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  1. Yes, I'd love to have the link. Thanks.
  2. Aww, shucks. I'm just a prolific hit-or-miss guesser. GRRM is the expert. But I love your nice catch on the "sentimental" connection. Very interesting. I have had a back burner comparison of Ned and Doran in mind for some time. I think GRRM may have a parallel symbolism for sand and snow. The obvious parallel in the invented word "southron" as a backwards version of "north_ _ _" also seems like a hint. And Littlefinger sets himself up as the "father" of Alayne Stone, creating lots of parallels with Ned / Sansa. So maybe the three of them are a bundle (<- - another key word for GRRM) and Littlefinger would share some traits with Prince Doran. So what else do you have? I'll start following this thread again if you've got something juicy.
  3. The mouth Craster has to feed isn't his son's mouth, it's the white walker's mouth. He is "stuck" having to give the boy to the wood, as Mormont puts it, and Craster would rather the Night's Watch not be around for that. I think this is the key phrase: "Craster’s more your kind than ours." I suspect Craster is a Stark. The name got turned around, sort of like Karstark is a variation on the original surname. There was a good thread last year sometime that theorized Craster has been satisfying the terms of an agreement between the Starks and the CotF or between the Starks and the weirwoods or white walkers. But what happens when he can no longer provide blood sacrifices to satisfy the human side of this bargain?
  4. I was just going back to look over some earlier chapters and stumbled across this from Arya III: Arya has a direct wolf encounter that requires her to rethink her feelings about wolves: when she needs to urinate, Hot Pie warns her not to go far from the camp because he has heard wolves nearby. Arya pretends to heed his advice but sneaks off anyway. At a vulnerable moment, she is approached by twelve “eyes shining out from the wood,” and one wolf that comes close enough to bare his teeth at her. “[A]ll she could think about was how stupid she’d been and how Hot Pie would gloat when they found her half-eaten body the next morning. But the wolf turned and raced back into the darkness, and quick as that the eyes were gone.” It's possible that the seven adult wolves killed by Bolton's hunting party were the seven wolves Arya encountered when she was on the road. I am also thinking about the irony in the advice Arya hears in Ned's voice, about the pack surviving, after Roose has just killed a pack of wolves. But Ned's advice is qualified by the phrase, "When the snows fall and the white winds blow. . . " If Ned's words apply only during winter conditions, for some reason, maybe packs of wolves are more vulnerable in autumn than in winter. Also from the Arya III post: Arya tells Yoren that the wolves scared her: “Did they?” He spat. “Seems to me your kind was fond o’ wolves.” “Nymeria was a direwolf.” Arya hugged herself. “That’s different. Anyhow, she’s gone. . . I bet if she’d been in the city, she wouldn’t have let them cut off Father’s head.” “Orphan boys got no fathers,” Yoren said, “or did you forget that? . . . The only wolves we got to fear are the ones wear manskin, like those who done for that village.” Yoren’s choice of phrasing – “wolves . . . [that] wear manskin” – is interesting. We know that the Boltons of ancient times wore “wolf” skin when they would flay Starks and turn their skin into cloaks. This is the only mention I can recall of wolves wearing manskin. What does Yoren know of warging, and can it – literally or figuratively – work in reverse, with the wolf entering the human’s mind? So Yoren was concerned about wolves that wear manskin in that chapter, but the wolves he did not particularly fear may have been killed by a man who wears wolfskin (Bolton) in this chapter. Was Yoren right to fear wolves that wear manskin, but not men who wear wolfskin? If so, was he talking about wargs or about men like Bolton who appears to be a man but might be a vicious killer under the surface?
  5. I'll take that as a challenge. I know there is a reference to Renly as a stranger the first time Sansa sees him. The Stranger is a death archetype. Granted, this doesn't tell us that he is going to die - Ser Barristan and Ser Ilyn are the other strangers in the same scene, so we don't yet know their fates. Maybe being a stranger means that a person causes death for others. I believe there are references to Renly as a ghost, however, and that is his ongoing role in the story after he dies. But we should look for mentions of shadows in connection with Renly - those would probably be hints about his murder. Here's a passage from AGoT I came across earlier today, while researching something else. Mormont has just given Jon the sword Longclaw: He is not my father. The thought leapt unbidden to Jon’s mind. Lord Eddard Stark is my father. I will not forget him, no matter how many swords they give me. At the end of ADwD, Jon will be "given" many swords by his Night's Watch brothers. But I suspect this interesting search for foreshadowing will be harder than GRRM's editor has led us to believe. The other day, someone posted a query about the three squires that beat up Howland Reed in the Dunk & Egg story. They are described by their sigils only, but the sigils can pretty quickly be deciphered as representing Frey, Haigh and Blount. Ser Boros Blount (who is the only named Blount in the series) is a near anagram for Roose Bolton. I think the three squires may foreshadow the attack on Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. I am still spotting things on re-reads that I can't believe have been sitting there in plain sight all along. GRRM put a lot of thought and preparation into the symbolism as well as plot details before he started writing the prose, I think.
  6. The eunuch looked at him curiously, tilting his head. "When I was a young boy, before I was cut, I traveled with a troupe of mummers through the Free Cities. They taught me that each man has a role to play, in life as well as mummery. AGoT, Eddard XV What a busy guy that Varys is! Your thorough analysis incorporates a lot of interesting possibilities but, of course, I have a few current irons in the fire and was immediately struck that several of your ideas could connect with something I have been considering. This may be a tangent, or I may be able to bring it back to the concept of the rag tag band. If Varys is the spider in the middle of a vast spiderweb, it makes sense that he has strings connecting him in all directions. So maybe this possibility will fit with the many plots, disguises and behind-the-scenes roles you laid out for the master of whisperers. … Here, I have something for you.” Ser Dontos fumbled in his pouch and drew out a silvery spiderweb, dangling it between his thick fingers. It was a hair net of fine-spun silver, the strands so thin and delicate the net seemed to weigh no more than a breath of air when Sansa took it in her fingers. Small gems were set wherever two strands crossed, so dark they drank the moonlight. “What stones are these?” “Black amethysts from Asshai. The rarest kind, a deep true purple by daylight.” “It’s very lovely,” Sansa said, thinking, it is a ship I need, not a net for my hair. “Lovelier than you know, sweet child. It’s magic, you see. It’s justice you hold. It’s vengeance for your father.” Dontos leaned close and kissed her again. “It’s home.” ACoK, Sansa VIII What if some or all of Sansa's visits with Ser Dontos in the godswood are actually meetings with Varys the mummer / magician? The famous hair net is compared to a spiderweb, which would be something the Spider could logically produce. Its colors are silver and, by daylight, true purple. Because eye and haircolor are so important, it seems extra-super important that this (apparent) murder weapon looks so much like a Targaryen. If Ned was fooled by a disguised Varys, Sansa would be easy to fool, especially in the dark godswood. Even if Ser Dontos met Sansa sometimes, it would be easy to distract him with a bottle of wine. The substitute Varys-as-Dontos could easily take his place and the poor fool wouldn't even remember it in the morning. Some of the dialogue we hear from Ser Dontos seems Varys-like: when he explains that Sansa is not really free, just because Joffrey is now betrothed to Margaery, the complexity of the insights seem like the kind of "you know nothing, Jon Snow" explanations that we see Varys delighted to give to Ned in the dungeon and to Ser Kevan Lannister in the Rookery. It's possible that Littlefinger provided Ser Dontos with good information to make sure Sansa stayed motivated, or that Ser Dontos was sober enough to make some observations of his own, but the delight in describing the Game of Thrones gameplay is a Varys specialty. But does this mean that Varys and Littlefinger are working together? I have pondered the possibility that these two are secretly aligned, but any clues are hidden pretty deep, if they are in the books. "Is this your own little scheme," he gasped out at Varys, "of are you in league with Littlefinger?" That seemed to amuse the eunuch. "I would sooner wed the Black Goat of Qohor. Littlefinger is the second most devious man in the Seven Kingdoms. Oh, I feed him choice whispers, sufficient so that he thinks I am his . . . just as I allow Cersei to believe I am hers." AGoT, Eddard XV His response seems genuine, but we are watching an experienced actor at work. Notice that he doesn't deny that he is working with Littlefinger. We would have to figure out the deeper meaning of the Black Goat of Qohor to understand Varys's response, and to sort out whether this is a possible affirmative answer to Ned's question. (Looking just at the wiki, it seems as if the Black Goat religion would be the opposite of something a Targaryen would want to marry, and more similar to the sinister, blood-sacrifice beliefs about the old gods of the weirwood trees. Of course, the Black Goat is also associated with Vargo Hoat.) So maybe we can believe that Varys is not working with Littlefinger. It seems more likely that Varys found out about Littlefinger's plan to use Ser Dontos in manipulating Sansa, and he intercepted the drunken Ser Dontos to use him for his own purposes. But Littlefinger correctly describes for Sansa that someone probably fussed with her hair net during the wedding feast, and implies that Lady Olenna committed the murder to protect Margaery from mad king Joffrey. So it sounds as if Littlefinger knows about the hair net, but we don't know that it was his idea to put a poison stone in it, or even whether Littlefinger ever saw the hair net. We know he did not see the wedding feast. It's possible that Ser Dontos (real or Varys in disguise) or another messenger was used by Varys as a go-between, and Littlefinger thinks the hair net was Olenna's idea, while she believes it was Littlefinger's idea. This would be quite a masterful piece of manipulation, but might be possible for the MOST devious man in the Seven Kingdoms. If James Bond were a eunuch . . . But I said I would try to bring this back to your focus on the ragtag band and the puppeteer who is populating one or more of the ragtag bands. We saw Varys help Tyrion escape King's Landing. Might he have done the same thing for Sansa? He describes Sansa to Ned as sweet and Ned begs Varys to "leave my daughter out of your schemes." Varys responds to this by recalling the murdered child Rhaenys, who pretended that her kitten was the dragon Balerion, the big black dragon ridden by Aegon the Conqueror. The Black Goat was the god of people who rejected Valyria; the name Balerion was originally that of a god of ancient Valyria. So the wistful reference to Balerion could help to confirm the Targ connection for Varys. Varys claims to have no personal sense of honor, but if he equates Sansa with Rhaenys - especially after covering her hair with silver and with purple gemstones - maybe he would take the time to help her escape King's Landing, even if it means that Littlefinger gets control of a valuable hostage. (There might also be Baelor the Blessed / Bael the Bard / Baelish wordplay at work with the reference to Balerion. The Bael-ish surname seems like a hint to me about Petyr's secret Valyrian ancestry, but I don't have enough evidence to pin it down.) If one of the functions of this founder of the ragtag band is to audition people, and/or to ensure that the right players are sent to the right ragtag bands, that might explain another motive for Varys to help Sansa escape. He knows that the ragtag band in the Vale needs a captive princess or a vengeful daughter or a Danelle-Lothston-in-training. I should be the first to admit, GRRM often uses minor characters who share an aspect of a major character - I think Yoren and Qhorin may both be "chips off the old block" of Jeor Mormont, who can't be in two places at once. So it's possible that Ser Dontos is supposed to evoke thoughts of Varys without actually being Varys in disguise. But your good points about his use of mummer tactics really seemed to fit with what I was seeing in that hair net scene, so I thank you for bringing that up.
  7. I agree. There is also a literary purpose at work. When GRRM wants to tip us off that something magical is happening, he might combine the five senses in an unconventional way. For instance, just before Ghost prompts Jon Snow to leave the safety of the old ruined ring fort at the Fist of the First Men, to find the buried obsidian cache, Dywen says there is a smell of cold in the air, and Jon knows exactly what he means and recalls the attack by the wight in Mormont's bedchamber. Then he finds the dragonglass. Another example might be Jon hearing the silent wolf pup that becomes Ghost: we later learn that Ghost makes no sounds, but Jon was able to hear him. One pattern I've noticed in GRRM's prose is that, when he gives us a list, we should pay special attention to the last thing on the list. So the "taste of molten gold" may have other meanings, beyond the somewhat obvious hint that Dany's beverage is magical. The Bran list is an excellent comparison to the list of tastes for Dany. But can you really taste a mother's kiss? She didn't French kiss him with bubble gum in her mouth, we can surmise, so it was probably more a sensation of touch and of emotional bonding than something that he experienced through his tastebuds. Maybe the metaphors of the molten gold and the mother's kiss are more similar than we might perceive on first reading: Bran is one of the Stark kids who looks like his mother, so he would have auburn hair, right? Kissed by fire, a little bit? So "mother's kiss" on top of his head would describe his hair color but could also allude to the death by heat inflicted on Viserys. I suppose you could argue that a "kissed by fire" hair color is more like the first kiss his mother ever gave him, though, not the last. Other thoughts: The taste of gold, molten or otherwise, should probably be considered alongside the widespread joke that Tywin Lannister shits gold. The examples cited earlier in the thread of people biting coins are probably also relevant. In some dragon lore and legend, dragons were thought to eat gold and precious gems. We know that Dany's dragons eat meat, but maybe this reference to the taste of molten gold is just an acknowledgement that Dany is really and truly a dragon, and she has awoken. I suspect we will know more about the wine called Arbor Gold when the books take the action to the Reach and other western lands. So far, I have seen a consensus that serving Arbor Gold to a guest signals that the host is lying to that person. Maybe this molten gold is part of the Arbor Gold symbolism. The molten gold poured on the head of Viserys comes from the medallions on a belt worn by Khal Drogo. Belts in the books are usually used as a place to carry swords (and daggers) or messages. Arya carries a dead pigeon in her belt while wandering around King's Landing before Yorin finds her, hoping to sell it to a pot shop. I haven't done a systematic analysis of belts, so there may be a deeper meaning I haven't discerned. But the swords and messages function could be significant: swords and words are both used to win wars, according to Tywin. We see destruction of both swords and books at key moments in the books - what does it mean to destroy a belt? I wish I knew. The only wordplay possibility I've come up with for belt is the German word "lebt" which is a form of the verb Leben, meaning "to live."
  8. Arya X Overview With others among the smallfolk at Harrenhal, Arya discusses the change from Lannister to Bolton rule. In Lord Bolton’s room, the Freys try to convince Roose that Robb Stark should bend the knee to the Lannisters. Arya overhears that Robb has lost the north and Winterfell and that Robb's brothers are dead. Roose announces his plan to hunt wolves that day. He returns with nine dead wolves. Roose tells Arya that he will not be taking her along when he leaves Harrenhal. A raven arrives with the news (it is implied) that Robb has reneged on his agreement to marry a Frey so the alliance is dissolved. After believing that she hears her father’s voice urging her to be strong, Arya persuades Gendry that things will be worse at Harrenhal when Vargo Hoat is in charge, and she urges him to bring swords and escape with her. She uses the coin from Jaqen H’ghar to trick a guard, whom she kills, and then leaves the castle with Gendry and Hot Pie. Observations There are numerous references to wolves and direwolves in this chapter. Ser Aenys Frey: “The country is ash, the villages given over to wolves, the harvest burnt or stolen.” Arya was gad to hear that the castle of the Darrys would be burned. That was where they’d brought her when she’d been caught after her fight with Joffrey, and where the queen had made her father kill Sansa’s wolf. It deserves to burn. “It is wolves I mean to hunt. I can scarcely sleep at night for the howling.” Bolton buckled on his belt, adjusting the hang of sword and dagger. “It’s said that direwolves once roamed the north in great packs of a hundred or more, and feared neither man nor mammoth, but that was long ago and in another land. It is queer to see the common wolves of the south so bold.” And then, far far off, beyond the godswood and the haunted towers and the immense stone walls of Harrenhal, from somewhere out in the world, came the long lonely howl of a wolf. . . . it seemed as if she heard her father’s voice. “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives,” he said. You have the wolf blood in you. . . . I am a direwolf, and done with wooden teeth. “I’m not an owl,” said Arya. “I’m a wolf. I’ll howl.” Analysis This chapter marks a big turning point in Arya’s story, as she gives up on returning to Winterfell and instead decides to aim for Robb’s base at Riverrun. I re-read this chapter a few weeks ago when @heimal began a discussion in the forum of Bolton’s Burnt Book. The timing of that re-read was fortuitous for me, because it helped me to see that this chapter, which I might summarize as “Arya escapes Harrenhal,” shares a lot of details with the chapter in which Jon find the obsidian cache – maybe that chapter could be called, “Jon digs for Treasure.” Why would an escape and the finding of a treasure be similar? At this point, my guess is that the chapters show Jon and Arya taking their own initiative and finding or using important weapons (an obsidian dagger and a coin from the Faceless Men) that they will need for their rebirths – they have largely finished with their initial mentoring phases (both serving as stewards) and begun to venture into the unknown. Both are motivated and guided by direwolves in their adventures: Ghost guides Jon to the spot where the cache is buried, and Arya hears howling and then is reminded by her father’s voice that she is Arya of Winterfell and has “the wolf blood” within herself. Numerous details are also shared between the two chapters: Storm, rain, hidden stars POV brings spiced wine for his / her mentor POV carries water (or lies about carrying water) “clanking” sound in sand (obsidian clanking in the bundle; mail being cleaned in a barrel of sand) Ghosts, ruins Finding a dagger (Arya takes a dagger from Bolton’s solar) Red eyes (Aenys Frey in Arya’s chapter) Lying to the guard at the exit door A narrow opening (door) in the wall of a fort “turncloak” – the cache is wrapped in a cloak which turns as Jon pulls it out of the ground; Arya wears Bolton livery I really enjoyed exploring the pattern identified in @Kingmonkey’s thread called the "Puppets of Ice and Fire." He found a motley assortment of elements that would always precede the “hatching” of dragons (including Targaryen family births). I bet there are similar patterns for what might be called the liberation of wolves, and some or all of the elements listed here will always be included. When the direwolf raised his head, his eyes glowed red and baleful, and water streamed down from his jaws like slaver. There was something fierce and terrible about him in that instant. (ACoK, Jon IV) The hunting party returned near evenfall with nine dead wolves. Seven were adults, big grey-brown beasts, savage and powerful, their mouths drawn back over long yellow teeth by their dying snarls. (ACoK, Arya X)
  9. I had a new thought about the mule = bastard symbolism. What if, in addition to Bloodraven, Sweetrobin also symbolizes Mad King Aerys? Sweetrobin dislikes mules because one bit him; Aerys dislikes Lannisters because one stabbed him to death. (The one-eared mule might represent Myrcella, also a bastard although that status is not acknowledged in the first five books.) Sweetrobin likes Alayne / Sansa, who represents Aery's favorite mistress, Missy Blackwood. He nuzzles her breasts as they descend the mountain. Sweetrobin also likes Myranda Royce, who represents Barbra/Bethany Bracken. We haven't seen him nuzzle her breasts, but maybe that will happen in the future. Sweetrobin also dislikes Mya Stone because she smells of mules. Mya is Robert Baratheon's daughter. Robert was a key player in what came to be known as Robert's Rebellion, leading to the regicide of Aerys. And Sweetrobin just seems a bit unhinged, which fits with what we have been told of the Mad King.
  10. As others have already pointed out, the language is deliberately ambiguous about whether Arya is thinking of her self (or former self) or about a separate person, such as Sansa. But the ambiguity itself if important here: I think lemons (cakes for Sansa and usually tarts for Arya) are intended to be a bridge between the two characters. The shared lemon symbolism starts to make more sense if you look at it in the context of other things. The notion of a shared metaphor as a bridge is a new idea (new for me, at least) in the sense of connecting two character arcs. We are told that Winterfell is built on different levels but connected by bridges. There are indoor stairs and outdoor stairs, walls, hidden passages, towers, solars, bed chambers, the feast hall, gates, doors, gargoyles, ruined places (the Old Keep), hot water flowing between walls, the crypt, secret chambers below the crypt, hot and cold pools, weirwoods, sentinels, the godswood, the wolfswood, etc. I am just starting to consider this, but I think GRRM is using the complex layout in and around Winterfell as a metaphor for the events in the lives of the Stark family members. A symbolic "bridge" would connect events in the lives of two characters, just as bridges or steps connect the various areas within Winterfell. Lemons are a bridge between Arya and Sansa. The sword Needle is a bridge connecting Jon and Arya. Stone is a bridge connecting Sansa and Catelyn. Snow is a bridge connecting all Starks, I suspect. The lemon "bridge" between Sansa and Arya may have been established in the scene (cited by others in this thread) where Sansa looks forward to lemon cakes and tea with Cersei, but Arya rejects the invitation. It might foreshadow Sansa (and Lady) falling into Cersei's baited trap while Arya keeps the queen at arm's length. Sansa will later accept lemon cakes from the Tyrells at the luncheon where they get her to reveal the truth about Joffrey - trapped yet again. In relation to lemons, I have to wonder about the blood orange that Arya throws at Sansa at their last breakfast together in King's Landing. It's a different citrus fruit, but must be related to the lemon symbolism - and it is a direct link from Arya to Sansa at a critical turning point in the story. The blood orange is intended as a breakfast food but it becomes a projectile and stains Sansa's dress. The orange is intended for one use, but employed for another. As I've mentioned in other threads, I think it also foreshadows Ned Stark's severed head; the stain on Sansa is that she tells the Lannisters about Ned's plan to leave King's Landing, leading to his arrest and eventual execution. More examples and longer-term consideration would be needed to determine whether the idea of a linking or bridging metaphor is correct. I'm sure there are similar bridges connecting other characters, not just Starks. Lem Lemoncloak and Dany's memory of the lemon tree would have to be analyzed for their connection to the shared lemons of Arya and Sansa. One example of another possible bridging metaphor might apply to Sansa and Tyrion, connected because of their marriage. Melon references might be the way the author reminds the reader of the connection between these characters. Lemon and melon are on the wordplay list. A melon is the fake morningstar that Ser Dontos uses to bash Sansa over the head in an attempt to distract Joffrey from a crueler beating. Tyrion arrives and delivers Sansa from the mistreatment she is receiving. Tyrion and Sansa are together at Joffrey's wedding feast when the jousting dwarf act features a fake beheading using a melon inside of a helmet. The latest melon reference I spotted is when Tyrion and Ser Jorah are on their way to the Widow of the Waterfront: they pass two wagons that have collided on a bridge. One of the wagons is carrying melons. I suspect the Widow of the Waterfront is linked to the statue of Alyssa Arryn at the Eyrie and to Littlefinger. So the melons in Tyrion's arc may be a hint that he is about to enter a Sansa-linked part of his story. I have long suspected that the Kindly Man and Littlefinger are intended to be parallel characters. Both are powerful, intelligent men using young Stark girls for their own purposes. I think Arya is being manipulated and deceived by the Kindly Man in ways similar to the manipulation and grooming of Sansa by Littlefinger. When the author throws in a lemon reference, it might be a hint to think whether Arya is doing something similar to an event from Sansa's story, or vice versa. For what it's worth, I think two "bridges" to other characters will allow Sansa and Arya to escape from the clutches of Littlefinger and the Kindly Man. For Sansa, it will be the blood-stained cloak of the Hound. For Arya, it will be the sword Needle that she hid behind a loose stone in a stairway leading up from a canal.
  11. ^ Yes. The Humpty-Dumpty imagery is very strong with "Egg," and there are constant references to baby Aegon having his brains bashed against a wall. My guess is that we will see him at The Wall, fighting the Others, and he will be knocked off to his death. All the king's horses and all the king's men won't be able to put him together again. Part of me wants to believe that the fAegon on the Shy Maid is real: in the reader's first glimpse of him, he is waving a floppy straw hat. That detail is associated with Aegon of the Dunk & Egg stories, and it seemed like the author telling us that this Aegon is real. On the other hand, I have a sneaking suspicion that Tywin may have taken Rhaegar and Elia's baby Aegon and hidden him away. The whole substitution plot by Varys was too late, so the fAegon on the Shy Maid is the first infant substituted (by Clegane and Tywin) for the real royal baby, and Jon Connington was conned. We may or may not have seen the real Aegon at this point in the books. If Gregor Clegane didn't kill the baby Aegon, it might be some other entity that will be responsible for pushing fAegon off the Wall. Part of my thinking for Gregor's "innocence" in this is that he won the trial by combat with Oberyn - even though the trial was officially about whether Tyrion killed Joffrey, Oberyn makes it clear that he is fighting because he feels the Mountain is guilty of killing Aegon and Elia. (Rhaenys was killed by Ser Amory Lorch.) Even when he confesses to the crime, the Mountain is still following Tywin's orders, keeping the secret about the baby being spared. My supporting (although circumstantial and symbolic) evidence is that Sandor Clegane also won his trial by combat regarding the death of Mycah, the butcher's boy. That death takes place "off stage," so we have only the Hound's confession and a bag of bones given to the butcher to tell us that the death occurred as described. The exoneration of the Hound in his trial is significant, I think, as well as Arya's later decision to leave him alive even though he has been on her revenge list all along. Sorry. One thing always leads to another. The OP raises an important question with broad implications.
  12. I was just rereading this thread and found your overlooked but excellent theory. I think you might be right, even if Tywin wasn't sure Roose would be the guy to take over Harrenhal (it could have been Glover, who was one of the northmen in the dungeon liberated by the Weasel soup). Tywin could have given the book to a trusted spy he had left behind, or just coded the message in some way that no one would be able to decipher it even if they did stumble across it in Roose's absence. He may have even had the book with him when he left Harrenhal, intending to deliver it to Roose by messenger wherever he might be. The delivery was made easier when Roose was sent to Harrenhal, not far from where Tywin had traveled.
  13. Thank you for coming up with a fresh and interesting topic, and for doing such a nice job of presenting the evidence! I look forward to subsequent installments. My current mindset is to find and analyze the minor characters who parallel major characters (or other minor characters), and I have been wondering about the possibility of Yezzan zo Qaggaz and Nurse as echoes of Illyrio and Varys. Yezzan puts together his ragtag band of treasures, and Nurse sees that they are chained and obedient but pampered. So the near-miss for Tyrion and Penny, being offered as lion food for the entertainment at the fighting pits, might fit with the idea that Illyrio and/or Varys see some of their own ragtag band as expendable.
  14. After the fresh reading the Sansa VII chapter, the intent behind some details of the Theon V chapter become clearer. The Hound holds his dagger to Sansa's throat when he compels her to sing, "She could feel him twisting the point, pushing it into her throat . . . " So that prick by a dagger's tip is probably the match for Theon being pricked by Bran's brooch - the rose from Ser Loras might have thorns, but I don't believe Sansa is pricked by that rose. Also, similar to Theon holding and keeping the burned wolf's head, Sansa finally touches the burned face of Sandor Clegane. In her first glimpse of him in her bed chamber, she describes, "the blood on his face dark as tar." Tar is used to preserve severed heads that will be displayed as a warning against treason or other crimes, so the severed head symbolism is present here. Just as the melted brooch stays with Theon, the memory of the encounter with the Hound and his burned face will stay with Sansa. Sansa's choice of the song about the Mother, maternal aspect of the Seven gods, also links to Theon's chapter. In his opening nightmare, Theon pleads several times for mercy; the opening line of Sansa's song is, "Gentle Mother, font of mercy." Theon slept with the miller's wife, mother of the two boys who were killed and substituted for Bran and Rickon. Hard to imagine that she would answer Theon's prayers for mercy. The Hound is becoming a deserter in this scene, leaving his white kingsguard cloak in Sansa's room. Theon deserted Robb and/or Catelyn (he gave her a vow earlier in the book), so he might be seen as a turncloak already; he will betray the Ironborn later, so he becomes a turncloak to both sides at that point. At the close of the Theon V chapter, as Theon contemplates the heads of the two boys on iron spikes above the gatehouse, "the wind tugged on his cloak with small ghostly hands." The wind and small hands imply that the boy Bran is tugging at Theon's cloak, a situation that will come up again in the Turncloak and other Theon POVs when he returns to Winterfell for Ramsay's wedding. So maybe Theon has individually betrayed Robb, Catelyn, Bran and Rickon already, each in a different way. Of course, the scene between Sandor and Sansa is a symbolic bedding, with Sansa feeling "the stickiness of the blood, and a wetness that was not blood." (The reader fills in the blank and presumes that Sansa is talking about tears because she is touching the Hound's face, but the ambiguity is surely deliberate.) The Hound's voice is compared to "steel on stone," which could represent his "blade" on Sansa, as she will become Alayne Stone. Theon also has a "bedding" in Theon V, ordering that Kyra be brought to his bed for sex. Although previously Kyra seemed to be a willing sex partner for Theon, in this chapter he is brutal, and she is injured by his roughness. The relatively gentle non-kiss and non-sex of Sansa's bedding by Sandor is contrasted with the cruel treatment of Kyra by Theon. The latter foreshadows the treatment of fArya / Jeyne by Ramsay in the same bed.
  15. Sansa VII Overview During the battle of the Blackwater, Cersei receives news that the fighting is not going well. When Cersei runs from the room, Sansa takes the initiative to reassure the others within Maegor’s Holdfast that they are safe and the situation outside is under control. Sansa goes to her bedroom and finds the Hound there, drunk. “I could keep you safe,” he rasped. “They’re all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.” He demands that Sansa sing for him and she sings the religious song about the Mother. The Hound leaves and Sansa huddles under the blood and smoke-stained cloak he left behind. After dawn, Ser Dontos arrives and tells her that the forces of Stannis have been defeated by the westermen, whose armies attacked him from the rear. He says that Renly led the vanguard. (We will learn later that this was actually Garlan Tyrell wearing Renly’s armor.) Observations Sansa observing Cersei: She’s forgotten me. Ser Ilyn will kill me and she won’t even think about it. This may evoke the beheading of Lady, who was killed to appease Cersei with the sword now carried by Ser Ilyn. Analysis This chapter harks back to the Sansa I chapter of AGoT, in which Sansa finds herself caught between the frightening Ser Ilyn and the Hound, whom she bumps into as she backs away from Ser Ilyn. Payne is described as “the third stranger” in that scene, preceded by Ser Barristan Selmy and Lord Renly Baratheon. Lady was by Sansa’s side in that chapter, and she growled at Ser Ilyn. In this chapter, Sansa thinks about Lady and wonders whether she will meet her wolf again when she is dead. She expects death might happen soon because of Cersei's plans to use Ser Ilyn to execute the vulnerable highborn residents of King's Landing if the battle is lost, to keep them out of the hands of Stannis. With the ghost of Renly leading the vanguard at the Blackwater, only Ser Barristan is missing from this ACoK chapter. It’s possible that Ser Garlan is the equivalent of Ser Barristan in this chapter, even though he also represents Renly. In the AGoT/Sansa I chapter, Renly and Barristan arrived together and seemed to represent youth and age united. So a single person who represents Renly and Ser Barristan might be consistent with the earlier appearance by the two men. In the AGoT chapter, Joffrey suggests that Sansa leave the direwolf Lady behind so she won’t scare the horses while they ride. He volunteers that he will leave his “dog,” the Hound, behind because he seems to frighten Sansa. In this ACoK chapter, the Hound really does leave Joffrey and the Lannisters altogether. However, after frightening Sansa initially, she finds herself drawn to him and she cups his cheek with her hand.