LmL

In a Grove of Ash (Azor Ahai Goes into the Weirwoodnet)

60 posts in this topic

Thanks LML!  Another great production.

 

Side note: I prefer your original pronunciation for Yggdrasil.  The new pronunciation sounds too pharmaceutical for me...

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1 hour ago, Tom Cruise said:

Thanks LML!  Another great production.

 

Side note: I prefer your original pronunciation for Yggdrasil.  The new pronunciation sounds too pharmaceutical for me...

Right on, well, I prefer your earlier movies, so there. =P

I looked around and it seems the pharmaceutical pronunciation is correct, though I welcome correction if anyone knows. 

Just now, LordToo-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse said:

:o

i seem to have missed a couple of essays. like finding a wrapped christmas gift.

quality stuff for the weekend,

Ill come back later.:cheers:

Right on! I think my podcasts / essays do well consumed in binge fashion, because they really are all part of a greater train of thought. The weirwood compendium especially is highly sequential. I feel bad telling people "go read my older stuff first!" but I assume people will either read or not, depending on if it holds their interest, and if you like my stuff, then it's best to read in order. The idea is that I spend an episode following a couple related symbols through several scenes - the moon blood, for instance, which I studied heavily in Waves of Night and Moon Blood, so that thereafter I can just say "the burning moon blood" and not have to explain it all every time. Otherwise my essays would be totally unreadable. You have to learn George's lexicon of symbolism one at a time until you have enough 'vocabulary' to translate whole sentences. 

What is really bizarre is that the key to unlocking a lot of the weirwood secrets lies in translating the Ironborn myth, which is why the first Weirwood Compendium episode is "The Grey King and the Sea Dragon." I did an earlier version of that essay a loooong time ago called "The Language of Leviathan" where I stumbled across a lot of the main ideas, though I did not yet connect the burning tree to the weirwoods. It wasn't until I came back to re-write Lang of L that I found the burning tree / weir connection, and then I realized that I was writing more about weirwoods than anything else and this was really a good starting point for a series about them. Since then it has really taken off, with a lot of help from the usual suspects here. Between my discovery of the weirs as symbolic 'burning trees' and @ravenous reader's discovery of the under the sea / under the see, green sea / greenseer wordplay, and everyone else's subsequent contributions along these lines, I believe we have unlocked a lot of stuff about the greenseers and weirwoods in the last few months. It's really exciting, so it is worth getting caught up here. My advice is to pick a nasty chore you've been putting off, like weed whacking or garage organizing, and strap on some headphones and let me whisper sweet symbolism into your ear hole. Aw yeah....

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Thanks for letting me on this, I will come back and check it out tomorrow, my friend, it has been a busy week!

I still have ideas from your previous essay that I can't wait to discuss with you and everyone.

Cheers!

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6 hours ago, Illyrio Po'Marties said:

...nope. I tried, I really did, but it's just too fucking long.

[Sidebar: it's not just you, it's almost everybody who writes about ASOIAF. (Even, at times, me.) Nobody understands the tremendous value of brevity.]

Well, it's not for everybody. I do understand the potency of brevity, but that's just not the type of analysis I am doing. Some things just take more time to unravel, and the symbolism in ASOIAF is pretty damn extensive. You'd be surprised at how much I have to cut form each episode. Thanks for giving it a look though. I plan to make a 20 minute youtube video here soon with the condensed nuts and bolts of my first theory, because i appreciate not everyone is down for 2 hour podcasts and essays. 

6 hours ago, Illyrio Po'Marties said:

One question I did have, though, before I gave up: you says "...the Azor Ahai and the Bloodstone Emperor myths... depict them as actors who trigger a chain of cataclysmic events through the use of blood magic." How metaphorical is that?, i.e., is it literally that the actions of some person on earth caused the moon to explode and come crashing down?

That's definitely one of the big questions! Originally I assumed no, it had to be something that just happened, with humans then attributing the calamity to their king or some villain or whatever. But as I have researched all the folklore in ASOIAF, again and again I find Martin working with the themes of Prometheus, Adam, Lucifer, and other characters who challenged the gods, defied the gods, tried to be like the gods - and triggered some great calamity. It's gotten to the point where I have become convinced that yes, somehow, magicians on earth played a part in steering a comet into a moon. We have collectively come up with two main mechanism one might use to do so in a fantasy world: the 'dragobinder' horn ('cometbinder?'), and something having to do with using the weirwoodnet for astral travel. In the Azor Ahai myth, it is Nissa Nissa's cry of anguish and ecstasy which cracked the moon - a sound, in other words. The dragonbinder's sound "splits the air like a swordthrust" and like a "shivering hot scream." Then we have the red comet compared to Ned's Ice, covered in blood, and Ned's Ice was split into 2 swords, one of which is called "Widow's Wail." So again, a symbol which is both a woman's scream AND a sword, and it's compared to the comet which broke the moon. The horn can also be seen as a stabbing weapon, analogous to the comet, so the horn itself is both a sound and a sword which killed the moon. 

As for the weirwoodnet, it's more murky, but there is something in all the talk of flying through the wwnet which has made some of us think that might be how you steer or even 'skinchange' the comet, in a manner of speaking. 

This is kind of a good example of why I write 20,000 word essays instead of 1,000 word ones - the ideas sound a bit less like tinfoil and crackpottery when you take your time to establish each symbolic interpretation by cross-referencing them with other uses of the symbol. In the full version of the "Sound that broke the moon" essay, when I write it, will have several examples of scenes where a woman's scream is depicted as a moon-breaking sound, several scenes where the horn and sword symbols are mingled in a way to suggest a moon-breaking sound, and so on. I will take time in each scene to establish the Lightbringer forging symbolism, so that you can be confident that's what the scene is talking about, and that helps draw meaning from the symbol we are chasing (the scream that breaks the moon). In the process we draw more color and magic out of George's text, which is a worthwhile undertaking in and of itself. So, to each his own, but that is how I got to doing what I do, fwiw. 

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7 minutes ago, Scorpion92 said:

Thanks for letting me on this, I will come back and check it out tomorrow, my friend, it has been a busy week!

I still have ideas from your previous essay that I can't wait to discuss with you and everyone.

Cheers!

Right on, that's the idea, more food for thought... take it and run with it. The green see goes 40 fathoms deep!

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6 hours ago, Illyrio Po'Marties said:

...nope. I tried, I really did, but it's just too fucking long.

[Sidebar: it's not just you, it's almost everybody who writes about ASOIAF. (Even, at times, me.) Nobody understands the tremendous value of brevity.]

One question I did have, though, before I gave up: you says "...the Azor Ahai and the Bloodstone Emperor myths... depict them as actors who trigger a chain of cataclysmic events through the use of blood magic." How metaphorical is that?, i.e., is it literally that the actions of some person on earth caused the moon to explode and come crashing down?

I've made several attempts to nut shell  LML. I get the value of brevity, but it's hard.
Here it goes.

At some point something happened that caused the Long Night and messed up the seasons, so something literally happened, but to start it is best to take this all as metaphor.

 

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This is probably my favorite essay yet. Fantastic. It gets my brain-blood flowing.

At risk of pimping my own writing too much, I can't help but relate this essay to the bit of comparative analysis I just published today on the forums:

 

Here, GRRM is creating a linear parallel between Reek and Jon. Given what you have just published, I cannot help but note that both Moat Cailin and the destroyed Mole's Town are analogous to the burnt weirwood, complete with relative references to ash, embers, a fish inside a dark cave, the living dead, etc.

Perhaps this is also a good time to mention that the word "Cailin" is apparently an old Irish name meaning "young maiden".

 

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10 hours ago, Illyrio Po'Marties said:

...nope. I tried, I really did, but it's just too fucking long.

You do realize this entire forum is dedicated to a series of 5+ novels, three novellas, several other short stories, one companion volume of in-world history, and a television series going onto its 7th season, don't you?

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 Bran climbs “through the clouds and into the night sky,” and where “the earth was a thousand miles beneath him.” He was also “riding” the gargoyle right before encountering Jaime, straddling it to see in the window, which works very well as an image of someone riding a comet or meteor or playing the role of one.

'Riding the gargoyle...' LOL  I'm glad you're seeing things my way... :P  

Actually, you took it a step further of course...you just had to skinchange the meteor, didn't you -- it wasn't enough for you to skinchange Drogon...:lol:

Bran and the gargoyles are linked to a 'space' flight, as well as to Will's shenanigans in the Prologue, as I've posited on my 'Killing Word' thread.  Notice how Bran first ascends the sentinel in order to figuratively 'vault' (like the 'vaulting sentinel' in the Prologue) himself into 'space':

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A Game of Thrones - Bran II

He knew two ways to get there. You could climb straight up the side of the tower itself, but the stones were loose, the mortar that held them together long gone to ash, and Bran never liked to put his full weight on them.

The best way was to start from the godswood, shinny up the tall sentinel, and cross over the armory and the guards hall, leaping roof to roof, barefoot so the guards wouldn't hear you overhead. That brought you up to the blind side of the First Keep, the oldest part of the castle, a squat round fortress that was taller than it looked. Only rats and spiders lived there now but the old stones still made for good climbing. You could go straight up to where the gargoyles leaned out blindly over empty space, and swing from gargoyle to gargoyle, hand over hand, around to the north side. From there, if you really stretched, you could reach out and pull yourself over to the broken tower where it leaned close. The last part was the scramble up the blackened stones to the eyrie, no more than ten feet, and then the crows would come round to see if you'd brought any corn.

ETA: the allusion to blindness is an Odin reference too.

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The Lannister loveplay is described as wrestling, giving us the sex and violence / sex and swordplay theme which we often see well represented by Jaime and Cersei. Cersei also lets out what would appear to be the trademark Nissa Nissa scream when she sees Bran, her ecstasy turning to terror in half a heartbeat as she realizes that the twincest could be exposed.

She is wailing like a widow and moaning like a nennymoan!

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This is all taking place at the top of the First Keep, the oldest part of Winterfell which is directly above the entrance to the crypts, and the thing is… we saw the red comet hanged here too in another Bran chapter of AGOT:

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.

The comet is hanging above the First Keep and its gargoyles, and Bran hung from the the gargoyles of the First Keep. Bran looks at the comet hanging there, and thinks about how he used to climb up in the same place. At the beginning of the chapter where he falls from the tower, Bran is thinking generally about climbing the towers of Winterfell, he recalls Maester Luwin referring to the castle as a ‘stone tree,’ evoking the idea of a petrified weirwood tree. Just as with the scenes in the Riverlands we looked at last episode, we see again that Martin likes to present several death transcendence metaphors in a cluster, presumably to clue us in to the idea that they are related to one another. The top of the First Keep is exactly where we should see various symbols of death transformation, so I’m inclined to see an intentional parallel between Bran and the comet, with both being hung like Odin from the ‘stone tree’ that is Winterfell.

The top of the First Keep is where Bran was symbolically struck -- and transformed -- by 'lightning'.  

Moreover, he not only hangs like a comet, Bran is also the voice who summoned the comet (analogous to Odin hanging himself on the tree to summon the runes):

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A Clash of Kings - Bran I

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 noise brought a guard to his door, Hayhead with the wen on his nose. He peered in, saw Bran howling out the window, and said, "What's this, my prince?"

In my recent 'Dune parlance', Bran is the 'killing word'.

By the way, do you think it might be significant that Bran is hanging upside down from the gargoyle?  It reminds me of this conjunction in the Tarot:

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From wikipedia:

The Hanged Man (XII) is the twelfth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

It depicts a pittura infamante (pronounced [pitˈtuːra iɱfaˈmante]), an image of a man being hung upside-down by one ankle. This method of hanging was a common punishment at the time for traitors in Italy. However, the solemn expression on his face traditionally suggests that he is there by his own accord, and the card is meant to represent self-sacrifice more so than it does corporal punishment or criminality.

In other interpretations, The Hanged Man is a depiction of the Norse god Odin, who suspended himself from a tree in order to gain knowledge. There is also a Christian interpretation that portrays Judas, and include the bags of silver in his hands.

 

Description[edit]

A 1393 decree for Milan and Lombardy of the punishment for traitors: “Let him be drug on a [wooden] plank at a horse’s tail to the place of execution, and there be suspended by one foot to the gallows, and be left there until he is dead. As long as he lives let him be given food and drink.”[1]

The Cross of St. Peter is shown in this French stained glass window. Saint Peter is conventionally shown as having been crucified upside-down.

Modern versions of the tarot deck depict a man hanging upside-down by one foot. The figure is most often suspended from a wooden beam (as in a cross or gallows) or a tree. Ambiguity results from the fact that the card itself may be viewed inverted.

In his book The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, A. E. Waite, the designer of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, wrote of the symbol:

The gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure—from the position of the legs—forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death. [...] It has been called falsely a card of martyrdom, a card of prudence, a card of the Great Work, a card of duty [...] I will say very simply on my own part that it expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the Divine and the Universe.[2]

It might also be worth noting that St Peter the founder of the Roman Catholic church was hanged upside down.  He's the first Pope and first to occupy the chair of the Holy See, which is both a figurative seat as well as a literal one -- in fact, it's an oaken seat, a wooden throne!  (see the 'Chair of St Peter').  Similarly, Bran presides over his own holy 'see' -- representing the expansion/dispersion of power of the greenseer king 'under the sea'.

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So, sorry everyone, upon further review, Bran does not appear to be a moon. I got that one wrong. I am sure it will happen again, and I won’t hesitate to tell you when it does.  Thanks to all the collaborators on the forums for steering me straight here and elsewhere and thereby improving the podcast for everyone. 

You're welcome.  I'm glad you agree with my assessment of Bran, even when you don't always agree with my assessment of Jaime and his 'gender-bending' ways!

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In other words, just as I said that I think Bran is playing the role of the comet in his scene with Jaime and Cersei atop the tower, it seems that the greenseer or skinchanger usually plays the role of the sun – or more often, its comet. 

Or, as the unseen actor, the void -- a la Littlefinger.

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Perhaps the best way to say it is that the body of the greenseer can be the sun, and the comet represents his spirit, his dragon consciousness, which he can project into other things.

That's very well said.  That's how I imagine Will the greenseer figure in the prologue summoning the Others (analogous to the comet) with his treacherous whispers.

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Here’s the point: I believe that we can essentially consider the weirwood as a portrait of the burning moon, as if it had been frozen in the moment of its incineration.

So -- as I asked you earlier -- is it 'frozen fire' or 'burning ice'?

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Jon glimpsed the red wanderer above, watching them through the leafless branches of great trees as they made their way beneath. The Thief, the free folk called it. The best time to steal a woman was when the Thief was in the Moonmaid, Ygritte had always claimed. 

One of the reasons why it’s so much fun to study the symbolism and metaphor in ASOIAF is because once you pick on one of George’s many threads, you find that George has left an extensive and well-marked trail of breadcrumbs to lead us through the woods. This is a great example – once you pick up on the thread of the sun figure going into the weirwood, you find these juicy nuggets all over the place, and specifically, you find the same idea repeated throughout the a chapter. Sometimes you really have to smile at George’s cleverness and sense of humor. The red wanderer is watching them through the leafless branches of the tree, you say? He might as well say that Azor Ahai was watching them through the trees, as much as he has associated the red wanderer with the red comet and Azor Ahai reborn. Oh and lest we forget these associations, the very next sentence reminds us that Mr. RLJayzor Ahai reborn himself, Jon Snow, was like the red wanderer that one time when he stole Ygritte the Nissa Nissa moon maiden. Very nice, very nice.

The 'red wanderer' or 'thief' is the greenseer -- just like Will in the Prologue caught 'red-handed' on Mallister lands illegally skinning the eagle's buck, watching proceedings through the leaves/needles of the tall sentinel; or Bran intruding on the Lannisters' tryst.

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And then the next paragraph is when we get the reference to the weirwood’s bloody visage turning black by night – as Jon is inserting himself into the circle of trees (chuckle chuckle). Jon came in here with his dragonsteel wolf-sword and seems to have turned the moon’s blood black. This is the forging of Lightbringer we are talking about here

Analogously, Rhaegar presenting his 'lance' inserted into the circlet of blue roses to Lyanna.  If the circle of  9 weirwoods is analogous to the crown of the King(s) of Winter, perhaps Rhaegar also literally crowned Lyanna Queen of Winter with the missing crown taken by Aegon off the king who knelt, Torrhen.

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Inside a ribcage is the heart, and bone white weirwood trees are called heart trees only when they have a bloody face carved in them – when they are inhabited by the spirit of a greenseer. The greenseer is the heart, the fire, the thing that pumps hot blood and life into the system. 

This is my original idea, one of my best.  But you're welcome to it!  :kiss:

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we’ve seen the moon compared to giants

I agree, but can't recall the evidence...Where is the moon compared to giants?

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The giant bellowed again, a sound that shook the leaves in the trees, and slammed his maul against the ground. The shaft of it was six feet of gnarled oak, the head a stone as big as a loaf of bread. The impact made the ground shake. Some of the other wildlings went scrambling for their own weapons.

When giants awaken in the moon, the earth shakes, because moon meteors came crashing down to the planet. The moon meteor impacts are what made the ground shake, and they are also what created the earthly version of the burning tree. Here that is depicted by the giant awakening (the moon) and then slamming the ground with the stone head of his maul (the moon meteors), and not only does this make the earth shake – you’ll notice that this also shakes the leaves in the trees, a potential reference to greenseer speech through rustling and whispering weirwood leaves.

Nice catch.

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If I am right that “waking giants in the earth” in part alludes to weirwoods being awoken (and I’m not the only one to think of this by any means)

In fact, you're in good company -- I think Tolkien thought of it first!

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The faces that the First Men and the children of the forest had carved into the weirwoods in eons past had stern or savage visages more oft than not, but the great oak looked especially angry, as if it were about to tear its roots from the earth and come roaring after them. Its woundare as fresh as the wounds of the men who carved it.

Note the emphasis on the men who carved the faces in the trees have wounds that are just like the tree’s wounds – this likens the wounds of the carver and carvee, implying that the greenseer carving the face must also be carved up and sacrificed, presumably to enter the tree. 

Good observation.

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Not only did men of old carve faces in weirwoods, I suspect that only men (or horned lords) carved the faces, despite what our eight-thousand year old oral history tells us. Or perhaps the children did carve them, but only after the meteors landed, and perhaps with the intent of trapping humans inside.  I’m not 100% about this, but I have always doubted the idea of the children carving the faces before the First Men arrived, as we are told.

What about the tree with the 'slitted' cat eyes Asha sees?

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A Dance with Dragons - The Sacrifice

"Aye," said Big Bucket Wull. "Red Rahloo means nothing here. You will only make the old gods angry. They are watching from their island."

The crofter's village stood between two lakes, the larger dotted with small wooded islands that punched up through the ice like the frozen fists of some drowned giant. From one such island rose a weirwood gnarled and ancient, its bole and branches white as the surrounding snows. Eight days ago Asha had walked out with Aly Mormont to have a closer look at its slitted red eyes and bloody mouth. It is only sap, she'd told herself, the red sap that flows inside these weirwoods. But her eyes were unconvinced; seeing was believing, and what they saw was frozen blood.

 

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some wildlings are shadowcats, and some are stones – meaning some are aggressive and dangerous, while others are stubborn and intransigent – but shadowcats play into the Lion of Night symbolism, and stones are stones. Saying that stones carved the tree is just another way of talking about the thunderbolt meteor which set fire to the tree, and the Lion of Night carving the face in the tree equates to Azor Ahai as the dark solar figure carving the faces.

You could also say that the tree carved the stones -- the rune stones (that's why Odin hanged there, in order to receive 'poetry'...although I know you find that unbelievable..!). 

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In one scene, Giant is inside a dead oak, and in another scene he’s inside the weirwood or climbing the weirwood, and that would equate the dead oak with the weirwood. This makes sense because oaks symbolize the summer king, while weirwoods are aligned with the winter king. A dead oak is a summer king turning into a winter king, and that’s the same idea we saw expressed by a Garth figure turning grey, such as Garth Greyfeather.

That's good.

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As for the parallel between weirwoods and giants, a lot of it really revolves around Hodor. Just as Ghost will play the role of a weirwood in which Jon’s spirit can go, Hodor serves the same role for Bran. He doesn’t look like a weirwood as Ghost does, but he is a giant that Bran skinchanges into. The wicker basket formerly used for hauling firewood which Hodor uses to carry Bran serves to make Hodor the wicker cage, the same role played by the weirwoods. Hodor is also a wicker cage in that he sometimes contains Bran’s spirit, as as the weirwood will contain Bran’s spirit

Another of my original ideas -- just for the record!  ;)

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Hodor made his way through the dense stands of oak and ironwood and sentinels, to the still pool beside the heart tree. He stopped under the gnarled limbs of the weirwood, humming. Bran reached up over his head and pulled himself out of his seat, drawing the dead weight of his legs up through the holes in the wicker basket. He hung for a moment, dangling, the dark red leaves brushing against his face, until Hodor lifted him and lowered him to the smooth stone beside the water.

Hodor and the wicker basket combine to symbolize the weirwood, and here Bran is hanging and dangling from the basket like a hanged man.

Indeed...another of my brilliant catches :P 

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It also seems like the weirwood reaching out with a bloody hand and marking Bran, smearing him with blood 

Or fire.  The leaves brushing his face is a visual representation of being kissed by fire.

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The Grove at Ground Zero

This section is sponsored by our first Guardian of the Galaxy, the Shadowcat Patron, and he is Ser Harrison of House Casterly, the Noontide Sun, whose words are “Deeper than did Ever Plummet Sound”

Love it!  Someone who appreciates Shakespeare more than our host...

It's funny Ser Harrison of House Casterly, when I first made contact with LmL I quoted him that exact passage from The Tempest...:)

 

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 Bloodraven received his Odin makeover on the bloody grass, in other words, just as Beric speaks of having been born on the bloody grass, and in this way, Bloodraven’s and Beric’s Odin transformations are linked to one another. Blades of grass stained red by blood are of course also suggestive of Lightbringer, the bloody red blade, and this analogy was also implied in that song about “the last of Darry’s ten” that Brienne and Catelyn hear in ACOK, a song about red grass, red banners, a red setting sun, and a thirsty sword.

Nice.  There's also the 'ghost grass' with its milkglass blades (sounds painful since shards of glass can cut) which is set to 'murder all the other grasses.'

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The weirwoodnet is like a sepulcher for greenseers, and like Tristifer’s sepulcher, the faces carved on the weirwoods probably express the likeness of the man (or woman) who’s bones lie beneath the tree and whose spirit lies within… you’ll recall that Theon momentarily perceives the Winterfell heart tree as having Bran’s face, or Jon’s dream of seeing a weirwood with Bran’s face who helps him to open his third eye by poking him in the forehead, just as the Three-Eyed Crow did to Bran.

Great insight!

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That’s the face of the red wanderer, Azor Ahai the horned lord, looking back at us I think.  A former Garth who went into the trees.

Yes, but did he go into the 'weirnet' voluntarily or by force?

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The other thing to note about the idea of Tristifer the hammer dropper trapped in the weirwoodnet is that there is symbolism here which places Jon inside the sepulcher, likening him to King Hammer and Beric and the general idea of Azor Ahai trapped in a weirwood tomb. First, this is the place where Robb has the conversation with Catelyn about making Jon Snow his heir as King in the North – that’s really the primary thing that happens in this scene by Tristifer’s tomb – they talk about Jon Snow.

That's an interesting interpretation.  I read that as Robb being likened to King Hammer and Beric.  Robb and Catelyn intimating their own deaths to come shortly at the Red Wedding.  They can even survey the Twins from the hill on which they're arguing about petty matters.  Well, to be precise, Cat is being petty; Robb is facing his death bravely, making preparations for his succession.

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Second, the “white lichen” on the sepulcher may well be meant to imply the white wolf of that same Lord Snow, because of the potential lichen / lycanthropy wordplay, based on the Greek word for wolf, lukos. Think of the the Underworld movies, where the werwolves are called lycans. The phrase ‘white lichen’ may be meant to suggests a white werewolf, or wolfman, in other words, drawing a parallel between Ghost and the the sepulcher, with both symbolizing weirwood tombs. I should also point out that the word “weir” is very similar to the word were, as in werewolf. The were in werewolf means ‘man’ – so, “man-wolf” – and this would make the trees – the ‘werewoods’ – man-trees. That’s probably something Martin intended, since wolf skinchangers are Martin’s version of werewolves, and greenseers are just skinchanging the weirwoods.

Great wordplay.  Lady is also buried in the lichyard in a grave covered by lichen, so there's a wolf in the tree, and the 'lichen' is the 'weirwood bark' equivalent as you've pointed out!

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A Game of Thrones - Bran VI

When the raven came, bearing a letter marked with Father's own seal and written in Sansa's hand, the cruel truth seemed no less incredible. Bran would never forget the look on Robb's face as he stared at their sister's words. "She says Father conspired at treason with the king's brothers," he read. "King Robert is dead, and Mother and I are summoned to the Red Keep to swear fealty to Joffrey. She says we must be loyal, and when she marries Joffrey she will plead with him to spare our lord father's life." His fingers closed into a fist, crushing Sansa's letter between them. "And she says nothing of Arya, nothing, not so much as a word. Damn her! What's wrong with the girl?"

Bran felt all cold inside. "She lost her wolf," he said, weakly, remembering the day when four of his father's guardsmen had returned from the south with Lady's bones. Summer and Grey Wind and Shaggydog had begun to howl before they crossed the drawbridge, in voices drawn and desolate. Beneath the shadow of the First Keep was an ancient lichyard, its headstones spotted with pale lichen, where the old Kings of Winter had laid their faithful servants. It was there they buried Lady, while her brothers stalked between the graves like restless shadows. She had gone south, and only her bones had returned.

Their grandfather, old Lord Rickard, had gone as well, with his son Brandon who was Father's brother, and two hundred of his best men. None had ever returned. And Father had gone south, with Arya and Sansa, and Jory and Hullen and Fat Tom and the rest, and later Mother and Ser Rodrik had gone, and they hadn't come back either. And now Robb meant to go. Not to King's Landing and not to swear fealty, but to Riverrun, with a sword in his hand. And if their lord father were truly a prisoner, that could mean his death for a certainty. It frightened Bran more than he could say.

 

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The guy buried in the grove of ash – inside the weirwoodnet – is the guy who called down the Hammer of the Waters and the thunderbolt. 

A very important insight.  Who is buried in the 'black gate'?  Is the 'black gate'/Wall equivalent to a 'grove of ash'?

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Let there be no doubt: Azor Ahai is in the weirwoodnet.  This is directly alluded to by Melisandre in ASOS when she is preaching the good word about our lord and savior Azor Ahai reborn:

It is night in your Seven Kingdoms now,” the red woman went on, “but soon the sun will rise again. The war continues, Davos Seaworth, and some will soon learn that even an ember in the ashes can still ignite a great blaze.

An ember in the ashes you say? That’s Azor Ahai, waiting to be reborn from the weirwoodnet.

 

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If you think about it, this is imply saying the same thing we have already concluded – Azor Ahai is the ember in the ash tree, the fire inside the weirwood. He’s the snake under Yggdrasil, he’s the thunderbolt that set the tree on fire. He’s the comet that impregnated the moon. He’s the face on the weirwood tomb, the red wanderer watching us through the branches. The slice of the sun swallowed by the trees, or by the moon. Given what we’ve seen Martin do with the ash tree as a symbol uniting weirwoods and Yggdrasil, can this language about Azor Ahai as an ember in the ashes really be coincidence?

He's the 'fire' in the 'ice'.

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In the last quote, did you notice Drogon’s “long, sinuous neck” coiled under Dany’s chin like a noose? That serves nicely to liken her rebirth and transcendence of death here amidst the ashes to Odin’s hanging on the ash tree

Excellent.  She's chained to her dragon, the way a 'knight of the mind', which includes the maesters and greenseers, is chained to knowledge.  The word 'coiling' is also used for the weirwoods pinioning Bloodraven, linking weirwoods and dragons.

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Mel has red stars in her eyes for much the same reason: because the Nissa Nissa moon swallowed a comet, and Nissa Nissa the woman swallowed Lightbringer the red sword.

That does not sound very savoury!

Using the same logic, why would you say the Others have blue stars for eyes?  If NN swallowed a red sword, what kind of sword did the Others swallow?

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We always see the fiery dancers appear with some kind of weirwood symbolism, and here they are dancing around the embers, almost as if to resurrect them or aid Azor Ahai’s passage into the trees

Perhaps the dance can also signify an escape from the trees, rather than exclusively entry.

For example, we see the Winterfell heart tree brooding on its own reflection in the black pool, which functions as an obsidian scrying mirror (or 'dragonglass sea/see').  The reflection is seen to 'shimmer and dance' -- like 'doing the shimmy', LOL!  The same word 'shimmer' is used to describe the Others.  They are the icy dancers escaped from the weirwood?!

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 I would say that the broken branch generally refers to the idea of Azor Ahai the dead greenseer.

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One last note on the broken branch – it could be a hint about a branching of a family tree, as in the naughty greenseers who split off from the green men to become Azor Ahai people. They would be like the broken branch of the family tree, perhaps.

He might have been a Stark bastard-- as in 'broken branch' of the 'family tree.'  I think he's the one sacrificed at the heart tree by the white-haired lady, the one whose blood Bran can taste as if flowing in his own veins, as Gloubie as posited.  Maybe he's not the naughty one at all; instead of the 'trickster' archetype, maybe he's the 'dupe.'

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Tyrion sees the rising ash coming from the corpse pyres, a depiction of the ash tree growing at the spot that the meteors struck. He looks at the dead causing the ash and smoke and thinks that it was his work. This is essentially like Azor Ahai entering the weirwood after just having broken the moon and reflecting on the nature of his deeds. There’s a funny line where Tyrion thinks to himself: “Why did I kill them all? He had known once, but somehow he had forgotten.” You’d like to think Azor Ahai had a good reason for breaking the moon, but who knows. Maybe he forgot. 

Nothing so earth shattering, I suspect. Going on what I've extrapolated from the Prologue (and @Crowfood's Daughter has intimated re: Grey King vs. Garth the Green being vying brothers) he had a petty grievance towards his brother and wanted to get even or turn the tables --  just like in the Prologue allegory of Will conjuring the Others vs. his 'brother' Waymar.  He just never envisaged how catastrophic the consequences would be, including for him.

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The grey river again makes us think of the river styx, a crossing-over point to the realm of death.  During the Battle of the Blackwater, Davos’s chapter closes with the line “the mouth of the Blackwater Rush had turned into the mouth of hell,” which is about as vivid a depiction of the idea of a river acting as a gateway to hell as you can get. This is a scene we need to revisit when talking about weirwoods as bridges, as the chain boom creating the mouth of hell out of the river mouth is acting like a weir in this scene, catching all the burning ships and burning men.

I like that!

The 'black water' is another example of the 'dragonglass or obsidian sea/see.'

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By the time the song was done, only charwood remained of the gods, and the king’s patience had run its course. He took the queen by the elbow and escorted her back into Dragonstone, leaving Lightbringer where it stood. The red woman remained a moment to watch as Devan knelt with Byren Farring and rolled up the burnt and blackened sword in the king’s leather cloak. The Red Sword of Heroes looks a proper mess, thought Davos.

In his seminal essay, R+L=Lightbringer, Schmendrick pointed out that Lightbringer is being treated like a newborn baby here, looking a bloody mess and being rolled up in a cloak.  It’s cradle was the burning wooden statue of the mother, with her moon-like eyes of pearl, as Stannis first pulled the sword from her chest earlier in the scene. We talked earlier about how these wooden gods symbolize weirwoods by 1.) having begun their life as the masts of Targaryen ships, making them sea dragons, and 2.) by having been transformed into wooden gods with carved faces.  Now they are burning, making them burning tree symbols, a third symbolic representation of the weirwoods.  Stannis pulling the sword from the statue of the mother, therefore, is not also like Azor Ahai pulling Lightbringer from Nissa Nissa’s chest, it’s also very like Sigmund pulling Gram from the Brandstokr tree.

Seminal indeed.  

Seams has also written some good stuff on the 'bundle' -- relating 'bundles' and 'bundling' to babies/weapons and mating/forging respectively.

The god effigies could also be seen as ships' figureheads at the prows of ships, originally live sacrifices tied to the prows in order to propitiate the gods, command the elements, and assure a successful sea voyage.  TWOW:

Spoiler

as Euron does with the priests 

The figureheads are also referred to elsewhere in the text as 'worm-riddled,' connecting the wooden figureheads on a ship's prow (the sea sacrifice) to the greenseers tied to the weirwood, the 'wind-rocked tree' Yggdrasil, according to the 'kenning' (the 'see' sacrifice).

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His own crown consumed his flesh and turned him into ash.

Vital.  it occurs to me that being turned into ash is a bit like being turned into stone or greyscale (like the Pompei people immured in pumice after the volcanic eruption).

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In fact, what happens is that she says “Soon comes the cold, and the night that never ends,” and then she sets the moon down on top of Westeros. That’s how you bring a Long Night alright!

Ha ha.  I can believe that -- GRRM likes depicting these relations graphically, as @cgrav pointed out with Yoren drawing his strategy for crossing the God's Eye with a stick in the sand, emphatically bisecting the God's Eye (was that a 'phi' symbol?)

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The black brothers are the embers in the ashes, which speaks to the last hero’s twelve companions, the original Night’s Watch, who may also be Azor Ahai’s brethren.

I noticed in the Prologue that Waymar's sable cloak was slashed 'a dozen' times by the Other's lightning sword, before he rose again. 'Last hero' math?   Rising after a lightning strike is akin to rising from the ashes.

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One way or another, Stannis is glimpsing the future, essentially, and he’s doing it by looking through the symbolic ash tree that was created in the fire. 

Are you sure this is a future scene?  I thought it was the 'fist of the first men' standoff that already happened.

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 Nissa Nissa moon maidens who seem to transform into symbolic weirwoods in what I am calling “the weirwood stigmata.

Cool title!

5 hours ago, Durran Durrandon said:

I've made several attempts to nut shell  LML. I get the value of brevity, but it's hard.
Here it goes.

At some point something happened that caused the Long Night and messed up the seasons, so something literally happened, but to start it is best to take this all as metaphor.

 

But we're reading a fantasy novel, which privileges the power of 'magical thinking' or what I've termed, borrowing from 'Dune', 'the killing word.'  Some metaphors are bound to be literalised.  I think the seasonal wonkiness is related to someone learning 'the song of stones' and manipulating a celestial body (which is basically a giant stone):

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The World of Ice and Fire - Ancient History: The Dawn Age

Their song and music was said to be as beautiful as they were, but what they sang of is not remembered save in small fragments handed down from ancient days. Maester Childer's Winter's Kings, or the Legends and Lineages of the Starks of Winterfell contains a part of a ballad alleged to tell of the time Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall. He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here. But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from, the sounds they heard every day.

 

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The World of Ice and Fire - Beyond the Free Cities: The Summer Isles

Whilst Jhala, Walano, and Omboru dominate the archipelago, a number of the smaller isles are worthy of mention.

The Singing Stones, west of the main isles, have jagged peaks so riddled with holes and airways that they make a strange music when the wind blows. The people of the Stones can tell which way the wind is blowing from the sound of their song. Whether gods or men taught the stones to sing, no one can say.

Stone Head, the northernmost island in the chain, is plainly the work of men; the north face of this sea-girt rock has been carved in the stern likeness of some forgotten god, glowering out across the sea. His is the last visage that Summer Islanders see as they sail north to Westeros.

(P.S. @LmL, have you seen this quote about the 'singing stones' with carved faces, tying them to the weirwoods as well as possibly the transition between 'fire moon' and 'ice moon' across the sea...)

Note that Bran in one of his dreams refers to the cardinal transgression of being able to understand the 'stone voices':

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A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

Summer followed them up the tower steps as Hodor carried Bran back to his bed. Old Nan was asleep in her chair. Hodor said "Hodor," gathered up his great-grandmother, and carried her off, snoring softly, while Bran lay thinking. Robb had promised that he could feast with the Night's Watch in the Great Hall. "Summer," he called. The wolf bounded up on the bed. Bran hugged him so hard he could feel the hot breath on his cheek. "I can ride now," he whispered to his friend. "We can go hunting in the woods soon, wait and see." After a time he slept.

In his dream he was climbing again, pulling himself up an ancient windowless tower, his fingers forcing themselves between blackened stones, his feet scrabbling for purchase. Higher and higher he climbed, through the clouds and into the night sky, and still the tower rose before him. When he paused to look down, his head swam dizzily and he felt his fingers slipping. Bran cried out and clung for dear life. The earth was a thousand miles beneath him and he could not fly. He could not fly. He waited until his heart had stopped pounding, until he could breathe, and he began to climb again. There was no way to go but up. Far above him, outlined against a vast pale moon, he thought he could see the shapes of gargoyles. His arms were sore and aching, but he dared not rest. He forced himself to climb faster. The gargoyles watched him ascend. Their eyes glowed red as hot coals in a brazier. Perhaps once they had been lions, but now they were twisted and grotesque. Bran could hear them whispering to each other in soft stone voices terrible to hear. He must not listen, he told himself, he must not hear, so long as he did not hear them he was safe. But when the gargoyles pulled themselves loose from the stone and padded down the side of the tower to where Bran clung, he knew he was not safe after all. "I didn't hear," he wept as they came closer and closer, "I didn't, I didn't."

I'm positing that not only did the greenseer hear those voices of stone, he also sang the song of stone, and brought down a rain of falling stones as a result (which may have been an inadvertent side effect of what he was 'really' trying to accomplish).

The 'soft stone voices terrible to hear' are part of the 'terrible knowledge' imparted to him by the 'three-eyed crow' (whoever that is), who similarly also spoke in a strangely soft voice.

1 hour ago, Darry Man said:

This is probably my favorite essay yet. Fantastic. It gets my brain-blood flowing.

At risk of pimping my own writing too much, I can't help but relate this essay to the bit of comparative analysis I just published today on the forums:

 

Here, GRRM is creating a linear parallel between Reek and Jon. Given what you have just published, I cannot help but note that both Moat Cailin and the destroyed Mole's Town are analogous to the burnt weirwood, complete with relative references to ash, embers, a fish inside a dark cave, the living dead, etc.

Perhaps this is also a good time to mention that the word "Cailin" is apparently an old Irish name meaning "young maiden".

 

I read your thread -- excellent observations!  True, the two venues are weirwood symbols, especially represented by the chestnut tree (the watcher guarding the bridge with the raven in its branches) that Jon sees near Mole's Town and the gatehouse tower 'its gnarled limbs festooned with ropy white blankets of ghostskin'.at Moat Cailin.  The weirwood portal motif.  Moat Cailin is located physically at a crossing, i.e. the Neck, hammering home the point.  If you like these parallels, you might enjoy @Wizz-The-Smith's classic 'Hollow Hills' thread.  Mole's Town, Moat Cailin and many other venues are configured as 'hollow hills', which Wizz has linked to greenseeing.  In fact, the weirwood itself is a hollow hill, or passage between worlds, of sorts too!

In terms of the weirwood motif, another reason Reek's trip as a messenger for Ramsay might be contrasted with Jon's is that in future Reek will undergo a further journey, seeking entry at the foot of a weirwood, and be symbolically 'baptised' or 'branded,' as I like to say, by Bran via the heart tree reaching over to open his third eye symbolically (when the five-fingered bloodstained leaf, which is simultaneously a fiery brand, grazes his forehead)-- receiving back his 'godly' name, and becoming Bran's messenger instead.  Thus, in the end Theon becomes 'a well trained raven' for the Starks -- the very thing of which his father accused him, prompting him to betray the Starks in the first place.  

ETA:  there's also the sexual motif with the Mole's Town brothel; @cgrav and I have been discussing Dany's 'red door' or the 'red door' called Melisandre as vaginal portals mediating the death-life transition!  This image is reiterated by the weirwood's mouth.  Take a look at Theon's 'vagina dentata' dream in which the connection between mouth/throat/neck (e.g. Moat Cailin) and vagina (e.g. Mole's Town) is made explicit, when the Miller's wife in his nightmare devours him with teeth at both ends.  

Edited by ravenous reader

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1 hour ago, Darry Man said:

This is probably my favorite essay yet. Fantastic. It gets my brain-blood flowing.

At risk of pimping my own writing too much, I can't help but relate this essay to the bit of comparative analysis I just published today on the forums:

 

Here, GRRM is creating a linear parallel between Reek and Jon. Given what you have just published, I cannot help but note that both Moat Cailin and the destroyed Mole's Town are analogous to the burnt weirwood, complete with relative references to ash, embers, a fish inside a dark cave, the living dead, etc.

Perhaps this is also a good time to mention that the word "Cailin" is apparently an old Irish name meaning "young maiden".

 

Hey Darry Man, you're always more than welcome to post your threads! By all means :) I will go over and have a look alter today.

What makes this one your favorite?

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1 hour ago, ravenous reader said:

 

But we're reading a fantasy novel, which privileges the power of 'magical thinking' or what I've termed, borrowing from 'Dune', 'the killing word.'  Some metaphors are bound to be literalised.  I think the seasonal wonkiness is related to someone learning 'the song of stones' and manipulating a celestial body (which is basically a giant stone):

I'm not disagreeing. My point is that if someone is new to all this, it goes better to focus on the metaphors for a while.

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49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

'Riding the gargoyle...' LOL  I'm glad you're seeing things my way... :P  

Actually, you took it a step further of course...you just had to skinchange the meteor, didn't you -- it wasn't enough for you to skinchange Drogon...:lol:

I was pretty much just teasing the idea here - I couldn't actually refer to it or it would have side-tracked the essay. I have that Stallion Who Mounts essay coming which will be all about flying. This was pretty much just a wink and a nod to you, actually ;)

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Bran and the gargoyles are linked to a 'space' flight, as well as to Will's shenanigans in the Prologue, as I've posited on my 'Killing Word' thread.  Notice how Bran first ascends the sentinel in order to figuratively 'vault' (like the 'vaulting sentinel' in the Prologue) himself into 'space':

ETA: the allusion to blindness is an Odin reference too.

I had also linked that forbidden gargoyle speech with the idea that Bran wasn't supposed to overhear jaime and cersei - it;s the forbidden knowledge idea, it would seam. I love how your killing word idea is bearing so much fruit!

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

She is wailing like a widow and moaning like a nennymoan!

There's an RnB song in here somewhere... How many R Kelly songs can we shoehorn 'Nennymoan' into? I don't see nuthin wrong... with-a-little-Nenny-mo-oan...

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

The top of the First Keep is where Bran was symbolically struck -- and transformed -- by 'lightning'.  

Yeah I thought I made that point...

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Moreover, he not only hangs like a comet, Bran is also the voice who summoned the comet (analogous to Odin hanging himself on the tree to summon the runes):

In my recent 'Dune parlance', Bran is the 'killing word'.

Yeah, had that one saved for when we peak of the horn and sounds that can break a moon :)

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

By the way, do you think it might be significant that Bran is hanging upside down from the gargoyle?  It reminds me of this conjunction in the Tarot:

I had that instinct, knowing nothing of what you posted below beyond a fuzzy recollection of someone being hanged upside down... Odin hangs upside in some accounts, I think... This is all really fascinating. If anything it fits with the idea of self-sacrifice and transcendence, and idea which has been thoroughly reinforced in ASOIAF by now I would say.

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

It might also be worth noting that St Peter the founder of the Roman Catholic church was hanged upside down.  He's the first Pope and first to occupy the chair of the Holy See, which is both a figurative seat as well as a literal one -- in fact, it's an oaken seat, a wooden throne!  (see the 'Chair of St Peter').  Similarly, Bran presides over his own holy 'see' -- representing the expansion/dispersion of power of the greenseer king 'under the sea'.

We should follow up on that. The Gardener Kings are something like the priest kings of Garth Worship, there's a real possibility there is something intentional there. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

You're welcome.  I'm glad you agree with my assessment of Bran, even when you don't always agree with my assessment of Jaime and his 'gender-bending' ways!

I always come around to reason, sometimes I just have to poke and prod the idea for a minute. I'd like to think the fact I can be persuaded on ideas I don't like initially shows I am somewhat open-minded, as I certainly attempt to be so even though obviously it's impossible not to be attached to your own ideas. But I want to get things right, so, you know, I thank everyone for for questioning and testing and all that. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Or, as the unseen actor, the void -- a la Littlefinger.

The Stranger. I believe this is essentially the Night Sun, Lion of Night figure. The Sun's shadow self. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

That's very well said.  That's how I imagine Will the greenseer figure in the prologue summoning the Others (analogous to the comet) with his treacherous whispers.

So -- as I asked you earlier -- is it 'frozen fire' or 'burning ice'?

Well, the burning Nissa Nissa moon is fire associated, as is the sun. I don't think that's an ice and fire deal (think of Jaime and Cersei as fiery twins, sun and fire moon). Now, we have been talking about the comet being white hot and smoking, and comet's are really icy at their core, so perhaps there's an implied icyness / white fire thing with the pre-impact comet. The weirwood represents a burning moon, it's not particularly taken to ice or fire. If I am right in my thinking, the ww can represent either moon, and the ice moon will catch on fire as well. But I am not trying to delineate between moons yet - just trying to show the ww as the eternally burning bush, or as the moon in the moment of incineration. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

The 'red wanderer' or 'thief' is the greenseer -- just like Will in the Prologue caught 'red-handed' on Mallister lands illegally skinning the eagle's buck, watching proceedings through the leaves/needles of the tall sentinel; or Bran intruding on the Lannisters' tryst.

Yep, that seems right...

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Analogously, Rhaegar presenting his 'lance' inserted into the circlet of blue roses to Lyanna.  If the circle of  9 weirwoods is analogous to the crown of the King(s) of Winter, perhaps Rhaegar also literally crowned Lyanna Queen of Winter with the missing crown taken by Aegon off the king who knelt, Torrhen.

That's a good analogy, certainly I take the crown of blue roses as an ice moon symbol. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

This is my original idea, one of my best.  But you're welcome to it!  :kiss:

So, I actually credited you and @Blue Tiger and @Wizz-The-Smith when I first mentioned the wicker basket / Bran / Hodor stuff in A Burning Brandon, that's probably why I did not think to credit you again in this episode. But you guys certainly deserve lots of credit! You have influenced so many of my ideas at this point it's hard to separate - and we are going to basically build you a statue when I finally get to the green see essay. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

I agree, but can't recall the evidence...Where is the moon compared to giants?

In the Mountain vs The Viper essay that you apparently haven't read (busted)

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Nice catch.

In fact, you're in good company -- I think Tolkien thought of it first!

Good observation.

What about the tree with the 'slitted' cat eyes Asha sees?

Oh that's a good one! I def don't feel strongly about no cotf carving faces; more that it wasn't done until the LN events and that they were carved to trap humans or horned humans or whatever.

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

 

You could also say that the tree carved the stones -- the rune stones (that's why Odin hanged there, in order to receive 'poetry'...although I know you find that unbelievable..!). 

That's good.

Another of my original ideas -- just for the record!  ;)

Indeed...another of my brilliant catches :P 

As I said... I gave you (and Wizz and BT, don't forget they had some of those ideas too) when I first raised these in A Burning Brandon. This was basically recap. But it is all quite brilliant, yes! 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Or fire.  The leaves brushing his face is a visual representation of being kissed by fire.

Love it!  Someone who appreciates Shakespeare more than our host...

Yep I thought of you when he gave me that name

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

It's funny Ser Harrison of House Casterly, when I first made contact with LmL I quoted him that exact passage from The Tempest...:)

 

Nice.  There's also the 'ghost grass' with its milkglass blades (sounds painful since shards of glass can cut) which is set to 'murder all the other grasses.'

Yes, the Ghost Grass... like a field of dawn swords. Why do they surround Asshai, I wonder?

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Great insight!

Yes, but did he go into the 'weirnet' voluntarily or by force?

That is a great question, not sure at all about that at this point.

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

That's an interesting interpretation.  I read that as Robb being likened to King Hammer and Beric.  Robb and Catelyn intimating their own deaths to come shortly at the Red Wedding.  They can even survey the Twins from the hill on which they're arguing about petty matters.  Well, to be precise, Cat is being petty; Robb is facing his death bravely, making preparations for his succession.

That's not in conflict; Robb is a King of Winter figure, just like Jon. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Great wordplay.  Lady is also buried in the lichyard in a grave covered by lichen, so there's a wolf in the tree, and the 'lichen' is the 'weirwood bark' equivalent as you've pointed out!

Yeah this wordplay by George is pretty great, and nice addition with the lichyard. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

 

A very important insight.  Who is buried in the 'black gate'?  Is the 'black gate'/Wall equivalent to a 'grove of ash'?

So, I think the burning tree is the entrance, but the person who enters ends up in the ice. So it's the same person. As I have speculated, I am starting to suspect AA or his son became the NK and is now inside the wwnet, and that's where he is making Others from. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

 

He's the 'fire' in the 'ice'.

Yes, that seems solid. (heh heh)

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Excellent.  She's chained to her dragon, the way a 'knight of the mind', which includes the maesters and greenseers, is chained to knowledge.  The word 'coiling' is also used for the weirwoods pinioning Bloodraven, linking weirwoods and dragons.

Nice!

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

That does not sound very savoury!

Using the same logic, why would you say the Others have blue stars for eyes?  If NN swallowed a red sword, what kind of sword did the Others swallow?

So, they are like the ice moon that swallowed the black (frozen fire) meteor, I think, at least as far as the eyes go. Think about the NQ as a cold womb which freezes the NK's seed. The Others (and the ice moon) swallowed frozen fire, or else they froze the fire they swallowed. Or maybe the ice moon got a piece of white comet - but I think the evidecne is that they got a black moon meteor.

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Perhaps the dance can also signify an escape from the trees, rather than exclusively entry.

Certainly!

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

For example, we see the Winterfell heart tree brooding on its own reflection in the black pool, which functions as an obsidian scrying mirror (or 'dragonglass sea/see').  The reflection is seen to 'shimmer and dance' -- like 'doing the shimmy', LOL!  The same word 'shimmer' is used to describe the Others.  They are the icy dancers escaped from the weirwood?!

In some sense, yes, for sure. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

He might have been a Stark bastard-- as in 'broken branch' of the 'family tree.'  I think he's the one sacrificed at the heart tree by the white-haired lady, the one whose blood Bran can taste as if flowing in his own veins, as Gloubie as posited.  Maybe he's not the naughty one at all; instead of the 'trickster' archetype, maybe he's the 'dupe.'

Yes, this makes a certain amount of sense. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Nothing so earth shattering, I suspect. Going on what I've extrapolated from the Prologue (and @Crowfood's Daughter has intimated re: Grey King vs. Garth the Green being vying brothers) he had a petty grievance towards his brother and wanted to get even or turn the tables --  just like in the Prologue allegory of Will conjuring the Others vs. his 'brother' Waymar.  He just never envisaged how catastrophic the consequences would be, including for him.

You might be over-extrapolating from the prologue, but I will keep that in mind. I do think thee were a certain amount of unintended consequences, yes. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

I like that!

The 'black water' is another example of the 'dragonglass or obsidian sea/see.'

Most definitely. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Seminal indeed.  

heh heh heh

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Seams has also written some good stuff on the 'bundle' -- relating 'bundles' and 'bundling' to babies/weapons and mating/forging respectively.

The god effigies could also be seen as ships' figureheads at the prows of ships, originally live sacrifices tied to the prows in order to propitiate the gods, command the elements, and assure a successful sea voyage.  TWOW:

  Reveal hidden contents

as Euron does with the priests 

The figureheads are also referred to elsewhere in the text as 'worm-riddled,' connecting the wooden figureheads on a ship's prow (the sea sacrifice) to the greenseers tied to the weirwood, the 'wind-rocked tree' Yggdrasil, according to the 'kenning' (the 'see' sacrifice).

Vital.  it occurs to me that being turned into ash is a bit like being turned into stone or greyscale (like the Pompei people immured in pumice after the volcanic eruption).

Ha ha.  I can believe that -- GRRM likes depicting these relations graphically, as @cgrav pointed out with Yoren drawing his strategy for crossing the God's Eye with a stick in the sand, emphatically bisecting the God's Eye (was that a 'phi' symbol?)

Yeah a lot of people liked that one it seems, it's so literal!

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

I noticed in the Prologue that Waymar's sable cloak was slashed 'a dozen' times by the Other's lightning sword, before he rose again. 'Last hero' math?   Rising after a lightning strike is akin to rising from the ashes.

Yes, Waymar figures as a LH type, so I am inclined to see those dozen wounds as LH math; the 13th wound would be the one in his eye.

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Are you sure this is a future scene?  I thought it was the 'fist of the first men' standoff that already happened.

I did not mean so literally. I meant he's looking ahead to the great battle. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Cool title!

Yeah it suddenly dawned on me that it was sitting right there!

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

But we're reading a fantasy novel, which privileges the power of 'magical thinking' or what I've termed, borrowing from 'Dune', 'the killing word.'  Some metaphors are bound to be literalised.  I think the seasonal wonkiness is related to someone learning 'the song of stones' and manipulating a celestial body (which is basically a giant stone):

 

(P.S. @LmL, have you seen this quote about the 'singing stones' with carved faces, tying them to the weirwoods as well as possibly the transition between 'fire moon' and 'ice moon' across the sea...)

Yes, a long time ago. I like how you've linked it though. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Note that Bran in one of his dreams refers to the cardinal transgression of being able to understand the 'stone voices':

I'm positing that not only did the greenseer hear those voices of stone, he also sang the song of stone, and brought down a rain of falling stones as a result (which may have been an inadvertent side effect of what he was 'really' trying to accomplish).

The 'soft stone voices terrible to hear' are part of the 'terrible knowledge' imparted to him by the 'three-eyed crow' (whoever that is), who similarly also spoke in a strangely soft voice.

That's cool, linking the song of stones to the gargoyles. 

49 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

I read your thread -- excellent observations!  True, the two venues are weirwood symbols, especially represented by the chestnut tree (the watcher guarding the bridge with the raven in its branches) that Jon sees near Mole's Town and the gatehouse tower 'its gnarled limbs festooned with ropy white blankets of ghostskin'.at Moat Cailin.  The weirwood portal motif.  Moat Cailin is located physically at a crossing, i.e. the Neck, hammering home the point.  If you like these parallels, you might enjoy @Wizz-The-Smith's classic 'Hollow Hills' thread.  Mole's Town, Moat Cailin and many other venues are configured as 'hollow hills', which Wizz has linked to greenseeing.  In fact, the weirwood itself is a hollow hill, or passage between worlds, of sorts too!

In terms of the weirwood motif, another reason Reek's trip as a messenger for Ramsay might be contrasted with Jon's is that in future Reek will undergo a further journey, seeking entry at the foot of a weirwood, and be symbolically 'baptised' or 'branded,' as I like to say, by Bran via the heart tree reaching over to open his third eye symbolically (when the five-fingered bloodstained leaf, which is simultaneously a fiery brand, grazes his forehead)-- receiving back his 'godly' name, and becoming Bran's messenger instead.  Thus, in the end Theon becomes 'a well trained raven' for the Starks -- the very thing of which his father accused him, prompting him to betray the Starks in the first place.  

ETA:  there's also the sexual motif with the Mole's Town brothel; @cgrav and I have been discussing Dany's 'red door' or the 'red door' called Melisandre as vaginal portals mediating the death-life transition!  This image is reiterated by the weirwood's mouth.  Take a look at Theon's 'vagina dentata' dream in which the connection between mouth/throat/neck (e.g. Moat Cailin) and vagina (e.g. Mole's Town) is made explicit, when the Miller's wife in his nightmare devours him with teeth at both ends.  

 

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8 minutes ago, Durran Durrandon said:

I'm not disagreeing. My point is that if someone is new to all this, it goes better to focus on the metaphors for a while.

Yes, I agree with that, that's what I always start with. I have to remind myself to occasionally say what I think it means for the actual story! I've heard some people are into that, lol. RR's point is important too - because this is fantasy and not real world myth, the metaphors come alive. As above, so below, taken another level. 

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3 hours ago, LmL said:

Hey Darry Man, you're always more than welcome to post your threads! By all means :) I will go over and have a look alter today.

What makes this one your favorite?

The connection between fire and weirwoods is becoming more clear, which was something I was struggling with for a little while now. For example, while lightning/hammer symbolism was apparent, having a concrete hypothesis on how these transform (ie ground zero) brings further plausibility to their actual purpose. 

That, and the fact that I'm starting to grasp these concepts more easily through reading these forums and trying to contribute my own thoughts. I was writing about a couple of dark caves mimicking a weirwood cavern, and lo! LmL produces an essay explaining this. This educational development makes these essays much more enjoyable. 

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16 minutes ago, Darry Man said:

The connection between fire and weirwoods is becoming more clear, which was something I was struggling with for a little while now. For example, while lightning/hammer symbolism was apparent, having a concrete hypothesis on how these transform (ie ground zero) brings further plausibility to their actual purpose. 

That, and the fact that I'm starting to grasp these concepts more easily through reading these forums and trying to contribute my own thoughts. I was writing about a couple of dark caves mimicking a weirwood cavern, and lo! LmL produces an essay explaining this. This educational development makes these essays much more enjoyable. 

That's awesome to hear, and make sure you read @Wizz-The-Smith's Hollow Hills essay!

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22 hours ago, LmL said:

What did you think of the Tristifer stuff and the white lichen / lycan thing? I thought that was amusing. I also can't quite get over the eyeless Garth head on an ash wood spear, that's got to be one of my favorite symbols. I almost sidetracked into talking about Garth Greybeard, a Gardener King of the Reach, because Highgarden has that maze made from hedges which is also called a labyrinth (like the stone tree maze of WF is called a labyrinth).

White lichen being a reference to a white werewolf is as high on the list of clever wordplays as any so far.  I am inclined to believe it is an intentional reference to Jon because the wild roses bring to mind Lyanna and @ravenous reader pointing out that is in in the yard Lady is buried in.  The intersection of Odin myth and lycanthropy myth is of course the berserkers.  They wear animal skins or fight bare-chested trusting Odin to protect them in battle.  They thought they were immune to edged weapons and fire because Odin would use his rune powers mentioned in the Havamal.   A ton of people have picked up on the fact that Jon seems to be one with his occasional sudden outbursts of rage and strength, but I am recently seeing them everywhere.  I just learned that Kings guard and Queens guard are the actual names of those red coat wearing soldiers in London that protect Buckingham palace.  I am probably the last person on the forums to learn this, but there is more to it.  Those tall hats they wear are bearskin, and some people think it is part of a very old tradition going back to bearskin wearing elite berserker troops that served kings.  Not sure if it is true or not, but GRRM is sure using it.  Dany's early protectors are all either bears or bare skinned.  The three animal associated with them are the bear, wolf, and boar.  The night's watch is led by a bear succeeded by a wolf establishing the Night's watch further as the warriors of the greenseers.  I see a lot of the duels in the story as involing one or two individuals with berserker symbolism.  I also wonder if we are supposed to think of Dany being immune to fire briefly and Jon coming back from being stabbed to berserker's immunity to fire and blades.

 

The rest of the items you list here have me thinking of the three sisters in Highgarden.  Do you think they could be showing us the three heads of the dragon falling into the WWnet and combining to an extent?  That seems like something that is likely to have happened but only partially.  I do not buy the whole, nothing of the man survives after death idea.  I have never seen it discussed.  I am not sure if this is heresy or a common belief, but since you are timeline altering heretic you may agree.  

 

 
Quote

 

"They say you forget," Haggon had told him, a few weeks before his own death. "When the man's flesh dies, his spirit lives on inside the beast, but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains."
Varamyr knew the truth of that. When he claimed the eagle that had been Orell's, he could feel the other skinchanger raging at his presence.

 

 
 
This seems like a time to listen to Syrio and see for ourselves.  It looks like we are being told one thing and seeing the exact opposite.  If nothing of the man survives shouldn't he think "I took his eagle and felt nothing of him" instead of feeling him strongly?  I know Orell has not been dead long here, but Haggon has and he is whispering in Varamyr's ear throughout the whole chapter.  The remaining soul may even be symbolized by an ember in the ashes as this chapter starts out with Varamyr's literal fire burning out before he tries to symbolically relight it by stealing Thistle's body and eventually landing in a wolf.   
 
@ravenous reader, Odin does not gain poetry when he hangs from the world tree to learns runes.  He becomes a scholar and a poet when he steals the mead of poetry.  That is a story dripping with ASoIaF I have never seen mentioned.  Odin uses trickery to sneak into a hole in a mountain before seducing the Giant's daughter, whose job it is to guard the mead, like Lann the clever.  The mead itself is a great fire of the god's symbol that is stolen.  It is made of honey and the blood of a god who has all the knowledge to answer any question.  It appears to be the inspiration of Jojen paste.
 
Quote

It had a bitter taste, though not so bitter as acorn paste. The first spoonful was the hardest to get down. He almost retched it right back up. The second tasted better. The third was almost sweet. The rest he spooned up eagerly. Why had he thought that it was bitter? It tasted of honey, of new-fallen snow, of pepper and cinnamon and the last kiss his mother ever gave him. The empty bowl slipped from his fingers and clattered on the cavern floor. "I don't feel any different. What happens next?"  

    

The first thing Bran mentions that it does taste like is honey.  

 

There are at least two versions of the story, this is a translation from the havamal version...

 

Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat,
Poured me precious mead:
Ill reward she had from me for that,
For her proud and passionate heart,
Her brooding foreboding spirit.
What I won from her I have well used:
I have waxed in wisdom since I came back,
bringing to Asgard Odhroerir,
the sacred draught.
Hardly would I have come home alive
From the garth of the grim troll,
Had Gunnlod not helped me, the good woman,
Who wrapped her arms around me.
 
In this version the Giant's daugther helped Odin steal the fire of the god's after being seduced, then helped him escape a Garth, and Odin refers to her as the good woman who wrapped her arms around her like Durran being protected by Elenei.  5 years ago this could have been a really useful find.  All I learned that I can use at this moment is that a garth is not just a wooden fish trap/dam.  It is usually an open yard or room surrounded by cloisters as in a religious structure.  In this sense the godswoods could all be garths.    

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Unchained said:

 It is usually an open yard or room surrounded by cloisters as in a religious structure.  In this sense the godswoods could all be garths.    

Yes, I plan on talking about this - someone showed me that a few weeks ago, I forget who. Might have been you. But yes, the godswoods are garths, and the weirs are garth trees. 

 

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29 minutes ago, Unchained said:

Odin does not gain poetry when he hangs from the world tree to learns runes.  He becomes a scholar and a poet when he steals the mead of poetry.

Now you are being pedantic!  Once one has language, one has poetry.

But I understand they are separate stories.

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16 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Now you are being pedantic!  Once one has language, one has poetry.

But I understand they are separate stories.

You're drunk on the mead of poetry if anyone is... and that's a high compliment of course. ;)  Still, drunk. 

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