Tijgy

The truth that lies beneath the world (and word) -- Bran's growing powers revisited

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The truth that lies beneath the world (and the word) - Bran's growing powers revisited

"The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, 
and see the truth that lies beneath the world.
"

(Bran I, ASOS)

Introduction

Welcome everyone to the second version of the Bran's Growing Powers Thread. The first version (which can be find here) was created by the amazing @evita mgfs with the goal to find evidence of Bran's progression as a greenseer beyond his POV.  To find this evidence, Evita and several other contributors started to research the text of the whole series to find clues how George R.R. Martin might imply the presence of the old gods or of a greenseer. This research lead to several essays wherein contributors analyzed the use of some words by Martin and their relation to the old gods over the whole series, the personification of wind, trees, ...,  the references of the old gods in a specific chapter, the evolution of Bran as a greenseer, the hidden presence and interventions of Bran or Bloodraven in other POV's chapters, the mystical aspects in the books, ... Those essays lead to remarks of the other contributors and were used as the basis to brainstorm further about Bran's and the old god's powers.

Firstly, I want to give the credit to Evita who started this project. She created with the idea to look in a very special way to text of GRRM by looking how he used specific words. To get a first look at the way how we are handling the text and how we are trying to find evidence, I strongly suggest to read the following posts by Evita: 

  • "Bran's Growing Powers after his Final POV in ADwD" - the use of "screaming" (x)
  • Bran divinely inspiring Reek (x) and "Homeric Conventions: divine inspiration" - a comparison between the divine inspiration in Homeric works and ASOIAF (x)
  • "Evidences and analysis: Bran's magic and the wind - THE WIND in Martin's ASoIaF: "Words are Wind" (x)
  • "Martin's Meaning in his GREY MISTS/FOG MOTIF" (x)  

Another interesting read is certainly the theory/essay series "A Rustle of leaves. The Wind. And the Howl of Wolves" (intro) by @Wizz-The-Smith in the last pages of the first thread which are sort of a culmination of all that went before in the Bran's growing powers thread. They are very useful to get ready to enter the discussion without reading every essay or comment of the whole thread. The essays of Wizz are accompanied by supporting essays and notes by @ravenous reader.

  • Part I - "Rustling leaves enabling a voice" by Wizz (x) with Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x)
  • Part II - "The howling wind and the wolf connection" by Wizz (x) with Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x)
  • An answer to the previous essays by @Tijgy: "Wood, Wind, Wolves and Winter(fell)" (x)
  • Part III - "A presence in the wind" (x) with Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x)

This project doesn't really have a structure. Everyone is free to contribute how they see fit with ideas/information in response to the OP. Some people do this by having their own project/essay of series, writings separate essays on several subjects, commenting and brainstorming on ideas earlier appeared in the thread. Every idea, comment and even (constructive) criticism is welcome. The contributors of this thread are writing on everything that encompasses Bran, Bloodraven or the old gods and would welcome you to join this discussion in whatever way you want. 

To get some structure in our very elaborated collection of essays, to make a selective reading possible and to aid people in their research, the following spoiler tags contain the list of all written essays of our reread project.

The collection essays consists of contributions by @evita mgfs @Wizz-The-Smith, @ravenous reader, @bemused, @The Fattest Leech, @LongRider, @Lady Arya's Song and myself, @Tijgy.  If I left out an essay, ... please let me now by PM ;-)

(PS: I actually didn't manage to read the last post of the first thread due lack of time, so those post have to been included yet)

Godly words

The following essays/posts elaborate how George R.R. Martin uses some specific words to indicate the presence of the old gods or of a greenseer.

Spoiler

 

- Essay series "A Rustle of leaves. The Wind. And the Howl of Wolves" (introby Wizz and Ravenous Reader

  • Part I - "Rustling leaves enabling a voice" by Wizz (x) Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x)
  • Part II - "The howling wind and the wolf connection" by Wizz (x) with Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x)
    • An answer to the previous essays by Tijgy: "Wood, Wind, Wolves and Winter(fell)" (x) and "Bran as genius loci of Winterfell"
    • Wind, wolf, winter and wood protecting Sansa and Ned, posts by Ravenous Reader (x, x ) and Tijgy
  • Part III - "A presence in the wind" (x) by Wizz with Ravenous Reader's accompanying essay (x).

- Stand-alone essays

  • Screaming 
    • "Bran's Growing Powers after his Final POV in ADwD" - the use of 'screaming' (x) by Evita
    • 'Screaming' in Jon X, ADWD by Wizz (x)
    • Some observations by Bemused (x)
  • Wind
    • "Evidences and analysis: Bran's magic and the wind - THE WIND in Martin's ASoIaF: "Words are Wind" (x) by Evita
    • 'Wind' in Jon X, ADWD by Wizz (x
  • Grey Mist/Fog
    • "Martin's Meaning in his GREY MISTS/FOG MOTIF" (x) by Evita including Bemused's comment on Mist, Bloodraven and Mercy (x)
    • THE GREY MISTS in “THE “THE PRINCE OF WINTERFELL” ADwD by Evita (x)
    • The use of fog and mist in 'THE BLIND GIRL' and 'THE UGLY LITTLE GIRL' by Wizz (x)
  • 'Wisp-" and "Wisper"
    • A marker for the presence of magic, by Ravenous Reader (x)

 

 

 

The old gods, their powers and their interventions - theories

The following essays theorizes if and how the old gods are intervening in the lives of our characters, how the powers of the old gods work, ... 

 

Spoiler

 

  • TYRION III, AGOT and TYRION VII, ACOK: In two posts Tijgy tries to proof the old gods tried to influence Tyrion into believing the stories of the Others and into aiding the Night Watch in their fight against the Others (post 1, post 2). 
  • JON IV, ACOK: "The divine inspiration of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow" and "An answer to the Old Bear Prayers" by Tijgy. In these little essays I theorize Jon was being influenced by the Old Gods through Ghost to find the hidden stash of dragon glass and compare it to the earlier mentioned divine inspiration of Tyrion. Further I also theorize those interventions were an answer to pleas for help uttered by the Old Bear (x)
  • JON VII, ACOK: "Visions in a Wolf-dream: Bran Reaches Jon" by Evita. In this essay Evita analyzes the wolf dream of Jon wherein he is visited by Bran in order to proof Bran communicated with Jon from a future time (x).  In this post Bemused presents other possible candidates for the person who is responsible for the vision, like Bloodraven, Jon or somebody else. 
  • A GHOST IN WINTERFELL, ADWD "Bran is 'A Ghost in Winterfell' " by Evita. In this essay Evita theorizes Bran is the Ghost in Winterfell and the deaths in this chapter can be attributed to him due a ghost-lile interference (x) This theory is expanded in Evita's later essay "How Bran May Display His Growing Powers in "A Ghost of Winterfell(x).
  • An essay on poetic justice of the old gods and the Lannisters by Ravenous Reader (x

Brandon Stark - The Stark in Winterfell, A Warg, A Greenseer and an Old God 

The following essays consists analyses on Bran, his powers and his relationship to the old gods of the North

 

Spoiler

 

- An essay series on Bran "A Knight on a Quest to find the Truth" by Tijgy. Unlike the chapters of the other POV's characters, the presence of the old gods are not limited to hidden references in Bran's chapters. Bran is actually himself a greenseer/an old god-to-be. In this essay series I analyze chapter-by-chapter Bran's road to the discovery, the acceptance and the learning of his powers, and his quest to unearth "the truth that lies beneath the world" (Bran I, ASOS). The analyses also include possible references to the old gods, greenseer, Bloodraven, direwolves and Bran's powers. 

  • BRAN I, ACOK (x)
  • BRAN II, ACOK (x)
    • "Appendix to Bran II, ACOK : Bran, ASOIAF and the allegory of the cave":  (x)
  • BRAN III, ACOK (x)  
  • BRAN IV, ACOK - "Wrong answers to unsolved questions" (x). 
  • BRAN V, ACOK - "The first steps to the truth"(x)
    • “Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? - That is the only time a man can be brave” – Supporting analysis to Bran V, ACOK (x)

Stand-alone essays

  • Bran and Pinocchio by The Fattest Leech (Bran's growing powers thread, post in Leech's thread with some information from Martin himself) and Evita's additional post on wood symbology and mentions of wood in BRAN V, AGOT (x).  
  • "Intimations of Fire And Water Magic in Bran's cave - From his Last POV in ADWD" by Evita
  • On the Kings of Winter, Bran and the Reign of Summer by Tijgy (x)
  •  Bran as a magical sword by Ravenous Reader (x) and "Bran and Ice: broken swords" by Tijgy (x)
  • BRAN III, ADWD: "Once you mastered your gifts" by Evita. In this essay Evita analyzes Bran's travels into the past and theorizes Bran might exceed Bloodraven's powers. (x)

 

 

Other characters, the old gods and their agents.

The following essays consists analyses on other characters than Bran, their relationship with the old gods and the appearance of the old gods in the whole of Westeros

Spoiler

 

- The essay series "The Old Gods in the Riverlands: a closer look at High Heart" by Wizz in which he researched Arya IV-VI and VIII, ASOS to show the power of the old gods are still present in the Riverlands. These essays describe the parallels between Lord Beric and Bloodraven, the High Heart, the magical powers of the Ghost and the activity of the old gods in the Riverlands

  • Part One: ARYA IV, ASOS (x)
  • Part Two: ARYA VI, ASOS (x)
  • Part Three: ARYA VIII, ASOS (x)

- Essay series "The Prophet" by Wizz and Ravenous Reader in which they analyzing the presence of the gods in the Iron Islands

  • THE PROPHET: ANALYSIS 1 (x) and (x)

- Stand-alone essays

  • Cat at the Crossing (CATELYN IV, ASOS)  by Ravenous Reader (x)
  • Summer and Cat: "Blood nourishes Summer/Catelyn learns to trust" and "Summer, an agent serving the old gods/Summer impacts Bran and Catelyn's POV" by Evita (x
  • "Grey Wind empowers Robb, endowing him with Herculan strength in Bran V, AGOT" by Evita (x)
  • "Arya and the force of the old gods: Syrio Forel" by Evita (x)
  • Ned's dream in EDDARD XII, AGOT and Bloodraven by Evita (x
  • "Will loses his voice" (PROLOGUE) by Evita (x)
  • "Will is one with the environment while Royce disrupts the natural order" by Evita (x)
  • Dywen: an agent of the old gods or not? An analysis by Tijgy (x)
  • A little background on Coldhands by LongRider (x)
  • Carrion birds in the Riverlands and the Ravens of the Raventree by Bemused (x)
  • "The Singers of the Song of Earth" by Evita, an essay on the CotF (x)

 

 

Literary analyses

The following essays consists analyses wherein the writer make comparisons with other literature, refer to existing religious practices, discuss the symbology of certain words, ... 

 

Spoiler

 

  • Inspiration from other books?
    • Bran divinely inspiring Reek (x) and "Homeric Conventions: divine inspiration" - a comparison between the divine inspiration in Homeric works and ASOIAF by Evita (x)
    • "George RR Martin’s Nod to Mark Twain’s  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Jon Snow’s Seventh POV from A Dance with Dragons" by Evita
  • Comparison of ASOIAF with Christianity
    • The religion of the old gods and Transubstantiation of Christ by Ravenous Reader (x) and Evita (x)
    • Theon and Bran: reconciliation and confession by Evita (x)
    • Blood/Summerwine by Evita
  • "Notes on Arya and Bran: parallel journeys - attention to Martin's use of sensory detail as the author whose intuitive characters master their sensory perceptivity/faceless images" by Evita (x)
  • "Observation 13: sounds" by Evita - in this essay Evita discusses the stylistic changes when Bran enters the cave of the 3ER by Martin. (x)
  • Symbology
    • "Symbolic significance of the color grey" by Evita (x)
    • "Door and Window Symbology in Martin’s Novels" by Evita (x)
    • "Symbology of crab" by Evita (x)
    • "Eye symbology" by Evita (x)
    • Noses and ill health by Lady Arya's Song and Evita (x) and (x)
    • The meaning of "fell" by Ravenous Reader (x) and by Wizz (x)

 

 

Chapter analyses

In these essays/posts the writer searched for evidence of the presence of the old gods or of greenseers in a specific chapter by looking at the text and looking for words, like wind, mist, ... Between () I mentioned which sort of evidence was found in the chapters.

 

Spoiler

 

  • A Game of Thrones
    • PROLOGUE by Wizz (x: personified wind, personified trees, rustling trees, howling, wolves)
    • BRAN I by Wizz (x: Ghost, wind)
    • EDDARD I by Wizz (x: the crypts, living statues, the cold, spirits, the dead Lords of Winterfell)
    • JON I by Wizz (x: Ghost, half blind Ned's hooded eyes)
    • CATELYN II by Wizz (post 1: personified Winterfell, wind, Ned's haunted eyes; post 2: A lens of Myr and a secret language)  
  • A Clash of Kings
    • BRAN I by Tijgy (x) - Part of the essay series "A Knight on a Quest to find the Truth"
    • BRAN II by Tijgy (x) - Part of the essay series "A Knight on a Quest to find the Truth"
    • BRAN III  by Tijgy (x) - Part of the essay series "A Knight on a Quest to find the Truth"
    • BRAN IV by Tijgy (x) - Part of the essay series "A Knight on a Quest to find the Truth"
    • JON IV by Tijgy (main post: ruling trees, forest/sea, wind, fluttering leaves, "eternal and unknowable", glittering eyes, screams, howling, Ghost, ...; addendum: soldier trees)   
  • A Storm of Swords
    • Part One: ARYA IV by Wizz (x) - Part of the essay series "The Old Gods in the Riverlands: a closer look at High Heart"
    • Part Two: ARYA VI by Wizz (x) - Part of the essay series "The Old Gods in the Riverlands: a closer look at High Heart"
    • Part Three: ARYA VIII by Wizz (x) - Part of the essay series "The Old Gods in the Riverlands: a closer look at High Heart"
  • A Feast for Crows
    • THE PROPHET by Wizz (x) - Part of the essay series "The Prophet"
  • A Dance with Dragons
    • BRAN I by Wizz (x: swirling wind, talking ravens, soldier trees, an elk influenced by the old gods, 'good as blind', glittering/glowing eyes) 
    • BRAN III by Wizz (post 1: failed flight, scream, abilities beyond the trees?), (post 2: Ravens in Maester Luwin's rookery)
    • JON VII by Wizz (x: north wind, flapping noisily, flying, Ice Dragon, eyes, Ghost, scream, push/blow of the wall) 
    • JON VIII by Wizz (x: Mormont's raven)
    • JON IX by Wizz (x: push/blow of the wall, Mormont's raven)
    • BLIND GIRL by Wizz (x: Mist/fog, half blind, a painted bridge with thousand painted eyes)
    • JON X 
      • Posts by Wizz (post 1 and post 2: screaming, wind)
      • "Ghost wears A Cloak of Snow (as in Jon Snow)" by Evita (on snow, Ghost and Jon) (x)
      • Additional post by Evita (x: son/sun, bird-eye view, plumes ... flying)
    • JON XI by Wizz (post 1 and post 2: Mormont's raven, carved weirwood face, one-eyed grey garron, wind

 

 

Some other interesting threads

In the reread thread there are also a lot of other interesting project where you can find research on Bran's chapters, the old gods, wargs, ... I especially want to refer to the " 'The Winged Wolf, A Bran Re-read project" (Part 1: AGOT&ACOK Part 2: ASOS&ADWD) organized by @MoIaF in which several contributors analyzed Bran's chapters and to the Reread Projects on the direwolves, "Six Pups in the Snow (AGOT)" organized by @Harlaw's Book the Sequel which was succeeded by the "Direwolves don't cry" organized by @Seams.

I also don't want to forget to refer to our sister-thread, "Bran's Growing Powers in S6" in the show forum started by @evita mgfs where we discuss the role of Bran and of his powers in the show. This thread is my eyes very special due it is one of the only threads in the show forum that focuses on Bran. 

A thanking word

Personally I really want to start this thread with a special thanking to Evita who started this project and whose way of thinking is a really big source of inspiration for every contributor in this thread. Thank you, Evita!

I also want to thank Wizz and Ravenous Reader in their support and aid to write this OP, Wizz for his already numberless contributions to this project and Ravenous Reader her amazing ideas and the most interesting and long digressions I ever read ;)

Further I want to thank anyone else who contributed to this thread, like Longrider, the Fattest Leech, Bemused, Lady Barbrey, Lady Arya's Song, ... , if they now wrote essays, comments, ... 

Another person I want to thank is @Meera of Tarth, my Catalonian partner-in-crime. She ensures our sister-thread in the show forum is completely up-to-date with all the Bran Show News and I love our conversations in that thread about Bran, Meera and their role in the show. 

Finally, I also want to thank all the readers of our thread who are spending their time to read the ideas of our contributions. 

---

I hope you enjoy to read our essays and our posts in these threads and I sincerely invite you to contribute our discussion!

Edited by Tijgy
To kill some spoiler tag bugs - took some time

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Last post in the first thread by @LmL

On 2017-2-20 at 9:52 PM, LmL said:

Quick point of fact, the theory that the three-eyed Crow is something or someone other than Bloodraven is only a theory, not a fact. In my opinion, it's a theory which is not very well supported by evidence, and is rather speculative, although nothing disproves it or rules it out. I would definitely caution against locking on to that idea, for what it's worth. 

As for the Fist, I tend to connect it with a few other structures which also thrust upward like a fist - Storm's end, the little fortified seamount near White Harbor, and one or two other structures which I do not recall at the moment. In terms of mythical astronomy, all of these rising fists represent the cloud of smoke and ash which would have risen from the meteor impacts. There's a great quote about storms end being a deeper blackness which hit the stars, and that is what I'm talking about. There's also a great moment in the fight between the mountain and the Viper where fall and Gregor, a moon meteor character, has his fist rise up to meet the solar face of Oberyn, and his blood-soaked fist is smoking at that moment. Also playing into the symbolism or ashwood spears thrust into the ground hyphen that creates a column of ash, with the spears representing meteor impacts. Yggdrasil is an ash tree, and it seems the meteors and the weirwoods are closely linked. The weirwoods themselves are like a rising column of ash, and the meteor itself is represented by the dragon beneath the tree, and also the weirwood leaves which are like bloody hands and bits of flame. 

The reason why we keep coming to the same conclusions through different means is because the mythical astronomy is all true. :) in fact one of the best correlations to my body of theories is how well it integrates with other good theories, even decoding and adding to other theories. @ravenous reader'said brilliant green sea / greenseer discovery really takes flight when we realize the Sea Dragon is really a see dragon - a greenseer dragon person. And in order to understand the Sea Dragon myth, we have to understand the media component of it, and how the meteors relate to the weirwoods. These are the two forms of the fire of the Gods in the story, and the Grey King mythology explains how they relate to one another. You can figure some of this out without mythical astronomy, but you really can't get it fully without that layer.

 

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Analysis of Bran V, ACOK – The first steps to the truth 

A         Introduction

Hey guys,

This is very long promised analysis of Bran’s fifth chapter in A Clash of Kings. Just like the other chapters of Bran, we are here not dealing with old gods standing in the background but rather with an ‘old god’ or a prophet of the old gods discovering his own magical powers.

 This chapter is actually a very important one in Bran’s discovery of his powers. After being quite resistant in accepting the truth about his own identity as a warg and the existence of magic, Bran finally accepts in this chapter he is a warg, magic is real and even that Jojen has prophetic dreams.

 Like other times, I will first give a synopsis of the chapter, I will quote then some important sentences, phrases, … which refer to the old gods, direwolves, Bran’s powers … and give my own remarks and speculations on them.

 Some author notes:

  •  During my text I sometimes underline some words. This only means that in the books the words are cursive, because they are parts of the story that are the thoughts of the POV Character.
  • I also refer here just to the "Old Gods". This can of course how being interpreted according to your opinion: Bloodraven, seers of the Children, ...).

 And maybe in order so you could put my remarks and speculation in perspective, I personally don’t think “Bran is going to fly” means literally is going to fly, and it certainly doesn’t mean Bran is going to fly on a dragon or whatever. In my eyes, it means he is going on a path to discover long secret truths. And this road is the flight he is going to take. The main issue is actually Bran, young as he is, does take it literal and believes it means he is literally going to fly. But he keeps getting disappointed because that is actually not what the crow means.

 I hope you enjoy it. And to make up for the waiting for the analysis and the new thread, I will post in very short time another essay on Bran (it is already written so it would not take very long).

 B         Synopsis

 The chapter begins with Bran, Rickon and the little Freys learning some news: Robb won a great victory and the little Frey's uncle Stevron lost his live at the battlefield.

 Osha brings Bran then back from Maester Luwin's turret to his bedchamber while they talk about what things live in the north. Due this talk with Osha he realizes finally Jojen is telling the truth about his dreams.

 Not long after he returns to his bedchamber, Jojen and Meera enter his room and talk with him about Jojen's prophecies, his dreams, his powers, …

 The chapter ends with Bran trying to convince everyone including Ser Rodrik and Maester Luwin that the sea is coming for Winterfell.

 C          Meaning of his dreams (version 3°)

 1          Finally realizing the truth

 QUOTES

Spoiler

 

 'Rickon tugged at the maester's robe. "Is Robb coming?" (…)

"Tell Robb I want him to come home," said Rickon.
"He can bring his wolf home too, and Mother and Father." Though he knew Lord Eddard was dead, sometimes Rickon forget … willfully Bran suspected. (…)

Bran was glad for Robb's victory, but disquited as well. He remembered what Osha had said the day that his brother had led his army out of Winterfell. He's marching the wrong way, the wildling woman had insisted. (…)

Maester Luwin cut in sharply. "You ought to be ashamed of such talks, my lords. Where is your grief? Your uncle is dead."
"Yes, " said Little Walder. "We're very sad."
They weren't
, thought Bran. Bran got a sick feeling in his belly. They like the taste of this dish better than I do. '

(…)

"It seemed only a few hearthbeats after she took her leave that the door opened again, and Jojen Reed entered unbidden, with his sister behind him."You heard about the bird?" Bran asked. The other boy nodded. "It wasn't supper like you said. It was a letter from Robb and we didn't eat it, but-"

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

(…)

"Does my prince believe me now. Will he trust my words, no matter how queer they sounds in his ears?

Bran nodded

(Jojen tells Bran about his dream in which the sea is the bad thing coming for Winterfell.)

"We have to tell them. "Alebelly and Mikken, and Septon Chayle. Tell them not to drown.

"It will not save them," replied the boy in green.

Meera came to the window seat, and put a hand on his shoulder. "They will not believe, Bran. No more than you did." '

 

 DISCUSSION

 In last chapter, Bran IV ACOK , Bran tried to find with the aid of his three mentors (Jojen, Luwin and Meera) the truth of the meaning behind his dreams.

 The chapter ended with Meera giving Bran the possibility to investigate if Jojen really is able to dream the future and to proof the existence of his and Jojen's powers by telling him one of Jojen's prophecies.

 "You were sitting at supper, but instead of a servant, Maester Luwin brought you your food. He served you the king's cut off the roast, the meat rare and bloody, but with a savory smell that made everyone's mouth water. The meat he served the Freys was old and grey and dead. Yet they liked their supper better than you liked yours." (Bran IV, ACOK)

 Because Bran was believed this prophecy never came true, Bran became convinced of the fact Jojen wasn't able to dream the future and magic didn't exist. Due some events in this current chapter Bran started to reconsider this opinion.

 When Maester Luwin tells Bran and Rickon of Robb's victory and the Little Freys of their uncle's death, Bran realizes the Little Freys are actually happier with this sad news than he is with his joyful news ("Bran was glad for Robb's victory, but disquited as well"). He starts to realize Jojen's prophecy of last chapter might actually be a real prophecy: "They like the taste of this dish better than I do."

 When Osha brings Bran back to his tower, he asks Osha about things Maester Luwin taught him. Maester Luwin told him: "The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore" (Bran IV, ACOK). Osha however tells him giants are actually alive and she did hear of the children ("The giant's I've seen, the children I've heard tell of  (…)").

 This makes Bran realize further his Maester Luwin might not always be right and there might be more to the world than his Maester knows. And Bran starts to really believe in Jojen's and even his dreams.

 Conclusion: Bran realized, due an empirical testing of Jojen's prophecy, those dreams tell the truth ("It wasn't supper like you said. It was a letter from Robb and we didn't eat it, but-",  and he starts to believe in Jojen's words ("Does my prince believe me now. Will he trust my words, no matter how queer they sound in his ears? Bran nodded).

 At this moment Bran finally starts to realize his own dreams are special and he promises Jojen and Meera to believe in what they are saying.

 2          Becoming a warg

 QUOTES  

Spoiler

 

Jojen sat on Bran's bed. "Tell me what you dream."

He was scared, even then, but he had sworn to trust them, and a Stark of Winterfell keeps his sworn word.

"There's different kinds," he said slowly. "There"s the wolf dreams, those aren't so bad as the others, I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there's dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall." He looked down into the yard, feeling miserable. "I never used to fall before. When I climbed, I went everyplace, up on the roofs and along the walls, I used to feed the crows in the Burned Tower. Mother was afraid I would fall but I knew I never would. Only I did, and now when I sleep I fall all the time.

(…)

"Warg. Skinchanger. Beastling. That is what they will call you, if they ever hear of your wolf dreams.

The names made him afraid again. "Who will call me?

Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you. 

Old Nan told scary stories of beastlings and shapechangers sometimes . In stories they were always evil. "I'm not like that, Bran said. I'm not. It's only dreams."

The wolf dreams are no true dreams. You have your eye closed tight whenever you're awake, but as you drift it off it flutters open and your soul seeks out its other half. The power is strong in you."

"I don't want it. I want to be a knight."

"A knight is what you want. A warg is what you are. You can't change that, Bran, you can't deny it or push it away. You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly. Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye. He put two fingers together and poked Bran in the forehead, hard.

When he raised his hand to the spot, Bran only felt the smooth unbroken skin. There was no eye, not even a closed one. "How can I open it if it's not even there?"

"You will never find the eye with your fingers, Bran. You must search with your heart." Jojen studied Bran's face with those strange green eyes. "Or are you afraid?"

"Maester Luwin says there's nothing in dreams that a man need fear."

"There is," Jojen said. - "What?"

"The past. The future. The truth."

They left him more muddled than ever. When he was alone, Bran tried to open his third eye, but he didn't know how. No matter how he wrinkled his forehead and poked at it, he couldn't see any different than he'd done before.

 

 DISCUSSION

 This part of the chapter starts with Bran telling to Jojen and Meera the content of his dreams:  "There"s the wolf dreams, those aren't so bad as the others, I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there's dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall. (…)

 While Bran actually describes a lot of different dreams (wolf dreams, dreams with the crow, tree dreams  and the dreams where he falls), Jojen only starts to explain what Bran's wolf dreams mean. This chapter is only not important because Bran finally realizes his dreams are special. It is also important because it is the first time someone calls Bran a "warg".

 This is a significant moment of Bran's path to discover  his identity. I personally find it a very exciting moment ;) We did wait a long time to hear finally what his dreams mean, or at least the meaning of his wolf dreams. 

 In this chapter, he says the following about Bran's third eye: "The wolf dreams are no true dreams. You have your eye closed tight whenever you're awake, but as you drift off it flutters open and your soul seeks out its other half." 

 Last chapter we learned that a part of him is Summer and a part of Summer is him. Skinchanging lead to the fact Bran and Summer are becoming more and more intertwined ("Part of you is Summer, and part of Summer is you"). I do wonder if we have to interpret "your soul seeks out its other half" as if Bran and Summer are becoming one soul or if Bran is searching for the part of his soul which is becoming intertwined with Summer and resides in Summer? (Not sure if there is much difference between those two things.)

 Last chapter Jojen also told us Bran was the winged wolf "who was bound to the earth with grey stone chains", the Winged Wolf whose chains Jojen and Meera were sent to break. The chains will only be broken and Bran the Winged Wolf will only be able to "fly" if he opens his third eye (You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly. Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye). According to Jojen he can only do that by "searching with his hearth".

 The usage of ‘flutter’ is also very interesting. One of the description of ‘flutter’ in the dictionary is “to flap the wings rapidly, fly with flapping movements”. When Bran’s third eye is fluttering, you could actually say that Bran is almost “flying”.

 Just like Bran took the prophecy with Luwin offering supper literal, he also takes Jojen's explanation literal: "When he was alone, Bran tried to open his third eye, but he didn't know how. No matter how he wrinkled his forehead and poked at it, he couldn't see any different than he'd done before."  And he isn't still be able to watch consciously through his third eye (but in near future he be able to do this).

 Last time we learned Bran would be able to see the past and the future, the entire world and the heart of people hidden by their faces when he finally opens his third eye. After Jojen asks if Bran is afraid of his dreams, he says Bran's dreams tell "The past. The future. The truth".

 3          The prophetic greenseer

 QUOTES 

Spoiler

 

"In the days that followed, he tried to warn others about what Jojen had seen, but it didn't go as wanted

 (…)

 The monster had tied us a thorny knot," the old knight told Maester Luwin? "Like it or no, Lady Hornwood was his wife. He made her say the vows before both septon and heart tree, and bedded her that very night before witnesses. She signed will naming him as heir and fixed her seal to it."

 "Vows made at a sword point are not valid, the maester argued.

 (…)

 The old knight turned in his seat and gave Bran a stern look. "And what have you been about while I've been away, my lord prince? Commanding our guardsmen not to wash? Do you want them smelling like this Reek, is that it?

 "The sea is coming here," Bran said. "Jojen saw it in a green dream. Alebelly is going to drown".

 Maester Luwin tugged at his chain collar. "The Reed boy believes he sees the future in his dreams. I've spoken to Bran about the uncertainty of such prophecies, but if truth be told, there is trouble along the Stony Shore

 (description of what the Ironborn have been up to. It is kind of nice actually how Ser Rodrik is like okay, I will not take those guys with me and how Ser Rodrik and Luwin are actually taking a young boy's belief in some prophecy in account and not laughing with him. Very sweet :P )

 "It heartened Bran to hear that. Maybe they won't drown, then, he thought. If they stay away from the sea.

 

DISCUSSION

 While Bran doesn't understand how he can use his third eye, we do see him again taking a part of his role up as a greenseer, just like he did for example in ACOK, Bran I.

 In the books, several characters got warning of the old gods or greenseers: the dreams of the Old Bear, the Ghost of the High Heart*, Jojen's green dreams, Bran and Jojen being visited by the third-eyed crow, Jon being visited by Bran, …

 * Was it already actually mentioned in the reread the hill is named High Heart? A sacred hill with weirwood trees. The most important trees in a godswood is the heart tree.

 In this chapter Bran is actually starting to warn people about the future, about Jojen's dreams:

 "In the days that followed, he tried to warn others about what Jojen had seen, but it didn't go as wanted";

"The sea is coming here," Bran said. "Jojen saw it in a green dream. Alebelly is going to drown".

 But sadly, Bran isn't able to convince people of the dangers in the future. The main difficulty is that Bran is still taking the prophecies too literal. He believes the sea will drown people. It is interesting however to see Luwin actually almost understand the prophecy: Luwin brings the prophecy in connection with the shenanigans of the Ironborn. Let's hope people will believe Bran’s warnings in the future.

 Bran's identity as a greenseer isn’t hinted in this chapter only through his "prophetic actions". It is first emphasized Bran remembers in contract to his little brother who forgets:

"Though he knew Lord Eddard was dead, sometimes Rickon forget … willfully Bran suspected. (…)

Bran was glad for Robb's victory, but disquited as well. He remembered what Osha had said the day that his brother had led his army out of Winterfell. He's marching the wrong way, the wildling woman had insisted. (…)"

 The interesting thing is here however that Rickon is here being, what I call, a complete Stark. Several of those Starks are good in (wilfully) forgetting awful and painful truths. Rickon is willfully forgetting here his father's death, Robb replaces his brothers with the Westeling family (" Rollam has taken Bran's place, and Raynald is part Theon and part Jon Snow. Only with the Westerlings did she see Robb smile, or hear him laugh like the boy he was. To the others he was always the King in the North, head bowed beneath the weight of the crown even when his brows were bare."), Ned (not really) dealing with the death of sister, …

 Even Bran is trying to forget awful truths. Only in Bran IV, ACOK we can already read this: "The falling, Bran thought, and the gold man, the queen’s brother, he scares me too, but mostly the falling. He did not say it, though. How could he? He had not been able to tell Ser Rodrik or maester Luwin, and he could not tell the Reeds either. If he didn’t talk about it, maybe he would forget. He had never wanted to remember. It might not even be a true remembering." Later he actually knows Robb died but he also tries to forget this.

 So there are several instances found in the books where our current Starks ignore the (painful) truth in one way or the other, just like how "the truths the First Men knew" are "forgotten in Winterfell". Just like Bran will probably due his powers as greenseer will remember those truth, Bran now remembers the warning said by Osha in front of a heart tree.

 Speaking of heart trees, there are several allusions to heart trees and references to hearts in this chapter:

  • "We're very sad." They weren't, thought Bran." - This part made me remember of the following old saying in the North: "My lord father believed no man could tell a lie in front of a heart tree. The old gods know when men are lying" (ACOK, Jon II). The Freys could not tell a lie in front of Bran (heart tree). He (an old god) knew they were lying.
  • "It seemed only a few heartbeats after she took her leave that the door opened again, and Jojen Reed entered unbidden, with his sister behind him”. - Martin uses her especially "heart"beats, while Bran, Meera and Jojen are all now standing inside Bran's tower, the place from where Bran watch through the window just like how the old gods watch through the eyes of the heart trees to watch the world.
  • "You will never find the eye with your fingers, Bran. You must search with your heart.”-  Jojen tells her Bran should find his third eye by searching with his own heart. It is with Bran's heart Bran will find out the truth.
  • “He made her say the vows before both septon and heart tree (…) "Vows made at a sword point are not valid, the maester argued.” - In this chapter Martin reminds us of the fact oaths sworn before a heart tree cannot be broken. Bran himself also made an oath in this chapter an oath before a tree (or rather his tower/Winterfell), an oath which cannot be broken (he had sworn to trust them, and a Stark of Winterfell keeps his sworn word).
  • "It heartened Bran to hear that.”

4          Changing the Future?

QUOTES

Spoiler

 

 Meera thought so too (…), but her brother shook his head. "The things I see in green dreams can't be changed."

 That made his sister angry. "Why would the gods went a warning if we can't heed it and change what's to come?"

 "I don't know," Jojen said sadly.

 (…) Alebelly "should fight, and Bran should too.

 "Me?" Bran felt suddenly afraid. "What should I fight. Am I going too drown too?

 (…)

 "They won't be able to stop him, Bran. I couldn't see why, but I saw the end of it. I saw you and Rickon in your crypts, down in the dark with all the dead kings and their stone wolves.

 No, thought Bran. No. "If I went away … to Greywater, to the crow, someplace far  where they couldn't find me …"

 "It will no matter. The dream was green, Bran, and the green dreams do not lie.

 

 DISCUSSION

 Last chapter we had already seen a little discussion between Meera and Jojen about the fact if his dreams can or cannot be changed: “He dreams things that haven’t happened, but sometimes they do.” “There is no sometimes, Meera.” A look passed between them; him sad, her defiant.” (ACOK, Bran IV).

 This discussion is repeated at the end of this chapter. Meera believes the dreams can be changed and you should fight against the future seen in the dreams ("Alebelly "should fight, and Bran should too."). Jojen however believes they cannot be changed and that "green dreams do not lie".

 And while we learned a lot in this chapter and some old questions were finally answered, at the end of this chapter a new question arises: "Why would the gods sent a warning if we can't heed it and change what's to come?"  What is the use of knowing the future if we cannot change it?

 D         Bran V and the allegory of the cave

 Earlier in this reread, I already referred to the fact there are several references to Plato’s allegory of the cave in (especially) Bran’s chapters. This is also apparent in this chapter.

 First, it is possible to say they have a similar theme. Both Plato’s allegory and Bran’s chapter (or even storyline) is about the way to search the truth (through an ascension). Bran is searching (again) in this chapter for the truth behind the meaning of his dreams, something he finally learns in this chapter. We even learn that Bran in his dreams will learn "The Truth".

 Just like the prisoners in the allegory Bran is still chained and isn't able to ascend or fly (You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly. Jojen got up and walked to the window. Unless you open your eye - When he was alone, Bran tried to open his third eye, but he didn't know how. No matter how he wrinkled his forehead and poked at it, he couldn't see any different than he'd done before.)  

 In this chapter, we do have however one ascension. Osha carries Bran up to his tower ("She backed through a door and started up the winding steps"). Just like Osha helps Bran to ascend the wind-ing stairs, she is helping Bran to find out the truth about the existence of magic.

 Due their chains the prisoners in the allegory aren't able to see the reality but only shadows of object of real things. The truth of Jojen's green dreams (objects) are also sometimes very difficult to understand due the fact they take sometimes strange shapes (shadows). It is also interesting skinchangers are called sometimes 'shape-changers'.

 The object of those real things is carried by some other people in the cave. Due an echo in this cave the prisoners believe the voices of those carriers are coming from the shadows.

 In Bran I Bran describes the voices' of the wolves in the following way: "Ser Rodrik had confined the wolves to the godswood after Shaggydog bit Little Walder, but the stones of Winterfell played queer tricks with sound, and sometimes it sounded as if they were in the yard right below Bran's window. Other times he would have sworn they were up on the curtain walls, loping round like sentries. He wished that he could see them."

 In this chapter Jojen's voice is also described as queer: "Will he trust my words, no matter how queer they sound in his ears?"

 After the prisoners is freed and ascended to go out the cave, he finally sees there the real things. The light outside hurts and blinds however the prisoner. In his dreams, Bran will see "The Past. The Future. The Truth." Jojen says he should actually be afraid of these dreams and Bran is later afraid of the future Jojen has seen in his dreams ("Bran felt suddenly afraid. "What should I fight. Am I going to drown too?")

 Afterwards in the allegory the prisoner descends and tries to free the other prisoners. After Bran learns about the truth of his and Jojen's dreams, he also tries to warn everyone. But just like the prisoners didn't believe the man who went outside the cave so doesn't believe anyone in Winterfell Bran's warning ("In the days that followed, he tried to warn others about what Jojen had seen, but it didn't go as wanted).

 One of those prisoners is of course Maester Luwin. However, at one point he is starting to consider there might something to be true to Jojen's prophecy. At one moment, he "tugged at his chain collar." He is starting to free himself from his chains.

 At the end of the allegory it is said that the other prisoners might kill the freed prisoner when he tries to drag them out of the cave. Jojen says in this chapter that if people would know that Bran was a warg they would kill him (Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you.) 

 E          Varia

  • 'Rickon tugged at the maester's robe. "Is Robb coming?" - Rickon is here tugging at Luwin's robe just like the wind sometimes tugs at people cloak's, …
  •  The monster had tied us a thorny knot," the old knight told Maester Luwin? "Like it or no, Lady Hornwood was his wife. He made her say the vows before both septon and heart tree, and bedded her that very night before witnesses. She signed will naming him as heir and fixed her seal to it." "Vows made at a sword point are not valid, the maester argued. - This is some really nice word play of Martin here. To tie a knot means to marry someone; a knot can be part of tree; thorny can be something with thorns and can also mean something full of difficulties; the marriage was with Lady Hornwood; the marriage entangled the Starks in a net/knot which is difficult to get out; the marriage happened in front of a tree; …  It is also about words sworn at a sword point.
  • Jojen studied Bran's face with those strange green eyes - Jojen's eyes are here described again as very weird. Last chapter Bran said about Jojen's eyes that it looks like Jojen is able to see something else, something more than everyone else sees
  • Martin is playing here again with the window symbolism:
    • Osha kicked open the door to his bedchamber and set him in his window seat, where he could watch the yard below.' 
    • Meera came to the window seat, and put a hand on his shoulder. "They will not believe, Bran. No more than you did." '
    • Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye." He put two fingers together and poked Bran in the forehead, hard.
  •  Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you; Old Nan told scary stories of beastlings and shapechangers sometimes. In stories they were always evil - This is a reference about the theme of the "Other", people are afraid of what they don't know. This returns with in the arc of many characters like Jon, Theon, … It is however very interesting that later in the same book it is Bran showing Jon the wildlings are not what is told in the stories.

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On Invalid Date at 5:35 PM, Tijgy said:

The truth that lies beneath the world (and the word) - Bran's growing powers revisited

"The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims or crawls, and could look through the eyes of the weirwoods as well, 
and see the truth that lies beneath the world.
"

(Bran I, ASOS)

Introduction

Welcome everyone to the second version of the Bran's Growing Powers Thread. The first version (which can be find here) was created by the amazing @evita mgfs with the goal to find evidence of Bran's progression as a greenseer beyond his POV.  To find this evidence, Evita and several other contributors started to research the text of the whole series to find clues how George R.R. Martin might imply the presence of the old gods or of a greenseer. This research lead to several essays wherein contributors analyzed the use of some words by Martin and their relation to the old gods over the whole series, the personification of wind, trees, ...,  the references of the old gods in a specific chapter, the evolution of Bran as a greenseer, the hidden presence and interventions of Bran or Bloodraven in other POV's chapters, the mystical aspects in the books, ... Those essays lead to remarks of the other contributors and were used as the basis to brainstorm further about Bran's and the old god's powers.

Firstly, I want to give the credit to Evita who started this project. She created with the idea to look in a very special way to text of GRRM by looking how he used specific words. To get a first look at the way how we are handling the text and how we are trying to find evidence, I strongly suggest to read the following posts by Evita: 

  • "Bran's Growing Powers after his Final POV in ADwD" - the use of "screaming" (x)
  • Bran divinely inspiring Reek (x) and "Homeric Conventions: divine inspiration" - a comparison between the divine inspiration in Homeric works and ASOIAF (x)
  • "Evidences and analysis: Bran's magic and the wind - THE WIND in Martin's ASoIaF: "Words are Wind" (x)
  • "Martin's Meaning in his GREY MISTS/FOG MOTIF" (x)  
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snip ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi @Tijgy I hope you're well.  :)

Great work regards the OP!!!  You've done a wonderful job, this is absolutley brilliant, and complete with appropiate links to each essay for ease of reading.  I know you put a lot of time and effort into this, thank you so much.  I'm sure everyone here will agree, and I know @evita mgfs would love it too.  :D  

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

Analysis of Bran V, ACOK – The first steps to the truth 

A         Introduction

Hey guys,

This is very long promised analysis of Bran’s fifth chapter in A Clash of Kings. Just like the other chapters of Bran, we are here not dealing with old gods standing in the background but rather with an ‘old god’ or a prophet of the old gods discovering his own magical powers.

 This chapter is actually a very important one in Bran’s discovery of his powers. After being quite resistant in accepting the truth about his own identity as a warg and the existence of magic, Bran finally accepts in this chapter he is a warg, magic is real and even that Jojen has prophetic dreams.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ snip ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Awesome, good to have the new thread up and going and it's always great to read your analysis.  Good work as always, this chapter is packed with some cool stuff.  :)

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

This chapter is only not important because Bran finally realizes his dreams are special. It is also important because it is the first time someone calls Bran a "warg".

 This is a significant moment of Bran's path to discover  his identity. I personally find it a very exciting moment ;) We did wait a long time to hear finally what his dreams mean, or at least the meaning of his wolf dreams. 

I agree this chapter is important, I hadn't noticed the gradual transformation within one chapter until now, thanks.  And yes, enter the Reed's as an avenue for us to gain confirmation he is indeed a warg, I really do love the wolf dream sections! 

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

The usage of ‘flutter’ is also very interesting. One of the description of ‘flutter’ in the dictionary is “to flap the wings rapidly, fly with flapping movements”. When Bran’s third eye is fluttering, you could actually say that Bran is almost “flying”.

 ''The wolf dreams are no true dreams. You have your eye closed tight whenever you're awake, but as you drift it off it flutters open and your soul seeks out its other half. The power is strong in you."  

Nice!!  A butterfly is often described as fluttering rather than flying and that fits in with something I stumbled upon when researching for the 'Hills' essay and the island of Naath.  Butterflies have thousands of individual lenses in each eye [Thousands of eyes in one ;)] yet they can see a single image and are able to perceive ultraviolet wavelengths of light which would suggest clairvoyant abilities [Or Third-eye abilities?]   .  Furthermore, the butterfly represents the process of transformation and shape shifting.  So yeah, loving that one Tijgy.  :D 

As for the soul seeking out the its other half, I tend to agree with your assumption that it simply means reaching out to Summer, they are two as one etc.  So until Bran harnesses his skills properly he is limited to his wolf dreams as his Third-eye flutters or flies open. 

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

"The sea is coming here," Bran said. "Jojen saw it in a green dream. Alebelly is going to drown".

 Maester Luwin tugged at his chain collar. "The Reed boy believes he sees the future in his dreams. I've spoken to Bran about the uncertainty of such prophecies, but if truth be told, there is trouble along the Stony Shore

I love your catch that Luwin is showing a somewhat nervous disposition during this conversation because of a young [green] boys prophecy.  Again this is not something I had paid much attention to before, good work.  It potentially shows another side of Luwin too, as his normal position has always been so firmly against any sort of magic/prophecy being real in this current day/age.  I agree with you that Luwin knows the Ironborn are the purpetrators of said trouble along the Stoney Shore, so therefore it makes sense he must of been thinking the same thoughts as Bran and co at some point, even for just a second.  I suspect Luwin had a whole different perspective regarding prophecy once the sea arrived at Winterfell, probably tugged a little harder than normal at his chain collar.  I have a soft spot for Theon, but right now I'm hating that part of the books, damn you George. 

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

* Was it already actually mentioned in the reread the hill is named High Heart? A sacred hill with weirwood trees. The most important trees in a godswood is the heart tree.

I've written a lot about High Heart and we've discussed the trees as rib cage to the 'heart' etc but I'm not sure we've specifically mentioned the 'heart' in High Heart so to speak.  So yes, fair analysis.  I think it was @Nasty LongRider who mentioned High Heart as a sort of central base or heart of the CotF's network in days gone by as well.  We'll have to get some sort of key to follow regards the 'key words' and 'phrases' we look out for, it would help us as much as it would help readers/new readers on the thread.  It's one of the easier ways to tune our eyes into various techniques/text to look out for.  :)       

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

 So there are several instances found in the books where our current Starks ignore the (painful) truth in one way or the other, just like how "the truths the First Men knew" are "forgotten in Winterfell".

Nice, some cool thoughts in this section Tijgy.  I love that you've highlighted the different Stark's and their different ways of supressing painful truths, and as you say this goes all the way back to Ned.  And I love your thought that this may resemble/show similarities to the addage ''the truths the First Men once knew but are now forgotten'' and how that may include our Stark's of Winterfell.     

As for Bran, those truths are frightening and very real.  He can try to surpress them but I don't think that card is on the table due to time, he has to learn as quickly as possible and that may mean a dark journey with darker truths.  The potential boggles the mind, but imagine being the one who has to make the choices for the good of the realm moving forward etc... I so hope we get a couple or even a few Bran chapters.  :)

On Invalid Date at 6:42 PM, Tijgy said:

 D         Bran V and the allegory of the cave

 Earlier in this reread, I already referred to the fact there are several references to Plato’s allegory of the cave in (especially) Bran’s chapters. This is also apparent in this chapter.

Again I really enjoyed this section, I know you've discussed Plato's cave allegory before but it fits really nicely into this chapter, good work.  And great job in general, another very enjoyable read.  :)

In conclusion, thank you again Tijgy for the wonderful job you've done with the OP and the wonderful analysis of Bran V ACOK.  I look forward to the coming months as Bran's powers re-visited progresses and we can carry on @evita mgfs great work.    :D     

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15 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

Great work regards the OP!!!  You've done a wonderful job, this is absolutley brilliant, and complete with appropiate links to each essay for ease of reading.  I know you put a lot of time and effort into this, thank you so much.  I'm sure everyone here will agree, and I know @evita mgfs would love it too.  :D  

On 2017-5-28 at 7:42 PM, Tijgy said:

Thanks! :D

15 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

I agree this chapter is important, I hadn't noticed the gradual transformation within one chapter until now, thanks.  And yes, enter the Reed's as an avenue for us to gain confirmation he is indeed a warg, I really do love the wolf dream sections! 

On 2017-5-28 at 7:42 PM, Tijgy said:

I think one of the most interesting things about my essays on Bran is the exploration of Bran's steps in becoming a greenseer. It didn't suddenly happen. Just like us, Bran learns step-by-step what his powers mean and I really love Bran doesn't this passively. He isn't just told by Jojen: you are a warg and a greenseer. But it is through several dialogues with several people and through his own (empirical) logical thinking Bran learns what his powers are. So you don't have only hints of Plato in his chapters (the references to the allegory) but you also have hints of Socrates and Aristotle:D

15 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

Nice!!  A butterfly is often described as fluttering rather than flying and that fits in with something I stumbled upon when researching for the 'Hills' essay and the island of Naath.  Butterflies have thousands of individual lenses in each eye [Thousands of eyes in one ;)] yet they can see a single image and are able to perceive ultraviolet wavelengths of light which would suggest clairvoyant abilities [Or Third-eye abilities?]   .  Furthermore, the butterfly represents the process of transformation and shape shifting.  So yeah, loving that one Tijgy.  :D 

 

This is also very nice information!

15 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

As for Bran, those truths are frightening and very real.  He can try to surpress them but I don't think that card is on the table due to time, he has to learn as quickly as possible and that may mean a dark journey with darker truths.  The potential boggles the mind, but imagine being the one who has to make the choices for the good of the realm moving forward etc... I so hope we get a couple or even a few Bran chapters.  :)

On 2017-5-28 at 7:42 PM, Tijgy said:

I promised another essay on Bran, which actually will be how fear (and bravery) are represented through Bran's chapters (until Bran IV, ACOK)!

15 hours ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

In conclusion, thank you again Tijgy for the wonderful job you've done with the OP and the wonderful analysis of Bran V ACOK.  I look forward to the coming months as Bran's powers re-visited progresses and we can carry on @evita mgfs great work.    :D     

Thanks you for your answer :D

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Posted (edited)

On 5/28/2017 at 0:35 PM, Tijgy said:

A thanking word

Personally I really want to start this thread with a special thanking to Evita who started this project and whose way of thinking is a really big source of inspiration for every contributor in this thread. Thank you, Evita!

I also want to thank Wizz and Ravenous Reader in their support and aid to write this OP, Wizz for his already numberless contributions to this project and Ravenous Reader her amazing ideas and the most interesting and long digressions I ever read ;)

He he.  Guilty as charged!  :grouphug:

Quote

Further I want to thank anyone else who contributed to this thread, like Longrider, the Fattest Leech, Bemused, Lady Barbrey, Lady Arya's Song, ... , if they now wrote essays, comments, ... 

Another person I want to thank is @Meera of Tarth, my Catalonian partner-in-crime. She ensures our sister-thread in the show forum is completely up-to-date with all the Bran Show News and I love our conversations in that thread about Bran, Meera and their role in the show. 

Finally, I also want to thank all the readers of our thread who are spending their time to read the ideas of our contributions. 

---

I hope you enjoy to read our essays and our posts in these threads and I sincerely invite you to contribute our discussion!

Hi @Tijgy  -- our beloved 'Princess of the Green' -- :wub::

Thank you for all the work you put in lovingly summarising and reviving my favourite-of-all-time thread on the forum!  

I second all your introductions and acknowledgements.  We miss you, unforgettable @evita mgfs!  It's still true as I've hitherto asserted, that no one I've encountered is yet to understand Bran's chapters as well as Evita; we can only strive after her example.  Although Bran's not my favourite character necessarily (that's Jaime!), his are nevertheless hands-down the chapters I most enjoy thinking and writing about -- the ones to which I most frequently return as if to old friends -- and delight in sharing with all of you.  As MacGregor and Dorian recently found out, I can talk about the many shades of 'rustling,' linking that to my 'killing word' thesis, for hours...  The inspiration continues!  :) 

And now for a 'little digression' of the ravenous variety... ;)  (I shall comment on your new and wonderful essay in a separate post to follow)...

Tijgy, I know you're not overly fond of poetry -- though you be a lyrical poster of uncommon discernment -- yet permit the Poetess a little poem to celebrate the old and baptise our new thread.  I've chosen two excerpts from Walt Whitman's poem 'Song of Myself' from his poetry collection 'Leaves of Grass,' which I thought would be apt!  

It's a poem exploring themes of self-knowledge, reflecting the title of the current thread; for what is striving to capture 'the truth that lies beneath the world' -- and indeed 'beneath the word' (or should I say 'under the sea'...), 'the word' that most natural of unnatural elements -- but a reaching outwards and inwards to touch the truth about the self?

The first excerpt (section 6) evokes the 'green fountain,' both from which the greenseer drinks his fill, and into which he is in turn swallowed in the bottomless depths.  The second excerpt (section 31) has echoes of the 'dark side' of greenseeing, being a bold statement of hubris, as the poet stubbornly asserts he can 'call any thing back again when I desire it' (reminiscent of Bran's burning desire to communicate with the past, against all advice not to seek to call back the dead), followed by the imaginative leap into various natural forms (like skinchanging), plumbing the fathomless depths and ascending to ever greater heights, from a poet who once famously declared (in the same poem):  

'Do I contradict myself? 
Very well then I contradict myself, 
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)' 
 
 
6 
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; 
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. 
 
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. 
 
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, 
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, 
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say 
Whose? 
 
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. 
 
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, 
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, 
Growing among black folks as among white, 
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same. 
 
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. 
 
Tenderly will I use you curling grass, 
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, 
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, 
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers’
laps, 
And here you are the mothers’ laps. 
 
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers, 
Darker than the colorless beards of old men, 
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. 
 
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, 
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing. 
 
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women, 
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps. 
 
What do you think has become of the young and old men? 
And what do you think has become of the women and children? 
 
They are alive and well somewhere, 
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, 
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, 
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d. 
 
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, 
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier. 

 

 

31 
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars, 
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren, 
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’œuvre for the highest, 
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven, 
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery, 
And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue, 
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. 
 
I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots, 
And am stucco’d with quadrupeds and birds all over, 
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons, 
But call any thing back again when I desire it. 
 
In vain the speeding or shyness, 
In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach, 
In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder’d bones, 
In vain objects stand leagues off and assume manifold shapes, 
In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low, 
In vain the buzzard houses herself with the sky, 
In vain the snake slides through the creepers and logs, 
In vain the elk takes to the inner passes of the woods, 
In vain the razor-bill’d auk sails far north to Labrador, 
I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. 
 
 
 
 
Edited by ravenous reader

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On 2017-6-3 at 9:41 PM, ravenous reader said:

Thank you for all the work you put in lovingly summarising and reviving my favourite-of-all-time thread on the forum!  

Thanks :D

On 2017-6-3 at 9:41 PM, ravenous reader said:

(that's Jaime!)

I love Jaime too. He is one of my favourite Lannisters together with Daven. (Not that they get so much competition ^_^) Summer is still my number one and Bran my number one human character. 

I will however admit I did not yet forgive him for throwing my sweet Bran from the Tower. 

On 2017-6-3 at 9:41 PM, ravenous reader said:

And now for a 'little digression' of the ravenous variety... ;)  (I shall comment on your new and wonderful essay in a separate post to follow)...

Haha. 

Cannot wait for your always very interesting comments :D

On 2017-6-3 at 9:41 PM, ravenous reader said:

Tijgy, I know you're not overly fond of poetry -- though you be a lyrical poster of uncommon discernment -- yet permit the Poetess a little poem to celebrate the old and baptise our new thread.  I've chosen two excerpts from Walt Whitman's poem 'Song of Myself' from his poetry collection 'Leaves of Grass,' which I thought would be apt!  

 

Thank you for the poem. I loved "I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff." 

The problem I have with poetry is that poems have almost always sort of a message? But I do admit I am not really able to understand it? 

It is kind of weird because at the same time I do love really music and songs/hymns. I really love for example the text of On an die Freude which was originally a poem by Schiller? But of course I started to love it because I heard the text on music. 

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“Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? - That is the only time a man can be brave” – Supporting analysis to Bran V, ACOK

 

1         Introduction

 

"You will never find the eye with your fingers, Bran. You must search with your heart." Jojen studied Bran's face with those strange green eyes. "Or are you afraid?" "Maester Luwin says there's nothing in dreams that a man need to fear."
"There is," Jojen said. - "What?"
"The past. The future. The truth."

---

(Bran V, ACOK)

 

Fear is very present in Bran’s fifth chapter of A Clash of Kings. Jojen even alludes to the fact fear might even the thing which is holding Bran back from finally using his powers to his full potential

 In this chapter, GRRM uses at least ten times “fear” or a synonym/metaphor for it: disquieted, "sick feeling in the belly", scared, frightens, afraid, "the names made him afraid again", "in fear", afraid, fear, afraid, … 

 Actually, fear or rather how to overcome your fears has always been present through Bran's chapters, even from the very start. During his chapters Bran has to search the answer to several questions. And the first question he tries to find the truth to, is “can a man still be brave if he is afraid?”

 

2         Too curious to be afraid of the sun

A         Bran I, AGOT

Robb: "The deserter died bravely (…) He had courage at least"
Jon: "No. It was not courage. This one was dead of fear. You could see it in his eyes, Stark."
Robb: "The Others take his eyes. He died well"

 "Bran did no try to follow. His pony could not keep up. He had seen the ragged man's eyes, and he was thinking of them now. After a while the sound of Robb's laughter receded, and the woods grew silent again.
 

So deep in thought he was (…)
 

Ned: "Are you well, Bran?"
Bran: "Yes, Father. Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid.
Ned: "What do you think?"
Bran: "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?"
Ned: "That is the only time a man can be brave."

 

Although fear was very early mentioned in Bran's chapters, Bran was actually a very fearless boy. You might even say he was too curious to be afraid:

Jon III, AGOT: "Bran, stubborn and curious, always wanting to follow and join in whatever Jon and Robb were doing"
Jon IV, AGOT: "
Bran used to love to climb. I wish I had a tenth part of his courage"

 You can see this very clearly in his first chapters. When Bran was going to watch for the first time an execution he was "nervous with excitement". In his POV he believed "he was deemed old enough (…) to see king's justice done.".  He was more concerned about "trying to seem older, trying to pretend that he'd seen all this before" than about the fact he was going to see someone be executed for the first time, something some people might actually found very scary. And, after some encouragement of his older brother Jon, he was able to keep "his pony well in hand" and not look away.

 After Bran's and Ned's talk about fear, bravery, the Old Way, … Jon and Robb yelled they found something: the direwolves. Even when Jory told Robb should get away from the direwolf mother, Bran, "afire with curiosity", tried to get as quick as possible to Robb, who pulled his hood back so "the sun shone in his hair".  Just like Icarus, Bran tries to get as close as possible to the sun.

 And did he even get afraid when he was nearer to the direwolves? No, he only gave a cry of delight when he saw little Grey Wind, gave him a nervous stroke and hugged little Summer whose fur was soft and warm.

 And when all the adults started to get afraid about the omen presented by the direwolf killed by a stag, "Bran could sense their fear, though he did not understand it". Maybe the only time he got afraid in this first chapter, was when they almost decided to kill little Summer :-(

 B         Bran II, AGOT

 Neither did he show much fear in his second chapter. He is so excited he will leave and see the red castle, dragons, the greatest living knight and the world! Why would he be afraid? ("It gave Bran a shiver to think of it, but he was not afraid. How could he be afraid?")

 His lack of fear and his curiosity can also be seen in, no matter how many people tried to keep him on the ground, Bran would always climb again while he believed he would never fall:

  • "His mother was terrified that one day Bran would slip off a wall and kill himself. He told her he wouldn't but she never believed him."
  • Making a promise to his mother not to climb
  • Cleansing himself in the godswood on his father's orders
  • Old Nan telling a story about a boy who climbed to high, was struck by lightning and crows pecked his eyes
  • Luwin's pottery boy
  • Chasing away by the guards.

The only thing which kept him for a little while on the ground, was his promise to his mother). And he stayed then on the ground because he loved her and not because he was afraid. But even his love for his mother could not keep him from climbing.

 Bran’s favourite haunt was the broken tower, or the Burned Tower, which was set afire by lightning. Normally nobody was there. However, on the day before Bran would leave Winterfell, there was suddenly someone in the Burned Tower. And while Bran got "afraid" they would see him, he nevertheless decided "he wanted to hear more" (because they were talking about his father) and was trying to find several ways to get nearer them and to get nearer the truth:  

  • "a few more feet … but they would see him if he swung out in front of the window";
  • Bran looked down. There was a narrow ledge beneath the window, only a few inches wide. He tried to lower himself toward it. Too far. He would never reach.
  • Bran studied the ledge. He could drop down. It was too narrow to land on, but if he could catch hold as he fell past, pull himself up … except that might make a noise, draw them to the window. He was not sure what he was hearing, but he knew it was not meant for his ears.
  • "Bran was suddenly very frightened. He wanted nothing so much as to go back the way he had come back the way he had come, to find his brothers. Only what would he tell them? He had to get closer he realized. He had to see who was talking.
  • Bran pulled himself up, climbed over the gargoyle, crawled out onto the roof. This was the easy way. He moved across the roof to the next gargoyle, right above the window of the room where they were talking.
  • Everything happened at once then. The woman pushed the man away wildly, shouting and pointing. Bran tried to pull himself up, bending double as he reached for the gargoyle. He was in too much of a hurry. His hand scraped uselessly across smooth stone, and in his panic his legs slipped, and suddenly he was falling. There was an instant of vertigo, a sickening lurch as the window flashed past. He shot out a hand, grabbed for the ledge, lost it, caught it again with his other hand. He swung against the building, hard. The impact took the breath out of him. Bran  dangled, one-handed, panting.

 When he finally could see, what happened through the window, he saw two people with golden hair. And the one of these people, who is described as the sun later in Bran’s POV threw him from the Burning Tower and this face was the last thing Bran saw before his fell.

C          Conclusion

Before his fall, Bran was a very fearless boy. Sometimes, he still does experience some fear but he doesn’t understand it and it certainly doesn’t keep him from trying to uncover secrets and to find out the truth.

Already in his first chapters we have several references to ascents which in Bran’s chapters represent the way he has to follow to find the truth (climbing, flying, …) He believes he would never fall, he believes his curiosity would never have negative consequences. To what should he be afraid of, when he tries to find out the truth?  

In the first chapters, we already see GRRM associating truths/secrets Bran tries to uncover with sun, lighting or fire:

  • The sun shining in Robb’s hair;
  • Old Nan: boy struck by lightning,
  • Burned Tower which was set afire by lightning;
  • Golden hair

In his second chapter Bran learns he can fall, that it can actually be dangerous to search for the truth. And he learns this after he was thrown by the tower by someone representing the sun. 

 3        A man can only be brave when he is afraid

A         Bran III, AGOT 

During his vision in his third chapter Bran dreams he is falling. At the same time the third-eyed crow is daring him to fly. Bran, the boy who believed he would never fall, who would never to let fear stand in his way, is afraid to try to fly and starts to cry.  

At one moment, he tries to remember if he was always so thin:

"Had he always been so thin. He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love", it said.
Bran screamed.

The crow took to air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face."

Bran was falling faster than ever. 

 When Bran starts to remember Jaime, the shining golden face, Bran even starts to get even more afraid and the crow says to him that he should it put aside for now. After this memory, Bran even starts to fall even more faster.

 Even though Bran is afraid, he looks down on the order of the crow and starts to look at the world:

"Every flight begins with a fall, the crow said. Look down.

I'm afraid …

LOOK DOWN!

Bran looked down, and felt his insides turn to water. The ground was rushing up at him now. The whole world was spread out below him (…)"

 In this dream one of the things he sees is someone "armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. This is probably a description of Jaime who is described in Bran's chapters as golden, shining, …

 In the end of the description of the world, he finally sees what is in the heart of the winter:

 "North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain.  He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and, the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Again, the secret Bran has to uncover is associated with light, heat and burning. You might say this is kind of weird if you consider this is about the heart of the winter, the coldest season of the year.

 "Now you know, the crow whispered, as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live.

"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.

Because winter is coming.

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death,a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid.

"Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? He heard his own voice saying, small and far away.

And his father's voice replied to him. "That is the only time a man can be brave."

Now, Bran, the crow urged. Choose. Fly or die.  

Death reached for him, screaming

Bran spread his arms and flew."

 The truth to be found in the heart of the winter is terrible. The dreams make Bran more and more desperately afraid. However, remembering his father's wise words, Bran finds his courage and flies. Bran actually shows here he will be able to face the terrible truths he will uncover in the future.

 After his flight, Bran awakes:

"Bran touched his forehead, between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. (…) And then there was movement beside his bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his own, shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized … or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf (note: very nice touch :-D ).
When his brother Robb burst into the room, breathless from his dash up the tower steps, the direwolf was licking Bran's face. Bran looked up calmly. "His name is Summer."

The place where the crow pecked, where Bran's third eye is supposed to be, the eye which Bran can use to see the Truth, is still burning after his dream.

When Bran awakes, he meets a much nicer sun than Jaime: his direwolf. The wolf gets even some similar description as Jaime: shining, yellow/gold, shining like the sun, warmth, … Bran doesn't get afraid of him, but rather embraces his sweet puppy.

B         Conclusion 

 While before his fall, Bran was almost a fearless boy. During his dream Bran actually gets really scared. He believes he can only can fall and cannot fly. He doesn’t believe anymore the truth cannot hurt him.

During his dream the things scaring him the most are actually associated with sun, light, heat … things representing the truth.

This shows how much effect his fall has on Bran. Bran used to get nothing stand in his way of finding out about the truth. Now he is actually afraid, he is afraid to go on his quest to find out about the Truth.

 But in the end, he does learn to fly. Bran finds courage in remembering his father’s words and is able to face the terrible knowledge even when this knowledge scares him.

 When he awakes, Bran does meet another sun: his direwolf Summer. Just like in the rest of Bran’s chapters, Summer is juxtaposed to other things represented by the sun, light, heat, … Summer doesn’t scare Bran. He is actually a source of comfort.

4         Dangers in dreams

A         Bran IV, AGOT

In Bran IV, AGOT we find Bran looking out from his window and being angry at the crow and at the whole world. While the crow told him he could fly, Bran is forced to stay in his tower room with old Nan and can't run, climb, … like he used to. He is being imprisoned by his own disability. He is upset by the fact his whole world has changed while he was asleep. 

To keep Bran entertained, Old Nan starts to tell a story, the story of the Long Winter. The story starts with an interesting question of Old Nan: "Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know of fear?"

 Old Nan's talk is interrupted by the arrival of some visitors, Tyrion's party. In the talk between Tyrion and Bran we see Bran acting several times very emotional. First, he is angry because he is confronted with the truth which he denies ("I'm told you were quite the climber, Bran," the little man said at last. "Tell me, how is it you happened to fall that day? - I never," Bran insisted. He never fell, never never never; "The word was knife through Bran's heart. He felt tears come unbidden to his eyes. "I'm not a cripple!") During this conversation Bran gets also scared that Tyrion is lying about the fact he will be able to ride just like the crow lied about the flying. ("Will I truly be able to ride? Bran asked. He wanted to believe them, but he was afraid. Perhaps it was just another lie. The crow had promised that he could fly").

 After the conversation, he goes to his room where Summer meets him ("Summer," He called. The wolf bounded up on the bed. Bran hugged him so hard he could feel his warm breath on his cheek. "I can ride now," he whispered to his friend). The warm Summer is like always a source of comfort.

 He falls asleep then. During his sleep he has a nightmare. In this nightmare, he climbs a large tower. During his climb, he is scarred he would fall because he cannot fly. Above him there are gargoyles: "The gargoyles watched him ascend. Their eyes glowed red as hot coals in a brazier. Perhaps once they had been lions, but now they were twisted and grotesque. Bran could hear them whispering to each other in soft voices terrible to hear. He must not listen, he told himself, he must not hear, so long as he did not hear them he was safe. But when the gargoyles pulled themselves loose from the stone and padded down the side of the tower where Bran clung, he knew he was not safe after all."I didn't hear," he wept as they came closer. I didn't. I didn't.)

 In the nightmare, he relives the events before his fall. The gargoyles, representing the Lannister, are telling the truth. Unlike before his fall, Bran is actually scarred of hearing what the Lannisters are saying and doesn't want to listen what they are saying. He is scarred of the gargoyles with their red eyes glowing as hot coals in a brazier. He fears he might fall, he believes hearing the truth would get him in danger. His fears are holding him back from trying to find out the truth. 

B         Bran V, AGOT 

 In Bran V, we have Bran leaving Winterfell for the first time after his fall. While in the beginning he is very anxious, he actually starts to find his old daring self after riding for some time. You might say the ability to ride his horse outside Winterfell gives him the feeling to be free. It frees him from the prison built by his anxieties. He starts to believe he can climb again (or even fly?)

  • "Bran nodded, trying not to let his fear show. He had not been outside Winterfell since his fall, but he was determined to ride out as proud as any knight."
  • "His anxiety faded, and a tremulous smile crept across his face."
  • The current foamed around rock and root, and Bran could feel the spray on his face as Robb led him over. It made him smile. For a moment he felt strong again, and whole. He looked up at the trees and dreamed of climbing them, right up to the very top, with the whole forest spread out beneath him.

 The real world however destroys this little joy he starts to feel. After hearing what happened to his father, Jory, .. and the possibility of war he gets scarred again:  

 "The joy Bran had felt at the ride was gone, melted away like the snowflakes on his face. Not so long ago, the thought of Robb calling the banners and riding off to war would have filled him with excitement, but now he felt only dread." 

I do like how GRRM here compares the joy melting away with the melting of the snowflakes. Snowflakes melt thanks to warmth. Bran’s joy melts here away through the fact he is faced with the real world or rather with the truth.

 You can also see in this chapter how his fall and the things happening to his family have really changed Bran. He is used to be excited about glory, the unknown, battles, … But all the excitement is gone now. He actually learned there are reasons to be afraid. And he is dreading now what is going to happen in the future.

 C          Bran II, ACOK

 At the end of Bran II, ACOK Cley Cerwyn arrives in Winterfell for the Harvest Feast. Cerwyn tells Bran about Stannis' letter in which Stannis tells the rest of Westeros about Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship.

 This has a profound effect on Bran:

 For a moment Bran felt as though he could not breathe. A giant hand was crushing his chest. He felt as though he was falling, and clutched desperately at Dancer’s reins (…) '. His blood was roaring in his ears, and had he not been strapped onto his saddle he might well have fallen.

(…)

“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. What he saw made him gasp in fear.

He was clinging to a tower miles high, and his fingers were slipping, nails scrabbling at the stone, his legs dragging him down, stupid useless dead legs. “Help me!” he cried. A golden man appeared in the sky above him and pulled him up. “The things I do for love,” he murmured softly as he tossed him out kicking into empty air.

 When Bran is told the story of Cersei and Jaime’s relationship, he actually relives (again) his fall. He gets a nightmare (a flashback) where his vision of the crow is combined with his memories of seeing Jaime and Cersei in the tower.

 He is scared of what he is seeing: a golden man in the sky above him. He is afraid of the thing representing the sun, of the truth.

 And seeing the truth make Bran believe he is falling.

D         Bran III, ACOK 

In Bran III, ACOK, Bran has a wolf dream after the Harvest Feast. This dreams ends with Bran falling when Jojen touches Summer:

'The male walked toward them, unafraid, and reached out for his muzzle, a touch as light as a summer breeze. Yet at the brush of those fingers the wood dissolved and the very ground turned to smoke beneath his feet and swirled away laughing, and then he was spinning and falling, falling, falling '

E          Bran IV, ACOK 

In Bran IV, ACOK we learn Bran’s dreams scare Bran so much he wakes at night shouting and screaming. We learn from his POV that the things scaring him are the falling and the golden man, the queen's brother. He hasn't however been able to tell to Ser Rodrik or Maester Luwin Jaime was behind his fall. Nor does he feel he can tell it to the Reeds: "If he didn’t talk about it, maybe he would forget. He had never wanted to remember. It might not even be a true remembering."

When Jojen insists that Bran tells him about his dreams, the direwolves (or rather Bran) get angry (or rather scared) and attack Jojen.

We learn actually that while he might finally remember why he fell from the tower, he still doesn’t want to remember what happened.

E          Bran IV, ACO

In Bran V, ACOK, Bran is again afraid to tell Jojen about his dreams. However, getting strength from his identity and his word as a Stark, he finally overcomes his fears and tells Jojen about his dreams:

He was scared, even then, but he had sworn to trust them, and a Stark of Winterfell keeps his sworn word.

"There's different kinds," he said slowly. "There"s the wolf dreams, those aren't so bad as the others, I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there's dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall." He looked down into the yard, feeling miserable. "I never used to fall before. When I climbed, I went everyplace, up on the roofs and along the walls, I used to feed the crows in the Burned Tower. Mother was afraid I would fall but I knew I never would. Only I did, and now when I sleep I fall all the time.

We learn he used to feed the crows in the Burned Tower. He used to be comfortable (or even excited) about learning the truth of things. However now he falls all the time. He is afraid all the time his curiosity would harm him.

Bran tells Jojen Maester Luwin told him there is nothing to be afraid of in dreams. Jojen tells him there is: the past, the future and the truth.  

F          Conclusion

Bran’s fall didn’t only lead to fact he lost his legs but it has also a huge effect on Bran’s character. Unlike before, Bran’s anxieties are actually holding back. And due what happened, it is actually very normal Bran is suffering very hard from a form of PTSD.

This PTSD has as consequence Bran keep getting flashbacks from his falling every time he starts to remember the golden man throwing him the tower. Metaphorical, you could say Bran believes he would be harmed if he would find out the truth.

 And this fear of the consequences of his own curiosity is the thing which is holding Bran back from using his powers. His powers are just about finding out the past, the future and the truth. But due his traumas Bran is afraid of the truth and what would happen if he actually did uncover the truth.  

5         Main Conclusion

In the beginning, Bran is rather a fearless boy. It is literally said he is a sweet summer child who cannot understand fear, darkness, winter, … This fearlessness is combined with an almost endless desire to explore, to learn about secrets nobody else knows, … You could say these are actually very good characteristics for a greenseer-to-be. 

This changes however when he falls. Due his fall he starts to understand what fear actually is. And this fear is actually what is holding him back from really becoming a greenseer. A greenseer should be able to learn about truths, even truths that are terrible to know.

Due the terrible accident/crime, it's consequences and trauma Bran is suffering, Bran has become more fearful and very reluctant to face some truths. However, just like in his vision he finds bravery in his father 's words, in Bran V he finds courage in his identity and his words as a Stark to face finally the truth about his dreams. And he is on his way to be able to use his powers and to become a great greenseer.

 GRRM uses very consistently the words “sun”, “light”, “burning”, coals, … to associate with the truths Bran has to uncover, to realize or to face. Most of the time they actually hurt Bran, except for his Summer who is also described as warm, eyes resembling the sun, …

 Another thing GRRM plays with is “flying”, “falling”, “climbing”, … It is possible to say that through Bran’s storyline these words metaphorical refer to finding out/searching the truth (fly, climb, …) and the fear of the truth or its consequences.

And while Bran might now be more fearful, more careful, … this doesn’t make him less brave. It actually makes him more brave and make his own story more valuable. Because in the end a man can only be brave when he is afraid.

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Posted (edited)

On 6/5/2017 at 3:17 AM, Tijgy said:

Thank you for the poem. I loved "I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff." 

You're welcome.  That's also my favourite line!

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The problem I have with poetry is that poems have almost always sort of a message? But I do admit I am not really able to understand it? 

To be honest, I don't understand everything in every poem I like; sometimes there are only certain lines which jump out at me (don't tell anyone -- I have to live up to my reputation as 'the Poetess,' ha ha B)).  It's a bit like appreciating GRRM's writing I guess -- aesthetic enjoyment in spite of, or perhaps even because of, 'incomplete transparency'!  

 

On 5/28/2017 at 1:42 PM, @Tijgy said:

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Analysis of Bran V, ACOK – The first steps to the truth 

A         Introduction

Hey guys,

This is very long promised analysis of Bran’s fifth chapter in A Clash of Kings. Just like the other chapters of Bran, we are here not dealing with old gods standing in the background but rather with an ‘old god’ or a prophet of the old gods discovering his own magical powers.

This is a very important point.  GRRM is implying the radical notion that gods are not born ready-made; they are created over time!  As Luwin explains to Bran, everything in the universe has its rise and fall, birth and death -- including gods!  

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A Clash of Kings - Bran IV

"Sometimes it does," Bran protested. "I had that dream, and Rickon did too. And there are mages and warlocks in the east . . ."

"There are men who call themselves mages and warlocks," Maester Luwin said. "I had a friend at the Citadel who could pull a rose out of your ear, but he was no more magical than I was. Oh, to be sure, there is much we do not understand. The years pass in their hundreds and their thousands, and what does any man see of life but a few summers, a few winters? We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes.

Sadly, although I'd love Bran to live forever -- and by that I don't mean as a compensatory blade of grass like in Whitman's poem! --I think the point of the lessons Bran receives from important mentors such as his father Ned, his brother Jon, his first tutor Luwin, and his fey spiritual advisers Osha and Jojen, all serving each in his or her own way as an example of how to live well, which is linked to dying well, is to prepare Bran for the time coming when he will have to face his own death ('...the man died well...can a man be brave when he is afraid?').  

The question posed becomes, at what point and for what reason does a god choose to die?  For someone else perhaps, like Jesus Christ. There are many Christlike elements -- which is not surprising given GRRM's Catholic background -- associated with Bran's story, as well as Jon's.  For example, in a variation of the parable of the loaves and the fishes, Bran recalls how his brother Jon gave up his fish for Bran when Bran failed to catch one of his own, and he was also impressed by his brother's self-sacrifice when Jon was willing to give up having a wolf of his own, and therefore a claim to Stark identity, in order to save the wolves from being executed.  

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 This chapter is actually a very important one in Bran’s discovery of his powers. After being quite resistant in accepting the truth about his own identity as a warg and the existence of magic, Bran finally accepts in this chapter he is a warg, magic is real and even that Jojen has prophetic dreams.

Indeed, it's ironic how frightened Bran was initially of the weirwood and its eyes, going out of his way to avoid it, considering in retrospect that he will ultimately inhabit that same tree and look out over the centuries via those same eyes.  Let's return to the scene only moments before Bran took the fateful decision to climb the sentinel, and from there clamber onto the roof to follow the disembodied voices (of the twins), forever changing his life and that of many others in one fell swoop:

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A Game of Thrones - Bran II

Finally he got tired of the stick game and decided to go climbing. He hadn't been up to the broken tower for weeks with everything that had happened, and this might be his last chance.

He raced across the godswood, taking the long way around to avoid the pool where the heart tree grew. The heart tree had always frightened him; trees ought not have eyes, Bran thought, or leaves that looked like hands. His wolf came sprinting at his heels. "You stay here," he told him at the base of the sentinel tree near the armory wall. "Lie down. That's right. Now stay."

The wolf did as he was told. Bran scratched him behind the ears, then turned away, jumped, grabbed a low branch, and pulled himself up. He was halfway up the tree, moving easily from limb to limb, when the wolf got to his feet and began to howl.

Bran looked back down. His wolf fell silent, staring up at him through slitted yellow eyes. A strange chill went through him. He began to climb again. Once more the wolf howled. "Quiet," he yelled. "Sit down. Stay. You're worse than Mother." The howling chased him all the way up the tree, until finally he jumped off onto the armory roof and out of sight.

It's interesting that the nameless wolf (he is yet to be 'christened' Summer) -- who in his namelessness is already associated with the 'nameless gods of the wood' (among whom I include the greenseers, the COTF 'singers', and the Others) -- seems to be ambivalent about his young companion Bran climbing the tree.  On the one hand, the wolf's howl appears to be an alarm call, perhaps in response to some kind of preternatural instinct, anticipating the dangerous situation in which Bran will soon find himself, and therefore issuing a howl presumably to arrest Bran's climb.  On the other hand, however, in GRRM's curious phrasing 'the howling chased him up the tree' we see evidence of the opposite intention, constituting perhaps an effort to encourage rather than dissuade Bran to continue climbing and fulfill his destiny, despite the risk..?!  What do you think?

This ambivalent dynamic expresses how the protagonist of any Bildungsroman (coming of age parable, which ASOIAF is in its essence) often feels torn between fear of the unknown and desire for adventure; in other words, longing to 'find the self' and achieve greater independence vs. fear of breaking the familiar ties and losing the comfort that comes with the relative carefree irresponsibility of childhood.

Have you seen this quote from the Rolling Stone interview with GRRM?  It's so 'Bran', especially the bit about being confined to the home, staring out of the window, dreaming of other worlds!  It's obvious, reading between the lines, that GRRM like Bran longed to escape his 'chained wolf' domestic status, a reality that was privately quite painful for him:

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We never had a car. My father always said that drinking and driving was very bad, and he was not going to give up drinking [laughs]. My world was a very small world. For many years I stared out of our living-room window at the lights of Staten Island. To me, those lights of Staten Island were like Shangri-La, and Singapore, and Shanghai, or whatever. I read books, and I dreamed of Mars, and the planets in those books, and of the Hyborian Age of Robert E. Howard's Conan books, and later of Middle-earth – all these colorful places. I would dream of those places just as I dreamed of Staten Island, and Shanghai.

Actually, I originally had the idea that there was something puzzling about Summer's howling in this scene, when I was thinking about the role played in the greenseer enterprise by the summoning 'call' -- the voice, the song, the word, the music, etc. -- which I explored in depth on my 'killing word' thread as being responsible for initiating the magical action.  By tracing the allegory of the Prologue drama among the three brothers, I was able to identify a pattern whereby the greenseer figure, represented by Will up the sentinel (just like Bran!), initiated the magical action in the scene by using the power of a magical word -- in the form of the 'whispered prayer' he said 'to the nameless gods of the woods', thereby summoning the Others (which, if you read the scene closely, appear shortly following his words, as if on cue).  In turn, the consequences of his actions included killing (by proxy assassination) his own brother, who then rose from the dead in a kind of mirror greenseer transformation!  

Anyway, so being eager to apply the pattern to Bran, I was looking to see if there was any signal I could find which had summoned Bran to the tower where he encountered his date with destiny.  Two options presented:  firstly, I noted that Bran was attracted by the whispered voices of Jaime and Cersei even before he'd laid eyes on them; and secondly, that he'd been chased up, not down, the tree by the howling song of the wolf!

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A Game of Thrones - Bran II

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

Bran was moving from gargoyle to gargoyle with the ease of long practice when he heard the voices. He was so startled he almost lost his grip. The First Keep had been empty all his life.

"I do not like it," a woman was saying. There was a row of windows beneath him, and the voice was drifting out of the last window on this side. "You should be the Hand."

In a nutshell, a budding greenseer's powers progress from first hearing sounds -- a 'calling' in more ways than one -- which later becomes more intelligible -- like learning a foreign language.

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And maybe in order so you could put my remarks and speculation in perspective, I personally don’t think “Bran is going to fly” means literally is going to fly, and it certainly doesn’t mean Bran is going to fly on a dragon or whatever.

While I agree that 'flying' mostly has a figurative connotation, relating to self-knowledge and -actualization that comes with maturity, I still think Bran will actually fly, a dragon specifically-- well not by sitting on the dragon per se, but by skinchanging one!  If Dany ever loses control of Drogon and/or dies, someone else will need to step in and be the hero -- and I believe that person is Bran.  :)  (I also think that's one reason you're finding so many fiery, burning images associated with Bran, as you've indicated in your follow-up essay).

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In my eyes, it means he is going on a path to discover long secret truths.

I suspect these are long-suppressed truths about the Stark family origins -- a taboo even (as @GloubieBoulga has been suggesting for some time) that remains to be uncovered.

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DISCUSSION

 This part of the chapter starts with Bran telling to Jojen and Meera the content of his dreams:  "There"s the wolf dreams, those aren't so bad as the others, I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there's dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall. (…)

 While Bran actually describes a lot of different dreams (wolf dreams, dreams with the crow, tree dreams  and the dreams where he falls), Jojen only starts to explain what Bran's wolf dreams mean. This chapter is only not important because Bran finally realizes his dreams are special. It is also important because it is the first time someone calls Bran a "warg".

The brothers Bran and Jon, and their wolves Summer and Ghost, respectively, share a special bond.  Additionally, their trajectories of magical discovery tend to have frequent parallels and intersections.  It's interesting that in the respect of discovering their 'warg' status and overcoming the accompanying societal stigma of being a warg, often a derogatory term, both Bran and Jon are guided by people from beyond the Wall, who seem to be more open-minded than their Westerosi-proper counterparts about these phenomena, namely Osha in Bran's case and Qhorin in Jon's case.  It makes sense that those from beyond the Wall would be able to guide the fledgling wargs in the nature of the warg-direwolf bond, considering that direwolves have not been seen in Westeros proper for 200 years or so, meaning only those north of the Wall would have had contact with them during all this time.  The dead lady direwolf who gave birth to the pups also made the voyage for some unspecified reason from north of the Wall -- a true northerner!  (did she pass through the black gate?  how did she get through the Wall otherwise?)

Notice the striking similarities between Jon/Ghost being attacked by the eagle in an assault which is strangely.reminiscent of Bran having his third eye, also rather violently, opened by the three-eyed crow.  The eagle in question is even compared to a 'hell crow'!

First Bran:

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A Clash of Kings - Bran II

That night Bran prayed to his father's gods for dreamless sleep. If the gods heard, they mocked his hopes, for the nightmare they sent was worse than any wolf dream.

"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. What he saw made him gasp in fear. He was clinging to a tower miles high, and his fingers were slipping, nails scrabbling at the stone, his legs dragging him down, stupid useless dead legs. "Help me!" he cried. A golden man appeared in the sky above him and pulled him up. "The things I do for love," he murmured softly as he tossed him out kicking into empty air.

 

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

"I'm flying!" he cried out in delight.

I've noticed, said the three-eyed crow. It took to the air, flapping its wings in his face, slowing him, blinding him. He faltered in the air as its pinions beat against his cheeks. Its beak stabbed at him fiercely, and Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes.

"What are you doing?" he shrieked.

The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman, a serving woman with long black hair, and he knew her from somewhere, from Winterfell, yes, that was it, he remembered her now, and then he realized that he was in Winterfell, in a bed high in some chilly tower room, and the black-haired woman dropped a basin of water to shatter on the floor and ran down the steps, shouting, "He's awake, he's awake, he's awake."

Bran touched his forehead, between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. He felt weak and dizzy. He tried to get out of bed, but nothing happened.

Then Jon:

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A Clash of Kings - Jon VII

Across the long lake, one of the mounds moved. He watched it more closely and saw that it was not dirt at all, but alive, a shaggy lumbering beast with a snake for a nose and tusks larger than those of the greatest boar that had ever lived. And the thing riding it was huge as well, and his shape was wrong, too thick in the leg and hips to be a man.

Then a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings. As he lifted his eyes to the ice-white mountain heights above, a shadow plummeted out of the sky. A shrill scream split the air. He glimpsed blue-grey pinions spread wide, shutting out the sun . . .

"Ghost!" Jon shouted, sitting up. He could still feel the talons, the pain. "Ghost, to me!"

 

A Storm of Swords - Jon II

Jon turned at the sudden sound of wings. Blue-grey feathers filled his eyes, as sharp talons buried themselves in his face. Red pain lanced through him sudden and fierce as pinions beat round his head. He saw the beak, but there was no time to get a hand up or reach for a weapon. Jon reeled backward, his foot lost the stirrup, his garron broke in panic, and then he was falling. And still the eagle clung to his face, its talons tearing at him as it flapped and shrieked and pecked. The world turned upside down in a chaos of feathers and horseflesh and blood, and then the ground came up to smash him.

The next he knew, he was on his face with the taste of mud and blood in his mouth and Ygritte kneeling over him protectively, a bone dagger in her hand. He could still hear wings, though the eagle was not in sight. Half his world was black. "My eye," he said in sudden panic, raising a hand to his face.

"It's only blood, Jon Snow. He missed the eye, just ripped your skin up some."

His face was throbbing. Tormund stood over them bellowing, he saw from his right eye as he rubbed blood from his left. Then there were hoofbeats, shouts, and the clacking of old dry bones.

"Bag o' Bones," roared Tormund, "call off your hellcrow!"

"There's your hellcrow!" Rattleshirt pointed at Jon. "Bleeding in the mud like a faithless dog!" The eagle came flapping down to land atop the broken giant's skull that served him for his helm. "I'm here for him."

 

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This is a significant moment of Bran's path to discover  his identity. I personally find it a very exciting moment   We did wait a long time to hear finally what his dreams mean, or at least the meaning of his wolf dreams. 

 In this chapter, he says the following about Bran's third eye: "The wolf dreams are no true dreams. You have your eye closed tight whenever you're awake, but as you drift off it flutters open and your soul seeks out its other half." 

 Last chapter we learned that a part of him is Summer and a part of Summer is him. Skinchanging lead to the fact Bran and Summer are becoming more and more intertwined ("Part of you is Summer, and part of Summer is you"). I do wonder if we have to interpret "your soul seeks out its other half" as if Bran and Summer are becoming one soul or if Bran is searching for the part of his soul which is becoming intertwined with Summer and resides in Summer? (Not sure if there is much difference between those two things.)

That's interesting.  In the latter connotation, there seems to be a subtle suggestion that some part of Bran's soul has been stolen from him somehow.  Are you getting that impression too?  Jojen frequently cautions Bran not to lose himself in the wolf.  I love the following quote, which perfectly illustrates this danger, comparing skinchanging/grenseeing to free-falling through a portal, which conjures for me the related imagery we're given elsewhere of drowning in a well (e.g. Melara Hetherspoon) or bottomless pool (Asha, or the pregnant woman in Bran's vision emerging from the black pool), or falling through the moon door (Lysa):

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A Storm of Swords - Bran I

"Jojen, what did you mean about a teacher?" Bran asked. "You're my teacher. I know I never marked the tree, but I will the next time. My third eye is open like you wanted . . ."

"So wide open that I fear you may fall through it, and live all the rest of your days as a wolf of the woods."

"I won't, I promise."

There's also the case in the Citadel of Maester Walgrave, 'whose wits are prone to wander,' the implication being that he may have lost his wits skinchanging his ravens (he still recognizes one raven from the next vs. forgetting people and other more quotidian details of everyday living)!  In fact, one might conclude he could be suffering from a case of 'staring at the bloody blue' too long...

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A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Dogs were the easiest beasts to bond with; they lived so close to men that they were almost human. Slipping into a dog's skin was like putting on an old boot, its leather softened by wear. As a boot was shaped to accept a foot, a dog was shaped to accept a collar, even a collar no human eye could see. Wolves were harder. A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf. "Wolves and women wed for life," Haggon often said. "You take one, that's a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you're part of him. Both of you will change."

Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. "Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won't like what you'd become." Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. "Men were not meant to leave the earth. Spend too much time in the clouds and you never want to come back down again. I know skinchangers who've tried hawks, owls, ravens. Even in their own skins, they sit moony, staring up at the bloody blue."

Not all skinchangers felt the same, however. 

 

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Last chapter Jojen also told us Bran was the winged wolf "who was bound to the earth with grey stone chains", the Winged Wolf whose chains Jojen and Meera were sent to break. The chains will only be broken and Bran the Winged Wolf will only be able to "fly" if he opens his third eye (You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly. Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye). According to Jojen he can only do that by "searching with his hearth".

 The usage of ‘flutter’ is also very interesting. One of the description of ‘flutter’ in the dictionary is “to flap the wings rapidly, fly with flapping movements”. When Bran’s third eye is fluttering, you could actually say that Bran is almost “flying”.

That's a really great catch with your characteristic nuance and subtlety of interpretation, Tijgy!  :wub:

'Flutter' -- another of GRRM's 'coded' words like 'whispering' or 'rustling,' etc. -- is used by the author in a number of key contexts, which on the surface may not seem to be connected, yet on closer inspection are interrelated:

  • The bloodstained hands = leaves of the weirwood 'flutter', conveying the idea of hands clapping to get attention, perhaps beckoning someone, or talking to one another, since hands signalling (sign language or even just hand gestures) or clapping (which actually makes a sound) is a form of communication, as @Unchained has suggested may be magically significant.
  • Time flutters.  Again, in conjunction with the weirwood consciousness, a human life relative to 'weirwood time' is said to pass like the flutter of a moth's wing.  Past, present and future become one in the flutter of a moth's wing (a metaphor for the 'flight' afforded by greenseeing).  Thus, the moth is associated both with time constraints imposed by mortality, and the timelessness of immortality.
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A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"Will I see my father again?"

"Once you have mastered your gifts, you may look where you will and see what the trees have seen, be it yesterday or last year or a thousand ages past. Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present, between the mists of memory and the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come. Certain moths live their whole lives in a day, yet to them that little span of time must seem as long as years and decades do to us. An oak may live three hundred years, a redwood tree three thousand. A weirwood will live forever if left undisturbed. To them seasons pass in the flutter of a moth's wing, and past, present, and future are one. Nor will your sight be limited to your godswood. The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use … but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves."

"When?" Bran wanted to know.

 

  • Hearts are said to flutter -- again a nod, though seemingly remote, to the 'heart tree'.  There's also a sinister connotation to the heart flutter, given that in 'the real world' this might constitute a dangerous heart murmur which can rapidly prove fatal.  Thus, when Cersei climbing the stairs in the tower feels her heart flutter, especially when taken in conjunction with the fact that her grandfather's heart burst while climbing the stairs, that is not a good prognostic factor -- in terms of foreshadowing for either Cersei or Bran (or any of the other fluttering hearts, including Sansa and Arya, among others).  Further, let me ask this:  If heart flutter can lead to a heart attack and even death, then is 'cardiac arrest' possible for a heart tree?  Is it possible to 'arrest' or 'short-circuit' the power of the weirnet?  What would that mean for Bran?
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A Feast for Crows - Cersei I

Within the tower, the smoke from the torches irritated her eyes, but Cersei did not weep, no more than her father would have. I am the only true son he ever had. Her heels scraped against the stone as she climbed, and she could still hear the moth fluttering wildly inside Ser Osmund's lantern. Die, the queen thought at it, in irritation, fly into the flame and be done with it.

Two more red-cloaked guardsmen stood atop the steps. Red Lester muttered a condolence as she passed. The queen's breath was coming fast and short, and she could feel her heart fluttering in her chest. The steps, she told herself, this cursed tower has too many steps. She had half a mind to tear it down.

The hall was full of fools speaking in whispers, as if Lord Tywin were asleep and they were afraid to wake him. Guards and servants alike shrank back before her, mouths flapping. She saw their pink gums and waggling tongues, but their words made no more sense than the buzzing of the moth. What are they doing here? How did they know? By rights they should have called her first. She was the Queen Regent, had they forgotten that?

Climbing stairs, especially spiral/serpentine staircases, is something I've additionally been able to connect with greenseeing, the spiral representing the trunk of a tree, the celestial axis, the burning ladder to heaven (e.g. Jacob's ladder, represented by the trick of the fiery maege), the DNA molecule (credit @Pain killer Jane, the 'mistress of the serpentine steps'!), the spine of a book, and the milky way galaxy (see if you can come up with others)!!!  Additionally, libraries are weirwood, or rather weirnet symbols (like the one at Winterfell with the tortuous exterior staircase, which is subsequently set on fire on the night of Bran's assassination attempt, which led to the bonding with Summer -- the 'outside wolf' becoming the 'inside wolf' -- and Summer's 'christening' after Bran's emergence from the coma).

Now, a 'little intermezzo' :cheers: illustrating the concept of 'weirnet as library,' with use of some famous movie clips of scenes in a library.  Not sure if you saw it on my 'killing word' thread, but in case you and @Wizz-The-Smith missed it, I thought I'd reproduce them here.  Haunting and unforgettable, the best cinematic representation of the weirwood as a living, interactional archive of eternal 'singing' voices (including of 'killing words') that I've seen.  

Have a look at these three videos from the movie 'Wings of Desire' or in the original German 'Himmel über Berlin' ('Heaven over Berlin'), focusing on how different people in the library seem to demonstrate different degrees of psychic awareness in their ability to sense and react to, even interact with (I'd call it 'third-eye' aptitude), the angels, the latter being the greenseer analogues here:

 

The following is an attempt at an English translation of some of the texts making up the interwoven tapestry of thoughts overheard telepathically by the angels (here the greenseer figures) in the library (=weirwood/weirnet).  As a caveat, however, I should add that this clip is incomplete, compared to the one above, as one of the commentators was quite correct in criticizing the editing of this particular video for omitting the scene involving the Hebrew reading of the Book of Genesis -- which as s/he pointed out is pretty significant to this movie's premise (and that of the weirwoods)!
 

 

Finally, 'Epic of Peace'...

 

  • Moths or leaves on fire flutter.  -- Is a flickering flame a kind of fluttering?  Is fire a kind of flying?  I suppose it must be, considering dragons are fire made flesh, and they enable flight.  In the above Cersei quote, the moth trapped in a flame/lantern might be compared to the greenseer trapped in the weirnet (think of Mance, who is a greenseer archetype, trapped in the woven cage made of wicker and weirwood from the haunted forest, dancing his grotesque dance, compared to a burning moth or leaf, underlining the weirwood symbolism).
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A Dance with Dragons - Jon III

Jon watched unblinking. He dare not appear squeamish before his brothers. He had ordered out two hundred men, more than half the garrison of Castle Black. Mounted in solemn sable ranks with tall spears in hand, they had drawn up their hoods to shadow their faces … and hide the fact that so many were greybeards and green boys. The free folk feared the Watch. Jon wanted them to take that fear with them to their new homes south of the Wall.

The horn crashed amongst the logs and leaves and kindling. Within three heartbeats the whole pit was aflame. Clutching the bars of his cage with bound hands, Mance sobbed and begged. When the fire reached him he did a little dance. His screams became one long, wordless shriek of fear and pain. Within his cage, he fluttered like a burning leaf, a moth caught in a candle flame.

 

  • The fluttering of lies, serving to distract and disorientate (like a magician's sleight of hand) -- so 'fluttering of lies' is connected to both hands and tongues flapping back and forth!  Chief among these liars is Peter Baelish, as exposed in Ned's fever dream when the mask of Robert is torn away to reveal Littlefinger, and the lies stream out of his mouth like little grey moths 'taking wing'.  I also believe, following @Pain killer Jane's awesome catch, that GRRM is referencing the 'death's head hawk moth' (like in the sigil of House Horpe) as featured in the book and movie 'Silence of the Lambs,' so the fluttering of the moths coming out of psychopath Petyr's mouth is no less reassuring than the silence of the lambs, signifying someone's murder.  In the Cersei quote, I found it interesting that the 'mouths flapping' (a wordplay on 'moths flapping or fluttering'), 'tongues waggling' and 'fools speaking in whispers' (a clear greenseer allusion) are all images which echo the motion of moths fluttering, besides the sound being directly compared to 'moths buzzing', underscoring the connection given more explicitly in Littlefinger's case to language, specifically lies.  Thus, what I think is being conveyed in relation to Bran's case is that he will have to negotiate his way, learning this new language, steering a way between the lies and the truth, which appear to be remarkably similar in form.  Although I would like to believe Bloodraven and the COTF have his best interest at heart, I'm not at all certain anymore that that is the case.  Another thing which flutters is any insect caught in a spider web, and this is what I fear is in store for Bran, unless he can find a way to escape that cave.
  • Bats and butterflies (related to moths) flutter.  I agree with @Wizz-The-Smith that bats fluttering, coming and going from the hollow hills, are a symbol of death and rebirth, to which I would add 'third eye' powers, famously awakening in the dark just like the nocturnal bats. Sansa frequently senses these flutterings in her tummy when confronted with dangerous people such as Joffrey, Littlefinger, Sandor Clegane, etc. -- as if her 'third eye' is trying to tell her something, which she usually ends up conveniently ignoring, to her detriment.  If it's true that some part of the wolf remains in the warg, could some part of the deceased Lady still exist within Sansa, buried deep down within her, so that the flutterings appear to be coming from her belly, as if she'd swallowed the wolf, instead of vice versa? Think of skinchanging as the skinchanger/warg being 'swallowed' by the host/wolf, and vice versa.  It's a combination of consumption -- fire -- and preservation -- ice (consider if Sansa has 'swallowed' a piece of Lady, that piece is preserved in Sansa...she also 'swallowed' Lady's life in the sense of having betrayed her family, i.e. the 'pack', arguably leading to Lady's death by telling her little moth lies to the king).  The image of 'bats' is also an allusion to the idiom 'batty' -- i.e. associating 'third-eye' powers with an element of potential mental instability (as in Maester Walgrave's case with his 'wandering wits'), possibly connecting Sansa to her putative 'batty' ancestor Danelle Lothston of Harrenhal, and raising questions about Sansa's mental state going forward.  The question is: does developing the 'gift' of the 'third eye,' as Bran does, make one 'batty' (in terms of being mentally unstable); or is it ignoring the third-eye's message, as Sansa does, that is the danger to ones mental sanity and spiritual well-being?

 

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In this chapter Bran is actually starting to warn people about the future, about Jojen's dreams:

 "In the days that followed, he tried to warn others about what Jojen had seen, but it didn't go as wanted";

"The sea is coming here," Bran said. "Jojen saw it in a green dream. Alebelly is going to drown".

 But sadly, Bran isn't able to convince people of the dangers in the future. The main difficulty is that Bran is still taking the prophecies too literal. He believes the sea will drown people. It is interesting however to see Luwin actually almost understand the prophecy: Luwin brings the prophecy in connection with the shenanigans of the Ironborn. Let's hope people will believe Bran’s warnings in the future.

 Bran's identity as a greenseer isn’t hinted in this chapter only through his "prophetic actions". It is first emphasized Bran remembers in contract to his little brother who forgets:

"Though he knew Lord Eddard was dead, sometimes Rickon forget … willfully Bran suspected. (…)

Bran was glad for Robb's victory, but disquited as well. He remembered what Osha had said the day that his brother had led his army out of Winterfell. He's marching the wrong way, the wildling woman had insisted. (…)"

 The interesting thing is here however that Rickon is here being, what I call, a complete Stark. Several of those Starks are good in (wilfully) forgetting awful and painful truths. Rickon is willfully forgetting here his father's death, Robb replaces his brothers with the Westeling family (" Rollam has taken Bran's place, and Raynald is part Theon and part Jon Snow. Only with the Westerlings did she see Robb smile, or hear him laugh like the boy he was. To the others he was always the King in the North, head bowed beneath the weight of the crown even when his brows were bare."), Ned (not really) dealing with the death of sister, …

Or, in Ned's case, wilful forgetting /denial of his friend Robert's shortcomings.

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Even Bran is trying to forget awful truths. Only in Bran IV, ACOK we can already read this: "The falling, Bran thought, and the gold man, the queen’s brother, he scares me too, but mostly the falling. He did not say it, though. How could he? He had not been able to tell Ser Rodrik or maester Luwin, and he could not tell the Reeds either. If he didn’t talk about it, maybe he would forget. He had never wanted to remember. It might not even be a true remembering." Later he actually knows Robb died but he also tries to forget this.

 So there are several instances found in the books where our current Starks ignore the (painful) truth in one way or the other, just like how "the truths the First Men knew" are "forgotten in Winterfell". Just like Bran will probably due his powers as greenseer will remember those truth, Bran now remembers the warning said by Osha in front of a heart tree.

This wilful propensity to deny the truth may be a Tully as well as Stark habit.  For example, this poignant scene in which Catelyn expresses her wishful thinking that her boys (Bran and Rickon) will still be alive, as long as she does not voice the truth of their deaths out loud --

Saying something makes it true (it's an example of the 'killing word'):

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ACOK -- Catelyn VII

"My lady, what is it? Is it some news of your sons?"

Such a simple question that was; would that the answer could be as simple. When Catelyn tried to speak, the words caught in her throat. "I have no sons but Robb." She managed those terrible words without a sob, and for that much she was glad.

Brienne looked at her with horror. "My lady?"

"Bran and Rickon tried to escape, but were taken at a mill on the Acorn Water. Theon Greyjoy has mounted their heads on the walls of Winterfell. Theon Greyjoy, who ate at my table since he was a boy of ten." I have said it, gods forgive me. I have said it and made it true.

Then with Sansa we get a similar idea that if you repeat a lie enough it becomes the truth:

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A Feast for Crows - Alayne II

"Lord Robert mislikes strangers, you know that, and there will be drinking, noise . . . music. Music frightens him."

"Music soothes him," she corrected, "the high harp especially. It's singing he can't abide, since Marillion killed his mother." Alayne had told the lie so many times that she remembered it that way more oft than not; the other seemed no more than a bad dream that sometimes troubled her sleep. "Lord Nestor will have no singers at the feast, only flutes and fiddles for the dancing." What would she do when the music began to play? It was a vexing question, to which her heart and head gave different answers. Sansa loved to dance, but Alayne . . . "Just give him a cup of the sweetmilk before we go, and another at the feast, and there should be no trouble."

 

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A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

That night the dead man sang "The Day They Hanged Black Robin," "The Mother's Tears," and "The Rains of Castamere." Then he stopped for a while, but just as Sansa began to drift off he started to play again. He sang "Six Sorrows," "Fallen Leaves," and "Alysanne." Such sad songs, she thought. When she closed her eyes she could see him in his sky cell, huddled in a corner away from the cold black sky, crouched beneath a fur with his woodharp cradled against his chest. I must not pity him, she told herself. He was vain and cruel, and soon he will be dead. She could not save him. And why should she want to? Marillion tried to rape her, and Petyr had saved her life not once but twice. Some lies you have to tell. Lies had been all that kept her alive in King's Landing. If she had not lied to Joffrey, his Kingsguard would have beat her bloody.

 

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 DISCUSSION

 Last chapter we had already seen a little discussion between Meera and Jojen about the fact if his dreams can or cannot be changed: “He dreams things that haven’t happened, but sometimes they do.” “There is no sometimes, Meera.” A look passed between them; him sad, her defiant.” (ACOK, Bran IV).

 This discussion is repeated at the end of this chapter. Meera believes the dreams can be changed and you should fight against the future seen in the dreams ("Alebelly "should fight, and Bran should too."). Jojen however believes they cannot be changed and that "green dreams do not lie".

 And while we learned a lot in this chapter and some old questions were finally answered, at the end of this chapter a new question arises: "Why would the gods sent a warning if we can't heed it and change what's to come?"  What is the use of knowing the future if we cannot change it?

Good question.  Knowing the future without being able to change it would be a 'terrible knowledge'...as is the case with Cersei and the valonqar prophecy leading her deeper and deeper into paranoia and torment.

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 D         Bran V and the allegory of the cave

 Earlier in this reread, I already referred to the fact there are several references to Plato’s allegory of the cave in (especially) Bran’s chapters. This is also apparent in this chapter.

 First, it is possible to say they have a similar theme. Both Plato’s allegory and Bran’s chapter (or even storyline) is about the way to search the truth (through an ascension). Bran is searching (again) in this chapter for the truth behind the meaning of his dreams, something he finally learns in this chapter. We even learn that Bran in his dreams will learn "The Truth".

 Just like the prisoners in the allegory Bran is still chained and isn't able to ascend or fly (You are the winged wolf, but you will never fly. Jojen got up and walked to the window. Unless you open your eye - When he was alone, Bran tried to open his third eye, but he didn't know how. No matter how he wrinkled his forehead and poked at it, he couldn't see any different than he'd done before.)  

 In this chapter, we do have however one ascension. Osha carries Bran up to his tower ("She backed through a door and started up the winding steps"). Just like Osha helps Bran to ascend the wind-ing stairs, she is helping Bran to find out the truth about the existence of magic.

The 'winding stairs' apart from being a pun on the two meanings of 'wind,' i.e. the verb meaning to twist and the noun referring to moving air, is a reiteration of the spiral staircase motif I referenced above.  There's also the connotation of weaving or winding a binding spell.  For example, in Shakespeare's Macbeth with the 3 witches 'winding up' the charm/curse on Macbeth:

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Third Witch

A drum, a drum!
Macbeth doth come.

ALL (dancing in a circle)

The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about:
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm's wound up.

Enter MACBETH and BANQUO

MACBETH

So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

 

Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3

 

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 Due their chains the prisoners in the allegory aren't able to see the reality but only shadows of object of real things.

I think this is what the Others are -- reflections, projections, shadows of something else, emanating from the weirwood.  Maybe they are the 'escaped prisoners', according to your analogy!   Remember that scene you highlighted where the reflection of the heart tree dances and shimmers in the normally-still cold black pool in 'windless' conditions?  I think that's indicating to us that the Others are a projection or conjuring of someone affiliated with the trees -- either the trees themselves, the COTF, or the greenseers.  There's also a strange parallel between the the 6 Others in the Prologue with whom the Starks are color-co-ordinated symbolically (see breakdown below), the 6 Children of the Forest Bran meets, the 6 children of Winterfell, and the 6 direwolves:

Leaf -- Bran -- Summer -- 'grey-green'

Snowy Locks -- Jon -- Ghost -- 'white as new-fallen snow' 'gaunt and hard as old bones' 'flesh pale as milk'

Black Knife -- Arya -- Nymeria -- 'black as shadow' 'ran like moonlight on water' (waterdancing allusion)

Coals -- Rickon -- Shaggy -- 'black as shadow'

Ash -- Robb -- Grey Wind -- 'grey-green'

Scales -- Sansa -- Lady -- 'armor seemed to change color as it moved'

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A Game of Thrones - Prologue

It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch. His face pressed hard against the trunk of the sentinel. He could feel the sweet, sticky sap on his cheek.

A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.

 

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The truth of Jojen's green dreams (objects) are also sometimes very difficult to understand due the fact they take sometimes strange shapes (shadows). It is also interesting skinchangers are called sometimes 'shape-changers'.

 The object of those real things is carried by some other people in the cave. Due an echo in this cave the prisoners believe the voices of those carriers are coming from the shadows.

 In Bran I Bran describes the voices' of the wolves in the following way: "Ser Rodrik had confined the wolves to the godswood after Shaggydog bit Little Walder, but the stones of Winterfell played queer tricks with sound, and sometimes it sounded as if they were in the yard right below Bran's window. Other times he would have sworn they were up on the curtain walls, loping round like sentries. He wished that he could see them."

 In this chapter Jojen's voice is also described as queer: "Will he trust my words, no matter how queer they sound in his ears?"

 After the prisoners is freed and ascended to go out the cave, he finally sees there the real things. The light outside hurts and blinds however the prisoner. In his dreams, Bran will see "The Past. The Future. The Truth." Jojen says he should actually be afraid of these dreams and Bran is later afraid of the future Jojen has seen in his dreams ("Bran felt suddenly afraid. "What should I fight. Am I going to drown too?")

As I explained in my exhaustive and exhausting :P 'little digression' on Hiemal's 'Nennymoan' thread, drowning is a metaphor for greenseeing.  So, yes, Bran is going to have to drown symbolically in the 'green fountain', before he re-emerges.  What's more, ironically the sea did indeed come to Winterfell in terms of giving Bran that push he needed to leave home and realize his destiny out there in the greater world.  According to my 'green sea'-'green see' pun, had the Ironborn breach of Winterfell's walls not occurred, Bran would not have been encouraged to set forth on the next leg of his greenseeing journey.

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 Afterwards in the allegory the prisoner descends and tries to free the other prisoners. After Bran learns about the truth of his and Jojen's dreams, he also tries to warn everyone. But just like the prisoners didn't believe the man who went outside the cave so doesn't believe anyone in Winterfell Bran's warning ("In the days that followed, he tried to warn others about what Jojen had seen, but it didn't go as wanted).

 One of those prisoners is of course Maester Luwin. However, at one point he is starting to consider there might something to be true to Jojen's prophecy. At one moment, he "tugged at his chain collar." He is starting to free himself from his chains.

 Good point.  The 'chain collar' makes me think of a fierce guard dog on a leash.  Considering the Archmaester is likened to a 'mastiff,' does that make the other maesters like Luwin guard dogs (mastiffs were the hellhounds charged with guarding the gates of Hades/hell)?  The maesters as the domestic version of the direwolf?  Luwin dying at the 'foot of the old white one' (as the direwolves refer to the heart tree) is similar to the direwolves in the crypts sitting at the feet of their masters.  Analogously, Luwin like a loyal direwolf is sacrificing himself for Bran (since Bran, besides being Lord of Winterfell, is also the greenseer in the weirwood)!

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At the end of the allegory it is said that the other prisoners might kill the freed prisoner when he tries to drag them out of the cave. Jojen says in this chapter that if people would know that Bran was a warg they would kill him (Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you.) 

 E          Varia

·         'Rickon tugged at the maester's robe. "Is Robb coming?" - Rickon is here tugging at Luwin's robe just like the wind sometimes tugs at people cloak's, …

·          The monster had tied us a thorny knot," the old knight told Maester Luwin? "Like it or no, Lady Hornwood was his wife. He made her say the vows before both septon and heart tree, and bedded her that very night before witnesses. She signed will naming him as heir and fixed her seal to it." "Vows made at a sword point are not valid, the maester argued. - This is some really nice word play of Martin here. To tie a knot means to marry someone; a knot can be part of tree; thorny can be something with thorns and can also mean something full of difficulties; the marriage was with Lady Hornwood; the marriage entangled the Starks in a net/knot which is difficult to get out; the marriage happened in front of a tree; …  It is also about words sworn at a sword point.

Nice citing of the wordplay!  There's also a play on 'thorny' with 'horny,' especially considering the lady 'horn-wood' involved!  

'Vows made at sword point not being valid' may also have the subtext of a bastard as an illegitimate -- i.e. 'not valid' legally -- child presenting a rather 'thorny knot' for a family.  Being 'made at sword point' may refer to the conception of a child via sex (the 'sword' in question being like the phallic allusion of Brandon's 'bloody blade'), but not necessarily within the socially acceptable framework of wedlock.  A 'thorny knot' such as that represented by the violation of a 'hornwood' might also refer to a rape, such as Ramsay perpetrated on Jeyne Poole.  On the occasion of their marriage in front of the Winterfell heart tree, the language of the tree's limbs being splayed apart suggests the idea of the tree actually being raped somehow:

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A Dance with Dragons - The Prince of Winterfell

Above their heads the trees were full of ravens, their feathers fluffed as they hunched on bare brown branches, staring down at the pageantry below. Maester Luwin's birds. Luwin was dead, and his maester's tower had been put to the torch, yet the ravens lingered. This is their home. Theon wondered what that would be like, to have a home.

Then the mists parted, like the curtain opening at a mummer show to reveal some new tableau. The heart tree appeared in front of them, its bony limbs spread wide. Fallen leaves lay about the wide white trunk in drifts of red and brown. The ravens were the thickest here, muttering to one another in the murderers' secret tongue. Ramsay Bolton stood beneath them, clad in high boots of soft grey leather and a black velvet doublet slashed with pink silk and glittering with garnet teardrops. A smile danced across his face. "Who comes?" His lips were moist, his neck red above his collar. "Who comes before the god?"

Theon answered. "Arya of House Stark comes here to be wed. A woman grown and flowered, trueborn and noble, she comes to beg the blessings of the gods. Who comes to claim her?"

 

 

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         Jojen studied Bran's face with those strange green eyes - Jojen's eyes are here described again as very weird. Last chapter Bran said about Jojen's eyes that it looks like Jojen is able to see something else, something more than everyone else sees

·         Martin is playing here again with the window symbolism:

o    Osha kicked open the door to his bedchamber and set him in his window seat, where he could watch the yard below.' 

o    Meera came to the window seat, and put a hand on his shoulder. "They will not believe, Bran. No more than you did." '

o    Jojen got up and walked to the window. "Unless you open your eye." He put two fingers together and poked Bran in the forehead, hard.

 

I love all the window symbolism you've picked up.  My favorite is the 'shutters' metaphor you once mentioned for the opening of the third eye ('shutters' even rhymes with 'flutters,' LOL).  Most of all it appeals to me because unlike some other readers I don't see the third eye as a strictly binary proposition -- i.e. either completely open or completely closed.  Rather, it's a dynamic process which means that not only are there are various degrees of opening, just as one can adjust the angle admitting light and sound on shutters, or the shutter speed on a camera governing light exposure via the aperture; this degree of opening can fluctuate over time, even with one individual, depending on circumstance and inclination.  The following is a good example of how Sansa mostly tries to shutter her third eye against admitting the truth -- she is wilfully blind and deaf ('see no evil, hear no evil...'):

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A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

If the Eyrie had been made like other castles, only rats and gaolers would have heard the dead man singing. Dungeon walls were thick enough to swallow songs and screams alike. But the sky cells had a wall of empty air, so every chord the dead man played flew free to echo off the stony shoulders of the Giant's Lance. And the songs he chose . . . He sang of the Dance of the Dragons, of fair Jonquil and her fool, of Jenny of Oldstones and the Prince of Dragonflies. He sang of betrayals, and murders most foul, of hanged men and bloody vengeance. He sang of grief and sadness.

No matter where she went in the castle, Sansa could not escape the music. It floated up the winding tower steps, found her naked in her bath, supped with her at dusk, and stole into her bedchamber even when she latched the shutters tight. It came in on the cold thin air, and like the air, it chilled her. Though it had not snowed upon the Eyrie since the day that Lady Lysa fell, the nights had all been bitter cold.

The singer's voice was strong and sweet. Sansa thought he sounded better than he ever had before, his voice richer somehow, full of pain and fear and longing. She did not understand why the gods would have given such a voice to such a wicked man. He would have taken me by force on the Fingers if Petyr had not set Ser Lothor to watch over me, she had to remind herself. And he played to drown out my cries when Aunt Lysa tried to kill me.

 

A Feast for Crows - Sansa I

After "Alysanne" the singer stopped again, long enough for Sansa to snatch an hour's rest. But as the first light of dawn was prying at her shutters, she heard the soft strains of "On a Misty Morn" drifting up from below, and woke at once. That was more properly a woman's song, a lament sung by a mother on the dawn after some terrible battle, as she searches amongst the dead for the body of her only son. The mother sings her grief for her dead son, Sansa thought, but Marillion grieves for his fingers, for his eyes. The words rose like arrows and pierced her in the darkness.

Oh, have you seen my boy, good ser?

 

A Feast for Crows - Alayne I

"He is." It frightened her to hear him talk like this. Bad enough that he is small and sickly, what if he is mad as well? "Sweetrobin, he is. Marillion loved your lady mother too much and could not live with what he'd done to her, so he walked into the sky." Alayne had not seen the body, no more than Robert had, but she did not doubt the fact of the singer's death. "He's gone, truly."

"But I hear him every night. Even when I close the shutters and put a pillow on my head. Your father should have cut his tongue out. I told him to, but he wouldn't."

 

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Your own folk. In fear. Some will hate you if they know what you are. Some will even try to kill you; Old Nan told scary stories of beastlings and shapechangers sometimes. In stories they were always evil - This is a reference about the theme of the "Other", people are afraid of what they don't know. This returns with in the arc of many characters like Jon, Theon, … It is however very interesting that later in the same book it is Bran showing Jon the wildlings are not what is told in the stories.

Indeed; the subversion of prejudices -- both those of the characters and readers alike --  surrounding what is 'other,' and how best to deal with that 'other,' is one of GRRM's main themes.

 

Thanks for an absorbing and entertaining read, @Tijgy.  A great start to our 'Bran's growing powers revisited' re-read!  I also enjoyed your second essay and will be commenting soon.  :)

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your interesting reply! ;)

 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Sadly, although I'd love Bran to live forever -- and by that I don't mean as a compensatory blade of grass like in Whitman's poem! --I think the point of the lessons Bran receives from important mentors such as his father Ned, his brother Jon, his first tutor Luwin, and his fey spiritual advisers Osha and Jojen, all serving each in his or her own way as an example of how to live well, which is linked to dying well, is to prepare Bran for the time coming when he will have to face his own death ('...the man died well...can a man be brave when he is afraid?').

The question posed becomes, at what point and for what reason does a god choose to die?  For someone else perhaps, like Jesus Christ. There are many Christlike elements -- which is not surprising given GRRM's Catholic background -- associated with Bran's story, as well as Jon's.  For example, in a variation of the parable of the loaves and the fishes, Bran recalls how his brother Jon gave up his fish for Bran when Bran failed to catch one of his own, and he was also impressed by his brother's self-sacrifice when Jon was willing to give up having a wolf of his own, and therefore a claim to Stark identity, in order to save the wolves from being executed.  

I might be here a complete Stark ;) but I don't agree here with you or at least not completely (I cannot handle Bran & Death very well in the same sentence). 

I might sometimes overemphasizes it ;) but Bran's journey is actually a search for the truth. This journey told by GRRM is full of references to Plato's allegory of the cave which tells metaphorical how one of the prisoners (the philosopher) ascends out of the cave and sees outside actually the reality and above everything the sun (which represents the Good). 

The allegory of the cave can be found in the book Republic which main purpose was actually to explain Plato's political theory. Plato's ideal state was not something like a democracy but rather a state which was governed by a philosopher king. 

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The Republic turns this claim upside down, arguing that it is precisely the fact that philosophers are the last people who would want to rule that qualifies them to do so. Only those who do not wish for political power can be trusted with it.

Thus, the key to the notion of the “philosopher king” is that the philosopher is the only person who can be trusted to rule well. Philosophers are both morally and intellectually suited to rule: morally because it is in their nature to love truth and learning so much that they are free from the greed and lust that tempts others to abuse power and intellectually because they alone can gain full knowledge of reality, which in Books V through VII of the Republic is argued to culminate in knowledge of the forms of Virtue, Beauty, and, above all, the Good. The city can foster such knowledge by putting aspiring philosophers through a demanding education, and the philosophers will use their knowledge of goodness and virtue to help other citizens achieve these so far as possible.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/philosopher-king

The allegory of the cave is actually very important in Plato's political theory because it tells metaphorical the road someone has to undertake to become a philosopher-king (through an intellectual and moral education). 

And this is a road Bran has also been undertaking. He has been taught indeed by several mentors, by Ned (and Jon) on his role as a Stark of Winterfell, by Luwin on being the Stark in Winterfell and a just Lord, by Osha and Jojen on what is really out there, by Bloodraven on his powers and dangers of a greenseer, by the CotF on their history, by the trees on the the past, ... These teachings are important for his road to become the leader of the North (All hail Bran, King in the North! :P). I said once something similar in this post.  

In context to this I would refer to this post by @SacredOrderOfGreenMen (and I would also advise to read his other very interesting meta on his blog): 

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"The Stark in Winterfell" is ASOIAF’s incarnation of the Fisher King, a legendary figure from English and Welsh mythology who is spiritually and physically tied to the land, and whose fortunes, good and ill, are mirrored in the realm. It is a story that, as it tells how the king is maimed and then healed by divine power, validates that monarchy. The role of "The Stark in Winterfell" is meant to be as its creator Brandon the Builder was, a fusion of apparent opposites: man and god, king and greenseer, and the monolith that is his seat is both castle and tree, a "monstrous stone tree.”

(...)

In western European mythology, (Western Europe being GRRM’s primary basis for Westeros), there is a family of legends known as the Fisher King. The Fisher King, also known as the Maimed or Wounded King, contains within its lineage the Brythonic King Arthur and the Welsh king Bran the Blessed. For the English, the Fisher King is a keeper of the Holy Grail. He is wounded or maimed and as a result is infertile, and is sustained only by the power of the Grail. In turn, the land becomes infertile and barren as well, and the only food to be had is fish, hence the name. In some versions, the Father is the Wounded King and his son is the Fisher. Tumblr user theelliedoll describes the connection, writing in their meta:


The point of the Fisher King as a mythical character is not so much the particularities of his character or even of his injury, but the simple fact that his (sexual)affliction is transferred to his lands. The myth thus presupposes a mystical, inextricable, sympathetic connection between king and kingdom that requires of the king a potent, generative virility, and thus functions, the myth, as the symbolic narrative that articulates a dominant power ideology [of Medieval Europe, the basis of GRRM’s Westeros]. This power ideology is the divinity of kingship, which is itself inseparable from the notions of inheritance and primogeniture.

The Fisher King myth functions then simply as a strategy of legitimation for royal authority and thus for a progressively more and more absolutist monarchy,perceived and culturally represented as the only imaginable form of government.

  It is possible to say GRRM might use at least references from two different "sources" for Bran's role as the just ruler-to-be: Plato and the Welsh/European legends of the Fisher King, Bran the Blessed, ... Although GRRM might be inspired more by the Fisher King for the name, ... and by Plato's for the road Bran has to undertake, his learning process, ... 

Of course all of this might be a little wish fulfillment of a Bran fan ;)

---

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

It's interesting that the nameless wolf (he is yet to be 'christened' Summer) -- who in his namelessness is already associated with the 'nameless gods of the wood' (among whom I include the greenseers, the COTF 'singers', and the Others) -- seems to be ambivalent about his young companion Bran climbing the tree.  On the one hand, the wolf's howl appears to be an alarm call, perhaps in response to some kind of preternatural instinct, anticipating the dangerous situation in which Bran will soon find himself, and therefore issuing a howl presumably to arrest Bran's climb.  On the other hand, however, in GRRM's curious phrasing 'the howling chased him up the tree' we see evidence of the opposite intention, constituting perhaps an effort to encourage rather than dissuade Bran to continue climbing and fulfill his destiny, despite the risk..?!  What do you think?

That is indeed an interesting idea you put forward through. I don't know. At one hand you can indeed read if Summer is saying "don't climb, Bran! Don't do it!", on the other hand you have indeed "Bran being chased up" by Summer. So I would not really sure how to answer this. 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

This ambivalent dynamic expresses how the protagonist of any Bildungsroman (coming of age parable, which ASOIAF is in its essence) often feels torn between fear of the unknown and desire for adventure; in other words, longing to 'find the self' and achieve greater independence vs. fear of breaking the familiar ties and losing the comfort that comes with the relative carefree irresponsibility of childhood.

Mmm. The Bran before his fall was actually not very torn by fear of the unknown. He was rather very excited about it. However indeed after he falls, you have clearly Bran being torn between fear of the unknown (partly created by his trauma) and his still-existing desire for adventure. 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

While I agree that 'flying' mostly has a figurative connotation, relating to self-knowledge and -actualization that comes with maturity, I still think Bran will actually fly, a dragon specifically-- well not by sitting on the dragon per se, but by skinchanging one!  If Dany ever loses control of Drogon and/or dies, someone else will need to step in and be the hero -- and I believe that person is Bran.

This might be my own completely disinterest of the dragons (which actually turned into petty jealous hatred thanks to show) but I actually don't care what would happen to those dragons. I must admit I do have some fantasies in which Dany and Bran meet each other, Dany tries to be exert her power by referring to her dragons and Bran skinchanges one of them to show her dragons don't mean anything. (Probably a silly fantasy)

For a reason explained later I certainly don't want to see a skinchanging bond been formed between Bran and a dragon.

Bran stepping in as a hero by skinchanging a dragon would be interesting if it is to stop the dragon from mass destruction. But it should only happen once.

The point actually primarily wanted to make is that "flying" is indeed figurative but you are right he might (and actually has already done) some flying. But IMO the figurative meaning has actually so much more worth than flying dragons, flying ravens, ....

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

That's a really great catch with your characteristic nuance and subtlety of interpretation, Tijgy!  :wub:

Thank you of all bringing all the "flutter"-mentioning together. Great work!

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Further, let me ask this:  If heart flutter can lead to a heart attack and even death, then is 'cardiac arrest' possible for a heart tree?  Is it possible to 'arrest' or 'short-circuit' the power of the weirnet?  What would that mean for Bran?

Why are you keeping Bran and Death mentioning together :crying: My own Bran loving heart cannot take this. 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Climbing stairs, especially spiral/serpentine staircases, is something I've additionally been able to connect with greenseeing, the spiral representing the trunk of a tree, the celestial axis, the burning ladder to heaven (e.g. Jacob's ladder, represented by the trick of the fiery maege), the DNA molecule (credit @Pain killer Jane, the 'mistress of the serpentine steps'!), the spine of a book, and the milky way galaxy (see if you can come up with others)!!!  Additionally, libraries are weirwood, or rather weirnet symbols (like the one at Winterfell with the tortuous exterior staircase, which is subsequently set on fire on the night of Bran's assassination attempt, which led to the bonding with Summer -- the 'outside wolf' becoming the 'inside wolf' -- and Summer's 'christening' after Bran's emergence from the coma).

Now, a 'little intermezzo' :cheers: illustrating the concept of 'weirnet as library,' with use of some famous movie clips of scenes in a library.  Not sure if you saw it on my 'killing word' thread, but in case you and @Wizz-The-Smith missed it, I thought I'd reproduce them here.  Haunting and unforgettable, the best cinematic representation of the weirwood as a living, interactional archive of eternal 'singing' voices (including of 'killing words') that I've seen.  

 

The weirwoods are indeed described as the libraries of the COTF: 

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood."

And greenseers are the one able to read them. 

I really liked the videos. It does indeed represent the weirwoords: libraries whispering their stories, warnings, ... 

The reason why I liked the connection between libraries, stories, ... and weirwoods, is the fact Bran always loved stories. This is one of the many characteristics why Bran was very predisposed to be a greenseer (although at the same time he still has to learn  before he really is a greenseer)

I didn't read your killing word thread (but you might always give a link!). So I am not really sure if the following was part of the discussion. It is actually very interesting that, while Bran took his first steps to become the reader of the weirwood library during his vision, the library of the Starks was set on fire and all the books collected was destroyed. 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Or, in Ned's case, wilful forgetting /denial of his friend Robert's shortcomings.

Quote

Oh, Nedbert, so tragic. From Ned's shining knight in armor who would destroy the lions for Ned just like he earlier protected Ned from dragons to a monstrous child-killing stag. :crying:

Another example:

The grey light of dawn was streaming through his window when the thunder of hoofbeats awoke Eddard Stark from his brief, exhausted sleep. He lifted his head from the table to look down into the yard. Below, men in mail and leather and crimson cloaks were making the morning ring to the sound of swords, and riding down mock warriors stuffed with straw. Ned watched Sandor Clegane gallop across the hard-packed ground to drive an iron-tipped lance through a dummy's head. Canvas ripped and straw exploded as Lannister guardsmen joked and cursed.

Is this brave show for my benefit, he wondered. If so, Cersei was a greater fool than he'd imagined. Damn her, he thought, why is the woman not fled? I have given her chance after chance …

Oh, Ned... Love you so much, but this is just being so blind. 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

As I explained in my exhaustive and exhausting :P 'little digression' on Hiemal's 'Nennymoan' thread, drowning is a metaphor for greenseeing.  So, yes, Bran is going to have to drown symbolically in the 'green fountain', before he re-emerges.  What's more, ironically the sea did indeed come to Winterfell in terms of giving Bran that push he needed to leave home and realize his destiny out there in the greater world.  According to my 'green sea'-'green see' pun, had the Ironborn breach of Winterfell's walls not occurred, Bran would not have been encouraged to set forth on the next leg of his greenseeing journey.

Quote

Nice how you brought drowning metaphor and the sea coming to Winterfell/Ironborn together. 

Yes, leaving Wintelfell is a very important step for Bran's road to become a greenseer. Winterfell is actually described by Bran as a prison: "Abed, the walls pressed close and the ceiling hung heavy above him; abed, the room was his cell, and Winterfell his prison. Yet outside his window, the wide world still called." He feels first restrained by his disability, but this is actually even made worst by the fact he isn't allowed by Luwin, Rodrik, ... to leave Winterfell because they are scarred he would get hurt. And did Robb not order double Bran's guards? (Okay, that happened in AGOT but there has never been a reason to lift that order). 

On 2017-6-7 at 11:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

f it's true that some part of the wolf remains in the warg, could some part of the deceased Lady still exist within Sansa, buried deep down within her, so that the flutterings appear to be coming from her belly, as if she'd swallowed the wolf, instead of vice versa?

Yes, there is probably a piece of Lady in Sansa, just like there is a piece of Nymeria in Arya, a piece of Ghost in Jon, ...

How I see probably the bound between the animal and the skinchanger, is that after a time the bound makes them both intertwined. Jojen did say there was a part of Bran's soul in Summer, and a part of Summer's in Bran. This means that for example when the human dies, a part of soul of the human still lives on in animal, and when the animal dies, a part of it's soul still lives on in the human. However I might be wrong, but I think it was said somewhere that after some time this remaining soul become less and less apparent. 

Some speculation about Jon and Ghost. Jon probably warged into Ghost when he was stabbed. Jon's soul lives still on in Ghost until he re-awakes, is resurrected, ... But I do think Jon would be changed, he would be more wolf-like due the fact he lived in Ghost. 

And that is why I don't want Bran to skinchange a dragon, I don't want a part of the soul of a dragon residing inside Bran. 

You several times referred to some dangers surrounding Bran. But IMO the only real danger surrounding Bran is actually this, his powers. Like Dalla said: "The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it."

Bran's dangers are dangerous, especially to him. He might let himself been consumed (drowned) by Summer or by the weirwood trees. 

The consuming by a weirwoodtrees is actually a practise of the Children. They do let themselves been consumed by the trees so they can become part of the godswood. And I am afraid this might going to happen to Bran. Is Bran still alive then? Yes, he lives on in the trees. But can you call him then Bran? I would say no. 

Edited by Tijgy

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Thank you, thank you for the invite. This topic is close to my heart, as it is with the others here on this thread, which means this should be good! ^_^

Yes, I eagerly await the return of @evita mgfs to the forums. 

Sorry for my long delay in responding here. I have been away for a little while in order to see to the care of my mother (very long story short), but I am slowly getting back in to the forum swing. 

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Posted (edited)

On 2017-6-10 at 1:49 PM, Tijgy said:

I might sometimes overemphasizes it ;) but Bran's journey is actually a search for the truth. This journey told by GRRM is full of references to Plato's allegory of the cave which tells metaphorical how one of the prisoners (the philosopher) ascends out of the cave and sees outside actually the reality and above everything the sun (which represents the Good). 

The allegory of the cave can be found in the book Republic which main purpose was actually to explain Plato's political theory. Plato's ideal state was not something like a democracy but rather a state which was governed by a philosopher king. 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/philosopher-king

The allegory of the cave is actually very important in Plato's political theory because it tells metaphorical the road someone has to undertake to become a philosopher-king (through an intellectual and moral education). 

 

That's also my take with the analogy of Plato's story and Bran. Also, what you mention about knowledge is part of that journey,

Quote

The weirwoods are indeed described as the libraries of the COTF: 

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood."

And greenseers are the one able to read them. 

I really liked the videos. It does indeed represent the weirwoords: libraries whispering their stories, warnings, ... 

The reason why I liked the connection between libraries, stories, ... and weirwoods, is the fact Bran always loved stories. This is one of the many characteristics why Bran was very predisposed to be a greenseer (although at the same time he still has to learn  before he really is a greenseer)

I didn't read your killing word thread (but you might always give a link!). So I am not really sure if the following was part of the discussion. It is actually very interesting that, while Bran took his first steps to become the reader of the weirwood library during his vision, the library of the Starks was set on fire and all the books collected was destroyed. 

he hast to learn and then put it into practise.

 

Quote

For a reason explained later I certainly don't want to see a skinchanging bond been formed between Bran and a dragon.

Bran stepping in as a hero by skinchanging a dragon would be interesting if it is to stop the dragon from mass destruction. But it should only happen once.

Actually primarily wanted to make is that "flying" is indeed figurative but you are right he might (and actually has already done) some flying. But IMO the figurative meaning has actually so much more worth than flying dragons, flying ravens, ....

Thank you of all bringing all the "flutter"-mentioning together. Great work!

Why are you keeping Bran and Death mentioning together :crying: My own Bran loving heart cannot take this. 

 

Yes, leaving Wintelfell is a very important step for Bran's road to become a greenseer. Winterfell is actually described by Bran as a prison: "Abed, the walls pressed close and the ceiling hung heavy above him; abed, the room was his cell, and Winterfell his prison. Yet outside his window, the wide world still called." He feels first restrained by his disability, but this is actually even made worst by the fact he isn't allowed by Luwin, Rodrik, ... to leave Winterfell because they are scarred he would get hurt. And did Robb not order double Bran's guards? (Okay, that happened in AGOT but there has never been a reason to lift that order). 

Yes, there is probably a piece of Lady in Sansa, just like there is a piece of Nymeria in Arya, a piece of Ghost in Jon, ...

How I see probably the bound between the animal and the skinchanger, is that after a time the bound makes them both intertwined. Jojen did say there was a part of Bran's soul in Summer, and a part of Summer's in Bran. This means that for example when the human dies, a part of soul of the human still lives on in animal, and when the animal dies, a part of it's soul still lives on in the human. However I might be wrong, but I think it was said somewhere that after some time this remaining soul become less and less apparent. 

Some speculation about Jon and Ghost. Jon probably warged into Ghost when he was stabbed. Jon's soul lives still on in Ghost until he re-awakes, is resurrected, ... But I do think Jon would be changed, he would be more wolf-like due the fact he lived in Ghost. 

And that is why I don't want Bran to skinchange a dragon, I don't want a part of the soul of a dragon residing inside Bran. 

You several times referred to some dangers surrounding Bran. But IMO the only real danger surrounding Bran is actually this, his powers. Like Dalla said: "The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it."

Bran's dangers are dangerous, especially to him. He might let himself been consumed (drowned) by Summer or by the weirwood trees. 

The consuming by a weirwoodtrees is actually a practise of the Children. They do let themselves been consumed by the trees so they can become part of the godswood. And I am afraid this might going to happen to Bran. Is Bran still alive then? Yes, he lives on in the trees. But can you call him then Bran? I would say no. 

No idea about Bran's role but I have the feeling that Bran is above all these. He is such a powerful greenseer, he is much more powerful than COTF or any other greenseer even. He has a connection with Summer as a Stark, but he is able to warg anyone and anything if it is needed. He just have to care care of the perils it involves. To put into into other words, to really learn, learn and learn of his mistakes.

 

Edited by Meera of Tarth

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I am almost finished writing something else up for someone else when I noticed some similarities between the Citadel and Meereen compared to BR's cave and maybe Bran.

Has anyone else picked up on these things? I think this could give us a clue to some growing powers (maybe). I will post some of what I find later when I can. 

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Posted (edited)

On 6/5/2017 at 2:52 PM, Tijgy said:

“Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? - That is the only time a man can be brave” – Supporting analysis to Bran V, ACOK

 

1         Introduction

 

"You will never find the eye with your fingers, Bran. You must search with your heart." Jojen studied Bran's face with those strange green eyes. "Or are you afraid?" "Maester Luwin says there's nothing in dreams that a man need to fear."
"There is," Jojen said. - "What?"
"The past. The future. The truth."

---

(Bran V, ACOK)

 

Fear is very present in Bran’s fifth chapter of A Clash of Kings. Jojen even alludes to the fact fear might even the thing which is holding Bran back from finally using his powers to his full potential

 In this chapter, GRRM uses at least ten times “fear” or a synonym/metaphor for it: disquieted, "sick feeling in the belly", scared, frightens, afraid, "the names made him afraid again", "in fear", afraid, fear, afraid, … 

 Actually, fear or rather how to overcome your fears has always been present through Bran's chapters, even from the very start. During his chapters Bran has to search the answer to several questions. And the first question he tries to find the truth to, is “can a man still be brave if he is afraid?”

 

2         Too curious to be afraid of the sun

A         Bran I, AGOT

Robb: "The deserter died bravely (…) He had courage at least"
Jon: "No. It was not courage. This one was dead of fear. You could see it in his eyes, Stark."
Robb: "The Others take his eyes. He died well"

 "Bran did no try to follow. His pony could not keep up. He had seen the ragged man's eyes, and he was thinking of them now. After a while the sound of Robb's laughter receded, and the woods grew silent again.
 

So deep in thought he was (…)
 

Ned: "Are you well, Bran?"
Bran: "Yes, Father. Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid.
Ned: "What do you think?"
Bran: "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?"
Ned: "That is the only time a man can be brave."

 

Although fear was very early mentioned in Bran's chapters, Bran was actually a very fearless boy. You might even say he was too curious to be afraid:

Jon III, AGOT: "Bran, stubborn and curious, always wanting to follow and join in whatever Jon and Robb were doing"
Jon IV, AGOT: "
Bran used to love to climb. I wish I had a tenth part of his courage"

 

You make some great points, Tijgy!  :)  As you point out, having too little fear might be a case of 'curiosity killed the cat', or 'pride comes before a fall'!  There is a dialectic set up between having too much fear, which holds one back, and having too little, which can also be a failing.  His father tries to impress on him the importance of being brave in the face of fear, as well as the importance of being fearful, i.e. respecting life sufficiently, so that one fears taking the life of another.  Otherwise, it's too easy to lose sight of the value of life, running the risk of carelessly throwing away the life of another human being as well as ones own life, as is implied in Old Nan's tale of Bran's putative ancestor, known only as 'the Night's King' (mayhaps his name was also 'Brandon Stark'..!), whose fault it was to 'know no fear,' leading him to commit unspeakable atrocities (sounds a bit like Euron or one of the other psychopaths in the text who are shown to be fearless).  Thus, not only is fearlessness clearly not equivalent to bravery (since there is nothing to overcome when one is fearless), but also there is always a moral dimension to bravery vs. an amoral one associated with fearlessness.  Above all, I see Bran having to undergo a defining moral test in his future, given that his growing powers will tempt him to commit further abominations (beyond skinchanging Hodor).  In that moment, he would do well to remember his father and Old Nan's words of caution.

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

Yes, thought Bran, but it's blocked by stone and ice.

As the sun began to set the shadows of the towers lengthened and the wind blew harder, sending gusts of dry dead leaves rattling through the yards. The gathering gloom put Bran in mind of another of Old Nan's stories, the tale of Night's King. He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night's Watch, she said; a warrior who knew no fear. "And that was the fault in him," she would add, "for all men must know fear." A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well.

He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night's King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night's King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

There's also the important example serving as a 'meta-' cautionary tale of a skinchanger who similarly knew no fear, as given by Varamyr:

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Prologue

Leagues away, in a one-room hut of mud and straw with a thatched roof and a smoke hole and a floor of hard-packed earth, Varamyr shivered and coughed and licked his lips. His eyes were red, his lips cracked, his throat dry and parched, but the taste of blood and fat filled his mouth, even as his swollen belly cried for nourishment. A child's flesh, he thought, remembering Bump. Human meat. Had he sunk so low as to hunger after human meat? He could almost hear Haggon growling at him. "Men may eat the flesh of beasts and beasts the flesh of men, but the man who eats the flesh of man is an abomination."

Abomination. That had always been Haggon's favorite word. Abomination, abomination, abomination. To eat of human meat was abomination, to mate as wolf with wolf was abomination, and to seize the body of another man was the worst abomination of all. Haggon was weak, afraid of his own power. He died weeping and alone when I ripped his second life from him. Varamyr had devoured his heart himself. He taught me much and more, and the last thing I learned from him was the taste of human flesh.

That was as a wolf, though. He had never eaten the meat of men with human teeth. He would not grudge his pack their feast, however. The wolves were as famished as he was, gaunt and cold and hungry, and the prey … two men and a woman, a babe in arms, fleeing from defeat to death. They would have perished soon in any case, from exposure or starvation. This way was better, quicker. A mercy.

From Varamyr's perspective, Haggon's 'fear of his own power' made him weak, implying that true strength lies in indulging ones fantasies without restraint, and regardless of the consequences -- this stance represents the opposite of what Ned has tried to impart to Bran.  

On 6/5/2017 at 2:52 PM, Tijgy said:

You can see this very clearly in his first chapters. When Bran was going to watch for the first time an execution he was "nervous with excitement". In his POV he believed "he was deemed old enough (…) to see king's justice done.".  He was more concerned about "trying to seem older, trying to pretend that he'd seen all this before" than about the fact he was going to see someone be executed for the first time, something some people might actually found very scary. And, after some encouragement of his older brother Jon, he was able to keep "his pony well in hand" and not look away.

 After Bran's and Ned's talk about fear, bravery, the Old Way, … Jon and Robb yelled they found something: the direwolves. Even when Jory told Robb should get away from the direwolf mother, Bran, "afire with curiosity", tried to get as quick as possible to Robb, who pulled his hood back so "the sun shone in his hair".  Just like Icarus, Bran tries to get as close as possible to the sun.

Nice catch of the Icarus associations!  It's particularly fitting, since we know Bran is running towards the wolf who will be called 'Summer', as you point out...

Quote

And did he even get afraid when he was nearer to the direwolves? No, he only gave a cry of delight when he saw little Grey Wind, gave him a nervous stroke and hugged little Summer whose fur was soft and warm.

 And when all the adults started to get afraid about the omen presented by the direwolf killed by a stag, "Bran could sense their fear, though he did not understand it". Maybe the only time he got afraid in this first chapter, was when they almost decided to kill little Summer :-(

 B         Bran II, AGOT

 Neither did he show much fear in his second chapter. He is so excited he will leave and see the red castle, dragons, the greatest living knight and the world! Why would he be afraid? ("It gave Bran a shiver to think of it, but he was not afraid. How could he be afraid?")

 His lack of fear and his curiosity can also be seen in, no matter how many people tried to keep him on the ground, Bran would always climb again while he believed he would never fall:

  • "His mother was terrified that one day Bran would slip off a wall and kill himself. He told her he wouldn't but she never believed him."
  • Making a promise to his mother not to climb
  • Cleansing himself in the godswood on his father's orders
  • Old Nan telling a story about a boy who climbed to high, was struck by lightning and crows pecked his eyes
  • Luwin's pottery boy
  • Chasing away by the guards.

The only thing which kept him for a little while on the ground, was his promise to his mother). And he stayed then on the ground because he loved her and not because he was afraid. But even his love for his mother could not keep him from climbing.

 Bran’s favourite haunt was the broken tower, or the Burned Tower, which was set afire by lightning. Normally nobody was there. However, on the day before Bran would leave Winterfell, there was suddenly someone in the Burned Tower. And while Bran got "afraid" they would see him, he nevertheless decided "he wanted to hear more" (because they were talking about his father) and was trying to find several ways to get nearer them and to get nearer the truth:  

  • "a few more feet … but they would see him if he swung out in front of the window";
  • Bran looked down. There was a narrow ledge beneath the window, only a few inches wide. He tried to lower himself toward it. Too far. He would never reach.
  • Bran studied the ledge. He could drop down. It was too narrow to land on, but if he could catch hold as he fell past, pull himself up … except that might make a noise, draw them to the window. He was not sure what he was hearing, but he knew it was not meant for his ears.
  • "Bran was suddenly very frightened. He wanted nothing so much as to go back the way he had come back the way he had come, to find his brothers. Only what would he tell them? He had to get closer he realized. He had to see who was talking.
  • Bran pulled himself up, climbed over the gargoyle, crawled out onto the roof. This was the easy way. He moved across the roof to the next gargoyle, right above the window of the room where they were talking.
  • Everything happened at once then. The woman pushed the man away wildly, shouting and pointing. Bran tried to pull himself up, bending double as he reached for the gargoyle. He was in too much of a hurry. His hand scraped uselessly across smooth stone, and in his panic his legs slipped, and suddenly he was falling. There was an instant of vertigo, a sickening lurch as the window flashed past. He shot out a hand, grabbed for the ledge, lost it, caught it again with his other hand. He swung against the building, hard. The impact took the breath out of him. Bran  dangled, one-handed, panting.

 When he finally could see, what happened through the window, he saw two people with golden hair. And the one of these people, who is described as the sun later in Bran’s POV threw him from the Burning Tower and this face was the last thing Bran saw before his fell.

The most shocking thing for Bran was to discover the truth that sometimes people are not who they pretend to be, do not do the things they say (even do the opposite of their declared intention), and that other people can let one down--  the utterly shocking revelation that even adults, whom in his family he had been trained to trust and obey, betray children.  Having grown up in a family in which honor, honesty and straightforwardness were valued, leading to a certain naivete or blind spot, if you like, via the emphasis placed on this direct approach (to 'mean what you say' and 'say what you mean, etc.) naturally failed to prepare Bran for what happened with Jaime, who in bad faith extended his hand to Bran, saying 'take my hand,' by which Bran with misplaced relief assumed he was being brought to safety, only to find out he had been rudely tricked when he was quickly tossed to his death again.  This kind of brutal awakening at the cruel hands of others is a common theme for all the Stark children, who are one by one challenged to grow out of their naivete and open their eyes.  The Stark mores have not prepared them for the ruthlessness and duplicity of such as Jaime and Cersei, nor for a more formidable enemy still in Littlefinger, 'whose smile does not reach his eyes' (whose words do not match his real intentions) and who like Jaime with Bran similarly betrayed someone in bad faith, tossing Lysa through the Moon Door, while first pretending to comfort her, in order to lull her into a false sense of security.

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C          Conclusion

Before his fall, Bran was a very fearless boy. Sometimes, he still does experience some fear but he doesn’t understand it and it certainly doesn’t keep him from trying to uncover secrets and to find out the truth.

Already in his first chapters we have several references to ascents which in Bran’s chapters represent the way he has to follow to find the truth (climbing, flying, …) He believes he would never fall, he believes his curiosity would never have negative consequences. To what should he be afraid of, when he tries to find out the truth?  

In the first chapters, we already see GRRM associating truths/secrets Bran tries to uncover with sun, lighting or fire:

  • The sun shining in Robb’s hair;
  • Old Nan: boy struck by lightning,
  • Burned Tower which was set afire by lightning;
  • Golden hair

In his second chapter Bran learns he can fall, that it can actually be dangerous to search for the truth. And he learns this after he was thrown by the tower by someone representing the sun. 

 3        A man can only be brave when he is afraid

A         Bran III, AGOT 

During his vision in his third chapter Bran dreams he is falling. At the same time the third-eyed crow is daring him to fly. Bran, the boy who believed he would never fall, who would never to let fear stand in his way, is afraid to try to fly and starts to cry.  

At one moment, he tries to remember if he was always so thin:

"Had he always been so thin. He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love", it said.
Bran screamed.

That's also a bitter lesson -- that people are often willing to do very 'unloving' things to others, all supposedly in the name of 'love'.  How to sort out the cognitive dissonance in that?!  What will Bran in his future be tempted to do, or refrain from doing, in the name of love?

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The crow took to air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face."

Bran was falling faster than ever. 

 When Bran starts to remember Jaime, the shining golden face, Bran even starts to get even more afraid and the crow says to him that he should it put aside for now. After this memory, Bran even starts to fall even more faster.

 Even though Bran is afraid, he looks down on the order of the crow and starts to look at the world:

"Every flight begins with a fall, the crow said. Look down.

I'm afraid …

LOOK DOWN!

Bran looked down, and felt his insides turn to water. The ground was rushing up at him now. The whole world was spread out below him (…)"

 In this dream one of the things he sees is someone "armored like the sun, golden and beautiful. This is probably a description of Jaime who is described in Bran's chapters as golden, shining, …

 In the end of the description of the world, he finally sees what is in the heart of the winter:

 "North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain.  He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and, the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Again, the secret Bran has to uncover is associated with light, heat and burning. You might say this is kind of weird if you consider this is about the heart of the winter, the coldest season of the year.

I love the idea of the heart of winter paradoxically being a heart of fire!  

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 "Now you know, the crow whispered, as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live.

"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.

Because winter is coming.

Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death,a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid.

"Can a man still be brave if he's afraid? He heard his own voice saying, small and far away.

And his father's voice replied to him. "That is the only time a man can be brave."

Now, Bran, the crow urged. Choose. Fly or die.  

Death reached for him, screaming

Bran spread his arms and flew."

 The truth to be found in the heart of the winter is terrible. The dreams make Bran more and more desperately afraid. However, remembering his father's wise words, Bran finds his courage and flies. Bran actually shows here he will be able to face the terrible truths he will uncover in the future.

He finds his courage in words.  I've said before that the power of words, which I've termed perhaps misleadingly 'killing words,' are not only used to kill, but to heal.  'Words are wind' and using the power of his father's words, Bran is given the wind, figuratively, in order to fly!

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 After his flight, Bran awakes:

"Bran touched his forehead, between his eyes. The place where the crow had pecked him was still burning, but there was nothing there, no blood, no wound. (…) And then there was movement beside his bed, and something landed lightly on his legs. He felt nothing. A pair of yellow eyes looked into his own, shining like the sun. The window was open and it was cold in the room, but the warmth that came off the wolf enfolded him like a hot bath. His pup, Bran realized … or was it? He was so big now. He reached out to pet him, his hand trembling like a leaf (note: very nice touch :-D ).
When his brother Robb burst into the room, breathless from his dash up the tower steps, the direwolf was licking Bran's face. Bran looked up calmly. "His name is Summer."

The place where the crow pecked, where Bran's third eye is supposed to be, the eye which Bran can use to see the Truth, is still burning after his dream.

Nice connection of the third eye to burning!  I have also pointed out previously that Bran compares the burning pain of having had his third eye opened to an 'axe-splitting' headache, so the axe is a metaphor for a firebrand as well as a key which unlocks the third eye.  Think of the third eye as the keyhole in a wooden door, providing entrance into the secrets afforded by the weirwood tree!  The keyhole is also represented by the face carved into the weirwood -- 'red' symbolising fire and blood.

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When Bran awakes, he meets a much nicer sun than Jaime: his direwolf. The wolf gets even some similar description as Jaime: shining, yellow/gold, shining like the sun, warmth, … Bran doesn't get afraid of him, but rather embraces his sweet puppy.

 

Good point!  Funny enough, Jaime's arc seems to have the opposite trajectory, since after losing his hand (in an ironic literal recapitulation of his 'bad faith' injunction to Bran, 'take my hand') Jaime becomes ever more wolfish, to Cersei's chagrin:

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A Clash of Kings - Catelyn VII

"Look at me, ser."

"The light hurts my eyes. A moment, if you would." Jaime Lannister had been allowed no razor since the night he was taken in the Whispering Wood, and a shaggy beard covered his face, once so like the queen's. Glinting gold in the lamplight, the whiskers made him look like some great yellow beast, magnificent even in chains. His unwashed hair fell to his shoulders in ropes and tangles, the clothes were rotting on his body, his face was pale and wasted . . . and even so, the power and the beauty of the man were still apparent.

He goes from a shaggy beast (which evokes Shaggy Dog) to a grey one (like Summer or Grey Wind) to a white, ghost-like creature (like Ghost)!  In his crippled state, he even starts to resemble Bran:

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A Feast for Crows - Jaime III

I had hoped that by now you would have grown tired of that wretched beard. All that hair makes you look like Robert." His sister had put aside her mourning for a jade-green gown with sleeves of silver Myrish lace. An emerald the size of a pigeon's egg hung on a golden chain about her neck.

"Robert's beard was black. Mine is gold."

"Gold? Or silver?" Cersei plucked a hair from beneath his chin and held it up. It was grey. "All the color is draining out of you, brother. You've become a ghost of what you were, a pale crippled thing. And so bloodless, always in white." She flicked the hair away. "I prefer you garbed in crimson and gold."

 

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B         Conclusion 

 While before his fall, Bran was almost a fearless boy. During his dream Bran actually gets really scared. He believes he can only can fall and cannot fly. He doesn’t believe anymore the truth cannot hurt him.

During his dream the things scaring him the most are actually associated with sun, light, heat … things representing the truth.

This is like the Plato's Cave analogy you described -- very interesting!  Too much light can also blind a person, so does that mean that too much truth is incapacitating?

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This shows how much effect his fall has on Bran. Bran used to get nothing stand in his way of finding out about the truth. Now he is actually afraid, he is afraid to go on his quest to find out about the Truth.

 But in the end, he does learn to fly. Bran finds courage in remembering his father’s words and is able to face the terrible knowledge even when this knowledge scares him.

 When he awakes, Bran does meet another sun: his direwolf Summer. Just like in the rest of Bran’s chapters, Summer is juxtaposed to other things represented by the sun, light, heat, … Summer doesn’t scare Bran. He is actually a source of comfort.

4         Dangers in dreams

A         Bran IV, AGOT

In Bran IV, AGOT we find Bran looking out from his window and being angry at the crow and at the whole world. While the crow told him he could fly, Bran is forced to stay in his tower room with old Nan and can't run, climb, … like he used to. He is being imprisoned by his own disability. He is upset by the fact his whole world has changed while he was asleep. 

To keep Bran entertained, Old Nan starts to tell a story, the story of the Long Winter. The story starts with an interesting question of Old Nan: "Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know of fear?"

 Old Nan's talk is interrupted by the arrival of some visitors, Tyrion's party. In the talk between Tyrion and Bran we see Bran acting several times very emotional. First, he is angry because he is confronted with the truth which he denies ("I'm told you were quite the climber, Bran," the little man said at last. "Tell me, how is it you happened to fall that day? - I never," Bran insisted. He never fell, never never never; "The word was knife through Bran's heart.

This is a Lightbringer allusion, connecting Bran to Lightbringer.  Is Bran destined to be the saviour or scourge of the world?  Also, note again, my 'killing word' concept at play, in how GRRM specifies that 'the word was a knife' -- so words can be a source of suffering and destruction, as well as comfort and restoration, or rebirth.

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He felt tears come unbidden to his eyes. "I'm not a cripple!") During this conversation Bran gets also scared that Tyrion is lying about the fact he will be able to ride just like the crow lied about the flying. ("Will I truly be able to ride? Bran asked. He wanted to believe them, but he was afraid. Perhaps it was just another lie. The crow had promised that he could fly").

 After the conversation, he goes to his room where Summer meets him ("Summer," He called. The wolf bounded up on the bed. Bran hugged him so hard he could feel his warm breath on his cheek. "I can ride now," he whispered to his friend). The warm Summer is like always a source of comfort.

 He falls asleep then. During his sleep he has a nightmare. In this nightmare, he climbs a large tower. During his climb, he is scarred he would fall because he cannot fly. Above him there are gargoyles: "The gargoyles watched him ascend. Their eyes glowed red as hot coals in a brazier. Perhaps once they had been lions, but now they were twisted and grotesque. Bran could hear them whispering to each other in soft voices terrible to hear. He must not listen, he told himself, he must not hear, so long as he did not hear them he was safe. But when the gargoyles pulled themselves loose from the stone and padded down the side of the tower where Bran clung, he knew he was not safe after all."I didn't hear," he wept as they came closer. I didn't. I didn't.)

 In the nightmare, he relives the events before his fall. The gargoyles, representing the Lannister, are telling the truth. Unlike before his fall, Bran is actually scarred of hearing what the Lannisters are saying and doesn't want to listen what they are saying. He is scarred of the gargoyles with their red eyes glowing as hot coals in a brazier. He fears he might fall, he believes hearing the truth would get him in danger. His fears are holding him back from trying to find out the truth. 

While I agree on the surface the gargoyles who 'once were lions' represent the Lannister twins and the trauma Bran suffered at their hands, I wouldn't be surprised if this tableau is also hinting at a deeper mystery -- taboo even -- in the Stark family history, which, entreating Bran with 'mute appeal', is struggling to be brought to light, as @GloubieBoulga has suggested may constitute one of the crucial lies remaining to be slain in the saga.

As @Kingmonkey expressed it beautifully in his essay 'The Puppets of Ice and Fire,' there is a story begging to be told:

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There is a pattern of events that can be found repeated in ASOIAF, and whatever it means, it seems to be connected to the core mysteries of the series. I suspect it is the core mystery of the series. These echoes may be a purely literary device, a use of paralleling to bring together shared ideas. It may be something rather more. A ritual that people stumble upon, more or less accidentally, more or less knowingly. Or it may be one of these events created magical ripples in the river of time, making the event replay as echoes before and after. Or perhaps it's a story desperate to be told, leaking out into the narratives of many characters and shaping their stories to its own. Perhaps it's a mixture of these. Each time we see these events echoed, some of the details are shared, and some changed. It's as if the story is struggling to be completed, the ritual never quite being fulfilled.

 

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B         Bran V, AGOT 

 In Bran V, we have Bran leaving Winterfell for the first time after his fall. While in the beginning he is very anxious, he actually starts to find his old daring self after riding for some time. You might say the ability to ride his horse outside Winterfell gives him the feeling to be free. It frees him from the prison built by his anxieties. He starts to believe he can climb again (or even fly?)

Riding a horse is also a metaphor for skinchanging/greenseeing.  Whenever the words 'ride' or 'mount' are mentioned, we ought to consider whether GRRM is telling us something about skinchangers/greenseers.  For example, Hodor whose legs Bran subsequently 'borrows,' is compared to a horse in many ways.  To illustrate this concept, please see the poem by Neruda 'Ode to my Socks,' which I've analysed with particular reference to Hodor and Sleipneir, Odin's horse with which he travelled between worlds, including the 'underworld' realms).

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  • "Bran nodded, trying not to let his fear show. He had not been outside Winterfell since his fall, but he was determined to ride out as proud as any knight."
  • "His anxiety faded, and a tremulous smile crept across his face."
  • The current foamed around rock and root, and Bran could feel the spray on his face as Robb led him over. It made him smile. For a moment he felt strong again, and whole. He looked up at the trees and dreamed of climbing them, right up to the very top, with the whole forest spread out beneath him.

 The real world however destroys this little joy he starts to feel. After hearing what happened to his father, Jory, .. and the possibility of war he gets scarred again:  

 "The joy Bran had felt at the ride was gone, melted away like the snowflakes on his face. Not so long ago, the thought of Robb calling the banners and riding off to war would have filled him with excitement, but now he felt only dread." 

I do like how GRRM here compares the joy melting away with the melting of the snowflakes.

That's a lovely image.  It's a mirror of Jon's and the other siblings' last memory of Robb, made ever more poignant by the perspective of the reader, who realises with the benefit of the hindsight afforded by re-reading, that this is the last time Jon or the others would see their doomed brother.  

It's also an allusion to Theon's transformation into Reek (and back to Theon again), his smile fading, his joy turning to ashes in his mouth, or in other words a 'grey joy' -- but simultaneously the idea of becoming a 'Greyjoy' is associated with new insight into the truth (significantly, the seminal event when Bran gives him back the name 'Theon Greyjoy,' opening his third eye symbolically in the 'communion' between Bran and Theon at the heart tree)!

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A Game of Thrones - Jon II

"I know," Jon said. "Soon." He looked around at all the noise and confusion. "Leaving is harder than I thought."

"For me too," Robb said. He had snow in his hair, melting from the heat of his body. "Did you see him?"

Jon nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

 

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A Game of Thrones - Jon V

"It's not like him to miss a meal," Pyp said thoughtfully. "Do you suppose he's taken ill?"

"He's frightened. We're leaving him." He remembered the day he had left Winterfell, all the bittersweet farewells; Bran lying broken, Robb with snow in his hair, Arya raining kisses on him after he'd given her Needle. "Once we say our words, we'll all have duties to attend to. Some of us may be sent away, to Eastwatch or the Shadow Tower. Sam will remain in training, with the likes of Rast and Cuger and these new boys who are coming up the kingsroad. Gods only know what they'll be like, but you can bet Ser Alliser will send them against him, first chance he gets."

 

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A Game of Thrones - Jon IX

Tyrion Lannister had claimed that most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it, but Jon was done with denials. He was who he was; Jon Snow, bastard and oathbreaker, motherless, friendless, and damned. For the rest of his life—however long that might be—he would be condemned to be an outsider, the silent man standing in the shadows who dares not speak his true name. Wherever he might go throughout the Seven Kingdoms, he would need to live a lie, lest every man's hand be raised against him. But it made no matter, so long as he lived long enough to take his place by his brother's side and help avenge his father.

He remembered Robb as he had last seen him, standing in the yard with snow melting in his auburn hair. Jon would have to come to him in secret, disguised. He tried to imagine the look on Robb's face when he revealed himself. His brother would shake his head and smile, and he'd say … he'd say …

He could not see the smile. Hard as he tried, he could not see it. He found himself thinking of the deserter his father had beheaded the day they'd found the direwolves. "You said the words," Lord Eddard had told him. "You took a vow, before your brothers, before the old gods and the new." Desmond and Fat Tom had dragged the man to the stump. Bran's eyes had been wide as saucers, and Jon had to remind him to keep his pony in hand. He remembered the look on Father's face when Theon Greyjoy brought forth Ice, the spray of blood on the snow, the way Theon had kicked the head when it came rolling at his feet.

A Storm of Swords - Arya VII

Arya didn't know how much Robb would pay for her, though. He was a king now, not the boy she'd left at Winterfell with snow melting in his hair. And if he knew the things she'd done, the stableboy and the guard at Harrenhal and all . . . "What if my brother doesn't want to ransom me?"

"Why would you think that?" asked Lord Beric.

 

A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

Outside the flakes drifted down as soft and silent as memory. Was this what woke me? Already the snowfall lay thick upon the garden below, blanketing the grass, dusting the shrubs and statues with white and weighing down the branches of the trees. The sight took Sansa back to cold nights long ago, in the long summer of her childhood.

She had last seen snow the day she'd left Winterfell. That was a lighter fall than this, she remembered. Robb had melting flakes in his hair when he hugged me, and the snowball Arya tried to make kept coming apart in her hands. It hurt to remember how happy she had been that morning. Hullen had helped her mount, and she'd ridden out with the snowflakes swirling around her, off to see the great wide world. I thought my song was beginning that day, but it was almost done.

Sansa left the shutters open as she dressed. It would be cold, she knew, though the Eyrie's towers encircled the garden and protected it from the worst of the mountain winds. She donned silken smallclothes and a linen shift, and over that a warm dress of blue lambswool. Two pairs of hose for her legs, boots that laced up to her knees, heavy leather gloves, and finally a hooded cloak of soft white fox fur.

 

 

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XII

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. "Snow," an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she'd appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. "I am the Lord of Winterfell," Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

… and woke with a raven pecking at his chest. "Snow," the bird cried. Jon swatted at it. The raven shrieked its displeasure and flapped up to a bedpost to glare down balefully at him through the predawn gloom.

 

A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII

"I won't say you're wrong. What do you mean to do, crow?"

Jon flexed the fingers of his sword hand. The Night's Watch takes no part. He closed his fist and opened it again. What you propose is nothing less than treason. He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. Kill the boy and let the man be born. He thought of Bran, clambering up a tower wall, agile as a monkey. Of Rickon's breathless laughter. Of Sansa, brushing out Lady's coat and singing to herself. You know nothing, Jon Snow. He thought of Arya, her hair as tangled as a bird's nest. I made him a warm cloak from the skins of the six whores who came with him to Winterfell … I want my bride back … I want my bride back … I want my bride back …

"I think we had best change the plan," Jon Snow said.

I sense there's something else in the image of 'snowflakes melting in the hair' that I'm not seeing.  GRRM repeats it so often; I must be missing something!  Anybody, any ideas?  

I think perhaps it signifies the bittersweet truth that sometimes someone has to die in order to usher in the spring, just the way the deserter had to be executed in the snow before Bran found Summer.

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Snowflakes melt thanks to warmth. Bran’s joy melts here away through the fact he is faced with the real world or rather with the truth.

 You can also see in this chapter how his fall and the things happening to his family have really changed Bran. He is used to be excited about glory, the unknown, battles, … But all the excitement is gone now. He actually learned there are reasons to be afraid. And he is dreading now what is going to happen in the future.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesn't paralyze him (OK, bad pun!  I'm sorry...:blush:  ).  Bran has learnt his father's and GRRM's grim lesson that war is not to be undertaken lightly.

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 C          Bran II, ACOK

 At the end of Bran II, ACOK Cley Cerwyn arrives in Winterfell for the Harvest Feast. Cerwyn tells Bran about Stannis' letter in which Stannis tells the rest of Westeros about Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship.

 This has a profound effect on Bran:

 For a moment Bran felt as though he could not breathe. A giant hand was crushing his chest. He felt as though he was falling, and clutched desperately at Dancer’s reins (…) '. His blood was roaring in his ears, and had he not been strapped onto his saddle he might well have fallen.

Shame, Bran has signs of PTSD.  Just hearing the word about the incest casually mentioned in conversation triggers debilitating, very visceral memories.

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(…)

“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. What he saw made him gasp in fear.

He was clinging to a tower miles high, and his fingers were slipping, nails scrabbling at the stone, his legs dragging him down, stupid useless dead legs. “Help me!” he cried. A golden man appeared in the sky above him and pulled him up. “The things I do for love,” he murmured softly as he tossed him out kicking into empty air.

 When Bran is told the story of Cersei and Jaime’s relationship, he actually relives (again) his fall. He gets a nightmare (a flashback) where his vision of the crow is combined with his memories of seeing Jaime and Cersei in the tower.

 He is scared of what he is seeing: a golden man in the sky above him. He is afraid of the thing representing the sun, of the truth.

 And seeing the truth make Bran believe he is falling.

D         Bran III, ACOK 

In Bran III, ACOK, Bran has a wolf dream after the Harvest Feast. This dreams ends with Bran falling when Jojen touches Summer:

'The male walked toward them, unafraid, and reached out for his muzzle, a touch as light as a summer breeze. Yet at the brush of those fingers the wood dissolved and the very ground turned to smoke beneath his feet and swirled away laughing, and then he was spinning and falling, falling, falling '

 

Very interesting.  Why would Jojen want to cause Bran to relive his trauma?  Why does Jojen's touch remind Summer and therefore Bran of Jaime?

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E          Bran IV, ACOK 

In Bran IV, ACOK we learn Bran’s dreams scare Bran so much he wakes at night shouting and screaming. We learn from his POV that the things scaring him are the falling and the golden man, the queen's brother. He hasn't however been able to tell to Ser Rodrik or Maester Luwin Jaime was behind his fall. Nor does he feel he can tell it to the Reeds: "If he didn’t talk about it, maybe he would forget. He had never wanted to remember. It might not even be a true remembering."

This is the Cat, Sansa, and Ned defense mechanism of wilful forgetting/denial we've discussed in your previous essay.

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When Jojen insists that Bran tells him about his dreams, the direwolves (or rather Bran) get angry (or rather scared) and attack Jojen.

 

Jojen is actually very aggressive about prodding Bran to open his third eye, e.g. in the way he pokes Bran hard using two stiff fingers between the eyes, saying 'open your eye'!  @Unchained has even suggested that such gestures may constitute some kind of magical signalling, like a magical sign language in lieu of audible words.

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We learn actually that while he might finally remember why he fell from the tower, he still doesn’t want to remember what happened.

E          Bran IV, ACO

In Bran V, ACOK, Bran is again afraid to tell Jojen about his dreams. However, getting strength from his identity and his word as a Stark, he finally overcomes his fears and tells Jojen about his dreams:

He was scared, even then, but he had sworn to trust them, and a Stark of Winterfell keeps his sworn word.

"There's different kinds," he said slowly. "There"s the wolf dreams, those aren't so bad as the others, I run and hunt and kill squirrels. And there's dreams where the crow comes and tells me to fly. Sometimes the tree is in those dreams too, calling my name. That frightens me. But the worst dreams are when I fall." He looked down into the yard, feeling miserable. "I never used to fall before. When I climbed, I went everyplace, up on the roofs and along the walls, I used to feed the crows in the Burned Tower. Mother was afraid I would fall but I knew I never would. Only I did, and now when I sleep I fall all the time.

We learn he used to feed the crows in the Burned Tower. He used to be comfortable (or even excited) about learning the truth of things. However now he falls all the time. He is afraid all the time his curiosity would harm him.

Bran tells Jojen Maester Luwin told him there is nothing to be afraid of in dreams. Jojen tells him there is: the past, the future and the truth.  

F          Conclusion

Bran’s fall didn’t only lead to fact he lost his legs but it has also a huge effect on Bran’s character. Unlike before, Bran’s anxieties are actually holding back. And due what happened, it is actually very normal Bran is suffering very hard from a form of PTSD.

Ah, great -- we came to the same diagnosis!

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This PTSD has as consequence Bran keep getting flashbacks from his falling every time he starts to remember the golden man throwing him the tower. Metaphorical, you could say Bran believes he would be harmed if he would find out the truth.

 And this fear of the consequences of his own curiosity is the thing which is holding Bran back from using his powers. His powers are just about finding out the past, the future and the truth. But due his traumas Bran is afraid of the truth and what would happen if he actually did uncover the truth.  

 

Nice summary.  We can be sure that the truth lying in the 'past' will connect to that in the 'future,' as hinted already in Ned's archetypal fever dream, with the iconic words for the ages, 'now it begins...now it ends' which are part of one continuum.  Bran's knowledge of the past, obtained via many sources in his education, including pre-eminently greenseeing, will shed light on the future.

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5         Main Conclusion

In the beginning, Bran is rather a fearless boy. It is literally said he is a sweet summer child who cannot understand fear, darkness, winter, … This fearlessness is combined with an almost endless desire to explore, to learn about secrets nobody else knows, … You could say these are actually very good characteristics for a greenseer-to-be. 

This changes however when he falls. Due his fall he starts to understand what fear actually is. And this fear is actually what is holding him back from really becoming a greenseer. A greenseer should be able to learn about truths, even truths that are terrible to know.

And, as I indicated at the beginning of my commentary, a greenseer should also learn to be responsible with these powers and these truths, so that he does not hurt anybody -- or at least, failing that (hurt is inevitable, and pain and death are part of life), trying to minimize the damage.

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Due the terrible accident/crime, it's consequences and trauma Bran is suffering, Bran has become more fearful and very reluctant to face some truths. However, just like in his vision he finds bravery in his father 's words, in Bran V he finds courage in his identity and his words as a Stark to face finally the truth about his dreams. And he is on his way to be able to use his powers and to become a great greenseer.

 GRRM uses very consistently the words “sun”, “light”, “burning”, coals, … to associate with the truths Bran has to uncover, to realize or to face. Most of the time they actually hurt Bran, except for his Summer who is also described as warm, eyes resembling the sun, …

 Another thing GRRM plays with is “flying”, “falling”, “climbing”, … It is possible to say that through Bran’s storyline these words metaphorical refer to finding out/searching the truth (fly, climb, …) and the fear of the truth or its consequences.

And while Bran might now be more fearful, more careful, … this doesn’t make him less brave. It actually makes him more brave and make his own story more valuable. Because in the end a man can only be brave when he is afraid.

Very nice -- a most thoughtful and philosophically stimulating read, thanks Tijgy :), reminding me that storytelling and its analysis is not only a playful game of words, but the means by which we make sense of the very fabric of our lives, even when that fabric is torn in the most painful places!    It also occurs to me that 'flying, falling, climbing' has something to do with storytelling, using this facility specifically, but not exclusively, in Bran's case in order to overcome obstacles.  Just as one of the therapies for trauma will always be learning how to gain perspective via 'exposure therapy' of one sort or another, which involves various forms of retelling or reliving the 'terrible knowledge' of the trauma, however in a controlled and manageable form, this narrative reprocessing serving a healing rather harming function; thereby articulating the unspeakable in a form with which one can reclaim ones identity, ones life, ones humanity.  This is the true power rather than the distracting indulgence of art, my friend -- you make me see all over again, the things I already knew, but had forgotten I'd known, with knew new eyes!  

 

The light is critical: of me, of this
long-dreamed, involuntary landing
on the arm of an inland sea.
The glitter of the shoal
depleting into shadow
I recognize: the stand of pines
violet-black really, green in the old postcard
but really I have nothing but myself
to go by; nothing
stands in the realm of pure necessity
except what my hands can hold.

Nothing but myself?....My selves.
After so long, this answer.
As if I had always known
I steer the boat in, simply.
The motor dying on the pebbles
cicadas taking up the hum
dropped in the silence.

Anger and tenderness: my selves.
And now I can believe they breathe in me
as angels, not polarities.
Anger and tenderness: the spider's genius
to spin and weave in the same action
from her own body, anywhere --
even from a broken web.

 

-- ADRIENNE RICH

From the poem: 'Integrity'

 

Edited by ravenous reader

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On 10-6-2017 at 4:45 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

Thank you, thank you for the invite. This topic is close to my heart, as it is with the others here on this thread, which means this should be good! ^_^

Your welcome. Your posts are always very interesting, especially your Pinocchio one :D

On 15-6-2017 at 11:39 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

I am almost finished writing something else up for someone else when I noticed some similarities between the Citadel and Meereen compared to BR's cave and maybe Bran.

Has anyone else picked up on these things? I think this could give us a clue to some growing powers (maybe). I will post some of what I find later when I can. 

I don't think anyone did. 

I did talk once about the fact Luwin is "chained" just like Bran who is also "a wolf chained to the ground", and that maesters wearing chains can also be seen metaphorical they are blind to certain magical realities (somewhere in my discussions of Plato's allegory and Bran's storyline).

But I cannot think of something else? 

I do think it might be interesting to compare the similarities between them also maybe looking at Marwyn, Quaithe and the glass candles.  

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On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

You make some great points, Tijgy!  :)  As you point out, having too little fear might be a case of 'curiosity killed the cat', or 'pride comes before a fall'!  There is a dialectic set up between having too much fear, which holds one back, and having too little, which can also be a failing.  His father tries to impress on him the importance of being brave in the face of fear, as well as the importance of being fearful, i.e. respecting life sufficiently, so that one fears taking the life of another.  Otherwise, it's too easy to lose sight of the value of life, running the risk of carelessly throwing away the life of another human being as well as ones own life, as is implied in Old Nan's tale of Bran's putative ancestor, known only as 'the Night's King' (mayhaps his name was also 'Brandon Stark'..!), whose fault it was to 'know no fear,' leading him to commit unspeakable atrocities (sounds a bit like Euron or one of the other psychopaths in the text who are shown to be fearless).  Thus, not only is fearlessness clearly not equivalent to bravery (since there is nothing to overcome when one is fearless), but also there is always a moral dimension to bravery vs. an amoral one associated with fearlessness.  Above all, I see Bran having to undergo a defining moral test in his future, given that his growing powers will tempt him to commit further abominations (beyond skinchanging Hodor).  In that moment, he would do well to remember his father and Old Nan's words of caution.

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Thanks. 

I think it will be important to Bran to balance those two. I think he has to learn his powers to get ready for the fight against the Others, nevertheless his powers are still a danger and they should be feared. Otherwise he might turn into a second Euron :wacko: and I think nobody wants that. 

Bran has something Euron never had: the words and teachings of Eddard Stark. And I think in all the Stark's children stories we learned how much worth those words and teachings are. An example can even be found in Bran's vision we are now discussing. 

Just like you are saying: 

On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

He finds his courage in words.  I've said before that the power of words, which I've termed perhaps misleadingly 'killing words,' are not only used to kill, but to heal.  'Words are wind' and using the power of his father's words, Bran is given the wind, figuratively, in order to fly!

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On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Nice connection of the third eye to burning!  I have also pointed out previously that Bran compares the burning pain of having had his third eye opened to an 'axe-splitting' headache, so the axe is a metaphor for a firebrand as well as a key which unlocks the third eye.  Think of the third eye as the keyhole in a wooden door, providing entrance into the secrets afforded by the weirwood tree!  The keyhole is also represented by the face carved into the weirwood -- 'red' symbolising fire and blood.

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Great found, RR! Wow :D

On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

While I agree on the surface the gargoyles who 'once were lions' represent the Lannister twins and the trauma Bran suffered at their hands, I wouldn't be surprised if this tableau is also hinting at a deeper mystery -- taboo even -- in the Stark family history, which, entreating Bran with 'mute appeal', is struggling to be brought to light, as @GloubieBoulga has suggested may constitute one of the crucial lies remaining to be slain in the saga.

 

Taking Bran's whole story in context they might indeed hint at bigger mysteries. Bran's quest is about discovering the truths long forgotten by the First Men and the House Stark. So this is also another appropriate interpretation :D

On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Riding a horse is also a metaphor for skinchanging/greenseeing.  Whenever the words 'ride' or 'mount' are mentioned, we ought to consider whether GRRM is telling us something about skinchangers/greenseers.  For example, Hodor whose legs Bran subsequently 'borrows,' is compared to a horse in many ways.  To illustrate this concept, please see the poem by Neruda 'Ode to my Socks,' which I've analysed with particular reference to Hodor and Sleipneir, Odin's horse with which he travelled between worlds, including the 'underworld' realms).

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Riding a horse and skinchanging actually have the same meaning. They resemble both to Bran freedom, a freedom to walk, dance, ... He feels restricted by the fact he cannot walk any longer. Through riding and skinchanging he can emancipate himself and feel independent and be free from the body that is Bran the Broken. 

On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

I sense there's something else in the image of 'snowflakes melting in the hair' that I'm not seeing.  GRRM repeats it so often; I must be missing something!  Anybody, any ideas?  

I think perhaps it signifies the bittersweet truth that sometimes someone has to die in order to usher in the spring, just the way the deserter had to be executed in the snow before Bran found Summer.

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Wow. I do remember Jon going on about Robb and snow in his hair but I didn't remember it also in Arya's and Sansa's chapters. 

I actually don't think it has to be about someone to die in order to usher in the spring? 

All those quote are about Robb. Robb is being associated with melting snow in his hair. 

And "The joy Bran had felt at the ride was gone, melted away like the snowflakes on his face. Not so long ago, the thought of Robb calling the banners and riding off to war would have filled him with excitement, but now he felt only dread." 

Joy is melting away. Joy = calling banners and riding of to war? 

Robb going south and fighting the Lannister was a source of hope to the Starks. He would go save Ned, save his sisters, save the North, ... but Robb and his army melted away in the South just like snow in the summer. 

And 

  • "I should have thought that heat ill suits you Starks," Littlefinger said. "Here in the south, they say you are all made of ice, and melt when you ride below the Neck.";
  • "Robb took it hard. "Mother, what are we going to do? I brought this whole army together, eighteen thousand men, but I don't … I'm not certain …" He looked to her, his eyes shining, the proud young lord melted away in an instant, and quick as that he was a child again, a fifteen-year-old boy looking to his mother for answers."
  • We've tossed some seeds in the wind, that's all. If your sister Lysa was coming to aid us, we would have heard by now. How many birds have we sent to the Eyrie, four? I want peace too, but why should the Lannisters give me anything if all I do is sit here while my army melts away around me swift as summer snow?
  • "Robb stood on the dais. He is a boy no longer, she realized with a pang. He is sixteen now, a man grown. Just look at him. War had melted all the softness from his face and left him hard and lean. He had shaved his beard away, but his auburn hair fell uncut to his shoulders. The recent rains had rusted his mail and left brown stains on the white of his cloak and surcoat. Or perhaps the stains were blood. On his head was the sword crown they had fashioned him of bronze and iron. He bears it more comfortably now. He bears it like a king"
  • "Near three hundred riders and twice as many mounts, melted away in the night." Robb rubbed his temples, where the crown had left its mark in the soft skin above his ears. "All the mounted strength of Karhold, lost."

  •  

    Tell Howland Reed that he is to send guides to me, two days after I have started up the causeway. To the center battle, where my own standard flies. Three hosts will leave the Twins, but only two will reach Moat Cailin. Mine own battle will melt away into the Neck, to reemerge on the Fever. If we move swiftly once my uncle's wed, we can all be in position by year's end. We will fall upon the Moat from three sides on the first day of the new century, as the ironmen are waking with hammers beating at their heads from the mead they'll quaff the night before." (might this be a foreshadowing of the coming battle in the North? Interesting... 

On 20-6-2017 at 9:48 PM, ravenous reader said:

Very nice -- a most thoughtful and philosophically stimulating read, thanks Tijgy :), reminding me that storytelling and its analysis is not only a playful game of words, but the means by which we make sense of the very fabric of our lives, even when that fabric is torn in the most painful places!    It also occurs to me that 'flying, falling, climbing' has something to do with storytelling, using this facility specifically, but not exclusively, in Bran's case in order to overcome obstacles.  Just as one of the therapies for trauma will always be learning how to gain perspective via 'exposure therapy' of one sort or another, which involves various forms of retelling or reliving the 'terrible knowledge' of the trauma, however in a controlled and manageable form, this narrative reprocessing serving a healing rather harming function; thereby articulating the unspeakable in a form with which one can reclaim ones identity, ones life, ones humanity.  This is the true power rather than the distracting indulgence of art, my friend -- you make me see all over again, the things I already knew, but had forgotten I'd known, with knew new eyes!  

Thank you

I wrote this with the intention of focusing on something which is forgotten by a lot of people: Bran's story is about a young kid who is dealing with own trauma's. A lot of people are so focused on the magic and on the mythological aspects they forget the human aspect of it's story. 

And thus human aspect like Bran's fears are quite important to describe his development of Bran's powers. It are his fears which have a profound effect if he chose or don't chose to develop them. It will also be Bran's desire to be free from his disability which might have consequence he is going to use his powers to live on in Summer, ...

Amidst our theories on magical powers, the old gods, ... I wanted to put a little attention on the little kid behind our god to be (and our next King of Winter?) and to humanize him. Because, next to the fact I am quite similar to his desire of knowledge, Bran is my favourite character no matter his horrible experiences he is still able to find hope amidst all the ruins :wub:

"At the edge of the wolfswood, Bran turned in his basket for one last glimpse of the castle that had been his life. Wisps of smoke still rose into the grey sky, but no more than might have risen from Winterfell's chimneys on a cold autumn afternoon. Soot stains marked some of the arrow loops, and here and there a crack or a missing merlon could be seen in the curtain wall, but it seemed little enough from this distance. Beyond, the tops of the keeps and towers still stood as they had for hundreds of years, and it was hard to tell that the castle had been sacked and burned at all. The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I'm not dead either."

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On 8/5/2017 at 8:55 AM, Tijgy said:

Wow. I do remember Jon going on about Robb and snow in his hair but I didn't remember it also in Arya's and Sansa's chapters. 

I actually don't think it has to be about someone to die in order to usher in the spring? 

All those quote are about Robb. Robb is being associated with melting snow in his hair. 

And "The joy Bran had felt at the ride was gone, melted away like the snowflakes on his face. Not so long ago, the thought of Robb calling the banners and riding off to war would have filled him with excitement, but now he felt only dread." 

Joy is melting away. Joy = calling banners and riding of to war? 

This would include @ravenous reader as well. Good points on the snow melting in the hair possibly not meaning someone is heading toward death somehow. I admit that I shared this idea, but when I would check for myself, there was always this difference between someone with snow on them, and someone with snow melting. I think this idea of the melting signifying "bittersweet" is actually a more accurate explanation.

In contrast to this, on a recent chapter reread, this part made me pause and smile, and maybe that subconscious connection was because of this bittersweet idea rather than just death. Maybe.

A Dance with Dragons - Jon VII

Glass, Jon mused, might be of use here. Castle Black needs its own glass gardens, like the ones at Winterfell. We could grow vegetables even in the deep of winter. The best glass came from Myr, but a good clear pane was worth its weight in spice, and green and yellow glass would not work as well. What we need is gold. With enough coin, we could buy 'prentice glassblowers and glaziers in Myr, bring them north, offer them their freedom for teaching their art to some of our recruits. That would be the way to go about it. If we had the gold. Which we do not.
At the base of the Wall he found Ghost rolling in a snowbank. The big white direwolf seemed to love fresh snow. When he saw Jon he bounded back onto his feet and shook himself off. Dolorous Edd said, "He's going with you?"
"He is."

I did not see where Arya has a melting snow moment, but I did notice this for the first time. Sansa is compared to Alys Karstark in the melting snow scenes... on a few points.

A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

Her maid rolled herself more tightly in her blanket as the snow began to drift in the window. Sansa eased open the door, and made her way down the winding stair. When she opened the door to the garden, it was so lovely that she held her breath, unwilling to disturb such perfect beauty. The snow drifted down and down, all in ghostly silence, and lay thick and unbroken on the ground. All color had fled the world outside. It was a place of whites and blacks and greys. White towers and white snow and white statues, black shadows and black trees, the dark grey sky above. A pure world, Sansa thought. I do not belong here.
Yet she stepped out all the same. Her boots tore ankle-deep holes into the smooth white surface of the snow, yet made no sound. Sansa drifted past frosted shrubs and thin dark trees, and wondered if she were still dreaming. Drifting snowflakes brushed her face as light as lover's kisses, and melted on her cheeks. At the center of the garden, beside the statue of the weeping woman that lay broken and half-buried on the ground, she turned her face up to the sky and closed her eyes. She could feel the snow on her lashes, taste it on her lips. It was the taste of Winterfell. The taste of innocence. The taste of dreams.
When Sansa opened her eyes again, she was on her knees. She did not remember falling. It seemed to her that the sky was a lighter shade of grey. Dawn, she thought. Another day. Another new day. It was the old days she hungered for. Prayed for. But who could she pray to? The garden had been meant for a godswood once, she knew, but the soil was too thin and stony for a weirwood to take root. A godswood without gods, as empty as me.

A Dance with Dragons - Jon X

"You're not scared?"
The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. "Let him be scared of me." The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled.
"Winter's lady." Jon squeezed her hand.
The Magnar of Thenn stood waiting by the fire, clad as if for battle, in fur and leather and bronze scales, a bronze sword at his hip. His receding hair made him look older than his years, but as he turned to watch his bride approach, Jon could see the boy in him. His eyes were big as walnuts, though whether it was the fire, the priestess, or the woman that had put the fear in him Jon could not say. Alys was more right than she knew.

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On 8/5/2017 at 7:25 AM, Tijgy said:

Your welcome. Your posts are always very interesting, especially your Pinocchio one :D

That ended up being a great example of half-jesting, half-serious that unfolded to to be accurate in many ways. Weird :huh:, but fun!

On 8/5/2017 at 7:25 AM, Tijgy said:

I don't think anyone did. 

I did talk once about the fact Luwin is "chained" just like Bran who is also "a wolf chained to the ground", and that maesters wearing chains can also be seen metaphorical they are blind to certain magical realities (somewhere in my discussions of Plato's allegory and Bran's storyline).

But I cannot think of something else? 

I do think it might be interesting to compare the similarities between them also maybe looking at Marwyn, Quaithe and the glass candles.  

My idea has more to do with the way the Citadel is set up, the symbolism that is currently shared with Dany and her dragons and them all being fire atop a building like a beacon, and the chains. Yes, the chains. Which brings my thoughts to the 'knight of the mind" idea that Luwin tries to sway Bran into. Basically, I think this could be the first connections that we readers get that Daenerys and Bran may come to odds at some point in the story. There is this third "magical" aspect to consider, and the direwolves, dragons hatching, glass candles, burning eagles, fire ladders, etc are there to tell us the magic is increasing... but for a time. I am also interested in what is the switch that determines when the magic leaves the world again. Will this be a different knight/night wordplay to be fought between Bran and Daenerys?

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Posted (edited)

Nevemind... until later. 

(Sorry, this was a good up) 

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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