Black Crow

Heresy 198 The Knight of the Laughing Tree

407 posts in this topic

13 hours ago, LynnS said:

Arya could reveal herself to Lady Whent, and the knights would escort her home and keep her safe. That was what knights did; they kept you safe, especially women.

As an aside, I think this might be one of GRRM's subtle hints to a reality that sharply diverges from the popular tale.   Arya is one of several characters in the story who references the concept of the 'white knight', the chivalrous hero that stands up for the good of all, defends women, protects the smallfolk, etc.  Bran and Sansa subscribe to this philosophy also - and of course all three of these Stark kids have had that illusion shattered in some form or another in current story thanks to actions by white knights of the Kingsguard.     

I find it telling that this comes up in the KotLT tale as well:

Quote

 

“This isn’t going to be one of those love stories, is it?” Bran asked suspiciously. “Hodor doesn’t like those so much.” 

“Hodor,” said Hodor agreeably. 

“He likes the stories where the knights fight monsters.”

“Sometimes the knights are the monsters, Bran."

 

Interesting that Meera states this in the midst of this story of a mystery champion performing noble deed.      That being said, I believe this was interjected here for a reason - we see the dawning of this realization with the characters in the current story, but I think GRRM is directing us to look for it in the past as well.   We follow the echoes to get to the truth...and the truth is not going to be so nice, or so white, "like the pretty cloaks they give us in the Kingsguard when we swear our pretty oaths."

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

The reason the Starks offer to get him armor and a horse is not that they feel some burning need for vengeance; it's that he does.  They are offering to empower him because the squires made him feel weak.  If he lacks the skills or courage to get the vengeance he craves, and somebody else has to stand in for him, that's really not going to make him feel any stronger.  They can surely see that.

This is true, but we don't fully understand what was motivating the KoLT, assuming it was anyone other than Howland Reed--they might not be burning for revenge, but what about justice? How self-righteous were the Starks, and anyone else that may have been aware of what happened to Howland? Was there anyone present that might rankle at the idea of allowing assholes to go unpunished?

If Howland is unwilling/incapable of jousting to restore his own honor, and refuses to ask for intercession, would any of the Starks have been bothered enough by what happened that they'd feel compelled to humiliate the knights and their squires, regardless of Howland's wishes? We know Eddard well enough to say that he probably wouldn't, but with others...I'm not so sure.

1 hour ago, JNR said:

If we add (3) despite having had no training in the joust, (4) no experience jousting other people, and (5) being fourteen years old, things get still more unlikely.

...

So as far as I can see, we're out of any evidence that she had "martial prowess and competence."  What we know for sure is that while she wanted to carry a sword, her father wouldn't let her, and certainly she never got any training in any weapons.  She appears to me to have been a typical tomboy in this respect.


Totally legitimate points, which gets to the heart of the problem: we don't know what we don't know. I don't think we should take it as a given that Lyanna couldn't have trained through more dubious means.

Take Arya, for example, where she has Jon helping her out by providing Needle, and may have even helped her train in secret, had he not gone to the Wall. In the lead up to her betrothal, did Lyanna ever spend long periods away from Winterfell (say, at Storm's End), did she have any friends like Mycah that might help her practice, a brother that might train her in secret? We don't know.

This is the biggest flaw with the Lyanna theory, which is that it relies very heavily upon the comparison between Lyanna and Arya, and makes very big leaps based on that comparison. That's where I'm at with the KoLT--I wouldn't be surprised if she isn't the KoLT, but I also wouldn't say that GRRM didn't lay the necessary foundation of foreshadowing, if he wanted to write Lyanna as a competent jouster.

If the Arya comparison is foreshadowing, it may also be notable that the whole "wolf's blood" conversation first arises when Eddard discovers Needle, and Eddard laments her wildness--a wildness his brother and sister shared, that helped lead to their deaths. Ultimately, she proves him correct, by defending the butcher's boy from being bullied by the prince of the realm; Arya is younger, wilder, less politically saavy than Lyanna would have been, but is this a wholly unreliable template for the sort of impulsive act that might have gotten Lyanna into trouble?

Edited by Matthew.

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22 hours ago, Matthew. said:

My response to Feather was more about her comment regarding the longevity of the Green Men. As to Howland Reed, if there was some sort of 'price' to be paid for the magics he learned, if he has been called to the Isle of Faces to become a Green Man, I suspect this would be one explanation for his absence in the present narrative--when he finally shows up, we might find his physical appearance quite startling.

 

21 hours ago, Matthew. said:

To be more clear, I was suggesting that if Howland Reed has become a Green Man, this is something that has happened after Robert's Rebellion

This ties into the speculation about reasons Howland hasn't made an appearance, and the quote I mentioned upthread re: the knights being the monsters - although the statement could (and probably does) imply that we should rethink our perception of the 'white knight' idea, there could be a second more subtle implication about the KotLT him(?)self.    

Meera is making this statement to Bran - Meera, who clearly believes that the KotLT was a little crannogman, unlike her "or not" brother.  The story is of course about a "knight" - a mystery knight, but a knight nonetheless - so perhaps this statement is a warning of sorts?  A hint that some sort of 'transformation' has since occurred that turned the knight into a literal monster?    It wouldn't be the first time that someone has undergone some kind of metamorphosis and taken on a monstrous appearance  - Beric, Bloodraven, Coldhands, Gregor Clegane, etc.      

If that's the case and Howland has indeed changed with his 'becoming', I have to wonder if it's for good or ill - and I mean in terms of personality, not appearance.     In the course of my Marvel research project, I discovered that Howland has a strong parallel to a specific character who starts off as a good guy but unfortunately becomes consumed by his own powers and eventually turns into a really bad guy.   I've been saying that HR is not going to turn out to be the sweet benevolent little crannogman that everyone is expecting, so a Green Man/Horned Lord persona and an agenda to match will not surprise me whatsoever.    Perhaps Meera is referring to this change with her cryptic comment.

Edited by PrettyPig

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1 hour ago, PrettyPig said:

As an aside, I think this might be one of GRRM's subtle hints to a reality that sharply diverges from the popular tale.   Arya is one of several characters in the story who references the concept of the 'white knight', the chivalrous hero that stands up for the good of all, defends women, protects the smallfolk, etc.  Bran and Sansa subscribe to this philosophy also - and of course all three of these Stark kids have had that illusion shattered in some form or another in current story thanks to actions by white knights of the Kingsguard.     

I find it telling that this comes up in the KotLT tale as well:

Interesting that Meera states this in the midst of this story of a mystery champion performing noble deed.      That being said, I believe this was interjected here for a reason - we see the dawning of this realization with the characters in the current story, but I think GRRM is directing us to look for it in the past as well.   We follow the echoes to get to the truth...and the truth is not going to be so nice, or so white, "like the pretty cloaks they give us in the Kingsguard when we swear our pretty oaths."

Yes, exactly.  Sansa is a good example of that kind of thinking.  The outcome of the whole thing is that Rhaegar drops the Queen of Beauty laurel in Lyanna's lap.  Not exactly a chivalrous thing to do when she should have been crowned by his hand.  Of course the smiles died because the meaning of the act of laying, placing or dropping something in someone's lap is to assign responsibility or blame.  So I don't see it as a romantic gesture at all.  Aerys' knights were dishonored without recourse and he's furious.  It's also curious that in Ned's fever dream; he calls the crown the Queen of Beauty laurel rather than the Queen of Love and Beauty.  It's Howland who gives her the full title in the story he conveys to his kids.

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard XV

Robert had been jesting with Jon and old Lord Hunter as the prince circled the field after unhorsing Ser Barristan in the final tilt to claim the champion's crown. Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty's laurel in Lyanna's lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost.

Ned Stark reached out his hand to grasp the flowery crown, but beneath the pale blue petals the thorns lay hidden. He felt them clawing at his skin, sharp and cruel, saw the slow trickle of blood run down his fingers, and woke, trembling, in the dark.

 

 

     

Edited by LynnS

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Take Arya, for example, where she has Jon helping her out by providing Needle, and may have even helped her train in secret, had he not gone to the Wall. In the lead up to her betrothal, did Lyanna ever spend long periods away from Winterfell (say, at Storm's End), did she have any friends like Mycah that might help her practice, a brother that might train her in secret? We don't know.

We in fact do know that Lyanna had the opportunity to practice away from her father. Brandon was fostered at Barrowhall and Lady Barbrey Dustin has said that she often seen Lyanna and Brandon ride off together into the Rills, and describes them as a "pair of centaurs". It's quite plausible that the reason they often rode off alone, and beyond the eyes of witness's, is that Brandon was secretly indulging his sister's desire to train in the martial arts.

Edited by Darkstream

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1 hour ago, PrettyPig said:

If that's the case and Howland has indeed changed with his 'becoming', I have to wonder if it's for good or ill - and I mean in terms of personality, not appearance.     In the course of my Marvel research project, I discovered that Howland has a strong parallel to a specific character who starts off as a good guy but unfortunately becomes consumed by his own powers and eventually turns into a really bad guy.   I've been saying that HR is not going to turn out to be the sweet benevolent little crannogman that everyone is expecting, so a Green Man/Horned Lord persona and an agenda to match will not surprise me whatsoever.    Perhaps Meera is referring to this change with her cryptic comment.

I'm with you here, as I've been very suspicious of Howland Reed for a while--in particular, I'm much more curious about that winter he spent on the Isle of Faces than whatever he might know about Jon's parentage. At a minimum, whatever association he has with the CotF and sorcery may have given him a degree of inhumanity, not unlike what we see from Bloodraven, but I'm also curious about whether or not it has any significance when it comes to the return of the Others, particularly if the Others are linked to the sorcery of the old gods.

I've also taken some crackpot inspiration from a post I read here in the past (forgive me, I forget the poster's name) comparing the feast at Harrenhal to Beltane celebrations. The details, just as the poster's name, are increasingly alluding me, but I recall that something that stuck out to me was that certain Beltane celebrations culminate with the Winter King dying and being reborn as the Green Man (taking off his winter outfit to reveal the spring/summer outfit beneath, in real world celebrations), to represent the changing of the seasons.

Notably, in Martin's world, Harrenhal was held during the year of the False Spring, which causes me to wonder whether or not events at Harrenhal kicked off some sort of inversion: rather than Winter making way for the birth of the Green Man, the Green Man has died to reveal the "winter" outfit that lay beneath. 

 

3 hours ago, JNR said:

However, with respect to the idea that Brienne could have beaten male knights in a joust, I don't doubt it for a minute.  She is full-grown, huge, strong, and more important than all that, experienced and trained by a master-at-arms.

So this isn't really about Lyanna being incapable as a girl.  To phrase this another way... if Barristan Selmy or Arthur Dayne were to have zero training, zero experience, and attempt to joust three grown knights as fourteen-year-old eighth-graders, I would expect them to fail horribly too


I'd just like to go back to this briefly to apologize, as when I first read the whole "eight grade girl" and "Howland would have no balls if..." stuff I totally misunderstood what you were criticizing, and unfairly characterized your argument. I'm sorry :blush:
 

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3 hours ago, JNR said:

Not without cheating... somehow

LOL! That's fRisky business.

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21 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

Notably, in Martin's world, Harrenhal was held during the year of the False Spring, which causes me to wonder whether or not events at Harrenhal kicked off some sort of inversion: rather than Winter making way for the birth of the Green Man, the Green Man has died to reveal the "winter" outfit that lay beneath.

Oh brilliant!  Something I've wondered about Coldhands and his immunity to blue eyes.

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On 5/10/2017 at 10:51 AM, 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.

LOL! Sounds like something I'd say.

I don't remember the specifics, but I maintain that Eddard would not have been able to pull down a large tower after a fight with Arthur Dayne that nearly killed him.

It was a pile of rocks, used to mark a hilltop. No rooms are mentioned. No interior vs exterior. The only thing we know about the "tower of joy", structurally, is that it contained enough stone for eight cairns and that it was small enough for Ned to pull down himself following the showdown.

:commie:

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2 hours ago, PrettyPig said:

A hint that some sort of 'transformation' has since occurred that turned the knight into a literal monster?   

I'm curious to know if the trees on the Isle of Faces have real faces and whether or not the 'donors' have wooden faces. :o

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Bran VII

"There they forged the Pact. The First Men were given the coastlands, the high plains and bright meadows, the mountains and bogs, but the deep woods were to remain forever the children's, and no more weirwoods were to be put to the axe anywhere in the realm. So the gods might bear witness to the signing, every tree on the island was given a face, and afterward, the sacred order of green men was formed to keep watch over the Isle of Faces.

 

Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XII

Howd Wanderer swore his oath upon his sword, as nicked and pitted a piece of iron as Jon had ever seen. Devyn Sealskinner presented him with a sealskin hat, Harle the Huntsman with a bear-claw necklace. The warrior witch Morna removed her weirwood mask just long enough to kiss his gloved hand and swear to be his man or his woman, whichever he preferred. And on and on and on.

 

Am I the only one who wonders if the Faceless Men give up their own faces?

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8 hours ago, LynnS said:

I'm curious to know if the trees on the Isle of Faces have real faces and whether or not the 'donors' have wooden faces. :o

 

 

Am I the only one who wonders if the Faceless Men give up their own faces?

...and thank you for the nightmares.

The Isle of Faces' proximity to Harrenhal is never a coincidence. It's probably a good thing nobody got to see inside the KotLT helm, because I'm going with not just the armour being patchwork.  Inversion of FrankenMountain, a living synthesis. (GRRM is a comics fan. The Champion of the Green, Parliament of Trees, SwampThing?). If the whole story is a reimagining of the Celtic/Arthurian Green Knight, follow it to the most literal interpretation of that.  So, does warging have to be purely animal minds or bodies?

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I apologize if someone has brought this up but does anyone else think that Oberyn's daughter Elia aka Lady Lance is a subtle nod to Lyanna being the KofLT?

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1 hour ago, SeaWitch said:

...and thank you for the nightmares.

 

Swamp Thing... LOL!  I didn't think things could become more cringe worthy than Ramsey Bolton, but then there's Euron. 

Edited by LynnS

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11 hours ago, LynnS said:

Am I the only one who wonders if the Faceless Men give up their own faces?

I think that's implicit in becoming no-one

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16 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I've also taken some crackpot inspiration from a post I read here in the past (forgive me, I forget the poster's name) comparing the feast at Harrenhal to Beltane celebrations. The details, just as the poster's name, are increasingly alluding me, but I recall that something that stuck out to me was that certain Beltane celebrations culminate with the Winter King dying and being reborn as the Green Man (taking off his winter outfit to reveal the spring/summer outfit beneath, in real world celebrations), to represent the changing of the seasons.
 

Not that I've come across before. Now that statute prohibits that actual slaying of the Winter King and literally putting him into the earth in order that the seed may grow, we tend to make do with chasing him into the woods :D

Seriously though its worth making the point once again that in Gaelic glas can mean either green or grey. Thus the green man of life can also be the grey man of death and in fact the well known "Arthurian" story of Ser Gawain and the Green Knight is a mis-translation in that the title ought to be Ser Gawain and the Grey Knight.

Edited by Black Crow
silly spelling mistake

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think that's implicit in becoming no-one

Well yes.  The face is what gives someone their identity.  But it didn't occur to me that giving a face to the trees on the Isle of Faces would be literal rather than just carving a mouth and some eyes on the tree.  Or that the Pact might involve an exchange of faces creating the Order of the Green Men.  It seems such a thing would require the sacrifice and resurrection of the 'donor' in some way, in the death pays for life equation.  It does call to mind Pate, who must surely have given up his face in order for the Alchemist to infiltrate the Citadel and a faceless, nameless body left behind. 

The HBO show seems to hint at such a thing when Jaqen tells Arya that the faces of the FM are hung in the hall of faces. In the final conflict between the Waif and Arya; it's the Waif's face that is hung in the Hall.  This would be a strange twist if he Waif gave up her face and took Arya's.  Of course, for the shows' purposes, Arya must survive.

Does the Kindly Old Man actually show Arya his true appearance?  A faceless skull with scraps of skin?

The God of Many Faces rebukes Ned for his pride:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard XV

He found himself thinking of Robert more and more. He saw the king as he had been in the flower of his youth, tall and handsome, his great antlered helm on his head, his warhammer in hand, sitting his horse like a horned god. He heard his laughter in the dark, saw his eyes, blue and clear as mountain lakes. "Look at us, Ned," Robert said. "Gods, how did we come to this? You here, and me killed by a pig. We won a throne together …"

I failed you, Robert, Ned thought. He could not say the words. I lied to you, hid the truth. I let them kill you.

The king heard him. "You stiff-necked fool," he muttered, "too proud to listen. Can you eat pride, Stark? Will honor shield your children?" Cracks ran down his face, fissures opening in the flesh, and he reached up and ripped the mask away. It was not Robert at all; it was Littlefinger, grinning, mocking him. When he opened his mouth to speak, his lies turned to pale grey moths and took wing.

 

 

 

Edited by LynnS

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37 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Well yes.  The face is what gives someone their identity.  But it didn't occur to me that giving a face to the trees on the Isle of Faces would be literal rather than just carving a mouth and some eyes on the tree. 

Given the graphic variety of the faces in that grove to the north of Castle Black I've suggested before that they aren't carved at all but are the faces of those given to the trees.

It we return to the story of the Pact it may be significant that: "every tree on the island was given a face"

Its easy to assume that a face was carved, but was it? 

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5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Seriously though its worth making the point once again that in Gaelic glas can mean either green or grey. Thus the green man of life can also be the grey man of death and in fact the well known "Arthurian" story of Ser Gawain and the Green Knight is a mis-translation in that the title ought to be Ser Gawain and the Grey Knight.

The green/grey thing is something I've kept in mind in speculating that Green Men are similar to white walkers, and perhaps even created by (essentially) identical sorcery--my expectation is that the 'reasonable' interpretation of the maesters that the Green Men are just humans wearing green costumes and antlers will prove false, and that the Green Men literally have flesh made of earth and verdure, just as the white walkers have flesh made of ice.

Somewhat related to this, and prior discussions about the nature (and need for) Kings of Winter, I'm struck by the fact that there are two mythical figures credited with bringing men across the Arm of Dorne, and claiming dominion over men everywhere, yet they and their descendants seem to embody opposing themes--there's Garth Greenhand and his Gardener King heirs, evoking summer and fertility, and the First King and his Barrow King heirs in the cold North, evoking winter and death.

Perhaps these are all legends about the same figure, a King of Summer who would be sacrificed in the autumn, become a "King of the Barrows" during the winter, and be reborn in the spring--or perhaps it was two separate bloodlines who would have to occasionally give up a member of their line to serve as Kings of Summer and Winter respectively, and be sacrificed at their appointed times, until the era of the 13th LC/NK/(Last True King of Winter?) upended everything.

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, Lord Wraith said:

I apologize if someone has brought this up but does anyone else think that Oberyn's daughter Elia aka Lady Lance is a subtle nod to Lyanna being the KofLT?

I think it's supporting evidence that Lyanna is Elia's parallel inversion, and yes that she was part of the Knight. Lyanna was the target of an abduction, just as Elia was shortly before the tourney. Ser Gerold Hightower was injured defending Elia, but who may have been Ser Gerold's inversion? In future parallels Sansa decides not to go with her "knight", Sandor, although she does go to Ser Dontos. Myrcella is injured by Darkstar. Lyanna's Kingsguard was Ser Arthur. Did he help her get away, did he fail to protect her, or did he cause injury?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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3 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

The green/grey thing is something I've kept in mind in speculating that Green Men are similar to white walkers, and perhaps even created by (essentially) identical sorcery--my expectation is that the 'reasonable' interpretation of the maesters that the Green Men are just humans wearing green costumes and antlers will prove false, and that the Green Men literally have flesh made of earth and verdure, just as the white walkers have flesh made of ice.

Somewhat related to this, and prior discussions about the nature (and need for) Kings of Winter, I'm struck by the fact that there are two mythical figures credited with bringing men across the Arm of Dorne, and claiming dominion over men everywhere, yet they and their descendants seem to embody opposing themes--there's Garth Greenhand and his Gardener King heirs, evoking summer and fertility, and the First King and his Barrow King heirs in the cold North, evoking winter and death.

Perhaps these are all legends about the same figure, a King of Summer who would be sacrificed in the autumn, become a "King of the Barrows" during the winter, and be reborn in the spring--or perhaps it was two separate bloodlines who would have to occasionally give up a member of their line to serve as Kings of Summer and Winter respectively, and be sacrificed at their appointed times, until the era of the 13th LC/NK/(Last True King of Winter?) upended everything.

Now there's a nice catch; and I wouldn't rule out your first point either

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