Feather Crystal

Reread Project: the Titled Chapters - The Captain of Guards AFFC chapter 2

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Reread Project: the Titled Chapters

Overview

We'll begin this discussion with a review of our intended purpose. There are currently thirty published and uniquely titled chapters (plus one leaked - The Forsaken) that for one reason or another are not named after it's point of view character. You may have wondered yourself if the titles have some significance. It is my intended purpose to specifically reread just these chapters to test out a theory that not only are these chapters rich in parallel inversions, but that there may be another second but inverted story within the "Jabberwocky". You don't have to ascribe to the parallel inversion theory to enjoy the analysis. Please bring your insight, knowledge, and manners. We aim to keep the discussion friendly, and we request that you provide textural evidence to support your views. Please keep the discussion contained to the current chapter, unless your supporting evidence is from a different chapter, then by all means provide those comparisons!

Ideally we shall aim for a chapter per week, but I also understand that people's lives are busy and I may be overly optimistic. I assure you that I am flexible and willing to make adjustments as we go along.

I also hope to create links to any completed chapters with each new thread. That will make it easier to locate and navigate in future. Here is the list of the chapters we will be rereading and analyzing:

The Prophet - AFFC - Chapter 1
The Captain of Guards - AFFC - Chapter 2
The Kraken’s Daughter - AFFC - Chapter 11
The Soiled Knight - AFFC - Chapter 13
The Iron Captain - AFFC - Chapter 18
The Drowned Man - AFFC - Chapter 19
The Queenmaker - AFFC - Chapter 21
The Reaver - AFFC - Chapter 29
Cat of the Canals - AFFC - Chapter 34
The Princess in the Tower - AFFC - Chapter 40
The Merchant’s Man - ADWD - Chapter 6
The Lost Lord - ADWD - Chapter 24
The Windblown - ADWD - 25
The Wayward Bride - ADWD - Chapter 26
The Prince of Winterfell - ADWD - Chapter 37
The Watcher - ADWD - Chapter 38
The Turncloak - ADWD - Chapter 41
The King’s Prize - ADWD - Chapter 42
The Blind Girl - ADWD - Chapter 45
A Ghost in Winterfell - ADWD - Chapter 46
The Queensguard - ADWD - Chapter 55
The Iron Suitor - ADWD - Chapter 56
The Discarded Knight - ADWD - Chapter 59
The Spurned Suitor - ADWD - Chapter 60
The Griffin Reborn - ADWD - Chapter 61
The Sacrifice - ADWD - Chapter 62
The Ugly Little Girl - ADWD Chapter 64
The Kingbreaker - ADWD - Chapter 67
The Dragontamer - ADWD - Chapter 68
The Queen’s Hand - ADWD - Chapter 70

 

Reread Project: Titled Chapters

The Captain of Guards - AFFC chapter 2

 

Chapter summary

Doran’s personal guard, Areo Hotah is a man of few words. Serve. Obey. Protect. Simple vows for a simple man, but through his internal thoughts and observations we learn quite a bit about the Prince of Dorne and the current political climate of the region’s people who are just as inflamed as Doran’s gout over the death of Oberyn Martell who is his youngest sibling, coupled with the old wound of the murderous death of his younger sister, Princess Elia, who was married to Rhaegar Targaryen. Areo is our narrator while Doran meets with three of Oberyn’s bastard daughters: Obara, Lady Nymeria, and Tyene. After hearing them out he asks Areo Hotah how loyal are his men, and then instructs Areo and his men to take all of the Sand Snakes into custody and hold them prisoner in the cells of the Spear Tower.

Blood Oranges

From the very beginning of the chapter until its end we’re constantly reminded of overripe blood oranges falling from the trees emphasizing the overly-cautious and pensive man that is Doran Martell. His tendency to think long, weighing every word and action, has frustrated his immediate family and every man, woman, and child in all of Dorne. One has to wonder how much of his painful medical condition, which has recently left him unable to walk, has affected his thinking. The rotting fruit is emblemetic of withholding his long laid plans too long before executing them, and now that he’s finally taking action it seems as if he’s always going to be one step behind everyone else. For example, what would Dany have done if Quentyn had showed up half a year or more ago? 

Parallels & Inversions - Gout

IMO Doran’s gout is a physical manifestation that symbolizes Tywin Lannister’s internal fury. His early years were formative ones shaped by watching his historically mighty house brought near to ruin by his weak father Tytos. His father was too eager to please and his bannermen took advantage of his gentle nature and never paid him back. To add insult to injury they mocked and openly defied him. After Tytos died the lordship came into Tywin’s hands and he took control fiercely.

Parallels & Inverions - The Tarbecks as bursting Blood Oranges

After ignoring his demands for repayment and rather than starve out Tarbeck Hall, Tywin used siege engines to destroy it’s keep, bursting it open, and it collapsed on Lady Ellyn Tarbeck and her son, Tion the Red. Then he ordered the castle put to the torch (blood-orange flames). 

Tywin had marched on Tarbeck Hall with three thousand men-at-arms, crossbowmen, and five hundred knights while Lord Walderan Tarbeck responded with only his household knights. The Tarbecks were butchered with Walderan and his heirs beheaded. Lady Tarbeck was holed up in the castle and sent ravens to Castamere appealing for aid from her brothers, Lord Roger and Reynard Reyne. Tywin, however had siege engines prepared in less than a day. The boulders sent over the walls brought the castle down upon Lady Ellyn and her son. All resistance ended and the gates were opened. Tywin commanded everything be put to the torch. He then forced Ellyn’s daughters, Rohanne and Cyrelle to join the silent sisters, while Rohanne’s three year old son was thrown down a well. It seems to be a common theme to connect Lannister's to people dying in water or wells.

The Water Gardens

Areo describes Doran’s joints as being swollen with inflamation, so much so that his right knee is the size of a melon while the left is an apple and his toes big as dark red grapes. He recalls Doran telling Arianne that Silence is a prince’s friend, and that Words are like arrows. Once loosed, you cannot call them back. Doran doesn’t take medication for his gout, because he feels it’s necessary for his position and safety to keep his head clear of narcotics. He uses watching the children playing in the Water in the Water Gardens as a distraction from his pain.

Parallels & Inversions - The Reynes of Castamere as Water Gardens

Another bannerman that not only refused to repay their loans, but also councelled the Tarbecks to ignore Tywin, were the Reynes. Named after a nearby pool of water, Castamere began as a mine like Casterley Rock. Nine-tenths of the castle was subterranean. The Reynes took refuge underground, abandoning the surface fortifications once their soldiers were in the tunnels. Reynard Reynes sent terms stating that the Reynes would be loyal vassals again if Tywin would send his brothers to them as hostages. Tywin had the entrances buried beneath stone, and then dammed the pool’s stream and diverted it into a mine entrance, flooding the underground chambers. None of the three hundred men, woman, and children emerged, and Lannister men stationed at even the most distant entrances claimed they could hear faint screaming and shouting, but by daybreak there was nothing but silence.

Doran Martell’s gout represents Tywin’s need to dominate, cause fear, inflict pain, and demand respect. GRRM humorously describes the two largest, sorest lumps on Doran’s knees as an apple and a melon. IMO the melon represents Aerys and the apple is Rhaegar, since apples don’t fall far from the tree.

The overripe blood oranges could also apply to Tywin’s plans to remove Aerys II from the Iron Throne and wipe out the Targaryen line. The water gardens represent a pregnant mother about to give birth. Think about the plan to overthrow Aerys as Tywin’s baby developing in the womb. The seeds were planted, the garden carefully tended, the patience while his child grows in an embriotic sac filled with water. The plan develops and soon the labor pangs come. In Tywin’s mind the birth is long overdue.

The Sand Snakes

Doran is visited by three of Oberyn’s bastard daughters, aka the Sand Snakes: Obara, Lady Nymeria, and Tyene. I offer some possible parallel inversions for each, but being the stickler that I am for geographic locations, I am not satisfied with the identities offered. Since the Sand Snakes are from Dorne I would be much happier if I could identify women from the Westerlands. However, Arianne’s parallel is Cersei and Cersei was both at home in Casterly Rock and at the Red Keep in Kings Landing, so the women that would be around her could be women of the court.

Obara

The first to arrive is Obara. She is the eldest bastard. Her mother was an Oldtown whore, and her physical description is not kind. We learn her stride is long-legged, hasty, angry, and she always walks too fast. She is chasing after something she can never catch, the prince had told Arianne once within Areo’s hearing. She is a skilled horsewoman, but she’s aggressive riding her stallion hard until lathered and bloody from her spurs. Areo describes her as big-boned, near thirty years old, with close-set eyes and rat-brown hair. Her riding clothes were old brown leather, worn and supple underneath a sandsilk cloak. She wears a round shield on her back, a whip coiled on one hip, and carries a spear. We also learn that the symbol of Dorne is a combination made from the marriage of the Rhoynar sun to the Dornish spear.

Obara wants revenge for her father. Doran tells Obara that he has written to Tywin, which causes her to react with contempt. She asks that Doran grant her and her sister Nym each a host to march on Oldtown. She wants to sack it and take the wealth of Hightower. Doran says he wrote to Tywin and that Tywin promised to deliver the Mountain’s head.

Through her conversation with Areo we learn that Doran received news of Oberyn’s death via raven. Doran’s position is that since it was Oberyn’s choice to enter into the Trial by Combat, by law his death was not murder.

Parallels & Inversions to Obara

Tywin’s sister Genna’s physical description seems close to Obara’s. In her youth Genna was shapely, but as she aged she became fat. She took on a maternal role for Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion after Joanna’s death. She is one of the few Lannisters who recognized Tyrion’s talent for politcal maneuvering, and she’s one of Tywin’s biggest supporters. She is intelligent and shrewd, and bosses around her husband, Emmon Frey, whom she considers inept. Tywin was the only one who spoke out against her match to their father, and Genna loved him for that. 

The horsewoman skill is more like Lyanna though, who was described by Lady Dustin as being half a horse or a centaur. Both Genna and Lyanna both lost fathers that were lords and whose deaths caused much upheaval when it happened. Lyanna would have been just as upset and aggressive as Obara was, but IMO it seems more likely that Genna’s would be quite the opposite. She was just as frustrated as Tywin was with their father’s weakness.

Lady Nymeria

The next morning Areo helps prepare Doran for the journey until there was nothing left to do but say goodbye. Doran makes a point to say farewell to the children including his favorites: the Dalt boy, Lady Blackmonth’s brood, and a round-gaced orphan girl from the Greenblood. Halfway to Sunspear they meet the second Sand Snake, Lady Nymeria.

Lady Nym, or just Nym, is described as graceful, dressed all in shimmering lilac robes and a great silk cape of cream and copper. She’s twenty-five and slender as a willow with straight black hair worn in a braid and a widow’s peak above dark eyes. She has high cheekbones, full lips, and milky pale skin. Her mother was a noble of old Volantis and she was beautiful. 

Nym rode up alongside Doran’s litter and offered to ride the rest of the way to Sunspear. She gets Doran to retell how Oberyn got Ser Gregor to roar out his admittance that he slayed Elia and her children, and Doran repeated Tywin’s promise to send his head. Nym replies that since she knows what poison her father used on his spear that Ser Gregor was already dying so Tywin would only be paying them with their own coin. Doran grimaced and said that was likely true, and that Obara wants him to go to war. Nym laughed and admitted she knew of Obara’s plan and had heard of it when she was abed with the Fowler twins. She asks her uncle if he knew the Fowler’s words, Let Me Soar! That is all she wants, for her uncle to let her soar, that she doesn’t need a host, just one sweet sister…her sister Tyene. She says Obara is too loud, but that Tyene was so sweet that no man would suspect her of being dangerous. She also doesn’t need to sack an entire city, just the lives of four people: Tywin, Cersei, Jaime, and Tommen. She said Cersei and Jaime would pay for Rhaenys and Aegon, Twyin for Elia, and Tommen for Oberyn. Doran is shocked and says the boy had never wronged them, but Nym called the boy bastard born of treason, incest, and adultery. Doran caught himself looking at Nymeria through narrowed eyes. Obara wore her weapons out in the open, but Lady Nym was no less deadly, though she kept her knives well hidden. The discussion gets too heated and Lady Nym takes off on her horse.

Parallels & inversions to Lady Nym

Ashara Dayne is described as tall, with long dark hair and haunting violet eyes. She had a reputation as a great beauty, and many men were infatuated with her. The comment about the Fowler words, “Let Me Soar!” seem ironic considering Ashara was said to have jumped from a tower.

Tyene

After Doran arrives to Sunspear, Areo carries him up the stairs to the Tower of the Sun to meet with Tyene. She was sitting cross-legged with a piece of embroidery that showed her father, Prince Oberyn mounted on a sand steed all in red, smiling. She is described as blond with golden hair and deep blue eyes, and yet her eyes still reminded Doran of Oberyn’s. He realizes that all of the Sand Snakes have “viper eyes” and that color doesn’t matter. Tyene’s mother was a septa so Tyene’s air was almost otherworldy and innocent, yet she too wants revenge. She details how she wants to bring on war by crowing Myrcella, that the Dornish are stronger at home.

Parallels & inversions to Tyene

Elia was said to be beautiful with dark hair, black eyes and olive skin. She was a gentle, good, and gracious lady, but frail and delicate. Barristan Selmy said she was also kind and clever, with a sweet wit. I haven’t figured out the symbolism of Tyene’s embroidery and golden needles, but there’s got to be a connection to Tywin and Lannister gold there. Is it possible that Elia, like a viper, placed poison on the barbs of the Iron Throne? Aerys was known for cutting himself on the throne and even gained the nickname King Scab. Tyene says Dornishmen fight best at home, so is it out of the realm of possibility that Elia fought her own war against Aerys slowly poisoning him in front of everyone's nose, right there inside the Red Keep?

Areo Hotah’s backstory

Doran tells Areo that he must leave the Water Gardens the following morning for Sunspear to remind the people that Dorne still has a prince. He then asks Areo about his family back in Norvos. Hotah recounts how he has two brothers and three sisters and that he was the youngest. To himself he thinks, the youngest and unwanted. Another mouth to feed, a big boy who ate too much and soon outgrew his clothes. His family sold him to the bearded priests. Doran then shares his own life story that even though he’s the eldest he’s the only one left of his siblings yet alive. The two siblings after him died in infancy, and his mother had a difficult pregnancy with Elia. Doran was sure she wouldn’t survive, but she did, only to be murdered after she was a young mother. And now his youngest brother, Oberyn was dead too.

After putting Doran to bed, Areo sat and took care of his signature longaxe using whetstone and oilcloth. He reminsces about the priests that took care of him, the city of Norvos, the sounds of three bells, the voices of people he knew, the taste of the foods of home, and thoughts of his mother, and then back again to the priests when they branded his chest. He finally undresses and goes to sleep, scratching at the scar of his brand. 

Parallels & Inversions to Areo Hotah - Ser Gerold Hightower

I have found that when deciphering these chapters it can be very difficult to determine who the POV is channeling in the beginning. Frequently the symbolism can apply to more than one person, and maybe Areo is a complilation of all the men who are personal guards? Various pieces seem to work together, but every piece needs to fit in order to complete the puzzle. Sometimes it’s the supporting characters that provide the breakthrough, like Arienne did for me in this chapter. My first thought for our Captain was Ser Gerold Hightower. His words to Jaime about not judging the king seemed to fit Areo Hotah’s modus operandi. Maybe you can find additional parallels to share?

Parallels & Inversions to Areo Hotah - Ser Ilyn Payne

Ilyn is a grim man, thin, with a beardless, pockmarked face. He has a deep set of pale, colorless eyes and hollow cheeks. He is almost completely bald. He wears iron-grey chainmail over boiled leather with a large greatsword worn over his right shoulder. It has been mentioned more than once in the story that Ilyn lives for nothing but killing. Due to his appearance as well as his silence, many characters find him terrifying, a suitable trait for the King's Justice. While Ilyn keeps his weaponry immaculate, his chambers within the Red Keep's dungeon are poorly kept. Since he cannot read or write, he delegates to underlings, such as Rennifer Longwaters. Ser Ilyn was the commander of Lord Tywin Lannister's guard when he was Hand of the King for King Aerys II Targaryen. He was heard saying that it was Tywin who truly ruled the Seven Kingdoms, rather than Aerys. The king had Ilyn's tongue torn out with hot pincers for the comment. Ilyn was named as the King's Justice by King Robert I Baratheon as a wedding present for Tywin. It was a sinecure to compensate Ilyn for the tongue he lost in the service of House Lannister. Ilyn is an extremely skilled executioner. He has never botched an execution and seldom requires more than a single stroke to finish off his charges. 

Parallels & Inversions to Areo Hotah - Ser Gregor Clegane

Ser Gregor Clegane is a freakishly large man nicknamed The Mountain that Rides, or simply The Mountain. He was equally known for his cruelty and prowess as his size, which was close to eight feet tall. His strength allows him to wield a six-foot, two-handed greatsword with just one hand, giving him enormous reach while still wielding a shield. As a young boy of eleven or twelve, he held his brother Sandor’s face to a hot brazier as punishment for playing with one of his toys. His feelings about Sandor were that he was just another mouth to feed, a big boy who ate too much and soon outgrew his clothes. hmmm, where have we read that before? There were rumors that Gregor killed his father, sister, and his first two wives.

Sunspear

We get a description of Sunspear and how it’s only three leagues from the Water Gardens, and yet a world away. The latter had children frolicking naked in the sun and water, music played in tiled courtyards, and the air smelled of lemons and blood oranges. Here in Sunspear the air smelled of dust, sweat, and smoke, the nights alive with the babble of voices, and instead of pink marble the city was built of mud and straw. The stronghold of House Martell was located on a little jut of stone and sand surrounded by the sea. It’s massive walls had mud-brick shops and windowless hovels clinging to it like barnacles. Stables, inns, winesinks, and pillow houses had grown up west of the castle many enclosed with walls of their own.  Compared to Tyrosh or Myr or Great Norvos, the shadow city was no more than a town, yet it was the nearest thing to a true city that the Dornish had.

Lady Nym had arrived hours before and so an angry crowd had gathered to receive Doran’s litter. Areo Hotah boomed out, “Make way for the Prince of Dorne!” but the crowd only threw back “The prince is dead” and “To spears! To the spears!” “Vengence for the Viper!” Soon Areo and his men were shoving people out of the way, and the crowd began to throw things. Doran stayed cloaked and silent until safe inside the thicker walls of the castle. Princess Arianne was waiting in the outer ward to greet her father with half the court about her, including Myrcella with her septa and Ser Arys.

We get a description of Arianne wearing snakeskin sandals laced thigh high, her hair jet-black ringlets that fell to the small of her back. She’s short in stature, about five foot two, yet with a woman’s body, lush and roundly curved. She’s wearing a jeweled girdle and loose purple silk and yellow samite. “Father, “ she announced, “Sunspear rejoices at your return.” “Yes, I heard the joy, “ the prince smiled wanly. Arianne tells Doran that Tyene is waiting for a private audience. Hotah carries Doran up the stairs to the Tower of the Sun.

Of course Cersei's description is the opposite of Arianne, tall and slender with long golden hair, fair skin, and emerald green eyes. Both women are their father's eldest child, but whereas Cersei was not her father's heir Arianne is since women are allowed to inherit in Dorne. That is why Arianne sought to crown Myrcella. Myrcella is older than Tommen, but she could not inherit the throne after Joffrey because she was female, but in Dorne she can. Arianne hoped that by crowning Myrcella that she would bring war to Dorne. We will go much further into depth of the parallels and inversion between Cersei and Arianne when we get to The Queenmaker chapter.

Parallels & Inversions - Sunspear vs Casterly Rock

Casterly Rock which is carved out of a great stone rock beside the Sunset Sea. The base of the rock contains large sea-carved caverns. The stone has been mined for years and mindshafts go down into the depths of the rock. Its port has docks, wharves, and shipyards.

Parallels & Inversions - The Tower of the Sun vs The Rock

The first striking inversion is that the great room beneath the dome in the Tower of the Sun is located high in a tower, while the Lion's Mouth and Golden Gallery of The Rock are subterranean. The Golden Gallery contains the treasures of the Lannisters including gilded ornaments and walls, and the Lion’s Mouth is the main entry into Casterly Rock. It’s an enormous natural cavern reaching two hundred feet high. It’s steps are wide enough for twenty riders. 

Women in Towers

Cersei, Arianne, Ashara, Lyanna, and Elia all share one thing in common with the Sand Snakes: they were all at one time confined or connected to towers and in some instances to wells which are just inverted towers. Towers and inverted towers carry symbolic meaning including death and rebirth. I could go on and on with my observations with this chapter, but I want to leave ample room for discussion and debate, so have at it! We have many chapters to go, but I feel like these first few beginning inversion chapters are our Rosetta Stone. We have to learn the language before we can understand the Jabberwocky.

 

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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@Feather Crystal I'm really having a hard time getting a grip on this one. It feels like there's something there in the descriptions of the Sand Snakes that should be giving me something, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. The only thing that really jumped out at me was the description of Maester Caleotte being "bald as an egg." Well, that and all of the bird imagery. Doran needing to fly to get to the throne room. Nym uttering the Fowler's words about soaring. 

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15 hours ago, Lady Dyanna said:

@Feather Crystal I'm really having a hard time getting a grip on this one. It feels like there's something there in the descriptions of the Sand Snakes that should be giving me something, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. The only thing that really jumped out at me was the description of Maester Caleotte being "bald as an egg." Well, that and all of the bird imagery. Doran needing to fly to get to the throne room. Nym uttering the Fowler's words about soaring. 

I agree. The Sand Snakes are a mystery. I'm not happy with what I came up with either. We need those well versed in symbolism to weigh in on the bird imagery.

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11 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

We need those well versed in symbolism to weigh in on the bird imagery.

Yep. My mind keeps going to the Vale, but I can't seem to make it fit. Although the pink marble of the Water Gardens is oddly reminiscent of the white and blue marble in the throne room in the Eyrie. The strange thing with that, is that when @Sly Wren and I were going through the Sansa Chapter where Lysa gets pushed out of the Moon Door, there was something to it that was oddly reminiscent of Starfall. 

11 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

The Sand Snakes are a mystery.

I feel like their descriptions and their apparel should be giving us a clue, but each of them sends me to people who I wouldn't necessarily think of as being related. Nymeria calls to mind Ashara for me with the purple and cream, and Tyene Lyanna with the blue. The embroidery also calls Sansa to mind for me. I'm not getting much of a handle on Obara at all though. Although the more I think on it, maybe Cersei? Especially when it talks of her chasing something that she can never seem to catch. It's almost as if she is showing Cersei's personality outwardly in her appearance. Or maybe I just need to read through it again... :bang:

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11 hours ago, Lady Dyanna said:

Yep. My mind keeps going to the Vale, but I can't seem to make it fit. Although the pink marble of the Water Gardens is oddly reminiscent of the white and blue marble in the throne room in the Eyrie. The strange thing with that, is that when @Sly Wren and I were going through the Sansa Chapter where Lysa gets pushed out of the Moon Door, there was something to it that was oddly reminiscent of Starfall. 

I feel like their descriptions and their apparel should be giving us a clue, but each of them sends me to people who I wouldn't necessarily think of as being related. Nymeria calls to mind Ashara for me with the purple and cream, and Tyene Lyanna with the blue. The embroidery also calls Sansa to mind for me. I'm not getting much of a handle on Obara at all though. Although the more I think on it, maybe Cersei? Especially when it talks of her chasing something that she can never seem to catch. It's almost as if she is showing Cersei's personality outwardly in her appearance. Or maybe I just need to read through it again... :bang:

There are eight Sand Snakes with the four youngest being sisters. While I'm not totally satisfied matching them with specific people, I think we are supposed to associate them with noble born women. The Sand Snakes are all bastards, but in Dorne they don't carry the same stigma as bastards born in the other areas of Westeros, and maybe that's the point. Genna, Cersei, Arianne, Ashara, Lyanna, Elia, Sansa, and Arya are all daughters of great lords yet their treatment, and their father's expectations for them, is really no better than bastards. Is GRRM making a feminist statement here? 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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