LmL

Garth of the Gallows (Mythical Astronomy of Ice and Fire)

129 posts in this topic

Quote

But getting back to the grey and green hanged man in this scene, the salt rock in the mouth has a clear purpose in terms of the main plot – these are the men who raided Saltpans, and the salt signifies this.  It surely has symbolic meaning too, although we have several choices which could work.  It may be part of a smoke and salt Azor Ahai rebirth thing, because these men burned Saltpans, burning the entire town except for the stone keep which would not catch on fire.  As we’ll see momentarily, Saltpans seems to be an analog for the moon which was burnt, and these men who burned it have a piece of salt in their mouth, almost as if they had all taken a bite out of the moon.  Or perhaps its meant to make us think of someone eating white weirwood paste, as a greenseer must do to mount the gallows tree.  It also makes for another potential reference to the Ironborn and the Grey King, because they think the salt is a rock for a moment – and the Ironborn for a long time had a salt king and a rock king on each island.

@LmL

So I hate to switch gears on you but I was listening to this again and you didn't mention that the number one usage of salt in ancient times was as a preserver of dead meat. Salt does the same thing as ice. 

ETA: It may also serve as payment to the ferryman who transports the dead because placing a coin in the mouth was used to pay Charon. 

The salt in the mouth of those men if we take them to be representative of greenseers then we have this 

Quote

"We found him clinging to a broken spar," said the Vole. "He was ten days in the water after his ship went down."

"If he were ten days in the water, he'd be dead, or mad from drinking seawater.Salt water was holy; Aeron Damphair and other priests might bless men with it and swallow a mouthful or two from time to time to strengthen their faith, but no mortal man could drink of the deep sea for days at a time and hope to live. "You claim to be a sorcerer?" Victarion asked the prisoner.

"No, Captain," the black man answered in the Common Tongue. His voice was so deep it seemed to come from the bottom of the sea. "I am but a humble slave of R'hllor, the Lord of Light."

The Iron Suitor, aDwD

Dead or Mad from drinking......sounds like a greenseer. 

 

Edited by Pain killer Jane

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Durran Durrandon said:

Oooh, new crackpot. The Seastone Chair is actually the petrified roots of one of the inverted Weirwood trees we see outside of the House of the Undying.. Euron is drinking the Shade of the Evening, made from their blue leaves, to activate its power.

Potentially substantiating this idea, we have an example in the text of stone being equivalent to tree in the 'monstrous labyrinthine stone tree' of Winterfell on which Bran perches like a bird, climbing up on high in order to see what others can't (the climbing is a metaphor for greenseeing, and foreshadows his fate):

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran II

To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn't even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.

When he got out from under it and scrambled up near the sky, Bran could see all of Winterfell in a glance. He liked the way it looked, spread out beneath him, only birds wheeling over his head while all the life of the castle went on below. Bran could perch for hours among the shapeless, rain-worn gargoyles that brooded over the First Keep, watching it all: the men drilling with wood and steel in the yard, the cooks tending their vegetables in the glass garden, restless dogs running back and forth in the kennels, the silence of the godswood, the girls gossiping beside the washing well. It made him feel like he was lord of the castle, in a way even Robb would never know.

So you're basically suggesting the 'Seastone Chair' is a 'see stone' -- i.e. a fossilized tree that permits one to see, as in 'greensee'.  The weirwood is a kind of 'rune stone':

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

"Will it turn my lips blue?"

"One flute will serve only to unstop your ears and dissolve the caul from off your eyes, so that you may hear and see the truths that will be laid before you."

Dany raised the glass to her lips. The first sip tasted like ink and spoiled meat, foul, but when she swallowed it seemed to come to life within her. She could feel tendrils spreading through her chest, like fingers of fire coiling around her heart, and on her tongue was a taste like honey and anise and cream, like mother's milk and Drogo's seed, like red meat and hot blood and molten gold. It was all the tastes she had ever known, and none of them . . . and then the glass was empty.

It occurs to me @LmL that the warlock wine or shade of the evening is a kind of 'fire milk'.  What do you think is the significance of 'fire milk' being used as an antidote to Shaggy the black hellhound's 'wolf bite'?

6 hours ago, LmL said:

No you are more muse than secretary; it just so happens that your attention to detail and knowledge of the books comes in handy. I actually was not being lazy, I was just on the go and wasn't able to pull it, so we'll call it teamwork. 

Thanks.  Keep the nennymoans happy or they start a-moaning, ha ha!

Quote

As to the idea itself, it makes a ton of sense. Of course the roots and branches of the tree are like mirror images of one another: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/226/469135712_6d9ff46cf0_b.jpg

So now we are being shown a literal inversion with the trees, and Warlock trees are inverted in color to weirwoods. This should be easy to figure out! lolol

This reminds me of that tapestry you once shared with me, which so perfectly shows the mirror inversion of 'under the sea'. 

6 hours ago, LmL said:

Then we have the faceless man with a drowned crow with seaweed image - the faceless men have infinite parallels with the greenseers and weirwoods, and a drowned crow is a crow under the see, chomping down seeweed. 

I've always thought the image in that prophecy refers to more than it seems -- i.e. more than just the death of Balon via faceless man for hire by Euron.  Following my musings in Hiemal's 'nennymoan' thread, in particular my identification of drowning as a metaphor for greenseeing, and of 'seaweed' or 'seeweed' being an allusion to mind-altering drugs facilitating the seer's greenseeing 'trip' (consolidated by the verbatim quote from Coleridge's poem 'Kubla Khan'...'sunless sea'...which was written emerging from the influence of opium, or in ASOIAF parlance 'milk of the poppy'); I think the faceless man in the prophecy is analogous to the mounted fool who is duped by a trickster (the latter being the crow on the shoulder, the monkey on the back, the dwarf mounting Dontos to cloak Sansa), making the crow 'chomping down seeweed,' as you so eloquently put it, the greenseer in the equation, with the faceless man in comparison a kind of 'giant' who enables a 'small man' to 'cast a long shadow'.  

Accordingly, the faceless man crossing the bridge over the abyss or sunless sea in Bloodraven's cavern could be read as Hodor deprived of his identity by Bran committing the abomination of skinchanging him ('borrowing his legs' so he can explore the cavern).  The bridge sways just like the birdcage or wicker basket (carrying Bran on Hodor's back) or the lift at the wall carrying the crows up to the top; and evokes the 'Bifrost' the bridge connecting the realm of humans with the gods.  Walking the Bifrost 'the swaying or trembling bridge of fire' over the icy void of space is the daring Promethean feat.

6 hours ago, LmL said:

In a loose sense, I think of the black wood as representing dead or corrupted greenseers, but's that's pretty vague.

I agree with black as a symbol of getting burnt, corruption of innocence, original sin.  

Quote

I guess my point is that the seastone chair is black, Euron's dream arms and face tentacles are black. They represent the roots of a magical tree that pulls things down.. but is this kraken = roots thing meant to be applied to all the trees? Just the black ones? It makes sense for the weirwoods too, so I would think both. 

It's analogous to the 'grey-green' continuum.  These are not dichotomous categories.  Think of the 'yin-yang' symbolism everywhere.  As the grey contains within it the shadow of the green, and vice versa; so the white contains within it the shadow of the black, and vice versa.  For example, we have the oxymoron of an ancient white weirwood being called a 'black gate.'  The weirwood itself is white; however, the act of entering via its door -- the portal we were discussing -- is the 'black' action.  It doesn't matter that Bran is associated with a white tree, by entering the 'weirnet' he's already engaging in 'black' magic.  Along similar lines, Bloodraven is an albino, so he looks white; however, he admits to having been 'black of heart, black of garb...'   Don't judge a book by its cover.  Remember, Bloodraven slayed his own kin (Daemon and sons) with a 'white arrow and a black spell.'

If you're asking me about the black trees in more literal terms, I don't know what produced them and what their actual relation to the weirwoods is.  Figuring out the logistics of these things is your job!

6 hours ago, LmL said:

Oh, the kraken-summoning horn makes more sense now too. The horn summons dragons, actually, but you need a kraken to pull down the moon to get them. Or you might say that the horn brings down moons, and kraken tentacles bring down moons. Or perhaps the sequence is important - the horn is first, bringing down the moon. The kraken tentacles are more like the smoke clouds reaching up to blot out the sun and stars. When those columns of smoke are named as ash, they represent the column of ash / Yggdrasil image. But when they are dark, coiling, twisted, snake-like pillars of darksmoke, that's more like those kraken tentacles. 

@GloubieBoulga made a very interesting observation on Seams' direwolf thread, following her good advice that we should pay attention to the meanings conveyed by GRRM's transitions between chapters (which I often fail to do since I tend to work off the search engine).  In particular, Gloubie observed that the chapter in which the shadow assassin sent by Stannis enters Renly's tent is followed directly by a chapter (I think it's Jon's POV) opening with the sound of a horn blast, thus connecting the shadow with a horn.

I'm wondering if, as with many other rituals at the Wall, the Night's Watch has forgotten the original purpose of the horn.  Currently, the horn is used in response to an attack by foreign forces, in order to issue a warning to the other Night's Watch brothers.  However, horns are not only passive instruments, but can be weapons of war, initiating instead of merely responding to an attack.  A prime example of this would be the hunting horn marshalling the dogs in order to hunt down a fox.  In this scenario, we might speculate that instead of responding to the Others with a horn, the horn may have originally been used by someone on the Wall to summon the Others (who would be the equivalent of hunting dogs); but the primary target was someone else, not the Others (whoever the 'fox' would represent).   

In terms of my 'killing word' thesis -- in which I suggest that the treacherous prayer of the greenseer summoned the Others against his own brother in a kind of 'magical thinking' embodiment of the 'Id' (his own dark desires given physical form by the invocation) -- we can connect the Others (the shadow assassins) with the horn, which you should by now be reading as synonymous with words, spells, songs, music, howling of the wolves, rustling of the leaves, whispering of the greenseers, rumbling of the waves (the language of Leviathan), the cracking speech of the Others, the song of the earth, the True Tongue, the beat of the drum, the heartbeat, etc.  I agree that the horn or word is primary in the causality.  Words are not only swords; words also precede swords.

From a certain perspective, the horn not only summons the kraken, but the horn is the kraken.  Ned was killed by his own sword Ice which was swung by the mute headsman Ilyn Payne who was commissioned by Joffrey, who was manipulated by a little bird whispering words in his ear.  That little bird and his little vicious whispers killed Ned.  The same littlebird who lured him south by singing a false song to his wife to begin with.  

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Tyrion II

"Because these child kings and drunken oafs can call other strong men, with other swords."

"Then these other swordsmen have the true power. Or do they? Whence came their swords? Why do they obey?" Varys smiled. "Some say knowledge is power. Some tell us that all power comes from the gods. Others say it derives from law. Yet that day on the steps of Baelor's Sept, our godly High Septon and the lawful Queen Regent and your ever-so-knowledgeable servant were as powerless as any cobbler or cooper in the crowd. Who truly killed Eddard Stark, do you think? Joffrey, who gave the command? Ser Ilyn Payne, who swung the sword? Or . . . another?"

Tyrion cocked his head sideways. "Did you mean to answer your damned riddle, or only to make my head ache worse?"

Varys smiled. “Here, then. Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.”

“So power is a mummer’s trick?”

“A shadow on the wall,” Varys murmured, “yet shadows can kill. And ofttimes a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

Who killed Ned?  'Another' -- or an Other!

As I've said before, Varys is being disingenuous here, deliberately omitting the invisible players like himself and Littlefinger who are 'wordsmen' rather than 'swordsmen'; but who nevertheless have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the 'equation of power.'  There are more than three players involved, so the answer to the riddle regarding who has the true power in my opinion would be not the shadow on the wall, but the unseen player who sent the shadow in the first place.  And how do people project shadows, smoke and mirrors ?  By spinning stories, with words.

Translated into your celestial terms, a greenseer brought down the moon by using magical words.  And what are words but sounds magically conjuring meaning.  As demonstrated in the following quote, Bran the greenseer archetype acts as a horn:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran I

"They want to hunt," agreed Gage the cook as he tossed cubes of suet in a great kettle of stew. "A wolf smells better'n any man. Like as not, they've caught the scent o' prey."

So the 'prey' would be the comet, with the wolves in the position of greenseer hunting it down.

Quote

Maester Luwin did not think so. "Wolves often howl at the moon. These are howling at the comet. See how bright it is, Bran? Perchance they think it is the moon."

When Bran repeated that to Osha, she laughed aloud. "Your wolves have more wit than your maester," the wildling woman said. "They know truths the grey man has forgotten." The way she said it made him shiver, and when he asked what the comet meant, she answered, "Blood and fire, boy, and nothing sweet."

If we are to believe Osha, then the wolves/greenseers are targeting the comet, not the moon.  

Quote

Bran asked Septon Chayle about the comet while they were sorting through some scrolls snatched from the library fire. "It is the sword that slays the season," he replied, and soon after the white raven came from Oldtown bringing word of autumn, so doubtless he was right.

Considering the appearance of the comet is followed by the white raven announcing Winter's advent, this might be an indication that the fallout from the first pass of the comet precipitated the Long Night, particularly since the scrolls might have been related to that book Tyrion had been reading in the library on his visit to Winterfell -- the 100-year-old discourse on the changing of the seasons by a long-dead maester.

Quote

Though Old Nan did not think so, and she'd lived longer than any of them. "Dragons," she said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. "It be dragons, boy," she insisted. Bran got no princes from Nan, no more than he ever had.

Hodor said only, "Hodor." That was all he ever said.

And still the direwolves howled. The guards on the walls muttered curses, hounds in the kennels barked furiously, horses kicked at their stalls, the Walders shivered by their fire, and even Maester Luwin complained of sleepless nights. Only Bran did not mind. Ser Rodrik had confined the wolves to the godswood after Shaggydog bit Little Walder, but the stones of Winterfell played queer tricks with sound, and sometimes it sounded as if they were in the yard right below Bran's window. Other times he would have sworn they were up on the curtain walls, loping round like sentries. He wished that he could see them.

He could see the comet hanging above the Guards Hall and the Bell Tower, and farther back the First Keep, squat and round, its gargoyles black shapes against the bruised purple dusk. Once Bran had known every stone of those buildings, inside and out; he had climbed them all, scampering up walls as easily as other boys ran down stairs. Their rooftops had been his secret places, and the crows atop the broken tower his special friends.

And then he had fallen.

Bran did not remember falling, yet they said he had, so he supposed it must be true. He had almost died. When he saw the weatherworn gargoyles atop the First Keep where it had happened, he got a queer tight feeling in his belly. And now he could not climb, nor walk nor run nor swordfight, and the dreams he'd dreamed of knighthood had soured in his head.

Summer had howled the day Bran had fallen, and for long after as he lay broken in his bed; Robb had told him so before he went away to war. Summer had mourned for him, and Shaggydog and Grey Wind had joined in his grief. And the night the bloody raven had brought word of their father's death, the wolves had known that too. Bran had been in the maester's turret with Rickon talking of the children of the forest when Summer and Shaggydog had drowned out Luwin with their howls.

Who are they mourning now? Had some enemy slain the King in the North, who used to be his brother Robb? Had his bastard brother Jon Snow fallen from the Wall? Had his mother died, or one of his sisters? Or was this something else, as maester and septon and Old Nan seemed to think?

If I were truly a direwolf, I would understand the song, he thought wistfully. In his wolf dreams, he could race up the sides of mountains, jagged icy mountains taller than any tower, and stand at the summit beneath the full moon with all the world below him, the way it used to be.

"Oooo," Bran cried tentatively. He cupped his hands around his mouth and lifted his head to the comet. "Ooooooooooooooooooo, ahooooooooooooooo," he howled. it sounded stupid, high and hollow and quavering, a little boy's howl, not a wolf's. Yet Summer gave answer, his deep voice drowning out Bran's thin one, and Shaggydog made it a chorus. Bran haroooed again. They howled together, last of their pack.

The greenseer howling at the comet, perchance to bring it down?

Notice the comet hangs over the belltower.  Bells are used to summon people or send a message, often associated with death, e.g. the death of a king; the battle of the bells; the bells in Drogo's hair falling to the ground on his wedding night, foreshadowing the loss of his prowess at Dany's hands, and how she, his usurper in effect, will be the death of him.  @Unchained has also noted that bells such as those of the dying 'Jinglebells' could be a metaphor for the falling moon meteors.  So, the musical instrument -- e.g. bells or horn -- can signify all at once (1) the summoning cry, (2) the killing weapon, (3) the falling victim, and (4) the comeuppance or 'counter-mocking' as I've termed it of the one who summoned the weapon in the first place via step (1).

The noise/song Bran and the other 'singers' (=direwolves) make is reminiscent of the sound of a warhorn, hunting horn, or indeed the dragonbinder horn

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - The Wayward Bride

"No." Qarl the Maid drew his sword. "No," echoed Lorren Longaxe. "No," boomed Rolfe the Dwarf, a bear of a man who stood a head taller than anyone else in her crew. "Never." And Hagen's horn sounded again from on high, ringing out across the bailey.

AHooooooooooooooooooooooo, the warhorn cried, long and low, a sound to curdle blood. Asha had begun to hate the sound of horns. On Old Wyk her uncle's hellhorn had blown a death knell for her dreams, and now Hagen was sounding what might well be her last hour on earth. If I must die, I will die with an axe in my hand and a curse upon my lips.

The sound of the warhorn is associated with the apocalypse...'death knell for her dreams'...'last hour on earth.'

Quote

A Feast for Crows - The Drowned Man

Shouts of "Asha!" and "Victarion!" surged back and forth, and it seemed as though some savage storm was about to engulf them all. The Storm God is amongst us, the priest thought, sowing fury and discord.

Sharp as a swordthrust, the sound of a horn split the air.

Bright and baneful was its voice, a shivering hot scream that made a man's bones seem to thrum within him. The cry lingered in the damp sea air: aaaaRREEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

The dragonbinder horn is associated with 'a savage storm about to engulf them all'

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Reek I

It had all been a trap, a game, a jape. Lord Ramsay loved the chase and preferred to hunt two-legged prey. All night they ran through the darkling wood, but as the sun came up the sound of a distant horn came faintly through the trees, and they heard the baying of a pack of hounds. "We should split up," he told Kyra as the dogs drew closer. "They cannot track us both." The girl was crazed with fear, though, and refused to leave his side, even when he swore that he would raise a host of ironborn and come back for her if she should be the one they followed.

The last quote relates to what I believe was the primary purpose of summoning the comet and bringing down the moon, namely a horned lord (Lord RAMsay, as @Crowfood's Daughter has highlighted) who 'preferred to hunt two-legged prey.'

6 hours ago, LmL said:

Oh, the kraken-summoning horn makes more sense now too. The horn summons dragons, actually, but you need a kraken to pull down the moon to get them. Or you might say that the horn brings down moons, and kraken tentacles bring down moons. Or perhaps the sequence is important - the horn is first, bringing down the moon. The kraken tentacles are more like the smoke clouds reaching up to blot out the sun and stars. When those columns of smoke are named as ash, they represent the column of ash / Yggdrasil image. But when they are dark, coiling, twisted, snake-like pillars of darksmoke, that's more like those kraken tentacles. 

Also, remember that the kraken/dragon is summoned by the horn, so just as the greenseer reaches up to heaven, the kraken in response reaches down to earth with its tentacles, potentially sweeping up the one who summoned it in its destructive wake, in a demonstration of karmic irony.  According to this analogy of the kraken resident in the heavens, the depths of space can be conceptualised as a deep black sea.  This idea of space as a sea, and venturing into it as a perilous sea voyage in which one risks drowning (fittingly, there's no oxygen in the void, so asphyxiation by 'drowning' is a real possibility), has already taken root in our collective subconscious mind, or we wouldn't refer to 'space ships'!  

Using the analogy of Drogo's hair which I mentioned above, then we can say that Dany is in the role of the naughty greenseer (Bloodstone Emperor analog) usurping the position of her kin 'blood of my blood' (husband Drogo in the role of the Amethyst Empress).  She causes the bells to ring when she removes them from his hair and lets them fall to the ground, signifying the death of a King/Khal at her hands.  As a result of her disarming the 'sun-and-stars', an oily-black river (like black blood or the tentacles of the kraken) is unleashed as a side effect.  She wanted the bells and got the kraken.  Just like Will in the Prologue wanted to take his brother down a notch and got strangled himself by those sticky black moleskin gloves in the fallout.

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys II

"Is that the only word you know?" she asked him.

Drogo did not reply. His long heavy braid was coiled in the dirt beside him. He pulled it over his right shoulder and began to remove the bells from his hair, one by one. After a moment Dany leaned forward to help. When they were done, Drogo gestured. She understood. Slowly, carefully, she began to undo his braid.

It took a long time. All the while he sat there silently, watching her. When she was done, he shook his head, and his hair spread out behind him like a river of darkness, oiled and gleaming. She had never seen hair so long, so black, so thick.

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys V

"The thunder of his hooves!" the others chorused.

"As swift as the wind he rides, and behind him his khalasar covers the earth, men without number, with arakhs shining in their hands like blades of razor grass. Fierce as a storm this prince will be. His enemies will tremble before him, and their wives will weep tears of blood and rend their flesh in grief. The bells in his hair will sing his coming, and the milk men in the stone tents will fear his name." The old woman trembled and looked at Dany almost as if she were afraid. "The prince is riding, and he shall be the stallion who mounts the world."

"The stallion who mounts the world!" the onlookers cried in echo, until the night rang to the sound of their voices.

 

6 hours ago, LmL said:

The burnt sea dragon ships / dead leviathans can be like kraken tentacles too:

Quote

 

They are children, Sansa thought. They are silly little girls, even Elinor. They've never seen a battle, they've never seen a man die, they know nothing. Their dreams were full of songs and stories, the way hers had been before Joffrey cut her father's head off. Sansa pitied them. Sansa envied them.

Margaery was different, though. Sweet and gentle, yet there was a little of her grandmother in her, too. The day before last she'd taken Sansa hawking. It was the first time she had been outside the city since the battle. The dead had been burned or buried, but the Mud Gate was scarred and splintered where Lord Stannis's rams had battered it, and the hulls of smashed ships could be seen along both sides of the Blackwater, charred masts poking from the shallows like gaunt black fingers

The tentacles like black fingers grasping are associated with the risk of being strangled, or alternatively having been strangled.  Think of the Neck (of Westeros) swamped or strangled as a consequence of the purported action of a 'naughty greenseer' tinkering with the universe with his greedy little finger!

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Prologue

The right eye was open. The pupil burned blue. It saw.

The broken sword fell from nerveless fingers. Will closed his eyes to pray. Long, elegant hands brushed his cheek, then tightened around his throat. They were gloved in the finest moleskin and sticky with blood, yet the touch was icy cold.

Another good example would be the Kraken 'Harren the Black's' Harrenhal with its five towers like the five fingers of a hand ambitiously grasping for the heavens, in response to which another 'kraken' -- actually a black dragon -- was unleashed against it.

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Jaime III

Across the pewter waters of the lake the towers of Black Harren's folly appeared at last, five twisted fingers of black, misshapen stone grasping for the sky. Though Littlefinger had been named the Lord of Harrenhal, he seemed in no great haste to occupy his new seat, so it had fallen to Jaime Lannister to "sort out" Harrenhal on his way to Riverrun.

That it needed sorting out he did not doubt. Gregor Clegane had wrested the immense, gloomy castle away from the Bloody Mummers before Cersei recalled him to King's Landing. No doubt the Mountain's men were still rattling around inside like so many dried peas in a suit of plate, but they were not ideally suited to restore the king's peace to the Trident. The only peace Ser Gregor's lot had ever given anyone was the peace of the grave.

Quote

The World of Ice and Fire - The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest

As the last light of the sun faded, Black Harren's men stared into the gathering darkness, clutching their spears and crossbows. When no dragon appeared, some may have thought that Aegon's threats had been hollow. But Aegon Targaryen took Balerion up high, through the clouds, up and up until the dragon was no bigger than a fly upon the moon. Only then did he descend, well inside the castle walls. On wings as black as pitch, Balerion plunged through the night, and when the great towers of Harrenhal appeared beneath him, the dragon roared his fury and bathed them in black fire, shot through with swirls of red.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya VI

Harrenhal's gatehouse, itself as large as Winterfell's Great Keep, was as scarred as it was massive, its stones fissured and discolored. From outside, only the tops of five immense towers could be seen beyond the walls. The shortest of them was half again as tall as the highest tower in Winterfell, but they did not soar the way a proper tower did. Arya thought they looked like some old man's gnarled, knuckly fingers groping after a passing cloud. She remembered Nan telling how the stone had melted and flowed like candlewax down the steps and in the windows, glowing a sullen searing red as it sought out Harren where he hid. Arya could believe every word; each tower was more grotesque and misshapen than the last, lumpy and runneled and cracked.

The towers all have suggestive names, nodding to the Long Night 'cracking the moon (and sun)'.  Note that Arya sleeps in the hollow hills beneath the Wailing Tower (she's definitely playing the role of 'naughty greenseer' bandying about the 'killing word'...first she summons the trio from hell; then, as a consequence thereof she liberates the prisoners from their cells):

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya VII

Whatever names Harren the Black had meant to give his towers were long forgotten. They were called the Tower of Dread, the Widow's Tower, the Wailing Tower, the Tower of Ghosts, and Kingspyre Tower. Arya slept in a shallow niche in the cavernous vaults beneath the Wailing Tower,

6 hours ago, LmL said:

Can't help but notice that creepy two-finger thing that Quaithe and Jaquen and whoever else does. Two of cat's fingers won't bend all the way, so she has it too.

I'm not sure what the 'two fingers' theme is about, but there are a lot of examples as you've noted, e.g. Qhorin Halfhand has only two fingers, Reek loses two fingers, Grey Wind eats two fingers, Jojen stabs Bran's forehead with two fingers in order to symbolically open his 'third eye', etc.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran V

"I don't want it. I want to be a knight."

"A knight is what you want. A warg is what you are. You can't change that, Bran, you can't deny it or push it away. You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly." Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye." He put two fingers together and poked Bran in the forehead, hard.

 

Edited by ravenous reader

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on my phone so this will be tricky, but, I got my word of the day pop up and it was one that I did not know and wanted to share. You'll see why ;) Not a huge find, but interesting. 

Rampike 

1.    Chiefly Canadian. a dead tree, especially the bleached skeleton or splintered trunk of a tree killed by fire, lightning, or wind. 

Quotes
Along the crest of the ridge, among the rampikes, silhouetted dark and large against the sunrise, moved a great herd of caribou, feeding as they went. -- Charles G. D. Roberts, "The Vagrants of the Barren," The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, May to October 1908 For miles and miles, we see nothing against the clear blue sky but the spiry tops of evergreens; or perhaps a gigantic skeleton, 'a rampike,' pine or hemlock, scathed and spectral, stretches its gaunt outline above its fellows. -- Frederic S. Cozzens, "A Month with the Blue Noses," The Knickerbocker; or, New-York Monthly Magazine, Volume XLIX, 1857
Origin
Rampike entered English in the late 1500s. Its origin is uncertain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pain killer Jane said:
Quote

But getting back to the grey and green hanged man in this scene, the salt rock in the mouth has a clear purpose in terms of the main plot – these are the men who raided Saltpans, and the salt signifies this.  It surely has symbolic meaning too, although we have several choices which could work.  It may be part of a smoke and salt Azor Ahai rebirth thing, because these men burned Saltpans, burning the entire town except for the stone keep which would not catch on fire.  As we’ll see momentarily, Saltpans seems to be an analog for the moon which was burnt, and these men who burned it have a piece of salt in their mouth, almost as if they had all taken a bite out of the moon.  Or perhaps its meant to make us think of someone eating white weirwood paste, as a greenseer must do to mount the gallows tree.  It also makes for another potential reference to the Ironborn and the Grey King, because they think the salt is a rock for a moment – and the Ironborn for a long time had a salt king and a rock king on each island.

@LmL

So I hate to switch gears on you but I was listening to this again and you didn't mention that the number one usage of salt in ancient times was as a preserver of dead meat. Salt does the same thing as ice. 

ETA: It may also serve as payment to the ferryman who transports the dead because placing a coin in the mouth was used to pay Charon. 

In conjunction with this idea of paying the ferryman, it's significant that Catelyn makes a point out of personally paying the sailors who escort her to Kings Landing, essentially sealing her fate right then and there.

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn IV

"As you say, my lady," Moreo replied, bowing and smiling.

Just to be sure, Catelyn paid the oarmen herself, a stag to each man, and a copper to the two men who carried their chests halfway up Visenya's hill to the inn that Moreo had suggested. It was a rambling old place on Eel Alley. The woman who owned it was a sour crone with a wandering eye who looked them over suspiciously and bit the coin that Catelyn offered her to make sure it was real. Her rooms were large and airy, though, and Moreo swore that her fish stew was the most savory in all the Seven Kingdoms. Best of all, she had no interest in their names.

Cat has been made nameless and faceless by the transaction.

 The idea of putting payment into someone's mouth is also reiterated in the text via the frequent image of the weirwoods containing some kind of sacrifice in their mouths, including the white black gate through which Bran passes, or more accurately is consumed with a touch of salt in the form of a 'strangely warm(-blooded) tear' (which also correspondingly rolls into Bran's mouth to complete the greenseeing imagery);  in addition to the pennytree -- a prominent weirwood symbol as you've noted -- which is covered by so many copper coins hammered into the tree, each representing someone making a wish on the tree.  Wishing on a tree, like throwing a coin into a wishing well, might be interpreted as analogous to paying the ferryman, in the interests of assuring a successful voyage, especially when taken in context with the Norse myth of Yggdrasil-Sleipnir in which Odin makes a sacrifice of himself to the tree in order to mount the swift steed, the 'slippery' one, and journey to other worlds. The tree functions as a kind of ferry to the underworld or otherworld.

ETA:  There's also a connection between the figureheads at the prow of a ship (basically where the figurative 'mouth' of a ship would be), which were originally living sacrifices made to propitiate the gods to assure a safe sea voyage; and the greenseers hung on the tree.

Edited by ravenous reader

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

In conjunction with this idea of paying the ferryman, it's significant that Catelyn makes a point out of personally paying the sailors who escort her to Kings Landing, essentially sealing her fate right then and there.

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn IV

"As you say, my lady," Moreo replied, bowing and smiling.

Just to be sure, Catelyn paid the oarmen herself, a stag to each man, and a copper to the two men who carried their chests halfway up Visenya's hill to the inn that Moreo had suggested. It was a rambling old place on Eel Alley. The woman who owned it was a sour crone with a wandering eye who looked them over suspiciously and bit the coin that Catelyn offered her to make sure it was real. Her rooms were large and airy, though, and Moreo swore that her fish stew was the most savory in all the Seven Kingdoms. Best of all, she had no interest in their names.

Cat has been made nameless and faceless by the transaction.

Nice catch! 

Btw there goes that fertility/sexual connotation of oarmen we were talking about the other day.

1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

The idea of putting payment into someone's mouth is also reiterated in the text via the frequent image of the weirwoods containing some kind of sacrifice in their mouths, including the white black gate through which Bran passes, or more accurately is consumed with a touch of salt in the form of a 'strangely warm(-blooded) tear' (which also correspondingly rolls into Bran's mouth to complete the greenseeing imagery);  in addition to the pennytree -- a prominent weirwood symbol as you've noted -- which is covered by so many copper coins hammered into the tree, each representing someone making a wish on the tree.  Wishing on a tree, like throwing a coin into a wishing well, might be interpreted as analogous to paying the ferryman, in the interests of assuring a successful voyage, especially when taken in context with the Norse myth of Yggdrasil-Sleipnir in which Odin makes a sacrifice of himself to the tree in order to mount the swift steed, the 'slippery' one, and journey to other worlds. The tree functions as a kind of ferry to the underworld or otherworld.

The adage "it costs a pretty penny" is apt here. 

1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

ETA:  There's also a connection between the figureheads at the prow of a ship (basically where the figurative 'mouth' of a ship would be), which were originally living sacrifices made to propitiate the gods to assure a safe sea voyage; and the greenseers hung on the tree.

I agree with this. 

In light of the mouth of a ship, I wonder what it means for a ship to sail into a hell-mouth? As seen with the Battle of the Blackwater

Quote

Where the river broadened out into Blackwater Bay, the boom stretched taut, a bare two or three feet above the water. Already a dozen galleys had crashed into it, and the current was pushing others against them. Almost all were aflame, and the rest soon would be. Davos could make out the striped hulls of Salladhor Saan's ships beyond, but he knew he would never reach them. A wall of red-hot steel, blazing wood, and swirling green flame stretched before him. The mouth of the Blackwater Rush had turned into the mouth of hell.

-Davos III, aCoK

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/3/2017 at 0:28 AM, LmL said:

Sounds like primordial chaos, in a way. That was all really good stuff, thanks for sharing your thoughts as always. :)

The idea of the greenseer being in the void, the stranger, works very similar to your notion that the greenseer on earth does not have a celestial analog... unless you count space itself. But space is the ultimate womb and tomb, and this is perhaps most vividly expressed in the form of Kali, one of my favorite goddesses. I have spotted specific Kali references in ASOIAF, so I know for a fact it's an idea Martin is working with. Kali embodies everything Martin wants to say about winter and darkness - the womb and the tomb. Fearsome, but cleansing. Kali also exists before and after all things, devouring the universe at the end and then creating (or helping to create) a new one.

The Stranger is the wanderer from far places, and he's a shadow with stars for eyes. He's the night sky, and he's also the comet - or we might regard the comet as his seed or consciousness in the same way I talk about the comet being the sun's seed and consciousness in a certain sense.

Also, everything you had there about the fool plays into the idea of lucifer or prometheus, the fire stealer.  Hubris and foolishness are not much different really. Yet these are also our explorers and pioneers... I feel like martin is exploring both sides of that coin. Most of the time, I feel like he is telling is that the fire of the gods might be, on the whole, a negative thing, but the bottom line is that it is inevitable that man will reach for it, just as it is inevitable that some men will dominate others. The fire of the gods is just another vehicle for martin to offer commentary on power and what it does to those who wield it and those they wield it on.  

 

Sansa's use of the word tummy is a wordplay on the word tomb, imo. And the fluttering of bats in her tummy is much like a pregnancy; a baby moving inside a mother's womb is often called "fluttering."  From a mythological astronomy angle, these "bats" would be black meteors birthed by the fire moon.  

The bats in her tummy symbolize the fire moon dying and some sort of dormant vengence.  There are literal implications of this.  Women die in childbirth, and children can be a means to continue the cycle of revenge.  (Think pregnant Lady Stark emerging from the WF pool praying for a son, or of the Sand Snakes seeking to avenge their father.)  While childbirth might be part of Sansa's future, I think the bats symbolize something more. 

Recall that Sansa "died" and is now in-the-womb Alayne.  The fire moon in ice.  Chestnut hair an allusion to Idunn.  The bats in Sansa's tummy symbolize both her death and future rebirth and, once reborn as Sansa once again, her vengence on those who have wronged her and her family.  I don't think Sansa will go all Lady Stoneheart 2.0, but whatever Sansa does once she reveals herself again will cause the Lannisters and LF to fall and the North to rise again.  You probably know I'm adamant about Sansa being named Shella Whent's heir.  Sansa will literally become a Whent AND a bat.  The bats in her tummy are herself in a way. 

Now, as for how the void, the trickster, the greenseer fits into this...  Sansa as Alayne in the Eyrie is the fire moon/celestial body in the cold void/ice.  Sansa even remarks how empty and quiet the Eyrie is and how it's too desolate for a true godswood.  The Eyrie symbolizes the celestial realm, and due its isolation, space.  LF is THE embodiment of the trickster in the series.  And then there's his grey-green eyes. Grey-green is sea green.  LF symbolizes a greenseer.  I believe it was ravenous reader who postulated that a greenseer was ultimately responsible for the destruction of the fire moon/cause of the LN - the hidden player missing in the sky, the void, the space.  LF is the man who's caused Sansa to begin her transformation into a bat, whether intentional or not.  He took "fire moon" Sansa and stuck her in the ice Vale.  He symbolically created the destruction of the moon again during the Red Wedding when he had Sansa kill Joffrey.  

But LF also made Sansa his daughter.  Alayne is both the daughter of the void, capable of creating new life herself, which ultimately entails her being able to "recreate" herself into whomever she chooses, and the daughter of Harrenhal, where her future lies.  

I expect LOTS of black meteor symbolism once Sansa exits the Vale and/or arrives at Harrenhal. And Aphrodite was born from her father's castration, and Sansa is a descendant (imo) of Quentyn Qoherys, who was castrated in the Harrenhal godswood.  I expect lots of imagery pertaining to the sea/sea foam, grey-green, and dawn as well.  (Side note: Arya would be a descendant of Quentyn Qoherys as well.  I expect loads of the same symbolism when she returns to Westeros.  She'd even be returning from the east.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

I've always thought the image in that prophecy refers to more than it seems -- i.e. more than just the death of Balon via faceless man for hire by Euron.  Following my musings in Hiemal's 'nennymoan' thread, in particular my identification of drowning as a metaphor for greenseeing, and of 'seaweed' or 'seeweed' being an allusion to mind-altering drugs facilitating the seer's greenseeing 'trip' (consolidated by the verbatim quote from Coleridge's poem 'Kubla Khan'...'sunless sea'...which was written emerging from the influence of opium, or in ASOIAF parlance 'milk of the poppy'); I think the faceless man in the prophecy is analogous to the mounted fool who is duped by a trickster (the latter being the crow on the shoulder, the monkey on the back, the dwarf mounting Dontos to cloak Sansa), making the crow 'chomping down seeweed,' as you so eloquently put it, the greenseer in the equation, with the faceless man in comparison a kind of 'giant' who enables a 'small man' to 'cast a long shadow'.  

I think the same and I agree with the developpement. We can say the same from others "greendreams" imo, because of the long memory of the weirwood : past, present and future are mixed, and reunited in one single image. The greendreamer can clearly see (and even interprete) what is the nearest (in time), but the vision itself tells more than only one story. (same with the girl killing a giant on a snow castle, for example, or I'm sure with Jojen's dreams)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, GloubieBoulga said:

I think the same and I agree with the developpement. We can say the same from others "greendreams" imo, because of the long memory of the weirwood : past, present and future are mixed, and reunited in one single image. The greendreamer can clearly see (and even interprete) what is the nearest (in time), but the vision itself tells more than only one story. (same with the girl killing a giant on a snow castle, for example, or I'm sure with Jojen's dreams)

That's a great way of thinking about the overlapping layers of meaning!

It's also like the regurgitations of the river on the Quiet Isle, where items from different times, people and places are delivered together with the same tide.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

That's a great way of thinking about the overlapping layers of meaning!

It's also like the regurgitations of the river on the Quiet Isle, where items from different times, people and places are delivered together with the same tide.  

Yes, I've used the term 'fractal symbolism' to refer to exactly what @GloubieBoulga is talking about. It's really stunning how many times I might come back to certain key scenes and find a new layer of symbolism, sitting right there tucked in amongst all the other ones I already knew about. The alchemical wedding is one of those scenes. It just keeps on giving. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now