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  1. It's foreshadowing or nothing - I don't think we going to see an actual dwarf courtesan.
  2. It's not so simple. For example, Sansa judged Cersei and Joff by their outward appearance and paid the price. But the mistake really was that she stopped looking too soon - once she identified them as the royalty of fairytales, she stopped observing and judging their behaviour. One of Syrio's most important lessons was the story of the yellow cat - ie look with your eyes and don't be led astray by what you think you know.
  3. Um, well, it is a bit odd - the dwarf on the haunted hill was real, and the dwarf in the mummer's show was real, but I can't believe the Oldtown brothel story. Why not take the easy way out and say the dwarf is Tyrion, it hasn't happened yet, and he's pleasing people in the usual way by telling them what they want to hear? That's what he did to the Golden Company. True! She couldn't have predicted any of this, but she was still an idiot for frightening off informers and not following up leads. Especially the brothels. I've been wondering recently if each character has a leitmotif, a recurring theme that follows them around. (Sandor's is fire. Sansa's is decapitation - gone a bit quiet at the moment, will come back to bite her.) Tyrion's leitmotif is brothels and whores - he never leaves them alone. If you want to know where he is, ask the brothel-keepers.
  4. Till now I've assumed that the blue leaved trees were a variety of ebony, and therefore the opposing pair to the weirwoods. Now I'm not so sure - the real-life identification of persimmon as an ebony seems very significant. It's not even straightforward to say the weirwoods represent 'ice'. They are found in the north, and the colour of snow, but Bran tastes hot spices in the seed paste, and the red and white colouring is shared with Ghost - and Mel says of Ghost: warmth calls to warmth. Dany gets a firey sensation when drinking shade of the evening, so the blue leaved trees are fire too. But shade of the evening seems the more unhealthy substance - Dany says it tastes foul like spoiled meat, whereas Bran says the weirwood paste is merely bitter, like the life-sustaining acorn paste. Maybe, then, the blue-leaved trees are corrupted weirwoods and not part of any natural balance between ice and fire. But then again, are persimmons enough to be a counterweight to weirwoods? Dany doesn't get any idea of ice or fire from them, but the bitterness/tartness is very marked. Often the bitterness goes along with disappointment or bitter truths in a way that seems similar to lemons. That might not be the only meaning of persimmons though. Things I'd add to the persimmon knowledge-base: It would be interesting to know the context when persimmons appear, and whether the persimmons are swallowed down or rejected. I think Dany rejects the soup - I'm not sure. Apparently, unripe persimmons are unbearably tart, and ripe ones more sweet. In some cases the sweetness increases when the fruit is exposed to frost.
  5. Cast iron can be brittle. Though I couldn't tell you what would be realistic for metalworking in this sort of period.
  6. @Damon_Tor It's just possible copper skin is a metaphor for copper armour. The wargs describe human armour as 'hardskin' - copper skin would be exactly that. iirc one of Dany's gifts was a suit of copper mail, and she thinks it looks impressive, but wouldn't be much use in a battle.
  7. Nitpicking, but the scene above is Jon's death, not his re-birth - unless he's reborn really fast, it won't do. Besides, I expect omens for Jon to be more grandiose than these! I believe in multiple AA's; I can't see any need to choose a single candidate. Jon does not invalidate Dany.
  8. 3A. Is this the dream where she opens the visor of Rhaegar's helmet and sees her own face? That would work for me, because it shows Rhaegar and Dany have an important overlap of identity. This would make for a very tidy solution to the 'A' category, with the three unhatched dragons reaching out for the three Targs present: Viserion + Viserys, Rhaegal + Rhaego and Drogon + the 'Last Dragon'.
  9. Thanks for writing this - I haven't time to read it properly just now, but it looks fascinating. I'll definitely come back for another look.
  10. I've wondered for a long while why the gods would send their chosen followers such confusing messages. Multiple sources for the messages would go a way to explaining it. Maybe multiple streams of information as well - @DutchArya and @Schwarze Sonne pointed out that 'fleeing from a marriage' is not easy to frame as a picture. It could be done, but Mel doesn't mention the necessary detail - so, maybe that idea arrived separately, like a sort of subliminal caption to the vision. A good seer would get the subliminal message and use it to interpret the vision correctly, but a bad one would just see the image. This does sound very possible. The Undying felt the Red Wedding as well - or at least Dany did, even though the story was not that relevant to her. Probably the Ghost of High Heart gets visions from the trees, and so do the Undying, in a way - so there might be some crossover there. It would be really interesting to see if the Ghost and Bran share the same psychic-space as Melisandre - the same truths arriving through different channels. I've got to admit this theory works, though I've always assumed the opposite - that the gods are, if not actually senile, not really sane either - sort of a badly integrated hive mind of powerful spirits. Definitely no middle ground though, either R'hllor is incredibly competent, or not at all. Thanks! Well spotted. I should have gone for Winterwatch really - even Autumnwatch would be a better fit for the books so far. But it kind of suits me - I always want to be jumping to the end.
  11. Karstarks have Stark blood, I guess - that makes them wolves. It might be a subtle way of communicating that Alys is part of the Stark family.
  12. Well, exactly. That statement probably appears in the red priest text book. Prophecy is a heck of a lot more of an art than a science. This touches on the key point about Mel: everything she does is interpreted in the light of this huge error of identification. Why is she so certain on this one point, when she admits uncertainty on everything else? - not just 'oft the way with visions' but also 'it might not come to pass' (paraphrased). Honestly, I think the identification of Stannis was not one of Mel's visions, but came from another source entirely - a higher authority that she has to trust more than her own skill and judgement. She must know by now that Stannis doesn't have a magical bone in his body. I've only just found out that Mel is afraid of dreaming - given the choice she stays up all night with the lights on. Agreed. I'm not saying this is incompetence though. Mel has to do her own interpretations - if she lets her clients do this, she becomes a webcam, not the Grand Vizier she wants to be. I bet you're right.
  13. Mel doesn't assume anything about the lake or the route - she tells Mance what she saw. And she was not bluffing about the girl fleeing to Jon: And of course she says it's Arya. Assume it's Arya, organise a rescue and Jon Snow has a huge debt to pay. Assume anything else and there's no advantage to be gained. The reward is large and the risk very small. Arya is the girl 'known' to be in a abusive marriage, who would dare to escape across leagues on horseback, who could expect Jon Snow to protect her (even though the Watch 'takes no part'), who wears the Stark colour grey - and, if the vision shows it: is young and skinny and looks a bit like Jon Snow. Whoever would think there could be two girls meeting that description? Excuse me for talking about Mel so much, but here's the payoff. This is from the 'bloody tide' vision: (Yes, naughty Mel, bluffing again. But she's pretty safe as Eastwatch has the only towers by the sea that the Watch cares about.) So, often, the subject of a vision doesn't appear literally, but is represented by something else of the same type. A tower can represent another tower. Or in this case, a girl can represent another girl. Alys can represent Arya.
  14. Mel could be right. She gets underestimated a lot - it's way too common to hear, "Mel is incompetent", "Mel deludes herself", "Mel always gets it wrong". Well does she? She says she has studied the art of fire prophecy for years beyond count, and no-one in her order can do it better. Deluded? Well, from what we see directly in her point of view, she is happy to deceive others, but she doesn't deceive herself. She recognises what she doesn't know, but she doesn't tell her listeners because her aim isn't to give the whole truth - more that she wants to manipulate them. In this case, she wants to get hold of Arya to gain influence over Jon - so I think she's giving Mance all the help she can. And she's a good witness here, not adding or interpreting anything, and letting Mance fill in the details: the lake and the direction of travel (she has to do this - she is a stranger in the country, and no-one expects her to identify Long Lake, or Arya, or anything else). The only question mark over Mel is Stannis, and this is so weird because as I said, she doesn't usually deceive herself. All I can think of is that early on, Rhllor spectacularly messed up a vision showing Stannis and hasn't bothered to correct it. Or that Stannis was identified by another method back at headquarters and Mel was given that as a certainty. Anyway, my point is: Mel's competence is not a factor here - Mance knows everything she does.
  15. Good points, but I'd add that Westeros winters sound like a step change in the climate - something like the cooling that would happen in northern Europe if the Gulf Stream stopped bringing warm seawater up from the south. There was actually some very precise information in the vision: the great size of the lake, and the fact that it was just freezing over. So it comes down to Mance's knowledge and judgement. I think he knows a lot: Honestly, no-one would survive north of the wall if they weren't wise to the weather. No-one would be King of the Wildings if they weren't intelligent. He is well-travelled. He acts the wandering bard so well that most likely he has been an wandering bard for a considerable time. That would give him access to all the northern great households - why wouldn't he go and have a look? He says, "I know every bawdy song that's ever been made, north or south of the Wall...." So he's travelled enough to meet a lot of bards and other singers. He knows Long Lake. He has 'hidey-holes' there that he uses from time to time. He has a hunger for adventure and knowledge. When he heard King Robert was coming to Winterfell, he thought nothing of racing south and finding a way to embed himself in the royal entourage. Why? He says, "It was too choice a chance to resist." and "I wanted to see this Robert with my own eyes, king to king, and get the measure of your uncle Benjen as well." So we have this picture of a clever, curious, restless man, who has lived through many winters. I think his judgment is good: if he thinks it's possible Long Lake is not yet frozen, then it is indeed possible.