Blue-Eyed Wolf

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  1. I know right! There needs to be an app for this. Not a dating app. I just want to swipe right and hook up with someone to talk about ASOIAF ships or just the books in general.
  2. So my coworker told me he was going on a date with this new guy and he was a big ASOIAF fan. I got a little too... invested in these two working out. Especially when he was showing me a text message that said he ships Sansan, Gendry x Arya, and Val x Jon. My coworker is only lowkey interested in the show and had to ask me who Val was. I admit I had no chill at that point. Seriously, I wanted to meet this guy! When they didn't really hit it off I was actually a bit sad about it.
  3. It is a metaphor for sex. Specifically female orgasm. You are referring to the scene on the serpentine steps. I think Sandor is saying something that feels somewhat safe to express because he knows it will go over her head. It does for the most part. She is thinking in terms of a literal song and suggests "Florian and Jonquil." She does have to have some idea that even singing a literal song to a man is kind of an intimate act in itself. Even on that level, she is saying that the intimate act of literal singing a romantic song is agreeable to her. Sansa will learn what "singing" really means when Marillion tries to rape her on the Fingers and uses that term. Then in hindsight she can full understand the implication. However, the night of the Blackwater, Sandor was demanding only the literal song of Florian and Jonquil. Yeah, still totally not appropriate, but he knows the other song is just not okay. He doesn't touch her in any way sexually. What he wanted was intimacy and comfort in his PTSD meltdown and went about it in the wrong way. He botched up this "rescue" of the maiden in the tower big time and he knows it. Do I think he was physically attracted to her? Yes. But he never crossed that particular boundary, even though what he did was wrong. It is definitely written with sexual subtext (in Sansa's internal narration), but nothing sexual actually happened. What's hinted at is a future meeting between them as indicated by Sansa putting the bloody cloak in her hope chest beneath her summer silks, her future wardrobe. You might find the Pawn to Player project very helpful to understanding their dynamic. It's just such a multi-layered scene it's hard to do it justice in one post, but there's some really great essays there. I highly recommend it. Also ladycyrpus on tumblr has a great collection of meta essays on the topic. I also have an unkiss essay on my tumblr differentiating it from trauma. You can always hit me up there. Hope that helps!
  4. Hey @Seams! Glad to see your input. I love that you brought up the dragonbone hilt! Not enough attention gets paid to hilts and pommels. Lemme just address this first: So here's the passage: It doesn't read to me that Joffrey honestly thinks dragonbone is too plain for him... it's that he just got busted by Tyrion who is telling him he knows about the dagger and he's making an excuse. He was caught off guard, was about to react then switched gears to distance himself from the attempted murder weapon. I am going to adjust my opinion a bit on why Joffrey picked that dagger. You're right he probably didn't chose it because it was cool looking. It still has significance to the distant dysfunctional father he desperately wants to identify with for paternity's sake. It was the dagger Robert won at Joffrey's 12th nameday tourney. In many years of parental neglect and moments of abuse, Robert being present to celebrate Joffrey's birthday probably felt like real moment of acknowledgement as his son. At 12 Joffrey is getting closer to manhood where comparisons to the father are going to be more frequent and scrutinizing, especially as he is Robert's heir. He probably chose the dagger because it's Robert's dagger from an event that links them as father and son. And even more personal significance about the dagger at the tourney feast: Robert shows "Uncle Jaime" the dagger to rub it in his face that he lost! As I said I do believe Joffrey deep down knows about the incest, but cannot express that rage except in his acting out and patterns of largely unconscious choices. Seems like everyone was betting on Jaime, except Robert. The dagger in question represents Uncle Jaime being punished by Robert, "salting his wounds. As far as Jaime's real karmic punishment for what he actually did to Bran goes, he did lose his sword arm, the same arm that did the shoving out the window. That's really interesting. Robert wants every last Targaryen eradicated from the world and he fears what Dany's marriage to Khal Drogo could mean. His reign began with the murder of dragon children and I think as a karmic justice he was denied legitimate children of his own body. He did fear a Dothraki invasion early on while everyone thought it impossible. It could be a Dothraki (literary) connection as well as they highly value bows made of it. It's lighter and more flexible than steel, but also stronger, doesn't burn, and has a high iron content that makes it dark. There might be something there to figure out in the symbolic sense. I can't quite wrap my brain around it yet either. It might be comparable to a dragon's tooth and a hidden dagger: It's a good weapon for someone without much martial skill don't you think? It's super sharp and lightweight. You can do a lot of damage without much force. As you said Littlefinger wields it pretty deftly. The dark handle makes me think of "daggers in the dark" The dagger is still in play as far as the future of the story goes and it came full circle back to the original owner. It was the dagger he pulled from Ned Starks's belt to hold to his throat: And then used to cut fruit for Sansa with the blood orange being particularly relevant: It has to be the same dagger. No other dagger would be as significant as the dagger held to her father's throat when they discuss the assassination of Joffrey. Especially with the image of LF tilting his head back and exposing this own throat as he explains how it was all done. I'm also thinking about Joffrey's penchant for finding humor in animals and sigils killing or eating their own kind. Send a dog to kill a wolf, he wants to serve Robb's head to Sansa to eat it, etc. then there's: It wasn't actually gold dragons that killed Viserys, but we get the idea. Gold = dragons = Targaryens. Dragons killing a dragon. None of these things actually work out like Joffrey says. Yes a dragon tried to kill a dragon, but it was Viserys who was the aggressor on Dany. Funny enough, even Dany comments that the Usurper owes Drogo a lordship for killing Viserys as he has decreed as a reward. The catspaw was paid in silver stags using a stag's dagger by a wannabe stag. Perhaps what "stinks" about the catspaw is the lie surrounding the dagger. The main lie is that LF says Tyrion won the dagger at the tourney, not Robert. Sleeping in the stables could mean there's a "horseshit" here, but not the kind the character's might think. It's the truth that gets doubted and the lie that gets believed, even when there are gaping holes in the false story. Smelling is often linked to detecting the truth in the story. The catspaw stinks of horseshit, but it's the sweet minty breath of Petyr that is believed. It's actually more like the wannabe stag is really a cat that sent a catspaw to kill a Cat who got misdirected into blaming the wrong cat. It's this incident that sets the lions to begin to questions and turn on each other.
  5. I like all your interpretations! Especially with linking Asha to the ash tree, which is also linked to Yggdrasil. Much of the concept of a weirwood probably comes from Yggdrasil, an ash tree mixed with Celtic animism. Ash also fits well with the fire motif of the burning red leaves. It also connects her to her brother Theon, whose name means godly and who is now heavily connected to weirwoods in the later part of his story.
  6. Fun topic to speculate on! We have multiple in universe variations on Garth names starting with Garth Greenhand, who is strongly tied to real world pagan concept of the greenman or green god. Characters with a garth type name tend to be related to the themes of the cycle of life, death, rebirth, fertility and sacrifice. Also movement between the worlds of life and death as he is a psychopomp. @LmL 's Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire goes into the significance of Garth names and IIRC does make a connection to the gar (fish) and spear. Lommy Greenhands comes to mind and he took a spear to the throat. I do remember he pointed out that a commonly used method for catching fish was called a weir or a fishgarth. I did have my guess on this one. Starting with Sansa. I don't think the meaning of the name itself is important. I think he just wanted a soft-sounding name that went with the character's personality. George does like to play around with couples with similar sounding names. Tyrion and Tysha, Elys and Alys, etc... What's important is the "dor." I linked some attributes of Sansa's story to some aspects of the Norse goddess Freya, which literally means "lady." Not all aspects, as Arya is also linked to Freya too. Freya possessed a falcon feather cloak that shape-shifts the wearer. Think of Sansa in disguise and protected under the falcon of Arryn. Freya's husband, Óðr, (also considered another version of Odin) is someone she is mostly separated from as he has left her to go on a long journey. She weeps tears of red gold for him. There's an obvious red connection to Sansa and weeping as Alyssa's tears pour from the Giant's Lance. The valley below the mountain is described as red and gold in autumn. as well. She choses to wear a ribbon of autumn gold, which mimics Clegane colors of the three dogs that died in the autumn yellow grass. It's the only time "autumn" is used to describe gold or yellow in the series. And we know Sansa wonders what became of Sandor and still feels a romantic/erotic connection to him. Freya has been accused of being lusty and promiscuous, usually by Loki who has some Littlefinger parallels. As Sansa is now the bastard Alayne, there's also the stigma of being born of lust and having loose sexual morals. As for Sandor's Odin / parallels, there's both dying on / against a tree to be reborn with wisdom and knowledge. Sandor is of course working through his issues on the QI. Odin is a warrior-poet type god who does sometimes have a cruel streak. They both have a special horse. So my guess is the origins and connection between the names might be Sansa = Lady = Freya, Odin/ Óðr = Freya's husband. Smoosh the names together. San + Odin/ Óðr = Sandor, Sansa's husband, given two cloaks already by him. AS for Gregor, I got a little guess too. Sandor also shares some parallels or a reverse image of Brynden Rivers aka Bloodraven. THere's half their faces marked: one with a port wine stain, the other burned. BR's hair is straight and white, Sandor's is straight and black. BR lost an eye due to his brother, Aegor Rivers, aka Bittersteel. Sandor's scarring was caused by his brother Gregor, aka the Mountain. The connection might not be a deep one but maybe George was recycling some of the similar ideas between brothers with a blood feud. Gregor/Aegor have some similar enough sounding names.
  7. Haha, thank you! Kind of a double standard when you consider Bran was expected to administer justice to any NW's deserter he found when he came of age and was running a holdfast for his older brother. That deserter even had a much better reason to desert than Dareon. Dareon didn't just desert the NW but also disobeyed his orders and underminded their mission. I believe Jon lopped off Slynt's head for such insubordination. The whole point of bringing Bran to witness the beheading was to teach him how to handle such a heavy duty. It's not taken lightly by Ned as he does it himself. It's handled with quiet dignified stoicism, quick and efficient. Bran must not flinch or look away from that duty. Somehow when it comes to the Stark girls, stoicism is evidence of a character defect. If anything that connection to her father administering justice is proof that the Stark identity is still very strong in her. This weighing of the facts and all the factors before she makes a decision actually makes her a more fair judge than most. Tough, but fair. Even her abandonment of the Hound and refusing him "mercy" is saying she's considered everything about him, not just the Mycah incident, and come to a verdict that he can be both guilty but also not deserving of death by her hand. She does not take the opportunity to get any personal satisfaction by stabbing him or watching him die slowly by his wounds. I think if it was about making him suffer, she would have stayed to watch the suffering. Actually, she tried her best to ease his suffering by treating his wounds. All men must die, that can't be changed, but she can chose what her own role will be. So I thoroughly reject she will be anything like LSH who is far less discriminant and almost totally unrestrained. This does not mean Arya needs to be totally merciful and forgiving to be different either, but that her brand of justice is fair in determining individual guilt.
  8. Thanks. Yes a lot of what Joffrey does and the choices he makes are not something I would say are totally conscious choices on his part. My understanding was initially he chose such a conspicuous dagger because he is a kid and thought "this dagger is effing sick!" That's pretty believable when you consider juvenile crime is often impulsive, sloppy, and not particularly well thought out. Especially believable when it comes to Joffrey's intelligence and maturity level. But you bring up an interesting point about the princely dagger being an extension of himself, or representing his self-image. It's very well known the Lannister side of his family has always coveted Valyrian steel and Tywin makes sure Joffrey and Jaime finally get their swords from Ice. Owning Valyrian steel speaks of legitimacy in paternity as it would normally be something inherited from father to son. I agree. Isn't this so sad considering what lengths Ned will go to on Robert's behalf and the love he bears him? Ned got to see a little glimpse of his friend's true nature when he couldn't be bothered to spare innocents when Ned pleaded out of love for their friendship and the love he bore Lyanna. Then Ned kinda puts the incident out of his mind for a while and goes back to thinking of Robert as a true friend. So many strong parallels to Joffrey/Sansa in ignoring the red flags. Like father, like daughter. How tragic that Ned risked himself to hopefully ensure Cersei's children would be saved and how on Robert's deathbed he wanted to spare his friend the truth and a broken heart... when Robert thought Ned's son should just die already because his paralysis and coma was such a buzz kill for the party. Robert may have been pretty drunk, but in vino veritas. When his inhibitions are lowered, his true character comes out from under the superficial charm. The rapist, the physical abuser, the irresponsible, lazy ruler, the guy that professes love constantly but means none of it to anyone. That "we are too weak" would definitely speak to Joffrey's sense of what strength is: bold, decisive, ruthless action. Strength is not having the "soft hearts" of women. This is not at all merciful. It's callous and basically says your life isn't worth living if you can't be a strong, able-bodied man. He's comparing Bran to a lame horse or dog. Just as in training yard, JOffrey complains about the howling wolves keeping him up at night. It's an unpleasant annoyance that should be put down and the one who does it proves he is not "too weak" to lose their resolve. And we know Joffrey takes pleasure in killing animals, which I suppose makes him feel like the hunter that Robert is. Altogether I think the profile makes it more than clear that Joffrey could act completely on his own. The sloppiness of it is totally consistent with a juvenile crime and his psychological profile. As for his part, Littlefinger is taking a risk in telling a lie that can be discredited when you look into it, but when has LF ever been risk averse? He loves dancing close to the edge of being exposed for the thrill of getting away with it. He's taking advantage of the already existing Lannister suspicion (Lysa's letter and the poisoning of Jon Arryn which he prompted) and playing on Cat's brotherly love for him, all of which is reasonably credible as far as Cat knows. LF knows a good opportunity when he sees it. The catspaw plot was icing on the cake. If it wasn't the catspaw, you can bet he would have taken advantage of any other scenario that arose from starting the conflict. And he continued to instigate by whispering in Joff's ear to execute Ned. He doesn't have to precisely control everything. Just set the ball in motion and give it a few kicks now and then, while fully knowing there are other player involved who will do what they may. It's not a grand conspiracy, it's serendipity where the catspaw meets LF's existing machinations. Maybe that is a little too convenient timing and feels heavy-handed of the author for some tastes, but it's nothing wildly implausible or damaging to the overall plot. I see no reason to project a grand conspiracy onto a plot where none is required to make it work.
  9. She was raised from the dead because of Harwin's pleading. It was more out grief and emotional attachment to a good person who was savagely murdered, much like Arya asking if it's possible to bring her father back. It was not for the purpose of leading the BwB to scour the Riverlands out of vengeance, but things happen when someone's been dead for 3 days and her last memories are of betrayal and murder. Beric was also pretty tired of being brought back at that point, so I can see why he decided to give up his flame of life. I just don't think anyone thought Cat would become LSH, because Beric was still mostly Beric and a decent, fair man. The effects of bringing someone back to life is still uncharted territory. Her leadership is definitely more appealing to the more extreme members of the BwB like Lem Lemoncloak, who wanted the Hound dead for his brother's crimes. She's not killing at random, but she is targeting Freys and Lannisters or anyone who might be their associates like Brienne who is carrying Oathkeeper and documents signed and sealed by King Tommen. Yeah that could mean even Freys who had nothing to do with the RW have a target on their backs. And we're getting set up for a potential Red WEdding 2.0 with the marriage of Daven Lannister (?) to a Frey girl. It's also apparent by the BwB asking Merritt Frey if he's seen Arya with the Hound that she is also actively searching for Arya, so she's not single-minded in her goals. So that's how LSH is probably going to move the plot forward in the Riverlands. Of course, who and how she will be finally put to rest, given the gift of mercy, will be narratively satisfying for whichever character is tasked with doing it. I'm 90% sure that's Arya. It's a really sad story that Cat who argued passionately against vengeance became LSH, who is the living embodiment of unbridled vengeance.
  10. I do think it is reasonable that Joffrey would be motivated by Robert's offhand remark when you look at the dysfunctional family dynamics. This was discussed a while ago on another thread (I can't remember the OP) and it led to some interesting clues about Joffrey's psychology. It may seem like I'm going off topic, but bear with me. Recall the incident with the pregnant female cat that Joffrey cut open to take out the kittens. He brought those fetal kittens to Robert who responded by hitting Joffrey so hard he knocked out his baby teeth. So Joffrey can't be more than 6-7 years old when we typically start to lose our baby teeth. It always struck me as to why Robert hit Joffrey that hard over that. It sounds like a direct punch or a backhand hit to knock his teeth out. Sure, it must have been a disgusting sight, but Robert is a battle hardened warrior. He’s definitely seen more gruesome things on the battlefield. His over reaction could not have been out of disgust alone, but an intense visceral rage and not because Robert is this great animal lover either. Think about it. Little Joffrey is showing Robert the kittens… look at the kittens, Robert!!! The pregnant female cat is a reference to the mother lioness Cersei. Jaime and Cersei were never careful or discreet about their affair. The incest is one of the worst kept secrets. Servants notice things and they talk. Even a young child can witness some things and put two and two together when he sees the pregnant mother cat. Joffrey has obviously seen his mother pregnant with his siblings. Medieval children would be raised with a matter of fact understanding of where babies come from because of living so close to livestock and other animals. So the punch probably didn’t come from the fetal kittens, but maybe something young Joffrey unwittingly said to Robert as he presented them. Even though Jon Arryn was going to go to Robert with the incest accusation, I think it’s wholly possible deep down Robert suspected something before. By nature he is someone that avoids unpleasantness and anything that undermines his self image. A man like Robert I can believe reacted violently to the mere suggestion that his wife was cuckolding him right under his nose with his brother-in-law and someone appointed to his own kingsguard. Should such a thing be acknowledged to be true, it would be utterly humiliating. After Robert's reaction and Joffrey get a little older, there would be more understanding of incest and that it is considered an abomination. It would also cause a huge underlying resentment towards Cersei and Uncle Jaime for making him a bastard and an abomination; however, he is still young and still feels powerless against his mother's dominating personality. Like Robert, this would not be something Joffrey could ever admit to out loud, but bury inside. What he can do at that young age is to heavily identify with his father, the stag. To prove to himself, not just other people, that he is Robert's son. This isn't about love for Robert, it's about denying the truth. We can see his efforts to impress and identify with his father not just in arranging for the catspaw to finish off Bran. He also kills Tommen’s fawn (a mini-stag symbol) and claims the skin and the Baratheon identity for himself. Even every time he says “Mother says I must…” we can feel the resentment there. As time goes on and Joffrey becomes king, he feels his own absolute power as he ceases to listen to Cersei anymore. And he continues to torture cats like when he’s shooting them with his new crossbow. Not coincidentally, this also occurs at a moment he has his kingsguard physically and sexually abuse Sansa. He is transferring his hatred of his mother to women in general as false creatures. Sansa is a “traitor” to him afterall. His first unsupervised outing with Sansa in AGOT definitely had date rape vibes with his plying her with alcohol that she isn’t used to. And Jaime is not excluded. While Sansa is a hostage, Joffrey knows that Jaime’s life depends on Sansa’s safety. He doesn’t care. It’s in his M.O. to use proxies to torture others. So by causing Sansa pain, he can theoretically cause “Uncle Jaime” pain. He wants Robb to know how Sansa is suffering probably so some retaliation will be visited upon the imprisoned Jaime. He also has no respect for his grandfather Tywin and openly mocks him too. This is all distancing himself from the Lannister identity that was thrust upon him by his mother. Yes I know there are definitely traits Joffrey shares with his mother, some things he cannot easily escape and much of what Cersei taught him has stuck. It’s too easy to assume Joffrey is as completely stupid as the POV characters who hate him think he is. He’s definitely not one to think things through, but there’s reason to suspect he knows some shameful family secrets and he’s acting out his anger in ways that he can without admitting the truth. When he even threatens to rape Sansa after she is married to Tyrion, he makes it clear he is emulating his father: Everything he does, he connects it to being like his father whether it's boasting of his skill as a warrior, being ruthless and strong, or being a sexually aggressive man. So looking back on the catspaw incident, it makes sense why Joffrey would latch on to the idea that he's man enough to carry out what his father said ought to be done with Bran. Even if it's something he would share with no one else, in his private thoughts he can say "yes, I am my father's son. I did what he would do." This is completely believable to me as Joffrey's sole motivation because that drive to emulate Robert is remains so consistently extreme over time. Me personally, I don't believe LF had anything to do with it, but I'm just saying the "daddy issues" motive actually does make satisfying sense to Joffrey's character. I think the problem with the catspaw plot is you can really feel the heavy hand of the author needing to kick off the story, but it doesn't bother me and I don't think the overall plot suffers for it. *edit* I will say Robert knowing deep down the truth also explains his neglect of TOmmen and Myrcella too. These are great playful, happy kids who would have been the types to give Robert the adoration he constantly seeks. He avoids them completely. He's caught in a position where he cannot not acknowledge them as his kids, but he also probably doesn't want to look at them and doubt they are his.
  11. I'm really looking forward to the Anansi part! I can't wait to read it. And then there's Loki who is a bit of both. The one who helps to create conflict, but also the one tasked with finding the solution. That usually involves drawing upon his shape-shifting abilities, a clever tongue, and his ties to other gods and mythological characters for what they can offer. Definitely will do! Yeah there's definitely a parallel right off the bat of Rohanne unfairly labeled a "red widow," accused of poisoning her husbands when clearly they died of largely natural causes or in battle. The deaths of her two early babies was probably likely to being married off so young. She was only 13 with the first baby, who was "weak" (premature perhaps). Then she's accused of sacrificing her babies in exchange for the power of the "dark arts." That first baby came from her much older husband. It reminds me of Myranda saying "old men have weak seed." I always thought it meant she failed to conceive, but maybe it can also mean she miscarried or delivered a child that died soon after. It's not certain exactly at what age Myranda was wed, except she claims she was still "innocent" at 14. Anyway, that reputation as a "red widow" caused Rohanne's number of suitors to dwindle and I wouldn't be surprised if it damaged Myranda as well. Yes, I'm seeing quite a bit here that could be applicable. Especially with Lady Waynwood's rejection of Myranda as a wife for Harry. As you pointed out, Varys is accused of being a "wizard" and practicing some dark art even though that's far from the truth. Varys was used for dark magic against his will that castrated him, sacrificing his whole manhood and any future progeny for the real wizard's purposes. Nothing so permanent happened with Rohanne, but she has the reputation of sacrificing her babies for magic lobbed on her. Nevermind being 13 years old and married off by her father, so if anyone was getting sacrificed it was her. Actually her first marriage was at 10 and her husband was 12. I can't even imagine she was even flowered then, so I doubt the marriage was consummated making her still a maiden for husband #2. The man in his 50s. As you said Varys was young when he was cut, probably pre-pubescent or maybe around that "flowering" age?
  12. Great essay Took me a few days of repeatedly coming back to it to finish all of it. Then I went back and re-read the whole thread. It's got me pretty excited about Varys now and I've come to understand him a little better. All the talk of spiders and silk got me thinking. Is there a Spy-der in the Valed Ragtag Team? Yes, I think there is. Working on the essay now, but here's a few highlights... I've long suspected Myranda Royce of being Yohn Royce's eyes and ears while he remains at Runestone and I will get into the specific reasons for that. Her name evokes Myr and Myrish lenses as you also connected to Varys; however, as with Shadrich, just because a person uses deceit does not necessarily mean they are a villain. Sometimes it's necessary to find out the truth or to achieve a greater good. Her best friend Mya Stone and her mule team are the only means to and from the Eyrie. With the gossipy servants and very disgruntled, wrongfully dismissed servants too, you have a spy network so to speak that can report back at the Gates of the Moon what's happening up in the Eyrie. That will definitely be important to identifying Sansa and knowing what did and did not happen to Lysa. While there's no text showing Myranda as wearing silk, she's still regarded as a spider: a black widow! Those words are never actually spoken, but the idea is clear. The black widow spider is named for the females cannibalizing the males post mating. Also the female of the species is the larger of the two and Myranda is a big girl, which also makes her the fat lady trope. Her husband died while they were having sex, presumably of a heart attack. Now I believe this is a very unfair to label her as such. There's no evidence that Myranda disliked her husband. On the contrary, she might have actually been quite fond of him even if he was older. By what people think is "old" could be anywhere from the 30s and up. Assuming he's like Walder Frey would be unwarranted. What is important is that she's been slut-shamed by her own father as being responsible because it is well known she enjoys sex. I think beneath the humor is grief and guilt. The marriage must have been awfully brief, as she didn't conceive an heir by him. Normally widows are afforded the privilege of remaining in their husband's home for the rest of their lives like Lady Hornwood, Lady Dustin, or Lady Smallwood so they are not left destitute. Widowhood can mean the most independence a woman can hope to achieve in Westeros. If she had borne his child, Myranda could have had ensured her independence as a regent until he/she came of age. That didn't happen in Myranda's case. Instead this fully grown, highly intelligent, capable woman got sent back to her less shrewd father to live under his rules and roof again. I think it's safe to assume the marriage was so brief, no matter the affection between them, Myranda probably got kicked out in favor of the next closest male kin of her late husband inheriting. And we see Nestor Royce will be threatening to give Myranda to horrible, unwanted suitors. I will get into all those details as to why that might be, but for now it's enough to say she's been unfairly labeled a black widow spider. At any rate, she gained nothing from his death. She also shares some physical similarities to Varys: Soft-bodied, fat, sweet-smelling, round face. But they differ in a very important way. As you pointed out that Varys makes people's "skin crawl," evoking the creepy-crawlies of arachnophobia. Myranda is the exact opposite. She's a warm and charming. Witty and fun. She puts people at ease, even those who have been warned how shrewd she is. She's one of the few people SR really likes and she's generally well-liked by most. What else gets highlighted about Myranda's appearance? Her ample breasts, which also connects in a weird way to spiders. Milk, boobs, and spiders, HUH!?! I think Myranda is a different type of spyder in that she's a nurturing, helpful kind. You can milk a spider for its venom, which is actually a good thing. You make anti-venom that way to save lives. You can even milk a spider for its silk to make other beneficial products. As you've compared Varys to spiders from mythology, do we have a well known maternal spider we could look to as possible inspiration? Charlotte from Charlotte's Web maybe. Granted, this isn't going to be a major connection with lots of parallels, just some broad strokes. In the story, Wilbur the pig gets sent to Zuckerman's farm where he is lonely, isolated, depressed, and hardly speaks. Especially when he learns he's destined to be bacon. Charlotte the barn spider befriends him and saves his life by spinning words of praise in her web, urging the farmer to spare him. When Myranda meets Sansa, she's definitely been isolated, lonely, and depressed. Myranda calls her "brave as well as beautiful," on their journey down the mountain. I don't want to get into too much, but clearly by TWOW Myranda has been a very positive influence on Sansa's maturation and self-confidence. Both stories feature a character named Templeton. One a rat that helps Charlotte in exchange for food and the other Symond Templeton, the Knight of Ninestars, who has been presumably bribed by LF. Not saying there's a major connection between the two other than both Templetons are serving their own interests. Could be coincidence, but George has been known to use references from pop culture like Grover, Elmo, and Kermit Tully. From Native American religion the Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is a protector and nurturer. Someone who shows mankind how to survive. In some tribes she is the creator of stars or bringer of fire to mankind. The oft appropriated dreamcatcher is based on a spiderweb that is hung over cradles to protect children. I would imagine George living in New Mexico would be familiar with these concepts and could cherry pick between them. At any rate, the motherly, wise, and helpful spider has a basis in mythology and pop culture.
  13. Why the Burn of Glamor Magic Fits Sandor's Development Sandor's story doesn't start with a blessing of fire. More like a curse for what his brother did to him, the injustice of the cover up, and the consequences of rewarding such a pile of garbage. Sandor is left with severe PTSD compounded by the fact that he has largely had to keep his trauma buried inside for most of his life. His panic attacks come because he was never able/allowed to process his trauma at the time it occurred. Let's look at his story in relation to his anxiety being triggered and how it escalates. This is actually a good thing in a way, because exposure and revisiting the trauma to decrease its discomfort over time is a treatment for PTSD. From the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs and the National Center for PTSD on Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Just talking about the burning triggers a panic attack. Tested by Wildfire. Seeing Men Burning. Stannis is burning the kingswood, but it is Tyrion's plan to fight with wildfire. Sandor has been assigned to lead sorties on the shoreline where wildfire will be heaviest. To his credit, he did fight for hours in the battle, doing his duty. Stannis's men never broke through; however, after seeing too many men burning to death he finally broke. He proceeds to get extremely drunk, leaves the battle, is declared craven, and generally hits a downward spiral. Tested by the Lord of Light. Feeling the Fire. This time it's not just seeing other men getting burned by wildfire, it's being up close and personal with the magic fire in Beric's blood. Sandor does fight well enough to win (even not noticing the fire for a moment), but then as soon as it's over he regresses into his 6 year old self. On the ground, weeping and begging for help. I've already discussed most of the fight in the previous post, but there's two important features that stick out. "Painted dogs" are referenced on the shield and Sandor receives a pretty bad burn on the arm where the flesh melts off. Burning painted dogs. Burned Men and Painted Dogs are names of two related clans in the Mountains of the Moon and this points to... The Next Logical Step? Making Peace with Fire and Embracing It The Painted Dogs are an older clan that the Burned Men descend from. Thus the Burned Men: So from the Painted Dogs we have boys willingly risking themselves of being burned to bring gifts to the fire witch (i.e making peace with fire) which evolved into the Burned Men, willingly burning themselves to prove their courage (i.e. embracing fire). On a side note, as someone in the comments of the original essay pointed out, the African painted dog (also called a painted wolf) has a mottled coat of mostly black and yellow. They are native to savannas and grassland type areas where they hunt antelope. Their only major predators are lions. This might possibly be inspiration for House Clegane and the three dogs that died from a lion attack in the yellow grass.
  14. Sounds delicious! @The Weirwoods Eyes The Tourney Favor as a Weapon Now that I made enough notes (for now) on favors as sexual/romantic symbols, they also can be used like weapons that yield surprising results. For Jorah Mormont on how Lynesse's favor helped give him an extraordinary victory: Now I'm not talking literally, but it is like wearing a lady's favor makes a man feel like he's got super powers. He's a northman who's never been a tourney knight, but he's beating those Andals at their own games. Jorah is on fire, winning joust after joust. Just hold that thought about being "on fire" because I'm coming back to it. What's important here is the idea of infusing magical strength, speed, and skill to a warrior. Look at Brienne carrying Jaime's favor in the form of the sword itself, Oathkeeper. This is the first battle with it where she wields it against Timeon: And in her delirium after being wounded by Biter, she may as well call it Jaime's magic favor and she feels powerless without it: So we know early on, Sandor's opinion of favors is that they're merely window dressing for the murderous brutes that all knights really are (supposedly). The irony here is that we know how important taking a lady's favor can be, because it's power can turn the tide to victory for the wearer. Sandor isn't aware of it, but he did in fact receive a lady's "favor" at the Hand's tourney when Sansa touched his shoulder and gave him her compassion for sharing his story with her. She "knew the Hound would win" after all. It's funny he mentions looking fine in gold plate, because the only knight we see who wears all gold plate is Jaime. Everyone else wears basic steel or house colors. From the original essay I'm proposing that Sandor is in fact armored in gold. On the Quiet Isle, plain gray driftwood gets polished and transformed into beautiful golden furniture and cups. The golden blonde and beautiful Ser Byron is Sandor's armor and protection from being identified so he can move about freely. So there's irony with mocking the gold plate as much as mocking the lady's favor. Speaking of ribbons, Alayne Stone has a particularly fitting ribbon: When she cannot wear Stark or Tully colors, nor dress above a bastard's station, the color she chooses is autumn gold, which calls back to Sandor telling her the story of his house. The three dogs that died on the "autumn yellow" grass. And it makes her feel bold a brave. So if I were betting on what the favor in TWOW tourney is going to be, I'm putting my money on this autumn gold ribbon. Whoever receives it will also be armored in gold and will surely be the tourney victor after a startling performance. A favor is not just tied to metaphoric magic. The favor is also tied to the fire of the gods, real magic. After the Hound gives that speech about those silly pretty ribbons that don't mean anything to Beric Dondarrion, they have their trial by combat: The flaming sword that was imbued by Beric's magic blood is god-given. And a "cage of fire" also sounds like being armored in gold. Arya describes the streaming flames coming off the sword as being like "the ribbons the Hound had spoken of." The favor of the gods is literal magic. Of course, the Hound does end up winning his trial, signifying that the Lord of Light has at least found him not guilty. He's also kissed by the fire of Beric's magic sword: Kissed by fire. Sandor has the favor of the gods now. He also was burned badly on his arm even as he defeated Beric, so the Lord of Light doesn't find him totally innocent either. He got a slap on the wrist by a fire god It's one painted dog from Gregor's shield that loses his head and we know Gregor probably no longer has a head as Robert Strong. So Sandor has been healed by the mysterious healing methods of the Elder Brother and the QI. The Lord of Light has determined that Sandor shall live and he's been marked by him. And I propose the mage Howland Reed has used his Old Gods magic to protect him, to armor him in gold. That's the Old Gods, the Seven, and R'hllor that have favored him. Alayne's yellow ribbon tied to a sword would look very much like the fire streaming off Beric's sword. So why might this test / kiss of fire be important later? Clearly it's a test highly significant to a man that was traumatized by fire and burning. He needs to be able to endure the long term burn of a glamor spell. According to Mance: In his sleep the ruby can actually burn his skin through the iron fetter. Mance must only wear the glamor long enough to get out of Castle Black. Even after a short while he is almost mad to pry out the ruby, even though it would mean his certain death for being discovered. It must be a really hot stone! What's significant is that Mance describes it as a burning kiss. Glamor magic is being kissed by fire, but that blessing comes with a price. Melissandre questions for a moment the sparing of Mance for his complaining. The magic requires a strong will to endure the pain. For Sandor to be Byron 24/7 for months at the Gates of the Moon, it would require physical and mental endurance to pull it off. In the next post, I'll present the case that willingly burning himself is fitting with Sandor's story.
  15. The Lannisters had nothing to do with Jon Arryn's death. That was solely Lysa Arryn and LF. No, Yohn Royce and most of the Vale lords wanted to side with Robb, but Lysa forbid it. Well, Aunt Crazy was trying to push Sansa out the open Moon Door at the same time of the confession, so she had that to focus on at that moment. And then Sansa would have to know what "tears" are. Ned didn't know what tears of Lys were until Pycelle told him. I do think upon reflection what her aunt said made her uneasy, but then again Lysa was trying to murder her for Petyr forcing a kiss on her. She's also seems to be confusing Sansa with Cat. It's kind of understandable why she isn't particularly dwelling on the ravings of a mad woman or a moment she almost died. But she may in the future come to know what the tears actually are and put two and two together. One other person that probably knows Jon Arryn was poisoned and has said nothing to anyone is Maester Colemon. He was treating Jon when he became sick and was trying to purge him. Purging suggests he knew it wasn't just natural causes. Pycelle took over, sent Colemon away, stopped the purging, and allowed Jon to die. Jon was about to go to Robert with the incest accusation. Pycelle being Tywin's #1 fan boy saw no benefit to causing a scandal that ousts the Lannister's from power. But Coleman is clearly very intimidated by Petyr and it does seem like he knows way more than he lets on.