Jump to content


Photo

The Food Code of Ice and Fire


  • Please log in to reply
255 replies to this topic

#1 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:18 PM

First off, thanks to partners in crime Dr. Pepper and Florina Stark.

The title is just what this thread is intended to hash out: What possible clues and foreshadowing we can gather from the food (and drink) that GRRM chooses to incorporate in the novels.

We'll start with one that, we think, gets frequently misinterpreted: peaches. For a long time, as long as I can remember, the peach and its appearance has been synonymous with "death." We think we might have a better interpretation — the idea that peaches are synonymous with denial, obliviousness and youthful ignorance and a sense of invincibility.

Renly's peach is where the idea of "death" comes from, but when he eats it, he's facing down Stannis and extremely sure of his victory. That passage is also rife with the idea of summer naivete, the "knights of summer" and an easygoing time that's coming to a close.

Robert and Pycelle both mention peaches in the context of the "good old days," either remembering a romanticized past or thinking of the "fleeing" summer, such as when Robert talks about the south to Ned.

When Joffrey puts her aside, Sansa naively thinks that her troubles are over and remarks about how sweet the food, including peaches, tastes. Afterward she learns that she's not out of the woods yet.

Asha and Qarl enjoy peaches and sex at Deepwood Motte, thinking they're safe in their castle, promptly before the northmen and Stannis arrive to flush them out.

Arya arrives at the Peach Inn with the Brotherhood, thinking her troubles are mostly behind her. The chapter ends with the Hound being caught and her thinking her prayers are answered.

Peaches are served at Joffrey's wedding, when the Lannisters are at the top of their power and have just vanquished Robb Stark. Tyrion is the one who notices the peaches (it's his POV); he's about to be framed for murder.

Dany's arc frequently mentions peaches, such as when Jorah brings her a peach in Vaes Tolloro and she remarks on how sweet it tastes and how wonderful it is to be there, before they have to move on. It's also remarked that the slavemaster in Astapor smells like peaches and it's in this passage that Dany experiences confidence that she can outsmart them.

So we suggest that the peach's code is not one of death, but of confidence, "summer" qualities, innocence, naivete and comfort. But those things do eventually end, sooner or later, like summer. Because death might be part of said downfall, the peach can somewhat be interpreted in that context. But we think there's more to it than that.

The next one is fairly straightforward: the wine. We've already hit on this before, but in short, whenever Arbor red wine is mentioned, there's poison involved (true for Dany's wineseller, Cressen and Joffrey). Whenever you see Arbor gold, be on the lookout for lies and deception.

Next we have boar. This seems to denote regime change or a shift in power. Robert's hunting party goes in search of boar before Bran is defenestrated. Most clearly, Robert is killed by a boar and actually thinks it's a god-sent punishment for his plan to kill Dany; the boar is served at his funeral. In between Yoren's death and being captured by the Lannisters, Arya and her friends discuss hunting boar. Boar is served at the Winterfell harvest feast before the ironborn and Theon take over the castle.

Roose wants boar after hunting wolves while he's at Harrenhal; the castle switches hands again soon, after both literally (Bloody Mummers) and on paper (Littlefinger gets it). This is also about the time that Roose's allegiances are switching or have switched. Sansa has boar with the Queen of Thorns, when the plot is on to assassinate Joffrey. Alerie offers boar to Sansa; the Tyrells are co-opting her. Boar is served at Joffrey's wedding. Cersei eats it with the Stokeworths when plotting against Bronn, only for Bronn to end up on top. Cersei, heh, comes to like boar. Ryman Frey uses boar-baiting to keep his men in line at Riverrun; he ends up getting hanged and popular assumption is that the Freys will lose Riverrun. On the way to the pit fight, a Brazen Beast in a boar helm offers Dany's litter carrier water. A boar gores Barsena in the fighting pit in Meereen before Dany flies off on Drogon and leaves a power vacuum behind. DP points out that the fighting pit chapter, which ends in massive political upheaval, is rife with boars and boar symbolism. Borroq's boar gives Ghost (and Jon) fits on the Wall. Jon, however, tries to prevent Ghost from savaging the boar or fighting the boar. Interestingly, in the Shieldhall, which one might view as the "beginning of the end" of Jon's Wall regime, the boar is conspicuously ... absent.

DP actually looked for boar mentions at the Red Wedding and there are none. After Robb beheads Rickard, Jeyne has Rollam send him boar for dinner and he refuses to eat it. We're wondering if this can thematically suggest that the Red Wedding really wasn't as much of a "regime change" in comparison with the other examples. We have boar at a wedding (the Purple Wedding) already and most of the examples we've used involve people either actually eating boar or expressing a desire or goal to hunt and eat boar. But the standout "regime change" moment for the North does not involve boar, and Robb explicitly turns boar down when it's offered earlier. Our hypothesis is that this can be read as a further contextual, if extremely subtle, clue that the North's goals, operations, ambitions, spirit, etc. are still intact. Likewise, Jon takes steps not to engage a boar, and the boar is also absent during what might otherwise be considered a "regime change" moment for him. Where some view boar-eating or boar-hunting as a sign of power or comfort, Jon avoids a boar confrontation.

We present a new meme: Regime Change Boar.

Edited by Apple Martini, 16 August 2013 - 03:22 PM.


#2 butterbumps!

butterbumps!

    i will make them love me

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,299 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:25 PM

Lemons seems to signify innocence as per Sansa + lemoncakes (and various characters who are nostalgic for those bakery treats from time to time, like Arya) and Dany's recurring memory of the lemon tree.

Pomegranates seem to be associated with duplicity (I should specify I mean a sort of Faustian bargain), which is pretty similar to the symbolism in our own world (Littlefinger offering the pomegranate to Sansa; Bowen's existence).

Edited by butterbumps!, 16 August 2013 - 03:28 PM.


#3 Mladen

Mladen

    Lady's Ghost

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,121 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:27 PM

Well, quite interesting combination...

I would like to add that one symbol - Renly's peach has in its original form the qualities you have listed, but then it is transformed through Stannis' haunted dreams, and Renly's peach became missed opportunity, regret over brother's death, guilty consiousness...

As for wine, as Sansa man, I would like to point out that there is interesting combination of food and drink in her storyline. It was made quite clear she is fond of lemoncakes, and we have Sandor's repetative scent - sour wine. It is interesting combination of sweetness and sourness.

#4 A Man Has Said

A Man Has Said

    Bipolar Bear, twice as polar as a Polar Bear

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,556 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

Well, there is that one passage in "A Feast for Crows" when Littlefinger is playing host to the Lords of the Vale - the chapter in which Lyn Corbray draws his sword, IIRC.
He explicitly refers to the incident before and after as serving up "lies and Arbor Gold."

So I definitely agree with that connection. The peaches connection to the naivete of the 'Summer Soldier' is pretty strong too. It immediately invoked a memory of when Catelyn first met with Renly at his encampment (at Bitterbridge?) and they were having a tourney. Her thoughts were that they were playing at war like children rather than actually fighting the war as men.

#5 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

Lemons seems to signify innocence as per Sansa + lemoncakes (and various characters who are nostalgic for those bakery treats from time to time, like Arya) and Dany's recurring memory of the lemon tree.

Pomegranates seem to be associated with duplicity (I should specify I mean a sort of Faustian bargain), which is pretty similar to the symbolism in our own world (Littlefinger offering the pomegranate to Sansa; Bowen's existence).


Definitely agree with both of these.

ETA: LOL "Bowen's existence."

ETA 2: DP points out that the first pomegranate mention we get is when Pycelle waxes on the good old days to Ned. Pycelle's one who ends up undermining Ned's mission.

Edited by Apple Martini, 16 August 2013 - 03:32 PM.


#6 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

    Leaf

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,111 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:32 PM

Nice post, I got confused about the boar in the last paragraph.
About Jon refusing Boar confrontation, does it mean hes refusing regime change?

#7 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:34 PM

Nice post, I got confused about the boar in the last paragraph.
About Jon refusing Boar confrontation, does it mean hes refusing regime change?


Or that it's symbolic that Jon's regime will in fact remain intact. Similarly to how Robb's refusal to eat it and its absence at the Red Wedding might be taken to mean that the Stark regime will remain intact.

#8 Florina Laufeyson

Florina Laufeyson

    Lord of Chaos

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,677 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:35 PM

The peaches definitely seem to signify a sense of overconfidence, naivety, and summer innocents. Sweet summer child seems almost analogous to peaches. While lemons may signify blind innocence, i think peaches dont signify the blind innocence but the innocence that comes from confidence.

The Regime Change Boar is one of my favorite things.
We see it happening in Meereen. After Drogon chomps that boar, all hell breaks loose and Dany flees Meereen, leaving a civil war to begin.

Jon actually sees Boqorro's boar just saunter through and Ghost gets all "ndsfdjhfsf". Jon thinks this is the boar enticing Ghost, but it often thought that Ghost was reacting to the discord in the Watch. Which is probably true. But the fact that the boar is there and then later....Ides of Marsh. I dont think this is a coincidence.
Jon learns this the hard way.

Or that it's symbolic that Jon's regime will in fact remain intact. Similarly to how Robb's refusal to eat it and its absence at the Red Wedding might be taken to mean that the Stark regime will remain intact.

Yes. Even though the boar was seen and shit happened, Jon refused the boar. So its likely that the wildlings and portions of the Watch will remain loyal to him despite it all. Just as Robb's refusal to eat the boar seemed to foreshadow that the North will not bend to Roose and Robb/the Starks are still seen as sovereign.

Edited by Florina Stark, 16 August 2013 - 03:37 PM.


#9 King of Winters

King of Winters

    King in the North, Warden of the South, Lord of Winter, Heretic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,119 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:35 PM

I can't remember if it's in the books as well, but in the show Roose doesn't drink wine. So of the wine at the Red Wedding is Arbour red or gold could him refusing it mean something or not, or just him not drinking wine in general?

#10 Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍

    Leaf

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,111 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:36 PM

Or that it's symbolic that Jon's regime will in fact remain intact. Similarly to how Robb's refusal to eat it and its absence at the Red Wedding might be taken to mean that the Stark regime will remain intact.

Ahhh that makes sense

#11 ejhawman

ejhawman

    Uncommoner

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 786 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:37 PM

/bowdown.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':bowdown:' /> Beautiful analysis. i could never have noticed these myself.

#12 butterbumps!

butterbumps!

    i will make them love me

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,299 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:40 PM

Definitely agree with both of these.


Yea, the pomegranate is a really cool one. The LF-Sansa scene in particular strikes me as a very purposeful, possibly inverted connection to Persephone-Hades. In the myth, the goddess of the harvest is abducted by Hades; he offers her seeds from a pomegranate and she must dwell in the underworld as queen for the number of months per seeds she ate, bringing winter in her absence above ground. Sansa, however, is not a daughter of spring but winter's daughter, and has been brought to the top of a mountain rather than the underworld. And she refuses to eat any of the proffered seeds. And winter is kind of her time to shine.

Edited by butterbumps!, 16 August 2013 - 03:40 PM.


#13 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:40 PM

I can't remember if it's in the books as well, but in the show Roose doesn't drink wine. So of the wine at the Red Wedding is Arbour red or gold could him refusing it mean something or not, or just him not drinking wine in general?


The type of wine at the Red Wedding was never specified as being from the Arbor, unless I'm overlooking something. I was also under the impression that at least part of why Roose refused it was to be sober for the fight.

Yea, the pomegranate is a really cool one. The LF-Sansa scene in particular strikes me as a very purposeful, possibly inverted connection to Persephone-Hades. In the myth, the goddess of the harvest is abducted by Hades; he offers her seeds from a pomegranate and she must dwell in the underworld as queen for the number of months per seeds she ate, bringing winter in her absence above ground. Sansa, however, is not a daughter of spring but winter's daughter, and has been brought to the top of a mountain rather than the underworld. And she refuses to eat any of the proffered seeds. And winter is kind of her time to shine.


Really cool way of looking at it. And of course it's also Bowen Marsh, the Pomegranate, who "sends" Jon to the Underworld.

Edited by Apple Martini, 16 August 2013 - 03:42 PM.


#14 yolkboy

yolkboy

    fried by r'hllor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,177 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:41 PM

DP actually looked for boar mentions at the Red Wedding and there are none. After Robb beheads Rickard, Jeyne has Rollam send him boar for dinner and he refuses to eat it. We're wondering if this can thematically suggest that the Red Wedding really wasn't as much of a "regime change" in comparison with the other examples. We have boar at a wedding (the Purple Wedding) already and most of the examples we've used involve people either actually eating boar or expressing a desire or goal to hunt and eat boar. But the standout "regime change" moment for the North does not involve boar, and Robb explicitly turns boar down when it's offered earlier. Our hypothesis is that this can be read as a further contextual, if extremely subtle, clue that the North's goals, operations, ambitions, spirit, etc. are still intact. Likewise, Jon takes steps not to engage a boar, and the boar is also absent during what might otherwise be considered a "regime change" moment for him. Where some view boar-eating or boar-hunting as a sign of power or comfort, Jon avoids a boar confrontation.

We present a new meme: Regime Change Boar.


An interesting addition to what you have said about the boar, or lack thereof, at the Red Wedding. The RW was loosely based on a real life event, occurring in 1440 Scotland known as the Black Dinner.

"
At the Black Dinner, in November 1440, the 16-year-old Earl of Douglas was invited to Edinburgh Castle by Sir William Crichton, who as Chancellor of Scotland was a leading member of the court of 10-year-old King James II.
Crichton feared the brothers Douglas and their allies were becoming too powerful.
So he brought in the men to eat and drink until the king's men began ominously pounding drums.

The head of a black bull or boar was served - a sign that death is near. "


Perhaps the absence of the boar at the RW is an attempt to avoid aping the historical event too much, rather than being a statement (or not) about regime change in this instance.

Regardless, It could be the inspiration for GRRM's use of boars in the way Apple and co. have suggested.

Edited by yolkboy, 16 August 2013 - 03:43 PM.


#15 King of Winters

King of Winters

    King in the North, Warden of the South, Lord of Winter, Heretic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,119 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:44 PM

The type of wine at the Red Wedding was never specified as being from the Arbor, unless I'm overlooking something. I was also under the impression that at least part of why Roose refused it was to be sober for the fight.

That's what I think. But if Roose never drinks wine, could this mean something about him refusing wine, or not?

#16 Dr. Pepper

Dr. Pepper

    ice queen

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,123 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:45 PM

Pomegranates seem to be associated with duplicity (I should specify I mean a sort of Faustian bargain), which is pretty similar to the symbolism in our own world (Littlefinger offering the pomegranate to Sansa; Bowen's existence).


Just noting the pom mentions:

First is during the same Pycelle conversation noted in the OP where peaches are mentioned as part of the "good old days" talk.

Next is when Dany invites Viserys to dinner in Vaes Dothrak. Poms are included in the dinner preparations. Chapter ends with Dany holding her stomac: “You are the dragon,” Dany whispered to him, “the true dragon. I know it. I know it.”

Then, after dosh khaleen thingy, and soon before Viserys is crowned: Half-clothed women spun and danced on the low tables, amid joints of meat and platters piled high with plums and dates and pomegranates.


Xaro serves Dany wine that tastes of poms, gifts her with poms.

butterbumps! already mentioned the LF/Sansa poms and how she's a winter's daughter. I particularly like this quote: The wine was very fine; an Arbor vintage, she thought. It tasted of oak and fruit and hot summer nights, the flavors blossoming in her mouth like flowers opening to the sun. She only prayed that she could keep it down.

Of course, there's Bowen Marsh being called the Old Pomegranate.

Finally, Dany's box at the fighting pit was stocked with, among other things, poms. She only ate the figs and dates.

#17 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:48 PM

That's what I think. But if Roose never drinks wine, could this mean something about him refusing wine, or not?


Honestly I hadn't really noticed anything that stuck out to me about it. The Arbor gold and red references are specifically those wines, which is why we were able to find the pattern. Wine in general =/= the same as those exact types.

#18 WinterKing

WinterKing

    Greenseer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,250 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:50 PM

Excellent. GRRM spends so much time describing food that they must have some significance. Beets have some special connotation?

#19 Florina Laufeyson

Florina Laufeyson

    Lord of Chaos

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,677 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:51 PM

More on the Regime Change Boar, i find it interesting how Cersei grows to love boar after Robert's death. But all the while, she is her own undoing. Her love of shit disturbing turns sour when the Regime Change hits yet again in the form of the Tyrells and later the Faith Militant. Cersei's wanting boar with her supper with Taena is interesting, seeing how its likely Taena is someone's spy.

#20 Apple Martini

Apple Martini

    The Snarker on the Wall

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,730 posts

Posted 16 August 2013 - 03:52 PM

Excellent. GRRM spends so much time describing food that they must have some significance. Beets have some special connotation?


Before we opted to take a break (or rather DP since she's been looking up the concordance stuff because she rocks), we noticed that Bran gives beets to Little Walder and turnips to Big Walder at the harvest fest. Cold turnips are also on the menu at the Red Wedding. So absolutely there could be something to either one of those.

ETA: And as Flo points out to us just now, Tommen wants to outlaw beets. /biggrin.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':D' />

Edited by Apple Martini, 16 August 2013 - 03:53 PM.