Rufus Snow

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  1. That sounds like an interesting journey, I'd love to hear more about it if only we could chat over a couple of caiparinhas... I imagine that gives you a unique viewpoint on this forum. Ouch - I'll try not to, there are places I really don't want icicles... but I do think Bran saw something that I haven't even imagined yet.
  2. Yes, well said, Lady D At least with Westeros we get extra-textual pointers to some areas where we do need to suspend disbelief. If the author says magic is real in this world, then it is real. We don't have such luxuries in real life, but we do still have a history of people being nailed to crosses or burnt alive at the stake over things which can't be proved one way or the other. Part of what I enjoy about GRRM's various religions is that they allow us to look at some of the ways in which they act in the world without getting bogged down in our own sectarian affiliations. To paraphrase Langston Hughes, sometimes we have to show things as they never were to see them as they really are.
  3. Ah, yes, that 'real' interpretation of the religion - very good question, Ser Finger Compare Mel to Thoros (just to keep to characters within Westeros for now), don't they have totally different attitudes, though both seem to be well enough in the Light of the Lord to be able to give the final kiss? But then compare Saint Francis with, oh, I don't know, Jerry Falwell, say, or Hasan i Sabah with Jalalludin Rumi. Who's to say R'hllorism is any less prone to sectarianism and schismatism than Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, even Judaism, in our own world? And clearly some sects are more militant than others.... But you also raise the point on the sacrifices - yes, bad PR, but the POWER!!!! (Insert sinister laughter). That was partly what I had in mind in questioning whether it was Simonism rather than a 'genuine' divine intervention. How much does Mel's use of bloodmagic fall within the orthodoxy of R'hllorism? Is there just a cultural overlay over the religion between Myr and Asshai, same as there is a cultural overlay distinguishing African evangelical churches from European ones? Clearly there is some force at play in that we see both characters successfully perform the kiss, and in that, of all the religions we see at play, the Red God seems the most capable of acting in the world (though a good case can be made for the Old Gods of the North keeping to their own lesser claims). It would be easy to say that Mel was 'just' a bloodmage in red robes, whereas Thoros is a pure soul acting as an innocent channel for the Lord of Light - but he totally lacks fervour, and doesn't really bother much about the doctrine or teachings of his faith. Is R'hllor really equally willing to work his wonders through these two totally different vessels? Their only other real common point is their opposition to 'the Great Other', so is this the defining feature of the faith? It is, after all, the only war that counts.
  4. I think we can be sure that the ice will keep advancing until the Others are defeated. Dorne will not remain warm if the Others haven't been stopped yet. In Westeros, winter and summer are not mere climatic or seasonal events, they mark the shifting frontline in a war between competing forms of magic - we cannot assume any 'natural' limit to their extent. With the return of the Others, we are facing a Long Night, not just any old winter.... What Mr James the 12th is saying is a deeper look at Ned Stark's admonition to Arya: What applies to wolves also applies to noble and great families. Thing is, I wouldn't put it past GRRM to end the series not with the few surviving, but with no-one surviving. I think that's his very real message to a world so bound up in identity politics, partisanship and special pleading. It only takes a look at the various family fanboyz here to see what he means...
  5. It's a pity we don't know whether GRRM was being deliberate or just a victim of the shortcomings of the English language when he named 'the Others' of Westeros and 'the Great Other' of R'hllorism - on one level they look linked, but I think this is probably mistaken. Whenever we use 'others' in English, we mean 'not us', and little more. The Red Priests say they call the god in opposition to R'hllor 'the Great Other' because it is forbidden to say his name - not that the name is unknown. They simply won't say it, same as some pious peoples in real life will not actually speak the name of god, or even use the word 'g_d' on the internet... So I don't think R'hllorism has a particular thing about the Westerosi Others, beyond them being servants of 'the Great Other', ie agents of the Long Night - darkness, death, and cold - which are the antithesis to R'hllor's light, life and heat. Whether they are the same species as the 'demons of the lion of night' in Essos is at present unknown - they might well be. But there is no proof. And as a typical dualistic religion, R'hllorism goes a bit heavy on the whole 'if you aren't with us, you're against us' meme. All gods which aren't R'hllor get painted as 'agents of the Great Other', they don't seem to have much syncretism in their teachings - in an interestng contrast to the Faceless Men who seem to scour the world's religions to find parallel gods they can lump together as their 'Many Faced God'. Paint me as cynical; I confess it, I am. The point of religion is to provide an unanswerable 'trump card' to beat down all heterodox thought which threatens to undermine tribal identity and cohesion. Every now and again some visionary troublemaker comes along and infects it with the desire to thwart the true forces of evil (as opposed to tribal enemies) but this notably involves an overturning of the religious orthodoxy of the day. But eventually, the true purpose of religion (moral hegemony of the tribal elites) re-establishes itself and slowly forces out such spiritual concerns, until the next iconoclast emerges. Rinse, repeat, ad infinitum. In this vein we can see the Faith of the Seven as a tribal hegemony in Westeros, paying only lip-service to spiritual concerns, and the High Sparrow comes along as a 'visionary troublemaker' kicking over the (metaphorical) money-lenders' tables in the Great Sept. The Ironborn are firmly locked into their tribal hegemonic morality, whilst the North very wisely appears to divorce their religion from both morality and spirituality. The Red Priests also appear to be visionary troublemakers, but we have no evidence for how long the religion has existed (unless I've forgotten something, which I probably have, this being Westeros and all....) and the big question there is whether they represent a true channel of the divine or a brand of Simonism? All of which brings me back to R'hllorism probably being in the business of bringing humanity together to defeat the true forces of evil - darkness, death and cold. I think their motives are pure, but whether their vision is clear is a different matter. Unfortunately their 'with us or against us' meme is as likely to harvest opponents as converts, as is common with missionary religions (or missionary movements within religions) here on our own planet.
  6. Think about it - if you went to a party and saw there Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Vlad Putin, you'd notice them amongst everyone else. These were the most prominent and famous people in the realm. I always read this as Rhaegar being disillusioned with Aerys, and needing to talk to other great Lords. Aerys certainly suspected a conspiracy, which is why he went to Harrenhal himself, after not leaving the Red Keep for years on end previously. I think the whole appeal of a tourney, for gathering people together, is that everyone goes who wants to - regardless of their liege lords. This is a world without television, people get bored, and glom on to any excitement provided. Throw in some really rich prize purses too and everyone and his dog will be there, with no need to explain themselves. Absence is harder to account for than presence, really. That Tywin is NOT there speaks far more than all his bannermen being there. As does Jaime being sent away... Because the queen is a Dornish princess, what a chance for a family get-together! Everyone has a large presence - it is the most spectacular tourney for a generation. It also turned out to be one of those days that created a pivot for the entire future of Westeros. if Rhaegar truly believed he was TPTWP, then Aerys had to go - either by conspiracy, or perhaps by provoking a rebellion Rhaegar could not be seen to support, but notice how hard it was for Aerys to get Rhaegar to fight - the prince had lit the blue touch paper then retired to Dorne. Aerys had to summon him back to KL. Ring-a-ring of winter roses, we all fall down.
  7. I'm not just dismissing her as an unreliable narrator, we have her own testimony that she doesn't really understand much about the history of the Faith Militant: 'What Jaehaerys swore' was the single most important fact concerning the Faith Militant in recent generations: their disbanding and the reconciliation of Faith and Crown after Maegor had failed in his attempts. In fact I would say she knows less about it than the average reader Oh, and i have found where the HS uses the word 'ancient' in relation to the FM: He's exaggerating a bit, as it was only 250 years - you'd expect him to get that right given he knew the Crown's debt was 900,647 Dragons off the top of his head rather than Cersei's estimate of 900,000... Sandor the Stranger - his horse had to be castrated and renamed at QI. I often wonder if the HS was the same wandering Septon that guided Brienne to the QI, but haven't done the research to check it out for possible timeline clashes. I'm sure he was barefooted with gnarled feet as well, and there are some similarities in the backstory. Gendry the Smith perhaps? But Crone and Mother I have no clues. Oh, well, more stuff for my re-read agenda
  8. Well, we do know that different players have their own networks, whether or not they are MoW, because Varys points out some of Cersei's and Littlefinger's spies to Ned. With it being a feudal society loyalties are personal (or pecuniary...) rather than to an institution, so the references are usually to 'Varys's little birds' rather than the 'Crown's security service', for instance.
  9. ... of course, I forgot to add: Moon Tea....
  10. It would for continuity, but it could be dangerous for the incumbent. And does anything logical ever happen in the Red Keep?
  11. Oh, dear, do we have to have that talk about the birds and bees? But seriously, it probably depends on who you are - or how powerful, let's say. So long as the wedding comes before the birth, the only consequence is likely to be gossip and a 'reputation'. If the baby comes first it would legally be a bastard, I expect, so it would have to be legitimized by royal decree. In practice I would imagine there would be some good reason found to re-schedule the ceremony, or make claims that the 'real' wedding was done in private with a drunken septon taking the vows for a pile of silver etc many months earlier, and the 'big day' was just 'for the family'. In short it might be embarrassing, and a stain on one's honour, but not a disaster.
  12. I don't think it would be automatic that a new MoW would take over an old network, probably a good qualification for the job is already having a network. However, when the old MoW goes/leaves/dies, then there will be a lot of 'little birds' suddenly unemployed and looking to restore their income, so it's a fair bet a lot of them will find their way back somehow. Others may want to disappear as they could be in the bad books of the new MoW for previous activity...
  13. That's an interesting parallel that I hadn't considered before. Also consider "The shadows come to stay, my lord, stay my lord, stay my lord." Staying could be expressed as being bound to a place, so this could be a reference to shadowbinding, too. I'd also wondered about the implications about Patchface possibly being a Drowned Man now. That chucks an extra log on the fire, doesn't it? He seems to draw prophetic powers from the sea, although not having been raised amongst the Ironborn he would lack their religious training, so his 'gift' is wild and untamed. So, should we be looking for more parallels to Aeron Damphair, too? Because if we do, then there's the implication that these characters are working against the interests of their respective 'monarchs'. I'm pretty sure Euron would consider Damphair 'dangerous', though I'd have to re-search the text for evidence. Could there then be other figures in other courts fulfilling similar roles that might help to firm up a pattern? I'm not so sure about the 'masks' being a significant link, considering that all Asshai'i are reported to wear masks, and all Volantene slaves are tattooed - unless we can make a case linking Asshai and Volantis more generally? It's a pity so little is known about Asshai and the Shadow, though of course there is at least one version of the origin of dragons as being from the Shadow...
  14. Oooh, now there's an invitation You are right about the Horned God being related to Herne the Hunter - who was in turn a later interpolation of the old Celtic god Cernunnos, literally the Horned One, also referred to as Lord of the Beasts and the counterpart to the Green Man (who is very much reflected in the Garth mythos). These both appear in Arthurian myth as the Green Knight and the Black Knight, which are associated with summer and winter respectively (in Celtic cosmology the year was divided into just the two seasons), so there is that polarity again which ties in deeply to this whole story.... I think the coming of the Andals would be 'ancient' though, so I don't think we have enough evidence to extrapolate beyond that to pre-Andal Westeros. It's frustrating that the canon doen't give any clues to the founding of the two orders of the Faith Militant. They might even have been in existence in Andalos since the days of Hugor. Perhaps when the seven walked the earth in bodily form, the Warrior himself may have formed the Orders to facilitate the invasion of Westeros to claim those lands promised by the Father? I think the earliest (in terms of Westerosi timeline) reference to the FM is in the time of King Humfrey (Teague) and Arlan III Durrandon: Now, I can't fix a precise date on this, but it was 'centuries' after the Andals had deposed the last First Men king of the rivers, Tristifer Mudd, and the Riverlands then had Durrandon (300+ years) and then Hoare (3 generations, maybe another 100+ years) overlords before the Conquest. So let's round up the uncertainties and say it was around 500BC when the earliest known record of the Faith Militant occurs. That still doesn't give us enough to fix its foundation, though It does seem anomalous that the Orders numbered sorcerors and demon hunters in their ranks, but this is Cersei's recollection of the tales told by the smallfolk - and we have seen enough other tales of the smallfolk to know they can get a bit carried away with a little bit of gossip. Though actually, come to think of it, demon hunters wouldn't be too anomalous, given the parallel of Witch Finders in the Cathiolic Inquisition and also during Puritan times. The High Septon pretty much called Maegor a demon to his face, after all...
  15. I beg to differ on some points: Cersei never says 'ancient' - it is clear from her conversation with Lady Merryweather it is the Faith Militant prior to its disbanding by Maegor and Jaehaerys she was talking about, and not really 'ancient' in any meaningful sense. I'd really like to know more about Westerosi astronomy... it's clear why the constellation of the Sword of the Morning got its name, but does this pre-date the creation of Dawn the sword as wielded by the human Sword of the Morning? Was the knight named after the constellation, or the other way round? We know that most storied swords have decorative pommels, and many have gems there (ie Longclaw has a wolf's head with jewelled eyes, Oathkeeper has a ruby iirc and so on, can't recall any more now, but you get the idea ) so it's not an especially unusual feature for the swords of the Warrior's Sons to bear the symbol of their faith on their pommels. What is interesting though is that the Wildlings know the constellation by the same name, though there are many which they give different names to those used south of the Wall. So I'd conjecture the name for the constellation derives from a First Men heritage, whereas many of the other constellations (in the south) have been drawn from Sevener influences: GRRM has been true to Earthly astrology in as much as he created 12 houses (zodiac signs) and the classical seven planets for Planetos, although he has veered off in the details. For us, the 'red wanderer' would be Mars, so it would have otherwise been expected to represent the Warrior rather than the Smith. The more I think about it, the more I feel the Faith Militant harks back to the Andal invasion rather than anything to do with the First Men - there are references to the Andals carving 7-pointed stars into their flesh in a similar manner to the Poor Fellows, and they did seem to have a particular streak of religious intolerance as well, burning down weirwoods and trying to forcibly convert followers of the Old Gods, such as the Blackwoods (yeah, yeah, I know: "Nobody expects the Andal Inquisition!" ) I've also gone back a bit on my earlier post linking an early Dayne to the Last Hero. Although we have little and less information of the LH, two points which crop up repeatedly are that: he had a 'dragonsteel' sword - long before Valyrian steel was known in Westeros, and that this sword was broken by the cold. Dawn is explicitly described as being unlike Valyrian steel, and yet we also know that Jon's VS bastard sword (Longclaw) holds up against the Other, whereas a regular steel sword in the hands of Waymar Royce snaps from the cold... So we have a contradiction in the legend, because if it was dragonsteel it shouldn't have broken. Does this mean the legend is wrong about the dragonsteel sword of the LH? And if so - being wrong about the most symbolic element of the entire story, ie a 'magical sword' - how much of the story can we believe at all? Anyway, back to the Dayne idea - Dawn is not broken, so it is most unlikely to have been the LH's sword, hence why I think I have to scratch my 'Dayne Last Hero' theory, for now at least. But I'm still pretty convinced that a 'sword and star' could be a reference to a Dayne in the same sense as 'a wolf' means a Stark, 'a lion' means a Lannister, or 'a kraken' means a Greyjoy - it seems common practice to refer to the highborn by reference to their heraldry. Now we might extrapolate 'the wolves' to mean House Stark, and by those lights 'the swords and stars' could be used as a reference to House Dayne. That the smallfolk call the Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows of the Faith Militant 'the swords and stars' also, could be accounted for in three different ways: (i) it is simply a (coincidental) reference to the heraldry of the two Orders with no deeper meaning; (ii) there is a resemblance, probably in the function, between House Dayne and the Faith Militant; or (iii) there is an actual connection between House Dayne and the Faith Militant. My thoughts go: (i) "coincidence"? This is Westeros, what you smoking??? (ii) middle path - a noble, holy calling to defend the Gods (Old, I suspect, not the seven, originally) on the part of House Dayne; possibly a recognition for service in the Battle for the Dawn, and perhaps that 'the sword called Dawn' is actually 'the Sword of the Dawn Battle' after all. (iii) not convinced, given that the semi-canonical King of the Board has reminded us at least twice now that the Dayne's heraldic star has eight points, and a seven-pointed star is required to infer a link to the Faith or Andal ancestry. In short, I think there's a parallel, but not a connection berween House Dayne and the Faith Militant. "We look up at the same (swords and) stars, and see such different things"