hiemal

Cheating at Death: Re-examining Jaqen's Bargain

69 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

Exactly, but with the Old Gods there is a reliance on both ancestors (who go into the tree) and a physical place (for your tree to go)... given that Braavos was founded by essentially a group of refugees from many places (places in Essos), it's possible that their trees were cut down or burned... which would contribute to a death focused religion. Unless of course there ends up being a weirwood under the house of white and black... but i suspect Braavos's nature as an island city and bastard daughter of Valyria coincides with some Westerosi influence accounting for the Weirwoods.

With Weirwoods being so intrinsically tied with Westeros, and rarely appearing outside of the North, makes it hard for me to believe there isn't a greater connection.

My own tinfoil is that the weirwoods of Essos have all been either cut down or corrupted into Shade of the Evening. Black and White refers to the Moon and its phases (Many Faces).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, White Ravens said:

Jaqen invoking the Red God is an intriguing twist.  My first thought was that Jaqen H'ghar was simply being in character but a quick look into Lorathi culture doesn't suggest that the Red God is worshiped in Lorath.  It may be that he saw some qualities in Arya that he thought might make her a good recruit into the cult of the Faceless Men.  Perhaps he wanted to study what she would do with his offer of three lives of her choosing in exchange for the three lives she saved and simply invoked the Red God because she would have heard of it and she saved Jaqen, Rorge and Biter from fire.  Most of what we know about the Faceless Men has been revealed through Arya's chapters but we really don't know much about how their more senior or high ranking agents behave when on assignment.

I think it is quite possible that he was truly a follower of the Red God and that he believe that he had to at least make an attempt to even the scales with regard to the deaths that the Red God was cheated of.  Hence his offer to Arya.

Given that the FM do not normally use females or children (the Kindly Man was reluctant to train her on both counts, if I recall correctly), I doubt he was assessing her as potential FM material.  If he had been, I would have expected him to test her ability or willingness to kill personally, which is a much different matter than simply asking someone else to do it for you.  It is also useful to remember that when he gave her the coin, he knew her identity and that she was determined to reunite with her family, making it unlikely that she would ever show up in Braavos.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, hiemal said:

My own tinfoil is that the weirwoods of Essos have all been either cut down or corrupted into Shade of the Evening. Black and White refers to the Moon and its phases (Many Faces).

This is interesting.  The moon phases are represented on the doors of the HoB&W and in the meeting chamber on the chairs.  I'm reminded of the prophesy:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Davos I

"Being a hero, it was not for him to shrug and go in search of excellent grapes such as these, so again he began. The second time it took him fifty days and fifty nights, and this sword seemed even finer than the first. Azor Ahai captured a lion, to temper the blade by plunging it through the beast's red heart, but once more the steel shattered and split. Great was his woe and great was his sorrow then, for he knew what he must do.

"A hundred days and a hundred nights he labored on the third blade, and as it glowed white-hot in the sacred fires, he summoned his wife. 'Nissa Nissa,' he said to her, for that was her name, 'bare your breast, and know that I love you best of all that is in this world.' She did this thing, why I cannot say, and Azor Ahai thrust the smoking sword through her living heart. It is said that her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon, but her blood and her soul and her strength and her courage all went into the steel. Such is the tale of the forging of Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes. 

"Now do you see my meaning? Be glad that it is just a burnt sword that His Grace pulled from that fire. Too much light can hurt the eyes, my friend, and fire burns." Salladhor Saan finished the last grape and smacked his lips. "When do you think the king will bid us sail, good ser?"

 

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Arya I

"Valar dohaeris." He pushed off with his oar and drifted back off into the deeper water. Arya watched him row back the way they'd come, until he vanished in the shadows of the bridge. As the swish of oars faded, she could almost hear the beating of her heart. Suddenly she was somewhere else . . . back in Harrenhal with Gendry, maybe, or with the Hound in the woods along the Trident. Salty is a stupid child, she told herself. I am a wolf, and will not be afraid. She patted Needle's hilt for luck and plunged into the shadows, taking the steps two at a time so no one could ever say she'd been afraid.

At the top she found a set of carved wooden doors twelve feet high. The left-hand door was made of weirwood pale as bone, the right of gleaming ebony. In their center was a carved moon face; ebony on the weirwood side, weirwood on the ebony. The look of it reminded her somehow of the heart tree in the godswood at Winterfell. The doors are watching me, she thought. She pushed upon both doors at once with the flat of her gloved hands, but neither one would budge. Locked and barred. "Let me in, you stupid," she said. "I crossed the narrow sea." She made a fist and pounded. "Jaqen told me to come. I have the iron coin." She pulled it from her pouch and held it up. "See? Valar morghulis."

The doors made no reply, except to open.

A Dance with Dragons - The Ugly Little Girl

Eleven servants of the Many-Faced God gathered that night beneath the temple, more than she had ever seen together at one time. Only the lordling and the fat fellow arrived by the front door; the rest came by secret ways, through tunnels and hidden passages. They wore their robes of black and white, but as they took their seats each man pulled his cowl down to show the face he had chosen to wear that day. Their tall chairs were carved of ebony and weirwood, like the doors of the temple above. The ebon chairs had weirwood faces on their backs, the weirwood chairs faces of carved ebony.

The half-moons on the doors seem to represent the crack on the face of the moon; the chairs representing full moons and new moons with black and white weirwood faces.   

- ebony chairs with white weirwood faces

- the weirwood chairs with ebony faces

The doors of the House of Black and White are represented in the House of the Undying as well, without the moon but with entry through a moon door.
 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

"When you come to the chamber of the Undying, be patient. Our little lives are no more than a flicker of a moth's wing to them. Listen well, and write each word upon your heart."

When they reached the door—a tall oval mouth, set in a wall fashioned in the likeness of a human face—the smallest dwarf Dany had ever seen was waiting on the threshold. He stood no higher than her knee, his faced pinched and pointed, snoutish, but he was dressed in delicate livery of purple and blue, and his tiny pink hands held a silver tray. Upon it rested a slender crystal glass filled with a thick blue liquid: shade of the evening, the wine of warlocks. "Take and drink," urged Pyat Pree.

"Will it turn my lips blue?"

Dany initially enters the white moon door on the black tower. Once inside, she is offered the opposite door:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

She flung herself through. Beyond was another small room with four doors. To the right she went, and to the right, and to the right, and to the right, and to the right, and to the right, and to the right, until she was dizzy and out of breath once more.

When she stopped, she found herself in yet another dank stone chamber . . . but this time the door opposite was round, shaped like an open mouth, and Pyat Pree stood outside in the grass beneath the trees. "Can it be that the Undying are done with you so soon?" he asked in disbelief when he saw her.

"So soon?" she said, confused. "I've walked for hours, and still not found them."

She arrives at the doors of HoB&W and waiting beyond is the splendor of wizards:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

Dany left him behind, entering a stairwell. She began to climb. Before long her legs were aching. She recalled that the House of the Undying Ones had seemed to have no towers.

Finally the stair opened. To her right, a set of wide wooden doors had been thrown open. They were fashioned of ebony and weirwood, the black and white grains swirling and twisting in strange interwoven patterns. They were very beautiful, yet somehow frightening. The blood of the dragon must not be afraid. Dany said a quick prayer, begging the Warrior for courage and the Dothraki horse god for strength. She made herself walk forward.

Beyond the doors was a great hall and a splendor of wizards. Some wore sumptuous robes of ermine, ruby velvet, and cloth of gold. Others fancied elaborate armor studded with gemstones, or tall pointed hats speckled with stars. There were women among them, dressed in gowns of surpassing loveliness. Shafts of sunlight slanted through windows of stained glass, and the air was alive with the most beautiful music she had ever heard.

Dany has not yet arrived at the inner sanctum but is presented with a glamor and a temptation.  The Faceless Men seem connected to the wizards of Qaarth.  The House of Undying seems connected to the Wall and the Black Gate.

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

The well grew darker and colder with every turn. When Bran finally lifted his head around to look back up the shaft, the top of the well was no bigger than a half-moon. "Hodor," Hodor whispered, "Hodorhodorhodorhodorhodorhodor," the well whispered back. The water sounds were close, but when Bran peered down he saw only blackness.

A turn or two later Sam stopped suddenly. He was a quarter of the way around the well from Bran and Hodor and six feet farther down, yet Bran could barely see him. He could see the door, though. The Black Gate, Sam had called it, but it wasn't black at all.

It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.

 

A white moon face is represented on an ebony chair in the HoB&W; thus the gate is black.  It's also a ghost face hung on a wall. 

When Dany arrives in the inner sanctum she sees two figures seated:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

Doubt seized her. The great door was so heavy it took all of Dany's strength to budge it, but finally it began to move. Behind was another door, hidden. It was old grey wood, splintery and plain . . . but it stood to the right of the door through which she'd entered. The wizards were beckoning her with voices sweeter than song. She ran from them, Drogon flying back down to her. Through the narrow door she passed, into a chamber awash in gloom.

A long stone table filled this room. Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light. The figures around the table were no more than blue shadows. As Dany walked to the empty chair at the foot of the table, they did not stir, nor speak, nor turn to face her. There was no sound but the slow, deep beat of the rotting heart.

. . . mother of dragons . . . came a voice, part whisper and part moan . . . dragons . . . drag-

ons . . . dragons . . . other voices echoed in the gloom. Some were male and some female. One spoke with the timbre of a child. The floating heart pulsed from dimness to darkness. It was hard to summon the will to speak, to recall the words she had practiced so assiduously. "I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros." Do they hear me? Why don't they move? She sat, folding her hands in her lap. "Grant me your counsel, and speak to me with the wisdom of those who have conquered death."

Through the indigo murk, she could make out the wizened features of the Undying One to her right, an old old man, wrinkled and hairless. His flesh was a ripe violet-blue, his lips and nails bluer still, so dark they were almost black. Even the whites of his eyes were blue. They stared unseeing at the ancient woman on the opposite side of the table, whose gown of pale silk had rotted on her body. One withered breast was left bare in the Qartheen manner, to show a pointed blue nipple hard as leather.

The ancient man staring unseeing and the Black Gate:

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

A glow came from the wood, like milk and moonlight, so faint it scarcely seemed to touch anything beyond the door itself, not even Sam standing right before it. The face was old and pale, wrinkled and shrunken. It looks dead. Its mouth was closed, and its eyes; its cheeks were sunken, its brow withered, its chin sagging. If a man could live for a thousand years and never die but just grow older, his face might come to look like that.

The door opened its eyes.

They were white too, and blind. "Who are you?" the door asked, and the well whispered, "Who-who-who-who-who-who-who."

At it's core the blue heart is rotten and corrupt: 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Daenerys IV

Doubt seized her. The great door was so heavy it took all of Dany's strength to budge it, but finally it began to move. Behind was another door, hidden. It was old grey wood, splintery and plain . . . but it stood to the right of the door through which she'd entered. The wizards were beckoning her with voices sweeter than song. She ran from them, Drogon flying back down to her. Through the narrow door she passed, into a chamber awash in gloom.

A long stone table filled this room. Above it floated a human heart, swollen and blue with corruption, yet still alive. It beat, a deep ponderous throb of sound, and each pulse sent out a wash of indigo light. The figures around the table were no more than blue shadows. As Dany walked to the empty chair at the foot of the table, they did not stir, nor speak, nor turn to face her. There was no sound but the slow, deep beat of the rotting heart.

The ancient whom Dany is meant to replace can no longer feed the fire that has burned down to cold flame.  The Black Gate is connected to a weirwood tree that must also be fed to keep alive and I suspect the heart of this tree is old and corrupt.   The only tree that could fit the description; is Whitetree directly north of the Black Gate. 

How are the Faceless Men involved with this tree and the creation of the Black Gate or the ancient living man entombed on a weirwood throne? Who is the man and why does he shed a tear for Bran?

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is one other depiction of a weirwood that is anomalous and unique and first makes an appearance at the Tourney at Harrehal:
 

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Bran II

Bran nodded sagely. Mystery knights would oft appear at tourneys, with helms concealing their faces, and shields that were either blank or bore some strange device. Sometimes they were famous champions in disguise. The Dragonknight once won a tourney as the Knight of Tears, so he could name his sister the queen of love and beauty in place of the king's mistress. And Barristan the Bold twice donned a mystery knight's armor, the first time when he was only ten. "It was the little crannogman, I bet."

"No one knew," said Meera, "but the mystery knight was short of stature, and clad in ill-fitting armor made up of bits and pieces. The device upon his shield was a heart tree of the old gods, a white weirwood with a laughing red face."

 

A red face is unusuall for a weirwood since most carved faces include only eyes and a mouth.  This weirwood face is completely red.  Which calls to mind the pact; where trees were given a face.   Sticky red sap representing blood, the binder, in preparation of receiving the gift of another face.  Bran also appears to Theon as the weirwood with a red face and the knowing red eyes:

Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - A Ghost in Winterfell

And in the heart of the wood the weirwood waited with its knowing red eyes. Theon stopped by the edge of the pool and bowed his head before its carved red face. Even here he could hear the drumming, boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM. Like distant thunder, the sound seemed to come from everywhere at once.

The night was windless, the snow drifting straight down out of a cold black sky, yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name. "Theon," they seemed to whisper, "Theon."

A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool. It floated on the water, red, five-fingered, like a bloody hand. "… Bran," the tree murmured.

They know. The gods know. They saw what I did. And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran's face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sad. Bran's ghost, he thought, but that was madness. Why should Bran want to haunt him? He had been fond of the boy, had never done him any harm. It was not Bran we killed. It was not Rickon. They were only miller's sons, from the mill by the Acorn Water. "I had to have two heads, else they would have mocked me … laughed at me … they …"

 

Theon's experience is an altered state of mind but he both sees and hears Bran with the carved red face. 

Is Jaqen also making his appearance as an agent of the Isle of Faces:

Quote

 

A Clash of Kings - Arya II

"A man does not choose his companions in the black cells," the handsome one with the red-and-white hair said. Something about the way he talked reminded her of Syrio; it was the same, yet different too. "These two, they have no courtesy. A man must ask forgiveness. You are called Arry, is that not so?"

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, LynnS said:

There is one other depiction of a weirwood that is anomalous and unique and first makes an appearance at the Tourney at Harrehal:
 

A red face is unusuall for a weirwood since most carved faces include only eyes and a mouth.  This weirwood face is completely red.  Which calls to mind the pact; where trees were given a face.   Sticky red sap representing blood, the binder, in preparation of receiving the gift of another face.  Bran also appears to Theon as the weirwood with a red face and the knowing red eyes:

Theon's experience is an altered state of mind but he both sees and hears Bran with the carved red face. 

Is Jaqen also making his appearance as an agent of the Isle of Faces:

 

I sort of thought all weirwoods had red faces... It certainly isn't unusual...

 
Quote

 

"Good," the maester said. "A good boy. Your . . . your father's son, Bran. Now go."
Osha gazed up at the weirwood, at the red facecarved in the pale trunk. "And leave you for the gods?" 
"I beg . . ." The maester swallowed. ". . . a . . . a drink of water, and . . . another boon. If you would . . ."

 

 
 
Quote

 

My vows, he'd thought, remembering the weirwood grove where he had said them, the nine great white trees in a circle, the carved red faces watching, listening. But her fingers were undoing his laces and her tongue was in his mouth and her hand slipped inside his smallclothes and brought him out, and he could not see the weirwoods anymore, only her.


 

Quote

And in the heart of the wood the weirwood waited with its knowing red eyes. Theon stopped by the edge of the pool and bowed his head before its carved redface. Even here he could hear the drumming, boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM. Like distant thunder, the sound seemed to come from everywhere at once.

 

but the connection to recent "birth" or creation is interesting.

Quote

She reached across his table and touched his hair. "You are my firstborn, Robb. I have only to look at you to remember the day you came into the world, red-faced and squalling."

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:

I sort of thought all weirwoods had red faces... It certainly isn't unusual...

but the connection to recent "birth" or creation is interesting.

That's interesting, I hadn't noticed the reference to Osha seeing the Winterfell Tree as red-faced or that Jon sees Nine-trees that way either.  Catelyn certainly never mentions it, but rather comments on the red eyes. Same with other references to weirwoods.  Winterfell and Nine-trees seem to be the only references apart from the story of the KotLT.    I've never had the impression that all weirwoods were red-faced.  There is no mention of it at Whitetree or in Sam's or Arya's passages.  

Jon also refers to nine-trees as 'great trees' which I think is a subtle distinction similar to Davos commenting on waking the great dragon. 

I've always thought there was a link between Nine-Trees and Winterfell.  I think the crown of the Kings of Winter symbolizes that link:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Catelyn I

Her son's crown was fresh from the forge, and it seemed to Catelyn Stark that the weight of it pressed heavy on Robb's head.

The ancient crown of the Kings of Winter had been lost three centuries ago, yielded up to Aegon the Conqueror when Torrhen Stark knelt in submission. What Aegon had done with it no man could say. Lord Hoster's smith had done his work well, and Robb's crown looked much as the other was said to have looked in the tales told of the Stark kings of old; an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords. Of gold and silver and gemstones, it had none; bronze and iron were the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold.

I've wondered if Nine-Trees represents the swords in the crown with 'black iron' representing men of the Watch.   There are many suggestive passage in Jon's POV connecting the black brothers to iron.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XI

They rode the rest of the way in silence, Ghost loping at their heels. Mormont's raven followed them as far as the gate, then flapped upward as the rest of them dismounted. Horse went ahead with a brand to light the way through the icy tunnel.

A small crowd of black brothers was waiting by the gate when Jon and his companions emerged south of the Wall. Ulmer of the Kingswood was amongst them, and it was the old archer who came forward to speak for the rest. "If it please m'lord, the lads were wondering. Will it be peace, m'lord? Or blood and iron?"

Are we being shown something when weirwood trees are described as re-faced?  Jon, Theon and Osha are the only characters that describe them this way.  This seems like a very specific choice of trees and characters.

It isn't just babes that are red-faced; the cold produces red faces.

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XI

"Did you follow me as well?" Jon reached to shoo the bird away but ended up stroking its feathers. The raven cocked its eye at him. "Snow," it muttered, bobbing its head knowingly. Then Ghost emerged from between two trees, with Val beside him.

They look as though they belong together. Val was clad all in white; white woolen breeches tucked into high boots of bleached white leather, white bearskin cloak pinned at the shoulder with a carved weirwood face, white tunic with bone fastenings. Her breath was white as well … but her eyes were blue, her long braid the color of dark honey, her cheeks flushed red from the cold. It had been a long while since Jon Snow had seen a sight so lovely.

Interesting reading by Bran Vras:

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

Bran Vras made some fascinating connections that relate to our discussion:

- a connection between nine-trees and the crown of the kings of winters

- House Whent with its sigil of nine bats and Nine-Trees

- Harrenhal's weirwood with a hole for a mouth

- the connection between house Whent and House Stark through the matrilineal bloodline

- the bats occupying Harrenhal and the dead bats that Bran sees hanging the cave of the greenseer

I would add the physical description of the size of Harrenhal in some way mirror the cave of the greenseer.

Here are two more intriguing passages related to 'leathery wings':

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Daenerys IX

She waited, but Ser Jorah could not say it. His face grew dark with shame. He looked half a corpse himself.

"Monstrous," Mirri Maz Duur finished for him. The knight was a powerful man, yet Dany understood in that moment that the maegi was stronger, and crueler, and infinitely more dangerous. "Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years." 

A Storm of Swords - Arya XIII

"What wife?"

"I forgot, you've been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell's daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head."

That's stupid, Arya thought. Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she'd never marry the Imp.

 

In Dany IX, she is responsible for the spell that that kills a king and his son.  The description of small blind creature (blind as a bat?) with a stub of a tail and leather wings is quite astonishing. The corpse is full of grave worms not unlike a greenseer impaled with wierwood roots, dead and full of the stink of corruptions. 

In Arya XIII we're given another version of this tale as it relates to Sansa, Joffrey and Tyrion.   Sansa only knows song but Arya is only partly right. 

In this story, songs are spells and Arya herself has the blood of a wolf and a bat and it may have been Arya who was responsible for raising Lady Stoneheart from the dead: "Rise, she thought. Rise and eat and run with us."   

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LynnS said:

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

Bran Vras made some fascinating connections that relate to our discussion:

- a connection between nine-trees and the crown of the kings of winters

- House Whent with its sigil of nine bats and Nine-Trees

- Harrenhal's weirwood with a hole for a mouth

- the connection between house Whent and House Stark through the matrilineal bloodline

- the bats occupying Harrenhal and the dead bats that Bran sees hanging the cave of the greenseer

I would add the physical description of the size of Harrenhal in some way mirror the cave of the greenseer.

Here are two more intriguing passages related to 'leathery wings':

In Dany IX, she is responsible for the spell that that kills a king and his son.  The description of small blind creature (blind as a bat?) with a stub of a tail and leather wings is quite astonishing. The corpse is full of grave worms not unlike a greenseer impaled with wierwood roots, dead and full of the stink of corruptions. 

In Arya XIII we're given another version of this tale as it relates to Sansa, Joffrey and Tyrion.   Sansa only knows song but Arya is only partly right. 

In this story, songs are spells and Arya herself has the blood of a wolf and a bat and it may have been Arya who was responsible for raising Lady Stoneheart from the dead: "Rise, she thought. Rise and eat and run with us."   

I don't have a ton of time now, but love the bat connection and had to add this...

 
 
Quote

 

That won't do any good, the crow said. I told you, the answer is flying, not crying. How hard can it be. I'm doing it. The crow took to the air and flapped around Bran's hand.
"You have wings," Bran pointed out. 
Maybe you do too.
Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers.
There are different kinds of wings, the crow said. 
Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin?

 

Bat wings don't have feathers...
Edited by LiveFirstDieLater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LiveFirstDieLater said:
That won't do any good, the crow said. I told you, the answer is flying, not crying. How hard can it be. I'm doing it. The crow took to the air and flapped around Bran's hand.
"You have wings," Bran pointed out. 
Maybe you do too.
Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers.
There are different kinds of wings, the crow said. 
Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin?

Oh. My. God. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2017 at 9:16 AM, LynnS said:

The ancient whom Dany is meant to replace can no longer feed the fire that has burned down to cold flame.  The Black Gate is connected to a weirwood tree that must also be fed to keep alive and I suspect the heart of this tree is old and corrupt.   The only tree that could fit the description; is Whitetree directly north of the Black Gate. 

How are the Faceless Men involved with this tree and the creation of the Black Gate or the ancient living man entombed on a weirwood throne? Who is the man and why does he shed a tear for Bran?

Does the Black Gate reach down to unknown waters below the Nightfort, possibly also flowing from Bloodraven's Cave and even beneath Whitetree all the way to the Isle of Faces? I think, if Whitetree is Him of Fire, mightn't the Black Gate be He of Water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/16/2017 at 9:24 AM, LynnS said:

http://branvras.free.fr/HuisClos/Bat.html

Bran Vras made some fascinating connections that relate to our discussion:

- a connection between nine-trees and the crown of the kings of winters

- House Whent with its sigil of nine bats and Nine-Trees

- Harrenhal's weirwood with a hole for a mouth

- the connection between house Whent and House Stark through the matrilineal bloodline

- the bats occupying Harrenhal and the dead bats that Bran sees hanging the cave of the greenseer

I would add the physical description of the size of Harrenhal in some way mirror the cave of the greenseer.

Here are two more intriguing passages related to 'leathery wings':

In Dany IX, she is responsible for the spell that that kills a king and his son.  The description of small blind creature (blind as a bat?) with a stub of a tail and leather wings is quite astonishing. The corpse is full of grave worms not unlike a greenseer impaled with wierwood roots, dead and full of the stink of corruptions. 

In Arya XIII we're given another version of this tale as it relates to Sansa, Joffrey and Tyrion.   Sansa only knows song but Arya is only partly right. 

In this story, songs are spells and Arya herself has the blood of a wolf and a bat and it may have been Arya who was responsible for raising Lady Stoneheart from the dead: "Rise, she thought. Rise and eat and run with us."   

Did Bran actually see bat skeletons or is this part of a vision that he has confused with an actual sighting? Bat skeletons are unlikely to maintain their integrity or their upside down perch unless there is something else going on.

Also, could the CotF have used bats in place of ravens before the arrival of the First Men? They do seem fond of caves. Or did they use both at one time, for day and night flights?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hiemal said:

Does the Black Gate reach down to unknown waters below the Nightfort, possibly also flowing from Bloodraven's Cave and even beneath Whitetree all the way to the Isle of Faces? I think, if Whitetree is Him of Fire, mightn't the Black Gate be He of Water?

The Black River that Bran is curious about and the cave system with the river running through might connect any number of places including wells.  It might even be the source of a number of rivers.  Do we know the source of the Trident? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hiemal said:

Did Bran actually see bat skeletons or is this part of a vision that he has confused with an actual sighting? Bat skeletons are unlikely to maintain their integrity or their upside down perch unless there is something else going on.

Also, could the CotF have used bats in place of ravens before the arrival of the First Men? They do seem fond of caves. Or did they use both at one time, for day and night flights?

I think the point of the bats or the winged wolf with leathery wings is that it connects Harrenhal and the maternal bloodline of the Whents to the Tully's and Catelyn.  Then the wolf and the bat through the Starks.  Bran sees himself reduced to skin stretched over bones which is a pretty good description of a bat. As LiveFirstDieLater points out; the crow tells Bran, there is more than one type of wing.

The tree at Harrenhal has a hole for a mouth and what is the Black Gate but a hole in the Wall; a mouth that opens to consume whomever passes through.  Whitetree is another tree that has a gaping mouth that receives burnt offerings.  These things must be connected. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, LynnS said:

I think the point of the bats or the winged wolf with leathery wings is that it connects Harrenhal and the maternal bloodline of the Whents to the Tully's and Catelyn.  Then the wolf and the bat through the Starks.  Bran sees himself reduced to skin stretched over bones which is a pretty good description of a bat. As LiveFirstDieLater points out; the crow tells Bran, there is more than one type of wing.

Dragons are also described as having leathery wings. Unlike the butterflies of Naath or flame-enamored moths. Not sure if this actually important or me just overthinking things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, LynnS said:

The Black River that Bran is curious about and the cave system with the river running through might connect any number of places including wells.  It might even be the source of a number of rivers.  Do we know the source of the Trident? 

The tellingly named Green Fork flows from the Neck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to Jaqen, Arya and the Harrenhal weirwood... it occurs to me that Jaqen's gesture of placing his hand into the mouth of the weirwood (a hole in the tree) is akin to placing a key into a keyhole.  Effectively, the weirwood is a lock on a door. 

An odd comparison would be Othor attempting to place his hand into Jon's mouth during the confrontation in Joer Mormont's quarters effectively the same gesture as Jaqen and the weirwood.  Othor also has the appearance of a faceless man, moon-faced, caped and hooded standing in the shadows. 

 

 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/16/2017 at 11:40 AM, LiveFirstDieLater said:

had to add this...

 
 
Quote

 

That won't do any good, the crow said. I told you, the answer is flying, not crying. How hard can it be. I'm doing it. The crow took to the air and flapped around Bran's hand.
"You have wings," Bran pointed out. 
Maybe you do too.
Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers.
There are different kinds of wings, the crow said. 
Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin?

 

Bat wings don't have feathers...

Nice catch!

It relates to our 'friend' Patchface:

Quote

The fool turned his patched and piebald head to watch Pylos climb the steep iron steps to the rookery. His bells rang with the motion. "Under the sea, the birds have scales for feathers," he said, clang-a-langing. "I know, I know, oh, oh, oh."

[sung by Patchface on 'Dragon-stone']

ACOK -- Prologue

Dragons, not bats, have scales.  And leathery wings:

Quote

A Feast for Crows - Samwell III

"The last dragon died before you were born," said Sam. "How could you remember them?"

"I see them in my dreams, Sam. I see a red star bleeding in the sky. I still remember red. I see their shadows on the snow, hear the crack of leathern wings, feel their hot breath. My brothers dreamed of dragons too, and the dreams killed them, every one. Sam, we tremble on the cusp of half-remembered prophecies, of wonders and terrors that no man now living could hope to comprehend . . . or . . ."

"Or?" said Sam.

 

Quote

 It is never wise to tempt the dragons. The drowned city was all around them. A half-seen shape flapped by overhead, pale leathery wings beating at the fog. The dwarf craned his head around to get a better look, but the thing was gone as suddenly as it had appeared.

ADWD -- Tyrion V

 

Quote

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

Now once again Aegon Targaryen and his queens parted company. Aegon turned south once more, marching toward Oldtown, whilst his two sisters mounted their dragons—Visenya for a second attempt at the Vale of Arryn, and Rhaenys for Sunspear and the deserts of Dorne.

Sharra Arryn had strengthened the defenses of Gulltown, moved a strong host to the Bloody Gate, and tripled the size of the garrisons in Stone, Snow, and Sky, the waycastles that guarded the approach to the Eyrie. All these defenses proved useless against Visenya Targaryen, who rode Vhagar's leathery wings above them all and landed in the Eyrie's inner courtyard. 

 

19 hours ago, hiemal said:

Dragons are also described as having leathery wings. Unlike the butterflies of Naath or flame-enamored moths. Not sure if this actually important or me just overthinking things.

It's important.  To my mind, it implies Bran will skinchange some sort of dragon!

 

3 hours ago, LynnS said:

Going back to Jaqen, Arya and the Harrenhal weirwood... it occurs to me that Jaqen's gesture of placing his hand into the mouth of the weirwood (a hole in the tree) is akin to placing a key into a keyhole.  Effectively, the weirwood is a lock on a door. 

Just so.

This may interest you:

Quote

Its name ['oak'] derives from the Anglo-Saxon word, ac, but in Irish the word is 'daur', and in Welsh 'dar' or 'derw', probably cognate with the Greek, 'drus'. Some scholars consider this the origin of the term 'Druid’, since Druids have always been associated with sacred groves, and particularly oak forests. Dense forests of oak once covered most of Northern Europe in those days, so it is not surprising to find this tree help most sacred by people who ‘live in oak forests, used oak timber for building, oak sticks for fuel, and oak acorns for food and fodder.’ (1) Combined with the Indo-European root ‘wid’: to know, ‘Druid’ may have referred to those with ‘knowledge of the oak’, the ‘Wise Ones of the Oakwood’. The Sanskrit word, ‘Duir’, gave rise both to the word for oak and the English word ‘door’, which suggests that this tree stands as an opening into greater wisdom, perhaps an entryway into the otherworld itself.

From there it's not hard to extrapolate that opening ones third eye is also akin to turning the key in the lock, as it were.  In fact, Bran compares the sensation of having his third eye prodded open (the beak of the three-eyed crow functioning as the key with Bran's brain as the weirwood door itself!) to a splitting headache, as if his head had been cleaved by an axe:

Quote

"Fly or die!" cried the three-eyed crow as it pecked at him. He wept and pleaded but the crow had no pity. It put out his left eye and then his right, and when he was blind in the dark it pecked at his brow, driving its terrible sharp beak deep into his skull. He screamed until he was certain his lungs must burst. The pain was an axe splitting his head apart, but when the crow wrenched out its beak all slimy with bits of bone and brain, Bran could see again.

ACOK -- Bran II

 

Quote

An odd comparison would be Othor attempting to place his hand into Jon's mouth during the confrontation in Joer Mormont's quarters effectively the same gesture as Jaqen and the weirwood.  Othor also has the appearance of a faceless man, moon-faced, caped and hooded standing in the shadows. 

Getting back to idea of sealing an oath by placing ones hand like a key in the door -- the 'opening' of the door simultaneously binding the one making the oath, as well as the one to whom the oath is made; in other words, the one placing his hand in the door becomes the servant as well as the master of the door!

In this way, Jaqen becomes Arya's servant/proxy -- but on the other hand, via this gesture, she also becomes bound to the faceless men: 'all men must serve'!  Likewise, Othor attempts to bind himself to Jon, which would have reciprocally bound Jon to the Others.  Another example along the same lines is Jaime presenting his hand to Bran at the liminal threshold of the window -- a symbolic keyhole and third eye locale, as @Tijgy has pointed out with the observation that Winterfell is a tree possessed by greenseers, making the windows of the castle the 'eyes to the soul' of the greenseers (the word 'window' even etymologically means 'eye of/to/on the wind', moreover evoking the greenseer powers...).  With the fateful words 'take my hand' Jaime unwittingly pledged a kind of oath to Bran, the weirwood, and the old gods.  When he in bad faith failed to deliver his word (by lying about pulling Bran to safety), the old gods -- steered by ironic George -- made good on his promise for him, by literally 'taking his hand' (as the wonderful @evita mgfs has shown).  Mysteriously, though, Jaime by throwing Bran from the window with that selfsame hand, treacherous though the intent was, paradoxically succeeded in being instrumental in opening Bran's third eye.  Bran and Jaime are bound.  And, fittingly, together they are my favourite two characters!

Above all, I prefer the more abstract 'keys' which I call 'killing words' (you've referred to the same concept as jingles or 'earworms'):

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Melisandre I

Melisandre touched the ruby at her neck and spoke a word.

The sound echoed queerly from the corners of the room and twisted like a worm inside their ears. The wildling heard one word, the crow another. Neither was the word that left her lips. The ruby on the wildling's wrist darkened, and the wisps of light and shadow around him writhed and faded.

The bones remained—the rattling ribs, the claws and teeth along his arms and shoulders, the great yellowed collarbone across his shoulders. The broken giant's skull remained a broken giant's skull, yellowed and cracked, grinning its stained and savage grin.

The word 'twist[ing] like a worm inside their ears' corresponds to the key turning in the lock.  'The bones remained' alludes to the weirnet.

In the case of the Black Gate, the key which unlocks the weirwood door is the utterance of Sam's Night's Watch oath 'I am the sword...' -- the words themselves representing a virtual sword, which in @YOVMO's parlance 'pierces the hymen' in the darkness...a brilliant way of thinking about how GRRM often introduces a sexual element, which strays on the dark side of eros, into his symbolism.  Sam provides the key (=words), while Bran (the hand?) is fed to the gaping maw, making the gate a mouth and cervix simultaneously.  Bran is going 'under the sea' into the realm of the 'undead' -- in fact, Sam is made to promise magical-number-thrice to ensure that Bran 'stays dead'.  Thus, if the Black Gate can be compared to the female anatomy -- which is fitting, seeing as we're dealing with (re)births -- then we can say that Bran being taken up into the gate is figuratively penetrating the womb, or 'going back into the womb'; i.e. going into the womb in reverse, making Bran on a symbolic level either a penis or an 'unfetus', one of the 'neverborn', as it were. 

Edited by ravenous reader

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is readers' general opinion about why Jaqen was in Westeros, what was his mission prior he met Arya?

 

I have read a theory that Faceless Men were searching info how to kill dragons, and that's why after parting with Arya, Jaqen went to Citadel.

Though to me this theory seems unlikely. Because at that time dragons were still little. So if FM wanted to get rid of them, they could have done it with average arrows.

Also I have a theory that FM and Iron Bank are parts of the same organisation. At about that time, when Arya met Jaqen, Iron Bank had a problem with Tywin Lannister. So they have sent Jaqen to spy after Lannisters. Probably to gather information whether Lannisters will be able to eventually pay their debt or not. Whether they can't at this moment pay what they own to IB, or are they don't want to pay, and thus are trying to trick IB.

Patchface is also a Faceless Man. He's also the one who convinced Iron Bank to give money to Night's Watch.

Maybe FM also received a prophecy about approaching doom, and they know about the Prince that was promised. So they have sent Jaqen to Westeros, to search info about who this Prince may be. Also maybe they originally thought that Rhaegar Targaryen was somehow connected to the prophecy. He died because, for some reason, he kidnapped Lyanna Stark, and last person who saw Lyanna, when she was still alive, was her brother Ned. Thus when Ned was imprisoned by Lannisters, Jaqen went into RK's dungeons and questioned Ned about Lyanna and Rhaegar.

Thus they found information that Rhaegar had a child with Lyanna. And that there may be some clues or evidences about their secret marriage, and Jon's legitimate status. So to find those evidences Jaqen went to Citadel.

FM know that Jon Snow may be son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and they also think that he may be the Prince that was promised. So when Jon was killed by Brothers, Patchface will resurect him.  Or rather Ghost, Patchface and Melisandre. Ghost's body will be a temporary vessel for Jon's soul, until he will be resurected. And his resurection will be different from Berric's and Cat's, because he will be revived by magic of two gods - Lord of Light and Many-Faced God.

Edited by Megorova

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ravenous reader  Yes, the dragons have scales and leathery wings but how do we account for the story that Sansa was a wolf who flew out of a tower with leathery wings. 
 

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Arya XIII

"What wife?"

"I forgot, you've been hiding under a rock. The northern girl. Winterfell's daughter. We heard she killed the king with a spell, and afterward changed into a wolf with big leather wings like a bat, and flew out a tower window. But she left the dwarf behind and Cersei means to have his head."

That's stupid, Arya thought. Sansa only knows songs, not spells, and she'd never marry the Imp.

 

Bran Vras makes the connection to the Whents (bats) and the Tully's (fish scales for feathers) through the maternal line.  Ned and Catelyn's offspring are wolves with batwings.  Dragons are lizards with scales and leathery wings.

Just going back to Patchface, something else:

"The crow, the crow, under the sea, the crows are white as snow."

A white crow is a Russian idiom equivalent to calling someone a black sheep. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Just going back to Patchface, something else:

"The crow, the crow, under the sea, the crows are white as snow."

A white crow is a Russian idiom equivalent to calling someone a black sheep. 

It could be about Citadel's white ravens, and approaching winter, not about someone who is an outsider/black sheep. Because Patchface was saying about crows not a crow. Or maybe white crows are wights, NW's Brothers that all will be killed by Others and become wights. Dead Brothers of NW - white crows. So it could be a prophecy that they all will die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now