bran had never asked to be a prince. (COK B II)—the equally dreamy Sweetrobin—
"I don't want any more stories," Bran snapped, his voice petulant. (GOT B IV)
The waking dream had been so vivid, for a moment Bran had not known where he was. (COK B III)
"I don't want food," the little lord said, in a reedy, petulant voice. "I'm going to stay in bed today. You could read to me if you want." (FFC Ala II)—Joffrey (who I believe to be Aerys's double-grandson, i.e. de facto son)—
Joffrey looked as petulant as only a boy prince can look. "What good will my comfort do them?" (GOT Ty I)—the indubitably petulant Cersei (who I believe is Aerys's daughter)—
Was this a dream, or had she woken? (DWD C I)—and especially Viserys:
Dany could see the anger in her brother's lilac eyes. He did not like sitting beneath her, and he fumed when the slaves offered each dish first to the khal and his bride, and served him from the portions they refused. He could do nothing but nurse his resentment, so nurse it he did, his mood growing blacker by the hour at each insult to his person. (GOT Dae II)The Viserys connection and it's reference to nursing is especially interesting, given that Viserys's anger-flashing eyes blatantly prefigure Quent's anger-flashing eyes and given that Viserys's figurative nursing prefigures Quentyn's heavy associations with nursing (which link him to House Wyl), which include Quentyn nursing perhaps not just his burn wound but also his "resentment" of Gerris, whom he shortly thereafter orders to shut the fuck up.
Meanwhile, Viserys is also a dreamer. Indeed, his dreaming is a kind of feverish, mad "optimism"—
"Illyrio is no fool," Viserys said. He was a gaunt young man with nervous hands and a feverish look in his pale lilac eyes. "The magister knows that I will not forget my friends when I come into my throne."—not dissimilar from that in which Quentyn engages in the very moment when he nurses his wound and perhaps his resentment:
Dany said nothing. …she knew better than to question her brother when he wove his webs of dream. (GOT D I)
"Not all risks lead to ruin," he insisted. "This is my duty. My destiny." You are supposed to be my friend, Gerris. Why must you mock my hopes? I have doubts enough without your throwing oil on the fire of my fear. "This will be my grand adventure."The point is not that Quentyn is thus surely a Targaryen and therefore likely Oberyn's son (although I very much acknowledge the possibility) anymore than that Bran is a Targaryen. It's that the First Men carry similar skinchanging/dream-causing/crazy-making genes to House Targaryen and that Quentyn's story reads very differently if we keep this in mind.
"Men die on grand adventures."
He was not wrong. That was in the stories too. The hero sets out with his friends and companions, faces dangers, comes home triumphant. Only some of his companions don't return at all. The hero never dies, though. I must be the hero. Would you have Dorne remember me as a failure?"
"Dorne is not like to remember any of us for long."
Quentyn sucked at the burned spot on his palm. "Dorne remembers Aegon and his sisters. Dragons are not so easily forgotten. They will remember Daenerys as well."
"Not if she's died."
"She lives." She must. "She is lost, but I can find her." And when I do, she will look at me the way she looks at her sellsword. Once I have proven myself worthy of her. (DWD tDT)
Quentyn Looks Like a Constipated Old ManI talked about how Gerris telling Quentyn…
"You look like an old man who has not moved his bowels in half a year." (tMM)…sounds like he's describing the symptoms of the poison "widow's blood", which therefore connects Quent to the Wyls via the Widow-lover, Wyl of Wyl. I wonder whether Gerris's words might not also be "metatext-ese" for "Quentyn looks like Edgar Yronwood", which would make sense if he's an Yronwood Wyl who "looks like Doran" who is himself an Yronwood (or perhaps the grandson of an Yronwood). How do I arrive at such a "translation"?
Given that we're clearly encouraged to believe Oberyn poisoned Tywin with widow's blood prior to Tywin's death, if someone looks like a man "who has not moved his bowels in half a year", they might be said to look like someone Oberyn Martell has poisoned, right? (Whether Oberyn actually did so is immaterial to the question of the text's referentiality, as is the fact that Edgar seems to have been poisoned with something that wasn't widow's blood.) And what literal "old man" is Oberyn said to have poisoned? Edgar Yronwood:
When he was no more than sixteen, Prince Oberyn had been found abed with the paramour of old Lord Yronwood, a huge man of fierce repute and short temper. A duel ensued, though in view of the prince's youth and high birth, it was only to first blood. Both men took cuts, and honor was satisfied. Yet Prince Oberyn soon recovered, while Lord Yronwood's wounds festered and killed him. Afterward men whispered that Oberyn had fought with a poisoned sword, and ever thereafter friends and foes alike called him the Red Viper. (SOS Ty V)Thus Gerris saying Quentyn looks "like an old man who has not moved his bowels in half a year" is in effect saying "you look like Edgar Yronwood". Which, again, makes sense if Quent is half-Wyl and if Doran, who he looks like, is part-Yronwood.
The Curious Circumstances of Quentyn's QuestHopefully you are at least convinced that there is something going on with the identity of the guy we're told is Quentyn Martell. I submit that the strange circumstances of Quentyn's story and journey support the idea that he is someone other than Doran's trueborn son, and furthermore that Doran knows this and, as a consequence, is either less than fully committed to Quentyn's quest's success or perhaps even seeking to sideline Quentyn via a quest he believes will almost certainly fail. In short, if Quentyn were Doran's trueborn son, we would expect Doran to have taken far more precautions and invested far more resources and care in Quentyn's quest than he does. What do I mean?
Doran sent Quentyn to meet Dany in Meereen with nothing but a maester and four knights as backup. Ser Daemon Sand says something to Arianne that suggests this could be suspicious: