Black Crow

Heresy 198 The Knight of the Laughing Tree

407 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

34 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

The laughing tree has, [I presume we're agreed] to be a weirwood with a laughing face. Why? To be recognisable as such it has to be a bit of quality work. No doubt somebody could be found to do it at such a grand tourney, but why bother when a plain one would do as well? There's something significant about the tree. Sure the Starks have one in their godswood but they're far from unique in this and the face doesn't laugh. Nor does it appear to be significant. Its a place for reflection and prayer, but its not a rallying point. 

Yeah, exactly -- good question -- why 'laughing,' when most of the weirwoods we see are in contrast almost-universally sullen, mournful, dolorous, weeping, screaming as if in pain, angry..?

Presuming the KOTLT was inspired after seeing an actual weirwood's face, then would that have been the one at Harrenhal, the same one that now has a fierce, angry countenance?  What happened to turn the face from one of laughter to one of anger?

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Arya IX

Arya climbed. Up in the kingdom of the leaves, she unsheathed and for a time forgot them all, Ser Amory and the Mummers and her father's men alike, losing herself in the feel of rough wood beneath the soles of her feet and the swish of sword through air. A broken branch became Joffrey. She struck at it until it fell away. The queen and Ser Ilyn and Ser Meryn and the Hound were only leaves, but she killed them all as well, slashing them to wet green ribbons. When her arm grew weary, she sat with her legs over a high limb to catch her breath in the cool dark air, listening to the squeak of bats as they hunted. Through the leafy canopy she could see the bone-white branches of the heart tree. It looks just like the one in Winterfell from here. If only it had been . . . then when she climbed down she would have been home again, and maybe find her father sitting under the weirwood where he always sat.

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

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

Does anyone see a parallel between this tableau and another..? ( @Feather Crystal  -- parallels?  inversions?)

Arya prays to the tree for assistance; and in response she is sent an assassin emerging from the trees as if he were 'one of them' (who additionally looks like a weirwood with his red-white coloring) who offers her three magical 'killing words.'

Edited by ravenous reader

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

While I've no strong views on this either way, realistically there are just the two candidates for the mystery knight. Initially as Jojen tells the story everything points to Howland Reed the Crannogman, but then we get counter-hints pointing to Lyanna Stark. She also has a strong suit in that we're told of her prowess as a horsewoman and therefore expect by extension a degree of skill in jousting, which we assume Puddleglum Reed can't match.

But...

There's the sigil.

All that X requires to qualify as a mystery knight is a plain shield bearing no sigil. Its pretty well customary for at least one mystery knight to enter a tourney - and then cast aside their anonymity at the end. But this one is different. Not only does Ser Knight remain anonymous and skip bail, but has a very distinctive sigil.

The laughing tree has, [I presume we're agreed] to be a weirwood with a laughing face. Why? To be recognisable as such it has to be a bit of quality work. No doubt somebody could be found to do it at such a grand tourney, but why bother when a plain one would do as well? There's something significant about the tree. Sure the Starks have one in their godswood but they're far from unique in this and the face doesn't laugh. Nor does it appear to be significant. Its a place for reflection and prayer, but its not a rallying point. 

Howland Reed on the other hand has just come from the Isle of Faces and is probably a Green Man dedicated to protecting and serving the trees.

I agree. The charge on the shield is significant.  Howland shows up at the Isle of Faces with a shield and a shirt of bronze scales.  He's is also Meera's master at arms and she isn't a slouch.  I suspect that Howland isn't a slouch with a sword either since he is one of two survivors at the ToJ.  He may have stashed the shield and retrieved it later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

Yeah, exactly -- good question -- why 'laughing,' when most of the weirwoods we see are in contrast almost-universally sullen, mournful, dolorous, weeping, screaming as if in pain, angry..?

Presuming the KOTLT was inspired after seeing an actual weirwood's face, then would that have been the one at Harrenhal, the same one that now has a fierce, angry countenance?  What happened to turn the face from one of laughter to one of anger?

 

Laughing can be explained by the deception, but if so a laughing ass or a donkey would do just as well. The tree isn't a random sigil but is significant somehow.

Aerys we're told had a sense of humour failure because he suspected the myster knight was Jaime Lannister, but was it the sigil which upset him?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Laughing can be explained by the deception, but if so a laughing ass or a donkey would do just as well. The tree isn't a random sigil but is significant somehow.

Aerys we're told had a sense of humour failure because he suspected the myster knight was Jaime Lannister, but was it the sigil which upset him?

As the story goes, he interpreted the sigil as mocking him.  Do you have an alternative hypothesis (of course you do; you're a 'heretic'...:))?!

People suffering paranoid delusions frequently imbue ordinary objects with heightened personal significance, so it made sense that he might react that way.  But perhaps the intrigue runs deeper than that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ravenous reader said:

As the story goes, he interpreted the sigil as mocking him.  Do you have an alternative hypothesis (of course you do; you're a 'heretic'...:))?!

People suffering paranoid delusions frequently imbue ordinary objects with heightened personal significance, so it made sense that he might react that way.  But perhaps the intrigue runs deeper than that?

If it was just a matter of stoking paranoia I don't think that would have been difficult, but its the tree that intrigues me. It can of course be interpreted as a sigil of the Old Gods

Share this post


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

IMO, this is because the two Reed kids have heard the story from their father many, many times -- exactly as we hear it, without the Knight being identified -- and just as we have, they've arrived at different theories of the Knight's identity.  

This was an interesting tidbit to me to.Not even the Reed kids know.

9 hours ago, LynnS said:

I'm curious about Howland's magical capabilities.  He's not a greendreamer but can weave words, create a glamor.

Me to i was sure he was a Ninja...lol. But 'weaving words' in addition to some of the things Howland is credited with does seem to indicate 'glamouring.'

2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

While I've no strong views on this either way, realistically there are just the two candidates for the mystery knight. Initially as Jojen tells the story everything points to Howland Reed the Crannogman, but then we get counter-hints pointing to Lyanna Stark. She also has a strong suit in that we're told of her prowess as a horsewoman and therefore expect by extension a degree of skill in jousting, which we assume Puddleglum Reed can't match.

I think Ned is a candidate as well seeing as:

1.He could have heard Howland's prayer as Howland was bunking with him in his tent.

2.He has the skill 

But as to the sigil itself i believe you are correct.It didn't have to go that far when a plain shield would do.So i wonder if the knight was going to appear no matter what.I mean to be honest to use a Weirwood there's only a few people who were going to be blamed.Anyone who held the Old gods.Be that true or not.Someone could have just been trying to raise suspicion. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Yes, I had that same idea, after reading @Voice's various linguistic and logistical objections on the difference between a 'tower' (lowercase, not uppercase...) and a 'cairn,' LOL.

Hahaa. This is good, It fits my personal theory that if more than one reader theorizes the same thing, then theory proven! :cheers:

(yes, I am very much joking)

I have not seen what Voice has written about this idea, but I am now rather curious.

Share this post


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

Or when Bran says he dreamt that he touched Ghost and spoke to Jon.  So I think Jojen is asking if Bran dreamt a lizard-lion and spoke to Howland; given that speaking to trees is one of Howland's abilities. 

I took a tad more time and reread a little more. I think I pretty much agree with all of this so far. Jojen is definitely trying to get Bran to open up, and maybe he knows or expects his father to start making contact at some time, and this is shown by way of Jojen's repetitive asking, as @JNR pointed out above.

Also, side note and I don't want to derail anything here, but I am not wondering if Howland may be speaking to Jojen and that is how Jojen knows that today is not the day he dies. Maybe Howland knows when that is. It does kinda seem as thought Howland sent his kids on a suicie mission, or at least Jojen (maybe he expected Meera to survive???)

Ack!!! I can't think of the quote right now, but what is the line that says something about, "the life of one boy is worth the safety of the realm"???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, ravenous reader said:

Yeah, exactly -- good question -- why 'laughing,' when most of the weirwoods we see are in contrast almost-universally sullen, mournful, dolorous, weeping, screaming as if in pain, angry..?

Presuming the KOTLT was inspired after seeing an actual weirwood's face, then would that have been the one at Harrenhal, the same one that now has a fierce, angry countenance?  What happened to turn the face from one of laughter to one of anger?

Does anyone see a parallel between this tableau and another..? ( @Feather Crystal  -- parallels?  inversions?)

Arya prays to the tree for assistance; and in response she is sent an assassin emerging from the trees as if he were 'one of them' (who additionally looks like a weirwood with his red-white coloring) who offers her three magical 'killing words.'

I have not spent much time deciphering the parallels to the Laughing Tree itself, although I do expect that there should be one. If I mediate on who prayed specifically to the old gods for something, the first thing that came to mind was the "memory" Bran saw of the Winterfell heart tree with the pregnant woman that prayed for vengeance. I had forgotten the passage you'd provided with the angry tree that Arya prayed to. Because the trees do have various expressions the "laughing" tree must have a reason behind the mirth. My first thoughts go first to Bran being told that he cannot change the past, but what if a greenseer figured out a way to change the future? Would that cause the mirth?

Edited by Feather Crystal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think its more a matter of the Old Gods mocking the new :devil:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I took a tad more time and reread a little more. I think I pretty much agree with all of this so far. Jojen is definitely trying to get Bran to open up, and maybe he knows or expects his father to start making contact at some time, and this is shown by way of Jojen's repetitive asking, as @JNR pointed out above.

Also, side note and I don't want to derail anything here, but I am not wondering if Howland may be speaking to Jojen and that is how Jojen knows that today is not the day he dies. Maybe Howland knows when that is. It does kinda seem as thought Howland sent his kids on a suicie mission, or at least Jojen (maybe he expected Meera to survive???)

Ack!!! I can't think of the quote right now, but what is the line that says something about, "the life of one boy is worth the safety of the realm"???

If Howland is to make an appearance in an upcoming books; I wonder if he will show up in person or by other means.  The Green Men protect the trees or more specifically the greenseers.  So I suppose it's not surprising that Jojen and Meera were sent to Bran. 

It is very bizarre that he would send his kids on a suicide mission especially if Jojen knows when that day will be and that green dreams can't be changed.  This could be one of the twists that Martin says he will employ for one of the show characters killed off in the show but not yet dead in the books.

You can't avoid the outcome of dream if you know about it.  The very knowledge of it may cause the person to take actions to avoid it that result in the outcome.  As in the case of the sea coming to Winterfell and Alebelly drowning. 

However:

The green dreams take strange shapes sometimes," Jojen admitted. "The truth of them is not always easy to understand."

What I'm curious about is the association between green men and the horned lord.  The horned lords seems to have more meaning or significance to the Wildlings.  I suspect that all kings beyond the wall are horned lords; that being the king is a titular title with no real meaning or authority.  The authority comes from being acknowledged as the horned lord.   Mance says that he is not the king beyond the wall.

Quote

 

A Storm of Swords - Jon X

"Nor you?"

"Nor me." There was anger in that admission, and bitterness too deep for words. "Raymun Redbeard, Bael the Bard, Gendel and Gorne, the Horned Lord, they all came south to conquer, but I've come with my tail between my legs to hide behind your Wall." He touched the horn again. "If I sound the Horn of Winter, the Wall will fall. Or so the songs would have me believe. There are those among my people who want nothing more . . ."

 

 

A Storm of Swords - Jon I

 

 

There was no doubting which tent was the king's. It was thrice the size of the next largest he'd seen, and he could hear music drifting from within. Like many of the lesser tents it was made of sewn hides with the fur still on, but Mance Rayder's hides were the shaggy white pelts of snow bears. The peaked roof was crowned with a huge set of antlers from one of the giant elks that had once roamed freely throughout the Seven Kingdoms, in the times of the First Men.

 

It's also curious that Melisandre is looking for a crowned stag.  It seems to me that the cup has passed to Jon Snow on that account.

As a matter of perspective, if you are a wildling... is the king beyond the wall on your side of the wall or the other side of the wall?   

 

 

 

 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Feel free to throw bricks at the idiot here, but... could the Knight be Bran himself? He once wanted to be a knight, he's moving down a path that puts him outside of human constraints of time and physical body.  If he can be in other times, and somehow interact with events, even warging into the heads of people in the past, could this be a timeloop?

 

 

(Lizard-lion makes me think of those frilly-necked dinosaurs, that are all cute until they turn into bitey umbrella monsters.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, SeaWitch said:

Feel free to throw bricks at the idiot here, but... could the Knight be Bran himself? He once wanted to be a knight, he's moving down a path that puts him outside of human constraints of time and physical body.  If he can be in other times, and somehow interact with events, even warging into the heads of people in the past, could this be a timeloop?

(Lizard-lion makes me think of those frilly-necked dinosaurs, that are all cute until they turn into bitey umbrella monsters.)

The question of Bran as the KotLT isn't so far fetched since he is known for laughing and smiling as well.  It has come up as a time-loop in other discussions.  I tend to think that Howland is channelling Bran. 

GRRM trivia:   Lizard King, Thomas Marion Douglas, a fictional character based on Jim Morrison in the anthology book series Wild Cards

Why was Kit Harrington asked to dye his hair black?  To look more like Jim Morrison? :D Compare...

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Jim_Morrison_1969.JPG

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/bd/eb/36/bdeb36014e0e75982e09bd58d115560f.jpg

 

 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


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

 

(Lizard-lion makes me think of those frilly-necked dinosaurs, that are all cute until they turn into bitey umbrella monsters.)

I've rather had the impression that lizard lions are crocodiles or alligators:devil:

Share this post


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

If Howland is to make an appearance in an upcoming books; I wonder if he will show up in person or by other means.  The Green Men protect the trees or more specifically the greenseers.  So I suppose it's not surprising that Jojen and Meera were sent to Bran. 

I would venture to suggest that when Howland Reed and the other Green Men do make an appearance - as promised by GRRM - they will all have shields bearing weirwood trees, each distinguished by the expression on the face, :commie:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I've rather had the impression that lizard lions are crocodiles or alligators:devil:

They are bog devils... it is known. LOL

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellbender

Vernacular names include "snot otter", "devil dog", "mud-devil", "grampus", "Allegheny alligator", "mud dog", "water dog", and "leverian water newt".[7] The genus name is derived from the Ancient Greek kryptos (hidden) and branchion (gill).[8]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I would venture to suggest that when Howland Reed and the other Green Men do make an appearance - as promised by GRRM - they will all have shields bearing weirwood trees, each distinguished by the expression on the face, :commie:

I heard it here first!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I would venture to suggest that when Howland Reed and the other Green Men do make an appearance - as promised by GRRM - they will all have shields bearing weirwood trees, each distinguished by the expression on the face, :commie:

We may have seen those faces already.  I'm going to suspect that there are nine of them to match the number of swords in the crown of winter and the number of trees at the weirwood grove where Jon makes his oath to the NW.  The sword, the shield and the horn make 12 and Ghost makes 13. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I've rather had the impression that lizard lions are crocodiles or alligators:devil:

That's the boring option ;p

(Seriously, are there velociraptors in Sothyros? And the Sealord has one in his menagerie?)

Share this post


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

If Howland is to make an appearance in an upcoming books; I wonder if he will show up in person or by other means

YES.    I have been speaking to the air for years that Howland didn't accompany his kids to Winterfell and hasn't made an appearance in any Wot5K battles because he CAN'T do these things.   

Somehow, some way, he is unable to leave the Neck:   he is either physically restrained (think Bloodraven in the tree) or he has a guardianship over something very important.  (Or both).  

If he did indeed get some kind of turbo-boost from the Old Gods w/r/t the KotLT (in whatever role he played), it makes me wonder if there was a 'price' to be paid for their intervention...and he's sitting in the Neck paying for it, bound in servitude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.