Springwatch

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  1. I really doubt that Sandor's shown much in the way of gallantry before - this tourney was the first time he won the love of the commons, and his reputation is not that he defends the weak, but that he's not a monster like Gregor. The best we know about him then is that he hated 'waste' - deaths like Ser Hugh's, and and destruction like the burning of the Crownlands. LOL - this is like when a guy's best friends meet his partner and start saying to each other: "I just don't get it! What does he see in her???" It won't change anything, it never does. He's never going break with Sansa, because that's not what dogs do - and I'm sure you remember this quote: Well, death has lost a lot of its sting lately, so nothing to worry about. The 'Hound' has sort of died once already, and I predict Sansa will spend most of winter deep frozen, with Arya and Sandor joining her towards the end - and that's hardly a restriction either, but cuts out most opportunites for romance. Yes. Probably it's to create a parallel with the final battle with UnGregor, when of course hitting the head won't have any effect. Reasons... we've discussed reasons. Maybe the most likely is simply that he's an elite bodyguard of the royal family, and closing down incidents with minimum destruction is his job - and he loves his job. When he was fighting off the mob in KL, his face was 'transformed' - I guess that means without the tension and twitching that's probably his 'normal' face. He was at peace, I think. He says killing is the sweetest thing, but we don't see him going for kills, so the truth must be that the sweetest thing is fighting to the limits of his ability.
  2. I can't help agreeing with each of these. He still remembers his dreams, his heart of gold, but he believes that was childish fantasy, and the world truly is an evil place where the strong devour the weak. Gregor taught the lesson to Sandor, and Sandor, right to the end, was still trying to teach that lesson to Ned Stark's little daughters. A crazily dark lesson. He hates knighthood intensely, and I can only think of two reasons for that: 1) the hypocrisy of swearing oaths of chivalry you don't mean to keep; and 2) his standards of knighthood are still rocket high, impossibly high - so all real knights look like massive failures to him. (Right in step with Sansa on this one.) Sansa tried to compliment him on a 'gallant' performance in day one of the tourney, but it was just empty words from her, she really had no idea; in fact we're told his style was 'ferocious'. The next day he shows her what 'gallant' looks like, and he can do that because he knows, deep down, how a 'true knight' acts. Even if he doesn't believe in true knights.
  3. It's hard to respond to a post on the Sandor/Sansa dynamic without seeming to discuss SanSan. Anyway - Elder Brother only knows stuff that's common knowledge and stuff that Sandor tells him. The common knowledge is that the Hound doesn't have love affairs - obviously. Sandor's got no reason to think either Arya or Sansa loves him - he treated them pretty roughly. That only leaves his own feelings, which he must find difficult to explain even to himself. It's not SanSan romance - he was her defender long before he finally noticed she was growing into a beauty. (Personally, I think he got caught up in something of a backlash from the severed warg bond when Lady died, and the compulsion to defend Sansa starts there.) Even without romance, he is head over heels, though. He falls into Sansa's orbit, and suddenly finds himself acting like a knight in a song. He fights gallantly in the tourney. He gallantly keeps her covered when creep Joffrey wants her dragged out of bed. He gallantly kneels to wipe the blood off her lip, gallantly rescues her from a mob, gallantly gives his own cloak to hide her nakedness. He even joins the Kingsguard, which is pretty much the heartland of everything he despises about knights. He's still the Hound, so it's not pretty, but he perseveres. Actually, it's funny. In his head, he's still the badass Hound, giving Sansa a sharp lesson in harsh realities, but at the same time all this Aemon the Dragonknight stuff keeps happening to him. He must think he's going mad.
  4. Sandor was being ridiculously gallant here, and taking stupid, dangerous risks to do it. I think in a way, he's mocking the greatest knights of the kingdom (and Sansa), by showing the world that he can be braver, more skilled and above all, more gallant than any of them - and he's not even a knight.
  5. I get a vague general impression that healing is more likely to be successful if it's based on fire, i.e. red, or hot, or burning or itching. And the opposite is true for ice based healing: blue (or white?), or cooling, or wet, or soothing. (And I'm thinking this is just a bad luck omen, rather than bad treatment.) So Drogo starts off with a pale green paste and a burning, red paste, and changes to a cool, wet, soothing blue mud plaster. Jon Arryn is initially treated with pepper juice as part of a purging and wasting treatment (fire consumes). This might have been effective ridding his body of the poison, but Pycelle changes the treatment to something more soothing, finishing with milk of the poppy. Qyburn says: '...Try to burn out the corruption with boiling wine and a poultice of nettle, mustard seed, and bread mold.... You will want milk of the poppy--' (Jaime refuses milk of the poppy, and recovers well.) Tyrion's face is initially treated with a mask of bandages and plaster (presumably white?), with milk of the poppy to make him sleep. He gets rid of these, and finishes with a wash of wine that burns like fire. You'd need more examples to be sure of a pattern, but that's all I can think of at the moment. On balance, I think Mirri's initial treatment of Drogo was genuine.
  6. Ah, ok I don't disagree with anything much here - interesting ideas and distinctly possible. I don't think anyone else will hatch dragons from fossil eggs because there were a lot of steps before the eggs even got to the pyre - and none of that stage was planned or directed by anyone. Even if Dany explained what happened to a shadowbinder, they couldn't duplicate everything. I agree the fireproofing most likely came from Mirri's song - maybe it's essential to have both extreme fire heat and a Targ very close to hatch these eggs. I don't think she'd be literally singing the Moonsinger songs, because that sounds more like a metaphor to me - Dany is the mother of dragons, and Mirri is the midwife. Anyway, the only snag is we haven't seen a fireproof red priest yet. Mel seemed to reach her point of maximum endurance just keeping the glamour on Rattleshirt. Of course, Mirri was suffering a lot too...
  7. You're not reading my posts No, that's not what I said.. It's likely Asshai has both dragon eggs and expertise. Something extra is needed, what I called the 'deux ex machina' - ie extra information or magic, supplied by the 'gods', and supplied now because this exact moment is the time of destiny, when the red star bleeds and cold winds blow etc, etc. So either a giant hand comes down and completely overturns reality, or destiny is worked through people acting according to their nature and experience. The second option is better. Targs through the ages have created massive fires and killed other people and themselves with the aim of hatching dragon eggs - so Dany isn't acting ignorantly or randomly, but from instinct or family tradition. Mirri has her backstory in strong magics - it would be a bit weird if that was irrelevant. It seems to me we're supposed to underestimate Mirri - she's old (or not young), she's ugly, and she gets victimised in so many ways. But she's also a repeat of Maggy the Frog - also old, and ugly and despised. Cersei - the young and beautiful princess-type - strengthens the parallel by wanting to have her whipped, like Dany has Mirri whipped. Cersei was wrong to underestimate Maggy, and Dany was wrong too. Crones mean wisdom.
  8. Huh? Common knowledge has nothing to do with Mirri. She's about as uncommon as you could get. She lived and studied in Asshai, the place where (at some level) dragons stir beneath the sunrise, where Ilyrio can plausibly claim to have got the dragon eggs. We don't know for a fact that Mirri has dragonlore, but we can't put a limit on how much she knows - she might know all there is to know. Asshai seems to be a hotbed of advanced learning, and experts in multiple topics were willing to pass on their knowledge to Mirri. She earned the title 'Maegi' - the wise. And she's got religion too. Many readers take her words as prophetic. That's a key point, because the hatching does need something 'extra' - some knowledge or magic to make the ritual work - and that something can only come from the supernatural side. It's possible that this 'deus ex machina' operated on Dany, but I don't think so: when Dany has a vision, we see it too. Besides, Dany says she's acting on what she learned from Mirri - which can only be that if you want something huge, you have to make a huge sacrifice - everything you have, in fact.
  9. There are a few things touching on Mirri's motives that we can be near certain of. She has studied magic widely and deeply, and therefore could commit murder in any number of ways. At the end of all that training, she has still chosen to be a priestess of the Lamb God, who probably forbids murder. Mirri is devout - she didn't use her powers to save her people from Drogo. But Rhaego is coming, and the world is going to be totally consumed by violence and horror - and the obvious solution is to kill Dany immediately: no more Stallions. Why does Mirri not do this? In all probability, she prayed, and got an answer which was the exact opposite of what she expected - i.e. to save the world, you must heal Drogo, and keep Dany alive, and be prepared to sacrifice everything - your life, your honour, your religious values, everything. And that's what she does. I like this idea of getting down to the bones of what is truly right and wrong. It echoes Jon's story, when the Halfhand tells him not to worry about his vows but do whatever it takes to survive among the wildlings; and Brienne's story, when she swears to sacrifice her life and honour if it would save Cat's daughters. Anyway. Mirri is acting on blind faith that her sacrifice will not be in vain. When she sees Dany trying to put together a blood magic ritual without the necessary knowledge, she has doubts (not to mention fear, anger and resentment). She probably thinks the ritual is flawed in two ways: Dany doesn't know the right words, and the horse is unworthy. There's only one place the words can come from - Mirri herself. She sings in the pyre. The meaning has already been clued in when Mirri says she knows the birthing songs of the moonsingers, and Doreah says dragons hatched from the moon. The horse was not the sacrifice (it probably represents Drogo's 2nd 'death'). Mirri is the worthy sacrifice in place of the horse - and her horse identity shows up in these words: Later Dany dreams of Mirri with dragons bursting from her brow. That's how it happened.
  10. Ideas about justice are beyond weird. The job of a king or queen is mostly to sit on a throne or bench, and adjudicate between peasants - for hour after hour, day after day. Ned executes a guy, but hadn't bothered to get off his horse to question him. Elsewhere, summary justice is given out at the whim of the local strongman, no problem. Where are the laws? Where are the judges? This kind of thing used to bother me, but less so now I'm considering the novels as a modern legend - the unreliable narrator here is the author, and that's ok. And it gives the flexibility needed to fit in the massive amount of symbolism. He hasn't got a leg to stand on when it comes to criticising Tolkein, though. At least in LOTR you can believe that a realistic infrastructure is out there in the background somewhere. GRRM shoves his cardboard and tinfoil right under your nose.
  11. Just for fun, let's list the definitive features of the classic Targ type: The most beautiful of people Hair bright as metal, eyes like jewels Looks as kings and queens 'should look' Readily chooses fire as a weapon Loves fire Tendency to vicious insanity (as if the gods tossed a coin) Tendency to fall passionately in love with a sibling Have I missed anything?
  12. Lots of things are possible, but as a default I'd want the burning man and the wolf to have meaning just as they are. I'm expecting the wolf to be the equal and opposite of fire - which is ice, not night. Actually there's a whole list of opposites which you'd think would neatly slot under the headlines fire and ice, but nothing turns out that simple. We've got: Ice / Fire Winter / Summer Moon / Sun Night / Dawn White / Black Water / Oil? Curtain of Light / Asshai of the Shadow? But nothing burns like ice, and dragons came from the moon, and Ghost has hot red eyes - so there's no simple mapping here. ETA: Another thought - Mel saw BR with wolf-headed Bran in her flames. She thought she was looking at the enemy of R'hllor.
  13. Jon began to study the wights before he was killed - this hints that wights may be more complex than the standard zombie. One option is suggested by Bran's warging of Hodor - the spirit stays in the body, but at a lower level, without any control of the body. In that case, the wights need freeing from the magic that controls them - which is neat, because it joins the anti-slavery storyline of Dany with the ice storyline of Jon. Me too. I like best of all a precise magic system, and a story with a history and culture that naturally flows from that. Hardly ever happens, though. GRRM is fairer than most authors - he's made it absolutely clear that magic is in a state of flux, and poorly understood besides. (I've not read Stormlight Archives, but it sounds good from the description.)
  14. When Viserys tried to hurt Dany in the Drothraki sea, one of her riders said she should take an ear to teach him respect. It seems an odd connection, but might work consistently. One of Tyrion's mountain men followers took ears as a trophy or a status symbol. The Hound has had so many ear injuries he must look like an old fashioned doberman. Quite a mixed bag of ears.
  15. Forgot the obvious one: Catelyn bites the assasin's hand - a deep bite, graphically described. If the Hand of the King represents the King's agency, perhaps Catelyn's bite marks her thwarting the assasin's purpose. Maybe Nymeria and Helicent are demanding action in this pattern also. Cat collects injuries of her own in this incident: a hank of hair torn out, probably a mark to the throat, and cuts to her hand leaving it permanently stiff with the two smallest fingers unable to move. She has been accused of acting clumsily from this point on - she certainly struggles to achieve her goals. Stiffness might be another good injury to add to the list. Jon has a stiff hand from the tower fire. Tyrion constantly complains of stiff legs. If you can bear it, there's a definitive list of belly stabbings in this thread here: Sansa's Ultimate Fate. (Basically everybody dies.)