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[ADwD Spoilers] Plagues - Greyscale and the Pale Mare


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#1 MartellSandSnake

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 01:43 PM

I feel like there is far more focus on pestilence and plague in this book than the others before it. With the Pale War ravaging the Yunkai and the all the focus on Greyscale, I wonder what role GRRM expects these ailments to play in the conclusion of the series. the sudden prominence of greyscale, especially with Val's comment about Shireen, makes me wonder if it will be featured in the series wind down.

I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way? Or has any of their own insights on the matter?

#2 Prince of Braavos

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 02:53 PM

Yeah one of the relatively few medieval things that hasn't had an analogue in ASOIAF has been the Black Death... up until this book. Then it talked about greyscale plaguing the East and Connington showed up in Westeros with it--my first thought when he pulled off his glove was that the Grey Plague is going to make winter even worse than it was already going to be.

#3 littlespider

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:17 PM

Yup. I have to say, I'm looking forward to seeing plague, though I know that is morbid. Also looking forward to the connection between Connington (in the south) and Shireen (in the north).

Westeros might be caught in some pestilential pathological pincers.

#4 ARYa_Nym

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:20 PM

I do! I think that Jon Connington is going to cause a little outbreak.

& that Shireen's dormant disease will make a return. Although she did have a dream of a dragon coming to eat her so maybe that will come true instead.

#5 grizzly53

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:29 PM

I feel like there is far more focus on pestilence and plague in this book than the others before it. With the Pale War ravaging the Yunkai and the all the focus on Greyscale, I wonder what role GRRM expects these ailments to play in the conclusion of the series. the sudden prominence of greyscale, especially with Val's comment about Shireen, makes me wonder if it will be featured in the series wind down.

I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way? Or has any of their own insights on the matter?



Haha, I tried to post almost the same thing.....but I think I didn't name the post correctly or something.

Here's what I tried to say:

I have no theory or anything, it's just this:

Greyscale is EVERYWHERE in ADWD.

Why? Anyone have any ideas on this one?

It's at the wall (Stannis' daughter, Sherine?), discussed between Jon and Val, Jon Connington, Tyrion was exposed, the Stone men...it was on the side in the last few books, we knew it was there...it was just an unfortunate disfiguring disease. But now...

WHY?


I didn't think to combine it with the Pale Mare. In my mind, that's something mentioned in the past that happens in war camps and during war....but maybe there's a connection.

Edited by grizzly53, 09 August 2011 - 03:30 PM.


#6 Amir

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:34 PM

Dont forget the cold plague beyond the wall . (:

i didnt realy get the grey scale, is this the plague that infected the stone mans in the sunken city? are they the original residents of that city? and if so doesnt it look a bit too similar to the "cold plague" .

Edited by Amir, 09 August 2011 - 04:00 PM.


#7 MillerEP

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:42 PM

I just think that GRRM is trying to add as much historically accurate effects into his novels. Plagues back in the midevial times are pretty common, especially during military camps. I think that the greyscale that Connington has is just to make him a more tragic figure, and allow GRRM a way to kill him off, and Shireen's is what it is.

If anything I can see Connington giving it to the prince, as a way to take him out as a player in the "game of thrones" but it might also give him and Shireen something in common, so they can marry and reconcile the targ family with the Barantheon family...never know.

#8 ARYa_Nym

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:43 PM

How did Shireen get it?

#9 fassreiter

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:48 PM

What I didn't undertand: Was the Pale Mare meant as a mere misleading prophecy (like, a joke), or is this meant as apocalyptic symbolism? And if it's supposed to hint at the apocalypse, do only we see it as such or does Westeros has the same imagery? I don't remember anything about the four riders being mentioned, but I'm not sure.

I'm also not sure what greyscale is meant to be: some kind of super-infection, part leprosy, part pestilence? The Sorrows were definitely written as a leprosy colony. Leprosy is not very contagious. And if it was, a colony would make no sense, you would never be able to control it in an epidemic outbreak spreading as fast as the so called Black Death. Leprosy has never been epidemic. In fact, most leprosoria were never fully occupied. Whereas an outbreak of pestilence occured almost regularly every four or five years since the 14th century, with heavy peaks every twenty years or some. If leprosy could have transmuted into such a highly contagious form, but at the same time making its victims last much longer than your common plague, I very much doubt any of us would be alive today. I am not sure I would like such a factor in our game of thrones.

#10 MillerEP

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:48 PM

Dont forget the cold plague beyond the wall . (:

i didnt realy get the grey scale, is the the plague they infected the stone mans in the sunken city? are they the original residents of that city? and if so doesnt it look a bit too similar to the "cold plague" .


Well I think there are 2 forms of greyscale. There is the kind that forms in dark, damp places (and affects children) that disfigures but doesn't kill and then the one they also called the grey plague, which is the mortal version. I think they mentioned in one of the books that if you have the disfigurement one you can't die from the mortal version. Shireen got it one the dark and damp Dragonstone I believe.

Ultimately, the grey plague is a type of cancer which eventually will affect your brain and just drive you to seek dark and damp places and will make you murderously crazy, not zombie-like like the raised dead give you up in the N. The really, really bad thing about the grey plague is that it is easily communicatable through just touch.

Edited by MillerEP, 09 August 2011 - 03:50 PM.


#11 ARYa_Nym

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 03:59 PM

Shireen got it one the dark and damp Dragonstone I believe.


Oh. Does that mean when/if Connnington spreads his disease they will all flock there? Or do they just look for a dark and damp place close to them?

#12 modehead

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 04:02 PM

Martin probably re-read the first four books and said to himself, "There's really not enough unavoidable misery in this series; I need some plagues."

#13 Prince of Braavos

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:59 PM

Well I think there are 2 forms of greyscale. There is the kind that forms in dark, damp places (and affects children) that disfigures but doesn't kill and then the one they also called the grey plague, which is the mortal version. I think they mentioned in one of the books that if you have the disfigurement one you can't die from the mortal version. Shireen got it one the dark and damp Dragonstone I believe.


I've seen the idea that there's two forms of the disease, but I don't buy it. I think it's taking some things that were said by different characters a little too literally (aka flawed POVs talking about the same thing with different terminology). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure people who survived the Black Death were immune to it afterwards. So that's just another parallel that the Grey Plague has with the Black Plague.

#14 rue721

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:20 PM

Martin probably re-read the first four books and said to himself, "There's really not enough unavoidable misery in this series; I need some plagues."


LOL!

I've seen the idea that there's two forms of the disease, but I don't buy it. I think it's taking some things that were said by different characters a little too literally


The different forms of greyscale actually reminded me of cowpox v. smallpox. What they need to do is take a small amount of the child-greyscale virus, break it down until it's weak (such as by heating it), and inject it into people. Then there won't be any more stone men /tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />. Somehow, I don't think that's what's going to happen, though. Because of the above "unavoidable misery" thing.

With the Pale War ravaging the Yunkai and the all the focus on Greyscale, I wonder what role GRRM expects these ailments to play in the conclusion of the series.


There's also the re-animated dead. That also could be some sort of plague or virus. The thing with the stonemen not feeling pain reminded me of them. Also that the stonemen are connected with water, and the re-animated dead are killed with fire/dragonglass.

In terms of the role plagues might play, I guess I'm more prone to thinking in terms of theme. I think it's interesting that the characters are kind of losing or facing the loss of their personal identities, and for some it's very painful. They're sort of becoming myths and monuments of themselves, in a way? Dany isn't herself, she's the "mother" of Meereen, Tyrion isn't himself, he's "the kinslayer," etc. It sort of reminds me of the Stark tomb, where all the leaders are represented by stone statues -- which makes me think of Greyscale.

There's also the flip-side of turning to stone, which is that it makes life's blows easier to take. I remember some kind of mention (don't remember where, though, I'm sorry! It could actually have been on the boards, for all I remember) of Tyrion swallowing all that water that must have the greyscale virus floating in it, and maybe he's turning to stone from the inside out. So when you prick him, he still bleeds, but meanwhile his heart is turning to stone. I wonder if the greyscale idea isn't connected to the idea of the characters losing their humanity?

And the Pale Mare is sort of the opposite -- you want and want, but you also leak out everything. It's like you're a giant sieve. I was thinking of that in terms of emotions. Also in Tyrion's POV chapters, when his and Penny's owner gets the Pale Mare, it's like they're suddenly cut loose -- that's when they escape, and Tyrion and Penny both bust out philosophies/rants on what it means to be "owned" etc. Then, when Penny seems to be falling ill, Tyrion "lets go" again and slaps her and busts out a long scolding session. I'm wondering if the Pale Mare is about release somehow, or not being able to hold things in anymore, or exploding? About expressing oneself, sort of?

I don't know what the plague beyond the wall might mean, thematically. I wonder if it has something to do with being haunted/destroyed by the past. The Others don't really seem like a horde, they seem more like individuals that you'd thought were gone but are back stronger and colder than ever. I think maybe that is about the past coming back to haunt you, or somehow being unable to lose things even you wish were gone. The fact that they're killed with fire/symbols of fire (such as the dragonglass) -- I wonder what the fire represents there?

Mmmm just random musing, I guess /smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#15 Brucolac

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:28 PM

Knowing GRRM propensity for borrowing from history and that Connington has already contracted it, I expect to see him passing it on to Aegon, who is already styled as charasmatic, moral and young and on a personal crusade to reclaim his home land. Sounds like King Baldwin, and he is set up to share his fate.

#16 Monday

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:30 PM

Too lazy to go search SSM, but I seem to recall GRRM saying that illness and disease would be a theme in aDwD.

Anyhow, I think greyscale is going to play a continuing role in the series, but it will have to do more with Jon Connington than Shireen.


eta-

@weezer1201 - I like that theory.

Edited by Monday, 09 August 2011 - 06:31 PM.


#17 Golden Skull

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:53 PM

My crackpot theory is that Mel's vision's re: patchface and death will be about the clown contracting and then spreading the disease in the north, because he's always around the ugly devil child. Moreover, her visions of towers being overwhelmed by death is greyscale in the south being brought by Fabulous Connington.
Greyscale is just too prominent and when Val had her freak out about Shireen I thought "this seems like a taste of the future."

#18 Jeynethemaegi

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:56 PM

Everyone ends up fighting over dead bodies and empty castles.... how quiant.

#19 Golden Skull

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:59 PM

Knowing GRRM propensity for borrowing from history and that Connington has already contracted it, I expect to see him passing it on to Aegon, who is already styled as charasmatic, moral and young and on a personal crusade to reclaim his home land. Sounds like King Baldwin, and he is set up to share his fate.


This seems to be a likely outcome of Fabulous Connington's assumption that wine + glove = sanitary conditions.
What is more interesting is the prophecy that AA will wake stone dragons. If we assume that the AA prophecy was fulfilled in the last Jon chapter then it is obviously not a literal prophecy (the bleeding star is the bleeding knight who sigil is a star, the smoke is heat of blood, the salt is Bowen Marsh's tears etc.). So instead of thinking Dany is AA because she woke dragons, it is possible that Jon will wake stone dragons by curing Aegon of greyscale.

#20 MartellSandSnake

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 06:05 AM

Greyscale is just too prominent and when Val had her freak out about Shireen I thought "this seems like a taste of the future."


That was my exact thought. I was Val's reaction that made me believe that the Greyscale had a much larger part to play than to off a tragic hero like Connington. Though I do see him causing some chaos in the south...

So instead of thinking Dany is AA because she woke dragons, it is possible that Jon will wake stone dragons by curing Aegon of greyscale.


Oooh, hadn't thought of that. It certainly would make an interesting bit of storytelling.

Re: The Pale Mare, I genuinely think that's it's just for authenticity (sickness haunts encamped soldiers) and as a story device, but I thought the characterization of the disease

you want and want, but you also leak out everything

is really fascinating.