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  1. Re: Byron... Tyrek, maybe? I'm unclear on Byron's age, but Tyrek would be 15 at this point. Surely not a knight, but this is all presumably a deception. I also wanted to mention a thought on Saltpans. One meaning to the name is literally salt-bread, so I wonder if it relates symbolically to guest right or, by extension, to the Red Wedding. At both the RW and the raid on Saltpans we have blood shed by a "beast in human skin" (per Mariya Frey on Rorge misidentified as the Hound, and applies well to old Humanskin Bolton). Obviously, at the wedding Lord Frey not only allowed the atrocity but facilitated it. But Ser Cox of Saltpans did, at least in EB's eyes, have a duty to defend his smallfolk, much as Frey had a duty to protect his guests.
  2. Small but potentially important correction: The hot springs are not called black pools. The black pool beneath the weirwood in Winterfell's godswood is always cold, and seemingly bottomless.
  3. I've heard this theory and think there is wordplay that serves as a hint: Walys was "half maester" because his pop was Walgrave. I doubt I'm the first to suggest that. More tinfoily (and only related by parallelism to a bastard's name) is the idea that Qhorin Halfhand is Gerold Hightower. People have mentioned that he took a wound to the hand in the Kingswood. (Is there textual support for that hand wound, or is it just theorized, by the way?). More to the point, if we find out that Aegon V's Hand was a Hightower...It would be tough to dissuade me from Halfhand=White Bull.
  4. Sorry for being unclear. I think Varys took the name only because of the Master of Whisperers position, not because of the child smuggling. I think the child smuggling by Larys was included by George in order to make readers wonder about Varys.
  5. To be fair, OP said that Eastern names have vowels together, not that all names with vowels together are Eastern names. To the point, though, during the Dance of the Dragons there was a Master of Whisperers names Larys Strong (of Harrenhal) who supposedly spirited away the royal kids from King's Landing. The parallel is not exactly subtle, but I would guess that Varys took on his name as an homage to Larys when reaching Aerys' court as the new Master of Whisperers. Originally, it seems to be a Westerosi construction, so, good catch.
  6. Perhaps these are more asides than direct responses but: (a) The Baratheon name has always interested me. George has said that he intended the name to be pronounced as Bara-Theon. We also have "Bar" in Bar Emmon, which is an old Andal house. And "Theon" is a given name in the North (e.g. Theon Stark during the Andal invasion) and in the Iron Islands (much earlier, apparently). It makes me wonder whether both Bar and Theon are root words from a shared (GEotD?) ancestor of the Valyrians, Andals, and Westerosi First Men. The historical Bar Emmon named Togarion seems to be a cheeky hint that there are some interesting shared linguistic roots here. (b) Noble trueborn sons (and daughters?) of bastards would often alter their fathers' bastard names to indicate their own legitimacy (e.g. House Longwaters). We also know that over time, names become contracted. Such as "of the High Tower" to "Hightower" and "Karlon's Hold" to "Karhold" and "Karhold Starks" to "Karstarks." I've wondered whether the Lothstons could have a contracted name or an altered Vale bastard name. L-(?) o' th' Ston(e)? Just some thoughts.
  7. @Isobel Harper Yes, Tyrek's mother was a Marbrand, and his grandmother was a Marbrand, and his great-grandmother was Rohanne Webber, the Red Widow herself, who disappeared mysteriously a year after giving birth to her son Jason. Also, I wanted to point out some wordplay as a callback to another thread about Sansa's Lothston heritage with @Damon_Tor and @Seams, I think?. She was tricked into becoming a Vale bastard and was quite conflicted about going along with the ruse--she is indeed a "loath Stone." As for people as metals, Donal Noye described Renly as copper because he relies on appearance and dazzle (Robert as steel, and Stannis as iron). Perestan's adornments all seem to have to do with appearances (being adornments, plus...a mask) and the trappings of power (ring, rod). Just some thoughts.
  8. While we have a thread going... I had a vague memory of a character saying something about finding...something under every rock and leaf. Turns out it was this: At the time, Arya was speaking with Ned Dayne, who told her that Ned had loved Ashara. Snails are a threat to cabbage leaves. I'm not going anywhere with this, but I do think it's interesting.
  9. What? Why? Past Targaryens rode dragons with no Stark blood.
  10. How dare you suppose that Uthor of the High Tower--ahem, Uthor O'High--::KOF:: Azor Ahai is irrelevant! Joking, of course, but I will say that mToots's suspicion of UU's familial relation to Oberyn made me think that perhaps "Uthor" is an homage to our Hightower hero in honor of the Citadel that Oberyn (and maybe his ancestors) so cherished. Tooty may have a point. I personally prefer your Bolton connection. No reason both can't be true. Likely we'll never know, right?
  11. And speaking of Orpheus and inversion, Dany plays her own Orpheus after visiting the underworld of MMD's tent, escaping, and continually thinking that if she looks back she is lost.
  12. I'm late to the party here and posting from a phone, so excuse any formatting trouble! @LmL Your idea of a fiery origin for the NQ is at least alluded to in Dany's dream of Hizdahr giving her the icy manhood. I would also argue that Melisandre's attempts to seduce Jon count when you consider his position. Also, in reference to PKJ's bee-autiful observation about Melesa Florent, the same applies to Melisandre, and she most definitely has the poisonous gift thing going on.