ravenous reader

'The Killing Word' -- A Re-examination of the Prologue

176 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

He's in the 'cold black pool' now.

(...)

And when people are pulled back up and resuscitated following a near-drowning episode, they resemble Others, e.g. Patchface:

And add to these reflexions about Tyrion that the Sorrows are described as a drowned (and huge) Winterfell : a hand drowned, a tower with windows like blind and black eyes (= the eyes "burnt" after Bran saw the two "solar gods" Jaime and Cersei), a grey mass, full of fog, the stonemen, the Shrouded lord like an "underworld's god"...  And of course the legend of Garin who was imprisoned in a cage, like a greenseer in his nest of roots or even like Mance at Winterfell if the pink letter tells the truth about it (no matter, in fact, if this is a lie, the important thing is the common image and the fact that it takes place at Winterfell)

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8 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

You know, PK, I think it may actually be your premise, which I've only now articulated.  As I once said to you, in the poetry dedication, your 'pearls of wisdom gleam silently and slowly reveal themselves with time'!  It would seem, I've only now comprehended the full import of what you were already then implying.  :)

:cheers: Thank you but this is a collaboration as you pointed out that the scarecrows at the wall were the snow knights on the walls of Winterfell and thus were like the Others. And you articulated the idea much better and more clearly than I ever could. 

You know I wanted to mention that there is another line of evidence as well which links, the Others, the Nightswatch, soiled knights, and the Measters. @LmL this will interest you as well. 

It is the heads of the three Garths on pikes that Jon finds in Dance. The Nightswatch brothers can be said to be the dregs of society, similar to the the Hounds description of the BwB in his quote. So we can say that they are POSs and for the most part that is true. These heads are then covered in snow and therefore are the snow sentinels. And finally the only thing left of them are their heads and thus they are knights of the mind, i.e. measters.  

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1 hour ago, hiemal said:

On the killing word and nightingales:

It feels significant to me that so many of our bards are heard rather than seen (or at least heard before they are seen or heard seperately from being seen):

When Arya first meets Tom O' Sevens from behind a wall at a farmhouse.

When Tyrion hears Symeon Silver-tongue with Shae

Sansa listening to Marillion from the Sky Cells

The Blue Bard "singing" his story from the Black Cells

Yes, that's a great observation of the 'disembodied voices' and symbolically very important.  It all derives from the important moral question GRRM is asking of us readers, namely to what extent are we to be held accountable for our words and their consequences?  Are they really just innocuous 'winds'?  As I mentioned before, the 'banality of evil' is to be found in the easy anonymity with which mass atrocities are effected, often on the basis of rumors and misinformation, the root of which seems to be located in the potential for a fundamental divorce of words from actions -- or in other words between those who give the commands and those who carry them out, hence Ned's emphasis on the ethic of 'he who pronounces the sentence...' where 'sentence' indicates a judgment and punishment for a crime, as well as the 'verbal' nature and origin of that sentence.

ETA:  Someone like Littlefinger, for example, thrives on the word-action divorce.  His words have lost all integrity, and for precisely that reason are so dangerous.  Notice how his smile does not reach his eyes -- which you can read as the word (the mouth) being divorced from his intention (the eyes are the windows to the soul); the 'letter' divorced from the 'spirit.'  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how he gets away with murder.

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A Storm of Swords - Tyrion IX

"Your father," said Prince Oberyn, "may not live forever."

Something about the way he said it made the hairs on the back of Tyrion's neck bristle. Suddenly he was mindful of Elia again, and all that Oberyn had said as they crossed the field of ashes. He wants the head that spoke the words, not just the hand that swung the sword. "It is not wise to speak such treasons in the Red Keep, my prince. The little birds are listening."

"Let them. Is it treason to say a man is mortal? Valar morghulis was how they said it in Valyria of old. All men must die. And the Doom came and proved it true." The Dornishman went to the window to gaze out into the night. "It is being said that you have no witnesses for us."

 

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A Storm of Swords - Tyrion VI

"The boy is thirteen. There is time yet." Lord Tywin paced to the window. That was unlike him; he was more upset than he wished to show. "He requires a sharp lesson."

Tyrion had gotten his own sharp lesson at thirteen. He felt almost sorry for his nephew. On the other hand, no one deserved it more. "Enough of Joffrey," he said. "Wars are won with quills and ravens, wasn't that what you said? I must congratulate you. How long have you and Walder Frey been plotting this?"

"I mislike that word," Lord Tywin said stiffly.

"And I mislike being left in the dark."

"There was no reason to tell you. You had no part in this."

"Was Cersei told?" Tyrion demanded to know.

"No one was told, save those who had a part to play. And they were only told as much as they needed to know. You ought to know that there is no other way to keep a secret - here, especially. My object was to rid us of a dangerous enemy as cheaply as I could, not to indulge your curiosity or make your sister feel important." He closed the shutters, frowning. "You have a certain cunning, Tyrion, but the plain truth is you talk too much. That loose tongue of yours will be your undoing."

"You should have let Joff tear it out," suggested Tyrion.

"You would do well not to tempt me," Lord Tywin said. "I'll hear no more of this. I have been considering how best to appease Oberyn Martell and his entourage."

 

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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?"

 

47 minutes ago, Pain killer Jane said:

It makes sense when you consider that songs can be weapons in the dark, such as the Rains of Castamere striking people with fear.  

Yes.  There are also echoes of the greenseers here, the birdlike 'far eyes' like Will or Littlefinger who hides in a tree issuing disembodied words to the ether, which nevertheless are capable of having a devastating impact on humanity.  First and foremost, the meteor was called down, just as Garin called forth the waters. 

@hiemal  Also note that on the fateful day Bran climbed the sentinel, he was drawn by hearing the disembodied voices, to his meeting with the 'sky gods' as @GloubieBoulga has referred to the 'collision of the celestial bodies' of Jaime and Cersei.

 First the call -- then the action.  Before the 'crack', there was the 'cracking word'!

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

Talking of 'pearls,' this also goes back to the idea encapsulated in your unpacking of the 'God-on-Earth' riding around in the hollow pearl, symbolising as you were saying the anointing of the dirt, or the warding against and/or excretion of the irritant, which is the history of the formation of any pearl -- and by extension anything of value (e.g. a diamond, such as that found in the hilt of the 'sword of the morning,' at least the constellation, is produced from the lowly and ubiquitous carbon as a result of immense pressure etc. applied deep in the darkest depths of the bowels of the earth).

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-Sansa VII, aSoS

To command the snowy sentinels on the walls, the squires had erected a dozen snowy lords. One was plainly meant to be Lord Manderly; it was the fattest snowman that Theon had ever seen. The one-armed lord could only be Harwood Stout, the snow lady Barbrey Dustin. And the one closest to the door with the beard made of icicles had to be old Whoresbane Umber.

-The Turncloak, aDwD

Outside the snow still fell. The snowmen the squires had built had grown into monstrous giants, ten feet tall and hideously misshapen. 

-Theon I, aDwD

 

And what is interesting with these excreted knights is that they are anointed. Martin points out that through Sandor's speech on knights to Sansa is that knights are knights only because they can kill and which means that knights are anointed with holy oils and glory, as much as being anointed with blood, shit, piss, and mud. Martin wants to understand that an anointed holy person can be shitty. 

 

Yes, indeed.  Well said.

 

Ser Criston Cole, a lord commander of the kingsguard anointing a king, a gold/green king in fact. I point this out because here Ser Criston's last name is Cole as in coal, pure carbon and that which is used to make fires. And his first name is Criston which is meant to be christian and thus Ser Criston Cole's action here is a mockery of the Divine Right of Kings. And remember that Symon Silver-tongue's song has the phrase "hands of gold are always cold". And we have greenseer kings whose sigil was a green king and one in particular was termed the golden hand for his gold hand sigil. So Aegon III is in fact a cold king, a Night's King. 

Edited by Pain killer Jane

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

 

@hiemal  Also note that on the fateful day Bran climbed the sentinel, he was drawn by hearing the disembodied voices, to his meeting with the 'sky gods' as @GloubieBoulga has referred to the 'collision of the celestial bodies' of Jaime and Cersei.

 First the call -- then the action.  Before the 'crack', there was the 'cracking word'!

 

Beautiful!

To spitball loose a bee from my bonnet:

Bloodraven's weirwood bow speaking the Old God's Killing Word and the arrow one of BR's Raven's Beaks; dark wings, dark Words. 

Edited by hiemal

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Posted (edited)

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Yes, of course you did...(and I wholeheartedly agree that it's eminently understandable that you haven't read that handbook because you're far too busy re-reading ASOIAF with some Hancock and sweetsunray thrown in...)

I still havn't read a page of that dumb book.  Instead today, I read your post at work (on my company phone).  A smarter man would try to avoid deserved killing words, but I can't help myself.  If companies had you write their literature more poetically maybe this wouldn't happen.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

I 'forced you into a rant'...?  LOL  I know I've been accused of over-using the whip emoji, and my ravenous direwolf's teeth are sharp, my raven's beak savage -- but still I am a honey at heart... and let's not forget that you are the one who is 'unchained' and on the loose, despite your seemingly contained demeanor; I surmise no one 'forces' you to do or say a thing!

 

Well not directly forced me, but I am not as armored as you may think (or as I want you to think).  I am as vulnerable as anyone to becoming the dupe tricked into running my mouth and speaking killing words when best kept closed.  I chose to drink, but you led me to the water (or into it by the queen of the merwives).  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

I think I said you 'cracked my ice'

 

A bard's truth is different from yours.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Oh, 'the things she'll do for love'!

  

I love it.  This statement will be a big deal when we understand it fully.  Someone in the past did something world breaking for love.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

It would seem.  But is it true humility, or just feigned?  Tyrion, for example, gets away with a lot of pompous overreaching due to his unassuming packaging in a dwarf's body together with his affected droll persona -- posing as a fool, in other words.  By rewarding characters such as Littlefinger or Tyrion (by allowing them to survive and thrive), is GRRM implicitly condoning such behavior, even admiring or encouraging a certain slick manipulation of others?  The thing is, neither Aemon nor Ghost was fooled by the 'fool's act'; they knew exactly who Tyrion is!

 

For Tyrion, it is a tool certainly.  Sam is legit, or he rather thinks he is a coward but wrongly.  When it comes to barbarian cultures, the type of ruler he seems to hold on high are types like Drogo and Quellon Greyjoy.  If a normal person were put in charge of those people they would be killed within the hour.  For them, the best that can be done is to have a tall, large, fast, generally badass leader of high birth who moves them incrementally toward reason.  For cultured cultures yes I think he is admitting that leaders need be deceptive at times.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Perfect -- 'feeding and eating humble pie'...love the metaphor!  Great catch of Manderly as 'fatter mermaid'.  And, now that you've brought up 'mermaids' as tricksters, I can't resist asking your opinion as to how we ought to interpret the following

 

  

Yes, I think they are.  Merwives make me think of Sirens who lull men to their death.  In the Odyssey it is sailors who are the victims.  Maybe merwives specialized in taking down men sailing the WWnet.  The Night's Queen baited a likely greenseer, I think of her as the primary merwife.  I will talk about merwives down a little bit because they are related to an amazing observation you made.       

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

This song -- Tyrion's song (as Symon told him, 'every man has his song') -- bears a striking resemblance to, or at least undeniable echo to my ear of, that childhood idiom, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me..,'

 

I agree it does.  Also, everything we are writing about now also relates to "I am rubber and you are glue, everthing you say bounces off me and sticks to you".  I like to think that child's comeback originated from

 

I know a sixth: – if someone would harm me – by writing runes on a tree root, – the man who wished – I would not come to woe – will meet misfortune, not I.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

P.S.  In light of your more personal observations above, should I conclude that you are comparing me to Cersei and yourself to Tyrion ('he mocks with talent and is armored in humility'), he he...?  (Goodness -- there's no end to your bottomless desire for (counter-)mocking...first it was Melisandre, now Cersei! :D)

  

I will let you make up your interpretation.  

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Have you seen the discussion we had with Tijgy who introduced the 'Water Goblin' myth on the poetry thread?  As you point out, there seems to be a price (an accompanying bane) for every boon granted.

Do you think we might be daredevils and stray outside the canon -- shock, horror, gasp -- and extrapolate this pattern you've identified of a child as payment to what may have taken place in the tower of joy?  In return for being rescued from the 'underworld', Lyanna had to give up her child Jon to someone (Ned, who then suppressed his true identity, symbolically killing the child...or another?)...?  I actually think 'the prince who was promised' has the connotation of a promissory note, i.e. a child who has been promised as surety to someone on account of some historical transgression (a bit like the practice of keeping a ward as hostage, e.g. Theon in relation to the Starks).

 

That is the best thing I have read in a long time.  Lyanna's "Promise me" has new meaning now.  Ned is a Hades figure, he defeats the white, snowy, Kingsguardians of heaven.  The Others and KG with their white and grace seem a bit angelic.  He climbs into the heaven and collects his due by "cutting the bastard out".  As you pointed out on Voice's thread this is what Viserys says when he is angry about not getting the army he was promised.  The water goblin and the Erlking are both excellent for this.  Jon is Persephone here and accordingly he is killed by a human pomegranite.  Ned also collects Theon as ward.  He is later castrated.  I think that is imporant.  One thing that led me to this stuff is the Witcher book series.  It is too similiar to ASoIaF to ignore and a few years older.  In it there are these things called witchers who are like moster killing superfighters.  In order to become one, you have to go through an ordeal that kills most and sterilizes everyone who lives.  They keep their numbers up by taking children in exchange for their services.  Bran seems to a prince that was promised.  Bloodraven collects him to turn him into a greenseer.  His fall takes away his reproductive ability, and his falling dream where he sees the bodies of other deamers impaled on icy spikes implies most who go through this process die.  Jon is killed so he can come back as something more useful in the fight against the cold.  Jorah while performing his child stealing life saving bit at the tent is mocked as a milkman (Other) and then as a "eunuch in armor", which is what I think they are.  We see the Others hauling off promised princes of a sort from Craster.  Varys is summoned by Aerys, then hauls off baby Aegon, or at least says he did.  The Unsullied kill infants to get their spiked hat.  Kill the child and let the eunuch be born.  Howland asked the gods for help and got the knight of the laughing tree.  His price to pay seems to be Jojen.  Lyanna here is the mocking savior.  Why did she have her child taken?  What did she ask for?   

 

I think this is all wrapped up in merwives and the Night's Queen.  NQ seems to have birthed Others.  The pregnant woman that emerges from the pool in front of Winterfell's heart tree wishing for a strong son to avenge her is either an echo of or the actual NQ.  In addition to you identifying Osha emerging from the same pool as an Other exiting the "back door" of the tree, I came to that conclusion by going through all the people that seem to be showing us merwives/NQs.  Wyman shows us that she was after revenge and is somehow tied to the Rat Cook also of the Nightfort.  Plus he seems to be pregnant.

 

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"Manderly?" Mors Umber snorted. "That great waddling sack of suet? His own people mock him as Lord Lamprey, I've heard. The man can scarce walk. If you stuck a sword in his belly, ten thousand eels would wriggle out."

 

Asha while sexually mocking a person of the sea who is also her brother is also symbollically pregnant.  

 

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"Poor lordling." She released him and stepped back. "As it happens, I'm a woman wed, and new with child."

 

She keeps repeating that phrase over and over to drive home its importance.  It is noteworthy that

 

Spoiler

Euron has a woman newly pregnant with his child tied to his ship.  

 

NQ and Sansa both have magic blue eyes.  

 

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"A touch of fear will not be out of place, Alayne. You've seen a fearful thing. Nestor will be moved." Petyr studied her eyes, as if seeing them for the first time. "You have your mother's eyes. Honest eyes, and innocent. Blue as a sunlit sea. When you are a little older, many a man will drown in those eyes."

 

There is another woman out for revenge, this time against the Starks.  To help point us toward her we get this

 

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In the Citadel, the archmaesters largely dismiss these tales—though some allow that there may have been a Lord Commander who attempted to carve out a kingdom for himself in the earliest days of the Watch. Some suggest that perhaps the corpse queen was a woman of the Barrowlands, a daughter of the Barrow King who was then a power in his own right, and oft associated with graves. The Night's King has been said to have been variously a Bolton, a Woodfoot, an Umber, a Flint, a Norrey, or even a Stark, depending on where the tale is told. Like all tales, it takes on the attributes that make it most appealing to those who tell it.

 

NK was probably a Stark.  Lady Dustin was supposed to marry two.  She is bitter still, plus she seems to relate to promised castrated prince Theon.  

 

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Why do you love the Starks?"
"I …" Theon put a gloved hand against a pillar. "… I wanted to be one of them …"
"And never could. We have more in common than you know, my lord. But come."

 


The picture emerging as best I can put it together seems to be that the NQ had a mission of revenge, seduced a greenseer and emboldened him, Lady MacBeth style, to aid in her revenge against the Starks.  She birthed children who were killed and turned into Others.  There are probably other ways to interpret this, but that is what I see.   

 

On 5/12/2017 at 2:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Ooh, don't keep me in suspense!  What is your hypothesis as to 'snarks' and 'counter-snarking'..?!

 

I messed up here.  I did not mean to connect snarks to the next post.  I really do not know what they are.  Snarks = Starks maybe?  Ghost bites the grumpkin.  What Tyrion says implies that what he would do to snarks is worse.  Most logical thing I can think of is eating, and Ghost eats the present promised prince after he dies in a way.  

 

So, things I was going to say before I had to retire for the night.  First, the Hound.  He got his ear burnt off by his brother and now he is afraid of fire.  Gared lost his ear to ice and now he is afraid of that.  It at least ties the Hound to ice armored giants who's armor needs melting,  Sansa does that easily to the Hound, almost as practice for Littlefinger.

 

Something unrelated, another possible reason for Will's name apart from Shakespeare is that his "will" is what summons the Others.  This may have already been said, but I have not seen it.  Also, now that I am thinking of things, has it occured to you the master of poetry, that strangled Will and strangled Shae together make William Shakespeare?

 

Edit:  I forgot to say that prince stealing Tyrion is all about Rumpelstilskin.  He was an imp.  The woman in that story is a miller's daughter associating her to Ramsey's mom and Theon's son he kills because the castrated people make more after.   

Edited by Unchained

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At the risk of sounding tinfoily, Tyrion travels with Jon to the wall.  I think Tyrion among 100 other things is Rumpelstilskin the imp with magic powers relating to gold and who steals princes after saving women.  George is using some sort of sacrificing the firstborn to be a servant for the gods in exchange for their help. The child is transformed through something death-like and castration-like (or actual death and/or castration) into a more powerful servant/soldier.  The thought that in order to show this that George is giving us Rumpelstilskin escorting Geralt of Rivia (The white wolf) up north to Kaer Morhen to undergo the trail of the grasses in order to become what he needs to be to protect humans from monsters from other dimensions is more amusing than I have words to descibe.  This thread is named after something from Dune, so I think it is very plausible and appropriate.       

 

I have seen a few other things that may be alluding to witcherly inspirations behind these transformations.  The Burned Men steal people and have them remove a part of their body.  We have this little quote connecting them to castration.  

 

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"I wonder what their king burned off," Tyrion said to Bronn when he heard the tale. Grinning, the sellsword had tugged at his crotch … but even Bronn kept a respectful tongue around Timett. If a man was mad enough to put out his own eye, he was unlikely to be gentle to his enemies.

  

One of the powers gained from undergoing the trail of the grasses is the ability to use signs.  They are magic from hand gestures as opposed to magic from killing words, but the same basic idea.  Sign language is a language too even for people who do not know actual sign language. And they can kill as well.  This is the extra tinfoily part.  Timett may be able to use them.  

 

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The sellsword seemed unsurprised. "The fool figured a one-eyed man would be easier to cheat. Timett pinned his wrist to the table with a dagger and ripped out his throat barehanded. He has this trick where he stiffens his fingers—"  

 

Killing someone with a finger trick sounds an aweful lot like symbolic magic to me.  As much as asking for a savior that appears.  

 

One of the witcher's sign is Igni, which makes fire just like you would imagine.  Benerro created fire with symbolically important hand gestures.  Mel seems to have magic in her gestures and using magic to appear beautiful is a standard trick among Witcher sorceresses.  I admit I am not unbiased in wanting to connect The Witcher to ASoIaF.  That should be said.  However, anyone who is familiar with both Geralt and Jon cannot say they are unrelated given that aSoIaF is only a couple years younger.               

 

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2 hours ago, Unchained said:

 

Quote

The sellsword seemed unsurprised. "The fool figured a one-eyed man would be easier to cheat. Timett pinned his wrist to the table with a dagger and ripped out his throat barehanded. He has this trick where he stiffens his fingers—"  

 

Killing someone with a finger trick sounds an aweful lot like symbolic magic to me.  As much as asking for a savior that appears.  

I'm following this thread because I enjoy these flights of imagination tremendously.

However.

Timett doesn't use symbolic magic. Stiffening the fingers for a blow is a martial arts technique. 

In any case, please keep weaving these images!

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Unchained said:

One of the witcher's sign is Igni, which makes fire just like you would imagine.  Benerro created fire with symbolically important hand gestures.  Mel seems to have magic in her gestures and using magic to appear beautiful is a standard trick among Witcher sorceresses.  I admit I am not unbiased in wanting to connect The Witcher to ASoIaF.  That should be said.  However, anyone who is familiar with both Geralt and Jon cannot say they are unrelated given that aSoIaF is only a couple years younger.               

 

Well... It's very likely that GRRM knows The Witcher Saga...

Here's a fragment of some old interview with Andrzej Sapkowski:

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Sapkowski, not wishing anyone wait more than a year for a new story (he still remembers how disappointed he was one year in Montreal when the bookshop had no new Zelazny for him), then turned out a new novel annually like clockwork. In 1999, the Witcher Saga was complete. If only George R R Martin wrote as quickly! "Do you know I know him personally?" Sapkowski replies. "We are friends. We know each other. We drink unbelievable quantities of beer."

And, once some newspaper asked GRRM about Sapkowski and he said:

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Przeczytałem kilka książek o "Wiedźminie" i bardzo mi się podobały. Nie znam natomiast gier i komiksu - powiedział nam Martin. Przed laty spotkałem Sapkowskiego w Czechach na konwencie - dodał kultowy amerykański pisarz

 

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I've read few books about The Witcher and I liked them very much. But I'm not familiar with the games and graphic novels - Martin has told us - Years ago I've met Sapkowski at convention in the Czech Republic - added the iconic American writer.

 

Edited by Blue Tiger

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Posted (edited)

On 5/15/2017 at 1:19 AM, Prof. Cecily said:

I'm following this thread because I enjoy these flights of imagination tremendously.

However.

Timett doesn't use symbolic magic. Stiffening the fingers for a blow is a martial arts technique. 

In any case, please keep weaving these images!

I will say that you seem to be misunderstanding what I am saying.  When I say symbolic magic I am referring to something not magic that is supposed to make us think of it as such.  Something that is symbolically magic like Varys changing his appearance like FM or knowing everything like greenseer.  Do you take me for a wizard?            

Edited by Unchained

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RR, I am still working my way through the comments, but just wanted to say this is pretty brilliant.  It really does appear as though the WW appeared after Will had prayed to the nameless faceless Gods, right on cue.  I must have read the Prologue at least a dozen times and never picked that up.  I think the mocking theme has tremendous implications for Littlefinger whose sigil is the mockingbird and a character whose nickname is mocking his height and status.  It seems he is trying to get the last laugh and is using others perceptions of him against them as they see him as a person of too little consequence.  Battle wounds heal after weeks and months, wounded pride can last an eternity.

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6 minutes ago, Crowfood's Daughter said:

RR, I am still working my way through the comments, but just wanted to say this is pretty brilliant.  It really does appear as though the WW appeared after Will had prayed to the nameless faceless Gods, right on cue.  I must have read the Prologue at least a dozen times and never picked that up.  I think the mocking theme has tremendous implications for Littlefinger whose sigil is the mockingbird and a character whose nickname is mocking his height and status.  It seems he is trying to get the last laugh and is using others perceptions of him against them as they see him as a person of too little consequence.  Battle wounds heal after weeks and months, wounded pride can last an eternity.

Thank you for being here.  I would not have written this thread without you.

On 3/19/2017 at 1:25 AM, Crowfood's Daughter said:

When reading the prologue, remember we are starting our story with brothers.  Pay attention to our grey-eyed greenboy with the sable cloak.  Take note of the grey-green sentinels and what the wind is doing to the trees and to that cloak.  Keep in mind Gared is a Garth variation, he is also much older than the other two and has been a brother for 40 years meaning he is like a grey Garth, and Will is a guy stuck at the wall for poaching stags on Mallister lands again grey/green.  It is all there, even a resurrection of one brother.  

The 'grey-green' has occupied me for a long time.  I was stuck on Kipling, but you liberated me, by explaining it fully.

:)

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3 hours ago, Unchained said:

WHAT?  Stiffening one's fingers is used in martial arts???  If only I had know that I would have prefaced what I said with two admissions of it being tinfoily and followed it up by admitting that I am on a mission to find references for something I am a fan of in something else I am a fan of.  Thank god the professor came by to lecture us on information only known by you and every 5 year old who ever took karate.  I will say that you seem to be misunderstanding what I am saying.  When I say symbolic magic I am referring to something not magic that is supposed to make us think of it as such.  Something that is symbolically magic like Varys changing his appearance like FM or knowing everything like greenseer.  Do you take me for a wizard?  

 

It is probably dangerous to analyze the mind of a troll, but I wonder if they do it because they lack imagination themselves so they just look for people to tell are wrong.  Your trolling technique certainly lacks imagination.  Really?  You enjoy our flights of fancy?  My grandmother does that 'bless your heart' stuff.  Where is the cleverness and what makes it personal?  I would expect more from a troll with a PhD(an example).  I have to be blunt, you need to step up your game or you are going to have to go back down to the minors and troll the Mance is Rhaegar lunatics.  I am a higher class of raving madman and I deserve a higher class of troll.  Try again, once more with feeling, and is it too much to ask to take some pride in your work?           

So sorry to have offended you.

 

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6 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Thank you for being here.  I would not have written this thread without you.

The 'grey-green' has occupied me for a long time.  I was stuck on Kipling, but you liberated me, by explaining it fully.

:)

Another little observeration to add about Littlefinger,  Littlefinger's Titan sigil would have been a source of torment and ridicule for a small guy such as Petyr.  It is kind of like giving a little guy the nickname Goliath.  It would make sense that a guy who was goaded his entire life would change his sigil to that of a mockingbird.

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3 hours ago, Prof. Cecily said:

So sorry to have offended you.

 

I'm sorry too, I may have overreacted.  If you really are just following this thread to watch crazy people say crazy things maybe some of that is a reasonable misunderstanding of what they mean like it was with mine.  You could just ask.  

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On ‎5‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 1:51 PM, ravenous reader said:

Do you think we might be daredevils and stray outside the canon -- shock, horror, gasp -- and extrapolate this pattern you've identified of a child as payment to what may have taken place in the tower of joy?  In return for being rescued from the 'underworld', Lyanna had to give up her child Jon to someone (Ned, who then suppressed his true identity, symbolically killing the child...or another?)...?  I actually think 'the prince who was promised' has the connotation of a promissory note, i.e. a child who has been promised as surety to someone on account of some historical transgression (a bit like the practice of keeping a ward as hostage, e.g. Theon in relation to the Starks).

I'm convinced that the events at the TOJ were related to a blood sacrifice.   I know you've seen Kingmonkey's "Puppets" essay in which he touches on some of those echoes, but some time ago I laid out a full and detailed comparison of the happenings at Dany's tent with Drogo and Mirri Maz Duur and with the snippets we get from Ned re: the TOJ/Lyanna's death, and they very much alike in both action and symbolism.   You can read that discussion HERE if you choose.

Also, I'll mention that we have a second reference of a child used as payment w/r/t to Faceless Men - it's a one-line throwaway in one of Dany's chapters, I believe, but the gist is that if the person is willing to pay this "price", eg sacrifice the thing most dear to them, they can give their child as payment for services - rendered, of course, by a man/woman who has suppressed his/her true identity.   Although we don't know exactly what happens to the child once given over, it's likely that this child would be reared in service at the HoBaW and trained in the Faceless Arts....which in a way is akin to a death, a "killing" of that child and any identity it make have had.

Not to mention, when you discuss "killing words", what better representation of this than the Faceless Men?   I mean, literally, speak the name, and the deed is done.

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Posted (edited)

On 2017-05-16 at 9:57 AM, PrettyPig said:

Not to mention, when you discuss "killing words", what better representation of this than the Faceless Men?   I mean, literally, speak the name, and the deed is done.

Yes! My thought as well.  The 'killing word' is a name, the means by which the many faced god 'marks' the one to die.  Arya's encounter with Jaqen at Harrenhal is interesting.

 

Quote

 

A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

Shoving her sword through her belt, she slipped down branch to branch until she was back on the ground. The light of the moon painted the limbs of the weirwood silvery white as she made her way toward it, but the five-pointed red leaves turned black by night. Arya stared at the face carved into its trunk. It was a terrible face, its mouth twisted, its eyes flaring and full of hate. Is that what a god looked like? Could gods be hurt, the same as people? I should pray, she thought suddenly.

Arya went to her knees. She wasn't sure how she should begin. She clasped her hands together. Help me, you old gods, she prayed silently. Help me get those men out of the dungeon so we can kill Ser Amory, and bring me home to Winterfell. Make me a water dancer and a wolf and not afraid again, ever.

Was that enough? Maybe she should pray aloud if she wanted the old gods to hear. Maybe she should pray longer. Sometimes her father had prayed a long time, she remembered. But the old gods had never helped him. Remembering that made her angry. "You should have saved him," she scolded the tree. "He prayed to you all the time. I don't care if you help me or not. I don't think you could even if you wanted to."

Gods are not mocked, girl."

The voice startled her. She leapt to her feet and drew her wooden sword. Jaqen H'ghar stood so still in the darkness that he seemed one of the trees. "A man comes to hear a name. One and two and then comes three. A man would have done."

Arya lowered the splintery point toward the ground. "How did you know I was here?"

"A man sees. A man hears. A man knows."

She regarded him suspiciously. Had the gods sent him? "How'd you make the dog kill Weese? Did you call Rorge and Biter up from hell? Is Jaqen H'ghar your true name?"

"Some men have many names. Weasel. Arry. Arya."

She backed away from him, until she was pressed against the heart tree. "Did Gendry tell?"

"A man knows," he said again. "My lady of Stark."

Maybe the gods had sent him in answer to her prayers. "I need you to help me get those men out of the dungeons. That Glover and those others, all of them. We have to kill the guards and open the cell somehow—"

"A girl forgets," he said quietly. "Two she has had, three were owed. If a guard must die, she needs only speak his name."

"But one guard won't be enough, we need to kill them all to open the cell." Arya bit her lip hard to stop from crying. "I want you to save the northmen like I saved you."

He looked down at her pitilessly. "Three lives were snatched from a god. Three lives must be repaid. The gods are not mocked." His voice was silk and steel.

"I never mocked." She thought for a moment. "The name . . . can I name anyone? And you'll kill him?"

Jaqen H'ghar inclined his head. "A man has said."

"Anyone?" she repeated. "A man, a woman, a little baby, or Lord Tywin, or the High Septon, or your father?"

"A man's sire is long dead, but did he live, and did you know his name, he would die at your command."

"Swear it," Arya said. "Swear it by the gods."

"By all the gods of sea and air, and even him of fire, I swear it." He placed a hand in the mouth of the weirwood. "By the seven new gods and the old gods beyond count, I swear it."

He has sworn. "Even if I named the king . . ."

 

Jaqen does the odd thing of placing his hand in the mouth the weirwood while swearing by all the gods to carry out the killing command.  The gesture seems to say that the god's word is carried out by his hand.

This reminds me of Arya's lesson that the first faceless man heard the prayers of the slaves to kill their masters and the price was to become a faceless man.  This seems to be the debt that Arya is accruing with her hit list of daily prayers.

I've also wondered about the faceless man imagery in Jon's encounter with Othor, who also attempts to force his hand into Jon's mouth:

 

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Jon VII

Then he saw it, a shadow in the shadows, sliding toward the inner door that led to Mormont's sleeping cell, a man-shape all in black, cloaked and hooded … but beneath the hood, its eyes shone with an icy blue radiance …

Ghost leapt. Man and wolf went down together with neither scream nor snarl, rolling, smashing into a chair, knocking over a table laden with papers. Mormont's raven was flapping overhead, screaming, "Corn, corn, corn, corn." Jon felt as blind as Maester Aemon. Keeping the wall to his back, he slid toward the window and ripped down the curtain. Moonlight flooded the solar. He glimpsed black hands buried in white fur, swollen dark fingers tightening around his direwolf's throat. Ghost was twisting and snapping, legs flailing in the air, but he could not break free.

 

 

 

Jon had no time to be afraid. He threw himself forward, shouting, bringing down the longsword with all his weight behind it. Steel sheared through sleeve and skin and bone, yet the sound was wrong somehow. The smell that engulfed him was so queer and cold he almost gagged. He saw arm and hand on the floor, black fingers wriggling in a pool of moonlight. Ghost wrenched free of the other hand and crept away, red tongue lolling from his mouth.

The hooded man lifted his pale moon face, he thought, reeling back. Gods, he's dead, he's dead, I saw him dead. Othor, and Jon slashed at it without hesitation. The sword laid the intruder open to the bone, taking off half his nose and opening a gash cheek to cheek under those eyes, eyes, eyes like blue stars burning. Jon knew that face.

He felt something scrabble at his ankle. Black fingers clawed at his calf. The arm was crawling up his leg, ripping at wool and flesh. Shouting with revulsion, Jon pried the fingers off his leg with the point of his sword and flipped the thing away. It lay writhing, fingers opening and closing.

 

 

The corpse lurched forward. There was no blood. One-armed, face cut near in half, it seemed to feel nothing. Jon held the longsword before him. "Stay away!" he commanded, his voice gone shrill. "Corn," screamed the raven, "corn, corn." The severed arm was wriggling out of its torn sleeve, a pale snake with a black five-fingered head. Ghost pounced and got it between his teeth. Finger bones crunched. Jon hacked at the corpse's neck, felt the steel bite deep and hard.

 

 

Dead Othor slammed into him, knocking him off his feet.

. Gagging, he tried to shove it off, but the dead man was too heavy. Its hand forced itself farther down his throat, icy cold, choking him. Its face was against his own, filling the world. Frost covered its eyes, sparkling blue. Jon raked cold flesh with his nails and kicked at the thing's legs. He tried to bite, tried to punch, tried to breathe …

When he opened his mouth to scream, the wight jammed its black corpse fingers into Jon's mouth

 

Jon's breath went out of him as the fallen table caught him between his shoulder blades. The sword, where was the sword? He'd lost the damned sword!

 

It seems that the killing word was given and the word was Mormont. Jon suberts the word by his very presence.   Othor doesn't actually attack Jon, only knocks him down and then attempts to put his hand in Jon's mouth.  Othor seems to turn to Jon as the one who's word supercedes the other. 

A very strange turn of events indeed.

Edit: In an oddly perverse twist, the evil child Arya, makes Jaqen's own name the killing word.  This is perhaps to remind us why the many faced god is nameless or that his name cannot be spoken.

Quote

"There are no gods save R'hllor and the Other, whose name must not be spoken." Melisandre's mouth made a hard red line. "And small men curse what they cannot understand."

 

 

   

Edited by LynnS

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@ravenous reader

Given the backdoor origin of the Others, then there is a wordplay with pail and pale especially in context with Jaime as a leader of Others. 

And since we are on Jaime. Jaime is said to have Shit for Honor and as we have seen honor is armor but on the gargoyles the raven shit is speckled on them. Meaning that they are spotted with shit. And since the Others have associations with old men, spots on Old men are called Liver Spots

Now I previously speculated that a Blue Falcon is also Bloody, covered in blood and he is a craven. If the Blue Falcon was a craven old man that abandoned his honor armor and replaced it is with snow/shit than those liver spots are shit stains. 

This is probably why Spotted Sylva was married to Eldon Estermont, the Old Lord of Greenstone. That is point to the process of the making of the Bloodstone Emperor, a greenstone that was said to be covered with holy blood but as we know the BSE was a shitty person. 

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On 5/16/2017 at 6:57 AM, PrettyPig said:

I'm convinced that the events at the TOJ were related to a blood sacrifice.   I know you've seen Kingmonkey's "Puppets" essay in which he touches on some of those echoes, but some time ago I laid out a full and detailed comparison of the happenings at Dany's tent with Drogo and Mirri Maz Duur and with the snippets we get from Ned re: the TOJ/Lyanna's death, and they very much alike in both action and symbolism.   You can read that discussion HERE if you choose

Actually I tend to think that the Red Wedding is akin to the Tent. 

The shadowed Burning Man was the Hound

The shadowed wolf was Arya.

And the woman that lost her son and didn't die by burning was Catlyn. 

And there was a bear present as well, Dacey Mormont. 

And fiery horse people died as well at the twins, the Brackens. 

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Posted (edited)

I read a very interesting post by @MaesterSam (Hi Maester Sam! :))  over on the latest 'Heresy' which is especially relevant to the ideas on this thread, and which I'd therefore like to replicate here; followed by a synopsis which I've written of the 'killing word' idea which some may have missed on the 'Poetry' thread, for the convenience of those of you who may be new to the thread, but who don't feel like reading through the whole OP in order to gain a rough idea of the concept we've been exploring here.  

MaesterSam's quote is particularly important, because it provides direct evidence that GRRM has been invested, at least in his other writings, with the notion of a 'killing word' or rather 'killing song' -- a 'song having the power to bring about Armageddon', which is basically suggestive of a 'song' of some kind, however we end up interpreting that, having triggered the Long Night.  In the song's ability to induce a 'trance-like state' in the collective, there are also echoes of 'A Song for Lya' (@The Fattest Leech this may also be of interest to you -- have you read 'The Armageddon Rag'?).  'Controlling a host' is of course highly evocative of skinchanging; and the 'song' in question would be equivalent to whatever constitutes the telepathic signals being sent between skinchanger and host.

 

12 hours ago, MaesterSam said:
On 6/24/2017 at 11:40 AM, Frey family reunion said:

So it really makes perfect sense, that the Prince that was Promised is a line from the Song of Ice and Fire directly dealing with the war for the dawn, sung by the Children and recorded by runes from the First Men.

 

@MaesterSam said:

WOW. Hahaha, what a fool was I who thought myself so wise? Am I the only one who never even considered the possibility that the Song of Ice and Fire is actually a song?? And there is power in songs.... just ask GRRM, who wrote a whole book about the idea of a song - a song called The Armageddon Rag - having the power to bring about Armageddon by triggering its hippie audience to start a civil war. The song essentially induces a trance-like state, allowing the band to lead a hundred thousand people in a march on a nearby city. (This is a slight simplification, and there is a cool twist that I'm leaving out. It's worth reading, but you have to fight yourself through the first half, which is incredibly slow. I will point out that the lead singer was an albino...)

The idea that tens of thousands of people - one could say a whole host - can be controlled by a small group of special individuals singing a particular song is of course very intriguing. A host needing a controller immediately comes to mind, and the question of who the singers are literally answers itself. Or does it? They say they sing the song of Earth, not of Ice and Fire. Rhaegar seems to think the PTWP will sing it ... but regardless of who ends up singing it, I would bet that its purpose is to somehow end the Long Night:

 

Lomas Longstrider, in his Wonders Made by Man, recounts meeting descendants of the Rhoynar in the ruins of the festival city of Chroyane who have tales of a darkness that made the Rhoyne dwindle and disappear, her waters frozen as far south as the joining of the Selhoru. According to these tales, the return of the sun came only when a hero convinced Mother Rhoyne’s many children—lesser gods such as the Crab King and the Old Man of the River—to put aside their bickering and join together to sing a secret song that brought back the day.

- The World of Ice and Fire

 

 

 

On 6/21/2017 at 3:07 PM, ravenous reader said:

I read the following on Maria Popova's blog 'Brain Pickings,' which reminded me of what I have been trying to articulate surrounding the 'killing word' theme of my eponymous thread (see below for summary).  She cites some excerpts, which I'd like to share further, by the fantasy novelist Ursula K. Le Guin , exploring the transformative power of language, particularly within the context of the oral storytelling tradition, in a piece entitled “Telling Is Listening,” taken from the book 'The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination' (for clarification, I have added a few of my own comments in square brackets): 

 

Sound signifies event. A noise means something is happening. Let’s say there’s a mountain out your window. You see the mountain. Your eyes report changes, snowy in winter, brown in summer, but mainly just report that it’s there. It’s scenery. But if you hear that mountain, then you know it’s doing something. I see Mount St. Helens out my study window, about eighty miles north. I did not hear it explode in 1980: the sound wave was so huge that it skipped Portland entirely and touched down in Eugene, a hundred miles to the south. Those who did hear that noise knew that something had happened. That was a word worth hearing. Sound is event.

Speech, the most specifically human sound, and the most significant kind of sound, is never just scenery, it’s always event.

When you speak a word to a listener, the speaking is an act. And it is a mutual act: the listener’s listening enables the speaker’s speaking. It is a shared event, intersubjective: the listener and speaker entrain with each other. Both the amoebas are equally responsible, equally physically, immediately involved in sharing bits of themselves [comparing human communication to amoebas having sex, sharing bits of themselves through a common conduit!].

[…]

The voice creates a sphere around it, which includes all its hearers: an intimate sphere or area, limited in both space and time.

Creation is an act. Action takes energy.

Sound is dynamic. Speech is dynamic — it is action. To act is to take power, to have power, to be powerful. Mutual communication between speakers and listeners is a powerful act. The power of each speaker is amplified, augmented, by the entrainment of the listeners [she talks about 'entrainment' as a kind of oscillation or vibration, synchronising the speaker with the listener]. The strength of a community is amplified, augmented by its mutual entrainment in speech.

[…]

This is why utterance is magic. Words do have power. Names have power. Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.

 

 

In a nutshell, GRRM seems to be imbuing ...or investing words with magical power in certain key situations throughout the novels, a technique which I've compared to the idea behind the 'killing word' weapon in the movie 'Dune,' by which someone's name becomes weaponized.  Thus, certain words, songs, music, and other sounds and signs can all potentially be thought of as spells, in the vein of the psychological/anthropological concept of 'magical thinking.'  Though I've illustrated the concept with the catchphrase 'killing word,' perhaps this is misleading, since it's important to note that words can be used to shape both creative and destructive outcomes, with healing as well as harming potential, as the character Paul Atreides from 'Dune' suggests:

 

Paul:  

'Some thoughts have a certain sound, that being the equivalent to a form.  Through sound and motion, you will be able to paralyze nerves, shatter bones, set fires, suffocate an enemy or burst his organs. We will kill until no Harkonnen breathes Arakeen air.'

 'My own name is a killing word.  Will it be a healing word as well?'

 

In the current thread in which I performed an allegorical, not literal, close reading of the Prologue -- 'The Killing Word -- a Re-examination of the Prologue' -- the most startling conclusion I reached was that Will up the sentinel tree in uttering 'the whispered prayer to the nameless gods of the wood' had in effect summoned those 'nameless gods of the wood', who are none other than the Others!  If you read that passage carefully, you will notice that the nameless, faceless gods in question arrived on the scene almost immediately following the vocalization of the words, emerging from the wood soon upon the 'prayer', as if on cue -- as if they had been summoned up in a kind of demonic seance.  In that situation, the 'whispered prayer' is the equivalent of the 'killing word'; the Others are the weaponised form of the word, the proxy, or the catspaw of the one speaking the command; Will is the trickster greenseer archetype; and Waymar is the target of the weapon.  Whether the one uttering the killing word killed his 'brother' inadvertently or by design I haven't yet concluded.  The point of the archetypal conflict uncovered by such an allegorical reading might be interpreted as an echo lending insight to some other earlier, historical conflict, perhaps even the pivotal events leading up to the Long Night and the Last Hero. 

Another example of the same principle:  Arya as trickster greenseer kneels in front of the Harrenhal heart tree, saying a prayer, similarly calling on the gods to help her -- who then appear in the form of Jaqen, a faceless, nameless assassin who emerges from the trees on cue.  The assassin grants her three further wishes, which are in essence incommutable death sentences for whomever she chooses to name.  Pronouncing a name = pronouncing a death sentence = effecting a 'killing word'!  Arya refers to this newfound power of hers as 'killing with a whisper' or 'whispering someone dead'.

Further examples:

  • On the Fist of the First Men, Sam trips over tree root, calls on the gods and demons; the Others appear
  • The crannogman prays to a tree for a savior; receives help in the form of 'the knight of the laughing tree'
  • Theon prays to the Winterfell heart tree, requesting a sword; Bran answers
  • The pregnant woman in Bran's vision emerging from the black pool next to the heart tree, calls on the gods for a son to avenge her; who knows what kind of child was born and what s/he may have done?
  • Sam says the words 'I am the sword...' entreating the white weirwood of the 'black gate'; the portal opens like a mouth to consume Bran and his companions
  • Arya says the words 'Valar morghulis' to the weirwood-and-ebony doors of the House of Black and White; the doors open to admit her
  • The sound of the dragonbinder horn 'splits the air' and kills the one blowing it
  • The sound of Nissa Nissa 'cracks a moon,'  'her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon' (ACOK -- Davos I)
  • The sound of Drogon hatching from his egg 'breaks the world'
  • The sound of the speech of the Other cracks the sword (some forum users argue that the trigger for the sword shattering was Waymar's blood; I say the critical element was the cracking word which compromised the sword so that there was no turning back...)
  • 'Mirri Maz Duur chanted words in a tongue that Dany did not know, and a knife appeared in her hand.  Dany never saw where it came from. It looked old; hammered red bronze, leaf-shaped, its blade covered with ancient glyphs. The maegi drew it across the stallion's throat, under the noble head, and the horse screamed and shuddered as the blood poured out of him in a red rush'. (AGOT -- Daenerys VIII)
  • Robb 'quarrelled' with sharp-tongued Walder Frey; sharp 'quarrels' in turn were unleashed on him at the Red Wedding (this is a good example of what I've termed in my essay the 'counter-mocking' response -- boomerang or backlash effect)
  • The music of the 'howling chorus of wolf song' drifting through the window which Robb, a fellow warg, has deliberately opened for that purpose, makes Bran's heart beat faster
  • Howland Reed 'could breathe mud and run on leaves, and change earth to water and water to earth with no more than a whispered word. He could talk to trees and weave words and make castles appear and disappear' (ASOS -- Bran II)
  • Bran speaks to his father in the past, 'his voice a whisper on the wind'; Ned looks up, turns around to face the tree, and asks 'who's there?'
  • And many many more...

I trust you all have a better understanding of the concept, and hopefully some thoughts of your own as to how and why GRRM's poetics may be fashioned in this way.  Perhaps you can think of a few examples yourself?  I would always love to hear from you.

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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