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  1. This topic is absolutely immense, I'm still thinking about it. Fire on the steps might be a repeated theme; it's certainly a big part of Jon's battle against the wildlings. It might also have something to do with Dany's fires to light, and with the fire Catelyn lit, and the fire Sansa lit, and many others. Maybe each is setting the world on fire, in different ways, large and small. I'm still thinking about Winterfell's library tower, and that amazing way that it's the inverse of those terrible wells with the steps to the bottom. This tower feels like the most important tower of all, not merely because it's the twin and opposite of the descent into the underworld, but also because its books contain histories, biographies and studies of nature - in other words, all the world is there, and the world has been set on fire. Tyrion accidentally saved a couple of books from the fire, very like a hero, and yet he gets more monster imagery than anyone else: 'monkey demon', 'gargoyle' etc. I think he's always going to be divided, not knowing if he's going to be monster or hero.
  2. This is pretty much how I think of it. Compare with Robb: Robb, like Theon, climbs to power at double quick speed. Unlike Theon, he ends up breathless i.e. not breathing, i.e. dead.
  3. Tyrion needed help from Bronn one time (after his Blackwater injuries): This is a two-stage journey, next are the steps to his father's solar: Those serpentine steps must be extra difficult. This journey doesn't sound like anything we've seen in the game of thrones, but might point to some future struggle. In fact Tyrion makes a couple of jokes in this chapter about being raised from the dead - so perhaps he's in the dead zone of winter in the north. Bran is always going to be complicated, but I thought it was interesting that Hodor refused to go down into the crypts that time they found Rickon there. Bran even thinks to himself that Dancer couldn't manage the steps - so we have both the 'horses' unable to make it down there. Bran goes with Osha and Luwin, but Summer stays on the steps and won't go further until the attack by Shaggydog.
  4. Editors can make mistakes, fair enough. GRRM has made mistakes too - corrections have been made before; this could be one of them. I'd assume later editions have fewer mistakes than older ones - but the fact is, until GRRM says which version he wants, we don't know. It's annoying. Forgetting a sword's name is a tiny mistake. This is equally true for Arya and Sansa. Now you come to mention it, we should consider both girls together. In earlier editions, both girls forget exactly the same thing - the name of the sword - which is a bit of a coincidence. But what makes it an absolutely enormous coincidence is that both of them come up with the same 'wrong' name. If that was deliberate, it must be some heavily underlined metaphor, and there's only one possibility really - Joffrey is a toothless lion. It's an excellent metaphor for Arya's opinion of him, but only true for Sansa after he's dead. It all works better if you leave Sansa out of it altogether. I don't follow SSM's because they are off-the-cuff responses and probably error-prone, but I interpreted the one quoted in the OP differently: He's saying the important lapse in memory is the Unkiss. He says the Unkiss will eventually mean something - it will have meaning, in itself. He does not say that the Unkiss points to further lapses of memory.
  5. Hold on here. You know perfectly well that different editions of the text conflict on whether Sansa forgot the sword's name at all. You know that because you pointed it out upthread. It is perhaps more likely that later editions are the correct version. And presumably getting the sword's name wrong is not a big deal when Arya does it.
  6. The message I get from all this is that Roose is treating himself for the same symptoms he sees in Ramsay: rages, violent excesses, and impulsiveness. Roose controls his symptoms well, but I don't doubt he's suppressing a lot of anger against the out-of-control Ramsay, who could be heading for a very bad end at the hands of his own father.
  7. This has got to be close to the mark. I'd be more cautious and say maybe once the Others did make terrible half-humans, not by lying with women, but with magic somehow remembered in the traditions of House Bolton - the flaying of the skin, possibly a faceless man style skin transplant, possibly also the draining of the hot red blood. I'd say very likely Roose has some of these half-humans in his ancestry, but most likely the House traditions do not amount to full on magic. On the other hand - a lot of fire magic didn't work until recently. Maybe all magics are returning in strength to the world. Maybe that book Roose was studying tells him something about those old magics of his House. ETA I just had the uncomfortable memory of Sansa's dream before her flowering: seized by a mob and cut to ribbons with steel knives. Hope that's not foreshadowing.
  8. Being a monster might not be totally a bad thing - Coldhands is Bran's monster; Bran himself would be seen as a warg and a beastling by most people; and Tyrion is sometimes described as a monster. (Tyrion might go seriously bad though....) Maybe if you descend into Hades, you need some of the attributes of a monster to survive. I say descent, but these up/down ideas have got my head spinning. Jon climbs until there's nothing but the moon and stars above him - stars are already linked to ghosts (via Dothraki) and the moon is definitely Otherish. In the same way, Sansa and co. climb above Snow and Sky to a white castle, a pure, silent place she does not belong in. Incidentally, Cat decides to be winched up in the basket (very reminiscent of the Wall's cage) - but Tyrion insists he can make the climb, which is extraordinary really, considering the problems he sometimes has with stairs. Sansa and SR both descend by the winch. The place is described like this: Anyway, maybe, like Tolkein, the struggle against this enemy will be split in two, with two very different ways of fighting: up and down. Different roads meeting at the same castle, kind of thing.
  9. The crusade is yours. The thread is very clearly about Ned's mistakes - why then are you using the thread to trash Cat? Do you honestly think the best answer is blame everything on the man's wife?
  10. Brilliant. Ned was really helpful to Cersei when she made her move in the game of thrones.
  11. Ideas: First, grrm is above all an expert entertainer; he gives us lots of sex and violence and outrage because that's what humans like - never overestimate the intelligence and good taste of your customers. (I wish he could be a little less entertaining sometimes...) Second, I think he's developing ideas about a fate that is worse than death (I need a better cliché) - something about the total violation and destruction of the human spirit; an eternity alone, howling in the darkness. We need this because some of the characters, like Beric, maybe like Jon, will already be beyond the threat of death. For them, the sense of danger must come from somewhere else. Third (the crackpot), if Viserys is the shadow of a snake, I think the Ironborn could be shadows of an entirely horrific undead or white walker culture in the dead lands of winter. We know the Ironborn are into resurrection and the once-dead who can never die. They keep slaves they call thralls - and the WW could be said to keep their wights in thrall, enslaved. And if Patchface is correct, the future is like the sea - maybe the people are like the Ironborn.
  12. Jon's life at the Wall is just full of steps, but he climbs without steps a couple of times. The Wall has steps on the southern side at Castle Black (like a drunken, wooden thunderbolt, iirc), but Jon also climbs the far side with the wildlings: the other side - sounds like the afterlife to me. Strange that the stairs at Castle Black are a lightning bolt, which I take as a symbol of resurrection. The second climb without steps is the mountain climb with Stonesnake: This must be the highest climb anyone makes; no steps, but it is a close parallel to the climb to the Eyrie which does have steps: e.g. a stone is a mountain's daughter, looking down is not a good idea, and the terrifying place with nothing below but darkness.
  13. Lovely image, and idea. I get the vibe of a looking glass world too. I'm sure steps and climbs are meaningful - so many people are in danger on steps, running on steps, exhausted and in pain trying to climb the steps. The ones that seemed most significant to me were the House of the Undying, where it is vital to choose only the 'right' door, and always climb not descend; and the Serpentine Steps (the game of thrones?) , where we see the Hound, Sansa, Tyrion and Shae (as washerwoman). Washing the steps has a flavour of Patchface watery deadliness about it. As a starting theory, I'd say hero power is found at the top of the steps, and loss of power, even monster status at the bottom. This would be strongly connected to the name of the steps in question - e.g. Jon iirc runs up the steps of the Lord Commander's Tower, but also comes down them.
  14. This is well said and true. The books work on a lot of different levels simultaneously (clever stuff). I often think that the deeper levels - e.g. character, motivation, links to world culture - get the analysis they deserve, but what get relatively overlooked are the sweet, sparkly treats the author designed for the average reader. The Unkiss falls into this category, I think. It has been discussed ad infinitum, as pointed out upthread, and that's because it's been set up as a problem and a talking point. You can solve the puzzle psychologically, but I'm sure there will be a payoff as well in the top layers of the story, i.e might and magic and metaphor. Stuff to reward the one-time reader, as well as dedicated fans.
  15. Where is that mentioned? It's been suggested here on the forum. I'm saying it's not my original idea. The horse isn't really a problem. Horses do sometimes get out of the control of their riders and run blindly into trouble, especially fast, highly-bred horses - and I'm sure that's what Lothor had. It needn't have been bolting in panic either - if he was driving it to go top speed, whilst his attention was with the bird in the sky, that would be enough. In the days when rich, young men had fast horses instead of fast cars, they'd challenge their friends to road races and some of them got killed when the horse ran into a tree - too tired to think straight perhaps. It's a snippet of history I've been told, but have no way of verifying unfortunately. It was post Tudor times, I think.