The “Faithful” Northmen
Roughly two months (11/23/299 - 1/28/300) after the Northern parties go missing, Brienne and her company travel North to Duskendale. Along the way, they encounter a suspicious band of armed and bearded Sparrows:
A group of begging brothers led the way, scruffy bearded men…
Several of the men had axes, and more had crude wooden clubs and cudgels.
Interestingly, there are only three characters who address Brienne and her hedge knights:
“Poor fellows,” said a big man with an axe. Despite the chill of the autumnal wood, he was
“We are marching to the city,” said a tall woman in the traces of the wayn…
“Join us, friends,” urged a spare small man in a threadbare septon’s robe...
It is my impression that these three distinct characters represent the missing Northern bannermen: House Glover, House Mormont, and House Reed.
- Axes that fit like a Glove'r
The axe is a choice weapon among the North. So much so, there are even certain Houses which brandish an axe as their sigil i.e. House Dustin, House Cerwyn - no other House bears a sigil of an axe.
The home of House Glover is situated in the Wolfswood; it is, undoubtedly, surrounded by more trees than any other House in the entire story. In fact, the Glovers’ are so beset by trees, they crafted their seat from them - Deepwood Motte.
As such, it stands to reason that these hairy, lumberjack-esque, northerners would prefer axes as weapons.
Interestingly, many of these sparrows favor axes:
Several of the men had axes
We encountered ruffians on the road as well. Filthy, unkempt creatures, with leather shields and axes...”
“They call themselves sparrows...”
She had only two knights amidst a sea of sparrows. She saw staves and scythes, cudgels and clubs, several axes.
Some had spears and some had longswords. More favored axes…
… the sparrows came pouring into the Great Sept with their leader on their shoulders and their axes in their hands.
“Your sparrows have clubs and axes…”
The Poor Fellows ... Begging brothers of a sort, though they carried axes instead of bowls.
And mingled in with them were the Poor Fellows, filthy, unshaven creatures armed with spears and axes.
When Jaime visits his cousin, Lancel, he sees many of these same bearded sparrows occupying Castle Darry:
A dozen bearded men with axes stood guard...
There were axes in evidence as well, and he spied several bearded men with red, seven-pointed stars sewn onto ragged, filthy tunics. More bloody sparrows. Where do they all come from?
Jaime glanced about the yard, at the bearded faces of the sparrows. Too many.
Three sparrows sat upon its steps. When Jaime approached, they rose. “Where you going, m’lord?” asked one. He was the smallest of the three, but he had the biggest beard.
“... you can’t go in unless his lordship says you can.” She hefted a spiked club, and the small man raised an axe.
So, I think it’s safe to say these “sparrows”, have similarly shaggy beards and carry axes as often as any northmen. Speaking of which, let’s draw our attention back to the big, axe-wielding man Brienne makes note of:
a big man with an axe. Despite the chill of the autumnal wood, he was shirtless…
Despite the noted chill of the woods, this man is walking around shirtless - suggestive of a northman; being resilient to the cold.
During the exchange between the sparrows and Brienne’s company, Duskendale is mentioned, and the sparrows, the big one in particular, have an unreasonably angry reaction:
“We are bound for Duskendale,” Ser Illifer said flatly.
One of the begging brothers spat, and a woman gave a moan. “You are false knights,” said the big man with the star carved on his chest. Several others brandished their cudgels.
Why so serious? Well:
(Robb) shook his head, bewildered. “A third of my foot, lost for Duskendale?”
“... the Lannisters hold my brother,” Galbart Glover said, in a voice thick with despair. Robett Glover had survived the battle, but had been captured near the kingsroad not long after.
These bearded “sparrows”, who wear ragged clothes and armor, favor axes, and harbor an unexplained rancor for Duskendale, seem awfully suspicious... don’t they?
If Galbart Glover took his men south, with Howland and Maege, these suspicious sparrow traits would definitely match his unaccounted party.
Speaking of Maege...
- The unBEARable Septas
Catelyn: “You are braver than I am, I fear. Are all your Bear Island women such warriors?”
Maege: “She-bears, aye...”
In Cersei’s mad attempt to flee the Sept of Baelor, she is captured by a group of suspiciously strong septas:
She ran as far as the sept, but no farther. There were women waiting for her there, more septas...
but the septas … were stronger than they looked.
“Stronger than they looked”? That sounds familiar:
“We are stronger than we seem, my lady,” Lady Maege Mormont said...
After Cersei’s capture, she is held in confinement, with three of these deceptively strong septas as her gaolers:
Septa Unella was big-boned and mannish, with callused hands and homely, scowling features.
Septa Scolera was thick-waisted and short, with heavy breasts, olive skin, and a sour smell to her, like milk on the verge of going bad.
Septa Moelle had stiff white hair and small mean eyes perpetually crinkled in suspicion, peering out of a wrinkled face as sharp as the blade of an axe.
Interestingly, these septas share some striking similarities to the She-Bear Mormonts:
(Dacey) was tall and lean, (Maege) short and stout...
Her proper name was Alysane of House Mormont, but she wore the other name as easily as she wore her mail. Short, chunky, muscular, the heir to Bear Island had big thighs, big breasts, and big hands ridged with callus.
Let’s list and compare these traits straight from the text:
- big breasts
- big hands ridged with callus
- heavy breast
- callused hands
However, aside from these glaring similarities, there is one unifying parallel of these septas which cements them as She-Bears - the She-Bear carving on the gates of Mormont Keep:
Dacey: “There’s a carving on our gate”
“A woman in a bearskin…”
Septa Unella ... with callused hands and homely, scowling features … would growl when she shook the queen awake.
“... with a child in one arm suckling at her breast…”
Septa Scolera ... a sour smell to her, like milk on the verge of going bad.
“... In the other hand she holds a battleaxe.”
Septa Moelle ... a wrinkled face as sharp as the blade of an axe.
Interestingly, we have seen other female captives accompanied by a She-Bear. Examining them more thoroughly, we can see a pattern develop:
A female captive (Catelyn) is kept in the company of She-Bears (Maege, Dacey)
A female captive (Asha) is kept in the company of a She-Bear (Alysane)
But what about when the captive is a male, or better yet, a male lion? In ADwD, we are given the possibility of this interesting parallel:
A male lion captive (Tyrion) is kept in the company of a He-Bear (Jorah)
A female lion captive (Cersei) is kept in the company of ____________
Fill in the blank
Asha’s description of Alysane:
Even in sleep (Alysane) wore ringmail under her furs, boiled leather under that
Cersei thinks this of Septa Moelle:
This one still has her maidenhead, I’ll wager, Cersei thought, though by now it’s hard and stiff as boiled leather.
- Where there's a Wells, there's a way
On Cersei’s second visit with the new High Septon, she is escorted into the Sept by certain person of interest:
“His High Holiness has been expecting you. I am Ser Theodan the True, formerly Ser Theodan Wells.”
Their captain knelt before her. “Perhaps Your Grace will recall me. I am Ser Theodan the True.”
Theodan Wells, of House Wells, sworn to the North. Funny that a northman has risen to such a prominent position as captain of the Warrior's Sons.
Edited by pobeb, 04 August 2014 - 03:27 PM.