HammerTron

Numbers and their significance in the story

11 posts in this topic

I've noticed that numbers have been mentioned many times throughout the story.

Some of these are pretty obvious.

7:

The new gods: the seven.

There are 7 kingsguard.

Renly also had 7 kingsguard who wore armor based on the seven colors of the rainbow.

There are 7 main kingdoms in Westeros.

There were 7 kids in the Stark household: Bran, Rickon, Jon, Arya, Sansa, Robb, and Theon.

3.

There is a 3 headed dragon representing the original 3 dragons and the first king Aegon the Conqueror.

Dany has 3 dragons.

There were 3 children in Tywin's family: Cercei, Jamie, and Tyrion.

Cercei's 3 children are Joffrey, Tommen, and Mycella.

3 Tully children: Edmure, Katelyn, and Lyssa.

 

I wonder if there are other deeper meanings to those numbers.

 

Some other numbers that are mentioned more than once.

The Wall is 700 feet tall and 300 miles long.

There are 77 guests at Joffrey's wedding.

There are 79 sentinels in the wall near Nightfort.

There is one fire god: R'ehlor.

there are 20: castles along the wall.

9 was mentioned during a battle when wildlings attacked Castle Black.  The first 3 landings of the wooden staircase were mentioned as well as the nineth.

There are 9 free cities.

The Mountain is 8 feet tall.

Were there 9 spikes on the crown that Robb wore?

 

There might be more numbers that I'm not remembering at the moment.

7 and 3 seem to be pretty significant so far.

 

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Posted (edited)

Three Baratheon brothers.

Three Martell children.

Seven children being raised in Eddard Stark's household, if you include Theon.

Also, the Greyjoys, Tyrells, and Starks all had a family unit which was comprised of three sons and a daughter. And all three of the youngest sons, either voluntarily or against their will, were unable to produce children and possible heirs (Benjen at the Wall, Loras in the Kingsguard, and Theon castrated)

Edited by Canon Claude

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There have been several groups of seven:

Seven men in Ned's party at the ToJ.  Fighting 3 Kingsguard.

Seven men in the party that brought Jon back to Castle Black after he attempted to desert..

Seven men in the group Brienne takes on at the orphanage.

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Craster has 19 daughters and the Night's Watch has 19 forts. 

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21 hours ago, HammerTron said:

 

7 and 3 seem to be pretty significant so far.

 

You realize that 3 and 7 are pretty much the most culturally important numbers in Western society, right?

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Posted (edited)

On 2017-04-21 at 2:30 AM, HammerTron said:

Were there 9 spikes on the crown that Robb wore?

The crown of the Kings of Winterfell has 9 iron spikes in the shape of swords and Jon takes his oath of the NW at a grove of 9 weirwood trees standing in a circle.

Edited by LynnS

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11 hours ago, Orphalesion said:

You realize that 3 and 7 are pretty much the most culturally important numbers in Western society, right?

Apart from the Holy Trinity, the 3 elf rings and 7 dwarf rings in Middle Earth, the Seven Deadly Sins, and maybe The Magnificent Seven, what else is there? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm curious.

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16 minutes ago, Canon Claude said:

Apart from the Holy Trinity, the 3 elf rings and 7 dwarf rings in Middle Earth, the Seven Deadly Sins, and maybe The Magnificent Seven, what else is there? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm curious.

3: The Christian holy trinity, the classical motive of the three brothers/three sisters in fairy tales, the three estates for Medieval society, the various Roman Trinities (the Archaic one, the Capitol one...and the one with Ceres, Liber and Libera, forgot what it was called) the Three Moroi/Fates the Three Magi, the whole butt-load of Greek trinities of minor gods and monsters (at one point they had eveything in threes; three Charites, three Moroi, three Harpies, three Sirens, three Gorgons, three Grae, the Three Judges in the Underworld etc. and Cerberus' three heads) The three baleful moons of Levantine origin.

Three months to each season, three worlds (Celestial, Terrestrial, Infernal/Chtonic)with their respective gods, the three bodies/identities of Hecate (who, as some philosophers said is Selene in the aether, Artemis on earth and Persephone in Hades), three witches in McBeth. Past, Present, Future. Three wishes from a jinn/good fairy. The Talmud (I think) concept of  seperating the natural world into Earth/Water/Sky with their respective kingly beasts (Behemoth/Leviathan/Ziz) For a time ancient Greeks had three seasons (Spring,Summer,Winter) The probably, proto-Germanic Trinity of Wodanaz, Teiwaz and Thunraz.. Christ rose after three days, Christ was denied by Peter three times.  Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma in Hinduism, three Archangels (after some traditions)  The biblical concept of the three pillars of the human mind: Faith, Hope, Love. The concept of the primary colours and three secondary colours. Three Musketeers. The concept of a bond of deep, non dividable  riendship between three people, the three kinds of love in Greek philosophy, the three castes of Plato's perfect state I can go on and can get increasingly obscure.

3 is an important and significant number since earliest Greek antiquity. For long the Greeks also held the triangle as a very important shape, because it matched their ideals of aesthetic and perfection.

7: Seven years of apprenticeship, seven celestial spheres (the Seventh Heaven isn't something GRRM invented), the fairy tale concept of being stolen for seven years, seven seas , the seven classical planets (5 modern ones +Sun/Moon) the seven deadly sins of Christianity (and more seldom, seven cardinal virtues), Rome's seven hills, seven days in a week, the seven colour spectrum (the guy who discovered it even made up Indigo so that it would fit the perfect number seven) Seven Arcangels (after other traditions) the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the seven Notes in the diatonic scale, the seven catholic sacraments. The catholic concept of the seven sufferings of Virgin Mary, After Seven years ancient Hebrews had to release their Slaves. The world was created in seven days, seven plagues of Egypt, the seven churches in Revelations, the book with the seven seals in revelations, the various sets of seven supernatural rivers that crops up in mythologies (the seven rivers of the Underworld, the seven rivers of Paradise etc.)

Seven chakras, the idea of a seventh son of a seventh son being able to see supernatural creatures. Seven Ravens, Seven Dwarf living beyond seven mountains, the biblical concept of seventy times seven and Cain getting avenged sevenfold. Some Greek philosophy portioned the human live into equal parts of seven years each, the seven liberal arts, the sven candles of the Menorah, the Seven against Thebes, seven years of ill luck after breaking a mirror (followed by seven years of good luck) The Lucky Seven in general. Here I can go on as well

Like three seven gained importance in Antiquity. As I said above the Greeks really liked the triangle and they also like the square. So 3 and 4 were just awesome in their opinion (also symbolizing the three parts of cosmos and the Four Elements) and what do you get if you combine 3 and 4? 7! So seven was not only seen as the most perfect number there is by the Greek philosophers it also became a number symbolising the cosmos (three parts of the world + the four elements the world is made of)

Late the Christians adopted that by saying "The Three parts of the Divine Trinity + the Four Elements of the Physical World =the Universe".

If you want to count Tolkien's universe as well,  there's the Three Clans of the Elves, the three kindreds of Elf-Friends that entered Beleriand, the three Silmarils, the three original tribes of Hobbits, The Three Ages the sotry spans from creation to the destruction of the Ring, the Three stores of untainted light Varda kept in some versions, the three sons of Finwe (and in turn the three royal lines of the Noldor, because the two daughters don't count apparently)  the three Kinslayings of Elf against Elf...

The seven Valar and the seven Valier, the seven clans of the Dwarves, the Seven names of Gondolin, "Seven Stones and Seven Stars and one White Tree" the Seven Levels of Minas Tirith, the metaphorical seven crowns Saurman speaks of,,,,

So there's very good reasons GRRM uses those numbers frequently, prominently and repeatedly, because they have great cultural significance, which helps making Westeros feel real and familiar to us despite its made up history and its fantastical elements.  

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I see two numbers having significance.  3 and 7.

The number 7 is prominent in the story but I do not see it having a deeper meaning beyond itself.  The number of the Kingsguard and the Faith of the Seven are related.  The number of kingdoms however is not really accurate. 

Three is very important because it is significant to the main character. 

Child of Three = Daenerys of House Targaryen, the Three-Headed Dragon.

The Three-Headed Dragon is both a person and a house.  Daenerys and House Targaryen.  House Targaryen was founded on Visenya, Aegon, and Rhaenys.  Daenerys is Aegon and she has three dragons.  The banner of the House is a three-headed dragon.

Three handmaids and three Bloodriders. 

Three slave cities:  Astapor, Yunkai, Meereen.

Three people, her subjects in the west.  The Andals, Rhoynar, First Men.

Three marriages.  Two will fail, one will be successful.

Three treasons that result in executions.  Three people burned at the stake for their betrayal.  Results are dragons, the second may be  krakens, the last may bring back Rhaego from death.  The krakens are needed to get rid of the "dead things in the water" and obviously the dragons are needed to burn away the walking dead.  Rhaego will be reborn as the one "to love" after she burns the last traitor.

There's also a thematic element to the number as it relates to people who have bonded themselves to Dany.  Jorah has two failed loves under his belt.  So does Tyrion.  Maybe these two lost men will find redemption and love the third time around.  The true love, the one they can dedicate their lives to in Daenerys.

 

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Wow. This is all really interesting. I will have to come back and read more when I have a little more time. 

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63 (and 163) have stuck out to me a few times.

In ADWD, Reek II, Theon manipulates the 63 surviving Ironborn to leave Moat Cailin.

In ADWD, Jon V (the very next chapter), Jon collects 63 new recruits for the Watch in Mole's Town.

In ASOS, Daenerys finds 163 children nailed on posts on her way to Meereen, and executes 163 noble Meereenese in the same way.

No idea what this means, perhaps the numbers are just meant to show parallels.

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