Seams

Direwolves Don't Cry: A Direwolves Reread II - ACoK

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Bran II

 Overview

The harvest feast in Winterfell: Bannermen arrive and explain their various problems to Bran and his advisors, now representing the King-in-the-North. Bran also has a conversation with Osha in the godswood.

Observations

· We can see the signs of how bad guests the Freys are. As guests, they are only a little better than as hosts.

· Hodor is compared to a horse.

· Poor Lady Hornwood.

· Maester Luwin predicts that Bran will be one day “a good lord for Winterfell”. Is this just a nice thing to say to a child, a “prophecy” or Maester Luwin letting it slip that he doesn’t think Robb will live long?

Analysis

A “wolfskin cloak

Little Walder mocks Hodor despite Bran’s displeasure and when Big Walder warns him “He’ll set his wolf on you, cousin”, Little Walder says he always wanted a wolfskin cloak. I guess this could be foreshadowing of old Walder Frey’s behaviour later, during another feast.  

Beneath the heart tree

No sooner had Hodor entered the godswood than Summer emerged from under an oak, almost as if he had known they were coming. Bran glimpsed a lean black shape watching from the undergrowth as well. “Shaggy,” he called. “Here, Shaggydog. To me.” But Rickon’s wolf vanished as swiftly as he’d appeared.

The wolves are once again associated with the godswood and the heart tree. They appear as soon as Bran enters the wood. Summers seems to have been waiting for him, but Shaggydog vanishes when Bran calls him to himself – he clearly does not belong to Bran, and he was probably expecting Rickon.

Bran, Summer and Hodor together watch the pool beneath the heart tree ripple with no wind at all, and suddenly Osha explodes out of the cold pool with a great splash. She seems to be as much at home in the godswood as Summer. Still Osha and Summer are both wary of each other: Summer leaps back and snarls when Osha suddenly surfaces, and Osha apparently still remembers what the direwolves did the day she was captured. Bran mentions that Little Walder is scared of Summer so he wouldn’t dare to hurt him.

This is a scene full of magic: the heart tree, the mysterious cold black pool, a direwolf, Bran with his special powers, Hodor with his strength and one-word vocabulary, Osha the captive from beyond the Wall, who bathes in the cold pool rather than the hot ones. They seem to be the perfect set to do something truly magical. 

Dreams

Bran denies having wolf dreams but in fact he does and he is afraid of them. This night he has a “weirwood” dream: It was looking at him with its deep red eyes, calling to him with its twisted wooden mouth, and from its pale branches the three-eyed crow came flapping, pecking at his face and crying his name in a voice as sharp as swords.

With the weirwood calling to Bran and the three-eyed crow crying his name, this dream seems to be about identity and destiny as much as a wolf dream.

Edited by Julia H.

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I just took a look at the search website to see if there is a difference in the way the author refers to "wolfskin" using a single word, and "wolf skin" using two separate words. Maybe I'm imagining it, but it does seem as if "wolfskin" as a single word starts out having a direwolf association, while two separate words could refer to any old wolf. Cersei wants a wolfskin laid across her bed; the Karstarks wear skins, including wolf. Interestingly, though, the skins worn by Griff / Jon Connington are referred to using the single word (and he does seem to be a parallel character for Jon Snow, as he keeps the night watch all by himself on the boat). The skins used by fArya / Jeyne Poole as she cowers in her honeymoon room at Winterfell are also referred to with the single word wolfskin.

So Little Walder wanting a wolfskin cloak could represent his longstanding desire to kill a Stark. (Or to be a Stark?) As you point out, it also foreshadows grandpa Frey's intentions at the Red Wedding. The context of the line is interesting:

"He'll set his wolf on you, cousin," warned Big Walder.
"Let him. I always wanted a wolfskin cloak."
"Summer would tear your fat head off," Bran said.
(ACoK, Bran II)

We know that Robb and Grey Wind's heads will be cut off and swapped after the Red Wedding, so Bran's retort about Summer tearing off Little Walder's head is ironic. Arya had mused that Nymeria could have prevented Ned from being beheaded if she had been in King's Landing at the right moment. It's hard to say whether Bran and Arya are correct that direwolves can prevent beheadings. Maybe Jon's experience as a deserter is our best proof: Jon should / could have been executed when he tried to desert the Night's Watch to join Robb Stark in battle. Mormont spare him, saying he needed Jon's Stark blood and his wolf to go beyond the Wall. So maybe Ghost really did help to prevent Jon's beheading.

Although non-Starks seem to show fear and disapproval of warging and wargs, I wonder how many of them secretly covet the power to skin change? Is all the talk about wanting a wolfskin just a literary code for a character's desire to be a skinchanger?

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Some discussions on other threads have led me back here. I think we need to keep an eye on the "brother" relationship at this stage of the stories, especially in Bran and Theon's arcs.

In Bran II (as well as I and III), we see some "wolf's eye view" of the relationship between Summer and Shaggydog, and the differences between them. One is more reclusive, one continues to try to escape the gods wood, one is more likely to attack humans.

Bran says in these early chapters that Rickon has trouble accepting that his father is dead and that Catelyn and Robb can't come back to Winterfell right that very second. Of course, Rickon can walk and play, while Bran must be carried and has duties to perform as Robb's surrogate. We see Big Walder and Little Walder interacting, bringing different qualities to game play with the other children at Winterfell and with their relationship to each other.

Soon the siblings Meera and Jojen will arrive. One is a dreamer, the other a fighter, provider and storyteller. Theon and Ramsay become like a strange pair of brothers when Theon "becomes" Reek. Ramsay and Theon will kill the miller's boys. So the author seems to be asking us to keep this brotherly relationship in mind, with an emphasis on how brothers can grow apart. 

I'm also pondering whether we are supposed to compare the characters of Ser Rodrick Cassel and Maester Luwin in these chapters. They become something of a surrogate pair for the missing Stark parents, guiding Bran in his role and his decision-making as the Prince of Winterfell. At the feast scene coming up in Bran III, Bran will recall his father and King Robert - another pair of brothers - together at the last feast in that hall.

I guess this is relevant to the direwolf re-read only insofar as Summer and Shaggydog are a pair of siblings. But we may gain insights into the two direwolf brothers by examining these other "brother" pairs.

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On 2016. 10. 05. at 9:33 PM, Seams said:

Some discussions on other threads have led me back here. I think we need to keep an eye on the "brother" relationship at this stage of the stories, especially in Bran and Theon's arcs.

In Bran II (as well as I and III), we see some "wolf's eye view" of the relationship between Summer and Shaggydog, and the differences between them. One is more reclusive, one continues to try to escape the gods wood, one is more likely to attack humans.

Bran says in these early chapters that Rickon has trouble accepting that his father is dead and that Catelyn and Robb can't come back to Winterfell right that very second. Of course, Rickon can walk and play, while Bran must be carried and has duties to perform as Robb's surrogate. We see Big Walder and Little Walder interacting, bringing different qualities to game play with the other children at Winterfell and with their relationship to each other.

Soon the siblings Meera and Jojen will arrive. One is a dreamer, the other a fighter, provider and storyteller. Theon and Ramsay become like a strange pair of brothers when Theon "becomes" Reek. Ramsay and Theon will kill the miller's boys. So the author seems to be asking us to keep this brotherly relationship in mind, with an emphasis on how brothers can grow apart. 

I'm also pondering whether we are supposed to compare the characters of Ser Rodrick Cassel and Maester Luwin in these chapters. They become something of a surrogate pair for the missing Stark parents, guiding Bran in his role and his decision-making as the Prince of Winterfell. At the feast scene coming up in Bran III, Bran will recall his father and King Robert - another pair of brothers - together at the last feast in that hall.

I guess this is relevant to the direwolf re-read only insofar as Summer and Shaggydog are a pair of siblings. But we may gain insights into the two direwolf brothers by examining these other "brother" pairs.

Yes, sibling relationships are very important throughout the books and they are explored in many ways. 

Ser Rodrik and Luwin are an interesting pair indeed. They represent martial skills and theoretical knowledge in service to House Stark. Their Stark loyalty is expressed symbolically, too. The Cassel coat of arms features white wolves on a grey field with some black. Maester Luwin, as a maester, has to wear grey, but his appearance is generally "grey", too, not only his robes. They work together very well despite their very different areas of expertise, but neither of them can truly address Bran's magical talents. 

Summer and Shaggydog, as real siblings, seem to be quite different. 

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Sansa II

Overview

Sansa receives a mysterious note that promises help. In the godswood, she meets Dontos and accepts him as her “Florian”. On her way back, she runs into Sandor Clegane.

Observation

The chapter includes some interesting wolf – dog connections.

Analysis

Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could, but she was dead, Father had killed her, on account of Arya.

In hindsight, we know that Sansa is still unable to smell out falsehood. She still misses her “wolf-self” and perhaps it is hinted that she subconsciously blames Lady’s death on Ned while not so subconsciously she still blames it on Arya.

Clegane repeatedly calls her a “little bird”, which further underlines that she cannot be a “proper” wolf. At the end of the chapter, Clegane’s words about dogs strangely reflect Sansa’s own thoughts on Lady the wolf:

Sandor Clegane snorted. “Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here . . . and every one better than you.”

As Lady could smell out falsehood, so can a dog smell a lie. For once, wolves and dogs are not contrasted but compared. Sandor even urges Sansa to “take a good whiff”, i.e. to utilize her “canine” instincts.

Unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, Sansa trusts Dontos more than Sandor, who tells her why he holds dogs in higher regard than knights:

“I like dogs better than knights. My father’s father was kennelmaster at the Rock. One autumn year, Lord Tytos came between a lioness and her prey. The lioness didn’t give a shit that she was Lannister’s own sigil. Bitch tore into my lord’s horse and would have done for my lord too, but my grandfather came up with the hounds. Three of his dogs died running her off. My grandfather lost a leg, so Lannister paid him for it with lands and a towerhouse, and took his son to squire. The three dogs on our banner are the three that died, in the yellow of autumn grass. A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face.”

The dogs on the Clegane banner fought a lion while protecting a Lannister. Gregor and Sandor are known as stalwart Lannister bannermen, yet Sandor Clegane fought and unhorsed Jaime Lannister during the tourney held in Eddard Stark’s honour. We also know that he won’t remain a Lannister stalwart for long now. Will he ever attack a Lannister lioness to protect someone?

A hound will die for you… Who will Sandor die for?  

Sandor’s words also highlight a similarity between Sandor and Sansa. Sandor is a hound that will not lie because lying is not in his nature. Sansa is a bad liar – every other liar in King’s Landing is a better liar than she is, and indeed, she has just been deceived by a "not-true-knight" fool. Sandor, like Lady, could probably "smell out" the falsehood in the Dontos plot if Sansa could trust him. 

 

Edited by Julia H.

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On 10/8/2016 at 11:40 AM, Julia H. said:

Sansa II

Analysis

Sansa found herself thinking of Lady again. She could smell out falsehood, she could, but she was dead, Father had killed her, on account of Arya.

In hindsight, we know that Sansa is still unable to smell out falsehood. She still misses her “wolf-self” ...

Sandor Clegane snorted. “Pretty thing, and such a bad liar. A dog can smell a lie, you know. Look around you, and take a good whiff. They’re all liars here . . . and every one better than you.”

As Lady could smell out falsehood, so can a dog smell a lie. For once, wolves and dogs are not contrasted but compared. Sandor even urges Sansa to “take a good whiff”, i.e. to utilize her “canine” instincts.

...

Sandor’s words also highlight a similarity between Sandor and Sansa. Sandor is a hound that will not lie because lying is not in his nature. Sansa is a bad liar – every other liar in King’s Landing is a better liar than she is, and indeed, she has just been deceived by a "not-true-knight" fool. Sandor, like Lady, could probably "smell out" the falsehood in the Dontos plot if Sansa could trust him.

This stuff about lying and smelling lies is very interesting. We know that Sansa will eventually end up with Littlefinger at the Eyrie and she will be taught to lie about a number of important things. I wonder whether there's a pun on flying and lying? There's a strong bird and flying motif surrounding the Eyrie, and Bran may be the "Winged Wolf" in Jojen's greendream. So I'm pondering the possible hint in both Sansa and Bran's arcs around flying and lying.

On the puns and wordplay thread, Isobel Harper noted that "lies" could be connected to "Tears of Lys" and "Lysa Arryn." And this Sansa chapter could be considered alongside the passage where Robb received the letter the Lannisters dictated to Sansa in King's Landing, demanding that Catelyn and Robb come to the Red Keep to swear loyalty to King Joffrey. Many wild tales about the situation in King's Landing had reached Winterfell before Sansa's letter arrived by raven:

When the raven came, bearing a letter marked with Father's own seal and written in Sansa's hand, the cruel truth seemed no less incredible. Bran would never forget the look on Robb's face as he stared at their sister's words. "She says Father conspired at treason with the king's brothers," he read. "King Robert is dead, and Mother and I are summoned to the Red Keep to swear fealty to Joffrey. She says we must be loyal, and when she marries Joffrey she will plead with him to spare our lord father's life." His fingers closed into a fist, crushing Sansa's letter between them. "And she says nothing of Arya, nothing, not so much as a word. Damn her! What's wrong with the girl?"

Bran felt all cold inside. "She lost her wolf," he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father's guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady's bones. Summer and Grey Wind and Shaggydog had begun to howl before they crossed the drawbridge, in voices drawn and desolate. Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen, where the old Kings of Winter had laid their faithful servants. It was there they buried Lady, while her brothers stalked between the graves like restless shadows. She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.

(AGoT, Bran VI)

The link again between the dying of the wolf and lying. The reader knows that the letter is not the truth. Robb seems to think that the words really are Sansa's own thoughts. Bran is more sympathetic, thinking about Sansa's situation and Lady's death instead of the substance of the letter, (although it is his POV that calls the letter "the cruel truth").

Another passage that might turn on the lying / lies pun is this one:

Their footsteps echoed through the cavernous crypts. The shadows behind them swallowed his father as the shadows ahead retreated to unveil other statues; no mere lords, these, but the old Kings in the North. ... He had never feared the crypts; they were part of his home and who he was, and he had always known that one day he would lie here too.

But now he was not so certain. If I go up, will I ever come back down? Where will I go when I die?

(AGoT, Bran VII)

So we get dying, interment, shadows, lie / lie and the statues of old kings and lords, of course, include wolf statues. Of course, Bran's wolf is still by his side so he shouldn't have the same problem with lying that Sansa is falling into. Something to ponder as we work our way through this re-read, leading up to this insight from Jojen:

The dream was green, Bran, and the green dreams do not lie.

(ACoK, Bran V)

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Arya V

Overview

Arya and her companions continue north and encounter a fishing village on the God's Eye where they hope to steal food. Instead, Gendry is captured by Gregor Clegane’s men. Hot Pie is soon caught and Arya is discovered as well. Under duress, Hot Pie leads Ser Gregor Clegane’s men to their hidden companion, Lommy, who was injured in the earlier attack by Amory Lorch’s men. When Lommy tells the men that he can’t walk, one of them kills him.

Observations

This chapter shares similarities with Jon II: both begin with large trees, both involve villages that have been disrupted; Arya and Jon both do some scouting and find human remains. The short supply of food and game is a factor in both chapters.

The author presents us with transformative events for both Arya and Gendry and for their trust in each other.

Analysis

The wolf discussion in this chapter comes mostly from Lommy and Hot Pie, who are worried about being attacked by wolves. Early in the chapter, the orphan boys and Arya go back to the ruins where Yoren and their other companions were slain by Lorch’s men.

One look was enough for Gendry. “They’re killed, every one,” he said. “And dogs have been at them too, look.”

“Or wolves.”

“Dogs, wolves, it makes no matter. It’s done here.”

This passage continues the discussion found in previous chapters where wolves are compared to other predators. In Sansa I, we saw Sansa make a distinction between wolves and lions. In Arya III, Yoren refers to “wolves and worse” and Arya maintains that there is a difference between wolves and direwolves. Gendry’s remark here, “Dogs, wolves, it makes no matter,” might be an attempt to put the subject to rest – he sees all carnivorous animals as equally destructive and savage. Julia H.’s good Sansa II analysis presented an important Sansa / Sandor scene where dogs and wolves are compared. Perhaps dogs are included in this Arya V chapter discussion because we are about to see Ser Gregor Clegane again.

(I apologize for departing from our direwolf focus, but most of what intrigued me about this chapter may be only tangentially direwolf-related.)

Gendry tells Arya that he has figured out that she is a girl. She denies it at first, then decides to trust him, telling him her name and that she is of House Stark. She tells him her father was not a traitor. The timing of this affirmation of her identity is interesting, as this chapter is something of a turning point in the loss of Arya’s past, with the departure of two important characters symbolizing her past:

  • The little girl, Weasel, who cried a lot after being found at a previous village, has stopped crying. By the end of the chapter, she runs away, escaping Clegane’s men. The crying child seemed to represent Arya’s inner child who has also lost her family and is scared of what the future may hold. The child’s escape into the forest, on the other hand, seems to represent Arya’s direwolf, Nymeria, running away to escape the Lannister men who have been ordered to kill her for biting Joffrey’s arm. Just as Arya drove her direwolf away for her own safety, here she mentally urges the girl to escape: “Run, Weasel, run as far as you can, run and hide and never come back.”
  • Lommy Greenhands gets his name from the green dye that stained his hands in his work as a dyer’s apprentice. I mentioned the possible “dyer” and “dire” pun in an earlier post. He doesn’t seem like a direct substitute for Arya’s direwolf, but the manner of his death – a spear in the throat – seems like a possible match for the death of the mother direwolf in the opening Bran chapter of AGoT. He dies at the moment when Arya’s hope of returning to Winterfell also dies as she, Gendry and Hot Pie are taken prisoner by Clegane’s marauders.

Before his capture, Gendry said he would tell Arya why the gold cloaks were seeking him if he could tell her, but he does not know. Allusion and symbolism in the text remind the reader of his secret paternity, however. Lommy says, “If it wasn’t for my leg, I’d hunt us some boars.” Arya points out that he knows nothing about hunting boars and, in turn, Hot Pie questions her knowledge as well. A moment after the boar hunting discussion, Gendry, “looked pained . . . like it hurt him something fierce.” We know that Gendry’s father, was hurt and killed by a grievous wound from a fierce boar. Is this banter about hunting a symbolic death for Gendry? The key phrase also includes the word “pained,” which is probably a pun on Ser Ilyn Payne, who is an executioner and personification of The Stranger in the series. Later, Arya sees Gendry again, “[H]e was watching her with that pained look on his face that meant he was thinking.” You can overlook GRRM’s puns and wordplay if you like, but I think this line shows us Gendry as a thin king.

(Gendry and Hot Pie will also eventually decide to stay with the Brotherhood Without Banners. GRRM may be using another one of his foreign language puns to link the “pained” Gendry with Hot Pie, who bakes bread. The French word for bread is “pain.” Forum members have pointed out that “poison” and the French “poisson,” or “fish,” and “Jaime” and the French “J’aime,” or “I love,” are also English/French wordplay pairs in the books.)

Soon after Gendry’s capture by Clegane’s footsoldiers, other guards return with the carcass of a deer they roast over a fire and eat. A deer was the sigil of Gendry’s father’s House.

  • Here’s a second possible interpretation (or an additional layer of symbolism) for the death of Lommy Greenhands: maybe the wordplay here is on “green dye” and “Gendry.” The figurative death I saw in Gendry’s “fierce pain” right after the boar hunting discussion becomes real when Lommy literally dies.

So the direct references to wolves in this chapter seem to underscore this ongoing point about all carnivores being the same. Indirectly, we see the loss of family and home. There is a symbolic death for Gendry’s (father’s) sigil and symbolic flight for Arya’s sigil.

Edited by Seams

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Tyrion V

Overview

After a visit to the wildfire storage area maintained by the Alchemists, Tyrion meets with his cousin, Ser Cleos Frey, a hostage who has been sent by Robb Stark with peace terms to be negotiated with the Lannisters.

Observations

Few apparent references to wolves here.

The shadowcat cloak that Tyrion won gambling with the singer Marillion makes another appearance here. Now it is called a shadowskin cloak.

Is Tyrion the only person who has referred to Starks as deer? He referred to Sansa as “a deer surrounded by wolves” at the end of Sansa I. In this chapter Cersei refers to Robb Stark as a fawn.

The description of the jars of wildfire reminds me of the description of the army of the Unsullied.

The chapter seems to present Ser Cleos Frey and Myrcella Baratheon for comparison as pawns being used by others in the Game. But the larger point might be, “That was the way of war. The smallfolk were slaughtered, while the highborn were held for ransom.”

Analysis

Cleos describes to Tyrion “your father’s foragers” torching villages and putting the smallfolk to the sword. As for himself and others traveling on the diplomatic mission, “Even with a peace banner, we were attacked twice. Wolves in mail, hungry to savage anyone weaker than themselves. The gods alone know what side they started on, but they’re on their own side now.”

Is it just the Lannister bias that causes Cleos to metaphorically describe the attackers as wolves? Or is it because lions don’t seem to be indigenous to Westeros, so the wolf metaphor seems apt because of the (animal) wolves known to prowl the Riverlands?

Cersei compares Robb Stark to a fawn: “While Father plays lion and fawn with the Stark boy, Renly marches up the roseroad.”

Tyrion compares Robb Stark to a wolf: “The Young Wolf has sent us terms, you see. Unacceptable terms, to be sure, but still, a beginning.”

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@Seams you continually succeed in totally blowing my mind. Other than the new book coming out, your posts are what I look most forward to

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On 10/23/2016 at 8:16 PM, YOVMO said:

@Seams you continually succeed in totally blowing my mind. Other than the new book coming out, your posts are what I look most forward to

Aw, shucks. Thanks. A new chapter analysis coming right up. This one is a really "meaty" direwolf chapter. Maybe there will be some discussion about the things I missed.

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Bran III

Overview

Bran serves as the acting Lord at the Winterfell harvest feast, attended by other lords from the North as well as Winterfell household staff. During the feast he has a brief wolf “dream”. Meera and Jojen Reed arrive during the feast and pledge their loyalty to Bran as the acting Lord of Winterfell. After Bran goes to bed, he is warging Summer, who is in the gods wood when Meera and Jojen let themselves into the gated gods wood to see the direwolves.

Observations

There is a lot going on here around the word “summer.” The harvest feast marks the end of the summer season. When Jojen touches the muzzle of the direwolf Summer, Bran and/or the direwolf feel a sensation of falling, like the sensation Bran experienced when he was in a coma.

There are several details in this chapter that refer back to details in Bran I, so the analysis here will revisit some passages from that chapter.

We’ve seen Sansa and Robb compared to deer in previous chapters, a character named weasel, discussion of boar hunting, a shadowcat (or shadowskin) cloak and various references to men who loot the countryside as wolves, dogs and worse; specifically “wolves . . . [that] wear manskin”. This chapter introduces us to a symbolically important horse named Dancer who seems to wear direwolf skin, in a sense.

Analysis

Bran enters the Great Hall on horseback, the horse wears bardings with the direwolf sigil of House Stark, and Bran wears a wolf’s head brooch. Bran notes that he would prefer to have his real direwolf, Summer, with him, but Ser Rodrik Cassell, the master-at-arms and castellan of Winterfell, is “unyielding”. (The choice of this word is interesting, as Hot Pie and Lommy in the Arya V chapter constantly argued in favor of yielding to armed men they see nearby, with the hope of gaining aid and food. When Lommy, unable to walk, asks what he should do if a wolf comes along, Arya sarcastically recommends that he yield. Lommy ends up dead after yielding to Clegane’s man – a dog? Ser Rodrik does not yield to the wolf here or to the Iron Men later but he will be slain in ACoK, Theon VI when Ramsay Snow double-crosses both sides at Winterfell.)

Bran’s horse is named Dancer and was specially trained so Bran could ride him. A singer brought to the feast by Wyman Manderly entertains during the feast, “but only Hodor seemed to be listening. He stood beside the piper, hopping from one foot to the other.” So the horse (wearing “wolfskin”) is Dancer and Hodor is initially the only human dancer at the feast. The horse carries Bran into the feast; Hodor carries Bran out of the feast:

Bran watched [the dancing] long enough to be polite, and then had Hodor summoned. He was hot and tired, flushed from the wine, and the dancing made him sad. It was something else he could never do. “I want to go.”

            “Hodor,” Hodor shouted back, kneeling. Maester Luwin and Hayhead lifted him into his basket.

The harvest feast marks the end of the summer season. Does the scene represent another symbolic death, this time for Bran’s direwolf, Summer? Alternatively, we may be seeing yet another symbolic death for Bran but he wargs into his direwolf after going to bed, so his soul is awake in the gods wood, even though his body is asleep. As in Bran I, Summer and Shaggydog are confined in the gods wood because Shaggydog bit one of the Walders. In that chapter, the direwolves’ perception of the confined area might be compared to a crypt:

Behind the trees the walls rose, piles of dead man-rock that loomed all about this speck of living wood. Speckled grey they rose, and moss-spotted, yet thick and strong and higher than any wolf could hope to leap. Cold iron and splintery wood closed off the only holes through the piled stones that hemmed them in.

The phrase “dead man-rock” could take on different shades of meaning, depending on the reader’s interpretation. Is the noun rock being modified by the word “man,” or is it modified by both preceding words: “dead man”? One reading might make you think the wolf is lamenting that the walls are manmade; the other implies that allusion to the crypt, where dead men are carved out of rock.

As noted in that Bran I analysis, Bran as Summer recognizes that he must answer the call of the “true world” or die.

Bran’s brooch was a wolf’s head, perhaps alluding to the beheading of Sansa’s wolf and foreshadowing the death of Robb and Grey Wind. Additional summer and death and head-of-a-direwolf imagery come during the harvest feast:

…Bran took another sip of the spiced honey wine from his father’s goblet, grateful for something to clutch. The lifelike head of a snarling direwolf was raised on the side of the cup. He felt the silver muzzle pressing against his palm, and remembered the last time he had seen his lord father drink from this goblet.

            It had been the night of the welcoming feast, when King Robert had brought his court to Winterfell. Summer still reigned then….

            And now they are all gone.

I noted in another thread that GRRM cleverly inserts a little bit of tree imagery here by indicating that Bran’s palm (get it? Like a palm tree?) feels the direwolf on the goblet. But I did not note that it is specifically a silver muzzle that he feels. I know there are no handguns in Westeros, but the idea of Bran holding a silver muzzle adds to the death imagery, even if it’s just a symbolic gun.

But the chapter ends with Jojen and Meera Reed visiting the gods wood while Bran is having a “wolf dream” (warging) in Summer. Jojen touches the muzzle of the real direwolf this time, not the one on the goblet, “a touch as light as a summer breeze,” and Bran/Summer experience the sensation of falling again, the same sensation Bran felt when he went through the symbolic death of a coma after he was pushed from the wall of the Old Keep. Instead of the falling sensation representing a symbolic death, does Jojen’s touch bring rebirth?

It’s interesting that the direwolves are banished to the gods wood because of their behavior toward Catelyn’s wards, Big and Little Walder, but they will finally have the chance to be out in the “true world” again in the company of Jojen and Meera - - as well as Hodor, whose real name is Walder. Big and Little Walder are afraid of the direwolves, Jojen is not.

And yet the Walders and Jojen seem to have something in common:

When the Walders arrived from the Twins, it had been Rickon who wanted them gone. A baby of four, he had screamed that he wanted Mother and Father and Robb, not these strangers. It had been up to Bran to soothe him and bid the Freys welcome.

It’s a little ambiguous, but the author says that the wolf “caught the scent of a stranger” just as Jojen and Meera enter the gods wood. Bran’s consciousness in the wolf POV remembers the name Meera, suggesting that the stranger is Jojen. In the faith of the seven, of course, the stranger represents death. Maybe Shaggydog’s symbolic death comes from biting Little Walder and Summer’s “death” comes from Jojen’s touch?

Many characters have symbolic deaths and rebirths throughout the novels. Aside from marking turning points in the character’s development, I think of these symbolic deaths as a sort of inoculation; in the words of the Ironborn, what’s dead can never die. Perhaps it’s helpful to have this transformation out of the way before the long journey ahead so the direwolves will be better prepared to emerge from the gods wood/crypt and survive the perils of the trip north.

Edited by Seams

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

Aw, shucks. Thanks. A new chapter analysis coming right up. This one is a really "meaty" direwolf chapter. Maybe there will be some discussion about the things I missed.

I look forward. However, I hope "new" refers to new for you rather than chapters from wow which I have eschewed. 

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1 minute ago, YOVMO said:

I look forward. However, I hope "new" refers to new for you rather than chapters from wow which I have eschewed. 

No WoW here. We are still working our way through ACoK on this thread. (See Bran III chapter, above.)

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On 9/11/2016 at 1:11 AM, Julia H. said:

 

A “wolfskin cloak

Little Walder mocks Hodor despite Bran’s displeasure and when Big Walder warns him “He’ll set his wolf on you, cousin”, Little Walder says he always wanted a wolfskin cloak. I guess this could be foreshadowing of old Walder Frey’s behaviour later, during another feast.  

 

It may also be foreshadowing that the Freys and Boltons are quite alike.  

On 10/8/2016 at 8:20 AM, Julia H. said:

Yes, sibling relationships are very important throughout the books and they are explored in many ways. 

/snip

Summer and Shaggydog, as real siblings, seem to be quite different. 

IMHO sibling relationships (including non-blood sibling relationships) are the most important relationships in ASOIAF.

Would you say Summer and Shaggydog are as different as the sun and the moon?  Bran and Rickon seem to have more of Sansa and Arya relationship instead of a Robb and Jon type of relationship.  The straining relationship between the brothers could be a factor in Shaggydog not coming to Bran.    

On 10/8/2016 at 8:40 AM, Julia H. said:

 

Clegane repeatedly calls her a “little bird”, which further underlines that she cannot be a “proper” wolf.

 

Alternatively could the "little bird" nickname be an indication that Sansa's skinchanging skills are advancing albeit in a symbolic rather than a literal manner?  Of the 4 POV characters with direwolves, three of them have birds motiffs.   And all three of them start with direwolves and then progress to birds (though their relationships with birds are not as comfortable as their relationships with direwolves).  Bran will learn to skinchange into a raven; Jon became a crow when he became a man of the Night's Watch and will also inherit a second animal companion in Mormont's raven (Jon also has an unemphasized connection to birds due to being named after Jon Arryn), and Sansa's meeting with Dontos leads to her being transformed from a direwolf into a mockingbird when she assumes the identity of Littlefinger's daughter.  So not only can Sandor smell a lie, but the "little bird" nickname seems unwittingly prescient, or does Sandor's  actions help make his mocking nickname come true similar to how Alliser Thorne contributes to making Lord Snow a lord in truth?  

On 10/23/2016 at 8:49 AM, Seams said:

Tyrion V

 

 

After a visit to the wildfire storage area maintained by the Alchemists, Tyrion meets with his cousin, Ser Cleos Frey, a hostage who has been sent by Robb Stark with peace terms to be negotiated with the Lannisters.

 

Cersei compares Robb Stark to a fawn: “While Father plays lion and fawn with the Stark boy, Renly marches up the roseroad.”

Tyrion compares Robb Stark to a wolf: “The Young Wolf has sent us terms, you see. Unacceptable terms, to be sure, but still, a beginning.”

 Tyrion seems to share Cleos' anti-wolf bias --though what happened the last time he was at Winterfell and his encounter with Cat most likely contributes to the bias.  When he gets upset with Cat and Sansa, his thoughts emphasize their wolf/Stark identity, and he seems to be doing the same with Robb in Tyrion V.  His remark to Sansa that she "a deer surrounded by wolves" indicates how fast he is to cast wolves as the villains.  However, Sansa quickly points out the danger comes from being surrounded by lions not wolves --something Tyrion fails to realize also applies to him.


 The "lion and fawn" line has piqued my interest.  How Cersei says it makes me wonder if there is an in-universe fable about a lion and fawn, which I imagine plays out like a Roadrunner cartoon.  The only other fawn reference I can think of is Wenda the White Fawn, so perhaps the lion and fawn might be an allusion to how Westerland forces fought the Kingswood Brotherwood and Wenda humiliating highborn prisoners.  Admittedly (and off-topic) I'm a fan of the Lemore is Wenda theory, so I try to be on the lookout for possible Wenda references. 

 

16 hours ago, Seams said:

Bran III

 

 

The harvest feast marks the end of the summer season. Does the scene represent another symbolic death, this time for Bran’s direwolf, Summer? Alternatively, we may be seeing yet another symbolic death for Bran but he wargs into his direwolf after going to bed, so his soul is awake in the gods wood, even though his body is asleep. As in Bran I, Summer and Shaggydog are confined in the gods wood because Shaggydog bit one of the Walders. In that chapter, the direwolves’ perception of the confined area might be compared to a crypt:

 

 

Winterfell feasts come to symbolize the realm of the dead.  With so many of the people present at the feast are about to die soon (even Bran and Rickon have to fake being dead), I tend to interpret Summer (and Shaggydog's) banishment from feast the same way Sam interprets Jon's dreams in ASOS --namely that the living cannot reside with the dead.  If winter and death have come for the feasters, than perhaps it is still summer for those on the outside.  

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3 hours ago, Harlaw's Book the Sequel said:

 Of the 4 POV characters with direwolves, three of them have birds motiffs. And all three of them start with direwolves and then progress to birds (though their relationships with birds are not as comfortable as their relationships with direwolves).  

Arya also has a very strong bird motiff. 

She literally wishes to be a black swan when she sees three of them off the shore of the wooded island in the middle of the God's Eye - the Isle of Faces.

The only person Arya was comfortable acting like a lady for was actually a Swann. (Ravella) who called Arya pretty. 

Her water dancing has strong swan/bird mottifs: gracefulness, balancing on one leg while on tip toe, dancing on water, light as a feather. Swan Lake mottifs with Arya literally thinking "the lake is calling to her" the same lake the black swans were gliding on. Her Ugly Duckling situation: The only child of Ned to actually look like a traditional Stark while all the others followed the Tully coloring. Dirty and unkempt as a child, teased and outcasted - Arya Horseface - she will grow into a beautiful swan. 

Quote

 

Arianne touched the pin that clasped [Balon's] cloak, with its quarreling swans. "I have always been fond of swans. No other bird is half so beautiful, this side of the Summer Isles."

"Your peacocks might dispute that," said Ser Balon.

"They might," said Arianne, "but peacocks are vain, proud creatures, strutting about in all those gaudy colors. Give me a swan serene in white or beautiful in black." - The Watcher, ADwD

 

 

George uses some excellent bird imagery in her chapters:

Quote

She was not far from the Gate as the crows flies, but for girls with feet instead of wings the way was longer. - Mercy, WoW

 

Twice she has wished for wings so she can fly away.

 

More analysis here:

 

Edited by DutchArya

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8 hours ago, Harlaw's Book the Sequel said:
 
Quote
On 9/11/2016 at 4:11 AM, Julia H. said:

A “wolfskin cloak

Little Walder mocks Hodor despite Bran’s displeasure and when Big Walder warns him “He’ll set his wolf on you, cousin”, Little Walder says he always wanted a wolfskin cloak. I guess this could be foreshadowing of old Walder Frey’s behaviour later, during another feast.

It may also be foreshadowing that the Freys and Boltons are quite alike.  

...

The "lion and fawn" line has piqued my interest.  How Cersei says it makes me wonder if there is an in-universe fable about a lion and fawn, which I imagine plays out like a Roadrunner cartoon.  The only other fawn reference I can think of is Wenda the White Fawn, so perhaps the lion and fawn might be an allusion to how Westerland forces fought the Kingswood Brotherwood and Wenda humiliating highborn prisoners.  Admittedly (and off-topic) I'm a fan of the Lemore is Wenda theory, so I try to be on the lookout for possible Wenda references. 

...

Winterfell feasts come to symbolize the realm of the dead.  With so many of the people present at the feast are about to die soon (even Bran and Rickon have to fake being dead), I tend to interpret Summer (and Shaggydog's) banishment from feast the same way Sam interprets Jon's dreams in ASOS --namely that the living cannot reside with the dead.  If winter and death have come for the feasters, than perhaps it is still summer for those on the outside.  

Nice catch on the "set his wolf on you" line. And your revisiting this raises the larger issue again: Why do so many people want wolfskins and want to be Starks? The Starks are the wardens of the North, so the Boltons want their power. The Freys seem to want social status conferred through marriages to any/all the great houses. We have speculated in the previous direwolf thread that Cersei wanted a wolf skin laid across her bed as a way of symbolically becoming Lyanna who was loved by both Rhaegar and Robert, the men Cersei wanted to bewitch. Theon wanted to be a Stark because he was raised among them and they were a more loving family than his Greyjoy birth family. Lady Dustin wanted to marry Brandon Stark. She articulates something that might be common to all of the Stark wannabees: I hate them because I wanted to be one of them. So maybe it's all a big bunch of coincidences - everyone's reason is different - but the common outcome is hatred of the Starks.

There is another fawn reference: When Bronn reports back that Prince Tommen has been intercepted after Cersei's attempt to smuggle him out of King's Landing, he tells Tyrion that Tommen had a pet fawn that Joffrey ordered killed, skinned and made into a vest. So we have a second example of Tommen as nurturer (kittens are the other example) and Joffrey as killer (he had a pregnant cat cut open, causing King Robert to react with disgust, years earlier). If the allusion is to Joffrey's treatment of Tommen's fawn, Cersei saying that Tywin is "playing lion and fawn" with Robb Stark might be yet another allusion to skinning a Stark and wearing his skin.

Your inside/outside explanation of the feast of the dead sounds right, and it might help to explain some of the other references in previous chapters. I'm thinking of the constant references to raiding and murder in the countryside as wolf behavior, and my attempts to make sense of the use of the word "yield". Arya recommends to Lommy that he yield if he encounters a real wolf. Apparently he does not come face-to-face with a wolf, but he yields to Clegane's man and is then killed. Perhaps the point is that the wolves represent life - they remain outside of the feast - and are a way to be safe from death (if you're a warg like Arya, who did survive her face-to-face encounter with wolves in Arya III). If Lommy had yielded to a real wolf, he might be alive. We will see this again with Varamyr Sixskins thinking about warging into a wolf when his human body dies.

In the earlier feast at Winterfell, Jon Snow was able to bring Ghost into the feast because he was not sitting with the Stark family at the main table. Under the table at that feast, Ghost wrestles a bone from the black dog, I think. Later in the books, I believe there is at least one symbolic death for Ghost as he saves Jon's life. But Jon manages to leave the feast while everyone is still inside. (Tyrion leaves but returns.)

Hmm. We will see Grey Wind specifically excluded from the Red Wedding feast, but he will die anyway. Before Joffrey's wedding feast, he jokes about having the direwolf sigil chipped off of the goblet that Mace Tyrell has given him, contrasting with the raised silver direwolf muzzle Bran feels in his palm as he sips from his father's goblet at this feast. So how do those wolf presences at, or exclusions from, feasts fit with the idea of death within / life outside? Or is it only Winterfell feasts where death comes to those inside?

I wrote up that Bran III chapter analysis a few months ago. After I posted it last night, I was thinking about the significance of Jojen and Meera opening the door to the gods wood after Summer and Shaggydog have been so anxious to get out of there for so long. I assume the opening of the door at this point symbolizes the role the Reeds will play in helping Bran to open his third eye. It probably also hints that they will help Bran and Rickon escape Theon and Ramsay. But the door opening role might also foreshadow the Reeds' role in helping Bran to get back home, eventually, I hope. The Reeds open the door to the gods wood (life, summer) and Hodor will open the door out of the crypt. (Hodor will also eventually push everyone else through the murder hole at the Queen's Crown tower in The Gift.)

Edited by Seams

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@DutchArya, nice catch pointing out the Arya-bird connection.  I guess I've been so focused on Arya's connection with cats that the bird references escaped me.  

13 hours ago, Seams said:

Nice catch on the "set his wolf on you" line. And your revisiting this raises the larger issue again: Why do so many people want wolfskins and want to be Starks? The Starks are the wardens of the North, so the Boltons want their power. The Freys seem to want social status conferred through marriages to any/all the great houses. We have speculated in the previous direwolf thread that Cersei wanted a wolf skin laid across her bed as a way of symbolically becoming Lyanna who was loved by both Rhaegar and Robert, the men Cersei wanted to bewitch. Theon wanted to be a Stark because he was raised among them and they were a more loving family than his Greyjoy birth family. Lady Dustin wanted to marry Brandon Stark. She articulates something that might be common to all of the Stark wannabees: I hate them because I wanted to be one of them. So maybe it's all a big bunch of coincidences - everyone's reason is different - but the common outcome is hatred of the Starks.

I'm reminded of a quote from another book, "When love turns to hate it is terrifying."  Wanting a wolfskin a does seem like a way for those who the Starks rejected or slighted in some way to get their revenge.  

13 hours ago, Seams said:

/snip

 

13 hours ago, Seams said:

Your inside/outside explanation of the feast of the dead sounds right, and it might help to explain some of the other references in previous chapters. I'm thinking of the constant references to raiding and murder in the countryside as wolf behavior, and my attempts to make sense of the use of the word "yield". Arya recommends to Lommy that he yield if he encounters a real wolf. Apparently he does not come face-to-face with a wolf, but he yields to Clegane's man and is then killed. Perhaps the point is that the wolves represent life - they remain outside of the feast - and are a way to be safe from death (if you're a warg like Arya, who did survive her face-to-face encounter with wolves in Arya III). If Lommy had yielded to a real wolf, he might be alive. We will see this again with Varamyr Sixskins thinking about warging into a wolf when his human body dies.

If the direwolves don't represent life, then I think they are at least a tether to life.  

13 hours ago, Seams said:

 

Hmm. We will see Grey Wind specifically excluded from the Red Wedding feast, but he will die anyway. Before Joffrey's wedding feast, he jokes about having the direwolf sigil chipped off of the goblet that Mace Tyrell has given him, contrasting with the raised silver direwolf muzzle Bran feels in his palm as he sips from his father's goblet at this feast. So how do those wolf presences at, or exclusions from, feasts fit with the idea of death within / life outside? Or is it only Winterfell feasts where death comes to those inside?

 

Interesting, many people do die at feasts, but it's specifically feasts at Winterfell that become the setting for the realm of the dead.  

About Grey Wind, even though he wasn't allowed in Great Hall, the even the feast portion of the Red Wedding wasn't limited to the hall, and the Freys targeted so him, so you could say Grey Wind was still part of the feast.  

If direwolves do represent life, then perhaps the direwolf/Stark references during the Purple Wedding indicate that no matter how hard the Lannisters try to chip off the Starks, the Starks remain.  

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There is some very good discussion going on here. :cheers:

On 2016. 10. 23. at 5:49 PM, Seams said:

 

Is Tyrion the only person who has referred to Starks as deer? He referred to Sansa as “a deer surrounded by wolves” at the end of Sansa I. In this chapter Cersei refers to Robb Stark as a fawn.

Cersei compares Robb Stark to a fawn: “While Father plays lion and fawn with the Stark boy, Renly marches up the roseroad.”

Tyrion compares Robb Stark to a wolf: “The Young Wolf has sent us terms, you see. Unacceptable terms, to be sure, but still, a beginning.”

Deer are the lion's prey, of course. In addition, the Baratheon sigil is a stag, so referring to the Starks as deer is classifying them with King Robert, Stannis and Renly, and it may even be reference to the brotherly love between Ned and Robert. Alternatively, Cersei may imply that (in her opinion) Tywin is playing "lion and fawn" in the wrong place, while the real deer is marching to King's Landing and needs to be dealt with.

Tyrion calling Robb the Young Wolf is much more respectful - he apparently realizes that the Starks are not easy prey.

On 2016. 10. 30. at 1:54 PM, Seams said:

 

The harvest feast marks the end of the summer season. Does the scene represent another symbolic death, this time for Bran’s direwolf, Summer? Alternatively, we may be seeing yet another symbolic death for Bran but he wargs into his direwolf after going to bed, so his soul is awake in the gods wood, even though his body is asleep. As in Bran I, Summer and Shaggydog are confined in the gods wood because Shaggydog bit one of the Walders. In that chapter, the direwolves’ perception of the confined area might be compared to a crypt:

Behind the trees the walls rose, piles of dead man-rock that loomed all about this speck of living wood. Speckled grey they rose, and moss-spotted, yet thick and strong and higher than any wolf could hope to leap. Cold iron and splintery wood closed off the only holes through the piled stones that hemmed them in.

The phrase “dead man-rock” could take on different shades of meaning, depending on the reader’s interpretation. Is the noun rock being modified by the word “man,” or is it modified by both preceding words: “dead man”? One reading might make you think the wolf is lamenting that the walls are manmade; the other implies that allusion to the crypt, where dead men are carved out of rock.

As noted in that Bran I analysis, Bran as Summer recognizes that he must answer the call of the “true world” or die.

<snip>

Many characters have symbolic deaths and rebirths throughout the novels. Aside from marking turning points in the character’s development, I think of these symbolic deaths as a sort of inoculation; in the words of the Ironborn, what’s dead can never die. Perhaps it’s helpful to have this transformation out of the way before the long journey ahead so the direwolves will be better prepared to emerge from the gods wood/crypt and survive the perils of the trip north.

 

On 2016. 10. 31. at 6:51 AM, Harlaw's Book the Sequel said:

Winterfell feasts come to symbolize the realm of the dead.  With so many of the people present at the feast are about to die soon (even Bran and Rickon have to fake being dead), I tend to interpret Summer (and Shaggydog's) banishment from feast the same way Sam interprets Jon's dreams in ASOS --namely that the living cannot reside with the dead.  If winter and death have come for the feasters, than perhaps it is still summer for those on the outside.  

Great observations about the harvest feast! Perhaps we have a series of Winterfell feasts here symbolizing the different seasons:

First, there is the feast given in honour of King Robert, the visit of the "Summer King" in the realm of the King of Winter (Ned). "Summer still reigned then…." In fact, King Robert reigned, i.e., Summer, who died within a year after the "summer feast". Around the same time, Summer appeared in the North (representing the underworld according to @sweetsunray's wonderful essays) in the shape of a direwolf. The King of Winter is also dead, but, unlike the Summer King, he has an heir and a legacy. 

The second feast is the harvest feast, in the autumn season. People are gathering their resources because winter is coming, and they are also mustering their military forces because a war has started. As you have noted, many of those who are present will soon die literally or symbolically. 

The third feast will be the real "feast of the dead" appearing to Theon in his dream, where he will see the actually dead having a feast. That will be winter proper, when the living are excluded from the feast. 

I wonder if we will see a spring feast as well. A feast of rebirth, a feast of the living in Winterfell?

It may be interesting to note where the various direwolves are during these feasts.

The direwolves are excluded from the summer feast, all but Ghost. Curious. At this time, Summer the direwolf doesn't have a name yet, so perhaps he doesn't represent summer yet, nor is it necessary, as King Robert is there. But his absence may mean something different as well, since the presence of Ghost reminds me of this quote from AGoT:

The old men called this weather spirit summer, and said it meant the season was giving up its ghosts at last.  

Maybe the presence of Ghost highlights that it's the end of summer, the end of the reign of the Summer King, and that's why there is no direwolf named "Summer" present.

The wolves are also excluded from the harvest feast - there is no "autumn" direwolf, apparently.

Grey Wind will appear at the feast of the dead in Theon's dream, soon-to-be dead Grey Wind with Robb (they both die during another "feast"). Hm. Perhaps Grey Wind is the direwolf representing winter?

@Harlaw's Book the Sequel and @DutchArya, thanks for pointing out the bird symbolism with regard to the Starks! It's very interesting. Maybe the fact that Bran is described as a "winged wolf" juxtaposes the wolf symbolism with this bird symbolism.  

A raven, a crow, a mockingbird and a swan - they seem to have very little in common with direwolves, and yet... 

Edited by Julia H.

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On 11/1/2016 at 2:21 PM, Julia H. said:

 

The wolves are also excluded from the harvest feast - there is no "autumn" direwolf, apparently.

 

Wow, you just made me realize there is no "autumn" direwolf because by autumn's end there are no more Starks since they've either died or disappeared.  

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On ‎10‎/‎31‎/‎2016 at 1:51 AM, Harlaw's Book the Sequel said:

... Of the 4 POV characters with direwolves, three of them have birds motifs. And all three of them start with direwolves and then progress to birds (though their relationships with birds are not as comfortable as their relationships with direwolves).  Bran will learn to skinchange into a raven; Jon became a crow when he became a man of the Night's Watch and will also inherit a second animal companion in Mormont's raven (Jon also has an unemphasized connection to birds due to being named after Jon Arryn), and Sansa's meeting with Dontos leads to her being transformed from a direwolf into a mockingbird when she assumes the identity of Littlefinger's daughter.  So not only can Sandor smell a lie, but the "little bird" nickname seems unwittingly prescient, or does Sandor's  actions help make his mocking nickname come true similar to how Alliser Thorne contributes to making Lord Snow a lord in truth?   

On ‎10‎/‎31‎/‎2016 at 5:04 AM, DutchArya said:

Arya also has a very strong bird motiff. 

She literally wishes to be a black swan when she sees three of them off the shore of the wooded island in the middle of the God's Eye - the Isle of Faces.

The only person Arya was comfortable acting like a lady for was actually a Swann. (Ravella) who called Arya pretty. 

Her water dancing has strong swan/bird mottifs: gracefulness, balancing on one leg while on tip toe, dancing on water, light as a feather. Swan Lake mottifs with Arya literally thinking "the lake is calling to her" the same lake the black swans were gliding on. Her Ugly Duckling situation: The only child of Ned to actually look like a traditional Stark while all the others followed the Tully coloring. Dirty and unkempt as a child, teased and outcasted - Arya Horseface - she will grow into a beautiful swan. 

 

On ‎11‎/‎1‎/‎2016 at 5:21 PM, Julia H. said:

 

@Harlaw's Book the Sequel and @DutchArya, thanks for pointing out the bird symbolism with regard to the Starks! It's very interesting. Maybe the fact that Bran is described as a "winged wolf" juxtaposes the wolf symbolism with this bird symbolism.  

A raven, a crow, a mockingbird and a swan - they seem to have very little in common with direwolves, and yet... 

I can't believe I never noticed the wordplay between wolf and fowl before re-reading your comments here again today! I had written up wolf and flow on the Puns and Wordplay thread, but fowl never occurred to me.

I guess that's why a Direwolf Re-read was a really good idea. Amazing what kind of new things can be uncovered.

So if birds and wolves are two sides of the same coin, we should really watch for any wolf and bird juxtaposition in the imagery, to understand wolves as well as Starks on a deeper level.

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