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

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Arya IX

Overview

The Bloody Mummers return to Harrenhal with plunder and captive northmen. Ser Amory Lorch, the castellan since the departure of Lord Tywin, sends the men to the dungeon. Arya goes to the godswood where she practices her sword moves and impulsively prays to the old gods for help freeing the northmen so she can be taken home to Winterfell. Jaqen H’ghar soon appears and tells her, “A man comes to hear a name . . . A man would have done.”  Arya names Jaqen himself as her third death. In order to save his own life, Jaqen agrees to help free the northmen. He tells Arya to order big pots of broth from the kitchen. Jaqen, Arya, Rorge and  Biter throw the scalding liquid at the dungeon guards and then kill them. The freed northmen ask whether Jaqen is with Vargo Hoat’s Brave Companions: the captive situation had been faked to bring the northmen into Harrenhal where they would team up with Hoat’s men to overpower Lorch’s people and take over the castle. Jaqen changes his face and gives Arya a coin “of great value” before departing. Roose Bolton arrives to serve as the new lord of Harrenhal and makes “Nan” (Arya) his cupbearer. Amory Lorch is taken to the bear pit to die.

Observations

Arya’s prayer in the godswood: “Make me a water dancer and a wolf and not afraid again, ever.”

When Roose Bolton asks “Weasel” her real name, the name her mother gave her, she says her name is Nymeria, “Only she called me Nan for short.” Is taking the name Nymeria a form of warging? If so, we have Arya becoming one with her wolf and with her family storyteller at the same time. Is this like Bran “feeling broken” when he is awake, but whole when he inhabits Summer through his wolf dreams?

Near the end of the chapter, the banners of the Lannister lion and Lorch black manticore are removed from the gatehouse and replaced with the flayed man of the Dreadfort and the direwolf of Stark.

Analysis

This chapter shares some elements with the Bran VI chapter posted last week:

  • Hot Pie, partially covered with flour, speaks of ghosts. Are we supposed to compare Hot Pie and Osha? Or Hot Pie and Jon? Arya says she is the ghost of Harrenhal. How is this different from Bran’s “ghost of pain”?
  • Arya hears people arriving. Bran and Summer had been unable to investigate the Winterfell arrivals (Ironmen coming over the walls), but Arya goes to see what’s happening. We find out later that Arya is seeing an invading force, even though they appear to be captives.
  • A horn sounds and “stirred the castle from sleep.” (The Bran chapter showed Summer and Bran both failing as horns.)
  • Gendry recalls a blacksmith named old Ben Blackthumb saying that being a smith is the same for any master; Mikken refuses to serve a non-Stark master and is killed for his refusal.
  • Arya remembers that Yoren found Jaqen, Rorge and Biter in the black cells. The northmen are freed from a dungeon at Harrenhal; at Winterfell, Reek (Ramsay Snow) comes up from a prison cell.
  • Symbolic flooding: the Weasel Soup is compared to “raining soup” when Biter throws his kettles; The “sea” flows over the walls of Winterfell when the Ironmen attack, fulfilling the vision from Jojen’s dream.
  • Roose Bolton’s squire demands, “On your knees for the Lord of the Dreadfort!” and the smallfolk kneel; Bran tells the assembled Winterfell smallfolk that he has yielded the castle to Theon, but “Reek” (Ramsay) and Osha seem to be the only ones to kneel: Osha first knees one of the Ironmen in the groin and disarms him. We find out later that both Ramsay and Osha did not really submit to Theon’s authority.

Instead of, or in addition to, comparing the Weasel Soup to the symbolic “flooding” of Winterfell, would it be better to compare it to the upcoming bowl of weirwood paste in Bran’s story? Or to Tyrion’s Singer Stew? The Sister Stew consumed by Davos? Dany will drink her flute of Shade of the Evening in the next chapter. All of these liquids mark turning points in the POVs’ stories, but they are all consumed by the POV where Arya’s soup is used as a weapon. (Edit: Tyrion does not eat Singer Stew.) The only known real ingredients of the Weasel Soup are broth and onions, so there is the root motif again and a possible Davos connection. The Weasel Soup is referred to as “bloody broth,” however, and Rorge and/or Biter tell the guards that the kettles are pots of piss and contain “your cock and balls.”

An additional, direwolf-related point about the Winterfell / Harrenhal parallels in Bran VI and Arya IX: the freeing of the captive northmen from the Harrenhal dungeon reads very much like a scene freeing the Stark lords and kings from their tombs in the crypt at Winterfell. Is this foreshadowing?

The steps opened onto a dank stone vault, long, gloomy, and windowless. A few torches burned in sconces at the near end where a group of Ser Amory’s guards sat around a scarred wooden table, talking and playing at tiles. Heavy iron bars separated them from where the captives were crowded together in the dark. The smell of the broth brought many up to the bars. (ACoK, Arya IX)

The Winterfell crypt is also a windowless stone vault where northmen are “captive.” The northmen at Harrenhal are attracted to the smell of the “bloody broth.” Instead of swords across the lap of each stone lord, here there are iron bars imprisoning the northmen. If the comparison is correct, who or what represents the stone direwolves that are part of the Winterfell crypt? With few candidates from which to choose, my best guess is that the guards at the table represent the stone direwolves. And their removal (death) is necessary to free the northmen – or so Arya believes.

Of course, it completely shakes up the thinking about the relationship between the Stark children and the direwolves to envision Arya participating in even a symbolic killing of “direwolves”. We know that at least two of the Stark direwolves will be beheaded and, later in the chapter, “Shagwell the Fool hacked the heads off two dead knights and pranced about the castle swinging them by the hair and making them talk. ‘What did you die of?’ one head asked. ‘Hot weasel soup,’ replied the second.” Should we be comparing the dungeon guards to the stone direwolves? Or are there no direwolf equivalents in the “freeing of the northmen” scene at Harrenhal?

If the freeing of the northmen foreshadows something in the Winterfell crypt, will we see a scene where long-dead Kings of Winter and Stark Lords are “freed”? Or have we already seen it? Are Jon Snow’s crypt dreams a way of releasing those captive lords?

The Weasel Soup strategy is immediately preceded by Arya finding a “sword” she has made and hidden in the Harrenhal godswood. In a different thread, there was speculation that Theon might have been stealing swords from the Stark tombs, hiding them in the godswood (where he says he hid his treasures), and then selling them so he could return to the Iron Islands wearing fancy clothes and a brooch and carrying an expensive dagger that seem out of place with anything the Starks or Greyjoys would have provided for him. It might be unrelated, but Arya’s use in this chapter of a hidden “sword” (actually a broom stick) in the godswood might allude to this possible Theon scenario.

Later, we will see Theon worry about the freeing of the ancient kings from the crypt due to missing swords:

"That king is missing his sword," Lady Dustin observed.

It was true. Theon did not recall which king it was, but the longsword he should have held was gone. Streaks of rust remained to show where it had been. The sight disquieted him. He had always heard that the iron in the sword kept the spirits of the dead locked within their tombs. If a sword was missing …

There are ghosts in Winterfell. And I am one of them.

(ADwD, The Turncloak)

Edited by Seams

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10 hours ago, Seams said:

If the freeing of the northmen foreshadows something in the Winterfell crypt, will we see a scene where long-dead Kings of Winter and Stark Lords are “freed”? Or have we already seen it? Are Jon Snow’s crypt dreams a way of releasing those captive lords? (...)

Possibly, I think, a foreshadowing for the "beast taking wings from a smoking tower and breathing shadow fire" (and the weasel soup could foreshadow too a second flood - a real flood this time - with the pools of the godswood submerging the castle, or the castle collapsing after ... hm... the heart-tree is burnt by a dragon ?). But immediatly, there is the connection with Theon's dreadfull dreams at Winterfell, after the death of the miller's *boys and the disappearance of Bran and Rickon. In a kind of way, the ghosts of lords and kings are already free and they begin haunting Theon. 

I also think find same images during Winterfell "Huis clos", and we will find possibly another (a reverse ?) version of the weasel soup with the frozen lake. Winterfell seems to be the center of a snow tempest, and there a Bolton's ennemies infiltrated (Mance and his spearwives, or the mysterious man that Theon encounters)

I like the idea of Arya finaly killing direwolves. That's an echoe of Nymeria being wounded by her, and Lady sacrified at her place. 

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On 4/10/2017 at 7:21 AM, GloubieBoulga said:

I also think find same images during Winterfell "Huis clos", and we will find possibly another (a reverse ?) version of the weasel soup with the frozen lake. Winterfell seems to be the center of a snow tempest, and there a Bolton's enemies infiltrated (Mance and his spearwives, or the mysterious man that Theon encounters)

I like the idea of Arya finally killing direwolves. That's an echo of Nymeria being wounded by her, and Lady sacrificed at her place. 

Good point, bringing in the comparison to The Turncloak and A Ghost in Winterfell plot elements. I had been looking for parallels in that Bran VI chapter in ACoK, but of course the secret plot with the washerwomen and the singer, Abel, to free fArya is like the freeing of the northmen at Harrenhal. In Bran VI, we had Theon arriving ("flowing" over the walls) and in Theon I, at the end of ADwD, going back over the top of the wall with fArya / Jeyne Poole. So that may be the "reverse" version of weasel soup - the "pool" flowing over the walls of Winterfell to escape instead of the sea flowing into the castle to invade.

It's probably also significant that there's a Bolton present at the end of both Bran VI (Ramsay as Reek emerging from the dungeon) and Arya IX (Roose arriving to take charge on behalf of Robb Stark). But also in Theon I of ADwD. Both Boltons are faking their loyalty - Ramsay is pretending to be Reek in order to escape execution for the forced marriage and murder of Lady Hornwood; he is also faking his pledge of loyalty to Theon, as he will soon take over Winterfell and make Theon his hostage. Roose is faking his loyalty to Robb Stark and may already be plotting his turncloak strategy with the Lannisters. Maybe the tables have turned altogether in Theon I of ADwD, as the northern bannermen (such as the Manderly family) perhaps playing along with the Boltons with the intention of helping Stannis to take the castle.

I realize this is departing from the direwolf focus (again, sorry) but I just want to throw in a link to some other thoughts on Arya IX that I threw into another post. The link is an exploration of the meaning of the "escape" of the northmen at Harrenhal in the context of goat symbolism. Still a lot to work out there, but I started the separate thread because it was so far removed from the direwolf topic. (I'm not sure anyone cares anymore, but I'm trying to be focused, in spite of my tendency toward tangents.)

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Daenerys IV

Overview

The warlock Pyat Pree instructs Dany how to proceed through the House of the Undying. After drinking a flute of Shade of the Evening, she enters the “grey and ancient ruin” with drogon. She always takes the door to the right, but passes open doors where scenes play out. Finally she reaches the audience chamber where the Undying Ones convey their cryptic prophecy to her. When the Undying get extra creepy in a touchy-feely way, Drogon destroys the beating heart in the chamber, spews fire and the Undying burn and crumble. Dany is then able to make her way outside.

Observations

The only overt direwolf passage is the “feast of corpses” tableau:

"Farther on she came upon a feast of corpses. Savagely slaughtered, the feasters lay strewn across overturned chairs and hacked trestle tables, asprawl in pools of congealing blood. Some had lost limbs, even heads. Savaged limbs clutched bloody cups, wooden spoons, roast fowl, heels of bread. On a throne above them sat a dead man with the head of a wolf. He wore an iron crown and held a leg of lamb in one hand as a king might hold a sceptre, and his eyes followed Dany with mute appeal."

Analysis

Most interpretations I have seen assume that the “feast of corpses” vision foreshadows the Red Wedding, with the “dead man with the head of a wolf” representing Robb Stark, who is reportedly beheaded after he is murdered, and has the head of Grey Wind, his direwolf, sewn onto his neck. Elements of the vision do seem like a good match for the events surrounding Robb Stark’s murder.

The mutton scepter is a detail that may warrant further consideration in this direwolf thread. In the Jon II discussion on this thread (August 2016), @Wizz The Smith pointed out that the heart tree in the abandoned wildling village of Whitetree contained human bones in its burned mouth but was described as being big enough to “swallow a sheep”. S/He took this as good evidence for the comparison between the direwolf Ghost and the weirwood tree, and further noted Mormont’s lament:

“Would that bones could talk,” the Old Bear grumbled. “This fellow could tell us much.  How he died.  Who burned him, and why.  Where the wildlings have gone.”  He sighed. “The Children of the Forest could speak to the dead, it’s said.  But I can’t.”

In that chapter, we had a tree that could “eat” a sheep and human bones that couldn’t speak to Mormont. In this chapter, we have the direwolf-headed king holding a leg of mutton and making a mute appeal. I noted in the Jon II discussion that I think of sheep as symbols of the smallfolk, with the lamb men the regular victims of Dothraki slaughter and free folk often wearing sheepskin garments. Dragons eat sheep but Drogon finally eats a shepherd’s child, perhaps showing that Dragons are like weirwood trees and, therefore, like direwolves.

The Night's Watch men also noted that there were no sheep at Craster's Keep, which was surprising.

GRRM doesn’t say that the “dead man with the head of a wolf” is a king, but he holds the piece of meat as if it is a scepter, sits on a throne and wears a crown. In other visions in this chapter, the author does describe someone as “a kingly man” and a “wizard king.” Why specify king there but eschew the word to describe the wolf man on a throne with a scepter?

Is the leg of lamb/sceptre part of this motif of the high-born victimizing the small folk? If not, what might the leg of lamb represent?

Is the meat scepter related to the motif of butcher kings throughout the books? Cleon the Butcher King of Astapor is the most literal example of this motif. His people bring him back from the dead, digging up his body and strapping him to a horse in the hope that he can repel a Yunkai'i invasion. Cleon's followers are not successful, so that may fit with the frustration that bones can't speak (or lead an army). Maybe the meat scepter and the dead Cleon examples make the point that kings can be slaughtered; they are not always the butchers - sometimes they are the meat.

What is the mute appeal the wolf-man is making to Dany? Does it connect to the mute direwolf, Ghost?

Edited by Seams

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concerning the wolf-head man (he is a king, because he is presiding and he wears a crown : for me, the detail "iron crown" evokes also the Iron Throne who can slaughter people who sit in, illustrated here with a massacre) and the lamb's leg, wolf and lamb/sheep/goat are often associated, especially with Stark children who all are at a moment "transformed" in lamb : 

- Sansa (Sansa VII, ASOS) wears lamb wool under fox fur when she is building the snowed Winterfell

- Jon receives and wears a sheep cloak when he is with the Wildlings, but he wears his blacks under this cloak (Jon I, ASOS)

- Arya feels like a lamb when she is captured by the Mountain and leaded to Harrenhal

- Bran wears lamb wool when he rides out WInterfell to hunt with Theon and Robb and is captured by wildlings and deserters of the Night Watch (i doon't recall well if there are other occurencies for Bran as a lamb/sheep/goat)

- Rickon... so, we will surely see something with Skagos

 

Concerning the scene, it can be also linked to Theon's dream when he sleeps in lords Stark's bed at Winterfell (ACOK) and dreams of all dead Starks feasting together (with some other dead people, like king Robert). 

 

"Under the sea gods are feasting", but it seems it's not happy feasts ! 

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I did a little searching on "leg of lamb" and "scepter" after I posted that chapter analysis. These points could be helpful:

Patchface was capering about as the maester made his slow way around the table to Davos Seaworth. “Here we eat fish,” the fool declared happily, waving a cod about like a scepter. “Under the sea, the fish eat us. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.”

Ser Davos moved aside to make room on the bench. “We all should be in motley tonight,” he said gloomily as Cressen seated himself, “for this is fool’s business we’re about. The red woman has seen victory in her flames, so Stannis means to press his claim, no matter what the numbers. Before she’s done we’re all like to see what Patchface saw, I fear—the bottom of the sea.”

(ACoK, Prologue)

So there is the only other example (so far) of meat being used as a scepter. (Autocorrect always changes -re to -er on this word, in my US computer. I found that the "A Search of Ice and Fire" site requires searches on both spellings to find all the examples of scepters in the books) Patchface also points out that sometimes the people eat the fish and other times the fish eat the people, which might fit with my guess that the leg of lamb scepter shows that kings can be slaughtered. And Davos follows the cod scepter by immediately envisioning the followers of Stannis all dying at sea -- perhaps foreshadowing Ser Davos' fate at the Blackwater.

In the books, the first reference to a leg of lamb was Tyrion's joking request to the jailer at the Eyrie for a fancy dinner in the sky cell. The second reference was in ACoK, after Jon and Sam have eaten one of Gilly's rabbits. Sam, joking like Tyrion, asks for a leg of lamb all to himself. Jon points out that there is a sheep fold at Craster's Keep, but no sheep. After Dany's vision will come the Red Wedding, with Wendel Manderly gnawing on a leg of lamb - GRRM mentions Wendel and the leg of lamb several times.

I'm wondering whether Wendel's death, which we see at the Red Wedding, is supposed to stand in for Grey Wind's death. Wendel is super loyal to the Starks, and traveled with Catelyn to Renly's camp. I think Wendel-as-direwolf might fit with Robb Stark's important line about "let's hunt the hunters" when he suggests that he and Theon find the direwolves, leaving Bran alone in the woods in AGoT. Wendel uses a bow, and he offers to hunt grouse for breakfast when he is traveling with Catelyn. He dies when a crossbow quarrel catches his open mouth and goes through the back of his skull.

In previous discussions on this thread or the previous direwolf re-read, I had wondered whether Greatjon Umber was a symbolic direwolf. Maybe all of Robb's inner circle represent some aspect of a wolf or of Grey Wind in particular - Greatjon could represent howling with his loud singing voice; Wendel could represent gnawing on bones. If Robb and his close supporters all become symbolic man-wolf hybrids, maybe they are all represented by the man with the head of the wolf.

The "dead man with the head of a wolf" in Dany's vision could still be Robb Stark - I realize he is the leading candidate. But the leg of lamb connection to Wendel seems suspiciously strong. Wendel is not an important character, but he could be an important symbol, especially if he represents a direwolf and/or bones. (His father waits for Wendel's bones to be returned, and for his living brother to be freed, before launching his revenge plot against the Frey family.) The figure in Dany's vision could represent Robb + Grey Wind + a bone, I suppose. Then Robb and Wendel could both be included in the complex symbol.

10 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

concerning the wolf-head man (he is a king, because he is presiding and he wears a crown : for me, the detail "iron crown" evokes also the Iron Throne who can slaughter people who sit in, illustrated here with a massacre) and the lamb's leg, wolf and lamb/sheep/goat are often associated, especially with Stark children who all are at a moment "transformed" in lamb : 

- Sansa (Sansa VII, ASOS) wears lamb wool under fox fur when she is building the snowed Winterfell

- Jon receives and wears a sheep cloak when he is with the Wildlings, but he wears his blacks under this cloak (Jon I, ASOS)

- Arya feels like a lamb when she is captured by the Mountain and leaded to Harrenhal

- Bran wears lamb wool when he rides out WInterfell to hunt with Theon and Robb and is captured by wildlings and deserters of the Night Watch (i doon't recall well if there are other occurencies for Bran as a lamb/sheep/goat)

- Rickon... so, we will surely see something with Skagos

Concerning the scene, it can be also linked to Theon's dream when he sleeps in lords Stark's bed at Winterfell (ACOK) and dreams of all dead Starks feasting together (with some other dead people, like king Robert). 

"Under the sea gods are feasting", but it seems it's not happy feasts ! 

It does seem as if the "dead man with the head of a wolf" is a king, I was just curious that GRRM didn't specifically call him that: he says "as a king," but doesn't call him a king as he calls other figures in Dany's visions. We have seen a number of cases in the series where characters crown themselves and soon die. As if the crown is telling the wearer, "You may think you are a king, but I disagree." My search on the word scepter showed references to people like Mace Tyrell who would like to take up the scepter in King's Landing and Dany's husband Hizdahr zo Loraq after Dany has flown off on Drogon, implying that the scepter might be another pretentious trapping of royalty that reveals a wannabe-king who should not reach so high.

The examples you site of Stark children as lambs are actually examples of the Starks wearing wool: you probably also have the expression in French of the "wolf in sheep's clothing"? I think the author is telling us that the wool is a disguise for the Starks. The exception is Arya feeling like a sheep or lamb when she goes to Harrenhal, perhaps. And I think the author is showing that Arya has a unique experience among her highborn peers of really living among the smallfolk and being one of them, handling leeches, scrubbing steps, etc.

But that search on "leg of lamb" showed the first reference came from Tyrion, and Sam referred to it in the same book with Dany's vision - close juxtaposition is usually meaningful for GRRM. So why would they dream of having legs of lamb? Not to use as scepters, clearly, but to eat. Maybe that's why the figure in Dany's vision is a victim and Tyrion and Sam are not - they understand the proper purpose of meat. (My apologies to any vegetarians or vegans reading that last sentence, but you know what I mean.)

Edited by Seams

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12 hours ago, Seams said:

The examples you site of Stark children as lambs are actually examples of the Starks wearing wool: you probably also have the expression in French of the "wolf in sheep's clothing"? I think the author is telling us that the wool is a disguise for the Starks. The exception is Arya feeling like a sheep or lamb when she goes to Harrenhal, perhaps. And I think the author is showing that Arya has a unique experience among her highborn peers of really living among the smallfolk and being one of them, handling leeches, scrubbing steps, etc.

Yes, we have same expression and concerning Sansa and Jon, I also used to thought it was the sense of their clothes : they are wolves disguised in sheep. For Jon, it is also a crow disguised in sheep, but "sheep" remains a disguise. But I recently went a bit further and saw some ambiguous ways, I mean that the disguised can be "sheep" but also "wolf" (= as predator). For example, concerning Jon, here : 

Quote

Now it is our turn to pounce. He wished he could move as sure and silent as that shadowcat, and kill as quickly. Longclaw was sheathed across his back, but he might not have room to use it. He carried dirk and dagger for closer work. They will have weapons as well, and I am not armored. He wondered who would prove the shadowcat by night's end, and who the ram.(Jon VI ACOK)

With Sansa, I found it even more ambiguous because the "sheep disguise" is under the fox/wolf (in the chapter, the fox represents the "power" and the domination, because Lysa wears also fox furs and has some elements to link her to Cersei and Tywin Lannister. Sansa's fox represents the fight between two "queens" - a young future and an old). 

So, for me, litteraly, Sansa was a lamb/sheep disguised in fox/wolf (= in predator). What joins your remark about the king butcher and butchered. I made the hypothesis that Sansa's first nature wasn't a wolf's nature, but a sheep's nature, and that the adventures of Stark children conducted them to discover this originally nature (not the only one, for sure, i think they have also "naturally" a bird nature and probably a bear nature). In other words, the discovery of other bloods than the "wolf blood", presented at the biginning of the saga as their "dominant blood". 

Another very interesting thing, who intriguided me for long time, in Sansa VII ASOS : 

Quote

 

The door was firmly closed, with three heavy bronze bars to hold it in place, but Sansa could hear the wind outside worrying at its edges. (...)

Sansa grabbed one of the bronze bars, yanked it loose, and tossed it down. The second bar clattered to the marble, then the third. She had barely touched the latch when the heavy wooden door flew inward and slammed back against the wall with a bang. Snow had piled up around the frame, and it all came blowing in at them, borne on a blast of cold air that left Sansa shivering. 

(...)

 The wind flapped her skirts up and bit at her bare legs with cold teeth. She could feel snowflakes melting on her cheeks. 

 

- worrying is used normally (="being worry about something"), but also for another sense, always the same : a predator is eating some meat : Daenerys with the stallion's heart, Shaggydog, some dogs eating dead people (Weese's one for example), Ramsay's bitches whichi steal Theon's meat, the naked woman of Dany's vision devored by rats... and Craster eating a sausage. As a ram (a dominant sheep, in fact), Craster is a predator.

- Slamming is used quite often, classical sense, in particulary for ship "ramming" (Davos III, ACOK)

- the ram which is used to open the gates during the siege of the Wall (Jon VIII, ASOS), is described as giant spear (" pushing along a tree trunk on great wooden wheels, its end sharpened to a point"), and the "bang" is the more often for "spears banging against shileds" (not only, obviously, but interesting to note that the "bang" is used during the red wedding, as a signal to lead Roslin and Edmure to bed, so just before the massacre)

So, the "beast outside" the door of the moon, and waiting for a "victim", is a predator, but it is very difficult to determine which it is really : the description makes it a wolf and a ram, both in the same time. 

Again, I think you're right to consider the wolf-head man as a butcher (in the vision, he can be responsible of the massacre), and as a butchered king (in the same vision, he could be also the ultimate victim of the scene, who is devored after all his sibling were butchered). And yes, I was evoking the iron crown thinking to this scene where Joffrey is wounded by the IT and where a knight loyal to Stannis (after the defeat of the Blackwater) shout that the IT was refuting Joffrey as king. Perhaps we can link the iron crown to golden collars that Tyrion, Penny and Jorah are wearing as slaves; or even to the chain of the Hand. 

 

Where I disagree, is the interpretation of the Dany's vision as a foreshadowing for red wedding : at the red wedding, Robb doesn't preside, the scene is very much noisily (absolutely not the case with the vision), only few characters are killed (not all), and there is no lamb. 

But, the man with a wolf-head is troubling and obviously Robb wearing Grey-wind's head recalls that. So my interpretation is that the red wedding is a reminiscence of another "original" crime. Original crime symbolized with its consequences in Dany's vision, which permits litteral and metaphoric interpretation. (to be honest, I think there are few different "original crimes", but the crime against the guest rights is the ultimate) 

During the red wedding, Robb is no more really the king in the north, but he is the "king who lost the north"; and Walder Frey will capture Edmure, the lord of the Riverlands, in other words, the Frey are capturing for them the lordship of the Riverlands (hoping with Roslin that they will have a little Walder Tully to lead Riverrun). I think we find here also the same theme than the "Rat cook" (despite the fact that the king of the tale is changed in rat and not in wolf... but in the saga rats and weasels have same imagery, what is very obvious with Arya Stark and with the Frey. so, Starks and Freys have some symbollic commun points), and I really wonder if in the past, there were children offered to a guest. I have a kind of taboo with that, but GRRM has already prepared this possibility with babies and little children used as war weapon : the murder of little Aegon and Rhaenys, the little girl "weasel" who is saved by Yoren and by Arya and disappears after that, Edmure and Roslin's future baby, fat Walda's future baby (with Roose Bolton pretending that Ramsay will kill the new born), and Dalla's baby and Gilly's baby. 

To conclude before I left, I interprete Dany's vision as a clue to suggest that the wolf blood is a curse for the Starks of Winterfell. And to go further, it would be a curse because they don't have this blood throw their parentage, but throw the sacrifice of a "real" wolf blood (a wolf changed litteraly in lamb, to make in return the ram a wolf), trapped and kept in the weirwood, which permits to the Stark to have in their veins the wolf blood. 

 

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2 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

With Sansa, I found it even more ambiguous because the "sheep disguise" is under the fox/wolf (in the chapter, the fox represents the "power" and the domination, because Lysa wears also fox furs and has some elements to link her to Cersei and Tywin Lannister. Sansa's fox represents the fight between two "queens" - a young future and an old). 

So, for me, litteraly, Sansa was a lamb/sheep disguised in fox/wolf (= in predator). What joins your remark about the king butcher and butchered. I made the hypothesis that Sansa's first nature wasn't a wolf's nature, but a sheep's nature, and that the adventures of Stark children conducted them to discover this originally nature (not the only one, for sure, i think they have also "naturally" a bird nature and probably a bear nature). In other words, the discovery of other bloods than the "wolf blood", presented at the beginning of the saga as their "dominant blood".

I wonder whether GRRM is putting forward the fox fur as a symbol for Littlefinger? One of the interesting details of Sansa's escape from King's Landing is that she changes into her own earth-tone clothes - including a cloak - that she has hidden in a tree in the godswood before she climbs down the hill with Ser Dontos. When she arrives at the ship in the harbor, Littlefinger puts another cloak over her shoulders in a symbolic gesture of Westeros marriage. I wondered what it meant that she had two cloaks - her own and Littlefinger's - at the same time.

Your observation may explain it: she is becoming herself (a sheep) but wearing the disguise of a fox (Littlefinger's daughter) while she does so. As Littlefinger's wife, Lysa also wears fox fur. Her fox fur is also a disguise, however, because Littlefinger doesn't love her and married her only for control of the Vale.

I agree about the multiple "bloods" of the Stark children. The bird associations are very strong for each child we have followed. (Can't wait to find out more about Rickon.)

2 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

- worrying is used normally (="being worry about something"), but also for another sense, always the same : a predator is eating some meat : Daenerys with the stallion's heart, Shaggydog, some dogs eating dead people (Weese's one for example), Ramsay's bitches whichi steal Theon's meat, the naked woman of Dany's vision devored by rats... and Craster eating a sausage. As a ram (a dominant sheep, in fact), Craster is a predator.

- Slamming is used quite often, classical sense, in particulary for ship "ramming" (Davos III, ACOK)

- the ram which is used to open the gates during the siege of the Wall (Jon VIII, ASOS), is described as giant spear (" pushing along a tree trunk on great wooden wheels, its end sharpened to a point"), and the "bang" is the more often for "spears banging against shileds" (not only, obviously, but interesting to note that the "bang" is used during the red wedding, as a signal to lead Roslin and Edmure to bed, so just before the massacre)

So, the "beast outside" the door of the moon, and waiting for a "victim", is a predator, but it is very difficult to determine which it is really : the description makes it a wolf and a ram, both in the same time.

Nice catch on "worrying" and the connection to meat and bones! These details are helping to clarify a complex set of symbols.

The slamming / ramming association and the image of battering down a door with a sharpened point has a very sexual connotation. I have interpreted the moon door scene as Sansa allowing snow to enter the great hall at the Eyrie: maybe snow is the "beast" that is allowed to penetrate the room where Sansa awaits her fate. The wind lifts her skirt and bites her leg, which unfortunately calls to mind the way that Ramsay Snow treats Jeyne Poole during sex. (In keeping with the clothes = disguise symbolism, I will also say that "hiding behind a skirt" is a phrase often used with mothers in ASOIAF, notably Cersei and Catelyn. So the lifting of Sansa's skirt may symbolize that she is about to become Sweet Robin's mother figure.)

2 hours ago, GloubieBoulga said:

But, the man with a wolf-head is troubling and obviously Robb wearing Grey-wind's head recalls that. So my interpretation is that the red wedding is a reminiscence of another "original" crime. Original crime symbolized with its consequences in Dany's vision, which permits litteral and metaphoric interpretation. (to be honest, I think there are few different "original crimes", but the crime against the guest rights is the ultimate) 

During the red wedding, Robb is no more really the king in the north, but he is the "king who lost the north"; and Walder Frey will capture Edmure, the lord of the Riverlands, in other words, the Frey are capturing for them the lordship of the Riverlands (hoping with Roslin that they will have a little Walder Tully to lead Riverrun). I think we find here also the same theme than the "Rat cook" (despite the fact that the king of the tale is changed in rat and not in wolf... but in the saga rats and weasels have same imagery, what is very obvious with Arya Stark and with the Frey. so, Starks and Freys have some symbollic commun points), and I really wonder if in the past, there were children offered to a guest. I have a kind of taboo with that, but GRRM has already prepared this possibility with babies and little children used as war weapon : the murder of little Aegon and Rhaenys, the little girl "weasel" who is saved by Yoren and by Arya and disappears after that, Edmure and Roslin's future baby, fat Walda's future baby (with Roose Bolton pretending that Ramsay will kill the new born), and Dalla's baby and Gilly's baby.

So many good insights here!

I always thought it was too simple to say that the "feast of corpses" of Dany's vision was foreshadowing of the Red Wedding. There was a definite relationship, but not an exact match. Since I see the House of the Undying as a magical library ("always the door on the right" is like an instruction to turn the pages of a book) it makes sense that there should be a literary interpretation of the symbolism in the vision. And I think the Rat Cook may be the match! I suspect that Wendel Manderly eating the leg of lamb at the Red Wedding is further evidence of the Rat Cook connection as the Manderly family seems to have a strong connection to bones and the eating of human flesh.

I have been ridiculed for playing with anagrams but I think this decoding of Wyman Manderly's nickname, Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse may be correct:

Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse =

Forsooth I Eat Stoat  - or -

Oho Stoat Trio Feast

GRRM doesn't use the word "forsooth," as far as I recall, but he does use the word "Oho" in the books. Either way, the nickname seems to confirm the widely-accepted theory of the three Frey pies made by Wyman Manderly and served at Ramsay Snow / Bolton's wedding feast. The stoat connection to the Frey family is made by Jaime's cousin, Daven Lannister, who thinks that the Freys all look like stoats, a type of weasel.

So we have a growing number of examples of the hunter becoming hunted or becoming meat. We have the hunter Wendel Manderly eating a leg of lamb at the Red Wedding just before he is killed by a crossbow bolt (= Bolton?). Wendel's bones are returned to Wyman and he immediately slaughters three Frey messengers (= weasel / rats) and serves their meat at a wedding. The hunters become the hunted yet again and the Manderlys strengthen their connection to Rat Kings. Keep in mind that the Rat King is not cursed for serving human meat, however, but for breaking guest right. That means that the real Rat King would be Walder Frey, who allowed guests to be slaughtered under his roof after they had accepted his hospitality.

Walder Frey fits with your next insight, I think, about using children as weapons. His whole approach to gaining power in Westeros seems to be to marry his descendants into powerful families. He also places them as squires and wards, of course. So GRRM seems to be comparing arranged marriages with the murder of children. That helps to explain why we see "children" such as Joffrey and Robb Stark murdered at wedding feasts.

I know I'm wandering far afield from our usual wolf topic yet again, but I'm grateful you're helping to get to the bottom of the wolf man in Dany's vision. Thank you!

 

Edited by Seams

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On 4/21/2017 at 8:22 AM, GloubieBoulga said:

Another very interesting thing, who intriguided me for long time, in Sansa VII ASOS : 

Quote

 

The door was firmly closed, with three heavy bronze bars to hold it in place, but Sansa could hear the wind outside worrying at its edges. (...)

Sansa grabbed one of the bronze bars, yanked it loose, and tossed it down. The second bar clattered to the marble, then the third. She had barely touched the latch when the heavy wooden door flew inward and slammed back against the wall with a bang. Snow had piled up around the frame, and it all came blowing in at them, borne on a blast of cold air that left Sansa shivering. 

(...)

 The wind flapped her skirts up and bit at her bare legs with cold teeth. She could feel snowflakes melting on her cheeks. 

 

- worrying is used normally (="being worry about something"), but also for another sense, always the same : a predator is eating some meat : Daenerys with the stallion's heart, Shaggydog, some dogs eating dead people (Weese's one for example), Ramsay's bitches whichi steal Theon's meat, the naked woman of Dany's vision devored by rats... and Craster eating a sausage. As a ram (a dominant sheep, in fact), Craster is a predator.

Great catch!  The wind is often referred to as having a 'bite' or having 'teeth.'  Sounds more wolf than ram.  Is the predator in the wind at the Eyrie the same that is present at Winterfell?  If it's the same predator, then it's a wolf:

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A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

Suddenly he did not want to be here.

Once outside the godswood the cold descended on him like a ravening wolf and caught him in its teeth. He lowered his head into the wind and made for the Great Hall, hastening after the long line of candles and torches. Ice crunched beneath his boots, and a sudden gust pushed back his hood, as if a ghost had plucked at him with frozen fingers, hungry to gaze upon his face.

As far as 'slamming' being similar to 'ramming,' when the direwolves leap on people and each other, they are quite capable of bowling over their targets, e.g here Summer is described as 'slamming' into Shaggy in the crypt, after Shaggy has knocked down Luwin:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran VII

Maester Luwin stepped toward the open sepulchre, torch in hand. "As you see, he's not here. Nor will he be, for many a year. Dreams are only dreams, child." He thrust his arm into the blackness inside the tomb, as into the mouth of some great beast. "Do you see? It's quite empt - "

The darkness sprang at him, snarling.

Bran saw eyes like green fire, a flash of teeth, fur as black as the pit around them. Maester Luwin yelled and threw up his hands. The torch went flying from his fingers, caromed off the stone face of Brandon Stark, and tumbled to the statue's feet, the flames licking up his legs. In the drunken shifting torchlight, they saw Luwin struggling with the direwolf, beating at his muzzle with one hand while the jaws closed on the other.

"Summer!" Bran screamed.

And Summer came, shooting from the dimness behind them, a leaping shadow. He slammed into Shaggydog and knocked him back, and the two direwolves rolled over and over in a tangle of grey and black fur, snapping and biting at each other, while Maester Luwin struggled to his knees, his arm torn and bloody. Osha propped Bran up against Lord Rickard's stone wolf as she hurried to assist the maester. In the light of the guttering torch, shadow wolves twenty feet tall fought on the wall and roof.

"Shaggy," a small voice called. When Bran looked up, his little brother was standing in the mouth of Father's tomb. With one final snap at Summer's face, Shaggydog broke off and bounded to Rickon's side. "You let my father be," Rickon warned Luwin. "You let him be."

 

Quote

- Slamming is used quite often, classical sense, in particulary for ship "ramming" (Davos III, ACOK)

- the ram which is used to open the gates during the siege of the Wall (Jon VIII, ASOS), is described as giant spear (" pushing along a tree trunk on great wooden wheels, its end sharpened to a point"), and the "bang" is the more often for "spears banging against shileds" (not only, obviously, but interesting to note that the "bang" is used during the red wedding, as a signal to lead Roslin and Edmure to bed, so just before the massacre)

 

That's funny.  'Bang' is a crude idiom used for sex, i.e. synonymous with 'f--k', so it's apt that the 'bang' announces the time for the newlyweds to 'bang'!  'Banging' also has this connotation of 'ramming', 'thrusting' action, together with sound effects!

'Bang' of course is mostly associated with an explosion, analogous to the 'crack' which birthed the dragons, or the splitting 'wail of agony and ecstasy' of Nissa which birthed Lightbringer, so there's the sexual connotation again.  I'd say it's related simultaneously to death and birth, imprisonment and liberation.  There's something orgasmic about the cry as if someone is achieving release, while at the same time the climax of the sexual act is referred to as 'le petite mort' whereby something and/or someone is buried at the same time.  

The Eyrie is repeatedly configured as a virginal woman -- so white, so untouchable, so unreachable, so 'impregnable,' you know..!   So the predator beyond the door is like a male trying to penetrate a woman, with the 'door' as vaginal portal, as @cgrav and I have recently been discussing.  Perhaps you're right about the 'ram' symbolism; the wind is a 'horny' bastard!  It's even looking up Sansa's skirt in the quote you referenced, undressing her, 'plucking' her hood back ('plucked' is also sexually loaded, particularly referring to someones maidenhead being taken).

Quote

 

So, the "beast outside" the door of the moon, and waiting for a "victim", is a predator, but it is very difficult to determine which it is really : the description makes it a wolf and a ram, both in the same time. 

It's fascinating that the beast is 'outside' the door instead of inside the castle!  How does that square with your idea of the fell presence held prisoner at Winterfell, where the 'wolf' is on the inside rather than the outside of the stone tree?  That would seem to imply the opposite relation to what you have identified in this passage.

Instead of the predator being contained at the Eyrie (perhaps this is because they lack a godswood -- godswoods playing an important role as penitentiaries for 'evil' spirits, Dante's 'ground zero') the people are held prisoner or entombed within the castle, in line with how the Eyrie is described as a prison or tomb:

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

"You had best take that up with the Lord Protector." She pushed through the door and crossed the yard. Colemon only wanted the best for his charge, Alayne knew, but what was best for Robert the boy and what was best for Lord Arryn were not always the same. Petyr had said as much, and it was true. Maester Colemon cares only for the boy, though. Father and I have larger concerns.

Old snow cloaked the courtyard, and icicles hung down like crystal spears from the terraces and towers. The Eyrie was built of fine white stone, and winter's mantle made it whiter still. So beautiful, Alayne thought, so impregnable. She could not love this place, no matter how she tried. Even before the guards and serving men had made their descent, the castle had seemed as empty as a tomb, and more so when Petyr Baelish was away. No one sang up there, not since Marillion. No one ever laughed too loud. Even the gods were silent. The Eyrie boasted a sept, but no septon; a godswood, but no heart tree. No prayers are answered here, she often thought, though some days she felt so lonely she had to try. Only the wind answered her, sighing endlessly around the seven slim white towers and rattling the Moon Door every time it gusted. It will be even worse in winter, she knew. In winter this will be a cold white prison.

 

Quote

 

Again, I think you're right to consider the wolf-head man as a butcher (in the vision, he can be responsible of the massacre), and as a butchered king (in the same vision, he could be also the ultimate victim of the scene, who is devored after all his sibling were butchered). And yes, I was evoking the iron crown thinking to this scene where Joffrey is wounded by the IT and where a knight loyal to Stannis (after the defeat of the Blackwater) shout that the IT was refuting Joffrey as king. Perhaps we can link the iron crown to golden collars that Tyrion, Penny and Jorah are wearing as slaves; or even to the chain of the Hand. 

 

Where I disagree, is the interpretation of the Dany's vision as a foreshadowing for red wedding : at the red wedding, Robb doesn't preside, the scene is very much noisily (absolutely not the case with the vision), only few characters are killed (not all), and there is no lamb. 

But, the man with a wolf-head is troubling and obviously Robb wearing Grey-wind's head recalls that. So my interpretation is that the red wedding is a reminiscence of another "original" crime. Original crime symbolized with its consequences in Dany's vision, which permits litteral and metaphoric interpretation. (to be honest, I think there are few different "original crimes", but the crime against the guest rights is the ultimate) 

During the red wedding, Robb is no more really the king in the north, but he is the "king who lost the north"; and Walder Frey will capture Edmure, the lord of the Riverlands, in other words, the Frey are capturing for them the lordship of the Riverlands (hoping with Roslin that they will have a little Walder Tully to lead Riverrun). I think we find here also the same theme than the "Rat cook" (despite the fact that the king of the tale is changed in rat and not in wolf... but in the saga rats and weasels have same imagery, what is very obvious with Arya Stark and with the Frey. so, Starks and Freys have some symbollic commun points), and I really wonder if in the past, there were children offered to a guest. I have a kind of taboo with that, but GRRM has already prepared this possibility with babies and little children used as war weapon : the murder of little Aegon and Rhaenys, the little girl "weasel" who is saved by Yoren and by Arya and disappears after that, Edmure and Roslin's future baby, fat Walda's future baby (with Roose Bolton pretending that Ramsay will kill the new born), and Dalla's baby and Gilly's baby. 

To conclude before I left, I interprete Dany's vision as a clue to suggest that the wolf blood is a curse for the Starks of Winterfell. And to go further, it would be a curse because they don't have this blood throw their parentage, but throw the sacrifice of a "real" wolf blood (a wolf changed litteraly in lamb, to make in return the ram a wolf), trapped and kept in the weirwood, which permits to the Stark to have in their veins the wolf blood. 

Very interesting!  Hope you will revive your thread and tell us more.

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2 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Instead of the predator being contained at the Eyrie (perhaps this is because they lack a godswood -- godswoods playing an important role as penitentiaries for 'evil' spirits, Dante's 'ground zero') the people are held prisoner or entombed within the castle, in line with how the Eyrie is described as a prison or tomb:

Winterfell is portrayed many times as an egg (with the word "shell" specifically), so it makes sense that we expect something to come out of it, or for it to act as a gate. Even outside of the symbolism discussions there's speculation to that effect.

I mentioned in some other thread that Winterfell is not only an egg, but one that gets fertilized. Bael the Bard penetrated the castle and left a bastard there. Mance/Abel sneaks into Winterfell twice, the second time with a faux harem. 

We can probably think of Winterfell and the Eyrie (maybe just castles in general) as similar symbols, just on different timelines. The history of Winterfell is the present-day story at the Eyrie. For all it's reputation as "impregnable", Littlefinger still gets in and elicits some screams of "agony and ecstasy".

And Lysa dies via the gate - given over to the beast outside the door - and the singer gets silenced for knowing too much. So I think we do see the full story of symbolic penetration and birth at both castles. 

Edited by cgrav

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1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

It's fascinating that the beast is 'outside' the door instead of inside the castle!  How does that square with your idea of the fell presence held prisoner at Winterfell, where the 'wolf' is on the inside rather than the outside of the stone tree?  That would seem to imply the opposite relation to what you have identified in this passage.

In fact, what helps us for the interpretation is the sexual metaphore, as you have noted, and as @Seams did too : this metaphore is essential in the whole chapter Sansa VII ASOS. So here, the beast "outside" is a continuation of the snowed Winterfell built by Sansa, but the focus of the camera has changed : at the beginning, she is outside, she wants to play a snow battle, but she has no partner. So she wants to make a snowed knight, but instead the knight, what is forming is a castle. She realizes after that the castle is Winterfell : that is not really what she wanted, but a home, why not after all ? My most recent interpretation is that a Maid in the past was "in love" with a bastard (a "king's bastard"), and perhaps she had sex and children with (I've actually no answer for that), but she finally married a king (for me the "queen's bastard") [imagine Arya wanting Gendry and passing time with low born and bastard people, and Sansa marrying Joffrey : the 2 faces of the same originaly character], and if she had children with the king bastard, these were killed. This Maid character is the feminine ancestor of the Starks of Winterfell : trapped in Winterfell and trying to go outside with some ambiguous feeling (=Lyanna escaping but returning at Winterfell after her death), but she gives life to a new lineage.  

Back to the Eyrie, Sansa replaces the Eyrie with her Snowed Winterfell (a winterfell belonging to a bastard, ironically ^^), and uses it to defend herself against LF (the bird predator, what could mean that the "original crow" desired the maid too but instead marry her, he gave her to another, the "queen's bastard"... his brother). Little Robert destroys the snowed castle, but this tells the future story, imo, so for the chapter, the snowed Winterfell - built in the center of the Eyrie - has symboolically replaced the Eyrie and for the second part of the chapter ( = the confrontation/ordeal with Lysa) an old queen and a young queen are fighting for the domination of the place, inside the place. During the building, we have already LF penetrating the castle and trying to rape the maid. 

@Seams and you had noted also the parallelism with Ramsay Snow at Winterfell (who signed "true lord of Winterfell"). It is totally justified and particulary strong. As Jeyne Poole has trails of bites and Ramsay being Ram(say), the Bolton bastard wears the double "identity" : he is in the same time a ram character and a wolf character (a hunter).

I think we find the same themes with Craster : his wives/daughters are trapped in his "castle", but they are in the same time "safe", but Gilly wants to escape when she has a baby boy and wants to spare his life. Craster is also a hunter, as the crossbow he receives proves it. And with Craster, the lamb metaphore is very strong, adnwe come back to Dany's vision : the lamb is a sacrificied victim (slaughtered, raped, devored, all the same), but being the ram's child, the lamb is also a future predator. 

 

On 21/04/2017 at 4:14 PM, Seams said:

I know I'm wandering far afield from our usual wolf topic yet again, but I'm grateful you're helping to get to the bottom of the wolf man in Dany's vision. Thank you!

I don't think we are going so far : the theme of the wolf blood is more complexe than it seems ^^

And the pleasure is for me : the reflexions are also very helpfull for me and this random about direwolves who don't cry permitted I saw how complex the "wolf theme" was. 

As we are with Dany, we could make also the link with Mirri maz Duur. After all, to avenge her folk, she calls a wolf's shadow and a man-wraped-in fire's shadow.

 

1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

Very interesting!  Hope you will revive your thread and tell us more.

I don't let it ! I just need time and enthousiasm/energy to continue it (and I'm in the same time working about essays in french, for french readers ^^)

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