ravenous reader

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About ravenous reader

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  1. Nice 'Dune' analogy! The second part of your explanation, 'I do not believe you intend to hurt me,' is just as important as the first, 'I'm not going to hurt you.' Arya is putting her trust in Sansa to rise to the occasion, and moreover communicating that trust to Sansa, giving her the benefit of the doubt. It's Sansa's chance for redemption, after all the betrayals of family of which she stands accused, and for which she's already paid dearly. In the books, there's a line in which Sansa, after building the snow castle representing Winterfell in the Eyrie, thinks to herself 'I am stronger within the walls of Winterfell'. Baelish's main disadvantage is expecting to win a war against the wolves on their own turf. Just as Ned shouldn't have ventured south, Baelish shouldn't have ventured north into the wolves' den.
  2. Indeed, she advises her saying, 'I'd go with anger [instead of fear],' encouraging her sister to be brave in the face of fear instead of taking a backseat, or sitting on the fence, as in the past. Additionally, it was a brilliant move on Arya's part, simultaneously defusing Sansa's fear of Arya, by giving up her weapon into her sister's safekeeping, implying 'I'm not the one you need to fear..,' as well as signifying an acknowledgement that Sansa, 'Lady of Winterfell,' is now the leader of the pack in Jon's absence -- and as leader of the pack Arya is expecting her to defend that pack against the one who has always been its principal nemesis, Petyr Baelish. I think he's going to try to harm one of Sansa's siblings, just like Joffrey at the Trident. Symbolically, if it were up to me, I'd have that be Bran -- in a reiteration of the duel which started it all, Brandon Stark vs. Petyr Baelish at the water stair, with Catelyn intervening to save Baelish; with the parallel being Sansa intervening to save Brandon in an inversion of the historical events which doomed their family.
  3. Why did Arya give Sansa the dagger? That's the key to making sense of the sisterly dynamic. Answer that -- and we might understand where the D's are going with this. Remember that instead of writing organically cohesive stories like GRRM, they tend to write with a particular outcome in mind, then fill in the gaps around it (Weiss even said as much in the accompanying 'Inside the Episode'), a style which leads to a certain farcical narrative disjunction. So, for example, they needed to get a dragon into the Night's King's possession, so the whole quest north of the Wall was constructed around and leading up to that particular endpoint; likewise, they needed to get the dagger into Sansa's hands, so the whole cat-and-mouse between the sisters and Littlefinger was arranged with that endgame in mind. The clear endpoints belong to GRRM; the bumbling patchwork constructions around them ever since season 5 to the D's. Another way of framing my question is to ask why Arya is deliberately arming Sansa? Cast your minds back to season one, specifically that pivotal drama at the Trident, in which Sansa was notably disarmed of both swords and words, partly as a consequence of her own choosing. She was the only one without a weapon. Arya and Mycah both had sticks. Additionally, Nymeria appeared from nowhere to save the day on Arya's behalf. Joffrey had his steel sword 'Lion's Tooth' (which Arya ended up pulling...). However, Sansa came to the fight without a weapon, after being persuaded into leaving Lady behind, who was also then taken from her, after she failed to give faithful testimony in defense of her family, leaving a permanent wound. In the surprising gift of the dagger, Arya is giving 'Lady' her bite back. We're back at the Trident symbolically, with the same constellation of archetypes at play, the sisters up against a dangerous lying bully, and the outcome largely up to Sansa. To me, it constitutes a challenge from Arya to Sansa: 'You say you're a wolf, you say you've changed, you say you're one of the pack; so here's your teeth, no more excuses -- now, be a wolf, Lady of Winterfell !'
  4. -- that's why we were shown the foreshadowing of the Night's King overriding/disrupting Bran's skinchanging control of the flock of ravens -- although I expected the wighted dragon in question to be Drogon! The dragon's death was the only moving moment in an episode which otherwise left me...ugh...'cold'! I'm not sure how exactly 'the mark' is supposed to work, but the idea of it 'backfiring' appeals to me. In the books, the 'mark backfiring' is a common motif; I call it 'countermocking'. For example, the mark, psychic and physical, Brandon Stark left on Littlefinger in 'round one' of the Stark-Baelish duel, which instead of debilitating him only succeeded in emboldening him against the Starks.
  5. Thanks! That's interesting. There's also the chapter 'The Sacrifice' in which Stannis punishes the soldiers who've been cannibalising. Varamyr's also a failed greenseer. I found it interesting that his spirit was rejected by the weirwood for some reason, after however initially looking out through its eyes.
  6. Relax everyone. Arya gave Sansa the dagger and dared her to be an active rather than passive participant, and to play the lying game -- just not with her. Her real opponent -- the most formidable liar that there is -- is Littlefinger, obviously. Probably, Littlefinger will try to kill Bran or Arya, and Sansa the she-wolf will intervene, just like her mother and Summer did to save Bran from the assassin in season 1. She's 'Lady' of Winterfell now; and 'Lady' is a wolf!
  7. And as Melisandre reminds us, there are no shadows in the dark: Yes, that is a good point. However, Bran himself -- the quintessential 'sweet summer child' with 'Summer wolf' and 'kissed-by-fire' red hair is configured as a sun. He is the sun/son of Winterfell spirited away and now held captive by the singers underground in the cavern with the 'sunless sea' -- although Bran himself represents the sun in that sunless sea! The other greenseer held captive in the cavern is also fire-associated, namely Bloodraven with his singular red eye like the last glowing coal in a dying fire (he's even bound and pinioned by the weirwood roots, underscoring the nefarious aspect of what is happening). Basically, the cave is dark vs. the greenseers who are fire, like Ariel (meaning 'lion of god' or 'hearth fire of god') held captive in the tree by the witch in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'. And of course Bran is a boy who cannot walk. Yes, very true. But if Bran skinchanges a dragon he might be able to cast a shadow. I believe Drogon will be wighted and that Bran will skinchange him (can wights cast shadows?) On the other hand, perhaps skinchanging is a way of being a king without casting a shadow personally (although the skinchanger's 'host' might cast a shadow). Recall that when Varamyr sets eyes on Ghost, he refers to the direwolf as 'a second life fit for a king.' Yes, precisely what I was thinking! A one-eyed king works just as well, as we saw prefigured by the one-(blue-)eyed wighted Waymar in the Prologue. And we know that Euron has trafficked in Warlocks and Shade of the Evening: And Warlocks are known to drink shadows: Perhaps they were drinking Dany's shadow in the House of the Undying: Perhaps they have already drunk of Euron's shadow. Euron is a definite contender for the blue-eyed king! That triplet -- of the blue-eyed king with the red sword, the cloth dragon on poles, and the stone beast breathing shadow fire -- signifies 3 lies to be slain. And while Stannis' red sword may be Melisandre, perhaps Euron's red sword is Victarion: Oh, I like that. Lightbringer is a person wielded by another, rather than an actual sword. compare to Victarion's new personae: And if Dany's visions are events that will occur within her story arc. It appears that it is much more likely that Dany will encounter Euron than either Stannis or Bran. What or who do you think the third member of the triplet of lies -- the shadow fire beast taking off from the tower -- is? And, more importantly, what is 'shadow fire' anyway?! Actually, she's sucked the light out of him, not the shadow. Think of Stannis as the sun with Melisandre as the moon standing in eclipse conjunction to him. Technically, the moon's shadow is cast by the sun, together with the moon stealing the sun's fire. As I said above, the lord of light is not made of light, but steals the light of others.
  8. Hi Hiemal! I can most certainly 'dig it'... Thank you for introducing me to all these luscious, dark ditties and to words I never knew existed like 'corybantic' (I'll even forgive you for Love's Secret Domain...)! 'Nothing but black holes where the stars would be watching,' together with the allusion to the jarring imagery of 'jagged glass' and 'rusty can,' evokes the gouged-out eyes of the weirwoods from which the vengeful Nissa Nissa tree spirit peers out through bloodstained tears (see @LmL's latest essay 'It's an Arya Thing'). Strange that the vengeance should be characterised by a lot of excretion imagery (including 'raining piss,' 'urine' and 'menstrual stream,' and 'plumes of dirt'), which not only describes a 'meteor shower' rather well, but also accords nicely with @Pain killer Jane's and my suggestion of the Others as 'backdoor' secretions or excretions of the weirwoods, as well as @Voice's concept of the 'miasma.' Since you're into hypnotic 'ragnarocking' 'corybantic beats,' perhaps you like Abney Park? While the following song is a bit lower key than some of their other offerings, it seems to convey what I understand by 'the trees remember', which is more than a mere repository of information, being at heart a smoldering sentience embodying the warning or promise of the wounded trees: 'We will not be thrown away / We will not be torn / We will never fall astray / We've seen your kind before.' Fittingly, it's been associated in the accompanying video with the Lord of the Rings movie, particularly the 'Ents' (from whom GRRM surely drew inspiration for his own personified trees) who having been violated feel moved to mobilize themselves in the war effort: Thorns and Brambles Black rivers hard as stone, lined with corpses of our ownThrough the bloodied trees, carving through our canopyThrough the forest, cutting through the forest floorScars of man, furrows through our landsAll the cities' toils, defeats our forest loreBroken nails, filthy, filthy handsSpiderwebs of steel and stoneSubdivide our given homeRemembrance of ancestral sageThorns and brambles of a different ageWe will not be thrown awayWe will not be tornWe will never fall astrayWe've seen your kind beforeBlack rivers hard as stone, with corpses of our ownThrough the bloodied trees, carving through our canopyThrough the quiet, cutting through the forest floorScars of man, furrows through our landsGhostly silent, all the trees are long since goneBroken nails, filthy, filthy handsSpiderwebs of steel and stoneSubdivide our given homeRemembrance of ancestral sageThorns and brambles of a different ageWe will not be thrown awayWe will not be tornWe will never fall astrayWe've seen your kind before ABNEY PARK
  9. At this point, my faith in the D's remaining true to the spirit of the book source material is fading; however, it would fit nicely with the following passages which seem to support the idea of Bran the spying raven: I suppose that's how Bran watched the nitty gritty of the wedding night unfold...
  10. Brilliant idea! So Bran could be spying on the other spies using his chosen medium! When I heard the raven caws together with the camera on Littlefinger, I thought perhaps he had sent a raven scroll to Cersei betraying Sansa, but I much prefer it to have been Bran admiring his sister's martial arts skills, while keeping a beady eye on Littlefinger.
  11. I don't have much to add, except to say I don't believe there's a science to solving the prophecies. Also, I very much doubt 'reader satisfaction' in solving his puzzles is high on GRRM's list of priorities. I rather think 'reader bamboozlement' in aid of GRRM's satisfaction is the order of the day! As far as a 'girl in grey' who may be a 'sister,' perhaps that's an allusion to the 'silent sisters' who prepare bodies for the journey to the afterlife, similar to what Arya, the quintessential death goddess, is doing in the HOBAW: Of Jon's sisters, Arya is the silent one: The 'marriage' Arya will flee will be the yoke of the HOBAW: Where will she go, indeed?
  12. He he...Look who's come out of the woodwork..! The cheeky wordsmith who cannot resist a riddle (that may be another similarity between a raven and a writing desk, namely that they both emerge from the 'wood'! ) I like the Poe answer -- that seems to be a favorite online. Originally, Carroll omitted to provide a solution, but then, after being continuously pestered to provide one (it appears people just can't bear to live with ambiguity), suggested the clever 'nevar' pun as an 'afterthought' in the preface of the 1896 edition of his book, while simultaneously affirming that the riddle 'had no answer at all': Another version based on Carroll's explanation is that the raven is 'nevar' backwards, which means that it is always forwards ('for words'), just like the writing desk! 'Dark wings, dark words...' and much 'unkindness'... (Ah -- I have it now -- they are both involved in delivering 'killing words'! ). The other thing to consider is whether there might be a difference in whether one asks 'how' (which is usually the way the question is implicitly interpreted) vs. 'why' is a raven like a writing desk (the way Carroll explicitly chose to frame it). While we might be able to eke out an answer to the 'how,' comparing characteristics and so forth, the 'why' of it might nevertheless remain elusive! A restatement of this rather vexing game played by the author, also allegedly attributed to Lewis Carroll (although I have not been been able to locate the original reference in order to verify the source, the gist of it serves our purpose here): This reminds me of the game GRRM is likewise playing with his readers, in which there does not appear to be any conclusive solution (unless it does, but it doesn't, however it might...): 'Prophecy will bite your prick off every time..,' and yet I've observed several readers, including on this forum, who still get cocky about the 'rightness' of their particular solution to any given prophecy! I like this solution to the raven and writing desk -- it's so wondrously, whimsically corny: Could Carroll be making a pun on 'raven' with 'ravin(g)'..? -- it's the 'mad' hatter asking the riddle, after all! Perhaps we should apply Tom Stoppard's advice in another context to the current enterprise: I also read that Carroll's riddle has been referenced in other works, e.g. rather ingeniously here:
  13. Once you answer my question -- 'why is a raven like a writing desk...' -- perhaps I will consider letting you in on the secret... I'm not quite sure what you mean. Are you sure you 'mean what you say' and 'say what you mean'? I just know you like answering riddles with more riddles! Don't feel a fool -- no one is yet to answer Carroll's famous riddle 'why is a raven like a writing desk' satisfactorily! In contrast, GRRM's prophecies are only marginally more transparent...
  14. GRRM explicitly refers to Stannis as the 'blue-eyed king' here: The blue-eyed king has been corrupted by the red woman, who is the red hawk, or red sword -- the sword without a hilt Stannis has thrown his lot in with. The reason he no longer casts a shadow is that all his light has been stolen from him by the red woman who is a shadowbinder; in other words, she used Stannis's light to create the shadow assassin; it's also the reason she glowed in the dark. 'The Lord of Light' is not made of light but feeds off the light of others like a parasite -- perhaps one of the lies that needs to be slain. In the scene quoted above, she attempts to do the same to Jon, tempting him with the gift of a title and Winterfell he's always craved. Were it not for Ghost, she might have succeeded, and Jon like Stannis would also have been drained of his light and morally shrunken. Depleted of his life force, Stannis no longer casts shadows -- instead, one might say he has become a shadow of his former self: Alternatively: Bran has blue eyes...make of that what you will! I like @chrisdaw's brilliant idea of the ice dragon with a blue eye and translucent wings who casts no shadow. A third possibility would be the 'dark sun' or Azor Ahai corrupted. The instant Azor Ahai was willing to kill his wife Nissa Nissa for power, he becomes corrupted and turns dark. A dark sun has no light with which to cast further shadows. By killing his brother, Stannis turned dark.
  15. [Mad Hatter]: 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?' `Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud. `Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare. `Exactly so,' said Alice. `Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on. `I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.' `Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!' You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!' `You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!' `It is the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much. The Hatter was the first to break the silence. `What day of the month is it?' he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear. Alice considered a little, and then said `The fourth.' `Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. `I told you butter wouldn't suit the works!' he added looking angrily at the March Hare. `It was the best butter,' the March Hare meekly replied. `Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,' the Hatter grumbled: `you shouldn't have put it in with the bread-knife.' The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, `It was the best butter, you know.' Alice had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity. `What a funny watch!' she remarked. `It tells the day of the month, and doesn't tell what o'clock it is!' `Why should it?' muttered the Hatter. `Does your watch tell you what year it is?' `Of course not,' Alice replied very readily: `but that's because it stays the same year for such a long time together.' `Which is just the case with mine,' said the Hatter. Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter's remark seemed to have no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. `I don't quite understand you,' she said, as politely as she could. `The Dormouse is asleep again,' said the Hatter, and he poured a little hot tea upon its nose. The Dormouse shook its head impatiently, and said, without opening its eyes, `Of course, of course; just what I was going to remark myself.' `Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again. `No, I give it up,' Alice replied: `what's the answer?' `I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.