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rotting sea cow

that creature is dangerous...

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Melisandre's face darkened. "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood."

- Jon X, ADWD

I never gave too much thought to that sentence. I somehow imagined that she is seeing BR or Bran warging Patchface and the red lips is a reference to weirwood sap (or Jojen paste  ;) )  and I seem to recall there are skulls in the cave. Alternatively, maybe there is another greenseer around we haven't heard of. Or even a vision of the 'real' Drowned God. Etc. 

But this guy made a good case, that what Mel is seeing is something related to House Lonmouth, specifically Richard Lonmouth former squire of Rhaegar, whose whereabouts are unknown. 

https://cantuse.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/skullsandkisses/

So, what Mel saw was a motley pattern of skulls and kisses and associated it with Patchface. Because Patchy is in motley, conclusion Patchface is dangerous. Very Melissandry indeed :) (she might not be wrong in the end)

The link makes a case for Mance being our missing Richard Lonmouth. This will account for the dangerous part of the vision. But, as with Mance=Rhaegar, Mance=Arthur Dayne, Mance=Daario=Benjen=Euron, etc, the problem is that Mance origins seems to be well established in the story.

But then who else? I'm aware of Lem=Richard Lonmouth theory, but why is he so dangerous to be seen oft in Melissandre visions?

Any idea?

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Posted (edited)

I haven't finished reading the essay in the link, but I have read several sections and already have problems with some of the assumptions.

  • The writer thinks that the alternating pattern in the Lonmouth sigil is like motley, but does not consider many other checkered or motley patterns that are mentioned in the books.
  • Granted, the skulls and red lips seem like a match between Melisandre's vision and the Lonmouth coat of arms, but the writer automatically assumes that the coat of arms is the endpoint of all skulls and kisses instead of another piece of evidence that might lead to the endpoint.
  • The writer is flexible enough that s/he reaches the notion that Melisandre is seeing somebody "who only embodies the role of the fool". The writer does not consider that Melisandre really is seeing Patchface in her visions. Couldn't it be that Patchface embodies someone else who has "major plot significance"? The writer required that significance in his previous section of the essay but then quickly dropped it as a requirement when he couldn't make it fit the Mance conclusion.
  • The writer's progression from
  • Patchface to
  • some unspecified fool to
  • Florian to
  • Ser Dontos to
  • Mance / Abel -as-Bael-the-Bard

seems unnecessarily complex, for one thing, as well as willing to overlook important points in the Florian allegory. I do give the writer credit for drawing the comparison to the Jeyne Poole situation and the Florian and Jonquil legend - that does seem like a good fit. But the guy who has direct contact with Jeyne / Jonquil is not Mance / Abel but Theon. Theon seems like the logical parallel for Florian, and that completely undermines the notion of Mance as the face in Melisandre's visions.

The writer doesn't seem to consider the complicated backstory that GRRM gave us for Patchface: that he was an extremely appealing entertainer in Essos, that Steffon thought he might even be able to teach Stannis to smile, that he apparently drowned but was reborn, that he subsequently became very creepy, that he hangs out with Shireen all the time. Maester Cresson wore Patchface's hat when he drank the poisoned wine and died. Davos Seaworth had a really remarkable encounter with Patchface in a garden at a major turning point in his story. Why consider Melisandre's vision in a vaccuum, without considering some of the background that could help us to understand more about Patchface himself?

Why not accept that Melisandre IS seeing Patchface in her visions? It's a much straighter line between two points than the theory outlined in the first sections of the linked essay. From there, the challenge would be to figure out who or what Patchface represents, and why Melisandre would feel threatened by the vision of that person.

My own tenuous theory, some time ago, is that Patchface is a symbolic (not literal) version of King Robert Baratheon. Robert was the Baratheon brother who united qualities seen in Renly (handsome, personable, playful, hedonistic) and Stannis (strategic, skilled in warfare).

Renly is associated with green (green armor, allied with the Tyrells of the Reach which is the land of Garth Greenhands) and Stannis is associated with the red god. Patchface's tattooed motley face is red and green - he represents the unity of Renly and Stannis. In other words, he represents Robert.

Like Patchface, Robert also wore a helmet with antlers and was associated with bells (The Battle of the Bells, a natural daughter named Bella).

Patchface "died" and was reborn after Steffon Baratheon died. Robert was reborn as the Lord of Storm's End when Steffon died. Robert talks about "feeling dead" after becoming king.

Steffon Baratheon's trip to Essos was undertaken for the purpose of finding a bride for Rhaegar. The purpose of finding a bride is to produce an heir to the throne. Steffon failed at the bride-seeking mission but brought back Patchface. Since Robert Baratheon eventually took the throne intended for Rhaegar, perhaps Patchface as a symbolic King Robert is an apt comparison on this level, too.

In a long-ago post comparing Patchface and Robert, I speculated that the skulls surrounding Robert-as-Patchface could be the dragon skulls at the Red Keep. But the "Ser Robert Strong" rebirth without a skull seems like another piece of evidence. We suspect that Qyburn's dark magic resurrection of Gregor Clegane as Ser Robert involves killing other people - puppeteers, Falyse Stokeworth, Senelle. Maybe it is their dead skulls that Melisandre is seeing around "that creature." King Robert had a "weak red smile" when he was dying, so that could explain the red lips in Melisandre's vision. I think the Ser Robert Strong and King Robert comparison is self-evident, but we will know more in the next book.

We know that Thoros of Myr was sent to King's Landing to try to convert King Robert to follow the red god, and that Thoros was not successful. If Patchface is a symbolic version of King Robert, maybe Melisandre's distaste for her vision of Patchface is because it foreshadows a failure of the red god. She does not want to see that future reality. If the future king somehow unites the green of Renly with the red of Stannis, Melisandre's mission in Westeros will have been a failure.

edit: I'm not sure how the House Lonmouth sigil fits in all this. We may know more after we see secret identities revealed in the next two books. I have been persuaded by the discussion in this forum that Lonmouth may be disguised at Lem Lemoncloak. Analysis of Lem Lemoncloak's scenes might help to clarify the skulls and kisses symbolism, which would also help to clarify the symbols in Melisandre's vision.

Edited by Seams

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Thanks for your detailed reply

1 hour ago, Seams said:

I haven't finished reading the essay in the link, but I have read several sections and already have problems with some of the assumptions.

Oh yeah. I was checking his site afterwards and although there are interesting observations, the writer is prone to overinterpretation.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

The writer doesn't seem to consider the complicated backstory that GRRM gave us for Patchface: that he was an extremely appealing entertainer in Essos, that Steffon thought he might even be able to teach Stannis to smile, that he apparently drowned but was reborn, that he subsequently became very creepy, that he hangs out with Shireen all the time. Maester Cresson wore Patchface's hat when he drank the poisoned wine and died. Davos Seaworth had a really remarkable encounter with Patchface in a garden at a major turning point in his story. Why consider Melisandre's vision in a vaccuum, without considering some of the background that could help us to understand more about Patchface himself?

Why not accept that Melisandre IS seeing Patchface in her visions? It's a much straighter line between two points than the theory outlined in the first sections of the linked essay. From there, the challenge would be to figure out who or what Patchface represents, and why Melisandre would feel threatened by the vision of that person.

Well, that was exactly my opinion before reading that blog, but there is - so far - nobody to fit in that vision. Unless that vision itself represents Patchface somehow.

If we think that somebody is warging in Patchface, the red lips, may point to weirwood sap, but the skulls? and who can that person be? Why he/she is so dangerous?

So, I tend to agree with the cantuse interpretation. Melisandre sees a motley pattern and associated with Patchface, because you know Melisandre. But I disagree about the conclusion of the Lonmouth coats of arms being related to Mance.

But then if she is seeing Richard Lonmouth somehow, why would he be so dangerous?

1 hour ago, Seams said:

My own tenuous theory, some time ago, is that Patchface is a symbolic (not literal) version of King Robert Baratheon. Robert was the Baratheon brother who united qualities seen in Renly (handsome, personable, playful, hedonistic) and Stannis (strategic, skilled in warfare).

 

Interesting. There was a post not so long ago, about Edd Tollett being a symbolic Ned Stark.

1 hour ago, Seams said:

edit: I'm not sure how the House Lonmouth sigil fits in all this. We may know more after we see secret identities revealed in the next two books. I have been persuaded by the discussion in this forum that Lonmouth may be disguised at Lem Lemoncloak. Analysis of Lem Lemoncloak's scenes might help to clarify the skulls and kisses symbolism, which would also help to clarify the symbols in Melisandre's vision.

I'm aware of this theory and there is good ground for it. Maybe Mel is seeing the things that BtW are doing? and Thoros in between, who also represent a different kind of threat for her, more at the religious level?

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I think it's more likely that PJ's theory that Lem Lemoncloak is Richard Lonmouth is correct as the Ghost of Highheart seems to twice associate him with kisses and skulls.

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My Occam's Razor-esque guess is that Melisandre is seeing that Patchface's premonitions involving death (skulls and blood being symbols of that) like Renly's murder and the Red Wedding have come true. Metaphorically, death has come out of his mouth, hence the bloody lips. 

And Mel realizes how dangerous a person who predicts the future can be. 

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Mel's interpretations are often pretty poor, so I'd say there's a strong chance she's actually seeing Jinglebell Frey.

But for real I think it's because Patchface is basically dead, and is animated by some supernatural force from the underworld that is "under the sea". He died, saw all of time at once and had his mind blown, and then the Drowned God spat him back up to tell everyone that Winter and Fire and Blood were coming. Like some kind of oafish sea-wight.

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4 hours ago, cgrav said:

Mel's interpretations are often pretty poor, so I'd say there's a strong chance she's actually seeing Jinglebell Frey

Jinglebell is dead, why should Mel see him, and why should she consider him a threat?

4 hours ago, cgrav said:

But for real I think it's because Patchface is basically dead, and is animated by some supernatural force from the underworld that is "under the sea".

Very likely, but I'm unsure that "force" has red lips. The Drowned God has a different depiction.

10 hours ago, CornishDornish said:

think it's more likely that PJ's theory that Lem Lemoncloak is Richard Lonmouth is correct as the Ghost of Highheart seems to twice associate him with kisses and skulls.

I think that theory has quite good ground.

9 hours ago, Good Guy Garlan said:

My Occam's Razor-esque guess is that Melisandre is seeing that Patchface's premonitions involving death (skulls and blood being symbols of that) like Renly's murder and the Red Wedding have come true. Metaphorically, death has come out of his mouth, hence the bloody lips. 

And Mel realizes how dangerous a person who predicts the future can be. 

OK. Let summarize the two main options.

1) Melisandre is actually seeing Patchface, with lips red with blood and skulls about him. Possible interpretations of this

  • Red lips is associated to the weirwood sap, and there are skulls in BR cave. So maybe a greenseer is warging Patches? However Mel sees BR as a wooden face and Bran as child with wolf head, so they are unlikely to be involved. Maybe there is another powerful greenseer around, we haven't heard of? There is nothing that suggests this in Bran's chapters, and Euron has blue lips.
  • The vision is more metaphorical, but then interpreting it is then more difficult. Why would Mel see so often and why should he consider a danger. Mel associates skulls with death.
  • Another creature or power is behind Patchface, but it is then harder to say which.

2) Melisandre is interpreting the vision as Patchface. This shouldn't surprise anybody. Mel visions are accurate, but her interpretations are often off mark. This scenario is where Richard Lonmouth may come into play. So, she sees the skulls and kisses of House Lonmouth and interprets the motley pattern as Patchface. Questions immediately arise. 

  • Why should she see Richard Lonmouth?
  • Where is he?
  • Why should he be a threat?

As I said above. I find unlikely Mance is Richard in disguise, because Mance backstory is quite well known. But then, who else could be a threat? and Why the vision isn't more clear?

R'hllor must be facepalming with Mel.

 

 

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@rotting sea cow Red lips are a reliable indicator of death (though usually impending rather than past). If Patch is undead, it would make sense that she sees some hint of it.

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